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REJECTING THE AMERICAN MODEL: PETER KROPOTKIN'S RADICAL COMMUNALISM

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Abstract:

Kropotkin's anarchism looked to a future defined by communalism. However, his understanding of this potential communal future has rarely been subject to analysis. Particularly important was his distinction between communalism and the tradition of communal experimentation in the US, which drew heavily on the ideas of Charles Fourier. Kropotkin was influenced by Fourier, but thought that attempts to found phalanstèries had been disastrous, vitiating the power of communalist propaganda. To defend the idea of a communal future, Kropotkin therefore advanced a tripartite critique of the US model of utopian experimentation. The image of American utopianism he created consequently served as a useful rhetorical device, allowing him to advance a counter-image of the anarchist communal theory that lay at the heart of his political theory.

Keywords: Auguste Comte; Charles Fourier; Herbert Spencer; Peter Kropotkin; Social Darwinism; United States; anarchism; communalism; socialism; utopianism

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2014

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