1965 Marx’s Humanism Today [Dunayevskaya]
Published in 1965 in the anthology SOCIALIST HUMANISM by Erich Fromm
It was during the decade of the First International (1864-74)–a decade that saw both the Civil War in America and the Paris Commune–that Marx restructured  the many drafts of CAPITAL and published the first two editions of Volume I.
CAPITAL sets forth a new concept of theory, a new dialectical relationship between theory and practice, and a shift of emphasis from the idea of history as the history of theory to the idea of history as the history of production. It signifies Marx’s "return" to his own philosophic humanism after more than a decade of concentration on economics and empiric studies of the class struggles of his day. Not surprisingly, this return is on a more concrete level, which, rather than diminishing Marx’s original humanist concepts, deepens them.
This is obvious in the section "The Working Day," which Marx first decided to write in 1866 under the impact of the mass movement for the shortening of the working day following the conclusion of the Civil War in the United States. It is obvious in "The Fetishism of Commodities," which Marx informs us he changed "in a significant manner"(2) after the Paris Commune. It is obvious in the original categories he created for his economic analysis and the creative practice of the Hegelian dialectic.
Humanism gives Marx’s magnum opus its force and direction. Yet most Western scholars of Marxism are content either to leave the relationship between the now famous ECONOMIC-PHILOSOPHIC MANUSCRIPTS OF 1844(3) and CAPITAL implicit, or to make the continuity explicit only insofar as the ethical foundations of Marxism are concerned.(4)
This leaves the door wide open for those who wish to transform Marx’s humanism, both as philosophy and as historic fact, into an abstract which would cover up concrete economic exploitation, actual lack of political freedom, and the need to abolish the conditions preventing "realization" of Marx’s philosophy, i.e., the reunification of mental and manual abilities in the individual himself, the "all-rounded" individual who is the body and soul of Marx’s humanism.
The 1844 MANUSCRIPTS didn’t just "pave the way" for "scientific socialism." Humanism wasn’t just a stage Marx "passed through" on his voyage of discovery to "scientific economics" or "real revolutionary politics." Humanist philosophy is the very foundation of the integral unity of Marxian theory, which cannot be fragmented into "economics," "politics," "sociology," much less identified with the Stalinist monolithic creation, held onto so firmly by Khrushchev and Mao Zedong.
Of all the editions of CAPITAL, from its first publication in 1867 until the last before Marx died in 1883, the French edition (1872-75) alone contained the changes that had, as Marx put it in the Afterword, "scientific value independent of the original."
The revolutionary action of the Parisian masses in "storming the heavens"(5) and taking destiny into their own hands clarified for Marx the two most fundamental theoretical problems: the accumulation of capital, and the fetishism of commodities. Just as his analysis of the struggles to shorten the working day became pivotal to the structure of CAPITAL, so these additions became crucial for its spirit, i.e., for the future inherent in the present.
The changes were of two kinds. One was tantamount to a prediction of what we today call state capitalism–the ultimate development of the law of concentration and centralization of capital "in the hands of one single capitalist, or those of one single corporation" [MCIK, p. 688, MCIF, p. 779]. The second was the illumination of the fetishism of commodities inherent in the value-form as emanating from "the form itself" [MCIK p. 82, MCIF, p. 164]. Marx concluded that only FREELY associated labor can abrogate the law of value; ONLY "freely associated men" [MCIK p. 92, MCIF, p. 173] can strip the fetishism from commodities.
At this moment in history, when established state powers claim "to practice" or to base themselves on Marxism, it is essential to re-establish what Marx himself meant by practice. It was freedom. The notion of freedom, always Marx’s point of departure and of return, is concretized through a most painstaking and original analysis of the "inexorable laws" of capitalist development. This discloses HOW the proletariat, as "substance" (or mere object of an exploitative society) becomes "subject," i.e., revolts against the conditions of alienated labor, THEREBY achieving "the negation of the negation," or self-emancipation.
In a word, CAPITAL is the culmination of the 25 years of labor that began when Marx, in 1843, first broke with bourgeois society and melded what he considered its highest achievements in thought–English political economy, French revolutionary doctrine, Hegelian philosophy–into a theory of liberation, a new philosophy of human activity which he called "a thoroughgoing Naturalism or Humanism."
The Hungarian Revolution of 1956(6) transformed Marx’s humanism from an academic debate to a question of life and death. Interest in it intensified the following year when the "100 Flowers" blossomed briefly in China before the totalitarian state caused them to wither abruptly.(7) From 1958 to 1961 the African revolutions gave proof of a new, third world whose underlying philosophy, again, was humanism.(8)
The Cold War and McCarthyism helped keep the United States isolated from the West European rediscovery of Marx’s 1844 Humanist Essays in the mid-1940s and early 1950s. Now, however, Americans have an opportunity to make up in comprehensiveness of discussion what was lost in the belated start.(9)
The Freedom Now movement of the Negroes, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the 1962 missile crisis over Cuba, which made real the nuclear threat, have helped rekindle the debate.
In his own way, the scholar too must grapple with the inner identity of the Marxian economic, political, sociological, scientific, and philosophic categories. It was the late, non-Marxist, anti-Hegelian economist, Joseph Schumpeter, who pinpointed Marx’s genius as "the IDEA of theory," the transformation of "historic narrative into historic raisonné."(10)
. In his Preface to Volume II of Marx’s CAPITAL (Kerr edition), Friedrich Engels lists the original manuscripts in such a way that the pagination tells the story of the restructuring. For my analysis of this, see pages 87-91 of MARXISM AND FREEDOM (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1958, 1964).–RD
. See Marx’s Afterword to the French edition of CAPITAL, in CAPITAL, Vol. I (New York: Vintage Books, 1975).
. Marx’s 1844 MANUSCRIPTS are now available in several English translations, including one issued in Moscow, but the one more readily available here is by T. B. Bottomore, and is included in MARX’S CONCEPT OF MAN by Erich Fromm. (New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1961) Outside of the essay on "Alienated Labor," I am, however, using my own translation and therefore not paginating the references.–RD
. See THE ETHICAL FOUNDATIONS OF MARXISM by Eugene Kamenka. (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1962).–RD
. THE CIVIL WAR IN FRANCE, by Karl Marx, is widely available in many languages both as a separate pamphlet and in Marx’s SELECTED WORKS and COLLECTED WORKS. –RD
. For Dunayevskaya’s writings on the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, see "Spontaneity of Action and Organization of Thought: In Memoriam to the Hungarian Revolution," Political Letter of Sept. 17, 1961, in THE RAYA DUNAYEVSKAYA COLLECTION, 2954–2956. See also chapter 18 of MARXISM AND FREEDOM, "Two Kinds of Subjectivity."
. The indispensable book for the English reader is THE HUNDRED FLOWERS CAMPAIGN AND THE CHINESE INTELLECTUALS by Roderick MacFarquhar (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1960). The voices of revolt in China should then be compared with those in Eastern Europe. By now the books, not to mention pamphlets and articles, on the Hungarian Revolution are legion. A few which I consider important for tracing the role that Marx’s humanism played are the following: IMRE NAGY ON COMMUNISM (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1957); François Fejtö, BEHIND THE RAPE OF HUNGARY (New York: David McKay Company, 1957); THE HUNGARIAN REVOLUTION, A WHITE BOOK edited by Melvin J. Lasky (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1957); BITTER HARVEST, edited by Edmund O. Stillman with Introduction by François Bondy (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1959). For eyewitness reports, and especially those relating to the Workers’ Councils, the issues of THE REVIEW (periodical published by the Imre Nagy Institute, Brussels) is quintessential. Some reports also appeared in the magazine EAST EUROPE, which did a competent job on Poland, especially in the publication of the debate on Marx’s humanism between the leading philosophers in Poland, Adam Schaff and Leszek Kolakowski. Both of these philosophers are also translated in the collection entitled REVISIONISM, edited by Leopold Labedz (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1962).–RD
. AFRICAN SOCIALISM by Léopold Sédar Senghor (New York: American Society of African Culture, 1959); Sekou Toure’s "Africa’s Path in History" was excerpted for the English reader in AFRICA SOUTH, April-June 1960, Capetown; now available only abroad. See also my NATIONALISM, COMMUNISM, MARXIST-HUMANISM AND THE AFRO-ASIAN REVOLUTIONS (American, 1958, and English, 1961, [1984,] editions available at NEWS & LETTERS, Detroit, Michigan [Chicago, Illinois].–RD
. I do not mean to say that I accept the West European intellectual’s attitude on either the question of the degree of belatedness, or the low level of discussion in the United States. Four or five years before Europe’s first rediscovery of Marx’s early essays, when Europe was under the heel of fascism, Herbert Marcuse dealt with them in his REASON AND REVOLUTION. It is true that this was based on the German text of the essays, that no English translation was available, and that the discussion of Professor Marcuse’s seminal work was limited to small groups. It is also true that I had great difficulty in convincing either commercial publishers or university presses that they ought to publish Marx’s humanist essays or Lenin’s PHILOSOPHIC NOTEBOOKS. I succeeded in getting both these writings published only by including them as appendices to my MARXISM AND FREEDOM (1958). Even then they did not become available to a mass audience. It was not until 1961, when Erich Fromm included a translation of the 1844 MANUSCRIPTS in MARX’S CONCEPT OF MAN, that Marx’s humanism reached a mass audience in the United States, and received widespread attention in American journals. Nevertheless, I see no substantive reason for the intellectual arrogance of the European Marxologists since, in Europe as in the United States, it was only after the Hungarian Revolution that the discussion of humanism reached the level of either concreteness or urgency. When I refer to the belatedness of the discussion, I have in mind the long period between the time the 1844 MANUSCRIPTS were first published by the Marx-Engels Institute in Russia, in 1927, under the editorship of Ryazanov, and the time they received general attention. –RD
. A HISTORY OF ECONOMIC ANALYSIS by Joseph Schumpeter (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1954). –RD
Elsewhere  I have made a detailed analysis of all four volumes of CAPITAL and their relationship to [Marx's] 1844 ECONOMIC-PHILOSOPHIC MANUSCRIPTS. Here space considerations limit me to the two basic theories–the Marxian analysis of value and the fetishism of commodities–which are, in reality, the single, decisive, unified theory of alienation, or historical materialism, dialectically understood.
Marx’s discovery that “it is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but, on the contrary, their social existence that determines their consciousness” [MARX-ENGELS COLLECTED WORKS, Vol. 29, p. 263] was no departure from either his own theory of alienated labor or the theory of alienation as the central core of the Hegelian dialectic. But Marx’s precise analysis of the actual labor process under capitalism is more concrete, alive, shattering–and, of course, revolutionary–than any stage of alienation in Hegel’s PHENOMENOLOGY OF MIND.
In true Hegelian fashion Marx focuses on creativity, but, unlike Hegel, he bases it on the actual process of production. There, facing not just an idea but a HUMAN BEING who has ideas, Marx develops his earlier concept of the worker’s “quest for universality.”(2)
The “new passions and new forces” he now sees are born not only to overthrow the old order, but to construct a new one, “a society in which the full and free development of every individual is the ruling principle” [MCIK, p. 649, MCIF, p. 739].
So organically related are the economic, political, and philosophic concepts in CAPITAL that when, in 1943,(3) the Russian theoreticians first openly broke with the Marxian analysis of value, they had to deny the dialectic structure of CAPITAL and ask that, in “teaching” it, Chapter I be omitted.
It does not speak highly of “Western” philosophy that it never saw the philosophic implications in this economic debate, and therefore also failed to discern the reason why the theoretical magazine of Soviet Marxism (UNDER THE BANNER OF MARXISM), which had carried on the tradition of Marx’s dialectic philosophy, ceased its publication. Thereafter, without further ado or any reference to any previous interpretation of Marxian economics, the revision of the Marxian analysis of value became the standard Communist analysis. The wholeness of Marxian theory has always been the bête noire of established Marxism. It took the collapse of the Second International and a break with his own philosophic past to make Lenin, at the end of 1914, fully grasp the organic connection of Marxian economics with Hegelian philosophy. And from then on he became uncompromising in his criticism of all Marxists, himself included.
In one of his “aphorisms” he wrote, “It is impossible fully to grasp Marx’s CAPITAL, and especially the first chapter, if you have not studied and understood the WHOLE of Hegel’s LOGIC. Consequently, none of the Marxists for the past half century has understood Marx!”(4)
THE FETISHISM OF COMMODITIES
There is no more remarkable piece of analysis in the annals of political economy–and no more Hegelian kind of writing in Marx’s “early Hegelian period”–than the final section of Chapter I of CAPITAL, entitled “The Fetishism of Commodities.” There philosophy and economics are connected with history as integrally as content and form are welded together in a great work of literature.
By the time Marx introduced further changes into the French edition, after the Paris Commune, those 15 pages were as tightly drawn as the strings of a violin. We must remember that Marx considered the greatest achievement of the Commune to be “its own working existence.”(5) The TOTALITY of the reorganization of society by the Communards gave Marx a new insight into the whole question of the FORM of value, not only as it was historically determined, but also as it conditioned bourgeois thought in turn.
Under capitalistic conditions of production, philosophy had been reduced to an ideology, i.e., false consciousness. The categories of thought proper to capitalistic production were uncritically accepted by all, including even Adam Smith and David Ricardo, the authors of the epoch-making discovery that labor was the source of all value. This is why, despite their discovery, they could not dissolve the fetishism of commodities. Classical political economy, concludes Marx, met its historic barrier here.
The commodity form of the products of labor became a fetish because of the perverse relationship of subject to object–of living labor to dead capital. Relations between men appear as the relation between things because in our alienated society that is all “they really are” [MCIK, p. 84, MCIF, p. 166]. Dead capital is the master of living labor. The fetishism of commodities is the opiate that, to use a Hegelian expression, passes itself off as “the very NATURE of the mind”(6) to all EXCEPT the proletariat who daily suffer from the domination of dead labor, the stranglehold of the machine.
Therefore, concludes Marx, no one can strip the fetishism from the commodities EXCEPT FREELY ASSOCIATED LABOR. Obviously the Russian theoreticians, in 1943, were determined that no one should.
THE FETISHISM OF THE PLAN
The necessary ideology to cover up the exploitation of the laborer did not change its essence when it changed its form from the private to the state capitalism that calls itself Communism. Nor has the ideological rift between China and Russia undermined the exploitative relationship in either land. Were Marx to return to earth, he would have no difficulty whatever in recognizing in its new form–the State Plan and its fetishism–the state capitalist development he predicted as the ultimate effect of the inexorable laws of capitalist development.
Our generation should understand better than any previous generation that it is not a question of nationalized vs. private property. It is a question of freedom. Wherever and whenever freedom was limited, Marx struck out against the barrier, in practice and in theory. Thus, when classical political economists spoke of “free labor,” by which they meant wage labor, Marx wrote caustically: “For them there was history, but history is no more.”(7)
It should be obvious that Marx’s primary theory of value, or “abstract,” “value-producing” labor, is a theory of alienated labor.
In the humanist essays Marx explained why he analyzed economic facts “in conceptual terms as ALIENATED LABOR….How does it happen, we may ask, that man ALIENATES HIS LABOR? How is this alienation founded in the nature of human development? We have already done much to solve the problem insofar as we have TRANSFORMED the question concerning the ORIGIN OF PRIVATE PROPERTY into a question about the relation between ALIENATED LABOR and the process of development of mankind. For in speaking of private property one believes oneself to be dealing with something external to mankind. But in speaking of labor one deals directly with mankind itself. This new formulation of the problem already contains its solution.”(8)
By the time he completed CAPITAL, however, Marx felt the need to create economic categories to analyze the alien character of labor under capitalism both as an activity in the factory and as a commodity in the market where “alone rule Freedom, Equality, Property and Bentham” [MCIK, p. 195, MCIF, p. 280].
Marx created special economic categories not only to expound his theory of value and surplus-value, but also to show how degraded human relations were at the point of production itself. By splitting the category of labor into labor as activity and labor power as a commodity–as if the laborer could indeed disjoint his hands from his body and have them retain their function–Marx was able to show that, since labor power cannot be so disembodied, it is the laborer himself who enters the factory. And in the factory, continues Marx, the laborer’s ability becomes a mere appendage to a machine and his concrete labor is reduced to a mass of congealed, abstract labor.
THE PIVOT OF THE MARXIAN CRITIQUE
Now there is, of course, no such creature as an “abstract laborer”: one is a miner or a tailor or a steelworker or a baker. Nevertheless, the PERVERSE nature of capitalist production is such that man is not master of the machine; the machine is master of the man. By the instrumentality of the machine, which “expresses” itself in the ticking of a factory clock, a man’s skill becomes unimportant so long as he produces a given quantity of products in a given time. Labor time is the handmaiden of the machine which accomplishes the fantastic transformation of all concrete labors into one abstract mass.
Marx considered his analysis of concrete and abstract labor his original contribution to political economy, “the pivot on which a clear comprehension of political economy turns” [MCIK, p. 48, MCIF, p. 132]. In the process of his analysis of the capitalist’s “werewolf hunger for surplus labor” as “a live monster that is fruitful and multiplies,” [MCIK, p. 217, MCIF, p. 302] Marx creates two other new categories: constant CAPITAL (machines) and variable CAPITAL (wage labor). All labor, paid or unpaid, he insists, is FORCED labor. And this labor is so alien an activity that it has itself become a FORM OF CAPITAL.
The precision, as well as originality, of this description of alienated labor is not, of course, merely a category of the “deductive Hegelian dialectic.” It is a category of the dialectic EMPIRICISM of Marx re-creating an altogether new level of truth. Only politically motivated, self-induced blindness can, when reading Marx’s pages upon pages on the labor process under capitalism, conclude either that the mature Marx departed from his theory of alienated labor, or that alienated labor is a “leftover” from Marx’s “left Hegelian days” before he worked his way out of “Hegelian gibberish” into “scientific materialism.”
. MARXISM AND FREEDOM. See especially Chapters 5 through 8.–RD
. POVERTY OF PHILOSOPHY (Chicago: Charles H. Kerr), p. 157.–RD
. POD ZNAMENEM MARXISMA (UNDER THE BANNER OF MARXISM), Nos. 7-8/1943. The crucial article on the law of value from this issue was translated by me under the title, “Teaching of Economics in the Soviet Union.” Along with my commentary, “A New Revision of Marxian Economics,” the article was published in THE AMERICAN ECONOMIC REVIEW (September 1944). The controversy around it, in which Professors Oscar Lange, Leon Rogin, and Paul A. Baran participated in the pages of that journal, lasted for a year, at the end of which (September 1945) my rejoinder, “Revision or Reaffirmation of Marxism?” was published.–RD
. See Lenin’s "Abstract of Hegel’s SCIENCE OF LOGIC," COLLECTED WORKS, Vol. 38 (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1976), p. 180.
. See Marx’s THE CIVIL WAR IN FRANCE.
. See Hegel on “The Third Attitude to Objectivity”: “What I discover in my consciousness is thus exaggerated into a fact of the consciousness of all and even passed off for the very nature of the mind” (Hegel’s LOGIC, first Wallace translation, Oxford University Press, 1892).–RD
. The phrase comes from Marx’s POVERTY OF PHILOSOPHY.
. See “Alienated Labor” in MARX’S CONCEPT OF MAN by Erich Fromm, pp. 103, 108. –RD
…Because Marx’s economic categories have so incontrovertible a class character, it is impossible to denude them of their class content. Although some of today’s near-Marxists loudly proclaim the "neutralization" of these categories, they apply them TO CAPITALISM AND TO CAPITALISM ONLY.
Because the Marxian law of value is the supreme manifestation of capitalism, not even Stalin–at least not for very nearly two decades after he already had total power, the State Plan, and the monolithic party–dared admit its operation in Russia since he claimed the land was "socialist." It was only in the midst of a world war that the Russian theoreticians openly broke with the Marxian concept; in practice, of course, the ruling bureaucracy had long since followed an exploitative course.
In 1947 Andrei Zhdanov dramatically (or at least loudly) demanded that "the philosophical workers" replace the Hegelian dialectic with "a new dialectical law": criticism and self-criticism. By 1955 the critique of Marxian concepts concerned his humanism. V. A. Karpushin wrote in "Marx’s Working Out of the Materialist Dialectics in the Economic-Philosophic Manuscripts in the Year 1844":
"Marx was the first philosopher who went beyond the confines of philosophy and from the point of view of practical life and practical needs of the proletariat analyzed the basic question of philosophy as a truly scientific method of revolutionary change and knowledge of the actual world."(1)
The Russian Communists were not, however, about to favor "revolutionary change" where revolutionary change meant THEIR downfall. Therefore, when the Hungarian Revolution tried the following year to transform reality by REALIZING philosophy, that is to say, by making freedom from Russian Communism a reality, the debate ended in machine-gun fire. Thus the violation of the LOGOS of Marxian theory was followed by the destruction of liberty itself.
Soon after, the Russian theoreticians unloosed an unbridled, vitriolic attack on all opponents of ESTABLISHED Communism, whom they gratuitously labeled "revisionists."
Unfortunately, too many Western scholars accepted the term and referred to the ruling Communists as the "dogmatists," despite such wild gyrations and "flexibility" as, on the eve of World War II, the Hitler-Stalin Pact and the united front between Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai-shek; and, more recently, the rift between Russia and China.
At the same time, the single grain of truth in the duality of Lenin’s philosophic legacy–between the vulgarly materialistic MATERIALISM AND EMPIRIO-CRITICISM and the creative dialectics of his PHILOSOPHIC NOTEBOOKS–has provided a field day for the innate anti-Leninism of "the West."
Elsewhere(2) I have analyzed "Mao’s Thought," which is supposed to have made "original contributions to Marxism," especially his ON PRACTICE, and ON CONTRADICTION, as they relate to his rise in power. Here I must limit myself to the fact that the humanist debate was in danger both of becoming a purely academic question, and of being separated from the "political" debates on "revisionism."
Fortunately Marxism does not exist only in books, nor is it the possession only of state powers. It is in the daily lives of working people trying to reconstruct society on new beginnings.
The liberation from Western imperialism, not only in Africa but in Latin America (Fidel Castro too first called his revolution "humanist"), unfurled a humanist banner. Thereupon the Russian Communist line changed. Where, at first, it was claimed that Leninism needed no sort of humanization, nor any of the reforms proposed by the proponents of "humanist socialism," the claim now became that the Soviets were the rightful inheritors of "militant humanism."
Thus M. B. Mitin, who has the august title of the Chairman of the Board of the All-Union Society for the Dissemination of Political and Scientific Knowledge, stated that Khrushchev’s Report to the Twenty-first Congress of the Russian Communist Party was "the magnificent and noble conception of Marxist-Leninist socialist humanism."(3)
And in 1963, at the thirteenth International Congress of Philosophy, held in Mexico, it was the Soviet delegation that entitled one of its reports "Humanism in the Contemporary World."(4) Thus, curiously, Western intellectuals can thank the Russian Communists for throwing the ball back to them; once again, we are on the track of discussing humanism.
Let us not debase freedom of thought to the point where it is no more than the other side of the coin of thought control. One look at our institutionalized studies on "Marxist Leninism" as the "know your enemy" type of course will show that, in methodology, these are no different from what is being taught under established Communism, although they are supposed to teach "opposite principles."
The point is this: unless freedom of thought means an underlying philosophy for the realization of the forward movement of humanity, thought, at least in the Hegelian sense, cannot be called "an Idea."
Precisely because, to Hegel, "only that which is an object of freedom can be called an Idea," even his Absolutes breathed the earthy air of freedom. Our age can do no less.
It is true that the Marxian dialectic is not only political or historical, but also cognitive. However, to claim that Marx’s concept of the class struggle is a "myth" and his "glorification" of the proletariat only "the end product of his philosophy of alienation"(5) flies in the face of theory and of fact. In this respect, George Lichtheim’s criticism that such an American analysis is "a sort of intellectual counterpart to the late Mr. Dulles’s weekly sermon on the evils of communism"(6) has validity.
Marx’s humanism was neither a rejection of idealism nor an acceptance of materialism, but the truth of both, and therefore a new unity.
Marx’s "collectivism" has, as its very soul, the individualistic element. That is why the young Marx felt compelled to separate himself from the "quite vulgar and unthinking communism which completely negates the personality of man." Because alienated labor was the essence of ALL that was perverse in capitalism, private or state, "organized" or "anarchic," Marx concluded his 1844 attack on capitalism with the statement that "communism, as such, is not the goal of human development, the form of human society."
Freedom meant more, a great deal more, than the abolition of private property. Marx considered the abolition of private property to be only "the first transcendence." Full freedom demanded a second transcendence.
Four years after these humanist essays were written Marx published the historic COMMUNIST MANIFESTO. His basic philosophy was not changed by the new terminology. On the contrary. On the eve of the 1848 revolutions, the MANIFESTO proclaimed: "The freedom of the individual is the basis of the freedom of all." [MECW6, p. 506]
At the end of his life the concept remained unchanged. His magnum opus, like his life’s activity, never deviated from the concept that only "the development of human power, which is its own end" is the true "realm of freedom." [MCIK, pp. 954-5, MCIF, p. 959]
Again, our age should understand better than any other the reasons for the young Marx’s insistence that the abolition of private property is only the first transcendence. "Not until the transcendence of this mediation, which is nevertheless a necessary presupposition, does there arise positive Humanism, beginning from itself."
"Positive Humanism" begins "from itself" when mental and manual labor are reunited in what Marx calls the "all-rounded" individual. Surely our nuclear age should be oppressively aware that the division between mental and manual labor, which has been the underlying principle of all class societies, has reached such monstrous proportions under capitalism that live antagonisms characterize not only production, but science itself.
Marx anticipated the impasse of modern science when he wrote in 1844: "To have one basis for life and another for science is A PRIORI a lie." We have been living this lie for 120 years. The result is that the very survival of civilization as we have known it is at stake.
The task that confronts our age, it appears to this writer, is, first, to recognize that there is a movement from practice–from the actual struggles of the day–to theory; and, second, to work out the method whereby the movement FROM THEORY can meet it. A new relationship of theory to practice, a new appreciation of "Subject," of live human beings struggling to reconstruct society, is essential.
The challenge of our times is not to science or machines, but to men. The totality of the world crisis demands a new unity of theory and practice, a new relationship of workers and intellectuals.
The search for a total philosophy has been disclosed dramatically by the new Third World of underdeveloped countries. But there are also evidences of this search in the struggles for freedom from totalitarian regimes, and in the West.
To discern this mass search for a total philosophy it is necessary only to shed the stubbornnest of all philosophies–the concept of "the backwardness of the masses"–and LISTEN to THEIR thoughts, as they battle automation, fight for the end of discrimination, or demand freedom NOW. Far from being intellectual abdication, this is the beginning of a new stage of cognition. This new stage in the self-liberation of the intellectual from dogmatism can begin only when, as Hegel put it, the intellectual feels the "compulsion of thought to proceed to…concrete truths."
The espousal of PARTIYNOST (party principle) as a philosophic principle is another manifestation of the dogma of "the backwardness of the masses," by which intellectuals in state-capitalist societies rationalize their contention that the masses must be ordered about, managed, "led." Like the ideologists in the West, they forget all too easily that revolutions do not arise in the fullness of time to establish a party machine, but to reconstruct society on a human foundation.
Just as PARTIYNOST, or monolithism, in politics throttles revolution instead of releasing the creative energy of new millions, so PARTIYNOST in philosophy stifles thought instead of giving it a new dimension.
This is not an academic question for either the East or the West. Marxism is either a theory of liberation or it is nothing. In thought, as in life, it lays the basis for achieving a new HUMAN dimension, without which no society is truly viable. As a Marxist humanist, this appears to me the whole truth of Marx’s humanism, both as philosophy and as reality.
* * *
. VOPROSY FILOSOFII (QUESTIONS OF PHILOSOPHY), No. 3/1955.
. See the new chapter, "The Challenge of Mao Zedong" in the paperback edition of MARXISM AND FREEDOM (New York: Twayne, 1964). For an analysis of a similar perversion of Lenin’s partisanship in philosophy into Stalin’s monolithic "party-ness in philosophy," see the well-documented and perceptive analysis SOVIET MARXISM AND NATURAL SCIENCE, 1917-1932 by David Joravsky (New York: Columbia University Press, 1961).
. PRAVDA, Feb. 6, 1959. The English translation used here appears in THE CURRENT DIGEST OF SOVIET PRESS, June 3, 1959.
. The report of this conference by M. B. Mitin appears in VOPROSY FILOSOFII, No. 11/1963. For a different report of the same conference see STUDIES IN SOVIET THOUGHT, No. 4/1963 (Fribourg, Switzerland).
. PHILOSOPHY AND MYTH IN KARL MARX by Robert Tucker (Cambridge University Press, 1961).
. George Lichtheim’s "Western Marxist Literature 1953-1963" appears in SURVEY, No. 50, January 1964.