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Una reevaluación de los Cuadernos antropológicos de Marx

Entre diciembre de 1880 y junio de 1881, los intereses de estudio de Marx fueron absorbidos también por otra disciplina: la antropología. Marx comenzó a profundizar en ésta gracias al libro La sociedad antigua [1877], del antropólogo estadounidense Lewis Morgan (1818-1881), recibído, dos años después de su publicación, del etnógrafo ruso Maxim Kovaleivskij (1851-1916), quien lo había llevado consigo en un viaje de regreso desde Norteamérica.
La lectura de este texto, sobre el que Marx se concentró con particular atención – le impactó, sobre todo, la importancia que Morgan había atribuido a la producción y a los factores técnicos como precondición del desarrollo del progreso social -, se reveló determinante al punto de alentarlo a redactar un compendio de cien densas páginas. Éstas componen la parte principal de los denominados Cuadernos antropológicos. En su interior figuran también extractos de otros volúmenes: Java, o como administrar una colonia [1861], de James Money (1818-1890), abogado y experto conocedor de Indonesia; La aldea aria en la India y Ceilán [1880], de John Phear (1825-1905), presidente de la Corte Suprema de Sri Lanka; y Lecciones sobre la historia antigua de las instituciones [1875], del historiador Henry Maine (1822-1888), llegando a un total que comprendía más de cien hojas . Las comparaciones entre las teorías de estos autores, avanzadas por Marx en sus compendios, permiten suponer que la redacción de todo este material habría sido completada en un período relativamente breve y que, sobre esta base, estaría la voluntad de realizar un estudio exhaustivo de la materia.
En el curso de sus investigaciones precedentes, Marx había realizado ya un examen de las formas socio-económicas del pasado, a cuyo respecto desplegó numerosos comentarios en la primera parte del manuscrito La ideología alemana, en la larga sección titulada “Formas que preceden a la producción capitalista” , contenida en los Grundisse [1857-1858], y también en el primer volumen de El Capital. En 1879, mediante el estudio del libro de Kovalevkeij, La propiedad comunal de la tierra [1879], Marx había vuelto otra vez sobre este tema. Ello se convirtió, sin embargo, en materia de estudio profundo y actualizado tan sólo con la escritura de los Cuadernos antropológicos.
Las investigaciones que acompañaron su redacción fueron emprendidas con la meta precisa de acrecentar sus conocimientos acerca de períodos históricos, áreas geográficas y temáticas consideradas fundamentales para poder seguir con su proyecto de crítica de la economía política. Por añadidura, estas indagaciones permitieron a Marx adquirir información particularizada sobre las características sociales y las instituciones del pasado más remoto, que no estaban aún en su posesión cuando había redactado los manuscritos y obras en los años cincuenta y sesenta. Aquellas, finalmente, fueron actualizadas con las teorías de los más eminentes estudiosos del campo, contemporáneos a él.
Marx se dedicó a este estudio, muy dispuesto en términos de energía, en el mismo período en el que todavía ambicionaba con completar el segundo volumen de El Capital . No se ocupó de la antropología por mera curiosidad intelectual, aunque sí con una intención exquisitamente teórico política. Quería reconstruir, sobre la base de un correcto conocimiento histórico, la secuencia con la cual, verosímilmente, en el curso del tiempo, se habían sucedido los diferentes modos de producción. Ésta le servía también para dar fundamentos históricos más sólidos a la posible transformación de tipo comunista de la sociedad .
Persiguiendo este objetivo, en la escritura de los Cuadernos antropológicos, Marx redactó extensos resúmenes y anotaciones interesantes sobre la prehistoria, sobre el desarrollo de los vínculos familiares, sobre la condición de las mujeres, sobre el origen de las relaciones de propiedad, sobre las prácticas comunitarias existentes en las sociedades precapitalistas, sobre la formación y la naturaleza del poder estatal, sobre el rol del individuo e incluso otras cuestiones más actuales a su época como, por ejemplo, las connotaciones racistas de algunos antropólogos y los efectos del colonialismo.
Sobre el tema específico de la prehistoria y del desarrollo de los lazos familiares, Marx obtuvo así muchas indicaciones útiles del pensamiento de Morgan que, como señaló Henry Hyndman: “cuando [… las tesis expuestas en] La sociedad antigua demostr[aron a Marx], de modo convincente, que era la gens , y no la familia, la unidad social del antiguo sistema tribal y de la sociedad de los orígenes, [él] modificó inmediatamente su opinión anterior” .
Precisamente fueron las investigaciones antropológicas de Morgan sobre la estructura social de las poblaciones primitivas las que le permitieron superar los límites de las interpretaciones tradicionales respecto los sistemas de parentela; entre ellas, la que propusiera el historiador Barhold Niebuhr (1776-1831), en la Historia romana [1811-12].
Morgan había aclarado, sobre todo, y a contracorriente de todas las hipótesis precedentes, que se había cometido un gran error cuando se había sostenido que la gens fuese «posterior en el tiempo a la familia monógama» y que esta fuese el resultado de «un conglomerado de familias» . En sus estudios sobre la prehistoria de la humanidad y de las sociedades antiguas, él había arribado, luego, a una conclusión de gran interés para Marx. La familia patriarcal no era considerada como la unidad de base originaria de la sociedad, sino como una forma de organización social que apareció posteriormente y más reciente de lo que generalmente se tenía en cuenta. Aquella “era demasiado débil como como organización para hacer frente por sí sola a las vicisitudes de la vida”. Mucho más plausible era suponer la presencia de una forma como aquella adoptada por los aborígenes de América, la familia sindiásmica, “practicando el principio del comunismo en su modo de vivir” .
Marx criticó, en cambio, a Maine, con quien estaba en constante polémica en las páginas de sus resúmenes. En su libro, Lecciones sobre la historia antigua de las instituciones, él había concebido, “la familia privada [… como la] base de la que proceden el sept y el clan, etc.” . El desacuerdo de Marx con este intento de mover hacia atrás las agujas de la historia, transfiriendo la época victoriana a la prehistoria, lo llevó a afirmar que “EI señor Maine, como buen zoquete inglés, no parte de la gens sino del patriarca, que luego se convierte en jefe, etc. Estupideces” . En su confrontación, incrementó la crítica socarrona: “Maine, después de todo, no se puede quitar de la cabeza la familia privada inglesa” ; “Maine traslada su familia ‘patriarcal’ romana al mismo comienzo de las cosas” . Las demoliciones de Marx no se ahorran mucho para otro de los autores leídos, Phear, de quien dice: “El burro de él lo basa todo en la familia privada” .
En cuanto a Morgan, Marx encontró estimulantes también sus contrastaciones referidas al concepto de familia, desde el momento que en su “significado original” la palabra “familia” – familia contenía la misma raíz de famulus (siervo) – “no tenía relación con la pareja unirla en matrimonio o con sus hijos, sino con el conjunto de esclavos y servidores que trabajaban para su mantenimiento y se hallaban bajo la autoridad del paterfamilias” . Al respecto, Marx anotó:

La familia moderna encierra en germen no sólo el servitus (esclavitud) sino también la servidumbre, pues se halla ligada de antemano a servicios agrícolas. Es la miniatura de todos los antagonismos que se despliegan posteriormente en la sociedad y su Estado […] la familia monógama presupone siempre, para poder existir aislada autónomamente, una clase de servidores que originariamente en todas partes fueron directamente esclavos .

También en otro punto de sus resúmenes, añadiendo una consideración propia, Marx escribió que la acumulación de riqueza se halla “inevitablemente unido con la familia monógama, una vez que se da la propiedad privada de casas, tierras, rebaños” . De hecho, como se indicaba en El Manifiesto del partido comunista, ésta representaba el punto de partida de la historia como “historia de la lucha de clases” .
En El origen de la familia, de la propiedad privada y el Estado [1884], libro definido por su autor “la ejecución de un testamento” y que quería ser “un modesto sustituto de lo que [su] amigo” , no había podido llevar a término, Engels completó el análisis realizado por Marx, en los Cuadernos antropológicos, afirmando que la monogamia representaba el

Esclavizamiento de un sexo por el otro, como la proclamación de un conflicto entre los sexos, desconocido hasta entonces en la prehistoria. En un viejo manuscrito inédito, redactado en 1848 por Marx y por mí, encuentro esta frase: “La primera división del trabajo es la que se hizo entre el hombre y la mujer para la procreación de hijos” Y hoy puedo añadir: el primer antagonismo de clases que apareció en la historia coincide con el desarrollo del antagonismo entre el hombre y la mujer en la monogamia; y la primera opresión de clases, con la del sexo femenino por el masculino. La monogamia (…) es la forma celular de la sociedad civilizada, en la cual podemos estudiar ya la naturaleza de las contradicciones y de los antagonismos que alcanzan su pleno desarrollo en esta sociedad .

También Marx, por otro lado, había prestado gran atención a las consideraciones de Morgan sobre la paridad entre los sexos. Éstas afirman que las sociedades antiguas fueron más progresivas en cuanto al tratamiento y a los comportamientos hacia las mujeres. A propósito, Marx transcribió aquellas partes del libro de Morgan en las que había observado que, con los Griegos, “el cambio de la descendencia por línea femenina a la masculina [fue] perjudicial para la posición y derechos de la mujer y madre”. El antropólogo norteamericano había agregado que en la Antigua Grecia “predominó […] un principio, difícil de encontrar entre los salvajes, de egoísmo calculado por parte de los hombres, que tendía a menguar la estimación de la mujer”. Morgan evaluó negativamente el modelo social griego. Los Griegos “siguieron siendo bárbaros en el apogeo de su civilización en el tratamiento del sexo femenino; educación superficial de éste, [… y] su inferioridad le era inculcada como un principio, hasta el punto de que llegó a ser aceptada como un hecho por las mujeres mismas”. Pensando en contraste con los mitos del mundo clásico, Marx agregó un agudo comentario suyo: “la situación de las diosas del Olimpo muestra reminiscencias de una posición anterior de las mujeres. Más libre e influyente. La ansiosa de poder Juno, la diosa de la sabiduría que nace de la cabeza de Zeus, etc..” .
De la lectura de Morgan, Marx extrajo inspiración también sobre otro tema de importancia significativa: el origen de las relaciones de propiedad. El famoso antropólogo, de hecho, había establecido una relación de causalidad entre los distintos tipos de estructura de parentesco y las formas económico-sociales. Según Morgan, en la historia occidental las razones de la afirmación del sistema descriptivo,-es decir, aquel en el que los consanguíneos están descritos y la relación de parentesco de cada persona es más específica (los consanguíneos son “el hijo del padre, del hermano del padre, y del hijo del hermano del padre”)-, y de la decadencia, en cambio, del clasificatorio -en el que los consanguíneos están reagrupados en categorías sin el grado “de cercanía o lejanía del ego” sea tomado en consideración (“mis propios hermanos y los hijos de los hermanos de mi padre son todos hermanos míos por igual”)-, debían vincularse con el desarrollo de la propiedad y del Estado .
En el libro de Morgan, dividido en cuatro partes, aquella sobre el “Desarrollo de la idea de familia” (III) estaba puesta después de las secciones sobre el “Desarrollo de la inteligencia mediante inventos y descubrimientos (I)”, del “Desarrollo de la idea de gobierno” (II), y antes del “El desarrollo de la idea de propiedad.” (IV). Marx invirtió el orden de los temas: I. inventos, II. familia, III. propiedad y IV. gobierno, para así hacer más evidente las conexiones entre los dos últimos.
Morgan afirmó que, a propósito del “principio aristocrático”, a pesar de que “la riqueza y el rango”, se justificasen, desde hace millones de años, “sobre la justicia y la inteligencia”, había “pocas dudas caben respecto a […] las clases privilegiadas, […] no ha dejado de mostrar el carácter oneroso (burdensome) de su acción opresiva para la sociedad”.
En una de las páginas finales de La sociedad antigua, copiada casi por entero por Marx, dedicada a las consecuencias distorsionadas que la propiedad podía llegar a generar, se encuentran expresados algunos conceptos que lo impactaron profundamente:

Desde el comienzo de la civilización, el desarrollo de la propiedad ha sido tan gigantesco, sus formas tan diversamente articuladas, sus usos tan continuamente ampliados, y su administración (management) tan hábil para hacer valer los intereses de los propietarios, que se convertido para el pueblo en una fuerza incontrolable…La mente humana se siente desconcertada ante su propia creación. Llegará el día, sin embargo, en que el intelecto humano se eleve hasta dominar la propiedad, redefiniendo las relaciones entre el Estado y la propiedad, de la cual éste es el protector, así como de las obligaciones y limitaciones de los derechos de los propietarios. Los intereses de la sociedad preceden a los del individuos y el problema es establecer una relación justa y armónica entre estos dos.

Morgan se negaba a creer que “el destino final del género humano” debiera ser el mero “afán de riquezas” y lanzó, en este sentido, una severa advertencia:

La disolución social amenaza claramente ser la terminación de una empresa de la cual la propiedad es el fin y la meta, pues dicha empresa contiene los elementos de su propia destrucción. La democracia, en el gobierno, la fraternidad en la sociedad, la igualdad de derechos y privilegios y la educación universal anticipan el próximo plano más elevado de la sociedad, al cual la experiencia, el intelecto y el saber tienden firmemente. Será (un nivel superior de la sociedad) una resurrección, en forma más elevada, de la libertad, igualdad y fraternidad de las antiguas gentes .

La civilización “burguesa” no sería, por tanto, la última etapa de la humanidad, sino que representaba, también ésta, una época transitoria. Si ésta había surgido, al final de dos prolongadas épocas definidas (en los términos en boga en aquel tiempo, “estado salvaje” y “estado barbárico”), sucesivamente con la abolición de las formas comunitarias de organización social (implosionadas luego de la acumulación de propiedad y de riquezas), la aparición de las clases sociales y el Estado, entonces, la prehistoria y la historia estaban destinadas a encontrarse nuevamente .
Morgan consideró las sociedades antiguas muy democráticas y solidarias. En relación a la sociedad del presente, se limitó a una declaración optimisma acerca del progreso de la humanidad, sin invocar la necesidad de la lucha política. Marx, por su parte, no hipotetizó como solución la redención socialista del “mito del buen salvaje”. De hecho, nunca tuvo esperanzas en el regreso al pasado, sino, como había agregado copiando el libro de Morgan, auspiciaba, en cambio, el avenir de “un nivel superior de la sociedad” , basada en sobre una nueva forma de producción y un modo distinto de consumo. Ésta, además, no surgiría gracias a una evolución mecánica de la historia, sino tan sólo a través de la lucha consciente de las trabajadoras y los trabajadores.
De los textos de antropología Marx leyó, al final, todo lo relacionado al origen y las funciones del Estado. A través de los extractos de Morgan, recapituló el papel desarrollado por esta institución en la fase de transición de la barbarie a la civilización ; mientras, con los apuntes tomados del texto de Maine, se dedicó al análisis de las relaciones entre individuo y Estado . En continuidad con sus más significativas elaboraciones al respecto, desde De la crítica de la filosofía hegeliana del derecho público [1843] a La guerra civil en Francia [1871] , también en los Cuadernos antropológicos Marx representó al Estado como un poder de servidumbre social, una fuerza que impide la plena emancipación del individuo.
En las notas redactadas en 1881, insistió sobre el carácter parasitario y transitorio del Estado y, refiriéndose a Maine, precisó:

Maine ignora algo mucho más profundo: que incluso la existencia, aparentemente suprema e independiente, del Estado, no es más que una apariencia, y que el Estado en todas sus formas es una excrecencia de la sociedad. Incluso su apariencia no se presenta hasta que la sociedad ha alcanzado un cierto grado de desarrollo y desaparece[rá] de nuevo en cuanto la sociedad llegue a un nivel hasta ahora inalcanzado.

Luego de la crítica hacia la institución política, Marx continuó con aquella hacia la condición de los hombres, en circunstancias históricamente dadas. Para Marx, de hecho, la formación de la sociedad civilizada, con la consiguiente transición de un régimen de la propiedad común a una individual, “genera una individualidad aún unilateral [¿así llega a destacarse unilateralmente la individualidad?]” .
Si la “verdadera naturaleza “del Estado” se muestra sólo cuando” viene analizado “el contenido [o sea] los intereses “del Estado”, esto muestra que estos “son comunes a ciertos grupos sociales, […son] intereses de clase”. Para Marx se trata de un “Estado que presupone “las clases””. Por tanto, la individualidad que existe en este tipo de sociedad “es una individualidad de clase”, que “se basan todos en última instancia, en condiciones económicas” .
En los Cuadernos antropológicos, Marx desarrolló no pocas observaciones respecto a otro tema, que le fuera sugerido por un lenguaje lleno de definiciones discriminatorias usado por aquellos que estaba estudiando: las connotaciones racistas utilizadas por los antropólogos . El rechazo de Marx hacia esa ideología fue categórico y sus comentarios contra los autores que se expresaron de ese modo fueron cáusticos. Cuando, por ejemplo, Maine usó epítetos discriminatorios, Marx comentó decisivamente: “Pero esto no tiene sentido!”. Recurrentes, más aún, fueron las expresiones del tipo: “¡que el diablo se lleve a esta jerga “aria”!”.
Finalmente, mediante los libros Java, o como administrar una colonia, de Money, y La villa aria en la India y Ceylan de Phear, Marx estudió los efectos negativos de la presencia europea en Asia. En lo que concierne al primer texto, Marx, para nada interesado en las opiniones políticas de su autor, encontró útiles, sin embargo, la información detallada relativa al comercio que la obra contenía . Una aproximación similar tuvo con el escrito de Phear, del cual privilegió los datos que éste reportó sobre el estado de Bengala en la India, ignorando las débiles construcciones teóricas.
Los autores leídos y compendiados por Marx en los Cuadernos antropológicos habían sido todos influenciados, aunque con matices distintos, por la concepción evolucionista imperante en el tiempo y algunos de ellos incluso eran convencidos sostenedores de la superioridad de la civilización burguesa. Un análisi de los Cuadernos antropológicos muestra, de manera evidente, que Marx no sufrió influencia alguna de parte de sus impostaciones ideológicas.
Las teorías del progreso, hegemónicas en el siglo diecinueve, muy difundidas también entre antropólogos y etnólogos, postulaban que el curso de los eventos seguiría a un recorrido ya dado, debido a factores externos a la acción humana, que procedería en estadios sucesivos concatenados entre ellos, y que tenía como única e igual meta el mundo capitalista.
En el lapso de pocos años, con la llegada de la Segunda Internacional, también entre las filas del movimiento obrero tomó cuerpo la ingenua convicción del progreso automático de la historia. La única variante respecto de la versión burguesa fue la previsión de una última etapa que vendría seguida luego del “colapso” del sistema capitalista, automáticamente destinado al ocaso: el advenimiento del socialismo (¡por añadidura, a continuación, definido como “marxista”!) .
Este análisis, más allá de ser epistemológicamente errado, produjo una suerte de pasividad fatalista, que se transformó en un factor de estabilidad para el orden existente y en debilitamiento para la acción social y política del proletariado.
Dicha posición considerada por varios “científica”, ponía en común aquella ya afirmada de origen burgués y la otra que comenzaba a emerger también en el frente socialista, Marx supo oponerse sin ceder a las sirenas que anunciaban el curso inequívoco de la historia conservando su enfoque característico: complejo, versátil y multiforme.
Si, en presencia de tantos oráculos darwinistas, Marx pareció ser un autor incierto y vacilante , por el contrario, supo huir de la trampa del determinismo económico en la que cayeron, en cambio, muchos de sus seguidores y de sus presuntos continuadores, a quienes se les imputó una de las peores caracterizaciones del “marxismo”, más allá de la sideral distancia de los propósitos respecto a los cuales consideraban inspirarse.
En los manuscritos, en los cuadernos de apuntes, en las cartas dirigidas a los compañeros y a los militantes que estaban en contacto con él, y además en las intervenciones públicas, que eran definitivamente pocas a causa de tantos dramas familiares y el ocaso de sus fuerzas físicas, Marx continuó su investigación para reconstruir la compleja historia del pasaje de las formas de las sociedades antiguas al capitalismo .
De las investigaciones realizadas sobre los textos de antropología que leyó y sintetizó, sacó la conclusión de que el progreso humano había procedido más rápidamente en las épocas en las que se habían ampliado las fuentes de subsitencia, comenzando con el nacimiento de la agricultura. Hizo acopio de las informaciones históricas y de los datos recogidos, pero no compartió los rígidos esquemas sobre la ineluctable sucesión de determinados estadíos de la historia humana.
Rechazó las rígidas representaciones que vinculaban los cambios sociales solamente a las transformaciones económicas. Marx defendió, en cambio, la especificidad de las condiciones históricas, las múltiples posibilidades que el curso del tiempo ofrecía y la centralidad de la intervención humana por modificar la existencia y marcar el cambio . Fueron éstas las características sobresalientes de la elaboración teórica del último Marx.

 

Bibliografia
MUSTO, MARCELLO (2016), L’ultimo Marx, 1881-1883. Saggio di biografia intellettuale, Roma: Donzelli, 2016.
MUSTO, MARCELLO (Ed. 2018), Biografia intellettuale e politica 1857-1883, Torino: Einaudi, 2018.
MUSTO, MARCELLO (Ed. 2018), Los Grundrisse de Karl Marx. Fundamentos de la crítica de la economía política 150 años después, Bogotá: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2018.
MUSTO, MARCELLO (2019), “Introduction: The Unfinished Critique of Capital”, in Marcello Musto (Ed.), Marx’s Capital after 150 Years: Critique and Alternative to Capitalism, London-New York: Routledge, 2019, pp. 1-35.
MUSTO, MARCELLO (2020), Karl Marx, 1881-1883. El último viaje del Moro, México, D.F.: Siglo XXI, 2020
MUSTO, MARCELLO (2020), “New Profiles of Marx after the Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe (MEGA²)”, Contemporary Sociology, vol. 49 (2020), n. 4: 407-419.
MUSTO, MARCELLO (2020), “Communism”, in Marcello Musto (Ed.), The Marx Revival: Key Concepts and New Critical Interpretations, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020, pp. 24-50.

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Journal Articles

War and the Left: Considerations on a Chequered History

The economic causes of war
While the science of politics has probed the ideological, political, economic and even psychological motivations behind the drive to war, socialist theory has made one of its most compelling contributions by highlighting the nexus between the development of capitalism and the spread of wars.
In the debates of the International Working Men’s Association (1864-1872), César de Paepe, one of its principal leaders, formulated what would become the classical position of the workers’ movement on the question: namely, that wars are inevitable under the regime of capitalist production. In contemporary society, they are brought about not by the ambitions of monarchs or other individuals but by the dominant social-economic model (De Paepe, 2014a; 2014b; Musto, 2014). The socialist movement also showed which sections of the population were struck hardest by the dire consequences of war. At the congress of the International held in 1868, the delegates adopted a motion that called upon workers to pursue “the final abolition of all war”, since they were the ones who would pay – economically or with their own blood, whether they were among the victors or the defeated – for the decisions of their ruling classes and the governments representing them. The lesson for the workers’ movement came from the belief that any war should be considered “a civil war” (Freymond, 1962: 403; Musto 2014: 49), a ferocious clash between workers that deprived them of the means necessary for their survival. They needed to act resolutely against any war, by resisting conscription and taking strike action. Internationalism thus became a cardinal point of the future society, which, with the end of capitalism and the rivalry among bourgeois states on the world market, would have eliminated the main underlying causes of war.
Among the precursors of socialism, Claude Henri de Saint-Simon had taken a decisive stand against both war and social conflict, regarding both as obstacles to the fundamental progress of industrial production. Karl Marx did not develop in any of his writings his views – fragmentary and sometimes contradictory – on war, nor did he put forward guidelines for the correct attitude to be taken towards it. When he chose between opposing camps, his only constant was his opposition to Tsarist Russia, which he saw as the outpost of counter-revolution and one of the main barriers to working-class emancipation. In Capital (1867) he argued that violence was an economic force, “the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one” (Marx, 1996: 739). But he did not think of war as a crucial shortcut for the revolutionary transformation of society, and a major aim of his political activity was to commit workers to the principle of international solidarity. As Friedrich Engels also argued, they should act resolutely in individual countries against the dampening of class struggle that the propagandistic invention of an external enemy threatened to bring about at any outbreak of war. In various letters to leaders of the workers’ movement, Engels stressed the ideological power of the snare of patriotism and the delay to the proletarian revolution resulting from waves of chauvinism. Moreover, in Anti-Dühring (1878), following an analysis of the effects of ever more deadly weaponry, he declared that the task of socialism was “to blow up militarism and all standing armies” (Engels, 1987: 158).
War was such an important question for Engels that he devoted one of his last writings to it. In “Can Europe Disarm?” (1893), he noted that in the previous twenty-five years every major power had tried to outdo its rivals militarily and in terms of war preparations. This had involved unprecedented levels of arms production and brought the Old Continent closer to “a war of destruction such as the world has never seen” (Engels, 1990: 372). According to the co-author of the Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848), “The system of standing armies has been carried to such extremes throughout Europe that it must either bring economic ruin to the peoples on account of the military burden, or else degenerate into a general war of extermination”. In his analysis, Engels did not forget to highlight that standing armies were maintained chiefly for internal political as much as external military purposes. They were intended “to provide protection not so much against the external enemy as the internal one”, by strengthening the forces to repress the proletariat and workers’ struggles. As popular layers paid more than anyone else the costs of war, through the provision of troops to the state and taxes, the workers’ movement should fight for “the gradual reduction of the term of [military] service by international treaty” and for disarmament as the only effective “guarantee of peace” (Engels, 1990: 371).

Tests and collapse
It was not long before a peacetime theoretical debate turned into the foremost political issue of the age, when the workers’ movement had to face real situations in which their representatives initially opposed any support for war. In the Franco-Prussian conflict of 1870 (which preceded the Paris Commune), the Social Democrat deputies Wilhelm Liebknecht and August Bebel condemned the annexationist objectives of Bismarck’s Germany and voted against war credits. Their decision to “reject the bill for additional funding to continue the war” (Pelz, 2016: 50) earned them a two-year prison sentence for high treason, but it helped to show the working class an alternative way to build on the crisis.
As the major European powers kept up their imperialist expansion, the controversy on war acquired ever greater weight in the debates of the Second International (1889-1916). A resolution adopted at its founding congress had enshrined peace as “the indispensable precondition of any emancipation of the workers” (Dominick 1982: 343). The supposed peace policy of the bourgeoisie was mocked and characterized as one of “armed peace” and, in 1895, Jean Jaurès, the leader of the French Socialist Party (SFIO), gave a speech in parliament in which he famously summed up the apprehensions of the Left: “Your violent and chaotic society still, even when it wants peace, even when it is in a state of apparent repose, bears war within itself, just as a sleeping cloud bears a storm” (Jaurès, 1982: 32).
As the Weltpolitik – the aggressive policy of Imperial Germany to extend its power in the international arena – changed the geopolitical setting, anti-militarist principles sank deeper roots in the workers’ movement and influenced the discussions on armed conflicts. War was no longer seen only as opening up revolutionary opportunities and hastening the breakdown of the system (an idea on the Left since the Revolutionary War of 1792). It was now viewed as a danger because of its grievous consequences for the proletariat in the shape of hunger, destitution and unemployment. It thus posed a serious threat for progressive forces, and, as Karl Kautsky wrote in The Social Revolution (1902), they would in case of war be “heavily loaded with tasks that are not essential” (Kautsky, 1904: 77) to them, and which would make the final victory more distant rather than bring it closer.
The resolution “On Militarism and International Conflicts”, adopted by the Second International at its Stuttgart Congress in 1907, recapitulated all the key points that had become the common heritage of the workers’ movement. Among these were: a vote against budgets that increased military spending, antipathy to standing armies and a preference for a system of people’s militias, and support for the plan to create courts of arbitration to settle international conflicts peacefully. This excluded a resort to general strikes against any kind of wars, as proposed by Gustave Hervé, since a majority of those present deemed this too radical and too Manichaean. The resolution ended with an amendment drafted by Rosa Luxemburg, Vladimir Lenin and Yulii Martov, which stated that “in case war should break out […], it is the duty [of socialists] to intervene in favour of its speedy termination, and with all their powers to utilize the economic and political crisis created by the war, to rouse the masses and thereby to hasten the downfall of capitalist class rule” (Vv. Aa., 1972: 80). Since this did not, however, compel the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) to make any change of political line, its representatives also voted in favour of it. The text, as amended, was the last document on war that secured unanimous support from the Second International.
More intense competition among capitalist states on the world market, together with the outbreak of a number of international conflicts, made the general picture even more alarming. The publication of Jaurès’s The New Army (1911) encouraged discussion of another central theme of the period: the distinction between offensive and defensive wars and the attitude to be taken to the latter, including in cases where a country’s independence was threatened (see Marcobelli, 2021: 155-227). For Jaurès, the only task of the army should be to defend the nation against any offensive aggression, or any aggressor that did not accept resolution of the dispute through mediation. All military action that came under this category should be considered legitimate. Luxemburg’s clear-sighted critique of this position pointed out that “historical phenomena such as modern wars cannot be measured with the yardstick of ‘justice’, or through a paper schema of defence and aggression” (Luxemburg, 1911). In her view, it was necessary to bear in mind the difficulty of establishing whether a war was really offensive or defensive, or whether the state that started it had deliberately decided to attack or had been forced to do so because of the stratagems adopted by the country that opposed it. She therefore thought that the distinction should be discarded, and further criticized Jaurès’s idea of the “armed nation”, on the grounds that it ultimately tended to fuel the growing militarization in society.
As the years passed, the Second International committed itself less and less to a policy of action in favour of peace. Its opposition to rearmament and war preparations was very lacklustre, and an increasingly moderate and legalistic wing of the SPD traded its support for military credits – and then even for colonial expansion – in return for the granting of greater political freedoms in Germany. Important leaders and eminent theorists, such as Gustav Noske, Henry Hyndman and Arturo Labriola, were among the first to arrive at these positions. Subsequently, a majority of German Social Democrats, French Socialists, British Labour Party leaders and other European reformists ended up supporting the First World War (1914-1918). This course had disastrous consequences. With the idea that the “benefits of progress” should not be monopolized by the capitalists, the workers’ movement came to share the expansionist aims of the ruling classes and was swamped by nationalist ideology. The Second International proved completely impotent in the face of the war, failing in one of its main objectives: the preservation of peace.
Lenin and other delegates at the Zimmerwald conference (1915) – including Leon Trotsky, who drafted the final manifesto – foresaw that “for decades war spending will absorb the best energies of peoples, undermining social improvements and impeding any progress”. In their eyes the war revealed the “naked form of modern capitalism, which has become irreconcilable, not only with the interests of the working masses […] but even with the first conditions of human communal existence” (Vv. Aa., 1915). The warning was heeded by only a minority in the workers’ movement, as was the call to all European workers at the Kienthal Conference (1916): “Your governments and their newspapers tell you that the war must be continued to kill militarism. They are deceiving you! War has never killed war. Indeed, it sparks feelings and wishes for revenge. In this way in marking you for sacrifice, they enclose you in an infernal circle”. Finally breaking with the approach of the Stuttgart Congress, which had called for international courts of arbitration, the final document at Kienthal declared that “the illusions of bourgeois pacifism” (Vv. Aa., 1977: 371) would not interrupt the spiral of war but would help to preserve the existing social-economic system. The only way to prevent future military conflicts was for the popular masses to conquer political power and overthrow capitalist property.
Rosa Luxemburg and Vladimir Lenin were the two most vigorous opponents of the war. Luxemburg extended the theoretical understanding of the Left and showed how militarism was a key vertebra of the state. Displaying a conviction and effectiveness with few equals among other communist leaders, she argued that the “War on war!” slogan should become “the cornerstone of working-class politics”. As she wrote in the Theses on the Tasks of International Social-Democracy (1915), the Second International had imploded because it failed “to achieve a common tactic and action by the proletariat in all countries”. From then on, the “main goal” of the proletariat should therefore be “fighting imperialism and preventing wars, in peace as in war” (Luxemburg, 1915).
In Socialism and War (1915) and many other writings during the First World War, Lenin’s great merit was to identify two fundamental questions. The first concerned the “historical falsification” whenever the bourgeoisie tried to attribute a “progressive sense of national liberation” to what were in reality wars of “plunder” (Lenin, 1971: 299-300), waged with the sole aim of deciding which belligerents were this time to oppress the most foreign peoples and to increase the inequalities of capitalism. The second was the masking of contradictions by the social reformists – or “social-chauvinists”, as he (1971: 306) called them – who ultimately endorsed the justifications for war despite their having defined it as a “criminal” activity in the resolutions adopted by the Second International. Behind their claim to be “defending the fatherland” lay the right that certain great powers had given themselves to “pillage the colonies and to oppress foreign peoples”. Wars were not fought to safeguard “the existence of nations” but “to defend the privileges, domination, plunder and violence” of the various “imperialist bourgeoisies” (Lenin, 1971: 307). The socialists who had capitulated to patriotism had replaced the class struggle with a claim on “morsels of the profits obtained by their national bourgeoisie through the looting of other countries”. Accordingly, Lenin (1971: 314) was in favor of “defensive wars” – not, that is, the national defense of European countries à la Jaurès, but the “just wars” of “oppressed and subjugated peoples” who had been “plundered and deprived of their rights” by the “great slave owning powers”. The most celebrated thesis of this pamphlet – that revolutionaries should seek to “turn imperialist war into civil war” (1971: 315) – implied that those who really wanted a “lasting democratic peace” had to wage “civil war against their governments and the bourgeoisie” (1971: 315). Lenin was convinced of what history would later show to be imprecise: that any class struggle consistently waged in time of war would “inevitably” create a revolutionary spirit among the masses.

Lines of demarcation
The First World War produced divisions not only in the Second International but also in the anarchist movement. In an article published shortly after the outbreak of the conflict, Kropotkin (1914: 76-77) wrote that “the task of any person holding dear the idea of human progress is to squash the German invasion in Western Europe”. This statement, seen by many as ditching the principles for which he had fought all his life, was an attempt to move beyond the slogan of “a general strike against the war” – which had gone unheeded by the working masses – and to avoid the general regression of European politics that would result from a German victory. In Kropotkin’s view, if anti-militarists remained inert, they would indirectly assist the invaders’ plans of conquest, and the resulting obstacle would be even more difficult to overcome for those fighting for a social revolution.
In a reply to Kropotkin, the Italian anarchist Errico Malatesta argued that, although he was not a pacifist and thought it legitimate to take up arms in a war of liberation, the world war was not – as bourgeois propaganda asserted – a struggle “for the general good against the common enemy” of democracy, but yet another example of the ruling-class subjugation of the working masses. He was aware that “a German victory would certainly spell the triumph of militarism, but also that a triumph for the Allies would mean Russian-British domination in Europe and Asia” (Malatesta, 1993: 230).
In the Manifesto of the Sixteen, Kropotkin (et al., 1916) upheld the need “to resist an aggressor who represents the destruction of all our hopes of liberation”. Victory for the Triple Entente against Germany would be the lesser evil and do less to undermine the existing liberties. On the other side, Malatesta and his fellow-signatories (1998: 388) of the anti-war manifesto of the Anarchist International (1915) declared: “No distinction is possible between offensive and defensive wars”. Moreover, they added that “None of the belligerents has any right to lay claim to civilization, just as none of them is entitled to claim legitimate self-defence”. The First World War, they insisted, was a further episode in the conflict among capitalists of various imperialist powers, which was being waged at the expense of the working class. Malatesta, Emma Goldman, Ferdinand Nieuwenhuis and the great majority of the anarchist movement were convinced that it would an unforgivable error to support the bourgeois governments. Instead, with no ifs or buts, they stuck with the slogan “no man and no penny for the army”, firmly rejecting even any indirect support for the pursuit of war.
Attitudes to the war also aroused debate in the feminist movement. The need for women to replace conscripted men in jobs that had long been a male monopoly – for a much lower wage, in conditions of overexploitation – encouraged the spread of chauvinist ideology in a sizeable part of the new-born suffragette movement. Some of its leaders went so far as to petition for laws allowing the enlistment of women in the armed forces. Exposure of duplicitous governments – which, in evoking the enemy at the gates, used the war to roll back fundamental social reforms – was one of the most important achievements of the main women communist leaders of the time. Clara Zetkin, Alexandra Kollontai, Sylvia Pankhurst and, of course, Rosa Luxemburg were among the first to embark lucidly and courageously on the path that would show successive generations how the struggle against militarism was essential to the struggle against patriarchy. Later, the rejection of war became a distinctive part of International Women’s Day, and opposition to war budgets on the outbreak of any new conflict featured prominently in many platforms of the international feminist movement.

The end does not justify the means and wrong means damage the end
The deep split between revolutionaries and reformists, widening into a strategic gulf after the birth of the Soviet Union and the growth of ideological dogmatism in the 1920s and 1930s, ruled out any alliance against militarism between the Communist International (1919-1943) and the European Socialist and Social Democratic parties. Having supported the war, the parties making up the Labour and Socialist International (1923-1940) had lost all credit in the eyes of the communists. The Leninist idea of “turning imperialist war into civil war” still had currency in Moscow, where leading politicians and theorists thought a “new 1914” was inevitable. On both sides, then, the talk was more of what to do if a new war broke out than of how to prevent one from beginning. The slogans and declarations of principle differed substantially from what was expected to happen and from what then turned into political action. Among the critical voices in the Communist camp were those of Nikolai Bukharin, a proponent of the slogan “struggle for peace”, and among the Russian leaders more convinced that it was “one of the key issues of the contemporary world”; and Georgi Dimitrov, who argued that not all the great powers were equally responsible for the threat of war, and who favoured a rapprochement with the reformist parties to build a broad popular front against it. Both these views contrasted with the litany of Soviet orthodoxy, which, far from updating theoretical analysis, repeated that the danger of war was built equally, and without distinction, into all the imperialist powers .
Mao Zedong’s (1966: 15) views on the matter were quite different. At the head of the liberation movement against the Japanese invasion, he wrote in On Protracted War (1938) that “just wars” – in which communists should actively participate – are “endowed with tremendous power, which can transform many things or clear the way for their transformation” (1966: 26-27). Mao’s (1966: 53) proposed strategy, therefore, was “to oppose unjust war with just war”, and furthermore to “continue the war until its political objective [is] achieved”. Arguments for the “omnipotence of revolutionary war” recur in Problems of War and Strategy (1938), where he argues that “only with guns can the whole world be transformed” (1965: 219), and that “the seizure of power by armed force, the settlement of the issue by war, is the central task and the highest form of revolution” (1965: 225).
In Europe, the escalating violence of the Nazi-Fascist front, at home as well as abroad, and the outbreak of the Second World War (1939-1945) created an even more nefarious scenario than the 1914-18 war. After Hitler’s troops attacked the Soviet Union in 1941, the Great Patriotic War that ended with the defeat of Nazism became such a central element in Russian national unity that it survived the fall of the Berlin Wall and has lasted until our own days.
With the post-war division of the world into two blocs, Joseph Stalin taught that the main task of the international Communist movement was to safeguard the Soviet Union. The creation of a buffer zone of eight countries in Eastern Europe (seven after the exit of Yugoslavia) was a central pillar of this policy. In the same period, the Truman Doctrine marked the advent of a new type of war: the Cold War. In its support of anti-communist forces in Greece, in the Marshall Plan (1948) and the creation of NATO (1949), the United States of America contributed to avoid the advance of progressive forces in Western Europe. The Soviet Union responded with the Warsaw Pact (1955). This configuration led to a huge arms race, which, despite the fresh memory of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, also involved a proliferation of nuclear bomb tests.
From 1961, under the leadership of Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet Union began a new political course that came to be known as “peaceful coexistence”. This turn, with its emphasis on non-interference and respect for national sovereignty, as well as economic cooperation with capitalist countries, was supposed to avert the danger of a third world war (which the Cuban missiles crisis showed to be a possibility in 1962) and to support the argument that war was not inevitable. However, this attempt at constructive cooperation was geared only to the USA, not the countries of “actually existing socialism”. In 1956, the Soviet Union had already crushed a revolt in Hungary, and the Communist parties of Western Europe had not condemned but justified the military intervention in the name of protecting the socialist bloc. Palmiro Togliatti, for example, the secretary of the Italian Communist Party, declared: “We stand with our own side even when it makes a mistake” (cit. in Vittoria, 2015: 219). Most of those who shared this position regretted it bitterly in later years, when they understood the devastating effects of the Soviet operation.
Similar events took place at the height of peaceful coexistence, in 1968 in Czechoslovakia. Faced with demands for democratization and economic decentralization during the Prague Spring, the Politburo of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union decided unanimously to send in half a million soldiers and thousands of tanks. At the congress of the Polish United Workers’ Party in 1968, Leonid Brezhnev explained the action by referring to what he called the “limited sovereignty” of Warsaw Pact countries: “When forces that are hostile to socialism try to turn the development of some socialist country towards capitalism, it becomes not only a problem of the country concerned, but a common problem and concern of all socialist countries”. According to this anti-democratic logic, the definition of what was and was not “socialism” naturally fell to the arbitrary decision of the Soviet leaders. But this time critics on the Left were more forthcoming and even represented the majority. Although disapproval of the Soviet action was expressed not only by New Left movements but by a majority of Communist parties, including the Chinese, the Russians did not pull back but carried through a process that they called “normalization”. The Soviet Union continued to earmark a sizeable part of its economic resources for military spending, and this helped to reinforce an authoritarian culture in society. In this way, it lost forever the goodwill of the peace movement, which had become even larger through the extraordinary mobilizations against the war in Vietnam.
One of the most important wars in the next decade began with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. In 1979, the Red Army again became a major instrument of Moscow’s foreign policy, which continued to claim the right to intervene in what it described as its own “security zone”. The ill-starred decision turned into an exhausting adventure that stretched over more than ten years, causing a huge number of deaths and creating millions of refugees. On this occasion the international Communist movement was much less reticent than it had been in relation to the Soviet invasions of Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Yet this new war revealed even more clearly to international public opinion the split between “actually existing socialism” and a political alternative based on peace and opposition to militarism.
Taken as a whole, these military interventions not only worked against a general arms reduction but served to discredit and globally weaken socialism. The Soviet Union was increasingly seen as an imperial power acting in ways not unlike those of the United States, which, since the onset of the Cold War, had more or less secretly backed coups d’état and helped to overthrow democratically elected governments in more than twenty countries around the world. Lastly, the “socialist wars” in 1977-1979 between Cambodia and Vietnam and China and Vietnam, against the backdrop of the Sino-Soviet conflict, dissipated whatever leverage “Marxist-Leninist” ideology (already remote from the original foundations laid by Marx and Engels) had in attributing war exclusively to the economic imbalances of capitalism.

To be on the left is to be against war
The end of the Cold War did not lessen the amount of interference in other countries’ affairs, nor did it increase the freedom of every people to choose the political regime under which it lives. The numerous wars– even without a UN mandate and defined, absurdly, as “humanitarian” – carried out by the USA in the past twenty-five years, to which should be added new forms of conflict, illegal sanctions, and political, economic and media conditioning, demonstrate that the bipolar division of the world between two superpowers did not give way to the era of liberty and progress promised by the neoliberal mantra of the “New World Order”. In this context, many political forces that once lay claim to the values of the Left have joined in a number of wars. From Kosovo to Iraq and Afghanistan – to mention only the main wars waged by NATO since the fall of the Berlin Wall – these forces have each time given their support to armed intervention and made themselves less and less distinguishable from the Right.
The Russian-Ukrainian war has again faced the Left with the dilemma of how to react when a country’s sovereignty is under attack. The failure to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a political mistake on the part of the government of Venezuela, and it makes denunciations of possible future acts of aggression committed by the United States appear less credible. It is true that, as Marx wrote to Ferdinand Lassalle in 1860 (Marx, 1985: 154; Musto, 2018: 132), “in foreign policy, there’s little to be gained by using such catchwords as ‘reactionary’ and ‘revolutionary’” – that what is “subjectively reactionary [may prove to be] objectively revolutionary in foreign policy”. But left-wing forces should have learned from the twentieth century that alliances “with my enemy’s enemy” often lead to counterproductive agreements, especially when, as in our times, the progressive front is politically weak and theoretically confused and lacks the support of mass mobilizations.
Recalling Lenin’s (1964b: 148) words in The Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination: “The fact that the struggle for national liberation against one imperialist power may, under certain circumstances, be utilized by another ‘Great’ Power in its equally imperialist interests should have no more weight in inducing Social Democracy to renounce its recognition of the right of nations to self-determination”. Beyond the geopolitical interests and intrigues that are usually also in play, the forces of the Left have historically supported the principle of national self-determination and defended the right of individual states to establish their frontiers on the basis of the express will of the population. The Left has fought against wars and “annexations” because it is aware that these lead to dramatic conflicts between the workers of the dominant nation and the oppressed nation, creating the conditions for the latter to unite with their own bourgeoisie in considering the former as their enemy. In Results of the Discussion on Self-Determination (1916), Lenin (1964a: 329-330) wrote: “If the socialist revolution were to be victorious in Petrograd, Berlin and Warsaw, the Polish socialist government, like the Russian and German socialist governments, would renounce the ‘forcible retention’ of, say, the Ukrainians within the frontiers of the Polish state”. Why suggest, then, that anything different should be conceded to the nationalist government led by Vladimir Putin?
On the other hand, all too many on the Left have yielded to the temptation to become – directly or indirectly – co-belligerents, fuelling a new union sacrée (expression coined in 1914, just to greet the abjuration of the forces of the French left that, at the outbreak of World War I, decided to endorse the war choices of the government). Such a position today serves increasingly to blur the distinction between Atlanticism and pacifism. History shows that, when they do not oppose war, progressive forces lose an essential part of their reason for existence and end up swallowing the ideology of the opposite camp. This happens whenever parties of the Left make their presence in government the fundamental way of measuring their political action – as the Italian Communists did in supporting the NATO interventions in Kosovo and Afghanistan, or as does much of today’s Unidas Podemos, which joins its voice to the unanimous chorus of the entire Spanish parliamentary spectrum, in favour of sending weapons to the Ukrainian army. Such subaltern conduct has been punished many times in the past, including at the polls as soon as the occasion has arisen.

Bonaparte is not democracy
In the 1850s, Marx composed a brilliant series of articles on the Crimean War that contain many interesting and useful parallels with the present day. In Revelations of the Diplomatic History of the 18th Century (1857), speaking of the great Muscovite monarch of the fifteenth century – the one considered to have unified Russia and laid the ground for its autocracy – Marx (1986: 86) stated: “One merely needs to replace one series of names and dates with others and it becomes clear that the policies of Ivan III […], and those of Russia today, are not merely similar but identical”. In a piece for the New-York Daily Tribune, however, in opposition to liberal democrats who exalted the anti-Russian coalition, he wrote: “It is a mistake to describe the war against Russia as a war between liberty and despotism. Apart from the fact that if such be the case, liberty would be for the nonce represented by a Bonaparte, the whole avowed object of the war is the maintenance […] of the Vienna treaties — those very treaties which annul the liberty and independence of nations” (1980: 228). If we replace Bonaparte with the United States of America and the Vienna treaties with NATO, these observations seem as if written for today.
The thinking of those who oppose both Russian and Ukrainian nationalism, as well as the expansion of NATO, does not show proof of political indecision or theoretical ambiguity. In recent weeks, a number of experts have provided explanations of the roots of the conflict (which in no way reduce the barbarity of the Russian invasion), and the position of those who propose a policy of non-alignment is the most effective way of ending the war as soon as possible and ensuring the smallest number of victims. It is not a question of behaving like the “beautiful souls” drenched in abstract idealism, whom Hegel thought incapable of addressing the actual reality of earthly contradictions. On the contrary: the point is to give reality to the only true antidote to an unlimited expansion of the war. There is no end to the voices calling for higher military spending and further conscription, or to those who, like the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, think it is Europe’s task to supply the Ukrainians with “the necessary weapons for war” (Borrell, 2022). But in contrast to these positions, it is necessary to pursue ceaseless diplomatic activity based on two firm points: de-escalation and the neutrality of independent Ukraine.
Despite the increased support for NATO following the Russian moves, it is necessary to work harder to ensure that public opinion does not see the largest and most aggressive war machine in the world – NATO – as the solution to the problems of global security. It must be shown that it is a dangerous and ineffectual organization, which, in its drive for expansion and unipolar domination, serves to fuel tensions leading to war in the world.
In Socialism and War, Lenin argued that Marxists differ from pacifists and anarchists in that they “deem it necessary historically (from the standpoint of Marx’s dialectical materialism [sic!]) to study each war separately”. Continuing, he asserted that: “In history there have been numerous wars which, in spite of all the horrors, atrocities, distress and suffering that inevitably accompany all wars, were progressive, i.e., benefited the development of mankind” (1971: 299). If that was true in the past, it would be short-sighted to simply repeat it in contemporary societies where weapons of mass destruction are continually spreading. Rarely have wars – not to be confused with revolutions – had the democratizing effect that the theorists of socialism hoped for. Indeed, they have often proved to be the worst way of carrying out a revolution, both because of the cost in human lives and because of the destruction of the productive forces that they entail. Indeed, wars disseminate an ideology of violence, often combined with the nationalist sentiments that have torn the workers’ movement apart. Rarely favouring practices of self-management and direct democracy, they increase instead the power of authoritarian institutions. This is a lesson that the moderate Left, too, should never forget.
In one of the most fertile passages of Reflections on War (1933), Simone Weil (2021: 101) wonders if it is possible that “a revolution can avoid war”. In her view, this is the only “feeble possibility” that we have if we do not want to “abandon all hope”. Revolutionary war often turns into the “tomb of the revolution”, since “the armed citizenry are not given the means of waging war without a controlling apparatus, without police pressure, without a special court, without punishment for desertion”. More than any other social phenomenon, war swells the military, bureaucratic and police apparatus. “It leads to the total effacement of the individual before state bureaucracy”. Hence, “if the war does not end immediately and permanently […] the result will be merely one of those revolutions that, in Marx’s words, perfect the state apparatus instead of shattering it” or, more clearly still, “it would even mean extending under another form the regime we want to suppress”. In the event of war, then, “we must choose between obstructing the functioning of the military machine in which we ourselves constitute the cogs, or helping that machine to blindly crush human lives” (2021: 101-102).
For the Left, war cannot be “the continuation of politics by other means”, to quote Clausewitz’s famous dictum. In reality, it merely certifies the failure of politics. If the Left wishes to become hegemonic and to show itself capable of using its history for the tasks of today, it needs to write indelibly on its banners the words “anti-militarism” and “No to war!”

 

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Links, de oorlog en het Russisch-Oekraïens conflict

Sociale en politieke wetenschappers hebben de ideologische, politieke, economische en zelfs psychologische beweegredenen die leiden tot oorlog onderzocht, maar het waren socialistische denkers die een van de meest overtuigende inzichten hebben verschaft over het verband tussen de ontwikkeling van het kapitalisme en de proliferatie van oorlog. Dit essay wil opnieuw dit fundamenteel inzicht herwaarderen in deze onzekere tijden. Er bestaan immers tal van discussies binnen links hoe we het conflict in Oekraïne moeten begrijpen. Alleen via gedegen analyses kunnen we een zinnig politiek standpunt innemen.

Om een links standpunt te kunnen uitdragen, moeten we eerst terugkijken naar de houding van de vorige generaties. Binnen de Eerste Internationale was het de Belg César de Paepe die voor het eerst een klassieke socialistische analyse maakte over hoe moderne oorlogen onvermijdelijk verweven zijn met de ontwikkeling van het kapitalisme. Moderne oorlogen onderscheiden zich van haar voorgangers in het feit dat ze niet worden gevoerd door de ambities van een monarch of adellijke elite. Oorlogen worden eerder gevoerd omwille van de belangen die aanwezig zijn binnen ons dominant socio-economisch model. Voor de Paepe en zijn ideologische nazaten kon een les getrokken worden uit de talrijke moderne oorlogen: het waren en zijn in essentie “burgeroorlogen”, een woeste strijd tussen de werkende klassen die hen hierbij de noodzakelijke middelen tot overleven ontneemt.

Marx heeft nooit een coherente theorie over de oorlog ontwikkeld. Je vindt zijn korte en fragmentaire opmerkingen over het onderwerp doorheen zijn verzamelde geschriften, opmerkingen die op bepaalde punten zelfs contradictorisch zijn. Wat betekent dat hij ook geen helder standpunt aan zijn lezers heeft nagelaten hoe zij zich politiek moeten positioneren tegenover de oorlog. In Het Kapitaal vinden we de opmerking dat geweld “de vroedvrouw van iedere oude maatschappij is, die op haar beurt zwanger is van een nieuwe samenleving”. Maar hij dacht niet dat oorlog een kortere weg vormt voor een revolutionaire omwenteling van de samenleving. Zijn politieke activiteiten waren eerder gericht op het ontwikkelen van het principe van internationale solidariteit tussen de werkende klassen.

Zijn compagnon de route, Engels, had daarentegen wel veel zaken geschreven over oorlog. Hij schreef er zelfs een boekje over, “Kan Europa ontwapenen?”. In dit werk bemerkte hij dat de tweede helft van de negentiende eeuw werd getekend door grootmachten die elk op hun beurt trachten hun rivalen militair te overvleugelen. De voorbereiding op een grootscheepse oorlog vormde steeds een centraal motief in het beleid van om het even welke grootmacht. Elke kapitalistische grootmacht investeerde immense sommen in wapenproductie (onvergelijkbaar met vroegere periodes), waardoor Europa voortdurend op de rand stond van een ongeziene vernietigingsoorlog: “Europa ondergaat het systeem van professionele staande legers op een dermate extreme manier dat het ofwel zal leiden tot de economische ondergang voor de gewone bevolking omwille van stijgende militaire uitgaven, ofwel zal de situatie degenereren tot een uitroeiingoorlog”. Engels benadrukte dat staande legers niet alleen bestonden om een externe vijand een halt toe te roepen, maar evengoed om “interne vijanden” te bekampen. Dit soort leger intervenieert in de klassenstrijd ten voordele van de heersende belangen. Engels beschouwde dan ook de eis om diensttijd gradueel te verkorten als een integraal onderdeel van de socialistische strijd binnen het breder kader van een oproep tot algemene ontwapening en het streven naar internationale vrede.

Beproevingen en ondergang van de IIde Internationale
Het duurde niet lang tot wanneer dit theoretisch debat in vredestijd het meest acute politieke probleem van een tijdsbestek werd. De verkozen vertegenwoordigers van de arbeidersbeweging waren initieel gekant tegen elke steun aan een oorlog. Tijdens het Frans-Pruisisch conflict van 1870 (wat de Parijse Commune voorafging) veroordeelden de sociaal-democraten Wilhelm Liebknecht en August Bebel de annexionistische doelstellingen van Bismarcks Duitsland. Zij stemden dan ook tegen de oorlogskredieten. Zij werden vervolgens tot twee jaar gevangenis veroordeeld, met als reden hoogverraad, nadat ze de beslissing om het wetsontwerp inzake het extra financieren van de oorlog verwierpen. De moedige houding van deze volksvertegenwoordigers gaf alleszins aan dat de werkende klasse alternatieven bezat om een oorlogscrisis te lijf te gaan.

Debatten over de oorlog binnen de IIde Internationale wonnen alleen maar aan belang binnen het kader van de Europese mogendheden die verder het pad bleven bewandelen van imperialistische expansie. Een resolutie, aangenomen tijdens het stichtingscongres, omschreef vrede als de “noodzakelijke voorwaarde voor de emancipatie van de arbeider”. De Duitse “Weltpolitik” – het agressief buitenlands beleid van keizerlijk Duitsland om haar macht op de internationale arena te vergroten – veranderde de geopolitieke context waarbinnen de sociaal-democraten politiek moesten opereren. Het principe van anti-militarisme werd een hoeksteek van de arbeidersbeweging. En frequent kwamen discussies over oorlogsconflicten naar de publieke oppervlakte. Oorlog werd niet alleen beschouwd als een kans tot een revolutionaire omwenteling, waarbij het werd aanzien als een destabiliserende factor die zou leiden tot een implosie van een systeem – een idee dat kan getraceerd worden tot Maximilien Robespierre en zijn beroemde uitspraak “Men kan geen revolutie nastreven zonder revolutie”. Het werd eerder aanzien als een van de grootste gevaren voor de werkende klassen, omdat oorlog altijd gepaard gaat met honger, armoede en werkloosheid.

De basisprincipes van de arbeidersbeweging binnen de schoot van de IIde Internationale werden verder uitgekristalliseerd in de resolutie “Over het militarisme en internationale conflicten” in 1907 te Stuttgart. De partijen moesten consequent stemmen tegen stijgende oorlogsbudgetten, het model van staande legers afkeuren, en, indien het dan toch noodzakelijk bleek te zijn, het idee van volksmilities prefereren. In de jaren naar aanloop van WOI bleek de IIde Internationale minder en minder begaan te zijn met het voeren van een politiek dat vrede centraal stelde. Met als noodlottig resultaat dat de meeste partijen de nationale elites steunden bij het initiëren van de Grote Oorlog. En dit bracht rampzalige gevolgen met zich mee voor de gehele mensheid.

Maar binnen links waren er ook nog overtuigde tegenstanders van de oorlog die zich bleven verzetten tegen deze nationalistische omwenteling van de sociaal-democratie. De twee meest gekende namen waren Rosa Luxemburg en Vladimir Lenin. Luxemburg ontwikkelde een verder verfijnde analyse, waarin ze aantoonde hoe het militarisme een hoofdbestanddeel vormde van de werking van een kapitalistische staat. Zij voerde met veel verbeten overtuiging een “oorlog tegen de oorlog”, een slogan die de politieke hoeksteen vormde van de oppositie binnen de arbeidersbeweging, en zij kon veruit het meeste maatschappelijke impact genereren in vergelijking met veel van haar linkse medestanders. In haar pamflet “De crisis van de sociaal-democratie”, ook wel het “Junius pamflet” (1915) genaamd, schreef ze dat de IIde Internationale ten onder was gegaan omdat het faalde “in het ontwikkelen van een afdoende tactiek en praktijk die gedeeld kon worden door het proletariaat over de nationale grenzen heen”. Daarom moet de centrale doelstelling van de werkende klasse bestaan uit “het bevechten van het imperialisme en voorkomen van oorlogen, zowel in tijden van vrede als oorlog”.

Lenin gaf op zijn beurt twee belangrijke inzichten mee aan zijn lezers, die zowel te vinden zijn in zijn vlugschrift “Socialisme en de oorlog” als in talrijke andere bijdragen. Een eerste fundamentele kwestie draait rond het begrip “historisch falsificatie”: burgerlijke elites hebben doorheen de geschiedenis steeds gepoogd om hun buitenlandse interventies af te schilderen vanuit “een progressieve notie van nationale bevrijding” van een ander volk. Terwijl deze oorlogen in realiteit draaien om economische plundering. Oorlogen tussen belligerente dominante staten worden gevoerd om uit te maken wie ditmaal de meeste andere volkeren mag onderdrukken. Deze oorlogen zullen dus steeds de ongelijkheden van het kapitalisme intensifiëren. Een tweede zaak gaat over de steun van de nationale sociaal-democratische partijen aan imperialistische oorlogen. Zij zullen hierbij de klassentegenstellingen opzij schuiven wanneer zij hun politieke steun uitspreken voor de nationale burgerij in kwestie. In ruil voor deze steun hopen zij dat ze “de kruimels van de winsten kunnen verkrijgen van deze nationale burgerij, veelal vergaard door het plunderen van andere landen”. Lenin verwierp deze politiek en bracht een ander fundamenteel inzicht in stelling: een socialistische beweging moet deze “imperialistische oorlogen omturnen tot een oorlog tussen het proletariaat en haar oorlogszuchtige burgerij en overheid”, dit is de enige manier om te komen tot “duurzame democratische vrede”. Lenin bezat hierbij een overtuiging die evenwel ontkracht zou worden door het verloop van de geschiedenis: dat het consequent voeren van de klassenstrijd tijdens een oorlogssituatie sowieso zou leiden tot een revolutionaire gezindheid onder de bevolking.

Politieke breukmomenten
De Eerste Wereldoorlog creëerde niet alleen schisma’s binnen de IIde Internationale, maar evengoed trad dit fenomeen op binnen de anarchistische beweging. Kropotkin schreef kort na het uitbreken van de vijandelijkheden dat “de Duitse inval in West-Europa moet neergeslagen worden door eenieder die begaan is met het idee van menselijke vooruitgang”. De Italiaanse anarchist Enrico Malatesta pende een wederwoord neer, waarin hij stelde dat “een Duitse overwinning ongetwijfeld zou leiden tot een triomf van het militarisme, maar dat tegelijkertijd een geallieerde overwinning een Russisch-Britse dominantie over Europa met zich zou meebrengen”. Kropotkin, wat te lezen valt in het “Manifest van de Zestien”, bleef in zijn idee geloven dat “men zich moet verzetten tegen de agressor die als bedoeling heeft al onze hoop voor de bevrijding van de mensheid te vernietigen”. Een overwinning voor de Triple Entente was een kwestie van het minste kwaad, het zou minder schade berokkenen aan de bestaande vrijheden. Malatesta en andere anarchisten die het “Manifest van de Anarchistische Internationale tegen de Oorlog” ondertekenden, verklaarden daarentegen: “Geen enkele van de belligerente partijen heeft het recht om zich het idee van beschaving toe te eigenen, en geen enkel van de betrokken partijen bezit de legitimiteit om zich te beroepen op het idee van zelfverdediging”.

De veelheid aan visies over de oorlog beroerde ook de feministische beweging. De Eerste Wereldoorlog maakte dat voor de eerste keer vrouwen jobs moesten uitoefenen die voorheen alleen weggelegd waren voor mannen. Maar tegelijk met deze maatschappelijke transformatie zag men ook veel tekenen van een nationalistische chauvinistische ideologie binnen de suffragette-beweging. Figuren zoals Luxemburg waren onontbeerlijk binnen de feministische beweging om een linkse tegenstem te vertolken. Linkse feministes konden de propaganda van de oorlogszuchtige regeringen aan de kaak stellen, regeringen die allerhande sociale verworvenheden wilden intrekken als een noodzakelijke opoffering om de vijand te kunnen verslaan. Met Luxemburg ontstond een politieke denkrichting die aantoonde hoe de strijd tegen het militarisme tegelijkertijd een strijd tegen het patriarchaat was. Na de oorlog zou de anti-oorlogsvisie een onderdeel vormen van de Internationale Vrouwendag, en de strijd tegen militaire conflicten en defensie-uitgaven zou een vast onderdeel vormen van de internationale vrouwenbeweging.

Een nieuwe fase brak aan met de opkomst van het nazisme en fascisme. De Tweede Wereldoorlog was nog meer maatschappelijk ingrijpend dan haar voorganger. Het nazisme voerde een imperialistische vernietigingsoorlog tegen de Sovjet-Unie. Het is geen toeval dat de Sovjet-troepen dit als de Grote Patriottische Oorlog bestempelden. De kost van de overwinning kon met geen enkel ander conflict worden vergeleken, en voor de volgende generaties Russen was de Grote Patriottische Oorlog een centraal gegeven in hun nationale identiteitsvorming – iets wat nu nog steeds leeft binnen de Russische samenleving.

De Tweede Oorlog zou ook tot onmiddellijk effect hebben dat de wereld werd verdeeld in twee machtsblokken. Stalin aanzag de opdracht van de internationale communistische beweging als zijnde de bescherming van de nationale belangen van de Sovjet-Unie. De creatie van een bufferzone tussen Oost en West, bestaande uit acht Oost-Europese landen, was een cruciaal gegeven in het beleid om zich te beschermen tegen een nieuwe invasie. Met Chroetsjov zou stilaan een nieuwe koers gevaren worden tegenover het Westen met ditmaal het centraal idee “vredevolle coëxistentie”. Helaas zou dit weinig veranderen voor de landen die moesten leven onder het “reëel bestaande socialisme”. In 1956 had de Sovjet-Unie reeds op zeer brutale wijze de Hongaarse Opstand onderdrukt. Op gelijksoortige wijze deed de Sovjet-Unie dit opnieuw met Tsjecho-Slowakije in 1968, toen in Praag de bevolking een democratisering van haar samenleving eiste. Brezjnev legitimeerde de militaire interventie met de notie van “gelimiteerde soevereiniteit” dat gold voor de respectievelijke Warschau-Pact landen: “Wanneer bepaalde krachten vijandig zijn tegenover het socialisme en pogen een socialistische land in kapitalistische richting te duwen, dan is dat niet alleen een probleem voor het respectievelijk land, maar een gedeelde zorg voor alle socialistische landen”. Het was aan de leidende bureaucratie van de Sovjet-Unie om te bepalen wat al dan niet viel onder de noemer “socialisme”. Het Rode Leger zou opnieuw een belangrijk instrument vormen voor het buitenlands beleid wanneer dezelfde bureaucratie besloot om Afghanistan binnen te vallen. Deze militaire interventies zorgden niet alleen voor een verdere wapenwedloop, maar het bracht ook het socialisme in diskrediet op mondiaal vlak. De Sovjet-Unie werd meer en meer aanzien als een imperiale macht die zich gedroeg zoals de Verenigde Staten.

Links is altijd gekant tegen de oorlog
Het einde van de Koude Oorlog zorgde alvast niet voor een vermindering van de interventiepolitiek door een selecte krans aan machtige staten. Ook is het duidelijk dat in de oude lidstaten van de Sovjet-Unie de bevolking niet leeft in meer open en vrije samenlevingen. Het Russisch-Oekraïens conflict brengt voor links opnieuw dilemma’s met zich mee, met specifiek de vraag hoe te reageren op de schending van de soevereiniteit van een land. We kunnen teruggrijpen naar de analyse van Lenin, die schrijft in zijn werk “De socialistische revolutie en het zelfbeschikkingsrecht van naties”: “Het is een feit dat het gevecht voor nationale vrijheid door een natie tegen een imperiale macht, in specifieke omstandigheden, kan misbruikt worden door een andere supermacht om haar eigen imperiale belangen na te streven. Tegelijkertijd mag dit feit geen hinderpaal vormen om het recht van naties tot zelfbeschikking te erkennen als een legitieme eis”. Links zal dus altijd rekening moeten houden met de geopolitieke aspecten van deze strijd tot nationale zelfbeschikking, en internationale politieke intriges zullen altijd aanwezig zijn. Maar links heeft historisch gezien het principe van nationale zelfbeschikking uitgedragen op basis van de wilsuiting van een bevolking. Ik citeer even Lenin verder in zijn “Resultaten van de discussie over zelfbeschikking”: “Indien de socialistische revolutie succesvol wil zijn in Petrograd, Berlijn, Warschau, dan moet de Poolse socialistische regering, net zoals de Russische als de Duitse, geen plannen koesteren om Oekraïners tegen hun wil binnen de Poolse staatsgrenzen te laten leven”. Dit zou dan ook het uitgangspunt moeten vormen van links hoe zij zich moeten verhouden ten opzichte van de nationalistische aspiraties van Poetin.

Maar historisch gezien hebben linkse krachten ook vaak de verleiding niet kunnen weerstaan om direct of indirect zijde te kiezen van een belligerente partij. Vaak hebben zij zich geschaard achter een misplaatste union sacrée. Dit zien wij momenteel ook gebeuren: de scheidingslijn tussen het Atlantisme en het pacifisme zijn soms zeer schimmig. De geschiedenis toont aan dat links zijn bestaansreden verliest indien het zich niet verzet tegen de oorlog, wanneer het zich laat opslorpen door een ideologie van de andere zijde. Dit gebeurt vooral wanneer linkse krachten hun politieke acties laten bepalen door hun aanwezigheid in een regering. Met andere woorden, wanneer hun uitvoerende mandaten belangrijker worden geacht dan hun principes. We denken hierbij aan de Italiaanse communisten, die de NAVO-interventies in Afghanistan en tegen Servië hebben gesteund. Momenteel steunt ook een parlementaire meerderheid binnen Unidas Podemos wapenleveringen aan Oekraïne, waarbij zij zich dus niet onderscheiden van de dominante politieke krachten die de oorlogszucht aanzwengelen.

Bonaparte is niet democratisch
Marx schreef in 1854, ten tijde van de Krimoorlog, een tekst die zich kantte tegen de Engelse liberalen die zich volmondig schaarden achter een anti-Russische coalitie: “Het is fundamenteel fout om te denken dat de oorlog tegen Rusland kan beschreven worden als een conflict tussen vrijheid en despotisme. Indien dit het geval zou zijn, dan zou vrijheid voor de zoveelste keer worden vertegenwoordigd door een Bonaparte [Napoleon III, nvdr]. En zijn enige doelstelling van deze oorlog is om de Weense Verdragen te waarborgen – verdragen die net de vrijheid en onafhankelijkheid van naties ondermijnen”. Indien we Bonaparte verwisselen met de Verenigde Staten en de Weense Verdragen met de NAVO, dan kunnen we gerust stellen dat deze observatie evengoed geschreven kon zijn over onze huidig tijdsbestek.

Wanneer iemand zowel het Russisch als Oekraïens nationalisme verwerpt, en zich ook kant tegen de expansiepolitiek van de NAVO, dan duidt dit niet op een onwil om politieke kant te kiezen of theoretisch ambiguïteit aan te hangen. De afgelopen paar maand hebben enkele academische experten complexe analyses gemaakt hoe wij dit conflict moeten begrijpen binnen zijn historische dimensies. Analyses voorbij zwart-wit-denken kunnen perfect hand in hand gaan met een complete veroordeling van de Russische agressie. Ook bestaan er genuanceerde experten die stellen dat een Oekraïense status van militaire ongebondenheid de meest effectieve weg inhoudt om te komen tot een spoedig einde van het oorlogsgeweld, waardoor het aantal burgerslachtoffers tot een minimum wordt beperkt. In mijn optiek moet links dan ook twee fundamentele uitgangspunten handhaven: een politiek steunen van de-escalatie en het streven naar een neutraal statuut voor een onafhankelijk Oekraïne.

Het Russisch oorlogsgeweld heeft begrijpelijk de publieke steun voor de NAVO doen toenemen. Daarom is het net voor links van belang om mensen te laten inzien dat de grootste oorlogsmachine op mondiaal vlak – de NAVO – geen oplossing kan vormen voor de problemen van internationale veiligheid. Het is en blijft een gevaarlijke en contraproductieve organisatie die nog steeds wordt gedreven door militaire expansie en unilaterale dominantie. De NAVO wakkert internationale spanningen aan, spanningen die leiden tot nieuwe oorlogen.

Voor links kan oorlogvoering niet een voortzetting van politiek met andere middelen inhouden, om Clausewitz’ befaamde uitspraak even aan te halen. In realiteit betekent oorlog eerder het falen van de politiek. Indien links de aspiratie wil bezitten om hegemonisch te worden, dan moet het onverwijld en onverbloemd de woorden “anti-militarisme” en “Neen tegen de oorlog!” uitdragen.

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Πόλεμος και Αριστερά

1. Τα οικονομικά αίτια του πολέμου
Ενώ η επιστήμη της πολιτικής έχει διερευνήσει τα ιδεολογικά, πολιτικά, οικονομικά, ακόμη και ψυχολογικά κίνητρα πίσω από την παρόρμηση για πόλεμο, η σοσιαλιστική θεωρία έχει κάνει μια από τις πιο συναρπαστικές συνεισφορές της, αναδεικνύοντας τη σχέση μεταξύ της ανάπτυξης του καπιταλισμού και της εξάπλωσης των πολέμων.
Στις συζητήσεις στο εσωτερικό της Πρώτης Διεθνούς (1864-1872), ο César de Paepe, ένας από τους κύριους ηγέτες της, διατύπωσε αυτό που θα γινόταν η κλασική θέση του εργατικού κινήματος για το ζήτημα: ότι δηλαδή οι πόλεμοι είναι αναπόφευκτοι υπό το καθεστώς της καπιταλιστικής παραγωγής. Στη σύγχρονη κοινωνία, δεν προκαλούνται από τις φιλοδοξίες μοναρχών ή άλλων ατόμων, αλλά από το κυρίαρχο κοινωνικο-οικονομικό μοντέλο. Το σοσιαλιστικό κίνημα έδειξε επίσης ποια τμήματα του πληθυσμού πλήττονται περισσότερο από τις τρομερές συνέπειες του πολέμου. Στο συνέδριο της Διεθνούς που πραγματοποιήθηκε το 1868, οι αντιπρόσωποι υιοθέτησαν μια πρόταση που καλούσε τους εργάτες να επιδιώξουν «την οριστική κατάργηση κάθε πολέμου», καθώς ήταν αυτοί που θα πλήρωναν – οικονομικά ή με το ίδιο τους το αίμα, είτε ανήκαν στους νικητές είτε στους ηττημένους – τις αποφάσεις των κυρίαρχων τάξεων και των κυβερνήσεων που τις εκπροσωπούσαν. Το μάθημα στο επίπεδο του πολιτισμού για το εργατικό κίνημα προέκυψε από την πεποίθηση ότι κάθε πόλεμος πρέπει να θεωρείται «εμφύλιος πόλεμος», μια άγρια σύγκρουση μεταξύ των εργαζομένων που τους στερούσε τα απαραίτητα μέσα για την επιβίωσή τους. Έπρεπε να δράσουν αποφασιστικά ενάντια σε οποιονδήποτε πόλεμο, αντιστεκόμενοι στην επιστράτευση και προχωρώντας σε απεργιακές κινητοποιήσεις. Ο διεθνισμός έγινε έτσι ένα βασικό σημείο της μελλοντικής κοινωνίας, η οποία, με το τέλος του καπιταλισμού και της αντιπαλότητας μεταξύ των αστικών κρατών στην παγκόσμια αγορά, θα είχε εξαλείψει τις κύριες υποκείμενες αιτίες του πολέμου.
Μεταξύ των προδρόμων του σοσιαλισμού, ο Κλοντ Ανρί ντε Σαιν Σιμόν είχε λάβει αποφασιστική θέση τόσο κατά του πολέμου όσο και κατά των κοινωνικών συγκρούσεων, θεωρώντας και τα δύο εμπόδια για τη θεμελιώδη πρόοδο της βιομηχανικής παραγωγής. Ο Καρλ Μαρξ δεν ανέπτυξε σε κανένα από τα γραπτά του τις απόψεις του για τον πόλεμο – που παρέμειναν αποσπασματικές και ενίοτε αντιφατικές –, ούτε διατύπωσε κατευθυντήριες γραμμές για τη σωστή στάση που πρέπει να τηρείται απέναντί του. Όταν επέλεγε ανάμεσα σε αντίπαλα στρατόπεδα, η μόνη του σταθερά ήταν η αντίθεσή του στην τσαρική Ρωσία, την οποία θεωρούσε ως το προκεχωρημένο φυλάκιο της αντεπανάστασης και ένα από τα κύρια εμπόδια για τη χειραφέτηση της εργατικής τάξης. Στο Κεφάλαιο (1867) υποστήριξε ότι η βία ήταν μια οικονομική δύναμη, «η μαμή κάθε παλιάς κοινωνίας που κυοφορεί μια νέα». Όμως δεν θεωρούσε τον πόλεμο ως μια κρίσιμη συντόμευση για τον επαναστατικό μετασχηματισμό της κοινωνίας και ένας σημαντικός στόχος της πολιτικής του δραστηριότητας ήταν να δεσμεύσει τους εργάτες στην αρχή της διεθνούς αλληλεγγύης. Όπως υποστήριζε και ο Φρίντριχ Ένγκελς, θα έπρεπε να δράσουν αποφασιστικά στις επιμέρους χώρες ενάντια στην άμβλυνση της ταξικής πάλης που απειλούσε να επιφέρει η προπαγανδιστική επινόηση ενός εξωτερικού εχθρού σε κάθε ξέσπασμα πολέμου. Σε διάφορες επιστολές προς τους ηγέτες του εργατικού κινήματος, ο Ένγκελς τόνισε την ιδεολογική δύναμη της παγίδας του πατριωτισμού και την καθυστέρηση στην προλεταριακή επανάσταση που προκύπτει από τα κύματα σοβινισμού. Επιπλέον, στο Anti-Dühring (1878), μετά από μια ανάλυση των επιπτώσεων των ολοένα και πιο θανατηφόρων όπλων, δήλωνε ότι το καθήκον του σοσιαλισμού ήταν «να ανατινάξει τον μιλιταρισμό και όλους τους μόνιμους στρατούς».
Ο πόλεμος ήταν ένα τόσο σημαντικό ζήτημα για τον Ένγκελς που του αφιέρωσε ένα από τα τελευταία του κείμενα. Στο «Μπορεί η Ευρώπη να αφοπλιστεί;» (1893), σημείωσε ότι τα προηγούμενα είκοσι πέντε χρόνια κάθε μεγάλη δύναμη είχε προσπαθήσει να ξεπεράσει τους αντιπάλους της στρατιωτικά και από άποψη πολεμικών προετοιμασιών. Αυτό αφορούσε πρωτοφανή επίπεδα παραγωγής όπλων και έφερνε τη Γηραιά Ήπειρο πιο κοντά σε «έναν πόλεμο καταστροφής που ο κόσμος δεν έχει ξαναδεί». Σύμφωνα με τον συν-συγγραφέα του Μανιφέστου του Κομμουνιστικού Κόμματος (1848), «το σύστημα των μόνιμων στρατών έχει φτάσει σε τέτοια άκρα σε όλη την Ευρώπη, ώστε αναπόφευκτα, είτε θα επιφέρει οικονομική καταστροφή στους λαούς λόγω του στρατιωτικού βάρους, είτε θα εκφυλιστεί σε έναν γενικό πόλεμο εξόντωσης». Στην ανάλυσή του, ο Ένγκελς δεν ξέχασε να τονίσει ότι οι μόνιμοι στρατοί διατηρούνταν εξίσου τόσο, κυρίως, για εσωτερικούς πολιτικούς, όσο και για εξωτερικούς στρατιωτικούς σκοπούς. Σκοπός τους ήταν «να παρέχουν προστασία όχι τόσο κατά του εξωτερικού εχθρού όσο κατά του εσωτερικού», ενισχύοντας τις δυνάμεις που προορίζονται να καταστέλλουν το προλεταριάτο και τους εργατικούς αγώνες. Καθώς τα λαϊκά στρώματα πλήρωναν περισσότερο από οποιονδήποτε άλλον το κόστος του πολέμου, μέσω των φόρων και της παροχής στρατευμάτων στο κράτος, το εργατικό κίνημα θα έπρεπε να αγωνιστεί για «τη σταδιακή μείωση της διάρκειας της [στρατιωτικής] θητείας με διεθνή συνθήκη» και για τον αφοπλισμό ως τη μόνη αποτελεσματική «εγγύηση της ειρήνης».

2. Δοκιμές και κατάρρευση
Δεν πέρασε πολύς καιρός μέχρι να μετατραπεί μια θεωρητική συζήτηση σε καιρό ειρήνης στο σημαντικότερο πολιτικό ζήτημα της εποχής, όταν το εργατικό κίνημα έπρεπε να αντιμετωπίσει πραγματικές καταστάσεις, στις οποίες οι εκπρόσωποί του αρχικά αντιτάχθηκαν σε κάθε υποστήριξη στον πόλεμο. Στη γαλλοπρωσική σύγκρουση του 1870 (που προηγήθηκε της Παρισινής Κομμούνας), οι σοσιαλδημοκράτες βουλευτές Wilhelm Liebknecht και August Bebel καταδίκασαν τους προσαρτητικούς στόχους της Γερμανίας του Μπίσμαρκ και ψήφισαν κατά των πολεμικών πιστώσεων. Η απόφασή τους να «απορρίψουν το νομοσχέδιο για πρόσθετη χρηματοδότηση για τη συνέχιση του πολέμου» τους κόστισε ποινή φυλάκισης δύο ετών για εσχάτη προδοσία, αλλά συνέβαλε στο να δείξουν στην εργατική τάξη έναν εναλλακτικό τρόπο να αξιοποιήσει την κρίση.
Καθώς οι μεγάλες ευρωπαϊκές δυνάμεις συνέχιζαν την ιμπεριαλιστική τους επέκταση, η διαμάχη για τον πόλεμο αποκτούσε όλο και μεγαλύτερη βαρύτητα στις συζητήσεις της Δεύτερης Διεθνούς (1889-1916). Ένα ψήφισμα που υιοθετήθηκε στο ιδρυτικό της συνέδριο είχε κατοχυρώσει την ειρήνη ως «την απαραίτητη προϋπόθεση κάθε χειραφέτησης των εργατών». Η υποτιθέμενη ειρηνευτική πολιτική της αστικής τάξης χλευάστηκε και χαρακτηρίστηκε ως πολιτική «ένοπλης ειρήνης» και, το 1895, ο Jean Jaurès, ο ηγέτης του Γαλλικού Σοσιαλιστικού Κόμματος (SFIO), εκφώνησε μια ομιλία στο κοινοβούλιο στην οποία συνόψισε περίφημα τις ανησυχίες της Αριστεράς: «Η βίαιη και χαοτική κοινωνία σας εξακολουθεί, ακόμη και όταν επιθυμεί την ειρήνη, ακόμη και όταν βρίσκεται σε κατάσταση φαινομενικής ηρεμίας, να φέρει τον πόλεμο μέσα της, ακριβώς όπως ένα αδρανές σύννεφο φέρει την καταιγίδα».
Καθώς η Weltpolitik – η επιθετική πολιτική της αυτοκρατορικής Γερμανίας για την επέκταση της ισχύος της στη διεθνή σκηνή – άλλαξε το γεωπολιτικό σκηνικό, οι αντιμιλιταριστικές αρχές ρίζωσαν βαθύτερα στο εργατικό κίνημα και επηρέασαν τις συζητήσεις για τις ένοπλες συγκρούσεις. Ο πόλεμος δεν εθεωρείτο πλέον μόνο ως άνοιγμα επαναστατικών ευκαιριών και επιτάχυνση της κατάρρευσης του συστήματος (μια ιδέα στην Αριστερά που ανάγεται στο «καμία επανάσταση χωρίς επανάσταση» του Μαξιμιλιανού Ροβεσπιέρου). Θεωρείτο πλέον ως κίνδυνος λόγω των οδυνηρών συνεπειών του για το προλεταριάτο, με τη μορφή της πείνας, της εξαθλίωσης και της ανεργίας. Αποτελούσε έτσι μια σοβαρή απειλή για τις προοδευτικές δυνάμεις και, όπως έγραψε ο Karl Kautsky στο Η κοινωνική επανάσταση (1902), σε περίπτωση πολέμου αυτές θα ήταν «βαριά φορτωμένες με καθήκοντα που δεν τους είναι απαραίτητα» και τα οποία θα έκαναν την τελική νίκη πιο μακρινή αντί να τη φέρουν πιο κοντά.
Το ψήφισμα «Για τον μιλιταρισμό και τις διεθνείς συγκρούσεις», που υιοθετήθηκε από τη Δεύτερη Διεθνή στο συνέδριο της Στουτγάρδης το 1907, ανακεφαλαιώνει όλα τα βασικά σημεία που είχαν γίνει κοινή κληρονομιά του εργατικού κινήματος. Μεταξύ αυτών ήταν: η καταψήφιση των προϋπολογισμών που αύξαναν τις στρατιωτικές δαπάνες, η αντιπάθεια προς τους μόνιμους στρατούς και η προτίμηση σε ένα σύστημα λαϊκών πολιτοφυλακών, καθώς και η υποστήριξη του σχεδίου για τη δημιουργία διαιτητικών δικαστηρίων για την ειρηνική επίλυση των διεθνών συγκρούσεων. Αποκλείστηκε η προσφυγή σε γενικές απεργίες κατά κάθε είδους πολέμων, όπως πρότεινε ο Gustave Hervé, καθώς η πλειοψηφία των παρόντων έκρινε ότι κάτι τέτοιο ήταν πολύ ριζοσπαστικό και πολύ μανιχαϊστικό. Το ψήφισμα έκλεισε με μια τροπολογία που συντάχθηκε από τη Ρόζα Λούξεμπουργκ, τον Βλαντιμίρ Λένιν και τον Γιούλι Μάρτοφ, η οποία ανέφερε ότι «σε περίπτωση που ξεσπάσει πόλεμος […], είναι καθήκον [των σοσιαλιστών] να παρέμβουν υπέρ του γρήγορου τερματισμού του, και με όλες τους τις δυνάμεις να χρησιμοποιήσουν την οικονομική και πολιτική κρίση που δημιουργείται από τον πόλεμο, για να ξεσηκώσουν τις μάζες και έτσι να επιταχύνουν την πτώση της καπιταλιστικής ταξικής κυριαρχίας». Καθώς αυτό το ψήφισμα δεν υποχρέωνε το Σοσιαλδημοκρατικό Κόμμα της Γερμανίας (SPD) να προβεί σε αλλαγή πολιτικής γραμμής, οι εκπρόσωποί του ψήφισαν επίσης υπέρ. Το κείμενο, όπως τροποποιήθηκε, ήταν το τελευταίο έγγραφο για τον πόλεμο που εξασφάλισε την ομόφωνη υποστήριξη της Δεύτερης Διεθνούς.
Ο εντονότερος ανταγωνισμός μεταξύ των καπιταλιστικών κρατών στην παγκόσμια αγορά, σε συνδυασμό με το ξέσπασμα μιας σειράς διεθνών συγκρούσεων, έκανε τη γενική εικόνα ακόμη πιο ανησυχητική. Η δημοσίευση του βιβλίου του Jaurès Ο νέος στρατός (1911) ενθάρρυνε τη συζήτηση για ένα άλλο κεντρικό θέμα της περιόδου: τη διάκριση μεταξύ επιθετικών και αμυντικών πολέμων και τη στάση που έπρεπε να τηρείται απέναντι στους τελευταίους, συμπεριλαμβανομένων των περιπτώσεων όπου απειλούνταν η ανεξαρτησία μιας χώρας. Για τον Jaurès, η μόνη αποστολή του στρατού θα έπρεπε να είναι η υπεράσπιση του έθνους έναντι οποιασδήποτε εχθρικής επίθεσης ή οποιουδήποτε επιτιθέμενου που δεν αποδέχεται την επίλυση της διαφοράς μέσω διαμεσολάβησης. Όλες οι στρατιωτικές ενέργειες που ενέπιπταν σε αυτή την κατηγορία θα έπρεπε να θεωρούνται νόμιμες. Η διορατική κριτική της Λούξεμπουργκ σε αυτή τη θέση επεσήμανε ότι «ιστορικά φαινόμενα όπως οι σύγχρονοι πόλεμοι δεν μπορούν να μετρηθούν με το κριτήριο της “δικαιοσύνης” ή μέσω ενός χάρτινου σχήματος άμυνας και επίθεσης». Κατά την άποψή της, έπρεπε να ληφθεί υπόψη η δυσκολία να διαπιστωθεί αν ένας πόλεμος ήταν πραγματικά επιθετικός ή αμυντικός, ή αν το κράτος που τον ξεκίνησε είχε αποφασίσει σκόπιμα να επιτεθεί ή είχε αναγκαστεί να το κάνει λόγω των στρατηγημάτων που υιοθέτησε η χώρα που του εναντιώθηκε. Ως εκ τούτου, θεώρησε ότι η διάκριση αυτή θα πρέπει να απορριφθεί και επέκρινε περαιτέρω την ιδέα του Jaurès για το «ένοπλο έθνος», με το σκεπτικό ότι τελικά έτεινε να τροφοδοτεί την αυξανόμενη στρατιωτικοποίηση της κοινωνίας.
Όσο περνούσαν τα χρόνια, η Δεύτερη Διεθνής δεσμευόταν όλο και λιγότερο σε μια πολιτική δράσης υπέρ της ειρήνης. Η αντίθεσή της στον επανεξοπλισμό και τις πολεμικές προετοιμασίες ήταν πολύ ισχνή, και μια όλο και πιο μετριοπαθής και λεγκαλιστική πτέρυγα του SPD αντάλλαξε την υποστήριξή της στις στρατιωτικές πιστώσεις – και στη συνέχεια ακόμη και στην αποικιακή επέκταση – με αντάλλαγμα την παραχώρηση περισσότερων πολιτικών ελευθεριών στη Γερμανία. Σημαντικοί ηγέτες και επιφανείς θεωρητικοί, όπως ο Gustav Noske, ο Henry Hyndman και ο Antonio Labriola, ήταν από τους πρώτους που κατέληξαν σε αυτές τις θέσεις. Στη συνέχεια, η πλειοψηφία των Γερμανών Σοσιαλδημοκρατών, των Γάλλων Σοσιαλιστών, των ηγετών του βρετανικού Εργατικού Κόμματος και άλλων Ευρωπαίων μεταρρυθμιστών κατέληξε να υποστηρίξει τον Πρώτο Παγκόσμιο Πόλεμο (1914-1918). Αυτή η πορεία είχε καταστροφικές συνέπειες. Με βάση την άποψη ότι τα «οφέλη της προόδου» δεν πρέπει να μονοπωλούνται από τους καπιταλιστές, το εργατικό κίνημα κατέληξε να συμμερίζεται τους επεκτατικούς στόχους των κυρίαρχων τάξεων και κατακλύστηκε από την εθνικιστική ιδεολογία. Η Δεύτερη Διεθνής αποδείχθηκε εντελώς ανίκανη απέναντι στον πόλεμο, αποτυγχάνοντας σε έναν από τους κύριους στόχους της: τη διατήρηση της ειρήνης.
Ο Λένιν και άλλοι σύνεδροι στη διάσκεψη του Τσίμερβαλντ (1915) – συμπεριλαμβανομένου του Λεβ Τρότσκι, ο οποίος συνέταξε το τελικό μανιφέστο – προέβλεψαν ότι «για δεκαετίες οι πολεμικές δαπάνες θα απορροφούν τις καλύτερες ενέργειες των λαών, υπονομεύοντας τις κοινωνικές βελτιώσεις και εμποδίζοντας κάθε πρόοδο». Στα μάτια τους ο πόλεμος αποκάλυπτε τη «γυμνή μορφή του σύγχρονου καπιταλισμού, ο οποίος έχει γίνει ασυμβίβαστος, όχι μόνο με τα συμφέροντα των εργαζόμενων μαζών […] αλλά ακόμη και με τις πρωταρχικές συνθήκες της ανθρώπινης κοινοτικής ύπαρξης». Η προειδοποίηση εισακούστηκε μόνο από μια μειοψηφία του εργατικού κινήματος, όπως και το κάλεσμα προς όλους τους Ευρωπαίους εργάτες στη διάσκεψη του Κίενταλ (1916): «Οι κυβερνήσεις σας και οι εφημερίδες τους σας λένε ότι ο πόλεμος πρέπει να συνεχιστεί για να σκοτωθεί ο μιλιταρισμός. Σας εξαπατούν! Ο πόλεμος δεν έχει σκοτώσει ποτέ τον πόλεμο. Πράγματι, πυροδοτεί συναισθήματα και επιθυμίες για εκδίκηση. Με αυτόν τον τρόπο, μαρκάροντάς σας για θυσία, σας κλείνουν σε έναν κολασμένο κύκλο». Τέλος, σε ρήξη με την προσέγγιση του Συνεδρίου της Στουτγάρδης, το οποίο είχε ζητήσει διεθνή διαιτητικά δικαστήρια, το τελικό έγγραφο στο Κίενταλ διακήρυξε ότι «οι αυταπάτες του αστικού ειρηνισμού» δεν θα διακόψουν το σπιράλ του πολέμου, αλλά θα βοηθήσουν στη διατήρηση του υπάρχοντος κοινωνικο-οικονομικού συστήματος. Ο μόνος τρόπος να αποτραπούν μελλοντικές πολεμικές συγκρούσεις είναι οι λαϊκές μάζες να κατακτήσουν την πολιτική εξουσία και να ανατρέψουν την καπιταλιστική ιδιοκτησία.
Η Ρόζα Λούξεμπουργκ και ο Βλαντιμίρ Λένιν ήταν οι δύο πιο σθεναροί αντίπαλοι του πολέμου. Η Λούξεμπουργκ διεύρυνε τη θεωρητική κατανόηση της Αριστεράς και έδειξε πως ο μιλιταρισμός αποτελούσε βασικό σπόνδυλο του κράτους. Επιδεικνύοντας μια πεποίθηση και αποτελεσματικότητα που λίγοι άλλοι κομμουνιστές ηγέτες είχαν όμοιές τους, υποστήριξε ότι το σύνθημα «Πόλεμος στον πόλεμο!» έπρεπε να γίνει «ο ακρογωνιαίος λίθος της πολιτικής της εργατικής τάξης». Όπως έγραψε στην Κρίση της Σοσιαλδημοκρατίας (1916), γνωστή και ως Φυλλάδιο Γιούνιους, η Δεύτερη Διεθνής είχε καταρρεύσει επειδή απέτυχε «να προωθήσει μια κοινή τακτική και δράση του προλεταριάτου σε όλες τις χώρες». Στο εξής, ο «κύριος στόχος» του προλεταριάτου θα έπρεπε επομένως να είναι «η καταπολέμηση του ιμπεριαλισμού και η αποτροπή των πολέμων, τόσο στην ειρήνη όσο και στον πόλεμο».
Η μεγάλη συνεισφορά του Λένιν στο Σοσιαλισμός και πόλεμος (1915) και σε πολλά άλλα κείμενά του κατά τη διάρκεια του 1ου Παγκοσμίου Πολέμου, ήταν ότι προσδιόρισε δύο θεμελιώδη ζητήματα. Το πρώτο αφορούσε την «ιστορική παραχάραξη» κάθε φορά που η αστική τάξη προσπαθούσε να αποδώσει μια «προοδευτική αίσθηση εθνικής απελευθέρωσης» σε πολέμους που στην πραγματικότητα ήταν πόλεμοι «λεηλασίας», οι οποίοι διεξάγονταν με μοναδικό στόχο να αποφασίσουν ποιοι εμπόλεμοι θα καταπίεζαν αυτή τη φορά τους περισσότερους ξένους λαούς και θα αύξαναν τις ανισότητες του καπιταλισμού. Το δεύτερο ήταν η συγκάλυψη των αντιφάσεων από τους κοινωνικούς μεταρρυθμιστές – ή «σοσιαλ-σοβινιστές», όπως τους αποκαλούσε – οι οποίοι τελικά υιοθετούσαν τις δικαιολογίες υπέρ του πολέμου, παρά το γεγονός ότι τον είχαν ορίσει ως «εγκληματική» δραστηριότητα στα ψηφίσματα που υιοθετούσε η Δεύτερη Διεθνής. Πίσω από τον ισχυρισμό τους ότι «υπερασπίζονται την πατρίδα» κρυβόταν το δικαίωμα που είχαν δώσει στον εαυτό τους ορισμένες μεγάλες δυνάμεις να «λεηλατούν τις αποικίες και να καταπιέζουν τους ξένους λαούς». Ο πόλεμος δεν γινόταν για να διασφαλιστεί «η ύπαρξη των εθνών» αλλά «για να υπερασπιστούν τα προνόμια, την κυριαρχία, τη λεηλασία και τη βία» των διαφόρων «ιμπεριαλιστικών αστικών τάξεων». Οι σοσιαλιστές που είχαν συνθηκολογήσει με τον πατριωτισμό είχαν αντικαταστήσει την ταξική πάλη με τη διεκδίκηση «μπουκιών από τα κέρδη που αποκόμισε η εθνική τους αστική τάξη από τη λεηλασία άλλων χωρών». Κατά συνέπεια, ο Λένιν ήταν υπέρ των «αμυντικών πολέμων» – όχι, δηλαδή, της εθνικής άμυνας των ευρωπαϊκών χωρών αλά Ζωρές, αλλά των «δίκαιων πολέμων» των «καταπιεσμένων και υποταγμένων λαών» που είχαν «λεηλατηθεί και στερηθεί τα δικαιώματά τους» από τις «μεγάλες δουλοκτητικές δυνάμεις». Η πιο διάσημη θέση αυτής της μπροσούρας – ότι οι επαναστάτες θα πρέπει να επιδιώξουν να «μετατρέψουν τον ιμπεριαλιστικό πόλεμο σε εμφύλιο» – υπονοούσε ότι όσοι πραγματικά ήθελαν μια «διαρκή δημοκρατική ειρήνη» έπρεπε να διεξάγουν «εμφύλιο πόλεμο εναντίον των κυβερνήσεών τους και της αστικής τάξης». Ο Λένιν ήταν πεπεισμένος γι’ αυτό που η ιστορία θα αποδείκνυε αργότερα ότι ήταν ανακριβές: ότι ο ταξικός αγώνας που διεξάγεται με συνέπεια σε καιρό πολέμου θα δημιουργήσει «αναπόφευκτα» ένα επαναστατικό πνεύμα στις μάζες.

3. Γραμμές οριοθέτησης
Ο Α΄ Παγκόσμιος Πόλεμος δημιούργησε διαιρέσεις όχι μόνο στη Δεύτερη Διεθνή αλλά και στο αναρχικό κίνημα. Σε ένα άρθρο που δημοσιεύτηκε λίγο μετά το ξέσπασμα της σύγκρουσης, ο Κροπότκιν έγραψε ότι «το καθήκον κάθε ανθρώπου που έχει την ιδέα της ανθρώπινης προόδου είναι να συντρίψει τη γερμανική εισβολή στη Δυτική Ευρώπη». Αυτή η δήλωση, που θεωρήθηκε από πολλούς ως εγκατάλειψη των αρχών για τις οποίες είχε αγωνιστεί σε όλη του τη ζωή, ήταν μια προσπάθεια να ξεπεράσει το σύνθημα της «γενικής απεργίας κατά του πολέμου» – το οποίο είχε αγνοηθεί από τις εργατικές μάζες – και να αποφύγει τη γενική οπισθοδρόμηση της ευρωπαϊκής πολιτικής που θα προέκυπτε από μια γερμανική νίκη. Κατά την άποψη του Κροπότκιν, αν οι αντιμιλιταριστές παρέμεναν αδρανείς, θα βοηθούσαν έμμεσα τα κατακτητικά σχέδια των εισβολέων, και το εμπόδιο που θα προέκυπτε θα ήταν ακόμη πιο δύσκολο να ξεπεραστεί για όσους αγωνίζονταν για την κοινωνική επανάσταση.
Σε μια απάντησή του στον Κροπότκιν, ο Ιταλός αναρχικός Ενρίκο Μαλατέστα υποστήριξε ότι, αν και δεν ήταν ειρηνιστής και θεωρούσε νόμιμο να πάρει κανείς τα όπλα σε έναν απελευθερωτικό πόλεμο, ο παγκόσμιος πόλεμος δεν ήταν – όπως υποστήριζε η αστική προπαγάνδα – ένας αγώνας «για το γενικό καλό ενάντια στον κοινό εχθρό» της δημοκρατίας, αλλά ένα ακόμη παράδειγμα της υποταγής των εργατικών μαζών από την άρχουσα τάξη. Είχε επίγνωση ότι «μια γερμανική νίκη θα σήμαινε σίγουρα τον θρίαμβο του μιλιταρισμού, αλλά και ότι ένας θρίαμβος των Συμμάχων θα σήμαινε τη ρωσοβρετανική κυριαρχία στην Ευρώπη και την Ασία».
Στο Μανιφέστο των Δεκαέξι (1916), ο Κροπότκιν υποστήριξε την ανάγκη «να αντισταθούμε σε έναν επιτιθέμενο που αντιπροσωπεύει την καταστροφή όλων των ελπίδων μας για απελευθέρωση». Η νίκη της Τριπλής Αντάντ κατά της Γερμανίας θα ήταν το μικρότερο κακό και θα υπονόμευε λιγότερο τις υπάρχουσες ελευθερίες. Από την άλλη πλευρά, ο Μαλατέστα και οι συνυπογράφοντες το αντιπολεμικό μανιφέστο της Αναρχικής Διεθνούς (1915) δήλωσαν «Δεν είναι δυνατή η διάκριση μεταξύ επιθετικών και αμυντικών πολέμων». Επιπλέον, πρόσθεσαν ότι «Κανένας από τους εμπόλεμους δεν έχει δικαίωμα να διεκδικήσει τον πολιτισμό, όπως και κανένας από αυτούς δεν δικαιούται να επικαλείται τη νόμιμη αυτοάμυνα». Ο Α΄ Παγκόσμιος Πόλεμος, επέμεναν, ήταν ένα ακόμη επεισόδιο στη σύγκρουση μεταξύ των καπιταλιστών των διαφόρων ιμπεριαλιστικών δυνάμεων, η οποία διεξαγόταν σε βάρος της εργατικής τάξης. Ο Malatesta, η Emma Goldman, ο Ferdinand Nieuwenhuis και η μεγάλη πλειοψηφία του αναρχικού κινήματος ήταν πεπεισμένοι ότι θα ήταν ασυγχώρητο λάθος να υποστηρίξουν τις αστικές κυβερνήσεις. Αντ’ αυτού, χωρίς «αν και αλλά», επέμειναν στο σύνθημα «κανένας άνθρωπος και ούτε μια δεκάρα για τον στρατό», απορρίπτοντας αποφασιστικά ακόμη και κάθε έμμεση υποστήριξη στην επιδίωξη του πολέμου.
Η στάση απέναντι στον πόλεμο προκάλεσε συζητήσεις και στο φεμινιστικό κίνημα. Η ανάγκη να αντικαταστήσουν οι γυναίκες τους στρατευμένους άνδρες σε θέσεις εργασίας που αποτελούσαν επί μακρόν ανδρικό μονοπώλιο – για πολύ χαμηλότερο μισθό, σε συνθήκες υπερεκμετάλλευσης – ενθάρρυνε την εξάπλωση της σοβινιστικής ιδεολογίας σε ένα σημαντικό τμήμα του νεογέννητου κινήματος των σουφραζετών. Ορισμένες από τους ηγέτιδές του έφτασαν στο σημείο να αιτηθούν νόμους που θα επέτρεπαν τη στρατολόγηση γυναικών στις ένοπλες δυνάμεις. Η αποκάλυψη των διπρόσωπων κυβερνήσεων – οι οποίες, επικαλούμενες ότι ο εχθρός βρίσκεται προ των πυλών, χρησιμοποίησαν τον πόλεμο για να ανατρέψουν θεμελιώδεις κοινωνικές μεταρρυθμίσεις – ήταν ένα από τα σημαντικότερα επιτεύγματα των κυριότερων γυναικών κομμουνιστριών ηγετών της εποχής. Η Clara Zetkin, η Alexandra Kollontai, η Sylvia Pankhurst και, φυσικά, η Rosa Luxemburg ήταν από τις πρώτες που εγκαινίασαν με διαύγεια και θάρρος τον δρόμο που θα έδειχνε στις επόμενες γενιές πως ο αγώνας κατά του μιλιταρισμού ήταν απαραίτητος για τον αγώνα κατά της πατριαρχίας. Αργότερα, η απόρριψη του πολέμου έγινε διακριτό μέρος της Διεθνούς Ημέρας της Γυναίκας και η αντίθεση στους πολεμικούς προϋπολογισμούς στο ξέσπασμα κάθε νέας σύγκρουσης είχε εξέχουσα θέση σε πολλές πλατφόρμες του διεθνούς φεμινιστικού κινήματος.

4. Ο σκοπός δεν αγιάζει τα μέσα και τα λάθος μέσα βλάπτουν τον σκοπό
Ο βαθύς διχασμός μεταξύ επαναστατών και ρεφορμιστών, που διευρύνθηκε σε στρατηγικό χάσμα μετά τη γέννηση της Σοβιετικής Ένωσης και την ανάπτυξη του ιδεολογικού δογματισμού στις δεκαετίες του 1920 και 1930, απέκλεισε οποιαδήποτε συμμαχία κατά του μιλιταρισμού μεταξύ της Κομμουνιστικής Διεθνούς (1919-1943) και των ευρωπαϊκών σοσιαλιστικών και σοσιαλδημοκρατικών κομμάτων. Έχοντας υποστηρίξει τον πόλεμο, τα κόμματα που αποτελούσαν την Εργατική και Σοσιαλιστική Διεθνή (1923-1940) είχαν χάσει κάθε αξιοπιστία στα μάτια των κομμουνιστών. Η λενινιστική ιδέα της «μετατροπής του ιμπεριαλιστικού πολέμου σε εμφύλιο πόλεμο» εξακολουθούσε να ισχύει στη Μόσχα, όπου κορυφαίοι πολιτικοί και θεωρητικοί θεωρούσαν ότι ένα «νέο 1914» ήταν αναπόφευκτο. Και στις δύο πλευρές, λοιπόν, η συζήτηση ήταν περισσότερο για το τι θα γινόταν αν ξεσπούσε ένας νέος πόλεμος παρά για το πώς θα αποτρεπόταν η έναρξη ενός τέτοιου πολέμου. Τα συνθήματα και οι διακηρύξεις αρχών διέφεραν σημαντικά από αυτό που αναμενόταν να συμβεί και από αυτό που στη συνέχεια μετατράπηκε σε πολιτική δράση. Μεταξύ των επικριτικών φωνών στο κομμουνιστικό στρατόπεδο ήταν εκείνες του Νικολάι Μπουχάριν – υπέρμαχου του συνθήματος «αγώνας για την ειρήνη», ο οποίος ανήκε στους Ρώσους ηγέτες που ήταν περισσότερο πεπεισμένοι ότι ο αγώνας αυτός ήταν «ένα από τα βασικά ζητήματα του σύγχρονου κόσμου» – και του Γκεόργκι Ντιμιτρόφ, ο οποίος υποστήριζε ότι δεν ήταν όλες οι μεγάλες δυνάμεις εξίσου υπεύθυνες για την απειλή του πολέμου και ο οποίος τάχθηκε υπέρ μιας προσέγγισης με τα ρεφορμιστικά κόμματα για τη δημιουργία ενός ευρέος λαϊκού μετώπου εναντίον του πολέμου. Και οι δύο αυτές απόψεις έρχονταν σε αντίθεση με τη ρητορεία της σοβιετικής ορθοδοξίας, η οποία, μακριά από την επικαιροποίηση της θεωρητικής ανάλυσης, επαναλάμβανε ότι ο κίνδυνος πολέμου ήταν ενσωματωμένος εξίσου, και χωρίς διακρίσεις, σε όλες τις ιμπεριαλιστικές δυνάμεις.
Οι απόψεις του Μάο Τσετούνγκ επί του θέματος ήταν εντελώς διαφορετικές. Επικεφαλής του απελευθερωτικού κινήματος κατά της ιαπωνικής εισβολής, έγραψε στο Περί παρατεταμένου πολέμου (1938) ότι οι «δίκαιοι πόλεμοι» – στους οποίους οι κομμουνιστές θα έπρεπε να συμμετέχουν ενεργά – είναι «προικισμένοι με τεράστια δύναμη, η οποία μπορεί να μεταμορφώσει πολλά πράγματα ή να ανοίξει τον δρόμο για τη μεταμόρφωσή τους». Η προτεινόμενη από τον Μάο στρατηγική, επομένως, ήταν «να αντιπαραταχθεί στον άδικο πόλεμο ο δίκαιος πόλεμος», και επιπλέον να «συνεχιστεί ο πόλεμος μέχρις ότου [επιτευχθεί] ο πολιτικός του στόχος». Τα επιχειρήματα για την «παντοδυναμία του επαναστατικού πολέμου» επανέρχονται στα Προβλήματα πολέμου και στρατηγικής (1938), όπου ο Μάο υποστηρίζει ότι «μόνο με τα όπλα μπορεί να μετασχηματιστεί ολόκληρος ο κόσμος» και ότι «η κατάληψη της εξουσίας με ένοπλη δύναμη, η διευθέτηση του ζητήματος με πόλεμο, είναι το κεντρικό καθήκον και η υψηλότερη μορφή της επανάστασης».
Στην Ευρώπη, η κλιμάκωση της βίας του ναζιστικού-φασιστικού μετώπου, τόσο στο εσωτερικό όσο και στο εξωτερικό, και το ξέσπασμα του Β΄ Παγκοσμίου Πολέμου (1939-1945) δημιούργησαν μια ακόμα πιο ειδεχθή εξέλιξη από τον πόλεμο του 1914-18. Αφού τα στρατεύματα του Χίτλερ επιτέθηκαν στη Σοβιετική Ένωση το 1941, ο Μεγάλος Πατριωτικός Πόλεμος που έληξε με την ήττα του ναζισμού έγινε τόσο κεντρικό στοιχείο της ρωσικής εθνικής ενότητας, που επέζησε από την πτώση του Τείχους του Βερολίνου και διήρκεσε μέχρι τις μέρες μας.
Με τη μεταπολεμική διαίρεση του κόσμου σε δύο μπλοκ, ο Ιωσήφ Στάλιν δίδαξε ότι το κύριο καθήκον του διεθνούς κομμουνιστικού κινήματος ήταν να διαφυλάξει τη Σοβιετική Ένωση. Η δημιουργία μιας αποτρεπτικής ζώνης οκτώ χωρών στην Ανατολική Ευρώπη (επτά μετά την αποχώρηση της Γιουγκοσλαβίας) ήταν κεντρικός πυλώνας αυτής της πολιτικής. Την ίδια περίοδο, το Δόγμα Τρούμαν σηματοδότησε την έλευση ενός νέου τύπου πολέμου: του Ψυχρού Πολέμου. Με την υποστήριξή τους στις αντικομμουνιστικές δυνάμεις στην Ελλάδα, με το Σχέδιο Μάρσαλ (1948) και τη δημιουργία του ΝΑΤΟ (1949), οι Ηνωμένες Πολιτείες της Αμερικής συνέβαλαν στο να αποφευχθεί η προέλαση των προοδευτικών δυνάμεων στη Δυτική Ευρώπη. Η Σοβιετική Ένωση απάντησε με το Σύμφωνο της Βαρσοβίας (1955). Αυτή η διαμόρφωση οδήγησε σε μια τεράστια κούρσα εξοπλισμών, η οποία, παρά τη νωπή ανάμνηση της Χιροσίμα και του Ναγκασάκι, περιλάμβανε επίσης τη διάδοση των δοκιμών πυρηνικών βομβών.
Από το 1961, υπό την ηγεσία του Νικήτα Χρουστσόφ, η Σοβιετική Ένωση ξεκίνησε μια νέα πολιτική πορεία που έμεινε γνωστή ως «ειρηνική συνύπαρξη». Η στροφή αυτή, με έμφαση στη μη ανάμειξη και στον σεβασμό της εθνικής κυριαρχίας, καθώς και στην οικονομική συνεργασία με τις καπιταλιστικές χώρες, υποτίθεται ότι θα απέτρεπε τον κίνδυνο ενός τρίτου παγκόσμιου πολέμου (τον οποίο η κρίση των πυραύλων της Κούβας έδειξε ως πιθανότητα το 1962) και θα στήριζε το επιχείρημα ότι ο πόλεμος δεν ήταν αναπόφευκτος. Ωστόσο, αυτή η προσπάθεια εποικοδομητικής συνεργασίας απευθυνόταν μόνο στις ΗΠΑ και όχι στις χώρες του «υπαρκτού σοσιαλισμού». Το 1956, η Σοβιετική Ένωση είχε ήδη συντρίψει μια εξέγερση στην Ουγγαρία και τα κομμουνιστικά κόμματα της Δυτικής Ευρώπης δεν καταδίκασαν αλλά δικαιολόγησαν τη στρατιωτική επέμβαση στο όνομα της προστασίας του σοσιαλιστικού μπλοκ. Ο Palmiro Togliatti, για παράδειγμα, ο γραμματέας του Ιταλικού Κομμουνιστικού Κόμματος, δήλωσε: «Στεκόμαστε στο πλευρό της δικής μας πλευράς ακόμη και όταν αυτή κάνει λάθος». Οι περισσότεροι από αυτούς που συμμερίζονταν αυτή τη θέση το μετάνιωσαν πικρά τα επόμενα χρόνια, όταν κατάλαβαν τις καταστροφικές συνέπειες της σοβιετικής επιχείρησης.
Παρόμοια γεγονότα έλαβαν χώρα στο απόγειο της ειρηνικής συνύπαρξης, το 1968 στην Τσεχοσλοβακία. Αντιμέτωπο με τα αιτήματα για εκδημοκρατισμό και οικονομική αποκέντρωση κατά τη διάρκεια της Άνοιξης της Πράγας, το Πολιτικό Γραφείο του Κομμουνιστικού Κόμματος της Σοβιετικής Ένωσης αποφάσισε ομόφωνα να στείλει μισό εκατομμύριο στρατιώτες και χιλιάδες τανκς. Στο συνέδριο του Πολωνικού Ενιαίου Εργατικού Κόμματος το 1968, ο Λεονίντ Μπρέζνιεφ εξήγησε την ενέργεια αυτή αναφερόμενος σε αυτό που ονόμασε «περιορισμένη κυριαρχία» των χωρών του Συμφώνου της Βαρσοβίας: «Όταν δυνάμεις που είναι εχθρικές προς τον σοσιαλισμό προσπαθούν να στρέψουν την ανάπτυξη κάποιας σοσιαλιστικής χώρας προς τον καπιταλισμό, αυτό γίνεται όχι μόνο πρόβλημα της συγκεκριμένης χώρας, αλλά κοινό πρόβλημα και ανησυχία όλων των σοσιαλιστικών χωρών». Σύμφωνα με αυτή την αντιδημοκρατική λογική, ο ορισμός του τι ήταν και τι δεν ήταν «σοσιαλισμός» έπεφτε φυσικά στην αυθαίρετη απόφαση των σοβιετικών ηγετών. Αλλά αυτή τη φορά οι επικριτές από την πλευρά της Αριστεράς τοποθετήθηκαν άμεσα και μάλιστα αντιπροσώπευαν την πλειοψηφία. Παρόλο που η αποδοκιμασία της σοβιετικής δράσης εκφράστηκε όχι μόνο από κινήματα της Νέας Αριστεράς αλλά και από την πλειοψηφία των κομμουνιστικών κομμάτων, συμπεριλαμβανομένων του Κινεζικού, οι Ρώσοι δεν υποχώρησαν αλλά προχώρησαν σε μια διαδικασία που ονόμασαν «ομαλοποίηση». Η Σοβιετική Ένωση συνέχισε να δεσμεύει ένα σημαντικό μέρος των οικονομικών της πόρων για στρατιωτικές δαπάνες και αυτό συνέβαλε στην ενίσχυση μιας αυταρχικής κουλτούρας στην κοινωνία. Με αυτόν τον τρόπο, έχασε για πάντα την εύνοια του κινήματος ειρήνης, το οποίο είχε γίνει ακόμη μεγαλύτερο μέσω των εκπληκτικών κινητοποιήσεων κατά του πολέμου στο Βιετνάμ.
Ένας από τους σημαντικότερους πολέμους της επόμενης δεκαετίας ξεκίνησε με τη σοβιετική εισβολή στο Αφγανιστάν. Το 1979, ο Κόκκινος Στρατός έγινε και πάλι ένα σημαντικό εργαλείο της εξωτερικής πολιτικής της Μόσχας, η οποία συνέχισε να διεκδικεί το δικαίωμα να επεμβαίνει σε αυτό που περιέγραφε ως τη δική της «ζώνη ασφαλείας». Η λανθασμένη απόφαση μετατράπηκε σε μια εξαντλητική περιπέτεια που διήρκεσε πάνω από δέκα χρόνια, προκαλώντας τεράστιο αριθμό νεκρών και δημιουργώντας εκατομμύρια πρόσφυγες. Σε αυτή την περίπτωση το διεθνές κομμουνιστικό κίνημα ήταν πολύ λιγότερο επιφυλακτικό απ’ ό,τι ήταν σε σχέση με τις σοβιετικές εισβολές στην Ουγγαρία και την Τσεχοσλοβακία. Ωστόσο, αυτός ο νέος πόλεμος αποκάλυψε ακόμη πιο καθαρά στη διεθνή κοινή γνώμη το χάσμα ανάμεσα στον «υπαρκτό σοσιαλισμό» και σε μια πολιτική εναλλακτική λύση που θα βασιζόταν στην ειρήνη και την αντίθεση στον μιλιταρισμό.
Στο σύνολό τους, αυτές οι στρατιωτικές επεμβάσεις όχι μόνο λειτούργησαν ενάντια σε μια γενική μείωση των εξοπλισμών, αλλά χρησίμευσαν για την απαξίωση και την σε παγκόσμιο επίπεδο αποδυνάμωση του σοσιαλισμού. Η Σοβιετική Ένωση εθεωρείτο όλο και περισσότερο ως μια αυτοκρατορική δύναμη που ενεργούσε με τρόπους που δεν διέφεραν από εκείνους των Ηνωμένων Πολιτειών, οι οποίες, από την έναρξη του Ψυχρού Πολέμου, είχαν, λίγο πολύ κρυφά, υποστηρίξει πραξικοπήματα και είχαν βοηθήσει στην ανατροπή δημοκρατικά εκλεγμένων κυβερνήσεων σε περισσότερες από είκοσι χώρες σε όλο τον κόσμο. Τέλος, οι «σοσιαλιστικοί πόλεμοι» το 1977-1979 μεταξύ Καμπότζης και Βιετνάμ και Κίνας και Βιετνάμ, με φόντο τη σινοσοβιετική σύγκρουση, διέλυσε την όποια επιρροή είχε η «μαρξιστική-λενινιστική» ιδεολογία (που είχε ήδη απομακρυνθεί από τις αρχικές βάσεις που είχαν θέσει ο Μαρξ και ο Ένγκελς), που απέδιδε τον πόλεμο αποκλειστικά στις οικονομικές ανισορροπίες του καπιταλισμού.

5. Το να είσαι αριστερός σημαίνει να είσαι κατά του πολέμου
Το τέλος του Ψυχρού Πολέμου δεν μείωσε τις επεμβάσεις στις υποθέσεις άλλων χωρών, ούτε αύξησε την ελευθερία κάθε λαού να επιλέγει το πολιτικό καθεστώς υπό το οποίο ζει. Οι πολυάριθμοι πόλεμοι – ακόμη και χωρίς εντολή του ΟΗΕ που ορίζονται, παράλογα, ως «ανθρωπιστικοί» – που διεξήγαγαν οι ΗΠΑ τα τελευταία είκοσι πέντε χρόνια, στους οποίους θα πρέπει να προστεθούν νέες μορφές συγκρούσεων, παράνομες κυρώσεις και πολιτικές, οικονομικές και μιντιακές εξαρτήσεις, αποδεικνύουν ότι η διπολική διαίρεση του κόσμου μεταξύ δύο υπερδυνάμεων δεν έδωσε τη θέση της στην εποχή της ελευθερίας και της προόδου που υποσχόταν το νεοφιλελεύθερο μάντρα της «Νέας Τάξης Πραγμάτων». Σε αυτό το πλαίσιο, πολλές πολιτικές δυνάμεις που κάποτε διεκδικούσαν τις αξίες της Αριστεράς έχουν πάρει μέρος σε μια σειρά από πολέμους. Από το Κοσσυφοπέδιο μέχρι το Ιράκ και το Αφγανιστάν – για να αναφέρουμε μόνο τους κυριότερους πολέμους που διεξήγαγε το ΝΑΤΟ μετά την πτώση του Τείχους του Βερολίνου – οι δυνάμεις αυτές έδιναν κάθε φορά την υποστήριξή τους στην ένοπλη επέμβαση και γίνονταν όλο και λιγότερο διακριτές από τη Δεξιά.
Ο ρωσο-ουκρανικός πόλεμος έφερε και πάλι την Αριστερά αντιμέτωπη με το δίλημμα του πώς να αντιδράσει όταν η κυριαρχία μιας χώρας δέχεται επίθεση. Η αποτυχία να καταδικάσει την εισβολή της Ρωσίας στην Ουκρανία αποτελεί πολιτικό λάθος της κυβέρνησης της Βενεζουέλας και κάνει τις καταγγελίες πιθανών μελλοντικών επιθετικών πράξεων που θα διαπράξουν οι Ηνωμένες Πολιτείες να φαίνονται λιγότερο αξιόπιστες. Είναι αλήθεια ότι, όπως έγραψε ο Μαρξ στον Ferdinand Lassalle το 1860, «στην εξωτερική πολιτική, υπάρχει λίγο κέρδος από τη χρήση τέτοιων λέξεων όπως “αντιδραστικός” και “επαναστατικός”» – ότι αυτό που είναι «υποκειμενικά αντιδραστικό [μπορεί να αποδειχθεί] αντικειμενικά επαναστατικό στην εξωτερική πολιτική». Αλλά οι αριστερές δυνάμεις θα έπρεπε να έχουν μάθει από τον εικοστό αιώνα ότι οι συμμαχίες «με τον εχθρό του εχθρού μου» συχνά οδηγούν σε μη εποικοδομητικές συμφωνίες, ειδικά όταν, όπως στην εποχή μας, το προοδευτικό μέτωπο είναι πολιτικά αδύναμο και θεωρητικά συγκεχυμένο και δεν έχει την υποστήριξη μαζικών κινητοποιήσεων.
Υπενθυμίζοντας τα λόγια του Λένιν στο Η σοσιαλιστική επανάσταση και το δικαίωμα των εθνών στην αυτοδιάθεση: «Το γεγονός ότι ο αγώνας για την εθνική απελευθέρωση ενάντια σε μια ιμπεριαλιστική δύναμη μπορεί, υπό ορισμένες συνθήκες, να χρησιμοποιηθεί από μια άλλη “Μεγάλη” Δύναμη για τα εξίσου ιμπεριαλιστικά της συμφέροντα δεν θα πρέπει να έχει πλέον καμία βαρύτητα για να παρακινήσει τη Σοσιαλδημοκρατία να απαρνηθεί την αναγνώρισή της του δικαιώματος των εθνών στην αυτοδιάθεση». Πέρα από τα γεωπολιτικά συμφέροντα και τις ίντριγκες που συνήθως επίσης παίζονται, οι δυνάμεις της Αριστεράς έχουν ιστορικά υποστηρίξει την αρχή της εθνικής αυτοδιάθεσης και υπερασπίστηκαν το δικαίωμα των επιμέρους κρατών να καθορίζουν τα σύνορά τους με βάση τη ρητή βούληση του πληθυσμού. Η Αριστερά έχει πολεμήσει κατά των πολέμων και των «προσαρτήσεων» επειδή γνωρίζει ότι αυτές οδηγούν σε δραματικές συγκρούσεις ανάμεσα στους εργαζόμενους του κυρίαρχου έθνους και εκείνους του καταπιεσμένου έθνους, δημιουργώντας τις προϋποθέσεις για να ενωθούν οι τελευταίοι με την ίδια τους την αστική τάξη θεωρώντας τους πρώτους εχθρούς τους. Στα «Αποτελέσματα της συζήτησης για την αυτοδιάθεση» (1916), ο Λένιν έγραφε: «Αν η σοσιαλιστική επανάσταση ήταν νικηφόρα στην Πετρούπολη, το Βερολίνο και τη Βαρσοβία, η πολωνική σοσιαλιστική κυβέρνηση, όπως η ρωσική και η γερμανική σοσιαλιστική κυβέρνηση, θα απαρνιόταν τη “βίαιη κατακράτηση”, ας πούμε, των Ουκρανών εντός των συνόρων του πολωνικού κράτους». Γιατί λοιπόν να προτείνουμε ότι κάτι διαφορετικό θα έπρεπε να παραχωρηθεί στην εθνικιστική κυβέρνηση υπό την ηγεσία του Βλαντιμίρ Πούτιν;
Από την άλλη πλευρά, πάρα πολλοί από την Αριστερά έχουν υποκύψει στον πειρασμό να γίνουν – άμεσα ή έμμεσα – συνεμπόλεμοι [με τη Δύση, ΣτΜ], τροφοδοτώντας μια νέα union sacrée (έκφραση που επινοήθηκε το 1914, ακριβώς για να χαιρετίσει την αποκήρυξη των δυνάμεων της γαλλικής Αριστεράς που, στο ξέσπασμα του Α΄ Παγκοσμίου Πολέμου, αποφάσισαν να υποστηρίξουν τις πολεμικές επιλογές της κυβέρνησης). Μια τέτοια θέση σήμερα χρησιμεύει όλο και περισσότερο στο να θολώνει τη διάκριση μεταξύ ατλαντισμού και ειρηνισμού. Η ιστορία δείχνει ότι, όταν δεν αντιτίθενται στον πόλεμο, οι προοδευτικές δυνάμεις χάνουν ένα ουσιαστικό μέρος του λόγου ύπαρξής τους και καταλήγουν να καταπίνουν την ιδεολογία του αντίπαλου στρατοπέδου. Αυτό συμβαίνει κάθε φορά που τα κόμματα της Αριστεράς αναγορεύουν την παρουσία τους στην κυβέρνηση ως τον θεμελιώδη τρόπο αποτίμησης της πολιτικής τους δράσης – όπως έκαναν οι Ιταλοί κομμουνιστές υποστηρίζοντας τις επεμβάσεις του ΝΑΤΟ στο Κοσσυφοπέδιο και το Αφγανιστάν, ή η σημερινή πλειοψηφία της Unidas Podemos, η οποία ενώνει τη φωνή της με την ομόφωνη χορωδία ολόκληρου του ισπανικού κοινοβουλευτικού τόξου, υπέρ της αποστολής όπλων στον ουκρανικό στρατό. Τέτοιες ευτελείς συμπεριφορές έχουν τιμωρηθεί πολλές φορές στο παρελθόν, μεταξύ άλλων και στις κάλπες, δοθείσης της ευκαιρίας.

6. Ο Βοναπάρτης δεν αποτελεί δημοκρατία
Την περίοδο 1853-1856, ο Μαρξ έγραψε μια λαμπρή σειρά άρθρων για την εφημερίδα New-York Daily Tribune που περιέχουν πολλούς ενδιαφέροντες και χρήσιμους παραλληλισμούς με τη σημερινή εποχή. Το 1853, μιλώντας για τον μεγάλο Μοσχοβίτη μονάρχη του 15ου αιώνα – εκείνον που θεωρείται ότι ενοποίησε τη Ρωσία και έθεσε τις βάσεις για την απολυταρχία της – ο Μαρξ υποστήριξε: «Αρκεί να αντικαταστήσει κανείς μια σειρά από ονόματα και ημερομηνίες με άλλες και γίνεται σαφές ότι οι πολιτικές του Ιβάν Γ΄[…], και εκείνες της σημερινής Ρωσίας, δεν είναι απλώς παρόμοιες αλλά πανομοιότυπες». Τον επόμενο χρόνο, ωστόσο, σε αντίθεση με τους φιλελεύθερους δημοκράτες που εξύψωναν τον αντιρωσικό συνασπισμό, έγραψε: «Είναι λάθος να περιγράφουμε τον πόλεμο κατά της Ρωσίας ως πόλεμο μεταξύ ελευθερίας και δεσποτισμού. Πέρα από το γεγονός ότι, αν συνέβαινε κάτι τέτοιο, η ελευθερία θα αντιπροσωπευόταν για πάντα από έναν Βοναπάρτη, ολόκληρος ο δεδηλωμένος στόχος του πολέμου είναι η διατήρηση […] των συνθηκών της Βιέννης – αυτών ακριβώς των συνθηκών που ακυρώνουν την ελευθερία και την ανεξαρτησία των εθνών». Αν αντικαταστήσουμε τον Βοναπάρτη με τις Ηνωμένες Πολιτείες της Αμερικής και τις συνθήκες της Βιέννης με το ΝΑΤΟ, οι παρατηρήσεις αυτές μοιάζουν σαν να γράφτηκαν για το σήμερα.
Ο τρόπος σκέψης όσων αντιτίθενται τόσο στον ρωσικό όσο και στον ουκρανικό εθνικισμό, καθώς και στην επέκταση του ΝΑΤΟ, δεν αποτελεί απόδειξη πολιτικής αναποφασιστικότητας ή θεωρητικής ασάφειας. Τις τελευταίες εβδομάδες, αρκετοί ειδικοί σκιαγράφησαν τις ρίζες της σύγκρουσης (οι οποίες σε καμία περίπτωση δεν μειώνουν τη βαρβαρότητα της ρωσικής εισβολής), καθώς και τη θέση εκείνων που προτείνουν μια πολιτική ουδετερότητας ως τον πιο αποτελεσματικό τρόπο για να τερματιστεί ο πόλεμος το συντομότερο δυνατό και να εξασφαλιστεί ο μικρότερος αριθμός θυμάτων. Δεν είναι ζήτημα να συμπεριφερθούμε σαν τις «όμορφες ψυχές» τις βουτηγμένες στον αφηρημένο ιδεαλισμό, τις οποίες ο Χέγκελ θεωρούσε ανίκανες να αντιμετωπίσουν την πραγματική πραγματικότητα των γήινων αντιφάσεων. Αντιθέτως: το ζητούμενο είναι να κάνουμε πραγματικότητα το μόνο αληθινό αντίδοτο στην απεριόριστη επέκταση του πολέμου. Δεν έχουν τέλος οι φωνές που ζητούν περαιτέρω επιστράτευση, ούτε εκείνοι που, όπως ο Ύπατος Εκπρόσωπος της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης για την Εξωτερική Πολιτική και Πολιτική Ασφάλειας, θεωρούν ότι είναι καθήκον της Ευρώπης να προμηθεύει τους Ουκρανούς με «τα απαραίτητα όπλα για τον πόλεμο». Αλλά σε αντίθεση με αυτές τις θέσεις, είναι απαραίτητο να συνεχιστεί αδιάκοπα η διπλωματική δραστηριότητα που βασίζεται σε δύο σταθερά σημεία: την αποκλιμάκωση και την ουδετερότητα της ανεξάρτητης Ουκρανίας.
Παρά την αυξημένη υποστήριξη προς το ΝΑΤΟ μετά τις ρωσικές κινήσεις, είναι απαραίτητο να εργαστούμε σκληρότερα για να διασφαλίσουμε ότι η κοινή γνώμη δεν θα θεωρήσει τη μεγαλύτερη και πιο επιθετική πολεμική μηχανή στον κόσμο – το ΝΑΤΟ – ως τη λύση στα προβλήματα της παγκόσμιας ασφάλειας. Πρέπει να αποδειχθεί ότι πρόκειται για έναν επικίνδυνο και αναποτελεσματικό οργανισμό, ο οποίος, στην προσπάθειά του για επέκταση και μονοπολική κυριαρχία, χρησιμεύει για να τροφοδοτεί τις εντάσεις που οδηγούν σε πολέμους στον κόσμο.
Στο Σοσιαλισμός και πόλεμος, ο Λένιν υποστήριξε ότι οι μαρξιστές διαφέρουν από τους ειρηνιστές και τους αναρχικούς στο ότι «θεωρούν ιστορικά απαραίτητο (από τη σκοπιά του διαλεκτικού υλισμού του Μαρξ) να μελετήσουν κάθε πόλεμο ξεχωριστά». Συνεχίζοντας, υποστήριξε ότι: «Στην ιστορία υπήρξαν πολυάριθμοι πόλεμοι οι οποίοι, παρ’ όλη τη φρίκη, τη θηριωδία, τη δυστυχία και τον πόνο που αναπόφευκτα συνοδεύουν όλους τους πολέμους, ήταν προοδευτικοί, δηλαδή ωφέλησαν την ανάπτυξη της ανθρωπότητας». Αν αυτό ίσχυε στο παρελθόν, θα ήταν κοντόφθαλμο να το επαναλάβουμε απλώς στις σύγχρονες κοινωνίες όπου τα όπλα μαζικής καταστροφής εξαπλώνονται συνεχώς. Σπάνια οι πόλεμοι – που δεν πρέπει να συγχέονται με τις επαναστάσεις – είχαν το εκδημοκρατιστικό αποτέλεσμα που ήλπιζαν οι θεωρητικοί του σοσιαλισμού. Πράγματι, έχουν συχνά αποδειχθεί ο χειρότερος τρόπος διεξαγωγής μιας επανάστασης, τόσο λόγω του κόστους σε ανθρώπινες ζωές όσο και λόγω της καταστροφής των παραγωγικών δυνάμεων που συνεπάγονται. Είναι ένα μάθημα που δεν πρέπει να ξεχάσει ούτε και η μετριοπαθής Αριστερά.
Για την Αριστερά, ο πόλεμος δεν μπορεί να είναι «η συνέχιση της πολιτικής με άλλα μέσα», για να παραθέσω τη διάσημη ρήση του Κλαούζεβιτς. Στην πραγματικότητα, απλώς πιστοποιεί την αποτυχία της πολιτικής. Αν η Αριστερά επιθυμεί να επιστρέψει ηγεμονική και να δείξει ότι είναι ικανή να χρησιμοποιήσει την ιστορία της για τα καθήκοντα του σήμερα, πρέπει να γράψει ανεξίτηλα στα πανό της τις λέξεις «αντιμιλιταρισμός» και «Όχι στον πόλεμο!».

 

μετάφραση Μαριτίνα Λάβδα

 

Υποσημειώσεις
1. Σύγκρινε De Paepe, 2014-a, 2014-b.
2. Βλ. Freymond (ed.), 1962: 402, και Marx 2014: 92: «οι κοινωνικοί μας θεσμοί καθώς και ο συγκεντρωτισμός της πολιτικής εξουσίας αποτελούν μόνιμη αιτία πολέμου, η οποία μπορεί να εξαλειφθεί μόνο με μια εκ βάθρων κοινωνική μεταρρύθμιση». Ένα προηγούμενο κείμενο που παρουσιάστηκε από τη Διεθνή Ένωση Εργαζομένων στο Συνέδριο Ειρήνης στη Γενεύη, το οποίο πραγματοποιήθηκε τον Σεπτέμβριο του 1867, ανέφερε ότι «για να δοθεί ένα τέλος στον πόλεμο, δεν αρκεί να καταργηθούν οι στρατοί, αλλά είναι επιπλέον απαραίτητο να αλλάξει η κοινωνική οργάνωση προς την κατεύθυνση μιας ολοένα και πιο δίκαιης κατανομής της παραγωγής», ό.π.: 234.
3. Freymond (ed.), 1962: 403. Σύγκρινε Musto, 2014: 49.
4. Marx, 1996: 739.
5. Engels, 1987: 158.
6. Engels, 1990: 372.
7. Όπ.π.: 371.
8. Σε Pelz (ed.), 2016: 50.
9. Σε Dominick, 1982: 343.
10. Jaurès, 1982: 32.
11. Kautsky, 1903: 77.
12. Lenin, 1972: 80.
13. Luxemburg, 1911.
14. Trotsky, 1914.
15. Lenin, 1977: 371.
16. Luxemburg, 1915.
17. Lenin, 1971: 299-300.
18. Όπ.π.: 306.
19. Όπ.π.: 307.
20. Όπ.π.: 314.
21. Όπ.π.: 315. Την περίοδο του γαλλο-πρωσικού πολέμου του 1870, ο Μιχαήλ Μπακούνιν είχε επίσης καλέσει τους εργάτες να μετατρέψουν τον πατριωτικό πόλεμο σε επαναστατικό πόλεμο. Βλ. Musto, 2014: 49.
22. Όπ.π.: 316.
23. Kropotkin, 1914: 76–77.
24. Malatesta, 1993: 230.
25. Kropotkin et al., 1916.
26. Malatesta et al, 1998: 388.
27. Mao Tse-Tung, 1966: 15.
28. Όπ.π.: 26-27.
29. Όπ.π.: 53.
30. Mao Tse-Tung, 1965: 219.
31. Όπ.π.: 225.
32. Παρατίθεται σε Vittoria, 2015: 219.
33. Marx, 2010: 154. Σύγκρινε Musto, 2018: 132.
34. Lenin, 1964-b: 148.
35. Lenin, 1964-a: 329-330.
36. Marx, 1986: 86.
37. Marx, 1980: 228.
38. Borrell, 2022.
39. Lenin, 1971: 299.

Βιβλιογραφία
Borrell, Josep (2022), “It is a matter of life and death. So the EU will provide weapons for Ukraine’s armed forces”, The Guardian, 27 February, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/feb/27/eu-will-provide-weapons-for-ukraine-josep-borrell.
De Paepe, César (2014-a), “Strike Against War”, in Marcello Musto (ed.), Workers Unite! The International 150 Years Later, New York: Bloomsbury: 229.
De Paepe, César (2014-b), “On the True causes of War”, in Marcello Musto (ed.), Workers Unite! The International 150 Years Later, New York: Bloomsbury: 230-31.
Dominick, Raymond H. (1982), Wilhelm Liebknecht and the founding of the German Social Democratic Party, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.
Engels, Friedrich (1987), Anti-Dühring, MECW, vol. 25: 5-311.
Engels, Friedrich (1990), “Can Europe Disarm?”, MECW, vol. 27: 367-393.
Freymond, Jacques (ed.) (1962), La première Internationale, Geneva: Droz, vol. I.
Jaurès, Jean (1982), L’Armée nouvelle, Paris: Imprimerie nationale.
Kautsky, Karl (1903), The Social Revolution, Chicago: Charles Kerr & Co.
Kropotkin, Peter (1914), “A Letter on the Present War”, Freedom, October: 76–77.
Kropotkin, Peter et al. (1916), The Manifesto of the Sixteen, https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/kropotkin-peter/1916/sixteen.htm
Lenin, Vladimir I. (1964-a), Results of the Discussion on Self-Determination, in Lenin, Collected Works, Moscow: Progress Publishers, vol. 22: 320-360.
Lenin, Vladimir I. (1964-b), The Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination, in Lenin, Collected Works, Moscow: Progress Publishers, vol. 22: 143-156.
Lenin, Vladimir I. (1971), Socialism and War, in Lenin, Collected Works, Moscow: Progress Publishers, vol. 21: 295-338.
Lenin, Vladimir I. (1972), “International Socialist Congress at Stuttgart”, in Lenin, Collected Works, Moscow: Progress Publishers, vol. 13: 75-81.
Lenin, Vladimir I. (1977), “The Second International Socialist Conference at Kienthal”, in Vladimir I. Lenin, Collected Works, Moscow: Progress Publishers, vol. 41: 369-380.
Luxemburg, Rosa (1911), “L’Armée nouvelle de Jean Jaurès”, https://www.marxists.org/francais/luxembur/works/1911/06/armee.htm
Luxemburg, Rosa (1915), The Junius Pamphlet: The Crisis of German Social Democracy, chapter 7, https://www.marxists.org/archive/luxemburg/1915/junius/
Malatesta, Errico (1993), “Anarchists have forgotten their principles, 1914” in Vernon Richards (ed.), Malatesta: Life & Ideas, London: Freedom Press: 227-231.
Malatesta, Errico et al (1998), “Anti-War Manifesto”, δημοσιεύεται ως “Malatesta, the Anarchist International and War”, in Daniel Guérin (ed.), No Gods, No Masters: An Anthology of Anarchism, Oakland: Ak Press: 387–389.
Mao Tse-Tung (1965), “Problems of War and Strategy”, in Selected Works of Mao-Tse-Tung, Peking: Foreign Languages Press, vol. 2: 219-235.
Mao Tse-Tung (1966), On Protracted War, Peking: Foreign Languages Press.
Marx Karl (1996), Capital, Volume I, MECW, vol. 35.
Marx, Karl (1980), “Reorganization of the British War Administration”, in MECW, vol. 13: 227-233.
Marx, Karl (1986), Revelations of the Diplomatic History of the 18th Century, in MECW, vol. 15: 25-96.
Marx, Karl (2010), “Karl Marx to Ferdinand Lassalle, 2 June 1860”, in MECW, vol. 41: 154.
Marx, Karl (2014), “Resolutions of the Brussels Congress (1868)”, in Marcello Musto (ed.), Workers Unite! The International 150 Years Later, New York: Bloomsbury: 89-93.
Musto, Marcello (2014), “Introduction”, in Marcello Musto (ed.), Workers Unite! The International 150 Years Later, New York: Bloomsbury: 1-68.
Musto, Marcello (2018), Another Marx: Early Manuscripts to the International, London: Bloomsbury.
Pelz, William E. (ed.) (2016), Wilhelm Liebknecht and German Social Democracy: A Documentary History, Chicago: Haymarket Books.
Trotsky, Leon (1914), “The Zimmerwald Manifesto”, in The War and the International, https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1914/war/part3.htm#zimman
Vittoria, Albertina (2015), Togliatti e gli intellettuali. La politica culturale dei comunisti italiani (1944-1964), Roma: Carocci.

Categories
Journal Articles

Algiers 1882: The Last Journey of Marx

I. Why Algiers
In 1882, Marx’s bronchitis was becoming chronic and his doctor, Mr. Donkin, suggested that a period of rest in a warm place was advisable for a complete recovery.1 The Isle of Wight had not worked. Gibraltar was ruled out because Marx would have needed a passport to enter the territory, and as a stateless person he was not in possession of one. The Bismarckian empire was covered in snow and anyway still forbidden to him, while Italy was out of the question, since, as Friedrich Engels put it, “the first proviso where convalescents are concerned is that there should be no harassment by the police.”2
With the support of Dr. Donkin and Paul Lafargue, Marx’s son-in-law, Engels convinced the patient to head for Algiers, which at the time enjoyed a good reputation among English people who could afford to escape the rigors of winter.3 As Marx’s daughter Eleanor Marx later recalled, what pushed Marx into making this unusual trip was his old obsession: to complete Capital.4 She wrote that

His general state keeps getting worse. If he had been more egoistic, he would have simply allowed things to take their course. But for him one thing stood above all else: devotion to the cause. He wanted to see his great work through to the end and therefore agreed once more to make a journey to recover his health.5

Marx left for the Mediterranean on 9 February, stopping on the way at Argenteuil, a Parisian suburb, where his eldest daughter Jenny Marx Longuet lived. When his health did not improve, he decided after scarcely one week to continue alone to Marseilles, having persuaded Eleanor that it was unnecessary for her to accompany him. To Engels he confided, “Not for anything in the world would I have the girl think she is to be sacrificed as an old man’s ‘nurse’ on the altar of family.”6
After crossing the whole of France by train, he reached the great Provençal seaport on 17 February. He immediately obtained a ticket for the first ship bound for Africa,7 and the next day, on a windy wintry afternoon, he was in the harbor queuing up with other passengers to go on board. He had a couple of suitcases crammed with heavy clothing, medicines, and a few books. At 5:00 p.m., the steamer Said left for Algiers, where Marx would stay for 72 days. This was the only time in his life that he spent outside Europe.8

II. Resisting the Disease in the Algerian Capital
After a stormy 34-hour crossing, Karl Marx reached his destination on 20 February. The next day he wrote to Engels, and a week later he recalled that his “corpus delecti” had been “frozen to the marrow.” He found an ideally situated room, with a port view, at the Hôtel-Pension Victoria, in the Upper Mustapha zone. It was a “magical panorama,” which allowed him to appreciate the “wonderful combination of Europe and Africa.”9
The only person who knew the identity of the newly arrived polyglot gentleman was Albert Fermé, a justice of the peace and follower of Charles Fourier, who had landed in Algiers in 1870 after a period of imprisonment on account of his opposition to the Second Empire. He was the only real company Marx had there, serving as his guide on various excursions and attempting to satisfy his curiosity about the new world.
As the days passed, however, Marx’s health did not improve. He was still troubled by the bronchitis, and an uncontrollable cough kept him awake at night. The unusually cold, damp, and rainy weather—it was the worst winter for ten years in Algiers—also favored another attack of pleurisy. “The only difference between my clothing in the Isle of Wight and my clothing in the city of Algiers,” he wrote to Engels, “is that in the villa I have up till now simply replaced the rhinoceros greatcoat with my light greatcoat.” He even contemplated moving 400 kilometres further south, to the village of Biskra on the edge of the Sahara, but the poor physical conditions dissuaded him from such a taxing journey. He therefore embarked on a lengthy period of complicated treatment in Algiers.
Dr. Charles Stephann, the best in the city, prescribed sodium arsenate during the day and a codeine-based opiate syrup to help him sleep at night. He also ordered Marx to reduce physical exertion to a minimum and to abstain from “real intellectual work except some reading for [his] distraction.” Nevertheless, on 6 March the cough became even more violent and brought about repeated haemorrhaging. Marx was therefore forbidden to leave the hotel and even to engage in conversation: “rest, solitude and silence” were now “duties incumbent on [him] as a citizen.”10 At least, he wrote to Engels, “Dr. Stephann, like my dear Dr. Donkin [in London], does not forget—the cognac.”11
The most painful treatment proved to be a course of ten vesicatories, a therapy popular at the time that used agents to blister the skin in order to release subcutaneous toxins. Marx managed to complete these with the help of a young pharmacist. Little by little, by repeatedly painting his chest and back with collodion and opening the resulting blisters, Mr. Maurice Casthelaz succeeded in drawing off the excess fluid from his lungs.
Not surprisingly, Marx began to regret his chosen destination: as he wrote to Paul Lafargue, “from the moment of [his] departure for Marseilles” there had been “the finest weather in both Nice and Menton,” two other possibilities he had considered.12 In the second half of March, he confided to his daughter Jenny: “in this foolish, ill-calculated expedition, I am now just arrived again at that standard of health when I possessed it on leaving” London. He also told her that he had had his doubts about travelling such a long way, but that Engels and Bryan Donkin fired each other mutually into African furor, neither one nor the other getting any special information” about the weather that year.13 In his view, “the thing was to inform oneself before starting on such a wild goose chase.”.14
On 20 March, Marx wrote to Lafargue that the treatment had been stopped for the time being since there was no longer “‘a single dry place either on [his] back or [his] chest.”. The sight of his body reminded him of “a kitchen garden in miniature planted with melons.” To his great relief, however, his sleep was “gradually returning”: “someone who has not suffered from insomnia cannot appreciate that blissful state when the terror of sleepless nights begins to give way.”15
On the other hand, Marx’s breathing was more labored as a result of the nocturnal drawing of blisters, the need to remain bandaged, and the strict ban on scratching. Having learned that the weather in France had been “wonderful” since his departure from London, and bearing in mind the initial prediction of a rapid cure, he wrote to Engels that “a man ought never [to] delude himself by too sanguine views!”16 Clearly there was “some way to go to sana mens in sano corpore.”17
Marx’s suffering was not only bodily. He felt lonely and wrote on 16 March to his daughter Jenny: “Nothing could be more magical than the city of Algiers, unless it be the countryside outside that city (…); it would be like the Arabian Nights—given good health—with all my dear ones (in particular not forgetting my grandsons).”18 And on 27 March he added that he would have liked “by magic” to have Johnny, the eldest, there too—“to wonder […] at Moors, Berbers, Turks, negroes, in one word this Babel and costumes (most of them poetic) of this oriental world, mixed with the ‘civilized’ French etc. and the dull Britons.”19
To Engels, a comrade with whom he was used to sharing everything, he wrote of “an occasional bout of profound melancholy, like the great Don Quixote.” His thoughts kept returning to the loss of his life-companion: “You know that few people are more averse to demonstrative pathos; still, it would be a lie [not] to confess that my thoughts are to a great part absorbed by reminiscence of my wife, such a part of my best part of life!”20 One distraction from the pain of mourning was the spectacle of nature around him. Early in April he wrote that there was “wonderful moonlight on the bay,” and he could “never stop feasting [his] eyes on the sea in front of [his] balcony.”21
Marx also suffered from the enforced lack of serious intellectual activity. Since the start of the trip, he had been aware that it would be “a time-wasting operation,” but he had eventually agreed to it when he realized that the “accursed disease” also “impairs one’s intellect.”22
He told Jenny that “any working” was “out of the question” in Algiers—even “the correction of Capital for a [third German] edition.”23 As to the current political situation, he limited himself to reading the telegraphic reports of a small local paper, The Little Settler [Le Petit Colon], and the only workers’ sheet received from Europe, The Equality [L’Égalité], about which he noted sarcastically that “you can’t call it a newspaper.”24
Marx’s letters of Spring 1882 show that he was “eager to be again active and to drop that invalid’s stupid métier,”25 “a pointless, arid, not to say expensive, existence.”26 To Lafargue he even said he was so busy doing nothing that he felt close to imbecility27—which suggests a fear on his part that he was no longer capable of taking up his usual existence where he had left off.
This progression of unfavorable events did not allow Marx to get to the bottom of Algerian reality, nor—as Engels foresaw—was it really possible for him to study the characteristics of “common ownership among the Arabs.”28 In 1879 he had already taken an interest in the land question in French-ruled Algeria, in the course of his studies in ethnology, landed property, and precapitalist societies. In that circumstance, Marx had transcribed from Maksim Kovalevsky’s Communal Landownership: Causes, Course and Consequences that the “individualization of land ownership” would bring huge benefits to the invaders, but it would also favor the “political aim” of “destroying the foundation of this society.”29
On 22 February 1882, an article in the Algiers daily The News [L’Akhbar] documented the injustices of the newly crafted system. Theoretically, any French citizen at that time could acquire a concession of more than 100 hectares of Algerian land, without even leaving his country, and he could then resell it to a native for 40,000 francs. On average, the colons sold every parcel of land they had bought for 20-30 francs at the price of 300 francs.30
Owing to his ill health, Marx was unable to return to these problems; nor was the article in The News brought to his attention. But his permanent desire for knowledge did not fade even in the most adverse circumstances. After exploring the area around his hotel, where housing reconstruction was under way on a vast scale, he noted that “although the workers engaged in this activity are healthy people and local residents they go down with fever after the first three days. Part of their wages, therefore, consists of a daily dose of quinine supplied by the employers.”31

III. Reflections on the Arab World
From the southern rim of the Mediterranean Marx made a number of interesting observations in his sixteen letters,32 some of which display a still partly colonial vision. The ones that really stand out are those dealing with social relations among Muslims. Marx was profoundly struck by the bearing of the Arabs: “even the poorest Moor,” he wrote, “surpasses the greatest European comedian in the art of wrapping himself in his hood and showing natural, graceful and dignified attitudes.”33 Noting how their social classes mixed, he wrote to his daughter Laura Lafargue in mid-April that he had observed a group of Arabs playing cards, “some of them dressed pretentiously, even richly,” others in, for once I dare call it blouses, sometime of white woollen appearance, now in rags and tatters.” For a ‘true Muslim’, he commented:

such accidents, good or bad luck, do not distinguish Mahomet’s children. Absolute equality in their social intercourse, not affected; on the contrary, only when demoralized, they become aware of it; as to the hatred against Christians and the hope of an ultimate victory over these infidels, their politicians justly consider this same feeling and practice of absolute equality (not of wealth or position but of personality) a guarantee of keeping up the one, of not giving up the latter. (Nevertheless, they will go to rack and ruin without a revolutionary movement.)34

Marx also marveled at the scant presence of the state:

In no town elsewhere, which is at the same time the seat of the central government, is there such laisser faire, laisser passer; police reduced to a bare minimum; unparalleled lack of embarrassment in public; the Moorish element is responsible for this. For Muslims there is no such thing as subordination; they are neither “subjects” nor “citizens” [administrés]; no authority, save in politics, something which Europeans have totally failed to understand.35

Marx scornfully attacked the Europeans’ violent abuses and constant provocations, and not least their “bare-faced arrogance and presumptuousness vis-à-vis the ‘lesser breeds,’ [and] grisly, Moloch-like obsession with atonement” with regard to any act of rebellion. He also emphasized that, in the comparative history of colonial occupation, “the British and Dutch outdo the French.” In Algiers itself, he reported to Engels, his friend the judge Fermé had regularly seen in the course of his career “a form of torture […] to extract confessions from Arabs, naturally done […] (like the English in India) by the “police.”

When, for example, a murder is committed by an Arab gang, usually with robbery in view, and the actual miscreants are in the course of time duly apprehended, tried and executed, this is not regarded as sufficient atonement by the injured colonist family. They demand into the bargain the “pulling in” of at least half a dozen innocent Arabs. […] When a European colonist dwells among the “lesser breeds,” either as a settler or simply on business, he generally regards himself as even more inviolable than handsome William I.36

Marx returned to the theme in another context when he told Engels of the brutality of the French authorities toward “a poor, thieving Arab, a poor, multiple assassin by profession.” Shortly before his execution, he learned that “he wasn’t going to be shot but guillotined! This, in defiance of prior arrangements!” Nor was that all:

His relatives had expected the head and body to be handed over to them so that they could sew the former to the latter and then bury the “whole.” Which it is not! Howls, imprecations and gnashing of teeth; the French authorities dug their heels in, the first time they had done so! Now, when the body arrives in paradise, Mohammed will ask, “Where have you left your head? Or, how did the head come to be parted from its body? You’re not fit to enter paradise. Go and join those dogs of Christians in hell!” And that’s why his relations were so upset.37

Along with these political and social observations, Marx’s letters also include material on Arab customs. In one, he told his daughter Laura a story that had greatly appealed to his practical side:

A ferryman is ready and waiting, with his small boat, on the tempestuous waters of a river. A philosopher, wishing to get to the other side, climbs aboard. There ensues the following dialogue:
Philosopher: Do you know anything of history, ferryman?
Ferryman: No!
Philosopher: Then you’ve wasted half your life!
And again: The Philosopher: Have you studied mathematics?
Ferryman: No!
Philosopher: Then you’ve wasted more than half your life.
Hardly were these words out of the philosopher’s mouth when the wind capsized the boat, precipitating both ferryman and philosopher into the water. Whereupon, Ferryman shouts: Can you swim?
Philosopher: No!
Ferryman: Then you’ve wasted your whole life.

And Marx added to Laura: “That will tickle your appetite for things Arabic.”38
After more than two months of suffering, Marx’s condition improved and he was at last able to return to France. First, however, he had a final surprise for Engels: “Apropos; because of the sun, I have done away with my prophet’s beard and my crowning glory but (in deference to my daughters) had myself photographed before offering up my hair on the altar of an Algerian barber.”39 This would be the last snapshot of him. And it is utterly unlike the granite profile to be found on the squares of “actually existing socialism,” which the régimes of the day ordered to represent him. His moustache, rather like his ideas, has not lost the color of youth—and his smiling face, for all life’s trials and disappointments, still appears kindly and unassuming.40

IV. Final Note: A Republican in the Principality
Bad weather continued to pester Marx. During his “last days in Africa,”41 his health was sorely tested by the arrival of the sirocco, and the crossing to Marseilles—where he landed on 5 May, on his sixty-fourth birthday—was particularly rough. As he wrote later to Eleanor: “A violent storm […] turned [his] cabin into a veritable wind tunnel.” And once at their destination, the steamer did not actually enter the harbor, so that the passengers had to be taken off by boat, spending “several hours in a cold, draughty customs-hall-cum-purgatory until the time came for them to depart for Nice.” These tribulations, he quipped, “more or less threw [his] machine out of gear” and “precipitated [him] into the hands of an Aesculapius” as soon as they reached Monte Carlo.42
The trusted Aesculapius was Dr. Kunemann, an excellent doctor from Alsace who specialized in lung diseases.43 It was discovered that the bronchitis had become chronic and, to Marx’s “horror,” that “the pleurisy had returned.”44 All the moving around had done further damage, and Marx used his customary literary references to joke about it with Engels: “Fate” would seem on this occasion to have displayed an alarming consistency—almost, one might say, as in the tragedies of Amandus Müllner,” where “fate” does indeed play an important role in human existence. Another course of four vesicatories was therefore necessary, and these took place between 9 and 30 May.
Since he had to get better before continuing on his way, Marx spent three weeks in the principality of Monaco. His descriptions of the atmosphere there mix shrewdness with social criticism: for example, he compared Monte Carlo to Gérolstein, the imaginary statelet in which Jacques Offenbach placed his opera The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein (1867). Marx went a few times to the reading room at the famous casino, which offered a good selection of international newspapers. But he told Engels that his “table d’hôte companions at the Hôtel de Russie” and, more generally, the public in the city were “more interested in what goes on in the Casino’s gaming rooms.” His letters from this period alternate between amused observations about people he came across—e.g., “‘a son of Albion, sulky, ill-tempered and bewildered […] because he had lost a certain number of yellow boys, whereas he had been absolutely intent on ‘copping’ the same”—and mordant comments such as: “he couldn’t understand that not even British boorishness is able ‘to bully’ fortune.”45
The most trenchant description of this alien world was offered to his daughter Eleanor, in a letter written shortly before his departure:

At the table d’hôte, in the cafés, etc., almost the only topic that is talked or whispered about is the roulette and the trente et quarante tables. Every now and again something is won, as for instance 100 francs by a young Russian lady (wife of a Russian diplomat-cum-agent) […], who, in return, loses 6,000 frs, while someone else can’t keep enough for the journey home; others gamble away the whole of large family fortunes; very few take away a share of the plunder—few of the gamblers, I mean, and those that do are almost without exception rich. There can be no question of intelligence or calculation here; no one can count with any probability on being favoured by “chance” unless he can venture a considerable sum.46

The frenzy in the air was not confined to the gaming rooms or the evening hours; it pervaded the whole city and entire day of those who visited it. For example, there was a kiosk right next door to the casino.

This is daily adorned with a placard, not printed, but handwritten and signed with the initials of the quill-pusher; for 600 francs he will provide, in black and white, the secret of the science of winning a million francs with a 1,000. […] Nor, or so it is said, is it by any means rare for people to fall victim to this confidence trick. Indeed, most of the gamblers, both male and female, believe there is a science in what are pure games of chance; the ladies and gentlemen sit outside the said Café de Paris, in front of, or on the seats in, the wonderful garden that belongs to the casino, heads bent over little [printed] tables, scribbling and doing sums, while one of them may earnestly expound to another “‘what system’ he prefers, whether one should play in series,” etc., etc. It’s like watching a bunch of lunatics.47

In short, it became clear to Marx that ‘the economic basis of Monaco-Gerolstein is the casino; if it were to close tomorrow it would be all up with Monaco-Gerolstein—the whole of it!’ Without it not even Nice, ‘the rendez-vous in the winter months of the quality and of fortune-hunters alike, could continue to subsist as a fashionable centre (…). And withal, how childish is the casino by comparison with the Bourse!’
After the last in the series of vesicatories, Dr. Kunemann discharged Marx and gave him permission to continue his journey. But he did advise him to stop off “in Cannes for a day or two” to allow the wounds to “dry out,” after which he could move on up to Paris. Once in the exclusive French resort, Marx drew a balance-sheet of his time on the Côte d’Azur:

I have spent an entire month vegetating in this lair of aristocratic idlers or adventurers. Nature superb, in other respects a dreary hole; […] no plebeian “masses” here, apart from the hotel and café waiters, etc., and domestics, who belong to the Lumpenproletariat.48

The weather continued to do its worst and to weigh heavily on him. During the three days in Cannes, there was an exceptionally “strong (if warm) wind and eddies of dust,” talk of which filled “the Riviera’s local press.” Marx responded with self-irony, joking to Engels that “Nature, too, can evince a certain philistine humour (after the manner, already humorously anticipated in the Old Testament, of the serpent feeding on dust, cf. the dusty diet of Darwin’s worms).”
In the same letter, Marx dwelled on the doctor’s final recommendations: “to eat well and amply even if it goes against the grain, and ‘accustom’ oneself to so doing; [to] drink ‘decent’ stuff and go for drives, etc. […] [to] think as little as possible, etc.” He could not fail to remark that “having followed these ‘directions,’ I am well on the way to ‘idiocy,’ and for all that have not rid myself of the bronchial catarrh. A consoling thought for me is that it was bronchitis that sent old Garibaldi to his ‘eternal rest.’” In any case, he was convinced that “at a certain age it becomes completely indifferent how one is ‘launched into eternity’”49
On 7 June, some four months after his departure from London, Marx was finally in a position to take the train back to his daughter’s house in Argenteuil. He advised her not to bother about his arrival—“Till now, I have always found that nothing has done me more harm than people, at the station, waiting for me”—and not to tell any of the comrades, even Lafargue, that he was expected. He still needed “absolute quietness,” 50 and, as he said to Engels too, “he felt it [was] still necessary […] to have as little ‘intercourse with people’ as possible.”51 The giant was weary and felt he was close to the end of the road. The words he wrote to Jenny were much the same as those of any other mortal: “By ‘quietness’ I mean the ‘family life,’ ‘the children’s noise,’ that ‘microscopic world’ more interesting than the ‘macroscopic.’”52
Karl Marx died nine months after this letter, on 14 March 1883. A few days later, Engels wrote to Friedrich Sorge, the comrade who had become secretary of the International Working Men’s Association after it moved to the United States in 1872:

Mankind is the poorer for the loss of this intellect—the most important intellect, indeed, which it could boast today. The movement of the proletariat will continue on its course but it has lost its focal point, the point to which Frenchmen, Russians, Americans and Germans would automatically turn at moments of crisis, on every occasion receiving clear, indisputable advice such as only genius and consummate expertise can give.53

 

Notes
1 Sections of this article are based on Marcello Musto, The Last Years of Karl Marx: An Intellectual Biography (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2020).
2 Friedrich Engels to Eduard Bernstein, 25 January 1882, MECW 46:186-87. In his view, “Italy [could] hold out fewer guarantees than anywhere else—save, of course, Bismarck’s empire.”
3 See Gilbert Badia, “Marx en Algérie,” in Karl Marx, Lettres d’Alger et de la Côte d’Azur (Paris: Le Temps des Cerises, 1997), 17.
4 See Marcello Musto, Another Marx: Early Manuscripts to the International (London: Bloomsbury, 2018), and Marx’s Capital after 150 Years: Critique and Alternative to Capitalism, ed. Marcello Musto (London-New York: Routledge, 2019). Marx started to write his critique to political economy in 1857, see Marcello Musto, “Marx’s Life at the Time of the Grundrisse: Biographical Notes on 1857-8,” in Karl Marx’s Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy 150 Years Later, ed. Marcello Musto (London–New York: Routledge, 2008). 147-161.
5 Eleanor Marx, in Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Gespräche mit Marx und Engels (Frankfurt: Insel-Verlag, 1973), 577-78.
6 Karl Marx to Friedrich Engels, 12 January 1882, MECW 46:176. On Eleanor Marx and her special relationship with her father, see Yvonne Kapp, Eleanor Marx (London: Verso, 2018); Chushichi Tsuzuki, The Life of Eleanor Marx, 1855-1898: A Socialist Tragedy (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1967); Eva Weissweiler, Tussy Marx: Das Drama der Vatertochter (Cologne: Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 2002); and Rachel Holmes, Eleanor Marx: A Life (London: Bloomsbury, 2014).
7 See Karl Marx to Friedrich Engels, 17 February 1882: “No question of passports and such like. Nothing is entered on the passengers’ tickets save Christian and surnames” MECW 46:200.
8 The trip to the Algerian capital has not received much attention from Marx’s biographers. Even Jacques Attali, himself born in Algiers, devoted only half a page to it in his Karl Marx, ou l’Esprit du monde (Paris: Fayard, 2005), 410; despite some inexactitudes about Marx’s stay, he notes that he was ignorant of the Oran uprising between Summer 1881 and Spring 1883. Marlene Vesper’s Marx in Algier (Bonn: Pahl-Rugenstein Nachfolger, 1995) traces with great precision all the events that Marx witnessed at first hand during his visit to Algiers. Also of interest is René Gallissot, ed., Marxisme et Algérie (Paris: Union générale d’éditions, 1976). The novel by Hans Jürgen Krysmanski, Die letzte Reise des Karl Marx (Frankfurt: Westend, 2014), was originally intended as the screenplay for a film on Marx’s stay in Algiers, but was never produced because of a lack of funding.
9 Karl Marx to Friedrich Engels, 1 March 1882, MECW 46:213-14.
10 Karl Marx to Jenny Longuet, 16 March 1882, MECW 46:219.
11 Karl Marx to Friedrich Engels, 1 March 1882, MECW 46:215.
12 Karl Marx to Paul Lafargue, 20 March 1882, MECW 46:221. He added: “But there was this insistent ideamfor which I was not responsible—of the African sun and the wonder-working air out here!,” ibid.
13 Karl Marx to Jenny Longuet, 16 March 1882, MECW 46:218.
14 Karl Marx to Jenny Longuet, 27 March 1882, MECW 46:224. He added: “Between us: Though in the Isle of Wight the weather was unfavourable, but still my health improved so greatly that people wondered. […] at London, on the contrary, Engels’ excitement […] in fact has upset me: I felt, I could no longer stand it; hence my impatience to get from London away on any condition whatever!” People may kill someone out of real most sincere love; with all that nothing more dangerous in such cases for a reconvalescent!” ibid.
15 Karl Marx to Paul Lafargue, 20 March 1882, MECW 46:221-22.
16 Karl Marx to Friedrich Engels, 1 March 1882, MECW 46:215.
17 Karl Marx to Friedrich Engels, 28-31 March 1882, MECW 46:226.
18 Karl Marx to Jenny Longuet, 16 March 1882, MECW 46:219.
19 Karl Marx to Jenny Longuet, 27 March 1882, MECW 46:225.
20 Karl Marx to Friedrich Engels, 1 March 1882, MECW 46:213, 215.
21 Karl Marx to Friedrich Engels, 4 April 1882, MECW 46:229.
22 Karl Marx to Pyotr Lavrov, 23 January 1882, MECW 46:184.
23 Karl Marx to Jenny Longuet, 27 March 1882, MECW 46:225. In October 1881, the publisher Otto Meissner had asked Marx to make any necessary corrections or additions to Volume One of his magnum opus in preparation for a new edition. On the making of Capital see Marcello Musto, “The Writing of Capital: Genesis and Structure of Marx’s Critique of Political Economy,” Critique, Vol., No. 46 (season? 2018), n. 1: 11-26.
24 Karl Marx to Paul Lafargue, 20 March 1882, MECW 46:221; MEW 35:293.
25 Karl Marx to Jenny Longuet, 6-7 April 1882, MECW 46:230; MEW 35:298.
26 Karl Marx to Friedrich Engels, 20 May 1882, MECW 46:210; MEW 35:65.
27 See Paul Lafargue to Friedrich Engels, 19 June 1882, in Frederick Engels, Paul Lafargue, and Laura Lafargue, Correspondence, Vol. 1, 1868-1886 (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1959), 87.
28 Cf. Friedrich Engels to Eduard Bernstein, 22-25 February 1882, MECW 46:210-11. Lafargue was later certainly exaggerating when he said that “Marx has come back with his head full of Africa and the Arabs; he took advantage of his stay in Algiers to devour its library, it seems to me that he has read a great number of works on the condition of the Arabs,” Paul Lafargue to Friedrich Engels, 16 June 1882, in Engels, Lafargue, and Lafargue, Correspondence, 83. As Badia has pointed out, it is much more likely that Marx was unable to “learn much about the social and political situation in the French colony,” although his “letters from Algiers testify to his many-sided curiosity,” in Gilbert Badia, “Marx en Algérie”, in Karl Marx, Lettres d’Alger, 13.
29 Karl Marx, “Excerpts from M.M. Kovalevskij [Kovalevsky], Obschinnoe zemlevladenie. Prichiny, khod i posledstviya ego razlozheniya [Communal landownership: The causes, course and consequences of its decline]” In Lawrence Krader, The Asiatic Mode of Production: Sources, Development and Critique in the Writings of Karl Marx (Assen: Van Gorcum, 1975), 412.
30 See Marlene Vesper, Marx in Algier, 33-34, which reproduces passages from the article “The Concessions” in the local daily.
31 Karl Marx to Paul Lafargue, 20 March 1882, MECW 46:220. Marx added that “the same practice can be observed in various places in South America,” ibid.
32 This total refers only to his surviving correspondence. In reality, Marx wrote more letters, including some to his daughter Eleanor, but these have been lost over time: “He wrote me long letters from Algiers. Many of these I no longer possess, since at his request I sent them on to Jenny and she gave only a few back to me,” Eleanor Marx, in Gespräche mit Marx und Engels, 578.
33 Karl Marx to Jenny Longuet, 6-7 April 1882, MECW 46:231-32.
34 Karl Marx to Laura Lafargue, 13-14 April 1882, MECW 46:242.
35 Ibid., 238.
36 Karl Marx to Friedrich Engels, 8 April 1882, MECW 46:234.
37 Karl Marx to Friedrich Engels, 18 April 1882, MECW, 46:246-47.
38 Karl Marx to Laura Lafargue, 13-14 April 1882, MECW 46:243.
39 Karl Marx to Friedrich Engels, 28 April 1882, MECW 46:249.
40 Marx himself said that, although he had not had “one day of complete repose” in the eight weeks before the photograph, he was “still putting a good face on things,” ibid. Engels was very happy with what his friend had told him. “He had his photograph taken in Algiers,” he wrote to August Bebel, “and is looking quite his old self again,” Friedrich Engels to August Bebel, 16 May 1882, MECW 46:259. Cf. Vesper, Marx in Algier, 130-35.
41 Karl Marx to Friedrich Engels, 8 May 1882, MECW 46:253.
42 Karl Marx to Eleanor Marx, 28 May 1882, MECW 46:267.
43 Cf. Karl Marx to Friedrich Engels, 5 June 1882, MECW 46:272.
44 Karl Marx to Friedrich Engels, 20 May 1882, MECW 46:262. Marx did not write to his daughters of this development, since “it would alarm them unnecessarily,” ibid., 264.
45 Karl Marx to Friedrich Engels, 8 May 1882, MECW 46:254.
46 Karl Marx to Eleanor Marx, 28 May 1882, MECW 46:268.
47 Ibid., 269. The English engineer Joseph Jaggers did discover a way of breaking the bank—not by any scientific system, however, but simply by studying a mechanical dysfunction. In 1873, he realized that one roulette wheel was more unbalanced than the others, so that it came up with nine numbers more often than others. He managed to win one and a half million francs, before the casino became aware of the defect and repaired it without difficulty.
48 Karl Marx to Friedrich Engels, 5 June 1882, MECW 46:272.
49 Ibid., 274.
50 Karl Marx to Jenny Longuet, 4 June 1882, MECW 46:271.
51 Karl Marx to Friedrich Engels, 5 June 1882, MECW 46:274. The literary reference here is to a work by Adolph von Knigge, entitled precisely On Intercourse with People (1788).
52 Karl Marx to Jenny Longuet, 4 June 1882, MECW 46:272.
53 Friedrich Engels to Friedrich Sorge, 15 March 1883, MECW 46:462-63. On the contemporary relevance of Marx, see The Marx Revival: Key Concepts and New Interpretations, ed. Marcello Musto (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020).

 

Bibliography
Attali, Jacques. Karl Marx, ou l’Esprit du monde. Paris: Fayard, 2005.
Badia, Gilbert. “Marx en Algérie”. In Karl Marx, Lettres d’Alger et de la Côte d’Azur, 7-39. Paris: Le Temps des Cerises, 1997.
Engels, Frederick, Paul Lafargue, and Laura Lafargue. Correspondence, Vol. 1, 1868-1886. Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1959.
Gallissot, René, ed. Marxisme et Algérie. Paris: Union générale d’éditions, 1976.
Gespräche mit Marx und Engels, ed. Hans Magnus Enzensberger. Frankfurt: Insel-Verlag, 1973.
Holmes, Rachel. Eleanor Marx: A Life. London: Bloomsbury, 2014.
Kapp, Yvonne. Eleanor Marx. London: Verso, 2018.
Krysmanski, Hans Jürgen. Die letzte Reise des Karl Marx. Frankfurt: Westend, 2014.
Marx, Karl. “Excerpts from M.M. Kovalevskij [Kovalevsky], Obschinnoe zemlevladenie. Prichiny, khod i posledstviya ego razlozheniya [Communal landownership: The causes, course and consequences of its decline]”. In Lawrence Krader, The Asiatic Mode of Production: Sources, Development and Critique in the Writings of Karl MarxAssen: Van Gorcum, 1975. 343–412.
Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. Letters 1880-83, MECW Vol. 46. London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1992.
Musto, Marcello. “Marx’s Life at the Time of the Grundrisse: Biographical Notes on 1857-8.” In Karl Marx’s Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy 150 Years Later. Ed. Marcello Musto. London–New York: Routledge, 2008. 147-161.
———. “The Writing of Capital: Genesis and Structure of Marx’s Critique of Political Economy.” Critique, Vol. 46, No. 1 (2018), 11-26.
———. Another Marx: Early Manuscripts to the International. London: Bloomsbury, 2018.
———, ed. Marx’s Capital after 150 Years: Critique and Alternative to Capitalism. London-New York: Routledge, 2019.
———, ed. The Marx Revival: Key Concepts and New Interpretations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020.
———. The Last Years of Karl Marx: An Intellectual Biography. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2020.
Tsuzuki, Chushichi. The Life of Eleanor Marx, 1855-1898: A Socialist Tragedy. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1967.
Vesper, Marlene. Marx in Algier. Bonn: Pahl-Rugenstein Nachfolger, 1995.
Weissweiler, Eva. Tussy Marx: Das Drama der Vatertochter. Cologne: Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 2002.

Categories
Journal Articles

La izquierda y la guerra

Mientras que la ciencia política indaga las motivaciones ideológicas, políticas, económicas e incluso psicológicas que movilizan a la guerra, uno de los aportes más convincentes de la teoría socialista está en haber sacado a luz el nexo que vincula la multiplicación de las guerras con el desarrollo del capitalismo.
En los debates de la Primera Internacional, César de Paepe, uno de los dirigentes más importantes, formuló una tesis que se convirtió en la posición clásica del movimiento obrero sobre el tema, a saber, que las guerras son inevitables bajo un régimen de producción capitalista. En la sociedad contemporánea no es la ambición de los monarcas ni la de otros individuos la que provocan las guerras: es el modelo socioeconómico dominante. La enseñanza del movimiento obrero, que tuvo enormes consecuencias civilizatorias, surgió de la creencia en que toda guerra debía ser considerada una «guerra civil», es decir, un choque violento entre trabajadores que carecen de los medios necesarios que garantizan su supervivencia.
Karl Marx no dejó ningún escrito donde desarrolle su concepción —fragmentaria y a veces contradictoria— de la guerra, ni estableció pautas de acción que definieran los márgenes de una posición política correcta ante este tipo de conflictos. Aunque en El capital argumentó que la violencia era una potencia económica, «la partera de toda sociedad vieja preñada de una nueva», no pensaba que la guerra pudiera convertirse en un atajo que llevara a la transformación revolucionaria de la sociedad, y dedicó gran parte de su actividad política a comprometer a los trabajadores con el principio de la solidaridad internacional.
En cambio, la guerra era una cuestión tan importante para Friedrich Engels, que este terminó dedicándole uno de sus últimos escritos. En «¿Es posible que Europa deponga las armas?» notó que hacía más de veinticinco años que cada potencia intentaba superar militarmente a sus rivales. Eso había conducido a una producción de armamento sin precedente y colocaba el Viejo Mundo ante la posibilidad de «una guerra de destrucción de magnitudes nunca antes vistas». Según Engels, «el sistema de ejércitos permanentes llega a tales extremos en toda Europa que debe, o bien provocar una catástrofe económica en los pueblos que enfrentan el enorme gasto militar que implica, o bien degenerar en una guerra de exterminio generalizada». En su análisis, Engels no dejó de destacar que los Estados mantenían a los ejércitos permanentes tanto por motivos políticos internos como por motivos militares externos. De hecho, afirmó que que los ejércitos estaban hechos para «brindar protección, no tanto contra el enemigo externo, como contra el interno», y el desarrollo de sus instrumentos y de sus habilidades tenía por fin principal la represión de las luchas obreras y del proletariado en general. Como los costos de la guerra recaían principalmente, por medio de los impuestos y del reclutamiento, sobre las espaldas de los sectores populares, el movimiento obrero debía luchar por la «reducción gradual de los plazos del servicio [militar] mediante un tratado internacional» y por el desarme como única «garantía de paz» efectiva.

Experimentos y colapso
No pasó mucho tiempo hasta que este debate teórico pacífico se convirtió en el asunto político más apremiante de la época. Los representantes del movimiento obrero tuvieron que oponerse concretamente a la guerra en muchas ocasiones. En el conflicto franco-prusiano de 1870 (que antecedió a la Comuna de París), Wilhelm Liebknecht y August Bebel, diputados socialdemócratas, condenaron los objetivos anexionistas de la Alemania de Bismarck y votaron contra los créditos de guerra. Su decisión de «rechazar el proyecto de ley que concedía más fondos para continuar la guerra» los llevó a cumplir una condena a prisión de dos años por alta traición, pero también sirvió para mostrarle a la clase obrera una forma alternativa de intervenir en la crisis.
Mientras las principales potencias europeas continuaban con su expansión imperialista, la polémica sobre la guerra adquiría cada vez más peso en los debates de la Segunda Internacional. Una resolución adoptada durante el congreso fundacional había consagrado la paz como «precondición necesaria de toda emancipación obrera». Cuando la Weltpolitik —la agresiva política de la Alemania imperial, que buscaba incrementar su poder en la arena internacional— empezó a modificar la configuración geopolítica, los principios antimilitaristas fortalecieron sus raíces en el movimiento obrero y acrecentaron su influencia en los debates sobre conflictos armados. La izquierda dejó de pensar que la guerra era un fenómeno que abría oportunidades revolucionarias y anunciaba el colapso del sistema (idea que remontaba a la máxima de Robespierre, «Ninguna revolución sin revolución»). En cambio, empezó a concebirla como un peligro y a temer las consecuencias penosas que tenía sobre el proletariado: hambre, miseria y desempleo.
La resolución «Sobre militarismo y conflictos internacionales», adoptada por la Segunda Internacional en el Congreso de Stuttgart de 1907, recapitulaba todos los puntos clave que a esa altura se habían convertido en la herencia común del movimiento obrero. Destacaban el voto contra los presupuestos que incrementaban el gasto militar, la antipatía frente a los ejércitos permanentes y la preferencia por un sistema de milicias populares. Con el paso de los años, la Segunda Internacional perdió poco a poco su compromiso con una política de acción pacífica y la mayoría de los partidos socialistas europeos terminaron apoyando la Primera Guerra Mundial. Las consecuencias fueron desastrosas. Con la idea de que no había que dejar que los capitalistas monopolizaran los «beneficios del progreso», el movimiento obrero llegó a compartir los objetivos expansionistas de las clases dominantes y hundió sus pies en el pantano de la ideología nacionalista. La Segunda Internacional demostró ser completamente impotente frente al conflicto y fracasó en uno de sus objetivos principales: la conservación de la paz.
Rosa Luxemburgo y Vladimir Lenin fueron quienes se opusieron más firmemente a la guerra. Luxemburgo amplió la comprensión teórica de la izquierda y mostró que el militarismo era una aspecto clave del Estado. Dando muestras de una convicción y coherencia con pocos parangones en el movimiento comunista, argumentó que la consigna «¡Guerra contra la guerra!» debía convertirse en la «piedra angular de la política de la clase obrera». Como escribió en La crisis de la socialdemocracia, la Segunda Internacional había estallado porque no había logrado que el proletariado aplicara en todos los países «una táctica y una acción comunes». De ahí en adelante, el «objetivo principal» del proletariado debía ser «luchar contra el imperialismo y evitar toda conflagración, en tiempos de paz y en tiempos de guerra».
En El socialismo y la guerra, igual que en muchos otros textos escritos durante la Primera Guerra Mundial, Lenin tuvo el mérito de identificar dos cuestiones fundamentales. La primera concernía a la «falsificación histórica» mediante la cual la burguesía intentaba atribuir un «sentido progresivo de liberación nacional» a lo que en realidad eran guerras de «saqueo», llevadas a cabo con el único objetivo de decidir cuál de los países beligerantes tendría derecho a oprimir a más pueblos extranjeros, incrementando así las desigualdades del capitalismo. La segunda era el enmascaramiento de las contradicciones en el que incurrían los reformistas, que habían dejado de lado la lucha de clases con la intención de «morder un poco de las ganancias que sus burguesías nacionales obtenían del pillaje de otros países». La tesis más famosa de este panfleto —que los revolucionarios debían «convertir la guerra imperialista en una guerra civil»— implicaba que aquellos que realmente querían una «paz democrática duradera» debían llevar a cabo «una guerra civil contra sus gobiernos y contra la burguesía». Lenin estaba convencido de una idea que la historia terminó refutando: que toda lucha de clases conducida de manera consistente en tiempos de guerra suscitaría «inevitablemente» el espíritu revolucionario entre las masas.

Líneas de demarcación
La Primera Guerra Mundial no solo produjo divisiones en la Segunda Internacional: también enfrentó a distintas tendencias en el interior del movimiento anarquista. En un artículo publicado poco tiempo después del estallido de la guerra, Piotr Kropotkin escribió que «la tarea de cualquier persona que confíe mínimamente en la idea de progreso humano es aplastar la invasión alemana de Europa Occidental». En respuesta a Kropotkin, el anarquista italiano Enrico Malatesta argumentó que «la victoria alemana seguramente conllevaría el triunfo del militarismo, pero que el triunfo de los aliados garantizaría la dominación ruso-británica en toda Europa y Asia».
En el Manifiesto de los dieciséis, Kropotkin planteó la necesidad de «resistir a un agresor que representa la destrucción de todas nuestras expectativas de liberación». Argumentó que, aun si no dejaba de atentar contra las libertades existentes, la victoria de la Triple Entente contra Alemania representaba el mal menor. Del otro lado, Malatesta y los compañeros que firmaron con él El manifiesto antiguerra de la Internacional Anarquista, declararon: «Es imposible establecer una distinción entre guerras ofensivas y guerras defensivas». Además, añadieron que «Ninguno de los países beligerantes tiene derecho de reivindicar la civilización, igual que ninguno puede afirmar que actúa en defensa propia».
Las actitudes frente a la guerra también despertaron debates en el movimiento feminista. La necesidad de reemplazar a los hombres en empleos que durante largos años habían sido un monopolio masculino, alentó la propagación de una ideología chauvinista en buena parte del recién nacido movimiento sufragista. La exposición de la hipocresía de los gobiernos —que bajo la excusa de que el enemigo estaba a las puertas de la ciudad, utilizaban la guerra para eliminar reformas sociales fundamentales— fue uno de los logros más importantes de Rosa Luxemburgo y de las comunistas feministas de aquella época. Fueron las primeras en aventurarse con lucidez y coraje en el camino que enseñó a las generaciones venideras la relación que guardan la lucha contra el militarismo y la lucha contra el patriarcado. Más tarde, el rechazo de la guerra se convirtió en una parte distintiva del Día Internacional de la Mujer y la oposición contra los presupuestos de guerra cada vez que hubo un nuevo conflicto se convirtió en una constante de las muchas plataformas del movimiento feminista internacional.
La escalada de la violencia del frente nazi-fascista, en su país de origen y en el extranjero, y el estallido de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, crearon un escenario todavía más oscuro que el de la guerra de 1914-1918. Después de que, en 1941, las tropas de Hitler atacaron la Unión Soviética, la Gran Guerra Patria que culminó con la derrota del nazismo se convirtió en un elemento tan importante de la unidad nacional rusa que sobrevivió a la caída del Muro de Berlín y sigue vigente en la actualidad.
Con la repartición resultante de la posguerra, que segmentó el mundo en dos bloques, Iósif Stalin pretendió mostrar que el objetivo principal del movimiento comunista internacional era proteger a la Unión Soviética. Uno de los pilares centrales de esa política fue la creación de un área de defensa que incluía a ocho países de Europa Oriental. A partir de 1961, bajo dirección de Nikita Jrushchov, la Unión Soviética adoptó un nuevo rumbo político que terminó siendo conocido como la «coexistencia pacífica». Sin embargo, el programa de cooperación constructiva no apuntaba solamente a Estados Unidos y a los países del «socialismo realmente existente». En 1956, la Unión Soviética había aplastado brutalmente la Revolución húngara. Y en 1968 hizo lo mismo en Checoslovaquia. Frente a las reivindicaciones de democratización de la «Primavera de Praga», el politburó del Partido Comunista de la Unión Soviética decidió unánimemente enviar al país medio millón de soldados y miles de tanques. Leonid Brézhnev explicó esta acción haciendo referencia a lo que denominaba la «soberanía limitada» de los países firmantes del Pacto de Varsovia: «Cuando fuerzas hostiles al socialismo intentan torcer el desarrollo de un país socialista hacia el capitalismo, el problema no solo concierne al país en cuestión, sino a todos los países socialistas». De acuerdo con esta lógica antidemocrática, la definición de lo que era y no era «socialismo» quedaba sujeta al arbitrio de los líderes soviéticos.
En 1979, con la invasión de Afganistán, el Ejército Rojo volvió a convertirse en el instrumento de la política exterior moscovita, que siguió reivindicando el derecho a intervenir en lo que definía como su propia «zona de seguridad». Estas intervenciones militares no solo representaban un atentado contra toda política de reducción del armamento, sino que desacreditaban y debilitaban el socialismo a nivel mundial. La Unión Soviética empezó a ser concebida cada vez más como una potencia imperial que actuaba de forma similar a los Estados Unidos, que, desde el inicio de la Guerra Fría, habían respaldado, más o menos secretamente, golpes de Estado, y habían colaborado con el derrocamiento de gobiernos democráticamente electos en más de veinte países.

Ser de izquierda es estar contra la guerra
El fin de la Guerra Fría no mermó la magnitud de la interferencia de las potencias en los asuntos internos de otros países, ni tampoco conllevó un aumento de la libertad de todos los pueblos a la hora de elegir el régimen político bajo el que viven. La guerra ruso-ucraniana pone de nuevo a la izquierda frente al dilema de tomar posición cuando la soberanía de un país es puesta bajo amenaza. El gobierno de Venezuela comete un error al no condenar la invasión de Rusia a Ucrania y hace que pierdan credibilidad sus denuncias contra posibles ataques de Estados Unidos en el futuro.
Retomando las palabras que Lenin escribió en «La revolución socialista y el derecho de las naciones a la autodeterminación»: «La circunstancia de que la lucha por la libertad nacional contra una potencia imperialista pueda ser aprovechada, en determinadas condiciones, por otra “gran” potencia en beneficio de sus finalidades, igualmente imperialistas, no puede obligar a la socialdemocracia a renunciar al reconocimiento del derecho de las naciones a la autodeterminación». Más allá de los intereses geopolíticos y de las intrigas que suelen jugar en estos casos, las fuerzas de la izquierda sostuvieron históricamente el principio de la autodeterminación nacional y defendieron el derecho de los Estados individuales a establecer sus propias fronteras en función de la voluntad expresa de sus poblaciones. En «Resultados de la discusión sobre la autodeterminación», Lenin escribió: «Si una revolución socialista triunfara en Petrogrado, Berlín y Varsovia, el gobierno socialista polaco, igual que los gobiernos socialistas ruso y polaco, deberían renunciar a la “retención forzada” de, pongamos por caso, los ucranianos que estuvieran dentro de las fronteras del Estado polaco». Entonces, ¿por qué actuar distinto cuando se trata del gobierno nacionalista de Vladimir Putin?
Muchas personas de izquierda ceden a la tentación de convertirse —directa o indirectamente— en beligerantes, alimentando una nueva «Unión Sagrada». Pero hoy esa posición solo sirve a los fines de borrar la distinción entre atlantismo y pacifismo. La historia muestra que, cuando no se oponen a la guerra, las fuerzas progresistas pierden una parte fundamental de su razón de ser y terminan empantanándose en la ideología del campo opuesto. Esto sucede cada vez que los partidos de izquierda convierten su participación en el gobierno en una vara para medir su acción política, como hicieron los comunistas italianos cuando apoyaron las intervenciones de la OTAN en Kosovo y Afganistán, o como hace hoy Unidas Podemos, que suma su voz al coro unánime de todo el arco parlamentario español, en favor del envío de armas al ejército ucraniano.

Bonaparte no es democracia
En 1854, Marx, haciendo referencia a la guerra de Crimea y en contra de los demócratas liberales que exaltaban la coalición antirrusa, escribió: «Es un error definir la guerra contra Rusia como una guerra entre la libertad y el despotismo. Además del hecho de que, si ese fuera el caso, la libertad estaría representada paradójicamente en la figura de Bonaparte, el objeto explícito de la guerra es el sostenimiento […] de los tratados de Viena, los mismos que anulan la libertad y la independencia de las naciones». Si reemplazamos a Bonaparte por los Estados Unidos de América y a los tratados de Viena por la OTAN, la observación parece pertinente frente a los hechos actuales.
El pensamiento de quienes se oponen al nacionalismo ruso y al ucraniano, como así también a la expansión de la OTAN, no expresa ninguna indecisión política ni ambigüedad teórica. Durante las últimas semanas, muchos especialistas explicaron pacientemente las raíces del conflicto (que no se reduce en absoluto a la barbarie de la invasión rusa), y está claro que la posición de no alineación es el modo más efectivo de terminar pronto con la guerra y garantizar que se cobre la menor cantidad de vidas posible. Es necesario promover acciones diplomáticas fundadas en dos principios: el cese de la violencia y la neutralidad de la Ucrania independiente.
A pesar de que la OTAN ganó mucho apoyo con la invasión rusa, es necesario poner un gran empeño en garantizar que la opinión pública no termine postulando que la máquina de guerra más importante y agresiva del mundo —la OTAN— es la solución a los problemas de la seguridad mundial. Debemos mostrar que es una organización ineficaz y peligrosa que, con su impulso a la expansión y a la dominación unipolar, alimenta las tensiones que conducen a la multiplicación de las guerras en todo el mundo.
Para la izquierda, la guerra no puede ser «la continuación de la política por otros medios», según afirma la célebre fórmula de Clausewitz. En realidad, la guerra solo certifica el fracaso de la política. Si la izquierda desea volver a ser hegemónica y está dispuesta a servirse virtuosamente de su historia, debe escribir con tinta indeleble en sus banderas las consignas «Antimilitarismo» y «¡No a la guerra!».

 

Traducción: Valentín Huarte

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Non c’è spazio per la guerra nella cultura della sinistra

Le cause economiche della guerra
Nei dibattiti della Prima Internazionale, César de Paepe formulò quella che sarebbe divenuta la posizione classica del movimento operaio su questo tema, ovvero l’inevitabilità delle guerre nel regime di produzione capitalistico. Nella società contemporanea, esse non sono provocate dalle ambizioni dei monarchi o di singoli individui, bensì sono determinate dal modello economico-sociale dominante. Il movimento socialista mostrò anche quale era la parte di popolazione sulla quale si abbattevano, ineluttabilmente, le conseguenze più nefaste delle guerre. Nel congresso del 1868, i delegati della Prima Internazionale votarono una mozione che impegnava i lavoratori a perseguire “l’abolizione definitiva di ogni guerra”, dal momento che sarebbero stati soprattutto loro a pagare economicamente, quando non con il loro sangue – e senza alcuna distinzione tra vincitori e sconfitti –, le decisioni delle classi dominanti e dei governi che li rappresentavano.
Karl Marx non riassunse in alcuno scritto le sue concezioni – frammentarie e talvolta contraddittorie – sulla guerra, né formulò linee guida per indicare l’atteggiamento più corretto da adottare in proposito. Non concepì la guerra come una necessaria scorciatoia per la trasformazione rivoluzionaria e impiegò una parte consistente della sua militanza politica per vincolare la classe operaia al principio della solidarietà internazionale. In L’Europa può disarmare?, Friedrich Engels segnalò che la produzione di armamenti senza precedenti avvenuta in Europa rendeva possibile l’approssimarsi di “una guerra di distruzione che il mondo non aveva mai conosciuto”. Aggiunse che, “il sistema degli eserciti permanenti era stato spinto a un punto talmente estremo da essere condannato a rovinare economicamente i popoli, per via delle spese belliche, o a degenerare in una guerra di annientamento generale”.

Il fallimento alla prova dei fatti
Ben presto, da argomento teorico analizzato in tempi di pace, la lotta contro il militarismo divenne un problema politico preminente. Con l’espansione imperialista da parte delle principali potenze europee, la controversia sulla guerra assunse un peso sempre più rilevante nel dibattito della Seconda Internazionale. Nel congresso della sua fondazione, venne approvata una mozione che sanciva la pace quale “condizione prima indispensabile di ogni emancipazione operaia”. La mozione votata al Congresso di Stoccarda, del 1907, riassunse tutti i punti divenuti, fino ad allora, patrimonio comune del movimento operaio. Tra essi figuravano: la scelta di voto contrario a leggi di bilancio che proponevano l’aumento delle spese militari e l’avversione agli eserciti permanenti.
Con il passare degli anni, la Seconda Internazionale si impegnò sempre meno a promuovere una concreta politica d’azione in favore della pace. L’opposizione al riarmo e ai preparativi bellici in atto fu molto blanda e un’ala del Partito Socialdemocratico Tedesco, divenuto sempre più legalista e moderato, barattò il suo voto favorevole ai crediti militari – e poi finanche l’appoggio all’espansione coloniale –, in cambio della concessione di maggiori libertà politiche in patria. Le conseguenze di questa scelta furono disastrose. Il movimento operaio giunse a condividere gli obiettivi espansionistici delle classi dominanti e venne travolto dall’ideologia nazionalista. La Seconda Internazionale si rivelò del tutto impotente di fronte alla guerra, fallendo in uno dei suoi intenti principali: preservare la pace.
I due esponenti di punta del movimento operaio che si opposero con maggiore vigore alla guerra furono la Luxemburg e Lenin. La prima ammodernò il bagaglio teorico della sinistra sulla guerra e mostrò come il militarismo rappresentasse un nerbo vitale dello Stato. Per Lenin, invece, in Il socialismo e la guerra, Lenin ebbe il merito di mostrare la “falsificazione storica” operata dalla borghesia, ogni qual volta provava ad attribuire un significato “progressivo e di liberazione nazionale” a quelle che, in realtà, erano guerre “di rapina”, condotte con il solo obiettivo di decidere a quale delle parti belligeranti sarebbe toccato opprimere maggiormente popolazioni straniere. Per Lenin, i rivoluzionari dovevano “trasformare la guerra imperialista in guerra civile”, poiché quanti volevano una pace veramente “democratica e duratura” dovevano eliminare la borghesia e i governi colonialisti.

Il discrimine nell’opposizione alla guerra
La Prima Guerra Mondiale procurò divisioni non solo in seno alla Seconda Internazionale, ma anche nel movimento anarchico. Nel Manifesto dei Sedici, Kropotkin postulò la necessità di “resistere a un aggressore che rappresenta l’annientamento di tutte le nostre speranze di emancipazione”. La vittoria della Triplice Intesa contro la Germania costituiva il male minore per non compromettere il livello di libertà esistente. Al contrario, coloro che firmarono con Errico Malatesta il Manifesto internazionale anarchico sulla guerra espressero la convinzione che la responsabilità del conflitto non poteva ricadere su un singolo governo e che non andava “fatta nessuna distinzione tra guerra offensiva e difensiva”. Aggiunsero, inoltre, che “nessuno dei belligeranti aveva il diritto di parlare a nome della civilizzazione o di considerarsi in uno stato di legittima difesa”.
Come comportarsi dinanzi alla guerra accese anche il dibattito del movimento femminista. A partire dal primo conflitto mondiale, la necessità di sostituire gli uomini inviati al fronte, in impieghi precedentemente da loro monopolizzati, favorì il diffondersi di un’ideologia sciovinista anche in una fetta consistente del neonato movimento suffragista. Smascherare l’inganno dei governi del tempo – che, agitando lo spauracchio dell’aggressore alle porte, si servirono della guerra per derubricare fondamentali riforme di carattere sociale – rappresentò una delle conquiste più significative delle dirigenti comuniste del tempo. Clara Zetkin e la Luxemburg, furono tra le prime ad avviare, con lucidità e coraggio, il cammino che indicò, a molte generazioni successive, come la battaglia contro il militarismo fosse un elemento essenziale della lotta contro il patriarcato. Dopo di loro, l’ostracismo alla guerra divenne un elemento distintivo della Giornata internazionale delle donne e, all’insorgere di ogni nuovo conflitto bellico, l’opposizione all’aumento delle spese di guerra figurò tra i punti salienti di numerose piattaforme del movimento femminista mondiale.

Il fine non giustifica i mezzi e i mezzi sbagliati danneggiano il fine
Il crescendo di violenze perpetrate dal fronte nazi-fascista – nei confini nazionali così come in politica estera – e lo scoppio della Seconda Guerra Mondiale generarono uno scenario ancora più nefasto di quello della guerra del 1914-1918. L’Unione Sovietica venne attaccata dalle truppe di Hitler nel 1941 e fu impegnata in quella Grande Guerra Patriottica che fu decisiva al fine della sconfitta del nazismo e divenne, poi, un elemento così centrale dell’unità nazionale russa da essere sopravvissuta alla caduta del Muro di Berlino e da perdurare fino ai nostri giorni.
A partire dal 1961, sotto la presidenza di Nikita Chruščëv, l’Unione Sovietica inaugurò un nuovo ciclo politico che prese il nome di Coesistenza pacifica. Questa svolta fu intrapresa esclusivamente nei rapporti con gli Stati Uniti d’America e non con i paesi del “socialismo reale”. Dopo la repressione della rivolta ungherese, nel 1956, i sovietici invasero con mezzo milione di soldati e migliaia di carri armati la Cecoslovacchia che chiedeva democratizzazione e di decentramento economico, attraverso la “Primavera di Praga”. L’Unione Sovietica continuò a destinare una parte significativa delle sue risorse economiche alle spese militari e ciò contribuì all’affermazione di una cultura di guerra e autoritaria nella società. Così facendo, si alienò, definitivamente, le simpatie del movimento per la pace, divenuto ancora più vasto in occasione delle straordinarie mobilitazioni contro la guerra in Vietnam.
Nel 1979, con l’invasione sovietica dell’Afghanistan, l’Armata Rossa tornò a essere lo strumento principale della politica estera di Mosca, che continuava ad arrogarsi il diritto di intervenire in quella che riteneva essere la propria “zona di sicurezza”. L’insieme di questi interventi militari non solo sfavorì il processo di riduzione generale degli armamenti, ma concorse a screditare e a indebolire globalmente il socialismo. L’Unione Sovietica venne percepita, sempre più, come una potenza imperiale che agiva in forme non dissimili da quelle degli Stati Uniti d’America.

Se è sinistra, è contro la guerra
La Guerra Russo-Ucraina ha posto la sinistra nuovamente di fronte al dilemma del come comportarsi quando un paese vede minacciata la propria legittima sovranità. La mancata condanna dell’attacco della Russia all’Ucraina da parte del governo del Venezuela è un errore politico. In Risultati della discussione sull’autodecisione Lenin scrisse: “se vincesse la rivoluzione socialista a San Pietroburgo, a Berlino e a Varsavia, il governo socialista polacco, come quello russo e tedesco, rinuncerebbe a mantenere con la violenza gli ucraini entro le frontiere dello Stato polacco”. Perché, dunque, ipotizzare che qualcosa di diverso debba essere concesso al governo nazionalista guidato da Putin?
D’altra parte, quanti a sinistra hanno ceduto alla tentazione di diventare – direttamente o indirettamente – co-belligeranti, dando vita a una nuova union sacrée, contribuiscono a rendere sempre meno riconoscibile la distinzione tra atlantismo e pacifismo. La storia dimostra che, quando non si oppongono alla guerra, le forze progressiste smarriscono una parte essenziale della loro ragion d’essere e finiscono con l’essere inghiottite dall’ideologia del campo a loro avverso.
La tesi di quanti si oppongono sia al nazionalismo russo e ucraino che all’espansione della NATO non contiene alcuna indecisione politica o ambiguità teorica. Al di là delle spiegazioni – fornite, in queste settimane, da numerosi esperti – sulle radici del conflitto, la posizione di quanti suggeriscono una politica di “non allineamento” è la più efficace per far cessare la guerra al più presto e assicurare che in questo conflitto vi sia il minor numero possibile di vittime. Significa dare forza all’unico vero antidoto all’espansione della guerra su scala generale. A differenza delle tante voci che invocano un nuovo arruolamento, va perseguita un’incessante iniziativa diplomatica, basata su due punti fermi: la de-escalation e la neutralità dell’Ucraina indipendente.
Diversamente dal celebre detto di Carl von Clausewitz, per la sinistra, la guerra non può essere “la continuazione della politica con altri mezzi”. In realtà, essa non fa che certificare il suo fallimento. Se la sinistra vuole tornare a essere egemone e dimostrarsi capace di declinare la sua storia per i compiti dell’oggi, deve scrivere sulle proprie bandiere, in maniera indelebile, le parole “antimilitarismo” e “no alla guerra”.

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A guerra civil nos EUA e as lutas pela independência da Polônia

A luta contra a escravidão nos EUA
Na primavera de 1861, a política mundial foi sacudida pela eclosão da Guerra Civil Americana. Ela começou rapidamente após a eleição de Abraham Lincoln como presidente dos Estados Unidos, quando sete estados escravocratas declararam sua secessão dos EUA: Carolina do Sul, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Geórgia, Luisiana e Texas. Somaram-se a eles Virgínia, Arkansas, Tennessee, Carolina do Norte e, posteriormente, Missouri e Kentucky (embora estes dois últimos não tenham proclamado oficialmente sua separação). O conflito sangrento que se sucedeu tomou aproximadamente 750.000 vidas entre os Confederados (que eram a favor da manutenção e expansão da escravidão) e a União (os estados leais à Lincoln, ainda que em alguns casos considerando a escravidão legal).

Marx imediatamente se pôs a estudar a situação e, no começo de julho, escreveu à Engels: “O conflito entre Sul e Norte […] finalmente chegou ao ponto culminante (se desconsideramos as novas exigências desavergonhadas da ‘cavalaria’ ) devido ao peso que o extraordinário desenvolvimento dos estados do noroeste colocou na balança.” Na visão de Marx, nenhum dos componentes do movimento separatista tinha qualquer legitimidade; esses movimentos deveriam ser considerados como “usurpações”, já que “em nenhum momento eles deixaram o povo votar em massa”. De todo modo, o que estava em questão não foi apenas a “secessão do Norte, mas também consolidar e intensificar a oligarquia dos 300.000 senhores de escravos no Sul.” (MARX, [1861c] 1985, p.300-1) Alguns dias depois, ele observou que “o assunto [foi] erroneamente representado no noticiário britânico”, já que em todo o lugar, exceto na Carolina do Sul, “havia a mais firme oposição à secessão.” (MARX, [1861d] 1985, p.305) Além do mais, em lugares nos quais a consulta eleitoral era permitida – “apenas poucos” dos estados no Golfo do México possuíam um “voto popular adequado” – ela ocorria em condições censuráveis. Na Virgínia, por exemplo, “uma enorme massa de tropas confederadas foi repentinamente posicionada no território” e “sob sua proteção legal (deveras bonapartista, isso), ela votou pela secessão” – ainda assim, “apesar do terrorismo sistemático”, houveram “50.000 votos” pela União. O Texas, que, “depois da Carolina do Sul, [possuía] o maior terrorismo e partido escravocrata”, ainda registrou “11.000 votos a favor da União”. No Alabama, não havia “voto popular nem pela secessão nem pela nova constituição”, e só foi possível a maioria de 39/61 dos delegados da convenção a favor da secessão em razão do fato de que sob a Constituição “cada escravocrata também votava por 3/5 dos seus escravos.” (MARX, [1861d] 1985, p.306-7). No caso da Luisiana, na “eleição de delegados para a convenção” foram proferidos mais votos pela União ao invés da secessão, mas um número suficiente de delegados desertou para reverter o jogo (MARX, [1861d] 1985, p.307).

Tais considerações nas cartas de Marx à Engels foram complementadas por argumentos ainda mais importantes em suas obras jornalísticas. Em adição às esporádicas contribuições com o New-York Tribune, em outubro de 1861, ele começou a escrever também para o diário liberal vienense Die Presse que, com seus 30.000 assinantes, foi o mais amplamente lido jornal na Áustria e um dos mais populares onde quer que se falasse a língua alemã. O tema central desses artigos – que também incluíam relatórios sobre a segunda invasão da França ao México – eram os efeitos econômicos da guerra norte-americana contra a Grã-Bretanha. Em particular, Marx se concentrou no desenvolvimento do comércio e da situação financeira, bem como em avaliar as tendências na opinião pública. Portanto, em Um encontro de trabalhadores londrinos (1862), ele expressou satisfação em relação às demonstrações organizadas pelos trabalhadores ingleses que, apesar de “não representados no Parlamento”, tinham conseguido exercer sua “influência política” (MARX, [1862b] 1984, p.153) e impediram uma intervenção militar da Grã-Bretanha contra a União.

Similarmente, Marx escreveu um artigo inspirado para o New-York Tribune, após o Caso Trent, quando a Marinha dos EUA prendeu de maneira ilegal dois diplomatas confederados a bordo de um navio britânico. Os Estados Unidos, escreveu Marx, não deveriam se esquecer “de que pelo menos as classes trabalhadoras da Inglaterra nunca os abandonaram”. Para elas, “a paz oscilava na balança” porque “apesar dos estímulos venenosos diariamente administrados por uma imprensa corrupta e irresponsável, não era possível realizar uma única reunião de guerra no Reino Unido durante todo o período”. (MARX, [1862a] 1984, p.137) A “atitude das classes trabalhadoras britânicas” seria ainda mais valorizada quando colocada lado a lado com “o bullying, a conduta hipócrita, covarde e estúpida da oficial e abastada figura do John Bull”; coragem e consistência de um lado, incoerência e autocontradição de outro. Em uma carta que escreveu à Lassalle em maio de 1861, ele comentou: “o todo da imprensa oficial na Inglaterra era, claro, a favor dos escravocratas. Eles são os mesmos sujeitos que fatigaram o mundo com sua filantropia comercial antiescravista. Mas algodão é algodão!” (MARX, [1861a] 1985, p.291)

Os interesses de Marx quanto à Guerra Civil vão além do possível impacto para a Grã-Bretanha; ele queria, acima de tudo, iluminar a natureza do conflito. O artigo que escreveu para o New-York Tribune alguns meses depois que a guerra eclodiu é um bom exemplo disso: “O povo da Europa sabe que uma luta pela continuidade da União é uma luta contra a continuidade da escravocracia – que nesta disputa a forma mais elevada de autogoverno popular já realizada até agora está dando embate à mais vil e vergonhosa forma de escravidão humana já registrada nos anais da história” . (MARX, [1861f] 1984, p.30)

Em alguns dos artigos para a Die Presse, Marx analisou em maior profundidade os argumentos dos dois lados opositores. Ele começou demonstrando a hipocrisia dos partidários ingleses liberais e conservadores. Em A guerra civil norte-americana (25 de outubro de 1861), ele ridicularizou a “descoberta brilhante” do The Times, então um proeminente jornal britânico, de que foi “uma mera guerra tarifária, uma guerra entre um sistema protecionista e um sistema de livre comércio” e sua conclusão de que os britânicos não tinham escolha senão declarar suporte ao “livre comércio” representado pela confederação do sul. Alguns semanais, incluindo o The Economist e o The Saturday Review, deram um passo além e insistiram que “a questão da escravidão […] não tinha absolutamente nada a ver com essa guerra”. (MARX, [1861e] 1984, p.32-33)

Ao se opor à essas interpretações, Marx chamou atenção para as razões políticas por trás do conflito. Sobre os proprietários de escravos do Sul, assinalou que seu objetivo central era manter controle do senado e, portanto, “influência política sobre os Estados Unidos”. Para isso, era necessário conquistar novas regiões (como havia acontecido em 1845 com a anexação do Texas) ou transformar partes existentes dos EUA em “estados escravistas”. (MARX, [1861e] 1984, p.33) Os defensores da escravidão na América do Norte eram “uma pequena oligarquia que sempre [foi] confrontada com muitos milhões dos assim chamados brancos pobres, cujos números haviam crescido constantemente por meio da concentração da propriedade de terra e cuja condição só se compara àquela dos plebeus romanos no período de extremo declínio da Roma”. (MARX, [1861e] 1984, p.40-41) Portanto, a “aquisição e perspectiva de aquisição de novos territórios” foi a única maneira possível de coincidir os interesses dos pobres com aqueles dos proprietários de escravos, para dar uma direção inofensiva à sua sede incansável de ação e para domá-los com a perspectiva de um dia se tornarem eles próprios donos de escravos”. Por outro lado, Lincoln perseguia o objetivo do “confinamento rigoroso da escravidão dentro de seu antigo terreno”, o que “inevitavelmente levaria, de acordo com a lei econômica, à sua extinção gradual” e, portanto, à aniquilação da “hegemonia” dos “estados escravistas”. (MARX, [1861e] 1984, p.41)

Marx usou seu artigo para argumentar o oposto: “o movimento como um todo estava e é baseado, como se vê, na questão da escravidão. Não no sentido de se os escravos nos estados escravistas devem ser completamente emancipados ou não, mas sim se os 20 milhões de homens livres do Norte deveriam continuar a se submeter a uma oligarquia de 300.000 escravocratas”. O que estava em jogo – e Marx baseava nisso o seu insight sobre o mecanismo expansivo da forma econômica – era “se os vastos territórios da república deveriam ser incubadoras para os estados livres ou para a escravidão; [e] se a política nacional da União deveria usar enquanto um dispositivo seu a disseminação armada da escravidão no México, América Central e do Sul” . (MARX, [1861e] 1984, p.41)

Essas análises realçam o abismo que separa Marx de Giuseppe Garibaldi, que havia rejeitado a oferta de um posto de comando no exército do Norte com a justificativa de que se tratava apenas de uma disputa por poder que não dizia respeito à emancipação dos escravos. Sobre a posição de Garibaldi e sua tentativa fracassada de restaurar a paz entre os dois lados, Marx comenta com Engels que: “Garibaldi, o jumento, fez a ele próprio de trouxa com sua carta aos ianques promovendo harmonia.” (MARX, [1861b] 1985, p.293). Enquanto Garibaldi falhou em entender os verdadeiros objetivos e possibilidades no processo em curso, Marx – como um não-maximalista alerta para os possíveis desenvolvimentos históricos – imediatamente percebeu que o resultado da Guerra Civil Norte-Americana seria decisivo em escala mundial para pôr em movimento o relógio da história no caminho da escravidão ou da emancipação.

Em novembro de 1864, confrontado com o rápido e dramático desenrolar dos eventos, Marx pediu a seu tio Lion Philips para refletir sobre “como, na época da eleição de Lincoln [em 1860], era apenas uma questão de não fazer mais concessões aos donos de escravos, quando agora o objetivo declarado, e que em parte já havia sido realizado, era a abolição da escravidão”. E adicionou: “deve-se admitir que nunca tamanha revolução ocorreu com tamanha rapidez. Ela terá uma influência extremamente benéfica para todo o mundo.” (MARX, [1864b] 1987, p.48).

Abraham Lincoln e Andrew Johnson
A reeleição de Lincoln em novembro de 1864 ofereceu à Marx a ocasião para expressar, em nome da Associação Internacional dos Trabalhadores, uma mensagem de felicitações contendo uma clara importância política: “se a resistência ao poder escravo era a palavra de ordem de sua primeira eleição, o triunfante grito de guerra de sua reeleição é morte à escravidão.” (MARX, [1864c] 1985, p.19)

Alguns representantes da classe dominante sulista haviam declarado que “a escravidão [era] uma instituição beneficente”, e até pregavam que era “a única solução para o grande problema da relação do trabalho com o capital” . (MARX, [1864c] 1985, p.19) Decorre daí a disposição de Marx em colocar as coisas nos seus devidos lugares:

A classe trabalhadora da Europa entendeu de uma vez, antes mesmo que o partidarismo fanático das classes superiores para com o senhorio da Confederação tivesse dado seu sombrio aviso, de que a rebelião dos donos de escravos iria soar como sinal de guerra para uma cruzada sagrada da propriedade contra o trabalho, e que para os homens do trabalho, com suas esperanças de futuro, mesmo as conquistas do passado estariam em risco naquele tremendo conflito do outro lado do Atlântico. (MARX, [1864c] 1985, p.20)

Marx então tocou em um assunto não menos importante:

Enquanto os trabalhadores, o verdadeiro poder político do Norte, permitiram que a escravidão sujasse sua própria república; enquanto diante do Negro, subjugado e vendido sem seu consentimento, eles se gabavam do mais alto privilégio do trabalhador de pele branca de vender a si mesmo e escolher seu próprio senhor; eles foram incapazes de obter a verdadeira liberdade do trabalho ou de apoiar seus irmãos europeus em sua luta por emancipação. (MARX, [1864c] 1985, p.20)

Um argumento muito similar é feito em O capital, livro I, onde Marx sublinha enfaticamente que “nos Estados Unidos da América do Norte, todo movimento operário independente ficou paralisado durante o tempo em que a escravidão desfigurou uma parte da república. O trabalho de pele branca não pode se emancipar onde o trabalho de pele negra é marcado a ferro”. Contudo, “da morte da escravidão brotou imediatamente uma vida nova e rejuvenescida. O primeiro fruto da guerra civil foi o movimento” por uma jornada diária de trabalho de oito horas. (MARX, [1867] 1976, p.414)

Marx estava bem consciente das posições políticas moderadas de Lincoln , e ele não encobriu os preconceitos raciais de alguns de seus aliados. Mas ele sempre enfatizou de maneira clara, sem nenhum sectarismo, as diferenças entre o sistema escravocrata no Sul e o sistema baseado em trabalho assalariado no Norte. Ele compreendia que, nos Estados Unidos, estavam sendo formadas as condições para demolir uma das mais infames instituições do mundo. O fim da escravidão e da opressão racial permitiria ao movimento global dos trabalhadores que operassem em uma conjuntura mais favorável à construção de uma sociedade sem classes e de um modo de produção comunista .

Com isso em mente, Marx escreveu a Mensagem da Associação Internacional dos Trabalhadores para o presidente Johnson, que havia sucedido Lincoln após seu assassinato em 14 de abril de 1865. Marx queria lembrar a Andrew Johnson que, com sua eleição presidencial, ele havia recebido “a tarefa de arrancar pela raiz a lei que havia sido cortada pela espada”: isto é, “presidir sobre o árduo trabalho de reconstrução política e regeneração social…; para iniciar uma nova era de emancipação do trabalho.” (MARX, [1865a] 1985, p.100)

Alguns anos depois, em nome da Internacional, Marx enviou uma Mensagem para a União Nacional dos Trabalhadores dos Estados Unidos (1869). Ele estava bem ciente – escreveu – que “o sofrimento das classes trabalhadoras partiu como um florete o luxo modernizado dos aristocratas financeiros … e vermes semelhantes criados pelas guerras.” (MARX [1869] apud MUSTO, 2014, p. 259) Contudo, não se deve esquecer que “a Guerra Civil Americana compensou por libertar o escravo e ímpeto moral decorrente”. “De você,” ele conclui, “depende a gloriosa tarefa de provar para o mundo que agora, finalmente, as classes trabalhadoras estão percorrendo a cena da história não mais como criados servis, mas como atores independentes, conscientes de sua própria responsabilidade.” (MARX [1869] apud MUSTO, 2014, p.260)

A questão da revolução polonesa e o papel reacionário da Rússia
Quanto às refinadas contribuições analíticas que Marx escreveu para o Die Presse, apenas uma parte delas chegou a ser publicada. Em fevereiro de 1862 ele escreveu à Engels que, “em vista do atual estado de podridão das questões na Alemanha”, o jornal vienense ainda não havia se mostrado a “vaca leiteira que ele poderia ter sido” para escorar suas finanças miseráveis. Os “companheiros” tinham impresso, talvez, “um a cada quatro”, de forma que ele não apenas havia falhado em ganhar o suficiente para atenuar as circunstâncias de sua família, mas também sofreu de “perda de tempo” e o incômodo de “ter que escrever sobre um tópico específico, quer o gracioso conselho editorial seja condescendente em concordar com o imprimatur do artigo ou não.” (MARX, [1862c] 1985, p.340) Marx repetiu a questão em abril, em um comentário sarcástico que ele enviou à Engels: “em sua Nova ciência, Vico diz que a Alemanha é o único país da Europa onde ainda se fala uma ‘lingua heróica’. Se ele tivesse tido o prazer de entrar em contato com o Presse de Viena ou o National-Zeitung de Berlin, o velho Napolitano teria abandonado essa ideia pré-concebida.” (MARX, [1862d] 1985, p.353-54) Pelo fim de 1862, Marx decidiu romper suas colaborações com o jornal austríaco. Dentro de pouco mais de um ano, ele havia conseguido publicar um total de 52 artigos, alguns deles escritos com a ajuda de Engels.

Apesar de os eventos que abalaram os Estados Unidos terem sido a principal preocupação de Marx na política internacional, ele também perseguiu com seu habitual interesse todos os principais desenvolvimentos na Rússia e no leste europeu. Em uma carta de junho de 1860 para Lassalle, Marx faz alguns argumentos a respeito de um de seus maiores enfoques políticos: sua oposição à Rússia e seus aliados Henry Palmerston e Luís Bonaparte. Ele tentou convencer Lassalle de que não havia nada de ilegítimo na convergência entre as posições de seu “partido” e aquelas de David Urquhart, um político com visões românticas partidário do Tory. A respeito de Urquhart – quem teve a audácia de republicar, para fins anti-russos e antiliberais, os artigos de Marx contra Palmerston que haviam aparecido no órgão dos cartistas ingleses no início dos anos 1850 – ele escreveu: “ele é … subjetivamente reacionário … isso de forma alguma inviabiliza o movimento da política externa, da qual ele é o líder, de ser objetivamente revolucionário. Para mim [… a posição pessoal de Urquhart] é uma questão totalmente indiferente, da mesma forma que, digamos, em uma guerra contra a Rússia também seria indiferente para você se, ao atirar nos russos, os motivos do seu vizinho na linha de tiro fossem preto, vermelho e dourado, [i. e., nacionalistas] ou revolucionários.” (MARX, [1860] 1985, p.152-53) Marx continuou: “E não é preciso dizer que, em política externa, ganha-se pouco usando slogans como ‘reacionário’ e ‘revolucionário’.” (MARX [1860] in MUSTO, 2018, p.132)

Sempre vigilante para sinais de uma revolta que pudesse limitar o papel reacionário da Rússia na política europeia, Marx escreveu para Engels no começo de 1863 (logo após a revolta polonesa de janeiro e da imediata oferta de Bismarck para ajudar a suprimi-la) que “a era da revolução est[ava] agora mais uma vez aberta na Europa.” (MARX, [1863a] 1985, p.453) E quatro dias depois, ele refletiu: “Os assuntos poloneses e a intervenção da Prússia de fato representam uma combinação que nos impele à falar.” (MARX, [1863b] 1985, p.455)

Dada a importância desses eventos, Marx não pensou que seria suficiente para eles falar apenas através de artigos publicados. Ele sugeriu, portanto, a imediata emissão de um manifesto em nome da Associação Educacional dos Trabalhadores Alemães em Londres, que se mantinha próxima de suas posições políticas. Isso o daria cobertura caso ele procedesse com a ideia de requerer a cidadania alemã e “retornar à Alemanha”. Engels deveria escrever a “parte militar” desse pequeno texto, focando nos “interesses políticos e militares da Alemanha na restauração da Polônia”, enquanto Marx assumiria a “parte diplomática.” (MARX, [1863b] 1985, p.455). Quando, em 18 de fevereiro de 1863, a câmara dos deputados condenou a política do governo e emitiu uma resolução no sentido de neutralidade, Marx disparou com entusiasmo: “devemos ter uma revolução em breve.” (MARX, [1863d] 1985, p.461). Tal como ele a via, a questão polonesa oferecia “mais uma circunstância para provar que é impossível prosseguir com os interesses alemães enquanto continuar a existir um estado próprio dos Hohenzollerns.” (MARX, [1863e] 1985, p.462). A oferta de Bismarck para apoiar o tzar Alexandre II, ou sua autorização para que “a Prússia tratasse seu território [o da Polônia] como Russo” (MARX, 1981, p.89) , deu a Marx mais motivação política para completar seu plano.

Foi nesse período, portanto, que Marx embarcou em outro de seus minuciosos projetos de pesquisa. Em uma carta que enviou à Engels no final de maio, ele reportou que nos meses anteriores – além de economia política – ele esteve estudando aspectos da questão polonesa; isso o permitiu “preencher as lacunas em [seu] conhecimento (diplomático, histórico) da questão russa-prussiana-polonesa.” (MARX, [1863f] 1985, p.474) Portanto, entre fevereiro e maio, ele havia escrito um manuscrito intitulado Polônia, Prússia e Rússia (1863), no qual documentou bem a sujeição histórica de Berlim à Moscou. Para os Hohenzollerns, “o progresso da Rússia represent[ou] a lei de desenvolvimento da Prússia”; “Não [havia] Prússia sem Rússia”. Para Marx, ao contrário, “a restauração da Polônia significa[va] a aniquilação da Rússia de hoje, o cancelamento de sua aposta de hegemonia global.” (MARX, 1981, p.7) Pela mesma razão, “a aniquilação da Polônia, sua definitiva entrega à Rússia, [significaria] o declínio certo da Alemanha, o colapso da única barragem que segura o dilúvio universal eslavo.” (MARX, 1981, p.7) O texto planejado nunca chegou a ver a luz do dia. Nessa ocasião, a responsabilidade claramente recai sobre Engels (que escreveria a parte mais substancial, sobre os aspectos militares), enquanto a “parte diplomática” de Marx, a qual ele estaria “pronto para fazer a qualquer momento”, era para ser “apenas um apêndice.” (MARX, [1863c] 1985, p.458) Em outubro, todavia, Marx conseguiu publicar uma Proclamação da Sociedade Educacional dos Trabalhadores Alemães em Londres sobre a Polônia (1963), o que o ajudou a levantar fundos para os combatentes pela liberdade polonesa. Ela começou com uma proclamação retumbante: “A questão polonesa é a questão alemã. Sem uma Polônia independente não pode haver uma Alemanha unida, nenhuma emancipação da Alemanha da dominação russa que se iniciou com a primeira repartição da Polônia”. (MARX, [1863g] 1984, p.296) Para Marx, enquanto “a burguesia alemã assistia, calada, passiva e indiferente, ao massacre da heroica nação que sozinha ainda proteg[ia] a Alemanha do dilúvio moscovita”, a “classe trabalhadora inglesa”, “que [tinha] conquistado honra histórica imortal para si própria ao frustrar as repetidas tentativas das classes dominantes de intervir em nome dos escravocratas norte-americanos”, continuaria a lutar ao lado dos insurgentes poloneses. (MARX, [1863g] 1984, p.297)

Esse conflito, que durou mais de um ano, foi o mais longo já travado contra a ocupação russa. Ele chegou ao fim apenas em abril de 1864, quando os russos, tendo executado os representantes do governo revolucionário, finalmente esmagaram a revolta. Em maio, as tropas russas também completaram a anexação do norte do Cáucaso, colocando fim a uma guerra que havia começado em 1817. Mais uma vez, Marx mostrava perspicácia, e ao contrário “do resto da Europa” – “que assistia com idiota indiferença” – ele considerava “a supressão da insurreição polonesa e a anexação do Cáucaso” como “os dois eventos mais importantes já acontecidos na Europa desde 1815.” (MARX, [1864a] 1985, p.538)

O apoio à luta polonesa durante e depois da Internacional
Marx continuou a se ocupar com a questão polonesa, que surgiu várias vezes no debate dentro da Internacional. De fato, o encontro preparatório mais importante da fundação da Internacional aconteceu em julho de 1863 e foi organizado porque um número de organizações de trabalhadores franceses e ingleses havia se encontrado em Londres especificamente para expressar solidariedade ao povo polonês contra a ocupação tzarista.

Posteriormente, três meses após o nascimento da Internacional, em uma reunião da Comissão Permanente do Conselho Geral acontecida em dezembro de 1864, o jornalista Peter Fox argumentou em sua fala sobre a Polônia que “os franceses [haviam sido] tradicionalmente mais solidários [com os polacos] do que os ingleses”. Marx então não contestou isso, mas, quando ele escreveu para Engels, já havia “desdobrado um quadro historicamente irrefutável de traições francesas constantes da Polônia, de Luís XV até Bonaparte III”. Foi nesse contexto que ele rascunhou um novo manuscrito, que mais tarde ficou conhecido como Polônia e França (1864). Escrito em inglês, ele cobria o intervalo de tempo desde a Paz de Westphalia, em 1648, até 1812.

Um ano depois, em setembro de 1865, logo após a conferência da Internacional acontecida em Londres, Marx propôs um projeto de agenda para a política externa do movimento trabalhador na Europa. Enquanto uma de suas prioridades, ele indicou “a necessidade de eliminar a influência moscovita da Europa aplicando o direito de autodeterminação das nações, e o reestabelecimento da Polônia sobre uma base democrática e social (MARX, [1865b] 1987, p.400). Levou décadas para que isso acontecesse.

Marx continuou a apoiar a causa polonesa também após a dissolução da Internacional. No outono de 1875, ele foi convidado a falar em uma reunião sobre a liberação da Polônia, mas precisou recusar em razão de seu estado de saúde precário. Na carta que enviou ao publicitário e ativista político Pyotr Lavrov, onde explica sua ausência, ele deixou claro que, se tivesse feito sua fala, poderia apenas ter reafirmado a opinião que manteve por mais de trinta anos – a de que “a emancipação da Polônia é um dos pré-requisitos da emancipação da classe trabalhadora na Europa.” (MARX, [1875] 1991, p.111).

O caso da Polônia demonstra que Marx, quando confrontado com os grandes eventos históricos em muitos lugares distantes, foi capaz de apreender o que estava acontecendo no mundo e contribuir para sua transformação. Essa perspectiva internacionalista precisa urgentemente ser revivida nos movimentos atuais de esquerda.

 

Tradução: Álvaro Martins

 

Notas
[1] Professor de teoria sociológica na Universidade de York, Toronto, Canadá, e autor de inúmeros livros, capítulos de livro e artigos acadêmicos publicados em diversas línguas ao redor do mundo. No Brasil, a editora Boitempo lançou seus livros Trabalhadores, uni-vos! Antologia política da I Internacional (2014) e O velho Marx: uma biografia de seus últimos anos [1881-1883] (2018). Orcid: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0911-5907. E-mail: marcello.musto@gmail.com.
[2] Doutorando em economia da Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF). Membro do Núcleo Interdisciplinar de estudos e pesquisas sobre Marx e o Marxismo (NIEP-Marx) e do Grupo de estudos e pesquisas sobre ontologia crítica (Gepoc) – http://dgp.cnpq.br/dgp/espelhogrupo/227143. Currículo Lattes: http://lattes.cnpq.br/7135157368229858. Orcid: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9630-7108. E-mail: alvaromsiqueira@gmail.com.
[3] Esse era o nome usado por Marx para se referir aos senhores de engenho sulistas.
[4] O censo de 1860, com o qual Marx ainda não estava familiarizado no momento em que escrevia, registrou pouco mais de 394.000 senhores de escravos, ou 8 por cento das famílias norte-americanas. O número de escravos, contudo, totalizou 3.950.000. Ver Departamento do Censo dos Estados Unidos: “A população dos Estados Unidos em 1860, compilada dos resultados originais do Oitavo Censo sob a Secretaria de Interior”. Washington: Escritório governamental de imprensa, 1866.
[5] Sobre o pensamento de Marx a respeito da escravidão, ver BACKHAUS (1974).
[6] Sobre o caráter “inerentemente expansionista da escravidão sulista”, ver BLACKBURN (2011, p.21).
[7] [M.M.] Tradução modificada.
[8] Marx estava aqui citando uma fala do senhor de escravos A. Stephens in Savannah, em 21 de março de 1861, que foi publicada no New-York Daily Tribune em 27 de março de 1861.
[9] [N.T.: trecho traduzido da edição brasileira: O capital, livro 1. São Paulo: Boitempo, 2013, p. 372.]
[10] Sobre as diferenças entre os dois, ver também o recente trabalho: KULIKOFF (2018).
[11] “Derrotar o poder escravista e libertar os escravos não destruiria o capitalismo, mas criaria condições bem mais favoráveis para organizar e elevar o trabalho, seja ele branco ou negro. Marx retratou os abastados senhores de escravos como semelhantes aos aristocratas europeus, e sua remoção enquanto uma tarefa em prol da revolução democrática que ele havia defendido no Manifesto Comunista enquanto o objetivo imediato dos revolucionários alemães.” (BLACKBURN, 2011, p.13, tradução livre)
[12] Ver MARX, [1853] 1979, p.341-406.
[13] Dentre os numerosos estudos dedicados às concepções políticas de Marx sobre a Rússia, ver RJASANOW (1909) e RABEHL (1977). Ver também BONGIOVANNI (1989), especialmente p.171-189.
[14] Ver também MARX [1863] 1985, p.458, e ENGELS [1863] 1985, p.459.
[15] Para uma coletânea tematicamente organizada dos manuscritos de Marx sobre a Polônia, ver MARX (1961). E para uma edição cronológica baseada na data de elaboração, ver MARX (1971).
[16] Ver introdução de Bongiovanni (1981, p.xxv, tradução livre): “Para Marx, um observador apaixonado do grande jogo, a solução para os problemas estava em alguma medida atrelada à perigosa persistência das características arcaicas que resistiam ao progresso social […] era de certa forma preliminar à luta final, isto é, à resolução de contradições peculiares ao mundo dominado pelo modo capitalista de produção.”

Referências
BACKHAUS, Wilhelm. Marx, Engels und die Sklaverei. Düsseldorf: Schwann, 1974.
BLACKBURN, Robin. An unfinished revolution: Marx and Lincoln. London: Verso, 2011.
BONGIOVANNI, Bruno (1989). Le repliche della storia. Turim: Bollati Boringhieri, 1989.
ENGELS, Friedrich. Carta de Engels para Marx, 21 de fevereiro de 1863. In: MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. Marx & Engels collected works (MECW), v.41: Marx and Engels: 1860-64. New York: Lawrence & Wishart, 1985.
KULIKOFF, Allan. Abraham Lincoln and Karl Marx in dialogue. New York: Oxford University Press, 2018.
MARX, Karl. Lord Palmerston, 1853. In: MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. Marx & Engels collected works (MECW), v.12: Marx and Engels 1853-1854. New York: Lawrence & Wishart, 1979. p.341-406.
MARX, Karl. Carta de Marx para Lassalle, 1 ou 2 de junho de 1860. In: MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. Marx & Engels collected works (MECW), v.41: Marx and Engels: 1860-64. New York: Lawrence & Wishart, 1985.
MARX, Karl. Carta de Marx para Lassalle, 29 de maio de 1861. In: MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. Marx & Engels collected works (MECW), v.41: Marx and Engels: 1860-64. New York: Lawrence & Wishart, 1985.
MARX, Karl. Carta de Marx para Engels, 10 de junho de 1861. In: MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. Marx & Engels collected works (MECW), v.41: Marx and Engels: 1860-64. New York: Lawrence & Wishart, 1985.
MARX, Karl. Carta de Marx para Engels, 1 de julho de 1861. In: MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. Marx & Engels collected works (MECW), v.41: Marx and Engels: 1860-64. New York: Lawrence & Wishart, 1985.
MARX, Karl. Carta de Marx para Engels, 5 de julho de 1861. In: MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. Marx & Engels collected works (MECW), v.41: Marx and Engels: 1860-64. New York: Lawrence & Wishart, 1985.
MARX, Karl. The North American Civil War, Die Presse, Viena, 25 de outubro de 1861. In: MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. Marx & Engels collected works (MECW), v.19: Marx and Engels 1861-64. New York: Lawrence & Wishart, 1984. [Ed. bras.: A guerra civil americana (25/10/1861). In: MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. Escritos sobre a guerra civil americana. Organização, notas e tradução de Felipe Vale da Silva e Muniz G. Ferreira. Londrina: Aetia; São Paulo: Peleja, 2020. p.47-57.]
MARX, Karl. The London Times on the Orleans Princes in America, New-York Daily Tribune, Nova Iorque, 7 de novembro de 1861. In: MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. Marx & Engels collected works (MECW), v.19: Marx and Engels 1861-64. New York: Lawrence & Wishart, 1984. [Ed. bras.: O Times de Londres e os princípes de Orléans na América. In: MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. Escritos sobre a guerra civil americana. Organização, notas e tradução de Felipe Vale da Silva e Muniz G. Ferreira. Londrina: Aetia; São Paulo: Peleja, 2020. p.262-265.]
MARX, Karl. English public opinion, New-York Daily Tribune, Nova Iorque, 1 de fevereiro de 1862. In: MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. Marx & Engels collected works (MECW), v.19: Marx and Engels 1861-64. New York: Lawrence & Wishart, 1984. [Ed. bras.: A opinião pública inglesa. In: MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. Escritos sobre a guerra civil americana. Organização, notas e tradução de Felipe Vale da Silva e Muniz G. Ferreira. Londrina: Aetia; São Paulo: Peleja, 2020. p.216-220.]
MARX, Karl. A London workers’ meeting, Die Presse, Viena, 2 de fevereiro de 1862. In: MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. Marx & Engels collected works (MECW), v.19: Marx and Engels 1861-64. New York: Lawrence & Wishart, 1984. [Ed. bras.: Uma reunião operária em Londres. In: MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. Escritos sobre a guerra civil americana. Organização, notas e tradução de Felipe Vale da Silva e Muniz G. Ferreira. Londrina: Aetia; São Paulo: Peleja, 2020. p.225-228.]
MARX, Karl. Carta de Marx para Engels, 25 de fevereiro de 1862. In: MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. Marx & Engels collected works (MECW), v.41: Marx and Engels: 1860-64. New York: Lawrence & Wishart, 1985.
MARX, Karl. Carta de Marx para Engels, 28 de abril de 1862. In: MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. Marx & Engels collected works (MECW), v.41: Marx and Engels: 1860-64. New York: Lawrence & Wishart, 1985.
MARX, Karl. Carta de Marx para Engels, 13 de fevereiro de 1863. In: MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. Marx & Engels collected works (MECW), v.41: Marx and Engels: 1860-64. New York: Lawrence & Wishart, 1985.
MARX, Karl. Carta de Marx para Engels, 17 de fevereiro de 1863. In: MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. Marx & Engels collected works (MECW), v.41: Marx and Engels: 1860-64. New York: Lawrence & Wishart, 1985.
MARX, Karl. Carta de Marx para Engels, 20 fevereiro de 1863. In: MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. Marx & Engels collected works (MECW), v.41: Marx and Engels: 1860-64. New York: Lawrence & Wishart, 1985.
MARX, Karl. Carta de Marx para Engels, 21 de fevereiro de 1863. In: MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. Marx & Engels collected works (MECW), v.41: Marx and Engels: 1860-64. New York: Lawrence & Wishart, 1985.
MARX, Karl. Carta de Marx para Engels, 24 de março de 1863. In: MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. Marx & Engels collected works (MECW), v.41: Marx and Engels: 1860-64. New York: Lawrence & Wishart, 1985.
MARX, Karl. Carta de Marx para Engels, 29 de maio de 1863. In: MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. Marx & Engels collected works (MECW), v.41: Marx and Engels: 1860-64. New York: Lawrence & Wishart, 1985.
MARX, Karl. Proclamation on Poland by the German Workers’ Educational Society in London (novembro de 1863). In: MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. Marx & Engels collected works (MECW), v.19: Marx and Engels 1861-64. New York: Lawrence & Wishart, 1984.
MARX, Karl. Carta de Marx para Engels, 7 de junho de 1864. In: MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. Marx & Engels collected works (MECW), v.41: Marx and Engels: 1860-64. New York: Lawrence & Wishart, 1985.
MARX, Karl. Carta de Marx para Lion Philips, 29 de novembro de 1864. In: MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. Marx & Engels collected works (MECW), v.42: Marx and Engels: 1864-68. New York: Lawrence & Wishart, 1987.
MARX, Karl. To Abraham Lincoln, president of the United States of America, The Daily News, 23 de dezembro de 1864. In: MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. Marx & Engels collected works (MECW), v.20: Marx and Engels 1864-68. New York: Lawrence & Wishart, 1985. [Ed. bras.: A Abraham Lincoln, presidente dos Estados Unidos da América. In: MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. Escritos sobre a guerra civil americana. Organização, notas e tradução de Felipe Vale da Silva e Muniz G. Ferreira. Londrina: Aetia; São Paulo: Peleja, 2020. p.289-291.]
MARX, Karl. Address from the Working Men’s International Association to president Johnson, The Bee-Hive Newspaper, 20 de maio de 1865. In: MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. Marx & Engels collected works (MECW), v.20: Marx and Engels 1864-68. New York: Lawrence & Wishart, 1985. [Ed. bras.: Mensagem da Associação Internacional dos Trabalhadores ao presidente Johnson. In: MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. Escritos sobre a guerra civil americana. Organização, notas e tradução de Felipe Vale da Silva e Muniz G. Ferreira. Londrina: Aetia; São Paulo: Peleja, 2020. p.292-293.]
MARX, Karl. Carta de Marx para Hermann Jung, 20 de novembro de 1865. In: MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. Marx & Engels collected works (MECW), v.42: Marx and Engels: 1864-68. New York: Lawrence & Wishart, 1987.
MARX, Karl. Carta de Marx para P.L. Lavrov, 3 de dezembro de 1875. In: MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. Marx & Engels collected works (MECW), v.45: Marx and Engels: 1874-1879. New York: Lawrence & Wishart, 1991.
MARX, Karl. Manuskripte über die polnische Frage (1863-1864). S’-Gravenhage: Mouton & co, 1961.
MARX, Karl. Przyczynki do historii kwestii polskiej. Rękopisy z lat 1863-1864. Beitrage zur Geschichte der polnischen Frage. Manuskipte aus den Jahren 1863-1864. Warsaw: Książka i Wiedza, 1971.
MARX, Karl. Address to the National Labour Union of the United States. In: MUSTO, Marcelo (ed.). Workers unite! The International 150 years later. London: Bloomsbury, 2014. [Ed. bras.: Mensagem à União Nacional do Trabalho dos Estados Unidos. In: MUSTO, Marcelo (org.). Trabalhadores, uni-vos! Antologia política da I Internacional. São Paulo: Boitempo, 2014. p.285-286]
MARX, Karl. Capital, volume I. New York: Penguin books, 1976.
MARX, Karl. Manoscritti sulla questione polacca (1863-1864). Florence: La Nuova Italia, 1981.
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RABEHL, Bernd (1977). Die Kontroverse innerhalb des russischen Marxismus über die asiatischen und westlich-kapitalistischen Ursprünge der Gesellschaft, des Kapitalismus und des zaristischen Staates in Russland. In: WOLTER, Ulf. Karl Marx. Die Geschichte der Geheimdiplomatie des 18. Jahrhunderts. Über den asiatischen Ursprung der russischen Despotie. Berlin: Olle & Wolter, 1977. p.112-178.
RJASANOW, Dawid. Karl Marx über den Ursprung der Vorherrschaft Russland in Europa. Die Neue Zeit, n.5, p. 1-64, 1909.

Categories
Journal Articles

جوانب جديدة لماركس

1-إحياء ماركس:
لأكثر من عقد من الزمان وحتى الآن ، تصف الصحف والمجلات المنتشرة و المرموقة كارل ماركس بالمنظّر الثاقب ممن تلاقي أفكاره التأييد المستمر.
ويؤكد العديد من الكتّاب ذوي الآراء التقدمية أن أفكاره لا غنى عنها لأي شخص يؤمن بضرورة بناء بديل آخر للرأسمالية .و في كل مكان تقريبا، أصبح هو موضوع المقررات الجامعية والمؤتمرات العالمية. و عادت كتاباته ، سواء ما تم إعادة نشره أو ما صدر في طبعاتٍ جديدة, بالظهور على رفوف المكتبات . و اكتسبت دراسة أعماله ، بعد تجاهل دام لعشرين عاما، الكثير من الزخم المتزايد. غير أنّ العامين 2017 و 2018 جلبا المزيد من الاهتمام لـ ” احياء ماركس” وذلك بفضل المبادرات العديدة حول العالم والمتعلقة بالذكرى السنوية لمرور150 عاما على نشر كتاب رأس المال والذكرى المئوية الثانية لميلاد ماركس.
أفكار ماركس غيرت العالم . على الرغم من تحقق نظريات ماركس التي تحولت إلى أيديولوجيات مهيمنة ومذاهب دولة لجزء كبير من البشرية في القرن العشرين، إلا أنه لا يوجد إصدار لكامل أعماله ومخطوطاته. يكمن السبب الرئيسي لهذا في الطابع غير المكتمل لأعمال ماركس: كتاباته غير المكتملة أكثر بكثير من أعماله المنشورة ، ناهيك عن مجموعة المذكرات الضخمة المتعلقة بأبحاثه المتواصلة .ترك ماركس مخطوطات تتجاوز أعدادها ما أرسله للمطابع. طريقته الصارمة و نقده القاسي لنفسه زاد من صعوبة التزامه بمشاريعه ، كما أن الفقر المدقع الذي عاش فيه أحيانا و صحته الواهنة ضاعفت من مشقّاته اليومية . لكن شغفه المعرفي لم يتغير مع مرور الوقت ودفعه دائماً لدراسة جديدة. ومع ذلك فإن جهوده المتواصلة سيكون لها آثار نظرية مدهشة على المستقبل.
ولعل القيمة الخاصة لإعادة تقييم إنجازات ماركس تكمن في استئناف نشر كتاب ماركس-انغلز ( ميغا2) في عام 1998 وهي الإصدار التاريخي النقدي للأعمال الكاملة لماركس وفردريك انغلز. وقد ظهر فعلا 28 مجلد (40 مجلد تم نشرهم بين العام 1975 و1989) والبقية في طور الإعداد. ميغا2 مقسم الى 4 أجزاء: 1-جميع الأعمال، المقالات والمسودات التي كتبها ماركس وانغلز( باستثناء رأس المال) 2-رأس المال وكافة مواده التحضيرية 3- المراسلات وتتكون من 4 آلاف رسالة لماركس وانغلز و 10 آلاف كُتبَت لهم من قبل آخرين وهو عدد كبير ينشر لأول مرة في ميغا2 4-المقتطفات و الشروحات و الملاحظات الهامشية. القسم الرابع هو شاهد على أعمال ماركس الموسوعية الحقيقية : فمنذ أن كان في الجامعة لازمته عادة جمع مقتطفات من الكتب التي يقرأها و يتخللها مرئياته التي سجلها. يقرب ورث ماركس الأدبي من مائتي دفتر ملاحظات. وهي أساسية لفهم نشأة نظريته و لتلك العناصر التي لم يتمكن من تطويرها كما أراد. المقتطفات الباقية تغطي المدة الزمنية من 1838 الى 1882 و كتبت بثماني لغات ( الألمانية واليونانية القديمة واللاتينية والفرنسية والانجليزية والايطالية والاسبانية والروسية) وتشير إلى أكثر المجالات تنوعا. تم أخذها من أعمال الفلسفة وتاريخ الفن والدين والسياسة والقانون والأدب والتاريخ والاقتصاد السياسي والعلاقات الدولية والتكنولوجيا والرياضيات والفسيولوجيا والجيولوجيا وعلم المعادن وعلم الزراعة والأنثروبولوجيا والكيمياء والفيزياء- ولم تضم فقط الكتب ومقالات الصحف والمجلات بل محاضر برلمانية و إحصائيات وتقارير حكومية. هذا المستودع الهائل من المعرفة الذي نُشِرَ أغلبه في السنوات الأخيرة أو بقي في انتظار الطباعة ، كان موقع البناء لنظرية ماركس النقدية ، وميغا2 أتاح الوصول له لأول مرة.
هذه المواد القيّمة -الكثير منها متاح فقط باللغة الألمانية لذا بقيت محصورة في أوساط محدودة من الباحثين – تُظْهِر لنا كاتباً مختلفاً جدًا عن الذي قدمه لنا عدد هائل من النقاد وممن يزعمون أنفسهم من تلاميذه .هذه المقتنيات النصية الجديدة في ميغا2 تمكننا من قول، أنه من بين جميع كلاسيكيات الفكر السياسي والاقتصادي والفلسفي ،ماركس هو المؤلف الذي تغيرت صورته أكثر في بداية العقود الأولى للقرن الواحد والعشرين. ولعل الإطار السياسي الجديد الذي تبع انهيار الاتحاد السوفيتي ساهم في تكوين هذا المنظور الجديد. فانتهاء الماركسية اللينينية حررت أعمال ماركس من قيود أيديولوجية بعيدة عن مفهومه الخاص للمجتمع.
دحضت الأبحاث الحديثة الكثير من الأطروحات التي قلّصت مفهوم ماركس للمجتمع الشيوعي إلى تطور متفوق للقوى الإنتاجية. على سبيل المثال ،أظهرت الاهمية التي يعطيها للمسألة البيئية: في مناسبات عديدة، أدان حقيقة أن توسع نمط الإنتاج الرأسمالي ليس فقط سرقة متزايدة لجهد العمال، لكنه أيضا يزيد من نهب الموارد الطبيعية. و ذهب ماركس لأبعد من ذلك في كثير من المسائل في أعماله ، والتي عادة ما يتم التقليل من شأنها أو حتى تجاهلها من قبل الباحثين، إلا أنها نالت أهمية كبرى للأجندة السياسية في وقتنا الحالي. ومن بينها الحرية الفردية في الاقتصاد و السياسة ،و التحرر الجندري، و نقد القومية، و الامكانيات التحررية للتكنولوجيا ،وأشكال الملكية الجماعية غير المحكومة من الدولة. لذا بعد ثلاثين عاما من سقوط جدار برلين ،أصبح من الممكن قراءة ماركس بشكل مختلف عن المنظّر الدوغمائي والاقتصادي، والمتمركز حول أوروبا والذي تم تقديمه بهذا الشكل لسنوات طويلة.

2-الاكتشافات الجديدة حول نشأة المفهوم المادي للتاريخ:
في فبراير 1845 بعد 15 شهراً صعباً في باريس، والتي كانت فعّالة في تكوين فكره السياسي، أُجْبِر ماركس على الإنتقال إلى بروكسل حيث سُمِح له بالإقامة بشرط “ألا ينشر شيئا عن السياسة الحالية” ( ماركس1975:ص 677). أثناء الثلاث سنوات التي قضاها في العاصمة البلجيكية، واصل دراساته عن الاقتصاد السياسي بشكل مثمر ،وتوصل لفكرة الكتابة مع انغلز و جوزيف ويدمير وموزس هيس ” نقد الفلسفة الألمانية الحديثة كما شرحها ممثليها” لودفيغ فيورباخ ،و برونو باور وماركس شتيرنر و “الاشتراكية الألمانية كما شُرِحَت من قبل أنبيائها المتنوعين” (ماركس 1976: 72). الكتاب الناتج الذي تم نشره بعد وفاتهم بعنوان “الأيديولوجية الألمانية” كان له هدفان: محاربة الاشكال الجديدة من ” النيوهيغلية” في ألمانيا، ثم كما كتب ماركس للناشر كارل فيلهيلم يوليوس ليسكه بتاريخ الأول من أغسطس 1846 ” لإعداد العامة لوجهة النظر المتبناة في ” الاقتصاد” التي تتعارض تماماً مع الدراسات الألمانية السابقة والحالية” ( ماركس وانغلز1982:50 ماستو 2018:57). هذه المخطوطة، التي عمل عليها حتى يونيو 1864 لم تكتمل، لكنها ساعدت على التوضيح بشكل أفضل من قبل -وإن لم تكن بشكل نهائي- ما قدمه انغلز للجمهور الأوسع بعد 40 عاما ، كـ ” مفهوم المادية التاريخية”( انغلز 1990أ:519)
الطبعة الاولى من الأيديولوجية الالمانية نُشِرت عام 1932 و الطبعات اللاحقة التي تضمنت تعديلات طفيفة أُرْسِلَت للطباعة بشكل كتاب كامل. خلق محررو هذه المخطوطة الناقصة انطباع خاطئ بأنّ الايديولوجية الالمانية تضمنت فصل افتتاحي أساسي عن فيورباخ حيث وضع ماركس وانغلز بشكل كامل قوانين مفهوم “المادية التاريخية” (مصطلح لم يستخدمه ماركس)وكما أشار التوسير هنا حيث تصوروا هذا المفهوم هو “انفصال معرفي واضح” عن كتاباتهم السابقة( التوسير 1996:33) وسرعان ما أصبحت الايديولوجية الالمانية أهم النصوص الفلسفية للقرن العشرين. وفقا لهنري لوفيفر(1968:71) فقد وضع ” الأطروحة الأساسية للمادية التاريخية”. اعتقد ماكسيم روبل (1980:13) أنّ هذه ” المخطوطة تضم بيان واضح للمفهوم النقدي والمادي للتاريخ”. وكان ديفيد ماكليلان(1975:37) مؤيداً بنفس القدر أنها ” ضمّت أكثر وصف مفصل من ماركس لمفهومه المادي للتاريخ.”
يعود الفضل لمجلد 5/1 من ميغا2 , Deutsche Ideologie: Manuskripte und Drucke (1845–1847 (ماركس وانغلز2017:1893 صفحة) يمكن الان تقليص الكثير من الادعاءات وإعادة الأيديولوجية الألمانية الى نقصها الاصلي. هذه الطبعة- التي تحوي 17 مخطوطة بإجمالي 700 صفحة وأدوات نقدية من 1200 صفحة تقدم العديد من التنوعات و التصحيحات التأليفية و توضح منشأ كل قسم – وتؤسس بشكل نهائي السمة الجزئية للنص . إن مغالطة ” الشيوعية العلمية” في القرن العشرين وحوسلة الأيديولوجية الألمانية تستحضر للذهن جملة وجدت بالنص نفسه. ونظراً لنقدها القاطع للفلسفة الألمانية إبان حياة ماركس، بدت ايضاً كتحذير لاذع ضد النزعات التفسيرية المستقبلية : ” ليس فقط في إجاباتها بل حتى في أسئلتها كان هناك غموض” ( ماركس وانغلز 19776:28)
وفي نفس الفترة الزمنية ، وسّع الشاب الثوري مولود ترير الدراسة التي بدأها في باريس. في عام 1845، أمضى شهري يوليو و اغسطس في مانشستر يتقصّى أعمال الاقتصاد الانجليزية الهائلة ويجمع 9 كتب من المقتطفات ( ما يسمى دفاتر مانشستر) وغالباً ما كانت من أدلة الاقتصاد السياسي وكتب عن التاريخ الاقتصادي. يضم مجلد ميغا2 4/4(Exzerpte und Notizen Juli bis August 1845 experbcfc ) ) ( ماركس وانغلز 19888) أول خمسة من هذه الدفاتر مع 3 كتب لملاحظات انغلز من نفس الوقت في مانشستر. المجلد 4/5 Exzerpte und Notizen Juli 1845 bis Dezember 1850 (ماركس وانغلز2015: 650 صفحة) أكمل سلسلة النصوص هذ، وأتاح للباحثين الأجزاء التي لم يسبق نشرها . فقد ضمت دفاتر 6،7،8،9 والتي تحوي مقتطفات ماركس من 16 عملاً في الاقتصاد السياسي. جاءت أغلب هذه المجموعة من كتاب جون فرانسيس براي ” أخطاء العمل ومعالجة العمل ” 1839 و أربع نصوص لروبرت اوين، و بالتحديد كتابه ” العالم الأخلاقي الجديد”1849 ، وجميعها أظهرت اهتمام ماركس الكبير في الاشتراكية الإنجليزية واحترامه العميق لأُوين ، كاتب اعتبره الكثير من الماركسين “طوباوي”. ويُخْتَم المجلد بعشرين صفحةٍ كتبها ماركس بين 1846 و 1850 بالإضافة لملاحظات انغلز الدراسية من نفس الفترة الزمنية.
هذه الدراسات للنظرية الاشتراكية و الاقتصاد السياسي لم تكن عائقًا أمام العمل السياسي المعتاد لماركس وانغلز. الثمانمائة صفحة وأكثر المنشورة حديثاً من مجلد 1/7 Werke, Artikel, Entwürfe, Februar bis Oktober 1848 ( ماركس وانغلز 2016: 1294 صفحة) تجعلنا نقدّر حجم هذا العمل في عام 1848 وهي أكثر الأعوام استنزافاً للنشاط السياسي و الصحفي في حياة كتّاب بيان الحزب الشيوعي. بعد حركة ثورية استثنائية المستوى والزخم دفعت بالنظام الاجتماعي والسياسي في أوروبا لأزمة، قامت الحكومات بكل الترتيبات المضادة الممكنة لإنهاء التمرد. وعانى ماركس نفسه من التبعات حيث تم نفيه من بلجيكا في شهر مارس. وفي الوقت ذاته، تم الإعلان عن الجمهورية في فرنسا، و دعا فيرديناند فلوكون، وزير في الحكومة المؤقتة ماركس للعودة إلى باريس” عزيزي النبيل ماركس، الطغيان نفاك، لكن فرنسا الحرة ستفتح أبوابها لك” وبطبيعة الحال، ترك ماركس دراساته السياسية الاقتصادية جانباً وعمل كصحفي ناشط لدعم الثورة مساعداً في رسم مسار سياسي مقترح . وبعد فترة قصيرة في باريس ، انتقل في ابريل الى راينلاند وبعد شهرين بدأ بتحرير جريدة ” Neue Rheinische Zeitung” التي تم تأسيسها أثناء ذلك في كولونيا. وشنّت الصحيفة حملة قوية في أعمدتها، و وقفت وراء قضية المتمردين ودفعت البروليتاريا لتعزيز “الثورة الاجتماعية والجمهورية” ( ماركس 1977:178)
نُشِرَت أغلب المقالات في Neue Rheinische Zeitung بشكلٍ مجهول. إحدى ميزات الميغا2 مجلد 1/7 أنها نسبت 36 نص لكتّابها سواء ماركس أو انغلز ، في حين أن المجموعات السابقة لم تُثبت لنا هوية الكُتّاب. 125 من أصل 275 نشرت لأول مرة في إصدار من أعمال ماركس وانغلز . كما يضم الملحق 16 وثيقة شيّقة تحتوي بعض القصص لنقاشاتهم في اجتماعات رابطة الشيوعيين و تجمعات الجمعية الديمقراطية لكولونيا ونقابة فييّنا. سيجد المهتمون في نشاط ماركس السياسي والصحفي أثناء ” عام الثورة “1848” الكثير من المواد النفيسة لإثراء معرفتهم.

3- رأس المال: النقد غير المكتمل:
هُزِمَت الحركة الثورية التي ظهرت في أوروبا عام 1848 في وقتٍ قصير، وفي عام 1849 ، وبعد صدور أمري ترحيل من بروسيا وفرنسا لم يكن لدى ماركس أي خيار إلا أن يشق طريقه عبر البحر. بقي في انجلترا في منفى وبلا جنسية لبقية حياته، غير أن رد الفعل الأوروبي لم يستطع وضعه في مكان أفضل لكتابة نقده للاقتصاد السياسي. في ذلك الوقت كانت لندن هي المركز الاقتصادي والمالي الرائد في العالم، ” آلهة الأكوان البرجوازية” ( ماركس 1978:134) وبالتالي كانت أفضل مكان لدراسة أحدث التطورات الاقتصادية للمجتمع الرأسمالي. كما أصبح مراسلا لصحيفة نيويورك تريبيون الصحيفة الأكثر انتشارًا في الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية.
انتظر ماركس سنوات عديدة اندلاع أزمة جديدة، وعندما تحقق ذلك عام 1857 كرّس أغلب وقته لتحليل سماتها الرئيسية. مجلد 1/16 Artikel Oktober 1857 bis Dezember 1858 (ماركس وانغلز 2018 :1181 صفحة) يتضمن 84 مقالة نشرها بين خريف 1857 ونهاية عام 1858 في جريدة نيويورك تريبيون وكذلك تلك التي تعبّر عن ردود أفعاله الأولى للأزمة المالية لعام 1857. ” نشرت جريدة الامريكان افتتاحيات يومية غير موقّعة”، لكن البحث لهذا المجلد الجديد من ميغا2 مكن من نسب مقالتين إضافيتين لماركس ، وكذلك إلحاق 4 مقالات تم تعديلها من قبل المحررين و3 أخرى لا يزال كتّابها غير معروفين.
وبدافع الحاجة الشديدة لتحسين ظروفه الاقتصادية إنضّم ماركس كذلك للجنة تحرير الموسوعة الامريكية الجديدة ووافق على كتابة عدد من المقدمات لهذا المشروع (ميغا 2 المجلد 1/6 شمل 39 من هذه المقالات) و بالرغم من الأجر المنخفض جدًا بواقع 2 دولار للصفحة غير أنه يحسّن من وضعه المالّي الكارثّي .كما أنه أسند أغلب العمل لانغلز حتى يتفرغ أكثر لكتاباته الاقتصادية.
كان عمل ماركس في هذة الفتره استثنائي و واسع النطاق . الى جانب التزاماته الصحفية ، من اغسطس 1857 الى مايو 1858 كتب 8 دفاتر المعروفة باسم ” Grundrisse “. كما ألزم نفسه بمهمَة شاقة، دراسة تحليلية للأزمة الاقتصادية الأولى في العالم . مجلد 4/14 Exzerpte, Zeitungsausschnitte und Notizen zur Weltwirtschaftskrise (Krisenhefte), November 1857 bis Februar 1858 ( ماركس 2017:680صفحة) كل هذا يضيف بدقة لمعرفتنا بواحدة من أثرى فترات الإنتاج النظري لماركس. في رسالةٍ لانغلز في18 ديسمبر1857 يَصِف ماركس التدفق الشديد للنشاط:
” أنا أعمل بشكل مكثف حتى الساعة 4 في الصباح يومياً. فقد انخرطت في مهمة ثنائية : 1- تطوير مسودة (Grundrisse) للإقتصاد السياسي ( من أجل الصالح العام لابد من التعمق في الأمر للوصول لجذوره، كما أنه من صالحي شخصياً التخلص من هذا الكابوس)2- الأزمة الحالية . باستثناء مقالات [نيويورك] تريبيون، فكل ما أقوم به الاحتفاظ بسجلات لها والتي تستغرق وقتاً طويلاً. أظنّ أنه بحلول الربيع، قد نتمكن من إصدار كتيب معا حول القضية كتذكير للجماهير الألمانية أننا مازلنا موجودين كما عهدتنا دائمًا، و كما كنا دائمًا( ماركس وانغلز 1983:224)”
وبالتالي كانت خطة ماركس العمل في نفس الوقت على مشروعين: العمل النظري حول نقد نمط الإنتاج الرأسمالي ، وكتاب أكثر دقةً حول تقلبات الازمة الجارية. لهذا السبب، فما سُمّيِت بدفاتر ملاحظات حول الأزمة على عكس سابقتها من المجلدات المشابهة ، لم يقم ماركس بتجميع مقتطفات من أعمال اقتصاديين آخرين فيها بل قام بجمع كمية كبيرة من التقارير الاخبارية عن انهيارات البنوك الرئيسية، وعن تغيرات أسعار سوق الأسهم، والتغيرات في نماذج التجارة ومعدلات البطالة، و الناتج الصناعي. الاهتمام الذي منحه لناتج الصناعة ميّز تحليله عن الآخرين ممن نسبوا الأزمات فقط إلى الخطأ في منح الائتمان وتزايد ظاهرة المضاربة. وزع ماركس ملاحظاته على 3 دفاتر منفصلة . في الأول وهو الأقصر بعنوان ” 1857 فرنسا” جمع البيانات عن تجارة فرنسا والإجراءات الرئيسية التي اتخذها بنك فرنسا . أما الثاني ، كتاب عن أزمة 1857″ كان ضعفّي حجم الأول، وتناول بشكل رئيسي بريطانيا وسوق المال. و في الدفتر الثالث تناول مواضيع مشابهة بشكل أعمق قليلا ” كتاب عن الأزمة التجارية”، حيث شرح ماركس بيانات و مقالات جديدة حول العلاقات الصناعية، و انتاج المواد الخام وسوق العمل.
كان عمل ماركس حازماً كعادته : فقد نسخ من أكثر من دزينة مجلات و صحف، بالترتيب التاريخي، الأجزاء الأكثر تشويقاً لعدد هائل من المقالات وأي معلومات أخرى استطاع إستخدامها لتلخيص الأحداث. مصدره الأساسي كان ذا ” اكونومست” – وهي مجلة إسبوعية استقى منها نصف ملاحظاته تقريباً – بالرغم من أنه كثيرًا ما أخذ من “مورنينق ستار”، “مانشستر غارديان: و “ذا تايمز”. كل المقتطفات تم كتابتها باللغة الانجليزية. في تلك الدفاتر ، لم يكتف ماركس بكتابة التقارير الرئيسية المختصة بالولايات المتحدة الأمريكية وبريطانيا. فقد تتبع أهم الأحداث في الدول الأوروبية الأخرى – خاصة فرنسا وألمانيا والنمسا وإيطاليا وأسبانيا- وأبدى اهتمامًا قويًا في أنحاء أخرى من العالم خاصة الهند والصين والشرق الأقصى ومصر وحتى البرازيل واستراليا.
وبعد مرور عدة أسابيع، تخلى ماركس عن فكرة نشر كتاب عن الأزمة وركز كل طاقاته على العمل النظري و نقد الاقتصاد السياسي الذي من وجهة نظره لا يحتمل أي مزيد التأخير. وعلى الرغم من ذلك، تبقى دفاتر الملاحظات على الازمة مفيدة في دحض الفكرة الخاطئة عن اهتمامات ماركس الأساسية في تلك الفترة في رسالته لانغلز في 16 من يناير عام 1858 كتب ” بالنسبة للمنهج” المستخدم في عمله ” منطق هيغل كان مفيدًا جدًا له” واضاف انه أراد تسليط الضوء على “جانبه العقلاني”( ماركس وانغلز 1983:249). على هذا الأساس استنتج بعض المفسرون لعمل ماركس أنه عندما كتب Grundrisse أمضى وقتًا طويلًا يدرس الفلسفة الهيغلية. لكن نَشْر مجلد 4/14 يوضح أن اهتمامه الأساسي في ذاك الوقت كان التحليل التجريبي للأحداث المرتبطة بالأزمة الاقتصادية الكبرى التي تنبأ بها قبل وقت طويل.
. جهود ماركس الدؤوبة لإنهاء ” نقد الاقتصاد السياسي ” هي الموضوع الرئيسي لمجلد 3/12 Briefwechsel, Januar 1862 bis September 1864 ( ماركس وانغلز 2013:1529 صفحة) الذي يحوي مراسلاته من بداية 1862 حتى تأسيس رابطة العمال الأممية .ومن 425 رسالة متبقية ، منها 112 كان بين انغلز وماركس و35 منها كتبت له، و 278 تلقّاها من آخرين .(227 من هذه المجموعة يتم نشرها لأول مرة ) الاضافة الاخيرة – الفرق المهم بين كل الطبعات السابقة- تحتوي على كنز حقيقي دفين للقراء المهتمين، حيث تقدم ثروة من المعلومات الجديدة حول الأحداث والنظريات التي تعلمها ماركس وانغلز من النساء والرجال الذين شاركوهم الالتزام السياسي.
ومثل كل مجلدات ميغا2 من المراسلات ، ينتهي هذا أيضًا بسجل الرسائل المرسلة أو المكتوبة لماركس وانغلز والتي لم تترك إلا آثار تشهد بوجودها. وصل عددها 125 تقريبًا ، أي ربع العدد الذي بقي، ويشمل 57 رسالة مكتوبة بشكل كامل من قبل ماركس . وفي هذه الحالات، حتى أشد الباحثين لا يستطيع إلا التكهّن بافتراضات تخمينية مختلفة.
من بين أهم النقاط الرئيسية في النقاشات في مراسلات ماركس من بداية 1860 كانت الحرب الاهلية الامريكية، والثورة البولندية ضد الاحتلال الروسي، وولادة الحزب الديمقراطي الاشتراكي الألماني المستوحى من مبادئ فرديناند لاسال. ومع ذلك، كان الموضوع متكرر الطرح هو صراعه من أجل أن يتقدم في كتابه رأس المال.
أثناء تلك الفترة بدأ ماركس في مرحلة بحث جديدة : “نظريات فائض القيمة”. وفي أكثر من 10 دفاتر ، قام بتحليل اطروحة اقتصاديين مهمين ممن سبقوه، وكانت فكرته الرئيسية أن ” اشترك جميع الاقتصاديين في نفس الخطأ في دراسة فائض القيمة ليس فقط في شكلها المحض بل في الأشكال الخاصة بالربح والريع”( ماركس 1988:348) أثناء ذلك، ساءت ظروف ماركس الاقتصادية . في 18 يونيو 1862 كتب لانغلز ” في كل يوم زوجتي تخبرني أنّها تتمنى أن تكون هي والاطفال في قبورهم آمنين ، وأنا حقا لا ألومها، لأن المذلة والعذاب والخوف الذي يمر فيه المرء في مثل هذا الموقف لا يوصف فعلا”. كان الموقف صعبا لدرجة أن جيني قررت أن تبيع بعض الكتب من مكتبة زوجها الشخصية- رغم أنها لم تجد من يرغب في شرائها. لكن استطاع ماركس أن يعمل بكد وكتب ملاحظة يعبر فيها عن الارتياح إلى انغلز: ” من الغريب أن أقول إن عقلي يعمل بشكل أفضل في وسط الفقر المحاصر أفضل من مما كان في السنوات السابقة” ( ماركس وانغلز 1985:380) في العاشر من سبتمبر في نفس السنة، كتب ماركس لانغلز أنه قد يحصل على وظيفة ” في مكتب السكّة الحديد” في السنة الجديدة( نفس المصدر 417) في 28 ديسمبر كرر على صديقه لودفيغ كوغلمان أن الامور أصبحت سيئة جدًا حتى أنه قرر أن يكون ” رجل عملي” لكن لم يحدث شيء على أي حال . كتب ماركس بسخريته المعتادة ” لحسن الحظ- أو علي القول لسوء الحظ؟- لم احظى بالعمل بسبب خطي السيء”( نفس المصدر436)
وإلى جانب الضغوطات المالية عانى ماركس كثيرا بسبب المشاكل الصحية . غير أنه من صيف 1863 الى ديسمبر 1865 شرع في المزيد من التحرير للعديد من أجزاء التي قرر تقسيمها في رأس المال. في النهاية، استطاع أن يضع المسودة الأولى للمجلد الأول ،والمخطوطة الوحيدة للمجلد الثالث، التي وضع فيها وصفه الوحيد لعملية الإنتاج الرأسمالي الكاملة : نسخة أولية للمجلد الثاني يحوي العرض العام لعملية تداول رأس المال.
المجلد 2/11 لميغا2 Manuskripte zum zweiten Buch des “Kapitals,”1868 حتى 1881( ماركس وانغلز 2008: 1850 صفحه)يحوي المخطوطات النهائية المخصّصة للمجلد الثاني من رأس المال التي صاغها ماركس بين العامين 1868 و 1881. تسع من هذه مخطوطات لم تنشر من قبل . في أكتوبر 1867 عاد ماركس للكتابة في رأس المال المجلد الثاني لكن المشاكل الصحية المتعددة أجبرته على توقف مفاجئ آخر. بعد عدة أشهر استطاع استئناف العمل، حيث مرت تقريبا ثلاث سنوات على آخر نسخة كتبها. أنهى ماركس الفصلين الأولين خلال ربيع 1868 بالإضافة إلى مجموعة من المخطوطات التحضيرية – حول العلاقة بين فائض القيمة ونسبة الربح وقانون نسبة الربح و وتغيرات رأس المال- الأمر الذي شغله حتى نهاية السنة. انتهت النسخة الجديدة من الفصل الثالث أثناء السنتين التاليتين. ينتهي مجلد 2/11 بعدد من النصوص القصيرة التي كتبها ماركس المسن بين فبراير 1877 وربيع 1881. تعرض مسودات رأس المال للمجلد الثاني التي لم تكن في حالة نهائية ، عدد من المشاكل النظرية. مع ذلك النسخة النهائية من المجلد الثاني نشرها انغلز عام 1885 وهي الآن في المجلد 2/13 في ميغا2 بعنوان Karl Marx: Das Kapital: Kritik der Politischen Ökonomie, Zweiter Band. Herausgegeben von Friedrich Engels, Hamburg 1885 ( ماركس 2008: 800 صفحة)
اخيراً، المجلد 2/4.3 II/4.3, Ökonomische Manuskripte 1863–1868, Teil 3( ماركس 2012: 1056 صفحة) يكمل القسم الثاني من ميغا2 . هذا المجلد الذي يلي 2/4.1 و 2/4.2 في السلسلة السابقة ،يحتوي على 15 مخطوطة لم تنشر بعد من خريف 1867 الى نهاية 1868. سبعة منها هي مسودات لأجزاء من رأس المال المجلد الثالث، لها سمة تجزيئية و لم يتمكن ماركس من تحديثها بطريقة تعكس تطوّر بحثه. وثلاث أخرى مرتبطة بالمجلد الثاني بينما تبحث الخمسة المتبقية أمورا تخص الترابط بين المجلد الثاني والثالث وتتضمن تعليقات على مقتطفات من أعمال آدام سميث و توماس مالتوس . هذه الأخيرة هي مثيرة بالنسبة للاقتصاديين المهتمين في نظرية ماركس لمعدل الربح وأفكاره حول نظرية السعر. أوضحت الدراسات اللغوية المرتبطة بتجهيزات هذا المجلد أن المخطوطة الأصلية لرأس المال المجلد الأول ( اعتبر الفصل السادس : نتائج عملية الإنتاج الفورية ” الجزء المتبقي الوحيد) ترجع في الحقيقة لفترة 1863-64 ، وقام ماركس بقصها ولصقها في النسخة التي أعدها للنشر.
مع نشر ميغا2 المجلد 2/4.3 تم توفير كل النصوص الملحقة لرأس المال من المقدمة الشهيرة المكتوبة في يوليو 1857 أثناء واحدة من أعظم فترات الانهيار في تاريخ الرأسمالية ، إلى آخر جزء كتب في ربيع 188. نحن نتحدث عن 15 مجلد بالإضافة الى المجلدات الملحقة الضخمة التي تشكل أدوات نقد هائلة للنص الرئيسي. و تضمنت كل المخطوطات من أواخر 1850 الى بداية 1860 النسخة الأولى من رأس المال المنشورة في عام 1867( أجزاء منها تم تعديلها في الطبعات اللاحقة) و الترجمة الفرنسية التي راجعها ماركس و ظهرت بين العام 1872 و 1875 وجميع التغيرات التي قام بها انغلز لمخطوطات المجلدين الثاني والثالث. وإلى جانب ذلك ، مجموعة الصناديق الكلاسيكية للمجلدات الثلاثة لرأس المال يظهر حتما بشكل مفصل. ليس من المبالغة القول أنه الآن فقط نستطيع أن نفهم تماما مزايا وحدود ونقص الكتاب العظيم لماركس .
العمل التحريري الذي قام به انغلز بعد وفاة صديقه لاستكمال الاجزاء الناقصة من رأس المال لنشره معقد جدًا. يصل عدد المخطوطات المتنوعة والمسودات وأجزاء من المجلدات الثاني والثالث التي كتبت بين 1864 و 1881 تقريبا الى 2350 صفحة من ميغا2. نشر انغلز المجلد الثاني بنجاح في عام 1885 والمجلد الثالث 1894. لكن لابد أن نضع في الاعتبار أن هذين المجلدين نشآ من تجميع نصوص غير مكتملة وغالبا ما تحتوي مواد متباينة. فقد كتبت على مدى فترات زمنية مختلفة و بالتالي تحتوي على نسخ مختلفة وأحيانا متناقضة مع أفكار ماركس.

4- الأممية، أبحاث ماركس بعد رأس المال وأعمال انغلز النهائية :
مباشرة بعد نشر رأس المال استأنف ماركس نشاطه النضالي و أبدى التزاما مستمرا لعمل رابطة العمال الأممية. هذه المرحلة في سيرته السياسية موثقة في مجلد 1/21 Werke, Artikel, Entwürfe, September 1867 bis März 1871( ماركس وانغلز 2009: 2432 صفحة ) الذي يحوي على أكثر من 150 نص و وثيقة للفترة من 1867 الى 1871 بالإضافة الى 169 محضر اجتماع للمجلس العام في لندن ( حذفت من جميع النسخ السابقة لأعمال ماركس وانغلز) حيث قدم فيها ماركس مداخلة. وهكذا يوفر مواد بحثية للسنوات الحاسمة في حياة الأممية.
منذ الأيام الاولى في 1864 كانت أفكار بيير جوزيف برودون مهيمنة في فرنسا ،والجزء الناطق بالفرنسية في سويسرا وبلجيكا وكان ( المتبادلون) إسم اشتهر به أتباعه – الجناح الأكثر اعتدالا في الأممية. كانوا معادين بقوة لتدخل الدولة في أي مجال، فقد عارضوا اشتراكية الأرض ،ووسائل الإنتاج وكذلك أي استخدام للاحتجاجات كسلاح . نشرت النصوص في هذا المجلد لتوضّح الدور الرئيسي الذي لعبه ماركس في النضال الطويل لتقليل تأثير برودون في الأممية. وهي تشمل وثائق تتعلق بالاستعداد لمؤتمر بروكسل ( 1868) وبازل 1869 حيث قامت الاممية بأول تصريح لها حول الاشتراكية وسائل الإنتاج من قبل سلطات الدولة ، وتأييد إلغاء الملكية الفردية للأرض. ويعتبر هذا بمثابة نصر مهم لماركس والظهور الأول للمبادئ الاشتراكية في البرنامج السياسي لمنظمة عمال كبرى.
وإلى جانب البرنامج السياسي لرابطة العمال الأممية ، كانت أواخر 1860 و بدايات 1870 غنية بالصراعات الاجتماعية. قرر العديد من العمال الذين شاركوا في الاعتصامات التواصل مع الرابطة التي انتشرت سمعتها بشكل كبير، طالبين الدعم لنضالهم . و شهدت هذه الفترة أيضا ولادة أقسام من WMA للعمال الايرلنديين في انجلترا. كان ماركس قلق من الانقسام الذي أحدثته الوطنية العنيفة داخل صفوف البروليتاريا وفي وثيقة أصبحت تعرف بإسم ( الاتصال السري) أكد أن ” البرجوازية الإنجليزية لم تستغل البؤس الايرلندي فقط لتقليص الطبقة العاملة في انجلترا من خلال الهجرة القسرية للايرلنديين الفقراء” بل أثبتت أنها قادرة على تقسيم العمال الى معسكرين معادين ( ماركس 1985:120) من وجهة نظره الأمة التي تَسْتَعبِد أخرى تزيّف عبوديتها” (المرجع نفسه) والصراع الطبقي لم يكن ليتجنب مثل هذا القضية الهامة. وكان الموضوع الرئيسي الآخر في المجلد، الذي تناول باهتمام كبير كتابات انغلز لمجلة “ذا بال مال جازيت” معارضة الحرب الفرنسية البروسية 1870-1871. استمر عمل ماركس في رابطة العمال الأممية من 1864 الى 1872، والمجلد الجديد 3/18 Exzerpte und Notizen, Februar 1864 bis Oktober 1868, November 1869, März, April, Juni 1870, Dezember 1872 ( ماركس وانغلز 2019 : 1294 صفحة) يقدم جزء مجهول حتى الآن للدراسات التي قام بها خلال تلك السنوات. كانت أبحاث ماركس قريبة من وقت طباعة المجلد الأول لرأس المال أو بعد 1867 عندما كان يعد المجلد الثاني والثالث للطباعة. يحتوي مجلد ميغا2 هذا على خمسة كتب من مقتطفات وأربع دفاتر تحتوي على ملخصات لأكثر من مائة عمل منشور وتقرير لمناقشاتٍ برلمانية ومقالات صحفية. الجزء الأكبر والأهم نظريا لهذه المواد يشمل بحث ماركس حول الزراعة واهتمامه الأساسي هنا هو ريع الأرض والعلوم الطبيعية والظروف الزراعية في العديد من الدول الأوروبية والولايات المتحدة الأمريكية وروسيا واليابان والهند ونظام إمتلاك الأرض في المجتمعات ما قبل الرأسمالية.
قرأ ماركس باهتمام الكيمياء بتطبيقها على الزراعة والفسيولوجيا(1843). وهو عمل من قبل العالم الألماني يوستوس فون ليبيغ واعتبره أساسي لأنه يسمح له بتعديل ايمانه السابق ان الاكتشافات العلمية للزراعة الحديثة تحل مشكلة تجديد التربة. ومن بعدها، ابدى اهتماما كبيرا بما نسميه اليوم ” البيئة” خصوصا تآكل التربة وإزالة الغابات. ومن ضمن الكتب الأخرى التي ابهرت ماركس في هذه الفترة، لابد من ذكر كتاب مقدمة التاريخ التأسيسي للمارك الألماني والمزرعة والقرية والبلدة والسلطة العامة (1854) لمؤلفه المنظر السياسي والمؤرخ القانوني جورج لودويغ فون مورير. في رسالة لانغلز في 25 مارس 1868 قال أنه وجد كتب مورير مهمة جدًا لأنها تقدم بشكل مختلف تماما ” ليس فقط العصر البدائي لكن ايضا التطور اللاحق كاملا للمدن الامبريالية الحرة لملاك العقار ممن لديهم الحصانة, والسلطة العامة والصراع بين الفلاحة و القنانة “( ماركس وانغلز 1987: 557). أيّد ماركس مورير في أن الملكية الخاصة في الأرض تنتمي لفترة تاريخية محددة ولا يمكن اعتبارها سمة طبيعية للحضارة الانسانية.
أخيرا درس ماركس بعمق ثلاثة أعمال ألمانية لكارل فراس المناخ وعالم الخضار عبر العصور، تاريخ الأثنين 1847 تاريخ الزراعة 1852 وطبيعة الزراعة 1857 وجد أن الأول مثير للاهتمام خاصة الجزء الذي يعرض فيه فراس : إن المناخ والطبيعة يتغيران عبر التاريخ” واصفا المؤلف أنه “داروني قبل داروين” الذي أقر أنه حتى “الفصائل تطورت عبر التاريخ” . وصعق ماركس من اهتمامات فراس البيئية ومخاوفه المتعلقة بأن “الحراثة في شكلها الطبيعي وليس بالتحكم فيها بوعي ( كبرجوازي لا يصل لهذه النقطة ) – تُخَلِّف الصحاري. استطاع ماركس الاكتشاف من كل هذا ” نزعة اشتراكية لا واعية” ( ماركس وانغلز 1987:558-59)
بعد نشر ما يسمى دفاتر حول الزراعة، يمكن الجدال بأدلة أوضح عن قبل أن البيئة قد تكون لعبت دور أكبر في تفكير ماركس لو كانت لديه الطاقة لإنهاء آخر مجلدين من رأس المال . بالطبع كان نقد ماركس البيئي ضد الرأسمالية في اتجاهه وبعيدا عن الآمال التي وضعها في التقدم العلمي ، يتعلق في دراسة انماط الانتاج بشكل عام.
اتضح نطاق دراسات ماركس في العلوم الطبيعية بشكل تام منذ نشر ميغا2 3/26 Exzerpte und Notizen zur Geologie, Mineralogie und Agrikulturchemie, März bis September 1878( ماركس 2011: 1104 صفحة ) في ربيع وصيف 1878 أصبحت الجيولوجيا وعلم المعادن والكيمياء الزراعية أكثر محورية في بحوث ماركس من الاقتصاد السياسي. جمع مقتطفات من عدد من الكتب ومنها التاريخ الطبيعي للمواد الخام للتجارة 1872 للمؤلف جون ييتس وكتاب الطبيعة 1848 للكيميائي فريدريك شودلر وعناصر الكيمياء الزراعية والجيولوجيا 1856 للكيميائي وعالم المعادن جيمس جونستون. وبين يونيو وبداية سبتمبر كان قد انخرط في قراءة دليل الطالب للجيولوجيا لجوزيف جوكس مؤلف دليل الجيولوجيا1857 ( انظر ماركس 2011:139-679) الذي سجل منه اكبر عدد من المقتطفات. التركيز الرئيسي لها حول مسائل المنهجية العلمية ومراحل تطور الجيولوجيا كعلم, وفائدتها للإنتاج الصناعي والزراعي.
مثل هذه الأفكار أيقظت في ماركس الحاجة لتطوير أفكاره حول الربح التي انشغل بها بقوة في منتصف 1860 عندما كتب مسودة جزء ( تحويل فائض الفائدة إلى ريع الأرض” لرأس المال المجلد الثالث). استهدفت بعض الملخصات لنصوص العلوم الطبيعية تسليط الضوء على المواد التي كان يدرسها. لكن المقتطفات الاخرى المخصصة أكثر للجانب النظري التي أراد استخدامها لإكمال المجلد الثالث . وذكر انغلز لاحقا ان ماركس” درس ..ما قبل التاريخ ،الزراعة ملكية الأراضي الروسية والأمريكية والجيولوجيا، والقسم عن ريع الأرض في المجلد الثالث في رأس المال” ( انغلز 1990:341) هذه المجلدات من ميغا2 هي الأكثر أهمية لأنها تعمل على دحض الأسطورة، المكررة في عدد من السيرة الذاتية والدراسات عن ماركس، أنه بعد رأس المال أشبع فضوله الفكري وتخلى بشكل كامل عن الدراسة والبحث الجديد.
ثلاثة كتب من ميغا2 في تم نشرها في العقد الماضي تختص بالعمل الأخير لانغلز. المجلد 1/30 Werke, Artikel, Entwürfe Mai 1883 bis September 1886 ( انغلز 2011:1154 صفحة) يضم 43 نصا كتبها في السنوات الثلاث التي تلت وفاة ماركس. من بين 29 من هذه المقالات ،17 مقالة صحفية ظهرت في أهم الجرائد لصحافة الطبقة العاملة الأوروبية. على الرغم من أنه في هذه الفترة كان منكبا على تحرير مخطوطات ماركس غير المكتملة لرأس المال، غير ان انغلز لم يتجاهل المشاركة في سلسلة من المسائل السياسية والنظرية الملحة. كما قام بعمل جدلي يستهدف عودة المثالية في الأوساط الاكاديمية الالمانية .و لودفيغ فيورباخ ونهاية الفلسفة الألمانية الكلاسيكية .ويوجد 14 نصا تم نشرهم كملحق في هذا المجلد الميغا2 وهي بعض منها ترجمات انغلز الخاصة وسلسلة من المقالات الموقعة من قبل كتاب آخرين استفادوا من تعاونه .
.كما نشرت ميغا2 مجموعة جديدة من مراسلات انغلز . المجلد 3/30 iefwechsel Oktober 1889 bis November 1890( انغلز 2013: 1515 صفحة) يحتوي 406 من الرسائل المتبقية من أصل 500 أو أكثر مما كتبها بين أكتوبر 1889 ونوفمبر 1890. كما أن نشر رسائل من مراسلين آخرين لأول مرة يجعل من الممكن أن نقدر بشكل أكبر مساهمة انغلز لتطوير أحزاب العمال في ألمانيا وفرنسا وبريطانيا حول مجموعة من المسائل النظرية والتنظيمية. وبعض العناصر محل التساؤل تعنى بالنشأة والمناقشات الجارية في الاممية الثانية، التي انعقد مؤتمرها التأسيسي في 14 يوليو عام 1889 .
اخيرا مجلد 1/32 Werke, Artikel, Entwürfe März 1891 bis August 1895( انغلز 2010: 1590 صفحة) يجمع كتابات من آخر أربع سنوات ونصف في حياة انغلز .هناك عدد من المقالات الصحفية لأهم الصحف الاشتراكية الرئيسية آنذاك مثل Die Neue Zeit, و Le Socialiste, و Critica Sociale لكن ايضا مقدمات وكلمات ختامية لعدد من الطبعات لأعمال ماركس وانغلز ، و نسخ لخطابات ، و مقابلات وتحيات للمؤتمرات الحزبية ،وبعض المحادثات ، ووثائق كتبها انغلز بالتعاون مع آخرين وعدد من الترجمات.
هذه المجلدات الثلاث ستكون مفيدة جدًا لدراسة أعمق لمساهمات انغلز النظرية والسياسية الاخيرة. المنشورات والمؤتمرات الدولية العديدة المحدد إقامتها في الذكرى المئوية الثانية لميلاده لن تفشل في سبر هذه السنوات الاثنتي عشر التي تبعت وفاة ماركس و التي كرس خلالها كل طاقته لنشر الماركسية.

5- ماركس آخر:
أيُّ ماركس يخرج لنا من الطبعة التاريخية النقدية الجديدة لأعماله؟ في بعض النواحي يختلف عن المفكر الذي قدمه العديد من الاتباع والمعارضين على مدى السنين.-ناهيك عن التماثيل الحجرية الموجودة في الميادين العامة تحت الانظمة غير الحرة في شرق اوروبا و التي تُظهره يشير إلى المستقبل مع يقين واضح . ومن جهة أخرى، سيكون من المضلل أن نستشهد-كما يفعل الذي يرحبون بحماس بـ ” ماركس المجهول” في كل مرة يظهر نص جديد لأول مرة- أن الأبحاث الأخيرة قد قلبت كل شيء كنا نعرفه عن ماركس .ما تقدمه ميغا2 بالأحرى هو أساس نصي لإعادة التفكير في ماركس مختلف : ليس مختلفاً لأن الصراع الطبقي أُستبعد من أفكاره ( كما يتمنى بعض الأكاديميين في اختلاف للاقتباس القديم ” ماركس الاقتصادي” ضد ” ماركس السياسي ” الذي يسعى عبثا لتقديمه ككلاسيكي عديم الفائدة) لكن راديكالياً مختلف عن الكاتب الذي تم تحويله دوغمائياً الى المصدر والأصل لـ” اشتراكية قائمة فعليا” من المفترض أنه يركز على الصراع الطبقي فقط.
تشير التطورات الجديدة الحاصلة في الدراسات الماركسية أنّ تفسير عمل ماركس قد يصبح مرة أخرى كما في مرات عديدة في الماضي أكثر دقة. لمدة طويلة سلط الكثير من الماركسيين الضوء على كتابات ماركس الشاب- بشكل رئيسي على المخطوطات الاقتصادية والفلسفية لعام 1844 الأيديولوجية الألمانية- بينما بقي بيان الحزب الشيوعي أكثر أعماله قراءةً واقتباسًا. في تلك الكتابات المبكرة يجد المرء الكثير من الأفكار أُستبدلت في أعماله الأخيرة . ولوقت طويل الصعوبة في دراسة بحث ماركس في آخر عقدين من حياته أعاقت معرفتنا في المكاسب التي أحرزها. لكن في رأس المال ومسوداته الأولية كما في أبحاثه آخر سنواته نجد أهم تأملاته حول نقد المجتمع البرجوازي. وتلك تمثل الخلاصات الاخيرة إن لم تكن النهائية التي توصل لها ماركس. إذا تمّت دراستها بدقة في ظل التغيرات في العالم منذ وفاته ستثبت أنها لازالت نافعة لمهمة التنظير بعد فشل القرن العشرين ، في إيجاد نموذج اقتصادي اجتماعي بديل للرأسمالية .
نسخة ميغا2 تدحض مقولة أن ماركس هو مفكر كتب عنه وقيل كل ما يمكن قوله أو كتابته .لا يزال يوجد الكثير لنتعلمه من ماركس اليوم و بالإمكان القيام بذلك من خلال دراسة ليس فقط ما كتب في أعماله المنشورة بل من خلال الأسئلة والشكوك الواردة في مخطوطاته الناقصة.

 

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Categories
Journal Articles

전쟁과 좌파

1. 전쟁의 경제적 원인
정치학은 전쟁을 추동하는 이데올로기적·경제적·심지어 심리적 동기를 연구하 는 반면, 사회주의 이론은 자본주의의 발전과 전쟁의 확산 사이의 연계를 강조함 으로써 가장 강력한 이론적 기여 가운데 하나를 이룩했다.
국제노동자협회(1864~1872, 제1인터내셔널)의 논쟁에서 주요한 지도자 가운데 한 명인 세사르 드 페페(César de Paepe)는 전쟁 문제에 관한 노동자 운동의 고전적 입 장, 즉 자본주의적 생산 아래서 전쟁은 불가피하다는 입장을 정식화했다. 현대사회 에서 전쟁은 군주나 다른 개인의 야심이 아니라 지배적인 사회경제적 모델에 의해 야기된다(De Paepe, 2014a: 229~231). 사회주의운동 역시 주민의 어느 부문이 전쟁 의 참혹한 결과에 의해 가장 큰 타격을 받는지 보여줬다. 1868년 열린 인터내셔널 대회에서 참석 대의원들은 노동자들이 승자가 되든 패자가 되든 그들의 지배계급 과 그들을 대표하는 정부들의 결정에 대해 경제적으로 또는 자신의 피로 대가를 치를 것이기 때문에 노동자들이 “모든 전쟁의 최종적 폐지”를 추구할 것을 호소하 는 동의안을 채택했다(Freymond, 1962: 402; Marx, 2014: 92).1) 노동자 운동에게 문 명적 교훈은 어떤 전쟁이라도 모두 ‘내전’(Freymond, 1962: 403; Musto, 2014: 49), 즉 노동자들의 생존에 필요한 수단을 박탈하는 것은 노동자들 사이의 격렬한 충돌 로 간주해야 한다는 신념으로부터 나왔다. 노동자들은 징집에 저항하고 파업투쟁 을 벌여 어떤 전쟁에 대해서도 단호하게 투쟁할 필요가 있었다. 그래서 국제주의 는 미래 사회의 핵심적 사항이 되었고, 미래 사회는 세계시장에서 부르주아 국가 들 사이의 경쟁과 자본주의의 종식과 함께 전쟁의 주요한 근본적 원인을 제거하게 된다.
사회주의의 선구자 가운데 클로드 앙리 드 생시몽(Claude Henri de Saint-Simon) 은 전쟁과 사회적 갈등에 대해 단호한 입장을 취했고, 양자를 산업생산의 근본적 진보에 장애물이 된다고 간주했다. 칼 마르크스는 그의 저술에서 전쟁에 관한 견 해를 발전시키지 않았고, 그의 견해는 단편적이고 때로는 모순적이기도 했다. 마르 크스는 또한 전쟁에 대해 취해야 할 올바른 태도의 지침을 제시하지 않았다. 마르 크스가 대립하는 진영 사이에서 선택을 해야 하는 경우, 그의 유일한 상수는 반혁 명의 전초기지이자 노동계급 해방의 주요한 장벽 가운데 하나로 여겼던 차르체제 러시아(Tsarist Russia)에 대한 반대였다. 『자본』(1867)에서 마르크스는 폭력이 경제 적 힘이며, “새로운 사회를 잉태한 모든 낡은 사회의 산파”(Marx, 1996: 739)라고 주장했다. 그러나 마르크스는 전쟁을 사회의 혁명적 변혁을 위한 결정적 지름길이 라고 생각하지 않았고, 마르크스의 정치적 활동에서 주요한 목표는 노동자들이 국 제연대에 헌신하도록 하는 것이었다. 프리드리히 엥겔스도 주장하듯이, 외부의 적 이라는 선전주의적 발명이 어떤 전쟁의 발발을 가져올 위협이 존재하는 개별 나라 들에서 노동자들은 계급투쟁의 위축에 맞서 결연하게 투쟁해야 한다. 노동자 운동 의 지도자들에게 보내는 여러 편지에서 엥겔스는 애국주의라는 덫과 배외주의의 물결로부터 발생하는 프롤레타리아 혁명지연의 이데올로기적 힘을 강조했다. 더 나아가, 『반뒤링론』(1878)에서 엥겔스는 훨씬 더 치명적인 무기의 효과에 대한 분 석에 이어 사회주의의 임무는 “군사주의와 모든 상비군을 분쇄하는 것”이라고 선 언했다(Engels, 1987: 158).
전쟁은 엥겔스에게 아주 중요한 문제여서 그는 마지막 저술 가운데 하나를 전쟁 에 집중했다. 「유럽의 무장해제는 가능한가」(1893)에서 엥겔스는 지난 25년 동안 모든 주요 열강이 군사적으로, 전쟁 준비의 면에서 제압하려고 경쟁국보다 노력했 다고 지적했다. 유례없는 수준의 무기 생산이 이루어졌고, 구대륙은 “세계가 결코 본 적 없는 그런 파괴의 전쟁”(Engels, 1990: 372)에 더 접근하게 되었다. 『공산당 선 언』(1848)의 공저자인 엥겔스에 따르면, “상비군 시스템은 유럽 전역에서 극단적 으로 발전해서 상비군은 군사적 부담 때문에 민족들에게 경제적 파산을 가져오거 나 또는 전면적인 박멸전에 빠지게 할 수밖에 없다”. 이런 분석에서 엥겔스는 상비 군이 외부에 대한 군사적 목적만큼 주로 국내의 정치적 목적을 위해 유지된다고 강조하는 것을 잊지 않았다. 상비군은 프롤레타리아트와 노동자 투쟁을 탄압할 세 력을 강화함으로써 “외부의 적보다는 내부의 적에 맞서 보호를 제공할” 의도로 구 성되어 있다. 민중들이 국가에 세금을 내고, 병력을 제공함으로써 다른 누구보다 더 많은 대가를 지불하기 때문에, 노동자 운동은 “국제협약에 의한 [군사] 서비스 조건의 점진적 감소”와 유일하게 효과적인 “평화의 보장책”으로서 무장해제를 위 해 투쟁해야 한다(Engels ,1990: 371, 괄호는 저자).

2. 시험과 몰락
머지않아 평화 시의 이론적 논쟁은 시대의 가장 중요한 정치적 이슈로 전환되었 다. 이 시기 노동자 운동은 그들의 대표들이 처음에 어떤 전쟁에도 반대하는 현실 과 직면해야 했다. 1879년의 프랑스-프로이센 전쟁(파리 코뮌 직전에 일어난)에서 독 일 사회민주당 의원인 빌헬름 리프크네히트(Wilhelm Liebknecht)와 아우구스트 베 벨(August Bebel)은 비스마르크의 독일이 추진하는 병합주의적 목적을 규탄했고, 전쟁공채에 반대투표를 했다. “전쟁을 계속하려는 추가적 자금을 위한 법안을 거 부하는”(Pelz, 2016: 50) 결정으로 인해 그들은 2년 징역형을 받았지만, 그들의 행동 은 노동계급에게 위기에 대한 대안적 방식을 보여주는 데 기여했다.
유럽의 주요 열강들이 제국주의적 팽창을 지속하면서, 전쟁에 관한 논쟁은 제2 인터내셔널(1889~1916)에서 훨씬 더 커다란 비중을 차지하게 되었다. 창립 대회에 서 채택한 결의안은 평화를 “노동자 해방의 필수불가결한 전제조건”(Dominick, 1982: 343)으로 정립했다. 부르주아지가 주장하는 평화정책은 비웃음을 샀고, “무 장한 평화”의 정책으로 규정되었다. 1895년 프랑스 사회당(SFIO)의 지도자인 장 조레스(Jean Jaures̀ )는 유명한 의회 연설에서 좌파의 우려를 요약했다. “여러분의 폭력적이고 혼란스러운 사회는 심지어 평화를 원할 때에도, 심지어 명백한 휴지 상태에 있을 때에도, 잠자는 구름이 폭풍우를 품고 있는 것처럼 전쟁을 자체 내부 에 품고 있다”(Jaures̀ , 1982: 32).
독일제국이 국제적 영역에서 권력을 확대하려는 공격적 정책인 ‘세계정책 (Weltpolitik)’을 전개함에 따라 지정학적 상황을 변화시키면서 반제국주의 원칙은 노동자 운동에서 더 깊은 뿌리를 내렸고 무장갈등에 관한 토론에 영향을 주었다. 전쟁은 더 이상 혁명적 기회를 열고 체제의 붕괴를 가속화하는 것(1872년 혁명전쟁 이후 좌파의 사상)으로 간주되지 않았다.2) 기아, 궁핍, 실업의 형태로 프롤레타리아 트에게 미치는 심각한 영향 때문에 전쟁은 이제 위험으로 간주되었다. 따라서 전 쟁은 진보세력에게 심각한 위협이 되었고, 『사회혁명』(1902)에서 칼 카우츠키(Karl Kautsky)가 썼던 것처럼, 진보세력은 전쟁이 발발할 경우 “비핵심적인 임무로 과도 하게 부담”(Kautsky, 1903: 77)하게 되며, 이는 최종적 승리를 더 가까이 가져오기 보다는 더 멀어지게 할 것이다.
1907년 제2인터내셔널 슈투트가르트 대회에서 채택된 결의안 「군사주의와 국 제분쟁에 관하여」는 노동자 운동의 공통적 유산이 된 모든 핵심을 되풀이해서 요 약했다. 그 핵심은 군비 지출을 증가시키는 예산에 반대하는 투표, 상비군에 대한 반감, 민중의 민병대 시스템에 대한 선호, 국제분쟁을 평화적으로 해결하는 중재법 원을 창출할 계획에 대한 지지 등이다. 여기에는 구스타브 에르베(Gustave Hervé) 가 제시한 바대로 어떤 종류의 전쟁에 대해서도 반대하는 총파업 호소는 배제되었 다. 왜냐하면 참석자의 다수가 그 방침을 너무 급진적이고 마니교적(이분법적 — 옮 긴이)인 것으로 생각했기 때문이다. 결의안은 로자 룩셈부르크, 블라디미르 레닌, 율리 마르토프가 작성한 수정안으로 마무리되었다. “전쟁이 발발할 경우 […] 전쟁 의 신속한 종식을 위해 개입하고, 전쟁이 야기한 경제적·정치적 위기를 활용할 모 든 능력을 발휘해 대중들을 고무하고, 그럼으로써 자본주의적 계급지배의 몰락을 가속화하는 것은 [사회주의자들의] 의무이다”(Vv. Aa, 1972: 80). 그러나 이 결의안이 독일 사회민주당(SPD)의 정치노선을 전혀 변화시키지 못했기 때문에 사민당 의원 들은 전쟁에 찬성하는 투표를 했다. 수정된 텍스트는 제2인터내셔널에서 만장일치 의 지지를 확보한 전쟁에 관한 마지막 문서였다.
세계시장에서 자본주의 국가들 사이의 더욱 격렬한 경쟁은 수많은 국제분쟁의 발발과 함께 전반적인 상황을 훨씬 더 경악스럽게 만들었다. 조레스의 『새로운 군 대』(1911)의 출판은 이 시기의 또 다른 중심적 주제, 즉 공격적 전쟁과 방어적 전쟁 사이의 구분과, 하나의 독립이 위협받는 경우를 포함해 방어적 전쟁에 대해 취할 태도에 관한 토론을 자극했다. 조레스에게 군대의 유일한 임무는 어떤 공격적 침 략 또는 중재를 통한 분쟁의 해결을 받아들이지 않는 어떤 침략국으로부터 민족을 방어하는 것이었다. 그에 따르면 이 범주에 들어가는 모든 군사적 행동은 정당한 것으로 간주되어야 한다. 이 입장에 대해 룩셈부르크는 “현대전과 같은 역사적 현 상은 ‘정의’라는 잣대로 또는 방어와 공격이라는 문서상의 도식을 통해 측정할 수 없다”라고 지적했다(Luxemburg, 1911). 그녀의 견해로는 어떤 전쟁이 진정으로 공 격적인지 아니면 방어적인지 또는 전쟁을 시작한 국가가 고의로 공격하기로 결정 했는지 아니면 전쟁에 반대하는 나라가 채택한 전략 때문에 그렇게 할 수밖에 없었 는지를 판단할 때의 어려움을 염두에 둘 필요가 있었다. 따라서 룩셈부르크는 그런 구별을 폐기해야 한다고 생각했고, ‘무장한 국가’가 궁극적으로 사회에서 점증하는 군사화를 부채질하는 경향이 있다는 근거로 조레스의 개념을 더욱 비판했다.
시간이 지나면서 제2인터내셔널은 평화를 위한 투쟁의 정책을 더욱더 방기했 다. 재무장과 전쟁 준비에 대한 반대는 활기를 잃었고, SPD의 더욱 온건하고 합법 주의적 영향은 독일에서 정치적 자유를 더 많이 부여받는 대가로 군사공채, 그리 고 그다음엔 심지어 식민지 팽창에 대한 지지와 거래했다. 구스타브 노스케(Gustav Noske), 헨리 하인드먼(Henry Hyndman), 아르투로 라브리올라(Arturo Labriola) 등 과 같은 중요한 지도자와 저명한 이론가들은 이런 입장에 처음으로 도달한 자들이 었다. 이후에 독일 사민당원, 프랑스 사회당원, 영국 노동당 지도자들, 다른 유럽의 개량주의자들은 결국 제1차 세계대전(1914~1918)을 지지하게 된다. 이런 경로는 재앙적 결과를 가져왔다. ‘진보의 혜택’을 자본가들이 독점해서는 안 된다는 생각 으로 노동자 운동은 지배계급의 팽창주의적 목표를 공유하게 되었고 민족주의 이 데올로기의 수렁에 빠졌다. 제2인터내셔널은 전쟁에 직면해 완전히 무력했고, 평 화의 유지라는 주요한 목적 가운데 하나에서 실패했다.
치머발트 협의회(1915)에 참석한 레닌과 다른 대의원들은 최종 선언을 작성한 레브 트로츠키를 포함해 “수십 년 동안 전비 지출은 민족들의 최상의 에너지를 흡 수할 것이고, 사회적 개선을 침해하고 어떤 진보도 방해할 것”이라고 예측했다. 그 들의 눈에는 전쟁이 “노동 대중의 이해뿐만 아니라 […] 심지어 인류의 공동 생존 의 첫 번째 조건과도 화해할 수 없게 된 적나라한 형태의 현대 자본주의”임을 폭로 했다(Vv. Aa, 1915). 이런 경고에 노동자 운동의 소수만이 귀를 기울였고, 킨탈 협의 회(1916)의 모든 유럽 노동자들에게 보내는 호소도 그러했다. “여러분의 정부와 그 들의 신문은 여러분에게 군사주의를 종식시키기 위해 전쟁을 계속해야 한다고 말 한다. 그들은 여러분을 기만하고 있다! 전쟁은 결코 전쟁을 종식시킨 적이 없다. 정말로 전쟁은 복수의 감정과 소망을 낳는다. 이런 식으로 여러분에게 희생을 강 요해 여러분을 연옥의 순회 속에 가둔다”(Vv. Aa, 1977: 371). 국제 중재법원을 호소 했던 슈투트가르트 대화와 최종적으로 결별한 킨탈의 최종 문서는 “부르주아적 평 화주의의 환상”은 전쟁의 소용돌이를 방해하는 것이 아니라 기존의 사회경제적 시 스템을 유지하는 데 도움을 줄 것이라고 선언했다. 미래의 군사적 분쟁을 막는 유 일한 방식은 인민대중들이 정치권력을 장악해 자본주의적 소유를 타도하는 것이 었다.
로자 룩셈부르크와 블라디미르 레닌은 전쟁에 가장 강력하게 반대한 두 사람이 었다. 룩셈부르크는 좌파의 이론적 이해를 확대했고, 군사주의가 어떻게 국가의 핵 심 중추인지 보여줬다.3) 다른 공산주의 지도자들보다 강력한 확신과 뛰어난 효율 성을 보여준 룩셈부르크는 “전쟁에 대한 전쟁을!”이라는 슬로건이 “노동계급 정치 의 초석”이 되어야 한다고 주장했다. 그녀가 『국제 사회민주주의의 임무에 관한 테제』(1915)에 썼던 것처럼 제2인터내셔널은 “모든 나라의 프롤레타리아트의 공 동 전술과 투쟁을 획득하는” 데 실패했기 때문에 자멸했다. 따라서 그 이후로 프롤 레타리아트의 “주요한 목적”은 “전쟁 시처럼 평화 시에 제국주의와 투쟁하고 전쟁 을 막는 것”이어야 한다(Luxemburg, 1915b).
제1차 세계대전 동안 『사회주의와 전쟁』(1915)과 다른 많은 저술에서, 레닌의 커다란 장점은 두 가지 근본적인 문제를 확인했다는 것이다. 첫 번째는 부르주아 지가 이번에 어느 교전국이 가장 많은 외국 민족을 억압하고 자본주의의 불평등을
3) 이 몇 가지 지점은 C. W. 밀스의 『파워 엘리트』(Oxford University Press, 1956)에 나오는 고찰과 비교해 볼 수 있는데, 거기에서 군사기관들은 관료적 지배에서 결정적 요소로 여겨 진다.
148 2022년 제19권 제2호

증가시킬지 결정할 유일한 목표로 실제로 수행되는 ‘약탈’ 전쟁에 ‘민족해방의 진 보적 의미’(Lenin, 1971: 299~300)를 부여하려고 노력하려고 할 때면 언제나 저지르 는 ‘역사적 위조’와 관련된 것이다. 두 번째는 사회개량주의자들, 또는 ‘사회배외주 의자들’(Lenin, 1971: 306)에 의한 모순의 은폐였다. 이들은 제2인터내셔널이 채택 한 결의안에서 ‘범죄적’ 활동이라고 규정했음에도 궁극적으로 전쟁의 정당화를 승 인했다. ‘조국을 수호한다’는 주장의 이면에는 특정 열강들이 ‘식민지를 강탈하고 외국 민족들을 억압하기’ 위해 스스로에게 부여한 권리가 존재한다. 전쟁은 ‘민족 의 존속’을 수호하기 위해서가 아니라 다양한 ‘제국주의적 부르주아지’의 ‘특권과 지배, 약탈과 폭력을 방어하기 위해’ 치러진다(Lenin, 1971: 307). 애국주의에 굴복 한 사회주의자들은 계급투쟁을 ‘다른 나라들을 약탈하여 자국 부르주아지가 획득 한 이유의 한 조각’에 대한 권리 주장으로 대체했다. 따라서 레닌은 ‘방어적 전쟁’을 지지했다. 즉 조레스식으로 유럽 나라들의 민족방어가 아니라 ‘노예를 소유한 열강 들’에게 ‘약탈당하고 권리를 박탈당한 피억압 예속 민족들의 정당한 전쟁’을 지지 했다(Lenin, 1971: 314). 레닌의 팸플릿의 가장 유명한 테제, 즉 혁명가들은 ‘제국주 의 전쟁을 내전으로 전화’(Lenin, 1971: 315)4)시키려고 노력해야 한다는 테제는 ‘지 속적인 민주적 평화’를 원한다면 ‘자신들의 정부와 부르주아지에 대한 내전’(Lenin, 1971: 316)5)을 수행해야 한다는 것을 의미했다. 레닌은 역사가 이후에 무엇이 부정 확한지 보여줄 것이라고 확신했다. 그는 전쟁의 시기에 수행하는 어떤 계급투쟁도 ‘불가피하게’ 대중들 사이에서 혁명적 정신을 창조할 것이라고 확신했다.

3. 구획선
제1차 세계대전은 제2인터내셔널뿐만 아니라 무정부주의 운동에서도 분열을 낳았다. 전쟁 발발 직후에 발표된 논문에서 크로포트킨(Kropotkin)은 “인간 진보에 관한 사상을 소중히 여기는 모든 사람의 임무는 독일의 서유럽 침공을 분쇄하는 것”이라고 썼다(Kropotkin, 1914: 76~77). 많은 사람이 자기가 평생 투쟁한 원칙을 저버린 것으로 보는 이 진술은 노동대중들에게 주목받지 못한 “전쟁에 반대하는 총파업”이라는 슬로건을 넘어서고 독일의 승리가 가져올 유럽 정치의 전반적인 퇴 행을 회피하려는 시도였다. 크로포트킨에 따르면, 만약 반군국주의자들이 무력하 면 침략자들의 정복 계획을 간접적으로 지원하게 되며, 그에 따른 장래는 사회혁 명을 위해 투쟁하는 사람들이 극복하기 더욱 어려워질 것이다.
크로포트킨에 대한 답변으로 이탈리아 무정부의자 에리코 말라테스타(Errico Malatesta)는 비록 그가 평화주의자는 아니고 해방전쟁에서 무기를 잡는 것이 정당 하다고 생각함에도 세계 전쟁은 부르주아 선전이 주장하는 것처럼 민주주의의 “공 동의 적에 맞서 보편 선을 위한” 투쟁이 아니며, 노동대중들이 지배계급에 종속되 는 또 다른 사례일 뿐이라고 주장했다. 말라테스타는 “독일의 승리가 확실히 군사 주의의 승리임을 확인하겠지만, 동맹국의 승리는 유럽과 아시아에서 러시아와 영 국의 지배를 의미할 것”임을 인식했다(Malatesta, 1993: 230).
「16인 선언」(1916년)에서 크로포트킨은 “우리 모두의 해방이란 희망의 파괴를 의미하는 침략자에 저항할” 필요를 주장했다(Kropotkin et al., 1916). 독일에 맞선 삼각동맹(triple entente)의 승리는 더 작은 악이며, 기존의 자유를 덜 침해할 것이다. 다른 편에서 말라테스타와 그의 동료 서명자들은 무정부주의 인터내셔널의 반전 선언(1915)에서 이렇게 선언했다. “공격전과 방어전 사이의 구별은 불가능하다”. 더 나아가 그들은 “어떤 교전국들도 정당한 자기방어를 주장할 자격이 없는 것과 마찬가지로 문명을 주장할 어떤 권리도 없다”라고 덧붙였다(Malatesta et al., 1998: 388). 그들은 제1차 세계대전은 노동계급의 희생으로 치러지는 다양한 제국주의 열강의 자본가들 사이의 전쟁에서 추가적 에피소드였다고 주장했다. 말라테스타, 에마 골드먼(Emma Goldman), 페르딘(Ferdin), 뉴엔하위스(Nieuwenhuis)와 대다수의 무정부주의 운동가들은 부르주아 정부를 지지하는 것은 용서할 수 없는 오류라고 확신했다. 그 대신에 그들은 어떤 조건이나 반대도 없이 “군대에는 단 한 명도 단 한 푼도 거부한다(no man and no penny for the army)”라는 슬로건을 내걸고, 전쟁 추진을 직접적으로 지지하는 어떤 슬로건도 거부했다.
전쟁에 대한 태도는 여성운동에서도 논쟁을 불러일으켰다. 오랫동안 남성이 독 점한 직업에서 징집 남성을 대신할 여성의 필요성은 훨씬 낮은 임금과 과잉 착취 라는 조건 속에서도 새로 태어난 여성 투표권 운동의 상당한 부분에서 배외주의 이데올로기의 확산을 자극했다. 일부 지도자들은 여성의 입대를 허용하는 법률을 제정하기 위해 청원하기도 했다. 내부의 적을 소환해 근본적인 사회개혁을 역전시 키려고 전쟁을 이용한 일구이언 정부들의 폭로는 이 시대 주요한 여성 공산주의자 들의 가장 중요한 성과 가운데 하나였다. 클라라 체트킨(Clara Zetkin), 알렉산드라 콜론타이(Alexandra Kollontai), 실비아 팽크허스트(Sylvia Pankhurst), 그리고 당연히 로자 룩셈부르크는 군국주의에 반대하는 투쟁이 가부장제에 반대하는 투쟁에 핵 심적임을 후세대에게 보여주는 경로에 명료하고 용감하게 나섰다. 후에 전쟁 거부 는 국제여성의 날의 명확한 의제가 되었고, 새로운 분쟁이 발발하는 경우 전쟁예 산 반대는 국제 여성운동의 많은 강령에서 뚜렷한 특징이 되었다.

4. 목적은 수단을 정당화하지 않으며, 잘못된 수단은 목적에 피해를 가한다
혁명가와 개량주의자 사이의 깊은 분열은 소비에트 연방의 탄생6)과 1920년대 와 1930년대 이데올로기적 교조주의의 성장 이후 전략적 차이를 확대했고, 공산주 의 인터내셔널(1919~1943)과 유럽의 사회당 및 사민당 사이의 어떤 동맹도 배제했 다.7) 전쟁을 지지했던 정당들은 노동·사회주의 인터내셔널(LSI: 1923~1940)을 결 성했지만, 공산주의자들의 눈으로 볼 때 모든 신뢰를 상실했다. ‘제국주의 전쟁을 내전으로 전환하라’는 레닌주의적 사상은 여전히 모스크바에서 우위를 보였고, 소 련의 지도적 정치인과 이론가들은 ‘새로운 1914년’이 불가피하다고 생각했다. 그 런데 양측의 토론은 처음부터 전쟁을 어떻게 막을 것인가보다는 새로운 전쟁이 일 어날 경우 무엇을 할 것인가에 대한 것이었다. 슬로건과 원칙선언은 일어날 것으 로 예상되는 사태나 그 이후의 정치 행동과 본질적으로 다른 것이었다. 공산주의 진영의 비판적 목소리는 “평화를 위한 투쟁”이라는 슬로건을 주창한 니콜라이 부 하린(Nikolai Bukharin)을 비롯하여 러시아의 지도자들 사이에서 현대사회의 핵심 적 이슈 가운데 하나라고 확신한 사람들에게서 나왔다. 그리고 모든 열강의 전쟁 위협에 동등하게 책임이 있지는 않다고 주장하고, 전쟁에 반대하는 광범한 인민전 선을 건설하기 위해 개량주의 정당들과의 화해를 지지했던 게오르기 디미트로프 (Georgi Dimitrov)도 있다. 이들의 견해는 모두 소비에트 정통의 장황한 논리와 대 조된다. 소비에트는 이론적 분석을 업데이트하기는커녕 전쟁의 위험은 동등하게, 아무런 차이도 없이 모든 제국주의의 열강이 야기한다는 주장을 되풀이했다.
이 문제에 관한 마오쩌둥의 견해는 전혀 달랐다. 일본 침략에 맞선 해방운동의 지도자로서 마오는 『지구전에 관하여』(1938)에서 공산주의자들이 적극적으로 참 여해야 하는 “정당한 전쟁(Mao Tse-Tung, 1966: 15)은 엄청난 권력을 부여받으며, 그 권력은 많은 것을 변혁할 수 있고 또는 변혁을 위한 길을 닦는다”라고 썼다 (Mao Tse-Tung, 1966: 26~27). 따라서 마오가 제시한 전략은 “정당한 전쟁으로 부 당한 전쟁에 대항하는 것”이자(Mao Tse-Tung, 1966: 53), 더 나아가 “정치적 목적 을 성취할 때까지 전쟁을 계속하는 것”이었다. “혁명전쟁의 전능함”에 관한 주장 은 『전쟁과 전략 문제』(1938)에서 반복되는데, 마오는 “오직 총으로만 전 세계를 변혁할 수 있으며(Mao Tse-Tung, 1965: 219), 군대에 의한 권력장악, 전쟁에 의한 문제 해결은 혁명의 중심적 임무이자 최고 형태”라고 주장했다(Mao Tse-Tung, 1965: 225).
유럽에서 국내외적으로 강화되는 나치-파시스트 전선의 폭력과 제2차 세계대 전(1939~1945)의 발발로 1914~1918년 전쟁보다 훨씬 더 극악한 시나리오가 펼쳐 졌다. 1941년 히틀러의 군대가 소련을 공격한 이후 나치즘의 패배로 끝난 대애국 전쟁은 러시아 민족단결의 중심적 요소가 되어 베를린 장벽의 붕괴에서도 살아남 아 오늘날까지 지속되고 있다.
전후 세계가 두 진영으로 분할되자 조셉 스탈린(Joseph Stalin, Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin)은 국제 공산주의 운동의 주요한 임무는 소련을 수호하는 것이라고 가르쳤 다. 동유럽 8개 나라(유고슬라비아의 퇴장 이후 7개)의 의 완충지대를 창출하는 것이 이 정책은 중심축이었다. 같은 시기 트루먼 독트린은 새로운 유형의 전쟁인 냉전 의 도래를 상징한다. 그리스에서 반공주의 세력의 지지, 마셜플랜(1948), NATO 설립(1949) 등을 통해 미국은 서유럽 진보세력의 전진을 피하는 데 기여했다. 소련 은 바르샤바 조약(1955)으로 대응했다. 이러한 구도는 거대한 무기경쟁으로 이어 졌고, 히로시마와 나가사키에서의 경험에도 불구하고 핵무기 실험의 확산을 자극 했다.
1961년부터 니키라 흐루쇼프(Nikita Khrushchev)의 지도로 소련은 ‘평화공존’으 로 알려진 새로운 정치적 경로를 밟기 시작했다. 이 전환은 불개입과 민족권의 존 중, 자본주의 나라들과의 경제협력에 대한 강조와 함께 제3차 세계대전의 위험을 회피하고(1962년 쿠바 미사일 위기가 가능성을 보여준) 전쟁이 불가피한 것이 아니라는 주장을 뒷받침할 것으로 예상되었다. 그러나 이런 건설적 협력 시도는 오직 미국 에만 적용되었고 ‘현실적으로 존재하는 사회주의’ 나라들에는 적용되지 않았다. 1956년 소련은 이미 헝가리의 반란을 분쇄했고, 서유럽의 공산당들은 사회주의 블 록을 보호한다는 명목 아래 자행된 군사개입을 비난하지 않고 정당화했다. 예를 들어 이탈리아 공산당의 서기인 팔미로 톨리아티(Palmiro Togliatti)는 “우리는 비록 실수를 하더라도 우리 편에 선다”라고 선언했다(Vittoria, 2015: 219). 이 입장을 공 유했던 사람들 대부분은 소비에트 작전의 파괴적 영향을 이해한 이후에 이를 뼈저 리게 후회했다.
비슷한 사건들이 평화공존의 정점인 1968년 체코슬로바키아에서 일어났다. 프 라하의 봄 동안 민주화와 경제적 탈집중화 요구에 직면한 소련공산당의 정치국은 만장일치로 50만 명의 군대와 수천 대의 탱크를 보내기로 결정했다. 1968년 폴란 드 통합노동자당 대회에서 레오니드 브레즈네프(Leonid Brezhnev)는 바르샤바 조약 나라들의 ‘제한주권’을 언급함으로서 이 행동을 설명했다. “사회주의에 적대적인 세력이 어떤 사회주의 나라의 발전을 자본주의로 전환시키려고 한다면, 그것은 관 련된 나라만의 문제가 아니라 모든 사회주의 나라들의 공동의 문제이자 관심이 된 다”(1968년 11월 13일 브레즈네프가 폴란드 통합노동자당 5차대회에 참석해 한 연설 — 옮긴 이). 이 반민주적 논리에 따라 무엇이 ‘사회주의’인지 아닌지의 규정은 자연스럽게 소련 지도자들의 자의적 결정에 따르게 되었다. 그러나 이번에는 좌파에서 비판은 더욱 적극적으로 개진되어 심지어 다수를 대표하기도 했다. 소련의 행동에 대한 반대는 신좌파 운동만이 아니라 중국공산당을 포함한 다수의 공산당들이 표현했 음에도, 러시아는 후퇴하지 않고 ‘정상화’라고 부르는 과정을 관철시켰다. 소련은 계속 경제자원의 상당 부분을 군비 지출에 책정했고, 이는 사회의 권위주의적 문 화를 강화하는 데 기여했다. 이런 식으로 소련은 평화운동의 선의를 영원히 상실 했다. 반면 평화운동은 베트남 전쟁에 대한 강력한 투쟁을 통해 훨씬 더 크게 성장 했다.
그 이후 가장 중요한 전쟁 가운데 하나는 소련의 아프가니스탄 침공으로 시작되 었다. 1917년 붉은 군대는 또다시 소련 외교정책의 주요한 도구가 되었고, 소련은 스스로 ‘안보 지역’이라고 규정한 곳에 개입할 권리를 계속해서 주장했다. 불운한 결정은 10년 이상 늘어지는 소모적 모험으로 전환되었고, 엄청난 사망자와 수백만 명의 난민을 만들어냈다. 이때 국제 공산주의 운동은 헝가리와 체코슬로바키아에 대한 소련 침공에 비해 훨씬 더 억제된 태도를 보였다. 그러나 이 새 전쟁은 ‘실제 로 존재하는 사회주의’와 평화와 군국주의 반대에 기초한 정치적 대안 사이에 갈 라진 국제 여론을 훨씬 더 분명하게 드러냈다.
전체적으로 볼 때, 이런 군사적 개입은 전반적 군비축소에 반해 작동했을 뿐만 아니라 전 세계적으로 사회주의를 불신하게 만들고 약화시키는 데 기여했다 소련 은 점차 미국과 다르지 않은 방식으로 행동하는 제국주의 열강으로 여겨졌다. 미 국은 냉전의 개시 이후 다소 은밀하게 쿠데타를 지원했고, 전 세계 20개국 이상에 서 민주적으로 선출된 정부를 전복하도록 지원했다. 중소분쟁을 배경으로 1977~1979년 캄보디아와 베트남, 중국과 베트남 사이의 ‘사회주의 전쟁’은 전쟁 을 전적으로 자본주의의 경제적 불균형으로 돌렸던 ‘마르크스-레닌주의’ 이데올 로기(마르크스와 엥겔스가 제기한 원래의 기초로부터 이미 아주 멀어진)의 모든 권위를 날 려버렸다.

5. 좌파가 된다는 것은 전쟁에 반대하는 것
냉전의 종식은 다른 나라의 내정에 대한 간섭을 줄이지도 않았고, 모든 민중이 정치체제를 선택할 자유를 증대시키지도 않았다. 지난 25년 동안 심지어 UN의 위 임도 없이 터무니없이 ‘인도주의적’라고 규정한 수많은 전쟁들과 그밖에 불법 제 재, 정치·경제·언론의 통제 등 새로운 형태의 분쟁은 초강대국을 사이에 둔 세계의 양극 분할로 인해 ‘새로운 세계질서’라는 신자유주의적 주문(mantra)이 약속한 자 유와 진보의 시대로 이어지지 않았다. 이런 맥락에서 과거에 좌파의 가치를 내세 웠던 많은 정치세력들이 수많은 전쟁에 참여했다. 베를린 장벽 붕괴 이후 NATO 가 수행한 주요한 전쟁만 언급하더라도 코소보에서 이라크와, 아프가니스탄에서 이 세력은 매번 무장개입을 지지했고, 더욱더 우파와 구별할 수 없도록 행동했다.
2022년 현재 러시아-우크라이나 전쟁은 한 나라의 주권이 공격받을 때 좌파가 어떻게 대응할 것인가의 딜레마에 다시 한번 직면하게 했다. 러시아의 우크라이나 침공을 비난하지 않는 것은 베네수엘라 정부의 정치적 오류이며, 미국이 미래에 자행할 공격 행위에 대한 베네수엘라의 비난이 덜 신뢰성을 갖도록 보이게 한다. 마르크스가 1860년 페르디난트 라살(Ferdinand Lassale)에게 썼듯이, “대외정책에 서 ‘반동적’이나 ‘혁명적’이라는 구호를 사용해 얻을 것은 거의 없다”는 것은 사실 이다. 즉 “주관적으로 반동적인 것이 대외정책에서 객관적으로 혁명적”(Marx, 1860: MECW, Vol.41, pp.154)이다(인 것으로 판명될 수도 있다). 그러나 좌파세력은 20 세기로부터 ‘적의 적과의’(Musto, 2018: 132) 동맹이 비생산적 협정으로 귀결되고, 특히 우리 시대처럼 진보적 전선이 정치적으로 취약하고, 이론적으로 혼란스럽고, 대중투쟁의 지지를 결여하고 있을 때에 더욱 그렇다는 교훈을 배웠어야 했다.
『사회주의 혁명과 민족자결권』에 실린 레닌의 말을 상기해 보자. “한 제국주의 열강에 대항한 민족해방 투쟁이 특정한 상황 아래에서 동일하게 제국주의적인 이 해를 가진 다른 ‘거대’ 열강에게 이용당할 수도 있다는 사실은 사회민주주의가 민 족자결권의 승인을 비난하도록 하는 데 어떤 비중을 가져서는 안 된다”(Lenin, 1964b: 148). 지정학적 이해와 그 안에서 역시 대부분 작동하는 책략을 넘어 좌파세 력은 역사적으로 민족자결의 원칙을 지지했으며, 인민의 명확한 의지에 기초해 그 들의 국경을 수립할 원칙을 바탕으로 개별 국가의 권리를 수호했다. 좌파는 전쟁 과 ‘병합’이 지배민족과 피억압 민족의 노동자들 사이에서 극적인 갈등으로 이어 지고, 후자가 전자를 자신의 적으로 간주해 자국의 부르주아지와 단결할 조건을 창출한다는 점을 인식했기 때문에 전쟁과 병합에 반대해 투쟁했다. 『자결에 관한 토론 결과』(1916년)에서 레닌은 이렇게 썼다. “만약 사회주의 혁명이 페트로그라 드, 베를린, 바르샤바에서 승리한다면, 폴란드의 사회주의 정부는 러시아와 독일의 사회주의 정부처럼 폴란드 국가의 국경 내에서 우크라이나인의 ‘강제적 억류’를 비난할 것이다”(Lenin, 1964a: 329~330). 그렇다면 왜 블라디미르 푸틴이 이끄는 민 족주의 정부에 대해 어떤 다른 것을 양보해야 한다고 암시하는가?
다른 한편, 좌파에서 너무나 많은 이들이 직접 또는 간접적으로 공동 교전자가 되는 유혹에 굴복해 새로운 신성한 연합(union sacrée: 제1차 대전이 발발하자 정부의 전쟁 선택을 승인하기로 결정한 프랑스 좌파세력의 선서를 환영하기 위해 1914년 만들어진
표현)을 부추기고 있다. 오늘날 그런 입장은 더욱 대서양주의와 태평양주의 사이의 구별을 모호하게 한다. 역사는 진보세력이 전쟁에 반대하지 않을 때 존재 이유의 본질적 부분을 상실하여 결국 반대 진영의 이데올로기를 삼키게 된다는 사실을 보 여준다. 이런 일은 좌파 정당이 정부 참여를 정치 행동을 측정하는 근본적 방식으 로 삼을 때마다 일어난다. 예를 들어 이탈리아 공산주의자들은 코소보와 아프가니 스탄에 대한 NATO의 개입을 지지했고, 오늘날 스페인 좌파(Unidas Podemos)의 다 수는 스페인 의회 전체의 합창에 목소리를 더해 우크라이나 군대에 무기를 보내는 데 찬성했다. 그런 저급한 행위는 상황이 발생하자마자 치러지는 선거를 포함해 과거에 수차례 처벌받은 바 있다.

6. 보나파르트는 민주주의가 아니다 
1850년대 마르크스는 크림전쟁에 관한 훌륭한 일련의 논문을 작성했고, 거기에 는 오늘날과 비교해도 흥미롭고 유익한 내용을 많이 포함하고 있다. 마르크스는 『19 세기 외교사의 폭로』(1857)에서 러시아를 통일시키고 전제정의 기초를 마련했다고 여겨지는 15세기 모스크바 군주정에 관해 말하면서 이렇게 진술했다. “단지 일련 의 이름과 날짜를 다른 것으로 대체할 필요가 있으며, 그러면 […] 이반 3세의 정책 과 오늘날 러시아의 정책이 단지 비슷한 것이 아니라 동일하다는 것이 분명해진 다”(Marx, 1986: 86). 그러나 ≪뉴욕 데일리 트리뷴(New York Daily Tribune)≫에 기 고한 논설에서 마르크스는 반러시아 연합을 찬양한 자유주의적 민주주의자들에 반대하면서 이렇게 썼다. “러시아에 대한 전쟁을 자유와 폭정 사이의 전쟁으로 묘 사하는 것은 잘못이다. 그러한 경우가 사실이라면 자유가 임시로 보나파르트로 대 표될 것이라는 사실과는 별도로, 전쟁의 전체적인 공인된 목표는 […] 비엔나 조약 의 유지이지만, 바로 조약은 민족의 자유와 독립을 무효화한다”(Marx, 1980: 228). 보나파르트를 미국으로, 비엔나 조약을 NATO로 바꾸면, 이런 관찰은 오늘의 상 황을 위해 쓰인 것처럼 보인다.
NATO의 확대만이 아니라 러시아와 우크라이나 민족주의에 모두 반대하는 사 람들의 생각은 정치적 우유부단함 또는 이론적 모호성의 증거를 보여주지 않는다. 최근 몇 주 동안 수많은 전문가들이 분쟁의 뿌리에 관한 설명을 제공했고(그것은 결 코 러시아 침공의 야만성을 감소시키지 않는다), 비동맹정책을 제안하는 사람들의 입장 은 가능한 한 조속하게 전쟁을 중지하고 피해자 수의 최소화를 보장하는 가장 효 과적 방식이다. 그것은 추상적 이상주의에 빠진 ‘아름다운 영혼’처럼 행동하는 문 제가 아니며, 헤겔은 그런 사람이 지상의 모순의 실제적 현실에 다가갈 수 없다고 생각했다. 반대로 문제는 전쟁은 무제한적 확대의 유일하고 진정한 해독제에 현실 을 부여하는 것이다. 군비 지출 확대와 추가 징집을 호소하는 목소리 또는 외교 사 안 및 안보정책 고위 대표로서 우크라이나인들에게 ‘전쟁에 필요한 무기’를 제공 하는 것이 유럽의 의무라고 생각하는 사람들은 끝이 없다(Borrell, 2022). 그러나 이 런 입장과 대조적으로, 두 가지 확고한 원칙, 즉 분쟁의 비확대와 독립 우크라이나 의 중립성에 기초해 끊임없는 외교 활동을 추진하는 것이 필요하다.
러시아의 움직임에 따라 NATO에 대한 지지가 늘어났지만, 여론이 세계에서 가장 공격적인 전쟁 기계인 NATO를 전 세계 안보 문제에 대한 해결책으로 보지 않도록 활동을 강화할 필요가 있다. NATO는 위험하고 비효율적인 조직이며, 확 장과 전일적 지배를 추진하면서 전 세계를 전쟁으로 이끌 긴장을 부추기는 조직임 을 보여줘야 한다.
『사회주의와 전쟁』에서 레닌은 마르크스주의자는 “각각의 전쟁을 분리해서 연 구하는 것(마르크스의 변증법적 유물론의 입장에서)이 역사적으로 필요하다고 생각한 다”는 점에서 평화주의자나 무정부주의자들과 다르다고 주장했다. 계속해서 레닌 은 이렇게 주장했다. “역사에서 수많은 전쟁이 있었고, 모든 전쟁에 불가피하게 수 반하는 모든 공포, 잔혹, 고난과 고통에도 불구하고 전쟁은 진보적이었다, 즉 인류 의 발전에 혜택을 줬다”(Lenin, 1971: 299). 이 말이 과거에는 진실이었다 해도, 대 량살상무기가 지속적으로 확산되고 있는 현대사회에서 그런 말을 단순히 되풀이 하는 것은 근시안적일 것이다. 혁명과 혼동해서는 안 되지만, 전쟁은 사회주의 이 론가들이 희망하는 민주화 효과를 낸 적이 드물었다. 사실 전쟁은 대부분 인간 생 명의 희생과 그에 수반하는 생산력의 파괴 때문에 혁명을 수행하는 최악의 방법으 로 판명되었다. 사실 전쟁은 폭력 이데올로기를 유포하고 자주 민족주의 감정과 결합되어 노동자 운동을 갈기갈기 분열시켰다. 전쟁이 자주관리와 직접 민주주의 의 실천을 유리하게 했던 적은 드물었고, 그 대신 권위주의적 기관들의 권력을 강 화했다. 이것은 온건한 좌파도 결코 망각해서는 안 된다.
『전쟁에 관한 성찰』(1933)의 가장 풍부한 문구 가운데 하나에서 시몬 베이유는 ‘혁명이 전쟁을 회피할 수 있는지’ 의문을 제기한다. 그의 견해로는 그것은 우리가 ‘모든 희망을 포기’하길 원하지 않는 경우에 가질 수 있는 ‘박약한 가능성’일 뿐이 다(Weil, 2021[1933], op. cit., p.101). 혁명전쟁은 대부분 ‘혁명의 무덤’으로 바뀐다. 왜냐하면 “무장한 시민에게는 통제 기구 없이, 경찰의 압력 없이, 특별법원 없이, 탈영에 대한 처벌 없이 전쟁을 수행할 수단이 주어지지 않기” 때문이다. 어떤 다른 사회적 현상보다 더 전쟁은 군사, 관료, 경찰 기구를 팽창시킨다. “전쟁은 국가기 구 앞에서 개인의 총체적 소실로 이어진다”. 따라서 “만약 전쟁이 즉각적으로, 그 리고 영구히 종식되지 않으면 […] 그 결과는 마르크스의 말대로 국가의 분쇄 대신 에 국가기구를 완성하는 그런 혁명들 가운데 하나가 될 것이다”. 또는 더욱 더 명 확하게 “전쟁은 우리가 억압하길 원하는 체제를 다른 형태로 확대하는 것을 의미 할 수 있다”. 그렇다면 전쟁이 일어날 경우 “우리는 우리 자신을 톱니바퀴로 전락 시키는 전쟁 기계의 작동을 방해하는 것과 맹목적으로 인간 생명을 말살하는 기계 를 돕는 것 사이에서 선택을 해야 한다.”8)
좌파에게 클라우제비츠의 유명한 문구를 인용하자면, 전쟁은 “다른 수단에 의 한 정치의 계속”이 될 수 없다. 현실에서 전쟁은 정치의 실패를 확인할 뿐이다. 좌 파가 헤게모니를 회복하고 자신이 오늘날의 과제를 위해 자신의 역사를 이용할 수 있다는 것을 보여주고자 한다면, 좌파는 부정할 여지없이 자신의 깃발에 ‘반군사 주의’와 ‘전쟁 반대’를 새겨야 할 필요가 있다.

 

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La sinistra di fronte alla guerra

Le cause economiche della guerra
Se la scienza della politica ha fornito motivazioni ideologiche, politiche, economiche e persino psicologiche per spiegare le cause dei conflitti bellici, il pensiero socialista ha offerto il suo apporto più interessante alla comprensione di questo fenomeno evidenziando il forte nesso esistente tra lo sviluppo del capitalismo e la propagazione della guerra.
Nei dibattiti della Prima Internazionale (1864-1872), César de Paepe, uno dei suoi principali dirigenti, formulò quella che sarebbe divenuta la posizione classica del movimento operaio su questo tema, ovvero l’inevitabilità delle guerre nel regime di produzione capitalistico. Nella società moderna, esse non sono provocate dalle ambizioni dei monarchi o di singoli individui, bensì sono determinate dal modello economico-sociale dominante . Il movimento socialista indicò anche quale era la parte di popolazione sulla quale si abbattevano, ineluttabilmente, le conseguenze più nefaste delle guerre. Nel congresso del 1868, i delegati della Prima Internazionale votarono una mozione che impegnava i lavoratori a perseguire «l’abolizione definitiva di ogni guerra» , dal momento che sarebbero stati soprattutto loro a pagare economicamente, quando non con il loro sangue – e senza alcuna distinzione tra vincitori e sconfitti –, le decisioni delle classi dominanti e dei governi che li rappresentavano. La lezione di civiltà del movimento operaio nacque dal convincimento che ogni guerra andava considerata «come una guerra civile» , quale scontro feroce tra lavoratori che, al fine, non faceva altro che privarli dei mezzi necessari alla sopravvivenza. Contro la guerra occorreva agire alacremente, con la renitenza alla leva e attraverso lo sciopero. L’internazionalismo divenne, così, uno dei cardini ai quali ancorare la società dell’avvenire che, una volta superato il capitalismo e rimossa la concorrenza degli stati borghesi sul mercato mondiale, avrebbe eliminato anche le ragioni primarie alla base di ogni guerra.
Tra i precursori del socialismo, Claude Henri de Saint Simon si era decisamente schierato non solo in opposizione alla guerra, ma anche al conflitto sociale, ritenuti entrambi colpevoli di ostacolare il fondamentale progresso della produzione industriale. Karl Marx non riassunse in alcuno scritto le sue concezioni – frammentarie e talvolta contraddittorie – sulla guerra, né formulò linee guida per indicare l’atteggiamento più corretto da adottare in proposito. Quando dovette scegliere tra campi opposti, la sua unica costante fu l’opposizione alla Russia zarista, ritenuta l’avamposto della controrivoluzione e uno dei principali ostacoli all’emancipazione della classe lavoratrice . Nel Capitale (1867) affermò che la violenza era una potenza economica, «la levatrice di ogni vecchia società che è gravida di una nuova» . Tuttavia, non concepì la guerra come una necessaria scorciatoia per la trasformazione rivoluzionaria e impiegò una parte consistente della sua militanza politica per vincolare la classe operaia al principio della solidarietà internazionale. Come sostenne anche Friedrich Engels, questa agiva in modo determinante, nelle singole nazioni, contro il rischio di pacificazione del conflitto di classe che l’invenzione del nemico esterno, prodotto dalla propaganda bellica, generava ogni volta che scoppiava una guerra. In diverse lettere scambiate con dirigenti del movimento operaio, Engels pose l’accento sulla forza ideologica esercitata dall’inganno del patriottismo e sul ritardo che un’ondata sciovinistica avrebbe causato sull’inizio della rivoluzione proletaria. Inoltre, nell’Anti-Dühring (1878), dopo aver analizzato gli effetti della diffusione di armi sempre più letali, affermò che il socialismo aveva il compito di «fare saltare in aria il militarismo e, con esso, tutti gli eserciti permanenti» .
Il tema della guerra fu così importante per Engels che egli decise di dedicarvi uno dei suoi ultimi scritti. In L’Europa può disarmare? (1893), segnalò che, nel vecchio continente, durante i precedenti venticinque anni, ogni Stato aveva cercato di superare l’altro in potenza militare e in preparazione bellica. Ciò aveva generato una produzione di armamenti senza precedenti che rendeva possibile l’approssimarsi di «una guerra di distruzione che il mondo non aveva mai conosciuto» . Secondo il co-autore del Manifesto del partito comunista (1848), «in tutta Europa, il sistema degli eserciti permanenti era stato spinto a un punto talmente estremo da essere condannato a rovinare economicamente i popoli, per via delle spese belliche, o a degenerare in una guerra di annientamento generale». Nella sua analisi, Engels non trascurò di sottolineare che gli eserciti venivano mantenuti non solo per motivi militari, ma anche per fini politici. Essi dovevano «proteggere non tanto dal nemico esterno, quanto da quello interno». Si trattava di accrescere le forze che dovevano reprimere il proletariato e le lotte operaie. Poiché erano i ceti popolari a pagare più di tutti i costi della guerra, attraverso la massa di soldati che fornivano allo Stato e le imposte, il movimento operaio doveva battersi per una «riduzione omogenea e progressiva del servizio militare» e per il disarmo, considerato l’unica, effettiva, «garanzia della pace» .

Il fallimento alla prova dei fatti
Ben presto, da argomento teorico analizzato in tempi di pace, la lotta contro il militarismo divenne un problema politico preminente. Il movimento operaio dovette confrontarsi con alcune questioni concrete di fronte alle quali l’iniziale posizione assunta dai suoi rappresentanti fu la netta contrarietà a qualsiasi modalità di sostegno alla guerra. Nel conflitto franco-prussiano del 1870 (quello che precedette la nascita della Comune di Parigi), i deputati socialdemocratici Wilhelm Liebknecht e August Bebel condannarono i fini annessionistici perseguiti dalla Germania di Bismark e votarono contro i crediti di guerra. La loro decisione di «respingere la proposta di legge per il finanziamento di fondi aggiuntivi per continuare la guerra» costò la loro condanna a due anni di prigione per alto tradimento, ma contribuì a mostrare alla classe lavoratrice una strada alternativa a quella di concorrere, comunque, a incrementare la spirale del conflitto.
Con l’espansione imperialista da parte delle principali potenze europee, la controversia sulla guerra assunse un peso sempre più rilevante nel dibattito della Seconda Internazionale (1889-1916). Nel congresso della sua fondazione, venne approvata una mozione che sanciva la pace quale «prima condizione indispensabile di ogni emancipazione operaia» . La presunta politica di pace della borghesia venne irrisa e definita con il termine di «pace armata». Jean Jaurès, leader del Partito Socialista Francese (SFIO), in un discorso al parlamento del 1895, condensò in una frase, divenuta poi celebre, i timori delle forze di sinistra di fronte alla situazione del tempo: «sempre la vostra società, violenta e caotica, persino quando vuole la pace, persino quando è in stato di quiete apparente, reca in sé la guerra, come la nube reca in sé l’uragano» .
La Weltpolitik – la strategia aggressiva adottata dall’Impero tedesco per estendere il potere della Germania sul piano internazionale – modificò lo scenario geopolitico e il rafforzamento dei principi antimilitaristi nel movimento operaio influenzò, sempre più, le discussioni sulla guerra. Da questo momento in poi, quest’ultima non venne considerata soltanto come un’occasione propizia per lo sviluppo di scenari rivoluzionari che avrebbero accelerato il crollo del sistema (una tesi presente a sinistra sin dai tempi della Guerra Rivoluzionaria del 1792 ). La guerra, invece, venne concepita dal movimento operaio come pericolo per le sciagurate conseguenze – quali carestia, miseria e disoccupazione – che arrecava al proletariato. Essa costituiva, dunque, una grave minaccia per le forze progressiste e, come scrisse Karl Kautsky in La rivoluzione sociale (1902), in caso di guerra, queste ultime sarebbero state «pesantemente gravate di ulteriori compiti» che avrebbero allontanato, non avvicinato, il traguardo della vittoria finale.
La mozione «Sul militarismo e sui conflitti internazionali», votata al congresso della Seconda Internazionale di Stoccarda, nel 1907, riassunse tutti i punti divenuti, fino ad allora, patrimonio comune del movimento operaio. Tra essi figuravano: la scelta di voto contrario a leggi di bilancio che proponevano l’aumento delle spese militari, l’avversione agli eserciti permanenti e la volontà di sostituirli con un sistema di milizie popolari e, infine, l’adesione al progetto di istituire organismi internazionali di arbitrato per la ricomposizione pacifica dei conflitti tra le nazioni. Venne escluso, invece, il ricorso allo sciopero generale da proclamarsi contro ogni sorta di guerra, sostenuto da Gustave Hervé, poiché ritenuto, dalla maggioranza dei presenti, una posizione troppo radicale e troppo manichea. La mozione terminava con un emendamento redatto da Rosa Luxemburg, Vladimir Lenin e Julij Martov, nel quale si affermava che «nel caso in cui la guerra scoppiasse, i socialisti (avevano) il dovere d’intervenire per farla cessare prontamente e di utilizzare con tutte le loro forze la crisi economica e politica creata dalla guerra per agitare gli strati popolari più profondi e accelerare la caduta della dominazione capitalista» . Tale emendamento non obbligava il Partito Socialdemocratico Tedesco ad alcun mutamento della sua linea politica e, pertanto, anche i suoi rappresentanti lo approvarono. Questo testo fu l’ultimo documento inerente la guerra della Seconda Internazionale a riscuotere l’unanimità dei consensi.
L’intensificarsi della concorrenza tra gli Stati capitalisti sul mercato mondiale e lo scoppio di diversi conflitti locali resero lo scenario generale ancora più allarmante. La pubblicazione del libro di Jaurès La nuova armata (1911) favorì la discussione di un altro tema al centro del dibattito di quel periodo: la distinzione tra guerra offensiva e guerra difensiva, nonché sulla condotta da assumere rispetto a quest’ultima, anche nel caso in cui un paese vedesse minacciata la propria indipendenza. Per Jaurès il compito esclusivo dell’esercito era quello di difendere l’autonomia di una nazione da ogni aggressione offensiva – ovvero tutte quelle che non accettavano la risoluzione di un conflitto mediante arbitrato. Tutte le azioni militari che ricadevano in questo ambito erano da considerarsi legittime. La perspicace critica della Luxemburg verso questa posizione evidenziò come i «fenomeni storici quali le guerre moderne non (potevano) essere misurati con il metro della ‘giustizia’, o mediante uno schema cartaceo di difesa e aggressione» . Occorreva considerare, inoltre, la difficoltà di poter stabilire se una guerra fosse davvero offensiva o difensiva, ovvero se lo Stato che l’aveva iniziata avesse deliberatamente deciso di attaccare o era stato costretto a farlo a seguito degli stratagemmi adottati dalla nazione che gli si opponeva. Dunque, per la Luxemburg, tale distinzione andava scartata, così come andava criticata l’idea di «nazione armata» di Jaures, poiché tendeva, infine, ad accrescere la militarizzazione già esistente nella società.
Con il passare degli anni, la Seconda Internazionale si impegnò sempre meno a promuovere una concreta politica d’azione in favore della pace. L’opposizione al riarmo e ai preparativi bellici allora in atto fu molto blanda e un’ala del Partito Socialdemocratico Tedesco (SPD), divenuto sempre più legalista e moderato, barattò il suo voto favorevole ai crediti militari – e poi finanche l’appoggio all’espansione coloniale –, in cambio della concessione di maggiori libertà politiche in patria. Dirigenti di rilievo e riconosciuti teorici, quali Gustav Noske, Henry Hyndman e Arturo Labriola, furono tra i primi ad approdare a queste posizioni. Successivamente, la maggior parte dei socialdemocratici tedeschi, dei socialisti francesi, dei laburisti inglesi e delle altre forze riformiste europee finì con l’appoggiare la Prima Guerra Mondiale (1914-1918). Le conseguenze di questa scelta furono disastrose. Sostenendo la tesi che i «vantaggi del progresso» non dovessero essere monopolizzati dai capitalisti, il movimento operaio giunse a condividere gli obiettivi espansionistici delle classi dominanti e venne travolto dall’ideologia nazionalista. La Seconda Internazionale si rivelò del tutto impotente di fronte alla guerra, fallendo uno dei suoi intenti principali: preservare la pace.
Lenin e gli altri delegati al Congresso di Zimmerwald (1915), tra i quali Lev Trotsky che ne redasse il manifesto finale, prefigurarono che «per decine d’anni le spese della guerra avrebbero assorbito le migliori energie dei popoli, compromettendo la conquista di miglioramenti sociali e impedendo qualsiasi progresso». La guerra rivelava il «vero carattere del capitalismo moderno, che è incompatibile non solo con gli interessi delle classi operaie, ma anche con le condizioni elementari di esistenza della comunità umana» . Fu un monito che venne accolto solo da una minoranza del movimento operaio, al pari di quello indirizzato a tutti i lavoratori europei dal Congresso di Kienthal (1916): «i vostri governi e i loro giornali vi dicono che bisogna continuare la guerra per uccidere il militarismo. Essi vi ingannano! Mai la guerra ha ucciso la guerra. Anzi, essa suscita sentimenti e velleità di rivincita. In questo modo, i vostri padroni, votandovi al sacrificio, vi chiudono in un cerchio infernale» . Rompendo, infine, con l’approccio adottato al Congresso di Stoccarda, in favore degli organismi internazionali di arbitrato, nel documento finale di Kienthal si affermava che «le illusioni del pacifismo borghese» non sarebbero state in grado di interrompere la spirale della guerra e che, anzi, avrebbero concorso a preservare il sistema socioeconomico vigente. L’unico antidoto per impedire che insorgessero futuri conflitti bellici venne ravvisato nella conquista del potere politico e della proprietà capitalistica da parte delle masse popolari.
I due esponenti di punta del movimento operaio che si opposero con maggiore vigore alla guerra furono la Luxemburg e Lenin. La prima ammodernò il bagaglio teorico della sinistra sulla guerra e mostrò come il militarismo rappresentasse un nerbo vitale dello Stato . Sostenne, con convinzione ed efficacia paragonabile a quella di pochi altri dirigenti comunisti, che la parola d’ordine «guerra alla guerra!» doveva diventare «il punto cruciale della politica proletaria». Come scrisse nelle Tesi sui compiti della socialdemocrazia internazionale (1915), la Seconda Internazionale era implosa per non essere riuscita a «realizzare una tattica e un’azione comune del proletariato in tutti i paesi» . Pertanto, da quel momento in avanti, la classe lavoratrice doveva avere come «scopo principale», anche in tempo di pace, quello di «lottare contro l’imperialismo e di impedire le guerre» .
In Il socialismo e la guerra (1915) e in numerosi altri scritti composti durante la Prima Guerra Mondiale, Lenin ebbe il merito di enucleare due questioni fondamentali. La prima ineriva la «falsificazione storica» operata dalla borghesia, ogni qual volta aveva provato ad attribuire un significato «progressivo e di liberazione nazionale» a quelle che, in realtà, erano guerre «di rapina» , condotte con il solo obiettivo di decidere a quale delle parti belligeranti sarebbe toccato opprimere maggiormente popolazioni straniere e, al fine, accrescere le sperequazioni prodotte dal capitalismo. La seconda riguardò lo smascheramento delle contraddizioni dei socialisti riformisti – da Lenin definiti «socialsciovinisti» –, i quali finirono con il sostenere le ragioni della guerra, dopo averla descritta, nelle mozioni approvate dalla Seconda Internazionale, un’azione «delittuosa». Dietro la loro pretesa di «difendere la patria», si nascondeva il «diritto» che si arrogavano determinate grandi potenze di «depredare le colonie e di opprimere i popoli stranieri». Le guerre non venivano combattute per tutelare «l’esistenza delle nazioni», ma per la «difesa dei privilegi, del predominio, dei saccheggi, delle violenze» delle varie «borghesie imperialiste» . I socialisti che capitolarono davanti al patriottismo avevano barattato la lotta di classe con il «diritto alle briciole dei profitti ottenuti dalla loro borghesia nazionale, mediante il depredamento di altre nazioni» . Conseguentemente, Lenin si disse favorevole alle «guerre difensive», includendo in questa categoria non la difesa nazionale dei paesi europei indicata da Jaurès, ma le «guerre giuste» degli «Stati oppressi, assoggettati e privi di diritti» dalle «grandi potenze schiaviste che li opprimono e li depredano» . La tesi più celebre di questo scritto, ovvero la necessità per i rivoluzionari di «trasformare la guerra imperialista in guerra civile» indicò a quanti volevano una pace veramente «democratica e duratura» la necessità di condurre «la guerra civile contro i governi e la borghesia» . Lenin era convinto di ciò che la storia ha mostrato essere inesatto, ovvero che ogni lotta di classe condotta conseguentemente in tempo di guerra crea «inevitabilmente» stati d’animo rivoluzionari nelle masse.

Il discrimine nell’opposizione alla guerra
La Prima Guerra Mondiale procurò divisioni non solo in seno alla Seconda Internazionale, ma anche nel movimento anarchico. Poco dopo lo scoppio del conflitto, Kropotkin dichiarò, in un articolo che suscitò scalpore, «che il compito di ogni persona avente a cuore l’idea di progresso umano era quello di stroncare l’invasione dei tedeschi nell’Europa occidentale» . Questa affermazione, giudicata da molti come l’abbandono dei principi per i quali egli si era battuto per una vita intera, esprimeva il tentativo di andare oltre lo slogan dello «sciopero generale contro la guerra» – rimasto inascoltato dalle masse lavoratrici – e di evitare, nel caso di una vittoria tedesca del conflitto, l’arretramento generale dello scenario politico continentale. A suo giudizio, se gli antimilitaristi fossero rimasti inerti avrebbero indirettamente aiutato gli invasori nei loro piani di conquista e ciò, nel lungo termine, avrebbe rappresentato un ostacolo ancora più arduo da superare per quanti lottavano per la rivoluzione sociale.
Nella sua replica a Kropotkin, Errico Malatesta asserì che, pur non essendo un pacifista e nonostante ritenesse legittimo utilizzare le armi nell’evenienza di guerre di liberazione, il conflitto mondiale in corso non era – così come raccontava la propaganda borghese – una lotta della democrazia «per il benessere generale contro il nemico comune», ma un ennesimo esempio di sopraffazione della classe lavoratrice da parte dei poteri dominanti. Egli era consapevole che «la vittoria della Germania avrebbe certamente determinato il trionfo del militarismo, ma anche che il trionfo degli alleati avrebbe significato il dominio russo britannico in Europa e in Asia» .
Nel Manifesto dei Sedici (1916), Kropotkin postulò la necessità di «resistere a un aggressore che rappresenta l’annientamento di tutte le nostre speranze di emancipazione» . La vittoria della Triplice Intesa contro la Germania costituiva il male minore per non compromettere il livello di libertà esistente. Al contrario, coloro che firmarono con Malatesta il Manifesto internazionale anarchico sulla guerra (1915) espressero la convinzione che la responsabilità del conflitto non poteva ricadere su un singolo governo e che non andava «fatta nessuna distinzione tra guerra offensiva e difensiva». Aggiunsero, inoltre, che «nessuno dei belligeranti aveva il diritto di parlare a nome della civilizzazione o di considerarsi in uno stato di legittima difesa» . La Prima Guerra Mondiale era un ulteriore episodio del conflitto tra capitalisti di diversi stati imperialisti compiuta a spese della classe operaia. Malatesta, Emma Goldman, Ferdinand Nieuwenhuis e la stragrande maggioranza del movimento anarchico erano tutti convinti che sarebbe stato un errore imperdonabile appoggiare i governi borghesi e optarono, senza se e senza ma, in continuità con lo slogan «nessun uomo e neanche un centesimo per l’esercito», per un deciso rifiuto di partecipare – anche indirettamente – a qualsiasi ipotesi bellica.
Come comportarsi dinanzi alla guerra accese anche il dibattito del movimento femminista. A partire dal primo conflitto mondiale, la sostituzione degli uomini inviati al fronte – con un salario di gran lunga inferiore e, pertanto, in condizioni di sovrasfruttamento –, in impieghi precedentemente da loro monopolizzati, favorì il diffondersi di un’ideologia sciovinista anche in una fetta consistente del neonato movimento suffragista. Alcune sue dirigenti giunsero a promuovere petizioni per permettere alle donne di arruolarsi nell’esercito. Smascherare l’inganno dei governi del tempo – che, agitando lo spauracchio dell’aggressore alle porte, si servirono della guerra per derubricare fondamentali riforme di carattere sociale – rappresentò una delle conquiste più significative delle femministe comuniste del tempo. Clara Zetkin, Aleksandra Kollontaj, Silvia Pankhurst e, naturalmente, la Luxemburg, furono tra le prime ad avviare, con lucidità e coraggio, il cammino che indicò, a molte generazioni successive, come la battaglia contro il militarismo fosse un elemento essenziale della lotta contro il patriarcato. Dopo di loro, l’ostracismo alla guerra divenne un elemento distintivo della Giornata internazionale delle donne e, all’insorgere di ogni nuovo conflitto bellico, l’opposizione all’aumento delle spese di guerra figurò tra i punti salienti di numerose piattaforme del movimento femminista globale mondiale.

Il fine non giustifica i mezzi e i mezzi sbagliati danneggiano il fine
La profonda frattura politica consumatasi tra rivoluzionari e riformisti, le grandi distanze strategiche che separarono questi due campi dopo la nascita dell’Unione Sovietica e il dogmatico clima ideologico degli anni Venti e Trenta inficiarono la possibilità di un’alleanza contro il militarismo tra l’Internazionale Comunista (1919-1943) e i partiti socialisti e socialdemocratici europei . Dopo aver sostenuto la guerra, questi ultimi, riunitisi nell’Internazionale Operaia Socialista (1923-1940), si erano definitivamente screditati agli occhi dei primi. A Mosca, invece, resisteva la tesi leninista della “trasformazione della guerra imperialista in guerra civile», per suscitare una nuova fase rivoluzionaria. Dirigenti politici e teorici di primo piano ritenevano pressoché inevitabile un «nuovo 1914». Così, da entrambi i versanti, più che agire per impedire lo scoppio di una nuova guerra, si discuteva sul cosa fare quando essa sarebbe iniziata. Gli slogan e le dichiarazioni di principio divergevano sostanzialmente da quanto ci si attendeva potesse accadere e da quanto si trasformava in azione politica. Tra le voci critiche nel campo comunista vi furono quelle di Nikolaj Bucharin, assertore della parola d’ordine «lotta per la pace» e uno dei dirigenti russi più convinti che quest’ultima fosse «una delle più importanti questioni del mondo contemporaneo», e di Georgi Dimitrov, sostenitore della tesi che non tutte le grandi potenze fossero egualmente corresponsabili del possibile insorgere di un conflitto e favorevole al riavvicinamento con i partiti riformisti per costruire un amplio fronte popolare contro la guerra. Entrambe queste interpretazioni contrastarono la litania dell’ortodossia sovietica che, lungi dall’aggiornare l’analisi teorica, ripeteva che il pericolo della guerra si annidava, senza alcuna distinzione e con uguale corresponsabilità, in tutte le potenze imperialistiche.
Di tutt’altro avviso fu Mao Zedong. Alla testa del movimento di liberazione contro l’invasione giapponese, sostenne in Sulla guerra di lunga durata (1938) che le «guerre giuste» , quelle alle quali i comunisti dovevano prendere parte attivamente, sprigionavano una «grandissima forza, potevano trasformare moltissime cose o aprire la strada alla loro trasformazione» . La strategia indicata da Mao fu, dunque, quella di «lottare contro la guerra mediante la guerra, contrapporre una guerra giusta a una guerra ingiusta» e, inoltre, «prolungare la guerra fino a quando essa non avesse conseguito il suo scopo politico». Tesi che richiamano alla «onnipotenza della guerra rivoluzionaria» si trovano anche in La guerra e i problemi della strategia (1938), testo nel quale Mao sostenne che «non è possibile trasformare il mondo se non con un fucile» e che «il compito centrale e la forma suprema della rivoluzione stanno nella conquista del potere mediante la lotta armata, nella soluzione del problema mediante la guerra» .
In Europa, il crescendo di violenze perpetrate dal fronte nazi-fascista – nei confini nazionali così come in politica estera – e lo scoppio della Seconda Guerra Mondiale (1939-1945) generarono uno scenario ancora più nefasto di quello della guerra del 1914-1918. L’Unione Sovietica venne attaccata dalle truppe di Hitler nel 1941 e fu impegnata in quella Grande Guerra Patriottica che risultò decisiva al fine della sconfitta del nazismo e divenne, poi, un elemento così centrale dell’unità nazionale russa da essere sopravvissuta alla caduta del Muro di Berlino e da perdurare fino ai nostri giorni.
Con la successiva suddivisione del mondo in due blocchi, Iosif Stalin ritenne che il compito principale del movimento comunista internazionale continuasse a essere la salvaguardia dell’Unione Sovietica. La costituzione di una zona cuscinetto di otto paesi (sette dopo la fuoriuscita della Jugoslavia dalla sua orbita), in Europa dell’Est, rappresentò un elemento centrale di questa politica. Nel medesimo periodo, la Dottrina Truman segnò l’avvento di un nuovo tipo di guerra: la Guerra Fredda. Con il supporto alle forze anticomuniste in Grecia, attraverso il Piano Marshall (1948) e mediante la creazione della NATO (1949), gli Stati Uniti d’America scongiurarono la possibile avanzata delle forze progressiste nell’Europa occidentale. L’Unione Sovietica rispose con il Patto di Varsavia (1955). Questo scenario generò una spropositata corsa agli armamenti che riguardò, nonostante il ricordo, ancora vivissimo nell’opinione pubblica, dei bombardamenti di Hiroshima e Nagasaki, anche il proliferare delle testate nucleari.
A partire dal 1961, sotto la presidenza di Nikita Chruščëv, l’Unione Sovietica inaugurò un nuovo ciclo politico che prese il nome di Coesistenza pacifica. Questa svolta, contraddistinta dall’impegno di non ingerenza e di rispetto della sovranità dei singoli stati, nonché di cooperazione economica con alcuni paesi capitalisti, sarebbe dovuta servire a scongiurare il pericolo di un terzo conflitto mondiale (che anche la Crisi dei missili di Cuba, del 1962, aveva dimostrato possibile) e avrebbe dovuto suffragare la tesi della non inevitabilità della guerra. Tuttavia, questo tentativo di collaborazione costruttiva fu intrapreso esclusivamente nei rapporti con gli Stati Uniti d’America e non con i paesi del «socialismo reale». Nel 1956, infatti, l’Unione Sovietica aveva già represso nel sangue la rivolta ungherese. I partiti comunisti dell’Europa occidentale non condannarono, anzi giustificarono, l’intervento delle truppe sovietiche in nome della protezione del blocco socialista e Palmiro Togliatti, segretario del Partito Comunista Italiano, dichiarò: «si sta con la propria parte anche quando sbaglia» . La maggioranza di quanti condivisero questa posizione se ne pentì amaramente quando, anni dopo, compresero gli effetti devastanti prodotti dall’intervento sovietico.
Eventi analoghi accaddero in piena epoca di Coesistenza Pacifica, in Cecoslovacchia, nel 1968. Alle richieste di democratizzazione e di decentramento economico, fiorite con la «Primavera di Praga», il politburo del Comitato Centrale del Partito Comunista dell’Unione Sovietica rispose, con deliberazione unanime, inviando mezzo milione di soldati e migliaia di carri armati. Al congresso del Partito Operaio Unificato Polacco, del 1968, Leonid Brežnev spiegò di voler dare concreta attuazione a un principio che definì di «sovranità limitata». Egli affermò che «quando le forze che sono ostili al socialismo cercano di portare lo sviluppo di alcuni paesi socialisti verso il capitalismo, questo non diventa solo un problema del paese coinvolto, ma un problema comune e una preoccupazione per tutti i paesi socialisti». Secondo questa logica antidemocratica, la scelta di stabilire cosa fosse o non fosse «socialismo» era, naturalmente, puro arbitrio dei dirigenti sovietici. Questa volta, le critiche a sinistra non mancarono e furono, anzi, prevalenti. La riprovazione nei confronti dell’Unione Sovietica non fu espressa soltanto dai neonati movimenti della nuova sinistra, ma dalla maggioranza dei partiti comunisti e anche dalla Cina. Ciò nonostante, i russi non fecero marcia indietro e portarono a compimento quello che definirono essere un processo di «normalizzazione». L’Unione Sovietica continuò a destinare una parte significativa delle sue risorse economiche alle spese militari e ciò contribuì all’affermazione di una cultura autoritaria e di guerra nella società. Così facendo, si alienò, definitivamente, le simpatie del movimento per la pace, divenuto ancora più vasto in occasione delle straordinarie mobilitazioni contro la guerra in Vietnam.
Uno dei principali avvenimenti bellici verificatisi nel decennio successivo fu l’invasione sovietica dell’Afghanistan. Nel 1979, l’Armata Rossa tornò ad essere lo strumento principale della politica estera di Mosca, che continuava ad arrogarsi il diritto di intervenire in quella che riteneva essere la propria «zona di sicurezza». L’infausta decisione di occupare l’Afghanistan si trasformò in un estenuante stillicidio che si protrasse per oltre dieci anni, causando un numero ingente di morti e profughi. In questa occasione, le reticenze del movimento comunista internazionale furono molto minori rispetto a quelle palesatesi dinanzi agli attacchi sovietici in Ungheria e in Cecoslovacchia. Tuttavia, questa nuova guerra rese ancora più evidente, all’opinione pubblica mondiale, la frattura esistente tra il «socialismo reale» e una politica alternativa, fondata sull’opposizione al militarismo e sulla pace.
L’insieme di questi interventi militari non solo sfavorì il processo di riduzione generale degli armamenti, ma concorse a screditare e a indebolire globalmente il socialismo. L’Unione Sovietica venne percepita, sempre più, come una potenza imperiale che agiva in forme non dissimili da quelle degli Stati Uniti d’America che, parallelamente, dall’inizio della guerra fredda, si erano distinti per aver promosso, più o meno segretamente, colpi di stato e la sostituzione di governi democraticamente eletti in oltre 20 paesi del mondo. Infine, le «guerre socialiste» tra Cambogia e Vietnam e tra Cina e Vietnam, scoppiate nel biennio 1977-1979 e aventi come sfondo la crisi sino-sovietica, contribuirono a fare cadere l’ultima arma ancora nelle mani dell’ideologia «marxista-leninista» (che, in realtà, dell’impianto iniziale di Marx ed Engels aveva conservato ben poco), secondo la quale la guerra era determinata esclusivamente dagli squilibri economici generati dal capitalismo.

Se è sinistra, è contro la guerra
La fine della Guerra Fredda non ha diminuito le ingerenze nella sovranità territoriale dei singoli paesi, né ha accresciuto il livello di libertà, di ogni popolo, quanto a poter scegliere il regime politico dal quale intende essere governato. Le tante guerre intraprese – anche senza il mandato dell’ONU e definite, per assurdo, «umanitarie» – dagli Stati Uniti d’America negli ultimi venticinque anni, alle quali si sono aggiunte nuove forme di conflitti, di sanzioni illegali, e di condizionamenti politici, economici e mediatici, testimoniano che al bipolarismo tra le due superpotenze mondiali, caratteristico del «secolo breve», non è seguita l’era di libertà e progresso tanto propagandata dal mantra neoliberale del «Nuovo Ordine Mondiale» post-1991. In questo contesto, numerose forze politiche che un tempo si richiamavano ai valori della sinistra sono state compartecipi di diversi conflitti bellici e, dal Kosovo, all’Afghanistan, all’Iraq – per citare soltanto le principali guerre dichiarate dalla NATO, dopo la caduta del Muro di Berlino –, hanno, di volta in volta, dato il loro sostegno all’intervento armato, rendendosi sempre meno distinguibili dalla destra.
La Guerra Russo-Ucraina ha posto la sinistra nuovamente di fronte al dilemma del come comportarsi quando un paese vede minacciata la propria legittima sovranità. La mancata condanna dell’attacco della Russia all’Ucraina da parte del governo del Venezuela è un errore politico. Non disapprovare oggi l’invasione russa compromette la credibilità di denuncia verso altre aggressioni che potrebbero essere condotte, in futuro, dagli Stati Uniti d’America. È vero, come scrisse Marx a Ferdinand Lassalle, in una lettera del 1860, che «in politica estera parole come ‘reazionario’ e ‘rivoluzionario’ non servono a nulla» e che quanto «è reazionario dal punto di vista soggettivo» può rivelarsi «oggettivamente rivoluzionario in politica estera» . Tuttavia, le forze di sinistra avrebbero dovuto apprendere dal Novecento che le alleanze con il «nemico del mio nemico» conducono, spesso, ad accordi controproducenti. Ciò è ancor più vero quando, come nel nostro tempo storico, il fronte progressista è politicamente debole, teoricamente confuso e, inoltre, non è incalzato dalla forza delle mobilitazioni di massa.
Rammentando il Lenin di La rivoluzione socialista e il diritto delle nazioni all’autodecisione (1916), «il fatto che la lotta per la libertà nazionale contro una potenza imperialista può essere utilizzata, in certe condizioni, da un’altra grande potenza per i suoi scopi egualmente imperialisti, non può costringere la socialdemocrazia a rinunciare al riconoscimento del diritto di autodecisione delle nazioni» . Al di là degli interessi geopolitici e delle trame che, solitamente, a essi si accompagnano, le forze di sinistra hanno storicamente sostenuto il principio dell’autodeterminazione dei popoli e hanno ugualmente difeso il diritto di ogni singolo Stato a stabilire le proprie frontiere sulla base della volontà espressa dalla sua popolazione. La sinistra si è battuta contro guerre e «annessioni», perché consapevole che queste generano drammatici conflitti tra il proletariato della nazione dominante e quello della nazione oppressa e creano le condizioni affinché quest’ultimo si unisca alla propria borghesia nel considerare nemico il proletariato della nazione dominante. In Risultati della discussione sull’autodecisione (1916) Lenin scrisse: «se vincesse la rivoluzione socialista a San Pietroburgo, a Berlino e a Varsavia, il governo socialista polacco, come quello russo e tedesco, rinuncerebbe a mantenere con la violenza gli ucraini entro le frontiere dello Stato polacco» . Perché, dunque, ipotizzare che qualcosa di diverso debba essere concesso al governo nazionalista guidato da Putin?
D’altra parte, quanti a sinistra hanno ceduto alla tentazione di diventare – direttamente o indirettamente – co-belligeranti, dando vita a una nuova union sacrée (espressione coniata nel 1914, proprio per salutare l’abiura delle forze della sinistra francese che, allo scoppio della Prima Guerra Mondiale, decisero di avallare le scelte belliche del governo), contribuiscono a rendere sempre meno riconoscibile la distinzione tra atlantismo e pacifismo. La storia dimostra che, quando non si oppongono alla guerra, le forze progressiste smarriscono una parte essenziale della loro ragion d’essere e finiscono con l’essere inghiottite dall’ideologia del campo a loro avverso. Ciò succede ogni qual volta i partiti di sinistra fanno della loro presenza al governo la cifra fondamentale della loro azione politica – come nel caso dei comunisti italiani che appoggiarono gli interventi NATO in Kosovo e Afghanistan o, di quello odierno, della maggioranza di Unidas Podemos, che unisce la sua voce al coro unanime di tutto l’arco parlamentare spagnolo, in favore dell’invio di armi all’esercito ucraino. Già per il passato, in molti casi, questa subalternità è stata punita, anche elettoralmente, alla prima occasione possibile.

Bonaparte non è la democrazia
Quando Marx scrisse sulla Guerra di Crimea (1853-1856) per il New-York Daily Tribune compose una serie di brillanti articoli che contengono spunti di grande interesse utili per sviluppare parallelismi storici con l’oggi. Nel 1853, parlando del maggiore monarca moscovita del XV secolo – considerato colui che unificò la Russia e gettò le basi dell’autocrazia in quel paese – affermò: «basta sostituire una serie di date e nomi con degli altri e diventa chiaro che le politiche di Ivan III, e quelle della Russia di oggi, non sono semplicemente simili, ma identiche» . Purtroppo, questo esempio risuona ancora come attuale. L’anno seguente, invece, in opposizione ai democratici liberali che esaltavano la coalizione antirussa, Marx dichiarò: «è un errore definire la guerra contro la Russia come un conflitto tra libertà e dispotismo. A parte il fatto che, se ciò fosse vero, la libertà sarebbe attualmente rappresentata da un Bonaparte, l’obiettivo manifesto della guerra è il mantenimento dei trattati di Vienna, ossia di quegli stessi trattati che cancellano la libertà e l’indipendenza delle nazioni» . Se sostituissimo Bonaparte con gli Stati Uniti d’America e i trattati di Vienna con la NATO, queste osservazioni sembrano scritte per l’oggi.
La tesi di quanti si oppongono sia al nazionalismo russo e ucraino che all’espansione della NATO non contiene alcuna indecisione politica o ambiguità teorica. Al di là delle spiegazioni – fornite, in queste settimane, da numerosi esperti – sulle radici del conflitto (che non ridimensionano, in alcun modo, la barbarie dell’invasione russa), la posizione di quanti suggeriscono una politica di «non allineamento» è la più efficace per far cessare la guerra al più presto e assicurare che in questo conflitto vi sia il minor numero possibile di vittime. Non si tratta affatto di comportarsi come le «anime belle» imbevute di astratto idealismo che Georg Hegel riteneva incapaci di misurarsi con la realtà concreta delle contraddizioni terrene. Al contrario, significa dare forza all’unico vero antidoto all’espansione della guerra su scala generale. A differenza delle tante voci che invocano l’aumento delle spese militari e un nuovo arruolamento, o di chi, come il Commissario Europeo per le Relazioni Esterne, afferma che è compito dell’Europa fornire al governo ucraino «gli armamenti necessari per una guerra» , va perseguita un’incessante iniziativa diplomatica, basata su due punti fermi: la de-escalation e la neutralità dell’Ucraina indipendente.
Inoltre, nonostante essa appaia rafforzata a seguito delle mosse compiute dalla Russia, bisogna lavorare affinché l’opinione pubblica smetta di considerare la più grande e aggressiva macchina bellica del mondo – la NATO – come la soluzione ai problemi della sicurezza globale. Al contrario, va mostrato come questa sia un’organizzazione pericolosa e inefficace che, con la sua volontà di espansione e di dominio unipolare, contribuisce ad aumentare le tensioni belliche nel mondo.
In Il socialismo e la guerra, Lenin sostenne che i marxisti si distinguono dai pacifisti e dagli anarchici poiché riconoscono «la necessità dell’esame storico (dal punto di vista del materialismo dialettico di Marx sic!) di ogni singola guerra» . Continuando, affermò che «nella storia sono più volte avvenute guerre che, nonostante tutti gli orrori, le brutalità, le miserie ed i tormenti inevitabilmente connessi con ogni guerra, sono state progressive e utili all’evoluzione dell’umanità». Se ciò è stato vero per il passato, sarebbe miope ipotizzare che possa ripetersi nel contesto di diffusione delle armi di distruzione di massa della nostra società contemporanea. Raramente le guerre – da non confondere con le rivoluzioni – hanno avuto l’effetto democratizzante auspicato dai teorici del socialismo. Al contrario, esse si sono spesso rivelate come il modo peggiore per realizzare la rivoluzione, sia per il costo di vite umane che per la distruzione delle forze produttive che esse comportano. Le guerre diffondono, infatti, un’ideologia di violenza che si unisce, spesso, a quei sentimenti nazionalistici che hanno più volte lacerato il movimento operaio. Di rado, esse rafforzano pratiche di autogestione e democrazia diretta, mentre accrescono il potere di istituzioni autoritarie. È una lezione che non andrebbe mai dimenticata anche dalle sinistre moderate.
Il monito più fecondo delle Riflessioni sulla guerra (1933) di Simone Weil discende dalla capacità di saper comprendere «come può una rivoluzione evitare la guerra». Secondo l’autrice francese, «è su questa labile possibilità che occorre puntare, o abbandonare ogni speranza». La guerra rivoluzionaria si trasforma spesso nella «tomba della rivoluzione», poiché essa non permette ai «cittadini armati, di fare la guerra senza apparato dirigente, senza pressione poliziesca, senza giurisdizione speciale, senza pene per i disertori». La guerra incrementa, come nessun altro fenomeno sociale, l’apparato militare, poliziesco e burocratico. Cancella «l’individuo di fronte alla burocrazia statale con il sostegno di un fanatismo esasperato», avvantaggiando la macchina statale e non i lavoratori. Pertanto, la Weil ne desunse che «se la guerra non termina al più presto e per sempre (…) si avranno solo quelle rivoluzioni che, anziché distruggere l’apparato statale lo perfezionano» o, detto ancor più chiaramente, «si finirebbe per estendere sotto altra forma il regime che ci vuole sopprimere». E per questo che, in caso di guerra, «bisogna scegliere tra l’intralciare il funzionamento della macchina bellica, della quale siamo un ingranaggio, e l’aiutare quella macchina a stritolare alla cieca le vite umane» .
Per la sinistra, diversamente dal celebre detto di Carl von Clausewitz, la guerra non può essere «la continuazione della politica con altri mezzi». In realtà, essa altro non è se non la certificazione del suo fallimento. Se la sinistra vuole tornare a essere egemone e dimostrare di essere capace di declinare la sua storia per i compiti dell’oggi, deve scrivere sulle proprie bandiere, in maniera indelebile, le parole «antimilitarismo» e «no alla guerra!»

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The History and Legacy of the International Working Men’s Association

The Birth of Internationalism
On 28 September 1864, St. Martin’s Hall, in the heart of London, was packed to overflowing with some two thousand workers. They had come to attend a meeting called by English trade union leaders and a small group of companions from the Continent. This meeting gave birth to the prototype of all the main organizations of the workers’ movement: the International Working Men’s Association. Quickly, the International aroused passions all over Europe. It made class solidarity a shared ideal and inspired large numbers of women and men to struggle for the most radical of goals: changing the world. Thanks to its activity, workers were able to gain a clearer understanding of the mechanisms of the capitalist mode of production, to become more aware of their own strength, and to develop new, more advanced forms of struggle for their rights.
When it was founded, the central driving force of the International was British trade unionism, the leaders of which were mainly interested in economic questions. They fought to improve the workers’ conditions, but without calling capitalism into question. Hence, they conceived the International primarily as an instrument to prevent the import of manpower from abroad in the event of strikes. Then there were the mutualists, long dominant in France. In keeping with the theories of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1809–1865), they opposed any working-class involvement in politics, and the strike as a weapon of struggle. The third group in importance were the communists, opposing the existing system of production and espousing the necessity of political action to overthrow it. At its founding, the ranks of the International also included numbers of workers inspired by utopian theories, and exiles having vaguely democratic ideas and cross-class conception who considered the International as an instrument for the issuing of general appeals for the liberation of oppressed peoples.
Securing the cohabitation of all these currents in the International, around a programme so distant from the approaches with which each had started out, was Karl Marx’s (1818–1883) great political accomplishment. His political talents enabled him to reconcile the seemingly irreconcilable (Collins & Abramsky, 1965, p. 34). It was Marx who gave a clear purpose to the International, and who achieved a non-exclusionary, yet firmly working class-based, political programme that won it mass support beyond sectarianism. The political soul of its General Council was always Marx: he drafted all its main resolutions and prepared almost all its congress reports.
Nevertheless, despite the impression created by the Soviet Union’s propaganda and by the majority of the ideologically driven scholars who wrote on the International, this organization was much more than a single individual, even one as brilliant as Marx. The International was a vast social and political movement for the emancipation of the working classes; not, as it has often been written, the ‘creation of Marx’. It was made possible first of all by the labour movement’s struggles in the 1860s. One of its basic rules – and the fundamental distinction from previous labor organizations – was ‘that the emancipation of the working classes must be conquered by the working classes themselves’ (Engels & Marx, 2014, p. 265). The orthodox, dogmatic view of Marx’s role in the International, according to which he mechanically applied to the stage of history a political theory already forged in the confines of his study, is totally divorced from the historical reality. Marx was essential to the International, but also the International had a very positive impact on Marx (see Musto, 2018, pp. 171-239). Being directly involved in workers’ struggles, Marx was stimulated to develop and sometimes revise his ideas, to put old certainties up for discussion and ask himself new questions.

The Organizational Structure of the International
During its lifetime and in subsequent decades, the International was depicted as a vast, financially powerful organization. The size of its membership was always overestimated, whether because of imperfect knowledge or because some of its leaders exaggerated the real situation or because opponents were looking for a pretext to justify a brutal crackdown.
In reality, the membership figures were much lower. It has always been difficult to arrive at even approximate estimates, and that was true for its own leaders and those who studied it most closely. But the present state of research allows the hypothesis that, at its peak in 1871–1872, the tally reached more than 150,000: 50,000 in Britain, more than 30,000 in both France and Belgium, 6,000 in Switzerland, about 30,000 in Spain, 25,000 in Italy, more than 10,000 in Germany (but mostly members of the Social Democratic Workers’ Party), plus a few thousand each in a number of other European countries, 4,000 in the United States, and a few hundred in both Russia and Argentina.
In those times, when there was a dearth of effective working-class organizations apart from the English trade unions and the General Association of German Workers, such figures were certainly sizeable. It should also be borne in mind that, throughout its existence, the International was recognized as a legal organization only in Britain, Switzerland, Belgium, and the United States. In other countries where it had a solid presence (France, Spain, Italy), it was on the margins of legality for a number of years, and its members were subject to persecution. To join the International meant breaking the law in the 39 states of the German Confederation, and the few members in the Austro-Hungarian Empire were forced to operate in clandestine forms. On the other hand, the Association had a remarkable capacity to weld its components into a cohesive whole. Within a couple of years from its birth, it had succeeded in federating hundreds of workers’ societies. From the end of 1868, thanks to propaganda conducted by followers of Mikhail Bakunin (1814–1876), other societies were added in Spain, and after the Paris Commune sections sprang up also in Italy, Holland, Denmark, and Portugal. The development of the International was doubtless uneven: while it was growing in some countries, it was elsewhere remaining level or falling back under the blows of repression. Yet a strong sense of belonging prevailed among those who joined the International for even a short time. When the cycle of struggles in which they had taken part came to an end, and adversity and personal hardship forced them to take a distance, they retained the bonds of class solidarity and responded as best they could to the call for a rally, the words of a poster or the unfurling of the red flag of struggle, in the name of an organization that had sustained them in their hour of need (see Braunthal, 1966, p. 116).
Members of the International, however, comprised only a small part of the total workforce. In Paris they never numbered more than 10,000, and in other capital cities such as Rome, Vienna, or Berlin they were rare birds indeed. Another aspect is the character of the workers who joined the International: it was supposed to be the organization of wage-labourers, but very few actually became members. The main influx came from construction workers in England, textile workers in Belgium, and various types of artisans in France and Switzerland.
In Britain, with the sole exception of steelworkers, the International always had a sparse presence among the industrial proletariat (see Collins & Abramsky, 1965, p. 70; D’Hondt, 1968, p. 475) and nowhere did the latter ever form a majority. The other great limitation was the failure to draw in unskilled labour (see Collins & Abramsky, 1965, p. 289). The great majority of members of the International came from tailoring, clothing, shoemaking and cabinet-making – that is, from sectors of the working class that were then the best organized and the most class-conscious. Moreover, the International remained an organization of employed workers; the jobless never became part of it.
From an organizational point of view, despite the considerable autonomy granted to federations and local sections, the International always retained a locus of political leadership. Its General Council was the body that worked out a unifying synthesis of the various tendencies and issued guidelines for the organization as a whole. From October 1864 until August 1872, it met with great regularity, as many as 385 times. Its members debated a wide range of issues, such as: working conditions, the effects of new machinery, support for strikes, the role and importance of trade unions, the Irish question, various foreign policy matters, and, of course, how to build the society of the future. The General Council was also responsible for drafting the documents of the International: circulars, letters, and resolutions for current purposes; special manifestos, addresses, and appeals in particular circumstances (see Haupt, 1978, p. 78).

The Politics of the International
The lack of synchrony between the key organizational junctures and the main political events in the life of the International makes it difficult to reconstruct its history in chronological sequence. In terms of organization, the principal stages were: 1) the birth of the International (1864–1866), from its foundation to the First Congress; 2) the period of expansion (1866–1870); 3) the revolutionary surge and the repression following the Paris Commune (1871–1872); and 4) the split and crisis (1872–1877). In terms of its theoretical development, however, the principal stages were: 1) the initial debate among its various components and the laying of its own foundations (1864–1865); 2) the struggle for hegemony between collectivists and mutualists (1866–1869); and 3) the clash between centralists and autonomists (1870–1877).
In September 1866, the city of Geneva hosted the first congress of the International, with 60 delegates from Britain, France, Germany, and Switzerland. By then the Association could point to a very favourable balance-sheet of the two years since its foundation, having rallied to its banner more than one hundred trade unions and political organizations. Those taking part in the congress essentially divided into two blocs. The first, consisting of the British delegates, the few Germans and a majority of the Swiss, followed the directives of the General Council drawn up by Marx (who was not present in Geneva). The second, comprising the French delegates and some of the French-speaking Swiss, was made up of mutualists. At that time, in fact, moderate positions were prevalent in the International, and the mutualists, led by the Parisian Henri Tolain (1828–97), envisaged a society in which the worker would be at once producer, capitalist, and consumer. They regarded the granting of free credit as a decisive measure for the transformation of society; considered women’s labour to be objectionable from both an ethical and a social point of view; and opposed any interference by the state in work relations (including legislation to reduce the working day to eight hours) on the grounds that it would threaten the private relationship between workers and employers and strengthen the system currently in force. Basing themselves on resolutions prepared by Marx, the General Council leaders succeeded in marginalizing the numerically strong contingent of mutualists at the congress, and obtained votes in favour of state intervention.
From late 1866 on, strikes intensified in many countries and formed the core of a new and important wave of mobilizations. The first major struggle to be won with the International’s support was the Parisian bronze workers’ strike of the winter of 1867. Also successful in their outcome were the ironworkers’ strike of Marchienne, in Belgium, the long dispute in the Provençal mineral basin, and Geneva building workers’ strike. The scenario was the same in each of these events: workers in other countries raised funds in support of the strikers and agreed not to accept work that would have turned them into industrial mercenaries; as a result, the bosses were forced to compromise on many of the strikers’ demands. These advances were greatly favoured by the diffusion of newspapers that either sympathized with the ideas of the International, or were veritable organs of the General Council. They contributed to the development of class consciousness and the rapid circulation of news concerning the activity of the International.
Thus, for all the difficulties bound up with the diversity of nationalities, languages and political cultures, the International managed to achieve unity and coordination across a wide range of organizations and spontaneous struggles. Its greatest merit was to demonstrate the absolute need for class solidarity and international cooperation, moving decisively beyond the partial character of the initial objectives and strategies.
From 1867 on, strengthened by success in achieving these goals, by increased membership and by a more efficient organization, the International made advances all over Continental Europe. It was its breakthrough year in France in particular, where the bronze workers’ strike had the same knock-on effect that the London tailors’ strike had produced in England. But Britain was still the country where the International had its greatest presence. In the course of 1867, the affiliation of another dozen organizations took the membership to a good 50,000 – an impressive figure if we bear in mind that it was reached in just two years, and that the total unionized workforce was then roughly 800,000 (see Collins, 1968, p. 34).
This was the backdrop to the Lausanne congress of September 1867, where the International assembled with a new strength that had come from continuing broad-based expansion. There were 64 delegates from 6 countries (with one each from Belgium and Italy) attending this event and many of its most relevant debates were focused on Proudhonian themes (such as the cooperative movement and alternative uses of credit) dear to the strongly represented mutualists.
Right from the earliest days of the International, Proudhon’s ideas were hegemonic in France, French-speaking Switzerland, Wallonia, and the city of Brussels. His disciples, particularly Tolain and Ernest Édouard Fribourg *1834-1903), succeeded in making a mark with their positions on the founding meeting in 1864, the London Conference of 1865, and the Geneva and Lausanne Congresses. For four years the mutualists were the most moderate wing of the International. The British trade unions, which constituted the majority, did not share Marx’s anticapitalism, but nor did they have the same pull on the policies of the organization that the followers of Proudhon were able to exercise. Basing themselves on the theories of the French anarchist, the mutualists argued that the economic emancipation of the workers would be achieved through the founding of producer cooperatives and a central People’s Bank. Resolutely hostile to state intervention in any field, they opposed socialization of the land and the means of production as well as any use of the strike weapon. In 1868, for example, there were still many sections of the International that attached a negative, anti-economic value to this method of struggle. The Report of the Liège Section on Strikes was emblematic in this regard: ‘The strike is a struggle. It therefore increases the bubbling of hatred between the people and the bourgeoisie, separating ever further two classes that should merge and unite with each other’ (Maréchal, 1962, p. 268). The distance from the positions and theses of the General Council could scarcely have been greater.
The Brussels Congress, held in September 1868, with the participation of 99 delegates from France, Britain, Switzerland, Germany, Spain (one delegate), and Belgium (55 in total) , finally clipped the wings of the mutualists. The highpoint came when the assembly approved César De Paepe’s (1841–1890) proposal on the socialization of the means of production – a decisive step forward in defining the economic basis of socialism, no longer simply in the writings of particular intellectuals but in the programme of a great transnational organization. As regards the mines and transport, the congress declared:

1. That the quarries, collieries, and other mines, as well as the railways, ought in a normal state of society to belong to the community represented by the state, a state itself subject to the laws of justice.
2. That the quarries, collieries, and other mines, and Railways, be let by the state, not to companies of capitalists as at present, but to companies of working men bound by contract to guarantee to society the rational and scientific working of the railways, etc., at a price as nearly as possible approximate to the working expense. The same contract ought to reserve to the state the right to verify the accounts of the companies, so as to present the possibility of any reconstitution of monopolies. A second contract ought to guarantee the mutual right of each member of the companies in respect to his fellow workmen.
As to landed property, it was agreed that:

the economical development of modern society will create the social necessity of converting arable land into the common property of society, and of letting the soil on behalf of the state to agricultural companies under conditions analogous to those stated in regard to mines and railways.

And similar considerations were applied to the canals, roads and telegraphs: ‘Considering that the roads and other means of communication require a common social direction, the Congress thinks they ought to remain the common property of society’. Finally, some interesting points were made about the environment:

Considering that the abandonment of forests to private individuals causes the destruction of woods necessary for the conservation of springs, and, as a matter of course, of the good qualities of the soil, as well as the health and lives of the population, the Congress thinks that the forests ought to remain the property of society (see Marx, 2014c, p. 92).

In Brussels, then, the International made its first clear pronouncement on the socialization of the means of production by state authorities. This marked an important victory for the General Council and the first appearance of socialist principles in the political programme of a major workers’ organization.
In addition, the congress again discussed the question of war. A motion presented by Becker, which Marx later summarized in the published resolutions of the congress, stated:

The workers alone have an evident logical interest in finally abolishing all war, both economic and political, individual and national, because in the end they always have to pay with their blood and their labour for the settling of accounts between the belligerents, regardless of whether they are on the winning or losing side (Burgelin, Langfeldt, & Molnár, 1962a, p. 403).

The workers were called upon to treat every war ‘as a civil war’ (Burgelin, Langfeldt, & Molnár, 1962a, p. 403). De Paepe also suggested the use of the general strike (see De Paepe, 2014, pp. 230–1) – a proposal that Marx dismissed as ‘nonsense’ (Marx, 1988b, p. 101), but which actually tended to develop a class consciousness capable of going beyond merely economic struggles.
If the collectivist turn of the International began at the Brussels Congress, it was the Basel Congress held the next year that consolidated it and eradicated Proudhonism even in its French homeland. This time there were 78 delegates at the congress, drawn not only from France, Switzerland, Germany, Britain and Belgium, but also, a clear sign of expansion, from Spain, Italy, and Austria, plus a representative from the National Labor Union in the United States.
The resolutions of the Brussels Congress on landed property were reaffirmed, with 54 votes in favour, 4 against, and 13 abstentions. Eleven of the French delegates – including Eugène Varlin (1838–1871), later a prominent figure in the Paris Commune – even approved a new text which declared ‘that society has the right to abolish individual ownership of the land and to make it part of the community’ (Burgelin, Langfeldt, & Molnár, 1962b, p. 74); 10 abstained and 4 (including Tolain) voted against. After Basel, the International in France was no longer mutualist.
The Basel Congress was also of interest because Mikhail Bakunin (1814–1876) took part in the proceedings as a delegate. Having failed to win the leadership of the League for Peace and Freedom, he had founded the International Alliance for Socialist Democracy in September 1868 in Geneva, and in December this had applied to join the International. The General Council initially turned down the request, on the grounds that the International Alliance for Socialist Democracy continued to be affiliated to another, parallel transnational structure, and that one of its objectives – ‘the equalization of classes’ (Bakunin, 1973, p. 174) – was radically different from a central pillar of the International, the abolition of classes. Shortly afterwards, however, the Alliance modified its programme and agreed to wind up its network of sections, many of which existed only in Bakunin’s imagination anyway (see Carr, 1961, p. 392). On 28 July 1869, the 104-member Geneva section was accordingly admitted to the International. Marx knew Bakunin well enough, but he had underestimated the consequences of this step. For the influence of the famous Russian revolutionary rapidly increased in a number of Swiss, Spanish, and French sections (as it did in Italian ones after the Paris Commune), and at the Basel Congress, thanks to his charisma and forceful style of argument, he already managed to affect the outcome of its deliberations. The vote on the right of inheritance, for example, was the first occasion on which the delegates rejected a proposal of the General Council (Marx, 2014b, pp. 163–165). Having finally defeated the mutualists and laid the spectre of Proudhon to rest, Marx now had to confront a much tougher rival, who formed a new tendency – collectivist anarchism – and sought to win control of the organization.

The International and the Paris Commune
The period from late Sixties to early Seventies was rich in social conflicts. Many workers who took part in protest actions decided to make contact with the International, whose reputation was spreading ever wider, and despite its limited resources the General Council never failed to respond with appeals for solidarity to its European sections and the organization of fund-raising.
Across Europe, the Association continued to increase the number of its members and to develop an efficient organizational structure. During this period, Bakunin’s ideas began to spread in a number of cities, especially in Southern Europe. More symbolically significant still, at least for the hopes it initially awakened, was its new mooring on the other side of the Atlantic, where immigrants who had arrived in recent years began to establish the first sections of the International in the United States. However, the organization suffered from two handicaps at birth that it would never overcome. Despite repeated exhortations from the General Council in London, it was unable either to cut across the nationalist character of its various affiliated groups or to draw in workers born in the ‘New World’. When the German, French, and Czech sections founded the Central Committee of the International for North America, in December 1870, it was unique in the history of the International in having only ‘foreign-born’ members. The most striking aspect of this anomaly was that the International in the United States never disposed of an English-language press organ. At the beginning of the 1870s, the International reached a total of 50 sections with a combined membership of 4,000, but this was still only a tiny proportion of the American industrial workforce of more than two million.
With this general background, the International made provisions for its fifth congress in September 1870. This was originally scheduled to be held in Paris, but repressive operations by the French government made the General Council opt instead for Mainz. Marx probably also thought that the greater number of German delegates close to his positions would help to stem the advance of the Bakuninists. But then the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war, on 19 July 1870, left no choice but to call off the congress.
The conflict at the heart of Europe meant that the top priority now was to help the workers’ movement express an independent position, far from the nationalist rhetoric of the time. In his First Address on the Franco–Prussian War, Marx called upon the French workers to drive out Charles Louis Bonaparte (1808–1873) and to obliterate the empire he had established eighteen years earlier. The German workers, for their part, were supposed to prevent the defeat of Bonaparte from turning into an attack on the French people:

in contrast to old society, with its economical miseries and its political delirium, a new society is springing up, whose international rule will be Peace, because its national ruler will be everywhere the same – Labour! The pioneer of that new society is the International Working Men’s Association (Marx, 2014a, p. 239).

Although Bakunin had urged the workers to turn patriotic war into revolutionary war (see Lehning, 1977, p. xvi.), the General Council of the International Working Men’s Association in London initially opted for silence (see Musto, 2014, pp. 30–36). It charged Marx with the task of writing a text in the name of the International, but he delayed its publication for complicated, deeply held reasons. Well aware of the real relationship of forces on the ground as well as the weaknesses of the Paris Commune, born in March 1871, he knew that it was doomed to defeat. He had even tried to warn the French working class back in September 1870, in his Second Address on the Franco–Prussian War:

Any attempt at upsetting the new government in the present crisis, when the enemy is almost knocking at the doors of Paris, would be a desperate folly. The French workmen […] must not allow themselves to be swayed by the national souvenirs of 1792 […]. They have not to recapitulate the past, but to build up the future. Let them calmly and resolutely improve the opportunities of republican liberty, for the work of their own class organization. It will gift them with fresh herculean powers for the regeneration of France, and our common task – the emancipation of labour. Upon their energies and wisdom hinges the fate of the republic (Marx, 1986, p. 269).

A fervid declaration hailing the victory of the Paris Commune would have risked creating false expectations among workers throughout Europe, eventually becoming a source of demoralization and distrust. Marx therefore decided to postpone delivery and stayed away from meetings of the General Council for several weeks. His grim forebodings soon proved all too well founded, and on 28 May, little more than two months after its proclamation, the Paris Commune was drowned in blood. Two days later, he reappeared at the General Council with a manuscript entitled The Civil War in France. It was read and unanimously approved, then published over the names of all the Council members. The document had a huge impact over the next few weeks, greater than any other document of the workers’ movement in the nineteenth century.
Despite Marx’s passionate defense, and despite the claims both of reactionary opponents and of dogmatic Marxists eager to glorify the International, it is out of the question that the General Council actually pushed for the Parisian insurrection.
After the defeat of the Paris Commune, the International was at the eye of the storm, held to blame for every act against the established order. ‘When the great conflagration took place at Chicago’, Marx mused with bitter irony, ‘the telegraph round the world announced it as the infernal deed of the International; and it is really wonderful that to its demoniacal agency has not been attributed the hurricane ravaging the West Indies’ (Institute of Marxism-Leninism, 1967, p. 461). Governments all over Europe sharpened their instruments of repression, fearing that other uprisings might follow the one in Paris. Adolphe Thiers (1797–1877) immediately outlawed the International and asked the British prime minister, William Ewart Gladstone (1809–1898), to follow his example; it was the first diplomatic exchange relating to a workers’ organization. Pope Pius IX (1792–1878) exerted similar pressure on the Swiss government, arguing that it would a serious mistake to continue tolerating ‘that International sect which would like to treat the whole of Europe as it treated Paris. Those gentlemen […] are to be feared, because they work on behalf of the eternal enemies of God and mankind’ (Institute of Marxism-Leninism, 1968, p. 460). Giuseppe Mazzini – who for a time had looked to the International with hope – had similar views and considered that principles of the International had become those of ‘denial of God, […] the fatherland, […] and all individual property’ (Mazzini, 1978, pp. 499–501).
Criticism of the Paris Commune even spread to sections of the workers’ movement. Following the publication of The Civil War in France, both the trade union leader George Odger (1813–1877) and the old Chartist Benjamin Lucraft (1809–1897) resigned from the International, bending under the pressure of the hostile press campaign. However, no trade union withdrew its support for the organization – which suggests once again that the failure of the International to grow in Britain was due mainly to political apathy in the working class (Collins & Abramsky, 1965, p. 222).
Despite the bloody denouement in Paris and the wave of calumny and government repression elsewhere in Europe, the International grew stronger and more widely known in the wake of the Commune. For capitalists and the middle classes it represented a great threat to the established order, whereas for workers it fuelled hopes for a world without injustice, exploitation and alienation. The labour movement had an enormous vitality and that was apparent everywhere. Newspapers linked to the International increased in both number and overall sales. The insurrection of Paris fortified the workers’ movement, impelling it to adopt more radical positions and to intensify its militancy. Once again, France showed that revolution was possible, clarifying its goal to be building a society different from that of capitalism, but also that, to achieve this, the workers would have to create durable and well-organized forms of political association. The next step to take then, as stated by Marx, was understanding that ‘the economic movement [of the working class] and its political action are indissolubly united’ (Marx & Engels, 2014b, p. 285). That led the International to push (at the London Conference of 1871) for the foundation of a key instrument of the modern workers’ movement: the political party.
The most important decision taken at the conference, for which it would be remembered later, was the approval of Édouard Vaillant’s (1840–1915) Resolution IX. The leader of the Blanquists – whose residual forces had joined the International after the end of the Commune – proposed that the organization should be transformed into a centralized, disciplined party, under the leadership of the General Council. Despite some differences, particularly over the Blanquist position that a tightly organized nucleus of militants was sufficient for the revolution, Marx did not hesitate to form an alliance with Vaillant’s group: not only to strengthen the opposition to Bakuninite anarchism within the International, but above all to create a broader consensus for the changes deemed necessary in the new phase of the class struggle. The resolution passed in London therefore stated:

that against this collective power of the propertied classes the working class cannot act, as a class, except by constituting itself into a political party, distinct from, and opposed to, all old parties formed by the propertied classes; that this constitution of the working class into a political party is indispensable in order to ensure the triumph of the social revolution and its ultimate end – the abolition of classes; and that the combination of forces which the working class has already effected by its economic struggles ought at the same time to serve as a lever for its struggles against the political power of landlords and capitalists.

Centralists vs. Autonomists: The Crisis of the International
Whereas the Geneva Congress of 1866 established the importance of trade unions, the London Conference of 1871 shifted the focus to the political party. For Marx, the self-emancipation of the working class required a long and arduous process – the polar opposite of the theories and practices in Sergei Nechaev’s (1847–1882) Catechism of a Revolutionary, whose advocacy of secret societies was condemned by the delegates in London (see Burgelin, Langfeldt, & Molnár, 1962b, p. 237; Marx, 1988a, p. 23) but enthusiastically supported by Bakunin.
Marx was probably surprised when signs of restlessness and even rebellion against the political line of the General Council began to appear in many countries. In a number of federations, the decisions taken in London were judged an unacceptable encroachment on local political autonomy. The opposition to the General Council was varied in character and sometimes had mainly personal motives; a strange alchemy held it together and made leadership of the International very difficult.
The final battle came at the Fifth Congress of the International that took place in The Hague, in September 1872, and that was attended by 65 delegates from a total of 14 countries. The most important decision taken at The Hague was to incorporate Resolution IX of the 1871 London Conference into the statutes of the Association, as a new article 7a. Whereas the Provisional Statutes of 1864 had stated that ‘the economic emancipation of the working class is the great end to which every political movement ought to be subordinate as a means’ (Engels & Marx, 2014, p. 265), this insertion mirrored the new relationship of forces within the organization. Political struggle was now the necessary instrument for the transformation of society since: ‘the lords of land and the lords of capital will always use their political privileges for the defence and perpetuation of their economic monopolies, and for the enslavement of labour. The conquest of political power has therefore become the great duty of the working class’ (Engels & Marx, 2014, p. 268).
The International was now very different from how it had been at the time of its foundation: the radical-democratic components had walked out after being increasingly marginalized; the mutualists had been defeated and many converted; reformists no longer constituted the bulk of the organization (except in Britain); and anticapitalism had become the political line of the whole Association, as well as of recently formed tendencies such as the anarcho-collectivists. Moreover, although the years of the International had witnessed a degree of economic prosperity that in some cases made conditions less parlous, the workers understood that real change would come not through such palliatives but only through the end of human exploitation. They were also basing their struggles more and more on their own material needs, rather than the initiatives of particular groups to which they belonged.
The wider picture, too, was radically different. The unification of Germany in 1871 confirmed the onset of a new age in which the nation-state would be the central form of political, legal, and territorial identity; this placed a question mark over any supranational body that financed itself from membership dues in each individual country and required its members to surrender a sizeable share of their political leadership. At the same time, the growing differences between national movements and organizations made it extremely difficult for the General Council to produce a political synthesis capable of satisfying the demands of all. It is true that, right from the beginning, the International had been an agglomeration of trade unions and political associations far from easy to reconcile with one another, and that these had represented sensibilities and political tendencies more than organizations properly so called. By 1872, however, the various components of the Association – and workers’ struggles, more generally – had become much more clearly defined and structured. The legalization of the British trade unions had officially made them part of national political life; the Belgian Federation of the International was a ramified organization, with a central leadership capable of making significant, and autonomous, contributions to theory; Germany had two workers’ parties, the Social Democratic Workers’ Party of Germany and the General Association of German Workers, each with representation in parliament; the French workers, from Lyons to Paris, had already tried ‘storming the heavens’; and the Spanish Federation had expanded to the point where it was on the verge of becoming a mass organization. Similar changes had occurred in other countries.
The initial configuration of the International had thus become outmoded, just as its original mission had come to an end. The task was no longer to prepare for and organize Europe-wide support for strikes, nor to call congresses on the usefulness of trade unions or the need to socialize the land and the means of production. Such themes were now part of the collective heritage of the organization as a whole. After the Paris Commune, the real challenge for the workers’ movement was a revolutionary one: how to organize in such a way as to end the capitalist mode of production and to overthrow the institutions of the bourgeois world. It was no longer a question of how to reform the existing society, but how to build a new one (see Jacques Freymond, 1962, p. x). For this new advance in the class struggle, Marx thought it indispensable to build working-class political parties in each country.
It was therefore decided that the General Council of the organization had to be transferred to New York and this resolution represented the end of the International.

Internationalism after the International
In later decades, the workers’ movement adopted a consistent socialist programme, expanded throughout Europe and then the rest of the world, and built new structures of supranational coordination. Apart from the continuity of names (the Second International from 1889–1916, the Third International from 1919–1943, or the Socialist International created in 1951), the various ‘Internationals’ of socialist politics have referred – although in very different ways – to the legacy of the so-called ‘First’ International. Thus, its revolutionary message proved extraordinarily fertile, producing results over time much greater than those achieved during its existence.
The International was the locus of some of the most famous debates of labour movement, such as that on Communism and Anarchy. The congresses of the International were also the place where, for the first time, a major transnational organization came to decisions about crucial issues, which had been discussed before its foundation, that subsequently became strategic points in the political program of socialist movements across the world. Among these are: the indispensable function of trade unions; the socialization of land and means of productions; the importance of participating in elections, and doing this through independent parties of the working class; and the conception of war as an inevitable product of the capitalist system.
An abyss separates the hopes of those times from the mistrust so characteristic of our own, the anti-systemic spirit and solidarity of the age of the International from the ideological subordination and individualism of a world reshaped by neoliberal competition and privatization.
The world of labor has suffered an epochal defeat, and the Left is still in the midst of deep crisis (see Musto, 2017). After decades of neoliberal policies, we have returned to an exploitative system, similar from many points of view to that of the nineteenth century. Labor market ‘reforms’ — a term now shed of its original progressive mean¬ing — have introduced more and more ‘flexibility’ with each passing year, creating deeper inequalities. Other major political and economic shifts have succeeded one another after the collapse of the Soviet bloc. Among them, there have been the social changes generated by globalization, the ecological disasters produced by the present mode of production, the growing gulf between the wealthy exploitative few and the huge impoverished majority, one of the biggest economic crises of capitalism (the one erupted in 2008) in history, the blustery winds of war, racism and chauvinism, and, most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a context such as this, class solidarity is all the more indispensable. It was Marx himself who emphasized that the confrontation between workers — including between local and migrant workers (who are moreover discriminated) — is an essential element of the domination of the ruling classes. New ways of organizing social conflict, political parties, and trade unions must certainly be invented, as we cannot reproduce schemes used 150 years ago. But the old lesson of the International that workers are defeated if they do not organize a common front of the exploited is still valid. Without that, our only horizon is a war between the poor and unbridled competition between individuals.
The barbarism of today’s world order imposes upon the contemporary workers’ movement the urgent need to reorganize itself on the basis of two key characteristics of the International: the multiplicity of its structure and radicalism in objectives. The aims of the organization founded in London in 1864 are today more timely than ever. To rise to the challenges of the present, however, the new International cannot evade the twin requirements of pluralism and anticapitalism.

 

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Journal Articles

Marx’s Theory of the Dialectical Function of Capitalism

I.  The Importance of the Development of Capitalism in Marx’s Early Political Works
The conviction that expansion of the capitalist mode of production was a basic prerequisite for the birth of communist society runs through the whole of Marx’s oeuvre. In one of his first public lectures, which he gave at the German Workers’ Association in Brussels and incorporated into a preparatory manuscript entitled “Wages,” Marx spoke of a “‘positive aspect of capital,’ of large-scale industry, of free competition, of the world market” (1976, 436). To the workers who had come to listen to him, he said:

I do not need to explain to you in detail how without these production relations neither the means of production—the material means for the emancipation of the proletariat and the foundation of a new society—would have been created, nor would the proletariat itself have taken to the unification and development through which it is really capable of revolutionizing the old society and itself. (Marx 1976, 436)

In the Manifesto of the Communist Party, he argued with Engels that revolutionary attempts by the working class during the final crisis of feudal society had been doomed to failure, “owing to the then-undeveloped state of the proletariat, as well as to the absence of the material conditions for its emancipation, conditions [. . .] that could be produced by the impending bourgeois epoch alone” (Marx and Engels 1976, 514). Nevertheless, he recognized more than one merit in that period: not only had it “put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations” (486); “for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it [had] substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation” (487). Marx and Engels did not hesitate to declare that “the bourgeoisie, historically, has played a most revolutionary part” (486). By making use of geographical discoveries and the nascent world market, it had “given a cosmopolitan character to production and consumption in every country” (488). Moreover, in the course of barely a century, “the bourgeoisie [had] created more colossal and more massive productive forces than all preceding generations together” (489). This had been possible once it had “subjected the country to the rule of the towns” and rescued “a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural life” so widespread in European feudal society (488).  More important still, the bourgeoisie had “forged the weapons that bring death to itself” and the human beings to use them: “the modern working class, the proletarians” (490); these were growing at the same pace at which the bourgeoisie was expanding. For Marx and Engels, “the advance of industry, whose involuntary promoter is the bourgeoisie, replaces the isolation of the labourers, due to competition, by their revolutionary combination, due to association” (496).
Marx developed similar ideas in The Class Struggles in France, arguing that only the rule of the bourgeoisie “tears up the roots of feudal society and levels the ground on which a proletarian revolution is alone possible” (Marx 1978, 56). Also in the early 1850s, when commenting on the principal political events of the time, he further theorized the idea of capitalism as a necessary prerequisite for the birth of a new type of society.  In one of the reviews, he wrote hand in hand with Engels for the Neue Rheinische Zeitung, he argued that in China “in eight years the calico bales of the English bourgeoisie [had] brought the oldest and least perturbable kingdom on earth to the eve of a social upheaval, which, in any event, is bound to have the most significant results for civilization” (Marx and Engels 1978, 267).
Three years later, in “The Future Results of British Rule in India,” he asserted: “England has to fulfil a double mission in India: one destructive, the other regenerating—the annihilation of old Asiatic society, and laying the material foundations of Western society in Asia” (Marx 1979a, 217–218). He had no illusions about the basic features of capitalism, being well aware that the bourgeoisie had never “effected a progress without dragging individuals and people through blood and dirt, through misery and degradation” (221). But he was also convinced that world trade and the development of the productive forces of human beings, through the transformation of material production into “scientific domination of natural agencies,” were creating the basis for a different society: “bourgeois industry and commerce [would] create these material conditions of a new world” (222).
Marx’s views on the British presence in India were amended a few years later, in an article for the New York Tribune on the Sepoy rebellion, when he resolutely sided with those “attempting to expel the foreign conquerors” (Marx 1986, 341). His judgment on capitalism, on the other hand, was reaffirmed, with a more political edge, in the brilliant “Speech at the Anniversary of the People’s Paper.”. Here, in recalling that historically unprecedented industrial and scientific forces had come into being with capitalism, he told the militants present at the event that “steam, electricity and the self-acting mule were revolutionists of a rather more dangerous character than even the citizens Barbès, Raspail and Blanqui” (Marx 1980, 655).

II. The Conception of Capitalism in Marx’s Economic Writings
In the Grundrisse, Marx repeated several times the idea that certain “civilizing tendencies” of society manifested themselves with capitalism (Marx 1973, 414). He mentioned the “civilizing tendency of external trade” (256), as well as the “propagandistic (civilizing) tendency” of the “production of capital,” an “exclusive” property that had never manifested itself in “earlier conditions of production” (542). He even went so far as to quote appreciatively the historian John Wade (1788–1875), who, in reflecting on the creation of free time generated by the division of labour, had suggested that “capital is only another name for civilization” (585).
At the same time, however, Marx attacked the capitalist as “usurper” of the “free time created by the workers for society” (Marx 1973, 634). In a passage very close to the positions expressed in the Manifesto of the Communist Party or, in 1853, in the columns of the New York Tribune, Marx wrote:

production founded on capital creates universal industriousness on one side [. . . and] on the other side a system of general exploitation of the natural and human qualities, a system of general utility [. . .]. Thus, capital creates the bourgeois society, and the universal appropriation of nature as well as of the social bond itself by the members of society. Hence the great civilizing influence of capital; its production of a stage of society in comparison to which all earlier ones appear as mere local developments of humanity and as nature-idolatry. For the first time, nature becomes purely an object for humankind, purely a matter of utility; ceases to be recognized as a power for itself. [. . .] In accord with this tendency, capital drives beyond national barriers and prejudices as much as beyond nature worship, as well as all traditional, confined, complacent, encrusted satisfactions of present needs, and reproductions of old ways of life. It is destructive towards all of this, and constantly revolutionizes it, tearing down all the barriers which hem in the development of the forces of production, the expansion of needs, the all-sided development of production, and the exploitation and exchange of natural and mental forces. (Marx 1973, 409–10)

At the time of the Grundrisse, therefore, the ecological question was still in the background of Marx’s preoccupations, subordinate to the question of the potential development of individuals.
One of Marx’s most analytic accounts of the positive effects of capitalist production may be found in volume one of Capital.  Although much more conscious than in the past of the destructive character of capitalism, his magnum opus repeats the six conditions generated by capital—particularly its “centralization”—which are the fundamental prerequisites that lay the potential for the birth of communist society. These conditions are: 1) cooperative labour; 2) the application of science and technology to production; 3) the appropriation of the forces of nature by production; 4) the creation of large machinery that workers can only operate in common; 5) the economizing of the means of production; and 6) the tendency to create the world market. For Marx,

hand in hand with [. . .] this expropriation of many capitalists by a few, other developments take place on an ever-increasing scale, such as the growth of the co-operative form of the labour process, the conscious technical application of science, the planned exploitation of the soil, the transformation of the means of labour into forms in which they can only be used in common, the economizing of all means of production by their use as the means of production of combined, socialized labour, the entanglement of all peoples in the net of the world market, and, with this, the growth of the international character of the capitalist regime. (Marx 1992a, 929)

Marx well knew that, with the concentration of production in the hands of fewer and fewer bosses, “the mass of misery, oppression, slavery, degradation and exploitation” (Marx 1992a, 929) was increasing for the working classes, but he was also aware that “the cooperation of wage-labourers is entirely brought about by the capital that employs them” (Marx 1992a, 453). He had come to the conclusion that the extraordinary growth of productive forces under capitalism—a phenomenon greater than in all previous modes of production—had created the conditions to overcome the social-economic relations it had itself generated, and hence to advance to a socialist society. As in his considerations on the economic profile of non-European societies, the central point of Marx’s thinking here was the progression of capitalism towards its own overthrow. In volume three of Capital, he wrote that “usury” had a “revolutionary effect” in so far as it contributed to the destruction and dissolution of “forms of ownership which provide[d] a firm basis for the articulation of [medieval] political life and whose constant reproduction [was] a necessity for that life.” The ruin of the feudal lords and petty production meant “centralizating the conditions of labour” (Marx 1993, 732).
In volume one of Capital, Marx wrote that “the capitalist mode of production is a historically necessary condition for the transformation of the labour process into a social process” (Marx 1992a, 453). As he saw it, “the socially productive power of labour develops as a free gift to capital whenever the workers are placed under certain conditions, and it is capital which places them under these conditions” (Marx 1992a, 451). Marx maintained that the most favourable circumstances for communism could develop only with the expansion of capital:

He [the capitalist] is fanatically intent on the valorization of value; consequently, he ruthlessly forces the human race to produce for production’s sake. In this way he spurs on the development of society’s productive forces, and the creation of those material conditions of production which alone can form the real basis of a higher form of society, a society in which the free and full development of every individual form the ruling principle. (Marx 1992a, 739)

Subsequent reflections on the decisive role of the capitalist mode of production in making communism a real historical possibility appear all the way through Marx’s critique of political economy. To be sure, he had clearly understood—as he wrote in the Grundrisse—that, if one of the tendencies of capital is “to create disposable time,” it subsequently “converts it into surplus value” (Marx 1973, 708). Still, with this mode of production, labour is valorized to the maximum, while “the amount of labour necessary for the production of a given object is [. . .] reduced to a minimum.” For Marx this was a fundamental point. The change it involved would “redound to the benefit of emancipated labour” and was “the condition of its emancipation” (Marx 1973, 701). Capital was thus, “despite itself, instrumental in creating the means of social disposable time, in order to replace labour time for the whole society to a diminishing minimum, and thus to free everyone’s time for their own development” (Marx 1973, 708).
Marx also noted that, to bring about a society in which the universal development of individuals was achievable, it was “necessary above all that the full development of the forces of production” should have become “the condition of production” (Marx 1973, 542). He therefore stated that the “great historical quality” of capital is:

to create this surplus labour, superfluous labour from the standpoint of mere use value, mere subsistence; and its historic destiny is fulfilled as soon as, on one side, there has been such a development of needs that surplus labour above and beyond necessity has itself become a general need arising out of individual needs themselves—and, on the other side, when the severe discipline of capital, acting on succeeding generations, has developed general industriousness as the general property of the new species—and, finally, when the development of the productive powers of labour, which capital incessantly whips onward with its unlimited mania for wealth, and of the sole conditions in which this mania can be realized, have flourished to the stage where the possession and preservation of general wealth require a lesser labour time of society as a whole, and where the labouring society relates scientifically to the process of its progressive reproduction, its reproduction in a constantly greater abundance; hence where labour in which a human being does what a thing could do has ceased. [. . .] This is why capital is productive; i.e., an essential relation for the development of the social productive forces. It ceases to exist as such only where the development of these productive forces themselves encounters its barrier in capital itself. (Marx 1973, 325)

Marx reaffirmed these convictions in the text “Results of the Immediate Process of Production.”  Having recalled the structural limits of capitalism—above all, the fact that it is a mode of “production in contradiction, and indifference, to the producer”—he focuses on its “positive side” (Marx 1992b, 1037). In comparison with the past, capitalism presents itself as “a form of production not bound to a level of needs laid down in advance, and hence it does not predetermine the course of production itself” (1037). It is precisely the growth of “the social productive forces of labour” that explains “the historic significance of capitalist production in its specific form” (1024). Marx, then, in the social-economic conditions of his time, regarded as fundamental the process of the creation of “wealth as such, i.e., the relentless productive forces of social labour, which alone can form the material base of a free human society” (990). What was “necessary” was to “abolish the contradictory form of capitalism” (1065).
The same theme recurs in volume three of Capital, when Marx underlines that the raising of “the conditions of production into general, communal, social conditions [. . .] is brought about by the development of the productive forces under capitalist production and by the manner and form in which this development is accomplished” (Marx 1993, 373).
While holding that capitalism was the best system yet to have existed, in terms of the capacity to expand the productive forces to the maximum, Marx also recognized that—despite the ruthless exploitation of human beings—it had a number of potentially progressive elements that allowed individual capacities to be fulfilled much more than in past societies.
Deeply averse to the productivist maxim of capitalism, to the primacy of exchange-value and the imperative of surplus-value production, Marx considered the question of increased productivity in relation to the growth of individual capacities. Thus, he pointed out in the Grundrisse:

Not only do the objective conditions change in the act of reproduction, e.g., the village becomes a town, the wilderness a cleared field, etc., but the producers change, too, in that they bring out new qualities in themselves, develop themselves in production, transform themselves, develop new powers and ideas, new modes of intercourse, new needs and new language. (Marx 1973, 494)

This greatly more intense and complex development of the productive forces generated “the richest development of the individuals” (541) and “the universality of relations” (542). For Marx,

Capital’s ceaseless striving towards the general form of wealth drives labour beyond the limits of its natural paltriness, and thus creates the material elements for the development of the rich individuality which is as all-sided in its production as in its consumption, and whose labour also therefore appears no longer as labour, but as the full development of activity itself, in which natural necessity in its direct form has disappeared; because a historically created need has taken the place of the natural one. (325)

In short, for Marx capitalist production certainly produced “the alienation of the individual from himself and from others, but also the universality and the comprehensiveness of his relations and capacities” (162). Marx emphasized this point a number of times.
In the Economic Manuscripts of 1861–1863, he noted that “a greater diversity of production [and] an extension of the sphere of social needs and the means for their satisfaction [. . .] also impels the development of human productive capacity and thereby the activation of human dispositions in fresh directions” (Marx 1988a, 199). In Theories of Surplus Value (1861–1863), he made it clear that the unprecedented growth of the productive forces generated by capitalism not only had economic effects but “revolutionises all political and social relationships” (Marx 1991, 344). And in volume one of Capital, he wrote that “the exchange of commodities breaks through all the individual and local limitations of the direct exchange of products, [but] there also develops a whole network of social connections of natural origin [gesellschaftlicher Naturzusammenhänge], entirely beyond the control of the human agents” (Marx 1992a, 207). It is a question of production that takes place “in a form adequate to the full development of the human race” (Marx 1992a, 638).
Finally, Marx took a positive view of certain tendencies in capitalism regarding women’s emancipation and the modernization of relations within the domestic sphere. In the important political document “Instructions for the Delegates of the Provisional General Council: The Different Questions,” which he drafted for the first congress of the International Working Men’s Association in 1866, he wrote that “although under capital it was distorted into an abomination [. . .] to make children and juvenile persons of both sexes co-operate in the great work of social production [is] a progressive, sound and legitimate tendency” (Marx 1985a, 188).
Similar judgments may be found in volume one of Capital, where he wrote:

However terrible and disgusting the dissolution of the old family ties within the capitalist system may appear, large-scale industry, by assigning an important part in socially organized processes of production, outside the sphere of the domestic economy, to women, young persons and children of both sexes, does nevertheless create a new economic foundation for a higher form of the family and of relations between the sexes. (Marx 1992a, 620–621)

Marx further noted that “the capitalist mode of production completes the disintegration of the primitive familial union which bound agriculture and manufacture together when they were both at an undeveloped and childlike stage.” One result of this was an “ever-growing preponderance [of] the urban population,” “the historical motive power of society” which “capitalist production collects together in great centres” (637). Using the dialectical method, to which he made frequent recourse in Capital and in its preparatory manuscripts, Marx argued that “the elements for forming a new society” were taking shape through the “maturing [of] material conditions and the social combination of the process of production” under capitalism (635). The material premises were thus being created for “a new and higher synthesis” (637). Although the revolution would never arise purely through economic dynamics but would always require the political factor as well, the advent of communism “requires that society possess a material foundation, or a series of material conditions of existence, which in their turn are the natural and spontaneous product [naturwüchsige Produkt] of a long and tormented historical development” (173).

III. Capitalism in Marx’s Later Political Interventions
Similar theses are presented in a number of short but significant political texts, contemporaneous with or subsequent to the composition of Capital, which confirm the continuity of Marx’s thinking. In Value, Price and Profit, he urged workers to grasp that, “with all the miseries that [capitalism] imposes on them, the present system simultaneously engenders the material conditions and the social forms necessary for an economic reconstruction of society” (Marx 1985c, 149).
In the “Confidential Communication on Bakunin” (1985d) sent on behalf of the General Council of the International Working Men’s Association to the Brunswick committee of the Social-Democratic Workers’ Party of Germany (SDAP), Marx maintained that “although revolutionary initiative will probably come from France, England alone can serve as the lever for a serious economic revolution.”  He explained this as follows:

It is the only country where there are no more peasants and where landed property is concentrated in a few hands. It is the only country where the capitalist form—that is to say, combined labour on a large scale under capitalist masters—embraces virtually the whole of production. It is the only country where the great majority of the population consists of wage labourers. It is the only country where the class struggle and the organization of the working class by the trade unions have attained a certain degree of maturity and universality. It is the only country where, because of its domination on the world market, every revolution in economic matters must immediately affect the whole world. If landlordism and capitalism are classical features in England, on the other hand, the material conditions for their destruction are the most mature here. (Marx 1985d, 86)

In his “Notes on Bakunin’s Book Statehood and Anarchy,” which contain important indications of his radical differences with the Russian revolutionary concerning the prerequisites for an alternative society to capitalism, Marx reaffirmed, also with respect to the social subject that would lead the struggle for socialism that “a social revolution is bound up with definite historical conditions of economic development; these are its premises. It is only possible, therefore, where alongside capitalist production the industrial proletariat accounts for at least a significant mass of the people” (Marx 1989e, 518).
In the “Critique of the Gotha Programme” (1989f), in which he took issue with aspects of the platform for unification of the General Association of German Workers (ADAV) and the Social Democratic Workers’ Party of Germany, Marx proposed: “In proportion as labour develops socially, and becomes therefore a source of wealth and culture, poverty and destitution develop among the workers, and wealth and culture among the non-workers.” And he added: “What had to be done here [. . .] was to prove concretely how in present capitalist society the material, etc., conditions have at last been created which enable and compel the workers to lift this historical curse” (Marx 1989f, 82–83).
Finally, in the “Preamble to the Programme of the French Workers’ Party” (1989g), a short text which he wrote three years before his death, Marx emphasized that an essential condition for the workers to be able to appropriate the means of production was “the collective form, whose material and intellectual elements are shaped by the very development of capitalist society” (Marx 1989g, 340).
Thus, with a continuity stretching from his early formulations of the materialist conception of history, in the 1840s, to his final political interventions of the 1880s, Marx highlighted the fundamental relationship between the productive growth generated by the capitalist mode of production and the preconditions for the communist society for which the workers’ movement must struggle. The research he conducted in the last years of his life, however, helped him to review this conviction and to avoid falling into the economism that marked the analyses of so many of his followers.

IV. A Not Always Necessary Transition 
Marx regarded capitalism as a “necessary point of transition” (Marx 1973, 515) for the conditions to unfold that would allow the proletariat to fight with some prospect of success to establish a socialist mode of production. In another passage in the Grundrisse, he repeated that capitalism was a “point of transition” (540) towards the further progress of society, which would permit “the highest development of the forces of production” and “the richest development of individuals” (541). Marx described “the contemporary conditions of production” as “suspending themselves and [. . .] positing the historic presuppositions for a new state of society” (461).
With an emphasis that sometimes heralds the idea of a capitalist predisposition to self-destruction,  Marx declared that “as the system of bourgeois economy has developed for us only by degrees, so too its negation, which is its ultimate result” (Marx 1973, 712). He said he was convinced that “the last form of servitude” (with this “last” Marx was certainly going too far),

assumed by human activity, that of wage labour on one side, capital on the other, is thereby cast off like a skin, and this casting-off itself is the result of the mode of production corresponding to capital; the material and mental conditions of the negation of wage labour and of capital, themselves already the negation of earlier forms of unfree social production, are themselves results of its production process. The growing incompatibility between the productive development of society and its hitherto existing relations of production expresses itself in bitter contradictions, crises, spasms. The violent destruction of capital not by relations external to it, but rather as a condition of its self-preservation, is the most striking form in which advice is given it to be gone and to give room to a higher state of social production. (Marx 1973, 749–750)

Further confirmation that Marx considered capitalism a fundamental stage for the birth of a socialist economy may be found in Theories of Surplus Value. Here he expressed his agreement with the economist Richard Jones (1790–1855), for whom “capital and the capitalist mode of production” were to be “accepted” merely as “a transitional phase in the development of social production.” Through capitalism, Marx writes, “the prospect opens up of a new society, [a new] economic formation of society, to which the bourgeois mode of production is only a transition” (Marx 1991, 346).
Marx elaborated a similar idea in volume one of Capital and its preparatory manuscripts. In the famous unpublished “Appendix: Result of the Immediate Process of Production,” he wrote that capitalism came into being following a “complete economic revolution”:

On the one hand, it creates the real conditions for the domination of labour by capital, perfecting the process and providing it with the appropriate framework. On the other hand, by evolving conditions of production and communication and productive forces of labour antagonistic to the workers involved in them, this revolution creates the real premises of a new mode of production, one that abolishes the contradictory form of capitalism. It thereby creates the material basis of a newly shaped social process and hence of a new social formation. (Marx 1992b, 1065)

In one of the concluding chapters of Capital, volume one—“The Historical Tendency of Capitalist Accumulation”—he stated:

The centralization of the means of production and the socialization of labour reaches a point at which they become incompatible with the capitalist integument. This integument is burst asunder. The knell of capitalist private property sounds. The expropriators are expropriated. (Marx 1992a, 929)

Although Marx held that capitalism was an essential transition, in which the historical conditions were created for the workers’ movement to struggle for a communist transformation of society, he did not think that this idea could be applied in a rigid, dogmatic manner. On the contrary, he denied more than once—in both published and unpublished texts—that he had developed a unidirectional interpretation of history, in which human beings were everywhere destined to follow the same path and pass through the same stages.

V. The Possible Path of Russia
In the final years of his life, Marx repudiated the thesis wrongly attributed to him that the bourgeois mode of production was historically inevitable. His distance from this position was expressed when he found himself drawn into the debate on the possible development of capitalism in Russia. In an article entitled “Marx before the Tribunal of Yu Zhukovsky,” the Russian writer and sociologist Nikolai Mikhailovsky (1842–1904) accused him of considering capitalism as an unavoidable stage for the emancipation of Russia too (Mikhailovsky 1877, 321–356).  Marx replied, in a letter he drafted to the political-literary review Otechestvennye Zapiski (Fatherland Annals), that in volume one of Capital he had “claim[ed] no more than to trace the path by which, in Western Europe, the capitalist economic order emerged from the womb of the feudal economic order” (Marx 1983, 135).  Marx referred to a passage in the French edition of volume one of Capital (1872–1875), which suggested that the basis of the separation of the rural masses from their means of production had been “the expropriation of the agricultural producers,” but that “only in England” had this process “so far been accomplished in a radical manner,” and that “all the countries of Western Europe [were] following the same course” (Marx 1983, 135).  Accordingly, the object of his examination was only “the old continent,” not the whole world.
Marx referred to a passage in the French edition of Capital (Le Capital, Paris 1872–1875), where he asserted that the basis for the separation of the producers from their means of production was the “expropriation of the agricultural producers,” adding that “only in England [had this been] accomplished in a radical manner,” but that “all the other countries of Western Europe [were] following the same course” (Marx 1989h, 634).
This is the spatial horizon within which we should understand the famous statement in the preface of Capital, volume one: “The country that is more developed industrially only shows, to the less developed, the image of its own future.” Writing for a German readership, Marx observed that, “just like the rest of Continental Western Europe, we suffer not only from the development of capitalist production, but also from the incompleteness of that development.” In his view, alongside “the modern evils,” the Germans were “oppressed by a whole series of inherited evils, arising from the passive survival of archaic and outmoded modes of production, with their accompanying train of anachronistic social and political relations” (Marx 1992a, 91).  It was for the German who might “in optimistic fashion comfort himself with the thought that in Germany things are not nearly so bad,” that Marx asserted “De te fabula narratur!” (90).
Marx also displayed a flexible approach to other European countries, since he did not think of Europe as a homogeneous whole. In a speech he gave in 1867 to the German Workers’ Educational Society in London, later published in Der Vorbote (The Harbinger) in Geneva, he argued that German proletarians could successfully carry out a revolution because, “unlike the workers in other countries, they need not go through the lengthy period of bourgeois development” (Marx 1985b, 415).
Marx expressed the same convictions in 1881, when the revolutionary Vera Zasulich (1849–1919) solicited his views on the future of the rural commune (obshchina). She wanted to know whether it might develop in a socialist form, or whether it was doomed to perish because capitalism would necessarily impose itself in Russia, too. In his reply, Marx stressed that in volume one of Capital he had “expressly restricted [. . .] the historical inevitability” of the development of capitalism—which had effected “a complete separation of the producer from the means of production”—to the countries of Western Europe” (Marx 1989c, 360).
In the preliminary drafts of the letter, Marx dwells on the peculiarities deriving from the coexistence of the rural commune with more advanced economic forms. Russia, he observed, is

contemporary with a higher culture, it is linked to a world market dominated by capitalist production. By appropriating the positive results of this mode of production, it is thus in a position to develop and transform the still archaic form of its rural commune, instead of destroying it. (Marx 1989c, 362)

The peasantry could “thus incorporate the positive acquisitions devised by the capitalist system without passing through its Caudine Forks” (Marx 1989d, 368).
To those who argued that capitalism was an unavoidable stage for Russia too, on the grounds that it was impossible for history to advance in leaps, Marx asked ironically whether this meant that Russia, “like the West,” had had “to pass through a long incubation period in the engineering industry [. . .] in order to utilize machines, steam engines, railways, etc.” Similarly, had it not been possible “to introduce in the twinkling of an eye, the entire mechanism of exchange (banks, credit institutions, etc.), which it took the West centuries to devise?” (Marx 1989d, 349). It was evident that the history of Russia, or of any other country, did not inevitably have to retrace all the stages that the history of England or other European nations had experienced. Hence, the socialist transformation of the obshchina might also take place without necessarily having to pass through capitalism.
In the same period, Marx’s theoretical research on precapitalist community relations, compiled in his Ethnographic Notebooks, were leading him in the same direction as the one evident in his reply to Zasulich. Spurred on by his reading of the work of the US anthropologist Lewis Morgan (1818–1881), he wrote in propagandistic tones that “Europe and America,” the nations where capitalism was most developed, could “aspire only to break [their] chains by replacing capitalist production with cooperative production, and capitalist property with a higher form of the archaic type of property, i.e., communist property” (Marx 1989c, 362).
Marx’s model was not at all a “primitive type of cooperative or collective production” resulting from “the isolated individual,” but one deriving from “socialization of the means of production” (Marx 1989b, 351). He had not changed his (thoroughly critical) view of the rural communes in Russia, and in his analysis the development of the individual and social production preserved intact their irreplaceable centrality.
In Marx’s reflections on Russia, then, there is no dramatic break with his previous ideas.  The new elements in comparison with the past involve a maturation of his theoretical-political position, which led him to consider other possible roads to communism that he had earlier considered unrealizable.

VI. Conclusions
The idea that the development of socialism might be plausible in Russia did not have as its sole foundation Marx’s study of the economic situation there. Contact with the Russian Populists, like his contact with the Paris Communards a decade earlier, helped to make him ever more open to the possibility that history would witness not only a succession of modes of production, but also the irruption of revolutionary events and of the subjectivities that produce them. He felt called upon to pay even more heed to historical specificities, and to the uneven development of political and economic conditions among different countries and social contexts.
Beyond his unwillingness to accept that a predefined historical development might appear in the same way in different economic and political contexts, Marx’s theoretical advances were due to the evolution of his thinking on the effects of capitalism in economically backward countries. He no longer maintained, as he had in 1853 in an article on India for the New-York Tribune, that “bourgeois industry and commerce create [the] conditions of a new world” (Marx 1979b, 222). Years of detailed study and close observation of changes in international politics had helped him to develop a vision of British colonialism quite unlike the one he had expressed as a journalist in his mid-thirties.  The effects of capitalism in colonial countries now looked very different to him. Referring to the “East Indies,” in one of the drafts of his letter to Zasulich, he wrote that “everyone [. . .] realizes that the suppression of communal ownership  there was nothing but an act of English vandalism, pushing  the native people backwards not forwards” (Marx 1989d, 365).  In his view, “all they [the British] managed to do was ruin native agriculture and double the number and severity of the famines” (Marx 1989d, 368).  Capitalism did not, as its apologists boasted, bring progress and emancipation, but the pillage of natural resources, environmental devastation and new forms of servitude and human dependence.
Marx returned in 1882 to the possibility of a concomitance between capitalism and forms of community from the past. In January, in the preface to the new Russian edition of the Manifesto of the Communist Party, which he co-authored with Engels, the fate of the Russian rural commune is linked to that of proletarian struggles in Western Europe:

In Russia we find, face to face with the rapidly developing capitalist swindle and bourgeois landed property, which is just beginning to develop, more than half the land owned in common by the peasants. Now the question is: can the Russian obshchina, a form of primeval common ownership of land, even if greatly undermined, pass directly to the higher form of communist common ownership? Or must it, conversely, first pass through the same process of dissolution as constitutes the historical development of the West? The only answer possible today is this: If the Russian Revolution becomes the signal for a proletarian revolution in the West, so that the two complement each other, the present Russian common ownership of land may serve as the starting point for communist development. (Marx and Engels 1989a, 426)

In 1853, Marx had already analysed the effects produced by the economic presence of the English in China in the article “Revolution in China and in Europe” written for the New York Tribune. Marx thought it was possible that the revolution in this country could lead to “the explosion of the long-prepared general crisis, which, spreading abroad, will be closely followed by political revolutions on the Continent.”  He added that this would be a “curious spectacle, that of China sending disorder into the Western World while the Western powers, by English, French and American war-steamers, are conveying ‘order’ to Shanghai, Nanking and the mouths of the Great Canal” (Marx 1979b, 98).
Besides, Marx’s reflections on Russia were not the only reason for him to think that the destinies of different revolutionary movements, active in countries with dissimilar social-economic contexts, might become entwined with one another. Between 1869 and 1870, in various letters and a number of documents of the International Working Men’s Association—perhaps most clearly and concisely in a letter to his comrades Sigfrid Meyer (1840–1872) and August Vogt (1817–1895)—he associated the future of England (“the metropolis of capital”) with that of the more backward Ireland. The former was undoubtedly “the power that has hitherto ruled the world market,” and therefore “for the present the most important country for the workers’ revolution”; it was, “in addition, the only country where the material conditions for the revolution have developed to a certain state of maturity” (Marx and Engels 1988, 474–475).
However, “after studying the Irish question for years,” Marx had become convinced that “the decisive blow against the ruling classes in England”—and, deluding himself, “decisive for the workers’ movement all over the world”—“cannot be struck in England, but only in Ireland.” The most important objective remained “to hasten the social revolution in England,” but the “sole means of doing this” was “to make Ireland independent” (Marx and Engels 1988, 473–476).  In any event, Marx considered industrial, capitalist England to be strategically central for the struggle of the workers’ movement; the revolution in Ireland, possible only if the “forced union between the two countries” was ended, would be a “social revolution”  that would manifest itself “in outmoded forms” (Marx 1985d, 86). The subversion of bourgeois power in nations where the modern forms of production were still only developing would not be sufficient to bring about the disappearance of capitalism.
The dialectical position that Marx arrived at in his final years allowed him to discard the idea that the socialist mode of production could be constructed only through certain fixed stages.  The materialist conception of history that he developed is far from the mechanical sequence to which his thought has been reduced several times. It cannot be assimilated with the idea that human history is a progressive succession of modes of production, mere preparatory phases before the inevitable conclusion: the birth of a communist society.
Moreover, he explicitly denied the historical necessity of capitalism in every part of the world. In the famous “Preface” to the Critique of Political Economy, he tentatively listed the progression of “Asiatic, ancient, feudal and modern bourgeois modes of production,” as the end of the “prehistory of human society” (Marx 1987, 263–264) and similar phrases can be found in other writings. However, this idea represents only a small part of Marx’s larger oeuvre on the genesis and development of different forms of production. His method cannot be reduced to economic determinism.
Marx did not change his basic ideas about the profile of future communist society, as he sketched it from the Grundrisse on. Guided by hostility to the schematisms of the past, and to the new dogmatisms arising in his name, he thought it might be possible that the revolution would break out in forms and conditions that had never been considered before.

 

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