Fredric Jameson on Why Socialists Need Utopias

Marxist critic Fredric Jameson has spent his life’s work exploring the political significance of utopia. For Jacobin, Jameson argues that socialists today can revive utopian ideals by showing that change is in fact possible.

Vladimir Lenin speaking to the workers of the Putilov factory in Petrograd, 1917. Painting by Isaak Brodsky (1883–1939). National Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic. (Leemage / Corbis via Getty Images)

Let me try first to clarify the debate around Utopia or, perhaps I should say, around the political uses of Utopia. I imagine most people would agree that the Utopianists of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries were all essentially progressive, in the sense that their visions or fantasies aimed at ameliorating the condition […]

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