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Reflections on the
failure of Socialism
. ey Mai Eastman, The Devin-Adair Company, 23
Jj "th St., New York 10, N. Y., 1955. 127 pp.,
Ill Ihi- little hook of e'ssel\s \lel\
Eastman, long-time stormy petrel of
""' Socialisl movement, idls how a long
-'ins uf disillusionments convinced him
ttiat se„i;]|j^m 0f ;|MV alH| every line
H;|s ;i failure. He never wets one of those
doctrinaire zombies who could blindl)
follow a "party line." His was an ever-
luestioning intellect which constant!)
J'ienated hi- Socialisl and "liberal'
hietiels. ||j^ constructive criticism of
('rrors in Socialisl policy weis never wel-
'""i'\ Here is penetrating thought umi
''"Hi,mt style brought lo bear upon lhe
"hole Ihesis mill practice ol socialism.
Gradually tin- author became con-
'"iced tli.it socialism itself weesei Failure
;' failure because il wets basically mis-
*ken in premise, because it destroyed
"' ven \eihtes that il proposed lo
'lengthen. Simply stated, socialism
'mil work because ii couldn't work.
'" Unrealistic premises condemned it
lo failure from the outset.
USSR PERVERTED MARXISM?
''" lie weis "more surprised an
!'"''d hy th,' reaction to dial tyranny
, 'Iberal minds in free countries than
1 the tyranny itself. ... I never
'l''':"'ieil . . . that they could sink to th,'
'I'llis e.f maudlin self-deception and
'."''''■'■llv eihie-et treason to truth, free
l ihi- Soviet
■■ justice, ami inercv lhat manv of
''"' have reach
'■ the world's mosl complete
in socialism the Soviel
regard to lln
author has this to say* "Il sun ived
'-' enough to show what was in it:
,. army, namely, and thai new perfec-
•|.','" of tyranny, the totalitarian slat.'.
Hi;" new blood) thing wears, on all
"laps of the world, the name of
'"' emblems o
,;;;;"- .0 know
1 ' -'eill
the main road
oiel socialism. It
a branch road during
enrury, and arrived on
another blood) police
Socialisl Germany, ll
better than its creators
minded proprietors where it
that led Max Eastman out
rj ^e thing
jjj *°«alism was the same thing that led
,.(| ' '"lo ii a genuine humanitarian
.,''"'"' for the difficulties of mankind
Bui L.^es're '" ^'"' practical answers,
"is weis the intellectual honest) to
AcTS FORUM NEWS, April, 1955
recognize the wrong course he was following and to turn from il completely.
MARXIAN FAIRY TALE IMPLAUSIBLE
Mr. Eastman has a warning for \nier-
icans: "It is nol the copper-riveted old-
time' believers in Marxian theor) that
we in America have to fear. ... Their
fairy tale is not plausible enough lo hi'
dangerous. It is the bureaucratic -e.eieil-
i/ers if I may ele-vise lhal label for the
champions of a lawyer-manager-poli-
tii'ian-inlclli'rliieil revolution who cem-
sliltite a real ami subtle threat to America s democracy, ll is their dream thai
is moving into focus as thai of Lenin
ll is tin' author's belief thai the impersonal mechanism of lhe free market,
rather than the personal authority exercised by a controlling stale', represents
the only system which will preserve
freedom. He holds that the free market
is not eenh the most truly democratic
system, bul lhe only system (which
avoids the road lo despotism.
"There' is something vitally democratic, as well els impersonal, in the
control exercised by lhe market. When
ei man buys something on a free market,
he is casting his vote ;is ei citizen of lhe
national economy, lie is making a
choice which, hy influencing prices, will
enter into lhe decision as in how. ami
toward what ends, the economy shall he
conducted. His choice' may he outweighed by others who buy more; lhal
is inevitably true. Bul in placing il"'
major economic decisions in the lianils
nl the whole people- as consumers, re-
cording these' decisions automatically
through lhe mechanism of price, tin'
market make's freedom possible in a
complex industrial society, ll is the
only thing that makes it possible."
Here is a I k. basic and convincing,
thai our crypto-Socialists are going I"
have to ignore. In contesting it there'
would he loo much danger of giving
(I. VV, Hi Vrmond, Ik.
ss- * •
Day of Reckoning
By Ralph de Toledano, Henry Holt and Company,
179 pp. S3.00
Ralph eh- Toledano, author «ith
Victor Lasky of beat-seller Seeds "I
Treason, has written another expert
ieeee.k (til I ielilt 11 III 1 isill. Called H'l\ nl
Reckoning, ii is in the form ol ei shorl.
tense novel realistic in detail, compelling in tempo.
The pocket hook from ihe drug store
A ii v book reviewed here may be
ordered from Pacta Forum lor the rejiu-
l.er published retail price. Pacts Forum
employs commonplace actions in hulk
to make a few highly improbable events
seem plausible. "I went lo lhe phone
ami dialed Midway 5-726(1. I lit a
cigarette while ihe phone rang three
limes, ll wets one of those ilavs. I looked
up al a blonde walking across the
lobby. She stopped 8 feet from the
phone booth ami dropped eli eul." That
soil of ihinfr. The author's credibility
having been established, tlie reader suspends disbelief ami is rewarded hv a
shock or tremor.
lhtx nl Reckoning reads with a difference. The ordinary fast-artion-in-the-
big-town story is escapist. Its technical
realism has no other purpose than to
convince you that you are involved in
some adventure which vou are reall)
not. Day of Reckoning uses the same
techniques. I!ul il uses them heller and
ii is aboul something that is not fiction.
"1 on keep wondering which parts are in
code, i nil think the end is nol in the
hook, mu as with The Lady or the
Tiger in vour imagination, but in
events outside the hook.
Henry Fielding seiiel ei novelist must
lake characters from real life and invent
a plot for them. Toledano's characters
an' in three classes: I I t those reeog-
nizabl) oul of real life, (2) those recognizably fictitious, i'!i doubtful cases.
Ml ate fascinating.
"Paul Castelar' is a reporter een
Slant, lite \iagazine with Direction. 11 is
Iness is "Rob McCarten." "Gino Ros-
silli" is an anarchist who gets murdered
hv Communists. Ih- has been a friend of
Castelar's. Castelar figured "Colonel
Juan Talavera, political commissar of
the Fifth Brigade, murderer-in-chief of
the International Brigades" elid it.
Castelar told the I).A.. Simon Lazarus,
hi- suspicion ami named former victims
"AnnabeDe Sherman" and "Bruna
Sirena." lhe latter had modeled for
Diego Rivera. The former is ei transparent pseudonym lor Juliet Stuart
Poyntz, the latter for Tina Modotti.
Castelar also mentions "Jim Forrestal."
Not all the' name's in lhe l.eeeek are
I lie scener) is scarcely fietiiious at
all. Mev i mk ami Washington are im-
pressionisticall) \i\id and cartographic-
all) precise. \\ hen I'eiul Castelar, leaving his hotel in Washington "emerged at
the F Street si.le. crossed Fourteenth
almost al a run, ami then dawdled
along, peering into store windows ami
making certain that he was not followed, you wonder why de Toledano
bothers to call il the "Edward" instead
..I the \\ illa.,1.
Many readers will feel still more al
home with a passage like' the' following:
\l.( eeri.'ii looked worried when Paul walk-
i'il into Iii- office, but Iii- face einel voice
were friendly. It na- :e look Paul knevi
Mi' eel.ee'- eseo nl detaching himself from
tContinued on Page ill I
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