Liberal Socialism

Liberal Socialism

The phrase “liberal socialism” has a strange sound to many who are accustomed to current political terminology. The word “liberalism” unfortunately has been used to smuggle so many different kinds of merchandise and has been so much the preserve of the bourgeoisie in the past, that today a socialist has difficulty bringing himself to use it. But I do not wish to propose a new party terminology here. I wish only to bring the socialist movement back to its first principles, to its historical and psychological origins, and to demonstrate that socialism, in the last analysis, is a philosophy of liberty.

In any case, the time when bourgeois politics and liberal, free-market politics were one and the same has passed. All over the world the bourgeoisies no longer defend free markets and are no longer necessarily liberal. The more the proletarian movement takes hold and an active sense of liberty gains strength among the masses, the more the bourgeoisie, in its most backward sectors, tries to escape from the discipline and pattern of liberty. Even the new directions that modern production—rationalized, mechanized, technocratic—is taking as it sacrifices the human personality of the worker are forcing socialists to assume a liberal function in the quite traditional sense of the term. The day will come when this word, this attribute, will be claimed with proud self-awareness by the socialist: that will be the day of his maturity, the day when he wins emancipation, at least in the domain of the spiritual.

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Lima