Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

Remarks On Dr. Johann Plenge’s
“Marx and Hegel”. Tübingen, 1911

Written: No later than June 1916
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 4th Edition, Moscow, 1976, Volume 38, pp. 388-391
Publisher: Progress Publishers
First Published: 1933 in Lenin Miscellany XXII. Published according to the manuscript
Translated: Clemence Dutt
Edited: Stewart Smith
Original Transcription & Markup: K. Goins (2008)
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2003). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

The remarks on Johann Plenge’s book “Marx und Hegel.” Tübingen, 1911 (J. Plenge, Marx and Hegel, Tübingen, 1911) are contained in the second notebook on imperialism (notebook “β”).
Note that this document has undergone special formating to ensure that Lenin’s sidenotes fit on the page, marking as best as possible where they were located in the original manuscript.




Plenge fails to understand how “ma-
terialism” can coincide with revolu-
(calling the latter “ideal-
ism,” etc.) and waxes angry over
his lack of understanding!!!


A good example of how bourgeois
professors vulgarise the fundamentals of
Marxism, its theoretical fundamentals!!
Ad notam of the imperialist economists[1]
and Co.!!


After a pretentious introduction (How I,
I, I “read” Hegel and Marx) follows an
essay of the Hegelian “doctrine” that is
extremely shallow (idealism is not distin-
guished from “speculation,” very, very few
things have been grasped; still there is
some good in this essay as compared with
Kantianism, etc.). Then, comes a critic-
ism of Marx which is altogether nonsens-


aspect of
has been

Marx is being accused of “pure ideology,”
when by “actual” proletarian he means
a representative of a class. (82)

    Marx =

“Now the strong language of the apos-
tate, who decisively renounced any sort
of idealism ... now the ideal demand of
the political enthusiast—such is the actual-
ity of Karl Marx.” (81-82)


“It is passing strange that this Jewish
radical healer should have known all his
life just one universal remedy for all social
conditions that are in need of cure; critic-
ism and political struggle.” (56)


...Marx’s historical materialism is ac-
tually “nothing but ... a pathetical gesture,”
“an extremely rationalistic doctrine,” “in
its most profound basis an idealist examina-
tion of society,” etc., etc. ... (83)

“did not
97 et al.

...“agitational motives”... (84) (id. 86,
92 et al.) (115 et al.)

Marx borrowed “this natural-scientific
empiricism” (88), “Marx naturalises social
science (ibid.).

...“His” (Marx’s) “path is not that of the
thinker, but ... of the prophet of free-
dom....”!!! (94-95)


Socialist revolution = subjectivist hope
to present it as “an objectively scientific
cognition” is an illusion of an ecstatic
dreamer, an illusion which degenerated into
charlatanry” (p. 110).


...“Marx ... was dominated by the passion-
ate will of a radical apostle of freedom....”


Marx “agitationally whipping up all the
instincts of hatred....” (115)

inde ira!![3]

“Marxism ... becomes ethics of abstract
negative, fanatical enthusiasm” (just like
Mohammedanism according to Hegel!)....


...“Temperament of a fanatic” of
Marx (and his “hot head”)—that’s the point.

And more of such vulgar gibberish!

Whence this quotation? The author did
not give chapter and verse.[4]


“Without revolution socialism cannot
be realised. It stands in need of a polit-
ical act, inasmuch as it stands in need
of destruction and dissolution. But wher-
ever its organic activity begins and its
end-in-itself bares its soul, socialism casts
off its political integument.”


—After quoting this passage without
giving its source Plenge continues: “‘The
political integument’ that will be hurled
aside is of course the whole of Marxism.”


How Plenge seeks out “contradictions”:
Marx, he says, wrote in Rheinisehe Zei-
[5]: “‘The same spirit which con-
structs railways with the help of industry,
constructs philosophical systems in the
minds of philosophers’ (p. 143). And
then these means of production are eman-
cipated from the spirit which created
them and begin, in turn, sovereignly,
to determine the spirit.”


Example of how Plenge criticises

“By its gross exaggeration it brings to

a white heat the hard fact of capitalism
that the urge for profit lowers wages and


worsens working conditions. But then it
suffers from the elementary mistake of du-
plication of concepts veiled by the termin-
ology used....” (157)

...“Agitational requirements dictate that
the inflammatory theory of surplus-value
be given the most prominent place in the
entire system....” (164)


...“Marx is a revolutionary Jew of the
nineteenth century who has re-tailored the
garment borrowed from our great philos-
ophy to suit his ends.” (171)

a pearl!!
This Plenge is an extreme vulgar-
iser; the scientific value of his
trashy book is zero.



[1] Imperialist economists—Lenin’s designation for the opportunists Bukharin, Pyatakov and Bosh in the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party (Bolsheviks) during the First World War. The “imperialist economists” demanded that the Party delete the programmatic statement on the right of nations to self-determination. They also came out against the entire minimum programme of the R.S.D.L.P., which envisaged a struggle for democratic reforms that would facilitate the preparation and transition to the socialist revolution. Lenin laid bare the opportunistic essence of the position of Bukharin and those sharing his views, its kinship with “economism”—the opportunistic trend in Russian Social-Democracy at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. Like the old “economists,” who could not understand the need for the political struggle of the working class under conditions of capitalism, the “imperialist economists” did not understand the significance of the struggle for democratic reforms under conditions of imperialism.

Certain views of the “imperialist economists” were shared by Left Social-Democrats of Holland, America, Poland, etc. That is why Lenin called “imperialist economism” an “international disease” (Vol. 35, letter to Inessa Armand of November 30, 1916).

A number of articles by Lenin are devoted to a criticism of “imperialist economism”: “On the Incipient Trend of ‘Imperialist Economism’” (pres. ed., Vol. 23, pp. 10-15); “A Caricature of Marxism and Imperialist Economism” (pres. ed., Vol. 23, pp. 16-64).

[2] “just”!!—Ed.

[3] hence the ire!!—Ed.

[4] See Critical Notes on the Article “The King of Prussia and Social Reform. By a Prussian”, the ¶ beginning: The “Prussian” must choose between....KCG.

[5] The reference is to the Rheinische Zeitung für Politik, Handel und Gewerbe (Rhine Gazette on Problems of Politics, Trade and Industry)—a daily newspaper that appeared in Cologne from January 1, 1842 to March 31, 1843. It was founded by representatives of the Rhineland bourgeoisie who were opposed to Prussian absolutism. Marx joined its staff in April 1842 and became one of its editors in October of the same year. During Marx’s editorship, the revolutionary-democratic character of the newspaper became more and more marked. The newspaper was ultimately banned by the Prussian Government.

[6] theory of surplus-valueEd.


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