In the preceding sections of this book we have gathered together certain data in order to indicate when and in what forms socialism has appeared in human history. The data presented do not, of course, constitute a systematic history of socialism. It is rather a dotted outline, a collection of disparate facts selected in a manner that makes possible a judgment about some general features of the entire phenomenon. Utilizing these facts, we can now approach the main subject of our investigation--socialism as a historical concept.
It is natural enough to begin with an attempt to formulate a definition of socialism, if not a formal definition then at least an explanation in general terms of the meaning that we attribute to this concept. It is of course not simply a matter of providing empirical data in the first part of the book, and then extracting common unifying features. After all, the material was selected on the basis of specific indicators, as we pointed out in the beginning. Nevertheless, there is nothing circular here.* We have drawn attention to similar features in a series of historical phenomena. Now we must try to determine whether these phenomena possess sufficient unity to make it possible to look on them as a manifestation of the same general concept. In this way, the problem of definition converges with the question of the existence of socialism as a historical category. Such an approach seems to be appropriate in the consideration of any general concept, as for example in the identification of a new biological species.
We begin, therefore, with an enumeration of the basic principles
* Although we did use the term "socialism" long before undertaking to define it.
manifested in the activities of socialist states and in the socialist ideologies described earlier. 1. The Abolition of Private Property
The fundamental nature of this principle is emphasized, for instance, by Marx and Engels: "The theory of Communism may be summed up in a single sentence: 'Abolition of private property,'" (Communist Manifesto).
This proposition, in its negative form, is inherent in all socialist doctrines without exception and is the basic feature of all socialist states. But in its positive form, as an assertion about the actual nature of property in a socialist society, it is less universal and appears in two distinct variants: the overwhelming majority of socialist doctrines proclaim the communality of property (implemented in more or less radical fashion), while socialist states (and some doctrines) are based on state property.
2. The Abolition of the Family
The majority of socialist doctrines proclaim the abolition of the family. In other doctrines, as well as in certain socialist states, this proposition is not proclaimed in such radical form, but the principle appears as a de-emphasis of the role of the family, the weakening of family ties, the abolition of certain functions of the family. Again, the negative form of the principle is more common. As a positive statement about specific relationships between the sexes or between parents and children, it appears in several variants as the total obliteration of the family, communality of wives and the destruction of all ties between parent and child to the point where they may not even know each other; as an impairment and a weakening of family ties; or as the transformation of the family into a unit of the bureaucratic state subjected to its goals and control.
3. The Abolition of Religion
It is especially easy for us to observe socialism's hostility to religion, for this is inherent, with few exceptions, in all contemporary socialist states and doctrines. Only rarely is the abolition of religion legislated,
as it was in Albania. But the actions of other socialist states leave no doubt that they are all governed by this very principle and that only external difficulties have prevented its complete implementation. This same principle has been repeatedly proclaimed in socialist doctrines, beginning with the end of the seventeenth century. Sixteenth- and seventeenth-century doctrines are imbued with cold skeptical and ironic attitudes toward religion. If not consciously, then "objectively," they prepared humanity for the convergence of socialist ideology and militant atheism that took place at the end of the seventeenth century and during the course of the eighteenth. The heretical movements of the Middle Ages were religious in character, but those in which socialist tendencies were especially pronounced were the ones that were irrevocably opposed to the actual religion professed by the majority at the time. Calls to assassinate the Pope and to annihilate all monks and priests run like a red thread through the history of these movements. Their hatred for the basic symbols of Christianity--the cross and the church--is very striking. We encounter the burning of crosses and the profanation of churches from the first centuries of Christianity right up to the present day. Finally, in Plato's socialist system, religion is conceived as an element in the state's ideology. Its role amounts to education, the shaping of citizens' opinions into the forms necessary to the state. To this end, new religious observances and myths were invented and the old ones abolished. It seems that in many of the states of the ancient Orient, official religion played an analogous role, its central function being the deification of the king, who was the personification of the all-powerful state.
4. Communality or Equality
This demand is encountered in almost all socialist doctrines. Its negative form is seen in the striving to destroy the hierarchy of the surrounding society and in calls "to humble the proud, the rich and the powerful," to abolish privilege. This tendency frequently gives rise to hostility toward culture as a factor contributing to spiritual and intellectual inequality and, as a result, leads to a call for the destruction of culture itself. The first formulation of this view can be found in Plato, the most recent in contemporary leftist movements in the West which
consider culture "individualistic," "repressive," "suffocating," and call for "ideological guerrilla warfare against culture." We see that a small number of clear-cut principles inspired the socialist doctrines and guided the life of the socialist societies in the course of several millennia. This unity and interrelatedness of various socialist doctrines was fully recognized by their representatives: Thomas Müntzer cites Plato as an authority; Johann of Leyden studies Müntzer, Campanella considers the Anabaptists as an example of the embodiment of his system. Morelly and the anonymous author of the article in the Encyclopédie point to the Inca state as a corroboration of their social views, and in another article from the Encyclopédie ("The Moravians," written by Faiguet), the Moravian Brethren are cited as an example of an ideal communal order. Among late socialists, Saint-Simon in his last work, New Christianity, declares: "The New Christianity will consist of separate tendencies which for the most part will correspond to the ideas of the heretical sects of Europe and America." Further examples of this sense of kinship among the socialist currents of different epochs could easily be produced. We shall only point here to the numerous works with titles such as Forerunners of Scientific Socialism produced by spokesmen of the socialist camp, where among "forerunners" one can find Plato, Dolcino, Müntzer, More and Campanella. ...
It is of course true that in different periods the central core of socialist ideology was manifested in different forms: we have seen socialism in the form of mystical prophecy, of a rationalistic plan for a happy society or of a scientific doctrine. In each period, socialism absorbs certain of the ideas of its time and uses the language contemporary to it. Some of its elements are discarded; others, on the contrary, acquire especially great significance. This is not unusual: such a pattern applies to any other phenomenon of such historical scope.
In another work on socialism, I referred to religion as an example of the same kind of historical phenomenon which is transformed in the course of time just as socialism has been. Now, however, it seems to me that this juxtaposition rather underscores the unique character of socialist ideology--its unprecedented conservatism. Since the time when socialism's basic principles were formulated in Plato's system, the religious concepts of mankind have been completely transformed:
the idea of monotheism has acquired universal significance in the world; the concept of a single God in three essences, God-manhood, salvation by faith and a series of other fundamental ideas have arisen. At the same time, the basic principles of socialism have not changed to this day; it has only altered its form and motivation. The unity and cohesiveness of the system of socialist conceptions becomes apparent, together with an astonishing conservatism, in the way that certain details recur again and again in socialist societies and doctrines that are little related one to the other and sometimes widely separated in time. The probability of accidental recurrence is negligible, unless we assume that the similarities are inexorably determined by their exceptional spiritual closeness. We shall cite only four examples from the large number of such coincidences:
a. The coincidence of many details in More's Utopia and the accounts of the Inca state, which lead to the question posed in the French Academy concerning the influence of these accounts on More (which would have been chronologically impossible).
b. The custom of mummification of the heads of state and burial in stepped tombs of pyramid-like design, which is met with in states with strong socialist tendencies (although the states in question may be separated by many thousands of years).
c. In Deschamps's True System we find this vivid detail: Describing the future socialist society, he says that "nearly all people will have almost the same appearance." Dostoyevsky expresses the same thought in the notebooks to The Possessed. The character who is called Pyotr Verkhovensky in the novel and Nechayev in the notebooks has this to say about the future society: "In my opinion even men and women with particularly attractive faces should be prohibited." (92: XI: 270) Dostoyevsky gathered material for his novel from the ideological pronouncements of the nihilists and the socialists, but neither he nor they could have known Deschamps's work, which was published only in our century.
d. In The Republic, Plato wrote that, among the guardians, "none have any habitation or storage area which is not open for all to enter at will." Aristophanes speaks about this in almost the same words in his Ecclesiazusae: "I'll knock out walls and remodel the city into one big happy household, where all can come and go as they choose."
This particular coincidence may be explained by the fact that the authors lived during the same epoch, but the motif is encountered
again in More, who, in order to underscore the kind of communality in which the Utopians lived, describes the entrances to their dwellings: "The doors are made with two leaves that are never locked or bolted and are so easy to open that they will follow the slightest touch and shut again alone. Whoever wishes may go in, for there is nothing inside the house that is private or any man's own."
More, of course, had read Plato and could have borrowed the thought from him. But we meet with a law against the closing of doors in the Inca state as well. Still later, in Crime and Punishment, the character Lebeziatnikov expounds on the question of free entry into rooms in the future society: "It has been debated of late whether a member of the commune has the right to go into the room of another member, male or female, at any time. ..well, it was decided that he does." (92: VI: p. 284) This is not merely an artistic contrivance. Dostoyevsky understood the nature of socialism and anticipated its future role perhaps more astutely than any other thinker of the last century. Of the multitude of petty details that he knew about nihilist circles, he selected some of the most characteristic, among these the very same free entrance into dwellings mentioned almost two and a half thousand years earlier by Plato.
And finally, we encounter this motif in the first years after the revolution in Russia. The force of the explosion experienced then dislodged and threw to the surface deeply buried elements of socialist ideology that had earlier remained almost unnoticed and that were later again displaced from view. We will therefore be turning frequently to this period, which presents multiple facets of socialism in an entirely new light. In particular, there appeared at the time numerous ideas on how the new forms of life could overcome the old ways and make life more collective--for example, by replacing individual kitchens with huge factory-like kitchen facilities, or by housing the population in dormitories instead of apartments. One enthusiast published a book based, as he claims, on Trotsky's ideas (93): "It should be made clear that I do not consider the idea of rooms necessary; I believe that it will be possible to consider a room only as the living space of an individual person. After all, isolation in a room is quite unnecessary for collective man. ...The isolation needed in certain hours of love can be had in special pleasure gardens where the man and his female companion will be able to find the necessary comforts."
It would seem that socialist ideology has the ability to stamp widely separated or even historically unlinked socialist currents with indelible and stereotyped markings.
It seems to us quite legitimate to conclude that socialism does exist as a unified historical phenomenon. Its basic principles have been indicated above. They are:
- Abolition of private property.
- Abolition of the family.
- Abolition of religion.
- Equality, abolition of hierarchies in society.
Our perspective on socialism takes into account only one of the dimensions in which this phenomenon unfolds. Socialism is not only an abstract ideological system but also the embodiment of that system in time and space. Therefore, having sketched in its outlines as an ideology, we now ought to be able to explain in what periods and within what civilization socialism arises, whether in the form of doctrine, popular movement or state structure. But here the answer turns out to be far less clear. While the ideology of socialism is sharply defined, the occurrence of socialism can hardly be linked to any definite time or civilization. If we consider the period in the history of mankind which followed the rise of the state as an institution, we find the manifestations of socialism, practically speaking, in all epochs and in all civilizations. It is possible, however, to identify epochs when socialist ideology manifests itself with particular intensity. This is usually at a turning point in history, a crisis such as the period of the Reformation or our own age. We could simply note that socialist states arise only in definite historical situations, or we could attempt to explain why it was that the socialist ideology appeared in virtually finished and complete form in Plato's time. We shall return to these questions later. But in European history, we cannot point to a single period when socialist teachings were not extant in one form or another. It seems that socialism is a constant factor in human history, at least in the period following the rise of the state. Without attempting to evaluate it for the time being, we must recognize socialism as one of the most powerful and universal forces active in a field where history is played out.
In a general sense, such an approach is not new. Book titles alone testify to that: The Socialist Empire of the Incas; The History of Communism and Socialism in Antiquity; State Socialism in the Fifteenth Century B.C., and so on. Wittfogel (in the work quoted above, 89) gathers vast amounts of material about the states of the ancient Orient, pre-Columbian America, East Africa and certain areas of the Pacific, for example the Hawaiian Islands, characterizing the states he describes as "hydraulic societies" and tracing the multitude of parallels between them and the contemporary socialist states. The history of the socialist doctrines is no less thoroughly researched, as can be seen from the numerous "Histories of Socialist Ideas," which usually begin with Plato. Koigen has even remarked ironically: "Socialism is as old as human society itself--but not older." (94)
It would seem that this should be taken as the starting point of any attempt to understand the essence of socialism. Despite being quite general, such a point of view strictly limits the range of those arguments that are applicable: any explanations based on the peculiarities of a given historical period, race or civilization must be discarded. It is necessary to reject the interpretation of socialism as a definite phase in the development of human society which is said to appear when conditions are ripe. On the contrary, any approach to socialism ought to be based on principles broad enough to be applicable to the Inca empire, to Plato's philosophy and to the socialism of the twentieth century.
Survey of Some Approaches
Before we apply the conclusions formulated in the preceding section to further analysis of socialism, they can be tested in a simpler procedure of a purely critical character. We shall examine those points of view which are representative of the majority of conceptions of socialism that have been formulated in the past.
1. The Marxist standpoint
Socialism as a state system is a specific phase in the historical development of mankind; it inevitably replaces capitalism when the latter reaches a definite level of development. Socialism as a doctrine constitutes the world view of the proletariat (itself engendered by capitalism), and at the same time it is the result of scientific analysis, a scientific proof of the historical inevitability of the socialist state system.
This view is contradicted by the known facts. If a socialist state comes into being only under the conditions created by the development of capitalism, if, as Lenin wrote, "socialism originates in capitalism, develops historically from capitalism, and results from the action of a social force that is engendered by capitalism," then whence did it come and as a result of what social force did it develop in the Inca empire or the states of the ancient Orient? History only reinforces the doubts engendered by the contemporary situation: socialist states have arisen in China, North Korea and Cuba--that is, in the countries where the influence of capitalism can in no way be considered a determining factor.
It is just as difficult to see any connection between the ideology
of socialist movements and the proletariat: for example, in the movement of Mazdak or the Taborites. Furthermore, the link between the proletariat and socialism was not at all strong in the nineteenth century either. Bakunin, for example, felt that socialism was most congenial to the peasantry; he considered peasants and brigands (at least in Russia) to be the main revolutionary force. "The brigand is the true and only revolutionary in Russia." (95: p. 353) "And when these two kinds of rebellion, the rebellion of the brigands and of the peasants, are joined together, a popular revolution takes place." (95: p. 354) In replying to Bakunin, the prominent Marxist historian M. N. Pokrovsky refers, strange as it may seem, not to the immanent laws of history with which he is familiar, but to far more concrete circumstances: "Of course, this was outdated for the sixties, the epoch of the railroads. ...It was extremely difficult to commit robberies on the railroads." (96: p. 65) But when even the founders of Marxism, recognizing the proletariat as the main force of the future social upheaval, stressed that the proletariat had "nothing to lose but its chains," their differences with Bakunin were more technical than theoretical. And in fact, some time later the role of the proletariat was reconsidered--without any change of basic historical concepts. The neo-Marxists who make up the New Left believe that the working class has ceased to be a revolutionary force, that it has been "integrated into the system" and that the "new working class" is the "favorite child of the system and ideologically subjugated to it." (4: p. 57) Hope for the future has been transferred to the peoples of the developing countries, to disaffected national minorities (for example, the blacks in the U.S.A.) and to students. On the other hand (or perhaps it comes to the same thing), the proletariat is apparently assigned a very modest role in Chairman Mao's concept of the confrontation of the "world city" with the "world village."
The third proposition in the Marxist view of socialism is that socialism (in the form of Marxism) is a scientific theory.
2. Socialist teachings as scientific theory
The evident weakness of such a point of view is that it is applicable only to a few socialist doctrines. Most of them never pretended to be a part of science and assumed instead the form of philosophical systems, divine revelation or theories on the most reasonable social structure. But the nineteenth century was so imbued with the cult
of science that even an adventure novel could count on success only if, as in the Sherlock Holmes stories, the "scientific method" was used. Only in these circumstances did "scientific socialism" appear. Hence we need only consider to what extent the socialist doctrines of the nineteenth century were a product of scientific activity. The assertions about the scientific character of its conclusions play an especially large role in Marxism, but other socialist teachings, as those of Fourier, for example, had similar pretensions. While Marx and Engels mock Fourier as a "utopian socialist" and apply the term "scientific socialism" only to their own doctrine, Fourier maintained that he had made an analysis of social phenomena that was as precise as Newton's physics and, in fact, constructed in its image. He wrote: "The theory of passionate attraction and repulsion is something stable to which geometric theorems are wholly applicable. ...And thus, of the connection amongst the new sciences: I soon understood that the laws of passionate attraction correspond at all points to the laws of material gravitation discovered by Newton and Leibnitz, and that there exists a unity in the movement of the material and the spiritual worlds." (97: p. 43)
Juxtaposition of these two teachings--Fourier's and Marx's--may help us to understand what role the theme of science played in both.
Strictly speaking, the founders of Marxism did not always deny the significance of Fourier's scientific constructions. For example, comparing them with Saint-Simon's doctrine, Engels wrote:
"It is true that there is in [Fourier's theories] no shortage of mysticism as well. ...Still, if we set that aside, something remains which cannot be found among the followers of Saint-Simon--scientific inquiry, sober, bold and systematic thinking, in a word: social philosophy." (3: II: p. 395)
It is very difficult today to understand such a point of view. Fourier's system is far removed from any contemporary notion of what constitutes a scientific theory. He held that planets and other celestial bodies are living beings, that they live, die and copulate. "A planet is a being, having two souls and two sexes. In the act of conception, just as with animals and plants, two productive substances are joined together. ...A heavenly body may copulate: (1) With itself, the south pole with the north pole, as with plants. (2) With another heavenly body through the emission of fluids from the opposite poles. (3) With something intermediate." (97: p. 69)
The life of the planet earth, also perceived as a single organism, is inherently linked with the life of mankind. There is a correspondence between the various epochs of their respective developments. There had been seven epochs up to then, and Fourier speaks of an eighth epoch which is on the verge of being born: "Meanwhile, the earth thirsts for creation; the frequent emission of northern light is witness to this, an indication that the planet is in heat, and a sign of a useless emission of its fertile fluid. It cannot copulate with the fluid of other planets until the human race accomplishes certain preliminary tasks. These tasks can be performed only by the eighth society, which must now be formed." (97: p. 71)
This eighth society of "combined structure" is to bring socialist ideas to life. In the description of this society, we encounter the famous "phalansteries" and numerous forms of free love, together with Fourier's criticism by contemporary civilization. On entering the "eighth society," mankind will accomplish the tasks that serve as the preconditions for a new act by copulation by the earth. This will bring about changes which, in their turn, will have a fructifying influence on mankind and will lighten the task of developing the "combined structure." The seas and oceans will acquire the taste of lemonade; instead of sharks and whales, there will appear anti-sharks and anti-whales, together with a multitude of amphibia that will promote transportation and fishing. And in the deserts, instead of lions and tigers, there will be anti-lions and anti-tigers, which will carry out people's wishes.
We have here the ancient and mythological notion according to which human activity is necessary for the functioning of the universe. It is precisely the same sort of notion that underlies the ceremony of the Australian aborigines which aims to assure the fertility of nature. Similarly, the Aztecs sacrificed thousands of people in order to preserve the life-giving power of the sun. It would seem that this ancient notion was the real foundation of Fourier's teaching, and not "the application of geometric theorems," which are completely absent in his speculations. His theory seems to have been "revealed" to him, and in this direct perception there is a sincerity that partly accounts for his success.* As for the imitation of scientific phraseology, which is quite clumsy in Fourier, this was only a gesture in the direction of nineteenth-century
* When Fourier writes of "a ray containing five other [colors] invisible and unnoticed by us--pink, crimson, chestnut, green with a shade of dragoon, lilac (I am perfectly sure only of pink and crimson)," one can readily believe that he saw the pink and crimson with his own eyes. (See 97: p. 104)
tastes, an attempt to make his system more attractive. This conclusion, so obvious in the case of Fourier, forces us not to accept on faith Marxism's claims to being a scientific theory. And the very feature which the creators of Marxism proclaimed to be fundamental--the "criterion of practice"--seems to provide the clearest response to Marxism. According to this criterion, a scientific theory ought to be tested according to its concrete conclusions. But with almost perverse consistency, most of the projections of Marxism have proved to be incorrect. A better percentage of correct predictions could probably have been achieved by making random guesses. Examples have been cited repeatedly, and for this reason we limit ourselves to three in order to underscore the typical and in most cases fundamental nature of the errors: the truth proved to be not merely different but in fact the opposite to that which had been predicted.
a. The national question: "National differences and antagonistic interests among various peoples are already vanishing more and more thanks to the development of the bourgeoisie, to freedom of commerce, to the world market, to uniformity in the mode of production and in the corresponding conditions of life. The supremacy of the proletariat will accelerate the disappearance of differences." (3: V: p. 500)
b. In particular, the Jewish question, which was to disappear as soon as financial operations and petty trade became impossible. "The chimerical nationality of the Jew is the nationality of a merchant, in general of a man who deals with money." (3: I: p. 382) "An organization of society which could remove the preconditions of petty trade, and therefore the possibility of petty trade, would make Jewry impossible." (3: I: p. 379)
c. The role of the state: "The first act in which the state truly comes forward as a representative of the whole of society--the taking possession of the means of production in the name of society--is, at the same time, its last independent act as a state. Interference of the state in social relations becomes superfluous in one sphere after another, and then ceases of itself. The government of persons is replaced by the administration of things and the direction of the process of production. The state is not 'abolished'; it withers away." (98: p. 285)
"With the disappearance of classes the state inevitably disappears. A society which organizes its production in a new fashion based on
the free and equal association of producers will send the machine of the state to the place where it will then belong: the museum of antiquity, next to the spinning wheel and the bronze ax." (3: XVI: p. 149) The unquestionably immense success of Marxism in the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries by no means proves its correctness as a scientific theory. Other movements, Islam, for instance, have enjoyed no less success without ever having laid claim to being "scientific."
The direct impression left by the works of the founders of Marxism leads to the same conclusion--they lack the climate characteristic of scientific inquiry. For the authors, the world of science is divided into two unequal parts. One part consists of a narrow circle of followers, the other of enemies, plotting against them and ready for any crime against the truth for the sake of attaining their goals. Thus German economists are said to have willfully ignored Capital for years, while stealing from it constantly, and English specialists on primitive society are said to have treated Morgan's book in the same way. But the founders of Marxism hardly stood on ceremony themselves and again and again attacked their colleagues for "liberal falsifications," "banality and commonplaceness of the worst kind," "virtuosity in pretentious idiotism," etc.
The basic works of Marxism are utterly alien to the most fundamental characteristic of scientific activity--the disinterested striving for truth for its own sake. And although the scientist's duty is sometimes proclaimed, the truth, in practice, always remains a "party truth"--i.e., it is subordinated to the interests of the political struggle. This attitude toward science is expressed, for instance, in the conclusion of the preface to Marx's Critique of Political Economy: "My views, no matter how they are judged and how little they agree with the egotistical prejudices of the ruling classes, are the result of many years of conscientious research." (3: XII: p. 9) In this way, Marx immediately suggests that any objections to his views are the product of "egotistical prejudices."
Thanks to this indifference toward truth in Marxism, we so often come across contradictions even a few of which would ruin any genuinely scientific theory. We have cited, for instance, Wittfogel's remarks on the appearance and sudden disappearance of the "Asiatic formation" in the works of Marx and Engels. Numerous examples of this kind could be brought forward. In the Communist Manifesto we read:
"The lower middle class, the small manufacturer, the shopkeeper, the artisan, the peasant. ..they are all not revolutionary but conservative. Nay, more, they are reactionary, for they try to roll back the wheel of history." (3: V: p. 493) Lassalle incorporated the same thought in his Gotha program: "In relation to the proletariat, all other groups constitute a single reactionary mass." But it was precisely at this time that Marx was competing against Lassalle (and not very successfully) for influence on the German social democratic movement.
And he writes: "Lassalle knew the 'Manifesto' by heart, and if he distorted it so grossly, he did so only to justify his own betrayal of the working class."* (3: XV: p. 277)
Marx's Capital of course imitates the style of a scientific treatise far better than Fourier's Theory of Four Movements. Marx includes tables and a great number of quotations (even from Greek, as he was fond of noting). But in its essence, Marx's Capital is equally far from being a scientific work, for the basic statements in it are merely asserted and not deduced. It was Bulgakov who (in 100) drew attention to a footnote in Volume I of Capital: "Of course, it is much easier to find the earthly essence of religious notions by means of analysis than the other way round, i.e., from the given real relations to deduce their religious forms. The latter method is the only materialistic one and, therefore, the only scientific one."
But Marx only remarked on this matter in a note and nowhere attempted to apply his "only scientific" method. In the same way, neither Marx nor Engels tried to show in what manner "the hand mill yields a feudal society with a suzerain at its head." They simply could not have done so, of course, since the hand mill was known in ancient Sumer and in other societies as well. Examples such as these could be cited at length.
The attitude of the classics of Marxism toward science is vividly illustrated by what Engels wrote about mathematics. Indeed, it is in this connection that he says (in the preface to Anti-Dühring):
"Awareness of the fact that I have not sufficiently mastered mathematics has made me careful: no one will be able to find me trespassing against the facts." (98: p. 7)
* This example and most of the others in this section are taken from a study (99) in which the question of the scientific character of Marxism is analyzed more systematically.
Nevertheless, in that work we find the following statements:
"We have already mentioned that one of the main principles of higher mathematics involves a contradiction which consists of the fact that under certain conditions a straight line and a curve are one and the same thing. And higher mathematics provides another example of a contradiction: two lines that intersect before our eyes must nonetheless be considered parallel lines five or six centimeters from the point of intersection, i.e., lines that cannot intersect even if extended to infinity." (98: p. 120)
"The virgin state of absolute signification, the indisputable proof of everything mathematical, is gone forever; an era of discordant opinion is upon us, and we have gotten to the point that the majority perform differentiation and integration not because they understand what they are doing, but simply because they believe in something that up till now has always obtained correct results." (98: p. 85) (We must point out that when this was written, half a century had already passed since Cauchy proposed a rigorous foundation for differential and integral calculus and his ideas had long become textbook knowledge.)
"Mathematical axioms are an expression of an extremely limited intellectual content, which mathematics is obliged to borrow from logic. They may be reduced to the following two:
"1. The whole is larger than the part. ...
"2. Two quantities separately equal to a third are equal to one another." (98: p. 34)
(It would seem that even a mediocre secondary school student ought to have remembered at least the axiom on parallels!)
As for political economy or history, Marx and Engels clearly did not believe that they had "not sufficiently mastered" these subjects; nothing prompted them to be "careful" as with mathematics. One may well imagine how resolutely they operated in these areas.
The correspondence between Marx and Engels provides further striking examples of views that are extremely difficult to reconcile with the usual understanding of the scientific method. For instance, Engels points out to Marx one passage in Capital that would obviously provoke objections and suggests this objection be taken into account. Marx replies: "Had I wished to foresee all objections of that kind I should have spoiled the dialectical method of exposition. On the contrary. This method has the advantage of setting traps for these gentlemen
at every step and compelling them to reveal their impenetrable stupidity." (3: XXIII: p. 425) Or in another letter to Engels: "Dear Fred! In my opinion you are unjustly afraid to treat the English philistine reader of the magazine to such simple formulae as M-G-M, etc. If you were compelled to read, as I am, the economic articles of Lalor, Herbert Spencer, Macleod and others in The Westminster Review, you would see that they all abound in economic banalities (all the while knowing that their reader is thoroughly bored with it all) and that they try to spice up their articles with pseudo-philosophic or pseudo-scientific jargon. Despite the imagined scientific character, the content (equal to nothing, of course) becomes in no sense clearer. On the contrary, the trick is to mystify the reader." This paragraph closes with the advice: "In fact, you are too shy. The new is required--the new in form and in content." (3: XXIV: pp. 60-61)
It is interesting to juxtapose the attitude of Marxism toward science with a closely related question--Marx's use of Hegel's dialectical method. Here we may again refer to S. Bulgakov. In a work already cited (100), he shows that Capital, especially the first chapter of Volume I, is written in a Hegelian fashion but that, at the same time, it demonstrates a very superficial grasp of Hegel's philosophy and of German classical philosophy in general, a quite primitive manipulation of subtle and profound categories. In fact, Marx at times seems to see dialectics in a quite unexpected light.
"I took the risk of prognosticating in this way, as I was compelled to substitute for you as correspondent at the Tribune. Nota bene--on the supposition that the dispatches we have gotten up till now are correct. It is possible that I may be discredited. But in that case it will still be possible to pull through with the help of a bit of dialectics. It goes without saying that I phrased my forecasts in such a way that I would prove to be right also in the opposite case." (3: XXII: p. 217)
Returning to the comparison of Fourier's "scientific method" with Marx's, it must be stated that in some instances they differ very little--e.g., in their use of mathematics. Take, for instance, the argument Fourier gives in support of his idea that society is ruled on the "basis of geometric principles":
"The properties of friendship duplicate the properties of the circle.
"The properties of love, those of the ellipse.
"The properties of fatherhood, of the parabola.
"The properties of ambition, of the hyperbola.
"The collective properties of these four passions duplicate the properties of the cycloid."
This is quite comparable with the passage in Capital in which Marx writes (in connection with one of his conclusions): "This law clearly runs counter to experience." But he extricates himself from the predicament as follows: "The solution of this seeming contradiction requires many more intermediary links, as in elementary algebra, where many intermediary links are required to comprehend that 0/0 may represent a real quantity." (3: XVII: p. 337)* Karl Jaspers is closer to the truth, no doubt, when he sees Marxism not as science but as "mythmaking" based on certain notions borrowed from magic, as for instance the belief that the destruction of the existing world will lead to the birth of new man. (101)
The concept of "the scientific method" was of extraordinary importance for the development of nineteenth-century socialism. Hence it was steadily and persistently elaborated, first by Fourier and Saint-Simon (in a very naive form), and later in a much more sophisticated manner by Marx and Engels. The scientific method provided the socialist doctrines with a "sanction" of the first order. Furthermore (and this is especially important), the theses of socialist doctrine thereby
* Marx employs this unusual argumentation in a passage that is by no means secondary in importance for his system. His theory of value, a cornerstone of his political-economic theory, proved to be in complete contradiction to well-known facts of economic life! Concerning Marx's promises to present further evidence (or "intermediary links") on the question, the Italian economist Loria wrote: "I have justly asserted that this second volume with which Marx constantly threatens his opponents, and which, however, will never appear, was most probably employed as a cunning subterfuge in those cases where Marx lacked scientific arguments." In the sixteen years that separate the publication of Volume I of Capital from his death, Marx did not offer a continuation of his study. In 1885, Engels published Marx's manuscripts as the second volume of Capital. In the preface, he mentions the contradiction cited above and remarks that "because of this contradiction the Ricardo school and 'vulgar economy' collapsed." Marx, so Engels claimed, resolved this contradiction in Volume III, which was to appear in several months. Volume III appeared in 1894--i.e., nine years later. In his preface, Engels again returns to the "contradiction" and quotes Loria in this connection. He points out that in the preface to Volume II, this question was "publicly proposed" by him and that, therefore, Loria might have taken this into account. ...But Engels does not mention his own promise that the contradiction would be resolved in Volume III, nor does he indicate the place where it is resolved. In reference to Loria, however, he does use such expressions as: "falsification," "distortion," "mistakes unforgivable in a schoolboy," "careerist," "scientific charlatan," "shamelessness," "literary adventurer who in his heart of hearts spits on the whole of political economy," "a conscious sophist," "a braggart," "an irresistible rush to appropriate the works of others," "importunate charlatanism of self-aggrandizement," "success achieved with the help of clamorous friends," etc.
acquired the appearance of objectivity and a certain inevitability, being presented as a consequence of immanent laws independent of human will. In calling for the destruction of society, revolutionaries of the Babeuf and Bakunin type had to argue that it was loathsome and unjust. But in doing so, they made each person a judge and left open the opportunity for the counter-argument that the process of destruction itself was even more loathsome and unjust. But when, for example, Bukharin (102) proclaimed that execution by shooting constituted one of the forms for the "elaboration of communist humanity," he was invulnerable from the Marxist point of view. Indeed, Engels could think of only one function in history for the concept of justice--as a phrase useful for agitation. (98: p. 352) How, then, is one to verify an expert in Marxism like Bukharin? Perhaps his method of elaborating communist humanity does proceed from the "immanent laws" or the "dialectics of production?" In the contemporary world, hypnotized as it is by the notion that science can solve any question and sanction any action, will many find the courage in such a situation to adhere to the unscientific ten commandments rather than to the scientifically proved "immanent law"?
It was natural enough, therefore, that socialist Marxists of the nineteenth century were highly attracted to science as the supreme sanctioning authority. In particular, Marx and Engels, with their prodigious energy and capacity for work, processed huge amounts of data from the fields of political economy and history. But what they were seeking in science was not the source but the confirmation and sanction of the age-old theses of socialist ideology. The logic of their endeavor is explicitly stated in the preface to Anti-Dühring:
"In 1831, in Lyons, the first uprising of workers took place; in the period between 1833 and 1842, the English Chartist movement, the first national working movement, reached its climax.. ..It was impossible not to take all these facts into consideration, as well as French and English Socialism, which constituted their theoretical, albeit extremely imperfect expression." (98: p. 21) "Although it criticized the capitalist mode of production and its consequences, the socialism of earlier periods could not cope with it. It could only pronounce it to be good for nothing. But the task is twofold: on the one hand, to explain the inevitability of the appearance of the capitalist mode of production in its historical context and thus to show why its death is inevitable;
on the other hand, to explain the hitherto unclear nature of that production. Previous criticism has been directed more toward the harmful consequences than against capitalist production itself." (98: p. 22) Marxism here emerges not as a result of objective scientific research but as a response to a set task--to prove the inevitability of the collapse of capitalism and its replacement by socialism. This task became relevant for the creators of Marxism as the result of a series of labor disturbances in Europe.
3. Socialism is the theory of preparing and implementing revolution: it is a series of rules which must be followed in order to seize power. At the same time, it is the technology of power, the philosophy of the absolute state to which all life is subjected--i.e., statism.
In contrast to the views considered earlier, serious arguments may be brought forward in support of this point of view. It is difficult to deny that socialist doctrines constitute a powerful driving force capable of inspiring masses of people and serving as a means of seizing power. Furthermore, many socialist utopias describe a society in which all aspects of the citizen's life are controlled by the state, while socialist states carry out these ideals to a certain extent. In some cases (for example, in Shang Yang's teaching), it is impossible to draw a line between certain aspects of socialism and statism taken to an extreme--if all of life is controlled by the state, the degree to which private property is legally permitted ceases to be significant.
The first objection aroused by such a definition is not based on specific arguments but is primarily aesthetic. The characterization seems far too shallow in comparison with the phenomenon it seeks to explain; it recalls the view of religion as the "contrivance of priests." Furthermore, many actual features of socialism cannot be accounted for by this means.
In fact, viewing the socialist doctrines as a technique for seizing power leaves the basic principles of socialism unexplained. How is one to interpret the principle of communality of property from this point of view? In order to gain control over a poverty-ridden tattered mob, it is far more natural to promise a redivision of property--such was the character of social upheavals in antiquity. The slogan of communality could even turn out to be an obstacle to taking power, as was the case in the revolution of 1917, when the Bolshevik Party, which until April of that year had advocated nationalizing land, temporarily
retreated from this position and accepted the S.R. principle of "equalized land use" in order to assure victory in October. The call for communal wives is equally inexplicable from this perspective. In the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels say that the entire bourgeoisie accused the Communists of intending to introduce communality of wives. Why did they not reply to this accusation less ambiguously than they did? They wrote: "Bourgeois marriage is in reality a system of wives in common and thus at the most, what the Communists might possibly be reproached with is that they desire to introduce, in substitution for a hypocritically concealed, an openly legalized communality of women."
This obviously leaves the impression that the reproach is true. Indeed, this passage caused so much trouble later that numerous "elucidations" were required. (The sort of problem that arose is illustrated by the fact that in the second Russian edition of the works of Marx and Engels, published in 1955, this text was altered to read: ". .. what the Communists might possibly be reproached with is the allegation that. ..") Why were these accusations not simply declared bourgeois slander? And what is most remarkable of all, such an idea did in fact occur to Engels. He raises precisely this question in "Principles of Communism," his first draft of the Manifesto. But later, after he met with Marx, the text was changed.
There are many other particular features of socialist doctrine that remain completely incomprehensible, if one looks at socialism solely as a method of seizing power. One example is the notion of the "forerunners of scientific socialism," which plays an important role in Marxism. Why was it necessary for Marx, Engels, Kautsky, Bernstein and others to declare Plato, Dolcino, Müntzer and More their forerunners? What strange logic, for example, made Kautsky, speaking of proletarian movements that came to power "too early," exclaim: "They are all dear to us, from the Anabaptists to the Paris Communards." (103: p. 166) Nothing could be more obviously contrary to their view of socialism as a product of the contradiction between production forces and production relations under capitalism. It would seem that they should have denied any connection; any common features could have been declared to be a matter of coincidence.
It is impossible to suppose that such obvious theoretical difficulties went unnoticed by the founders of socialism. Evidently, the concept of forerunners contained something essential to the ideology--some
elements that had to be preserved at any cost, even at the risk of doctrinal inconsistencies. And this indicates that certain strata of socialist ideology cannot be understood in terms of any coldly calculated plan for the seizure of power. It is possible to come to power preaching religious ideas (as the example of Mohammed shows) or by taking advantage of national feelings, but we do not therefore think of either of these routes to power as mere means.
Furthermore, the view of socialism as the ideology of an absolute state makes incomprehensible one of the main properties of socialist doctrines--their infectiousness, their capacity to influence the masses. It would be absurd to suppose that people face torture and the gallows or go to the barricades for the sake of becoming a soulless cog in the all-powerful state machine. Moreover, the large proportion of socialist doctrines belongs to the anarchical-nihilistic tendency, which is quite hostile to the idea of state control. Such is the spirit that informs the medieval heresies, the movements of the Reformation period, Meslier, Deschamps, Fourier, Bakunin and numerous modern socialist movements.
4. The last objections apply fully to the view that socialist states are a manifestation of a social structure based on compulsory labor. This idea is expressed, for instance, by R. Vipper in his book Kommunizm i kultura [Communism and Culture], which was published shortly after the Revolution. (This book is presently inaccessible to me and I am obliged to cite from memory.) Vipper suggests that socialism should be regarded not as a prophecy about a happy future society but as a real social structure which has appeared in the past more than once. His examples: ancient Egypt, the Inca state, the Jesuit state in Paraguay. ..In his opinion, compulsory labor is the cornerstone of all these societies.
It is true that noneconomic compulsion, to a greater or lesser degree, plays a significant role in all socialist states. But one would like to discover not only the sort of trait that would serve as a distinguishing feature but some relevant property that would render their other essential features comprehensible. Yet the presence of compulsory labor in no way explains either the attraction of socialist ideology or such of its principles as the destruction of the family or of hierarchy.
5. Socialism as such does not exist. That which is called socialism is one of the lines of development of capitalism--state capitalism.
The evident defect of this point of view is that it applies only to the socialist states of the twentieth century, without any effort to ascertain the place of these states within the millennia-long tradition of socialism. But it would be interesting to determine to what degree this view is applicable even to this admittedly short period of history.
Wittfogel believes that the concept of state capitalism is not pertinent to contemporary socialist states. From the point of view of economics, he asserts, it is impossible to consider capitalist a society in which there are neither private means of production nor any open market for goods and manpower.
The inadequacy of this approach is even more apparent when one takes into consideration the basic point that socialism, unlike capitalism, is not merely an economic formation but is also, and perhaps first of all, an ideology. Indeed, we have never heard of "capitalist parties" or "capitalist doctrines." The ideological character of socialism is a basic factor in the activities of the socialist states. Their policy is far from being determined only by economic factors or by state interests. History provided a clear-cut experiment a few years ago, when the governments of two countries in the same socialist camp simultaneously permitted themselves to deviate from group policy. The deviation of one of these states was purely ideological, while the other state preserved a complete ideological conformity but demonstratively asserted the independence of its foreign policy. As a result, drastic measures were taken against the first state, while the other only benefited from its policy. Another example of political action motivated by ideological principles is the support given by the socialist states to revolutionary socialist movements and newly formed socialist states. And this in spite of considerable experience which shows that this is the way to create the most dangerous rivals, aggressive and armed with more radical ideology.
We shall point out only one more crucial peculiarity of socialist states, something that has no analogy in capitalist society: all socialist states are based on a "new type" of parity. We have here a phenomenon that is completely different, despite its name, from the political parties of bourgeois society. Members of liberal or radical parties are united by a desire to realize definite political or economic ends, without circumscribing their conduct or views in other areas. In this sense, they
are guided by the same kind of principles as trade unions or animal protection societies. The "new type" of party, however, not only demands that its members subordinate all aspects of their lives to it, but also develops in them an outlook according to which life outside the party seems in general unthinkable. The spirit of the special relationship that exists between the individual and the party may be gleaned from the following three examples. A German essayist, W. Schlamm, relates that in 1919, at the age of fifteen, he became a "fellow traveler" of the Communists but never managed to penetrate into the narrow circle of the party functionaries (104). Twenty years later, one of these functionaries, who had broken with the party, explained to Schlamm the reason why. When Schlamm was invited to join the party, he had said: "I'm ready to give the party everything but the two evenings of the week when I listen to Mozart." This answer proved fatal! A man who has interests he does not wish to subordinate to the party does not fit.
Another aspect of the relationship between party and individual is revealed by Trotsky's last speech at a Party Congress. He had already been defeated by his opponents. He said: "I know that it is impossible to be right against the party. It is possible to be right only with the party, for history has created no other road for the realization of what is right." (105: p. 167)
Finally, here is how Piatakov, already expelled from the party and in disgrace, described his view of the party to his former party comrade Valentinov. Piatakov reminded him of Lenin's statement that the "dictatorship of the proletariat is a regime implemented by the party, which relies on violence and is not bound by any law." (From the article "The Proletarian Revolution and the Renegade Kautsky.") Piatakov explained that the central idea here was not "violence" but the fact of being "unbound by any law." He says:
Everything that bears the imprint of human will must not and cannot be considered inviolable or tied to any insuperable law. A law is a limit, a ban, a definition of one phenomenon admissible and another inadmissible, one action possible and the other impossible. When thought holds to violence in principle and is psychologically free, unbound by any laws, limits or obstacles, then the field of possible action expands to gigantic proportions and the field of the impossible contracts to the point of zero.. ..Bolshevism is a party whose idea is to bring into life that which is considered impossible, not realizable and inadmissible. ...For the honor and happiness of being in its ranks we must sacrifice our pride and self-esteem and everything
else. Returning to the party, we put out of our heads all convictions condemned by it, even though we defended them while in opposition. ...I agree that non-Bolsheviks and the category of ordinary people in general cannot make any instantaneous change, any reversal or amputation of their convictions. ...Weare a party of men who make the impossible possible. Steeped in the idea of violence, we direct it against ourselves, and if the party demands it and if it is necessary and important for the party, we can by an act of will put out of our heads in twenty-four hours ideas that we have cherished for years. In suppressing one's convictions or tossing them aside, it is necessary to reorient oneself in the shortest possible time in such a way as to agree, inwardly, with one's whole mind. ...Is it easy to put out of mind things that only yesterday you considered to be right and which today you must consider to be false in order to be in full accord with the party? Of course not. Nevertheless, through violence directed against oneself, the necessary result is achieved. Giving up life, shooting oneself through the head, are mere trifles compared with this other manifestation of will. ...This sort of violence against the self is acutely painful, but such violence with the aim of breaking oneself so as to be in full accord with the party constitutes the essence of a truly principled Bolshevik Communist. I am familiar with objections of the following kind. The party may be absolutely mistaken, it is said, it might call black something that is clearly and indisputably white. To all those who try to foist this example on me, I say: Yes, I shall consider black something that I felt and considered to be white, since outside the party, outside accord with it, there is no life for me. (106: p. 148)Some entomologists (see, for example, 107: pp. 110-115) believe that the functioning of a beehive can only be understood in terms of a superorganism having its own metabolism and respiration and capable of reproduction and of the kind of action quite impossible for individual bees (for instance, holding the temperature within to the necessary narrow range around 34°C.). The existence of each bee has meaning only to the extent that it is involved with the life of the entire hive. We are no less justified in considering the parties of the socialist states to be similar superorganisms capable of performing actions impossible and unthinkable for its individual human cells. Their life has meaning only when they are carrying out the aims of the superorganism without which they cannot exist.
This enables us to understand the enigmatic psychology, described so precisely by Solzhenitsyn, of the "orthodox" true believer who even in a concentration camp continues to glorify Stalin and the party.
Any such world view is, of course, utterly alien to rational capitalism. It is not among the Tories and Whigs that the forerunners of the "new
type" of party must be sought, but in the Society of Jesus or among the medieval sects, with whom they also have some common organizational traits. The presence of such a party seems to be a necessary condition for the existence of all socialist states of the twentieth century, while in capitalist countries it serves as one of the main instruments of destruction. This points to cardinal differences between the two social structures.
6. Socialism is the expression of the quest for social justice.
It is an indisputable fact that almost all socialist doctrines and movements assign an extremely important role to protest against the injustices of the contemporary social order. Sympathy for the oppressed and the condemnation of oppressors are motifs that may be found in the works of Müntzer (especially in his "Discourse for Defense"), More (in Part One of Utopia), Winstanley, Meslier, Fourier, Bakunin, Marx and the Marxists.
Many who are not supporters of socialism (or who accept it only partially) also see its main driving force in its advocacy of justice. For example, the prime minister of India, responding to a correspondent who inquired what the word "socialism" meant to him, answered: Justice. Yes, socialism means justice, the desire to work in a more equal society." To a certain extent this point of view is shared by Karl Jaspers: "Socialism today is seen as that quest, tendency or plan which has as its aim universal cooperation and coexistence in the spirit of justice and in the absence of privilege. In this sense, today, everyone is a socialist--socialism is the main tendency of our time." (108)
But Jaspers distinguishes socialism in the sense of gradual progress from communism, which preaches total planning and the achieving of happiness for humanity according to a scientific prognosis.
The view of socialism as an attempt to achieve social justice was widespread in Russian philosophy. For instance, Vladimir Soloviev wrote: "The attempt of socialism to achieve the equality of rights in material welfare, its efforts to transfer this material welfare from the hands of the minority into the hands of the popular majority, is absolutely natural and legitimate from the point of view of the principles proclaimed by the French revolution and which underlie all modern civilization." (109: III: pp. 7-8) While he rejects socialism's claim to being a supreme moral force, Soloviev does acknowledge that it "has
the character of morality in its demand for social truth. ...In any case, socialism is right to rise up against existing social untruth." (109: III: p. 9) It is here that he evidently sees that "truth of socialism" which must be recognized in order to vanquish the "lie of socialism." Bulgakov, a former Marxist himself, developed this view of socialism in detail, especially in a pamphlet (110) that appeared in 1917, while the Revolution was at its height. Socialism, in his opinion, is a reaction to the misery, hunger and suffering of mankind. It is the thought that "first of all one must defeat hunger and break the chains of poverty." (110: p. 5) Man is the prisoner of natural forces and his spirit longs for liberation from that captivity. Socialism shows him the way. It promises "freedom from economic factors. ..through economic factors, by means of the so-called development of productive forces." (110: p. 9) But this is a false promise. "The economic captivity of man is not a root cause but a consequence; it is called forth by the shift in man's relation to nature--the result of the sinful corruption of the human essence. Death came into the world; life became mortal, whence appeared man's fateful dependence on food and the 'forces of nature, control over which will not save him from death." (110: p. 11)
The idea of socialism was foreshadowed in Christ's first temptation. By "turning stones into bread," Christ would have become an earthly Messiah, who instead of overcoming the sinful condition of the world would have submitted to that condition. This temptation, to which a considerable part of modern mankind has yielded, constitutes the spiritual essence of socialism. But every temptation contains within itself some truth. In this case, it is a protest against human bondage to matter and the suffering that ensues from it. The positive meaning of socialism, however, is extremely limited. Bulgakov writes: "Socialism cannot be seen as a radical reform of life; it is philanthropy, or one form of it, evoked by modern life--and nothing more. The triumph of socialism would introduce nothing essential to life." (110: p. 41)
Let us now move to a consideration of these views. First of all, it seems that socialism can by no means be identified simply with a striving for justice nor with a reaction to the suffering of mankind. This is already clear from the fact that we would not need to invent a new term for such a desire: "compassion," "sympathy," "active love," are all old-fashioned words quite suitable for the definition of this
equally old aspiration. But let us assume for a moment that socialism is a definite way to achieve social justice. In that case we should be able to see numerous confirmations of this fact in the known socialist doctrines as well as in the experience of the socialist states. Since it is unquestionably true that appeals to justice and the condemnation of the defects of contemporary life occupy a central place in socialist ideology, this question must be formulated more precisely: Is the aspiration for social justice the goal and the driving force of socialism or is the appeal to this aspiration only a means to achieve some other goals? To simplify our argumentation, we exclude from our discussion the practice of socialist states. After all, if it could be shown that dreams of socialist justice have not been realized in these states, that would not in itself contradict the possibility that these dreams did inspire the participants and the leaders of socialist movements: Life has a way of deceiving the best-laid plans. But in the socialist doctrines themselves, at least, we should uncover compassion for the sufferings of the victims of injustice and the impulse to lighten their burden. Yet this is precisely what is lacking! The alleviation of suffering is set aside until the victory of the socialist ideal, and all attempts to improve life at the present time are condemned as possibly postponing the coming victory. Particularly in the modern socialist doctrines proclaiming atheism, this point of view is in no way compatible with compassion for today's victims of oppression, who will have no share in the future just society. It will be objected that striving to achieve justice in life for future generations is the very thing that inspires the followers of socialism. This point of view seems hardly plausible from a psychological point of view. Weare asked to believe that a man can be indifferent to the suffering of those around him and at the same time devote his life to the happiness of a future world he will never see.
We list below several examples illustrating the approach of socialist doctrine toward the injustice of their day.
The Cathars, whose doctrines included some elements of socialism, categorically forbade charity, in stark contrast to the theory and practice of the Catholic Church. In the Cathar sects the "faithful" were obliged to make numerous donations but only to the leadership, the "perfect." This doctrinal feature is extremely old and, consequently, is linked to the sect's fundamental precepts. We meet the same principle among the Manicheans, in the second century A.D.
The society of the Moravian Brethren is a vivid example of the strictest community of property and of all aspects of life. In the sect's voluminous writings, Christ's law of brotherly love is often mentioned, but it is never used to justify communality. On the contrary, the demand for communality is closely linked to the striving for suffering. Communality is perceived not as an expression of compassion, but as a "yoke," a voluntary cross. Communist life is a narrow path, leading through suffering to salvation.
Turning to the humanist literature, we might point to Thomas More, who gave a detailed commentary on the suffering of the poor; he condemned unjust life as a "conspiracy of the rich" and formulated a thesis, which later became popular, to the effect that criminality is in reality a crime of the unjust society. At the same time, he suggested what he thought was a more just approach: criminals should be made into slaves! Just how familiar More was with the life of the common folk is indicated by his list of idle parasites in society, in which women appear first.
The history of the socialist movement in Russia serves as another striking example. The appearance of revolutionary nihilist circles coincides exactly in time with the abolition of serfdom. The peasants were liberated in 1861. Chernyshevsky's "Appeal to the Peasants of Landowners" appeared in the same year and his "To Young Russia," where the style and spirit of the new movement were formulated, appeared in 1862. Chernyshevsky and others openly explained their antipathy to the reform of 1861 by asserting that a certain improvement in the peasants' lot might turn them from the revolutionary path. Somewhat later we have Nechayev proclaiming the following: "The government itself might at any moment come upon the idea of reducing taxes or instituting similar benefits. That would be a real misfortune, because even under the present terrible conditions the folk are slow to rise. But give them a little more pocket change, set things up even one cow better, and everything will be delayed another ten years. And all our work will be lost. On the contrary, you should use any opportunity to oppress the people, the way the contractors do, for example." (Ill: p. 137)
Apropos of the attempt to effect a socialist coup in France, Bakunin wrote: "Frenchmen themselves, even the workers, were not inspired by it; the doctrine seemed too frightening. It was, in fact, too weak. They should have suffered greater misery and disturbances. Circumstances
are coming together in such a way that there will be no shortage of that. Perhaps then the Devil will awaken." (Letter to Ogarev, 1871, 95: p. 246) This pronouncement coincides with the views contained in the writings of the Moravian Brothers: there should be no attempt to seek release from suffering since suffering is essential in achieving the supreme goal. There is of course an important difference--the Moravian Brethren saw the goal in Christ, while Bakunin uses different terminology.
Finally we come to Marxism. Despite the role that the exposure of the injustice, cruelty and inhumanity of capitalism plays in it, we can encounter quite similar views. Thus, in the article "Expose of the Cologne Trial of Communists," Marx writes: "We say to workers: you must survive fifteen, twenty, fifty years of civil war and international strife not only to change existing relations but to change yourselves and become capable of political supremacy." (3: VIII: p. 506) If we recall the cruelty and hunger which were the consequence of three years of civil war in Russia, we may imagine vaguely what those fifty years of civil war would mean--the years that the workers must survive, according to Marx. In describing the terrible living conditions of the workers of the day, Marx and Engels showed no interest in any improvement. On the contrary, they actually tried to see features of the future society in these conditions. It was impossible for the worker to have an uninterrupted family life? Well, in the future society the bourgeois family will wither away. Proletarian children were compelled to work? In the future society children would "combine education with productive labor." At a time when "bourgeois philanthropists" such as Dickens and Carlyle were fighting against child labor, the Geneva Congress of the First International adopted a resolution composed by Marx: "The Congress regards the tendency of contemporary industry to draw on the labor of children and juveniles of both sexes in the great task of social production as a progressive, sound and lawful tendency, though under the rule of capitalism it turns into a terrible evil. In a rationally organized society, each child from the age of nine ought to be a productive worker." (Cited in 112)
In the correspondence between Marx and Engels there are numerous utterances in the following vein:
"Dear Engels! I have just received your letter which brings up the very pleasant prospect of a trade crisis." (Marx to Engels, 3: XXI: p. 228)
"It would be a good thing to have a bad harvest next year in addition, and then the real fun will begin." (Engels to Marx, 3: XII: p. 249) "It's the same with me. Since the beginning of the crash in New York, I could find no rest in Jersey and feel fine amidst the general breakdown. The crisis will be as useful for my organism as the sea baths." (Engels to Marx, 3: XXII: p. 255) "There is an improved mood in the market. May this be damned!" (Engels to Marx, 3: XXII: p. 295) "Here only two or three very bad years could help, but it seems that they won't be quick to come." (Engels to Marx, 3: XXII: p. 368) "Our fatherland presents an extremely pitiful sight. Without being battered from outside, nothing can be done with these dogs." (Marx to Engels, 3: XXIII: p. 162) During World War I, Lenin wrote as follows about war: "If the war now evokes among reactionary Christian socialists and the whimpering petite bourgeoisie only horror and fright, only an aversion to any use of arms, to blood, death and so on, then we must answer that capitalist society has always been and remains a horror without end. And if now the most reactionary of all wars is preparing an end with horror to this society, we have no reason to fall into despair." (113: XXX: p. 136)
It is striking how socialist thinkers, in exposing injustice and exploitation of the people, refer so often tothese very people with contempt and even malice. For instance, Meslier wrote on the cover of his Testament: "I came to know the errors and the misdeeds, the vanity and the stupidity of the people. I hated and despised them." Describing the peasants' suffering, he wrote: "It is justly said of them that there is nothing more corrupt, more crude and more deserving of contempt." (114: p. 56) Fourier calls the same French peasants "living automatons" and adds: "In their extreme crudity, they are nearer to animals than to the human race." (97: p. 93) In a letter to Marx, Engels calls the peasants Germanic bumpkins. (3: XXI: p. 39) And the French peasants are referred to as "a barbaric race," that is "by no means interested in the form of government, etc., striving first of all to destroy the tax collector's house. ..to rape his wife and to beat him to death if they should manage to catch him." (Letter to Marx, 3: XXI: p. 312) About the workers he writes: "The masses are frightfully stupid." (Letter to Marx, 3: XXIV: p. 160) Speaking of certain unjust contracts, Marx for his part calls them "contracts to which only the completely degenerate rabble could agree." (Letter to Engels, 3: XXIV: p. 30)
Another time he exclaims: "To hell with these popular movements, especially if they are pacifist into the bargain. The Chartist movement drove O'Connor mad (have you read his last speech at the trial?) made Garny weak in the head and caused Johnson to go bankrupt. Voila Ie dernier but de la vie dans tous les mouvements populaires. " (Letter to Engels, 3: XXI: p. 328) It is possible to suggest various logical explanations for such statements, but it is absolutely improbable psychologically to consider that they are engendered by compassion for the people or by sympathy for the victims of hunger and war. And we can see that the main achievements in social justice of the last century in the West--the reduction of the working day, social insurance, an extraordinary rise in the living standard of the workers--were accomplished with very little participation on the part of socialist movements. The main factors were the struggle of the trade unions (condemned by the socialists as "economism"), increased productivity of labor due to technological progress, and the moral influence of "bourgeois philanthropy."
How, then, is socialist ideology connected with the idea of struggle for social justice? It seems that we have here two quite different approaches toward life which, nevertheless, intersect in a certain area. Their point of contact is the condemnation of social injustice and the exposure of the suffering it brings. From this starting point, they develop in two entirely different directions, one being the path of correcting social injustice, the struggle against the concrete evils of the present. The other path regards social injustice as an absolute evil, an indication that the existing world is doomed and must be completely destroyed. Sympathy for the victims of injustice is more and more squeezed out of the picture by all-consuming hatred of the existing social structure.
7. Socialism as a special religion
Bulgakov, among others, formulated this thought in the following way: "For socialism nowadays emerges not only as a natural area of social policy but usually also as a religion, one based on atheism and the deification of man and man's labor and on recognition of the elemental forces of Nature and social life and as the only meaningful principle of history." (115: p. 36) More specifically, Bulgakov believes, socialism can be seen as a rebirth of Judaic Messianism. "Karl Marx, along with Lassalle, are the pro claimers of the apocalypse in fashionable
dress, the announcers of the Messianic Kingdom." (110: p. 17; Bulgakov treats this idea in greater detail in his "Apocalyptics and Socialism," in the collection Two Cities, Volume II). Semyon Frank also calls revolutionary socialism "a religion of absolute realization of the people's happiness" and the "religion of service to material interests." Frank points to "a train of thought which unites nihilistic morality with the religion of socialism." (116: p. 192) An analogous point of view is developed by Berdiaev in the article "Marxism and Religion." Such a view was expressed occasionally by the adherents of socialism themselves, for instance, by the social democrat participants in the "God-building" [bogostroitel'stvo] tendency at the beginning of this century. Bazarov, Gorky and Lunacharsky took part in this attempt to link Marxism and religion. A book by G. Le Bon (117) is based on the same view. Among more recent works, this approach is taken, for instance, in 118.
A forceful argument can be made for this definition. For example, the religious aspects of socialism may explain the extraordinary attraction of socialist doctrines and their capacity to inflame individuals and to inspire popular movements. It is precisely these aspects of socialism which cannot be explained when socialism is regarded as a political or economic category. Socialism's pretensions to be a universal world view comprising and explaining everything (from the transformation of a liquid into steam to the appearance of Christianity) also make it akin to religion. A characteristic of religion is socialism's view of history not as a chaotic phenomenon but as an entity that has a goal, a meaning and a justification. In other words, both socialism and religion view history teleologically. Bulgakov draws our attention to numerous and far-reaching analogies between socialism (especially Marxism) and Judaic apocalyptics and eschatology. Finally, socialism's hostility toward traditional religion hardly contradicts this judgment--it may simply be a matter of animosity between rival religions.
However, all these arguments indicate only that socialism and religion have some important features in common. They do not prove that the basic traits of socialism can be reduced to a religion. And in point of fact, there are a number of cardinal distinctions that set them apart.
In the first place, religion proceeds from concrete experience: the religious feelings of people who then describe these feelings as an encounter with God. Such experiences on the part of individuals gifted
in this respect become fixed and are passed on to others in the form of a cult, of a tradition and of theological literature. It would be of great interest if it could be established that similar experiences lie at the root of socialist philosophy, but we hear nothing of the kind. And this in itself is a clear objective difference between the socialist world view and religion. For even if such experiences do occur within socialism, those to whom it is accessible categorically deny the fact. The most prominent representatives of socialist ideology either adhere to a rational outlook (in recent centuries) or profess some other, nonsocialist religion (earlier). An even more radical contrast between socialism and religion emerges from their views of the essence of man and his role in their respective "anthropologies." All religions proceed from a recognition of some higher meaning in life, some goal deriving from a higher sphere. Presupposing the existence of God and the possibility of man's communication with Him, religion thereby admits a certain commensurability between God and man, which is indispensable if only to make possible some sort of contact. (An ant, for instance, cannot enter into contact with man.) Socialism, on the other hand, proceeds in almost all its manifestations from the assumption that the basic principles guiding the life of an individual and of mankind in general do not go beyond the satisfaction of material needs or primitive instincts. What is more, this view becomes more explicit, the more clearly formulated the given socialist ideology. Below, we shall cite several illustrations of this tendency.
With Plato, justice was still among the basic organizing principles in the ideal state. The ideology of medieval heresies included spiritual goals, although they generally set God and the world at such odds that the earthly activity of man came to be devoid of any higher meaning. But More recognized (or more precisely, he wrote that the Utopians recognized) satisfaction as the supreme goal in life. Still, More does believe that a reasonable man can refuse lesser satisfactions in order to receive greater ones from God. However, this line of reasoning Soon brings us to Fourier's doctrine, according to which the satisfaction of instincts (or as he puts it, passions) is the only goal and even the basic force shaping human society.
According to Fourier, all instincts are equally fruitful and useful for society--it is only necessary to combine them and direct them in the proper way: "There is not a single useless or bad passion; all personalities
are good as they are." (97: p. 292) "Passions, whatever they might be--even the most repulsive--both in man and in animals, lead to their various consequences according to geometrical principles observed by God." (97: p. 60) As a result, citizens who are most useful to the societal mechanism are those "who are most inclined to refined pleasures and who boldly give themselves up to the satisfaction of their passions." (97: p. 292) The future "combined" social structure is built along the same lines: "In the eighteen communities of the combined structure, the trait that is the most useful for the triumph of truth is love of wealth." (97: p. 95) "The whole arrangement of the combined structure will be the direct opposite of our habits and will compel the encouragement of everything we call vice, for instance, the passion for sweets and the pleasures of love." (97: p. 96) The moral principles restricting freedom of expression of instincts are harmful. In particular, there is nothing so harmful as the sense of duty invented by philosophers. "All these philosophical whims called duty have nothing to do with truth; duty proceeds from people, while attraction proceeds from God. If you want to recognize God's intentions, study attraction, only nature, and do not accept duty." (97: p. 98) The functioning of society is to be ensured by placing people in situations in which what is advantageous for them will be for the benefit of all. At this point even the most dishonest man will become a useful member of society. "Show him that he can earn a thousand écus by lying and three thousand by the truth, and he will prefer the truth no matter what a cheat he is." (97: p. 96)
It is revealing, however, that Fourier refuses to recognize the existence of clearly instinctive attractions if they engender acts which do not fit an egoistic framework. For instance, he never speaks about love as such but only about the "delights of love" or about "amorousness." He considers the feelings of parent for child and child for parent to be mere invention. "Since he does not know the 'act' that is at the basis of his paternity, the child cannot experience filial feelings." Parents, for their part, love only "the recollection of past delights connected with conception." A child cannot feel "indebted to parents to whom he has given so much delight unshared by him, delight of which people want to deprive him at the best time of his life." (97: p. 100)
It is possible to consider Fourier as an immediate predecessor of Freud: in his striving to understand man and human society in the
light of the most primitive instincts, in a pathological underdevelopment of the emotional sphere which prevents any appreciation for the higher aspects of the human psyche, in the hypertrophied role he ascribes to relations between the sexes. (According to Fourier, even economics ought to be based on attracting young people into labor armies by the prospect of love affairs; in this way huge industrial building projects could be carried out.) Of course, Fourier's mythological construct describing the cooperation of man and the cosmos finds no continuation in Freud's works. (As we shall see below, Freud had his own mythology.) But while Fourier, with the infantilism so characteristic of him, sees amid "the passions we call vices" nothing more terrible than "passion for sweets and the delights of love," Freud goes much further. Among the forces to which he attempts to reduce culture and the spiritual life of man, Freud does not bypass either malice or lust for domination, destruction or the death wish. He considers all culture to be based on the suppression of the instincts--the deepest part of the human psyche, which strives to act according to the "pleasure principle." Unhappiness, in Freud's view, is a necessary cost for civilization. Happiness does not fall within the range of cultural values. Moral norms, elaborated by that part of the psyche that is of later, cultural, origin, are factors which are destructive and mortally dangerous to the organism. Freud compares morals with products of decay which are manufactured by a cell and then become the cause of its death. The next episode in the history of socialist doctrine after Fourier--Marxism--was based on analogous concepts of human personality. Dividing all human activity into "base" and "superstructure," Marxism assigned to the "base" that mode of production "from which, by force of inner dialectics and immanent laws, a social and state system is derived with all its legal, philosophical and religious views." In an even more striking formulation, Marxism proclaimed that this superstructure is "given" by the hand or steam mill. The mechanism by which the base creates a superstructure is held to be the struggle of material and economic interests (that is, egotism in the form of the class struggle). In its more general views of man, Marxism denies the freedom of will and any independent spiritual life or consciousness, the last being determined by one's "social existence." In the preface to the first volume of Capital, Marx wrote: "For me the ideal principle is a material one that has passed through the brain."
Still, the negation of the higher aspects of human existence in Marxism is not as radical as it is in the movement given shape by Fourier and later developed by Freud. Marxism sees the basic stimulus of human life and the explanation of the riddle of history in man's baser actions, but nevertheless in human activity and even in activity that unites people in a "social existence." Freud, however, reduces mankind to a still lower, purely biological level. While Marxism proclaims the division of human society into antagonistic classes (at least throughout recorded history), Freud strives to accomplish the same stratification in the human personality. He singles out the most ancient and the most extensive area--the id, the unconscious--which functions exclusively according to the pleasure principle, outside any notion of time or contradiction. There is no distinction here between good and evil, no morality or any other kind of value, save pleasure. Under the influence of the external world a derivative area--the ego--is formed, and from this, in turn, the superego takes shape under the influence of social factors. Here we can observe (under the name of suppression or repressive organization) the same exploitation and oppression in which Marxism sees the basic factor of social life. Freud compares the role of the areas of the psyche created under the influence of civilization to that part of the population which "seized power and exploits the rest of the population for its own profit. The fear of an uprising of the oppressed becomes the source of more severe measures." (Civilization and Its Discontents) In particular, sexuality, which has for the id the sole aim of deriving pleasure from different parts of the body, is forcibly subordinated to the function of childbearing and is transferred exclusively to the genitalia. Subconsciously the organism retains a recollection of the ideal condition of unlimited rule of the pleasure principle (cf. pre-class society) and attempts to break out of bondage. The ego and superego create in response the concept of morality and classify such attempts as "perversion" or "amoral actions." This results in a civilization where labor brings no satisfaction and instead becomes a source of unhappiness, a civilization which inevitably breeds suffering. One may add to this picture the conception of history as a traumatic reaction to an ancient crime--the murder of the father, the leader of a primitive band.
It might seem that Freud has distracted us from the main task of sketching the concept of human personality in socialist ideology. In fact it would have been a miracle if systems like those of Freud, so
close to the views elaborated by socialist thinkers (Fourier and Marx), had not been incorporated into the socialist world view. No miracle occurred: the attempt to achieve a synthesis of Freudianism with socialist concepts (called "neo-Marxism" or "neo-Freudianism") became the biggest event in the development of socialist ideology in the post-World War II years; it had a very strong ideological impact on socialist trends that took shape during this time. In this regard Marcuse's book (119) stands out as the most consistent and vivid attempt to achieve such a synthesis. Freud's system is skeptical and pessimistic; he considered suffering and mental diseases to be the inevitable cost of civilization, which in its turn is more and more undermined by elements of the psyche that have broken away from its control. Marcuse, in contrast, undertakes to alter this view so that its pessimistic evaluation is directed only against modern society. Furthermore, he adds the prediction of a future "liberation." To do this, he divides the suppression to which the instincts are subjected into two parts: the repression that inevitably comes from the objective claims of the external world on each organism and another type, which is caused by the striving of certain groups of individuals to attain privileged positions in society. The second form of repression he calls surplus-repression, and he considers the excessive burden that this factor imposes on the human psyche to be a peculiarity of modern civilization. Included in surplus-repression by Marcuse are the following: the necessity of work that does not bring direct satisfaction and whose reward appears in the form of ever more delayed pleasure; the repressive role of genital sexuality and the suppression of more primitive forms of libido, which permit the whole body to be the instrument of pleasure; the dominant role of reason, which subjects all life to itself; the transformation of science and religion into a means of the total mobilization of man; the control exercised by such categories as "conscience" and "morality" over man's inner world. Surplus-repression is directly connected to the fact that the demands of society are not satisfied collectively and in accordance with individual needs but are organized by the dominant part of society.
Marcuse is in agreement with Freud that repression is the necessary price for survival, but he asserts that surplus-repression with all its consequences may be overcome with the help of the latest achievements in technology. Without going into the details of this process
(as a rule, one word is used: "automation"), Marcuse draws a picture of a future unrepressed society. It is based on the liberation of the instincts from the control of "repressive reason." This will lead to regression, in comparison to the level of civilization and reason that had been achieved: "It would reactivate early stages of the libido which were surpassed in the development of the reality ego, and it would dissolve the institutions of society in which the reality ego exists." (119: p. 198) "The regression involved in this spread of the libido would first manifest itself in a reactivation of all erotogenic zones and, consequently, in a resurgence of pregenital polymorphous sexuality and in a decline of genital supremacy." (119: p. 201) The body as a whole will become an instrument of satisfaction. "This change in the value and scope of libidinal relations would lead to a disintegration of the institutions in which the private interpersonal relations have been organized, particularly the monogamic and patriarchal family." (119: p. 201) Reason, which is the instrument of the ego, will to a large extent give way to fantasy connected with the id. And this will open up new' ways to understand the future; it will reveal the reality of the possibilities formerly perceived only as elements of a utopia. The liberation of sexual instincts will lead to the development of "libidinal rationality," which will show the way to a higher form of free civilization. The satisfaction of needs understood in an ever wider sense will become possible without heavy--i.e., alienating--work. Working relations will be simultaneously libidinal relations. "For example, if work were accompanied by a reactivation of pregenital polymorphous eroticism, it would tend to become gratifying in itself without losing its work content." (119: p. 215) On the other hand, work will become play, "a free play of human faculties." (119: p. 214) In a later work (4), Marcuse speaks about "play with automation." Here he considers it essential to correct Marx, who was not bold enough, and to adhere to Fourier.
Marcuse speaks here of the end of culture in the old sense of the word: "It would still be a reversal of the process of civilization, a subversion of culture--but after culture had done its work and created the mankind and the world that could be free." (119: p. 198) The essence of this upheaval Marcuse describes in poetic terms by juxtaposing Prometheus, the hero of repressive culture, with the heroes of his own New World--Orpheus and Narcissus. He ends as follows: "The classical tradition associates Orpheus with the introduction of homosexuality.
Like Narcissus, he rejects the normal Eros, not for an ascetic ideal, but for a fuller Eros. Like Narcissus he protests against the repressive order of procreative sexuality. The Orphic and Narcissistic Eros is to the end the negation of this order--the Great Refusal. In the world symbolized by the culture hero Prometheus, it is the negation of all order; but in this negation Orpheus and Narcissus reveal a new reality, with an order of its own, governed by different principles." (119: p. 171) The most active socialist current of recent times, the New Left, proved to be extraordinarily receptive to Marcuse's teaching and was to a considerable extent influenced by it. Marcuse's basic propositions are closely paralleled in the slogans of this movement and serve as their theoretical foundation. For instance, the liberation of sexual instincts finds expression in the "sexual revolution," and the suppression of repressive reason is demonstrated in the "psychedelic revolution," that is, in the mass use of hallucinogens. Even ostentatious slovenliness can be theoretically justified, for according to the theory, ego and superego suppress the instincts connected with the sense of smell and enforce the perception of strong smells as "disgusting." (Furthermore, the dominant classes associate garbage with the lower classes, which are perceived negatively as "the dregs of society.") These views also serve as a theoretical basis for "left art," which fosters the idea of "anti-cultural" (or "cultural") revolution, of the destruction of "repressive" or "stifling" culture, up to and including a heightened interest (in both literature and ,art) in garbage and excrement as means of "exploding bourgeois culture."
We provided several examples to illustrate the "anthropology of socialism." Had we considered other developed socialist theories in this connection (for instance, Deschamps's system), we would have been obliged to come to the same conclusion, namely, that socialist ideology seeks to reduce human personality to its most primitive, lowest levels and, in each epoch, relies upon the most radical "criticism of man" available. For that reason, the concepts of man in socialism and in religion are diametrically opposed.
So that if socialism is a religion, it must be recognized as a quite special religion, different in principle from all others and antithetical to them in many basic questions. (How else are we to understand Bulgakov's statement that socialism is "a religion based on atheism"?)
Otherwise it would be necessary to expand the definition of religion to the point where it would have no meaning at all. 8. Socialism is the consequence of atheism, the conclusion to which atheism leads in the field of social relations.
Dostoyevsky expressed this view with particular clarity, and his comments deserve special consideration. The majority of the thinkers of the nineteenth century completely overlooked the spiritual crisis of their time, which paved the way for the triumph of socialism in our day. Dostoyevsky was one of the few who saw clearly that mankind would not follow the path of liberalism, humanism and progress, and that terrible calamities awaited it in the not too distant future. He foresaw that socialism was destined to play the central role in the future tribulations of mankind, and most of his works touch upon various aspects of the problem. We shall here limit ourselves to what can be found on the subject in his essays appearing in The Diary of a Writer. Here are some of his views:
"French socialism, that is, the assuaging and the arrangement of human society without Christ and outside Christ. .." (1877, January, Chapter 1) "For socialism sets itself the task of solving the fate of mankind, not according to Christ but outside God and outside Christ, and it was natural for it to arise in Europe, on the ruins of the Christian principle in proportion to the degree that this had become degenerate and lost in the Catholic Church itself." (1877, February, Chapter 3) "When Catholic humanity turned away from the monstrous image in which Christ was presented to them, then after many centuries of protests. ..there finally appeared, at the beginning of this century, attempts to arrange things outside God and outside Christ. Without the instincts of bees or ants that create their beehives and ant hills faultlessly and precisely, people undertook to create something like a faultless human ant hill. They rejected the formula for salvation which proceeds from God and was revealed as 'Love thy neighbor as thyself' and replaced it by practical conclusions such as 'chacun pour soi et Dieu pour tous' or by scientific axioms such as 'the struggle for existence.' Lacking the instincts of animals. ..people placed great confidence in science, forgetting that for a task like the creation of society, science was still in its infancy. Dreams appeared. The future tower of Babel became the ideal and, on the other hand, the fear of all mankind. But the visionaries were soon followed by other doctrines,
simple and to the point, such as 'rob the rich, drown the world in blood and then everything will somehow arrange itself.' " (1877, November, Chapter 3) There are two essential points here. First, socialism is seen as the natural consequence of the decline of religion (Dostoyevsky has in mind socialism in Western Europe and the decline of Catholicism). Socialism is in this sense that which remains of the spiritual structure of mankind if the link with God is lost.
Second, socialism aims at organizing human society according to new principles which are compared to the instinctive actions of insect societies.
It appears to us that the second idea is in complete accordance with all the known facts about socialism, and later we shall try to specify the attitude of socialism toward the forces that shape human society.
As far as the first point is concerned, it is certainly true that socialism is hostile to religion. But is it possible to understand it as a consequence of atheism? Hardly, at least if we understand atheism as it is usually defined: as the loss of religious feeling. It is not clear just how such a negative concept can become the stimulus for an active attitude toward the world (its destruction or alteration) or how it can be the source of the infectiousness of socialist doctrines. Furthermore, socialism's attitude toward religion does not at all resemble the indifferent and skeptical position of someone who has lost interest in religion. The term "atheism" is inappropriate for the description of people in the grip of socialist doctrines. It would be more correct to speak here not of "atheists" but of "God-haters," not of "atheism" but of "theophobia." Such, certainly, is the passionately hostile attitude of socialism toward religion. Thus, while socialism is certainly connected with the loss of religious feeling, it can hardly be reduced to it. The place formerly occupied by religion does not remain vacant; a new lodger appeared. This is the only true source of the active principle of socialism, and the aspect which determines the historical role of this phenomenon.
We may draw the following conclusion from our critical survey: Socialism can apparently not be reduced to familiar social categories. The very abundance of such attempts points to the futility of such an exercise.
The Embodiment of
the Socialist Ideal
In the light of the preceding section, two possibilities remain: either socialism is a fundamental historical force irreducible to other factors, or it is a manifestation of forces which up till now have not received sufficient attention. Our basic goal is a discussion of these alternatives. To prepare the ground for it, we shall try to look at the entire question from a new perspective. If earlier we attempted to specify what the various manifestations of socialism have in common, we shall now try to dissect this phenomenon into its elements in order to observe their interrelations and to evaluate the role of each element in the evolution of socialism.
The starting point for such an analysis is the observation with which we began the present study: Socialism manifests itself in life in two forms--as a doctrine (chiliastic socialism) and as a state system (state socialism). These forms differ so significantly that a question arises as to whether their content is in fact the same. Is it proper to categorize them as a single historical phenomenon? For example, the demand for destruction of the family, which in chiliastic socialism so often takes the more radical form of community of wives, has been realized in practice only in narrow circles: the gnostic sects described by Epiphanes, among the Brethren of the Free Spirit or in contemporary Berlin's "Commune No.1." But we are not aware of any instance of this principle's implementation on the level of state policy. The same is true of another aspect of the abolition of the family--the break-up of ties between children and parents, with state upbringing of all children from the earliest age.
We shall begin with a discussion of this question. We shall argue that chiliastic and state socialism are two embodiments of one and the same ideal. Later, the role of these two forms in the historical evolution of socialism will be examined.
It would be natural to ascribe the difference between the doctrines of chiliastic socialism and the practice of state socialism to the fact that the former have as their aim the destruction of an existing social order and the establishment of a new one, while the latter aims to preserve an already existing social order. In this case, the specific features of chili as tic socialism which call for the destruction of the family could be considered tactical devices designed to disrupt the hostile system or to arouse fanaticism. It follows that after the establishment of a new order, these devices are no longer needed and can be discarded. They must therefore not be taken into consideration in a discussion of socialism's practical goals. Any argument about the fundamental difference between chiliastic and state socialism would probably follow such a pattern.
This point of view seems to us to be unconvincing a priori and devoid of inner logic. So gigantic a movement as socialism cannot in principle be based on a deception. For all their superficial demagoguery, these movements are honest at bottom--they proclaim their fundamental principles clearly for all to hear (except those who consciously try not to hear). And those propositions of socialist ideology which we formulated in chapter VI appear so consistently over such a vast period of time that they obviously are to be taken as fundamental principles. Moreover, they are often expressed in writing not by the leaders of popular movements but by abstract thinkers such as Plato and Campanella, whom it is hard to suspect of demagogic effects and who evidently produced the entire complex of basic socialist notions in response to the inner logic of this world view.
Below, we shall bring forward a number of specific arguments to support our contention. However, we must not forget that considerable differences in the spirit of socialist doctrines and the practice of socialist states are inevitable. We may speak only about the coincidence in principle of the ideals proclaimed in each case. The leader of a popular socialist movement and the representative of a socialist state have to deal with different practical tasks. The more radical and striking is the form in which the former expresses his ideal, the more accessible and effective his ideas will be. But the latter must contend with many
real and complex difficulties, which limit the possibility of enacting his ideology in a consistent fashion and which may even threaten the very existence of his state. One of the typical limitations imposed by reality is the necessity of contact with other, differently organized societies. Isolation is posited as a basic condition for the existence of a socialist state in the majority of the socialist utopian writings. More, Campanella, Vairasse and many others placed their utopias on remote islands. Vairasse, for example, makes the special reservation that only the most reliable Sevarites may go on "errands" to the outer world and they are permitted to do so only on the condition that their families remain behind as hostages. The organizers of the "Conspiracy of Equals" suggested that France should be surrounded by "spiked hedges" after the victory. The stability of the Jesuit state, to a marked degree, depended on its isolation. The unexpectedly high level of the crafts among the Guarani, in the context of a generally primitive level of life, apparently was a result of an attempt to make the country independent of the outside world. On the other hand, the breakdown of isolation permitted a handful of Spanish adventurers to destroy the Inca empire. Is not this difficulty reflected in the vexed problem of "building socialism in one country"? Engels once' answered this question most categorically: "Nineteenth question. Can the revolution take place in one country? Answer. No." (3: V: p. 476) Thanks to this factor alone, a socialist state that is not sufficiently isolated is forced to forgo the most radical elements of the ideal. And the contrary also holds: when the socialist movement is on the ascent, taking control in more and more areas and holding out the promise of the destruction of the old system in the entire world, the socialist states prove to be much more radical in their practical activity. From this point of view, the epoch of "War Communism" in postrevolutionary Russia is extremely interesting for an understanding of the peculiarities of socialist ideology; the impulses aroused then, in the hope of world revolution (or at least a European revolution), continued to be prominent until the middle of the twenties. We shall cite a necessarily limited number of examples to show how the realization of socialist principles was conceived at the time.
The term "War Communism" itself is misleading; it is not at all a description of the measures dictated by wartime needs (as was suggested, for example, in Stalin's Questions of Leninism). In fact, at the time this policy was being implemented (1918-1921), the term "War
Communism" was not used at all. It came into being later, together with the notion that this policy was conceived as temporary and was forced upon the Soviet regime by events. In a series of speeches in 1921-1922, Lenin characterized the policy of the preceding three years as something consciously undertaken that had perhaps gone too far. He compared it with the storming of a fortress: if this tactic would not bring victory, it should be replaced by a systematic siege. For example: "Regarding our preceding economic policy, although it cannot be said to have been planned (in such situations one calculates little), it nevertheless assumed that there would be an immediate transition from the old Russian economy to state production and to distribution based on Communist principles." In Lenin's opinion, it was a necessary experiment which forced the transition to a new policy of "state capitalism," which, albeit still in vague form, had been considered as early as 1918 as a possible line of retreat. (See Lenin's "NEP and the Tasks of Political Enlightenment," "The Report on NEP at the VIIth Moscow Regional Party Conference," and "Five Years of the Russian Revolution and the Prospects for World Revolution.") There were many similar statements by numerous leaders of the state. In addition, the fact that the most radical measures in implementing the policies associated with War Communism were taken in the spring of 1920 and the winter of 1920-1921--when there was no military action going on--leads to the conclusion that the policy of the day was not necessitated by the Civil War but had been motivated by general theoretical considerations.
Let us take up a more detailed discussion of the policy in question.
All industry was nationalized, including the smallest operation. Everything was "supercentralized," subordinated to Central Boards (Glavki) in which separate plants were deprived of any economic independence. In agriculture, the proclaimed goal was the most radically conceived form of collectivization. The decree of the Central Executive Committee issued on March 1, 1919, reads as follows: "All aspects of individual land use should be regarded as transient and dying forms." rOn the Socialist Use of Land and on Measures for the Transition to , Socialist Agriculture") The preferred form of organization of peasant labor was the commune. For example, in another section of the same
decree, state farms and communes are listed first among the priorities in the regulation of land allotments. In a resolution "On the Collectivization of Agriculture" (adopted by the All-Russian Congress of Land Sections [Zemotdely]), it is stated that "the main task is large-scale organization of agricultural communes, of Soviet Communist farms and of the public cultivation of land, all of which will inevitably lead to a unified Communist organization of agriculture." In the commune, as a rule, all means of production were socialized--buildings, instruments, livestock, land, etc., as well as consumption and services. What life was supposed to be like may be gleaned from stories about model communes published, during NEP, in Izvestia's regular section called "Competition for the Best Collective Farm." For example: "No one has his own money; all money is kept in the general treasury." (September 11, 1923) Some members live in separate houses and take their meals separately, but when a new building is ready "everything individual will be done away with." (September 5, 1923) In another commune, there is a dormitory, a common dining hall and kitchen. "Work and meals are announced by bells." (September 8, 1923) People eat in public cafeterias and live in a dormitory, where each family has its own room. "Children still live with their parents, going out only by day to the kindergarten. It is only due to the absence of bedding that children cannot be interned separately." (September 11, 1923) "Children under school age live and eat separately."
Agricultural products were delivered to the state according to the "surplus appropriation system," at prices dozens of times lower than those paid on the black market. In other words, products were taken for practically nothing. The Soviet Encyclopedia puts it quite delicately: "The economic relations of the town and the country were essentially one-sided in character." In other areas, too, requisitions and confiscation were regulated. A decree of the Council of People's Commissars (SNK) from April 16, 1920, allows the Presidium of the VSNKh (Supreme Council of the People's Economy) and The People's Commissariat of Produce to carry out requisition and confiscation directly as well as through local organizations. Another of the SNK's decrees (December 4, 1920) sanctions free distribution of foodstuffs to the population (more accurately, to those groups of the population that were being supplied with foodstuffs). Frequently, the complete abolition of money was formulated as an immediate aim of economic policy. Yu. Larin,
head of the department of financial policy of the VSNKh wrote: "And now, after a few years of effort on the part of the victorious proletariat, the thousand-year-old foundations of the commodity production system are collapsing like a house of cards. When our children grow up, money will be nothing but a memory, and our grandchildren will learn about it only from the colored pictures in history books." (Pravda, October 17, 1920, "The Transformation of Everyday Life") In an article by L. Obolensky in The People's Economy (published by VSNKh), we read: "At the present time in Soviet Russia, a system of moneyless accounts is the first step toward the abolition of money relations in general." (No. 1-2, 1920) "Naturalization of the economy" became a commonly used term, derived from the phrase platit' naturoi--"to pay in kind." Pravda states: "The tendency to the general naturalization of our economy must be consciously undertaken by us with all possible energy." (February 14, 1920) 2. The Organization of Labor
Let us recall that Marx and Engels themselves recommended the following measure, among others to be carried out immediately after the socialist revolution: "Identical duties regarding work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially in agriculture." (3: V: p. 502)
In a note called "Ten Theses on Soviet Power" which was presented to the Seventh Party Congress, Lenin formulated the task thus: "A quick beginning of the complete realization of general labor conscription, with a careful and gradual extension of it to the small peasants living on their own without hired labor." (113: XXXVI: p. 74) This idea was developed in great detail somewhat later.
At the Ninth Party Congress, Trotsky proposed a system of militarization under which workers and peasants would be in the position of mobilized soldiers. The plan set forth in Trotsky's report is worth considering in more detail.
He begins with an attack on Smirnov, whose position he formulates as follows:
"Insofar as we have begun a wider mobilization of the peasant masses in the name of tasks requiring extensive application of labor, militarization is becoming mandatory. We mobilize the peasantry and from this mobilized work force we form labor detachments that resemble military units. We supply commanders and instruction staff. We
must include Communist cells so that these units are not soulless, but are inspired by the will to work. This amounts to a close approximation of military structure. The word 'militarization' is appropriate here, but Comrade Smirnov says that when we enter the field of industry, the field of skilled labor where there are professional and production organizations of the working class, there is no need to apply the military apparatus for the formation of units--militarization in this sense is out of the question. The trade unions will fulfill the task of organizing labor. Such an approach to the question reveals a complete lack of understanding of the essence of the economic changes that are taking place at the present." (120: p. 92) Trotsky's point of view, as expressed in his report, comes to this: "In the military there is an appropriate mechanism which is set in motion to make soldiers fulfill their duty. This ought to be introduced in one form or another in the labor area. It is clear that if we wish to speak seriously of a planned economy that is directed from the center by a single design, where the work force is distributed in accordance with an economic plan at a given stage of development, this work force cannot be nomadic Russia. It must be capable of being moved quickly, of being given tasks and commanded just as soldiers are." (120: p. 93) "This sort of militarization is unthinkable without the militarization of the trade unions as such, without the establishment of a regime under which each worker feels he is a soldier of labor who cannot freely arrange his life. If there is an order for him to be transferred, he ought to obey it, and if he does not, he will be considered a deserter who must be punished." (120: p. 94) Trotsky even puts forward a theory in this regard: "Those arguments which were directed against the organization of a labor army are wholly directed against the socialist organization of the economy in our transitional period. If we take at face value the old bourgeois prejudice--or, to put it more precisely, an old bourgeois axiom which has become a prejudice, about forced labor being unproductive--then we must apply this not only to a labor army but to labor conscription as a whole, to the foundation of our economic plan and therefore to socialist organization in general." (120: p. 97) "If labor is organized according to an incorrect principle, according to the principle of compulsion, if compulsion is hostile to the productivity of labor, then we are doomed to economic decline no matter how much we dodge and shift. But this is a prejudice, comrades! The assertion that free labor, freely hired labor is more productive than forced labor was undoubtedly correct when applied
to the feudal and bourgeois systems.. ..But the development of labor productivity prepared for the shift from a capitalist economy to a new Communist economy, and to apply to this colossal historic change that which was correctly applied to the old situation means to remain within the framework of bourgeois and philistine prejudices. We say: it is not true that compulsory labor is unproductive under any and all circumstances and conditions." (120: p. 98) Trotsky developed the same thoughts in greater detail in his book directed against Kautsky. (121) Once again we encounter the idea of militarization, labor armies and the theory according to which forced labor under conditions created by the dictatorship of the proletariat will be more productive than free labor. Trotsky supports this conception by means of the following significant analogy: "Even serfdom was, under certain circumstances, progressive and led to an increase in the productivity of labor." (121: p. 119)
The question was posed on a more theoretical plane by Bukharin. (102) Noneconomic compulsion is presented here not as a measure necessitated by the war but as an organic feature of the transition from capitalism to socialism. In Chapter 10, entitled "Extra-Economic Compulsion in the Period of Transition," we read: "In regard to the non-kulak peasant mass, compulsion on the part of the proletariat is an instance of the class struggle, insofar as the peasant is a proprietor and a speculator." As it turns out, the question has a more elevated aspect: "From a broader point of view, proletarian compulsion in all its forms, from execution by shooting to labor conscription, is--no matter how paradoxical this sounds--a method for the elaboration of Communist humanity from the human material of the capitalist epoch." (102: p. 146)
These constructs were far from being pure theory. General labor conscription was actually announced. Instead of passports, which had been abolished, working papers were introduced for the entire work force. In Moscow and Petro grad, anyone venturing out on the street was obliged to have his working papers with him. By the time of the introduction of NEP (1921), eight labor armies had been organized.
Practical actions as well as theoretical considerations in this field were based on Marxist theory, as set forth in its most complete form in Engels' book The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State.
Engels had the following view of the contemporary family: "Monogamy arose from the concentration of great riches in a single hand--that of the man--and from the need to bequeath these riches to the children of that man and not of any other." (3: XVI: p. 56) About the future of the family he says: "With the transfer of the means of production into common ownership, the individual family ceases to be an economic unit of society. Private housekeeping is transformed into a social industry. The care and education of children become a public affair; society looks after all children equally, whether they are born in or out of wedlock." (3: XVI: p. 57) It would seem that since the family is deprived of all social functions, it must inevitably disappear, at least from the point of view of historical materialism. The Communist Manifesto does in fact proclaim the abolition of the "bourgeois family." What, then, will replace it? The answers to that question in the classic writings of Marxism are strikingly ambiguous. We have already pointed out the passage in the Manifesto where the authors, in speaking about the accusation that Communists wish to introduce communality of wives, clearly avoid rejecting this explicitly. In another document used by Marx in writing the Manifesto ("Proceedings of the German Workers' Self-Education Society") we read: "Question 20: Will communality of wives be proclaimed together with the abolition of private property? Answer: Absolutely not. We shall interfere in the private relations between man and woman only to the degree that these relations disrupt the new social order. We know very well that family relations have been subjected to change in the course of history, depending on the phase of development of property, and because of this the very abolition of private property will have a most decisive influence." (Quoted in 112)
Here again, it is impossible to comprehend what it is that the author so decisively rejects--the fact that communality of wives will occur or merely the fact that it would be "proclaimed" and introduced through the interference of society.
In The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, a work written in the least radical period of his activities, Engels asserts of the future: "Far from disappearing, monogamy will then on the contrary be fully realized for the first time." (3: XVI: p. 57) But in what way, if its economic preconditions have disappeared? Answer: "Here a new factor comes into play. ..individual sex-love." (3: XVI: p. 57) But one waits in vain for a materialistic analysis of this "factor"
from the founder of historical materialism. It is not a biological category because: "Before the Middle Ages individual sex-love was out of the question." (?!) (3: XVI: p. 58) Then perhaps we should expect an explanation in the spirit of the "base" and the "superstructure," so as to show how this "factor" is "given" by the hand mill! But instead, the author only points mysteriously to adultery as a source of sexual love--i.e., to a factor which could be ascribed to production relationships only with great difficulty. To add to the confusion, Engels speaks, in a note at the end of the book, with sympathy of Fourier's "brilliant critique of civilization": "I only note that already in Fourier's writings, monogamy and property in land are treated as the chief characteristics of civilization." (3: XVI: p. 153) It is not surprising that these general principles were interpreted in a multitude of ways in the early postrevolutionary years. But there is one thing that unites most of the views current then--the attitude toward the family as an institution opposed to the party, the class or the state, and therefore dangerous. Here are some examples:
"The frequent conflicts between the interests of the family and that of the class, as for example during strikes, and the moral standard that is used by the proletariat in these cases characterize the basis of the new proletarian ideology with sufficient clarity. ...To the detriment of individual happiness, to the detriment of the family, the morality of the working class will demand the participation of women in the life unfolding beyond the threshold of the house." (122: p. 59) "From the moment the family begins to oppose itself to society, enclosing itself in the narrow circle of purely domestic interests, it begins to playa conservative role in the whole social structure of life. This sort of family we are certainly obliged to destroy." (123: p. 156) "The spirit of solidarity, comradeship, readiness to give oneself up to the common cause is well developed wherever the exclusionary family does not exist. This has been carefully taken into account by the leaders of almost all large social movements. ...Under the socialist system, when there will no longer be a domestic household and children will be brought up by society from the day of their birth, other forms of the union of the sexes rather than the family will undoubtedly come into being." (124: p. 12) "In future socialist society, where the obligation for the upbringing, education and maintenance of children will be ,shifted from the parents to society as a whole, it is clear that the family must wither away." (125: p. 121) "It makes little sense for us to strive
for an especially stable family and to regard marriage from that angle." (126: p. 26) The practical conclusions derived from this general tendency varied sharply. Aleksandra Kollontai called for the spread of free love with a frequent change of sexual partners: "For the working class, greater 'fluidity,' less rigidity in the union of the sexes completely coincides with and even follows from the basic tasks of this class." (122: p. 59) In the play Love of the Worker Bees and the article "Make Way for Winged Eros!" she developed these propositions vividly. Lenin objected (see Klara Tsetkin's "On Lenin"), as did Solts, who writes: "A disorderly sex life undoubtedly weakens anyone as a fighter." rOn Party Ethics") On the other hand, M. N. Liadov (pseudonym of Mandelshtam, a Bolshevik who had been one of the earliest members of the Social Democratic Party) called for the abolition of the upbringing of children within the family. "Is it possible to bring up collective man in an individual family? To this we must give a categorical response: No, a collectively thinking child may be brought up only in a social environment.. ..Every conscientious father and mother must say: If we want our child to be liberated from that philistinism which is present in each of us, he must be isolated from ourselves. ...The sooner the child is taken from his mother and given over to a public nursery, the greater is the guarantee that he will be healthy." (127: pp. 25-27)
Let us recall here the reference cited above on the "interning of children" in communes.
Finally, extensive state interference in family relations was proposed and justified on historic grounds: "Wherever the state held control over all economic resources, as in ancient Peru, it attempted to control the contracting of marriage as well as the family life of man and wife." (124: p. 12) Radical eugenic measures also were proposed, for example: "We have every reason to assume that under socialism childbearing will be removed from the realm of nature." This dubious consolation is offered: "But this, I repeat, is the only aspect of marriage that, in our opinion, socialist society may control." (128: p. 450)
Preobrazhensky, who was extremely influential at the time, wrote: "From the socialist point of view, it is quite senseless for a separate member of society to look on his body as his own private property, for an individual is only an isolated point in the transition of the race from past to future. But it is ten times more senseless to view one's
'own' progeny that way." The author recognizes "a full and unconditional right of society to introduce regulation, including interference in sexual life for the improvement of the race through natural selection." ("About Moral and Class Norms," cited in 112) And occasionally the problem was phrased even more radically than in any of the examples above. For instance, a unit of the Young Communist League at the Liudinov factory in Briansk adopted the following resolution concerning a report "On Sexual Intercourse": "We must not avoid sexual intercourse. If there is no sexual intercourse, there will be no human society." (123: p. 168)
Practice, of course, lagged behind ideology. But a number of measures were taken, which, though less far-reaching than theoretical pronouncements, nevertheless pointed in the same direction. The legal formalities in contracting and breaking a marriage were greatly liberalized; registration was regarded merely as one of the means to confirm marriage. "Registration is a survival of old bourgeois relations, and it will ultimately cease to exist." (A speech by Larin, 126: p. 210)
Divorce was granted upon the request of either party. Paternity was ascertained on the basis of the mother's claim: "Our legal practice ...placed responsibility on all the defendants [laughter], giving the woman the opportunity of recovering something from each. ...The court, as a general rule, will be guided by the indications of the plaintiff: whoever is indicated by the plaintiff will be recognized by the court as the father [laughter]." (From a speech by People's Commissar of Justice Kursky, 126: pp. 232-233)
New dwellings were not divided into separate apartments but were built as dormitories.
"And one should by no means blame those working men and women who do not want to move into common quarters. It must always be kept in mind that the former life of the working class was deeply rooted in bourgeois society, built as it was on the isolation of separate families. This individual family of bourgeois origin is what stands in the way of the collectivization of our existence." (123: p. 12) Dormitory quarters did not as a rule have kitchens, since it was assumed that everyone would take his meals at common dining rooms and "factory kitchen" facilities. In his "Ten Theses on Soviet Power," Lenin suggests that "steadfast and systematic measures should be undertaken for replacing the individual food preparation. ..by the common dining of large groups of families." (113: XXXVI: p. 75) Dormitories, common
meals, the upbringing of children apart from parents--all these measures were tried in various communes. And they did in fact lead to a weakening of the family. In 123, which has already been cited, there is the following letter from a certain "highly placed member" of the Komsomol: "Today, marriage between Komsomol members hardly ever takes place." The author of the letter asserts that sexual relations outside marriage prevail, but he is taken to task for not understanding that this is indistinguishable from marriage. After all, "for a Marxist it would seem that the very fact of sexual intercourse should testify to matrimonial relations." (123: p. 164) Between 1924 and 1925 in the European area of Russia, the number of marriages per 100,000 of population declined from 1140 to 980, while the number of divorces rose from 130 to 150. In 1924, of those obtaining divorces, a considerable number had been married for less than a year. (In Minsk this was true of 260 per 1,000 divorces; in Kharkov, 197; in Leningrad, 159. Compare the same statistic for: Tokyo--80; New York--14; Berlin--11.) (129: pp. 412, 416) The deplorable situation with regard to homeless children at the time is well known.
"The present number of homeless children may be attributed to a large degree to the disintegration of the family." (126: p. 255) The following words seem to come from the heart: "If we continue along this path, I fear we shall turn Russia into a country where each will be married to all." (126: p. 270)
In the postrevolutionary period there appeared numerous theories and plans for the destruction of culture, science and art. Certain of them originated in anarchist circles. For instance, in a work published in 1917 (129), the anarchist A. Borovoi asserts that only by overcoming culture could anarchist ideals be realized. The prolific Gordin brothers (anarchist writers who in their political activity were close to Bolshevism) proclaimed the slogan "Down with science!" They meant this as an appeal for freedom from the oppression of logic: "Down with spiritual oppression, coercion through science, deception, pseudo-convictions!" And: "Down with science--with the spiritual government, and its logical power and army, its logical coercion." (130: p. 144) The anarchist "proclaims terror against science." (130: p. 137) Their
entire book is devoted to the comparison and condemnation of two superstitions--religion and science. The brothers Gordin consider the Party to be the church of science, the university its synagogue, the philosopher a holy fool of intellect. (130: pp. 142, 194,202) "The history of culture is the history of our superstition. ...The history of culture once fulfilled its honorable role as the gravedigger of religion, serving as its tomb at the same time. It must fulfill the same role in respect to science. After the collapse of science, after the disenchantment with it as the source of truth, after its extinction as 'civilization,' it must become 'culture' and retire to the museum of human superstitions." (130: pp. 226-227) Here is the ideal: "At present a true anarchist, a panarchist, outgrows his petty-negative anarchism and, rejecting science and social science, thereby rejects his own petty idols, his shallow and cheap ascetic ideals, replacing them with one great destructively negative truth which lies at the very base of his innaturism/ aphysism, of the anti-scientific spirit." (130: p. 137) In his The Theory of the New Biology, E. Enchmen, citing Marx as his authority, comes to even more extreme conclusions. His work, which is reminiscent of Fourier in spirit, contains a highly ambitious plan for the biological regeneration of mankind through a change in the structure of consciousness which will be brought about by a series of so-called organic cataclysms. "The Revolutionary Scientific Council of the World Commune will accomplish organic cataclysms both in the masses of rebels and, systematically and by means of force, in the conservative organisms of the recent oppressors and their minions." (131: p. 43) As a result of these cataclysms, almost all received ideas in the human consciousness will be erased. "All theories of logic, cognition, scientific methodology will disappear, as will all social and sociological theories which still label themselves 'humanitarian,' and all the old biological theories." All are to be replaced by fifteen concepts which the author calls "analyzers." He explains that "past mankind divided into thousands of groups of differently reacting people--groups of more or less 'educated' and 'cultured,' and completely 'uneducated' and 'uncultured.' All will unite under the Communist economic system and become absolutely equal through the penetration into all human organisms of anew, completely identical combination of fifteen analyzers. ..that the epoch of Communism will be regarded by Communist mankind not according to the modern artistic formula 'from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs' but as an epoch
of the complete equalization of all human organisms strenuously involved in 'continuous joy' ...that the Communist economy will be based on a system of 'physiological passports' for all human organisms ...that such a 'physiological passport' will serve for the organism, using modern language, as a 'ration card' both for work and consumption in the broad sense of these words." (131: p. 34) Bukharin devoted an article to the criticism of "Enchmenism" in the collection Attack. Another author deals with Enchmen in this way: "Of course, it would not have been worth mentioning had not Enchmenism attracted a number of students." (132: p. 19)
Whereas in respect to general culture such statements were sporadic and unsystematic, in the areas of art and philosophy a coherent system evolved. Some of the most influential groups (LEF--the "Left Front of the Arts") proclaimed the transformation of art into a branch of material production. B. Arvatov, a prominent theoretician of this group, wrote: "The goal of LEF is to transform all art into a contribution to the material culture of society in close touch with engineering." (133: p. 90) "When artistic work is structured in this way, individual artists will become the collaborators of scientists, engineers, scholars, administrators in organizing the common product; they will be guided not by personal motives but by the objective needs of social production, fulfilling the tasks set by the class through organizational centers." (133: p. 104) Ultimately, the result will be as follows: "According to the preceding, it is possible to maintain that in an organized, integrated, socialist order, figurative art as a special profession will wither away." (133: p. 129)
This same attitude found expression in hostility toward the treatment of human personality in literature; this was branded "psychologism," and was generally considered representative of "bourgeois" values. Osip Brik expressed views typical of this approach in an article on Fadeyev's novel The Rout: "One must set literature the task of describing not people but their deeds, to evoke interest not in people but in deeds. We value a person not for his experiences, but for the role he plays in our common cause. Therefore, interest in the deed is basic for us, while interest in the person is derivative." (134: p. 79) B. Kushnir, in his article "Why We Are Falling Behind," writes: "In all its permutations, the slogan 'living man' always preserved its invariable class essence.. ..According to this theory, the author is supposed not only to work out the psychology and the interrelationship of his
characters but also as it were to metamorphose himself into each of them. This is clearly a difficult, time-consuming and harmful thing. Transformation into one's characters can hardly sharpen the author's class vigilance and class perceptivity. After all, there are characters and characters. Among them there may even be some unambiguous class enemies." (134: p. 85) I. Nusinov opines: "The further to the right a writer is, the stronger his tendency to psychologize." (134: p. 88) I. Altman, in an article entitled "From the Biography of a Living Man," thinks it necessary to "expose utterly the opportunistic slogans of psychologism--'the living man'--which interfere with the decisive and triumphant advance of proletarian literature!" (134: p. 91) A negative attitude toward philosophy was also supported by references to the classic writings of Marxism. Kautsky had written: "Marx did not proclaim any philosophy--but the end of all philosophy." (135: p. 452)
In Russia, the view of philosophy as a "product of the bourgeoisie," a "semi-religion," "intellectual atavism," was developed by S. Minin, particularly in the article "Philosophy Overboard" (136), and by P. P. Blonsky. (137)
The fate of religion in this period is replete with features that have no parallel in either Russian history or the history of the world. A study of this phenomenon would undoubtedly shed light on a number of aspects of War Communism that remain unclear. A great deal of systematic research is required.
This was the time when the most decisive attempt was undertaken to destroy the Russian Orthodox Church (in connection with the so-called campaign for the removal of church valuables). It was a time when tribunals were convened to try God and He was sentenced to death by unanimous vote. At Easter, there were demonstrations with blasphemous pictures and slogans. ...
This extremely fragmentary survey of War Communism will nevertheless, we hope, convey a certain impression of that fascinating period. We see there a system of views and measures that is much more radical than what is to be found in any other socialist state known to us. If War Communism is the most striking example of the appearance of
radical tendencies in a socialist state, it is nevertheless not unique. Only continuing famine and devastation coupled with "capitalist encirclement" forced a retreat from this system. The New Economic Policy was such a retreat and we must believe the sincerity of the declarations of the day that it would be only a temporary withdrawal. NEP was indeed temporary. Stalin promulgated a law which foresaw imprisonment for laborers and office personnel who were absent from work or merely late: they were "militarized." In the last years of his life, Stalin "reassigned" more and more scientists and technicians to prison research institutes (sharashki). The internal security agency ran innumerable factories and scientific institutions.
But Stalin had visions of even more radical changes ahead. In a work written in the last year of his life, The Economic Problems of Socialism, he expresses the thought that money and commodity production contradict the nature of a socialist state. He also felt that the peasants in the collective farms were not sufficiently dependent on the state. Stalin sees this, for instance, in the fact that the collective farms possess their own seed grain and sell their products to the state (albeit according to quotas and at a rate fixed by the state).
"But it would be unpardonable blindness not to see that these phenomena are already beginning to impede the powerful development of our productive forces, since they create an obstacle to the complete control of the entire national economy and, especially, of agriculture by state planning." (138: p. 68) Stalin proposes a new system for the organization of the economy, under which trade would be replaced by a "system of product exchange" and all economic life would come under even greater control by the state. "But this should be introduced steadfastly, without hesitation, step by step reducing the sphere of commodity circulation and extending the sphere of product exchange." (138: p. 94)
This program could not be undertaken, for purely practical reasons; in particular, it would have involved the risk of falling economically too far behind the U.S.A.
China's "Great Leap Forward" provides us with one more example. At the end of the fifties, a transition to communism in three to five years was proclaimed: "Three years of intense work and ten thousand years of happiness!" In several months time in 1958, "people's communes" sprang up allover the countryside; communes were introduced in cities as well. According to the plan, they were to become the basic
form of the organization of agriculture, industry, administration, schools, the army. Militarized labor armies were created. People marched to work in formation. Everyday life was being socialized, and all equipment and household goods in the commune were being consolidated. Unpaid delivery of products was initiated. We see the same picture in the attitude toward religion. All socialist states are fundamentally hostile toward religion, but the opportunities for expressing this attitude vary. Italian fascism at first came into sharp conflict with the Catholic Church, but was compelled to come to terms with it and refrain from serious oppression of religion. In other respects, too, it was the weakest socialist state of our century and had the least possibility for realizing its socialist tendencies. China, on the other hand, could permit itself to outlaw the Christian religion completely. Between these extremes, there is a whole spectrum of possible approaches toward religion--all of them basically hostile but only as harsh as given conditions permit.
Neither the abolition of the family nor communality of wives was fully realized in any known socialist state, but the rudiments of such an effort can be easily observed. For instance, in Nazi Germany there was an attempt to produce racially pure children out of wedlock. The organization lebensborn, founded by Himmler, selected Aryan sires for unmarried women. There were officially inspired suggestions about the desirability of extra wives for men of a racially suitable type. Bormann's wife propagandized these ideas and herself sanctioned another wife for her husband.
In all the examples cited, these undertakings were not carried to completion due to very specific external circumstances, but not because of ideological inconsistency. It seems that carrying through such transformations of life requires a definite level of agitation and the mobilization of a certain kind of spiritual energy. And this, in its turn, is dependent on the depth of the crisis that the society is undergoing at the given moment. In particular, the destruction of the traditional family and state control over family relations, which we introduced at the beginning of this section as an example of something peculiar to the doctrines of chiliastic socialism, may prove to be all too feasible under conditions of the approaching crisis of overpopulation. (Toynbee suggests this in 139.)
It therefore seems impossible to draw any firm theoretical distinction
between the doctrines of chiliastic socialism and the practices of the socialist states. The only difference stems from the fact that in the first case we have a clearly formulated ideal, whereas the second presents a series of variants, stretching down through history, where no more than an attempt can be made to distinguish a certain trend. But this trend, if extrapolated to its logical conclusion, points toward the same ideal that is proclaimed by the socialist doctrines. It is far easier to discern the distinctions between chiliastic and state socialism as they are revealed in history. To begin with, we encounter states of the socialist type thousands of years before the existence of any developed socialist doctrine. Second, socialist states appear in history in two quite different situations: in primitive cultural conditions at the very beginning of the state period of history (in the Mediterranean basin this occurred between the third and the second millennia B.C.) and in the industrial societies of the twentieth century. The development of socialist doctrines occurs during the interval between these two periods. Within chiliastic socialism it is also possible to distinguish two tendencies--one gives rise to abstract academic systems, elaborate plans for a future society; the other calls for the destruction of the existing world, for "liberation," revenge, and the reign of an elect. These two tendencies also undoubtedly manifest themselves during different epochs. Plato's Republic is most certainly the source of the first current: More, Campanella, Deschamps are under his obvious influence; even Marcuse in citing the myths of Narcissus and Orpheus to illustrate his concepts is clearly attempting to imitate Plato. The second current takes shape in the Middle Ages among the heretical sects. But if the history of these sects is traced, it is found that all of them (Cathars and the Brethren of the Free Spirit) originate in the gnostic sects of the early centuries A.D. In an admittedly undeveloped form, these earlier sects show some of the basic features that will appear later in the socialist doctrines.
Let us note, first of all, that socialist doctrines arose thousands of years later than socialist states. This compels us to reverse the usual axiom of socialist ideology: the doctrines of chiliastic socialism cannot be regarded as a prediction (scientific, mystical or rational) of a future social system. They are far more akin to reaction--i.e., to the desire to return mankind to a more primitive archaic condition.
However, this reaction is not simply aimed at restoring that which was; chiliastic theory goes far beyond the practice of early socialist
states. The nature of this process will become clearer if we examine it in the light of a historical observation made by various authors, Karl Jaspers among them. It was Jaspers who suggested calling the phenomenon in question history's "axial time." (140) Jaspers has in mind those profound shifts which occurred in the period comprising approximately the first millennium B.C. During the two preceding millennia, the main force influencing the development of history were the powerful states organized in the manner of Oriental despotism, with entire populations under bureaucratic control, permitting them to undertake gigantic construction projects and to field huge armies. After a long interval, in the first millennium B.C., other, spiritual forces again began to have a decisive influence on the course of history. From Greece to China, there arose teachings that were directed to the soul of individual men, asserting individual man's responsibility before reason, before conscience or else before higher powers. These were: Greek philosophy, the preaching of the Israelite prophets, Buddhism, Confucianism. It is not the omnipotent state machine that is pronounced to be the force capable of determining the fate of mankind, but the human personality. A godlike despot before whom one could only bow down and obey loses his position as the creator of history. No less a role is now played by the teacher who calls on the people to believe in his message and to follow his example. Whatever approach one takes with regard to the origin of Christianity--whether "the Word became flesh" or whether mankind itself came to a new understanding of its fate--the process we have sketched finds here its highest expression. Jaspers believes that it is precisely in "axial time" that the conception of history appears. In his opinion, we consider historical those peoples who have either directly participated in this process or who subsequently came to share the values so created (the Germanic peoples, for example, or the Slavs). There is no need for us to discuss here this vast and complex historical phenomenon. We shall only juxtapose it with the stages in the development of chiliastic socialism that we have noted earlier. Within the limits of the Mediterranean cultural circles, "axial time" was expressed in two basic phenomena--in the "Greek miracle," most vividly embodied in the personality of Socrates, and in the rise of Christianity. These two phenomena are very close in time to what we have indicated as the starting points of the two tendencies of chiliastic socialism. Plato's socialist utopia was promulgated several decades after Socrates' death,
while the original gnostic sects appeared as early as the first century A.D. It is reasonable to suggest that we have here not only a temporal but also a causal relationship--i.e., the "utopian" chiliastic socialism of Plato, More, Campanella, Fourier, may perhaps be seen as a reaction to the vision of the world elaborated in Greek culture, while the "revolutionary" and "eschatological" socialism of the gnostic and medieval heresies, of Müntzer and of Marx, may be a reaction to the appearance of Christianity. Such a view is in fundamental agreement with the conclusions we came to concerning the general character of socialism. If socialism is a manifestation of a certain basic and constantly active force, it is natural that any obstacle to its action would call forth changes in the form of its manifestation. A profoundly spiritual understanding of human personality, an assertion of the central role that it plays in Greek culture and, in particular, in Christianity--these were the factors that shook the monolithic stability of the states based on socialist principles and showed mankind the possibility of another path. The question of the affinities between primitive Eastern states of the socialist type and socialist states of the twentieth century is examined in the last chapter of Wittfogel's book. (89) The author believes that these are two variants of one and the same social structure. Primitive agrarian despotism "existed for millennia, until the time that it felt the impact of the growth of the industrial and commercial West." (89: p. 360) In the last sections of his book ("Whither Asia?" "Whither Western Society--Whither Mankind?") Wittfogel views the appearance of socialist states in the twentieth century as a return of Asiatic countries to the primitive structures that had existed for millennia. Yet he acknowledges that modern socialist states differ from their ancient predecessors by the fact that they undertake to control their citizens not only in economic but in social and intellectual terms. For that reason modern socialism is much more than an "Asiatic restoration." The lack of consistency may be explained, so it seems to us, by the fact that the author views socialism as an exclusively economic category and a definite form of state organization. Thus the development of chiliastic socialism (which required two and a half millennia) remains beyond his field of vision. Yet this is precisely the link joining the two types of socialist society. The distinguishing feature of twentieth-century socialist states is their dependence on an ideology that has been elaborated and forged over the course of thousands of years (and the better elaborated it is, the more stable they are). This is exactly
what the Oriental despots lacked and what prevented them from retaining power over the world in the spiritual atmosphere created by "axial time." This ideology was created almost exclusively in the West, and this fact alone makes it impossible to regard socialism of the twentieth century as an "Asiatic restoration." The contemporary socialist states could not have come into existence without the ideology created by chiliastic socialism. We have already described its basic features: the abolition of private property, hostility toward religion, destruction of the family, communality. This ideology is linked to the mythic concepts (expressed though they are in modern quasi-scientific terms) of the "golden age," "captivity," "liberation" and "the chosen people" destined to be the instrument of liberation, for which purpose the annihilation of an evil world will be required. Finally, there is the promise of a new world that will arise as a result of the catastrophe and where the ideals of chiliastic socialism will be realized.
It is evidently this system of views which must be examined in order to clarify the historic role of socialism.