Labour History

"Melbourne and Mars": The Australian All Electric Communist Utopia

Labour History (2004), 87, (1), 209–220.

Abstract

"Melbourne and Mars", a neglected work of utopian socialist fiction published in Australia in 1889, is indebted more to Edward Bellamy (author of the famous Looking Backward: 2000-1887) than to Karl Marx. It is more concerned with the future effects of technology, specifically electrical technology, than with the inherent contradictions of capital, yet it nonetheless presents the reader with an alternate reality made possible by advances in technology and socio-economic organisation. This is not to question the distinction between scientific and utopian socialist writing in the late nineteenth century, but rather to challenge the stretching of that distinction. In "Melbourne and Mars" there are only a few vague references to the labour theory of value and the alienation of surplus product. Conversely, ‘scientific’ texts fail to provide a detailed program for the realisation of those class ideals upon which they are based. Both types of socialist literature could be, and were, used for propaganda purposes and they are by n means mutually exclusive.

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Author details

Moore, Tod

Table of Contents

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