02 February 2010

Utopia vs. Science

Socialism, Utopian and Scientific

The linked text below is “Socialism, Utopian and Scientific”, by Frederick Engels.

By Utopian, Engels meant imaginary, or ideal, and typical of the early socialists such as Robert Owen, Henri de Saint-Simon, and François Fourier (who was the historical inventor of the word “feminism”, among other things).

Marx and Engels respected these pioneers but also distinguished themselves critically from them, insisting on science and not relying on romantic imagination. 

The third part of the Communist Manifesto of 1848 is devoted to  a critique of the early socialists.

This text is given as a longer companion to Lenin’s “The Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism", posted for yesterday. Both these texts have a similar three-part structure.

This is a good one to keep, and return to. It is used again in others of the Generic Courses.

Those in need of an occasional quick, brief revision of the theory of socialism and communism might like to save these two texts, and read them again from time to time.

There is no great need to search for modern summaries of the classics, when the masters have provided very good summaries of their work, themselves.