This title was first published in 2000: This engaging book suggests that Marx was right to reject 'utopian socialism' on the grounds that it undermined the principles of proletarian self-emancipation and self-determination. As a theoretician of the proletarian class, Marx sought to capture the spirit of revolution in a manner which precluded the need for utopian philanthropy and the messianic elitism which invariably accompanied it. In a powerful and original central argument, the book suggests that the categories which together define Marx’s own 'utopia' were nothing more than theoretical by-products of the models employed by Marx in order to supersede the need for utopianism. As such, Marx was an 'accidental' utopian. Rather than legitimating utopianism, however, the author argues that this conclusion reinforces the need to develop Marx’s anti-utopian project further. Emphasising the contemporary relevance of Marx’s original critique, the conclusion suggests that the future of socialism lies in its ability to harness, not the spirit of utopia, but the spirit of adventure.
Table of Contents
1. Marx's Critique of 'Utopian Socialism'. 2. Marx's Description of the Lower Phase of Communism. 3. Marx's Description of the Higher Phase of Communism. 4. Materialistically Critical Socialism. 5. Marx the 'Accidental' Utopian. Conclusion: Marxism and Utopia.
’The argument is very tightly focused and clearly structured...written in a clear and accessible way.’ Time & Society 'Webb's...argument is detailed and precise...an intelligent and interesting book...' Historical Materialism 'This reading of Marx warrants serious consideration...Helpful summaries of the works of Fourier, Robert Owen, Saint-Simon and other utopians of the nineteenth century are provided. Marx's remarks on these utopian socialists are accurately presented. And a selection of recent works dedicated to reviving utopian theory is surveyed.' International Studies in Philosophy