• Ruth Kinna deposited Anarchism and the politics of utopia in the group Group logo of Victorian StudiesVictorian Studies on Humanities Commons 2 years, 1 month ago

    This chapter discusses two early anarchist conceptions of utopianism, a romantic conception associated with Gustav Landauer and a rationalist ideal linked to Peter Kropotkin. I argue that the differences have been exaggerated. Landauer and Kropotkin followed different paths, but they formulated their responses to utopianism in the same context, specifically through a political engagement with Marxism and an ideologically charged debate about scientific socialism. Landauer met this claim by rejecting science as a paradigm for anarchist debate and trumpeting utopianism. Kropotkin instead tried to expose the fraudulence of scientific socialism by contrasting its metaphysical underpinnings to the positivist foundations of his own anarcho-communism. These two responses could be harnessed easily within a single framework. Indeed, Landauer’s concern that anarchists give content to the future in an effort to counter Marxism’s projected development and Kropotkin’s attempt to show that genuine science was neither teleological nor prescriptive came together in Warlam Tcherkesoff’s work. Nineteenth century anarchists were utopians in the sociological sense that their thought had a transcendent, transformative character, but neither Landauer nor Kropotkin fits easily into the categorisations suggested by contemporary utopian or anarchist anti-utopian thought. My contention is that their approach to anarchist utopianism has something to offer both.