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Reflections on Violence

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.