The German Ideology, Volume 2

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Chapter 4: True Socialism[edit source]

The relation between German socialism and the proletarian movement in France and England is the same as that which we found in the first volume (cf. “Saint Max”, “Political Liberalism”) between German liberalism, as it has hitherto existed, and the movement of the French and English bourgeoisie Alongside the German communists, a number of writers have appeared who have absorbed a few French and English communist ideas and amalgamated them with their own German philosophical premises. These “socialists” or “true socialists”, as they call themselves, regard foreign communist literature not as the expression and the product of a real movement but as purely theoretical writings which have been evolvedin the same way as they imagine the German philosophical systems to have been evolvedby a process of “pure thought”. It never occurs to them that, even when these writings do preach a system, they spring from the practical needs, the conditions of life in their entirety of a particular class in a particular country. They innocently take on trust the illusion, cherished by some of these literary party representatives, that it is a question of the “most reasonable” social order and not the needs of a particular class and a particular time. The German ideology, in the grip of which these “true socialists” remain, prevents them from examining the real state of affairs. Their activity in face of the “unscientific” French and English consists primarily in holding up the superficiality and the “crude” empiricism of these foreigners to the scorn of the German public, in eulogising “German science” and declaring that its mission is to reveal for the first time the truth of communism and socialism, the absolute, true socialism. They immediately set to work discharging this mission as representatives of “German science”, although they are in most cases hardly more familiar with “German science” than they are with the original writings of the French and English, which they know only from the compilations of Stein, Oelckers [Lorenz von Stein, Der Socialismus und Communismus des heutigen Franhreichs. Theodor Oelckers, Die Bewegung des Socialismus und Communismus] , etc. And what is the “truth” which they impart to socialism and communism? Since they find the ideas contained in socialist and communist literature quite unintelligible — partly by reason of their ignorance even of the literary background, partly on account of their above-mentioned misunderstanding of this literature — they attempt to clarify them by invoking the German ideology and notably that of Hegel and Feuerbach. They detach the communist systems, critical and polemical writings from the real movement, of which they are but the expression, and force them into an arbitrary connection with German philosophy. They detach the consciousness of certain historically conditioned spheres of life from these spheres and evaluate it in terms of true, absolute, i.e., German philosophical consciousness. With perfect consistency they transform the relations of these particular individuals into relations of “Man”; they interpret the thoughts of these particular individuals concerning their own relations as thoughts about “Man”. In so doing, they have abandoned the real historical basis and returned to that of ideology, and since they are ignorant of the real connection, they can without difficulty construct some fantastic relationship with the help of the “absolute” or some other ideological method. This translation of French ideas into the language of the German ideologists and this arbitrarily constructed relationship between communism and German ideology, then, constitute so-called “true socialism”, which is loudly proclaimed, in the terms used by the Tories for the English constitution, to be “the pride of the nation and the envy of all neighbouring nations”.

Thus “true socialism” is nothing but the transfiguration of proletarian communism, and of the parties and sects that are more or less akin to it, in France and England within the heaven of the German mind and, as we shall also see, of the German sentiment. True socialism, which claims to be based on “science”, is primarily another esoteric science; its theoretical literature is intended only for those who are initiated into the mysteries of the “thinking mind”. But it has an exoteric literature as well; the very fact that it is concerned with social, exoteric relations means that it must carry on some form of propaganda. In this exoteric literature it no longer appeals to the German “thinking mind” but to the German “sentiment”. This is all the easier since true socialism, which is no longer concerned with real human beings but with “Man”, has lost all revolutionary enthusiasm and proclaims instead the universal love of mankind. It turns as a result not to the Proletarians but to the two most numerous classes of men in Germany, to the petty bourgeoisie with its philanthropic illusions and to the ideologists of this very same petty bourgeoisie: the philosophers and their disciples; it turns, in general, to that “common”, or uncommon, consciousness which at present rules in Germany.

The conditions actually existing in Germany were bound to lead to the formation of this hybrid sect and the attempt to reconcile communism with the ideas prevailing at the time. It was just as inevitable that a number of German communists, proceeding from a philosophical standpoint, should have arrived, and still arrive, at communism by way of this transition while others, unable to extricate themselves from this ideology, should go on preaching true socialism to the bitter end. We have, therefore, no means of knowing whether the “true socialists” whose works were written some time ago and are criticised here still maintain their position or whether they have advanced beyond it. We are not at all concerned with the individuals; we are merely considering the printed documents as the expression o a tendency which was bound to occur in a country so stagnant as Germany.

But in addition true socialism has in fact enabled a host of Young-German literary men, [1] quacks and other literati to exploit the social movement. Even the social movement was at first a merely literary one because of the lack of real, passionate, practical party struggles in Germany. True socialism is a perfect example of a social literary movement that has come into being without any real party interests and now, after the formation of the communist party, it intends to persist in spite of it. It is obvious that since the appearance of a real communist party in Germany, the public of the true socialists will be more and more limited to the petty bourgeoisie and the sterile and broken-down literati who represent it.

I. Die Rheinischen Jahrbücher, Or The Philosophy of True Socialism[edit source]

A. “Communismus, Socialismus, Humanismus"[edit source]

Rheinische Jahrbücher, 1. BD., P. 167 et seq.

We begin with this essay [by Hermann Semmig] because it displays quite consciously and with great self-confidence the national German character of true socialism.

Page 168: “It seems that the French do not understand their own men of genius. At this point German science comes to their aid and in the shape of socialism presents the most reasonable social order, if one can speak of a superlative degree of reasonableness.”

“German science” here, therefore, presents a social order, in fact “the most reasonable social order”, “in the shape of socialism”. Socialism is reduced to a branch of that omnipotent, omniscient, all-embracing German science which is even able to set up a society. It is true that socialism is French in origin, but the French socialists were “essentiallyGermans, for which reason the real Frenchmen “did not understand” them. Thus the writer can say:

Communism is French, socialism is German; the French are lucky to possess so apt a social instinct, which will serve them one day as a substitute for scientific investigation. This result has been determined by the course of development of the two nations; the French arrived at communism by way of politics” (now it is clear, of course, how the French people came to communism); “the Germans arrived at socialism” (namely “true socialism”) “by way of metaphysics, which eventually changed into anthropology. Ultimately both are resolved in humanism.”

After having transformed communism and socialism into two abstract theories, two principles, there is, of course, nothing easier than to excogitate at will any Hegelian unity of these, two opposites and to give it any vague name one chooses. One has thereby not only submitted “the course of development of the two nations” to a piercing scrutiny but has also brilliantly demonstrated the superiority of the speculative individual over both Frenchmen and Germans.

Incidentally, the sentence is copied more or less literally from Püttmann’s Bürgerbuch, p. 43 and elsewhere [This refers to the article “Ueber die Noth in unserer Gesellschaft und deren Abhülfe” by Moses Hess published in Deutsches Bürgerbuch für 1845]; the writer’s “scientific investigation” of socialism is likewise limited to a reinterpretative reproduction of ideas contained in this book, in the Einundzwanzig Bogen and in other writings dating from the early days of German communism.

We will only give a few examples of the objections raised to communism in this essay:

Page 168: “Communism does not combine the atoms into an organic whole.”

The demand that the “atoms” should be combined into an organic whole” is no more realistic than the demand for the squaring of the circle.

“Communism. as it is actually advocated in France, its main centre, takes the form of crude opposition to the egoistical dissipation of the shopkeeper’s state; it never transcends this political opposition; it never attains to unconditional, unqualified freedom” (ibid.).

Voilà the German ideological postulate of “ unconditional, unqualified freedom”, which is only the practical formula for “unconditional, unqualified thought”. French communism is admittedly “crude” because it is the theoretical expression of a real opposition; however, according to the writer, French communism ought to have transcended this opposition by imagining it to be already overcome. Compare also Bürgerbuch, p. 43, etc.

“Tyranny can perfectly well persist within communism, since the latter refuses to permit the continuance of the species” (p. 168).

Hapless species! “Species” and “tyranny” have hitherto existed simultaneously; but it is precisely because communism abolishes the “species” that it can allow “tyranny” to persist. And how, according to our true socialist, does communism set about abolishing the “species"? It “has the masses in view” (ibid.).

“In communism man is not conscious of his essence ... his dependence is reduced by communism to the lowest, most brutal relationship, to dependence on crude matter — the separation of labour and enjoyment. Man does not attain to free moral activity.”

To appreciate the “scientific investigation” which has led our true socialist to this proposition, it is necessary to consider the following passage:

“French socialists and communists ... have by no means theoretically understood the essence of socialism ... even the radical” (French) “communists have still by no means transcended the antithesis of labour and enjoyment ... have not yet risen to the idea of free activity.... The only difference between communism and the world of the shopkeeper is that in communism the complete alienation of real human property is to be made independent of all fortuity, i.e., is to be idealised” (Bürgerbuch, p. 43).

That is to say, our true socialist is here reproaching the French for having a correct consciousness of their actual social conditions, whereas they ought to bring to light “Man’s” consciousness of “his essence”. All objections raised by these true socialists against the French amount to this, that they do not consider Feuerbach’s philosophy to be the quintessence of their movement as a whole. The writer proceeds from the already existing proposition of the separation of labour and enjoyment. Instead of starting with this proposition, he ideologically turns the whole thing upside-down, begins with the missing consciousness of man, deduces from it “dependence on crude matter” and assumes this to be realised in the “separation of labour and enjoyment”. Incidentally we shall see later on where our true socialist gets to with his independence “from crude matter”. In fact, all these gentlemen display a remarkable delicacy of feeling. Everything shocks them, especially matter; they complain everywhere of crudity. Earlier we have already had a “crude antithesis”, now we have “the most brutal relationship” of “dependence on crude matter”.

With gaping jaws the German cries:

Too crude love must not be

Or you'll get an infirmity.

[Modified quotation from Heine’s poem “Sie sassen und tranken am Teetisch...” in Lyrisches Intermezzo. The first line of Heine’s poem reads: With gaping jaws the canon cries]

German philosophy in its socialist disguise appears, of course, to investigate “crude reality”, but it always keeps at a respectable distance and, in hysterical irritation, cries: noli me tangere!’ [touch me not! — John 20:17]

After these scientific objections to French communism, we come to several historical arguments, which brilliantly demonstrate the “free moral activity” and the “scientific investigation” of our true socialist and his independence of crude matter.

On page 170 he arrives at the “result” that the only communism which “exists” is “crude French communism” (crude once again). The construction of this truth a priori is carried out with great “social instinct” and shows that “man has become conscious of his essence”. Listen to this:

“There is no other communism, for what Weitling has produced is only an elaboration of Fourierist and communist ideas with which he became acquainted in Paris and Geneva.”

“There is no” English communism, “for what Weitling”, etc. Thomas More, the Levellers,[2] Owen, Thompson, Watts, Holyoake, Harney, Morgan, Southwell, Goodwyn Barmby, Greaves, Edmonds, Hobson, Spence will be amazed, or turn in their graves, when they hear that they are no communists “for” Weitling went to Paris and Geneva. Moreover, Weitling’s communism does seem to be different in kind from the “crude French” variety, in vulgar parlance, from Babouvism, since it contains some of “Fourier’s ideas” as well.

“The communists were particularly good at drawing up systems or even complete social orders (Cabet’s Icarie, La Félicité, Weitling). All systems are, however, dogmatic and dictatorial” (p. 170).

By this verdict on systems in general true socialism has, of course, saved itself the trouble of acquainting itself at first hand with the communist systems. With one blow it has overthrown not only Icarie but also every philosophical system from Aristotle to Hegel, the Système de la nature [Paul Henri Holbach], the botanical systems of Linné and Jussieu and even the solar system. Incidentally, as to the systems themselves they nearly all appeared in the early days of the communist movement and had at that time propaganda value as popular novels, which corresponded perfectly to the still undeveloped consciousness of the proletarians, who were then just beginning to play an active part. Cabet himself calls his Icarie a “roman philosophique” and he should on no account be judged by his system but rather by his polemical writings, in fact his whole activity as a party leader. In some of these novels, e.g., Fourier’s system, there is a vein of true poetry; others, like the systems of Owen and Cabet, show not a shred of imagination and are written in a business-like calculating way or else with an eye to the views of the class to be influenced, in sly lawyer fashion. As the party develops, these systems lose all importance and are at best retained purely nominally as catchwords. Who in France believes in Icarie, who in England believes in the plans of Owen, which he preached in various modifications with an eye to propaganda among particular classes or with respect to the altered circumstances of the moment? Fourier’s orthodox disciples of the Démocratie pacifique show most clearly how little the real content of these systems lies in their systematic form; they are, for all their orthodoxy, doctrinaire bourgeois, the very antipodes of Fourier. All epoch-making systems have as their real content the needs of the time in which they arose. Each one of them is based on the whole of the antecedent development of a nation, on the historical growth of its class relations with their political, moral, philosophical and other consequences. The assertion that all systems are dogmatic and dictatorial gets us nowhere with regard to this basis and this content of the communist systems. Unlike the English and the French, the Germans did not encounter fully developed class relations. The German communists could, therefore, only base their system on the relations of the class from which they sprang. It is, therefore, perfectly natural that the only existing German communist system should be a reproduction of French ideas in terms of a mental outlook which was limited by the petty circumstances of the artisan.

“The madness of Cabet, who insists that everybody should subscribe to his Populaire”, p. 168, is proof of the tyranny that persists within communism. If our friend first distorts the claims which a party leader makes on his party, impelled by particular circumstances and the danger of failing to concentrate limited financial means, and then evaluates them in terms of the “essence of man”, he is indeed bound to conclude that this party leader and all other party members are “mad” whereas purely disinterested figures, like himself and the “essence of man”, are of sound intellect. But let him find out the true state of affairs from Cabet’s Ma ligne droite.

The whole antithesis of our author, and of German true socialists and ideologists in general, to the real movements of other nations is finally epitomised in one classic sentence. The Germans judge everything sub specie aeterni [from the standpoint of eternity — cf. Spinoza, Ethics] (in terms of the essence of Man), foreigners view everything practically, in terms of actually existing men and circumstances. The thoughts and actions of the foreigner are concerned with temporariness, the thoughts and actions of the German with eternity. Our true socialist confesses this as follows:

“The very name of communism, the contrary of competition, reveals its one-sidedness., but is this bias, which may very well have value now as a party name, to last for ever?

After having thus thoroughly disposed of communism, the writer proceeds to its contrary, socialism.

“Socialism establishes that anarchic system which is an essential characteristic of the human race and the universe” (p. 170) and for that very reason has hitherto never existed for “the human race”.

Free competition is too “crude” to be regarded by our true socialist as an “anarchic system”.

“Relying entirely on the moral core of mankind, socialism” decrees that “the union of the sexes is and should be merely the highest intensification of love; for only what is natural is true and what is true is moral” (p. 171).

The reason why “the union, etc., etc. is and should be,” can be applied to everything. For example, “socialism, relying entirely on the moral core” of the apes, might just as well decree that the masturbation which occurs naturally among them “is, and should be, merely the highest intensification of” self- “love; for only what is natural is true and what is true is moral”. It would be hard to say by what standard socialism judges what is natural”.

“Activity and enjoyment coincide in the peculiar nature of man; they are determined by this and not by the products external to us.”

“But since these products are indispensable for activity, that is to say, for true life, and since by reason of the common activity of mankind as a whole they have, so to speak, detached themselves from mankind, they are or should be the common substratum of further development for all (community of goods).”

“Our present-day society has indeed relapsed into savagery to such an extent that some individuals fall upon the products of another’s labour with beastly voracity and at the same time they indolently allow their own essence to decay (rentiers); as a necessary consequence, others are driven to mechanical labour; their property (their own human essence) has been stunted, not by idleness, but by exhausting exertion (proletarians).... The two extremes of our society, rentiers and proletarians, are, however, at the same stage of development. Both are dependent upon things external to them” or are “Negroes”, as Saint Max would say (pp. 169, 170).

The “results” reached above by our “Mongol” concerning “our Negroism” are the most perfect achievements which true socialism has, “so to speak, detached from itself, as a product indispensable for true life”; our Mongol, by reason of “the peculiar nature of man”, believes that “mankind as a whole” is bound to “fall upon” them with “beastly voracity”.

The four concepts — “rentiers”, “proletarians”, “mechanical” and community of goods” — are for our Mongol at any rate “products external to him”; as far as they are concerned, his “activity” and his “enjoyment” consist in representing them simply as anticipated terms for the results of his own “mechanical labour”.

Society, we learn, has relapsed into savagery and consequently the individuals who form this very society suffer from all kinds of infirmities. Society is abstracted from these individuals, it is made independent, it relapses into savagery on its own, and the individuals suffer only as a result of this relapse. The expressions — beast of prey, idler and possessor of “one’s own decaying essence” — are the first result of this relapse; whereupon we learn to our horror that these expressions define the “rentier”. The only comment necessary is that this “allowing one’s own essence to decay” is nothing but a philosophically mystified manner of speaking used in an endeavour to comprehend “idleness”, the actual character of which seems to be very little known.

The two expressions, “stunted growth of their own human essence as a result of exhausting exertion” and “being driven to mechanical labour”, are the second “necessary consequence” of the first result of the relapse into savagery. These two expressions are a “necessary consequence of the fact that the rentiers allow their own essence to decay”, and are known in vulgar parlance, we learn, once more to our horror, as “proletarians”.

The sentence, therefore, contains the following sequence of cause and effect: It is a fact that proletarians exist and that they work mechanically. Why are proletarians driven to “mechanical labour"? Because the rentiers “allow their own essence to decay”. Why is it that the rentiers allow their own essence to decay? Because “our present-day society has relapsed into savagery to such an extent”. Why has it relapsed into savagery? Ask thy Maker.

It is characteristic of our true socialist that he sees “the extremes of our society” in the opposition of rentiers and proletarians. This opposition has pretty well been present at all fairly advanced stages of society and has been belaboured by all moralists since time immemorial; it was resurrected right at the beginning of the proletarian movement, at a time when the proletariat still had interests in common with the industrial and petty bourgeoisie. Compare, for example, the writings of Cobbett and P. L. Courier or Saint-Simon, who originally numbered the industrial capitalists among the travailleurs as opposed to the oisiffs [idlers], the rentiers. Stating this trivial antithesis, which moreover it expresses, not in ordinary language, but in the sacred language of philosophy, presenting this childish discovery, in abstract, sanctified and quite inappropriate terms — this is what here, as in all other cases, the thoroughness of that German science which has been perfected by true socialism amounts to. The conclusion puts the finishing touch to this kind of thoroughness. Our true socialist here merges the totally dissimilar stages of development of the proletarians and the rentiers into “one stage of development”, because he ignores their real stages of development and subsumes them under the philosophic phrase: “dependence upon things external to them”. True socialism has here discovered the stage of development at which the dissimilarity of all the stages of development in the three realms of nature, in geology and history, vanishes into thin air.

Although he detests “dependence upon things external to him”, our true socialist nevertheless admits that he is dependent upon them, “since products”, i.e., these very things, “are indispensable for activity” and for “true life”. He makes this shamefaced admission so that he can clear the road for a philosophical construction of the community of goods — a construction that lapses into pure nonsense so that we need merely draw the reader’s attention to it.

We now come to the first of the passages quoted above. Here again, “independence from things” is claimed in respect of activity and enjoyment. Activity and enjoyment “are determined” by “the peculiar nature of man”. Instead of tracing this peculiar nature ‘ in the activity and enjoyment of the men who surround him — in which case he would very soon have found how far the products external to us have a voice in the matter, too — he makes activity and enjoyment “coincide in the peculiar nature of man”. Instead of visualising the peculiar nature of men in their activity and their manner of enjoyment, which is conditioned by their activity, he explains both by invoking “the peculiar nature of man”, which cuts short any further discussion. He abandons the real behaviour of the individual and again takes refuge in his indescribable, inaccessible, peculiar nature. We see here, moreover, what the true socialists understand by “free activity”. Our author imprudently reveals to us that free activity is activity which “is not determined by things external to us”, i.e., actus purus, pure, absolute activity, which is nothing but activity and is in the last instance tantamount to the illusion of “pure thought”. It naturally sullies the purity of this activity if it has a material basis and a material result; the true socialist deals only reluctantly with impure activity of this kind; he despises its product, which he terms “a mere refuse of man”, and not “a result” (p. 169). The subject from whom this pure activity proceeds cannot, therefore, be a real sentient human being; it can only be the thinking mind. This “free activity”, thus translated into German, is nothing but the foregoing “unconditional, unqualified freedom” expressed in a different way. Incidentally, that this talk of “free activity”, which merely serves the true socialists to conceal their ignorance of real production, amounts in the final analysis to “pure thought” is also shown by the fact that the writer gives us as his last word the postulate of true cognition.

“This separation of the two principal parties of this age” (namely, French crude communism and German socialism) “is a result of the developments of the last two years, which started more particularly, with Hess’ Philosophie der That, in Herwegh’s Einundzwanzig Bogen. Consequently it was high time to throw a little more light on the shibboleths of the social parties” (p. 173).

Here we have, on the one hand, the actually existing communist party in France with its literature and, on the other, a few German pseudo-scholars who are trying to comprehend the ideas of this literature philosophically. The latter are treated just as much as the former as a “principal party of this age”, as a party, that is to say, of infinite importance not only to its immediate antithesis, the French communists, but also to the English Chartists and communists, the American national reformers[3] and indeed to every other party “of this age”. It is unfortunate that none of these know of the existence of this “principal party”. But it has for a considerable time been the fashion among German ideologists for each literary faction, particularly the one that thinks itself “most advanced”, to proclaim itself not merely “one of the principal parties”, but actually “the principal party of this age”. We have among others, “the principal party” of critical criticism, the “principal party” of egoism in agreement with itself and now the “principal party” of the true socialists. In this fashion Germany can boast a whole horde of “principal parties”, whose existence is known only in Germany and even there only among the small set of scholars, pseudo-scholars and literati. They all imagine that they are weaving the web of world history when, as a matter of fact, they are merely spinning the long yarn of their own imaginings.

This “principal party” of the true socialists is “a result of the developments of the last two years, which started more particularly with Hess’ Philosophie”. It is “a result”, that is to say, of the developments “of the last two years” when our author first got entangled in socialism and found it was “high time” to enlighten himself “a little more”, by means of a few “shibboleths”, on what he considers to be “social parties”.

Having thus dismissed communism and socialism, our author introduces us to the higher unity of the two, to humanism. Now we are entering the domain of “Man” and the entire true history of our true socialist will be enacted in Germany alone.

“All quibbles about names are resolved in humanism; wherefore communists, wherefore socialists’, We are human beings” (p. 172) — tous frères, tous amis.

Swim not, brothers, against the stream,

That’s only a useless thing!

Let us climb up on to Templow hill

And cry: God save the King!

[From Heine’s poem “Verkehrte Welt” in his verse cycle Zeitgedichte]

Wherefore human beings, wherefore beasts, wherefore plants, wherefore stones? We are bodies!

There follows an historical discourse which is based upon German science and which “will one day help to replace the social instinct” of the French. Antiquity — naïveté, the Middle Ages — Romanticism, the Modern Age — Humanism. By means of these three trivialities, the writer has, of course, constructed his humanism historically and showed it to be the truth of the old Humaniora.[4] Compare “Saint Max” in the first volume for constructions of this kind; he manufactures such wares in a much more artistic and less amateurish way.

On page 172 we are informed that

“the final result of scholasticism is that cleavage of life which was abolished by Hess”.

Here then, the cause of the “cleavage of life” is shown to be theory. It is difficult to see why these true socialists mention society at all if they believe with the philosophers that all real cleavages are caused by conceptual cleavages. On the basis of this philosophical belief in the power of concepts to make or destroy the world, they can likewise imagine that some individual “abolished the cleavage of life” by “abolishing” concepts in some way or other. Like all German ideologists, the true socialists continually mix up literary history and real history as equipotential. This habit is, of course, very understandable among the Germans, who conceal the abject part they have played and continue to play in real history by equating the illusions, in which they are so rich, with reality. And now to the “last two years”, during which German science has so thoroughly disposed of all problems that nothing remains to the other nations but to carry out its decrees.

“Feuerbach only partially completed, or rather only began, the task of anthropology, the regaining by man of his estranged essence” (the essence of man or the essence of Feuerbach?); “he destroyed the religious illusion, the theoretical abstraction, the God-Man, whereas Hess annihilates the political illusion, the abstraction of his ability [Vermögen], of his activity” (does this refer to Hess or to man?), “that is, he annihilates wealth. It was the work of Hess which freed man from the last of the forces external to him, and made him capable of moral activity — for all the unselfishness of earlier times” (before Hess) “was only an illusory unselfishness — and raised him once more to his former dignity; for was man ever previously” (before Hess) “esteemed for what he actually was? Was he not judged by what he possessed? He was esteemed for his money” (p. 171).

It is characteristic of all these high-sounding phrases about liberation, etc., that it is always “man” who is liberated. Although it would appear from the pronouncements made above that “wealth”, “money”, and so on, have ceased to exist, we nevertheless learn in the following sentence:

“Now that these illusions” (money, viewed sub specie aeterni, is, indeed, an illusion, 1'or n'est qu'une chimère [Gold is but a chimera. From Giacomo Meverbeer’s opera Robert le Diable]) “have been destroyed, we can think about a new, human order of society” (ibid.).

But this is quite superfluous since

“the recognition of the essence of man has as a necessary and natural result a life which “is truly human” (p. 172).

To arrive at communism or socialism by way of metaphysics or politics, etc., etc. — these phrases beloved of true socialists merely indicate that such and such a writer has adopted communist ideas (which have reached him from without and have arisen in circumstances quite different from his) translating them into the mode of expression corresponding to his former standpoint, and formulating them in accordance with this standpoint. Which of these points of view is predominant in a nation, whether its communist outlook has a political or metaphysical or any other tinge depends, of course, upon the whole development of the nation. The fact that the attitude of most French communists has a political complexion — this is, on the other hand, countered by the fact that very many French socialists have abstracted completely from politics — causes our author to infer that the French “have arrived at communism by way of politics”, by way of their political development. This proposition, which has a very wide circulation In Germany, does not imply that the writer has any knowledge either of politics, particularly of French political developments, or of communism; it only shows that he considers politics to be an independent sphere of activity, which develops in its own independent way, a belief he shares with all ideologists.

Another catchword of the true socialists is “true property”, “true, personal property”, “real”, “social”, “living”, “natural”, etc., etc., property, whereas it is very typical that they refer to private property as “so-called property”. The Saint-Simonists were the first to adopt this manner of speaking, as we have already pointed out in the first volume; but they never lent it this German metaphysical-mysterious form; it was with them at the beginning of the socialist movement to some extent justified as a counter to the stupid clamour of the bourgeoisie. The end to which most of the Saint-Simonists came shows at any rate the ease with which this “true property” is again resolved into “ordinary private property”.

If one takes the antithesis of communism to the world of private property in its crudest form, i.e., in the most abstract form in which the real conditions of that antithesis are ignored, then one is faced with the antithesis of property and lack of property. The abolition of this antithesis can be viewed as the abolition of either the one side or the other; either property is abolished, in which case universal lack of property or destitution results, or else the lack of property is abolished, which means the establishment of true property. In reality, the actual property-owners stand on one side and the propertyless communist proletarians on the other. This opposition becomes keener day by day and is rapidly driving to a crisis. If, then, the theoretical representatives of the proletariat wish their literary activity to have any practical effect, they must first and foremost insist that all phrases are dropped which tend to dim the realisation of the sharpness of this opposition, all phrases which tend to conceal this opposition and may even give the bourgeois a chance to approach the communists for safety’s sake on the strength of their philanthropic enthusiasms. All these bad qualities are, however, to he found in the catchwords of the true socialists and particularly in “true property”. Of course, we realise that the communist movement cannot be impaired by a few German phrase-mongers. But in a country like Germany — where philosophic phrases have for centuries exerted a certain power, and where, moreover, communist consciousness is anyhow less keen and determined because class contradictions do not exist in as acute a form as in other nations — it is, nevertheless, necessary to resist all phrases which obscure and dilute still further the realisation that communism is totally opposed to the existing world order.

This theory of true property conceives real private property, as it has hitherto existed, merely as a semblance, whereas it views the concept abstracted from this real property as the truth and reality of the semblance; it is therefore ideological all through. All it does is to give clearer and more precise expression to the ideas of the petty bourgeois; for their benevolent endeavours and pious wishes aim likewise at the abolition of the lack of property.

In this essay we have had yet further evidence of the narrowly national outlook which underlies the alleged universalism and cosmopolitanism of the Germans.

The land belongs to the Russians and French,

The English own the sea.

But we in the airy realm of dreams

Hold sovereign mastery.

Our unity is perfect here,

Our power beyond dispute;

The other folk in solid earth

Have meanwhile taken root.

[Heinrich Heine, Deutschland, ein Wintermärchen]

With infinite self-confidence the Germans confront the other peoples with this airy realm of dreams, the realm of the “essence of man”, claiming that it is the consummation and the goal of all world history; in every sphere they regard their dreamy fantasies as a final verdict on the actions of other nations; and because everywhere their lot is merely to look on and be left high and dry they believe themselves called upon to sit in judgment on the whole world while history attains its ultimate purpose in Germany. We have already observed several times that the complement of this inflated and extravagant national pride is practical activity of the pettiest kind, worthy of shopkeepers and artisans. National narrow-mindedness is everywhere repellent. In Germany it is positively odious, since, together with the illusion that the Germans are superior to nationality and to all real interests, it is held in the face of those nations which openly confess their national limitations and their dependence upon real interests. It is, incidentally, true of every nation that obstinate nationalism is now to be found only among the bourgeoisie and their writers.

B. “Socialistische Bausteine"[edit source]

["Cornerstones of Socialism” — title of an article by Rudolph Matthäi]

Rheinische Jahrbücher, p. 155 et seq.

In this essay the reader is first of all prepared for the more difficult truths of true socialism by a belletristic and poetic prologue. The prologue opens by proclaiming “happiness” to be the “ultimate goal of all endeavour, all movements, of all the arduous and untiring exertions of past millenniums”. In a few brief strokes, so to speak, a history of the struggle for happiness is sketched for us:

“When the foundations of the old world crumbled, the human heart with all its yearning took refuge in the other world, to which it transferred its happiness” (p. 156).

Hence all the bad luck of the terrestrial world. In recent times man has bidden farewell to the other world and our true socialist now asks:

“Can man greet the earth once more as the land of his happiness? Does he once more recognise earth as his original home? Why then should he still keep life and happiness apart? Why does he not break down the last barrier which cleaves earthly life into two hostile halves’,” (ibid.).

“Land of my most blissful feelings!” etc. He now invites “Man” to take a walk, an invitation which “Man” readily accepts. “Man” enters the realm of “free nature” and utters, among other things, the following tender effusions of a true socialist’s heart [from title of Wilhelm Wackenroder’s book Herzensergiessungen eines kunstliebenden Klosterbruders]:

“.!. gay flowers ... tall and stately oaks ... their satisfaction, their happiness lie in their life, their growth and their blossoming ... an infinite multitude of tiny creatures in the meadows ... forest birds ... a mettlesome troop of young horses ... I see” (says “man” ) “that these creatures neither know nor desire any other happiness than that which lies for them in the expression and the enjoyment of their lives. When night falls, my eyes behold a countless host of worlds which revolve about each other in infinite space according to eternal laws. I see in their revolutions a unity of life, movement and happiness” (p. 157).

“Man” could also observe a great many other things in nature, e.g., the bitterest competition among plants and animals; he could see, for example, in the plant world, in his “forest of tall and stately oaks”, how these tall and stately capitalists consume the nutriment of the tiny shrubs, which might well complain: terra, aqua, aere et igni interdicti sumus [we are banned from earth, water air and fire] ; he could observe the parasitic plants, the ideologists of the vegetable world, he could further observe that there is open warfare between the “forest birds” and the “Infinite multitude of tiny creatures”, between the grass of his “meadows” and the “mettlesome troop of young horses”. He could see in his “countless host of worlds” a whole heavenly feudal monarchy complete with tenants and satellites, a few of which, e.g., the moon, lead a very poor life aere et aqua interdicti; a feudal system in which even the homeless vagabonds, the comets, have been apportioned their station in life and in which, for example, the shattered asteroids bear witness to occasional unpleasant scenes, while the meteors, those fallen angels, creep shamefaced through the “Infinite space”, until they find somewhere or other a modest lodging. In the further distance, he would come upon the reactionary fixed stars.

“All these beings find their happiness, the satisfaction and the enjoyment of their life in the exercise and manifestation of the vital energies with which nature has endowed them.”

That is, “man” considers that in the interaction of natural bodies and the manifestation of their forces these natural bodies find their happiness, etc.

“Man” is now reproached by our true socialist with his discord:

“Did not man too spring from the primeval world, is he not a child of nature, like all other creatures? Is he not formed of the same materials, is he not endowed with the same general energies and properties that animate all thin ? Why does he still seek his earthly happiness in an earthly beyond?” (p. 158).

The same general energies and properties” which man has in common with “all things”, are cohesion, impenetrability, volume, gravity, etc., which can be found set out in detail on the first page of any textbook of physics. It is difficult to see how one can construe this as a reason why man should not “seek his happiness in an earthly beyond”. However, he admonishes man as follows:

“Consider the lilies of the field.”

Yes, consider the lilies of the field, how they are eaten by goats, transplanted by “man” into his buttonhole, how they are crushed beneath the immodest embraces of the dairymaid and the donkey-driver!

“Consider the lilies of the field, they toil not, neither do they spin: and thy Heavenly Father feedeth them.” [cf. Matthew 6: 28, 26]

Go thou and do likewise! After learning in this fashion of the unity of “man” with “all things”, we now learn how he differs from “all things”.

“But man knows himself, he is conscious of himself. Whereas in other beings, the instincts and forces of nature manifest themselves in isolation and unconsciously, they are united in man and become conscious ... his nature is the mirror of all nature, which recognises itself in him. Well then! If nature recognises itself in me, then I recognise myself in nature. I see in its life my own life [... ]. We are thus giving living expression to that with which nature has imbued us” (p. 158).

This whole prologue is a model of ingenuous philosophic mystification. The true socialist proceeds from the thought that the dichotomy of life and happiness must cease. To prove this thesis he summons the aid of nature presupposing that this dichotomy does not exist in nature and from this he deduces that since man, too, is a natural body and has the properties which such bodies generally possess, this dichotomy ought not to exist for him either. Hobbes had much better reasons for invoking nature as a proof of his bellum omnium contra omnes [Hobbes, De Cive] and Hegel, on whose construction our true socialist depends, for perceiving in nature the cleavage, the slovenly period of the Absolute Idea, and even calling the animal the concrete anguish of God. After shrouding nature in mystery, our true socialist shrouds human consciousness in mystery too, by making it the “mirror” of this mystified nature. Of course, when the manifestation of consciousness ascribes to nature the mental expression of a pious wish about human affairs, it is self-evident that consciousness will only be the mirror in which nature contemplates itself. That “man” has to abolish in his own sphere the cleavage, which is assumed to be non-existent in nature, is now proved by reference to man in his quality as a mere passive mirror in which nature becomes aware of itself; just as it was earlier proved by reference to man as a mere natural body. But let us inspect the last proposition more closely; all the nonsense of these arguments is concentrated in it.

The first fact asserted is that man possesses self-consciousness. The instincts and energies of individual natural beings are transformed into the instincts and forces of “Nature”, which then, as a matter of course, “are manifested” in isolation in these individual beings. This mystification was needed in order later to effect a unification of these instincts and forces of “Nature” in the human self-consciousness. Thereby the self-consciousness of man is, of course, transformed into the self-consciousness of nature within him. This mystification is apparently resolved in the following way: in order to pay nature back for finding its self-consciousness in man, man seeks his, in turn, in nature — a procedure which enables him, of course, to find nothing in nature except what he has imputed to it by means of the mystification described above.

He has now arrived safely at the point from which he originally started, and this way of turning round on one’s heel is now called in Germany — development.

After this prologue comes the real exposition of true socialism.

First Cornerstone[edit source]

Page 160: “Saint-Simon said to his disciples on his death-bed: ‘My whole life can be expressed in one thought: all men must be assured the freest development of their natural capacities.’ Saint-Simon was a herald of socialism.”

This statement is now treated according to the true socialist method described above and combined with that mystification of nature which we saw in the prologue.

“Nature as the basis of all life is a unity which proceeds from itself and returns to itself, which embraces the immense multifariousness of its phenomena and apart from which nothing exists” (p. 158).

We have seen how one contrives to transform the different natural bodies and their mutual relationships into multifarious “phenomena” of the secret essence of this mysterious “unity”. The only new element in this sentence is that nature is first called “the basis of all life”, and immediately afterwards we are informed that “apart from it nothing exists”; according to this it embraces “life” as well and cannot merely be its basis. After these portentous words, there follows the pivotal point of the whole essay:

“Every one of these phenomena, every individual life, exists and develops only through its antithesis, its struggle with the external world, and it is based upon its interaction with the totality of life, with which it is in turn by its nature linked in a whole, the organic unity of the universe” (pp. 158, 159).

This pivotal sentence is further elucidated as follows:

“The individual life finds, on the one hand, its foundation, its source and its subsistence in the totality of life; on the other hand, the totality of life in continual struggle with the individual life strives to consume and to absorb it” (p, 159).

Since this statement applies to every individual life, “therefore”, it can be, and is, applied to men as well:

“Man can therefore only develop in and through the totality of life” (No. 1, ibid.).

Conscious individual life is now contrasted with unconscious individual life; human society with natural life in general; and then the sentence which we quoted last is repeated in the following form:

“By reason of my nature, it is only in and through community with other men that I can develop, achieve self-conscious enjoyment of my life and attain happiness” (No. II, ibid.).

This development of the individual in society is now discussed in the same way as “individual life” in general was treated above:

“In society, too, the opposition of individual life and life in general becomes the condition of conscious human development. It is through perpetual struggle, through perpetual reaction against society, which confronts me as a restricting force, that I achieve self-determination and freedom, without which there is no happiness. My life is a continuous process of liberation, a continuous battle with and victory over the conscious and unconscious external world, in order to subdue it and use it to enjoy my life. The instinct of self-preservation, the striving for my own happiness, freedom and satisfaction, these are consequently natural, i.e., reasonable, expressions of life” (ibid.).


“I demand, therefore, from society that it should afford me the possibility of winning from it my satisfaction, my happiness, that it should provide a battlefield for his bellicose spirit. just as the individual plant demands soil, warmth and sun, air and rail) for its growth, so that it may bear leaves, blossoms and fruit, man too desires to find it] society the conditions for the all-round development and satisfaction of all his needs, inclinations and capacities. It must offer him the possibility of winning his happiness. How he will use that chance, what he will make of himself, of his life, depends upon him, upon his individuality. I alone can determine my happiness” (pp. 159, 160).

There follows, as the conclusion of the whole argument, the statement by Saint-Simon which is quoted at the beginning of this section. The Frenchman’s idea has thus been vindicated by German science. What does this vindication consist in?

The true socialist has already earlier imputed various Ideas to nature which he would like to see realised in human society. While formerly it was the individual human being, whom he made the mirror of nature, it is now society as a whole. A further conclusion can now be drawn about human society from the ideas imputed to nature. Since the author does not discuss the historical development of society, contenting himself with this meagre analogy, it remains incomprehensible why society should not always have been a true image of nature. The phrases about society, which confronts the individual in the shape of a restricting force, etc., are therefore relevant to every form of society. it is quite natural that a few inconsistencies should have crept into this interpretation of society. Thus he must now admit that a struggle is waged in nature, ill contrast to the harmony described in the prologue. Society, the totality of life”, is conceived by our author riot as the interaction of the constituent Individual lives”, but as a distinct existence, and this moreover separately interacts with these “individual lives”. If there is any reference to real affairs in all this it is the illusion of the independence of the state in relation to private life and the belief in this apparent independence as something absolute. But as a matter of fact, neither here nor anywhere in the whole essay is it a question of nature and society at all; it is merely a question of the two categories, individuality and universality, which are given various names and which are said to form a contradiction, the reconciliation of which would be highly desirable.

From the vindication of “individual life” as opposed to the “totality of life” it follows that the satisfaction of needs, the development of capacities, self-love, etc., are “natural, reasonable expressions of life”. From the conception of society as an image of nature, it follows that in all forms of society existing up to now, the present included, these expressions of life have attained full maturity and are recognised as justified.

But we suddenly learn on page 159 that “in our present-day society” these reasonable, natural expressions of life are nevertheless “so often repressed” and “usually only for that reason do they degenerate into an unnaturalness, malformation, egoism, vice, etc.”

And so, since society does not, after all, correspond to its prototype. nature, the true socialist “demands” that it should conform to nature and justifies his claim by adducing the plant as an example — a most unfortunate example. In the first place, the plant does not “demand” of nature all the conditions of existence enumerated above; unless it finds them already present it never becomes a plant at all; it remains a grain of seed. Moreover, the state of the “leaves, blossoms and fruit” depends to a great extent on the “soil”, the “warmth” and so on, the climatic and geological conditions of its growth. Far from “demanding” anything, the plant is seen to depend utterly upon the actual conditions of existence; nevertheless, it is upon this alleged demand that our true socialist bases his own claim for a form of society which shall conform to his individual “peculiarity”. The demand for a true socialist society is based on the imaginary demand of a coconut palm that the “totality of life” should furnish it with “soil, warmth, sun, air and rain” at the North Pole.

This claim of the individual on society is not deduced from the real development of society but from the alleged relationship of the metaphysical characters — individuality, and universality. You have only to interpret single individuals as representatives, embodiments of individuality, and society as the embodiment of universality, and the whole trick is done. And at the same time Saint-Simon’s .statement about the free development of the capacities has been correctly expressed and placed upon its true foundation. This correct expression consists in the absurd statement that the individuals forming society want to preserve their “peculiarity”, want to remain as they are, while they demand of society a transformation which can only proceed from a transformation of themselves.

Second Cornerstone[edit source]

“You've forgotten the rest of the charming refrain?

Well, just give it up and start over again!

“Infinite in their variety, all individual...

Beings as unity taken together are ‘World Organism” (p. 160).

And so we find ourselves thrown back again to the beginning of the essay and have to go through the whole comedy of individual life and totality of life for the second time. Once more we are initiated into the deep mystery of the interaction of these two lives, restauré a neuf by the introduction of the new term “polar relationship’ and the transformation of the individual life into a mere symbol, an “image” of the totality of life. Like a kaleidoscopic picture this essay is composed of reflections of itself, a method of argument common to all true socialists. Their approach to their arguments is similar to that of the cherry-seller who was selling her wares below cost price, working on the correct economic principle that it is the quantity sold that matters. As regards true socialism, this is the more essential because its cherries were rotten before they were ripe.

A few examples of this self-reflection follow:

Cornerstone No. I, pp. 158, 159.

Every individual life exists and develops only through its antithesis ... is based upon its interaction with the totality of life,

“With which it is in turn, by its nature, linked in a whole.

“Organic unity of the universe.

“The individual life finds, on the one hand, its foundation, its source and its subsistence in the totality of life,

“On the other hand, the totality of life in continual struggle with the individual life strives to consume it.

Therefore (p. 159):

“Human society is to conscious ... life what unconscious universal life in general is to the unconscious individual life.

I can only develop in and through community with other men.... In society, coo, the opposition of individual life and life in general becomes”, etc....

“Nature ... is a unity... which embraces the immense multifariousness of its phenomena.”

Cornerstone No. II, pp. 160, 161.

Every individual life exists and develops in and through the totality of life; the totality of life only exists and develops in and through the individual life.” (Interaction.)

“The individual life develops ... as a part of life in general.

“The world organism is combined unity.

“Which” (the totality of life) “becomes the soil and substance of its” (the individual life’s) “development ... that each is founded upon the other....

“That they struggle against one another and oppose one another.

It follows (p. 161):

“That conscious individual life is also conditioned by the conscious totality of life and” ... (vice versa).

The individual human being develops only in and through society, society”, vice versa, etc....

“Society is a unity which embraces and comprises the multifariousness of individual human development.”

But our author is not satisfied with this kaleidoscopic display. He goes on to repeat his artless remarks about individuality and universality in yet another form. He first puts forward these few and abstractions as absolute principles and then concludes that the same relationship must recur in the real world. Even this gives him the chance of saying everything twice under the guise of making deductions, in abstract form and, when he is drawing his conclusion, in seemingly concrete form. Then, however, he sets about varying the concrete names which he has given to his two categories. Universality appears variously as nature, unconscious totality of life, conscious ditto, life in general, world organism, all-embracing unity, human society, community, organic unity of the universe, universal happiness, common weal, etc., and individuality appears under the corresponding names of unconscious and conscious individual life, individual happiness, one’s own welfare, etc. In connection with each of these names we are obliged to listen to the selfsame phrases which have already been applied often enough to individuality and universality.

The second cornerstone contains, therefore, nothing which was not already contained in the first. But since the words égalité, solidarité, unité des intérêts are used by the French socialists, our author attempts to fashion them into “cornerstones” of true socialism by turning them into German.

“As a conscious member of society I recognise every other member as a being different from myself, confronting me and at the same time supported by and derived from the primary common basis of existence and equal to me. I recognise every one of my fellow-men as opposed to me by reason of his particular nature, yet equal to me by reason of his general nature. The recognition of human equality, of the right of every man to existence, depends therefore upon the consciousness that human nature is common to all; in the same way, love, friendship, justice and all the social virtues are based upon the feeling of natural human affinity and unity. If up to now these have been termed obligations and have been imposed upon men, then in a society founded upon the consciousness of man’s inward nature, i.e., upon reason and not upon external compulsion, they will become free, natural expressions of life. In society which conforms to nature, i.e., to reason, the conditions of existence must accordingly be equal for all its members, i.e., must be general” (pp. 161, 162).

The author displays a marked ability for first putting forward a proposition in assertive fashion and then legitimising it as a consequence of itself by inserting an accordingly, a consequently, etc. He is equally skilful at incidentally smuggling into his peculiar deductions traditional socialistic statements by the use of “if they have”, “if it is” — “then they must”, “then it will become”, etc.

In the first cornerstone, we saw, on the one hand, the individual and, on the other, universality which confronted him as society. This antithesis now reappears in another form, the individual now being divided within himself into a particular and a general nature. From the general nature of the individual, conclusions are drawn about “human equality” and community. Those conditions of life which are common to men thus appear here as a product of “the essence of man”, of nature, whereas they, just as much as the consciousness of equality, are historical products. Not content with this, the author substantiates this equality by stating that it rests entirely “on the primary common basis of existence”. We learned in the prologue, p. 158, that man “is formed of the same materials and is endowed with the same general energies and properties that animate all things”. We learned in the first cornerstone that nature is “the basis of all life”, and so, the “primary common basis of existence”. Our author has, therefore, far outstripped the French since, being “a conscious member of society”, he has not only demonstrated the equality of men with one another; he has also demonstrated their equality with every flea, every wisp of straw, every stone.

We should be only too pleased to believe that “all the social virtues” of our true socialist are based “upon the feeling of natural human affinity and unity”, even though feudal bondage, slavery and all the social inequalities of every age have also been based upon this “natural affinity”. Incidentally, “natural human affinity” is an historical product which is daily changed at the hands of men; it has always been perfectly natural, however inhuman and contrary to nature it may seem, not only in the judgment of “Man”, but also of a later revolutionary generation.

We learn further, quite by chance, that present-day society is based upon “external compulsion”. By “external compulsion” the true socialists do not understand the restrictive material conditions of life of given individuals. They see it only as the compulsion exercised by the state, in the form of bayonets, police and cannons, which far from being the foundation of society, are only a consequence of its structure. This question has already been discussed in Die heilige Familie and also in the first volume of this work.

The socialist opposes to present-day society, which is “based upon external compulsion”, the ideal of true society, which is based upon the “consciousness of man’s inward nature, i.e., upon reason”. It is based, that is, upon the consciousness of consciousness, upon the thought of thought. The true socialist does not differ from the philosophers even in his choice of terms. He forgets that the “inward nature” of men, as well as their “consciousness” of it, “i.e.”, their “reason”, has at all times been an historical product and that even when, as he believes, the society of men was based “upon external compulsion”, their “inward nature” corresponded to this “external compulsion”.

There follow, on page 163, individuality and universality with their usual retinue, in the form of individual and public welfare. You may find similar explanations of their mutual relationship in any handbook of political economy under the heading of competition and also, though better expressed, in Hegel.

For example, Rheinische Jahrbücher, p. 163:

“By furthering the public welfare, I further my own welfare, and by furthering my own welfare, I further the public welfare.”

Cf. Hegel’s Rechtsphilosophie, p. 248 (1833):

“In furthering my ends, I further the universal, and this in turn furthers my ends.”

Compare also Rechtsphilosophie, p. 323 et seq., about the relation of the citizen to the state.

“Therefore, as a final consequence, we have the conscious unity of the individual life with the totality of life, harmony” (Rheinische Jahrbücher, p. 163).

“As a final consequence”, that is to say, of

“this polar relationship between the individual and the general life, which consists in the fact that sometimes the two clash and oppose one another, while at other times, the one is the condition and the basis of the other”.

The “final consequence” of this is at most the harmony of disharmony with harmony; and all that follows from the constant repetition of these familiar phrases is the author’s belief that his fruitless wrestling with the categories of individuality and universality is the appropriate form in which social questions should be solved.

The author concludes with the following flourish:

Organic society has as its basis universal equality and develops, through the opposition of the individuals to the universal, towards unrestricted concord, towards the unit of individual with universal happiness, towards social” (!) “harmony of society,” (!!), “which is the reflection of universal harmony” (p. 164).

It is modest, indeed to call this sentence a “cornerstone”. It is the primal rock upon which the whole of true socialism is founded.

Third Cornerstone[edit source]

“Man’s struggle with nature is based upon the polar opposition of my particular life to, and its interaction with, the world of nature in general. When this struggle appears as conscious activity, it is termed labour” (p. 164).

Is not, on the contrary, the idea of “polar opposition” based upon the observation of a struggle between men and nature? First of all, an abstraction is made from a fact; then it is declared that the fact is based upon the abstraction. A very cheap method to produce the semblance of being profound and speculative in the German manner.

For example:

Fact: The cat eats the mouse.

Reflection: Cat — nature, mouse — nature, consumption of mouse by cat = consumption of nature by nature = self-consumption of nature.

Philosophic presentation of the fact: Devouring of the mouse by the cat is based upon the self-consumption of nature.

Having thus obscured man’s struggle with nature, the writer goes on to obscure man’s conscious activity in relation to nature, by describing it as the manifestation of this mere abstraction from the real struggle. The profane word labour is finally smuggled in as the result of this process of mystification. It is a word which our true socialist has had on the tip of his tongue from the start, but which he dared not utter until he had legitimised it in the appropriate way. Labour is constructed from the mere abstract idea of Man and nature; it is thereby defined in a way which is equally appropriate and inappropriate to all stages in the development of labour.

Therefore, labour is any conscious activity on the part of man whereby he tries to acquire dominion over nature in an intellectual and material sense, so that he may utilise it for the conscious enjoyment of his life and for his intellectual or bodily satisfaction” (ibid.).

We shall only draw attention to the brilliant deduction:

“When this struggle appears as conscious activity, it is termed labour — therefore labour is any conscious activity on the part of man”, etc.

We owe this profound insight to the “polar opposition”. The reader will recall Saint-Simon’s statement concerning libre développement de toutes les facultis [free development of all capacities] mentioned above, and also remember that Fourier wished to see the present travail répugnant replaced by travail attrayant. [repellent labour” replaced by “attractive labour” — Charles Fourier, Nouveau monde industriel] We owe to the “polar opposition” the following philosophic vindication and explanation of these propositions:

But since” (the “but” is meant to indicate that there is no connection here) “for life every manifestation, exercise and expression of its forces and faculties should be a source of enjoyment and satisfaction, it follows that labour should itself be a manifestation and development of human capacities and should be a source of enjoyment, satisfaction and happiness. Consequently, labour must itself become a free expression of life and so a source of enjoyment” (ibid.).

Here we are shown what we were promised in the preface to the Rheinische Jahrbücher, namely, “how far German social science differs in its development up to the present from French and English social science” and what it means “to present the doctrine of communism in a scientific form”.

It would be a lengthy and boring procedure to expose every logical lapse which occurs in the course of these few lines. But let us first consider the offences against formal logic.

To prove that labour, an expression of life, should be a source of enjoyment, it is assumed that life should afford enjoyment in all its expressions. From this the conclusion is drawn that life should be a source of enjoyment also in its expression as labour. Not satisfied with this periphrastic transformation of a postulate into a conclusion, the author draws a false conclusion. From the fact that “for life every manifestation should be a source of enjoyment”, he deduces that labour, which is one of these manifestations of life, “should itself be a manifestation and development of human capacities”, that is to say, of life once again. Hence it ought to be what it already is. How could labour ever be anything but a “manifestation of human capacities"? But he does not stop there. Because labour should be so, it “must consequently” be so, or still better: because labour “should be a manifestation and development of human capacities”, it must consequently become something completely different, namely, “a free expression of life”, which did not enter into the question at all before this. And whereas earlier the postulate of labour as enjoyment was directly deduced from the postulate of the enjoyment of life, the former postulate is now put forward as a consequence of the new postulate of “free expression of life in labour”.

As far as the content of the proposition is concerned, one cannot quite see why labour has not always been what it ought to be, why it must now become what it ought to be, or why it should become something which up to now it was not bound to be. But, of course, up to now the essence of man and the polar opposition of man and nature were not property, explained.

A “scientific vindication” of the communist view about the common ownership of the products of labour follows:

But” (the recurrent “but” has the same meaning as the previous one) “the product of labour must serve at one and the same time the happiness of the individual, of the labouring individual, and the general happiness. This is effected by reason of the fact that all social activities are complementary and reciprocal” (ibid.).

This statement is merely a copy of what any political economy has to say in praise of competition and the division of labour; except that the argument has been weakened by the introduction of the word “happiness”.

Finally, we are given a philosophic vindication of the French organisation of labour:

“Labour as a free activity, which is enjoyable, affords satisfaction and at the same time serves the common weal, is the basis of the organisation of labour” (p. 165).

But since labour should and must become a free activity “which is enjoyable”, etc., and therefore this state of affairs has not yet been reached, one would have expected on the contrary the organisation of labour to be the basis of “labour as an enjoyable activity”. But the concept of labour as such an activity is quite sufficient [for the writer].

At the end of the essay the author believes to have reached results”.

These “cornerstones” and “results”, together with those other granite boulders which are to be found in the Einundzwanzig Bogen, the Bürgerbuch and the Neue Anekdota[5] form the rock upon which true socialism, alias German social philosophy, will build its church. [cf. Matthew 16:18]

We shall have occasion to listen to a few of the hymns, a few of the fragments of the cantique allégorique hébraïque et mystique [Evariste Parny, La guerre des dieux. Chant premier] Which are chanted in this church.

This chapter was published by Marx separately as a review in the monthly publication Das Westphälische Dampfboot in August and September 1847. Before that, in April 1847, Marx had published a “Declaration against Karl Grün”. He stated in it that he intended to publish a review of Grün’s book Die soziale Bewegung in Frankreich und Belgien (see MECW, Vol. 6) in the Westphälische Dampfboot. But the first instalment of this article was published only in August 1847. The editors explained in a note that the article could not be published earlier because “for over two months the manuscript was sent from one German town to another without reaching us”. The work was published in the Westphälische Dampfboot as Marx’s article (the name of the author was mentioned in the editorial note). Consequently one can assume that in contrast to Vol. 1, which was written jointly by Marx and Engels, some chapters of Vol. II of The German Ideology are probably the individual work of one or other of them. But since the manuscript of this chapter of Vol. If is in Engels’ handwriting, it is likely that Engels helped to write it. The copy sent to the Westphälische Dampfboot was probably made from this manuscript. The manuscript and the published text are practically identical. Comparatively few changes were made in the text itself and it is possible that some of these were by the editors of the journal. In this volume, variants affecting the meaning are given in footnotes. Where the manuscript is damaged the missing passages have been taken from the printed text. Such passages have not been specially marked (either by square brackets or footnotes) in this chapter.

IV. Karl Grün: "The Social Movement in France and Belgium" (Darmstadt 1845) Or The Historiography of True Socialism[6][edit source]

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

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

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

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

We observe in Herr Grün a fusion of true socialism with Young-German literary pretensions[1] — a highly diverting spectacle. The book mentioned above is in the form of letters to a lady, from which the reader may surmise that here the profound divinities of true socialism are garlanded with the roses and myrtles of “young literature”. Let us hasten to pluck a few roses:

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

“If I had old Hegel here, I should collar him: What! So nature is the otherness of mind? What! You dullard!” (p. 11).

"Brussels is to some extent a reproduction of the French Convention; it has its parties of the Mountain and the Valley” (p. 24).

"The Laneburg Heath of politics” (p. 80).

"Gay, poetic, inconsistent, fantastic chrysalis” (p. 82).

"Restoration liberalism, the groundless cactus, which as a parasite coiled round the seats in the Chamber of Deputies” (pp. 87, 88).

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

“Amid this sea” (of newspapers and journalists in the Cabinet Montpensier [7]) “I myself, however, feel like a second Noah, despatching his doves to see if he can possibly build a dwelling or plant a vineyard anywhere or come to a reasonable agreement with the infuriated Gods” (p. 259).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unless these flowers your heart delight

To be a “man” you have no right!'

[from Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute]

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

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

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

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

This one proposition is enough to show what kind of “reliability” and profundity” one can expect from Herr Grün. He does not discuss small questions. Equipped with an unquestioning faith in the conclusions of German philosophy, as formulated by Feuerbach, viz., that “man”, “pure, genuine man”, is the ultimate purpose of world history, that religion is externalised [entäusserte] human essence, that human essence is human essence and the measure of all things — equipped with all the other truths of German socialism (see above) — i.e., that money, wage-labour, etc., are also externalisations [Entäusserungen] of human essence, that German socialism is the realisation of German philosophy and the theoretical truth of foreign socialism and communism, etc. — Herr Grün travels to Brussels and Paris with all the complacency of a true socialist. The powerful trumpetings of Herr Grün in praise of true socialism and of German science exceed anything his fellow-believers have achieved in this respect. As far as these eulogies refer to true socialism, they are obviously quite sincere. Herr Grün’s modesty does not permit him to utter a single sentence that has not already been pronounced by some other true socialist in the Einundzwanzig Bogen, the Bürgerbuch and the Neue Anekdota. Indeed, he devotes his whole book to filling in an outline of the French social movement sketched in the Einundzwanzig Bogen (pp. 74-88) by Hess, and thereby answering a need expressed in the same work on page 88 [See Moses Hess, “Socialismus und Communismus"]. As regards the eulogies to German philosophy, the latter must value them all the more, seeing how little he knows about it. The national pride of the true socialists, their pride in Germany as the land of “man”, of “human essence”, as opposed to the other profane nationalities, reaches its climax in him. We give below a few samples of it:

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

He now enlarges upon this.

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

Particularly because they have had, since 1829, their own socialist and democratic school [8], against which their economist Cooper was fighting as long ago as 1830.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Herr Grün lost no time in instructing Kats about French terrorism and “had the good fortune to win the approval of my new friend” (p. 51). His effect on Proudhon was important too, but lit a different way.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saint Simonism[edit source]

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

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

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

Herr Grün:

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

Stein, page 143:

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

Reybaud, page 77:

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

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

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

Herr Grün proceeds without a break:

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


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

Stein is incorrect here and Grün copies him faithfully. According to Saint-Simon, the Duc de la Vauguyon had induced the States-General [9] to undertake a joint expedition with France to the British colonies in India. Concerning himself, he merely says that he worked” (poursuivi) “for the execution of this plan for a year”.

Herr Grün:

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

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

Stein, page 144:

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

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


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

The same mistake as that made by Stein.

Saint-Simon, page XVII:

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

Herr Grün:

“In France he speculates on national domains.”

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

Reybaud, page 78:

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

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

Herr Grün:

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

Herr Grün here suddenly skips one of the most important periods of Saint-Simon’s life — the period during which he studied natural science and travelled for that purpose. What is the meaning of marrying to be the host of science? What is the meaning of marrying in order to exploit men (whom one does not marry) psychologically, etc.? The whole point is this: Saint-Simon married so that he could hold a salon and study there among others the men of learning. Stein puts it in this way, page 149:

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

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

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

Herr Grün:

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

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

Stein, pages 156, 157:

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

1. Letters of an Inhabitant of Geneva to his Contemporaries [10][edit source]

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

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

Reybaud, p. 83).

The sentence: “The power of nominating the pet sons who are to act as leaders of humanity should be in the hands of everyone.”, which Reybaud quotes from Saint-Simon (p. 47) and which Stein translates in the clumsiest fashion, is reduced by Herr Grün to “the franchise for all”, which robs it of all meaning. Saint-Simon is referring to the election of the Newton Council, [11] Herr Grün is referring to elections in general.

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

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

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

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

Stein stresses the fact that Saint-Simon already makes a distinction between propriétaires and tout le monde, but as yet a very vague one. Herr Grün twists this so that it gives the impression that Saint-Simon still makes this distinction. This is naturally a great mistake on the part of Saint-Simon and is only to be explained by the fact that his standpoint in the Lettres is that of abstract science. But unfortunately, in the passage in question, Saint-Simon speaks by no means about differences in a future order of society, as Herr Grün thinks. He appeals for subscriptions to mankind as a whole, which, as he finds it, appears to him to be divided into three classes; not, as Stein believes, into savants, propriétaires and tout le monde; but 1) savants and artistes and all people of liberal ideas; 2) the opponents of innovation, i.e., the propriétaires, insofar as they do not join the first class; 3) the surplus de l'humanité qui se rallie au mot: Égalité. [rest of humanity which rallies around the slogan: Equality] These three classes form tout le monde. Cf. Saint-Simon, Lettres, pp. 21, 22. Since moreover Saint-Simon says later that he considers his distribution of power advantageous to all classes, we may take it that in the place where he speaks of this distribution, p. 47, tout le monde obviously corresponds to the surplus which rallies around the slogan “equality”, without, however, excluding the other classes. Stein is roughly correct, although he pays no attention to the passage on pages 21 and 22. Herr Grün, who knows nothing of the original, clutches at Stein’s slight error and succeeds in making sheer nonsense of his argument. We soon come across an even more striking example. We learn unexpectedly on page 94, where Herr Grün is no longer speaking of Saint-Simon but of his school:

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

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

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

In a note Stein points out quite rightly that for polemical reasons Olinde Rodrigues printed this passage in large type in his 1832 edition, since it was the only reference to the emancipation of women in Saint-Simon’s work. To hide his plagiarism, Grün shifts the passage from the book to which it belongs to his discussion of the school, makes the above nonsense of it, changes Stein’s “germ” into a “seed” and childishly imagines that this passage is the origin of the doctrine of the emancipation of women. Herr Grün ventures an opinion on the contradiction which, he believes, exists between the Lettres and the Catéchisme des industriels; it consists in the fact that in the Catéchisme the rights of the travailleurs are asserted. He was bound to discover this difference, of course, because he derived his knowledge of the Lettres from Stein and Reybaud, and his knowledge of the Catéchisme similarly. Had he read Saint-Simon himself, he would have found in the Lettres not this contradiction, but a “seed” of the point of view developed among others in the Catéchisme. For example:

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

2. Political Catechism of the Industrialists[edit source]

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

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

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

Herr Grün is wrong here. He attributes to the Catéchisme a distinction which he finds set out in Stein much later, in connection with the school of Saint-Simon. Stein, page 206:

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

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

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

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

Stein, page 165:

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

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

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

Herr Grün, page 87:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. New Christianity[edit source]

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

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

At no time and in no place did Saint-Simon oppose organic to critical periods of history. This is a downright falsehood on the part of Herr Grün. Bazard was the first to make this distinction. [see Doctrine de Saint-Simon. Exposition. Première anné] Herr Grün discovered from Stein and Reybaud that in Nouveau christianisme Saint-Simon commends the criticism of Luther, but finds his positive, dogmatic doctrine faulty. Herr Grün lumps that with what he remembers was said in the same sources about the school of Saint-Simon, and out of this he fabricates the above assertion. After some florid comments on Saint-Simon’s life and works produced by Herr Grün in the manner described earlier and based exclusively on Stein and the latter’s primer, Reybaud, Herr Grün concludes by exclaiming:

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

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

4. The School of Saint Simon[edit source]

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

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

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

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

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

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

In this case Herr Grün wished to be different from Reybaud, who links the “practical dogma” with the Nouveau christianisme. Herr Grün believes this to be an invention of Reybaud’s and unceremoniously substitutes the last words of Saint-Simon for the Nouveau christianisme. He did not realise that Reybaud was only giving a literal extract from the Doctrine de Saint-Simon. Exposition. Première année, p. 70. Herr Grün cannot understand why Reybaud, after giving several extracts concerning the religious hierarchy of Saint-Simonism, should suddenly introduce the “practical dogma”. Herr Gran imagines that the hierarchy follows directly from this proposition. But in fact, the proposition can refer to a new hierarchy only when taken in conjunction with the religious ideas of the Nouveau christianisme, whereas apart from these ideas, it can demand at most a purely secular classification of society. He observes on page 91:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Science Religion

Universal Association.


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

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

Science Religion

Universal Association.


Herr Grün leaves out three sentences which are also to be found on the title-page of the Globe and which all relate to practical social reforms.[12] — They are given by both Stein and Reybaud. This enables him to change what is, so to speak, the mere window-dressing of a journal into an “outline” of the system. He conceals the fact that it appeared on the title-page of the Globe and so can criticise the whole of Saint-Simonism, as contained in the mutilated title of this newspaper, with the clever comment that religion has pride of place. He could moreover have discovered from Stein that this is by no means true of the Globe. The Globe contains the most detailed and valuable criticism of existing conditions and particularly of economic conditions — a fact however which Herr Grün could not know.

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

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

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

The Address follows, with the comment by Herr Grün:

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

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

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

And Reybaud says, p. 123:

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

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

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

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

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

The reader now has before him all that Herr Grün has to say of the Bazard period of Saint-Simonism, i.e., the period from the death of Saint-Simon to the first schism.[13] Grün is now in a position to play an elegantly critical trump, and call Bazard a “poor dialectician”. Then he continues:

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

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

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

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

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

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

We have seen that Herr Grün knows nothing of the whole economic criticism of the Saint-Simonists. Nevertheless, he manages to say something, with the help of Enfantin, about the economic consequences of Saint-Simon’s theory, to which he has already made some airy references earlier. He finds in Reybaud (p. 129 et seq.) and in Stein (p. 206) extracts from Enfantin’s Political Economy [Barthélemy — Prosper Enfantin, Economie politique et Politique] but in this case, too, he falsifies the original; for the abolition of taxes on the most essential necessaries of life, which is correctly shown by Reybaud and Stein (who base their statements on Enfantin) to be a consequence of the proposals concerning the right of inheritance, is turned by Grün into an irrelevant, independent measure in addition to these proposals. He gives further proof of his originality by falsifying the chronological order; he refers first to the priest Enfantin and Ménilmontant and then to the economist Enfantin, whereas his predecessors deal with Enfantin’s political economy during the Bazard period when they are discussing the Globe, for which it was written. [14] Just as here he includes the Bazard period in the Ménilmontant period so later, when referring to economics and to M. Chevalier, he brings in the Ménilmontant period. The occasion for this is the Livre nouveau,[15] and as usual he turns Reybaud’s conjecture that M. Chevalier was the author of this work into a categorical assertion.

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

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

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

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

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

Fourierism[edit source]

Apart from the translation of a few passages from the Quatre mouvements [Charles Fourier, Théorie des quatre mouvements et des destinies générales] on the subject of love, there is nothing here that cannot be found in a more complete form in Stein. Herr Grün dismisses morality in a sentence which a hundred other writers had uttered long before Fourier:

“Morality is, according to Fourier, nothing but the systematic endeavour to repress the human passions” (p. 147).

That is how Christian morality has always defined itself. Herr Grün makes no attempt to examine Fourier’s criticism of present-day agriculture and industry and, as far as trade is concerned, he merely translates a few general remarks from the Introduction to a section of. the Quatre mouvements (“Origine de l'économie politique et de la controverse mercantile”, pp. 332, 334 of the Quatre mouvements). Then come a few extracts from the Quatre mouvements and one from the Traité de l'association, on the French Revolution, together with the tables on civilisation, which are already known from Stein. The critical side of Fourier, his most important contribution, is thus dismissed in the most hasty and superficial fashion in twenty-eight pages of literal translation; and in these, with very few exceptions, only the most general and abstract matters are discussed, the trivial and the important being thrown together in the most haphazard way.

Herr Grün now gives us an exposition of Fourier’s system. Churoa [August Ludwig Churoa, Kritische Dorstellung der Socialtheorie Fourier’s] whose work is quoted by Stein, long ago gave us a better and more complete version. Although Herr Grün considers it “vitally necessary” to offer a profound interpretation of Fourier’s series [16], he can think of nothing better than to quote literally from Fourier himself and then, as we shall see later, to coin a few fine phrases about numbers. He does not attempt to show how Fourier came to deal with series, and how he and his disciples constructed them; he reveals nothing whatever about the inner construction of the series. It is only possible to criticise such constructions (and this applies also to the Hegelian method) by demonstrating how they are made and thereby proving oneself master of them.

Lastly, Herr Grün neglects almost entirely a matter which Stein at any rate emphasises in some measure, the opposition of travail répugnant and travail attrayant.

The most important aspect of the whole exposition is Herr Grün’s criticism of Fourier. The reader may recollect what was said above concerning the sources of Grün’s criticism. He will now see from the few examples which follow that Herr Grün first of all accepts the postulates of true socialism and then sets about exaggerating and distorting them. It need hardly be mentioned that Fourier’s distinction between capital, talent and labour offers a magnificent opportunity for a display of pretentious cleverness; one can talk at length about the impracticability and the injustice of the distinction, about the introduction of wage-labour, etc., without criticising this distinction by reference to the real relationship of labour and capital. Proudhon has already said all this infinitely better than Herr Grün, but he failed to touch upon the real issue.

Herr Grün bases his criticism of Fourier’s psychology — as indeed all his criticism — on the “essence of man":

“For human essence is all in all” (p. 190). "Fourier, too, appeals to this human essence and in his own way reveals to us its inner core” (!) “in his tabulation of the twelve passions; like all honest and reasonable people, he, too, desires to make man’s inner essence a reality, a practical reality. That which is within must also be without, and thus the distinction between the internal and the external must be altogether abolished. The history of mankind teems with socialists, if this is to be their distinguishing feature.... The important thing about everyone is what he understands by the essence of man” (p. 190).

Or rather the important thing for the true socialists is to foist upon everyone thoughts about human essence and to transform the different stages of socialism into different philosophies of human essence. This unhistorical abstraction induces Herr Grün to proclaim the abolition of all distinction between the internal and the external, which would even put a stop to the propagation of human essence. But in any case, why should the Germans brag so loudly of their knowledge of human essence, since their knowledge does not go beyond the three general attributes, intellect, emotion and will, which have been fairly universally recognised since the days of Aristotle and the Stoics. It is from the same standpoint that Herr Grün reproaches Fourier with having “cleft” man into twelve passions.

“I shall not discuss the completeness of this table, psychologically speaking; I consider it inadequate” — (whereupon the public can rest easy, “psychologically speaking”). — “Does this number give us any knowledge of what man really is? Not for a moment. Fourier might just as well have enumerated the five senses; the whole man is seen to be contained in these, if they be properly explained and their human content rightly interpreted” (as if this “human content” is not entirely dependent on the stage of development which production and human intercourse have reached). “ Indeed, it is in one sense alone that man is contained, in feeling; his feeling is different from that of the animal,” etc. (p. 205).

For the first time in his whole book, Herr Grün is obviously making an effort to say something about Fourier’s psychology from the standpoint of Feuerbach. He is obvious too that this “whole man”, contained” in a single attribute of a real individual and interpreted by the philosopher in terms of that attribute, is a complete chimera. Anyway, what sort of man is this, “man” who is not seen in his real historical activity and existence, but can be deduced from the lobe of his own ear [Hegel, Vorlesungen über die Naturphilosophie, Einleitung, § 246, Zusatz] or from some other feature which distinguishes him from the animals? Such a man “is contained” in himself, like his own pimple. Of course, the discovery that human feeling is human and not animal not only makes all psychological experiment superfluous but also constitutes a critique of all psychology.

Herr Grün finds it an easy matter to criticise Fourier’s treatment of love; he measures Fourier’s criticism of existing amorous relationships against the fantasies by which Fourier tried to get a mental image of free love. Herr Grün, the true German philistine, takes these fantasies seriously. Indeed, they are the only thing which he does take seriously. It is hard to see why, if he wanted to deal with this side of the system at all, Grün did not also enlarge upon Fourier’s remarks concerning education; they are by far the best of their kind and contain some masterly observations. Herr Grün, typical Young-German man of letters that he is, betrays, when he treats of love, how little he has learned from Fourier’s critique. In his opinion, it is of no consequence whether one proceeds from the abolition of marriage or from the abolition of private property; the one must necessarily follow upon the other. But to wish to proceed from any dissolution of marriage other than that which now exists in practice in bourgeois society, is to cherish a purely literary illusion. Fourier, as Grün might have discovered in his works, always proceeds from the transformation of production.

Herr Grün is surprised that Fourier, who always starts with inclination (it should read: attraction), should indulge in all kinds of “mathematical” experiments, for which reason he calls him the mathematical socialist”, page 203. Even if he did not take into account Fourier’s circumstances, he might well have examined a little more closely the nature of attraction. He would very soon have discovered that a natural relation of the kind cannot be accurately defined without the help of calculation. He regales us instead with a philippic against number, a philippic in which literary flourishes and Hegelian tradition are intermixed. It contains passages such as:

Fourier “calculates the molecular content of your most abnormal taste”.

Indeed, a miracle; and further:

“That civilisation, which is being so bitterly attacked, is based upon an unfeeling multiplication table.... Number is nothing definite.... What is the number one?... The number one is restless, it becomes two, three, four”

like the German country parson who is “restless” until he has a wife and nine children....

“Number stifles all that is essential and all that is real; can we halve reason or speak of a third of the truth?”

He might also have asked, can we speak of a green-coloured logarithm?...

“Number loses all sense in organic development”...

a statement of fundamental importance for physiology and organic chemistry (pp. 203, 204).

“He who makes number the measure of all things becomes, nay, is an egoist.”

By a piece of wilful exaggeration, he links to this sentence another, which he has taken over from Hess (see above):

“Fourier’s whole plan of organisation is based exclusively upon egoism.... Fourier is the very worst expression of civilised egoism” (pp. 206, 208).

He supplies immediate proof of this by relating that, in Fourier’s world order, the poorest member eats from forty dishes every day, that five meals are eaten daily, that people live to the age of 144 and so on. With a naive sense of humour Fourier opposes a Gargantuan view of man to the unassuming mediocrity of the men of the Restoration period; but Herr Grün only sees in this a chance of moralising in his philistine way upon the most innocent side of Fourier’s fancy, which he abstracts from the rest.

While reproaching Fourier for his interpretation of the French Revolution, Herr Grün gives us a glimpse of his own insight into the revolutionary age:

“If association had only been known of forty years earlier” (so he makes Fourier say), “the Revolution could have been avoided. But how” (asks Herr Grün) “did it come about that Turgot, the Minister, recognised the right to work and that, in spite of this, Louis XVI lost his head? After all, it would have been easier to discharge the national debt by means of the right to work than by means of hen’s eggs” (p. 211).

Herr Grün overlooks the trifling fact that the right to work, which Turgot speaks of, is none other than free competition and that this very free competition needed the Revolution in order to establish itself.

The substance of Herr Grün’s criticism of Fourier is that Fourier failed to subject “civilisation” to a “fundamental criticism”. And why did he fail? Here is the reason:

“The manifestations of civilisation have been criticised but not its basis; it has been abhorred and ridiculed as it exists, but its roots have not been examined. Neither politics nor religion have undergone a searching criticism and for that reason the essence of man has not yet been examined” (p. 209).

So Herr Grün declares that the real living conditions of men are manifestations, whereas religion and politics are the basis and the root of these manifestations. This threadbare statement shows that the true socialists put forward the ideological phrases of German philosophy as truths superior to the real expositions of the French socialists; it shows at the same time that they try to link the true object of their own investigations, human essence, to the results of French social criticism. If one assumes religion and politics to be the basis of material living conditions, then it is only natural that everything should amount in the last instance to an investigation of human essence, i.e., of man’s consciousness of himself. — One can see, incidentally, how little Herr Grün minds what he copies; in a later passage and in the Rheinische Jahrbücher as well, he appropriates, in his own manner, what the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher had to say about the relation of citoyen and bourgeois, which directly contradicts the statement he makes above. We have reserved to the end the exposition of a statement concerning production and consumption which true socialism confided to Herr Grün. It is a striking example of how Herr Grün uses the postulates of true socialism as a standard by which to measure the achievements of the French and how, by tearing the former out of their complete vagueness, he reveals them to be utter nonsense.

“Production and consumption can be separated temporally and spatially, in theory and in external reality, but in essence they are one. Is not the commonest occupation, e.g., the baking of bread, a productive activity, which is in its turn consumption for a hundred others? Is it not, indeed, consumption on the part of the baker himself, who consumes corn, water, milk, eggs, etc.? Is not the consumption of shoes and clothes production on the part of cobblers and tailors?... Do I not produce when I cat bread? I produce on an enormous scale. I produce mills, kneading-troughs, ovens and consequently ploughs, harrows, flails, mill-wheels, the labour of wood-workers and masons” (“and consequently”, carpenters, masons and peasants, “consequently”, their parents, “consequently”, their whole ancestry, “consequently”, Adam). “Do I not consume when I produce? On a huge scale, too.... If I read a book, I consume first of all the product of whole years of work; if I keep it or destroy it, I consume the material and the activity of the paper-mill, the printing-press and the bookbinder. But do I produce nothing? I produce perhaps a new book and thereby new paper, new type, new printer’s ink, new bookbinding tools; if I merely read it and a thousand others read it too, we produce by our consumption a new edition and all the materials necessary for its manufacture. The manufacturers of all these consume on their part a mass of raw material which must be produced and which can only be produced through the medium of consumption.... In a word, activity and enjoyment are one, only a perverse world has torn them asunder and has thrust between them the concept of value and price., by means of this concept it has torn man asunder and with man, society” (pp. 191, 192).

Production and consumption are, in reality, frequently opposed to one another. But in order to restore the unity of the two and resolve all contradictions, one need only interpret these contradictions correctly and comprehend the true nature of production and consumption. Thus this German ideological theory fits the existing world perfectly; the unity of production and consumption is proved by means of examples drawn from present-day society, it exists in itself. Herr Grün demonstrates first of all that there actually does exist a relationship between production and consumption. He argues that he cannot wear a coat or eat bread unless both are produced and that there exist in modern society people who produce coats, shoes and bread which other people consume. This idea is, in Herr Grün’s opinion, a new one. He clothes it in his classical, literary-ideological language. For example:

“It is believed that the enjoyment of coffee, sugar, etc., is mere consumption; but is this enjoyment not, in fact, production in the colonies?”

He might just as well have asked: Does not this enjoyment imply that Negro slaves enjoy the lash and that floggings are produced in the colonies? One can see that the outcome of such exuberance as this is simply an apology for existing conditions. Herr Grün’s second idea is that when he produces, he consumes, namely raw material, the costs of production in fact; this is the discovery that nothing can be created out of nothing, that he must have material. He would have found set out in any ‘ political economy, under the heading “productive consumption”, the complicated relations which this involves if one does not restrict oneself, like Herr Grün, to the trivial fact that shoes cannot be made without leather. So far, Herr Grün has realised that it is necessary to produce in order to consume and that raw material is consumed in the productive process. His real difficulties begin when he wishes to prove that he produces when he consumes. Herr Grün now makes a completely ineffective attempt to enlighten himself in some small degree upon the most commonplace and general aspects of the connection between supply and demand. He does discover that his consumption, i.e., his demand, produces a fresh supply. But he forgets that his demand must be effective, that he must offer an equivalent for the product desired, if his demand is to cause fresh production. The economists too refer to the inseparability of consumption and production and to the absolute identity of supply and demand, especially when they wish to prove that overproduction never takes place; but they never perpetrate anything so clumsy, so trivial as Herr Grün. This is moreover the same sort of argument that the aristocracy, the clergy, the rentiers, etc., have always used to prove their own productivity. Herr Grün forgets, further, that the bread which is produced today by steam-mills, was produced earlier by wind-mills and water-mills and earlier still by hand-mills; he forgets that these different methods of production are quite independent of the actual eating of the bread and that we are faced, therefore, with an historical development of the productive process. Of course, producing as he does on “an enormous scale”, Herr Grün never thinks of this. He has no inkling of the fact that these different stages of production involve different relations of production to consumption, different contradictions of the two; it does not occur to him that to understand these contradictions one must examine the particular mode of production, together with the whole set of social conditions based upon it; and that only by actually changing the mode of production and the entire social system based upon it can these contradictions be solved. While the other examples given by Herr Grün prove that he surpasses even the most undistinguished economists in banality, his example of the book shows that these economists are far more “humane” than he is. They do not demand that as soon as he has consumed a book he should produce another! They are content that he should produce his own education by his consumption and so exert a favourable influence upon production in general. Herr Grün’s productive consumption is transformed into a real miracle, since he omits the connecting link, the cash payment; he makes it superfluous by simply ignoring it, but in fact it alone makes his demand effective. He reads, and by the mere fact of his reading, he enables the type-founders, the paper manufacturers and the printers to produce new type, new paper and new books. The mere fact of his consumption compensates them all for their costs of production. Incidentally, in the foregoing examination we have amply demonstrated the virtuosity with which Herr Grün produces new books from old by merely reading the latter, and with which he incurs the gratitude of the commercial world by his activities as a producer of new paper, new type, new printer’s ink and new bookbinding tools. Grün ends the first letter in his book with the words:

“I am on the point of plunging into industry.”

Herr Grün never once belies this motto of his in the whole of his book.

What did all his activity amount to? In order to prove the true socialist proposition of the unity of production and consumption, Herr Grün has recourse to the most commonplace economic statements concerning supply and demand; moreover, he adapts these to his purpose simply by omitting the necessary connecting links, thereby transforming them into pure fantasies. The essence of all this is, therefore, an ill-informed and fantastic transfiguration of existing conditions.

In his socialistic conclusion, he lisps, characteristically, the phrases he has learned from his German predecessors. Production and consumption are separated because a perverse world has torn them asunder. How did this perverse world set about it? It thrust a concept between the two. By so doing, it tore man asunder. Not content with this, it thereby tears society, i.e., itself, asunder, too. This tragedy took place in 1845.

The true socialists originally understood the unity of consumption and production to mean that activity shall itself involve enjoyment (for them, of course, a purely fanciful notion). According to Herr Grün’s further definition of that unity, “consumption and production, economically speaking, must coincide” (p. 196); there must be no surplus of products over and above the immediate needs of consumption, which means, of course, the end of any movement whatsoever. With an air of importance, he therefore reproaches Fourier with wishing to disturb this unity by over-production. Herr Grün forgets that over-production causes crises only through its influence on the exchange value of products and that not only with Fourier but also in Herr Grün’s perfect world exchange value has disappeared. All that one can say of this philistine rubbish is that it is worthy of true socialism.

With the utmost complacency, Herr Grün repeats again and again his commentary on the true socialist theory of production and consumption. For example, he tells us in the course of a discussion of Proudhon:

“Preach the social freedom of the consumers and you will have true equality of production” (p. 433).

Preaching this is an easy matter! All that has hitherto been wrong has been that

“consumers have been uneducated, uncultured, they do not all consume in a human way” (p. 432). “The view that consumption is the measure of production, instead of the contrary, is the death of every hitherto existing economic theory” (ibid.). “The real solidarity of mankind, indeed, bears out the truth of the proposition that the consumption of each presupposes the consumption of all” (ibid.).

Within the competitive system, the consumption of each presupposes more or less continuously the consumption of all, just as the production of each presupposes the production of all. It is merely a question of how, in what way, this is so. Herr Grün’s only answer to this is the moral postulate of human consumption, the recognition of the “essential nature of consumption” (p. 432). Since he knows nothing of the real relations of production and consumption, he has to take refuge in human essence, the last hiding-place of the true socialists. For the same reason, he insists on proceeding from consumption instead of from production. If you proceed from production, you necessarily concern yourself with the real conditions of production and with the productive activity of men. But if you proceed from consumption, you can set your mind at rest by merely declaring that consumption is not at present “human”, and by postulating “human consumption”, education for true consumption and so on. You can be content with such phrases, without bothering at all about the real living conditions and the activity of men.

It should be mentioned in conclusion that precisely those economists who took consumption as their starting-point happened to be reactionary and ignored the revolutionary element in competition and large-scale industry.

The “Limitations of Papa Cabet” and Herr Grün[edit source]

Herr Grün concludes his digression on the school of Fourier and on Herr Reybaud with the following words:

“I wish to make the organisers of labour conscious of their essence, I wish to show them historically where they have sprung front ... these hybrids ... who cannot claim as their own even the least of their thoughts. And later, perhaps, I shall find space to make an example of Herr Reybaud, not only of Herr Reybaud, but also of Herr Jay. The former is, in reality, not so bad, he is merely stupid; but the latter is more than stupid, he is learned. "And so”... (p. 260).

The gladiatorial posture into which Herr Grün throws himself, his threats against Reybaud, his contempt for learning, his resounding promises, these are all sure signs that something portentous is stirring within him. Fully “conscious of his essence” as we are, we infer from these symptoms that Herr Grün is on the point of carrying out a most tremendous plagiaristic coup. To anyone who has had experience of his tactics, his bragging loses all ingenuousness and turns out to be always a matter of sly calculation.

“And so":

A chapter follows headed:

“The Organisation of Labour!"

Where did this thought originated — In France. — But how?”

it is also labelled:

“Review of the Eighteenth Century.”

“Where did this” chapter of Herr Grün’s “originate? — In France. — But how?” The reader will find out without delay.

it should not be forgotten that Herr Grün wants to make the French organisers of labour [17] conscious of their essence by an historical exposition in the profound German style.

And so.

When Herr Grün realised that Cabet “had his limitations” and that his “mission had been completed long ago” (which he had known for a long time), it did not, “of course, mean an end of everything”. On the contrary, by arbitrarily selecting a few quotations from Cabet and stringing them together he laid upon Cabet the new mission: to provide the French “background” to Herr Grün’s German history of socialist development in the eighteenth century.

How does he set about his task? He reads “productively”.

The twelfth and thirteenth chapters of Cabet’s Voyage en Icarie contain a motley collection of the opinions of ancient and modern authorities in favour of communism. He does not claim that he is tracing an historical movement. The French bourgeois view communism as a suspicious character. Good, says Cabet, in that case, men of the utmost respectability from every age will testify to the good character of my client; and Cabet proceeds exactly like a lawyer. Even the most adverse evidence becomes in his hands favourable to his client. One cannot demand historical accuracy in a legal defence. If a famous man happens to let fall a word against money, or inequality, or wealth, or social evils, Cabet seizes upon it, begs him to repeat it, puts it forward as the man’s declaration of faith, has it printed, applauds it and cries with ironic good humour to his irritated bourgeois: “Hear what he has to say! Was he not a communist?"’ No one escapes him. Montesquieu, Sieyès, Lamartine, even Guizot — communists all malgré eux. Voilà the communist all complete!

Herr Grün, in a productive mood, reads the quotations collected by Cabet, representing the eighteenth century; he never doubts for a moment the essential rightness of it all; he improvises for the benefit of the reader a mystical connection between the writers whose names happen to be mentioned by Cabet on one page, pours over the whole his Young-German literary slops and then gives it the title which we saw above.

And so.

Herr Grün:

Herr Grün introduces his review with the following words:

“The social idea did not fall from heaven, it is organic, i.e., it arose by a process of gradual development. I cannot write here its complete history, I cannot commence with the Indians and the Chinese and proceed to Persia, Egypt and Judaea. I cannot question the Greeks and Romans about their social consciousness, I cannot take the evidence of Christianity, Neo-Platonism and patristic philosophy,[18] I cannot listen to what the Middle Ages and the Arabs have to say, nor can I examine the Reformation and philosophy during the period of its awakening and so on up to the eighteenth century” (p. 261).


Cabet introduces his quotations with the following words:

“You claim, foes of common ownership, that there is but a scanty weight of opinion in its favour. Well then, before your very eyes, I am going to take the evidence of history and of every philosopher. Listen! I shall not linger to tell you of those peoples of the past who practised community of goods! Nor shall I linger over the Hebrews ... nor the Egyptian priesthood, nor Minos ... Lycurgus and Pythagoras.... I shall make no mention of Confucius, nor of Zoroaster, who proclaimed, the one in China, the other in Persia ... this principle.”

After the passages given above, Cabet investigates Greek and Roman history, takes the evidence of Christianity, of Neo-Platonism, of the Fathers of the Church, of the Middle Ages, of the Reformation and of philosophy during the period of its awakening. Cf. Cabet, pp. 471-82. Herr Grün leaves others “more patient than himself” to copy these eleven pages, “provided the dust of erudition has left them the necessary humanism to do so” (that is, to copy them). (Grün, p. 261.) Only the social consciousness of the Arabs belongs to Herr Grün. We await longingly the disclosures about it which he has to offer the world. “I must restrict myself to the eighteenth century.” Let us follow Herr Grün into the eighteenth century, remarking only that Grün underlines almost the very same words as Cabet.

Herr Grün: Cabet:
“Locke, the founder of sensationism, observes: He whose possessions exceed his needs, oversteps the bounds of reason and of original justice and steals that which belongs to others. Every surplus is usurpation, and the sight of the needy must awaken remorse in the soul of the wealthy. Corrupt men, you who roll in luxury and pleasures, tremble lest one day the wretch who lacks the necessities of life shall truly come to know the rights of man. Fraud, faithlessness and avarice have produced that inequality of possessions which is the great misfortune of the human race by piling up all sorts of sufferings, on the one hand, beside riches, on the other, beside destitution. The philosopher must, therefore, regard the use of money as one of the most pernicious inventions of human industry” (p. 266). “But here we have Locke, who exclaims in his admirable Civil Government: ‘He who possesses in excess of his needs, oversteps the bounds of reason and of original justice and appropriates the property of others. All excess is usurpation, and the sight of the needy ought to awaken remorse in the soul of the wealthy. Perverse men, you who roll in riches and pleasures, tremble lest one day the wretch. who lacks the necessities of life truly apprehend the rights of man.’ Heat. him exclaim again: ‘Fraud, bad faith, avarice have produced that inequality of means, which, by piling on the one hand wealth and vice and on the other poverty and suffering, constitutes the great misfortune of the human race.... The philosopher must, therefore, regard the use of money as one of the most fatal inventions of human industry.” (p. 485).

Herr Grün concludes from these quotations of Cabet’s that Locke is “an opponent of the monetary system” (p. 264), “a most outspoken opponent of money and of all property which exceeds the limits of need” (p. 266). Locke was, unfortunately, one of the first scientific champions of the monetary system, a most uncompromising advocate of the flogging of vagabonds and paupers, one of the doyens of modern political economy.

Herr Grün: Cabet:
“Already Bossuet, the Bishop of Meaux, says in his Politics Derived from Holy Scripture: ‘Without governments’ ('without politics’ — an absurd interpolation on the part of Herr Grün) ‘the earth with all its goods would be the common property of men, just as much as air and light; no man, according to the original law of nature, has a particular right to anything. All things belong to all men; it is from civil government that property results.’ A priest in the seventeenth century has the honesty to say such things as these; to express such views as these! And the German Puffendorf, whom one” (i.e., Herr Grün) “knows only through one of Schiller’s epigrams,’ was of the following opinion: ‘The present inequality of means is an injustice which involves all other inequalities by reason of the insolence of the rich and the cowardice of the poor"’ (p. 270). Herr Grün adds: “We shall not digress; let us remain in France.” “Listen to Baron von Puffendorf, a professor of natural law in Germany and a Councillor of State in Stockholm arid Berlin, a man who in his law of nature and nations refutes the doctrine of Hobbes and Grotius concerning absolute monarchy, who proclaims natural equality, fraternity, and primitive community of goods, and who recognises property to be a human institution, the result of a distribution of goods, by common consent, to the end that all, and particularly the workers, may be assured of permanent possession, undivided or divided, and that, in consequence, the existing inequality of possessions is an injustice which only involves the other inequalities in consequence of the insolence of the rich and the cowardice of the poor.

“And does not Bossuet, the Bishop of Meaux, the preceptor of the French Dauphin, the famous Bossuet, recognise also in his Politique tirée de l'Ecriture sainte — written for the Dauphin — that, were it not for governments, the earth and all goods would be as common to men as air and light; according to the primary law of nature, no one has a particular right to anything — , all things belong to all men and it is from civil government that property springs.” (p. 486).

The substance of Herr Grün’s “digression” from France is that Cabet quotes a German. Grün even spells the German name in the incorrect French fashion. Apart from his occasional mistranslations and omissions, he surprises us by his improvements. Cabet speaks first of Puffendorf and then of Bossuet; Herr Grün speaks first of Bossuet and then of Puffendorf. Cabet speaks of Bossuet as a famous man; Herr Grün calls him a “priest”. Cabet quotes Puffendorf with all his titles; Herr Grün makes the frank admission that one knows him only from one of Schiller’s epigrams. Now he knows him also from one of Cabet’s quotations, and it is apparent that the Frenchman, with all his limitations, has made a closer study than Herr Gran not only of his own countrymen, but of the Germans as well.

Cabet says: “I must make haste to deal with the great philosophers of the eighteenth century; I shall begin with Montesquieu” (p. 487). In order to reach Montesquieu, Herr Grün begins with a sketch of the “legislative genius of the eighteenth century” (p. 282). Compare their various quotations from Montesquieu, Mably, Rousseau, Turgot. It suffices here to compare Cabet and Herr Grün on Rousseau and Turgot. Cabet proceeds from Montesquieu to Rousseau. Herr Grün constructs this transition: “Rousseau was the radical and Montesquieu the constitutional politician.”

Herr Grün quotes from Rousseau: Cabet:
“The greatest evil has already been done when one has to defend the poor and restrain the rich, etc.”. ...... (ends with the words) “hence it follows that the social state is only advantageous to men if they all of them have something and none has too much.” According to Herr Grün, Rousseau becomes “confused and quite vague when he has to answer the question: what transformation does the previous form of property undergo when primitive man enters into society? What does he answer? He answers: Nature has made all goods common” ... (ends with the words) “if a distribution takes place the share of each becomes his property” (pp. 284, 285). “Listen now to Rousseau, the author of the immortal Social Contract — listen: ‘Men are equal by right. Nature has made all goods common... it distribution takes place the share of each becomes his property. In all cases the sole proprietor of all goods is society.’ Listen again: ... ‘hence it follows that the social state is only advantageous to men inasmuch as they all have something and none has too much’. “Listen, listen again to Rousseau in his Political Economy [Économie ou OEconomie (Morale et Politique)]: The greatest evil has already been done when one has to defend the poor and restrain the rich.” etc., etc. (pp. 489, 490).

Herr Grün makes two brilliant innovations:, firstly, he merges the quotations from the Contrat social and the Économie politique and, secondly, he begins where Cabet ends. Cabet names the titles of the writings of Rousseau from which he quotes, Herr Grün suppresses them. The explanation of these tactics is, perhaps, that Cabet is speaking of Rousseau’s Économie politique, which Herr Grün does not know, even from an epigram of Schiller. Although Herr Grün is conversant with all the secrets of the Encyclopedia (cf. p. 263), it was a secret for him that Rousseau’s Économie politique is none other than the article in the Encyclopédie on political economy.

Let us pass on to Turgot. Herr Grün is not content here with merely copying the quotations; he actually transcribes the sketch that Cabet gives of Turgot.

Herr Grün: Cabet:
“One of the noblest and most futile attempts to establish a new order on the foundations of the old, everywhere on the point of collapse, was made by Turgot. It was in vain. The aristocracy brought about an artificial famine, instigated revolts, intrigued and spread calumnies against him until the debonair Louis dismissed his Minister. — The aristocracy would not listen, therefore, it had to suffer. Human development always avenges fearfully those good angels who utter the last urgent warning before a catastrophe. The French people blessed Turgot, Voltaire wished to kiss his hand before he died, the King had called him his friend.... Turgot, the Baron, the Minister, one of the last feudal lords, pondered the idea that a domestic press ought to be invented so as to make freedom of the press completely secure” (pp. 289, 290). “Yet while the King declared that he and his Minister (Turgot) were the only friends the people had at court, while the people heaped blessings upon him, while the philosophers overwhelmed him with admiration, while Voltaire wished to kiss before he died the hand which had signed so many improvements for the people, the aristocracy conspired against him, even organised a vast famine, and stirred up insurrections in order to destroy him; by its intrigues and calumnies it succeeded in turning the Paris salons against the reformer and in destroying Louis XVI himself by forcing him to dismiss the virtuous Minister who would have saved him.” “Let us return to Turgot, a Baron, a Minister of Louis XVI during the first year of his reign, one who desired to reform abuses, who carried through a mass of reforms, who wished to establish a new language; a man who actually tried to invent a domestic press in order to ensure the freedom of the press.” (p. 495).

Cabet calls Turgot a Baron and a Minister, Herr Grün copies this much from him, but by way of improving on Cabet, he changes the youngest son of the prévôt of the Paris merchants into “one of the oldest of the feudal lords”. Cabet is wrong in attributing the famine and the uprising of 1775[19] to the machinations of the aristocracy. Up to the present, no one has discovered who was behind the outcry about the famine and the movement connected with it. But in any case the parliaments and popular prejudice had far more to do with it than the aristocracy. It is quite in order for Herr Grün to copy this error of “poor limited Papa” Cabet. He believes in him as in a gospel. On Cabet’s authority Herr Grün numbers Turgot among the communists, Turgot, one of the leaders of the physiocratic school, the most resolute champion of free competition, the defender of usury, the mentor of Adam Smith. Turgot was a great man, since his actions were in accordance with the time in which he lived and not with the illusions of Herr Grün, the origin of which we have shown already.

Let us now pass to the men of the French Revolution. Cabet greatly embarrasses his bourgeois opponent by numbering Sieyès among the forerunners of communism, by reason of the fact that he recognised equality of rights, and considered that only the state sanctions property (Cabet, pp. 499-502). Herr Grün, who “is fated to find the French mind inadequate and superficial every time that he comes into close contact with it”, cheerfully copies this, and imagines that an old party leader like Cabet is destined to preserve the “humanism” of Herr Grün from “the dust of erudition”. Cabet continues: “Ecoutez le fameux Mirabeau!” (p. 504). Herr Grün says: “Listen to Mirabeau!” (p. 292) and quotes some of the passages stressed by Cabet, in which Mirabeau advocates the equal division of bequeathed property among brothers and sisters. Herr Grün exclaims: “Communism for the family!” (p. 292). On this principle, Herr Grün could go through the whole range of bourgeois institutions, finding in all of them traces’ of communism, so that taken as a whole they could be said to represent perfect communism. He could christen the Code Napoléon a Code de la communauté! And he could discover communist colonies in the brothels, barracks and prisons.Let us conclude these tiresome quotations with Condorcet. A comparison of the two books will show the reader very clearly that Herr Grün now omits passages, now merges them, now quotes titles, now suppresses them, leaves out the chronological dates but meticulously follows Cabet’s order, even when Cabet does not proceed strictly in accordance with chronology, and he achieves in the end nothing more than an abridgement of Cabet, poorly and timidly disguised.

Herr Grün: Cabet:
Condorcet is a radical Girondist. He recognises the injustice of the distribution of property, he absolves the poor from blame ... if the people are somewhat dishonest on principle, the cause lies in the institutions themselves. “Listen to Condorcet, who maintained in his reply to the Berlin Academy” ... “'It is therefore entirely because the institutions are evil that the people are so frequently a little dishonest on principle.'
“In his journal, Social Education he even tolerates large-scale capitalists

"Condorcet moved that the Legislative Assembly should divide the 100 millions owned by the three princes who emigrated into 100,000 parts he organises education and the establishment of public assistance” (cf. the original text).

“Listen to what he has to say in his journal L'instruction sociale ... he even tolerates large-scale capitalists.” etc

"Listen to one of the Girondist leaders, the philosopher Condorcet, from the tribune of the Legislative Assembly, on the 6th July, 1792: ‘Decree that the possessions of the three French princes (Louis XVIII, Charles X and the Prince of Condé) be immediately put up for sale ... they amount to almost 100 millions, and you will replace three princes by 100 thousand citizens ... organise education and institutions for public assistance.'

“In his report on public education to the Legislative Assembly, Condorcet says: ‘The object of education and the duty of the political authorities ... is to offer every member of the human race the means of satisfying his needs, etc."’ (Herr Grim changes the report of the Committee on Condorcet’s plan into a report by Condorcet himself.) (Grün, pp. 293, 294.) “But listen to the Committee of Public Education, presenting to the Legislative Assembly on the 20th April, 1792 its report on the plan of education drawn up by Condorcet: ‘Public education should offer to every individual the means of providing for his needs ... such ought to be the first aim of national education and from this point of view it is a duty which justice demands of the political authorities.'”, etc. (pp. 502, 503, 505, 509).

By this shameless copying from Cabet, Herr Grün, using the historical method, endeavours to make the French organisers of labour conscious of their essence; he proceeds moreover according to the principle: Divide et impera. He unhesitatingly interpolates among his quotations his definitive verdict on persons whose acquaintance he made a moment ago by reading a passage about them; then he inserts a few phrases about the French Revolution and divides the whole into two halves by the use of a few quotations from Morelly. Just at the right moment for Herr Grün Morelly was en vogue in Paris, through the efforts of Villegardelle; and the most important passages from Morelly’s work had been translated in the Paris Vorwärts! long before Herr Grün came upon the scene. We shall adduce only one or two glaring examples of Herr Grün’s slipshod method of translation.


“Self-interest perverts the heart and embitters our dearest ties, transforming them into heavy chains, which in our society married couples detest and at the same time detest themselves.

Herr Grün:

“Self-interest renders the heart unnatural and embitters the dearest ties, transforming them into heavy chains, which our married people detest and they detest themselves into the bargain” (p. 274).

Utter nonsense.


“Our soul contracts such a terrific thirst that it chokes in quenching it “'

Herr Grün:

“Our soul ... contracts ... so furious a thirst that it suffocates itself in order to quench it” (ibid.).

Again utter nonsense.


“Those who claim to control our morals and dictate our laws.”

Herr Grün:

“Those who pretend to control our morals and dictate our laws”, etc. (p. 275).

All three mistakes occur in a single passage of Morelly which takes up fourteen lines in Herr Grün’s book. In his exposition of Morelly there are also numerous plagiarisms from Villegardelle. Herr Grün is able to sum up all his knowledge of the eighteenth century and of the Revolution in the following lines:

“Sensualism, deism and theism together stormed the old world. The old world crumbled. When a new world came to be built, deism was victorious in the Constituent Assembly, theism in the Convention, while pure sensualism was beheaded or silenced” (p. 263).

Here we have the philosophic habit of dismissing history with a few categories proper to ecclesiastical history; Herr Grün reduces it to its basest form, to a mere literary phrase, which serves only to adorn his plagiarisms. Avis aux philosophes!’ [a warning to the philosophers!]

We skip Herr Grün’s remarks about communism. His historical notes are copied from Cabet’s brochures, and the Voyage en Icarie is viewed from the standpoint adopted by true socialism (cf. Bürgerbuch and Rheinische Jahrbücher [Karl Grün, “Feuerbach und die Socialisten” and “Politik und Sozialismus"]). Herr Grün shows his knowledge of French, and at the same time of English, conditions by calling Cabet the “communist O'Connell of France” (p. 382), and then says:

“He would be ready to have me hanged if he had the power and knew what I think and write about him. These agitators are dangerous for men such as us, because their intelligence is limited” (p. 382).

Proudhon[edit source]

Herr Stein revealed his intellectual poverty in no uncertain way by treating Proudhon en bagatelle” (cf. Einundzwanzig Bogen, p. 84 [Moses Hess, “Socialismus und Communismus"]). “One needs something more than Hegel’s old twaddle to follow this logic incarnate” (p. 411).

A few examples may show that Herr Grün remains true to his nature in this section too.

He translates (on pages 437-44) several excerpts from the economic arguments adduced by Proudhon to prove that property is intolerable and finally exclaims:

“To this critique of property, which is the complete liquidation of property, we need add nothing. We have no desire to write a new critique, abolishing in its turn equality of production and the isolation of equal workers. I have already in an earlier passage indicated what is necessary. The rest” (that is, what Herr Grün has not indicated) “we shall see when society is rebuilt, when true property relations are established” (p. 444).

In this way Herr Grün tries to avoid a close investigation of Proudhon’s economic arguments and, at the same time, to rise superior to them. Proudhon’s whole set of proofs is wrong; however, Herr Grün will realise that, as soon as someone else has proved it. The comments on Proudhon made in Die heilige Familie — in particular those stressing that Proudhon criticises political economy from the standpoint of political economy, and law from the legal standpoint — are copied by Herr Grün. But he has understood so little of the problem that he omits the essential point, [namely] that Proudhon vindicates the illusions cherished by jurists and economists [as against] their practice; with regard to the foregoing statement he produces a set of nonsensical [phrases].

The most important thing in Proudhon’s book De la création de l'ordre dans l'humanité is his dialectique sérielle, the attempt to establish a method of thought in which the process of thinking is substituted for independent thoughts. Proudhon is looking, from the French standpoint, for a dialectic method such as Hegel has indeed given us. A relationship with Hegel therefore exists here really and does not need to be constructed by means of some imaginative analogy. It would have been an easy matter to offer a criticism of Proudhon’s dialectics if the criticism of Hegel’s had been mastered. But this was hardly to be expected of the true socialists, since the philosopher Feuerbach himself, to whom they lay claim, did not manage to produce one. Herr Grün makes a highly diverting attempt to shirk his task. At the very moment when he should have brought his heavy German artillery into play, he decamps with an indecent gesture. First of all he fills several pages with translations, and then explains to Proudhon, with boisterous literary capiatio benevolentiae, [attempt to win good will] that his dialectique sérielle is merely an excuse for showing off his learning. He does indeed try to console Proudhon by addressing him as follows:

“Ah, my dear friend, make no mistake about being a man of learning” (or “tutor”). “We have had to forget everything that our school-masters and our university hacks” (with the exception of Stein, Reybaud and Cabet) “have tried to impart to us with such infinite labour and to our mutual disgust” (p. [457]).

As a proof that now Herr Grün no longer absorbs knowledge with such infinite labour”, although perhaps with just as much “disgust”, we may note that he begins his socialist studies and letters in Paris on November 6th [and] by the following January 20th has “inevitably” [not] only concluded his studies but has also finished the [exposition of] his

“really complete impression of the entire process”.

V. “Doctor Georg Kuhlmann Of Holstein” Or The Prophecies of True Socialism[edit source]

The New World, or The Kingdom of the Spirit upon Earth. Annunciation [20]

“A man was needed” (so runs the preface) “who would give utterance to all our sorrows, all our longings and all our hopes, to everything, in a word, which moves our age most deeply. And in the midst of this stress and turmoil of doubt and of longing he had to emerge from the solitude of the spirit bearing the solution of the riddle, the living symbols of which encompass us all. This man, whom our age was awaiting, has appeared. He is Dr. Georg Kuhlmann of Holstein.

August Becker, the writer of these lines, thus allowed himself to be persuaded, by a person of a very simple mind and very ambiguous character, that not a single riddle has yet been solved, not a single vital energy aroused — that the communist movement, which has already gripped all civilised countries, is an empty nut whose kernel cannot be discovered; that it is a universal egg, laid by some great universal hen without the aid of a cock — whereas the true kernel and the true cock of the walk is Dr. Georg Kuhlmann of Holstein!...

This great universal cock turns out, however, to be a perfectly ordinary capon who has fed for a while on the German artisans in Switzerland and who cannot escape his due fate.

Far be it from us to consider Dr. Kuhlmann of Holstein to be a commonplace charlatan and a cunning fraud, who does not himself believe in the efficacy of his elixir of life and who merely applies his science of longevity to the preservation of life in his own body — no, we are well aware that the inspired doctor is a spiritualistic charlatan, a pious fraud, a mystical old fox, but one who, like all his kind, is none too scrupulous in his choice of means, since his own person is intimately connected with his sacred mission. Indeed, sacred missions are always intimately bound up with the holy beings who pursue them; for such missions are of a purely idealistic nature and exist only in the mind. All idealists, philosophic and religious, ancient and modern, believe in inspirations, in revelations, saviours, miracle-workers; whether their belief takes a crude, religious, or a refined, philosophic, form depends only upon their cultural level, just as the degree of energy which they possess, their character, their social position, etc., determine whether their attitude to a belief in miracles is a passive or an active one, i.e., whether they are shepherds performing miracles or whether they are sheep; they further determine whether the aims they pursue are theoretical or practical.

Kuhlmann is a very energetic person and a man of some philosophic education; his attitude to miracles is by no means a passive one and the aims which he pursues are very practical.

All that August Becker has in common with him is the national infirmity of mind. The good fellow

“pities those who cannot bring themselves to see that the will and the ideas of an age can only he expressed by individuals”.

For the idealist, every movement designed to transform the world exists only in the head of some chosen being, and the fate of the world depends on whether this head, which is endowed with all wisdom as its own private property, is or is not mortally wounded by some realistic stone before it has had time to make its revelation.

“Or is this not the case?” adds August Becker defiantly. “Assemble all the philosophers and the theologians of the age, let them take counsel and register their votes, and then see what comes of it all!”

The whole of historical development consists, according to the ideologist, in the theoretical abstractions of that development which have taken shape in the “heads” of all “the philosophers and theologians of the age”, and since it is impossible to “assemble” all these “heads” and induce them to “take counsel and register their votes”, there must of necessity be one sacred head, the apex of all these philosophical and theological heads, and this top head is the speculative unity of all these block-heads — the saviour. This “cranium” system is as old as the Egyptian pyramids, with which it has many similarities, and as new as the Prussian monarchy, in the capital of which it has recently been resurrected in a rejuvenated form. The idealistic Dalai Lamas have this much in common with their real counterpart: they would like to persuade themselves that the world from which they derive their subsistence could not continue without their holy excrement. As soon as this idealistic folly is put into practice, its malevolent nature is apparent: its clerical lust for power, its religious fanaticism, its charlatanry, its pietistic hypocrisy, its unctuous deceit. Miracles are the asses’ bridge leading from the kingdom of the idea to practice. Dr. Georg Kuhlmann of Holstein is just such an asses’ bridge — he is inspired — his magic words cannot fail to move the most stable of mountains. How consoling for those patient creatures who cannot summon up enough energy to blast these mountains with natural powder! What a source of confidence to the blind and timorous who cannot see the material coherence which underlies the diverse scattered manifestations of the revolutionary movement!

“There has been lacking, up to now, a rallying point,” says August Becker.

Saint George overcomes all concrete obstacles with the greatest of ease by transforming — all concrete things into ideas; he then pronounces himself the speculative unity of the latter, and this enables him to “rule and regulate them":

“The society of ideas is the world. And their unity regulates and rules the world” (p. 138).

Our prophet wields all the power he can possibly desire in this “society of ideas”.

“Led by our own idea, we will wander, hither and thither, and contemplate everything in the minutest detail, as far as our time requires” (p. 138).

What a speculative unity of nonsense!

But paper is long-suffering, and the German public, to whom the prophet issued his oracular pronouncements, knew so little of the philosophic development in its own country that it did not even notice how, in his speculative oracular pronouncements, the great prophet merely reiterated the most decrepit philosophic phrases and adapted them to his practical aims.

Just as medical miracle-workers and miraculous cures are made possible by ignorance of the laws of the natural world, so social miracle-workers and miraculous social cures depend upon ignorance of the laws of the social world — and the witch-doctor of Holstein is none other than the socialistic miracle-working shepherd of Niederempt.

The first revelation which this miracle-working shepherd makes to his flock is as follows:

“I see before me an assembly of the elect, who have gone before me to work by word and deed for the salvation of our time, and who are now come to hear what I have to say concerning the weal and woe of mankind.”

“Many have already spoken and written in the name of mankind, but none has yet given utterance to the real nature of man’s suffering, his hopes and his expectations, nor told him how he may obtain his desires. That is precisely what I shall do.”

And his flock believes him.

There is not a single original thought in the whole work of this “Holy Spirit”; he reduces out-of-date socialistic theories to abstractions of the most sterile and general kind. There is nothing original even in the form, the style. Others have imitated more happily the sanctified style of the Bible. Kuhlmann has taken Lamennais’ manner of writing as his model, but he merely achieves a caricature of Lamennais. We shall give our readers a sample of the beauties of his style:

“Tell me, firstly,, how feel ye when ye think of your eternal lot?

"Many indeed mock and say: ‘What have I to do with eternity?'

"Others rub their eyes and ask: ‘Eternity — what may this be?...'

"How feel ye, when ye think of the hour when the grave shall swallow you up?"

"And I hear many voices.” One among them speaks in this wise:

"Of recent years it bath been taught that the spirit is eternal, that in death it is only dissolved once more in God, from whom it proccedeth. But they who preach such things cannot tell me what then remaineth of me. Oh, that I had never seen the light of day. And assuming that I do not die — oh, my parents, my sisters, my brothers, my children, and all whom I love, shall I ever see You again! Oh, had I but never seen you!” etc.

"How feel ye, further, if ye think of infinity?” ...

We feel very poorly, Herr Kuhlmann — not at the thought of death, but at your fantastic idea of death, at your style, at the shabby means you employ to work upon the feelings of others.

“How dost feel,” dear reader, when you hear a priest who paints hell very hot to terrify his sheep and make their minds very flabby, a priest whose eloquence only aims at stimulating the tear glands of his hearers and who speculates only on the cowardice of his congregation?

As far as the meagre content of the “Annunciation” is concerned, the first section, or the introduction to the Neue Welt, can be reduced to the simple thought that Herr Kuhlmann has come from Holstein to found the “Kingdom of the Spirit”, the “Kingdom of Heaven” upon earth; that he was the first to know the real hell and the real heaven — the former being society as it has hitherto existed and the latter being future society, the “Kingdom of the Spirit” — and that he himself is the longed-for holy “spirit......

None of these great thoughts of Saint George are exactly original and there was really no need for him to have bothered to come all the way from Holstein to Switzerland, nor to have descended from the ,,solitude of the spirit” to the level of the artisans, nor to have “revealed” himself, merely in order to present this “vision” to the “world”.

However, the idea that Dr. Kuhlmann of Holstein’s the “longed-for “holy spirit” is his own exclusive property — and is likely to remain so.

According to Saint George’s own “revelation”, his Holy Scripture will progress in the following way:

“It will reveal” (he says) “the Kingdom of the Spirit in its earthly guise, that ye may behold its glory and see that there is no other salvation but in the Kingdom of the Spirit. On the other hand, it will expose your vale of tears that ye may behold your wretchedness and know the cause of all your sufferings. Then I shall show the way which leads from this sorrowful present to a joyful future. To this end, follow me in the spirit to a height, whence we may have a free prospect over the broad landscape.”

And so the prophet permits us first of all a glimpse of his “beautiful landscape”, his Kingdom of Heaven. We see nothing but a misunderstanding of Saint-Simonism, wretchedly staged, with costumes that are a travesty of Lamennais, embellished with fragments from Herr Stein. We shall now quote the most important revelations from the Kingdom of Heaven, which demonstrate the prophetic method. For example, page 37:

“The choice is free and depends on each person’s inclinations. Inclinations depend on one’s natural faculties." "If in society,” Saint George prophesies, “everyone follows his inclination, all the developed and if this is so, that which all faculties of society without exception will be need will continually be produced, in the realm of the spirit as in the realm of matter. For society always possesses as many faculties and energies as it has needs........ Les attractions sont proportionelles aux Destinies” (cf. also Proudhon).

Herr Kuhlmann differs here from the socialists and the communists only by reason of a misunderstanding, the cause of which must be sought in his pursuit of practical aims and undoubtedly also in his narrow-mindedness. He confuses the diversity of faculties and capacities with the inequality of possessions and of enjoyment conditioned by possession, and inveighs therefore against communism.

“No one shall have there” (that is, under communism) “any advantage over another”, declaims the prophet, “no one shall have more possessions and live better than another.... And if you cherish doubts about it and fail to join in their vociferation, they will abuse you, condemn you, and persecute you and hang you on a gallows” (p. 100).

Kuhlmann sometimes prophesies quite correctly, one must admit.

“In their ranks then are to be found all those who cry: Away with the Bible! Away, above all, with the Christian religion, for it is the religion of humility and servility! Away with all belief whatsoever! We know nothing of God or immortality! They are but figments of the imagination, exploited and continually concocted by deceivers and liars for their advantage” (it should read: which are exploited by the priests for their advantage). “In sooth, he who still believes in such things is the greatest of fools!”

Kuhlmann attacks with particular vehemence those who are on principle opposed to the doctrine of faith, humility and inequality, i.e., the doctrine of “difference of rank and birth”. His socialism is based on the abject doctrine of predestined slavery — which, as formulated by Kuhlmann, reminds one strongly of Friedrich Rohmer — on the theocratic hierarchy and, in the last instance, on his own sacred person!

“Every branch of labour,” we find on page 42, “is directed by the most skilled worker, who himself takes part in it, and in the realm of enjoyment every branch is guided by the merriest member, who himself participates in the enjoyment. But, as society is undivided and possesses only one mind, the whole system will he regulated and governed by one man — and he shall be the wisest, the most virtuous and the most blissful.

On page 34 we learn:

“If man strives after virtue in the spirit, then he stirs and moves his limbs and develops and moulds and forms everything in and outside himself according to his pleasure. And if he experiences well-being in the spirit, then he must also experience it in everything that lives in him. Therefore, man eats and drinks and takes delight therein: therefore, he sings, plays and dances, he kisses, weeps and laughs.

The knowledge of the influence which the vision of God exerts on the appetite, and which spiritual blissfulness exerts upon the sex impulse is, indeed, not the private property of Kuhlmannism; but it does shed light on many an obscure passage in the prophet. For example, page 36:

“Both” (possession and enjoyment) “correspond to his labour” (that is, to man’s labour). “Labour is the measure of his needs.” (In this way, Kuhlmann distorts the proposition that a communist society has, on the whole, always as many faculties and energies as needs.) “For labour is the expression of the ideas and the instincts. And needs are based on them. But, since the faculties and needs of men are always different, and so apportioned that the former can only be developed and the latter satisfied, if each continually labours for all and the product of the labour of all is exchanged and apportioned in accordance with the deserts” (?) “of each — for this reason each receives only the value of his labour.”

The whole of this tautological rigmarole would be — like the following sentences and many others which we spare the reader — utterly incomprehensible, despite the “sublime simplicity and clarity” of the “revelation” so praised by A. Becker, if we had not a key in the shape of the practical aims which the prophet is pursuing. This makes everything at once comprehensible.

“Value,” continues Herr Kuhlmann like an oracle, “determines itself according to the need of all.” (?) “In value the work of each is always contained and for it” (?) “he can procure for himself whatever his heart desires." "See, my friends,” runs page 39, “the society of true men always regards life as a school ... in which man must educate himself. And thereby it wants to attain bliss. But such” (?) “must become evident and visible” (?). “otherwise it” (?) “is impossible.

What Herr Georg Kuhlmann of Holstein has in view when he says that “such” (life? or bliss?) must “become evident” and “visible”, because “it” would otherwise be “impossible” — that “labour” is “contained in value” and that one can procure for it (for what?) one’s heart’s desire — and finally, that “value” determines itself according to “need” — all this cannot be understood unless one once again takes into account the crux of the whole revelation, the practical point of it all.

Let us therefore try to offer a practical explanation.

We learn from August Becker that Saint George Kuhlmann of Holstein had no success in his own country. He arrives in Switzerland and finds there an entirely “new world”, the communist societies of the German artisans. That is more to his taste — and he attaches himself without delay to communism and the communists. He always, as August Becker tells us, “worked unremittingly to develop his doctrine further and to make it adequate to the greatness of the times”, i.e., he became a communist among the communists ad majorem Dei gloriam.

— On Inequality —

So far everything had gone well.

But one of the most vital principles of communism, a principle which distinguishes it from all reactionary socialism, is its empirical view, based on a knowledge of man’s nature, that differences of brain and of intellectual ability do not imply any differences whatsoever in the nature of the stomach and of physical needs; therefore the false tenet, based upon existing circumstances, “to each according to his abilities”, must be changed, insofar as it relates to enjoyment in its narrower sense, into the tenet, “to each according to his need”; in other words, a different form of activity, of labour, does not justify inequality, confers no privileges in respect of possession and enjoyment.

The prophet could not admit this; for the privileges, the advantages of his station, the feeling of being a chosen one, these are the very stimulus of the prophet.

“But such must become evident and visible, otherwise it is impossible.”

Without practical advantages, without some tangible stimulus, the prophet would not be a prophet at all, he would not be a practical, but only a theoretical, man of God, a philosopher. The prophet must, therefore, make the communists understand that different forms of activity or labour give the right to different degrees of value and of bliss (or of enjoyment, merit, pleasure, it is all the same thing), and since each determines his own bliss and his labour, therefore, he, the prophet — this is the practical point of the revelation — can claim a better life than the common artisan. [The prophet has moreover openly stated this in a lecture which has not been printed.]

After this, all the prophet’s obscure passages become clear: that the “possession” and “enjoyment” of each should correspond to his “labour”; that the “labour” of each man should be the measure of his “needs”; that, therefore, each should receive the “value” of his labour; that “value” will determine itself according to “need” ; that the work of each is “contained” in value and that he can procure for it what his “heart” desires; that, finally, the “bliss” of the chosen one must “become evident and visible”, because it is otherwise “impossible”. All this nonsense has now become intelligible.

We do not know the exact extent of the practical demands which Dr. Kuhlmann really makes upon the artisans. But we do know that his doctrine is a dogma fundamental to all spiritual and temporal craving for power, a mystic veil which is used to conceal all hypocritical pleasure-seeking; it serves to extenuate any infamy and is the source of many incongruous actions.

We must not omit to show the reader the way which, according to Herr Kuhlmann of Holstein, “leads from this sorrowful present to a joyful future”. This way is lovely and delightful as spring in a flowery meadow or as a flowery meadow in spring.

“Softly and gently, with sun-warmed fingers, it puts forth buds, the buds become flowers, the lark and the nightingale warble, the grasshopper in the grass is roused. Let the new world come like the spring” (p. 114 et seq.).

The prophet paints the transition from present social isolation to communal life in truly idyllic colours. just as he has transformed real society into a “society of ideas”, so that “led by his own idea he should be able to wander hither and thither, and contemplate everything in the minutest detail, as far as his time requires”, so he transforms the real social movement which, in all civilised countries, already proclaims the approach of a terrible social upheaval into a process of comfortable and peaceful conversion, into a still life which will permit the owners and rulers of the world to slumber peacefully. For the idealist, the theoretical abstractions of real events, their ideal signs, are reality; real events are merely “sign that the old world is going to its doom”.

“Wherefore do ye strive so anxiously for the things of the moment,” scolds the prophet on page 118, “they are nothing more than signs that the old world is going to its doom; and wherefore do ye dissipate your strength in strivings which cannot fulfil your hopes and expectations?"

"Ye shall not tear down nor destroy that which ye find in your path, ye shall rather shun it and abandon it. And when ye have shunned it and abandoned it, then it shall cease to exist of itself, for it shall find no other nourishment."

"If ye seek truth and spread light abroad, then lying and darkness will vanish from your midst” (p. 116).

"But there will be many who will say: ‘How shall we build a new life as long as the old order prevails and hinders us? Must it not first be destroyed?’ ‘By no means,’ answers the wisest, the most virtuous and the most blissful man. ‘By no means. If ye dwell with others in a house’ that has become rotten and is too small and uncomfortable for you, and the others wish to remain in it, then ye shall not pull it down and dwell in the open, but ye shall first build a new house, and when it is ready ye shall enter it and abandon the old to its fate"’ (p. 120).

The prophet now gives two pages of rules as to how one can insinuate oneself into the new world. Then he becomes aggressive:

“But it is not enough that ye should stand together and forsake the old world — ye shall also take up arms against it to make war upon it and to extend your kingdom and strengthen it. Not by the use of force, however, but rather by the use of free persuasion.”

But if nevertheless it comes about that one has to take up a real sword and hazard one’s real life “to conquer heaven by force”, the prophet promises his sacred host a Russian immortality (the Russians believe that they will rise again in their respective localities if they are killed in battle by the enemy):

“And they who shall fall by the wayside shall be born anew and shall rise more beauteous than they were before. Therefore” (therefore) “take no thought for your life and fear not death” (p. 129).

Even in a conflict with real weapons, says the prophet reassuringly to his sacred host, you do not really risk your life; you merely pretend to risk it.

The prophet’s doctrine is in every sense sedative. After these samples of his Holy Scripture one cannot wonder at the applause it has met with among certain easy-going slowcoaches.

  1. 1.0 1.1 A reference to the writers of Young Germany (Junges Deutschland) — a literary group that emerged in Germany in the 1830s and was influenced by Heinrich Heine and Ludwig Börne. The Young Germany writers (Karl Gutzkow, Ludolf Wienbarg, Theodor Mundt and others) came out in defence of freedom of conscience and the press. Their writings reflected opposition sentiments of the petty bourgeoisie and intellectuals. The views of the Young Germans were politically vague and inconsistent; soon the majority of them turned into mere liberals
  2. The Levellers were a democratic-republican trend in the English bourgeois revolution of the mid-17th century. The reference in the text is probably to the most radical section of the Levellers known as True Levellers, or Diggers. The Diggers represented the poorest strata that suffered both from feudal and capitalist exploitation in the town and the countryside. In contrast to the mass of the Levellers, who wanted to retain private property, the Diggers advocated common property and other ideas of equalitarian communism
  3. National reformers — members of the National Reform Association founded in the U.S.A. in 1845. The Association, which consisted mainly of artisans and workers, and declared that every worker should have the right to a piece of land free of charge, started a campaign for a land reform against the slave-owning planters and land speculators. It also put forward a number of other democratic demands such as abolition of the standing army, abolition of slavery and introduction of the ten-hour working day
  4. Humaniora (humanities) — the subjects the study of which was considered essential for the knowledge of ancient classical culture; the humanists of the Renaissance and their followers regarded these subjects as the basis of humanistic education
  5. Neue Anekdota — collection of articles by Moses Hess, Karl Grün, Otto Lüning and other representatives of “true socialism” published in Darmstadt at the end of May 1845
  6. This chapter was published by Marx separately as a review in the monthly publication Das Westphälische Dampfboot in August and September 1847. Before that, in April 1847, Marx had published a "Declaration against Karl Grün". He stated in it that he intended to publish a review of Grün's book Die soziale Bewegung in Frankreich und Belgien (see present edition, Vol. 6) in the Westphälische Dampfboot. But the first instalment of this article was published only in August 1847. The editors explained in a note that the article could not be published earlier because "for over two months the manuscript was sent from one German town to another without reaching us". The work was published in the Westphälische Dampfboot as Marx's article (the name of the author was mentioned in the editorial note). Consequently one can assume that in contrast to Vol. 1, which was written jointly by Marx and Engels, some chapters of Vol. II of The German Ideology are probably the individual work of one or other of them. But since the manuscript of this chapter of Vol. If is in Engels' handwriting, it is likely that Engels helped to write it. The copy sent to the Westphälische Dampfboot was probably made from this manuscript. The manuscript and the published text are practically identical. Comparatively few changes were made in the text itself and it is possible that some of these were by the editors of the journal. In this volume, variants affecting the meaning are given in footnotes. Where the manuscript is damaged the missing passages have been taken from the printed text. Such passages have not been specially marked (either by square brackets or footnotes) in this chapter.
  7. Cabinet Montpensier — a reading room in the Palais-Royal, formerly a palace of the Princes of Orleans in Paris
  8. Probably an allusion to the organisers of the first political parties of American workers and artisans founded at the end of the 1820s — the Republican Political Association of the Working Men of the City of Philadelphia, the New York Working Men’s Party (their leaders were Frances Wright, Robert Dale Owen, Thomas Skidmore) and other labour associations in various American towns. These organisations had a democratic programme, advocated land reform and other social measures and supported the demand for a ten-hour working day. Although they were short-lived (they existed only until 1834), had a local characters and were composed of factions holding rather heterogeneous views, these first workers’ parties gave an impetus to the incipient labour movement in the United States and helped to disseminate utopian socialist ideas, for many of their members were supporters of this trend
  9. The States-General — the supreme executive and legislative organ of the Netherlands or the Republic of the United Provinces, as the country was called from 1579 to 1795. ‘this assembly consisted of representatives of the seven provinces. The trading bourgeoisie played a dominant part in it
  10. Lettres d'un Habitant de Cenève à ses Contemporains was written by Saint-Simon in 1802 and published anonymously in Paris in 1803
  11. The Newton Council — a plan to set up such a council was put forward by Saint-Simon in his book Lettres d'un Habitant de Cenève à ses Contemporains. Its purpose was to create conditions that would enable scientists and artists to develop their talents freely. Funds were to be raised by public subscription. Each subscriber was to nominate three mathematicians, three physicists, three chemists, three physiologists, three writers, three painters and three musicians. The sum collected by subscription was to be divided among the three mathematicians, physicists, etc., who had received the greatest number of votes and had thus become members of the Newton Council
  12. The reference is to the following sentences: “The aim of all social institutions must be to improve the moral, intellectual and physical condition of the most numerous and poorest class. “All inherited privileges, without exception, are abolished. “To each according to his capacity, to each capacity according to its works
  13. The first schism of the Saint-Simonian school occurred in November 183 1, caused by Enfantin’s and Bazard’s increasingly discordant views on religion, marriage and the family
  14. Ménilmontant — then a suburb of Paris where Enfantin, who after Bazard’s death became the acknowledged leader of the Saint-Simonian school, the “father superior” of the Saint-Simonists, tried to establish a labour commune in 1832. Enfantin’s work Économie politique et Politique was printed in book form in Paris in 183 1, after having been published earlier as a series of articles in the newspaper Le Globe.
  15. Le Livre nouveau (The New Book) — a manuscript containing an exposition of the Saint-Simonian doctrine. It was drawn up by the leaders of the Saint-Simonian school, which was headed by Enfantin, in the course of a series of meetings held in July 1832. Among the leaders present were Barrot, Fournel, Chevalier, Duverier and Lambert. The authors intended the book to become the “new Bible” of the Saint-Simonian doctrine. Extracts from the Livre nouveau and other information about it can be found in Reybaud’s book Études sur les réformateurs ou socialistes modernes.
  16. Fourier’s series — a method of classification which Fourier used to analyse various natural and social phenomena. With the help of this method he tried, in particular, to work out a new social science based on the doctrine of attraction and repulsion of passions. which he regarded as the principal factor of social development (passions, in their turn, were classified by Fourier into groups or series). In this method Fourier combines unscientific and fantastic elements with rational observations
  17. Organisers of labour — an allusion to the utopian socialists (in particular Fourier and his followers) who put forward a plan for the peaceful transformation of society by means of associations, that is, by “organisation of labour”, which they opposed to the anarchy of production under capitalism.
    Some of these ideas were used by the French petty-bourgeois socialist Louis Blanc in his book Organisation du travail (Paris, 1839) in which he proposed that the bourgeois state should transform contemporary society into a socialist society.
  18. Patristic philosophy — the teachings of the Fathers of the Church (3rd to 5th century)
  19. The spontaneous popular risings which took place in many parts of France, and also in Paris, in 1775 were caused by crop failure and famine. The feudal aristocracy which was against Turgot’s reforms used these uprisings to oust him from the post of Controller-General of Finance. In the spring of 1776, Turgot was dismissed and the reforms he had introduced (free trade in grain, abolition of some feudal privileges and of the guilds) were rescinded.
  20. Unlike the other extant chapters of Volume II, which are in Engels’ handwriting, the manuscript of Chapter V is in Joseph Weydemeyer’s hand and “M. Hess” is written at the end. In December 1845, the journal Gesellschaftsspiegel No. 6 carried an article by Hess under the heading “Umtriebe der Kommunistischen Propheten” which discussed the same subject in a similar way as this chapter. It is probable that Chapter V was written by Hess, copied by Weydemeyer and edited by Marx and Engels. Die Neue Welt oder das Reich des Geistes auf Erden, the book examined in this chapter, was published anonymously in 1845. It consists of lectures by Georg Kuhlmann delivered in the Swiss communities of the League of the Just. These communities were founded by Wilhelm Weitling. The League of the Just was a secret organisation of German workers and artisans, which had branches in Germany, France, Switzerland and England. The ideas of “true socialism” were at that time widespread among the members of the League, many of whom were artisans living abroad. A criticism of Kuhlmann’s activities and his book can be found in the article “Zur Geschichte des Urchristentums” written by Engels in 1894