Marxian utopia? A theoretical critique of Marxism
Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.
The vision of a just society projected into the future lies at the very centre of Marxist theory. No standpoint can continue to be described as Marxist if it does not contain, or it if rejects, the idea of a radical change in the existing state of affairs; there can be no Marxism without the idea of communism. However, this projection of a globally different, more humane form of society, is not characteristic of Marxism alone. It is the common feature of a long tradition of utopian thinkers from Plato to Skinner. Marx himself, as well as those who continued his work, was particularly interested in presenting his vision as being essentially different from other utopias, not least from those with pronounced socialist features with which it had much in common. And indeed, there is one difference which is obvious and beyond dispute. While today the work of the so-called “utopian socialists, Marxism still represents a theory of foremost significance and influence on political events in a large part of the world. Is this survival a result of fundamental differences between these two types of socialist doctrine, or is it merely a question of their having experienced a different fate for some particular reasons? This essay attempts to provide an answer.