Back Forward Table of Contents This Author Return to Homepage

The Inevitability
of Communism (5)


Bourgeois science meant a progressive social practice; in so far as it helped to develop the social forces of production, it stood "above classes." It was a stage in the process of general development, and so long as it did not practically restrain the process, the attained stage of science. Marx opposed to the science of the bourgeoisie not that of the proletariat but the revolution. Likewise he opposed to Hegel's dialectic not a dialectic of the proletariat, but the proletariat was to him the actualization of the dialectical process of development of capitalist society. From the realm of the concept he transplanted dialectics into the realm of reality, just as he did not set over against the bourgeois theory of value the theory of value of the proletariat, but by uncovering the fetishism of commodities he revealed the actual content of value.

Bourgeois philosophy could not go beyond Hegel; commodity fetishism forbids the materializing of dialectic, just as the idealist dialectic, economically expressed, is nothing but the fetishism of commodities. Only the existence of the proletariat enabled the materialization of dialectic, made Marxism possible. The period of the class struggle necessarily still contains bourgeois elements and will continue to do so until it is ended. But the growth of the class struggle is already the process of actualization of the new society. The victorious revolution ends with the complete destruction of bourgeois science, for then the proletariat which ceases to be proletariat, has completely taken up into itself the rational elements of that science.

By way of summary, one night say that for Marxism, science, in the last analysis, is accumulated human labor. A certain quantity of human-social labor alters, that is, enlarges, increases, the social forces of production. This necessitates a change in the relations of production, and this in turn the change of the whole intellectual superstructure. The productive relations, by reaction, again condition the labor process and lead to ever new, progressive outer forms.

If Marx never tired, as Hook insists ( page 85 ), of distinguishing between the natural processes of development and those of man in society, it was because Marx's materialistic dialectic consists in pointing out the manner in which, throughout all forms of society, the process of interaction between man and nature develops the productive forces. This process is illustrated in the development of the forms of production, that is, how and with what instruments and methods production is carried on. The determining contradiction is the one between man and nature, between being and consciousness, and this contradiction developed out of labor. Within this process new contradictions develop, which by reaction again drive the general process farther forward. In this process the conscious factors become developed to such an extent, especially through the social division of labor, that there is no longer any sense in distinguishing between cause and effect; any separation between being and consciousness has become impossible . . . they are always fusing. The thing taken as a base has nothing to do any more with our end results, and these end results are always forming new starting points, so that to be continually distinguishing between cause and effect becomes impossible. And yet in this dialectical process the final basis continues to be the human necessities of life; it remains material, actual. What holds for the past holds also for the present, which permitted Marx, in Capital, to say for the future also :

"The realm of freedom begins, in reality, only there where that labor, which is determined through need and outer purposiveness no longer exists; hence it lies, from the nature of things, beyond the sphere of real material production . . . . Freedom here can only consist in the fact that socialized man, the associated producers, rationally regulate this interaction between themselves and nature, bring it under their communal control, instead of being ruled by it as by a blind power; accomplish it with the least expenditure of energy and under condition most worthy of and adequate of their human nature. But this always remains a realm of necessity. Beyond it begins that development of human force which serves as its own end . . . the true realm of freedom, which, however, can flourish only upon that realm of necessity as its base."

Back Forward Table of Contents This Author Return to Homepage