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The Inevitability
of Communism (1)

The viewpoint of totality in the materialist dialectic is something different from the longing of the economically distracted bourgeoisie for harmony, for a self-contained system, for eternal truths and an all-embracing philosophy of the Whole ending up in the Absolute. To Marxism, there is nothing closed off. All concepts, all knowledge is the recognition that in the material interaction between man and nature social man is an active factor, that historical development is conditioned not only by objective relations arising through nature but quite as much so by the subjective, social moments. Precisely by reason of the fact that the materialist dialectic regards the economic relations as the foundation of historical development, it becomes impossible to accept a bourgeois and necessarily metaphysical philosophy of eternity. Society, which aids in determining the being and consciousness of man, changes perpetually and hence admits of no absolute solutions. The dialectical process of development recognizes no constant factors, either biological or social; in it these factors, themselves, vary continuously, so that one is never in a position really to separate them and must deny them any sort of constancy. The dialectical, comprehensive view, the consideration of the Whole is accordingly to be understood in the sense that here every separation between the objective and subjective historical factors is rejected, since these are always influencing each other and thus are themselves always changing. The one cannot be understood without the other. For science, that means that its concepts are not only objectively given but are also dependent upon the subjective factors, and these in turn aid in determining scientific methods and their goals.

To the interpretation of the Marxian dialectic Hook devotes the larger part of his book. [1] On the totality factor and dialectical interaction he bestows the utmost attention in order that the active role of man, the revolutionary consciousness in the historical process may stand out in stronger relief. To his frequently happy and also frequently unhappy formulations, so far as they deal with the totality factor, we shall devote little attention in the following pages, because his work is almost exclusively designed to refute theoretically, the many mechanistic and idealistic emasculations of Marxist thought at the hands of the epigones, and here we agree on the whole with what he has to say. If in what follows we adopt a standpoint which is opposed to that of Hook, we wish at the same time to emphasize that we fully accept in detail many of his ideas. If we neglect to bring out these common points, it is because of lack of space. We wish further to state that this review cannot be exhaustive; the aim is merely to draw attention to those factors which in our opinion must be placed in the center of the discussion in order to make it really fruitful.


[1] Sidney Hook : Towards the Understanding of Karl Marx. ( John Day Company. New York, 1933 ).

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