Frank Girard response to Albert Einstein, Why Socialism?


Introductory note by Frank Girard,
editor of the Discussion Bulletin,
preceding the reproduction of
Why Socialism? by Albert Einstein
the SLP leaflet
Scientist Einstein goes Unscientific on Socialism
reprinted from the Discussion Bulletin
issue number 75, January-February 1996

WHY SOCIALISM? By Albert Einstein

Introductory Note

Albert Einstein wrote "Why Socialism?" as the Cold War was beginning to develop. It appeared in the first issue (May 1949) of Monthly Review -- An Independent Socialist Magazine, published by Leo Huberman and Paul Sweezy, who identified socialism with the USSR and the emerging Soviet satellites in Eastern Europe.

The reader gathers that Einstein was not clear in his mind about the exact form a new society would take, but the following passage and indeed the last two paragraphs of his essay suggest his reservations about the "actually existing socialism" of the USSR :

"... a planned economy is not yet socialism. A planned economy as such may be accompanied by the complete enslavement of the individual." Also worthy of note are his clear exposition in Marxist terms of the way capitalism operates and his plea for a humane socialism. "Market socialists" take note.

In 1950 Monthly Review published the essay as its first pamphlet, and it was reprinted, also in 1950, as the first in a collection of Einstein's articles and speeches, Essays in Humanism, by Philosophical Library. I have no further information about its publishing history except that the Florida group, Action Network for Social Justice (ANSJ), published an abridged version in 1994, the cover of which is used in the pamphlet version of the essay (see below).

The SLP's "Scientist Einstein Goes Unscientific on Socialism" was written by Stephen Emery and first published as an "open letter" to Einstein in the Weekly People and then distributed in thousands of copies as the leaflet you see reproduced here. No record exists of Einstein's having taken notice of the open letter. Emery remained an active member of the SLP until his death earlier this year ....

-- fg