Georges Sorel
Georges Sorel

French philosopher and sociologist

Georges Eugène Sorel (; French: [sɔʁɛl]; 2 November 1847 – 29 August 1922) was a French social thinker, political theorist, historian, and later journalist. He has inspired theories and movements grouped under the name of Sorelianism. His social and political philosophy owed much to his reading of Proudhon, Karl Marx, Giambattista Vico, Henri Bergson (whose lectures at the Collège de France he attended), and later William James. His notion of the power of myth in collective agency inspired socialists, anarchists, Marxists, and Fascists. Together with his defense of violence, it is the contribution for which he is most often remembered.Politically he evolved from his early liberal-conservative positions towards Marxism, social-democracy, and eventually syndicalism. Between 1909 and 1910 he was marginally involved with Charles Maurras' Action Française, and between 1911 and 1913 he wrote for the politically transversal L'Indépendance, established together with Edouard Berth - one of Sorel's main disciples - and Georges Valois, closer to Maurrassian circles. After a long silence during the war, Sorel came out in favour of Lenin and moved towards Bolshevist positions until his death in 1922. His legacy in the interwar period embraced both ends of the political spectrum, as many former syndicalists welcomed the emerging fascism. According to historian Zeev Sternhell, Sorel's revision of Marxism broke the necessity of the link between revolution and working class, opening up the possibility of replacing the proletariat with the national community.

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