There seems to exist an intimate link between the dialectical method and revolutionary theory: not by chance, the high period of revolutionary thinking in the XXth century, the years 1905-1925, are also those of some of the most interesting attemps to use the hegelo-marxist dialectics as an instrument of knowledge and action. Let me try to illustrate the connexion between dialectics and revolution in the thought of three distinct Marxist figures : Leon D. Trotsky, Vladimir I. Lenin and György Lukacs.
Trotsky’s theory of permanent revolution, as sketched for the first time in his essay Results and Prospects (1906), was one of the most astonishing political breakthroughs in Marxist thinking at the beginning of the XXth century. By rejecting the idea of separate historical stages - the first one being a “bourgeois democratic” one - in the future Russian Revolution, and raising the possibility of transforming the democratic into a proletarian/socialist revolution in a “permanent” (i.e. uninterrupted) process, it not only predicted the general strategy of the October revolution, but also provided key insights into the other revolutionary processes which would take place later on, in China, Indochina, Cuba, etc.
Of course, it is not without its problems and shortcomings, but it was incomparably more relevant to the real revolutionary processes in the periphery of the capitalist system than anything produced by “orthodox Marxism” from the death of Engels until 1917. Now, a careful study of the roots of Trotsky’s political boldness and of the whole theory of permanent revolution, reveals that his views were informed by a specific understanding of Marxism, an interpretation of the dialectical materialist method, distinct from the dominant orthodoxy of the Second International, and of Russian Marxism. The young Trotsky did not read Hegel, but his understanding of Marxist theory owes much to his first lectures in historical materialism, namely, the works of Antonio Labriola. In his autobiography he recalled the “delight” with which he first devoured Labriola’s essays during his imprisonment in Odessa in 1893. 
His initiation into dialectics thus took place through an encounter with perhaps the least orthodox of the major figures of the Second International. Formed in the Hegelian school, Labriola fought relentlessly against the neo-positivist and vulgar-materialist trends that proliferated in Italian Marxism (Turati!). He was one of the first to reject the economistic interpretations of Marxism by attempting to restore the dialectical concepts of totality and historical process. Labriola defended historical materialism as a self-sufficient and independent theoretical system, irreducible to other currents; he also rejected scholastic dogmatism and the cult of the textbook, insisting on the need of a critical development of Marxism .
Trotsky’s starting-point, therefore, was this critical, dialectical and anti-dogmatic understanding that Labriola had inspired. “Marxism”, he wrote in 1906, “is above all a method of analysis - not analysis of texts, but analysis of social relations”. Let us focus on five of the most important and distinctive features of the methodology that underlies the Trotsky’s theory of permanent revolution, in his distinction from the other Russian Marxists, from Plekhanov to Lenin and from the Mensheviks to the Bolsheviks (before 1917).
1. From the vantage point of the dialectical comprehension of the unity of the opposites, Trotsky criticized the Bolsheviks’ rigid division between the socialist power of the proletariat and the “democratic dictatorship of workers and peasants”, as a “logical, purely formal operation”. This abstract logic is even more sharply attacked in his polemic against Plekhanov, whose whole reasoning can be reduced to an “empty syllogism”: our revolution is bourgeois, therefore we should support the Cadets, the constitutionalist bourgeois party.
Moreover, in an astonishing passage from a critique against the Menshevik Tcherevanin, he explicitly condemned the analytical - i.e. abstract-formal, pre-dialectical - character of Menshevik politics : “Tcherevanin constructs his tactics as Spinoza did his ethics, that is to say, geometrically” . Of course, Trotsky was not a philosopher and almost never wrote specific philosophical texts , but this makes his clear-sighted grasp of the methodological dimension of his controversy with stagist conceptions all the more remarkable.
2. In History and Class Consciousness (1923), Lukacs insisted that the dialectical category of totality was the essence of Marx’s method, indeed the very principle of revolution within the domain of knowledge . Trotsky’s theory, written twenty years earlier, is an exceptionally significant illustration of this Lukacsian thesis. Indeed, one of the essential sources of the superiority of Trotsky’s revolutionary thought is the fact that he adopted the viewpoint of totality, perceiving capitalism and the class struggle as a world process.
In the Preface to a Russian edition (1905) of Lassalle’s articles about the revolution of 1848, he argues : “Binding all countries together with its mode of production and its commerce, capitalism has converted the whole world into a single economic and political organism (...) This immediately gives the events now unfolding and international character, and opens up a wide horizon. The political emancipation of Russia led by the working class (...) will make it the initiator of the liquidation of world capitalism, for which history has created the objective condition” . Only by posing the problem in these terms - at the level of “maturity” of the capitalist system in its totality - was it possible to transcend the traditional perspective of the Russian Marxists, who defined the socialist-revolutionary “unripeness” of Russia exclusively in terms of a national economic determinism.
3. Trotsky explicitly rejected the un-dialectical economism - the tendency to reduce, in a non-mediated and one-sided way, all social, political and ideological contradictions to the economic infra-structure - which was one of the hallmarks of Plekhanov’s vulgar materialist interpretation of Marxism. Indeed, Trotsky break with economism was one of the decisive steps towards the theory of permanent revolution. A key paragraph in Results and Prospects defined with precision the political stakes implied in this rupture : “To imagine that the dictatorship of the proletariat is in some way automatically dependent on the technical development and resources of a country is a prejudice of ‘economic’ materialism simplified to absurdity. This point of view has nothing in common with Marxism” .
4. Trotsky’s method refused the un-dialectical conception of history as a pre-determined evolution, typical of Menshevik arguments. He had a rich and dialectical understanding of historical development as a contradictory process, where at every moment alternatives are posed. The task of Marxism, he wrote, was precisely to “discover the ‘possibilities’ of the developing revolution” .
In Results and Prospects, as well as in later essays - for instance, his polemic against the Mensheviks, “The proletariat and the Russian revolution” (1908), he analyzes the process of permanent revolution towards socialist transformation through the dialectical concept of objective possibility, whose outcome depended on innumerable subjective factors as well as unforeseeable events - and not as an inevitable necessity whose triumph (or defeat) was already assured. It was this recognition of the open character of social historicity that gave revolutionary praxis its decisive place in the architecture of Trotsky’s theoretical-political ideas from 1905 on.
5. While the Populists insisted on the peculiarities of Russia and the Mensheviks believed that their country would necessarily follow the “general laws” of capitalist development, Trotsky was able to achieve a dialectical synthesis between the universal and the particular, the specificity of the Russian social formation and the world capitalist process. In a remarkable passage from the History of the Russian Revolution (1930) he explicitly formulated the viewpoint that was already implicit in his 1906 essays : “In the essence of the matter the Slavophile conception, with all its reactionary fantasticness, and also Narodnikism, with all its democratic illusions, were by no means mere speculations, but rested upon indubitable and moreover deep peculiarities of Russia’s development, understood one-sidedly however and incorrectly evaluated.
In its struggle with Narodnikism, Russian Marxism, demonstrating the identity of the laws of development for all countries, not infrequently fell into a dogmatic mechanization discovering a tendency to pour out the baby with the bath water” . Trotsky’s historical perspective was, therefore, a dialectical Aufhebung, able to simultaneously negate-preserve-transcend the contradiction between the Populists ant the Russian Marxists.
It was the combination of all these methodological innovations that made Results and Prospects so unique in the landscape of Russian Marxism before 1917 ; dialectics was at the heart of the theory of permanent revolution.
As Isaac Deutscher wrote in his biography, if one reads again this pamphlet from 1906, “one cannot but be impressed by the sweep and boldness of this vision. He reconnoitered the future as one who surveys from a towering mountain top a new and immense horizon and point to vast, uncharted landmarks in the distance” .
Until 1914, Lenin used to consider himself, on the theoretical and philosophical level, as a faithful follower of the orthodox Marxism of the Second International, as represented by figures such as Karl Kautsky and G. V. Plekhanov. His main philosophical work from the early years, Materialism and Empiriocriticism, is much influenced by the kind of Marxism represented by the leader of the Menshevik faction. His philosophical thinking began to change radically after 1914, when he saw - and at first could not believe - that German Social-Democracy (including Kautsky) voted the war credits for the Kaiser’s government in August 4, 1914 - a choice reproduced in Russia by Plekhanov and several of his comrades.
The catastrophe of the Second International at the outbreak of World War I was, for Lenin, striking evidence that something was rotten in the state of Denmark of official “orthodox” Marxism. The political bankruptcy of that orthodoxy led him, therefore, to a profound revision of the philosophical premises of the Kautsky-Plekhanov sort of historical materialism. It will be necessary one day to retrace the precise track that led Lenin from the trauma of August 1914 to the Logic of Hegel scarcely a month after. The simple desire to return to the sources of Marxist thinking ? Or a clear intuition that the methodological Achilles’ heel of Second International Marxism was the absence of dialectics ?
Whatever the reason, there is no doubt that his vision of Marxist philosophy was profoundly changed by it. Evidence of this is the text itself of the Philosophical Notebooks, but also the letter he sent on January 4, 1915, shortly after having finished reading Hegel’s The Science of Logic (December 17, 1914) to the editorial secretary of Granat Publishers to ask if “there was still time to make some corrections [to his Karl Marx entry ] in the section of dialectics." 
And it was by no means a "passing enthusiasm" : seven years later, in one of his last writings, On the Significance of Militant Marxism (1922), he called on "the editors and contributors" of the party’s theoretical journal (Under the Banner of Marxism) to "be a kind of Society of Materialist Friends of Hegelian Dialectics." He insists on the need for a "systematic study of Hegelian Dialectics from a materialist standpoint," and proposes even to "print in the journal excerpts from Hegel’s principal works, interpret them materialistically and comment on them with the help of examples of the way Marx applied dialectics." 
What were the tendencies of Second International Marxism which gave it a predialectical character?
1. Primarily, the tendency to ignore the distinction between Marx’s dialectical materialism and the "ancient," "vulgar," "metaphysical" materialism of Helvetius, Feuerbach, etc. Plekhanov, for instance, could write these astonishing lines: "In Marx’s Theses on Feuerbach . . . none of the fundamental ideas of Feuerbach’s philosophy are refuted; they are merely amended ... Marx and Engels’ materialist views were elaborated in the direction indicated by the inner logic of Feuerbach’s philosophy" ! 
2. The tendency, that flows from the first, to reduce historical materialism to mechanical economic determinism in which the "objective" is always the cause of the "subjective." For example, Kautsky untiringly insists on the idea that "the domination of the proletariat and the social revolution cannot come about before the preliminary conditions, as much economic as psychological, of a socialist society are sufficiently realised." What are these "psychological conditions"? According to Kautsky, "intelligence, discipline and an organisational talent." How will these conditions be created? "It is the historical task of capitalism" to realize them. The moral of history: "It is only where the capitalist system of production has attained a high degree of development that economic conditions permit the transformation, by the power of the people, of capitalist property in the means of production into social ownership." 
3. The attempt to reduce the dialectic to Darwinian evolutionism, where the different stages of human history (slavery, feudalism, capitalism, socialism) follow a sequence rigorously determined by the "laws of history." Kautsky, for example, defines Marxism as "the scientific study of the evolution of the social organism." Kautsky had, in fact, been a Darwinian before becoming a Marxist, and it is not without reason that his disciple Brill defined his method as “bio-historical materialism”...
4. An abstract and naturalistic conception of the "laws of history," strikingly illustrated by the marvelous pronouncement of Plekhanov when he heard the news of the October Revolution: "But it’s a violation of all the laws of history!".
5. A tendency to relapse into the analytical method, grasping only “distinct and separate" objects, fixed in their differences: Russia-Germany; bourgeois revolution-socialist revolution; party-masses; minimum program-maximum program, etc. There is no doubt that Kautsky and Plekhanov had carefully read and studied Hegel; but they had not, so to speak, "absorbed" and "digested" him into their theoretical systems, grounded on evolutionism and historical determinism.
How far did Lenin’s notes on (or about) Hegel’s Logic constitute a challenge to predialectical Marxism?
1. First, Lenin insists on the philosophical abyss separating "stupid," that is,"metaphysical, undeveloped, dead, crude" materialism from Marxist materialism, which, on the contrary, is nearer to "intelligent," that is, dialectical, idealism. Consequently, he criticizes Plekhanov severely for having written nothing on Hegel’s Great Logic, "that is to say, basically on the dialectic as philosophical knowledge," and for having criticized Kant from the standpoint of vulgar materialism rather than in the manner of Hegel .
2. He fully grasps the dialectical conception of causality : "Cause and effect, ergo, are merely moments of universal reciprocal dependence, of (universal) connection, of the reciprocal connection of events. ..." At the same time, he praises the dialectical process by which Hegel dissolves the "opposition of solid and abstract", of subjective and objective, by destroying their one-sidedness .
3. He emphasizes the major difference between the vulgar evolutionist conception of development and the dialectical one : "the first, [development as decrease and increase, as repetition] is lifeless, pale and dry; the second [development as a unity of opposites] alone furnishes the key to the ’leaps,’ to the ’break in continuity,’ to the ’transformation into the opposite,’ to the destruction of the old and emergence of the new." 
4. With Hegel, he struggles "against making the concept of law absolute, against simplifying it, against making a fetish of it" (and adds: "NB for modern physics!!!"). He writes likewise that "laws, all laws, are narrow, incomplete, approximate."  5. He sees in the category of totality, in the development of the entire ensemble of the moments of reality, the essence of dialectical cognition . We can see the use Lenin made immediately of this methodological principle in the pamphlet he wrote at the time, The Collapse of the Second International (1915) : he submits to severe criticism the apologists of "national defence"-who attempt to deny the imperialist character of the Great War because of the "national factor" of the war of the Serbs against Austria-by underlining that Marx’s dialectic "correctly excludes any isolated examination of an object, i.e., one that is one-sided and monstrously distorted." 
Against the isolation, fixation, separation, and abstract opposition of different moments of reality, Lenin insists in dissolving them through the category of totality, arguing also that "the dialectic is the theory which shows . . . why human understanding should not take contraries as dead and petrified but as living, conditioned, mobile, interpenetrating each other." 
What interests us here most is less the discussion of the philosophical content of Lenin’s Notebooks of 1914-15 "in itself" than that of its political consequences : the socialist-revolutionary conception developed by the Bolshevik leader in his “April Thesis” from 1917. It is not difficult to find the red thread leading from the category of totality to the theory of the weakest link in the imperialist chain; from the inter-penetration of opposites to the transformation of the democratic into the socialist revolution; from the dialectical conception of causality to the refusal to define the character of the Russian Revolution solely by Russia’s "economically backward base"; from the critique of vulgar evolutionism to the "break in continuity" in 1917; and so on.
But the most important is quite simply that the critical reading, the materialist reading of Hegel had freed Lenin from the straitjacket of the pseudo-orthodox Marxism of the Second International, from the theoretical limitation it imposed on his thinking. The study of Hegelian logic was the instrument by means of which Lenin cleared the theoretical road leading to the Finland Station of Petrograd, where he first announced “All the power to the soviets”.
In March-April 1917, liberated from the obstacle represented by predialectical Marxism, Lenin could, under the pressure of events, rid himself in good time of its political corollary: the abstract and rigid principle according to which "The Russian revolution could only be bourgeois, since Russia was not economically ripe for a socialist revolution." Once he crossed the Rubicon, he applied himself to studying the problem from a practical, concrete, and realistic angle: what are the measures, constituting in fact the transition towards socialism, that could be made acceptable to the majority of the people, that is, the masses of the workers and peasants ? This is the road which led to the October Revolution...
The philosophical work that best gave expression to the dialectics of revolution after October 1917 was probably György Lukacs’ History and Class consciousness (1923). By dissolving the reified moments in the contradictory process of the historical totality, and by emphasizing the unity between the subjective and the objective in the revolutionary praxis, Lukacs was able to dialectically supersede (Aufhebung) the traditional oppositions between “ought” and «being”, values and reality, ethics and politics, final goal and immediate circumstances, human will and material conditions. Since this opus magnum of Marxist dialectics in the XXth century is well known, I would like to add a few comments on another piece by Lukacs, only recently discovered, Chvostismus und Dialektik .
For many years scholars and readers wondered why Lukacs never answered to the intense fire of criticism directed against History and Class Consciousness (HCC) soon after its publication, particularly from Communist quarters. The recent discovery of Chvostismus und Dialektik - probably written around 1925 - in the former archives of the Lenin Institute shows that this “missing link” existed : Lukacs did reply, in a most explicit and vigorous way, to these attacks, and defended the main ideas of his hegelo-marxist masterpiece from 1923. One may consider this answer as the last revolutionary/marxist writing of the Hungarian philosopher, just before a major turn in his theoretical and political orientation - the philosophical “reconciliation with reality” proposed by his essay on Moses Hess from 1926 .
Chvostismus und Dialektik - English translation : Tailism and Dialectics - may be considered as a powerful exercise in revolutionary dialectics, against the crypto-positivist brand of “Marxism” that was soon to become the official ideology of the Soviet bureaucracy. The key element in this polemical battle is Lukacs’ emphasis on the decisive revolutionary importance of the subjective moment in the subject/object historical dialectics.
If one had to summarize the value and the significance of Tailism and dialectics, I would argue that it is a powerful hegelian/marxist apology of revolutionary subjectivity. This motive runs like a red thread throughout the whole piece, particularly in its first part, but even, to some extent, in the second one too. Let us try to bring into evidence the main moments of this argument. One could begin with the mysterious term Chvostismus of the book’s title - Lukacs never bothered to explain it, supposing that its - German ? Russian ? - readers were familiar with it. The word was used by Lenin in his polemics - for instance in What is to be done ? - against those “economistic Marxists” who “tail-end” the spontaneous labour movement. Lukacs, however, uses it in a much broader historiosophical sense : Chvostismus means passively following - “tailing” - the “objective” course of events, while ignoring the subjective/revolutionary moments of the historical process.
Lukacs denounces the attempt by Rudas and Deborin to transform Marxism into a “science” in the positivist, bourgeois sense. Deborin - an ex-Menshevik - tries, in a regressive move, to bring back historical materialism “into the fold of Comte or Herbert Spencer” (auf Comte oder Herbert Spencer zurückrevidiert), a sort of bourgeois sociology studying transhistorical laws that exclude all human activity. And Rudas places himself as a “scientific” observer of the objective, law-bound course of history, whereby he can “anticipate” revolutionary developments. Both regard as worthy of scientific investigation only what is free of any participation on the part of the historical subject, and both reject, in the name of this “Marxist” (in fact, positivist) science any attempt to accord “an active and positive role to a subjective moment in history”.  The war against subjectivism, argues Lukacs, is the banner under which opportunism justifies its rejection of revolutionary dialectics : it was used by Bernstein against Marx and by Kautsky against Lenin. In the name of anti-subjectivism, Rudas develops a fatalist conception of history, which includes only “the objective conditions”, but leaves no room for the decision of the historical agents. In an article in Inprekor against Trotsky - criticised by Lukacs in T&D - Rudas claims that the defeat of the Hungarian revolution of 1919 was due only to “objective conditions” and not to any mistakes of the Communist leadership; he mentions both Trotsky and Lukacs as examples of a one-sided conception of politics which overemphasizes the importance of proletarian class consciousness . While rejecting the accusation of “subjective idealism”, Lukacs does not retract from his voluntarist viewpoint : in the decisive moments of the struggle “everything depends on class consciousness , on the conscious will of the proletariat” - the subjective component. Of course, there is a dialectical interaction between subject and object in the historical process, but in the crucial moment (Augenblick) of crisis, it gives the direction of the events, in the form of revolutionary consciousness and praxis. By his fatalist attitude, Rudas ignores praxis and develops a theory of passive “tail-ending”, considering that history is a process that “takes place independently of human consciousness”.
What is Leninism, argues Lukacs, if not the permanent insistence on the “active and conscious rôle of the subjective moment” ? How could one imagine, “without this function of the subjective moment”, Lenin’s conception of insurrection as an art? Insurrection is precisely the Augenblick, the instant of the revolutionary process where “the subjective moment has a decisive predominance (ein entscheidendes Übergewicht)”.
In that instant, the fate of the revolution, and therefore of humanity “depends on the subjective moment”. This does not mean that revolutionaries should “wait” for the arrival of this Augenblick : there is no moment in the historical process where the possibility of an active rôle of the subjective moments is completely lacking . In this context, Lukacs turns his critical weapons against one of the main expressions of this positivist, “sociological”, contemplative, fatalist - chvostistisch in his terminology - and objectivist conception of history : the ideology of progress. Rudas and Deborin believe that the historical process is an evolution mechanistically and fatally leading to the next stage. History is conceived, according to the dogmas of evolutionism, as permanent advance, endless progress : the temporally later stage is necessarily the higher one in every respect.
From a dialectical viewpoint, however, the historical process is “not an evolutionary nor an organic one”, but contradictory, jerkily unfolding in advances and retreats . Unfortunately Lukacs does not develop this insights, that point towards a radical break with the ideology of inevitable progress common to Second and - after 1924 - Third International Marxism. Another important aspect related to this battle against the positivist degradation of Marxism is Lukacs critique, in the second part of the essay, against the views expressed by Rudas on technology and industry as an “objective” and neutral system of “exchange between humans and nature”. This would mean, objects Lukacs, that there is an essential identity between the capitalist and the socialist society !
In his viewpoint, revolution has to change not only the relations of production but also revolutionize to a large extent the concrete forms of technology and industry existing in capitalism, since they are intimately linked to the capitalist division of labour. In this issue too Lukacs was well ahead of his time, but the suggestion remains undeveloped in his essay .
Michael Löwy, a philosopher and sociologist of Brazilian origin, is a member of the New Anti-capitalist Party in France and of the Fourth International. A Fellow of the IIRE in Amsterdam and former research director of the French National Council for Scientific Research (CNRS), he has written many books, including The Marxism of Che Guevara, Marxism and Liberation Theology, Fatherland or Mother Earth? and The War of Gods: Religion and Politics in Latin America. He is joint author (with Joel Kovel) of the International Ecosocialist Manifesto. He was also one of the organizers of the first International Ecosocialist Meeting, in Paris, in 2007.
 Trotsky, My Life, New York, 1960, p. 119.
 See A.Labriola, La concepcion materialista de la historia (1897), La Habana, 1970, p. 115, 243
 See A.Labriola, La concepcion materialista de la historia (1897), La Habana, 1970, p. 115, 243
 G.Lukacs, History and Class Consciousness, London, 1971, ch. 1.
 G.Lukacs, History and Class Consciousness, London, 1971, ch. 1.
 Results and Prospects, p. 195.
 Ibid p. 168.
 Trotsky, History of the Russian Revolution, London, 1965, vol. I, p. 427.
 I.Deutscher, The Prophet Armed, London, 1954, p. 161
 Quoted in R.Garaudy, Lenine, Paris, PUF, 1969, p. 40
 Lenin, Selected Works, vol . 3 p. 672, 667-668.
 George V. Plekhanov, Fundamental Problems of Marxism (London, Martin Lawrence, n.d.) pp. 30-31. Cf. also pp. 21-22 : « Marx’s theory of cognition is directly derived from Feuerbach’s. If you like, we can even say that, strictly speaking, it is Feuerbach’s theory...given a profounder meaning in a general way by Marx ».
 Karl Kautsky, The social revolution, Chicago, Charles Kerr, 1903, pp. 185-187 (translation modified)..
 Lenin, Philosophical Notebooks, pp. 179, 276, 277
 Ibid, pp. 159, 187, 260.
 Ibid. p. 360.
 Ibid. p. 151
 Ibid. pp. 157-158. See also pp. 171, 196, 218.
 Lenin, The Collapse of the Second International in Collected Works, vol. 21, p. 235.
 Lenin, Karl Marx, in CW, vol. 21, p.33.
 On the meaning of this work in Lukacs’s intellectual evolution, I refer to the last chapter of my book Georg Lukacs. From Romanticism to Bolshevism, London, New Left Books, 1980.
 G.Lukacs, Tailism and the dialectics, London, Verso, 2000, pp. 50, 135, 137. Cf. the German original, Chvostismus und Dialektik, Budapest, Aron Verlag, 1996, p.9
 As John Ree very aptly comments, Rudas and Deborin stand in drect continuity with Second International positivist/determinist Marxism : “In Rudas’ mind, Trotsky and Lukacs are linked because they both stress the importance of the subjective factor in the revolution. Rudas steps forth as a defender of the ‘objective conditions’ which guranteed that the revolution was bound to fail. The striking similarity with Karl Kautsky’s review of Korsch’s Marxism and Philosophy, in which he attributes the failure of the German revolution to just such objective conditions, is striking testimony to the persistence of vulgar Marxism among the emerging Stalinist bureaucracy”. (“Introduction” to T&D pp. 24-25)
 G.Lukacs, T&D pp. 48, 54-58, 62. Cf. Chvostismus und Dialektik p. 16. Emphasis in the original. Of course, this argument is mainly developed in the first chapter of the first part of the essay, which has the explicit title “Subjectivism”; but one can find it also in other parts of the document.
 T&D pp.55, 78, 105.
 T&D pp. 134-135.
Reproduced from International Viewpoint
From The Review of Radical Political Economics, Vol.13 No.1, Spring 1981, pp.35-39.
Thanks to Joseph Auciello.
Downloaded with thanks from the Ernest Mandel Internet Archive.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.
ABSTRACT: The concept of a transitional society is utilized to analyze the laws of development of the Soviet economy. A transitional society, it is argued, is not defined by the simple combination or articulation of old and new relations, but instead is understood to be a formation with relations of production specific to this transitional period. The decisive feature of these new relations is the conscious distribution of the means of production and labor-power through the plan. The distribution of consumer goods, however, still maintains the commodity form. Consequently, the economic order is governed by the conflict of two antagonistic logics – the logic of the plan and the logic of the market.
To the extent that one can discover general laws for the existing societies in transition between capitalism and socialism, which are characterized by extreme bureaucratic deformation or degeneration, they would have to be characterized as follows:
(1) State ownership of all important industrial, transportation and financial enterprises (i.e. of the means of production and circulation), combined with legal (constitutional) suppression of the right to their private appropriation, centralized economic planning and state monopoly of foreign trade, imply the absence of generalized commodity production and the rule of the law of value in the USSR. This means that the economy is no longer capitalist. There is neither a market for large means of production nor for manpower, and labor-power has ceased to be a commodity.
On the other hand, the pressure of the world market, the insufficient level of development of the productive forces, the conflict of interest between social classes (workers, peasants) and social layers (the bureaucracy), the enormous structural differences between industry and agriculture, town and countryside, manual and intellectual labor  lead to an inevitable survival of commodity production – essentially of means of consumption  – and to the impossibility of freeing the economy completely of value. The survival of a partial commodity production implies that the economy is not yet a socialist one. The unfolding conflict between the logic of the plan and the influence of the law of value is therefore the main contradiction and the main law of motion of the Soviet economy, as of all economies in the phase of transition between capitalism and socialism.
(2) The absence of the rule of the law of value implies, among other things, that the Soviet economy has been able to develop independently from the profit-derived sector priorities and distortions imposed by international capitalism on all less developed economies in the epoch of imperialism. It also implies that it has been able to avoid the business cycle, periodic crises of overproduction, and conjunctural large-scale unemployment. It has been characterized by long-term average rates of growth superior to those of industrialized capitalist countries, even after achieving its basic industrialization. But the survival of partial commodity production, the pressure of the world market and all the other constraints mentioned above, objectively restrict the efficiency and scope of global economic planning. They imply periodic fluctuations in the rate of economic growth and a series of tensions and crises specific to a society in transition between capitalism and socialism, qualitatively different from both the capitalist and socialist economy. They also imply the possibility of partial overproduction of all those goods which remain commodities.
(3) Survival of commodity production in department II – and its correlative, the money or wage-form of redistribution of labor-power (the workers’ access to consumer goods mainly through exchange against money) – implies for every society in transition between capitalism and socialism a contradiction between non-capitalist relations of production and bourgeois forms of distribution.  This conflict is not restricted to the sphere of distribution only. It has repercussions in the sphere of production, in the organization of work and production relations at a plant level, and in the techniques of planning. One of these repercussions is a bias towards independent book-keeping at enterprise level and, as a result of the generalized use of money for national book-keeping, a bias towards financial autonomy of enterprises. So long as only partial commodity production survives, money does not and cannot have the same functions as under capitalism or even under petty commodity production; it cannot become large-scale capital, and only in marginal cases (“black market production”) does it become a means of direct exploitation of labor-power. But though never an instrument for really appropriating large means of production, it can become a means of partial private appropriation of the social surplus product (interest, rent) and it does unleash a spontaneous tendency to primitive private capital accumulation, up to a certain ceiling. It remains especially a key vehicle for the consolidation and transmission of social inequality (inheritance). This is another key contradiction and law of motion of the Soviet economy.
(4) These basic contradictions, characteristic for all social formations in transition between capitalism and socialism, are greatly aggravated in the USSR. by the political counter-revolution (Thermidor) which triumphed in the Twenties, and which led to a monopoly of power (administration) in all spheres of social life by a materially privileged social layer, the bureaucracy. In the same way as the law of value reigns in its most normal, least impeded way under competitive capitalism, socially planned investment and distribution of the main economic resources function in a normal and unimpeded way only under the control and management of the economy by the associated producers themselves. Management of productive units and of all basic economic processes by a privileged bureaucracy necessarily introduces enormous distortions and waste in the planning process, which combine with those distortions arising from the survival of partial commodity production, the pressure of the world market, etc., and strengthen them constantly. These distortions account for many of the specific crises which the Soviet economy has witnessed during the past half-century. This is another basic law of motion of the Soviet economy.
(5) The mass of the producers have an evident dual interest in optimizing the planned use of economic resources: their interest in minimizing their (mechanical, non-creative) labor inputs, and their interest in minimizing their consumer satisfaction.  Any waste of economic resources violates one or both of these interests. There is no empirical evidence or theoretical “proof” that under real democratic workers’ management, a centrally planned collectivized economy would not allow a more efficient combination of economic resources than that achieved through competition and attempts at profit maximization under capitalism.
But in the absence of democratic control over planning, production and distribution by the associated producers themselves, the only way in which a centrally planned collectivized economy can be run is by a (contradictory) combination of the drive for material self-interest by the “managerial” layer of the bureaucracy, and of political control by the state apparatus (the party apparatus having long since been absorbed by the state apparatus). Experience has confirmed what Marxist theory could predict: such a combination must keep the development of Soviet economy constantly below its optimum rate of growth, and must periodically produce explosive disproportions between different branches of the national economy. This is again a basic law of motion of the Soviet economy.
(6) The material privileges of the bureaucracy are essentially restricted to the spheres of consumption. (We leave aside “immaterial privileges,” “social prestige,” the “thirst for power” not expressed in material advantages, which are irrelevant to economic analysis.) Given the specific nature of the Soviet economy, these privileges take two forms: higher money incomes (including those illegally acquired through bribes, corruption, theft, “grey” and “black” market operations, etc.), and non-monetary advantages linked to given hierarchical levels inside the bureaucracy (access to special shops, to state-owned cars, apartments, dachas, etc.). Both forms lead to a qualitatively higher access to consumer goods (of higher quality) than that of the average worker (not to speak of the average peasant). But they do not lead to private ownership of the means of production, nor to the accumulation of huge private money fortunes.
This introduces an additional, and explosive, contradiction into the functioning of the Soviet economy. While the material self-interest of the bureaucracy is the main instrument for the realization of the plan (the main mechanism through which economic growth is socially mediated, given the bureaucracy’s monopoly of administration of the economy), there is no economic mechanism, not to speak of a spontaneously or automatically functioning one, through which the fulfillment of that self-interest can dovetail with the optimization of economic growth – at least not from the moment a certain threshold of industrialization has been passed. (Incidentally, this is one of the main theoretical proofs that the bureaucracy is not the new ruling class). 
All the main economic reforms of the Soviet economy since the Second Five-Year Plan – from the khozraschyot principle introduced under Stalin, to Khrushchev’s sovnarkhozy, Lieberman’s proposed “restoration of the profit indicator of overall economic performance,” – and Kosygin’s system of “combined indicators” – are unsuccessful attempts to overcome that contradiction which fuels another basic law of motion of the Soviet economy. They must remain unsuccessful, because by its very nature as a material privileged layer in consumption, the bureaucracy cannot overcome its tendency to subordinate overall social priorities to private sectoral advantages (calculated by and gained for the management of each separate factory, trust, locality, region, branch, nationality, etc.). Only democratically associated producers receiving an equalized “social dividend” from increased economic growth or increased productivity of labor, would be genuinely interested in global social optimization of the use of economic resources.
Any form of bureaucratic management will, therefore, always lead to a waste of such resources, e.g. hiding reserves, transmitting false information, excessive input requirements, outputs of low quality or unrelated to consumer needs, under-employment of productive capacity, theft of productive inputs for “grey” or “black market” operations, etc. Neither the systematic use of terror (as under Stalin) nor the partial restoration of market mechanisms can eliminate the source of that waste, which is the conflict between the material private self-interest of the managing bureaucracy and the needs of optimum use of economic resources made possible by the abolition of private ownership of the means of production and of the rule of the law of value, and demanded by the collective interests of the overwhelming majority of the producers. (It is obvious that each successive bureaucratic reform can achieve, and has achieved, some temporary, partial success in overcoming particularly heavy blocks to further economic growth.)
(7) The tremendous cumulative growth of the Soviet economy over more than half a century, made possible by the overthrow of capitalism, has transformed that country from a relatively backward one into the second largest industrial power on earth, at least from the point of view of total absolute production figures. It has even permitted industrial productivity of labor to approach the levels of Italy and Britain, while agricultural productivity of labor remains dismally low. This economic growth has dramatically increased the social weight of the Soviet proletariat, its level of culture and technical skill. The objective possibilities of workers’ management of the economy are today incomparably higher than they were in 1917, 1927 or 1937.
However, none of this implies that the more the Soviet economy grows the easier and quicker becomes the overthrow of the bureaucracy’s monopoly of power and management of the economy and society. The relative stability of its rule which has lasted much longer than most Marxist critics thought possible, can be explained by the fact that this overthrow can result only from conscious political action, i.e. a political revolution, which requires not only ripe objective conditions but also ripe subjective conditions. The relative unripeness of these latter is the key reason for the relative longevity of bureaucratic dictatorship.
(8) On the one hand, one of the main results of the long period of dictatorship (especially under Stalin’s reign of terror, but not only under these conditions) has been a process of progressive automization and de-politicization of the Soviet working class, which has put big subjective obstacles in the path of a political revolution. The way in which communism, Marxism, and socialism have become discredited in the eyes of the Soviet proletariat, as a result of their systematic prostitution as an apologetic state religion in the service of the bureaucracy, is typical of these new subjective obstacles. This is especially so in the absence of a victorious socialist revolution in the West or of a victorious political revolution in an Eastern European country, which could offer the Soviet workers a more attractive “alternative model for the building of socialism” that the Stalinist one.
On the other hand, the very growth of the Soviet economy, in spite of all the waste caused by bureaucratic mismanagement, has created the basis for a slow but steady long-term improvement in the standard of living of the Soviet workers, which is now much higher than it was. The Soviet bureaucracy can therefore embark upon a course of “reformist consumerism” as an alternative to political action inside the Soviet working class. While such a course provokes new tensions and contradictions, arising from unsatisfied rising expectations (for quality consumer goods, access to higher education, a better health service, freedom to travel abroad, etc.) it has, at least for a period, maintained depoliticization and atomization inside the working class and has hampered a rebirth of systematic mass action or mass organization (except, in part, among oppressed nationalities, and then for national goals only).
But the relative unripeness of the subjective preconditions for political revolution does not lead either to a smooth reproduction of bureaucratic rule or to automatic economic growth. It introduces another partially explosive contradiction into the Soviet economy. The more the growing objective weight of the Soviet proletariat collides with its continuous elimination from meaningful decision-taking processes in management and planning, the more a generalized indifference towards the outcome of the productive process permeates all levels of workers’ activities, and this in turn becomes a major source of slow-down in economic growth (and a huge reserve source of additional growth in the event of a victorious political revolution).
(9) For twenty years, the Soviet bureaucracy has confronted growing problems arising from the need to pass from extensive to intensive industrialization. This need results from the gradual exhaustion of the large-scale reserves in land, agricultural labor and raw materials which had been available for industrialization during the first decades after the initiation of the Five-Year Plans. All attempts to solve these problems till now have failed to achieve a qualitatively higher degree of efficiency in the use of economic resources, though some progress continues to be achieved. The two basic stumbling blocks which the Bonapartist leadership of the bureaucracy cannot overcome are the impossibility (already mentioned) of rationally tying the material self-interests of the bureaucracy to the optimization of economic growth, and the impossibility (already mentioned) of overcoming the relative indifference towards production of the direct producers. The first of these could be overcome only through re-establishing a permanent tie of material interests between the individual bureaucrats and given enterprises, i.e. re-introducing private property in the economic (and not necessarily at the same moment in the juridical) sense of the term, i.e. through a restoration of capitalism. The second stumbling block could be overcome only through the conquest of generalized workers’ control, workers’ management, and workers’ political power in the economy and society. The first of these radical changes would mean a victorious social counterrevolution, the second a victorious political antibureaucratic revolution.
(10) Inside the bureaucracy, especially its “managerial” wing, there is undoubtedly a tendency towards linking its drive for security of social status, income and privileges to permanent ties with a given enterprise or group of enterprises. This tendency reflects the general historical experience that without such ties (i.e. private property in the economic sense of the term), no permanent guarantee can be found for the security of material privileges and social status and their transmission to the next generations. This tendency dovetails with the objective trend of the dictatorship to try to find a unifying rationale between the material self-interests of the bureaucrats and the need to streamline the operation of the system. It likewise dovetails with the pressure of the world market, the trend towards private small-scale primitive capital accumulation, the operation of “grey” and “black market” sectors of production, etc. If successful, it would lead by degrees to a disappearance of central planning, a dismantling of the state monopoly of foreign trade and to a growing symbiosis of a certain number of Soviet enterprises – freed from the iron control of the plan – with their counterparts in imperialist countries.
But before such tendencies could lead to a restoration of capitalism, they would have to eliminate the resistance of the key sectors of the state apparatus which oppose that trend. This, incidentally, is the objective justification for the use of the scientific formula “degenerated workers state” for the Soviet state, in spite of all its anti-working class measures and the total lack of direct class power or even political rights in the USSR. They would especially have to break the resistance of the working class itself which would stand to lose, as a result of such a process of capitalist restoration, the principal remaining conquest of the October revolution in its own eyes: a qualitatively higher degree of job security than under capitalism (the right to work).  Restoration of capitalism on the “cold” or gradual road (as imagined through a “palace revolution,” by the Maoists, Bettelheim and other theoreticians) is as impossible as the overthrow of capitalism in a gradual way. To believe otherwise is, to use an apt formula of Trotsky’s, “to unwind the reformist movie backwards.” Such a restoration could result only from new and disastrous defeats of the Soviet and international proletariat, after violent social and political confrontations. These are still before us, not behind us.
(11) The overthrow of capitalism in a number of East European countries after World War II, as a result of military-bureaucratic interventions by the Soviet state, has created a Kremlin-controlled glacis at the Western frontier of the USSR over which the Soviet bureaucracy exercises a far-reaching control. But while that control was nearly unlimited during the first years after the upheaval and during the cold war period, it has gradually become more contradictory under the – sometimes combined, sometimes autonomous – operations of the three major factors: in each of those countries a ruling “national” bureaucratic layer has emerged which has its own material interests to defend and which, while ultimately depending on the Soviet army to guarantee its rule, can up to a certain point haggle with the Kremlin over the degree of “national autonomic economic development” and can put innumerable stumbling blocks in the road to greater integration inside COMECON. (The Rumanian bureaucracy is the prototype of such a “national” bureaucracy.) Each of these countries (with the possible exception of Bulgaria) is much more dependent upon foreign trade with the capitalist countries, and is therefore much more vulnerable than the Soviet economy to the fluctuations of the international capitalist economy. This also has social and political consequences inside those countries; especially in those where the degree of atomization and political passivity of the working class is much less than in the USSR. Indeed, in four of these countries (GDR 1953, Hungary and Poland 1956, Czechoslovakia 1968) we have already witnessed the beginning of huge mass movements centered around the working class and leading to the very threshold of political revolution.
Objective economic needs make unavoidable a gradual growing integration of the Soviet economy with those of the “people’s democracies.” But the Soviet bureaucracy cannot finalize such an integration beyond a given threshold, and each attempt unleashes further powerful contradictions, especially if it conflicts with the immediate interests of the masses: for in that case a higher level of working class activity and consciousness in Eastern Europe is transferred (at least partially and temporarily) into the Soviet economy and society. This has become an additional and important law of motion of the Soviet economy.
(12) The laws of motion of Soviet economy and society are inextricably linked to the class struggle on a world scale, i.e. to the outcome of the historical conflict between the world proletariat and the international capitalist class, i.e. to the fate of world revolution and of the international capitalist system. The victory of the October socialist revolution in a relatively backward country is in the last analysis understandable only against the background of the decline beginning of the world capitalist system in the imperialist epoch. Historically, it signifies the beginning of the process of world revolution.
The counter-revolutionary victory of Stalinism, the establishment of the bureaucratic dictatorship in the USSR. is ultimately the result of grave defeats of world revolution, of which the defeat of the Russian proletariat by the bureaucratic onslaught was an important part. But the survival of the USSR. as a non-capitalist economy and society (in spite of three powerful attempts at capitalist restoration by imperialism in 1918-1921, in 1941-1944 and in 1947-1951) is the result of the fact that the Stalinist counter-revolutionary victories were only partial, that the world proletariat was not completely defeated and reduced to passivity, that the historical crisis of the capitalist mode of production was itself too powerful an obstacle to be overcome, and that periodic new upsurges of world revolution occurred after the early forties.
In that sense, the future of the Soviet Union is yet undecided. Its fate depends upon the outcome of the struggle between antagonistic class forces on a world scale. Precisely because the Soviet economy is not a new mode of production, definitely crystallized and capable of autonomous self-reproduction, its inner laws of motion in and by themselves cannot decide its final form. New decisive defeats of the international proletariat will give a powerful impulse to a restoration of capitalism in the USSR. Any decisive victory of world revolution will give a powerful impulse to a victory of the politically antibureaucratic revolution in the Soviet Union, and will reopen the road to socialism which the bureaucratic dictatorship has blocked.
1. Rudolf Bahro proposes, not without justification, to replace that old formula with one which distinguishes between “specific” and “general” labor (i.e. mechanical labor and labor which is really helping to develop the human personality). He has a point. Especially after the technological revolution, many forms of intellectual labor (not to speak of administrative labor) can be as boring, mechanical and soul-destroying as manual conveyor-belt labor (indeed, there is literally an “interoffice conveyor-belt” functioning already!), while certain forms of manual labor are obviously creative. The question is not so much that certain forms of mechanical labor will stay with us for a long time, even under socialism. It is that nobody should be restricted to performing such jobs, even in the period of transition between capitalism and socialism. Hence the key importance of a radical reduction of the workweek (indeed, the introduction of the half-work-week, by the socialist revolution). Bahro, Eine Dokumentation (EVA, 1977).
2. Of course some means of production remain commodities in the USSR. Those sold to nonstate enterprises (kolkhozes, handicraft shops, foreign buyers) are the most important category. Small tools are also sold to individuals, and can be used for small scale production.
3. Those who continue to repeat that the mode of distribution has to “strictly conform” to the mode of production in each and every social formation, according to historical materialism, we can only recall for the nth time Engels’ statement: “Each new mode of production or process of exchange is at first retarded not only by the old process and the political associations which is essential to it in the course of a long struggle.” Frederick Engels, Anti-Dühring (Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1975): 179.
4. This is of course not meant in the vulgar sense of accumulation of more and more material goods, but in the broader sense of creating increasing opportunities (to start with: time and material means) for individual self-development and the development of rich social relations.
5. There is no example in history of a ruling class whose basic interest would conflict with the logic of the mode of production it represents.
6. Recently, Polish managers openly stated that “limited unemployment wouldn’t be such a bad thing to introduce more ‘work discipline’ into the factories.”
[//284] There is no reason to suppose that Marxist scholarship should deviate from the canons of philology. Those canons require initially the scientific establishment of a text. There must be a stemma of manuscripts and editions whereby variant texts can be identified, as well as a list of conjectured readings for corrupted passages, etc. Next, these canons require attribution of the textual passages to authors, to joint authors, or to some other hand. Where the composition period was brief, the temporal order of the several passages can be indicated; where composition or publication was more protracted, the passages can be dated as well. A third step (which can be omitted for certain purposes) is the interpretation of the established, attributed, and dated text in terms of themes, motives, intended audiences, etc. Finally, the philological approach includes an evaluation, with suggestions for further study.
Since Anti-Dühring was intended to summarize and popularize the doctrines of historical materialism, dialectics, and Marxian political economics, it has become the focal point for much of this debate. If Marx and Engels agreed upon a `division of labor' as Anguelov suggests, whereby Marx was to concentrate on political economy while Engels concentrated on philosophical topics, then Anti-Dühring transcended that division by incorporating sections on political economy as well as natural philosophy./2/ Thus the rather neat distinctions that [284/285] can be drawn by attributing the authorship, say, of Capital I to Marx and Dialectics of Nature to Engels are obscured in the case of Anti-Dühring.
Engels acknowledged in the `Preface' to the second, 1886 edition of Anti-Dühring that "the outlook expounded in this book was founded and developed in far greater measure by Marx, and only in an insignificant degree by myself" and that "I read the whole manuscript to [Marx] before it was printed."/3/ Terrell Carver comments on this passage that "there is nothing in the Marx-Engels correspondence, in their works, or anywhere else to support this."/4/ Thus Carver's argument against the theoretical accord of Marx's and Engels' thought turns upon Engels' veracity.
In cases such as the "Marx-Darwin correspondence," veracity is indeed impugned. But, in such a case, (a) credibility is questioned in terms of evidence independent of the text in question, and (b) the 'authority' in question must be of less than credible character anyhow; recall the "disreputable dog," Aveling, implicated in the "Marx-Darwin correspondence."/5/ Apart from these two conditions, an argument such as Carver's is quite problematic, involving as it does the disordering of the canons of scholarship. Attribution of authorship thereby turns illicitly upon the interpretation of the 'author's' motives.
Before returning to Carver's main argument, consider for an instance his characterization of Engels' motives. Carver avers that in Engels' Dialectics of Nature, "his views on the 'general nature of dialectics' were formulated explicitly, which was not the case in the first edition of Anti-Dühring. He continues "Engels, it seems, was canny enough to avoid creating disagreements with Marx."/6/ After Carver has thus impugned Engels' intellectual honesty, one turns to the text of Anti-Dühring and is perhaps surprised to find Engels stating that "dialectics, however, is nothing more than the science of the general laws of motion and development of nature, human society, and thought."/7/ And that passage was unchanged by Engels throughout the three editions of the book./8/
Returning then to Carver's main contention, he reiterates that "Marx said nothing [in the 'surviving Marx-Engels correspondence'] to confirm Engels' claim that he was familiar with the lengthy text of Anti-Dühring."/9/ In contrast to much of the argument for the theoretical divergence of Marx and Engels, turning as it does on subtle issues of emphasis and tone, Carver's bold textual claim has the merit that it can be addressed rather directly. Moreover, the focus on Anti-Dühring has benefit of the scientifically established text in the Marx-Engels Gesamtausgabe (MEGA). There are several possibilities here. Marx may have been familiar with a draft of Anti-Dühring as a result of his or Engels' reading of [285/286] it; or, he may have discussed the substance of Anti-Dühring with Engels (without necessarily having been familiar with a draft). In light of the review of Dühring's Critical History of National Economy which Marx contributed to Anti-Dühring, the second possibility cannot seriously be questioned./10/ The question thus is Marx's familiarity with draft materials of Anti-Dühring.
Marx makes an interesting reference in a letter to Wilhelm Freund which bears upon this issue. Carver observes that "Anti-Dühring appeared during 1877-78 in installments in Vorwarts, which Marx could easily have read."/11/ Of course this is quite beside the point, as many people did read the serialized Anti-Dühring; the issue is whether and what Marx knew of the contents prior to serialization. On 21 January 1877, Marx asked Freund to remind Dr Moritz Traube to send along citations of Traube's writings, because Engels is "laboring on a work of philosophy and, as it happens, Traube's achievements are emphasized."/12/ Thus Marx had some familiarity at that date with the contents of Anti-Dühring. But the chapter of Anti-Dühring which addressed the 'Traubesche Kunstzellen' was published in Vorwarts, Number 24, only on 25 February 1877./13/
Why should Marx have asked for Traube's citations and have known a month before publication that Traube's discoveries would be addressed in the serialized Anti-Dühring, unless Marx was familiar with this material in draft. And, on Carver's own argument, this would not have been the most likely topic of Anti-Dühring with which Marx would have been familiar; it was a less likely topic, for instance than those from the social sciences./14/ If it seems at all likely that Marx was familiar with draft material of Anti-Dühring on topics of organic chemistry, it is much more likely that he had read (or listened while Engels read from) other draft materials as well. Be that as it may, it seems that Marx's correspondence, contrary to Carver's assertions, does tend to confirm the veracity of Engels' claim that Marx had knowledge of some if not all of the draft materials of Anti-Dühring.
At this juncture, attention can properly focus on motives. On the one hand, Marx did not publicize either his familiarity with, or his contributions to Anti-Dühring. At the personal level, this can be imputed to Marx's modesty and sense of propriety. At the political level, this can be imputed to Marx's and Engels' perception of the issue of Marx's 'authority' in the Continental working-class movement in the 1870s./15/ On the other hand, after Marx's death, Engels did acknowledge his lifelong collaborator's familiarity with, and contributions to Anti-Dühring in the 1886 'Preface'. In correspondence with Franz Mehring, Engels explains his relationship to Marx and incidentally sheds light on his acknowledgements of 1886. "When one had the good fortune to work for forty years with a man like Marx, one usually does not during his lifetime get the [286/287] recognition one thinks one deserves. Then, when the greater man dies, the lesser easily gets overrated and this seems to me to be just my case at present."/16/ Thus the 'Preface' of 1886 can be imputed to Engels' own well-known modesty and sense of propriety.
The resolution of these issues permits the consideration of another point that also involves the rather careful reading of the text of Anti-Dühring. Engels defines the subject matter of political economy at the beginning of Part II as "the science of laws governing the production and exchange of the material means of subsistence in human society."/17/ Turning from subject matter to the method of political economy, he continues "it must first investigate the special laws of each individual stage in the evolution of production and exchange, and only when it has completed this investigation will it be able to establish the few quite general laws which hold good for production and exchange in general." Engels concludes with the proviso that "the laws which are valid for definite modes of production and forms of exchange hold good for all historical periods in which these modes of production and forms of exchange prevail."/18/ This is surely a concise and intriguing formulation of the subject matter and method of political economy. On the one hand, it suggests that the object of Marx's and Engels' political economic studies was not limited to bourgeois society./19/
On the other hand, it has been proposed that Engels' characterization of political economy differs substantially from Marx's own. Lucio Colletti, for instance, holds that the views of Engels and that of Marx represent "two profoundly different ways of seeing things."/20/ Indicting Engels among others for a "total lack of understanding of the relationship between the logical process and the process of reality," Colletti charges that the logical categories of Capital I, namely commodities, money, capital, etc., have been applied historically (and thereby illicitly) to a "succession of the various forms of society."/21/
Were these charges true, of course, they would evidence a serious misspecification on Engels' part. When we turn to Engels' text, however, we quite another set of categories than those of Capital I applied to the historical cases./22/ For instance: communal property in land corresponds to fairly equal distribution of the labor product, while the dissolution of community corresponds to considerable inequality of distribution. (Indeed Marx had addressed with great brevity this inverse relationship of communal property and impoverishment in his notebooks dating from the late 1850s)./23/ Consider an [287/288] historical example. As the Israelite patriarchal communal form was dissolving during the ninth and eighth centuries, the prophets reacted strongly to the ever increasing inequality among the populace. In Ephraim, Amos condemned the extreme inequality manifested in debt-slavery (Amos 2:6) and foretold alienation of the land, i.e. the complete dissolution of communal or redemptive property in land (Amos 7:17); in Judah, Micah likewise condemned debt-slavery (Micah 2:2) and also anticipated alienation of the land (Micah 2:4). For another instance: agriculture on a large scale corresponds to a class-antagonistic social structure, while agriculture on a small scale corresponds to the absence of such class antagonisms. (Later, Kautsky and Lenin were to address the relationship of the scale of agricultural production and class antagonism; both Arthur Stinchcombe and Jeffrey Paige have recently made extensive studies of this relationship.)/24/ As Engels continues, it becomes evident that the categories he utilizes in his general political economy not only are not simply those of "commodities, money, capital," Engels' are instead more general categories of forms of property, forms of appropriation of the labor product, forms of social antagonism, etc.
These categories may subsume those categories of Capital I; for example, 'capital' is subsumed under the more general 'property' or the category 'social antagonism'. (Similarly, Marx's categories of Capital I subsume those of Capital III: for example, 'finance capital', 'industrial capital', and 'landed capital' are subsumed under the more general category 'capital'.) But Engels cannot be convicted on this evidence of having confounded these several sets of categories. These more general categories give rise to 'laws' of their own which may be nomothetically less satisfying than the laws of Capital (say that treating the tendency of the rate of profit to decline). But Engels admits as much: "political economy in this wider sense has still to be brought into being. Such economic science as we possess up to the present is limited almost exclusively to the genesis and development of the capitalist mode of production."/25/
Thus Engels' categories in Anti-Dühring are not vulgar misappropriations of those of Capital I; even so, the question remains whether Engels' and Marx's understandings of the subject matter and method of political economy accord. This issue can be addressed rather directly, as Marx too has prepared a draft discussion of the topic. In the 'Introduction' to the Critique of Political Economy, Marx has three major sections./26/ The first section addresses 'Production' and the second, the Interrelationship of Production, Distribution, Exchange, and Consumption. These sections indicate the subject matter of political economy. The third section addresses 'The Method of Political Economy'. These three sections comprise a whole; the understanding of any single section depends upon the comprehension of the whole.
Marx's argument in the first section establishes that material production is [288/289] socially determined production by individuals; this implicates production at a definite stage of social development. Marx explicitly considers and rejects defining this stage in an historical account or by taking the stage in isolation. Both these analyses are based on the unreflective standpoint of the individual. Instead, he points out that each stage includes the moment common to several stages of production in general as well as the moment of specific differences of production between stages. By way of illustration, the stage of finance capitalism is understood to incorporate the moment of capitalist relations (i.e. the capitalist appropriation of surplus value) common to any bourgeois society, with the moment of imperialist relations (that is the metropolitan appropriation of super-profits) specific to this stage. This likewise suggests that Marx's political economic study was not to be restricted to bourgeois society. Further, each stage includes the moment of particular productive sectors as well as that of the totality of production, the conjuncture of the set of particular sectors. Finally, these moments organically presuppose 'a definite social corpus' or social subject./27/ Marx's argument thus moves from the abstract, the general moment, through the ever more specific moments, to the concrete, the social corpus. It moreover moves from the inchoate terms of individualism or an ahistorical analysis to the articulated terms of the dialectic. (The logical form of this argument is explicated in the third section of Marx's 'Introduction'.) In sum, it is thus the social corpus that is the object of analysis rather than the process or mode of production which is a characteristic (albeit a crucial characteristic) of the social form.
Marx's argument in the second section of the 'Introduction' establishes the interrelationship of production (in the 'narrower sense'), consumption, distribution, circulation and material exchange. Analyzed superficially, Marx says, these are related as a syllogism: production is the general term, consumption is the individual term, distribution is the proportional middle term, and material exchange is the particular middle term. This superficial analysis restricts itself to the distribution of the product./28/
More profoundly analyzed, production is the presupposition of the moments of consumption and distribution of the products. Production, consumption, and distribution of the means of production are related as content and form (or production, in the 'wider sense')./29/ Finally, circulation is but a moment of material exchange; both are determined by the moments of distribution and consumption./30/ Hence, all these moments are related organically, comprising a concrete unity (again the 'social corpus'), with the mode of production determining the processes or modes of consumption, distribution, etc. Notice how the argument moves even more strikingly from the abstract formulation to the concrete, and from the inchoate to the dialectical. [289/290]
Engels too had discussed the interrelationship of production, distribution, and exchange in Part II of Anti-Dühring. Amplifying upon his definition of the subject matter of political economy, that is "the science of the laws governing production and exchange," he argues that exchange (to the extent it has emerged in a particular society) presupposes production./31/ This of course accords with Marx's characterization, especially where he holds that "the intensity of exchange, its extent and nature, are determined by the development and structure of production."/32/ It likewise accords with Marx and Engels' earlier formulation in the German Ideology where they had argued that a mode of production is always combined with a mode of co-operation or co-ordination, a "materialist connection of humans with one another."/33/ Moreover, Engels argues that modes of production and exchange determine the mode of distribution of the product, while the mode of distribution (in the wider sense) determines the modes of production and exchange. All this accords with Marx's analysis. Only the category of consumption is omitted from Engels' discussion here, perhaps because that category implicates that of the Person./34/
Habermas, as is well known, has faulted 'historical materialism' for its 'instrumentalist' (or 'technologistic') bias, its oversight of the symbolic moment of communicative action. He identifies in this regard particularly Engels, Georgi Plekhanov, and Josef Stalin./35/ On the one hand, the specifics of Marx and Engels' understanding of the subject matter of political economy give Habermas' critique the appearance of being a misspecification. 'Exchange' is indeed 'social intercourse' (Verkehr) which encompasses both moments of 'material' exchange and 'ideal' forms of interaction./36/ On the other hand, Habermas' account differentiating human social intercourse from communication is warranted only by Habermas' history of the species. He differentiates anthropoids from hominids, not in terms of hominid symbolic behavior but in terms of development of the 'hunting mode of production'./37/ In evidentiary terms, Habermas' notion of the proto-human as hunter has been rejected by Engels as [290/291] well as current anthropologists./38/ In theoretical terms, Habermas' notion that anthropoid behavior was "based on symbolically mediated interaction in [George Herbert] Mead's sense" must similarly be rejected./39/ Thus Habermas' account of the emergence of the human mode of life (Lebensweise) essentially misspecifies the problem. The proto-human was a gatherer who occasionally 'hunted', thus at one with the anthropoids; the proto-human was accultured, a symbol and tool user, hence distinct from the anthropoids. When human social intercourse is acknowledged to incorporate communication, Habermas' critique of historical materialism must in large part be set aside.
Weeks, by contrast, has faulted Engels for his 'circulationist' bias as well as overlooking the role of force in societal transformations. Following Colletti, Weeks holds that Marx and Engels' "views on fundamental issues differed diametrically."/40/ But Weeks faults Engels precisely for what Habermas considers to be a virtue.
On the one hand, the 'circulationist' theory of economic crises holds either inadequate aggregate demand or else the 'profit squeeze' generate the crisis./41/ In either case the understanding is that the crisis is located within the sphere of circulation; by contrast, the Marxian understanding is that it is located in the sphere of production. In Anti-Dühring, Engels explicitly defines and analyses crises in terms of the overproduction of means of production, hence he cannot be characterized on this evidence as an 'underconsumptionist'./42/ He likewise holds that the proletarian standard of living is determined by the division of labor under the regime of capital, hence Engels cannot be accused of supposing that the distribution of 'factor income' to wage fund ('labor's share') and profits is in some sense exogenous to the sphere of production./43/ Thus Engels subscribed to neither an underconsumption theory nor a 'profit squeeze' hypothesis; hence he [291/292] cannot be identified with Paul Sweezy, Michael Kalecki, Samir Amin et al. as 'circulationists'.
On the other hand, Weeks makes much out of Engels' statement in Anti-Dühring that "the whole process [of the development of capitalism] can be explained by purely economic causes; at no point whatever are robbery, force, the state or political interference of any kind necessary."/44/ Weeks simply treats this passage apart from its context. In the nineteenth (and even in the twentieth) century, some social theorists held that society was politically conflictual in essence. (These were not necessarily Social Darwinists.) Eugen Dühring was an important member of this tradition; Engels took pains to dissociate his and Marx's writings from this tradition./45/ Engels, with considerable dialectical skill, showed in the Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State how the earliest fundamental (or generic) transformation of human society, that of the "world-historic overthrow of mother-right" was to be explained without presupposing the existence of the several institutions listed in the book's title./46/ Likewise, he shows in Anti-Dühring how subsequent generic transformations of society such as the rise of the state apparatus or the emergence of domestic and chattel slavery were to be explained without begging the question./47/
When he turns to the capitalist transformation, it is thus not surprising that Engels proceeds similarly. In Anti-Dühring he shows, dialectically (and in this instance echoing Capital I), that the necessity which underlay the earlier transformations of society was present in the development of capitalism as well./48/ This is not to say that chance has no significance in societal transformation, but that it is a determinate significance. Plekhanov, in reviewing just this issue, pointed out that "conquests, confiscations and monopolies" have occurred throughout recorded history. But, he continued, all these 'political' events, "far from determining the direction of economic development were, on the contrary, themselves determined by it in their forms and subsequent social effects."/49/ Hence the appropriateness of Engels' explanation of the development of capitalism in economic terms.
Moreover, Weeks' blatant confounding of the 'logical process' of the accumulation of capital presented in Part VII of Capital I with the 'processes of reality' such as those of primitive accumulation described in Part VIII is precisely the "total lack of understanding" castigated by Colletti. Marx himself indicates at the beginning of Part VII that "an exact analysis of the process [of accumulation] demands that we...disregard all phenomena that hide the play of its inner [292/293] mechanism," while he describes Part VIII of Capital I as "actual history."/50/ But this focuses attention on the method of political economy.
In sum, where Habermas tries to differentiate Marx from Engels by alleging that the latter tended especially towards single-factor technologism, Weeks tries to differentiate the two by alleging that Engels tended towards a circulationist (or even a 'revisionist') dualism while it was Marx who was the monist. But Weeks' discussion withstands close scrutiny no better than does Habermas'.
A few pages before his characterization in Anti-Dühring of the subject matter and method of political economy, Engels had discussed 'Dialectics'./54/ This passage illustrates his understanding of the method of political economy. Engels recounted that Marx examined the historical processes, the "processes of reality" in Colletti's terms, which characterize both the social corpus of mercantile capitalism and that of capitalism per se. These were analyzed in terms of forms of property. Capitalistic private property sublates individual private property. But an expanding and deepening class struggle attends capitalistic production to the point where capitalistic property itself is sublated in social revolution. Hence the synthesis: it is the negation of the negation./55/ Through this 'logical process' (Colletti's terms), through the workings of this 'dialectical law in history' (in [293/294] Carver's terms), the concrete unity of capitalism is concisely revealed in its organic complexity and potentiality.
Thus it appears that Engels' and Marx's conceptions of the method of political economy are in accord no less than their conceptions of its subject matter. Of course this is not difficult to comprehend if Marx was familiar with the drafts of Anti-Dühring.
It would be the height of presumption to suggest that a topic so complex and rich as Marx and Engels' theoretical accord could be definitively addressed in this brief statement. More modestly, it can be proposed that future discussions of this topic be obliged to be couched in scientific rather than doctrinaire terms. This is a timely proposal. On the one hand, the completion of the Gesamtausgabe (MEGA) and the English translation of the Collected Works of Marx and Engels have scientifically established the texts in the former and have made them readily accessible in the latter. On the other hand, the ever widening recognition of the scientific stature of historical materialism demands no less. [294//]
1. S. Avineri, The Social and Political Thought of Karl Marx (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1968), p. 69; Anguelov "Reflection and Practice," Philosophical Currents, Vol. 5 (1973), p. 76. Anguelov follows Lenin here; see V.I. Lenin Collected Works (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1964), Vol. 21, p. 84.1. S. Avineri, The Social and Political Thought of Karl Marx (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1968), p. 69; Anguelov "Reflection and Practice," Philosophical Currents, Vol. 5 (1973), p. 76. Anguelov follows Lenin here; see V.I. Lenin Collected Works (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1964), Vol. 21, p. 84.
2. On this 'division of labor', see Marx's testimony in Herr Vogt, K. Marx and F. Engels, Collected Works, (New York: International Publishers, 1975 ff), Vol. 17, p. 114; and Engels in K. Marx and F. Engels, Selected Works (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1962). Vol. 1, p. 549.
5. See Lewis S. Feuer "Is the Darwin-Marx Correspondence Authentic?" Annals of Science, Vol. 32 (1975), pp. 11-12. See also R. Colp, Jr. "The Contacts of Charles Darwin with Edward Aveling and Karl Marx," Annals of Science, Vol. 33 (1976), pp. 387-394; also M.A. Fay "Did Marx offer to Dedicate Capital to Darwin?" Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 39 (1978), pp. 133-146 and M.A. Fay "Marx and Darwin" Monthly Review Vol. 31 (1980), pp. 40-57.
8. K. Marx and F. Engels Gesamtausgabe (Moscow: Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute, 1935), I. Abteilung: Anti-Dühring/Dialektic der Natur (Sonderausgabe herausgegeben von V. Adoratskii), S. 144. This is the document Carver cites in his note 12.
15. See Engels' letter to E. Bernstein, 25 October 1881, K. Marx and F. Engels Selected Correspondence (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1975), p. 324. See also the symptomatic discussion of Wilhelm Liebknecht during the 1850s and 1860s in Herr Vogt, Marx and Engels, Collected Works, Vol. 17, p. 113.
24. K. Kautsky La Question Agraire (Paris: Maspero, 1970); V.I. Lenin, The Development of Capitalism in Russia (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1964), esp. ch. II; also A. Rochester, Lenin and the Agrarian Question (New York: International Publishers, 1942), esp. chs. I and III; A.L. Stinchcombe, "Agricultural Enterprise and Rural Class Relations," American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 67 (1961); J.M. Paige Agrarian Revolution (New York: Free Press, 1975), ch. 2.
33. K. Marx and F. Engels, Collected Works, Vol. 5, p. 43. J. Weeks argues that this passage was the source of the differences he finds between Marx and Engels; cf. his Capital and Exploitation (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981), pp. 61-2.
35. J. Habermas, Communication and the Evolution of Society (Boston: Beacon Press, 1979), chs. 3 and 4, esp. p. 145; also his Knowledge and Human Interests (Boston: Beacon Press, 1971), chs. 2 and 3. See T. McCarthy, The Critical Theory of Jürgen Habermas (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1978), chs. 1.2 and 3.5.
38. K. Marx and F. Engels, Selected Works (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1962), Vol. II, p. 186; also K. Marx, The Ethnological Notebooks of Karl Marx (Assen: Van Gorcum, 1972), p. 99. See S. Slocum, "Woman the Gatherer" in R.R. Reiter (ed.), Toward an Anthropology of Women (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1975), pp. 36-50; N. Tanner and A. Zihlman, "Women in Evolution," Signs, Vol. 1 (1976) and Vol. 4 (1978); E. Leacock, "Women's Status in Egalitarian Society," Current Anthropology, Vol. 19 (1978). See also Charles Woolfson The Labor Theory of Culture (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1982).
40. Weeks, Capital and Exploitation, chs. 1 and 2 [with appendix], esp. p. 51. Weeks' inability in general to give an intelligible reading of Engels is beyond the scope of this article. One illustration must suffice for now. Weeks supposes that Geist, when used by Werner Sombart, meant "a mental construct" (p. 14). In fact, this is precisely the opposite of what Sombart (or Engels) meant by the term; see Sombart's Die drei Nationalokonomien (Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, 1930) or Engels, "Law of Value and Rate of Profit," Capital III, Appendix. Weeks' discussion is thereafter a hopeless morass of the views of Conrad Schmidt, Marx and Engels, and a half dozen other writers.
43. Engels, Anti-Dühring, p. 376. This 'profit-squeeze' hypothesis can be traced at least as far back as Pareto; see V. Pareto Treatise on General Sociology (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1935) §§ 2203-36. It is associated in Great Britain with Andrew Glyn and B. Sutcliffe, British Capitalism, Workers and the Profit Squeeze (London: Penguin Books, 1972) and in the United States with Raford Boddy and J. Crotty, "Class Conflict and Macro-Policy," Review of Radical Political Economics, Vol. 7 (1975).
46. Marx and Engels, Selected Works, Vol. II, p. 217; again Engels follows Lewis H. Morgan, and Marx, The Ethnological Notebooks of Karl Marx, pp. 119-121. This line of discussion renders quite suspect Habermas' notion that the nuclear family initiated human society; cf. his Communication and the Evolution of Society, p. 136. In support of Habermas, see C.O. Lovejoy, "The Origin of Man," Science, Vol. 211 (1981).
This is taken from http://www.wright.edu/~gordon.welty/ENGELS83.HTM and is being published with the ermission of Professor Welty
Administrator, Radical Socialist, 29.11.2010
Fifty years have passed since the appearance of Anti-Dühring as a separate book. The Preface to the first edition was signed by Engels, June 11, 1878. This date, however, is not quite accurate. The articles against Dühring were first printed inVorwärts, the central organ of united German Social Democracy. The first article appeared in January 3, 18 77. The first section of the book, Philosophy, was published in nineteen issues ending May 13, 1877. After this there was an interruption. The second section, Political Economy, began to appear on July 27, occupied nine numbers and was finished on December 30, 1877. The third section, Socialism, followed, after a considerable gap lasting more than four months. It was published in five numbers, beginning May 5 and ending July 7, 1878. Thus, the last chapter was printed in Vorwärts a month later than is shown in the preface.
When we speak of the significance of Anti-Dühring it is necessary to bear in mind the position of German Social Democracy at that time. It is well known – especially to those who have studied the disputes around the Gotha Programme – how inadequate was the Marxist equipment of German Social Democracy in 1875. The disputes which took place around this compromising project of a Programme are well known. But this still does not give a complete picture of the extraordinarily low Marxist level which at that time was characteristic of German Social Democracy. In one respect, Mehring was right. If Marx and Engels were dissatisfied with Liebknecht because of the compromise which he concluded with the Lassalleans in the sphere of programme and tactics, it was because they over-estimated the Marxist understanding in the ranks of the “Eisenachers,” i.e., in the ranks of that Party which considered itself Marxist. If we take the central organ of Social Democracy, even after the union, we find there nothing more than an incredibly confused, almost vulgar, socialism. It was a monstrous mixture of some propositions of Marx, with some of Lassalle, and with a whole series of theses, the origin of which is to be found in contemporary bourgeois literature. It is sufficient to remark how from 1873 onwards the authority of Dühring grew greater and greater.
Comrades acquainted with Anti-Dühring usually have an impression of Dühring as almost an absolute cretin. But Dühring was no idiot. He was a big figure. He had in him that which makes many such active men immediately attractive to youth, namely, the qualities of a man with an encyclopedic education, who could orientate himself unusually freely in questions of natural science, philosophy, political economy, and socialism. He was a man who could give to the younger generation, in the old popular term, “a system of truth.” He gave a complete system of world outlook, he gave answers to all the troublesome questions. Moreover, he was a man known to the younger generation by his hatred of the professors, and in his personal life not especially happy, as might be expected from a man who lost his sight at the age of twenty-eight, and was compelled to acquire all his knowledge with the aid of other, almost accidental, persons. He was a man living in great poverty. All this created sympathy towards him.
The chief apostle of Dühring in German Social Democracy was Bernstein. We have, at least, five separate recollections of Bernstein’s on this interesting phase of his life. Each time he acknowledges that he was a very zealous and fervent disciple. He infected Fritsch, Most, Bebel, and Bracke with “Dühringism”. He writes that in 1873 he never missed an occasion of hearing the lectures of Dühring and he carried with him in his enthusiasm a whole series of comrades, including foreigners, for the most part Russians. He gave Dühring’s book to Bebel, then in prison, and Bebel wrote from prison in March, 1874, an article entitled A New Communist.
Bebel ends his article in the following fashion:–
“All our considerations against Dühring’s conception do not militate against his fundamental views. We consider them irreproachable, and regard him with complete approval. And we will never hesitate to declare that after Marx’s Capital, the new work of Dühring belongs to the best that the new era has produced in the economic sphere. We, therefore, heartily recommend the study of his book.”
This was the response of Bebel, who was dissatisfied with the Gotha unity, with the Gotha compromise. It can easily be imagined how this article was received in London. We have evidence that Engels immediately sent a request to Berlin as to who wrote this article. Liebknecht hastened to re-assure Engels (June 13, 1874):–
“Of course, it is impossible to avoid foolishnesses, but as soon as they are recognised they are, as far as possible, corrected. Have you any basis for believing that Dühring is worthless or a hidden enemy? Everything known to me about him strengthens me in the belief that, although he is confused, he is indubitably honest and stands unreservedly on our side. The article denounced by you was not altogether correct and was written with an unbounded measure of enthusiasm. In any case the intentions of the author were certainly good and the article has not produced a bad effect.”
Somewhat later Bloss declares to Engels, writing from prison:
“In regard to Dühring you are right ... in his Critical History of Socialism and Political Economy he wrote much stupidity. I have only now read this book.”
After Liebknecht and particularly Bloss had become more acquainted with Dühring, Liebknecht sent a request to Engels on February 1, 1875, that he should write an article about Dühring. Unfortunately, there are no letters of Engels and Marx in regard to this, but, obviously, they had created no little disturbance. Liebknecht writes:–
“When will it be possible to receive from you some work on Dühring, who in the second edition of his History of Political Economy has again repeated all his numerous stupidities about Marx? I was attending the lectures of this man before Christmas. Megalomania, and at the same time a furious hatred of Marx, that is all. But he has entrenched himself very strongly among our people, especially in Berlin, and consequently it is necessary to examine him fundamentally. You probably have the second edition. If you have not, we will send it to you.”
In a second letter, not immediately to Engels or Marx, but to Engels’ wife, Liebknecht adds,
“You must tell Engels that he must deal with Dühring fundamentally, but it is necessary to remember one thing: Dühring is literally dying of hunger”.
Engels did not agree particularly willingly. He resisted for a long time. From his correspondence with Marx we know that this task did not particularly attract him, the more so because just at this time he was in the full fervour of his occupation with natural science. It was only shortly before that he had communicated to Marx and to Schorlemmer the basic theses of his dialectics of nature. He was about to expand them in a special work, and he did not wish to throw aside this labour and occupy himself with a polemic against Dühring who was better known to him than to Liebknecht. Marx and Engels had already finished with Dühring. The latter had interested them as early as the sixties, when he wrote one of the first criticisms of Capital. They had already found out at that time that he was a “privat-docent” in political economy and a collaborator of the official newspaper Staatsanzeiger, to which Marx had definitely refused to contribute, and that Dühring had had a lawsuit with the well-known Privy Councillor Wagener in regard to the authorship of a certain production, a memorandum report written for Bismarck, on how to settle the socialist question. Wagener thought that he had to do with an ordinary “privat-docent” and put his own signature to the report. Dühring brought a lawsuit against him and won it. Marx and Engels were aware that Dühring in the sphere of political economy was a great worshipper of Carey and List, which was not known to the so-called young comrades.
Accordingly, Engels, who had just begun to take up a more interesting subject, was very unwilling to occupy himself with Dühring. And from the correspondence it is possible to see how much pressing was needed on the part of Liebknecht before Engels finally undertook the work.
In 1875-76 the cult of Dühring became stronger and stronger.
“Instead of the fighting slogan ‘Lassalle or Marx’”, writes Bernstein in his latest autobiography, “it seemed that there was put forward a new slogan ‘Dühring or Marx and Lassalle.’ And in all this I was not a little to blame.”
Attempts were made to use the Vorwärts to advertise Dühring. In fact, Liebknecht had to carry on a stubborn struggle, once having permitted this error on the part of Bebel, in order not to allow Vorwärts to be converted into an organ which exalted Dühring as a thinker on a level equal with Marx. The matter became more complicated still when Most wrote a big philosophical article on Dühring and sent it to Liebknecht. In 1876, Most even exceeded Bernstein in his Dühring worship; as an energetic worker and a magnificent agitator, he won for Dühring great popularity among the Berlin workers, theBerliner Freie Presse, the organ of the Berlin organisation, being greatly under the influence of Most.
On receiving Most’s article, Liebknecht purposely sent it to Engels, because he presumed that Engels after reading it would understand that, whether he liked doing so or not, it was necessary to set to work about Dühring. Engels finally agreed to write a series of articles on Dühring and began the task.
I will not dwell in more detail on this point, because the correspondence of Marx and Engels gives a whole series of indications of the unwillingness with which in the beginning Engels addressed himself to this subject. In any case, he was not able to dispatch the first article before the autumn of 1876. This was the first section, on Philosophy.
But here there occurred a little mishap: Liebknecht had not expected that Engels would send his article so late. He expected them earlier, at the beginning of the electoral campaign – the elections took place in January, 1877. It is understandable that Liebknecht and a number of other comrades were extremely occupied with the electoral campaign, too much so to pay attention as to how Engels’ articles would be printed. It is clear that Engels was fully justified in his dissatisfaction. It would have been impossible to make use of Engels’ articles in a worse fashion than was done by Vorwärtsduring January, 1877. The chapters of the section on Philosophy were printed with the most abundant printer’s errors, and were divided up senselessly without any basis. Receiving his articles in this shameful form, Engels was nearly beside himself and thundered at the editors in his letters, seeing in all this almost an intrigue of the Dühringites. Such a thought would, in fact, very naturally occur to anyone who sees how this section of Anti-Dühring was printed.
Finally, Engels wrote one of his fiercest letters to Liebknecht. Engels’ letters to Liebknecht were always in very sharp terms, but this was an extra sharp letter. Engels accused Liebknecht of all the mortal sins. But Liebknecht always showed great patience in relation to the “old man.” He explained to Engels that it was all due to the electoral campaign, and finally peace was made between them, but this was immediately followed by a new incident, that of the famous Gotha Congress of 1877. The last portion of the part on Philosophy was printed on May 13, 1877, and the Gotha Congress took place on May 27 to 29, 1877. Let us see how the history of this Congress is given by two authors. We will first of all hear Mehring:–
“How greatly Engels’ book was necessary was shown perhaps in the most striking fashion by the rather unfavourable reception that it received from the Party. Most and others were not far removed from closing the columns of the Vorwärts to it, thus giving to the heretic Engels a similar fate to that already dealt out to Dühring by the official university clique. Fortunately, the Congress of 1877 did not take this step. Solely on the basis of agitational and practical considerations, it decided to continue the publication of this purely scientific polemic in its paper, but only in a scientific supplement to the central organ. Not a few sharp words, however, were said. Neisser accused the editorial board of Vorwärts of not making sufficient efforts for a proper supervision of Engels’ work, and Walteich remarked in his arrogant manner, which had already antagonised Lassalle, that Engels’ tone was bound to lead to the ruin of literary taste and because of him the spiritual fare provided by Vorwärts was becoming absolutely uneatable.”
This is Mehring’s account. Now let us turn to Bebel’s story:–
“Still more unpleasant were the debates provoked by Most on the subject of Engels’ articles in Vorwärts directed against Dühring. The latter had succeeded in getting on his side almost all the leaders of the Berlin working-class movement. I was also of the opinion that for the purposes of agitation it was necessary to support and utilise every literary tendency which, like the works of Dühring, sharply criticised the existing social order and declared in favour of Communism. From this point of view, I had already in 1874 written from prison for the Volkstaattwo articles under the heading A New Communist, in which I examined the works of Dühring. They had been sent to me by Edward Bernstein, who, at that time, together with Most, Fritsch, &c., belonged to the most fervent admirers of Dühring. The circumstance that Dühring had very quickly come into conflict with the university authorities and the Government – a conflict which ended with his dismissal in June, 1877, from Berlin University – still more raised his prestige in the eyes of his followers. All this led Most to introduce the proposal that for the future such articles as those of Engels against Dühring, which did not present any interest for the great mass of readers, or evoked the dissatisfaction of the readers, should not be published any more in the central organ.”
Both Bebel and Mehring, however, do not quite accurately represent what took place at the Congress. There were even more unpleasant things. Neisser’s remarks have already been given by Mehring. Liebknecht waxed indignant against Neisser. Then Most and his comrades introduced a resolution that the Congress should declare that “articles such as the recent articles of Engels against Dühring are entirely devoid of interest for the readers of Vorwärts, and should be removed from the central organ.” Liebknecht, of course, wanted to protest, but there was immediately introduced another proposal by Kleimich and his comrades, that “discussions on the proposal of Most, and on other proposals relating to Engels’ articles in the Vorwärts, should be introduced only from the point of view of material expediency and not in any case from the point of view of principle or of science.”
This resolution of Kleimich was passed by thirty-seven votes to thirty-six. After this, Liebknecht declared that the discussions lost all significance if on this question it was possible to speak only of material expediency. Then Bebel and his comrades introduced a resolution as follows:–
“Taking into consideration the length (!) of the articles of Engels against Dühring and presuming that in future they will become even longer, and taking into account that the polemic which is being conducted by Engels in the columns of Vorwärts against Dühring or against his adherents will give to the latter or his adherents the right to reply with equally lengthy articles and in this way to take up excessively the space of Vorwärts, and taking into account that our cause has nothing to gain from this, since it is a matter of a purely scientific dispute, the Congress resolves that the publication of the articles of Engels against Dühring in the chief portion of Vorwärtsshall cease, and that all these articles shall be printed in the scientific: supplement of Vorwärts or as a separate pamphlet. And in the same way all further debates in regard to this special subject must be removed from the main portion of Vorwärts.”
This resolution was accepted by the Congress after Most had withdrawn his resolution and identified himself with the proposal of Bebel. Thus, Bebel at this Congress played a part considerably different from that described in his memoirs.
Liebknecht, in one of his letters to Engels, writes that, unfortunately, he had not had a chance of talking things over with Bebel, and Bebel committed this blunder. At any rate, the whole of this episode concerning Dühring and Engels’ articles in the central organ, the chief editor of which was Liebknecht, and in which Bebel had great influence, is very characteristic of the intellectual calibre of the German Social Democratic Party at that time.
The police and the university authorities again came to the assistance of Dühring. The Congress ended in May, 1877. Engels had to take up the continuation of his articles. Just at this period, Dühring reached the zenith of his popularity. The Ministry for Education raised the question about Dühring’s dismissal from Berlin University. This was one of the great sensational events in Europe at the time, and was not less attentively followed in our own fatherland, where already prior to this people had begun to be interested in Dühring. Mikhailovsky wrote a lengthy article in Notes of the Fatherland on the Scandal in Berlin University. Vorwärts and Liebknecht were also compelled to come to the defence of Dühring, for it was impossible to leave him at the mercy of the university authorities. A series of articles appeared in Vorwärts in defence of Dühring, and this time not as the author of a definite system, but simply as the defender of the freedom of science which it was necessary to defend in the Prussian police state. The Vorwärts also even printed poems and odes in honour of Dühring, just at the time of the gap between the printing of the first and second sections of Anti-Dühring. Many young students – Schippel, Emmanuel Wurm, Firek, Manfred Wittich – came to the defence of Dühring together with Fritsch and Most, the last named arranging workers’ meetings, &c. The others on their side organised a series of students’ meetings, where Dühring was defended as a representative of oppressed science. Mehring declares in his History of German Social Democracy that this was the last idealistic movement among German students.
Dühring, however, who attracted sympathy for himself as a State-persecuted savant, drove away almost all his adherents by his unbearable character. Just at the moment when he had achieved his greatest success in coming close to the Berlin workers and their leaders, he committed a series of acts which made any kind of joint work with him impossible. Thus, to the State university he wished to oppose a free academy, and he drew up regulations for this academy, but of such a kind that he disgusted the Berlin social democrats. He opposed his free academy to the idea of a labour university, which he refused to consider, for he did not intend, as he wrote, to give anyone an opportunity to exploit him. Bernstein suspected Dühring, as he writes in two variants of his memoirs, of having together with Most organised the campaign against Engels at the Gotha Congress. For this suspicion he had certain grounds.
The Berliner Freie Presse, in which Most and his comrades participated, as late as October, 1878, was still defending Dühring in toto. But by the beginning of November a complete rupture had taken place. Dühring definitely came to the conclusion that Most and his company were intending to sacrifice him to Liebknecht, and that they did not fulfil their promises, in that they did not succeed in securing the cessation of Engels’ articles in Vorwärts. So Bernstein writes. Dühring declared that the social democrats simply wished to utilise him for their party, and thus to ruin his scientific career.
Bernstein, in another variant of his memoirs, writes: “It was not Engels who killed Dühring, but Dühring who killed himself.”
The same idea is to be found in a letter of Liebknecht’s to Engels. Naturally, this is an exaggeration. Dühring had lost personal prestige, but the cult of Dühring was still unvanquished; it was still necessary to fight him, and this was shown most clearly precisely in 1878. A new journal The Future was founded, the predecessor of which was the scientific supplement ofVorwärts. The programme of this paper, which was intended to serve as the central scientific organ of the party, constituted such an eclectic mixture that Engels could write to Marx with full justification that there was developing in Germany a new German vulgar socialism, which was worthy to rank with the “true socialism” of 1845. Consequently, Engels wrote the subsequent articles against Dühring, those of the sections Political Economy and Socialism, in a different manner. He struck at Dühring, but he aimed his blows at Most, Fritsch, Liebknecht, and Bebel. In some places, Engels directly polemicises against them, although he does not mention them by name.
It remains to say something on the significance of Anti-Dühring. I have already pointed out the chief causes of Dühring’s popularity. This must always be kept in mind. Dühring gave the revolutionary youth a philosophy of the world. He gave them a system of ideas; he gave them a system of answers to troublesome questions. What had a Marxist at that time? There was the Communist Manifesto. But the Communist Manifesto without all that had preceded it, without all the preparatory data, of which it was the conclusion, without the appropriate historical knowledge, was less intelligible than Lassalle’s Programme of the Workers. It must be added also that it was only when a new edition was published in 1872, after it had been unobtainable for a long time, that it attained a really large circulation. Capital was rather widely read. But, even for Liebknecht, Capital was principally a book which gave him material for a Reichstag speech on working-class legislation, which provided him with material for an anniversary speech, if he wished to show to what degree the workers had been exploited by capitalism. Liebknecht was frankly convinced in 1874 that Buckle was the greatest of all historians and the creator of a new conception of world history, whilst Marx was only the creator of a new economic system. Just as in Russia, Capital in its philosophical and historical-materialist parts remained for the readers of Marx “an unread chapter of a favourite book” – as Plekhanov expressed it.
Engels’ literary connection with the Volksstaat (the People’s State), which appeared under Liebknecht’s editorship, began as early as 1873. He had to answer various practical questions. A certain Mühlberger wrote an article on the housing problem which showed that the People’s State had forgotten the difference between Proudhonism and Marxism, and Engels used this opportunity to give a magnificent exposition of the difference between Proudhonism and Marxism in this concrete example. This was the German, more scholarly and more fundamental way – to write for a concrete occasion. A description of the whole system of the world philosophy was still lacking. This was given for the first time in Anti-Dühring. Engels himself tells us wherein lies the significance of Anti-Dühring:–
“It (the polemic against Dühring) gave one, on the one hand, the opportunity to develop from the positive side, in the very varied subjects treated in the book, my views on questions of more general scientific or practical interest to-day ... It was necessary for me to go into all his conceptions and state mine in opposition to his. Negative criticism became, thanks to this, positive; the polemic was turned into a more or less connected exposition of the dialectical method and communist world-philosophy upheld by Marx and myself, and this, moreover, over a fairly comprehensive range of subjects.”
Engels thus himself recognises that the polemic against Dühring had induced him to put forward a system in opposition to a system, a world philosophy in opposition to a world philosophy. And in this lies the chief significance of Anti-Dühring. Marx and Engels naturally knew – what we only now know – that in their letter files lay the manuscript of German Ideology. They knew that they had the possibility in the forties of putting forward in opposition to the current bourgeois philosophy of “true Socialism” their system of Communist world philosophy. But only Marx and Engels knew that. Liebknecht who had worked and lived in the closest co-operation with Marx and Engels for twelve years did not know it; the innumerable readers did not know it, and, of course, no single reader of the Gotha Programme could have had any idea of it. For the first time, in 1878, in Anti-Dühring was given a system of Communist philosophy which could refute petty-bourgeois philosophy in all its different varieties – and in this Marx and Engels naturally based themselves on the earlier work already done by them.
Now (and this is a very interesting point), when we read the chapters in the German Ideology devoted to Feuerbach – they have been printed in the Archives issued by the Marx- Engels’ Institute – it is possible to establish how far Marx and Engels had changed their point of view. Not since the time of the Holy Family – then, Comrade Stepanov would be correct – for the point of view adopted by Marx and Engels in this work had already been “withdrawn” in the German Ideology. That was a still earlier stage. That was a close approach to Marxism, but it was not yet Marxism.
In one of his articles against Heinzen, Marx said:–
“Where he succeeds in observing the diversity, he does not see the unity, and where he sees the unity, he does not see the diversity. When he manages to establish various definitions they immediately become petrified in his hands, and he regards it as the most harmful sophistry to set these conceptions against each other in such a way that they catch fire and come to life.”
Between the standpoint of the “German Ideology” and that developed in the first volume of Capital there is not any kind of “jump.” The basic conceptions which Engels developed in Anti-Dühring in the section Philosophy, even in those parts relating to natural science, were already completely formulated in Capital in a series of remarks, which were so distorted by Dühring. In Anti-Dühring Engels develops the dialectical method which Marx and he had created and which they had employed since 1846, since the time of the German Ideology.
When I published Engels’ Dialectics of Nature, which I had discovered, I emphasised, in my foreword, that in comparison with what Engels had said in Anti-Dühring this contained no single new idea. I wrote “no single new idea” intentionally. The quite untenable attempt of some comrades to find certain differences between Anti-Dühring and the Engels of the eighties, who had reached “completely opposite conceptions,” arises from the unclear understanding of a number of remarks in Anti-Dühring and from an inattentive reading of Engels’ foreword to the second edition of Anti-Dühring.
What does Engels say in this foreword? He is dealing with Dühring at a time when he was undergoing a “moulting process” with regard to the natural sciences. He uses a terminology that is not quite exact; all that he needed was not at his disposal, and he hoped that he would later be able to give his conception in a more carefully thought-out form. He wrote this in 1885. Whoever reads carefully the foreword to the second edition knows that Engels quite consciously, out of a feeling of peculiar literary tact, looked out for any change. One must read the letters of Engels to Marx to understand how difficult it was for Engels, for purely human reasons, to write polemics against Dühring. He said that it was very difficult for him to write against a blind person. He had to struggle with himself for a long time in order to overcome this clearly sentimental feeling. And, therefore, he said again in his foreword, that he could not have written otherwise than as he did in 1878.
I have already pointed out in my introduction to the Dialectics of Nature that Engels did not know Mendeleyev’s periodic law when he wrote Anti-Dühring. One must not forget that the articles of the section Philosophy were all printed previous to May, 1877, and had been sent for publication by the autumn of 1876. Engels had no opportunity of studying the technical literature of chemistry which was scattered through the various scientific journals. It may be mentioned in justification of him that only in 1877 did there appear in such a “compendium” as the comprehensive text book of chemistry as that of by Roscoe and Schorlemmer any exposition of Mendeleyev’s law. Engels could have used it for the second edition in 1885, when he had at his disposal a mass of material which confirmed his basic conceptions, but he deliberately did not do so. In the foreword to the second edition he gives a hint of a future work, but he does not change his views. It is the same basic conception which he had formulated in Anti-Dühring, which appears in the notes and drafts of articles written after 1878, only more fully explained. In this relation, any attempt to prove a contradiction between Engels in 1878 and in 1882, based on the desire to stick a new label on an old idea, is doomed to utter failure.
After Anti-Dühring, Engels had the opportunity to develop more fully some of the conceptions which he had briefly formulated in the philosophical section of his polemic against Dühring. In his special work on Feuerbach, he gave a detailed exposition of his own and Marx’s relations to the philosophy of Hegel and Feuerbach. In connection with this, Engels also gave a positive answer to a large number of questions relating to philosophy, ethics and social science. In this way, Engels’ book on Feuerbach becomes not only an important supplement, but also an excellent commentary on the corresponding chapters of Anti-Dühring . Not less important now in this connection are those parts which I have published from Engels’German Ideology and Dialectics of Nature.
One must specially draw attention to Engels’ brilliant description, in the first section, of the origin and development of the idea of equality. Marx had already shown in Capital that the determination of the value of commodities by labour and the free exchange of these products of labour on the basis of this value, is the real foundation of the whole political, judicial and philosophical ideology of the modern bourgeoisie.
The sketch of Engels served as the stimulus for a series of Marxist works – in particular by Lafargue, Kautsky and Plekhanov – in which the origin of various kinds of “eternal” ideas is investigated.
The second section of Anti-Dühring is devoted to the basic problems of Marxist economic theory and to this day forms the most authoritative introduction to a study of Capital. Engels gives definitions of the subject matter, the method and the tasks of political economy. On this point I do not agree with those who regard political economy as a science which investigates only the economy of commodities and the capitalist commodity relations, and who conceive right only as the right of the producers of commodities. All such attempts constitute a desire to give a “beginning " and an “end” to everything, to define exactly, to point out precisely where development is still in progress, where a succeeding form abolishes the preceding, explains it and is itself fully explained by its antecedent conditions.
The second section contains noteworthy articles devoted to the theory of force, in which the mutual relations between the economic and political factors in the history of human society are explained in a masterly fashion. In addition, Engels gives a concise history of the art of war, showing what great significance the study of the history of the art of war has for the materialist interpretation of history .The full importance of these chapters will only be fully apparent when all Engels’ writings on military questions have appeared, but, together with the foreword to Borkheim’s book (1887) and the articlesCan Europe Disarm? (1893), the sketch which Engels gave in Anti-Dühring represents the clearest formulation of the views which he had evolved in long years of study of the history and theory of warfare.
He was able to foretell the future imperialist war and to sketch its probable consequences with almost prophetic accuracy. It is true that the sketch of the history of the art of war which we have in Anti-Dühring finishes with 1877. The Franco-German War of 1870 was the last great war which Engels examined. In this respect Engels’ sketch stands in need of considerable supplementation.
It can be said that some of Engels’ assertions are not altogether incontestable. Especially when he wrote that armaments as used at the time of the Franco-German War “had reached such perfection that further improvements in this direction could not have any decisive influence.” Even firearms have undergone considerable development since 1878. New branches of military technique have appeared, based on the development of aircraft and the chemical industry. The submarine has brought about changes in the sphere of naval warfare. It is true that the experiences of the war of 1914-1918 have fully justified the conclusions at which Engels arrived on the basis of his examination of the question of the competition between armour-plating and artillery .Even in the form of dreadnoughts, the armoured-cruiser “has been brought to such a height of perfection that it has become so invulnerable as to be unsuitable for use.”
But Engels has excellently revealed the inner dialectic of militarism. Militarism, in its modern imperialist form, bears within itself all the seeds of its own destruction.
“What the bourgeois democracy of 1848 could not bring about, just because it was bourgeois and not proletarian, viz., to give the working masses a conscious will, corresponding to their class position, will inevitably be achieved by Socialism (Communism). And that means the destruction from within of militarism and with it of all standing armies.”
The third section of Anti-Dühring deals with Socialism. We have already seen how Bebel appraised the predecessors of Marx and Engels, the Utopian Socialists. Dühring in his works distorted not only the history of political economy but also with the history of Socialism. Engels’ book gave a new and powerful impetus to the study of Socialism. All the works of Kautsky, Bernstein, Plekhanov and Mehring on these subjects have their starting point, both as regards theme and as regards their general construction, in the fundamental thesis which Engels formulated in his excursus on the subject of the history of Socialism.
But this was not all that Engels achieved in the third section of Anti-Dühring. For the first time since the Communist Manifesto, on the basis of the experiences of the revolution of 1848, of the First International and of the Paris Commune, the fundamental questions of programme, strategy and tactics for the proletariat were put forward in a comprehensive manner. For the first time it was shown what inexhaustible treasure Marx’s Capital contained for the answers to these questions. Engels for the first time fully expounded how capitalism gives rise to and prepares all the material and intellectual elements of the future order of society. In the same section of Anti-Dühring, for the first time, the Marxist conception of the role and origin of the State, already hinted at in German Ideology, was developed in detail in opposition not only to Dühring but also to the Anarchists, the Lassalleans and even the Eisenachers, who had not been able to free themselves from the influence of the Lassallean cult of the State.
It is by no means an accident that careful working out of the questions of the programme only begins after the appearance of Anti-Dühring. The Erfurt Programme of German Social Democracy, which in its essence is partly the work of Engels, would have been inconceivable had it not been for the tremendous preparatory work which Engels had put into Anti-Dühring. The same can be said of the programme of the group for “Liberation of Labour”, and the first programme of our party. The most important part of Engels’ book entitled The Development of Socialism from Utopia to Science, which equally with the Communist Manifesto is to this day the best manual for mastering the foundations of Marxism, is taken from the third section of Anti-Dühring.
In the book of Antonio Labriola, Socialism and Philosophy, we find the following interesting thought:–
“Every country, unfortunately, has its Dühring. Who knows what other ‘Antis’ might have been written by the Engels’s of other countries. In my opinion, the real significance of Anti-Dühring is that it gives the Socialists of other countries and other tongues the possibility of arming themselves with those critical methods without which no ‘Anti-’ can be written, and which are essential for the fight against all those who distort or corrupt Socialism in the name of various sociological systems.”
Labriola was right. In every country where Marxism begins to develop it must cease to be in the position of a product of a “foreign creation”. Marxism can only triumph in a country if it succeeds in explaining, on the basis of fundamental Marxist principles, the concrete realities of the country concerned; if it succeeds in showing that the dialectical method, dialectical materialism, represents an all-embracing method in the sense that the concrete reality in question, with whatever particular “qualities” it may be endowed finds its explanation through it itself, by the struggle of its internal contradictions; that all these “specific characters” result from the inner class conflict, from the development of the struggle of contradictions in that particular section – be it historical, economic or geographical.
In his pamphlet Who are the Friends of the People? Lenin again emphasises the same idea, namely, that Marxism can only lead the proletariat against the bourgeoisie of the country in question when it becomes for the proletariat and for the revolutionary intelligentsia a new Communist world philosophy in opposition to all varieties of bourgeois philosophy. The immortal service of Engels in this respect – and those are correct who say that Anti-Dühring is, after and alongside ofCapital, the most important Marxist work, is that, in opposition to bourgeois world philosophy, he for the first time put forward this Communist world philosophy. He left it to later Marxists to develop this Communist world philosophy on the basis of new and ever-developing national and international experiences, and to make it ever more complete, more comprehensive, without ever forgetting that the result can only be reached thanks to the aid of such an incomparable weapon as the method of dialectical materialism.
1. English translation of the preface to the 50th anniversary edition of Anti-Dühring published in Moscow in 1928, Labour Monthly May and June 1929 (the section dealing with the influence of Anti-Dühring on the development of Marxist ideas in Russia was not translated).
Thousands of school and university students turned out on the streets of London today to voice their anger at the Con-Dem coalition's vicious assault on Britain's education system.
Following their embarrassment earlier this month, when thousands of students beseiged and invaded Tory HQ, riot police reacted against peaceful protesters with a brutal containment strategy, corralling crowds in Whitehall for several hours.
The University of London Union's Carnival of Resistance, which began with a few hundred people, swelled to over 5,000 as it passed Trafalgar Square - ignoring Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg's plea for students to call off the protests.
The procession was expected to end with a rally in Trafalgar Square but the bulk of students broke away from the official route, weaving through traffic to end up on Whitehall.
Reading University lecturer Hannah Sawtell, who joined the march in support of students, said that young people had a right to be angry.
With plans to introduce £9,000 a year tuition fees and and brutal cuts to university budgets which are causing services such as crèches to close she said that she "definitely wouldn't have been able to go to university now.
"I was a single mum and, at the time, I got 80 per cent of my childcare paid for plus money to live on plus help with loans. And when I was a student it was only a grand a year to go to university."
Samba bands, drum and bass and hip-hop sound systems kept the atmosphere upbeat at first as students shouted "Tory scum here we come" and "No ifs no buts, no education cuts."
But then riot police and officers on horses threw a cordon around protesters, known as "kettling" and on a number of occasions police lines surged into students unprovoked.
Labour MP John McDonnell said: "There was no violence whatsoever but the police surged and pushed them into a tight corner, putting people in danger of being hurt. It was a peaceful and good-humoured march and the police should have respected that but now they have provoked anger."
Forward Intelligence Teams from the Metropolitan Police could also be seen taking photographs of students and a number of arrests were made. these teams are notorious for taking photographs of protesters once they have been kettled, and creating files on them as "domestic extremists" even though they have committed no offence.
Earlier in the day police monitoring group Fitwatch had offered activists legal observer training before the ULU procession set off to ensure an increased level of protection for protesters from the pervasive police presence.
Protesters were forced to push away barriers erected for road maintenance to create more space and avoid being trampled. Those who tried to escape the kettled area were violently pushed back by police.
Angry students responded by throwing smoke bombs and lightweight placard sticks, lighting bonfires and, at one point, a police van which was left in the middle of the sea of students was spray painted and smashed.
From Morning Star, 24 November