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Charles Fourier

Frederick Engels: A Lifetime's Service

1995 is the Centenary of the death of Karl Marx's friend and collaborator Frederick Engels, and Engels spent his entire adult life working for socialism. A prolific and popular writer as well as indefatigable activist and theorist, his name is justly coupled with that of his life-long friend as the originator of scientific socialism.

Engels became a Socialist (or Communist in the language of the time) earlier than Marx, in October 1842—at the age of 22—after a meeting with Moses Hess. Hess, Engels wrote a year later, was the first of the "Young Hegelians" to embrace socialist ideas, so founding a school of German "philosophical communism".

The Young Hegelians were a group of intellectuals who gave Hegel's philosophical views a radical twist and used them to criticise the then existing political and social order. Engels associated with them when he was in Berlin doing his military service in 1841-2.

Book Review: 'Modern Socialism in its Historical Development'

Tugan-Baranovsky's Criticism of Marx

'Modern Socialism in its Historical Development', by M. Tugan-Baranovsky (1910)

'Modern Socialism in its Historical Development', by M. Tugan-Baranovsky, was published in 1910. It was translated from the Russian by M. I. Redmount.

The most interesting feature of the work is the record of working-class efforts and ideas in the early days of the movement. The phrasing is inclined to be awkward, possibly due to difficulties of translation. It is, in places, not easy to get at the ideas. When understood, however, the work presents a rather curious instance of an author losing sight of his own premises, merely because society has failed to act on them.

Book Review: 'The Utopian Vision of Charles Fourier'

A Prophet of Liberation

'The Utopian Vision of Charles Fourier: Selected Texts on Work, Love and Passionate Attraction', translated and edited by Jonathan Beecher and Richard Bienvenu. Cape, £3.95

Marx and Engels praised and criticized Fourier. The criticism, inevitably, was that of all the Utopian Socialists of 1800 and thereabouts. As Engels put it in Socialism: Utopian and Scientific:

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