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date: 24 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Like many socialists, but unlike someone like Edward Bellamy, London explains the process by which people’s political “method of thinking” changes. London’s “How I Became a Socialist” formulates a model of conversion that most of us might find curious. London treats political commitments and faith as passions with a physiological basis. London pairs “socialism” with terms that designate tribal affiliation. If being a socialist is like being “Teutonic” and “Christian,” then political affiliation is a species of religious faith, and political and religious affiliation operate as tribal affiliation, suggesting a biologistic basis. In London’s analogy, one’s commitment to a set of beliefs is akin to one’s alliance to others of like kind.

Keywords: socialism, conversion, belief, race, class, class struggle, Karl Marx, Communist Manifesto

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