ONE blogs – JOHN CALDER – Man for Monday: WHAT’S IN AN ‘ISM’?

At One Magazine’s public day on ‘Lying’, based on Oscar Wilde’s amusing little book on its decay, I pointed out my definition of what a society based on greater equality and fair distribution of wealth might be like, one lady, assuming that I was describing socialism, said that she had passed half of her life under communism in Russia and had firsthand experience of the failure of socialism. I told her that Russia, although it had been under Lenin through a period of violent Bolshevism had never had socialism. She could not have been a particularly competent reader of Marx, because very quickly Stalin had changed a Tsarist dictatorship into a totalitarian dictatorship (of the proletariat only in name), which in a country that was at the time composed almost exclusively of peasants, was very little different. She did not get my point because, as with most people, they connect a name with a situation which might, in reality, have very little to do with its original meaning. read more —>