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Critique of utopian thinking – Karl Marx and Marxism

Research field:Dictatorship Research
Research focus: Historical Conditions (Project completed)
Coordination: Prof. Dr. Lothar Fritze


The collapse of communism in Europe confirmed a conviction that had been growing long before that event, namely that the countries of so-called ‘Real Socialism’ were attempting to establish a model of society that was effectively unrealisable or at least could not survive in the long term – a model whose realisation, if desirable in the first place, was in a certain sense utopian. As the leaders of the various ruling Marxist-Leninist single political parties as well as their ideologues appealed to the teachings of Karl Marx (and Friedrich Engels) for legitimising support of domination and the claim to leadership, it seems natural to undertake once more a critical scrutiny of Marx’s ideas. The focus of the proposed monograph is the question of the character of Marx’s utopian thought. The discussion will begin with the features of Marx’s theory of history (to the extent of its relevance to the topic) as well as the relationship of this theory to utopian thinking. A concise unpacking of the anatomy of Marx's theory of history will be followed by a critique of that theory.