Review: A guide to understanding our times
By William T. Hathaway
Recollection of Things Learned
By Gaither Stewart
The Literary Yard contributor Gaither Stewart is a man of passions. In The Europe Trilogy he shared with us his passion for international espionage and intrigue. In Voices from Pisalocca he shared his passion for village life in his adoptive country, Italy. In The Fifth Sun he shared his passion for Native-American mythology. Now in Recollection of Things Learned he shares his passion for socialism, both the complexity of its theory and the clash of its praxis.
In his new book Stewart shows how capitalism inevitably divides humanity through wars, racism, sexism, and class antagonism. He defines the key aspects of socialism and gives us an historical overview of its development, including critiques of the attempts to achieve it. He presents socialism not as an idealistic panacea but as a sensible process of overcoming humanity’s divisions and building economic and social democracy, where the resources and productive capacity of the world belong to its people, who use them to meet human needs rather than to generate private profits for a few owners. He argues convincingly that reforms can never achieve this goal; the system must be overthrown, and that requires revolution.
Stewart inspires us that, yes, this can be done and we are the ones to do it. He calls us to revolution in prose that is clear, graceful, and always impassioned. Recollection of Things Learned is an excellent guide to understanding our times … and changing them.
I wager his closing words will resonate with you for quite some time:
“Planet Earth is amok. We live in a world in which, despite frequent invocations of democracy, corrupt plutocrats and their shills control real power in most parts of the globe. The reality of the true situation of social man is however concealed and obfuscated by disinformation, propaganda and blatant lies so that the 99% remain in chains and in a state of unawareness….
“Equality has become the major criterion between the rich and the poor, between the Right and the Left. The Left, though in disarray, struggles for equality. The greedy Right in its drive for endless accumulation strives for ever more inequality. Right and Left are therefore at permanent war.
“The social-political-economic war between the two classes of rich and poor, of Right and Left, has been going on since the emergence of private property many civilizations ago. Since the poor are getting poorer and endless war is so good for business, war is destined to continue until the day the 99% rise up and crush the entire system of the 1% and create from the bottom up a new form of society.”