Sunday, July 23, 2017
Socialism Utopian and Scientific by Friedrich Engels
Then came the three great Utopians: Saint-Simon, to whom the middle-class movement, side by side with the proletarian, still had a certain significance; Fourier; and Owen, who in the country where capitalist production was most developed, and under the influence of the antagonisms begotten of this, worked out his proposals for the removal of class distinction systematically and in direct relation to French materialism.
One thing is common to all three.
Not one of them appears as a representative of the interests of that proletariat which historical development had, in the meantime, produced.
Like the French philosophers, they do not claim to emancipate a particular class to begin with, but all humanity at once.
Like them, they wish to bring in the kingdom of reason and eternal justice, but this kingdom, as they see it, is as far as Heaven from Earth, from that of the French philosophers.
For, to our three social reformers, the bourgeois world, based upon the principles of these philosophers, is quite as irrational and unjust, and, therefore, finds its way to the dust-hole quite as readily as feudalism and all the earlier stages of society.
If pure reason and justice have not, hitherto, ruled the world, this has been the case only because men have not rightly understood them.
What was wanted was the individual man of genius, who has now arisen and who understands the truth.
That he has now arisen, that the truth has now been clearly understood, is not an inevitable event, following of necessity in the chains of historical development, but a mere happy accident.
He might just as well have been born 500 years earlier, and might then have spared humanity 500 years of error, strife, and suffering.
The Utopians’ mode of thought has for a long time governed the Socialist ideas of the 19th century, and still governs some of them.
Until very recently, all French and English Socialists did homage to it.
The earlier German Communism, including that of Weitling, was of the same school.
To all these, Socialism is the expression of absolute truth, reason and justice, and has only to be discovered to conquer all the world by virtue of its own power.
And as an absolute truth is independent of time, space, and of the historical development of man, it is a mere accident when and where it is discovered.
With all this, absolute truth, reason, and justice are different with the founder of each different school. And as each one’s special kind of absolute truth, reason, and justice is again conditioned by his subjective understanding, his conditions of existence, the measure of his knowledge and his intellectual training, there is no other ending possible in this conflict of absolute truths than that they shall be mutually exclusive of one another.
Hence, from this nothing could come but a kind of eclectic, average Socialism, which, as a matter of fact, has up to the present time dominated the minds of most of the socialist workers in France and England.
Hence, a mish-mash allowing of the most manifold shades of opinion: a mish-mash of such critical statements, economic theories, pictures of future society by the founders of different sects, as excite a minimum of opposition; a mish-mash which is the more easily brewed the more definite sharp edges of the individual constituents are rubbed down in the stream of debate, like rounded pebbles in a brook.
To make a science of Socialism, it had first to be placed upon a real basis
Democracy and Class Struggle says that real basis was outlined by Engels in Chapters 2 and 3 of Socialism Utopian and Scientific chapter 2 called Dialectics and chapter 3 Historical Materialism.
Plekhanov would combine the two into the term dialectical materialism and modern revolutionary socialism was born.
There was debate in 20th Century about Dialectical and Historical Materialism in Academia which was largely historical nit picking over word order materialist dialectic not dialectical materialism but in the real world it advanced in Russia and China and the foundations laid by Marx and Engels were built on and deepened with a new science of the Political Economy of Socialism.
Posted by nickglais on 7/23/2017 10:26:00 AM