István Mészáros, 1970
Marx’s Theory of Aienation
"The realm of freedom actually begins only where labor which is determined by necessity and mundane considerations ceases; thus in the very nature of things it lies beyond the sphere of actual material production. Just as the savage must wrestle with Nature to satisfy his wants, to maintain and reproduce life, so must civilized man, and he must do so in all social formations and under all possible modes of production. With his development this realm of physical necessity expands as a result of his wants; but, at the same time, the forces of production which satisfy these wants also increase. Freedom in this field can only consist in socialized man, the associated producers, rationally regulating their interchange with Nature, bringing it under their common control, instead of being ruled by it as by the blind forces of Nature; and achieving this with the least expenditure of energy and under conditions most favorable to, and worthy of, their human nature. But it nonetheless still remains a realm of necessity. Beyond it begins that development of human energy which is an end in itself, the true realm of freedom, which, however, can blossom forth only with this realm of necessity as its basis. The shortening of the working-day is its basic prerequisite."
It is impossible to deal with the various interpretations of Marx's theory of alienation in a systematic way within the confines of this study. All we can do is to choose a few characteristic points which help to clarify some questions of importance, and thus carry a step forward the main arguments of this inquiry.
One of the most controversial issues is: what place ought to be assigned to the early works of Marx in his system as a whole?
Ever since the publication of the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 many philosophers have maintained that the young Marx ought to be treated separately, because there is a break between the thinker who deals with problems of alienation and the "mature Marx" who aspires to a scientific socialism. And, strangely enough, the holders of this view belonged to politically opposite camps. Their differences amounted to this, that while the one camp idealized the young Marx and opposed his early manuscripts to his later works, the other only accepted these latter, and dismissed his earlier writings as idealistic.
In his study of The Early Development of Marx's Thought, John Macmurray characterized these approaches in this way: "Communists are rather liable to misinterpret this early stage even if they do not entirely discount it. They are naturally apt to read these writings in order to find in them the reflection of their own theory as it stands today, and, therefore, to dismiss as youthful aberrations those elements which do not square with the final outcome. This is, of course, highly undialectical. It would equally be a misunderstanding of Marx to separate the early stages of his thought from their conclusion, though not to the same extent. For they are earlier stages, and though they can only be fully understood in terms of the theory which is their final outcome, they are historically earlier and the conclusion was not explicitly in the mind of Marx when his earlier works were written."
These words were published as far back as 1935, but the highly undialectical separation of the young Marx from the later Marx has not disappeared in the years that separate us from the early thirties. On the contrary, the assertion of a supposed break has become an accepted commonplace in a considerable amount of current philosophical literature.
Is it true, as is often affirmed, that the notion of alienation "drops out" from the later writings of Marx; indeed, that he treats it ironically, thus detaching himself from his own philosophical past? Two references are usually given in support of this thesis: one to The German Ideology and the other to the Communist Manifesto. The question is, however, are the passages in question rightly interpreted?
Undoubtedly there are ironical sentences in The German Ideology which contain the words "estrangement" or "self-estrangement." There are actually two of them. The first says that "This 'estrangement' (to use a term which will be comprehensible to the philosophers) can, of course, only be abolished given two practical premises." And the second adds: "The whole process was thus conceived as a process of the self-estrangement of 'man'." The translator and Editor, Roy Pascal, comments in his notes on these passages: "In The German Ideology Marx makes his final reckoning with this concept of 'self-estrangement'." This "final reckoning" is supposed to be in sharp contrast to the earlier Manuscripts of 1844 in which Marx still "wrestles with this concept, and charges it with a new content."
This contraposition is highly misleading. "Final reckoning" following the previous "wresting" sounds pretty dramatic and is in keeping with the Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute's preface to the edition of The German Ideology. This preface greatly exaggerates the differences of this latter from the earlier writings and claims as radical innovations points that had, in fact, been worked out in the Manuscripts of 1844, or even earlier. Yet the simple, undramatic truth is that there is neither a "final reckoning" in The German Ideology, nor some kind of a "wrestling" in the Paris manuscripts which could be interpreted as lagging behind the presumed mature reckoning. Indeed the position criticizing the idealistic philosophers - our first quotation - and referring the matter of alienation to practice, had been reached by Marx well before the Manuscripts of 1844 (see especially his Introduction to the Critique of the Hegelian Philosophy of Right).
Marx made it explicit more than once in his Manuscripts of 1844 that he sets out from the language of political economy in order to rescue its achievements, which remained hidden to the political economists themselves, as well as to criticize them in their own terms. He adopted exactly the same approach towards idealistic philosophy. This is why he could never "drop" the concept of alienation: it would have amounted to depriving himself of a real achievement (i.e. extracting the "rational kernel" of the Hegelian philosophy) notwithstanding its mystifying setting. In the disputed passage Marx simply wants to point out - as he does on numerous occasions in the Paris Manuscripts - that the language of "estrangement" is mystifying without the necessary references to social practice.
As to the second quotation, a more careful reading will make it clear that it has nothing to do with the rejection of the term of "self-estrangement." The relevant passage reads as follows: "The individuals, who are no longer subject to the division of labor, have been conceived by the philosophers as an ideal, under the name 'man'. They have conceived the whole process which we have outlined as the evolutionary process of 'man,' so that at every historical stage 'man' was substituted for the individuals and shown as the motive force of history. The whole process was thus conceived as a process of the self-estrangement of 'man,' and this was essentially due to the fact that the average individual of the later stage was always foisted on to the earlier stage, and the consciousness of a later age on to the individuals of an earlier. Through this inversion, which from the first is an abstract image of the actual conditions, it was possible to transform the whole of history into an evolutionary process of consciousness."
As we can see, there is nothing that even vaguely resembles a final reckoning, but only an argument quite familiar to us from the Manuscripts of 1844. What Marx is ironical about is not the concept of self-estrangement, but philosophical abstractionism which substitutes for the real (historically and socially concrete) individual the idealistic image of abstract man, and thus mystifies the actual estrangement of real man (the social individual) by representing it as the estrangement of consciousness. In other words, what he objects to is the identification of the concept of man with abstract, generic consciousness. This objection, well known to us also from his earlier writings, does not make the notion of "the self-estrangement of real man" obsolete in the least.
The reference to the Communist Manifesto is no more convincing. This is the passage in question: "It is well known how the monks wrote silly lives of Catholic Saints over the manuscripts on which the classical works of ancient heathendom had been written. The German literati reversed this process with the profane French literature. They wrote their philosophical nonsense beneath the French original. For instance, beneath the French criticism of the economic functions of money, they wrote 'Alienation of Humanity,' and beneath the French criticism of the bourgeois state they wrote 'Dethronement of the Category of the General,' and so forth. The introduction of these philosophical phrases at the back of French historical criticism they dubbed 'Philosophy of Action,' 'True Socialism,' 'German Science of Socialism,' 'Philosophical Foundations of Socialism,' and so on. The French socialist and communist literature was thus completely emasculated. And, since it ceased in the hands of the German to express the struggle of one class with the other, he felt conscious of having overcome 'French one-sidedness' and of representing, not true requirements, but the requirements of Truth; not the interests of the proletariat, but the interests of human nature, of man in general, who belongs to no class, has no reality, who exists only in the misty realm of philosophical fantasy."
Again, we can see, the criticism is not directed against the concept of alienation, but the idealist use of it, because such a use "completely emasculates" it, deprives it of its concrete social content and power of practical criticism. Equally, what is attacked here is not the notion of man defined by Marx in 1844 as the social individual, but the abstraction "human nature" and "man in general" as used by his opponents, because these only exist in the "misty realm of philosophical fantasy." Quite the opposite of a break: the most remarkable continuity. Every single point made in this passage can easily be found even in Marx's Introduction to the Critique of the Hegelian Philosophy of Right which preceded, as we all know, not only The German Ideology, but also the Manuscripts of 1844. Here are a few quotations to prove this assertion:
1. "But man is no abstract being squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man, the state, society."
2. "If the speculative philosophy of right, that abstract extravagant thinking on the modern state, the reality of which remains a thing of the beyond, if only beyond the Rhine, was possible only in Germany, inversely the German thought-image of the modern state which makes abstraction of real man was possible only because and insofar as the modern state itself makes abstraction of real man or satisfies the whole of man only in imagination. In politics the Germans thought what other nations did."
3. "No class in civil society has any need or capacity for general emancipation until it is forced by its immediate condition, by material necessity, by its very chains. Where, then, is the positive possibility of a German emancipation? Answer: In the formation of a class with radical chains, a class of civil society which is not a class of civil society, an estate which is the dissolution of all estates, . This dissolution of society as a particular estate is the proletariat."
In reading these passages, should not one be struck by the basic identity of the early Marx's approach with that of his later work?
Nothing could be further removed from the truth than to assert - no matter from which political point of view - that from 1845 onwards Marx is no longer interested in man and his alienation, because his critical attention is then diverted in another direction by the introduction of the concepts of "the classes" and "the proletariat." As we have seen, these concepts had acquired a crucial importance in his thought already in 1843. We must emphasize that if by "man" one means, as Marx's opponents did, "abstract man" or "man in general" who is "abstracted from all social determinations," then this is completely beside the point. He was, in fact, never interested in this "man," not even before 1843, let alone at the time of writing the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. On the other hand "real man," the "self-mediating being of nature," the "social individual" never disappeared from his horizon. Even towards the end of his life when he was working on the third volume of Capital, Marx advocated for human beings the "conditions most favorable to, and worthy of, their human nature." Thus his concern with classes and the proletariat in particular always remained to him identical with the concern for "the general human emancipation" - a program clearly laid down in the same early Introduction to the Critique of the Hegelian Philosophy of Right. And this program, formulated in these words, is only another expression for what he called elsewhere the "transcendence of alienation."
But what about the concept of alienation in Marx's works which followed the Manuscripts of 1844? Why did he "drop" this concept (or why did he drop the "word," as others put it) if he remained faithful to his program of transcending alienation? The simple answer is that he did not drop the word at all, let alone the concept. As a matter of fact there is ample evidence to show that Marx went on using the word "alienation" up to the very end of his life. So ample is this evidence that even if we confine ourselves to the word Entfremdung, taken - as in the Paris Manuscripts - with its predicative forms (leaving out, that is, Entäußerung and Veräußerung: i.e. two further words which mean "alienation," as well as Verdinglichung, Verselbstständigung, Fetischismus, etc.) we can only give a very modest selection of the expressions in which the disputed word occurs. For a complete reproduction of all the relevant passages containing also these closely related terms, we would need to multiply the length of this chapter several times over. Here then is our limited sample, in chronological order. (For obvious reason we have to reproduce these passages in the original German. Translation is given in Note No. )
The Holy Family: Quite a few passages from the Manuscripts of 1844 were incorporated into this later work. Contrary to some assertions, these presumably idealistic passages which dealt with the problem of "alienation" were known to, and approvingly quoted by, Lenin.
The German Ideology: "solange die Menschen sich in der naturwüchsigen Gesellschaft befinden, solange also die Spaltung zwischen dem besondern und gemeinsamen Interesse existiert, solange die Tätigkeit also nicht freiwillig, sondern naturwüchsig geteilt ist, die eigne Tat des Menschen ihm zu einer Fremden, gegenüberstehenden Macht wird, die ihn unterjocht, statt dass er sie beherrscht." (Just as in the good, or bad, old days, alienation is presented as the transformation of man's - the purists should notice: man's and not men's or the classes' - own activity into an alien power that confronts him; as such it is opposed to freedom, or free activity.) "Eben weil die Individuen nur ihr besondres, für sie nicht mit ihrem gemeinschaftlichen Interesse zusammenfallendes suchen, überhaupt das Allgemeine illusorische Form der Gemeinschaftlichkeit, wird dies als ein ihnen 'fremdes' und von ihnen 'unabhängiges', als ein selbst wieder besonderes und eigentümliches 'Allgemein'-Interesse geltend gemacht, oder sie selbst müssen sich in diesem Zwiespalt bewegen, wie in der Demokratie." (Two points should be noticed: 1) Marx does not say that the particular interests of the individuals are identical with their communal interests, but that they should not follow exclusively their particular interests; doing this actually defeats their purpose, superimposing on them their real communal interests in an alienated form as abstract "general interest." 2) The illusory depiction of man's real communal interests as an abstract "general interest" - what he calls elsewhere "the legalistic illusion" - and its representation as something quite different from the actual human individual, hides a real alienation: man's self-alienation in the form of the "Spaltung zwischen dem besondern und gemeinsamen Interesse". It is on this basis that real alienation can be mystified by the philosophers as the alienation of "man," meaning by "man," as Marx commented: "Der Mensch = dem 'denkenden Menschengeist'." ["Man = the 'thinking human spirit'."] In reality "general-interest" is not a separate "essence" that should be contrasted with and opposed to the "individual essence" of Man; it is only an alienated expression of an actual state of alienation. Real man is the "wirklicher historischen Mensch" to whom his communal interest actually "belongs" - i.e. it is inseparable from his nature as a social individual being - even if in a given historical situation it confronts him in an alienated form. This is why one can think of alienation as capable of supersession).
"mit der kommunistischen Regelung der Produktion und der darin liegenden Vernichtung der Fremdheit, mit der sich die Menschen zu ihren eigenen Produkt verhalten, die Macht des Verhältnisses von Nachfrage und Zufuhr sich in Nichts auflöst..."
"In der bisherigen Geschichte... die einzelnen Individuen mit der Ausdehnung der Tätigkeit zur Weltgeschichtlichen immer mehr unter einer ihnen fremden Macht geknechtet worden sind...."
"... Bedingungen, die bisher dem Zufall überlassen waren und sich gegen die einzelnen Individuen eben durch ihre Trennung als Individuen... zu einem ihnen fremden Bande geworden war, verselbständigt hatten. ...In der Vorstellung sind daher die Individuen unter der Bourgeoisherrschaft freier als früher, weil ihnen ihre Lebensbedingungen zufällig sind; in der Wirklichkeit sind sie natürlich unfreier, weil mehr unter sachliche Gewalt subsumiert." (MEWE, Vol. 3, pgs. 33, 34, 49, 42, 35, 37, 75-76)
Communist Manifesto: "der Macht über fremde Arbeit"; "Der Kommunismus nimmt keinen die Macht, sich gesellschaftliche Produkte anzueignen, er nimmt nur die Macht, sich durch diese Aneignung fremde Arbeit zu unterjochen" (MEWE, Vol. 4, pgs. 476, 477).
Wage Labor and Capital: "Je rascher die Arbeiterklasse die ihr feindliche Macht, den fremden, über sie gebietenden Reichtum vermehrt und vergrößert, unter desto günstigeren Bedingungen wird ihr erlaubt, von neuem an der Vermehrung des bürgerlichen Reichtums, an der Vergrößerung der Macht des Kapitals zu arbeiten, zufrieden, sich selbst die goldenen Ketten zu schmieden, woran die Bourgeoisie sie hinter sich herschleift" (MEWE, Vol. 6, pg. 416).
Outlines of a Critique of Political Economy (Rohentwurf): This work contains hundreds of pages where the problems of alienation are analyzed in a comprehensive way. The words "Entfremdung", "entfremdet" etc. occur on these pages several hundred times. I have chosen one passage only. It will show not only how wrong they are who assert that "alienation" has dropped out from Marx's later works, but also that his approach to the discussed problems is essentially the same as in the Manuscripts of 1844. This passage reads as follows: "Der Ton wird gelegt nicht auf das Vergegenständlichtsein, sondern das Entfremdet-, Entäußert-, Veräußertsein, das Nicht-dem-Arbeiter-, sondern den personifizierten Produktionsbedingungen-, i.e. dem-Kapital-Zugehören der ungeheuren gegenständlichen Macht, die die gesellschaftliche Arbeit selbst sich als eins ihrer Momente gegenübergestellt hat. Soweit auf dem Standpunkt des Kapitals und der Lohnarbeit die Erzeugung dieses gegenständlichen Leibes der Tätigkeit im Gegensatz zum unmittelbaren Arbeitsvermögen geschieht - dieser Prozess der Vergegenständlichung in fact als Prozess der Entäußerung vom Standpunkt der Arbeit aus oder der Aneignung fremder Arbeit vom Standpunkt des Kapitals aus erscheint -, ist diese Verdrehung und Verkehrung eine wirkliche, keine bloß gemeinte, bloß in der Vorstellung der Arbeiter und Kapitalisten existierende. Aber offenbar ist dieser Verkehrungsprozess bloß historische Notwendigkeit, bloß Notwendigkeit für die Entwicklung der Produktivkräfte von einem bestimmten historischen Ausgangspunkt aus, oder Basis aus, aber keineswegs eine absolute Notwendigkeit der Produktion; vielmehre eine verschwindende, und das Resultat und der Zweck (immanente) dieses Prozesses ist diese Basis selbst aufzuheben, wie diese Form des Prozesses. Die bürgerlichen Ökonomen sind so eingepfercht in den Vorstellungen einer bestimmten historischen Entwicklungsstufe der Gesellschaft, dass die Notwendigkeit der Vergegenständlichung der gesellschaftlichen Mächte der Arbeit ihnen unzertrennbar erscheint von der Notwendigkeit der Entfremdung derselben gegenüber der lebendigen Arbeit. Mit der Aufhebung aber des unmittelbaren Charakters der lebendigen Arbeit als bloß einzelner, oder als bloß innerlich, oder bloß äußerlich allgemeiner, mit dem Setzen der Tätigkeit der Individuen als unmittelbar allgemeiner oder gesellschaftlicher, wird den gegenständlichen Momenten der Produktion diese Form der Entfremdung abgestreift; sie werden damit gesetzt als Eigentum, als der organische gesellschaftliche Leib, worin die Individuen sich reproduzieren als Einzelne, aber als gesellschaftliche Einzelne." (Rohentwurf, pg. 716). (Here we have even the "anthropological" notions of the early Marx, together with the conception of the supersession of alienation as the transcendence of the abstract mediated character of human activity).
Theories of Surplus-Value: As one would expect from a critical monograph on past theories of surplus-value, this monumental work, (almost 2,000 pages long) has many references to "alienation." For instance, dealing with Linguet's theories, Marx writes: "Die Reichen haben sich aller Produktionsbedingungen bemächtigt; (dies führte zur) Entfremdung der Produktionsbedingungen, die in ihrer einfachsten Form die Naturelemente selbst sind." But there are places of a different kind too, where "Entfremdung" etc. do not simply occur in the summary or quotation of someone else's argument, but in the exposition of Marx's own ideas. For instance: "Der Zins an sich drückt also grade das Dasein der Arbeitsbedingungen als Kapital in ihrem gesellschaftlichen Gegensatz und ihrer Metamorphose als persönliche Mächte gegenüber der Arbeit und über die Arbeit aus. Er resümiert den entfremdeten Charakter der Arbeitsbedingungen im Verhältnis zur Tätigkeit des Subjekts. Er stellt das Eigentum des Kapitals oder das bloße Kapitaleigentum als Mittel dar, die Produkte fremder Arbeit sich anzueignen als Herrschaft über fremde Arbeit. Aber er stellt diesen Charakter des Kapitals dar als etwas, was ihm außer dem Produktionsprozess selbst zukommt und keineswegs das Resultat der spezifischen Bestimmtheit dieses Produktionsprozesses selbst ist." One could fill many pages with passages of this kind which can be found in Marx's Theories of Surplus-Value. (For the reported two passages cf. MEWE, Vol. 26. Part I., pg. 321 and Part III. pg. 485).
Capital: "Die verselbständigte und entfremdete Gestalt"; "Da vor seinem Eintritt in den Prozess seine eigne Arbeit ihm selbst entfremdet, dem Kapitalisten angeeignet und dem Kapital einverleibt ist, vergegenständlicht sie sich während des Prozesses beständig. in fremden Produkt... Der Arbeiter selbst produziert daher beständig den objektiven Reichtum als Kapital, ihm fremde, ihn beherrschende und ausbeutende Macht, und der Kapitalist produziert ebenso beständig die Arbeitskraft als subjektive, von ihren eignen Vergegenständlichungs- und Verwirklichungsmitteln getrennte, abstrakte, in der bloßen Leiblichkeit des Arbeiters existierende Reichtumsquelle, kurz den Arbeiter als Lohnarbeiter."; "alle Mittel zur Entwicklung der Produktion... verstümmeln den Arbeiter in einen Teilmenschen, entwürdigen ihn zum Anhängsel der Maschine, vernichten mit der Qual seiner Arbeit ihren Inhalt, entfremden ihm die geistigen Potenzen des Arbeitsprozesses im selben Masse, worin letzterem die Wissenschaft als selbständige Potenz einverleibt wird;..."; "diese Produktionsmittel treten dem Besitzer der Arbeitskraft gegenüber als fremdes Eigentum. Andererseits steht der Verkäufer der Arbeit ihrem Kauf er gegenüber als fremde Arbeitskraft, ..."; "Diese Vorstellungsweise ist um so weniger befremdlich, als ihr der Schein der Tatsachen entspricht, und als das Kapitalverhältnis in der Tat den innern Zusammenhang verbirgt in der vollständigen Gleichgültigkeit, Äußerlichkeit, und Entfremdung, worin es den Arbeiter versetzt gegenüber den Bedingungen der Verwirklichung seiner eignen Arbeit."; "Es bleibt jedoch nicht bei der Entfremdung und Gleichgültigkeit zwischen dem Arbeiter, dem Träger der lebendigen Arbeit hier, und der ökonomischen, d.h. rationellen und sparsamen Anwendung seiner Arbeitsbedingungen dort."; "Das Kapital zeigt sich immer mehr als gesellschaftliche Macht... - aber als entfremdete, verselbständigte gesellschaftliche Macht, die als Sache, und als Macht des Kapitalisten durch diese Sache, der Gesellschaft gegenübertritt"; "Dieser Entfremdung der Produktionsbedingung vom Produzenten entspricht hier aber eine wirkliche Umwälzung in der Produktionsweise selbst."; "die wirklichen Produktionsagenten in diesen entfremdeten und irrationellen Formen von Kapital - Zins, Boden - Rente, Arbeit - Arbeitslohn, sich völlig zu Hause fühlen, denn es sind eben die Gestaltungen des Scheins, in welchem sie sich bewegen und womit sie täglich zu tun haben" (MEWE, Vol. 23; Vol. I of Capital - pgs. 455, 596, 674; Vol. 24; Vol. II of Capital - pg. 37; Vol. 25; Vol. III of Capital - pgs. 95, 96, 274, 610, 838).
Reading these quotations will, perhaps, suffice to suggest an answer to the question: just how much attention should be paid to the "drop-out" theory. It should be clear by now that none of the meanings of alienation as used by Marx in the Manuscripts of 1844 dropped out from his later writings. And no wonder. For the concept of alienation, as grasped by Marx in 1844, with all its complex ramifications, is not a concept which could be dropped, or one-sidedly "translated." As we have seen in various parts of this study, the concept of alienation is a vitally important pillar of the Marxian system as a whole, and not merely one brick of it. To drop it, or to translate it one-sidedly, would, therefore, amount to nothing short of the complete demolition of the building itself and the re-erection, perhaps, of its chimney only. That some people have been - or are still - engaged in such operations, trying to build their "scientific" theories on chimney-tops decorated with Marxist terminology, is not in doubt here. The point is that their efforts should not be confused with the Marxian theory itself.
The numerous versions of the "young Marx" versus "mature Marx" (or the other way round) approach have something in common. This is: an effort to oppose political economy to philosophy or philosophy to political economy and use Marx as a supporting authority in favor of such pseudo-alternative. Broadly speaking those who want to evade or reject the vital - and by no means speculative - philosophical problems of freedom and the individual, side with the "mature political economist" or "scientific" Marx, whereas those who wish the practical power of Marxism (which is inseparable from its demystification of capitalist economy) never existed exalt the "young philosopher Marx."
Needless to say, there is something extremely artificial and arbitrary in this contraposition. It is, therefore, not surprising at all to find that the constructions based on this prefabricated opposition do not stand up to examination. Thus, for instance, we can read from the pen of Daniel Bell about a presumed transmutation in Marx's Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts: "The title itself is both literal and symbolic. Beginning as an anthropology, it ends as a political economy." What should we think of this statement? What is the title "symbolic" of? It cannot be of anything in Marx because he never gave these manuscripts a title himself. (As is made explicit in a footnote, the title was given by the editors of the Moscow Institute of Marxism-Leninism.) And what about the assertion that this work begins as an anthropology and ends as a political economy? For this is how it actually begins: "Wages are determined through the antagonistic struggle between capitalist and worker. Victory goes necessarily to the capitalist." This means that the Manuscripts of 1844 begin as full-blooded "mature Marx" with the notions of political economy. True, there is a short Introduction to the volume in which there are references to Feuerbach which might, perhaps, be construed as beginning as an anthropology. But this Introduction - as the same footnote tells the reader - was written after the completion of the rest of the Manuscripts. Thus if one said that the Manuscripts begin with political economy and finish with philosophy, this would reflect a simple chronological fact. This, however, could not fit into a construction which seeks to assert the exact opposite and make something terribly significant out of it.
It would be a waste of the reader's time to analyze these constructions were they not significant ideologically. Daniel Bell borrows his grotesque ideas on young Marx from R.W. Tucker to whom, in his own words, he is "indebted for many insights." Now Tucker's efforts, expressed in his book Philosophy and Myth in Karl Marx, are directed at a complete emasculation of the Marxian ideas so that the unsuspecting reader would be led into believing that "Marx's concept of communism is more nearly applicable to present-day America, for example, than his concept of capitalism." The object of such exercises is to "demonstrate" the meaninglessness of the Marxian "abstractions," and Daniel Bell willingly contributes his share of hot air to keep Tucker's balloon flying. Talking about the revival of interest in young Marx he writes:
"To the extent that this is an effort to find a new, radical critique of society, the effort is an encouraging one. But to the extent - and this seems as much to be the case - that it is a form of new myth-making, in order to cling to the symbol of Marx, it is wrong. For while it is the early Marx, it is not the historical Marx. The historical Marx had, in effect, repudiated the idea of alienation... The irony, however, is that in moving from "philosophy" to "reality," from phenomenology to political economy, Marx himself had moved from one kind of abstraction to another. For in his system, self-alienation becomes transformed: man as "generic man" (i.e. Man writ large) becomes divided into classes of men. The only social reality is not Man, not the individual, but economic classes. Individuals, and their motives, count for naught."
Here the ideological motivations, despite all the efforts to keep them in the background, come out into the open. For so long as there is some hope that young Marx would be used against the economic "abstractions" of the "historical Marx," the effort is hailed as an encouraging radical critique of society. If, however, people do not fall for this anti-Marxist separation but recognize the essential continuity of the Marxian thought, this must be condemned as "a form of myth-making, in order to cling to the symbol of Marx." The construction opposing the "young philosopher" to the "mature political economist Marx" must be maintained at all costs, even if the evidence to the contrary is overwhelming. The mystifying - and crudely falsifying - interpretation according to which the "original philosophical expression" of Marx's ideas embodied a timeless "socio-psychological condition" (with no reference to capitalism, classes, exploitation, social antagonisms, etc.) must be maintained so that "the historical Marx" and those who pay attention to him could be dismissed as guilty of "myth-making."
Thus in Bell's view the Marxian "abstractions" ought to be distributed between two classes: (1) the young Marx's categories, allegedly related to those timeless, philosophically respectable "socio-psychological" conditions, and (2) the "economic abstractions" of the mature Marx which, horribile dictu, criticize capitalism. And of course one is welcome to toy with the philosophico-psychological categories of "the human condition" - thus earning the praise: "a radical critique of society" - provided that (a) capitalism is never mentioned in this "radical critique" of "society," and that (b) the Marxian "economic abstractions" are condemned by our "radicals," because such "abstractions" do not lend themselves to mystifying twists and falsifications.
This "detached," "non-ideological" analysis of Marxism is taken a stage further - to the point of personal vilification:
"Although Marx drew most of his ideas from his peers - self-consciousness from Bauer, alienation from Feuerbach, communism from Moses Hess, the stages of property from Proudhon - he was not content, simply, to synthesize these ideas, but had to attack, and usually viciously, all these individuals in the determined effort to appear wholly original."
No further comments are required. Our quotation, reproducing Daniel Bell's own words, set alongside the title of his book - The End of Ideology - speak loudly enough for themselves.
Admittedly, in the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 Marx spoke about the task of superseding political economy. But in the same breath he also spoke about the practical abolition of philosophy. These propositions stand or fall together because they are related to one and the same historical task as seen by Marx. It is, therefore, quite arbitrary to pick one of them and to use it against the other.
When Marx referred to the task of superseding philosophy and political economy, he did not mean superseding the one by "vulgar economism" and the other by "anthropology," or a "philosophico-psychological" analysis of the "human condition," etc. As we have seen, the point he was making was that philosophy and political economy apply a "different and opposite yardstick to man," both of them in an equally exclusivist manner, standing "in an estranged relation to the other," since their points of reference are basically different. And he wanted to supersede them by something that is neither traditional philosophy nor traditional political economy.
He realized that the different and opposite yardsticks as ordering criteria of the particular theoretical fields inevitably result in "integralistic" attempts that embrace only those aspects of the complex problems of reality which can be easily fitted into the isolated, special schemes, arbitrarily excluding all the other aspects and antagonistically opposing those disciplines which work out their generalizations on the basis of these excluded aspects. This is why Marx opposed to the arbitrary integralism of the particular theoretical fields - which he explained as a necessarily alienated reflection of practical alienation - the ideal of a "human science," i.e. the non-alienated synthesis of all aspects. A "human science" oriented by a non-artificial and all-inclusive measure: man himself. (Marx's own expressions were: "there will be one science," "the science of man").
The supersession of philosophy and political economy in this conception does not mean the abolition of the problems of either traditional philosophy or those of political economy, nor indeed a running away from them. Marx is convinced that philosophical etc. problems cannot be "abolished" (or "dissolved") in thought, only in social practice, because they are expressions of reality, however mystified and alienated they may be. Equally, he is convinced that one must not evade them, or simply declare that they are mystifications and leave everything at that, but face up to them and meet them at the level where they present themselves. Therefore the critique of traditional philosophy or political economy implies the positive elaboration of alternatives to the persistent old questions.
It goes without saying that, in Marx's view, such a task cannot be accomplished within the limits of either philosophy or political economy. To turn political economy into a "super-science" to which everything else should be subordinated would certainly amount to "economic determinism." And, as we have seen, nothing is further removed from Marx than that. He knows very well that political economy is just as one-sidedly integralistic as philosophy, and more dangerous in the sense that its representatives often have direct access to power.
Thus when he develops his criticism of political economy - no matter in how great a detail or how many highly technical problems are taken into account - he is not the "political economist mature Marx." Nor is he indeed the "young philosopher" or "anthropologist" Marx when he criticizes Hegel. The earliest comprehensive idea of young Marx was the unification of philosophy with practical human reality, and this went far beyond the horizon of traditional philosophy. Whenever Marx analyses philosophical problems, in his youth or in his old age, he always tries to do this in the form of synthesizing - in an "aufgehoben" sense - the most general philosophical formulations with the insights gained from actual human experience as well as from its theoretical and artistic reflections: from history to political economy, and from Shakespeare and Goethe to Balzac. And, of course, he proceeds in the same way when he discusses the problems of political economy: by mobilizing the whole range of human experience known to him - e.g. Shakespeare on money in the Paris Manuscripts as well as in Capital - and synthesizing it with the fundamental insights he gained from the critical study of the most comprehensive general formulations of philosophy.
It is, therefore, simply not true that the mature Marx had no time for or interest in the problems of philosophy. His interest in philosophy was never "philosophical": it was always practical-human. Nor was his interest in political economy "scientific-economical": it was also practical-human. Thus for him both philosophy and political economy were from the beginning merged in a practical-human concern. In the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 Marx was not less interested in "political economy" than in his Rohentwurf or in Capital. Or, to put it the other way round, in these latter he was not less doing "philosophy" - of course his kind of philosophy, just as in the early works - than in the Paris Manuscripts. The people who deny this tend to be either those who crudely identify "human" with "economic," or those who, in the name of mystifying psychological abstractions, treat with extreme skepticism the relevance of socioeconomic measures to the solution of human problems. To assert, however, the radical break in Marx's development, undisturbed by the evidence of his work as a whole, is to deduce a little too much from a mere title Marx himself never gave to an unfinished manuscript.
The rejection of the "young Marx" versus "mature Marx" dichotomy does not mean the denial of Marx's intellectual development. What is turned down is the dramatized idea of a radical reversal of his position in the aftermath of the Manuscripts of 1844.
This is not the place to discuss in detail the complex problems of Marx's intellectual development. There are, however, a few aspects of it - those directly related to the problems raised in the previous section - which ought to be touched upon, if only briefly, in this context.
(1) The concept of alienation played a minor role in Marx's thought prior to 1843. Even in 1843 its importance was relatively small as compared with the Manuscripts of 1844. The point of really significant change is not between 1844 and 1845 but between 1843 and 1844. (And even this change is far more complex than the vulgarizers - who can only operate with crude schemes like "idealism" versus "materialism" etc. - imagine).
To see the contrast, it is enough to read a short passage from Marx's Introduction to the Critique of the Hegelian Philosophy of Right. It says: "Criticism of heaven turns into criticism of the earth, criticism of religion into criticism of right and criticism of theology into criticism of politics." Unquestionably, Marx's insight concerning the task of unifying philosophy with practice can be perceived here. Yet at this stage of his development it is expressed in a rather generic form. If we are able to recognize the genius of this Marxian insight it is because we are aware of its later elaborated, immensely far-reaching implications, thanks to the keys we were given by Marx himself, in the works that followed this Introduction. Had Marx remained at the abstract programmatic level of generalization which characterizes this Introduction he could hardly have exercised the sort of influence he did on later intellectual and social developments.
Marx of the Manuscripts of 1844 made a great step forward, as we have seen in several contexts. By recognizing that the key to all alienation - religious, juridical, moral, artistic, political, etc. - is "alienated labor," the alienated form of man's practical productive activity, he was able to base his whole conception on a sure footing. Now it became possible for him to elaborate his ideas in a most concrete form, indicating the strategic points of the necessary practical activity. Since the concept of "labor's self-alienation" pinpointed the ultimate cause of all forms of alienation, the criticism of economics - i.e. an adequate understanding of its laws and mechanisms - acquired a crucial importance: it became the vital link in the program of gaining mastery over the various causal factors involved, serving the purpose of practically superseding alienation in all spheres of life. While the earlier Introduction went only as far as emphasizing that the criticism of theology must be transformed into the criticism of politics, the Manuscripts of 1844 accomplished the structurally vital step of turning the criticism of politics into the criticism of economics. Thus the earlier, abstractly programmatic character of the Marxian ideas had been effectively superseded. Marx did not have to stop any longer at the point of postulating the unity of theory and practice (see Chapter II on Marx's own references to a "categorical imperative" in the Introduction), he could now concretely demonstrate how to realize in social practice this revolutionary program.
And this is how the concept of alienation became the central concept of Marx's whole theory. It is, therefore, not only not true that when Marx acquired an interest in the problems of political economy he turned his back on the concept of alienation: the exact opposite is true. For as soon as he realized that economic alienation was the common link of all forms of alienation and dehumanization, it was impossible for him not to adopt the concept of alienation - this structural common denominator - as the center of reference of his entire conception. The Manuscripts of 1844 provide massive evidence in support of this view. They also show that, enriched by the insights he gained from his critical study of political economy, his philosophical criticism became more profound and comprehensive than ever before.
(2) There can be no doubt about Feuerbach's influence on Marx: he himself acknowledged this on more than one occasion. The question is, however, what did this influence really amount to in 1844, or indeed towards the end of 1843? Greatly exaggerated claims are made in this regard which, if true, would reduce Marx - up to the time he jotted down his Theses on Feuerbach - into a mere follower of the latter.
We possess two important letters addressed by Marx to Feuerbach which help to dispel this legend. Already the first of them - written on the 3rd of October 1843 - reveals a substantial difference of approach. In the spirit of Marx's general line of thought at that time, it advocates the criticism of society in the form of the criticism of politics. Marx would like to see Feuerbach actively involved in this effort and asks for his contribution accordingly:
"Schelling succeeded in uniting not only philosophy and theology but also philosophy and diplomacy. He turned philosophy into the general science of diplomacy, into a diplomacy for all. An attack on Schelling would, therefore, be an indirect attack on our whole, namely Prussian, political system. Schelling's philosophy is Prussian politics sub specie philosophiae."
Perhaps Marx had illusions about Feuerbach's willingness or ability to engage in such battles against the existing order, perhaps he only wanted to enlist the support of a powerful ally and at the same time, as a good editor, push his would-be collaborator forward in radicalism, bringing him into line with his own conception of the journal's tasks. It does not matter which way we look at the issue. What matters, however, is that Feuerbach could not possibly supply what Marx expected or hoped to get from him.
The other letter is even more important in this respect. Written on the 11th of August 1844 - i.e., approximately at the time of the completion of the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 - it directly raises the question of the meaning of "man," the "unity of men with other men," and "the human species" [Menschengattung]. This is how Marx looks on these concepts, not after his Theses on Feuerbach, not at the time of the Communist Manifesto, not in the course of the elaboration of his Capital, but right in the middle of 1844:
"In your writings you have given - I do not know whether consciously or not - a philosophical foundation to socialism, and we communists at once have understood your works in this sense. The unity of men with other men, which is based on the real differences between men, the concept of the human species brought down from the sky of abstraction to the real ground of earth, what else is it if not the concept of society."
These considerations are in full agreement with Marx's own use of the discussed terms in the Paris Manuscripts, but they could hardly be further removed from Feuerbach's concepts. Marx puts his interpretation of these concepts to Feuerbach - on the occasion of posting to him a published copy of the Introduction to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right - in the hope of starting a fruitful exchange of ideas with him. The distance was, as Feuerbach realized reading Marx's letter and the Introduction, far too great to be bridged, and he never followed up the offer.
As a matter of fact Marx himself was well aware of the qualitative difference between his own aspirations and Feuerbach's actual achievements. Already in the Introduction he made it clear that the Feuerbachian criticism is only a necessary preliminary to the fundamental task, the "criticism of earth" as he put it. In the Manuscripts of 1844 he was fully engaged in the theoretical realization of this task which necessarily implied a radical departure from Feuerbach's sphere to its real socioeconomic basis. (Only in his criticism of the Hegelian philosophy could Marx use Feuerbach more extensively, as a positively superseded "moment" of his own incomparably more comprehensive general conception).
Also, almost every single point Marx made in his Theses on Feuerbach, in the first months of 1845, can be found in the Manuscripts of 1844, even though without explicit critical references to Feuerbach himself. That he made efforts to take Feuerbach with him in carrying out an enterprise he considered to be the logical continuation of Feuerbach's necessary preliminaries, was thoroughly consistent with his general outlook; these efforts, therefore, should not be considered as merely tactical steps. Equally, the next logical step for Marx was - after seeing the failure of his efforts to enlist Feuerbach's active help in the cause of a radical practical criticism of society - to make the formerly implicit criticism explicit on Feuerbach as well, all the more because Marx's adversaries made great use of the Feuerbachian line of reasoning. (Marx's attitude towards some of his other contemporaries was very similar, but this did not make him share their views and illusions. He always tried to carry them with him on the road he had chosen, but did not hesitate to take the criticism to its utmost once this proved impossible when his former friends ideologically lined themselves up with his political adversaries).
Thus the point of contact between Marx and Feuerbach at the time of writing the Manuscripts of 1844 is more terminological than anything else. Terminological in Marx's sense, of course: i.e. implying that even a mystified terminology reflects a problem of reality that ought to be grasped in its proper setting. In other words, this kind of terminological contact should not be crudely simplified as "lip-service" or mere "tactics." It follows from Marx's historical-structural principle that one's method of setting out from the available, to greater or lesser extent mystified, terms is not only admissible but also necessary. It is, in fact, the only way in which it is possible to grasp the dialectical movement of ideas as concrete genesis, provided they are related to their real basis in the course of their concrete demystification.
In The German Ideology Marx identified the reason why his efforts at enlisting Feuerbach's support had to fail:
"In reality and for the practical materialist, i.e. the communist, it is a question of revolutionizing the existing world, of practically attacking and changing existing things. When occasionally we find such views with Feuerbach, they are never more than isolated surmises and have much too little influence on his general outlook to be considered here as anything else than embryos capable of development."
At the time of writing the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 Marx did not realize that these "embryos" were not capable of development by Feuerbach himself. But who could deduce from this fact the conclusion that in 1844 Marx himself was not a "practical materialist" engaged in realizing his program of "revolutionizing the existing world, of practically attacking and changing existing things"? He did not realize, in 1844, that the occasional remarks in Feuerbach's philosophy concerning the "practical criticism of the existing world" were only "isolated surmises" leading to no practical consequence whatsoever. But who could deduce from this fact the conclusion that consequently for Marx too the idea of a "practical criticism of earth" was nothing but an "isolated surmise"? Feuerbach could not possibly accept Marx's offers precisely because in his philosophy the idea of a practical attack on existing things was peripheral and partial: never embracing the totality of the sociopolitical system, for he simply did not have the concept of the social relations of production. To find out about the real limits of the Feuerbachian philosophy, to find out how far he himself was capable of developing the isolated "embryos" of his system, it was necessary to try to enlist his active support for the practical task of radically attacking the existing order of society and its supporters, like old Schelling. That Feuerbach could not meet Marx's expectations is not surprising in the light of these limitations of which we are all now aware. But to suggest that Marx shared in the least the same limitations in 1844 - or indeed in 1843 when he first wrote to Feuerbach - means to take no notice whatsoever of the young Marx's efforts at radicalizing this "contemplative materialist," not to speak of ignoring the evidence of Marx's philosophical works themselves.
It may be argued that Marx had illusions about Feuerbach in 1844. It would be, however, an elementary logical error to equate Marx's illusions about Feuerbach with Feuerbach's own illusions. Yet it is precisely this error which we encounter when we are told that Marx's concept of man in the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 is the Feuerbachian "generic man."
(3) The concept of alienation is eminently a concept of synthesis. This means, among other things, that the word "alienation" is not necessarily required when the complex problematics covered by it is presented or developed in a detailed form. To take an example, let us consider the following passage from Wage-Labor and Capital [Lohnarbeit und Kapital]:
"But the exercise of labor power, labor, is the worker's own life-activity, the manifestation of his own life. And this life-activity he sells to another person in order to secure the necessary means of subsistence. Thus this life-activity is for him only a means to enable him to exist. He works in order to live. He does not even reckon labor as part of his life, it is rather a sacrifice of his life. It is a commodity which he has made over to another. Hence, also, the product of his activity is not the object of his activity. What he produces for himself is not the silk that he weaves, not the gold that he draws from the mine, not the palace that he builds. What he produces for himself is wages, and silk, gold, palace resolve themselves for him into a definite quantity of the means of subsistence, perhaps into a cotton jacket, some copper coins and a lodging in a cellar. And the worker, who for twelve hours weaves, spins, drills, turns, builds, shovels, breaks stones, carries loads, etc. - does he consider this twelve hours' weaving, spinning, drilling, turning, building, shoveling, stone breaking as a manifestation of his life, as life? On the contrary, life begins for him where this activity ceases, at table, in the public house, in bed. The twelve hours' labor, on the other hand, has no meaning for him as weaving, spinning, drilling, etc., but as earnings, which bring him to the table, to the public house, into bed. If the silk worm were to spin in order to continue its existence as a caterpillar, it would be a complete wage-worker."
Here we have some of the most fundamental aspects of alienation as seen in the Manuscripts of 1844 - from "selling one's life-activity" to asserting that "life-activity becomes a mere means of existence" and to saying that the perceptible world, because of the external character of labor, is not appropriated by man in a direct sensuous form which would be ontologically appropriate, but is mediated by abstract "wages," as a result of the transformation of labor power into a commodity - and yet, the word "alienation" is never mentioned.
There may have been a number of particular reasons for this, such as (a) Marx's deliberate policy of avoiding any resemblance to "true socialism" which abused the word; (b) the fact that the public to which Wage-Labor and Capital was presented - first as a series of lectures in the Workers' Club in Brussels and later in the form of newspaper articles in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung - was not at all familiar with the extremely complex philosophical problematics of "Entfremdung" and "Entäußerung".
Nevertheless what keeps the various phenomena conceptually together in this analysis is the underlying concept of alienation as their focal point or common denominator. One must distinguish between conception and presentation. It is simply unthinkable to conceive the Marxian vision without this fundamental concept of alienation. But once it is conceived in its broadest outlines - in the Manuscripts of 1844 - it becomes possible to let the general term "recede" in the presentation. Moreover, in order to work out in the most concrete form the manifold specific aspects of this comprehensive vision, it becomes also imperative to find those particular terms which adequately express the specific features of the particular spheres, levels, mediations, etc. of the overall problematics. The concrete articulation of the comprehensive vision cannot possibly be carried out by using always the same general term: doing this would not only result in endless repetitions but, ultimately, in a colossal tautology as well. Thus the receding of the general term in the course of the concrete elaboration of the complex problematics of alienation should not be mistaken for abandoning the concept itself.
The notion of alienation has something about it that could be described as a "shorthand" character. It can, legitimately, comprehend a great deal and, therefore, it is eminently suitable to serve the purposes of quickly surveying and summarizing for one's own use a broad synthesis. But formulating the broad outlines of a synthesis is not the end of the task, only its real beginning. This outline or preliminary synthesis must be rendered specific enough in every respect, otherwise the practical realization of the philosophical program inherent in this synthesis cannot be seriously contemplated for a moment. It is in the course of this articulation or "rendering concrete" of the broad preliminary synthesis that the term "alienation" must be replaced in numerous contexts. This is why it is not at all surprising to find that the works which followed the Manuscripts of 1844, up to about 1856 - and written for publication - are far less densely populated with the word "alienation" than the first broad synthesis.
If, however, the reader has doubts about this interpretation, he should consult Marx's Grundrisse der Kritik der politischen Ökonomie: Rohentwurf [Outlines of the Critique of Political Economy: Rough Draft] - a work written between 1857 and 1858 - and he should compare this work with its incomplete articulation in the three volumes of Capital. The Rohentwurf is Marx's second broad synthesis whose conception was made necessary by the enormous wealth of material he had accumulated between 1844 and 1856. When he was trying to integrate this material into a coherent whole, the notion of alienation again pushed itself into the foreground and maintained its massive presence throughout the whole manuscript. (The length of this Rohentwurf is many times that of the Manuscripts of 1844). While in the Rohentwurf the term "alienation" occurs in innumerable contexts, in Capital it occupies a relatively modest place. This second broad synthesis - it must be made explicit, in order to avoid misunderstandings - is in no way opposed to the Manuscripts of 1844: it is only incomparably richer and more concretely comprehensive. In fact the Rohentwurf is the fully articulated equivalent of the early system in statu nascendi. It is probably the greatest single theoretical monument of Marx's life.
(4) One of the striking features of Marx's work is that, despite the immense labor that went into them, all his major works remained unfinished. Not only the Manuscripts of 1844 but also the Theories of Surplus-Value; not only the Rohentwurf but also - as is sometimes forgotten - his Capital. This cannot be explained simply by the circumstances of his life, however hard these might have been.
The cause lies deeper, in the innermost nature of his work, inseparable from his conception of superseding philosophy, political economy, etc. by a comprehensively integrated, empirically founded and practically tested and realized "science of man." There is something subjectively self-defeating about this ideal of comprehensiveness. In its origins it goes back to Hegel who not only formulated it as a program but also carried it out in his monumental - though of course speculative - philosophical synthesis. However, to achieve such a synthesis in an idealistic form is a task radically different from Marx's aim of elaborating the general framework of a unified human science which integrates all the real accomplishments of human knowledge with the practical requirements of human life. If, in the idealistic system, there are gaps, the Weltgeist is always at hand to fill them in: the more congenially so the bigger these gaps and cleavages are. In Marx's vision, however, according to which the whole enterprise must be carried out "on earth," with means that can be put to practical tests, the realization of the program requires, among other things, the highest degree of development in all fields of science. If, therefore, some of the necessary conditions of the non-speculative generalizations are absent, the thinker cannot legitimately resort to a new speculative device but has to sit down and work out the problems for himself, no matter how much time-wasting research is involved in this effort. Besides, the more comprehensive his grasp becomes the more he must realize the inevitable gaps due to the always larger and more comprehensive interconnections. Also, every new fundamental achievement in the particular fields requires the thorough revision of the picture as a whole which in its turn again enlarges the previous limits of particular research. And this mutual interaction and reciprocal enrichment goes on indefinitely, for only ideally can the two poles merge into each other.
The task, in this Marxian vision, is clearly beyond the power of any particular individual, no matter how great he might be. The unfinished character of the work of synthesis thus inevitably follows from this new vision of synthesis itself, and in this sense it may be called subjectively self-defeating. In another sense, however, this vision provides a challenging task for generations to follow. A task of coming nearer, in the course of the reciprocal integration of theory and practice, to the Marxian ideal: through constant reformulations and supersessions of previous efforts, even though - by the very nature of the whole enterprise which implies a constantly renewed practical interchange with a constantly changing practice - never definitively realizing it.
Marx's theory of alienation is his "philosophy of history." Not in the sense of a specialized branch of philosophy that operates with concepts which are of no relevance to any other sphere, but as the reflection of a dynamic movement which is at the basis of all of them.
The concepts of "alienation" and "transcendence" are closely interrelated and thus if someone speaks of history in terms of alienation, he cannot justifiably forget about the problem of its transcendence. As soon as one realizes this, a vital issue arises: what does one mean by the supersession or transcendence of alienation?
Nowhere is the danger of misunderstanding and misinterpretation greater than precisely in this context. Especially if there are - and where are there not? - social contingencies that could tempt people to adopt a self-complacently distorted view. The dream of the "golden age" did not originate yesterday and is most unlikely to disappear tomorrow.
It would go against the spirit of Marx's general conception to settle the problem of "Aufhebung", once and forever, in the fairytale form of a Utopian golden age. In Marx's vision - which cannot recognize anything as absolutely final - there can be no place for a utopian golden age, neither "round the corner" nor astronomical distances away. Such a golden age would be an end of history, and thus the end of man himself.
Yet the fact remains that not only Marx's enemies but also many of his followers and vulgarizers identified him with the prophet of a promised land, and some even have claimed to have realized - or of being very near to the realization of - his alleged idea of a promised land. There are, of course, sentences in Marx which, if taken in isolation, can be construed as supporting such claims. Moreover there is the additional, and more serious, difficulty that Marx - despising the occupation of daydreaming about the future - did not anticipate in explicit form the rejection of these approaches.
Because of this lack of explicitness the answer to the question of a transcendence of alienation must be "worked out" from some of Marx's fundamental concepts. To mention just two of them:
1. "Aufhebung" necessarily implies not only the supersession of any given form of alienation but also the "preservation" of some of its "moments";
2. "historische Notwendigkeit" means not only that social phenomena are established historically and cannot be fictitiously dreamed away from the historical stage but also that all particular stages of human history necessarily disappear, because to be a historical necessity is to be a necessarily disappearing necessity (eine verschwindende Notwendigkeit). It is not difficult to see, therefore, that to posit a utopian "golden age" as a "verschwindende Notwendigkeit" is a contradiction in terms.
Nevertheless this does not mean that, with a summary reference to these and similar concepts, one could consider settled the complicated problems that arise in connection with the "Aufhebung" of alienation. What is important is to separate the genuine difficulties from their mystifications in bourgeois philosophy.
As we have seen Hegel, representing "the standpoint of political economy," identified alienation with objectification, thus precluding the possibility of an actual, practical transcendence of alienation. Understandably, therefore, this is the one and only Hegelian idea which has met with the wholehearted approval of all trends of bourgeois philosophy in the twentieth century. Since this was the crucial point of difference between Marx and Hegel, the modern irrationalistic re-edition of the Hegelian idea could be eminently used against Marx, or indeed sometimes in support of an existentialistically mystified interpretation of Marx. In the twentieth century Marx could not be ignored any longer. The best way to neutralize his intellectual impact was, therefore, an existentialists interpretation of his thought which consisted basically in the mystification of the historically specific - anticapitalist - conception of alienation. Accordingly, the concept of alienation gained an incomparably greater significance in the writings of twentieth century existentialists than in those of their forefather, Kierkegaard himself. Heidegger, for instance, defines Marx's importance like this: "Because Marx, through his experience of the alienation of modern man, is aware of a fundamental dimension of history, the Marxist view of history is superior to all other views." Needless to say, Marx did not experience alienation as "the alienation of modern man," but as the alienation of man in capitalist society. Nor did he look upon alienation as a "fundamental dimension of history," but as the central issue of a given phase of history. Heidegger's interpretation of Marx's conception of alienation is thus revealing not about Marx, but about his own very different approach to the same issue.
The same attempt is expressed, in a less subtle form, in Jean Hyppolite's discussion of the relationship between alienation and history. He writes, with direct reference to Marx's criticism of the Hegelian identification of alienation and objectification: "L'auteur de la Phénoménologie, de l'Encyclopédie, de la Philosophie de l'histoire, n'a pas confondu l'aliénation de l'esprit humain dans l'histoire avec l'objectivation sans quelques raisons valables, autres que celles qu'on peut découvrir dans la structure économique de l'époque et dans l'état du systeme capitaliste. Que l'homme, en s'objectivant dans la culture, dans l'Etat, dans l'ouvre humaine en général, en meme temps s'aliene, se fasse autre et découvre dans cette objectivation une altérité insurmontable et qu'il faut pourtant tenter de surmonter, c'est la une tension inséparable de l'existence, et le mérite de Hegel est d'avoir insisté sur cette tension, de l'avoir conservée au centre meme de la conscience de soi humaine. Une des grandes difficultés du marxisme est par contre de prétendre supprimer cette tension dans un avenir plus ou moins proche, de l'expliquer trop rapidement par une phase particuliere de l'histoire. Tel quel, ce concept ne nous paraît pas réductible au seul concept d'aliénation de l'homme dans le capital comme l'interprete Marx. Ce n'est la qu'un cas particulier d'un probleme plus universel qui est celui de la conscience de soi humaine, qui, incapable de se penser comme un cogito séparé, ne se trouve que dans le monde qu'elle édifie, dans les autres moi qu'elle reconnaît et ou parfois elle se méconnaît. Mais cette façon de se trouver dans l'autre, cette objectivation est toujours plus ou moins une aliénation, une perte de soi en meme temps qu'une découverte de soi. Ainsi objectivation et aliénation sont inséparables et leur unité ne peut etre que l'expression d'une tension dialectique qu'on aperçoit dans le mouvement meme de l'histoire".
Thus Hyppolite interprets alienation as a tension inséparable de l'existence and as necessarily inherent in the very nature of "human self-consciousness" [la conscience de soi humaine]. This is an idealistic mystification which condemns all attempts directed at a practical transcendence of alienation to the fate of a Quixotic enterprise. Hyppolite's ultimate premise is the arbitrarily assumed anti-dialectical concept of a so-called "altérité insurmontable" (insurmountable otherness) which he couples with an equally arbitrary, irrational "Sollen": "qu'il faut pourtant tenter de surmonter" ("one ought, nevertheless, to try and surmount it").
Such an enterprise is no more meaningful than "trying" to rewrite - in the very last second of one's life - Tolstoy's War and Peace. Attempts make no sense whatsoever if they are a priori condemned to failure. As we have seen, "ought" played a major role also in Rousseau's concept of alienation. The difference, however, could not be more radical. Rousseau's "ought," expressing an objective contradiction of which the philosopher himself was not aware, was meant to have an actual impact on reality, in order to remove the existing alienations. Here, by contrast, the basic premise is a willing acceptance and glorification of an alleged "altérité insurmontable" as a "tension inséparable de l'existence". Consequently the "ought" which is brought into this picture cannot be other than an absurd, irrationalistic, empty "ought" whose only function is to give a "moral respectability" to a crude apology for the capitalistically alienated social relations of production. What is at fault here is not the use of a moral category but its mystifying abuse in support of the existing, dehumanized order of society.
It goes without saying, there is a grain of truth in these interpretations, otherwise they could hardly succeed in their mystificatory function. Their methodology is characterized by the exaggeration of this element of truth out of all proportion, so that - by suppressing the complex dialectical interconnections as well as by removing the concrete socio-historical references - it is turned into a grave distortion. The main effort is directed at obscuring even the visible lines of demarcation, instead of aiming at the elaboration of those specific concepts which could highlight the objective differences that are veiled by the reification of the existing social relations of production.
There is some truth in asserting that alienation and objectification are "plus ou moins inséparables". But the validity of statements of this kind depends entirely on the philosopher's ability to specify, both conceptually and socio-historically, his terms of reference. Here, however, we are not given any concretization whatsoever. On the contrary, the vague generality of "plus ou moins" serves the purpose of both exempting the philosopher from the task of concretization and at the same time of creating the semblance of a proper assessment.
Moreover, inseparability of alienation and objectification only applies if one treats "objectification" as a homogeneous category which it is not. One must distinguish, at least, between objectification manifesting itself in the form of objects such as tables, chairs, etc., and objectification taking the form of human institutions. There is no reason why tables etc. should be considered as inseparable from alienation. Objects of this kind can certainly assume institutional functions - when, e.g. the solemn managerial desk also helps to carry out the function of keeping the distance from the man who is ceremoniously shown in to sit down behind it. But the "alienation" involved is not due to the existence of desks as human objectifications but to their institutional functions which can be changed.
It is different with objectification as institutionalization. Totally and definitively to abolish alienation in this respect would imply the total abolition of human institutions, while we do not need to abolish desks to remove their alienated institutional functions. But what the total abolition of human institutions would amount to is, paradoxically, not the abolition of alienation but its maximization in the form of total anarchy, and thus the abolition of humanness. "Humanness" implies the opposite of anarchy: order which, in human society, is inseparable from some organization. Even "conscious association" - no matter how conscious it might be - is inconceivable without having some specific form, and this form, for human beings, cannot be other than some kind of institution set up on the basis of some guiding principles. And even if we take the ideal case - when the underlying guiding principle is conscious guarding against any possible petrification or "reification" - the fact still remains that the specific form of association has to deal with specific tasks which will also determine the character of the institution in question. But this last - inescapable - fact means that the given new form of institution which has just superseded a reified structure contains - from the first moment of its existence and not merely in its dying-out stages - an element of reification, insofar as it is necessarily biased against the tasks it is incapable of fulfilling.
To do away completely with this difficulty one would have to postulate either the absolute finality of certain tasks (i.e. "ideal tasks" - that is, the end of history or a utopian "golden age") or the absolute finality of an institution (i.e. the "ideal institution" which could ideally solve all possible tasks - such an ideal institution would not and could not have any specific form and, of course, it could not solve any specific task whatsoever). For such postulates, however, one would also have to invent a being to fit in them: a being whose needs, tasks, functions, etc., never change, or a being who has no needs, tasks, functions, etc. at all.
Another important aspect of this problem is that, no matter how conscious human efforts to eliminate all possible contradictions between the individual and the given form of society may be, an element of potential alienation is always involved. In this connection we can only briefly refer to two aspects of this complex problematics:
1. A necessary precondition for any individual to acquire his personality is to be in a multiplicity of relations with other people, using, for self-development, the means and tools he is given (at least up to a certain point of independence and maturity), and trying out his own forces insofar as he is capable of identifying them in a reciprocal interchange with others, provided that they are noticeably present in some form in his fellow men. To abolish, absolutely and definitively, all elements of alienation and reification in this respect would, again, be only possible by idealizing these relations to such an extent that they would sharply contradict all possible relations between the real individual and society.
2. One of the striking features of this problem is that for the individual - whether he is conscious of it or not - his own self-realization is, in the first place, necessarily a task of fitting into the existing and available (but of course not created specifically for him) roles and functions. Later he may be able to enlarge their limits or to break out of them if they are incapable of adaptation and if his strength to break out encounters no defeating resistance. Nevertheless the problem remains that the individual can realize his own powers only if he has outlets for them, if, that is, his fellow-men are able and willing to take what he has to offer.
Also, the relationship between society and technology is not free from problems with serious implications. In a letter to Annenkov (28 Dec. 1846) Marx made the important distinction between technology and its socially determined application. This distinction, however, cannot mean that technology itself is totally neutral in this respect, for all determinants are also themselves determined.
Technology is neutral in principle, but a given form of established technology is not. Every form of technology has its limits not only in the quantity of its products but also - and this is the relevant point here - in the quality of human needs it is best suited to satisfy. This implies the danger of distorting the whole range of human needs in the direction of the "minimum resistance," or the "optimal allocation of human resources," etc., which in its turn - since consumption reaches back to production - can again enhance those potentials of the given technology which in the first place tended to produce seriously distorting effects. Evidently against this danger one has to appeal to social priorities, involving a most thorough examination of the whole complexity of human needs. In this sort of examination and assessment the tasks facing any form of society must be formulated also in terms of a constant struggle against the alienating potentials of technology.
All these problems, nevertheless, are capable of a solution, though of course only of a dialectical one. In our assessment of the transcendence of alienation it is vitally important to keep the "timeless" aspects of this problematics in their proper perspectives. Otherwise they can easily become ammunition for those who want to glorify capitalist alienation as a "tension inséparable de l'existence".
What the problems described above really amount to can be summed up as follows:
1. that no a priori safeguards and assurances can be given for a practical supersession of alienation, since the issues involved are themselves inherently socio-historical;
2. that there are some dangers of alienation which are inherent in the reifying potential of certain instruments and institutions of human interchange;
3. and that no achievement in this respect (however radical and important) can be considered an absolutely definitive (permanent) "Aufhebung" of all possible forms of alienation.
Dangers, nevertheless, can be controlled, at least in principle. And this is precisely what is denied by the mystifiers who first make history stop arbitrarily at its capitalist phase, characterized by an actual lack of control, and then conclude that human "objectifications" are uncontrollable in principle. They misrepresent dangers and alienating potentials as metaphysical necessities (by calling alienation a "tension inséparable de l'existence", a "fundamental dimension of history," etc.) in order to justify the existing, socio-historically specific and transcendable actuality of capitalist alienation as an inescapable, absolute necessity. Thus in opposition to the dynamic, socio-historically concrete, dialectical ontology of Marx they offer a frozen, metaphysical, antihistorical, "phenomenological" pseudo-ontology. To say that "alienation is a fundamental dimension of history" is to negate history altogether. An "ontology" based on the foundations of such a negation is nothing but a mystifying projection of capitalist alienation and reification on a "timeless" scale.
The alienating potentials inherent in the instruments and institutions of human intercourse can be controlled provided that they are recognized as instruments and consciously brought into relation with human ends. And this is where we can identify what is really at stake and in what way and form is the socio-historically specific, capitalist, alienation involved in the matter. For it is not in the "ontological" nature of the instruments themselves that they get "out of control" and turn from means into self-sustaining ends. It is not the ontologically fundamental first order mediation between man and nature that is at stake here (i.e. not the fact that human beings have to produce in order to survive, and that no production is conceivable without instruments of some kind) but the capitalist form of second order mediations. Human instruments are not uncontrollable under capitalism because they are instruments (it is a sheer mystification to say that they represent an "altérité insurmontable" because they are distinct from "human self-consciousness" ["la conscience de soi humaine"]) but because they are the instruments - specific, reified second order mediations - of capitalism. As such they cannot possibly function, except in a "reified" form; if, that is, they control man instead of being controlled by him. It is, therefore, not their universal characteristic of being instruments that is directly involved in alienation but their specificity of being instruments of a certain type. It is indeed one of the differentia specifica of capitalistic instruments that they represent an "altérité insurmontable" to the "conscience de soi humaine" which is incapable of controlling them. Precisely because they are capitalistic second order mediations - the fetish character of commodity, exchange and money; wage-labor; antagonistic competition; internal contradictions mediated by the bourgeois state; the market; the reification of culture; etc. - it is necessarily inherent in their "essence" of being "mechanisms of control" that they must elude human control. This is why they must be radically superseded: the "expropriators must be expropriated"; "the bourgeois state must be overthrown"; antagonistic competition, commodity-production, wage-labor, the market, money-fetishism must be eliminated; the bourgeois hegemony of culture must be broken, etc. Consequently the program of superseding capitalist alienation can be concretized as the replacement of the uncontrollable, reified instruments of capitalism by controllable instruments of human interchange. For in the very moment in which man succeeds in consciously subordinating his instruments to the realization of his own ends their "altérité insurmontable" is surmounted.
It goes without saying, a radical transformation of this magnitude cannot happen overnight. The "expropriation of the expropriators" is no more than the first act of a long and immensely complex process of change, characterized by the dialectic of "continuity in discontinuity" and "discontinuity in continuity." Granting that it is unthinkable to supersede alienation in a form that could be considered as absolutely and definitely superseding all possible dangers and potentials of reification, is fully compatible with conceiving "Aufhebung" as a succession of social enterprises of which the later is less (indeed qualitatively less) alienation-ridden than the preceding one. What matters is not only the given amount and extent of something you fight against - as criminologists know all too well - but also the general trend of development of the phenomenon in question. Capitalism is not characterized simply by alienation and reification but, at the same time, also by the maximization of the trend of alienation, to the point where the very existence of mankind is now at stake.
What gives sense to human enterprise in socialism is not the fictitious promise of a fictitious absolute (a world from which all possible contradiction is eliminated for ever) but the real possibility of turning a menacingly increasing trend of alienation into a reassuringly decreasing one. This itself would already be a qualitative achievement on the road to an effective, practical supersession of alienation and reification. But further qualitative achievements are possible which can be pinpointed not only in terms of the reversal of the general trend itself but also as regards the substantially different - self-fulfilling - character of specific forms of human activity which are freed from their subjection to alienated means serving the purpose of the perpetuation of the reified social relations of production.
The substitution of consciously controlled instruments and means of human interchange for the existing, capitalistically alienated and reified "second order mediations" is the socio-historically concrete program of this transcendence. As to the "timeless" aspects of the dangers inherent in the instruments themselves, as we have seen they are not timeless at all because mere potentialities cannot become realities without the practical intervention of socio-historically always specific forms of human agency. Whether or not such potentialities remain mere potentialities or become dehumanizing realities depends entirely on the specific nature of the intervening human agency. If, therefore, the capitalistically alienated second order mediations - which are a priori, by their "essence," incompatible with human control - are abolished and replaced by instruments devised for the realization of consciously adopted human aims, then whatever dangers and potentials of alienation may present themselves at any stage of history, they must, in principle, be capable of human mastery and control.
History, therefore, in the Marxian conception remains history, which means simply that the instruments and forms of human interchange are conceived by Marx as inherently historical, changing, socio-historically specific - at any stage whatsoever of human development. And this is the point where we can clearly see the practical implications of the difference between an "open" and a "closed" system discussed elsewhere in general terms at the end of Chapter 3.
Marx opposes to the actual, practical mystification of capitalism - which is only reflected in an alienated form in the various philosophical rationalizations of the practical negation of history by capitalism - the openness of his conception: the assertion of a "historicité insurmontable" of human existence. By contrast the Hegelian categories were mere concepts, logical abstractions; - therefore their "historicity," too, was a "speculative" one, i.e. terminable at the point which represented the socio-historical limits of the philosopher's standpoint. ("The standpoint of political economy"). Indeed, since Hegel was operating with logical abstractions as his categories, his category of historicity too had to be introduced into his conception in the form of a logical abstraction, a mere concept. And just as easily - and arbitrarily - as one speculatively introduces the category of historicity into such a system, just as easily one can bring to an end the whole "abstract, speculative, logical" process. This is why in the end the Hegelian conception of teleology must turn out to be a peculiar version of theological teleology. And a "historical ontology" which is based on a theological theology is not only a closed, speculative, pseudo-historical system but also a metaphysical ontology.
By contrast the Marxian ontology is dynamically historical and objectively dynamic. Marx does not "deduce" human society from the "categories" but, on the contrary, sees the latter as specific modes of existence of the social being. He does not "add" historicity to an originally static vision; for if historicity is merely added at a certain point it can be also taken away at another. Instead he defines the ontological substance of his conception as "the self-mediating being of nature," i.e. as an objective being who cannot help being inherently historical.
Man, in the Marxian conception, is not a "dimension of history" but, on the contrary, human history is a dimension of man as a self-mediating objective being of nature. Only an objective being can be historical, and an objective being can only be historical. History is a meaningless abstraction unless it is related to an objective being. In this dual sense history is, therefore, a dimension of man as an objective, self-mediating being of nature.
If, however, history is a dimension of man, alienation cannot be "a fundamental dimension of history." Being a dimension of an objective being, history cannot have any dimension of its own - let alone one which is the direct negation of all historicity. By turning alienation into "a fundamental dimension of history," Heidegger liquidates the historicity of an inherently historical, objective being. Insofar as alienation is a negation of humanness, it is characteristic of a certain phase of history, of a certain stage of development of the social ontology of the objective "self-mediating being of nature."
A phase which perpetuates itself through the reification of the social relations of production and, insofar as it succeeds in this self-perpetuation, it practically negates history, by opposing the power of the reified institutions of human interchange to all human efforts which aim at the replacement of the uncontrollable instruments of capitalism. This actual, practical negation of history by the capitalistically reified social relations of production is mystified by Heidegger and others, in their effort to transfer the socio-historically specific phenomena of capitalist alienation and reification to the eternal, "fundamental," metaphysical plane of an anti-historical, frozen ontology. This is why time and history must be "substantialized" and given some fictitious "fundamental dimensions": so that man should be deprived of his historical dimension and confronted, instead, with the uncontrollable power of a mythical "history" equated with an alleged metaphysical "eternality" and "fundamentality" of alienation in the pseudo-historical "thrownness" ["Geworfenheit"] of human existence.
In the Marxian conception - against which all these mystifications are directed - both alienation and its transcendence must be defined in terms of the objective necessities that characterize the objective social ontology of the "self-mediating being of nature." The necessity of alienation is defined as a necessity inherent in the objective teleology of human "self-development and self-mediation" at a certain stage of development of human productive activity which requires such alienation and reification for the - however alienated - self-realization of human potentialities. Since this necessity of alienation is a historical necessity, it is bound to be superseded [aufgehoben] through the concrete historical development of the same productive activity, provided that:
1. the development of the productive forces allows the radical negation of capitalistic alienation;
2. that the ripening of the social contradictions of capitalism (in the closest interchange with the development of the productive forces) compels man to move in the direction of an "Aufhebung";
3. that the insights of human beings into the objective characteristics of their instruments enable them to elaborate those forms of control and interchange which prevent the reproduction of the old contradictions in some new form;
4. and that the radical transformation of education from being a mere instrument of bourgeois hegemony into an organ of self-development and conscious self-mediation inspires the individuals to produce "according to their real human capabilities" - unifying knowledge and ideals, design and execution, theory and practice, as well as integrating the particular aspirations of the social individuals into the consciously adopted general aims of society as a whole.
The transcendence of alienation thus cannot be measured merely in terms of production per capita, or anything like that. Since the whole process directly involves the individual, the "measure" of success can hardly be other than the real human individual himself.
In terms of such a measure, the transcendence of alienation - its decreasing hold over men - is in an inverse ratio to the increasingly fuller self-realization of the social individual. Since, however, the individual's self-realization cannot be abstracted from the society in which he lives, this question is inseparable from that of the concrete interrelations between individual and society or the types and forms of social institutions in which the individual may be able to integrate himself.
 John Macmurray, "The Early Development of Karl Marx's Thought," in Christianity and the Social Revolution, edited by John Lewis, Karl Polanyi, Donald K. Kitchin (Victor Gollancz Ltd., London, 1935), pp. 209-10.
 Marx-Engels, The German Ideology, Edited with an Introduction by Roy Pascal (International Publishers Co., New York, 1947), pg. 24.
 Ibid., pg. 68.
 Ibid., pg. 202.
 Ibid., pg. 68.
 Marx-Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party. In Selected Works, ed. cit., Vol. I, pg. 58.
 Marx, Introduction to a Critique of the Hegelian Philosophy of Right. In Marx-Engels On Religion (Moscow, 1957), pgs. 41, 49, 56-57.
 Marx, Capital, ed. cit., Vol. Ill, p. 800.
 Marx-Engels On Religion, ed. cit., p. 53.
 The German Ideology: "As long as man remains in natural society, that is, as long as a cleavage exists between the particular and the common interest, as long, therefore, as activity is not voluntarily, but naturally, divided, man's own deed becomes an alien power opposed to him, which enslaves him instead of being controlled by him" (pgs. 44-45). "Just because individuals seek only their particular interest, which for them does not coincide with their communal interest (in fact the general is the illusory form of communal life), the latter will be imposed on them as an interest 'alien' to them, and 'independent' of them, as in its turn a particular, peculiar 'general' interest; or they themselves must remain within this discord, as in democracy" (pg. 46). "With the communist regulation of production (and, implicit in this, the destruction of the alien relation between men and what they themselves produce), the power of the relation of supply and demand is dissolved into nothing" (pg. 47). "In history up to the present it is certainly an empirical fact that separate individuals have, with the broadening of their activity into world-historical activity, become more and more enslaved under a power alien to them" (pg. 49). "Conditions which were previously abandoned to chance and had won an independent existence over against the separate individuals just because of their separation as individuals, and because of the necessity of their combination which had been determined by the division of labor, and through their separation had become a bond alien to them. Thus, in imagination, individuals seem freer under the dominance of the bourgeoisie than before, because their conditions of life seem accidental; in reality, of course, they are less free, because they are more subjected to the violence of things" (pgs. 95-96).
Manifesto of the Communist Party: "to command the labor of others" (i.e. to rule over alienated labor, ed. cit., p. 48). "Communism deprives no man of the power to appropriate the products of society; all that it does is to deprive him of the power to subjugate the labor of others by means of such appropriation" (pg. 49).
Wage-Labor and Capital: "To say that the most favorable condition for wage labor is the most rapid possible growth of productive capital is only to say that the more rapidly the working class increases and enlarges the power that is hostile to it, the wealth that does not belong to it and that rules over it, the more favorable will be the conditions under which it is allowed to labor anew at increasing bourgeois wealth, at enlarging the power of capital, content with forging for itself the golden chains by which the bourgeoisie drags it in its train." (Selected Works, Vol. I, pg. 98).
Outlines of a Critique of Political Economy [Grundrisse... Rohentwurf]: "The stress is not on being objectified, but on being alienated, externalized, estranged: on the fact that the immense objective power set up by social labor, as one of its moments, over against itself, does not belong to the worker but to the personified conditions of production, i.e. to capital. Inasmuch as at the standpoint of capital and wage-labor the production of this objective body of activity unfolds in opposition to direct labor-power - this process of objectification appears in fact as a process of alienation from the standpoint of labor and as appropriation of alien labor from the standpoint of capital - this perversion and overturning is real, not imagined: it does not merely exist in the mind of workers and capitalists. But obviously this process of overturning is only an historical necessity; it is a necessity for the development of the productive forces from a certain point of departure, or basis, but by no means an absolute necessity of production as such; rather it is a disappearing necessity, and the result and end which is immanent in this process is the supersession of this basis and of this particular form of objectification. Bourgeois economists are so tied to the representations of a determinate historical stage of social development that in their eyes the necessary objectification of labor's social powers is inseparable from the latter's necessary alienation from living labor. However, with the supersession of the direct character of living labor as merely individual - or as merely internally, or only externally universal - labor, with the constitution of the individuals' activity as directly universal, i.e. social activity, the objective moments of production will be freed of this form of alienation; they will be constituted as property, as the organic body of society in which the individuals reproduce themselves as individuals, but as social individuals."
Theories of Surplus-Value: "The rich have taken possession of all the conditions of production; [hence] the alienation of the conditions of production, which in their simplest form are the natural elements themselves" (Part I, translated by Emile Burns, Moscow, without date, pg. 335).
"Interest in itself expresses precisely the being of the conditions of labor as capital in its social opposition to labor, and its metamorphoses as personal powers over against labor. It sums up the alienated character of the conditions of labor in relation to the activity of the subject. It represents the property of capital - i.e. mere capital-ownership - as a means to appropriate the products of alien labor, as rule over alien labor. But it represents this character of capital as something that comes from outside the process of production, and not as the result of the specific determination of this process of production itself."
Capital: "the character of independence and estrangement which the capitalist mode of production as a whole gives to the instruments of labor and to the product, as against the workman" (Vol. I, p. 432). "Since, before entering on the process, his own labor has already been alienated from himself by the sale of his labor-power, has been appropriated by the capitalist and incorporated with capital, it must, during the process, be realized in a product that does not belong to him. The laborer therefore constantly produces material, objective wealth, but in the form of capital, of an alien power that dominates him; and the capitalist as constantly produces labor-power, but in the form of a subjective source of wealth, separated from the objects in and by which it can alone be realized; in short he produces the laborer, but as a wage-laborer" (Vol. I, pgs. 570-571). "Within the capitalist system all methods for raising the social productiveness of labor are brought about at the cost of the individual laborer; all means for the development of production transform themselves into means of domination over, and exploitation of, the producers; they mutilate the laborer into a fragment of a man, degrade him to the level of an appendage of a machine, destroy every remnant of charm in his work and turn it into a hated toil; they estrange from him the intellectual potentialities of the labor-process in the same proportion as science is incorporated in it as an independent power." (Vol. I, pg. 645.) "These means of production are in opposition to the owner of the labor-power, being property of another [fremdes Eigentum]. On the other hand the seller of labor faces its buyer as labor-power of another [fremde Arbeitskraft]" (Vol. II, pg. 29). "This conception is so much the less surprising since it appears to accord with fact, and since the relationship of capital actually conceals the inner connection behind the utter indifference, isolation, and alienation in which they place the laborer vis-a-vis the means incorporating his labor." (Vol. III, p. 84.)
"However, it is not only the alienation and indifference that arise between the laborer, the bearer of living labor, and the economical, i.e., rational and thrifty, use of the material conditions of his labor." (Vol. III, p. 86.) "Capital comes more and more to the fore as a social power... It becomes an alienated, independent social power, which stands opposed to society as an object [Sache], and as an object that is the capitalist's source of power." (Vol. III, p. 259.) "But under this system separation of the producer from the means of production [Entfremdung der Produktionsbedingung vom Produzenten] reflects an actual revolution in the mode of production itself" (Vol. III, p. 583).
.."On the other hand, it is just as natural for the actual agents of production to feel completely at home in these estranged and irrational forms of capital - interest, land - rent, labor - wages, since these are precisely the forms of illusion in which they move about and find their daily occupation" (Vol. III, pgs. 809-810).
 In Revisionism: Essays on the History of Marxist Ideas, Edited by L. Labedz (Allen & Unwin Ltd., London, 1962), p. 201.
 See Daniel Bell, The End of Ideology, Revised Edition (The Free Press, New York, 1965), pg. 433.
 R.C. Tucker, Philosophy and Myth in Karl Marx (Cambridge University Press, 1961), pg. 235, Tucker's book is worth a closer look as a characteristic ideological effort. His line of argument runs as follows. It is quite wrong to pay attention to Marx as an economist, sociologist or political thinker. His philosophy must be understood as a "moralism of the religious kind" (pg. 21). As such it ought to be traced back to German philosophy - notably Kant, Hegel, and Feuerbach - which displays a compulsive drive for "self-aggrandizement" and "self-infinitizing," i.e. a psychopathological aspiration of man to become God. We are told by Tucker that "What made Hegelianism irresistibly compelling to young Marx was the theme of man's soaring into the unlimited. His own darkly proud and ambitious nature, in which his worried father Heinrich discerned what he called a 'Faust-like spirit,' was the key to his response" (pg. 74). All this is said quite seriously. If Heinrich Marx discovers in his son a "Faust-like spirit," there must be something deeply wrong with the Faust-like spirit. "The Faust-theme is pride in the sense of self-glorification and the resulting search for self-aggrandizement" (pg. 31.) "Marx's main work is an inner drama projected as a social drama" (pg. 221) - but Marx deceives himself about its real nature. Just like Feuerbach - as Hegel before him - who did not realize that when he analyzed religion he was in fact talking about "the neurotic phenomenon of human self-glorification or pride, and the estrangement of the self that results from it" (pg. 93), Marx had no idea that in his presumed analysis of capitalism he unconsciously painted something resembling Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: a purely psychological problem, related to an entirely "individual matter" (pg. 240). "Being a suffering individual himself, who had projected upon the outer world an inner drama of oppression, he saw suffering everywhere" (pg. 237); "the inner conflict of alienated man with himself became, in Marx's mind, a social conflict between 'labor' and 'capital,' and the alienated species-self became the class-divided society. Self-alienation was projected as a social phenomenon, and Marx's psychological original system turned into his apparently sociological mature one" (pg. 175).
All this can be summed up in one sentence: Marx was a neurotic who - after experiencing the inner drama of his own darkly proud and ambitious personality and after expressing it in his original psychological system - succumbed to total self-deception and mythically projected his inner drama on the outside world, misleading people into believing that alienation was not an entirely individual matter but primarily a social problem with possible social solutions to it.
Tucker's book is full of inconsistencies and self-contradictions. One of them concerns the question: "Two Marxisms or One." We get contradictory answers to this question: (1) there are two Marxisms: "original Marxism" and "mature Marxism"; (2) there is one Marxism only; the differences are merely terminological; e.g. "'division of labor' becomes the comprehensive category of mature Marxism corresponding to the category 'self-alienation' in original Marxism" (pg. 185).
The so-called "original Marxism" is supposed to be an "openly subjectivistic, psychological original system." The most conspicuous difference between the "original" and the "mature system" is, we are told, that "self-alienated man, who was the central subject of original Marxism, disappears from view in the later version" (pg. 165). As regards the time of this alleged transformation we are given, again, contradictory answers. First we learn that it began "approximately with the statement of the Materialist Conception of History by Marx in The German Ideology (1845-1846)" (pg. 165) and that "Marx put forward this thoroughly 'socialized' version of Marxism in the immediate aftermath of his work on the manuscripts of 1844" (pg. 166). A few pages later, however, we are surprised with this statement: "The transition to the seemingly 'dehumanized' mature Marxism actually occurred at that point in the manuscripts of 1844 where Marx decided, uncertainly but irrevocably, that man's self-alienation could and should be grasped as a social relation 'of man to man'" (pg. 175). This statement contradicts not only the previous assertions but also an earlier reference to Marx's essay On the Jewish Question (1843). There, after quoting Marx, Tucker added: "Marx concludes that the liberation of man from alienation in the state, unlike his liberation from religion, will require a real social revolution" (pg. 105). Now he wants us to believe that one year later, in his "psychological system" of 1844, Marx's concern with alienation was not at all social but merely psychological, having in mind "the conflict of an alienated generic man with himself" (pg. 173).
The only place where Tucker makes an attempt at substantiating with quotations from Marx his own assertion that "man" means non-social "generic man" in the Manuscripts of 1844 is this: "Marx says that man is a natural being and must, like any other natural being, undergo a developmental process or act of becoming. This self-development process of man is the 'act of world history.' By 'man,' moreover, Marx means mankind or the human species, following Feuerbach. The act of world history is the self-realization of man in this collective or generic sense. Marx, of course, does not overlook (any more than Hegel did) the existence of individuals as parts of and participants in the collective life of the species. But the self-developing being of whom he speaks in his system is man writ large in the species. 'The individual life and species-life of man are not distinct,' he says, for 'the determinate individual is only a determinate species being.' The life of the individual is a microcosm of the life of man on the generic scale. Accordingly, the 'man' of whom Marx speaks in his manuscripts is understood as man in general" (pgs. 129-130).
Understood by whom? Certainly not by Marx, for he maintains, on every single point of this quotation, the exact opposite of Tucker's assertions. He does not think that man must "undergo" a developmental process "like any other natural being." On the contrary, he says that unlike all the other natural beings man develops himself - creates himself - through his labor in society, and thus he is the only being who has a history of his own. Also, as we have already seen, Marx does not follow Feuerbach in understanding by man "generic man" but, on the contrary, he radically departs from this abstraction and the dualism implicit in it. Nor does he believe that there is such a thing as the separate "collective life of the species" or "the life of man on the generic scale" (whatever that may mean). On the contrary, he insists that the difference amounts only to that of a "mode of existence" as reflected in human consciousness, and that the center of reference of the essential unity between the individual and the species is the "real individual social being."
The passage from which Tucker quotes is full of expressions like "real community," "social fabric," "social being," "social life" and "social existence," but they are all carefully avoided by our learned author, in order to give a semblance of authenticity to the assertion according to which man means "generic man" in Marx's "psychological" and "openly subjectivistic original system." What Marx was actually concerned with in this passage (see MSS of 1844, pgs. 104-105, and T.B. Bottomore's translation, pgs. 158-159) was to point, in a direct criticism of abstract philosophizing, to the unity of thinking and being, the species and the individual, finding this unity, as we have seen, in the "real individual social being" who is at the same time "a determinate species being." He did not say that they are not "distinct" - otherwise how could they possibly form a dialectical unity: the lack of distinctness would amount to a simple identity. He only insisted that, since they are not "different things" (Bottomore's translation, pg. 158), they should not be opposed to each other. In other words, this is a rejection of the Hegelian solution which declares that the individual has to accept alienation in his actual life, for the supersession of alienation (i.e. the realization of species-life) is to be achieved merely in thought, not in being: in a fictitious "transcendence" of alienation which leaves the real existence of the particular individual as alienated as before. This is what Marx was talking about, fully engaged in formulating the question of superseding alienation as a social program centered around man as a "real individual social being," in opposition to the generic character of abstract philosophizing on the one hand and to "the reestablishing of 'society' as an abstraction vis-a-vis the individual" on the other.
There is no space to go on much longer with the discussion of the numerous inconsistencies and misinterpretations we find in Tucker's book. To the examples discussed so far we can only add his treatment of the problems of (1) the division of labor; and (2) "egoistic need" and "competition."
(1) We are told that Marx's concept of the division of labor is nothing but a "translation of the original psychological term: "self-alienation" into the mystified "apparently sociological" terms of "mature Marxism." This interpretation is untenable not only because "self-alienation" for Marx has never been a merely psychological term but also because "division of labor" played an extremely important part, as we have seen, in the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844.
(2) The concepts of "money worship" and "egoistic need" are treated as unconscious projections of the psychological urge for "self-aggrandizement," and it is stated that in Capital - as a reversal of Marx's earlier position - competition is introduced as the source of the "acquisitive mania." But, we are told, this is a big mistake because "The whole system instantly collapses without the werewolf hunger for surplus value as a primary underlying postulate" (pp. 216-217).
One might ask: whose system? Marx's system or Tucker's psychiatric caricature of it? To get the answer we should read the footnote on pg. 217: "As mentioned earlier (pg. 138), Marx stated in the manuscripts of 1844, that the only wheels that set political economy in motion are greed and the war among the greedy - competition. Now he suggests that the latter sets the former in motion, or that the war is the cause of the greed. He must have been uneasily aware that the whole structure rested on the postulate of infinite greed as the driving force of capitalist production. To suggest that this could be derived from the competitive mechanism itself was a way of minimizing the total dependence of the system upon a highly questionable postulate, and at the same time of reinforcing the postulate." As a matter of fact at the place referred to by Tucker, Marx is talking about the inability of bourgeois political economy to go beyond external appearances and get to the causes. (See MSS of 1844, pg. 68. In Bottomore's even clearer version: "The only moving forces which political economy recognizes are avarice and the war between the avaricious, competition." pg. 121.) And there are many places in the Manuscripts of 1844 where Marx makes it amply clear that the accumulation of capital (and thus "greed" coupled with it) is the necessary result of competition, not its cause.
The alleged contradiction, therefore, simply does not exist in Marx. He is not concerned in the disputed passage with the "competitive mechanism" of capitalism but with its distorted reflection in the writings of bourgeois political economy. There is no trace of a psychologistic treatment of greed and competition in the Manuscripts of 1844 but, on the contrary, the clearest possible statement of Marx's rejection of the bourgeois notion of "egoistic man" (who is supposed to be selfish "by nature"). Thus the whole structure of Tucker's argument rests on a complete misunderstanding of the passage which is supposed to establish his whole case. Without his postulate of "infinite greed" (of which even in his own mistranslated version of Marx's words there is no trace) this whole amateurish psychiatry-centered construction collapses.
To sum up: reading the evidence presented by Tucker in support of his psychiatric hypothesis, we find that the whole construction is based on distortions, mistranslations, and sometimes even on a complete misunderstanding of the passages referred to. Moreover, this book is full of inconsistencies and self-contradictions. Thus the conclusion is inescapable: Marx's nonsocial, openly subjectivistic, psychological system is a myth which exists only in Tucker's imagination. Philosophy and Myth in Karl Marx is constructed around the dogmatic assertion according to which the fundamental human relationship is the individual's "intra-personal" relation to himself, and the relations of men to men are secondary, derivative, etc. No attempt is made to prove this assertion, or even to put forward a single argument in its favor. It is simply assumed by Tucker as self-evident and as the absolute standard of all evaluation. Accordingly, alienation is a merely individual matter: "No matter how many individual men may belong to this category, it is always an individual matter" (p. 240.) Thus the "supersession" of alienation must also be confined to the individual's imagination: "Only so long as an alienated man can find in himself the courage to recognize that the 'alien power' against which he rebels is a power within him, that the inhuman force which makes his life a forced labor is a force of the self, that the 'alien, hostile, powerful man' is an inner man, the absolute being of his imagination, has he hope of transcending his alienation" (pgs. 241-242). Here we can also see why this book is, despite its almost unbelievable intellectual standard, a favorite of men like Daniel Bell: for in this kind of a "radical critique of society" no mention is ever made of capitalism in a negative sense. The "radical critique of society" turns out to be a critique of the "inner man" of the isolated individual who finds in himself alone the (merely psychological) causes of his own "self-alienation," insisting that even the "forced labor" to which he is subjected under the capitalistically reified social relations of production is only "a force of the self, a feature of his own imagination."
 Daniel Bell, The End of Ideology, ed. cit., pgs. 365-366.
 Overwhelming in all works of Marx, including the tendentiously misrepresented Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844.
 Bell, The End of Ideology, ed. cit., pg. 362.
 Characteristically enough, we read in Bell's book: "The most interesting discussion of the thought of young Marx can be found in the recent study by Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition" (ed. cit., pg. 433).
 Ibid., pg. 364.
 In Marx-Engels On Religion, ed. cit., pg. 42.
 MEWE, Vol. 27, pg. 420.
 MEWE, Vol. 27, pg. 425.
 Marx-Engels, The German Ideology (Lawrence & Wishart, London, 1965), pg. 57.
 Marx, Wage-Labor and Capital, In Marx-Engels, Selected Works, ed. cit., Vol. I, pgs. 82-83.
 This is why we have to read with caution Heinemann's assertion that "existentialism is in all its forms a philosophy of crisis. It expresses the crisis of man openly and directly, whereas other schools, like that of the logical positivists, express it indirectly and unconsciously. For this reason, the fact of estrangement in its enormous complexity and many-sidedness became central with them." (F.H. Heinemann, Existentialism and the Modern Predicament, Adam & Charles Black, London, 1953, pg. 167.) That existentialism is a philosophy of crisis may be true, abstractly speaking. However, the "crisis of man" is always historically specific. In existentialism itself, it was the changing nature of this crisis that gave rise to the very different forms of the movement. It is highly inaccurate to say that the category of alienation is central in existentialism as a whole. Emmanuel Mounier is much more accurate when he writes: "One cannot discuss fundamental estrangement from a Christian standpoint. This concept of estrangement, which, from the Christian standpoint so categorically denies the Incarnation of the transcendent being in human being, is, by contrast, a prominent feature of the atheist branch of existentialism." (Existentialist Philosophies. An Introduction. Translated by Eric Blow, Rockliff, London, 1948, pgs. 35-36.) Mounier distinguishes between "fundamental estrangement" and "accidental estrangement." This latter is present, in various degrees, in the different forms of Christian existentialism as well). The general conceptual framework of a philosophical trend is modified according to the particular socio-historical situations in which the philosophers conceive their works. There are very great differences in this respect among the various trends of existentialism. In Kierkegaard's writings "alienation" is rather peripheral, as compared to those of Sartre; and there are existentialists - like Jaspers and Gabriel Marcel, for instance - who are situated somewhere between the two extremes. Besides, even when the notion of alienation plays an important part in the philosopher's system, one should not ignore the differences in the social significance of its various interpretations. In the thirties and after the war the concept of alienation started to play a greater role in the various existentialist approaches to contemporary problems, reflecting a more dynamic socio-historical situation. Mounier himself - the principal figure of existential "personalism" - reformulated in this sense the program of his movement shortly after the war, insisting that "Le personnalisme est un effort continu pour chercher les zones ou une victoire décisive sur toutes les formes d'oppression et d'aliénation, économique, sociale ou idéologique, peut déboucher sur une véritable libération de l'homme." (In L'Esprit, January 1946, pg. 13.)
 See Iring Fetscher, Marxismusstudien. In "Soviet Survey," No. 33 (July-September, 1960), p. 88.
 Jean Hyppolite, Études sur Marx et Hegel (Librairie Marcel Riviere & Cie., Paris, 1955), pgs. 101-102.
 "It is superfluous to add that men are not free to choose their productive forces - which are the basis of all their history - for every productive force is an acquired force, the product of former activity. The productive forces are therefore the result of practical human energy; but this energy is itself conditioned by the circumstances in which men find themselves, by the productive forces already won, by the social form which exists before they do, which they do not create, which is the product of the former generation. Because of this simple fact that every succeeding generation finds itself in possession of the productive forces won by the previous generation, which serve it as the raw material for new production, an inter-connection arises in human history, there is a history of humanity which has become all the more a history of humanity since the productive forces of man and therefore his social relations have been extended. Hence it necessarily follows: the social history of men is never anything but the history of their individual development, whether they are conscious of it or not. Their material relations are the basis of all their relations. These material relations are only the necessary forms in which their material and individual activity is realized." Letter to Annenkov (28 Dec. 1846), in Marx, The Poverty of Philosophy (Martin Lawrence Ltd., without date), Appendix, pgs. 152-153.
 See the Marxian expressions: "the beginning of real history" - i.e., a form of society in which human beings are in control of their life - in contrast to "prehistory" characterized by the subjection of men to the alienated social relations of production.