Franz Mehring on Nietzsche vs. Socialism

Absent from Nietzsche's thinking was an explicit philosophical confrontation with socialism. To be sure that was a big mistake for a philosopher at the end of the 19th century, because a philosopher who doesn't know how to confront the most powerful movement of his time is anything but a philosopher. But the real problem was that this gap left open the possibility to whitewash Nietzsche's philosophy of monopoly capitalism and to aestheticize away the fact that he combatted proletarian class struggle from the same elevated circles of thought as did the next best stockbroker or the next best reptile.

SOURCE: Mehring, Franz. "Nietzsche gegen den Sozialismus" (1897) [Nietzsche against socialism], in Gesammelte Werke, ed. Thomas Höhle, Hans Koch, and Josef Schleifstein (Berlin, GDR: Dietz Verlag, 1961), 13: 167-172. This passage: p. 169. Referenced and translated in: Waite, Geoff. “The Politics of Reading Formations: The Case of Nietzsche in Imperial Germany (1870-1919),” New German Critique, no. 29, Spring - Summer, 1983, pp. 185-209. See pp. 191-192.

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