Letter: Right-wing socialists

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The Independent Online
IN REPLY to my critics last week (Letters, 29 November): I wrote The Lost Literature of Socialism (Lutterworth Press) to show that socialism favours the rich and that it was meant to. It was not always thought left- wing, and the first history of socialism, which was honoured by the French Academy, thought it conservative through and through and explained why. No wonder some conservatives backed it. But then if, by nationalising, you make the biggest monopoly capitalist bigger still, backed by an army and a police force, you would expect to create a privileged caste or nomenklatura. Predictably enough, socialism created an elite.

Lenin, like Hitler, accepted funds from big business, and it is not usually doubted that he was a socialist. As for genocide, everyone in Europe who advocated it in the last century and this called himself a socialist. Genocide was an exclusively socialist idea. As for my own politics, which Edmond McMonnies asks after, I am an active member of the Liberal Democrats. I hope he will read my book and surprise himself.

GEORGE WATSON

St John's College, Cambridge

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