A year or so ago, I read Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward: 2000-1887 in order to get a sense of this once-popular vision of the socialist future. Bellamy detailed his version of utopia but never fully explained how it all works in a world of scarcity.
I recently picked up Eugene Richter’s wonderful Pictures of a Socialist Future. Richter paints a dystopian future through the eyes of one so committed to his socialist dream that he cannot even see that it is hell forming in the mist.
However, instead of using the work of the then-popular American (Bellamy) as basis for the envisioned workers’ paradise, Richter used the work of a German political figure, August Bebel.
The protagonist of Pictures makes near constant reference to Bebel’s Woman and Socialism, another book I had previously read. Unlike the softer Looking Backward, Women and Socialism is a vile vision that somehow caught the fancy of the socialist class.
Three books to read, with only one making sense. As I continue to read Pictures and compare it to the seemingly accelerating movement toward fascialism (a blend of fascism and socialism), I feel as though I should be handing copies of Pictures to everyone in sight.
While the babble of Bebel and Bellamy satisfy the mistaken dreams of many, it is the reality of Richter that will save the day.
Note: The curators over at Marxists.org fear the hammer of both government and its IP laws. Marxists.org offers a DVD collection of the full content of their site (something I possess). In response to the FAQ, “Hey, why do we sell the DVD?” the site states, “If the Archive is shut down by a publishing conglomerate or the government, having this information widely dispersed around the world, essentially untraceable, with the content entirely intact, is a great thing. Putting this content on DVD allows anyone to easily burn extra copies and give them out to others, and pass the information onwards.” (emphasis in the original)