From: cyrilsmith- at (Mr C Smith)
Subject: consciousness

Dear Andy,

Your query about bringing consciousness 'from without' raise the key issue, I believe. What I meant to say in that article was that the Marxist tradition had to bring its own 'consciousness' forward,before it could do anything about anybody else's.

You know that Trotsky never accepted that formulation of Lenin - or, rather, of Kautsky - and that Lenin himself did not defend it at the 1903 Congress. It typifies Kautsky's conception of 'theory' being developed by intellectuals on behalf of the benighted masses. Marx's view was best expressed in that passage from the Poverty of Philosophy, about becoming 'the mouthpiece' of a real movement. That is the only way to understand the critical science which was how Marx understood his own work. Communism could only come about through the transformation of social consciousness as a whole, and that involved 'the alteration of humans on a mass scale'. (German Ideology.) That is why I don't accept the notion we used to have of 'theory', which can never be critical in Marx's sense of the word.

Dunayesvkaya made a big contribution - together with CLR James - by being the first to raise the importance of Hegel for Marx's ideas in the Trotskyist movement. She was also the first to draw attention to Lenin's Hegel Notebooks. However, I don't think Lenin got to the heart of Hegel, and couldn't have done without the aid of the 1844 Manuscripts, not to mention German Ideology. But Dunayevskaya never criticised Lenin, so remained limited. Still, she's worth reading.

Best wishes,