Do YOUR OWN HOMEWORK.
Using the word Marxism/Communism was “old school”. Is the discovery of putting a “human face” to Marxist language and pushing ethics as a means to convey their collective message the new progressive agenda?
‘Marx’s Humanism Today’
Source: Socialist Humanism, edited by Erich Fromm (New York: Doubleday), 1965;
Proofed: and corrected by Chris Clayton 2006.
Humanism gives Marx’s magnum opus its force and direction. Yet most Western scholars of Marxism are content either to leave the relationship between the now famous Economic-Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 and Capital implicit, or to make the continuity explicit only insofar as the ethical foundations of Marxism are concerned.
This leaves the door wide open for those who wish to transform Marx’s humanism, both as philosophy and as historic fact, into an abstract which would cover up concrete economic exploitation, actual lack of political freedom, and the need to abolish the conditions preventing “realization” of Marx’s philosophy, i.e., the reunification of mental and manual abilities in the individual himself, the “all-rounded” individual who is the body and soul of Marx’s humanism.
The 1844 Manuscripts didn’t just “pave the way” for “scientific socialism.” Humanism wasn’t just a stage Marx “passed through” on his voyage of discovery to “scientific economics” or “real revolutionary politics.” Humanist philosophy is the very foundation of the integral unity of Marxian theory, which cannot be fragmented into “economics,” “politics,” “sociology,” much less identified with the Stalinist monolithic creation, held onto so firmly by Khrushchev and Mao Zedong.
By splitting the category of labor into labor as activity and labor power as a commodity — as if the laborer could indeed disjoint his hands from his body and have them retain their function — Marx was able to show that, since labor power cannot be so disembodied, it is the laborer himself who enters the factory. And in the factory, continues Marx, the laborer’s ability becomes a mere appendage to a machine and his concrete labor is reduced to a mass of congealed, abstract labor.
Now there is, of course, no such creature as an “abstract laborer”; one is a miner or a tailor or a steelworker or a baker. Nevertheless, the perverse nature of capitalist production is such that man is not master of the machine; the machine is master of the man. By the instrumentality of the machine, which “expresses” itself in the ticking of a factory clock, a man’s skill becomes unimportant so long as he produces a given quantity of products in a given time. Labor time is the handmaiden of the machine which accomplishes the fantastic transformation of all concrete labors into one abstract mass.
The liberation from Western imperialism, not only in Africa but in Latin America (Fidel Castro too first called his revolution “humanist”), unfurled a humanist banner. Thereupon the Russian Communist line changed. Where, at first, it was claimed that Leninism needed no sort of humanization, nor any of the reforms proposed by the proponents of “humanist socialism,” the claim now became that the Soviets were the rightful inheritors of “militant humanism.” Thus M. B. Mitin, who has the august title of Chairman of the Board of the All-Union Society for the Dissemination of Political and Scientific Knowledge, stated that Khrushchev’s Report to the Twenty-first Congress of the Russian Communist Party was “the magnificent and noble conception of Marxist-Leninist socialist humanism.”  And in 1963, at the thirteenth International Congress of Philosophy, held in Mexico, it was the Soviet delegation that entitled one of its reports “humanism in the Contemporary World.” Thus, curiously, Western intellectuals can thank the Russian Communists for throwing the ball back to them; once again, we are on the track of discussing humanism.
Marx’s humanism was neither a rejection of idealism nor an acceptance of materialism, but the truth of both, and therefore a new unity. Marx’s “collectivism” has, as its very soul, the individualistic element. That is why the young Marx felt compelled to separate himself from the “quite vulgar and unthinking communism which completely negates the personality of man.” Because alienated labor was the essence of all that was perverse in capitalism, private or state, “organized” or “anarchic,” Marx concluded his 1844 attack on capitalism with the statement that “communism, as such, is not the goal of human development, the form of human society.” Freedom meant more, a great deal more, than the abolition of private property. Marx considered the abolition of private property to be only “the first transcendence.” Full freedom demanded a second transcendence. Four years after these humanist essays were written Marx published the historic Communist Manifesto. His basic philosophy was not changed by the new terminology. On the contrary. On the eve of the 1848 revolutions, the Manifesto proclaimed: “The freedom of the individual is the basis of the freedom of all.” At the end of his life the concept remained unchanged. His magnum opus, like his life’s activity, never deviated from the concept that only “the development of human power, which is its own end” is the true “realm of freedom.”  Again, our age should understand better than any other the reasons for the young Marx’s insistence that the abolition of private property is only the first transcendence. “Not until the transcendence of this mediation, which is nevertheless a necessary presupposition, does there arise positive Humanism, beginning from itself.”
The espousal of partiynost (party principle) as a philosophic principle is another manifestation of the dogma of “the backwardness of the masses,” by which intellectuals in state-capitalist societies rationalize their contention that the masses must be ordered about, managed, “led.” Like the ideologists in the West, they forget all too easily that revolutions do not arise in the fullness of time to establish a party machine, but to reconstruct society on a human foundation. just as partiynost, or monolithism, in politics throttles revolution instead of releasing the creative energy of new millions, so partiynost in philosophy stifles thought instead of giving it a new dimension. This is not an academic question for either the East or the West. Marxism is either a theory of liberation or it is nothing. In thought, as in life, it lays the basis for achieving a new human dimension, without which no society is truly viable. As a Marxist humanist, this appears to me the whole truth of Marx’s humanism, both as philosophy and as reality.
and the “New Left”
See Humanism in the M.I.A. Encyclopedia.
Marxist Humanism emerged in the wake of Khrushchev’s speech at the 20th Congress and the short-lived “thaw” which followed in the Sooviet Union. Partly, it was a result of disillusionment with the “state socialism” of the Eastern European states. In Yugoslavia, Tito’s regime had been relatively liberal and independent of Stalin, but humanism was also reflected in the Prague Spring, and in the more liberal regime of Edward Gierek in Poland. In the West, Marxist Humanism grew in response to the same social forces in the capitalist countries, and would burst forth in 1968 through the student uprisings beginning in Paris, and the failure of the Communist Parties to adequately respond to these sentiments. (See Eurocommunism for an alternative but not dissimilar response.)
Marxist-Humanism defines itself in opposition to “objectivist” tendencies in social theory, reflected in orthodox interpretations of “historical materialism” (See for example Stalin’s Dialectical and Historical Materialism, 1938), in which the agent of history is not human beings, but either abstract entities such as “laws of history” or inanimate entities such as “means of production.”
Marxist humanists therefore emphasise human agency and subjectivity, as against structuralist interpretations of social theory, as, for example, espoused by Louis Althusser, and place greater emphasis on ethical rather than social-theoretical problems of Marxism.
It is an irony that despite the fact that this tendency is characterised by its emphasis on subjectivity, it has existed almost entirely within the walls of the academy, characterised by its objectivity
S.D.S. and the New Left in America
The New Left in the United States emerged out of the student movement, especially S.D.S. – Students for a Democratic Society.
C. Wright Mills was not himself a student at the time, or participant in this movement but he was able to give a Marxist voice to it, and his books critising the “power elite” – later to be called the “military-industrial complex” – sold by the million.
See The Power Elite, C. Wright Mills, 1956.
It was C. Wright Mills who definined the term “New Left,” when he published an Open Letter to the New Left, addressed to the editors of the New Left Review in Britain, but indirectly addressing the new social movements in the U.S. and Europe.
C. Wright Mills died at the young age of 45, but his decidedly “beatnik” persona was continued by the younger generation of the New Left in America.
Problems of Mind
Ernest Belfort Bax
Still more important, perhaps, is the fact that what I have termed in the early part of this chapter the “larger whole,” to which the individual looks up as at once his completion and the supreme end of his conduct, is no longer a natural society with which his whole existence is interwoven, but the supernatural divinity with whom his personality is supposed to stand in direct relation. Hence the ultimate ideal, the final test of all conduct, from being the maintenance and prosperity of a kinship-society, has become the will and glory of a super-natural being. The religious sanction of ethics, in other words, from being social and human, has become personal and theological. It is no longer social custom that decides questions of right and wrong, but sacred oracles, written or otherwise. This is so nominally, at least. But even if in the earlier stages of this phase of the ethical consciousness it is also largely so in reality, it is an obvious fact that during the period of civilisation (as distinguished from that of the tribal society which preceded civilisation) it is the exigencies of the dominant classes of a given society which mainly determine the whole detail of its rules of conduct. It is the morality which is most conducive to the maintenance of the prevailing form of class-society which is covered by the theological sanction and enforced by law and public opinion. That included in this class-morality of the civilised world we should find principles of Justice common to all forms of society, goes without saying. But even these are interpreted or explained away in a sense favourable to the needs of the dominant class-society, whenever they come into conflict with the latter. This is one of the important derivative truths emphasised in the doctrine of history proclaimed by Marx and Engels.
The later aspects of this second phase of the ethical consciousness – Individualism – which is largely coterminous with the history of civilisation up to its latest development in the “Manchester school” doctrine of nineteenth-century capitalism, exhibits various and some even apparently contradictory aspects. The ethic of primitive society was, as yet, undifferentiated from its religion. Both were alike social and this-worldly, rather than personal and other-worldly. The transition from early social conditions to those of civilisation is everywhere characterised in proportion to the completeness of the change, by the separation of aspects of human life into distinct and often opposing interests. This appears in the material as well as in the intellectual and moral worlds. In the last-named, upon the demarcation of the natural from the supernatural order and of the human from the divine, the subordination of the former to the latter logically followed. To early man the gods were one with nature, and their relations similar to those of human society, or, at least, there was no clear line of cleavage between the two. In the same way every member of the tribal community was at once master and servant, the equal of other members of the tribal whole, having a share in the communal possessions and a voice in the ordering of affairs, but at the same time owing allegiance and duties to the tribe itself. With the full disruption of the tribal idea by civilisation, a form of religion, as already remarked, obtains, which claims the individual soul for its own province and human morality for a mere department of that province. At the same time, with the division of society into classes, in the main into a possessing class and a non-possessing class, religion itself becomes a mere servant of dominant class – interest and fashions morality accordingly, though without, of course, entirely suppressing the notion of Equity as its basis, the latter always remaining as a background, however obscured in practice.
To sum up in a few words the leading positions of the foregoing argument: The moral impulse, as such, is irreducible to anything beyond itself. It is an alogical ultimate, indicating that the meaning of the individual human being is not exhausted within his own personality but reaches out beyond this as an element of some larger synthesis. The nature of any system of ethic is determined by that of this larger whole into which the individual conceives himself as entering, and which he feels to be his truer life, in relation to which he, as an individual, is subordinate.
There are, in the evolution of the moral consciousness, three distinct stages traceable: 1. The ethic of early tribal society, in which the object of the moral relation is the community, of which the kinship-group is the type. At this stage the individual is merged in the social group to which he belongs. 2. Concurrently with the break-up of group-society and the rise of the autonomy of the individual, the moral basis gets shifted. Ethics, instead of implying the relation of the individual to the society without him, tends to become, primarily at least, based on a relationship between the individual, conceived now as a spiritual being or soul, and a spiritual Divinity supposed to reveal himself directly to this individual soul. Ethic now separates itself from religion, while at the same time its ultimate sanction rests in religion. This stage I have termed the individualist-mystical, or the introspective. Its ethical ideal is personal holiness as opposed to the older tribal or civic “virtue.” As a consequence, in proportion as the mystical or religious sanction is absent, or fallen into the background, does all ethics in this stage tend to become dissolved into mere atomistic individualism. The latter finds its classical formulation in the doctrine underlying the Manchester-school of economics. This second phase of the ethical consciousness has obtained, in one or other of its forms, up to the present day. A change, however, is even now making itself felt. 3. The change in question consists in a view of ethics as essentially a social matter. In this respect it represents a return to the view of the early world. But it is a return on a higher plane. The present social ethics has for its object not any limited social whole, such as that of early man, but humanity as such.
We have directed attention to the Marxian doctrine, the so-called “materialist theory of history,” in its bearing on ethics. The point of view as regards the detail of conduct in each social formation, we have found to be as pointed out by Marx, dictated mainly by the interests of the dominant classes in any given society, though purely ethical conceptions may also react on the economic society itself.
We have traced the fundamental idea at the basis of conscience and of moral conduct to be that of Equality or of Justice. This again we have pointed out as the root-principle of the revolutionary trinity – Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. But this idea of Justice itself we have traced back to its origin in that alogical somewhat, or feeling, termed Sympathy. This emotion is immediate and absolute, and hence inexpressible per se in any logical formula.
As to the new ethical attitude we have referred to as already showing itself in modern thought and feeling, and which we have forecast as indicating the dominant trend in the Ethics of Socialism, we have seen it to be the recognition of social and political life, as the object and as embodying the only sanction of conscience. Under Socialistic conditions, as we believe, this fact will be formally acknowledged, and what I have termed the third phase in the evolution of the ethical consciousness will be definitively affirmed. What the detail of the canons of action will be under the new conditions we cannot, of course, foresee with any completeness. This much, however, we may venture to predict – that some courses of conduct which are to-day regarded as coming within the purview of ethics, will cease to have any moral bearing in the society of the future, while other courses of conduct, now regarded as indifferent or even ethically commendable, will be condemned by the moral law of the time to come.
“Collective salvation”…..No one is saved unless we ALL are saved (collectivism)
Collectivism is any philosophic, political, economic or social outlook that emphasizes the interdependence of every human in some collective group and the priority of group goals over individual goals. Collectivists usually focus on community, society or nation. Collectivism has been widely used to refer to a number of different political and economic philosophies, ranging from communalism and democracy to totalitarian nationalism.
In OBAMA’s own words:
Individualism cannot stand alone with unintelligent individuals; they need to be “led” or “Nudged”
In Regulatory Czar Cass Sunstein’s own words:
Van Jones ~ Definition of Social Justice
“All born equally ignorant; we should have roughly equal chances to have good lives.”
a system of historically changing views that recognizes the value of the human being as an individual and his right to liberty, happiness, and the opportunity to develop and express his capabilities. It regards human welfare as the criterion in evaluating social institutions and regards the principles of equality, justice, and humaneness as the desired norm in relations between people.
The conceptions of humanism have a lengthy history. The motifs of humaneness and the love of humanity as well as dreams of happiness and justice can be found in the works of oral folklore, in literature, and in the moral-philosophical and religious concepts of various peoples beginning with the most ancient times. But as a system of views, humanism first took shape in the age of the Renaissance. It appeared at that time as a broad current of social thought, embracing philosophy, philology, literature, and art, and leaving its mark upon the consciousness of the epoch. Humanism took shape in the struggle against feudal ideology, religious dogmatism, and the spiritual dictatorship of the church. In reviving many literary monuments of classical antiquity, the humanists used them to develop a secular culture and educational standard. To theological and scholastic knowledge they counterposed secular knowledge; to religious ascetism they counterposed the enjoyment of life; and instead of the deprecation of man they upheld the ideal of the free, well-rounded personality.
Communism eliminates private property and the exploitation of man by man, national oppression and racial discrimination, and social antagonisms and wars. It overcomes all forms of alienation, places the achievements of science and culture at the service of humanity, and creates the material, social, and spiritual preconditions for the harmonious and all-around development of the free human personality. Under communism labor is transformed from a means to life into the primary need of life, and the highest aim of society becomes the development of the individual himself.
That is why Marx termed communism realistic and practical humanism. (See K. Marx and F. Engels, Iz rannikh proizvedenii, 1956, p. 637.)
[T]he ideas of Marxist humanism have been confirmed in real and practical ways by the humanist gains of the new social structure, which has chosen as the motto for its further development the humanist principle: “Everything for the sake of man and for the good of man.”
Notice how most Marxists/Communists/Socialists are putting names to their agenda? Then intensify rhetoric by employing “empathic”messaging and why the “ethical” solution is SPEND MORE MONEY (Borrowed from China)
“Jane Doe (fictitious name for point) works three jobs has several kids, walks because she can’t afford a car, has been foreclosed on and lost her home and still no health insurance.”
” John Doe (fictitious name for point) has worked at a factory for 15 years, been good to his employer, paid his union dues, and his job just went overseas to China. John has a wife, several kids, a large mortgage and doesn’t know what to do. John is but just ONE of millions of Americans out of work. We need Congress to approve a CAJILLION dollars to increase our debt to make sure John and his family are able to make ends meet.”
Get the picture America?