Revolutionary Science and Passion
In the light of the devastating socio-economic effects unleashed by the pandemic-of-the-century crisis that is upsetting the whole world, we repropose in all of its explosive topicality what Friedrich Engels – the 200th anniversary of whose birth we celebrate – argued was “the whole of the social antagonisms of today” when, in the pages of his Anti-Dühring, he blamed “the anarchy of [capitalist] social production” and the “cœrcive laws of competition”, which “blindly” impose themselves “independently of the producers, and in antagonism to them”, to the point of giving birth to a system in which “the product governs the producers” – a world that dœs not recognise the “social nature” of the modern productive forces, and in which both science and production, subject to a one-sided appropriation, continue to be caught up in a capital and interstate war that prevents their free expression towards a truly human development.
Friedrich Engels played a very important role in the elaboration of the theoretical heritage that forms the basis of historical and dialectical materialism. If we take into consideration what he produced at a theoretical and political level, the widespread prejudice that would like to counterpose a mechanistic Engels to a dialectical Marx seems completely unfounded. Their collaboration was indeed inseparable. It is precisely to Engels that we owe the publication of the second and third volumes of Marx’s Capital, just as essential contributions to “classic” Marxism were always due to him: we need only think of Anti-Dühring and The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State. Equally significant was his action as a leader of the international working-men’s movement, the Communist League, the First International and the German Social-Democratic Party.
This book demonstrates this through a collection of writings by Engels himself, Marx, Marx and Engels, Lenin, and other authors, organised according to a chronological and thematic pattern. There emerges from it the exemplary life of a labour militant and leader. In 1886, still in the midst of his revolutionary battle, he wrote that the will is based on passion and deliberation, even if these are subsequently governed by the profound course of history. We need to remember this today, especially because the acquisition of the strategic lessons, tactical capacity and organisational tenacity of the Marxist tradition is still absent in the political experience of vast strata of the European labour movement. Passion and deliberation are needed for the necessary work of rebuilding a revolutionary party, whose delay is more attributable to insufficient consciousness than to the actual conditions of reality.
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