EUROPE, RUSSIA, AND THE FUTURE, by G. D. H. Cole. The Macmillian Company, New York, 225 pp. $2.00.
Some writers, as representatives of groups whose influence is more than proportionate to their numbers, deserve attention whenever they publish noteworthy volumes. G. D. H. Cole, Chairman of the Fabian Society's Executive Committee and percennal Labor Candidate for Parliament from Oxford, is one of those significant authors. In this, the infest of his seventy old works Professor Cole directs a manifesto to his fellow Socialists, urging them to seize the lead the constructive planning for tomorrow's Europe.
Arguing that a return to pre-war capitalism would throw Europe into an unprecedented depression at once, Cole submits that the Continent can be peacefully reorganized only if it goes thoroughly Socialist. But, not content with disturbing the cast-iron conservative, the author proceeds to enrage the party-line communist as well. He admits quite candidly that Russia's political structure since 1919 has been illiberal by Western standards, and that Stalin's foreign policy up to June, 1941, was "extraordinarily and perversely blind." This strain of independent mental toughness, of a search for concrete solutions rather than purity of dogma; runs through the whole work. Cole is no meek follower of a pre-cooked theory.
Theoretical prognosis is, in fact, refreshingly absent from this study. Cole does not assume that Socialism is inevitable; instead, he attempts to demonstrate the absolute necessity of collective economic activity. Impatient with those content to sit back and wait for what they feel is sure to come, the author urges his supports to think and act positively to bring about a Socialized Europe. The emphasis is on practicality, not on abstract prophecy.
This volume contrasts strikingly with the products of American left-wing economists and political theorists. No American Marxist has yet published a book on the post-war problem worthy of serious consideration. By contrast, Britain's ultra-liberals have flooded the bookstalls with well reasoned, incisively written studies both of the general subject and of particular problems. As an example of the former, Professor Cole's "Europe, Russia, and the Future" is typically challenging.