• TABLE OF CONTENTS
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 Front Cover
 The fight for Britain, the fight...
 From liberalism to facism
 Revolution for what?
 Man and society in an age...
 Book reviews
 Back Cover














Title: Living Marxism
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00089429/00004
 Material Information
Title: Living Marxism
Physical Description: v. : ; 24 cm.
Language: English
Publisher: International Council Correspondence,
International Council Correspondence
Place of Publication: Chicago Ill
Publication Date: Spring 1941
Frequency: quarterly
regular
 Subjects
Subject: Communism -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Socialism -- Periodicals   ( lcsh )
Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Dates or Sequential Designation: Vol. 4 (Feb. 1938)-v. 6, no. 1 (Fall 1941).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00089429
Volume ID: VID00004
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 24493886
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 Related Items
Preceded by: International Council correspondence
Succeeded by: New essays

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    The fight for Britain, the fight for democracy, and the war aims of the working class
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
    From liberalism to facism
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
    Revolution for what?
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
    Man and society in an age of reconstruction
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
    Book reviews
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
    Back Cover
        Back Cover
Full Text























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LIVING MARXISM

Vol. V. No. 4
SPRING 1941
P. O. Box 5343 Chicago, Illinois


THE FIGHT FOR BRITAIN, THE FIGHT FOR
DEMOCRACY, AND THE WAR AIMS
OF THE WORKING CLASS.
(Prolegomena to a political discussion)

There is no better means of finding out how far we have traveled
since the 19th century workers' movement collapsed in the cataclysm of
the first world war than to raise the question of the war aims of the inter-
national working class today. There is nothing left in 1941 of that mis-
leading simplicity in which for the class conscious minority of the social demo-
cratic parties of 1914 the problem of a true or false war policy resolved
itself into a choice between outright betrayal and an unswerving alle-
giance to the revolutionary duty of an unconditional resistance to the
capitalist war. The glorious example set by Liebknecht in Germany, by
the Bolsheviks in Russia, and by certain other Marxist groups in Europe
was admired everywhere. The adverse policies followed by the right wing
and by the so-called Marxist centre were never wholeheartedly accepted
by the masses of the proletarian membership, although much suffering and
a full military defeat were needed to exhaust the endurance of the social
democratic workers in Germany. Even when that point had been reached,
the great majority of the workers were not prepared to do more than admire
the new example of revolutionary consistency set by the Bolsheviks in Russia.
They did not join the small groups of class conscious workers in Germany who
at that time rallied round the Spartacus-Bund and the Workers Councils in
an attempt to proceed from revolutionary resistance to the capitalist war to
a veritable overthrow of the capitalist state and the capitalist system of
production. In their actual practice, the great majority of the German workers
did nothing to prevent that gigantic fraud by which the right wing leadership
of the social democratic party and of the trade unions transformed its bel-
ligerent patriotism of the war period into the mock democracy of the Weimar








Republic and the mock pacifism of the League of Nations. For the next
fifteen years this provided a propitious atmosphere for the lusty growth of
the new anti-democratic and anti-pacifistic power of fascism. Thus the
social nationalism of the social democrats of 1914 came to rest in the nation-
al socialism of 1933.
The first lesson to be learned from this short recapitulation of working
class war policies is a more realistic appreciation of the intrinsic difficulties
of a truly proletarian attitude toward the war. In view of the tremendous
discouragement that followed the comparative optimism of the last genera-
tion of revolutionaries with respect to this task, it is worthwhile to point
out that the greater part of these difficulties already existed in 1914-18.
They found their expression then in the contrast between powerful working
class organizations without a proletarian policy and the revolutionary slogans
of an extremely powerless class conscious minority. Neither side of this
contrast can be said to have embodied in itself the war policy of the German
working class. We cannot even say in retrospect which of the two was
in more clear agreement with the tactics recommended by Marx and Engels
in the event of a European war. The further development, both in
Soviet Russia where the left wing had had its way and in Germany where
it had been crushed, shows clearly that the European working class as a whole
had not developed a policy that enabled it to transform the capitalist war
into a proletarian revolution or even to prevent the re-establishment of
bourgeois class rule in a re-enforced form by the victory of the fascist coun-
ter-revolution.
II
None of the revolutionary slogans of the last war can be immediately
applied to the much more intricate problems that arise from the immensely
more entangled state of affairs today. There is no longer a need for the
revolutionary workers of 1941 to bring about by their own consistent effort
that "transformation of the capitalist war into a civil war" that was des-
cribed as the ultimate aim of the working class by the most daring revolu-
tionary slogan of 1914. The present war from its very outset (or even
from its preparatory phases, the phase of the protests against Japanese aggres-
sion in Manchuria, the sanctions against the Italian conquest of Ethiopia, the
"non-intervention" in Spain) has been a veritable civil war on both a
European and a world-wide scale.
We do not know enough about the currents below the surface of pres-
ent-day Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Russia, Japan and other totalitarian
states that might come to the top under conditions of strain and defeat.
But we had ample opportunities both before and after the fact to study the
conditions preceding the rape of Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium,
and the collapse of France. We have no reason to believe that, with the out-
break of war or, for that matter, with the "miracle of Dunkirk", all the
"appeasement" and outright pro-Nazi tendencies that up to then had been
represented by the Cliveden and Chamberlain groups in England have been








wiped out in favor of a grand unanimity of purpose. (We admit suffering
an invincible distrust of all forms of "sacred unions" ever since the days
of the first world war.) Last and not least, we are aware of the powerful
undercurrents of present-day American politics Thus we can safely say
that in every "democratic" country today the ruling class is divided within
itself. So far all Hitlerian victories have been victories in a civil war.
There are two Norways, two Hollands, two Frances today, and the first
day of restored "peace" (with or without a previous German invasion)
will show that there are also two Great Britains.
Under such conditions no slogan that could be devised for an indepen-
dent war policy of the working class today can escape being tinged with
the same ambiguity that is so strikingly apparent in the policy of the ruling
classes. "Down with the imperialist war!" was a plausible war aim
of the proletarian class so long as the war represented the supreme form
of the united will of the bourgeoisie of one country to survive and to con-
quer in the struggle that was waged both against the hostile competition
of the other national units of the bourgeois class and against the threaten-
ing proletarian revolt. The slogan has lost all of its former revolutionary
force at the present time when it fits in so perfectly with the tendencies
of the bourgeois appeasers and isolationists. "Defeat of one's own country!"
- was regarded as the most insidious of all the weapons of the class war
when it was used as a slogan by the revolutionary defeatists in Russia and
Germany in 1914. Latterly it became a practical policy of that substantial
part of the ruling class in various European countries that preferred the
victory of fascism to the loss of its economic and political supremacy.
Despite this apparent ambiguity of every description of the war aims
of the working class that can be devised under present conditions, there
is no point in turning from a strictly independent war policy of the prolet-
arian class to one or another "classless" substitute. It is the most distressing
experience of our time to see those inveterate labor leaders, who have, for
almost thirty years, incessantly advised the workers to sacrifice their inde-
pendent class action for the sake of their "fatherland" or for the defense
of an assumedly "progressive" fraction of the bourgeoisie against an assum-
edly less progressive fraction of that same bourgeois class, resuming their
old game with slightly modified phraseology. It is even more distressing
to see those well-known people being joined today by so many formerly
class-conscious socialists. Both the old professionals and the disenchanted new-
comers ask the workers to subscribe to one or another kind of interventionist,
anti-fascist, or "Save Democracy First" program by pointing to the defeats
and frustrations that have been suffered in' the past by all attempts at an
independent revolutionary policy of the working class. The utter futility
of this "historical proof" has been shown above. The defeat of the workers
in the war and post-war period did not result from the failure of the rev-
olutionary attempts of the minority any more than from the policies
of the majority leadership. Both the genuine attempts at a revolutionary
war policy and the classless substitutes for that policy have led to the same








result. No fatherland was saved from defeat through the sacrifices of the
German workers in 1914-18. No democracy was preserved by the sacrifi-
ces made by the workers during the episode of the Weimar Republic. No
peace was secured by the workers' acceptance of the international bourgeois
policies of the League of Nations.
III
The urgent advice given to the workers from all sides today that
in order to defend themselves they have first of all to join in the common
task of defending "democracy" against the murderous assaults of fascism
bears a striking resemblance to a number of other much embattled slogans
of the day. It seems to have become quite fashionable to think, in this age
of substitutes, that to achieve something one has first to endeavor to do
something else.
There is, first, the slogan of the interventionist fraction of the American
bourgeoisie: "Defend America through aiding Britain!". This seems to
convey the idea that even if we take it for granted that the supreme goal
for Americans is to defend America, this goal is not adequately served
under present conditions, by such simple and direct methods as those ad-
vocated by the "America First" program, but can be served only by active
intervention in the present war on the side of Great Britain. We are not
in a position to judge the relative merits of either of these plans from a
strictly strategical point of view. But we strongly suspect that the real
division between the adherents of the two slogans is not based on any strat-
egical reasons at all. They do not express two different ways of furthering
the common interests of the American bourgeoisie as a whole (and even
less the interests of the American people). They rather express the different
material interests and ensuing political philosophies of two definite fractions
of the American bourgeoisie, or two different concepts of a desirable future
development of the internal and external policies of the growing American
empire. It is in this internal conflict of the ruling class that one side -
the interventionist side as against the isolationist side tries further to
fortify its position trough another appeal, which for the purpose of this
discussion is most conveniently summed up in the slogan: "Defend democracy
through defending Britain!" (Here by the way, appears the ultimate pur-
pose of that other slogan which asked the workers to defend their own rights
by defending democracy. The credo of present-day interventionist "social-
ism" boils down to the same miserable substitute as that of present-day
Stalinist "communism": the defense of the power politics of a particular
state.)
There is one flaw in the clever device of making the present British
empire the international champion of the fight for democracy (thus at the
same time of the fight for socialism). It showed itself in the recent dis-
cussion of the advisability of an official announcement of the British war aims.
True friendship should be mutual. If the fight for Britain is assumed
to be a fight for democracy, the British government should openly accept,
4








in unmistakable words, the obligations connected with this world champion-
ship. It should openly announce its democratic war aims.
This seems simple enough. (It should be noticed that nobody up to now
has asked from the Churchill government anything more than a solemn
declaration in words. Nobody made the help of the friends of democracy,
the help of the workers for the British victory, dependent on an immediate
practical step say the long overdue "democratization" of the British
rule in India.)
Yet to make their argument acceptable to a government that up to
now has never betrayed any particular attachment to further progress to-
wards democracy, the friends of democracy approached the question from
another angle. (Who would have expected them to approach any question
in a straight line anyhow?) They agreed that for the British the victory
of Britain must be the supreme goal. But this goal, they went on, cannot
be reached, under present conditions, by a mere military fight. It can be
reached only by that powerful mobilization of all progressive forces of
humanity that would result from the solemn announcement of a truly demo-
cratic British war program.
Even so, the plea for an early announcement of the British war aims
did not prevail over the opposite reasoning which points to the possible
weakening of the apparent unity of the British (and the American) public
if such highly controversial question were to be openly discussed. Again
it is easy to see that the real point of dispute lies deeper. The whole debate
on the advisability of an open announcement of the British war aims is only
an ideological expression of an altogether different division within the
British (and American) bourgeoisie. The conservative British government
knows full well that an important fraction of the ruling class of America
is much less concerned with the lack of democracy in the present British
set-up than it is interested in the assurance that the actual war aims of Great
Britain will at no time assume a too "democratic" character that could en-
danger the security of the existing capitalistic regime. The ruling class
of the fully developed capitalist countries no longer splits on such general
political issues as that between "democratic progress" and "conservative
power politics". If it splits at all, it will be split on the much more realistic
question of conflicting material interests.
In spite of the contrary illusions of a small and comparatively powerless
group of political idealists, the ultimate fate of the British empire in its
present desperate struggle against the Nazi aggressors does not depend on
the outcome of the present world-wide ideological fight between the "demo-
cratic" and the "fascist" principles. It will not even be decided by the
comparative strength of the fighting armies or by the superior technical equip-
ment that may result from American all-out help to Britain. The outcome of
the present war depends in the first place on the degree of internal division
within the ruling capitalist class in England itself that, after a temporary
truce between the pre-war appeasers and the Churchillites, reasserts itself








in the beginning struggle for or against the announcement of the British
war aims. It will be decided in the last instance by the repercussions that
the bitter fight of conflicting capitalist groups, at present fought out both
by the war and by internal struggles within each country, will produce in
the hitherto immobilized third camp, the camp of the proletarian class. We
do not hesitate to say that if the assumed supreme goal of humanity in our
time, the defeat of Hitler and the wiping out of fascism, can be reached
at all, it will be reached in no other manner than by the independent fight
of the working class for its most elementary, most narrowly defined, most
concrete class aims. Not Great Britain, not "democracy", but the proletarian
class is the world champion in the revolutionary fight of humanity against
the scourge of fascism.
Beta.




FROM LIBERALISM TO FASCISM

Rapid social changes affected the various layers of society in different
ways, manifold opportunities opened up with the formation of capital. A
belief in progress dominated the ideology of the prospering capitalist class
so that even the most ruthless of the capitalist entrepreneurs were somehow
convinced that the never-ending accumulation of capital would finally benefit
the whole of humanity. The undeniable miseries that paralleled the in-
creasing wealth were seen as regrettable imperfections, partly inherited from
the past, which would be smoothed out to the satisfaction of all in the
course of further development. Ever since Auguste Comte, bourgeois think-
ers interested in social questions have been thoroughly convinced that with
the ascendancy of the capitalist system of production and its liberal political
structure a society has finally been established in which all existing and
possible problems can be peaceably solved through the moralizationn of
capital".
The development of capitalism has been accompanied by the growth
and decline of a number of anti-capitalistic ideas and movements. But as
the ideologies dominating a historical period are those of the ruling classes,
so the optimism prevalent in the early labor movement was a reflection of
the "positivism" of the liberal bourgeoisie. The opponents of capitalism,
too, took it for granted that the capitalistic expansion process would in-
dustralize great parts of the world, develop international trade, and simplify
class relationships through the increase of the proletariat. The moderate
as well as the radical wings of the labor movement, adhering to various
philosophical and organizational principles, were deeply convinced that with
the success of capitalism the success of the laboring class was also assured.
Class-consciousness and labor organizations were bound to grow with the
increasing importance of large-scale industry, with the accompanying capital









concentration, and with all the related structural changes in the direction
of the two-class society.
The idea that progress would serve both the capitalists and their oppon-
ents, and the latter even better than the first, was a reflection of the practical
unity between labor and capital, of the continuous interplay of class forces
that excluded the development of a "pure" class-consciousness and a truly
consistent revolutionary practice, and was, in addition, deeply rooted in
the past. Because history cannot be turned backwards, there has been no
alternative for the proletarian layers of society to their support of the bour-
geois revolution. Though the workers simply had to fight on the side of
the rising bourgeoisie, they were made to think and were fond of believing
that in fighting for the cause of capitalism they were also preparing their
own emancipation.
To find capitalistic and even pre-capitalistic elements in all anti-cap-
italistic theories, utopias, and movements is nothing to be wondered at. Not
only can they be found at the initial stages of these movements, but they
have been destined to gain importance in the course of time. Modern
socialism, not wishing to arrest a development considered historically neces-
sary, tried to help it forward by remaining progressive when the bourgeoisie
itself had already become conservative. Recognizing the continuity of the
historical processes, which it interpreted as a series of class struggles, the
proletariat was to carry on where the capitalists left off. While the bour-
geoisie was satisfied with a dialectical movement that retired with the crea-
tion of the bourgeois state, Marx continued to look at the society dialec-
tically, that is, he worked in the direction and in expectation of a proletarian
revolution.
The reaction fostered by the successful bourgeoisie could not be fought
for long, however, with reminiscences of a revolutionary past. The farther
the labor movement was removed from capitalism's Sturm und Drang period
the less it felt inclined to re-enact the historic drama of the bourgeois
revolution in proletarian make-up. Marx himself became noticeably more
scientific the older he grew, and "General" Engels was forced to reject as
outmoded the once beloved strategy of the barricade. The growing pos-
sibility of apparently increasing profits and wages integrated the labor
movement more securely into the capitalist structure. Politically, too, the
laboring class became a seemingly important factor within bourgeois demo-
cracy, at least in Western Europe. "Onward and Upward" was the slogan
of all classes, and neither revolutionary science nor propaganda could coun-
teract the new spirit. The labor movement as a whole adopted the ideo-
logies of those very bourgeois reformers whom Marx had thought unworthy
of a serious critical anpraisal. Finally, the Fabian Society and Bernstein's
"Revisionism" added dreary statistics to the already stale class collaboration
ideology of John Stuart Mill and called it a day.
Though it is true that the "original" Marxism contained bourgeois
elements in its theory and practice, it more importantly embodied ideas
and social forces quite incompatible with capitalist society. In the economic








sphere capitalistic "progress", that is, the accumulation of capital, Marxism
saw as the accumulation of misery. The competitive, private-property
economy was bound to meet ever-growing difficulties which it would finally
not be able to overcome. The capitalist system was mortal. Its inner con-
tradictions and outer limitations assured a rising labor movement that its
hour of triumph was the nearer the more capitalism progressed. The rev-
olutionary elements in Marxism were soon, however, either ignored or
interpreted in a way that fitted them into the increasingly non-revolutionary
practice of a labor movement thoroughly satisfied with capitalistic progress
but in need of an ideology that camouflaged this fact. The revolutionary
content of Marxism became a sort of spiritual exercise for holidays. It was
brought out as compensation for the meagerness of the concessions wrested
or bargained from the bourgeoisie. It served as a reminder to the ruling
class not to relax in its duty towards its slaves.
The fact that attitudes, principles and activities, considered progressive
at the stage of bourgeois enlightenment, entered the proletarian theory and
practice is revealed also in the various concepts of what would constitute
a new society. The new social structure advocated by revolutionary organ-
izations, or the transformation of the existing order into; the new one hoped
for by the reformists, were very vague mental constructions. But even in
their ambiguity these blue-prints of the future were as old as they were
new. They often came very near to those early utopias which searched
rather for the lost paradise than for a new society, as for instance when
Friedriech Engels, on the strength of a questionable theory of anthropology,
conceived of the new society as regaining-albeit on a higher level-a long
lost primitive communism. Marx himself asked the question whether or
not the precapitalistic Russian village-communes could be of use and could
play a part in a socialistic reconstruction of society. Ideologies bound up
with early and even pre-capitalistic conditions also found a belated revival
in the theories of anarchism. The slightly altered ideas of the petty bour-
geoisie reappeared in programs designed to end all monopolistic rule by
ending that of the state. Decentralization, social credits, labor exchanges,
syndicates and other proposals were-so to speak-not only results of an
intuitive recognition that the trend of capitalist development pointed toward
the totalitarian state, but were connected also with the theories and practice
of the remote past. After all, Hobbes wrote his Leviathan in the middle
of the seventeenth century and the Jacobin terror had demonstrated quite
early the possible absolutistic powers of a democratic-capitalistic regime.
The vague concepts of socialism were as misleading as they were useful.
As Professor Pigou once remarked, if "we are setting a nude figure,
with all its blemishes patent to the eye, against a figure that is veiled, we
are tilting the balance against the nude", that is, against capitalism. How-
ever, it is understandable that what the nude reveals will strongly influence
any guess as to what the veil might conceal.
Capitalism developed from laissez fair to monopoly. Laissez fire itself
presupposes the monopoly of the means of production in the hands of the








capitalistic class. But there was competition between individual entre-
preneurs. This competition, however, was from the very beginning an
imperfect one because it involved different aggregates of capital, shifts of
production, variations in locality, in short, a whole series of economic, social,
historical and geographical facts which had different meanings for different
capitalists, and which turned all competitive "laws" into "laws" of mono-
polization. Capital formation was thus capital concentration, which, in turn,
meant centralization of political control. Logically this whole develop-
ment would end in a division of society into two groups: the owners of the
means of production which by virtue of their position ruled over all
spheres of social life and the rest of mankind. It was acknowledged,
however, that this development did not need to reach its "logical conclu-
sion"; that long before, due to the pressure of the contradictory processes
involved, stagnation, social upheavals and revolutionary changes might
occur. Nevertheless, the trend was towards the "General Cartel" to-
wards state capitalism, that is, a situation in which the state is completely
taken over by capital. Accepting this whole process as inevitable, it was
only consistent that the socialists should center their attention first of all
on the state apparatus; the reformists by trying to gain control legally, the
revolutionists by wanting to destroy the old in favor of a new state. But
both were to realize fully what would have to take place anyway: the final
merger of all economic and political power in the hands of a single authority.
The reformists, should they control the state, would purchase the means of
production from their capitalist owners; the revolutionists would expropriate
them. In the Anti-Duehring Engels proclaimed that "the first act in which
the state really comes forward as the representative of society as a whole -
the seizure of the means of production in the name of society is at the
same time its last independent act as a state". After that the state will
"wither away" to make room for an "administration of things". State
power is thus sought to eliminate the power of the state and thereby that
of capital. The concept of the workers state was not derived from a hypo-
thesis of social control that reached into the future, but was the recognition
of an inescapable necessity which was determined by the previous develop-
ment of capitalism.
Necessity was turned into a virtue. Shortly before the "first workers'
state" came into being, its main proponent, Lenin, began to describe socialism
as "nothing but the next step forward from state capitalist monopoly, as
nothing but state capitalist monopoly made to benefit the whole people".
State monopoly, especially in its most obvious form obtaining during war
conditions, became for Lenin "the fullest material preparation for socialism",
provided the ruling personnel was changed. The whole content of the pro-
letarian revolution was now seen as the replacement of a selfish ruling
class by a beneficent state apparatus. "If Russia was ruled by 130,000
landowners", Lenin once said, there is no sense in telling us that Russia will
not be able to be governed by 240,000 members of the Bolshevik Party."
And long before this opportunity arose, he had insisted that "the social demo-
crat's ideal should not be a trade-union secretary, but a tribune of the people."








To square his political "realism" with his Marxian "orthodoxy", in-
dispensable in the struggle against the capitalist and reformist opponents
of bolshevism, Lenin transformed Marx's casual statement that the socialist
society as it emerges out of capitalism would look different from one with
a long history of its own into the useful formula "from socialism to com-
munism". "Socialism" was the basis for communism, just as capitalist state
monopoly had been the basis for "socialism". Thus every communist must
support "socialism" and favor state monopoly; he can raise no objection
to the demand that until communism arrives the strictest state control over
production and distribution is required.
When Engels proclaimed that the proletariat seizes the power of the
state and changes the ownership of the means of production into state own-
ership, it is clear that he assumed that there had not been a change of own-
ership into state-ownership before. Otherwise he could only have said
that the capitalist state monopoly must be replaced by a socialist state mono-
poly. Thus Lenin proceeded quite "marxistically" to capture the state,
nationalize all productive property, and regulate the economy according to
a plan. To fulfill the Marxian program completely there remained only
for the state to "wither away". What must be noticed, however, is that
where Marx and Engels dealt with the socialistic reconstruction of society
in an extremely vague manner, mainly outlining a few general principles
such as can be found in the Critique of the Gotha Programme, Lenin had a
specific and concrete concept of the structure and character of the socialism
that the bolsheviks were to institute. His model so to speak was
to be found in the German postal service, his "socialism" was almost identical
with the "socialism" of the German war-economy. To take over capitalism
when it reached its highest concentration and centralization meant to Lenin
to complete the socialization process that capitalism itself initiated and
fostered through its own peculiar laws of development. In advanced mono-
polistic nations the political overthrow of the state would today suffice to
turn into socialism what only yesterday operated under the false name of
capitalism. In Russia it was more complicated, because there the proletariat
had to both make and unmake the bourgeois revolution, since the bourgeoisie
proper was no longer capable of fulfilling its historical mission, that is,
preparing the ground for the socialist society.
Marx and Engels were scientists not prophets. They analyzed the
capitalist system as they knew it and drew some conclusions as to its develop-
mental tendencies, but they did not predict the future in all its details. They
did not foresee the present totalitarian regimes. For them the state was
essentially an instrument to secure the rule of the capitalist class. If, with
the concentration of capital, the ruling body became smaller, the state would
serve fewer interests and oppose larger masses. But Marx and Engels
never followed their own lines of thought to the end, for they were con-
vinced that capitalism would not be able to reach a point of development
that allowed for the complete merger of state and capital, and for some kind
of planned economy. Both knew that trustification and protectionism were








attempts to bring some sort of regulation into the national and international
markets, but they felt sure, as Engels pointed out in a footnote to the third
volume of Capital, that such "experiments are practicable only so long as
the economic weather is relatively favorable.., although production assuredly
needs regulation, it is certainly not the capitalist class which is fitted for
that task; the trusts have no other mission but to see to it that the little
fish are swallowed by the big fish still more rapidly than before." For
Marx the process of capitalist expropriation would not end in a gigantic
super-trust merged with the state. Trusting in the growing powers of the
working class, his concept of the capitalist accumulation ended, as he once
wrote to Engels, "in the class struggle as a finale in which is found the
solution of the whole smear."
For a long time to come, however, the actual class struggles merely
served as incentives for a more rapid capital accumulation. Capitalism
proved itself very adaptable to changing circumstances. The periodically
recurring crises strengthened rather than weakened it. The class struggle
became quite unimportant. The dominant issue was the changing character
of capitalism itself. Trustification, cartellization, monopolization, often
over-reaching national boundaries, pointed in the direction of market regul-
ations, planned production and crisis control. A new era had seemingly
begun. Capitalism, at least that capitalism of which Marx had written,
neared its end. The socialist theoretician Hilferding pointed out that each
capitalist must not only make profit, but must accumulate in order to remain
a capitalist. But accumulation is the concentration of capital in fewer
hands. Thus in pursuing his capitalistic end, each capitalist progressively
destroyed the opportunities for pursuing capitalistic ends. With the con-
centration of all capital in "one hand", capitalism would have reached its
"goal". There would then no longer be a capitalist end that could be
pursued. Capital accumulation in the previous sense of the term would
no longer be possible, because where all is concentrated concentration stops.
Kautsky a little more timidly applied the same reasoning to problems of
international relations in his theory of "Ultra-Imperialism".
At first glance all this seems quite in step with Marxism, for Marx
himself was convinced that, nationally as well as internationally, "every-
thing the bourgeoisie centralizes favors the working class". Yet this would
not spare the working class the trouble of the revolution. For Marx the
development from laissez faire to trustification was not a straight line. This
development was a contradictory process of prosperity and depression,
creation and destruction, centralization and decentralization, progress and
reaction. The contradiction inherent in the relations of production could
never be overcome by way of centralization, that is, by a mere organizing
principle. It would be reproduced on an enlarged scale as production itself
was enlarged and the scope of capitalist activity widened. The end of
laissez faire was not the end of competition; it only led to the more forceful
competition of monopolies. National centralization indicated a trend not
towards pacification but towards imperialistic wars. There were no doubt








quantitative changes; a qualitative change, however, involves class action.
As long as there were owners or controllers of the means of production
on the one hand and an empty-handed laboring class on the other, all re-
production involved the reproduction of the exploitative relationship. Only
that class which owned nothing could be interested in ending this relation-
ship, and could thus stop a continuous reproduction process that involved
the reproduction of all conditions connected with and determined by the
existing class relations. Short of the abolition of the class relations all
transformation would only be new expressions of the same old capitalist
society.
The socialist reformists did not deny that the competitive struggle
reproduced the inner contradictions of capitalism on a larger scale, but they
thought that this process was coming to an end because of a lack of compet-
itors. Assuming that this end would be reached, Hilferding wrote in his
Finanzkapital, "the whole of capitalist production would be consciously
regulated by one authority... it would still be a society in antagonistic form.
But this antagonism would be one of distribution. The distribution itself
would be consciously regulated." At this stage of development all previous
capitalistic categories would lose their meaning. The single authority would
arrange what should be produced and under what conditions; it would
control the products, and would distribute them as it saw fit. Under such
conditions, the only reason for displacing with socialists a capitalist authority,
that is, the personnel brought into controlling position by the previous
development, would be the conviction that the socialists knew how to serve
society better. From then on the historical process would be determined
by the actions of the persons comprising the single authority. It would
make no difference whether these persons stemmed from the capitalist class,
the middle class, or the working class; the quality of leadership would be
all that mattered.
Though Lenin was a great admirer of the Marxian "orthodoxy" of
Kautsky and Hilferding, he soon disagreed with them on practical issues.
Independent of the question as to whether or not their theories would work
in Western Europe, it was certain that they did not fit the Russian con-
ditions. To wait for capital-concentration among the Russian peasantry
simply meant asking too much. A revolution was in the making; one had to
participate and adapt oneself to its specific conditions. Though Lenin did
not possess the patience of the reformist who waited for the "ripening" of
socialism, he enthusiastically accepted their notion that history could be made
by a directorate as soon as capital was concentrated in "one hand". "State
capitalism," he said at a Congress of the Bolshevik Party, "is that form of
capitalism which we shall be in a position to restrict. This capitalism is
bound up with the state, and the state that is, the workers, the most
advanced part of the workers, the vanguard, is ourselves, and it is we on
whom the nature of this state capitalism will depend". In view of the
hierarchical arrangements within the party, all that was left to say was
what Louis XIV said shortly before the bourgeois revolution, "L'etat, c'est








moi", and what is now, at the "end" of capitalism, on the lips of a hundred
million Germans, "Hitler ist Deutschland!"
The application of these principles in Russia was intended to do and
do better what the capitalist had not succeeded in doing. It was an enorm-
ous job. There can be no doubt that Lenin and Trotsky applied the terms
"traitor" and "hypocrite" to the Hilferdings and Kautsky not for com-
petitive purposes only, but because they were really convinced that these
people betrayed their own principles. After all, the essential differences
between reformists and revolutionists were to be found in their struggle-for-
power policies, not in their methods for building socialism. True, Russia
was not "ripe", but could it not be helped along by doing consciously what
in the capitalistic nations went on behind the backs of the people? The
socialists had no answer. To find anti-bolshevik arguments at all they had
to borrow from the white counter-revolution.
In his book "Terrorism and Communism" Trotsky wrote that "without
the militarization of labor and state compulsion... socialism will remain an
empty sound... There is no way to socialism except by the authoritative
regulation of the economic forces and resources......and the centralized
distribution of labor in harmony with the general state plan." This was
in full accord with the ideas nourished by all socialists of the time, yet the
majority of the social-democrats refused to accept the bolshevik regime as
a socialistic one. Under this regime socialists and their followers went to
Siberia just as they went under the Czar. But the socialists could not claim
that they were opposing a capitalist regime, nor could they admit that they
were out to crush socialism. What then did they oppose?
Actually the problem solves itself very easily; "theoretically" it is a
little more difficult. The socialists had constructed a beautiful theory of
social development; capital itself was the great socializerr". One had only
to wait. Waiting was quite bearable since it schooled the masses, developed
discipline, created group-solidarity, a worker's culture. In short, instead
of money, as Marx had said, capitalism was sweating socialism out of all
its pores. To be sure, money did not disappear altogether. Trade-union
and secretarial salaries increased with the growth of the cultural require-
ments of the emancipated proletarians. Naturally, the emancipation could
be achieved only gradually one secretariat after another. The dimes
and nickels of the millions created fortunes as well as the hundreds of
thousands of any baker's dozen of capitalists. The socialists did not need
to wait for Woolworth to demonstrate this fact. Every Balkan peasant
knows that small animals also give manure. Lucrative jobs were waiting
in governmental and labor institutions; money was made and cleverly in-
vested. The emancipated proletarians learned to appreciate what Disraeli
described as "the sweet simplicity of the three per cent." No, there was
no need to search deep into the soul of man to understand why the socialists
could not accept bolshevism.
Theoretically the socialist opponents could not admit the capitalistic
character of the Russian social system because it applied their own theory








of socialization. Unable as socialists to fight a socialist state, they were
forced to invent new definitions which fitted neither capitalistic nor social-
istic ideals. At first Russia was denounced as a new variety of an eternal
Asiatic barbarism. The fascization of Western Europe led to a refinement
in description. Only recently Hilferding wrote in the Sotsialistichesky
Viestnik that the Russian economy is neither capitalistic nor socialistic, but
a "totalitarian state economy", a "personal dictatorship", Stalin's state, in
which "economy no longer has its own laws, but is directed from above."
In short, the centralization of all capital in "one hand" has been literally
accomplished. For the present-day Hilferding this goes too far. Earlier
he was quite willing to accept an economy consciously regulated by a civil-
ized, well-meaning and, if possible, social-democratic central authority.
But a personal dictatorship, especially of a Stalin, he rejects. Thus he is
now convinced that the dreamed of"managing of things" may become an
"unlimited domination over man", and he says that "we must change our
over-simplified and schematic ideas about the inter-relationships between econ-
omy and the state."
Not only Hilferding, but most politically-minded people are now re-
considering their former conceptions of capitalism, socialism, the state, and
their interrelationships. It was not the Russian Revolution that stirred
them up, however, but the rise of fascism, and especially the successes of the
German Nazi-state. The Russian Revolution had rather reestablished the
belief in "progress" somewhat dimmed by three years of warfare. All went
according to schedule: accumulation, crisis, war, revolution, socialism. But
in Western Europe the new hope led to no more than the applauding of
the heroic deeds of the Russian workers. A few million dead soldiers had
not been able to destroy the theory of gradualismm" that dominated the pre-
war ideologies. Only the so-called fascist revolutions ended the reformists'
dreams by killing off the dreamers. But instead of the situation becoming
clearer, now that the "dream was lost", it only became more bewildering.
Less than ever do people understand the meaning of their own activities
and the happenings in their world.
II.
The fascist state, and even more so the bolshevik state, are both old
and new, just as all anti-capitalistic ideas have been both old and new. Thus
some observers are able to see in the rise of bolshevism and fascism the
beginning of a world-wide social revolution, and others can speak gloomily
of a return of the Dark Ages. Indeed, it seems that ideas of the mercan-
tilistic stage of early capitalism re-appear in national-socialistic concepts,
that money-economy returns to earlier barter-schemes, that the international-
ity of capitalist trade yields to autarchy, that wage-workers find themselves
once more in servitude. And yet, the Blitzkrieg changes the map of the
world even faster than the imperialism of liberalism; production for what-
ever purpose exceeds all previous records; capital is spread to all corners of
the world; populations are shifted on a scale that makes the mass emigrations








of the past appear like jaunty week-end excursions. Munitions plants in
the jungles of the Dutch Indies, airplane assemblies in the woods of deepest
China, death-bearing "Liberators" crossing the Atlantic in 7 2 hours, en-
gineering feats of bomb-proof dogouts for 46 divisions awaiting Der Tag
of the invasion, enthusiastic shock-troops in field, factory and enemy ter-
ritory certainly this cannot mean that the clock has been turned back.
Can this be capitalism? Has not capitalism long been decaying? Has
it not suffered under the permanent crisis, unused resources, stoppage of
capital export, millions of unemployed and, worst of all, the decline of
profits? And then what was the meaning of the bolshevik coup d'etat, the
March on Rome, the Reichstag fire? What explains the variety of pro-
cedures of Mussolini's syndicated corporate state, in the Russia which abol-
ished all individual property rights, in the state-controlled German economy?
What do these differences mean in regard to the interests of capitalists,
workers, farmers, and the middle class? What should be accepted, what
rejected? An so on endlessly.
Let us recall for a moment Hilferding's remark that in Stalin's Russia
"economy no longer has its own laws." We already know that, according
to Hilferding, economic laws concentrate capital into fewer hands-finally,
into "one hand." Connected with these laws were other "laws" referring
to the capitalist mechanism as it operates at any time during the general
developmental process. With the social capital united in "one hand", these
capitalistic categories would lose their force and meaning. Until then the
development of capital would be determined by the "law of value", the
automatic regulator of capitalist production and distribution.
The "law of value" was discovered by Marx's forerunners, the ex-
ponents of political economy. It served to show that the capitalistic market
mechanism benefitted the whole of society; an "invisible hand" guided all
dispersed individual activity towards the common goal an economic
equilibrium in which each one receives his proper share either in the form
of profits, interests, or wages. For Marx the definition of value in terms
of labor meant something other than what it meant for classical economy.
"In the haphazard and continually fluctuating relations of exchange between
the various products of labor," he said, "the labor time socially necessary
for their production forcibly asserts itself as a regulating natural law just
as the law of gravity does when the house collapses over our heads." It
is only in its conceptional form that Marx's "law of value" is connected
with that of the classicists. It is distinguished from the latter through its
close connection with the social conditions underlying the capitalist econ-
omy. In 1868 in a letter to Dr. Kugelmann, Marx wrote, "Even if there
were no chapter on 'value' in my book, the analysis of the real relationships
which I give would contain the proof and demonstration of the real value
relations..... Every child knows that a country which ceases to work, I will
not say for a year, but for a few weeks, would die. Every child knows,
too, that the mass of products corresponding to the different needs require








different and quantitatively determined masses of the total labor of society.
That this necessity of distributing social labor in definite proportions cannot
be done away with by the particular form of social production, but can only
change the form it assumes, is self-evident. No natural laws can be done
away with. What can change, in changing historical circumstances, is the
form in which these laws operate."
In other words, the social division of labor entails some form of co-
ordination of all individual operations to satisfy human needs. But private-
property capitalism has no co-ordinating agency. That function is supposedly
fulfilled by the exchange process. Human necessities must first be trans-
lated into value relations before they can be realized. The value relations
appear as "economic laws" only by virtue of the fact that capitalists pursue
individual ends in a society based on social labor. But the atomized activity
of capitalist producers is only a historical fact, not an economic necessity.
Capitalism emerged as a new class society out of another class society. It
thus developed further the social labor process without being able to make
it really social, that is, without being able to co-ordinate all partial functions
in such a manner that the whole of society could participate in the progress
connected with an increasing productivity.
Marx argued within the conceptional framework of classical economy in
order to fight the bourgeois economists on their own ground, to show that
their ideas failed to convince even in their peculiar fetishistic setting. But
in doing so, he only translated into bourgeois-economic terms existing social
relationships, that is, the actual fight between human beings and between
classes to gain their separate ends without regard to any economic law or
social necessity. He showed that no mysterious "invisible hand" was guiding
society, but that it was "regulated" by the defeats and successes of groups
and individuals in the relentless permanent social war. This war appears
as the ordinary economic activity in which people engage; it is a war,
nevertheless. The "economic laws" were exposed as relations between per-
sons and classes in the productive process, and in social life generally.
The "economic laws" of capitalism, which have now supposedly cul-
minated in the "directed economy," were of a fetishistic nature. Their end
can only lay bare the real relationship they covered up. In other words,
the end of these "economic laws" does not prove the existence of a new type
of society, but only robs the capitalist society of its disguises. Behind all
capitalistic categories there finally stands nothing but the exploitation of the
many by the few. Because for historical reasons capitalist society started
out as an aggregate of numerous large or small units, the accumulation of
capital resulted from the quasi-independent activity of individual capitalists,
profits and wages appeared to be regulated by market laws. For historical
reasons, too, the state began as an executive organ for all capitalist interests
and was thus the property of none.
To the capitalist mind for which its own society was the final product
of all social development and class relations were natural necessities -
the capitalist relationships in production and exchange appeared as real








economic laws which determined and limited the behavior of men. To
improve society it was only necessary to understand these laws better. How-
ever, all "scientific" economic theory remained mere ideology; though as
an ideology it was forceful and well served the capitalist ends. As an ideo-
logy it entered even anti-capitalistic theories and mystified all social ques-
tions the simpler they became. The rise of the totalitarian state cannot
be understood, nor its character grasped, by people unable to free themselves
from this ideology which speaks of "economic laws" when it describes no
more than the exploitation of men by men within a particular historical set-
ting and at a certain developmental stage of social production and technique.
However, fascism's "ending" of the assumed "economic laws" which
are now exposed as no more than a special form in which, within the atom-
ized capitalist society, certain natural necessities assert themselves despite
class and profits needs does not prove that there are no economic laws at
all; it only shows that such laws can have nothing in common with those
relationships the bourgeois economists describe as economic laws. The claim
that fascism has brought to an end the "economic laws" which "regulated"
capitalist society cannot be taken seriously, for one cannot end something
that does not exist.
What the fascists are doing is to react differently to the inescapable
need for distributing the social labor in such proportions that society can
exist at all. That is, they have within given territories developed methods
of doing consciously what hitherto was left to chance. The results of the
struggle of all against all and of class against class, fought out in the sphere
of exchange, disguised these real struggles as peaceful automatic exchange
relations. What the fascists have done is to bring into daylight what had
been hidden behind economic terms. They could not help unmasking the
exchange relations as the relation between classes one controlling, the
other controlled because they themselves rose to power by political strug-
gles, not by grace of an economic law.
The law of value in the Marxian sense asserts itself by way of crisis
and revolution. Under conditions of production and exchange in charge
of a large number of relatively small enterprisers, and the existence of a
variety of class interests and group interests within the classes, that is, in
the so called laissez-faire period of capitalim, each class, each group, each
capitalist had only a limited power to violate the interests of others. In
bourgeois-economic terms this situation was seen, or could be expressed,
as prices tending towards their value. The unequal development of the
powers possessed by capitalists and classes, because of unequal beginnings
and opportunities, and the inequality of social position meant that develop-
ment took place as concentration of capital and centralization of political
power. The strong could violate the weak in increasing measure. The
distribution of social labor in definite proportions became ever more a dis-
tribution according to the needs of the determining capitalistic groups. If
the contradictions between capital and social needs became too great, a
crisis occurred. The crisis enforced re-organizations in the capital structure








so that the capitalists could continue to serve exclusively their own needs
without inviting punishment. The day of reckoning was postponed, and
has been postponed until now. In this very process, however, the face of
capitalistic society has changed continuously.
All this can be expressed in economic terms, that is, can be described
as the "law of accumulation", the "changing organic composition of capital",
the "tendency of the rates of profit to decline", and in many other ways,
as it is actually done in various crisis theories. But all these formulations
only say in different words that on the basis of the existing divisions of labor,
modern technique, and the prevailing class structure, more and more power
is given to the successful groups to enforce their will upon society. This
led to the conclusion that if one single group should usurp complete control
over all capital, it would depend on the character of this group whether
it would use its powers to distribute the social labor with a view of pleasing
everybody, or use it to satisfy its own desires at whatever cost to society.
It was not to be expected, however, that the cartellized monopolists would
on their own part use their power to harmonize the social needs with the
social disivion of labor. They either would have to be forced to do so,
by more socially-inclined groups, or to be replaced by a socialistic regime.
Thus not the working class, but separate organizations, parties as they had
developed within the liberal structure, were thought of as the realizers of
socialism.
Each political party, serving not the limited interests of one or another
group within the accepted framework of capitalism, but aspiring to control
society completely in order to realize one or another social theory, had thus
to develop as a dictatorially-inclined party. Whatever parties claimed to
favor democracy, that is, the democracy that existed, were destined to dis-
appear, because the concentration process in society deprived them of their
basis of existence. But the question which of a number of such organizations
will finally gain power depends on a great complex of circumstances. There
is no general formula for gaining power except that which says you have
to take it. The composition of the group which becomes the single authority
and its road to power may be quite different in every case. It is nonsense
to address a particular group as one which, because of its special position
or function in society, is scheduled to rule. No generalization can here an-
proach realities. To explain the rise of Bolshevism in Russia a separate
study is needed, to explain the rise of German fascism another is necessary.
But to understand why the capitalist development tends to wind up in the
dictatorship of one group over the whole of society it is only necessary to
recognize the class character of society and to understand how this class
nature determines the peculiar character of the developing economic and
political structure of capitalism as one which concentrates, in the hands of
a few, all that is created and belongs to the labor of all.
The successful party controls both the state and capital. But a state
can under certain circumstances tranform itself into a "party" and combine
political and economic power in its dictatorship. Many roads lead to Rome.








The old idea that monopoly capital would control for its purposes the state
apparatus has proved an illusion. This much only is clear. The old idea
was the result of the generally accepted belief in capitalistic progress as
determined by its "economic laws" of motion. There were no such economic
laws; hence "progress" could take another course. But the stubborn insist-
ence that old theories are truer than new facts, an insistence connected both
with material group interests and the psychological difficulty of admitting
defeat, still allows for wide-spread discussions as to what constitutes the
difference between, say, Russia, Germany, and the United States. Those
subjected to the fetishistic laws of capital have certainly lost a world with
the establishment of the totalitarian states. Those adhering to the frozen
ideology of bolshevism indeed see differences between fascism and bolshevism
as great as between day and night. And every child can see that neither
Russia nor Germany can be compared with the United States. Differences
between these nations cannot be denied, but only a blind fanaticism could
insist that Hitler serves a group of independent monopolists, that Stalin
plans or fosters the resurrection of private property in the old laissez-faire
sense, that Roosevelt's policies have as their basis the desires of the domin-
ating groups of capitalists. It is also senseless to find a decisive difference
between two systems in the fact that in Russia a party came to power illegally,
and in Germany legally, or to distinguish between them, because in the one
capital was expropriated at once and in the other only gradually. Neither
is there any sense in distinguishing between a rising and an existing fascist
regime, that is, between the latter and the "democracies", unless one has the
power to turn events away from their present direction. To call one econ-
omic system capitalistic, another socialistic, and the third nothing for lack
of terms, does not solve any question. Instead of arguing about names, one
should describe in concrete terms the actual relations between men and men
in the productive process, and their position in relation to the extra-economic
sources of power. When one does that, all discernable differences become
quite unimportant. In essentials all these systems are alike. In each a sep-
arate group controls all power sources and hence controls the rest of society.
The rule of a party as state, or of a state as party, and their control
over the society, results from previous happenings. Advancing capitalization
displaced individual capitalists with autonomous capitalist groups, individual
workers with trade and political organizations. There arose as it were
- within the state a number of smaller "states" which interfered with
the successful functioning of the state just as much as the monopolies inter-
fered with the competitive rule of the market. Economic crisis conditions
were accompanied by the crisis of democracy. To "solve" the first, the
second had to be taken care of. But just as the bourgeoisie was unable to
overcome the economic crisis, so it was unable to solve the political one.
If a party could take state-power, or a state abolish all parties, it could "end"
the political crisis. It could thus, unhampered, attempt to reorganize the
economic structure. In fully developed capitalist nations a party may not
need a real revolution to accomplish this task, nor does a state have to wait








for such a party. Only in backward nations are revolutions necessary for
this purpose.
Although the growing influence of the state in capitalist society has
been directly identified with its increasing monopolization, the apparent par-
allelism discernible here has to be understood not as a process in which
one hand washes the other that is, as if the monopolistic units themselves
were fostering the power of the state, and the latter exercised this power
in the exclusive interest of the monopolists,- but must be seen in connection
with and within the setting of the general national and international com-
petitive process. The state, essentially a monopolistic enterprise like any
other, developed its own vested interests and had a better opportunity to
defend them within the permanent international crisis conditions. It could
with the'help of social movements become the most important monopoly
and within the framework of imperialistic rivalries combine all power in
society in one hand, and thus begin to "plan" the nation.
From this point of view state rule over the economy and therewith
totalitarianism is but another step in the concentration process which accom-
panied the whole development of capital. It is a new phase in the history
of the capitalistic social and international division of labor based on the
divorce of the producers from the means of production. Like any previous
re-organization of the capitalist structure in the wake of a crisis, this new
reorganization, expressed in a limited "planning", succeeded at first in over-
coming an existing stagnation. These initial successes, however, only obscure
the real character of its "planning", just as previously a new prosperity based
on re-organization processes that took place during the crisis had given rise
to hopes that now at last the philosopher's stone had been found. In reality,
as the spreading of the war shows only too clearly, the anarchy of the mar-
ket has been replaced by the anarchy of "planning". By gearing the whole
economy to the needs of war all crisis symptoms disappear as they disappeared
under war conditions in the liberalistic age. But the very existence of this
war indicates that the separate interests of the diverse state-apparatuses -
each of which comprises a group of privileged people clash with the real
needs of the social world just as violently, if not more so, as did the private-
property interests of times past. All capitalistic categories today are re-
produced not in their fetishistic form but in their actual character; they
are reproduced on a still greater scale, violating more than ever the needs
of mankind.
Luenika.


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REVOLUTION FOR WHAT?

A critical comment on Jan Valtin's "Out of the Night"

"Soiled with mire from top to toe, and oozing blood from every pore",
a seafaring man emerges on this side of the Atlantic to tell a weird story
of intrigue and conspiracy, of spying and counter-spying, of treason, torture,
and murder. It is a true story, a reliable record of tangible facts, albeit
mostly of facts that remind one of the "stranger than fiction" columns.
Yet there is the difference that they are not isolated facts which seem un-
believable only because they do not fit into the common assumptions derived
from everyday experience. Valtin's book reveals a whole world of well-
connected facts that retain their intrinsic quality of unreality even after
their non-fictitious character has been established. It is a veritable under-
world that lies below the surface of present-day society; yet unlike the
various disconnected underworlds of crime, it is a coherent world with its
own type of human actions and sufferings, situations and personalities, al-
legiances and apostasies, upheavals and cataclysms.
It may well be that the claim of publishers and reviewers that "Out
of the Night" is "unlike any other book", and a "mile-stone in the history
of literature" is justified, though in quite another sense than theirs. It
has probably never happened before that a man of 36 years with "a face of
exceptional boyishness" (publisher's advertisement) has told such a grue-
some story, dealing not with his individual adventures but with an important
part of world history, not with events long past but with things that hap-
pend just the other day and that may still be going on in a very similar
way right now.
The title of this book is utterly misleading. Who came out of the
night? When and where and for whom did the new day begin? What
right have the publishers to claim that this man Valtin is "a symbol of hope
in this dark hour, a symbol of a generation which came back from a long
trek in the wilderness, to build civilization all over again"? The only
thing that his career as an OGPU spy and a Gestapo spy who finally com-
muted between both of them as a spy's spy until even this became utterly
impossible might symbolize is the final petering-out in a sort of ambiguous
alliance of the competitive fight between German nazism and Russian bol-
shevism. How many of the readers, who today after fellow-traveling with
bolshevism feel elated in the belief that, like Valtin, they have come back
from a long trek in the wilderness to build civilization ("defend democracy")
all over again, are aware of the fact that with them, as with their hero,
nothing has changed but the external situation? Like Valtin, they never








dreamed of the possibility that one day in August, 1939, the two mutually
opposed world-powers of fascism and bolshevism would come to terms, after
which neither party would need the particular services they had rendered
in exchange for that certain amount of "security" or "protection" which in
the world as it is, results from the connection with any organization of power
- holy or unholy. (This applies to the particular services rendered by
professors and other intellectuals just as much as it applies to the services
of spies, forgers, killers, and to other menial services.)
On the part of Valtin himself there is not much of an attempt to conceal
this woeful state of affairs. In this respect he still towers, despite all we
have said and shall say about him, high above some of his fervent admirers
within the recently established Defense-of-Democracy Front (formerly
"Popular Front") of the repenting American intellectuals. Although he
makes his bow to American democracy the law of the land of his last
refuge he does not dissemble his essentially different faith. He reveals
rather clearly the state of mind that he had reached when after some years
of torture in the Nazi concentration camp he finally made a well-prepared
gesture of repudiating communism and accepting the program of "Mein
Kampf". He does not pretend that in explaining the reasons for this step
to his torturers he was speaking entirely against his true internal conviction:
"Many of the things I said were not lies; they were conclusions I had ar-
rived at in the self-searching and digging which many thousand lonely hours
had invited." (p. 657) Even now, as an American resident in 1939, he
comments on the revolutionary internationalism of his youth in much the
same vein as when he had still to prove his recent conversion to "healthy
nationalism" to Inspector Kraus in the concentration camp. (pp. 3, 659).
Signing the pledge for Nazism carried conviction because he explained to
his torturers that he "joined the C. P. as a boy out of the same motives
which brought other youths into the ranks of the Hitler movement."(657).
His preference from the outset, if he had had a choice, might well have
been in the direction of the more whole-heartedly violent of the two anti-
democratic post-war movements. He faithfully reports the sensation he
experienced when as a youth of barely 14 years he, for the first time, "saw
a man lose his life". The man was an officer in field-gray who came out
of a station surrounded by mutineers during the revolt of the sailors in
Bremen on November 7, 1918:- "He was slow in giving up his arms and
epaulettes. He made no more than a motion to draw his pistol when they
were on top of him. Rifle butts flew through the air above him. Fascin-
ated I watched from a little way off.* Then the sailors turned away to
saunter back to their trucks. I had seen dead people before. But death
by violence and the fury that accompanied it were something new. The
officer did not move. I marvelled how easily a man could be killed. -
I rode away on my bicycle. I fevered with a strange sense of power."(p.10)

*) Emphasis by reviewer.








Similar scenes were to occur again and again throughout the next fifteen
years and though no longer an innocent by-stander, he was still invariab-
ly watching the scene from a little way off, "fascinated" and fevered with a
"strange sense of power." (There was one glorious exception that will be
discussed below.) He was "fascinated" again when in 1931 he
heard the first speech of Captain Goering:- "I tried to be cool, tried to
take notes on what I intended to say after Captain Goering had finished,
but soon gave it up. The man fascinated me."** (p. 243)
Thus there is not much of a "gospel for democracy" in this story of
an unrepenting adherent of an anti-democratic faith. Valtin's escape to
the country of "democracy" is a mere external occurence. There was no
room left for him between the fascist hammer and the communist anvil.
He thus symbolizes not the sentimentalized but the real story of those people
who, after the German-Russian treaty of 1939 and more particularly after
the collapse of Holland, Belgium, France, found themselves in a trap and
are still desperately looking for an escape. It is a hypocritical and self-
defeating attempt to sell this gruesome but true story of Valtin to the
American public as an uplifting report on the redemption of a sinner from
the damnation of anti-democratic communism and nazism.
It is equally ridiculous to ask us, as does the January Book-of-the
Month-Club News, to believe that this book is "first of all an autobiography
and it should be read as such." The reason that Valtin's book appeared
in this country with the approval of the F.B.I., was the February choice
of the Book-of-the-Month Club, has climbed to the top of the non-fiction
best-seller list, was advertised on the radio, reprinted in excerpts through
two issues of Life and condensed for the March issue of the Reader's Digest,
is not its literary quality but its usefulness as war propaganda against both
Nazi Germany and its virtual ally, Communist Russia. We, too, think
that the book has merits from a literary point of view. There is a genuine epic
quality in the story told in Chapters 18 and 19 ("Soviet Skipper") and in
all parts of the book that deal with ships and harbors and seafaring folk.
There is, furthermore, throughout the book an impressive show of that
quality of the author's which impressed even his Nazi torturer when he
said to him, "You have Weltkenntnis." There are other parts of the book,
including the pathetic story of "Firelei", which might be said to betray
too much of a lyrical effort; but here the reviewer would like to withhold
judgment as it is often difficult to draw a line between genuine emotion
and melodramatic display of sentiment. What concerns us, however, is the
question of the book's political importance.
What does it contribute to our knowledge of that great revolutionary
movement of the working classes of Europe that threw the whole traditional
system of powers and privileges out of balance,- so much so that even
in its ultimate defeat it engendered a new and apparently more formidable

**) Emphasis by reviewer.








threat to the existing system the unconquerable economic crisis, the
fascist revolution, and a new world war? What does the book teach us
about the mistakes that led to the failure and self-destruction of the rev-
olutionary movements of the last two decades, and what can be learned from
it for avoiding similar mistakes in the future?
Before attempting an answer we might consider how much of a con-
tribution to far-reaching political problems we can expect from a book like
this. It would be unreasonable to expect much political judgment from
a man who was fourteen years old when he was drawn into the maelstrom
of the German revolution and later spent the best part of his life in the
strict seclusion of the professional conspirator and spy, not counting a three
years' term in an American prison and four years' detention in a Nazi
concentration camp. Apart from the contacts with real human beings that
he gained on ships and in ports on his numerous travels over the seven seas,
there was in his long life as a revolutionary just one short period lasting
from May to October, 1923 during which he had a chance to put in
some actual fighting with the rank and file. This period culminated in,
and was concluded by, his active participation in the famous uprising of
the military organization of the C.P. in Hamburg in October, 1923. There-
after he left the scene for another period of traveling abroad, performing
odd services for the Party, and did not return to Europe and Germany for
any length of time until the beginning of 1930. Only then was he charged
with more important work under the immediate control of the inner circles
of the Comintern; only then did he get a chance to observe events and
developments from a point of view broader than that of the secret agent
committed to a specific, and for him often meaningless task. His misfortune
was that the international communist movement had in the meantime lost
all of its former independent significance. It had been transformed into
a mere instrument of the Russian State. Even in this capacity it no longer ful-
filled any political function, but was restricted to organizational and conspir-
atorial activities. The national units of the Comintern (the C.P.'s of the var-
ious countries) had been virtually transformed into detached sections of
the Russian Intelligence Service. In name cnlv were they directed by
their political leaders; in actual fact they were controlled by the divers agents
of the OGPU. Thus, during the first part of Valtin's career there was a polit-
ical movement of which he got only the most casual glimpses; and during
the latter part, all that was left of the former political character of the C.P.'s
was a mere semblance and pretence of a genuine political movement.
This summary of Valtin's personal history explains both the useful-
ness and the shortcomings of his contribution to the political history of the
revolution. He does not understand much, even today, of the very different
character that the communist workers' movement in Germany and in other
European countries showed in its earlier phases; he accepts its later con-
spiratorial character as the inevitable character of a revolutionary move-
ment. Such a tragic misunderstanding results, in his case, from a peculiar
conjunction of different causes. His extreme youth during the formative








phase of the Communist Party, 1919-1923, the particular conditions along
the "water-front" and more especially in Hamburg, that in many ways anti-
cipated a much later phase of the general development of the Party, his
own impetuous, enthusiastic, reckless nature that from the outset designed
him for the role of a "professional revolutionist" in the Leninist sense of
the term, his particular usefulness as a "real sailor" (p. 107) in a field
that was of outstanding importance both for international revolutionary
politics and for the specific aims of Russian power politics:- all this con-
tributed to deprive him of his full share in the "normal" experience of the
class struggle long before the split between the masses of workers and a
secret inner circle became a typical feature of the communist movement
all over the world. When he joined the party in May, 1923, he was at
once singled out for "special" duties as a member of one of the "activist"
brigades in the harbor of Hamburg, as a military leader, and as a "courier"
for the exchange of messages between the known leaders of the German
party and their Russian military advisers. It was by sheer instinct and
good luck that he did not get involved in the first amateurish activities of
the terror groups that were then introduced into German revolutionary
politics by the secret agents sent from Russia for this purpose.
It is easy to show how little Valtin really understood of the daring
ambiguities of the Russian "communist" interference in the revolutionary
struggle of the German workers. To this day he believes in most of the
romantic stories that were then whispered from mouth to mouth about the
various important "generals" who had been secretly sent by the Soviet
government to handle the military end of the planned insurrection. It is
true that a number of Russian officers had been sent, that they had advised
the German Party leaders, and that they were, in fact, responsible for such
fantastic schemes as that of the assassination of General von Seeckt, head
of the German Reichswehr, by the T.-groups of the ill-famed Felix Neu-
mann, who later betrayed the whole crew of the T.-units and their secret
leaders, the Russian officers, to the German police. But it is equally true
that the Russian officers had come to Germany in a double capacity. While
the Soviet government was assisting the German C.P. in preparing the
insurrection, it was at the same time engaged in secret negotiations with the
same General von Seeckt whom its Tchekist emissaries planned to assassinate.
These negotiations with the militarist and reactionary clique the fore-
runners of Nazism in the Weimar Republic were conducted with a view
to preparing a Russo-German alliance against France and England, who
had at that time invaded the Rhine and Ruhr territories of Germany. The
negotiations led to a number of military agreements and paved the way for
the treaty that was actually concluded between Germany and Russia in
the spring of 1926.
All the Russian officers who had been tried and sentenced to death
penalties and long prison terms in the so-called Tcheka-trial at Leipzig in
1924, were shortly afterwards returned to Russia. The underlying dip-
lomatic procedure was screened by the arrest and trial of a few otherwise








unknown German students by the GPU in Moscow on the charge of es-
pionage. They were convicted and afterwards exchanged for "General"
Skoblevsky (alias Helmut, alias Wolf) and the other Russian officers cap-
tured in Germany. In reporting his version of these events, Valtin still
naively believes in the story which was then spread by the German and
Russian governments and was at the time widely accepted by the workers.
Felix Djerjinsky, the "supreme chief of the GPU", he tells us, had silently
inaugurated the drive against the German students and thus compelled the
German authorities to return the Russian officers who had plotted against
the life of von Seeckt and had nearly succeeded in organizing a revolutionary
overthrow of the German state.
We have discussed this particular question at length not for the purpose
of exposing the naivity of Valtin's report, but for a more important end
- namely, to show the distortion that the whole history of the class-struggle
undergoes if it is regarded from the restricted viewpoint of the technical
"expert", the professional conspirator and spy. This distortion is inherent
in the whole of Valtin's report on those earlier phases when the communist
movement was still to a greater or lesser extent a genuine political move-
ment, a true expression of the underlying class-struggle.
Unfortunately, the same objection cannot be raised against Valtin's
report on the later phases of the communist movement. By that time the
distortion of a genuine political movement to a mere conspiratorial organ-
ization had become a historical fact: After 1923 and again after 1928,
1933, and ultimately after 1939, the so-called Communist Party became
what Valtin assumed it had been at all times a mere technical instrument
in the hands of a secret leadership, paid and controlled exclusively by the
Russian State, entirely independent of any control by its membership or
by the working class at large.
Thus the greater part of Valtin's book presents a most valuable des-
cription of the real distortions that must befall a revolutionary movement
that becomes estranged from its original purpose and from its roots in the
class-struggle. There is no doubt that Valtin has given a realistic descrip-
tion of this historical process and of its ultimate outcome. He has presented
the facts without reserve, with no perceptible sparing of other persons and
very little sparing of himself. He has recorded the characteristic features
of persons, events, and localities with a rare gift both of memory and of
accurate detailed description. He has thus revealed the complete inside story
of an immense plot, whose details by a carefully devised and rigidly
observed procedure were known only to a minimum number of immed-
iately involved persons, most of whom have died in the meantime without
recording their memories. Thus in his factual report he traces to the bitter
end the working of one of the processes that contributed to the utter defeat
of the most revolutionary movement of our time and to the temporary
eclipse of all independent workers' movements in a twilight of despair, loss
of class-consciousness, and cynical acceptance of the counter-revolutionary
substitute for a genuine workers' revolution.








Yet it cannot be said that Valtin has presented the story of the degen-
eration of the communist movement in a manner in which it would be most
fruitful for the politically interested among his readers. We must supple-
ment his tale with two additions. We must point out the subtle process
by which the first germs of the later decay were introduced into the revolu-
tionary movement; and we must try to understand the whole of the historical
development that from those inconspicuous beginnings led to the present
complete corruption of a once-revolutionary movement.
Little did the masses of the Independent Social Democratic Party of
Germany know what they were in for when at their convention in Halle
in the fall of 1920 they accepted, along with twenty other "Conditions of
Admission to the Communist International", the necessity for a secret
"illegal activity" in addition to the regular activities of a revolutionary
party. They had had some experience in "illegal action" during 1914-18.
They had built up a secret organization of Workers' Councils, and ultim-
ately, of Workers' and Soldiers' Councils to end the war and to organize
the socialist revolution. They had become used to periods when all legal
activities of the revolutionary parties (outside of the still formally respected
parliamentary sphere) were suppressed, their leaders persecuted, their in-
stitutions destroyed and thus, for a certain time, the whole party "forced
into illegality". Thus they imagined that nothing was at issue in the 1920
discussion but this indispensable element of any genuine revolutionary action
an element that is present even under the most normal conditions of the
class struggle (e. g., in the organization of an ordinary strike). They sus-
pected the right-wingers who opposed all the twenty-one conditions of a
malicious plot against this inevitable form of maintaining the revolutionary
movement through the critical periods immediately preceding its decisive
victory or following its temporary defeats. They were for this reason un-
able to listen to the warnings of the left-radical communists who, adhering
to the tradition of Liebknecht and Luxemburg, emphasized the sponta-
neity of revolutionary mass action from the bottom up as against the sup-
remacy of an uncontrolled leadership from the top down. They did not,
and from their historical experience could not, anticipate the fact that from
'then on a steadily increasing part and ultimately all of their organization
and politics, tactics and strategies, their choice of foes and allies, their
theoretical convictions, language and mores, in fact the whole of their be-
havior would depend on secret orders received from the often suspicious
agents of unknown superiors without the slightest possibility of influence
or control on the part of the members. (This is what became known in
communist circles by the beautiful name of "democratic centralism").
Already in the next year, the "March-putsch" of 1921 gave a first
impression of the disease that from then on was to destroy the healthy
growth of the revolutionary movement of the German workers. It was
the first of a long series of events in which the elite of the most valiant
and the most devoted workers was sacrificed for an insane enterprise that
was not based on a spontaneous movement from below nor on a critical








condition of the existing economic and political system. It was planned,
and led to defeat, entirely by a secret semi-military organization. The same
game was repeated under similar conditions, and invariably with the most
destructive consequences, through all subsequent phases until it actually
fulfilled the ultimate purpose that had been inherent in the procedure from
the outset. It was used not to arouse the workers, but to restrain them
from the decisive fight against the advancing forces of Nazism because (as
Manuiilsky said at the Eleventh Session of the Executive Committee of the
Comintern in 1932): "It is not true that Fascism of the Hitler type re-
presents the chief enemy". When this was said, however, the conspiratorial
idea of the revolution had already nearly run its full course, although an
aftermath was still to come. The period of the so-called Popular Front,
inaugurated after 1933, brought many new phases until the Communist
Party reached the utter debasement which is illustrated by the "communist"
staff member of the City College of New York who was so conspiratorial
that in helping to edit and put out the Communist campus paper he wore
gloves in order to prevent his leaving fingerprints, because he had "an in-
ordinate fear of detection."***
A final objection that might be raised against Valtin's picture of the
degeneration of the Communist Party is that he does not discuss the manner
in which Lenin's concept of the conspiratorial revolution is closely related
to other parts of Lenin's theory-namely, to his concept of the party and
the state, to his assumption on the role of the various classes, and even of
whole nations, in the "uneven development" of the proletarian revolution
and, last not least, to his theory of the "dictatorship of the proletariat". Here
again an apparent shortcoming of the book is due less to the restricted tech-
nical outlook of the author than to the fact that none of those wider political
concepts of the Leninist theory exerted the slightest effect on the action and
omissions recorded in his book. During those later phases of the Comintern
to which his report is mainly devoted, all the high-sounding terms of the
original theory had long since degenerated into empty phrases without any
bearing on the practical behavior of the "revolutionary" conspirators. All
that the people described by Valtin needed of those Leninist theories was the
cheerful acceptance of an unrestricted use of all forms of violence both
against the existing powers and against those proletarian critics of an assum-
edly infallible leadership who had been described by Lenin and were described
up to the end in ever new and more poisonous terms as the "agents of the
bourgeoisie within the ranks of the proletarian class", the "agents of the
counter-revolution", of "Social-Fascism", of "Trotskyism", etc., etc.
There was no longer any connection between the various forms and deg-
rees of violence applied and the different tasks to be solved at the different
stages of the revolutionary development. In fact, Valtin's uncritical
report could be used to demonstrate an inverse relation by which the use
of violence became the more unrestricted the more the movement lost its

*** See the testimony of Mr. Canning in the New York Times of March 3rd, 1941.








original revolutionary character and became a mere intelligence service at
the command and in the pay of the external and internal power politics of
the Stalin government in Russia. For example, an indiscriminate use of
sabotage had been repudiated by the early communists in accordance with
all other Marxist parties. In the later phases, as is most impressively re-
vealed by Valtin, all conceivable forms of sabotage were commonly used
and had long ceased to involve any theoretical problems. Again the famous
"purge" of non-conformist party members was applied originally in the form
of disciplinary measures culminating in expulsion from the party; it was
later developed into methodical character-assassination and, ultimately, into
outright assassination of individuals and whole groups, party members and
non-members, both inside and outside Russia. (The murder of Trotsky
by the GPU in Mexico was only the most conspicuous example of an almost
"normal" procedure that scarcely interested a wider public as long as it
was restricted to the extinction of present or former revolutionists).
In conclusion, one word against those inspired people who want to
minimize the significance of Valtin's book by pointing out that the author
was never "an important communist". It is indeed remarkable that this
most ferocious attack against the present-day usurpers of the name of rev-
olutionary communism should have come, not from one of the people high
up in the party, but from one of those ordinary workers who were forever
misused and sacrificed for the higher purposes of the gods. Here is a fitting
symbol of the form in which the last stroke against the counter-revolutionary
power entrenched in Stalin's Russia is bound to come:- the rebellion of
the masses.
L. H.


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Paul Froelich's ROSA LUXEMBURG is not only a historical accurate
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of revolution in our time. Rosa Luxemburg's many-sided activities makes
her biography a contribution to the history of the German, Polish and
Russian working class movement and the Socialist International.
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MAN AND SOCIETY IN AN AGE
OF RECONSTRUCTION

Sociologists, who for professional reasons are more disturbed than other
scientists by the unsocial behavior of men, find their greatest challenge in
present-day reality. On the one hand there is an enormous advance in
science and production, and on the other an almost complete inability to
apply them to the advantage of society as a whole. This paradox leads
sociologists once more to turn from their cherished pre-occupation with isol-
ated sociological data to new attempts at formulating comprehensive theories
designed to influence and direct social change.
It must be noted, however, that the vaunted empiricist formula was
used so extensively not only for reasons of objectivity but also because it
served as a sort of escape-device for scientists unwilling to make political
decisions. Sociologists could not help noticing that all their findings led to
conclusions which in one way or another were directed against the ruling
interests in society. But though it was not difficult to maintain "neutrality"
in the name of science, that was not enough. Whatever their attitude, the
scientists are now dragged out into the open to "take their stand". Thus
the recent tendencies in sociology are both a series of "confessions" and a
militant defense of the scientists' position in society.
Although prosperity and depression, war and peace relieve one another,
all that can really alternate in the course of social development is the emphasis
upon one or the other side of this singular but double-faced process; for in
the prevailing society productive forces are simultaneously destructive ones.
This fact explains why, in an atmosphere suggesting war and reflecting general
disorder, hopeful investigations are made and optimistic proposals offered
to preserve peace and to re-establish order. Unless precluded by the require-
ments of warfare the search for sociality in the unsociall" society is continued
even in the midst of war. In this respect Karl Mannheim's new book
Man and Society in an Age of Reconstruction1) must be regarded as an im-
portant contribution to contemporary social thought.

1) Kegcn Paul, London. Harcourt, Brace & Company, New York. (469 pp., 16s.6d.-
$3.50) 1940.
The book, which carries the subtitle "Studies in Modern Social Structure," is divided
into six parts dealing with rational and irrational elements in contemporary society,
the social causes of the crisis in culture, the questions of crisis, dictatorship and war,
with thought at the level of planning and with questions of planning and freedom
It contains, besides an introduction, a 72-page bibliography and indices of names and
subject matter.
It should be clear that the reviewer will hardly be able to do justice to the whole








I
For Mannheim the present social crisis is not a temporary affair but a
transition period to a new social order. The principle of laissez faire and
its paralleling social structure resulted in chaos; a new principle, "planning
for freedom", and a new social structure must evolve and lead to a higher
social level which incorporates in itself former types of action, thought, and
freedom compatible with the new society, and at the same time guards
against exaggerated dogmatism in planning. Instead of despairing over the
birthpangs of the emerging "mass-society", instead of longing for the irrevoc-
able past, we should accept the new reality and help to realize a new freedom,
new security, and new progress.
Since in Mannheim's opinion radical solutions of the existing social
problems are out of the question, and since we have to be content with
gradually altering small details within the framework of established rela-
tionships" (381)2) we must, independent of our preferences, "use all our
intellectual energy towards finding a combination of social controls whi'cn
would determine how far individual liberties should be left unrestricted it
order to preserve both the freedom of the individual and the efficiency of
the community" (8). He, too, would prefer, he says, to live in a period
"in which the social order and the technique of control did not allow one
group of people to force its conception of the 'good life' upon another. But
we have no power to choose the social order and its technique of control.
They are already in existence, and the most we can do is to combine and
mold them to the best advantage" (7). As there is no longer "a choice
between planning and laissez faire, but only between good planning and
bad"(6), and as the "planners can recruit themselves only from already
existing groups, everything will depend on which of these groups with their
existing outlooks will produce the energy, the decisiveness, and the capacity
to master the vast social machinery of modern life"(75).
All this is quite in keeping with the spirit of the time, for it must
be obvious by now that that kind of "planning" and social ordering initiated
on a national scale by the Bolsheviks, adopted by the Fascists and Nazis
in a somewhat modified form and with partly different means because of
different conditions, is now under pressure of crisis and war being brought
in a steadily increasing measure into the structure of those nations still
paying lip-service to democracy and free-trade. In one respect, and with

content of this ambitious work, embodying as it does its author's reflections over
a period of six years.. He will not deal with its social epistemology and its sociological
analysis of ideas otherwise than indirectly. He feels justified in so doing because of
the fact that the issues neglected were widely dealt with at the time of the appearance
of Dr. Mannheim's previous book "Ideology and Utopia". Attaching more importance
to the political than to the sociological aspects of the work, the reviewer concerns
himself only with its main theses and its "message" as regards existing social
problems.
2) All figures in parentheses refer to pages in Dr. Mannheim's book.








much more right than Harcourt who in 1901 said that "we are all socialists
now", one could say that "we are all fascists today". A comparison between
the various fascistic proposals and practices in regard to social problems
and those brought forth by the reformists of the socialistic and liberalistic
schools would suffice to justify such a remark. In view of this situation,
Mannheim's book may also be appreciated for its attempt to reconcile social
theory and practice, and for its recognition of the fact that whatever stand
we may take in regard to fascism, our future activity has to be based on that
social necessity which led to the rise of the totalitarian state.
II.
Mannheim's central theme is formed by the problem "of how psycho-
logical, intellectual, and moral developments are related to the social pro-
cess (15). He wants to show the connection between the changes in human
beings and the great contemporary changes in the social system. The Marx-
ian method of "contemplating our inner life in the light of economic pro-
cesses does not exhaust all the possibilities of interpreting the mind in relation
to contemporary society" 19). Relationships which are neither economic
nor political, but social, "form the real center of the drama in which social
changes are directly transformed into psychological changes"(21). Psycho-
logy, aesthetics, and jurisprudence are no more able than economics to deal
sufficiently with the problems of mind and society. The isolated sciences
have their usefulness, but they will have to translate their separate conclus-
ions into sociological terms. Though until today we had no historical or
sociological psychology, we now have to begin "to perceive the social aspect
of every psychological phenomenon, and to interpret it in terms of a continual
interaction between the individual and society" (17).
Mannheim points out that the number of sociological relationships
and processes which affect the psychology of man is much greater than is
usually supposed. To make this clear, he selects out of the variety of present-
day social relationships "the conflicting principles of competition and regula-
tion". He says that not only in economics, but in every sphere of life
the principle of regulation is replacing the principle of competition"(21).
Because of the particular trend of thought which prevailed in those social
sciences reflecting the rise of industry, it happened that the principle of com-
petition was first discovered in the economic field. It had, nevertheless,
universal validity. (There is competition in love, in art, in politics, etc.)
Today, too, though the change from competition to regulation has economic
causes, it also has a significance of its own; its influence is felt in every kind
of social activity(22).
Mannheim's first attempt to forge a link between psychology and the
social sciences serves to lay bare the "various sociological factors which
could explain why civilization is collapsing before our eyes"(15). He points
out that reason and order exist only under certain conditions. Belief in the
progress of reason has lately been shattered; "groups which have hitherto
ruled society and which, at least since the Age of Reason, have given our








culture its special tone"(40), have suddenly lost power. Thus it has become
necessary to include in the "picture of historical development the recent
experiences of the power of the irrational... It is the task of sociology to show
at which points in a given society these irrationalities are expressed and
which social functions and forms they assume"(63).
As points of departure Mannheim advances the theses that "the un-
folding of reason, the ordering of impulses, and the form taken by morality
are not accidental... but depend on the problems set by the existing social
order. Societies of earlier epochs could afford a certain disproportion in the
distribution of rationality and moral power. The contemporary society, how-
ever, must collapse if rational social control and the individual's mastery
over his impulses do not keep step with technical development"(43). This
latter disproportion proves in the long run to be incompatible with
the industrial society because this society leads to a growing social interdepen-
dence and a fundamental democratization. Since there exists a "general dis-
proportion in the development of human capacities", because "modern tech-
nical mastery over nature is miles ahead of the development of the know-
ledge and the moral powers of man", and also a "social disproportion" in
the distribution of rational and moral capacities, because of the class and
functional divisions in society, it happens that as soon as the masses "enter
in one way or another into politics, their intellectual shortcomings and more
especially their political shortcomings are of general concern and even threat-
en the elites"(45). To be sure there is today no more irrationality than
in the past, but "hitherto it has found an outlet in narrower social circles
and in private life"(45). As long as democracy was only a "pseudo-demo-
cracy", Mannheim goes on to explain, it allowed for the growth of rationality,
but since "democracy became effective, i. e., since all classes played an active
part in it, it has been increasingly transformed into a 'democracy of
emotions'." (45).
At this point it is necessary to explain in what sense Mannheim employs
the terms "rational" and "irrational". He speaks of substantial and functional
rationality and irrationality. A substantial rational act of thought "reveals
intelligent insight into the inter-relations of events in a given situation. Every
thing else which either is false or not an act of thought at all (drives, impul-
ses, wishes, feelings) is substantially irrational. Functional rationality or ir-
rationality he uses in the way it is usually employed in regard to rationaliza-
tion processes in an industry or administration, that is, where a "series of
actions is organized in such a way that it leads to a previously defined goal"
(53). "The more industrialized a society is", Mannheim explains, "and
the more advanced its division of labor and organization, the greater will
be the number of spheres of human activity which will be functionally
rational and hence also calculable in advance"(55). This increased func-
tional rationality does not, however, promote to the same extent substantial
rationality. Rather, functional rationalization has a paralysing effect on the
capacity for rational judgment, as crises and revolutions so amply testify.








In earlier societies "the individual acted only occasionally and in limited
spheres in a functionally rational manner; in contemporary society he is com-
pelled to act in this way in more and more spheres of life". Most intimately
connected with the functional rationalization of conduct is the phenomenon
of self-rationalization, that is, the individual's systematic control of his im-
pulses. However, since in a functionally rationalized society the thinking
out of a complex series of actions is confined to a few organizers men in
key positions the average man's capacity for rational judgment declines
steadily. This leads to a growing distance between the elite and the masses,
thus to the 'appeal to the leader'. Self-rationalization becomes increasingly
more difficult. "When the rationalized mechanism of social life collapses
in times of crisis, the individual cannot repair it by his own insight. Instead
his own impotence reduces him to a state of terrified helplessness"(59).
The origins of the rational and irrational elements in modern society
are thus traceable to the fact that ours is not only an industrial but also a
mass society. As an industrial society "it creates a whole series of actions
which are rationally calculable... and which depend on a whole series of
repressions and renunciations of impulse satisfactions. As a mass society, it
produces all the irrationalities and emotional outbreaks which are character-
istic of amorphous human agglomerations"(61).
The "irrational", however, "is not always harmful ,...it is among the
most valuable powers in man's possession when it acts as a driving force
towards rational and objective ends"(62). It is harmful when it is not
integrated into the social structure and enters the political life in a society
in which the masses tend to dominate. This is so "dangerous because the
selective apparatus of mass democracy opens the door to irrationalities in
those places where rational direction is indispensable"(63). In short and
to be specific, irrationalities are still an asset in France and England, but
of course very bad in Germany.
III
It might be well to interrupt our exposition of Mannheim's studies
and to select for discussion the following ideas:
1) Society is in a transition from laissez faire to planning. The char-
acter of ruling elites is decisive for future events.
2) To understand the actions and ideas of men the "multi- dimen-
sional" nature of social events must be considered.
3) A civilization is collapsing; the belief in progress is gone; irration-
ality is on the increase. The last must be understood as the result of the
contradictory development of "social interdependence" and "fundamental
democratization", the more rapid growth of the functional as compared to
the substantial rationality in industrial mass society.
To deal with the question of transition: It is essential for an under-
standing of Mannheim's thought to observe that his book has been influenced
by "experiences in Germany and later by the English way of thinking, and









is an attempt at reconciling the two"(4). The democracies, Mannheim
says, "have not yet found a formula to determine which aspects of the social
process can be controlled by regulation, and the dictatorships cannot see that
interfering with everything is not planning"(14). He favors neither of
them, but a social policy which successfully merges what is good in both;
everything depends finally on "whether we can find ways of transferring
democratic parliamentary control to a planned society"(380). The political
character of Mannheim's work is here revealed. Although somewhat hidden
by a benevolent acknowledgment of Marx's contribution to social science, it
is nevertheless an attack upon the idea of revolutionary change. Though
convinced of the necessity of many of the fascistic reforms, Mannheim is
thoroughly frightened by their social consequences. He favors a middle-way,
that is, he favors the political attitude prevailing in the so-called democratic
nations which are in opposition to the new German imperialism.
Mannheim is convinced that "if the groups engaged in politics still
refuse to look beyond their own immediate interests, society will be doomed"
(15). It is difficult to see more than rhetoric in this statement, for one or
another group may be doomed (whatever that may mean), but why society?
It is still more difficult to understand this because Mannheim does not believe
"that the great theme of our time is the struggle between the proletariat
and the bourgeoisie"(215). He admits that at an earlier time the class-
struggle idea appeared to be quite realistic, but now it has to be recognized
as a "distorted perspective". It is no longer true, he says, "that class antagon-
isms are the principal characters" in the social drama, because "new classes
grew up which cannot be placed in the same category as the bourgeoisie,
the proletariat, or the military caste; party organizations have been created
which ignore the economic division between workers and industrialists. These
issues dwarf the significance of the continued class tensions"(251).
If class issues are of "secondary importance" today they cannot be made
responsible for the continuation of the present social crisis. If Mannheim
nevertheless speaks of group frictions as responsible for the present chaos,
this must be understood in the light of his conviction that "party organizations
ignore the division between workers and industrialists". What "dooms"
society is the struggle between party organizations and industry, between
fascism and private-property capitalism. Mannheim's quest for ending group
frictions to "save society" is an appeal to both fascist and "anti-fascists" to
end their struggle and find a compromise solution which satisfies both, -
a plea which simultaneously assumes that the proletariat as an independent
force is already out of the way.
It is from this view that Mannheim's claims that most of the bad sympt-
oms of our time are due to the transition from laissez faire to planning,
from a limited democracy to mass society, and to the changes in social tech-
nique accompanying this process, must be understood. These principles ap-
pear to him as more important than the Marxian principles of class conflict
and the struggle for power whose "concrete patterns are much too change-
35









able to be accepted as the eternal frame-work of future events"(251). He
considers his principles more fundamental because they are more abstract,
because "they sufficiently explain a large number of changes which will en-
dure after the special class patterns have been modified"(252).
Though principles which will endure and transcend the narrower prob-
lems of the present are all right so far as they go, they are not "superior"
and do not relegate the less abstract problems of the present into "secondary
categories". To say that most of the symptoms of our time are due to its
transitional character is to repeat only in other words that they are due
to the actual struggle between party organizations and industrialists. Thus
Mannheim has not replaced less abstract with more abstract principles. He
has only narrowed down still further the class struggle principle by accept-
ing in concrete one of its phases, that is, the present struggle between
party organizations and industrialists, as of greater importance than the
class struggle itself.
It might be difficult to recognize in the present struggles between fascism
and private-property capitalism the old struggle between those who control
the sources of economic and social power and those controlled by them
because of the fact that the emphasis has now been shifted from the so-called
economic into the political sphere. It is easier to discard the whole problem
and to concentrate on issues which apparently transcend both the class strug-
gles in their former and in their present disguises. In that case one cannot
help assuming that society is already in the process of transition towards
planning. Thus for Mannheim all present social tensions and difficulties
result from the side-by-side existence of laissez faire and planning. But
here a new difficulty arises, for Mannheim himself says, that so far we are
"only in that stage of development where each of the dominant social groups
is intent on capturing for itself the chance of planning and controlling society
in order to turn its power against rival groups"(70). He thinks that up
to the present "history has not produced genuine attempts at planning, since
the experiments of which we know are blended with the spirit3 either of
oriental despotism or military dictatorial traditions"(7).
For Mannheim real planning does not exist; but real planning should
exist. The new principle is not practiced, but it should be practiced. Since
this real planning does not exist, the present miserable state of affairs cannot
be attributed to the side-by-side existence of new and old principles, that
is, laissez faire and planning, democracy and dictatorship. The less so, since
the old principle was in force only in the same sense as the new principle

3) We might as well leave the "spirits" out of it as Mannheim is aware of the fact
that not only in the countries thus beset, but in all highly industrial states a "transition
is taking place because all are suffering from the same dislocation of their normal
existence". The fact "that some show obvious symptoms of the crisis and others are
experiencing similar changes at slower speed under cover of social peace," he says
"is due merely to an uneven distribution of pressure on different states, and to the
existence of greater mental and material resources in certain countries" (12).








is in force now, not really, not socially, but only to favor some dominant
social group, just as the new planning principle now favors other dominant
groups. That both the democracies and the dictatorships, in Mannheim's
opinion, fall short although at different poles of doing what he deems
socially necessary is explained by the fact that both systems, despite all their
differences, are still capitalistic regimes at different stages of development and
within different settings. Both by performing apparently opposite movements
nevertheless reach identical results, a process that finally may reestablish a
new capitalistic "unity", a relative uniformity of behavior, the fussion of
the "good" to be found in both the old and the new for which Mannheim
hopes. From this point of view, Mannheim's book merely reflects what is
now in the process of development, i. e., the social re-organization of the
prevailing society in accordance with recent economic and class changes.
Mannheim's assertion based on the ever-existing parallelism of
old and new social patterns, techniques and principles, and their bewildering
influences that the present social crisis is a transitional period leading
over to a new society is not convincing. From such a point of view all
societies are always in transition, and though in one sense this is true, such
a statement is not sufficient to explain social phenomena, nor can it serve
any practical purpose.
Throughout capitalistic development, planning and laissez faire, demo-
cracy and dictatorship have always been two sides of the same coin. The
planning of individual enterprises, which is now extended to national plan-
ning, and dictatorship over the working class, which now embraces all layers
of society, are indications of the "maturity" of a society whose development
has been determined by the characteristics of its embryonic stage, that is,
by specific, production and class-relations that allowed for "progress" only
in terms of capital concentration and power centralization.
No doubt one could very well speak of the present as a "transition
period" in distinction to a period where fascism was not as yet fascism but
merely a tendency expressed in the growth of monopolies, where dictatorial
control over the workers' life did not extend beyond the factory, the barrack,
the relief station and additional compulsives of the wage system. One could,
that is, to use an analogy arbitrarily refer to the ripening period of
fruit as its transitory stage, and to its previous growth as its "real," "nor-
mal", or "healthy" stage. Transition to what? Though there is no reason
why one should not distinguish between different developmental stages of
one particular societal form, yet all that transition could mean here is the
transition toward decay. Distinctions have to be made between different
developmental stages in a certain society and between one society and other
societies. Though the birth of capitalism preceded the capitalist revolution,
nevertheless the transition from feudalism to capitalism must still be regarded
as a revolutionary act, as the result of class struggles. And though the
transition to a new society need not and will not copy the transition from
feudalism to capitalism, still it cannot be a mere "reconstruction" of the
prevailing society. It would then still be the prevailing society, however
changed.









Even if one follows Mannheim's advice and concentrates his attention
"not on the contrast between evolution and revolution but on the content
of the changes themselves"(12), it still has to be established whether those
changes constitute a real social revolution, that is, abolish one kind of class
rule in favor of another, or abolish class rule altogether the criterion
for which rests in the socio-economic field. Of course the latter query is of
importance only to the class interested in revolutionary change. But dis-
interest in the problem does not eliminate it. Here, however, lies the crux
of the matter, for Mannheim is convinced that "revolutions" can no longer
be anything other than good or bad "reconstructions" of the existing society.
He is satisfied with a very limited program, which as a matter of fact is so
limited that it has already been overtaken by recent events. In the economic
sphere, for example, he pleads for no more than a minor transformation of
property concepts,4 for he is convinced that "entirely new principles of con-
struction can often be found in trivial microscopic processes, provided they
are integrated in a certain manner. Thus major principles are not in-
frequently concealed behind the mask of petty details"(12). However,
fascism has meanwhile shown us what "major principle" was behind
the "petty detail" of the "transformation of property concepts". The petty
details which in the society thus changed, are supposed to secure "freedom
for individual adjustment", on which Mannheim bases his hopes for a better
future, suggest, as we shall see later, principles quite as unsatisfactory -
at least for the large mass of individuals.
IV
Mannheim, who sees a real transformation of one type of society into
another in the metamorphoses of democracy into dictatorship, of laissez faire
into monopolistic laissez faire, of imperfect competition into imperfect regul-
ation, maintains that the outcome of the process depends on the character
of the elite which gives it direction. We must recall that in Mannheim's
opinion democracy in capitalism is possible only as a "pseudo-democracy",
which grants power to a small propertied and educated group. With the
development of capitalism, i. e., with the concentration of economic, political
and military forces, "irrationality" grows and democracies change into dic-
tatorships because it is not possible "to bring everyone to more or less similar
levels of understanding" (46).

4) "It is becoming more and more obvious", Mannheim says, "that the enjoyment of
income and interests and the right to dispose of capital are two different things.. It
is possible that in the future things will so develop that by appropriate taxation and
compulsory charity this unrestricted use could be curtailed, and the disposition of
capital could be guided from the centre by credit control. Fascism is making unwill-
ingly an interesting experiment in its unacknowledged expropriation of the capitalists.
It has managed to socialize the power of disposition without ejecting the former
industrial elite from their posts. Transformation of the original form of capitalism
does not consists in abolishing the claims of property, but in withdrawing certain
functions of the ownership of capital from the competence of the capitalists"(350).
38








What Mannheim here describes has in a different sense been stated
before in Marx's laconic remark that the "democratic swindle" is over as
soon as it endangers the ruling class, and by William Graham Sumner who
said that democracy serves as an impetus for class conflict, which finally
forces industry to become plutocratic in order to survive. What is new in
Mannheim is the peculiar way in which he attempts to show that it was
not the sharpening of class frictions in the course of capital formation that
led to the end of democracy, but the extension of democracy, that is, the
quantitative growth of democratic political processes that led to the qual-
itative change into dictatorship. An exaggerated democracy leads to fascim,
Thus the "democratic nations" fight the fascist nations today because there
was too much democracy in the latter and too little in the former.
Let us recall once more Mannheim's explanation of the growth of ir-
rationality. There are always fewer positions, he says, from which the major
structural connection between different activities can be perceived. The broad
masses become increasingly unable to understand what occurs. Their actions
disturb the smooth working of society if the men in key positions are not
able properly to integrate those activities into social life. "Primitive types"
of men in key positions endanger the whole society. The "primitive type"
has a chance to reach those positions because of the existing democracy.
"The first negative consequence of the modern widening of opportunities
for social advancement through education", Mannheim says, is the pro-
letarization of the intelligentsia. There are more persons on the intellectual
labor market than society as it is requires for carrying out its intellectual
work. The glut of intellectuals decreases the value of the intellectuals
and of intellectual culture itself"(100).
This kind of argument seems familiar. There is, for instance, Hitler's
observation that there are too many Jews in the intellectual professions,
more than is good for German culture. Jewish intellectuals become in
Mannheim's language just intellectuals, German culture, simply culture. This
attitude is common to all separately organized groups with vested interests
within the capitalistic structure. Essentially it expresses no more than the
never-ending fear of the "arrived" of losing their positions to the "up-starts"
in society "as it is", that is, in the relatively stagnating capitalistic society.
But Mannheim says more. He asserts that if the "primitive type" worms
or fights his way into the intellectual positions, he the primitive type -
reduces the whole intellectual level to his own. There is still another im-
portant assumption: If culture is no longer determined by the really cul-
tured, who are to be copied with more or less success by the rest of the
population, culture will be distorted. The specific economic and class out-
look of the proletariat, for instance, which stresses the importance of tech-
nological development because by so doing it raises its own importance, may
lead to an over-emphasis of the technological aspects of culture. "In Russia
where the proletariat possesses exclusive political power," Mannheim says,
"the proletariat carries this principle so far, that even if for no other reason,
it continues to accumulate and to invest in order to expand itself as a social








class as against the peasantry"(105). If this is so, then all capitalistic dev-
elopment must have been carried out by a "ruling proletariat". Capitalism
advanced so rap-dly because it accumulated for the sake of accumulation
and for the sake of transforming, if possible, the whole population ex-
cluding the capitalists into exploitable wage workers. Thus the Russian
workers would seem to have taken power only to carry on the good, if one-
sided work, from that point where the capitalists lost their breath. This
overemphasis on accumulation under the direction of the capitalist, however,
did not interfere with the creation of that civilization which Mannheim now
sees endangered. Mannheim's rather grotesque example illustrates his point
quite well however. Even in the "best case", so he thinks, class-rule deter-
mined by a class point of view leads to distortions. Consequently, the regula-
tion and direction of society, in order to be intelligent and appropriate to
social needs, must from his point of view be carried out by an elite which
stands above classes and groups and knows what is good for the whole.
We do not think that the "democratization" of society is in any way
responsible for the glut of the intellectual labor market. The existing "over-
supply' is true of all kinds of labor, not of any particular kind. This indic-
ates that the present crisis is not caused by maladjustments or disproportions
between different branches of production which may be eliminated by way
of a planning that reestablishes a lost workable "equilibrium", but is a fun-
damental crisis of the whole capitalistic system a crisis that affects all
branches of production and thus the whole of the labor market. The ques-
tion of the intellectuals could no more be solved by rearrangements in the
labor market than could a mere readjustment in the productive process over-
come the economic crisis. As a matter of fact what adjustments and rear-
rangements are possible have already been accomplished, as the wide-spread
destruction of capital and the proletarization of the intellectuals bear witness.
From a different point of view than that which still accepts society
"as it is" when speaking of the future, the glut of the labor market is mean-
ingless. If class and profit considerations were eliminated and the productive
forces of society really released, an "over-supply" of labor could not arise.
There would remain the problem of how it might be possible to live better
with less labor with the existing labor force and its possible improvement,
and thus how to intellectualizee" the masses still further. This question
has nothing in common with the present problems of the disequilibrium and
disproportionality and the planning needs associated therewith. There is
also no bridge leading from the latter kind of "planning theories", designed
for a society in which class issues have been forced into the background be-
cause one likes to keep them there, to planning in a society in which class
considerations have actually ceased to determine the productive and distrib-
utive processes.
Mannheim's position, which assumes the possibility of planning without
fundamental changes in the social structure of the process of production,
offers little choice as to the way in which his theories might be worked out.
Essentially everything boils down to a demand for a better-selected and more









secure elite which wisely and justly puts everybody where he belongs, even
in labor camps a la Hitler, if necessary.5 We will have to return to this
point when dealing with Mannheim's suggestions for the planning of society.
V
In regard to the second point selected for discussion, namely that social
events are of a multi-dimensional nature, we would like to say at once that
no one could disagree with this observation. We will also admit using
Mannheim's example that the principle of competition has "universal"
validity. There is no problem here only the problem of where to begin.
The selection of points of departure is decisive for any social analysis, since
all social phenomena are not of equal importance, nor equally accessible for
investigation. Mannheim, who conceives Marxism as a theory which "re-
gards the economic and political factors as absolute" and thus "makes it
impossible to proceed to the sociological factors proper"(21), misrepresents
the theory he criticizes. Though it is true that Marx's science of society is
first of all economic research this does not limit its comprehensiveness. It
is not the fault of Marxism that other branches of the social sciences are
less amenable to scientific investigation, that they become the less scientific
the further they are removed from economic relationships. To remain scien-
tific, 1I irv.m starts where scientific research is possible. It is not Marxism
but society which is responsible for the overwhelming importance of economics
and politics.
Mannheim prefers to concentrate on the "usually disregarded psycho-
logical effects of the more elementary processes", such as occur "in other
than economic surroundings ...in which men struggle or co-operate". He is
concerned with questions such as "how and when and why people meet,
how power and influence, risk and responsibility are distributed, whether
men act spontaneously or under orders, what social controls are possible",
because "all these things, taken individually and collectively, decide what
is said, how it is said, what is consciously suppressed, or repressed into the
unconscious, and within what limits the dictates of public morality are regard-
ed as binding for all or as valid only within certain groups". He wants to
deal with relationships like "authority and subordination, distancing and
isolation, prestige and leadership, and their effect on psychological expression
and culture in different social settings"(20), and so forth.
To judge from the results of Mannheim's studies one cannot help won-
dering if a less ambitious goal might not have been better. The ideas he
advances do not reveal the "social changes underlying the psychological and
cultural changes" any better than the more restricted investigations of Marx.

5) In the magazine MASS UND WERT (October 1937; p. 113) Mannheim wrote: "The,
fascistic labor camps, though not a pleasant solution for the crisis under which the,
permanently unemployed suffer, are nevertheless, from the view point of social tech-
nique, a better method if compared with those of liberalism which tried to solve the
social-psychological problem of unemployment by way of the dole."









Rather the opposite is true, for Marx goes much further than Mannheim,
and on the question of competition, for instance, shows that its "univer-
sality" remains bound to the specific form of capitalistic economic competi-
tion; that the general can only be grasped with reference to the particular.
Competitions in love, in art, in politics, though having in one sense a "sig-
nificance of their own", really attain their own significance only by way of
the economic process. The influence they exert upon society on their "own
account" gain social significance only by winning importance economically.
Otherwise, that is, in so far as they really show independent forms, they
remain outside the field of social science, which like anything else has its
limitations. In short, considerations of an infinite number of social relation-
ships will not lead to useful generalizations. The latter are bound to a definite
number of social relationships. To increase that number by way of social
research, and thus to improve the reliability of accepted generalizations, or
to change those generalizations, is a worthwhile undertaking, but its success
has to be measured by the knowledge already gained and the applicability
of that knowledge.
It is impossible here to compare all, or even the more important, find-
ings of Mannheim with those of Marx. Any careful Marxian reader of
Mannheim's book is bound to notice that Mannheim in spite of himself
- relies almost exclusively on economic phenomena to interpret social and
psychological facts. The extra-economic relationships that "form the real
center of the drama" in which social are translated into psychological changes
play in his own exposition as small a role as they played in Marx, who grant-
ed their existence in order to leave them alone. Thus the Marxian reader
of Mannheim's work will often find himself on familiar ground. However
the Marxian raisins to be found in this large cake of many ingredients6)
must not lead to the assumption that the differences between Marx and
Mannheim are merely verbal, or that we have to deal here with a new at-
tempt to bring Marx up-to-date. Whenever Mannheim draws from Marx,
he empties him. Yet, whatever content this book possesses it owes to that
"Marxism" that it declares to be insufficient for the purposes of modern
sociology.
It may be in order at this moment to draw attention to Mannheim's
dialectic which never fails to regard at least two sides of each and every
problem he presents. As irrationality and rationality have their negative and
positive aspects, so has mass-democracy and pseudo-democracy, so has com-
petition and regulation, so has the restricted Marxian view and the more
abstract sociological approach of Mannheim himself. Though generally the
class war is regarded as a secondary issue, Mannheim at times admits that
his "discussion of it does not aim at proving that there is no real chance of
the class war becoming stronger than any other consideration"(341). This,
however, is "only one alternative". "The question of primacy, though an

6) Adler, Dewey, Durkheim, Freud, Durbin, Hegel, Hobson, Gumplovicz, Le Bon,
Michels, Mill, Nietzsche, Oppenheimer, Pareto, Pavlov, Sorel, Spengler, Scheler, Sum-
mer, Tawney, Veblen, Weber, and others.









important one", he says, "in no way alters the fact that in some periods
emphasis may be shifted from one mechanism to another, and this in itself
may depend on the changing nature of social techniques"(308). Thus
everything is possible and Mannheim actually succeeds in giving an idea
of the "real", that is to say, the "multidimensional nature of social events".
But with this idea of the "real" nothing real can be undertaken. A
bewildering picture emerges and it still remains to extract what is recog-
nizable in it in order to reach conclusions. Mannheim in offering this
picture stands nowhere and everywhere; as the saying goes, he cannot be
"pinned down". There is not one position from which he cannot withdraw.
He is never at a loss for explanations which would justify both his old and
any new position. His comparatively constant principles such as the transition
from competition to regulation as well as the others therewith connected,
allow for a great variety of interpretations. The constant principles are
vague enough. Events could never prove or disprove their validity
His own proposals for the reconstruction of society and the remaking
of man have no connection with reality. The "multi-dimensional" nature
of his reality excludes both a fruitful empiricism and convincing theories.
The latter remain idealistic demands not at all based on the empirical re-
search accompanying them. His search fails to yield results because it is
spread out over too large a field; because it consistently refuses to deal with
society as it is and prefers instead to deal with society as it should be. Mann-
heim thus bears witness once more to the fact that a "sociological science"
attempting to deal with society is an impossibility in a class society. In deal-
ing with social issues in a class society one has to deal with class issues. But
this Mannheim refuses to do. He does not see that so long as classes exist,
class interests necessarily co-exist. He wants to have the first without having
the second, or rather he believes that classes cannot be changed, but that
class interests may be dealt with independently.
As thought and actions in the capitalist society do not stem directly
from actual social relationships but must, in order to assert themselves, first
be transformed into value relations in the exchange process, thought and
action within the capitalist society can only be interpreted in connection
with the prevailing fetishism in the capitalist economy. As all social actions
bear upon economics because of the interrelation of all social phenomena,
it is first of all necessary in order then to discover how non-economic social
changes are transformed into psychological to find out how far these
changes and their psychological results are ruled by the fetishism valid for
all spheres and all aspects of social life. This means that no investigation
can yield results unless it starts from the social relationships that underlie
all economic and extra-economic relations, that is, the class structure and
the class problems of society. The fascistic concentration of capital "sim-
plified" exchange relations but did not do away with them. Within certain
territories the maze of the market is displaced by an open antagonism between
the controllers and the controlled in the production and distribution process.
The ideologies that to a large extent spring so to speak "automatically"
43









from the exchange relations, are now planfully constructed and take on
outspokenly political characteristics. If it was previously necessary to deal
with thought and action in the "round-about" manner enforced by market
relations, which made the economic interpretation of social phenomena quite
difficult, it is now much easier to discover behind every social phenomenon
the actual determining social relations, that is, the exploitation of the non-
possessing class by the class, group, or individuals that control the means of
production by way of a monopoly over all the social control institutions.
There is no way of saying anything of importance in regard to the
manifold social and psychological problems, unless they are seen from the
point of view of existing class relations. By relegating class issues to the
background and by concentrating on the infinite number of extra-class, that
is, extra-economic phenomena, Mannheim can only mystify once more the
real social issues of today. In brief, he only helps to formulate new ideo-
logies for securing the rule of fascistic regimes.

VI
Before dealing with the third point selected for discussion it should be
said that Mannheim's distinction between substantial and functional ration-
ality is a devious one, because in reality all rationality is functional. The
distinction between the two forms of rationality is based on the assumption
that the changes in human beings are something other than social changes,
an assumption closely connected with the old idea of the invariability of
human nature. Mannheim, however, does not go that far; he only assumes
that human nature changes less rapidly than society. He explains this with
the principle of the "contemporaneity of the non-contemporaneous". "What
is the significance of the bomb-dropping aviator?" Mannheim asks. He
answers himself: "It is that human beings are able to make use of the most
modern products of inventive genius to satisfy primitive impulses and
motives" (42).
We do not share Mannheim's concept of the contradictory character
of human nature. For us the whole problem of rationality raised by him
seems artificial. But we will continue to argue on his own theoretical
ground. Mannheim needs the contradictions in human nature of which he
speaks in order to justify his own ideas of planning. Though he knows
that war, for example, "is not the outcome of some invariable instinct like
aggressiveness, but partly of the faulty elaboration of the psychological ten-
dencies through institutions, and partly of the desperate flight of people into
collective aggression when un-coordinated institutions clash and bring about
a feeling of general insecurity"(141), he also sees that at "the present stage
of centralized propaganda new patterns of thought and behavior can be
popularized in a much shorter time and on a much larger scale than was
formerly possible"(24). Under the new conditions, he says, "leaders enjoy
the possibility of raising hatred on one day and appeasing it on the next"
(137). Under such conditions it seems indeed important what kind of elite
rules society.









It is true that we live in an age that produces ideologies, emotions, and
activities in the same way that it produces cheese or any other commodity.
It is an age where what was formerly considered "subjective" is now "ob-
jective". We have reached a stage in which all and everything has been
perfectly capitalized and robbed of its last remnant of individuality. Except
for "sports" there are no longer inventors, but factories for inven-
tion; no longer politicians except clowns but "machine-politicians".
Each and everyone today, regardless of his specific qualities or shortcomings,
can be all or nothing, because if need be consent can be produced at
will. In short, there is no longer an individual and private sphere, because
there have been developed, with modern technique, instruments of control
powerful enough to rob the powerless in society not only of part of the
products of their labor, but also completely of themselves.
Under such conditions, however, it becomes quite fantastic to follow
Mannheim in his attempt to trace the twofold nature of man "right back
to prehistory" (64), to search among the investigations of the ethnologists
for clues which may explain down to the last details the reason for irration-
ality in men. Why all this effort? The cause of the irrationalitiess" in
the present day society is quite clear. If Mannheim states that the same
"persons who, in their working life in the sphere of industrial organization
are extensively rationalized, can at any moment turn into machine wreckers
and ruthless warriors"(64), it is obvious that only if they are ordered to
do so can they do one or the other. Because of their contradictory
nature" they could only become wreckers and warriors if they were given
a chance to escape the physical and psychological control to which they have
to submit today. But Mannheim thinks that "the concentration of military
instruments lessens the chances of any type of insurrection and revolution,
as well as of the execution of the democratic mass will"(48). Then where
do the "primitive motives" enter in? The aviator does not drop bombs
because of some "primitive impulses". In so far as "primitive impulses"
may play a part they are quite meaningless as regards the aviator's various
activities. He drops the bomb for the clear-cut reason that risking death
and killing belong to the capitalistic way of existence. Thus the sociologists
do not need to "discover" the "social mechanism" which determines when
'nd in what form in "human society" rational and irrational forces occur.
All they have to discover is what lies open before their eyes. All that has
to be seen is the class nature of the present not "human" society, which
forces the powerless to serve in manifold ways the singular need of the
ruling class to keep itself on top.
According to Mannheim the "negative" side of mass-democracy under
conditions of modern industry must be seen in the growth of irrationality
and the break-down of morality. The intellectual and moral lag Mannheim
deplores accompanied the whole of the capitalist development, but only re-
cently did it assume disastrous proportions. Capitalist development, "pro-
gressive" as it was in terms of increasing productivity, necessarily lifted the
intellectual level of the masses. According to Mannheim, however, func-
tional rationality increased to the detriment of substantial rationality. His








proof is the economic crisis and the accompanying political outburst which he
considers irrational.
The question arises: Would there have been no crisis if substantial
rationality had not suffered as Mannheim thinks it did, if it had been suf-
ficiently increased together with functional rationality If for the sake of
argument one accepts Mannheim's distinction with regard to rationality,
even then it could be said that an inapplicability of substantial rationality
is no proof for its nonexistence, or rather, that an insufficiently practiced
rationality of this sort is no sign of its decrease. To us is seems obvious
that whatever substantial rationality existed in men other than those in key
positions, this could not change the fact that because of the peculiar char-
acteristic of the capitalistic production process all that could be employed
was functional rationality.
It is not so much the necessary functional division in social production
as it is a question of class relations which puts some men in key positions
and tranforms others into living robots. The men in key positions may then
point out that it is precisely the absence of substantial rationality on the part
of the masses which forces them to serve society from key positions that give
them insight into the interrelations of things. This whole argument of
Mannheim's reminds us of the "white man's burden", which he transfers
from the colonies to the world at large. Furthermore, the men in key pos-
itions are not there because they possess greater insight, nor does their position
give them such insight. They, also, are restricted to that unfortunate func-
tional rationality because their whole activity despite all possible insight and
consideration for the interdependence of all social phenomena must serve
the interests of just one particular group which struggles against all others.
Mannheim himself says that "what is economically irrational for a whole
nation may still be profitable to particular groups"(136). We might im-
prove upon this sentence in our own way and say: What is profitable for a
particular group is necessarily irrational for the whole of the nation if
this nation is seen from a viewpoint from which class issues are no longer
decisive. Otherwise the whole problem of rationality and irrationality as
posed by Mannheim becomes senseless. Rational for whom and in relation
to what? To avoid such questions Mannheim must necessarily assume the
existence of a society in which class issues are no loger of importance.
If it were true that, relative to functional rationality, substantial ration-
ality declines in the course of technological development, then in times of
long-drawn depressions which decrease the tempo and scope of technological
advances there should be less, not more, irrationality in the world. And if
the masses actually enter politics by way of the democratic mechanism, the
decrease in irrationality should also make itself felt in the political sphere.
Just what is the proper proportion between technological and intellectual-mor-
al development? When and for what specific reasons does the alleged dispro-
portion become dangerous to society? When is a mass-democracy incompat-
ible with an industrial society and when not? How much democracy must
exist, how far advanced must industry be? What kind of intensity of mass-









influx turns the trick? At what point can the irrationalities no longer enter
narrow circles? For all this and more, Mannheim has always just one
answer: at the point when the crisis begins. The crisis explains all his as-
sertions. But what explains the crisis? His assertions of course.
What is forcing its way today "in the arena of public life" is not
however, that "irrationality" which hitherto found an outlet in narrower
circles and in private life", but the quite "rational" actions of oppressed
people to preserve their lives with all their irrationalities. That their ac-
tivities appear "irrational" to the ruling groups in society is due to the
rulers' fear of losing control over the ruled. These irrationalitiess" appear
quite "rational" to new controllers, for it brings them to power. This trans-
fer of power-positions from one group to another within the prevailing social
structure neither increases or decreases, nor expresses such increase or de-
crease, of rationality or irrationality. Irrational it that group which
loses power not only "irrational" but "doomed". The only "rationality"
there is for any ruling class or group is that which preserves its rule. The
only "rationality" there is for the powerless is the "irrationality" which
destroys the ruling "rationality".
As long as it is possible within a particular social pattern to satisfy the
essential needs of the masses, the masses will acquiesce and their behavior
will appear "rational". If the situation changes decisively, as it does in cap-
italism's long depressions, the ideologies bound to other situations lose their
force. The enforced search for new ideas and activities that ensues leads
to movements in opposition to the ruling rationality. If the ruling class
entrusted with and interested in the maintenance of the existing social rela-
tions is unable for one or another reason to adapt its control measures to
the new situation in time, it will be replaced by other groups striving for
control and better able to adapt their methods to the new situation by
virtue of the fact that they are less hampered by vested interests and given
to a greater flexibility. The "rationality" of the old ruling group is fought
by the "irrationality" rationally employed by the new, which in turn, as
soon as it is in power, makes the ideologies serving its purposes the ruling ones
and the acquiescence in their rule the norm for rational behavior.
As long as the new rulers are able to remove some of the causes which
previously disturbed the "social peace" or to transfer the social unrest to
another setting by engaging in warfare or simply by creating during the
interval between the expectations connected with the political change and
the disappointment which may follow, a new control machinery able to force
the masses into acquiescence, social "unity" is re-established. This in turn
forces the masses to create on their part new methods of struggle and weapons
for mass-pressure. This may take time. A period of social peace is granted
to the new rulers. There arises a period in which the behavior of the
masses appears once again quite "rational". It has not yet found out how
to be "irrational" under the new situation.
The Age of Reason was based on the absence of "reason" in the economic
sphere whose "unreasonable automatic" functioning has since been disturbed
47










by the capitalistic accumulation process, that is, by increased concentration,
centralization and monopolization. It finds its end as soon as reason threat-
ens to be applied in that sphere. However, there was in evidence less mass-
pressure and thus less "irrationality" in Mannheim's sense, during capitalism's
ascendency than during its period of depression. But it was not mass-demo-
cracy, nor any kind of disproportion between technique and intellect, which
led to a growing "irrationality" in capitalism. This historical form of
society developed from a "rational" into an "irrational" dictatorship because
of economic occurrences which led to mass movements and their exploitation
by groups competing for power within the capitalistic production relations.
Democracy was rational for the liberal bourgeoisie; fascism is rational for
the fascists. From the point of view of a class-less society, both the "rational"
liberalistic society and the "irrational" fascist society of which Mannheim
speaks are equally rational as far as capitalism is concerned. Both are ir-
rational as far as the hypothetical class-less society is concerned.

VII

To work with concepts such as social interdependence vs. funda-
mental democratization, substantial vs. functional rationality, etc. Mannheim
needs a society in which other than economic and class forces are determinant.
He must discover "transition belts" that lead over from one into another
social structure, culture and psychology. Thus he must not only consider
the "negative" but also the "positive" aspects in the present process of social
disintegration. The new vigor of the masses, caused by the process of "fun-
damental democratization" and expressed in the "growing irrationality" riay
also be looked upon, he says, "as the first stage in a general process of en-
lightenment in which, for the first time, broad human groups are drawn
into the field of political experiment and so gradually learn to understand
the structure of political life"(199). Due to changes in the sphere of
morality7 in the industrial society, a "superindividual group solidarity" dev-
elops which must be considered a positive element in the existing mass-
society. "Our world", writes Mannheim, "is one of the large groups in
which individuals who until now have been increasingly separated from one

7) Because there exists for Mannheim "a complete parallel between the factors
making for the growth and collapse of rationality in the intellectual sphere
and those making for the growth and collapse of morality"(66) we need not
deal especially with the questions of morality raised in his book. With certain modc
ifications of little concern for our purpose Mannheim uses again in the sphere
of moral discipline the distinction between the functional and substantial points of
view. "The functional aspect of a given type of moral discipline consists of those
standards which, when realized in conduct, guarantee the smoth working of society.
Substantial morality consists of certain concrete values, such as dictates of faith
and different kinds of feelings, standards which may be completely irrational in quality.
The more modern society is functionally rationalized the more it tends to neutralize
substantial morality, or side-track it into the private sphere."
The dual-morality (moralistic in private life violent in the public sphere), thus
far the privilege of the ruling classes, may be adopted by the masses. "Once the'
48









another are compelled to renounce their private interests and to subordinate
themselves to the interests of the larger social units"(69). Capital is com-
bined into large industrial organizations, workers learn solidarity in trade
unions; and thus competition creates group unity. By this process, Mannheim
thinks, man "realizes gradually that by resigning partial advantages, he
helps to save the social and economic system and thereby also his own inter-
ests"(70). He learns to understand better the interdependence of events
and develops a consciousness of the need for planning. Although till now
"the individual thinks not in terms of the welfare of the community or
mankind as a whole, but in terms of that of his own particular group, yet
this whole process tends to train the individual to take a progressively longer
view; it tends at the same time to inculcate in him the faculty of considered
judgment and to fit him for sharing responsibility in planning the whole
course of events in the society in which he moves"(70).
What Mannheim here describes as positive elements in the existing com-
petitive mass society cannot, however, serve regulative principles. The labor
organizations, for instance, which he introduces to illustrate his position
were formed and controlled in accordance with capitalistic organization
and control principles. They were themselves as little "democratic" as the
"democracy" with which they were connected. They interfered successfully
in the process of "fundamental democratization" and prevented a "mass-
influx" into the political life. A new capitalistic institution, the labor bureau-
cracy, arose, which secured its existence by serving class society. The trans-
formation of these organizations into fascistic control instruments is not a
special case of the suppression of labor and democracy but part of the general
transformation of the half-dictatorial into the full-dictatorial capitalist so-
ciety. These organizations were not suppressed, or rather modified, because
they contained positive elements in contradiction to fascist needs. In order
to serve the fascist needs better, they were more closely integrated into the
social life-process of fascistic society. What "positive" elements they had,
here found their application. At that moment when despite all capitalistic
control techniques the economic crisis and large-scale unemployment en-
dangered the whole of capitalistic society, they were reformed together with
all other capitalistic institutions and control techniques in order to cope
with the new situation. At this moment, not because of a long process of
"fundamental democratization", but through the suddenly arising and not
so suddenly disappearing economic and political crisis there arose the pos-

acceptance of violence becomes the general principle of social morality, the fruits
of long moral training in the sphere of labor and competition will be destroyed
almost automatically"(72). The fruits so destroyed were results of the stage of
"superindividual group solidarity" dealt with in the text above. In other words,
morality collapses when the masses meet their rulers on their own ground and thus
destroy the class-value of the dual-morality. They may become as immoral as their
masters, and may even disregard the good work of their organizations which helped
to maintain the dual-morality by strengthening the illusion that group solidarity is
possible in the capitalistic world.








sibility of a democratization of society. Under conditions as they were and
are a real democratic participation in the political life on the part of the
broad masses is possible only in the form of rebellion against all rationality,
mores, institutions, and labor organizations and all their "positive" elements
as they exist in the prevailing society. To speak of mass-democracy is to
speak of a proletarian revolution.
One cannot conclude from the existence of "group solidarity" that it
prepares the masses for the planned society of the future. The opposite is
true. What group solidarity there is only shows that the pseudo-democratic
as well as the fascistic capitalist society progresses in accordance with its own
rules in opposition to all forms of solidarity. A trend towards "fundamental
democratization", if existing, would find expression in the development of
class-consciousness. Capitalism's triumph over the proletariat comes to light
precisely in the successes of labor organizations, gained by way of "group
solidarity"; for these successes excluded the democratization of society and
removed possible obstacles in the path leading to dictatorship. Behind the
illusory democratic processes was hidden the actual trend of development
which is now openly exposed in the fascistic dictatorships.
Just as the "group solidarity" of the formerly individualistically orien-
ted capitalists served to destroy the "automatic" capitalist "solidarity" which
was made possible by "market laws" as yet beyond effective control, so the
growth of capitalist "group solidarity" finally led to the break-down of
international "solidarity" by breaking down the open world-market. This,
in turn, led to a situation wherein capitalistic solidarity can find expression
only in world-wide wars involving the destruction of ever-greater capitalistic
"groups combined in solidarity" to serve the "group solidarity" of still stronger
groups. The "group solidarity" of the workers, too, has led straight into
the fascistic solidarity of the murderous front-fighter collectives and has
destroyed for some time to come the basis on which proletarian solidarity
could assert itself the class basis. By hindering the development of class
solidarity, "group solidarity" has not diminished but increased the general
atomization of society. There is as little "solidarity" within each "group"
as there is between the different social groups. There is as little sacrifice of
individual desires in the interests of the whole in each group as there is
folk-unity or world-community. The existence of an apparent "group solid-
arity" clouds the fact that it has come into being in prder to intensify the
struggle of all against all. The "solidarity" that is within each group is a
"solidarity" of force and fear. The final meaning of this solidarity finds
dramatic expression from time to time in wholesale murders and political
purges in the interest of the "group". Thus the destruction of '"group solid-
arity" is the first prerequisite for a possible class solidarity. The destruction
of class solidarity, in turn, is the first prerequisite for a possible human solid-
arity. There is, then, nothing in Mannheim's "group solidarity" which
reaches beyond the present and into the future, or acts as a sort of intellectual
and moral training ground in preparation for things to come.










VIII
Mannheim ideas on how to plan society are based on those advanced
in his interpretation of the collapse of the liberalistic social structure. If
social interdependence and fundamental democratization create irrationality
and the latter, on account of outworn social techniques cannot be integrated
into the changing social structure, new control techniques have to be found
which fit into the arising new structure and either transform the existing
irrationality into a useful enthusiasm or free it of its dangerous character
through sublimations. For Mannheim the question of reconstruction is a
twofold one: not only society but man himself must be changed. Thought
at the level of planning is different from that of the liberalistic age. Mann-
heim distinguishes between three historical stages of human thought and
conduct: chance discovery, invention, and planning. There exists no sharp
dividing line between the different stages, nor, at present, between the stages
of invention and planning. They may very well co-exist as long as one
dominates. If planning becomes predominant, however, the tension between
old theories and new practice press towards solution.
The solution consists in furthering the "positive" aspects to be found
in the process of fundamental democratization. The results of this latter
process, Mannheim thinks, can be put to at least two different uses. Thus
our future depends on what the "users" do; they may further the negative
side of the democratization process by making the ensuing irrationality still
more irrational, or they may turn this irrationality by way of intelligent
and highly moral actions into directions which increase rationality and -
in the long run even improve the intellectual and moral level of the
masses.
For Mannheim the remaking of man and society is planning for free-
dom. Dictatorship, he says, is not the same as planning. "'A correct scheme
for the planning of culture, which would plan everything in the sense of
the totalitarian states, would also have to plan the place of criticism"(109).
"Who plans the planners?", he asks. "The longer I reflect upon this ques-
tion, the more it haunts me"(74). This question is asked today by most
of the "anti-fascists", though not all of them are haunted by it. So far,
however, it has always been answered in a fascistic manner. Let us look
at Mannheim's attempt to solve the difficulty. He says that, "a new ap-
proach to history will be achieved when we are able to translate the main
structural changes in terms of a displacement of the former systems of
control"(269). As far as the control of the controllers is concerned, how-
ever, the former system seems to him to be quite adequate, for the new control
techniques refer only to the broad masses, not to the elites. The control over
the latter is to be secured by incorporating into the planned structure par-
liamentary democracy, if necessary without the nuisance of the "plebiscite
which has lost its original function and no longer appeals to individuals
living in concrete groups... but is addressed to members of an indefinite
and emotional mass"(357).








The mass will not have any kind of direct control. A special set of
controllers may be necessary. "It is very probable that a planned society will
provide certain forms of closed social groups similar to our clubs, advisory
commissions or even sects, in which absolutely free discussion may take place
without being exposed to premature and unsatisfactory criticism by the broader
public... it must be constitutionally provided that any advice or suggestions
coming from these exclusive closed groups would really reach and have an
appropriate influence on the government... Admission to those 'secret so-
cieties' or 'orders' would have to be on a democratic basis and they would
remain in close and living contact with the masses and their situations and
needs"(111). This, however, looks like little more than a sort of glorified
GESTAPO or OGPU organizations which also, quite democratically,
select the "best from all layers of society, discuss the most subversive ideas
behind closed doors, instruct the government as to what it must do in order
to remain the government, and have their spies in such close contact with the
masses that each member of the masses is secretly suspected of belonging to
the secret order.
To be sure, Mannheim has something quite different in mind. But so
long as class relations and economic exploitation prevails, all such plans in
practice will turn out as if they had been concocted by Heinrich Himmler.
However, Mannheim is not too reluctant to learn from the fascists. Demo-
cracy", he says, "ought to instruct its citizens "in its own values instead of
feebly waiting until its system is wrecked by private armies from within.
Tolerance does not mean tolerating the intolerant"(353). But democracy
was not wrecked by private armies. Something else took place: the capital-
istic exploitation-system changed both economically and politically from demo-
cracy to dictatorship. Because no one was intolerant enough to do away
with the capitalist structure, class rule and the wage system which feeds
it were prolonged in a new form. Property and power changed hands. It
has, so far, always changed hands by the two methods of economic competition
and military force, with military force lately becoming dominant. Further-
more, the "values" of democracy cannot safeguard democracy. "To safe-
guard democracy" can mean nothing more than to safeguard those people
who, under conditions democratic for them, hold property. To keep their
power they have to be intolerant in dealing with other intolerants who thirst
to take their place. Thus, when Mannheim .says, "there is nothing in the
nature of planning or of democratic machinery which makes them inconsistent
with each other"(339), what he really says is that those who today in the
democracies control property and government need not lose it if only they
are willing to defend it with the same vigor and with the same methods
that the fascists employ. In this sense it is true that "society can be planned
in the form of a hierarchy as well as in the form of democracy" (364)
i. e., of a democracy for the controllers as described above. The dif-
ference between both forms would be a purely aesthetic one, the choice be-
tween a bourgeoisie in mufti and a bourgeoisie in uniform.
Intolerance in a good cause is excusable. There is hope, Mannheim
thinks, that "the Western democracies at their present stage of development









are gradually transforming the liberal conception of government into a social
one" ..that these states are ..."changing into social service states"(336).
Moreover, "the power of the state is bound to increase until the state be-
comes nearly identical with society". What Mannheim could say is that
the state becomes nearly identical with the property and power institutions
of society; for, unfortunately, the state cannot become identical with society.
In that case it would no longer exist there would then be only society.
By equating state and society Mannheim continues to deal with mistaken
identities. He sees, for instance, in the growth of social insurance not proof
of an actually increasing social insecurity, but a "tremendous advance toward
the positive conception of the state"(336). He is even willing to embrace
institutions of the kind of Goebbel's Kraft Durch Freude, since "we seem
to have the choice simply between commercialized or state-controlled
leisure"(337).
For Mannheim "the only way in which a planned society differs from
that of the nineteenth century is that more and more spheres of social
life, and ultimately each and all of them, are subjected to state control".
Just the same, democracy need not be lost, for "if a few controls can be
held in check by parliamentary sovereignty, so can many"(340). Though
central control is more than ever necessary, in a democratic state "sovereign-
ity can be boundlessly strengthened by plenary powers without renouncing
democratic control" (341). Mannheim, the optimist, however, is always
shadowed by Mannheim the pessimist. Though at first the class issues were
no longer for him the decisive ones, he comes to the conclusion, after further
reflection on the possibilities of a planning for freedom, that "planning based
on the inequality of classes or estates probably cannot last long because those
inequalities will create so great a tension in society that it will be impossible
to establish even that minimum of tacit consent which is the condition sine
qua non of the functioning of a system"(364). Finally, and in contradiction
to his previous contention that the good in both the old and the new must
be merged, he says that "from the wreckage of liberalism nothing can be
saved but its values, among others, the belief in a free personality" (364)
which, as we know from history, has been the belief in the right to buy and
sell labor power freely. Again, he feels that even this may not be salvaged
because "the type of freedom which is possible in one society cannot be reason-
ably demanded in another, which may have other forms of freedom at its
command" (370).
IX
The freedom of liberalism, that is, the freedom of the invention stage
cannot be applied to the planning stage. This freedom was highly illusory
anyhow. "It has been rightly pointed out", Mannheim says, "that the 'liber-
ties' of liberal capitalist society are often only available to the rich, and
that the 'have-nots' are forced to submit to the pressure of circumstances"
(377). Though at one place he has stated that "one of the reasons for
the disor.ganization in the free system of industrial economy was that an
53









absolute freedom of consumer's choice made it difficult to co-ordinate pro-
duction and consumption"(315), now, on second thought, he admits that
the "greater part of the population has never had this freedom of choice
and has been forced by poverty to buy standardized goods"(348). Thus the
greater part of the population is well prepared for the new freedom of
planning. It really cannot make the unhappy mistake of applying to one
stage of development the concept of freedom of another.
Though this happy situation makes the functions of the controllers of
society relatively easy, it must not be overlooked that "the planning approach
outruns the immediate actions of the individual even more than in liberal
society where separate individual ends were pursued. The tensions between
individual actions and thinking become greater than ever before"(212). But
the sun breaks through again, because now "we have reached a stage where
we can imagine how to plan the best possible human types by deliberately re-
organizing the various groups of social factors"(222). It will be psycho-
logy's job to "discover key positions in the sphere of structural sociology,
when certain kinds of behavior can be predicted or produced with a high
degree of accuracy... It will seek for laws which turn aside the aggressive
impulses and guide them towards sublimation".(202). Planning is finally
the rational mastery of the irrational.
There are direct and indirect methods of influencing human behavior.
Indirect influences work from afar. Thus the "individual might have an
illusion of freedom, and indeed he does in fact make his own adjustment.
But from the sociological point of view the possible solutions are more or
less determined in advance by social control of the situation"(275). Ex-
pectations, wishes, rewards fall under this control and must be planned. Ap-
preciatively Mannheim quotes F. Knight's observation that "even our interest
in food is largely a matter of social standards rather than biological needs"
(282), and that we have to distinguish between conditions when food and
housing carry social prestige, and when the desire for prestige can be satisfied
by badges and titles8 In other respects, too, Mannheim hopes that "a society
in which profit is not the only criterion of economic production will prefer
to work by methods which, though less effective from a point of view of
output, give the workers more psychological satisfaction"(266). But even
then conflicts are bound to develop, making necessary "professions whose
principal task is to study the technique of adjusting conflicts"(302), and
to develop the technique of arbitration into a science.
Planning for freedom gives the elite the freedom to plan and the planned
the freedom to accept it. The masses must learn once more that whatever
is, is right. Just as during the Age of Reason their submission to the actual
and ideological rule of the capitalist class spelled social peace and co-opera-
tion, so now in the planned society cooperation and peace are established

8) This is Veblen carried to the extreme; the psychology of the petty-bourgeoisie is
generalized. It seems odd, however, that generally those who have sufficient food
and good housing have also the badges and titles.









by submission to the rulings of the planners. In order cheerfully to accept
situations created for them, the masses have only to understand that
the powers of the elite are really necessary for their welfare.
Just as before they were convinced that without the capitalists society
could not exist, so now they must recognize in the elite an unavoid-
able requirement for the social life-process. To overcome the feeling and
the fact of oppression it is only necessary to begin to like it. At a later stage
the masses themselves may again be consulted, the plebiscite may possibly
be re-introduced. With the proper elite at the helm, with economic life fairly
well planned, with new progress made, new social problems and those that
remain may then be solved with the help of a truly sociological psychology.
It is true that freedom in an abstract sense can never be realized. Marx
for instance, pointed out9 that freedom in socialism "cannot consist of any-
thing else but of the fact that socialized man, the associated producers, regul-
ate their interchange with nature rationally, bring it under their common
control, instead of being ruled by it as by some blind power; that they
accomplish their task with the least expenditure of energy and under con-
ditions most adequate to their human nature and most worthy of it". For
Mannheim the "realm of necessity" to which according to Marx all freedom
in the working society is subjected, includes, besides nature, a "second nature"
restricting the scope of freedom still further. "Technique", he says, "while
freeing us from the tyranny of nature, gives rise to two new forms of de-
pendence. All progress in technique is bound up with additional social or-
ganization"(373). Thus "freedom in man's direct struggle with nature
is something entirely different from freedom in his struggle with "second
nature", that is, a "nature" characterized at this stage of development by the
lack of power "both theoretically and practically to master the cumulative
effect of mass psychology or of the trade cycle, or of maladjusted institutions"
(375). It is true that this "second nature", caused not by the development
of technique as Mannheim puts it, but by a socio-economic and technical
development of the class society, must be mastered first to allow for a
greater mastery over nature. The class struggle, by releasing productive
forces unable to be developed under capitalistic conditions, is for Marx the
pre-requisite for a greater freedom. But for Mannheim 'second nature"
takes on such a rigidity and persistency that the "realm of necessity", which
determines the possible freedoms, becomes so enlarged that by comparison
with it even a mere reorganization of the existing system of exploitation
and the development of additional control techniques for the sake of social
peace in spite of class relations looks like' a new set of liberties accompanying
the never-ending struggle of mankind for further progress.
X
"Liberties" within Mannheim's "realm of necessity" demand a variety
of compulsions. Planning has to take this into consideration and becomes
at once both planning for and against the planned. The planners find them-

9) Capital; Vol. III., p. 954.









selves at all times opposed to those groups that attempt to take their place.
The ruling elite, to remain such and to maintain the ability to "plan for
society", is forced to continue the concentration process initiated by capitalist
accumulation. But, as Mannheim has noticed before, "society is in its very
nature based on an increasing internal differentiation, so that its lesser
units cannot all be controlled by the central body"(49). The ruling elite
however, can counteract the increasing inaccessibility to control only by way
of still further centralization. Thus the more planning there is, the more
difficult it becomes to assure the control of the planned. Finally, planning
which started as an attempt to solve social problems, reduces itself to a
planning of ways and means of keeping the ruling elite in power at whatever
cost to society.
The control over the ruled is in need of continuous improvements as
planning proceeds. The fear of the planners grows as the complexities of
social life under modern conditions contradict in increasing measure the
planners' narrowing schemes. The whole hierarchy of systems of control
as employed in fascist states is inherently insecure. The permanent terror
exercised wherever this system rules betrays its insecurity. It is, in addition,
uneconomical and much too rigid to satisfy the real needs of modern pro-
cesses of production and distribution. It destroys initiative and adaptability
and necessitates further organizational improvements which become obsolete
as soon as introduced. The accumulation of capital changes into the ac-
cumulation of organizations. The latter, instead of raising the productivity
and satisfying social needs, become a source for new social insecurities and
a hindrance to the unfolding of production.
The weapon of terror and psychological control can, it is true, be suc-
cessfully employed only if the "baser needs" of the masses can also be some-
how taken care of. But what are these "baser needs"? Endurance is the
most remarkable quality of human beings. It nevertheless defies calculation.
It is not possible to say when, where, and how endurance ends. Thus a
great variety of control techniques must be simultaneously engaged to cope
with every possibility that may arise. Any kind of independence which
does not serve the ruling class must be prevented. The psychological control
must be all-embracing. It can be more embracing than some other control
techniques, which may be in need of leniencies in order not to lose their
usefulness. Thus the vogue of psychology must be understood in connection
with the transformation of the liberal into the totalitarian society.
Totalitarian institutions like the Catholic Church always extensively
employed psychological methods of control. We may also recall here that
the philosopher of the super-man believed quite consistently that "psychology
shall once more be recognized as the queen of the sciences, for whose service
and equipment the other sciences exist".10) It is no wonder that the "anti-
fascists" of today point with great excitement to the fascist application of
psychology (all schools included) and ask for similar weapons in order to

I0) Beyond Good and Evil. The Philosophy of Nietzsche. Modern Library' Edition, p. 27.
56









defeat fascism.11) For all theoreticians who want to solve social problems
independent of the class nature of present-day society, psychology becomes
of the greatest importance.12) However, all political activity becomes there-
by a sort of gigantic hog-calling contest and the successful leaders must be
celebrated as great animal-trainers.
Because present-day social struggles seem to Mannheim to be no more
than the competitive fight between party-organizations and industrialists for
the control of labor, the importance he gives to psychology, both in its present
crude form and as a promising control and planning instrument of the
future, becomes quite plausible. On our part there is no need to deny the
present importance and the future possibilities of psychology for purposes
of propaganda and control. We do not need, however, to bother about the
psychological problems involved in Mannheim's question as to how the
controllers can be controlled and the planners planned. If we replace these
questions that are based on the unwarranted assumptions that the division of
society into rulers and ruled is unalterable by an investigation of the
practical measures by which the planned could become the planners
and the controlled abolish control, the emphasis shifts back from
the psychological to the economic and class aspects of the problem,
that is, to inquiries and actions concerned with altering social re-
lationships in the sphere of production. Marxism's overwhelming interest
in the more objective aspects of the social processes has not only methodo-
logical reasons, but is also explained by its revolutionary character. After
a thorough economic analysis of the capitalistic structure and its mechanisms,
it becomes inconceivable that any real solution short of the abolition of
society's class structure can be found for the problems that beset the working
class. Consistent Marxists have thus always steered clear of "scientific"
sociology as it has been developed by an optimistic bourgeoisie who thought
that their own forgotten revolution had solved once and for all the problems
of society.
Bourgeois sociology, now that the capitalist concentration process which
destroyed the particular brand of optimism connected with the market-reg-
ulated economy is completed, is slowly transformed into a kind of pseudo-
scientific psychology for the defense of the ruling class. This change of func-
tion is camouflaged by ideas such as that of the "multi-dimensional" char-
acter of the social life process. This apparent widening of the field of socio-
logical theory is, however, mainly of a verbal nature. As G. von Gontard
has said, the psychologists "have created in their minds a cosmos in itself
which cannot be attacked because its integrity is guarded by terminological
precautions".1") The cosmos is decoration. In so far as sociology and psy-
chology are put to use they serve the very narrow function of supplementing
the various instruments needed to perpetuate the existing conditions of ex-
ploitation.

11) For example: S. Chakotin, THE RAPE OF THE MASSES. New York 1940.
12) The marginal utility theory in economics is here another example.
13) In Defense of Love. New York, 1940, p. 292.









The applicability of social psychology, furthermore, is closely bound
up with the material apparatus, or, rather, with the people who control the
apparatus which distributes the ideological requirements for the coordination
of individual wills. To control and influence individual minds, the press,
school, church, cinema and radio must be controlled. Effective psychological
control presupposes that the control instruments are securely in the
hands of the controllers. And so they are, which means that psychological
control remains the exclusive weapon of the ruling class unless it is over-
thrown with weapons stronger than theirs, with weapons and methods not
given to the control of the controllers. The possibility, previously open to
different capitalistic groups and political movements, to employ to a greater
or lesser extent the usual propaganda means disappeared in the totalitarian
state. If the revolutionist continues to think that the whole question of social
change is one of opposing one ideology with another and that the only medium
for social transformation is the displacement of one set of rulers by another,
he certainly must despair. The present stage of development demonstrates
with utmost clarity that the ways and means of gaining political influence
and control within bourgeois democracy have definitely ceased to exist. All
that is left to such people, still thought of as revolutionistss", is to demand,
in so far as they are still able to voice their opinions, that the present ruler-
ship of the still "democratic" nations itself carry through the needed social
revolution.14)
"The only way in which dictatorial solutions to social crisis can be per-
manently successful", Mannheim writes, "is by centralizing the control of
individual wills. The real problem, however, is to know how far these
attempts are counteracted by the conditions of life in modern industrial
society"(46). Unfortunately, though consistent with his own point of view,
Mannheim concerned himself more with the "centralized control of individ-
ual wills" than with the "conditions of life" which may counteract its effect.
Conditions of life in modern society have now created, however, a situation
where economic and political issues demonstrate their primacy and their
outstanding importance daily with the utmost, with almost unbearable,
clarity. What was on the part of Marx a revelation of things-to-come is
now naked reality. There is no longer in evidence that bewildering variety
of groups and interests which beclouded the essentially two-class character
of capitalist society. There exists now just one organization, one class, one
group the totalitarian state as the controller and therewith the owner
of all that spells power in society. There is, on the other side, all the
rest of the population subjected to this totalitarian rule. It is true that
this whole mass is still artificially divided through ideological distinctions and
is still actually split by the continued competition for better positions not yet
brought to a close by total conscription of all labor. It is a powerless, will-
less mass. absolutely at the mercy of the ruling elite. There is also the new
world-war, still in its beginnings, able only to further complicate the unsolv-

14) See, for example, H. I. Laski's new book "Where Do We GO From Here?", which
pleads for a SOCIAL REVOLUTION BY CONSENT! The consent, naturally, is to be
given by the ruling classes, to whose reason and magnanimity Laski appeals.
58









able problem of squaring the class-nature of society with the real needs of
the majority of mankind.
The fact of the existence of the proletariat as the largest class in in-
dustrial society,15) the fact of the complete monopolization and centraliza-
tion of all power centers excludes at this time any class struggles of
a directly revolutionary character. There seems to be only the imperialist
war, covered up by all sorts of phrases. But within the setting of this war
there is developing, already incorporated, and being unconsciously fought
the civil war against the classes in power. This civil war within the imper-
ialistic war will become the more dominating the further the disruption of
all social life proceeds with the further unfolding and extension of the present
world conflagration. It will finally become the sole content of the present
struggle, for it has incorporated in itself the only solution which is able to
end the struggle and abolish its causes. If it becomes the only social reality
it will leave far behind all illusory goals of yesterday and today.
The continuation of class-rule and exploitation means death and hunger.
There are at present no real problems in the world except ending this mur-
derous situation. Both death and hunger demand their human toll because
classes, leaders, elites, privileged groups defend their narrow interests against
the urgent need to socialize society, that is, to remove its class structure.
Death and hunger may spread for a considerable time; within limits their
miseries can be compensated for by terror and propaganda. Within limits
the anger and bewilderment they cause may be canalized and utilized for one
or another national interest behind which lingers no more than the class
interests of the ruling bodies of different states. Essentially, however, death
and hunger are more determining and more forceful than all ideological
issues and all control instruments, however cleverly devised.
There is not the slightest reason to assume that this war will or can
be kept within the borders desired by the centralized bodies waging it. Rather,
the spreading of the war seems to be a certainty. Thus there comes in view
once more and on a much greater scale than during the last world war, a sit-
uat;on which offers the powerless the opportunity provided as they are
with weapons, thanks to the contradictory and self-defeating class neces-
sities of the ruling elites to use their new powerful positions for pursuing
the narrowest of interests that of preserving their very lives and of satis-
fying their hunger. They will proceed, as they have to, undisturbed by the
multi-dimensional nature of the social processes and they will serve their
purposes without regard to "society as a whole", that is, without regard for
the interests of the fascist and semi-fascist elites. What Mannheim attempts
to do only symbolically, they must accomplish actually.
Paul Mattick
15) This fact is often denied with the argument that numerically the proletarian
class loses importance in relation to the more rapidly growing, so-called new middle-
class of white-collar workers. This argument is nonsensical, for the bulk of the white
collar workers are proletarians. They do not need to be proletarianizedd" as is often
suggested. Their present ideological idiosyncracies are no formidable force which
could effectively interfere with the fundamental trend of society to impoverish and
to suppress all layers of the laboring population and thus to force them into a uniform
class-frame. 59











BOOK REVIEWS

TOWARD FULL USE OF RESOURCES


Part II of the report on The Struc-
ture of American Economy, published
under the sub-title Toward Full Use
of Resources by the National Resour-
ces Planning Board in June, 1940,1)
does not add much to the picture that
emerged from Part I ("Basic Char-
acteristics"), published a year be-
fore.2) There is, however, this differ-
ence: the new volume breaks entirely
with that artificial restriction which
the authors of the first volume had
set for themselves when they propos-
ed to deal with the "structure" of the
economic system only, apart from its
actual operation. This time a freer
approach has been chosen.
The very form of presentation has
been changed. While the first part
was a heavy treatise with statistical
appendices, the second part is a sym-
posium. It includes, in addition to a
new contribution by Gardner C.
Means, four independent documents
contributed by persons who had not
even participated in the preparation
of the first.
Full employment of resources and
man-power, the American economy's
dominant problem before National
Defense became the dominant econ-
omic problem and full employment
became instrumental to this end, is
boldly attacked from the point of
view of both economic structure and
operating policies.
G. C. Means' contribution to this
wider problem, just like his analysis
of structure in Part I, has this out-
standing value: that he insists on the
decisive change brought about in cap-
italist economy during the last fifty
to a hundred years through the emer-
gence of The Corporate Community
from what had been, or had been
supposed to be, a free competitive
system of independent enterprises (if
not of inde-endent "individuals"), or
an economic system exclusively re-

1) For sale by the Superintendent of Doc-
uments. Washington, D. C., 48 pp.; 15c.
All subsequent references, unless other-
wise market, are to this report.
2) For a review of this see Living Marxism,
V. 3; pp. 38 ff.
3) pp. 13-14.
60


gulated by the mechanism of the
market.
He reveals the surprising fact that
the economic literature of the nine-
teenth and early twentieth centuries,
replete with expositions of the ra-
tional underlying the then prevailing
system of market production, does
not answer the simple question of
"Just how is the market mechanism
expected to insure reasonably full
employment?" The economists either
assumed full employment (just as
they assumed full utilization of all
available resources) or dealt with the
problem only implicitly in their an-
alysis of such other adjustment mech-
anisms as the balance of trade and
the balance between savings and in-
vestments. There is no stronger in-
dictment of the thoughtless assump-
tions of the nineteenth century econ-
omists and their present-day followers
than the "employment adjust-
ment mechanism underlying those
earlier theories as it is here exposed
to our postmortem inspection.3 There
is a complicated chain by which a
given measure of "excessive" unem-
nloyment is supposed to be immed-
iately equivalent to a corresponding
deficiency of current buying. It thus
"almost at once" brings about a cor-
responding reduction of prices, wa-
ges, and profits which in turn, at
once and to the same extent, increas-
es the real buying power of the out-
standing money sunnly (the "redun-
dant money") and thus provides buy-
ing in excess of current production.
"nd +hus additional employment until
the excessive unemployment is com-
pletely eliminated. (One sees, incid-
entall. that Marx's criticism of +hn
so-called "compensation-theory" did
not attack the weakest but rather a
comparatively more reasonable ar-
gument of the bourgeois employment-
theory of his time!)
Yet it would be a mistake to as-
cnme t0h't the in-pnuous criticism of
the fallacies of the early bourgeois
economists, objectively contained in
Mr. Means' reconstruction of their
theories, is in any way aimed at the
whole of the underlying economic
system. He directs his attack ex-










elusively against that small die-hard
group of American business men who
assumedly believe that those crude
"adjustment-mechanisms" are still
valid today or could be made work-
able again by a return to the more
primitive conditions of the past. He
thus battles an imaginary opponent.
He mistakes for a genuine and polit-
ical theory what is in fact only a set
of stock phrases and ideologies used
for practical purposes by a particular-
ly reckless school of "democratic"
defenders of the existing capitalist
system.
In this private feud against a non-
existing danger he does not mince
words. He shows the tremendous los-
ses and risks implied in the attempt
to effect those "minimum changes"
in the existing economic structure
that would allow the employment ad-
justment mechanism to operate effec-
tively again. The "minimum chan-
ges" would involve not only a gigan-
tic objective revolution (including
the break-up of large enterprises, and
general atomization of economic ac-
tivity), but would inevitably lead to
a tremendous "economic turmoil, and
risk of social disruption and the loss
of democratic institutions."4) Thus it
appears that he still believes in the
essential validity of those same "ad-
justment mechanisms" which a short
time before he apparently endeavor-
ed to refute. He knows that they
no longer fulfill their task in a cor-
porate economy under conditions of
short-run insensitivity of prices, wa-
ges, profits and interest rates, but he
will be quite content if he succeeds
in devising a means by which essen-
tially the same end could be reached
today under the monopolistically
changed conditions of the existing
capitalist system. Yet he wants to
reach it without those tremendous los-
ses and risks of which he is afraid,
most of all without the risk of a so-
cial revolution. In his own terms,
he is out to find a new set of "ad-
justment mechanisms" which would
"not depend for their effective opera-
tion on short-run sensitivity in
goods-prices, wage rates, unit-profits,
and interest rates, and would be able
to perform the functions formerly as-
signed to the mechanisms discussed
above."5)
His idea of economic "planning"
as indeed that of all hitherto emer-
ging promoters of either a "demo-


cratic" or an outright fascist type
of planning aims at nothing but
an essentially unchanged replacement
of the "mechanisms" that assumedly
were operating in an earlier "com-
petitive" phase, but are no longer
(satisfactorily) operating in the new
monopolistic phase of capitalistic
economy. The "invisible hand" that
supposedly rescued early capitalist
economy from the extravagances of
its individual members is to be re-
placed by a more visible hand which,
in spite of pious declarations to the
contrary, will turn out to be the hand
of a totalitarian dictator. It will not
really "adjust" the glaring contradic-
tions of capitalist economy any more
than was done by the "adjustment
mechanisms" of the market in earlier
phases of capitalist economy. It will
preserve, for the time being, the fun-
damentals of capitalist privilege and
oppression and thus fulfill the only
function that was carried out by the
so-called adjustment mechanisms of
competitive capitalism.
A much more vital and vigorous
attempt to come to grips with the
main economic and social problems
of our time than that made by G. C.
Means, or, for that matter, by any
of the other contributors, is contain-
ed in the last paper of the sympos-
ium. The clear and consistent ana-
lysis of Economic Policy and the
Structure of the American Economy,
contributed by Mordecai Ezekiel,6)
presents, even to the socialist oppo-
nent, a highly suggestive statement of
the program of a genuine democratic
activism. First of all the author leav-
es no doubt about the limitations in-
herent in a scheme that proposed to
solve the problems of unemployment
and full use of resources within a
democratic, i. e., an essentially cap-
italistic economy. He carefully dis-
tinguishes this program from "more
extreme forms of organizing econ-
omic activity, such as the full social-
ism of the USSR, or such as the var-
ious degrees of centralized govern-
ment control in fascist Italy and Ger-
many." Even utility regulation as
illustrated by the public regulation
of the railroads, telephone and tele-
graph, and electricity in this country
has "so emphasized the protection of
owners of the property" that some-

4) p. 16.
5) p. 16.
6) pp. 35 ff.









times "public regulation actually is
operated in the interest of the utility
rather that in the interest of gen-
eral welfare." This, according to
the author, represents "a problem in
the working of democracy" and
should therefore be avoided in a tru-
ly democratic program, which should
rather be based on "a maximum of
program-making from the bottom up
instead of from the top down." (One
sees that the author is far removed
from that crude glorification of
State capitalism which until recently
was, and occasionally still is, indul-
ged in by many professed socialists
and communists.)
The main interest of Mr. Ezekiel's
contribution does not consists in the
various "possible lines of action"
which he discusses in his paper and
which, of course, go nowhere beyond
the well-known proposals of the most
radical wing of the New Dealers.
What is of the greatest interest, even
for the most "advanced" Marxist
reader, is the genuine materialist
connection that exist throughout be-
tween his theoretical criticism of the
basic restrictive influences inherent
in the existing corporate price-pol-
icies on the one hand and his prac-
tical proposals for reform on the oth-
er. By a consistent argument with
illustrations taken from the steel,
building, lumber, cement, glass and
plumbing fixtures industries, he re-
veals the present form of one of the
most important contradictions of cap-
italist economy. A lowering of pri-
ces for the purpose of an increased
volume of production, he shows, can
be advantageous for the whole of a
particular industry (or for all indust-
ries participating in producing a par-
ticular end-product, or for a still lar-
ger number of industries) and at the
same time be distinctly disadvan-
tageous for each of the involved in-
dustry (or industries). Vice versa,
"it can seem to each of many indiv-
idual elements in the economy that
it is to its advantage to reduce out-
put and gain a larger net income,
yet at the same time it is obviously
impossible for real national income
to increase through reducing the out-
nut of all component industries."7)
The reason in both cases is that "el-
asticity of demand" for a particular
end-product or a number of such end-
products does not necessarily, or even
normally, cause a proportionate in-
crease in the volume of sales for the


single participating units. For ex-
ample, the increased demand for au-
tomobiles due to a 10% reduction
in the price of steel would give rise
to an increased consumption of steel
of but 1.5%.
From this "contradiction" arise a
great number of restrictive influen-
ces on the expansion and develop-
ment of production. Even if only a
small portion of the economy or a
single industry is in a position to re-
strict its output by a high-price pol-
icy, this may be sufficient to hold em-
ployment and national income far be-
low the potentially attainable levels.
To sum up: "The fundamental ec-
onomic weakness in the operations of
the monopolistic or monopolistically
competitive corporate structure, as it
now stands, lies in the inability of
management in any one industry,
whether private or public (! K.K.),
to view its problem in the light of
national economy as a whole. As a
consequence, actions which would be
to the advantage both of the single
industry and of the general welfare
cannot be considered at all, because
there is no effective means through
which the industry could bring them
into effect... If some means could
be devised to bring about concerted
expansion of all industries involved,
so that all would simultaneously re-
duce their prices in proportion to the
saving in unit costs which increased
volume would yield, the final sale
price would be reduced sufficiently to
produce an increased volume of out-
r1t and all the industries particinat-
ing could gain from the result."8)
From this theoretical analysis it
follows at once that the fundamental
restrictive forces of production un-
der conditions of monopoly capital-
ism (private and public) can be over-
come, and can only be overcome, by
an either voluntary or publicly en-
forced cooperation of all involved in-
dustries in a smaller or larger pro-
gram of concerted expansion. The
various forms of the execution of this
proposal and their connection with
other measures must be studied in
the Report itself.
There is one flaw in all these in-
telligently devised and far-reaching
"plans". The Report itself contains
the warning for the reader that its

7) p. 36
8) p. 42









material "was prepared prior to de-
velopments of the emergency defense
program, and of course does not at-
tempt to deal with the special econ-
omic problems arising out of that
emergency." Indeed, there is no way
of knowing how even the most-
thoughtful and most honest plans of
the last remaining representatives of
a genuine "democratic activism" can


ever be fulfilled under the conditions
of present-day high-pressure capital-
ism in general and in particular un-
der the conditions of the imminent
world-wide fight for supremacy be-
tween the forces of so-called demo-
cracy and the forces of European and
Asiatic fascism.
Karl Korsch


CLASS AND AMERICAN SOCIOLOGY. From Ward to Ross. By
Charles Hunt Page. The Dial Press, New York. (319 pp.; $3.50).


The publisher's blurb on Mr. Page's
book quotes Professor R. M. Mac-Iver
as saying that its "treatment of so-
cial classes by American sociologists
throws much light on the social at-
titudes of sociologists". This is about
all the book does. But this is cer-
tainly not the author's fault. Mr.
Page's book is very interesting and
can be highly recommended. That
sociology may be regarded as little
more than the psychology of sociol-
ogists fits in with the social class
structure which excludes a science of
society. The book is valuable also
because it serves to show the impos-
sibility of developing a sociology.
Though it deals with the "fathers" of
sociology (L. F. Ward, W. G. Sum-
ner. A. W. Small, F. H. Giddings,
C. H. Cooley, E. A. Ross) it proves,
if their work is compared with the
most of the modern sociologists, that
the children have learned nothing
that their fathers did not know. In
short, this reveals the stagnation
which marks all social science under
capitalism.
That the question of class has been
neglected in sociological theory
shows not only the petty-bourgeois
character of professional sociologists,
but also the actual lack of class- con-
sciousness on the part of the work-
ers. That the class issue could enter
social theory at all is connected with
the fact that the middle-class was at
times opposed to the rising pluto-
cracy and thus appeared as the de-
fender of proletarian "rights". At no
time, however, have sociological
theories furthered the independent
astual struggles of the working class.
In so far as sociology fulfilled a func-
tion in society, that function was to
serve the ideology which identified
social control with class control. Des-
pite the great extremes of wealth
and poverty, America remained, in


the minds of its social theoreticians,
the land of the petty-bourgeoisie.
The changing conditions in America
at the turn of the century and the
influence of European theories led to
a radicalizationn" of intellectuals in-
terested in social questions. But even
in their new advances they remained
middle-class, as may be seen from the
works of Veblen, Dewey, Beard and
others, and from the sociologists who
shared their progressive views.
American sociology was the more
impractical the more it was "Amer-
ican", that is, the more it strove for
anplication. The social reforms so-
ciologists advocated were introduced
in America later than in other dev-
eloped nations, and then not as re-
forms to better society but as in-
struments to maintain a declining or-
der. Ward, for instance, was not in-
terested in advocating the better dis-
tribution of wealth. He saw in the
distribution of knowledge the first es-
sential to social betterment. If he
were living today, he would see that
the greater distribution of knowledge
only increased the social inequalities
as rewards the distribution of wealth,
as well as the distribution of oppor-
tunities. Because of class conditions
the growth of knowledge can only
serve the growth of profits. If he
hoped for an ideal government which
would truly represent society and not
just the groups favored by the lais-
sez- faire system, he would now find
his ideal realized in fascism. He
could object to it only by belatedly
recognizing the class issues that he
thought of so little importance.
Sumner, however, though also mid-
dle-class to the core, had a much
deeper insight into the real social is-
sues than any other of his colleagues.
In his analysis of society he often
reached conclusions which remind one
of Marx. But monopoly, privilege,
63









wars, class, are for him forces out-
side of human control. They must
be, accepted because only by struggle
can progress be made. He himself
took the side of capitalism in this
struggle determined by the nature of
things. Sumner and Ward, Mr. Page
observes, have concerned themselves
with class issues to a greater extent
than any of their contemporaries.
They certainly concerned themselves
with these issues more than the other
sociologists described by Page, who
either openly opposed the working
class, or suggested solutions for social
questions which in the end would
have been worse than the open


struggle a Sumner was willing to
wage. They accepted either one or
the other or both positions at the
same time; they were not able to con-
tribute one original element to the
discussions that preceded them. Page
himself has a much too positive ap-
proach to American sociology. It
may be politeness on his part which
makes him say that its traditions
should be carried on for the benefit
of contemporary research. To us,
however, it seems that his book re-
veals that the traditions of sociology,
too, hang like millstones around the
neck of those interested in social
problems.


THE WORLD OF NATIONS. A Study of the National Implications
in the Work of Karl Marx. By Solomon F. Bloom. Columbia University
Press, New York. (225 pp.; $2.50).


This book places Marx's position or.
national issues against the whole
background of his thought and ac-
tivity. In turn, Marx's general so-
cial and economic philosophy is ex-
amined from the point of view of its
bearing upon the fortunes of par-
ticular nations, especially England,
France, Germany and the United
States. It is thus an important con-
tribution towards an understanding
of the political ideas of the 19th cen-
tury. It will help to disperse the
many misrepresentations of Marxian
theories with regard to national prob-
lems. Agreeing with Mr. Bloom al-
most completely and hoping that our
readers will turn to the book itself,
we can restrict ourselves here to a
few remarks which may indicate the
richness of the work.
For Marx, nationality was an ob-
jective condition, a complex product
and function of environmental, econ-
omic, historical and other influences.
Intellectual and cultural variations
between nations he traced to socio-
economic and historical differences
between countries. The world re-
mained for Marx richly variegated;
he did not pour it all into one mold.
Along with the too-small society, he
rejected the vague and amorphous
global society. His world consisted of
a limited number of advanced na-
tions.
Marx was no nationalist, but for
him a true internationalist must strive


for the advance of particular coun-
tries as the basis of world progress.
Bloom makes it clear that Marx, con-
trary to some of his followers, did not
believe in the principle of self-deter-
mination of nations. National inde-
pendence had meaning for Marx only
for nations, or combinations of na-
tions, which were in a position to de-
velop modern economics. He related
all questions of national emancipation
to the interests of international pro-
gram. Though he knew the imper-
ialists for what they were, he recog-
nized that imperialism revolutionized
backward countries and stagnating
societies.
Though often denying small na-
tions the right of separate statehood,
Marx was always in favor of the com-
plete emancipation of all national
minorities from civil, social, and econ-
omic restrictions. He distinguished
clearly between nation and state. All
national questions were bound up
with class issues. All forms of op-
pression were interconnected and had
their basis in class exploitation. So
long as society was divided into clas-
ses, national interests coincided with
the interest of the class that further-
ed most of the economic development;
the character of the nation was close-
ly related to the character of the rul-
ing class. Only with the end of class
opposition within the nations will it
be possible to end the rivalries be-
tween the nations.









Coming in Early Issues of Living Marxism
Dialectical Llaterialisrn i ThoLlght and Society
The Economics ot Fascirn
The Problems of the Pacilic
The new Nationalism and the new Imperialism
The Findings of the Temporary National Economic Committee..
Europe-dominated by Germcan--and the United States
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