True Socialism

True Socialism


(or German socialism), a type of petit bourgeois socialism that gained currency in 1844–47 among the intelligentsia and artisans of Germany and among German émigrés in other countries.

The main representatives of so-called true socialism were K. Grün, M. Hess, O. Liming, and H. Püttmann. G. Kuhl-mann preached true socialism in Switzerland and H. Kriege in the USA. True socialism expressed the sentiments of the German petite bourgeoisie, who were thrown off course by the development of capitalism and frightened by the growth of class antagonisms. The ideology of true socialism was a unique synthesis of the idealist aspects of Feuerbach’s philosophy (such as love for “man” in the abstract, the disregard of social relations, and other features) and an emasculated French Utopian socialism. Under the pretence of criticizing capitalism, the true socialists idealized the precapitalist system, in particular the artisan guilds, and spread illusions that Germany could arrive at socialism without passing through the stage of large-scale capitalist industry. Marx and Engels criticized true socialism in several of their works, including German Ideology (part 2), the Communist Manifesto, (chapter 3), and Circular Against Kriege, and in Engels’ works The True Socialists and German Socialism in Verse and Prose (see K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vols. 3–4).

True socialism disappeared as a separate current during the Revolution of 1848–49, which fully revealed its bankruptcy. In characterizing the true socialists, Lenin wrote in 1906: “The ‘true socialists’ … are something like peaceful Lavrovists, semiuplifters, nonrevolutionaries, heroes of abstruse thought and abstract sermonizing” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 13, p. 154).


Serebriakov, M. V. “Nemetskii sotsializm i bor’ba s nim Marksa i En-gel’sa.” Uch. zap. LGU: Ser. filosofskikh nauk, 1948, issue 2.
Kandel’, E. P. “Iz istorii bor’by Marksa i Engel’sa s nemetskim ‘istinnym sotsializmom’.” In the collection Iz istorii formirovaniia i razvitiia marksizma. Moscow, 1959.
Kan, S. B. Istoriia sotsialisticheskikh idei (do vozniknoveniia marksizma), 2nd ed. Moscow, 1967.


References in periodicals archive ?
The champagne socialists of North London have nil in common with true socialism.
Let's be thankful all parties have abandoned true socialism.
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True socialism has never really been given the opportunity to flourish in Africa.
The True Socialism I describe is derived not only from Karl Marx, but also the multitude of other men and women down the ages who have struggled for a more humanist society.
We remember him for his contribution to the city council and Labour Party (or true socialism in his case), but most of all I remember Dick as a fellow member of the Co-operative movement.
He clearly revels in the image of the take-no-prisoners polemicist, lambasting the Left for its failure to accept true socialism and the bourgeoisie for its economic conservatism.
Yet others were pure Marxists who regarded both Eastern Europe and China as mere followers of the state-capitalism route, and not the path to true socialism.
But capitalism can't be transcended from within capitalism itself, but through socialism, true socialism, with equality and justice.
According to Clark, true modernism and true socialism came closest to fruition in the art of Suprematism, and with UNOVIS, the cultural arm of radical Bolshevik intellectuals and artists led by Kasimir Malevich and El Lissitzky.
It was a blast of true Socialism, something that many Labour Party supporters,in Westminster and elsewhere,have been yearning to hear for years.