Philosophy and communism in the early Marx
Marco Vanzulli: Marx's Philosophical Position Starting Again from the ''Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844'' / James Furner: The Sketch of Communist Society in ''The German Ideology'' / Luca Basso: Singularity and Communism in ''The German Ideology''
Marx's Philosophical Position Starting Again from the ''Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844''by Marco Vanzulli
Starting from the main insights of the ''Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844'' and illustrating the original use of Feuerbach made there by Marx, the nature of the Hegelian conceptuality of the work, the introduction of his object: political economy criticism, in a form that will constitute the base of the mature inquiry itself, we are in face of a fully Marxian work. That is to say that, in despite of the use of the notion of ''Gattungswesen'' (and with other theoretical limits and lack of developments), this text is rich in problematics belonging already to the position of Marxian science.
With the ''Gattungswesen'', critiqued in the sixth these ad Feuerbach, as an “inner dumb generality which unites many individuals in a natural way”, we are not in face of the disappearance of a whole problematic, neither of the theme of the ''Entfremdung'' (in the ''German Ideology'' all the oppression to which are subjected the individuals ‘become abstract’ is situated under the sign of the ''Entfremdung'', not a mere survival of an abandoned position) neither of the theme of the ''gesellschaftliche Menschheit'' (Thesis 10 on Feuerbach, as well as the theme of the passage from the ‘natural’ society to the ‘voluntary’ society, emerging in these terms in the pages of the ''German Ideology''). All elements which are complicated by the following acquisitions, but which enter with full title in the new conception, the ‘materialistic conception of history’ with his new concepts, mode of production, productive forces, productive relations etc., that acquire the characters of a new science and of a new form for philosophical inquiry (the question: which philosophy after the eleventh These ad Feuerbach?). And all this doesn’t absolutely mean to put all the following Marx under the sign of the ''Manuscripts'' of 1844. With all the fractures (1845-46 is a fracture), there is a compactness of the Marxian position starting with the ''Manuscripts'' of 1844 which it is our aim to investigate.
The Sketch of Communist Society in ''The German Ideology''by James Furner
The short sketch of communist society in The German Ideology is one of the most widely commentated passages from Marx and Engels’ collection of writings. But there is a widespread perception of hopeless extravagance in its vision. G. A. Cohen for one has not shied away from likening it to ‘nonsense’, whilst Terrell Carver now claims the sketch is ‘thoroughly compromised’ since Marx did himself ‘send it up’.
Despite the discredit into which the sketch has fallen, one reason to maintain that discussion need not be overwhelmed with caveats apologizing for its ridiculousness or ridiculing its apology is the relative lack of comment seeking to combine systematic, contextual and philological modes of inquiry to illuminate its message. By incorporating these modes within a systematic analysis of the sketch, a greater measure of coherence and insight may be attributed to its claims. Marx’s descriptions of communism may well be modest in length, but it should give pause for thought that there is sufficient consistency and nuance in the little that he did say to rebut a surprising number of well-established objections.
Any case for why the sketch demands more than a cursory note of curiosity must begin by confronting a recent and unchallenged claim that the story of its composition reveals it as little more than a humorous aside. Once its seriousness is placed beyond reasonable doubt, a route is charted for resolving two ambiguities regarding the precise identity of the society and significance of the activities it describes so as to avoid an impasse affecting the bulk of Marxist literature on the sketch. Rejecting a popular type of interpretive approach for elevating its examples beyond their proper place, substantive consideration of its claims may begin. I distinguish between the economic and phenomenological perspectives within the sketch, and identify five distinct but related claims therein advanced. The two claims constituting its central thesis of the negation of vocation, the claims of an abolition of occupational confinement and identity, are examined in turn, and responses provided to some of the substantial objections against them.
Singularity and Communism in ''The German Ideology''by Luca Basso
The basis of my paper, focusing on ''The German Ideology'', is the idea according to which Marx’s perspective is characterised by its search for individual realisation. This is not conceived, however, in contradiction with the existence of a very wide web of relations, according to mobile coordinates. In order to examine this problem, it could be productive to employ the category of singularity, particularly in the sense in which it is used in contemporary French theory, insofar as it allows us to valorise the individual dimension, by letting emerge, at the same time, the distance in comparison to the modern conception of individuality. In ''The German Ideology'' this continuous ‘exchange’ between the ‘individual’ and the ‘common’ finds its full manifestation in the conflictual insurgences of class, with their destructuring charge towards the ‘present state of things’: class is defined according to the specific antagonism that constitutes it, posing itself as an eminently political notion, which, on the other hand, requires a radical change of political practice. Within this perspective, communism constitutes a ‘flow’ that inscribes itself into the ‘folds’ of the present, by deploying the energies it is full of: the accent on its nature as ‘movement’ highlights the dynamism, the fact that it can never be completely reduced to a determinate structure. Thus we confront a ‘thinking in the conjuncture’, always exposed to the unpredictability of events: political change must be carried out starting with the existing relations of force, but in a critical tension with these elements, as expansively as possible.