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The Marxist Conception of the State: A Contribution to the Differentiation of the Sociological and the Juristic Method
 9004297820, 9789004297821

Table of contents :
Contents
Preface • Mark E. Blum
Foreword
1 Politics and Sociology
2 The Sociological Unity of State and Society
3 The Development of the Concept of Society
4 The Further Development of the Concept of Society by Marx
5 The Formal Logic of Law in Kelsen
6 What Is Essential in Marx’s Concept of the State
7 What Is a Class?
8 Class and Party
9 Political and Social Democracy
10 Democracy and Freedom
11 Revolution or Evolution?
12 Democracy and Its Organisation
13 Dictatorship
14 Government and Administration
15 Excursus on Anarchism
16 Apparent Anarchism in Marxism
17 The ‘Marvel’ of the Stateless Organisation
18 Utopianism in Marx and Engels
19 Why We Are Not Understood!
Afterword
Bibliography
Index

Citation preview

The Marxist Conception of the State

Historical Materialism Book Series Editorial Board Sébastien Budgen (Paris) David Broder (Rome) Steve Edwards (London) Juan Grigera (London) Marcel van der Linden (Amsterdam) Peter Thomas (London)

volume 192

The titles published in this series are listed at brill.com/hm

The Marxist Conception of the State A Contribution to the Differentiation of the Sociological and the Juristic Method

By

Max Adler Edited and with a Preface by

Mark E. Blum

LEIDEN | BOSTON

The Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available online at http://catalog.loc.gov LC record available at http://lccn.loc.gov/2019023312

Typeface for the Latin, Greek, and Cyrillic scripts: “Brill”. See and download: brill.com/brill‑typeface. ISSN 1570-1522 ISBN 978-90-04-29782-1 (hardback) ISBN 978-90-04-40997-2 (e-book) Copyright 2019 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands. Koninklijke Brill NV incorporates the imprints Brill, Brill Hes & De Graaf, Brill Nijhoff, Brill Rodopi, Brill Sense, Hotei Publishing, mentis Verlag, Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh and Wilhelm Fink Verlag. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, translated, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher. Authorization to photocopy items for internal or personal use is granted by Koninklijke Brill NV provided that the appropriate fees are paid directly to The Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Suite 910, Danvers, MA 01923, USA. Fees are subject to change. This book is printed on acid-free paper and produced in a sustainable manner.

Contents Preface vii Mark E. Blum Foreword

1

1

Politics and Sociology

6

2

The Sociological Unity of State and Society

3

The Development of the Concept of Society

4

The Further Development of the Concept of Society by Marx

5

The Formal Logic of Law in Kelsen

6

What Is Essential in Marx’s Concept of the State

7

What Is a Class?

8

Class and Party

9

Political and Social Democracy

10

Democracy and Freedom

95

11

Revolution or Evolution?

105

12

Democracy and Its Organisation

13

Dictatorship

14

Government and Administration

15

Excursus on Anarchism 159 1 The Denial of Force, Law, and Authority 159 2 The Legal Order and the Conventional Order 171 3 The Real Difference between Anarchism and Socialism 4 Socialism and Individualism 183

17 22 32

43 50

60 76 83

121

136 149

175

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Apparent Anarchism in Marxism 190 1 The Idea of Liberation 190 2 Political and Social Forces. The ‘Political State’ 193 3 The Destruction of the Machinery of the State 200 4 The Withering Away of the State 204

17

The ‘Marvel’ of the Stateless Organisation

18

Utopianism in Marx and Engels

19

Why We Are Not Understood! Afterword

231

Bibliography Index 240

233

214 228

205

Preface Max Adler (1873–1937) was one of the Austro-Marxists, a generation of Marxist theorists born in the 1870s and 1880s who were also politically engaged members of the Austrian Social Democratic Party from its pre-World War I decades into the 1930s.1 His book The Marxist Conception of the State [Die Staatsauffassung des Marxismus] was published in 1922, a study that took up the hotly debated conception of the character and future of any national state from the point of view of Marxist theory. The timeliness of this book, which considers the idea of a centralised state and possible alternatives for societal control, was generated by the immediate state of affairs in post-World War I Austria, as well as in the other newly formed states of Central Europe that had once been integrated into the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. The Treaty of St. Germain had compelled the Austrians to dissolve the Austrian–Hungarian Empire in 1919, and how it would be reconstructed in the dwarf section of German-Austria engaged constitutional thought from the left-wing socialists through the rightwing Christian Social party – which comprehended the political spectrum in Austria in the years 1918 through the late 1920s. Austria had been a nation of 78 million, comprising over a dozen different nationalities, in a territory that extended from what is today southern Poland (Galizia) and areas of the Western Ukraine (Bukowina) into the Balkans. After the Treaty of St. German, it had but six million citizens, in an area reduced in territory by almost 90 percent. But World War I had not only led to events that ended the Austrian Hungarian Empire. Germany had been compelled by the Treaty of Versailles to reconstruct its state and form of government. And, as an added problem in conceiving and acting towards the forming of a Marxist, proletarian state – which seemed a possibility in the chaotic political realities of 1918–19 throughout Central Europe – Russia had become the Soviet Union, and Lenin and the Bolshevik party challenged Central European Marxists with a distinctive interpretation of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Max Adler’s book on the Marxist conception of the state would challenge the Leninist understanding just as it challenged the bourgeois understanding that – even as he was finishing his text – supplied the basis for the structure of the Austrian state. How would Austria reconstruct its state? As early as November 1918 the newly-appointed State Chancellor, the Austrian Social-Democrat Karl Renner, who would be a guide in the administrative reconstruction of the newly-formed

1 See Bottomore and Goode (eds.) 1978, pp. 1–2; and Blum 1985, pp. 1–2, 19–30.

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Austrian state, appointed a committee to write a new Constitution.2 Renner named Hans Kelsen, by then considered an authority in Constitutional Law.3 Kelsen’s constitutional work between 1918 and 1920 transformed Austria structurally from a constitutional monarchy into a democratic republic, whose models were among the Western nations of the United States, France, and others, where law was made legislatively, and the executive authority of the President and his administration, along with a judiciary with a Supreme Court, completed the authority of the state. Kelsen was challenged from the left and the right. On the left, in 1918 and 1919, the idea of a Council Republic, generated from the ground up out of council groups throughout the nation, thrived. The idea had guided the establishment of the Soviet Republic at its onset. Max Adler was not only a theorist of this approach,4 but served as the Workers Council Representative for the 8th district of Vienna in 1918–19.5 As we will see in Adler’s Die Staatsauffassung des Marxismus, the extreme left wing of socialism favoured the council idea of a form of state that was generated democratically through extremely local councils, with representatives chosen to represent them at the higher district and regional levels, culminating in national representation. Adler’s stress in his understanding of the council movement was on the interdependence of associations from the locality upwards, which imparted the idea of what he termed ‘sociation’ [Vergesellschaftung], that is, societal forms conscious of the interdependence of all individuals and their cooperative actions that are necessary in order to make a society. This challenged the premise of individualism that marked the democratic idea of the bourgeois state – which was Kelsen’s basic premise. Writing of this difference in his monograph Demokratie und Rätesystem (1919), Adler characterises the present need fulfilled by the council idea as one which counters the idea of bourgeois individualism: an individualism that actually tears apart real democracy, which can only be achieved through interests and outcomes held in common.6 Adler will attack the Bolshevist solution as neglecting this ground-up democratic organisation of interdependent, equal voices using the same argument that he deploys against the bourgeois form of the democratic republic, that is, governance by only a small segment of decision-makers from the topdown.7

2 3 4 5 6 7

See Kelsen 2011, pp. 688–90. Ibid, pp. 622–7. See Adler 1919a. Pfabigan 1982, p. 161. Adler 1919a, p. 5. Ibid, pp. 24–5.

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From the right wing, Kelsen was challenged by the desire of many of his peers and others still in power to incorporate the monarchy back into Austrian law and governance. As the acting President of Austria, Karl Seitz, and the Chancellor, Karl Renner, were both Austrian Social-Democrats, and the winning powers were hostile to such a solution, this dream of the classic executive authority of Roman Law would not emerge again in Austria until the 1929 change in the Constitution managed by the then Chancellor of Austria, Ignaz Seipel. Kelsen, having completed the moiety of the constitutional structure of Austria by 1920, turned to the chief oppositional idea from the left, Marxism, and especially its idea of a state that would ‘wither away’ as democracy equalised the populace politically. He wrote the book Sozialismus und Staat, Eine Untersuchung der politischen Theorie des Marxismus, which he believed showed the essential nonsense of the idea that the state could be ‘put aside’ as democracy truly flourished.8 His major thesis was that any society requires the ‘compulsion’ of laws that demand universal compliance. A ‘state’ can never ‘wither away’. Marxist socialism, for Kelsen, had an inherent contradiction, for there could never be economic equality without a political state which oversaw the means of in-common production and the distribution of the products and benefits of that activity. Max Adler had many reasons to rebut this book, among them his deeply held commitment to a kind of democracy that was not based upon individualism and that was practised with a conscious vision of interdependence. In a more pragmatic sense, Kelsen had to be rebutted by Austrian Social-Democracy, for the Marxist idea of the transition from the bourgeois state to a proletarian state, and thence to a true socialist state of full equality, required a learned explanation – one that could counter the legal authority of a Kelsen, who was deeply respected throughout the young Austrian Republic. Adler’s book The Marxist Conception of the State [Die Staatsauffassung des Marxismus] is subtitled A Contribution to the Differentiation of the Sociological and Juristic Method [Ein Beitrag zur Unterscheidung von Soziologischer und Juristischer Methode], a direct reference to Kelsen’s book attacking the Marxist conception of the state, and indeed to Kelsen’s entire approach to the issue, which Adler characterises as merely juristic, rather than sociological, thinking. Adler included his rebuttal of Kelsen as a full-length book in the series of Marx-Studien that appeared between 1904 and 1923 in five separate volumes. The Marx-Studien were devoted to the social scientific premises of the thought

8 Kelsen 1920.

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of Marx and Engels.9 Adler and his fellow Austro-Marxists understood themselves as social scientists who used the methodological premises of Marx and Engels to conduct genuine inquiry into the content and causation of contemporary societal issues, not as activist propaganda, which seemed to be how Kelsen conceived of Marxism. Adler stressed throughout his critique of Kelsen’s ‘misconception’ of Marx and Engels that these two pioneers of sociology comprehended the ‘state’ as a changing institutional reality that was an expression of the continually changing relationships among its members. Kelsen’s critique of Marx was shown by Adler to have nothing to do with a genuine social scientific perspective, and most importantly, not only to misconceive but to fully ignore the historical materialist approach to a critique of culture – which was understood by Adler as sociological. Adler had in 1920 joined the faculty of sociology and social philosophy at the University of Vienna as an Extraordinary Professor, and this work spoke to the singular significance of the sociological method and its centrality in Marxist thought. Max Adler was familiar with the juristic method in the study of law, having graduated from the University of Vienna with a doctorate in law and begun his practice as an attorney in 1896. Indeed, Adler suggests a deeper knowledge of the juristic method than what he offers in his critique of Kelsen. He also shows respect for the ‘compulsive’ nature of the law, but sees this compulsion as differing in intent and content in what he will argue is a social-democratic society. What he does show clearly is what he terms the ‘formal’ conceptual approach, in which the concept of the state is structurally neutral. In Kelsen’s eyes, this neutral structure must have certain components, or it is incomplete in its operations, inhibiting the making, executing, and judging of its law-based compulsive character. For Max Adler, this is the weakness of Kelsen’s approach to Marx. Marx’s approach emphasises how structures that appear to be the same or similar are different in actuality, given the practices of class interests by those who founded its time-bound expression and who oversee it, so that, for example, a bi-cameral legislature can change in its very meaning, given who comprises it and their interests. Adler begins the book with kind words for Hans Kelsen, calling him ‘my friend … the most prominent teacher of the legal theory of the state at the University of Vienna …’10 This initial sentence of Adler’s ‘Foreword’ expresses a certain habitude among Austrian politicians. Its arguable congruence with a wider culture of interpersonal norms of mutuality, indeed mutual respect, is worth 9 10

See Horst Klein, Marx-Studien 1904–1923. Quellen linkszoziologistischer Theorienentwicklung in Jahrbuch für Forschungen zur Geschichte des Arbeiterbewegung, Vol. 9, Heft 1/2010. Adler 1922, p. 7.

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noting. William Smaldone and I speak of this in our recently published AustroMarxism: The Ideology of Unity, Austro-Marxist Theory and Strategy, pointing to the history within the Habsburg monarchical state of a conscious effort to achieve cooperation in the coexistence of even radically differing points of view.11 Adler seems to genuinely wish to change Kelsen’s mind in this extensive, nineteen-chapter book, wherein each chapter addresses him not only directly, but takes up his voice and words in a manner that allows Kelsen to speak at length for himself. Then, in a Socratic manner, Adler will interpose his reflections on the theoretical course Kelsen has taken, and establish why this conceptual avenue is wrong in relation to Marx and Engels. There is an inner desire for social pedagogy, not only to affect the audience who would be impressed by Kelsen’s stature and, especially, Kelsen’s constant direct citation from Marx and Engels, as well as other socialists such as Kautsky and Lenin, but a social pedagogy, in which Adler speaks knowingly to Kelsen himself in what seems to me to be an appeal to him to reconsider his approach. Kelsen intends an ‘immanent’ criticism of Marx’s and Engel’s methodology12 and its treatment of the class struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat that will lead to the proletarian state, thence to a classless society. Adler’s rebuttal is based on the non-immanence of the critique by Kelsen, thus the sub-title ‘… the Differentiation of the Sociological and Juristic Method’. A sociological method, according to Adler, requires a historical materialist attention to the changing contents of human values and behaviours, the conflict of interests among groups, and particularly the economic dominance of one group over another that leads to the class war between them. Adler shows that Kelsen adheres merely to structural arguments about how a state must constitute itself if it is to be an effective means of cohering its populace, and that the arguments possess a juristic logic. They ignore sociological change. Kelsen does not recognise this limitation in his methodology, even as he feels he is pursuing a sociological perspective in tracking the thought of socialists from Marx through Lenin in their desire for a classless society, which he understands as denying the necessity of a state. Kelsen’s major argument is that Marx and Engels’s understanding of the economic determinism of society is an evolving one that in every phase of its transition requires the compulsory character of a state to insure the necessary coordination of the productive means to realise the changing nature of the human community. Whereas, and here Kelsen extensively cites from the works of Marx and Engels, the political perspective

11 12

See Blum and Smaldone (eds.) 2015, especially pp. 9–14. Kelsen 1920, p. 5.

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of Marxism contends that the compulsive state will gradually disappear as all its members begin to share in-common values and practices. Kelsen sees this latter political claim as activist propaganda at best, and nonsense at worst, in which the actualities of a society are ignored. Kelsen concludes his Sozialismus und Staat (1920) with a clear statement that democracy can only be realised by a majority vote, because there will always be differences between persons that are ineradicable, and that the ‘unavoidable compulsion’ of the state and its laws are required to ground and oversee the ‘earthly truth’ of a political democracy.13 Max Adler develops over the course of The Marxist Conception of the State [Die Staatsauffassung des Marxismus] a thorough understanding of the difference between the goals of Social Democracy in creating a ‘social democratic state’ rather than the current bourgeois ‘political democratic state’, the former based upon the in-common general will of the communities of the society and the latter upon a majority in command of the means of production, a system based upon individual competition and not upon the consciousness of mutual interdependence. There will be a ‘state’, correcting Kelsen’s conception of what the ‘elimination of the state’ means in Marx, but it will be a social state, not a political one. It will be generated through the mutual recognition of all who now own the means of production in common, and not through the selfseeking self-protection of the few who dominate the ownership and concomitant wealth of the society. Yes, compulsion will be required to maintain effective public policies, as humans do differ. But, these differences will be within a common ground of mutual support for the social democratic state, what Adler will call the general will for a ‘solidarity society’. Adler here reiterates a statement by St. Simon that there will be a transformation from a government defined by domination over persons to an administration by persons of their own affairs.14 Adler later adds to this thought the famous statement of Engels in his AntiDühring: ‘The true sociation of humans, which has until now been usurped in its nature and history, becomes liberated. The objective, alien powers which until now controlled history, come under control of humans themselves. Now, humans will make their own history in full consciousness, for the first time they will predominate in setting societal causes in motion, and in steadily increasing proportion realize their intended effects. It is the leap of humans out of the realm of necessity into the realm of freedom’.15 Adler will take us through several Marxist concepts that relate to the nature of the state, showing how these concepts have a sociological basis, and that 13 14 15

Kelsen 1920, p. 129. Adler 1922, pp. 152–3. Engels 1878, pp. 305–6.

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they are not comprehended as such by Kelsen – even as he claims to pursue an ‘immanent’ critique of Marxism. These concepts include the differences between political and sociological understanding; the concept of society itself in its historical development; the concept of the state in its development and as it is used by Marx; the nature of a ‘class-based’ society; the difference between political democracy and social democracy; the differences and congruence between evolution and revolution; the differing ways in which democracy has organised itself; the nature of the dictatorship of the proletariat in Marx’s understanding; the differences in governance and administration within a state from the bourgeois and the proletarian perspectives; the nature of freedom as a concept; the concept of the ‘putting aside of the state’ or ‘its withering’ in Marx and Engels; and a long study of the differing understandings of anarchism by socialists and non-socialists, and most particularly by Marx and Engels. Is anarchy an absence of any compulsion among persons towards common purposes, or are compulsive laws in some form a necessary factor that stems from human nature itself? Perhaps the linking thread throughout all these conceptual studies is how compulsion may be exercised so as to coordinate conflicting parties for the mutual agreement required for an in-common society. What the text The Marxist Conception of the State offers a contemporary reader is an in-depth study of not only the arguments over the democratic idea of a society in the troubled years between World War I and World War II, but a primer for comprehending what any future state might be if it is to be democratic, along with guidelines for comprehending what a democratic socialism might contribute to the human community. This is a timely book to read as Europe and other areas of the world become more globally related economically as well as politically. Max Adler and the other Austro-Marxists engaged problems of cooperation and coexistence that have only expanded in their scope and difficulty. Considering what compulsion and the law might be for a global society is a timely thought-exercise that ensures that the pertinence of these pages remains undiminished. Mark E. Blum

Foreword The following investigations into the Marxist societal and state concepts are occasioned by the critique of Marxism exercised by my friend Hans Kelsen, the most prominent teacher of the legal theory of the state at the University of Vienna, in an essay ‘Socialism and the State’, published in the Ninth Volume of the Archive for the History of Socialism (edited by Professor Grünberg). This text has also appeared in a separate book under the same title.1 I have addressed this essay in a lecture in the summer of 1921 at the University of Vienna, where I sketched the major premises at issue, which this book will now explore in more depth and detail. It is from these origins that the polemical form of this book emerged, which intends more than a mere polemic. Indeed, the ideas Kelsen has taken up are disputed ideas within Marxism itself, occasioning lively discussion. My address to these issues will contribute to a better conceptual understanding, and a better articulation of the terminology involved, as the current employment of these fundamental ideas more often than not is inaccurate, requiring clarification. That is especially true in relation to the concepts of dictatorship and democracy, and no less of individual and political freedom, as well as of the relationship of the concept of freedom to society and its corollary ideas of individualism and anarchism. Thus, there are a great range of significant problems in Marxist understanding that extend beyond the particular polemic with Kelsen, significant problems which are the core considerations of this book. When I have sought, nonetheless, to maintain the polemical counterpoint with Kelsen, despite the broader implication of the issues, the reason is that in this way the differing sides of the themes involved can take on a livelier and more readily recognisable form, as well as necessarily keeping in mind the weight of Kelsen’s critique. To be sure, this will justifiably elevate Kelsen’s thought to a position of prominence among those who are opponents of Marx. Yet, despite that, and the justified recognition of Kelsen as one of the most acute and articulate scholars of the logical issues of law, these opponents as well as Kelsen himself lack sufficient familiarity with the issues that engaged Marxism to be able to responsibly correct him. Kelsen’s critique of Marx is head and shoulders superior to the manner in which his opponents vie with each other in their outcry against Marxist conceptions, believing as they do that Marxism has long been shown to be of no substance. Kelsen’s critique differentiates itself from theirs in its own passionate will towards the truth, which as it addresses

1 See Kelsen 1920.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2019 | doi:10.1163/9789004409972_002

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Marxism takes on that integrity displayed in all his inquiries. Investigating the reasons why he fails in his effort, despite his zeal and acumen, makes this work what is implied by its subtitle, a contribution to the differentiation of the sociological and juristic methods of thought, and raises its meaning thereby above that of the merely polemical. The task I have taken up which this interaction with Kelsen’s ideation affords is limited to those issues inherent to his Marxist critique. The task does not engage the logical issues of law central to his own positions. My self-limitation in this regard is not only appropriate given my stated goals, which thus avoid a discussion of Kelsen’s own theories of law and the state, as I focus solely upon the societal and state conceptions of Marxism, but it is also justified by what Kelsen himself says – a reiterative claim which I will make quite evident in his argument – that he only wishes to give an immanent critique of Marxism, a criticism not of the implications of Marx’s societal and state standpoints, but of the coherence of Marxism itself. Therefore, the entire instruction that Kelsen gives us of the essence of the law and the state must remain beyond our consideration, which is not to say that such issues should not be taken up by us as Marxists. Indeed, such a counterpoint with Kelsen must be seen as a pressing necessity. What I will present in my interaction with Kelsen’s thought is the establishment of Marxism as a coherent, consistent body of ideas in which his sociological system can be seen, which would be impossible without an epistemological understanding of his presuppositions. The essential problem of Marxism, the materialistic conception of history, the relationships between ideology and the economy, especially the power given to law in these matters, are only made evident through a clear consideration of the functional paths of such social thought. The as yet neglected sphere of the epistemological bases of social-functional thought is required. Among the epistemological thinkers of legal and state forms Kelsen is, indeed, foremost; his thought is much deeper and more consequent in his formulation of the pertinent problematic than that of Stammler’s logic of law: he considers the question how is society, how is the state and its law possible? Yet, it is precisely here that I feel a warrant to claim that Kelsen’s thought is not thoroughly developed. He prematurely remains within the form of established norms instead of penetrating the true character of the natural forms which underlie society and the state. One must probe the transcendental relationships of the individual consciousness in relation to the immanent multiplicity of the coexistent centres of consciousness to comprehend how and why societal and state forms are understood and acted upon by individuals. It is due to this necessary rationale that I am compelled to enter my polemical discourse with Kelsen’s significant logic-of-law writings on society and state from a Marxist orientation. Yet, this cannot be done fully within

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the framework of the present text. The gains from such a future discourse will be rich in what is revealed concerning human consciousness and its epistemological bases. I reiterate that in this text only a negative polemic with Kelsen must be held, which underscores the limitations in his conceptions of law and the state with respect to the sociological understanding, especially as regards the meaning and significance of Marxism. Our understanding of the essence of social realities will gain from this present exercise. What follows is an exposition of the foundational Marxist conceptions of state and society. Countless experiences in public and private discussions have taught me that it is not excessive to repeat what is represented in this series of ‘Marx-Studien’, that is, what one is to understand from a Marxist framework. I do not mean by this the intensive effort to know exactly what has been said or not said in the many writings of Marx and Engels, which is always an area of dispute among interpreters. For us, this is in essence only of literaryhistorical interest, not enriching in its theoretical value, rather tending towards an unfruitful scholasticism. Therefore, the criticism that one or another of the principles developed in this discussion are not stated as such by Marx or Engels, and thus are Adlerian rather than Marxist, misses the mark. What is sought in this discussion are principles that do not contradict the thought of Marx and Engels. Marxism is not a finished system for us. It is not a book of paragraphs, a text of laws, that allows only limited commentary, rather it is a foundational manner of theoretical thought. This demands of us that we pursue its inner consequences, and do so not merely to think further in line with the understandings of Marx and Engels, but rather to raise this thought beyond the writings of a book into life as it is lived. In this living context of the present, we seek to impart a knowledge and a path amidst all the contradictions and incompleteness which necessarily arises as this rich thought seeks expression in the limitations of oral communication. It is in this spirit that we wrote the programmatic article that began our series ‘Marx-Studien’, in which we state that our task is the further development of Marxist thought ‘so that we adhere not always to the words of Marx, but rather to his spirit, holding to that spirit as far as we possibly are able (Marx-Studien, Vol. I, p. vii.)’. This seems to me to be the only way to be a Marxist – not in the way that its enemies conceive it, that is, as a conception of the world by an individual, even a quite significant individual. Rather, it is that which we hold and act upon: a new direction, never to be lost sight of, for our scientific consciousness. In spite of our diligence, there are places in this book where we could not help repeating ourselves. The complex of matters we investigate entails that in one inquiry we can only view a part of the contents under discussion. Only through repeated conceptual differentiations of the whole can we mas-

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ter theoretically the historical totalities taken up. Thus, what is a totality must unnaturally be brought into isolated parts through conceptual inquiry and reunited in thought to that totality beyond our theoretical abstractive forays. For example, one cannot speak of freedom without determining the concept of authoritative compulsion, of anarchism without discussing the compulsion of the state, of dictatorship without making clear the concept of revolution. All these concepts demand to be discussed reciprocally, indeed in every chapter, since the result of one focus demands the taking up of the other foci. Thus, repetitions result which are unavoidable insofar as they all belong to the matter under discussion. This illustrates only the weakness of human communication which must say what has already been thought. But as so many people have never thought in any way about the concepts treated here, one might say this repetition is authorised, particularly if one is sympathetic with the magic formula: ‘three times must one say it.’ Finally, I must mention that I am not concerned with Kelsen’s most recent book The Sociological and the Juristic Concept of the State, as it does not concern itself with Marxism. Also, a book by Herbert Sultan has recently appeared which does take up the themes deliberated in this book, his Society and State in Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. It appeared as this book was being edited, so I have not been able to consider its content. Vienna, 10 June 1922

A Scholarly Motto That Contributes to the Present Marxist Critique From the dialogue between Dionysodoros and Ctesippus: D. Would we be contradicting each other when we both spoke similarly in describing the same thing, or should we not in that case be saying the same things? C. He admitted it. D. But when neither of us speaks the word describing the thing, he said, should we then be contradicting each other? Or, in this case neither of us would be even mentioning the thing at all? C. He admitted this too. D. On the other hand, he said, when I speak the word describing the thing, and you describing something else, are we then contradicting each other? Or better, this is to be understood as my describing the thing, and you are saying nothing about it at all? And how could he that says nothing be contradicting him that is speaking? Plato, Euthydemus, 268 a1 1 Adler cites passages from Plato’s Euthydemus. Adler designates the passage as 268 a. My translation is informed by the translation of W.H.D. Rouse in Plato 1961, pp. 399–400, which is designated as 286 a, b.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2019 | doi:10.1163/9789004409972_003

chapter 1

Politics and Sociology One recognises language most usually as the means of understanding. But the history of philosophy and of the conflicts over scientific problems shows the opposite. Indeed, this has always been the core of communicative contention, but is, apparently, something inescapable in the history of ideas, such that the discussion of the essential problems of thought persist over thousands of years – one thinks of the conflict over the freedom of will – and the same arguments trouble one without any progress, because the meaning of the concepts, for example, will and freedom, are not used in the same sense or with the same intention by their respective adherents. It is depressing and yet laughable how so many of these endless and at the same time bitter conflicts are essentially merely a battle over words, where both parties use the same terms, but each means something different by them. How does such a strange situation arise among thinkers who otherwise are quite sharp mentally and known to be of consequence in their own system of thought? The reason lies in that the learned individual, although he should know better, only too often overlooks the fact that, howsoever much the language he uses has in his personal understanding been cleansed of the general, of everyday connotations, it appears to another as just another flowery expression that typifies everyday speech, as each person speaks their own language, has their own connotations. And this applies to the language of the thinker the more greatly, the more originally, that is, creatively, he is in his use of conceptual meanings. When one addresses the words of his theory with the ordinary use of terms in mind, one can never be sure if he has grasped the spirit of what has been said, the spirit out of which the idea arises, and this incomprehension is unavoidable, in spite of every effort to secure that thinker’s meaning with careful citation of his writings. The words of a thinker have no fixed meaningcontent as they might have in a dictionary of a language. They are, rather, living thought, functions of the thinker’s mental work, which intends to generate a like mentality in the hearer. Without such contact the words would be but bombast, and when printed in a book, mere concepts from the dictionary of the language. This does not suffice for true comprehension, one needs rather a dictionary of the spirit of which the words are a part, one needs a grasp of the whole of the theoretical standpoint, of which the words are an element. This is increasingly true when the meaning of the word employed is distanced from

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2019 | doi:10.1163/9789004409972_004

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the customary usage. The words of Kantian philosophy, for example, of the thing and its appearance, of experience and of nature, appear at first as if they possessed the usual meanings attached to them; one uses such words every day countless times. But the person who seeks to comprehend these words of Kant in the sense of a German dictionary, and not in the spirit used by the subverting spirit of Kant’s encyclopaedia of thought, must suffer a miserable shipwreck.1 The same holds for the meaning of the words in Marx, a little-appreciated aspect of how one approaches him, when he imparts a new, transformative understanding to our experience of socio-historical life. Too often Marx is considered in the eyes of the educated public essentially as a national economist, although he constantly strives in his thought to demonstrate and overcome the historical and theoretical narrowness of the mere national-economic pointof-view. It was not without meaning that he named both his chief economic works ‘Critique of Political Economy’, and thus brought to expression his intention to confront the problematic orientation of political economy critically. His approach would not be that of a new, ‘better’ national economy; rather he would disclose its social foundation and relationships. The real meaning of Marx and Engels’ thought lay thoroughly within sociological understanding. Their thought was dominated by the problem of the essence and lawfulness of social life. This theoretical interest, to be sure, belonged to the passionate practical interest of transforming the existing society, which gave their critical treatment of national economics its initial direction. Engels always stressed in his biographical writings concerning Marx that their fundamental social theory of historical materialism had been completed before 1845, before the ‘Communist Manifesto’, and that the economic theory was only an application of the already formulated sociological approach.2 If Marx and Engels are not 1 Thus, Kant himself could not help fall afoul of this problem, as all other thinkers with new orientations, even as he articulates the problem: ‘To approach a new science with presuppositions, as if one could proceed with accustomed judgments in the area, even though what is being shown casts doubt upon the reality of what already is known, does not help one to proceed beyond what is already known. The problem lies in the use of expressions in the demonstration that seem to be recognised in their meaning, but have been given by that new science a wholly different meaning, and thus to the reader appear nonsense, indeed gibberish. The problem for the reader is that he does not enter the thought of the author, rather remains within his own because of his long-established way of thought’. Kant 1922, p. 10. 2 See here, especially, the testimony of Engels in his discussion of Marx’s writing ‘The Critique of Political Economy’, from the year 1859, published as Engels 1900, pp. 38ff., where Engels states that the aforementioned writing stemmed from the early efforts to found the German proletarian party by addressing the German economy scientifically, so that the party could surpass in understanding and activity the bourgeois English and French economists. Engels says: ‘The German economy has its cause essentially within the materialist conception of his-

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conceived as sociological thinkers, if one cannot enter their concepts in the new, sociological meaning, then one can only comprehend them in the older meaning of the terms they use. If one considers their sociological transformations only as a political or, indeed, agitative by-product that does not belong to scientific conceptualisations of the problems, then one can only ‘discover’ a wealth of contradictions and incomprehensibilities in Marxism. Then one can only allow a language which is not that of the author, but one of the reader, and consequently a language incomprehensible to that reader. This appears to me to be the error in the investigation of Professor Hans Kelsen in his book Sozialismus und Staat, which concerns itself with the relationships of socialism to the state.3 ‘An investigation of the political theory of Marxism’, the author gives as a subtitle for his work, and he indicates by this means the very limitations in his conception of Marxism. For this makes an understanding of politics a new path for the revelatory meaning of Marxism, which for the history of scientific thinking had a revolutionary effect, one that made impossible the existing concept of a theory of politics understood as something separate from a theory of social life. A ‘political theory’ of Marxism which one can treat independently from his sociological theory does not exist. When it comes to politics, the positions that a person takes in relation to the state and its goals, and his oppositional struggle against other positions, is for Marxism only a part of the causal laws of social processes. And revealing the course of politics by attention to its causal factors, which includes tendencies oriented toward the future, is the problem of the sociological theory of Marxism. Given Kelsen’s approach to Marxism, he completely overlooks this perspective. He interprets Marxism, with justice, as a theory of the socialistic society which ‘will not be realised by the striving for an ideal, but rather through the natural, necessary result of a lawful, developing social process’,4 and he thus negates in his conception the will of the proletariat, along with the totality of plans which guide its striving. But anyone who follows this path of understanding must close the door to any non-contradictory comprehension of the sociological, foundational structure of Marxism, the historical materialist conceptory, whose basic principles are laid out in the foreword of the above cited work’: p. 40. See also Adler 1921a, pp. 94ff. 3 Archive für Geschichte des Sozialismus und der Arbeiterbewegung, edited by Dr. Karl Grünberg, IX, pp. 1–129, and separately as a book that appeared in the publishing house of C.L. Hirschfeld: Kelson 1920. We cite the book publication when we provide pages, which correspond with the Archiv publication. 4 Cited in Kelsen 1920, p. 2. Further references to this text by Max Adler or the editor of this translation are given in parentheses.

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tion. Kelsen’s misconception of the historical materialist conception of history is a typical one, where ‘materialist’ history in its societal aspect is seen as developing according to natural laws. Always overlooked from this viewpoint is that both Marx and Engels sharply differentiate their materialism from that of the natural scientific process whose determinative processes lack in human consciousness and will.5 The nature that Marx and Engels speak of is the societal nature of persons, that is human nature, which is only possible in its ‘sociated’6 [vergesellschaftete] form, i.e., the nature of sociation. Thus, human willing and striving, purposeful and ethical judgments are the essential core of the sociated form of society, integral as elements to the very nature of what society becomes. Indeed, sociated nature exists only in this valuing comportment of sociated persons. Therefore, Marx writes in his brilliant Theses on Feuerbach – in which the initial sketch of his theory was first deliberated – the words that should have obviated the most troubling misunderstanding of Marxist ‘materialism’ and ‘naturalism’: ‘The chief deficiency of all heretofore existing materialism, which is reflected as well in Feuerbach, is that the object, the reality, the sensing of the existent, is only known in the form of the object or how it is conceived, not as it should be known, in the humanly sensed activity, praxis, that is in the subjective. Because of this oversight, the active side of human judging in contrast to materialism has only been developed by idealism – thus only abstractly, since idealism does not recognize the actual, sensed activity’.7 Taking up the active side of nature conceptually, determining its causal sequence, seeing human existence within society as a process of ‘transformative praxis’, is the genuine problem of Marxism that Marx and Engels from the beginning of their independent thinking pursued with a passionate, unbending thoughtful will. Marx had formulated the relationship of the willed to the causal in a formal way as early as the Deutsch-Französischen Jahrbüchern, with the following words: ‘We offer to the world not a doctrinaire principle: here is truth, bow down to it. Rather, we develop the presented world out of new principles derived from

5 I have written about this differentiation by Marx and Engels extensively in Adler 1904, pp. 302ff. See also most recently Adler 1908, pp. 52ff., and Adler 1922b, Chapter Two. Finally Adler 1920a, pp. 63ff. 6 [See the specialised definition Adler gives to the concept of ‘vergesellschaften’ throughout his writings, but especially in Max Adler, ‘Der neue Begriff der Vergesellschaftung’ [‘The New Concept of Sociation’], in Adler 1930, pp. 220–9. Adler holds that his conception of the term brings out Marx’s own conception in its full sociological significance. ‘Vergesellschaftung’ is not to be translated as ‘socialisation’, which is the form ‘sociation’ will take in the future; rather, ‘sociation’ is a result of the way in which consciousness conceives one’s relationship to other humans. 7 See Engels 1895, p. 59. First thesis.

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the existing principles of the world. We don’t say: stop your struggle, they are pointless; we wish only to give you the correct battle cry. We show you only that which you genuinely struggle over, and the consciousness of this is something that you must accommodate, even when you resist it’.8 What matters here to Marx is the entire historical process which in its forms of willing and valuing, in its spiritual ‘principles’, has heretofore not been taken up for analysis. Marx will formulate the causal determinations of these forms ‘as principles of the world’, that is bring them to consciousness in their dependence upon sociological realities. The consciousness of which Marx here speaks means nothing other than that one brings the world out of the ideological dream in which it is situated by making it aware ‘that one makes clear to oneself his own actions’. As Marx wrote to the young Engels: ‘So long as the logical and historical principles are not developed in a few writings beyond how they have heretofore been viewed as history, and the necessary completion of these principles are not articulated for the present and emergent future, everyone can be considered half-asleep, and most as groping blindly in their present’.9 In complete agreement with this point of view of his youthful writings, the Communist Manifesto expressed the same thought in the language of the materialist conception of history: ‘The theoretical tenets of Communists do not stem from ideas or principles of this or that person bent on improving the world as he has conceived or discovered it. They are only general expressions of actual conditions of the present class war, being seen by us in the historical events immediately transpiring’. And at the height of his scientific work Marx reiterated the same essentially sociological foundation of the relation between politics and social knowledge in the sentence which has continually been belaboured in treatments of Marx, yet is still not sufficiently understood: ‘The working class … has no ideal to realise; it has only the elements of a new society to put freely into place, elements which already are seminal in the disintegrating bourgeois society, where they have first developed’.10 The sociological standpoint of Marxism means quite simply the unity of theory and praxis, of science and politics in the sense that it is also in politics – in the political ‘consciousness’ of humans – where one sees a piece of the 8 9 10

From Mehring (ed.) 1902, vol. 1, p. 332. Exchange of letters between Marx and Engels, in Marx and Engels 1913, vol. 1, p. 1. Marx 1891a, p. 50. [See more recent editions in German and English: Marx 1962, p. 343; Marx 1966, p. 73. I will transcribe the German sentence itself, since it is so central in the arguments concerning Marx’s meaning among Adler’s contemporaries, as well as in the present: ‘Sie hat keine Ideale zu verwirklichen; sie hat nur die Elemente der neuen Gesellschaft in Freiheit zu setzen, die sich bereits im Schoss der Zusammenbrechenden Bourgeoisgesellschaft entwickelt haben’.]

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social process itself, which causal knowledge need not suddenly produce ab ovo. It is to be understood that the politician is a wilful and engaged person, wholly immersed in the goal-setting, deliberative, and selecting attitude in which there is for his consciousness not an iota of ‘natural necessity’ to be found. The sphere of willing is wholly other than the thoughtful inquiry into this willing, and causality is wholly a category only of this latter consideration, the knowledge of the processes of willing, not, however, of the activity of willing itself.11 The relation of science to politics in Marxism is not to be understood in terms of whether Marxist politicians initially move from science to experience in an effort to inquire whether what occurs is natural necessity, and then find accord in their behaviour. That is more the concept of social science which Utopians have, where from science a kind of recipe book for social revolutionary activity is generated. In the Marxist sense science and politics remain two quite different planes of life that each have their manner of behaviour, the first thoughtful reflection into historical processes, the second the immediate form itself. But, this last does not cease in its immediate, indeed in its future meaning to be an object of the first plane. That is, the willing and planning of the classes and their groups and leaders in their goal orientations and ethical judgements, which are the immediacy of transpiring history, belong as a causal factor in the thoughtful reflection of these transpiring processes and reveal themselves there, with sufficient penetrating analyses, at a minimum to be the decisive tendencies for the emergent future. We come thereby to the discussion of the central point of Marxism, that is, not to what degree this viewpoint is realisable, but rather that within this theoretical viewpoint itself politics is nothing other than willed experiential [erlebte] social causality itself. And only thereby is it possible, now also necessary, that the principles of knowledge, as Engels said, are merely the necessary continuation of history. What is ‘naturally necessary’ upon the ground of society must always be thought through, willed, valued and permitted by humans; it must, as Engels says in this regard continually, pass everything that can be effective in history ‘through the mind of men’. Humankind, says Engels again and again, makes its history itself.12 Only humans generate history; no one makes it, not even

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See Adler 1922b, pp. 197ff. Engels 1895, pp. 43ff. Also Marx 1885, p. 7: ‘People make their own history, etc.’, and writing even before that in his great work of account settling, ‘Die heilige Familie’, in which one can already see the singular character of Marxism being formed, where it is written: ‘History does nothing, it “possesses no immense realm”, it “fights no battles”! It is much more the person, the actual living person who does everything, possesses and fights; it is not somehow “history” which the person uses as a means in order to realise goals – as if the

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‘economic development’. Even the ‘dogmatic’ Marxists have understood the ‘natural necessity’ of the economic processes in no other way. Thus K. Kautsky writes in his book ‘the Erfurter Programme’, that he is offering a ‘catechism of social democracy’ when he states: ‘that if one speaks of the inexorable necessity of historical development, one understands self-evidently that persons are persons and not dead puppets; they are persons with definite physical and mental capacities which they seek to use to their utmost. There is no given of necessity without an action that propels societal development; lack of such action can only bring societal development to a standstill’.13 Individuals thus must always be seen as the doers of their deeds, evaluated as such as admirable or despicable. And history will be eternally a struggle of ideas, an effort to realise ideals, indeed always in greater proportion the greater the spirit evidenced among humans in their societal development. Yet, as soon as this war of ideas is not just conducted, but at the same time grasped thoughtfully, then simultaneously, immediately, one steps beyond the level of mere contestant to that of observer, which in the midst of the fiercest struggle the example of Marx and Engels demonstrates is possible. To be sure, this is accomplished only through an immense effort of thought within the ‘storm and stress’ of the spirit. One’s own evaluations and goal-orientations in this process are themselves causal elements of what occurs, causes that must find their own rightful place in the natural necessity perceived. In this way, the Marxist theoretician realises his own intense will which must be seen then as the fulfilment of social necessity, where one’s theoretical understanding does not set goals, but explains, and thereby eases one’s pursuit of the perceived.14 The goals and the values that grow from the political occurrences of a time do not stem from Marxism, from its science, rather they are only the intricacies of the social process itself. They are not the product, but rather the object of scientific investigation. And only this much is correctly understood with regard to

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person was a separate entity; history is nothing other than the activity of its goal-oriented humans’. Mehring (ed.) 1902, vol. 2, p. 195. Kautsky 1922, p. 102. And in the same sense Mehring 1893, pp. 452–3, and Plechanow 1896 (recently a new edition has appeared), pp. 225–7, where he argues that because of this integration of the active, ideal nature of humans in some kind of economic mechanistic praxis, ‘for Marx the problem of history is always to some degree a psychological problem’. It is not to be excluded that a Marxist politician pursues a politics whose ultimate failure he has theoretically perceived, whose historical necessity while recognised in this outcome is realised by him. He does this because he is aware that his actions are required even in their failure for the powerful effects that are to be brought into the present. Through a radical destruction of the past he is preparing the certainty of a greater future. Perhaps this explains the consciousness of so many of the great leaders among Bolshevist socialism.

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the essential role of human judgement: insight into the causal-genetic process of societal events is always more of a causal moment of these events the more such interpretation governs the judgments, evaluations, and praxis among persons.15 It is incomprehensible to me how one can characterise the clear distinction between the mere passing of judgement and the assessment upon which knowledge and evaluations are based as a ‘strange conflation of theoretical explication with a practical-political viewpoint’ as Kelsen says accusingly.16 This condemnation fails to comprehend the very nature of sociological problematics, the principle since Saint-Simon of ‘Savoir, pour prévoir’. One cannot forgo the future in tracking social causality, but it was Marxism that first discovered the future-oriented dynamic of social life. One can see the same problem in Kelsen’s further attack on Marxism, when he states: ‘It is really a tragic methodical syncretism, the most radical eradication of the borders between reality and values when the politician bases his program of willing and action upon the question of what he should do, formulating his goal upon such striving, rather than upon an explanatory science of what is and what is developing’.17 The Marxist politician does no such thing, rather he discerns the proletariat’s class interest from events, that is what ‘is the case’, and this alone provides him with the programme of his willing and action, providing his ‘should’. It is his knowledge of the actual existence, the meaning and historical function of the class contradictions and class struggle that determines his will, quite differently to the mere instinctive class contradictions of the uneducated masses in their judgements. He does not content himself simply with the question of what he should do, rather only with the answer of science as to what is or what is occurring. With justice, Kelsen stresses the question of the correct goal of action should never come through a presumed knowledge of what necessarily will occur.18 The Marxist, however, creates from the answers of science the certainty that ‘the programme of his willing and action’ is in the direction of the necessary ‘development’ of the social process, that is, that the motives of his valuing and goal-orientation are such because the increased evidence in its greater clarity reveals the causal process of the social events that must be brought into political reality. Certainly, the correct goal-orientation is something other than causal necessity; but this is a difference which exists only for the immediacy of 15 16 17 18

Adler 1922b (the section ‘Wollen und Müssen’, pp. 203 ff.). Kelsen 1920, pp. 2–3. Ibid, p. 3. Ibid.

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the willing consciousness. For causal reflection the correct goal-orientation is only a causal process and an object for scientific consideration, like any other. The question as to which decisions in certain social situations of each class and class-group are correct must grow out of the ground of causal inquiry, and such inquiry is justified only by the method which is employed. Values are attached to such decisions, but values that arise out of the causal moments. The values cannot refer solely to the manner of action, rather they must lead into the causal nexus itself – for the social causality is found only in consciousness. This means, however, that through the valuing, goal-setting choices, goals that are correct or incorrect are to be designated as the determined orientations of the will.19 From causality, to be sure, the justification of a goal does not follow. But this justification is a necessary form in all motivation – for the individual recognises what is right or rejects something through willing, even as such willing is an element of the social event generated by causality. When Marxism demonstrates how a particular goal in history must ‘necessarily’ arise, it is always the valuing person who holds this goal for correct, and this valuing is an inhering causal factor. Because of this, one could call the materialist conception of history the science of sociological motivation of valuation, and that in the sense of the much discussed but little understood basic thought that ideology, that is to say moral, religious, artistic, etc., valuations, are the superstructure of the economic foundation. There is thus a necessary interlacing of the normative direction of determinations with the causality of the event, insofar as the first is the form in which the latter is possible on the level of consciousness. And, ultimately, in this one finds the final explanation for the Marxist conception of the natural necessity of progressive development of the social process, which so often is attacked as Utopianism or uncritical dogmatism. For now, it is quite clear how frequently one overlooks the essential understanding of Marxism as social necessity, especially to be seen in Kelsen’s understanding that it is but chance ‘that from the standpoint of ethical or political evaluation a goal in its content fully corresponds with the standpoint of actual reality as a causally determined event of a future, necessary development’.20 To be sure, if one understands Marxist reality as a purely mechanical, in the most exact sense of this word, spiritless economic process, then Kelsen’s comprehension has justice. But as we have seen, the Marxist knowledge of reality comprehends naturally and necessarily both ethical and political values whose effects are causally determined, com-

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Adler 1922b, Chapter 1. Kelson 1920, p. 3.

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ing as they do from the causal factors at work in history. And insofar as the knowledge of the reality of the historical process itself provides evidence that certain values and goal-orientations are motivated all the more significantly by distinct conditions of social life, gaining thereby ever greater strength, the direction of the causal process, in agreement with the ideal, reveals itself not as a chance occurrence, nor as a philosophical-historical construction, but rather a causal-genetic context. This is the function of the historical-materialist conception of history, that through its conceptions a movement of history results that is of class contradictions and a class struggle. For the concepts of class consciousness and class struggle are immanent in the concept of ethical evaluation, without which no class can establish or pursue its goals. Within the class struggle, once it is recognised, a battle of law and morals is also fought. And it is this moral goal-orientation which, for sociological theory, is disclosed causally out of the economic life situations of the affected classes in a manner that is almost comparable to an automatism of the social mechanism. From this causal necessity of the emergence of the mass expression of moral evaluation condemning capitalism one can see that it itself is generated by the process of the capitalist economic system. Upon this basis one understands the ‘natural necessity’ of cultural progress, of the victory of socialism. In Marxism, the idea of progress has grown from mere belief, as it still was with Kant, to a certain tendency of causal events.21 Thus, Kelsen’s sole contradiction of Marx amounts to the assertion that his is but a tragic ‘syncretic method’, laden with ‘a strange conflation of the theoretical-explicative with a practical-political standpoint’. There is not only no trace of any of this in Marx’s work, but rather the converse: Marxism is based upon the most trenchant separation of history as a social process of events and as political willing and action. Only Marx does not hesitate to theoretically explain how the latter is but an element of the former, and this move enables us to understand his foundational concept of ‘sociated persons’ [vergesellschaftete Menschen], who, once motivated through sociation, become thereby acting, creating subjects, a ‘transformative’ causal factor of the materialist historical conception. ‘Social life is essentially practical’, as Marx expresses this idea in the aforementioned ‘Theses on Feuerbach’. Marx continues here: ‘All mysteries which are propagated by theories of mysticism find their rational solution in human praxis and in the conceptions of this praxis’.22 This Marxist concept of human praxis is the basis from which any ‘mystery’ of political praxis is

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Adler 1914, Chapter 7, pp. 63ff. Appendix to Engels 1895, pp. 197ff.

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dissolved into its actual context of general human praxis, that is, is depicted as an element of daily human sociation. Just as the economic, political concepts within the conception of Marxism are rethought in terms of sociologicalhistorical categories, and thus, as we have said from the beginning, an independent political theory of Marxism is impossible. Much more to the point, every conception which passes itself off as an independent political theory is in itself from a Marxist perspective a problem to be solved by a sociological critique and causal explanation – as, for example, the theory of liberalism or, contemporaneously, the much-beloved state science of Adam-Müllerei. We will in what follows in our discussion of Kelsen’s critique of Marx – what he calls the political theory of Marxism – see in detail which essential misunderstandings of Marx’s foundational principles of state and society persist in this thought. How he overlooks the sociological character and the ‘political’ thought of Marx and Engels will become clearer in his line of argument.

chapter 2

The Sociological Unity of State and Society The fundamental conception on the basis of which Marx and Engels speak theoretically about the state and politics is the sociological conception. In this conception the state is an expression of societal life, and its origin as well as its changes are to be understood as an element of the social causal process. Only someone who denies the root of these principles, namely, that the concept of social life can be understood as a natural process or that the concept of society may be understood as essential, will not allow the methodological orientation of this comprehension. Thus, someone like Rudolf Stammler, who believes that the concept of social life, and consequently society, is but a normative understanding, that is, society is only a normative set of relations among persons, not an essential relation, will fail to see from the onset how a concept of sociology as a causal science is the fundamental thesis of Marx. Stammler’s approach lacks epistemological grounds. Although I cannot here go into this issue in depth, I point in the footnote below to one aspect of this problem I have previously investigated.1 Analysis reveals that the social does not first arise within the interaction of willing persons guided by the idea of a ‘should’; rather it exists already in the consciousness of persons, and consciousness is its foundation, to the extent that there is no act which is possible without prior recognition, without the inhering relation of the knowing subject to an undetermined ‘many’ of other subjects. The consequence of this basis of consciousness for one’s own manner of thought and the kind of content so shaped is that this must be conceived by one as the possible possession of other conscious subjects. Thereby, the ‘social’ is already transcendental for human experience, just like the other known transcendental categories that form the conditions of consciousness. The person is even before any historical-economic sociation already sociated in his essential mentality, in his theoretical consciousness. And he finds in the historical-social processes only what he is already as a transcend-

1 Adler 1904 and 1922, Chapters VII and VIII. Kelsen also shares this denial of sociological causation in Marx, cleaving to the notion of societal norms even as he gives lip-service to the sociological methodology and sociological concepts belying his actual position. It seems that under sociology he solely understands a historical-psychological causal view of state and society, whose fundamental concepts are not constituted out of their activities, but rather formulated through concepts of normative behavior – and thus lacking any clear methodology in their determination. See below, Chapter 5.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2019 | doi:10.1163/9789004409972_005

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ental subject: the inalienable relation to other similar existential subjects and his interaction with them. This is the epistemological foundation – to be sure, only sketched rather than conceptually established – according to which the ‘social’ can be considered an element of how the human conceives, alongside the categories of space, time, and other categorical determinants. The ‘social’ is an element of nature, but not as the opponents of Marx mistakenly see his thought, as some sort of ‘naturalism’. For the ‘social’ is not being in itself, but rather societal being. The Marxist conception of nature is not what opponents of naturalism accuse it of being, a sort of general ‘naturalism’. Natural law in its forms of mechanical, physical, chemical, organic and mental nature exhibit a progressive complex of natural co-dependencies which are nonetheless independent of each other. All of these co-dependencies, individual in their character, cannot be led back to a simple, mechanical reality – only the uncritical, false problematic of our own ‘metaphysical’ age asserts such a view.2 The initial beginning of Marxism as theory is the concept of society as a social essence and event (soziales Sein und Geschehen) that makes the existence of an isolated individual being impossible from the outset; rather, the individual must be understood as interrelated with others from the outset, that is, not merely a sociable (geselliges), rather a sociated (vergesellschaftete) being. This new view already can be seen in Marx’s ninth and tenth theses on Feuerbach. There is no discussion there of the single individual within bourgeois society, but rather of ‘human society or sociated humanity (vergesellschaftete Menschheit)’.3 One does not go into society, it is neither founded by contract nor out of sociability (Geselligkeit) and mutual sympathy, nor compelled by some social instinct, rather it is generated historically-economically by humans and formulated consciously in accord with the transcendental concept that impels all sociation. That is why Marx presents his concept of society as an inseparable element of the existence of humans at the very beginning of his famous sketch of the materialist conception of history in the muchquoted passage from A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy: ‘In the societal production of their lives humans enter into necessary conditions that are independent of their wills, productive conditions which are a determined stage of development that corresponds to their material productive strengths. 2 Because of such a mind-set, it is characteristic that this specification of natural law, namely, the mechanical base, which is thoroughly dependent upon other lawful dimensions, and thus not derivable from these or superior to them in some form of hierarchical relationship, is nonetheless put forward as such by the positivism of A. Comte. 3 Engels 1895, p. 62.

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The entirety of these productive conditions constitute the economic structure of the society, upon which juristic and political superstructures arise that correspond to determined societal forms of consciousness’.4 Society, thus, is a foundational fact, an originary relation of humans to each other by dint of their productive activity, an activity only possible through these interrelations. And so, for Marxism, society and production are interchangeable concepts. As concepts, both terms are abstractions, but, as Marx himself expressed it, comprehensible abstractions – if one is careful not to cross the border of the concept by hypostatising them. ‘Production generally is an abstraction, but a comprehensible abstraction, insofar as it actually elevates the in-common, making it definite as a concept, and thus preserving us from repetitions of it in other abstract terms’.5 It becomes incomprehensible only when one overlooks that in this generalisation a historical manifold of forms develops which stem, to be sure, from the general conditions of production, but cannot be explained solely by means of the productive activities themselves. ‘There are in all stages of production general determinations that are established incommon by thought; but the so-called general conditions of all production are nothing other than these abstract moments with which no actual historical stage of production can be conceived’.6 The general concept of production, and thus also of society, have the function only of determining the direction in which sociological thought grasps and shapes its objects. Every social manifestation is a part of the sociation of that society, which is to be understood as the societal production. However, that is never ‘production in general’, just as there is never a ‘social consciousness in general’. ‘However it is always only a certain societal entity, a societal subject, that in a greater and lesser totality is active as a branch of production’.7 The productivity of the entity is always determined in its level historically, comprehending in this determination the economic and ideological forms of consciousness which more generally are the actuality of ‘society’ or ‘production’. Each stage of production corresponds to a determined order of societal life, or better stated: is such an order, so that it is experienced as a specific form of social consciousness. From these forms of social consciousness the particular form of legal consciousness unfolds.8

4 5 6 7 8

Marx 1897, p. xi. Marx 1903a, p. 712. Marx 1903a, p. 714. Marx 1903a, p. 712. Marxism is quite distanced from the idea that law arises out of economic conditions, just as little as it sees morals, religion, or art so arising. What it does see is that these forms of consciousness are independent from one another, building in their own way the many sides of

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The state in its differing forms as patriarchal, feudal, absolute, constitutional, and parliamentarian are modifications of the legal superstructure. That means that Marxism sees the state as a historical manifestation of society. For Marxists, society and the state are not two differing things; more particularly, they are not in conflict with each other. What ordinarily seems like such a conflict, as it is often literally designated, is contradiction of the level of the development of societal productive abilities with the state-protected order of societal application of those productive abilities. But this contradiction exists just because society and the state are not two differing entities, rather under the specific historical conditions society exists only in the form of the state at that time. Thus, when Kelsen writes in his book Sozialismus und Staat (1920) on p. 8: ‘An essential presupposition for the concept of the state is its clear demarcation from society’, one sees clearly from the outset of his argument his difference from the initial approach of Marxism. Whether he is justified in this understanding or not, he misses the meaning of the Marxist approach completely. So, any genuine critique of Marxism becomes impossible. A critique is only possible upon the asserted foundation of what is criticised. The concepts that are criticised must be understood within the context which they constitute. Otherwise, the critique is taking a position wholly different than the standpoint being criticised. In such a case, the justice of either standpoint must be demonstrated from the outset. There can be instances where differing standpoints can coexist as soon as one recognises that they are mutually exclusive, each looking at a subject matter from differing angles, and where each refrains then from correcting the standpoint of the other’s angle of problem-formulation. Then, one can only remove the boundary of the concept of the state from that of society when one already has a conception that the state and society are to be perceived differently. Arguing this position, Kelsen states that society is the causal concept of the union of humans under the compulsion of necessity, of custom, of inclination, of interest, etc., whereas the concept of the state is the normative concept of order for this being together. When, however, from the outset, the state is to be comprehended as only an element of society, when there the social superstructure. But this independence only relates to its essential character and the laws singular to its character, which require an approach special to this character, and thereby its own disciplinary existence which generate legal, moral and religious principles, respectively. All this is how their separate epistemological grounds must be studied, but these epistemological grounds are not of science. The epistemological insight that one exercises in the independent functioning of the moral, legal, aesthetic, and religious consciousness serves sociology first when it is seen as a problem of the development of the historical society in its moral, legal, artistic, and religious manifestations. Sociology examines these manifestations as a causal process of events.

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is no principled conception of the separation of the state and the society to be found in thought, there then arises no need for a ‘clear differentiation’ of state and society. It is just this perspective that is the greatest accomplishment of Marxism: the critical conception of society as taking up not only economic realities, but also political concepts. One sees this in Marx’s understanding of the fetishism of commodities, where the deceptive allure of commodities as somehow independent in themselves, as things that seem to have their own existence among humans, can be compared to the fetishism of the state in its being conceived as a separate personality in its relation to society.

chapter 3

The Development of the Concept of Society The separation of the concepts of the state and society mark only the first phase of the process of the development of the concept of society in itself, and in this process evidences its differing meanings. The first great development of the societal concept was its meaning of natural law. Within this phase a positive and rational concept of law, namely that of the state and of humanity, are developed, although both concepts are but alternate expressions for society, divide as one might the concepts of reality and the ideal when considering actuality. There is here no real antithesis between state and society, rather only an infinite distance which is overcome through the historical processes that progressively realise natural law, where the idea of progress in the state leads to ever greater freedom and humanity, that is, results in societal practices. The antinomy between the state and society first enters with the thought of Hegel. The French Revolution was decisive in ushering in this essentially sociological perspective, indeed a revolutionary perspective, as revolutionary as the revolution itself. This conceptual division was not so much a positive vision as one bred in disappointment, where deeper, more careful critical thought was called for in order to comprehend the course of events that had transpired. The French Revolution was to have realised the law of reason as natural law; freedom, equality, fraternity were the leading ideas that stretched far beyond the borders of France in their claims to validity. And, they were to be realised by the shedding of all other ‘laws’ which made freedom and equality among persons impossible in the state, through the removal of all ‘stations’ in society. Until then the ‘station’ in its legal ordering imposed certain rights and duties, privileging certain interest groups in the principle of order concurrently in the life of the state and societal life. Now the rights of station disappeared and along with them the special privileges – there were only citizens who were all equal before the law – at least in the initial view of the revolution, which did not yet base the voting privilege upon the census. Yet, equality – and even less freedom or fraternity – was not yet won. The stations were abolished, but now there entered at the same time a new powerful element of inequality and lack of freedom in the state which had been hidden until then by the existence of the ‘stations’ – that is, the existence of the classes. An element of social differentiation became visible which subjected every legal equalisation to mockery, indeed made such equality inconceivable. The inequality of property as a legal fact made the constitution of the legal principles of equality before the law

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2019 | doi:10.1163/9789004409972_006

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impossible. Property indeed seemed to be the very exercise of a law that now was privileged by virtue of the reverence and the zeal with which it was secured. But within this sanctified law of property it was soon evidenced that not everyone had equality of property, and thus for the majority this protection meant almost nothing. On the other hand, this measure of property seemed to be the fruit of individual work and service or at least that of individual fortune, if not unfair advantage, and, within this compass of understanding, that powerful might of the concept of individual interest arose to protect property, and in certain cases enable its increase. Through this egoistic and limitless property interest all individuals within the state were from this time on bound together. The interrelations of all within this vision of the law subjected all to an independent, self-seeking existence as the standard of life in the state. There emerged the understanding that this view was indeed the foundation of legal relationships. On the contrary, there emerged a form of interrelatedness within the state that was extra-legal, and was rather based upon an egoistic, economic interest, that of the satisfaction of one’s interests in property. And this new view was put forward as the knowledge of a societal context in juxtaposition to the state. This new view as formalised can be traced to Hegel.1 In order to comprehend how this view of an antagonism between the concept of society and that of the state is possible, indeed necessary, one must discern what has largely been overlooked, that Hegel did not have the general concept of society that we now have, that of a comprehensiveness we term ‘society,’ but rather only that of a ‘bourgeois society’ (bürgerliche Gesellschaft). Society is always considered by Hegel within this more restrictive understanding. We do not have a scientific concept of society with Hegel, only a concept that is historically-bound. He depicts ‘society’ as an entity of economic egoism, of capitalism and the bourgeois spirit. His approach is that of a system of social atomism, which can be seen especially in his youthful writings, such as the essay ‘On the scientific method of natural law’ (Über die wissenschaftlichen Behandlungsarten des Naturrechtes), where he has brilliantly set out its psychological characteristics.2 In reference to this system of social atomism Hegel generated an uncommon term, to be seen in his Phänomenologie, that of a ‘spiritual animal realm’ (geistigen Tierreich), because within the person there is to be seen an instinct which one normally associates only with the realm of anim1 One can see Tönnies’s conceptual division of ‘community’ and ‘society’ in his work so-titled as under this influence of Hegel’s conceptual division. This type of division harmed the advance of sociology as a science. More must be written of this in an appropriate context. 2 Here especially one sees the value of Bülow 1920.

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als, ‘an individuality which justifies itself by its own ends – in and for itself’.3 Therefore, one can see also in his Rechtsphilosophie, in Par. 182: ‘The bourgeois society is the difference which exists between the family and the State even when the development of the former occurs after that of the State; for the difference presupposes the State, which must be seen as an autonomous entity for its own familial existence to be possible. Moreover, the creation of bourgeois society belongs to the modern world, where all determinations of the idea of law initially were experienced’.4 That which in Hegel is juxtaposed to the state is not society in general, but rather the bourgeois society, which is a developmental stage of the development of the objective spirit in its highest form of morality as seen from the perspective of the state. In that it is a developmental stage that can be viewed as the very negation of morality. To comprehend this, one must consider the Hegelian form of development, which is that of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis, and which is never a straight line in its progressive development. Although Hegel understood society under the manifestations of the objective spirit, and as a special, second form of morality to be considered between the family and the state, it is, nonetheless, not to be seen as a mediating form. It is the antithesis of the morality initially developed, albeit unconsciously, within the emergent family. For the family perceives itself as a unity, in which the individuality of the individual member forms but a ‘membership’ within the unity of the family as a whole, in which love is the cohering sensibility (Philosophy of Right, Par. 140). On the other hand, bourgeois society signifies the dissolution of this unity, the atomisation of its ‘membership’. In ‘society’ these individuals are wholly independent from this concept of ‘membership’, rather their mutual sensibility is no longer love, but a self-seeking, an egoism.5 Society becomes, in the Hegel3 Hegel 1907, p. 257. See the further development of this concept of the spiritual animal realm towards a ‘political realm of animals’ in the young Marx, in his Deutsch-französischen Jahrbücher, p. 366. One can already see here with Marx a refusal to make the distinction that sets the ‘spiritual animal realm’ against the state, and that rather characterises it as but a false consciousness of the state, which can be solved by the advance from a political animal realm, this ‘dehumanized world’ (entmenschten Welt), to a humanised world. 4 Hegel 1921, p. 334. 5 The designation of Hegel’s concept of society as historical should not be misunderstood as if this was actually how history transpired in its manifestations. Haven’t we already heard from Hegel himself that society is later than the state? He considers this not according to the history of events, but rather of the spirit, not in chronological order, but rather as a phenomenological fact of consciousness. Accordingly, the developed moral consciousness, the higher form of the objective spirit, which is the state, appears simultaneously with and opposed to the existing form of society in order to transform it. Decisive is only the condition that with Hegel the state and society are not antitheses on the same plane, because the former is the general, endur-

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ian expression ‘a system of needs’, and this means its juxtaposition to a system of morality, in which the state is seen as a synthesis of family and bourgeois society. In bourgeois society one sees the idea of morality in its divisive existence. ‘Its Substance’, as defined in Hegel’s Encyclopedia, Par. 323, ‘is an abstract spirit composed of many persons (the family is only one person), the family considered as an individual form has its own independent freedom and exists for itself, but it loses this moral determination insofar as its members are not an absolute unity, rather each has his or her own singularity and existence for his or her self consciously, as well as own goals – thus, a system of atomism’. One sees this understanding as well in his Philosophy of Right, note to Par. 114: ‘The moral boundaries are lost here’.6 However, through this opposition of state and society in Hegel’s theory I would like to bring a significant point to the reader’s attention which has great meaning for the further development of the relationship between these concepts. We have seen that with Hegel there is not necessarily a great conceptual divergence between the state and the society, but rather that for him the bourgeois society is merely a stage towards the completion of the morality that appears in the state. This historical context comes to expression with Hegel’s repeated, incisive representation of this system of needs, this selfish atomism of individuals which in its basis is but a false consciousness, an appearance, which is maintained by the individuals who deceived one another with it. This consciousness takes itself as an actuality, whereas it is nothing other than an aspect of a spiritual context of the objective spirit as a whole. The bourgeois society cannot escape the unity of which it is a part, it can only fail to see it and thus deny it. Thus, we see in the chapter in Hegel’s Phenomenology where individuality is discussed that individuality holds itself as the end and the means, ignoring its actual effects beyond its personal existence. Hegel has titled this chapter tellingly ‘The spiritual animal realm and deceit’, or ‘that which matters’. The chapter depicts how individuals claim to be, and argue that they are, the matter of existence, the thing in itself, that they have made what is, and that what they have generated should serve them. Moreover their relations to ing and essential form of the moral consciousness in which it reaches its fulfilment, while the latter is merely a transitional station, a historical point in the unfolding of the objective spirit. 6 In his criticism of the actual immoral character of bourgeois society in its naked striving for power and property, its cynical dismissal of universal values, its hypocritical stress upon mere formal legal standpoints and its praise of usefulness, in short, in the depiction of bourgeois society as the ‘world of the alienated spirit’, as it is called in his Phenomenology, Hegel is a genuine contemporary of the revolutionary critique of society of the great social Utopians, and brings to mind especially Fourier.

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others, whether accepted or rejected, prove that the realisation of their will is all that occurs in reality ‘for by this imposition of themselves into the collective commonality they have generated as they see it that which should be and will become’.7 The individuals represent themselves as individually autonomous, taking others to be the same, bringing this understanding to every moment of their actions as they form their societal judgments, evidencing in this manner their approval or disapproval of those spiritually bound to themselves. This is clearly articulated in Hegel’s Philosophy of Right when he discusses society as the realm of egoism, the ‘sphere of singular individuality’: ‘Now a condition begins in which being an individual first determines who I am, thus removing any moral determination. But, I am in error in this understanding, for even within my cleaving to individuality, the in-common within which it occurs, and the necessity of this fuller context, remains what is primary, what is most essential; I am merely in my mistaken understanding within a stage of appearance, for that which determines my individuality, my purpose, is how individuality serves the in-common, which is really the final authority that encompasses me’ (Note to Par. 181). The history of ideas that connects Marx’s thought with Hegel’s philosophy in regard to the apparent atomisation of the bourgeois society is quite interesting. There is in both men the indication of how from a metaphysical position of the isolated individual an effort by the person to become integrated with the societal whole emerges. Marx writes in The Holy Family (Der Heilige Familie oder Kritik der kritischen Kritik. Gegen Bruno Bauer & Consorten), In the most literal sense and prosaic sense the members of bourgeois society are not atoms … the egoistic individual of bourgeois society may in a false representation, a static abstraction, consider himself so, and in that consider himself without relations to others, having no needs to fulfil by others, in a word, a fully autonomous being, so blessed by this misconception. There is with him no concern over his actual, unblessed reality. Every aspect of his senses, nonetheless, causes him to believe in individuals beyond himself, and he knows through his ordinary, everyday cravings that the world is not empty, rather where his fulfilment is to be realized. Every moment of his activities as an individual, every pursuit, is occasioned by needs and necessity, yet his conception of himself and others creates misery for him as he seeks fulfilment through other things and persons outside of himself. And, because the actual natural necessity of others is

7 Hegel 1907, p. 272.

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not an idea that arises within his sense of autonomous individuality, he lacks the bridging conceptions that might create a more facilitating context to satisfy with the help of others those needs which are only to be fulfilled outside of himself. As alienated as the natural necessity of human association might seem to him, the actuality of it generates in him the need to make such bridges so that bourgeois society is held together in some interdependent fashion. This bourgeois fact of mutual need is the dominant motive of society’s actuality, not that of any political structures. It is not the state that holds the atomism of bourgeois society together, but rather the atoms themselves through their egoistic motives, despite the atomistic self-representations. Only political superstition creates the belief that bourgeois life must be held together by the state; in fact, it is the contrary, the state is held together by bourgeois life.8 The conception of bourgeois society as a mere illusion of an atomistic independence of each member is countered by Marx in his conception of society at the outset of his sociological articulation of the problem of society. He dispels this illusion in a different manner than Hegel. Hegel speaks of the necessity of the illusion in the division of the objective spirit, and sees that illusion as first overcome through a mental process, namely through the connections established by a consciousness which comprehends the unitary being of this emanation of the objective spirit. With Marx this illusion is the necessary product of a determined historical form of human sociation, namely that form in which the acts of sociation are merely accomplished through isolated actions by individuals unconscious that these acts are directed towards sociation. The illusion can only be dispelled by the dissolution of such an ordering of society. For Hegel the emergence of the atomistic illusion and its dissolution as a process occurs within consciousness, with Marx the illusion is a process of actual events, where changes in consciousness are causally determined by these events.9 While for Hegel the concept of society was still a division in the development of the objective spirit towards its complete development within the state, so that the antithesis between state and society was really a transient formula-

8 Mehring (ed.) 1902, vol. 3, pp. 226–7. 9 One can see in this instance how the Hegelian perspective has generated, nonetheless, a last contribution to Marxist thought in the future, that is its augmentation through epistemology. By showing the bourgeois society as a realm of mental self-deception, where evidence of individual separateness is a mere illusion, we are provided with the foundational perspective of social knowledge – that is, the necessary transcendental integration of the individual consciousness within the general, which I have named the transcendental-social experience.

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tion, and had as its basis the division between the moral idea of the state and the egotism that characterised the bourgeois foundational concept of society, with Lorenz von Stein the concept of society became a universal-theoretical concept.10 It is from such a formulation by Stein that the theory of the necessary conceptual antithesis of state and society arose. In that he sees the differentiation of the society as ‘the system of needs’ generating a perceived atomism as an antithesis to the state as a system of the universal, of the moral, Stein is still a student of Hegel. Yet, he has recognised in his work that society itself is a separate universal that binds everyone together as a form of interdependent social existence of life in the state, whose laws he sought to reveal. And so this overlooked thinker, who stood in the shadow of the great sun of Marxist thought, can be credited as being the first German who generated a programme for a science of society, contributing greatly to this science from the outset. Had this first design of Stein’s remained but a mere beginning, there would not yet have been an ‘overcoming’ of Hegel’s antitheses of state and society. Stein’s ‘science of society’ was not yet a foundational science, rather it was one part of a ‘system of state science’ whose other parts were that of the principles of the state and the administration, still lacking any methodological unity. For Stein the science of society is the class-based condition of society, of the power relationships in society generated by the established order, while the theory of the state has to do with its legal order, which in Stein’s view emerges from the general interests expressed in that legal compulsion. The theory of administration for Stein is the carrying out of that class-based legal order. Stein addresses the moral implications of the state and its administrative practices from an ethical perspective, even as he discusses the societal order with a sociological-causal methodology. While he has a deep insight into the class character of the state which necessitates a conflict between the classes, his theory is one that sees the compromise of a practical equilibrium achieved between the antitheses of state and society, a condition clarified by his administrative theory.11

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Editor’s note: Lorenz von Stein (18 November 1815–23 September 1890) was a German economist, sociologist, and public administration scholar from Eckernförde, Schleswig. See his Französische Staats- und Rechtsgeschichte, Basel, 1846–8, 3 volumes, for his view of the ‘state’ as a universal concept. Stein wrote on socialism and communism even before his volumes on the state and legal history. See Stein 1847. We need not enter here into the controversy as to whether Marx was stimulated in his historical materialism by Stein, for it is a useless exercise. Stein’s book ‘Der Sozialismus und Kommunismus im heutigen Frankreich’ (von Stein 1847) is self-evidently one that had an influence upon Marx. But surely, the conclusion of G. Adler 1905 and W. Sombart 1908, p. 57, that articulates the widespread bourgeois Marxist critique that Marx’s fundamental conceptions are essentially only a reconfiguration of Stein’s understanding,

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Already in the first work of Stein that appeared in 1842, ‘Socialism and Communism in contemporary France’ (Sozialismus und Kommunismus im heutigen Frankreich), issues central to our argument were surfaced. Stein saw the new tensions between classes arising, and documented them fully. One sees in this book the revelations of a critical mind differentiating in a scientific manner the concept of society from that of the state. And even today his differentiation is significant, as the concept of society has taken on a self-understood character that breeds a lack of thought when used. For all too many, the concept of society is merely a comfortable word inserted where a concept is lacking. From the outset, Stein’s concept of society in his aforementioned book has the most integral relation to a social movement and its transformation. ‘What is a social revolution?’, he asks in his Preface (p. iv). ‘How do we distinguish it from a political one? In short, what is society and how does it function within the state?’ And under the strong impression provided by the ‘new element’ which came to the fore in his study of the social revolution in France, that of the proletariat (p. 9), this new knowledge explains all political upheavals of the latest

is completely without comprehension. One sees in the above discussion that with Stein there is a sharp division of society from the state, and an essentially normative conception of the latter. There is an unbridgeable difference in these issues between Stein and Marx. For Stein, the knowledge of the class character of society as a causal knowledge reaches only past realities, whereas in his vision of the future these matters are only an occasion for moral deliberation. Overcoming class for him is reliant upon clever, moral politics in the sense of compromise and reconciliation. That which is the essence of the Marxist standpoint, the overcoming of the class contradiction from out of the composition of the classes themselves, by dint of the economic laws that inhere in the class structure and the ideological tendencies so entailed, in short, the very concept of the economically necessary development of a new societal form, was foreign to Stein. Thus, one sees with him a differentiation between socialism and communism, where the former was depicted as a justified striving, but communism as a ‘threatening spirit’ which jeopardised the state and threatened the culture with ruin. Stein does not see what Marx and Engels will elucidate, that communism is the necessary development in its next phase of the very system of class contradictions that Stein depicted. Stein understands communism only as a misconstruction of societal authority that arises out of the preceding misery and passionate need for change, a misconstruction that can be corrected by a better politics of the state. This view is not simply a petty bourgeois political vision on the part of Stein, rather it is a failure to see the implications of his own theory of class contradiction. Marx and Engels recognised this pregnant possibility in Stein’s class theory, and Marx several times lauded Stein against the critique of Stein by Karl Grün (1817–87). One understands quite well this appreciation of Stein when Engels criticises Stein’s work as depicting only ‘frustrating misery’. Such a critique by Engels could only be possible when he already had a clearer understanding of what might come out of that misery due to its very dynamics. See in this vein the polemic between Peter von Struve and Franz Mehring in the Neue Zeit, XIV (1897), 2, and XV (1898), 1 and 2.

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years, and that which brought an end to the ideal of freedom of the French revolution itself, insofar as the property-qualification of the bourgeois constitution ended it. ‘What is the moment which was so powerful that in the midst of the glorious developments of establishing equality structurally arose that which so decisively opposed it? … property! The principle of equality had finally found its true opponent. And still lacking knowledge of the actual meaning of it, one began to intuit that the inequality of property was the reef upon which equality would founder’.12 With this insight a new viewpoint for considering the revolutionary movements was found, an understanding that enabled one to see that the present battleground had changed. The struggle for equality was to be fulfilled in a totally different arena; ‘if it was previously within the power of the state that one sought equality, now it is in society’.13 The political battle with the state gave way to ‘the battle in the heart of society’. It is necessary therefore to counterpose a science of society to our previous science of the state. Neither the science of the state nor the philosophy of law, and still less the study of political economy, enables us to see the actual totality of the community life of persons ‘in its scientific unity’, since each only gives one side of the entirety. ‘Where is then the idea of this actual whole enabled to be seen as a totality? We do not have that yet; only a simple word can cover this lack, and the word is a poor cover. It is the society, and the conceptual solution to it still lies ahead as our task’.14 We find in the first volume of Stein’s next book, which appeared in 1850, the History of the Social Movement in France (Geschichte der sozialen Bewegung in Frankreich), that systematic explication of society promised in the earlier book in all its insight, but also its contradictions. The subtitle of this work reads ‘The Concept of Society’.15 One sees in it the advance over Hegel in that point we indicated earlier, that is, where Hegel insists that the concept of society is merely a developmental phase that has become a universal concept, Stein has shown society to be not merely an antithesis of the state, one of two moments of a spiritual development, but rather a historical form of community life where immanent contradictions exist. Society and the state are now not to be divided, as if the state was an entity that had to incorporate society, raising it into its universality, thereby becoming complete, and in that merely an idea; rather, society and the state ‘are both living elements of the content of

12 13 14 15

von Stein 1847, pp. 50–1. von Stein 1847, pp. 56–7. von Stein 1847, p. v. There is a new edition of this work published by Dr. G. Salomon: von Stein 1921.

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human community’.16 However, from this it follows that ‘the content of the life of the human community is a continual and necessary struggle of the state with society, and society with the state’.17 In this Stein remains the loyal pupil of Hegel, as the state and society are only organisational forms of antithetical principles, where the state is the universal interest and society the individual interest.18 The sociological societal concept as a universal form of community life and its transformational laws are drawn with even greater clarity in his 1856 ‘Principles of Society’, the second part of his ‘System of the Science of the State’. This book has an excellence that enables it still to be relevant today as one seeks sociological knowledge. But it is in its holding fast to the juxtaposition of state and society, as with Hegel’s philosophy of history, that its methodological confusion exists, just as its becoming conscious of its theoretical insufficiency begins. Stein himself asserts that the concept of the state alone is unable to provide comprehension of the life of the community (p. 53). He makes clear that in every ‘actual’ state the universal interest, i.e., the idea of the pure state, cannot be realised because the power and propertied interests of the ruling class provide the dominant principle of the state’s development. And so, the problem of how from ‘society’ the ‘state’ will come to be is just as unresolved as Stein’s proposed solution, whereby the aristocracy and the administration are the elements which represent the universal interests in the face of the mere power of societal interests, and in this sense solve the conflictual problems administratively (p. 73), generating a Utopia, albeit a reactionary one. We are not involved here so much with Stein’s representation of the theories of the state and society; rather we only engage his thought in order to develop our own path of thought in taking up Kelsen’s need to make a clear demarcation between state and society. We see now that this boundary was fathered by Hegel, and continued by Stein with his own tendencies that hold the state as an idea, as a normative essence, to be distinguished from society as a factual condition – a direction of thinking quite amenable to Kelsen. The state is divorced from sociology in order to make it an object of ethics, or as with Kelsen, a fount for the theory of law, while on the other hand for him the theory of society exists as if in unbridgeable isolation when juxtaposed to the actual life interests of the state. So the question of whether an opposition of state and society really exists is an essential question for sociology – one that Marxism also takes up in its consideration of the state. 16 17 18

von Stein 1921, vol. 1, p. 31. von Stein 1921, p. 32. von Stein 1921, pp. 35ff. and 41ff.

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The Further Development of the Concept of Society by Marx In Marx’s conception the opposition of state and society is done away with. His dissolution of such a conceptual antagonism in order to formulate his own sociological foundation was not undertaken with the purpose of denying that this antagonism existed in actual historical circumstances. Marx saw the psychological-historical justification for these differing purviews, but rejected the logical antitheses that were asserted by the concepts. For Marx there was a real antagonism of social forces involved. Marx and Engels ‘saved’ what they saw as the true meaning of the concepts from the Hegelian ideational antitheses. They make evident that the Hegelian conceptual conflict of state and society is merely an intellectual illusion, but also provide the real core of this antithesis in the lawfulness of the social process itself. And this occurs through the knowledge that the state is only a historical form of manifestation of societal life itself. The state is a determinant form of human sociation (Vergesellschaftung) that occurs in the course of historical development, and is termed in the consciousness of its carriers an in-common entity (Gemeinwesen), a state. It remains, nonetheless, the society itself, only at a determined, historical level of its manifestation. Earlier, it has appeared as a tribe, a city, a people. Yet, from where does such antithetical conflict stem in this form of sociation, which leads to a stark division between the state and the society? It lies finally in the social nature and individual consciousness of persons, a ground that can be discerned only through epistemological insight. One can then see that becoming conscious of one’s societal nature – even at the level of the group or the societal class – is for the naïve consciousness a necessary representation of the universality of interest and a solidarity with the whole, within which a context where the individual as one with all others like himself is perceived. This serves his needs of self-knowledge, but also informs him of his being a furthering member of that whole. In this sense one could say that the person in his basic nature is not only a societal being, but also a democratic one.1 Com1 This is not to ignore his constant lust for power and desire to conquer others. It is just this imperialism that breeds within a phraseology of in-common human interests. Quite to the point, Robert Michels says in his praiseworthy and rich material study Zur Soziologie des Parteiwesens in der modernen Demokratie (Michels 1911): ‘The conservative spirit of the

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munity appears to this person as his own individual being; indeed it must seem so because he identifies his own thinking and willing with a universality shared by all the undetermined others he views as fellows of his kind. Without recognition of this epistemological root of the social character of all individual mental activity, Marx, nonetheless, saw the factual actuality of this perspective in those around him. This insight became the pivotal point of his criticism of class ideology. In a particularly pregnant, but little known passage in his writings, we read: The ideas and thoughts of persons are naturally ideas and thoughts about themselves and their circumstances, their consciousness of themselves and others, that is, not merely a consciousness of themselves as isolated persons, but of themselves in the context of the entire society and of the entire society in which they live. The conditions of this society, independent of those individuals, yet in which they live their productive lives, and with that the necessary forms of their interactions that create the given of their personal and social relations, assume in their minds insofar as they can express it the ideal determinants and necessary relations. The concept of what a person is as a human individual, the nature of being human, and all attendant conceptions are an expression of their manner of consciousness. What persons ‘are’ is determined by their conditions, a perspective seen in their conceptions of being human or from other more particularized and proximate conceptual determinations generated by their conditions.2 Here is the source of the natural law deemed as irrational and contradictory to human nature (to be read as ‘unsocial’) by all those who take umbrage with such a challenge to the so-called non-contradictory, accepted vision of society. Yet, here one also sees the source of a positive law which can only stem from this foundational form of all societal alignments, where the individual bases his self-definition within his grasp of the greater whole, upon what he sees as the ‘general interest’, upon the preservation and representation of this solidarity of all that is recognised by him as legitimate, true for everyone, and thereby compelling obedience. In such a ‘should’ one finds the inner command of morality or the outer rule’s law. One can only produce a new form of human community ancient station of authority which is so rooted in our tradition requires in our time of universal suffrage a fluttering gown to hide its presence, one that gives it the appearance of a democratic drape’ (p. 8). 2 Marx 1903b, p. 128.

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based upon the activities that generate related forms of consciousness and living together. In every form of sociation a distinct organisation emerges which has the goal to preserve and protect its type of life relations among all who constitute that society. This organisation and its proponents develop a ‘government’, and its ‘state’ is of this societal form. As long as the actual formation of its sociation has no economic contradictions within it – one may call to mind in this regard the more or less legendary living form of original communism (Urkommunismus) – one’s consciousness within such a form makes no distinction between the state and society. But, within any such organisation there are germs of actuality that impart movement towards the dissolution of such an identity. There will be persons who have a position to act in the name of the whole, but in reality have personal interests in mind in their exercise of authority. In this manner the societal form becomes a medium that acts against the society itself, and creates contradictions within it that split apart the original conceptual unity of community, law, and the state. But, this new set of divisions does not arise immediately in the consciousness of its people who continue as before to see a unity among the concepts that now are diverging. The people still have a sense of conceptual solidarity when they use the concepts of state and law, even as the contradictions emerge. The people hold almost as ‘self-evident’ their traditional perspective because of their social nature, and where they have no other language with which to depict the changes around them. Thus, Engels could say: ‘In the state one sees the first ideological power over the people. Society creates in that an organ to enforce the common interest against inner and external attacks. The organ is the state power. Even as it is created, it defines itself as an organ that stands apart from society, and is so in fact the more it becomes an organ of a specific class, bringing the authority of this class directly to bear upon all’.3 The peculiarity of this ‘form of state’ is that which continually brings sociation under the concept of universal interest, while in reality it is continually of a special interest which are the ruling powers within this form of sociation. That is, these ruling powers have constituted ‘the state’ and make up its very essence. The state is thus not actually an elementary structure that can be called ‘the state,’ rather it is a form that represents a contradiction-filled ideology in which the societal actuality lives and is formed. It is full of contradictions because while its form is directed towards the in-commonness of community, its content represents only partial interests of that community. The idea of the state

3 Engels 1895, p. 51.

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represents the general will and takes from this supposition the authorisation to dictate the laws by which all must integrate themselves. But the content of this general will is not a dictate of ‘all’, but rather of the ruling class of society, so that the laws that take on the form of the general will are the special will of the rulers given a codified appearance. That is the characteristic dialectic within the concepts of the state which stem from two divergent and contradictory community principles, that of the altruism of the state and the egoism of society. The form of the ‘state’ then is merely a partial complex of interests that take the apparent form of a universal solidarity which is not simply obedience to the law, but a recognition of its sanctity. The laws of the state are not to be followed by compulsion, but rather honoured as an order of justice and respected as such. It is uncommonly interesting and instructive for the history of ideas associated with socialism that the discovery of this internal contradiction in the bourgeois idea of the state and its order of justice was completed at the very threshold of the emergence of the early modern concept of socialism, at the same time as this socialism’s first pioneers, the theoretician Thomas More, and the first leader of a communist movement in Germany, Thomas Müntzer. In More’s admirable ‘Utopia’ – in its genial manner a forerunner of the later critique of the capitalist system and the first ideation of modern socialism, even though it was written four hundred years before this was to be, at a time when capitalism was in its bare beginnings – we read: ‘When I observe in all states which today begin to blossom, I see insofar as God helps me with this insight nothing other than a plot among the wealthy which hides under the cover and premises of a state interest who want only to protect their own advantage. They think of every possible technique, every means and tricks to maintain this advantage, usurping the work of the poor without compensation to succeed in their plans. Their schemes, which the rich hatch in the name of community, imposed upon the poor, are put forward as laws’.4 And in the same spirit Müntzer wrote in his last essay, which Karl Kautsky named his most passionate and revolutionary, that ‘The great do what they will … the basic broth of usury, of theft and robbery is brewed by our rulers and princes, they take all creatures as their property, the fish in the water, the birds in the air, the very vegetation of the earth, all must be theirs. Then, they use God’s command to the poor, saying “God has forbidden that you take that which is not yours”, even as they disobey this rule. If the poor take what they need, they are seized by the authorities and hanged’.5

4 More 1896, p. 159. 5 Cited in Kautsky 1895, p. 290.

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The truest element of the Hegelian theory regarding the contradiction between the state and society is that there is a real opposition within the societal living conditions which through its ideological form, whereby the state seems to be a unified solidarity, is actually a deception. This ideological form in which individuals are conscious of their sociation is of a condition under law, that is as being members of an organisation of in-common interest. This understanding belongs to the necessary form of social consciousness, yet arises out of the manifestation of the contradiction between state and society. Every class interest wants its will to be the authoritative structure, and strives therefore to acquire the power of the state and thereby proclaim its will to be the general will. In this process ‘justice’ is always on the side of the oppressed class because with their liberation the circle of the in-common interests are enlarged. In what such an ideological form of sociation resides, and especially our contention that it is finally a form of consciousness, is not a problem for sociology, nor is it even a problem for Marxism. This issue of ideational origin is a sphere that only epistemology can address adequately, which I believe is a necessary augmentation in the best sense of historical materialism – even as modern science can no longer do without an augmentation based upon epistemological foundations.6 The Marxist conception discerns the ideological form of the organisation of law in which sociation is experienced. Its task is only to explain the concrete development of this form in its several kinds of organisation, as well as the changes in the content of this form and those of the societal context. And, the most important aspect of this explanation must be from the outset that the form of the state is not identical to the system of justice, but that, rather, the organisation of the form of justice has a historical identity which reflects only a part of the society, who will through it articulate its own will and interests in the name of the whole. There is a twofold consequence of this situation, which Marx in a littlenoticed writing from his youth explains how the Hegelian antithesis whereby the state is the universal in-common and the society is the private, egoistic realm hides the false antithesis of this formulation. The apparent antithesis is shown as the necessary ideological consequence of the bourgeois mystification of the concepts of the state and of justice, which from the bourgeois standpoint is the self-evident identification of its class interest with the state and the legal system. The special interests of the ruling classes of bourgeois society not only effect this deceptive usurpation of the universal on behalf of their private interest. In instances where there are greater interests involved

6 See here M. Adler 1922.

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than their own within the state, they also manage to articulate these through their authority within the state structures as private interests which do not concern the state. For example, they champion a work contract that leaves workers who have devoted their lives to their occupations without compensation when they are no longer capable of work. Here the norms of state are exercised to exploit the individual lifetime of employment by creating a law that calls this larger state interest one of private property. The universal interest of the employed within society is so articulated by the bourgeois ruling class that ‘it is a private matter’ for the person insofar as he is compensated when no longer able to work. If one is no longer able because of age or infirmity then that is one’s private matter, a situation that is left by the laws of the state for charitable private individuals and private groups to rectify. Thus, poverty, being without any property, is not viewed by the healthy bourgeoisie as a social phenomenon, rather it is one’s private destiny, the consequence either of some particular misfortune or one’s own incompetence, laziness, or simply poor economic planning by that individual. The moral content of societal membership with the state is determined by the authoritative possessors of property, thus lack of property from the self-conscious perspective of the bourgeoisie is simply a private matter, indeed verging on depravity. And the possessors of property, ever since Aristotle and even through to Lorenz von Stein, are not only those who legitimately exercise authority, rather they have earned that right. Marx takes up this internal contradiction in the bourgeois ideology of the state thoroughly in his Deutsch-französischen Jahrbüchern, particularly from the perspective of the fundamental antitheses of human emancipation and that of mere political emancipation. I have elsewhere dealt with this exhaustively already.7 The expression ‘human’ emancipation betrays the influence of Feuerbach which was present in Marx’s thought at that time. But Marx means more than what is intimated by Feuerbach’s humanism, namely the standpoint of a fundamentally social conception as opposed to the mere political, the social being the integration of all the relations and conditions of human life – most of them not yet sufficiently defined so as to be studied – of which the political was but a historical expression. Famous in this regard is Marx’s critique of ‘human rights’ during the French Revolution in which that which was deemed ‘universal’ was but the compelled form of a mechanical ideology where but one particular form of ‘universality’ is emphasised. Marx shows that

7 See M. Adler 1918, also in a separately published volume by the Wiener Volksbuchhandlug 1918.

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none of the so-called human rights went beyond the egoistic individual perspective to a genuine universal humankind. If one was a member of the bourgeois society, namely, having his own private interests and his private will, separated from the in-common, then one’s right as a human was affirmed. Far removed from this expression was the so-called species universality that was asserted – rather, this private formulation was shown as the species imperative in itself. Society was implied to be beyond the individual, indeed a barrier to his or her original independence. The only connection to it held by these revolutionaries was the natural necessity felt by all who had their own private interests and concomitant needs to conserve their property and their egoistic person.8 The political conception of society, that is the view that the in-common interests of societal life are realised in the form of the state, is therefore held by Marx to be only a partial emancipation. The concept of emancipation must also include the social as well as the intellectual aspect of the liberated individual. For as long as one holds steadfast to merely the political, the individual remains in his or her ability to know actuality locked into the contradictions of the bourgeois ideology. This separation of the political from the social and intellectual affects the individual in a fateful manner. ‘The perfect political state’, according to Marx, ‘is in its essence man’s species-being, in contrast to merely his material life. On the other hand, all presuppositions of the bourgeois regarding the political state are that private life in a society belongs beyond the sphere of the state, a view that affects how the state itself is to function. For the bourgeois, the political state has truly realized its role when it has a double meaning, one of heaven and that of the earthly life, one in which all share his vision of an in-common world where he can be a private person, and all other people are but a means for furthering that private life and buffering him from any outside forces’.9 This mere political conception cannot then comprehend the whole of the social context because it is from its outset but a partial conception that is class-based, belonging to but a segment of the society itself. Therefore Marx terms a political revolution ‘a partial revolution’. The concept of the state within a bourgeois society is with the political revolution of the bourgeois formulated in its structures-to-be. ‘How are we to understand the partial reality of a political revolution?’ Marx states as early as his ‘Critique of the Hegelian Theory of Law’. ‘We see a part of the bourgeois soci-

8 Mehring (ed.) 1902, vol. 1, p. 419. 9 Mehring (ed.) 1902, vol. 1, pp. 407–8.

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ety emancipating itself and realizing an authority on behalf of all, yet is but a determinate class in its own peculiar situation that seeks to impose its own definition of the in-common as a universal emancipation’. And, he adds to that: ‘No class of bourgeois society can play such a role without such a feigned enthusiasm in which the masses are addressed as one with them, where a universal fraternization is held by them with all of society, where they can be seen as representatives of all, to be recognized by all in this role … only in the name of a universal law of society can a particular class vindicate their own authority over all’.10 One must see that in the historical moment in which there is a victory of one class on the attack, one which succeeds in a liquidation of what has existed in the political state in its social development, there can be no talk of a contradiction between the state and society, and even less can one justify that society is the realm of egoism and mere individual interest. Rather, it is clear that in such an epoch of the renewal of the state, the society must be seen in its higher calling. In such a moment suddenly one sees that the state and society are one and the same, the former being the ideological form of consciousness and the latter the real context of human existence. Only in the after-glow of revolutionary zeal can one see the true colour of this reality, for now one sees that not all forms and relations of sociation have found their way into the form of the state, but rather only those which offer the special protection to the leaders of the revolution in their own life interests. And, in this bourgeois-led revolution we have the separation of the concepts of the state and society. And this separation remains an ideal as long as no other standpoint can be discerned where its justice can be challenged as but a class-based vision of social reality. Marxism is that standpoint of discernment. Marxism is the renunciation of the world of ideological reflex and ‘the leading back to the human world, to the human conditions of that world’. As we have said, this is not only the transformation of the political into the social, but the emancipation of thought itself. From such a transformation comes the revolutionising of the concept of the essence of the state and society. In this double sense Marx is correct when he says: ‘First when the real individual integrates the abstract “citizen of the state” into his own person, first when he sees his own power [ forces propres] as a societal force, organizing it with that in mind, will he overcome the separation of political power from his own. Only then will he be fully emancipated’.11

10 11

Mehring (ed.) 1902, vol. 1, pp. 395. Mehring (ed.) 1902, vol. 1, p. 424.

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Thus the state for the Marxist, i.e., the sociological standpoint, is but an ideological form of an essentially societal structure, and in that recognition shows itself to be a very narrow form. Therefore Marx calls for the surmounting of this narrow form, seen as such because it is but a mere political conception of human emancipation. He describes this form as a product of ‘political understanding’ by those who have a limited, necessarily one-sided manner of thinking which is incapable of ‘discovering the source of social ills’.12 The vaunted ‘necessary antithesis of state and society’ disappears as soon as one recognises that the standpoint of the state is the representation of an abstract whole ‘that exists only by its separation from actual life’, while observation of society allows for the first time the real whole to be discerned, enabling one to see that ‘the state’ is only a distorted understanding. Then, this antithesis is finally superseded: state and society are an inseparable unity, in which under certain historical conditions, namely those of the creation of economic class contradictions, the state becomes a form of social consciousness according to which sociation is guided in its constructions. The appearance of the antithesis of state and society explains that this form is at its root the creation of special interests who have taken power; and, this authority is vaunted as the universal interest, that is, the interest of the state. The state for this special interest is the essential form of social life, and thus ‘the state’ is put forward as the originary form of human life coexistent with ‘society’. With this insight, the Marxist understanding takes the same critical turn as it does with its treatment of economic conceptions. One sees the transformative character of the Marx-Engels envisioning of national-economic issues, whereby one does not seek invariant principles of economic life, but rather what has developed within historical circumstances in their changing forms of societal occurrence. This breaks decisively with the bourgeois conception of economic phenomena, which when it recognises some development must nonetheless, as Marx characterises it in his second foreword to Capital, ‘adhere to its own capitalist order as the absolute and final form of societal production’. The economic categories of private property, commodities, wages, profit, capital, etc. in their emergence and continuance are conditioned by the foundation of the means of production which generates them as structures and ideological categories. All ‘these ideas, these categories’, says Marx as early as his The Poverty of Philosophy (Das Elend der Philosophie) (1847) ‘are as little eternal as 12

Mehring (ed.) 1902, vol. 2, p. 52. From this understanding stems the new sociological distinction between a social and a political revolution, which in the Marxist system is not a mere slogan of political agitation, but rather a fundamental orientation towards the manner in which social development occurs. See here my discussion in M. Adler 1918, pp. 14 ff.

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the order which they articulate. They are historical and changing products. There is an uninterrupted movement in the increase of productive abilities and the concomitant destruction of social relations, in the development of associated ideas – what is unchanging is only “change” itself – more immortalis’.13 The same liquidation of apparently unchanging natural laws of social life that Marxism reveals as regards economic concepts, he reveals in political conceptions. ‘The State’ is just as little an essential form of societal existence as ‘capitalism’. The concepts of state, political power, public interests, and the like are for Marxist thought interrelated ideas which are wholly historically generated concepts. Their meaning is always a particular expression of a determinable historical stage of societal organisation, never a form of societal structure in an enduring manner. The concept of the state has value in Marx’s eyes in the same way he considers the concept of property: ‘In each historical epoch property has developed differently according to the difference in societal conditions. To define bourgeois property requires no more or less than to describe all societal conditions of bourgeois production. A definition of property as an independent condition, a special category, an abstract and eternal idea, can be nothing other than an illusion of metaphysics or that of jurisprudence’.14 In its follow-through on this perspective Marxism comprehends the state as ‘the organized power of a class for the repression of another class’, as is stated in the Communist Manifesto. This much is clear: every critique of the concept of the state that holds it to be a universal concept expressing an essential structure misses the fundamental orientation of Marxism. This is the problem of Kelsen’s critique, which treats the state not only as a universal – not even acknowledging its historical organisational phases, the changing ways in which it is understood – but seeing it as a normative concept, something quite different to a sociological concept, which examines a state as a societal manifestation in its being and becoming. But let us overlook this problem for a moment. It can be argued that a critique of the state from the point of view of a universal concept has relevance even in the face of a historical perspective, if it shows that this universality persists through historical modifications. Such a perspective does not contradict Marxism, rather it corresponds to Marx’s aforementioned statement that any thoughtful reflection requires necessarily an abstract universal. If one remains aware that these concepts are but abstractions whose meaning is derived from the changing content

13 14

Marx 1892, p. 91. Marx 1892, p. 140.

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of historical circumstances, they can help us to order, and thus further, our understandings. So, let us see if Kelsen’s concept of the state from this perspective enables us to comprehend it sociologically – and this is the only point which we take up in our analyses – infusing it in this regard with a critical and systematic meaning.

chapter 5

The Formal Logic of Law in Kelsen Kelsen understands the state to be an authoritative association that may or may not correspond to a definite territorial area. ‘What is decisive is only its authoritative character. That means nothing other than whether the order of human coexistence which one designates as a state is a compulsive order, and whether this compulsive order … is congruent with the legal order’.1 Thus, Kelsen defines the state as a legal, compulsive order and sees in that sufficient characteristics for the existence of a state. We see at once that such a pure formal definition for the existence of a definite historical form of state is insufficient. The patriarchal state is exactly the same compulsive order as the bourgeois. Yet, how do we see the difference? If one answers, well, look at the manner in which the compulsive organisation is ordered, this becomes of sociological interest. What is the foundation and direction of this compulsive organisation, and what leads to its change or transformation? Kelsen’s definition of the state, however, is somewhat like saying that an animal is a form of organised material. Both such definitions betray their limitation in knowing their specific subjects: for the animal, all we learn is that its life does not come from unorganised materiality; with the state, we learn that there must be a distinct legal organisation. Yet, that is all. Such a definition of the state has the polemical sense which Kelsen’s definition leaves us with. When one makes the concept of the state a legal one, where norms are created that are brought under a compulsive order, a causal view of what transpires is cut off at its root. Life within the state, which means the same thing as social life as the state is a part of social life, becomes characterised from the outset as normative given the legal cast of definition. One is then not interested in how this state has arisen or how it has changed, but rather how it is ordered or could otherwise be ordered. Moreover, Kelsen’s theory of the state has yet another polemical meaning which stems from his misinterpretation of Marx, one which informs his entire critique. Kelsen’s critique starts with the premise that Marx’s theory attacks the compulsive order of the state’s organisation; and this allows him to ‘demonstrate’ that Marx’s theory of the ‘withering away of the state’ expresses anarchism, which, however, he fails to admit, as it would betray a contradiction in his entire theory.

1 Kelsen 1920, p. 6.

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I will not deal with this claim of Kelsen’s until later in my discussion; nor will I immediately take up the essential epistemological and methodological differences between Kelsen and Marx in their conceptions of the state. It is important as we address Kelsen’s criticism of Marx’s concepts to note that Kelsen argues from a position that, as he sees it, is within Marx’s theory itself. This should be the correct approach. One should criticise a system from within its own premises. Only such a critique deserves the name critique. A critique from outside his system would be an attack from another position. However, we will see that Kelsen fails in this immanent critique because he is too much Kelsen in his flesh and bone to succeed. We see this already in the first steps of his critique, when he presents what he deems to be the contradictory aspects of Marx’s concept of the state. Kelsen there proceeds to show that which is insufficient and at cross-purposes in the state-concept of Marx and Engels. Kelsen describes how Marx conceives the concept of the state, where the state is the authoritative organisation of a class whose purpose is to exploit the class that is dominated. Kelsen’s complaint here is that above all this definition does not correspond to the core of the matter at hand, and that the characteristic of exploitation is an unsatisfactory conceptual element for a further development of the state-concept. Kelsen says it is self-evident that every compulsive order does not exist merely for its own ends, but is rather to be exercised to address a goal beyond its own order. This goal can be the exploitation of the suppressed, but this may also not be the case. In the light of the goal to exploit, the concept of the state is not clearly defined.2 In this logically indefensible reasoning that gives itself off as an immanent critique of Marxism, one sees immediately and in an elemental manner the difference between the sociological (Marxist) and the formal-juridical (Kelsenian) concept of the state. In the latter instance, the state is not discussed as it actually is, as one lives and acts in societal reality, in other words, how it has come to be historically and in its psychological affects, and how these causes further develop it. For Kelsen there is only ‘the state as an entity’, a positing that is always a juridical formulation, wholly within that heavenly constellation of thought. He never considers therefore whether the many-sided possibility of a formal-juristic definition of the state can be simplified by considering its social process as a historical unity. Certainly, ‘the state as an entity’ can follow a thousand-fold variety of state goals, and therefore must accommodate its form to these manifold possibilities. However, within a social reality, perhaps only one of all these possibilities is realised; and moreover this is the only

2 Kelsen 1920, pp. 6–7.

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one that can be realised, as is seen, for example, in the evolution of animals of distinct material organisation that culminates in the vertebrate. It is only this kind of reality which interests sociology, and which is the Marxist conception of state. This understanding is quite beyond Kelsen’s concept of the state. He only asks after the societal essence of the state, but never answers what that is. The entire positing of the problem by Kelsen and his critique of Marxism can only be understood when one sees that he has only one object in view: Whatever the actual societal context of life which has historically brought the existing state into being – why is it conceived as a unified state personality among the people? What is the singular conscious process by which the societal facts of interdependent life become forms of law and the state? Certainly, this way of formulating the problem of state is extraordinarily important, indeed fundamental; but one sees immediately that such a formulation is essentially epistemological and as such has nothing to do with the emergence and development of legal and state organisational forms. It belongs to the great, and not yet sufficiently valued service of Kelsen’s work which considers the normative meaning of legal and state conceptions with a clarity and acuteness that improved upon the first efforts in this direction by Stammler,3 who confused the teleological and normative aspects of the conceptions of law and state. Kelsen enabled us to better comprehend the normative conceptions of law and the state. The manner in which Kelsen fought the psychological orientation of these concepts and their referents with an epistemological approach, the way in which he purified the concepts of state and law with logical rigour, removing the distorting aspects of psychological will in their formulation, so that they become definite principles that could be seen in their normative effects, belongs to the most acute thought, with the richest implications for the future of legal philosophy heretofore known. In this proper evaluation of Kelsen’s work, that work is not in any way diminished when I assert that such a complete elimination of the will from an epistemologically-based concept of law is not possible. Even when I am in unity with Kelsen in not wishing to bring the psychological will into a discussion of the formulation of law and the state, one must recognise that norms

3 Editor’s note: See Rudolf Stammer (1856–1938), a neo-Kantian contemporary of Max Adler, who wrote on the issues of the theory of law and of the state from a perspective that saw ideological development as a cultural reality not to be fully explained by sociological forces, as in Marxism, in works such as Wirtschaft und Recht Nach der Materialistischen Geschichtsauffassung (Economy and Law According to the Materialist Conception of History) (1896); Die Lehre von dem richtigen Rechte (The Doctrine of Proper Rights) (1902); Theorie der Rechtswissenschaft (Theory of Legal Science) (1911); and Recht und Macht (Right and Power) (1918).

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emanate from the pure will, and can only be properly considered as such a consequence in their reality. Only from the autonomy of pure will can arise the concept of a compelling power. Thus, I see Kelsen’s argument against Marx as an epistemological, not as a sociological understanding; it is a discussion that hinges on a normative approach that does not probe sufficiently the thought that informs the conceptions of legality and the state. Perhaps this is a boundary Kelsen wills in his approach, but it is one that inevitably creates a misunderstanding in relation to any sociological orientation of the conceptions of law and the state. Kelsen’s epistemology persists in its juristic conceptions of the state and the law, which insofar as it is merely legal logic is justified. The unforeseen consequence, however, is that it seems as if only juristic concepts are adequate, which leads to the impossibility of sociology as a causal science, a science of society. For Kelsen, social life always appears as some form of law. It is well known that Stammler has arrived at this position, while Kelsen seems not to have done this decisively. Yet, it is not clear what Kelsen has left to sociology. Even his incisively oriented monograph The Boundaries between the juristic and the sociological method (Grenzen zwischen juristischer und soziologischer Methode) (1911) defends really only the area of the first, and seems to treat sociology as social psychology. Nevertheless, in his major work Chief Problems of the Principles of State Law (Hauptprobleme der Staatsrechtslehre) the existence of sociology as a causal science is not contested. There the state and the law in its emergence and change does become a principal problem of sociology; there he sees it is articulated as bordering on the epistemological, and asks whether the ‘state’ and the ‘law’ can be thought only as normative concepts or whether they could not be conceived through other elements, perhaps involving the laws of consciousness. In truth, as I have argued above and elsewhere, he states here an understanding that all juristic concepts must finally be thought of as forms of sociation (Vergesellschaftung). Yet, sociation is not a normative product of pure consciousness, rather sociation belongs to the theoretical realm of epistemological forms in themselves. Transcendental knowing, the epistemological function that makes possible all experience, is present in every individual consciousness. The very possibility of an ‘undetermined many’ is cohered in the singular determination of the immanent, functional laws of the individual mind, which generate the origin from which the individual consciousness derives its notion of a universally valid world, thereby the consciousness by which its social world is built. Only from that developed basis are normative relations and thereby law and the state juridically possible. Knowing is experienced by the individual, but it is from the outset, just as space and time, an experience of sociation. The sociation of experience is the final transcendental ground of social life in itself. It is the ‘transcendental social’

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which all epistemology conducted by sociology in its form as a causal science seeks to establish.4 The origin and transcendental character of normative standpoints are not overcome by my criticism. I must say this now, as I do not want my criticism to be understood as if I were saying that the thought-form of the normative was derived from the theoretical implications of transcendental sociation. That would be a serious confusion and a total misconception of the transcendental principle. The normative consciousness is throughout the final independent form by which laws are formulated in consciousness, and are experienced as such just as one experiences the theoretical. Here I must add a remark which can be taken as a paraphrase of my own standpoint – one cannot describe merely one aspect of the transcendental, either the theoretical or the normative. Famous in this regard is the Kantian directive where he speaks of theoretical and practical reason, which seem to be so sharply separated in how they affect one’s willing and being. He says finally that they share the same root. I will not venture to say whether this root can be seen in the ‘transcendental social’, but when one reflects that it is here that the origin of the relations to one’s fellows is to be found, that from here outwards the manifold of subjects first occurs that becomes the person’s mental world, where normative rules are first experienced, and that on the other hand every norm can be traced back to the pure will which in its universal value and non-contradictory principle forms our relation to the undetermined many of willing subjects – it seems to me that we have come essentially closer to the common stem of the laws of consciousness. But, we can’t get into this further now, especially the back and forth with Kelsen’s epistemological standpoint.5 We must focus only upon how our view 4 I explicated this concept of the ‘transcendental social’ for the first time as the ‘social a priori’ in the first volume of Marx-Studien, that is Causality and Teleology Contend Over Science (Kausalität und Teleologie im Streite um die Wissenschaft), Chapters XIV and XV. Since then I have addressed this concept quite often, notably in Marxist Problematics: Contributions to the Theory of Historical Materialism and Dialectics (1913) (Marxistische Probleme; Beiträge zur Theorie der materialistischen Geschichtsauffassung und Dialektik), and I hope to come back to the concept more thoroughly, as in the last 20 years since 1904 new thoughts have emerged regarding it from differing perspectives and sides of the issue. 5 Such a discussion should emanate from Kelsen’s second epistemological study of social life, the quite significant and interesting book Das Problem der Souveränität und die Theorie des Vollkerrechtes (Kelsen 1920). Moreover, during the editing process of my present work, the most recent publication by Kelsen has furthered this approach, his Der soziologische und juristische Staatsbegriff (Kelsen 1922). Yet since we are concerned in our present work only with Kelsen’s Marx critique, not his theory of social life, we cannot enter his epistemologicaljuridical line of thought in more depth. Nonetheless, it is indicative of Kelsen’s theoretical

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of Marx’s conception of the state differs principally from that of Kelsen. Kelsen’s view of the state is only a juristic one, or better said, an epistemology of the juridical concept, whose corollary is that the state and the law can be thought through only juristically. His problem is never the question, what are the state and the law, but rather in what ways does our thought move when we speak of state and justice, of sovereignty and law, of guilt, punishment, and duty. This orientation of questioning addresses the contemporary state as it would the Babylonian, the law in the bourgeois society is considered just as one would in the maternal-primitive society. It is fully formal in nature, but as an epistemological viewpoint it cannot be otherwise. In his Hauptprobleme der Staatsrechtslehre he compares incisively the theory of law with geometry. Thus, if he was defining a bullet he would not speak of the material it contained, merely its form, and just as little does his discussion of the principles of law consider its elements of content. And he adds: ‘The complaint that the formal method gives “unsatisfactory” results because it does not grasp real life, leaving the actual life in the law unexplained, rests on a complete misunderstanding of the essence of jurisprudence which is not to grasp the reality of the world in people and things. It has no requirement to explain life’.6 Kelsen repeatedly emphasises that the content of the concepts of law requires a special – not a formal, but rather a causal – perspective, and that this is the particular province of sociology.7 Thus, his polemic against Marx’s concept of the state amounts to an exasperating misunderstanding of his method. For the Marxist perspective is not a mere formal method, is not juridical, but is rather just that casual, sociological conception of the state and the law in its emanations for which Kelsen seems to call. It is possible that this misconceived polemic has its cause in the incomplete foundation which Kelsen establishes in his differentiation of the boundaries between the juristic and the sociological methodological standpoints: he gives warrant to epistemology in developing juristic concepts, but does not allow this in his vision of sociology. Therefore he is of the opinion that the state and the law cannot be examined by any misconception of the sociological character of Marxism that in this most recent book, which sets itself the project of examining the sociological concept of the state, while he takes up a slew of social-psychological inquiries, such as that of Wundt, Durkheim, Jerusalem, even that of Sigmund Freud, he fails to even mention the Marxist conception of the state and society which first enables a sociology, rather than a mere social psychology or social metaphysic (as with Spencer and Tönnies). Certainly, when one only sees a political theory of Marxism, as does Kelsen, its sociological meaning evaporates and it remains, in his usage, but socialist agitation. 6 Kelsen 1911, p. 93. 7 Kelsen 1911, p. 92.

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method other than the juristic. And thus his leaving the content of the state and the law to sociology is at best a precarious allowance (precario modo), that is, sociology has no ownership of the content indicated by the state and the law; rather the content that these concepts suggest can only be given shape initially by the concepts of legal science.8 In truth, Kelsen’s recognition of sociology is only deceptive, and what he names as sociology reveals itself with closer analysis as in part a history of law and the state, in part a social-psychological re-working of the relations between the law and the state. And then his polemic against the Marxist conception of the state seems to be that it is not juridical – a strange conclusion of a critique which seeks to argue against methodological confusion. Kelsen claims that sociology cannot progress in knowing the state or the law: in short, he argues against his earlier, repeated assurances that there is a sociological method. Let us depart from this epistemological deviation, however, and continue to address the stated goal of Kelsen’s investigations – his immanent critique of the Marxist conception of the state. 8 This is stated in the newest book by Kelsen 1920, p. 11: ‘It is easy to show that all attempts to examine the state from a sociological-causal scientific perspective, that is grasp the state as a social fact in the sense of a natural phenomenon, must fail …’

chapter 6

The Essential in Marx’s Concept of the State We must recall what Kelsen attacked in Marx’s concept of the state: it was conceptually insufficient when he said the goal of the authoritative organisation was the exploitation of one class by another. For Kelsen this fails to determine what is essential in the state. As he states: ‘It cannot be demonstrated that the state, that is the governing authority, has as its essential content the economic exploitation of others; economic exploitation is in no way the single goal of the modern state’. And further, ‘it can be asserted that only a compulsive organization is capable of hindering the condition of exploitation’.1 One should also not forget that the capitalist economy arose from liberalism, and has fought the state in the service of an exploitative goal for its economic practices almost to the point of upholding anarchistic theory. The state’s political-social legislation is evidence that as a compulsive organisation its direction can control exploitation and end class conflict. Only if it can be shown that political authority, that is the compulsive organisation, can exist as it is merely through the maintenance of economic exploitation, that is the authority of class, can the Marxist concept of the state be secured. It is just this last supposition, however, that is contradicted in Marxism with its significant idea of the authority of the proletariat which will construct its own state, the proletarian transitional state – the dictatorship of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie. This state as described by Marx certainly does not stand, nor develop, upon the exploitation of others.2 What moves us particularly in this critique of Marx is that Kelsen, who otherwise is constantly concerned with the method of thought imbricated in the development of concepts, here seeks to argue against Marx without allowing him such an in-depth, cognitive approach. He wishes to pursue an immanent critique of the Marxist concept of the state, that is, he will show how the Marxist concept contradicts its own content. But he begins to show merely that Marx’s concept does not correspond to his own, whence we see again clearly the conceptual differences, but with the danger that these will be reduced to a mere conflict of terminology. When Kelsen holds that there have been states free of exploitation, this argument is made from the position of a formal con1 Editor’s note: Max Adler uses Kelsen’s words in this citation and the one immediately before it (Kelsen 1920, pp. 6–7). But then a long paraphrase begins as the paragraph continues that comprehends the several pages of Kelsen 1920, pp. 6–13. 2 Kelsen 1920, pp. 6–13.

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ception of the state, because he understands the state as a compulsive organisation of community life. Since Marxism, however, does not proceed through formal concepts, but rather the material content within a society – not from the juristic, but rather from a sociological concept of the state – Kelsen speaks past Marx, not within his thought. For Marxism is not about every compulsive organisation of a state, but rather only that within which there is class domination. To make an immanent critique of Marx, Kelsen must in the case of this concept demonstrate a contradiction within Marx’s own presuppositions – presuppositions which are sociological, not juristic. For the Marxist concept of the state is essentially only that the state, as he wrote in the Communist Manifesto, is ‘the organized power of a class to repress another class’. Kelsen reads this as if Marx had said that the goal of a state is to exploit one class by another class. Baldly, such a statement is not a Marxist one. For the exploitation of one class by another is not generated by the state itself, but rather by economic facts. Exploitation is not the goal of the state, indeed it is not the goal of the capitalist production process. The only goal of the production process is profit, the creation of surplus value, and exploitation is only a necessary condition for the realisation of this goal. The state does not plunder the subjugated class, does not have the goal of subjugating it for the purposes of exploitation; rather, the exploited class in the production process is also subjugated politically. The state does not have exploitation as a goal, rather it is its public-legal form. ‘The modern state’, says Friedrich Engels, ‘is only the organization by which the bourgeois offers to maintain the general, external conditions of the capitalist production process against attacks from the workers, but also from individual capitalists’.3 And furthermore, the state is always an organisation for the exploiting class so that they can uphold their external conditions of production, namely through the forceful subjugation of the exploited class to the existing means of production in its given conditions (by the means of slavery, serfdom, compelled obedience, or hired labour).4 The exploitation is not engendered by the state, thus cannot be its goal. However, the state gives this exploitation a definite form, that is the legal order. The state generates the governors and the governed from the agents of production. The state, however, has its own ideology, not derived from the economy; it generates through the law its form, which is not derived from the economy. No one can dispute this, nor is it disputed by Marx and Engels.5 Yet, many Marxists have not recognised 3 Engels 1891, p. 38. 4 Engels 1891, p. 40. 5 Marx and Engels did not examine this independent form as it is generated by the laws of consciousness, and thus only partially recognised its independence as a form, seeing it also as the

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the independence of the law as a form, and many today cannot fathom the epistemological basis of this independence. Again, we do not dispute this, nor do we go into it more deeply here, as the legal form of the state concerns us only with respect to the social character which the form carries and fulfils. That the state pursues other goals than class subjugation and exploitation, those goals one usually calls cultural goals, is not an aspect of its sociological reality. On the other hand, its aspect of class subjugation is the essential characteristic of its legal form of exploitation. This characteristic comprehends in its degree of interest and scope the form of every other goal that it pursues. The continual complaint voiced by those who want more of a stress on culture from this overriding concern with class subjugation can be seen in the writings of Rousseau, Kant, and Herder. Anyone who has been interested in the culture of thought, in the ideas of the spirit, or even simply in the welfare of the people, has complained of the major emphasis of the state in supporting the existing capitalist economic system – which is served by monarchical constitutions as well as by the republican. The state budget of the modern state represents only the governing interests (army and navy)! Why can’t the schools of the people become what is needed in terms of effectiveness, why can’t they have the pedagogy that has long been desired? Why can’t hospitals and other health institutions not be built in the number and standards that are necessary? Why must scientific institutes satisfy themselves with only the bare minimum support, reliant upon the whim of some millionaire for funding? Why can’t the means of transportation be built in such a way that the common man is made comfortable, instead of providing only the wealthy with luxury? This is because for such activities and developments the state has no means and will not provide such. For these means must be demanded of the state by those who have property, or not be successful; those of property will not be limited in their own demands. Because of this reality, the state’s pursuit of ‘universal’ goals is dirempted, unless somehow the state is otherwise compelled (of which we will speak further below). Certainly the state ‘pursues’ other goals than exploitation (a practice that in itself, as we have seen, is not directly pursued other than in its own role as a provider of jobs). But all these goals, the administration of the law, education, the cultivation of art and other spiritual goods, welfare, hygiene, etc., are objects of public interest only in a limited sphere, given by the state as the illusory mirror-image of social reality. Yet the degree to which Engels saw the independent laws of its ideology of legality as a moment in the historical exchange between its premises and social reality can be seen in Dokumente des Sozialismus, Volume II, pp. 65 ff., published by Konrad Schmitt and Franz Mehring. I take up the issue of the interaction between legal ideology and the economy in my book M. Adler 1920a, p. 73.

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bare minimum needed for seeming to provide for the welfare of those people whose cooperation sustains the state. Soldiers do not need schooling, and the workforce who man the machines do not need schooling either. Without such a workforce and a protective force industry and militarism could not function, and the bare minimum standards of health are provided to keep them functioning. If there was not this fear of an outbreak of disease among the poor people of the city, such hygiene goals would be seen as un-fundable, and disappear from the public interest of the state, as they had in earlier epochs – one thinks in this regard of the beginnings of large industry in England. Beyond this minimum, these hygienic and cultural goals are only met by private interests, which while praiseworthy and honourable, are only products of luxury which only those of property can exercise. With justice, Kelsen can say that the legal form of the state has nothing to do with these problems, because the legal form of the state can provide the vehicle for every ideal goal of human development. Certainly: but from this follows only how little is accomplished for us by a legal knowledge of the form of the state. If I only know of the state that it is a compulsive organisation, nothing is thereby said of my experience of its essence as I live in it. Nothing is known of what it has been as the destiny of humankind for several centuries, or from where any future transformation of it will emanate. Only the sociological perspective reveals to us the function and meaning of this compulsive organisation. The juristic concept of the state explains to me how I think when I speak of the state and the law: namely, that I order the appearances of societal life into a unity under the law. But what I think of concerning the matter of this unity, which manifestations of this order are brought together, the legal concepts say nothing. In this regard it must be understood that a reference to the ‘state in general’ is never used; rather there is reference only to a particular compulsive form that is the state, and such a form is an exercise of a certain content. Kelsen says to me that yes, here we see clearly the difference between the juridical and the sociological standpoint. Yes, I give him justice in that; only then he has failed to pursue the sociological standpoint of Marx within his choice of forum, which is solely a juristic critique. He claims that the Marxist concept of the state is self-contradictory because, on the one hand, Marx emphasises that capitalist exploitation in its liberalism borders on anarchism in its treatment of the state, but, on the other hand, the social politics within a capitalist state gives evidence that the exploitation furthered by the laws can be curtailed, and that there is a tendency in the current state towards an alleviation of exploitation. These points recently brought forward by Kelsen, seemingly beyond his more formal, conceptually-driven way of thinking, demonstrate, however, that he is fully incapable of comprehending Marx’s historical perspective. The sociological is not merely logically different

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to the juristic, it is carried out, so to speak, in another dimension. While the formal standpoint is non-temporal, the material which it articulates cannot be understood without its relation to a specific time. While the juristic contemplates its subject with tranquillity, tracking conceptual changes in the state formally, the sociological cannot be so ‘above the fray’; rather it must see the ceaseless movement in its necessary dynamics. Here we see that the dynamics of the Marxist conception – called the dialectic by its creators – are completely overlooked by Kelsen in his formal, legal-logical flesh. Only by means of such an oversight can Kelsen make his case of Marxist self-contradiction, whereby he asserts that Marx conceives the state as merely a public form of the law as exploitation. If one grasps how Marx takes up things dialectically ‘in their flow, in their historical movement’, then one sees the following: Liberalism was ‘liberal’ only in relation to the system of regulation and compulsion it fought. It didn’t ‘negate’ the state in general, rather only the state which was its situation, that is for the striving bourgeois, for the developing capitalism, which was enchained by it. Liberals fought feudalism, the police-state, the guild- and privilegedexistence.6 It did not fight for ‘freedom’ but rather for the freedoms of the third estate, above all for the freedom of trade, that is, for the freedom of exploitation. Where its freedom, that is bourgeois freedom, was not the issue, it was ready to support ‘the state’. Therefore, when others sought freedom not within their purview, the liberal charge against them was ‘anarchy’, and this was especially so with the proletariat who sought more freedom – they were fought as anarchistic. And even today, for the petty bourgeois, socialism and anarchism are the same thing. Liberalism’s theory of the state is quite distanced from that of Marx’s theory of a class-based state. One can best understand liberalism’s theory in the light of Marx’s, and then one will shed no tears over the failed attempts, actually illusions, of the bourgeois to create a state in the French revolution that realised universally the ideals of humanity. The actual idea of liberalism is that the state provides the minimum protection of life and prop6 Yet it was not against securing a privilege for its own class, the bourgeoisie, and using the state power for its own ends. Nothing is more characteristic than the position of liberalism in the question of the extension of suffrage with regard to the masses, the petty bourgeoisie, the farmers, and all of the proletariat. The well-known constitution of 1791 of the French Revolution showed that despite the claim of fraternity and equality the vote was controlled by the census quota, and this position extended into the recent past where, in the struggle over the right to vote, the proletariat in Belgium and Austria have struggled with the unsympathetic and decided opposition of their liberal opponents. Cf. Michels 1911, where the contradiction between liberalism and democracy is described as a ‘birth defect’ of the former in its entire political direction.

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erty for its citizens, and otherwise allows every person to fend for themselves. This idea is masked with the ‘elevated’ ideas of freedom for the individual and protection from damage by state compulsion. The foundation of the actual idea is the expression of the economic interests of the capitalist employer class, so that their businesses are not robbed or nullified by the state, and they are free to do whatever they choose in doing business, especially to determine the wages of their workers as they see fit. The minimum of ‘human rights’ regarding the protection of property and the bourgeois life justified a ‘negation’ of ‘universal rights’ if the workers sought to take freedoms not warranted in the eyes of the bourgeois, that is, by not working as the employer saw fit, and preferring hunger to the working conditions provided, that is, striking. From a legal-logical perspective these understandings of what has occurred and can occur are not deliberated, indeed are beside the point of a legal structure in itself. Sociology must look at these actualities in the exercise of ‘freedom’. The sociological concern protects the sociologist from being accused of a contradiction when speaking of liberalism as the defender of exploitation, and of the class-based state as an expression of exploitation.7 7 Only when the illusory side of liberalism is asserted, when its promise of universal freedom is taken as ‘real coin’, and when economic freedom harmonises with the interests of all – which Kelsen, to be sure, never asserts – can one be of the opinion that liberalism can overcome the class-based state. This illusion is created by the optimistic conception that in complete economic freedom there is perforce no foundation for exploitation because class contradictions among the populace cannot develop. This is the opinion of a recent and zealous defender of neo-liberalism, Prof. Ludwig Mises, in his book Nation, Staat, und Wirtschaft (Mises 1919), who says that in Germany it has never been understood exactly how liberalism differs from socialism. Socialism is only popular in Germany because of its goal of an economic order that gives all its citizens the greatest satisfaction of their needs; liberalism, however, with its focus upon individual satisfaction, has no such goal, nor can it have such a goal for the totality of the populace. But, Mises emphasises, the difference between liberalism and socialism does not lie in its goal, but rather its means. ‘One has long forgotten in Germany that liberalism, just like socialism, bases its economic system not upon consideration of individual interests, but rather emphasizes the totality, the greater populace’ (Mises 1919, pp. 148–9). One can then say in the face of such an argument that absolutism has never been understood in Germany or elsewhere. For Mises does not take democracy into consideration as a necessary goal; rather for him it is a means, in the sense that solely the welfare of the whole is sought, just as the enlightened autocrat saw himself as the first servant of the state. Indeed, history has enabled us to see this grotesqueness as nothing other than a fantasy. The great socialist Robert Owen, in his unshakeable belief in the power of reason, encountered Metternich as he presented his system to the public in lectures. Owen relates that Metternich pressed his hand, and said to him: ‘I agree in theory with your aims, indeed in the principle of such an end-goal for all of humanity. I also want the happiness of humankind, and wish to make them free and educated. Only in relation to the means, in the practical carrying-out of the project, am I of another opinion’ (Liebknecht 1892, p. 7). Yes, if only the theory of the ends mattered! But that

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Just so, only a wholly formal and ahistorical viewpoint can claim to see in social politics a tendency towards alleviation of the class state. Indeed, as if a ‘social politics’ was somehow independent, a power above the classes themselves! There are always a great number of optimistic ideologues who believe in such a divine possibility, and dedicate themselves to such an end, claiming to pursue social politics, believing they can heal the foundational evils that subsist in the class contradictions of the state. This party of thinkers remains between a rock and a hard place, stymied by the class contradictions, doomed to meaninglessness in their efforts. Social-political legislation has essentially two roots – first, in the needs of the dominating class to ameliorate the impoverishment of the proletariat, which makes this class unsuitable for the production process or for militarism, moreover transforming them into a threatening mass; second, in the organised proletariat. With regard to the first, social politics is not a tendency towards alleviation of capitalist exploitation, rather it works towards its conservation. The intention of this social politics of the governing class is to further the welfare of the people in order to make them more fit to carry out the work of business owners (limitation of child labour and the work of women, Sundays for leisure, sickness and accident insurance). Those who have insight within the employer class have come to recognise the positive effects of such legislation for their own interests.8 The second direction,

is not what is decisive, whether liberalism has the same outcome in mind because it wants the welfare of everyone; rather the question is whether it can achieve such an end. It is this final question that, when answered, reveals that it cannot do so, because the welfare of the whole is but the sum of the welfare of each individual in its purview, and thus immediately becomes in the theory of von Mises the same ideal of happiness held by the Benthamites, the happiness of the greatest number. Socialism, on the other hand, sees its promise of happiness as a function of an organisation of the whole which generates the welfare of the society. 8 One must not overlook that the social politics of the ‘state’, that is of the governing classes, had its strongest support from the conservative parties, such as the dominating programmatic influence of the Christian Social socialism, as articulated by Bishop Ketteler in Germany and Baron Vogelsang in Austria. This ‘honourable’ humanism and ‘Christian’ window-dressing of its vocal leaders came to expression only against the rising power of industrialism, voiced by the class interests of agriculture, the artisan, and the middle classes who saw fit to fight ‘capital’ and ‘the Jews’. In short, the old expropriating means of the arch-conservative authorities and their contingents of the small people were set against the competitive exploitation of capitalism. In this context, it is interesting to recall that Marx and Engels early on saw the English ten-hour bill as a reactionary measure. See here the instructive article by Engels, ‘The English Ten Hour Bill’ (Mehring [ed.] 1902, vol. 3). Engels shows that the same reactionary classes and their parties co-operated in the battle for the ‘exploitation-unfriendly’ bill as for the ‘exploitation-friendly’ corn law. As Engels remarks: ‘The Ten Hour bill offers a remarkable terrain for these reactionary classes and their parties (territorial aristocracy, managers and exporters, the petit bourgeoisie) to align with the proletariat against the industrial bour-

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however, realises such social legislation as the direct result of the class struggle itself; that is, the governing class must comply in spite of itself with this outcome generated by the proletariat’s revolutionary movement. Even there where the movement was only within the unions, so that one cannot speak of the proletariat as genuinely revolutionary, there is a tendency towards this limiting of exploitation that is not ‘of the state’, namely, in the will of the compulsive organisations of the governing levels, but that rather emanates from the power of the workers’ organisations in their compelling presence, and is a result of these powers. In any case, the fact that every social-political legal proposal is immediately strongly branded as a sign of the class struggle is evidence of its mutual recognition, and in addition, the administrative authoritative and judicial protection of the workers’ protective laws is witnessed first in the wake of the unceasing struggle of the workers’ organisations, where there is a halfsensed, self-evident recognition of how little social-political tendencies of the state are active in the removal of economic exploitation. Laws live only insofar as there lives also an interest that justifies their employ; thus, one can be at ease in saying that social politics is only effective insofar as it energises the activity of the working class in their actual striving against exploitation and the class-based state. These two arguments, that of liberalism on the one hand and social politics on the other, do not create a contradiction in Marxist theory but rather the opposite, in that each is to be seen from a sociological perspective in its relation to the state, a relation which through Kelsen’s formalistic, juridical perspective is overlooked. One sees immediately that both these arguments are only possible as conceptually independent in the light of Kelsen’s critique, which ignores the stated purpose of their proponents. In his effort to critique Marx immanently, yet remain within his own formalistic, ahistorical approach, he cannot see the historical meaning of Marx’s concept of the state: its dynamic character is not considered. How then is it with the rest of Kelsen’s argument, namely his contention that the concept of the state in Marx and Engels, geoisie’ (p. 386). When later Marx in his famous Inaugural Address referred to the Ten Hour Bill as a victory of a new principle, this is not a contradiction. For Engels speaks here of the historical forces which have actually carried the Ten Hour Bill, while Marx sees this law upon reflection from the standpoint of the strengthening presence of the workers’ movement. He names the Ten Hour Bill a victory of a principle, because upon reflection he sees what follows it, namely the independent representation of itself by the working class; for the first time ‘the political economy of the bourgeoisie has beneath it the political economy of the working class’. Or, in the terminology of this discussion: there is a victory of social-political principle not of the state, with respect to the alleviation of exploitation, but rather of the tendency of the proletariat, of the class-based state, to eradicate its own exploitation.

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whereby the bourgeois state is dissolved by the proletariat, leads to no state whatsoever? He argues that according to Marx and Engels this proletarian state cannot have goals of exploitation, and thus is a contradictory concept for the Marxist who sees the state as by definition exploitative. Insofar as Marxism speaks of a class state of the proletariat, of the dictatorship of the proletariat, and insofar as this concept is the leading thought of Marx’s political theory, he brings clearly to expression that there is indeed a state which is not an organisation of exploitation, and sustains in this opinion his own concept of the state. In this polemic we see the fateful effects of the ineradicable formalism of Kelsen. He continues to err in the above argument in holding that the Marxist concept of the state is one of exploitation, which is in contradiction with itself because of the proletarian state to come – which is non-exploitative. Kelsen insists that Marxism makes the state central to its theory, yet for a Marxist this is not the case. The state, at best, is an abstract concept for the Marxist, whose purpose is to cohere theoretically the complexity of differing historical events and their structures, and whose essential character is not exhausted by this stateconcept, but rather only by examining the concept of the methods of production of a given time, and the difference between the traditional economy of the artisan and farmer (oikenwirtschaft) and the capitalist economy. The Marxist thus does not ‘know’ the state, but rather the bourgeois state, that state which emerges along with the bourgeoisie’s theoretical and practical interests. And even when the Marxist speaks of the state, he is thinking within a historicaldynamic conception, that is, of the bourgeois state. If he uses the word ‘state’ in individual cases to refer to another substrate than the historical-dynamical, for example in a discussion of the proletarian state, this is to be understood as a designation that distinguishes it from the bourgeois state. Thus, one cannot see anything contradictory when one says that not all the characteristics of the bourgeois state are to be found in the proletarian state. The essential meaning of the Marxist concept of the state is only this, that it involves class domination, so that the organisational community of the state is always portrayed as a form of subjugation. Kelsen identifies class dominance exclusively with economic exploitation and asks with a voice of triumph: where in the proletarian state is this exploitation of which the proletariat will make an end? Even more: where is the class domination of this state? For, says Kelsen, these problems are only those of economic exploitation; class is an economic concept. Consider that the proletariat even after its victory can take political power immediately, but can only end capitalism gradually, since the transformation of capitalist into socialist production can only be gradual. Thus, the bourgeoisie remains within the

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proletarian state ‘as an expropriating class’.9 But ‘a class dominance with economic exploitation is a non-thing. A group of persons cannot be dominated “as a class”’.10 In fact, the authority of the proletariat in the state it develops is no longer a class authority against a subjugated class, but rather, as in every state, a compulsive organisation for the benefit of all. ‘In the so-called proletarian state the bourgeois and the proletariat become integrated, and they are no more “subjugated” than the proletarians themselves’.11 There is no longer the issue of the dominance of a class, but rather that of a party; from the economic concept of the proletariat we now have a political party of the proletariat. And, the sociological idea of the proletarian class state announces itself now in purely a formal-juristic sense, namely in a compulsive organisation whose content is discerned by the legal norms that are set by the party. For the Marxist it is difficult to address Kelsen’s arguments above, which in every point leave the ground of Marxist theory, indeed, merely run alongside it. In order to achieve once more a Marxist understanding, almost every word used by Kelsen – such as ‘class’ and ‘party’, which, given his juridical form, are economic and political concepts – must be translated into our sociological perspective. One can see quite strikingly how impossible it is, despite a plethora of direct citations from Marx and Marxists, to criticise Marx’s theory, when one remains locked into a static, formal standpoint which disallows the necessary movement of the Marxist sociological perspective. Nonetheless, we now go further in showing the basic differences between Kelsen’s understanding of Marx, and our own. 9 10 11

Kelsen 1920, p. 12. Kelsen 1920, p. 14. Ibid.

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What Is a Class? Above all one cannot conflate class subjugation and economic exploitation. In the proletarian state the bourgeois class will be suppressed, although it cannot be economically exploited, which, moreover, would be a kind of exploitation that does not belong to this state form of suppression. If, for the bourgeoisie, class authority was the form in which it conducted its economic exploitation, for the proletariat class authority is the form in which this exploitation, to be sure gradually, is dissolved. In both instances, it is only through force against the contrary class interest that this is possible. To understand this, one must become clear about the Marxist concept of class. Kelsen designates the concept of class in the Marxist conception as solely an economic concept, one that is devoid of any political content. And this seems to him the fundamental view of Marxism; so that his understanding of historical materialism is that ‘economy’ is the basis of its ideology, and that it is this ideology that explains its politics. The historical materialist view has, as we have thoroughly discussed at the beginning of this book (pp. 4ff.), the misfortune of being misunderstood, and among its bourgeois opponents its most misunderstood concepts belong to its view of economic conditions. The economic conditions which generate the historical materialist theory are not sufficiently ‘material’ for its opponents, who ordinarily think of it as devoid of all spiritual-mental content besides the ‘economic’. They characterise its ‘economic’ aspect as an amorphous quality that no one can really describe, a fault that is ascribed to the theory’s foundational flaws. I cannot go further into this miscasting of historical materialism, as I have done this elsewhere; what I can say here is that this ordinary understanding destroys the nerve-centre of historical materialism. There is no dualism that divides a spiritless economic material and a developed mental life; rather economic conditions are nothing other than the production and exchange conditions of social life, that is, the relations between persons. Such relations are formed in judgment, so that all economic manifestations as well as the most elevated mystic contemplation are products of the mind. One should not overlook that Marx stated ideals are ‘material reality as translated in the human mind’, and that the mental translation of material reality is the chief vehicle of economic materialism. Read Marx’s Theses On Feuerbach as evidence of this. It is through the conscious formulation that the material becomes social: in that the material assumes a specific functional context ‘by dint of the human mind’, that is, in the form of social experience, a transcendental-social apperception.

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The transcendental-social apperception is how the individual translates personal experience into social experience.1 Economic conditions and the processes that generate them, in short, ‘the economy’, cannot be conceived as other than a distinct form of social ideology; and, if it is to be understood correctly, the theory of historical materialism, which contends that the ‘economy’ is the foundation for the entire superstructure of social consciousness, means the concrete historical fulfilment of a determinate form of social consciousness, with its particular stimuli, that sustains or renews its impetus in every sphere it touches. This complex of goals and boundaries which we designate as economic is, on the one hand, a directional index for the development of its guiding ideology. That is, in its explicit and veiled form of articulated idea its particular ‘problems’ are formulated. The ground and scope of these problems are what then is deemed social meaning. Thus ‘the economy’ is always an abstraction of a mental element that cannot be separated from its material existence, as respects its attendant legal, moral, political and religious forms.2

1 Although this may seem a redundant explication, especially for the Marxist familiar with the ‘Catechism of Social Democracy’, let me quote the following passage concerning ‘economic development’: ‘We have seen how new production forms arise which necessitate new societal forms; just as new needs are created which compel individuals to think of how to address these in their societal conditions, innovating means to accommodate society to these new conditions of production. Such accommodation does not happen of itself; it needs the mediation of human thought, of ideas. Yet, the ideas are merely the mediators of societal progress; it is not from the ideas themselves that the initial movement towards the new occurs, as many have thought previously and even now, but rather the change in the economic conditions’ (Kautsky 1920, p. 133). 2 Surely Marx’s picture of the ideological ‘superstructure’ has led to misunderstandings of historical materialism, but not because of his own formulation. For many have infused his notion of superstructure with their own, one-sided interpretations. The picture of a superstructure is meant only to make one aware that the economy is the basic level of mental life, not that it is somehow an understructure apart from consciousness, spatially distinct from that mental life. Rather, it is the basis from which all social effects are derived, as with a building that rests upon a foundation that is still part of the building. Does someone imagine that the relation between a building and its foundation is to be conceived as a duality, and opine thereby that the superstructure has the nature of a building, but its substructure does not? One must see immediately that the foundation and the superstructure are one and the same, an indivisible whole, only that in the substructure there exists what is more visible in the superstructure as form. The foundation, i.e., the understructure, determines the possible height of the superstructure. Surely – as we continue this analogy – the architectonic form of the façade, the architectural adornment of the gables or interior spaces are not immediately an “effect” of the substructure. But, the concrete tasks of the architectonic and artistic adornments grow only from the concrete form of the superstructure, which the substructure makes possible. Marx emphasised that the ideology of the superstructure was merely an image which could

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In accord with this necessary digression on the meaning of the historicalmaterialist conception, it is now clear that when Marxist theory speaks of economic concepts, it does not mean facts that are to be understood separate from their context of social ideology, but rather, to the contrary, that this ideology must remain the contextual basis of interpretation, stressing, however, in one’s clarification, the aspect of their economic determination. If the concept of class for Marxism is an economic one, that does not mean that it is not at the same time a juristic, a political, indeed a moral concept as well; it is plainly all these at once, only seen in its determination from the economic point of view. And, it is through this comprehensive understanding that the economic historical-materialistic conceptions of Marxism become sociological. These economic concepts are only possible as societal categories; they reveal the reality of the entire society from their economically-initiated direction. If class as a Marxist conception is of an economic nature, it is now evident that this does not mean it is a conception of lifeless economic material – since for the Marxist this representation is unthinkable – but is rather concerned with the living actuality of its social context itself, only oriented towards an economic point of view. Class as a political concept does not separate itself from an economic concept; rather it is to be thought through on the basis of the economic dimension of the political. Insofar as one understands the political character of all relations to life in the state, either positively or negatively, class contradictions must be pre-supposed; all moments of class are at once economic as well as political: for if the economic constitutes the class, it is the political that gives it its sphere of activity. Marx writes of this as early as his Poverty of Philosophy: ‘There are no political movements that are not simultaneously societal’.3 From the sociological perspective of Marxism, the economic element of class is not to be divided from the political. Both build their whole from the social as a manifestation of society. Let us look at this foundational concept of Marxism even more closely. What is a class? One again and again bemoans the fact that Marx in the 32nd chapter of Capital did not finish his treatment of class, leaving it incomplete, so that only only be understood in the spirit of his entire theory, and was not to be given the sanction of a principle of his theory. This is clear when he states that ‘with the change in the economic foundation, the entire superstructure is revolutionized, be that slowly or quickly’ – for in saying this the static picture of a building and its foundation is left behind. For a building does not transform itself by changing its foundation. Rather, it topples; and thus one sees clearly the representation of a unified, functional context in which the foundation and the superstructure are one and the same, both having a mental character. 3 Marx 1892, p. 164.

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the raw beginning of this chapter is available. But even this contains significant evidence that the question ‘What is a class?’ leads for Marx to another question: ‘What constitutes a class?’4 It seems at first glance, says Marx, as if class is made up ‘of the self-sameness of revenue and revenue sources’. Yet, Marx rejects this answer, for it implies that the countless societal divisions of work in their groupings, because of their sources of income, would constitute a class – for example, physicians and civil servants would each be a separate class. With his rejection of this understanding, the manuscript breaks off. Certainly, the complaint is justified that the chapter on class remains a fragment in Capital, and that neither from Marx nor Engels do we receive a complete representation of the concept of class and class warfare. But, even though Marx and Engels have not offered a systematic account of the conception of class, that does not mean they have not given a clear and substantial concept of it. To say this is not the case would be an outrage to logic, an assault upon the possibility of a better understanding derived from the conception as offered. This manner of criticism is among the prime examples of the academic battle with Marxism. Rudolf Stammler was the first to speak of the ‘incompleteness’ and the ‘not thought-through’ character of historical materialism, pointing to its lack of a systematic set of principles. Marxism, to be sure, has not been ‘thought through to its end’, as it was born out of the actual tasks of social struggle, and developed piecemeal, leaving certain of its aspects in need of further thought, before it could be grasped as a whole. Marxism has failed insofar as its own adherents are able to capture its whole coherence in the spirit of its originator, having the ability to take upon themselves the ‘labour of the spirit’ as Hegel termed it. Thus there is the opening for the professorial critique that sees in Marxism’s incompleteness a justification for the deduction that the concept of historical materialism or of class, which one can find in countless instances throughout the thought of Marx and Engels – to be sure often used in contradictory ways, and sometimes merely as a means of expression – have no unified, foundational idea. Rather than seek the unity themselves, these critics satisfy themselves with the splitting of hairs and by cavilling over words, unmindful of Kant’s warning about such misdirected criticism: ‘At certain places every philosophical presentation torments one, yet if one sees its system as a whole, one need not so suffer. Having an overview of a system that is new is difficult for many who are not gifted in this penetration, moreover many have no desire to go so deeply into it. One may see seeming contradictions in places where the focus tears them out of their context, where

4 Marx 1894, vol. III, part 2, p. 421.

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one way of stating the concept is thus compared to another, but one can figure out the intended meaning if one can grasp the idea as a whole’.5 We see this lack of comprehension, for example, in Hans Delbrück’s6 characterisation of the Communist Manifesto, in the passage where the thought of the history of society as a history of class war is referred to as ‘a salad of unripe fruit’, and where the author voices the rebuke that Marx does not comprehend the difference between ‘station’ and ‘class’, because in one breath in the Communist Manifesto the struggle between freemen and slaves, guild masters and apprentices, etc., are taken up. We see it also in the latest work of Rudolf Stammler,7 who writes of the ‘incompleteness’ and ‘not thought-through’ character of the historical materialist conception – in the face of my own defence of Marx and Engels in this regard – as well as Max Weber’s challenge to the charge of such incompleteness: ‘The theory of class warfare is the most fateful error of modern socialism … It forgoes its own competence as a party of social materialism in that it has neither clear conceptual demands for this task, nor does it formulate a clearly decisive perspective for a justification that corresponds with its actual activities’. Thus we see in the above examples two educated critics – Delbrück and Stammler – who show us how to make scientific judgments that are of green wood, i.e., not matured in thought themselves. There is no question that Marx has made a thorough distinction between ‘station’ and ‘class’ – which will be demonstrated as we continue – and that he bitterly despised in this regard Lassalle’s conflation of this distinction in the latter’s On the particular context of the contemporary period of history with regards to the idea of the station of the workers (Über den besonderen Zusammenhang der gegenwärtigen Geschichtsperiode mit der Idee des Arbeiterstgandes), where he designates the working class as a station.8 Reading Lassalle, a scholar could remain closed to this apparent error in Marx. They could do so instead of studying his writing and attending to the immensity of his thought on this issue; but instead they fixate upon one sentence from the Communist Manifesto taken out of context. Of course, it is not really in the professional competence of a historian to take such trouble. It is the same with Stammler, who seems at peace as he condemns the ‘not thought-through’ character of Marxism, emboldened in his criticism by his own deficient understanding of Marx and Engels, where he takes single instances out of their context and chalks them up as ‘concepts that lack the necessary thought’, typifying thereby the self-satisfied commentator. 5 6 7 8

Preface to Kant 1921, p. 13. Delbrück 1921, p. 13. Stammler 1922, p. 131. Marx and Engels 1913, vol. 3, p. 115.

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There is no justification for the opinion that the views of Marx and Engels over the essence of class are fragmentary, as one might say when reading the chapter on class in Das Kapital. The answer to the question ‘What constitutes a class?’ is found in Marx’s conception formulated at the time he wrote The Poverty of Philosophy as well as in the Communist Manifesto; it is especially clear in the fragment of the Introduction to the Critique of Political Economy. We need only refer to the discussions there to comprehend the spirit of the Marxist conception, and thereby to understand it as a sociological conception of class. There one sees that class, like all Marxist concepts, is a historical category. It is not a necessary form of social life in itself, but rather arises only because of distinct historical causes that make it necessary. The causes lie in the economic structure of society, in the form of its processes of production and their form of distribution, that is, how its goods are divided.9 The distribution is not an independent sphere in its relation to production, not outside of it or beside it; rather, on the contrary, it is nothing other than a function of production. In the fragmentary Introduction to Political Economy Marx had taken this up sketchily, but the substance of the argument is developed more fully in the second and third volumes of Das Kapital. In the Introduction he attacks the ‘crudeness and conceptual vacuity’ of the standpoint held by bourgeois national economists that production, exchange, distribution, and consumption are separate spheres of the economy. This view, Marx insists, ‘tears apart the organic coherence’ of these phases, instead treating each as merely contingently related. He shows there that not only are production and consumption in an inseparable relation, but that production is simultaneously consumption: the use of productive goods is the creation of a market 9 One can see this view throughout Capital, For example, in the chapter on the historical contradiction of wages and capital, Marx writes: ‘The selling of one’s own ability to work (in the form of the work itself or the wage paid) is not an isolated circumstance, rather it is a societally defining pre-requisite of the production of goods in themselves, which can be expressed as a societal gradation of monied capital (Geldcapital), that is a phase of a historical process. One can express the relation between monied capital and labour that constitutes the working class as the function M–C˂ L/MP which reads ‘the transformation of money capital into productive capital’, where M is money, C is capital, L is labour, and MP are the means of production. The labour class is of this function as that phase of the historical process in which the distribution of the elements of production are divided, not in the usual understanding of its commodity distribution, but of the material aspects of the production of goods on one side and the workforce on the other’. Marx 1894, vol. II, p. 9. [Editor’s note: See Capital, A Critique of Political Economy, Volume II, The Process of Circulation of Capital, ed. Friedrich Engels (New York: International Publishers, 1967, p. 31). For a more thorough understanding of the Marxist formula and its significance, see ibid., pp. 28–32. This edition in English of Marx’s Capital will be used in further citations].

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outlet for goods; and consumption is at the same time production, an opportunity to produce. Further, production generates the manner of consumption, and in this way changes its forms continually, as consumption calls forth new needs for production. But, the distribution of produced goods is not a contingent and independent moment between production and consumption; rather it constitutes with these a societal whole in which the means of production in their full capacity are the determining factor. ‘A definite form of production determines definite forms of consumption, distribution, exchange and the determined conditions of the relation of one to the other’.10 To be sure, there are causal consequences in the effects of distribution and consumption upon production, but the whole constitutes a unitary process ‘in which the production is the actual starting point and because of that the most vital moment’.11 The classes, whose three chief divisions according to Marx are to be considered landed property, capital, and wages, represent the result of distribution. The societal yield of production is divided between the property owners, the possessors of capital and the workers. But this division is not a thing of the atmosphere, or of the wisdom or ignorance of those who possess power. This division has its real presuppositions in a historically determined manner of societal production, in the manner of capitalist production. Property values presuppose property; the interest earned from capital and the profit of the employer presuppose the property of the means of production and the lack of property of the worker; and wages are the price of the property-less worker. ‘The distributive conditions and the distributive means manifest themselves only as the reverse-side of the agents of production. An individual who participates in the form of work for wages in the production process, takes the form of wages as his consumption, the result of the production. The division of distribution is completely determined through the division of production. The distribution itself is a product of production, not only in the objects produced that can only be distributed as the result of production, but also in the forms that determined the manner of participation in production, which the specific manner of distribution determines, that is the forms into which the distribution is divided’.12 Now, one can certainly ask what determines the determined manner of production, in which there is a differentiation between the possessors of landed property, the possessors of capital, and those who do not possess either. And

10 11 12

Marx 1912, vol. XXI, 1, p. 744. Marx 1912, vol. XXI, 1, p. 718. Marx 1912, vol. XXI, 1, p. 741.

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here it appears that this division is not really economic, but rather more political, that is, only to be explained by naked power. Marx himself has always raised this objection. He says: ‘Considering the whole of society, distribution appears to precede production and to determine it, indeed, as a pre-economic fact’. And, he then offers the example of the taking of property by a conquering people, the enslavement of the conquered population, or the destruction of existing property possession by revolution, etc.13 In all these cases it appears that the distribution – that is, the constitution of classes – does not occur through production, but is rather, to the contrary, determined by distribution. But Marx makes clear that such an understanding is only ‘the most shallow conception’ of the bourgeois economy in its functioning, that is, seeing distribution as separate from the productive process. For the distribution of products remains in all these cases in the powerful grip of the conditions of production. Without reflection upon these conditions production would come to a standstill, and every distribution would come to a halt lacking goods for distribution. Even the conqueror and the revolutionary cannot simply distribute goods, but rather must immediately divide the means of production and people required for these means, ordering them within the places necessitated by the productive means. ‘Before the distribution of the products is initially the distribution of the instruments of production, and secondly what is a further determinant of these conditions, distribution of the members of society under the differing manners of production (subsumption of the individuals under the determined productive relationships). The distribution of production is obviously a result of this earlier distribution of means and persons, which within the production process itself is necessarily included, determining production’.14 Certainly, there is a structuring through conquest, revolution, laws, etc. which can be alluded to as distribution, but this occurs only within a framework which is established by the achieved development of the means of production, which is an outcome of the historical constellation of the conditions of production. It is an illusion to opine that the conqueror can act at will with the conquered people. It is more accurate to say that while he has occupied the land and either made off with its people or taken the landed property himself – either enslaving the people or satisfying himself with tribute – his choices hinge upon the means of production of the conquered people. The rules the conqueror establishes will reflect his production interests – that is his power and wealth – as he seeks to further them. Whether the conquered populace become slaves or reach agreements

13 14

Marx 1912, vol. XXI, 1, p. 742. Marx 1912, vol. XXI, 1, p. 742.

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with the conqueror, or whether the governing class actually integrates itself with the conqueror, that situation is prepared by the conditions of production, whereby the most advanced production process determines the direction that becomes the basis of the objective world. Marx gives as an example of this the German conquest of the Roman Empire. Finally, it can be objected that in spite of these economic conditions the results of force remain an extra-economic or pre-economic fact. But Marx gives an answer to that objection as well, one which points in the direction of the much-discussed chapter on the conditions of power over the economy, seeing its solution as still based upon the economic foundation itself. Marx observed once that ‘even the right of the fist is a right’, and on another occasion that it is a traditional conception ‘that in certain periods one lives only through robbery’. Yet, one must keep in mind that the kind of robbery that occurs is determined by the manner of production.15 If we seek to follow this evidence in the light of the historical circumstances of the organic context in which the economic and societal events occur, then we find force itself (conquest, revolution) to be only the product of a distinct economic phase of production, which follows goals that themselves emerged from its economic situation. So long as the productive capabilities of a societal association are not adequately well developed to satisfy the needs of everyone, force towards the outside world as well as within the society will be always a necessary function of this manner of productive activity. War, piracy, the seizure of slaves, ambush, the right of the fist are nothing other, from this point of view, than emanations of a primitive economy of those who use such force, but conditioned and limited in its possibility by the level of economic development of those affected by it. ‘A nation that has stock market speculation cannot be plundered in the same manner as a nation of cowherds’, Marx stated. A conqueror will only drag a people from their homeland into his when they are appropriate for slave labour. ‘With slaves the instrument of production is directly plundered; that is the case, however, where its own means of production had been so divided that slave labour was a possibility’.16 The plunder, the conquest, in short, power itself is always but a function of production, and of the mature level of its productive capacities. Thus we see the answer to Marx’s question: ‘What constitutes a class?’ Such is the result of the societal productive processes; it arises necessarily from the conditions of production, from the division of the productive instruments suitable for that productive system, and in consequence generates the apt divi-

15 16

Marx 1912, vol. XXI, 1, pp. 714 and 743. Marx 1912, vol. XXI, 1, p. 741.

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sion of the members of that productive society. Engels formulated this understanding in a pregnant manner: ‘As long as the total work activity of a society produces what is necessary for existence or only somewhat more, as long as the work takes all the time or most of the time of the greater majority of its people, the society is necessarily divided into classes’.17 Neither the difference in incomes or possessions, nor the similarity in one’s occupation, constitutes the social essence of a class. The difference between rich and poor is just as little a class difference as would be that which differentiates a worker from a loafer or an intellectual from a manual labourer. When one speaks in Marxist texts of the two major classes of the propertied and those without property, this is never meant as the opposition of rich and poor, but rather of the owners of the means of production and those who possess nothing other than their own energy to work. And when one speaks of a class of intellectual workers in contrast to manual workers, this is only in relation to the three forms of intellectual work – scientific, artistic, or administrative – which occur in the capitalist production process, where each has its respective place in the capitalist society.18 Always the economic relations to production, and thereby to distribution, are what determine the character of a class. These economic moments constitute, however, only the content of the class, not its form. The latter naturally take on the form of the social consciousness in which all that is economic is included from its outset; as such, content is only experienced in such a form. Marx has also stressed this fact. He points chiefly to the essential presumptions of a system of production which are found outside of the system itself, for example in the given division of the means of production. However, ‘these may in the beginning seem natural in their development. Through the process of production they appear to develop naturally out of their own history, and when they endure for a period of time seemingly as a natural pre-requisite of production, they can, nonetheless, appear to others as a historical outcome’.19 That means, for the sociological perspective, that these pre-requisites are never ‘natural’ conditions of production, but rather elements of an ongoing societal process of work. The earth has its own conglomerate of minerals and vegetable substances; the sociological factor is first known in relation to human work, its proper object. The climate we complain about or enjoy is but a meteorological fact, completely foreign to complaint or enjoyment, and becomes a sociological moment first through its relation to the dependency of life among humans upon it, and so forth. 17 18 19

Engels 1891, p. 41. Marx 1912, vol. XXI, 1, pp. 742–3. See here M. Adler 1920b; also Der Kampf, XIII (1920), Nr. 2, 3, and 5.

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Thus, social experience fulfils itself out of its own conceptual roots, realising its characteristic by its transformation ‘within the minds of persons’, out of the natural isolation of persons in their individual relationships, which are, to be sure, only an expression of the ‘social a priori’, whose epistemological character we have discussed above. Social experience, or economic experience, is impossible beyond the forms of relation where the indeterminate majority of persons interact. These forms of relations constitute as a whole the societal form, and are in this sense the presupposition for the sense of community which are its morals, ideas of justice, religion, and aesthetics. Because of this, Marx articulates the following thought, which undercuts Rudolf Stammler’s criticism of the position of historical materialism, not sustaining Stammler’s methodological confusion concerning external regulation as a form of the societal character itself: ‘All production is appropriation of nature by the individual, but according to a definite societal form. In this sense it is a tautology to say that “one’s own” (that which one appropriates) is a condition of production’. If this and similar ‘trivialities are reduced to their actual content, these actualities speak more clearly than their preachers know of them. Namely that each form of production has its own relations of law, creates its own form of governance, etc’.20 Class then as an economic concept is a part of the societal form to which its ideology is inextricably linked. Economic concepts are then plainly sociological concepts, they contain the entire society and its ideology, only seen from the perspective of their fundamental economic determination. And that is what is decisive for our theme, which is the concept of class, even where that is only seen as ‘merely’ economic, excluding the political, moral, or ideological in general, because all of these moments make class a social category. This expresses the normal understanding of Marxism that to a class there belongs a class consciousness. This class consciousness is the emergent moment of class as a social process. We must remember that Marx rejected the ‘self-sameness of revenue’ as a constitutive characteristic of class in his fragmentary chapter concerning class. He said much the same earlier when he spoke of the class of French small farmers, intending that to be a broader definition: ‘Insofar as millions of families live within economic conditions of existence that separate them from other classes in their lifestyles, their interests, and their education, even setting them in inimical relations to them, they are a class. Insofar as only local relations exist within division of farming plots, this self-sameness of interests is not a community, not a national association, and no political

20

Marx 1912, vol. XXI, 1, pp. 714 and 715.

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organization arises out of these ties, then this is not a class’.21 Already in his first critique of Proudhon, Marx had written: ‘The economic relations have transformed the mass of the population into workers. The dominion of capital has created an in-common situation for these masses, creating interests in common. Thus are these masses a class in relation to capital, but not yet for themselves. In the struggle … the masses find themselves together, constituted then as a class for themselves. The interests which they defend become class interests’.22 The Communist Manifesto depicts this becoming of class out of the conflict of class interests in its lapidary, immortal sentences, which in the tersest sketch of previous history sets forth the key to the puzzle of the eternal misery of class existence. Under class then we understand the conscious commonality of interests of a human group, which finally is conditioned by their possession of the same place in societal production. It is on this place that the manner and scope of the satisfaction of life-needs depends, and thus I would like to add a short expressive characterisation, naming this group of interests the societal lifeinterest of a class. It is clear that this expression, with reference to class division can be seen as positive, on the one hand; on the other hand, it has a negative connotation: that is, the expression ‘life-interests’ refers in this case to those interests of a subjugated class which, from their economic circumstances and its resulting situation, affects that class’s life-interests unfavourably, abridging them. The conjoining of the concept of class with the societal life-interests of an economic group of persons has a logical advantage – it hinders a mystical ‘economic’ category by virtue of its substantiality as a class concept, and makes class from the outset an intellectual factor, just as must occur with all Marxist economic concepts. Within this line of thought, Marx never tires of showing how capital generates a fetish, a thing-hood of everything its ideology conceives, and thus is better able to confront it.23

21 22 23

Marx 1885, p. 98. Marx 1892, p. 162. An excellent contribution to the sociology and psychology of the Marxist concept of class can be found in the essay by K. Kautsky, ‘Klasseninteresse – Sonderinteresse – Gemeininteresse’, Neue Zeit, Vol. XVI, el, pp. 240ff. Less edifying, on the other hand, is Bernstein 1922, which in its depiction and interpretation of the concept of class and class war within Marxism claims a ‘critical objectivity’ which sustains the worst vagaries of revisionism, and entertains the bourgeois critiques of Marxism as a welcome support of its own insufficiencies. Especially its definition of class as a social level among similar conditions of life, which leaves out entirely the place of these life conditions in the production process, giving sole weight to the differences in station, produces, in its causal indeterminacy, an illusion of completeness.

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And now we have clarified what has become recently the beloved objection concerning Marx, that his representation of class is ‘unclear’, that he often speaks of class when he should speak of station. These critics have pointed in this regard to the beginning of the Communist Manifesto, where as examples of the class struggle Marx introduces the battles between patricians and plebeians, barons and their serfs or master artisans and their apprentices. This objection appears to mean that the division of society is structured here in accordance with stations, which then excludes class differences. It is this view that supports the widely disseminated opinion that with the removal of class differences, ‘where economic conditions are not at issue’, there is no more historical development. But even if this were the case, one still sees here a determinate historical form of economic conditions, namely the class difference that identifies with the economic structure of society, which can also be a solidarity. Rather than station and class being separate categories that exclude each other, one must see, as Marx does, that the struggle between stations is one of a struggle between classes, because ‘station’ is only a specific historical manifestation of ‘class’. The difference between station and class is throughout a historical one, that is, station is a legal organisational form of definite vital interests, while class is organised directly as a social function of these interests. Therefore station determines that which corresponds to the class interests of its members, to its prerogatives and privileges, while mere class does not have these privileges legally, not through its prerogative station, but rather can only maintain them through the power of its economic superiority. This historical difference was in itself overcome by the historical phenomenon of the French Revolution, which swept away all aspects of ‘station’, introducing the bourgeois rule of law. But it is well known that this did not end the class character of society, but rather, on the contrary, enabled it to be seen clearly for the first time, as the Communist Manifesto articulates in its opening thought: ‘The modern bourgeois society which has emerged with the fall of the feudal society has not overcome the differences of class. It has only generated new classes, new conditions of subjugation, new forms of class war in place of the old’. The school-masterly objection that Marx makes class and station interchangeable reveals only a laughable academic pettiness, which, nonetheless, is at the same time saddening, because it reveals the inadmissible cluelessness concerning the actual meaning of the spirit of Marx’s concepts. This objection is made with a schoolmaster’s red marker to underscore the so-called conceptual error of Marx. Rather than error, we must see the sociological function of the Marxist class concept, namely the legal ideology of the conception of station in its super-structural role as a form of societal consciousness that Marx reveals as a manifestation of class structure. The romantic form of ‘station’ for its mem-

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bership masks the real energies of the means of production and the productive interests that are the constituting elements of station. Certainly, the wars between stations in ancient Athens and Rome, or the slave wars, or the religious heresies of the middle ages were not the class wars of the nineteenth century. Yet, the laughable ‘scholarly’ objection to Marx can be reduced to the claim that station always was station. Station was always essentially the historical manifestation of the particular form of class war of its time, and remains so if we understand it correctly. And, in this sociological sense one must understand station as a class expression, without falling afoul of the objection of professorial pedantry that sufficient differentiation has not been made by Marx between station and class. As an outcome of this discussion we can now see how false it is to claim that the essence of class dominance is only economic exploitation, an understanding that would rule out any class dominance without this, and, on the other hand, imply that an association of individuals that was not economically exploited was no longer a class – thus could not be subjugated. However, economic exploitation is merely the impetus by which a class is formed. Such a class then takes on the additional character of a sociological model, so that, throughout its masses, an ideology is infused that becomes reality for it, giving it a certain stability, and providing the basis for its regeneration over time. So, even if the proletariat were victorious, and could with one blow end its economic exploitation, immediately socialising private property and the means of production, there would remain, nevertheless, the class of the bourgeoisie, the possessors, because the spiritual situation would remain the same – i.e., the situation where one thinks in terms of employers and those who possess property, even as their material possessions are taken. Thus it is not correct to say as Kelsen does that the Marxist sense of class dominance is meaningless if there is no economic exploitation, which will be the case in the proletarian state. It is clear that even in this eventuality class contradictions will remain, in that the complex of life-interests that have emerged with the bourgeois predecessor state remain a social reality in the young proletarian state, and its validity is still pursued by its bourgeois predecessors as well as its antitheses by the dominant proletariat. In the prior class war there were two tendencies in conflict, that of the bourgeoisie and that of the proletariat, and these persist. Only the division of power has changed, and this difference affects the form of state in the wake of the proletarian victory. Previously, the bourgeoisie used the compulsive order of law against the proletariat; now this will be used against the bourgeoisie. In the existence of a class consciousness without an economic substrate, one can see no objection to the economic-fundamental conception that previously held sway, but this still exists in the consciousness of the people – the expropri-

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ated bourgeoisie still represents in its activity employer, banker, owner of land, etc., and this understanding will continue to exist in the minds of persons so long as these individuals are alive, so that their ideology is carried forward as a potential, if not actual, value. Even in the generation that comes after that of the parents where the societal change has occurred, these children will think within the conflict of economic ideologies. The bourgeois economic ideology endures as the determining hallmark of the bourgeois class. But Kelsen will argue there cannot be a class dominance in the proletarian state, which the Marxist conception of the state affirms, because where there is no economic subjugation the previous class of exploiters will not themselves be exploited by the ‘dominating’ proletariat. The norms of compulsion in the proletarian state, according to Marx, are directed against such exploitation of one group by another.24 Here one sees again the conflation of the formal-juristic method with the sociological. If the state is contemplated merely juristically, as Kelsen contemplates it, that is, only as a compulsive organisation, then there is no ‘subjugation’ even in the bourgeois state of today. Even here the rule of law is a compulsive order for everyone; that is, indeed, the hypocrisy and lie of the system which so proudly conceives itself as a state of law, of justice for all. ‘All are equal before the law’. The class domination and the subjugation of others by the bourgeoisie exists, nonetheless, in its claim ‘that all are equal’ in the law, but that private property is holy. This view of justice and its legal principles is sufficient to conserve the differences in existence that come from having property, and thus conserve economic exploitation. In the proletarian state which has ‘equality for all within the compulsive norms’, private property and its means of production will no longer exist, so as to end the prior exploitation; but these will thus encounter an entire class, the possessors, economically. The equality of all before the new compelling norms is such that those without property now subjugate the interests of the propertied with their own interests. If the proletariat had felt overpowered previously by the bourgeois form of law, now the bourgeoisie feel no less overpowered by the proletarian form of law. In both instances, a class is not equal in its relation to the law as the dominant class, and this inequality determines who is the authority. What matters is simply which group’s life-interests are served by the law. And that interest which sees itself hindered by the legal order in its actions feels itself understandably dominated, subjugated, and indeed, is. This will occur to the bourgeoisie in the proletarian state, as their interests are economic exploitation, capitalist interests, the class interests of the bourgeoisie. It is not correct

24

Kelsen 1920, p. 14.

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to say – and the history of Bolshevism proves this – that under the dominion of the proletariat class contradictions immediately disappear, and the compelling norms are directed towards all equally. But here Kelsen asserts that this is clearly no longer a class dominance, but rather that of a political party, which emerges ‘at that time when the form of state is a democracy by dint of the revolution of the proletariat who have assumed authority’.25 And this is, according to Kelsen, ‘undoubtedly the meaning of the Communist Manifesto’. The ‘elevation of the proletariat to the governing class’ and ‘the gain by struggle of democracy’ are in the closest proximity as ‘the goal of the workers’ revolution’.26 In this statement by Kelsen we see the most important issue of our contemporary situation as regards revolutionary socialism, that is, the contested political concept. The discussion of the political concept within revolutionary socialism must consider the close relationship within the Marxist understanding of party, dictatorship, and revolution. Contemporary history opens the fateful problematic of these concepts that appear so opposed in real life today, seeming contradictory to our theoretical understanding. We can only see them correctly in their relationships when Kelsen’s critique is more deeply investigated. 25 26

Kelsen 1920, p. 15. Ibid.

chapter 8

Class and Party ‘In a democracy’, says Kelsen on page 15 of his book, ‘in which all citizens of the state are either immediately or mediately represented by the outcome of the universal and equal right to vote, which establishes the will of the state, their participation in the political governance guarantees that politically no class dominance can come to expression, inasmuch as all – workers and employers, proletariat and bourgeoisie – are politically given the same authority. Only an economic class dominance is possible … If that is not the case, then one cannot speak of a class dominance in any sense’.1 However, how are we to understand that in Kelsen’s presuppositions of complete democracy there is no political dominance, but that there can be an economic one? He answers this himself: ‘When a party has a majority within the population – yet preserving the formal political equality – through the content of its legal order exploitation is made possible’. It is just this which bourgeois democracy realises, even as it is ‘complete’, that is, actually preserving the formal political equality of all the citizens of the state. In this state of affairs one sees the world-historical contradictions of all such class-based bourgeois democracies, based upon their inner untruths and inherent falsehoods. This is their characteristic self-deception, that only they provide equal rights, and thus are a state of laws that provide justice for all, where all citizens share equally in the interests of the state. One sees as early as the first writings of Marx and Engels this bourgeois illusion of equal rights described, which, in truth, is central to the bloody dreams of the revolutionary bourgeoisie, illusions which Marx and Engels horrifyingly destroy. One reads the criticism of so-called human rights in the young Marx and the critique of the English laws generating freedom by Engels: Engels, who was a precursor of even Marx on this issue, writes: ‘Democratic equality is a chimera, the struggle between the poor and the rich cannot take place on the ground of democracy or of mere politics. Such a phase is a transition, the political as a form still must be sought, and in that discovery a new element is found, a principle that transcends the mere political. That principle is socialism’.2 A ‘transcending principle beyond the political’ is demanded by Engels, indeed,

1 As, for example, in the proletarian transitional state. 2 Engels 1920, p. 303.

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one that is beyond mere ‘democracy’. Attend to the correspondence claimed here by Engels between democracy and the concept of politics, and one sees an understanding that the concept of politics, like that of the state, class, and all other Marxist concepts, refers to structures that do not have the same sense as the ordinary use of these words, but rather can only be understood in their historical class character in connection with the bourgeoisie. We will see this even more clearly as we contest the ordinary understanding of ‘democracy,’ comprehending in greater depth why Marx and Engels saw the struggle of bourgeois parties within the state as a political struggle that masked the actuality of class warfare, leading to Marx’s statement in The Poverty of Philosophy that for the proletariat ‘a principle must arise that transcends all political character’. The bourgeois democracy is to be characterised as not only the basis for the existential conditions of its class, but as one that uses the protection of the law for this aim. It must exercise exploitation, otherwise there cannot be capitalist valuing or even the renting of property, and they exercise the laws so that private property in the ownership of the means of production, and the entire structure of law that emanates from this position, can be maintained. In Kelsen’s own terminology, complete democracy is only possible when the party of private property, of ‘possessions’, are a majority in the legislative assembly. Let us look once more at this ‘party’. There can hardly be a parliament where democracy exists or can exist that is not constituted by a ‘party of property’. Such a cynical observation runs contrary to the very essence of bourgeois democracy and politics. They themselves would call their party ‘the saviour of the Fatherland’ or of the holy order, or the defender of culture and morality, etc. Chiefly, they would rather not step forward as a political party, since they actually resist such heterogeneity, their members eschewing such openness to difference; rather they would appear as what they indeed are, a coalition of all those parties while differing in many points, joined in the battle against opponents who question their foundation – private property. Now, this ‘party of property owners’, whose majority support the bourgeois order of law, exists factually in every bourgeois democracy, comprehending not only conservatives and liberals, not only all nationalities and religions despite their doctrinal differences, but indeed uniting even the monarchical and aristocratic opponents of democracy in their mutual struggle against the enemies of private property. All these differing groups are bound by the same interest despite their peculiar political, national, religious or cultural special interests, because they share the same vital economic interest – the preservation of their economic role as the beneficiaries of the exploitation of societal work. That means, however: all these different groups are but one ‘party’ because of the in-common reality

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of their economic situation within the shared interests of societal production and distribution: they can be but one party because prior to this they are one class, the class of possessors in battle with the class of those who do not possess. That the majority of the population are such a ‘party’ is due to the fact that directly and indirectly the many groups that constitute it are influenced by tradition, the morals and religious precepts of their communities in its customary understandings, as well as a lack of depth in thinking, rank ignorance, and the slovenly norms that bespeak indolence and lack of character, which mask the self-striving and greed that cements the interest community in its common illusion of justice. For we know by now that a class is not only constituted by an economic situation alone – one that generates its sociological reality – but that the super-structure of its ideation first makes a class possible.3 3 It is not excessive to bring to attention a favoured critique that underscores how, when one speaks of the contradictions between the class of the possessors in their conflict with those without property, the Marxist concept of class contradiction is not a mere phrase in which the uniform ‘white’ of the proletariat is pitted against the ‘black’ of the bourgeoisie. Such a simplified conception is not appropriate, as Marx himself cautioned against the slogan that there was but one reactionary mass within society. One only need take up any of the writings of Marx and Engels to see this, for example, Der deutschen Bauernkrieg (The German Peasant’s War), where one sees the crisscross of the myriad social forces which coexisted within the class contradictions of the property owners and those without property, as well as the various economic boundaries in the consciousness of the participants. And just as the master has his students, Karl Kautsky and Eduard Bernstein have always warned of the vulgarisation of the concept of class contradiction. One can see in Kautsky’s first book on the concept of class contradiction in the French revolution of 1789, the statement: ‘One is inclined to infer when looking at historical examples of class struggle that society had only two camps, two classes, which fought one another, each camp being homogeneous, the revolutionary one and the reactionary, such labels explaining everything. If that was the case, historical writing would be quite easy. But in reality the circumstances were not so simple. Society has been, and always will be a complex organism with differing classes with differing interests, who will group themselves in differing political parties’ (Kautsky 1920, p. 9). Indeed, Eduard Bernstein goes in this direction of cautioning against a ‘raw, simplistic explication’ in thinking of class war by stressing the conflicts within each class itself, stating that one can only speak of a ‘battle of interests, such as that between cartels and those beyond the cartel, or large landowners versus farmers. Only are these diverse interests seen by him as having a common ground in their exploitation of workers within the system of production each maintains in their own manner’. The sceptical Bernstein concludes that none of these groups can see the forest for the trees, that forest being ‘the one great class struggle between the class of workers and those who depend upon wages and the class of employers … this one great struggle supersedes and includes every smaller form of class battle among those of property’ (Bernstein 1922, p. 67). And in fact: in the matter of the sociological perspective on the constituting of society and its movement in the form of its countless political and economic parties, one can track this confusing plethora to its fundamental division of the processes of production,

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Now, one can justifiably call these conflicting interests among groups who nonetheless belong to one class ‘a party’. For in matters of terminology, one is free to overpower one meaning of a word with one’s own. Yet, it seems if one does this to ‘party’ then one has lost its historical meaning and is plunged into the fateful indistinctness in which a word can mean anything – for example, party and class being one and the same. But, this is not the case if one truly comprehends the spirit of language, which we have been at pains to reveal – as our readers must have felt. We have used the word ‘party’ in our investigation to mean the concept of a democratic majority. We have avoided speaking of ‘parties’, usually referred to as distinct entities within a political democracy. Our meaning, however, is different than the self-understandings of such ‘party’ groups as conservatives, liberals, social-political democrats, monarchists, republicans, anti-Semites, free thinkers, etc. With these differentiations the word ‘party’ is appropriate in the usual sense, and someone who uses it differently can do that, but must be clear that the word party is used in more than one sense: on the one hand as the concept of those who defend a certain societal order, and, on the other hand, as the representative of a special interest within that societal order. And, in this respect, as we address the idea of a pure democracy, we bring out the characteristic difference in the Marxist sense between the concept of class and that of party, but stress also how the class struggle differs from the party struggle. The difference is sought by sociologists upon quite differing planes of social existence, which cannot be discerned from the mere juridical perspective, because the juridical perspective knows only that within its own single plane of interpretation, namely that of the legal order. From this it follows that finally the concept of the political is conflicted, so that the Marxist has long been accustomed to refer to it as bourgeois politics and proletarian politics, a differentiation that follows the Marxist reference to the bourgeois state and the proletarian state. This Marxist definition is not asserted out of a sense of SocialDemocratic superiority, but is rather a theoretical position, as the following will make even clearer. Party and class in Marxism are of differing content and have very different meanings which stem from their relationships to societal development, and are based upon their respective roles in the societal structure, which itself originates out of the economic laws of this development. It is for this reason that Marx

the owners of the means of production and those who are excluded from this ownership. This is not to dismiss the many historical contradictions in their differences that have transpired, but rather to see for the first time their actual and illusive character.

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and Engels found it false for the Marxist, despite a passionate adherence, to designate themselves as ‘party men’ for the proletariat.4 Marx wrote to Freiligrath his famous words: ‘Our party understands party only in the larger historical sense’.5 What does that mean: ‘Party in the larger historical sense’? It is the taking up of a position within the historical development of societal necessity, whether this affirms or rejects the concept. The necessity of historical development is realised only in the class strivings of the members of a society. The following of these class strivings by a circle of society is constricted or enlarged by the established parties, whether this be in the direction of societal development or against it. Nothing is changed by this attitudinal policy, although its phraseology will always, especially in the latter instance of resistance to what is developing, be articulated as the common interest of society as it has been and always will be. For the sociological perspective, what a societal striving believes or asserts is not of moment, solely what it is. ‘Just as one in private life differentiates between what one says and means, and that which one really is or does, so must one even more in the comprehension of societal wars of words differentiate the self-concept of parties from their actual organization and their real interests’.6 In relation to the capitalist world in which we live, which remains a bourgeois democracy, one sees from an economic analysis of its foundational laws that private ownership of the productive processes is a hindrance for the full development of the societal productive forces, and this in a twofold sense. First, the highest principle of capitalist production, the earning of profits, develops only in proportion to sheer profit, not taking into consideration hygienic and other social dimensions for so long as these do not yield revenue. Secondly, this self-same condition of profit actually limits the utility of the achieved production level for all within the society. Every party that wishes to uphold such a productive process in its limitations will assert that it is meeting the true interests of society. We have seen in Chapter 2 that this argument is necessary dialectically for the bourgeois state, in that it must claim to represent the universal public interest by its special interests, if it would command power within the state. It is not a naked power, thereby, but one formulated through law. And, this is especially true in the democratic in-common community. But, when one focuses upon the core of this language of political party, upon the actual party positions so articulated, one sees its position is that of a special interest set 4 See Mehring (ed.) 1912, letter no. 57, and no. 58 from Engels. 5 Mehring (ed.) 1912, p. 46. 6 Marx 1885., p. 33.

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against the development of the society as a whole, even as it asserts its ‘universality’ of interest. The proletarian class interest, on the other hand, is indeed ‘universal,’ even when that can be seen as well as a special interest of a class.7 And from this understanding one can now see sociologically how the proletariat as a party is something more than the usual understanding of a ‘party’ within the existing, bourgeois democratic state. The special interest of the proletariat is identical with the universal interest in a new, classless society; that is, with the interest in the transformation of the existing economic and legal order. The special interest of all bourgeois groups is identical with the maintenance of the existing order. The proletarian interest is revolutionary and furthering of developmental change, the bourgeois is necessarily conservative and inimical to development. And this implies the following in its application to democracy: the majority in a democracy – insofar as this is not understood as one or the other of its constituent groups, but rather as the ordering of the whole itself – is either an expression of the class interest of the bourgeois or that of the proletarian class interest. In either case, this is not a conflict between ‘political parties’, but rather a conflict between class interests in the mutual struggle for dominance. To say that in a democracy a political class dominance cannot exist is to see democracy in some sort of space devoid of air, as a pure concept in the abstract form of juridical thought. As long as democracy is seen as being founded upon the class contradictions that have constituted it in the first place, it is no longer possible to see it as democracy in its pure definition. Either from the bourgeois perspective or the proletarian perspective, democracy cannot exist – and thus the justified criticism of its un-Marxist defence by the Bolsheviks, which we come to below. Democracy will come to be genuine only in the future social state of the classless society. This was the case with bourgeois democracy as it became a revolutionary class; for its perspective was actually the forerunner of what became the perspective of a classless condition of society, as the bourgeoisie as a class focused upon human rights and the removal of all oppressive conditions that their class experienced. Yet, the very impossibility of their position was also foreseen in one of their champions, Rousseau, as he uttered the following words, heavy with meaning: ‘The word [democracy] in its strict definition must be seen as never having existed, and will never exist in that sense … If there is a people who have been Gods, then they may reign as democratic. Humans, however, cannot accommodate themselves to such a perfect form of government’.8 No, for humans in a class-based society, democracy remains an

7 See here my article ‘Sozialistsche Erziehung und Politik’ (M. Adler 1922c, pp. 107 ff.). 8 Rousseau 1904, Book III, Chapter 4, pp. 66 and 67.

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unending problem, and to think other than Rousseau is not yet possible. This takes us to a deliberation of the most-contested concepts in Marxism. These are the concepts of democracy and dictatorship.

chapter 9

Political and Social Democracy The concept of democracy in Marxism has become problematic since the Bolshevist critique and in view of its tactics. Before that, only anarchists and syndicalists doubted that the struggle for democracy was an essential task of the revolutionary class war. One can see in the Communist Manifesto that ‘the first step in the worker’s revolution for the elevation of the proletariat to the governing class is the struggle for democracy’. But the Bolshevist critique has contributed to problematising the concept of democracy in Marxism, making it difficult to clearly see its Marxist meaning. This has occurred because Lenin’s theory – a great and lasting service – which refers to the class war and the class character of the state, is set against the opportunistic and inconsequential attempt to confuse Marxism’s intentions by promoting an understanding of democracy counter to its theoretical basis. The Marxist principle of the proletarian state entails the proletariat becoming the governing class – which, in the Marxist sense, means becoming the class that has the decisive economic power within the society. This proved impossible in Russia because of a historical accident that generated an exceptional situation, in which it was not the proletariat who took political power in its hands, but instead a small group. Out of this fact, contradictory to the theory of Marxism, the Bolshevists developed self-delusory justifications for their assumption of power, which argued that Marx’s theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat and its relation to democracy was what they now had to practice. It is not surprising, then, that not only did other Marxists challenge the Bolshevik perspective, but that there was plenty of fodder in it for Kelsen in his own challenge to Marx. Kelsen believed that every contradiction he found to democracy in the Bolshevik practice was equally a contradiction in Karl Marx’s theory. The many Marxist thinkers who take issue with the Bolsheviks fail to see the error of bourgeois democracy – an error that belongs side by side with the Bolshevist understanding – when they make their own case on the issue. Thus, today, the concepts of democracy, dictatorship, and the revolution of the proletariat evidence a theoretical confusion which should not be the case in the scientific practice of Marxism. Perhaps it is best to proceed here in a way that does not recognise either the Bolshevik view or its Social-Democratic critics with respect to these issues, addressing solely Hans Kelsen – as this will enable me to present a clearer understanding of Marxist theory in connection with democracy, dictatorship, and the revolution of the proletariat.

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Kelsen’s intention was always to criticise Marx immanently, within his own theoretical intentions, showing them to be self-contradictory. We have shown already that his subjective, juristic position fails to achieve this immanence. For that he would have had to comprehend the sociological perspective, and not merely juxtapose Marxist paragraphs with his logical and grammatical analyses. Kelsen exercises solely his own penchant for legal and state theory, and thus must fail to make headway in his stated critical intentions. All he shows us is the difference between a juristic and a sociological standpoint, between the formal and the historical manner of understanding. We see the same problem in Kelsen’s treatment of democracy. In the theoretical system of Marx this concept is always historical; one must always ask ‘Of what democracy are we speaking at this point?’ Kelsen continually addresses the concept of democracy formally, and thus with formal definitions challenges the consistency of Marx’s use of the term. For Kelsen, democracy is above all ‘a pure formal organizational principle which cannot serve every organizational goal’.1 One cannot, in Kelsen’s view, accuse ‘the bourgeois state earnestly of not having a true democracy because the working population are excluded from control of the production process’. For democracy is a form of state, and as long as the economic production is not yet a function of the state, its errors cannot be seen as the fault of the existing constitution. The decisive aspect of democracy for Kelsen was ‘that democracy is the characterising principle of the universality and equality according to which all participate in the development of a common will’.2 If one tracks this character of democracy in its complete development and effects, there are, according to Kelsen, a series of consequences that follow – which he carefully conveys, albeit losing himself in the details. His first point: in a complete democracy, which Marxists designate as the necessary goal of the struggle of the proletariat, a class-based society is impossible and can only be said to exist in the party itself; the concepts of class war, class subjugation and class state would be senseless in this development. This is where Marx is in error in his argument, given what a classless society would be in democracy. Kelsen’s second point goes on to show why Marx is self-contradictory. Point two: Marx and Engels’ introduction of the concept of dictatorship has no meaning within the context of democracy. They mean by this the maintenance by force of a majority over a minority, as is the case in Russian Bolshevism, which, however, any democracy would scorn. This concept of dictatorship, in its association with a struggle

1 Kelsen 1920, p. 120. 2 Ibid.

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within or even a suspension of democracy, is therefore contradictory, and this entire series of conceptions has been developed mainly due to the needs of political struggle against the bourgeoisie, rather than out of an attempt theoretically to justify itself. Point three: The same must be said for Marx and Engels’ view of the proletarian revolution, especially in the light of Bolshevism, where Marxism speaks of the shattering of the machinery of the state. For within democracy there is no longer the need for a transformation of the bourgeois order into a socialist order, and even less is there required a change in the constitution – not to speak of a revolution. The difference between revolutionary and peaceful transformation of the society dissolves as a theoretical distinction if groups wage war against one another within democracy. When one looks more closely, the destruction of the machinery of the state means only the replacing of a lesser democracy with a greater state form of democracy. And here the rhetoric of Marx and Engels as a revolutionary terminology has no theoretical value, but rather is merely an accommodation for the purposes of agitation and the other needs of a political struggle. Finally, point four: Marx and Engels refer to the special case of the Paris Commune as an illustrative example of a dictatorship of the proletariat; Marx in his analyses of the institutional development that took place sees a democratisation of politics and administration. If the Paris Commune then was really the dictatorship of the proletariat in Marx’s sense, the proof would have to lie in the formation of its ‘democratic’ state, supported by the majority vote of the electorate. Kelsen’s entire book in its critique of Marx is fatally flawed, with his underlying abhorrence of what he sees as Marx’s anarchistic theory of the state. I have mentioned this point in passing, and merely touch upon it once more in this chapter. I do not intend here to confuse the discussion of Marx’s and Kelsen’s differing vision of democracy with this added issue of anarchy and the state. I will treat this in subsequent chapters, where I will make clear that Marx’s vision of ‘the withering away of the state’ and the ‘putting aside of the state’ has nothing to do with Kelsen’s accusation of anarchism – which Kelsen dwells upon to show further the contradictions within Marxism. And now, let us put aside this forest of critical fault-finding so that we can find the correct path to the actual Marxist conception of the problem of democracy and dictatorship – one which is indissociable from revolution. We must begin with conceptual determinations, above all determining the essence of the concept of democracy. And what is most decisive in this, we must hold fast in our thought to a point that we have already discussed: democracy is throughout an historical determination. Kelsen’s concept of democracy, like that of the state, is formal, not historical. Because of this, he can impart within this formal conceptual structure various contents and manifold organisational

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goals. Given this perspective, it is plausible for him to say that economic inequality is no argument against democracy, and that such a fact touches only upon the issue of political equality. One must see here that in Kelsen’s view democracy is something other than a historically based concept, and that the state which is its form is something other than a historical appreciation of order. For in a state in which the economic function is also political, to use Kelsen’s terminology, the equal rights of democracy are wholly different than in the contemporary state. This difference cannot be masked by simply saying that the political sphere of the state has enlarged; this is a mere playing with words in the service of the formal principle that Kelsen applies – one whose insufficiency is theoretically evident. A state in which the economy is principally within the political sphere is still a compulsive organisation now as it was when the economy was not so included. For the jurist this historical difference in content and organisation does not matter, while for the sociological perspective the huge differences between the liberal state of law, the mercantilist police state, and the socialist ‘free’ state are fundamental. One can see in the sociological perspective that integration of economic goals within the form of the state need not necessarily lead to a political democracy, as one sees in the mercantilist state. Thereby, one can see immediately that the concept of democracy is a different formal concept than the formal concept of the state. The concept of the state as such is an allowable abstraction, because in its form as a compulsive organisation it reflects one aspect of social life which has been and can be seen in every form of societal productive associations. Marxism does not dispute this claim, which Kelsen uses against the apparent (to him) anarchism of Marx. So, the state can be seen as a justifiable abstraction, but the same cannot be said of democracy. For democracy is not an essential form of a state, but rather an historically-determined form, a conceptual understanding that belies a formalism in defining the state. We must, therefore, refrain from any invariant concept of democracy, rather we must recognise that the concept of a democracy as such – the concept of a pure or complete democracy – is nothing other than the idea of a state form under specific prerequisites which first establish its economic-sociological structure. We will then see that the idea of a perfect democracy is only the precursor in thought of a classless society. I have written extensively on this subject in my monograph Demokratie und Rätesystem.3 And since Kelsen brings up my discussion in his book Sozialismus und Staat, I feel allowed to reiterate my views at this point. Democracy signifies as a term and in its accepted meaning the self-determination of a

3 M. Adler 1919a.

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people. This is not possible in a class-based society, no matter how ‘democratic’ its constitution, because in the capitalistic state the fundamental prerequisites of governance by the whole people is lacking, namely, a unified people. In the capitalist state there is no unity of the people, rather only a population which has neither an economic, nor a cultural, nor an ideological unity, but only the disunion of classes which is cohered by the compulsive presence of the dominance of one class. Within the most radical political equality before the law, economic inequality creates such contradictions that every sense of democracy, that is, the development of a unified, universal will of the people, must necessarily be lost. There is only the more or less brutal generation of a majority culture. And in this respect, one must be careful to see the revealing of the real essence of democracy within the cultural problems posed by the majority. The principle of the majority is not, as many believe, the essential principle of democracy. For in the mere majority of voices one cannot find an actual foundation for law which is decisive. On the contrary, the mere majority leads to the termination of every self-determination by the people, compelling by their majority the smaller segment of the people. Yet, if democracy actually requires the decisions of the majority – and this is the case – the reason must be sought somewhere besides the mere actions of the greater number of voices. ‘The actual life principle of democracy’, I stated in the aforementioned monograph, ‘Rousseau has shown us in his brilliant manner, and its revolutionary implications are not fully valued. It is not the will of the majority, but rather the general will, the universal will. The vote is only the means by which this will can be constituted, says Rousseau. Those who are outvoted must integrate themselves into the majority, not because they are the fewer, not because the others are the stronger, but rather because the vote has shown that they are in contradiction to the general will. This at first glance startling suggestion is properly understood as Rousseau continues, when he makes clear that it is but an illusion, a world-historical illusion of the revolutionary bourgeoisie that their governing authority means the actual liberation of humankind from all the contradictions of being governed by authorities, forming instead solidarity among a unified people. As soon as the people constitute a solidary community, as soon as there are no longer life-contradictions among the people which lend to organised votes for or against, differences in the vote will not mean someone is compelled by the other in their respective life-interests; rather, what will be seen is more or less significant differences in opinion over the advisability and pressure of proposed decisions. The vote will be a mere act of social administration or the conduct of business. In a “solidarity society” a trade association or other association will not feel itself to be “overpowered” by a majority against it, nor

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will any minority position feel so if they are in a state where there is a basic agreement upon mutual life-interests’.4 The unity of the people, the solidarity of their interests in common, constitute the real foundation of democracy. One sees this in the striving of all defenders of the democratic idea to protect the state against great inequalities in the living conditions of its people. This is found in their attack on those who are too wealthy, so that the majority can be of the same middling circumstances. When Montesquieu sees the surest protection of democracy in such a levelling of income, when Rousseau deepens this understanding that democratic laws are only effective ‘when each and every has enough’, one realises that there is a growing recognition that the principle of democracy must struggle with the actual conditions of the bourgeois society. And this is actually the tragic history of democracy in the bourgeois world: it must be destroyed because of the economic class contradictions of its conditions of existence. The idea of a general will – and that is democracy – finds no possibility of being realised in a societal circumstance in which every vote, even when it is conducted within a democratic form, only follows the antagonisms of a class-based will. These democratic forms have been completely stamped in the universal suffrage of 4 This does not mean, however, that in a classless society there will not be significant contradictions which initiate battles of the ballot. One thinks, for example, of a vote concerning prohibition of alcohol or the teaching of religion in the schools or the duty to have children. But none of these issues in an economic solidarity society concern existential harm to either the majority or the minority. One must only think beyond the contemporary meaning of such conflicts. Today, the political and economic conflict of interests have behind them in each vote the cultural questions inherent in the exploitative and controlling interests of class. One can see this in the question of alcoholic prohibition, where the direct interests of the alcohol capital and the indirect interests of the ruling class are apparent as corrupting influences over the general populace. One sees the same weight of influence in the religious question – that of the existing church, and those others of the bourgeois milieus who insist that religion ‘must be upheld for the people’. With the removal of all these economic and political goals of the governing class, these conflicts and the votes taken concerning them become quite another cultural issue. How this general will of the future will be determined and articulated will be discussed in Chapter 7 below, ‘Democracy and Its Organisation’. What can be said now is that Social Democracy is federalistic in its organisational intent, rather than centralistic. A federalist structure enables the voices that vote to be heard from the bottom up in all areas; a centralist structure is policy from the top down – not in a variegated, but in a unified, compelling policy. The federalist organisation provides ample opportunities for those who are outvoted to form associations that can gain voting majorities for their interests. In these events in a classless society, such separate interests do not hurt the whole. However, it can occur that contradictions that divide groups are so strong that a new national lack of homogeneity – of general will – can occur, and then democracy will be impossible. Given such an eventuality, a new, higher organisational form of social life must be found, a circumstance that we must leave to the future society to solve.

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parliamentary representation. And for this reason, and upon that very foundation of the class-based society, the democratic body that represents the people can never be an expression of a unified people’s will. In the form of parliamentary self-representation, one sees only a piece of the class war: it is always a body that sets forth the power, the force of one class against another class, which with its majority of law compels the class against which it strives. All confusion concerning the meaning of the concept of democracy arises from the fact that, as we have seen, this concept can only be realised within a classless society, but that the leading conception of this realisation takes place in a class-based society, and does so because – as is often pointed out by those who comprehend a sociological dialectic – there can be no special or class interest which is successful unless it is articulated in the form of a representation of the in-common interest. Every extension of the political rights of citizens, every great influence that arises in the development of the will of the state, must also be the direction of the idea of democracy, that is, seen as a democratic accomplishment. From the sociological perspective the word democracy has several overlapping meanings. And it is only possible to comprehend this theme when one arrives at a stable terminology. I propose then: that the concept of democracy can only first be realised within a classless society, this being a complete democracy which should be called correspondingly a social democracy, while we will call all other forms by which democracy exists a political democracy.5 And while it is quite possible that in the flow of speech one leaves out the identifying word ‘social’ or ‘political’, I must state once and for all that when democracy within a class-based society is at issue, it can only mean political democracy, 5 In a wholly different vein of failed explanation is the differentiation advanced by W. Hasbach in his much read book on ‘modern democracy’ (see Hasbach 1921). He too distinguishes between political and social democracy. He understands the latter, however, as only the direction of a party within that sphere which we call political democracy, that is, the party striving within the existing social order merely in order to resolve its own social needs. ‘With the term social democracy’, he says on p. 122, ‘and we reiterate, a societal conditions is indicated in which the tendency to an equality among stations and the diminishment of difference in wealth without the need of a change in the foundations of the contemporary economic order is represented; this is to be distinguished from Social Democracy, which strives to create a new economic and societal order’. Our view of social democracy is then foreign to Hasbach’s train of thought, because he actually resists a conceptual discussion of democracy, and rather only ‘describes’ the historical and existing forms of democracy, to be sure in connection with richer and more focused ‘history of idea’ materials than I make use of, but which are wholly within the scope of political democracy. There is no theoretical interest in exploring why and how the minority voices have insufficient democracy in relationship to liberalism. We will come back to this.

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that is, it actually is not democracy, and must be superseded if one really wants democracy. However, where democracy is at issue in our discussions of a classless society, then what is meant is social democracy, that is, a democracy that does not yet exist in the present, but must be fought for if one will actually have democracy. If one maintains this double sense of the term democracy, then one can resolve the seeming contradictions in the words of Marx and Engels – for example, when Engels once called democracy a chimera, and then said it was the form in which the proletariat would come to power, or when Marx scorned ‘the democratic belief in miracles’ which ‘sees in democracy the thousand year Reich’, and yet at the same time speaks of the commune which actually was a democracy, indeed the example of the dictatorship of the proletariat.6 What Kelsen has against this orientation to the discussion of democracy he puts forward explicitly in his book by attacking my Demokratie und Rätesystem.7 However, he does not take up my determination of the concept, and passes by the whole sociological issue of the problem of democracy. He says there only that the democratic form of state presupposes no social unity, and that there therefore exists the mechanism of the principle of the majority (I have spoken of this only as a brutalisation) for the ordering of the social organism. This state of affairs was actually a very old objection of autocrats and aristocracy. What is amazing is that now the value of the majority principle is objected to by an aristocracy that had it as its fundamental justification. The only value of the majority principle and, with that, of democracy is its simple organisation of the broadest political integrity of the state. Over against this, the actual building of groups within the society with in-common interests would lead to an unwieldy apparatus which under modern circumstances is really impossible, and secondly would only further a continual warfare for power in the state. Certainly, the integration of the state through the 6 When Karl Kautsky in his small book Von der Demokratie zur Staatssklaverei (Kautsky 1921) points out that, for an explanation of the word democracy, one must distinguish between the primitive and the modern concept, it seems to us that this is actually a differentiation that is quite significant for our own understanding. For what Kautsky means in his designation of primitive democracy is a situation where classes do not yet exist, and that this bears the characteristics of what we will see in a classless society. Here the idea of a real democracy in another form is depicted, which nonetheless evolves under the influence of class contradictions. What Kautsky means by ‘modern democracy’ falls within what I have termed political democracy. Primitive democracy was a form of social democracy. But, since Kautsky’s differentiations are not really conceptual in their content, considering only the historical phases of democratic development, and leaving the issue of modern democracy unexplored in its conceptual contradictions, I will maintain that the sociological orientation and the terminology I have suggested is a better basis for comprehending the concept than Kautsky leaves us with. 7 Kelsen 1920, pp. 124–8.

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majority principle should not be valued too highly. With regards to the state, just as for democracy as a concept, Nietzsche’s thought in his chapter in Thus Spake Zarathustra, ‘Of the New Idols’ (Chapter 22), is appropriate: ‘The state is the coldest of all cold monsters. Its coldness is a deception, and this lie crawls from its mouth: I am as the state its people’. That the will of the state is the will of the people is a fiction even within its democratic organisation, but not because the true will of the people is not expressed as democracy, but rather because the political phenomenon of the people’s will is to the highest degree problematic. The masses are not capable of initiatives. What the will of the people is, is decided as a democratic process autocratically, namely through the will of leaders who wish to enforce their will upon the people. Kelsen’s polemic is a master example of a failed attempt to comprehend democracy. Yet, it does enable us to see a great deal, because the inadequacy of the formal-juristic methodology shows clearly the need of a sociological method. The chief problem of Kelsen’s discussion is his way of orienting how democracy is considered as a concept, and the meaning given to the majority decision in its value as a means for the procedures of the majority. Our question was ‘why should the majority principle be insisted upon as the main means of expression for democracy, unless it transpires upon the foundation of a unity of interest rather than an expression of different, opposing vital interests’. But such a discussion falls beyond Kelsen’s interest – and this is to be understood because as a jurist, he sees the form of the vote solely in this purview. What the social content of the vote may be, the economic role in its articulation, and the implications and motivations that arise from this aspect, is not considered. It has been the question as to the function of the content of the majority principle that has concerned us, and we answered that diversity of interests is an expression of a class-based society where the majority is a one-sided domination, but that in the classless society the majority is unified administration. We do not cast into doubt ‘the absolute value of the principle of the majority’, whose justice, however, we take up with the well-understood, reputable scepticism that ‘rationality is to be seen always only among the few’. The degree to which Kelsen is unable to translate his perspective into our own is to be seen in another, broader objection to the ‘difficulty’ of the application of the principle of equality among interests in a democracy. Kelsen shows that within the divergent interests of the contemporary state the ability to form groups of the same interest is impossible, and thus he argues for our position that this rules out a genuine democracy – that is, our critique of political democracy. As long as there are deep contradictions among the vital life-interests a democracy is impossible. Crowning his own self-confutation is his quoting of

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Nietzsche,8 which could serve as the motto of the mere juristic state and its laws, while Kelsen’s use of it forgets that the mere form of the law, because of its conceptual universality as it is exercised in history, is always the most powerful means of societal deception, of self-delusion, and of living in such a state of lies. But when the dogmatical jurist, who swears by the letter of the law, makes the sign of the cross with the holy vow that is the pretension of the state, ‘I, the state, am the people’, calling it, nonetheless, a lie, he softens this hard insight by smirking in the face of the outrage this must provoke in his fellow jurists, adding, ‘well nothing much is said, thereby’, as the state is really never a lie, but is just a form in which all transpires. Thus, the Marxist sociologist must rejoin ‘what is that for a state which is so cold a monster, and why exactly is the state a lie, and why must it be so?’ Then the Marxist will take up the issue of the economic structure of the state, in which the contradictions of the ideology of the state are to be explained by the contradictions of societal reality, and thus a new way of thought beyond that of the juristic path is pursued, at the entrance to which even so sharp a thinker as Kelsen stumbles and fails to enters. For finally, in the conclusion of his polemic against Marxism, Kelsen finds ‘the political expression of the will of the people’ problematic, because the people only will what the leader compels them to will.9 This argument belongs neither to a juristic nor to a sociological methodology. It borrows its content from a vulgar psychological perspective, where it is, indeed, the most vulgar. For certainly, the foundational phenomenon of the will of the people is not ‘highly problematic’, but rather a problem, and not one in the popular meaning of that term, but rather in the sense from which the question arises ‘how is it that this concept of a unity of the many into one will is possible?’ Kelsen has in his writing on the laws of the state shown quite masterfully how the juristic concept of the will of the state has only its name in common with the individual-psychological category of the person’s will. He appears to believe that the sociological concept of the general will is only a summation of psychological individual wills. It suffices in this context to point out that our standpoint towards the general will is of a sociological character, into which the individualities are integrated. First, out of these individual wills arises a general will; and this process of integration of the individual will is generated by the social a priori nature of consciousness. Yet, aside from that, the sociologist who accepts Kelsen’s problematic of 8 Editor’s note: Kelsen actually uses Nietzsche’s statement in ‘Of the New Idols’ (Chapter 22) in Thus Spake Zarathustra to justify the state and its laws as not a true democracy, but as the ‘best of all possible worlds’ given the diversity of interests that will always exist among a people. See Kelsen 1920, p. 127. 9 Editor’s note: See Kelsen 1920, p. 128.

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the people’s will must first answer the question: From where does the ‘leader’ receive the stuff of that will which he will impose upon the ‘masses’, and how is it possible that the ‘masses’ allow this content of the will to become the will of the people, identifying it then as their own? And then, how are these very vague concepts of ‘leader’ and ‘the masses’ to be translated into the concrete terms of economic situations and interests? And, how is it that these masses with their lack of initiative provide the foundation for the historical materialist conception of history, yet not out of their spirit, but in the interest of the moving historical force of the leader? The correct answer lies within those two differing social structures that carry the name democracy and which have been left unaddressed by Kelsen. Kelsen states that it is a strange claim that socialism makes when it speaks of the class society in pulling down the mask of universality, yet in its own apology for the proletarian class state puts forward the same fiction that the proletariat represents the general will. Kelsen further writes that this claim of the proletariat is a dogmatic absolutising of the political ideal of a particular societal order, much the same as is carried out by aristocratic and autocratic regimes, above all theocracies.10 In the light of this statement by Kelsen, it must be said that Marxism’s defence of the class interests of the proletariat and the proletarian state have never asserted the fiction that these class interests represent the general will. If that were the case, there would be no class war. However, Marxism does teach upon an economic foundation that the establishment of the proletarian class interest leads in the direction of the general will, a direction which will establish the condition of a solidarity society. We do not idealise the class interest or sublimate it to the community, asserting thereby that it in itself furthers the society in contrast to the bourgeois class interest that tears society apart, because of the latter’s regressive principles. Rather, it is clear for Marxism that there is always an egoism of class interest. Yet the sociological function of the proletarian interest and that of the bourgeois are different. No one has made this clearer than Ferdinand Lassalle in his ‘worker’s programme’, where he said: Insofar as the subjugated class of society wishes to improve their position as a class, striving to improve their class lot is always a personal interest, not in their minds a historical movement that sets them against others and therefore damned as immoral. Their direction is with entire people in the development toward the victory of the idea, with the progress of

10

Kelsen 1920, pp. 124–5.

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culture, with the life principle of history itself, which is nothing other than the development of freedom … They are thus in a fortunate position, my listeners, that instead of dying for the idea, much more because of their personal interest they are the most receptive of the idea. They are in that happy position that while contributing to their personal interest through this receptiveness, they are one with the pulse of history, with the impelling life principle of moral development. They can therefore give themselves to historical development with personal passion in the certainty that their stance is moral, the more incandescent and consuming this passion in their pure mindfulness is.11 Associating the proletarian class with the societal general will is not yet to identify the two as the same; rather it involves setting them both into motion as historical development. The role of the proletariat in that development is a particular one. How one can then say that the Marxists claim that the proletariat is the general will, likening such a claim to that of the aristocratic ‘absolutising’ of itself as the political idea of a time, or similarly, echoing the manner of a theocratic ideology, baffles me. Or better said: one can immediately understand such historical thought and its analogies if one recalls that a formal jurist is not interested really in historical development, the differences that exist in class egoism, and the differing ways in which class solidarity has been achieved. For this jurist, the person who ‘believes in equal rights for all’ is of a class like any other class, and he could not care less about the ‘state’ as a class, since for him it is a compulsive organisation in all its emanations. Such a position ‘absolutises’ itself to the point where there can be no political ideal, and this absolutising leaves him with ‘absolutely’ nothing more to say on the topic of the characteristics and destiny of the state. Understandably, then, this jurist would think that the only societal power which can establish a real democracy is the state itself, and he is compelled to hold that the class strength of the proletariat, as a vehicle for democracy, is a fiction. 11

Berstein (ed.) 1893, vol. 3, p. 44.

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Democracy and Freedom In another publication, almost simultaneous with his publication of Sozialismus und Staat, Kelsen goes deeper into the problem of the majority principle and democracy. This text, Vom Wesen und Wert der Demokratie (Of the Essence and Value of Democracy),1 is a very thoughtful piece of writing, and it will be fruitful to discuss it here. We will address it from a new angle of the problem that it takes up, that is, the question of the sociological meaning of the idea of equality and freedom. Kelsen proceeds in this book from the premise that the idea of democracy is not only the principle of the equality of citizens, but is rather, above all, their freedom. From this point of view, the majority principle is justified because it is the only possibility which at a minimum safeguards the freedom of the majority. ‘Only the thought that while not all persons, but as many as possible are free, that is, where the fewest have their will counter to the general will of the social order, is generated by the rational path of the majority principle’.2 From this point of view, Kelsen then sees that the freedom of the individual person can be ‘irredeemably’ negated, because although freedom is constituted on the basis of the freedom of the individual, there will be ‘unavoidable differences’ between the will of an individual and the order of the state. This leads with respect to the development of the idea of democracy to a shift in its meaning. In place of the individual, we now see the whole, the social collective in which the individual lives. In light of the freedom of the collective whole, Kelsen resolves the contradiction that is raised when the majority principle is considered in relation to the individual. From the subjective view of the freedom of the individual there follows an objective result – the freedom of the collective whole. And this contradiction can be seen in the thought of Rousseau, and is not less characteristic of the thought of Kant and Fichte.3 Above all, then, what Kelsen accomplishes in his discussion is the establishment of the majority principle on the basis of the freedom of the collective whole. This position is exactly the same as my argument for social democracy. I write with satisfaction at this point that Kelsen does admit here that ‘without a doubt the ideal of an economy of the greatest equality is a democratic one. And,

1 Hans Kelsen 1920b. 2 Kelsen 1920a, p. 56. 3 Kelsen 1920a, pp. 56–9.

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therefore, Social Democracy would be a perfect democracy’.4 But Kelsen is satisfied here with his formal method, which assumes that the self-determination of the social collective is found to be anchored in the juristic process itself, with no further discussion of how such a social collective can be brought about. Establishing that no class-based society, only one based on economic solidarity, can be wholly democratic is the ultimate insight of juridical logic. And the juridical words in this regard are the social destiny of exactly that tendency: ‘Quod non est in actis, non est in mundo’ (What does not exist in action, does not exist in the world). This is the case for the juristic world of Kelsen. When Kelsen further opines that the majority principle is essential for any grade of democracy, his juristic frame of mind shows its danger, as can be seen when he adds that ‘an opposition – the minority – is not only inherent to the conceptual basis of the majority principle, but is always recognised politically to be there’.5 The danger is that this principle speaks merely of a social collective without considering the economic structure that supports it. For when there are no class contradictions in the social collective, the opposition may exist within the vote, but it need not be a conceptual necessity. And, on the other hand, where class contradictions exist, the ‘democratic’ majority by dint of its ‘inner conceptual essence’ is said by Kelsen to recognise the political justification of the minority. But, this is not the case – the majority uses this minority only in a subjugating manner. We will see this more clearly in our chapter on dictatorship. Thus, any attempt to consider democracy separate from its sociological function as the self-determination of a solidified collective runs immediately into the inherent contradictions that Kelsen labours to avoid in his discussion. Kelsen has sought to derive the concept of democracy from the concept of freedom, but in doing so indicates that the so-called individual freedom is irredeemable, and concludes that democracy, therefore, is a meaningless concept. Kelsen believes he has thus brought forward a devastating argument against Marxism, because then throughout his book he constantly alludes to the tendency in Marx and Engels towards anarchism, i.e., what he regards as their support for the freedom of the individual at the expense of the state – which would create, according to Kelsen, a telling contradiction between Marx’s economic theory and his political doctrine. We must address this further. Here, however, we must be in concord with Kelsen, for we agree that the inception of a discussion of democracy cannot begin with the freedom of the individual, and also reject every social manifestation of it as a basis upon which it may be defined.

4 Kelsen 1920, p. 82. 5 Kelsen 1920a, p. 83.

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This is not because of the difference between an individual and a social purview, but because the concept of democracy itself cannot be upheld theoretically. The standpoint of individual freedom is a typical part of a class ideology, the bourgeois ideology, which remains fixed outside of any societal phenomena explored by political, sociological, or philosophical perspectives. The bourgeois consciousness persists in seeing the state as a product of the will, so one sees it as being brought to power by a personality, which philosophically places it at the core of an individual will and individual consciousness. Thus the investigation of the essence and lawfulness of human understanding dominates any philosophical interest in the question of the state from the eighteenth century onwards. This orientation of the spiritual independence of the bourgeoisie was the precursor to the political, generating the laws of self-realisation and freedom of the human spirit. Kelsen has justice in his perceptive argument that the standpoint of individual freedom finally leads to contradiction, and that the individual in his vote must nonetheless see himself as bound to others if anarchy is not to be the outcome, if the use of freedom is not to make him unfree at the same time. But this contradiction exists only from the standpoint of individual freedom, which, as Kelsen shows, must be separated from collective freedom. If that is the case: what then becomes of individual freedom? What is essential does not lie in this separation, in which one is shown only a static dualism that demands either an individual or a collective vision of the world – a dualism that Kelsen seems to want to preserve, and which finally dooms all discussion of social problems to trivial perspectives that remain trapped in unfruitful stasis. Such a suspension between these opposites and the corresponding arguments that emerge can be expressed in the sublime maxim: ‘One cannot argue over taste’.6 One such argument is relativism, which des6 Recently among many of those engaged in social science it has become the norm to argue either side of the differentiation between the collective or universal and the individual conception of social life. One such approach that has had great influence is that of Karl Přibram’s content-rich book Die Entstehung der individualistischen Sozialphilosohie (Přibram 1912), which tracks the development of the new course of social philosophy as a struggle between individualism and the inherited view of universalism which was dominant in the middle ages, and in which the principle of individualism wins. Classical German philosophy, which can only be conceived as universal in orientation, is thus given no consideration by the author, whose self-imposed restrictions overlooks the authors of natural law and national economics. A similar standpoint between ‘the two forms of thought of the social whole’, the universal and the individual, is taken by Othmar Spann, and is presented forcefully in his speech of 5 May 1919, which he gave upon entering the faculty of the University of Vienna. See Spann 1919. He takes the position which Kelsen took in his essay ‘Politische Weltanschauung und Erziehung’ (Kelsen 1913), where the opposites of the individualistic and the universal

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troys any science of social life. Not only must this be rejected, but the facts do not warrant it. Yes, one can see the apparent grounds for relativism in Kant’s concept of transcendentalism, in relation to which I have laboured futilely for years with the aim of showing that the social is more than just an a priori side of our consciousness-in-general. Through my critique one can see for the first time that the Critique of Pure Reason does indeed have a revolutionary meaning, inasmuch as the work was seminal for social science, and Kant can be seen

worldviews are derived from the difference of a causal-individualistic natural science and a normative-universalist social science. When Kelsen allows justice only to the universalist position, making it a basis for social science as a normative discipline, particularly in his book Das Problem der Souveränität und die Theorie des Völkerrechts (Kelsen 1920c), he expresses the chief characteristic of modern relativism that in both principles recognized only subjective choice is causal, each leading to differing social-theoretical consequences. The essential problem that he pursues in this book is the primacy of the legal organisation of the people, an affirmation of which is central to his entire critique of the concept of sovereignty, and which he finally decides depends upon whether one takes a subjective or an objective worldview (see his final chapter). In this spirit, Adolf Menzel in his essay on ‘Demokratie und Weltanschauung’ (Menzel 1921) shows the influence of the basic positions of individualism or universalism in the constituting of the laws of the state. Finally, and most recently, Gustav Radbruch in his small book Kulturlehre des Sozialismus: Ideologische Betrachtungen (Radbruch 1922) differentiates three such major differentiations, in which he discerns the individualistic and the supra-individualistic or transpersonal, which is neither individualistic nor of a collective personality, but rather forms the activity set in motion by human life, which, however, leads Radbruch only to a cloaked vision of universalism. When through such discussions all that is shown is that individualism and universalism are but two differing worldviews, and moreover, two differing political positions, then two deep cleavages in the theoretical work of social thinkers are generated, limiting its value. If, however, one’s opinion is that social science could choose between either of these positions, so that there could be an individualistic or a universalist social science – then this argument, even if it is critically astute, is in error, an error facilitated by an inadequate epistemological foundation for social science. The contradiction between individualism and universalism leads one out of the social sciences and into metaphysics. Such an imagined contradiction has no meaning for social science: it is neither ‘universalist’ nor ‘individualistic’, but rather social knowledge, and this means that it can take as its object only the actual connectedness of all its parts, seeing them as a whole that itself constitutes a social fact. And ‘individualism’, just like ‘universalism’, constitutes a part of that actuality; both are sociological manifestations that belong to the objects studied. One cannot speak merely from an ‘individualistic’ or a ‘universalist’ social philosophy, and each approach by itself will lead only to a metaphysics. For as soon as one leaves the critical standpoint of social experience, and takes ‘a final position’, whether this is for ‘individualism’ or ‘universalism’, one must either see social life as ‘the atomistic individual’ or as ‘the social organism’, thus in both cases ending up with metaphysical essences, or rather, beginning with them. For certainly this will send sociology into an irredeemable antinomy, opening up the gates of the political and philosophical to a wholly subjective relativism.

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as a terminal point of the old, and the beginning of a new, philosophy – the completion of the individualistic point of view and the founder of collective thought.7 For now, our object of study becomes essentially more than simple individuality: the concept of individual freedom becomes thoroughly full of political contradictions and ceases to be a concept, because from the standpoint of the individual no concept of freedom is actually possible – in that it is without boundaries, or better said, there is no possibility to set boundaries for it. Correctly, one has brought attention to the fact that freedom is a negative, that is, is ‘freedom from what’. On the contrary, one must attend that which is ordinarily overlooked – the concept of freedom is not an individual concept, but rather a collective concept, because in the concept of self-determination of the will one does not think of the psychological individual will, but rather the willing process in general, where in every individual will an indeterminate many of willing subjects is understood, just as every manner of thought process implies such a manifold of thinking subjects as its conceptual background. Kant’s principle of freedom based upon the self-determination of the will is generally misunderstood popularly, indeed made into a vulgar understanding, by overlooking this collective backdrop of every judgment. The psychological willing subject is thus only a mere form of appearance, just like every psychological thinking subject. Individual freedom as a singular freedom, as an atomistic sense of self is a paralogism, necessarily a self-deception associated with the individualistic standpoint. The concept of freedom contains necessarily the subjugation of willing under its law, which for the individual consciousness can appear as nothing other than the placing of oneself under a norm whose thought-necessity therefore cannot individual, but rather transcends the individual, placing him or her in a contradictory free system, an indefinite many of individual willing subjects. What Kelsen represents as a change in the meaning of democracy, the shift of the free subject from the individual to the collective, is basically an intermixing of two wholly different political perspectives, namely that of liberalism and democracy. One is accustomed to holding both directions to be identical, or at least very closely related, as one sees them historically in the struggle against absolutism and feudalism, since those involved in the struggle tend to articulate them as if they were indistinguishable. But then it is doubly necessary to make clear that between liberalism and democracy there exist deep, indeed principled, differences, which have made contemporary neo-liberals into embittered opponents of democracy. Only by means of a focused taking apart of what belongs to the liberal and what constitutes the democratic 7 See my monograph M. Adler 1904.

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tendencies in thought can we achieve a clearer picture of the essence of democracy, and thus dispel the contradictions alluded to above, along with false assumptions about how to conceive of the democratic ideas of thinkers such as Rousseau, Kant, or Fichte. One will then no longer cleave to the strange disjunction that wavers between individualism and collectivism. Freedom, understood as individual, is the lodestar of liberalism; equality, on the other hand, that of democracy. The first idea leads from democracy to the individual; the last, on the other hand, places the individual beside the indefinite many with whom he has the connection of being an equal among equals. The democratic idea contains the principle of freedom, but not of the individual, but rather of the whole, in whose freedom the individual has his equal portion. One can then better understand the position of liberalism in its definition of freedom. G. Jellinek has shed light on both views, without naming them as such, in his concise but content-rich book on French human- and citizens’ rights.8 Here the history of ideas is brought to bear in demonstrating that the concepts of state and society that spring from Rousseau’s social contract are quite different than the idea of human rights, and indeed are inimical to such a view, since the latter sees the individual as independent from the state.9 The idea of an unexpressed right to freedom which allows the individual a distance from the social contract, and consequently from the state itself, or from the incommon of society, is a part of the liberal, but not of the democratic manner of thought. In liberalism, the fundamental right of the individual precedes the rights of the state or community; indeed, the state appears in this view as but a product of the general agreement of all individuals. ‘First, the law of the creator of the state is from the outset the free and unencumbered individual, and thereby out of these individuals the commonwealth is created’.10 In the same sense, but even more sharply expressed, Wilhelm Hasbach has shown the manner in which liberalism has taken a position in its defence of liberal monarchy against democracy, and has done so by developing an approach quite contrary to Rousseau’s in comprehending democracy.11 Leopold von Wiese, in an otherwise noteworthy opposition to the excesses of ‘patriotism’ in the service of a war politics, has demonstrated the critical division between liberalism, which he upholds, and democracy – between Locke and Rousseau – in arguing his case.12 8 9 10 11 12

Jellinek 1895. Jellinek 1895, p. 6. Jellinek 1895, p. 47. Hasbach 1912. von Wiese 1917, especially Chapters I–III.

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Let us recall now the distinction we made between political and social democracy, where the latter is the only actual democracy because only a solidarity community can establish it. Then, without needing to go further, it is clear that liberalism must be distinguished from democracy, indeed is inimical to democracy, because it lacks any idea of community. It knows only the beside-one-another or against-one-another of individual effects, out of which the liberal hopes that, through their free play, harmony will be achieved in the end. But he does not trust his own engagements. For finally the state is defined by him as the in-common protection of all against all. Quite contrary to the customary conception, as odd as this may appear, liberalism is fundamentally a servant of the state. How is that? For the liberal, the state does not rest upon the individual lives of the community. For the liberal, the state is not a sociation of individuals, but rather stems from the isolated being of each individual, where no individual recognises the superiority of a power over individuals themselves. Nonetheless, the co-existence of these individuals is seen as nothing other than a holding-together of authority by all whose force is limited only by what each deems is a necessary limit. So once you get down to it, the liberal is really in his soul a believer in authority, supports order, and in short, is a ‘preserver of the state’, while the democrat in his will towards the in-common knows no boundaries other than, as Rousseau puts it, the social contract itself, having no awe of the state and its order, but rather seeing in the needs of the general will the final power and the only law. One can comprehend Kant’s and Fichte’s views of the state from this latter perspective. Neither wanted a positive state, a ‘necessary state’. Both saw the state as a rational entity instead. Fichte had the view that the goal of any government was to make itself superfluous, so that instead of the state a moral law governed. It seems paradoxical, but is upheld by the actual history of ideas, as well as the class-based context, that upon closer examination the common belief that the relationship between liberalism and the democracy of the state is reversed: liberalism defends the state as an authoritative organisation, for it is the ideology of the governing class which desires to maintain its power, while the latter – the democrat – negates the state in its role of a machine of authority almost to the point of anarchism, because it wants to put aside this authority and in its place establish the solidarity of community. Kelsen’s reproach to Marxism, that it is contradictory due to its affinity with anarchism, which will be thoroughly examined below, has a less contradictory appearance in that the negation of the state by anarchism has a very different meaning than the one that is customarily attributed to it.13

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David Koigen, in a brilliant social psychological study, Ideen zur Philosophie der Kultur

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Indeed, the component of equality in democracy need not be in contradiction to its component of freedom if freedom and equality were removed from the sphere of liberalism, which means out of the individualistic conception, and restored to the sphere of the sociation of human existence whose political expression is Social Democracy. Only from this standpoint will freedom and equality belong together as attributes, which they do not in liberalism. Freedom and equality are not now actual conditions, but rather highly different expressions among differing perspectives of the same thing, that is, the present stage of sociation. Seen from this point of view as stages towards the formation of solidarity, freedom and equality are always a free potential no matter how strict the regulation of them might be. On the other hand, in the order of life that will arise out of a realised solidary sociation, equality will be recognised among all human functions within the society, no matter how different they may be. Thus Marx characterises equality in his Holy Family as merely a ‘French, that is a political expression for human existential unity, for the species consciousness and the species behavior of humans, for the practical identity of persons alongside other persons, that is, for the societal or human relation to person to person’.14 This standpoint in relation to sociation, through which the conflicts between liberalism and democracy can first be overcome, is identical with the sociology of Marxism, which can only consider the state and the economy from the perspective of the societal whole, not from that of individualism. Development within the society is then best described in terms of the functions of society. And this whole is not some mystical super-organism, but rather the individual people themselves, now however in a sociated condition, that is, in a condition in which each member thinks consciously of themselves against the background of an indeterminate many. And from this epistemologically

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(Koigen 1910, Chapters II and III), brings to our attention for the first time the actual conservative, state-preserving, indeed reactionary essence of liberalism, and ways in which the essence of democracy verges on anarchy. The extent to which Koigen’s book justly characterises this differentiation is confirmed when one reads the texts of the neo-liberals Hasbach, von Wiese, and von Mises, which mask their passionate hatred of the proletariat with their seemingly objective critiques of the flaws and disadvantages of democracy, and in their disentanglement of the ‘mystique’ of the concept of society. They are able, thereby, to effect practical results favoured by liberal politicians, but without openly admitting that Liberalism and universal suffrage are incompatible. W. Hasbach is one of the few who openly admits this (Hasbach 1921, p. 287), as well as stating that Liberalism and selfadministration are contradictions (Hasbach 1921, p. 237). Leopold von Wiese also admits ‘that human society is an apathetic, shabby thing and will remain so until humans become divine’ (von Wiese 1917, p. 45). Mehring (ed.) 1902, vol. II, p. 136.

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astute contextual understanding, where the concept of freedom is conjoined to a social whole and is thus at the same time a democracy, an objective realisation of solidarity is possible. Kelsen unjustly condemns both Kant and Fichte for not comprehending how their vision of this objective possibility was only subjective. Kelsen’s condemnation stems from his own failure to understand the epistemological foundation of classical German philosophy, which Kelsen claimed was wholly subjective. One must understand that classical German philosophy takes as its starting point the epistemological subject, but only so as to prevent thought from seeing this as a subjective consciousness. Its chief task was to work through the laws of consciousness in general as they are expressed in individual judgement. The greater the knowledge that is evidenced of this process, the greater the extent to which the lawfulness of mental life is objectively demonstrated. In my studies of the history of ideas that have informed socialism I have shown that German classical philosophy is essentially – in its logical studies, i.e., in the Critique of Pure Reason, not primarily in the Critique of Practical Reason – a philosophy of social consciousness, so that to use the terminology of Kelsen, it is objective.15 And in this sense Rousseau, too, belongs to the same tendency, as I show that his idea of the social contract is not a subjective moment of contractual decision-making, but rather the collectivity of a general binding of individual wills.16 Thus, one sees that the conflict between liberalism and democracy is finally anchored in epistemology. Democracy is in this sense presupposes a self-determination of the social whole, and that this whole is actual, not a fiction. That means that the social whole is never anything other than the non-rescindable relations of consciousness that its members have towards one another, so that the consciousness of the whole must in each of its parts be realised with this in mind. The most elemental aspects of life-goals and interests must be carried out within this mutual context of relationship, never separated or set against one another. There can be no unity other than through this consciousness of the parts of the cohering whole. If this is not the case, there can be at the utmost a whole for others, recognised as such by those who are apart from it. Such a whole, however, is only possible when there is equality of all life-interests in their incommon recognition of the whole thus constituted. One sees such an entity in the economic structure of societal life today among the majority who form a societal ‘adiaphoron’, a self-understood in-common that is not spoken of because its order underlies what is considered normal, which generates major-

15 16

See M. Adler 1914, pp. 49ff., and also 1919, pp. 13ff. M. Adler 1914, p. 23.

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ity decisions and constraints upon freedom that are felt negatively by those who are outvoted. Certainly, in the Social Democracy differing opinions and parties will exist, but even where there are passionate differences the minority will not feel themselves to be subjugated under the acts of governing masters, which is the case throughout political democracy, but will rather find themselves in a situation that is not to their preference, but that is fundamentally willed by them as a factor in their self-administration, because the norm of the majority decision is itself only an expediency in doing business in certain circumstances, and because above all a preservation of all personal vital interests is secured no matter which way the vote goes. So our discussion of the problem of democracy, in which we have considered its relationship to the idea of freedom, returns to where we began: the concept of democracy as a formal one, that can suit any societal form whatsoever without considering its ideological presuppositions as a determined societal condition – this concept of democracy has not and cannot exist. Only the condition of a solidarity society can sustain the concept of democracy, and it is on the basis of this problematic that there arises the double-sidedness of the term democracy. For in the course of societal development the struggle of one class can lead to a greater societal solidarity, which is the alleviation of political and economic subjugation. If this struggle is but political, and not economic in its democratic intentions, even when it calls its struggle one for democracy, democracy cannot actually be realised. The affinity between democracy and revolution lies here in the historical fusion of liberalism and democracy, but in this one sees above all the necessity of the conceptual tie that is founded between democracy and socialism. For only the latter can truly realise the former. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that both of the ideas associated with democracy – the political and the social – should be separated, despite the fact that they have been fused as historical phenomena. Only then will this conflict over terms be ended, and the actualities involved be understood. Then will the complaints of the supposed contradictions within Marxism be silenced – at least so far as this particular matter is concerned.

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Revolution or Evolution? Having achieved insight into the essence of democracy, we now are able to turn to the issues of dictatorship and revolution, avoiding the double-meaning of the word from which Kelsen’s critique suffered. We will have opportunity here to address these beleaguered terms – dictatorship and revolution – by returning to the sociological standpoint of Marxism. We will be able to deal with the confusion concerning the concepts of dictatorship and revolution in a cogent manner, having considered the Marxist concepts of the state, class, party, and democracy in the previous chapter. For, to put it straightforwardly, the concepts of dictatorship and revolution are to be understood in their essentials within the theory and politics heretofore discussed. The real question which we must take up with Kelsen’s critique at this point is whether the concept of the revolutionary development from the bourgeois to the proletarian state still has meaning, given that Marx and Engels saw this process within the form of a democracy where the proletariat constituted the overwhelming majority of the population. According to Kelsen, there is a great contradiction here between Marx’s political doctrine and his economic theory. The latter is without a doubt evolutionary: it sees the power of the proletariat developing as a result of its economic position until it becomes the strongest class in society. At this point its use of force is unnecessary, given the existence of political democracy. Marx himself has held it to be possible, ever since his 1872 speech in Amsterdam, that there can be a peaceful development of socialism through the parliamentary state. And in fact it must be appreciated that one of the few sure experiences of history is that democracy is introduced largely by force, but that the further progress of its development comes through its organic structure, out of its inherent means, which are peaceful.1 The development to a parliamentary democracy is then with universal suffrage only a question of time. Then, however, the proletariat must be the majority in parliament in order to transform the capitalist into a proletarian state, not constitutionally, but through economic legislation. What then do the concepts ‘Dictatorship of the Proletariat’ and ‘Revolution’ mean? Are we only playing with words when we speak of the dissolution of the state through a proletarian dictatorship, when in reality we have only a democratically produced major-

1 Kelsen 1920a.

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ity of proletarians, for whom the transformation of the state still lies before them?2 Kelsen opines that in fact the words dictatorship, revolution and dissolution of the state are fundamentally only revolutionary phrases for political agitation, for when one then considers Marxism’s economic theory, there can only be evolutionary development.3 Here also Kelsen’s critique seems justified only as long as one remains within his formalist manner of thinking. Again, this is not an immanent criticism of Marxism, but rather one where Marx’s concepts are never taken up in their historical-social thoroughness, and are instead treated merely as casings, into which any content whatsoever can be poured. Characteristic of this approach – and this is something that will surprise every historian as well as every politician – is the view that for its necessary introduction, though not for its expansion and full development, democracy requires revolutionary means.4 Certainly, for a jurist the expansion can only occur through the laws decided by a parliament, and the expansion of suffrage, of facilitating coalitions, etc. That every such parliamentary reform is preceded by major struggles between classes within the state, mass demonstrations by disenfranchised members of the populace, general strikes and actual street warfare, until the majority in parliament is compelled to ‘constitute’ democracy ‘in an organic manner’, naturally falls outside of the juristic perspective on this entire developmental process. For the juristic perspective, universal suffrage is the form in which democracy must realise its complete expression, because jurists merely count the vote, but do not weigh it. For the jurist, the function of universal suffrage has satisfied its purpose when it serves as a means to bring the will of the people as a majority to expression, that is, if it is really ‘universal’ and ‘equal’. In contrast to this view, Marx and Engels always raised the objection that universal suffrage as a political form has many differing goals, each of which reflects differing social structures of a nation, and also of a certain period. Thus, Napoleon III ended the Second Republic with the aid of universal suffrage, and reconstructed it in a form controlled by the wealthy bourgeoisie. And Bismarck, in his turn, used universal suffrage as a means to battle bourgeois liberalism, while in Austria it was used as a means for strengthening the dynastic state power against national separatism. In his letters for the New York Tribune, Marx laid out brilliantly (in 1855) the difference between the demand for universal suffrage in the social history of France and that of England. ‘In England’, Marx wrote, ‘there is no 2 Kelsen 1920a, p. 32. 3 Kelsen 1920a, p. 149. 4 Kelsen 1920a, p. 92.

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longer any doubt about what is meant by universal suffrage, or how this term is employed. It is the charter of a class of the populace, and means the appropriation of power as a means for the realization of its social needs. Universal suffrage in France in 1848 was a term used to bring about a general brotherhood of the nation; thus, unlike in England, it must be understood as a battle-cry. In England, it signalled the content of revolution; in France it was the universal suffrage of the revolution’.5 One may object in the face of this that an undemocratic misuse of universal suffrage does not undermine Kelsen’s description of it as a pure means of expression for democracy. Kelsen even admits that political indifference among the majority of the populace, economic dependency of large groups, limits posed by the technology which facilitates the distribution of votes and its processes, etc. affects the results of universal suffrage. But ‘in the sense of the theory of Marx and Engels, democracy – even when realised by force – can be freed from such limits, and through the generalization of political rights and their execution complete political freedom can lead to the establishment of a genuine democracy, which then insures governmental authority by the majority of the people – the proletariat’.6 This line of thought is pure juristic thinking: it sees the limits of democracy only in the lack of legal determinations that affect universal suffrage and carry it out by statute. It does not see that these ‘limitations’ are rooted in the class power of certain social groups in the state, which wield their influence within the existing forms of law, so that through law they cannot be set aside, but rather can only be affected through extrajudicial events that give the other class power its own means of holding its own beyond the juristic standpoint. It is Lenin who has done us the theoretical service of bringing to our attention once again that side of Marxist thought whose fundamental idea is that the state, as long as it is founded on class contradictions, remains a machine of subjugation even in its democratic form. As early as the Eighteenth of Brumaire Marx has shown that all progress in forms of the state from feudalism to the absolute state, from the legitimate and constitutional kingdom to the parliamentary republic, can only occur where the state power is wielded as an effective instrument by the governing class or class group. ‘All transformations are completed within this machinery, not by breaking the machinery’. The advances of democracy were only so many changes of role in the struggle of the bourgeois parties, in which ‘taking possession of the gigantic state structure was the chief booty of the victory’.7 And what was writ5 Marx and Engels 1920, vol. II, p. 275. 6 Kelsen 1920a, p. 101. 7 Marx 1885, p. 97.

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ten by the young Marx is only affirmed by the mature Marx, when he writes in The Civil War in France: ‘After every revolution which signals an advance in the class war, one sees a purely subjugating character in the use of state power, becoming more and more public in its employ’.8 Trotsky has put it quite beautifully in his book Terrorismus und Kommunismus, where he lays out what a mere juristic manner of thought means in its identification of the ‘limits’ of democracy, which has nothing to do with its ‘essence’. One immediately sees on reading his account that these ‘constraint of democracy’, as the essence of the capitalist condition of society, can only be altered within its own means. He says: ‘The capitalist bourgeoisie calculate that as long as the property, land, the factories, other manufacturing operations and businesses, and banks, as long as newspapers, universities, and schools are governed by us, and as long as – and this is the chief point – the leadership of the army remains in my hands, that long will the apparatus of democracy which we construct be subject to my will. I subject spiritually to me the dim-witted, conservative, petty bourgeoisie, as I materially require them … In the moment of their dissatisfaction I can create vents of security and lightning rods. I will create oppositional parties in necessary moments, which can disappear tomorrow, but today have their tasks. Thus, I can manage the petty bourgeoisie by giving them the opportunity to vent their rage without damaging capitalism itself. The government will give the masses the duty of public schooling, up until the border which would cross over from ignorance to knowledge – a step not permitted them. They will only see their actual spiritual slavery as harmless. I will demoralize the privileged or backwards levels of the proletariat, lying to them and intimidating them. Through the totality of these precautions I will prevent the vanguards of the working class from commanding the consciousness of the majority of the people, as long as I can maintain the instruments of subjugation and intimidation in my hands’.9 We reject, as we have already said, the Bolshevik theory of dictatorship as the ‘vanguard’, but only in the sense in which the revolutionary energy of a so-called workers’ elite substitutes for the economic maturity of working-class governance. Aside from this, the transformation of bourgeois into proletarian democracy does not merely have to do with the mathematical calculation of a majority. What matters is whether the proletariat through its relative numbers and through its organisation has grown to be the deciding class in the state. Then will be overcome the ‘limitations’ placed upon democracy, namely the

8 Marx 1891a, p. 44. 9 Trotsky 1920, p. 23.

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means of influencing and intimidating the vacillating segments of the people, and the transformation of existing circumstances by means of the pressure of a class will occur. It will do so even though this class may not count as a majority, and this is because this class already actually has the power in its hands. The passionately discussed question of whether the dictatorship is a majority or minority affair is incorrectly stated, because one only thinks of the majority in a parliamentary sense. If we conceive it as Marx and Engels did, so that the dictatorship of the proletariat is an expression for a majority of the people as a whole, then we can understand that this is not solely a numerical majority, what Friedrich Adler once justly termed mere arithmetic, but that rather what is meant is that the proletariat – as a whole or in an overwhelming majority – commands through its organised significance and power all oppositional levels of bourgeois society, and in the moment of its revolutionary action drags them in its goal-oriented wake. That is, however, not a process of parliamentary democracy; it is a revolutionary event. And in this context I would like to mention a circumstance that is a juristic conundrum: how is it that within democracy one can still speak of revolution. This is inconceivable for the jurist, but not so for the sociologist. Through this example it becomes clearer from where the objection stems that Marx and Engels really used revolutionary phraseology for an evolutionist purpose. The conundrum for the jurist arises because of the jurist’s democratic and legalistic consciousness. From the viewpoint of the jurist, democracy heals what he sees to be evil by its own legal processes. The foundation of society for the jurist is the law articulated by the will of the people, the foundation of legality, which is steadily constructed with new laws whenever these prove necessary. The defenders of this point of view desire that the proletariat revise its ‘unclear’, ‘unripe’, and merely ‘agitator-oriented’ ideas concerning the revolutionary overthrow of existing society, and finally seek to defend themselves solely upon the ground of a legal transformation that is the only true scientific method. This concept of legality in historical development belongs to the crudest illusions of the bourgeois ideology of the state, which forgets its own origins, cultivating a cult of legality which is nothing other than self-protection by the ruling class. It is more pressing than ever before to get a clear concept of this class-based spirit of legality so that the proletariat does not fall prey to it. For there is sufficient reason today to protect the proletariat in their political and union attainments – what they have accomplished since the 1918 upheaval – from the reactions of the monarchists and other elements of the society. This is because they are almost the only defenders of political democracy in its modern form, which has itself emerged from the bourgeois republic. Yet, the proletariat’s revolutionary character in a sociological sense lies precisely in its

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societal opposition to political democracy, which can be realised in its mental liberation from the bourgeois ideology, that is, from a cleaving to legality at all costs which is contrary in spirit to the new creation of a social whole. Marx wrote in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung after the failed revolution of 1848: ‘We have never tried to hide that our foundation is not the legal order, is the foundation of revolution’.10 And in his speech in the court of assizes in Cologne, he repeated that he and his comrades ‘have justice in their being enemies of the legal foundation’, but pointed out at the same time that this has always been the case for a class striving for authority, and not least of those who were now protectors of the legal order. ‘But, my good listeners, what do you understand then under the assertion of the legal foundation? Aren’t the assertion of laws which belong to a past societal order represented by those whose societal interests have foundered or are foundering? Just these are those people who are in contradiction with the universal needs at hand, of a majority whose interests should be elevated to law. Society does not rest upon laws. That is a juristic fancy. The law much be based upon society, it must be the expression of its communal interest, which is based upon the means of production of a given time, and the interests and needs that emerge from that – contrary to the arbitrary will of single individuals’.11 And then, 36 years after this speech before the court of assizes, Engels wrote in his foreword for a republication of the text a thought that remains significant for our time, because it expresses ‘the revolutionary standpoint in opposition to the hypocritical lawfulness of the government’: ‘To desire from a party that it be bound not only factually, but morally to the existing government, to expect that no matter what may transpire that one not overthrow the status of the laws they challenge, even when they have the ability’, that implies that ‘they must pledge themselves to uphold the existing order into eternity’. The German petty bourgeoisie has never made revolution, only suffered under it. ‘The unwarranted expectations of the German petty bourgeois of the social-democratic worker’s party has only one meaning, that this party … should not participate in revolution, but rather suffer with everyone else’.12 Those who see only the formal side of democracy see only the need for the continuity of the condition of the law which assures them, the more educated they are that they possess the virtues of what constitutes the democrat. Only let there be no un-parliamentary event that attacks the sanctity of the democratic foundational laws. However, it was Engels who

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Mehring (ed.), vol. III, p. 207. Marx 1895, pp. 13–15. Marx 1895, pp. 6–7.

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knew what to say of this holiness, which today the proletariat should not forget. He took the ‘lawlessness’ of the Chartists energetically into his protection, and said: ‘Given this opportunity, I must say a word about the sanctity of the laws in England. Certainly, the law is sanctified by the bourgeoisie as they have made it themselves, with their consent, and through their protection, and, yes, advantage. The bourgeois individual knows, even when a single law may be an exception, that the entire complex of the laws protects his interests, and above all the sanctity of the laws, its inviolability … which once in place provides the strongest support of his social position. Because the English bourgeois in his laws as in his God finds himself as a person again and again, he holds them to be holy, and therefore the club of the policeman who serves is actually his own club, a wonderful power that pacifies. But this is not the case for the worker. The worker only knows too well, and has too often experienced that the law for him is but a switch, which the bourgeois has bound him to, and if he need not, he does not turn to the law’.13 With this in mind we see the great value of Trotsky’s statement in his aforementioned book on democracy,14 where he points out the danger of the psychological tendency in democracy to ask for the loyalty of the proletarian class for the class-based fact of the law. To be sure, the bourgeoisdemocratic state made the development of the working class possible, but ‘it also limited its development with the boundaries of bourgeois legality, in that it provided the top levels of the proletariat opportunistic accommodation within it and legal privileges that secured this artful amassing’.15 Thus, we have seen with closer investigation of the concept of revolution, that a revolutionary state of mind cannot only exist within democracy, but has a well-founded place there. Revolution is nothing other than the striving to put aside every ‘limitation’ which even Kelsen admits must be eliminated for ‘real’ democracy to exist. But, at the same time, this ‘putting aside’ is only possible if at the same time there is an overthrow of the entire existing social system, a system which can be seen from one point of view as the very ‘limitation of democracy’ in itself, because a free democracy is not possible within that system as a political fact; free democracy can only come as a social phenomenon. What does revolution mean in the Marxist sense? Again, we see chiefly a historical concept: there is not a contradiction between a revolution in itself and an evolution; rather this is determined through a distinct developmental phase of the productive forces within the capitalist form of the conditions of production, and is made through the proletariat’s emergent knowledge of a new 13 14 15

Engels 1892, p. 230. Trotsky 1920. Trotsky 1920, p. 18.

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societal task which is bound to the necessary will to follow through with it – namely, to replace private ownership of the means of production with societal ownership, taking over this function as the foundation of the societal order. The concept of revolution is in Marxism identical with social revolution and means, in a word, overcoming class contradictions as the goal, and the dominion of the proletariat as the means. If one seeks a more general definition than the historical one, this can only be: a creative societal will based upon transformative theoretical knowledge. The sociological concept of revolution, even in Marxism, is not merely economic, but rather is completely formulated – just as are all concepts in Marxism – as a social idea which indicates a distinct ideological superstructure as one of its elements; only then is it fully a sociological concept. And in this respect, regardless of how it has been idealised, the famous definition of Lassalle concerning the difference between revolution and reform must be cited in its classical articulation: ‘Revolution means overthrow, and in a revolution, whether with or without force – the means do not matter – a wholly new principle is set in place of the existing condition. Reform, on the other hand, occurs when the principle of the existing condition is upheld and only leads to mild developments in the direction of greater justice. The means of these changes do not matter. A reform can be caused by insurrection and the spilling of blood, and a revolution can occur in the greatest condition of peace itself’.16 16

Lassalle 1893, vol. II, p. 104. Wholly in agreement with this is Emil Lederer in his stimulating investigation Einige Gedanken zur Soziologie der Revolutionen (Lederer 1918), when he answers the question ‘what is revolution?’ in this manner: ‘It is the breakthrough of an idea into reality … then a revolution is necessary for a twofold reason: that the idea is realised, and done so by the mobilisation of the social energies necessary’ (pp. 12–13). Correctly, and in well-meaning contradiction to those who agonise within the bourgeois society over methods of force, such as war itself – a view held by many learned critics of Marxism – Lederer points out that force does not necessarily belong to the concept of revolution, but rather only to its realisation. Lederer means that there is a contradictory problematic in play when one considers the meaning of revolution, in that the use of force contradicts the idea itself. In this part of his argument one comes up against a limitation in his own comprehension – which is bound up within his own ideology. Lederer holds that an idea and force are simultaneously rival powers, like Ormuzd and Ahriman, although revolutionary powers can be nothing other than the actualisation of the guiding, energising idea of a class. Thus, Lederer is compelled finally to emphasise ‘that only certain ideas can have revolutionary meaning in the present, those which drive as their consequence the dialogue between classes or which comprehend class war’ (p. 32). Certainly, the violent acts of a revolution injure it in its pure idea. From this perspective idea and force are no longer essentially foreign to each other, as little in the revolution’s plan as in its execution, its goal or its means. Lederer’s approach to the problem of the antitheses of idea and force hinge upon his own ideological position. He partially understands

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It is not necessary that revolution develop ‘violently’, and thus – here in decisive contrast to Kelsen – it is not contrary to its concept that it occur ‘lawfully’. It is in and for itself conceivable that the dominion of the proletariat occurs wholly without war, by dint of the decisions of a parliamentary majority. But, this is primarily of interest to the juridical side of the issue; in its sociological meaning the question of whether the dominion of the proletariat can be realised ‘peacefully’ or ‘violently’ is essentially beside the point. For what is essential is determined by whether this dominion of the proletariat equates to a fundamental change in the social function of dominion itself, a break with the existing character of dominion. For it is no longer dominion to preserve the power of a class and the maintenance of the class structure of the state, but is rather for the deconstruction of class power in itself, even the proletariat’s own, by the transferring of life in the class-state to that of the classless society, in which dominion loses its subjugating character. In the protocol of the meetings of parliament, when the social revolution fulfils itself in a democratic form, perhaps all will have occurred without a revolutionary break with the constitution. There may be a qualified majority which changes the constitutionally protected form of private property, bringing about a ‘legal’ alteration in its status. Yet, what seems to be but a ‘continuity’ in the legal state to jur-

that power and class struggle are a necessary means of revolution, but sees them as being likely to fall out of use in the future. He writes of this in a later essay on the ‘Soziologie der Gewalt’ in Die Weissen Blätter, Neue Folge, vol. 1, where he says the role of violence in the future development of society will come to an end. ‘The epoch is at an end where force alone can create a new situation and a final result’. In a limited way this is also seen as true in Marxist thought, because the Marxist speaks of social revolution and in the class struggle it is never ‘force alone’ that is active. When, therefore, Lederer states: ‘it is time that the thesis of the class war be proved anew in order to give it an adequate meaning for the present’ (p. 27), he follows with the claim that the societal structure is not necessarily changed through war and class power, but rather is more and more often effected through a more or less conscious accommodation by either side using the normal means of defending their class interests. In this terms, the use of the words war and force occurs merely in a ‘cock-crowing’ sense. What is essential, according to Lederer, in the thought of class war as the distribution of definitive roles in the social process which determine the exclusive place of each of the parties in terms of economic living conditions. An accommodation can only succeed in relation to the immediate demands that are represented, not in the class struggle as an entirety. Lederer, however, must admit that ‘the possibility of fundamental change’, even in the ‘new sense’ of the class struggle, remains a necessity. Thus, the entire revision of the class struggle will follow the existing Marxist theses, which is that the form of the social revolution fulfils itself essentially in the manner determined by the resistance of the governing class. Here also one sees Lassalle’s thought confirmed, that what is essential in the concept of revolution and the revolutionary war is the new principle, not the force.

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ists, according to their formulas, is then sociologically a massive change in the economic structure of the state, so that ‘the state’ as it was and now is totally differs. Social revolution means for the Marxist neither a necessary break in the laws nor a use of force, but rather a goal-oriented consciousness of the change of society into a new economic order – one which it already has prepared for within the existing system. How within the unchanged form of law the most powerful social revolutions are possible through economic development, Marx and Engels have taught us to comprehend; and their position is concisely stated for the first time in the Communist Manifesto.17 Revolution is for us primarily neither juristic, nor political, but rather a sociological concept and relates to the change in the conscious- and wilful adjustment of the societal structure of the state. The continual change is effected in the social functions by the individual classes, so that both classes, the governing and the governed, no longer exist in a contradictory relation within the societal organism, the first more and more unable to dominate with their interests within the state, enjoying, as they had, in an undisturbed manner, the security of their dominion – the world war and even more the ‘peace’ providing the unimpeachable evidence of this – and the latter class making more and more visible all its claims and demands that have been limited by the society that they are now coming to control. Revolution is then only the conscious accommodation of the external form of the society to its new inner structure, but not necessarily as a legal break, but rather, more centrally, as a break with the older institutions and traditions, with the older bourgeois conception of society, with the spirit of the class state, with the entire ideology of the former dominating class. What then characterises the sociological conception of revolution, and what differentiates it from mere reform, is the new identity of the economic foundations that are realised as a breakthrough – not necessarily in the constitution of the state, but in the break with the economic constitution of society. The young Marx wrote of this as ‘not allowing the pillars of the house to remain standing’, which all mere political revolutions do insofar as private property in regard to the means of production remains undisturbed, with the result that class contradictions are not put aside. This sociological concept of revolution is from the Kelsen’s point of view lacking in depth, and, in the absence of his more

17

See, for example, the brilliant book by Karl Renner (pseudonym Dr. Josef Karner) Die Soziale Funktion der Rechtsinstitute in the first volume of Marx-Studien (Renner 1904), in which he shows how revolutionary changes of function can occur within the legal form of property through economic changes in its content.

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precise juristic understanding, quite unscientific. In his recently published, epoch-making book on the logical construction of the theory of law, which I will address below in another context, he clarifies the juristic concept of revolution quite incisively, saying that the decisive criterion is not whether the change in the state is deep or shallow, but rather whether this change is realised constitutionally or by a break with the constitution. It is conceivable, for example, that a monarchy becomes a republic through a constitutional decision, that is through a parliamentary decision sanctioned by a monarch. On the other hand, there would be no revolution if the proclamation of the republic took place only by a one-sided declaration of parliament.18 Even if we leave this lack of clarity aside, one can see evidenced here how empty, indeed meaningless, and in the final analysis, prone to error a pure juristic manner of thought is for the comprehension of societal events, in the sense that, according to the juristic concept, even the most powerful transformations of society which externally are ‘in accord with the constitution’ are lacking in revolutionary character. And, in the progress of societal development, meaningless contradictions to the constitution are deemed ‘revolutionary’ events. But one thing is certain, that what is essentially conceived of in the idea of revolution is a break with the identity of the old, and that this break with continuity in juristic terms is only possible through a constitutional break – i.e., a situation where in the wake of previous law reforms, new ones occur, but without following the principle of those earlier reforms. So it is with social revolution: the intended societal constitution is not a change carried out upon the old one, but rather another constitution. When it comes to private ownership of the productive processes and the care of individual economic enterprises, no matter what limitations these have heretofore experienced, they cannot be carried over into the communal ownership of the means of production and the care of the economy. Plainly, these ‘limitations’, as continual as they have been, indicate the growing divide between the old conceptions and the new – those which will be instituted economically, politically, and culturally with the new ideology. Another objection arises from critics at this point. One will say, and Kelsen has aired this, that the sociological concept of revolution can be shown to be intrinsically contradictory, because if there is a break in the legal order, then the new will have no relationship to the old; however, according to Marx and Engels, the new social constitution develops continually from the old one. Here, in the eyes of Kelsen and the other critics, lies the contradiction. This is

18

Kelsen 1920c, p. 237.

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the old conflict over the relationship between evolution and revolution, which at the time of Bernstein’s revisionism had sown confusion, a confusion still not overcome. A contradiction between evolution and revolution can only arise in the social process for those who fail to comprehend the materialist historical conception, and for whom ‘materialism’ is merely that spiritless conceptual-juristic approach that we have already described. Never forget the Marxist words: ‘For me an ideal is the transformed material reality in human thought’: one knows by this that no economic cause exists that is not fulfilled by human thinking. The continual change in economic conditions through the development of the capitalist production process is completed only through the million-fold decisions and actions that stem from human thought; that is, what is created in the proletarian mind is that consciousness of its own economic situation, and thereby the means are conceived of how they can help themselves, and finally of the actions that they can take. The action is what alleviates the problem: it brings change to the economic conditions, creates a new order. Marxism has always taught: ‘a societal form never disappears until all its productive energies are developed, when they have reached their full potential, and then new, more advanced productive conditions enter – but never in place of the old until the new material conditions of existence have been inseminated and nourished in the womb of the old societal form’. But that does not mean, naturally, that these new material conditions of existence are already the new society. Such an economic ‘autonomism’ is imputed by the learned scholars who are enemies of the historical materialist conception. Quite to the contrary, Marx wrote of the ‘evolving’ preparation of the new society clearly and cogently, arguing that out of this evolution ‘the historical mission’ of the working class ‘has no ideal to be realized, they have only the elements of the new society to put in place freely, those elements which have developed in the womb of the disintegrating bourgeois society’.19 This free activity of setting into place the elements of a new order – that is revolution. The description of evolving change in the economic foundations of the revolution that belongs to the essence of Marxism – this description is not then a contradiction, but is rather nothing other than the sociological determination of revolution, its integration into social causality, which naturally forms a continuum. Whoever then calls this a contradiction, on the grounds that its evolutionary content does not match up with the terminology of revolution, fails to see that in every emanation of the new, even within biological evolution, it is possible to see its causal side in terms of evolution, because its conditions can be tracked to an earlier set of conditions. 19

Marx 1897, p. xii.

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The view that, through gradual change and accommodation, new species emerge in biological evolution, is today seen as a foundational misunderstanding in Darwinism. Neither through artificial nor natural selection can something new be brought to light; it can only emerge spontaneously, suddenly, and then be maintained in its value. Organic evolution is realised through a series of continued organic revolutions (mutation), which witnesses a break with the old and the beginning of the new. Thus, revolution and evolution are not contradictory in any manner; for the latter is related to the causal chain of changes, and the first to the manner of change itself. The real contradictory terms are revolution and reform (variation), in which the first is the change consequent to the break with existing conditions, and the latter the change within the conditions that exist.20 Such a break with the old is the proletarian revolution, which in place of the dominion of the bourgeoisie and its economic principle of private property, establishes the fundamental proletarian principles of social economics and its institutions. Yet, the jurist Kelsen holds here to formal appearances: he finds that earlier there was the bourgeois state, and only now the proletarian. He also finds it noteworthy that Marx and Engels speak here of revolution, where in actuality democracy continues in the transition from the capitalist to the proletarian state:21 Since Marx in his theory of the proletarian class state holds in principle that through social revolution it will take the place of the capitalist class state, one can really not understand why he so decisively polemicises against the view that the social revolution is solely a change of the governing party of the state. He stresses: the state must be eliminated. But, only then again to become a state, indeed then to be solely a class-based state. Is this not then merely a conflict over a word, in order to offer an intuitive image, whether it be the ‘elimination’ of the capitalist class-state or a ‘transformation’ of it?22 One needs only to read these sentences that confront Marx’s societal and state theory in order to see the absolute inability of the formal-juristic standpoint to place itself if only for a moment upon the ground of the Marxist theory that Kelsen presumes to criticise. It is sufficient for him to put forward that both the capitalist and the proletarian dominions are established by a ‘state’ 20 21 22

See here J. v. Wiesner 1916. Kelsen 1920a, p. 30. Kelsen 1920a, p. 32.

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and thus nothing has changed! That the proletarian state has a quite different social function than the bourgeois state, that in the latter the class character of the state is asserted to be enduring, and the state order is to maintain this state order, while with the proletarian state, conversely, the class character is only a means to deconstruct the class contradictions – that remains outside the jurist’s vision. To social reality he turns a blind eye. For that reason Kelsen can only see Marx’s demand for the breaking up of the state machinery, the unconditional necessity for the proletarian grasp of dominion, as a contradiction between his evolutionary theory and a concession to the needs of radical agitation. With the picture of the breaking of the machinery of state, Kelsen claims Marx can only have meant that in place of a certain manner of state order, another would emerge to replace it, or that in place of the former organs of the state new persons will assume office, or that wholly new state functions will be generated. In any case, the destruction of the machinery of state is reduced for Kelsen to a change of state form or of organs of state, or both at the same time.23 But what the jurist in triumph lays greatest weight upon is that after the destruction of the machinery of state, a state form is still present, which is not what Marx envisions. That is only important for Kelsen because while he always characterises Marx’s concept of the state as historical, he, nonetheless, identifies it with his own formal conception, which comprehends all possible forms of state, and then seriously believes that he must prove that the elimination or destruction of the state (Marx is referring to capitalism) leaves a state still in place (Kelsen means that of the proletariat). This enables him to claim an easy ‘victory’ for his juristic standpoint over the Marxist outlook, although this has been an unfruitful conflict, really only over words. What is essential in this fundamentally important view of the destruction of the machinery of the state, which Lenin fortunately has moved into the foreground of consideration, insofar as he shows that this phrase was not a passing remark by Marx, but rather a recurring conception, and has been ever since Marx’s Achtzehnten Brumaire – what is decisive here, lies in the depiction of the break with the old, the destruction of the former economic and political content of the state, which the social revolution will have completed. This means the institutionalising of the proletarian state: not the dominance of a new party in the otherwise unchanged societal milieu, but rather the setting aside of the old and the introduction of newer societal conditions of life through the advancing class. What constitutes the destruction is to be seen in what Marx said

23

Kelsen 1920a, pp. 32–3.

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about the Paris Commune, which he praised as the best example of this – a passage that Kelsen also offers from Marx, but without comprehending its value: ‘The secret was this: they were essentially a government of the working class, the result of a battle of the generationally existing class against the usurping class, who finally discovered the political form under which the economic liberation of work could be realized’.24 But, certainly, when one overlooks the essential in this sentence, that is, the new form of societal work, and merely triumphantly announces that one also sees here a ‘government’ and a ‘political’ form, just as when one speaks of the old form of state, the bourgeois form – then one allows Marxist thought to leak away, as if through a perforated vase, incapable of holding onto its contents in their entirety. Therefore, the entire critique which Kelsen devotes to the Paris Commune as Marx and Engels saw it – as the prime example of the destruction of the machinery of state – descends into the quagmire of a troubled war of words. It is almost tragicomic to see how here the juristic critique misses the relevant content of the Marxist perspective, so that Kelsen stumbles over each of his words, arriving at the conclusion – which it would never have occurred to Marx to dispute – that the commune was a compulsive organisation. The dissolution of the existing military was not a removal of military power, but rather a ‘replacement through the armed people themselves’, as a transition to another form. In place of the privileged suffrage, universal suffrage was effected – which to Kelsen is further evidence of the ‘unbroken’ state. And the replacement of the parliamentary body by a ‘workers’ corporation’ did not mean, as Marx meant, the elimination of parliamentarianism, but rather its transformation into a form nearer to immediate democracy, inasmuch as the legislative was unified with the executive: ‘Does a representative assembly cease to be a parliament – in German a representative of the people (Volksvertretung) – even when its legislative power becomes a function of its execution, namely the selection of representatives is one with those who will carry out its decisions?’ asks Kelsen, and then goes on immediately to produce from the historical manifestation of the commune the juristic category of a ‘working body’. Naturally, if we follow this conceptual transformation to Kelsen’s preference, the parliamentary state does not cease its existence merely because a law-giving body is simultaneously the administering body. But, in the actual transformation of which Marx speaks, dealing with it in terms of his theoretical understanding, bourgeois parliamentarianism does end, that is, we see the instituting of the ‘people’s representation’ replacing the dominating interest of a class. Rather than a class

24

Marx 1891a, p. 40.

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in power which maintains itself through economic exploitation and thereby sustains existing class contradictions, the converse is realised. It would make much more sense for two such different things – involving two such different concepts of democracy – not to carry this same label. And when Lenin says, therefore, that he could not have democracy without a body that represents the people, without considering parliament as such a body, Kelsen is unjust in replying: ‘here is an unjustified narrowing of the concept of parliamentarianism’.25 The terminological distinction exists chiefly to make one aware that from the Marxist standpoint the juristic form should not be at issue; rather it is the social function of the content that is involved. Otherwise we find ourselves reflecting on things that do indeed have a continuity of legal form, indeed from the time of the cultures of the Hottentots all the way to the present parliamentary form – and that are supported externally today by many methods used in the time of the Hottentots – and yet where such continuity is a conceptual fog, in which the actual characteristics of things disappear. Meanwhile, this insufficient critique of Marx’s reflections on the Paris Commune overlooks the setting aside of the bureaucracy, the standing army and the transformation of parliament into a working body that expresses not a theoretical problem, but the practical ‘core’ problem of democracy, namely the question of its organisational viability. Kelsen only touches upon this in passing. We must go into these issues much more deeply in order to fully comprehend what Marx saw in these events, especially as it informed Marx’s vision of the future conception of the state. 25

Kelsen 1920a, p. 35.

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Democracy and Its Organisation Although democracy is such a focus of definition and criticism today, and indeed has been seen with hopeless scepticism by many – indeed, one hears of the crisis of democracy – the ground for this lies neither in its apparent contradiction by dictatorship, nor in its necessary rejection in the parliament of the class-based state. Neither development harbours the real problem of democracy; rather these apparent contradictions disappear if one consider democracy from the perspective of a social condition of the state that does not correspond to actual democracy as an effective, living phenomenon. The real problem of democracy arises from another direction. Robert Michels has given us the correct focus in his greatly informative book Zur Soziologie des Parteiwesens1 – not the first which deals with this issue, but the most thorough so far. Since that publication, Wilhelm Hasbach,2 and most particularly Max Weber,3 have viewed the issues from differing perspectives. The real problem of democracy is that it appears that all democracies must be self-contradictory, due to the requirements of their own organisation. For democracy everywhere takes on a form necessary for its representation, within which the direct expression of democracy is not possible – a situation that has existed ever since it was merely the dwarf democracy of tiny communities, since even in these a leader emerged which directed it. Thus, since that time all democracies have tended to create contradictions as they seek a form within the community of their time, contradictions which disallow equality and solidarity among their members. Michels speaks therefore of an iron law of oligarchy within democracy,4 which can be characterised in brief in this formula: ‘The organisation is the mother of the dominion of the elected over the electors, those authorised over the giver of authority, those delegated over the delegators’.5 This is organically integral: it can be seen in all forms of democracy from the revolutionary to the conservative. ‘One might call it a tragicomedy: the masses satisfy themselves with the offering of all powers, only the masters change’.6

1 2 3 4 5 6

Michels 1911. Hasbach 1912, especially Part III, ‘Der Mechanismus der Demokratie’. See Weber 1918, and 1919. Michaels 1911, pp. 362ff. Michael 1911, p. 384. Michael 1911, p. 377.

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Yet this unchanging tendency remains only a secondary consideration in relation to what makes democracy so problematic: the fact that all organisational forms which democracy must create in order to reach its goals, begin immediately ‘to rust’, becoming a mere mechanism, a static machine. The organs of democracy transform themselves immediately into a bureaucracy, a level with its own interests of station and authority, which generate through their own processes tendencies that are in contradiction to democracy. This side of democracy’s development is taken up thoroughly by Max Weber, when he shows how bureaucracy is not only a creation of the state or a city administration, but exists already within the political party, that is, within what is manifestly the essential form of modern democracy. Here the party’s activity is the central element, its influence inhering throughout its own apparatus, for every party has its own organisation, and its apparatus is directed completely by a party bureaucracy. The larger are the masses that are represented by the party, the more necessary it is to take control of the party’s direction. ‘The real work is performed increasingly by the paid employees and agents throughout the organization. Everything else to do with the party is but window-dressing’.7 And this bureaucratisation Weber defines as inescapable, indeed as a tendency of all organisations that it is purposeless to resist. For it only insures a rational, factually informed leadership for the business at hand. And so the fateful question concerning democracy is expressed as follows: how, in the face of the superior power, yet utter necessity of the tendency towards bureaucracy is democracy even possible?8 Long before these critics of democracy and professional politicians, Friedrich Engels had exercised a similar sharp criticism, indeed concerning the same American political conditions that were the object of this later criticism. Only Engels possessed the consciousness that his object was bourgeois democracy, not democracy in general. In his introduction to Marx’s book Der Bürgerkrieg in Frankreich, Engels pointed to the self-understood way in which the organs of society operated, and how even in a democracy its officials were servants of their masters. Nowhere does ‘the politician’ wield such a separate and mighty department of the nation as he does in North America. Here both great parties, which experience change in leadership as time goes by, are led by these ever-new individuals for whom politics is a business … It is well known how the Americans over the past thirty years [written in 1891] have sought 7 Weber 1918, p. 26. 8 Hasbach 1921, pp. 31–2.

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to shake off this unbearable yoke, and how in spite of all these efforts they have sunk even more deeply into the swamp of corruption. One can see most clearly how in America the self-evident power of the state is wielded over society, which at first was intended to be the tool of society. There is no dynasty there, no aristocracy, no standing army … no bureaucracy that is guaranteed its positions or even promised pensions. Yet, nevertheless we see there two great bands of political speculators, who alternatively take power over the state, exploiting it for the most corrupt goals – and the nation is powerless against this phenomenon, standing, rather, in service of these bands who in reality are the dominators and plunderers, the two great cartels of politicians.9 But, even in the proletarian workers’ movement itself, the masses have perceived this same problem. The anti-authoritarian direction of anarchism and late syndicalism are forms in which one sees the efforts to combat the bureaucratisation of the socialist movement, creating for the masses a greater immediate influence, which explains the major reason for its emergence and, for a time at least, great attraction for the worker. Particularly popular was the syndicalist demand for direct action, because within it was not only an immediate, visible effect recognisable in the class state, but an immediacy that enabled the masses to know the results of their own actions. There was, nonetheless, an illusion generated that they were no longer compelled to be voters merely represented by others, but were, immediately, a self-directed mass of members who were active in realising their own goals. And we still have the living memory of how with such irresistible, fascinating power the idea of the workers’ councils after the Russian revolution gripped the masses, not only because at the time the hidden romanticism of Bolshevism was not yet seen, but because, above all, here there really seemed to be an instrument through which the masses, in factories, in businesses, in offices, in bureaus could work in a united manner, under their own authority, to generate a breakthrough from the stagnant forms of political and union leadership and the party bureaucracy, putting in place the revolutionary life of the masses themselves by means of a new organisational principle.10 Even the contemporary refocusing of attention on the English guild system has a similar origin, in the impulse of the masses towards an immediate democracy that defends itself against the bureaucratisation, mechanisation and separation of a caste of leadership within

9 10

Marx 1891a, pp. 12–13. See here my monograph Demokratie und Rätesystem (Adler 1919a).

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democracy. Here one sees that the main motive is not to have a strict centralisation from above that solves all problems, but rather the building of societal organisations from below, upon the bases of self-directed, local organisational groups. ‘Not upon the great national leadership’, says Cole, ‘does the future of the unions depend, but rather upon the localities, and the leaders there within the various workplaces, from the intelligent minorities within the masses … the union movement must become democratic once more, it must base itself upon the local workplaces, for out of these comes the origin and the fulfilment of its power. Insofar as these workplaces are the centre of union life, new and pertinent demands will arise by themselves which lead to new functions, new methods, new apparatuses, and new persons’.11 The overcoming of this fate of democracy, wherein oligarchy alters its nature and bureaucracy creates deadlock, seems for Michels to be an impossibility. Only social pedagogy might be able to deal with – to ‘end as far as practicably possible’ – these destructive tendencies. Finally, in the face of the other choices – aristocracy or monarchy – democracy is ‘the lesser evil’.12 Max Weber judges the future of democracy a little less pessimistically. He takes, as one might say, the bull by the horns, in that he sees in what Michels terms the tendency to oligarchy the salvation of democracy itself. In the development of powerful personalities as leaders, answerable, nonetheless, to the masses, and maintaining a sense of responsibility towards them – herein lies the only possibility of avoiding the stagnation of democracy into a bureaucratic machine. For Weber, the only remedy is to be found in the development of political acumen, that is, the ability to be self-directed in political decision-making informed by social responsibility, which will be exercised throughout all the offices of public administration and governance. ‘Politicians must provide the counter-weight to the civil servants’.13 As much as Max Weber’s criticism of the distorted reality of parliamentarianism in Germany hit home before its actual fall in the wake of the war, and despite its continuingly relevant stigmatisation of the entire unpolitical, oligarchical, exploitive, and degenerative character of the German bourgeoisie even today – for it is still justly identified in the conditions of the present14 –

11 12 13 14

Cole 1921, pp. 71–2. Michels 1911, pp. 390–1. Weber 1918, p. 57. See in this regard the excellent and – as it was published during the war – courageous book by Hugo Preuss, Das deutsche Volk und die Politik (Preuss 1915), and my essay in Klassenkampf gegen Völkerkampf, ‘Marxistische Betrachtungen zum Weltkriege’ (Adler 1919b, pp. 35ff.).

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one, nonetheless, must doubt if the development of a politically mature leadership is the actual means to transform democracy into a self-directed mass of individuals who are protected from their own leadership.15 On the other hand, the pessimism of Michels is not so established in his own mind that he ignores a possible ‘social pedagogy’ – one, moreover, that could be more a medium for paralysing the worst tendencies of democracy. Indeed he himself deliberates what a changed milieu in social democracy might look like. One must indeed carry out this deliberation, for as we have shown, democracy is necessarily self-contradictory in its political expression, but may not be so under social democracy. Kelsen has not entered into this core problem of democracy. He argues only in the terms of his own misconception of the meaning of socialist thinking. He sees the transformation of a government over humans as an administrative matter, and he immediately identifies the tendency of social democracy to set aside and overcome the higher authority of the caste of civil servants by means of the elimination of civil servants in general. And so for him the problem of how the necessity of a professional civil servant class is made compatible with democratic self-direction, is conflated with an irritating and persistent preoccupation with the ‘contradiction between anarchy and organization, between political and economic theory’, as he interprets Marxism.16 It must be admitted that the necessity of a professional civil service – even for the socialist society – is often misconceived in the socialist and anarchist literature, because one does not give sufficient attention to the fact that it is not through special

15

16

Max Weber did not consider this necessity of being protected from one’s leaders that is so significant in our own present. For he found that the hierarchical submission of the masses under a leader, was, so long as that leader was politically responsible, something to be approved of: ‘Always the “principle of the least number”, that is the political manoeuvrability of small groups, should handle politics. This “caesarism” is [in mass states] unavoidable’. One should attend to the remark in Weber’s citations. In it lies the most important limitation – one that we must come back to in the course of our deliberations. A similar point of view is held by Leonard Nelson in his popular, if rather less sociologically significant, critiques of ‘democracy’ – Demokratie und Führerschaft and Erziehung zum Führer (Nelson 1920a, 1920b). He holds that only through the development of a cadre of leaders who are called to guide ‘a party of law or reason’, a kind of spiritual and conscionable aristocracy, is there a possibility of the correction of the bureaucratic and oligarchical control by the masses that is fundamental to democracy. For – one hears in his words the ‘ressentiment’ of the embittered bourgeois intellectuals – ‘democracy is not the great arena out of which the most virtuous emerge as victors. It is but a stage for fools, upon which the most crafty and best paid talkers run off those who have nobility and who only aim to build character in the best manner’ (p. 21). Kelsen 1920a, pp. 88–9.

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schooling that the bureaucracy will be fought, but instead through the creation of a special station with its own interests and aspirations for power; in short, by attending to what gives this station the character of a higher authority. The ‘nearness to the state’ of the proletariat established the base for the conquering of communal administration. The proletariat were in a proximate relation to the functions of workplaces and public administrative agencies, so that with a professional schooling in these matters, they could solve the problems of the actual socialisation that was required in a proletarian state. However, to tackle the large industries and the public administration of modern communities was no simple task. It was the pet view of petty bourgeois democratic circles that the organising tasks of social democracy were to be so simple that without much ado anyone and his brother in the next office could institute it. But this view merely fostered an illusion. Insofar as Kelsen finds this naïve vision in Lenin,17 he is correct in his polemic against Bolshevism. The Bolsheviks themselves had quickly outgrown this mistaken and early view of Lenin’s, as Kelsen should recognise in his use of the cited passage from the famous speech of Trotsky ‘Arbeit, Disziplin und Ordnung’, in which is stated: ‘Democratising does not exist in shedding what is meant by qualified skills or the significance of certain persons who possess knowledge of their craft (which is the ABC for Marxists), but rather in replacing these with their equal who are duly elected’. When Kelsen opines that this principle of election for the public organs in the Soviet Republic was not followed without exception, because Trotsky could not allow it within the army,18 he needed only to read further, in order to find the passage where Trotsky says that the election principle ‘is not the last word for the development of the economic state by the proletarian class’. ‘The further step must be in the self-limitation exercised in comradely initiatives, in the sound and saving self-limitation of the working class, which knows where the decisive word of the electorate is called for, and when it is necessary to make way for the technician, the specialists who are armed with definite knowledge, whom they must charge with the responsibility, albeit under political control’.19 And Lenin himself, whose true political greatness lay in his ability to quickly see his errors, and then with fearless ruthlessness towards himself, and against the opinions of those who were blind followers, to admit those errors in order to correct them, stated in March 1918: ‘Without the direction of experts in the differing areas of technology, the experience of the transition to socialism will be impossible,

17 18 19

Lenin 1919, p. 66. Kelsen 1920, p. 123. Trotsky 1919, pp. 15–16.

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because socialism requires an even higher degree of conscious mass progress than capitalism, as it itself stands on the foundation of what capitalism has achieved’.20 But we are not concerned here with Bolshevism, but rather the problem of democracy in general, and it seems to me that the so-called inescapable contradiction between the intentions of democracy and its necessary organisational form does not actually exist, as soon as one realises its true form – which is its social and economic liberation from class contradictions. Then, one will cease to think it almost a necessity that democracy have the form it has today, allowing for change in its conception to accord with future social development. The deterioration of democracy through the emergence of a professional caste of public officials, and their transformation of an organisation for the self-determination of the people into an instrument of authoritative control by a caste, appears to me to be hindered by two forces that work against such an outcome and which are apparent in social democracy today. These two active tendencies will insure that the people of the future will have democracy as their ideal, even as they may have to find ever new means to preserve it. Marx has emphasised these two tendencies. The first is the thorough political education of the masses, enabling them to be filled with a revolutionary proletarian class consciousness, but one that conforms to our own time. This is a tendency that is conscious of society in a social sense. The second is the construction of society from the ground up, which creates the societal-solidarity life. Close interaction with others who are local, within one’s workplace, and infused with a community bond generated through the most immediate satisfaction of needs, is the core of this type of societal development. This is not a regression to the primitive, or, as one might say, a ‘petty bourgeois’ utopian vision. Rather, it is long-known generalisation in the history of democracy, above all as it is preserved in its English form as a fundamental principle, a reality that can exist even in a class-based society, only now as a principle of selfgovernance from below: one which can unfold into whole communities and into the societal goals of those communities. At first glance, it seems that the historical development of society has proceeded from the many small states towards the greater, centralist-national state powers of the present, which contradicts the growth indicated above towards federal self-administration. But, Marx and Engels have made us aware that this direction in the development of state centralism is only a transitory phenomenon called forth by particular historical forces and situations, and is not

20

Lenin 1918, p. 15.

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to be considered a necessary societal tendency. To think thus is only to engage in an uncritical form of reflection. The social life of humans over the last few centuries has increasingly been developed through the centralised state form. No wonder that a figure such as Engels said that ‘from childhood on, we have been accustomed to imagine that all societal interests and businesses could be taken care of by no other means than we ourselves have experienced, namely through the state and its appointed authorities’,21 which means the governmental and bureaucratic. All ‘the centralized state powers with all their contemporary organs – the standing army, police, bureaucracy, system of justice, judiciary, and other organs which were created according to the plan of a systematic, hierarchical division of work – stem from the times of absolute monarchy, where the emerging bourgeois society became a powerful weapon in their battles with feudalism’.22 And this centralism of state power, in spite of its transformation into the form of a democratic republic or a parliamentary constitutionalism, has remained – to consider it immanently – the same, as the most powerful weapon of the possessors, right down to its last emanation as imperialism. Marx knew it first in its Bonapartist form, and even though outwardly it seemed congruent with a democratic form, his characterisation of it still holds today, when he said that ‘Imperialism is the most prostituted and at the same time the last form of that state power which the emergent bourgeoisie called into life as the tool of its own liberation from feudalism, and which became fully developed as bourgeois society transformed it into a tool to subjugate work through capital’.23 Marx sees the Paris Commune, in the face of this extant reality, as the ‘social republic’. This means that the Paris Commune would self-evidently be the model for all large-scale occupational practices in France, that is its major industries. As soon as the communal order of things was introduced in Paris, then this would lead to the self-governance of the producers in the provinces as well. This self-government would ‘take the form of small villages’, and over these small communes a system of district representation would arise, ending in a national assembly.24 It is also apparent how the fatal attempt for a pure democracy as it has been sought could be overcome with this move towards more local self-governance, that is to say, through forms of self-governance, and of the social pedagogy that carries and furthers the ideals of the solidarity society. In such self-admin21 22 23 24

Friedrich Engels, Introduction to Marx 1891, p. 13. Marx 1891a, p. 43. Marx 1891a, p. 45. Marx 1891a, p. 47.

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istered bodies, which Marx still sees as territorial, but which in the Soviet system are founded on an occupational order, and in guild socialism on an entire system for organising needs of differing kinds, the old Leviathan state is dismembered into a colourful manifold of unified goals and interests among the coalesced corporate bodies. Within this amalgam, the information, interests, education, and solidarity of its members acquire a wholly different foundation for the appointment and control of their organs. They now have elected and appointed organs; they are no longer a single mass made helpless in the face of centralisation. Because of today’s ignorance of bureaucratic and professional duties, there exists an inability to monitor and correct the organisational power of civil servants, but also the people’s own representatives in the great parliamentary states. Effective public opinion has long been brought to an end, and all public organs have become vehicles determined by their own internally generated ends. This alienation of the masses exists even when they have elected and thus participated in the determination of those in office, as is evidenced by the drastic manner in which self-educated persons speak in putting through acts of government and in parliamentary decisions. There one can hear, for example, with the proposal of a new tax: ‘No, what is THIS that has been decided?’, or ‘one is curious about THAT which someone has come up with’ – that is the government and its representatives, and so forth. People seem unconscious of the fact that such expressions further alienate agency and participation. When one says ‘those up there’ and ‘those in there’, or ‘those out there’ or ‘there below’ have been put in their places, one only further removes oneself from what occurs. Such alienation is not present in the political form of the ‘commune’, or at least it would be more difficult to realise, and thus the strongest cause for the deterioration of democracy is avoided. The common interests and in-common knowledge, along with the tasks of self-administration, and the needs and necessities of the organisational circles – all these not only keep the members together, ensuring continual consciousness of their mutual responsibilities, but place their representatives and the organs generated to facilitate their activities in a wholly new set of relationships. The hierarchical relations among the systems no longer pose a danger, because they are in the interests, indeed are the result, of the wishes of the entire circle of concerns and interests. Now, for the first time, the higher authoritative positions are transformed into realities which are deeply felt by all, recognised, indeed – desired. They become beloved authorities, like one sees today within one’s party or in an artistic, philosophical, or other school that possesses an extraordinary, esteemed teacher, whose worth is not only understood by their followers, but is acknowledged with

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deeply felt respect, and whom they work for joyfully, desiring their leadership, and even placing themselves under them with love. It is self-evident that the ‘state’ that is built upon such ‘communalisation’ is something quite different from the contemporary centralised one, even when there is today a democratic class-state. But, one must be careful in the face of this picture of social democracy – the democracy of the social future – not to use the categories of the present unquestioningly. Marx protected himself from this when he spoke of the constituting of the social republic upon the foundation of a net of communes. He said that one should be careful not to fall back upon outlived, narrow forms of small-town life such as one might have seen in the middle-ages, or in some ‘exaggerated form that sought to counter the overcentralisation of the modern state’.25 And if this was the case for the essentially territorial form of Marx’s concept of the communalisation of the state, then it is even more the case in relation to the organisational ideas of the council system and guild socialism in their progressively new forms of communalisation. For this new problem, which is the real organisational problem of social democracy, the old opposition of centralism and federalism cannot be used. Marx felt this when he spoke of the commune as a new form of social life: ‘the unity of the nation should not be broken, rather conversely, only organised through the elimination of state power, which has been the embodiment of this unity, yet in this embodiment, independent and set over the nation, attached to its body as a parasite’.26 Yes, and 14 years later Friedrich Engels called to our attention that already in the French Revolution of 1789 the self-administration of the departments, arrondisements and communities was its strongest lever, and this did not contradict the centralisation, since centralisation in fact rose upon these very bases. ‘Just as little as local and provincial self-government contradicts political, national centralization, just as little is it associated with the narrow-minded cantonal and communal self-seeking which occurs in Switzerland and which in 1849 all south German federal republicans wished to make their standard’.27 The dissolution of the state in such a union of communes, councils, and guilds has nothing to do with the contemporary opposition of centralism and federalism. Today, political and economic centralisation of the state or the cartel is essentially a means of power and domination; and the opposition of centralisation and decentralisation speaks not of a mere organisational principle, but rather of the conflict between different power groups within the state 25 26 27

Marx 1891a, p. 48. Marx 1891a, p. 47. Engels 1914, p. 136.

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or economic sphere. For the reason, centralisation is always solely possible ‘from the top down’, that is, by the will of a higher hierarchical power group, which compels the other striving interests to do its will, while centralisation in social democracy is an organic growth that arises out of the needs of individual interest groups themselves, that is, from below upwards in its growth, in order that the necessities of production, of operation, or for the other mutual advantages of an association with others, are made possible through the guiding organisation of the individual interests. Eduard Bernstein fails to recognize this in his newest pamphlet Der Sozialismus Eins und Jetzt, which only repeats the older errors of his book of 1899, Die Vorraussetzungen des Sozialismus, in which revisionism took the field against Marxism. Already in this former book he presented Marx’s views on communalisation as similar to those of Proudhon,28 though he did not quite have the audacity to characterise Marx’s thought as ‘petty bourgeois’ – which was Marx’s condemnation of Proudhon. Bernstein makes this association once more in his latest pamphlet,29 but hinges his meaning on what he now understands as socialism, thus distancing himself even further from Marx. Now he says that while Marx criticised Proudhon as ‘petty bourgeois’, that does not mean Proudhon was wrong in his vision, and that therefore every meeting of minds in the views of Marx and Proudhon makes the former a ‘petty bourgeois’. On the contrary, the common conception of ‘federalism’ in the theory of anarchism as being ‘petty bourgeois’ belongs only to the usual phrases and prejudices about anarchism. Its ‘federalism’, especially in the work of older authors, is rife with an insufficient understanding of its complications and the worldwide scope of modern economic life. The basic idea that is expressed here is not really touched by the riposte that a system of genuine social freedom that is not based upon an external centralisation can be constructed, even if this remains a mere economic system. Very instructive in comprehending the nature of anarchism, which is significant in the interests of socialism, are the modern thoughts of G.D.H. Cole, who is neither ‘petty bourgeois’, nor an anarchistic guild socialist, and who states that a new guild socialist political theory ‘must arise from the knowledge that a pure industrial dominion is not progress away from a purely political dominion’.30 And does one really believe that when Marx wrote his thoughts on the communalisation of society, he did not know that communal life was no longer generated by a petty bourgeois economy, but rather, as Bernstein opines, in his quaintly serious criticism of the greatest critic of the 28 29 30

Bernstein 1899, pp. 134–6. Bernstein 1922, p. 87. Cole 1921, p. 127.

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capitalist world system, ‘with modern enterprises and … economic contexts … [that] … reach far beyond communities’?31 Here one sees an exhibitionism that reveals its author’s own inability to think beyond commonplace notions. For example, Bernstein’s argument about communalisation founders on a matter such as the regulation of rivers, when the valley dwellers have other interests than those who live in the mountains. Bernstein poses the question from the point of view of isolated individuals, not from a societal commonality in which people must interact with one another as they wrangle over interests, where the entire context of interests and the social division of capacities that previously were the state, are now seen as mutual. Within a capitalist society care among the interests was not desired, only what occurred among them through pressing necessity, but now in the mutual participation of interests it is much better, transpiring better than before where any cooperation was precarious. Even considering the commune as it was, in all its limitations, there is no reason why a guild that could have extended its reach beyond its borders could not now organise itself in a centralised manner with those beyond – if circumstances called for this. Thus we see how Cole conceives the problem ‘in its colossal dimensions’. This is the problem which the economic and political organisation of the capitalist state has taken up, and that it has constantly striven to enlarge through imperialism and the formation of trusts. But now, in the British realm, not to speak of the lands where there has been a proletarian revolution, Cole goes on to say that one sees ‘that democracy has begun to reverse these processes … although that is not to say that the powerful political-economic unions of capitalism in small independent groups are falling apart; but democracy conditions nonetheless a far-reaching decentralisation of these associations, or even a dissolution of them, which can then be followed by a reintegration based upon federalist foundations’.32 And addressing Bernstein and similar critics, Cole adds: ‘The striving towards greater organisation and centralisation is a natural consequence of the contemporary situation for workers, but this does not determine what kind of organisational form the people will choose after the throwing off of capitalism … Surely, the tendency towards a locally based organisation in a free and democratic society will energetically be pursued’.33 With justice, the Marxist Rudolph Hilferding has labelled guild socialism a purely empirical and unsystematic way of looking at things, which, nonetheless, is a way of bringing to life once more the Marxist idea of the state and the class 31 32 33

Bernstein 1922, p. 87. Cole 1921, pp. 7–8. Cole 1921, pp. 7–8.

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war, and in a way that comes immediately out of the experience of the workers themselves.34 And in this sense Hilferding stresses especially that the conception of the state of the guild socialists reflects concrete developmental tendencies ‘which lead to either an antagonistic-capitalist or a harmonic-socialist economy’. That means, in our terminology, the antitheses of political or social democracy. The demand for a communalisation of the contemporary state is not merely that of federalism or decentralisation, but is rather above all the foundational demand for the setting-aside of class contradictions – a demand that is still bound to a conception of a new organisational form of a classless society that is built upon the bases of self-administering bodies and is considered from the perspective of the people within these new organisations, namely, those whose organising spirit is co-determinative and co-responsible. In this sense the gravity of future democracy lies not in politics, but rather in pedagogy. This is not in the limited sense meant by Michels, but rather in a much more comprehensive sense. For this pedagogy in its full and distinctive effect is not even possible today, since it will be the product of the condition of a new classless society, and will finally realise the long striven for ideal which political education can convey – one that is both societal and moral. This is because all three spheres – the political, the societal, and the moral – are conjoined in this pedagogy. In a later chapter we will go more deeply into Kelsen’s condemnation of this future vision – which he calls crass Utopianism and a belief in wonders – projecting the society of the humanity of the future on the basis of what we are able to know about it today. We will see that Kelsen’s objection is about as grounded as when an academic who studies primitives thinks he has proven that one can never see them other than they were – even as they evolve. And an academic of that primitive time would be justified in using this logic, for he would be indeed a primitive academic. We are serious, however, that the ideology of people is a function of their economy, and that a fully changed economy – and, therefore, an economy that we are still to experience – which has been constructed by means of modern technology and constituted as a solidarity society, has an impact upon the mind and convictions of the mature generations who inhabit it. In any case, education and ethics will have a powerful field for development. And how much an education may accomplish which is not compelled to be inimical to the valid, individual strivings of the person, but rather is supportive of the furtherance of these impulses, which will be of use for the new social organisation, can hardly be imagined! The great thinkers of the eighteenth century, a Lessing or Herder, a Rousseau or

34

R. Hilferding, Introduction to Cole 1921, pp. XVI–XVII.

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Kant, a Schiller or Fichte, a Pestalozzi or Owen, who are revered as educators, who would re-constitute the world – they were seen in their time as arrogant and in error, as they saw that this education of new persons would only be possible with a mighty process of dissolution of the older bourgeois conditions, which in their time were not yet older conditions, but rather just beginning, just developing their own contradiction-filled form. But these new pedagogical thoughts of the great eighteenth-century minds in their social-creative power and meaning maintained their justice and accuracy even when in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries their anticipatory brilliance would have to await the twenty-first century in order to achieve full development. Even today social education, in the sense of providing the tasks and duties of a classless society, has been put in place, but only in socialist education, which offers the primary means towards a genuine societal development with democratic thought and feeling.35 Communalisation of social life and social education – that is, as I believe, the most appropriate means to ward off the damages of today’s centralisation and bureaucratisation within democracy. We see this in the words of Justice F. Klein, the renowned judge, who is certainly not a socialist, and who writes in his book on the organisational essence of the present day that in contemporary organisational structures without inner contradictions, the tendency towards oligarchy is absent: ‘One cannot see in associations bent on social reform, scientific or artistic associations, or any similar group leading persons compelling their membership through authority or command, where some give orders and others obey. On the contrary, they must be responsive to the views and wishes of the membership, for they know that their work would fail as soon as the organisation suffered from a dissenting practice between its leaders and members: that its operational effectiveness would be lost’.36 Does one believes that in guilds, communes or councils the future could be other than it is? Yet, to argue this is unfruitful, as we cannot do so over things of which we have no experience. Only this much is it necessary to show: that it is incorrect to say that democracy is inextricably bound up with the deteriorating destiny of its oligarchical leadership and ossified bureaucracy. If one is not to carry the current form of the state into the social future, then one must free one’s vision for the recognition of the word that is a lance that simultaneously heals that which it strikes. The deficiencies and harms that plague democracy can only be overcome by democracy, and that is when democracy is no longer a democracy of 35 36

See my two essays in the journal Sozialistische Erziehung, vol. I, 6 and vol. II, 5 (M. Adler 1922c). Klein 1913, p. 119.

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the state, but is rather democracy as such, and for itself. And here we see again with uncommon clarity the strengthening standpoint of Marxism, where the democratic class-state and classless democracy are two wholly different concepts of the ‘state’. Marxism constructs the threshold for the understanding of the state as well as of democracy.

chapter 13

Dictatorship The sociological sense of the concepts of the state, democracy, and revolution that have suffered the peculiar distortions of interpretation from the abstract perspectives which we have examined are now clarified in the Marxist sense. We have set these concepts right again, and made clear what their essential contexts must be. We have seen, however, that only within the perspective of class contradictions and the class struggle can they be properly understood, and their historical manifestations comprehended – not in their juristic form, which omits the historical reality in which they occur. Now we will exercise the same methodological correction we have used in our approach to Kelsen’s critique in taking up dictatorship. The problem that concerns us here is in short the one that stands upon the ground of democracy, just as it was seen by Marx and Engels: a problem which nonetheless can be considered as inextricably bound with the emancipation struggle of the proletariat. This is the concept of dictatorship. So, are democracy and dictatorship contradictions or not? It will be shown that this problem belongs to the type which has been most fiercely contested merely because it has been falsely formulated. In reality there exists no such problem; rather only the manner in which this issue is framed gives to it its problematic character. In order to clear a path for an examination of this issue that can be free of preconceptions, dealing with the real question at hand, I must immediately say that we are not considering in this discussion the so-called dictatorship of the Bolsheviks. Marx and Engels doubtless understood the concept of the dictatorship of the proletariat to mean the domination of the class of the proletariat, supported not by their numerical majority – although this also was included in the concept of Marx and Engels – but rather by their economic ascendancy in the entire societal context. Since in Russia the proletariat was neither a majority of the population, nor decisively economically predominant – this predominance lay with the farmers – indeed, since the proletariat as a class did not yet evidence political maturity in its total makeup, the concept of dictatorship in Lenin and Trotsky’s thinking was subjected to a fateful modification. The dictatorship was for them no longer a dictatorship of the class of the proletariat, but rather of only a section of that class, the so-called avant-garde, the advance party, the workers’ elite. So, instead of a dictatorship of the proletariat there emerged a dictatorship over the proletariat; out of the dictatorship of class, there emerged the dictatorship of a party. This was articulated by Trotsky in

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his book Terrorismus und Kommunism, written to counter Kautsky, where he said that ‘the dictatorship of the Soviets has only become possible by means of the dictatorship of the party’. Yet, in the same text he denies the possibility of such a dictatorship: ‘The revolutionary command of the proletariat lies as a party within the proletariat itself, with a clear programme of action and an invulnerable inner discipline as its prerequisites’.1 The roots of this modification of the concept of the proletarian dictatorship, which maintains its Marxist terminology, yet turns away from the spirit of Marxism towards that of Blanqui, is found in Lenin’s book State and Revolution, where it is stated that the proletariat is the only class capable of being the leader of all working and exploited peoples. From this line of thought Lenin mandates the already class conscious segments of the proletarian avant-garde ‘to lead the whole people’.2 One must in the wake of this thought contemplate exactly what economic place the proletariat occupies, so that it can fulfil its leadership position with the abilities it has supposedly already developed, and also whether the remaining ‘whole people’ allow themselves to be so led, or whether it might not be in their economic interests to fight strongly against this leadership. In this way the idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat, which Marx and Engels saw as the final form of struggle of the whole proletarian class, becomes for Bolshevism the beginning of an otherwise immature proletarian class struggle. In relation to the dictatorship of the proletariat that signifies the self-realised victory of a class interest, the politics of a single group-leadership acting on behalf of the proletariat represents only a new derivative of enlightened absolutism, which also exercised its power in the interests of the people. The Bolshevist dictatorship thus has in neither theory nor praxis anything to do with the Marxist problem of dictatorship. Its theory is one of the attempted justifications that are required in the specific conditions of the Russian proletarian revolution, and will make its twists and turns accordingly, like so much that occurs in Bolshevism. Everything that Kelsen has said in his critique of the Bolshevist concept of dictatorship with regards to its contradiction of democracy and with Marxism itself, and which squares as well with what Kautsky, Otto Bauer, Hilferding, and I have presented as critical voices, can, indeed must, be put aside if we are to comprehend the meaning of the concept of dictatorship in the context of theoretical Marxism.3 1 Trotsky 1920, pp. 90–1. 2 Lenin 1919, pp. 41–2. 3 By saying this, we do not mean that the Bolshevist theoreticians have not brought many very noteworthy perspectives to our subject. It is a shame that human weakness is so noticeable in the struggle against Bolshevism that its opponents – even those who are Marxists – fail, in

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Kelsen understands that the contradictory nature of the concept ‘Dictatorship’ lies in the only possible meaning of that term in Marx and Engels, i.e., that it is the condition where the proletariat are the majority of the population, so that the concept is really that of democracy. The question as to whether the dictatorship is only open to a majority or not has become such a fiery polemic only because of Bolshevist tactics, but it overlooks the real problem as formulated by Marx and Engels. The real sense of the concept of dictatorship is only first grasped when one holds the double meaning of the concept of democracy clearly before one’s eyes, where it means both political and social democracy. Then one understands that the idea of it lies within political democracy, because it is continually a form of class domination; without dictatorship political democracy would never have been possible, and never will be possible. The dictatorship of the proletariat is then not something outrageous, rather it is – even when in the form of political democracy – the dissolution of the bourgeois dictatorship by the proletarian dictatorship. To go into this more deeply is no longer necessary: the answer is within all we have discussed previously. In bourgeois democracy there is without a doubt a dictatorship of the ruling classes. And this appears in its coarse reality when in critical times the state laws are suspended, when in exceptional circumstances soldiers, judges, and police are let loose upon the ‘rebellious’ masses. The jurist stands ready and proves that all that occurs is ‘constitutional’: the supreme court ‘recognises’ that no laws have been injured. When is such a dictatorship appropriate? The brutal, and in a bourgeois sense brilliant, statesman-like spirit of Bismarck offers the most evident and accurate understanding of this, and it does so in the fact of his own consciousness of power, which he expressed not only by holding social democracy at bay under the rubric of a state of exception, but, in the evening of his life, by characterising the dictatorial nature of bourgeois domination with the words: ‘For the monarchy and the state, Social Democracy today poses to the highest degree a risk of war with foreign lands, and in its internal issue of war and power must not be viewed as matter of justice

the passion of opposition, to recognise that which is just and good in the writing of Lenin and Trotsky – naming only the most meaningful of this tendency. Nothing in what these men say about the proletarian dictatorship is false; rather, in their insistence upon the domination of their own party – a handful of proletarians in a reactionary land – there lies the great, and for the development of socialism fateful, error. The reprehensible identification of Bolshevism and Communism in the polemics of the socialist party presses and literature is only capable of confusing the worker and of making him suspicious of the concept of communism; see my introduction to the Viennese edition of the Communist Manifesto (Marx 1920) and my article on ‘Social Education’ in the same periodical: M. Adler 1922c.

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with regards to the laws of the state.’4. And in this respect one must take into account that this dictatorship, the bourgeois minority over the majority of the people, was only possible when the dominating interests brought the greater part of the people into their train, by making them believe that their own interests would be furthered.5 There is no problem in seeing a proletarian dictatorship within a political democracy. If the proletariat dominates, it will naturally follow from its domination that it will be active in the face of resistance, just as the bourgeoisie was before it. This is a question of power. So, the fact that freedom of the press, the right to assemble, freedom of association, etc., through which the fallen governing class now seeks to protect itself, will be limited or forbidden, should not be seen as ‘a contradiction of democracy’. For the question is then always over political democracy, which is not yet a classless society in its principles. Isn’t this removal of democratic freedoms nothing other than the necessary continuance of the proletarian class struggle, only now using the means of the state itself for the purpose of a quicker dissolution of the remainder of the old system? Therefore Engels, in a letter commenting upon the Gotha programme, which Bebel published in his memoir, rejected for its lack of clarity the demand for ‘a free people’s state’ to be founded by the proletariat. ‘Since the state is only a passing phenomenon which one uses in the battles that serve the revolution in order to hold one’s opponents down, it is pure nonsense to speak of “a free people’s state”: as long as the proletariat still needs the state, it needs it not in the interests of freedom, but rather to repress its opponents, and as soon as freedom can be spoken of, the state as such ceases to exist’. In short, this use of the state for the repression of the enemies of the proletariat, the proletarian dictatorship, is nothing other than ‘the exceptional situation’ of the proletarian regime, which can be seen to be as little a contradiction to democracy as the

4 Bismarck 1898, vol. 3, p. 42. 5 English constitutional history represents more than any other country a strong democratic spiritual development, and has in this sense, especially since Montesquieu, exercised its strong influence upon all continental revolutionary movements. Thus, it is particularly interesting in the light of the above context to see the pertinent comments of a modern English social scientist. ‘I assert’, writes Thorald Rogers, ‘that in the time between 1563 and 1824 the form of the laws whose execution lay in the hands of interested parties reflected a conspiracy whose aim was to cheat the English worker of his wages, to rob him of every hope, and to keep him in irreparable poverty. For over two and a half centuries the legislature and the administration in England have made it their job to punish the worker by keeping him in the depths of a miserable existence, stamping out any sign of an organised resistance, piling up punishment upon punishment as often as he remembers his human rights.’

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presupposition that a proletarian dictatorship can only be a dictatorship of the majority of the people, in the sense of Marx and Engels, if it rests upon a majority decision. On this point, one might consult an interesting work by Karl SchmittDorotič.6 It undertakes to trace the concept of dictatorship ‘from the beginnings of modern thought on sovereignty until the proletarian revolution’, as the sub-title of the book states. This mean to trace it historically, as a ‘central concept of the principles of the state and its constitutions’. To be sure, this concept has become so much a political slogan that it is now synonymous with the negation of the law in the eyes of constitutional lawyers. In the face of this, Dorotič seeks to construe dictatorship as a legal principle. This occurs through two very meaningful and quite clear differentiations. To begin with, there is a differentiation between dictatorship and despotism, and also between the commissar and the sovereign dictatorship. Every dictatorship is characterised by the exceptional situation it represents, but it is a means thereby to realise a definite order of the laws. This is the difference between a dictatorship and a despotism. ‘A dictatorship that is not dependent upon a normative set of conceptions, but that rather has the consequence of concretely perpetuating itself rather than making itself superfluous, is an arbitrary despotism’.7 A dictatorship revokes existing law, but not to set in its place an arbitrary will: it sets aside existing law in order to fulfil the law. ‘The inner dialectic of this concept lies in the fact that, just as it negates the norm, its authority through the dictatorship assures the historical-political reality of it. Between the domination of the realising norm and the method of its realisation there can exist no contradiction. The philosophical legal meaning of the dictatorship lies in this essential point, namely in the general possibility of a separation of the norms of law and the norms of the execution of the law’.8 The commissar dictatorship abolishes the constitution in concreto ‘in order to protect the same constitution in its concrete existence … The methodical independence of the problem of realising the law comes to the fore most clearly in such an instance … In consequence the dictatorship is a problem of concrete reality, without ceasing to be a judicial problem’.9 ‘The sovereign dictatorship is such that it does not seek to preserve the existing form of law, but rather wishes through its action to set it aside. It suspends an existing constitution not in the name of its constitu-

6 7 8 9

Schmitt-Dorotič 1921. Schmitt-Dorotič 1921, p. vii. Schmitt-Dorotič 1921, p. viii. Schmitt-Dorotič 1921, pp. 136–7.

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tional law, but rather to make possible a true constitution’.10 It also bases itself upon a constitution, upon a norm, but one that it will first create. One might believe that this form of dictatorship has removed itself from every legal consideration, that it is merely an act of arbitrary power. ‘However, it is not the case when power is exercised which, without a constituted constitutional ground, nonetheless acts with that constituting power within a context which would realize such a constitution … That is the meaning of the “pouvoir constituent” [original constituting power]’.11 Schmitt-Dorotič understands by this the idea of a people’s sovereignty developed in the period following the French revolution, that is, the sovereignty of the solidarity of the whole of the people. The sovereign dictatorship is legitimated by the idea of justice which lies in every constituted constitution, which corresponds to the general will. The dictatorship is here still that of the commissar, ‘but in line with the singularity of the not yet constituted, yet constituting power of the people in a people’s commissar, a dictatorship, which is dictated by its patrons, without ceasing to be legitimated by them’.12 This extremely lucid discussion is substantiated throughout the book by thorough historical examples, and as a result of this investigation, which wholly agrees with our own expositions, clarifies that a dictatorship, since it is only a means for arriving at a definite end, ‘does not by definition negate the definition of a democracy’.13 Quite the contrary, it seems to me that the concept of the sovereign dictatorship if understood correctly is just what I have posed as the difference between the two forms of democracy I have articulated, although supported from the opposite side.14 For the formal-positive constitutional law of Kelsen, both of these conceptual discussions are fruitless. Schmitt-Dorotič speaks in opposition to Kelsen of a fundamental agreement (Kelsen would deny it in the name of ‘natural law’) ‘as a problem of dictatorship that is not a problem of law, but rather a mental construct, a logical problem that corresponds to a relativistic formalism that should not be misconstrued as something other than the fact that the authority of the state cannot be separated from its value as an idea’.15 Aside from the unfortunate comparison with ‘the mental construct’, I must agree. The meaning of the thought, translating it from the ideology of a legal expression into that of a sociological one, is that

10 11 12 13 14 15

Schmitt-Dorotič 1921, p. 137. Ibid. Schmitt-Dorotič 1921, p. x. Schmitt-Dorotič 1921, p. vi. Editor’s note: Adler refers to his deliberations on the distinction between political and social democracy. Schmitt-Dorotič 1921, pp. xi–xii.

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the ‘value’ of the state corresponds to its ‘authority’, by dint of a definite social content that is desired if that ‘authority’ is to have a corresponding form of law. Our conception of the proletarian dictatorship as an ‘exceptional situation’ is also the formal-legal standpoint without contradictions in relation to the concept of a social democracy. One must keep in mind, however, that the dictatorship of the proletariat that is currently before our eyes must be removed from our thinking, by which we mean, of course, the concept of dictatorship which the Russian conditions of Bolshevism exemplify. What has there been named a dictatorship of the proletariat, and is still named such, we have shown to be far distanced from the essence of this concept in the Marxist sense, where it always stands for class domination, and furthermore the dominion of the proletarian class, whereas in Russia it doesn’t even refer to the majority of the proletariat. Basically, the dictatorship is only constituted by a small exclusive circle, and within its theoretical compass is a dictatorship over the whole of society, including the proletariat, in pursuit of revolutionary aims under wholly singular circumstances. If one looks beyond these circumstances, which carry the name of a dictatorship of the proletariat, in reality one understands merely the terrorism of a party. Thus, it is completely clear that so long as the democracy is merely a political democracy, that is to say, for so long as it is built upon an economic class contradiction, even the most perfect parliamentary system does not prevent the exclusion of the minority, but rather justifies it, in the service of a majority decision. As long as a state is split through economic class contradictions, even if it has democratic suffrage, then it involves no representation of the whole people, because there is not yet a solidary populace. In the forms of parliamentary self-determination there is fulfilled only an element of the class struggle. And the democratic parliamentary majority in a class-based state is continually the will to power of the commanding majority classes, which, by means of this authority, subject the minority to its laws and compels their observation. When Marx spoke once of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, it was not, as Kelsen opined, a proof that this concept was only terminologically revolutionary and that its true meaning was evolutionary, because the bourgeoisie only exercised this dictatorship in parliament;16 rather, the usage confirms our own thesis that political democracy and dictatorship are two sides of the same coin. Therefore Marx also called the parliamentary republic in France that had Louis Napoleon at its head ‘a government of unconcealed class terrorism’.17 16 17

Kelsen 1920c, p. 97. Marx 1891a, p. 44. When Karl Kautsky wrote in his essay ‘The Dictatorship of the Proletariat’ that ‘Democracy means the domination of the majority. But it means no less

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Dictatorship and democracy are thus not contradictions, because they cannot be set against each other.18 Dictatorship itself is a form of democracy, namely political democracy. One can only say that democracy and terrorism are contradictory, because terrorism is always the power of a minority. One can say also that dictatorship and social democracy are contradictory, because the domination by the majority of social democracy, lacking the vital opposing interest of a minority, is not domination of the minority, but rather an authorisation in their name and will. That is the real sense of the remarks by Lenin against Kelsen,19 which were polemicised because misunderstood: ‘We do not expect that a societal order where the principle of the subjection of the minority by the majority would not be valid’;20 and, several lines before that: ‘Democracy is not identical with the subjection of the minority by the majority’. Kelsen found a contradiction here. However, from the complete context of this discussion, it is clear what Lenin meant: in the societal order after the dissolution of class distinctions the lower place of the minority is indeed established, but it is through compulsion by the force of the majority. The social democracy is not identical with the subjugation of the minority, because there is no dominating interest of a majority. In this respect, the minority subordinates itself ; in a political democracy, on the contrary, the state, understood

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the protection of the minority (Kautsky 1918, p. 15), I cannot agree with him in the light of what I have been discussing. The idea of democracy is, as we have argued, the selfdetermination of a solidarity of the whole. This corresponds to the unanimity of the vote. The majority decides within this purview not because it is the greater number, which in itself is no legal ground for a decision, but rather because the greater number of votes is the only possible method to discover through inquiry the solidarity interest of the comrades of a community. In such an instance – that is, in social democracy – the protection of the minority is a purely goal-oriented question: it is well considered, for example, that the leaders of a parliamentary transaction should understand that in a solidarity body the precautions to define the majority, or a certain minority of voters, is a superfluous business, and thereby should be discounted. With political democracy, on the other hand, the protection of the minority is not a principle of democracy itself, but rather a demand of the opposition, whose measures follow only the power of the minority, that is, those means of power which in its all its graduated forms fall outside of democracy, and which can be marshalled against the majority party’. Rosa Luxemburg says quite eloquently in her posthumous writing Die russischen Revolution that ‘the basic error of the Lenin-Trotzky theory is plainly that the dictatorship, just as Kautsky does, sets democracy in contradistinction to it. “Dictatorship or Democracy” is the way the question is posed by the Bolsheviks and Kautsky … Yes: Dictatorship! But, this dictatorship exists in the way it is applied by the democracy, not in its removal …’ (Luxemburg 1920, pp. 114 and 116). Kelsen 1920c, p. 98. Lenin 1919, p. 122.

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according to Marxist terminology, with all its system of power, will compel this subordination. What happens, asks Kelsen, if the minority does not comply? The answer that Lenin gives Kelsen also finds contradictory, in that he opines that Lenin, who sees this lower place of the minority as being necessary in a future society, now unexpectedly denies this necessity. Lenin says: ‘In our striving for socialism we are convinced that it will grow within communism, and in that context any need for compulsion among persons will disappear, every subjugation of one person by another – for people will accustom themselves to fulfilling the elementary laws of living together in freely made steps – will occur without force or subjugation.’ To that Kelsen strangely remarks: ‘that means that we are to expect a societal order without a ranking order’.21 He thereby ignores completely the distinction between ‘a lower ranking order’ and ‘subjugation’ by either a homogeneous or heterogeneous minority – he construes once again a societal form in the airy, quality-less space of his formal concept, where naturally it is to be understood that subjugation also involves placing in a lower ranking order; therefore a society without subjugation is one without placing in a lower ranking order – as if subjugation and placing in a lower ranking order were identical. We will return in greater depth to this sociological differentiation, and to the question of societal compulsion, with our discussion of the seeming anarchism of the Marxist societal order. Now the only objection remaining is that the dictatorship of the proletariat, when it is no longer the outcome of a minority, but rather of a majority, becomes a superfluous phenomenon, that is, is made unnecessary by democracy. Yet, under the prerequisites of democracy and the foundation of a dictatorship of the proletariat there remain in this powerful majority small groups of capitalists, land owners, and societal parasites of all kinds who resist. Can one then lightly turn cannons upon them? What is the problem of the subjugation of a small group of former repressors who now are powerless? It suffices to turn the new laws against them, just as they can be turned against anyone: for example, against a proletarian who wishes to resist complying. Why not use the force of an exceptional law against the small minority?22 But such a question – why a dictatorship of the proletariat in a democracy? – and the point of view that underlies it, is only possible when one considers things merely formally, and then makes a mathematical differentiation of parties within the new social organisation of the state. In this con-

21 22

Kelsen 1920a, p. 99. Kelsen 1920a, pp. 16–17, 102–3.

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ception, no attention is paid to the situation of the defeated members of the dominating class – to their position of domination – while their class-based consciousness and their class interests are likewise overlooked. In this conception, there lies a mechanical understanding of economic determinism, which we have already rejected in the chapter on class. Recall that we have found that a class is very dependent upon the its consciousness, so that it is quite plain that a class does not disappear so long as the economic conditions which led to its becoming and its sustenance remain. As long as members of this class remain, the will towards its recreation continues to be represented among those who identify with its class interests, in their totality of spiritual and willed habituses. Their will to propagate these interests, by enjoining those of their own generation as well as through the education of their youth, will sustain this class and its class contradictions. And this contradictory group is even more dangerous, in spite of the majority of the proletariat, because the new socialist society cannot be established at once, but must deal with the many areas of economic, political, religious, and cultural organisation – older conditions that are carried forward by the reactionary class-based consciousness, which is always ready to begin again. Thus, Lenin wrote in 1905 against those who object to the use of force against a minority: ‘You err because you do not see this phenomenon in its development. You forget that the new power does not fall from heaven, but rather beside the old, against the older power, in a struggle against its arising, its development’.23 In short, the question overlooks the fact that the mere form of democracy says nothing about its content. Against a minority which stands within the ruling class, and that wishes to exercise its power somewhat differently, or wants to participate more greatly in that power, no repression is needed – even though this often occurs. However, as soon as the minority wishes to bring down this class domination, their lack of power in the moment is no reason to protect them, because given the opportunity to seize greater power they would take it. We see here again how damaging it is not to attend to the difference between a class and a party, as one does when one considers juristically, considering the issue only juristically, and leaving out the sociological criticism of the Marxist concept. The dictatorship of the proletariat is the control of one class over the other, not against a party, a control that must be continued not only until the overthrow of that class, but until it is extinguished, because only then is a classless society possible. When one wonders why one requires force over a handful of people, one must only wonder how a handful of Carlists in October 1921 transformed Central Europe into a

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Lenin 1921, p. 14.

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weapons’ arsenal. The problem as framed by a juristic representative of democracy, that is, by a bureaucrat of democracy, overlooks the historical reality of things. In their writings, the Bolshevist theorists have developed this genuine sense of the proletarian dictatorship as class control very well. They do not err at all in theory, for they have set in the correct light that which many others have failed to take cognisance of. The problem with the Bolshevist theorists is that they wrongly apply the theory to their own politics. So, it is their fateful error when, in the ninth of their ‘Theses on the Social Revolution’, they say: ‘Until now one taught the necessity of the proletarian dictatorship without investigating the form it should have. The Russian socialist revolution has discovered this form: it is the form of the Soviet Republic as the form of the continuing dictatorship of the proletariat and (in Russia) the poorer levels of the farmers’.24 Indeed, the inclusion of the poorer farmers ‘in Russia’ proves that one cannot speak of a dictatorship of the proletariat in this instance. And the inner history of the Soviet Republic, with its terrible struggle to the death with the farmers, and with the final capitulation of communism looming before them, gives evidence that the solidarity of interests of a class can only be achieved within the dictatorship of a majority of a population. What remains in place of this is the dictatorship of the Moscow central regime. Yet, in spite of this fatal contradiction in Bolshevist theory and praxis, which has contributed to the deconstruction of the economic and political ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ in Russia, the tenth thesis of the ‘Theses on the Social Revolution’ strongly emphasises the character of the dictatorship of the proletariat as an expression of the power that can exist within a democracy, even as it remains that of one class over another.25 It states: ‘the meaning of the proletarian dictatorship exists in the so-called permanent condition of warfare against the bourgeoisie. It is thus quite clear that all who decry the acts of force of the communists forget completely what a dictatorship really is. The revolution itself is an act of “raw force”. The word dictatorship means in every language nothing other than a regime of force. Important here is the class content of the force. With that the historical justification of revolutionary force is given’.26 At this point, I would like to add a remark which rests upon the distinction which Kautsky makes in his discussion of the concept of dictatorship. He differentiates between the dictatorship as a form of government and as a con-

24 25 26

Kautsky 1918, p. 61. M. Adler 1921b; Bauer 1921. Kautsky 1918, p. 61.

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dition; his point is that only the first is to be contested. That for the proletariat the transition from capitalist to socialist society can only be achieved through the temporary establishment of a condition of dictatorship – this is something Kautsky does not doubt. Yet, his distinction is not clear to me; and in fact it seems quite well suited to provoke a misconception of the concept of the proletarian dictatorship. What Kautsky evidently would say is that one must be careful to allow the dictatorship of the proletariat to be a durational form of the socialist society, comprehending it as but an impermanent, transitional condition. This thought is expressed poorly by means of the juxtaposition of the concepts of governmental form and mere condition. For it is to be understood that the mere condition of the dictatorship of the proletariat, although it is only a passing phase, must nonetheless over the course of its existence necessarily assume a governmental form, namely the domination of the proletariat, of the proletariat state. Moreover, the length of time of this transitional period cannot be determined beforehand, nor is it to be considered theoretically in conceiving the dictatorship of the proletariat. The transition may take years or decades, yet theoretically it is a passing condition, not only in the sense that ‘everything changes’, but rather in the specific Marxist sense that its overcoming, its systematic deconstruction, is a conscious goal of the governmental activity of the proletariat. But, precisely because of this fact, within the framework of this activity itself the dictatorship of the proletariat is a continuous condition, to be upheld until it has arrived at its goal. When Kautsky polemicises against the ‘Theses on the Social Revolution’ because it speaks of a ‘continuing dictatorship’, of a ‘permanent state of war’, and indeed, in the ninth thesis, says of the dictatorship that ‘Here the discussion is not of a passing phenomenon in the narrow sense of the word, but rather of a form of state that lasts an entire historical epoch’ – when he pursues this line of argument, his polemic relates exclusively to the Bolshevist definition of the dictatorship of the proletariat in the Soviet Union. But, there exists the danger that his critique of the much-discussed theses will also affect how the concept of the dictatorship of the proletariat comes to be understood, and thus one must say that once its content is separated from what is understood to be its application to Russia, the argument of Lenin’s theses is an exceptional characterisation of what Marx and Engels understood by the term dictatorship of the proletariat. There can be no doubt that this dictatorship must continue for a whole historical epoch of transition from the capitalist to the socialist society; that during this period a governmental form is to be kept, that of the proletarian state; and that by that means – upon the foundation of democracy, though to be sure that of political democracy, indeed as a current of the same – a permanent condition of war against the bourgeoisie is maintained.

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Thus, from our standpoint, the vexed problem of dictatorship and democracy is solved. The dictatorship of the proletariat is only possible in democracy, and this means that it is supported by the overwhelming mass of the population as it fulfils itself through democracy and establishes its power as democracy. A contradiction only exists here for those who think of social democracy, within which it is certainly true that a dictatorship is impossible; but this is a form of state that does not yet exist, and that can only be created by the conditions of the dictatorship of the proletariat. If social democracy is a social heaven, as our opponents mockingly assert – we will speak of this further – then it is fruitless to participate in its blessings so long as we live on the earth of political democracy.

chapter 14

Government and Administration Kelsen’s ‘immanent critique’ of the Marxist concept of the state is one that sees inner contradiction within the Marxist political theory that expects both a termination of class dominance and a self-administered elimination of the state. He feels that Marxist theoreticians thoughtlessly use wholly negative terminology towards the state, while all their points hinge upon the very concept of the state. Thus, Kelsen presents to us Marx’s theory of ‘the withering of the state’ as a kind of grotesque, in which the great windbag of the state is allowed to depart this world, even as, encircled by his enemies, he is already resurrecting himself. And we Marxists are depicted as a late variation on that simple-minded numbskull in the comedy of Moliére, who could not quite grasp what was being said when he was told that for his whole life he had spoken nothing but prose. For while we have angrily yammered on about ‘eliminating’ the state, we have nonetheless spent our whole lives building the state by ‘eliminating’ it. The explanation for this curious opinion about the laughable contradictoriness of Marxism, and indeed in one of its most fundamental thoughts – in its conception of the elimination of the state – in fact lies in exactly the same source from which sprang all other misunderstandings and failures of comprehension in the juristic critique. Kelsen’s concept of the state, as we have seen, has a different content than our Marxist conception. Criticism developed on these lines will inevitably remain unfruitful – will indeed be positively damaging. Kelsen leads any critic of Marxism to adopt his own narrow conceptual approach, leaving anyone who pursues an immanent critique of Marxism in confusion. A single observation indicates the entire tragi-comedy of the criticism directed at the Marxist theory of the state: the elimination of the state that Marx and Engels speak of is the elimination of the class state; the elimination of which Kelsen speaks is of the state in general. So, when Marx’s concept fails the jurist standard of formalist structure, Kelsen can view him only as an anarchist. Kelsen’s formalist view has its value, but not in comprehending the sociological perspective of the changing forms of the state. For Kelsen, there is only the formalist analogue: State = compulsive organisation. From that formula, for him any elimination of the state eliminates also any compulsive organisation. And when he then shows that even the socialist society cannot come to be without a compulsive organisation, as it too needs a government, political functions, public organs, economic regulations – in short, an entire organisation which must exercise, in order to maintain itself, a compelling force against

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that which counteracts it, lest all social progress come to a halt – Kelsen then believes he has shown Marxism to be self-contradictory, utter nonsense, in its claim of the ‘withering of the state’. That Marx in his concept of the state is making solely a historical argument where definite historical forms provide the compulsive organisation is not even considered by Kelsen. The historical form Marx sees as the ‘withering of the state’ is a historical form where the state still persists in its singular, transitional form. It is as a historical phenomenon, then, both culturally and social-psychologically, and most especially sociologically, something quite different than earlier. For Kelsen ‘compulsive organisation = compulsive organisation’. What is compelled, who compels, how the compulsion occurs – that is all for him without significance; it lies significantly beneath the general juristic concept, and serves no purpose other than to diminish its purity.1 Upon realising that this equivocal use of the concept of the state underlies the whole of Kelsen’s critique, generating its primary arguments, exposing, in its peculiar juristic light, the anarchistic tendency in Marx’s concept of the state, it might seem as if we could spare ourselves the task of entering more deeply into this problem here. If we do now nevertheless enter into it, and indeed in some detail, this is not only because it deals with the real central idea of Kelsen’s critique, and helps to indicate the entire purpose of his investigation. This would not be enough to justify us in engaging with it further, once his erroneous starting point has been made clear. But the discussion will be of use insofar as it allows us to follow this error to the point

1 It is not without meaning that the Goddess of Justice is blindfolded. She attends only the movement of the scales in her hands: whether the weight upon the scales is generated by the same life destinies or whether on the one side the demands of the sword of life outweighs the demands of the other side, that moves not at all the marble quietude of the Goddess. And the ideal judge, therefore, is not one with ‘a good heart’; cf. the famous sentence of Nothnagel: ‘Only a good person can be a good doctor’, which has no analogical application in the rigorous methodology of jurisprudence. If a jurist is a good person, that is a private matter. As jurist he may not allow the impulses of a good heart to flow into his juridical decision, nor his economic or sociological knowledge. Law is what has as its consequence the existing compulsive organisation. The ideal judge is neither mild nor hard, he is just – that means, however, that he applies the appropriate law for the case in hand. And it is an imperfection of the law, if in establishing the appropriate law for a particular case he exercises too much freedom of interpretation or stays rooted in analogical thought – the latter which is forbidden by the law itself, especially in criminal law. As frightening as it sounds, it is nonetheless true: the ideal of the judge from a purely legal-logical standpoint is a legal automaton; and when one, as often occurs, compares the theory of law to mathematics, because both demonstrate in a similar manner formal law, then one sees that a comparison can be made between the machine of law and a calculator.

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at which it necessarily passes into the proper content of the Marxist concept; this will further reveal the sociological method, and in contrast demonstrate anew the complete inappropriateness of the juristic critique for comprehending Marx. Kelsen finds in the Marxist theory of the elimination of the state, of its being ‘put aside’ through the eradication of class contradictions, not only a very selfcontradictory content, but even more, an outspokenly anarchistic tendency. He titles his Par. 9: ‘The Anarchistic Ideal of Communism’,2 coming back to his earlier claim regarding this individualistic basic line of thought harboured by Marx and Engels,3 and then going on to argue that there can be no principle of opposition between anarchism and socialism.4 This individualistic direction of thought creates the most striking contradiction to the economic presentation of the socialist society, which without a powerful regimentation of economic life is not possible. It appears almost ironic that on the one hand Engels sees the anarchy in production in the class-based state as exploitation, while ‘in the same breath’ in the communist community it is the solution to exploitation, although in such a community, if there is no longer a state, where no one knows compulsion, an anarchy of production generates the community.5 Kelsen points out further that the Communist Manifesto rejects the compulsive order of the state. It teaches that the elimination of class differences concentrates all production in the hands of the associating individuals, and thus public power loses its political character.6 That does not mean, according to Kelsen, that the public power loses merely the character of class domination, remaining in some form, nonetheless. Rather, as the manifest goal is the replacing of a class-based society through ‘an association in which the free development of each person is the condition of the free development of everyone’, what is meant is the cessation of public power in general. For the character of this association can only be understood in this manner: ‘a free association in contrast to a compulsive organization, in contrast to an authoritative organisation, in contrast to a system of public power, in short: to a state’.7 We must dwell on this point for a moment. It pays us to immediately point out the equivocation of Kelsen’s of which we become the victim as a reader: we have seen how Kelsen identifies the compulsive order with the state, and

2 3 4 5 6 7

Kelsen 1920a, p. 44. Kelsen 1920a, pp. 22, 46. Kelsen 1920a, p. 43. Kelsen 1920a, p. 53. Kelsen 1920a, p. 13. Kelsen 1920a, p. 17.

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see now that it is also identified with an authoritative organisation, while an authority for him is a juristic, which is to say a purely formal, moment. We, however, differentiate between a sovereign authority, an administration, and a leader of business, which we have done in our previous discussion of the concept of democracy. When we speak of a sovereign authority, it is only where vital contradictions of interest exist, so that the life will of the one is set against the will of the other, which must be compelled. Only where such a heteronomy of subjects must be compelled is there a compulsive order of those who wield power against those who must comply. The compulsive order in such an instance is the special interest of a certain group. Where, on the contrary, a homogeneity of life-interests exists, which will be the case in the absence of class contradictions, the compulsive order will insure the autonomy of those who constitute it: this order expresses a common interest and exists in the service of all who have this in-common interest. Certainly, all individuals are subject at all times to this dominion, but, sociologically speaking, they are not equally subjected in both cases. And in this lies the vital distinction that in the one case the compulsive order appears as domination, and in the other as freedom. We Marxists give expression to this distinction in that we reserve the concept of the state for the first form and prefer to avoid it in the case of the second, in order to make clear the fundamentally transformed function that the compulsive organisation acquires in it. There thus cannot be any sense in saying that the stateless communist society is free of any compulsion. Elimination of the state in Marx means something different than in Kelsen, because it is not ‘the state in itself’ of which Marx speaks, but rather the class-based state, and in this sense it is also the capitalist state versus the proletarian classstate. On the basis of this differentiation of heterogeneity and homogeneity of life-interests, as we have already seen, one can speak of the difference between political and social democracy, that is, between a non-genuine and a genuine democracy. We found genuine democracy first as a consequence of the elimination of the class state, and that means – so far as this is possible – even of the proletarian state. When, therefore, Kelsen once mockingly opined that a genuine democracy in Marx’s conception would not be a state (that is, not a class state), he only illustrated his eternally circular manner of argumentation – a manner that is based on a personal terminology that misconceives Marx’s full meaning.8 This could hardly be otherwise, because Kelsen is unaware of what he does. Take, for example, his use of Saint-Simon’s concept of the transformation

8 Kelsen 1920a, p. 42.

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of government from one involving dominion over persons to one involving administration over affairs (Sachen). Kelsen adds here that the thought’s ‘charming appearance after nearer examination cannot hide the inner laxity’.9 We are can hardly wait to perceive in what this inner laxity of thought resides, for the whole history of modern socialist theory in its fullest content and weightiest knowledge takes up this very issue. Kelsen’s answer is perplexing: the entire opposition of an administration of affairs and a government of men is ‘only’ fictitious. For there is ‘no administration of affairs which is not at the same time an administration over persons, which means a determination of human will by one person over another; there is no direction of the production processes which is not a governance over persons, which means the motivating of human will by one person over another’.10 One sees immediately how this continues that play with words in place of material distinctions that was already introduced in the double-meaning of Kelsen’s terms ‘state’ and ‘dominion’. For one need only name the direction of the production processes a government and one has immediately before oneself ‘the same thing’ as is to be encountered as government in (for example) Czarist Russia, or in the Germany of Emperor Wilhelm, in the Entente imperialism of France and Germany, and in the socialist society. Everywhere can be found by this means that – what is it called again? – ‘motivation of a human will by others’. In this fashion we can see every distinction between government and administration overthrown, by virtue of the contentlessness of a purely formal concept that is appropriate to all forms of human coexistence. However, in order to anchor more deeply the refutation of the difference between a government over persons and an administration of affairs, the formal-juristic misunderstanding is not sufficient – the materialist misunderstanding of Marxism must be drawn upon as well. According to Kelsen, the entire differentiation of human governance and the administration of affairs has its basis in economic materialism. As he states, in that ‘the economy for the Marxist becomes a non-personal production process, the movement of hypostatized “forces of production” and “relations of production”, it removes itself – in doing so becoming a kind of fictive reality, of compressed abstraction – from actual persons and their motivations, that is to say, the relations of domination of one by another, which as a political system, as law and the state seem to lead a separate existence’. And in the face of this understanding, Kelsen believes that he has to teach us Marxists that ‘Affairs and

9 10

Kelsen 1920a, p. 54. Kelsen 1920a, p. 55.

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production processes are not in themselves the economic order. They are only objects of human willing and action’.11 Nowhere does it become clearer that Kelsen’s critique of Marxism is not in Marx’s spirit, and even when he offers numerous citations, his comprehension is still fragmentary. For otherwise, how could he overlook precisely the core message of Marx, the most powerful, thoughtful moment of his whole economic understanding. This is the foundational thought in his analysis of the capitalist production process, in Marx’s famous section on the ‘fetishist character of commodities’ in the first volume of Capital. Just what Kelsen calls ‘hypostatisation’ of the production processes and the relations of production, this is what Marx called the fetish character of economic processes in the capitalist economy, because the substantial independence of these processes was deceptive, their secret the societal relations of the productive agents, where humans are to be revealed standing behind this apparent objectivity of things. The discovery of the deceptive appearance that masked the relations of production and its causes revealed in their societal, that is, human contents – that is just the real accomplishment of the economic theory of Marxism. ‘The mysteriousness of the commodity form’, says Marx, ‘exists simply in that it gives to humans the societal character of their own work as the objective character of the product of their work itself, as the societal characteristics are reflected back within the product, and thus, the societal relation of the producer is seen as something outside of himself, as the existent societal relations of things … Yet, this is only the determined societal relations of persons themselves, which here take on the phantasmagoric form of a relationship among things’.12 One can see as early as the popular essay ‘Wage Labour and Capital’ how one can resolve the material appearance of the capitalist means of production into a more cogent meaning, with masterful clarity. It states there concerning productive relations: ‘In order to produce, they (the people) enter into determined relationships and conditions with each other, and only within these societal relationships and conditions … does production take place’. And so, just as production itself can only be grasped in its nature as a human, societal process, the means of production are not merely ‘things’. ‘The means of living, the instruments of work, the raw materials which support capitalism, aren’t

11 12

Kelsen 1920a, p. 55. Marx 1893, pp. 38–9. See also Volume III, Part Two, p. 417: ‘The reification, i.e. concretisation of the conditions of production is seen in the commodities themselves, especially in the commodies of the products of capital …’.

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they as well formed within certain societal conditions, in determined societal circumstances, in distinct societal relationships?’ ‘Capital is not only the sum of material production, it is a sum of commodities, of exchange values of societal proportions … The command by the accumulated, bygone, objectified work over the immediate, living work first makes the accumulated work capital’.13 It is impossible here to go further into Marx’s economic analysis of this fetishism of economic conditions in the bourgeois world – that which Kelsen calls a fictional reality of condensed abstractions. Marx shows how the capitalist means of production make it necessary that all societal work appears as private work, and so the actual societal context of capital owners remains hidden from the workers. Through the concept of societal work and exchange value, the latter expressing the societal nature of work as well as hiding it, the Marxist analysis enables the lifting of the phantasmagoria of the independent life of economic appearances, and brings the distantly perceived productive relationships and productive energies of humans to the fore, in both cases in a fixed and exact relation to human activity and the motivational basis for that activity. First, through the economic motivation in the production process ‘things’ acquire their effectiveness as productive forces and productive relationships. Thus Marx says once more: ‘A cotton spinning machine is a machine to spin cotton. Only under certain circumstances does it become capital. When removed from these conditions it is as little capital as gold is money in and for itself, or sugar is the price of sugar’.14 But one must copy by hand the whole of Capital in order to encounter all the misunderstandings that lie in Kelsen’s polemic. For our purposes it suffices to make clear in what way Kelsen’s whole line of thought completely by-passes the thought of Marx and Engels. Now it is clear that the difference between governance and administration is significant for Marxism because it does not hypostatise economic relations, but rather dissolves this reification. For Marxism shows that this hypostatisation is a necessary self-deception of bourgeois society, one which represents the human-societal character of economic appearances behind an impersonal and anarchistic condition of the economy which passes itself off as natural. In opposition to this, with the elimination of this anarchy, which is to say with the placing of production under the control of society, this appearance of naturalness will progressively disappear and its human-social character come to the fore. Increasingly, there

13 14

Marx 1891b, pp. 25–6. Marx 1891b, pp. 25–6.

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emerges from a process that controls people one that they themselves control. This is only fully possible, however, through the elimination of class contradictions and through the planned shaping of production from the viewpoint of the needs of the whole. Then, the last contradictory category, exchange value, disappears, and in its place societal valuing and its apportionment emerges. Production is now the means by which one part of society controls another part – it has become a process which supports and satisfies the entirety of society: the government becomes administration. That is what Engels meant in the section cited by Kelsen, where he says that Saint-Simon captured the entire process of politics in the economy. In another context, Engels says in this spirit: ‘The true sociation of humans, which has until now been usurped in its nature and history, becomes liberated. The objective, alien powers which until now controlled history, come under the control of humans themselves. Now, humans will make their own history in full consciousness, for the first time they will predominate in setting societal causes in motion, and in steadily increasing proportion realise their intended effects. It is the leap of humans out of the realm of necessity into the realm of freedom’.15 Therefore it is self-evident that Marxism would not doubt even for a moment that which Kelsen believes he needs to object to it, namely that ‘a command of nature by humans is not possible without a command over humans by them themselves, which means the subordination of humans within a human order’.16 On the contrary, Marx and Engels have shown us that the command of nature must occur in the economic, that is, the societal sphere; only there is it possible. But for Kelsen, this economic sphere is in his words ‘the subordination of humans under a human order’. Kelsen himself knows that not every subordination is the same, as one sees him say in passing: ‘The “control” of humans must naturally not be an exploitative subjugation’.17 Here too Kelsen’s critique fizzles out in completely empty formal concepts. The ‘subordination’ of humans under a human order comprehends for him the community administration as well as exploitative subjugation; both are for Kelsen ‘command’, and in such a denial of a sociological view the difference between the governance over humans and the administration of affairs is a thought that he can only can perceive as betraying an ‘inner laxity’. For in this empty conceptual space the quality-free ‘command of humans’ offers no fixed point upon which one could actually establish a foothold.

15 16 17

Engels 1878, pp. 305–6. Kelsen 1920a, pp. 55–6. Kelsen 1920a, p. 56.

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What makes difficult the resolution of these misunderstandings is that they stem from the logic which generates the misunderstandings, thus making Kelsen’s approach a failure as an interpretative system, where each misunderstanding compounds the next, all consequences of his logic. So we saw here how the mistaken character of his conception of the meaning of Marx’s concept of the state is expanded and strengthened by the false theory of the apparent hypostatisation of economic processes whose only solution is legal and political – a view which for the Marxist is not realisable, according to Kelsen, because for them every economic process is at the same time the appearance of legal and state life itself, and in Marxism is understood as the ideological superstructure of economic processes. Now, this remarkable conception of Marxism by Kelsen is further strengthened by the assertion that in this hypostatisation of the economy ‘the root thought that is so characteristic of Marxism … is the isolation of its political from its economic theory’, which we have shown to be the product of his own error of interpretation. Yet, from his own mistaken separation of the political from the economic theories, the contradiction does arise that ‘the economic theory of Marx leads to a punitive, collective-centralist organisation of the economy, while the political doctrine apparently strives for an anarchistic-individualistic ideal’.18 This consequence is as correct as its premises: the contradiction between the political and the economic theories in Marxism is the product in Kelsen of a completely insufficient conception, established by his misconception of Marxism in general, and the historical materialist conception of history in particular – which we have shown sufficiently in detail above. Kelsen’s comprehension of the ‘materialism’ of the economic system in Marx and Engels, unfortunately shares the ‘communis opinio’ of his fellow academics, which does not help matters. This proves that Marxism is always more criticised than understood, and that one still believes if one compiles sufficient citations from the works of Marx and Engels that they need not study the life works of these men fully. What occurs throughout Kelsen’s book – the contradiction between an economic collectivism and a political anarchism in Marx and Engels – is not just a passing remark, but suggests itself as an essential result of his whole critique. It stems not only from the misunderstanding of Marx’s and Engels’ economic analysis and their historical materialist conception of history, but is rooted in Kelsen’s insufficient conception of the opposition of socialism and anarchism. Only in this failure could Kelsen characterise the Marxist

18

Kelsen 1920a, p. 55.

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conception of freedom as ‘anarchistic’. Even among socialists the desirable understanding is often not found; thus we must go into this issue more deeply in order to fully appreciate it.19 19

Moreover, Kelsen’s view that a critical analysis of Marxism will show its theoretical evolutionary collective emphasis in conflict with its agitational revolutionary-individualistic current, with the latter arising out of practical-political grounds and winning the upperhand, is not so new as it seems. One can see this in the 1897 edition of Werner Sombart’s book Sozialismus und Soziale Bewegung, where he writes: ‘the old revolutionary Adam become apparent every moment (in Marx’s thought) outwitting his own theory’. And, in the sixth edition (1908) he not only persists in this view, but speaks directly, with satisfaction, of Marx’s ‘two-soul theory’, which goes ‘Marx and Engels have two natures, which are essential two differing social understandings, which are in conflict with each other’, the evolutionary and the revolutionary (Sombart 1906, pp. 75–9). Insofar as we have not already dispelled this scholarly ‘legend’ in our discussion of revolution and dictatorship within the sociological conception of Marx, the following investigation of the actual difference between anarchism and social-democratic tactics will hopefully finally dispel it. But, aside from that, when one sees in the coolest theoretician his political hopes and striving passionate impatience, one can say there is a contradiction of temperament and character, but not one of theory. Two souls do not dwell in Marxism, even when they do in Marx, and live on after him in many Marxists, and will continue to live.

chapter 15

Excursus on Anarchism 1

The Denial of Force, Law, and Authority

That anarchism does not mean the same thing as a doctrine of absolute lack of order and complete arbitrariness is already accepted as a position, even by its scholarly critics. Yet, such a point of view has been and is maintained in an anxious popular understanding common among the bourgeoisie, namely, that anarchism is the removal of any organisation of society. Karl Diehl, in his much referred to lectures on ‘Socialism, Communism, and Anarchism’, finds it necessary to counter this by explicitly rejecting ‘that anarchism presents only a criminal sect which lacks any social or political programme’.1 However, since the very influential writing of Rudolf Stammler, it is generally recognised that anarchism is a theory of societal order, only one which denies the compulsion of law, establishing its basis solely upon convention.2 Whether this differentiation justly exists or not, we must now take it up. However undisputed it may be that anarchism is a societal principle of order, this acceptance is generally connected to the conception that it denies compulsion. And in that one offers no clear concept of what the denial of force might mean – therefore suppressing the question of what kind of compulsion it is that anarchism rejects, and whether or not perhaps the concept ‘compulsion’ has here a special meaning that the word ‘compulsion’ cannot precisely enough designate – there arises a lack of clarity in perception which finally causes the concept of anarchism to seem entirely contradictory. For an order that exists without the ability to use force to address disturbance is unthinkable. The rejection of any compulsion whatsoever therefore makes the seriousness with which anarchism intends a political order quite suspect. And surely, this misconception exists even in the popular agitation of anarchism and among many of its fanatical adherents, as the rigorous thinking through of the concept and its associated conceptions do not belong to the virtues of anarchism. In spite of that, it is still correct to see that anarchism strives for an order and thereby does not reject compulsion, but only that which stems from an order of domination based upon class antagonism. Anarchism represents lawlessness

1 Diehl 1920, p. 96. 2 Stammer 1894.

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only in the sense that it rejects the law as a protocol of the willing power of one class in society against the other. The order, on the other hand, which stems from the solidarity of interests and the working community of the union of societal persons, it not only recognises, deeming it the law – it is also decidedly in favour of defending this solidarity society with all its means. Therefore in coming to a correct understanding of anarchism, and also its relationship to socialism – which is an associated realisation – one must not merely fix on the formal concept and thus be content with the principle that anarchism rejects ‘compulsion’. Much more, one must ask: what kind of compulsion is rejected? And this question cannot be answered in a formal-juristic manner, but rather only through insight into the differentiated-social nature which compulsion represents, that is, whether it occurs in a class-based society or in a classless society. If we look at the question in this way, then we can see that no anarchistic theoretician has ever denied compulsion in society; and this is true not only among communist theoreticians, but also those who take an individualistic direction. Thus Proudhon does not deny the regulation of social life through laws, stating: ‘Although I am thoroughly a friend of order, in spite of that I am an anarchist in the full meaning of the word’.3 He asks: ‘Is the domination of people over other people just? Every person will answer: No; only the law may rule over people which is just and true’.4 And these words signify for him not only an ethical declaration, but rather, especially in the last chapter of the aforementioned work, a social understanding that in a societal order in which economic equality of conditions has supplanted inequality for every individual, the laws will not evince the power that men pursue over other men, but will rather arise out of the nature of society and through the scientific foundation of that society regulate its existence. ‘Everything that is the object of law and politics is an object of science, not of private opinion: the law-giving authority belongs only to methodically recognised and proven reason … justice and legality are therefore independent of our agreement, just as is mathematical truth. The people are the maintainers of the law, that is true; that is just. But their conviction obligates only that they must recognise the revealed truth of the law. What is then a recognised law? A mathematical or metaphysical operation that affirms an experience will be repeated, a phenomenon observed, a fact confirmed. The nation alone has the right to say: we command and order’.5 One sees that Proudhon has no doubts that even the anarchistic society will have 3 Proudhon 1896. 4 Proudhon 1896, p. 23. 5 Proudhon 1896, p. 225.

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order and laws which can be compelling, and that he only wishes to make us aware that this compulsion has a different character than that within a class-based society. It is transformed from a compulsion of one person over another into an order of things that affects all equally, so that mathematical or physical laws of compulsion are exercised over everyone. One such law is, ‘that one is dependent upon the facts of science and compelled by its necessities, a condition that never disturbs one’s independence’. We should note here how Saint-Simon’s thoughts on the transformation of an administration over persons to that of an administration of common cause, which were treated so offhandedly by Kelsen, recurs in Proudhon in the independent form that commands the whole development of the idea of socialism. This fundamental purview of the replacing of governance through a common-cause administration does not obviate the use of force by an administration against disturbing wills; rather this function directly belongs to an administration. However, the totally changed character of such order eliminates the occasion of its disturbances to such a degree that these latter can only be of a pathological or criminal nature. In a later work Proudhon illustrates this transformed character of the new compulsive order as ‘mutualism’. The question must be borne by everyone whether he will respect the laws ‘which exist because they are the natural order’, existing to preserve in the widest sphere the general welfare and freedom of all. If one says yes, then he belongs to the society. ‘If you say no, you are a savage. You have declared yourself apart from the society of humankind and are suspect. Nothing protects you. With the slightest provocation, one can slay you, and one can say to that person at most an unnecessary hurt has been given to a wild animal’.6 Naturally, it does not occur to us to give weight to either Proudhon here or to some other anarchist with respect to the manner in which they have depicted the future societal organisation; rather we only wish to show that it has never occurred to them to portray a society without the possibility of the use of force against those who act against it. Anarchism means for them an absence of domination, but not a lack of authority or of compulsion. Quite similar are the teachings of Bakunin. He finds it necessary explicitly to explain in what sense he will be an anarchist: only in the sense that he will eliminate all privileged legal order. ‘In a word, we reject all privileged, patented, official and legal legislation, authority and influence, even when it is initiated by the general right to vote, since we are convinced that it is only to be applied on behalf of a dominating and exploiting minority against the interests of the

6 Proudhon 1851, pp. 342–3.

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vastly enslaved majority. In this sense we are really anarchists’.7 But, we read in another section, ‘does it follow that I reject every authority? This thought lies far from me. When it comes to the boot, I turn to the authority of the shoemaker, when it involves a house, a canal, or a railroad I ask the authority of the architect or engineer. For every special discipline I turn to this or that scholar’.8 So it is in daily life. And in societal life in general, there is always an authority who can answer for the secure order of society. ‘The only great and all-powerful, at the same time natural and rational authority, the only one which we can respect, will be the collective and public spirit of a society that is founded upon equality, solidarity, freedom, and the mutual human respect of all its members’.9 Wholly in agreement with that, but even more clearly, he states on another occasion: ‘As much as I am an enemy of what one calls in France “discipline”, nonetheless I recognise that an equal, not automatic, but freely accepted and thought through discipline, which is fully in unison with the freedom of the individual, is always necessary and should persist, particularly among many freely willing individuals who are involved in a common work or action. This discipline is then nothing other than the freely willed and deliberated agreement of all individual efforts to arrive at a common goal. In the moment of action, in the middle of a battle, roles are differentiated naturally that are articulated by the whole society, and valued by them, relating to the capabilities judged to be necessary of each person: one leads and gives orders, another follows the orders … In this system there is really no one power. The power lies in the communal existence and is the true expression of the freedom of each person, the true and earnest realisation of the will of all; one obeys because the leader only commands what each one wills for himself’.10 If this passage, which is directed at assisting the comprehension of the distinction between subjection and subordination to an order – a distinction that is also apposite for socialism – initially seems for Bakunin to be related only to the discipline of revolutionary struggle, there remains no doubt that he wishes it to characterise more generally the nature of a social order whose exercise of compulsion is not founded on domination of the one over the other, but on the solidarity of all. Anarchists too must learn obedience to order and laws; only these emerge from within the society differently then contemporary laws. Bakunin expressly confirms this when he says: ‘What is freedom? Does freedom exist in rebellion against all laws? No, insofar as these laws are natural, eco7 8 9 10

Bakunin 1919, p. 38. Bakunin 1919, p. 35. Bakunin 1919, p. 42. Bakunin 1921, pp. 9–10.

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nomic and social laws which are not compelled by authority, but rather within things, within the relationships of situations themselves, whose natural development is expressed by them. Yes, insofar as they are political and juridical laws which are forced by some on others, either by force of will, either as a hypocritical exercise in the name of religion or some other metaphysical doctrine, either by dint of a fiction, or that democratic lie which one calls the right to vote’.11 Certainly anarchism, as we see in Bakunin’s propaganda as well as in our time, has so raised the battle against every authority and legal structure as to make of it mere slogans, appealing to the lack of discernment and the powerinstincts of the masses; and it has done so to the point at which that rhetorical and contradictory entity has arisen that anarchism in reality is. Anarchism’s conceptual form exists only in books. But that it is this conceptual form that is not foreign to a compulsion of those who resist it can be made clear through an interesting, literary-historical and historical inquiry. For only in this way could Marx and Engels within their internal struggle in the International have been able to show in their necessary criticism of Bakuninism that just in his ‘antiauthoritarian’ play with socialism, there was an overbearing emphasis upon authority even within the revolutionary struggle, just as there would be in the newly established society.12 Thus it is asserted in the ‘Publications of the Society of the People’s Court’ [‘Veröffentlichungen der Gesellschaft des Volksgerichts’], which serves the Bakuninistic movement, in an article that carries the title ‘Fundamentals of the Social Order of the Future’ [‘Grundzüge der sozialen Ordnung der Zukunft’], that after the fall of the existing social order all the means of existence are immediately made common property. The general duty to work is announced, the establishment of associations of workers (Artels) are authorised and plans of work are devised. In the course of a certain time ‘each person must choose to be in one or another of these Artels … all of those who remain alone without a compelling reason, not having joined a workers’ group, have no right to enter a common eating area or sleep in a common hospice or find one’s satisfaction of any life needs in the buildings that serve their working brothers, either those which store products, materials, foodstuffs or tools which are assigned to them: in a word, who without sufficient reason does not belong to an Artel remains without the means of existence. All streets, all means of communication, are closed to him: for him there remains no other recourse than work or death’.13

11 12 13

Bakunin 1921b, pp. 215–16. Compare here the polemic in Marx 1874, and Engels 1873. Marx 1974, p. 64.

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Likewise we read in Kropotkin, in relation to those who wish to disturb the free Association of the federated Production Groups: ‘As you set yourself apart with special conditions, and wish to avoid your comrades, then it is very probable that you will feel the consequence of this in your daily relations to other citizens. One will consider you a ghost from the bourgeois society and flee from you …’14 There is for Kropotkin no question that the solidarity of the comrade-groups should respond to those rare instances of ill-intentioned or irrational disturbance with forceful means, though these should nonetheless not be likened to the criminal penalties of today. We will say more on this. If this is so with communist anarchists, then it is very interesting to see that the position of individualist anarchists in relation to the allowance of compulsion in supporting the social order is more decisive still. Max Stirner combats the state not in the name of freedom, but rather in the name of singularity [Eigenheit]. To understand this concept, so central to the relations of socialism and anarchism, will be our task in what follows. For mere freedom as a bourgeois concept Stirner has no time. ‘I raise no objection to freedom, but I want more than freedom. You must not merely be free of what you do not wish to do, you must have what you want. You must not only be free, you must be “wholly your own” [“ein Eigener”]’.15 In order to preserve this ‘singularity’, instead of the state, there is the union of egotists. But, despite this, forcible measures for preserving order are not absent in Stirner. ‘It would be foolish to assert there would be no power over what is mine. Only the place which I give to myself will be other than that which I maintain in a religious age’16 – in relation to which, Stirner thinks, our present age also belongs, with its dogma of the ‘holiness of the law’. Stirner sounds quite anarchistic when he says: ‘Whether I have right or not, there can be no other judge than me myself’. He means by this remark a shifting of the concept of the law to an inner conviction, insofar as it is no longer a foreign, external or indeed secretive holy power over him; but he does not reject its actual connection to him. For immediately Stirner adds: ‘In relation to that law others can only decide and judge whether they agree with it and whether it can hold for them as well’.17 The ‘right of all’, the ‘right of humankind’ Stirner rejects only insofar as it is a means of coercively compelling him into a community that is not him. ‘I will not defend everyone through a law’ (note his use of ‘defend’) ‘rather my right …’.18 Therefore, it is quite wrong to 14 15 16 17 18

Kropotkin 1920, p. 10. Stirner 1892, p. 184. Stirner 1892, pp. 215–16. Stirner 1892, p. 219. Stirner 1892, p. 219.

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assume that he depicts the ‘union of egotists’ as merely a loose group in which one may do whatever he wants. Stirner’s intention is quite the contrary. ‘Will I find in some society such an unmeasured freedom of whatever I may? Certainly not’. And when the supporter of the state replies triumphantly that this is what has always been, Stirner answers: ‘Not so! It is quite different whether I bounce off another I or on a people, a general state-of-things’.19 Quite clearly one sees here that for Stirner it is a question not of denying a compulsive order in itself, but rather showing a wholly changed character which will exist after the elimination of the existing social class organisation and its state ideology of an ‘in-common’ law. And now one understands for the first time the following sentences, in the bright light that this most consequential of anarchists shines upon the question of ‘compulsion’: ‘There is a difference whether through a society my freedom or my singularity is limited. If it is solely the former, then that is a unification, an agreement, a union; if my singularity is threatened, then society is a power in itself, a power over me … In relation to freedom, however, there is no essential difference that underlies the concept of state or union. The latter can arise or exist without freedom being limited in any way whatsoever, since the state carries with it immeasurable freedom … to be sure the union will offer a greater degree of freedom, as it is on behalf of “a new freedom” that can be maintained, because through it one can escape the compulsion of the state and societal life; but it will contain a sufficient absence of freedom and free will. For its goal is not – a freedom in which singularity is sacrificed, but neither is this goal singularity in itself’.20 One cannot see more drastically expressed the fact that the ‘anarchist’ social order will be, in its individualistic form, a compulsive order, than in the fact that it is said (as Stirner himself says) that it will act in relation to the caprices of the individual no differently than the state. Finally, Benjamin Tucker. In a propaganda lecture in which he sets forth the essentials of his theory, he says: one will ask us ‘what should occur with the individuals who intend without a doubt to injure the social law, in that they attack their neighbors? The anarchists answer that the removal of the state will enable a defensive union to persist which is no longer based upon the means of force, but rather upon a freely willed basis, and which then allows one to encounter the attackers with all necessary means. “But that is what we now have”, is the reply. “You wish only a change of name essentially”. Not so quickly, please. Can one really assert, even for a moment, that the state, even as it exists here in America, is a purely defensive entity? Surely not, except for those informed by

19 20

Stirner 1892, p. 247. Stirner 1892, p. 360.

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its most immediate gestures – the police on the corner – they will find that a good nine-tenths of all existing laws do not serve to generate fundamental social law, but rather exist to create and preserve commercial, industrial, financial and other propertied monopolies which steal the greater part of all productive gains, these laws maintained by completely unchecked power’.21 From this imprecise language of Tucker one can translate a clear concept: that one can only speak of a defensive union when the state is dissolved, when instead of class contradictions it is based upon economic solidarity, which in the place of ‘the bases of compulsion’, that is, a dominating class order, a freely-willed solidarity of interests of all those who belong to the community-established order is instituted. And so Tucker concludes with an already cited passage from Proudhon in which he threatens those who disturb an order that they, like wild animals, will be excluded from society and treated as such.22 In his major work Instead of a Book. A fragmentary exposition of philosophical anarchism23 one finds his characteristic standpoint even more clearly set out. Unfortunately, I was not able to get the book. But Dr. Paul Eltzbacher has so thoroughly quoted from the book in his own very objective work Der Anarchismus, that the character of Tucker’s entire doctrine is made clear. As an anarchist, Tucker writes: ‘Resistance to an attack from another is not in itself an attack, but rather a defence. It is justified that such attacks should be prevented. Therefore it is immaterial whether this resistance comes from a single individual acting against another individual or from the community acting against a criminal to compensate for damage done. Thereby there will also be legal norms in an anarchistic order, that is, norms which rest upon the general will, and whose obedience all can be compelled to by any means necessary, which includes jail, torture, and the death penalty. With regards to an injury to person or their recognised property, anarchists are decided in their wish to first take care of the causes of such an injury; but ‘we do not recoil before them or any means of violence, that appears to be demanded by reason and the given circumstances’. ‘Anarchism recognises the right of imprisonment, persecution, sentencing, and the punishment of the perpetrator’. Yet, in such cases there is no exercise of domination, for domination is the subjugation of peaceful persons under a foreign will. Contrasted to this is the defence against and subjugation of an aggressive person who is interfering with the united will of his comrades. ‘There are no fundamental principles in our societal life which forbids us to defend against interference of

21 22 23

Tucker 1908, pp. 9–10. Tucker 1908, p. 13. Tucker 1893.

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any kind.’ In all such cases a jury judges, but not in accord with a fixed law, but rather under the free findings of justice appropriate for each individual case’.24 The correct insight, that the concept of anarchy does not mean lack of order, but rather only an absence of authority, can thus be extended: anarchism not only does not exclude the concept of a compelling order of societal life; rather it includes the teaching of a sociological change in the character of compulsion, in consequence of which those people to whom it applies no longer experience it as such. When the anarchists negate ‘justice’ and ‘the law’, it is always justice and the law of a class-based society, thus it is always that kind of societal norming [Normierung] which the individual encounters as a foreign voice, as something hostile to his life-interests. We have seen this already with Bakunin and Stirner, and encounter it in a quite exemplary form in Kropotkin: ‘The law is a relatively modern product; humankind lived for aeons without a written law … the relationships of humans among one another were in those times regulated by customs and usages, which in their continuing repetition made them respected, and which were learned from childhood … but as soon as society was divided into two hostile classes – one which exercised its domination over the other, which sought to escape it – there began a war. The winner today has hurried to transform the accomplished fact into a form favourable to him … the law steps forwards, blessed by the clerics, a weapon that serves the warrior’.25 This law is negated by the anarchists, this justice that once Hölderlin so accurately named ‘the law of despotism, injustice in legal form’, to which he bitterly adds that ‘the son of the North bears it without reluctance’. For if the oriental submits to a despotic arbitrary rule from an instinct of homage, just so one believes in the north ‘too little in the pure, free life of nature, not to depend superstitiously upon the law’.26 This contradictory appearance of law and right is fought against by the anarchists, not upon the customary legal and judicial bases, but rather, as first flowing from the real legality and solidarity that is realised socially.27

24 25 26 27

Elzbacher 1900, pp. 167–8, 179–80. Kropotkin 1922, pp. 150, 158. Hölderlin 1905, p. 188. In this regard the representation of anarchistic precepts in P. Eltzbacher is very informative. The author has set himself the task of presenting the wealth of anarchistic teaching in the form of a table, which he orders according to individual viewpoints (position towards justice, the state, property, power). And in this way he differentiates normative and non-normative precepts, insofar as they are recognised legally or not (where a norm is understood as that which is generally observed, and which a power stands behind which guarantees its being followed [p. 25]). And, it is quite interesting that he includes normed precepts as central to all anarchistic teachings, with only the exceptions of God-

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In order to see this clearly, one must clarify that the compulsion in the order that governs compulsion in social life cannot be conducted in the way it is presently, that is, as it takes place in a class-based society, in which the legal order exercises compulsion on behalf of an abridged portion of the population in its own social interests. Wherein is the ‘compulsion’ of the order of justice? To some extent it is when a person is directly compelled to do something; but mostly it involves occasioning him to refrain from an act or neglect that he has intended. The compulsion of justice effects the fulfilment of a certain legally called-for performance in relation to the cessation of forbidden actions, on the one hand, through the imposition of penalties for those who do not obey, on

win, Stirner, and Tolstoy (p. 249). In relation to the exception of Stirner, Eltzbacher is wrong, as we have seen. Eltzbacher viewed Stirner’s ideological rejection of law as an independent authority in itself over every individual as identical to denying that there is a law between individuals that stems from the common will, and thus acts as a norm. As far as Godwin is concerned, Eltzbacher misconceives his words to mean that he believed justice and law did not exist. But on a closer inspection it is clear that Godwin’s position did not substantially differ from Proudhon’s, whom Eltzbacher counts among the ‘nomists’. Godwin also wanted the establishment of justice within the free, living community of comrades, rather than a justice based on rigid law. Therefore, Godwin, too, recognised juries, saying of them: ‘Juristic decisions which occur immediately after the abolition of a law will not differ greatly from what had earlier been the rule’ (p. 39). Only within an ideal vision of a distant future does Godwin speak of a time when juries will not finally cease to exist (what Eltzbacher often overlooks), but to decide, becoming satisfied instead with the imparting of advice; for by that time what is rational in itself will be seen as the necessary rationale for everyone. Law then will be the authority of a reason in-common. But, this is a future dream that will arise out of the anarchistic society Godwin demands. The ‘a-nomism’ of Godwin thus means nothing other than the denial, on the one hand, of a historical justice based on class violence, and, on the other hand, the rejection in the new classless society of any static, established law and its replacement by free legal inquiry. This explains the central position of justice in Godwin’s thought. The same is true finally for Tolstoy, only here love for one’s fellow replaces the emphasis upon justice. Indeed, one can perhaps see Tolstoy as the only ‘a-normative’ thinker because of his absolute rejection of any force in social intercourse, even that which would be used to combat injustice and the power to harm. But, in this regard Tolstoy cannot even be included among anarchists, that is, as an opponent of the exercise of authority, because his thought forms a different direction entirely, wherein no social order is recognised, but rather only the conscience of the individual, out of the justice and religiosity of which a manner of living together will proceed. ‘If all would attest to what he knows to be true with the strength of his power to judge, at least not defending falsehood as truth, then in this year 1893 changes will begin that when completed will be in the future beyond anything we can now imagine’ (Tolstoy 1894, pp. 486–7). Thus, Tolstoy cannot give us knowledge of what kind of society will exist in the wake of the practice of Christian tolerance and the love for one’s fellow. The new forms of the order of living will be generated from these principles (Tolstoy 1894, pp. 372– 3).

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the other hand, through distrainment, that is, through the execution of a stateordered service by the guilty party. Both forms of coercive security within the justice system are not only possible in an anarchistic order, but are contained in the very concept of a unified, solidary interest that upholds the rights of everyone. Merely the character of the coercive means is transformed according to the level of culture imparted by the new societal order. We do not recognise today the means of punishment of the C.C.C., the punitive court for capital crimes of Charles V, without which the progressive jurisprudence of that time – and the Carolina was an advance – could never have hoped to effect certain coercive laws. It is a punishment whether one jails a person for his violation of the social order or whether one imprisons him for the pleasure of the society.28 And, as long as a member of society remains within an association, and is willing to do so, there will always be punitive measures to protect his possessions from damage and for the not living up to definitive contracts of which he is a party. Will there not be demands on society, claims and requests for goods, access to scientific and art institutes, visits to the theatre, and so forth, and cannot one say that society is not withholding such requests when it turns them down or blocks their satisfaction until its obligations are met? This is quite another type of compulsion than that of the existing system of laws, because the application of such a coercion represents only a general rule of one’s societal comrades, that is, it seeks to uphold an order in which no contradictory interests exist, rather in individual cases societal disturbances occasioned by misunderstanding, passion, or the criminality of an individual. To be sure, there

28

In this regard there is a pertinent passage in the third chapter of Georg Simmel’s Soziologie, in which he discusses the forms of super- and sub-ordination, bringing to attention that in all coercive forms of sub-ordination, whether they are ‘tyrannical’ or ‘despotic’, there remains to the subordinated a constant degree of freedom, as a result of which he would rather take on the evil of this subordination than the greater evil that would result from his disobedience. ‘There is’, said Simmel, ‘less an extinguishing of that spontaneity within the subordinated conditions in reality than the popular expression of it recognised, when they understood the concept of “coercion” loosely as the “having-no-choice”, “unconditioned necessity” … seen exactly, the freedom of the subordinated was only completely eradicated within the hierarchical order in cases of immediate physical coercion; otherwise one chose a price, which we of course would not pay, for furthering the realisation of their freedom, and even when the circle of their external conditions in which they might realise this freedom became smaller and smaller, still it did not fully disappear, unless in the case of a direct physical coercion’ (p. 135). This masterful psychological insight, which is always the case with Simmel, into the relativity of compulsion illustrates at the same time the position we have held in our text: that compulsion and freedom are, in all instances of their historical-sociological character, mutually determined.

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can emerge in such a society a new, still unknown interest group, which occasions a new group lacking solidity within the extant society. Then, this society will be faced with a new social problem, but one we cannot occupy ourselves with at this time.29

29

In this context it is perhaps useful to bring to attention that it is indeed possible, even within the contemporary system of justice, that sufficient theoretical and practical efforts exist to transform the character of punishment from a mere act of authoritative penalisation into a pure social defence and educational act; only this effort would be accompanied by little success as long as the order of justice has so many occasions to merely punish an offender. If one disallows the hungry from taking nourishment, then ‘education’ within his incarceration will not prevent ‘recidivism’ as soon as one again has nothing to eat which is available ‘according to the law’. Here only a change in the law is helpful, in the sense that it would no longer be against the law for someone who acts justly, otherwise, to starve. ‘A well-ordered society’, writes the first German communist Wilhelm Weitling, ‘knows neither the committing of a crime nor laws and punishment. Everything that we call today a crime is a consequence of societal disorder. If we remove this disorder, there only remains the natural occasion of human illnesses and weaknesses; these one removes not with laws and punishments, but rather with medicines and other healing means’ (Weitling 1908, p. 190). We see that Weitling was also an ‘anarchist’ and in this sense one can count under the heading of anarchism the entirety of the socialist literature, and indeed many bourgeois reformers of the existing judicial system who have worked their way to the conclusion that the greater part of existing criminality is not a consequence of social relations, but rather of existing laws and their sterile application. How many ‘criminals’, for example, must emerge in a system that counts as a crime the theft of something worth over 4,999 Kronen, and how many in one that counts it as theft of something worth over 5,001 Kronen? How many are there in the criminal statistics considered as criminals who have committed a violent public act, who are honourable, indeed ethically valuable people, who just for that reason have allowed themselves to get carried away into resisting the stupidity or power-obsession of office holders – not to mention what happens as a result of clashes with police and gendarmerie at political demonstrations. One must in such instances attend the weighty criticism of Dr. G. Aschaffenberg when he writes in regard to the needed social understanding of criminality in his significant text Das Verbrechen und seine Bekämpfung (Heidelberg, 1905): ‘The thoughtful criminal judge can have no pleasure in his vocation when he must determine the guilt or innocence in an individual case where there is not a clear determination of the facts, or certainty about the proper application of a certain paragraph, or in a mere schematic accommodation of the criminal measure to the case at-hand’ (p. 2). The quite important direction of the Freirechtsschule [where the judge is not formally bound by the law in his decision] in modern jurisprudence is symptomatic of this joylessness in decision-making, indeed the inner torment of the thoughtful judge, and within this one profession it represents the emerging concern with factual and methodological certainty that is the same thought motive which in anarchism seeks a living, and in each case concrete, finding of law as a form of judgment, rather than the unchanging, once and for all textual expression of a law. As little as does the Freiheitschule want anarchy do the anarchists want lawlessness.

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The Legal Order and the Conventional Order

Contributing to the fundamental misunderstanding of the anarchist’s societal goals as being not only the absence of domination, but indeed of any compulsion whatsoever, are the conceptual arguments developed by Rudolf Stammler.30 According to his description anarchism does not strive for a lack of order, but rather its opposite, a new societal order, but one which will no longer be regulated by law. There are namely, according to Stammler, two kinds of external order in social life that do not stem from the subjective morality of persons: legal principles and conventional rules. Neither one nor the other arises first in the order of the state. Law can arise in stateless societies, such as the horde in a nomadic people or in a community such as the church. The difference lies solely in the fact that the law ‘raises a claim that one obey, quite independent from the agreement of the one subject to it … the conventional rule, on the other hand, in its very definition stems from acquiescence of the one subject to it’, whether this is explicitly followed or tacitly accommodated (pp. 23–4). Anarchism is then the theory of an order of social life that principally rejects the compulsion of law merely upon the foundation of conventional rules. Against this differentiation Hans Kelsen has spoken the decisive word, namely, that it is logically insufficient because the concept of the validity of regulation is used in an ambiguous way that says nothing. The validity of a norm can mean, on the one hand, that it really has value, that means it really is followed, but it can also mean that it should be followed. If the first meaning is the case, then agreement to the law in respect to the recognition of the one who is subject to it is essentially no different to what occurs when one follows a conventional regulation. If the last meaning is the case – and here we are concerned only with a discussion of the relevant form of the regulation – then the recognition or agreement of the person who is subject to the regulation matters as little for the conventional regulation as it does for the legal regulation. ‘For one should be obeyed without consideration of whether the subject wishes it or holds it for appropriate’. Kelsen claims quite correctly that Stammler’s example for a conventional regulation – ‘whoever fails to give satisfaction stands outside the knightly honour code’ – does not prove what Stammler intends it to prove, namely, that the conventional code of honour does not apply to the shirker so long as he refuses to recognise it. Rather, the example proves the opposite. The code of honour would lose all its meaning

30

R. Stammler, Die Theorie des Anarchismus, Berlin, 1904.

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if it were at the mercy of those who could rob it of validity simply by refusing to recognise it. ‘In the societal disrespect exercised by those who refuse to give that society satisfaction, one sees clearly that these persons nonetheless stood under the authority of the code of honour’. One could not speak of the infringement of a conventional rule if everyone who did not follow it was considered thereby outside of its purview.31 What is the differentiation that Kelsen sees between the legal and the conventional rule? He doesn’t say too much, in that he doesn’t place the same weight upon it that Stammler does. What Kelsen does say is that the difference between the two regulations lies where the difference is to be found between a legal law and a custom-based law, namely in that the latter is merely followed, whereas the first can be applied. Law is the embodiment of norms, which shall not only be valid, but whose validity can also be applied to those who do not obey it. ‘In this specific instance of the possibility of application’ lies the difference between the legal principle and the conventional rule. The latter can be disobeyed without the perpetrator ‘being presented with legal consequences by an organisation that has been created for this purpose – as would occur in the case of the infraction of rights’. What also differentiates the two concepts is ‘that the legal principle is not only to be obeyed, but can also be applied so that its possible effect is more than can be expected of a conventional rule, and that it – because of its applicability by an external organisation: the court of justice – is to the state in its broadest sense essential’.32 One will find this differentiation by Kelsen wholly insufficient, and the discussion of its insufficiency will lead us to how anarchism and its relationships to socialism occur: namely, between the legal and the conventional rule there exists in actuality no conceptual difference; rather these are only differing historical forms of social compulsion. We will not speak here of the norming of customs which Kelsen brings so closely together with legal norms in his discussion; rather we will address the apparent difference between legal and conventional rules that Kelsen asserts. If the essence of the legal rule belongs to its applicability, then we counter that this is a characteristic of the conventional rule as well. What is at issue is only that of applying the correct relation of the norm. Application of a norm means that for one who violates it, a norm-violation process can be applied. That is indeed the case with all conventional rules. Either a conventional punishment is administered, or there is the consequence of the

31 32

Kelsen 1911, pp. 36–7. Kelsen 1911, p. 38.

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exclusion from the conventional community, or the violator will experience the loss of respect and societal participation he could otherwise take as his right. Isn’t the continuing ‘being cut out’ or ‘boycotted’ no less a punishing consequence of violating a norm than a 1,000 Kronen fine, or being arrested for 24 hours? And it is also not right to say that the conventional rule lacks organisation with which to enforce the consequences of a transgression – neither of the elemental kind nor of the type that is created to serve this purpose. The community of the conventional rule-carrying person is itself the elemental organisation – no less – as it was and is the legal community that administers law as mere exercise. And quite often we see the conventional principle applied by a court of arbitration, which is an application by a community-constituted organisation. When the violator does not appear before this court of arbitration, for example as might occur with a disciplinary court, this hinders in no way the function or judgment of the court, just as when a criminal or the accused in spite of being called does not appear before a state court. The conventional rule differentiates itself then from the legal rule neither in its presumption of validity nor in its possible application. Both rules are of the same essence, hence the conventional rules continually pass into legal rules from the form of practice or customary law, in that courts apply them. Since this is only possible as a positive determination of the law, the allowance to do this in itself proves that it does not arise from the essence of conventional rules, but that it is rather in the first instance the ‘norming’ (Normierung) that is intended by the legislative act itself – and therefore the viewpoint of power – that has forced conventional regulation into its subsidiary role. There are differences within social regulation, namely those that stem from the extent and meaning of the purpose from which it arises. All rule-making follows a purpose and is determined by that purpose. From the purposes of playing cards to the purposes of life insurance and life enrichment an infinity of other purposes are occasioned, each one of which has its own rules. And in accordance with each of these purposes, rules can be of narrower or wider scope. There are indeed purposes whose instituting is taken for granted because they are moral purposes. And from that arises a certain array of social rules of the widest scope, because all persons are comprehended, as they are valid for everyone who would be a member of the social community. That means one’s selfexclusion from this community is in itself a violation of the rule. The idea of a general validity of regulation that is based upon purposes which everyone should have, is the idea of law in itself. It encompasses conventional regulations which stem from universal purposes, which are differentiated from other conventional rules only in that the latter are indifferent to moral purposes and

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therefore can be instituted or not as one will. In spite of that they are in the same category of rule-making because once their goal is set they are immersed in the idea of law. This can be documented in that the content of such regulations never goes against the laws, and, secondly, in that once the goal is set the normative rules that are generated remain valid even if the participant in this purpose does not uphold the norm – indeed, from now on his attitude will be classed as unjust in exactly the sense of the general conventional rule, of law. One is not in violation of the law by not being interested in the purpose of card games, but it is not merely a violation of card-playing conventions, but rather unjust, to cheat at cards. That the idea of law is finally founded in morality I do not see as a deficiency in our discussion; rather I consider it quite the opposite, as a clarifying explanation for countering the idiosyncratic idea we have that somehow law is in essential contradiction to morality. This apparent contradiction can be explained, as we will develop, on the basis of the historical forms each has taken. Conventional rules are generated as a societal form that rests upon class differences, so that one class can impose their one-sided purposes upon everyone. The deep difference which Kant makes between morality and legality remains in place. For there will always be a difference whether the following of a norm occurs out of duty or from some other motive. But just because the difference between morality and legality exists in that the legal manner of conduct can lack the sense of duty, one must never overlook that all legality must also be the fulfilment of duty, and that the notion that legality (Legalität) which is not a fulfilment of duty will always be felt to be in contradiction with the idea of law (Rechtsidee). It is therefore the essence of law that it can be morally observed, and the differentiation of law and morality is only a psychological reality, not a conceptual differentiation. The so-called heteronomy of the law does not exist in its normative essence, indeed this is completely excluded from that essence; rather it belongs merely to its psychological manner of appearance. Law as the content of norms which should be generally obeyed without considering whether or not they are recognised by the individual can only make this claim because the norms should be recognised, that is, not merely followed but rather recognised as duty. Otherwise its validity would be without foundation. This duty can only come out of an autonomous self-determination of one’s moral consciousness. What is masked in the character of this rule of law is that in the positive law, that is, in the state’s legal code, much of its ‘validity’ is neither moral nor autonomous. But we can make a beginning in clarifying this well-worn discussion of law and morality by seeing that positive law is foremost neither law nor morality, but rather the means of power of an authoritative organisation,

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and that one cannot proceed on the basis that this law stems from its normative essence, but rather only pose the question of how it is possible that a legal character can be applied to a rule that contradicts its very conceptual basis. Then it will be seen that the difference within all social external regulation, namely between such that has morally necessary purposes and that which is indifferent to moral purposes, has a historical meaning in that certain purposes are given such power that they are capable of coercing everyone. And then, for the first time, the difference between the rule of law and the rule of convention becomes apparent in its current, historical-sociological meaning, that is, the law is a regulation which stems from the state, from a societal model in which a ruling class can make of their conventional rules – or of some group of them – universal commandments. And then a powerful distinction can be made between both forms of rule-making in that the ‘law’ now can be compelled not out of the conventional understandings that have given rise to the institutions of a whole society, but rather solely by a ruling class in its exercise of the means of power. In this way the ‘law’ becomes that contradictory entity (one which undoubtedly makes a laughing stock of any attempt to subject it to a logical analysis) whose form claims to be of general validity, though its content patently reflects the will of only a section of society’s members. From the foregoing discussion it has become clear that the only real difference between the conventional rule and the positive legal rule is nothing other than that between a regulation expressed by a solidarity of interests and one in which a contradiction of interests exists. And it should be clear too that the appearance that there is no legal compulsion in the conventional rule rests solely upon a conceptual exclusion of the heteronomy of the regulation, even when it can be experienced as psychological heteronomy at the level of the individual case. The negation and elimination of the state by a class-based authority that applies a legal order that is necessarily an order of domination (Herrschaftsordnung), and its replacement through the conventional rule-making of a solidary community (Gemeinschaftgenossen), does not negate the coercion of law, but rather expresses simply the total sociological change of its character.

3

The Real Difference between Anarchism and Socialism

Perhaps at this point of our discussion Kelsen would say we have only been bringing water to his mill-wheels, since we have gone to great lengths to prove his thesis that, when it comes to their social goals, Marxism and anarchism

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are much the same.33 In answer to this one can say that Kelsen is right, but in a different sense than he intends. There is in fact no difference between socialism and anarchism in relation to the goal of social development, but not because socialism is basically anarchism as regards its lack of compulsion, rather because anarchism is always socialism, that is, a solidarity society. Aside from this, there is a powerful difference between both movements, chiefly in relation to tactics, though it should be granted that in the cases of individual anarchist theorists these differences flow from a quite different conception of the nature of social union and the mode of effect of social legitimacy. In this regard alone can one speak of the principal differences between anarchism and Marxism. The point of inception in anarchism of social theory is the individual, while in Marxism it is the society. The anarchist builds society from a conception of how individuals behave, whether this is in Stirner’s or Tucker’s sense of a conscious egotism, or the mutuality among individuals as with Proudhon or Kropotkin, or upon the basis of love as in Tolstoy. Marxism, on the other hand, knows individuals only as members of the societal context, which determines them wholly with respect to hate and love, egoism and mutuality; and these character roles, with their respective scope, are assigned to the individual through its position in the processes of the production of societal life. Yet, this principled difference between Marxism and anarchism is not expressed in the goal of social transformation that both theories articulate; rather it relates to the path to social transformation that they consider to be necessary, which is to say to the process of historical development that they expound. With Marxism the masses mature their revolutionary will for this goal by economic development, which progressively brings ever more social strata into conflict with the existing economic and legal order. Militancy of consciousness is the consequence of an economic process. The militancy of anarchism is first created when a small group of committed individuals become leaders of the people, whipping up in them a revolutionary will. Marxism sees the social transformation as a historical necessity, while anarchism makes it occur as soon as possible. For a proper understanding of Marxism and its relations to anarchism it seems to me unavoidable – beyond the necessary explanation of the principle differences in its theoretical foundations – to make clearer the historical-tactical differences of each direction in relation to their aim; even if within the image

33

Kelsen 1911, p. 42.

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of the workers’ movement these splits have led to huge and fatefully divisive rifts, the result of which has been to terribly diminish the power of socialism. Only in this way can one remain protected, on the one hand, from misconceiving the import of the idea of anarchism and its meaning for socialism, and, on the other hand, from misconceiving socialism by limiting its treatment of individual freedom and developmental ideation and truncating it to a mere ideal of economic production, which among the living mass movement it neither was nor ever will be. If we cast an eye upon the history of socialism, there comes into view what Kelsen calls the anarchistic tendency of Marxism, the negation of the state and the stress upon the freedom of the individual, which as far as the latter is concerned, has from socialism’s very beginning been the essential content of all socialist theoretical systems. In this sense the great utopians like Fichte and Weitling would be just as much anarchists as Bakunin or Tucker. It is from Saint-Simon that there arises the fundamental thought that Kelsen – certainly with little justification – has situated as an anarchist thesis as enduring as it is insubstantial: that the government must transform itself from the domination of humans into the administration of things. With Robert Owen we find a pervasive, completely anarchistic lack of interest, indeed a conscious abjuring of the struggle for political rights, evidenced by his distancing himself from the Chartist movement. Repeatedly he designated the laws and the government as the source of ill. He says in one of his programmatic writings that persons are compelled into error-laden societal organisations by ‘a trinity of power’. This exists ‘first from the revealed religions invented by persons; secondly from laws that are contradictory to the laws of nature; thirdly from governments supported by the ignorance and the self-interest of persons …’ In their place should be ‘self-sustaining and scientific regulations for the creation and distribution of wealth without the existing system of unjust and barbaric personal punishments and personal preferences. This new code of laws will emanate from establishments which support the community of 500 to 2,000 individuals that comprehend in their practices the customary lives of men, women, and children, communities which are self-sustaining with the help of the advanced knowledge and their own industry, supported through the unlimited help of technology and chemistry, which will free humans from all unhealthy and noxious conditions that can be associated with life’.34 This is in its articulation almost a word for word agreement with the depiction of an ‘anarchist’ commune in Bakunin or Kropotkin.

34

Liebknecht 1802, pp. 50–3.

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Fourier finally must be given the name of the father of anarchism, even more than Proudhon. He belongs with Stirner among the philosophers of anarchism, without ceasing to be counted among the most brilliant forerunners of the struggle for socialism. For his major idea is the complete freeing of individual development where no power over the person exists other than his own ‘naturally inclined’ unfolding of human drives. ‘The completely free choice of work, determined by one’s inclinations, is the definition of being human’. It leads humans into associations and groupings of working needs, which are united into phalanges, within which production is determined no longer by economic or political compulsion, but rather the performance of ‘societally-organised work’. A net of such phalanges replaces in its mutual exchange and cooperative reinforcement the previous state organisation of the economy, whose essence Fourier never tired in characterising as a system of enormous compulsive power over the majority of its people. The civilised state, what is that? ‘A minority of dominating, armed slaves, who keep a majority of unarmed slaves reigned in’.35 Historically there is no difference between the negation of the state and that of compulsive domination within the history of socialism. Since Godwin, all social revolutionary thinkers are more or less of this standpoint. What has been more decisive is the negation of the capitalist economic order, and the demand for a new organisation of production and distribution of goods. Those thinkers who can be considered as the spiritual ancestors of anarchism, with one characteristic exception, have not named themselves anarchists, neither Godwin, nor Fourier, nor Stirner; the latter two quite to the contrary have considered the capitalist economic order as anarchy, and have designated themselves as its enemy. The exception is Proudhon, who in his work ‘What is property?’ 35

It is, moreover, interesting and instructive for the understanding of the differences between the compulsion of dominators and that of customs, as well as understanding how little anarchism is identical to ‘lack of compulsion’, to see that Fourier, in spite of the most far-ranging individual freedom within the phalange, gives the whole of this system a central organisation that has a residing ‘omniarch’, reminiscent of the Byzantine ruler in Constantinople, who governs over a carefully constructed hierarchy of group regents, each of which has authority over several united phalanges, each of which has its own ‘Unarch’ as its leader. But this entire organisation is not a ‘government’, that is, it does not subject its members to its own will, but rather arises from the needs and unified interests of this new form of work, a highly rational economic process, which wholly stems from the decisions of the members of the phalange. It is nothing other than a central administration, and the omniarch has as much similarity to the monarch in a contemporary state as the authority of the president of a syndicate to the presidents of today’s republics. Thus, it becomes clear that power without state compulsion need be no smaller, indeed can be greater than that now held by state regents.

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expressly introduced himself as an anarchist. But it is clear here that he means by it the negation and replacement of the class-based state and class law, just as Marx in his own comprehensive and passionate polemic against Proudhon never mentions as his aim his ‘anarchism’ – which is to say the replacement of the order of domination by a free association founded on reciprocity – because this is not something that socialists would disagree with. Despite that, in The Poverty of Philosophy, important tactical claims of Proudhon’s will be countered – claims that reappear in many later articulations of anarchism – particularly the rejection of the political and economic struggle of the worker for partial success within the existing society. Marx characterises this tactic, which sees the proletarian revolution as a purely societal transformation without any political or economic detour, as a kind of utopianism, as a striving ‘to leave the old society to one side, in order to more easily step into the new society’.36 Against this position, Marx, even in this early exposition, argues that in this class-antagonistic world there cannot be a societal revolution without a political one, and that, through the gains in power that they bring about, coalitions of workers established in relation to purely economic purposes necessarily take on a political character. ‘One must not say that the societal movement excludes the political. There is no political movement that is not at the same time societal. Only in an order of things where there are no class antagonisms will the societal evolution cease to be a political revolution’.37 This is also Marx’s critique of Proudhon’s ‘anarchism’; the critique concerns itself only with the way to the goal, and neither Marx nor Engels have seen Proudhon as anything other than a socialist, albeit a quite petty bourgeois utopian socialist. Proudhon later replaced the appellation ‘anarchism’ with that of ‘mutualism’. And it is interesting that later, when anarchism became a political party, he, as did Kropotkin who associated the movement with Proudhon, refused to identify with ‘anarchism’. Proudhon’s rejection of the revolutionary struggle marked his new position, where his utopianism was expressed by peaceful mutualism realised through the organisation of credit. The difference between socialism and anarchism developed initially as a question of party concepts after Bakunin’s controversy with the Marx-led International, and even then did not concern a difference in the goal, but rather the way towards that goal with respect to the forms and tactics of the proletarian movement. It was in this process that another form of socialism appeared besides Marxism – one which did not initially refer to itself as anarchist. And,

36 37

Marx 1892. Marx 1892, p. 164.

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significantly, Marx and Engels in their writings of this time, produced in opposition to the founder of this tendency, did not refer to him as an anarchist, but rather as an ‘anti-authoritarian socialist’. The designation of anarchist came from the bourgeois opposition, who under the influence of the nihilistic ‘propaganda of the deed’ threw out the baby with the bathwater and denounced every contestation of the existing order as ‘anarchist’. For the petty bourgeois – who need not always be totally uneducated – anarchist and socialist remain even to this day one and the same. On the origin of the party designation, Kropotkin says: ‘One admonishes us that we have chosen the word anarchy, which causes the influx of fear in so many people … we must observe however that a party of battle which represents new strivings seldom has the possibility to choose its own name. It was not the Gueusens [Villains] of Brabant who invented this name which later became so popular … just so it occurred with the anarchists. When in the womb of the International a movement arose which disputed the justification of authority within the association, and that was decidedly against every form of authority, this group first gave itself the name “federalist”; later it was the “anti-state” or “anti-authoritarian” direction within the International. During this time they avoided the term anarchism completely. The word “An-Archie”, it was said at that time, appeared to the new group to be too closely associated with the supporters of Proudhon, whose ideas about economic reform the International was then struggling against. But just so as to cause confusion, the opponents of this group began to use the name, which allowed them further to assert that the single goal of the new party was to introduce disorder and chaos, without reflecting on their consequences. The anarchist movement then hurried to adopt the name that had been bestowed upon it. In the beginning these anarchists insisted on the hyphen between ‘An’ and ‘Archie,’ to stress that the form ‘An-Archie’ was taken from the Greek, and meant without domination, not disorganisation. Yet soon they accepted the word, as it were, without bothering to give the typesetters an unnecessary bother and their readers a lesson in Greek’. In Marx’s polemic Ein Komplott gegen die Internationale we thus find the anarchists combatted merely for being a phrase-mongering and contradictory tendency within socialism; they are seen as alliance-prone [eds. the countless small groups of Bakunin’s or Kropotkin’s theory of people’s governance], antiauthoritarian, as ‘faithless’ revolutionaries, not, however, as anarchists. In fact, Marx will protect the concept of anarchy so that it serves his understanding of its place in socialist development. ‘Anarchy’, writes Marx in his circular latter at the last meeting of the general council of the International, ‘is the great stalking horse of its master Bakunin, who has taken the term as a headline from the socialist system. All socialists understand by anarchy the following: when

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the goal of the proletarian movement, the dissolution of the classes, is finally achieved, the power of the state ceases, which had only served to put the productive majority under the yoke of a numerous minority, and then the tasks of governance are transformed into the tasks of administration. The “alliance” operates differently. It announces anarchy within the ranks of the proletariat …’38 Marx claims the concept of anarchy in the sense of statelessness, which for him is always the end of class dominance, as part of the inheritance of ‘all socialists’. Marx’s polemic concerns only those who in striving for this goal make use of tactics that are contradictory, dishonourable and that split the proletariat; it deals with those who make rhetorical war against authority even while they form secretive plans to establish unlimited authority in the central committee; and with the putschism of those who would like to convince the workers that the state can be ‘abolished’ tomorrow. Engels has a quite similar critique of the anarchists in his 1873 publication Die Bakunisten und der Arbeit, which seeks to show that Bakunin’s tactics, which have been recommended by him as the only real revolutionary ones, not only have not reached their goals, but cannot. Engels accuses them of not being ‘anarchists’, because rather than eliminating the state – which he too desires – the tactics of putschism mean that he cannot possibly remain an anarchist. ‘Instead of removing the state, he seeks to establish an array of new, small states’. Engels shows how little real understanding Bakunin’s group has for the economic and political necessities of the proletarian class struggle, so that they would be compelled ‘as soon as they seriously confronted an actual revolutionary situation … to throw out their whole programme’.39 They will be stymied, first, by their refusal to participate in political activities, especially the vote; and then by their lack of interest in a revolution which did not immediately set free the proletariat; and finally their refusal to enter into a bourgeois-revolutionary regime. The whole of Engels’s critique relates to the tactically and theoretically contradictory way in which the Bakunin-led workers’ movement would proceed; it never rests on a denial of their anarchistic goals. This is especially clear in the concluding remarks: ‘In a word, the Bakuninists in Spain have provided a striking example of how a revolution is not to be made’.40 This explains why in the foreword to the new 1894 edition of his writing attacking the Bakuninists, he refers to the actions of these anarchists as a ‘caricature of the workers’ movement’.41 38 39 40 41

Marx 1890, p. 14. Engels 1894, p. 32. Engels 1894, p. 33. Engels 1894, p. 5.

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Thus, Engels, almost in the same words as Marx, concurs with his concept of ‘anarchy’, that is the overthrow of the state, defending the concept against the anarchists’ version. In an 1874 article directed at the Italian anarchists, which N. Rjasanoff has made available for us in the Neue Zeit, we read: ‘All socialists agree that the state and with it its political authority in the wake of the future socialist revolution will disappear, that is, the public functions will lose their political character and will be transformed into administrative functions that oversee the social interests. The anti-authoritarians, however, demand that the political state be abolished in one fell swoop, sooner than the social conditions are eliminated that have been created by the state’.42 Here also Engels’s critique addresses the so-called anti-authoritarians’ contradictory and destructive tactics. For Engels immediately continues: ‘They demand that the first act of the social revolution be the abrogation of authority. Have these gentlemen ever seen a revolution? A revolution is most certainly the greatest authoritarian thing there is, an act in which one part of the population imposes its will upon the other with guns, bayonets, and cannon, all very authoritarian means in their compulsion; and the party which has won must exercise their authority through terror, because their weapons instill reaction … thus, either– or: either the authoritarians do not know themselves what they are saying, and thus create in this instance confusion, or they know better, and in this instance betray the interests of the proletariat. In both cases, they serve only the reaction’.43 On the other hand, Engels, in a letter addressing the Gotha programme which Bebel published, strenuously rejects the demand for a ‘free people’s state’, stating that this terminology gives the anarchists the possibility of holding forth on the pious idea of such a state for socialists. ‘One should just avoid the entire discussion of the state’, writes Engels, ‘especially since it becomes a commune, not a state. The “people’s state” has been thrown in our teeth by the anarchists to the point of excess, although one sees already in Marx’s essay attacking Proudhon and in the “Communist Manifesto” the direct statement that with the introduction of the socialist societal order the state dissolves and disappears by itself’.44 It could not be more plainly stated that the goal of anarchism is the same as Marxist socialism. And all critiques that Marx

42 43

44

Engels 1914, p. 39. Engels 1914, p. 39. In the same Italian periodical one finds an article by Marx attacking the Bakuninists under the title ‘Der politische Indifferentismus’, in which, just as the title indicates, the weight of Marx’s criticism lies in showing the complete misunderstanding of the necessities of the revolutionary class war. See, Neue Zeit, XXXII, pp. 40 ff. Bebel 1911, pp. 321–2.

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and Engels have written in relation to anarchism will only show, as we have seen again and again, on the one hand that anarchism is a utopian direction of thought, and, on the other hand, that through its individualistic theories, and even more through its irrational acts, it has compromised the economically necessary aim of a stateless society, and has given the workers reason to doubt it.45

4

Socialism and Individualism

As a result of the foregoing discussion we can state correctly that as to aim, socialism and anarchism only represent two distinct ways to the same endpoint of the classless society: the dissolution of the state through solidaristic administration. This recognition is a basic assumption for a better understanding of the historical-ideological conditions of these two differentiated directions of the proletarian class struggle, inoculating one, once and for all, against the Kelsenian position that has described the ‘anarchistic’ part of Marxism as an inner contradiction of Marx’s fundamental socialist vision. One sees these ‘anarchistic’ elements in Marx in their theoretical bases not as a mere protest against the compulsion of the state, but rather as the product of economic development. The state will not be overthrown, rather it ‘dies of itself’, that is, in a great historical developmental process, in which the living conditions of the populace are changed; something which also transforms the societal order of compulsion. However, in order to insure this more correct comprehension of the relationship between socialism and anarchism a further point must be clarified, one which not only appears in the Kelsen polemic, but which also arises in 45

There exists in the popular view of the contradiction between socialism and anarchism a similar relation as that which has emerged in recent years between socialism and communism under the influence of the Bolshevik revolution. The relation can be explained historically. Under the influence of the Bolshevist propaganda, Russian Bolshevism calls itself communism, and its supporters call themselves ‘communists’, as one reads in the public discussions of newspapers, mass meetings, in parliaments, indeed in all socialist party polemics. The term is so strongly rooted that today many socialist party comrades speak of the antithesis between socialism and communism, where they actually mean their difference with Bolshevism. For the goal of Bolshevism, namely communism, is also willed by each socialist. It is the path taken by Bolshevism that does not command universal assent. In a similar vein, every socialist desires anarchism, the free unfolding of the individual within all freely chosen association. But, when he is a Marxist, he must reject the anarchist’s theory and praxis as contradictory and harmful. See on the ‘antithesis’ of socialism and communism my introduction to the Communist Manifesto, in Marx 1921.

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the frequent discussions of socialism and individualism. The ambiguity of the concept of individualism and individual freedom must be addressed. Most especially, all that Kelsen writes of the supposed ‘individualism’ of the youthful writings of Marx has fallen victim to this ambiguity. I would like to present several theses at the beginning of my discussion that address this ambiguity and show a distinct division between the two possible meanings of individualism. Individualism can mean a limitless exercise of one’s ego, on the one hand, and on the other can mean merely the manysided development of one’s own self. The first understanding is that of a completely atomistic standpoint, by which the individual is a single entity in the world standing beside his fellow humans only insofar as they are the context of his selfish striving outwards; the other view is that of an internal selfdevelopment of personality – one that not only does not involve the denial of one’s fellow humans, but requires harmonious cooperation with them if one is to realise his own self-development without contradiction. Individualism in the first sense is the striving for self-satisfaction, in the second striving for selfshaping; the goal of the first is the self-glorification of the person, the latter is the self-cultivation of the personality; the first allows the individual to have his own way, the latter places him under the direction of an individuality. Ibsen, so often decried as the prophet of individualism, though in truth one of the great apostles of the doctrine of individuality, has brilliantly described this distinction between the two tendencies (which are so often confused, since the lower of the two masquerades as the higher) in the respective shapes of Peer Gynt and Brand, whose life-mottoes state the fundamentally different character of the two tendencies with quite unsurpassable vividness: ‘Be sufficient unto yourself’ is the slogan of individualism; ‘Be true to yourself’, that of individuality. When one calls the striving towards the development of a free, selfdeveloped personality and individuality individualism, then one pays homage to a very widespread usage, but one that is afflicted by the usual bad habit of popular language: a failure to discern conceptual distinctions and a quick and thoughtless manner of expression. For a scientific discussion or critique of social theories and positions, such a means of expression is impossible. In this sense Fichte was an extreme ‘individualist’, and if this individualism necessarily leads to anarchism, then he was also an anarchist, as he was convinced ‘that the goal of all governance is to make governance itself superfluous’. The command of the free development of personality is pervasive in all of Fichte’s writings. One must note that no one has identified more energetically than he the free development of personality as a process that is tantamount to a moral duty; moreover, he knew that conflating this process with mere individualism

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would be a paralogism.46 Just this fact makes us aware that the striving involved in the development of the personality in the freedom of all its circumstances is completely consistent with a universal point of view (to use an otherwise error-prone expression, especially as it is used in epistemological theory). One understands under universalism the perspective whereby the individual is not to be thought of as an atomistic entity who can exist solely for himself, but rather only as an inseparable member of a spiritual context that is greater than the individual, in the sense of Fichte’s illuminating example that the striving towards individuality is not only not in contradiction to universalism, but rather supposes such a universalism. And insofar as this striving for the imprint of one’s personality is very often called individualism, it is nonetheless quite reasonably believed that there is a kind of individualism that is not in contradiction to so-called universalism. The difference between these two understandings of the name individualism, which denote two wholly different tendencies, now becomes clear: if one refers to the personality in its most narrow context, the second concept of individualism can be called freedom. For this word has a twofold content. It can mean an absence of any association whatsoever, that is, absolute limitlessness and lawlessness. On the other hand, it can mean the opposite, that is self-willing my will under the authority of law, yet where this is really the law of one’s own will, that is the being bound through self-determination. It is superfluous to go more deeply into this state, for it is evident that only in this latter sense can one really articulate an un-contradictory concept of freedom. And isn’t this the concept of freedom of classical German philosophy – which it has sought to ground only epistemologically – that is, the concept of freedom which even the shallow thought of the everyday references as soon as it begins to reflect upon what it means, giving itself justification. To be sure, at first glance popular consciousness conceives that freedom is the absence of limits of any kind, and that one can do what one wishes, whatever one pleases. When, however, one comes to recognise that this ‘as I please’ is just a whim that can be extinguished with reflection, giving way to a passionate emergence of desire, or on another occasion to a selfish calculation which can give one a feeling of innerdirected shame, and then once again a complete thoughtlessness, and only now and then a rising decision arising out of one’s own conviction, then one recognises that in this ‘as I please’ there isn’t freedom at all, that one does not do what pleases one, but rather acts according to the situation in which one finds himself, which conditioned him as it pleased. And then it becomes clear what

46

See my essay on Fichte in Adler 1914.

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the only possible meaning of freedom is, that is to obey, but only himself, that is, by recognising a self-declared law that emerges from one’s internality as a command that must be carried out. Thus, it is immediately clear that these two differing concepts of freedom overlay both meanings of the concept of individualism. The first meaning, in which individualism amounts effectively to the complete and ruthless assertion of the individual (Individuum), corresponds to a freedom without any limits. And the other sense, in which individualism is understood as the expression of the individuality of the personality, of one’s own character, which completes the concept of freedom in its meaning of self-determination – which we need not go further into here, as its elucidation is the stupendous outcome of classical German philosophy – is nothing other than a moral self-determination, because only this understanding can be without contradiction. For a more complete comprehension of our subject, it is especially important to consider a further outcome of what has been discussed: freedom in the sense of the autonomy of the will is a thoroughly social concept. It is among one of the greatest misunderstandings of the often misunderstood philosophy of Kant that one encounters here an individualistic philosophy simply because the laws of cognition, as well as the processes of will, seem to refer only to the single individual, and appear to have no bearing upon the facts of society. One has, however, not given sufficient attention to how Kant, and thus the whole of classical German philosophy, has treated the individual as a form of being in which a content develops, for the central problem of critical philosophy is how the content of individual experience expresses generally recognised values of universal meaning. I have already indicated in this text how, even though the concept of the social from Kant through Feuerbach was yet to be fully developed, nevertheless their philosophy was the first great attempt to found an epistemological basis for what must be understood as the social context, something which I will further elucidate below. For our discussion of this social context, it is important to attend to the way in which in Kant the basic principle of the autonomy of the will, the categorical imperative that is articulated in the formula ‘act so that the maxims of your will can serve as a universal law’ – how this principle places the single individual in a context with all others, which is nothing less than the social context. The concept of the freedom of the autonomy of the will is only a system of willing, which is to say that it is only possible without contradiction in a social system; and therefore freedom in this sense, just as we have earlier discussed in reference to individuality, is only possible from a universal standpoint. In the misconception of these relations, in the lack of clarity over the different senses in which individualism and freedom can be spoken of, lies the

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real contradictions and lack of comprehension concerning the individualistic direction of anarchism, especially in popular agitation in flyers and newspapers. It is generally the atomistic view of societal life which is the underlying conception of this entire direction of thought, which, however, in its gifted representative Max Stirner is really more a rejection of the sublimation of the social connection into the holy ties of justice, law and state than it is a dissolution of those ties themselves.47 It is then instructive to see that even this extreme individualist has little time for ‘limitless freedom’. His chief work is not called The Free One and his Own [Der Freie und sein Eigentum], but rather The Individual One and his Own [Der Einzige und sein Eigentum] [eds. our translation of Einzige as ‘Individual One’ is more appropriate here than the existing English translation ‘The Ego’]. And the whole book is occupied with making clear this differentiation. ‘I have nothing to raise against freedom’, Stirner writes in the most important chapter on the concept of singularity, ‘but I wish for you more than freedom; you must not merely be free of what you do not wish, you must also have what you will, you must not simply be a “free one”, you must also be “your own”’. And soon after that: ‘What a difference between freedom and one’s own! Indeed, one can be released of many things, but not from everything; one can be free from much, but not everything … On the other hand, “singularity”, that is my entire essence and being-there, when I am myself. I am free from that from which I am detached, my own in that which falls in my power or of which I am capable. My own I am always under all conditions, when I understand that it is of me and not to be thrown away to others’.48 Finally, ‘That a society, for example a state society, should diminish my freedom, that does not disturb me immensely. Even if I allowed myself to be limited in my freedom by all kinds of powers and from every strong presence, indeed by all my fellow humans, and if I were at the same time the absolute ruler of all the Russians, I would not enjoy absolute freedom. But, singularity, I will not allow that to be taken from me’. Therefore, I call the Stirner revolutionary individual an ‘Individual One’, because he will develop an individuality which is always a singularity. The singularity with Stirner is not a being alone, but rather a singularity that

47

48

I have deliberately formulated Stirner’s critical destruction of social ideology as a kind of positivism to be compared to the subsequent attempts of Mach and Avenarius to do away with the tenets of natural law. As Mach intended the existence of natural things, the power of nature, etc., to be concepts that were overcome when he destroyed their metaphysical support, in the same way Stirner destroyed the ghost-like conceptions of justice, the state, etc. See my essay on Max Stirner as well as on Ernst Mach in Adler 1914c, pp. 173 ff. Stirner 1892, pp. 184–5.

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is self-specification, and the ownness of the individual is not a thing to be possessed, but rather a self-possession, a self-determination. Unfortunately, this whole great train of thought, which clearly places Stirner as a descendant of German classical philosophy, has been misconceived in its ‘anti-metaphysical’ character for extreme individualism. This is a problem with his language and not his essential meaning. The essential meaning is certainly not that of merely a self-seeking individual, ‘possessed’ by a narrow-minded egoism. Stirner, as no other, has represented one so ‘possessed’ as a form of thraldom, bringing a brilliant psychological insight to his characterisation.49 And so we see that even with the most extreme individualists the goal of freedom is not a lack boundaries which disallow some form of constraint, but rather only singularity, where when necessary in establishing conditions for its own conditions of life and self-development, one’s own will sets self-limitations as its own boundaries. ‘There is a difference’, said Stirner, ‘in whether a society limits my freedom or my singularity. If the former is the case, then this is a uniting, an accommodation, a union; if my singularity is threatened, then it is a power in itself, a power over me …’50 In summary, we can say: the concept of individualism is ambiguous, in that it can mean a thoughtless imposition of individualism as well as the tenacious tendency to form one’s own individuality; it can mean the effort to achieve an imaginary freedom ‘without boundaries’, but also a freedom for the selfdetermination of personality. The real core of individualism is to be sure the essential premise of the primacy of the individual in relation to society, so that it is recognised that society itself is the consequence of the being and working together of each individual. Marxism, which proceeds from the socialisation of the individual [Individuum], and which knows no individual that could be said to exist for itself and who exists in society only in the sense of living alongside an aggregate of other such individuals, is in principle the antithesis of individualism. Yet, one need not treat the concepts of the free individual and free self-determination as being necessarily allied with that basic individualist intuition, whether as its presupposition or as its consequence. It would be much more true to say that both these intellectual tendencies, once they have been carefully thought through, sublate [aufheben] the basic presupposition of individualism; which nevertheless does not prevent them from constantly being categorised under the individualist mode of thought or from appearing to lend it an ethical justification. One must in every individual case where the freedom

49 50

Stirner 1892, pp. 194, 198. Stirner 1892, p. 359.

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of human beings, self-determination by the ego, or the freeing of the personality is at issue, first inquire what kind of individualism is being discussed; only then can it be shown that quite often the representation of the individual manifests a universal content. In such a case, to criticise the thought process as individualistic exposes nothing more than a lack of conceptual clarity. The height of this confusion is when the person compares individualism to anarchism, and in so doing misrepresents the universalist conception of freedom and individuality as striving after ‘anarchist’ freedom – thus sending it straight to the pillory. We must engage the question of anarchism further before we close this section of our discussion. We do not wish to defend the historical understanding of anarchism with respect to its actual contradictory, confusing, and destructive tactics of class warfare. These are to be combated. We can only win this combat, however, by winning a greater clarity in understanding a series of concepts – the dissolution of the state, the transcending of authority, the removal of coercion, freedom of the individual, and so forth; all concepts that both anarchism and socialism share. And it was in order to disentangle all of these concepts from anarchism, and to avoid the misunderstandings occasioned by Kelsen’s critique, which addresses itself to the anarchism of Marxism (which, were it true, would certainly amount to a fatal self-contradiction) – and so to improve the understanding of Marxist socialism – it was for this reason, and this reason alone, that the preceding ‘defence’ of anarchism was undertaken. But it is to its application that we must now turn.

chapter 16

Apparent Anarchism in Marxism 1

The Idea of Liberation

If we go further into Kelsen’s assertions that there is a fundamental ‘anarchist’ contradiction in Marxism, then we may as well begin where we left off in the last chapter, with the idea of freedom. For in this idea, which plays a great role in Marxist thought, Kelsen sees an anarchist tendency – as Kelsen understands it, a coercion-less organisation of society – that is especially marked. Socialism for Marx and Engels is, on the one hand, an economic development of a system that leads to a highly rational economy, but on the other hand, in the minds of Marx and Engels, it always stresses in its foreground the liberation of the individual. The ‘anarchistic’ strand of Marx’s thinking is located by Kelsen even in the early writings, a conclusion he seems to have derived from my essay ‘The Socialist Idea of Liberation in Karl Marx’ [Die sozialistische Idee der Befreiung bei Karl Marx].1 Kelsen lifts citations out of their context so that the social idea of emancipation in Marx is transformed into ‘a principle of dissolution’, ‘the individualistic idea of freedom’.2 It is characteristic here that in the sentences of Marx that Kelsen quotes, the meaning of social development is the emancipation of society, which is to say a state of freedom in contradistinction to earlier political and economic bondage.3 For Kelsen the Marxist condition of freedom is the same as anarchy, for the simple reason that it ‘plainly’ signifies the elimination of bondage, both political and economical. Yet, Kelsen mentions in citing Marx’s words that for the young Marx this was already a historical movement, although he, Kelsen, cannot apply this Marxist insight further in his own argument. Thus, Kelsen does not see that with Marx there is not a development out of a ‘general bondage’ to a state of no bondage whatsoever (which would amount to a condition in which society ceases to exist entirely); rather there is an overcoming of a distinct historical bondage by means of a new social order for which the economic basis has already been laid, and about which, crucially, we can only say that it will appear as ‘freer’ in relation to what it supersedes, because class power [Klassengewalt] no longer has a place in it.

1 Adler 1918. 2 Adler 1918, p. 20. 3 Adler 1918, p. 21.

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It is also noteworthy and instructive for the psychology of the inquirer to see here how even the most acute and critical mind can be so enclosed within a certain schema of thought that he simply cannot properly evaluate the most explicit words that do not fit into his schema. Thus Kelsen takes up the meaningful concept of emancipation – which plays a large role in the youthful writings of Marx, and in which the social perspective of Marx found its first ideological expression – and views this concept of emancipation mistakenly as a slogan for individual liberation. And this misunderstanding is even more incomprehensible to me as Kelsen had addressed my 1918 essay [‘Die sozialistische Idee der Befreiung bei Karl Marx’], which had been devoted in its entirety to explicating the important distinction Marx makes between political and human emancipation. On this exposition Kelsen doesn’t expend a single word, and we will see how this explains the failure of his polemic against the Marxist concept of the ‘political state’. I cannot recreate here the entire argument, but only its theme. The concept of emancipation in Marx is, even in his youthful writings, not a concept of individual liberation, but rather in its entirety a historicalsocietal category. This understanding is articulated from the premise strongly asserted by him that emancipation is not possible as an individual act of liberation, but rather only upon a societal foundation, always only ‘because a distinct class takes up the universal emancipation of society from its particular situation’. Because of this, emancipation was hitherto an idea laden with contradictions. In cases where the class seeking emancipation itself harbours elements of social authority and coercion towards other classes, for example in the emancipatory efforts of the bourgeois, societal emancipation is only partial. Thus, Marx differentiates this emancipation as political, distinguishing it from the more universal human emancipation, the latter freeing all of humanity, not merely the bourgeoisie. Human emancipation in its universal sense can only occur through a class whose own conditions of freedom are universal, ‘from a sphere of society which cannot emancipate itself without freeing itself from all other spheres of society, and thereby emancipating all other spheres’ – in short, from the standpoint of the proletariat. One sees that human emancipation with the young Marx is not an individual longing for liberation, but rather nothing other than the social revolution associated with the mature Marx. And the designation of emancipation as human should be understood – certainly under the influence of Feuerbach, who at that time exercised his inspirational effects upon Marx – as a species-concept, that is, as a social idea of freedom, struggle and revolution, in which sense Marx already announced his progress beyond Feuerbach. For in Marx’s idea of social action, the species-orientation of Feuerbach, where the human is a philosophical abstraction, becomes a historical, class-oriented context understood in its concrete actuality.

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The ‘idea of liberation’ is consequently in Marx not an individualistic thought, but rather a social-historical process, which develops from a ‘political’ ideology, in which it is still a struggle for a mere change in the laws (‘struggle for human and citizens’ rights’), to a ‘human’ ideology in which the change in the forms of social life are then the objects of struggle. Thus, for Marx the political revolution is only a partial emancipation; human emancipation is the completed form. In both cases however what we see are social processes, the nature of which entail that in the first instance the individual will find himself atomised as a free citizen, while in the second he can hope to be free only as a member of a fundamentally solidaristic human community. This strange misrecognition of the entirely social concept of human emancipation, in which the individual is perceived only within the species, and its perversion into an individual principle of salvation – this leads Kelsen to a conclusion that for any Marxist will seem almost grotesque. In Marx’s proposition ‘the human essence is the true community of humanity’ (‘Das menschliche Wesen ist das wahre Gemeinwesen des Menschen’) Kelsen finds the ‘testimony of an extreme individualism, which when applied to the problems of society does not shy away from drawing the audacious consequences of anarchism’.4 One really does not know what can be said in response to this! It is not difficult to see how the above is completely removed from the Marxist context of thought, so distanced is it from Marx’s inner meaning. Evidently, Kelsen identifies the above remark with the renowned statement of Protagoras that the human is the measure of all things. But, he has overlooked the fact that Marx’s quite similar thought has been translated out of the individualism of the great Sophist and into the universalism of Feuerbach. Marx’s proposition, which is branded by Kelsen as anarchistic, is genuine Feuerbach, which enthusiastic (schwärmerischen) philosopher no one would today think to denounce as an individualist, and still less as an anarchist! When however one recognises in Marx’s proposition Feuerbach’s conception, then one sees immediately that the human essence of which Marx speaks is not that of the sovereign ego of the individualist, but rather the species-essence of humankind, that is to say what Marx later calls his sociated (vergesellschaftetes) essence: namely, the sociologically fundamental fact that the individual in all his ‘individual’ processes of thought, feeling, and willing is from the outset related to the same type of processes in his fellows, and can only make his historical appearance within social relationships. Understood in this vein, it is clear why the human essence of humankind is ‘the true community of humanity’. In every state, in

4 1920a.

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every form of community, all social relations are conditioned for the single individual through sociation – determining the bases of one’s thought and the foundations of one’s actual praxis.

2

Political and Social Forces. The ‘Political State’

In truth, Kelsen, who is trapped by his own individualist prejudices about Marx as surely as if he were in a magic circle, hasn’t the slightest idea what to do with Marx’s concept of species-being. It is a dilemma for him, and he is not able to offer insight into Marx’s well-known proposition that human emancipation is first fully realised ‘when the real individual human … in his individual work, in his individual conditions, has become a species-being, only when he has recognised and organised his “forces propres” as a societal power, so that the societal power can no longer to be separated from political power’. Kelsen’s understanding is that since the state is nothing other than an organisation of societal powers, the difference between the societal power and the political is only that the latter is an organised part of the societal; thus, the separation of the societal from the political power can either be removed, politically organising all societal powers, or every political organisation of societal power disappears. In the first case, everything societal becomes completely that of a state, in the latter case, the state ends, which is to say every coercive organisation of it. The latter is, indeed, what Marx meant, yet his stress upon species-being and simultaneous rejection of the state is explicable only in that ‘the free association of individuals was foremost in his mind’.5 One can see the formalism of Kelsen’s concepts at work as in each instance they compel him to pass by the actual meaning of what is addressed. Kelsen sees political functions, and therefore, in this case at least, political power, as a function of the state as an organisation of compulsion in general. Therefore the political and state functions are the same for him, and the expression ‘political state’, which one finds now and then in Marx and Engels, he sees as nonsense.6 But it is precisely this expression in Marx and Engels that he ought to have attended to. What he sees as nonsense really exists only in his own thought, but for the Marxist the usage has a definite meaning, to do with a certain conflictuality in the concept of the social. For Marx understands under the state even in his youthful writings not a coercive organisation as such, but rather

5 Kelsen 1920a, pp. 25–6. 6 Kelsen 1920a, p. 44.

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the bourgeois state, that is a historical class dominance. In consequence of this political acts and political powers are historical manifestations in which their societal nature as such is veiled behind their form, where they appear as actions of the state. In the bourgeois state these functions do not appear as societal, indeed cannot, because they do not represent the standpoint of society, but rather only that of a part of it – that of the socially dominant class. To be sure, the state, as Kelsen says, is nothing other than a quite distinct organisation of societal powers of individuals, but it is still not a social organisation of those powers; rather it is an entity where these powers are organised solely upon a class basis. In this case societal powers cannot be understood by the individual as representing his human functions, but are rather ranged against him as a foreign [ fremde], objective power. The concept of the ‘political state’ can be seen in Marx in the DeutschFranzösischen Jahrbüchern, and represents a first, but well-wrought, expression for the foundational sociological recognition that the form of a state is only an historical life-form of society, and one in which its inner economic contradictions are masked behind its external form of solidity, which assert an apparent universal public interest. In reference to this, Marx says in a well-known exchange of letters, presented for programmatic purposes in the Deutsch-Französischen Jahrbüchern, that the political state as a form of the general interest does indeed suppose that ‘reason is everywhere realised’; but that in reality it is caught ‘everywhere in the contradiction of its ideal determination with its real presuppositions’. And here he continues: ‘From these conflicts of the political state with itself the social truth is developed’.7 We see here as well that foundational, sociological critique and understanding which will develop as his materialistic historical theory. We already encounter here that basic conception of social insight and critique that ought later to develop into the materialist conception of history. This is that the political forms of appearance of social life stand opposed to the social structure that lies at their basis and which they conceal – a relation from which their ‘inner conflict’ is created: the opposedness (Gegensätzlichkeit) of their ideal form of universality with their particular social content. And this contradiction is not accidental, but rather must arise as a social form of life. For, as Marx has shown, in an analysis that despite its purely ideological form nevertheless penetrates deep into the essence of bourgeois society, ‘the completed political state in its essential expression of human species-life is in contradiction with its material life’,8 which is to say separated

7 Mehring (ed.) 1902, vol. I, p. 281. 8 Mehring (ed.) 1902, vol. I, p. 407.

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from the actual material conditions of existence of the people who live under this state. ‘All presumptions of the ego-centred life remain beyond the sphere of the state in the bourgeois society, but are nonetheless characteristics of the bourgeois society’. Whether the citizen is an employer or a worker, an owner or one without possessions, satiated or hungry, taken care of in old age or helpless – these are all private matters, the political state does not concern itself with them, but only with ‘public interests’, not with the ‘ego-centred’ affairs of the individual citizens of the state. This noteworthy aspect of social life Marx indicates with the appellation ‘political state’, which thus is not a pleonasm, as Kelsen claims, but rather points to a deep contradiction in the very concept of the state which must be recognised; it is a contradiction that is not juristic, but rather sociological. And yet for Kelsen the expression ‘political state’ is a pleonasm because for Marxism this word opens the great historical perspective of politics in the sense of a battle over the political state, that is to say, over the nature of the administrative solidarity of society. This issue demonstrates anew that in Marxism the same words mean something else than Kelsen asserts, and that every critique which does not recognise this is a lost effort. In the ‘political’, the political powers must appear as separated from the societal powers, firstly because the political form encompasses only a part of social relations, plainly those which serve the ruling interests, and, secondly, because the societal interests excluded from the political state, mainly those which relate to one’s everyday living conditions, are in consequence not grasped in their social nature, but appear solely as a matter of private interests. The profound, critical argument of Marx concerning the double life lived by every citizen within the bourgeois state – as public citizen and private person – leads to the necessary study of societal relations; a matter that Kelsen has left untouched, as I have argued in my lengthy exploration of Kelsen’s interpretations of Marx.9 Kelsen completely loses the context in which the distinction between the political power on the one side and private interest on the other are brought to bear in Marx’s argument. The political power as well as the private interest are mystifying forms of consciousness that in reality are only to be understood as societal content. This false form of consciousness can only begin to disappear, indeed must then disappear, when the individual person, as Marx says, is actualised as a species-being. This can occur only when there is a conscious societal organisation of production and distribution that even a child can understand, so that contemporary ‘individual’ welfare provision and satisfaction of needs are acts that are tied to the existence and the labour of

9 Adler 1918, pp. xvi ff.

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the species – a proof which, famously, the economic analysis of Capital has provided for the contemporary capitalist period with its appearance of isolated agents of production and purely private distribution. It is nevertheless the dispute between apparently self-reliant employers and free workers, and the competition between apparently completely autonomous commodity owners on the market – in short, the whole ‘subjectification of the material bases of production’ – which ‘characterises the whole capitalist mode of production’, so that in relation to these apparently wholly subjective matters the social relation itself can ‘only make itself felt as an apparently overpowering natural law’. Certainly, the political state, especially in its completed form of democracy, is a form of liberation from the older organisations of the un-political state in which absolutism, feudalism, or indeed, theocracy were the societal bonds of its citizens, determining their personal relationships to the whole, achieving what Marx called the advances of human emancipation. Yet, human emancipation itself disappears within the subjective character of power in a state based upon individual interests. In such a political state the characteristic contradiction of its official relations to the whole (public interests) with its factual lack of solidarity in its economic structure, has not yet been articulated, because the state in all its aspects is the property of the dominant class, and therefore has a completely unpolitical character. Thus, Marx states: ‘The political emancipation is certainly a great advance, but it is not the last form of human emancipation, even as it is the last form of human emancipation within the existing understanding of the world’.10 Beyond it is the step of complete human emancipation by the transcendence of the political state, that is to say, the reunification [zusammenfallen] of political and social powers in a classless society based on relations of solidarity. The same misunderstanding of the concept of the political, according to which the elimination of the political form suggests anarchy to Kelsen, and the sublation of the still-illusive forms of the social relation to Marx, later repeats itself in a yet more aggravated form in Kelsen’s critique of the Communist Manifesto. Kelsen sees in this latter writing a proclamation of anarchy. For the conquest of political power by the proletariat – which creates by this means a proletarian state, and thus a proletarian order of compulsion – is introduced, according to Kelsen, only as a transition towards the classless society. Once this is realised, then ‘the Communist Manifesto believes that any compulsive organisation of the state can be rejected’. One reads in the Manifesto that ‘In the course of development, class differences disappear and all production

10

Mehring (ed.) 1902, vol. I, p. 409.

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is concentrated in the hands of associated individuals; thus public power loses its political character’.11 The expression ‘political character of the public power’ is, however, a pleonasm. For ‘political is the public power because, and insofar, as it is a public power, that is a compulsive organisation’. Therefore, the assertion that the public power loses its political power can only mean that it ceases to exist as such. To be sure, it appears that the Communist Manifesto understands under political power only class dominance. But, in actuality, it means the cessation of any public power. For the final words of the decisive section state: ‘In place of the old bourgeois society with its classes and class contradictions there arises an association within which the free development of each person is the condition for the free development of all’. Though the precise outlines of this society are not clearly articulated in this statement, nonetheless the double stress upon freedom speaks for the interpretation that the goal of socialism means ‘a free association in contrast to a coercive organization, that is, in contrast to an organization of authority, an organization of public power, in short, to a state’.12 Thus Kelsen finds in the mature Marx of The Communist Manifesto the same dilemma as earlier, that the separation of political power from social power eventually proves – since the absorption of all social power into the state is thus fundamentally negated – to be tenable only when all political power dissolves itself into freedom, which is to say, a condition defined by lack of compulsion. But we know already how the conceptual confusion occurs in Kelsen’s critique. It follows from the many equivocations of his conceptual formalism, whereby the word ‘political’ is always the same in meaning as ‘of the state’ and where this phrase is also identical with ‘general interest’ or ‘public interest’. With Marx, on the other hand, the expression ‘political’ means exactly the opposite: that the mechanisms of the class state necessarily entail that in the political form only a part of the social relationship will appear, even as they represent themselves as general interests, whether this is because they are ruling interests that enforce themselves through the universal laws of the judiciary, or revolution11 12

Kelsen 1920a, p. 13. Kelsen 1920a, pp. 16–18. We need proceed no further with this mistaken interpretation of free association in Kelsen. Its entire sociological worthlessness is seen in how Kelsen in the above sentences simply uses the concepts compulsive-organisation and dominanceorganisation as having the same meaning, indeed as being interchangeable. He thus demonstrates in a drastic way that he simply does not see the entire theoretical problem of Marxist sociology, namely the change in the character of the coercive organisation of society from that of a dominance-form to that of a solidarity-form. Marxism must seem to him full of contradictions; for instead of a Marxist character, it takes on a Kelsenist character.

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ary interests that represent themselves as universal in the ideology of the rising class. For Marx political interests, political powers, and political might never simply coincide in and for themselves with general interests and forces or with public power. Therefore it is wrong to suggest, as Kelsen does, that the political character of the public power is a pleonasm. For his formal standpoint – that political character, public power, and the state are identical concepts and only different expressions for the same empty phrase ‘coercive organisation’ – is simply incorrect. For the sociological standpoint of Marx there arises for the first time a complete, indeed magnificent theory of social development, which shows that through the economic transformation of the foundations of society public power loses its political character, that is, its character as class contradiction, along with its necessary accompaniment, which is that in the state the public power, that is the political might, was in reality only a partial power and against the public interest. Quite correctly, Kelsen had for a moment a deeper insight when he said that it appeared as if the Communist Manifesto understood political power to mean class dominance. But he immediately lets go of this point of possible understanding. It is not simply ‘apparent’; it is in fact the case. If Kelsen did not allow himself to be caught up by single expressions, and instead sought to comprehend Marxism as an entire body of thought, he would have known that Marx even before the Communist Manifesto had already explained the concepts of free association and the transformation of political power as I have argued above. Marx said: ‘the working class will in the course of its development put in place of the old bourgeois society an association in which the classes and their contradictions are excluded, and there will be no more actual political power, because the political power is the official expression of the class contradictions within the bourgeois society’.13 Here Marx elucidates the antithesis of political and social powers about which we have spoken, so that the Marxist use of the word ‘political’ is once again clarified when we read: ‘there is no political movement which is not at the same time a societal one. Only in an order of things where there are no classes and no class contradictions will societal revolutions cease to be a political revolution’.14 The elimination of the division between societal powers and that of political power is not comprehended in Kelsen’s dilemma (in which either society becomes the state or anarchy reigns); rather, for Marx, it means the transition from a condition where there is no societal self-consciousness and therefore no rules for that of a conscious, regulated societal life. And therefore, for Marx, and

13 14

Marx 1892, p. 167. Marx 1892, p. 164.

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also for Engels, this new condition would be that condition of freedom which Engels characterised in his famous expression that it would be the leap from the realm of necessity into that of freedom; but not because in this situation there would be no longer a coercive organisation of society, but rather because now all societal connections among individuals would no longer be controlled by an external power that one has not adequately conceptualised [unbegriffene], but rather through one’s own clear insight into the living conditions one consciously created with one’s societal comrades. How this freedom is to be understood is different to that anarchism Kelsen suspected in the concept of ‘free association’; Marx has explicitly defined it, even for those who needed an additional commentary, in his ‘mature’ period: ‘The realm of freedom begins in actuality first there where work that has been defined by want and external expedience ceases; freedom begins on the other side of material production … the freedom in this area can only exist when the sociated person, the association of producers, regulate the nature of their exchange of materials rationally, bringing it under their community control, instead of allowing their activity to be governed by a blind power; and thus with the minimum of energy and under the worthiest and most adequate conditions of their human nature, complete their work. On the other side of this fulfillment begins the development of human strengths that give one the capabilities of self-direction, the true realm of freedom, which, however, can only blossom upon the realm of necessity, which is its basis’.15 Thus, there exists in the conscious reformation of the human species-being not only no dissolution of a compulsive organisation, but rather an immense change of its sociological character from atomistic (unsolidarischen) to solidaristic – to a form in which coercion ceases to be a domination-function and becomes instead a measure of expedience, and one moreover that is limited to only the minimum that is strictly necessary. And in consequence, albeit only within this context, the wholly non-individualistic, indeed magnificent social meaning of the sentence that the human essence is the true common essence of humanity, becomes even more meaningful. But Kelsen sees in this not only individualism, but also the consequences of anarchism. How on earth does he come to that? He finds this in the following sentences of Marx: ‘The revolution in general – the overthrow of the existing power and the dissolution of the old relationships – is a political act. Without revolution socialism cannot be carried out. It requires this political act in its destruction and dissolution. Where, however, its organising activity begin, where its own purposes, its soul comes

15

Marx 1894, vol. III, p. 355.

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forth, socialism shucks off this political shell’. Here Kelsen remarks that the political revolution in Marx, because it employs force, is merely destruction, and that in opposition to this socialism is a constructive, organising activity, because it proclaims the ideal of a society liberated from political means, which is to say, state compulsion.16 Kelsen should have noted in this instance that the concept of the political in contradistinction to the societal meant something different in Marx to the antithesis between the state in the sense of a compelling organisation in general and a societal life without the state, freed from all compulsion. The antithesis which is formulated by Kelsen above is not the one we find in Marx’s thought, not that that exists between a political and a societal organisation; rather it is the antithesis between revolution and socialism. Of the first, Marx says that it is a political act and destructive, because in every revolution one section of the society is set against the other, with the purpose of bringing the whole society into a form of greater consciousness of its societal essence, into a greater solidarity. The political refers here, as everywhere in Marx, to that historical form of society that because of the contradictions of the class-based state can only appear as a struggle between its different economic interests. And, therefore, socialism can shed its political shell, not because it seeks a nebulous freedom from any form of coercion, but rather because ‘its organising activity’, a form of societal compulsion in itself, is applied towards the conscious and congruent will of all, building a society freed from economic contradictions for all its members. It is because of this that the social character of its ‘compulsion’ – which in a formal sense is still a coercion of those who strive against society – is radically changed.

3

The Destruction of the Machinery of the State

When one appreciates how much damage Kelsen does by his ambiguous use of the concept of the ‘state’, one realises why Marx and Engels did not relish applying it to describe the new social situation that was prepared by economic development and striven towards by socialism. This reservation was not due to the fact that, as Kelsen would have it, they wished to hide the fact that the socialist society cannot emerge without compulsion, and thus was, indeed, a ‘state’, but rather because of their intention to communicate the wholly changed character of this coercive organisation.17 Which would just as much be the case if

16 17

Kelsen 1920a, p. 26. Kelsen 1920a, p. 40.

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one wished, as Kelsen does, to consistently describe the socialist society as a ‘state’, even if it is completely different in kind to the class state of today and indeed the proletarian state of tomorrow. The sociological conception of this ‘complete difference’ in its economic, psychological, moral and finally also its organisational aspects has nothing to do with the circumstance that in this social condition there may continue to exist super- and subordination as well as organs, powers and relations on which the concept of right, constitution and law can be formally applied. Marx gave expression to the total sociological change of organisation in the societal order when he wrote to Kugelmann that ‘no longer will the bureaucratic-military machinery be transferred from one hand to that of the other, rather it will be shattered’.18 Kelsen naturally sees in this ‘shattering’ either a wholly unclear conception or anarchism. He says: ‘If one asks what is meant by the image of the shattering of the state machinery, then, in the absence of any comparison, it can mean the following: either that in place of the old state order an entirely new, but equally statist order emerges; or else absolutely no order, and thus the condition of anarchy; or merely that new people are put in place as agents of the organs involved in the maintenance of the old order; or that along with the new state order, which is to say along with with the principled transformation of state norms, there occurs a complete change in the organs of the state’.19 Kelsen differentiates four cases which we can order thusly: 1. Anarchy, 2. The content, but not the principles of the differing forms of state that have existed, 3. A principled change of the existing state forms with a complete change in the organs of state, 4. Mere rearrangement of the existing organs of state. It is clear that with regards to Marx’s meaning, only case three would be apt. When the class-based state is ended by a revolutionary class through its application of force, neither the existing organisational forms, that is the state functions that created the class relations, nor its organs which exercised class power, will remain. This Marx terms the shattering of the machinery of the state, even when the new order is not an anarchy, but rather its own compulsive order needed to realise its own tasks and interests. What is shattered is the machinery of repression and exploitation of one class by another, and thus all this must be understood in a sociological sense. This work of shattering is conducted by the proletarian state, yes, still a ‘state’ as Marx understood it, a class-based state. It is indicative of Kelsen’s absolutely unfruitful misunderstanding of Marx, and indicative also of his own formal-

18 19

Neue Zeit, XX, 1, p. 707. Kelsen 1920a, pp. 32–3.

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conceptual definition of the state, that he proclaims it to be a contradiction in Marxism that it speaks in one breath of the smashing of the state and of the proletariat’s institution of a proletarian state; or that Marx and Engels say of the Paris Commune that it is not really a state even while they depict it as the dictatorship of the proletariat, and therefore as the state under proletarian control. The great difference between the proletarian state and the capitalist state, which can never be grasped in a formal, juridical conception, but only when both are seen in their sociological functions, fully escapes Kelsen: that the capitalist state is a permanent form of societal organisation, while the proletarian state from its beginning is consciously a transitional form, and finds in this the organisational principle of its existence and its effects. And therefore Marx and Engels say of the Paris Commune that it was not a genuine state, which does not mean that it did not have a coercive organisation, and thus was a form of anarchism, but rather that it had as its goal that the state-form, i.e., the domination of one class over others, would by eliminating class relations also eliminate itself. The political and social opponents of the Commune have also known quite well that it was no longer ‘a genuine state’. Thus it was branded as the destruction of bourgeois culture by all of that culture’s adherents. The opponents of the Commune, wrote Marx, ‘proclaimed that the Commune will abolish all private property, the foundation of all civilization! Yes, gentlemen, the Commune would abolish class-based property, the work of the many that is transformed into the riches of the few. It would make individual property into a truth in which the means of production, the very ground and capital, which are above all the means for the enslaving and exploitation of work, are transformed into the mere tools of free and associated work’.20 The jurist, however, sees nothing in all of these aims of the Commune, and is also not interested in them. He reflects merely on the change of form of his beloved coercive organisation, wondering whether it is there or not, and asks triumphantly: ‘What happens now in the Paris Commune, that is, what in Marx’s portrayal are the essential events? They are totally comprehended by him in the replacement of the monarchical form of state with certain immediate elements of a democratic-republican constitution and a change in the state organization … carried through by the people’.21 Is that a fact? Completely and utterly? Was it really the crux of Marx’s presentation? This is like someone being told about a speaker bursting with spirit and life who was suddenly struck by a blow and fell to the ground, who says, ‘well, there has been in the order

20 21

Marx 1891a, pp. 49–50. Kelsen 1920a, p. 33.

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of the composition of the molecules in the speaker’s body nothing wholly changed, even as in place of a living form there have entered certain elements of rigidity consonant with a dead body, which nonetheless maintain the form of bodily order, only with the change that earlier the order aimed at cohesion and now the goal is decomposition’. In discussing the ‘totality’ of the connections in Marx’s presentation, Kelsen leaves out of consideration what he himself quoted, for he is only concerned with continuing his own formal equivocations. Marx, who himself knew that the Paris Commune still was a state in the political sense of the word, called it ‘an extendable political form through and through, while all earlier governmental forms had been essentially suppressive’. This capability of extension lay in the overcoming of the earlier form of suppression [Unterdrückungsform]. For ‘its true secret was this: it was essentially a government of the working class, the result of a battle of the emergent class against the appropriating class, the finally discovered political form under which the economic liberation of work could be completed’.22 Thus, the essential for Marx is not, as Kelsen imagines, that the Commune is also a political form, or, as Kelsen then adds triumphantly, ‘a government, a Republic, thus a state’;23 rather the essential is that such a political form can facilitate the economic liberation of work, and thereby the dissolution of the political form of the state. This ‘remnant’ (Rest) of the Marxist portrayal of the commune certainly remains deep beneath the ‘comprehensive’ (Restlos) treatment to which Kelsen subjects it, but only in the sense in which the real world remains deep beneath a castle in the sky. One can be spared any further detail concerning Kelsen’s argument about the Commune, which serves only to reiterate that the Commune was not ‘an anarchy’ in the sense of having no form of coercive organisation. The vexing confusion of concepts, which, in the case of such expressions as ‘people’s representation’, ‘parliamentarianism’, ‘bureaucracy’, ‘police’, ‘government’, etc., are applied by Kelsen in their purely formal juridical meaning, quite regardless of their totally different social contents, makes his lectures as annoying to read as they are unfruitful. Contradicting them here in detail would not bring us to any new ground, and therefore we can go on in our discussion, leaving this topic behind us.

22 23

Marx 1891a, pp. 49–50. Kelsen 1920a, p. 33.

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The Withering Away of the State

As we have seen, Marx’s phrase about the ‘destruction of the state machinery’ in no way suggests anarchism in the sense of the elimination of all coercion in the organisation of social life in general, and really only refers to the elimination of organised domination. Exactly the same can be said about the image that Engels makes use of, to do with the ‘withering away of the state’. The image of ‘the withering away of the state’ does not relate to the form of society itself, but rather only to the tempo of change within the society, and is polemically intended against anarchists who wish to cast off the state ‘with one blow’. Engels’s words suggest only the transformation of the compelling order of society from a form of domination to one of an administrative solidarity, which implies a long historical process in which the old institutions as well as the older persons of the class-based society die out, before the new societal form can actually develop its genuine essence. Polemically directed against the anarchists of his time, as well as against the syndicalists and Bolsheviks of today, it is not quite apt to use Engels’s expression ‘the withering away of the state’, and the Marxist phrase about the shattering of the state machinery is widely preferred to it. The former choice of terms is not wrong, however, for the reasons that Kelsen would suppose – because the state cannot die – but rather because these words seem to imply that the groundbreaking transformation of the class-based state into a classless society can occur in a gradual manner, without any powerful [gewaltsame] interruption whatsoever to its older context, institutions, or forms of consciousness. The idea of the ‘withering away’ of the state forces socialism into a too close proximity with the seductive notion that there can be simply a quiet growing into the socialist society out of its preceding capitalist form. Only the actions of humans that actualise the economic developments required can counter this false belief. Socialism can only grow within the capitalist order in the sense in which the child does in the mother’s womb: the umbilical cord must always be cut, and then the state dies just as does the placenta, since the new organism has been torn loose from it. The withering away of one and the growing onwards of the other are both imperfect analogues of these social processes which in actuality are not organic, but rather social life-processes, and which in every one of their forms must proceed in the manner that they acquired in the earlier, non-solidaristic stage – in the form of a struggle.

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The ‘Marvel’ of the Stateless Organisation Kelsen finds the Marxist assertion of the necessary dissolution of the state following the ending of class contradictions not only contradictory, but also an arbitrary and unverifiable assumption within the terms of Marxism itself. He declares untenable the Marxist belief that a condition of no class contradictions can exist only where there is no longer a state – and we know already, for Kelsen that means no organised compulsion. Kelsen states: ‘there is no trace of evidence sought which can demonstrate that in the absence of economic exploitation and class contradictions, all those social manifestations will disappear that – quite independently of the maintenance or cessation of class opposition and exploitation – make a compulsive order, a public force or political domination necessary’.1 Kelsen asks, will there be nothing even in a communist economic order that stirs people to protest, fomenting rebellion? Is there really no other form of protest against the societal order than one based upon class?2 But even that aside – will the ending of the exploitation of human nature change so fundamentally that everyone will freely perform the work given to him, even when this will require a centralised work plan that does not always conform with his individual needs or attends to them? Mustn’t a societal order that is not a mere economic order protect itself against such potential disturbances with coercive threats? And just so, mustn’t this new classless society protect itself against class contradictions? And isn’t an assumption that these dangers would not exist in a communist order not in itself a classic example of unscientific utopianism?3 And finally: is it possible that a planned economic order can arise without coercion? ‘Isn’t it a paradox that the state, which with its transformation from a bourgeois into a proletarian form of coercive machinery acquires unprecedented power and responsibility, should disappear at just that moment when it arrives at this point, thus completely dissolving itself? No, this is a marvel that can only be believed in’.4 Yes, here is a marvel, believe me, but not the one that Kelsen asserts, and that he sees as an indulgent fantasy, one that seems to exclude all scientific thought; rather it is, conversely, the too little appreciated marvel of how even the most 1 2 3 4

Kelsen 1920a, p. 18. Kelsen 1920a, p. 80. Kelsen 1920a, p. 18. Kelsen 1920a, p. 19.

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stringent scientific thought is at times incapable of shaking off the bonds of accustomed concepts and points of view, that is the bonds of a bourgeois class ideology. When one cannot imagine the state and its citizens in a mutual set of functional relationships other than in the merely changing juristic forms of today’s class-based society, then one will not only see the Marxist conception as full of contradictions, but also any other or new form of their social conditions as mere utopias and fairy-tales for children to ponder. Our previous discussion has already dealt adequately with what Kelsen here discusses as the ‘paradox’ of Marxism, indeed as its mortal contradiction – i.e., that it speaks on the one hand of the incessant extension of compulsive organisation in the communist organisation of society when compared to what exists in the contemporary state, and on the other of the state’s disappearance. In our discussion of anarchism we have already sufficiently seen how mistaken it is to conflate the dissolution of the dominating character [Herrschaftscharakter] of the state with that of any compulsive order whatsoever. When now, however, this compulsion is depicted as an inner contradiction to freedom itself, then it is again necessary to point out the typical misrepresentation by bourgeois ideology of the actual nature of this ‘compulsion’, and to look into it more deeply. Already in the Communist Manifesto the following desideratum was established in relation to the discipline that the communists would have to enforce in order to transform the existing into the new social order: ‘The same compulsion to work applies to all, as well as the constitution of industrial armies’.5 Admittedly this signifies only a transitional rule, both in itself and in relation to all other measures discussed concerning the centralisation of the economy; but its purpose is not to lead to a coercion-free, unorganised economy, but rather to develop out of the necessarily insufficient hybrid form of a society, still imprisoned in the ruins of bourgeois economy, toward a mode of production in which both people and institutions are fully transformed. In Capital Marx describes the transparency of economic conditions in communist society as regards human relationships, in words that recall Max Stirner: ‘Let us imagine, as a change, a union of free human beings who work with an in-common means of production and are conscious of their individual skills as force of social labour’.6 He sees it as unnecessary to add that this society, although it is not a state, but rather a union of free persons, can only work as a society in that the nature of community production is organised by the natural compul-

5 Marx 1922, p. 24. 6 Marx 1922, p. 45.

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sion of the tasks themselves, and assuredly all who would disturb this work will correspondingly be made harmless by dint of this natural compulsion. Engels reiterated this thought in his attack on the Bakuninists who desired the removal of all authority. In the above-mentioned article in the Plebe he wrote: ‘Independent action of single individuals will be constrained, making them dependent upon others, through the interactions and combined actions of one another. Whoever says “combined actions” also says “organization”. Is it possible then to have an organization without having authority’.7 Engels then illustrates the impossibility with the example of a weaver and the operation of a railroad where the compulsive moment of authority always stems from the activity-based necessity of cooperative work. In this sense, he says ‘The automatic mechanisms of the large factory are to a great degree tyrannical, just as are the small capitalists who exploit the workers. Insofar as the working hours are concerned, one can write over the portal of the factories: Lasciate ogni autonomia, voi ch’ entrate (Leave your self-determination behind, all ye who enter). When people, with the help of science and invention, put the powers of nature under them, these very powers revenge themselves upon those who exploit them by placing them under a despotism that is independent from social conditions. Authority in the great industries is annulled in that the industry annuls itself, the steam-driven mill destroys in order to return to the distaff’.8 Authority and subordination are no longer that of the state, but are rather wielded by purely technical concepts, that is the things ‘which impose themselves independently of social organization as well as creating the material conditions under which we must produce and disseminate their products’.9 Therefore, one can hardly expect that the socialist societal order would conceal or even misrecognise the compulsion that arises out of the conditions of societal work itself. This is stressed in Kautsky’s explanation of the Erfurter Programme, namely, that socialist production is not reconcilable ‘with the complete freedom of work, that is the freedom of the worker to work when, where, and how he wishes’. For Social Democracy ‘cannot eliminate the dependence of the workers on the economic enterprise in which they constitute the wheels; but they can replace the dependence of the workers upon capitalists whose interests stand inimically opposed to them, with a dependency upon society, which they as members themselves constitute, a society of citizens who share equal rights, who have the same interests’.10 7 8 9 10

Neue Zeit, XXXII, 1, p. 37. Neue Zeit, XXXII, 1, p. 39. Neue Zeit, XXXII, 1, p. 39. Kautsky 1920, pp. 161, 163.

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One can hardly see in this manner of compulsive order a contradiction of the goals of freedom within socialism, though those who speak from the point of view of the penitentiary or other institutions of compulsive work have no trouble in doing so. When such arguments are used in political debates, the point appertains not to a search for truth, but only to the discrediting of one’s opponent. But what one must wonder at is how often such arguments arise in the scientific critiques of Marxism – and how seriously they are formulated. One can see such a train of thought in the otherwise stimulating work on the economic motives of Marx by Degenfeld-Schonburg, who states that all Marxist thinkers have in relation to the future society ‘an inner conflict’ regarding the issue of freedom or authority – one which he finds all too predictable. For, in his eyes, one cannot deny the compulsive nature of work; something that embarrasses the presumption of freedom. And so this otherwise prudent author finds it necessary to state that every compulsive order of work is the grave for productive activity, and that ‘the compulsion that would be necessary for centrally directing our entire economy must suffer from the unforeseen and overwhelming difficulties ahead’.11 Reading this I must now ask, has a railroad or postal worker ever felt repressed by an unbearable coercion? (I naturally do not refer to the excessive work which he must perform nowadays, but rather to the fact that he works in a strictly centralised enterprise.) Does one really believe that the conductor on a railroad that heretofore has been independent, but has now joined with other railroads into a large-scale association, would find himself more oppressed than before? The error in thought expressed here is the same seen in all other critics of a future society. Without modification, they transpose contemporary ideas and categories into a milieu that is economically and psychologically totally different. Because today the milieu for the worker in a factory is one in which the owner and other associated interests are against him, one believes this will be the case in the future as well. No, everything that is comprehended by the socialist societal compulsive order will stem from the community of will of all interested parties themselves. And just as today the advisory councils of large capitalist enterprises are being greatly transformed in their function, and, indeed, in their general tone in relation to the workers, so will the future workers’ contractual rights and responsibilities, in large matters as in small, operate within a system of such economic councils. And the order that proceeds from the necessities of production and distribution – an order established by the very persons who live these necessities – is nonethe-

11

Graf v. Degenfeld-Schonburg 1920, pp. 197–99.

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less a coercive order. But to name this a penitentiary or to speak of it generally as a ‘difficulty’ is like saying that the gravity one feels while walking is a molestation of one’s freedom, since it weighs so heavily on every step that one takes. The question still remains as to what degree this economic order will require the centralisation of all the processes entailed by work, or will only need a centrally located statistical assessment of production and distribution; this is not a matter that can be answered by socialist principles, rather its answer comes from the demands of the necessities and goals of the production process itself. Finally, it must not be forgotten that the ‘compulsion of work’ will be experienced both externally and subjectively in a quite different way than in the compulsory labour institution of today, indeed even than in the contemporary factory. For without losing ourselves in the prophetic, which is unnecessary, it is of the essence of the socialist society, and thus also of its concept, that it should include a shortening of the work day, the improvement of objective and subjective working conditions, and the limiting of workers’ duties to several years. Picture a work contract that limits one to the eight-hour day within the conditions of a socialist society; which makes work possible for each person according to his abilities, at least to prevent him working in positions for which he is not competent or that are repugnant to him; and a work limit that guarantees to every member of society after ten years of service that he or she will be fully free from the responsibility to work after thirty years – who would find such an order ‘an unbearable coercion’, or call it a contradiction of freedom, only on the basis that it requires of the individual that he must comply for a limited period of time with self-willed mutual goals? Anyone who would make this case is merely playing with the words of compulsion and freedom. The great majority of persons who experience the misery of work today thirst after such ‘compulsion’ and positively desire such an ‘assassination of freedom’. A vacillation between compulsion and freedom in socialism, thus, cannot be seen as an issue for Marx and Engels or any Marxist. Recall Marx’s words on the realm of necessity, on the other side of which the realm of personal freedom can first develop. Degenfeld-Schonburg himself points to the words with which Kautsky offered a solution for this ‘problem’: ‘for work, compulsion, outside of work, freedom’.12 But, when Degenfeld-Schonburg adds that ‘that is naturally only a description of the facts of a completely coercive society’,13 he subjects 12

13

Indicated is the sentence in Kautsky’s Ethik und materialistische Geschichtsauffassung: ‘Societal freedom … through the greatest possible shortening of the necessary time of work: that is the freedom which modern socialism intends’ (p. 157). Degenfeld-Schonfeld 1920, p. 198.

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that last term to the most vulgar and uncritical association of ideas, which connects coercion/compulsion [Zwang] with space [Raum]. He thereby prevents one from comprehending the difference that exists in the objective form and subjective experience of compulsive organisation, from the penitentiary at one extreme to the minutest regulation of cooperative work in a cooperative economic organism at the other.14 Thus we can see that it is meaningless to call every binding of the individual will by means of corresponding norms a kind of coercion. And it is clear that this is also a misleading formula, because it leaves entirely out of consideration

14

How impoverished this criticism of Marxism really is, and how inappropriate it is for uncovering its alleged contradictions – indeed, the extent to which it brings the critics themselves into dispute, so that one sees in socialism nothing but anarchy, while the other sees in it nothing but the penitentiary – can be illustrated by one further example. The conclusions of Prof. Ludwig Mises concerning the inner nature of Marxism contrast sharply with those of Prof. Kelsen. While the latter sees Marx as an anarchist, the former sees him as extremely authoritarian, as a Prussian. In the concluding chapter of his book Nation, Staat, und Wirtschaft (von Mises 1919), entitled ‘Socialism and Imperialism’, Mises states that while the casual observer would feel that the authoritarian state and socialism are irreconcilable, ‘the authoritarian-military spirit of the Prussian authoritarian state finds its counterpart and its augmentation (!) in the ideas of German Social Democracy and German socialism in general’ (p. 145). In Mises’ eyes, what has made socialism and Social Democracy so popular are only its democratic-republican propaganda and its opposition. This is what galls the monarchists and Junkers, not the state-economic ideals of socialism. In truth, there exists between socialism and the autocratic-authoritarian state-form a close set of relations essential to both of them. ‘The socialist ideas are not an overcoming of the Prussian authoritarian state, but rather its consequential further development’ (p. 148). – We as Marxists have it really good; we can leave the refutation of our critics to themselves, and see how, insofar as each proves the opposite of the other about what is essential and what is false in Marxism, they proceed ad absurdum. Perhaps this spectacle of Marxist criticism will lead these critics to turn on each other, thus opening up the question of epistemology: ‘How is such a critique possible?’ Then the answer will emerge that it is only possible because they have preconceived opinions of Marx instead of the real Marx as an object of their criticism, and because out of that mindset contradictions within his system follow. As for ideas of authoritarianism, state, and authority brought forward in the cited sentences of Mises, when they are studied as formal concepts we can see their equivocal nature, indeed appreciate this critique as a kind of caper by Mises, as he condenses in one breath the authoritarian nature and yet the fascinating democratic effects of socialism. Finally, these critics seem to find themselves even more scientific by dint of their own contradictions. For their work is more scientific as they find ‘contradictions’ in Marx, and the more contradictions in their own work, the more scientific they feel themselves to be. If one points this out, then the answer is, ‘well, you see, that has to do with what we’re discussing, with Marxism itself, since wherever you try to get to grips with it, it turns out you can just as easily say the one thing about it as the other – that it is anarchistic and carceral; that it is authoritarian and democratic’.

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the sociological and psychological structure of the societal connection. Sociologically, it is decisive to understand whether or not the associated individual sees these connections as of his own will and necessity, indeed as furthering his forms of life and work; and correspondingly, it is vital to establish psychologically whether or not he is open to this connection or resists it. If he does accept it as his own, then the characteristic transformation of ‘coercion’ into a recognised ‘authority’ transpires. One can recall how the theorists of anarchy recognised this kind of authority in the nature of things, never denying it, but rather, on the contrary, recognising it as the only legitimate authority.15 And it is but one of the many thoughtless judgments so widely disseminated that authority that stems from a recognised necessity, indeed, that is even recognised as a path to one’s own mastery, is a contradiction of one’s freedom, a mere coercion. The recognition of the authority of an order that imposes itself as selfevident, on the grounds of its purposiveness, or of a leader, marshal or master – this is itself an act of freedom on the part of the one who recognises. Very much to the point, George Simmel states in his investigations of social hierarchies that in a sociological analysis it is of the greatest importance to find to what extent there exists spontaneity and cooperativeness among the subordinated. One must go deeper than the surface definition of roles, discerning the willingness of those involved. What one considers ‘authority’ presupposes to a greater degree than one cares to recognise the freedom of those who are subject to authority – it cannot be established merely on the basis of the existence of compulsion or a tendency to accommodate oneself. An authority in this instance arises where a personality assumes over and above its subjective meaning an objective, supra-individual character, or conversely, a supra-individual potency of state, church, school or family lends to the single personality its meaning. In these cases the supra-individual meaning is taken on by the single individual; in the first instance, seen from the point of view of the individual’s choice, certain characteristics of the larger group emerge. ‘At the point of the transition where there is a taking upon oneself of this supra-individual characteristic, the individual has evidently, more or less with a freely-willed belief, accepted subjection to authority. The transfer that occurs between the supra-individual and the individual, where the individual personality in some degree adds to its rational self-definition this “plus” of belief in authority, is a sociological event, whereby there is a spontaneous cooperation generated within the subordinated’.16 Max Weber has called this charismatic authority, whose content is more

15 16

See here Chapter 15 in this text. G. Simmel, Soziologie, pp. 136–137.

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that of love and trust than subjugation, even though the compulsion is no less than would be present in the case of mere subjugation. Thus, we see that one says very little sociologically when one merely says that there cannot be subjugation without coercion.17 There is no reason to believe, then, that authoritative and charismatic connections would not combine to form in all areas of social activity in a socialist society a compulsive order that is just as secure, though less oppressive, as that of the contemporary state (in which, admittedly, violence (Gewalt) substitutes for authority on the basis of charisma and seniority). In fact, given the higher average level of education under socialism, one might expect there to be rather more of such connections. Naturally, for those who do not feel the authority or the charisma of the new living and working order, the compulsion that arises from it will seem oppressive, and in the event of their acting contrary to it will appear to them as a form of violence. Yet, even in such instances, they are not compelled by conditions that are outside their own willing, which is always the case in today’s society. They bring this violence upon themselves by means of their own violence against the solidarity of others. But, quite apart from that: for Marxists it is not a paradox, and even less a marvel, that ‘the state’ will dissolve itself into nothing – ‘in a mysterious way’, as Kelsen opines – just at that moment when it attains to the peak of the power that it will and must acquire as an apparatus of compulsion in the socialist society; and this is because this peak is not of the same type as the peak in the contemporary state, which indeed will no longer exist. What it will be is a new level of social organisation – a level from which that of the class state is no longer even visible, for it will have disappeared in the lowlands of history, from which the path to socialist society has led. We can end our unravelling of the critical opposition to Marx here; it has in any case already gone on for quite some time. Yet, this discussion was needed: for quickly finished is only that misunderstanding that thereby wins both for itself and others the psychological impression of truth. Its overcoming requires infinitely more effort and inconvenient preparations – as we have seen. And yet whatever progress we have made, there remains one issue still to deal with – and one that has achieved a particularly strong echo – in Kelsen’s refutation of the Marxist state and societal order. This is the fact that he has tied his individualist-anarchist interpretation of the Marxist image of society to the much-favoured and hoary reproach concerning the utopian character of all

17

Max Weber, Die Wirtschaft und die gesellschaftlichen Ordnungen und Mächte, ein Grundriss der Sozialökonomik, III. Abt., Volume I, pp. 140ff.

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socialism, combining the two into a single and apparently scientific unity. On this topic, we are obliged to add a few additional reflections by way of conclusion.

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Utopianism in Marx and Engels Utopianism! – this last word of the bourgeois critique of the political theory of Marxism must not be neglected here. It is to be seen that this utopian character of socialism for Kelsen arises from his anarchistic interpretation of Marxism. Since the ending of the state in his eyes is the cessation of any compulsive organisation, the new society, as he sees it, will only be possible if humans cease to be passionate, bad, foolish, contrary, or even lazy and neglectful – in short, when all human nature is fundamentally changed. ‘However, when something is utopian, that means a trust in the radical changing of human nature’.1 According to Kelsen, Marx and Engels both based their views of the future society on this kind of latent social optimism. He says that Marx spoke of the historical process ‘through which humans are completely transformed, just as the social conditions themselves’, and that Engels hoped for ‘the development of a new species out of the new, free social conditions’, so that ‘all state plunder’ would be ended by them.2 ‘Understandably, without such a psychological hypothesis the theory of the withering away of the state would disappear into thin air’.3 Certainly, Kelsen continues, this hypothesis is supported by Marx’s lack of concrete description of the future society, and the paucity of justification he gives that there will be no more exploitation or repression. Does he mean to say by this that, if this were so, then in this society people would not be roused to indignation or instigated to mass protests and uprisings? ‘Will these developments lead to higher and better forms of society in general, and will communism be the final form of an economy?’ And, why should these developments be different than what has been – why would they not lead to their own antitheses? ‘Is there really no other opposition within society than one that is classbased …?’4 In these passages of Kelsen we hear the two major arguments against socialism that most often are heard in popular assemblies: 1. For socialism, humans must first be angels; 2. Socialism is a realm of heaven that is exceeded by no other state of bliss. From which it follows that, since humans are not only not depicted as angels, but as devils, and the earth as a vale of tears that for 1 2 3 4

Kelsen 1920a, p. 56. Ibid. Kelsen 1920a, p. 57. Kelsen 1920a, p. 80.

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whatever meta-geological necessities must always remain so, it is clear that socialism is a vision for children both small and large, or scientifically stated, a ‘chiliasm’. And how is it actually with socialism? It is in fact exactly the advance constituted by Marxist thought that helps socialism to see itself as scientifically distinguished from utopian socialism, by virtue of the fact that its goal is nothing other than the product of concrete historical development, which is arrived at and constituted by humans as they now are. That does not mean, however, as many of the Marxist critics assume in their strangely deceptive conclusion, that humanity must remain as they are now. It is interesting: in the same breath (enraged or amused according to one’s temperament) in which one states of Marxism that it has achieved the absurdity of an eternal, unchanging end state of society, one counterposes to it an eternal and unchangeable ‘human nature’, failure to attend to which it is supposed will bring all of Marxism’s hopes for social development to nought. But assuming this notorious un-changeability of human nature, this is, in fact, the starting point of Marxist socialism: to show the possibility of a social order for humanity in all of its sinfulness which, through economic development, will make this ‘sinfulness’ into something innocuous. It will do this by limiting the necessity of its excesses and the possibilities of its activities. One may invoke Kant here, of whose idea of a republican constitution and league of nations ‘many assert that it [republicanism] must be a state populated by angels, because humans with their self-seeking inclinations would not be capable of living within a constitution of such a sublime form’. Kant answers them: ‘The problem of constituting a state is indeed as difficult as it sounds, even for a populace who are devils (if they have understanding), yet it is solvable, and in this way: a group of rational beings that desire a law to uphold their survival, but which each person in private wants to not participate in, must so order their constitution that although in their private understandings they strive against one another, the one-another must be so formulated for their public behaviour that they cannot express this evil private mind’.5 For socialism in the Marxist sense the new societal order is not in its chief tenets a moral problem, just as for Kant his political problem did not connote ‘the moral improvement of humanity’, but rather a social, organisational problem, the question as to how far ‘the mechanisms of nature’ in their human constitution, as they are now, could be used in order to bring about a harmonious society. Of course, the socialistic order of society (and even before this order is in place, socialist propaganda and education) will do all it (and they)

5 Kant 1881, pp. 31–2.

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can to awake the moral powers in people, strengthening them and enabling them to spur their ideation. But it is not on the basis of glorification or moralisation that socialism bases the inner security of the new social order, but rather by diminishing the urges towards immorality and criminal behaviour in relation to it. Contemporary society makes it difficult for the poor – and more then ninety percent of contemporary individuals can be seen in this category – to be virtuous, even in the external sense of the word, in the sense of conforming to the demands of morality or living according to the law. The new society will on the contrary make it an exceptional situation that social need would lead to immoral acts contrary to law. Consider for a moment how great a proportion of the crimes and acts of immortality which today cause ‘human nature’ to appear so ‘devilish’, really can be chalked up to existing social conditions – indeed even to existing laws. Need, degeneracy (Verwahrlosung), lack of education and alcoholism create almost all the crimes and immorality which today’s society suffers, and are what cause the ‘criminals’ to fall foul of the law, for example in matters of abortion, homosexuality, religious derangement, or vagabondage, and so forth [cf. Chapter 15, especially section 2]. How little the Marxist society will depend upon the angelic nature of humans I would like to clarify with an analogy. What does one do in a room in which many people go in and out, and have the charming habit of not closing the door behind them? There are some who will say: ‘One should hold up a slate with the demand “please, close the door”’. OK: but that means desiring to improve people, that is appealing to their kindliness, circumspection, even simply their attention to their surroundings, in short, counting upon the ‘angel’ of their nature. And the success proves that it doesn’t work. No, the only means of getting the door closed is – to position a self-closer by the door, and write on a slate attached to it ‘do not close!’; for then one will be free of the good will of the individual just as much as of his malice and neglect, and lo and behold, the door will always close itself. And this is the sense in which the socialist societal order reflects on the nature of the human: the socialist society strives to create institutions that as much as possible exclude a dependence upon the good or selfless will. Instead of that dependence, it tries not to create the conditions where there is motive to contradict the social order, and in this way establishes the grounds of society on the basis of an, in formal terms, automatically functioning economic mechanism defined in relation to material necessities – though with the proviso that these mechanisms are kept in process by the spirit and will of its members. What’s important here is that the spirit and the will no longer have occasion to disturb the economic mechanism, and are in fact more likely to demand it, since they are no longer its victims but instead its principle beneficiaries.

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Of course, there will be disturbances even in the communist society that are not rooted within the production or distribution processes; disturbances that can stem from the sexual sphere, or the affects of anger, jealousy, hate or from some other pathological ground. But even today, only a minority of criminality in this country stems from such purely personal grounds, the majority of cases being generated by the social conditions in which the perpetrator lives. And it is clear to everyone who is even slightly capable of removing himself from the currently ruling conditions, so as to view things from the perspective of the new social order, that quite aside from the necessary change in spirit and personality that this new order will bring about, such purely personal disturbances as are mentioned above will under socialism be even more the result of social aberrations and exceptions than they are today. This will be facilitated by the educational influence of the new way of life, the rise in the average level of education, the transformation of the relations between the sexes in the sense of an inner, freer, and externally easier course of resolving differences between them, the development of new norms of morality and community feeling, and in general through the dissemination and inculcation of a new social ideology. The supposition that the kinds of criminality experienced heretofore will be diminished and that social pathology will dwindle to an exception in a society that has, above all else, eliminated the causes for criminality rooted in the struggle for existence and in marked differences in social situation – such an assumption is not an unscientific utopianism or naïve chiliasm. On the contrary: this is the tendency to which all serious attempts to combat criminality belong. Ever since Thomas More – who can be considered the first theoretician of communism – the theoreticians of this tendency have proceeded from the assumption that crime really can only be combated by eliminating its cause. ‘One subjects the thief to martyrdom’, writes More in his now over 400-yearold, but still timely, book. ‘Wouldn’t it be better to insure that all segments of society were insured an existence that did not subject anyone to the necessity of stealing, and thus be taken from life into death’.6 This way of thinking that assumes that in a communist society there will be a smaller, indeed a greatly diminished degree of criminality in relation to what is expected in contemporary society, thus results not from an uncritical belief in a fabulous change in human nature, but rather from the very empirical, indeed statistically proven conception that the human individual, as regards criminality, is a product of his conditions. When it has long been known that theft stands in a definite relationship to the level of the price of grain – is it really utopian to believe that

6 More 1896, p. 14.

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this pathological form of theft will disappear as soon as the price of grain disappears? Even when one thinks, as Kelsen does, that it is actually ‘more prudent’ in the area of the empirical social sciences – and particularly when we are dealing with prophecy – to base oneself on sober experience rather than dialectical speculation;7 even then, one is forced to regard the phenomenon of the disappearance of mass criminality, and its transformation into a matter of individual exceptions, as probable and predictable. Social determinism dictates this. The opposite outcome would present sound common sense with a sort of unexplainable enigma. Now we come to a further issue. This whipping boy of Kelsen’s, and of many other social commentators, namely, the so-ironically treated ‘belief in a change of human nature’, in fact possesses a real (indeed an exact!) content that can hardly be ignored, and which our social pedagogical and social political measures already self-evidently presuppose. Aren’t we justified in assuming that with a change in living conditions and changed influences even corrupted natures can be changed, which is the same premise of today’s houses of correction, educational homes and alcohol recovery institutes, as well as all institutions that wish to make possible new paths for those who have left the rails of a moral and legal societal existence? In this ‘belief’ we find that the materialisticnatural scientific conception has been exaggeratedly transformed into a kind of fanaticism, which, in accordance with its disavowal of the mind more generally, denies to human nature any function in the development of human character, and views it instead as a piece of wax – as an object that is capable under the right conditions of taking on any form whatsoever. Particularly characteristic of this view is Robert Owen, when he writes that ‘Contrary to the view that the character of human beings is the product of external conditions, one has put forward the objection that every person has an in-born moral conscience … The truth is: that conscience can be fabricated, just as wool or some other product. We can furnish a Hindu with a Hindu conscience, a cannibal with a cannibal conscience, and so on … If you give me a child and allow me to bring it up in an environ of my choice, I can fabricate of him what I choose, either a Jewish conscience, a Christian conscience, a Hindu conscience, a Mohammedan conscience, whatever’.8 It is just this train of thought that Marxism distances itself from, this naïve belief in the passive plasticity of human nature, which arises from its denial of materialism, and its assertion of a seemingly self-evident reliance on solely psychic laws of individuality. And it is with Owen in mind that in his Theses 7 Kelsen 1920a, p. 19. 8 Liebknecht 1892, pp. 59–61.

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on Feuerbach Marx writes his foundational thought of the materialistic historical understanding: ‘The materialistic principle that humans are the products of their conditions and education, and that changed humans are products of changed conditions and education, forgets that the conditions are changed by human beings, and the educator himself must be educated. From that comes the necessity that society be divided into two parts, one of which is elevated over the whole society (as, for example, with Robert Owen). The coincidence of the change in circumstances and of human activity can only be grasped and rationally understood as a transformational practice’.9 For Marx, the change in human nature is not an incomprehensible wonder, but rather the necessary element of a societal process in which this change emerges from the activity of humans – the activity with which they, largely unconsciously, recreate their social milieu and bring about the social situation that limits them. Quite in accord with this, Marx asks as early as The Poverty of Philosophy, in relation to the idea that ideas and principles make history, and that to every principle there corresponds a century in which it discloses itself, why it is exactly that an idea disclosed itself in the eleventh or the eighteenth century rather than in some other period; and he answers that in order to understand this, one is required ‘to investigate how people in the eleventh or eighteenth centuries lived, what were the productive strengths, their means of production, the raw materials of their production, which in the final analysis determined the relationships between persons of this time, out of which all their existential conditions emerged. To explore all these questions … isn’t that to represent these people as would an author or dramatist in their own drama?’ And Kelsen cites in this regard a similar sentence by Marx from the mature period of his theory, in which Marx says that ‘the working class’s long struggle to surmount a series of historical processes has wholly changed them as individuals as well as their conditions’.10 But then it must appear as an all-the-more incomprehensible misunderstanding of Marxist societal theory that Kelsen sees a ‘marvel’ in the fact that Marx’s sentence underlines ‘wholly changed’, but fails to notice that Marx also underlined the word ‘conditions’. If there is a mystery here, Marx has solved it in his profound Theses on Feuerbach when he says: ‘Societal life is essentially practical. All mysteries which could lead this theory into mysticism find their rational solution in human praxis and in comprehending this praxis’.11 One fails to comprehend this when one thinks that in wholly changed social conditions, institutions

9 10 11

Marx, Theses on Feuerbach, in Engels 1895, p. 60. Marx 1891a, p. 50. Marx, Theses on Feuerbach, 8th Thesis, in Engels 1895, p. 61.

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and functions, the psychic habitus of those who live them, indeed who have emerged from them, would not themselves change. Moreover, Kelsen’s entire critique on this issue becomes even more incomprehensible – and in truth can only be explained as the result of the kind of dazzling, seductive argumentation that characterises the alleged proof of utopianism and uncritical superstition – when we finally read his admission that ‘Certainly, the compulsive order guaranteed by communist production will, after a time, generate similarly communist customs and habits of thought, which the capitalist state has ignored in favour of respect of private property in its flesh and blood’.12 If one adds to this that we are not speaking simply of ‘customary ways’ here, but of an entire ideological system that the new lifesituation will inevitably re-work and re-present in its various rational, moral, legal, artistic and religious forms – if we assume this, then the human being with which one has to deal will most certainly be that transformed human of the twenty-first or twenty-second century. He will be, in other words, a person as different to us as we ourselves are to the humans of the eleventh century, and he will be all the more transformed, the more the fundamental conditions of his life – now without class struggle or individual need – represent a transformation of a kind that we have not seen in millennia past.13

12 13

Kelsen 1920a, p. 79. In the recent past, because of the actuality of the problem of socialisation, the seeming problem of the irreconcilability of socialism and human nature has become a pet discourse for critics of Marxism, who point to ‘how we are and always will be’. This is especially a pet theme in the discussions of Professor Mises, and the book by DegenfeldSchonburg sails in the direction of the same ‘problems’, i.e., tries to show that nothing good can be expected from the socialist mode of production, in which either every impulse of personal interests falls away or will be considerably diminished. What makes these discussions so unfruitful for an individual or social psychology – especially the theme taken up by Degenfeld-Schonburg – is the methodological error at its foundation, namely the assumption that one can make statements about the potentials of a social order of which one recognises the transformed form of its materials aspects – the mode of production and distribution – but does not recognise that one cannot merely project into it the old concept of the person, or even worse, the person in his degenerate contemporary form as it is caused by today’s conditions. One complains of the optimistic ‘prophets’ of Marxism, but one pushes only ideas derived from the old soothsayers of the most primitive kind of lazy thinking: ‘it has always been so, and so it will always be’. Interpreting the psychic habitus of a period of time according to one’s own habitus is a source of error similar to the ‘personal differences’ of the astronomers. Social sciences have begun to pay attention to this error, although its anthropomorphic biases have been rejected in the sciences, in general, for quite a while. In this vein, it has long been believed that the psychic character of the primitive was not essentially different than our own, but rather only a kind of childishness, an undeveloped stage prior to the more mature level of today. On the contrary, it

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Kelsen would be less astonished concerning the ‘wonder’ of the changed person of the future if he did not interpret so ‘materialistically’ the materialist historical conception which is fundamental to every aspect of Marxist thought, as he most often does. For then he would have had no occasion to see a contradiction in Marxism when it speaks ‘materialistically’ about the withering away of the state and justifies it by means of a ‘psychological hypothesis’,14 or in the fact that it is required, so as to realise its conception of a ‘stateless’ society, to introduce a ‘psychological factor’, namely that of a ‘new species’, with ‘the habits’ of a new set of living conditions.15 The passages of Marx which Kelsen quotes

14 15

now is being appreciated that the primitive within himself was completely mature, and was only of a different character than the contemporary man of culture, so that almost no experiential bridge can be built between the two. One can read of this understanding in the informative expositions of Levy-Brühl, Das Denken der Naturvölker, translated by Wilhelm Jerusalem (1921), and try to enter the psychic condition of one who sees no difference between living and inanimate things – a difference that we take for granted and use to define ourselves as distinct from nature (ibid., p. 25). See also, from an epistemological viewpoint, Dr. Wilhelm Haas, The Psychic World of Things, Bonn, 1921, pp. 8 ff. – I do not want to be misunderstood here, as if I were diminishing the significance of the subjective conditions of production levels and the quality of production in a socialist societal order. I am only addressing the issue of how human nature is comprehended and its effect for understanding socialism, where it is asserted that the productivity of society must diminish because of a view of human nature that reflects this methodological and epistemological error. Even if these critics were right about human nature, this is not an effective criticism of socialism. Socialism is not the most rational form of production; rather it is the form with the least contradictions inherent to it. It does not promise the greatest productivity possible; rather it offers the greatest degree of support for existence and the development of the person, thus it is an advance in relation to the capitalist form of life. The ability to care for all in equal measure, insuring everyone, improving these conditions beyond what is possible today, may be disputed; but this carping reflects an overestimation of one’s present understanding, and an underestimation of a future intelligence. What I mean by this, is that the people of the future will not be incapable of reflecting upon the weaknesses and errors of their future organisation, and will be able to find ways to solve these problems, so that the boundaries of our contemporary understanding would inevitably act as constraints on social development. Leave the future to its own tasks! Don’t trouble yourself as to how it will be in future centuries! To so trouble oneself is not a way to avoid the current dilemmas of Marxism; on the contrary, such an evasion only calls us more pointedly to return to more exact thought regarding our present. Just at that point where Kelsen reminds us that we must not count upon people who are different than they are today, as our historical and social experience shows them to be (Kelsen 1920a, p. 56), we must remember that we must avoid suppositions concerning those who are born and raised in a communist community of the future, of whom we have no historical or sociological experience. Instead we must merely look to today’s society, and realise they will be other than we are. Kelsen 1920a, p. 59. Kelsen 1920a, p. 70.

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prove how integral this ‘psychological factor’ is as an element of his materialistic historical conception. (I have already discussed this exhaustively in this book, and will be satisfied in merely touching upon this here.)16 It appears that in Marxism the so-called psychological factor does not only emerge in the future, as Kelsen manifestly thinks: nothing could be more mistaken than to invent such a deus ex machina so as to get the ‘state of the future’ out of trouble; and yet for anyone who interprets Marx’s sentences in their fuller context, and conceives them in the living spirit of their total conception, not a word of his economic criticism of the past can be understood, and not a single aspect of his approach to history is conceivable, unless it is conceived in a human connection, in relation to the active nature in whose human head the material process must first be transformed, if it is to become an economic and historical process. The ‘belief’ in the ‘psychological factor of the future’ is nothing other than an admission of this necessary element in social laws in general, whose presence is supposedly overlooked in the materialist historical conceptions of the past and the present – at least, this is what is chalked up as the chief sin and most appalling ignorance of the Marxist position by these critics. But surely what is a virtue of and a condition for science in relation to the past and the present, can hardly be a vice and a source of superstition in relation to the future? Our critics should not so badly damage their own case with self-contradiction. The unscientific and uncritical objection that Marxism can only assert the plausibility of its new social order on the basis of a naïve and experientially unwarranted vision of a new, noble humanity – this, objection, I believe, has now been dealt with. We need not occupy ourselves with it further. There is another objection raised, however: that in the new society of socialism all that is imperfect will have disappeared, that is, all development will cease. It is interesting here to consider more closely the anti-Marxist, mechanistic outlook of these educated critics, and to establish just how contradictory it is. In one breath, it asserts that we do not respect the un-changeability of human nature, and that we declare the un-changeability of a new societal order. If we say the new conditions will create new persons, then we are incurable adher16

When Kelsen occasionally speaks of this ‘psychological factor’, he means that the most important pre-requisite for the development of the new human is according to Marx and Engels that human’s growth in the ‘new, free societal conditions’; and he shows with self-satisfaction in Bolshevism the caricature of this free societal set of conditions which communism and the dictatorship of the proletariat has established, thus arguing both justifiably and unjustifiably his case. It must be stressed once more that the Russian conditions are neither a dictatorship of the proletariat nor a communist society in the sense asserted by Marxist theory, which even the leaders of Bolshevism, Lenin and Zinoviev, themselves explain.

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ents of ‘development’; but, if we say that the new conditions will be free of class warfare, and that changes will occur through self-conscious societal activity, thereby reaching a high degree of solidified stability, then we are denying development. In reality, Marxists have never asserted that with the dissolution of the classbased state development ceases, and that a condition of absolute harmony and a static equilibrium is achieved. Only the form of social development is changed. Heretofore, it has been only a struggle between classes, which is to say that it proceeded from a conflict between circles of existence in which each not only struggled with, but in their claim to domination fundamentally sought to exclude, the other. Human society exists, but its existence until now has not exhibited the reality of solidarity; rather its historical form has always been fundamentally a strife-filled picture of contradictory life-interests, in which the interest of one part attempts to satisfy itself with a societal advantage through combat and power over those interests that oppose it. All advances in the sense of a greater societal feeling, a more comprehensive solidarity, a more complete realisation of the ideal concept of society, in short, all social development, has been until now only the unintended result of class warfare – a warfare in which every subjugated class in its victories removed from the social life it experienced some element of its subjugation, the injustice that was part of the fabric of the irrationality of its conditions. Since the way of life heretofore in society was not that of solidarity, but rather of the struggle of classes with each other, and since this is still the case, the form of societal development until now was and is the class war.17

17

See here Adler 1908, chapter VII, and the essay ‘Der soziale Sinn der Lehre von Karl Marx’ in Grünberg’s Archiv für die Geschichte des Sozialismus, vol. IV, pp. 1 ff. – In relation to the principle that the class war is the existential condition of society, H. Cunow has written, with a polemical misunderstanding, as if Marx’s idea of a human society had no other form of existence besides that of the interests of class. This in Cunow 1920–1, vol. II, pp. 80–1. One can see in my entire argument in the essay published in the Grünberg Archiv that what is meant by Marx is that in all previous forms of existence in society, ever since the more or less mythic origins where primitive communism was said to exist, there has been class warfare. That this will not be the form of thought of a future society is discussed by me in the fifth chapter of this essay, which elucidates how a solidarity of society emerges from class warfare. ‘The older, eternal appearance of the law of class warfare’, I say on p. 26, ‘impels through its own consequences, through the self-interests of the last and most numerous class of the proletariat the dissolution of all class contradictions, and realises the final constitution of a unity of interests, that of a human society of solidarity’. Naturally – in order not to again split hairs – I mean by a unity of interests that of a unity of economic interests. The author cannot monitor each of his sentences to avoid what may be seen as an unjust assertion. He must really depend upon the theoretical goodwill of

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It does not follow that with the dissolution of the classes development will cease; only that class struggle will cease. One need not, as Kelsen does, ask whether with this cessation there is also an end to human agitation and rebellion. On the contrary, there will be plenty of that. For when all the in-common problems of human existence disappear, when there is no longer the animal interest in nourishment, clothing and habitation, or the concern for the rearing of and foraging for one’s children, which today preoccupy the main part of all of the interest, thought, feeling and work of human beings, then for the first time the deeper human sensitivities will mature, and then so much of what has been unbearable, for example the lack of attention to issues that concern one’s ‘questions about the world’, will be addressed. One realises that then there will develop contradictory positions in the questions that concern metaphysics, religion, and art, with an intensity that cannot be found in our contemporary existence. Thus it isn’t in the slightest bit true that development will have to cease to take place through antitheses; only class antitheses will no longer be necessary. There will be a diversity of understandings which run the entire scale from mere factionalising within administrative organisations to great partisanship on major cultural issues, without, however, these contradictory views jeopardising or impairing one’s personal existence, which will be insured by the economic order. There will be a social Adiaphoron in place of the mad war between classes, so that the community can breathe freely in the open air (and not just in one’s apartment). Yes, it is conceivable that these differences in worldview could lead to fire and sword; religious wars are proof of this. But, one must first consider that there has never been conflicts of worldview that were purely that; for example, religious wars were an ideological form that encompassed economic and political contradictions. The depth and force of these wars were in the final analysis a cover in their religious differences for other contradictions as well, lending the wars their frenzy and cruelty. Secondly, we must look to the telling circumstance that, however much fanaticism may still exist among the masses, it contradicts our contemporary legal and social consciousness to attempt to deal with differences of knowledge, belief and outlook

the reader in order to reach the correct understanding, and see a justified critique. Cunow reacts against my use of Kant’s view of historical antagonism as a justification of Marx’s social dialectic, asserting that I revert from the necessity of economic processes to the natural human drives. But this is a total misunderstanding both of Kant’s position and my own. Cunow fully overlooks that it is just this Kantian antagonism that leads beyond the principles of an invariant nature, in that it sets up in place of this nature the form of their modes of functioning. More is to be said about this in other contexts. I might refer at this point to my often quoted first chapter in Marxistische Probleme.

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by means of violence, and in this way determine the direction of spiritual development. One can then imagine what success this consciousness will have once it is no longer merely the official lie, but is instead a pure cultural disposition developed through education, character development, and opportunities for the public exercise of one’s views, and above all, through the extinguishing of the economic and political striving for power to express these views. Such a change in human spirit is not only possible, but can be seen as realised to a certain degree even in today’s capitalist world, and is indeed capable of being realised still further. But, only in a socialist order will it be fully realisable. And a prognosis that then turns to the old catchphrases ‘optimism’ and ‘utopianism’, is doing nothing more than giving its traditionalism a nicer name. More than this, it closes its eyes to that which is already taking place around us and for which the best of our age are working: the slow but in no way vain raising of the cultural level of the broad masses. The reproach of utopianism directed at Marxism clothes itself in modern garb in that it uses a religious-psychological lens to reveal Marxism as a form of ‘chiliasm.’ In this vein Dr. Fritz Gerlich has written an entire book with the title Der Kommunismus als Lehre der tausendjährigen Reich,18 which is a collection of sycophantic misconceptions about Marxism and the materialist historical conception. The lack of theoretical substance in Gerlich’s critique can be summarised in one example: he sees the main tenet of Marxism as being the ‘work of salvation and the salvational capability of the proletariat’ – referring to the communist Weitling, who proclaimed the new Messiah in the year 1842.19 To counter Gerlach’s critique here is not necessary, nor is there space. It must only be mentioned because this esteemed scholar’s designation of Marxism as a kind of ‘chiliasm’ has become quite popular. When one calls socialism, and Marxism in particular, chiliasm, two things are not properly separated that must be at all costs: socialism and Marxism, as theory and as movement. If one holds that the followers of Marxist socialism express this adherence with a kind of religious enthusiasm, and that they see the goal of socialism, the class solidarity of human society, with the same fervour as the first Christians who sought the thousand-year realm, and as all those who were in need of salvation in the messianic period, then one only speaks the truth, which belongs to the psychological character of all great revolutions. However, this critically clothed social psychology ceases in its analysis of Marxism just where that which is distinctive about it – and which distinguishes it from earlier Chiliastic

18 19

Gerlich 1920. Gerlich 1920, p. 18.

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movements – begins: Marxism is not based upon the hopes of an enthusiast’s yearnings, but rather upon rational sociological and national-economic investigations. Marxism is ‘chiliastic’ only with respect to its coincidence of cold, theoretical analyses with the developmental interests of the proletariat, which Marx did not create, but which he merely investigated. Marxism is not in itself chiliastic, but its teachings are coupled with primitive Chiliasm in the minds of the proletariat who have understood it, just as they have been coupled in Dr. Fritz Gerlich’s mind with his primitive conservatism, which fears every chiliasm as ‘the source of overthrow’.20 Socialism as a movement is an active current of praxis, of taking positions and valuing. Idealism must be a leading factor in this conduct. Enthusiastic belief, as well as the dedicated conviction of the greatest hopefulness, are necessary forms in which the movement must psychologically travel; but this does not indicate that it is objectively chiliastic, that is, having a goal that is merely a dream. It is one of the most shallow, false conclusions to hold that because Marxist socialism is a mass movement, showing many of the same psychological characteristics as the Chiliasm of the past, it is therefore wholly a Chiliasm in itself. Indeed, it is the materialistic historical understanding that enables us to understand the Chiliasm of past times in their social reality, and so move past the wholly unfruitful conception that these movements were mere enthusiastic expressions of unsupported prophesy, a view of which the self-satisfaction of the bourgeois cannot get enough. Only in this way can Marxism be designated Chiliastic. And if Chiliasm is a dream of a thousand-year realm, Marxism fulfils with its theory the task of dream interpretation, where the real core of this dream is made evident, and consciousness raises itself to the means and the aims through which the dream of millennia can be transformed into the economically ripened reality of the near future. – Along with the baroque idea that the Marxist doctrine concerning the elimination of class antagonisms and the cessation of class struggle is identical to the cessation of development and of social progress in general, we can identify another idea as strange as it is remarkable. Kelsen does not state this idea directly, but it is perhaps implied in his critique. The view is also held by many who are sympathetic to Kelsen, and I will thus take it up for a moment. One hears sometimes that the materialist historical conception is contradictory to the extent that it makes historical development dependent on economic relations, and particularly those of class warfare. If a societal condition was reached without class warfare, then the value of the materialist historical theory itself

20

Gerlich 1920, p. 20.

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would cease. This view identifies the class conflict with the economic conditions of social life exclusively, that is, it identifies the historical structure of the economic foundation of society with the foundation itself. But, it is clear that even in a socialist society the economic relations will remain the bases for and the final determining element of their ways of life and cultural forms. Only this much is correct, that the economic relationships in the socialist society will no longer have the same fateful meaning, for they will be consciously regulated. But, precisely because of that, a quite different cultural character can be given to the societal order, one of a quite different intellectual and moral structure, in short a changed ideological superstructure. When we realise today how the fabled industrialisation of our production, the fairy-tale quality of our command of time and space has changed the tempo of life for the contemporary person in culture, then it is clear that the powerful changes socialised persons will generate in a rational societal order of the future will not stem like manna from heaven, but rather from the changed economic relationships in which people live with each other. The materialistic historical conception persists within the socialistic societal order because it is a sociological theory, not a national-economic theory. The principles of the national economy, which relate to the manifestations of a private economy, lose their validity as soon as there is no longer a private economy. National economic concepts, as Marx always stressed, are historical categories, and national economic thought, despite its abstract methods, is merely a historically-generated science and a passing historical phenomenon. Sociology, on the other hand, is the science of the life of society in general, and as such, it did have a beginning, and will have an end, but in such a way that its end will not betoken one particular object of science, but of all science in general. In this sense sociological concepts are not historical categories, and its knowledge is not that of historically bounded truths; rather that knowledge enables the pre-requisites for all historical forms of social life whatsoever. And, the materialist historical conception as we understand it, and as this book has constantly demonstrated, is a sociological theory, which comprehends the nature of social life before and after class war, indeed explaining why class war must occur, and how and when it can be overcome. And, therefore, even in the classless society it will remain the theory of societal development. The fact that happier people who live in the times to come will pay less attention to their economic relations than we do, and that Th. Vischer’s nice remark, ‘that moral affairs takes care of themselves’, will also be true of economic ones – this fact no more changes the sociological law of the materialist conception of history, than does the fact that we do not usually notice air pressure eliminate the laws that regulate it.

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Why We Are Not Understood! If we review the preceding investigations of Kelsen’s attempted immanent critique of Marxism’s conception of state and society, then we can see clearly why he failed to achieve his goal: he has criticised individual principles of Marx and Engels, but has not grasped immanently the principles; he remains literally locked outside the meaning of the words, and in truth he remains at home with himself. He experiences only, what to him and many other scholars amounts to a mere boring catchphrase of social democracy, that there really is a difference between bourgeois and proletarian science – and he is himself a shining example of it. This distinction, which Marx and Engels always stressed with the greatest energy, has nothing to do with the diminishment of science to the level of party strife, despite what a non-immanent criticism likes to declaim to the contrary. When one is able to distance himself from the historical limits of a bourgeois world-view, one is able to make a significant differentiation, namely, a diagnosis of the borders that exist within a supposedly unbiased and un-political science in the consciousness of a thinker. One who thinks in the categories of the bourgeois world and treats them as if they were the elements of being of social life in general – such a person must possess a quite different ‘science’ of the appearances of social life than the person for whom the conception of all present social life-forms as mere historical appearances constitutes the lifeblood of his thought, and indeed of his life. That is what many Marxists mean when they speak of Marxism as a worldview. In the most rigorous sense of the word, it is not a worldview, not a philosophy, but rather theory, a sociology. And it is not what Kelsen intimates, merely one doctrine among others in the thinking of its adherents – something which through the singling out of one or another of its concepts or sentences has already been adequately understood. Just as the knowledge of the modern sciences in the spirit of enlightened individuals has been unified into a coherent understanding of the world, creating for us our understanding of nature, so the thought generated by Marxism in Marxists enables a coherent vision of the social world, allowing the Marxist to live within the framework of this general conception of history and society. Just as it is impossible for a person in the ancient world, with a wholly different cosmological picture of the world than the conception of nature generated by the modern natural sciences, to engage in an immanent critique of it – he would have to leave his classical, spiritual frame of mind and become a modern person – so too is it impossible for an essentially bourgeois framework of

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knowing to embark upon an immanent critique of Marxism. And one cannot say – foreseeing Kelsen’s objection – that a theory must be capable of being understood by everyone, and that with the propositions of logic which are true for everyone, equally valid criticism can be brought to bear upon all. Yes, the logic of thought is the same for everyone, but not the psychology of thought. If logic were the creator of truth, then Kelsen is correct; but, it is only a means of producing the truth, as the use of this means is determined by the psychology of the investigation. It is this psychology that determines that a single investigator will often imposes limits upon the use of his logic that are absolutely not the limits of logic in itself. And it is this psychology that in the last instance not only establishes the limits of the personal logic of the researcher, but which is also previously active in his very choice of problems. To give an example: the fact that a researcher like Kelsen sees the problem of law and state completely decided within the ambit of formal-juristic investigation, and that he satisfies himself with a juristic ontology that finally boils down to legal positivism (a positivism, moreover, that makes it into a veritable command that all questions concerning the reshaping of the concrete legal order should be designated as meta-juristic questions) – this fact is but one, particularly impressive confirmation of the characteristic orientation of thought prior to the initiation of research. The orientation may be unconscious; but it only stems from bourgeois modes of thought. Marxism does not refer to this form of research as ‘bourgeois’, and to the other as ‘proletarian’, because bourgeois or proletarians conduct the science. For the proletarian at least, this cannot be the case, because this population has had so little opportunity to study; and the bourgeois scientists are themselves not totally bourgeois. Even less does it mean that the research is conducted either in the interests of the bourgeois or the proletarian populace. Rather, these appellations refer to the mental constructs of the inquirer in general. That is to say, they indicate whether they have developed as constructs that are in line with the existing society in a formal manner, so that one cannot think beyond the categories and boundaries inherent in conceiving this society, and soon abandons quiet logical thinking in favour of displays of feeling whenever any line of thought promises to transcend them; or, alternatively, whether such lines of thought, concerning the historical biases of the present and the past, form an essential part of their scientific consciousness. And it is only because the proletariat appears to be the social bearer of one of the states of social life that is challenged by this thinking-beyond (Hinausdenken), and only because the proletariat for its part is equally determined by its social situation to the same thinking-beyond – it is only because of this sociologically established coincidence of thinking-beyond and acting beyond (Hinausschreiten), that Marx and Engels call the one manner of thought prolet-

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arian, and the science that emerges, a proletarian science. It would be perhaps better to call the one science a static science, and the other an evolutionary science. The advantage of the other name, however, is that it enables one to see immediately the social determination of the differing forms of science, that is, to become aware that one is not dealing with a logical division of the sciences, but rather a historical, a social-psychological difference.1 Thus were the controversies in this book fundamentally and in every case those of the great antitheses of the bourgeois and the proletarian conception of society, and it is these antitheses that prepare for us in advance our theoretical interests and delimit their scope. Just this fact has led our disputes with the critical views of our clear-sighted author to a result that goes well beyond anything that he himself will have intended. For, insofar as they have inevitably led us back from the fragmentary particulars of this or that problem in his thinking, and have returned us to the total conception of Marxism, they have secured to us not only the conviction of the inner coherence of Marxist doctrine, but they have provided us with an outstanding confirmation of the fact that one can be of a different opinion to a Marxist, but that this on its own does not suffice to refute him. 1 Compare here the essays by Marx concerning the limits of bourgeois national economic thought, which prevent this science from accomplishing a genuine critique of political economy, in Marx 1894, vol. I, pp. x–xiii.

Afterword In the previous investigations, unfortunately I left out two comprehensive works which take up the same issues I have, which I could not address, that of Heinrich Cunow, Die Marxsche Geschichts-, Gesellschafts- und Staatslehre, 2 Volumes (Berlin: Dietz Nachfolger, 1921), as well as Karl Kautsky, Die proletarische Revolution und ihr Programm (Stuttgart: J.H.W. Dietz, 1922). The latter was first published while the corrections for this book were being made, the former was first made available to me after I finished my manuscript, so that my taking up these works, besides the insertion of a note, was not possible without delaying the publication of the present volume. I must for the time being satisfy the reader by pointing out the significance of these works for further Marxist thought, and I leave it to them to ascertain how far their results impact my investigations either through confirmation or emendation. Perhaps it was fortunate that my unwished for neglect of these eminent Marxist works occurred; for, despite the fact that our books deal with same problem, my own text now sets out its own, independent methodological route to the sociological meaning of Marxism. Hopefully, a new edition of this work will appear soon, giving me the possibility to engage these other works in an appropriate way.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2019 | doi:10.1163/9789004409972_023

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Index Adler, Max 3, 4 his view of the ‘solidarity community’ as social democracy 85–86 his concept of ‘sociation’ (Vergesellschaftung) 4, 22–23 his theory of the law of the state in Marxist sense introduced as challenge to Kelsen 4–12 Marxism as sociology, not a ‘world view’ 210–211 Anarchism its conceptual range in the 19th century 154–180 apparent anarchism in Marxism 180– 191 Aschaffenberg, Gustav need for criminal judge to have social knowledge as context for criminality 165n Avenarius, Richard 178 Bakunin, Mikhail on his anarchism 157–158, 170 Bernstein, Eduard on class contradiction 77n his revisionist error 131–132 Bismarck, Otto von on dictatorship as necessary in bourgeois political democracy 138 Bolshevism Max Adler’s view of Bolshevism as antithesis of the path to socialism 175n2 Bottomore, Tom 3 Cole, G.D.H. on democracy, the state, and capitalism 131–133 Delbrück, Hans 62 Degenfeld-Schonburg, Ferdinand Graf von 203n1 on ‘inner conflict’ in Marxist between freedom and authority 194–196 democracy bourgeois democracy 75–76 as a disputed concept 52n1–53n

and its differing forms of historical organization 119–135 and freedom 92–102 political democracy vs. social democracy 80–92 dictatorship of the proletariat 102–118, 135– 145 Eltzbacher, Paul on anarchism 161, 162n3 Engels, Friedrich 21n1, 22n2 on class contradiction 76n1 view of ‘democracy’ 75 view of the modern state 127–128 view of English ‘social politics’ and class alignments 55n1 Fichte, Gottlob his anarchism 176 on freedom as individual and collective 97, 99 on ‘social pedagogy’ 134 Fourier, Joseph his anarchism 170–172 freedom as individualism 97–98 as generated by the social whole 97– 98 Gerlich, Fritz Marxism as chiliasm 207–208 Godwin, William on anarchism 162n3 Goode, Patrick 3 Hasbach, Wilhelm his liberalism opposes social democracy 98 on modern democracy 120n1 Hegel, Friedrich his ‘bourgeois’ conception of society 26–30 Herder, Johann Gottfried on ‘social pedagogy’ 134 Hilferding, Rudolph on class war 133

index Hölderlin, Friedrich on law as despotism in contradistinction to anarchism 162 Jellinek, Georg on freedom as individual and collective 98 Kant, Immanuel 13n–14n on freedom as individual and collective 97, 99 law as a necessity in the creation of a state 199 his distinction between morality and law (seen by Max Adler as basis for Marxist ‘anarchy’) 168 on ‘social pedagogy’ 134 Kautsky, Karl 36, 70n1 on class contradiction 77n on ‘the dictatorship of the proletariat’ 144–145 Erfurter Program 18, 193–194 Kelsen, Hans 3 on the anarchical organization of communism 147, 166–167, 169–170, 180–191, 192–197, 198–206 authority in constitutional law 3 his understanding of ‘class’ in its relation to the ‘state’ in history 58–74 co-author of 1919 Austrian Constitution 3–4 constitutional ideas challenged from Bolshevism on left, and constitutional monarchy on right 4–5 view of ‘democracy’ 74–75 view of democracy in relation to freedom 92–102 formalist logic unable to discern the psychological and sociological causes of social organization 210–211 his formal juristic concept of the state 41–47, 145–154 his misconception of ‘the dictatorship of the proletariat’ 137–144 his misconception of Marx’s materialist conception of history 15, 19–21 his ‘juristic’ thought as handicap in comprehending Marx 6–12, 210– 211

241 his juristic epistemology handicap in understanding ‘sociation’ (Vergesellschaftung) 23–24 his citation of Nietzsche on the ‘state’ (as example of his limited, juristic conception) 90n1 his understanding of political democracy does not comprehend social democracy 80–92 view of political party and ‘class’ in relation to the ‘state’ 74–80 his understanding of societal evolution 102–118 Klein, Franz on the modern state organization 135 Koigen, David social psychological study of the reactionary character of liberal individualism 99n1 Kropotkin, Peter on his anarchism 159, 170, 172–173 Lassalle, Ferdinand 62 on ‘class’ 91–92 on political revolution 110, 110n1 Lederer, Emil on the concept of revolution 110n1–111n Lenin 6–7, 125–126 his understanding of ‘the dictatorship of the proletariat’ 136–137 Lessing, Gotthold Ephraim on ‘social pedagogy’ 134 Levy-Brühl, Lucien 204n Mach, Ernst 178 Marx, Karl 14n1 his understanding of ‘class’ in its relation to the ‘state’ in history 58–74 view of democracy in relation to freedom 92–102 his view of scientific socialism in contradistinction to utopian socialism 198–206 his epistemological approach to societal life 21–22 social democracy succeeds the phase of political democracy 80–92 view of political party and ‘class’ in relation to the ‘state’ 74–80

242 his understanding of ‘sociation’ (Vergesellchaftung) 22–23 his understanding of the development of society 33–41 his understanding of societal evolution 102–118 his understanding of the state 48–58, 127–128, 135–145 the state as a ‘compulsive’ organization – bourgeois or proletarian 148–149 Marx, Karl and Engels, Friedrich understanding of anarchism and social organization 173–175, 180–191 understanding of ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ 102–118, 135–145 view of scientific socialism in contradistinction to utopian socialism 198–206 historical materialist theory of societal development 16–17 on ‘social revolution’ as change in social function of existing legal order 112 understanding of the ‘stateless organization’ of society 191–198 Max Adler’s introduction to their theory of the state 5–12 on the Paris Commune 83, 128 Metternich, Klemens von 54n Michels, Robert on the defects of liberalism in relation to democracy 52n1–53n, 119–120, 123– 124 on ‘social pedagogy’ 133–134 Mises, Ludwig von 203n1 his neo-liberal view of the state 53n1– 54n Marxism as adherence to authoritarian state (not anarchism) 194n2–195n More, Thomas on the social causation of criminality 201 his Utopia as a sociological vision of society 36 Müntzer, Thomas 36 Nietzsche, Friedrich his view of the ‘state’ in Thus Spake Zarathustra 89

index Owen, Robert 54n his anarchism 170 on the social causation of conscience 201–202 Pestalozzi, Johann Heinrich on ‘social pedagogy’ 134 Pfabigan, Alfred 4 Plato his Euthydemus as dialogical example of Kelsen’s interpretative problem in comprehending Marxism 12 Přibrm, Karl 95n1–96n Proudon, Pierre Joseph on his anarchism 156 Radbruch, Gustav 96n Renner, Karl 3, 4 on ‘social revolution’ as change in social function of existing legal order 112n1 Rousseau, Jean-Jacques on democracy and the general will (social democracy) 85 on freedom as individual and collective 97–98 on ‘social pedagogy’ 134 Schiller, Friedrich on ‘social pedagogy’ 134 Seitz, Karl 4 Schmitt-Dorotič, Karl on changing forms of dictatorship in the modern era 139–140 Simmel, Georg coercion in societal laws or otherwise 163n1–164n society its development from sociological perspective 25–33 sociological method of state analysis in contradistinction to juristic method 5–8 Sombart, Werner 154n1 Spann, Othmar 95n1 St. Simon 149, 152 state, the as a legal concept 35 as a sociological concept 35 Kelsen’s understanding of 41–47 Marx’s understanding of 45–58

index Stammler, Rudolf 62, 68–69 on anarchism 155, 165–166 his epistemological approach to societal life 21–22 his view of the state 44n1 Stein, Lorenz von his mid-19th century class-based vision of society 30–33 Stirner, Max his individualism and anarchism 159– 160, 161, 162n3, 178n1, 179, 193 Tolstoy, Lev N. his anarchism 162n3–163n Tönnies, Ferdinand his conceptual division of ‘community’ from ‘society’ 26n1

243 Treaty of St. Germain 3 Trotsky, Leon 125–126 his understanding of ‘the dictatorship of the proletariat’ 136–137 Tucker, Benjamin on anarchism 160–161 Weber, Max on modern democracy 120, 120n2, 123– 124, 124n2 Weitling, Wilhelm his anarchism 164n1 Wiese, Leopold von his liberalism opposes social democracy 98