MIA: Encyclopedia of Marxism: Glossary of People



Socrates (469-399 BCE)

Wrote nothing himself, but is known through the writings of his disciples; held that the structure of world and the physical nature of things was unknowable; we can only know ourselves; concepts are known through definitions whose meaning is elucidated through induction. His famous "conversations" lead the talker to contradictions which show the weakness in the concepts concerned and stimulate the search for real truth - known as "socratic irony".

See Hegel on Socrates.

Sokolnikov, Grigory


Sokolnikov, Grigory Y. (1888-1939)

Sokolnikov was a Bolshevik; friend of Trotsky; Commissar of Finance; a diplomat; member of the Left Opposition; Soviet ambassador to England; creator of the chervonetz, the first stable Soviet currency; was part of Soviet delegation that signed the Brest-Litovsk treaty in 1918; a member of the Central Committee and Politburo.


Solomon, T. M.

Born Jaffna. Employed as a jail guard at the Kandy detention center where the four Lanka Sama Samaja Partyprisoners were incarcerated in 1940. Converted to socialism by Philip Gunawardena. Left with the prisoners at the time of their jailbreak. Went to Bombay with other Samasamajists, July 1942. Arrested in police raid, July 1943. LSSP candidate for Maskelia constituency in first parliamentary election, 1947 (unsuccessful). Subsequently dropped out of politics.

Compiled by Charles Wesley Ervin


Sombart, Werner (1863-1941)

Economist of the German Historical School. His early works were Marxist, including the essay "Zur Kritik des ökonomischen Systems von Karl Marx" (1894) and books on Friedrich Engels, (1895) and Karl Marx (1909). Sombart later turned from Marxism to become a nationalistic conservative and Nazi sympathizer.

Adolph Sorge


Sorge, Friedrich Albert (1826-1906)

German Communist. He took part in the Baden rising of 1849. In the U.S.A., where he lived as an emigrant, he played a prominent part in the German and North American labour movement. Sorge, who was in constant correspondence with Marx and Engels, fought for the line of the General Council in the American sections of the First International. After the transference of the General Council to New York (1872) Sorge became General Secretary of the International. He resigned this office in 1874.

Richard Sorge


Sorge, Richard (1895-1944)

A German journalist and a spy for Soviet Union in Japan before and during World War II.

Richard Sorge was born in Baku, one of the nine children of the German mining engineer Wilhelm Sorge and his Russian wife Nina. His family moved to Germany when he was three. His uncle, Friedrich Adolph Sorge, had been a secretary for Karl Marx.

In October 1914, Sorge volunteered to service in the World War One. He joined a student battalion of the 3rd Guards, Field Artillery. He was severely wounded in March 1916 on the Western Front, leaving him with a lifelong limp. He was discharged with Iron Cross.

During his convalescence he read Marx and became a Communist. He spent the rest of the war studying economics in universities of Berlin, Kiel and Hamburg. In 1920 he graduated with a Ph. D. in political science. He also joined the German Communist Party [KPD]. His political views, however, got him fired from both a teaching job and coal mining work. He fled to Moscow where he became a junior agent for Comintern.

In 1921 he returned to Germany, married Christiane Gerlach, former wife of Kurt Gerlach, Director of the Frankfurt Institut, and moved to Solingen, in Westphalia. In 1922 the Comintern relocated him to Frankfurt where he gathered intelligence about business community while assisting at the Frankfurt Institut building the library. After the failed coup in October 1923 he continued his work as a journalist.

In 1924, he was recalled to Moscow and divorced Christiane, and officially joined the International Liaison Department of Comintern, OMS, an arm of the GPU. In 1928, he was transferred to GPU duties and assigned to Shanghai in 1930. Officially he was editor of German news service and for the Frankfurter Zeitung. There he met Ozaki Hozumi, a Japanese journalist working for Asahi Shimbun. In January 1932 Sorge reported on fighting between Chinese and Japanese troops in the streets of Shanghai. In December he was recalled to Moscow.

Sorge was decorated and remarried. In 1933 he was sent to Berlin with the code name “Ramsey”, to re-establish contacts in Germany so that he could pass for a German journalist in Japan. He arrived to Yokohama on September 6, 1933.

1933-1934 Sorge built a network to collect intelligence for NKVD in Japan. His agents had contacts with senior politicians and through that, to information of Japan’s foreign policy. He also recontacted Ozaki Hozumi who developed a close contact with the prime minister Fumimaro Konoye. Ozaki copied secret documents for Sorge.

Officially Sorge joined the Nazi party and worked with the local embassy and ambassador Eugen Ott as an agent for Abwehr. He used the embassy for double-checking his information.

Sorge supplied the Soviet Union with information about Anti-Comintern Pact, the German-Japanese Pact and warned of Pearl Harbor attack. In 1941 Sorge informed the Soviet Union of Hitler’s intentions to invade the Soviet Union. No action was taken on Sorge’s advice.

Before the battle for Moscow, Sorge transmitted information that Japan was not going to attack Soviet Union in the East. This information allowed Zhukov to redeploy Siberian troops for the defense of Moscow.

Japanese secret service had already intercepted many of his messages and begun to close in. Ozaki was arrested in October 14 and interrogated. Sorge was arrested in October 18 in Tokyo. Sorge was not exchanged for Japanese prisoners of war. Both Ozaki and Sorge were hanged on October 9 1944. The Soviet Union did not acknowledge Sorge until 1964.



Sorel, Georges (1847-1922)

French syndicalist philosopher.


Sosnovsky, Lev S. (1886-1937)

Journalist and early leader of the Left Opposition. One of the last inside the Soviet Union to join the Stalinist faction.



Souvarine, Boris (1893- )

Founder of the French CP and one of the first biographers of Stalin. He was repelled by Stalinism in the 1920s and turned against Leninism in the 1930s.


de Souza, Anthony Theodoric Armand (“Doric”) (1914– 1987)

Party pseudonyms: Morera (Moreira), S. Livera

Born Colombo, Ceylon, son of Armand de Souza (1877-1921), the editor of the nationalist newspaper, Ceylon Morning Leader, founding member of the Ceylon National Congress, and a leader of the first railway workers’ union in Ceylon. Educated St. Joseph’s College, Colombo. Went to UK in 1934 on a scholarship. Joined the India League and a Marxist study group with other Ceylonese students, London. Returned 1937, appointed lecturer in English, and joined Lanka Sama Samaja Party. Attended Bolshevik Leninist Party of India conference 1944; elected to Central Committee. Leader, BLPI, Bombay, 1944-45. Arrested in Bombay and jailed, 1945. Colombo Municipal Councilor, 1946-52. Delegate, BLPI conference, 1947. Senator, 1957-1969. Lecturer, University of Ceylon. Associate Professor, Kelaniya University, 1970-1982. Permanent Secretary to Ministry of Plantations, LSSP-SLFP-CP United Front, 1970-74. Author: China 1925-1950: Revolution, Counter-Revolution, Imperialist and Civil War (1950), The Agrarian Economy of India (unpublished).

Compiled by Charles Wesley Ervin


Soysa, Bernard (1914– 1997)

Party pseudonym: Peter

Born Colombo, Ceylon. Educated Ananda College and Ceylon University College, Colombo. Active in Suriya Mal campaign, 1933. Joined Lanka Sama Samaja Party, 1937. Executive Committee, LSSP, 1937-40. Journalist, The Times . Escaped to India, 1941. Founding member, Bolshevik Leninist Party of India, 1942. Arrested Bombay, 1943; deported and detained in Ceylon, 1943-44. Secretary, BLPI (Ceylon Unit). Published several pamphlets by Trotsky, 1949-50. Municipal Councilor, Colombo, 1949-56. Member of Parliament, 1956-60, 1970, and 1994. Chairman, Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, 1964-77. Finance Minister, 1970-77. General Secretary of LSSP, 1970-93. Cabinet Minister for Science, Technology and Human Resources Development in People’s Alliance Government. He never married.

Compiled by Charles Wesley Ervin