Bulletin of the Marx Memorial Library

A Note on British Owenite Socialists

Bulletin of the Marx Memorial Library (1972), 63, (1), 19

Abstract

- 19 Kolakowski L.: Marxism and Beyond: On Historical Understanding a nd In dividual Responsibility. 1971. Palladin - paperback. London. 237 pp. First publishe d in U. K. by Pall Mall Press, 1969. (Essays by tho controversial Polish Uarxist philosopher 1956-1958). Thomson George: From Marx to Mao Tse-tung. A Study in Revolutionary Dialectics. 1971. China Policy Study Group, London. 182 pp. (Controversial presentation by well-kno wn Marxist intellectual for whom Maoism is the true representation of Marxism today). * * * * * * * * * * * • * * A No t e on B r ~ t~.s h Owe..r:l.te .Socialists We have mentioned r "-'e '.d _ o ::. s~-::1 t he dn:o:!_j _c; at ed information bulletin of the I rre-!:i t ute of Ma r :--~ l.s;;: - Ln,l : l~i!:-!:: :!..u l!':H:co-.., (::::.'o:;l) artment of the works of Marx c:>.nd Enc; 0ls, the he ad of whi ch i s Dr. A.I. Malysh). It often contains studies by r e~ '3 ar ch worl.cors a t the I ML which be ar on the history of the British wo r k i.ng-class rr,o;e mont. Ol! e Sl~. c~ ar ;·j cle a]Ypears in the most r ecent issu e , No. 21. This is a paper C!.cl i vcrod by V «. ~ <: :-:-i _r, ~~~min3. (au thor of Karl Marx and the Brtt:ish Workers' Mo·..-~~.:; n t) at a se ~~<:: 5G ~ ,,; t :11e I ns titut u of General History of the Academy of Sciences to commomora t 8 the 200th anniversary of the birth of Rob ert Owen. In it she shows that, as distinct fro m the liberals who developed Owen's ideas on co-operation and trade unionism, there were the follow ers of his Utopian Socialism who became for e runners and holpers of Marx and Eng els. Rallying to the principl es of the l uft-win g Chartist Bronterre O'Brien aft er 1848, they entered the General Council of the Int erna tional in 1864 or l a t er, and became staunch supporters of "Harx on all the issues on which he opposed liberal trade unionists like Odger or Mottershead. Among these supporters she montions Jo hn We s ton, Boon, Miln er, Charl es and John Murray (later members of t~e S.D.F.), and John Sexton (who joined the General Council in 1872). After publication of The Civil War in Franco in 1871, Marx f ound a new supporter in Thomas Alsop, another form er Oweni te and Chartist. Kunina gives s everal illustr"'t ie> '1G of the r e s pect displayed by Marx and Eng els for Owen's Socialist ic·::>&s , Ci"tWt:i.ng in particul a r E~gels 1 spe ech at the General Council on 9 May l b"!l , vmon he said that some of Owon' s thoue;hts "were not out of date still", and paid tribut e to Owen as a foroer manufactur er who was 11 t he first to r evo lt a.g ,;dnst his class, to pu ~ an end to tho disgr ace ful exploitation of wo:non and childr Gn in the factories". A.R. * * * • * • • • • * • * • • • *

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A.R.