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Edgar Hardcastle

Review: The Philosophy of Anarchism

We have been asked by a reader to give our views on a booklet, The Philosophy of Anarchism by Herbert Read, published in 1940 by Freedom Press Distributors (36 pages, 6d.).

To obtain an idea of the general superficiality of the work the reader need not go beyond the two- page introductory chapter. Here in a nutshell Mr. Read displays his failure to understand even the elements of Socialism although his whole case is based on his belief that Socialism has been tried, has failed and must fail. The following extracts from this chapter will suffice to prove the point. Mr. Read writes:

Socialism and Birth Control.

Has France Abolished Unemployment?

Recently the claim has been made that poverty and unemployment have been abolished in France, and one of the explanations given for this achievement—a surprising one if true—is the popularisation of Birth Control. Before we examine this to see what there is in it which might be copied in this country, it will be necessary to glance at the causes of unemployment.

It is really not at all a difficult problem. We do not need to look for a solution at the uttermost ends of the earth, because it is here, right before our eyes.

The economic crisis — the Marxian explanation

Failure of Keynesian policies

In the depression of the thirties, with unemployment rising to peak levels and governments toppling because of their inability to do anything about it, most economists and many political parties were overjoyed to adopt the theories of J. M. Keynes, which held out to them the guarantee that capitalism's principal troubles were over. This is not surprising since Keynes promised continued full employment — the end of depressions with their accompanying massive demonstrations of working class discontent, the removal of one of the causes of war, and the arrival of lots of other good things. Keynes, they said, had revolutionised economic thought, blotted out the growing interest in Marx’s theories, and made capitalism safe. In 1944 the three parties. Tory, Labour and Liberal. all part of the war-time National government.

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