Pour Hegel: Marx’s lifelong debt to Hegelian dialectics


By now it should be obvious to anyone who has looked at Karl Marx’s entire corpus, both published and unpublished works, that the philosophy of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel was an abiding influence on his thought. Marx certainly had no patience for those “the ill-humored, arrogant, and mediocre epigones” who treated Hegel a “dead dog,” much in the same way that the Leibnizian philosopher Moses Mendelssohn treated Spinoza like a “dead dog.” This is amply evident both in the 1873 postface to his masterpiece, Capital, as well as in private letters written to friends and colleagues between 1866 and 1870.

In this post, I will adduce clearly that Marx still held Hegel in high regard up to and beyond the publication of his “mature” works (if one still insists, following Althusser and Colletti, upon drawing a rigid distinction between the Young Marx and Old Marx). Even further, I will show that Marx understood his own dialectical method as a critical application or “inversion” of Hegel’s. As Marx saw it, the principal difference between his own theoretical framework and that of Hegel consisted in their respective points of departure. Hegel was an idealist, after all, and started with the Idea. Marx, on the other hand, started with the real world. “With [Hegel],” Marx wrote, “[the dialectic] is standing on its head. It must be inverted, in order to discover the rational kernel within the mystical shell.”

First, however, a couple of caveats:

  1. None of this should be taken to mean that Marx was still wasting his time with philosophy as he sat down to write Capital. He and Engels had settled that score back in the 1840s, with a number of searing polemics against the Young Hegelians. Philosophy was, for all intents and purposes, finished by then. Hegel had completed it, and all that was left to do was to realize what philosophy had merely declared, ideologically, at the level of the Idea. Any attempt to travel back down that road was bound to lead to a dead end. Engels himself reaffirmed in 1886 that “with Hegel philosophy comes to an end.”
    Joseph Dietzgen probably came closest to providing a philosophical account of Marx’s theory; Marx and Engels affectionately called him “the philosopher of socialism.” Generally speaking, however, the notion of founding a Marxist “philosophy” is absurd — something Althusser failed to recognize. Which isn’t to say that it’s not useful to retrace the steps by which Marx and Engels took their leave of philosophy. Karl Korsch’s outstanding essay “Marxism and Philosophy” (1923), makes the strongest case for this exercise.
  2. My aim here is hardly to “re-mystify” Marx’s thought, or to turn him into some harmless figure whose books can be found in the philosophy section of Barnes and Noble. There’s doubtless cruel irony in the fact that Marx was overwhelmingly voted the “greatest philosopher” of all time in a 2005 BBC poll. He would doubtless have been appalled by the verdict, since he understood his vocation to be non-philosophical. Instead, my intention is to elucidate Marx’s rationalization and demystification of Hegel’s dialectic, placing it on terra firma rather than high up in the clouds.

Plenty of clues exist which verify Marx’s favorable opinion of Hegel, not just in the 1873 postface itself (though here also) but in letters Marx sent to colleagues around the same time, corroborating his annoyance with “ill-humored” anti-Hegelian boors. A proper timeline will help clear things up a great deal.

So before we take a look at his letters, let’s glance at the relevant passage from the postface again:

My dialectical method is, in its foundations, not only different from the Hegelian, but exactly opposite to it. For Hegel, the process of thinking, which he even transforms into an independent subject, under the name of “the Idea,” is the creator of the real world, and the real world is only the external appearance of the idea. With me the reverse is true: the ideal is nothing but the material world reflected in the mind of man, and translated into forms of thought.

I criticized the mystificatory side of the Hegelian dialectic nearly thirty years ago, at a time when it was still the fashion. But just when I was working at the first volume of Capital, the ill-humored, arrogant, and mediocre epigones who now talk large in educated German circles began to take pleasure in treating Hegel in the same way as the good Moses Mendelssohn treated Spinoza in Lessing’s time, namely as a “dead dog.” I therefore openly avowed myself the pupil of that mighty thinker, and even, here and there in the chapter on the theory of value, coquetted with the mode of expression peculiar to him. The mystification which the dialectic suffers in Hegel’s hands by no means prevents him from being the first to present its general forms of motion in a comprehensive and conscious manner. With him it is standing on its head. It must be inverted, in order to discover the rational kernel within the mystical shell. (Capital, pgs. 102-103)

Clearly Marx credits Hegel as being “the first to present [the dialectic’s] general forms of motion in a comprehensive and conscious manner,” despite the mystifications it suffers at his hands. This does not render Marx’s own theoretical efforts superfluous: his task is precisely to demystify it and place it back on its feet. Its “general forms of motion” are the same, as readers from Lenin to Postone have pointed out, but its trajectory is precisely the reverse (“exactly opposite”). He places Hegel’s dialectic on solid foundations. After all, Marx says outright that “[his] dialectical method” is exactly opposite to Hegel’s “in its foundations.”

But wait, you might ask: Who were these “ill-humored, arrogant, and mediocre epigones who now talk large in educated German circles,” anyway? And when was it that Marx was provoked by their unlettered anti-Hegelianism to openly avow himself the pupil of that “great thinker” (Hegel)? Marx doesn’t provide any examples of who he’s talking about in the 1873 postface, nor does he indicate when he took such umbrage at their treatment of Hegel like a dead dog. Continue reading

The architecture of slums

A few ideas and a debate

Image: UGO’s award-winning project for
a concentrated slum in Dharavi (2013)


The following are some introductory notes by Leopold Lambert of the Funambulist blog, followed by a transcript of the debate:

Last week, an interesting architectural debate occurred on Ethel Baraona Pohls facebook about an award-winning project that proposed a hypothetical architectural project to relocate the population of the largest slum in Asia, Dharavi in Mumbai. The online comments, including the one on facebook, are not known to be the most appropriate place for deep discussions; however, this time, an interesting debate occurred between a dozen of people (some of them like Ethel, Fosco Lucarelli, Cesar Reyes, and Nick Axel are well-known from this blog’s readers), who could be said to all agree about the symptoms that can be detected in this project yet, who do not necessarily agree on what should be an architectural role in the defense of the victims of globalized capitalism. Since then, Ethel and Cesar wrote a synthesis on dpr-barcelona‘s blog, and I decided to add to it a few thoughts in addition than the entire transcript of the debate, in order to give it a form of archival (see at the end of this note).

This debate comes at a moment where I wonder what is this recent tendency from architects to draw things that they did not design. I explored similar considerations in a year old article entitled provocatively Why Do Architects Dream of a World Without Them?and I would like to continue such reflection here. Whether we talk of Gezi Park’s temporary structures built by the occupiers, the various standard elements of Chinese cities, or the now well-known Torre David (see past article) in Caracas, there seems to be a common need for architects to appropriate, in their own language, the eminent characteristics of these “architectures without architects.” Is it a strange unconscious means from them to retroactively claim an architecture that they did not design? Or rather, is it a way for them to understand the logic of construction/function of these spaces by interpreting them through a language that they are familiar with? This second hypothesis has the merit of a form of humility, recognizing that the role of the architect in his or her transcendental version, is not necessarily something that these structures lack. Continue reading

Karl Korsch's Marxismus und Philosophie

August Thalheimer, “Book Review: Karl Korsch, Marxismus und Philosophie

Leipzig: C. L. Hirschfeld, 1923

Image: Cover to the first edition of Korsch’s
Marxismus und Philosophie (1923)


Platypus Review 48 | July–August 2012

The first English translation of August Thalheimer’s 1924 review of Karl Korsch’s seminal work, Marxism and Philosophy, appears below. The review originally appeared in the Soviet journal Under the Banner of Marxism(Pod Znamenem Marksizma, 4-5 [1924]: 367–373). For an earlier discussion of Korsch’s book, see Chris Cutrone’s review of the 2008 reprint of Marxism and Philosophy released by Monthly Review Press, in Platypus Review 15 (September 2009), and the original translation of Karl Katusky’s review of Korsch that was published in Platypus Review 43 (February 2012).

Reposted from The Platypus Review.

The task that Karl Korsch sets himself in the article comprising the first part of his “Historical-logical Studies on the Question of the Materialist Dialectic,” boils down to the elucidation of the problem of the interrelation of Marxism and philosophy.[1] The article begins by pointing out that the importance of this question has not been recognized until the present day, and that this ignorance characterizes the bourgeois school of philosophy as well as circles of Marxist academics. “For professors of philosophy, Marxism was at best a rather minor sub-section within the history of nineteenth-century philosophy, dismissed as ‘The Decay of Hegelianism’” (52).

As for the Marxist theoreticians, including also the orthodox ones, they too failed to grasp the importance of the “philosophical side” of their own theory. True, they proceeded from different considerations than the professors of bourgeois philosophy, and even assumed that in this they followed exactly the footsteps of Marx and Engels, because ultimately the latter two would sooner “abolish” than create philosophy. But this attitude of the Marxist theoreticians — the leaders of the Second International — to the problem of philosophy can be considered satisfactory from the viewpoint of Marxism precisely insofar as Feuerbach’s attitude to Hegel’s philosophy satisfied Marx and Engels. Shoving philosophy unceremoniously aside, the cultivation of a negative attitude toward its problems did not occur without impunity and resulted in such curiosities as the confession of faith by some Marxists in Schopenhauer’s philosophy. Continue reading

Joseph Beuys teaching

“Beuys’ Concept of Social Sculpture and Relational Art Practices Today,” by Laurie Rojas

“Best of Chicago Art Magazine” re-post. Originally appeared in Chicago Art Criticism on 2/28/10, and then subsequently on Laurie Rojas’ excellent blog.

German artist Joseph Beuys’s work appears unfathomable: his entire oeuvre engaged drawing, sculpture, performance, pedagogy, and political activism. Art critics and art historians have admitted the difficulty of placing this enigmatic artist within the modern or postmodern lineages of significant postwar artists. In the foreword to Joseph Beuys: The Reader, Arthur Danto argues that Beuys (1921–86), like Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol, is one of the artists who one must turn to in order to understand contemporary art. Danto believes, however, that unlike Duchamp and Warhol, who are frequently discussed and shown, Beuys has faded from contemporary awareness. This is both true and not true.

Beuys is famously remembered for two things: the theoretical hypothesis of “social sculpture,” and the statement “everybody is an artist.” A close consideration of the relationship between these two concepts reveals Beuys’s program for art and his historically motivated vision for society. Both concepts have influenced participatory, socially engaged, and relational art today and provide a vehicle for unraveling their historical significance, even if they claim to detach themselves from Beuys’s historical moment. Perhaps of even more significance, then, is what aspects of Beuys work seem to have — somewhat suspiciously — faded.

Danto suggests that perhaps the fading interest in Beuys lies in the fact that both the subject of Beuys’s art and his own personal myth are bound up in World War II and the period of German reconstruction. It is possible that the fading of Beuys is due to the inability to digest and resolve the problems his work raised in the aftermath of World War II. Our historical moment, almost five decades later, inherits that history and those desires, even if a certain metaphysical strain of postmodernist thinkers have incessantly argued that such a moment has irretrievably passed. The analysis of the influence of Beuys on contemporary artists, specifically those engaged in relational aesthetics, in this essay is to argue and demonstrate that the moment has not passed, but changed. The difference in our historical moment is that we are less conscious of — and less interested in — the social conditions that produced and re-produces the political disillusionment and aesthetic desires and needs that emerged after WWII. Continue reading

Marx & Engels, cubed (1971, 2011)

Marx & Engels2

Cubist statues of Marx and Engels in Budapest, Hungary.

György Segesdi |
// Marx — Engels (1971) |
// Boedapest | Budapest | Будапешт. Granit from Mauthausen, 1971.
// Original location: V. Jászai Maritér.

Liberalism as The Realm of Lesser Evil: Jean-Claude Michéa

Besides his knack for exposing such errors in reflective judgment, Michéa displays impressive perspicacity in noticing the relationship of liberalism to the Marxist political project.  Deferring to the expertise of two towering figures in the history of political Marxism, he reminds his readers in a footnote that “Lenin did not hesitate to locate Marx in an intellectual continuity with Smith and Ricardo,” and that his onetime-ally Kautsky had before him “already made Marx the direct heir of ‘English economic science,’ i.e. of original liberalism.”[174]  As Michéa therefore argues,

beneath its radical appearance, [the] “materialist” [Marxist] fashion of viewing things represents no more than a rigorous systemization of the essential postulates of the modern imaginary (already partly effected, moreover, by Adam Smith).  And it was certainly not by chance that the different discourses that today celebrate capitalist globalization, held to be inevitable and eliminating all conceivable barriers to the sway of a unified world market, all rest on the idea that the future of humanity can only be read on the basis of the compulsions of economic growth, itself dependent on the ceaseless advance of “new technologies.”[175]

If Michéa is better than Losurdo at unpacking the historical interconnections between Marxism and liberalism, however, it is only because his politics are far worse.  It is not hard to infer from the tone of the passage just cited that Michéa is profoundly ambivalent to the path charted by liberal modernity.  Insofar as most of the socialist currents inspired by Marx have sought to overcome capitalist society on the basis of capitalism itself, he sees them as merely an extension of the outworn liberal logic of “progress.”[176]  To his credit, Michéa regards the initial impulse that lay behind this modern belief — i.e., that social conditions could be continuously improved over time — as expressing a legitimate “desire to escape at all costs…the hell of ideological civil war.”[177]  Nevertheless, to his mind, the obstinate adherence to this vision of limitless growth in the present is untenable (or “unsustainable,” to use the term currently in vogue).  Michéa therefore chastises Marx and Engels for failing to recognize “the ecological limits that any project of unlimited economic growth would inexorably come up against.”[178]

At this point, Michéa unfortunately lapses into a rather shallow form of moralism.  In this respect, he is not all that far removed from another Orwellian critic of “lesser evilist” politics: the late Christopher Hitchens.[179]  Whereas Hitchens culturally “broke left” in the aftermath of 9/11 — promoting atheism, secularism, and rationality — Michéa has turned to the right.  He heaps scorn upon anything and everything that he takes to be emblematic of the depravity and licentiousness of modern life, denouncing them as “contrary to good sense and common decency.”[180]  Sexual impropriety, obesity, veganism/vegetarianism, and recreational drug use are only a few of the many examples of “indecency” attracting the French philosopher’s ire.[181]  Lamenting the rapid disintegration of traditional “values” and “moral scruples” to capitalism’s unremitting forward march, Michéa announces that he intends “to undemonize the concepts of ‘tradition,’ ‘customs,’ [and] ‘roots.’”[182]  As anarchists go, he is fairly blasé about the personal autonomy and individual rights usually associated with the rise of the modern bourgeois social subject.  Michéa openly objects to “the capitalist lifestyle and its narcissistic individualism,”[183] which erode “preexisting moral and cultural possibilities.”[184]  In one of his most reactionary moments, he even expresses his regret at the breakup of the traditional family structure, and its replacement by the individual as the basic economic unit of society.  He complains of the reduction of conventional bonds of consanguinity to relationships of mere contract,[185] disdaining the way “[t]he bourgeoisie has torn the pathetic veil of sentiment from family relations and reduced them to purely monetary ones,” as Marx and Engels put it.[186]

Here Michéa drinks from the same trough of pro-family, anti-individualist tripe that reactionaries have been peddling for over two centuries now.  The counterrevolutionary Catholic author Louis de Bonald, reviewing Germaine de Staël’s Considerations on the Principal Events of the French Revolution, thus found her criticisms of republicanism wanting in this respect, feeling they did not cut deep enough.  While de Staël was fiercely opposed to Jacobinism and its terroristic excesses, she certainly did not pine for a return to the ancien régime, the prerevolutionary past so beloved by de Bonald.  She denounced “compulsory service, such as that of the corvée,and other relicts of feudal barbarism,” as she called them.  De Bonald also took the liberal De Staël to task for railing against “the threefold fetters of an intolerant church, a feudal nobility, and an unlimited monarchy.”[187]  In a xenophobic fit, he alleged that she made too many concessions to England and “her happy and liberal fatherland,” Genoa.[188]  As de Bonald saw it, liberal individualism had slowly (but undeniably) undermined the traditional authority of the family.  “Republics, particularly the English one, only count individuals,” the French royalist wrote in 1818.  “The French monarchy saw only families.  The result is that there is more movement and agitation in republics, and more stability and repose in our monarchy.”[189]

The mid-19th century critic and völkisch theorist Wilhelm Heinrich Riehl expressed a similar feeling of disquiet when it came to the liberal argument favoring the primacy of the individual over the primacy of the family.  In his 1855 work on The Natural History of the German People, Riehl contended that constitutional liberalism gravely endangered the fundamental integrity of the family unit.  Whereas Hegel taught that the modern state represented the apotheosis of freedom and rationality, over and above the spheres of the family and civil society,[190] Riehl reversed this order: the family, and not the private realm of civil society or the public realm of the state, was the only site where the antinomies of modern existence could be resolved.  (The contrast between Riehl’s reversal and Marx’s reversal of the Hegelian schema in the Philosophy of Right is illuminating: Marx saw the only way to overcome the irrationality of capitalism as the creation of a classless society, in which institutions such as the family and the state could then be abolished).[191]  “Taken to its extreme, a constitutional state would have to lead to a loosening of marriage laws in theory and to the gradual disavowal of the home in practice,” Riehl warned.  “The state, as a mere legal agency, recognizes only individual persons — citizens.  It disregards the natural, historical factor of a collective folk personality, which manifests itself to us in those two mighty organisms, society and the family, that have been ennobled by the moral force of historic traditions.”[192]

Michéa stands on essentially the same ground as Riehl and de Bonald, however, when he looks to derive the practices of “sharing” and “reciprocity” from traditional structures, hoping to thereby offset the selfishness and “egoism” of liberal bourgeois society.  “It is [only by] moving upwards from the specific forms of local (or ‘territorialized’) life, and the one-on-one dealings that come with it (what Alain Caillé calls ‘primary sociality,’ of which family life is a major part) that the elementary structures of reciprocity [might] be put into place.”[193]  Indeed, against this Stirnerian egoism, Michéa is forced to invoke the intellectually flaccid Orwellian notion of “the common decency of ‘ordinary people.’”[194]  The utility of this notion, he claims, consists in its remaining a “deliberately vague and imprecise concept.”  Michéa hints from time to time, however, that this common decency “results from a continual work of humanity on itself in order to radicalize, internalize, and universalize these underlying human virtues expressed in the aptitudes to give, receive, and assist.”[195]  He later enlarges on this idea of “human virtues,” defining them as “psychological and cultural dispositions to generosity and fidelity.”[196]  Now and then Michéa tries to provide his refurbished, latter-day aretaic vision with an anthropological foundation, rooted in Marcel Mauss’ classic exposition of primitive gift economies.[197]  The traditional societies Mauss observed in his 1925 piece, he argued, were governed by the reciprocal logic of “give and take” rather than the selfish logic (or “icy waters”) of “egoistic calculation.”[198]  Given his anarchist sensibilities and the emphasis he places on the anthropological study of the gift, it might superficially appear that Michéa is close to another high-profile anarchist author and anthropologist, David Graeber.  Over the course of the last decade or so, Graeber has explored pre-monetary gift-giving practices in his anthropological work.[199]  This scholarly focus is loosely related to his involvement in the anti-/alter-globalization movement, rooted as it was in principles of direct action and the creation of prefigurative political models.  Conversely, Michéa was unimpressed by anti-/alter-globalization politics, and did nothing to support it.[200]  Moreover, unlike Graeber, Michéa withholds his endorsement of the direct action championed by these politics,[201] preferring “Chinese cultural traditions that privilege indirect action on the conditions of a political process rather than the methodical forcing of the process itself.”[202]

In the last instance, Michéa’s argument that liberal civilization was founded upon a pessimistic view of human nature, which subsequently gave way to arrogant optimism, is unconvincing.  The narrative arc he describes between liberalism’s initial self-consolation as “the realm of lesser evil” and its final self-congratulation as “the best of worlds” does not hold up under cross-examination.[203]  Riffing on Gramsci’s famous dictum, Michéa categorically maintains that “[o]riginal liberalism was…marked by a pessimism of the intellect”[204] — “a radical distrust of the moral capacities of human beings.”[205]  With such philosophers as Machiavelli, Hobbes, Mandeville, Voltaire, Hume, and Helvétius, this statement may indeed be true.  The same cannot be said for authors like Cumberland, Locke, Hutcheson, Rousseau, or Condorcet, however.  Classical liberal discourse allowed for a diversity of viewpoints regarding human nature.  As it happens, the concept Michéa relies upon to ward off the pessimism he ascribes to liberal thought, “common decency,” is likewise an inheritance of Enlightenment liberalism.  In fact, the entire Scottish school of common sense philosophy — typified by Reid, Ferguson, Stewart, and Hamilton — followed their predecessors Shaftesbury and Hutcheson in their liberal optimism.  Reid, the progenitor of this school, even speculated that shortly after infancy an individual’s “reasoning and moral faculties…unfold themselves by degrees; so that it is inspired with the various principles of common sense.”[206]  The concept of a “common decency” basic to all mankind had already been a part of everyday parlance for several decades by then, antedating its philosophical formalization by Reid.  The periodical Common Sense: The Englishman’s Journal (1738) invoked the notion on a number of occasions.  Its French equivalent, civilité ordinaire, appeared often in the writings of the great liberal skeptic Pierre Bayle, including his groundbreaking 1695 Historical and Critical Journal.[207]

Continue to Living in the End Times and the salvation of liberalism: Slavoj Žižek

Conclusion: The Truth of Liberalism

The world revolution of 1848 marked a turning point in the history of the Left.  By and large, the old political categories were thrown into crisis.  A number of the terms that had up to that point held common currency now proved to be utterly inadequate to the task of describing the social reality that emerged.  Just as 1789 had introduced a new vocabulary to European political discourse, so did 1848 refine and build upon this prior language of revolution.  Herein lies the root of Losurdo’s error: his misrecognition of the liberalism of the past as the liberalism of the present.  By reifying liberalism in its present, thoroughly reactionary form — particularly as the Austrian neoliberalism of Hayek and Mises[272] — Losurdo denies that it ever had a truly revolutionary role to play.  He equivocates on the issue of liberalism’s merits, offering only backhanded praise — expressing his admiration for its ability to “learn from its opponent” (i.e. radicalism)[273] and a vague appreciation for its doctrine of the limitation of state power.[274]  Certainly, there is no reason to prefer one historical definition of “liberalism” to another.  Yesterday’s liberalism should be afforded no special dignity over its present-day counterpart.  But since it is historical relationships that are at issue here, and not some transhistorical doctrine of politics that obtains past, present, and future, it is incumbent upon the historian to trace out its subtle mutations and shifts of meaning over time.  To try and extract some sort of immutable “essence” out of the multivalent historical significance of liberalism is a fruitless venture.  This means that one must pursue exactly the opposite method from the one implied by Losurdo’s insistent rhetorical repetition of the metaphysical question, “What is liberalism?”

Unfortunately, Losurdo is hardly alone in committing this fallacy.  Numerous leftish scholars and academics — such as C.B. Macpherson, Uday Singh Mehta, and Theodore Koditschek, to name a few — have offered similarly one-sided appraisals of liberalism’s legacy.  Their insensitivity to the variety of meanings “liberalism” historically possessed may be excused by the limited scope of their inquiries, however.  None, except for maybe Macpherson, has attempted to paint liberalism with such broad strokes as Losurdo.  Even then, Macpherson was mostly just interested in disavowing an earlier form of liberalism, so-called “possessive individualism,” the political theory of which had been expounded by primarily English philosophers from Hobbes to Locke.[275]  While he acknowledges that thinkers like Locke, Bentham, and James Mill understood the relation of capital to wage-labor better than their successors J.S. Mill and T.H. Green,[276] Macpherson clearly favors the latter two as providing a stronger ethical foundation for modern liberal-democracy.[277]  As for Mehta, his focus is clearly on a very specific phase of liberalism, a phase in which liberal politics became closely entwined with colonialism — namely, liberalism in power.  Though he does not delineate an explicit timeline of the phenomena he is investigating, the vast majority of Mehta’s source material dates from the second half of the nineteenth century.  Once again, this tends to confirm the periodization set forth in the present essay.  Most of the events Mehta deals with fall under the period of reactionary liberalism, from 1848 to 1873 or 1884, the period immediately following the moment liberalism first came into in crisis.[278]  Mehta suggests about as much by the subtitle of his book.[279]  Likewise, Koditschek’s study of Liberalism, Imperialism, and the Historical Imagination takes up “nineteenth-century visions of a greater Britain,” taking Mehta’s earlier research into the topic as its point of departure.[280]  Accordingly, he does not claim to have unearthed some hidden matrix of domination buried deep within the essence of liberalism.  Only Losurdo is sufficiently ambitious to attempt such a feat.

Oddly enough, it is Immanuel Wallerstein, who has been known to sometimes smooth over the subtler gradations separating one epoch from another, who proves himself the most perceptive here.  In his 1995 reflection on politics After Liberalism, he explains the complex web of concepts and meanings as they existed from the great French Revolution of 1789 up to the June insurrection of 1848.  Many of the distinctions that today are taken for granted, Wallerstein points out, emerged only subsequently.  He writes:

Liberalism was the ideological response to conservatism.  The very term liberal (in noun form)… emerged only in the first decade of the nineteenth century.  Generally speaking, in the period of 1848, there was a blurred field of persons who overtly (or covertly, in the case of the English) supported the ideals of the French Revolution.  The field included persons with such diverse labels as republicans, radicals, Jacobins, social reformers, socialists, and liberals.

In the world revolution of 1848, there were really only two camps, the Party of Order and the Party of Movement, representing, respectively, conservative and liberal ideology, or, if one wishes to use another terminology with origins in the French Revolution, the Right and the Left.  It was only after 1848 that socialism emerged as a truly distinctive ideology different from, and opposed to, liberalism.[281]

As Wallerstein makes clear, the paths of socialism and liberalism at this point — in 1848, that is — diverged.  What had been a more or less undifferentiated camp of opposition to the status quo was now rent asunder by the force of its own internal contradictions.  The familiar “trimodal” political constellation of conservatism — liberalism — socialism, as Wallerstein refers to it, crystallized in this moment.[282]  Against Losurdo’s contention that liberalism and radicalism arose out of completely separate and distinguishable streams of thought, the interpretation offered in this essay argues that these two political traditions share a common origin.  They only became identifiably distinct after the traditional order of the ancien régime seemed to have finally been vanquished.  Bourgeois liberal thought, which had up to that time opposed the system of legal privileges that existed in the old state apparatus — the Ständestaat, or “polity of estates”[283] — was forced to face up to its own internal antagonisms, now that the despotism of the clergy, the nobility, and absolute monarchy had been swept away.  Only then did liberalism turn reactionary, suppressing the further development of the freedoms it had helped bring into being.  This was Marx’s perspective as he expressed it in a letter written to Engels in 1854, just as he was reading the French liberal Augustin Thierry’s History of the Formation and Progress of the Third Estate.  Marx wrote to his friend:

A book that has interested me greatly is Thierry’s Histoire de la formation et du progrès du Tiers État.  It is strange how this gentleman, le père of the “class struggle” in French historiography, inveighs in his Preface against the “moderns” who, while also perceiving the antagonism between bourgeoisie and proletariat, purport to discover traces of such opposition as far back as the history of the tiers-état prior to 1789.  He is at great pains to show that the tiers-état comprises all social ranks and estates save the noblesse [the nobility or Second Estate] and clergé [the clergy or First Estate] and that the bourgeoisie plays the role of representative of all these other elements.  Quotes, for example, from Venetian embassy reports:

“These that call themselves the Estates of the realm are of three orders of persons, that of the clergy, of the nobility, and of the rest of those persons who, in common parlance, may be called the people.”  [Vol. 1, pg. 3].  Had M. Thierry read our stuff, he would know that the decisive opposition between bourgeoisie and peuple does not, of course, crystallize until the former ceases, as tiers-état, to oppose the clergé and the noblesse.  But as for the “racines dans l’histoired’un antagonisme né d’hier”[roots in history…of an antagonism born yesterday], his book provides the best proof that the origin of the “racines coincided with the origin of the tiers-état.[284]

What is perhaps most remarkable about Marx’s comments on Thierry’s text is the almost bemused sense of appreciation they seem to express toward the French liberal’s insights.  At the same time, they show none of the biting wit or withering condemnation that Marx typically unleashed upon authors whose works he criticized.  Instead, his attitude toward Thierry might even be characterized as forgiving, or at the very least understanding of the epistemic limitations of the historical epoch in which he was writing.  The tone of Marx’s criticisms here display his recognition of the fact that, in the words of Postone, “forms of consciousness and the very mode of their constitution vary historically and socially.”  As a result, Marx realized that “[e]ach social formation…requires its own epistemology.”[285]  To put it another way, Marx did not see his own work as a refutation of the arguments or ideas with which Thierry was grappling.  Rather, he understood his work to constitute a clarification of these same arguments and ideas. Spencer Leonard, in a recent paper he delivered on this topic, pointed out that “even before 1848, Marx and Engels saw that the fraught (and seemingly intractable) question of liberalism’s relationship to socialism had become ‘the true object of philosophy.’”[286]  In stressing this point, Leonard explained, he only meant “to emphasize what, in the long death-agony of Marxism, most Marxists fail to appreciate: namely, Marxism’s immanence to liberalism.”[287]

Socialism, or what may be called the truth of liberalism, thus did not simply represent the attempt to abolish bourgeois society.  To no less of an extent did socialism represent the attempt to realize bourgeois society’s nearly fathomless potential.  Marxism, as the most sophisticated and consistent expression of this attempt, may therefore be said to be classical liberalism’s truest heir.  By contrast, the various successor ideologies whose thought most superficially resembles the ideals of the old liberalism — Keynesian/Fordist liberalism and Austrian neoliberalism — should be regarded as the falsification of the old liberalism, no more than two different species of its untruth.  Returning to the question of what ever became of liberalism’s project of emancipation after 1848, or where its historic commitment to the advancement of libertarian and egalitarian principles went, the answer thus presents itself.  Forsaken by those who had called themselves liberals, liberalism’s emancipatory project fell to socialism, which thereby also inherited its commitment to advance the cause of liberty and equality throughout the world.  Not only this, however.  Marxian socialism aimed, moreover, to achieve these principles at a higher level than the founders of classical liberalism could have ever imagined.  This might seem to contradict the empirical fact that liberal freedoms, both positive and negative (ancient and modern), have been extended further today than at any prior point in history.  But this does nothing to change the fact that humanity remains unequal and unfree.  Even that which commonly passes for liberty or equality in the present proves woefully impoverished, a mere shadow of what these words once meant.  And insofar as Marxists today look with scorn upon the tradition of classical liberalism, they too pass into untruth.  Or, as Engels once put it in a rousing speech, recalling the great bourgeois revolutionaries of ages past: “If that mighty epoch, these iron characters, [do] not still tower over our mercenary world, then humanity must indeed despair.”[288]

Continue to Notes to “The Truth of Liberalism”

Friedrich Engels’ “The Civil War in Switzerland” (1847)

Engraving of William Tell

While I appreciate Said more than most of the subsequent post-colonial theorists, this article alone should dispel the myth of Marx’s and Engels’ alleged Eurocentrism or chauvinism, as supposedly evidenced in their writings on the traditional societies of India and Algiers. Here Engels writes with more scorn and contempt about traditional society in Switzerland, in the heart of Europe, than anything either of them wrote about non-European societies.

At last the ceaseless bombast about the “cradle of freedom,” about the “grandsons of William Tell and Winkelried,” about the heroic victors of Sempach and Murten is being brought to an end.  At last it has been revealed that the cradle of freedom is nothing but the centre of barbarism and the nursery of Jesuits, that the grandsons of Tell and Winkelried can only be brought to reason by cannon-balls, and that the heroism at Sempach and Murten was nothing but the desperation of brutal and bigoted mountain tribes, obstinately resisting civilization and progress.

It is really very fortunate that European democracy is finally getting rid of this Ur-Swiss, puritan, and reactionary ballast.  As long as the democrats concentrated on the virtue, the happiness, and the patriarchal simplicity of these Alpine shepherds, they themselves still appeared in a reactionary light.  Now that they are supporting the struggle of civilized, industrial, modern-democratic Switzerland against the crude, Christian-Germanic democracy of the primitive, cattle-breeding cantons, they represent progress everywhere, now the last reactionary glimmer disappears, now they show that they are learning to understand the meaning of democracy in the 19th century.

There are two regions in Europe where old Christian-Germanic barbarism has retained its most primitive form, almost down to acorn-eating — Norway and the High Alps, especially Ur-Switzerland.  Both Norway and Ur-Switzerland still provide us with genuine examples of that breed of men who once beat the Romans to death in good Westphalian style with clubs and flails in the Teutoburg Forest.  Both Norway and Ur-Switzerland are democratically organized. But there are many varieties of democracy and it is very necessary that the democrats of the civilized countries should at last decline responsibility for the Norwegian and Ur-Swiss forms of democracy.

The democratic movement in all civilized countries is, in the last analysis, striving for the political domination of the proletariat. It therefore presupposes that a proletariat exists, that a ruling bourgeoisie exists, that an industry exists which gives birth to the proletariat and which has brought the bourgeoisie to power.

There is nothing of all this either in Norway or in Ur-Switzerland. In Norway, we have the very famous peasant regiment (bonde-regimente); in Ur-Switzerland a number of rough shepherds who, despite their democratic constitution, are ruled by a few big landowners, Abyberg, etc., in patriarchal fashion. A bourgeoisie only exists in exceptional cases in Norway, and not at all inUr-Switzerland. The proletariat is practically non-existent.

The democracy prevailing in civilized countries, modern democracy, has thus nothing whatever in common with Norwegian or Ur-Swiss democracy. It does not wish to bring about the Norwegian and Ur-Swiss state of affairs but something absolutely different. Let us nevertheless look a little closer at this primitive-Germanic democracy and deal first with Ur-Switzerland, which is what above all concerns us here.

Is there a German philistine who does not rave about William Tell, the liberator of his Fatherland; a schoolmaster who does not celebrate Morgarten, Sempach, and Murten along with Marathon, Plataea, and Salamis; a hysterical old maid who does not go into raptures over the strong leg calves and sturdy thighs of the chaste Alpine youths? The glory of Ur-Swiss valor, freedom, skill, and strength has been endlessly praised in verse and prose from Aegidius Tschudi to Johannes von Müller, from Florian to Schiller.  The carbines and cannons of the twelve cantons now provide a commentary on these enthusiastic panegyrics.

The Ur-Swiss have drawn attention to themselves twice during the course of history. The first time, when they freed themselves gloriously from Austrian tyranny; the second at the present time, when they march off to fight in God’s name for the Jesuits and the Fatherland.

On closer examination, the glorious liberation from the talons of the Austrian eagle does not look at all good. The House of Austria was progressive just once in the whole of its career; this was at the beginning of its existence when it allied itself with the urban petty bourgeoisie against the nobility, and sought to found a German monarchy.  It was progressive in the most philistine of ways but it was progressive nonetheless.  And who opposed it most resolutely? The Ur-Swiss.  The struggle of the Ur-Swiss against Austria, the glorious oath on the Grütli, Tell’s heroic shot, the eternally memorable victory at Morgarten, all this was the struggle of stubborn shepherds against the onward march of historical development, the struggle of obstinate, rooted local interests against the interests of the whole nation, the struggle of crude ignorance against enlightenment, of barbarism against civilization.  They won their victory over the civilization of the time, and as a punishment they were excluded from all further civilization.

As if this were not enough, these simple, stiff-necked shepherds were soon punished in a quite different way.   They escaped the domination of the Austrian nobility only to come under the yoke of the petty bourgeois of Zurich, Lucerne, Berne, and Basel.  These had already noted that the Ur-Swiss were just as strong and as stupid as their oxen.  They agreed to join the Swiss Confederation and stayed peacefully at home behind their counters while the thick-headed Alpine shepherds fought out all their battles with the nobility and the princes for them.  This is what happened at Sempach, Granson, Murten, and Nancy.  In return, these people were allowed to arrange their internal affairs as they wished and so they remained in blissful ignorance of how they were being exploited by their dear fellow-Confederationists.

Since then nothing much has been heard of them.  They busied themselves in all piety and propriety with milking the cows, with cheese-making, chastity and yodeling.  From time to time they had folk assemblies at which they divided into horn-men, claw-men, and other animal-like groups, and these gatherings never ended without a hearty, Christian-Germanic fight.  They were poor but pure in heart, stupid but pious and well-pleasing to the Lord, brutal but broad-shouldered and had little brain but plenty of brawn. From time to time there were too many of them and then the young men went off on their “travels,” i.e., enlisted in foreign armies where they displayed the most steadfast loyalty to the flag no matter what happened.  One can only say of the Swiss that they let themselves be killed most conscientiously for their pay.

The greatest boast of these burly Ur-Swiss was that from time immemorial they had never deviated by a hair’s breadth from the customs of their forefathers, that they had retained the simple, chaste, upright, and virtuous customs of their fathers unsullied throughout the centuries. And this is true. Every attempt at civilization was defeated by the granite walls of their mountains and of their heads.  From the days when Winkelried’s first ancestor led his cow, with the inevitable little pastoral bell round its neck, on to the virgin pastures of the Vierwaldstätter Lake, up to the present day, when the latest descendant of Winkelried has his gun blessed by the priest, all houses have been built in the same way, all cows milked in the same way, all pigtails plaited in the same way, all cheeses prepared according to the same recipe, all children made in the same way.  Here, in the mountains, is Paradise, here the Fall of Man has not yet come to pass.  And should some innocent Alpine lad happen to find his way to the great outside world and allow himself to be tempted for a moment by the seductions of the big cities, by the artificial charms of a decadent civilization, by the vices of sinful countries, which have no mountains and where corn thrives — his innocence is so deep-rooted that he can never quite succumb.  A sound strikes his ear, just two of those notes of the Alpine cowherd’s call that sound like a dog’s howling, and he falls on his knees, weeping and overwhelmed with remorse, and at once tears himself from the arms of seduction and will not rest until he lies at the feet of his old father! “Father, I have sinned against my ancient mountains and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.”

In recent times two invasions against these artless customs and primitive power have been attempted.  The first was by the French in 1798. But these French, who spread a little civilization everywhere else, failed with these Ur-Swiss.  No trace of their presence has remained, they were unable to eliminate one single jot of the old customs and virtues.  The second invasion took place about twenty years later and did at least bear a little fruit. This was the invasion of English travellers, of London lords and squires and the hordes of chandlers, soap-manufacturers, grocers and bone merchants who followed them.  This invasion at least ended the old hospitality and transformed the honest inhabitants of the Alpine huts, who previously hardly knew what money was, into the most mean and rascally swindlers anywhere to be found.  But this advance made no impact at all on the old simple customs.  This not so very virtuous chicanery fitted in perfectly with the patriarchal virtues of chastity, skill, probity, and loyalty.  Even their piety suffered no injury; the priests were delighted to give them absolution for all the deceptions practiced on British heretics.

But it now looks as if all this moral purity is about to be thoroughly stirred up.  It is to be hoped that the punitive detachments will do their best to finish off all the probity, primitive power, and simplicity. Then moan, you philistines! For there will be no more poor but contented shepherds whose carefree peace of mind you might wish for yourselves on Sundays after you have made your cut out of selling coffee made of chicory and tea made of sloe leaves during the other six days of the week.  Then weep, you schoolmasters, for there will be an end to your hopes for a new Sempach-Marathon and other classical feats.  Then mourn, you hysterical virgins over thirty, for those six-inch leg calves, the thought of which solaced your solitary dreams, will soon be gone — gone the Antinous-like beauty of the powerful “Swiss peasant lads,” gone the firm thighs and tight trousers which attract you so irresistibly to the Alps.  Then sigh, tender and anaemic boarding-school misses, who when reading Schiller’s works delighted in the chaste but oh so powerful love of the agile chamois hunters, for all your fond illusions are lost and now there is nothing left for you but to read the works of Henrik Steffens and fall for the frigid Norwegians.

But no more of that.  The Ur-Swiss must be fought with weapons quite different from mere ridicule.  Democracy has to settle accounts with them about matters quite different from their patriarchal virtues.

Who defended the Bastille on July 14, 1789 against the people who were storming it? Who shot down the workers of the Faubourg St. Antoine with grape-shot and rifle bullets from behind safe walls? — Ur-Swiss from the Sonderbund, grandsons of Tell, Stauffacher and Winkelried.

Who defended the traitor Louis XVI on August 10, 1792 from the just wrath of the people, in the Louvre and the Tuileries? — Ur-Swiss from the Sonderbund.

Who suppressed the Neapolitan revolution of 1798 with the help of Nelson? — Ur-Swiss from the Sonderbund.

Who re-established the absolute monarchy in Naples — with the help of Austrians — in 1823? — Ur-Swiss from the Sonderbund.

Who fought to the last on July 29, 1830, again for a treacherous king 10 and again shot Paris workers down from the windows and colonnades of the Louvre? — Ur-Swiss from the Sonderbund.

Who suppressed the insurrections in Romagna in 1830 and 1831, again along with the Austrians, with a brutality which achieved world notoriety? — Ur-Swiss from the Sonderbund.

In short, who holds the Italians down, to this day, forcing them to bow to the oppressive domination of their aristocrats, princes and priests; who was Austria’s right hand in Italy, who enables the bloodhound Ferdinand of Naples to keep a tight rein on his anguish-stricken people to this very moment, who has been acting as his executioners to this day carrying out the mass shootings he orders? Always, again and again, Ur-Swiss from the Sonderbund, again and again, the grandsons of Tell, Stauffacher and Winkelried!

In one word, wherever and whenever a revolutionary movement broke out in France either directly or indirectly advantageous to democracy, it was always Ur-Swiss mercenaries who fought it to the last, with the utmost resolution.  And especially in Italy these Swiss mercenaries were always the most devoted servants and handy men of Austria.  A just punishment for the glorious liberation of Switzerland from the talons of the two-headed eagle!

One should not think that these mercenaries were the refuse of their country, or that they were disavowed by their fellow- countrymen.  Have not the people of Lucerne had a statue hewn out of the rock at their city gates by the pious Icelander Thorvaldsen, depicting a huge lion, bleeding from an arrow wound, covering the Bourbon fleur-de-lis with his paw, faithful unto death, in memory of the Swiss who died at the Louvre on August 10, 1792?  This is the way Sonderbund honors the venal loyalty of its sons.  It lives by the trade in human beings and glorifies it.

Can the English, French, and German democrats have had anything in common with this kind of democracy?

Through its industry, its commerce and its political institutions, the bourgeoisie is already working everywhere to drag the small, self-contained localities which only live for themselves out of their isolation, to bring them into contact with one another, to merge their interests, to expand their local horizons, to destroy their local habits, strivings and ways of thinking, and to build up a great nation with common interests, customs and ideas out of the many hitherto mutually independent localities and provinces.  The bourgeoisie is already carrying out considerable centralization.  The proletariat, far from suffering any disadvantage from this, will as a result rather be in a position to unite, to feel itself a class, to acquire a proper political point of view within the democracy, and finally to conquer the bourgeoisie.  The democratic proletariat not only needs the kind of centralization begun by the bourgeoisie but will have to extend it very much further.  During the short time when the proletariat was at the helm of state in the French Revolution, during the rule of the Mountain party, it used all means — including grape-shot and the guillotine — to effect centralization.  When the democratic proletariat again comes to power, it will not only have to centralize every country separately but will have to centralize all civilized countries together as soon as possible.

Ur-Switzerland, on the other hand, has never done anything but obstruct centralization; with really brutish obstinacy it has insisted on its isolation from the whole outside world, on its local customs, habits, prejudices, narrow-mindedness, and seclusion.  It has stood still in the centre of Europe at the level of its original barbarism, while all other nations, even the other Swiss, have gone forward.  It stands pat on cantonal sovereignty with all the obduracy of the crude primitive Germans, that is, on the right to be eternally stupid, bigoted, brutal, narrow-minded, recalcitrant and venal if it so wishes, whether its neighbors like it or not.  If their own brutish situation comes under discussion, they no longer recognize such things as majorities, agreements, or obligations.  But in the 19th century it is no longer possible for two parts of one and the same country to exist side by side without any mutual intercourse and influence.  The radical cantons affect the Sonderbund, the Sonderbund affects the radical cantons, where, too, very crude elements still exist here and there.  The radical cantons are, therefore, interested in getting the Sonderbund to abandon its bigotry, narrow-mindedness and obduracy, and if it won’t, then its self-will must be broken by force; and this is what is happening at this moment.

The civil war which has now broken out can only help the cause of democracy.  Even though there is still a great deal of primitive Germanic crudity to be found in the radical cantons, even though a peasant, or a bourgeois regiment, or a mixture of both is concealed behind their democracy, even though the most civilized cantons still lag behind the development of European civilization and really modern elements only rise to the top slowly here and there, this is no great help to the Sonderbund.  It is necessary, urgently necessary, that this last bastion of brutal, primitive Germanism, of barbarism, bigotry, patriarchal simplicity, and moral purity, of immobility, of loyalty unto death to the highest bidder, should at last be destroyed.  The more energetically the Swiss Diet sets to work and the more violently it shakes up this old nest of priests, the more claim it will have on the support of all really resolute democrats, and the more it will prove that it understands its position.  But of course the five great powers are there and the radicals themselves are afraid.

As far as the Sonderbund is concerned, it is significant that the true sons of William Tell have to beg the House of Austria, Switzerland’s hereditary foe, for help just when Austria is baser, viler, meaner, and more hateful than ever.  This is yet another part of the punishment for the glorious liberation of Switzerland from the talons of the two-headed eagle and the much boasting that went with it.  And for the cup of punishment to be filled to the brim Austria itself has to be in such a pass that it could not give William Tell’s sons any help whatever.

Written about November 10, 1847

First published in the Deutsche-Brüsseler-Zeitung No. 91, November 14, 1847

Il'ia Golosov's Zuev House of Culture — Workers' Club (1928)

The sociohistoric mission of modernist architecture

The housing shortage, the urban proletariat,
and the liberation of woman


Housing in the Industrial Revolution

Workers’ Housing in the 19th Century

Modernist architecture — Positive Bases


Read the full-text PDF version of
Ross Wolfe’s “The Graveyard of Utopia:
Soviet Urbanism and the Fate of
the International Avant-Garde”

By industrializing the process of building houses and other structures, the avant-garde believed that it could help to solve many of the profound problems that had emerged out of industrial society. The housing question, about which Engels and many others wrote, as well as the divide between town and country, along with the intense overcrowding of the cities and the alienation that came with it — all these confronted the modernists as problems in need of solutions.  For Engels, the problem of housing shortages was more or less perennial.  The peculiarity of the modern crisis consisted mostly in the spectacular rate of its urbanization, the magnitude of the population it affected, and by the fact that it was felt not only by the lower classes but by members of the petit-bourgeoisie as well.[1]  While he correctly rejected the base analogy of the tenant-landlord relationship with the worker-capitalist relationship as Proudhonism,[2] Engels was emphatic that the housing question posed by industrial society could only be overcome by overthrowing capitalism as a whole.  Drawing upon an early theme he had developed in collaboration with Marx, this also meant resolving the “antithesis between town and country.”[3]  Although Engels insisted upon the dissolution of capitalist society, he wisely refrained from offering too much in the way of specifics as to what a postcapitalist solution would entail: “To speculate on how a future society might organize the distribution of food and dwellings leads directly to utopia.  The utmost we can do is to state…that with the downfall of the capitalist mode of production certain forms of appropriation which existed in society hitherto will become impossible.”[4]

The Working Poor in Substandard Housing, 19th Century

Workers’ Housing near Ebbw Vale steelworks in Wales, 19th Century

Engels was not the only one to notice the acute urban housing shortage as well as the widening divide between town and country that was taking place under heavy industrial production.  He himself was reacting polemically to treatments of the problem offered by “Proudhonist” Arthur Mülberger and “bourgeois” Emil Sax.  The problem was recognized by more moderate writers like Alfred Smith, who in his own work on The Housing Question in 1900 wrote that “the grim irony of the situation could not go further — the laboring population, who daily contribute to the wealth and comfort of the city, are for the most part driven on to congested areas and into overcrowded rooms.”[5]  A Christian socialist by the unlikely name of Moritz Kaufmann, who accused Marx of utopianism[6] and later briefly corresponded with him,[7] authored a text in 1907 on The Housing of the Working Classes and of the Poor.  In this work, Kaufmann wrote of the evils of “slumlords,” of rural depopulation, and of the different manifestations of the housing crisis in Germany, France, and Belgium.[8]  Ultimately, Kaufmann’s prescriptions for action in dealing with these matters were not far from what Social-Democratic architects like Ernst May would later put forth.  This mostly amounted to more government oversight in the provision of public programs and the bureaucratic deployment of specialists.[9]  The housing question was exacerbated by the Great War, at least in the estimation of Edgar Lauer and Victor House, members of the New York judicial system, who wrote a treatise on The Tenant and His Landlord in 1921.  “Recent housing difficulties are not a local phenomenon,” they wrote.  “Insufficiency and inadequacy of living accommodation appear to be part of the worldwide aftermaths of the Great War.”[10] Continue reading

Mikhail Okhitovich, 1930

«Отчего гибнет город?» (Михаил Охитович)/”Why is the City Dying?” (Mikhail Okhitovich))

Строительство Москвы – (1930) – № 1

(Pg. 9)

Как это так? Города растут, это — факт, который наблюдают повсюду, и вдруг—город гибнет.

Конечно, города растут. Но все дело в том именно и заключается, что город растет так, что он уничтожает сам себя. Это, быть может, и не согласуется с элементами формальной логики, но это так.

Рассмотрим, как растет город.

Возьмем первый город современного общества — бург. Он — продукт выделения, под влиянием товаризации отношений, из крестьянского хозяйства элементов так называемой домашней промышленности. То, что было этой домашней промышленностью, стало теперь бургом, городом простого товарного производства, городом свободного ремесла, а крестьянин остался теперь лишь «возделывателем».

Так произошло отделение города от деревни и оно будет сопровождать человеческое общество через развитие затем крупного города до самого конца капитализма. Препятствие этому процессу было бы препятствием развитию производительных сил, препятствием самому капиталистическому способу производства. Горе стоящим на пути капиталистического города! Он их сокрушит, проглотит.  Рост города — это расцвет, а ослабление города — это «захирей» не производительных сил современного общества.

Мы наблюдаем разложение капитализма — в области политической, экономической, технической. Рушится ли и его способ расселения — крупный (не говоря уж о мелком) город? Как подготовляется процесс соединения города и деревни? Да, гибель города является одним из пока-зательнейшнх признаков современного города, да элементы соединения города и деревни в этом рааложении города имеются.

Город разрушается противоречием, всегда возрастающим между способом расселения и способом передвижения.

Всякому способу производства и сопутствующему ему способу передвижения соответствует и свой способ расселения. В современном обществе, при существовании город и деревни, зависимость этих последних от способа передвижения выражается в следующем. Расселение деревни идет вдаль дороги в один ряд — этого требует необходимость максимальной близости земледельца к производству, которое лежит за пределами деревни. Связь осуществляется животной тягой (лошадь, осел, мул, вол и т. д.), которая тут одновременно представляет собой и орудие производства, и орудие передвижения. Та же потребность в максимальной близости к месту производства обусловливает максимальную плотность домов, скученность их. Сообщение между домами пешеходное.

Домашняя промышленность, выделившаяся в город в виде свободного ремесла, не нуждается в животной тяге. Как только город становится городом, нагоняя за черту свою остатки леревенокой жизни, в этот момент лошадь, мул исчезают из города вместо с этими остатками. Структура домов и улиц бурга • идеальна именно в том смысле, что не требуется вовсе движения лошадей, ослов, мулов.

(Pg. 10)

Лошадь, осел, мул, вступают в город уже в качестве представителя торгового капитала (без которого, впрочем, а не может совершиться отделение города от деревни). «Улицы ослов», т.-е. торговые улицы, широки по сравнению с темными, кривыми, узкими переулками пешеходов, т.-г. улицами ремесла.

Уничтожение цехов разрушает эти «идиллии переулков» и тут рождается первое противоречие «вежду старым способом расселения и новым способом передвижения.

Пешеход садится в омнибус, нанимает фаакр, едет «на извозчике».

Почему это является противоречием? Да потому, что ежели бы все, всегда пользовались бы для движения по улицам не собственными ногами (как в деревне), а пользовались бы услугами экипажа, тогда бы противоречия никакого не было. Бург, в противоположность деревне, вызвал потребность в передвижении с помощью животной тяги, потребность возрастающую с каждым часом его развития.

Допустим даже, что все жители до одного имели бы собственную лошадь. Город значительно расширился бы в зависимости от числа конюшен. Расстояния бы увеличились, потребность в лошади усилилась бы, значит — увеличилась бы и потребность в быстроте движения, но последняя уменьшалась бы от увеличения расстояний с одной стороны, а главное — от увеличения числа экипажей, следующих не по своим пустынным переулкам — местам проживания хозяина, но в места общих связей. Эти примитивные «магистрали» были бы переполнены медленно движущимися экипажами. Вот в чем противоречие в начальной своей стадии.

Промышленность вслед за машиной, станком создала и механический транспорт. Подобно животной тяге, механическая тяга создалась не как средство внутригородского или внутридеревенского передвижения, а как средство сношений между городом и деревней, между городами, между странами. Железнодорожный поезд доходит до города, проходит мимо города, власть поезда в городе кончается. Почему? Быстрота поезда зависит от редкости остановок. В городе средство общего передвижении тем удобней, чем чаще оно останавливается, – иными словами, тем удобнее, чем медленнее, т,-?. просто-напросто неудобно. Посадите всех рабочих и служащих на поезда, они будут следовать один за другим. Когда остановится передний — станут все. Скорость поода в городе медленнее скорости пешехода.

Легче вопрос разрешить, уменьшив длину поезда — остановок будет меньше, — движение быстрее. Так возникает паровичен, памятный питерским рабочим, живущим за Невской заставой и неизвестный рабочим Ленинграда…Сила его полностью не используется, район его передвижения скорее пригородный, чем городской.

Такая же судьба электропоезда. Мощность его меньше, чем у паровоза (т. е. междугородного орудия передвижения) п больше чем у омнибуса (т. е. внутригородского). Электропоезд остается пригородным орудием передвижения.

И лишь трамвай — этот электропоезд без поезда — этот локомобиль без паровоза проникает в город, вытесняя омнибусы, конки.

В Москве мы задыхаемся в трамвае. Может быть, их мало? Может быть, мы бедны, чтоб их приобретать? Увы, их слишком много, увы, мы слишком богаты — трамвай работает с хорошей прибылью.

Нью-Йорк • богаче нас, Нью-Йорк богаче трамваем, потому Нью-Йорк задыхается в трамвае больше нас. Чтобы попасть в наш трамвай, надо быть немного цепким, немного сильным. Там, в Нью-Йорке, надо быть боксером, там надо быть акробатом. В трамвае ведь «можно не быть джентльменом» — говорит современный янки.

Итак, насытим же московскую сеть трамвая. Что получится? Получится поезд, т. е. стоит, например, на углу Мясницкой ул. и пл. Дзержинского, пли на углу Моховой ул. и Воздвиженка остановиться одному вагону и остановятся все следующие вагоны.

Вот почему трамвай вытесняется городом, и чем он выше как город, тем реже он там встречается. Хороший трамвай — самый медленный способ передвижения.

Идеальный трамвай, т.-е. трамвай, удовлеторяющий всю потребность в нем городского жителя сполна, это — тот, который вместо движения имеет сплошную остановку. Идеальный трамвай — отсутствие трамвая.

Он умирает, но не сдается. Subway, metró, tub, Untergrundbahn, надземка и т. п.—все это судорожные попытки разрешить проблему все возрастающего движения, все возрастающей быстроты на все уменьшающемся пространстве.

Город требует все большего движения — город уменьшает площадь движения; город требует все большей быстроты движении — город папрэщает быстроту движения. Что такое регулирование движения? Это — ограничение, запрещение движения.

Впрочем, его нечего запрещать. Оно объективно помимо волп милиции, помимо ухищрений рационализаторов движения прокрашаетсисимо. Город — ототсоздатель величайшей техники передвижения — строит ее против себя…Те, кто это понимают — их пе так уж много — и среди них едва ли не самым интересным является Генри Джорж Уэллс, ищут кардинального разрешения вопроса в дальнейшем развитии городом его городских свойств. Г. Уэллс — величайший урбанист современности — не собирается уменьшить размеры города, ибо это смешно, а главное — невозможно. • Права т. Н. К. Крупская, цитирующая строку Ленина по поводу неизбежности крупного города (полемика со Сисмонди). Уэллс — за город. Вы знаете его идею одной крыши над целым городом, а главное (в данном случае) его идею передвижных улиц. Город превращается в совокупность неких, как бы мы теперь выразились, — конвейеров, с помощью которых в максимально короткое время преодолевается максимально длинное пространство, передвигается максимальное число лиц. Всякий проект требует времени, технических п экономических средств, чтобы быть претворенным в действительность. Несмотря на острую потребность в таком способа передвижения, логически вытекающего из условия современной городской жизни, до сих пор ни человеческая техника, ни экономика не смогли поднять идею Уэллса, сделать передвижные улицы, единый городской поток движущихся улиц фактом, материализовать ее.

Между тем, в город врывается новое орудие передвижения (об авиации мы не говорим, она не успеет ворваться в город, когда его уже не будет…). Подлинное значение авто в том, что оно на основе метода массового производства обещает и технически и экономически вытеснить пешеходов как средство передвижения человека.

Суждение о том, что авто—это-де урбаническое орудие, явно заимствовано ив оперетки. Статистика самой «автомоторной» страны С.-А.С.Ш. показывает как раз обратное, — авто развивается главным образом вне города, хотя авто-катастрофы и происходят, главным образом, в городе. Многочисленные работы, касающиеся развития автомоторизма в С.-А.С.Ш., блестяще демонстрируют это на ряде фактов.

Так, на протяжении, примерно, двух часов ходьбы в центре Нью-Йорка в деловые часы столько народа, что нн один экипаж не может проехать; далее следуют, наоборот, одни экипажи (т.-е. авто), — люди пешими не ходят. Масса авто остается у города, не вступая в него.

(Pg. 11)

Вся автомоторная техника растет в направлении уснорения движения, усиления подвижности и все меньшей зависимости от путей. И вся эта техника в городе — ничто. Авто с 0,5 км в час — это меньше, чем пешеход, однако такова быстрота самого скорого автомобиля на нью-йоркских улицах в известные часы.

Ибо, чем больше машин и чем они лучше, тент их меньше вмещается в городе н тем они хуже {т. е. медленнее). Идеалом авто-движения в городе окажется лишь иллюзорное впадение авто — (все будут иметь отдельное и, может быть, и не одно авто, — к этому идет дело), но не способность осуществлять это владение.

Вот почему авто стали делаться закрытыми, они ушли за город, — за городом возможно бешеное движение, снег н пыль в движении превращаются в такую постоянную силу, что от нее яе избавиться временным прикрытием.

Вот почему жилища ныне строят за городом: особняки, коттеджи, отели вдоль авто-магистралей; вот почему города стали строиться за городом (сооружение испанской организации Madrilena de Urbanisacion, сооружение австралийской столицы, поселки фордовскнх рабочих в Детройте и т. д.). Побеждает не Уэллс, а «город-линия» Ш. Жида и др. Город гибнет, происходит процесс его разложения. Коммунисты защищали его от романтиков идиллия «идиотизма деревенской жизни». Коммунисты не могут его защищать от автомотора. Наоборот, коммунист должен посадить человека на этот автомотор, чтобы помочь ему «бажать иа города в поисках за свежим воздухом и чистой водой» (Энгельс, Ленин). Мы с помощью авто уничтожим «противоестественные скопления гигантских масс в больших городах» (Ленин). Ибо «капитализм…готовит элементы этой связи (земледелия и промышленности М. О.) на почве… нового расселения человечества». (Ленин).

«В настоящее время, когда возможна передача электрической энергии на расстояние, когда техника транспорта повысилась настолько, что можно при меньших (против теперешних) издержках перевозить пассажиров с быстротой свыше 213 км в час — нет ровно никаких технических препятствий к тому, чтобы сокровищами науки и искусства, веками скопленными в немногих центрах, пользовалось все население, размещенное более или менее равномерно по всей стране». (Ленин).

Строителям социалистического, затем агро-, затем агро-индустриального города, беда которых в том, что они родились (вернее — их идеи родились) в стране автомоторного голода, следует учесть трагический урок, вытекающий из всей истории капиталистического строительства городов. Они должны понять, что не только Москва, но и их самый «новый» город будет разорен появлением авто, и разорен он будет в ближайшие же 5-10 лет максимум.

Дезурбанизм — это не теория противников города — нет, это неизбежный, объективный процесс. Не наше дело выходить «с иконами» навстречу авто, как эго делал крестьянин, встречая первый паровоз на своей старой земле. 

Disurbanism — this is not merely a theory of those who oppose the city — no, it is an inevitable, objective process.  It is not our business to go out to meet the car “with our icons,” as did the peasant, upon meeting the first steam locomotive on its old ground.