"There would have been Marxists, if Marx had never lived."
"Josef recalled a very old idea of his, which at the time he had considered to be blasphemous: that adherence to Communism has nothing to do with Marx and his theories; it was simply that the period gave people a way to fulfill the most diverse psychological needs: the need to look non-conformist; or the need to obey; or the need to punish the wicked; or the need to be useful; or the need to march forward into the future with youth; or the need to have a big family around you."
"Communism never existed, nor was it intended to exist. It was just another siren's song used to lure societies to their illuminazi doom."
"Despite his atheism, Marx cannot be understood without the Bible. His myth of a perfect society, surmounting history, beyond history, is in fact the Biblical myth of Paradise on Earth....What is Marxism if not Messianism?"
"Marxism is a product of the bourgeois mind."
"...businesses plan their activities-often down to the last detail. Indeed, that is where Marx got the idea of centrally planning the whole economy. When he talked about planning, there was in fact no real-life government that was practicing planning. At the time, only firms planned. What Marx predicted was taht the "rational' planning approach of the capitalism firms would eventually prove superior to the wasteful anarchy of the market and thus eventually be extended to the whole economy. To be sure, he criticized planning within the firm as despotism by capitalism, but he belied that, once private property was abolished and the capitalists eliminated, the rational elements of such despotism could be isolated and harness for the social good.
With the development of capitalism, more and more areas of the economy have become dominated by large corporations. This means that the area of the capitalism economy that is covered by planning has in fact grown. To give you a concrete example these days, depending on the estimate, between one third and one half of international trade consists of transfers among different units with transnational corporations."
Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism
"We Communists believe that capitalism is a hell in which laboring people are condemned to slavery."
-Nikita Khrushchev New York Times 1970
"Rationality is the last thing to ask of all those-and I was one of them-who took part in that chimerical enterprise. At the end of the day we built nothing that lasted: no political system, no economic system, no communities, no ethic, no aesthetic. We wanted to realize the highest human aspirations and we ended up birthing monsters."
"Far from being the science of working-class misfortune, Marxism is an intellectualist philosophy, which has seduced certain groups of the proletariat; far from being the immanent philosophy of the Proletariat, Communism merely makes use of this pseudo-science in order to attain its own end, the seizure of power."
"Marxism is a religion. To the believer it presents, first, a system of ultimate ends that embody the meaning of life and are absolute standards by which to judge events and actions; and secondly, a guide to those ends which implies a plan of salvation and the indication of the evil from which mankind, or a chosen section of mankind, is to be saved. "
"Karl Marx is one of the most influential figures in human history. Judged by the number of those who have regarded themselves his followers, and of the organizations set up by them, he has inspired the greatest mass movement of all times. This movement transcends national, racial, and continental boundaries. Only in Anglo-Saxon communities has he had a comparatively small following, to some extent because of the use made of his ideas elsewhere. The result is that England and particularly the United States , he is often condemned without even being read. On the other hand, in some regions of the rest of the world, a new religion has arisen which proclaims that History is God and Karl Marx its chief prophet"
Marx and the Marxists
"There is a deep and bitter irony in the fact that another deep reader of man's economic nature-and arguably the most astute interpreter of capitalism despite the tragic misreading that his work has engendered-sits at the opposite end of the ideological spectrum from Adam Smith. But a careful reading of Adam Smith and Karl Marx shows that these two thinkers share much more than is commonly believed. As we pick up the pieces of a world economy that was almost destroyed by the credit crisis of 2008, Marx's stinging comment about history repeating itself first as tragedy and then as farce mocks capitalism's compulsion to repeat the mistakes of the past. Marx's economic theories are highly complex and go far beyond the concept of class struggle for which he is best known. Indeed, it would be difficult to discuss the death of capital without addressing one of capital's most important critics. Despite the proclivity on the part of U.S. economic commentators to dismiss Marx as a crackpot, his writings offer profound insights into capitalism and capitalist processes. In fact, his work has been regaining its reputation in the wake of the financial crisis."
The Death of Capital
"The perfecting of machinery is making human labor superfluous....Thus it comes about, to quote Marx, that machinery becomes the most powerful weapon in the war of capital against the working class; that the instruments of labor constantly tear the means of subsistence out of the hands of the laborer; that the very product of the worker is turned into an instrument for his subjugation."
"It may be appropriate to remind those who may be inclined to treat Marx as a mere revolutionary or hot partisan that he was more than that. He was a doctor of philosophy from a German university, possessing the hallmark of the scholar. He was a student of Greek and Latin learning. He read, besides German, his native tongue, Greek, Latin, French, English, Italian, and Russian. He was widely read in contemporary history and economic thought. Hence, however much one may dislike Marx's personal views, one cannot deny to him wide and deep knowledge-and a fearless and sacrificial life. He not only interpreted history, as everyone does who writes any history, but he helped to make history. Possibly he may have known something."
Charles A. Beard
American Historical Review, Oct 1935
"It is one of the peculiar ironies of history that there are no limits to the misunderstanding and distortion of theories, even in an age when there is unlimited access to the sources; there is no more drastic example of this phenomenon that what has happened to the theory of Karl Marx in the last few decades. There is continuous reference to Marx and to Marxism in the press, in the speeches of politicians, in books and articles written by respectable social scientists and philosophers; yet with few exceptions, it seems that the politicians and newspapermen have never as much as glanced at a line written by Marx, and that the social scientists are satisfied with a minimal knowledge of Marx. Apparently they feel safe in acting as experts in this field, since nobody with power and status in the social-research empire challenges their ignorant statements."
Marx's Concept of Man
"The reductio ad absurdium of Marxism is the case of Marx himself. if the Marxist diagnosis of the economic motivation of human behavior is correct, then Marx's own career must be the exception that proves the rule. The middle-class son of an affluent Jewish lawyer who converted to Protestantism. Marx had aspirations toward the aristocracy, as evidenced by his marriage to jenny von Westphalen, the daughter of a government official who was a member of the petty nobility. What class motivation could possibly have influenced Marx to take up the cause of the proletariat? As a member of a minority, however, his social climbing, his self-serving dogmatism, and his hatred of nineteenth-century European civilization become more understandable. What is more, like all professional dogmatists. Marx was loathe to practice what he preached. At the very time he was finishing his masterwork, Das Kapital, he invested heavily and foolishly in the London stock market and had to call on his banker uncle Philips, whose descendants founded the giant Dutch electronics firm of the same name, to bail him out. " See the German periodical, Capital. Hamburg June 1970 p166
The Dispossessed majority
"Theoretical Marxism, as realized in Russian Bolshevism, has acquired the energy and the self-contained exclusive character of a Weltanschauung, but at the same time an uncanny likeness to what it is fighting against....Though originally....built....upon science and technology, it has created a prohibition of thought which is just as ruthless as was that of religion in the past. any critical examination of Marxist theory is forbidden, doubts of its correctness are punished in the same way as heresy was once punished in the Catholic Church. The writings of Marx have taken the place of the Bible....though they would seem to be no more free from contradictions....than those older sacred books."
"Even if one, as I do, deeply regrets the fact that a distorted and degraded "Marxism" is preached in almost one-third of the world, this fact does not diminish the unique historical significance of Marx. But quite aside from this historical fact, I consider Marx, the thinker, as being of much grater depth and scope than Freud. Marx was capable of connecting a spiritual heritage of the enlightenment humanism and German idealism with the reality of economic and social facts, and thus to lay the foundations for a new science of man and society which is empirical and at the same time filled with the spirit of the Western humanist tradition...."
"Although humanist Marxism is fundamentally discredited by its Stalinist and post-Stalinist practice, and has recently attracted more obloquy by the destruction of 'socialism with a human face' in Czechoslovakia in 1968, its uninterrupted activity is astonishing. Its vitality in face of all the factual evidence seems to lie in the analytical power of its criticism and even more in the mobilizing power of its 'dream of the future'. The 'homelessness' of the Left in both West and East is only the reverse side of its certainty for the future. Much the same could probably be said of authentic Christian faith. The best of its content seems to be refuted by the vagaries and confusions of church history down to the present day. And yet it displays its vitality in permanent reformations, and in spite of all proof to the contrary, lives by the experience of in-extinguishable hope. It is this inner homelessness which enables it to perpetuate its institutions, even when they become an established part of society."
The Crucified God
"Communism is what Karl Marx hoped could be an economic scheme for making industrialized nations take as good care of people, and especially of children and the old and disabled, as tribes and extended families used to do, before they were dispersed by the Industrial Revolution."
-Kurt Vonnegut At Clowes Hall, Indianapolis, April 27, 2007
"But there are still plenty of people who will tell you that the most evil thing about Karl Marx was what he said about religion. he said it was the opium of the lower classes, as though he thought religion was bad for people, and he wanted to get rid of it.
but when Marx said that, back in the 1840s, his use of the word "opium" wasn't simply metaphorical. Back then real opium was the only painkiller available, for toothaches to cancer of the throat, or whatever. he himself had used it.
As a sincere friend of the downtrodden, he was saying he was glad they had something which ease their pain at least a little bit, which was religion. he liked religion for doing that, and certainly didn't want to abolish it, OK?"
At Clowes Hall, Indianapolis, April 27,2007
"the communist is an ingenious self-deceiver who somehow avoids, for the time being, committing suicide. Leave suicide, as a specialty, to the Gerondists, anarchists, Objectivists, Libertarians, conservatives and liberal Democrats. (I.e., to the most ineffectual types). Suicide is not for the communist. He would rather have the whole world die than his ideology lose its place of power. That is the definition which suicide assumes in the communist lexicon.
Marxist-Leninist doctrine derives its prestige from the following: 1. It determines ultimate goals. 2. it frees from moral inhibitions. 3. It justifies acts of aggression and terror on the basis of promises concerning the future; 4. it believes in the inevitability of its own victory. "
The Origins of the Fourth World War
"Thus, the purely capitalist or the purely socialist country is like a stroke patient who denies the existence of her right or left hand. The fact that the ideological distinction is artificial was first spotted by Albert Camus, who pointed out that both Western industrialism and its communist version achieve similar results through similar means-industrialization and specialization of labor. In the 1950s in Defence de L'Homme Revolte, Camus accurately predicted that if the communist experiment were to fail, this would be misunderstood, as an ideological victory by the West."
Camus also indicated a specific failure of both systems: their inability to provide creative, meaningful work. We see this failure in the very high rates of depression. we attempt to define depression as a psychological ailment, but it is a symptom of a cultural failure: the inability to make life meaningful or enjoyable. Depression in the face of depressing circumstances is a symptom of unconscious rebellion. although the rebellious can are medicated into submission, this does not address the underlying problem."
Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Example and American Prospects
"Most Americans have heard of communism, and automatically believe that it is an apt description of the Soviet system, even though there was nothing particularly communal about a welfare state and a vast industrial empire run by an elitist central planning bureaucracy. But very few of them have ever heard of the real operative "ism" that dominated Soviet life: "dofenism", which can be loosely translated as "not giving a rat's ass." a lot of people, more and more during the "stagnation" period of the 1980s,, felt nothing but contempt for the system, did what little they had to do to get by (night watchman and furnace stoker were favorite jobs among the highly educated) and got all their pleasure from their friends, from their reading or from nature."
"The crescendo of Christian (largely Protestant) association with the Communist movement in the United States was signaled in a statement by J.B. Matthews, an aide to Senator Joseph McCarthy, in his 1953 article, "Reds and Our Churches." His provocative opening comment, "The largest single group supporting the Communist apparatus in the United States today is composed of Protestant clergymen," drew praise for its candor from the right wing of American Christianity and criticism from the left wing for its defamatory and hate-inspiring consequences. Matthews' accusation illustrated the deep political divide that separated American Christians, and his comment reflected the nation's fear that communist philosophy had penetrated to the heart of American culture and threatened to undermine its sacred democracy."
God and Money: The moral challenge of capitalism
"The religious quality of Marxism also explains a characteristic attitude of the orthodox Marxist toward opponents. To him, as to any believer in a faith, the opponent is not merely in error but in sin. Dissent is disapproved of not only intellectually but also morally."
-Joseph A. Schumpeter (1883-1950) Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy
"Marxism is a religion. To the believer it presents, first, a system of ultimate ends that embody the meaning of lfie and are absolute standards by which to judge events and actions; and , secondly, a guide to those ends which implies a plan of salvation and the indication of the evil from which mankind, or a chosen section of mankind is to be saved."
"Communism is obsessed with a hatred of ways of life other than its own and is afraid that unless these are swept away they will eventually overcome it."
-Cyril Forster Garbett, D.D.
"How can one justify the fact that huge sums of money, which could and should be used for increasing the development of peoples, are instead utilized for the enrichment of individuals or groups, or assigned to increase of stockpiles of weapons, both in developed countries and developing one, thereby upsetting real priorities.?
-Pope John Paul VI
"Communism is the positive abolition of private property, of human self-alienation, and thus the real appropriation of human nature through and for man. It is therefore the return of man himself as a social, i.e., really human, being....""
"Communism is the exploitation of the strong by the weak. In communism, inequality springs from placing mediocrity on a level with excellence."
"This government will not content itself with administering and governing the masses politically, as all governments do today. It will also administer the masses economically, concentrating in the hands of the State the production and division of wealth, the cultivation of land....All that will demand....the reign of scientific intelligence, the most aristocratic, despotic, arrogant, and elitist of all regimes. There will be a new class, a new hierarchy....the world will be divided into a minority ruling in the name of knowledge, and an immense ignorant majority. And then, woe unto the mass of ignorant ones!"
Mikhail Bakunin (1872)
"Communism, though it be at present but little discussed, and now years away its life in forgotten garrets on wretched straw pallets, is still the gloomy hero to whom a great if transitory role is assigned in the modern tragedy and which only awaits its cue to enter the stage."
"This Communism, so threatening to my peace of mind, so opposed to my interests, casts a spell over me. I cannot struggle against its logic....let the old social order be destroyed.....Let right be done, though the world perish.""
"Mr. Marx does not believe in God, but he believes deeply in himself. His heart is filled not with love but with rancor. He has very little benevolence toward men and becomes....furious and spiteful....when any dares question the omniscience of the divinity whom he adores, that is to say Mr. Marx himself."
Michail Bakunin (1872)
"Marxism is a religion. To the believer, it presents, first, a system of ultimate ends that embody the meaning of life and absolute standards to judge events and actions. It offered a "plan of salvation" to its disciples, for which a "chosen section of mankind" could be "saved"
Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy
"The religion of Marxism is the falsification of knowledge....whence comes this fierce hatred of intellectuals for the least barbaric societies of hamn history, and this rage to destroy the only civilization to date that have emphatically conferred a dominant rule on intelligence."
-Jean Francis Revel
The Flight from Truth: The Reign of Deceit in the Age of Information
"Marxism is the most religious of all religions and the Marxist the most deeply religious of men."
A. V. Lunarcharsky
"The socialist future smells of knouts, of blood, of godlessness and very many beatings...it is only with dread and horror that I think of the time when those dark iconoclasts will come to power."
"Mr. Marx is immensely malicious, vain, quarrelsome, as intolerant and autocratic as Jehovah, the God of his fathers, and like him, insanely vindictive. There is no lie, no calumny, which he is not capable of using against anyone who has incurred his jealousy or his hatred; he will not stop at the basest intrigue if, in his opinion, it will serve to increase his position, his influence, and his power. Such are his vices, but he also has many virtues. He is very intelligent, and widely learned. In about 1840 he was the life and soul of a very remarkable circle of radical Hegalians-Germans whose consistent cynicism left far behind even the most rabid nihilists."
"I have never seen a man whose bearing was so provoking and intolerable. To no opinion which differed from his own did he accord the honor of even condescending consideration; every argument that he did not like he answered either with biting scorn at the unfathomable ignorance that prompted it, or opprobrious aspersions upon the motives of him who had advanced it. I remember most distinctly the word bourgeois; and as a bourgeois-that is, as a detestable example of the deepest mental and moral degeneracy-he denounced everyone who dared to oppose his opinions."
" I called myself a Marxist from the time I became a Socialist. But, reading more history at Oxford, I began to feel that Marxism did not work. Consider the famous sentence in the Communist Manifesto: "The history of all hitherto recorded society is the history of class struggles." Very impressive but not true. Perhaps all history ought to have been the history of class struggles, but things did not work out that way. There have been long periods of class collaboration and many struggles that were not about class at all. I suppose my mind is too anarchic to be fitted into any system of thought. Like Johnson' s friend Edwards , I too, tried to be a Marxist but common sense kept breaking in."
Accident Prone, or what happened Next-Journal of Modern History 49(March 1977)p,4
"In the chapter titled, "The Myth of the Proletariat," Aron shows that the Marxist definition of this "class" does not correspond to any really existing social entity; there are industrial workers, of course, but their way of seeing this is simply not what Marxists say it is, quite apart from what should be the obvious act that three industrial workers might very well have three entirely different world-views, since they are individual human persons capable of thinking for themselves. Once the Marxist taxonomy of society is thus exposed as erroneous, the entire structure begins to collapse
With so much supposedly at stake, now wonder Marxist-inspired historians (literary critics, art historians, ad infinitum) are prepared to revise history as it is presented in their disciplines so as to provide sanction for the revolutionized utopia they envision for the future."
The American Conservative Dec 15, 2003
"The socialist crusader interprets the conduct of others according to his own idea of History....Because he proclaims the universal truth of a single view of History, he reserves the right to interpret the past as he pleases."
"When Stalin says dance, a wise man dances."
"If there was anything worse than having dinner with Stalin, it was having to go on a vacation with him."
"I want to emphasize the irony which lies in the fact that the description given of the aim of Marx and of the content of his vision of socialism, fits almost exactly the reality of present day Western capitalist society. The majority of people are motivated by a wish for greater material gain, for comfort and gadgets, and this wish is restricted only by the desire for security and the avoidance of risks. They are increasingly satisfied with a life regulated and manipulated, both in the sphere of production and of consumption , by the state and the big corporations and their respective bureaucracies; they have reached a degree of conformity which has wiped out individuality to a remarkable extent. They are to use Marx ' s term, impotent "commodity men " serving virile machines . The very picture of mid-twentieth century capitalism is hardly distinguishable from the caricature of Marxist socialism as drawn by its opponents. "
Marx' s Concept of Man
"China's Communist leaders have concocted an "authoritarian capitalism" that could be as exploitative as anything Marx-or Mao-ever envisioned. Free markets and private enterprise, generated wealth and prosperity, but unrestrained by democratic institutions, they also produced grim work conditions: without trade unions, a free press, independent courts or elections, workers have little leverage with their employers and no way to remove corrupt officials, who often collude with business interests....No one benefited more from the shift to capitalism than party officials and those with connections to them....The party's betrayal of its founding ideology, the logic-defying contortions that the propagandists used to explain the reversal, the blunt calculus that holding on to power was an end that justified any means-it all bred a cynicism in the party ranks, and access to the riches of the booming economy quickly warped the party-state..."
-Philip P. Pan
Out of Mao's Shadow: The Struggle for the Soul of a New China
"Another reason lies in the fact ,that the Russian Communists appropriated Marx’s theory and tried to convince the world that their practice and theory follow his ideas. Although the opposite is true, the West accepted their propagandistic claims and has come to assume that Marx' s position corresponds to the Russian's view and practice. However, the Russian Communists are not the only ones guilty of misinterpreting Marx. While the Russian's brutal contempt for individual dignity and humanistic values is, indeed, specific for them, the misinterpretation of Marx as the proponent of an economist-hedonistic materialism has also been shared by many of the anti-communist and reformed socialists. The reasons are not difficult to see. While Marx's theory was a critique of capitalism, many of his adherents were so deeply imbued with the spirit of capitalism that they interpreted Marx's thought in the economist and materialistic categories that are prevalent in contemporary capitalism. "
"The Communists, with their methods, instead of putting the people on the path to Communism, will finish by making them hate its very name. Perhaps they are sincere, but their system hinders them from introducing in practice the least principle of Communism. And, seeing that the revolutionary work does not advance, they augur from this 'that the people are not ready to swallow their decrees, that there must be time, and diversions.' It is logical: the history of political revolutions repeats itself. The saddest thing is that they recognize nothing, do not wish to acknowledge their errors, and every ay take away from the masses a fragment of the conquests of the revolution, to the profit of the Centralizing State."
Prince Peter Kropotkin1920
"Proletarianism , in its various forms ranging from strict Marxism to vague "democracy"....(is) self-satisfied to a degree perhaps beyond the self-satisfaction of any recorded aristocracy. They are convinced that whatever may be wrong with the world it cannot be themselves. Someone else must be to blame for every evil. Hence, when the existence of God is discussed, they by no mans think of Him as their Judge. On the contrary, they are His judges. If He puts up a reasonable defense they will consider it and perhaps acquit Him. They have no feelings of fear, guilt, or awe. They think, from the very outset, of God's duties to them, not their duties to Him. And God's duties to them are conceived not in terms of salvation but in purely secular terms-social security, prevention of war, a higher standard of life. "Religion" is judged exclusively by its contribution to these ends."
Present Concerns: Essays by C .S. Lewis
"Marxian Socialism must always remain a portent to the historians of opinion-how a doctrine so illogical and so dull can have exercised so powerful and enduring an influence over the minds of men, and, through them, the events of history."
John Maynard Keynes
The End of Laissez-Faire 1925
"Socialism will be decreed from behind a few official desks by a dozen intellectuals."
Rosa Luxembourg (Prediction about "Bolshevism")
"The basic difference between capitalism and communism
is that under capitalism man exploits man,
and under communism it's the other way around."
-John Kenneth Galbraith
"I could not and cannot fetch the doctor, because I have no money for the medicine. For the last eight or ten days I have fed my family on bread and potatoes, and today it is still doubtful whether I shall be able to obtain even these. "
Karl Marx (a letter to Engel’s)
"I have friends among the Communists . Some of them are like sons to me. But it seems they do not make any distinction between fair and foul , truth and falsehood. . .They seem to take their instructions from Russia, which they regard as their spiritual home rather than India. I cannot countenance this dependence on an outside power. "
"There is no greater misunderstanding or misrepresentation of
Marx than that which is to be found , implicitly or explicitly, in the
thought of the Soviet communists , the reformist socialists, and the
capitalist opponents of socialism alike, all of whom assume that Marx
wanted only the economic improvement of the working class , and that he
wanted to abolish private property so that the worker would win what the
capitalist now has.
The truth is that for Marx the situation of a worker in a Russian "socialist" factory, a British state-owned factory, or an American factory such as General Motors, would appear essentially the same. "
"Marx did not foresee the extent to which alienation was to become the fate of the vast majority of people, especially of he ever increasing segment of the population which manipulate symbols and men, rather than machines. If anything, the clerk, the salesman, the executive, are even more alienated today than the skilled manual worker. "
There are perhaps few marriages known to the world which were a human fulfillment in such an extraordinary way as was that of Karl and Jenny Marx. He , the son of a Jewish lawyer , fell in love as an adolescent with Jenny von Westphalen, the daughter of a Prussian feudal family, and a descendant of one of the oldest Scottish families. They married when he was twenty-four years of age, and he survived her death by only a little over a year. This was a marriage in which, despite the differences in background, despite a continual life of material poverty and sickness, there was unwavering love and mutual happiness, possible only in the case of two people with an extraordinary capacity for love, and deeply in love with each other. "
(Fromm forgets the unfortunate incident of Marx impregnating the maid)
"According to the materialist conception of history the determining element in history is ultimately the production and reproduction in real life. More than this neither Marx nor I have ever asserted. If, therefore, somebody twists this into the statement that the economic element is the only determining one. he transforms it into a meaningless, abstract and absurd phrase , "
"Communism....is the name we apply to a system under which people become accustomed to the performance of public duties without any specific machinery of compulsion, when unpaid work for the common good becomes the general phenomenon."
Selected Works, Vol ,8,p.239
"Communism is the religion of poverty."
LENINISM was built to analyze a world in which all the structures were made of steel-now the sinews of society are founded on transistors so small a Dragon Lady could hide them beneath her nail."
"Marxism possesses, of course, a logic of its own and through a materialist interpretation of human existence, leads the victim to his own negation, to the negation of his very personality, under the fallacious pretext that whenever he says "I" or "mine" he is guilty of the most sordid selfishness."
Arnold C . Brackman
The Last Emperor
"If humanity is shaped by its surroundings, its surroundings must be made human. "
"Marx only became so influential because Lenin studied him."
"The socialist crusader interprets the conduct of others according to his own idea of History.....Because he proclaims the universal truth of a single view of History, he reserves the right to interpret the past as he pleases."
"Among all the misunderstandings there is probably none more widespread than the idea of Marx's materialism. "Marx is supposed to have believed that the paramount psychological motive in man is his wish for monetary gain and comfort, and that this striving for maximum profit constitutes the main incentive in his personal life and in the life of the human race. Complementary to this idea is the equally widespread assumption that Marx neglected the importance of the individual; that he had neither respect nor understanding for the spiritual needs of man, and that his "ideal" was the well-fed and well-clad, but "soulless" person. Marx's criticism of religion was held to be identical with the denial of all spiritual values, and this seemed all the more apparent to those who assume that belief in God is the condition for a spiritual orientation. This view of Marx then goes on to discuss his socialist paradise as one of millions of people who submit to an all-powerful state bureaucracy, people who have surrendered their freedom, even though they might have achieved equality; these materially satisfied "individuals" have lost their individuality and have been successfully transformed into millions of uniform robots and automatons, led by a small elite of better-fed leaders. Suffice it to say at the outset that this popular picture of Marx' s "materialism"-his anti-spiritual tendency, his wish for uniformity and subordination-is utterly false. Marx's aim was that of the spiritual emancipation of man, of his liberation from the chains of economic determination, of restituting him in his his human wholeness, of enabling him to find unity and harmony with his fellow man and with nature. Marx's philosophy was, in secular, nontheistic language, a new and radical step forward in the tradition of prophetic Messianism; it was aimed at the full realization of individualism, the very aim which has guided Western thinking from the Renaissance and the Reformation far into the nineteenth century. "
Marx' s Concept of Man
"Marxism is essentially a product of the bourgeois mind."
Joseph Alis Schumpeter
Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy 1942
"He who places his trust in the Marxian synthesis as a whole, in order to understand present situations and problems, is apt to be woefully wrong."
"There is little reason to believe that this socialism will mean the advent of the civilization of which orthodox socialists dream. It is much more likely to present fascist features. That would be a strange answer to Marx's prayer. But history sometimes indulges in jokes of questionable taste."
"The old principle, who does not work shall not eat, has been replaced by a new one , who does not obey does not eat . "
"I sometimes think that what people in the west dislike about Soviet Russia is not the bad things in Soviet Russia but the good ones. It is not so much that people dislike the labour camps, the suppression of freedom of thought, the constant thought control, the secret police. What many people really dislike is that Russia has no capitalists and no private land- lords. Marxism-which is after all a perfectly legitimate and coherent system of economic thought-is now used as a term of abuse and it is supposed that anyone who is a Marxist can hardly be British at all, even though Marxism was after all invented in the British Museum. No system of thought is more fully integrally British than Marxism but this not how people think of it nowadays. "
How Wars Begin
"After 50 years of unrestricted domination over the minds of a whole nation our leadership apparently fears even the slightest hint of any discussion. A party with such methods of persuasion and education can hardly claim to be the spiritual leader of mankind . "
"That minority (the rulers), the Marxists say, will consist of workers. Yes, perhaps of former workers. And these, as soon as they become rulers or representatives of the people, will cease to be workers, and will begin to look down upon the entire world of manual workers from the heights of the State. They will no longer represent the people, but themselves and their own pretensions to rule the people. Whoever has any doubts about that does not know human nature. But these selected men will be ardently convinced, and at the same time learned, socialists. The term 'scientific socialism', which continually occurs in the works of Lassalle and of the Marxists, proves that the alleged People's State will be nothing else but the quite despotic rule over the popular masses by a new and not very numerous aristocracy of real or spurious savants. The mass is uneducated, which means tht it will be completely free from the worries of government; that it will be included in the ruled herd....
They (the Marxists) will concentrate the reins of government in a strong hand, because the ignorant people are in need of quite a firm guardianship. They will establish a single State Bank that will concentrate in its hands all commercial-industrial, agricultural and even scientific production; and the mass of the people will be divided into two armies, the industrial and the agricultural, which will be under the direct command of government engineers who will constitute a new privileged class."
Michael Bakunin (1873)
"In short, I believe that Marxism is based on the big lie. Even if it were perfectly practiced as desired by its youthful followers, that lie would still prevent the total realization of Self and still foster the selfish idealism of those arrogant, insensitive people who think they can say for another what he should do with the precious gift of life."
"It destroys everything and everyone....a darkness; a paralysis; in
the country, a blight, sterility; shouting monotonously its empty
formula-classless, socialist society-it attacks with methodical barbarity,
not only men and classes and institutions, but the soul of a society. It
tears up society by the root and leaves it dead. "If we go" Lenin
said, " we shall slam the door on an empty house."
"Pol Pot's regime repudiated the very idea of economic progress, seeking to transport Cambodia back into a pre-industrial, pre-commercial, pre-capitalist utopia. 'Year Zero' was proclaimed. The towns were to be emptied. All markets were to be abolished. There would be no money. Everyone would now work in agricultural cooperatives, where there would be no private property. They would dress only in black. They would eat communally. The aim was to produce 'Kampuchea'" a pure communist agrarian state. Every form of Western contamination was to be eradicated, even modern medicine. And as far as the Khmer Rouge were concerned, it did not much mater how many people died in the process. As they told the bewildered city-dwellers, the so-called 'New People' who had not been on the right side during the civil war; 'To preserve you is no gain, to destroy you is no loss.' Destruction was indeed Pol Pot's only forte, since his sole venture into construction-a complex of new canals and dams intended to rival the temples of Angkor Wat-ended in abject failure. The main supporters of the previous regime were executed in short order, along with their families. Anyone who question Angkar-'the Organization'-was treated in the same way. Even to be ill was to betray a 'lack of revolutionary consciousness'. As in China's Cultural Revolution, teachers were viewed with suspicion, but so too were students and university graduates. The Khmer Rouge were short of bullets, so they used axes, knives and bamboo sticks. Children selected for execution had their heads smashed against banyan trees. Executions were often carried out with a pickaxe in the rice paddies-the so-called killing fields. The Toul Sleng prison became an 'extermination centre', where some 14,000 people were tortured to death, many of the Khmer Rouge cadres who had fallen under suspicion. Some victims were publicly disemboweled, their livers cooked and eaten by their executioners. It was not unusual for a revolution to devour its own children; only in Cambodia were they sometimes literally devoured. In all, between 1.5 and 2 million people died as a result of execution, maltreatment or starvation, out of a total population of only seven million."
The War of the World
"The Monuments have fallen now and the faces are changed. In the graveyards the martyrs have been rehabilitated and everywhere the names have been restored. The Soviet Union, once hailed by progressives everywhere as "one-sixth of mankind on the road to the future." no longer exists. Leningrad is St. Petersburg again. The radical project to change the world has left behind a world in ruin. In a revolutionary eye blink, a bloody lifetime has passed into history. Once vacancies memorialize a catastrophe whose human sum can never be calculated. "
The Politics of Bad Faith
"The contrast between Marx and Freud with regard to history is quite clear. Marx had an unbroken faith in man's perfectibility and progress, rooted in the Messianic tradition of the West from the prophets through Christianity, the Renaissance, and Enlightenment thinking. Freud, especially the Freud after the First World War, was a skeptic. he saw the problem of human evolution as an essentially tragic one. Whatever man did, it ended in frustration; if he should return to become a primitive again, he would have pleasure, but no wisdom; if he goes on as a builder of ever more complicated civilizations, he becomes wiser, but also unhappier and sicker. For Freud, evolution is an ambiguous blessing, and society does as much harm as it does good. For Marx, history is a march toward man's self-realization; society, whatever the evils produced by any given society may be, is the condition for man's self-creation and unfolding. The "good society" for Marx becomes identical with the society of good men, that is, of fully developed, sane, and productive individuals."
-Erich Fromm: Beyond the chains of Illusion: My Encounter with Marx and Freud
"I is indeed one of the most drastic examples of man's capacity for distortion and rationalization that Marx is attacked by the spokesmen for capitalism because of his allegedly "materialistic" aims. Not only is this not true, but what is paradoxical is that the same spokesmen for capitalism combat socialism by saying that the profit motive-on which capitalism is based, is the only potent motive for human creative activity, and that socialism could not work effectively because it excludes the profit motive as the main stimulus in the economy. All this is even more complex and paradoxical if one considers that Russian communism has adopted this capitalist thinking, and that for Soviet managers, workers, and peasants, the profit motive is by far the most important incentive in the present Soviet economy. Not only in practice but often also in theoretical statements about human motivation, the Soviet System and the capitalist system agree with each other, and both are equally in contradiction to Marx's theories and aims."
"Simply put, Marxism is based on a false idea of human selflessness and can therefore never work because the power seekers will benefit even more ruthlessly than the money seekers benefit in the Western Democratic system."
"We are still left with that (now) unforgivable fact that some of the most socially concerned, hopeful-for-the-future, dedicated souls connived at the crimes in the Communist world, by refusing to recognize them and, then, by refusing to acknowledge them openly. Not ten, or a hundred, or a thousand, but many thousands, millions all over the world. And this attitude-reluctance to criticize the Soviet Union, the great alma mater-goes on now and is shown by the way Hitler is put in the position of chief criminal of our times, whereas Stalin, a thousand times worse-and Hitler admired Stalin, quite properly seeing himself as a mere infant in crime compared to his great exemplar-is still handled gently in the imaginations of people on the Left."
Walking in the Shade
"Have you noticed how after forty years of Communism, the bourgeoisie landed on its feet again in just a few days? They survived in a thousand ways-some of them jailed, some thrown out of their jobs, others who even did very nicely, had brilliant careers, ambassadors, professors. Now their sons and grandsons are back together again, a kind of secret fraternity, they've taken over the banks, the newspapers, the parliament, the government."
"Get out! Last words are for fools who haven't said enough!"
-Karl Marx's last words
"the true Sovietists or Communists....are the industrialists themselves. They would have the government set up an economic super-organization , which in turn would become the government."
I'll Take My Stand see Wendell Berry in The Fatal Harvest Reader: The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture
"The Marxist had wasted the forces of revolution for fifty years, he had no vision; he had only a condemnation for established things."
"....After the fall of Somoza, a kind of euphoria about Marxism gripped the minds of many-bishops, Jesuits, Maryknoll missionary priests and diocesan priests, and layfolk. Nor were Catholics alone in this. Five Protestant pastors issued a statement in 1979 claiming that "Christians can honestly use Marxist analyses without ceasing to be Christians, " and that "Marxists can experience faith in Christ without ceasing to be revolutionary."
Indeed, euphoria seemed to run as out of spigots, to flood the world. Poet-priest Ernesto Cardenal wrote in the April 1980 issue of One World, the organ of the World Council of Churches, "This is a revolution that carries a deep sign of Christian love. It is enough that you look at the faces of the young Sandinistas who carry weapons in our streets. In them there is no hatred, their look is clean, their eyes shine, and their hearts sing."
The Reverend Ian Murray, Chairman of the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF), dutifully visited Nicaragua and looked at all those young faces. He gave the Sandinistas his "unqualified support" because "in Nicaragua it is almost as though an attempt has been made to implement the Beatitudes."
Father Carney, a Jesuit working among Guatemala's poorest, wrote ecstatically about "this wonderful, popular, Sandinista revolutionary process" and about "the intimate relationship between Sandinism, as it is lived today in Nicaragua, and Christianity", and he spoke about his work "with the lay leaders and many good Christian revolutionary Delegates of the Word, most of whom belong to the Sandinista Militia."
The Jesuits: The Society of Jesus and the Betrayal of the Roman Catholic Church
"Marx's philosophy entailed some practical consequences which would bring indescribable suffering and misery to mankind: private property and the market were to be abolished and replaced by universal and all-embracing planning-an utterly impossible project. It was noticed towards the end of the 19th century, mainly by anarchists, that so conceived, the Marxist doctrine was good blueprint for converting human society into a giant concentration camp: to be sure, this was not Marx's intention, but it was an inevitable effect of the glorious and final benevolent utopia he devised."
Main Currents of Marxism
"Communism is the exploitation of the strong by the weak. In communism, inequality springs from placing mediocrity on a level with excellence."
"In a short space of time Watt taught me a great deal about Marxism, totalitarianism and the state. The danger of Marxism, he used to say, is that it is temptingly simple. he considered it a half-truth. While all the other great religions (he called Marxism a secular religion) dealt only with life. In place of the Marxist doctrine of class war, Watt advocated cooperation based on Christian charity and recognition of the dignity of labour. Not that he refused to give Marx his due. he considered Marx's protest against the social conditions of the time and his grandeur of conception admirable."
Beyond nab End
"With disdain I will throw my gauntlet
Full in the face of the world,
And see the collapse of this pygmy giant
Whose fall will not stifle my ardour.
Then will I wander godlike and victorious
Through the ruins of the world
And, giving my words an active force,
I will feel equal to the Creator."
Workers of the world....forgive me.
-Graffiti on a statue, Moscow 1991
".....Those who assume that Marxism is a relic (that only professors toy with) should be reminded that the average college graduate unconsciously takes more of Marx with him into the world than anything else. We cannot begin to estimate the hold which Marxist thought has on the country's elite. It pervades our institutions. In fact, scientific socialism has wormed its way however camouflaged, into our business schools. We should not be surprised that this oh-so-gentle cosmological insinuation fails to sport a Stalin mustache or speak with a thick Russian accent. After all, we are not the czar's peasants. The West is more sophisticated; therefore, a more sophisticated type of propaganda tends to prevail here, and a different feeling about socialism than what prevails in backward countries. As for those who imagine that Marxism is dead, a side note: Try getting an advanced degree in political science today while denouncing Marxist ideas. See how far you get before you find half a dozen unexpected obstacles placed in your path. The war of ideas has its ideological warriors. They cannot stop a person from getting a degree, but they can make it costly. Certainly, if an aspiring academic has the least sense of career advantage, his ideological predisposition must be adjusted accordingly."
Origins of the Fourth World War
"Way back in 1867, in the heyday of the Industrial Revolution, Karl Marx (yes, that Karl Marx) wrote all about how capitalism instilled alienation among workers. It was a different time, but in many ways his four dimensions of alienation still apply. according to Marx, Mr. 19th Century was alienated first from the very product he produced: by virtue of the factory's division of labor, he could only know a fraction of what it actually took to make the whole (who, for example, knows how to make an entire motorcycle from scratch except the Fonz on Happy Days?). Mr. 1867 was alienated next from the process of labor: Unavoidable, since, unlike Marx's idealized medieval craftsman, the factory worker could not set his own schedule and work rhythm but had to answer to the time clock and the wagemaster. Alienated from the labor process and product, it thus was inevitable that he was also alienated from himself: The act of creation that had made him uniquely human was no longer possible (never mind that recent studies have shown that chimps are tool creators as well). Finally, he was alienated from other people, since capitalism makes all relations market relations."
"It is characteristic that Communism is so devoid of arguments that it has none to advance against its opponents....it lacks arguments and hence there is the club, the concentration camp, the insane asylum.....Communism has never concealed the fact that it rejects all absolute concepts of morality, it scoffs at any consideration of "good" and "evil" as indisputatable categories....Communism is anti-humanity."
-Alexander I. Solzhenitsyn
"Whenever it ceases to be true that mankind, as a rule, prefer themselves to others, and those nearest to them to those more remote, from that moment Communism is not only practicable, but the only defensible form of society; and will, when that time arrives, be assuredly carried into effect."
-John Stuart Mill
"In the last analysis, all the truths of Marxism can be summed up in the sentence: To rebel is justified!
Mao Zedong Sunday Times, London, March 5, 1967
CHINA'S COMMUNISTS MARK90th, HAIL PARTY'S SUCCESS Aspen Daily News, july 2,2011
Book: "Marx and the Marxists" by Sidney Hook
Book: "The Anti-Communist Manifestos" by John V. Fleming
Book: "Main Currents of Marxism" by Leszek Kolakowski
Book: "Why Read Marx Today?" by Jonathan Wolff
Book: "Why Marx Was Right"by Terry Eagleton
Book: "Marx's Das Kapital: Books That Changed the World" by Francis Wheen
Book: "The Reality of Communism" by Aleksandr Zinoviev
Book: "The Red Flag: A History of Communism" by David Priestland
Book: "The Black Book of Communism" by Stephane Courtois
Book: "Marxian Economics: The New Palgrave" Ed. by John Eatwell et al.
Book: "The Young Sidney Hook: Marxist and Pragmatist" by Christopher Phelps
Book: "Communism: A History" by Richard Pipes
Book: "Marxian Economics: The New Palgrave" Ed. by John Eatwell
Book: "Karl Marx: An Illustrated History" by Werner Blumenberg
Book: "The Opium of the Intellectuals" by Raymond Aron
Book: "Before Mao: The Untold Story of Li Lisan and the Creation of Communist China" by Patrick Lescot
Book: "Mao: The Unknown Story" by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday
Book: "The Crimes of Stalin" by Nigel Hawthorne
Back to Chrestomathy Next Page