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Fourier, François Marie Charles°

FOURIER, FRANÇOIS MARIE CHARLES°

FOURIER, FRANÇOIS MARIE CHARLES ° (1772–1837), French philosopher and social reformer who inspired the Fourierist or Phalansterian school. Somewhat like Rousseau, Fourier pursued his aim – cure for social evils – with passionate dogmatism and intolerance. His dream of a better world went hand in hand with a phobia against foreigners, and above all Jews. For him commerce was "the source of all evil" and Jews were "the incarnation of commerce." In his earlier writings, Fourier leveled every accusation possible against the Jews. He believed that their economic activities were parasitic and rapacious and declared that there had never been "a nation more despicable than the Hebrews" (Théorie des quatre mouvements et des destinées générales (1808), 61, 253), the emancipation of slaves and Jews having been effected too suddenly. Yet, either because he saw the Jews as a nation or because he wanted them out of France, Fourier became a kind of Zionist. In his last book, La fausse industrie (1836), he no longer gave vent to antisemitic remarks and advocated the reconstitution of the Hebrew nation in Palestine around a model Jewish "phalanstère" – Fourier's own idea, a form of social organization in which goods and services were held in common – financed by Rothschild. However, Fourier's "Zionist" project remained unknown while his antisemitism was taken up by several of his followers, particularly A. *Toussenel. At the time of the Dreyfus case, the Fourierist newspaper edited by Adolphe Alhaïza was virulently antisemitic.

bibliography:

E. Silberner, Sozialisten zur Judenfrage (1962), index; idem, in: jsos, 8 (1946), 245–66; iess, 5 (1968), 547–8; L. Poliakov, Histoire de l'Anti-sémitisme, 3 (1968), 380–4; M. Bourgin, Etude sur les sources de Fourier (1905).

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