Volume II of The German Ideology by Marx and Engels


Karl Grün:
"The Social Movement in France and Belgium"
(Darmstadt 1845)
The Histriography of True Socialism [128]

“In sooth, if it were not a matter of discussing the whole horde of them ... we should probably throw down our pen.... And now, with that same arrogance, it” (Mundt’s Geschichte der Gesellschaft) “appears before a wide circle of readers, before that public which seizes voraciously upon everything displaying the word social because a sure instinct tells it what secrets of future times are hidden in this little word. Hence a double responsibility rests on the writer and he deserves double reproof, if he sets to work inexpertly!”

“We shall not reproach Herr Mundt with not knowing anything of the actual achievements of French and English social literature apart from what Herr L. Stein has revealed to him. When it appeared, Stein’s book was worthy of note.... But to coin phrases nowadays ... about Saint-Simon, to call Bazard and Enfantin the two branches of Saint-Simonism, to follow this up with Fourier and to repeat idle chit-chat about Proudhon, etc.!... And yet we would willingly overlook this if he had only portrayed the genesis of social ideas in a new and original way.”

With this haughty and Rhadamanthine pronouncement Herr Grün begins a review (in the Neue Anekdota, pp. 122, 123) of Mundt’s Geschichte der Gesellschaft.

The reader will be amazed at the artistic talent shown by Herr Grün, who actually gives, in this guise, a criticism of his own book, which at that time was not yet born.

We observe in Herr Grün a fusion of true socialism with Young-German literary pretensions [129] — a highly diverting spectacle. The book mentioned above is in the form of letters to a lady, from which the reader may surmise that here the profound divinities of true socialism are garlanded with the roses and myrtles of “young literature”. Let us hasten to pluck a few roses:

“The Carmagnole was running through my head ... in any case it is terrible that the Carmagnole should be permitted to take breakfast in the head of a German writer, even if not to take up permanent quarters there” (p. 3).

“If I had old Hegel here, I should collar him: What! So nature is the otherness of mind? What! You dullard!” (p. 11).
"Brussels is to some extent a reproduction of the French Convention; it has its parties of the Mountain and the Valley” (p. 24).
"The Laneburg Heath of politics” (p. 80).
"Gay, poetic, inconsistent, fantastic chrysalis” (p. 82).
"Restoration liberalism, the groundless cactus, which as a parasite coiled round the seats in the Chamber of Deputies” (pp. 87, 88).

That the cactus is neither “groundless”, nor a “parasite”, and that gay”, “poetic” or “inconsistent” “chrysalises” or pupae do not exist, does not detract from these lovely images.

“Amid this sea” (of newspapers and journalists in the Cabinet Montpensier [130]) “I myself, however, feel like a second Noah, despatching his doves to see if he can possibly build a dwelling or plant a vineyard anywhere or come to a reasonable agreement with the infuriated Gods” (p. 259).

No doubt this refers to Herr Grün’s activity as a newspaper correspondent.

“Camille Desmoulins was a human being. The Constituent Assembly was composed of philistines. Robespierre was a virtuous magnetiser. Modern history, in a word, is a life-and-death struggle against the shopkeepers and the magnetisers!!!"
"Happiness is a plus, but a plus to the nth power” (p. 203).

Hence, happiness = +n , a formula which can only be found in the aesthetic mathematics of Herr Grün.

“Organisation of labour, what is it? And the peoples replied to the Sphinx with the voices of a thousand newspapers.... France sings the strophe, Germany the antistrophe, old mystic Germany” (p. 259).

“North America is even more distasteful to me than the Old World because its shopkeeping egoism has on its cheeks the bloom of impertinent health ... because everything there is so superficial, so rootless, I might almost say so provincial.... You call America the New World; it is the oldest of all Old Worlds; our worn-out clothes set the fashion there” (pp. 101, 324).

So far we were only aware that unworn stockings of German manufacture were worn there; although they are of too poor a quality to set the “fashion”.

“The logically stable security-mongering of these institutions” (p. 461).

Unless these flowers your heart delight
To be a “man” you have no right!'
[from Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute]

What wanton grace, what saucy innocence! What heroic wrestling with aesthetic problems! This nonchalance and originality are worthy of a Heine!

We have deceived the reader. Herr Grün’s literary graces are not an embellishment of the science of true socialism, the science is merely the padding between these outbursts of literary gossip, and forms, so to speak, its “social background”.

In an essay by Herr Grün, “Feuerbach und die Socialisten”, the following remark occurs (Deutsches Bürgerbuch, p. 74):

“When one speaks of Feuerbach one speaks of the entire work of philosophy from Bacon of Verulam up to the present; one defines at the same time the ultimate purpose and meaning of philosophy, one sees man as the final result of world history. To do so is a more reliable, because a more profound, method of approach than to bring up wages, competition, the faultiness of constitutions and systems of government.... We have gained man, man who has divested himself of religion, of moribund thoughts, of all that is foreign to him, with all their counterparts in the practical world; we have gained pure, genuine man.”

This one proposition is enough to show what kind of “reliability” and profundity” one can expect from Herr Grün. He does not discuss small questions. Equipped with an unquestioning faith in the conclusions of German philosophy, as formulated by Feuerbach, viz., that “man”, “pure, genuine man”, is the ultimate purpose of world history, that religion is externalised [entäusserte] human essence, that human essence is human essence and the measure of all things — equipped with all the other truths of German socialism (see above) — i.e., that money, wage-labour, etc., are also externalisations [Entäusserungen] of human essence, that German socialism is the realisation of German philosophy and the theoretical truth of foreign socialism and communism, etc. — Herr Grün travels to Brussels and Paris with all the complacency of a true socialist.

The powerful trumpetings of Herr Grün in praise of true socialism and of German science exceed anything his fellow-believers have achieved in this respect. As far as these eulogies refer to true socialism, they are obviously quite sincere. Herr Grün’s modesty does not permit him to utter a single sentence that has not already been pronounced by some other true socialist in the Einundzwanzig Bogen, the Bürgerbuch and the Neue Anekdota. Indeed, he devotes his whole book to filling in an outline of the French social movement sketched in the Einundzwanzig Bogen (pp. 74-88) by Hess, and thereby answering a need expressed in the same work on page 88 [See Moses Hess, “Socialismus und Communismus"]. As regards the eulogies to German philosophy, the latter must value them all the more, seeing how little he knows about it. The national pride of the true socialists, their pride in Germany as the land of “man”, of “human essence”, as opposed to the other profane nationalities, reaches its climax in him. We give below a few samples of it:

“But I should like to know whether they won’t all have to learn from us, these French and English, Belgians and North Americans” (p. 28).

He now enlarges upon this.

“The North Americans appear to me thoroughly prosaic and, despite their legal freedom, it is from us that they will probably have to learn their socialism(p. 101).

Particularly because they have had, since 1829, their own socialist and democratic school [131], against which their economist Cooper was fighting as long ago as 1830.

“The Belgian democrats! Do you really think that they are half so far advanced as we Germans are? Why, I have just had a tussle with one of them who considered the realisation of free humanity to be a chimera!” (p. 28).

The nationality of “man”, of “human essence”, of “humanity” shows off here as vastly superior to Belgian nationality.

Frenchmen! Leave Hegel in peace until you understand him.” (We believe that Lerminier’s criticism of the philosophy of law [Eugčne Lerminier, Philosophie du droit], however weak it may be, shows more insight into Hegel than anything which Herr Grün has written either under his own name or that of “Ernst von der Haide”.) “Try drinking no coffee, no wine for a year; don’t give way to passionate excitement; let Guizot rule and let Algeria come under the sway of Morocco” (how is Algeria ever to come under the sway of Morocco, even if the French were to relinquish it?); “sit in a garret and study the Logik and the Phänomenologie. And when you come down after a year, lean in frame and red of eye, and go into the street and stumble over some dandy or town crier, don’t be abashed. For in the meantime you will have become great and mighty men, Your mind will be like an oak that is nourished by miraculous” (!) “sap; whatever you see will yield up to you its most secret weaknesses; though You are created spirits, you will nevertheless penetrate to the heart of nature; your glance will be fatal, your word will move mountains, your dialectic will be keener than the keenest guillotine. You will present yourself at the Hôtel de Ville — and the bourgeoisie is a thing of the past. You will step up to the Palais Bourbon — and it collapses. The whole Chamber of Deputies will disappear into the void. Guizot will vanish, Louis Philippe will fade into an historical ghost and out of all these forces which You have annihilated there will rise victorious the absolute idea of free society. Seriously, you can only subdue Hegel by first of all becoming Hegel yourselves. As I have already remarked — Moor’s beloved can only die at the hands of Moor” [Friedrich Schiller, Die Räuber, Act X”, Scene 2] (pp. 115, 116).

The belletristic aroma of these true socialist statements will be noticed by, everyone. Herr Grün, like all true socialists, does not forget to bring up again the old chatter about the superficiality of the French:

“For I am fated to find the French mind inadequate and superficial, every time that I come into (:lose contact with it” (p. 371).

Herr Grün does not conceal from us the fact that his book is intended to glorify German socialism as the criticism of French socialism:

“The riff-raff of current German literature call our socialist endeavours an imitation of French perversities. No one has so far considered it worth while to replace to this. The riff-raff must surely feel ashamed, if they have any sense of shame at all, when they read this book. It probably never entered their head that German socialism is a criticism of French socialism, that far from considering the French to be the inventors of a new Contrat social, it demands that French socialism should make good its deficiencies by a study of German science. At this moment, an edition of a translation of Feuerbach’s Wesen des Christenthums is being prepared here in Paris. May their German schooling do the French much good! Whatever may arise from the economic position of the country or the constellation of politics in this country, only the humanistic outlook will ensure a human existence for the future. The Germans, unpolitical and despised as they are, this nation which is no nation, will have laid the cornerstone of the building of the future” (p. 353).

Of course, there is no need for a true socialist, absorbed in his intimacy with “human essence”, to know anything about what “may arise from the economic position and the political constellation” of a country.

Herr Grün, as an apostle of true socialism, does not merely, like his fellow-apostles, boast of the omniscience of the Germans as compared with the ignorance of the other nations. Utilising his previous experience as a man of letters, he forces himself, in the worst globe-trotter manner, upon the representatives of the various socialist, democratic and communist parties and when he has sniffed them from all angles, he presents himself to them as the apostle of true socialism. All that remains for him to do is to teach them, to communicate to them the profoundest discoveries concerning free humanity. The superiority of true socialism over the French parties now assumes the form of the personal superiority of Herr Grün over the representatives of these parties. Finally, this gives him a chance not only of utilising the French party leaders as a pedestal for Herr Grün, but also of talking all sorts of gossip, thereby compensating the German provincial for the exertion which the more pregnant statements of true socialism have caused him.

Kats pulled a face expressive of plebeian cheerfulness when I assured him of my complete satisfaction with his speech” (p. 50).

Herr Grün lost no time in instructing Kats about French terrorism and “had the good fortune to win the approval of my new friend” (p. 51).

His effect on Proudhon was important too, but lit a different way.

“I had the infinite pleasure of acting, so to speak, as the tutor of the man whose acumen has not perhaps been surpassed since Lessing and Kant” (p. 404).

Louis Blanc is merely “his swarthy young friend” (p. 314).

“He asked very eagerly but also very, ignorantly about conditions with us. We Germans know” (?) “French conditions almost as well as the French themselves; at least we study” (?) “them” (p. 315).

And we learn of “Papa Cabet” that he “has limitations” (p. 382). Herr Grün raised a number of questions, and Cabet

“confessed that he had not exactly been able to fathom them. I” (Grün) “had noticed this long ago; and that, of course, meant an end of everything, especially as it occurred to me that Cabet’s mission had long ago been fulfilled” (p. 381).

We shall see later how Herr Grün contrives to give Cabet a new mission”.

Let us first deal with the outline and the few well-worn general ideas which form the skeleton of Grün’s book. Both are copied from Hess, whom Herr Grün paraphrases indeed in the most lordly fashion. Matters which are quite vague and mystical even in Hess, but which were originally — in the Einundzwanzig Bogen — worthy of recognition, and have only become tiresome and reactionary as a result of their perpetual reappearance in the Bürgerbuch, the Neue Anekdota and the Rheinische Jahrbücher, at a time when they were already out of date, become complete nonsense in Herr Grün’s hands.

Hess synthesises the development of French socialism and the development of German philosophy — Saint-Simon and Schelling, Fourier and Hegel, Proudhon and Feuerbach. Compare, for example, Einundzwanzig Bogen, pp. 78, 79, 326, 327; Neue Anekdota, pp. 194, 195, 196, 202 ff.’ (Parallels between Feuerbach and Proudhon, e.g., Hess: “Feuerbach is the German Proudhon”, etc., Neue Anekdota, p. 202. Grün: “Proudhon is the French Feuerbach”, p. 404.)

This schematism in the form given it by Hess is all that holds Grün’s book together. But, of course, Herr Grün does not fail to add a few literary flourishes to Hess’ propositions. Even obvious blunders on the part of Hess, e.g., that theoretical constructions form the ‘.’social background” and the “theoretical basis” of practical movements (e.g., Neue Anekdota, p. 192) are copied faithfully by Herr Grün. (E.g., Grün, p. 264: “The social background of the political question in the eighteenth century ... was the simultaneous product of the two philosophic tendencies” — that of the sensationists and that of the deists.) He copies, too, the opinion that it is only necessary to put Feuerbach into practice, to apply him to social life, in order to produce the complete critique of existing society. If one adds the other critical remarks which Hess directed against French communism and socialism, for example: “Fourier, Proudhon, etc., did not get beyond the. category of wage-labour” (Bürgerbuch, p. 46 and elsewhere'); “Fourier would like to present new associations of egoism to the world” (Neue Anekdota, p. 196); “Even the radical French communists have not yet risen above the opposition of labour and enjoyment. They have not yet grasped the unity of production and consumption, etc.” (Bürgerbuch, p. 43); “Anarchy is the negation of the concept of political rule” (Einundzwanzig Bogen, p. 77), etc., if one adds these, one has pocketed the whole of Herr Grün’s critique of the French. As a matter of fact he had it in his pocket before he went to Paris. In settling accounts with the French socialists and communists Herr Grün also obtains great assistance from the various traditional phrases current in Germany about religion, politics, nationality, human and inhuman, etc., which have been taken over by the true socialists from the philosophers. All he has to do is to hunt everywhere for the words “Man” and “human” and condemn when he cannot find them. For example: “You are political. Then you are narrow-minded” (p. 283). In the same way, Herr Grün ‘IS enabled to exclaim: You are national, religious, addicted to political economy, you have a God — then you are not human, you are narrow-minded. This is a process which he follows throughout his book, thereby, of course, providing a thorough criticism of politics, nationality, religion, etc., and at the same time an adequate elucidation of the characteristics of the authors criticised and their connection with social development.

One can see from this that Grün’s fabrication is on a much lower level than the work by Stein, who at least tried to explain the connection between socialist literature and the real development of French society. It need hardly be mentioned that in the book under discussion, as in the Neue Anekdota, Herr Grün adopts a very grand and condescending manner towards his predecessor.

But has Herr Grün even succeeded in copying correctly what he has taken over from Hess and others? Has he even incorporated the necessary material in the outline which he has taken over lock, stock and barrel in the most uncritical fashion? Has he given a correct and complete exposition of the individual socialist authors according to the sources? Surely this is the least one could ask of the man from whom the North Americans, the French, the English and the Belgians have to learn, the man who was the tutor of Proudhon and who perpetually brandishes his German thoroughness before the eyes of the superficial Frenchmen.

Saint Simonism

Herr Grün has no first-hand knowledge of a single Saint-Simonian book. His main sources are: primarily, the much despised Lorenz Stein; furthermore, Stein’s chief source, L. Reybaud [Louis Reybaud, Études sur les réformateurs ou socialistes moderne] (in return for which he proposes to make an example of Herr Reybaud and calls him a philistine, p. 260; on the same page he pretends that he only came across Reybaud’s book by chance long after he had settled with the Saint-Simonists); and occasionally Louis Blanc [Histoire de dix ans], We shall give direct proofs.

First let us see what Herr Grün writes about Saint-Simon’s life.

The main sources for Saint-Simon’s life are the fragments of his autobiography in the Oeuvres de Saint-Simon, published by Olinde Rodrigues, and the Organisateur of May 19th, 1830. We have, therefore, all the documents here before us: 1) The original sources; 2) Reybaud, who summarised them; 3) Stein, who utilised Reybaud; 4) Herr Grün’s belletristic edition.

Herr Grün:

“Saint-Simon took part in the American struggle for independence without having any particular interest in the war itself; it occurred to him that there was a possibility of linking the two great oceans” (p. 84).

Stein, page 143:

“First he entered military service ... and went to America with Bouillé.... In this war, the significance of which he, of course, realised.... The war, as such, he said. did not interest me, only the purpose of this war, etc...... “After he had vainly tried to interest the Viceroy of Mexico in a plan to build a great canal linking the two oceans.

Reybaud, page 77:

“A fighter for American independence, he served under Washington.... The war in itself did not interest me, he said, but I was keenly interested in the object of the war and this interest induced me to endure its hardships without demur.”

Herr Grün only copies the fact that Saint-Simon had “no particular interest in the war itself”; he omits the whole point-his interest in the object of the war.

Herr Grün further omits to state that Saint-Simon wanted to win the Viceroy’s support for his plan and thus turns the plan into a mere “idea”. He likewise omits to mention that Saint-Simon did this only “ŕ la paix”, the reason being that Stein indicates this merely by giving the date.

Herr Grün proceeds without a break:

Later” (when?) “he drafted a plan for a Franco-Dutch expedition to the British Indies” (Ibid.).


“He travelled to Holland in 1785, to draft a plan for a joint Franco-Dutch expedition against the British colonies in India” (p. 143).

Stein is incorrect here and Grün copies him faithfully. According to Saint-Simon, the Duc de la Vauguyon had induced the States-General [132] to undertake a joint expedition with France to the British colonies in India. Concerning himself, he merely says that he worked” (poursuivi) “for the execution of this plan for a year”.

Herr Grün:

“When in Spain, he wished to dig a canal from Madrid to the sea” (ibid.).

Saint-Simon wished to dig a canal? What nonsense! Previously, it occurred to him to do something, now he wishes to do something. Grün gets his facts wrong this time not because he copies Stein too faithfully as he did before, but because he copies him too superficially.

Stein, page 144:

“Having returned to France in 1786, he visited Spain the very next year to present to the Government a plan for the completion of a canal from Madrid to the sea.”

Herr Grün could derive the foregoing sentence skimming through Stein, for with Stein it seems at least as if the plan of construction and the idea of the whole project originated with Saint-Simon. As a matter of fact, Saint-Simon merely drew up a plan to overcome the financial difficulties besetting the building of the canal, the construction of which had been started long ago.


“Six years later, he put before the Spanish Government a plan for the construction of a canal with the object of establishing a navigable route from Madrid to the sea.”

The same mistake as that made by Stein.

Saint-Simon, page XVII:

“The Spanish Government had undertaken the construction of a canal which was to link Madrid with the sea; the scheme came to a standstill since the Government lacked labour and funds; I joined forces with M. le Comte de Cabarrus, now Finance Minister, and we presented the following plan to the Government.” etc.

Herr Grün:

“In France he speculates on national domains.”

Stein first of all sketches Saint-Simon’s attitude during the revolution and then passes to his speculation in national domains, p. 144 et seq. But where Herr Grün has got the nonsensical expression: “to speculate on national domains”, instead of in national domains, we can likewise explain by offering the reader the original:

Reybaud, page 78:

“Having returned to Paris, he turned his attention to speculation and dealt in national domains” [sur les domaines nationaux literally translated means “on national domains"].

Herr Grün makes the foregoing statement without giving any explanation. He does not indicate why Saint-Simon should have speculated in national domains and why this fact, trivial in itself, should be of importance in his life. For Herr Grün finds it unnecessary to copy from Stein and Reybaud the fact that Saint-Simon wished to found a scientific school and a great industrial undertaking by way of experiment, and that he intended to raise the necessary capital by these speculations. These are the reasons which Saint-Simon himself gives for his speculations. (Oeuvres, p. xix.)

Herr Grün:

“He marries so that he may be able to act as the host of science, to investigate the lives of men and exploit them psychologically” (ibid.).

Herr Grün here suddenly skips one of the most important periods of Saint-Simon’s life — the period during which he studied natural science and travelled for that purpose. What is the meaning of marrying to be the host of science? What is the meaning of marrying in order to exploit men (whom one does not marry) psychologically, etc.? The whole point is this: Saint-Simon married so that he could hold a salon and study there among others the men of learning.

Stein puts it in this way, page 149:

“He marries in 1801.... I made use of my married life to study the men of learning” (cf. Saint-Simon, p. 23).

Since we have now collated it with the original, we are in a position to understand and explain Herr Grün’s nonsense.

The “psychological exploitation of men” amounts in Stein and in Saint-Simon himself merely to the observation of men of learning in their social life. It was in conformity with his socialist outlook that Saint-Simon should wish to acquaint himself with the influence of science upon the personality of men of learning and upon their behaviour in ordinary life. For Herr Grün this wish turns into a senseless, vague romantic whim.

Herr Grün:

“He becomes poor” (how, in what way?), “he works as a clerk in a pawnshop at a salary of a thousand francs a year — he, a count, a scion of Charlemagne; then” (when and why?) “he lives on the bounty of a former servant of his; later” (when and why?) “he tries to shoot himself, is rescued and begins a new life of study and propaganda. Only now does he write his two chief works.

“He becomes” — “then” — “later” — now” — such phrases in the work of Herr Grün are to serve as substitutes for the chronological order and the connecting links between the various phases of Saint-Simon’s life.

Stein, pages 156, 157:

“Moreover, there appeared a new and a fearful enemy — actual poverty, which became more and more oppressive.... After a distressing wait of six months... he obtained a position — “ (Herr Grün gets even the dash from Stein, but he is cunning enough to insert it after the pawnshop) “as clerk in the pawnshop” (not, as Herr Grün artfully writes, “in a pawnshop”, since it is well known that in Paris there is only one such establishment, and that a public one) “at a salary of a thousand francs a year. How his fortune fluctuated in those days! The grandson of Louis XIV’s famous courtier, the heir to a ducal coronet and to an immense fortune, by birth a peer of France and a Grandee of Spain, a clerk in a pawnshop!”

Now we see the source of Herr Grün’s mistake regarding the pawnshop; here, in Stein, the expression is appropriate. To accentuate his difference from Stein, Grün only calls Saint-Simon a count” and a “scion of Charlemagne”. He has the last fact from Stein (p. 142) and Reybaud (p. 77), but they are wise enough to say that it was Saint-Simon himself who used to trace his descent from Charlemagne. Whereas Stein offers positive facts which make Saint-Simon’s poverty seem surprising under the Restoration, Herr Grün only expresses his astonishment that a count and an alleged scion of Charlemagne can possibly find himself in reduced circumstances.


“He lived two more years” (after his attempted suicide) “and perhaps achieved more during them than during any two decades earlier in his life. The Catéchisme des industriels was completed” (Herr Grün transforms this completion of a work which had long been in preparation into: “Only now did he write”, etc.) “and the Nouveau christianisme, etc.” (pp. 164, 165).

On page 169 Stein calls these two books “the two chief works of his life”.

Herr Grün has, therefore, not merely copied the errors of Stein but has also produced new errors on the basis of obscure passages of Stein. To conceal his plagiarism, he selects only the outstanding facts; but he robs them of their factual character by tearing them out of their chronological context and omitting not only the motives governing them, but even the most vital connecting links. What we have given above is, literally, all that Herr Grün has to relate about the life of Saint-Simon. In his version, the dynamic, active life of Saint-Simon becomes a mere succession of ideas and events which are of less interest than the life of any peasant or speculator who lived through those stormy times in one of the French provinces. After dashing off this piece of biographical hack-work, he exclaims: “this whole, truly civilised life!” He does not even shrink from saying (p. 85): “Saint-Simon’s life is the mirror of Saint-Simonism itself “ — as if Grün’s “life” of Saint-Simon were the mirror of anything except Herr Grün’s method of patching together a book.

We have spent some time discussing this biography because it is a classical example of the way in which Herr Grün deals thoroughly with the French socialists. Just as in this case, to conceal his borrowings, Herr Grün dashes off passages with an air of nonchalance, omits facts, falsifies and transposes, we shall watch him later developing all the symptoms of a plagiarist consumed by inward uneasiness: artificial confusion, to make comparison difficult; omission of sentences and words which he does not quite understand, being ignorant of the original, when quoting from his predecessors; free invention and embellishment in the form of phrases of indefinite meaning; treacherous attacks upon the very persons whom he is copying. Herr Grün is indeed so hasty and so precipitous in his plagiarism that he frequently refers to matters which he has never mentioned to his readers but which he, as a reader of Stein, carts round in his own head.

We shall now pass to Grün’s exposition of the doctrine of Saint-Simon.

1. Letters of an Inhabitant of Geneva to his Contemporaries [133]

Herr Grün did not gather clearly from Stein the connection between the plan for supporting the men of learning, outlined in the work quoted above, and the fantastic appendix to the brochure. He speaks of this work as if it treated mainly of a new organisation of society, and ends as follows:

“The spiritual power in the hands of the men of learning, the temporal power in the hands of the property-owners, the franchise for all” (p. 85, cf. Stein, p. 151,

Reybaud, p. 83).

The sentence: “The power of nominating the pet sons who are to act as leaders of humanity should be in the hands of everyone.”, which Reybaud quotes from Saint-Simon (p. 47) and which Stein translates in the clumsiest fashion, is reduced by Herr Grün to “the franchise for all”, which robs it of all meaning. Saint-Simon is referring to the election of the Newton Council, [134] Herr Grün is referring to elections in general.

Long after dismissing the Lettres in four or five sentences copied from Stein and Reybaud, and having already spoken of the Nouveau christianisme, Herr Grün suddenly returns to the Lettres.

“But it is certainly not to be achieved by abstract learning.” (Still less by concrete ignorance, as we observe.) “For from the standpoint of abstract science, there was still a cleavage between the ‘property-owners’ and ‘everyone'” (p. 87).

Herr Grün forgets that so far he has only mentioned the “franchise for all” and has not mentioned “everyone”. But since he finds “tout le monde” in Stein and Reybaud, he puts “everyone” in inverted commas. He forgets, moreover, that he has not quoted the following passage from Stein’s book, that is the passage which would justify the “for” in his own sentence:

“He” (Saint-Simon) “makes a distinction, apart from the sages or the men of learning, between the propriétaires and tout le monde. it is true that as yet there is no clearly marked boundary between these two groups ... but nevertheless, there lies in that indefinite idea of ‘tout le monde’ the germ of that class towards the understanding and uplifting of which his theory was later directed, i.e. the classe la plus nombreuse et la plus pauvre [the most numerous and poorest class], and in reality, too, this section of the people was at that time only potentially present” (p. 154).

Stein stresses the fact that Saint-Simon already makes a distinction between propriétaires and tout le monde, but as yet a very vague one. Herr Grün twists this so that it gives the impression that Saint-Simon still makes this distinction. This is naturally a great mistake on the part of Saint-Simon and is only to be explained by the fact that his standpoint in the Lettres is that of abstract science. But unfortunately, in the passage in question, Saint-Simon speaks by no means about differences in a future order of society, as Herr Grün thinks. He appeals for subscriptions to mankind as a whole, which, as he finds it, appears to him to be divided into three classes; not, as Stein believes, into savants, propriétaires and tout le monde; but 1) savants and artistes and all people of liberal ideas; 2) the opponents of innovation, i.e., the propriétaires, insofar as they do not join the first class; 3) the surplus de l'humanité qui se rallie au mot: Égalité. [rest of humanity which rallies around the slogan: Equality] These three classes form tout le monde. Cf. Saint-Simon, Lettres, pp. 21, 22. Since moreover Saint-Simon says later that he considers his distribution of power advantageous to all classes, we may take it that in the place where he speaks of this distribution, p. 47, tout le monde obviously corresponds to the surplus which rallies around the slogan “equality”, without, however, excluding the other classes. Stein is roughly correct, although he pays no attention to the passage on pages 21 and 22. Herr Grün, who knows nothing of the original, clutches at Stein’s slight error and succeeds in making sheer nonsense of his argument.

We soon come across an even more striking example. We learn unexpectedly on page 94, where Herr Grün is no longer speaking of Saint-Simon but of his school:

“In one of his books, Saint-Simon utters the mysterious words: ‘Women will be admitted, they may even be nominated.’ From this almost barren seed, the whole gigantic uproar of the emancipation of women has sprung up.”

Of course, if in some work or other Saint-Simon had spoken of admitting and nominating women to some unknown position, these would indeed be “mysterious words”. But the mystery exists only in the mind of Herr Grün. “One of Saint-Simon’s books” is none other than the Lettres d'un habitant de Genčve. In this work, after stating that everyone is eligible to subscribe to the Newton Council or its departments, he continues: “ Women will be allowed to subscribe, it will be possible to nominate them” — that is, to a position in this Council or its departments, of course. Stein, as was fitting, quotes this passage in the course of his discussion of the book itself and makes the following comment:

Here, etc., “are to be found the germs of his later opinions and even those of his school; and even the first idea of the emancipation of women” (p. 152).

In a note Stein points out quite rightly that for polemical reasons Olinde Rodrigues printed this passage in large type in his 1832 edition, since it was the only reference to the emancipation of women in Saint-Simon’s work. To hide his plagiarism, Grün shifts the passage from the book to which it belongs to his discussion of the school, makes the above nonsense of it, changes Stein’s “germ” into a “seed” and childishly imagines that this passage is the origin of the doctrine of the emancipation of women.

Herr Grün ventures an opinion on the contradiction which, he believes, exists between the Lettres and the Catéchisme des industriels; it consists in the fact that in the Catéchisme the rights of the travailleurs are asserted. He was bound to discover this difference, of course, because he derived his knowledge of the Lettres from Stein and Reybaud, and his knowledge of the Catéchisme similarly. Had he read Saint-Simon himself, he would have found in the Lettres not this contradiction, but a “seed” of the point of view developed among others in the Catéchisme. For example:

“All men will work” (Lettres, p. 60). “If his brain......... is not fitted for labour, he will be compelled to work with his hands; for Newton will assuredly not permit on this planet ... workers who, intentionally, remain idle in the workshops” (p. 64).

2. Political Catechism of the Industrialists

As Stein usually quotes this work as the Catéchisme des industriels, Herr Grün knows of no other title. But since he only devotes ten lines to this work when he comes to speak of it ex officio, one might have at least expected him to give its correct title.

Having copied from Stein the fact that in this work Saint-Simon wants labour to govern, he continues:

“He now divides the world into idlers and industrialists” (p. 85).

Herr Grün is wrong here. He attributes to the Catéchisme a distinction which he finds set out in Stein much later, in connection with the school of Saint-Simon.

Stein, page 206:

“Society consists at present only of idlers and workers” (Enfantin).

Instead of this alleged division, there is in the Catéchisme a division into three classes, the classes féodale, intermédiaire et indulstrielle; naturally, Herr Grün could not enlarge upon this without recourse to Stein, since he was not familiar with the Catéchisme itself.

Herr Grün then repeats once more that the content of the Catéchisme is the rule of labour and concludes his account of the work as follows:

“Just as republicanism proclaims: Everything for the people, everything through the people, Saint-Simon proclaims: Everything for industry, everything through industry” (ibid,).

Stein, page 165:

“Since industry is the source of everything, everything must serve industry.”

Stein rightly states (page 160, note) that Saint-Simon’s work L'industrie, printed as early as 1817, bears the motto: Tout par l'industrie, tout pour elle. In his account of the Catéchisme, Herr Grün, therefore, not only commits the error mentioned above but also misquotes the motto of a much earlier work of which he has no knowledge whatever.

German thoroughness has in this way given an adequate criticism of the Catéchisme politique des industriels. We find however scattered throughout Grün’s omnium gatherum isolated glosses which belong properly to this section. Chuckling over his own slyness, Herr Grün distributes the material which he finds in Stein’s account of the work and elaborates it with commendable courage.

Herr Grün, page 87:

“Free competition was an impure and confused concept, a concept which contained in itself a new world of conflict and misery, the struggle between capital and labour and the misery of the worker who has no capital. Saint-Simon purified the concept of industry; he reduced it to the concept of the workers, he formulated the rights and grievances of the fourth estate, of the proletariat. He was forced to abolish the right of inheritance, since it had become an injustice towards the worker, towards the industrialist. This is the significance of his Catéchisme des industriels.”

Herr Grün found the following observation in Stein’s book (p. 169) with regard to the Catéchisme:

“It is, therefore, the true significance of Saint-Simon that he foresaw the inevitability of this contradiction” (between bourgeoisie and peuple).

This is the source of Herr Grün’s idea of the “significance” of the Catéchisme.


“He” (Saint-Simon in the Catéchisme) “begins with the concept of the industrial worker.”

Herr Grün turns this into complete nonsense by asserting that Saint-Simon, who found free competition as an “impure concept”, “purified the concept of industry and reduced it to the concept of the workers”. Herr Grün shows everywhere that his concept of free competition and industry is a very “impure” and a very “confused” one indeed.

Not satisfied with this nonsense, Herr Grün risks a direct falsehood and states that Saint-Simon demanded the abolition of the right of inheritance.

On page 88 he tells us, still relying on his interpretation of Stein s version of the Catéchisme:

“Saint-Simon established the rights of the proletariat. He already formulated the new watchword: the industrialists, the workers, shall be raised to a position of supreme power. This was one-sided, but every struggle involves one-sidedness; he who is not one-sided cannot wage a struggle.”

Despite his rhetorical maxim about one-sidedness, Herr Grün himself commits the one-sided error of understanding Stein to say that Saint-Simon wished to “raise” the real workers, the proletarians, to a position of supreme power”. Cf. page 102, where he says of Michel Chevalier:

“M. Chevalier still refers with great sympathy to the industrialists.... But to the disciple, the industrialists are no longer, as they were for his master, the proletarians; he includes capitalists, entrepreneurs and workers in one concept, that is to say, he includes the idlers in a category which should only embrace the poorest and most numerous class.”

Saint-Simon numbers among the industrialists not only the workers, but also the fabricants, the négociants, in short, all industrial capitalists; indeed, he addresses himself primarily to them. Herr Grün could have found this on the very first page of the Catéchisme. But this shows how, without ever having seen the work, he concocts from hearsay fine phrases about it.

Discussing the Catéchisme, Stein says:

“After ... Saint-Simon comes to a history of industry in its relation to state authority ... he is the first to be conscious that in the science of industry there lies hidden a political factor.... It is undeniable that he succeeded in giving an important stimulus. For France possesses a histoire de 1'économie politique only since Saint-Simon”, etc. (pp. 165, 170).

Stein himself is extremely vague when he speaks of a “political factor” in “the science of industry”. But he shows that he is on the right track by adding that the history of the state is intimately connected with the history of national economy.

Let us see how Herr Grün later, in his discussion of the school of Saint-Simon, appropriates this fragment of Stein:

“Saint-Simon had attempted a history of industry in his Catéchisme des industriels stressing the political element in it. The master himself paved the way, therefore, for political economy(p. 99).

Herr Grün “therefore” transforms the “political factor” of Stein into a “political element” and turns it into a meaningless phrase by omitting the details given by Stein. This “stone which the builders have rejected” [cf. 1 Peter 2: 7] has indeed become for Herr Grün the “cornerstone” of his Briefe und Studien. [Letters and Studies is the sub-title of Grün’s book, Die soziale Bewegung in Frankreich und Belgien] But it has also become for him a stumbling-block. [Stein — stone, Eckstein — cornerstone, and Stein des Anstosses — stumbling-block] But that is not all. Whereas Stein says that Saint-Simon paved the way for a history of political economy by stressing the political factor in the science of industry, Herr Grün makes him the pioneer of political economy itself. Herr Grün argues something after this fashion: Economics existed already before Saint-Simon; but, as Stein relates, Saint-Simon stressed the political factor in industry, therefore he made economics political-political economics = political economy — hence Saint-Simon paved the way for political economy. In his conjectures Herr Grün undoubtedly displays a very genial spirit.

Just as he makes Saint-Simon the pioneer of political economy, he makes him the pioneer of scientific socialism:

“It” (Saint-Simonism) “contains ... scientific socialism, for Saint-Simon spent his whole life searching for the new science"’ (p. 82).

3. New Christianity

With his customary brilliance, Herr Grün continues to give us extracts of extracts by, Stein and Reybaud, to which he adds literary embellishments and which he dismembers in the most pitiless fashion. One example will suffice to show that he has never looked at the original of this work either.

“For Saint-Simon it was a question of establishing a unified view of life, such as is suitable to organic periods of history, which he expressly opposes to the critical periods. According to him, we have been living since Luther in a critical period; he thought to initiate a new organic period. Hence the New Christianity” (p. 88).

At no time and in no place did Saint-Simon oppose organic to critical periods of history. This is a downright falsehood on the part of Herr Grün. Bazard was the first to make this distinction. [see Doctrine de Saint-Simon. Exposition. Premičre anné] Herr Grün discovered from Stein and Reybaud that in Nouveau christianisme Saint-Simon commends the criticism of Luther, but finds his positive, dogmatic doctrine faulty. Herr Grün lumps that with what he remembers was said in the same sources about the school of Saint-Simon, and out of this he fabricates the above assertion.

After some florid comments on Saint-Simon’s life and works produced by Herr Grün in the manner described earlier and based exclusively on Stein and the latter’s primer, Reybaud, Herr Grün concludes by exclaiming:

“And those moral philistines, Herr Reybaud and the whole band of German parrots, thought that they had to defend Saint-Simon, by pronouncing with their usual wisdom that such a man, such a life, must not he measured by ordinary standards! — Tell me, are your standards made of wood? Tell the truth! We shall be quite pleased if they are made of good solid oak. Hand them over! We shall gratefully accept them as a precious gift. We shall not burn them, God forbid! We shall use them to measure the backs of the philistines” (p. 89).

It is by affected bluster of this kind that Herr Grün attempts to prove his superiority over the men whom he has copied.

4. The School of Saint Simon

Since Herr Grün has read just as much of the school of Saint-Simon as he read of Saint-Simon himself, that is nothing whatsoever, he should at least have made a proper summary of Stein and Reybaud, he should have observed the chronological order, he should have given a connected account of the course of the events and he should have mentioned the essential points. He does the contrary. Led astray by his bad conscience, he mixes everything up as far as possible, omits the most essential matters and produces a confusion even greater than that which we saw in his exposition of Saint-Simon. We must be still more concise here, for it would take a volume as thick as Herr Grün’s to record every plagiarism and every blunder.

We are given no information about the period from the death of Saint-Simon to the July [1830] Revolution — period which covers part of the most important theoretical development of Saint-Simonism. And accordingly the Saint-Simonian criticism of existing conditions, the most important aspect of Saint-Simonism, is entirely omitted by Herr Grün. It is indeed hardly possible to say anything about it without knowledge of the sources, and in particular of the newspapers.

Herr Grün opens his discourse on the Saint-Simonists with these words:

“To each according to his capacity, to each capacity according to its works: that is the practical dogma of the Saint-Simonists.”

Like Reybaud (p. 96), Herr Grün presents this sentence as a transition from Saint-Simon to the Saint-Simonists and continues:

“It derives directly from the last words of Saint-Simon: all men must be assured the freest development of their faculties.”

In this case Herr Grün wished to be different from Reybaud, who links the “practical dogma” with the Nouveau christianisme. Herr Grün believes this to be an invention of Reybaud’s and unceremoniously substitutes the last words of Saint-Simon for the Nouveau christianisme. He did not realise that Reybaud was only giving a literal extract from the Doctrine de Saint-Simon. Exposition. Premičre année, p. 70.

Herr Grün cannot understand why Reybaud, after giving several extracts concerning the religious hierarchy of Saint-Simonism, should suddenly introduce the “practical dogma”. Herr Gran imagines that the hierarchy follows directly from this proposition. But in fact, the proposition can refer to a new hierarchy only when taken in conjunction with the religious ideas of the Nouveau christianisme, whereas apart from these ideas, it can demand at most a purely secular classification of society. He observes on page 91:

“To each according to his capacity means to make the Catholic hierarchy the law of the social order. To each capacity according to its works means moreover to turn the workshop into a sacristy and the whole of civil life into a priestly preserve.”

For in the above-mentioned extract from the Exposition quoted by Reybaud Herr Grün finds the following:

“The truly universal Church shall appear ... the universal Church shall govern temporal as well as spiritual matters ... science shall be sacred, industry shall be sacred ... and all property shall be the property of the Church, every profession a religious function, a step in the social hierarchy. — To each according to his capacity, to each capacity, according to its works.

To produce his own quite incomprehensible statement, Herr Grün had only to invert this passage and change the preceding sentences into conclusions of the final sentence.

Grün’s interpretation of Saint-Simonism assumes “so confused and tangled a form” that on page 90 he first derives a “spiritual proletariat” from the “practical dogma”, then from the spiritual proletariat he produces a “hierarchy of minds”. Finally, out of the hierarchy by of minds he produces the apex of the hierarchy. Had he read even only the Exposition, he would have seen that the religious approach of the Nouveau christianisme, together with the problem of how to determine capacité, necessitates the hierarchy and its apex.

Herr Grün concludes his discussion and criticism of the Exposition of 1828-29 with the single sentence: “Ŕ chacun selon sa capacité, ŕ chaque capacité selon ses oeuvres.” Apart from this he hardly even mentions the Producteur and the Organisateur. He glances at Reybaud and finds in the section “Third Epoch of Saint-Simonism”, p. 126 (Stein, p. 205):

. ..... and during the following days the Globe appeared with the subtitle: Journal of the Saint-Simonian Doctrine, which was summarised as follows on the first page:





Universal Association.

Herr Grün passes from the above to the year 1831, without a break, and improves upon Reybaud in the following terms (p. 91):

“The Saint-Simonists put forward the following outline of their system; the formulation was largely the work of Bazard:





Universal Association.

Herr Grün leaves out three sentences which are also to be found on the title-page of the Globe and which all relate to practical social reforms.[135] — They are given by both Stein and Reybaud. This enables him to change what is, so to speak, the mere window-dressing of a journal into an “outline” of the system. He conceals the fact that it appeared on the title-page of the Globe and so can criticise the whole of Saint-Simonism, as contained in the mutilated title of this newspaper, with the clever comment that religion has pride of place. He could moreover have discovered from Stein that this is by no means true of the Globe. The Globe contains the most detailed and valuable criticism of existing conditions and particularly of economic conditions — a fact however which Herr Grün could not know.

It is difficult to say from where Herr Grün has obtained the new but important piece of information that the “formulation of the outline”, four words in length, “was largely the work of Bazard”.

Herr Grün now jumps from January 1831 back to October 1830:

“Shortly after the July Revolution, during the Bazard period” (where does this period come from?), “the Saint-Simonists addressed a short but comprehensive statement of their beliefs to the Chamber of Deputies, after Messrs. Dupin and Mauguin had accused them from the tribune of preaching community of goods and wives.”

The Address follows, with the comment by Herr Grün:

“How reasonable and measured it all is still! The Address presented to the Chamber was edited by Bazard” (pp. 92-94).

To begin with the concluding remark, Stein says, p. 205:

“Judging from its form and its attitude, we should not hesitate to ascribe it” (the document), “as does Reybaud, to Bazard more than to Enfantin.

And Reybaud says, p. 123:

“From the form and the very moderate demands of this document, one can clearly see that it owes more to the initiative of M. Bazard than to that of his colleague.”

With characteristic ingenuity and audacity, Herr Grün turns Reybaud’s conjecture that Bazard rather than Enfantin was behind the Address into the certainty that he edited it in its entirety. The passage introducing the Address is translated from Reybaud, p. 122:

“Messrs. Dupin and Mauguin drew attention from the tribune to a sect which was preaching community of goods and community of wives.”

Herr Grün merely leaves out the date given by Reybaud and writes instead: “shortly after the July Revolution”. Altogether, chronology does not suit Herr Grün’s method of emancipating himself from those who have trodden the ground before him. In contradistinction to Stein he inserts in the text what Stein relegates to a note, he omits the introduction to the Address, he translates fonds de production (productive capital) as “ basic capital” and classement social des individus (social classification of individuals) as “social order of individuals”.

Some slipshod notes follow on the history of the school of Saint-Simon; they have been patched together from fragments of Stein, Reybaud and Louis Blanc with that artistic skill which we noticed in Grün’s life of Saint-Simon. We leave it to the reader to look them up in the book for himself.

The reader now has before him all that Herr Grün has to say of the Bazard period of Saint-Simonism, i.e., the period from the death of Saint-Simon to the first schism.[136] Grün is now in a position to play an elegantly critical trump, and call Bazard a “poor dialectician”. Then he continues:

“But so are the republicans. They only know how to die, Cato as much as Bazard; if they do not stab themselves to death, they die of a broken heart” (p. 95).

“A few months after this quarrel, his” (Bazard’s) “heart was broken” (Stein, p. 210).

Such republicans as Levasseur, Carnot, Barčre, Billaud-Varennes, Buonarroti, Teste, d'Argenson, etc., etc., show how correct Herr Grün’s assertion is.

We are now offered a few commonplaces about Enfantin. Attention need only be drawn to the following discovery made by Herr Grün:

“Does this historical phenomenon not make it finally clear that religion is nothing but sensualism, that materialism can boldly claim the same origin as the sacred dogma itself?” (p. 97).

Herr Grün looks complacently about him: “Has anyone else ever thought of that?” He would never have “thought of that” if the Hallische Jahrbücher had not already “thought of it” in connection with the Romantics.[Karl Rosenkranz’s article “Ludwig Tieck und die romantische Schule"] One would have expected Herr Grün to have made some little intellectual progress since then.

We have seen that Herr Grün knows nothing of the whole economic criticism of the Saint-Simonists. Nevertheless, he manages to say something, with the help of Enfantin, about the economic consequences of Saint-Simon’s theory, to which he has already made some airy references earlier. He finds in Reybaud (p. 129 et seq.) and in Stein (p. 206) extracts from Enfantin’s Political Economy [Barthélemy — Prosper Enfantin, Economie politique et Politique] but in this case, too, he falsifies the original; for the abolition of taxes on the most essential necessaries of life, which is correctly shown by Reybaud and Stein (who base their statements on Enfantin) to be a consequence of the proposals concerning the right of inheritance, is turned by Grün into an irrelevant, independent measure in addition to these proposals. He gives further proof of his originality by falsifying the chronological order; he refers first to the priest Enfantin and Ménilmontant and then to the economist Enfantin, whereas his predecessors deal with Enfantin’s political economy during the Bazard period when they are discussing the Globe, for which it was written. [137] Just as here he includes the Bazard period in the Ménilmontant period so later, when referring to economics and to M. Chevalier, he brings in the Ménilmontant period. The occasion for this is the Livre nouveau,[138] and as usual he turns Reybaud’s conjecture that M. Chevalier was the author of this work into a categorical assertion.

Herr Grün has now described Saint-Simonism “in its totality” (p. 82). He has kept the promise he made “not to subject its literature to a critical scrutiny” (ibid.) and has therefore got mixed up, most uncritically, in quite a different “literature”, that of Stein and Reybaud. He gives us by way of compensation a few particulars about M. Chevalier’s economic lectures of 1841-42, [Michel Chevalier, Cours d'Economie politique fait an Collčge de France] a time when the latter had long ceased to be a Saint-Simonist. For while writing about Saint-Simonism, Herr Grün had in front of him a review of these lectures in the Revue des deux Mondes. He has made use of it in the same way as he utilised Stein and Reybaud. Here is a sample of his critical acumen:

“In it he asserts that not enough is being produced. That is a statement worthy of the old economic school with its rusty prejudices.... As long as political economy does not understand that production is dependent upon consumption, this so-called science will not make any headway” (p. 102).

One can see that with these phrases about consumption and production which he has inherited from true socialism, Herr Grün is far superior to any economic work. Apart from the fact that any economist would tell him that supply also depends on demand, i.e., that production depends on consumption, there is actually in France a special economic school, that of Sismondi, which desires to make production dependent on consumption in a form different from that which obtains under free competition; it stands in sharp opposition to the economists attacked by Herr Grün. Not till later, however, do we see Herr Grün speculating successfully with the talent [cf. Matthew 25:15-30 and Luke 19:13-26] entrusted to him — the unity of production and consumption.

To compensate the reader for the boredom he has suffered from these sketchy extracts from Stein and Reybaud, which are moreover falsified and adulterated with phrases, Herr Grün offers him the following Young-German firework display, glowing with humanism and socialism:

“Saint-Simonism in its entirety as a social system was nothing more than a cascade of thoughts, showered by a beneficent cloud upon the soil of France” (earlier, pp. 82, 83, it was described as “a mass of light, but still a chaos of light” (!), “not yet an orderly illumination” (!). “It was both an overwhelming and a most amusing display. The author died before the show was put on, one producer died during the performance, the remaining producers and all the actors discarded their costumes, slipped into their civilian clothes, went home and behaved as if nothing had happened. It was a spectacle, an interesting spectacle, if somewhat confused towards the finale; a few of the performers overacted — and that was all” (p. 104).

How right was Heine when he said about his imitators: “I have sown dragon’s teeth and harvested fleas.”