The Worker. Noting that "Jack London has performed a valuable service for the Socialist movement," Wanhope goes on to "advise every Socialist to procure this striking volume and give it a careful perusal." Taking up the militant cudgel, he tendentiously avers that "there are few Socialists who believe that the social revolution can be consummated through the ballot alone. . . . If the point is ever reached when the ruling class refuse to abide by . . . [the ballot], nothing remains for Socialists but armed revolution--conquest by physical force of the powers of government."82
While London continued to participate in the debates about the course of socialist politics, ending with a rejection of the compromised timidity of the Socialist Party in his 1916 resignation letter, his pessimism over the viability of the socialist movement and personal estrangement from the circle of socialist friends he had made at the turn of the century help to explain both the cataclysmic tone and marginalized utopia in The Iron Heel.83 In particular, London's despair about the prospects for revolutionary change and the transvaluation of values as a collective project of willed transformation led to locating utopia in The Iron Heel as marginal notes from a very distant future. Thus, the socialist postures adopted by his characters in the novel are more revealing of the ways in which his own class and gender identity were marked by the contradictions and discontents of his life and times. In effect, by responding to the ideological discourse in The Iron Heel, readers and reviewers identified their own sense of socialism and its discontents.
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Publication information: Book title: Utopianism and Radicalism in a Reforming America, 1888-1918. Contributors: Francis Robert Shor - Author. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1997. Page number: 90.
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