Anarchism / Marxism debates

Charles Brown CharlesB at
Thu Aug 19 07:46:41 PDT 1999

>>> Brett Knowlton <brettk at> 08/18/99 09:10PM >>>
Finally, there is this insistence on calling these kinds of blueprints "utopian." Why are they utopian? Because they haven't been implemented yet? If that's the case, then we should abandon any socialist hopes we might have since socialism (or libertarian socialism at any rate) has never existed. _IF_ it is possible to have a socialist society, how can theorizing about what it might look like be utopian a priori? This makes no sense to me whatsoever.


Charles: I wouldn't say abandon your socialist hopes, but you might see that those of us who call our socialism , scientific socialism, place importance on the fact that there are actually existing (scientific) socialist societies. This is exactly part of how Engels differentiated scientific from utopian socialism: that the former theory considers society as it actually exists in capitalism ,and draws its "blueprint" or strategy for the change to socialism based on this objective and scientific basis. The fact that this scientific approach led to the actualization of socialism, and utopian theories have not as you say above, contrasts the two types of theories.

Even the warts of actual socialism comport more with a scientific approach in that the latter assumes trial and error, interaction and intermodification between theory and practice. Scientific socialism, after Marx's 2nd Thesis on Feuerbach, has real historical experience to test and modify its theory by. Scientific socialist theory now must reform itself based on the trial and error of the first practice of socialism. Utopian socialism remains entirely theoretical or "utopian", one might say scholastic, as Marx in the 2nd Thesis.

Charles Brown

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