07 February 2011

Socialism, Utopian and Scientific

Basics, Part 4a

Socialism, Utopian and Scientific

The main downloadable 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 Fran├žois 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. The third part of the Communist Manifesto of 1848 is devoted to them.

In the previous post we had Lenin’s “The Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism”. “Socialism, Utopian and Scientific” has a similar three-part structure, and there is another work of Lenin’s (written as an entry for an encyclopedia) called “Karl Marx, A Brief Biographical Sketch with an Exposition of Marxism”, of a length that is intermediate between the two we have given, and with a similar structure. That one might be a better “basic” text, but Engels’ work is the real classic.

Frederick Engels begins “Socialism, Utopian and Scientific” (see the link below), with the Great French Revolution that started in 1789. From this point on we can meet, in their developed form, the class protagonists who allied and clashed from that time on until now, in all possible permutations: alliances holy and unholy, strategic and tactical, marriages of convenience and marriages made in heaven.

These classes were the feudal aristocrats; the peasants; the bourgeoisie; and the proletariat.

Engels’ work has the additional benefit of introducing the rudiments of political philosophy, and leading our thoughts towards the “democratic bourgeois republic”, which is at one and the same time the highest form of political life before socialism, the prerequisite of concerted proletarian action, and a form of the State that has to be transcended and left behind.

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. Naturally, the same applies to all of the work used in this “basics” course.

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.

Please download and read this text via the following link:

Further reading:

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