The Historiography of True Socialism (against Karl Grün)

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Note from MECW vol. 5, in the German Ideology :

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 The editors explained in a note that the article could not be published earlier because "for over two months the manuscript was sent from one German town to another without reaching us".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.

Karl Grün: "The Social Movement in France and Belgium" (Darmstadt 1845) Or The Historiography of True Socialism[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 [2]) “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 [3], 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 [4] 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 [5][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, [6] 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.[7] — 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.[8] 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. [9] 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,[10] 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 [11], 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 [12] 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,[13] 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[14] 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”.

  1. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named :0
  2. Cabinet Montpensier — a reading room in the Palais-Royal, formerly a palace of the Princes of Orleans in Paris
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. Lettres d'un Habitant de Cenève à ses Contemporains was written by Saint-Simon in 1802 and published anonymously in Paris in 1803
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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
  12. 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.
  13. Patristic philosophy — the teachings of the Fathers of the Church (3rd to 5th century)
  14. 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.