|About the Book|
Shafarevichs book The Socialist Phenomenon, which was published in the US by Harper & Row in 1980, analyses numerous examples of socialism, from ancient times, through various medieval heresies, to a variety of modern thinkers and socialistMoreShafarevichs book The Socialist Phenomenon, which was published in the US by Harper & Row in 1980, analyses numerous examples of socialism, from ancient times, through various medieval heresies, to a variety of modern thinkers and socialist States. From these examples he claims that all the basic principles of socialist ideology derive from the urge to suppress individuality. The Socialist Phenomenon consists of three major parts:1. Chiliastic Socialism: Identifies socialist ideas amongst the ancient Greeks, especially Plato, and in numerous medieval heretic groups such as the Cathars, Brethren of the Free Spirit, Taborites, Anabaptists, and various religious groups in the English Civil War, and modern writers such as Thomas More, Campanella, and numerous Enlightenment writers in 18th-century France.2. State Socialism: Describes the socialism of the Incas, the Jesuit state in Paraguay, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and China.3. Analysis: Identifies three persistent abolition themes in socialism - the abolition of private property, the abolition of the family, and the abolition of religion (mainly, but not exclusively, Christianity).Shafarevich argues that ancient socialism (such as Mesopotamia and Egypt) was not ideological, as an ideology socialism was a reaction to the emergence of individualism in the Axial Age. He compares Thomas Mores (Utopia) and Campanellas (City of the Sun) visions with what is known about the Inca Empire, and concludes that there are striking similarities. He claims that we become persons through our relationship with God, and argues that socialism is essentially nihilistic, unconsciously motivated by a death instinct. He concludes that we have the choice of either pursuing death or life.