Communism and Reason

In his introduction to the book (Criticism of Political Economy) Marx states that legal relations and political forms cannot be explained through the alleged development of man's mind since their roots go deep in material conditions of social life. In materialistic life the shape of production determines the characteristics of social intellectual and political life as a whole. It is not the awakening of the man which decides and limits his existence. On the contrary it is his social being which determines his awakening.

In reply to his theory we say that facts and sound thinking have proved that material factors do not change the condition of human beings unless they become metamorphosis to psychological factors which they feel. The poor man who knows well that he is poor does not think of changing his condition either consciously or unconsciously. Again the poor man who knows very well that he is poor and pays no heed to the fact never takes the trouble to think of changing his condition.

It is surprising that Marx succeeds in misleading the nineteenth century which was the first in the history of Europe to prove the influence of psychological factors on movements of reforms, revolutions and coups.

In point of fact, the nineteenth century was full of serious grievances which no reformer or historian dared to ignore, nor could he disregard those who felt these grievances. The truth is that those reformers and historians attached great importance to them in a manner unprecedented in any of the previous centuries. At that time, many theories of reform came to light in a way previously unknown. This was not because other periods were free from such serious grievances, but because the European citizen of the nineteenth century was more conscious of his rights, and felt the privations more deeply than his predecessors.

This being so, it becomes unsound to link reform and revolutions with industrial development, as Marx wanted to do. The only connection which existed between them was that which was measured by the extent of the need for liberty and the recognition of the rights of equality. Marx and his colleagues were brought up in countries which existed between feudalism and the great industrial age. They advocated socialist systems, yet the advocates of the Russian revolution lived in lands which had not yet emerged from feudalism. These countries possessed no big industries, but in other countries like England with large and developing industries, rebellious movements were few and appeals for reform were made through constitutional means.

When Marxists realized that it was impossible to ignore the effect of human factors and ideas on history, they found themselves in greater need when mustering proof to convince others. In 1890, a student asked Engels to elucidate this issue. In reply, Engels admitted that he and Marx were partly responsible for attaching more importance to economic elements than they deserved. He also stated that, in the face of their enemies' they were obliged to put stress on the original principle of their appeal, which their adversaries had denied. They had insufficient time, he continued, to bring out other elements which were responsible for the action and reaction of various factors.

In such simple terms he had admitted that both Marx and he had ignored the psychological or human elements incited by the opponents and critics of their doctrine. Winning over their enemies by defying or challenging them was to the Marxists more worth while than caring for the human values. They had repeatedly stated that Marxism aimed at saving humanity. At this point one can ask Where was that humanity which could be jettisoned while trying to gain victories over their adversaries by deception?

on the assumption that victory did not result in neglect of duty, would these qualities befit such thinkers and reformers, who fought for a cause which they did not rely upon and whose efforts did not produce anything but enmity and hatred in the souls of the weak?

From Engels' letter it can be gathered that they continued all along to interpret events wrongly. It is clear that such a misinterpretation cannot be relied upon, in turn, in interpreting the momentous consequences resulting from it - that is, communism falls short in its representation not only of the conditions of its own time but also of the conditions which are to follow later. It is neither a true picture of social grievances nor a true representation of the means of treating them.