Socialisme ou barbarisme


Socialisme ou barbarisme
   Formed by a faction defecting from the French wing of the Fourth International, Socialisme ou Barbarisme (Socialism or Barbarism) offered from 1948 to 1966 a Marxist analysis of society at odds with orthodox Trotskyite and Leninist ideas. Elucidating their doctrines through a journal of the same title, they amassed an influence quite disproportionate to their negligible size, chiefly as a result of the outstanding analytical prowess of their pivotal talisman, Cornelius Castoriadis. Socialisme ou Barbarisme railed against the bureaucratic megalith the Soviet Union had become, and portrayed a bleak future in which the two expansionist Cold War superpowers led the globe into a third world war. The only alternative, they held, was their version of socialism, hence the name Socialism or Barbarism. This entailed the handing of power through a “radical-socialist revolution” to rank and file workers, thus superseding the pitfalls of bureaucracy plaguing both communist and capitalist societies. This would eradicate traditional hierarchical struggles plaguing civilizations run according to both doctrines. Naturally critical of Stalinism, Socialisme ou Barbarisme also condemned Trotskyism claiming that the ideology no longer possessed an “independent ideological basis for existence,” as Trotskyite thought was forever confined to defining itself in terms of its opposition to Stalinism.
   By the mid-1960s, Castoriadis had begun to criticize Marxist thought, in particular questioning the modern value of historical and economic determinism. With the chief doctrinaire losing belief in the doctrines, the 40th and final issue of the journal was published in mid-1965, and shortly afterwards the group disbanded.

Historical dictionary of Marxism. . 2014.