The latest triumph over Marxism| by György Lukács


First published on the Kommunismos magazine, n. 05, in 1920.

From «marxists.org». Translated by Conttren. September, 2017.


 

It is difficult for a year to go by without Marx being “triumphed over” by some associate professor or some fashionable philosopher. The deadly struggle that bourgeois society must carry out also developed in its ideological terrain. To the keen observer, these “triumphs” always present the same face. The demonstrated content is changed, the gnosiological or metaphysical arguments appear as new, but the essential character, the starting point and the destination point, are always the same. They find its origin in the petite-bourgeois-parasitic nature of the intellectual’s class situation. As faithful petite-bourgeois, the intellectuals are in no position of correctly observing the reality of class struggle, and therefore even less able to value it. They gravitate to, as Marx has said, the established institutions, such as “not to abolish the two extremes, capital and wage labour, but to mitigate its contradictions and lead them to live together in harmony.” Given that intellectuals are parasitic beings within the capitalist State, the latter is presented to them as an absolute being, or even as the Absolute. They contrast to Marxist theory a utopia that, more or less deprived of seductive phrases, rests over the adulation of the existing State.

This series’ last great representative is the popular philosopher Oswald Spengler, whose work The Decline of the West, though creative but amateurish in nature, recently achieved this success which in reality should have happened with the profound work by Ernst Bloch, The Spirit of Utopia. The new book by Mr. Spengler, Prussianism and Socialism,¹ wishes to “liberate German socialism from Marx.”  It seems Marx dodged a great philosophical problem of the modern epoch—that our philosopher outlines as such: “[T]hree Western Peoples have embodied socialism in this larger sense: Spain, England, and Prussia. Florence and Paris were the sources of the anarchic antithesis to socialism: Italy and France.” Because of this, Marx was in no condition to make the following fundamental discoveries: first, that there was no class struggle in the French Revolution; however “every true Frenchman was then and is today a bourgeois. Every true German is a worker”; there are no real classes in France.

The second discovery is that in England there is no State; that only England knows capitalism in its true sense; that, consequently, class distinction only exists in England. Thus, the superficial Marx, who distinguishes class according to one’s position on the process of production, was strengthened and overcome; class division would arise from the distinct possession of goods, as the antagonism between rich and poor. Poor Marx, to whom all this escaped and could not but fail to understand that socialism had already been realized long ago, in the Kingdom of Prussia. For this reason, Marx was not in position to understand the problem of the State; this follows his “amateurish” compliment to the Commune of 1871; because of this he was not able to cherish the system of councils (Rätesystem) that Baron von Stein had designed years before. Superficial socialism is recovered in this manner, by such philosophically detailed socialism. This socialism is an order of authority, “it is bureaucracy’s principle in technical terms.” Thus, it is only natural that Marx was not able to see the existing socialization “introduced by Frederick William I and incessantly developed until Bismarck.” Corresponding to such profound philosophy, the concept of Imperialism is too renovated: “The true International is Imperialism.” Therefore the Conservative and Socialist parties, who represented this “profound” socialism, belong to the same group “… in which the Conservatives made better officers, the Socialists better troops.” The reconciliation of brother-enemies is the objective of such philosophically rediscovered socialism. Is the critique of such work worth it? Considered as a symptom, it is interesting. The fact that Mr. Spengler’s only citation is from Mr. Lensch does not only show his ignorance regarding Marxism, but also shows where the right-wing socialists’ theory and praxis necessarily lead to. And the rest of this pamphlet differs in nothing from many other “triumphs over” Marxism that have been written since Dühring’s days, who already was the front rank of worship of the Prussian State. What is new is the proof that Revolution can not cure the Germans “of their servile spirit, rooted in national conscience,” as once Engels said.

 


  1. N.T.: SPENGLER, Oswald. Preußentum und Sozialismus, available «here

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Revolution, the unexorcised ghost | by Florestan Fernandes


Article available at marxists.org.
Translated by Conttren, 2017.

 

 

In a provocative and intelligent book, Hobsbawm sought to demonstrate that the drama of Europe consisted in the combination (or tradition) of revolutionary intellectuals and a society that repels the Revolution. The historian, who lived through the post-Bolshevik period, was felt subtly dealing with internal convictions and justifying the Soviet Union’s intra-party errors, within both its borders and its international policy of concessions, during the “Cold War.”

In Brazil, we were not even able do this. Leftist parties saw themselves forced into tortuous opportunism, compensated with moments of pure theoretical glorification, having only come into practice once with the Aliança Nacional Libertadora [National Liberation Alliance], in 1935. This “subjective revolutionism” began to suffer rectifications exactly during the decadence of the “cold war” by proclaiming the new bourgeois belief of  the “death of socialism.” Intellectuals, in general, prefer to save their own skin when disconnected from practice as a way to not sacrifice their own consciousness… There was an incoherent and veiled shift towards social-democracy, which would not be an evil in itself. Evil proceeds from the disposition of conceding space without any struggle in Social Democracy’s orchestration as the Left-hand of the bourgeoisie. Such process continues and threatens us with the loss of the few partisan alternatives for the establishment of a new society.

I would like to deal with the theme as a sociologist. At PUC [Pontifical Catholic University], for example, where I have lectured in the last quarter of 1977, I was faced with the richness of the courses available. There was one focused on social organization. In an automatic impulse, I questioned why there was no course that dealt not only with social change, but specifically with social revolution. There, the two poles are given: order and its reproduction; order and its radical, or inverted, transformation. My postgraduate colleagues, who were open to critical thinking, soon agreed to this necessary addition.

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1. “Critique to a Dualistic Reason: the platypus”, Francisco de Oliveira

This series will attain itself in the translation of Francisco de Oliveira’s “Critique to a Dualistic Reason: the platypus”. It will be used, for the translation, the 4th reprint of the author’s work (OLIVEIRA, Francisco de. Crítica à razão dualista: o ornitorrinco. São Paulo: Boitempo, 2013, primeira edição, quarta reimpressão). Notes from the translator will be identified with “T. N.” (translator’s note).

V. S. Quintas


This essay was written as an attempt to answer the interdisciplinary questions drafted by CEBRAP [Brazilian Center for Analysis and Planning] regarding the socioeconomic expansion of capitalism within Brazil. CEBRAP’s endowment for such a peculiar intellectual environment of discussion, favored the author’s endeavor. The author is thankful for the criticisms and suggestions from his colleagues, particularly José Arthur Giannotti, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Octavio Ianni, Paul Singer, Francisco Weffort, Juarez Brandão Lopez, Boris Fausto, Fábio Munhoz and Regis Andrade, as well as Caio Prado Jr. and Gabriel Bolaffi, who participated in seminars about the text. Any fault or error found in this document cannot be attributed to any of them, evidently.

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Aristóteles e o Mundo Antigo│Agnes Heller

 physis-thésis

Atenas fazia-se em uma comunidade que se autoafirmava como Estado. Este Estado, essencialmente, interliga-se e se inter-relaciona explicitamente à religiosidade dos gregos antigos. Os deuses, as entidades, os rituais religiosos – todos possuíam um caráter coletivo representativo da moral (a posição do indivíduo perante os interesses e valores coletivos) que implica no modo correto, grego, de agir e perpetuar a sobrevivência destes rituais, das entidades, da moral, da comunidade… do Estado.

Entretanto, os sofistas representam exatamente o início da dissolução de uma interconectividade direta entre os indivíduos (e seus interesses particulares) e a comunidade (e, também, seus interesses). Eles eram, geralmente, indivíduos estrangeiros que exerciam a profissão de educadores, onde famílias de cidadãos atenienses os contratariam para educar seus filhos, pagando-os precisamente por tal função. Aqui é que se nota o aspecto funcional representado pelo sofista: o afastamento dos indivíduos de suas comunidades; é, deveras, produto de um intenso processo de desenvolvimento da individualização dos indivíduos, que passam a se excluírem dos processos coletivos por defesa explícita de seus interesses particulares.

Seu ateísmo é um ateísmo prático.

Em que sentido? Precisamente no de rejeitar um ordem externa divinamente estabelecida, responsável por delinear o destino intrínseco dos indivíduos no interior da comunidade. Tornava, por consequência, o ser responsável de si – através de sua própria atuação individual no mundo. Os sofistas passaram a serem prostrados, perante o Estado ateniense por exemplo, como mercenários que possuíam o objetivo de rejeitar os interesses coletivos, através de ataques de caráter jurídico-político à moral/ética social.

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