Monday, 17 November 2008

Robert Owen, a paradox of socialism

Today is the 150th anniversary of the death of Robert Owen. He is hailed as the father of British socialism, yet his most successful venture, both financially and in terms of the benefits it brought to the community, was the commercial New Lanark mills.

My socialist friends are busy redefining socialism as favouring the small community, clearly disenchanted with both communism and the modern Labour Party. Ironically, the most prominent people claiming his heritage in Newtown this year have been politicians (whom he despised) who believe in the big centrally-directed state, the antithesis of Owen's cooperative instincts.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Socialism seems to be different things to all men.

The socialist principles of the founders of the Labour Party and those of writers like George Orwell are very much in the past; spin and counter spin has now taken over.

As you point out, Devolution is a dirty word, and we are certainly seeing more control from Central Government. More control of the people as well, with the introduction of ID cards, being held without trial, biometric scanning, fingerprinting of foster parents (that's my bit of spin, see if any "socialist" pick that up), the CCTV culture with one camera for every 14 people.

I think we are living in the Orwellian nightmare of 1984, were there is no love apart from the love of Big Brother.

G. Lewis