The Third International after Lenin

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A popular outline of "The German Ideology"

The German Ideology

Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels, 1846

"When we conceive things thus, as they really are and happen, every profound philosophical problem is solved."

Let us revolt against the rule of thought, unlike the Young Hegel ians who claim to be materialists, but cling to the idea that minds needed changing first. To understand the German way, we must begin , not with ideas, but with facts. Human society developed through tribal society to the growth of cities (with their government, slavery and private property) and to feudal estates relying on oppressed serfs. This history requires, first, human survival through eating, drinking, clothing and shelter, necessarily leading to the making of things, reproduction and social cooperation. Only after these four 'moments' need human thought be considered. In families a form of slavery exists, where each member has certain fixed tasks. This 'Division of Labour' continues today. If its divisions are so wide that the majority of the world are left propertyless, then the people will all at once begin a communist society, in which the state will regulate production so that each individual is free to do what they want, when they want. It is essential to see this history as a world history where inventions, machines and money are what determine the future, not grand ideas. It is the sum of productive forces, not princes and battles, which is the real 'essence of man'. This is not so-called communism of Feuerbach, which deems human desire satisfied when its material condition matches its mental essence. In all times the ruling class are always the people with the ruling ideas, a position they maintain by pretending their ideas to be from beyond themselves and for the common good. The rise of manufacturing and 'big industry' has destroyed craft skill and begun a trade in money. In doing so it has created a new class of propertyless workers who have no control over their own existence. As such, they do not form a class-interest, but, the world over, have the same interests. Communism is an economic movement, overturning all previous relations between people, by accepting that the present conditions are created by production and intercourse.

"The Condensed Edition of Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels The German Ideology" just 4900 words, can be enjoyed here.

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