AN ALTERNATIVE FUTURE: A Vision of Christian Marxism by Roger Garaudy

AN ALTERNATIVE FUTURE: A Vision of Christian Marxism

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Expelled a few years ago from the French Communist Party, Garaudy used to be one of its luminaries on the Right. Still invoking Marx and Lenin, he is today arguing for a fusion of Christian and Marxist world views and for a ""socialism of self-management"" that has very little to do with any historical model, least of all that of centralized, bureaucratized Soviet Russia. Somewhat intoxicated with ""youth,"" Garaudy looks to the May 1968 uprising as a source of inspiration and a preview of the revolution to come -- a revolution which will be made by workers and intellectuals, a revolution which will transcend economics and transform culture and education. This is a tempting vision, the more so because Garaudy is a foe of positivism and the sterile dialectical materialism which tends to see capitalist expropriation as the end rather than the beginning of a new, humanistic society. Garaudy's goal is an end to ""dualism"" between intellect and labor, ruler and ruled, between those who plan our future destinies and those who carry out orders. Alas, when the rhetoric subsides, what he is calling for comes very close to the old SDS catch-phrase ""participatory democracy""; worse, he is unwilling or unable to confront the problem of leadership, economic, political or revolutionary, placing unlimited faith in the initiative of the masses who will educate themselves in ""workers' councils"" preparatory to the ""national strike"" which will set everyone free. Brimming with optimism he sounds the clarion call for a liberated Third World, for the ""divine folly"" of the young, for moral and political ""regeneration"" and the vindication of ""the rights of the imagination."" Occasionally stirring without being at all convincing.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1974
Publisher: Simon & Schuster