Karl Marx and the Present

A. M. Deborin


The Contemporary Crisis of Capitalism and the Ideology of Fascism

The epoch of the general crisis of the capitalist system is the epoch of the highest development and sharpening of all the contradictions of imperialism; it is the epoch of wars and of the development of the world proletarian revolution. Capitalist monopolies, which are typical of imperialism, have brought with them a colossal increase in the growth of the great magnates of capital, an exceptional deterioration of the situation of the wide masses of the labouring population, an increase in the process of their absolute and relative impoverishment. The oppression of the capitalist monopolies, their holding back of the development of productive forces, the decay of capitalism, are typical of the imperialist period and have increased to an exceptional extent in the post-war period. Marx’s prophetic statement has been fully and completely confirmed: “The capitalist mode of production falls into a fresh contradiction. Its historical mission is an unrestrained development, driven forward in geometrical progression, of the productivity of human labour. It betrays this mission insofar as it prevents the development of productivity. In this way it only shows again that it is becoming decrepit and more and more outliving itself.” [2] The contradictions of modern capitalism, so clearly and obviously appearing in the present world economic crisis, bear witness beyond all doubt to the rottenness and decrepitude of capitalism.

The problem of the destruction of capitalism is a question of bitter class struggle. Marx and Engels, Lenin and Stalin, have shown splendidly that no social class ever yields up its class rule and leaves the stage of history without a desperate, stern, bloody, and obstinate resistance. Faced with its maturing doom, the bourgeoisie mobilises all its forces, utilises all its reserves, hoping to maintain its position by means of unprecedented terror. And if each day the powerful voice of the world proletariat sounds louder and louder as it prepares under the banner of the Com-


munist International for the last, decisive storm of the strongholds of capitalism, if the wave of the revolutionary movement mounts hourly, spreading and growing while the fighting strength of the proletarian ranks also grows and strengthens hourly, then there also simultaneously takes place in opposition to this an increase in the offensive of capital. Capital, in the fight to preserve its dictatorship, renounces the tattered banner of bourgeois democracy. The present stage calls for other means and methods for the support of the dictatorship of capital. Finance capital advances its fascist guard on to the scene of the historical struggle. Democracy no longer guarantees the maintenance of dictatorship. So much the worse for democracy. Henceforth there is reliance on fascist dictatorship, on direct terror, on the uprooting of all “ democratic ” survivals.

Lies and demagogy, adventurism and disguise, have always played and still do play an important part in the support and strengthening of bourgeois rule. Fascism calls itself national-socialism. It openly and obviously carries out a counter-revolutionary policy, it is the chief weapon of reaction and applies a merciless white terror. Without trial or trace it savagely destroys thousands of revolutionary workers while falsely and demagogically dragging on a mask of anti-capitalist phraseology.

In seeking the best ways of strengthening its dictatorship, in the struggle against the revolutionary movement, finance capital enters the path of naked reaction. Its fascist and social-fascist theoreticians come out against the idea of development, for development promises little that is good to capitalism. The idea of a “ feudal ” capitalist system is advanced as the ideal form of social organisation. A caste-corporative mediaeval system is the social ideal of modern fascism. From the disguised slavery of the “ free ” worker to open serfdom. From bourgeois democracy to unlimited dictatorship. From trade unions and cartels to “ classless ” estates, castes and corporations. This is the road whose theoretical prophets and practical heroes are the modern fascist leaders. The bourgeoisie, which once opposed feudalism, to-day insists on the “ union ” of capitalism and feudalism. And this struggle for unconcealed serfdom is covered up with would-


be socialist slogans. Truly the dialectic of historical development works miracles. Lenin’s forecast of genius, which repeatedly showed that as capitalism developed, the fight of the bourgeoisie against feudalism would yield ever more and more to the strengthening of this mutual co-operation, has been justified.

The struggle to establish a fascist dictatorship is bound up with a struggle against technical, scientific, social and other forms of progress—for a return to the hand production of the Middle Ages, for the “feudalisation” of all vital forms, including also the “feudalisation” of science. It is in just this apology for regression, in the apology for “ feudalism ”, that the decay of modern imperialism is vividly expressed and the intense acuteness of all its contradictions. The economic laws of the development of capitalism arising from these contradictions lead capitalist society forward with irresistible force to the inevitable proletarian revolution carried out by the working class, to the dictatorship of the proletariat and the construction of socialism, to the maturing of the objective and subjective premises of proletarian revolution. The fight for economic and political progress so far as the bourgeoisie is concerned is nothing but reaction, a fight against economic and political progress, to which historical development objectively leads.

In recent years a number of books have appeared dealing with the end of capitalism, the future of capitalism, the decline and fall of capitalism, neo-capitalism, etc. [3]  In addition, the problem of planning occupies most attention, above all among the intelligentsia. [4] In this last tendency the influence of the Soviet system is seen particularly, the immense impression produced by our first Five Year Plan and by our whole socialist construction in general. But in borrowing the idea of planning from us, the ideologists of the bourgeoisie aim at the impossible, at having their cake and eating it too. They wish to keep the basis of the bourgeois system—private property, and at the same time to build up an organised planned economy, without understanding or desiring to understand the simple fact that anarchy of production is not an accidental but an essential feature of the capitalist system, directly arising from its contradictions, that real planned


economy is only possible in a socialist society, i.e. in one in which all the instruments and means of production are social property.

It would, however, be strange and “ unnatural ”, if as a result of changes in property relations, as a result of the general crisis of the capitalist system there did not arise a new variation in bourgeois ideology as the expression and reflection of the collapse of capitalist production relations (and the contradictions inherent in them). This ideology is in the main represented by fascism and is in sharp opposition to Marx’s doctrine.

Old-fashioned bourgeois liberalism, which belonged to another stage of capitalist development, has collapsed. Only a few non-influential groups remain which dream of preserving, or rather of restoring, classical industrial capitalism without cartels, trusts, concerns, without finance capital and a finance oligarchy, in a word, without all those structural changes which the imperialist epoch has brought. The Liberal Party of the labour aristocracy corresponded to this bourgeois liberalism, a party which maintained the foundations of democracy and dreamed of a planned evolutionary development of capitalism and its gradual growth into socialism. All the reactionary elements, whose glances were aimed into the distant past, were grouped on the right flank of the bourgeois parties. As a result of the development of industrial capitalism and its transformation into imperialism, as a result of the process of the concentration and centralisation of capital, of the formation of capitalist monopolies, important changes have also taken place in the realm of ideology, beginning with philosophy and ending with politics. Bourgeois liberalism and democracy, which had at its base the ideas of liberty, equality and fraternity proclaimed by the French revolution, and also the outlook formulated by the advanced thinkers of the bourgeoisie who were progressive for their age, an outlook which sometimes contained materialist elements, and in any case the ideas of evolution and development insofar as these ideas reflected the onward course of capitalist development—all these ideas have to-day collapsed. Bourgeois liberalism and bourgeois democracy have become bankrupt to-day, when it is evident to all that


democracy in our time is only an external form covering the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, as Lenin insisted for over twenty years.

Germany is to-day in this respect the “ classical ” and most “ advanced ” country. All the forecasts of Marx and Engels concerning the paths of development of capitalism after the world war and concerning the part which the Social-Democratic Party would play in this complex of events by renouncing at the decisive moments in history the principles of Marxism and betraying the cause of the proletariat by finally going over to the side of the bourgeoisie, have been fully justified. At one time, as Marx and Engels foretold, the Socialist Party did in fact gather all the reactionary elements in the country around the banner of “ pure democracy ”, smashing the revolutionary workers in the name of “pure democracy” and thereby saving the bourgeoisie and the capitalist system from the ruin which threatened them. Not only the communists but, quite naturally, even certain bourgeois leaders speak with contempt of present-day social-democracy. This is what the fascist Ferdinand Fried writes of the Social- Democratic Party :

At the time when capitalism, against which social-democracy had been fighting for almost a hundred years, had really begun to shake and crack, as foretold by the social-democratic prophets (i.e. Marx and Engels, A.D.), we find social-democracy more or less closely bound up with capitalism as its last support. It imagines it is supporting and preserving the state while in fact it is only supporting capital. [5]

In another place this same Fried writes :

Democracy (the direct, equal and secret ballot), which social- democracy at first regarded as a means to an end, has become for it an end in itself. Since democracy is the only sphere in which social-democracy has won any success, it quite rightly identifies itself with this democracy, but does not see yet that it has stuck halfway, at a point where it must waste away together with capitalism and democracy, whilst life passes it by. [6]

Hindenburg’s biographer Schultze-Pfaelzer, in an interview with Otto Strasser, one of the leaders of the so-called “ revolutionary ” wing of national-socialism, remarks in regard to social-democracy


that the Second International is in fact no longer following “ the watchwords of the old red battalions I could quote many other contemptuous estimates of modern social-democracy from bourgeois politicians.

In its struggle against the growing rise of the revolutionary movement and the approaching proletarian revolution, the old methods of strengthening the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie no longer suffice. Finance capital passes to new methods of support for its dictatorship, casting aside the flag of democracy, advancing its fascist guard to battle against the approaching revolution.

But what is fascism ? What is its ideology ? In what are its main strivings expressed ? The “ cunning of reason ” or the dialectic of the historical process bring us some quite unexpected and peculiar surprises. The specific character of the present stage of world history lies in the fact that large-scale capital in industry and agriculture is not averse from using anti-capitalist phraseology in order to strengthen capitalism.

Yet most characteristic and curious of all is the attempt to prove “ scientifically ”, despite Marx’s teaching, for all these “ new ” theories are repelled by Marx and oppose Marxism as their antithesis, to prove that development is far from being a law of reality, that capitalism can happily prolong its existence as a static and not a dynamic system. Lest we should seem to be making unsupported statements, we will give two or three quotations from a multitude of such arguments. Walter-Eucken, for example, proves that even if capitalism entered a stage of complete paralysis, of bureaucratisation of the industrial enterprises and the curtailment of inventions and improvements, this would be far from meaning the end of capitalism. “ A more static form would take the place of the dynamic form.

Since Marx’s day, he continues, the conviction has grown that

the vital law of capitalism is an ever-widening dynamic, and that the end of development means also the end of capitalism itself. Marx in the middle of the last century lived through an unexpected rise of capitalism in England. It is in this way that the birth of the legend of the necessarily dynamic essence of capitalism is to be explained. It would not be difficult for those who have lived since this period to


understand the incorrectness of this Marxian thesis. . . . Modern political economy has shown that Marx’s theoretical proofs of capitalism’s essentially dynamic nature are false. [7]

In the light of Marx’s outlook and teaching, the end of the development of capitalism implies death, and it follows that, applied to the capitalist system, the end of the development of capitalism means the end of the system. But modern bourgeois scientists, seeing already the end of capitalism, seeing its rottenness, nevertheless dream of preserving this dying social formation which feels itself in good health even without any development at all.

In connection with this kind of mental attitude arises the idea of the conservative law of the life of peoples, a mystically irrational law of movement. Such a doctrine and conception of life is inextricably bound up with the denial of materialism, rationalism and the idea of development. The organic growth of a nation on the basis of its own tradition and its own soil—this is the basis of the new conception of life as formulated by another author. [8] Every nation represents an independent biological organism which is capable of living in its own completely determined environment. Everything which penetrates from the outer, alien world is harmful to the national organism. Autarchy, Strasser says, necessarily calls for the agrarianisation of Germany. [9]

Nickish, [10] Hillscher [11] and others prove that “ to become more rural means to become poorer and more primitive, maybe more savage and barbarian, but nevertheless more German. Barbarism carries its own law within itself. . .

We could give many more quotations to characterise the mood of bourgeois minds in the present epoch of decline of capitalism. But we have said enough for our purpose.

The attempt is to cut oneself off by a Chinese Wall from the outer world, insofar as one can take at all seriously the effort at autarchy and re-agrarianisation, for this “ autarchy ” is also a means of deceiving the masses, since in fact behind “ autarchy ” is hidden economic preparation for a new war, while on the other hand it expresses the interests of definite groups of the bourgeoisie and has, by the way, as its aim, ideological and political autarchy, i.e. estrangement from Western and Eastern ideas, by Western


ideas meaning parliamentarism and democracy, by Eastern, bolshevism, rationalism, materialism, atheism, etc. It follows that the danger threatening from the “ East ” is at present the most real. True, this danger has already become an organic disease in Germany, and this disease is undermining the life of “ the national organism ”, i.e. of capitalism, in such merciless fashion, that the final doom is inevitable. Yet the bourgeoisie still dreams that it will be possible for it by destroying the enemy, by destroying Marxism, i.e. the revolutionary workers, to restore the health of the “ national organism ”.

We have already shown above that one of the most dangerous ideas for modern capitalism is the Marxist idea of development, the specific law of capitalist dynamics which is opposed by capitalist statics, since this development inevitably leads to the end of the capitalist system.

As an antidote to the Marxian laws of the development of capitalism new theories of capitalism have recently been created on the basis of an analysis of the laws of the spirit. These learned gentlemen examine the historical process from the point of view of the free activity of men, emancipating them from the nightmare of the Marxist teaching constructed on so-called natural- scientific conceptions, [12] which are “ guilty ” of frightful deductions regarding the inevitable end of capitalism.

The process of the fascisation and “ feudalisation ” of thought in recent years is embracing ever-wider circles of the bourgeoisie and the bourgeois intelligentsia. This process goes parallel with the sharpening of the class struggle and the process of the decay of capitalism. Yesterday’s realists are to-day becoming mystics, former “ radicals ” are passing over to the fascist camp. True, this is but one aspect of the process of class polarisation, for in speaking of the growth of fascism and the spreading of fascist ideology, we must not forget the colossal growth and development of the communist movement. But at the moment we are chiefly interested in fascist ideology.

Materialism and idealism, these two main world outlooks, are becoming the banners and symbols of faith of two worlds, two cultures, two systems of thought and two conceptions of life.


All the ideologues of the bourgeoisie stand on the ground of idealism. The Communist Party as the only really proletarian party is carrying out the principles of consistent materialism in all spheres of science and practical activity.

In the course of a single essay it is impossible to develop all the concrete, burning problems of the day in the light of these two systems of thought. But one thing can definitely be said, idealism in the present circumstances is more than ever the black flag of general reaction, of obscurantism, of the decline and degradation of thought. And insofar as this modern idealism decisively penetrates every scientific discipline, from mathematics (has not Jeans advanced the idea of a mathematical god ?) to the theory of society and the state, it would be a mortal danger for science were we not convinced of the victory of communism and consequently of the triumph of materialism in every sphere of human culture.

It is however insufficient to talk of idealism in general. We must, even though briefly, characterise the concrete form of modern idealism which is becoming the prevailing form. Old classical German idealism, which was the ideology of the bourgeoisie in the period of its rise, defended and in every way justified, though certainly in idealistic form, the principle of development. Modern idealism of the period of the decline and decay of capitalism differs from the old idealism in the fact that the idea of progress and development is hateful to it, and that it has inherited only the reactionary aspect of the old idealism. To-day we encounter the denial of the idea of development, even in its form of bourgeois evolutionism, in numerous philosophical works, as well as in works on natural science, the social sciences, and in the sphere of the works of reactionary politicians, especially the fascists. This circumstance calls for general attention. All these gentlemen show a special hatred for Marx’s materialism, and it is just this materialism which is the chief enemy since the idea of development is inextricably bound up with it. But Darwinism also figures as a doctrine calling for anathema as being atheistical and materialist, and so indeed does all modern natural science, as well as Marxian materialism.


To prove this thesis we will make some quotations from the works of politicians and “ pure ” savants. The “ materialist outlook ”, says one of fascism’s “ left ” leaders,

has, as is well known, the idea of progress as one of its motive forces. There is no worse sort of fatalism than this spiritual hallucination that humanity for millions of years now has been marching along this road which leads ever upward, which is decorated on right and left with the milestones of development. How has this fixed idea become possible ? Surely everyone knows from his own experience that life is a circle, and not a line. [13]

Neither progress nor development exist at all. Everything turns in an eternal circle. The principle of causation is beneath criticism. The idea of fate and destiny is higher than the principle of causation. Fate stands behind every natural phenomenon. The whole of natural science from Darwin via Virchow and Haeckel to Planck and Einstein has killed God with its matter.

As for Marxism, its chief aim is materialism. The idea of development is inextricably bound up with Marxian materialism. Look, exclaims Otto Strasser, at the Soviet Union, where communism glorifies technique and “ deifies progress ”. It is enough to watch Russian films to know that the machine has there become a new idol while tractors are looked upon as elements of civilisation. In a word, all science, insofar as it rests on a materialist basis and recognises the idea of development and progress, is atheist science and liable to rejection.

In this sense also the famous Viennese professor Othmar Spann expresses himself.

The mechanical conception of development prevailing to-day which proceeds in a straight line (geradeaus) and never ends cannot hold out against scientific criticism.

Darwin and Marx have done terrible harm to our civilisation with their mechanical conception of development. For this conception of development deprives every activity of value since to-day each one is overcome by to-morrow. And this has given birth to utilitarianism, materialism and nihilism, which are characteristic of our time. [14]

Leaving aside the question of how far these authors incorrectly interpret Marx’s point of view, we meanwhile think it necessary to state that they reject the materialist outlook and the idea of


progress inextricably bound up with it. A special mystical logic develops on the basis of the idea of movement in a circle, which can be briefly summed up as the logic of the vicious circle, as distinct from the “ logic of development in a straight line ”, and particularly as distinct from the dialectical logic and theory of development of Marx, Engels and Lenin.

Going further in our characterisation of modern idealism and the pseudo-dialectic bound up with it, which is again opposed to Marx’s materialist dialectic, we should first emphasise that this idealism proceeds from the conception of completeness which in social science corresponds to the community, Gemeinschaft. Bourgeois scientists blame Marx because his outlook and whole teaching bear the stamp of atomism, liberalism, individualism, mechanism, etc. That all these accusations are based on conscious falsehood seems to me obvious to anyone who has any acquaintance at all with Marxism.

However, what is the meaning of all this ? It can only be fully explained later. At the moment it is only necessary to emphasise the following, that whereas liberalism (and democracy) really starts from the individual and looks at society as a simple sum of atom-individuals and therefore puts forward an individualist and mechanist point of view which is the expression of capitalist society in which there goes on the struggle of each against each, in which free competition, etc., reigns, Marxian communism and the whole Marxian teaching on society, as well as its general philosophical conception, are directly opposed to such atomistic liberalism.

Contemporary idealism of the fascist interpretation, in opposing to communism the mediaeval corporative system in which the state is looked upon as an end in itself, in which the personality of the worker is made a victim to the capitalist moloch, naturally feels hostile towards Marx’s teaching, according to which “ in place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all ”. Marxian dialectic solves with genius the contradiction between form and content, the whole and the parts, quantity and quality, etc.


Fascist “ dialectic ” puts the category of completeness in the key position. Its first tenet reads : the whole exists before the parts, whereas the bourgeois-liberal outlook gives the key position to separate individuals from whose agglomeration a complete society is produced.

Not being able here to criticise the whole complex of theoretical “ ideas ” behind contemporary fascism, we consider it necessary merely to emphasise that the principle of “ completeness ” in the mind of fascist “ ideologues ”, the logic of the vicious circle and the idea of the eternal circuit which excludes the principle of development, reflect the present condition of “ feudalisation of capitalism ”, in accordance with which bourgeois professors and capitalists dream of confining capitalism within a feudal and mediaeval corset, thus converting it into an immobile, stagnant form. In this way they hope to avoid any forward motion, any development, which would inevitably lead to the substitution of a socialist system for capitalism. In place of the present society they wish to build a “ true ” state, a “ true ” society, a “ true ” completeness. Naturally the learned gentlemen who develop these “ ideas ” see at once in Marx’s teaching on society, economy and the state, as well as in his whole theory of historical materialism, their chief and most dangerous foe. All their “ learned researches ” aim at refuting Marx’s teachings in these fields.

One of the philosophers and ideologues of fascism is the not unknown Oswald Spengler, who in his book the Decline of the West which made such a noise ten years ago, came out sharply against the “ pink-red optimism of progress ”. Spengler throughout his voluminous work wages an untiring struggle against Marx and his teaching, in particular against his teaching on development. The precursor of modern fascism criticises the Marxian conception of history as a process of development. A hostile attitude towards the idea of development, towards the principle of “ progress ”, even in its usual bourgeois interpretation, distinguishes Spengler and all the modern fascists. They fight against social development out of fear of Marxism, of Bolshevism, and hope to destroy them by the help of exceptional laws. The idea of “ progress ” has become a frightful bogey for these


sections and classes of the population. A world in which everything is submitted to an exact accounting, in which “ everything is standardised and typified ” and in which the whole of life is permeated by the principle of planning, they say, would be godless and disgusting. So their chief slogan is not “ forward ” but “ back ”. [15] Everything connected with the ideas of development and progress is treated as “ Kulturbolschewismus”.

The second chief feature of modern fascist ideology is a negative and contemptuous attitude towards reason, towards rationalism (and therefore towards all contemporary science) and the declaration of the primacy of the spirit, i.e. of the combination of desires and primitive instincts. [16] Hence the opposing of irrationalism and intuition to rationalism. In this respect Nietzsche, Spengler, Bergson, Ludwig Klages, the German romantics and modern irrationalists are in general the true leaders and fathers of fascist ideology. The fascists openly state that in philosophy their leaders are Nietzsche, Lagard and Spengler. [17] It is the fault of philosophy and science that the spirit and reason have risen above the soul, that is above the primitive instincts of man. We cannot enter here into an examination of the teaching of the so-called “ philosophers ” and must limit ourselves only to showing the connection and succession between modern fascism and these authors’ teachings. The intuitivism and irrationalism of Bergson are also aimed at reason and consciousness which are man’s weapons in the struggle against nature and the existing social relationships which rest on the exploitation of man by man. Conscious and reasoned thought must give way to the liberated feelings, to the chaos of desires with their primitive striving towards violence against the weak. [18] We can know only the “ appearance ” of things through reason, Spengler says. The essence of things we can only penetrate with the help of “ divine contemplation ”. The rashness of reason lies in its striving to discover the inner connections of phenomena, to take its fate in its own hands and overthrow the secret forces which stand over life, Spengler complains.

Scientific knowledge submits “ fate ” to human will. But this is a revolt of the mind, of the reason against the will of providence.


Reason slays the idea of fate, whereas the man of “ organic culture ”, Spengler declares, must recognise the idea of fate and submit before it. The people must submit to blind destiny and the forces personifying it. The whole of this “ philosophy ” has as its aim the justification of the existing wage slavery, the justification of the rule of the King, the nobility, the bourgeoisie and priesthood, who, according to Spengler, are the representatives and creators of culture. When the masses, he means, of course, the workers, enter the stage of history the end of culture is at hand and civilisation is enthroned. The age of civilisation is marked by the reign of rationalism and materialism. The “ rationalist criticism of all the foundations of life and an all-levelling naturalism call for the destruction of the historical differences between the privileged and the enslaved, for the replacing of the existing state system by a just social system The plebeian morality of socialism sets itself the task of the practical refashioning of all the forms of life. Instead of submission to fate, socialism makes strategic plans with the aim of “ getting round ” fate. It is permeated by humanitarianism, preaches general fraternity and peace among nations. . . . Such is the openly brutal cynicism of this ideologue of imperialism and fascism.

Another modern philosopher and count, Ludwig Klages, in his book Der Geist als Widersacher der Seele, comes forward like Spengler in defence of the soul against the destructive principle of reason.

So the fascist conception of man as a “ beast of prey ” becomes comprehensible. “ Der Mensch ist ein Raubtier ”—man is a beast of prey, says Spengler. Only the soul can know the feeling of rapture a man experiences in plunging his knife into the warm and living body of an enemy. This savage sadism is lifted by Spengler and the modern fascists to the level of a “ philosophical doctrine ”, realised in practice in the tortures, murders and pogroms which they inflict on the revolutionary workers and communists who are “ rash ” enough to fight for “ general fraternity ” and “ peace among nations ”.

The future belongs, in the opinion of the fascists, not to internationalism, which is a Jewish ideal, nor to the “ collectivis-


ing tendencies of Bolshevism ”, but to the principle of nationalism, the idea of race and aristocracy. In this respect the fascists are the successors of Spengler (and partly of Nietzsche), of Gobineau, Chamberlain and other writers who see in the Aryan the salt of the earth and the centre of the universe.

Adolf Hitler in his book Mein Kampf, with all the brutality characteristic of this Teuton, particularly attacks the “ Jew ” Marx, who preached the international solidarity of the workers and recognised the equal value of all races. Fascism, says Hitler, stands in principle on the ground of the recognition of the aristocratic idea in nature, as well as in social life. He not only recognises a different value in races, but also a different value in separate individuals. Culture and civilisation on our planet are inextricably bound up with the existence of the Aryans. [19]

Joseph Gobineau in his work Essai sur Vinegalite des races humaines sees the main factor of historical development in the struggle of races, placing the Aryan race in the first place. Hitler, like all fascists, is only repeating Gobineau when he declares that the noblest race is the “ blue-eyed, white-skinned German race ”, whose doom would mean the end of all culture. The Aryans are called by nature itself to power and dominion over other, lower, less valuable races. By their very essence they are a ruling race. In particular Hitler and his fellow-thinkers declare anti-Semitism to be one of the most essential symbols of the faith of fascism. “ In waging war against the Jews ”, writes Hitler, “ I am fighting for the cause of God.” [20]

The fascists consider Hitler’s greatest service to be his popularisation of the race problem and his proof that a Jewish question really exists. The Jews boast of their geniuses, Spinoza, Heine, Einstein. But the majority of Germans know nothing of them. [21] When national-socialism comes to power, the Hitlerites wrote a few years ago, they will put the Jews, like every other alien nation and race, in the position of foreigners and submit them to special jurisdiction (Fremdenrecht).

Naturally enough, in close connection with the race theory is the zoological nationalism of the fascists. The idea of a united nation is opposed to Marx’s teaching on the class struggle. The


idea of a nation as a whole, single, biological organism is put forward by the fascists as an ideological weapon able to guarantee social peace to the bourgeoisie and remove the class struggle. National solidarity means a solidarity of interests between capital and labour. In the first paragraph of the Italian fascist, Carta del Lavoro, the following is proclaimed : “ The Italian nation is an organism which follows vital aims and disposes of means of activity which stand higher than the aims and means of the isolated and incorporated individuals of whom the nation consists. In the fascist state the complete moral, political and economic solidarity of all is realised.”

Even many bourgeois investigators who are generally sympathetic towards fascism, acknowledge that the fascist state, like the whole fascist movement and its ideology, is deeply hostile to the proletariat. Hammer, for example, calls Italian fascism “ the protector of capital and the enemy of the proletarian movement ”. [22] He shows how Mussolini robs the workers and to some extent the petty bourgeoisie, also, in favour of the plutocracy. Even Beckerath [23] declares the plutocratic nature of the fascist regime in Italy. German fascism, like Italian, is a weapon in the hands of finance capital and the big trustified bourgeoisie with the aim of suppressing and uprooting the revolutionary movement of the proletariat.

Nationalism is one of the best tried and most essential elements among the ideological means of subjecting the proletariat to the capitalists and obscuring the class consciousness of the workers. The social-democratic parties of all countries as long ago as during the war rendered powerful aid to the ruling classes in the work of preparing for fascism—without mentioning all their later policy of co-operation with the bourgeoisie—by their passing over to the side of “ their ” national bourgeoisie. They renounced the Marxian principle of class struggle with its teaching on the state and with all their might began to defend the national idea and the bourgeois state.

Fascism looks on the nation as the primal metaphysical whole, having “ ideal ” aims and interests conditioned by the unity of race, blood, religion, etc. The nation is a biological organism


subject to all the laws of development and life of such an organism. Marxist materialism kills the national idea, the class struggle destroys national unity.

The fascist idea of the nation is closely bound up with their idea of the state. The nation or race, which in fact are identical conceptions for the fascists, is the “ mystical dominant ” (corpus mysticum) in all human affairs. [24] The main aim of the nation as a mystical and metaphysical whole permeated with the consciousness of its special mission on earth—is the creation of a powerful state as the perfect foundation and complete embodiment of the national consciousness. The state exists for ever, the individual has only a transitory existence. Therefore the aims and the tasks of the state are different from the aims and tasks of the citizens who live for the sake of state. If the nation is the consciousness, the “ spirit ”, then the state as the embodiment of the national consciousness is the objective spirit in the Hegelian sense and represents an aim in itself. And since the spirit, according to Hegel and his modern fascist followers (in Italy Gentile is the chief theoretician), is activity, action, azione, then the main essence of the fascist state lies in its continual activity, in a trial of strength, in the manifestation of its might. Hence the centre of gravity of the state is removed by the fascists from its legislative institutions to the executive power which carries out the real functions of the state.

The fascist state by its very essence follows militarist aims. Its ideologues speak quite frankly of this. For example, the French fascist Georges Valois declares war to be the creator of every culture and civilisation. The leader of Italian nationalism, Corradini, says that war is “ an act of the highest solidarity of which mankind has so far shown itself to be capable It follows that the German fascists are in this respect no wit behind their French and Italian colleagues.

So fascism is the ideology of militarist imperialism, insofar as it is a matter of its foreign policy, of the “ right ” of one nation to plunder other nations, to “ lift ” the super-profit from the bourgeoisie of other nations. The thoroughly false and fraudulent idea of the solidarity of interests of workers and capitalists


must serve as the main lever in the work of the practical realisation of the tasks which the fascists have set themselves.

As long ago as 1915 Lenin wrote in his article “ Imperialism and Socialism in Italy ” :

The question has been put squarely and one cannot fail to recognise that the European War has been of enormous use for humanity in that it actually has placed the question squarely before hundreds of millions of people of various nationalities : either defend, with rifle or pen, directly or indirectly, in whatever form it may be, the great- nation and national privileges in general, as well as the prerogative or the pretensions of “ our ” bourgeoisie, that is to say, either be its adherent and lackey, or utilise every struggle, particularly the clash of arms for great-national privileges, to unmask and overthrow every government, in the first place our own, by means of the revolutionary action of an internationally united proletariat. There is no middle road ; in other words, the attempt to take a middle position means, in reality, covertly to join the imperialist bourgeoisie. [25]

Since the above lines were written a great deal which is of vital importance has changed in the world, but it has changed in those directions which were pointed out by Lenin. In Russia the working class under the leadership of the Communist Party has revolted against its “ own ” bourgeoisie and set up the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat. In other countries, in Italy and Germany, thanks to the active help of social-democracy, the reactionary dictatorship of the big bourgeoisie has temporarily triumphed, supported by a large part of the petty bourgeoisie. It is, however, necessary to point out that a great difference exists between Italy and Germany in the sense of the historical experience of the proletariat as well as in regard to the degree of development of capitalism. Without being able to go deeply into this aspect of the question here, we will allow ourselves to express the certainty that the rule of fascism in Germany cannot be a long one and that the revolutionary proletariat, recovering from the oppression and persecution which has fallen upon its head, will gather fresh strength and under the leadership of the Communist Party overthrow the present regime and set up its revolutionary dictatorship.

Lastly, we must in this connection say a word or so concerning the “ socialism ” of the fascists. The German fascists openly


call themselves national-socialists. This fraudulent trick also calls for attention, insofar as the fascists with the aim of deceiving the wide masses of toilers, seek to identify socialism with nationalism and stateism, i.e. with the interests of the big bourgeoisie. They are “ socialists ” in the sense already explained by Spengler. Socialism, he says, is just as national as philosophy, science or art. What is the essence of Prussian socialism ? The absolute submission of the individual personality to the state and the sentiment of devotion to the interests of the nation. Spengler has further explained that by socialism must be understood the careful observance of the right of property and inheritance with a formal subjection of all productive forces to the legislature. We shall see below that the German national-socialists accept Spengler’s point of view, i.e. the point of view of zoological nationalism and imperialism which is identified with pure Prussian socialism. In this way the savage fury, the animal hatred and the bloody struggle against Marxian or Bolshevist real socialism and internationalism become comprehensible.

The fascists, the French and Italian [26] ones in particular, often refer to Saint Simon and Bazard in regard to the corporative, caste, hierarchical economic system. Georges Valois [27] in France is in this respect almost looked on as the restorer of Saint Simonism. The Italian fascists also base themselves on the teaching of Saint Simon. Corradini and Rocco had begun to propagate the idea of the “ producers’ state ”, according to Beckerath, under the influence of Valois, even before Mussolini. The idea of an organic anti-individualist producers’ state, Reupke writes, owes its origin to Marx in its Bolshevik form. [28] The fascist formulation of the same idea, he continues, comes from Saint Simon and Bazard. Spiihler finishes his work on Bazard with the following profound prophecy : “ The spirit of Saint Simonism will create the social institutions of the future. They will bring complete harmony into social life.” [29] Neo-Saint Simonism, around which an important literature has already grown up and which is opposed to Marxism as being a “ higher ” and more “ ideal ” doctrine, [30] expressing the real needs of the modern epoch, must be subjected to a crushing Marxian criticism, as also must the


other elements of fascist “ theory. But we must limit ourselves in this connection to just a few general remarks. It may be asked, what so delights the fascists in the conception of Saint Simon and Bazard ? The fascists themselves and their ideology answer this question for us. Saint Simon, they say, believed in private property. He demanded a leading role in production and social life for the entrepreneur. [31] He insisted on the solidarity of the interests of capital and labour, thus defending social peace and rejecting the class struggle. Saint Simon, finally, aimed at realising “ the producers’ state ” and indicated the hierarchical principle in its construction. All these elements are really to be found in Saint Simon and his disciples. For Saint Simon’s system arose in conditions in which capitalism, and consequently the proletariat, also had only just freed itself from feudal lines of development, in which the “ third estate ” had not yet been sufficiently differentiated internally, and in which the proletariat did not yet play an independent political part and had not come out openly against its oppressors, in a word, in conditions in which the proletariat had still not become “ a class for itself ”.

The Communist Manifesto says the following of the Utopian systems of Saint Simon, Fourier, Owen, etc. :

The undeveloped state of the class struggle, as well as their own surroundings, causes socialists of this kind to consider themselves far superior to all class antagonisms. They want to improve the condition of every member of society, even that of the most favoured. Hence, they habitually appeal to society at large, without distinction of class ; nay, by preference to the ruling class. For how can people, when once they understand their system, fail to see in it the best possible plan of the best possible state of society ?

As the class struggle develops and assumes a more definite character, their systems are deprived of any theoretical and practical sense. Saint Simonism has therefore arisen in definite historical circumstances which are the expression of a definite stage in the development of modern society. In Saint Simon’s mind, Engels says, the antagonism between the third estate and the privileged classes took the form of an antagonism between “ workers ” and “ idlers ”. And the “ workers ” were not only


the wage-workers, but also the manufacturers, the merchants, the bankers. Modern fascism has accepted this point of view and for them Krupp or Morgan is a worker. According to Saint Simon, Engels says, in his “ ideal ” industrial state these should lead and command

science and industry, both united by a new religious bond destined to restore that unity of religious ideas which had been lost since the time of the Reformation—a necessarily mystic and rigidly hierarchic “ new Christianity ”. But science, that was the scholars ; and industry, that was, in the first place, the working bourgeois, manufacturers, merchants, bankers. These bourgeoisie were, certainly, intended by Saint Simon to transform themselves into a kind of public officials, of social trustees ; but they were still to hold, vis-à-vis of the workers, a commanding and economically privileged position. The bankers especially were to be called upon to direct the whole of social production by the regulation of credit. This conception was in exact keeping with a time in which Modern Industry in France and, with it, the chasm between bourgeoisie and proletariat was only just coming into existence. But what Saint Simon especially lays stress upon is this : what interests him first, and above all other things, is the lot of the class that is the most numerous and the most poor (“la classe la plus nombreuse et la plus pauvre”). [32]

If Saint Simon was interested in the first place in the fate of the labouring masses, the fascists are only interested in the fate of finance capital, of the trustified bourgeoisie and big landlord- agrarians. They carry out a coup d’etat in their interests and seek to organise the “ producers’ state ”, i.e. to subject the workers completely to the power of the bourgeois sharks. It is with this aim that they propagate the fiction of the unity of the nation, deny the existence of classes and proclaim the all- powerful, authoritarian state, at whose head is an elected minority, consisting of the representatives of capital. Winreich writes that in national leaders who intuitively grasp the national consciousness, the “ integration of the national will ” finds its expression. [33]

Together with pseudo-socialism, intended to deceive the workers, bourgeois philosophers and scientists have in recent years been earnestly working out a pseudo-dialectic to oppose to the materialist dialectic of Marx and Lenin. Modern bourgeois “ dialecticians ”, to whom I join the social-fascist “ philosophers ”,


strive to prove that opposites, although they exist everywhere, are never overcome. On this basis they completely reject the category of contradiction. Arthur Liebert, the philosopher of “ tragic dialectic ”, sees the chief fault of Hegelian dialectic to lie in its recognition of the possibility and necessity of solving contradictions. “ The idea of harmony and of humanism ”, Liebert writes, “arose in Hegel from his belief in the possibility of realising an ultimate aim within the limits of history.” [34] Liebert insists on the impossibility of solving contradictions, and in this lies the tragic and pessimistic character of the “ new ” dialectic, which, in spite of its “ longing for pure harmony ”, remains in the ground of the philosophy of antinomy and antagonism.

Bartel, in his book Die Welt als Spannung und Rhytmus, frankly declares that “ where polarity is destroyed chaos arises, as, for example, in the case of social polarity between rulers and subjects ”. [35] Communism by destroying the polarised opposition of classes, brings with it, according to our author, social chaos. Ludovici expresses himself decisively against the category of contradiction since it destroys oppositions. Contradiction, he says, is “ a bad neighbour and a disturber of the peace ”. Oppositions cannot be removed by any force or any “ research workers’ tricks The social-democratic philosophers like Siegfried Mark, Markus, Kranold, De Man, Max Adler, etc., either simply renounce Marxian dialectic or distort and falsify it to make it acceptable to the bourgeoisie. “ Pure ” fascists are sometimes ready to give its “ due ” to Marx’s materialist dialectic, insofar as it deals with the past, when, if you please, classes really existed, but in our time, of course, when, according to them, a united nation has replaced classes, it is apparently unacceptable. Other fascist ideologues and publicists are ready to see in the conciliation of classes, in the principle of the solidarity ol interests between the workers and the bourgeoisie, the realisation of the moment when opposites are “ cancelled ” and class contradictions solved. Neo-feudalism is the historical “ synthesis ” of feudalism (thesis) and capitalism (antithesis).

Lastly, we should mention the comical “ law of triune bipo-


larity ”, “ discovered ” by the fascists with the aim of completely refuting Marxist dialectic. According to this “ law ” every 140-150 years a change in social forms takes place. The historical pendulum moves between two eternally established poles, the individualist and the “ collectivist ”. After the organic stage of mediaeval feudalism, an individualist capitalist stage has appeared since the French Revolution. One hundred and forty years have passed and now there must come the kingdom of fascism, of neo-feudalism.

Thus all the efforts of the bourgeois philosophers, savants and simple dilettanti are directed towards the destruction and refutation of Marx’s dialectic. But the attacks of the bourgeois pigmies are powerless to overcome the proletarian giant.

Starting from the idea of the “ whole ” as preceding the parts, they put the idea of the nation and the state at the foundation of their systems. Economy and society in their existence and their life are subjected to the idea of the whole, i.e. the idea of the nation and the state. But since every whole has a definite structure, i.e. a hierarchy of members, and cannot exist on homogeneous elements, the state also has a definite structure formed from definite organs. From this point of view the state is an eternal organism consisting of organs, for each organ, each part in its turn represents the whole—the organism. The organs in a state are its castes. A caste, as distinct from a social class, is always orientated towards the interests of the whole and serves it, whilst a class follows “ egoistic ” aims.

The organism, says Spann, has noble and ignoble organs. There exist in society active and passive elements, leaders and directors, on the one hand, and the mass of those led, on the other. Only the former, i.e. the leaders, fully express the complete character of society, and they are therefore the noble and the best, chosen to rule over the mass. Thus nature itself demands a hierarchical social and state structure.

In opposition to Marx who sees in the state an organisation of violence, of oppression by the ruling class of the oppressed classes, Spann, Andreae and others declare that the state is the “moral completeness of life”, a living organism. The main


opposition between bourgeoisie and proletariat is overcome, Spann writes, by their mergence in a common trade guild. The workers’ trade unions and the employers’ cartels in this case become organs of the whole, representing not the interests of a class but the whole of society. The caste of employers is a caste of leaders in the economic sphere ; they are, so to say, by nature creatively endowed beings, whilst the caste of workers formed beneath them are people who see the meaning of life in “ sensual feelings ” and “ the satisfaction of immediate needs ”. So they slander the working class by whose sweat and labour all society is fed, these bourgeois, fascist ideologues and savants.

In Spann’s footsteps marches another fascist ideologue, Professor Andreae [38] of Graz, who, like Spann, throughout his work wages a toothless controversy against Marx, Lenin and Stalin (whilst defending Trotsky), “ proving ” the unsoundness of their teaching on society, the state and communism. Waging war on behalf of the new feudal-caste system, these gentlemen naturally declare through the mouth of Spann that Marx never aimed at the truth, that he was only a politician, that “ his works always subordinated science consciously or unconsciously, to political ends ”. [37] The Spann gentlemen who have, as we have already seen, falsified science in the cause of fascism, dare to speak of the non-scientific character of the Marxist system.

Ferdinand Hermans, in his book Demokratie und Kapitalismus, also hopes to destroy the class struggle and all the unpleasant aspects of capitalism, for which Marx’s “ false ” teaching is responsible, by the creation of a caste system.

Economic life [he says] will then be organised to a greater degree than it is to-day, after the fashion of the present cartels, but without their constant underground struggle for new quotas. The new organisations will partly have a similar task to that of the mediaeval guilds of struggle against economic progress, for the creation of new combinations will again revolutionise the whole of economy.

The working class will no longer suffer from the consequence of economic liability (shifting equilibrium). The individual worker will stay in the enterprise in which he works ', it is even possible that his place in the enterprise will become hereditary. [38]

These measures will cause the cessation of the class struggle.


In this way we see that the fascist “ savants ” not only dream of the cessation of all progress, but even of the creation of hereditary professions, of the complete enslavement of the workers by the organisations of capital.

But the full colossal deception, fraud and demagogy of these gentlemen becomes clear for us when we approach the main question of the class struggle, the question of private property. In the opinion of the fascists, the idea of the state, as the highest divine whole, as a moral organism, has the primacy over all other aspects of reality. Therefore the state is, or can be, formally the owner of all wealth which is in private hands, while in fact the right of use must remain in the hands of the property owners. If, moreover, we take into account that the divine idea of the state is concretely embodied in its living agents, creators, leaders and directors, who, in their quality of the “ best ” “ noble ” organs of the state are simultaneously the leaders of economy, i.e. the employers, then the whole fraud is exposed. The fascists are ready formally to declare the whole of private property “ abolished ”, whilst in fact leaving the use of the property in the hands of the property owners. Unlike Marxism which seeks to destroy private property, we, say the fascists, wish to make everyone into property owners.

What power must Marxism-Leninism, Marxist socialism, the proletarian revolutionary movement have obtained, when big bourgeois, magnates of capital, are compelled to flourish the banner of “ anti-capitalism ” in their social demagogy, in order to deceive the labouring masses. It seems to me that after what has been said it is clear that the distorted and falsified slogans of socialism are used by fascism with the aim of strengthening capitalism, with the aim of enslaving the working class to a capitalist oligarchy which would in fact be the owner of the whole of national economy, for the state, according to the fascist projects, is completely handed over to the aristocracy of capital as the chosen “ best ” and noble ” caste of the nation. The workers are reduced to the level of mediaeval serfs, hereditarily bound to definite trades and a definite enterprise.

Fascism is the naked, open form of bourgeois dictatorship,


which sharpens all the methods of suppressing and enslaving the toilers which are inherent in capitalism and inseparable from any system of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.


A. M. DEBORIN (Pages 91 to 135.)

1 Archiv. Marx and Engels, Vol. I, p. 170.

2 Marx, Capital, Vol. III.

3 Of such works we will mention the following : F. Fried, Das Endedes Kapitalismus, Jena, 1931 ; Paul Jostock, Der Ausgang des Kapitalismus ; Hermans, Demokratie und Kapitalismus, München, 1931; W. Sombart, Die Zukunft des Kapitalismus, Berlin, 1932 (in defence of planned capitalist economy) ; Nicolai von Mend, Weg zum Neo-Kapitalismus, Helsingfors, 1931.

4 An enormous literature on “ planning ” now exists in all languages and countries. In English it is enough to mention the works of Mr. G. D. H. Cole and Mrs. Barbara Wootton.

5 F. Fried, Das Ende des Kapitalismus, p. no.

6 F. Fried, Ibid., pp. 116-17.

7 Walter-Eucken, Staatliche Strukturwandlungen und die Krise des Kapitalismus, Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv., Bd. 36, H. 2, pp. 300-1.

8 Moeller van den Bruck, Das dritte Reich, 1926.

9 O. Strasser, Aufbau des deutchen Sozialismus, 1932.

10 E. Nikisch, Entscheidung, Berlin, 1930.

11 T. Hielscher, Das Reich, Berlin, 1931.

12 See Alfred Müller-Armack, Entwicklungsgesetze des Kapitalismus, Berlin, 1932.

13 Wir Suchen Deutschland. Ein freier Disput über die Zeitkrisis zwischen Gerhard Schultze-Pfaelzer und Otto Strasser, Major Buchrucker, Herbert Blank, p. 165.

14 Othmar Spann, Kategorienlehre, 1924, p. 211.

15 “ Man will nicht vorwärts, sondern zurück,” writes Unru in the article “Zur Aechtung des Fortschritts” (Die Neue Rundschau, 1972 Heft II, p. 171).

16 See Die Neue Rundschau, 1933, Heft II.

17 Wir suchen Deutschland, p. 160.

18 George Sorel, whom the fascists, particularly the Italians, consider their forefather, emerged from the Bergsonian school of philosophy.


19 Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, p. 420.

20 Ibid., p. 70.

21 Wir suchen Deutschland, pp. 126-7.

22 Richard Hammer, Regierung, Parlament, politische Partei und ihre Wechselbeziehungen, 1929, pp. 214-15.

23 Beckerath, Wesett und Werden des fascistischen Staates, 1927, p. 75.

24 Cf. Beckerath, ibid., p. 25 ; Giovanni Gentile, Che cosa il fascismo, Firenze, 1924, p. 55 et seq. ; Alexander Staliysky, Die Grundlagen der fascistischen Staatslehre, 1930, § 4 ; Winreich, Eckart. Die Nation als Lebensgemeinschaft, 1931 ; Enrico Corradini, La vita nazionale, Siena, 1923, etc.

25 Lenin, Collected works, Vol. XVIII.

26 The German fascists in this respect derive from Adam Müller, Rodbertus, Hegel and the German romantics, and of modem writers, of course, to Spengler, Spann, etc.

27 Of his works we refer the reader to L’homme qui vient, 1923 » Le Fascisme, 1927. In his journal Le Nouveau Siècle he popularises the idea of the “ producers’ state,” chiefly using Saint Simon’s ideas.

28 Hans Reupke, Untemehmer und Arbeiter in der fascistischen Wirtschaftsidee, 1931, p. 14.

29 Willy Spühler, Der Saint-Simonismus, Lehre und Leben von Saint-Amand, Bazard, 1926, p. 173.

30 Owenism in England.

31 The fascists term the employer “ alto funzionario dell’ economia ” (higher economic functionary). We actually find this expression in Bazard.

32 Engels, Anti-Dühring.

33 Winreich, Eckart, Die Nation als Lebensgemeinschaft, 1931.

34 A. Liebert, Geist und Welt der Dialektik, 1929, Bd. I, p. 387.

35 Ernst Bartel, Die Welt als Spannung und Rhytmus, p. 113.

36 W. Andreae, Staatssozialismus und Standestaat, Jena, 1931.

37 O. Spann, Der Wahre Staat, 1923, p. 175.

38 F. A. Hermans, Demokratie und Kapitalismus, p. 106.

SOURCE: Deborin, A[bram] M[oiseyevich] (Joffe). “Karl Marx and the Present,” in Marxism and Modern Thought by N. I. Bukharin, A. M. Deborin, Y. M. Uranovsky, S. I. Vavivlov, V. L. Komarov, & A. I. Tiumeniev, translated by Ralph Fox (New York, Harcourt, Brace; London: G. Routledge & Sons, Ltd., 1935), pp. 91-135, notes pp. 326-328; this section: II: The Contemporary Crisis of Capitalism and the Ideology of Fascism, pp. 98-123, notes pp. 326-327. Other parts of this essay:

I. On the Forecasts of Marx and Engels ... 91
III. Fascism and Social-Fascism ..... 123

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