In Reflections on Violence, the father of fascism calls for a heroic vitalism of the working class, to be brought about by any means necessary—including violence.
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Reflections on Violence was an explosive and controversial book in 1906, and it remains so today. In it, Georges Sorel rejects the decadence of bourgeois democracy and calls for a heroic vitalism of the working class, to be brought about by any means necessary, including violence.
Sorel chastises the republicanism and parliamentary socialism of his day, but his insights apply to any vanguardist movement, making him of interest beyond the left, and a precursor to fascism. Drawing on Bergson, Renan, Vico, and others, Sorel underlines myth as the driving force behind political action, and offers the myth of the general strike as the way forward for the syndicalist movement.
Sorel’s insistence on the myth of the general strike can easily be transposed on to any group’s quest for self-determination, and so his critiques of politicians, of utopians, and of moderates are as relevant today as they were a century ago.
In the Imperium Press edition, the original translator’s preface, which defends Sorel’s purging of democracy from socialism, has been restored, along with two of Sorel’s essays not included in the original Hulme translation. This edition also includes a foreword by Thomas777 and an essay on the historical context in which Sorel was writing.