Thursday, November 14, 2013

"According to Marx's basic materialist conception, intellectual production like any other production requires a specific, concrete raw material to be transformed into thought. [...] Even in thinking, the only way to produce a real 'material' product of thought is by applying the power of thought to a material of thought which can be worked on by it. This means that Marx did not proceed to criticize the Gotha Programme by revealing the false and superficial general principle that clearly underlies all its particular sentences and demands, and then simply counterpose the truer and deeper principle of his materialism to it, in an equally general form. He proceeds inversely, by criticizing in the greatest detail each individual passage in the Programme. [...] Marx takes what at first appear to be quite harmless passages from the draft, and extracts from them all the fundamental vagueness, the timid indecision, the wordy nullity and futility contained within them. This reveals most clearly, but in a mediate way, the abysmal falsity of the basic principle underlying all these passages. This means that the fundamental conflict between the Marxist-materialist and the Lassallean-ideological conceptions of history is never stated in a general form anywhere in the letter, although from the start it governs every particular statement in it." - Karl Korsch, "Introduction to the Critique of the Gotha Programme"