Between Ideals and Reality

Between Ideals and Reality : Critique of Socialism and Its Future

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Product details

  • Hardback | 240 pages
  • 140 x 200mm
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • 0195196996
  • 9780195196993

Review Text

Prof. Stojanovic - chairman of the Dept. of Philosophy and Sociology at Belgrade University and a member of the editorial board of Praxis, Yugoslavia's influential journal of contemporary Marxist philosophy and longtime intellectual locus of East European anti-Stalinism - here goes after the "statist myth of socialism" harkening back to the Marx humanist of the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts. Stojanovic draws a key theoretical distinction between what he calls "primitive" or "immature" socialism - characterized by extreme collectivism, economic leveling and personal asceticism - and "mature" socialism which must be rooted in "personalism, humanistic hedonism and stimulatory material compensation for labor." At least in the more affluent sectors of the socialist world he argues that Marxists must cease equating socialist progress with "material construction alone" and concern themselves with the quality of life more holistically. To preserve any kind of dynamic relevance Marxists must resist the temptation to impose particular models of revolutionary development (Chinese, Russian, Cuban) on other cultures; in so-called socialist regimes intellectuals must guard against becoming positivist-functionalists justifying the status quo by invoking a spurious need for "solidarity" lest they become self-serving apologists for a new, bureaucratic-statist ruling class. Pointing to the example of France in 1968 Stojanovic underscores the French C.P.'s inability to respond in any creative fashion to a worker-student radicalism which did not, as it "should" have (according to scripture) seek to seize political power. Translated with care and grace by Sher, this is another affirmation of the continuing vitality of the heretical tradition of Yugoslav social theory. (Kirkus Reviews)show more