“Marxism and Revolution” – book review

Some consider environmental movements or equality marches as examples of the implementation of Karl Marx’s ideas in the modern world. Others, in turn, object to the very idea of ​​neo-Marxism, considering it a term devoid of scientific value. In their opinion, it was introduced by some right-wing politicians as part of their populist discourse in an argument with representatives of the extreme left.

Therefore, it is worth recalling in this context that the recognition of neo-Marxist movements is not only the work of politicians today, but took place dozens of years ago. Even Jean Ausset, in his Marxism-Leninism published in 1960, that is, before the moral revolution of 1968, prophetically predicts the emergence of such phenomena. This French thinker, writer, and expert on Marxism was an important painter of the Catholic counter-revolution in France. He was the person to whom Charles Maurice and Jean Maderan were entrusted with the Christianization of his political faith. Jean Ausset particularly influenced the form of French Catholicism with its founding in 1946 catholic city, any organization that aims to set up a Christian social order. Then the founding association began issuing the magazine Ferbie First in France, then also in Switzerland, Spain, Canada and Argentina. She also published many valuable articles, particularly in the field of Catholic social education.

The author of the aforementioned book “Le Marxisme-léninisme” is not only devoted to the topic of Marxism, but this topic can also be found in books such as “L’Action” (a job), “Le travail” and in the 1970 work “Marxisme et Révolution”. The first Polish translation of “Marxism and Revolution”, just published by Andegavenum, is a good opportunity to say a few words about this valuable book.

It should be noted that the author was well acquainted with the works of Marx, Engels and other representatives of this ideology. In describing the working methods of Marxism, Ossett with wide knowledge uses examples that have become the experience of many countries in the world where Marxist ideology has been experimented with or introduced. In his analyzes, he also did not omit Poland, noting, inter alia, to: Stalin’s words after reading President Beirut’s report on the activities of progressives among Polish Catholics.

It turns out that the philosophical perspective is a very important issue raised by the book. However, the author intends not only to stay at the level of the philosophy of culture, but also tries to get acquainted with the basic features of Marxism. Thus, when discussing these issues, the French thinker, on the basis of the sources of Marxist thought, presents an understanding of this movement from the position of the philosophy of being. Thus, he proves that one of the mistakes that Marxists make at the most basic level of philosophical thinking is the misunderstanding of Aristotle’s definition of motion:

Whereas Marxism merely repeats this assumption (the movement of Being and Nothingness) “without knowing how to do anything about it,” Aristotle and St. Thomas, not afraid of this apparent contradiction, “knew how to make” an honest interpretation of it one of the most important chapters of their physics, and then metaphysics. (p. 58)

As the Greek philosopher himself teaches that “a small error in the beginning becomes a great mistake in the end,” failure to understand the basic assumptions of philosophy with which metaphysics deals with disastrous results in the later stages.

Next, the author considers it useful to refer to well-known figures in German thought. One of the most interesting turned out to be Martin Luther as an example of a sensual man for whom only strength at work was important, which later became one of the characteristics of the world revolution. It is no accident that the religious revolutionary figure of Wittenberg appears in the discussion of the sources of Marxism. Hegel, the second German theorist whose dialectical method was later adopted by Marxists, recognized Luther, along with Socrates and Napoleon, as one of history’s greatest heroes. So it seems right to quote the words of the creator of Lutheranism from his most famous work, i.e., “On the Enslaved Will”:

Then a middle world will be discovered, which in itself will be neither bad nor good, nor Christ, nor Satan, nor right, nor sinful, nor living nor dead, and perhaps not even a thing or anything, and may be called the highest and most sublime of all mankind.

For Luther, the whole meaning of the Bible is based on opposites. Moreover, it seems to predict the emergence of a new system. Could this not be called precisely the philosophy of contradictions in Luther’s edition?

In the remaining parts of the book, among others, issues such as the role of the proletariat in Marxism, “practical” atheism or the role of communism. There were also statements by the popes about a dangerous ideology, such as Bl. Pius IX, Pius XI, Leo XIII, Pius XII. But the author, referring to the first edition of his book, written before the events of the moral revolution of 1968 in France, and above all in Paris, writes: What was previously considered unacceptable in our book became clear. And anyone could say that nothing has changed in communist Marxism as an incredible affront to common sense. At that time, quotes that were previously considered antiquated had a great renaissance. Every morning you can see another part of them. The walls of the Sorbonne were covered with it, and it was easy to read the rationale for what we had already said in the first edition of our book. (pg. 184).

On the other hand, when today we are witnessing a new type of war, called hybrid war, the present words of Stalin “Out of all the precious capital… Ousset in a job. However, not everyone has a problem figuring out why people are used in political games. However, for those who are interested only in strength at work, and even the most embodied in people, it is difficult to look for better solutions.

Therefore, as neo-Marxism nowadays becomes the subject of more and more discussion, it is worth arriving at a position that attempts to answer the questions with great precision: what exactly is neo-Marxism? What are the principles of the permanent revolution? How can we recognize the manifestations of Marxism in the modern world?

Jean Osset, Marxism and revolution, crowds. Piotr Tylus, 280 pp. , Andegavenum 2021.

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