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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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Categories
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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Journal Articles

Zai Ma Ke Si De Yao Fang Li

在新冠肺炎疫情暴发之后,人们曾说:“一切将和以前不一样。”之后人们意识到,正在发生的变化多样且深刻,而且变化成为了一种常态。

现在人们更愿意说,疫情突出甚至加速了之前已经存在的诸多进程,其中之一便是各种不平等的加剧。那么,在理解它们的内在因素、它们的形式、以及反对它们的可能性方面,马克思是否仍有必要?我们与多伦多约克大学社会学教授马塞洛·穆斯托讨论了这些问题,他是最近马克思主义研究复兴的权威学者。他的作品包括一些精彩的专著,如:《另一个马克思:从早期手稿到第一国际》(Another Marx: Early Manuscripts to the International,Bloomsbury, 2018) 和《马克思的最后岁月:思想传记》(The Last Years of Karl Marx: An Intellectual Biography, Stanford,2020),以及许多编著:《150年后的马克思<资本论>:资本主义的批判和替代》(Marx’s Capital after 150 Years: Critique and Alternative to Capitalism, Routledge, 2019),《马克思的复兴:关键概念和新解释》(The Marx Revival: Key Concepts and New Interpretations, Cambridge University Press, 2020)。关注他的作品可访问www.marcellomusto.org。

朱利奥·阿佐里尼(后文称“阿佐里尼”):穆斯托教授,在当前的疫情危机中,我们能从马克思那里学到什么?

马塞洛·穆斯托(后文称“穆斯托”):这么多年来,新自由主义收获了太多的赞歌。首先我想说,人类的合作对于个人生存是不可或缺的,就像个人自由对于共同体的持存一样。合作与自由是“马克思药房”里的两个基本要素。在他为现代社会弊病所开出的药方中,我还要加上三条箴言:第一,决策权从经济领域向政治领域的有力转移;第二,利用科学技术为所有人的福祉而不是少数人的利益服务;以及第三,教育的核心作用,包括国家资源的大量投入。

阿佐里尼:疫情加剧了美国和中国之间、以及欧盟各成员国之间的冲突。这是资本主义之间的冲突吗?

穆斯托:这种趋势似乎还将继续下去。受新冠肺炎疫情影响最严重的两个国家——美国和英国——是推动私有化运动的国家,其资本主义模式阻碍了社会国家的发展,或者已经积极瓦解了社会国家的发展,这也并非偶然。然而,在表面之下,存在着一场更为重要的财富再分配的冲突。过去几十年,资本一直在财富再分配方面占上风。

阿佐里尼:马克思没有预言无产阶级的贫困,而是预言阶级之间不平等的加剧。在这一点上,历史似乎证明他是对的。
穆斯托:是的,如果我们想到巨大的鸿沟(不仅是经济的,而且是世界性的),就会更加清楚这一点。马克思明白,英国在印度的殖民主义主要涉及对自然资源的掠夺和新形式的奴役,而不是其辩护者所宣称的稳步发展。另一方面,他对欧洲工人阶级革命角色的看法失误了。在他生命的最后几年,当他沮丧地注意到英国工人宁愿“跟在他们自己的奴隶主后面”时,他开始意识到这一点。

阿佐里尼:此次疫情对经济的影响十分多样。很多公司都破产了,但网络巨头却没有。那些没有工作保障的人已经失业了,但那些有稳定工作的人却没有。一些零售商已经倒闭,另一些则没有。马克思能否帮助我们解读这个变得越来越复杂和混乱的现实?

穆斯托:他对社会阶级的分析需要更新,他的危机理论(这个理论毕竟是未完成的)是不同时代的产物。马克思无法对当今的许多问题给出答案,但他确实指出了关键问题。我认为,这就是他在今天的主要贡献:他帮助我们提出正确的问题,识别主要矛盾。我得说,这些问题和矛盾可不只一点点。

阿佐里尼:目前的危机重新开启了关于性别不平等问题的讨论。马克思在这方面有什么可以教我们的吗?

穆斯托:我认为马克思今天会尝试学习更多,特别是从拉美的新女权运动那里,后者在主要的社会动员中发挥了领导作用。在这方面,他当然不是无动于衷的。在他去世前所作的一些研究中,他详细阐述了性别平等的重要性,他为政治方案所起草的材料多次强调,生产阶级的解放是“所有人的、不论其性别和种族”的解放。他从年轻妇女那里,从早期法国社会主义者的书中了解到,一个社会的总体解放水平取决于妇女解放的水平。

阿佐里尼:在健康危机期间,争取族群平等的斗争也在美国爆发。这仅仅是一个巧合吗?

穆斯托:是的,但内容很丰富,它凸显了那个国家的创伤。“黑命攸关”并不是一个短暂的现象,这场运动将继续坚决地反对美国体制中的种族主义和暴力。

阿佐里尼:现在让我们谈谈阶级斗争和环境斗争之间的联系。它们是相互替代的问题还是相互补充的问题?它们之间有高低先后之分吗?

穆斯托:它们完全是互补的;彼此都需要对方。对剥削劳动的批判和对环境破坏的批判,现在已经是密不可分的了。任何忽略了这两个问题之一的斗争都是不完整的或不那么有效的。我想到的是十九世纪工人运动的生产主义立场,以及常常忽略“生产方式”的生态运动。这些问题是什么,它们是如何出现的,为谁而存在的,这些问题都与生产资料所有权的扭曲紧密相连。

阿佐里尼:马克思是共产主义革命的哲学家,也是赋予工人运动一个国际组织的政治家。这对我们这个时代有什么启示吗?

穆斯托:没有这种理念,运动将走向失败,在民族主义复兴的时期更是如此。马克思认为工人阶级的分裂是资产阶级统治的关键,对他来说,国际主义也意味着本土工人和移民工人之间的团结。如果左翼要有能力进行一场长期的思想斗争,而不仅仅是对当前局势的反应,那么国际主义就必须再次成为左翼的一块基石。

阿佐里尼:意大利的左翼到底是在为自己捍卫马克思主义而付出代价,还是在为自己放弃马克思主义而付出代价?

穆斯托:它正在为这两个错误付出代价。首先,它在应对资本主义的质变所需要的变革方面、在针对新社会运动的要求作出反应方面,都太慢了。然后,它目光短浅地选择了放弃,而不是批判地审视马克思主义,并使之现代化。要知道,马克思主义对于理解今天的社会仍是有效的。这足以让我们想起葛兰西,虽然他被囚禁,但当时的他正在进行一场卓越的再发现。然而,在很长一段时间里,资本主义产生的矛盾并不像今天这样显而易见且富有戏剧性。左翼的历史还没有结束。

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Journal Articles

Για τη Ρόζα Λούξεμπουργκ

Tον Αύγουστο του 1893, όταν το Προεδρείο προσκάλεσε τη Ρόζα Λούξεμπουργκ να μιλήσει σε μια σύνοδο του Συνεδρίου της Ζυρίχης της Δεύτερης Διεθνούς, η Ρόζα βάδισε με θάρρος ανάμεσα στο πλήθος των εκλεγμένων αντιπροσώπων και των ακτιβιστών που συνωθούνταν στην κεντρική αίθουσα.

Ήταν μια από τις λίγες παρούσες γυναίκες, στο άνθος της νεότητάς της, λεπτοκαμωμένη, και με μια παραμόρφωση του ισχίου που την υποχρέωνε να κουτσαίνει ήδη από την ηλικία των πέντε ετών. H πρώτη εντύπωση που έδωσε σε όσους την έβλεπαν για πρώτη φορά ήταν αυτή ενός πραγματικά αδύναμου πλάσματος. Όμως, στη συνέχεια, καθώς μιλούσε όρθια σε μια καρέκλα ώστε να ακούγεται καλύτερα, γοήτευσε πολύ γρήγορα όλο το ακροατήριο με τη δεξιότητα της σκέψης και την πρωτοτυπία των θέσεών της.

Το πολωνικό εθνικό ζήτημα
Κατά την άποψή της, το κεντρικό αίτημα του πολωνικού εργατικού κινήματος δεν θα έπρεπε να είναι ένα ανεξάρτητο πολωνικό κράτος, όπως υποστήριζαν όλοι πριν απ’ αυτήν. H Πολωνία βρισκόταν ακόμα υπό τριμερή κυριαρχία, μοιρασμένη μεταξύ της Γερμανικής, της Αυστρο-ουγγρικής και της Ρωσικής Αυτοκρατορίας. Η επανένωσή της φαινόταν δύσκολο εγχείρημα και οι εργάτες θα έπρεπε να κατευθύνουν τις φιλοδοξίες τους σε στόχους που θα γεννούσαν πρακτικούς αγώνες στο όνομα συγκεκριμένων αναγκών.

Κινούμενη σε μια γραμμή επιχειρηματολογίας που θα ανέπτυσσε στα χρόνια που θα ακολουθούσαν, επιτέθηκε σ’ αυτούς που εστίαζαν στα εθνικά θέματα και προειδοποίησε για τον κίνδυνο να χρησιμοποιηθεί η ρητορική του πατριωτισμού προκειμένου να υποτιμηθεί η ταξική πάλη και να απωθηθεί το κοινωνικό ζήτημα από το προσκήνιο. Δεν υπήρχε κανένας λόγος σε όλες τις μορφές καταπίεσης που υφίστατο το προλεταριάτο να προσθέσουμε την
«υπαγωγή στην πολωνική εθνικότητα». Για την αποφυγή αυτής της παγίδας, η Λούξεμπουργκ έθεσε ως στόχο την ανάπτυξη αυτοδιοικούμενων περιοχών, και την ενίσχυση της πολιτιστικής αυτονομίας, η οποία μετά την εδραίωση ενός σοσιαλιστικού τρόπου παραγωγής θα λειτουργούσε ως ανάχωμα απέναντι σε κάθε αναβίωση σωβινισμού και νέων μορφών διακρίσεων. H στόχευση αυτών των συλλογισμών ήταν η διάκριση μεταξύ του εθνικού ζητήματος και αυτού του εθνικού κράτους.

Κόντρα στο ρεύμα
Η παρέμβαση στο Συνέδριο της Ζυρίχης σηματοδότησε τη συνολική διανοητική βιογραφία μιας γυναίκας που γενικά αναγνωρίζεούται ως μια από τις σημαντικότερες εκπροσώπους του σοσιαλισμού του 20 αιώνα. Η Ρόζα Λούξεμπουργκ, που γεννήθηκε πριν από 150 χρόνια, στις 5 Μαρτίου του 1871 στο Zamość της υπό τσαρική κατοχή Πολωνίας, έζησε ολόκληρη τη ζωή της στα άκρα, αναμετρούμενη με διάφορες αντιξοότητες, και κολυμπώντας πάντα κόντρα στο ρεύμα. Εβραϊκής καταγωγής, υποφέροντας από μια σωματική αναπηρία από μικρή ηλικία, μετοίκισε στη Γερμανία σε ηλικία 27 ετών και κατόρθωσε να αποκτήσει εκεί τη γερμανική υπηκοότητα μέσω ενός εικονικού γάμου. Καθώς ήταν ασυμβίβαστα υπέρ της ειρήνης με το ξέσπασμα του Πρώτου Παγκοσμίου Πολέμου, φυλακίστηκε αρκετές φορές για τις ιδέες της. Υπήρξε παθιασμένη αντίπαλος του ιμπεριαλισμού στη διάρκεια μιας νέας και βίαιης αποικιακής επέκτασης. Αγωνίστηκε εναντίον της θανατικής ποινής στην καρδιά της βαρβαρότητας. Και, ας μην ξεχνάμε ποτέ ότι ήταν μια γυναίκα που έζησε σε κόσμους που κατοικούνταν σχεδόν αποκλειστικά από άντρες. Συχνά ήταν η μοναδική γυναικεία παρουσία τόσο στο Συνέδριο του Πανεπιστημίου της Ζυρίχης, όπου απέκτησε ένα διδακτορικό τίτλο το 1897 με μια διατριβή για τη Βιομηχανική Ανάπτυξη της Πολωνίας, όσο και στην ηγεσία της Γερμανικής Σοσιαλδημοκρατίας. Το Κόμμα την όρισε ως την πρώτη γυναίκα που δίδαξε στην κομματική σχολή κεντρικών στελεχών – εργασία στην οποία απασχολήθηκε από το 1907 ως το 1914, ενώ στο ίδιο διάστημα δημοσίευσε τη Συσσώρευση του κεφαλαίου (1913) και εργάστηκε πάνω σ’ ένα ανολοκλήρωτο σχέδιο μιας Εισαγωγής στην Πολιτική Οικονομία (1925).

Οι δυσκολίες αυτές συμπληρώθηκαν από το ανεξάρτητο πνεύμα της και την αυτονομία της – ένα προτέρημα που συχνά οδηγεί σε δυσκολίες, ακόμα και σε αριστερά κόμματα. Δίνοντας δείγματα μιας ζωηρής ευστροφίας, είχε την ικανότητα να αναπτύσσει νέες ιδέες και να τις υπερασπίζεται με παρρησία, και μάλιστα με μια αφοπλιστική ειλικρίνεια, μπροστά σε μορφές όπως ο Αύγουστος Μπέμπελ και ο Καρλ Κάουτσκι (o οποίος είχε το καθοριστικό πλεονέκτημα της άμεσης επαφής με τον Ένγκελς). Στόχος της δεν ήταν να επαναλαμβάνει κάθε φορά τα λόγια του Μαρξ, αλλά να τα ερμηνεύσει ιστορικά, και να τα αναπτύσσει περαιτέρω, όταν κάτι τέτοιο είναι αναγκαίο. Γι’ αυτήν, η ελευθερία να διατυπώνει την άποψή της και να εκφράζει τις κριτικές της θέσεις στο εσωτερικό του κόμματος ήταν ένα αναπαλλοτρίωτο δικαίωμα. Το κόμμα όφειλε να είναι ένας χώρος όπου θα μπορούσαν να συνυπάρξουν διαφορετικές απόψεις, στον βαθμό που τα μέλη του συμμερίζονταν τις θεμελιώδεις αρχές του.

Κόμμα, απεργία, επανάσταση
Η Ρόζα Λούξεμπουργκ ξεπέρασε με επιτυχία τα πάμπολλα εμπόδια που αντιμετώπισε, και στη διάρκεια της σφοδρής αντιπαράθεσης μετά τη ρεφορμιστική στροφή του Έντουαρντ Μπερνστάιν αναδείχτηκε σε μια αναγνωρίσι- μη μορφή της πιο εξέχουσας οργάνωσης του ευρωπαϊκού εργατικού κινήματος. Ενώ ο Μπερνστάιν στο περίφημο κείμενό του Οι προϋποθέσεις του σοσιαλισμού και τα καθήκοντα της Σοσιαλδημοκρατίας (1897-99) είχε καλέσει το κόμμα να κόψει τις γέφυρες με το παρελθόν του και να μεταστραφεί σε μια δύναμη σταδιακών αλλαγών, η Λούξεμπουργκ στο Κοινωνική μεταρρύθμιση ή επανάσταση; (1898-99) επέμενε ότι στη διάρκεια κάθε ιστορικής περιόδου «το έργο των μεταρρυθμίσεων συνεχίζεται μόνο στην  κατεύθυνση  που  ορίστηκε  από  την ώθηση της  τελευταίας  επανάστασης». Αυτοί  που  επιδιώκουν  «στο  κοτέτσι του αστικού κοινοβουλευτισμού» τις αλλαγές που θα καθιστούσε εφικτές η επαναστατική κατάκτηση της πολιτικής εξουσίας, δεν επιλέγουν «έναν πιο ήσυχο, ασφαλέστερο και βραδύτερο δρόμο για τον ίδιο στόχο», αλλά μάλλον
«ένα διαφορετικό στόχο». Έχουν αποδεχτεί τον αστικό κόσμο και την ιδεολογία του.

Το ζήτημα δεν ήταν η βελτίωση του υπάρχοντος κοινωνικού καθεστώτος, αλλά η οικοδόμηση ενός τελείως διαφορετικού. Ο ρόλος των εργατικών συν- δικάτων – τα οποία μπορούσαν να αποσπάσουν από τα αφεντικά μόνο κά- ποιες ευνοϊκότερες συνθήκες στο πλαίσιο του καπιταλιστικού τρόπου παραγωγής – και η Ρώσικη Επανάσταση του 1905 αποτέλεσε το έναυσμα για κάποιες σκέψεις σχετικά με τα πιθανά υποκείμενα και τις δράσεις που θα μπορούσαν να παραγάγουν ένα ριζικό μετασχηματισμό της κοινωνίας. Στο βιβλίο Μαζική απεργία, κόμμα και Συνδικάτα (1906), που ανέλυε τα κύρια γεγονότα σε μεγάλες εκτάσεις της Ρωσικής Αυτοκρατορίας, η Λούξεμπουργκ υπογράμμισε τον κρίσιμο ρόλο των ευρύτατων και σε μεγάλο βαθμό ανοργάνωτων στρωμάτων του προλεταριάτου. Στην οπτική της, οι πραγματικοί πρωταγωνιστές της ιστορίας ήταν οι μάζες. Στη Ρωσία, «το στοιχείο του αυθορμητισμού» – μια έννοια που οδήγησε πολλούς στο να την κατηγορήσουν ότι υπερεκτίμησε την ταξική συνείδηση των μαζών – ήταν κρίσιμο και κατά συνέπεια, ο ρόλος του κόμματος δεν θα έπρεπε να είναι να προετοιμάσει τη μαζική απεργία, αλλά «να τοποθετηθεί επικεφαλής του κινήματος συνολικά».

Για τη Ρόζα Λούξεμπουργκ, η μαζική απεργία ήταν «o ζωντανός σφυγμός της επανάστασης», και ταυτόχρονα, «o ισχυρότερος κινητήριος τροχός της». Ήταν ο πραγματικός «τρόπος κίνησης των προλεταριακών μαζών, η εκπληκτική μορφή του προλεταριακού αγώνα στην επανάσταση». Δεν ήταν μια απλή απομονωμένη δράση αλλά η σύνοψη μιας μακράς περιόδου ταξικών αγώνων. Επιπλέον, δεν θα έπρεπε να παραγνωρίζεται το γεγονός ότι «στη δίνη της επαναστατικής περιόδου», το προλεταριάτο μετασχηματιζόταν κατά ένα τέτοιο τρόπο ώστε ακόμα και το υψηλότερο αγαθό, η ζωή – για να μην μιλήσουμε για την υλική ευημερία – είχε μικρή αξία σε σύγκριση με τα ιδεώδη του αγώνα». Οι μαζικές απεργίες της Ρωσίας έδειξαν πώς σε μια τέτοια περίοδο, η «αδιάκοπη αμφίδρομη δράση των πολιτικών και οικονομικών αγώνων» ήταν τέτοια ώστε το πέρασμα από τη μια μορφή αγώνων στην άλλη ήταν άμεσα εφικτό.

Κομμουνισμός σημαίνει ελευθερία και δημοκρατία
Σχετικά με το ζήτημα των οργανωτικών μορφών, και ειδικότερα, τον ρόλο του κόμματος, η Λούξεμπουργκ ενεπλάκη σε μια άλλη έντονη αντιπαράθεση εκείνη την εποχή, αυτή τη φορά, με τον Λένιν. Στο έργο του Ένα βήμα μπροστά, δύο βήματα πίσω (1904), ο ηγέτης των μπολσεβίκων υπερασπίστηκε τις θέσεις του Δευτέρου Συνεδρίου του Ρώσικου Σοσιαλδημοκρατικού Εργατικού Kόμματος, προτάσσοντας μια αντίληψη του κόμματος ως ενός συμπαγούς πυρήνα επαγγελματιών επαναστατών, μιας πρωτοπορίας που έχει  ως καθήκον να καθοδηγεί τις μάζες. Από την άλλη πλευρά, η Λούξεμπουργκ στο Οργανωτικά ζητήματα της Ρωσικής Σοσιαλδημοκρατίας (1904), υποστήριξε ότι ένα εξαιρετικά συγκεντρωτικό κόμμα δημιουργούσε μια πολύ επικίνδυνη δυναμική «τυφλής υπακοής στην κεντρική εξουσία». To κόμμα δεν θα πρέπει να καταπνίγει,  αλλά  αντίθετα,  να  αναπτύσσει την εμπλοκή της κοινωνίας, ώστε να εξασφαλίζεται «η σωστή ιστορική αξιολόγηση των μορφών πάλης». Ο Μαρξ έγραψε κάποτε ότι «ένα βήμα πραγματικού κινήματος είναι σημαντικότερο από δεκάδες  προγράμματα». Και η Λούξεμπουργκ προεξέτεινε αυτή τη ρήση στον ισχυρισμό ότι «τα λάθη που διαπράττει ένα πραγματικά επαναστατικό εργατικό κίνημα είναι απείρως πιο γόνιμα  και  πολύτιμα από το αλάθητο της καλύτερης από όλες τις πιθανές κεντρικές επιτροπές».

H σύγκρουση αυτή απέκτησε ακόμα μεγαλύτερη σημασία μετά τη σοβιετική επανάσταση του 1917, στην οποία η Λούξεμπουργκ παρείχε την άνευ όρων υποστήριξή της. Ανήσυχη από τα γεγονότα που εξελίσσονταν στη Ρωσία (αρχίζοντας από τους τρόπους αντιμετώπισης της αγροτικής μεταρρύθμισης), ήταν η πρώτη από το κομμουνιστικό στρατόπεδο που παρατήρησε ότι «μια παρατεταμένη κατάσταση συναγερμού» θα ασκούσε μια «εκφυλιστική επιρροή στην κοινωνία». Στο δημοσιευμένο μετά θάνατον κείμενό της Η Ρώσικη Επανάσταση (1922 [1918]), υπογράμμιζε ότι η ιστορική αποστολή του προλεταριάτου, με την κατάκτηση της πολιτικής εξουσίας, ήταν «η δημιουργία μιας σοσιαλιστικής δημοκρατίας που θα αντικαθιστούσε την αστική δημο- κρατία – και όχι η κατάργηση της δημοκρατίας συνολικά». Ο κομμουνισμός σήμαινε «την πιο ενεργή, απεριόριστη συμμετοχή των λαϊκών μαζών, την απεριόριστη δημοκρατία», που δεν προσβλέπει στην καθοδήγησή της από τους αλάθητους ηγέτες. Οι πραγματικά διαφορετικοί πολιτικοί και κοινωνικοί ορίζοντες θα ανοίγονταν μέσω μιας τέτοιας σύνθετης διαδικασίας αυτού του τύπου, και όχι μέσω του περιορισμού της ελευθερίας «μόνο στους υποστηρικτές της Κυβέρνησης, μόνο στα μέλη ενός κόμματος».

H Λούξεμπουργκ ήταν απόλυτα πεπεισμένη ότι «ο σοσιαλισμός από τη φύση του, δεν μπορεί να εκχωρηθεί από τα πάνω», θα πρέπει να επεκτείνει τη δημοκρατία, και όχι να τη συρρικνώσει. Έγραφε ότι «το αρνητικό, τo τσάκισμα μπορεί να είναι αντικείμενο ενός διατάγματος. Αυτό όμως δεν ισχύει για το θετικό, το χτίσιμο». Γι’ αυτές τις «νέες περιοχές», μόνο «η εμπειρία» θα «ήταν σε θέση να διορθώνει και να ανοίγει νέους δρόμους». Η Ένωση των Σπαρτακιστών, που ιδρύθηκε το 1914 μετά από μια διάσπαση του SPD και που αργότερα εξελίχθηκε στο Κομμουνιστικό Κόμμα της Γερμανίας (KPD), δήλωνε ρητά ότι δεν θα αναλάβει «ποτέ την κυβερνητική εξουσία παρά μόνον αποκρινόμενη στη σαφή και αναμφισβήτητη θέληση της μεγάλης πλειοψηφίας των προλεταριακών μαζών όλης της Γερμανίας».

Παρ’ όλον ότι έκαναν αντίθετες πολιτικές επιλογές, τόσο οι Σοσιαλδημοκράτες, όσο και οι Μπολσεβίκοι λαθεμένα αντιλαμβάνονταν τρόπο τη δημοκρατία και την επανάσταση ως δυο εναλλακτικές διαδικασίες. Αντίθετα, για τη Ρόζα Λούξεμπουργκ, ο πυρήνας της πολιτικής θεωρίας ήταν μια αξεδιάλυτη ενότητα αυτών των δυο. Η παρακαταθήκη της αφυδατώθηκε και από τις δυο πλευρές: Οι σοσιαλδημοκράτες, συνένοχοι στη στυγνή δολοφονία της σε ηλικία 47 ετών, από τα χέρια δεξιών παραστρατιωτικών, την πολέμησαν ανεπιφύλακτα όλα αυτά τα χρόνια, για τους επαναστατικούς τόνους της σκέψης της, ενώ οι σταλινικοί απέφυγαν με κάθε τρόπο να διαδώσουν τις ιδέες της, εξ αιτίας του κριτικού και ασυμβίβαστου χαρακτήρα τους.

Κατά του μιλιταρισμού, του πολέμου και του ιμπεριαλισμού
To άλλο κρίσιμο σημείο των πολιτικών πεποιθήσεων και του ακτιβισμού της Λούξεμπουργκ ήταν η διπλή της αντίθεση απέναντι στον πόλεμο και οι κινητοποιήσεις της κατά του μιλιταρισμού. Εδώ αποδείχτηκε ικανή να επικαιροποιήσει τη θεωρητική προσέγγιση της Αριστεράς, και να κερδίσει την υπο-στήριξη κάποιων οξυδερκών αποφάσεων των Συνεδρίων της Δεύτερης Διεθνούς, οι οποίες, παρ’ ότι απαξιωμένες, αποτελούσαν ένα αγκάθι στα πλευρά των υποστηρικτών του Πρώτου Παγκοσμίου Πολέμου. Σύμφωνα με την ανάλυσή της, η λειτουργία των στρατών, η ατέρμων ανανέωση του εξοπλι- σμού τους και η επαναλαμβανόμενη έκρηξη πολέμων δεν θα έπρεπε να κα- τανοούνται μόνο με τους κλασικούς όρους της πολιτικής σκέψης του δέκατου ένατου αιώνα. Αντίθετα, συνδέονται στενά με τις δυνάμεις που επιδιώκουν την καταστολή των εργατικών αγώνων και χρησιμοποιούνται ως χρήσιμα εργαλεία από τα αντιδραστικά συμφέροντα με σκοπό να διαιρέσουν την εργατική τάξη.

Εκτός αυτού, αντιστοιχούσαν σ’ ένα συγκεκριμένο οικονομικό στόχο της εποχής. Ο καπιταλισμός χρειαζόταν τον ιμπεριαλισμό και τον πό- λεμο, ακόμα και σε ειρηνικές εποχές, προκειμένου να αυξήσει την παραγωγή, όπως επίσης και για να κατακτήσει τις νέες αγορές που πρωτοεμφανίζονταν στην αποικιακή περιφέρεια έξω από την Ευρώπη. Όπως έγραψε στη Συσσώρευση του κεφαλαίου, «η πολιτική βία δεν είναι τίποτα άλλο από ένα όχημα για την οικονομική διαδικασία» – μια κρίση που συνοδεύτηκε από μια από τις πιο αμφιλεγόμενες θέσεις του βιβλίου, σύμφωνα με την οποία η ανα- νέωση των εξοπλισμών ήταν απαραίτητη για την παραγωγική επέκταση του καπιταλισμού.

H εικόνα αυτή απείχε πολύ από τα αισιόδοξα ρεφορμιστικά σενάρια, και για να τη συνοψίσει, η Λούξεμπουργκ χρησιμοποίησε μια διατύπωση που θα αντηχούσε ευρέως στη διάρκεια του εικοστού αιώνα: «σοσιαλισμός ή βαρβαρότητα». Εξήγησε ότι ο δεύτερος όρος θα μπορούσε να αποφευχθεί μόνο μέσω της συνειδητοποιημένης μαζικής πάλης, και εφ’ όσον ο αντιμιλιταρι- σμός απαιτούσε ένα υψηλό επίπεδο πολιτικής συνείδησης,  ήταν  μια  από τους μεγαλύτερους υπέρμαχους της γενικής απεργίας κατά του πολέμου – ένα όπλο που πολλοί άλλοι, του Μαρξ συμπεριλαμβανομένου, υποτίμησαν. Υποστήριξε ότι απέναντι στα νέα πολεμικά σενάρια θα έπρεπε να αντιταχθεί το ζήτημα της εθνικής άμυνας και ότι το σύνθημα «πόλεμος στον πόλεμο!» θα έπρεπε να καταστεί «ο ακρογωνιαίος λίθος της πολιτικής της εργατικής τάξης». Όπως έγραψε στην Κρίση της Σοσιαλδημοκρατίας (1916), γνωστή επίσης ως The Junius Pamphlet, η Δεύτερη Διεθνής κατέρρευσε γιατί απέτυχε «να οργανώσει μια κοινή τακτική και δράση του προλεταριάτου σε όλες τις χώρες». Από τότε και στο εξής, ο «κύριος στόχος» του προλεταριάτου θα έπρεπε επο- μένως να είναι «ο αγώνας κατά του ιμπεριαλισμού και η αποτροπή των πολέμων σε καιρούς ειρήνης όπως και σε καιρούς πολέμου».

Χωρίς να χάσει την τρυφερότητά της
Ένας πολίτης του κόσμου με το όραμα «αυτού που έρχεται», η Ρόζα Λούξεμπουργκ έλεγε ότι αισθανόταν σαν στο σπίτι της «παντού στον κόσμο, όπου υπάρχουν σύννεφα και πουλιά, και ανθρώπινα δάκρυα». Παθιαζόταν με τη βοτανική και αγαπούσε τα ζώα, και όπως μπορούμε να δούμε από τις επιστολές της, ήταν μια γυναίκα με ευαισθησίες, που τα είχε καλά με τον εαυτό της, παρά τις πικρές εμπειρίες που της επιφύλαξε η ζωή της. Για τη συνιδρύτρια της Ένωσης των Σπαρτακιστών, η πάλη των τάξεων δεν ήταν απλά ένα ζήτημα αύξησης των μισθών. Δεν φιλοδόξησε ποτέ να είναι μια απλή επίγονος και ο σοσιαλισμός της δεν ήταν ποτέ οικονομιστικός. Βουτηγμένη στα δράματα της εποχής της, επιδίωξε να επικαιροποιήσει τον μαρξισμό, χωρίς να θέσει υπό αμφισβήτηση τα θεμέλιά του. Οι προσπάθειές της σ’ αυτή την κατεύθυνση αποτελούν μια σταθερή προειδοποίηση για την Αριστερά ότι δεν θα πρέπει να περιορίσει την πολιτική της δραστηριότητα σε ήπια καταπραϋντικά, παραιτούμενη από την προσπάθεια να αλλάξει την υπάρχουσα κατά- σταση πραγμάτων. Ο τρόπος που έζησε, το γεγονός ότι κατόρθωσε να παντρέψει τη θεωρητική επεξεργασία με την κοινωνική δράση, προσφέρουν ένα εξαιρετικό διαχρονικό μάθημα στη νέα γενιά των αγωνιστών που επέλεξαν να συνεχίσουν τους αγώνες στους οποίους αυτή είχε δώσει.

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La alternativa posible de la Comuna de París

Los burgueses siempre lo habían conseguido todo. Desde la revolución de 1789, habían sido los únicos que se habían enriquecido en tiempos de prosperidad, mientras que la clase trabajadora había tenido que soportar regularmente el coste de las crisis. La proclamación de la Tercera República abrió nuevos escenarios y ofreció la oportunidad de revertir este rumbo. Napoleón III había sido derrotado y capturado por los alemanes, en Sedán, el 4 de septiembre de 1870. En enero un año después se rendía París, que había estado sitiada durante más de cuatro meses, lo que obligó a los franceses a aceptar las condiciones impuestas por Otto von Bismarck. Se produjo un armisticio que permitió la celebración de elecciones y el posterior nombramiento de Adolphe Thiers como jefe del poder ejecutivo, con el apoyo de una amplia mayoría legitimista y orleanista. En la capital, sin embargo, a diferencia del resto del país, la conjunción progresista-republicana tuvo éxito con una abrumadora mayoría y el descontento popular fue más generalizado que en otros lugares. La perspectiva de un ejecutivo que dejase inmutables todas las injusticias sociales, que quería desarmar la ciudad y estaba dispuesto a hacer recaer el precio de la guerra sobre los menos favorecidos, desató la rebelión. El 18 de marzo estalló una nueva revolución; Thiers y su ejército tuvieron que refugiarse en Versalles.

De lucha y de gobierno
Los insurgentes decidieron celebrar inmediatamente elecciones libres, para garantizar la legitimidad democrática de la insurrección. El 26 de marzo, una abrumadora mayoría (190.000 contra 40.000 votos) aprobó las razones de la revuelta y 70 de los 85 miembros electos se declararon a favor de la revolución. Los 15 representantes moderados del llamado “parti de maires” (partido de los alcaldes), grupo formado por ex presidentes de algunos distritos, dimitieron inmediatamente y no se incorporaron al consejo de la comuna. Poco después fueron seguidos por cuatro radicales. Los 66 miembros restantes, que no se distinguían fácilmente por su doble afiliación política, representaban posiciones muy variadas. Entre ellos había una veintena de republicanos neo-jacobinos (incluidos los influyentes Charles Delescluze y Felix Pyat), una docena de prosélitos de Auguste Blanqui, 17 miembros de la Asociación Internacional de Trabajadores (incluidos los mutualistas seguidores de Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, que con frecuencia no estaban de acuerdo con los colectivistas afines a Karl Marx) y un par de independientes. La mayoría de los miembros de la Comuna eran trabajadores o representantes reconocidos de la clase trabajadora. De ellos, 14 procedían de la Guardia Nacional. Fue precisamente el comité central de esta el que depositó el poder en manos de la Comuna, aunque este acto fue el inicio de una larga serie de contradicciones y conflictos entre las dos entidades.

El 28 de marzo, una gran masa de ciudadanos se reunió cerca del Hôtel de Ville y recibió con alegría la inauguración de la nueva asamblea que oficialmente tomó el nombre de la Comuna de París. Aunque solo duró 72 días, fue el evento político más importante en la historia del movimiento obrero del siglo XIX. La Comuna revivió la esperanza de una población agotada por meses de penurias. En los barrios surgieron comités y grupos en apoyo. En cada rincón de la metrópoli se multiplicaron las iniciativas de solidaridad y los planes para la construcción de un mundo nuevo. Montmartre pasó a llamarse “la ciudadela de la libertad”. Uno de los sentimientos predominantes fue el deseo de compartir. Militantes como Louise Michel dieron ejemplo por su espíritu de abnegación. Víctor Hugo escribió sobre ella: “Hiciste lo que hacen las grandes almas locas. Has dado gloria a los que están aplastados y sometidos”. Sin embargo, la Comuna no vivió gracias al impulso de un dirigente o de unas pocas figuras carismáticas. De hecho, su principal característica fue su dimensión claramente colectiva. Mujeres y hombres se ofrecieron voluntarios para un proyecto de liberación común. La autogestión ya no se consideró más una utopía. La auto-emancipación se convirtió en algo esencial.

La transformación del poder político
Entre los primeros decretos de emergencia proclamados para frenar la pobreza desenfrenada estaba el bloqueo del pago de los alquileres (era justo que “la propiedad hiciera su parte de sacrificio”) y la suspensión de la venta de objetos -por un valor no superior a 20 Francos-, depositados en las casas de empeño. También se crearon nueve comisiones colegiadas para reemplazar los ministerios existentes: guerra, finanzas, seguridad general, educación, subsistencia, justicia, trabajo y comercio, relaciones exteriores, y servicios públicos. Posteriormente se nombró un delegado para gestionar cada una de ellas.

El 19 de abril, tres días después de las elecciones parciales tras las cuales fue posible reemplazar los 31 escaños que quedaron vacantes casi de inmediato, la Comuna redactó la Declaración al Pueblo Francés, en la que se aseguraba “la garantía absoluta de la libertad individual, de la libertad de conciencia y la libertad de trabajo” y “la intervención permanente de la ciudadanía en los asuntos comunes”. Se afirmaba que el conflicto entre París y Versalles “no podía terminar con compromisos ilusorios” y que el pueblo tenía “el deber de luchar y vencer”. Mucho más significativos que el contenido de este texto, síntesis un tanto ambigua para evitar tensiones entre las distintas tendencias políticas, fueron los actos concretos a través de los cuales los militantes de la Comuna lucharon por una transformación total del poder político. Iniciaron una serie de reformas que tenían como objetivo cambiar profundamente no solo la forma en que se administraba la política, sino su propia naturaleza. La democracia directa de la Comuna preveía la revocabilidad de los representantes electos y el control de su labor a través de la vinculación de mandatos (medida insuficiente para resolver la compleja cuestión de la representación política). Los magistrados y otros cargos públicos, también sujetos a control permanente y la posibilidad de revocación, no serían designados arbitrariamente, como en el pasado, sino mediante oposición o elecciones transparentes. Había que impedir la profesionalización de la esfera pública. Las decisiones políticas no debían corresponder a pequeños grupos de funcionarios y técnicos, sino ser tomadas por el pueblo. Los ejércitos y las fuerzas policiales ya no serían instituciones separadas del cuerpo de la sociedad. La separación entre Iglesia y Estado era una necesidad indispensable.

Sin embargo, el cambio político no terminaba con la adopción de estas medidas. Debía ir mucho más a la raíz. La burocracia tenía que reducirse drásticamente, transfiriendo el ejercicio del poder a manos del pueblo. El ámbito social tenía que prevalecer sobre el político y este último – como ya había argumentado Henri de Saint-Simon – dejaría de existir como función especializada, ya que sería asimilado progresivamente por las actividades de la sociedad civil. El cuerpo social recuperaría así las funciones que habían sido transferidas al estado. Derribar la dominación de clase existente no era suficiente; había que extinguir el dominio de clase como tal. Todo esto habría permitido la realización del plan diseñado por los comuneros: una república constituida por la unión de asociaciones libres verdaderamente democráticas que se convertirían en impulsoras de la emancipación de todos sus componentes. Era el autogobierno de los productores.

La prioridad de las reformas sociales
La Comuna creía que las reformas sociales eran incluso más relevantes que las transformaciones en el orden político. Representaban su razón de ser, el termómetro con el que medir la fidelidad a los principios para los que había nacido, el elemento de diferenciación definitivo frente a las revoluciones que la habían precedido en 1789 y 1848. La Comuna ratificó varias disposiciones con una clara connotación de clase. La fecha de vencimiento de las deudas se pospuso tres años, sin pago de intereses. Se suspendieron los desahucios por impago de los alquileres y se adoptaron medidas para que las casas desocupadas fueran requisadas a favor de las personas sin hogar. Se hicieron proyectos para limitar la duración de la jornada laboral (de las 10 horas iniciales a las ocho previstas en el futuro), se prohibió, bajo sanción, la práctica generalizada entre los empresarios de imponer multas espurias a los trabajadores con el único propósito de reducir sus salarios. Se decretaron salarios mínimos decentes. Se adoptó la prohibición de la acumulación de múltiples puestos de trabajo y se estableció un límite máximo para los salarios de los cargos públicos. Se hizo todo lo posible para aumentar el suministro de alimentos y reducir los precios. Se prohibió el trabajo nocturno en las panaderías y se abrieron algunas carnicerías municipales. Se implementaron diversas medidas de asistencia social para los más vulnerables, incluido el suministro de alimentos a mujeres y niños abandonados, y se aprobó el fin de la discriminación entre niños legítimos y naturales.

Todos los comuneros creían que la educación era un factor indispensable para la liberación de los individuos, sinceramente convencidos de que representaba el requisito previo de cualquier cambio social y político serio y duradero. Por tanto, animaron múltiples y relevantes debates en torno a las propuestas de reforma del sistema educativo. La escuela sería obligatoria y gratuita para todos, niños y niñas. La enseñanza religiosa sería reemplazada por la enseñanza laica, inspirada en el pensamiento racional y científico, y los costes del culto ya no recaerían en el presupuesto estatal. En las comisiones especialmente creadas y en la prensa se produjeron numerosas tomas de posición destacando cuán fundamental era la decisión de invertir en la educación femenina. Para convertirse verdaderamente en un “servicio público”, la escuela tenía que ofrecer las mismas oportunidades a los “niños de ambos sexos”. Por último, debía prohibir “las distinciones de raza, nacionalidad, fe o posición social”. Los avances de carácter teórico fueron acompañados de las primeras iniciativas prácticas y, en más de un distrito, miles de niños de la clase trabajadora recibieron material didáctico gratuito y entraron, por primera vez, en un edificio escolar.

La Comuna también legisló medidas de carácter socialista. Se decidió que los talleres abandonados por los propietarios que habían huido de la ciudad, a quienes se les garantizó una indemnización a su regreso, serían entregados a asociaciones cooperativas de trabajadores. Los teatros y museos -que estarían abiertos a todos y no serían de pago- fueron colectivizados y confiados a la dirección de quienes se habían adherido a la “Federación de Artistas de París”, presidida por el pintor e incansable militante Gustave Courbet. En él participaron unos 300 escultores, arquitectos, litógrafos y pintores (entre muchos también Édouard Manet). A esta iniciativa le siguió el nacimiento de la “Federación artística” que agrupó a los actores y al mundo de la ópera.

Todas estas acciones y disposiciones se llevaron a cabo sorprendentemente en solo 54 días, en un París todavía atormentado por los efectos de la guerra franco-prusiana. La Comuna sólo pudo funcionar del 29 de marzo al 21 de mayo y, además, en medio de una heroica resistencia a los ataques de Versalles, en una defensa que requería un gran derroche de energía humana y de recursos económicos. Además, dado que la Comuna no tenía ningún medio de coerción, muchas de las decisiones tomadas no se aplicaron de manera uniforme en el amplio territorio de la ciudad. Sin embargo, constituyeron un notable intento de reforma social y señalaron el camino de un posible cambio.

Una lucha colectiva y feminista
La Comuna fue mucho más que las medidas aprobadas por su asamblea legislativa. Incluso aspiró a alterar sustancialmente el espacio urbano, como lo demuestra la decisión de demoler la Columna Vendôme, reputada como un monumento a la barbarie y símbolo reprensible de la guerra, y secularizar algunos lugares de culto, destinando su uso a la comunidad. La Comuna vivió gracias a una extraordinaria participación masiva y un sólido espíritu de ayuda mutua. En este levantamiento contra la autoridad jugaron un papel destacado los clubes revolucionarios, que surgieron con increíble rapidez en casi todos los distritos. Se establecieron 28 y representaron uno de los ejemplos más importantes de la movilización espontánea que acompañó a la Comuna. Abiertos todas las noches, ofrecieron a la ciudadanía la oportunidad de reunirse, después del trabajo, para discutir libremente la situación social y política, verificar lo que habían logrado sus representantes y sugerir alternativas para la solución de los problemas cotidianos. Se trataba de asociaciones horizontales que favorecían la formación y expresión de la soberanía popular, pero también espacios de auténtica hermandad y fraternidad de hombres y mujeres. Eran espacios donde todos podían respirar la embriagadora posibilidad de convertirse en dueños de su propio destino.

En esta vía de emancipación no existía la discriminación nacional. El título de ciudadano de la Comuna estaba garantizado a todos los que trabajaban por su desarrollo y los extranjeros tenían los mismos derechos sociales garantizados que los franceses. Prueba de este principio de igualdad fue el papel predominante que asumieron varios extranjeros (unos 3.000 en total). El húngaro, miembro de la Asociación Internacional de Trabajadores, Léo Frankel, no solo fue uno de los funcionarios electos de la Comuna, sino también el responsable de la comisión de trabajo, uno de los “ministerios” más importantes de París. Los polacos Jaroslaw Dombrowski y Walery Wroblewski, fueron nombrados generales con mando de la Guardia Nacional y desempeñaron un papel igualmente importante.

En este contexto, las mujeres, aún privadas del derecho al voto y, en consecuencia, también de sentarse entre los representantes del Consejo de la Comuna, jugaron un papel fundamental en la crítica del orden social existente. Transgredieron las normas de la sociedad burguesa y afirmaron su nueva identidad en oposición a los valores de la familia patriarcal. Salieron de la dimensión privada y se ocuparon de la esfera pública. Formaron la “Unión de Mujeres por la Defensa de París y por la Atención a los Heridos” (nacida gracias a la incesante actividad de Élisabeth Dmitrieff, militante de la Asociación Internacional de Trabajadores) y jugaron un papel central en la identificación de batallas sociales estratégicas. Consiguieron el cierre de los burdeles, lograron la igualdad salarial con los maestros varones, acuñaron el lema “a igual trabajo, igual salario”, reclamaron igualdad de derechos en el matrimonio, exigieron el reconocimiento de las uniones libres, promovieron la creación de cámaras sindicales exclusivamente femeninas. Cuando, a mediados de mayo, la situación militar empeoró, cuando las tropas de Versalles llegaron a las puertas de París, las mujeres tomaron las armas e incluso lograron formar su propio batallón. Muchos expiraron su último aliento en las barricadas. La propaganda burguesa las convirtió en objeto de los ataques más despiadados, acusándolas de haber incendiado la ciudad durante los enfrentamientos y atribuyéndoles el despectivo calificativo de “las petroleras”.

¿Centralizar o descentralizar?
La Comuna quería establecer una auténtica democracia. Era un proyecto ambicioso y difícil. La soberanía popular a la que aspiraban los revolucionarios implicaba la participación del mayor número posible de ciudadanos. A finales de marzo, se habían desarrollado en París una miríada de comisiones centrales, subcomités de barrio, clubes revolucionarios y batallones de soldados que flanqueaban el duopolio ya complejo compuesto por el consejo de la Comuna y el comité central de la Guardia Nacional. Este último, de hecho, había conservado el control del poder militar, a menudo operando como un verdadero contrapoder del primero. Si el compromiso directo de una gran parte de la población constituía una garantía democrática vital, la multiplicidad de autoridades sobre el terreno complicaban el proceso de toma de decisiones y hacían tortuosa la aplicación de las ordenanzas.

El problema de la relación entre la autoridad central y los organismos locales produjo no pocos cortocircuitos, lo que resultó en una situación caótica y muchas veces paralizante. El ya precario equilibrio saltó por completo cuando, ante la emergencia de la guerra, la indisciplina presente en las filas de la Guardia Nacional y una creciente ineficacia de la acción gubernamental, Jules Miot propuso la creación de un Comité de Salud Pública de cinco integrantes – una solución inspirada en el modelo dictatorial de Maximilien Robespierre de 1793. La medida fue aprobada el 1 de mayo, por 45 votos a favor y 23 en contra. Fue un error dramático que decretó el principio del fin de una experiencia política sin precedentes y dividió a la Comuna en dos bloques opuestos. A los primeros pertenecían los neo-jacobinos y blanquistas, partidarios de la concentración del poder y, en última instancia, de la primacía de la dimensión política sobre la social. El segundo incluía a la mayoría de los miembros de la Asociación Internacional de Trabajadores, para quienes el ámbito social era más importante que el político. Consideraban necesaria la separación de poderes y creían que la república nunca debía cuestionar las libertades políticas. Coordinados por el infatigable Eugène Varlin, hicieron público su claro rechazo a las derivas autoritarias y no participaron en la elección del Comité de Salud Pública. Para ellos, el poder centralizado en manos de unos pocos individuos contradecía los postulados de la Comuna. Sus cargos electos no eran los poseedores de la soberanía -esta pertenecía al pueblo- y, por tanto, no tenían derecho a enajenarla. El 21 de mayo, cuando la minoría participó nuevamente en una sesión del consejo de la Comuna, se hizo un nuevo intento de restablecer la unidad en su seno. Pero ya era demasiado tarde.

La Comuna, sinónimo de la revolución
La Comuna de París fue reprimida con brutal violencia por los ejércitos de Versalles. Durante la llamada “semana sangrienta” (del 21 al 28 de mayo) fueron muertos entre 17.000 y 25.000 ciudadanos. Los últimos enfrentamientos tuvieron lugar a lo largo del perímetro del cementerio de Père-Lachaise. El joven Arthur Rimbaud describió la capital francesa como una “ciudad dolorosa, casi muerta”. Fue la masacre más violenta de la historia de Francia. Solo 6.000 comuneros lograron escapar y refugiarse en el exilio en Inglaterra, Bélgica y Suiza. Hubo 43.522 prisioneros. Un centenar de ellos fueron condenados a muerte tras juicios sumarísimos de los consejos de guerra, mientras que otros 13.500 fueron enviados a prisión, a trabajos forzados o deportados (en buena parte, especialmente, a la remota Nueva Caledonia). Algunos de ellos se solidarizaron y compartieron la misma suerte que los insurgentes argelinos que habían liderado la revuelta anticolonial de Mokrani, que tuvo lugar al mismo tiempo que la Comuna y que también fue aplastada violentamente por las tropas francesas.

El espectro de la Comuna intensificó la represión anti-socialista en toda Europa. Justificando la violencia estatal sin precedentes ejercida por Thiers, la prensa conservadora y liberal acusó a los comuneros de los peores crímenes y expresó gran alivio por la restauración del “orden natural” y la legalidad burguesa, así como su satisfacción por el triunfo de la “civilización” sobre la “anarquía”. Aquellos que se habían atrevido a cuestionar la autoridad y atacar los privilegios de la clase dominante fueron castigados de manera ejemplar. Las mujeres volvieron a ser consideradas seres inferiores y los trabajadores, con sus manos sucias y llenas de callos, que se habían atrevido a pensar que podían gobernar, fueron devueltos a los lugares que se les reservaba en la sociedad.

Sin embargo, la insurrección parisina dio fuerza a las luchas de los trabajadores y las empujó hacia posiciones más radicales. A raíz de su derrota, Eugène Pottier escribió una canción destinada a convertirse en la más famosa del movimiento obrero. Sus versos dicen: “¡Agrupémonos todos en la lucha final. El género humano es la internacional! (Groupons-nous, et demain, L’Internationale sera le genre humain!). París había demostrado que era necesario perseguir el objetivo de construir una sociedad radicalmente diferente de la capitalista. A partir de ese momento, aunque El tiempo de las cerezas nunca llegó para sus protagonistas (según el título de la célebre canción compuesta por el comunero Jean Baptiste Clément), la Comuna encarnó la idea abstracta y el cambio concreto al mismo tiempo. Se convirtió en sinónimo del concepto mismo de revolución, fue una experiencia ontológica de la clase trabajadora. En La guerra civil en Francia, Marx afirmó que esta “vanguardia del proletariado moderno” logró “acercar a los trabajadores de todo el mundo a Francia”. La Comuna de París cambió la conciencia de los trabajadores y su percepción colectiva. Después de 150 años, su bandera roja sigue ondeando y nos recuerda que siempre es posible una alternativa. Vive la Commune!

Traducción de Gustavo Buster

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Il Comunismo secondo Marx

1. Comunismo come libera associazione
Nel Libro primo del Capitale, Marx argomentò che il capitalismo è un modo di produzione sociale «storicamente determinato», nel quale il prodotto del lavoro è trasformato in merce.
In conseguenza di questa peculiarità, gli individui hanno valore solo in quanto produttori e «l’esistenza dell’essere umano» è asservita all’atto della «produ[zione] di merci». Pertanto, è «il processo di produzione [a] padroneggi[are] gli esseri umani», non viceversa. Il capitale «non si preoccupa della durata della vita della forza-lavoro» e non ritiene rilevante il miglioramento delle condizioni del proletariato. Quello che gli «interessa è unicamente […] il massimo [sfruttamento] di forza lavoro […], così come un agricoltore avido ottiene aumentati proventi dal suolo rapinandone la fertilità».
Nei Grundrisse, Marx ricordò che, poiché nel capitalismo, «lo scopo del lavoro non è un prodotto particolare che sta in […] rapporto con i bisogni […] dell’individuo, ma [è, invece,] il denaro […], la laboriosità dell’individuo non ha alcun limite». In siffatta società «tutto il tempo di un individuo è posto come tempo di lavoro e [l’uomo] viene degradato a mero operaio, sussunto sotto il lavoro». Ciò nonostante, l’ideologia borghese presenta questa condizione come se l’individuo godesse di una maggiore libertà e fosse protetto da norme giuridiche imparziali, in grado di garantire giustizia ed equità. Paradossalmente, malgrado l’economia sia giunta a un livello di sviluppo in grado di consentire a tutta la società di vivere in condizioni migliori rispetto al passato, «le macchine più progredite costringono l’operaio a lavorare più a lungo di quanto era toccato al selvaggio o di quanto lui stesso aveva fatto, [prima di allora,] con strumenti più semplici e rozzi».
Al contrario, il comunismo fu definito da Marx come «un’associazione di liberi esseri umani che lavor[a]no con mezzi di produzione comuni e spend[o]no coscientemente le loro molteplici forze-lavoro individuali come una sola forza-lavoro sociale». Definizioni simili sono presenti in numerosi manoscritti di Marx. Nei Grundrisse, egli scrisse che la società postcapitalista si sarebbe fondata sulla «produzione sociale». Nei Manoscritti economici del 1863-1867, parlò del «passaggio del modo di produzione capitalistico al modo di produzione del lavoro associato. Nella Critica al programma di Gotha (1875), Marx definì l’organizzazione sociale «fondata sulla proprietà comune dei mezzi di produzione» come «società cooperativa».
Nel Libro primo del Capitale, Marx chiarì che il «principio fondamentale» di questa «forma superiore di società» sarebbe stato il «pieno e libero sviluppo di ogni individuo». Ne La guerra civile in Francia, espresse la sua approvazione per le misure adottate dai comunardi che lasciavano «presagire la tendenza di un governo del popolo per il popolo». Più precisamente, nelle sue valutazioni circa le riforme politiche della Comune di Parigi, egli ritenne che «il vecchio governo centralizzato avrebbe dovuto cedere il passo, anche nelle province, all’autogoverno dei produttori». L’espressione venne ripresa negli Estratti e commenti critici a «Stato e anarchia» di Bakunin, dove specificò che un radicale cambiamento sociale avrebbe avuto «inizio con l’autogoverno della comunità». L’idea di società di Marx è, dunque, l’antitesi dei totalitarismi sorti in suo nome nel XX secolo. I suoi testi sono utili non solo per comprendere il modo di funzionamento del capitalismo, ma anche per individuare le ragioni dei fallimenti delle esperienze socialiste fin qui compiute.
In riferimento al tema della cosiddetta libera concorrenza, ovvero l’apparente eguaglianza con la quale operai e capitalisti si trovano posti sul mercato nella società borghese, Marx dichiarò che essa era tutt’altro dalla libertà umana tanto esaltata dagli esegeti del capitalismo. Egli riteneva che questo sistema costituisse un grande impedimento per la democrazia e mostrò, meglio di chiunque altro, che i lavoratori non ricevono il corrispettivo di quello che producono. Nei Grundrisse, spiegò che quanto veniva rappresentato come uno «scambio di equivalenti» era, invece, «appropriazione di lavoro altrui senza scambio, ma sotto la parvenza dello scambio». Le relazioni tra le persone erano «determinate soltanto dai loro interessi egoistici». Questa «collisione di individui» era stata spacciata come la «forma assoluta di esistenza della libera individualità nella sfera della produzione e dello scambio». Per Marx non vi era, in realtà, «niente di più falso», poiché, «nella libera concorrenza, non gli individui, ma il capitale è posto in condizioni di libertà». Nei Manoscritti economici del 1861-63 egli denunciò che era «il capitalista a incassare questo pluslavoro – [che era] […] tempo libero [e] […] la base materiale dello sviluppo e della cultura in generale […] – in nome della società». Nel Libro primo del Capitale, egli denunciò che la ricchezza della borghesia è possibile solo mediante la «trasformazione in tempo di lavoro di tutto il tempo di vita delle masse».
Nei Grundrisse, Marx osservò che nel capitalismo «gli individui sono sussunti dalla produzione sociale», la quale esiste come qualcosa che è a «loro estraneo». Essa viene realizzata solamente in funzione dell’attribuzione del valore di scambio conferito ai prodotti, la cui compravendita avviene soltanto «post festum». Inoltre, «tutti i fattori sociali della produzione», comprese le scoperte scientifiche che si palesano come «una scienza altrui, esterna all’operaio», sono poste dal capitale. Lo stesso associarsi degli operai nei luoghi e nell’atto della produzione è «operato dal capitale» ed è, pertanto, «soltanto formale». L’uso dei beni creati da parte dei lavoratori «non è mediat[o] dallo scambio di lavori o di prodotti di lavoro reciprocamente indipendenti [, bensì] […] dalle condizioni sociali della produzione entro le quali agisce l’individuo». Marx fece comprendere come l’attività produttiva nella fabbrica «riguarda[sse] solo il prodotto del lavoro, non il lavoro stesso», dal momento che avveniva «in un ambiente comune, sotto vigilanza, irreggimentazione, maggiore disciplina, immobilità e dipendenza».
Nel comunismo, invece, la produzione sarebbe stata «immediatamente sociale […], il risultato dell’associazione che ripartisce il lavoro al proprio interno». Essa sarebbe stata controllata dagli individui come «loro patrimonio comune». Il «carattere sociale della produzione» avrebbe fatto sì che l’oggetto del lavoro fosse stato, «fin dal principio, un prodotto sociale e generale». Il carattere associativo «è presupposto» e «il lavoro del singolo si pone, sin dalla sua origine, come lavoro sociale». Come volle sottolineare nella Critica al programma di Gotha, nella società postcapitalistica «i lavori individuali non [sarebbero] più diventa[ti] parti costitutive del lavoro complessivo attraverso un processo indiretto, ma in modo diretto». In aggiunta, gli operai avrebbero potuto creare le condizioni per una «scomparsa [del]la subordinazione servile degli individui alla divisione del lavoro».
Nel Libro primo del Capitale, Marx evidenziò che nella società borghese «l’operaio esiste in funzione del processo di produzione e non il processo di produzione per l’operaio». Inoltre, parallelamente allo sfruttamento dei lavoratori, si manifestava anche quello verso l’ambiente. All’opposto delle interpretazioni che hanno assimilato la concezione marxiana della società comunista al mero sviluppo delle forze produttive, il suo interesse per la questione ecologica fu rilevante. Marx denunciò, ripetutamente, che lo sviluppo del modo di produzione capitalistico determinava un aumento «non solo nell’arte di rapinare l’operaio, ma anche nell’arte di rapinare il suolo». Per suo tramite, venivano minate entrambe le «fonti da cui sgorga ogni ricchezza: la terra e l’operaio».
Nel comunismo, viceversa, si sarebbero create le condizioni per una forma di «cooperazione pianificata», in virtù della quale «l’operaio si [sarebbe] spoglia[to] dei suoi limiti individuali e [avrebbe] sviluppa[to] la facoltà della sua specie». Nel Libro secondo Marx scrisse che nel comunismo la società sarebbe stata in grado di «calcolare in precedenza quanto lavoro, mezzi di produzione e di sussistenza [avrebbe potuto] adoperare». Essa si sarebbe così differenziata, anche da questo punto di vista, dal capitalismo, sotto il quale «l’intelletto sociale si fa valere sempre soltanto post festum, [facendo] così intervenire, costantemente, grandi perturbamenti». Anche in alcuni brani del Libro terzo, Marx offrì chiarimenti sulle differenze tra il modo di produzione socialista e quello basato sul mercato, auspicando la nascita di una società «organizzata come una associazione cosciente e sistematica». Egli affermò che «è solo quando la società controlla efficacemente la produzione, regolandola in anticipo, che essa crea il legame fra la misura del tempo di lavoro sociale dedicato alla produzione di un articolo determinato e l’estensione del bisogno sociale che tale articolo deve soddisfare».
Nelle Glosse marginali al «Trattato di economia politica» di Adolf Wagner, infine, compare un’altra indicazione in proposito: «il volume della produzione» avrebbe dovuto essere «regolato razionalmente». L’applicazione di questo criterio avrebbe consentito di abbattere anche gli sprechi dell’«anarchico sistema della concorrenza», il quale, nel ricorrere delle sue crisi strutturali, oltre a «determina[re] lo sperpero smisurato dei mezzi di produzione e delle forze-lavoro sociali», non era in grado di risolvere le contraddizioni derivanti dall’introduzione dei macchinari, dovute essenzialmente «al loro uso capitalistico».

2. Proprietà collettiva e tempo libero
Per ribaltare questo stato di cose, contrariamente a quanto credevano molti socialisti contemporanei a Marx, non bastava modificare la redistribuzione dei beni di consumo. Occorreva modificare alla radice gli assetti produttivi della società. Fu per questo che, nei Grundrisse, Marx annotò che «lasciare sussistere il lavoro salariato e, allo stesso tempo, sopprimere il capitale [era] una rivendicazione che si autocontraddice[va]». Occorreva, viceversa, la «dissoluzione del modo di produzione e della forma di società fondati sul valore di scambio». Nel discorso pubblicato con il titolo Salario, prezzo e profitto, egli ammonì gli operai affinché sulle loro bandiere non apparisse «la parola d’ordine conservatrice “Equo salario per un’equa giornata di lavoro”», ma il «motto rivoluzionario “Soppressione del sistema del lavoro salariato”».
Per di più, come si trova dichiarato nella Critica al programma di Gotha, nel modo di produzione capitalistico «le condizioni materiali della produzione [erano] a disposizione dei non operai sotto forma di proprietà del capitale e proprietà della terra, mentre la massa [era] soltanto proprietaria della [propria] forza lavoro». Pertanto, era essenziale rovesciare i rapporti proprietari alla base del modo di produzione borghese. Nei Grundrisse, Marx ricordò che «le leggi della proprietà privata – ovvero la libertà, l’uguaglianza, la proprietà sul lavoro e la sua libera disposizione – si riversano nella mancanza di proprietà dell’operaio, nell’espropriazione del suo lavoro e nel suo riferirsi a esso come proprietà altrui». In un intervento svolto, nel 1869, al Consiglio generale dell’Associazione internazionale dei lavoratori, Marx affermò che la «proprietà privata dei mezzi di produzione» serviva soltanto ad assicurare alla classe borghese il «potere con il quale essa [avrebbe] costr[etto] altri esseri umani a lavorare» per lei. Egli ribadì lo stesso concetto in un altro breve scritto politico, il Programma elettorale dei lavoratori socialisti, aggiungendo che «i produttori possono essere liberi solo quando sono in possesso dei mezzi di produzione» e che l’obiettivo della lotta del proletariato doveva essere la «restituzione alla comunità di tutti i mezzi di produzione».
Nel Libro terzo del Capitale, Marx osservò che, quando i lavoratori avrebbero instaurato un modo di produzione comunista, «la proprietà privata del globo terrestre da parte di singoli individui [sarebbe] appar[sa] così assurda come la proprietà privata di un essere umano da parte di un altro essere umano». Egli manifestò la sua più radicale critica verso l’idea di possesso distruttivo insita nel capitalismo, ricordando che «anche un’intera società, una nazione, o anche tutte le società di una stessa epoca prese complessivamente, non sono proprietarie della terra». Per Marx, gli esseri umani erano «soltanto […] i suoi usufruttuari» e, dunque, avevano «il dovere di tramandare alle generazioni successive [il mondo] migliorato, come boni patres familias» .
Un diverso assetto della proprietà dei mezzi di produzione avrebbe mutato alla radice anche i tempi di vita della società. Nel Libro primo del Capitale, Marx disvelò, con inequivocabile chiarezza, le ragioni per le quali, nel capitalismo, «l’economia di lavoro mediante lo sviluppo della forza produttiva del lavoro non ha affatto lo scopo di accorciare la giornata lavorativa». Il tempo che il progredire della tecnica e della scienza renderebbe disponibile per i singoli viene, infatti, immediatamente convertito in pluslavoro. La classe dominante ha come unica ambizione quella di «ridurre il tempo di lavoro necessario per la produzione di una determinata quantità di merci». Il suo solo scopo è quello di sviluppare la forza produttiva con il solo fine di «abbrevia[re] la parte della giornata lavorativa nella quale l’operaio deve lavorare per sé stesso, per prolungare […] la parte […] nella quale l’operaio può lavorare gratuitamente per il capitalista». Questo sistema differisce dalla schiavitù o dalle corvées dovute al signore feudale, poiché «pluslavoro e lavoro necessario sfumano l’uno nell’altro» e rendono più difficilmente percettibile l’entità dello sfruttamento.
Nei Grundrisse, Marx mise bene in evidenza che è solo grazie a questo surplus del tempo di lavoro di tutti che si rende possibile il «tempo libero per alcuni». La borghesia consegue l’accrescimento delle sue facoltà materiali e culturali solo grazie alla limitazione imposta a quello del proletariato. Lo stesso accade nelle nazioni capitalisticamente più avanzate, a discapito delle periferie del sistema. Nei Manoscritti economici del 1861-1863, Marx ribadì che il progresso della classe dominante è speculare alla «mancanza di sviluppo della massa lavoratrice». Il tempo libero della prima «corrisponde al tempo asservito» dei lavoratori; «lo sviluppo sociale dell’una fa del lavoro di [questi] altr[i] la propria base naturale». Questo tempo di pluslavoro degli operai non solo è il pilastro sul quale poggia la «esistenza materiale» della borghesia, ma crea la condizione anche per il suo «tempo libero, la sfera del [suo] sviluppo». Come meglio non si potrebbe dichiarare: «il tempo libero dell’una corrisponde al […] tempo soggiogato al lavoro […] dell’altra».
Per Marx, al contrario, la società comunista sarebbe stata caratterizzata da una diminuzione generalizzata dei tempi di lavoro. Nel documento Istruzioni per i delegati del Consiglio Generale provvisorio. Le differenti questioni, da lui predisposto per il primo congresso dell’Associazione internazionale dei lavoratori, enunciò che la riduzione della giornata lavorativa era la «condizione preliminare senza la quale [sarebbero] aborti[ti] tutti gli ulteriori tentativi di miglioramento e di emancipazione». Era necessario non solo «fare recuperare l’energia e la salute alla classe lavoratrice», ma anche «fornire a essa la possibilità di sviluppo intellettuale, di relazioni e attività sociali e politiche». Nel Libro primo del Capitale, Marx argomentò che il «tempo per un’educazione da esseri umani, per lo sviluppo intellettuale, per l’adempimento di funzioni sociali, per rapporti socievoli, per la libera espressione delle energie vitali, fisiche e mentali», considerati dai capitalisti «fronzoli puri e semplici», sarebbero stati gli elementi fondativi della nuova società. Il decremento delle ore destinate al lavoro – non solo del tempo di lavoro necessario per creare nuovo pluslavoro in favore della classe capitalista – avrebbe favorito, così appuntò Marx nei Grundrisse, «il libero sviluppo delle individualità», ovvero «la formazione e lo sviluppo artistico e scientifico […] degli individui, grazie al tempo divenuto libero e ai mezzi creati per tutti loro».
Sulla base di queste convinzioni, egli ravvisò nella «economia di tempo, e [nella] ripartizione pianificata del tempo di lavoro nei diversi rami di produzione, la prima legge economica alla base della produzione sociale». Nelle Teorie sul plusvalore precisò, ancor più, che «la ricchezza non è niente altro che tempo disponibile». Nella società comunista l’autogestione dei lavoratori avrebbe dovuto assicurare una maggiore quantità di tempo che non doveva essere «assorbito dal lavoro immediatamente produttivo, [ma] dar[e] luogo al godimento, all’ozio e, pertanto, alla libera attività e al libero sviluppo». In questo testo, così come nei Grundrisse, Marx citò un breve pamphlet intitolato La fonte e il rimedio delle difficoltà nazionali dedotte dai principi di economia politica in una lettera al signor John Russell, del quale condivideva pienamente la definizione di benessere formulata dall’anonimo autore: «una nazione si può dire veramente ricca, quando in essa invece di lavorare per 12 ore si lavora soltanto per sei. La ricchezza reale non è l’imposizione del tempo di lavoro supplementare, ma è il tempo [che viene reso] disponibile a ogni individuo e a tutta la società, fuori da quello usato nella produzione immediata». La medesima idea si trova ribadita in un altro brano dei Grundrisse, nel quale Marx domandava retoricamente: «che cos’è la ricchezza se non l’universalità dei bisogni, delle capacità, dei godimenti, delle forze produttive degli individui? […] Che cos’è se non l’estrinsecazione assoluta delle [loro] doti creative?». È evidente, dunque, che il modello socialista al quale egli guardava non contemperava uno stato di miseria generalizzata, ma il conseguimento di una maggiore ricchezza collettiva.

3. Ruolo dello Stato, diritti individuali e libertà
Nella società comunista, accanto alle trasformazioni dell’economia, avrebbero dovuto essere ridefiniti anche il ruolo dello Stato e le funzioni della politica. Ne La guerra civile in Francia, Marx tenne a chiarire che, in seguito alla presa del potere, la classe lavoratrice avrebbe dovuto lottare per «estirpare le basi economiche sulle quali riposa l’esistenza delle classi e, quindi, il dominio di classe». Una volta che sarà «emancipato il lavoro, ogni essere umano div[errà] un lavoratore e il lavoro produttivo cess[erà] di essere l’attributo di una classe». La nota affermazione «la classe operaia non può semplicemente impadronirsi della macchina statale così com’è» stava a significare, come Marx ed Engels spiegarono nell’opuscolo Le cosiddette scissioni nell’Internazionale, che il movimento operaio avrebbe dovuto tendere a trasformare «le funzioni governative […] in semplici funzioni amministrative». Anche se con una formulazione alquanto concisa, negli Estratti e commenti critici a «Stato e anarchia» di Bakunin, Marx spiegò che «la distribuzione delle funzioni [governative avrebbe dovuto] diven[tare] un fatto amministrativo che non attribuisce alcun potere». In questo modo, si sarebbe potuto evitare, quanto più possibile, che l’esercizio degli incarichi politici generasse nuove dinamiche di dominio e soggezione.
Marx valutò che, con lo sviluppo della società moderna, «il potere dello Stato [aveva] assu[nto] sempre più il carattere di potere nazionale del capitale sul lavoro, di una forza pubblica organizzata di asservimento sociale, di uno strumento del dispotismo di classe». Nel comunismo, al contrario, i lavoratori avrebbero dovuto impedire che lo Stato divenisse un ostacolo alla piena emancipazione degli individui. A essi Marx indicò la necessità che «gli organi meramente repressivi del vecchio potere governativo [fossero] amputati», mentre le sue «funzioni legittime» avrebbe[ro] dovuto essere «strappate da un’autorità che usurpava il primato della società […] e restituite agli agenti responsabili della società». Nella Critica al programma di Gotha Marx chiarì che «la libertà consiste nel mutare lo Stato da organo sovrapposto alla società in organo assolutamente subordinato ad essa», chiosando con sagacia che «le forme dello Stato sono più o meno libere nella misura in cui limitano la “libertà dello Stato”».
In questo stesso testo, Marx sottolineò anche l’esigenza che, nella società comunista, le politiche pubbliche privilegiassero la «soddisfazione collettiva dei bisogni». Le spese per le scuole, le istituzioni sanitarie e gli altri beni comuni sarebbero «notevolmente aumentat[e] fin dall’inizio, rispetto alla società attuale, e [sarebbero] aument[ate] nella misura in cui la nuova società si verrà sviluppando». L’istruzione avrebbe assunto una funzione di primario rilievo e, così come aveva ricordato ne La guerra civile in Francia, riferendosi al modello adottato dai comunardi parigini nel 1871, «tutti gli istituti di istruzione [sarebbero] stati aperti gratuitamente al popolo e liberati da ogni ingerenza sia della Chiesa che dello Stato». Solo così la cultura sarebbe «stata resa accessibile a tutti» e la scienza affrancata sia «dai pregiudizi di classe [che] dalla forza del governo».
Differentemente dalla società liberale, nella quale «l’eguale diritto» lascia inalterate le disuguaglianze esistenti, per Marx nella società comunista «il diritto [avrebbe] dov[uto] essere disuguale, invece di essere uguale». Una sua trasformazione in tal senso avrebbe riconosciuto, e tutelato, gli individui in base ai loro specifici bisogni e al minore o maggiore disagio delle loro condizioni, poiché «non sarebbero individui diversi, se non fossero disuguali». Sarebbe stato possibile, inoltre, determinare la giusta partecipazione di ciascuna persona ai servizi e alla ricchezza disponibile. La società che ambiva a seguire il principio «ognuno secondo le sue capacità, a ognuno secondo i suoi bisogni» aveva, davanti a sé, questo cammino complesso e irto di difficoltà. Tuttavia, l’esito finale non era garantito da «magnifiche sorti e progressive» e, allo stesso tempo, non era irreversibile.
Marx assegnò un valore fondamentale alla libertà individuale e il suo comunismo fu radicalmente diverso tanto dal livellamento delle classi, auspicato da diversi suoi predecessori, quanto dalla grigia uniformità politica ed economica, realizzata da molti suoi seguaci. Nell’Urtext, però, pose l’accento anche sull’«errore di quei socialisti, specialmente francesi», che, considerando «il socialismo [quale] realizzazione delle idee borghesi», avevano cercato di «dimostrare che il valore di scambio [fosse], originariamente […], un sistema di libertà ed eguaglianza per tutti, […] falsificato [… poi] dal capitale». Nei Grundrisse, Marx etichettò come «insulsaggine [quella] di considerare la libera concorrenza quale ultimo sviluppo della libertà umana». Difatti, questa tesi «non significa[va] altro se non che il dominio della borghesia [era] il termine ultimo della libertà umana», idea che, ironicamente, Marx definì «allettante per i parvenus».
Allo stesso modo, egli contestò l’ideologia liberale secondo la quale «la negazione della libera concorrenza equivale alla negazione della libertà individuale e della produzione sociale basata sulla libertà individuale». Nella società borghese si rendeva possibile soltanto un «libero sviluppo su base limitata, sulla base del dominio del capitale». A suo avviso, «questo genere di libertà individuale [era], al tempo stesso, la più completa soppressione di ogni libertà individuale e il più completo soggiogamento dell’individualità alle condizioni sociali, le quali assumono la forma di poteri oggettivi […] [e] oggetti indipendenti […] dagli stessi individui e dalle loro relazioni».
L’alternativa all’alienazione capitalistica era realizzabile solo se le classi subalterne avessero preso coscienza della loro condizione di nuovi schiavi e avessero dato inizio alla lotta per una trasformazione radicale del mondo nel quale venivano sfruttati. La loro mobilitazione e la loro partecipazione attiva a questo processo non poteva arrestarsi, però, all’indomani della presa del potere. Avrebbe dovuto proseguire al fine di scongiurare la deriva verso un socialismo di Stato nei cui confronti Marx manifestò sempre la più tenace e convinta opposizione.
In una significativa lettera indirizzata, nel 1868, al presidente dell’Associazione generale degli operai tedeschi, Marx spiegò che «l’operaio non andava trattato con provvedimenti burocratici», affinché potesse obbedire «all’autorità e ai superiori; la cosa più importante era insegnargli a camminare da solo». Egli non mutò mai questa convinzione nel corso della sua esistenza. Non a caso, come primo punto degli Statuti dell’Associazione Internazionale dei Lavoratori, da lui redatto, aveva posto: «l’emancipazione della classe lavoratrice deve essere opera dei lavoratori stessi». Aggiungendo, in quello immediatamente successivo, che la loro lotta non doveva «tendere a costituire nuovi privilegi e monopoli di classe, ma a stabilire diritti e doveri eguali per tutti».
Molti dei partiti e dei regimi politici sorti nel nome di Marx, utilizzando in modo strumentale e citando impropriamente il concetto di «dittatura del proletariato», non hanno seguito la direzione da lui indicata. Tuttavia, ciò non vuol dire che non sia possibile provarci ancora.

 

References
1. Marx, Il capitale. Libro primo cit., p. 108.
2. Ibid., p. 111.
3. Ibid., p. 113.
4. Ibid., p. 301.
5. Marx, Lineamenti fondamentali della critica dell’economia politica cit., i, p. 185.
6. Ibid., ii, p. 406.
7. Ibid., p. 405.
8. Marx, Il capitale. Libro primo cit., p. 110.
9. Marx, Lineamenti fondamentali della critica dell’economia politica cit., i, p. 117.
10. K. Marx, Ökonomische Manuskripte 1863-1867, mega2, ii/4.2, Dietz Verlag, Berlin 2012, p. 662.
11. K. Marx, Critica al programma di Gotha, Editori Riuniti, Roma 1990, p. 14. Palmiro Togliatti ha erroneamente tradotto questa espressione con il termine «società collettivista».
12. Marx, Il capitale. Libro primo cit., p. 648.
13. K. Marx, La guerra civile in Francia. Indirizzo del Consiglio generale dell’Associazione internazionale dei lavoratori, in Marx Engels Opere, xxii, La Città del Sole-Editori Riuniti, Napoli-Roma 2008, p. 304.
14. Ibid., p. 297.
15. Marx, Estratti e commenti critici a «Stato e anarchia» di Bakunin cit., p. 356.
16. Marx, Lineamenti fondamentali della critica dell’economia politica cit., ii, p. 141.
17. Ibid., p. 333.
18. K. Marx, Manoscritti economici del 1861-1863, Editori Riuniti, Roma 1980, p. 200.
19. Marx, Il capitale. Libro primo cit., p. 578.
20. Marx, Lineamenti fondamentali della critica dell’economia politica cit., i, p. 100.
21. Ibid.
22. Ibid., p. 117.
23. Ibid., ii, p. 241.
24. Ibid., p. 393.
25. Ibid., i, p. 118.
26. Ibid., ii, 243
27. Ibid., p. 244.
28. Ibid., i, p. 100.
29. Ibid., p. 117.
30. Ibid.
31. Marx, Critica al programma di Gotha cit., pp. 14-5.
32. Ibid., p. 17.
33. Marx, Il capitale. Libro primo cit., p. 537.
34. Ibid., p. 552.
35. Ibid., p. 553.
36. Ibid., p. 371.
37. K. Marx, Il capitale. Libro secondo. Il processo di circolazione del capitale, Editori Riuniti, Roma 1989, p. 331.
38. K. Marx, Il capitale. Libro terzo. Il processo complessivo della produzione capitalistica, Editori Riuniti, Roma 1989, p. 763.
39. Ibid., p. 231.
40. Marx, Glosse marginali al «Trattato di economia politica» di Adolf Wagner cit., p. 1409.
41. Marx, Il capitale. Libro primo cit., p. 578.
42. Ibid., p. 486.
43. Marx, Lineamenti fondamentali della critica dell’economia politica cit., i, p. 296.
44. Ibid., p. 241.
45. Marx, Salario, prezzo e profitto cit., p. 150.
46. Marx, Critica al programma di Gotha cit., p. 18.
47. Marx, Lineamenti fondamentali della critica dell’economia politica cit., ii, p. 364.
48. Marx, Critica dell’anarchismo cit., p. 279.
49. J. Guesde, P. Lafargue, K. Marx, Programma elettorale dei lavoratori socialisti, in M. Musto, L’ultimo Marx, 1881-1883. Saggio di biografia intellettuale, Donzelli, Roma 2016, pp. 137-40.
50. Marx, Il capitale. Libro terzo cit., p. 887.
51. Marx, Il capitale. Libro primo cit., p. 360.
52. Ibid., pp. 360-1.
53. Ibid., p. 271.
54. Marx, Lineamenti fondamentali della critica dell’economia politica cit., ii, p. 404.
55. K. Marx, Manoscritti del 1861-1863, Editori Riuniti, Roma 1980, p. 194
56. Ibid., p. 195
57. Ibid.
58. Ibid., p. 194
59. K. Marx, Risoluzioni del Congresso di Ginevra, in Prima Internazionale, Lavoratori di tutto il mondo, unitevi! cit., p. 35.
60. Marx, Il capitale. Libro primo cit., p. 300.
61. Marx, Lineamenti fondamentali della critica dell’economia politica cit., ii, p. 402.
62. Ibid., i, pp. 118-9.
63. K. Marx, Teorie sul plusvalore iii, in Marx Engels Opere, xxxvi, Editori Riuniti, Roma 1979, p. 274.
64. Marx, Lineamenti fondamentali della critica dell’economia politica cit., ii, p. 402.
65. Ibid., p. 112.
66. Marx, La guerra civile in Francia cit., p. 300.
67. K. Marx – F. Engels, Le cosiddette scissioni nell’Internazionale, in Idd., Critica dell’anarchismo cit., p. 76.
68. Marx, Estratti e commenti critici a «Stato e anarchia» di Bakunin cit., p. 357.
69. Marx, La guerra civile in Francia cit., p. 294.
70. Ibid., p. 298.
71. Marx, Critica al programma di Gotha cit., p. 28.
72. Ibid., p. 14.
73. Marx, La guerra civile in Francia cit., p. 297.
74. Marx, Critica al programma di Gotha cit., p. 18.
75. K. Marx, Frammento del testo primitivo, in Id., Scritti inediti di Economia politica, Editori Riuniti, Roma 1963, p. 91.
76. Marx, Lineamenti fondamentali della critica dell’economia politica cit., ii, p. 335.
77. Karl Marx a Johann Baptist von Schweitzer, 13 ottobre 1868, in K. Marx, Lettere: gennaio 1868-luglio 1870, Marx Engels Opere, xliii, Editori Riuniti, Roma 1975, p. 620.
78. K. Marx, Indirizzo inaugurale e statuti provvisori dell’Associazione Internazionale degli Operai, in Marx Engels Opere, xx, Editori Riuniti, Roma 1987, p. 14.

Categories
Journal Articles

New Profiles of Marx after the Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe (MEGA²)

I. The Marx Revival
For more than a decade now, prestigious newspapers and journals with a wide readership have been describing Karl Marx as a far-seeing theorist whose topicality receives constant confirmation.
Many authors with progressive views maintain that his ideas continue to be indispensable for anyone who believes it is necessary to build an alternative to capitalism. Almost everywhere, he is now the theme of university courses and international conferences. His writings, reprinted or brought out in new editions, have reappeared on bookshop shelves, and the study of his work, after twenty years or more of neglect, has gathered increasing momentum. The years 2017 and 2018 have brought further intensity to this “Marx revival”, thanks to many initiatives around the world linked to the 150th anniversary of the publication of Capital and the bicentenary of Marx’s birth.
Marx’s ideas have changed the world. Yet despite the affirmation of Marx’s theories, turned into dominant ideologies and state doctrines for a considerable part of humankind in the twentieth century, there is still no full edition of all his works and manuscripts. The main reason for this lies in the incomplete character of Marx’s oeuvre; the works he published amount to considerably less than the total number of projects left unfinished, not to speak of the mountainous Nachlass of notes connected with his unending researches. Marx left many more manuscripts than those he sent to the printers. The sometimes-grinding poverty in which he lived, as well as his constant ill health, added to his daily worries; his rigorous method and merciless self-criticism increased the difficulties of many of his undertakings. Moreover, his passion for knowledge remained unaltered over time and always drove him on to fresh study. Nevertheless, his ceaseless labors would have the most extraordinary theoretical consequences for the future.
Of particular value for a reevaluation of Marx’s achievement was the resumed publication in 1998 of the Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe (MEGA²), the historical-critical edition of the complete works of Marx and Friedrich Engels. Twenty-eight more volumes have already appeared (40 were published between 1975 and 1989), and others are in the course of preparation. The MEGA² is organized in four sections: (1) all the works, articles, and drafts written by Marx and Engels (with the exception of Capital); (2) Capital and all its preparatory materials; (3) the correspondence—consisting of 4,000 letters by Marx and Engels and 10,000 written to them by others, a large number published for the first time in the MEGA²; and (4) the excerpts, annotations, and marginal notes. This fourth section bears witness to Marx’s truly encyclopedic labors: ever since his time at university, it was his habit to compile extracts from the books he read, often interspersing them with reflections that they suggested to him. Marx’s literary bequest contains some two hundred notebooks. They are essential for an understanding of the genesis of his theory and of those elements he was unable to develop as he would have wished. The surviving excerpts, covering the long time-span from 1838 to 1882, are written in eight languages (German, ancient Greek, Latin, French, English, Italian, Spanish, and Russian) and refer to the most varied disciplines. They were taken from works of philosophy, art history, religion, politics, law, literature, history, political economy, international relations, technology, mathematics, physiology, geology, mineralogy, agronomy, anthropology, chemistry, and physics—including not only books and newspaper and journal articles but also parliamentary minutes as well as government statistics and reports. This immense store of knowledge, much of it published in recent years or still waiting to be printed, was the construction site for Marx’s critical theory, and MEGA² has enabled access to it for the first time.
These priceless materials—many available only in German and therefore confined to small circles of researchers—show us an author very different from the one that numerous critics, or self-styled disciples, presented for such a long time. Indeed, the new textual acquisitions in MEGA² make it possible to say that, of the classics of political, economic, and philosophical thought, Marx is the author whose profile has changed the most in the opening decades of the twenty-first century. The new political setting, following the implosion of the Soviet Union, has also contributed to this fresh perception. For the end of Marxism-Leninism finally freed Marx’s work from the shackles of an ideology light years away from his conception of society.
Recent research has refuted the various approaches that reduce Marx’s conception of communist society to superior development of the productive forces. For example, it has shown the importance he attached to the ecological question: on repeated occasions, he denounced the fact that expansion of the capitalist mode of production increases not only the theft of workers’ labor but also the pillage of natural resources. Marx went deeply into many other issues that, though often underestimated, or even ignored, by scholars of his work, are acquiring crucial importance for the political agenda of our times. Among these are individual freedom in the economic and political sphere, gender emancipation, the critique of nationalism, the emancipatory potential of technology, and forms of collective ownership not controlled by the state. Thus, thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it has become possible to read a Marx very unlike the dogmatic, economistic, and Eurocentric theorist who was paraded around for so long.

II. New Discoveries on the Genesis of the Materialist Conception of History
In February 1845, after 15 intensive months in Paris that were crucial for his political formation, Marx was forced to move to Brussels, where he was allowed residence on condition that he “did not publish anything on current politics” (Marx 1975b:677).  During the three years spent in the Belgian capital, he pressed on fruitfully with his studies of political economy and conceived the idea of writing, along with Engels, Joseph Weydemeyer, and Moses Hess, a “critique of modern German philosophy as expounded by its representatives Ludwig Feuerbach, Bruno Bauer, and Max Stirner, and of German socialism as expounded by its various prophets” (Marx 1976:72). The resulting text, posthumously published under the title The German Ideology, had a dual aim: to combat the latest forms of neo-Hegelianism in Germany, and then, as Marx wrote to the publisher Carl Wilhelm Julius Leske on August 1, 1846, “to prepare the public for the viewpoint adopted in my Economy, which is diametrically opposed to German scholarship past and present” (Marx and Engels 1982:50; cf. Musto 2018:57). This manuscript, on which he worked right up to June 1846, was never completed, but it helped him to elaborate more clearly than before, though still not in a definitive form, what Engels defined for the wider public 40 years later as “the materialist conception of history” (Engels 1990a:519).
The first edition of The German Ideology, published in 1932, as well as all later versions, which only incorporated slight modifications, were sent to the printers with the semblance of a completed book. In particular, the editors of this actually unfinished manuscript created the false impression that The German Ideology included an essential opening chapter on Feuerbach in which Marx and Engels exhaustively set out the laws of “historical materialism” (a term never used by Marx). As stated by Althusser, this was the place where they conceptualized “an unequivocal epistemological break” with their previous writings (Althusser 1996:33). The German Ideology soon turned into one of the most important philosophical texts of the twentieth century. According to Henri Lefebvre (1968:71), it set out the “fundamental theses of historical materialism.” Maximilien Rubel (1980:13) held that this “manuscript contains the most elaborate statement of the critical and materialist concept of history.” David McLellan (1975:37) was equally forthright in maintaining that it “contained Marx’s most detailed account of his materialist conception of history.”
Thanks to Volume I/5 of MEGA², Deutsche Ideologie: Manuskripte und Drucke (1845–1847) (Marx and Engels 2017; 1893 pages), many such claims can now be downsized and The German Ideology restored to its original incompleteness. This edition—which comprises 17 manuscripts with a total of 700 pages plus a 1200-page critical apparatus providing variations and authorial corrections and indicating the paternity of each section—establishes once and for all the fragmentary character of the text. The twentieth-century fallacy of “scientific communism” and all the instrumentalizations of The German Ideology call to mind a phrase to be found in the text itself. For its cogent critique of German philosophy in Marx’s lifetime also sounds an acerbic warning against future exegetical trends: “Not only in its answers, even in its questions there was a mystification” (Marx and Engels 1976:28).
In the same period, the young Trier-born revolutionary extended the studies he had begun in Paris. In 1845, he spent July and August in Manchester delving into the vast English-language economic literature and compiling nine books of extracts (the so-called Manchester Notebooks), mostly from manuals of political economy and books on economic history. The MEGA² volume IV/4, Exzerpte und Notizen Juli bis August 1845 (Marx and Engels 1988), contains the first five of these notebooks, together with three books of Engels’s notes from the same time in Manchester. Volume IV/5, Exzerpte und Notizen Juli 1845 bis Dezember 1850 (Marx and Engels 2015; 650 pages), completes this series of texts and makes their previously unpublished parts available to researchers. It includes Notebooks 6, 7, 8, and 9, containing Marx’s excerpts from 16 works of political economy. The most sizeable of this group came from John Francis Bray’s Labour’s Wrongs and Labour’s Remedy (1839) and four texts by Robert Owen, in particular his Book of the New Moral World (1849), all of which evince Marx’s great interest at the time in English socialism and his deep respect for Owen, an author whom too many Marxists have over-hastily written off as “utopian.”  The volume ends with twenty or so pages that Marx wrote between 1846 and 1850, plus some of Engels’s study notes from the same period.
These studies of socialist theory and political economy were not a hindrance to Marx’s and Engels’s habitual political engagement. The 800 pages and more of the recently published Volume I/7, Werke, Artikel, Entwürfe, Februar bis Oktober 1848 (Marx and Engels 2016; 1294 pages), allows us to appreciate the scale of this in 1848, one of the most consuming years of political and journalistic activity in the lives of the authors of the Manifesto of the Communist Party. After a revolutionary movement of unprecedented scope and intensity plunged the political and social order of continental Europe into crisis, governments in place took all possible countermeasures to put an end to the insurrections. Marx himself suffered the consequences and was expelled from Belgium in March. However, a republic had just been proclaimed in France, and Ferdinand Flocon, a minister in the Provisional Government, invited Marx to return to Paris: “Dear and valiant Marx . . . the tyranny banished you, but free France will reopen its doors to you.” Marx naturally set aside his studies of political economy and took up journalistic activity in support of the revolution, helping to chart a recommended political course. After a short period in Paris, in April he moved to the Rhineland and two months later began editing the Neue Rheinische Zeitung, which had meanwhile been founded in Cologne. An intense campaign in its columns weighed in behind the cause of the insurgents and urged the proletariat to promote “the social and republican revolution” (Marx 1977:178).
Nearly all the articles in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung were published anonymously. One of the merits of the MEGA2 volume I/7 is to have correctly attributed the authorship of 36 texts to either Marx or Engels, whereas previous collections had left us in doubt about who wrote which piece. Out of a total of 275, a full 125 are printed here for the first time in an edition of the works of Marx and Engels. An appendix also features 16 interesting documents containing accounts of some of their interventions at the meetings of the League of Communists, the aggregates of the Democratic Society of Cologne and the Vienna Union. Those interested in Marx’s political and journalistic activity during the “year of the revolution,” 1848, will find here much invaluable material to deepen their knowledge.

III. Capital: The Unfinished Critique
The revolutionary movement that rose up throughout Europe in 1848 was defeated within a short space of time, and in 1849, after two expulsion orders from Prussia and France, Marx had no other option than to make his way across the Channel. He would remain in England, an exile and stateless person, for the rest of his life, but European reaction could not have confined him in a better place to write his critique of political economy. At that time, London was the world’s leading economic and financial center, the “demiurge of the bourgeois cosmos” (Marx 1978:134), and therefore the most favorable location from which to observe the latest economic developments of capitalist society. He also became a correspondent for the New-York Tribune, the newspaper with the largest circulation in the United States of America.
For many years Marx awaited the outbreak of a new crisis, and when this materialized in 1857 he devoted much of his time to analyzing its key features. Volume I/16, Artikel Oktober 1857 bis Dezember 1858 (Marx and Engels 2018; 1181 pages), includes 84 articles that he published between autumn 1857 and the end of 1858 in the New-York Tribune, including those expressing his first reactions to the financial panic of 1857. The American daily often printed unsigned editorials, but research for this new volume of MEGA² has made it possible to attribute two more articles to Marx, as well as appending four that were substantially modified by the editors and a further three whose origin remains uncertain.
Driven by a desperate need to improve his economic circumstances, Marx also joined the editorial committee of The New American Cyclopædia and agreed to compose a number of entries for this project (MEGA2 volume I/16 contains 39 of these pieces). Although the payment of $2 per page was very low, it was still an addition to his disastrous finances. Moreover, he entrusted most of the work to Engels, so that he would be able to devote more time to his economic writings.
Marx’s work in this period was remarkable and wide-ranging. Alongside his journalistic commitments, from August 1857 to May 1858 he filled the eight notebooks famously known as the Grundrisse. But he also set himself the strenuous task of an analytic study of the first world economic crisis. Volume IV/14, Exzerpte, Zeitungsausschnitte und Notizen zur Weltwirtschaftskrise (Krisenhefte), November 1857 bis Februar 1858 (Marx 2017; 680 pages), decisively adds to our knowledge of one of the most fertile intervals of Marx’s theoretical production. In a letter to Engels of December 18, 1857, Marx described his feverish burst of activity:
I am working enormously, as a rule until 4 o’clock in the morning. I am engaged on a twofold task: 1. Elaborating the outlines [Grundrisse] of political economy. (For the benefit of the public it is absolutely essential to go into the matter to the bottom, as it is for my own, individually, to get rid of this nightmare.) 2. The present crisis. Apart from the articles for the [New-York] Tribune, all I do is keep records of it, which, however, takes up a considerable amount of time. I think that, somewhere about the spring, we ought to do a pamphlet together about the affair as a reminder to the German public that we are still there as always, and always the same. (Marx and Engels 1983:224)
So Marx’s plan was to work at the same time on two projects: a theoretical work on the critique of the capitalist mode of production, and a more strictly topical book on the vicissitudes of the ongoing crisis. This is why in the so-called Notebooks on Crisis, unlike previous similar volumes, Marx did not compile extracts from the work of other economists but collected a large quantity of news reports on the major bank collapses, on variations in stock market prices, changes in trade patterns, unemployment rates, and industrial output. The particular attention he paid to the latter distinguished his analysis from that of so many others who attributed crises exclusively to the faulty granting of credit and an increase in speculative phenomena. Marx divided his notes among three separate notebooks. In the first and shortest one, entitled “1857 France,” he collected data on the state of French trade and the chief measures taken by the Bank of France. The second, the “Book on the Crisis of 1857,” was nearly twice as long and dealt mainly with Britain and the money market. Similar themes were treated in the slightly longer third notebook, “Book on the Commercial Crisis,” in which Marx annotated data and news items on industrial relations, the production of raw materials, and the labor market.
Marx’s work was as rigorous as ever: he copied from more than a dozen journals and newspapers, in chronological order, the most interesting parts of numerous articles and any other information he could use to summarize what was happening. His principal source was The Economist—a weekly from which he drew roughly half of his notes—although he also frequently consulted Morning Star, The Manchester Guardian, and The Times. All the extracts were compiled in the English language. In these notebooks, Marx did not confine himself to transcribing the main news reports concerning the United States of America and Britain. He also tracked the most significant events in other European countries—particularly France, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Spain—and took a lively interest in other parts of the world, especially India and China, the Far East, Egypt, and even Brazil and Australia.
As the weeks passed, Marx gave up the idea of publishing a book on the crisis and concentrated all his energies on his theoretical work, the critique of political economy, which in his view could brook no further delay. Yet the Notebooks on Crisis remain particularly useful in refuting a false idea of Marx’s main interests during this period. In a letter of January 16, 1858, to Engels, he wrote that “as regards method” to use for his work “Hegel’s Logic had been of great use to him” and added that he wanted to highlight its “rational aspect” (Marx and Engels 1983:249). On this basis, some interpreters of Marx’s work have concluded that when writing the Grundrisse he spent considerable time studying Hegelian philosophy. But the publication of Volume IV/14 makes it quite clear that his main concern at the time was with the empirical analysis of events linked to the great economic crisis that he had been predicting for so long.
Marx’s indefatigable efforts to complete his “critique of political economy” are also the main theme of Volume III/12, Briefwechsel, Januar 1862 bis September 1864 (Marx and Engels 2013; 1529 pages), which contains his correspondence from the beginning of 1862 up to the foundation of the International Working Men’s Association. Of the 425 surviving letters, 112 are exchanges between Engels and Marx, while 35 were written to, and 278 received from, third persons (227 of this group being published here for the first time). The inclusion of the latter—the most significant difference from all previous editions—constitutes a veritable treasure trove for the interested reader, providing a wealth of new information about events and theories that Marx and Engels learned from women and men with whom they had a shared political commitment.
Like all the other MEGA² volumes of correspondence, this one also ends with a register of letters written by, or addressed to, Marx and Engels that have left no more than traces testifying to their existence. These come to a total of 125, nearly a quarter of the number that have survived, and include a full 57 written by Marx. In these cases, even the most rigorous researcher can do no more than speculate about various conjectural hypotheses.
Among the key points of discussion in Marx’s correspondence from the early 1860s were the American Civil War, the Polish revolt against Russian occupation, and the birth of the Social Democratic Party of Germany inspired by the principles of Ferdinand Lassalle.  However, a constantly recurring theme was his struggle to make progress in the writing of Capital.
During this period, Marx launched into a new area of research: “Theories of Surplus Value.” Over ten notebooks, he minutely dissected the approach of major economists before him, his basic idea being that “all economists share the error of examining surplus-value not as such, in its pure form, but in the particular forms of profit and rent” (Marx 1988:348). Meanwhile, Marx’s economic circumstances continued to be desperate. On June 18, 1862, he wrote to Engels: “Every day my wife says she wishes she and the children were safely in their graves, and I really cannot blame her, for the humiliations, torments and alarums that one has to go through in such a situation are indeed indescribable.” The situation was so extreme that Jenny made up her mind to sell some books from her husband’s personal library—although she could not find anyone who wanted to buy them. Nevertheless, Marx managed to “work hard” and expressed a note of satisfaction to Engels: “strange to say, my grey matter is functioning better in the midst of the surrounding poverty than it has done for years” (Marx and Engels 1985:380). On September 10 of the same year, Marx wrote to Engels that he might get a job “in a railroad office” in the new year (ibid.:417).  On December 28, he repeated to his friend Ludwig Kugelmann that things had become so desperate that he had “decided to become a ‘practical man’”; nothing came of the idea, however. Marx reported with his typical sarcasm: “Luckily—or perhaps I should say unluckily?—I did not get the post because of my bad handwriting” (ibid.:436).
Along with the financial stresses, Marx suffered a great deal from health problems. Nevertheless, from summer 1863 to December 1865 he embarked on further editing of the various parts into which he had decided to subdivide Capital. In the end, he managed to draw up the first draft of Volume One; the sole manuscript of Volume Three, in which he gave his only account of the complete process of capitalist production; and an initial version of Volume Two, containing the first general presentation of the circulation process of capital.
Volume II/11 of MEGA², Manuskripte zum zweiten Buch des “Kapitals,” 1868 bis 1881 (Marx and Engels 2008; 1850 pages), contains all the final manuscripts pertaining to Volume Two of Capital that Marx drafted between 1868 and 1881.  Nine of these ten manuscripts had not been published previously. In October 1867, Marx returned to Capital, Volume Two, but various health issues forced another sudden interruption. A few months later, when he was able to resume work, nearly three years had passed since the last version he had written. Marx completed the first two chapters in the course of the spring of 1868, in addition to a group of preparatory manuscripts—on the relationship between surplus value and rate of profit, the law of the rate of profit, and the metamorphoses of capital—which occupied him until the end of the year. The new version of the third chapter was completed in the course of the next two years. Volume II/11 ends with a number of short texts that the aging Marx wrote between February 1877 and the spring of 1881.
The drafts of Capital, Volume Two, which were left in anything but a definitive state, present a number of theoretical problems. However, a final version of Volume Two was published by Engels in 1885, and it now appears in Volume II/13 of MEGA², entitled Karl Marx: Das Kapital: Kritik der Politischen Ökonomie, Zweiter Band. Herausgegeben von Friedrich Engels, Hamburg 1885 (Marx 2008; 800 pages).
Finally, Volume II/4.3, Ökonomische Manuskripte 1863–1868, Teil 3 (Marx 2012; 1065 pages), completes the second section of MEGA². This volume, which follows II/4.1 and II/4.2 in the previous series, contains 15 hitherto unpublished manuscripts from autumn 1867 to the end of 1868. Seven of these are draft fragments of Capital, Volume Three; they have a highly fragmentary character, and Marx never managed to update them in a way that reflected the progress of his research. Another three relate to Volume Two, while the remaining five tackle issues concerning the interdependence between Volumes Two and Three and include comments on excerpts from the works of Adam Smith and Thomas Malthus. The latter are particularly stimulating for economists interested in Marx’s theory of the rate of profit and his ideas on price theory. Philological studies linked to the preparation of this volume have also shown that the original manuscript of Capital, Volume One (of which “Chapter Six: Results of the Immediate Process of Production” used to be considered the only surviving part) actually dates back to the 1863–64 period, and that Marx cut and pasted it into the copy he prepared for publication.
With the publication of MEGA2 volume II/4.3, all the ancillary texts relating to Capital have been made available, from the famous “Introduction,” written in July 1857 during one of the greatest crashes in the history of capitalism, to the last fragments composed in the spring of 1881. We are talking of 15 volumes plus just as many bulky auxiliary tomes that constitute a formidable critical apparatus for the main text. They include all the manuscripts from the late 1850s and early 1860s, the first version of Capital published in 1867 (parts of which would be modified in subsequent editions), the French translation reviewed by Marx that appeared between 1872 and 1875, and all the changes that Engels made to the manuscripts of Volumes Two and Three. Alongside this, the classical box set of the three volumes of Capital appears positively minute. It is no exaggeration to say that only now can we fully understand the merits, limits, and incompleteness of Marx’s magnum opus.
The editorial work that Engels undertook after his friend’s death to prepare the unfinished parts of Capital for publication was extremely complex. The various manuscripts, drafts, and fragments of Volumes Two and Three, written between 1864 and 1881, correspond to approximately 2,350 pages of the MEGA2. Engels successfully published Volume Two in 1885 and Volume Three in 1894. However, it must be borne in mind that these two volumes emerged from the reconstruction of incomplete texts, often consisting of heterogeneous material. They were written in more than one period in time and thus include different, and sometimes contradictory, versions of Marx’s ideas.

IV. The International, Marx’s Researches Following Capital, and Engels’s Final Labors
Immediately after the publication of Capital, Marx resumed militant activity and made a constant commitment to the work of the International Working Men’s Association. This phase in his political biography is documented in Volume I/21, Werke, Artikel, Entwürfe, September 1867 bis März 1871 (Marx and Engels 2009; 2,432 pages), which contains more than 150 texts and documents for the period from 1867 to 1871, as well as minutes of 169 meetings of the General Council in London (omitted from all previous editions of the works of Marx and Engels) in which Marx made an intervention. As such, it provides research material for crucial years in the life of the International.
Right from the earliest days, in 1864, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon’s ideas were hegemonic in France, French-speaking Switzerland, and Belgium, and the mutualists—the name by which his followers were known—were the most moderate wing of the International. 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 strikes as a weapon. The texts published in this volume show how Marx played a key role in the long struggle to reduce Proudhon’s influence in the International. They include the documents related to the preparation of the congresses of Brussels (1868) and Basel (1869), where the International made its first clear pronouncement on the socialization of the means of production by state authorities and in favor of the right to abolish individual ownership of land. This marked an important victory for Marx and the first appearance of socialist principles in the political program of a major workers’ organization.
Beyond the International Working Men’s Association’s political program, the late 1860s and early 1870s were 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 to ask it to support their struggles. This period also saw the birth of some IWMA sections of Irish workers in England. Marx was worried about the division that violent nationalism had produced within the ranks of the proletariat, and, in a document that has come to be known as the  “Confidential Communication,”  he emphasized that “the English bourgeoisie ha[d] not only exploited the Irish misery to keep down the working class in England by forced immigration of poor Irishmen”; it had also proved able to divide the workers “into two hostile camps” (Marx 1985:120). In his view, “a nation that enslaves another forges its own chains” (ibid.), and the class struggle could not evade such a decisive issue. Another major theme in the volume, treated with particular attention in Engels’s writings for The Pall Mall Gazette, was opposition to the Franco-Prussian war of 1870–71.
Marx’s work in the International Working Men’s Association lasted from 1864 to 1872, and the brand-new Volume IV/18, Exzerpte und Notizen, Februar 1864 bis Oktober 1868, November 1869, März, April, Juni 1870, Dezember 1872 (Marx and Engels 2019; 1294 pages) provides the hitherto unknown part of the studies he made during those years. Marx’s research took place either close to the printing of Volume One of Capital or after 1867 when he was preparing Volumes Two and Three for publication. This MEGA² volume consists of five books of excerpts and four notebooks containing summaries of more than one hundred published works, reports of parliamentary debates, and journalistic articles. The most sizeable and theoretically important part of these materials involves Marx’s research on agriculture, his main interests here being ground rent, the natural sciences, agrarian conditions in various European countries and the United States, Russia, Japan, and India, and land tenure systems in precapitalist societies.
Marx read attentively Chemistry in Its Application to Agriculture and Physiology (1843), a work by the German scientist Justus von Liebig that he considered essential because it allowed him to modify his previous belief that the scientific discoveries of modern agriculture solved the problem of soil replenishment. From then on, he took an ever-keener interest in what we would today call “ecology,” particularly soil erosion and deforestation. Among the other books that greatly impressed Marx in this period, a special place should also be assigned to the Introduction to the Constitutive History of the German Mark, Farm, Village, Town and Public Authority (1854) by the political theorist and legal historian Georg Ludwig von Maurer. In a letter to Engels on March 25, 1868, he said that he had found Maurer’s books “extremely significant,” since they approached in an entirely different way “not only the primitive age but also the entire later development of the free imperial cities, of the estate owners possessing immunity, of public authority, and of the struggle between the free peasantry and serfdom” (Marx and Engels 1987:557). Marx further endorsed Maurer’s demonstration that private property in land belonged to a precise historical period and could not be regarded as a natural feature of human civilization.
Finally, Marx studied in depth three German works by Karl Fraas: Climate and the Vegetable World throughout the Ages, a History of Both (1847), A History of Agriculture (1852), and The Nature of Agriculture (1857). He found the first of these “very interesting,” especially appreciating the part in which Fraas demonstrated that “climate and flora change in historical times.” He described the author as “a Darwinist before Darwin,” who admitted that “even the species have been developing in historical times.” Marx was also struck by Fraas’s ecological considerations and his related concern that “cultivation—when it proceeds in natural growth and is not consciously controlled (as a bourgeois he naturally does not reach this point)—leaves deserts behind it.” Marx could detect in all this “an unconscious socialist tendency” (Marx and Engels 1987:558–59).
Following the publication of the so-called Notebooks on Agriculture, it can be argued with more evidence than before that ecology might have played a much greater role in Marx’s thinking if he had had the energy to complete the last two volumes of Capital. Of course, Marx’s ecological critique was anticapitalist in its thrust and, beyond the hopes he placed in scientific progress, involved a questioning of the mode of production as a whole.
The scale of Marx’s studies in the natural sciences has become fully apparent since the publication of MEGA² volume IV/26, Exzerpte und Notizen zur Geologie, Mineralogie und Agrikulturchemie, März bis September 1878 (Marx 2011; 1104 pages). In the spring and summer of 1878, geology, mineralogy, and agrarian chemistry were more central to Marx’s studies than political economy. He compiled extracts from a number of books, including The Natural History of the Raw Materials of Commerce (1872) by John Yeats, The Book of Nature (1848) by the chemist Friedrich Schoedler, and Elements of Agricultural Chemistry and Geology (1856), by the chemist and mineralogist James Johnston. Between June and early September, he was grappling with Joseph Jukes’s Student’s Manual of Geology (1857) (see Marx 2011:139–679), from which he copied down the largest number of extracts. The main focus of these is questions of scientific methodology, the stages of the development of geology as a discipline, and its usefulness for industrial and agricultural production.
Such insights awakened in Marx a need to develop his ideas regarding profit, with which he had last intensively occupied himself in the mid-1860s, when he wrote the draft of the part on “The Transformation of Surplus-Profit into Ground Rent” of Capital, Volume Three. Some of the summaries of natural-scientific texts had the aim of throwing greater light on the material he was studying. But other excerpts, more geared to theoretical aspects, were meant to be used in the completion of Volume Three. Engels later recalled that Marx “combed . . . prehistory, agronomy, Russian and American landownership, geology, etc., in particular to work out, to an extent . . . never previously attempted, the section on ground rent in Volume III of Capital” (Engels 1990b:341). These volumes of MEGA² are all the more important because they serve to discredit the myth, repeated in a number of biographies and studies on Marx, that after Capital he had satisfied his intellectual curiosity and completely given up new study and research.
Three books of MEGA² published in the last decade concern the late work by Engels. Volume I/30, Werke, Artikel, Entwürfe Mai 1883 bis September 1886 (Engels 2011; 1154 pages) contains 43 texts that he wrote in the three years following Marx’s death. Of the 29 most important of these, 17 consist of journalistic pieces that appeared in some of the main papers of the European working-class press. For although in this period he was mainly absorbed in editing Marx’s incomplete manuscripts of Capital, Engels did not neglect to intervene on a series of burning political and theoretical issues. He also brought out a polemical work that took aim at the resurgence of idealism in German academic circles, Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy. A further 14 texts, published as an appendix in this MEGA² volume, are some of Engels’s own translations and a series of articles signed by other authors who benefited from his collaboration.
MEGA² has also published a new set of Engels’s correspondence. Volume III/30, Briefwechsel Oktober 1889 bis November 1890 (Engels 2013; 1512 pages), contains 406 surviving letters from the total of 500 or more that he wrote between October 1889 and November 1890. Moreover, the inclusion for the first time of letters from other correspondents makes it possible to appreciate more deeply the contribution that Engels made to the growth of workers’ parties in Germany, France, and Britain, on a range of theoretical and organizational issues. Some of the items in question concern the birth and many ongoing debates in the Second International, whose founding congress took place on 14 July 1889.
Finally, Volume I/32, Werke, Artikel, Entwürfe März 1891 bis August 1895 (Engels 2010; 1590 pages), brings together the writings from the last four and a half years of Engels’s life. There are a number of journalistic pieces for the major socialist papers of the time, including Die Neue Zeit, Le Socialiste, and Critica Sociale, but also prefaces and afterwords to various reprintings of works by Marx and Engels, transcriptions of speeches, interviews and greetings to party congresses, accounts of conversations, documents that Engels drafted in collaboration with others, and a number of translations.
These three volumes will therefore prove highly useful for a deeper study of Engels’s late theoretical and political contributions. The numerous publications and international conferences scheduled for the bicentenary of his birth (1820–2020) will certainly not fail to probe these twelve years following Marx’s death, during which he devoted his energies to the diffusion of Marxism.

V. Another Marx?
What Marx emerges from the new historical-critical edition of his works? In certain respects, he differs from the thinker whom many followers and opponents presented over the years—not to speak of the stone statues to be found in public squares under the unfree regimes of Eastern Europe, which showed him pointing to the future with imperious certainty. On the other hand, it would be misleading to invoke—as do those who over-excitedly hail an “unknown Marx” after each new text appears for the first time—that recent research has turned upside down everything that was already known about him. What MEGA² provides, rather, is the textual basis for rethinking a different Marx: not different because the class struggle drops out of his thought (as some academics would wish, in a variation of the old refrain of “Marx the economist” against “Marx the politician” that vainly seeks to present him as a toothless classic); but radically different from the author who was dogmatically converted into the fons et origo of “actually existing socialism” supposedly fixated on class conflict alone.
The new advances achieved in Marxian studies suggest that the exegesis of Marx’s work is again, as at many other times in the past, likely to become more and more refined. For a long time, many Marxists foregrounded the writings of the young Marx—primarily the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 and The German Ideology—while the Manifesto of the Communist Party remained his most widely read and quoted text. In those early writings, however, one finds many ideas that were superseded in his later work. For a long time, the difficulty of examining Marx’s research in the last two decades of his life hampered our knowledge of the important gains he achieved. But it is above all in Capital and its preliminary drafts, as well as in the researches of his final years, that we find the most precious reflections on the critique of bourgeois society. These represent the last, though not the definitive, conclusions at which Marx arrived. If examined critically in the light of changes in the world since his death, they may still prove useful for the task of theorizing, after the failures of the twentieth century, an alternative social-economic model to capitalism.
The MEGA² edition has given the lie to all the claims that Marx is a thinker about whom everything has already been written and said. There is still so much to learn from Marx. Today it is possible to do this by studying not only what he wrote in his published works but also the questions and doubts contained in his unfinished manuscripts.

 

References
1. Among the main recent works marking this resurgence of interest, see Musto 2020a.
2. Tomes II/4.1 and II/4.2 were published before the interruption of MEGA², while Tome II/4.3 came out in 2012. This three-part book brings to 67 the total number of MEGA² volumes published since 1975.  In the future, some of the further volumes will be published only in digital form.
3. Of particular relevance for the content of Marx’s library was the publication of MEGA² vol. IV/32, Die Bibliotheken von Karl Marx und Friedrich Engels (Marx and Engels 1999), which consists of an index of 1,450 books (in 2,100 total volumes)—two-thirds of those owned by Marx and Engels. This compilation indicates all the pages of each volume on which Marx and Engels left annotations and marginalia.
4. For a review of all 13 MEGA² volumes published from 1998—the year of the resumption of this edition—to 2007, see Musto 2007. In this review essay are discussed the 15 volumes—amounting to a total of 20,508 pages—published between 2008 and 2019.
5. In fact, Engels already used this expression in 1859, in his review of Marx’s book A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, but the article had no resonance and the term began to circulate only after the publication of his Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy.
6. A few years before the publication of the MEGA² vol. I/5, on the basis of the German edition of the Marx/Engels/Weydemeyer Die Deutsche Ideologie: Artikel, Druckvorlagen, Entwürfe, Reinschriftenfragmente und Notizen zu I. Feuerbach und II Sankt Bruno, which appeared as a special issue (vol. 2003) of the Marx-Engels Jahrbuch, Terrell Carver and David Blank (2014) provided a new English-language edition of the so-called “Chapter on Feuerbach.” The two authors argued for maximum fidelity to the originals, furthermore criticizing the Marx-Engels Jahrbuch edition (now incorporated in MEGA² vol. I/5) on the grounds that, in line with earlier twenty-century editors, it arranged the discrete manuscripts as if they formed the draft of a a fully cohesive, if never completed, work.
7. A small part of this text has recently been translated into English as “Marx’s Economic Manuscript of 1867–68 (Excerpt)” (Marx 2019).
8. Volume II/4.2 has recently been translated into English as Fred Moseley (ed.), Marx’s Economic Manuscript of 1864–1865 (2015).
9. See Carl-Erich Vollgraf, “Einführung,” in MEGA² vol. II/4.3:421–74 (Marx 2012).
10. Some of them—like the addresses and resolutions presented to the congresses of the International—were instead included in the anthology Workers Unite! The International 150 Years Later (Musto 2014), which appeared on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of this organization.
11. On these questions, see also the work by Kohei Saito (one of the editors of MEGA² vol. IV/18), Karl Marx’s Ecosocialism: Capital, Nature and the Unfinished Critique of Political Economy (2017).
12. Marx’s great interest in the natural sciences, for a long time almost completely unknown, is also evident in MEGA² vol. IV/31, Naturwissenschaftliche Exzerpte und Notizen, Mitte 1877 bis Anfang 1883 (Marx and Engels 1999), which presented the notes on organic and inorganic chemistry taken by Marx after 1877.
13. See Marcello Musto, The Last Years of Karl Marx: An Intellectual Biography (2020b). An important milestone will be the publication of the volume edited by David Smith, Marx’s World: Global Society and Capital Accumulation in Marx’s Late Manuscripts (forthcoming 2021).

Bibliography
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Engels, Friedrich. 2010. Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe (MEGA²). Vol. I/32, Werke, Artikel, Entwürfe, März 1891 bis August 1895, edited by Peer Kösling. Berlin: Akademie.
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Engels, Friedrich. 2013. Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe (MEGA²). Vol. III/30, Briefwechsel Oktober 1889 bis November 1890, edited by Gerd Callesen and Svetlana Gavril’čenko. Berlin: Akademie.
Lefebvre, Henri. 1968. Dialectical Materialism. London: Cape Editions.
Marx, Karl. 1975a. “A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Law.” Pp. 3–129 in Marx-Engels Collected Works, vol. 3. London: Lawrence and Wishart.
Marx, Karl. 1975b. “Marx’s Undertaking Not to Publish Anything in Belgium on Current Politics.” P. 677 in Marx-Engels Collected Works, vol. 4. London: Lawrence and Wishart.
Marx, Karl. 1976. “Declaration against Karl Grün.” Pp. 72–74 in Marx-Engels Collected Works, vol. 6. London: Lawrence and Wishart.
Marx, Karl. 1977. “The Bourgeoisie and the Counter-Revolution.” Pp. 154–78 in Marx-Engels Collected Works, vol. 8. London: Lawrence and Wishart.
Marx, Karl. 1978. The Class Struggles in France, 1848 to 1850. Pp. 45–146 in Marx-Engels Collected Works, vol. 10. London: Lawrence and Wishart.
Marx, Karl. 1985. “Confidential Communication.” Pp. 112–24 in Marx-Engels Collected Works, vol. 21. London: Lawrence and Wishart.
Marx, Karl. 1988. Marx-Engels Collected Works. Vol. 30, Economic Manuscript of 1861–63. London: Lawrence and Wishart.
Marx, Karl. 2008. Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe (MEGA²). Vol. II/13, Das Kapital: Kritik der Politischen Ökonomie, Zweiter Band. Herausgegeben von Friedrich Engels, Hamburg 1885. Berlin: Akademie.
Marx, Karl. 2011. Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe (MEGA²). Vol. IV/26, Exzerpte und Notizen zur Geologie, Mineralogie und Agrikulturchemie, März bis September 1878, edited by Anneliese Griese, Peter Krüger, and Richard Sperl. Berlin: Akademie.
Marx, Karl. 2012. Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe (MEGA²). Vol. II/4.3, Ökonomische Manuskripte 1863–1868, Teil 3, edited by Carl-Erich Vollgraf. Berlin: Akademie.
Marx, Karl. 2015. Marx’s Economic Manuscript of 1864–1865. Boston: Brill.
Marx, Karl. 2017. Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe (MEGA²). Vol. IV/14, Exzerpte, Zeitungsausschnitte und Notizen zur Weltwirtschaftskrise (Krisenhefte), November 1857 bis Februar 1858, edited by Kenji Mori, Rolf Hecker, Izumi Omura, and Atsushi Tamaoka. Berlin: De Gruyter.
Marx, Karl. 2019. “Marx’s Economic Manuscript of 1867–68 (Excerpt).” Historical Materialism 27(4):162–92.
Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. 1976. The German Ideology. Pp. 19–539 in Marx-Engels Collected Works, vol. 5. London: Lawrence and Wishart.
Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. 1982. Marx-Engels Collected Works. Vol. 38, Letters 1844–51. London: Lawrence and Wishart.
Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. 1983. Marx-Engels Collected Works. Vol. 40, Letters 1856–59. London: Lawrence and Wishart.
Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. 1985. Marx-Engels Collected Works. Vol. 41, Letters 1860–64. London: Lawrence and Wishart.
Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. 1987. Marx-Engels Collected Works. Vol. 42, Letters 1864–68. London: Lawrence and Wishart.
Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. 1988. Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe (MEGA²). Vol. IV/4, Exzerpte und Notizen Juli bis August 1845, edited by Nelly Rumjanzewa, Ljudmila Vasina, Sora Kasmina, Marija Marinitschewa, and Alexander Russkich. Berlin: Dietz.
Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. 1999a. Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe (MEGA²). Vol. IV/32, Die Bibliotheken von Karl Marx und Friedrich Engels: Annotiertes Verzeichnis des ermittelten Bestandes, edited by Hans-Peter Harstick, Richard Sperl, and Hanno Strauß. Berlin: Akademie Verlag.
Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. 1999b. Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe (MEGA²). Vol. IV/31, Naturwissenschaftliche Exzerpte und Notizen, Mitte 1877 bis Anfang 1883, edited by Annalise Griese, Friederun Fessen, Peter Jäckel, and Gerd Pawelzig. Berlin: Akademie.
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Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. 2009. Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe (MEGA²). Vol. I/21, Werke, Artikel, Entwürfe, September 1867 bis März 1871, edited by Jürgen Herres. Berlin: Akademie.
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Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. 2016. Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe (MEGA²). Vol. I/7, Werke, Artikel, Entwürfe, Februar bis Oktober 1848, edited by Jürgen Herren and François Melis. Berlin: De Gruyter.
Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. 2017. Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe (MEGA²). Vol. I/5, Deutsche Ideologie, Manuskripte und Drucke (1845–1847), edited by Ulrich Pagel, Gerald Hubmann, and Christine Weckwerth. Berlin: De Gruyter.
Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. 2018. Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe (MEGA²). Vol. I/16, Artikel Oktober 1857 bis Dezember 1858, edited by Claudia Rechel and Hanno Strauß. Berlin: De Gruyter.
Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. 2019. Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe (MEGA²). Vol. IV/18, Exzerpte und Notizen, Februar 1864 bis Oktober 1868, November 1869, März, April, Juni 1870, Dezember 1872, edited by Teinosuke Otani, Kohei Saito, and Timm Graßmann. Berlin: De Gruyter.
McLellan, David. 1975. Karl Marx. London: Fontana.
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Marx kései kutatásai az Európán kívüli társadalmakról

Bevezetés
Marx utolsó és nagyrészt még feltáratlan stúdiumai eloszlatják a mítoszt, miszerint utolsó éveiben Marx már nem írt semmi érdemlegeset. Marx munkásságának utolsó időszaka számára bizonyára nehéz volt, de egyszersmind elméletileg nagyon is jelentős. Az 1870-es évek végén Marx nemcsak folytatta korábbi kutatásait, hanem új területekre is kiterjesztette. Ezenfelül megvizsgált új politikai konfliktusokat (például a narodnyik mozgalom harcait Oroszországban a jobbágyság eltörlése után, vagy a gyarmati elnyomással szembeni ellenállást Indiában, Egyiptomban és Algériában), új elméleti kérdéseket (mint a közösségi földtulajdoné a prekapitalista társadalmakban, vagy a szocialista forradalom lehetősége a nem-kapitalista úton fejlődött országokban) és korábban általa nem tanulmányozott területeket (mint Oroszország, Észak-Afrika vagy India). Ehhez a korszakhoz tartoznak nemcsak A tőkéről szóló utolsó és befejezetlen kéziratai, hanem több tanulmány is a falusi közösségi földtulajdonról – különösen a Makszim Kovalevszkij munkásságáról írott kivonatok (1879–80) és az oroszországi obscsina jól ismert elemzése. Ezenkívül Marx megírta az Etnográfiai jegyzetfüzeteket (1880–1881),1 és még egyszer, életében utoljára, mélyen elmerült a történelemben, különösen India és Euró- pa történelmében. Mindezeknek a kérdéseknek a vizsgálata képessé tette őt arra, hogy árnyaltabb társadalomtudományi elképzeléseket dolgozzon ki, amelyeket befolyásoltak a Nyugat-Európán kívüli országok sajátságai.

A jelen tanulmány megkérdőjelezi Marxnak azt a régre visszanyúló, torzító bemutatását, mintha „eurocentrikus” és ökonomista gondolkodó lett volna, aki kizárólag az osztálykonfliktusokra fixálta a maga gondolkodását. Meg szeretném nyitni az olvasók előtt az utat, hogy vizsgálják meg újra Marx eszméit az antropológiáról, a nem nyugati társadalmakról és az európai gyarmatosítás bírálatáról tett kései megjegyzései fényében, s meg kívánom mutatni: hogyan kerülte el Marx a gazdasági determinizmusnak azt a csapdáját, amelybe oly sok követője később beleesett. Ahelyett, hogy merev módon alkalmazta volna a történelemre a gazdasági determinizmus sémáit, Marx rávilá- gított, milyen hatása van a társadalmi valóság alakítására, a változások elérésére a specifikus történelmi feltételeknek, és milyen központi szerepe van ebben a tudatos emberi beavatkozásnak is.

Marx, bár teljesen lekötötték intenzív elméleti tanulmányai, soha nem veszítette el érdeklődését korának gazdasági és nemzetközi politikai eseményei iránt sem. Amellett, hogy rendszeresen olvasta a fő „polgári” újságokat, megkapta és rendszeresen átnézte a német és francia munkásmozgalmi sajtót is. Miként egész életében, továbbra is kíváncsi volt a világra, és első osztályú tudással rendelkezett arról: mi történik a világban. A különböző országokban élő vezető politi- kai és szellemi figurákkal való levelezése gyakran új stimulusokat és mélyebb tudást adott neki egy sor különböző kérdésről.

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Marx y el papel del capitalismo en los países no europeos

LOS EFECTOS DEL COLONIALISMO INGLÉS EN LA INDIA
En las últimas décadas, en las universidades se ha difundido cada vez más una interpretación que se propone representar a Marx como un autor culpable de orientalismo, de economicismo y sin la capacidad de descifrar las contradicciones sociales sino es a través del único análisis del conflicto entre capital y trabajo. Muchos de ellos, teóricos de la escuela postmoderna, críticos del eurocentrismo y exponentes de los estudios post-coloniales, han sostenido estas tesis alcanzando un eco y éxito considerable. En verdad, una lectura no superficial de la obra de Marx – y la necesaria distinción entre ésta y el corpus dogmático de los manuales de marxismo-leninismo sobre los cuales algunas de estas tesis parecen sostenerse – muestran el perfil de un pensador completamente distinto de las representaciones tan en boga en la academia.
Algunas advertencias para leer a Marx con mayor atención han llegado también desde el fundador de la revista Subaltern Studies. En Dominance without Hegemony: History and power in colonial India, Ranajit Guha ha expresado su cuestionamiento a una posición que, paradójicamente, también fuera asumida por muchos de sus epígonos: “Algunos de los escritos de Marx – por ejemplo ciertos pasajes de sus tan conocidos escritos sobre la India- han sido seguramente leídos sin contextualización y de un modo distorsionado, al punto de reducir su valoración acerca de las posibilidades históricas del capital en adulaciones de un maníaco de la tecnología” (1997: 15). A su juicio, la de Marx era “una crítica que se distinguía inequívocamente del liberalismo”, aún más válida si se piensa que esta fue elaborada en la “fase ascendente y optimista” de este último, en la que “el capital crecía con fuerza y parecía que no hubiesen límites para su expansión y capacidad de transformar la naturaleza y la sociedad” (1997: 15-16). En síntesis, lo afirmado por Partha Chatterje en The politics of the governed: popular politics in most of the world – a saber, que gran parte de los “marxistas han creído, en general, que el influjo del capital sobre la comunidad tradicional fuese el símbolo inevitable del progreso histórico” (2004: 30)- es indiscutible. Sin embargo, sería erróneo extender esta posición a Marx y a su interpretación de la sociedad.
La convicción de que la expansión del modo de producción capitalista fuese un presupuesto fundamental para el nacimiento de la sociedad comunista atraviesa la obra entera de Marx. En el Manifiesto del partido comunista (1848), Marx y Engels reconocieron más de un mérito a la sociedad burguesa. Esta no solo había “destruido todas las condiciones de la vida feudal, patriarcales, idílicas” sino que también “ en lugar de la explotación velada por ilusiones religiosas y políticas, ha establecido una explotación abierta, descarada, directa y brutal”. Ellos no tuvieron dudas en declarar que “la burguesía ha desempeñado en la historia un papel altamente revolucionario” (1974: 113). Explotando los descubrimientos geográficos y el nacimiento del mercado mundial, “ha dado un carácter cosmopolita a la producción y al consumo de todos los países”
(1974:114). En “Futuros resultados de la dominación británica en la India” (1853), uno de los tantos artículos periodísticos aparecidos en el New York Tribune, él escribió que “Inglaterra debe asumir una doble misión en la India, una destructiva, otra regeneradora: aniquilar la vieja sociedad asiática y poner los fundamentos materiales de la sociedad occidental en Asia” (1973a: 78). El no albergaba ninguna ilusión en las características de fondo del capitalismo, sabiendo bien que la burguesía no había “realizado algún progreso sin arrastrar a individuos aislados y a pueblos enteros por la sangre y el lodo, la miseria y la degradación” (1973a: 82). No obstante, asimismo estaba convencido que el intercambio global y el desarrollo de las fuerzas productivas de los seres humanos, mediante la transformación de la producción en un “dominio científico sobre las fuerzas de la naturaleza”, crearían las bases para una sociedad distinta: “la industria y el comercio burgueses van creando esas condiciones materiales de un nuevo mundo” (1973a: 83).
Estas afirmaciones le valieron a Marx la acusación de Edward Said quien, en Orientalismo, no solo declaró que “los análisis económicos de Marx encajan perfectamente en una típica empresa orientalista”, sino que insinuó que éstos dependían del viejo prejuicio de la “desigualdad entre Este y Oeste” (2002: 213-4). El primero en poner en evidencia los errores de esta interpretación, demasiado circunscripta y facciosa, fue Sadiq Jalal al-Azm quien, en el artículo “Orientalism and Orientalism in reverse”, consideró “el informe de [de Said] de las observaciones y de los análisis de Marx, sobre procesos históricos y situaciones altamente complejas, como una farsa”. En su visión, “no había nada de específico, ni respecto de Asia ni del Oriente, en la amplia interpretación teórica de Marx”. Respecto de “la capacidad productiva, la organización social, el ascendente histórico, el poder militar y los desarrollos científicos y tecnológicos (…) Marx, como cualquier otro, conocía la superioridad de Europa moderna sobre Oriente. Sin embargo, acusarlo de (…) transformar este hecho contingente en una realidad necesaria para todos los tiempos era un absurdo” (al-Azm 1980: 14-15).
También Aijaz Ahmad en In Theory: Classes, Nations, Literatures, ha mostrado bien como “Said había descontextualizado citas, con poco sentido de lo que el pasaje citado representaba”en la obra de Marx, “simplemente para insertarlo en su archivo orientalista” (1992: 231, 223). El autor indio ha observado correctamente que “la denuncia de Marx de la sociedad pre-colonial en la India no era menos estridente que su denuncia del pasado feudal de Europa” (1992: 224). A su juicio, “para Marx la idea de un cierto papel progresivo del colonialismo estaba ligado de un papel progresivo del capital en relación a lo que existiera previamente, tanto dentro de Europa como fuera de esta”; “la destrucción del campesinado europeo en el curso de la acumulación original es descripta en tonos análogos” a los de las mutaciones que acaecieron en la India (1992: 227).
En cualquier caso, los artículos de Marx sobre la India de 1853 ofrecen una visión todavía muy parcial y simplificadora del colonialismo si las comparamos con las reflexiones que, posteriormente, elaboró sobre el tema. Las consideraciones sobre la presencia británica en la India fueron enmendadas algunos años después, cuando, escribiendo sobre la rebelión de los Sepoy de 1857 para el mismo cotidiano americano, en el artículo “Investigaciones sobre la tortura en la India”, Marx se alineó, con decisión, de parte de quienes intentaron “expulsar a los conquistadores extranjeros” (1973b: 140). Tomas de partidos análogas fueron muy frecuentes, sea en sus obras como en sus intervenciones políticas.

UNICAMENTE EN EUROPA OCCIDENTAL
Una de las exposiciones más analíticas acerca de los efectos positivos del proceso productivo capitalista se encuentra en el libro primero de El Capital (1867). A pesar de que era mucho más consciente, respecto el pasado, del carácter destructivo del capitalismo, en su obra magna Marx retomó las condiciones generales del capital – en particular de su “centralización”- que constituyen los presupuestos fundamentales para el posible nacimiento de la sociedad comunista. Estas eran: 1) cooperación laboral, 2) la contribución científico técnica en la producción, 3) la apropiación de las fuerzas de la naturaleza por la producción, 4) la creación de grandes máquinas operables tan solo en común por los obreros, 5) el ahorro de los medios de producción, 6) la tendencia a crear el mercado mundial.
Para Marx, el capitalismo había creado las condiciones para la superación de las relaciones económico-sociales originadas por sí mismo y, por lo tanto, el posible traspaso a la sociedad socialista. Así como en sus consideraciones sobre el perfil económico de las sociedades no europeas, el punto central de sus reflexiones consistía en el desarrollo del capitalismo desde el punto de vista de su derrocamiento. Marx reconoció que este modo de producción, no obstante lo despiadado de la explotación de los seres humanos, presentaba algunos elementos potencialmente progresivos, que permiten, mucho más que otras sociedades del pasado, la valoración de las potencialidades de los individuos singulares. Profundamente contrario al precepto productivista del capitalismo, así como al primado del valor de cambio y al imperativo de la producción de plusvalor, Marx valorizó la cuestión del aumento de la capacidad productiva en relación con el incremento de las facultades individuales. Como escribiera también en los Grundrisse, consideró al capitalismo como “un punto de pasaje necesario” (1971: 479) para que se pudiese desplegar las condiciones que permitieran al proletariado luchar, con esperanzas de triunfo, por la instauración de un modo de producción socialista.
Si Marx consideró que el capitalismo fuese una transición esencial que determina las condiciones históricas dentro de las que el movimiento obrero pudiesen luchar para una transformación comunista de la sociedad, en contraste, no pensó nunca que esta idea sea aplicada de un modo rígido y dogmático. Al contrario, él negó muchas veces -sea en textos publicados como en manuscritos inéditos- haber concebido una interpretación unidireccional de la historia en base a la cual los seres humanos a cumplir de cualquier modo el mismo camino y, por añadidura, a través de las mismas etapas.
En el curso de los últimos años de su vida Marx rebatió la tesis, atribuida erróneamente a él, de la inexorabilidad histórica del modo de producción burgués. Su total extrañeza respecto esta posición se expresó en ocasión del debate sobre el posible desarrollo del capitalismo en Rusia. Al escritor y sociólogo Nikolaj Michajlovskij, que lo había acusado de haber considerado el capitalismo como una etapa imprescindible también para la emancipación de Rusia, Marx replicó que en el primer libro de El Capital él había “pretendido solamente indicar la vía por la cual, en Europa occidental, el orden económico capitalista había surgido del seno del orden económico feudal”. Marx remitió a la lectura de un pasaje de la edición francesa (1872-75) de El Capital, en la que había sostenido que la base del recorrido entero de la separación de los productores de sus medios de producción había sido la “expropiación de los cultivadores”. Había añadido que este proceso se había “completado de un modo radical solo en Inglaterra (…) (y que) todos los otros países de Europa occidental recorrían el mismo movimiento” (1990: 173). Por lo tanto, había examinado tan solo el “viejo continente”, no el mundo entero.
En este horizonte espacial se encuadra la afirmación presente en el prefacio del primer libro de El Capital: “el país industrialmente más desarrollado no hace sino mostrar al menos desarrollado la imagen de su propio futuro”. Marx escribió para el lector alemán, observando que a los habitantes de esta nación “nos atormenta, al igual que en los restantes países occidentales del continente europeo, no sólo el desarrollo de la producción capitalista, sino la falta de ese desarrollo”. A su juicio, al lado de las “miserias modernas” sobrevivía la opresión de “toda una serie de miserias heredadas, resultantes de que siguen vegetando modos de producción vetustos, meras supervivencias, con su cohorte de relaciones sociales y políticas anacrónicas” (1975: 7).
En Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial thought and historical difference, Dipesh Chakrabarty, en cambio, ha interpretado erróneamente este pasaje como un típico ejemplo de historicismo que sigue el principio “primero en Europa y luego en otro lugar”. Las “ambigüedades en la prosa de Marx” son presentadas como un prototipo de quienes consideran “la historia como una sala de espera, un período que es necesario para la transición al capitalismo en cualquier tiempo y lugar particular. Este es el período al cual (…) es frecuentemente consignado el tercer mundo” (2000: 65). En cualquier caso, en el ensayo “The fetish of “the West” in postcolonial theory”, Neil Lazarus ha observado con justicia que “no todas las narrativas históricas son teleológicas o historicistas” (2002: 63). En cuanto a Rusia, Marx compartió la opinión de Chernyshevski, según la cual aquel país habría podido “desarrollar sus propios fundamentos históricos y así, sin experimentar todas las torturas de ese régimen [capitalista], apropiarse, sin embargo, de todos sus frutos” (1990: 172). Marx afirmó que Michajlovskij había transfigurado su “esbozo histórico de la génesis del capitalismo en Europa occidental, en una teoría histórico-filosófica sobre la evolución general, fatalmente impuesta a todos los pueblos, cualesquiera sean las circunstancias históricas en las que ellos mismos se encuentren”. Marx hizo notar que la correcta interpretación de los fenómenos históricos no podía garantizarse por “una teoría histórico-filosófica general, cuya suprema virtud consiste en ser supra-histórica” (1990: 174).

EL DEBATE SOBRE EL COMUNISMO EN RUSIA
Marx expresó las mismas convicciones en 1881, cuando la revolucionaria Vera Zasúlich
lo interpeló sobre el futuro de la comuna [obscina] agrícola. Zasúlich le preguntó si esta
última podría desarrollarse en forma socialista, o si estaba destinada a perecer, porque el
capitalismo necesariamente se impondría en Rusia también. En su respuesta, Marx
afirmó que en el primer libro de El Capital la “’fatalidad histórica’” del desarrollo del
capitalismo -que introducía la “separación radical de los medios de producción del
productor”- estaba “expresamente restringida a los países de la Europa occidental” (1980: 60)1.
Reflexiones aún más detalladas sobre el tema se encuentran en los borradores de la carta enviada a Zasúlich. En estos Marx puso de relieve la característica particular que albergaba la coexistencia entre la obscina y las formas económicas más avanzadas. Observó que Rusia era “contemporánea de una cultura superior, está ligada a un mercado del mundo donde predomina la producción capitalista… Al apropiarse los resultados positivos de este modo de producción está entonces en condiciones de desarrollar y transformar la forma todavía arcaica de su comuna rural en lugar de destruirla” (1980: 48-49). Los campesinos habrían podido “incorporar las adquisiciones positivas logradas por el sistema capitalista, sin pasar por sus horcas caudinas” (1980: 41).
Para quienes consideraban que el capitalismo debía ser una etapa irrenunciable también para Rusia, que sostenían que era imposible que la historia avance de a saltos, Marx preguntó de manera irónica si entonces Rusia, “para explotar las máquinas, los navíos de vapor, los ferrocarriles, etc.” debía “hacer como el Occidente”, esto es, “pasar por un largo período de incubación de la industria mecánica”. A su vez, planteó el problema de cómo habría sido posible “introducir en su país, en un abrir y cerrar de ojos, todo el mecanismo de los intercambios (bancos, sociedades de crédito, etc.) cuya elaboración costó siglos a Occidente” (1980: 32). Era evidente que la historia de Rusia, o cualquier otro país, no debía recorrer por fuerza todas las etapas que habían marcado la historia de Inglaterra u otras naciones europeas. Por tanto, también la transformación socialista de la obscina debería haberse cumplido sin pasar necesariamente por el capitalismo.
En la elaboración de sus reflexiones Marx estuvo muy influenciado por la obra de Nikolai Chernyshevski, en particular el ensayo Crítica de los prejuicios filosóficos contra la propiedad comunal (1859) . Aquí el autor ruso se había preguntado “si, dado un fenómeno social, éste debe pasar por todos los momentos lógicos de la vida real de toda sociedad” (1990: 239). Su respuesta había sido negativa. Chernyshevski había formulado dos conclusiones que contribuyeron a la definición de las reivindicaciones políticas de los populistas rusos y dotaron a éste de un fundamento científico:
1. el estado superior de desarrollo coincide en la forma con su fuente.
2. bajo la influencia del desarrollo superior que determinado fenómeno de la vida social ha alcanzado entre los pueblos más avanzados, este fenómeno puede desarrollarse velozmente entre otros pueblos y elevarse de un nivel inferior directamente a uno superior, pasando por encima de los momentos lógicos intermedios (1990: 239-40).
Cabe aclarar que las teorías de Chernyshevski se diferenciaban claramente de las de muchos pensadores eslavófilos de su momento. Con éstos, compartía ciertamente la denuncia de los efectos del capitalismo y la oposición a la proletarización del trabajo en el campo ruso. No obstante, él se oponía decididamente a las posiciones de la intelectualidad aristocrática que buscaba la conservación de las estructuras del pasado y nunca describió a la obscina como una organización idílica y típica solo de las poblaciones eslavas. Declaró, en cambio, que “tampoco tiene ningún motivo nuestro orgullo por el hecho de que este resto de la antigüedad primitiva se haya conservado” Para Chernyshevski su conservación en los países donde aún permanecían presentes “sólo testimonia la naturaleza lenta y perezosa del desarrollo histórico” (1990: 233-4).
Chernyshevski estaba fuertemente convencido que el desarrollo de Rusia no podía prescindir de las conquistas alcanzadas en Europa occidental. Las características positivas de las comunas rurales se preservaban, pero estas solo podrían asegurar el bienestar de las masas campesinas si fuesen insertas en contexto productivo diferente. La obscina podía aportar al inicio de una estadía de emancipación social del pueblo ruso solo si deviniese el embrión de una nueva organización económica de la sociedad radicalmente diversa de la preexistente. Junto con la posesión comunitaria de la tierra debía unirse también una forma colectiva de cultivo de la tierra y distribución de sus frutos. Además, sin los descubrimientos científicos nacidos en el capitalismo y las adquisiciones técnicas que le siguieron, la obscina no se convertiría nunca en una experiencia de cooperativismo agrícola verdadero y moderno. En Rusia, el proceso derivado de los procesos de industrialización – este era el punto clave- no debía causar las condiciones de explotación y miseria típicas del capitalismo.
Las posiciones de Chernyshevski tenían el mérito de oponerse a quienes concebían el desarrollo histórico como un progreso lineal e inmutable hacia una meta final inicialmente ya definida. El estudio de su obra fue de una gran utilidad para Marx.

EL COMUNISMO SEGÚN MARX
El modelo de sociedad comunista que tenía en mente Marx no era de hecho un modo primitivo de producción cooperativa o colectiva como el resultado de un individuo aislado, sino aquel derivado de una socialización de los medios de producción. En los últimos años de vida, había cambiado su juicio, más crítico, sobre las comunas rurales en Rusia y, en el proceso de su análisis, el desarrollo del individuo y de la producción social conservaban intactos su centralidad insustituible.
En las reflexiones sobre el caso ruso no se evidencia, entonces, ningún desgarro dramático respecto de sus convicciones previas. Los elementos de novedad respecto del pasado muestran, en cambio, la maduración de una posición teórico-política que le llevó a considerar como posibles para el pasaje al comunismo otras vías – también las diversas posibilidades respecto de los países europeos – nunca evaluadas hasta entonces, o bien hasta entonces consideradas irrealizables.
Marx afirmó que, “hablando en teoría”, era posible que la obscina pudiese “conservar su tierra desarrollando su base, la propiedad común de la tierra (…). puede convertirse en punto de partida directo del sistema económico al que tiende la sociedad moderna; puede cambiar de existencia sin empezar por suicidarse; puede apoderarse de los frutos con que la producción capitalista ha enriquecido a la humanidad sin pasar por el régimen capitalista” (1980: 40). La contemporaneidad con la producción capitalista ofrecía a la comuna agraria rusa “todas las condiciones del trabajo colectivo” (1980: 41).
Junto con su falta de disposición para aceptar la idea de que el progreso histórico estuviese predefinido, de igual modo, en escenarios económicos y políticos distintos, los progresos teóricos de Marx también se debieron a la evolución de sus elaboraciones sobre los efectos producidos por el capitalismo en los países económicamente más atrasados. No consideraba más, como había asegurado en 1853 en el New York Tribune, a propósito de la India, que “la industria y el comercio burgueses van creando esas condiciones materiales de un nuevo mundo” (1973a: 83). Años de estudios nuevos y observaciones detalladas de los cambios en el escenario político internacional, había contribuido a hacerlo madurar una visión colonialismo británico bien distinta de la que expresara cuando era un periodista de apenas treinta y cinco años. Los efectos producidos por el capitalismo en los países coloniales fueron evaluados de diferente manera. Refiriéndose a “las Indias Orientales” en uno de los borradores de la carta a Zasúlich, Marx escribió que “todo el mundo… sabe que allí la supresión de la propiedad común de la tierra no era más que un acto de vandalismo inglés, que empuja al pueblo indígena no hacia adelante sino hacia atrás” (1980: 52). En su opinión, los británicos habían sido capaces tan solo de “destruir la agricultura indígena y de duplicar el número y la intensidad de las carencias”. El capitalismo no traía progreso y emancipación como exageraban sus apologistas, sino tan solo la rapiña de los recursos naturales, devastación ambiental y nuevas formas de esclavitud y dependencia humana.
En suma, Marx retornó sobre la posible concomitancia entre el capitalismo y las formas comunitarias del pasado, conservadas en los países extra-europeos, también en 1882. En el prefacio a una nueva edición rusa del Manifiesto del partido comunista, redactada junto con Engels, el destino de la obscina fue puesto en común con el de las luchas proletarias en Europa:
En Rusia, al lado del florecimiento febril del fraude capitalista y de la propiedad territorial burguesa en vías de formación, más de la mitad de la tierra es posesión comunal de los campesinos. Cabe, entonces, la pregunta: ¿podría la comunidad rural rusa —forma por cierto ya muy desnaturalizada de la primitiva propiedad común de la tierra— pasar directamente a la forma superior de la propiedad colectiva, a la forma comunista, o, por el contrario, deberá pasar primero por el mismo proceso de disolución que constituye el desarrollo histórico de Occidente? La única respuesta que se puede dar hoy a esta cuestión es la siguiente: si la revolución rusa da la señal para una revolución proletaria en Occidente, de modo que ambas se completen, la actual propiedad común de la tierra en Rusia podrá servir de punto de partida para el desarrollo comunista (Marx y Engels 1974: 102).
La posición dialéctica alcanzada por Marx le permitió abandonar la idea según la cual el modo de producción socialista podría ser construido solo a través de determinadas etapas. Más aún, negó expresamente la necesidad histórica del desarrollo del capitalismo en cualquier parte del mundo. En su razonamiento no hay rastros de determinismo económico. Las consideraciones que desarrolló, con riqueza de argumentación, sobre el futuro de la obscina se encuentran en las antípodas de equiparar el socialismo con el desarrollo de las fuerzas productivas frenadas, que se realizaba, con acentos nacionalistas, tanto en el seno de los partidos socialdemócratas de la Segunda Internacional (en los que incluso había simpatías con el colonialismo) como en el movimiento comunista internacional del siglo veinte, con toda su reivindicación del “método científico” del análisis social.
Marx no cambió sus ideas respecto del perfil que habría de asumir la sociedad comunista. Guiado por la hostilidad hacia los esquematismos del pasado, así como hacia los nuevos dogmatismos que estaban creándose en su nombre, consideró posible el estallido de la revolución en lugares y formas no consideradas previamente. Para Marx el futuro estaba en las manos de la clase trabajadora y en su capacidad de determinar, con sus luchas y mediante sus propias organizaciones de masa, las alteraciones radicales sociales y el nacimiento de un sistema económico-político alternativo.

 

Bibliografía
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Ahmad, A. (1992). In Theory: Classes, Nations, Literatures. London: Verso. Chakrabarty, D. (2000). Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Chatterjee, P. (2004). The Politics of the Governed. Reflections on Popular Politics in Most of the World. New York: Columbia University Press.
Chernysevski, N. (1990). Escritos escogidos. En Shanin, T. (ed.). El Marx tardío y la vía rusa. Marx y la periferia del capitalismo. Madrid: Editorial Revolución. 231-257. Chatterjee, P. (2004). The Politics of the Governed: Popular Politics in Most of the World. New York: Columbia University Press.
Guha, R. (1997). Dominance without Hegemony: History and Power in Colonial India. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Lazarus, N. (2002). The Fetish of “the West” in Postcolonial Theory. En Crystal Bartolovich and Neil Lazarus (eds.). Marxism, Modernity and Postcolonial Studies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 43-64
Marx, K. (1971). Elementos fundamentales para la crítica de la economía política (Grundrisse) 1857-1858, México: Siglo XXI. Tomo 1. Marx, K. (1973a). Futuros resultados de la dominación británica en la India. En Marx, K. y Engels, F. Sobre el colonialismo. Cuadernos de Pasado y Presente. México: Siglo XXI. 77-84.
Marx, K. (1973b). Investigación sobre las torturas en la India. En Marx, K. y Engels, F. Sobre el colonialismo. Cuadernos de Pasado y Presente. México: Siglo XXI. 135-140.
Marx, K. (1975). El Capital. Crítica de la economía política. México: Siglo XXI. Tomo 1.
Marx, K. (1990). Carta al Consejo Editorial de Otechestvennye Zapiski. En Shanin, T. (ed.). El Marx tardío y la vía rusa. Marx y la periferia del capitalismo. Madrid: Editorial Revolución. 171-174.
Marx, K. y Engels, F. (1980). Escritos sobre Rusia. II. El porvenir de la comuna rural rusa. México: Cuadernos de Pasado y Presente, Siglo XXI.
Marx, K. y Engels, F. (1974). Manifiesto del Partido Comunista. En Obras Escogidas. Moscú: Editorial Progreso. Tomo 1. 99-140.
Musto, M. (2020). Karl Marx, 1881-1883. El último viaje del Moro. México: Siglo XXI. Said, E. (2002). Orientalismo. Barcelona: Random House Mondadori.

Categories
Journal Articles

Di Karl Marx

Comunismo come libera associazione
Nel Libro primo del Capitale, Marx argomentò che il capitalismo è un modo di produzione sociale «storicamente determinato» , nel quale il prodotto del lavoro è trasformato in merce. In conseguenza di questa peculiarità, gli individui hanno valore solo in quanto produttori e «l’esistenza dell’essere umano» è asservita all’atto della «produ[zione] di merci» . Pertanto, è «il processo di produzione [a] padroneggi[are] gli esseri umani» , non viceversa. Il capitale «non si preoccupa della durata della vita della forza-lavoro» e non ritiene rilevante il miglioramento delle condizioni del proletariato. Quello che gli «interessa è unicamente […] il massimo [sfruttamento] di forza lavoro […], così come un agricoltore avido ottiene aumentati proventi dal suolo rapinandone la fertilità» .
Nei Grundrisse, Marx ricordò che, poiché nel capitalismo, «lo scopo del lavoro non è un prodotto particolare che sta in […] rapporto con i bisogni […] dell’individuo, ma [è, invece,] il denaro […], la laboriosità dell’individuo non ha alcun limite» . In siffatta società «tutto il tempo di un individuo è posto come tempo di lavoro e [l’uomo] viene degradato a mero operaio, sussunto sotto il lavoro» . Ciò nonostante, l’ideologia borghese presenta questa condizione come se l’individuo godesse di una maggiore libertà e fosse protetto da norme giuridiche imparziali, in grado di garantire giustizia ed equità. Paradossalmente, malgrado l’economia sia giunta a un livello di sviluppo in grado di consentire a tutta la società di vivere in condizioni migliori rispetto al passato, «le macchine più progredite costringono l’operaio a lavorare più a lungo di quanto era toccato al selvaggio o di quanto lui stesso aveva fatto, [prima di allora,] con strumenti più semplici e rozzi» .
Al contrario, il comunismo fu definito da Marx come «un’associazione di liberi esseri umani [einen Verein freier Menschen] che lavor[a]no con mezzi di produzione comuni e spend[o]no coscientemente le loro molteplici forze-lavoro individuali come una sola forza-lavoro sociale» . Definizioni simili sono presenti in numerosi manoscritti di Marx. Nei Grundrisse, egli scrisse che la società postcapitalista si sarebbe fondata sulla «produzione sociale» [gemeinschaftlichen Produktion] . Nei Manoscritti economici del 1863-1867, parlò del «passaggio del modo di produzione capitalistico al modo di produzione del lavoro associato [Produktionsweise der assoziierten Arbeit] . Nella Critica al programma di Gotha (1875), Marx definì l’organizzazione sociale «fondata sulla proprietà comune dei mezzi di produzione» come «società cooperativa» [genossenschaftliche Gesellschaft] .
Nel Libro primo del Capitale, Marx chiarì che il «principio fondamentale» di questa «forma superiore di società» sarebbe stato il «pieno e libero sviluppo di ogni individuo» . Ne La guerra civile in Francia, espresse la sua approvazione per le misure adottate dai comunardi che lasciavano «presagire la tendenza di un governo del popolo per il popolo» . Più precisamente, nelle sue valutazioni circa le riforme politiche della Comune di Parigi, egli ritenne che «il vecchio governo centralizzato avrebbe dovuto cedere il passo, anche nelle province, all’autogoverno dei produttori» . L’espressione venne ripresa negli Estratti e commenti critici a «Stato e anarchia» di Bakunin, dove specificò che un radicale cambiamento sociale avrebbe avuto «inizio con l’autogoverno della comunità» . L’idea di società di Marx è, dunque, l’antitesi dei totalitarismi sorti in suo nome nel XX secolo. I suoi testi sono utili non solo per comprendere il modo di funzionamento del capitalismo, ma anche per individuare le ragioni dei fallimenti delle esperienze socialiste fin qui compiute.
In riferimento al tema della cosiddetta libera concorrenza, ovvero l’apparente eguaglianza con la quale operai e capitalisti si trovano posti sul mercato nella società borghese, Marx dichiarò che essa era tutt’altro dalla libertà umana tanto esaltata dagli esegeti del capitalismo. Egli riteneva che questo sistema costituisse un grande impedimento per la democrazia e mostrò, meglio di chiunque altro, che i lavoratori non ricevono il corrispettivo di quello che producono . Nei Grundrisse, spiegò che quanto veniva rappresentato come uno «scambio di equivalenti» era, invece, «appropriazione di lavoro altrui senza scambio, ma sotto la parvenza dello scambio» . Le relazioni tra le persone erano «determinate soltanto dai loro interessi egoistici». Questa «collisione di individui» era stata spacciata come la «forma assoluta di esistenza della libera individualità nella sfera della produzione e dello scambio». Per Marx non vi era, in realtà, «niente di più falso», poiché, «nella libera concorrenza, non gli individui, ma il capitale è posto in condizioni di libertà» . Nei Manoscritti economici del 1861-63 egli denunciò che era «il capitalista a incassare questo pluslavoro – [che era] […] tempo libero [e] […] la base materiale dello sviluppo e della cultura in generale […] – in nome della società» . Nel Libro primo del Capitale, egli denunciò che la ricchezza della borghesia è possibile solo mediante la «trasformazione in tempo di lavoro di tutto il tempo di vita delle masse» .
Nei Grundrisse, Marx osservò che nel capitalismo «gli individui sono sussunti dalla produzione sociale» , la quale esiste come qualcosa che è a «loro estraneo» . Essa viene realizzata solamente in funzione dell’attribuzione del valore di scambio conferito ai prodotti, la cui compravendita avviene soltanto «post festum» . Inoltre, «tutti i fattori sociali della produzione» , comprese le scoperte scientifiche che si palesano come «una scienza altrui, esterna all’operaio» , sono poste dal capitale. Lo stesso associarsi degli operai nei luoghi e nell’atto della produzione è «operato dal capitale» ed è, pertanto, «soltanto formale». L’uso dei beni creati da parte dei lavoratori «non è mediat[o] dallo scambio di lavori o di prodotti di lavoro reciprocamente indipendenti [, bensì] […] dalle condizioni sociali della produzione entro le quali agisce l’individuo» . Marx fece comprendere come l’attività produttiva nella fabbrica «riguarda[sse] solo il prodotto del lavoro, non il lavoro stesso» , dal momento che avveniva «in un ambiente comune, sotto vigilanza, irreggimentazione, maggiore disciplina, immobilità e dipendenza» .
Nel comunismo, invece, la produzione sarebbe stata «immediatamente sociale […], il risultato dell’associazione [the offspring of association] che ripartisce il lavoro al proprio interno». Essa sarebbe stata controllata dagli individui come «loro patrimonio comune» . Il «carattere sociale della produzione» [gesellschaftliche Charakter der Produktion] avrebbe fatto sì che l’oggetto del lavoro fosse stato, «fin dal principio, un prodotto sociale e generale» . Il carattere associativo «è presupposto» e «il lavoro del singolo si pone, sin dalla sua origine, come lavoro sociale» . Come volle sottolineare nella Critica al programma di Gotha, nella società postcapitalistica «i lavori individuali non [sarebbero] più diventa[ti] parti costitutive del lavoro complessivo attraverso un processo indiretto, ma in modo diretto» . In aggiunta, gli operai avrebbero potuto creare le condizioni per una «scomparsa [del]la subordinazione servile degli individui alla divisione del lavoro» .
Nel Libro primo del Capitale, Marx evidenziò che nella società borghese «l’operaio esiste in funzione del processo di produzione e non il processo di produzione per l’operaio» . Inoltre, parallelamente allo sfruttamento dei lavoratori, si manifestava anche quello verso l’ambiente. All’opposto delle interpretazioni che hanno assimilato la concezione marxiana della società comunista al mero sviluppo delle forze produttive, il suo interesse per la questione ecologica fu rilevante . Marx denunciò, ripetutamente, che lo sviluppo del modo di produzione capitalistico determinava un aumento «non solo nell’arte di rapinare l’operaio, ma anche nell’arte di rapinare il suolo» . Per suo tramite, venivano minate entrambe le «fonti da cui sgorga ogni ricchezza: la terra e l’operaio» .
Nel comunismo, viceversa, si sarebbero create le condizioni per una forma di «cooperazione pianificata», in virtù della quale «l’operaio si [sarebbe] spoglia[to] dei suoi limiti individuali e [avrebbe] sviluppa[to] la facoltà della sua specie» . Nel Libro secondo Marx scrisse che nel comunismo la società sarebbe stata in grado di «calcolare in precedenza quanto lavoro, mezzi di produzione e di sussistenza [avrebbe potuto] adoperare». Essa si sarebbe così differenziata, anche da questo punto di vista, dal capitalismo, sotto il quale «l’intelletto sociale si fa valere sempre soltanto post festum, [facendo] così intervenire, costantemente, grandi perturbamenti» . Anche in alcuni brani del Libro terzo, Marx offrì chiarimenti sulle differenze tra il modo di produzione socialista e quello basato sul mercato, auspicando la nascita di una società «organizzata come una associazione cosciente e sistematica» . Egli affermò che «è solo quando la società controlla efficacemente la produzione, regolandola in anticipo, che essa crea il legame fra la misura del tempo di lavoro sociale dedicato alla produzione di un articolo determinato e l’estensione del bisogno sociale che tale articolo deve soddisfare» .
Nelle Glosse marginali al «Trattato di economia politica» di Adolf Wagner, infine, compare un’altra indicazione in proposito: «il volume della produzione» avrebbe dovuto essere «regolato razionalmente» . L’applicazione di questo criterio avrebbe consentito di abbattere anche gli sprechi dell’«anarchico sistema della concorrenza», il quale, nel ricorrere delle sue crisi strutturali, oltre a «determina[re] lo sperpero smisurato dei mezzi di produzione e delle forze-lavoro sociali» , non era in grado di risolvere le contraddizioni derivanti dall’introduzione dei macchinari, dovute essenzialmente «al loro uso capitalistico» .

Ruolo dello Stato, diritti individuali e libertà
Nella società comunista, accanto alle trasformazioni dell’economia, avrebbero dovuto essere ridefiniti anche il ruolo dello Stato e le funzioni della politica. Ne La guerra civile in Francia, Marx tenne a chiarire che, in seguito alla presa del potere, la classe lavoratrice avrebbe dovuto lottare per «estirpare le basi economiche sulle quali riposa l’esistenza delle classi e, quindi, il dominio di classe». Una volta che sarà «emancipato il lavoro, ogni essere umano div[errà] un lavoratore e il lavoro produttivo cess[erà] di essere l’attributo di una classe» . La nota affermazione «la classe operaia non può semplicemente impadronirsi della macchina statale così com’è» stava a significare, come Marx ed Engels spiegarono nell’opuscolo Le cosiddette scissioni nell’Internazionale, che il movimento operaio avrebbe dovuto tendere a trasformare «le funzioni governative […] in semplici funzioni amministrative» . Anche se con una formulazione alquanto concisa, negli Estratti e commenti critici a «Stato e anarchia» di Bakunin, Marx spiegò che «la distribuzione delle funzioni [governative avrebbe dovuto] diven[tare] un fatto amministrativo che non attribuisce alcun potere» . In questo modo, si sarebbe potuto evitare, quanto più possibile, che l’esercizio degli incarichi politici generasse nuove dinamiche di dominio e soggezione.
Marx valutò che, con lo sviluppo della società moderna, «il potere dello Stato [aveva] assu[nto] sempre più il carattere di potere nazionale del capitale sul lavoro, di una forza pubblica organizzata di asservimento sociale, di uno strumento del dispotismo di classe» . Nel comunismo, al contrario, i lavoratori avrebbero dovuto impedire che lo Stato divenisse un ostacolo alla piena emancipazione degli individui. A essi Marx indicò la necessità che «gli organi meramente repressivi del vecchio potere governativo [fossero] amputati», mentre le sue «funzioni legittime» avrebbe[ro] dovuto essere «strappate da un’autorità che usurpava il primato della società […] e restituite agli agenti responsabili della società» . Nella Critica al programma di Gotha Marx chiarì che «la libertà consiste nel mutare lo Stato da organo sovrapposto alla società in organo assolutamente subordinato ad essa», chiosando con sagacia che «le forme dello Stato sono più o meno libere nella misura in cui limitano la “libertà dello Stato”» .
In questo stesso testo, Marx sottolineò anche l’esigenza che, nella società comunista, le politiche pubbliche privilegiassero la «soddisfazione collettiva dei bisogni». Le spese per le scuole, le istituzioni sanitarie e gli altri beni comuni sarebbero «notevolmente aumentat[e] fin dall’inizio, rispetto alla società attuale, e [sarebbero] aument[ate] nella misura in cui la nuova società si verrà sviluppando» . L’istruzione avrebbe assunto una funzione di primario rilievo e, così come aveva ricordato ne La guerra civile in Francia, riferendosi al modello adottato dai comunardi parigini nel 1871, «tutti gli istituti di istruzione [sarebbero] stati aperti gratuitamente al popolo e liberati da ogni ingerenza sia della Chiesa che dello Stato». Solo così la cultura sarebbe «stata resa accessibile a tutti» e la scienza affrancata sia «dai pregiudizi di classe [che] dalla forza del governo» .
Differentemente dalla società liberale, nella quale «l’eguale diritto» lascia inalterate le disuguaglianze esistenti, per Marx nella società comunista «il diritto [avrebbe] dov[uto] essere disuguale, invece di essere uguale». Una sua trasformazione in tal senso avrebbe riconosciuto, e tutelato, gli individui in base ai loro specifici bisogni e al minore o maggiore disagio delle loro condizioni, poiché «non sarebbero individui diversi, se non fossero disuguali». Sarebbe stato possibile, inoltre, determinare la giusta partecipazione di ciascuna persona ai servizi e alla ricchezza disponibile. La società che ambiva a seguire il principio «ognuno secondo le sue capacità, a ognuno secondo i suoi bisogni» aveva, davanti a sé, questo cammino complesso e irto di difficoltà. Tuttavia, l’esito finale non era garantito da «magnifiche sorti e progressive» e, allo stesso tempo, non era irreversibile.
Marx assegnò un valore fondamentale alla libertà individuale e il suo comunismo fu radicalmente diverso tanto dal livellamento delle classi, auspicato da diversi suoi predecessori, quanto dalla grigia uniformità politica ed economica, realizzata da molti suoi seguaci. Nell’Urtext , però, pose l’accento anche sull’«errore di quei socialisti, specialmente francesi», che, considerando «il socialismo [quale] realizzazione delle idee borghesi», avevano cercato di «dimostrare che il valore di scambio [fosse], originariamente […], un sistema di libertà ed eguaglianza per tutti, […] falsificato [… poi] dal capitale» . Nei Grundrisse, Marx etichettò come «insulsaggine [quella] di considerare la libera concorrenza quale ultimo sviluppo della libertà umana». Difatti, questa tesi «non significa[va] altro se non che il dominio della borghesia [era] il termine ultimo della libertà umana», idea che, ironicamente, Marx definì «allettante per i parvenus».
Allo stesso modo, egli contestò l’ideologia liberale secondo la quale «la negazione della libera concorrenza equivale alla negazione della libertà individuale e della produzione sociale basata sulla libertà individuale». Nella società borghese si rendeva possibile soltanto un «libero sviluppo su base limitata, sulla base del dominio del capitale». A suo avviso, «questo genere di libertà individuale [era], al tempo stesso, la più completa soppressione di ogni libertà individuale e il più completo soggiogamento dell’individualità alle condizioni sociali, le quali assumono la forma di poteri oggettivi […] [e] oggetti indipendenti […] dagli stessi individui e dalle loro relazioni» .
L’alternativa all’alienazione capitalistica era realizzabile solo se le classi subalterne avessero preso coscienza della loro condizione di nuovi schiavi e avessero dato inizio alla lotta per una trasformazione radicale del mondo nel quale venivano sfruttati. La loro mobilitazione e la loro partecipazione attiva a questo processo non poteva arrestarsi, però, all’indomani della presa del potere. Avrebbe dovuto proseguire al fine di scongiurare la deriva verso un socialismo di Stato nei cui confronti Marx manifestò sempre la più tenace e convinta opposizione.
In una significativa lettera indirizzata, nel 1868, al presidente dell’Associazione generale degli operai tedeschi, Marx spiegò che «l’operaio non andava trattato con provvedimenti burocratici», affinché potesse obbedire «all’autorità e ai superiori; la cosa più importante era insegnargli a camminare da solo» . Egli non mutò mai questa convinzione nel corso della sua esistenza. Non a caso, come primo punto degli Statuti dell’Associazione Internazionale dei Lavoratori, da lui redatto, aveva posto: «l’emancipazione della classe lavoratrice deve essere opera dei lavoratori stessi». Aggiungendo, in quello immediatamente successivo, che la loro lotta non doveva «tendere a costituire nuovi privilegi e monopoli di classe, ma a stabilire diritti e doveri eguali per tutti» .
Molti dei partiti e dei regimi politici sorti nel nome di Marx, utilizzando in modo strumentale e citando impropriamente il concetto di «dittatura del proletariato» , non hanno seguito la direzione da lui indicata. Tuttavia, ciò non vuol dire che non sia possibile provarci ancora.

 

References
1. K. Marx, Il capitale. Libro primo cit., p. 108.
2. Ibid., p. 111.
3. Ibid., p. 113.
4. Ibid., p. 301.
5. K. Marx, Lineamenti fondamentali della critica dell’economia politica cit., I, p. 185.
6. Ibid., II, p. 406.
7. Ibid., p. 405.
8. K. Marx, Il capitale. Libro primo cit., p. 110.
9. K. Marx, Lineamenti fondamentali della critica dell’economia politica cit., I, p. 117.
10. K. Marx, Ökonomische Manuskripte 1863-1867, MEGA2, II/4.2, Dietz Verlag, Berlin 2012, p. 662. Cfr. P. Chattopadhyay, Marx’s Associated Mode of Production, Palgrave, New York 2016, in particolare pp. 59-65 e 157-61.
11. K. Marx, Critica al programma di Gotha, Editori Riuniti, Roma 1990, p. 14. Palmiro Togliatti ha erroneamente tradotto questa espressione con il termine «società collettivista».
12. K. Marx, Il capitale. Libro primo cit., p. 648.
13. K. Marx, La guerra civile in Francia. Indirizzo del Consiglio generale dell’Associazione internazionale dei lavoratori, in Marx Engels Opere, XXII, La Città del Sole-Editori Riuniti, Napoli- Roma 2008, p. 304.
14. Ibid., p. 297.
15. Marx, Estratti e commenti critici a «Stato e anarchia» di Bakunin cit., p. 356.
16. Su questi temi cfr. E. Meiksins Wood, Democracy against Capitalism, Cambridge University Press, London 1995.
17. Marx, Lineamenti fondamentali della critica dell’economia politica cit., II, p. 141.
18. Ibid., p. 333.
19. K. Marx, Manoscritti economici del 1861-1863, Editori Riuniti, Roma 1980, p. 200.
20. Marx, Il capitale. Libro primo cit., p. 578.
21. Marx, Lineamenti fondamentali della critica dell’economia politica cit., I, p. 100.
22. Ibid.
23. Ibid., p. 117.
24. Ibid., II, p. 241.
25. Ibid., p. 393.
26. Ibid., I, p. 118.
27. Ibid., II, 243
28. Ibid., p. 244.
29. Ibid., I, p. 100.
30. Ibid., p. 117.
31. Ibid.
32. Marx, Critica al programma di Gotha cit., pp. 14-5.
33. Ibid., p. 17.
34. Marx, Il capitale. Libro primo cit., p. 537.
35. Su questo tema si è sviluppata, negli ultimi venti anni, un’ampia e innovativa letteratura. Per uno degli ultimi contributi in proposito si rimanda a K. Saito, Karl Marx’s Ecosocialism. Capital, Nature, and the Unfinished Critique of Political Economy, Monthly Review Press, New York 2017, in particolare pp. 217-55.
36. Ibid., p. 552.
37. Ibid., p. 553.
38. Ibid., p. 371.
39. K. Marx, Il capitale. Libro secondo. Il processo di circolazione del capitale, Editori Riuniti, Roma 1989, p. 331.
40. K. Marx, Il capitale. Libro terzo. Il processo complessivo della produzione capitalistica, Editori Riuniti, Roma 1989, p. 763.
41. Ibid., p. 231. In proposito cfr. B. Ollman (a cura di), Market Socialism. The Debate among Socialists, Routledge, New York 1998.
42. Marx, Glosse marginali al «Trattato di economia politica» di Adolf Wagner cit., p. 1409.
43. Marx, Il capitale. Libro primo cit., p. 578.
44. Ibid., p. 486.
45. Marx, La guerra civile in Francia cit., p. 300.
46. K. Marx-F. Engels, Le cosiddette scissioni nell’Internazionale, in Idd., Critica dell’anarchismo cit., p. 76.
47. Marx, Estratti e commenti critici a «Stato e anarchia» di Bakunin cit., p. 357.
48. Marx, La guerra civile in Francia cit., p. 294.
49. Ibid., p. 298.
50. Marx, Critica al programma di Gotha cit., p. 28. 51 Ibid., p. 14.
52. Marx, La guerra civile in Francia cit., p. 297.
53. Marx, Critica al programma di Gotha cit., p. 18.
54. K. Marx, Frammento del testo primitivo, in Id., Scritti inediti di Economia politica, Editori Riuniti, Roma 1963, p. 91.
55. Marx, Lineamenti fondamentali della critica dell’economia politica cit., II, p. 335.
56. Karl Marx a Johann Baptist von Schweitzer, 13 ottobre 1868, in K. Marx, Lettere: gennaio 1868-luglio 1870, Marx Engels Opere, XLIII, Editori Riuniti, Roma 1975, p. 620.
57. K. Marx, Indirizzo inaugurale e statuti provvisori dell’Associazione Internazionale degli Operai, in Marx Engels Opere, XX, Editori Riuniti, Roma 1987, p. 14.
58. Cfr. Hal Draper che in Karl Marx’s Theory of Revolution, III, The Dictatorship of the Proletariat, Monthly Review Press, New York 1986, pp. 385-6, ha dimostrato che Marx aveva utilizzato questa espressione soltanto sette volte, per di più con un significato radicalmente diverso da quello che, erroneamente, gli hanno attribuito molti dei suoi interpreti o i sedicenti continuatori del suo pensiero.

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Journal Articles

美国内战和波兰独立斗争:马克思与解放政治学

马塞罗·默斯托 著  张福公 译
内容提要 | 19世纪60年代初,马克思在外交和国际政治方面的新闻工作和学术兴趣促使他将注意力聚焦于两个突出的历史事件:第一是美国内战的爆发,当时七个蓄奴州宣布脱离美利坚合众国;第二是波兰人民抵抗俄国占领的起义。

马克思对这些历史事件的分析也借助国际工人协会影响了他的政治努力。本文探讨了马克思对美国内战和波兰独立斗争的研究是如何同他的理论发展和政治介入紧密联系起来的。通过考察,马克思把捉到了在这些事件中发挥作用的微观动力学,这使得他能够为工人阶级组织提供有效的国际主义干预建议。
关 键 词 | 美国内战  奴隶制  波兰起义  国际工人协会  解放
作者简介 | 马塞罗·默斯托(Marcello Musto),加拿大约克大学副教授
译者简介 | 张福公(1990— ),南京师范大学哲学系讲师(南京 210023)

一、美国反对奴隶制的斗争
1861年春,美国内战的爆发震动了整个世界政治。这场战争是在亚伯拉罕·林肯当选美国总统后不久开始的,当时七个蓄奴州即南卡罗来纳州、密西西比州、佛罗里达州、亚拉巴马州、佐治亚州、路易西安纳州和得克萨斯州宣布脱离美利坚合众国。随后,弗吉尼亚州、阿肯色州、田纳西州、北卡罗来纳州以及后来的密苏里州和肯塔基州(尽管后两者没有正式宣布脱离)加入了脱离合众国的行列。随之而来的血腥冲突夺走南部同盟(the Confederacy,主张维持和扩大奴隶制)和北部联邦(the Union,忠于林肯但在某些情况下承认奴隶制的合法性)大约75万人的生命。
马克思立即着手研究这一事件,并在7月初写信给恩格斯指出:“南部和北部之间的冲突,在北部五十年来一再屈辱地退让之后,终于(撇开‘骑士等级’的新的无耻的要求不谈)由于西北部各州的非凡发展对事件进程产生影响而爆发了。” 在马克思看来,这种脱离主义运动没有任何合法性。他们应被视为“篡夺”,因为“他们无论在什么地方都没有举行过全民投票”。无论如何,“这不仅仅是脱离北部,而且是巩固和加强南部三十万奴隶主对五百万白人实行寡头统治的问题”。几天之后,马克思意识到“至于脱离问题,英国各报的报道完全不真实”,因为除了南卡罗来纳州以外,到处“都有过对脱离的极其强烈的反抗”。而且,在允许选举协商的地方,一切活动都是在应受谴责的情况下进行的。譬如,在墨西哥湾的各州,“真正的人民投票只在几个州里举行了”。在弗吉尼亚州,“南部同盟的大批军队突然开入该州”,而“关于脱离问题的投票,就是在这些军队的掩护下进行的(纯粹是波拿巴式的)。尽管不断采取恐怖手段,但还是有五万票拥护联邦”。在得克萨斯州,“除南卡罗来纳以外,它拥有最强大的蓄奴党和最残暴的恐怖手段,但仍然有一万一千票拥护联邦”。在亚拉巴马州,“人民既没有就脱离问题举行投票,也没有就新宪法等问题举行投票。这里选出的代表大会以六十一票对三十九票通过脱离法令。但是几乎完全由白人居住的北部各郡投的这三十九票比那六十一票代表了更多的自由人;因为根据美国宪法,每个奴隶主同时还可以替他五分之三的奴隶投票”。至于路易西安纳州,“在选举代表大会的代表时,投票赞成联邦的比赞成脱离派的多。但是这些代表倒过去了”。
马克思在写给恩格斯的信中提到的这些想法在他的新闻稿件中得到了更为重要的论证补充。除了投给《纽约每日论坛报》的零星稿件之外,马克思于1861年10月也开始为维也纳的自由派日报《新闻报》(Die Presse)撰稿,该报当时有3万名订阅者,是奥地利最受欢迎的报纸,也是最受欢迎的德语报纸之一。这些文章的主题——也包括关于法国对墨西哥的第二次入侵的报道——主要是美国内战对英国的经济影响。马克思尤其关注了贸易发展和财政状况,并评估了公众舆论的趋势。因此,在《伦敦的工人大会》(1862年)中,他对英国工人组织的示威活动表示欣慰,他们虽然“在议会中是没有代表的”,但却成功提升了自己的“政治影响”,阻止了英国对联邦的军事干预。
同样地,当美国海军在一艘英国船只上非法逮捕两名南部同盟的外交官时,马克思就“特伦特号”事件(Trent Affair)为《纽约每日论坛报》撰写了一篇慷慨激昂的文章。他写道,美国永远不应忘记:“至少英国的工人阶级从来没有背弃过它”。对于他们来说,“尽管被收买的、不负责任的报界天天进行恶毒的煽动,但在这和平处于千钧一发的整个时期内,没有一次主张战争的集会能在联合王国召开成功”。当“把官方的和富裕的约翰牛的伪善、威逼、怯懦和愚蠢的行为拿来和这种立场作比较的时候”,“英国工人阶级的正确立场”更值得赞扬:一方是勇敢和一致,另一方则是不连贯和自相矛盾。他在1861年5月写给拉萨尔的一封信中评论道:“所有的英国官方报刊自然都支持奴隶主。正是这些先生们,曾以他们反对奴隶贸易的慈善言论使全世界都听得发腻。但是棉花啊,棉花! ”
马克思对美国内战的兴趣远远超出了这场内战对英国的影响。他首先想要阐明这场冲突的本质。他在内战爆发几个月后为《纽约每日论坛报》撰写的文章就是一个很好的例子。他在《伦敦“泰晤士报”评奥尔良亲王赴美》一文中指出:“欧洲各国人民知道,为联邦的继续存在而战就是为反对奴隶制度的继续存在而战,这场战争是迄今为止最高形式的人民自治向有史以来最卑鄙、最无耻的奴役人类的形式作战。”
马克思在《新闻报》上发表的一些文章中更深入地分析了两个敌对党派的论点。他首先揭露了英国自由党和保守党的虚伪。在《北美内战》(1861年10月25日)一文中,马克思嘲笑当时英国的主流报刊《泰晤士报》的“辉煌的发现”,即认为美国南北战争“仅仅是一个关税战争,是保护关税制度与自由贸易制度之间的战争”,其结论是英国没有选择余地,只能宣布支持南部同盟所代表的“自由贸易”。而包括《经济学家》和《星期六评论》在内的许多报刊进一步发挥了这一论点,并坚持认为“奴隶制度问题……是与这次战争毫无关系的”。
在反驳这些解释时,马克思提请大家注意这场冲突背后的政治动机。他指出,南部奴隶主的主要目的是维持对参议院的控制,从而“对美国产生政治影响”。为此,有必要征服新的地区(如1845年发生的吞并得克萨斯州)或将美国的现有地区变为“蓄奴州”。 美国奴隶制的支持者是“一个狭小的寡头统治,与之对立的是好几百万所谓‘白种贫民’,这些白种贫民的人数由于地产的集中而不断增长,而他们的处境也只有罗马帝国极度衰微时期的罗马平民才可比拟”。因此,“取得新的领地和有希望取得新的领土”是将穷人的利益与奴隶主的利益等同起来的唯一可行的方式,“把他们的热烈的事业欲引到一个无害的方向,并且用他们自己有一天也会成为奴隶主的希望来羁縻他们”。另一方面,林肯追求的目标是“把奴隶制度严格地限制在其旧有地区之内”,“由于经济规律,势必使奴隶制度逐渐消亡”,从而消灭“蓄奴州”的政治“领导权”。
马克思在文章中反驳道:“由此可见,整个过程过去和现在都是以奴隶制问题为基础的。这里的意思还不是说,现有的蓄奴州内部的奴隶是否应当解放,而是说,北部的2000万自由居民是否应当继续屈从于30万奴隶主的寡头统治。”基于对这种经济形式的扩张主义机制的深刻洞察,马克思指出,问题的关键在于:“共和国的各个巨大领地是应当成为建立自由州的基地,还是应当成为培植奴隶制的地方;最后,用武力向墨西哥、中美和南美扩展奴隶制度是否应当成为联邦的国家政策的指导原则。”
这些评论突显了马克思与朱塞佩·加里波第(Giuseppe Garibaldi)之间的分歧,后者拒绝在北方军队中建立指挥所,认为这只是一场与奴隶解放无关的权力斗争。对于加里波第的立场以及他未能恢复双方和平的努力,马克思在给恩格斯的信中评论道:“加里波第这头蠢驴由于给北方佬写信谈同心一致而声名扫地了。” 鉴于加里波第无法理解当时正在发生的过程的真正目标或选择,马克思在对可能的历史发展作出一种非极多主义的警告(non-maximalist alert)的同时,立刻意识到美国内战的结果将对全世界产生决定性的影响,并设定了依循奴隶制道路或解放道路前进的历史时钟。
1864年11月,面对各种事件急剧变化的状况,马克思告诉他的表舅莱昂·菲利浦斯(Lion Philips):“林肯当选时,问题只是在于不对奴隶主作出任何新的让步,然而现在,废除奴隶制已是大家公认的、并且一部分是已经实现了的目的。”他还补充道:“应当承认,象这样迅速地完成这样的大转变还从未有过。它将会对全世界发生极其良好的影响。”

二、亚伯拉罕·林肯和安德鲁·约翰逊
1864年11月,林肯连任总统使马克思有机会代表国际工人协会发表具有明确政治意义的祝贺:“如果说您在第一次当选时的适中的口号是反抗奴隶主的权势,那末您在第二次当选时的胜利的战斗号召则是:消灭奴隶制!”
南部统治阶级的一些代表宣称,“奴隶制是仁慈的制度”,甚至鼓吹它是“解决劳资关系这一重大问题的老办法”。因此,马克思迫切希望澄清事实真相:“欧洲的工人阶级立即了解到(甚至在上层阶级为南部同盟派上流人士进行的狂热袒护向工人阶级发出了可怕的警号以前就已经了解到),奴隶主的叛乱将是一次财产对劳动所进行的普遍的十字军征讨的信号,在大西洋彼岸进行的这一大规模的战争关系着劳动者的命运,关系着他们对未来的期望,甚至关系着他们已经获得的果实。” 然后,马克思提出了一个同样十分重要的问题:“只要作为北部的真正政治力量的工人竟容许奴隶制玷污自己的共和国,只要他们在那些不问是否同意就被买卖的黑人面前夸耀白人工人享有自己出卖自己和自己选择主人的高贵特权,那他们就既不能取得真正的劳动自由,也不能支援他们欧洲兄弟的解放斗争。” 马克思在《资本论》第一卷中提出了非常类似的观点,在那里,他明确强调:“在北美合众国,只要奴隶制使共和国的一部分还是畸形的,任何独立的工人运动就仍然处于瘫痪状态。在黑人的劳动打上屈辱烙印的地方,白人的劳动也不能得到解放”。但是,“从奴隶制的死亡中,立刻萌发出一个重新变得年轻的生命。南北战争的第一个果实,就是争取八小时工作日运动”。
马克思很清楚林肯的温和政治立场,他也没有掩盖他的一些盟友的种族偏见。但他总是不带任何宗派主义地明确强调南部的奴隶制与北方的雇佣劳动制度之间的差异。马克思明白,美国正在发展着的各种条件将摧毁世界上最臭名昭著的制度之一。奴隶制和种族压迫的终结将使全世界的工人运动能在一个更有利的框架中进行,以建立无阶级的社会和共产主义的生产方式。
由于约翰逊总统在1865年4月14日林肯遇刺身亡后继任总统职位,马克思便撰写了《国际工人协会致约翰逊总统的公开信》。马克思想提醒安德鲁·约翰逊,他作为总统所肩负的“任务就是借助法律来根除那些曾用刀剑砍倒的东西”,即“领导政治改革和社会复兴的艰巨工作……开创劳动解放的新纪元”。
几年后,马克思代表国际工人协会发表了一篇《致合众国全国劳工同盟的公开信》(1869年)。他清楚地意识到:“工人阶级的苦难同金融贵族、暴发户贵族和其他因战争而出现的寄生虫的穷奢极欲形成鲜明的对比。” 然而,不应忘记的是“国内战争总还有好的结果,那就是奴隶的解放以及因此而对你们本身的阶级运动所起的刺激作用”。最后,他总结道:“一个光荣的任务落在你们的肩上,那就是要向世界证明:现在,工人阶级终于不再作为一个驯服的追随者,而是作为一支独立的力量登上历史舞台,他们已经意识到自己的责任,并能在他们的所谓的主人们叫嚷战争的地方卫护和平。”

三、关于波兰革命与俄国的反动角色问题
至于马克思为《新闻报》撰写的许多精彩的分析性文章,只有其中一部分被发表出来。1862年2月,他写信给恩格斯说,“从德国当前的恶劣情况来看”,维也纳《新闻报》并没有成为“原来所指望的奶牛”来支撑令他苦恼的财务状况。“这些家伙”可能“每四篇文章只登一篇”,因此他不仅没有足够的收入来改善他的家庭状况,还要遭受“白费时间”和揣测“仁慈的编辑部是否会恩准发表某一篇文章”的苦恼。 马克思在4月份重复了这一想法,他向恩格斯发表了一段讽刺性的评论:“维科在自己的《新科学》中说,德国是欧洲唯一的还在用‘英雄语言’的国家。如果这个老那不勒斯人有幸领略维也纳《新闻报》或柏林《国民报》的语言,那他是会抛弃这种成见的。” 1862年底,马克思决定放弃与奥地利报纸的合作。在一年多的时间里,他成功发表了52篇文章,其中一些文章是在恩格斯的帮助下撰写的。
虽然震动美国的各种事件是马克思研究国际政治问题的主要焦点,但他在19世纪60年代初也一直在密切关注俄国和东欧的一切主要动向。在1860年6月写给拉萨尔的一封信中,马克思对一个重要的政治焦点问题发表了自己的看法:他反对俄国及其盟友亨利·帕默斯顿(Henry Palmerston)和路易·波拿巴(Louis Bonaparte)。他试图说服拉萨尔,他们的“党”的立场和那个带有浪漫主义观点的托利党政治家大卫·乌尔卡尔特 (David Urquhart)的立场之间没有任何不合法之处。对于乌尔卡尔特——为了达到反俄和反自由的目的,他厚颜无耻地再版了马克思于19世纪50年代初刊登在英国宪章派的机关报上的反对帕麦斯顿的文章,马克思写道:“他在主观上无疑是一个反动分子……但是这丝毫不妨碍他所领导的在对外政策方面的运动成为客观上革命的运动……这我根本不在乎;正如,比方说在同俄国打仗的时候,你不会在乎你的邻人向俄国人开枪是出于黑、红、黄的[即民族主义的——作者注]动机还是出于革命的动机一样。”马克思继续说:“同时十分明显,在对外政策方面,像‘反动的’和‘革命的’这类字眼是毫无用处的。”
马克思一直在寻找一种可能抑制俄国在欧洲政治中的反动作用的反抗迹象,并在1863年初写信给恩格斯(即波兰一月起义爆发和俾斯麦随即帮助镇压起义后不久)说:“在欧洲又广泛地揭开了革命的纪元。” 四天后,他表示道:“波兰事件和普鲁士的干涉,这的确是一种使我们非说话不可的形势。”
鉴于这些事件的重要性,马克思认为只通过发表文章来发声是不够的。因此,他建议立即在伦敦以德意志工人教育协会(German Workers’ Educational Association)的名义发表一份接近其政治立场的宣言。如果他想继续申请德国公民身份和“返回德国”,这将为他提供掩护。恩格斯应该写这本小册子的“军事部分”,重点是“德国在复兴波兰在军事和政治上的利害关系”,而马克思将撰写它的“外交部分”。 当1863年2月18日普鲁士众议院谴责政府政策并通过一项支持中立的决议时,马克思热情洋溢地指出:“我们很快就会有革命了。” 正如他所看到的那样,波兰问题提供了“一个新的理由,来证明在霍亨索伦世袭领地存在的时候,要捍卫德国的利益是不可能的。” 俾斯麦对沙皇亚历山大二世的支持,或者他授权“普鲁士将[波兰]领土视为俄国的领土”,构成了马克思继续完成他的计划的政治动机。
正是在这一时期,马克思开始了他的另一个周密研究计划。他在5月下旬寄给恩格斯的一封信中说,在过去的几个月里,他除了研究政治经济学,也一直在研究波兰问题的各个方面;这使他能够“努力填补自己在俄国—波兰—普鲁士事件方面的缺陷(外交的和历史的) ”。因此,在1863年2月至5月间,他写了一篇题为《波兰、普鲁士和俄国》的手稿,这些手稿很好地记录了柏林对莫斯科的历史性从属。对于霍亨索伦王朝来说,“俄国的发展代表了普鲁士的发展规律”,“没有俄国就没有普鲁士”。相反,在马克思看来,“波兰的复兴将意味着当前俄国的溃败,挫败其篡取全球霸权的企图”。出于同样的原因,“波兰的覆灭——对俄国来说是一件好事——[意味着]德国的某种衰落,(因为)唯一能够抵挡普遍的斯拉夫洪水的大坝崩溃了”。但这篇拟作的文章最终没有完成。这一次,责任显然在于恩格斯(他负责撰写最重要的军事部分),而马克思的“外交部分”则“随时准备写好,它将只是作为一点补充”。然而,当年10月,马克思设法发表了《伦敦德意志工人教育协会支援波兰的呼吁书》(1863年),以帮助波兰自由战士筹集资金。它开篇就是一个响亮的声明:“波兰问题是德国问题。没有独立的波兰,就不可能有独立统一的德国,就不可能使德国摆脱从第一次瓜分波兰时开始造成的对俄国的从属地位。”但在马克思看来,“德国贵族阶级早就承认沙皇是幕后的最高的国家统治者。德国资产阶级一声不响,消极冷淡地坐视英勇的人民遭到屠杀”。而“英国工人阶级”已经“博得了历史上永不泯灭的荣誉,它通过充满热情的群众大会打破了统治阶级三番两次地为维护美国奴隶主而组织干涉的企图”,并将与波兰反抗者并肩作战。
这场持续了一年多的斗争是有史以来最长时间的反俄斗争。这场斗争直到1864年4月才结束,俄国人处决了革命政府的代表、最终镇压了这场起义。当年五月,俄军还完成了对北高加索的占领,从而结束了自1817年就已爆发的一场战争。对此,马克思再次表现出非凡的洞察力,不同于“欧洲以白痴般的冷漠态度加以观望”,他将“镇压波兰起义和占领高加索这两件事”看作“是1815年以来最严重的欧洲事件”。

四、第一国际对波兰斗争的支援
马克思继续投身于对波兰问题的研究,并多次在第一国际内部进行讨论。实际上,由于一些法国和英国的工人组织在伦敦明确表达了对波兰人民反抗沙皇侵占的声援,因此,第一国际于1863年7月组织召开了最重要的基金会筹备会议。
后来,在第一国际成立三个月后,在总理事会常务委员会于1864年12月召开的一次会议上,记者彼得·福克斯(Peter Fox)在他给波兰人的公开信中说:“法国人在传统上比英国人更加同情波兰人。” 对此,马克思并没有提出异议。但是,正如他写信给恩格斯时所说的那样,他已经“把法国人不断背弃波兰人的历史上无可争辩的情景,从路易十五起直到第二个波拿巴止,作了详尽的描绘”。正是在这一语境下,他撰写了一篇新的手稿,即后来所说的《波兰和法国》(1864年)。该手稿是用英语写成的,时间上涵盖了从1648年的“威斯特伐利亚和约(the Peace of Westphalia)”到1812年这一段时期。
在一年后的1865年9月,即第一国际在伦敦举行的会议刚结束后不久,马克思提交了一份关于欧洲工人运动外交政策的议程草案。作为一项优先事项,马克思表示:“需要通过实现民族自决权并在民主和社会的基础上恢复波兰的途径来消除俄国佬在欧洲的影响的必要性。”而这需要几十年才能实现。但马克思对波兰问题的分析表明,马克思在面对各个遥远地区发生的重大历史事件时,能够及时掌握世界上正在发生的事件,并为事件的转化作出贡献。而当今世界的左翼运动迫切需要复兴这种国际主义视野。

 

参考书目
i 马克思用它来指称当时美国南部的种植园主。——译者注
ii 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第30卷(上),人民出版社,1975年,第180~181页。
iii 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第30卷(上),人民出版社,1975年,第181页。
iv 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第30卷(上),人民出版社,1975年,第181页。马克思在撰写此文时并不熟悉的1860年人口普查记录了超过394000名奴隶主,或8%的美国家庭。然而,奴隶的数量总计为3950000。参见United States Census Office, Population of the United States in 1860, Compiled from the Original Returns of the Eighth Census Under the Secretary of the Interior, Washington: Government Printing Office, 1866.
v 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第30卷(上),人民出版社,1975年,第186页。
vi 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第30卷(上),人民出版社,1975年,第187页。
vii 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第30卷(上),人民出版社,1975年,第187页。
viii 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第30卷(上),人民出版社,1975年,第187页。
ix 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第30卷(上),人民出版社,1975年,第188页。
x 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第30卷(上),人民出版社,1975年,第188页。
xi 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第15卷,人民出版社,1963年,第480页。
xii 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第15卷,人民出版社,1963年,第463页。
xiii 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第15卷,人民出版社,1963年,第463页。
xiv 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第15卷,人民出版社,1963年,第464页。
xv 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第30卷(下),人民出版社,1975年,第601页。
xvi 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第15卷,人民出版社,1963年,第344页。有关马克思对奴隶制的思考,参见W. Backhaus, Marx, Engels und die Sklaverei, Düsseldorf: Schwann, 1974.
xvii 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第15卷,人民出版社,1963年,第346~347页。
xviii 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第15卷,人民出版社,1963年,第347页。
xix 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第15卷,人民出版社,1963年,第348页。
xx 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第15卷,人民出版社,1963年,第354页。
xxi 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第15卷,人民出版社,1963年,第355页。
xxii 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第15卷,人民出版社,1963年,第355页。
xxiii 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第15卷,人民出版社,1963年,第356页。
xxiv 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第15卷,人民出版社,1963年,第356页。关于“南部奴隶制的内在扩张主义特征”,参见R. Blackburn, An Unfinished Revolution: Marx and Lincoln, London: Verso, London 2011, p. 21.
xxv 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第30卷(上),人民出版社,1975年,第173页。
xxvi 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第31卷(下),人民出版社,1972年,第439页。
xxvii 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第31卷(下),人民出版社,1972年,第439页。
xxviii 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第16卷,人民出版社,1956年,第20页。
xxix 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第16卷,人民出版社,1956年,第20页。这里马克思引用的话是出自奴隶主A.斯蒂芬斯(A. Stephens)于1861年3月21日在萨凡纳(Savannah)发表的演讲,该演讲发表在1861年3月27日的《纽约每日论坛报》上。
xxx 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第16卷,人民出版社,1956年,第20~21页。
xxxi 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第16卷,人民出版社,1956年,第21页。
xxxii 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第44卷,人民出版社,2001年,第348页。
xxxiii 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第44卷,人民出版社,2001年,第348页。
xxxiv 关于两者的差异,参见A. Kulikoff, Abraham Lincoln and Karl Marx in Dialogue, New York: Oxford University Press, 2018.
xxxv 罗宾·布莱克本(Robin Blackburn)指出:“打败奴隶主统治集团和解放奴隶,并不会摧毁资本主义制度,但它将会为无论是白人还是黑人劳工的组织和进步创造出更为有利的条件。在马克思看来,富有的奴隶主类似于欧洲的贵族,而推翻他们的任务也类似于他在《共产党宣言》中早已宣扬过的作为德意志革命者当下目标的民主革命。”译文参考[英]罗宾·布莱克本:《未完成的革命:马克思与林肯》,李晓江、陈志刚译,社会科学文献出版社,2013年,第17页。
xxxvi 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第16卷,人民出版社,1956年,第109页。
xxxvii 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第16卷,人民出版社,1956年,第402页。
xxxviii 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第16卷,人民出版社,1956年,第402页。
xxxix 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第16卷,人民出版社,1956年,第402~403页。
xl 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第30卷(上),人民出版社,1975年,第216页。
xli 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第30卷(上),人民出版社,1975年,第230页。
xlii K. Marx, Lord Palmerston, in MECW, vol.12, 1979, pp. 341-406.
xliii 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第30卷(下),人民出版社,1975年,第547页。 关于马克思对俄国的政治观念的研究,参见Dawid Rjasanow, Karl Marx über den Ursprung der Vorherrschaft Russland in Europa, Die Neue Zeit, Ergänzungshefte Nr.5, 1909, pp.1-64; Bernd Rabehl, Die Kontroverse innerhalb des russischen Marxismus über die asiatischen und westlich-kapitalistischen Ursprünge der Gesellschaft, des Kapitalismus und des zaristischen Staates in Russland, in Ulf Wolter (ed.), Karl Marx. Die Geschichte der Geheimdiplomatie des 18. Jahrhunderts. Über den asiatischen Ursprung der russischen Despotie; Berlin: Olle und Wolter, 1977, pp.112-78; 另参见Bruno Bongiovanni, Le repliche della storia, Turin: Bollati Boringhieri, 1989, pp. 171-189.
xliv 参见Marcello Musto, Another Marx: Early Manuscripts to the International, London–New York: Bloomsbury, 2018, p.132。译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第30卷(下),人民出版社,1975年,第548页。
xlv 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第30卷(上),人民出版社,1975年,第322页。
xlvi 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第30卷(上),人民出版社,1975年,第323页。
xlvii 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第30卷(上),人民出版社,1975年,第323页。
xlviii 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第30卷(上),人民出版社,1975年,第330页。
xlix 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第30卷(上),人民出版社,1975年,第331页。
l K. Marx, Manoscritti Sulla Questione Polacca (1863-1864), Florence: La Nuova Italia, 1981, p. 89. 关于所有马克思讨论波兰问题的手稿的主题性文集,参见K. Marx, Manuskripte über die Polnische Frage (1863-1864), S’-Gravenhage: Mouton and co., 1961。 关于按照文章的时间顺序汇编而成的版本,参见K. Marx, Przyczynki do historii kwestii polskiej. Rękopisyzlat 1863 -1864 / Beitrage zur Geschichte der polnischen Frage, Manuskipte aus den Jahren 1863-1864, Warsaw: Książka i Wiedza, 1971。
li 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第30卷(上),人民出版社,1975年,第346页。
lii K. Marx, Manoscritti Sulla Questione Polacca (1863-1864), Florence: La Nuova Italia, 1981, p.7.
liii K. Marx, Manoscritti Sulla Questione Polacca (1863-1864), Florence: La Nuova Italia, 1981, p.7.
liv K. Marx, Manoscritti Sulla Questione Polacca (1863-1864), Florence: La Nuova Italia, 1981, p.7. B.邦乔瓦尼(B. Bongiovanni)指出:“在马克思这个国际大事件的热情观察者看来,那种对社会进步不够敏感而在某种程度上带有陈旧特征的危险偏执的解决问题方式……在某种程度上是走向最终斗争即解决资本主义生产方式所支配的世界中的特殊矛盾的准备工作。”参见B. Bongiovanni, Introduzione, in K. Marx, Manoscritti Sulla Questione Polacca (1863-1864), Florence: La Nuova Italia, 1981, p. xxv。
lv 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第30卷(上),人民出版社,1975年,第327页。
lvi 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第15卷,人民出版社,1963年,第614页。
lvii 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第15卷,人民出版社,1963年,第614页。
lviii 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第15卷,人民出版社,1963年,第615页。
lix 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第30卷(上),人民出版社,1975年,第401~402页。
lx 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第31卷(上),人民出版社,1972年,第42页。
lxi 译文参考《马克思恩格斯全集》第31卷(下),人民出版社,1972年,第489页。译文略有改动。

Categories
Journal Articles

Os Manuscritos economico-filosóficos de 1844 de Karl Marx: dificuldades para publicação e interpretações críticas

INTRODUÇÃO
Os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 constituem um dos escritos de Karl Marx mais célebres e difundidos em todo o mundo.
Todavia esse texto, tão debatido e tão presente nos debates marxistas, pela exaustiva interpretação da concepção de seu autor, permaneceu desconhecido por muito tempo. Na verdade, de sua redação a quando foi publicado, passou-se quase um século.
A publicação, ocorrida em 1932, não pôs fim, no entanto, às dificuldades. Com ela, iniciou-se a longa discórdia relacionada a seu caráter. Os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 eram escritos que expressavam concepções típicas da esquerda hegeliana, portanto, ainda pouco desenvolvidos se forem relacionados à crítica da economia política que Marx desenvolveu em seguida? Ou eles representavam a base filosófica do pensamento de Marx, que permeia toda sua obra e que foi se enfraquecendo durante o longo período de elaboração de O Capital? Esse conflito interpretativo teve valor político. A primeira interpretação foi sustentada pelos estudiosos soviéticos de Marx e por grande parte dos intérpretes que tinham um forte vínculo com os partidos comunistas ligados ao chamado “bloco socialista” ou que faziam parte dele. A segunda, no entanto, foi apresentada pelos protagonistas de um marxismo crítico, que encontraram, exatamente nesse texto, as fontes textuais e as mais eficazes argumentações (em particular, o conceito de alienação) para romper o monopólio que a União Soviética tinha adquirido, até então, sobre a obra de Marx.
As leituras instrumentais que um e outro grupo fizeram sobre os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 constituem um claro exemplo de como a obra de Marx tem sido constantemente objeto de conflitos teórico-políticos e frequentemente manobrada em razão desses interesses, com interpretações distorcidas. Para melhor evidenciar tal realidade, a segunda e a terceira parte deste artigo reconstroem as dificuldades editoriais ligadas à sua publicação. Na quarta, na quinta e na sexta seção, apresenta-se uma breve resenha – considerando os volumes escritos por tantos intérpretes desse texto – com suas interpretações. Uma breve análise filológica dos Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 é desenvolvida nas sétima e na oitava parte, tendo por base a nova edição histórico-crítica MEGA², e são apresentadas algumas indicações sobre a necessidade de se lançar uma nova edição italiana desse texto. Na conclusão, segue uma tabela que reconstrói a cronologia da elaboração dos manuscritos e dos cadernos de extratos do período (outono de 1843 a janeiro de 1845).

As duas edições de 1932
A primeira publicação parcial dos Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 foi feita em língua russa, sob a responsabilidade de David Borisoviĉ Rajazanov. Em 1927, na verdade, no meio do terceiro volume do Archiv K. Marksa i F. Engel’as, o famoso estudioso de Marx, na época diretor do Instituto Marx-Engels (IME) de Moscou, publicou grande parte do que viria a ser denominado “terceiro” manuscrito, com o título Trabalhos preparatórios para a “Sagrada Família” (Marx, 1927). O texto foi precedido de uma introdução do próprio Rjazanov, que destacou a importância do período no qual foram escritos esses manuscritos, caracterizado por um rapidíssimo avanço teórico de seu autor. Segundo o estudioso russo, o valor das notas publicadas era excepcional, pois, longe de representarem uma mera curiosidade bibliográfica, elas constituíam uma etapa importante do caminho de Marx e permitiam entender melhor seu desenvolvimento intelectual (Cf. Marx, 1927). Não obstante o grande rigor dos estudos feitos por Rjazanov, essa hipótese interpretativa se revelou equivocada. As indicações de Marx e o conteúdo das páginas dos Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 testemunham que eles foram, de fato, um estudo preparatório para A sagrada família, mas também um trabalho anterior e diferente, dedicado à sua primeira análise crítica da economia política. Em 1929, La Revue Marxiste publicou a tradução francesa desse texto, que apareceu em dois números diferentes e com títulos diferentes. No primeiro número, de fevereiro, apareceu uma parte intitulada Notes sur le communisme et la propriété privée (Notas sobre o comunismo e a propriedade privada), enquanto no quinto número, em junho, saiu a parte seguinte com o título Notes sue les besoins, la production et la division du travail (Notas sobre as necessidades, a produção e a divisão do trabalho) (Marx, 1929a,b). Os textos foram apresentados como fragmentos da obra de Marx do ano de 1844 e divididos em vários subtítulos, que os separavam em partes para simplificar a leitura do conjunto.
Ainda em 1929, na K. Marx – F. Engels Soĉinenija (Obras) (1928-1947), a primeira edição soviética das obras de Marx e Engels, foi feita uma segunda edição russa do texto. O manuscrito foi inserido no III tomo, da mesma forma fragmentária e com o mesmo título errado de 1927 (Marx, 1929c).  Além disso, em 1931, a revista Unter den Bannern des Marxismus publicou a primeira versão em língua alemã do fragmento Kritik der Hegelschen Dialektik und der Philosopnie überhaupt (Crítica da dialética e em geral da filosofia de Hegel) (Marx, 1931).
A primeira edição completa em língua alemã foi lançada em 1932. Na verdade, no mesmo ano, as versões publicadas foram duas, e tal circunstância ajudou a alimentar a confusão em relação ao texto. Os estudiosos socialdemocratas Siegfried Landshut e J. P. Mayer publicaram uma coletânea das obras juvenis de Marx em dois volumes, Der historische Materialismus. Die Frühschriften (O materialismo histórico. Os escritos juvenis) (Marx, 1932a), na qual também foram inseridos os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844. Tal edição tinha sido antecipada no ano anterior por um artigo do próprio Mayer, que anunciava a edição de um importantíssimo “texto de Marx até então desconhecido” (Mayer, 1931, p 154-157). Nessa coletânea, no entanto, os manuscritos de Marx foram publicados só parcialmente e com diversas e graves imprecisões. O “primeiro” manuscrito não estava presente; o “segundo” e o “terceiro” foram publicados em total desordem; e foi ainda inserido um suposto “quarto” manuscrito, que era, de fato, somente o compêndio do capítulo final da Fenomenologia do Espírito de Hegel, sem qualquer comentário de Marx. Além do mais, a ordem das várias partes foi alterada (os manuscritos foram publicados na sequência III, II, IV) tornando sua compreensão ainda mais difícil. Mais grave ainda é que a tradução do original continha numerosos erros, e o título escolhido também foi definitivamente equivocado. O título Nationalökonomie und Philosopie. Über den Zusammenhang der Nationalökonomie MIT Staat, Recht, Moral,und bürgerlichem Leben (1844) (Economia política e filosofia. Sobre o vínculo da economia política com o Estado, o direito, a moral e a vida civil) não correspondia ao que afirmara Marx no prefácio: “poderá ser observado, no presente texto, que o vínculo da economia política com o Estado, o direito e a moral será levado em consideração apenas na medida que a própria economia política leva em consideração ex professo esses temas” (Marx, 1968,  p. 3). Um último e importante detalhe: o texto foi acompanhado por pouquíssimas indicações filológicas, contidas no prefácio dos organizadores, que indicavam o provável período em que foram redigidos os manuscritos, no arco de tempo entre fevereiro e agosto de 1844. Inicialmente, o texto deveria ter sido publicado em uma única edição, com o título Über den Zusammenhang der Nationalökonomie mit der Staat, Recht, Moral, und bürgerlichem Leben nebst einer Auseinandersetzung mit der Hegelschen Dialektik und der Philosophie überhaupt (Sobre o vinculo da economia política com o Estado, o direito, a moral e a vida burguesa com uma disputa com a dialética hegeliana e a filosofia em geral), sob os cuidados de Mayer e de Friedrich Salomon, sendo o primeiro responsável pela parte interpretativa e o segundo pela parte editorial.
No entanto, após a segunda revisão dos originais, o texto foi inserido na coletânea anteriormente citada, sob os cuidados do próprio Mayer e de Landshut (Cf. Landshut; Mayer, 1932a). Não obstante os graves erros editoriais e interpretativos até agora expostos, essa versão foi bastante divulgada na Alemanha e foi a base da tradução francesa, feita em 1937 por J. Molitor.
A segunda versão dos Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844, publicada em 1932, apareceu no terceiro volume da primeira seção da edição das obras completas de Marx e Engels, a Marx Engels Gesamtausgabe (MEGA), organizado pelo Instituto Marx-Engels de Moscou. Foi a primeira edição integral e científica desse texto, ao qual foi dado o título que se tornou célebre posteriormente: Ökonomisch-philosophische Manuskripte aus dem Jahre 1844 (Marx, 1932b). Pela primeira vez, os manuscritos foram publicados na disposição exata, e os originais foram traduzidos de modo acurado como não tinham sido na edição realizada na Alemanha. Uma introdução, embora muito circunscrita, reconstruiu a gênese do texto, e cada manuscrito foi precedido por uma breve descrição filológica. Mais precisamente, no volume, havia o subtítulo Para a crítica da economia política. Com um capítulo exclusivo sobre a filosofia hegeliana, os três manuscritos ficaram com os seguintes subtítulos: I. Salário – exploração do capital – Renda fundiária – Trabalho estranhado; II. A relação da propriedade privada; III. Propriedade privada e trabalho – Propriedade privada e comunismo – Necessidade, produção e divisão do trabalho – Dinheiro – Crítica da dialética e, em geral, da filosofia de Hegel. O “quarto manuscrito”, como era chamado, que continha os excertos de Hegel, foi publicado em um apêndice com o título Excertos de Marx do último capítulo da ‘Fenomenologia do espírito’ de Hegel.
Todavia, também os editores da MEGA, tendo de dar nome a esses manuscritos, colocando um prefácio no início do texto (na verdade, se encontra no terceiro manuscrito) e de reorganizar o conjunto, deram a entender que Marx teria tido, desde o princípio, a ideia de escrever uma crítica da economia política e que os manuscritos seriam uma obra originariamente dividida em capítulos (Cf. Rojahn, 1983, 2002). Particularmente significativa, nessa edição, foi, no entanto, a publicação dos cadernos de anotações de Marx. Desde o período universitário, na verdade, ele tinha adquirido o hábito, que manteve por toda a vida, de colocar em cadernos os resumos dos livros que lia, intercalando-os com as reflexões que eles suscitavam. Aqueles relativos ao período parisiense foram publicados na segunda parte do volume apresentado como Aus den Exzerptheften. Paris, anfang 1844 – Anfang 1845 (Dos cadernos de resumos. Paris, início de 1844 – início de 1845) e incluíram os resumos, até então inéditos, das obras de Friendrich Engels, Jean Baptiste Say, Fréderic Skarbek, Adam Smith, David Ricardo, James Mill, John R. MacCulloch, Antoine L. C. Destutt de Tracy e Pierre de Boisguillebert. Essa edição apresentou ainda a descrição dos nove cadernos e um índice alfabético de todas as obras compendiadas (Cf. Marx, 1932b). Os intérpretes de Marx assumiram, no entanto, a tese, inexata, segundo a qual ele tinha redigido esses textos somente após ter lido e compendiado as obras de economia política (Cf. McLellan, 1974). Na realidade, o processo de redação se desenvolveu de modo alternado entre grupos de manuscritos e resumos (Cf. Lapin, 1974). Aliás, esses últimos intercalaram toda a produção parisiense, dos ensaios escritos para o Deustsch-französiche Jahrbücher até A sagrada família.
Em todo caso, a edição da MEGA se apresentou como a melhor e se tornou a base de grande parte das traduções que se seguiram. As duas diferentes versões publicadas em 1932 entravam em conflito, não só por algumas questões de filologia. Com o passar dos anos, o confronto entre “marxismo ocidental” e “marxismo soviético” foi se tornando sempre mais áspero, e a interpretação dos Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 se apresentou como um dos principais objetos da disputa. Victor Adoratskij, o diretor da MEGA – substituto de Rjazanov em 1931, após os expurgos de Stalin, que também atingiram o IME, o qual, nesse meio tempo, tinha se tornado o Instituto Marx-Engels-Lenin (IMEL), – apresentou o texto como um escrito fragmentário, cujos temas eram o salário, a exploração do capital, a renda fundiária e o dinheiro, no qual Marx tinha elaborado uma análise  da estrutura econômica do capitalismo recorrendo ainda à terminologia filosófica feuerbachiana (Cf. Adoratskij, 1932). Por outro lado, Landshut e Mayer escreveram uma obra que, “na essência, antecipa[va] já O Capital”, e que era, “em um certo sentido, a obra central de Marx,  [que] forma[va] o fulcro de todo seu desenvolvimento conceitual” (Landshut; Mayer, 1932a, p. 33-38) e que não apenas devolvia ao leitor a terminologia filosófica marxiana dos primeiros escritos, mas expressava também a necessidade de reconduzir as teorias econômicas subsequentes aos conceitos desenvolvidos durante esse período. Ou seja: explicitava o conteúdo filosófico da teoria econômica da maturidade. Não obstante a ausência de fundamento, essa interpretação obteve grande sucesso e pode ser atribuído exatamente a esse ensaio o nascimento – facilitado, posteriormente, por muitos, como Louis Althusser, que não compartilhavam essa tese – da invenção do “jovem Marx”.

Traduções e publicações posteriores
Graças à sua superioridade filológica, a versão MEGA se destacou particularmente, e quase todas as traduções que apareceram depois se basearam nela – no Japão, em 1946, na Itália, em 1949, sob os cuidados de Norberto Bobbio, e, em 1962, também na França, após a versão filologicamente pouco confiável de 1937, citada anteriormente.
A melhor qualidade da edição MEGA foi reconhecida também pelo estudioso e teólogo evangélico Erich Thier, na introdução à reedição alemã organizada por ele em 1950 (Marx, 1950). Todavia sua nova edição dos Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 acabou sendo um híbrido das duas primeiras versões, na qual algumas partes da versão MEGA se alternavam com outras provenientes daquela organizada por Landshut e Mayer, levando, assim, à produção de maiores mal-entendidos. O texto publicado, na verdade, foi o da MEGA, mas – como tinham já feito anteriormente os estudiosos – Thier decidiu não inserir o “primeiro” manuscrito. Da edição MEGA foram retomadas muitas notas explicativas referentes ao texto, mas Thier conservou também as imprecisões de Landshut e Mayer como, por exemplo, a convicção de que o “Prefácio” estaria colocado no “primeiro” e não no “terceiro” manuscrito. No que se refere ao título, por fim, manteve-se a escolha errada dos estudiosos alemães. Deve-se ressaltar que tais erros continuaram sendo repetidos, mesmo em publicações feitas duas décadas após a edição MEGA.
Em 1953, dessa vez sob a responsabilidade somente de Landshut, foi publicada a versão de 1932, com o novo título de Ökonomische-philosophische Manuskripte (1844). Os erros de 1932 foram repetidos, e as únicas alterações se referem à substituição de algumas traduções do original, que estavam erradas, com base na edição MEGA. Dois anos depois, surge a coletânea K. Marx – F. Engels. Kleine ökonomishe Schriften (Marx, 1953) (Breves escritos econômicos), que apresentou os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 sem o capítulo final sobre a “Crítica da dialética e em geral da filosofia de Hegel”. Além do mais, o texto foi revisado, sem algumas imprecisões contidas na versão MEGA de 1932.
Paralelamente aos limites dessas novas edições alemãs – que representaram, todas,  um retrocesso em relação àquela da MEGA –, deve-se ressaltar a grande “perseguição” sofrida pelos Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 na União Soviética e, mais amplamente, no Leste da Europa. Em 1954, o Instituto para o Marxismo-Leninismo (IML) de Moscou, nova denominação do IMEL, diante da preparação da nova edição russa das obras de Marx e Engels (K.Marx – F.Engels Soĉinenija), decidiu não incluir, em seus volumes, os manuscritos incompletos dos “fundadores do socialismo científico”, ou seja, muitos daqueles importantíssimos trabalhos, graças aos quais teria sido possível uma mais correta interpretação da gênese do pensamento de Marx. Dentre os textos excluídos, havia não somente os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844, mas também as Linhas fundamentais da crítica da economia política, mais conhecidos como Grundrisse. Tal escolha editorial foi, porém, muito contraditória. Nessa edição, de fato, foi dado espaço para outros manuscritos de Marx, dentre eles os trabalhos juvenis – Sobre a crítica hegeliana do direito, inserida no primeiro volume, e A ideologia alemã, que ocupou todo o terceiro volume. Ainda nessa “segunda” Soĉinenija (1955-66), havia um número maior de textos do que na primeira (1928-47), e a decisão de não publicar os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 revelou uma clara intenção de censura.
Eles apareceram, no entanto, como publicação individual, intitulada Excertos das obras juvenis (Marx; Engels, 1955) com uma impressão de somente 60.000 exemplares, em 1956 (Marx; Engels, 1956). Para que os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 fossem inseridos na “segunda” Soĉinenija, foi preciso aguardar quase vinte anos, ou seja, a publicação do volume anexo XLII ocorreu em 1974 (Cf. Brouchlinski, 1960). A preparação dessa edição exigiu um novo processo de verificação das fotocópias dos originais (que eram mantidos no Internationaal Instituut voor Social Geschiedenis, IISG, de Amsterdam, onde estão guardados dois terços do Nachlas de Marx e Engels). Tal escolha se revelou fundamental, pois permitiu realizar um grande número de correções não secundárias da versão MEGA de 1932. Por exemplo, a frase contida na última linha do “segundo” manuscrito, anteriormente traduzida como “Kollision wechselseitiger Gegensätze”, foi corretamente traduzida como “Feindlicher wechselseitiger Gegensatz”. Em muitas partes, foi modificada a palavra “Genus”, no lugar da “Geist” (Marx; Engels, 1974). Procedeu-se, por fim, à correção dos erros cometidos por Marx. Serve de exemplo a citação de Smith “Von den drei primitiven Klassen”, corretamente usada nos cadernos de resumos, mas errada nos Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844, onde aparecia como “Von den drei produktiven Klassen”. Além do mais, todas as citações feitas por Marx, muito longas, especialmente no “primeiro” manuscrito, foram publicadas com uma fonte menor, para facilitar a identificação da paternidade das várias partes e para não atribuírem a ele frases que, na verdade, eram citações de outros autores.
Assim como para a edição soviética, também a coletânea dos escritos de Marx e Engels publicada na República Democrática Alemã, a Marx Engels Weke (Obras) (MEW), lançada em 39 volumes entre 1956 e 1968, excluiu os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 do grupo de volumes numerados. Eles, na verdade, não foram inseridos no volume 2, publicado em 1962, onde deveriam ter sido colocados por razões cronológicas, tendo sido publicados somente em 1968, como volume anexo (Ergänzungsband) (Cf. Brouchlinski, 1960). Tal volume, depois de ter aparecido com esse formato até 1981, em quatro edições sucessivas, foi publicado em 1985, com o título Schriften und Briefe, November 1837 – August 1844 (Escritos e Cartas, de Novembro de 1837 a Agosto de 1844), como o tomo 40 da MEW. A edição publicada foi a versão MEGA de 1932, com o acréscimo das correções feitas às traduções dos originais e pelo aparato crítico da edição Kleine ökonomische Schriften de 1955.
Após a MEGA de 1932, a primeira edição das obras de Marx publicada no “campo socialista” a inserir os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 nos seus volumes numerados foi a Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe (MEGA²). Sua publicação começou em 1975, e os manuscritos parisienses foram impressos no volume I/2, em 1982, exatamente 50 anos após a primeira publicação. Nessa nova forma, surgiu  uma edição histórico-crítica, e os manuscritos foram publicados em até duas versões. Uma primeira (Erste Wiedergabe) reproduziu a organização dos papéis originais de Marx e propôs, então, uma divisão em colunas de partes do texto do “primeiro” manuscrito. Uma segunda (Zweite Wiedergabe), no entanto, utilizou a divisão em capítulos e a paginação adotada por todas as edições anteriores (Marx; Engels, 1968). Foram acrescentados outros melhoramentos à tradução dos originais, dessa vez com particular atenção ao Prefácio (Marx-Engels-Gesamtausgabe, 1982). Confirmando as dificuldades de se realizar uma classificação entre os vários manuscritos marxianos (diante também de alguns limites postos pela edição MEGA²), o prospecto do capítulo final da Fenomenologia do Espírito de Hegel foi inserido, tanto nesse volume como no IV/2, contendo os cadernos de resumos do período. Em 1981, de fato, a MEGA² tinha publicado também os cadernos com os resumos parisienses, alguns dos quais (aqueles das obras de Carl W. C. Schüz, Friendrich List, Heirnrich F. Osiander, Guillaume Prevost, Senofonte, Eugene Buret) não tinham sido publicados na primeira MEGA, sendo editados pela primeira vez. A publicação dos Pariser Hefte foi completada, por fim, com o volume IV/3 de 1998, que incluiu os compêndios marxianos referentes à Jean Law, a um manual de história romana de autoria incerta e àqueles referentes a James Lauderdale.
Com a MEGA², os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 e todos os cadernos de resumos de 1844 foram publicados na íntegra. Todavia, antes de desenvolver algumas considerações filológicas a esse respeito, é útil retornar às principais interpretações críticas surgidas em relação a eles.

Um ou dois Marx? A disputa sobre a “continuidade” do pensamento de Marx
As duas edições de 1932 e as duas diferentes interpretações que as acompanharam deram início a uma multiplicidade de controvérsias, de caráter hermenêutico e, naturalmente, também político, do texto marxiano. Por um lado, como si viu, houve a interpretação voltada a entender esse texto como a expressão de uma fase juvenil, ainda negativamente condicionada pela impostação filosófica (Adoratskij). Por outro lado, ao contrário, houve aquela que entrevê, exatamente na elaboração filosófica do primeiro Marx, a essência de toda a sua teoria crítica e a expressão mais elevada de seu humanismo (Landshut e Mayer). As duas teses colocaram no centro do debate a questão da “continuidade”: havia dois Marx diferentes entre si – um jovem e um maduro –, ou existiu um único Marx que, não obstante o passar dos anos, tinha substancialmente conservado suas convicções?
A oposição entre essas duas correntes foi se radicalizando cada vez mais. Em torno da primeira se juntou a ortodoxia stalinista e alguns outros, na Europa Ocidental, que compartilhavam os mesmos princípios  teóricos e políticos e que  minimizaram ou rejeitaram totalmente a importância dos escritos iniciais, considerados superficiais se comparados às obras posteriores (Cf. McLellan, 1998). Para a segunda tese, apresentou-se uma realidade mais variada e heterogênea de autores, e todos tinham como denominador comum a rejeição ao dogmatismo do “comunismo oficial” e queriam romper a suposta relação direta que os expoentes desse último estabeleciam entre o pensamento de Marx e a realidade política da União Soviética.
As afirmações de dois protagonistas do debate marxista daquele período evidenciam, mais do que qualquer outro comentário, a importância da questão. Segundo Louis Althusser (1967, p. 35-37):
O debate sobre as obras juvenis de Marx é, antes de mais nada, um debate político. É preciso repetir que as obras juvenis de Marx […] foram exumadas pela social democracia e exploradas contra as posições teóricas do marxismo-leninismo? […] Eis, pois, o campo da discussão: o jovem Marx. A posição: o marxismo. Os termos: se o jovem Marx já é completamente Marx.
Iring Fetscher (1969, p. 312), no entanto afirmou:
Nos escritos juvenis de Marx, a libertação do homem de toda forma de exploração, de domínio e de alienação tem uma importância tão central, que, na época do domínio staliniano, um leitor soviético teria tomado estes argumentos exatamente como uma crítica à sua situação. Por esta razão, os escritos juvenis de Marx nunca foram publicados em russo em edições baratas e de grande tiragem. Eles eram considerados como trabalhos relativamente pouco significativos daquele jovem hegeliano que ainda não chegara ao marxismo, que seria, então, Marx.
Nessa contenda, ambas as partes distorceram o texto de Marx. Os ortodoxos negaram o valor dos Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844, chegando a censurá-los e a excluí-los das edições dos textos de Marx e Engels. As leituras do chamado “marxismo ocidental”, ao contrário, conferiram – de maneira evidentemente forçada – a esse primeiríssimo esboço incompleto de Marx, um valor superior ao da obra que fora publicada após vinte anos de estudos e pesquisas: O capital.
Nesse confronto ideológico, porém, quase todos os autores se comportaram do mesmo modo e consideraram os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 como um texto completo, orgânico e coerente, como uma verdadeira obra. Desse modo, apesar de incompletos e com a forma fragmentária que os caracterizava, eles foram lidos sem que se desse muita importância aos problemas filológicos neles presentes, que foram ignorados ou considerados pouco importantes (Rojahn, 1983).
Não é possível aqui dar um relato completo da vasta literatura crítica sobre os Manuscritos Econômico-Filosóficos de 1844. Em vez disso, vamos nos concentrar nos principais trabalhos e tentar mostrar as principais limitações do debate anterior sobre esse assunto.

As principais interpretações
Logo após a publicação das duas versões de 1932, numerosos estudiosos se debruçaram sobre os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844. Os autores alemães Henri de Man e Herbert Marcuse chegaram a conclusões análogas àquelas de Landshut e Mayer.
O primeiro sublinhou que o texto parisiense já continha as avaliações sobre as quais Marx havia fundado todo o seu projeto teórico subsequente e avançou a hipótese de que Marx estava presente nos dois marxismos – o humanista da juventude e o da maturidade – e que o primeiro era superior ao segundo, esse último atingido pelo declínio das energias criativas (Cf. Man, 1932). Marcuse sustenta ainda a tese de que os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 evidenciavam os fundamentos filosóficos da crítica da economia política (Cf. Marcuse, 1975). Além do mais, em sua opinião, a descoberta de uma presença assim tão forte da filosofia hegeliana no pensamento de Marx enriquecia sua antropologia com uma dimensão histórico-social ausente em Ludwig Feuerbach (Cf. Marcuse, 1997).
A descoberta da importância do “jovem Marx” decorreu, cada vez mais, dos estudos de sua relação com Hegel, e tal circunstância foi favorecida pela publicação, ocorrida um pouco antes daquela dos Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844, dos manuscritos de Jena de Hegel (Cf. Hegel, 1923, 1931). Um dos principais autores que empreendeu esse percurso foi György Lukács, quando, em seu texto de 1923, História e consciência de classe, surpreendentemente tinha antecipado muitos dos temas do futuro debate hegelo-marxiano. No seu livro de 1938, O jovem Hegel e os problemas da sociedade capitalista, Lukács (1950) estabeleceu uma relação entre estudos juvenis dos dois autores – sendo que os de Marx eram filosóficos e os de Hegel eram econômicos – e identificou as afinidades que havia encontrado neles. Em particular, ele destacou que as referências marxianas sobre Hegel, nos Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844, estavam presentes muito além das passagens nas quais ele fora citado textualmente. Em sua opinião, diversas análises econômicas tinham sido motivadas pela crítica da concepção filosófica hegeliana:
… a conexão entre economia e política é […], nestes manuscritos de Marx, uma clara necessidade metodológica, a condição de uma efetiva superação da dialética idealista de Hegel. Por isso seria superficial e extrínseco acreditar que o debate de Marx com Hegel comece somente na última parte do manuscrito, que contém a crítica da Fenomenologia. As partes anteriores, puramente econômicas, em que Hegel nunca é lembrado diretamente, contêm o fundamento mais importante deste debate e desta crítica: o esclarecimento econômico dos principais fatos do estranhamento. (Lukács, 1950, p. 760)
Nas aulas sobre a Fenomenologia do espírito, dadas na École Pratique des Hautes Études de 1933 a 1939 e, depois, reunidas e publicadas por Raymond Queneau no livro Introdução à leitura de Hegel, Alexandre Kojève (1996) – outro autor destinado a exercer grande influência – aprofundou essa relação, embora  sua leitura da obra de Hegel tenha sido feita à luz da interpretação marxiana. O vínculo entre Hegel e Marx foi desenvolvido, por fim, também por Karl Löwith no célebre e muito difundido texto De Hegel a Nietzsche (Löwith, 1949).
Associados ao vínculo com Hegel, sempre na República Federal da Alemanha, após a segunda guerra mundial, textos como Die Anthropologie dês jungen Marx nach den Pariser ökonomisch-philosophischen Manuskripten (A antropologia do jovem Marx nos manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de Paris) de Erich Thier (1950), Der entfremdete Mensch (O homem alienado) de Heinrich Popitz (1967) e O Eros da técnica, de Jacob Hommes (1970) divulgaram a opinião de que os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 eram o texto fundamental de toda a obra marxiana. Pouco depois, surgiu, em toda a Europa, um grande interesse filosófico por Marx. A França foi, sem dúvida, o país onde esses estudos  proliferaram e se difundiram e no qual o pensamento juvenil de Marx foi colocado como a base da crítica filosófica e política, ao contrário do dogmatismo stalinista e do marxismo oficial (Cf. Faracovi, 1972). O estudo dos textos juvenis de Marx foi, na França, “o evento filosófico decisivo daquele período” (Lefebvre, 1957, p. 114). Constituiu um processo variado, que caracterizou todos os 15 anos do pós-guerra francês, no qual muitos autores, diferentes entre si pela cultura filosófica e pelas tendências políticas, tentaram encontrar uma síntese filosófica entre marxismo, hegelianismo, existencialismo e cristianismo. O debate produziu muita literatura ruim, baseada mais nas convicções pessoais dos autores do que no texto marxiano, o que levou a verdadeiras distorções da obra de Marx. Os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 foram apresentados como o melhor texto de Marx e foram violentamente confrontados, em nome da sua presumível unicidade, ao pensamento posterior e, em particular, a O capital, texto que – muito provavelmente – muitos desses autores não tinham estudado suficientemente.
Em Sentido e não sentido, de 1948, após estudar os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844, e mediante a influência exercida pela leitura de Kojève, Maurice Merleau-Ponty declarou sua convicção de que o pensamento juvenil de Marx era existencialista (Cf. Merleau-Ponty, 1962). Poucos anos depois, Jean Hyppolite, em seus Ensaios sobre Marx e Hegel, um dos melhores livros dentre aqueles escritos naquele contexto, insistiu muito no vínculo entre os trabalhos juvenis e O capital, sublinhando como a relação entre eles era exatamente Hegel. Ele colocou em evidência a
… necessidade, para a compreensão de O capital, de fazer referência às obras filosóficas anteriores, além dos estudos econômicos de Marx. – A obra de Marx pressupõe um substrato filosófico do qual nem sempre é fácil reconstituir os diferentes elementos. – Profunda influência de Hegel, que Marx conhecia profundamente. […] Creio […] que não se possa entender a obra essencial de Marx, ignorando as principais obras de Hegel, que contribuíram para a formação e o desenvolvimento do seu pensamento, a Fenomenologia do Espírito, a Lógica, a Filosofia do direito. (Hyppolite, 1963, p. 153, 155)
Os textos de Jean-Paul Sartre também seguiram nessa direção. Ao mesmo tempo, o Marx “filosófico” tornou-se também um Marx “teológico” (Cf. Langset, 1963). Na verdade, nas obras dos autores cristãos Pierre Bigo e Jean Yves Calvez, a primeira intitulada Marxismo e humanismo (Bigo, 1963) e a segunda O pensamento de Karl Marx (Calvez, 1966), com base em uma interpretação particular dos Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844, o pensamento de Marx se revestiu sempre mais de valores éticos, devidos à religião cristã e com uma clara oposição às políticas da União Soviética. Roger Garaudy também demonstrou a presença de influências humanísticas nos primeiros textos de Marx e se colocou como suporte de um marxismo aberto ao diálogo com outras culturas, em particular com aquela cristã (Cf. Garaudy, 1969). Por fim, no panorama francês, teve grande importância a tradução, mesmo que tardia, do texto História e consciência de classe de Lukács, publicada, sem a autorização do autor, em 1960.
O principal conceito filosófico que fundamenta essas interpretações é o de alienação (Entäusserung – Entfremdung), e foram vários os volumes dedicados exclusivamente a esse tema, que apresentaram uma nova interpretação de todo o pensamento de Marx. Tal categoria foi o objeto central da principal controvérsia político-filosófica sobre Marx naqueles anos: estabelecer a relação que existia entre as teorias “juvenis” dos Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 e aquelas da “maturidade”, ou seja, de O capital. Os vários autores se dividiram em três principais posições: 1) continuidade entre os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 e O capital; 2) contraposição entre os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 e O capital e superioridade teórica dos primeiros sobre o segundo; 3) importância limitada dos Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844, interpretados como uma etapa meramente transitória no processo de elaboração de Marx.
A primeira posição pode ser sintetizada no reconhecimento de uma continuidade entre as teses dos Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 e aquelas de O capital. Aos trabalhos já citados de Bigo e Calvez pode-se  agregar, nessa linha de interpretação, o texto de 1957 de Maximilien Rubel, Karl Marx. Ensaio de biografia intelectual, e o de Erich Fromm, Marx’s concept o f Man. Segundo Rubel, com a categoria de trabalho alienado (entfremdete Arbeit) tem-se “a chave de toda a obra posterior do economista e do sociólogo [Marx]” e “a tese central de O capital foi aqui antecipada” (Rubel, 2001, p. 130). Do mesmo modo, alguns anos depois, Fromm afirmou (1961, p. 54): “o conceito de alienação sempre [foi] e permaneceu o ponto central do pensamento do ‘jovem’ Marx que escreveu os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 e do ‘velho’ Marx que escreveu o Capital”. Outro importante livro que pode ser arrolado nessa linha de interpretação é Marx e o marxismo, publicado em 1967, na Alemanha ocidental, pelo estudioso alemão Iring Fetscher. O seu propósito, na verdade, foi exatamente o de demonstrar como:
… as categorias críticas que Marx tinha elaborado nos seus  Manuscritos de Paris e nos cadernos de resumos constituem a base da teoria da economia política no Capital e não foram de modo algum renegadas pelo Marx ‘adulto’. Com isso deveria estar provado que as obras juvenis não apenas permitem entender quais foram as motivações que levaram Marx a escrever a crítica da economia política (O capital), mas que a crítica da economia política contém, implicitamente, e, em parte, explicitamente, a crítica à alienação e à reificação, que constituem o tema central das obras juvenis. (Fetscher, 1969, p. 30)
A tese da grande importância dos Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 também conquistou um marxista próximo aos cânones interpretativos soviéticos, Palmiro Togliatti, que – em uma contribuição publicada no volume XXX e inserida, em tradução para o francês, em uma importante coletânea de ensaios sobre o jovem Marx – afirmou que, nos Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844,
… foi aberta a estrada para a crítica de toda a sociedade burguesa, que será feita nos anos e nas obras seguintes e que culminará no Capital, mas pode-se dizer que em grande parte já está completa […]. Apesar da sua forma, que não é simples, se nota que todo o marxismo já está contido aqui. (Togliatti, 1961, p. 48-49)
A segunda interpretação se baseou, ao contrário, na contraposição entre o “jovem” Marx e o “maduro” e na superioridade e maior riqueza teórica do primeiro em relação ao segundo. Os precursores dessa linha foram os já mencionados Landshut e Mayer, que, no prefácio da edição de 1932, tinham declarado que os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 eram a revelação do autentico marxismo: “em certo sentido a obra mais central de Marx”, que contém “o ponto crucial do desenvolvimento do seu pensamento, onde os princípios da análise econômica derivam diretamente da idéia da ‘verdadeira realidade do homem’” (Landshut; Mayer, 1932a, p. 13). Compartilharam dessa leitura outros autores alemães, dentre os quais os já citados Henri De Man, Heinrich Popitz, Jacob Hommes – além de Erich Thier, no opúsculo de 1957 Das Menschenbild des jungen Marx (Their, 1957) (A visão de homem do jovem Marx). Análoga convicção foi apresentada por Kostas Axelos (1963, p. 56-57), que, na obra Marx pensador da técnica, afirmou: “o manuscrito de 1844 é e continua a ser o texto mais denso do pensamento, dentre todas as obras marxianas e marxistas”.
A terceira posição, por fim, foi defendida por todos aqueles que consideravam os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 somente uma etapa transitória do pensamento de Marx. Nesse texto, que foi definido como de amadurecimento teórico, ele teria sido capaz de recolher as principais contradições da sociedade burguesa, mas com uma impostação ainda filosófico-humanista e uma linguagem influenciada pela obra de Feuerbach. Um dos principais limites dessa interpretação foi o de considerar as concepções juvenis de Marx em função dos futuros e já conhecidos desdobramentos de sua obra. Segundo essa leitura, a categoria de alienação já estava presente exclusivamente nas obras “juvenis”, mas totalmente ausente nas obras da “maturidade”. Enfim, os autores que sustentaram essa posição – principalmente os expoentes da ortodoxia “marxista-leninista” – consideraram que as etapas da evolução do pensamento de Marx foram as indicadas por Lênin, convicção que, além de ser, em muitos aspectos, discutível, não permitia levar em consideração a grande importância dos inéditos de 1932 publicados depois da morte do líder bolchevique.
Entre os expoentes mais importantes dessa escola interpretativa, podemos citar Auguste Cornu que, primeiramente em 1934, com a publicação de sua tese de graduação Karl Marx – L’homme et l’oeuvre. De l’hégélianisme au matérialisme historique (Cornu, 1934) (Karl Marx – O homem e a obra. Do hegelianismo ao materialismo histórico), primeiro embrião da sua futura obra em quatro tomos intitulada Marx e Engels) colocou os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 no trilho da interpretação soviética. Vincularam-se também a ela o já citado ensaio de Jahn, o de Manfred Buhr (1966), publicado na prestigiosa revista da República Democrática Alemã Deustsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie, e as introduções às reedições do texto de Cornu (1968) e de Emile Bottigelli (1962). Mais tarde, Cornu, no terceiro volume de sua obra (Marx em Paris), considerada a biografia intelectual mais completa já escrita sobre essa fase da vida de Marx, evitou a comparação com outros escritos posteriores e se limitou a uma avaliação menos ideologizada do texto (Cornu, 1962a).
Merece particular atenção, enfim, a obra de Althusser. A coletânea de ensaios publicada por ele em 1965, com o título A Favor de Marx, certamente representou o principal texto dessa polêmica, e estimulou o maior número de reações e discussões. Althusser sustentou que, em A ideologia alemã e nas Teses sobre Feuerbach, estava claramente presente uma ruptura epistemológica (coupure èpistémologique) “que constitui a crítica da sua antiga consciência filosófica (ideológica)” (Althusser, 1970, p. 16). Com base nessa cesura, ele subdivide o pensamento de Marx “em dois grandes períodos essenciais: o período ainda ‘ideológico’, anterior à ruptura de 1845 e o período ‘científico’, posterior à ruptura de 1845.” (Althusser, 1970, p. 17). Também nesse caso, um dos principais pontos de divergência foi a relação entre Marx e Hegel. Para Althusser, na verdade, Hegel tinha inspirado Marx em um único texto – os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 – e, portanto, no seu período “ideológico-filosófico”: “o jovem Marx nunca foi hegeliano, mas, inicialmente, foi kantiano-fichtiano e, depois, foi feuerbachiano. A tese em grande voga do hegelianismo do jovem Marx, em geral, é um mito. Em compensação, às vésperas da ruptura com a anterior consciência filosófica” (Althusser, 1970, p. 18) é como se Marx, recorrendo pela primeira e única vez na juventude a Hegel, tivesse produzido uma extraordinária “aberração” teórica indispensável à eliminação da sua consciência “delirante” (Althusser, 1970).
Desse modo, para Althusser, os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 são “o texto mais distante que existe, teoricamente falando, da aurora que estava para surgir” (Althusser, 1970, p. 19).
O Marx mais distante de Marx é justamente este Marx aqui, ou seja, o Marx mais próximo, o Marx da véspera, o Marx do limiar: como se, antes da ruptura, e para realizá-la, ele tivesse tido a necessidade de dar à filosofia todas as suas possibilidades, a última possibilidade, este império absoluto do seu contrário e este imenso triunfo teórico: ou seja, a sua derrota. (Althusser, 1970, p. 137)
A paradoxal conclusão de Althusser (1970, p. 65) foi a de que “não se pode absolutamente dizer que ‘a juventude de Marx pertence ao marxismo’”. Dessa forma, sua posição, embora concebida por pontos de partida opostos, contribuiu, especularmente, com a de Landshut e Mayer, ou de outros autores franceses precedentemente já citados , para criar o mito do “jovem” Marx.
Essas concepções se basearam numa contraposição filologicamente infundada dos textos de Marx. Sem entrar, aqui, no mérito da polêmica relativa à presença ou não das categorias filosóficas juvenis e da influência hegeliana nas críticas da economia política de Marx, é preciso ressaltar um limite de grande parte dessas interpretações. Esse limite está em considerar os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 como uma obra concluída, um texto coerente, escrito de modo sistemático e pré-organizado. As tantas interpretações que quiseram atribuir a eles o caráter de uma orientação acabada, tanto aquelas que reconheciam neles a completude do pensamento marxiano (Landshut e Mayer ou os filósofos Frances) quanto as que os tinham como uma concepção definida e oposta àquela da maturidade científica (Althusser) foram refutadas pelo exame filológico.
Um dos primeiros autores que interveio a esse respeito foi Ernest Mandel, que, em seu texto de 1967, A formação do pensamento econômico de Karl Marx, disse que a razão do erro de Althusser se originava no seu “esforçar(se) em vão para apresentar os  Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 como o fruto de uma ideologia concluída ‘pertencente a um todo’” (Mandel, 1973, p. 175). Para Mandel, os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 espelhavam a transição de Marx e, portanto, apresentavam, no seu interior, elementos típicos do passado e temas futuros, circunstância que produzia diversas contradições. Com posicionamento similar a esse respeito, também se apresentava o precedente trabalho de Pierre Naville, Da alienação ao gozo (Naville, 1978).

As interpretações no “campo socialista” no mundo anglo-saxão e na Itália
Inicialmente, o marxismo oficial ignorou os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 ou foi totalmente incapaz de analisá-los com seriedade. Georg Mende, por exemplo, no seu texto Karl Marx’ Entwicklung Von revolutionären Demokraten zum Kommunisten (O desenvolvimento de Karl Marx de democrático revolucionário a comunista), não fez referência a eles nem na primeira edição de 1954, nem na segunda edição de 1955. Somente na terceira edição, em 1960, ele admitiu que esses “trabalhos preparatórios de Marx […] para uma obra maior” (Mende, 1960, p. 132) não podiam ser ignorados. Dessa forma, os escritos e as categorias juvenis de Marx que, no chamado “marxismo ocidental”, ocuparam um lugar de destaque desde os anos trinta, por causa do dogmatismo staliniano e da hostilidade em relação ao conceito de alienação, estrearam no campo soviético com enorme atraso.
Ao lado dos pouquíssimos textos russos, a primeira publicação que difundiu, na Europa, um bom número de ensaios sobre os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 dos estudiosos soviéticos foi a coletânea Sur le jeune Marx (Sobre o jovem Marx), publicada em 1961 como número especial da revista Recherches Internationales à la lumière du marxisme. Aos textos dos russos O. Bakouradze, Nikolai Lapin, Vladimir Brouchlinski, Leonide Pajitnov e A. Ouibo foram acrescentados artigos de alguns dos principais estudiosos de Marx da Polônia (Adam Schaff) e da República Democrática Alemã (Wolfgang Jahn e Joachim Hoeppner), além do texto de Togliatti, citado anteriormente. Mesmo com conotações da abordagem ideológica da época, esses textos constituem a primeira tentativa, do lado socialista, de se enfrentarem quanto às problemáticas relativas ao “jovem” Marx e de disputar o monopólio interpretativo com os marxistas “ocidentais” (Althusser, 1967, p. 35). Algumas contribuições apresentaram ideias interessantes, dentre elas o ensaio “Les manuscrits economico-philosopiques de 1844” de Pajitnov (1960, p. 98), no qual ele  afirmava que
… as ideias fundamentais de Marx estão ainda por vir, e juntamente a notáveis formulações, nas quais está germinando uma nova concepção de mundo, há também muitos pensamentos ainda não amadurecidos, que são marcados pela influência das fontes teóricas que serviram de material para a reflexão de Marx e das quais ele partiu para a elaboração da sua doutrina.
A formulação teórica de base, sustentada por grande parte dos autores, estava, no entanto, errada. Contrariamente às interpretações em voga, que reliam os conceitos de O capital através daqueles encontrados nos trabalhos juvenis, muitos destes estudiosos seguiram o percurso contrário: analisaram os textos juvenis a partir dos desenvolvimentos posteriores da teoria de Marx, ou seja, “ler os textos juvenis pelo filtro dos textos da maturidade” (Althusser, 1967, p. 41). O que veio antes do pensamento de Marx impediu, assim, de captar o significado e o valor da elaboração daquele período.
Em seguida, no entanto, o estudo dos Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 ganhou força também nos países socialistas e obteve alguns resultados relevantes. Dentre eles, deve-se destacar o trabalho de 1958, Die Entwicklung der ökonomischen Lehre Von Marx und Engels in den vierziger Jahren dês 19. Jahrhunderts (Rosenberg, 1958) (O desenvolvimento da doutrina econômica de Marx e Engels nos anos quarenta do século XIX), de D. I. Rosenberg. Despertou maior interesse, ainda Antes de O Capital, de Walter Tuchscheerer, sem dúvida o melhor estudo feito no Leste sobre o pensamento econômico do jovem Marx, que teve o mérito de examinar criticamente, além dos Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844, também o conteúdo dos principais cadernos de resumos parisienses (Althusser, 1967).
Aos Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 foi reconhecido um papel relevante também no marxismo anglo-saxão. No entanto, também ali, o estudo desse texto foi iniciado tardiamente em relação a outros países. A primeira edição que despertou um interesse bastante amplo surgiu nos Estados Unidos, com a obra de Erich Fromm e com tradução de Tom Bottomore, lançada em 1961. O ensaio de introdução, também publicado no mesmo ano, no livro de Fromm, apresentou os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 como “o principal trabalho teórico de Marx” (Fromm, 1961, p. 5), e prevaleceram, de maneira difusa, os estudos que analisaram a influência hegeliana sobre o jovem Marx. Foi precursor, nesse aspecto, Sidney Hook, que, em 1933, com seu trabalho Towards an Understanding of Karl Marx (Hook, 1933) (Para uma compreensão de Karl Marx). Nos anos sessenta, foram publicados diversos volumes que apresentaram uma interpretação análoga. Dentre eles, os principais textos foram Philosophy & Myth in Karl Marx (Tuchscheerer, 1980) (Filosofia e mito em Karl Marx), de Robert Tucker, e o livro, na verdade mais histórico-político do que filosófico, do estudioso israelita Shlomo Avineri O pensamento político e social de Marx (Fromm, 1961).
Não faltaram as opiniões contrárias, também nesse caso, até mesmo muito radicais. Segundo Daniel Bell, a insistente aproximação de Marx a Hegel nada mais era do que a “criação de um novo falso mito”, pois “identificada na economia política a resposta aos mistérios de Hegel, Marx esqueceu-se totalmente da filosofia.” (Bell, 1959, p. 935, 944).
Quanto ao panorama italiano, por fim, deve-se destacar a influência da obra de Galvano della Volpe, especialmente de seu livro de 1956, Russeau e Marx, ao ressaltar que o mais importante, dentre os escritos juvenis de Marx, fora, durante muito tempo, a Crítica da filosofia hegeliana do direito público. Segundo Della Volpe (1971, p. 150), esse texto continha “as premissas mais gerais de um novo método filosófico”, enquanto que os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 foram definidos como uma espécie de “confusão” econômico-filosófica. Uma das melhores análises dos manuscritos parisienses, porém, foi feita pouco depois. Entre 1960 e 1963, Mario Rossi publicou, em quatro volumes, o notável estudo De Hegel a Marx, e a parte final do terceiro tomo – A escola hegeliana. O jovem Marx (Tucker, 2001) – foi dedicada aos Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844. Além do mais, o volume dos Anais do Instituto Giangiacomo Feltrinelli de 1963 (Avineri, 1997) e, sobretudo, o de 1964/65 (Bell, 1959), que foi inteiramente dedicado ao “Marx jovem”, representaram uma das mais importantes publicações internacionais sobre o tema. As contribuições publicadas foram, no entanto, em grande parte, de estudiosos estrangeiros. Deve-se citar, por fim, o interessante volume de Mario Dal Pra A dialética de Marx: dos escritos juvenis à “Introdução à crítica da economia política” (Cf. Della Volpe, 1971), que contém, também nele, uma parte dos manuscritos parisienses.
A divulgação dos Grundrisse – os importantíssimos manuscritos econômicos de Marx de 1857-58 – que aconteceu na Alemanha em 1953 (Rossi, 1977), e a partir do final dos anos sessenta, na Europa e nos Estados Unidos, deslocou a atenção dos comentaristas do texto marxiano e militantes políticos das obras juvenis para o “novo” inédito. Nos anos oitenta, período em que a Marx-Forschung (a pesquisa sobre Marx) vivenciou um forte esvaziamento, surgiram, no entanto, alguns estudos sobre a relação entre Hegel e Marx, nos quais os manuscritos parisienses tiveram importância crucial. Dentre tais estudos, citamos Pour lire Hegel et Marx (Instituto Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, 1964) (Para ler Hegel e Marx) e Retour sur le jeune Marx. Deux études sur le rapport de Marx à Hegel (Instituto Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, 1965) (O retorno do jovem Marx. Dois estudos sobre a relação de Marx com Hegel), de Solange Maercier-Josa e Dialectics of labour. Marx and his relation to Hegel (Dal Pra, 1977) de Cristopher Arthur. Trata-se de uma demonstração do grande e permanente fascínio exercido por essas páginas. Alguns recentes estudos sobre Marx, mesmo que em número muito reduzido, se comparado ao passado, se debruçaram sobre o seu valor (Musto, 2008).

Manuscritos e cadernos de resumos: os papéis de 1844
Apesar da evidente incompletude e da fragmentação dos Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844, a confusão que se seguiu às diferentes versões publicadas e, sobretudo, a consciência da ausência de grande parte do “segundo” manuscrito, o mais importante e, infelizmente perdido, ninguém, dentre os intérpretes críticos e curadores de novas edições, se ocupou em reexaminar os originais que, por aquele texto que tanto pesava no debate entre as diferentes interpretações críticas de Marx, se revelava tão necessário.
Escritos entre maio e agosto, os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 não podem ser considerados uma obra. Sem homogeneidade e longe de apresentarem uma estreita vinculação entre as partes, são muito mais uma evidente expressão de uma concepção teórica em fase de desenvolvimento. A forma de assimilar e utilizar as leituras de que ele se nutria fica demonstrada em um atento exame dos nove cadernos de resumos que chegaram até nós, com mais de 200 páginas de compêndios e comentários (Mercier-Josa, 1980).
Nos cadernos parisienses, foram encontrados traços do contato que Marx fez com a economia política e do processo de formação de suas primeiríssimas elaborações sobre a teoria econômica. Da comparação desses cadernos com os textos do período, publicados ou não, fica evidente a importância dessas leituras no desenvolvimento de suas ideias. Circunscrevendo a lista somente para os autores de economia política, Marx elaborou resumos de textos de Say, Schüz, List, Osiander, Smith, Skarbek, Ricardo, James Mill, MacCulloch, Prevost, Destutti de Tracy, Buret, de Boisguillebert, Law e Lauderdale (Mercier-Josa, 1986). Nos Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844, nos artigos e na correspondência da época, apareceram referências a Proudhon, Schulz, Pecquer, Loudon, Sismond, Ganihl, Chevalier, Malthus, de Pompery e Bentham (Arthur, 1986).
Marx elaborou os primeiros excertos a partir do Traité d’économie politique de Say (Cf. Khan, 1995; Oishi, 2001; Rockmore, 2002), do qual transcreveu partes inteiras, enquanto assimilava conhecimentos elementares de economia. A única anotação é posterior e, como estava habituado a fazer, se concentra na parte direita da folha destinada a essa função. Mesmo os compêndios da Recherches sur la nature et les causes de la richesse des nations de Smith (Cf. Musto, 2006), cronologicamente em seguida, buscavam a análoga finalidade de consolidar a base das noções econômicas. Na verdade, embora eles sejam os mais longos, não têm quase nenhum comentário. Não obstante isso, o pensamento de Marx se mostra claro pela mesma organização dos resumos e, como com frequência acontece em outras partes, pela sua maneira de colocar em contrapoposição teses divergentes de diferentes economistas. Apresentam um caráter diferente, porém, os resumos de Des principes de l’économie politique et de l’impôt de Ricardo, nos quais surgem suas primeiras observações. Elas se concentram nos conceitos de valor e preço, concebidos ainda como perfeitamente idênticos. A igualdade entre valor e preço das mercadorias parte do conceito inicial de Marx, que conferia realidade só para o valor de troca produzido pela concorrência, deixando o preço natural na esfera da abstração. Dando continuidade aos estudos, as notas críticas não foram mais esporádicas, mas se intercalaram nos resumos das obras, aumentando, com o avanço do conhecimento, de autor para autor. Frases isoladas, depois considerações mais longas, até que, concentrando-se, nos Élemens d’économie politique de James Mill, na crítica da intermediação do dinheiro como completo domínio da coisa alienada ao homem, a relação se inverteu, e não foram mais seus textos que se intercalavam aos resumos, mas ocorreu exatamente o oposto (Cf. Marx, 1998).
Por fim, para evidenciar, mais uma vez, a importância dos resumos, convém destacar que eles foram utilizados mesmo após terem sido redigidos. Parte deles foi publicada em 1844, no Vorwärts!, o bi-semanal dos emigrados alemães em Paris, para auxiliar na formação intelectual dos leitores (Cf. Marx, 1981a). Sobretudo, por serem muito abrangentes, foram depois utilizados por Marx, que tinha o hábito de reler suas anotações de tempos em tempos, para a composição dos Grundrisse, manuscritos de 1861-63, conhecidos mais como Teorias sobre o mais valor, e do primeiro livro de O capital (Cf. Marx, 1981b).
Concluindo, Marx desenvolveu seus pensamentos tanto nos Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 quanto nos cadernos de resumos de suas leituras. Os manuscritos estão repletos de citações, e o primeiro é quase uma coletânea. Os cadernos de compêndios, mesmo que sobremaneira voltados para os textos que lia, são acompanhados de seus comentários. O conteúdo de ambos, a forma de escrita – caracterizada pela divisão das folhas em colunas –, a numeração das páginas e o momento da anotação confirmam que os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 não são uma obra isolada, mas uma parte da sua produção crítica que, nesse período, se caracteriza pelos resumos dos textos que estudava, pelas reflexões críticas a respeito deles e pelas elaborações que, espontaneamente ou fruto de raciocínio, fixava no papel (Cf. Marx, 1981c). Separar esses manuscritos do resto, retirá-los de seu contexto, pode induzir a erros de interpretação (Marx, 1981d; Marx; Engels, 1976; Cf. Rojanh, 1983).
O conjunto dessas notas e a reconstituição histórica de seu amadurecimento mostram o itinerário e a complexidade de seu pensamento crítico durante esse intenso período de trabalho (Cf. Grandjonc, 1974). Os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 e os cadernos de resumos e anotações constituem o início do estudo crítico da nova disciplina com a qual Marx se firmou: a economia política. Eles estão cheios de elementos teóricos derivados de antecessores e contemporâneos. As observações que ele desenvolveu não foram, pois, o fruto de uma súbita intuição, mas o primeiro resultado de um intenso estudo. A hagiografia marxista-leninista dominante no passado, apresentando o pensamento de Marx com uma urgência impraticável e pré-organizando um resultado final de forma instrumental, maculou o percurso para conhecê-lo e tornou a reflexão mais pobre. É necessário, pois, reconstruir a gênese, as influências intelectuais e as conquistas teóricas dos trabalhos de Marx, evidenciando a complexidade e a riqueza de uma obra que ainda contribui para o pensamento crítico dos nossos dias.

Indicações para uma nova edição italiana
Diante da evidente relação muito estreita entre os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 e os cadernos de resumos do mesmo período, destaca-se a necessidade de se fazer uma nova edição italiana do célebre texto marxiano. A versão que se propõe, a partir da edição histórico-crítica MEGA², deveria reunir, em uma única publicação, os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 e os comentários críticos às obras compendiadas por Marx nos cadernos de resumo do mesmo período. Destes últimos, foram publicados em italiano, por muito tempo, (no volume III das Obras dos Editores Riuniti) somente os Resumos do livro de James Mill, “Élémens d’économie politique”. Somente uma publicação de 1990, em uma coleção menor da mesma editora, com o título de A descoberta da economia política, apresentou grande parte das anotações marxianas, ou seja, aquelas relativas a Say, Smith, Ricardo, Mill, Prevost e Boisguillebert (Engels, 1964).
São muitas as exigências para se fazer uma nova edição. Em primeiro lugar, devem-se reunir todos esses textos que estão relacionados entre si, demonstrando a interdependência e o caráter de incompletude e fragmentação que os distingue. Em segundo lugar, para poder interpretar corretamente os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844, é preciso tornar mais clara sua gênese e, para tal, especificar a exata datação de todos os manuscritos marxianos e reconstituir, através de uma introdução histórico-filológica, os objetivos dessas páginas, além dos ganhos obtidos e todos os limites teóricos ainda presentes nelas. Enfim, seriam necessárias algumas revisões da tradução e uma clara distinção entre o texto de Marx e aquele dos autores dos quais ele extraiu os resumos, que deveriam ser apresentados – como já ocorreu em algumas edições internacionais – em um corpo menor.
Quanto à ordem das várias partes do texto, propõe-se que ela seja mantida, como em grande parte das edições já existentes, com o Prefácio no início, conservando-se a divisão em três “capítulos” (Salário, Exploração do Capital, Renda fundiária) do “primeiro” manuscrito, e deixando claro – até mesmo com a ajuda de alguma ilustração dos originais – o caráter particular da composição original. Todas as anotações críticas de Marx presentes nos nove cadernos de resumos, feitas paralelamente aos Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 deveriam ser colocadas, no entanto, após eles. Elas seriam publicadas integralmente, em ordem cronológica, e com um acréscimo final das quatro páginas do compêndio da Fenomenologia do Espírito de Hegel, feito por Marx e por ele mesmo inserido no “terceiro” manuscrito.

 

References
1. Tradução do italiano por Margareth Nunes, professora da Faculdade de Letras da UFG. Revisão Técnica: David Maciel.
2. O que foi preservado dos Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 são três manuscritos (com 27 partes do primeiro, 4 do segundo e 41 do terceiro), aos quais se deve acrescentar uma folha de 4 partes, que contém um prospecto do último capítulo da Fenomenologia do Espírito de Georg W. F. Hegel, inserido por Marx no terceiro manuscrito.
3. Os títulos das obras em russo foram traduzidos pelo autor diretamente no texto e citados em transliteração em nota.
4. A esse respeito veja também Albert Mesnil, Note sur le communisme et la propriété priée (1929).
5. Todos os títulos das obras ou artigos não traduzidos para o italiano aparecem no texto com o título original seguido pela tradução entre parênteses.
6. Os títulos das obras dos autores estrangeiros incluídos neste artigo, assim como as citações delas retiradas, foram traduzidos pelo autor.
7. As citações retiradas dos textos que não foram traduzidas para o italiano e que aparecem neste artigo são de responsabilidade do autor.
8. Tradução livre do autor.
9. A introdução assinada pelos dois organizadores, na verdade, foi feita somente por Landshut, que também a publicou como opúsculo, em separado (Cf. Landshut, 1932).
10. Na versão italiana de Bobbio, ao contrário, foi mantida a primeira transcrição errada, traduzida como “colisão de oposições recíprocas” (Cf. Marx, 1968, p. 97). O mesmo ocorre na versão feita por Della Volpe nas Obras, onde a expressão foi traduzida como “colisão de recíprocas oposições” (Cf. Marx, 1976). A tradução correta seria: “adversários de recíproca oposição”. A correção do termo Genuss (gozo) no lugar de Geist (espírito), no entanto, é mostrada por Bobbio, que inclui também as correções de Selten (raramente) no lugar de selber (mesmo) e Prinzip (princípio) no lugar de Progress (progresso). A propósito, ver a nota à tradução da p. 18. Na sua versão, presente nas Obras, Dalla Volpe optou por outra tradução para o termo Genuss, que, em português, ficou como “fruição”.
11. Ver MEGA I/3 (1932, p. 472, linha 2) e MEGA I/3 (1932, p. 68, linha 19). Tradução italiana: “das três classes elementares” e “das três classes produtivas”.
12. Segundo os organizadores da nota de introdução do volume I/2, houve “correções essenciais relativas às edições até então publicadas” ver MEGA² I/2,  p. 35. Para todas as informações relativas às novas traduções, deve-se consultar a lista das variantes da Vorrede, incluído no volume MEGA² I/2, p. 842-852.
13. Ver MEGA² I/2 e MEGA² IV/2 (1981).
14. O testemunho autobiográfico de Lukács (1971a, p. 57) em relação à leitura dos Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos do ano 1844 é muito importante: “lendo os manuscritos, mudei completamente a minha relação com o marxismo e transformei a minha perspectiva filosófica”.
15. Ver Georg W. F. Hegel, Jenenser Logik, Metaphysik und Naturphilosophie, (organizado por G. Lasson), Felix Meiner, Leipzig 1923 e Georg W. F. Hegel, Jenenser Realphilosophie, (organizado por J. Hoffmeister), 2 vol., Felix Meiner, Leipzig 1931.
16. Ver Faracovi (1972, p. 9), em particular as páginas 12 a18, onde se destaca que “a cultura filosófica francesa do pós-guerra se interessou por Marx durante muito tempo, de maneira quase que exclusiva, na forma do pensamento juvenil”.
17. Ver, em particular, o capítulo “Marxismo e filosofia”.
18. Após a publicação de 1923, o autor húngaro reviu várias das suas antigas posições filosóficas que tinham sido criticadas, nesse meio tempo, nos países ditos socialistas. A mais importante correção feita foi assim resumida na nova introdução escrita por ocasião da reimpressão de 1967: “História e consciência de classe segue Hegel na medida em que, também nesse livro, a alienação é colocada no mesmo plano da objetivação (para usar a terminologia filosófica dos Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos do ano 1844 de Marx)” (Cf. Lukács, 1971b).
19. Ao lado do já citado Jean Yves Calvez, O pensamento de Karl Marx (1956), deve-se recordar Kostas Axelos, Marx pensador da técnica ([1961] 1963), Istvan Meszaros, A teoria da alienação em Marx (1970); Adam Schaff, A alienação como fenômeno social (1979), Giuseppe Bedeschi, Alienação e fetichismo no pensamento de Marx (1968) e Bertell Ollman, Alienation. Marx’s conception of man in capitalist society (1971).
20. Para uma breve resenha sobre o assunto, veja Ernest Mandel, A formação do pensamento econômico de Karl ([1967] 1970), em particular o capítulo X “Dos Manuscritos de 1844 aos  Grundrisse: de uma concepção antropológica a uma concepção histórica da alienação”. Uma análise das diferentes interpretações encontra-se também no muito citado Jürgen Rojahn, em O caso dos chamados “manuscritos econômico-filosóficos do ano 1844”.
21. Auguste Cornu, Marx e Engels ([1955] 1962). Os volumes III e IV, que não foram traduzidos para o italiano e que, portanto, não foram incluídos nessa edição, foram publicados em Paris pela Presses Universitaires de France em 1962 e em 1970.
22. A esse respeito, veja, em particular, as páginas 172-177.
23. A respeito do conceito de “ruptura epistemológica”, remete-se a Étiénne Balibar, Para Althusser, (1991), em particular o último capítulo “O conceito de ‘ruptura epistemológica’ de Gastón Bachelard a Louis Althusser”, p. 65-97.
24. A “subdivisão” do pensamento de Marx realizada por Althusser foi articulada em quatro fases: as obras juvenis (1840-1844); as obras da ruptura (1845); as obras do amadurecimento (1845-1857); as obras da maturidade (1857-1883), (Althusser, 1970, p. 18).
25. A esse respeito, é interessante o breve testemunho biográfico-intelectual sobre a relação entre Althusser e os Grundrisse, presente no recente texto de Lucien Sève, Penser avec Marx aujourd’hui. I. Marx et nous (2004). A propósito da velha polêmica sobre a presença ou não do conceito de alienação no O capital, o estudioso francês nota como Althusser, com exceção da Introdução de 1857, nunca tenha lido os Grundrisse. Para maiores detalhes ver p. 29. Pode-se acrescentar ainda que os Grundrisse, o texto mais hegeliano do Marx maduro, foram escritos logo após a Introdução de 1857, considerada pelo filósofo francês a quintessência do método marxista maduro. A esse propósito, deve-se ver o capítulo “L’objet Du Capital” em Louis Althusser, Ler o Capital ([1965] 1971).
26. Muito eficaz a esse respeito é a breve e polêmica referência de Maximilien Rubel sobre o “marxismo” de Althusser. Em uma breve nota de introdução a um dos volumes sobre Marx, publicados por ele na prestigiosa coleção Plêiade, Rubel declarou ironicamente que, com a sua afirmação, Althusser tinha dito somente uma “meia verdade […] uma boa leitura das obras da maturidade conduz à verdade por inteiro, ou seja: Marx nunca, em nenhum momento de sua carreira, pertenceu ao marxismo.” (Rubel, 1968, p. 63).
27. Ernest Mandel, A formação do pensamento econômico em Karl Marx, (1973). Segundo Mandel, Althusser “tem razão em se opor a todo método analítico-teleológico que conceba a obra juvenil de um determinado autor exclusivamente com o intento de saber até que ponto tenha-se aproximado ao ‘objetivo’ constituído pela obra da maturidade. [Mandel se refere à crítica feita à “pseudoteoria da historia da filosofia no ‘futuro anterior’”. Ver Louis Althusser, Para Marx, (1970, p. 38). Nota do Autor] Mas está errado em contrapor um método que secciona arbitrariamente em formações ideológicas coerentes, as sucessivas fases evolutivas de um mesmo autor, com o pretexto de considerar ‘cada ideologia como um todo’” (Althusser, 1970, p. 175-176).
28. Outra interessante publicação a respeito foi a coletânea em língua inglesa editada pela Academia das Ciências da União Soviética Philosophy, science and man. The soviet delegation reports for the XIIIth World Congress  of Philosophy, Moscou (1963), assinala, em particular, o ensaio de T. I. Oiserman, Man and his alienation. Sobre temas análogos, em italiano, há  A sociedade soviética e o problema da alienação. Uma polêmica entre E. M. Sitnikov e Iring Fetscher no Iring Fetscher, Marx e o marxismo: da Filosofia do proletariado à Weltanschaaung proletária (1969).
29. Contra essa postura, é bom lembrar uma passagem de Althusser que é muito significativa: “Certamente nós sabemos que o jovem Marx se tornará Marx, mas não queremos viver mais depressa do que ele; não queremos viver no lugar dele, romper por ele ou descobrir por ele. Não o esperaremos à frente no final da corrida, para lançar sobre ele, como sobre um fundista, o manto do descanso, porque, afinal de contas, chegou” (Althusser, 1967, p. 53).
30. Mario Rossi, De Hegel a Marx. III. A escola hegeliana. ([1963] 1977). Os Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos de 1844 foram analisados nas páginas 456-584.
31. Nesse volume, havia muitos ensaios sobre “Marx e Engels. A formação do pensamento deles. O ambiente intelectual e político”. Dentre eles podem ser destacados: Emile Bottigelli, Karl Marx et la gauche hégélienne; Auguste Cornu, La formation du matérialisme historique dans “L’Idéologie allemande”; Claudio Cesa, Figuras e problemas da historiografia filosófica da esquerda hegeliana. 1831-1848; Andrej Walicki, Hegel, Feuerbach and the Russian “philosophical left”. 1836-1848.
32. O volume continha os seguintes ensaios: Adam Schaff, Découverte nouvelle de notions anciennes du marxisme; Rudolf Schlesinger, Les “Manuscrits économico-philosophiques” de Marx replacés dans leur perspective historique; Predrag Vranicki, La signification actuelle de l’humanisme du jeune Marx; Henri Lefebvre, Propositions pour une nouvelle lecture de Marx; Lucien Goldmann, Philosophie et sociologie dans l’oeuvre du jeune Marx; Iring Fetscher, La concrétisation de la notion de liberte chez Le jeune Marx; Roger Garaudy, Fichte et Marx; Ivan Dubsky, Zur Feuerbach und Marx; György Márkus, Der Begriff dês “menschlichen Wesens” in der Philosophie dês jungen Marx; Enrique Gonzáles Pedrero, O humanismo do jovem Marx. Enriquecem o volume duas importantes “Contribuições bibliográficas”: L’oeuvre de jeunesse de Marx et Engels dans lês études publiées de 1945 a 1963/64 e Marx et Engels et la gauche hégélienne (organizado por Bert Andréas).
33. Uma primeira edição de 1939-41 permaneceu quase desconhecida; ver Marcello Musto, Dissemination and reception Critique of Political Economy 150 Years (2008).
34. Naquele período as obras dos economistas ingleses foram lidas por Marx em francês.
35. Nos textos que Marx possuía em sua biblioteca pessoal e naqueles que tinha intenção de adquirir, veja Karl Marx, “Notizbuch aus den Jahren 1844-1847”, MEGA² IV/3 (1998).
36. Karl Marx, Exzerpte aus David Ricardo: des príncipes de l’économie politique et de l’impôt; tradução para o italiano na obra A descoberta da economia (1990).
37. Veja a carta de K. Marx para H. Börnstein, escrita no mais tardar em novembro de 1844, em Marx Engels Obras (1972).

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Categories
Journal Articles

The Civil War in the USA and the Struggle for the Independence of Poland

I.  The struggle against slavery in the USA
In the spring of 1861, world politics was shaken by the outbreak of the American Civil War. It began shortly after Abraham Lincoln’s election as US President, when seven slaveholding States declared their secession from the USA: South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas. They were joined by Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina and, later on, Missouri and Kentucky (although the latter two did not officially proclaim their separation). The ensuing bloody conflict claimed approximately 750,000 lives among the Confederacy (which favoured maintaining and extending slavery) and the Union (the States loyal to Lincoln, though in some cases considering slavery legal).
Marx immediately set about studying the situation and, at the beginning of July, wrote to Engels: “The conflict between South and North … has at last been brought to a head (if we disregard the effrontery of ‘chivalry’s’  fresh demands) by the weight which the extraordinary development of the North-Western States has thrown into the scales”. In Marx’s view, none of the components of the secessionist movement had any legitimacy; they were to be regarded as “usurpations”, since “nowhere did they allow the people en masse to vote”. In any case, what was at issue was not only “secession from the North, but also consolidating and intensifying the oligarchy of the 300,000 slave lords in the South” (Marx 1985c: 300).  A few days later, he observed that “the secession business [had been] wrongly represented in the English papers”, since everywhere, with the exception of South Carolina, “there was the strongest opposition to secession” (Marx 1985c: 305). Moreover, in places where an electoral consultation was allowed – “only a few” of the States on the Gulf of Mexico held a “proper popular vote” – it took place in reprehensible conditions. In Virginia, for instance, “a huge mass of Confederate troops was suddenly pitched into the territory” and “under their protection (truly Bonapartist, this), it voted for secession” – yet there were “50,000 votes” for the Union, “despite the systematic terrorism”. Texas, which, “after South Carolina, [had] the largest slave party and terrorism”, still recorded “11,000 votes for Union”. In Alabama, there was “no popular vote either on secession or on the new Constitution”, and the 61-39 majority of convention delegates in favour of secession was only due to the fact that under the Constitution “each slaveholder also votes for 3/5 of his slaves” (Marx 1985c: 306-7).  As for Louisiana, more Union votes than secession votes were cast at “the election for delegates to the convention”, but enough delegates defected to change the balance (Marx 1985c: 307).
Such considerations in Marx’s letters to Engels were complemented by even more important arguments in his journalistic pieces. In addition to sporadic contributions to the New-York Tribune, he began in October 1861 to write also for the liberal Viennese daily Die Presse, which, with its 30,000 subscribers, was the most widely read paper in Austria and one of the most popular anywhere in the German language. The main theme of these articles – which also included reports on the second French invasion of Mexico – was the economic effects of the American war on Britain. In particular, Marx focused on the development of trade and the financial situation, as well as assessing trends in public opinion. Thus, in “A London Workers’ Meeting” [1862], he expressed pleasure at the demonstrations organized by English workers, who, though “not represented in Parliament”, had managed to bring their “political influence” (Marx 1984d: 153) to bear and prevented a British military intervention against the Union.
Similarly, Marx wrote an impassioned article for the New-York Tribune following the Trent Affair, when the U.S. Navy illegally arrested two Confederate diplomats on board a British ship. The United States, he wrote, should never forget “that at least the working classes of England [had] never forsaken” it. To them it was due “that, despite the poisonous stimulants daily administered by a venal and reckless press, not one single public war meeting could be held in the United Kingdom during all the period that peace trembled in the balance” (Marx 1984c: 137). The “attitude of the British working classes” was all the more to be valued when placed alongside “the hypocritical, bullying, cowardly and stupid conduct of the official and well-to-do John Bull”; boldness and consistency on one side, incoherence and self-contradiction on the other. In a letter he wrote to Lassalle in May 1861, he commented: “The whole of the official press in England is, of course, in favour of the slaveholders. They are the selfsame fellows who have wearied the world with their antislave trade philanthropy. But cotton, cotton!” (Marx 1985c:  291).
Marx’s interest in the Civil War went far beyond its consequences for Britain; he wanted, above all else, to illuminate the nature of the conflict. The article he wrote for the New-York Tribune a few months after it broke out is a good example of this: “The people of Europe know that a fight for the continuance of the Union is a fight against the continuance of the slaveocracy – that in this  contest the highest form of popular self-government till now realized is giving battle to the meanest and most shameless form of man’s enslaving recorded in the annals of history” (Marx 1984a: 30).
In some of the articles for Die Presse, Marx analysed in greater depth the arguments of the two opposing sides. He began by demonstrating the hypocrisy of the English Liberals and Conservatives. In “The North American Civil War” [1861], he ridiculed the “brilliant discovery” of The Times, then the leading British daily, that it was “a mere tariff war, a war between a protectionist system and a free trade system”, and its conclusion that Britain had no choice but to declare its support for the “free trade” represented by the Southern Confederacy. Some weeklies, including The Economist and The Saturday Review, went a step further and insisted that “the question of slavery … had absolutely nothing to do with this war” (Marx 1984b: 32-3).
In opposing these interpretations, Marx drew attention to the political motives behind the conflict. On the slaveowners of the South, he remarked that their key aim was to maintain control of the Senate and hence “political sway over the United States”. For this, it was necessary to conquer new regions (as had happened in 1845 with the annexation of Texas) or to transform existing parts of the USA into “slave states” (Marx 1984b: 33). The upholders of slavery in America were a “a narrow oligarchy that [was] confronted with many millions of so-called poor whites, whose numbers ha[d] been constantly growing through concentration of landed property and whose condition [was] only to be compared with that of the Roman plebeians in the period of Rome’s extreme decline” (Marx 1984b: 40-1). Therefore, the “acquisition and the prospect of acquisition of new territories” was the only possible way to square the interests of the poor with those of the slaveowners,  “to give their restless thirst for action a harmless direction and to tame them with the prospect of one day becoming slaveholders themselves”.  On the other hand, Lincoln pursued the aim of “strict confinement of slavery within its old terrain”, which “was bound according to economic law to lead to its gradual extinction” and therefore to annihilation of the political “hegemony” of the “slave states” (Marx 1984b: 41).
Marx used his article to argue the opposite: “The whole movement was and is based, as one sees, on the slave question. Not in the sense of whether the slaves within the existing slave states should be emancipated outright or not, but whether the 20 million free men of the North should submit any longer to an oligarchy of 300,000 slaveholders.” What was at stake – and Marx based this on his insight into the expansionist mechanism of this economic form – was “whether the vast Territories of the republic should be nurseries for free states or for slavery; [and] whether the national policy of the Union should take armed spreading of slavery in Mexico, Central and South America as its device” (Marx 1984b: 41).
These assessments highlight the abyss separating Marx from Giuseppe Garibaldi, who had rejected the offer of a command post in the Northern army on the grounds that it was only a power struggle that did not concern the emancipation of the slaves. Regarding Garibaldi’s position and his failed attempt to restore peace between the two sides, Marx commented to Engels: “Garibaldi, the jackass, has made a fool of himself with his letter to the Yankees promoting harmony” (Marx 1985c: 293). Whereas Garibaldi failed to understand the true objectives or options in the process then under way, Marx – as a non-maximalist alert to the possible historical developments – immediately perceived that the outcome of the American Civil War would be decisive on a world scale and set the clock of history moving along the path either of slavery or of emancipation.
In November 1864, faced with the swift and dramatic unfolding of events, Marx asked his uncle Lion Philips to reflect “how at the time of Lincoln’s election [in 1860] it was only a matter of making no further concessions to the slave-owners, whereas now the avowed aim, which has in part already been realized, is the abolition of slavery”. And he added: “One has to admit that never has such a gigantic revolution occurred with such rapidity. It will have a highly beneficial influence on the whole world” (Marx 1987: 48).

II. Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson
Lincoln’s re-election in November 1864 offered Marx an occasion to express, on behalf of the International Working Men’s Association, a congratulatory message with a clear political significance: “If resistance to the Slave Power was the reserved watchword of your first election, the triumphant warcry of your re-election is, Death to Slavery” (Marx 1985a: 19).
Some representatives of the Southern ruling classes had declared that “slavery [was] a beneficent institution”, and even preached that it was “the only solution of the great problem of ‘the relation of labour to capital’” (Marx 1985a: 19) Hence Marx’s eagerness to set things straight:
The working classes of Europe understood at once, even before the fanatic partisanship of the upper classes for the Confederate gentry had given its dismal warning, that the slave-holders’ rebellion was to sound the tocsin for a general holy crusade of property against labour, and that for the men of labour, with their hopes for the future, even their past conquests were at stake in that tremendous conflict on the other side of the Atlantic (Marx 1985a: 20).
Marx then addressed a no less important matter:
While the working men, the true political power of the North, allowed slavery to defile their own republic; while before the Negro, mastered and sold without his concurrence, they boasted it the highest prerogative of the white-skinned labourer to sell himself and choose his own master; they were unable to attain the true freedom of labour or to support their European brethren in their struggle for emancipation (Marx 1985a: 20).
A very similar point is made in Capital, Volume I, where Marx forcefully underlines that “in the United States of America, every independent workers’ movement was paralysed as long as slavery disfigured a part of the republic. Labour in a white skin cannot be emancipate itself where it is branded in a black skin.” However, “a new life immediately arose from the death of slavery. The first fruit of the American Civil War was the agitation” for an eight-hour day (Marx 1976: 414).
Marx was well aware of Lincoln’s moderate political positions, nor did he cover over the racial prejudices of some of his allies. But he always clearly stressed, without any sectarianism, the differences between the slave system in the South and the system based on wage labour in the North. He understood that, in the United States, the conditions were developing to demolish one of the world’s most infamous institutions. The end of slavery and racial oppression would enable the global workers’ movement to operate in a more propitious framework for the construction of a classless society and a communist mode of production.
With this in mind, Marx composed the “Address from the Working Men’s International Association to President Johnson”, who had succeeded Lincoln after his assassination on 14 April 1865. Marx wanted to remind Andrew Johnson that, with the presidency, he had received “the task to uproot by the law what ha[d] been felled by the sword”: that is, “to preside over the arduous work of political reconstruction and social regeneration …; to initiate the new era of the emancipation of labour” (Marx 1985b: 100).
A few years later, Marx sent on behalf of the International an “Address to the National Labor Union of the United States” [1869]. He was well aware – he wrote – that “the suffering of the working classes set off as a foil the newfangled luxury of financial aristocrats … and similar vermin bred by wars” (Marx 2014: 259). However, it should not be forgotten that “the Civil War did compensate by freeing the slave and the consequent moral impetus.” “On you,” he concluded, “depends the glorious task to prove to the world that now at last the working classes are bestriding the scene of history no longer as servile retainers but as independent actors, conscious of their own responsibility” (Marx 2014: 260).

III. The question of Polish revolution and Russia’s reactionary role
As to the fine analytic contributions that Marx wrote for Die Presse, only a part of them were ever published. In February 1862 he wrote to Engels that, “in view of the present rotten state of affairs in Germany”, the Viennese daily had not proved to be the “milch-cow it should have been” to shore up his wretched finances. The “fellows” had perhaps printed only “one in four”, so not only had he failed to earn enough to ease his family’s circumstances, he had also suffered “loss of time” and the annoyance of “having to write on spec, whether or no the gracious editorial board condescend[ed] to accord the article its imprimatur” (Marx 1985c: 340). Marx repeated the point in April, in a sarcastic comment he sent to Engels: “In his New Science, Vico says that Germany is the only country in Europe where an ‘heroic tongue’ is still spoken. Had he had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with the Vienna Presse or the Berlin National-Zeitung, the old Neapolitan would have abandoned this preconceived idea” (Marx 1985c: 353-4).  Towards the end of 1862, Marx decided to break off his collaboration with the Austrian paper. In the space of a little over a year, he had managed to publish a total of 52 articles, some of them written with Engels’s help.
Although the events shaking the United States were Marx’s main preoccupation in international politics, he also, in the first part of the 1860s, followed with his usual interest all the main developments in Russia and Eastern Europe. In a letter of June 1860 to Lassalle, Marx made some points regarding one of his chief political focuses: his opposition to Russia and its allies Henry Palmerston and Louis Bonaparte. He tried to convince Lassalle that there was nothing illegitimate in the convergence between the positions of their “party” and those of David Urquhart, a Tory politician with romantic views. Concerning Urquhart – who had had the audacity to republish, for anti-Russian and anti-Liberal purposes, Marx’s articles against Palmerston that  had appeared in the official organ of the English Chartists in the early 1850s (Marx 1979: 341-406) – he wrote: “He is … subjectively reactionary … this in no way precludes the movement in foreign policy, of which he is the head, from being objectively revolutionary. [… It] is to me a matter of complete indifference, just as in a war against Russia, say, it would be a matter of indifference to you whether, in firing on the Russians, the motives of your neighbour in the firing-line were black, red and gold [i.e., nationalist] or revolutionary” (Marx 1985c: 152-3). Marx continued: “It goes without saying that, in foreign policy, there’s little to be gained by using such catchwords as ‘reactionary’ and ‘revolutionary’” (Marx 1985c: 153).
Ever on the look-out for signs of a revolt that might limit Russia’s reactionary role in European politics, Marx wrote to Engels in early 1863 (soon after the Polish January uprising and Bismarck’s immediate offer of help in suppressing it) that “the era of revolution ha[d] now fairly opened in Europe once more” (Marx 1985c: 453). And four days later, he reflected: “The Polish business and Prussia’s intervention do indeed represent a combination that impels us to speak” (Marx 1985c: 455).
Given the importance of these events, Marx did not think it sufficient for them to speak out only through published articles. He therefore suggested the immediate issuing of a manifesto in the name of the German Workers’ Educational Association in London, which remained close to his political positions. This would give him cover in case he proceeded with the idea of applying for German citizenship and “returning to Germany”. Engels was supposed to write the “military bit” of this little text, focusing on “Germany’s military and political interest in the restoration of Poland”, while he would take on the “diplomatic bit” (Marx 1985c: 455). When, on 18 February 1863, the Prussian Chamber of Deputies condemned government policy and passed a resolution in favour of neutrality, Marx boomed with enthusiasm: “We shall soon have revolution” (Marx 1985c: 461). As he saw it, the Polish question offered “further occasion for proving that it is impossible to prosecute German interests so long as the Hohenzollerns’ own state continues to exist” (Marx 1985c: 462). Bismarck’s offer of support to Tsar Alexander II, or his authorization for “Prussia to treat its [Poland’s] territory as Russian” (Marx 1981: 89) gave Marx a further political motivation to complete his plan.
It was in this period, therefore, that Marx embarked on another of his thorough research projects. In a letter he sent to Engels in late May, he reported that in the previous months – apart from political economy – he had been studying aspects of the Polish question; this had enabled him to “fill in the gaps in [his] knowledge (diplomatic, historical) of the Russian-Prussian-Polish affair” (Marx 1985c: 474). Thus, between February and May, he had written a manuscript entitled “Poland, Prussia and Russia” (1863), which well documented Berlin’s historical subjection to Moscow. For the Hohenzollerns, “the progress of Russia represent[ed] Prussia’s law of development”; “there [was] no Prussia without Russia”. For Marx, on the contrary, “the restoration of Poland mean[t] annihilation of today’s Russia, cancellation of its bid for global hegemony” (Marx 1981: 7). For the same reason, “the annihilation of Poland, its passing for good to Russia, [would mean] the certain decline of Germany, the collapse of the only dam holding back the universal Slav deluge” (Marx 1981: 7). The planned text never saw the light of day. On this occasion, the responsibility clearly lay with Engels (who was to have written the most substantial  part, on military aspects), whereas Marx’s “diplomatic bit”, which he was “ready to do at any time”, was to be “only an appendix” (Marx 1985c: 458). In October, however, Marx managed to publish a “Proclamation on Poland by the German Workers’ Educational Society in London” [1863], which helped to raise funds for the Polish freedom fighters.  It began with a resounding statement: “The Polish question is the German question. Without an independent Poland there can be no independent and united Germany, no emancipation of Germany from the Russian domination that began with the first partition of Poland” (Marx 1984e: 296). For Marx, whereas “the German bourgeoisie look[ed] on, silent, passive and indifferent, at the slaughter of the heroic nation which alone still shield[ed] Germany from the Muscovite deluge”, the “English working class”, “which ha[d] won immortal historical honour for itself by thwarting the repeated attempts of the ruling classes to intervene on behalf of the American slaveholders”, would continue to fight alongside the Polish insurgents (Marx 1984e: 297).
This struggle, which lasted for more than a year, was the longest ever waged against the Russian occupation. It came to an end only in April 1864, when the Russians, having executed the representatives of the revolutionary government, finally crushed the revolt. In May, Russian troops also completed the annexation of the northern Caucasus, bringing to an end a war that had begun in 1817. Once again, Marx displayed great insight, and unlike “the rest of Europe” – which “watched with idiotic indifference” – he regarded “the suppression of the Polish insurrection and the annexation of the Caucasus” as “the two most important events to have taken place in Europe since 1815” (Marx 1985c: 538).

IV. The Support for Polish Struggle during and after the International
Marx continued to occupy himself with the Polish question, which came up for debate several times within the International. Actually, the most significant preparatory meeting of the foundation of the International happened in July 1863 and was organized because a number of French and English workers’ organizations had met in London specifically to express solidarity with the Polish people against Tsarist occupation.
Later, three months after the birth of the International, at a meeting of the Standing Committee of the General Council held in December 1864, the journalist Peter Fox argued in his address on Poland that “the French [had been] traditionally more sympathetic [to the Poles] than the English”. Marx had not disputed this, but, as he wrote to Engels, he had then “unfolded a historically irrefutable tableau of the constant French betrayal of Poland from Louis XV to Bonaparte III”. It was in this context that he drafted a new manuscript, which later came to be known as “Poland and France” [1864]. Written in English, it covered the time span from the Peace of Westphalia, in 1648, to 1812.
One year later, in September 1865, just after the Conference of the International held in London, Marx proposed a draft agenda for the foreign policy of the labour movement in Europe. As one of its priorities, he indicated to Hermann Jung “the need to eliminate Muscovite influence in Europe by applying the right of self-determination of nations, and the re-establishment of Poland upon a democratic and social basis” (Marx 1987: 400). It took many decades for this to happen.
Marx continued to support Polish cause also after the dissolution of the International. In autumn 1875, he was asked to speak at a meeting on the liberation of Poland but he had to decline because of his bad state of health. In the letter explaining his absence that he sent to the publicist and political activist Pyotr Lavrov, he made it clear that, if he had given a speech, he could only have reaffirmed the position he had held for more than thirty years – that “the emancipation of Poland is one of the preconditions for the emancipation of the working class in Europe” (Marx 1991: 111).
The case of Poland demonstrates that Marx, when faced with major historical events in various distant places, was able to grasp what was happening in the world and to contribute to its transformation. This internationalist perspective urgently needs to be revived by Leftist movements today.

 

References
1. This was the name that Marx used to refer to the Southern plantation owners.
2. The 1860 Census, with which Marx was not familiar at the time of writing, recorded a little over 394,000 slaveowners, or 8 per cent of American families. The number of slaves, however, totalled 3,950,000. See United States Census Office (1866).
3. On Marx’s thinking with regard to slavery, see Wilhelm Backhaus (1974)
4. Translation modified.
5. Marx was quoting here from the speech by slaveholder A. Stephens in Savannah, on 21 March 1861, which was published in the New-York Tribune on 27 March 1861.
6. On the differences between the two, see also the recent work: Allan Kulikoff (2018).
7. Cf. Robin Blackburn: “Defeating the slave power and freeing the slaves would not destroy capitalism, but it would create conditions far more favourable to organizing and elevating labour, whether white or black. Marx portrayed the wealthy slave owners as akin to Europe’s aristocrats, and their removal as a task for the sort of democratic revolution he had advocated in the Communist Manifesto as the immediate aim for German revolutionaries” (2011: 11).
8. Among the numerous studies dedicated to Marx’s political conception of Russia, see Dawid Rjasanow (1909: 1-64); and Bernd Rabehl (1977: 112-78). See also Bruno Bongiovanni (1989: especially pp. 171-89).
9. Cf. Marcello Musto (2018: 132).
10. See also Karl Marx (1985c: 458), and Friedrich Engels (1985: 459).
11. For a thematically organized collection of all Marx’s manuscripts on Poland, see Karl Marx (1961). And for a chronological edition based on date of composition, see Karl Marx (1971).
12. See Bruno Bongiovanni (1981: xxv): “For Marx, a passionate observer of the international great game, the solution to problems bound up in some degree with the dangerous persistence of archaic features not susceptible to social progress … was in a way preliminary to the final struggle, that is, to the solving of contradictions peculiar to the world dominated by the capitalist mode of production”.

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