Saturday, July 10, 2021

Forgings from the Furnance (continued) (1939)

From the October 1939 issue of the Socialist Standard

Below are some further quotations, selected from the writings of Marx and reproduced in Otto Rühle’s work, “Karl Marx.” A first selection was published in the September Socialist Standard.

“The social principles of Christianity have now had eighteen hundred years for their development, and do not need any further development at the hands of Prussian consistorial councillors. The social principles of Christianity find justification for the slavery of classical days, extol mediaeval serfdom, and are ready, in case of need, to defend the oppression of the proletariat—somewhat shamefacedly perhaps. The social principles of Christianity declare that all infamies will be spiritually compensated in heaven, the assertion being made a justification for the continuance of these infamies on earth. According to the social principles of Christianity, all the misdeeds wrought by the oppressors on the oppressed are either a just punishment for original sin and other sins, or else are trials which the Lord, in His wisdom, sends to afflict the redeemed. The social principles of Christianity preach cowardice, self-contempt, abasement, subjection, humility, in a word, all the qualities of the mob; whereas, for the proletariat which does not wish to allow itself to be treated as a mob, courage, self-esteem, pride, and independence are far more necessary than bread. The social principles of Christianity are obsequious, but the proletariat is revolutionary.”

” . . . . Upon what title do you Jews ground your claim for emancipation ? On your religion ? It is the mortal foe of the State religion. As citizens ? In Germany there are no citizens. As human beings ? You are not human beings any more than those to whom you are appealing. The conflict in which a man is involved between his position as one who professes a particular religion and as one endowed with citizenship in a State (wherein he is related to his fellow men,inasmuch as he and they are all members of a community) reduces itself to the secular cleavage between the political State and civil society. Not until the concrete individual human being takes back into himself the abstract citizen of the State and, as an individual human being, has become a member of the species in his empirical life, in his individual relations; not until the human being has recognised and organised his own forces as social forces, so that social force is no longer severed from itself in the form of political force—not until then will human emancipation be completed.”

“After the failure of the revolution of 1848 all party organisations and party journals of the working classes were, on the Continent, crushed by the iron hand of force; the most advanced sons of labour fled in despair to the Transatlantic Republic: and the short-lived dreams of emancipation vanished before an epoch of industrial fever, moral marasm, and political reaction. The defeat of the Continental working classes, partly owed to the diplomacy of the English Government, acting then as now in fraternal solidarity with the Cabinet of St. Petersburg, soon spread its contagious effects to this side of the Channel. .While the rout of their Continental brethren unmanned the English working classes, and broke their faith in their own cause, it restored to the landlord and the money-lord their somewhat shaken confidence. They insolently withdrew concessions already advertised. The discoveries of new gold lands led to an immense exodus, leaving an irreparable void in the ranks of the British proletariat. Others of its formerly active members were caught by the temporary bribe of greater work and wages, and turned into ‘political blacks.’ All the efforts made at keeping up or remodelling the Chartist movement failed signally, the Press organs of the working class died one by one of the apathy of the masses and, in point of fact, never before seemed the English working class so thoroughly reconciled to a state of political nullity.” (These things) …”have taught the working class the duty to master themselves the mysteries of international politics: to watch the diplomatic acts of their respective Governments; to counteract them, if necessary, by all means in their power; when unable to prevent, to combine in simultaneous denunciations, and to vindicate the simple laws of morals and justice which ought to govern the relations of private individuals, as the rules paramount of the intercourse of nations. The fight for such a foreign policy forms part of the general struggle for the emancipation of the working classes.”

“Historical evolution is on your side,” he shouted to the proletariat. “Capitalism brought into being by the laws of historical evolution will be destroyed by the inexorable working of these same laws. The bourgeoisie, the business manager of the capitalist system, appeared on the stage of history with that system, and will make its exit when that system walks off the stage. You proletarians keep capitalism going by your labour, and maintain the whole of bourgeoisie society by the fruits of your industry. But Socialism will be a necessary organic outcome of capitalism, the essence of the latter being implied in the essence of the former. With the end of capitalism comes the beginning of Socialism as a logical consequence. You proletarians, as a class, being the incorporators of the forces and tendencies which will do away with capitalism, must necessarily make an end of, the bourgeoisie. You merely need as a class, to fulfil the evolution which your mission calls on you to fulfil. All you need is to will! History makes this as easy as possible for you. You need not hatch out any new ideas, make any plans, discover a future state. You need not dogmatically anticipate the world.’ You need merely put your hands to the task that is awaiting you. The means by which you will do it are to be found in the unceasing, purposive, consistent fighting of the class struggle, whose crown will be the victory of the social revolution.”

The be-all and end-all of all propaganda, therefore, is to generate in the minds of the class to which we belong “The will to be free.”

Blogger's Notes:
Otto Rühle's biography of Marx received a rather caustic review in the pages of the Socialist Standard over two issues in 1929: