The Ethical Foundations of Marxism Eugene Kamenka 1962
THE bibliography of works cited at the conclusion of the text indicates the editions used; page references are to these editions. Where two sources are given together, the citation is from the first and the second is given for comparative purposes only.
I have used the following abbreviations for works frequently cited in the text (see bibliography for details of editions):
AD — Engels: Herr Eugen Dühring’s Revolution in Science (Anti-Dühring), trans. E. Burns.
A.J.P.P.; A.J.P. — Australasian Journal of [Psychology and] Philosophy.
C — Marx: Capital, Aveling — Moore trans., vols. I-III, Kerr edition.
CPE — Marx: A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, trans. I. N. Stone.
CWF — Marx: The Civil War in France, trans. for Marxist — Leninist Library.
EPM — Marx: Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, trans. Martin Milligan.
GI — Marx and Engels: The German Ideology, Parts I and III, ed. R. Pascal.
HF — Marx and Engels: The Holy Family or Critique of Critical Critique, trans. R. Dixon.
HM — Emile Burns (ed.): The Handbook of Marxism.
K — Marx: Das Kapital, vols. I — III, German text.
M — Marx-Engels Gesamtausgabe, Section I, vols 1 — 7, Section III, Vols. 1 — 4.
M — E Soch. — Marx — Engels: Sochineniia (The collected works in Russian, publ. 1939f.).
PP — Marx: The Poverty of Philosophy, English trans. by Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow.
SC — Marx-Engels: Correspondence 1843-1895, ed. Dona Torr.
SW — Marx-Engels: Selected Works, vols. I and II, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow.
Arabic numerals directly after the abbreviation indicate page numbers; if a Roman numeral precedes them it normally refers to the volume. The Marx — Engels Gesamtausgabe, however, is divided into sections as well as volumes, and volume 1 of Section 1 appeared in two sub-volumes (Halbbander). In citations from this edition, therefore, the large Roman numeral refers to the Section, the Arabic numeral that follows to the volume within that section, a small Roman numeral to the sub-volume (if any) and the final Arabic numeral to the page. Thus M I, 1 — ii, 435 refers to page 435 of Section 1, volume 1 subvolume ii of the Gesamtausgabe.
Where other English translations of material here translated from the Gesamtausgabe are available, I have generally cited them after the M reference for purposes of facilitating comparison.
References to other parts of the present work are to the Part (Roman numeral) and chapter (Arabic numerals). The chapters cited are generally brief and I therefore hope that the omission of page numbers — for technical reasons — will not prove too burdensome.
1 This was the accusation which Marx and Engels, in the Communist Manifesto, flung at the Utopian socialists; yet they themselves remained open to the same accusation.
2 Professor Lieber, of the Free University, Berlin, has very recently drawn attention to a number of errors in the Gesamtausgabe version caused, he claims, by the fact that Riazanov was working from photostat copies. None of the suggested errors affect the citations or conclusions given below.
3 In the preface to his Finanzkapital, p. 10. I cite the translation by Sidney Hook in his Towards the Understanding of Karl Marx, pp. 33-4.
4 Osnovy kommunisticheskoi morali (The Foundations of Communist Morality), p. 103. In an earlier article in Voprosy Filosofii on ‘The Decay of Anglo-American Ethics’, Shishkin wrote: ‘The chief struggle [in Anglo-American ethics] is against Marxist ethics and its objective and rigorous norms and principles derived from a scientific understanding of society; ethical relativism was implicit in the thought of Rosenberg and Goebbels.’ (Cited by H. B. Acton, The Illusion of the Epoch, p. 195, from Soviet Studies, vol. 1, no. 3, January 1950.)
5 Ethics and the Materialist Interpretation of History, p. 201.
6 State and Revolution.
7 Letter to Kursky preceding the enactment of the 1922 Civil Code, quoted by R. Schlesinger: Soviet Legal Theory, p. 140.
8 P. A. Sharia: O nekotorykh voprosakh kommunisticheskoi morali (Concerning Some Questions of Communist Morality), pp. 30 and 31-2.
9 This is Marx’s formulation in the Preface to his Contribution to the Critique Of Political Economy, CPE, II. Both the phrase ‘mode of production’ and the vague ‘general character’ suggest immediate difficulties, but at least Marx’s formulation is significantly different from Engels’ inept reduction of this statement to the individualistic claim that man’s desire to eat controls his other desires.
10 ‘If the theory correctly estimates the course of development and foresees the future better than other theories, it remains the most advanced theory of our time, he it even scores of years old,’ wrote Leon Trotsky in The Living Thoughts of Karl Marx, p. 14.
11 See George Lichtheim: Marxism: An Historical and Critical Study, pp. 278-300, where these and other examples are cited.
12 Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, p. 3.
13 Sorel is certainly right in suggesting that much of the appeal of Marxism from the 1880’s and 1890’s onward is connected with this growing prestige of science, whether or not we accept Sorel’s belief that the prestige resulted from public recognition of the role played by German technological superiority in the Franco-Prussian War.
14 The opponents of such a course, e.g. Rosa Luxemburg, were inevitably drawn into having to counterposit an ethic and thus helped to keep alive some interest in the question of Marxist morality. But their influence on those who remained ‘orthodox’ was not great.
15 Although some recent Chinese Communist pronouncements suggest that the Chinese wish to be regarded as ‘purer’ and more radical Marxists than the Russians under Khrushchev, Chinese Communism is even more moralistic than Soviet Communism. I would feel quite strongly, however, that Chinese Communists have made no significant contribution to Marxism as an intellectual system and that any consideration of the morality preached in China today would have to be almost entirely in terms of its relation to Confucian tradition and Chinese social structure. I have therefore left Chinese Communism entirely out of account in the pages that follow as throwing no light upon Marx and the intellectual problems of Western Marxism.
16 M I, 1-i, 266-304. See also his emphasis on the material hardships of the Mosel District in his Vindication of the Correspondent from the Mosel (M I, 1-i, 355-83).
17 Arthur Rosenberg, History of Bolshevism, p. 3.
18 Thus he writes in his dissertation. ‘It is a psychological law, that the theoretical spirit which has become internally free is turned into practical energy, and coming forth as will from the shadow kingdom of Amenthes, turns against the mundane reality that exists without it ... But the practice of philosophy is itself theoretical It is criticism.’ (M I, 1-i, 64.) Cf. Hegel in his letter to Niethammer of October 28, 1808: ‘I am daily growing more convinced that theoretical work brings more about in the world than practical work; once we have revolutionised the kingdom of ideas, actuality can no longer resist.’ (Quoted by Hans Barth, Wahrheit und Ideologie, p. 83.)
19 Abstract throughout Marx’s early work has the Hegelian sense of one-sided, something seen from a specific but inadequate point of view that fails to reveal the logically relevant whole.
20 M I, 1-i, 41-44.
21 Marx, like Hegel, insists throughout his dissertation on equating what is seen or conceived with our seeing or conceiving it. We are thus left with the impression that when the Greeks changed their theory of the heavenly bodies the heavenly bodies themselves changed. But this, of course, outrageous as it may seem, is precisely what the Idealist denial of independence tends to suggest.
22 The above, necessarily brief, outline of Marx’s dissertation emphasises his philosophical position rather than the mere anti-religious sentiment which it helped to support and which was strongly expressed in Marx’s ‘Promethean’ preface, where those who rebel against the Gods were treated as the true heroes of philosophy. For a fuller English summary of the dissertation see H. P. Adams, Karl Marx in His Earlier Writings, pp. 27-41.
23 ‘That which is the Best,’ Marx quotes approvingly from Aristotle in his dissertation, ‘has no need of action but is itself the end.’ Like the gods of Epicurus and of Greek plastic art, it expresses the unlimited freedom of the subject in dealing and grappling with objects.
24 Spinoza The Ethics, Part IV, Proof of Prop. XXIV (p. 207). Marx’s preliminary notes for his dissertation, where he calls Aristotle, Spinoza and Hegel the more intensive philosophers, make clear the extent to which he is attracted by Spinoza’s ethical views.
25 This trait, I have argued elsewhere, like Marx’s irascibility and contempt for Judaism. and Jews, is connected with the insecurity imposed upon him by his Jewish origins and the equivocal nature of his status until his baptism at the age of six. See Eugene Kamenka, ‘The Baptism of Karl Marx’, in the Hibbert Journal, vol. LVI (1958), pp. 340-51. esp. pp. 344-5.
26 ‘The Communism of the Rheinischer Beobachter’ (September 12, 1847) M I, 6,278.
27 ‘The British Rule in India’, published on June 25, 18 5 3, reprinted in Marx and Engels-Britain, pp. 383-4.
28 The incident is related by E. H. Carr, Karl Marx — A Study in Fanaticism, p. 7.
29 This article, published in the D.-f.J., though written shortly after the manuscript criticism of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right which I have called Marx’s first Hegel critique, is quite distinct from it. I shall refer to it in future as his second Hegel critique.
30 Portions of this chapter are drawn directly from ‘Karl Marx’s Analysis of Law’, by Alice Tay Erh Soon and Eugene Kamenka, with the co-author’s permission. Cf. The Indian Journal of Philosophy, vol. 1 (1959), pp. 17-38, esp. pp. 23-30.
31 Marx, then nineteen, describes the ill-fated project and his reasons for abandoning it in a letter written to his father on November 10, 1837 (M I, 1-ii, 213-21).
32 With special reference to polygamy. See M I, 1-i, 251-9.
33 Published in the Rheinische Zeitung in December 1842. For a complete English translation of this article and some comment see Alice Tay Erh Soon and Eugene Kamenka, ‘Karl Marx on the Law of Marriage and Divorce — A Text and a Commentary’, Quadrant, no. 15 (Winter, 1960), pp. 17-29.
34 Cf, for recent reaffirmations of this view, A. Y. Vyshinsky, The Law of the Soviet State, p. 52; P. A. Sharia, O Nekotorykh Voprosakh Kommunisticheskoi Morali, p. 88; A. Shishkin, Osnovy Kommunisticheskoi Morali, p. 38.
35 Marx’s editorial note (1842) to another contributor’s article on divorce, M I, 1-i, 31S.
36 All the passages quoted here were written by Marx.
37 Marx reverts to the problem of law and punishment on two subsequent occasions: in his review of Peuchet’s book on suicide, which he wrote for Moses Hess’ Geselhcha spiegel in the latter half of 1845 (M I, 3, 391-407), and in an article published in the New York Tribune in 1853 (cited in French by Maximilien Rubel in his translation and selection of Karl Marx.. Pages Choisies pour une Ethique Socialiste, pp. 117-18, from Gesammelte Schriften von Marx und Engels, edited by Riazanov, pp. 80 et seq.). In the former he is concerned to show the pointlessness of discussions whether suicide is the product of bravery or cowardice and of a moralism which constantly speaks of man’s social duties without ever mentioning his social rights. The true lesson we can learn from the prevalence of suicide is quite clear to Marx: ‘What sort of a society is it, in truth, where one finds several millions in deepest loneliness, where one can be overcome by an irresistible longing to kill oneself without anyone discovering it. This society is not a society; it is, as Rousseau says, a desert populated by wild animals.’ (M I, 3, 394.) In the New York Tribune article Marx again rejects Kant and Hegel’s theory of punishment as the lex talionis in philosophical guise. Their argument that the criminal, in denying other people’s rights, calls down on himself the denial of his own, has the merit of treating him as a being worthy of respect. But it treats the whole question abstractly; it considers only the ‘free-will’ of the criminal and the violation of rights in general; it does not consider the motives and temptations of the criminal as a specific human being in a concrete social situation. The conclusion is thus the same as he reached in his review of Peuchet: ‘Punishment, at bottom, is nothing but society’s defence of itself against all violations of its conditions of existence. How unhappy is a society that has no other means of defending itself than the executioner.’ (Cf. Acton, The Illusion of the Epoch, pp. 210-11.) Marx, as many critics have noted, seems to hold that every criminal is driven to crime either by economic necessity or by a ‘truly human’ feeling of protest against the pressures of the class society. Hence, on this basis he could again believe that law and crime would wither away once economic necessity and class pressures had disappeared.
38 Just what these maxims are, or what precisely the ‘civic nature’ of the State is, never appears. At best, one might treat the passage above, like Kant’s universalisability principle or Mill’s statement of liberty, as creating a presumption against certain actions.
39 One must not forget that within the imperfect State, however, division is also the condition of progress to the higher form. Thus Marx writes at the end of his polemic with the Kölnische Zeitung: ‘Without parties, no development, without division, no progress’ (M I, 1-i, 250). To the actual mechanism of the social dialectic Marx had at this stage devoted no serious attention.
40 Marx is quite right, however, in insisting that ‘the only “final consequence” of Hegel’s assertion of the ultimate unity of individual and universal being, of citizen and State, ‘is the harmony of discord with harmony’ (The German Ideology, M I, 5, 465).
41 Here, as in many other places, Marx is unconsciously supporting a view held by the younger Hegel against the view held by the older Hegel. Marx’s position against the Philosophy of Right was put admirably by the twenty-six-year-old Hegel himself in his Erstes Systemprogramm des deutschen Idealismus (1796), where he wrote: ‘I shall demonstrate that, just as there is no idea of a machine, there is no idea of the State, for the State is something mechanical. Only that which is an object of freedom may be called an idea. We must, therefore, transcend the State. For every State is bound to treat free men as cogs in a machine. And this is precisely what it should not do; hence the State must perish.’ (Quoted by Herbert Marcuse in Reason and Revolution, p. 12 from Dokumente zu Hegels Entwicklung, ed. J. Hoffmeister, Stuttgart, 1936, pp. 219f.)
42 Marx’s development of this point and his general conception of the relationship between civil society and political State will emerge more clearly in the following Part. In the material dealt with here, his views are still sketchy.
43 Paris Manuscripts, M I, 3, 121; cf. German Ideology, M I, 5, 185-217.
44 See also Marxs preliminary notes for his dissertation at M I, 1-i, 131-2. For a similar interpretation of Marx’s position at this stage see H. Barth, Wahrheit und Ideologie, pp. 81-6 and H. Popitz, Der entfremdete Mensch, pp. 5-7.
45 For a brief account of the relevant events, see Nicolaievski and Manchen-Helfen, Karl Marx, Man and Fighter, esp. pp. 61-2.
46 That disfranchisement of the Jews is perfectly logical in a Christian State, and that the emancipation of Jews can therefore only follow the emancipation of the State from Christianity.
47 Toward the Critique of Hegel’s philosophy of Right: Introduction (the second Hegel critique, published in the D.-f. J.), M I, 1-i, 614.
48 Compare his second letter to Ruge, dated May 1843 and published in the ‘Correspondence Of 1843': ‘The existence of a suffering humanity which thinks and of a thinking humanity which is oppressed will necessarily be unpalatable for the passive animal world of the Philistines ... The longer circumstances give thinking humanity time to reflect and suffering humanity time to rally, the more finished when born will be the product that the world carries in its womb’ (M I, 1-i, 565-6).
49 Thus, in the ‘Correspondence of 1843’, Marx writes: ‘The whole socialist principle is ... only one side that affects the true human existence. We must concern ourselves just as much with the theoretical existence of man, i.e., make religion, science, etc., the object of our criticism.’ (M I, 1-i, 573-4).
50 ‘We do not convert questions about the world into theological questions. We convert theological questions into questions about the world.’ (‘On the Jewish Question’, M I, 1-i, 581).
51 Here we already find that unfortunate metaphor of reflection which has raised the well-known difficulties in interpreting Marx’s mature views on the character of ideologies and the social ‘superstructure’. The insistence that the supraterrestrial (i.e., that which claims to be non-empirical) can only be made sense of in terms of the ‘terrestrial’ (i.e., the empirical) implies neither an untenable economic reductionism nor a doctrine that ideologies are purely passive; the word ‘copy’ tends to suggest the latter now and both in Marx’s later work. Yet if Marx were really upholding the view that ideologies are purely passive, it would be difficult to see why he should think it important not to neglect criticism of the ‘theoretical existence of man’. Much of the difficulty here, I think, is caused by the fact that Marx had not entirely emancipated himself from a Lockean representationalism; he had certainly not considered carefully either the nature of belief or the social role of beliefs. In spite of the generality of his later doctrines on this subject (considered in Part IV, Chapters 12 and 13) he was never to do so.
52 Here we have Marx’s first economic application of Hegel and Feuerbach’s doctrine of alienation. For Marx it simply means that man takes one of his own powers or functions, objectifies or reifies it by infusing it into an object or treating it as though it has separate existence from himself and then, instead of dominating it, allows it to dominate him.
53 He was not the first Jew to display jüdischen Selbsthass — Jewish self-hate.
54 Marx uses the word ‘limitation’ [Beschranktheit] here and elsewhere in the D.-f. J. to mean both the limitation or narrowness that prevents a subject from being truly ‘universal’ and the limitation that sets limits to the subject from without and thus makes it determined and not truly free. Both meanings are essential to his argument.
55 The original article by ‘a Prussian’ was written by Arnold Ruge and published in Vorwärts (Paris) on July 27, 1844. Marx’s reply appeared in the same paper on August 7, 1844. Ruge’s text is reprinted in M I, 3, 587-9 and Marx’s article in M I, 3, 5-23.
56 Two years later, in the Poverty of Philosophy, Marx attacks Proudhon for not seeing this: ‘The economist’s material is the active, energetic life of man; M. Proudhon’s material is the dogmas of the economist’ (pp. 117).
57 Like Hegel in the Phenomenology, Marx brings together the theory of a subject (here political economy) and the subject itself (here economic life or civil society), just as he had earlier identified the theory of the heavenly bodies and the bodies themselves.
58 Marx is punning here on the words Entwertung (devaluation) and Verwertung (using, or gaining value from, a thing — i.e., exploiting it in the non-pejorative sense in which we speak of exploiting natural resources).
59 A year later, in the Holy Family, Marx was making the same point more clearly: ‘The propertied class and the class of the proletariat present the same human self-alienation. But the former class finds in this self-alienation its confirmation and its good, its own power: it has in it a semblance of human existence. The class of the proletariat feels annihilated in its self-alienation; it sees in it its own powerlessness and the reality of an inhuman existence’ (M I, 3,206).
60 Marx, no doubt deliberately punning, uses the word Vermögen, which can mean either ability or wealth.
61 Marx concedes that there has been a partial revolution in the theory of political economy, an attempt to bring some human content back into the field. But the attempt was only partial, it failed to overcome the basic alienation on which political economy rests. It thus parallels the Lutheran revolution in religion. The Catholics, the fetish-worshippers of political economy, according to Marx, were the mercantilists, who worshipped private property in its material, symbolic, non-human, form — in the precious metals. Luther overcame the objective externalisation and estrangement of religion and made it subjective by bringing it, through the doctrine of faith, back into the heart of the layman. Similarly, Adam Smith overcame the external materialisation of wealth and incorporated private property into man himself by translating wealth into its subjective form, into labour. But to do this is not genuinely to overcome alienation. Private property is not reduced to its human content as a function of man — in taking private property into himself, man is himself reduced into a form of private property. Thus Ricardo, quite consistently with the nature of political economy, treats man as nothing more than a machine for consuming and producing and man’s life as nothing more than a form of capital.
62 To substitute the latter question for the former, according to Marx, is already to advance a fair way toward the solution. But in point of fact he does not take this question any further in the Paris Manuscripts. His subsequent comments in the Poverty of Philosophy (p. 36) and in Capital (Book 1, chapter 1) give no account of the origin of alienation but merely link it with commodity production and emphasise that the acute form of alienation is a product of modem capitalism. In the German Ideology alienation is traced beyond private property to the division of labour, seen as the common ground from which both alienation and private property arise. See infra, iv, 14.
63 While a quality cannot by itself imply a relation, relations which are not purely spatio-temporal relations like ‘down’, ‘before’ or ‘left’ can and do imply qualities in the terms that enter into these relations. Thus marriage implies the sexual characteristics of the partners and only men can be uncles. But the fact that X is a man implies neither that he is a husband nor that he is an uncle.
64 Cf. the seventeenth-century Cambridge Platonist Ralph Cudworth’s ‘Second Sermon’: ‘Virtues and holiness in creatures ... are not therefore good because God loveth them, and will have them to be accounted such; but rather God therefore loveth them, because they are in themselves simply good’ (cited in J. A. Passmore, Ralph Cudworth, pp. 83-4).
65 The purely relational use of ethical terms might still invest them with a qualitative content implied by the context of their use, but such a content would be derivative and inconstant. It would vary with the context and source of the demand and would not itself distinguish the moral use of ‘good’ from non-moral, instrumental uses of the word. It is this derivative content which has been emphasised — against the ‘crude’ subjectivists — in C. L. Stevenson’s Ethics and Language and R. M. Hare’s The Language of Morals. When the village parson, as Hare puts it, calls Mary ‘a good girl’ we may be able to deduce some of Mary’s intrinsic characteristics from our knowledge of the parson’s moral preferences, just as we can deduce certain features of a motor-car from our friend’s description of it as ‘jolly good’ and from our knowledge of his taste in motor-cars. Both Stevenson and Hare would reject the suggestion that underlying the moral uses, of ‘good’ is an implicit if obscure recognition of positive ethical qualities independent of one’s attitudes to them. The main difficulty of such a position, apart from its utter neglect of the empirical material contained in traditional moral distinctions and traditional moral psychology, is how to distinguish ethical demands from non-ethical demands, approval from liking, moral ‘principles’ from commands.
66 J. O. Urmson, taking this type of view in his paper ‘On Grading’, seeks to distinguish moral from non-moral uses of ‘good’ by arguing that moral grading ‘affects the whole of one’s life and social intercourse’, while non-moral grading deals with ‘dispensable’ qualities (Logic and Language, Second Series, ed. A. G. N. Flew, p. 159 et seq., esp. p. 184). Apart from the fact that both ethical and psychological understanding would involve not ‘judging a man as a whole’, Urmson’s criterion presupposes a moral distinction on the basis of which ‘we’ distinguish being a bad father from being a bad cricketer; his criterion follows from this distinction instead of creating it. Hare’s attempt to distinguish moral principles from non-moral commands by arguing that commands are always particular and principles always universal is certainly more sophisticated, but it leads him into the well-known difficulty that any particular proposition can be converted into a universal one by limiting its subject and to the curious view that ‘no person shall smoke in any train anywhere’ is always a moral injunction and never a non-moral command.
67 adopt the terminology suggested by Professor John Anderson in his ‘The Problem of Causality’, 4.J.P.P., vol. XVI (1938), p. 127 et seq., where the view of causality I am putting is more fully argued. The logical material in this section generally owes much to his work.
68 A certain superficial plausibility is lent to the notion of self-determination by the observation of change and development within a system. But such change is not the result of the system acting upon itself, but of the interaction of the minor systems within the whole, acting upon each other externally. The changes in the relationship between the minor systems, of course, will always be dependent upon external exchanges with the environment of the entire system.
69 Professor C. A. Simpson, in his article ‘Old Testament Historiography’ (Hibbert journal, July 1958, pp. 319-32, esp. pp. 324-6), for instance, seeks to show that the story of David was in fact first told as a purely empirical study of the self-destructive character of evil motives, and that the attempt to ascribe his fate to God’s intervention is a later accretion which ruins the whole point of the story.
70 ‘Determinism and Ethics’, A.J.A.P., vol. VI (1927), pp. 251-3.
71 Published in the A.J.A.P. from 1927 onwards. Besides the article already cited, see especially his ‘Realism versus Relativism in Ethics’, vol. XI (1933), p. 1 et seq., and ‘The Meaning of Good’, vol. XX (1942), p. 111 et seq., on which I draw in the account that follows.
72 Compare the history of science with the history of religion or tyranny. The conception of science, art or industry as progressive does not entail the vulgar conception that the scientific knowledge, the art or industrial production of any age is superior to that of the age preceding it; the conception means that science, art or industry are progressive in the sense that they can always build directly on previous achievements in their fields, can take up where a previous age left off, even if there have been intervening periods of ignorance or mediocrity. The suggestion that religions or tyrannies may progress, on the other hand, where it is not mere advocacy of the merits of a latter tyranny over an earlier one, always resolves itself into the recognition of progress in the scientific, industrial or artistic material a religion or a tyranny may seek to appropriate, but which is intrinsically incompatible with it. Subjectivists, of course, may claim that they recognise ‘progress’ in tyrannies in the sense of increased efficiency — in which case any distinction between ethical and instrumental uses of ‘good’ (’this is a good poison’) disappears completely. With it, however, there also disappears any possibility of accounting for the differences in the history of science and of tyrannies noted above.
73 John Anderson: ‘Art and Morality’, A.J.P.P., vol. XIX (1941), pp. 253 et seq., P. 264.
74 ‘Determinism and Ethics’, loc. cit., p. 251.
75 Paris Manuscripts, M 1, 3, 118: ‘In place of all physical and intellectual senses has come the simple alienation of all these senses, the sense of possession.’
76 ‘Ethics and Advocacy’, A.J.P.P., vol. XXII (1944), p. 184.
77 It does, however, mean rejecting Marx’s claim (Grundrisse, pp. 11-16) that production and consumption are identical, or the even more naive claim that all production is for the sake of consumption.
78 See Engels’ well-known statement in his preface to Marx’s Revelations Concerning the Communist Trial in Cologne: ‘When I visited Marx in Paris in the summer of 1844, our complete agreement on all theoretical questions became clear ... When we met again in the spring of 1845 in Brussels, Marx had already developed out of these foundations the main lines of his materialist theory of history.’
79 In The Communist Manifesto, SW I 55; supra, II, 8.
80 The Poverty of Philosophy, p. 165.
81 Marx, in his article ‘The Trial of Gottschalk and Others’, published in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung of December 22, 1848 (M 1, 7, 501).
82 Cf. John Anderson: Critical Notice of H. B. Acton’s The Illusion of the Epoch, — A.J.P., vol. 37 (1959), P. 156 et seq., at p. 158: ‘The general position of the Theses is that to have true knowledge is to be moving with the movement of thing, which is a revolutionary movement; it is only the revolutionary, participating in that movement, who really understands it — who has a “dialectic” understanding (i.e., precisely participatory, going beyond himself) as contrasted with the idle speculation of the non-participant.’
83 For a fuller discussion of this particular example, and of Engels’ theory of truth in general, from the realist standpoint I myself adopt, see John Anderson: ‘Marxist Philosophy’, A.J.P.P., vol. XIII (1935), p. 24 et seq., esp. pp. 26-32.
84 All epochs of production have certain distinguishing features in common, have common characters. Production in general is an abstraction, but an intelligible abstraction in so far as it really brings out, fixes, the common and therefore saves us repetition’, Marx wrote in his notebook in 1857 (Grundrisse, p. 7).
85 ‘All stages of production have common characters, which thought establishes as universal; but the so-called universal characters of all production are nothing but these abstract moments, with which no actual historical stage of production can be understood.’ (Grundrisse, p. 10).
86 Passages in the German Ideology, the Poverty of Philosophy, The Communist Manifesto and the Theses on Feuerbach suggest that the mature Marx does not merely minimise the importance of permanent human appetites, attitudes and drives, but actually denies their existence. Yet in a draft passage written for the German Ideology and dropped before publication, he specifically distinguishes permanent human appetites, which are modified by changing historical conditions but are not produced by them, from relative appetites ‘which owe their origin to a specific form of society, production or exchange’ (M 1, 5, 596). Again, arguing against Bentham in the first volume of Capital, Marx reminds us that before deciding what is useful for man, we would have to consider first ‘human nature in general’ and then that human nature ‘which history modifies in every epoch’ (K I, 640; C I, 668). Both passages are yet another reminder of the dangers of deducing a Marxian ‘system’ from those of his pronouncements that have become well-known because of their seeming simplicity and general scope.
87 In a footnote to the 1888 English edition of the Communist Manifesto (SW I, 33), Engels explains that he and Marx were not aware of the existence of primitive communism when they wrote the Manifesto in 1847, but that its existence had become evident from recent researches by Haxthausen, Maurer and Morgan.
88 Cf. the summary by H. B. Acton: The Illusion of the Epoch, p. 135.
89 ‘The hand-mill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam mill society with the industrial capitalist.’ (M 1, 6, 179; pp 122.)
90 See especially his chapters, in the first volume of Capital, headed ‘The Working Day’ (K I, 239-317; C I, 255-330) and ‘Machinery and Large-scale Industry’ (K I, 387-532, esp. pp. 505-29; C I, 405-556, esp. 526-52). Marx implicitly concedes the devotion and independence of view of many of the factory inspectors appointed under the Acts, and their attempts to expose the intolerable nature of factory conditions and some of the worst legal abuses in the Reports, from which Marx draws much of his material. Marx, and Engels in his addenda to subsequent editions, note that some of the abuses (including the discrimination against workers over breach of contract) have been, or are being, remedied. Of course, this would not in itself show that all the features of the capitalist factory system which Marx exposes are merely temporary — but the interaction of many factors in factory legislation, which Marx has to admit implicitly, raises difficulties for his whole theory of economic determination with which he never tries to cope.
91 Modern Soviet legal theorists, further embarrassed by their inability to discover fundamental differences in content between Soviet and ‘bourgeois’ law similarly concentrate on showing how the judicial process can be distorted by economic interests, rather than how it is shaped by them. Thus, Vyshinsky’s discussion of the concrete working of ‘bourgeois’ law (The Law of the Soviet State, pp. 501-3) is taken up almost entirely with an account of the Dreyfus, Beilis and Sacco-Vanzetti trials.
92 Most contemporary Soviet ethical philosophers, such as Sharia and Shishkin, take the same line that each morality represents the economic interests and attitudes of a class, though unlike Kautsky, they make no serious attempt to link the fundamental ethical structure of a theory with its alleged class background. They are satisfied instead with an occasional example of obvious ‘class’ prejudice in a moral philosopher, e.g., Aristotle’s contempt for slaves.
93 ‘Crit. Notice of Acton’s Illusion of the Epoch’, A.J.P., vol. 37 (1959), p. 163.
94 The Open Society and Its Enemies, vol. II, p. 199.
95 The series of articles published by him in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung in April, 1849. They were based on lectures he had given to the workers’ Club (Arbeiterverein) in Brussels in 1847 and formed only part of a larger manuscript the publication of which was interrupted by the February Revolution. (See Marx’s note in Capital, K I, 607; C I, 633.) The complete manuscript has been lost.
96 ‘This is not possible without the community. Only in community with others has each individual the means of cultivating his gifts in all directions; only in community, therefore, is personal freedom possible ... The illusory community, in which individuals have up till now combined, always took on an independent existence in relation to them, and was at the same time, since it was the combination of one class against another, not only a completely illusory community, but a new fetter as well. In the real community the individuals obtain their freedom in and through their association’ (G 1, 74-5: M 1, 5, 63-4).
97 ‘If we think of society as not being capitalist, but Communist, then money-capital disappears entirely and with it, therefore, the disguises that it carries into transactions. The matter simply becomes that society must calculate beforehand how much labour, how many instruments of production and provisions can be expended, without upset, on branches of activity which, like the building of railways, for instance, will produce neither instruments of production nor food nor any useful effects for a length of time, a year or more, but which will draw away labour, tools and provisions from the total production for the year.’ (K II, 314; C II, 361-2)
98 Marx quotes approvingly an account given by a French workman after returning from San Francisco: ‘I never could have believed that I was capable of working at the various occupations I was employed on in California. I was firmly convinced that I was fit for nothing but letter press printing ... Once in the midst of this world of adventurers, who change their occupation as often as they do their shirt, by my faith, I did as the others. As mining did not rum out remunerative enough, I left it for the town, where in succession I became typographer, slater, plumber, etc. In consequence of thus finding out that I am fit for any sort of work, I feel less of a mollusc and more of a man’ (K I, 513; C I, 534).
99 Quite typical is this attempt by Mehring’s translator, Edward Fitzgerald, to defend Marx (in an addendum) against Mehring’s moral strictures over the Bakunin episode: ‘Any discussion of “the moral qualities” of the methods used in the fractional struggles between Marx and Bakunin and their followers can be of only very subordinate interest to day. Marx and Engels were not “innocent lambs”, but Bakunin and his friends were also not and they waged the fractional struggle by no means in strict accordance with the categorical imperative. In any case, all this is of very subsidiary importance. In the struggle between Bakunin and his followers on the one hand and Marx and Engels on the other, fundamental principles and history were on the side of Marx and Marxism and therefore, we may assume, “moral” justification also.’ (Mehring: Karl Marx, p. 556.)
100 Quoted by Harold J. Berman: justice in Russia, pp. 23-4, from Sobranie uzakonenii i rasporiazhenii RSFSR (Collection of Laws and Orders of the RSFSR), 1919, no. 66, Art. 590.
101 ‘In 1922 and 1923, there appeared a judiciary Act, a Civil Code, a Code of Civil Procedure, a Criminal Code, a Code of Criminal Procedure, a Land Code and a New Labour Code’ — Berman, op. cit., p. 25.
102 Ibid., p. 26.
103 Lenin put this forcefully in his letter to Kursky preceding the enactment of the 1922 Civil Code: ‘We do not recognise any “private” thing; with us, in the field of economics, there is only public, and no private law. The only capitalism we allow is that of the State ... for this reason, we have to widen the sphere of State-interference with “private” agreements. Not the corpus juris Romani, but our revolutionary consciousness of justice, ought to be applied to “Civil law relations”.’ Quoted by R. Schlesinger: Soviet Legal Theory, p. 150.
104 Berman, op. cit., pp. 30-1.
105 Quoted in Hans Kelsen: The Communist Theory of Law, p. 106. Pashukanis concedes, of course, that in the transitional dictatorship of the proletariat ‘the proletariat must necessarily utilise in its interest these forms which have been inherited from bourgeois society and thereby exhaust them completely.’
106 Berman, op. cit., p. 19.
107 Vyshinsky, laying the foundations of the new Soviet view in his Law of the Soviet State (1938) states specifically that law and the State will disappear, but only ‘after the victory of Communism in the whole world’ (p. 52). Shishkin, Op. cit., p. 38, takes the same view in 1955.
108 Great emphasis has been placed ever since on denouncing ‘free love’ as a form of social and personal irresponsibility. (See, e.g., Sharia, op. cit., p. 997 Shishkin, Op. Cit., pp. 260-2, Shishkin, Iz Istorii Eticheskikh Uchenii (From the History of Ethical Doctrines), pp. 235-8, 320-8.) The critics have little difficulty in showing that love does not become free by constantly feeding on new objects; but their emphasis on ‘discipline’ in love certainly suggests an implicit awareness and fear that sexual protest supports and encourages other forms of protest. There is indeed much evidence that freedom in love is a necessary, though not a sufficient condition, of all other freedoms.
109 A full English translation of the article (which originally appeared in Bolshevik No. 17 of September 1, 1937) may be found in the collection Soviet Legal Philosophy, pp. 281-301.
110 Pashukanis, of course, had largely obscured Marx’s notion of law as a normative weapon in the class struggle, and treated it instead in a positive, rather passive, fashion as reflecting the structure of the commodities-producing society as a whole.
111 The Law of the Soviet State, p. 54.
112 Quoted by Berman, op. cit., P. 46. What especially worried Vyshinsky, as Berman’s quotations show, is the undermining of the absolute authoritativeness of law by reducing it to economics or politics. ‘Reducing law to politics,’ Vyshinsky writes indignantly about the Soviet ‘wreckers’ of the past, ‘these gentlemen depersonalised law as the totality of legal rules, undermining their stability and their authoritativeness, introducing the false concept that in a socialist State the application of a statute is determined not by the force and authority of Soviet law, but by political considerations.’
113 Vyshinsky, op. cit., p. 50.
114 Loc. cit., p. 77.
115 I have drawn heavily in the preceding pages on Section III of Alice Tay Erh Soon and Eugene Kamenka: ‘Karl Marx’s Analysis of Law’, loc. cit., pp. 30-8.
116 Marx and Engels proclaim this clearly at the end of Section II of the Communist Manifesto (M 1, 6, 545-6), where the proletarian seizure of state power is treated as the inauguration of a dictatorship which will make despotic inroads into the old order until it sweeps away by force the old conditions of production and with them the conditions of class antagonism. Then shall arise ‘an association in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all’. In other words, the proletariat must constitute itself as a ruling class and exercise despotic political power in its class interest before it can destroy all classes, including itself, and its own supremacy. In Marx’s three articles on ‘The Class Struggles in France’ (1850) this conception is still strong, though soon to he combined with the ‘permanent revolution’ that we find in ‘The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte’ (1852). Marx’s references to the dictatorship of the proletariat certainly do not suggest that he saw the transitional period as a lengthy one which would produce a full-blown social form of its own. A certain tension between the centralising motive in his thought (which came to the fore again in his ‘Critique of the Gotha Programme’ in 1875) and his concern with the free society appears in his The Civil War in France (1871). The impression which the anarcho-federalist ideas of the Paris Commune, inspired by Proudhon, made on him is quite evident. ‘The new Commune ... breaks the modern State power ... The Communal Constitution would have restored to the social body all the forces hitherto absorbed by the State parasite feeding upon, and clogging the free movement of, society. By this one act it would have initiated the regeneration of France.’ (CWF 42.) After Marx’s death Engels showed a decided tendency to minimise the earlier emphasis on violent revolution and to see Communism coming through parliamentary action. (Cf. his introduction to the new German edition of ‘The Class Struggles in France’ in 1895.) For Engels’ earlier view of the dictatorship of the proletariat see his letter to Bebel of March 18-28, 1875 (SC 336-7).
117 Marksizm i voprosy yazykoznaniia (Marxism and Questions of Linguistics), 1950, pp. 4-5.
118 Sochineniia (Works), vol. IV, P. 740. Marx said later that Chernyshevskii’s writings ‘brought true honour’ to Russia (ME Soch., XIII, i, 354).
119 ‘Changing attitudes Toward the Individual’, in C. E. Black (ed): The Transformation of Russian Society, pp. 606-25, at pp. 618-23. I have relied on a number of Dr. Kline’s interesting citations from works not easy to obtain in the West.
120 Osnovy positivnoi estetiki (Foundations of a Positive Aesthetic) in Ocherki realisticheskogo miroyozzreniia (Outlines of a Realist Weltanschauung), St. Petersburg, 1905, cited by Kline, loc. cit., p. 619.
121 Filosofiia borby: opyt postroeniia etiki marksizma (The Philosophy of Struggle: An Attempt at Building a Marxist Ethic), Moscow, 1909; Kline, p. 620.
122 Tseli i normy zhizni (The Goals and Norms of Life), written in 1905, and republished in Novyi mir (1920), p. 64; cf. Kline, p. 621.
123 Cited by Kline, pp. 622-3.
124 Na dva fronta (Toward Two Fronts), St. Petersburg, 1910, P. 140; Kline, p. 623.
125 Padenie velikogo fetishizma (The Fall of the Great Fetishism), Moscow, 1910, p. 46; Kline, p. 623.
126 Op. Cit. p. 164; Kline, p. 623.
127 Bazarov: ‘Avtoritarnaia metafizika i aytonomnaia lichnost’ (’Authoritarian Metaphysics and the Autonomous Personality’), in Ocherki realisticheskogo mirovozzreniia, p. 271; Kline, p. 623.
128 Bazarov: Na dva fronta, p. 141; ibid.
129 Revoliutsiia i molodezh, (Youth and the Revolution), p. 54; Kline, p. 624.
130 A. I. Zis, O kommunisticheskoi morali (Concerning Communist Morality), 1948, p. 30. Cf. Shishkin, Osnovy kommunisticheskoi morali, pp. 144f and 257f, where he stresses the priority of the social interest and collectivism over individual interests, but balances this by devoting an entire section (p. 230f) to socialist ‘respect and care for man’.
131 Voprosy marksistko-leninskoi etiki (Questions of Marxist-Leninist Ethics), Moscow, 1960.
132 Materialy vneocherednogo XXI s’ezda KPSS (Materials of the Extraordinary XXIst Congress of the C.P.S.U.), p. 46.
133 ‘The relationship of individual and society, the relationship between personal and social interests — this is the chief content of morality’ (Sharia, op. Cit., p. 23, his italics).
134 Istoriia VKP(b). Kratkii kurs. (History of the C.P.S.U. (Bolsheviks). A Short Course), p. 125; Shishkin: Osnovy ... pp. 13-14.
135 Marx did see private property as following inescapably from the division of labour. But he cannot coherently distinguish the division of labour from the organisation of labour which will emerge under Communism except in terms of the ownership of tools which the former allegedly implies. Hence I take private property as fundamental in Marx’s analysis.
136 In his Oriental Despotism. See esp. chapters I-III and IX.