Friday, August 15, 2008

Next Up: Proposed Roads to Freedom

Harking back to the original plan I see that Proposed Roads to Freedom is next on the official though tentative Russellian Reading List. Forthwith…

The subtitle of Proposed Roads to Freedom is “Socialism, Anarchism and Syndicalism.” I am using the 1919 edition published in New York by Henry Holt and Company. The volume consists of a one-page preface (by Russell), an introduction, and eight chapters. Part I (“Historical”) of the book comprises the first three chapters, and Part II (“Problems of the Future”) comprises chapters four through eight. There is an e-version of Proposed Roads to Freedom available here.

The contents:

Chapter I. Marx and Socialist Doctrine
Chapter II. Bakunin and Anarchism
Chapter III. The Syndicalist Revolt
Chapter IV. Work and Pay
Chapter V. Government and Law
Chapter VI. International Relations
Chapter VII. Science and Art Under Socialism
Chapter VIII. The World as it Could Be Made

In the preface (written, it is noted, in London in January, 1919), Russell tells us in a rather understated fashion that the book “was completed in April, 1918, in the last days before a period of imprisonment [p. iii].” The idea behind Proposed Roads to Freedom is to look at various doctrines (three, it later turns out: socialism, anarchism, and syndicalism) promoting drastic economic change; Russell notes that he will find something useful in all of them – but will not find the whole answer in any of them. Onwards.

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