Reflections on Violence

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Reflections on Violence
Reflections on Violence.jpg
AuthorGeorges Sorel
Original titleRéflexions sur la violence
Publication date
Preceded byThe Decomposition of Marxism 

Reflections on Violence (French: Réflexions sur la violence), published in 1908, is a book by the French revolutionary syndicalist Georges Sorel on class struggle and revolution.[1] Sorel is known for his theory that political revolution depends on the proletariat organizing violent uprisings and strikes to institute syndicalism,[2] an economic system in which syndicats (self-organizing groups of only proletarians) truly represent the needs of the working class.[3]

One of Sorel's most controversial claims was that violence could save the world from "barbarism".[2] He equated violence with life, creativity, and virtue.[2]

In this book, he contends that myths are important as "expressions of will to act".[2] He also supports the creation of an economic system run by and for the interests of producers rather than consumers.[2] His ideas were influenced by various other philosophical writers, including Giambattista Vico, Blaise Pascal, Ernest Renan, Friedrich Nietzsche, Eduard von Hartmann, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, John Henry Newman, Karl Marx, and Alexis de Tocqueville.[2]


  1. ^ Perry, Marvin; Berg, Matthew; Krukones, James (2000). Sources of Twentieth-Century Europe. Houghton Mifflin. p. 46.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Sorel, Georges (1999). "Reflections on violence". In Jennings, Jeremy (ed.). Cambridge Texts of the History of Political Thought. Cambridge University Press. pp. ix−xxi.
  3. ^ Jennings, Jeremy (2011). Revolution and the Republic: A History of Political Thought in France Since the Eighteenth Century. OUP Oxford. p. 420. ISBN 9780198203131.