Letter: William Morris's socialist dream

Sir: A pity Jonathan Glancey (Weekend, 4 May) revives the old right-wing myth that William Morris wasn't a Marxist. From his later writings and actions it is quite clear he believed his dream could only be realised through replacing capitalism by socialism, and that this meant mass struggle against those holding wealth and power.

As J Middleton Murray wrote in 1932: "Morris's socialism was completely realistic, as realistic as Marx's socialism, for the simple reason it was Marx's socialism."

Morris enriched scientific socialism in two distinctive ways. First, he put it over in strong, simple English free of German-style jargon. Second, he taught that the quality of life is far more important than the standard of living. He knew happiness depends not on consuming more and more shoddy things but on cherishing a few beautiful and useful objects, and above all on having interesting and fulfilling work.

David Grove

Holt, Norfolk

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