Considérant, Victor

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Considérant, Victor

 

Born Oct. 12, 1808, in Salins; died Dec. 27, 1893, in Paris. French Utopian socialist and follower of C. Fourier.

After graduating from the Ecole Polytechnique, Considérant served as an officer in the engineering corps. He left the army in 1831 and devoted himself to propagating Utopian socialism. He edited the Fourierist journals La Phalanstère (1832–34) and La Phalange (1836–49), and in 1843 he founded the newspaper LaDémocratie pacifique, which appeared until December 1851. Considérant provided one of the most systematic expositions of Fourier’s views in his Destinée sociale (vols. 1–3, 1834–44). During the Revolution of 1848, he called for the unification of all socialist movements. He was elected to the Constituent Assembly and later to the Legislative Assembly, where he advocated the proclamation of the right to work and supported the public works projects of L. Blanc. Fearing persecution for his participation in the petit bourgeois democratic opposition, he emigrated to Belgium in 1849. He was sentenced to exile in absentia. Considérant tried to establish phalansteries in North America. In 1869 he returned to France but did not take an active part in sociopolitical life. In April 1871 he declared his solidarity with the Paris Commune.

In his works Considérant attempted to study such aspects of the development of capitalism as the concentration of capital, the supplanting of small-scale by large-scale production, the growing exploitation of labor, and the exacerbation of class contradictions. At a time when free enterprise was officially extolled, he declared that it would culminate in the organization of large monopolies. He advocated the Utopian idea of “class compromise” by the creation of an association of producers, which, he believed, best corresponded to the nature of man and which would be able to unite labor, capital, and talent. Considérant’s views rested on the concept of “pure democracy,” which Marx called the “concoction of Rittinghausen, Considérant, LedruRollin” (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 27, p. 269), and on an idealistic belief in the gradual easing of conflicts between the proletariat and capitalists. In the final analysis his Utopian teachings were detrimental to the workers’ movement because they deflected the masses from class struggle at a time when scientific communism was being consolidated.

WORKS

Bases de la politique positive. Manifeste de l’école sociétaire. Paris, 1841.
Exposition abrégée du système phalanstérien de Fourier. Paris, 1846.
Principes du socialisme. Manifeste de la démocratie du XIX siècle. Paris, 1847.