Étienne Cabet

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Étienne Cabet
BirthplaceDijon, Côte-d'Or
Known for founder of the Icarian movement

Cabet, Étienne


Born Jan. 1, 1788, in Dijon; died Nov. 8, 1856, in St. Louis, USA. French publicist, writer, lawyer, utopian communist.

Cabet, the son of an artisan, was a participant in the Carbonari movement and the Revolution of 1830. As a historian of revolution, he wrote the Popular History of the French Revolution 1789-1830 (vols. 1-4, 1839-40). In 1833 he became the publisher of the journal Le Populaire. Because of repression he emigrated to Belgium. In 1834, Cabet went to live in Great Britain, where he became acquainted with R. Owen. In 1940 he wrote the book How I Became a Communist and the novel Voyage to Icaria (Russian translation, vols. 1-2, 1935). In the novel, Cabet depicted communism as an association founded on social equality, brotherhood, unity, and democracy in accordance with the principles of reason and the demands of nature.

Cabet’s Utopia had petit bourgeois features, such as the equalization of consumption, the preservation of privately owned agricultural enterprises, and the preservation under communism of a pantheistic kind of religion. He believed that communism could be achieved through persuasion and peaceful reforms. As a whole his Utopia has much in common with the views of 18th-century Utopian communists. In comparison with the teachings of the most important socialist thinkers of the first half of the 19th century, Cabet’s Utopia represented a step backward. However, because of the undeveloped class consciousness of the proletariat at that time, his Icarian Communism was widely accepted by French artisans and workers. K. Marx characterized him as being France’s “most popular, although the most superficial, representative of communism”(K. Marx and F. En-gels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 2, p. 146). In 1843, Cabet began publishing The Icarian Almanac… With the assistance of R. Owen in 1848 he obtained a plot of land in Texas and organized a colony of Icarians there. Dissension among the members led to a crisis, which resulted in the exclusion of Cabet from the colony. In 1856, shortly before his death, he founded another community.


Lux, H. E. Kabe i ikariiskii kommunizm. St. Petersburg, 1906. (Translated from German.)
Hepner, A. Ikariitsy o Severnoi Amerike. St. Petersburg, 1906. (Translated from German.)
Volgin, V. P. Frantsuzskii utopicheskii kommunizm. Moscow, 1960. Pages 207-38.
Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 2. Moscow, 1956.
Bonnaud, F. Cabet et son oeuvre. Paris, 1900.
Prudhommeaux, J. Icarie et son fondateur, E. Cabet. Paris, 1907.
Angrand, P. E. Cabet et la République de 1848. Paris, 1948.
Cretinon, J. F., and F. M. Lacour. Voyage en Icarie. … Paris, 1952.


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Tan es asi, que en la actualidad no es posible encontrar en las librerias el texto de Etienne Cabet, Viaje a Icaria, y que en la edicion mas reciente del texto que data de 1999 se sigue usando la traduccion que hicieron Narcis Monturiol y Francisco J.
In The German Ideology, Marx and Engels pointed out that "Fourier's orthodox disciples" had confused the real content of his thought with its "systematic form," missing, among other things, the "vein of true poetry" that distinguishes his "system" from the far drabber and utilitarian accents of reformers like Owen and Cabet.
Etienne Cabet believed that an authoritarian system was necessary for the Icarians in the transition from capitalism to communism (Oved 199).
Etienne Cabet, the nineteenth-century French theorist who, with many of his followers, established communal societies in the United States, has often been portrayed as an idealist whose lofty goals proved unachievable.
It should have been identified as, "Travels in Icaria: Part I--Travels--Tale Description," the heading Cabet placed over the first half of his 600-page book.
In Political Economy Mill also mentioned Louis Blanc (1811-82) and Etienne Cabet (1788-1865) as younger advocates of similar communist ideas (Collected Works, II, 203).
THE LATEST BOOK of the Italian utopian scholar Arrigo Colombo, La societa amorosa, follows the socialist line of Owen, Fourier and Cabet, aimed at fashioning projects for actual utopian communities based on human solidarity.
Marx and Engels adopted the term, "utopian socialism," from other writers who used it to refer indiscriminately to the ideas of Henri Saint-Simon, Charles Fourier, and Robert Owen (and sometimes to Etienne Cabet, as well), despite the fact that these men held many contradictory views and were mutually unsympathetic.
Other utopians, like Etienne Cabet, tried to implement their ideas, which is the ultimate reality test.
Some were somewhat minor, as Charles Fourier, Robert Owen, Etienne Cabet, and Pierre Leroux, but they were no less fervent than those representing the height of optimism in the possibilities of social engineering, the positivist Comte, and the socialist C.
For example, the text of Icaria by Etienne Cabet, the community of New Harmony founded in the United States, and Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels are compared with a variety of works which are engaged with the same myths as the utopian projects.
Reappraisals and/or new editions of major figures such as Louis Blanc, Proudhon, Fourier, Etienne Cabet, Blanqui, and Victor Considerant have made their biographies and writings more accessible.