“The emancipation of the German is the emancipation of the human being. The head of this emancipation is philosophy, its heart is the proletariat. Philosophy cannot be made a reality without the abolition of the proletariat, the proletariat cannot be abolished without philosophy being made a reality.” [Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Law, 1844]
Hegel’s philosophy of dialectics was in itself synthesis. It represented the response to Protestantism’s attack on the foundational Catholic philosophy that had shaped Germany and Europe for the millennia. Identifying the imperative behind this response is key to understanding the dynamic of history since the 18thC.
Marx’s battle with synthesised Germanic philosophy forced him to decamp to England, but retreat provided only temporary respite. Hegel’s dialectic and the problem of moral choice would lay siege to Marx in London and force Marxism as far west as it was possible to go- America. There was no peace for Marxism even there.
Everywhere the synthesised German philosophy held sway was hostile ground to Marxism. Everywhere synthesised German philosophy ruled, Marxism was forced to flee. Marxism could only thrive specifically where synthesised German philosophy did not. These are the true material conditions that determined the success or otherwise of Marxism in any particular time or place. It is not random chance that Marxism proliferated wherever synthesised western German philosophy failed – Russia, China, parts of the Far East and now, the modern developed nations. That’s right- Marxism rules in the west now. Marxism gained a foothold when synthesised German philosophy began its decomposition in the western world..
The Definition of Tragedy
The purpose of GUT is to describe and understand the relationship between Marxism and historical reality as we have experienced it over the past century. Was Marx essentially just an opportunist Victorian radical whose work was a reaction to the development of industrial capitalism? Or is the Marxist claim that Marx was chosen by the zeitgeist to define a new era and a new conception of history, closer to the truth?
Or is it even possible that the history into which Marxism fits points to something different but even more profound than the claims made by Marxists? I will argue that this is the case. Marxists as a whole have FAILED to understand the specific (as opposed to ‘true’), importance of Marxism and failed to communicate this specific importance to the populations of German societies. The irony is that this failure is tragedy and genuine disaster precisely for those sections of German societies who came to perceive it as victory. It is a tragedy whose magnitude and depth is only now becoming truly apparent. Defeat perceived as victory is as good a definition of tragedy as any..
The key to understanding and defining Marxism lies in the context in which Marxism came to be and in which it operated. With this in mind I will briefly survey the most important global powers around 1850 and their relative positions in the world. Foremost among the Empire powers would be the British Empire comprising of the British Isles and attendant colonies in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It had an outer core of non white populations controlled by Anglo Saxon colonial elites as in South Africa and India etc. At this time the British Empire was somewhere around the peak of it’s power.
Seconded to the British Empire is North America, about to be transformed by the American Civil War of 1861. The third tier of world powers at that time consisted of western European Latin colonisers such as France, Spain and Portugal. France was clearly fundamentally flawed internally and the other Latin nations; Spain and Portugal were heading towards military, social and economic exhaustion. As a consequence their ability to successfully exploit empire in South America and elsewhere was rapidly fading.
The Struggle To Be Last
Behind the western Europeans around 1850 is Germany- finally gaining pace in its development as a scientific and social power. The reasons for Germany’s late development as a capitalist nation state are a fundamental part of GUT. And bringing up the rear of the pack, the two wild cards that would actually shape the detailed course of the 20thC – Russia and Japan.
The two most fraught battles in any race are the battle for first and just as importantly, the battle for last place. While England and Germany fought for first, Russia and Japan were fighting to see who would come last in the league table of developed WHITE nations. Russia and Japan were in a desperate battle to see who was the most or least, ‘white’ among them. This battle would produce the Russo Japanese War and this war in turn would produce the modern world.
The two most dynamic world powers driven by the pressure for change, were heading for inevitable conflict with each other. This is the context for Marx’s prediction that capitalism would collapse. The attitude of British and German state and society to Marxism only truly makes sense in this context. Consider the viable active content of Marxism, in particular the collapse and revolution that Marx predicted. What would be the actual process of collapse? Would it be some textbook abstracted ‘workers revolution’ or would it present itself in a complex, tangential real world way? And what about the consequences of that collapse? Would the post revolutionary nations simply stop dead at the moment of revolution? Wouldn’t new forces IMMEDIATELY start to fill the vacuum left by collapsing capitalism, long before the point when it could legally be declared dead?
In truth there could never be a direct revolutionary confrontation between workers and capitalists because the forces that led to revolution would have caused each class to decompose partially or fully, before they ever got to the point of terminal confrontation! Workers are the product of capitalism not socialism. If workers really were to be the ‘gravediggers of capitalism’- who would be there to pay them? Who would be there to tell them where to dig the hole? If they could do these things without instruction and payment, they would no longer be workers. If you think about it, a ‘workers revolution’ is by definition a nonsense.. Here is a new revolutionary definition of a worker: A worker is a person who cannot think for themselves.
Marx’s analysis predicts increased international competition among various competing national bourgeoisies first economic and then military, finally leading to open conflict.. This is what happened. But both Germany and England, the two powers that would acutely express this process of competition leading to war were Germanic powers and this is fundamental to understanding the unique character of the historical developments that took place. This is not history as some abstracted map where A N Other ‘nation state’ competes with A N Other ‘nation state’, but the actual specific course of historical events in all its evidentiary detail.
Why The Russian Revolution Succeeded And Why It Failed
It is in this context that the only significant contribution to Marx’s critique of political economy outside of Marx himself was the theory of Imperialism developed by Lenin. It was his intellectual accomplishment in understanding the crisis of capitalism in its specific historical terms that led to the success of Lenin and Bolshevism. This was why the Russian revolution succeeded where so many others did not. The success of the Russian Revolution was based concretely on understanding that the crisis of capitalism was to be a specifically German crisis. Lenin’s astounding insight was realising that above all else, capitalism was German. The price that Slavs were to pay for this proclamation of historical truth came twenty years later in the Second Germanic War. Germans, both Anglo Saxon and Continental, tried to murder them all.
The First ‘War To End All Wars’
Around fifty years after the publication of Das Kapital in 1867 the two Germanic powers were plunged into the First World War or more accurately; the First Germanic War. This war fits into the very definition of ‘mutual ruination’ that Marx spoke of in the event that revolution should fail. The two leading capitalist powers at that time were effectively destroyed by the war they started. The war resulted directly in the Russian revolution and America’s consequential rise to leadership on the world stage. However, this was only the beginning. Over the subsequent two decades Germanic nations descended into madness and horror. And this historical perspective we have absolutely brings us to a clear understanding of the significance of Marxism.
Once we understand that the growth and collapse of capitalism as an economic force was to be framed within the historical context of the rise and fall of German culture and society we can understand the history of the past two centuries. The socialist struggle to avoid ‘mutual ruination’ (Marx) and ‘barbarism’ (Rosa Luxembourg), was specifically a struggle to avoid German ruination and German barbarity. It was in fact a struggle to avoid an inter Germanic war between the two poles of German culture; the Anglo Saxon and the Continental.
It was clear from Marx’s analysis that the capitalist elites of each side could never reach accommodation. They were driven to compete to the death by the very same forces that had given them social and economic life! The only way fatal competition could be avoided was if some other force in society took over and forced co-operation. Who could that be? Who could Marx and the other socialists find among the respective populations of both continental Germany and England that was so ALIENATED from existing society, so abused, and so disenfranchised that they could abandon culture, history and identity and forge a new TRANSGERMAN alliance and identity?
The answer was of course, the working class
This is what socialism actually is: a plea to the ALIENATED of both poles of Germanic society to ABANDON CULTURE, IDENTITY AND HISTORY and make common cause to avoid war and mutual destruction. A program for carrying out the seizure of power would be necessary to avoid destruction.
This endeavour is best described as German Unification Theory. or G.U.T. for short.