Typewritten Draft of a Letter (1960s)

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[7] I was re-converted to socialism, and essentially to the prophetic understanding only Owen had of what industrialism would mean. Socialism is its humanizing. By now - 1960s - it is literally its physical salvation. E.H. Carr had a word for socialism, his own: 'a purposeful society'. This requires some organisations, at least that of the economy. The point is that states or nations are insufficient to resolve the question of an industrialised mankind - neither peace nor the international economy can be achieved outside of actively purposeful societies. Many questions are up: peace involves the conditions of growth for many peoples, and the restoration of an (any) economy comprises long-term trade, investment, co-operation and even some degree of spontaneous competition, an expression of live vigour, not profit-motivated but un-motivated, like life itself.

A developing process of technology (machines and instruments) of national and racial consciousness, association in the sharing of raw materials- all this happens to necessitate policies which involve the use of national resources by the governments. But capitalist countries cannot do this. The resources are privately owned. The state has no organs for foreign economy. Indeed their trouble with the Soviets is that these possess a foreign trade monopoly which they have defended over 45 years at an enormous cost in civil and foreign wars. Actually, the Soviets refrain from using that monopoly because the "free economies" are virtually, when confronted with such a monopoly, defenseless. The greatest obstacle to serious peace moves is this: the USSR has no partner in the West with to make a deal in the absence of organs of foreign economy in the capitalist states. Yet there is hardly any hope for co-existence as long as the economies of the blocks can neither co-operate nor compromise for lack of the necessary organs (institutional instruments). These organs need not go to the length of a foreign monopoly, but they must be suitable to negotiate with foreign trade monopoly countries. By no means dos this imply socialism. As little as trade unions, social insurance or even the nationalisation of one or another industry amounts to the abolishment of private property. False notions are rampant in the USA on these matters, but that should not be a permanent obstacle.

The problems are second in importance only to nuclear disarmament, which ranks first. As to the latter, looked at from a distance, I maintain that no socialist action of the latter years was, in its total direct and indirect effect more vital than that of the English marchers. At this very moment the chances of ultimate effective bans still primarily depend on the moral factor of world public opinion - simple people's feelings, in their mass.

The negative side of this was documented by Saskatchewan. No informed person doubted here that the scandalous Regina doctor's strike was a symptom of a general antipathy against socialism which came to a head as a result of the world tension. Don[1], I believe, shared this view.

The Soviets themselves appear very conscious of the need for an intellectual and institutional equipment that would enable them to contribute to co-existence as soon as a chance offers. However, “their "great-power chauvinism” is an a[w]kward obstacle; the satellite countries throng helpless on the side-lines, a la Walrus and the Carpenter'. My own aims are very consciously directed [t]owards the improvement of Soviet theory and outlook, as a by-product of their themselves for co-existence. Their present theoretical armour has already proved shockingly inadequate (Cuba). But sign of an awareness of their backwardness are not lacking.

Editor's Note

  1. Donald? Donald Grant?

Document Informations

KPA: 30/02, 7-8 (Two times)