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Marxism and Philosophy/ Karl Korsch

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  • Marxism and Philosophy/ Karl Korsch

    Karl Korsch (1923)

    Marxism and Philosophy

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    Source: Marxism and Philosophy, Monthly Review Press, 1970, reproduced in its entirety.


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    Until very recently, neither bourgeois nor Marxist thinkers had much appreciation of the fact that the relation between Marxism and philosophy might pose a very important theoretical and practical problem. For professors of philosophy, Marxism was at best a rather minor sub-section within the history of nineteenth-century philosophy, dismissed as ‘The Decay of Hegelianism’. But ‘Marxists’ as well tended not to lay great stress on the ‘philosophical side’ of their theory, although for quite different reasons. Marx and Engels, it is true, often indicated with great pride that historically the German workers’ movement had inherited the legacy of classical German philosophy in ‘scientific socialism’. But they did not mean by this that scientific socialism or communism were primarily ‘philosophies’ .They rather saw the task of their ‘scientific socialism’ as that of definitively overcoming and superseding the form and content, not only of all previous bourgeois idealist philosophy, but thereby of philosophy altogether. Later I shall have to explain in more detail what, according to the original conception of Marx and Engels, the nature of this supersession was or was intended to be. For the moment I merely record that historically this issue simply ceased to be a problem as far as most later Marxists were concerned. The manner in which they dealt with the question of philosophy can best be described in the vivid terms in which Engels once described Feuerbach’s attitude to Hegelian philosophy: Feuerbach simply ‘shoved’ it ‘unceremoniously aside’. In fact, very many later Marxists, apparently in highly orthodox compliance with the masters’ instructions, dealt in exactly the same unceremonious way not only with Hegelian philosophy but with philosophy as a whole. Thus, for example, Franz Mehring more than once laconically described his own orthodox Marxist position on the question of philosophy by saying that he accepted the ‘rejection of all philosophic fantasies’ which was the precondition for the masters’(Marx and Engels) immortal accomplishments’. This statement came from a man who could with justice say that he had ‘concerned himself with the philosophical origins of Marx and Engels more thoroughly than anyone else’, and it is extremely significant for the generally dominant position on all philosophical problems found among the Marxist theoreticians of the Second International (1889-1914). The prominent Marxist theoreticians of the period regarded concern with questions that were not even essentially philosophical in the narrower sense, but were only related to the general epistemological and methodological bases of Marxist theory, as at most an utter waste of time and effort. Of course, whether they liked it or not, they allowed discussion of such philosophical issues within the Marxist camp and in some circumstances they took part themselves. But when doing so they made it quite clear that the elucidation of such problems was totally irrelevant to the practice of proletarian class struggle, and would always have to remain so. Such a conception was, however, only self-evident and logically justified given the premise that Marxism as a theory and practice was in essence totally unalterable and involved no specific position on any philosophical questions whatever.

    This meant that it was not regarded as impossible, for example, for a leading Marxist theoretician to be a follower of Arthur Schopenhauer in his private philosophical life.

    During that period, therefore, however great the contradictions between Marxist and bourgeois theory were in all other respects, on this one point there was an apparent agreement between the two extremes. Bourgeois professors of philosophy reassured each other that Marxism had no philosophical content of its own – and thought they were saying something important against it. Orthodox Marxists also reassured each other that their Marxism by its very nature had nothing to do with philosophy – and thought they were saying something important in favour of it. There was yet a third trend that started from the same basic position; and throughout this period it was the only one to concern itself somewhat more thoroughly with the philosophical side of socialism. It consisted of those ‘philosophising socialists’ of various kinds who saw their task as that of ‘supplementing’ the Marxist system with ideas from Kulturphilosophie or with notions from Kant, Dietzgen or Mach, or other philosophies. Yet precisely because they thought that the Marxist system needed philosophical supplements, they made it quite clear that in their eyes too Marxism in itself lacked philosophical content.

    Nowadays it is rather easy to show that this purely negative conception of the relation between Marxism and philosophy, which we have shown to be held in apparent unanimity by bourgeois scholars as well as by orthodox Marxists, arose in both cases from a very superficial and incomplete analysis of historical and logical development. However, the conditions under which they both came to this conclusion in part diverge greatly, and so I want to describe them separately. It will then be clear that in spite of the great difference between the motives on either side, the two sets of causes do coincide in one crucial place. Among bourgeois scholars in the second half of the nineteenth century there was a total disregard of Hegel’s philosophy, which coincided with a complete incomprehension of the relation of philosophy to reality, and of theory to practice, which constituted the living principle of all philosophy and science in Hegel’s time. On the other hand Marxists simultaneously tended in exactly the same way increasingly to forget the original meaning of the dialectical principle. Yet it was this that the two young Hegelians Marx and Engels, when they were turning away from Hegel in the 1840s, had quite deliberately rescued from German idealist philosophy and transferred to the materialist conception of history and society.

    First I shall summarise the reasons why, since the middle of the nineteenth century, bourgeois philosophers and historians have progressively abandoned the dialectical conception of the history of philosophy; and why they have therefore been incapable of adequately analysing and presenting the independent essence of Marxist philosophy and its significance within the general development of nineteenth-century philosophy.

    One could perhaps argue that there were much more immediate reasons for the disregard and misinterpretation of Marxist philosophy, and that there is therefore absolutely no need for us to explain its suppression by reference to the abandonment of the dialectic. It is true that in nineteenth-century writing on the history of philosophy, a conscious class instinct undeniably contributed to the perfunctory treatment of Marxism, and, what is more, to a similar treatment of such bourgeois ‘atheists’ and ‘materialists’ as David Friedrich Strauss, Bruno Bauer and Ludwig Feuerbach. But we would only have a very crude idea of what in reality constitutes a very complex situation if we simply accused bourgeois philosophers of having consciously subordinated their philosophy, or history of philosophy, to class interest. There are of course instances which do correspond to this crude thesis. But in general the relation of the philosophical representatives of a class to the class which they represent is a good deal more complex. In his Eighteenth Brumaire Marx deals specifically with interconnections of this kind. He says there that the class as a whole creates and forms ‘an entire superstructure of distinct and peculiarly formed sentiments, illusions, modes of thought and views of life’ out of its ‘material foundations’. A part of the superstructure that is ‘determined by class’ in this way, yet is particularly remote from its ‘material and economic foundation’, is the philosophy of the class in question. This is most obvious as regards its content; but it also applies in the last instance to its formal aspects. If we want to understand the complete incomprehension of the philosophical content of Marxism on the part of bourgeois historians of philosophy, and really to understand it in Marx’s sense of the word – that is ‘materialistically and therefore scientifically’ we must not be content to explain this phenomenon directly and immediately by its ‘earthly kernel’ (namely class consciousness and the economic interests which it conceals ‘in the last instance’). Our task is to show in detail the mediations of the process whereby even those bourgeois philosophers and historians who sincerely try to investigate ‘pure’ truth with the greatest ‘objectivity’ are bound completely to overlook the philosophical content of Marxism or are only able to interpret it in an inadequate and superficial way. For our purposes the most important of these mediations is undoubtedly the fact that since the middle of the nineteenth century the whole of bourgeois philosophy, and especially, the bourgeois writing of the history of philosophy, has for socioeconomic reasons abandoned Hegelian philosophy and the dialectical method. It has returned to a method of philosophy, and of writing the history of philosophy, which renders it almost impossible for it to make anything ‘philosophical’ out of a phenomenon like Marx’s scientific socialism.

    In the normal presentations of the history of the nineteenth-century philosophy which emanate from bourgeois authors, there is a gap at a specific point which can only be overcome in a highly artificial manner, if at all. These historians want to present the development of philosophical thought in a totally ideological and hopelessly undialectical way, as a pure process of the ‘history of ideas’. It is therefore impossible to see how they can find a rational explanation for the fact that by the 1850s Hegel’s grandiose philosophy had virtually no followers left in Germany and was totally misunderstood soon afterwards, whereas as late as the 1830s even its greatest enemies (Schopenhauer or Herbart) were unable to escape its overpowering intellectual influence. Most of them did not even try to provide such an explanation, but were instead content to note in their annals the disputes following Hegel’s death under the utterly negative rubric of ‘The Decay of Hegelianism’. Yet the content of these disputes was very significant and they were also, by today’s standards, of an extremely high formal philosophical level. They took place between the various tendencies of Hegel’s school, the Right, the Centre and the different tendencies of the Left, especially Strauss, Bauer, Feuerbach, Marx and Engels. To close this period, these historians of philosophy simply set a kind of absolute ‘end’ to the Hegelian philosophic movement. They then begin the 1860s with the return to Kant (Helmholtz, Zeller, Liebmann, Lange) which appears as a new epoch of philosophical development, without any direct connection to anything else. This kind of history of philosophy has three great limitations, two of which can be revealed by a critical revision that itself remains more or less completely within the realm of the history of ideas. Indeed, in recent years more thorough philosophers, especially Dilthey and his school, have considerably expanded the limited perspective of normal histories of philosophy in these two respects. These two limits can therefore be regarded as having been overcome in principle, although in practice they have survived to this day and will presumably continue to do so for a very long time. The third limit, however, cannot in any way be surpassed from within the realm of the history of ideas; consequently it has not yet been overcome even in principle by contemporary bourgeois historians of philosophy.

    The first of these three limits in the bourgeois history of philosophy during the second half of the nineteenth century can be characterised as a ‘purely philosophical’ one. The ideologues of the time did not see that the ideas contained in a philosophy can live on not only in philosophies, but equally well in positive sciences and social practice, and that this process precisely began on a large scale with Hegel’s philosophy. The second limit is a ‘local’ one, and was most typical of German professors of philosophy in the second half of the last century: these worthy Germans ignored the fact that there were other philosophers beyond the boundaries of Germany. Hence, with a few exceptions, they quite failed to see that the Hegelian system, although pronounced dead in Germany for decades, had continued to flourish in several foreign countries, not only in its content but also as a system and a method. In the development of the history of philosophy over recent decades, these first two limits to its perspective have in principle been overcome, and the picture painted above of the standard histories of philosophy since 1850 has of late undergone considerable improvement. However, bourgeois philosophers and historians are quite unable to overcome a third limitation on their historical outlook, because this would entail these ‘bourgeois’ philosophers and historians of philosophy abandoning the bourgeois class standpoint which constitutes the most essential a priori of their entire historical and philosophical science. For what appears as the purely ‘ideal’ development of philosophy in the nineteenth century can in fact only be fully and essentially grasped by relating it to the concrete historical development of bourgeois society as a whole. It is precisely this relation that bourgeois historians of philosophy, at their present stage of development, are incapable of studying scrupulously and impartially.

    This explains why right up to the present day certain phases of the general development of philosophy in the nineteenth-century have had to remain ‘transcendent’ for these bourgeois historians of philosophy. It also explains why there are still certain curious ‘blank patches’ on the maps of contemporary bourgeois histories of philosophy (already described in connection with the ‘end’ of the Hegelian movement in the 1840s and the empty space after it, before the ‘reawakening’ of philosophy in the 1860s). It also becomes intelligible why bourgeois histories of philosophy today no longer have any coherent grasp even of a period of German philosophy whose concrete essence they previously had succeeded in understanding. In other words, neither the development of philosophical thought after Hegel, nor the preceding evolution of philosophy from Kant to Hegel, can be understood as a mere chain of ideas. Any attempt to understand the full nature and meaning of this whole later period – normally referred to in history books as the epoch of ‘German idealism’ – will fail hopelessly so long as certain connections that are vital for its whole form and course are not registered, or are registered only superficially or belatedly. These are the connections between the ‘intellectual movement’ of the period and the ‘revolutionary movement’ that was contemporary with it.

    In Hegel’s History of Philosophy and other works there are passages describing the nature of the philosophy of his immediate predecessors – Kant, Fichte, and Schelling – which are valid for the whole period of so-called ‘German idealism’ including its crowning ‘conclusion’, the Hegelian system itself. They are also applicable to the later conflicts in the 1840s between the various Hegelian tendencies. Hegel wrote that in the philosophic systems of this fundamentally revolutionary epoch, ‘revolution was lodged and expressed as if in the very form of their thought’. Hegel’s accompanying statements make it quite clear that he was not talking of what contemporary bourgeois historians of philosophy like to call a revolution in thought – a nice, quiet process that takes place in the pure realm of the study and far away from the crude realm of real struggles. The greatest thinker produced by bourgeois society in its revolutionary period regarded a ‘revolution in the form of thought’ as an objective component of the total social process of a real revolution. Only two peoples, the German and the French – despite or precisely because of their contrasts - took part in this great epoch of world history, whose deepest essence is grasped by the philosophy of history. Other nations took no inward part in it: their governments and peoples merely played a political role. This principle swept Germany as thought, spirit and concept; in France it was unleashed in effective reality. What reality there was in Germany, however, appeared as a violent result of external conditions and as a reaction to them. A few pages further on, when presenting the philosophy of Kant, Hegel returns to the same theme:

    ’Rousseau already placed the Absolute in Freedom; Kant possesses the same principle, only in a more theoretical version. The French regard it from the point of view of will, for they have a proverb ‘Il a la tête pres du bonnet’ (He is hot-headed). France has a sense of reality, of accomplishment, because ideas there are translated more directly into action; consequently men there have applied themselves practically to reality. However much freedom in itself is concrete, in France it was applied to reality in an undeveloped and abstract form; and to establish abstraction in reality is to destroy that reality. The fanaticism of freedom, when the people took possession of it, became terrible. In Germany the same principle aroused the interest of consciousness but was only developed in a theoretical manner. We have all kinds of commotions within us and about us; but through them all the German head prefers to let its sleeping cap sit quietly where it is and silently carries on its operations beneath it – Immanuel Kant was born in Königsberg in 1724”, and so on.

    These passages from Hegel affirm a principle which renders intelligible the innermost nature of this great period of world history: the dialectical relation between philosophy and reality. Elsewhere Hegel formulated this principle in a more general way, when he wrote that every philosophy can be nothing but ’its own epoch comprehended in thought.’ Essential in any event for a real understanding of the development of philosophical thought, this axiom becomes even more relevant for a revolutionary period of social evolution. Indeed, it is exactly this that explains the fate which irresistibly overtook the further development of philosophy and the historical study of philosophy by the bourgeois class in the nineteenth century. In the middle of the nineteenth century this class ceased to be revolutionary in its social practice, and by an inner necessity it thereby also lost the ability to comprehend in thought the true dialectical interrelation of ideas and real historical developments, above all of philosophy and revolution. In social practice, the revolutionary development of the bourgeoisie declined and halted in the middle of the nineteenth century. This process found its ideological expression in the apparent decline and end of philosophical development, on which bourgeois historians dwell to this day. A typical example of this kind of thinking is the comment of Überweg and Heinze, who begin the relevant section of their book by saying that philosophy found itself at this time ‘in a state of general exhaustion’, and ‘increasingly lost its influence on cultural activity’. According to Überweg , this sad occurrence was due primarily to ‘tendencies of psychological revulsion’, whereas all ‘external moments’ had only a ‘secondary effect’. This famous bourgeois historian of philosophy explains the character of these ‘tendencies of psychological revulsion’ to himself and his readers as follows: ‘People became tired of both inflated idealism and of metaphysical speculation (!) and wanted spiritual nourishment that had more substance to it.’ The philosophic developments of the nineteenth century appear at once in a totally different form (even from the standpoint of the history of ideas a more adequate one) if they are tackled resolutely and thoroughly with a dialectical method, even in the undeveloped and only partly conscious form in which Hegel used it – in other words in the form of Hegel’s idealist dialectic as opposed to Marx’s materialist dialectic.

    Viewed in this perspective, the revolutionary movement in the realm of ideas, rather than abating and finally ceasing in the 1840s, merely underwent a deep and significant change of character. Instead of making an exit, classical German philosophy, the ideological expression of the revolutionary movement of the bourgeoisie, made a transition to a new science which henceforward appeared in the history of ideas as the general expression of the revolutionary movement of the proletariat: the theory of ‘scientific socialism’ first founded and formulated by Marx and Engels in the 1840s. Bourgeois historians of philosophy have hitherto either entirely ignored this essential and necessary relation between German idealism and Marxism, or they have only conceived and presented it inadequately and incoherently. To grasp it properly, it is necessary to abandon the normal abstract and ideological approach of modern historians of philosophy for an approach that need not be specifically Marxist but is just straightforwardly dialectical, in the Hegelian and Marxist sense. If we do this, we can see at once not only the interrelations between German idealist philosophy and Marxism, but also their internal necessity. Since the Marxist system is the theoretical expression of the revolutionary movement of the proletariat, and German idealist philosophy is the theoretical expression of the revolutionary movement of the bourgeoisie, they must stand intelligently and historically (i.e. ideologically) in the same relation to each other as the revolutionary movement of the proletariat as a class stands to the revolutionary movement of the bourgeoisie, in the realm of social and political practice. There is one unified historical process of historical development in which an ‘autonomous’ proletarian class movement emerges from the revolutionary movement of the third estate, and the new materialist theory of Marxism ‘autonomously’ confronts bourgeois idealist philosophy. All these processes affect each other reciprocally. The emergence of Marxist theory is, in Hegelian-Marxist terms, only the ‘other side’ of the emergence of the real proletarian movement; it is both sides together that comprise the concrete totality of the historical process.

    This dialectical approach enables us to grasp the four different trends we have mentioned – the revolutionary movement of the bourgeoisie, idealist philosophy from Kant to Hegel, the revolutionary class movement of the proletariat, and the materialist philosophy of Marxism – as four moments of a single historical process. This allows us to understand the real nature of the new science, theoretically formulated by Marx and Engels, which forms the general expression of the independent revolutionary movement of the proletariat. This materialist philosophy emerged from the most advanced systems of revolutionary bourgeois idealism; and it is now intelligible why bourgeois histories of philosophy had either to ignore it completely or could only understand its nature in a negative and - literally – inverted sense. The essential practical aims of the proletarian movement cannot be realised within bourgeois society and the bourgeois State. Similarly, the philosophy of this bourgeois society is unable to understand the nature of the general propositions in which the revolutionary movement of the proletariat has found its independent and self-conscious expression. The bourgeois standpoint has to stop in theory where it has to stop in social practice – as long as it does not want to cease being a ‘bourgeois’ standpoint altogether, in other words supersede itself. Only when the history of philosophy surmounts this barrier does scientific socialism cease to be a transcendental Beyond and become a possible object of comprehension. The peculiarity, however, that greatly complicates any correct understanding of the problem of ‘Marxism and philosophy’ is this: it appears as if in the very act of surpassing the limits of a bourgeois position - an act indispensable to grasp the essentially new philosophical content of Marxism – Marxism itself at once superseded and annihilated as a philosophical object.

    At the outset of this investigation we stated that Marx and Engels, the founders of scientific socialism, were far from wanting to construct a new philosophy. In contrast to bourgeois thinkers, on the other hand, they were both fully aware of the close historical connection between their materialist theory and bourgeois idealist philosophy. According to Engels, socialism in its content is the product of new conceptions that necessarily arise at a definite stage of social development within the proletariat as a result of its material situation. But it created its own specific scientific form (which distinguishes it from utopian socialism) by its link with German idealism, especially the philosophical system of Hegel. Socialism, which developed from utopia to science, formally emerged from German idealist philosophy. Naturally, this (formal) philosophical origin did not mean that socialism therefore had to remain a philosophy in its independent form and further development. From 1845 onwards, at the latest, Marx and Engels characterised their new materialist and scientific standpoint as no longer philosophical. It should be remembered here that all philosophy was for them equivalent to bourgeois philosophy. But it is precisely the significance of this equation of all philosophy with bourgeois philosophy that needs to be stressed. For it involves much the same relationship as that of Marxism and the State. Marx and Engels not only combated one specific historical form of the State, but historically and materialistically they equated the State as such with the bourgeois State and they therefore declared the abolition of the State to be the political aim of communism. Similarly, they were not just combating specific philosophical systems – they wanted eventually to overcome and supersede philosophy altogether, by scientific socialism. It is here that find the major contradiction between the ‘realistic’ (i.e. dialectically materialist) conception of Marxism and the ‘ideological humbug of jurists and others’ (Marx) characteristic of Lassalleanism and all earlier and later versions of ‘vulgar socialism’. The latter basically never surpassed the ‘bourgeois level’, i.e. the standpoint of bourgeois society.

    Any thorough elucidation of the relationship between ‘Marxism and philosophy’ must start from the unambiguous statements of Marx and Engels themselves that a necessary result of their new dialectical-materialist standpoint was the supersession, not only of bourgeois idealist philosophy, but simultaneously of all philosophy as such. It is essential not to obscure the fundamental significance of this Marxist attitude towards philosophy by regarding the whole dispute as a purely verbal one - implying that Engels simply bestowed a new name on certain epistemological principles known in Hegelian terminology as ‘the philosophical aspect of sciences’, which were, substantially preserved in the materialist transformation of the Hegelian dialectic. There are, of course, some formulations in Marx and especially the later Engels which appear to suggest this. But it is easy to see that philosophy itself is not abolished by a mere abolition of its name . Such purely terminological points must be dismissed in any serious examination of the relationship between Marxism and philosophy. The problem is rather how we should understand the abolition of philosophy of which Marx and Engels spoke – mainly in the 1840s, but on many later occasions as well. How should this process be accomplished, or has it already been accomplished? By what actions? At what speed? And for whom? Should this abolition of philosophy be regarded as accomplished so to speak once and for all by a single intellectual deed of Marx and Engels? Should it be regarded as accomplished only for Marxists, or for the whole proletariat, or for the whole of humanity ? Or should we see it (like the abolition of the State) as a very long and arduous revolutionary process which unfolds through the most diverse phases? If so, what is the relationship of Marxism to philosophy so long as this arduous process has not yet attained its final goal, the abolition of philosophy?

    If the question of the relationship of Marxism to philosophy is posed like this, it becomes clear that we are not dealing with senseless and pointless reflections on issues that have long been resolved. On the contrary, the problem remains of the greatest theoretical and practical importance. Indeed, it is especially crucial in the present stage of the proletarian class struggle. Orthodox Marxists behaved for many decades as if no problem was involved at all, or at most only one which would always remain immaterial to the practice of the class struggle. It is now this position itself which appears highly dubious – all the more so in the light of the peculiar parallelism between the two problems of Marxism and Philosophy and Marxism and State. It is well known that the latter, as Lenin says in State and Revolution ‘hardly concerned the major theoreticians and publicists of the Second International’. This raises the question: if there is a definite connection between the abolition of the State and the abolition of the philosophy, is there also a connection between the neglect of these two problems by the Marxists of the Second International? The problem can be posed more exactly. Lenin’s bitter criticism of the debasement of Marxism by opportunism connects the neglect of the problem of the State by the Marxists of the Second International to a more general context. Is this context also operative in the case of Marxism and philosophy? In other words, is the neglect of the problem of philosophy by the Marxists of the Second International also related to the fact that ’problems of revolution in general hardly concerned them’?

    To clarify the matter, we must make a more detailed analysis of the nature and causes of the greatest crisis that has yet occurred in the history of Marxist theory and which in the last decade has split Marxists into three hostile camps.

    At the beginning of the twentieth century, the long period of purely evolutionary development of capitalism came to an end, and a new epoch of revolutionary struggle began. Because of this change in the practical conditions of class struggle, there were increasing signs that Marxist theory had entered a critical phase. It became obvious that the extraordinarily banal and rudimentary vulgar-Marxism of the epigones had an extremely inadequate awareness of even the totality of its own problems, let alone any definite positions on a whole range of questions outside them. The crisis of Marxist theory showed itself most clearly in the problem of the attitude of social revolution towards the State. This major issue had never been seriously posed in practice since the defeat of the first proletarian revolutionary movement in 1848, and the repression of the revolt of the Commune of 1871. It was put concretely on the agenda once again by the World War, the first and second Russian Revolutions of 1917, and the collapse of the Central Powers in 1918. It now became clear that there was no unanimity whatever within the camp of Marxism on such major issues of transition and goal as the seizure of State power by the proletariat, the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’, and the final ‘withering away of the State’ in communist society. On the contrary, no sooner were all these questions posed in a concrete and unavoidable manner, than there emerged at least three different theoretical positions on them, all of which claimed to be Marxist. Yet in the pre-war period, the most prominent representatives of these three tendencies - respectively Renner, Kautsky and Lenin – had not only been regarded as Marxists but as orthodox Marxists. For some decades there had been an apparent crisis in the camp of the Social Democrat parties and trade unions of the Second International; this took the shape of a conflict between orthodox Marxism and revisionism. But with the emergence of different socialist tendencies over these new questions, it became clear that this apparent crisis was only a provisional and illusory version of a much deeper rift that ran through the orthodox Marxist front itself. On one side of this rift, there appeared Marxist neo-reformism which soon more or less amalgamated with the earlier revisionism. On the other side, the theoretical representatives of a new revolutionary proletarian party unleashed a struggle against both the old reformism of the revisionists and the new reformism of the ‘Centre’, under the battle-cry of restoring pure or revolutionary Marxism.

    This crisis erupted within the Marxist camp at the outbreak of the World War. But it would be an extremely superficial and undialectical conception of the historical process thoroughly non-Marxist and non-materialist, indeed not even Hegelian-idealist – to attribute it merely to the cowardice, or deficient revolutionary convictions, of the theoreticians and publicists who were responsible for this impoverishment and reduction of Marxist theory to the orthodox vulgar-Marxism of the Second International. Yet it would be equally superficial and undialectical to imagine that the great polemics between Lenin, Kautsky and other ‘Marxists’ were merely intended to restore Marxism, by faithfully re-establishing the Marxist doctrine. Hitherto we have only used the dialectical method, which Hegel and Marx introduced into the study of history, to analyse the philosophy of German idealism and the Marxist theory that emerged from it. But the only really materialist and therefore scientific method (Marx) of pursuing this analysis is to apply it to the further development of Marxism up to the present. This means that we must try to understand every change, development and revision of Marxist theory, since its original emergence - from the philosophy of German Idealism, as a necessary product of its epoch (Hegel). More precisely, we should seek to understand their determination by the totality of the historico-social process of which they are a general expression (Marx). We will then be able to grasp the real origins of the degeneration of Marxist theory into vulgar-Marxism. We may also discern the meaning of the passionate yet apparently ‘ideological’ efforts of the Marxist theorists of the Third International today to restore ‘Marx’s genuine doctrine’.

    If we thus apply Marx’s principle of dialectical materialism to the whole history of Marxism, we can distinguish three major stages of development through which Marxist theory has passed since its birth – inevitably so in the context of the concrete social development of this epoch. The first phase begins around 1843, and corresponds in the history of ideas to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right. It ends with the Revolution of 1848 – corresponding to the Communist Manifesto. The second phase begins with the bloody suppression of the Parisian proletariat in the battle of June 1848 and the resultant crushing of all the working class’s organisations and dreams of emancipation ‘in a period of feverish industrial activity, moral degeneration and political reaction’, as Marx masterfully describes it in his Inaugural Address of 1864. We are not concerned here with the social history of the working-class as a whole, but only with the internal development of Marxist theory in its relation to the general class history of the proletariat. Hence the second period may be said to last approximately to the end of the century, leaving out all the less important divisions (the foundation and collapse of the First International; the interlude of the Commune; the struggle between Marxists and Lassalleaner; the Anti-socialist laws in Germany; trade unions; the founding of the Second International. The third phase extends from the start of this century to the present and into an indefinite future.

    Arranged in this way, the historical development of Marxist theory presents the following picture. The first manifestation of it naturally remained essentially unchanged in the minds of Marx and Engels themselves throughout the later period, although in their writings it did not stay entirely unaltered. In spite of all their denials of philosophy, this first version of the theory is permeated through and through with philosophical thought. It is a theory of social development seen and comprehended as a living totality; or, more precisely, it is a theory of social revolution comprehended and practised as a living totality. At this stage there is no question whatever of dividing the economic, political and intellectual moments of this totality into separate branches of knowledge, even while every concrete peculiarity of each separate moment is comprehended analysed and criticised with historical fidelity. Of course, it is not only economics, politics and ideology, but also the historical process and conscious social action that continue to make up the living unity of ‘revolutionary practice’ (Theses on Feuerbach). The best example of this early and youthful form of Marxist theory as the theory of social revolution is obviously the Communist Manifesto.

    It is wholly understandable from the viewpoint of the materialist dialectic that this original form of Marxist theory could not subsist unaltered throughout the long years of the second half of the nineteenth century (which was in practice quite unrevolutionary). Marx’s remark in the Preface to the Critique of political Economy on mankind as a whole is necessarily also true for the working class, which was then slowly and antagonistically maturing towards its own liberation: ‘It always sets itself only such problems as it can solve; since, looking at the matter more closely it will always be found that the problem itself arises only when the material conditions for its solution are already present or are at least understood to be in the process of emergence’. This dictum is not affected by the fact that a problem which supersedes present relations may have been formulated in an anterior epoch. To accord theory an autonomous existence outside the objective movement of history would obviously be neither materialist nor dialectical in the Hegelian sense; it would simply be an idealist metaphysics. A dialectical conception comprehends every form without exception in terms of the flow of this movement, and it necessarily follows from it that Marx’s and Engels’s theory of social revolution inevitably underwent considerable changes in the course of its further development. When Marx in 1864 drafted the Inaugural Address and the Statutes of the First International he was perfectly conscious of the fact that time was needed for the reawakened movement to permit the old audacity of language. This is of course true not only for language but for all the other components of the theory of the movement. Therefore the scientific socialism of the Capital of 1867 – 94 and the other later writings of Marx and Engels represent an expression of the general theory of Marxism, which is in many ways a different and more developed one than that of the direct revolutionary communism of the Manifesto of 1847 – 8 – or for that matter, The Poverty of Philosophy, The Class Struggles in France and The Eighteenth Brumaire. Nevertheless, the central characteristic of Marxist theory remains essentially unaltered even in the later writings of Marx and Engels. For in its later version, as scientific socialism, the Marxism of Marx and Engels remains the inclusive whole of a theory of social revolution. The difference is only that in the later phase the various components of this whole, its economic, political and ideological elements, scientific theory and social practice, are further separated out. We can use an expression of Marx’s and say that the umbilical cord of its natural combination has been broken. In Marx and Engels, however, this never produces a multiplicity of independent elements instead of the whole. It is merely that another combination of the components of the system emerges developed with greater scientific precision and built on the infrastructure of the critique of political economy. In the writings of its creators, the Marxist system itself never dissolves into a sum of separate branches of knowledge, in spite of a practical and outward employment of its results that suggests such a conclusion. For example, many bourgeois interpreters of Marx and some later Marxists thought they were able to distinguish between the historical and the theoretico-economic material in Marx’s major work Capital; but all they proved by this is that they understood nothing of the real method of Marx’s critique of political economy. For it is one of the essential signs of his dialectical materialist method that this distinction does not exist for it; it is indeed precisely a theoretical comprehension of history. Moreover, the unbreakable interconnection of theory and practice, which formed the most characteristic sign of the first communist version of Marx’s materialism, was in no way abolished in the later form of his system. It is only to the superficial glance that a pure theory of thought seems to have displaced the practice of the revolutionary will. This revolutionary will is latent, yet present, in every sentence of Marx’s work and erupts again and again in every decisive passage, especially in the first volume of Capital. One need only think of the famous seventh section of Chapter 24 on the historical tendency of capital accumulation.

    On the other hand, it has to be said that the supporters and followers of Marx, despite all their theoretical and methodological avowals of historical materialism, in fact divided the theory of social revolution into fragments. The correct materialist conception of history, understood theoretically in a dialectical way and practically in a revolutionary way, is incompatible with separate branches of knowledge that are isolated and autonomous, and with purely theoretical investigations that are scientifically objective in dissociation from revolutionary practice. Yet later Marxists came to regard scientific socialism more and more as a set of purely scientific observations, without any immediate connection to the political or other practices of class struggle. Sufficient proof of this is one writer’s account of the relation between Marxist science and politics, who was in the best sense a representative Marxist theoretician of the Second International. In December 1909, Rudolph Hilferding published his Finance Capital which attempts to ‘understand scientifically’ the economic aspects of the most recent development of capitalism ‘by inserting these phenomena into the theoretical system of classical political economy’. In the introduction he wrote:

    ‘Here it need only be said that for Marxism the study of politics itself aims only at the discovery of causal connections. Knowledge of the laws governing a society of commodity production reveals at once the determinants of the will of the classes of this society. For a Marxist, the task of scientific politics – a politics which describes causal connections - is to discover these determinants of the will of classes. Marxist politics, like Marxist theory, is free of value-judgements. It is therefore false simply to identify Marxism with socialism, although it is very common for Marxists and non-Marxists to do so. Logically Marxism, seen only as a scientific system and therefore apart from its historical effects, is only a theory of the laws of motion of society, which the Marxist conception of history formulated in general, while Marxist economics has applied it to the age of commodity production. The advent of socialism is a result of tendencies that develop in a society that produces commodities. But insight into the correctness of Marxism, which includes insight into the necessity of socialism, is in no way a result of value judgements and has no implications for practical behaviour. It is one thing to acknowledge a necessity and quite another to place oneself at the service of this necessity. It is more than possible that a man may be convinced of the final victory of socialism, and yet decides to fight against it. The insight into the laws of motion of society provided by Marxism ensures superiority to whoever has mastered them. The most dangerous opponents of socialism are undoubtedly those who have profited most from its experience.’

    According to Hilferding, Marxism is a theory which is logically ‘a scientific, objective and free science, without value judgements’. He has no difficulty in explaining the remarkable fact that people so often identify it with the struggle for socialism by invoking the ‘insuperable reluctance of the ruling class to accept the results of Marxism’ and therefore to take the ‘trouble’ to study such a ‘complicated system’. ‘Only in this sense is it the science of the proletariat and the opponent of bourgeois economics, since it otherwise holds unflinchingly to the claim made by every science of the objective and general validity of its conclusions’. Thus the materialist conception of history, which in Marx and Engels was essentially a dialectical one, eventually become something quite undialectical in their epigones. For one tendency, it has changed into a kind of heuristic principle of specialised theoretical investigation. For another, the fluid methodology of Marx’s materialist dialectic freezes into a number of theoretical formulations about the causal interconnection of historical phenomena in different areas of society – in other words it became something that could best be described as a general systematic sociology. The former school treated Marx’s materialist principle as merely a subjective basis for reflective judgement in Kant’s sense, while the latter dogmatically regarded the teachings of Marxist ‘sociology’ primarily as an economic system, or even a geographical and biological one. All these deformations and a row of other less important ones were inflicted on Marxism by its epigones in the second phase of its development, and they can be summarised in one all-inclusive formulation: a unified general theory of social revolution was changed into criticisms of the bourgeois economic order, of the bourgeois State, of the bourgeois system of education, of bourgeois religion, art, science and culture. These criticisms no longer necessarily develop by their very nature into revolutionary practices they can equally well develop, into all kinds of attempts at reform, which fundamentally remain within the limits of bourgeois society and the bourgeois State, and in actual practice usually did so. This distortion of the revolutionary doctrine of Marxism itself – into a purely theoretical critique that no longer leads to practical revolutionary action, or does so only haphazardly – is very clear if one compares the Communist Manifesto or even the 1864 Statutes of the First International drawn up by Marx, to the programmes of the Socialist Parties of Central and Western Europe in the second half of the nineteenth century, and especially to that of the German Social Democratic Party. It is well known how bitterly critical Marx and Engels were of the fact that German Social Democracy made almost entirely reformist demands in the political as well as cultural and ideological fields in their Gotha (1875) and Erfurt (1891) programmes. These documents contained not a whiff of the genuine materialist and revolutionary principle in Marxism. Indeed, towards the end of the century this situation led to the assaults of revisionism on orthodox Marxism. Eventually, at the start of the twentieth century, the first signs of the approaching storm heralded a new period of conflicts and revolutionary battles, and thereby led to the decisive crisis of Marxism in which we still find ourselves today.

    Both processes may be seen as necessary phases of a total ideological and material development – once it is understood that the decline of the original Marxist theory of social revolution into a theoretical critique of society without any revolutionary consequences is for dialectical materialism a necessary expression of parallel changes in the social practice of the proletarian struggle. Revisionism appears as an attempt to express in the form of a coherent theory the reformist character acquired by the economic struggles of the trade unions and the political struggles of the working class parties, under the influence of altered historical conditions. The so-called orthodox Marxism of this period (now a mere vulgar-Marxism) appears largely as an attempt by theoreticians, weighed down by tradition, to maintain the theory of social revolution which formed the first version of Marxism, in the shape of pure-theory. This theory was wholly abstract and had no practical consequences - it merely sought to reject the new reformist theories, in which the real character of the historical movement was then expressed as un-Marxist. This is precisely why, in a new revolutionary period, it was the orthodox Marxists of the Second International who were inevitably the least able to cope with such questions as the relation between the State and proletarian revolution. The revisionists at least possessed a theory of the relationship of the ‘working people’ to the State, although this theory was in no way a Marxist one. Their theory and practice had long since substituted political, social and cultural reforms within the bourgeois State for a social revolution that would seize, smash and replace it by the dictatorship of the proletariat. The orthodox Marxists were content to reject this solution to the problems of the transitional period as a violation of the principles of Marxism. Yet with all their orthodox obsession with the abstract letter of Marxist theory they were unable to preserve its original revolutionary character. Their scientific socialism itself had inevitably ceased to be a theory of social revolution. Over a long period, when Marxism was slowly spreading throughout Europe, it had in fact no practical revolutionary task to accomplish. Therefore problems of revolution had ceased, even in theory, to exist as problems of the real world for the great majority of Marxists, orthodox as well as revisionist. As far as the reformists were concerned these problems had disappeared completely. But even for the orthodox Marxists they had wholly lost the immediacy with which the authors of the Manifesto had confronted them, and receded into a distant and eventually quite transcendental future. In this period people became used to pursuing here and now policies of which revisionism may be seen as the theoretical expression. Officially condemned by party congresses, this revisionism was in the end accepted no less officially by the trade unions. At the beginning of the century, a new period of development put the question of social revolution back on the agenda as a realistic and terrestrial question in all its vital dimensions. Therewith purely theoretical orthodox Marxism – till the outbreak of the World War the officially established version of Marxism in the Second International – collapsed completely and disintegrated. This was, of course, an inevitable result of its long internal decay. It is in this epoch that we can see in many countries the beginnings of third period of development, above all represented by Russian Marxists, and often described by its major representatives as a ‘restoration’ of Marxism.

    This transformation and development of Marxist theory has been effected under the peculiar ideological guise of a return to the pure teaching of original or true Marxism. Yet it is easy to understand both the reasons for this guise and the real character of the process which is concealed by it. What theoreticians like Rosa Luxemburg in Germany and Lenin in Russia have done, and are doing, in the field of Marxist theory is to liberate it from the inhibiting traditions of the Social Democracy of the second period. They thereby answer the practical needs of the new revolutionary stage of proletarian class struggle, for these traditions weighed ‘like a nightmare’ on the brain of the working masses whose objectively revolutionary socioeconomic position no longer corresponded to these evolutionary doctrines. The apparent revival of original Marxist theory in the Third International is simply a result of the fact that in a new revolutionary period not only the workers’ movement itself, but the. theoretical conceptions of communists which express it, must assume an explicitly revolutionary form. This is why large sections of the Marxist system, which seemed virtually forgotten in the final decades of the nineteenth century, have now come to life again. It also explains why the leader of the Russian Revolution could write a book a few months before October in which he stated that his aim was ‘in the first place to restore the correct Marxist theory of the State’. Events themselves placed the question of the dictatorship of the proletariat on the agenda as a practical problem. When Lenin placed the same question theoretically on the agenda at a decisive moment, this was an early indication that the internal connection of theory and practice within revolutionary Marxism had been consciously re-established. A fresh examination of the problem of Marxism and philosophy would also seem to be an important part of this restoration. A negative judgement is clear from the start. The minimisation of philosophical problems by most Marxist theoreticians of the Second International was only a partial expression of the loss of the practical, revolutionary character of the Marxist movement which found its general expression in the simultaneous decay of the living principles of dialectical materialism in the vulgar-Marxism of the epigones. We have already mentioned that Marx and Engels themselves always denied that scientific socialism was any longer a philosophy. But it is easy to show irrefutably, by reference to the sources, that what the revolutionary dialecticians Marx and Engels meant by the opposite of philosophy was something very different from what it meant to later vulgar-Marxism. Nothing was further from them than the claim to impartial, pure, theoretical study, above class differences, made by Hilferding and most of the other Marxists of the Second International. The scientific socialism of Marx and Engels, correctly understood, stands in far greater contrast to these pure sciences of bourgeois society (economics, history or sociology) than it does to the philosophy in which the revolutionary movement of the Third Estate once found its highest theoretical expression. Consequently, one can only wonder at the insight of more recent Marxists who have been misled by a few of Marx’s well-known expressions and by a few of the later Engels, into interpreting the Marxist abolition of philosophy as the replacement of this philosophy by a system of abstract and undialectical positive sciences. The real contradiction between Marx’s scientific socialism and all bourgeois philosophy and sciences consists entirely in the fact that scientific socialism is the theoretical expression of a revolutionary process, which will end with the total abolition of these bourgeois philosophies and sciences, together with the abolition of the material relations that find their ideological expression in them.

    A re-examination of the problem of Marxism and philosophy is therefore very necessary, even on the theoretical level, in order to restore the correct and full sense of Marx’s theory, denatured and banalised by the epigones. However, just as in the case of Marxism and the State, this theoretical task really arises from the needs and pressures of revolutionary practice. In the period of revolutionary transition, after its seizure of power, the proletariat must accomplish definite revolutionary tasks in the ideological field, no less than in the political and economic fields – tasks which constantly interact with each other. The scientific theory of Marxism must become again what it was for the authors of the Communist Manifesto - not as a simple return but as a dialectical development: a theory of social revolution that comprises all areas of society as a totality. Therefore we must solve in a dialectically materialist fashion not only ‘the question of the relationship of the State to social revolution and of social revolution to the State’ (Lenin), but also the ‘question of the relationship of ideology to social revolution and of social revolution to ideology’. To avoid these questions in the period before the proletarian revolution leads to opportunism and creates a crisis within Marxism, just as avoidance of the problem of State and revolution in the Second International led to opportunism and indeed provoked a crisis in the camp of Marxism. To evade a definite stand on these ideological problems of the transition can have disastrous political results in the period after the proletarian seizure of State power, because theoretical vagueness and disarray can seriously impede a prompt and energetic approach to problems that then arise in the ideological field. The major issue of the relation of the proletarian revolution to ideology was no less neglected by Social Democrat theoreticians than the political problem of the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat. Consequently in this new revolutionary period of struggle it must be posed anew and the correct – dialectical and revolutionary – conception of original Marxism must be restored. This task can only be resolved by first investigating the problem which led Marx and Engels to the question of ideology: how is philosophy related to the social revolution of the proletariat and how is the social revolution of the proletariat related to philosophy? An answer to this question is indicated by Marx and Engels themselves and may be deduced from Marx’s materialist dialectics. It will lead us on to a larger question: how is Marxist materialism related to ideology in general?

    What is the relation of the scientific socialism of Marx and Engels to philosophy? ‘None’, replies vulgar-Marxism. In this perspective it is precisely the new materialist and scientific standpoint of Marxism which has refuted and superseded the old idealist philosophical standpoint. All philosophical ideas and speculations are thereby shown to be unreal – vacuous fantasies which still haunt a few minds as a kind of superstition, which the ruling class has a concrete material interest in preserving. Once capitalism is overthrown the remains of these fantasies will disappear at once.

    One has only to reflect on this approach to philosophy in all its shallowness, as we have tried to do, to realise at once that such a solution to the problem of philosophy has nothing in common with the spirit of Marx’s modern dialectical materialism. It belongs to the age in which that ‘genius of bourgeois stupidity’, Jeremy Bentham, explained ‘Religion’ in his Encyclopedia with the rubric ‘crude superstitious opinions’. It is part of an atmosphere which was created in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and which inspired Eugen Dühring to write that in a future society, constructed according to his plans, there would be no religious cults – for a correctly understood system of sociability would suppress all the apparatus needed for spiritual sorcery, and with it all the essential components of these cults. The outlook with which modern or dialectical materialism – the new and only scientific view of the world according to Marx and Engels – confronts these questions is in complete contrast to this shallow, rationalist and negative approach to ideological phenomena such as religion and philosophy. To present this contrast in all its bluntness one can say: it is essential for modern dialectical materialism to grasp philosophies and other ideological systems in theory as realities, and to treat them in practice as such. In their early period Marx and Engels began their whole revolutionary activity by struggling against the reality of philosophy; and it will be shown that, although later they did radically alter their view of how philosophical ideology was related to other forms within ideology as a whole, they always treated ideologies – including philosophy – as concrete realities and not as empty fantasies.

    In the 1840s Marx and Engels began the revolutionary struggle - initially on a theoretical and philosophical plane for the emancipation of the class which stands ‘not in partial opposition to the consequences, but in total opposition to the premises’ of existing society as a whole. They were convinced that they were thereby attacking an extremely important part of the existing social order. In the editorial of the Rheinische Zeitung in 1842, Marx had already stated that ‘philosophy does not stand outside the world, just as the brain does not stand outside man merely because it is not in his stomach’. He repeats this later in the Introduction to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right: ’Previous philosophy itself belongs to this world and is its, albeit idealist, elaboration. This is the work of which fifteen years later, in the Preface to the Critique of Political Economy, Marx said that in it he definitively accomplished the transition to his later materialist position. Precisely when Marx, the dialectician, effected this transition from the idealist to the materialist conception, he made it quite explicit that the practically oriented political party in Germany at the time, which rejected all philosophy, was making as big a mistake as the theoretically oriented political party, which failed to condemn philosophy as such. The latter believed that it could combat the reality of the German world from a purely philosophical standpoint, that is, with propositions that were derived in one way or another from philosophy (much as Lassalle was later to do by invoking Fichte). It forgot that the philosophical standpoint itself was part of this dominant German world. But the practically oriented political party was basically trapped by the same limitation because it believed that the negation of philosophy ‘can be accomplished by turning one’s back on philosophy, looking in the opposite direction and mumbling some irritable and banal remarks about it’. It too did not regard ‘philosophy as part of German reality’. The theoretically oriented party erroneously believed that ‘it could realise philosophy in practice without superseding it in theory’. The practically oriented party made a comparable mistake by trying to supersede philosophy in practice without realising it in theory – in other words, without grasping it as a reality.

    It is clear in what sense Marx (and Engels who underwent an identical development at the same time – as he and Marx often later explained) had now really surpassed the merely philosophical standpoint of his student days; but one can also see how this process itself still had a philosophical character. There are three reasons why we can speak of a surpassal of the philosophical standpoint. First, Marx’s theoretical standpoint here is not just partially opposed to the consequences of all existing German philosophy, but is in total opposition to its premises; (for both Marx and Engels this philosophy was always more than sufficiently represented by Hegel). Second, Marx is opposed not just to philosophy, which is only the head or ideal elaboration of the existing world, but to this world as a totality. Third, and most importantly, this opposition is not just theoretical but is also practical and active. ‘The philosophers have only interpreted the world, our task is to change it’, announces the last of the Theses on Feuerbach. Nevertheless, this general surpassal of the purely philosophical standpoint still incorporates a philosophical character. This becomes clear, once one realises how little this new proletarian science differs from previous philosophy in its theoretical character, even though Marx substitutes it for bourgeois idealist philosophy as a system radically distinct in its orientation and aims. German idealism had constantly tended, even on the theoretical level, to be more than just a theory or philosophy. This is comprehensible in the light of its relation to the revolutionary movement of the bourgeoisie (discussed above), and will be studied further in a later work. This tendency was typical of Hegel’s predecessors - Kant, Schelling and especially Fichte. Although Hegel himself to all appearances reversed it, he too in fact allotted philosophy a task that went beyond the realm of theory and became in a certain sense practical. This task was not of course to change the world, as it was for Marx, but rather to reconcile Reason as a self-conscious Spirit with Reason as an actual Reality, by means of concepts and comprehension. German idealism from Kant to Hegel did not cease to be philosophical when it affirmed this universal role (which is anyway what is colloquially thought to be the essence of any philosophy). Similarly it is incorrect to say that Marx’s materialist theory is no longer philosophical merely because it has an aim that is not simply theoretical but is also a practical and revolutionary goal. On the contrary, the dialectical materialism of Marx and Engels is by its very nature a philosophy through and through, as formulated in the eleventh thesis on Feuerbach and in other published and unpublished writings of the period. It is a revolutionary philosophy whose task is to participate in the revolutionary struggles waged in all spheres of society against the whole of the existing order, by fighting in one specific area – philosophy. Eventually, it aims at the concrete abolition of philosophy as part of the abolition of bourgeois social reality as a whole, of which it is an ideal component. In Marx’s words: ‘Philosophy cannot be abolished without being realised.’ Thus just when Marx and Engels were progressing from Hegel’s dialectical idealism to dialectical materialism, it is clear that the abolition of philosophy did not mean for them its simple rejection. Even when their later positions are under consideration, it is essential to take it as a constant starting point that Marx and Engels were dialecticians before they were materialists. The sense of their materialism is distorted in a disastrous and irreparable manner if one forgets that Marxist materialism was dialectical from the very beginning. It always remained a historical and dialectical materialism, in contrast to Feuerbach’s abstract-scientific materialism and all other abstract materialisms, whether earlier or later, bourgeois or vulgar-Marxist. In other words, it was a materialism whose theory comprehended the totality of society and history, and whose practice overthrew it. It was therefore possible for philosophy to become a less central component of the socio-historical process for Marx and Engels, in the course of their development of materialism, than it had seemed at the start. This did in fact occur. But no really dialectical materialist conception of history (certainly not that of Marx and Engels) could cease to regard philosophical ideology, or ideology in general, as a material component of general socio-historical reality – that is, a real part which had to be grasped in materialist theory and overthrown by materialist practice.

    In his Theses on Feuerbach Marx contrasts his new materialism not only to philosophical idealism, but just as forcefully to every existing materialism. Similarly, in all their later writings, Marx and Engels emphasised the contrast between their dialectical materialism and the normal, abstract and undialectical version of materialism. They were especially conscious that this contrast was of great importance for any theoretical interpretation of so-called mental or ideological realities, and their treatment in practice. Discussing mental representations in general, and the method necessary for a concrete and critical history of religion in particular, Marx states:

    ‘It is in fact much easier to uncover the earthly kernel within nebulous religious ideas, through analysis, than it is to do the opposite, to see how these heavenly forms develop out of actual concrete relations.

    The latter is the only materialist and therefore scientific method. A theoretical method which was content in good Feuerbachian fashion to reduce all ideological representations to their material and earthly kernel would be abstract and undialectical. A revolutionary practice confined to direct action against the terrestrial kernel of nebulous religious ideas, and unconcerned with overthrowing and superseding these ideologies themselves, would be no less so. When vulgar-Marxism adopts this abstract and negative attitude to the reality of ideologies, it makes exactly the same mistake as those proletarian theoreticians) past and present, who use the Marxist thesis of the economic determination of legal relations, state forms and political action, to argue that the proletariat can and should confine itself to direct economic action alone. It is well known that Marx strongly attacked tendencies of this kind in his polemics against Proudhon and others. In different phases of his life, wherever he came across views like this, which still survive in contemporary syndicalism, Marx always emphasised that this ‘transcendental underestimation’ of the State and political action was completely unmaterialist. It was therefore theoretically inadequate and practically dangerous.

    This dialectical conception of the relationship of economics to politics became such an unalterable part of Marxist theory that even the vulgar-Marxists of the Second International were unable to deny that the problem of the revolutionary transition existed, at least in theory, although they ignored the problem in practice. No orthodox Marxist could even in principle have claimed that a theoretical and practical concern with politics was unnecessary for Marxism. This was left to the syndicalists, some of whom invoke Marx, but none of whom have ever claimed to be orthodox Marxists. However, many good Marxists did adopt a theoretical and practical position on the reality of ideology which was identical to that of the syndicalists. These materialists are with Marx in condemning the syndicalist refusal of political action and in declaring that the social movement must include the political movement. They often argue against anarchists that even after the victorious proletarian revolution, and in spite of all the changes undergone by the bourgeois State, politics will long continue to be a reality. Yet these very people fall straight into the anarcho-syndicalist ‘transcendental underestimation’ of ideology when they are told that intellectual struggle in the ideological field cannot be replaced or eliminated by the social movement of proletariat alone, or by its social and political movements combined. Even today most Marxist theoreticians conceive of the efficacy of so-called intellectual phenomena in a purely negative, abstract and undialectical sense, when they should analyse this domain of social reality with the materialist and scientific method moulded by Marx and Engels. Intellectual fife should be conceived in union with social and political life, and social being and becoming (in the widest sense, as economics, politics or law) should be studied in union with social consciousness in its many different manifestations, as a real yet also ideal (or ‘ideological’) component of the historical process in general. Instead all consciousness is approached with totally abstract and basically metaphysical dualism, and declared to be a reflection of the one really concrete and material developmental process, on which it is completely dependent (even if relatively independent, still dependent in the last instance).

    Given this situation, any theoretical attempt to restore what Marx regarded as the only scientific, dialectical materialist conception and treatment of ideological realities, inevitably encounters even greater theoretical obstacles than an attempt to restore the correct Marxist theory of the State. The distortion of Marxism by the epigones in the question of the State and politics merely consisted in the fact that the most prominent theoreticians of the Second International never dealt concretely enough with the most vital political problems of the revolutionary transition. However, they at least agreed in abstract, and emphasised strongly in their long struggles against anarchists and syndicalists that, for materialism, not only the economic structure of society, which underlay all other socio-historical phenomena, but also the juridical and political superstructure of Law and the State were realities. Consequently, they could not be ignored or dismissed in an anarcho-syndicalist fashion: they had to be overthrown in reality by a political revolution. In spite of this, many vulgar-Marxists to this day have never, even in theory, admitted that intellectual life and forms of social consciousness are comparable realities. Quoting certain statements by Marx and especially Engels they simply explain away the intellectual (ideological) structures of society as a mere pseudo-reality which only exists in the minds of ideologues – as error, imagination and illusion, devoid of a genuine object. At any rate, this is supposed to be true for all the so-called ‘higher’ ideologies. For this conception, political and legal representatives may have an ideological and unreal character, but they are at least related to something real – the institutions of Law and the State, which comprise the superstructure of the society in question. On the other hand, the ‘higher’ ideological representations (men’s religions, aesthetic and philosophical conceptions) correspond to no real object. This can be formulated concisely, with only a slight caricature, by saying that for vulgar-Marxism there are three degrees of reality: (i) the economy, which in the last instance is the only objective and totally non-ideological reality; (2) Law and the State, which are already somewhat less real because clad in ideology, and (3) pure ideology which is objectless and totally unreal (‘pure rubbish’).

    To restore a genuine dialectically materialist conception of intellectual reality, it is first necessary to make a few mainly terminological points. The key problem to settle here is how in general to approach the relationship of consciousness to its object. Terminologically, it must be said that it never occurred to Marx and Engels to describe social consciousness and intellectual life merely as ideology. Ideology is only a false consciousness, in particular one that mistakenly attributes an autonomous character to a partial phenomena of social life. Legal and political representations which conceive Law and the State to be independent forces above society are cases in point. In the passage where Marx is most precise about his terminology, he says explicitly that within the complex of material relations that Hegel called civil society, "the social relations of production ... the economic structure of society forms the real foundation on which arise juridical and political superstructures and to which determinate forms of social consciousness correspond”. In particular, these forms of social consciousness which are no less real than Law and the State, include commodity fetishism, the concept of value, and other economic representations derived from them. Marx and Engels analysed these in their critique of political economy. What is strikingly characteristic of their treatment is that they never refer to this basic economic ideology of bourgeois society as an ideology. In their terminology only "the legal, political, religious, aesthetic or philosophical forms of consciousness” are ideological. Even these need not be so in all situations, but become so only under specific conditions which have already been stated. The special position now allotted to forms of economic consciousness marks the new conception of philosophy which distinguishes the fully matured dialectical materialism of the later period from its undeveloped earlier version. The theoretical and practical criticisms of philosophy is henceforward relegated to the second, third, fourth or even last but one place in their critique of society. The ‘critical philosophy’ which the Marx of the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher saw as his essential task became a more radical critique of society, which went to the roots of it through a critique of political economy. Marx once said that a critic could ’start from any form of philosophical and practical consciousness and develop from the specific forms of existent reality, its true reality and final end’. But he later became aware that no juridical relations, constitutional structures or forms of social consciousness can be understood in themselves or even in Hegelian or post-Hegelian terms of the general development of the human Spirit. For they are rooted in the material conditions of life that form ‘the material basis and skeleton’ of social organisation as a whole. A radical critique of bourgeois society can no longer start from ‘any’ form of theoretical or practical consciousness whatever, as Marx thought as late as 1843. It must start from the particular forms of consciousness which have found their scientific expression in the political economy of bourgeois society. Consequently the critique of political economy is theoretically and practically the first priority. Yet even this deeper and more radical version of Marx’s revolutionary critique of society never ceases to be a critique of the whole of bourgeois society and so of all its forms of consciousness. It may seem as if Marx and Engels were later to criticise philosophy only in an occasional and haphazard manner. In fact, far from neglecting the subject, they actually developed their critique of it in a more profound and radical direction. For proof, it is only necessary to re-establish the full revolutionary meaning of Marx’s critique of political economy, as against certain mistaken ideas about it which are common today. This may also serve to clarify both its place in the whole system of Marx’s critique of society, and its relation to his critique of ideologies like philosophy.

    It is generally accepted that the critique of political economy - the most important theoretical and practical component of the Marxist theory of society – includes not only a critique of the material relations of production of the capitalist epoch but also of its specific forms of social consciousness. Even the pure and impartial ‘scientific science’ of vulgar-Marxism acknowledges this. Hilferding admits that scientific knowledge of the economic laws of a society is also a ‘scientific politics’ in so far as it shows ‘the determinant factors which define the will of the classes in this society’. Despite this relation of economics to politics, however, in the totally abstract and undialectical conception of vulgar-Marxism, the critique of political economy has a purely theoretical role as a ‘science’. Its function is to criticise the errors of bourgeois economics, classical or vulgar. By contrast, a proletarian political party uses the results of critical and scientific investigation for its practical ends - ultimately the overthrow of the real economic structure of capitalist society and of its relations of production. (On occasion, the results of this Marxism can also be used against the proletarian party itself, as by Simkhovitch or Paul Lensch.)

    The major weakness of vulgar socialism is that, in Marxist terms, it clings quite ‘unscientifically’ to a naive realism – in which both so-called common sense, which is the ‘worst metaphysician’, and the normal positivist science of bourgeois society, draw a sharp line of division between consciousness and its object. Neither are aware that this distinction had ceased to be completely valid even for the transcendental perspective of critical philosophy, and has been completely superseded in dialectical philosophy. At best, they imagine that something like this might be true of Hegel’s idealist dialectic. It is precisely this, they think, that constitutes the ‘mystification’ which the dialectic according to Marx, ‘suffered at Hegel’s hands’. It follows therefore for them that this mystification must be completely eliminated from the rational form of the dialectic: the materialist dialectic of Marx. In fact, we shall show, Marx and Engels were very far from having any such dualistic metaphysical conception of the relationship of consciousness to reality – not only in their first (philosophical) period but also in their second (positive-scientific) period. It never occurred to them that they could be misunderstood in this dangerous way. Precisely because of this, they sometimes did provide considerable pretexts for such misunderstandings in certain of their formulations (although these can easily be corrected by a hundred times as many other formulations). For the coincidence of consciousness and reality characterises every dialectic, including Marx’s dialectical materialism. Its consequence is that the material relations of production of the capitalist epoch only are what they are in combination with the forms in which they are reflected in the pre-scientific and bourgeois-scientific consciousness of the period; and they could not subsist in reality without these forms of consciousness. Setting aside any philosophical considerations, it is therefore clear that without this coincidence of consciousness and reality, a critique of political economy could never have become the major component of a theory of social revolution. The converse follows. Those Marxist theoreticians for whom Marxism was no longer essentially a theory of social revolution could see no need for this dialectical conception of the coincidence of reality and consciousness: it was bound to appear to them as theoretically false and unscientific.

    In the different periods of their revolutionary activity, Marx and Engels speak of the relationship of consciousness to reality at the economic level, or the higher levels of politics and law, or on the highest levels of art, religion and philosophy. It is always necessary to ask in what direction these remarks are aimed (they are nearly always, above all in the late period, only remarks!). For their import is very different, depending on whether they are aimed at Hegel’s idealist and speculative method or at ‘the ordinary method’, essentially Wolff’s metaphysical method, which has become fashionable once again’. After Feuerbach had ‘dispatched speculative concepts’, the latter re-emerged in the new natural-scientific materialism of Büchner, Vogt and Moleschott and ‘even bourgeois economists wrote large rambling books’ inspired by it. From the outset, Marx and Engels had to clarify their position only with regard to the first, Hegelian method. They never doubted that they had issued from it. Their only problem was how to change the Hegelian dialectic from a method proper to a superficially idealist, but secretly materialist conception of the world into the guiding principle of an explicitly materialist view of history and society. Hegel had already taught that a philosophico-scientific method was not a mere form of thought which could be applied indiscriminately to any content. It was rather ‘the structure of the whole presented in its pure essence’. Marx made the same point in an early writing: ‘Form has no value if it is not the form of its content.’ As Marx and Engels said, it then became a logical and methodological question of ‘stripping the dialectical method of its idealist shell and presenting it in the simple form in which it becomes the only correct form of intellectual development’. Marx and Engels were confronted with the abstract speculative form in which Hegel bequeathed the dialectical method and which the different Hegelian schools had developed in an even more abstract and formal way. They therefore made vigorous counter-statements, such as: all thought is nothing but the ‘transformation of perceptions and representations into concepts’; even the most general categories of thought are only ‘abstract, unilateral relations of a living totality that is already given’; an object which thought comprehends as real ‘remains as before, independent and external to the mind. Nevertheless, all their lives they rejected the undialectical approach which counterposes the thought, observation, perception and comprehension of an immediately given reality to this reality, as if the former were themselves also immediately given independent essences. This is best shown by a sentence from Engels’ attack on Dühring, which is doubly conclusive because it is widely believed that the later Engels degenerated into a thoroughly naturalistic-materialist view of the world by contrast to Marx, his more philosophically literate companion. It is precisely in one of his last writings that Engels, in the same breath as he describes thought and consciousness as products of the human brain and man himself as a product of nature, also unambiguously protests against the wholly ‘naturalistic’ outlook which accepts consciousness and thought ‘as something given, something straightforwardly opposed to Being and to Nature’. The method of Marx and Engels is not that of an abstract materialism, but of a dialectical materialism: it is therefore the only scientific method. For Marxism, pre-scientific, extra-scientific and scientific consciousness no longer exist over and against the natural and (above all) social-historical world. They exist within this world as a real and objective component of it, if also an ‘ideal’ one. This is the first specific difference between the materialist dialectic of Marx and Engels, and Hegel’s idealist dialectic. Hegel said that the theoretical consciousness of an individual could not ‘leap over’ his own epoch, the world of his time. Nevertheless he inserted the world into philosophy far more than he did philosophy into the world. This first difference between the Hegelian and Marxist dialectic is very closely related to a second one. As early as 1844 Marx wrote in The Holy Family:

    ‘Communist workers well know that property, capital, money, wage-labour and such like, far from being idealist fantasies are highly practical and objective products of their own alienation; they must be transcended in a practical and objective way so that man can become man, not only in thought and in consciousness, but in his (social) Being and in his life.’

    This passage states with full materialist clarity that, given the unbreakable interconnection of all real phenomena in bourgeois society as a whole, its forms of consciousness cannot be abolished through thought alone. These forms can only be abolished in thought and consciousness by a simultaneous practico-objective overthrow of the material relations of production themselves, which have hitherto been comprehended through these forms. This is also true of the highest forms of social consciousness, such as religion, and of medium levels of social being and consciousness, such as the family. This consequence of the new materialism is implied in the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, and is explicitly and comprehensively developed in the Theses on Feuerbach which Marx wrote in 1845 to clarify his own ideas.

    ‘The question of whether objective truth corresponds to human thought is not a theoretical question but a practical one. Man must prove the truth – that is, the reality, the power, and the immanence of his thought, in practice. The dispute about the reality or unreality of thought thought isolated from practice is purely scholastic.’

    It would be a dangerous misunderstanding to think that this means that criticism in practice merely replaces criticism in theory. Such an idea merely replaces the philosophical abstraction of pure theory with an opposite anti-philosophical abstraction of an equally pure practice. It is not in ‘human practice’ alone, but only ‘in human practice and in the comprehension of this practice’ that Marx as a dialectical materialist locates the rational solution of all mysteries that ‘lure theory into mysticism’. The translation of the dialectics from its mystification by Hegel to the ‘rational form’ of Marx’s materialist dialectic essentially means that it has become the guiding principle of a single theoretical-practical and critical-revolutionary activity. It is a ‘method that is by its very nature critical and revolutionary’.

    Even in Hegel ‘the theoretical was essentially contained in the practical’. ‘One must not imagine that man thinks on the one hand and wills on the other, that he has Thought in one pocket and Will in another; this would be a vacuous notion’. For Hegel, the practical task of the Concept in its ‘thinking activity’ (in other words, philosophy) does not lie in the domain of ordinary ‘practical human and sensuous activity’ (Marx). It is rather ‘to grasp what is, for that which is, is Reason’." By contrast, Marx concludes the self-clarification of his own dialectical method with the eleventh Thesis on Feuerbach:

    ‘The philosophers have only interpreted the world, it is now a question of changing it.’

    This does not mean, as the epigones imagine, that all philosophy is shown to be mere fantasy. It only expresses a categorical rejection of all theory, philosophical or scientific, that is not at the same time practice – real, terrestrial immanent, human and sensuous practice, and not the speculative activity of the philosophical idea that basically does nothing but comprehend itself. Theoretical criticism and practical overthrow are here inseparable activities, not in any abstract sense but as a concrete and real alteration of the concrete and real world of bourgeois society. Such is the most precise expression of the new materialist principle of the scientific socialism of Marx and Engels.

    We have now shown the real consequences of the dialectical materialist principle for a Marxist conception of the relationship of consciousness to reality. By the same token, we have shown the error of all abstract and undialectical conceptions found among various kinds of vulgar-Marxists in their theoretical and practical attitudes to so-called intellectual reality. Marx’s dictum is true not just of forms of economic consciousness in the narrower sense, but all forms of social consciousness: they are not mere chimeras, but ‘highly objective and highly practical’ social realities and consequently ‘must be abolished in a practical and objective manner’. The naively metaphysical standpoint of sound bourgeois common sense considers thought independent of being and defines truth as the correspondence of thought to an object that is external to it and ‘mirrored’ by it. It is only this outlook that can sustain the view that all forms of economic consciousness (the economic conceptions of a pre-scientific and unscientific consciousness, as well as scientific economics itself) have an objective meaning because they correspond to a reality (the material relations of production which they comprehend) whereas all higher forms of representation are merely objectless fantasies which will automatically dissolve into their essential nullity after the overthrow of the economic structure of society, and the abolition of its juridical and political superstructure. Economic ideas themselves only appear to be related to the material relations of production of bourgeois society in the way an image is related to the object it reflects. In fact they are related to them in the way that a specific, particularly defined part of a whole is related to the other parts of this whole. Bourgeois economics belongs with the material relations of production to bourgeois society as a totality. This totality also contains political and legal representations and their apparent objects, which bourgeois politicians and jurists - the ‘ideologues of private property’ (Marx) – treat in an ideologically inverted manner as autonomous essences. Finally, it also includes the higher ideologies of the art, religion and philosophy of bourgeois society. If it seems that there are no objects which these representations can reflect, correctly or incorrectly, this is because economic, political or legal representations do not have particular objects which exist independently either, isolated from the other phenomena of bourgeois society. To counterpose such objects to these representations is an abstract and ideological bourgeois procedure. They merely express bourgeois society as a totality in a particular way, just as do art, religion and philosophy. Their ensemble forms the spiritual structure of bourgeois society, which corresponds to its economic structure, just as its legal and political superstructure corresponds to this same basis. All these forms must be subjected to the revolutionary social criticism of scientific socialism, which embraces the whole of social reality. They must be criticised in theory and overthrown in practice, together with the economic, legal and political structures of society and at the same time as them. Just as political action is not rendered unnecessary by the economic action of a revolutionary class, so intellectual action is not rendered unnecessary by either political or economic action. On the contrary it must be carried through to the end in theory and practice, as revolutionary scientific criticism and agitational work before the seizure of state power by the working class, and as scientific organisation and ideological dictatorship after the seizure of state power. If this is valid for intellectual action against the forms of consciousness which define bourgeois society in general, it is especially true of philosophical action. Bourgeois consciousness necessarily sees itself as apart from the world and independent of it, as pure critical philosophy and impartial science, just as the bourgeois State and bourgeois Law appear to be above society. This consciousness must be philosophically fought by the revolutionary materialistic dialectic, which is the philosophy of the working class. This struggle will only end when the whole of existing society and its economic basis have been totally overthrown in practice, and this consciousness has been totally surpassed and abolished in theory. — ‘Philosophy cannot be abolished without being realised.’




  • #2
    Well Camano, you did it again!, presented us with a 'screed' that is of book length. Very nice read it was though. However, what does it prove? That Karl Korsch and others like him of the German school of thought, Herbert Marcuse too, considered all of the philosophical significance of Marxism and Engels to be a protracted and complex subject that even orthodox Marxists have problems in handling intellectually.

    Not so!, Marx and E. made it clear and unequivocable that philosophy was not superceded by their scientific socialism. What Marx and E. did was to demolish the school of German idealism which was basically the playground of German intellectuals, and which was in reality nothing more than 'bourgeois philosophy'. The ego of the German school of idealists rears its head once again, and it asserts like in play, if I can't have it my way, then I will pick up my marbles and leave. No more game allowed; the game of philosophy is over; you can't use the notions of German idealism to pursue Marxism, Leninism, Maoism, or any other ISM that claims to be communism. How wrong!, yea, non-valid to put it mildly, the German school of bourgeois philosophers are, is demonstrated by the Korsches and the Marcuses of that school They actually try to obsfucate and derail the Orthodox Marxists, and bring them over to their side by saying that they too are guilty of doing away with philosophy altogether. But what did Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Mao all endorse for orthodox communists, and it can be found in one way or another in all their works? It is the pravda or truth put forth for all orthodox communists;

    "COMMUNIST PHILOSOPHY IS THE INTELLECTUAL WEAPON OF THE MASSES, AND THE MASSES ARE THE MATERIAL WEAPON OF COMMUNIST PHILOSOPHY".
    E.1: TWO STEPS FORWARD, ONE STEP BACK - V.I. Lenin

    Comment


    • #3
      An Anti-Critique

      Karl Korsch 1930

      The Present State of the Problem of ‘Marxism and Philosophy’
      – An Anti-Critique

      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Written: by Karl Korsch in 1930, as a response to criticisms of Marxism and Philosophy;
      Source: Marxism and Philosophy. Karl Korsch, translated and with an Introduction by Fred Halliday, Monthly Review Press, 1970;
      Transcribed: by Andy Blunden for marxists.org, 2004, in its entirety.


      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      I
      Habent sua fata libelli [To each text its own fate]. In 1923 there appeared a work on a ‘problem of the greatest theoretical and practical importance: the relationship between Marxism and Philosophy’. It had a rigorously scientific character, but did not deny that the problem was practically related to the struggles of our age, which were then raging at their fiercest. It was prepared to receive a biased and negative theoretical reception from the tendency which it had attacked in practice. It might, on the other hand, have expected to get a fair and even friendly reception from the tendency whose practical orientation it had represented in theory, and with the tools of theory. The opposite occurred. The evaluation of Marxism and Philosophy by bourgeois philosophy and science evaded its practical premises and consequences, and interpreted its theoretical theses in a unilateral manner. Its representatives were therefore able to adopt a positive attitude towards the theoretical content of a work they had travestied. They did not provide a concrete presentation and criticism of the real theoretical and practical conclusion which all the analyses of the book served to establish and develop. Instead they unilaterally selected what, from the bourgeois point of view, was supposed to be the ‘good’ side of the work — its acknowledgment of intellectual realities. They ignored what was indeed the ‘bad’ side for the bourgeoisie — its call for the total destruction and abolition of these intellectual realities and their material basis: these goals were to be accomplished by a revolutionary class engaged in material and intellectual, practical and theoretical action. Bourgeois critics were thus able to hail a dissociated conclusion of the book as a scientific advance.[1] On the other hand, the authoritative members of the two dominant tendencies of contemporary official ‘Marxism’ sensed at once, with an unerring instinct, that this unassuming little book contained a heretical rejection of certain dogmas. Despite all their apparent disagreements, the two confessions of the old Marxist orthodox church still held these in common. They were therefore quick to denounce the book before their assembled Councils for containing views that were a deviation from accepted doctrine.[2]

      At both Party Congresses in 1924 the relevant ideological authorities reacted by condemning Marxism and Philosophy as heretical. What is at once most striking about the critical arguments on which they based this condemnation is the complete identity of their content — a somewhat unexpected one for tendencies whose theory and practice diverge in all other respects. The Social Democrat Wels condemned the views of ‘Professor Korsch’ as a ‘Communist’ heresy, and the Communist Zinoviev condemned them as a ‘Revisionist’ heresy. The difference, however, was merely terminological. In point of fact there is nothing new in the arguments directly or indirectly advanced against my views by Bammel and Luppol, Bukharin and Deborin, Béla Kun and Rudas, Thalheimer and Duncker, or other critics belonging to the communist movement. (Their attacks are connected with the recent inquisition against George Lukács which I will discuss later.) They have merely repeated and developed ancient arguments of that leading representative of the other camp of official Marxism Karl Kautsky, theoretician of the Social Democratic Party. Kautsky wrote a detailed review of my book in the theoretical journal of German Social Democracy.[3] He was under the illusion that in attacking my work he was attacking ‘all the theoreticians of Communism’. The real dividing line in this debate, however, is quite different. A fundamental debate on the general state of modern Marxism has now begun, and there are many indications that despite secondary, transient or trivial conflicts, the real division on all major and decisive questions is between the old Marxist orthodoxy of Kautsky allied to the new Russian or ‘Leninist’ orthodoxy on the one side, and all critical and progressive theoretical tendencies in the proletarian movement today on the other side.

      This general situation of contemporary Marxist theory explains why the great majority of my critics were far less concerned with the more limited set of questions defined by the title ‘Marxism and Philosophy’, than with two other problems which the book did not treat thoroughly but only touched upon. The first is the conception of Marxism itself which lies behind all the propositions in my text. The second is the more general problem of the Marxist concept of ideology, or of the relationship between consciousness and being, onto which the specific problem of the relationship between Marxism and Philosophy eventually debouched. On this latter point the theses I put forward in ‘Marxism and Philosophy’ agree in many ways with the propositions, founded on a broader philosophical basis, to be found in the dialectical studies of George Lukács, which appeared about the same time under the title History and Class Consciousness. In a ‘Postscript’ to my work I stated I was fundamentally in agreement with Lukács and postponed any discussion of the specific differences of method and content that remained between us. This was then quite incorrectly taken — especially by Communist critics — as an avowal of complete accord between us. In fact, I myself was not sufficiently aware at the time of the extent to which Lukács and I, despite our many theoretical similarities, did in fact diverge in more than just a few ‘detailed’ points. This is one reason — there are others which this is not the place to discuss — why I did not then respond to the insistent demand of my Communist assailants to ‘differentiate’ my views from those of Lukács. I preferred to allow these critics to go on indiscriminately assimilating the ‘deviations’ of Lukács and myself from the one ‘Marxist-Leninist’ doctrine which alone brings salvation. Today, in this second unaltered edition, I cannot again state that I am in basic agreement with Lukács’s views, as I once did. The other reasons which previously restrained me from any full exposition of our differences have also long since ceased to apply. Nevertheless, I still believe to this day that Lukács and I are objectively on the same side in our critical attitude towards the old Social Democratic Marxist orthodoxy and the new Communist orthodoxy. This is, after all, the central issue.

      II
      Marxism and Philosophy advanced a conception of Marxism that was quite undogmatic and anti-dogmatic, historical and critical, and which was therefore materialist in the strictest sense of the word. This conception involved the application of the materialist conception of history to the materialist conception of history itself. The orthodox critics of both old and new schools opposed this. Yet their first dogmatic counter-attack came in the guise of an extremely ‘historical’ and apparently quite ‘undogmatic’ accusation. They charged that my work showed a quite unjustified preference for the ‘primitive’ form in which Marx and Engels had originally founded their new dialectical materialist method, as a revolutionary theory that was directly related to revolutionary practice. I was alleged to have ignored the positive development of their theory by the Marxists of the Second International; and to have also completely overlooked the fact that Marx and Engels themselves had modified their original theory in important ways, so that it was only in a later form that it achieved its full historical elaboration.

      It is clear that this raises an issue of really major importance for the historical materialist view of Marxist theory. It concerns the successive phases of development through which Marxism has passed from its original conception up to the situation today, where it is split into different historical versions. It also involves the relationship of these different phases to each other and their significance for the general historical development of theory in the modern working-class movement.

      It is perfectly obvious that these different historical phases are bound to be evaluated in quite different ways by each of the dogmatic ‘Marxist’ tendencies which compete with each other in the socialist movement of today and which, even on the theoretical level, clash with greatest bitterness The collapse of the First International in the 1870s prefigured the collapse of the pre-1914 version of the Second International on the outbreak of the World War, in that both produced not one but several different tendencies, all of them invoking Marx and fighting each other for the ‘genuine ring’ — the right to claim the succession of true ‘Marxism’. It is best simply to cut through the Gordian knot of these dogmatic disputes and place oneself on the terrain of a dialectical analysis. This can be expressed symbolically by saying that the real ring has been lost. In other words, dogmatic calculations of how far the different versions of Marxist theory correspond to some abstract canon of ‘pure and unfalsified’ theory should be abandoned. All these earlier and later Marxist ideologies must on the contrary be seen in a historical, materialist and dialectical perspective as products of a historical evolution. The way one defines the different phases of this evolution, and their relations to each other, will depend on the angle from which one starts such an analysis. In my work, there is a discussion of the connection between Marxism and philosophy, and for this purpose I have distinguished three major periods of development through which Marxism has passed since its birth and in each of which its relation to philosophy has changed in a specific way.[4] This particular approach is valid only for the history of Marxism and Philosophy. This is particularly true for the second period I distinguished, which is too undifferentiated for other purposes. I dated this second period from the battle of June 1848 and the subsequent years of the 1850s, which saw an unprecedented new upswing in capitalism and the crushing of all the proletarian organizations and dreams that had arisen in the previous epoch. In my schema, this period lasted up to about the turn of the century.

      It would be quite possible to argue that this was too abstract a way of analysing the ties between Marxism and philosophy. For it involved treating an extremely long period as a single unity, and ignoring historical changes within it that were of great importance for the whole history of the workers’ movement. Yet it is undoubtedly true that in the whole of the second half of the nineteenth century there was no such decisive change in the relationship between Marxism and philosophy as that which occurred at the mid-century. For it was then that philosophy expired, affecting the whole of the German bourgeoisie, and in a different way the proletariat as well. However, a full history of the relationship between Marxist theory and philosophy after 1850 would naturally have to make certain other major distinctions in this period, if it were not to be content with tracing only the very general outlines of the process. In this respect my work did leave open a great number of questions. Yet as far as I know they have not been broached by anyone else. For example, in a famous passage at the end of his work Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy, Friedrich Engels refers in 1888 to the German workers’ movement as the ‘heir of classical German philosophy’. This might have been taken as more than just the first sign of the approaching third phase, when Marxism and philosophy began to interact positively once again. For Engels himself refers in his introduction to ‘a kind of rebirth of classical German philosophy abroad, in England and Scandinavia, and even in Germany itself’ — although this at first only involved the revisionist Kantian Marxists who were applying the bourgeois slogan ‘Back to Kant’ to Marxist theory. I described the dialectical materialist, critical revolutionary theory of Marx and Engels in the 1840s as an ‘anti-philosophy’ which yet in itself remained philosophical. It would be necessary to make a retrospective analysis of the four decades from 1850 to 1890 to show how this ‘anti-philosophy’ later developed in two separate directions. On the one hand, socialist ‘science’ became ‘positive’ and gradually turned away from philosophy altogether. On the other hand, a philosophical development occurred, apparently in conflict with the former but in fact complementary to it. This is first to be found in the late 1850s, in the writings of Marx and Engels themselves, and then later in those of their best disciples — Labriola in Italy and Plekhanov in Russia. Its theoretical character may be defined as a kind of return to Hegel’s philosophy and not just a return to the essentially critical and revolutionary ‘anti-philosophy’ of the Left Hegelians in the Sturm und Drang period of the 1840s.[5]

      This philosophical tendency of the later theory of Marx and Engels is not just to be found in the altered attitude to philosophy in Engels’s Feuerbach. It also had definite implications for the further development of Marxist economics: clear signs of this are already present in Marx’s 1859 Critique of Political Economy and in Capital. It had even more evident consequences for Engels’s special topic of the natural sciences: they may be seen in his Dialectics of Nature and Anti-Dühring. Given all this, one can only regard the ‘German workers’ movement’ as the ‘heir of classical German philosophy’ in so far as it ‘absorbed’ Marxist theory as a whole, including its philosophical aspects, with the birth of the Second International.

      But these are not the issues raised by those who have criticized the three periods I outlined in the history of Marxism. They have not tried to show that this periodization was useless even for the specific purposes of my investigation. They prefer to accuse me of tending to present the whole history of Marxism after 1850 in a negative light, as a single, linear and univocal process of decay suffered by the original revolutionary theory of Marx and Engels — not only in the domain of the relation of Marxism to philosophy, but in every domain.[6] They love to attack this position, though I have never adopted it. They compete with each other in pointing out the absurdity of a view they themselves have invented and attributed to me; that Marx and Engels were responsible for the degeneration of their own theory. They never tire of proving the undoubtedly positive nature of the process that led from the original revolutionary Communism of the Manifesto to the ‘Marxism of the First International’ and then to the Marxism of Capital and the later writings of Marx and Engels. Having first argued that the later Marx and Engels made a significant contribution to the development of Marxist theory, which no one denies, they end by slipping into a claim that the ‘Marxists of the Second International’ made a ‘positive’ contribution to it too. This is where it becomes obvious that there was a dogmatic preconception behind these attacks from the outset, though they all pretend to be concerned with the historical accuracy of my account of the development of Marxism after 1850. What this really involves is a straightforward dogmatic defence of the traditional and orthodox thesis that the theory of the Second International was basically Marxist all along (according to Kautsky) or at any rate until the ‘original sin’ of 4 August 1914 (according to the Communists).

      Kautsky is the clearest example of orthodox Marxist prejudices about the real historical development of Marxism. For him, it is not only the theoretical metamorphoses of the different Marxist tendencies of the Second International, but the ‘extension of Marxism undertaken by Marx and Engels with the Inaugural Address of 1864 and concluded with Engels’s introduction to the new edition of Marx’s Class Struggles in France in 1895’ which ‘broadened’ Marxism from a theory of proletarian revolution into a ‘theory valid not only for revolutionary phases but also for non-revolutionary periods’. At this stage, Kautsky had only robbed Marxist theory of its essentially revolutionary character: he still, however, professed to regard it as a ‘theory of class struggle’. Later he went much further. His most recent major work, The Materialist Conception of History, eliminates any essential connection between Marxist theory and proletarian struggle whatever. His whole protest against my alleged ‘charge’ that Marx and Engels impoverished and banalized Marxism is merely a cover for a scholastic and dogmatic attempt to base his own betrayal of Marxism on the ‘authority’ of Marx and Engels. He and others once made a pretence of accepting Marxist theory, but have long since denatured it out of recognition, and have now abandoned the last remnants of it.

      Yet it is exactly here that the theoretical solidarity of the new Communists with the old Marxist orthodoxy of Social Democracy emerges. Communist critics like Bammel argue that in my work ‘concepts like “the Marxism of the Second International” are obscured by an excessively abstract and schematized problematic’. This accusation conceals a dogmatic attempt to defend the ‘Marxism of the Second International’ whose spiritual legacy Lenin and his companions never abandoned, in spite of some things they said in the heat of battle. As Communist ‘theoreticians’ tend to do in such cases, Bammel avoids taking any responsibility himself for trying to rescue the honour of Second International Marxism. Instead he hides in Lenin’s ample shadow. He tries to explain to the reader what he means by attacking the allegedly ‘abstract and schematic’ way in which Marxism and Philosophy obscures the ‘Marxism of the Second International’, and he does this in standard scholastic fashion by quoting a sentence of Lenin in which he once acknowledged the ‘historical contribution of the Second International’ to advancing the modern workers’ movement.[7] Lenin was a great tactician and he made this remark in a highly complex tactical situation, when he was referring to the International’s practical contribution and not to its theoretical one. But Bammel stops short of his intention of extending Lenin’s praise of the good aspects of Social Democratic practice to Social Democratic theory. Instead of drawing this clear conclusion, he mumbles in ‘an excessively abstract and obscure way’ something to the effect that ‘it would not be difficult to show that it would be quite possible to say somewhat the same thing about the theoretical foundation of Marxism’.

      Since Marxism and Philosophy I have written a study elsewhere of the real historical nature of the ‘Marxism of the Second International’. What happened was that the socialist movement reawoke and grew stronger as historical conditions changed over the last third of the nineteenth century; yet contrary to what is supposed, it never adopted Marxism as a total system.’ According to the ideology of the orthodox Marxists and of their opponents, who share much the same dogmatic ground, it is to be believed that the whole of Marxism was adopted in both theory and practice. In fact all that was even theoretically adopted were some isolated economic, political and social ‘theories’, extracted from the general context of revolutionary Marxism. Their general meaning had thereby been altered; and their specific content usually truncated and falsified. The endless asseverations of the rigorously ‘Marxist’ character of the programme and theory of the movement do not date from the period in which the practice of the new Social Democratic workers’ movement approximated most to the revolutionary and class-combative character of Marxist theory. In this early period the ‘two old men in London’, and after Marx’s death in 1883, Friedrich Engels alone, were directly involved in the movement. Paradoxically, these asseverations date from a later period when certain other tendencies were gaining ground in both trade union and political practice, which were ultimately to find their ideological expression in ‘revisionism’. In fact, at the time when the practice of the movement was most revolutionary, its theory was essentially ‘populist’ and democratic (under the influence of Lassalle and Dühring) and only sporadically ‘Marxist’.’ This was the result of the impact of the periods of economic crisis and depression in the 1870s the political and social reaction following the defeat of the Paris Commune in 1871, the Anti-socialist laws in Germany, the defeat of the growing socialist movement in Austria in 1884 and the violent suppression of the movement for an eight-hour day in America in 1886. However, the 1890s saw a new industrial boom in Europe, especially in Germany, and therewith the first signs appeared of a ‘more democratic’ use of state power on the continent of Europe. This process included the French amnesty for the Communards in 188o, and the lapsing of the anti-socialist laws in Germany in 1890. In this new practical context, formal avowals of the Marxist system as a whole emerged as a kind of theoretical defence and metaphysical consolation. In this sense, one can actually invert the generally accepted relationship between Kautskyian ‘Marxism’ and Bernsteinian ‘revisionism’, and define Kautsky’s orthodox Marxism as the theoretical obverse and symmetrical complement of Bernstein’s revisionism.[10]

      In the light of this real historical situation, the complaints of orthodox Marxist critics against my work are not only unjustified but null and void. I am alleged to have a predilection for the ‘primitive’ form of the first historical version of the theory of Marx and Engels, and to have disregarded its positive development by Marx and Engels themselves , and by other Marxists in the second half of the nineteenth century. It is claimed that the ‘Marxism of the Second International’ represents an advance on original Marxist theory. Yet in fact it was a new historical form of proletarian class theory, which emerged from the altered practical context of the class struggle in a new historical epoch. Its relationship to the earlier or later versions of the theory of Marx and Engels is very different from, and essentially more complex than, the way it is presented by those who talk of a positive development, or conversely of a formal stagnation or regression and decay of Marx’s theory in the ‘Marxism of the Second International’. Marxism is therefore in no way a socialist theory that has been ‘superseded’ by the present outlook of the workers’ movement, as Kautsky maintains (formally he refers only to its earlier version, the ‘primitive Marxism of the Communist Manifesto’, but actually he includes all the later components of Marx and Engels’s theory as well). Nor is Marxism what it was claimed to be by the representatives of the revolutionary tendency within orthodox Social Democratic Marxism at the start of the third period towards 1900 or what some Marxists still consider it to be. It is not a theory that has miraculously anticipated the future development of the workers’ movement for a long time to come. Consequently it cannot be said that the subsequent practical progress of the proletariat has, as it were, lagged behind its own theory or that it will only gradually come to occupy the framework allotted to it by this theory.” When the SPD became a ‘Marxist’ party (a process completed with the Erfurt Programme written by Kautsky and Bernstein in 1891) a gap developed between its highly articulated revolutionary ‘Marxist’ theory and a practice that was far behind this revolutionary theory; in some respects it directly contradicted it. This gap was in fact obvious, and it later came to be felt more and more acutely by all the vital forces in the Party (whether on the Left or Right) and its existence was denied only by the orthodox Marxists of the Centre. This gap can easily be explained by the fact that in this historical phase ‘Marxism’, while formally accepted by the workers’ movement, was from the start not a true theory, in the sense of being ‘nothing other than a general expression of the real historical movement’ (Marx). On the contrary it was always an ideology that had been adopted ‘from outside’ in a pre-established form.

      In this situation such ‘orthodox Marxists’ as Kautsky and Lenin made a permanent virtue out of a temporary necessity. They energetically defended the idea that socialism can only be brought to the workers ‘from outside’, by bourgeois intellectuals who are allied to the workers’ movement.[12] This was also true of Left radicals like Rosa Luxemburg who talked of the ‘stagnation of Marxism’ and explained it by contrasting Marx to the proletariat: the one had creative power because he was armed with all the resources of a bourgeois education, while the other remains tied to ‘the social conditions of existence in our society’, which will continue unaltered throughout the capitalist epoch.[13] The truth is that a historical fact provides a materialist explanation of this apparent contradiction between theory and practice in the ‘Marxist’ Second International, and a rational solution for all the mysteries which the orthodox Marxists of that time devised to explain it. The fact is this. The workers’ movement at that time formally adopted ‘Marxism’ as its ideology; yet although its effective practice was now on a broader basis than before, it had in no way reached the heights of general and theoretical achievement earlier attained by the revolutionary movement and proletarian class struggle on a narrower basis. This height was attained during the final phase of the firs major capitalist cycle that came to an end towards 1850. At that time, the workers’ movement had achieved a peak of development. But it then came to a temporary yet complete halt, and only revived slowly, as conditions changed. Marx and Engels had initially conceived their revolutionary theory in direct relation to the practical revolutionary movement, but when this died down they could only continue their work as theory. It is true that this later development of Marxist theory was never just the production of ‘purely theoretical’ study; it was always a theoretical reflection of the latest practical experiences of the class struggle which was reawakening in various ways. Nevertheless it is clear that the theory of Marx and Engels was progressing towards an ever higher level of theoretical perfection although it was no longer directly related to the practice of the worker’s movement. Thus two processes unfolded side by side in relative independence of each other. One was the development under novel conditions of the old theory which had arisen in a previous historical epoch. The other was the new practice of the workers’ movement. It is this which explains the literally ‘anachronistic’ height which Marxist theory reached and surpassed in this period, generally and philosophically, in the work of Marx, Engels and some of their disciples. This is also why it was wholly impossible for this highly elaborate Marxist theory to be effectively and not just formally assimilated by the proletarian movement, whose practice reawakened during the last third of the nineteenth century.[14]

      III
      Orthodox Marxists, whether Social Democrats or Communists, have a second major criticism. This concerns my thesis in Marxism and Philosophy that there needs to be a new appraisal of the relation between philosophy and Marxism in the third phase of the development of Marxism which began at the turn of the century. In the period before this, various trends within Marxism had neglected and minimized the revolutionary philosophical content of the teaching of Marx and Engels — a neglect which took various forms but had a common outcome. By contrast, Marxism and Philosophy aimed to re-emphasize this philosophical side of Marxism. In doing so it stood opposed to all those groups within German and international Marxism which had earlier appeared as consciously Kantian, Machian or other philosophical ‘revisions’ of Marxism. The most prominent of these trends, which developed among the dominant centrist group within Orthodox Marxist Social Democracy, came more and more to adopt an anti-philosophical, scientifico-positivist conception of Marxism. Even such orthodox revolutionaries as Franz Mehring paid tribute to this view by endorsing its disdain for all philosophical ‘fantasies’. Nevertheless, it soon became clear that my conception of the revolutionary tasks of philosophy today was if possible even more antagonistic to a third trend. This was a tendency which had mainly emerged from the two factions of Russian Marxism and was now chiefly represented by the theoreticians of the new Bolshevik ‘Marxism-Leninism’.

      Both Georg Lukács’s studies on dialectical materialism and the first edition of my own work appeared in 1923. As soon as they became known, they were attacked with extraordinary hostility by the Party press in Russia and everywhere else. This was mainly due to the fact that the leadership of the Russian Party, under the slogan of ‘propagating Leninism’, had by then begun their campaign to ‘Bolshevize’ the ideology of all the non-Russian Parties that belonged to the Communist International.[15] This coincided with a sharpening of the struggle among Lenin’s successors for the legacy of Leninism (which had begun during his lifetime), and with the events of October and November 1923 in Germany which constituted a major defeat for the political practice of international Communism in the West. The central element of this ‘Bolshevized’ ideology was a strictly philosophical ideology that claimed to restore the true unfalsified philosophy of Marx. On this basis, it aimed to combat all other philosophical tendencies within the workers’ movement.

      As it moved westwards, this Marxist-Leninist philosophy encountered the works of Lukács, myself and other ‘Western’ Communists which formed an antagonistic philosophical tendency within the Communist International itself. This then led to the first real and direct philosophical discussion between the two revolutionary trends that had developed within the pre-war Social Democratic International. These were united only superficially in the Communist International, although their disagreements had hitherto been confined to political and tactical questions.[16] For certain historical reasons to be mentioned below, this philosophical discussion was only a weak echo of the political and tactical disputes that the two sides had conducted so fiercely some years before. It was soon obscured by the factional disputes that from 1925 onwards emerged in the Russian Party and which were then fought out mote and more fiercely in all the other Communist Parties. In spite of this, the discussion did have a certain importance for a time within the overall development. For it was a first attempt to break through what a Russian critic, who was extremely well informed on the theoretical situation on both sides, called the ,mutual impenetrability’ that had hitherto prevailed between the ideological positions of Russian and of Western Communism.[17]

      Let us sum up this philosophical dispute of 1924 in the ideological form that it took in the minds of those who participated in it. It was a dispute between, on the one hand, the Leninist interpretation of Marx and Engels’s materialism[18] which had already been formally canonized in Russia and, on the other hand, what were alleged to be views that ‘deviated’ from this canon in the direction of idealism, of Kant’s critical epistemology and of Hegel’s idealist dialectic. These were the views of George Lukács; and a number of other theoreticians in the German and Hungarian Communist Parties who were regarded with varying degrees of justice as his supporters.[19]

      In the case of Marxism and Philosophy, this accusation of an ‘idealist deviation’ was partially based on attributions to the author of views which he had never expressed in his work: in some cases he had explicitly rejected them, as in the case of his alleged denial of the ‘dialectics of nature’.[20] However, attacks were also directed at views that really did occur in Marxism and Philosophy, and especially against its repeated dialectical rejection of ‘naive realism’. The latter included both ‘so-called sound common sense, the worst metaphysician’, and the normal ‘positivist science’ of bourgeois society; it also included the sad heir of positivism today, namely, a vulgar-marxism that is devoid of any philosophical perspective. For all these ‘draw a sharp line of division between consciousness and its object’ and ‘treat consciousness as something given, something fundamentally contrasted to Being and Nature’ (as Engels pointed out against Dühring as early as 1878).

      Because I then believed that this view was self-evident to any materialist dialectician or revolutionary Marxist, I assumed rather than spelt out this critique of a primitive, pre-dialectical and even pre-transcendental conception of the relation between consciousness and being. But without realizing it I had hit on the very key to the ‘philosophical’ outlook which was then due to be dispensed from Moscow to the whole of the Western Communist world. Indeed it formed the basis of the new orthodox theory, so-called ‘Marxism-Leninism’. The professional exponents of the new Russian ‘Marxism-Leninism’ then replied to this supposedly ‘idealist’ attack by repeating the ABC of the ‘materialist’ alphabet they had learnt by heart.[21] This they did with a naivete that can only appear as a ,state of philosophical innocence’ to corrupt ‘Westerners’.

      I think that the specifically theoretical debate with Lenin’s materialist philosophy, which Lenin’s epigones have followed to the letter despite grotesque inconsistencies and crying contradictions in it, is itself of secondary importance. This is because when he was alive Lenin himself did not base this philosophy on any essentially theoretical formulation. Instead, he defended it on practical and political grounds as the only philosophy that was ‘beneficial’ to the revolutionary proletariat. He contrasted it with ‘harmful’ systems derived from Kantian, Machian and other idealist philosophies. This attitude is clearly expressed in his intimate correspondence on ‘philosophical’ questions with Maxim Gorki in the years following the first Russian Revolution of 1905. Though they were personal friends, they disagreed philosophically and Lenin tried again and again to persuade Gorky that ‘a member of the party has the duty to oppose a particular theory if he is convinced that it is completely incorrect and harmful’, and that the most important thing to do in the case of such an ‘absolutely unavoidable struggle’ is ‘to ensure that the essential practical work of the party is not impaired’.[22] Similarly the real importance of Lenin’s major philosophical work does not lie in the philosophical arguments he uses to combat and ‘refute’ the various idealist tendencies in modern bourgeois philosophy; of these Kantianism had influenced the revisionist tendency within the socialist movement of the period, while Machian ‘empirio-criticism’ had influenced the centrist tendency. The real importance of Lenin’s work rests in the extreme rigour with which he tried in practice to combat and destroy these contemporary philosophical trends. He regarded them as ideologies that were incorrect from the standpoint of party work.

      One vital point must be made here.[23] The author of this supposed restoration of the true materialist philosophy of Marx was quite clear about the kind of theoretical work Marx and Engels had carried out after finishing once and for all with the idealism of Hegel and the Hegelians in the 1840s:[24] ‘They limited themselves in the field of epistemology to correcting the mistakes of Feuerbach, to mocking at the banalities of Dühring, to criticizing the mistakes of Buchner, and to emphasizing dialectics — which is what these authors, who were very popular in working-class circles, lacked most of all.’ ‘Marx, Engels and Dietzgen did not bother about the basic truths of materialism. These were being hawked around the world by dozens of pedlars. They concentrated on preventing these basic truths from being vulgarized and simplified too far, from leading to intellectual stagnation (“materialism below, idealism above”), and on preventing the valuable fruit of the idealist system, Hegel’s dialectic, from being forgotten. These were the gems which idiots like Buchner, Dühring and co. (as well as Leclair, Mach, Avenarius, etc.) were unable to extract from the dungheap of absolute idealism.’ To put it briefly: a result of the way existing historical conditions affected the philosophical work of Marx and Engels was that ,they tended rather to distance themselves from vulgarizations of basic materialist truths than to defend these truths themselves’. Similarly, in their political work ‘they tended more to distance themselves from vulgar versions of the basic demands of political democracy than actually to defend these basic demands’. Lenin, however, argues that present historical conditions are, in this respect, completely different. He and all other revolutionary Marxists and materialists must now make it a leading priority to defend, not basic democratic political demands, but the ‘basic truths of philosophical materialism’ against their modern opponents in the bourgeois camp and their agents in the proletarian camp itself. These truths must be deliberately linked to the revolutionary bourgeois materialism of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and spread among the millions and millions of peasants and other backward masses throughout Russia, Asia and the whole world.[25]

      It is clear that Lenin is not primarily concerned with the theoretical problem of whether the materialist philosophy he propounds is true or untrue. He is concerned with the practical question of its use for the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat, or — in countries where capitalism is not fully developed — of the proletariat and other oppressed classes. Lenin’s ‘philosophical’ standpoint basically appears, therefore, to be a specific, if disguised version of the position which in a different form had already been discussed in the first edition of Marxism and Philosophy. This position was strongly criticized by Marx as a young man when he wrote of the ‘practically-oriented political party which imagines that it can supersede philosophy (in practice) without realizing it (in theory)’. Lenin decides philosophical questions only on the basis of non-philosophical considerations and results. He does not judge them on the basis of their theoretical and philosophical content as well. In so doing he commits the same mistakes as according to Marx the ‘practically-oriented political party in Germany’ committed. The latter believed it was accomplishing its justified aim of the ‘negation of all philosophy’ (in Lenin, of all idealist philosophy) because ‘it turns its back on philosophy, looks in the other direction and mutters irritable and banal remarks about it’.[26]

      Any discussion of Lenin’s position on philosophy and ideology must pose one initial question on which a judgement of Lenin’s specific ‘materialist philosophy’ has to depend. According to a principle established by Lenin himself, this question is a historical one. Lenin argued that there had been a change in the whole intellectual climate which made it necessary when dealing with dialectical materialism to stress materialism against certain fashionable tendencies in bourgeois philosophy, rather than to stress dialectics against the vulgar, pre-dialectical and in some cases explicitly undialectical and anti-dialectical materialism of bourgeois science. The question is whether there had been such a change. What I have written elsewhere shows that I do not think this is really the case. There are some superficial aspects of contemporary bourgeois philosophy and science which appear to contradict this, and there certainly are some trends which genuinely do so. Nevertheless the dominant basic trend in contemporary bourgeois philosophy, natural science and humanities is the same as it was sixty or seventy years ago. It is inspired not by an idealist outlook but by a materialist outlook that is coloured by the natural sciences.[27] Lenin’s position, which disputes this, is in close ideological relation to his politico-economic theory of ‘imperialism’. Both have their material roots in the specific economic and social situation of Russia and the specific practical and theoretical political tasks that seemed, and for a short period really were, necessary to accomplish the Russian Revolution. This means that the ‘Leninist’ theory is not theoretically capable of answering the practical needs of the international class struggle in the present period. Consequently, Lenin’s materialist philosophy, which forms the ideological basis of this theory, cannot constitute the revolutionary proletarian philosophy that will answer the needs of today.

      The theoretical character of Lenin’s materialist philosophy also corresponds to this historical and practical situation. Like Plekhanov, his philosophical master, and L. Axelrod-Orthodox, the latter’s other philosophical pupil, Lenin wanted very seriously to be a Marxist while remaining a Hegelian. He thereby flouted the dialectical materialist outlook that Marx and Engels founded at the start of their revolutionary development. This outlook was by its very nature unavoidably 9 philosophical’, but it pointed towards the complete supersession of philosophy; and it left one single revolutionary task in the philosophical field, which was to develop this outlook by taking it to a higher level of elaboration. Lenin regards the transition from Hegel’s idealist dialectic to Marx and Engels’s dialectical materialism as nothing more than an exchange: the idealist outlook that lies at the basis of Hegel’s dialectical method is replaced by a new philosophical outlook that is no longer ‘idealist’ but ‘materialist’. He seems to be unaware that such a ‘materialist inversion’ of Hegel’s idealist philosophy involves at the most a merely terminological change whereby the Absolute instead of being called ‘Spirit’ is called ‘Matter’. There is, however, an even more serious vice in Lenin’s materialism. For he is not only annuls Marx and Engels’s materialist inversion of the Hegelian dialectic; he drags the whole debate between materialism and idealism back to a historical stage which German idealism from Kant to Hegel had already surpassed. The dissolution of the metaphysical systems of Leibniz and Wolff began with Kant’s transcendental philosophy and ended with Hegel’s dialectic. Thereafter the ‘Absolute’ was definitively excluded from the being of both ‘spirit’ and ‘matter’, and was transferred into the dialectical movement of the ‘idea’. The materialist inversion by Marx and Engels of Hegel’s idealist dialectic merely consisted in freeing this dialectic from its final mystifying shell. The real movement of history was discovered beneath the dialectical ‘self-movement of the idea’, and this revolutionary movement of history was proclaimed to be the only ‘Absolute’ remaining.[28] Lenin, however, goes back to the absolute polarities of ‘thought’ and ‘being’, ‘spirit’ and ‘matter’, which had formed the basis of the philosophical, and even some of the religious, disputes that had divided the two currents of the Enlightenment in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.[29] Hegel, of course, had already surpassed these dialectically.

      This kind of materialism is derived from a metaphysical idea of Being that is absolute and given; and despite all its formal claims to the contrary it is no longer fully dialectical let alone dialectically materialist. Lenin and his followers unilaterally transfer the dialectic into Object, Nature and History and they present knowledge merely as the passive mirror and reflection of this objective Being in the subjective Consciousness. In so doing they destroy both the dialectical interrelation of being and consciousness and, as a necessary consequence, the dialectical interrelation of theory and practice. They thereby manage to pay an involuntary tribute to the ‘Kantianism’ that they attack so much. Not content with this, they have abandoned the question of the relationship between the totality of historical being and all historically prevalent forms of consciousness. This was first posed by Hegel’s dialectic and was then given a more comprehensive elaboration by the dialectical materialism of Marx and Engels. Lenin and those like him have revised it in a retrograde way by replacing it with the much narrower epistemological or ‘gnoseological’ question of the relationship between the subject and object of knowledge. Nor is this all. They present knowledge as a fundamentally harmonious evolutionary progress and an infinite progression towards absolute truth. Their presentation of the relationship between theory and practice in general, and in particular within the revolutionary movement itself, is a complete abandonment of Marx’s dialectical materialism and a retreat to a totally abstract opposition of pure theory, which discovers truths, to pure practice, which applies these laboriously discovered truths to reality. ‘The real unity of theory and practice is achieved by changing reality in practice, through the revolutionary movement based on the laws of objective development discovered by theory’ — these are the words of one of Lenin’s philosophical interpreters, and he has not departed one iota from the teachings of the master. With them, the grandiose dialectical materialist unity of Marx’s revolutionary practice collapses into a dualism comparable to that of the most typical bourgeois idealists.[30]

      There is another inevitable consequence of this displacement of the accent from the dialectic to materialism. It prevents materialist philosophy from contributing to the further development of the empirical sciences of nature and society. In the dialectic method and content are inseparably linked. in a famous passage Marx says that ‘form has no value when it is not the form of its content’.[31] It is therefore completely against the spirit of the dialectic, and especially of the materialist dialectic, to counterpose the dialectical materialist ‘method’ to the substantive results achieved by applying it to philosophy and the sciences. This procedure has become very fashionable in Western Marxism. Nevertheless, behind this exaggeration there lies a correct insight — namely, that dialectical materialism influenced the progress of the empirical study of nature and society in the second half of the nineteenth century above all because of its method.[32]

      When the revolutionary movement and its practice came to a halt in the 1850s, there inevitably developed an increasing gap between the evolution of philosophy and that of the positive sciences, between the evolution of theory and that of practice: this has already been explained in Marxism and Philosophy. The result was that for a long period the new revolutionary conceptions of Marx and Engels survived and developed mainly through their application as a dialectical materialist method to the empirical sciences of society and nature. It is in this period that one finds statements, especially by the later Engels, formally proclaiming individual sciences to be independent of ‘all philosophy’, and asserting that philosophy has been ‘driven from nature and from history’ into the only field of activity left to it: ‘the theory of thought and its laws — formal logic and dialectics’. In reality, this meant that Engels reduced so-called ‘philosophy’ from an individual science above others, to an empirical science among others.[33] Lenin’s later positions might appear at first glance to be like that of Engels, but they are in actual fact as distinct as night and day. Engels considered that it was the crucial task of the materialist dialectic to ‘rescue the conscious dialectic from German idealism and to incorporate it in the materialist conception of nature and of history’.[34] Lenin’s procedure is the inverse. For him the major task is to uphold and defend the materialist position which no one has ever seriously thought of questioning. Engels goes on to make a statement that is in keeping with the progress and development of the sciences; he says that modern materialism whether applied to nature or history ‘is in both cases essentially dialectical and does not in addition need a philosophy which stands above the other branches of knowledge’. Lenin, however, insistently carps at ‘philosophical deviations’ that he has discerned not only among political friends or enemies, or philosophical ideologues, but even among the most creative natural scientists.[35] His ‘materialist philosophy’ becomes a kind of supreme judicial authority for evaluating the findings of individual sciences, past, present or future.[36] This materialist ‘philosophical’ domination covers all the sciences, whether of nature or society, as well as all other cultural developments in literature, drama, plastic arts and so on; and Lenin’s epigones have taken it to the most absurd lengths. This has resulted in a specific kind of ideological dictatorship which oscillates between revolutionary progress and the blackest reaction. Under the slogan of what is called ‘Marxism-Leninism’, this dictatorship is applied in Russia today to the whole intellectual life not only of the ruling Party, but of the working-class in general. There are now attempts to extend it from Russia to all the Communist Parties in the West, and in the rest of the world. These attempts, however, have precisely shown the inevitable limits to any such artificial extension of this ideological dictatorship into the international arena outside Russia, where it no longer receives the direct coercive support of the State. The Draft Programme of the Communist International, of the Fifth Comintern Congress of 1924, called for a ‘rigorous struggle against idealist philosophy and against all philosophies other than dialectical materialism’, whereas at the Sixth Congress, held four years later, the version of the Programme that was finally adopted spoke in a much more general way of the struggle against ‘all manifestations of a bourgeois outlook’. It no longer described ‘the dialectical materialism of Marx and Engels’ as a materialist philosophy, but only as a ‘revolutionary method (!) for understanding reality with the aim of its revolutionary overthrow’.[37]

      IV
      It is only recently that ‘Marxist-Leninist’ ideology has made such claims outside Russia, and the change in Comintern policy I have mentioned may indicate that these claims are now going to be abandoned. Nevertheless, the deeper problem of Lenin’s ‘materialist philosophy’ and of Marxism-Leninism has not been resolved. The problem of Marxism and Philosophy must be reopened, together with the broader issue of the relation between the ideology and the practice of the revolutionary workers’ movement. This poses a concrete task in relation to Communist ‘Marxism-Leninism’. A materialist, that is a historical, critical and undogmatic analysis has already been made of the character of the ‘Kautskyian’ orthodox Marxism of the Second International. This must now be unflinchingly extended to the ‘Leninist’ orthodox Marxism of the Third International; and it must be applied to the whole history of Russian Marxism and its relation to international Marxism. For the ‘Marxism-Leninism’ of today is only the latest offshoot of this history. It is not possible to provide a more concrete elaboration here. One can only indicate a very general outline of such a materialist account of the real history of Marxism in Russia and elsewhere. Even so it yields a sobering conclusion. Russian Marxism, which was if possible even more ‘orthodox’ than German Marxism, had throughout its history an even more ideological character and if possible was in even greater conflict with the concrete historical movement of which it was the ideology.

      Trotsky’s perceptive critical analysis of 1908 showed that this was true of the first phase of its history. The Russian intelligentsia had previously been brought up in the Bakuninist ‘spirit of a simple rejection of capitalist culture’, and Marxism served as an ideological instrument to reconcile them to the development of capitalism.[38] It is also valid for the second phase, which reached its climax in the first Russian Revolution of 1905. At that time all revolutionary Marxists in Russia, not least Lenin and Trotsky, declared themselves to be part of ‘the flesh and blood’ of international socialism and for them this meant orthodox Marxism. On the other side Karl Kautsky and his Neue Zeit were in complete agreement with orthodox Russian Marxism on all theoretical questions. Indeed, as far as the philosophical foundations of its theory were concerned, German orthodox Marxism was more influenced by Russian Marxism than itself influential on it, since the Germans were to a considerable extent under the sway of the Russian theoretician Plekhanov. Thus a great international united front of Marxist orthodoxy was able to sustain itself without major difficulty, because historically it was only necessary for it to exist in the realm of ideology and as ideology. This was true both in the West and in Russia, and in Russia even more than in Central and Western Europe. Russian Marxism is now in its third phase and it still exhibits the same ideological character and the same inevitable concomitant contradiction between a professed ‘orthodox’ theory and the real historical character of the movement. It found its most vivid expression in Lenin’s orthodox Marxist theory and his totally unorthodox practice;[39] and it is now caricatured by the glaring contradictions between theory and practice in contemporary ‘Soviet Marxism’.

      This general character of Russian Marxism has persisted without fundamental change into the ‘Soviet Marxism’ of today. Involuntary confirmation of this is provided by the position of the above-mentioned Schifrin, a political opponent of the ruling Bolshevik Party, on the general philosophical principles of Soviet Marxism. In an article in Die Gesellschaft (IV, 7), he made what looked like a fierce attack on ‘Soviet Marxism’, but from a philosophical point of view this really concealed a defence of it. He claims that Soviet Marxism ‘wants to make a sincere attempt to reinforce Marxism in its most consistent and orthodox form’ against degenerate ‘subjectivist’ and ‘revisionist’ tendencies (e.g. ‘neglect of the master’s most important statements'), that have emerged as a result of the insuperable difficulties that it is facing. The same bias is even clearer in another article of Schifrin in Die Gesellschaft of August 1929. In this, Schifrin discusses the latest work by Karl Kautsky, the leading representative of German orthodox Marxism, and although he is very critical of most of Kautsky’s individual positions, he greets Kautsky’s book warmly as the beginning of a ‘restoration of genuine Marxism’. He assigns Kautsky the ‘ideological mission’ of overcoming the various kinds of ‘subjectivist disintegration of Marxism’ that have recently appeared in the West as well as in ‘Sovietized Russian Marxism’, and of overcoming the ‘ideological crisis’ that this has caused throughout Marxism.[40] The article is particularly clear evidence of the philosophical solidarity of the whole orthodox Marxist movement down to this day. In his critique of contemporary Soviet Marxist ‘Leninism’ and in his attitudes to contemporary ‘Kautskyism’, Schifrin completely fails to see that both of these ideological versions of orthodox Marxism have emerged from the traditions of earlier Russian and international Marxism. Today they only represent evanescent historical forms that date from a previous phase of the workers’ movement. Here, in this assessment of the character of ‘Marxism-Leninism’ and of ‘Soviet Marxism’, one can see the full and fundamental unity of outlook between the old and the new schools of contemporary orthodox Marxism: Social Democracy and Communism. It has been seen how Communist theoreticians reacted to Marxism and Philosophy by defending the positive and progressive character of the Marxism of the Second International. Now, in the periodical of German Social Democracy, one can see a Menshevik theoretician entering the lists to defend the ‘generally valid’ and ‘compelling’ philosophical features of the Marxism of the Third International.

      This ends my account of the present state of the problem of Marxism and Philosophy — a problem that since 1923 has been changed in many ways by new theoretical and practical developments. The general outlines of my evolution since then are clear enough, and I have therefore refrained from correcting all the details of what I then said in the light of my present position. In only one respect does it appear to be necessary to make an exception. Marxism and Philosophy argued that during the social revolution a ‘dictatorship’ was necessary not only in the field of politics, but also that of ideology. This led to many misunderstandings, especially in the case of Kautsky. In his review of my book he showed both that lie had misinterpreted my positions and that he had certain illusions about the conditions prevailing in Russia. Thus as late as 1924 he stated that ‘dictatorship in the realm of ideas’ had ‘never occurred to anyone, not even to Zinoviev and Dzherzhinsky’. I now think that the abstract formulation of this demand in my book is genuinely misleading, and I must emphasize that the pursuit of revolutionary struggle by what Marxism and Philosophy called an ‘ideological dictatorship’ is in three respects different from the system of intellectual oppression established in Russia today in the name of the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’. First of all, it is a dictatorship of the proletariat and not over the proletariat. Secondly, it is a dictatorship of a class and not of a party or party leadership. Thirdly, and most importantly, as a revolutionary dictatorship it is one element only of that radical process of social overthrow which by suppressing classes and class contradictions creates the preconditions for a ‘withering away of the State’, and thereby the end of all ideological constraint. The essential purpose of an ‘ideological dictatorship’ in this sense is to abolish its own material and ideological causes and thereby to make its own existence unnecessary and impossible. From the very first day, this genuine proletarian dictatorship will be distinguished from every false imitation of it by its creation of the conditions of intellectual freedom not only for ‘all’ workers but for ‘each individual’ worker. Despite the alleged ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom of thought’ in bourgeois society, this freedom has never been enjoyed anywhere by the wage slaves who suffer its physical and spiritual oppression. This is what concretely defines the Marxist concept of the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat. With it disappears the otherwise apparent contradiction between a call for ‘ideological dictatorship’, and the essentially critical and revolutionary nature of the method and the outlook of Communism. Socialism, both in its ends and in its means, is a struggle to realize freedom.





      Comment


      • #4
        Never an orginal thinker...

        And lengthy crap to boot.
        • What else is new ?

        Comment


        • #5
          There's no such thing...

          There's no such thing as Marxist "philosophy." There isn't, for example, Marxist metaphysics, ethico-morality, epistemology, or anthropology. Marxists ideologists (and of these there are many) see the world solely in terms of power relationships, having reduced everything to dialectic materialism. Once one accepts the funnel of Marxism as your filter on reality, all that is left to talk about is power relationships, that is, "politics."

          Consider this saying:

          "COMMUNIST PHILOSOPHY IS THE INTELLECTUAL WEAPON OF THE MASSES, AND THE MASSES ARE THE MATERIAL WEAPON OF COMMUNIST PHILOSOPHY"

          Arguments about the circular fallacy of this slogan (Marxists love slogans, don't they?) aside, please note that "the masses" (is always "the masses," never "humanity") are never an end in themselves, only a tool for...for what? To attain and exercise power of course. This quasi-religious imperative, where does it come from? From brute force, from blind evolution, is the fruit of dialectical antitheses. Will, power, force, these are the unquestioned premises of Marxist political philosophy. The results, when applied consistently, have proven to be dehumanizing, demoralizing, and destructive to the poor guinea-pig-societies who have suffered this "philosophy," without exception. But Marxists don't allow historical facts to get in the way of the historical process, don't they?

          Hence, la verborrea that we see in Marxist so-called philosophical writings. If politics and power relations are the only things worth talking about, these "intellectuals" have to beat their horse to death, or risk been seen as ineffectual and irrelevant, the equivalent of "hell" in Marxist mythology.

          P.

          Comment


          • #6
            POV

            What are relationships between human beings? In an economic sense it is a relationship about POWER....and economic profit and exploitation if it is in capitalism? Do you think workers in capitalism are not dehumanized? Do you think there are no nefarious power play interests in capitalism? How about the hiearchical and pyramid structure of a capitalist economy? How about the dehumanizaton of workers all over the world....? Let us look and see if there are dehumanizing, exploitative and power relationships that are unbalanced in capitalist countries? Would keeping PR a colony of the USA be considered in your opinion an unbalanced power relationship? How about the Roman Catholic church...with the Pope and then the Cardinals, and the Archbishops, and etc...all the way to the local priest. Nuns will never be Popes...is that cuz the power structure between men and women in the church is not BALANCED...if Marxists study power relationships between peoples and nations and societies it is because IT EXISTS....and must be dealt with...because if it is not...social change of any kind is stagnant. Like conservatives love to do. Stagnate things and keep everything the same as long as a small group are benefitting from the stagnation.

            In families POV do the children have the same say so and power as a parent? Do they? Why not? How about between husband and wife? Etc. ALL HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS have power structures built in to it. If you fail to recognize this and criticize Marxists for recognizing that reality...the one with no sense of any real philosophy is YOU.

            Suki.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: POV

              Suki, POV is probably a military officer who is a cog in the military machine for indoctrinating new recruits in the Army against Marxism. And if he does what he usually has done in the forum, which is run away like a coward from any theme that he feels uncomfortable with, he will probably not reply to your excellent rebuttal of his dogmatic post about Marxism which is the scientific socialist Philosophy known as dialectical materialism.

              The concepts or ideas of dialectical materialism in relationship to the social conditions, involving power struggles in the world, produce the social consciousness of the masses, and it has proved the truth of the adage that nothing is more powerful in the world than a system of ideas, like Marxism, Leninism, Maoism, whose time has come. On the other hand, all that POV has are texts from others that function as templates for brainwashing against Marxism, and all that he says regarding Marxism are merely notions that are spin-doctoring 'tersgivizaciones' and not valid concepts that are truth.

              One truth about nations that have become communist is found in the P.R.C. and it refutes or vitiates totally the mistaken notion that the masses are dehumanized under a communist system. Chinese communists, in point of fact, are not dehumanized, but instead have been liberated. I challenge him to tell me that that they are not Chinese in character and also Red and Expert in their applications of Marxism, Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought to the social conditions of their country.

              However, he seems only to want to spout monologues of demagoguery instead of discuss intelligently the realities of Communist Philosophy. I dare him to pick up my challenge. Let's see if he has enough gruel in his guts to do that!
              E.1: TWO STEPS FORWARD, ONE STEP BACK - V.I. Lenin

              Comment


              • #8
                Suki:

                I am not going to rehash with Tovarish my views on communism. However, i wanted to point out to you the behaviors that I find offensive among some forum members.

                And if he does what he usually has done in the forum, which is run away like a coward

                These type of comments are not necessary and after that I seriously doubt theat POV will try to engage Tovarish.

                I hope this helps



                Los recuerdos suelen
                Contarte mentiras



                Stanley

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Eddier1
                  Suki, POV is probably a military officer who is a cog in the military machine for indoctrinating new recruits in the Army against Marxism. And if he does what he usually has done in the forum, which is run away like a coward from any theme that he feels uncomfortable with, he will probably not reply to your excellent rebuttal of his dogmatic post about Marxism which is the scientific socialist Philosophy known as dialectical materialism.
                  Eddie Eddie Eddie. Getting personal, eh?

                  You see, I have a life outside of this forum. I don't live for it, I don't live by it. Nor do I have the time to tend personally and in detail to each one of your imbecilic, narcissistic posts. So, there. That's why.

                  The concepts or ideas of dialectical materialism in relationship to the social conditions, involving power struggles in the world, produce the social consciousness of the masses, and it has proved the truth of the adage that nothing is more powerful in the world than a system of ideas, like Marxism, Leninism, Maoism, whose time has come. On the other hand, all that POV has are texts from others that function as templates for brainwashing against Marxism, and all that he says regarding Marxism are merely notions that are spin-doctoring 'tersgivizaciones' and not valid concepts that are truth.
                  That's "tergiversaciones," Eddie. Or may be that word is not on your latest edition of the Newspeak dictionary.

                  Marxism is just a monotone, monothematic, monologue. It doesn't deserve the term "philosophy" for it ignores on purpose big fields of philosophical investigations. To keep themselves relevant, consumate practioners like you just blab blab blab, enamored of what they have to say while simultaneously blinding themselves to the destruction that Marxism has brought to the societies where it has been unleashed.

                  Which shows once again what we can expect from Marxists in general and from you in particular: narcissistic pseuderudite jargon-babble.

                  P.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Me

                    Originally posted by Suki
                    What are relationships between human beings?
                    Well, among the positive ones, I may mention Love, Friendship, Cooperation, Compassion, Understanding, Comraderie, Companionship, Help...

                    In an economic sense it is a relationship about POWER....and economic profit and exploitation if it is in capitalism?
                    No, not always. Because within capitalism human beings are free to associate to pursue Love, Friendship, Cooperation, Compassion, Understanding, Comraderie, Companionship, Help...

                    Do you think workers in capitalism are not dehumanized?
                    Frequently. But not always, nor as a rule.

                    Do you think there are no nefarious power play interests in capitalism?
                    Show me another system, say, "socialism," that is "pure" and then show me that you have more power to change things for the better in that system that in "capitalism."

                    How about the hiearchical and pyramid structure of a capitalist economy?
                    I would reply that you should expand your readings away from the 19th century and into the 20th. There's no longer such hierarchy nor rigidity, not since the beginning of the Post-Industrial Age.

                    How about the dehumanizaton of workers all over the world....?
                    Most of the world doesn't live under capitalism, but either in pale versions that some call "state capitalism" or under socialist systems. So I don't think that your argument jives with reality.

                    Let us look and see if there are dehumanizing, exploitative and power relationships that are unbalanced in capitalist countries? Would keeping PR a colony of the USA be considered in your opinion an unbalanced power relationship?
                    It is an unbalanced power relationship. And as soon as Puerto Ricans vote to do away with it one way or the other, it will change.

                    How about the Roman Catholic church...with the Pope and then the Cardinals, and the Archbishops, and etc...all the way to the local priest. Nuns will never be Popes...is that cuz the power structure between men and women in the church is not BALANCED...
                    An interesting question. In this specific instance, I don't know what kind of answer you would like to hear from me. From the viewpoint of reason the question is fair, but would reason accept an answer from the viewpoint of faith? More concretely, would you? This is another subject, for another discussion. I'll stick with Marxism for the time being.

                    if Marxists study power relationships between peoples and nations and societies it is because IT EXISTS....
                    "It (sic) exists." Interesting. A categorical statement on existence hung up on the perceptions of Marxists. Surely you notice the myriad problems with this assertion?

                    Somewhere in the world there might be a taxonomist of unicorns and pegasii, of elves and leprecaums; if s/he studies them, THEY EXIST. See it now?

                    and must be dealt with...because if it is not...social change of any kind is stagnant.
                    A flimsy conclusion based on a questionable premise which proves my original point: Marxists, be they academics, chair-bound sympathizers like you, or incompentent dabblers like Eddie, find it very difficult to exact a single ontological argument that would establish Marxism on a stable philosophical foundation. Like you have demonstrated, Marxists breezely sketch a vague philosophical premise and jump directly into perceived effects and consequences.

                    Like conservatives love to do. Stagnate things and keep everything the same as long as a small group are benefitting from the stagnation.
                    Wrong again. Conservatives are not against change of any kind. We just question the pace of change. You'll find me very patient in many things, and impatient on others. I want Puerto Rico a state NOW; I want abortion to end NOW; I want the Puerto Rican subculture of machismo gone NOW. But it can't happen NOW. So we work at it. Conversely, I would like to see the advent of a more equitable economic system, but systems are not machines; they are made of people. Hence, people's minds, "souls" if you prefer, need to change before the "system" changes. Rather than having destructive "revolutionary" change that would lead to untold suffering and disruption, I favor a "go slow" approach and advocate the right and the duty to change peoples minds, to call them to "conversion" and them await the results.

                    You see, coming back to "philosophy" again, if you had taken into consideration the fallacy of generalization, you wouldn't have painted conservative with such a wide stroke. Is not reason, but rather prejudice, what motivates your statement above.

                    In families POV do the children have the same say so and power as a parent? Do they? Why not? How about between husband and wife? Etc. ALL HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS have power structures built in to it. If you fail to recognize this and criticize Marxists for recognizing that reality...the one with no sense of any real philosophy is YOU.
                    Suki Suki Suki (giggle). What I didn't say that Marxists don't study power relationships, what I said was that's the main thing, if not the only thing, that Marxists care about. They reduce everything else, every human experience, every other notion, into a reductive mechanicism.

                    For Marxists, humans are but cogs in a big machine and what matters to them is not to free the humans from this machine, but to conquer and take over the machine. Power is what they want and in this they're not different from anyone else. Power is to them the only worthy attainable goal. I can't speak for everyone else but in my case, that's the difference between them and me.

                    P.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by POV
                      Originally posted by Eddier1
                      Suki, POV is probably a military officer who is a cog in the military machine for indoctrinating new recruits in the Army against Marxism. And if he does what he usually has done in the forum, which is run away like a coward from any theme that he feels uncomfortable with, he will probably not reply to your excellent rebuttal of his dogmatic post about Marxism which is the scientific socialist Philosophy known as dialectical materialism.
                      Eddie Eddie Eddie. Getting personal, eh?

                      You see, I have a life outside of this forum. I don't live for it, I don't live by it. Nor do I have the time to tend personally and in detail to each one of your imbecilic, narcissistic posts. So, there. That's why.

                      The concepts or ideas of dialectical materialism in relationship to the social conditions, involving power struggles in the world, produce the social consciousness of the masses, and it has proved the truth of the adage that nothing is more powerful in the world than a system of ideas, like Marxism, Leninism, Maoism, whose time has come. On the other hand, all that POV has are texts from others that function as templates for brainwashing against Marxism, and all that he says regarding Marxism are merely notions that are spin-doctoring 'tersgivizaciones' and not valid concepts that are truth.
                      That's "tergiversaciones," Eddie. Or may be that word is not on your latest edition of the Newspeak dictionary.

                      Marxism is just a monotone, monothematic, monologue. It doesn't deserve the term "philosophy" for it ignores on purpose big fields of philosophical investigations. To keep themselves relevant, consumate practioners like you just blab blab blab, enamored of what they have to say while simultaneously blinding themselves to the destruction that Marxism has brought to the societies where it has been unleashed.

                      Which shows once again what we can expect from Marxists in general and from you in particular: narcissistic pseuderudite jargon-babble.

                      P.
                      So! POV you rear your ugly head once again, and belie that you are a "gentleman". You didn't respond to the excellent post of the Puertorriquena Suki, who rebutted your erroneous notions, and tried to open you up to wider horizons than your narrowminded and now invective notions reveal.

                      Your post to me is a diatribe in personalisms; it excuses yourself, so you believe, by saying your don't have the time to be responsible for what you say, and answer replies to those who take issues with what you say. I don't think you are lazy, so it must be that you don't schedule your time with precision. If you are going on the offensive against the Commies you should be prepared for an offensive counterattack by them to what you "opine". You prove nothing but that you are capable of being a low-life, who has run away from the replies of others to what you have demagogically thrown on this forum. Your vicious asides, i.e. personalisms, and claiming I have been personal towards you are all untrue. Personal about you? NO TRUE!

                      Why didn't you spend your time in rebutting, if you can, the position I took on the Peoples' Republic of China, concerning your position that Marxism makes people lose their national identities and dehumanizes them? The Chinese Communists are still Chinese, and Red and Expert in their application of Marxism, Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought to the concrete conditions of their country. Discuss that which I challenged you to do, but which instead you ignore and issue a verborrea of insults towards me which are much more than offensive personalism. They are SLANDEROUS! Come on, hombre, be a spelling cop if you want too. I always use s and z interchangeably in Spanish. But you got the message of what twisting notions around means in your behalf. So what's the real beef Mister POV? Answer the challenge with reason and responsibility for what you said, or shut up and forever hold your peace. It is much better than what you are doing now by throwing out on this forum a plethora of slanderous personalisms towards me, instead of doing your duty and being responsible for what you say. And Stan? do you really need him to 'limpiar tu fundillo despues de evacuar la pila pestosa en contra el Marxisimo' Is he your father or mother, VAYA, are you a child who needs someone else to clean you up, VAYA?

                      Be rational and socially responsible for what you say, and address the Pasionaria Puertorriquena for what she replied to you, if you aren't a coward really and will stop running away from the important issues like she and I posted about your diatribe of demagoguery.
                      E.1: TWO STEPS FORWARD, ONE STEP BACK - V.I. Lenin

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The biggest enemy of Marxism, is Marxism itself

                        The biggest enemy of Marxism is Marxism itself.

                        It seriously ignore human nature, which greed and individualism are important elements of it, while individualism is positive and essential for personal growth, Greed is a massive flaw that lead to horrible things. Ignoring greed as a flaw that need to be seriously monitored and the removal of individualism, is the first step to a human rights disaster. This is being observed over and over, communist countries sink in economical Inflation, human rights violation, and massive corruption. Over and over and over this is being going on.

                        Why and How it happened? Why it always happened? Why the pattern appear time and time again? Russia and all it's satellites nations, China, North Korea, etc. why the same pattern over and over again? Is coincidence? is a capitalist conspiracy to undermine it? I already said this There is one peace of construction in the system, that give America an edge, is the a structure design against absolutism. Meaning you don't give too much power to a few individuals. That goes back to the whole political dilemma of Rome itself, the very famous Emperor or the Senate dilemma, Augustus was a great leader, but Caligula, Nero and the rest, were horrible Demons that eventually brought the doom to Rome. That is why fascism is the most corrupt of all. There were some founding father Of America that were really aware of this, and even were against creating A president Office. The Issue here is that the economical construct of Communism, poses a huge contradiction, By giving all the property to the government, they cock the gun of greed which lead to corruption. why? because who is going to administer the human resources? a selective few. BZZZZZZ bra!fart. A system that is design to get rid of classes or privileged ones, finish creating an absolutist pseudo fascist state, with an all powerful privilege ones. In the end, all they have done is replacing the privileged minority with some private property, for a selective few that have control of all the state property and even the law. Of course they call it the people republic or some other euphemism, but it a pseudo fascist state. That is when the ones that the cause was for, the proletariat, finish victims, and not priorities; the biggest Bra!nfart in the construct of Marxism. Another Flaw is The banishment of individual rights, this destroy the human concept of self belonging, It all get enmaskerated in the "the people" statement. The People is not one entity, the people or the Masses is a huge bunch of individuals, simple logic will teach you that, of course there is a mass, but we live our life as individuals, not as a mass, we go to work as individuals, we go to the bathroom as individuals, go to eat as individual, we get born as individual, and we die naturally as individuals. The abolition of individual rights, is the first step to the violation of human rights. Millions of individuals get their human rights pierced in the name of the so call the people republic. The reality is that the leaders are just defending themselves. This is the nexus point of the issue, the transition to true communism is dead wrong, stup!dly wrong if you want me to be more specific. Another thing that i see with the majority of Marxist is the inflexibility of thoughts, I propose in forums including this one, and in college to eliminate the Dictatorship transition and replace it for a legal code. All i received was insults or strong nonsense defenses from every single one of them. I think that inflexibility plays it parts in the self destruction of communism itself. Also the true communism stage, or the last, that apparently and magically the state is going to wither away, some say is the most beautiful state that humans are going to be. This is nothing new, this already happened, when Rome fell the the state wither away, AND THE DARK AGES BEGAN the Marxist construct is seriously ignoring human nature. Greed is what makes the dark ages happened. As a conclusion, I think is a dinosaur, that could not adapt, in the end, is going be extinct.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Eddie=Hypocrite

                          Originally posted by Eddier1

                          So! POV you rear your ugly head once again, and belie that you are a "gentleman". You didn't respond to the excellent post of the Puertorriquena Suki, who rebutted your erroneous notions, and tried to open you up to wider horizons than your narrowminded and now invective notions reveal...
                          Etc.

                          Apparently the rules you seek to enforce apply to everyone else but yourself. Let us add "hypocrisy" to your ever-growing list of character flaws.

                          Frankly, speaking clearly, you're not worth my time. Do you understand me? I am not going to lower myself to your level. Get it?

                          You are an ignorant, you are sophomore, and probably, small in stature (emotionally if not physically). You can't teach anyone about "courage" (by calling other people "cowards") nor question other people's manners (by denying they are "gentlemen) because you lack these and numerous other virtues.

                          Go ahead, opine away. I'll continue to ignore you. I know it enrages you...but that's what you earned here, the right not to be taken seriously.

                          P

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Eddie=Hypocrite

                            Listen POV, it is you who continue to veer away from the theme of discussion which Comrade Camano began. He posted a screed so long, that it seems you believed that you could tuck away your opposition to Marxism and its place in relationship to Philosophy by tagging unto to the end of the thread. I am not going to say a personalism to you about that! We saw what you did and responded; call it big brother or whatever you wish but we called you on it. And you didn't like what I said about you running away from discussions and now changing them into a personalistc 'dime y direte'.

                            Your last post to me again shows that you will run! But at least I see that you have answered Suki's post, be that as it may. Sticking to the theme of this thread, I want to correct you on Ontology or the study of Being qua Being. We dialectical materialists reject such metaphysics as abstract fallacies; it is not something we ignore like you said. But I will not hear anymore from you addressed to me, and will equally treat you the same way but without any HYPROCRISY, which is the last slander you threw at me. I will give you my email address, to wit: us103_eddier@hotmail.com. If you want to continue with the personalisms, insults, and downright bad manners that you have displayed to me and all on this forum, then use the email for that, if you dare!

                            Why I give you my email address is simply to save this thread for what it should be, i.e., a philosophical disquisition on Marxist Philosophy and the diverse views as to whether or not dialectical materialism has put Philosophy on the shelf of obsolescence for the future. I think it doesn't and take issue with what the Marcuses and other German socialists opine about that.

                            Nevertheless, I can't trust you not to disrupt this thread with what you have already showed on this topic, and if you want to hurl more INSULTS at me because I am a scientific socialist, I suggest you use my email address above to do it. But I advise you that if you stay "discussing" here in the manner you have, I will counterattack you on all fronts, even if you are addressing someone's else's post.

                            You, by the way, contradicted yourself, amongst making typos too, on the use of generalizations. You support Ontology and yet you don't support the validity of generalising. Don't you realize that generalizing is the sole method of Metaphysics and produces bare abstractions that have no relationship to the world of praxis nor the world of real politik. You put Suki down for generalizing but yet you support Ontology which in the main is based on generalizations.

                            However, that may be, you have my email address, and if you are not a hacker after my IP, and wish to be personalistic about me, then write, if not then be prepared for anything from me and others whom are scientific socialists (and as Stan has said, hard-core ones, too; he's correct on that!). He isn't always wrong. Valgame!

                            AGARRA EL DIA BORICUA, VENCEREMOS1
                            SOY PUERTORRIQUENO Y PUNTO; Y REALISTA SOCIAL.
                            EDDIE R.
                            E.1: TWO STEPS FORWARD, ONE STEP BACK - V.I. Lenin

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                            • #15
                              Re: Me

                              Originally posted by POV
                              Originally posted by Suki
                              What are relationships between human beings?
                              Well, among the positive ones, I may mention Love, Friendship, Cooperation, Compassion, Understanding, Comraderie, Companionship, Help...

                              Suki: POV, such a fine list...the problem I see with it, is that LOVE, FRIENDSHIP, COOPERATION, COMPASSION, UNDERSTANDING, COMRADERIE, COMPANIONSHIP, HELP has nothing to do with CAPITALISM....The system you defend as being the most humane and just. Lol. It doesn't have anything to do with those qualities POV. Capitalism in its purest form is about, free market (which in today's business world is a myth in my opinion), competition, expansion, promotion of consumption of goods and services, advertisements, marketing, etc. En fin when a saleslady or salesman smiles at you in a department store, are they seeing you as their 'friend, co-op partner, compassionate and loving companion, with understanding or comaraderie, are they helping you? Or are they 'targeting' you to 'sell' so they may profit....and if they notice you aren't interested in buying, consuming and or generating profit for them...will they 'waste' their time on you? Lol. Human relationships in capitalistic economies are not based on anything but producer-consumer, profit-loss, asset-debit considerations....is that a fulfilling relationship in a true human sense?...the ad, the pitch, the sale? Or is it a way of manipulation...if it is a way of manipulation...what is its purpose? Its aim? And why does it need to do that? For what ultimate purpose? I would like for you to expound on the humane merits of Capitalist relationships with human beings as the principal consumers....WHERE is the HUMANE part? And not the objectivification or the making of the whole thing into a materially and mundane enterprise in which the higher values you so loftily mention are EXALTED? Where is it? I would love to read your answer POV. Really and sincerely.

                              In an economic sense it is a relationship about POWER....and economic profit and exploitation if it is in capitalism?
                              No, not always. Because within capitalism human beings are free to associate to pursue Love, Friendship, Cooperation, Compassion, Understanding, Comraderie, Companionship, Help...
                              Suki: Is that what human beings do in capitalism? They pursue love, friendship, cooperation, compassion, understanding and comraderie, and companionship and help each other as brothers and sisters? Is that what people do in Capitalism? So let me get this straight POV...when I turn on the tube, and they pitch me "Scope" mouthwash and I see two people kissing each other and saying, "I love scope. It makes me feel so tingly..." or whatever non-sense they pitch...what they are doing is promoting love? Camaraderie and etc...Or are they using the human need for intimacy and love and understanding to manipulate a business related and consumer choice over LISTERINE or some other brand of mouthwash that the SCOPE people fear will cut into their profit margin? Match. com and Singlesonline.com etc. Great Expectations.com. Etc. They are dating companies raking in the cash....with singles and divorcees, and widowers, etc. out there...lonely folks looking for love in all the wrong places..and capitalism does not profit from that or manipulate either? How about the AD above our posts? Flashing its messages....are they your friends POV?....who are allowing you to pursue friendship, help and etc.? POV, stop the non-sense...capitalism is so bad in invading people's homes that they are passing TELEMARKETING laws left and right, so that the companies who ring our phones during dinner to share their LOVE with us....don't spread the love annoying around to the point of making us hate them....after all they are promoting COMPANIONSHIP? Ay POV do you really think that is what capitalism does? Promote freedom, democracy and the American Way? Lol.

                              Do you think workers in capitalism are not dehumanized?
                              Frequently. But not always, nor as a rule.

                              Suki: Pedro, you say not as a rule? Are you kidding? It is either frequently or not as rule? Which one is it? Because when I can tell you, that if a worker is not productive, does not generate profit for the employer by producing more than what he consumes....the purpose of employment in capitalist enterprises is defeated and they close shop. The reason why Dell computers moved its tech support facilities to India and the Phillipines, etc. is because they can get English speaking trained computer people with English speaking skills at a fraction of the salary of what USA or British workers would demand....and keep their labor costs down and it means larger profits generated for the SHAREHOLDERS, are shareholders interested in COOPERATION and brotherly love? Or are they the ultimate...."greed is good" folks such as Gordon Gecko from the "Wall Street" flick? Lol.

                              Do you think there are no nefarious power play interests in capitalism?
                              Show me another system, say, "socialism," that is "pure" and then show me that you have more power to change things for the better in that system that in "capitalism."

                              Suki: POV, you just revealed you too suffer from lack of understanding of social systems....and how political structure and economic structures do not necessarily coalesce and combine as the formula of CAPITALISM=FREEDOM. It doesn't. Who do you read? The Neo-Cons and Neoliberals? 24/7? You know very intelligent conservatives are well versed on socialism and communism and its mechanisms...and don't show your lack of knowledge on such a thing. You think Capitalism is new, MANDATO de DIOS, MANA del cielo? Do you know it was a remedy for feudalism and the newly emerging needs of the Industrial evolution? I don't know if you knew that...maybe you did...what do you think will happen Pedro Vega, in a society not based on industrial revolutionary needs, but on information age needs, nuclear age, terrorism and bloody fights for material and geopolitical resources and disputes? How is a world with over 20 countries with the A bomb activated or in process going to cope with fighting it out for dominance? The old capitalist way? Or the cooperative models of socialism? Or you haven't studied those yet in the neoliberal world yet POV?

                              How about the hiearchical and pyramid structure of a capitalist economy?
                              I would reply that you should expand your readings away from the 19th century and into the 20th. There's no longer such hierarchy nor rigidity, not since the beginning of the Post-Industrial Age.

                              Suki: Are you telling me that in capitalism there is no longer needs for immigrant workers to clean hotels, wash dishes in restaurants, pick fruit in the hot sun, construction workers to build malls and suburbs, lay highway, fix potholes, etc.? There are no longer ghettoes in the USA, or urban blight areas? No more small farmers losing their farms? No more need for Tyson Chicken factory workers in Arkansas breaded chicken nuggets for $8.01 an hour and after taxes and paying food rent and etc. They too can be upper middle class and move to Foxworth Estates, 4 bedroom 3 1/2 bath split level homes with Homeowner's Associations and manicured lawns...with a brand new Nissan X-terra in Lemon yellow in their driveways? No more need is there? For dealing with those folks? They don't exist anymore right? Everyone moved out to Foxworth Estates...they don't live in Compton, Cabrini Green, Ft Apache the Bronx, or other HIGH end areas of the country? POV, donde vives tu en --Isla de las Fantasias--con Ricardo Montalban? Y el enanito gritando "De Plane! De Plane!"

                              How about the dehumanizaton of workers all over the world....?
                              Most of the world doesn't live under capitalism, but either in pale versions that some call "state capitalism" or under socialist systems. So I don't think that your argument jives with reality.

                              Suki: Oh, so your capitalism does not have monopolies, does not have aggressive mergers, and corporate and hostile takeovers, does not include conglomerates, or multinationals, does not have maquiladoras....like Ford, Maytag, Johnson and Johnson, etc.? Walmart does not have aggressive ANTI UNION campaigns in its chain stores? Captitalism is not present in Mexico, such as president Vicente Fox ex CEO of Coca-Cola in Mexico...which generates BILLIONS of dollars in profit in Mexico...and that has nothing to do with true capitalism....now does it? Banamex, and American Express and Western Union don't make a single dollar in Mexico, neither does Moneygram money transfer businesses either? That has nothing to do with TRUE POV style capitalism? Do capitalists LOVE competition? Do they enjoy losing market share? LEt me see....Microsoft went to court and fought court orders to break up their company...they were MONOPOLIZING the software markets allover the place and aggressively trying to oust any competitors from attempting to sell systems that competed with theirs...even if they might be more user friendly, faster or efficient...they spent a lot of dough paying lawyers...off....because they WANT to SHARE and cooperate with their loving partners in the software business...Time to take a break....to laugh...Yes, Mattel toys does not run around suing any dolly manufacturer that attempts to duplicate or do a successful knockoff of their barbie doll? Japanese video games people LOVE to think some North American manufacturer is gonna cut into their sales? They love that idea of SHARING, cooperating and celebrating brotherly and business love with each other....

                              Let us look and see if there are dehumanizing, exploitative and power relationships that are unbalanced in capitalist countries? Would keeping PR a colony of the USA be considered in your opinion an unbalanced power relationship?
                              It is an unbalanced power relationship. And as soon as Puerto Ricans vote to do away with it one way or the other, it will change.

                              Suki: Yep, Washington DC will respect majority votes...like they did in Vieques...the locals voted...and voila! Justice reigned....the Florida retirees, and etc. voted and voila! No one stopped the count....it was all democratic...and righteous. Yep, that is why you get drafted for Vietnam, get shot and sent home to Juana Diaz or Ponce, and you can't vote for the guys who sent you there in the first place. Cuz the local thing is the real power. Yep, England let go of India, without any pressures, England let go of Northern Ireland the same way, the Netherlands let go of Suriname, Java, etc. Great Britain let go of Jamaica, Nigeria, South Africa, Hong Kong, etc. without pressure...all it took was a local vote...and voila! No more colonies...dream on, dream away...If the USA gov't honored its words, believed the vote and signing a pact is all you need to get justice, hey why did the Sioux and the other Indian Nations get the shaft....this land is yours, they said, as long as the grass grows and the water flows....check out their archives POV....in the BIA...Bureau of Indian Affairs. Or you can check out the AIM organization....they will give you a copy of the treatees and the promises and the pacts and the democracies...and the blah, blah, blah, that was spouted by the politicos...and if you think that is ancient history and the US gov't is no longer interested in Indian controlled lands....go to AIM again and ask what is the latest gov't violations of their supposedly agreed and voted on rights....it is an eye-opener. But, I understand...Puerto Rican statehooders are SPECIAL...they are real Americans.

                              How about the Roman Catholic church...with the Pope and then the Cardinals, and the Archbishops, and etc...all the way to the local priest. Nuns will never be Popes...is that cuz the power structure between men and women in the church is not BALANCED...
                              An interesting question. In this specific instance, I don't know what kind of answer you would like to hear from me. From the viewpoint of reason the question is fair, but would reason accept an answer from the viewpoint of faith? More concretely, would you? This is another subject, for another discussion. I'll stick with Marxism for the time being.

                              Suki: That is the problem. Faith. Faith in what POV? Faith in the USA gov't with their track record of dealing fairly with unicorporated territories? Well, reason is what I am trying to deal with....? Reason and realistic societal and economic conditions....that is what the Marxists are concerned with. Let us stick to that.

                              if Marxists study power relationships between peoples and nations and societies it is because IT EXISTS....
                              "It (sic) exists." Interesting. A categorical statement on existence hung up on the perceptions of Marxists. Surely you notice the myriad problems with this assertion?

                              Somewhere in the world there might be a taxonomist of unicorns and pegasii, of elves and leprecaums; if s/he studies them, THEY EXIST. See it now?

                              Suki: Would you have me believe POV that to you POWER RELATIONSHIPS DON'T exist? And we are all living with brotherly love in UNICORNland? Are you going to say to me in all seriousness that Marxists are delusional because the truth is the world is jumping for joy in the Capitalist systems and all is right with the world, Amen. That human relationships---especially nation-state gov'ts do not have POWER over citizens within their borders. No power to jail, fine, tax, restrict, block, and deny rights? No power is involved....? No need to pay attention to power...and UNDERSTANDING how economic or social or governmental systems use power to control their societies? Let us go and by all means close every social science and political science and economics, and liberal arts department in every USA university and in the world too....no need to study human power based relationships...the problem has been solved by the Trix rabbit, LUCKY charms cereal leperchaun of non-exploitative, loving and understanding cooperative companionship of POV style concepts of BENEVOLENT and humane CAPITALISM.

                              and must be dealt with...because if it is not...social change of any kind is stagnant.
                              A flimsy conclusion based on a questionable premise which proves my original point: Marxists, be they academics, chair-bound sympathizers like you, or incompentent dabblers like Eddie, find it very difficult to exact a single ontological argument that would establish Marxism on a stable philosophical foundation. Like you have demonstrated, Marxists breezely sketch a vague philosophical premise and jump directly into perceived effects and consequences.

                              Suki: I will give you a good anecdote to what I think of your latest disparate sentence avoiding the questions I put to you originally. A woman goes in to get medical attention, she was in a car accident and her back hurts, she goes to the hospital and she waits to see the doctor and the doctor his name is POV and Dr. Vega says to the woman, "the pain is not real. It does not exist. It is all in your mind. I don't see bruising or bleeding." the woman says, "I bend down and the pain is excrutiating...I tell you Dr. Vega it is there." and again the Doctor shakes his head, "It is all in your head. What pain? I don't see it...I don't feel it...How can this exist? Impossible." And the woman frustrated, then takes her right hand and slaps the doctor hard....in the face. He falls back to the floor, and is amazed and says, "Why did you do that? Are you crazy woman! I am a doctor and I know what I know...you had no physical signs of pain!" The woman says to the doctor on her way out..."Yeah, the pain you got now is all in your head too. I don't see no pain. I don't feel your pain. You are making it up. All is fine with your face isn't it? It doesn't hurt....its all in your head."
                              Anecdotes are fun. That is about as valid as your last statement about if Power relationships exists or not...you don't know. It came off like the doctor anecdote. Think about it.

                              Like conservatives love to do. Stagnate things and keep everything the same as long as a small group are benefitting from the stagnation.
                              Wrong again. Conservatives are not against change of any kind. We just question the pace of change. You'll find me very patient in many things, and impatient on others. I want Puerto Rico a state NOW; I want abortion to end NOW; I want the Puerto Rican subculture of machismo gone NOW. But it can't happen NOW. So we work at it. Conversely, I would like to see the advent of a more equitable economic system, but systems are not machines; they are made of people. Hence, people's minds, "souls" if you prefer, need to change before the "system" changes. Rather than having destructive "revolutionary" change that would lead to untold suffering and disruption, I favor a "go slow" approach and advocate the right and the duty to change peoples minds, to call them to "conversion" and them await the results.

                              Suki: Well, advocating change is a people power thing. And what system believes the most strongly in people power and people's abilities to change. Let us analyze language as a hint. Sociology--study of society. Socialism--system in which the people contribute and to each according to their ability, and later on to each according to their need. Capitalism...system of economy in which capital is the source of wealth and economic development. Capital emphasizes THINGS, its possession and its privately owned control of resources....people are an afterthought to maintaining equipment, maximizing profit and creating growth and consumption and markets. Where is the mention of people in capitalism that is not linked to owners and non-owners. Private or public property. Private or public thought. People are all secondary in that system. Communism comes from COMMUNITY...communal. What is that. People. Together. Living in community sharing resources Pedro. Capital. It reminds me of that bomb...the biological weapon in which they throw it and it kills all the human beings...and leaves the homes, building, vehicles, goods, and material things standing...and the living breathing things....dead. Is it dehumanizing...? You bet it is.

                              You see, coming back to "philosophy" again, if you had taken into consideration the fallacy of generalization, you wouldn't have painted conservative with such a wide stroke. Is not reason, but rather prejudice, what motivates your statement above.

                              Suki: Now Tit for Tat POV. You generalized with me about stating that all lefties there in another thread were not interested in democracy, or freedom. YOU GENERALIZED and were filled with prejudice....all based on Huntington disappointing you. I am not the reasonable one? When someone like Miranda points out to you how fickle your conservative think tank heroes....have such a paranoia of all that Latin Roman Catholic Spanish speaking gung-hoism we are as American as Apple Pie too....stuff...and the Huntingtons just flee in fear of the Puerto Rican etc. hoardes...and you don't want anyone to point out their little 'flaws' as conservatives to you. But you want for me to not generalize and etc. I won't. I will read what there is and comment. As discussion forums are for that I hope.

                              In families POV do the children have the same say so and power as a parent? Do they? Why not? How about between husband and wife? Etc. ALL HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS have power structures built in to it. If you fail to recognize this and criticize Marxists for recognizing that reality...the one with no sense of any real philosophy is YOU.
                              Suki Suki Suki (giggle). What I didn't say that Marxists don't study power relationships, what I said was that's the main thing, if not the only thing, that Marxists care about. They reduce everything else, every human experience, every other notion, into a reductive mechanicism.

                              Suki: And neo-liberalism and neo-cons don't reduce everything to how wonderful it is...to profit...and be free. Try doing something in this society without some economic thing being involved....for one day....or better yet go to court...where conflicts and disputes are discussed, and count how many of the civil cases are not about ECONOMIC interests. Marxists are poets, painters, artists, athletes, chefs, etc. etc. They are husbands, fathers, sons, daughters, lovers, students, etc. En fin they are HUMAN BEINGS POV. What is different about them is that they are interested social change. And that happens only when one knows how to study human relationships based on power...and how it is distributed, negotiated and brokered in human society. The capitalists are not interested in studying that....they only are interested in perpetuating themselves and the profit margin. That is really alienated and reductive...don't you think?

                              For Marxists, humans are but cogs in a big machine and what matters to them is not to free the humans from this machine, but to conquer and take over the machine. Power is what they want and in this they're not different from anyone else. Power is to them the only worthy attainable goal. I can't speak for everyone else but in my case, that's the difference between them and me.

                              POV SAID THIS:

                              "For Marxists, humans are but cogs in a big machine and what matters to them is not to free the humans from this machine, but to conquer and take over the machine."

                              Suki: Hey, POV I have to give you some brownie points here. You recognize that the capitalist system is a MACHINE, a big alienated, anti-humane profitmongering machine...and the Marxists art trying to get the machine under the control of the HUMAN BEINGS, and not allow the MACHINE to turn the human beings into COGS....good job. It looks like you recognized something. No more slapping the doctor to wake him up anecdotes are needed now aren't they? Who runs the machine some anonymous capitalist GHOST from Mt Olympus? Or other HUMAN BEINGS....dehumanizing and trying to get human beings to forget that they HAVE rights...and they have needs....that the big Machine run by the big Capitalist ghost in the sky...has to realize....who are they exploiting....HUMAN BEINGS? Or ALIENS....? I think the Marxists know that human beings (the vast majority) are not the rich and famous....they are the WORKING class....and while capitalism continues to DE-HUMANIZE them in order to make other human beings...who live in lala land and refuse to recognize that the majority aren't living it up....and having a good time....someone has to contront the big GHOST in the SKY of Capitalism.... who is responsible for all this lack of fairness and justice. For all human systems are run by HUMANS. But what value system is the most humane? I don't think it is capitalism. No sirree....unless POV has a new capitalism in which no worker is generating profit for someone else, so the big UNIDENTIFIED ghost of Capitalism in the SKY can live well. I don't see how he is going to make the premise change for the good of all....I wish he would explain how he is gonna make it happen? Expand the pie for all the third world so they too can live in Foxworth Estates? I am interested in your answers POV. I really am.

                              Suki.


                              P.

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