Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

Conspectus of the Book
The Holy Family
by Marx and Engels



first page of the ms

Written: Not earlier than April 25 (May 7), but not later than September 1895
Source: Lenin’s Collected Works, 4th Edition, Moscow, 1976, Volume 38, pp. 19 - 51
Publisher: Progress Publishers
First Published: 1930 in Lenin Miscellany XII
Translated: Clemence Dutt
Edited: Stewart Smith
Original Transcription & Markup: R. Cymbala & Marc Szewczyk
Re-Marked up & Proofread by: Kevin Goins (2007)
Public Domain: Lenin Internet Archive (2003). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.


Conspectus of the book “The Holy Family” by Marx and Engels was written by Lenin in 1895 during his first stay abroad when he left Russia to establish contact with the Emancipation of Labour group.

Note that this document has undergone special formating to ensure that Lenin’s sidenotes fit on the page, marking as best as possible where they were located in the original manuscript.

 

 

 


THE HOLY FAMILY, OR CRITIQUE OF CRITICAL CRITICISM


AGAINST BRUNO BAUER & CO.


BY FREDERICK ENGELS AND KARL MARX


FRANKFORT-ON-MAIN
LITERARY PUBLISHING HOUSE
(J. RÜTTEN)
1845[1]

This little book, printed in octavo, consists of a foreword (pp. III-IV)[2] (dated Paris, September 1844), a table of contents (pp. V-VIII) and text proper (pp. 1-335), divided into nine chapters (Kapitel). Chapters I, II and III were written by Engels, Chapters V, VIII and IX by Marx, Chapters IV, VI and VII by both, in which case, however, each has signed the particular chapter section or subsection, supplied with its own heading, that was written by him. All these headings are satirical up to and including the “Critical Transformation of a Butcher into a Dog” (the heading of Section 1 of Chapter VIII). Engels is responsible for pages 1-17 Chapters I, II, III and sections 1 and 2 of Chapter IV, pages 138-142 (Section 2a of Chapter VI) and pages 240-245 (Section 2b of Chapter VII):

 i.e., 26 pages out of 335. 

The first chapters are entirely criticism of the style (t h e  w h o l e  ( ! ) first chapter, pp. 1-5) of the Literary Gazette [[Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung of Bruno Bauer[3]—in their foreword Marx and Engels say that their criticism is directed against its first eight numbers]], criticism of its distortion of history (Chapter II, pp. 5-12, especially of English history), criticism of its themes (Chapter III, pp. 13-14, ridiculing the Gründlichkeit[4] of the account of some dispute of Herr Nauwerk with the Berlin Faculty of Philosophy), criticism of views on love (Chapter IV, 3 by Marx), criticism of the account of Proudhon in the Literary Gazette ((IV,4) Proudhon, p. 22 u. ff. bis[5] 74. At the beginning there is a mass of corrections of the translation: they have confused formule et signification,[6] they have translated la justice as Gerechtigkeit[7] instead of Rechtpraxis,[8] etc.). This criticism of the translation (Marx entitles it—Characterisierende Übersetzung No. I, II u.s.w.[9]) is followed by Kritische Randglosse No. I u.s.w.,[10] where Marx defends Proudhon against the critics of the Literary Gazette, counterposing his clearly socialist ideas to speculation.

Marx’s tone in relation to Proudhon is very laudatory (although there are minor reservations, for example reference to Engels’ Umrisse zu einer Kritik der Nationalökonomie [11] in the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher [12]).

Marx here advances from Hegelian philosophy to socialism: the transition is clearly observable—it is evident what Marx has already mastered and how he goes over to the new sphere of ideas.

(36) “Accepting the relations of private property as human and rational, political economy comes into continual contradiction with its basic premise, private property, a contradiction analogous to that of the theologian, who constantly gives a human interpretation to religious conceptions and by that very fact comes into constant conflict with his basic premise, the superhuman character of religion. Thus, in political economy wages appear at the beginning as the proportionate share of the product due to labour. Wages and profit on capital stand in the most friendly and apparently the most human relationship, reciprocally promoting one another. Subsequently it turns out that they stand in the most hostile relationship, in inverse proportion to each other. Value is determined at the beginning in an apparently rational way by the cost of production of an object and its social usefulness. Later it turns out that value is determined quite fortuitously, not bearing any relation to cost of production or social usefulness. The magnitude of wages is determined at the beginning by free agreement between the free worker and the free capitalist. Later it turns out that the worker is compelled to agree to the determination of wages by the capitalist, just as the capitalist is compelled to fix it as low as possible. Freedom of the contracting Parthei[13]” [this is the way the word is spelled in the book] “has been supplanted by compulsion. The same thing holds good of trade and all other economic relations. The economists themselves occasionally sense these contradictions, and the disclosure of these contradictions constitutes the main content of the conflicts between them. When, however, the economists in one way or another become conscious of these contradictions, they themselves attack private property in any one of its private forms as the falsifier of what is in itself (i.e., in their imagination) rational wages, in itself rational value, in itself rational trade. Adam Smith, for instance, occassionally polemises against the capitalists, Destutt de Tracy against the bankers, Simonde de Sismondi against the factory system, Ricardo against landed property, and nearly all modern economists against the non-industrial capitalists, in whom private property appears as a mere consumer.

“Thus, as an exception—and all the more so when they attack some special abuse—the economists sometimes stress the semblance of the humane in economic relations, while, more often than not, they take these relations precisely in their marked difference from the humane, in their strictly economic sense. They stagger about within that contradiction without going beyond its limits.

Proudhon put an end to this unconsciousness once for all. He took the humane semblance of the economic relations seriously and sharply opposed it to their inhumane reality. He forced them to be in reality what they imagine themselves to be, or, more accurately, to give up their own idea of themselves and confess their real inhumanity. He therefore quite consistently represented as the falsifier of economic relations not one or another particular type of private property, as other economists have done, but private property as such, in its entirety. He has done all that can be done by criticism of political economy from the stand-point of political economy.” (39)

Herr Edgar’s reproach (Edgar of the Literary Gazette) that Proudhon makes a “god” out of “justice,” Marx brushes aside by saying that Proudhon’s treatise of 1840[14] does not adopt “the standpoint of German development of 1844” (39), that this is a general failing of the French, and that one must also bear in mind Proudhon’s reference to the implementation of justice by its negation—a reference making it possible to have done with this Absolute in history as well (um auch dieses Absoluten in der Geschichte überhoben zu sein)—at the end of p. 39. “If Proudhon does not arrive at this consistent conclusion, it is owing to his misfortune in being born a Frenchman and not a German.” (39-40)

Then follows Critical Gloss No. II (40-46), setting out in very clear relief Marx’s view—already almost fully developed—concerning the revolutionary role of the proletariat.

...“Hitherto political economy proceeded from the wealth that the movement of private property supposedly creates for the nations to an apology of private property. Proudhon proceeds from the opposite side, which political economy sophistically conceals, from the poverty bred by the movement of private property, to his conclusions negating private property. The first criticism of private property proceeds, of course, from the fact in which its contradictory essence appears in the form that is most perceptible and most glaring and most directly arouses man’s indignation—from the fact of poverty, of misery.” (41)

“Proletariat and wealth are opposites. As such they form a single whole. They are both begotten by the world of private property. The question is what particular place each occupies within the antithesis. It is not sufficient to declare them two sides of a single whole.

“Private property as private property, as wealth, is compelled to maintain itself, and thereby its opposite, the proletariat, in existence. That is the positive side of the contradiction, self-satisfied private property.

“The proletariat, on the other hand, is compelled as proletariat to abolish itself and thereby its opposite, the condition for its existence, that which makes it the proletariat, i.e. private property. That is the negative side of the contradiction, its restlessness within its very self, dissolved and self-dissolving private property.

“The propertied class and the class of the proletariat present the same human self-alienation. But the former class feels happy and confirmed in this self-alientation, it recognises alienation as its own power, and has in it the semblance of human existence. The class of the proletariat feels annihilated in its self-alienation; it sees in it its own powerlessness and the reality of an inhuman existnece. To use an expression of Hegel’s, the class of the proletariat is in abasement indignation at this abasement, an indignation to which it is necessarily driven by the contradiction between its human nature and its conditions of life, which are the outright, decisive and comprehensive negation of that nature.

“Within this antithesis the private property-owner is therefore the conservative side, the proletarian, the destructive side. From the former arises the action of preserving the antithesis, from the latter, that of annihilating it.

“In any case, in its economic movement private property drives towards its own dissolution, but only through a development which does not depend on it, of which it is unconscious and which takes place against its will, through the very nature of things, only inasmuch as it produces the proletariat as proletariat, misery conscious of its spiritual and physical misery, dehumnaisation conscious of its dehumanisation and therefore self-abolishing. The proletariat executes the sentence that private property pronounced on itself by begetting the proletariat, just as it executes the sentence that wage-labour pronounced on itself by begetting wealth for others and misery for itself. When the proletariat is victorious, it by no means becomes the absolute side of society, for it is victorious only by abolishing itself and its opposite. Then the proletariat disappears as well as the opposite which determines it, private property.

“When socialist writers ascribe this historic role to the proletariat, it is not, as Critical Criticism would have one think, because they consider the proletarians as gods. Rather the contrary. Since the abstraction of all humanity, even of the semblance of humanity, is practically complete in the fully-formed proletariat; since the conditions of life of the proletariat sum up all the conditions of life of society today in their most inhuman and acute form; since man has lost himself in the proletariat, yet at the same time has not only gained theoretical consciousness of that loss, but through the no longer removable, no longer disguisable, absolutely imperative need—the practical expression of necessity—is driven directly to revolt against that inhumanity; it follows that the proletariat can and must free itelf. But it cannot free itself without abolishing the conditions of its own life. It cannot abolish the conditions of its own life without abolishing all the inhuman conditions of life of society today which are summed up in its own situation. Not in vain does it go through the stern but steeling school of labour. It is not a question of what this or that proletarian, or even the whole proletariat, at the moment considers as its aim. It is a question of what the proletariat is, and what, in accordance with this being, it will historically be compelled to do. Its aim and historical action is irrevocably and clearly foreshadowed in its own life situation as well as in the whole organisation of bourgeois society today. There is no need here to show that a large part of the English and French proletariat is already conscious of its historic task and is constantly working to develop that consciousness into complete clarity.” (42-45)

CRITICAL GLOSS NO. 3

“Herr Edgar cannot be unaware that Herr Bruno Bauer
based all his arguments on ‘infinite self-consciousness’
and that he also saw in this principle the creative principle
of the gospels, which, by their infinite unconsciousness,
appear to be in direct contradiction to infinite self-con-
sciousness. In the same way Proudhon considers equality
as the creative principle of private property, which is in
direct contradiction to equality. If Herr Edgar compares

French equality with German self-consciousness for an in-
stant, he will see that the latter principle expresses in Ger-
man
, i.e., in abstract thought, what the former says in
French
, that is, in the language of politics and of thoughtful

observation. Self-consciousness is man’s equality with
himself in pure thought. Equality is man’s consciousness
of himself in the element of practice, i.e., therefore, man’s
consciousness of other men as his equals and man’s attitude
to other men as his equals. Equality is the French expression
for the unity of human essence, for man’s consciousness
of his species and his attitude towards his species, for the
practical identity of man with man, i.e., for the social
or human relation of man to man. As therefore destructive
criticism in Germany, before it had progressed in Feuerbach
to the consideration of real man, tried to solve everything
definite and existing by the principle of self-consciousness,
destructive criticism in France tried to do the same by
the principle of equality.” (48-49)
 

“The opinion that philosophy is the abstract expression
of existing conditions does not belong orginally to Herr
Edgar. It belongs to Feuerbach, who was the first to de-
scribe philosophy as speculative and mystical empiricism,
and proved it.” (49-50)


“‘We always come back to the same thing... Proudhon
writes in the interests of the proletarians.’[15] He does not

write in the interests of self-sufficient criticism or out of
any abstract, self-made interest, but out of a massive,
real, historical interest, an interest that goes beyond crit-

icism,that will go as far as a crisis. Not only does Proud-
hon write in the interests of the proletarians, he is himself
a proletarian, un ouvrier. His work is a scientific manifesto
of the French proletariat and therefore has quite a different
historical significance from that of the literary botchwork
of a Critical Critic.” (52-53)

“Proudhon’s desire to abolish non-owning and the old
form of owning is exactly identical to his desire to abol-
ish the practically alienated relation of man to his ob-
jective essence
, to abolish the political-economic ex-
pression of human self-alienation. Since, however, his
criticism of political economy is still bound by the pre-
mises of political economy, the reappropriation of the ob-
jective world is still conceived in the political-economic
form of possession.

“Proudhon indeed does not oppose owning to non-owning,
as Critical Criticism makes him do, but possession to the
old form of owning, to private property. He declares posses-
sion to be a ‘social function.’ In a function, ‘interest’ is not
directed however toward the ‘exclusion’ of another, but
toward setting into operation and realising my own powers,
the powers of my being.

“Proudhon did not succeed in giving this thought appro-

priate development. The concept of ‘equal possession’ is a
political-economic one and therefore itself still an alienated
expression for the principle that the object as being for
man
, as the objective being of man, is at the same time the
existence of man for other men, his human relation to
other men, the social behaviour of man in relation
to man
. Proudhon abolishes political-economic estrangement
within political-economic estrangement.” (54-55)


[[This passage is highly characteristic, for it shows how
Marx approached the basic idea of his entire “system,” sit
venia verbo,[16] namely the concept of the social relations of
production.]]

As a trifle, it may be pointed out that on p. 64 Marx
devotes five lines to the fact that “Critical Criticism” trans-
lates maréchal as “Marschall” instead of “Hufschmied.”[17]

Very interesting are: pp. 65-67 (Marx approaches the
labour theory of value); pp. 70-71 (Marx answers Edgar’s
charge that Proudhon is muddled in saying that the worker
cannot buy back his product), 71-72 and 72-73 (spec-
ulative, idealistic, “ethereal” (ätherisch) socialism—and
“mass” socialism and communism).


p. 76.

(Section 1, first paragraph: Feuerbach disclosed
real mysteries, Szeliga—vice versa.)

p. 77.

(Last paragraph: anachronism of the n a ï v e  relation
of rich and poor: “si le riche le savait!”[18])

pp.79-85.

(All these seven pages are extremely interesting.
This is Section 2, “The Mystery of Speculative Con-
struction
”—a criticism of speculative philosophy using
the well-known example of “fruit”—der Frucht—a crit-
icism aimed directly a g a i n s t  H e g e l as well.
Here too is the extremely interesting remark that Hegel “very
often” gives a real presentation, embracing the thing
itself—die S a c h e  selbst—within the speculative pre-
sentation.)

pp. 92, 93—

f r a g m e n t a r y  remarks against Degradie
rung der Sinnlichkeit.[19]

p. 101.

“He” (Szeliga) “is unable ... to see that industry

and trade found universal kingdoms that are quite
different from Christianity and morality, family hap-
piness and civic welfare.”

p. 102.

(End of the first paragraph—barbed remarks on the
significance of notaries in modern society.... “The notary
is the temporal confessor. He is a puritan by profes-
sion, and ‘honesty,’ Shakespeare says, is ‘no puritan.’
He is at the same time the go-between for all possible
purposes, the manager of civil intrigues and plots.”)

p. 110.

Another example of ridiculing abstract specula-
tion: the “construction” of how man becomes master
over beast; “beast” (das Tier) as an abstraction is changed
from a lion into a pug, etc.

p. 111.

A characteristic passage regarding Eugène Sue[20]:
owing to his hypocrisy towards the bourgeoisie, he ideal-
ises the grisette morally, evading her attitude to mar-
riage, her “naïve” liaison with un étudiant[21] or ouv-

rier.[22] “It is precisely in that relation that she” (gri-
sette) “constitutes a really human contrast to the sanc-
timonious, narrow-hearted, self-seeking wife of the
bourgeois, to the whole circle of the bourgeoisie, that
is, to the official circle.”

p. 117.

The “mass” of the sixteenth and the nineteenth
centuries was different “von vorn herein.”[23]

pp. 118-121.

This passage (in Chapter VI: “Absolute Cri-
tical Criticism, or Critical Criticism in the Person of
Herr Bruno.” 1) Absolute Criticism’s First Campaign.
a) “Spirit” and “Mass”) is e x t r e m e l y important:
a criticism of the view that history was unsuccessful
owing to the interest in it by the mass and its reliance
on the mass, which was satisfied with a “superficial” com-
prehension of the “idea.”


“If, therefore, Absolute Criticism condemns some-
thing as ‘superficial,’ it is simply previous history, the
actions and ideas of which were those of the ‘masses.’
It rejects mass history to replace it by critical history
(see Herr Jules Faucher on Topical Questions in Eng-
land [24]).” (119)
 

“The ‘idea’ always exposed itself to ridicule inso-
far as it differed from ‘interest.’ On the other hand,
it is easy to understand that every mass ‘interest’ that

NB

asserts itself historically goes far beyond its real limits
in the ‘idea’ or ‘imagination’ when it first comes on
the scene, and is confused with human interest in
general. This illusion constitutes what Fourier calls
the tone of each historical epoch” (119)—as an illus-
tration of this the example of the French Revolution
(119-120) and the well-known words (1 2 0  in
fine[25]):
 

“With the thoroughness of the historical action, the
size of the mass who perform it will therefore increase.”

NB


How far the sharpness of Bauer’s division into Geist[26]
and Masse[27] goes is evident from this phrase that
Marx attacks: “In the mass, not somewhere else, is the true
enemy of the spirit to be sought.” (121)
 

Marx answers this by saying that the enemies of prog-
ress are the products endowed with independent being
(verselbständigten) of the self-abasement of the mass, although
they are not ideal but material products existing in an out-
ward way. As early as 1789, Loustallot’s journal [28] had the
motto:

Les grands ne nous paraissent grands
Que parceque nous sommes à genoux.
Levons-nous!
[29]
 

But in order to rise (122), says Marx, it is not enough
to do so in thought, in the idea.
 

“Yet Absolute Criticism has learnt from Hegel’s Phen-
omenology
[30] at least the art of converting real objective
chains that exist outside me into merely ideal, merely sub-
jective
chains existing merely within me, and thus of
converting all exterior palpable struggles into pure struggles
of thought.” (122)
 

In this way it is possible to prove, says Marx bitingly,
the pre-established harmony between Critical Criticism and
the censorship, to present the censor not as a police hangman
(Polizeischerge) but as my own personified sense of tact
and moderation.
 

Preoccupied with its “Geist,” Absolute Criticism does
not investigate whether the phrase, self-deception and
pithlessness (Kernlosigkeit) are not in its own empty
(windig) pretensions.
 

“The situation is the same with ‘progress.’ In spite of
the pretensions of ‘progress,’ continual retrogressions and
circular movements are to be observed. Far from suspecting
that the category ‘progress’ is completely empty and
abstract, Absolute Criticism is instead so ingenious as to re-
cognise ‘progress’ as being absolute, in order to explain
retrogression by assuming a ‘personal adversary’ of
progress, the mass.” (123-124)
 

“All communist and socialist writers proceeded from
the observation that, on the one hand, even the most
favourable brilliant deeds seemed to remain without brilliant
results, to end in trivialities, and, on the other, all progress
of the spirit
had so far been progress against the mass
of mankind
, driving it to an ever more dehumanised situation.
They therefore declared “progress” (see Fourier) to be an
inadequate abstract phrase; they assumed (see Owen, among
others) a fundamental flaw in the civilised world; that is
why they subjected the real bases of contemporary society
to incisive criticism. This communist criticism immediately
had its counterpart in practice in the movement of the
great mass, in opposition to which the previous historical
development had taken place. One must be acquainted
with the studiousness, the craving for knowledge, the moral
energy and the unceasing urge for development of the French
and English workers to be able to form an idea of the human
nobility of this movement.” (124-125)
 

“What a fundamental superiority over the communist
writers it is not to have traced spiritlessness, indolence,
superficiality and self-complacency to their origin but to
have denounced them morally and exposed them as the
opposite of the spirit, of progress!” (125)


“The relation between ‘spirit and mass,’ however, has
still a hidden sense, which will be completely revealed
in the course of the reasoning. We only make mention
of it here. That relation discovered by Herr Bruno is, in fact,
nothing but a critically caricatured culmination of Hegel’s
conception of history
; which, in turn, is nothing but the
speculative expression of the Christian-Germanic dogma
of the antithesis between spirit and matter, between God
and the world. This antithesis is expressed in history, in
the human world itself, in such a way that a few chosen
individuals as the active spirit stand opposed to the rest
of mankind, as the spiritless mass, as matter.” (126)
 

And Marx points out that Hegel’s conception of history
(Geschichtsauffassung) presupposes an abstract and
absolute spirit, the embodiment of which is the mass. Par-
allel with Hegel’s doctrine there developed in France the
theory of the Doctrinaires [31]  (126) who proclaimed the
sovereignty of reason in opposition to the sovereignty of the
people in order to exclude the mass and rule alone
(allein).
 

Hegel is “guilty of a double half-heartedness” (127):
1) while declaring that philosophy is the being of the Abso-
lute Spirit, he does not declare this the spirit of the philo-
sophical individual; 2) he makes the Absolute Spirit the
creator of history only in appearance (nur zum Schein),
only post festum,[32] only in consciousness.
 

Bruno does away with this half-heartedness; he declares
that Criticism is the Absolute Spirit and the creator of his-
tory in actual fact.
 

“On the one side stands the Mass, as the passive, spirit-
less, unhistorical material element of history; on the other—
the Spirit, Criticism, Herr Bruno and Co. as the active ele-
ment from which all historical action arises. The act of
the transformation of society is reduced to the brain work
of Critical Criticism.” (128)
 

As the first example of “the campaigns of Absolute Crit-
icism against the Mass,” Marx adduces Bruno Bauer’s
attitude to the Judenfrage, and he refers to the refutation
of Bauer[33] in Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher.
 

“One of the chief pursuits of Absolute Criticism consists
in first bringing all questions of the day into their
right setting
. For it does not answer, of course, the real
questions—but substitutes quite different ones.... It thus
distorted the ‘Jewish question,’ too, in such a way that it
did not need to investigate political emancipation, which
is the subject-matter of that question, but could instead be
satisfied with a criticism of the Jewish religion and a des-
cription of the Christian-German state.
 

“This method, too, like all Absolute Criticism’s original-
ities, is the repetition of a speculative verbal trick. Spec-
ulative
philosophy, in particular Hegel’s philosophy,
must transpose all questions from the form of common
sense to the form of speculative reason and convert the
real question into a speculative one to be able to answer
it. Having distorted my questions and having, like the cate-
chism, placed its own questions into my mouth, specul
lative philosophy could, of course, again like the catechism,
have its ready answer to each of my questions.” (134-135)
 


In Section 2a (...“‘Criticism’ and ‘Feuerbach’—Damna-
tion of Philosophy...”)—pp. 138-142—written by Engels,
one finds Feuerbach warmly praised. In regard to “Criti-
cism’s” attacks on philosophy, its contrasting to philosophy
the actual wealth of human relations, the “immense content
of history,” the “significance of man,” etc., etc., right up
to the phrase: “the mystery of the system revealed,”
Engels says:
 

“But who, then, revealed the mystery of the ‘system’?
Feuerbach. Who annihilated the dialectics of concepts, the
war of the gods known to the philosophers along? Feuer-
bach
. Who substituted for the old rubbish and for ‘infinite
self-consciousness’ not, it is true, ‘the significance of
man
’—as though man had another significance than that of
being man—but still ‘Man’? Feuerbach, and only Feuer-
bach
. And he did more. Long ago he did away with the
very categories that ‘Criticism’ now wields—the ‘real
wealth of human relations, the immense content of history,
the struggle of history, the fight of the mass against the spirit,’
etc., etc.
 

“Once man is conceived as the essence, the basis of all
human activity and situations, only ‘Criticism’ can invent
new categories and transform man himself again into a
category and into the principle of a whole series of categories
as it is doing now. It is true that in so doing it takes the
only road to salvation that remained for frightened and
persecuted theological inhumanity. History does nothing, it
‘possesses no immense wealth,’ it ‘wages no battles.’ It is
man and not ‘history,’ real living man, that does all that, that
possesses and fights; ‘history’ is not, as it were, a person
apart, using man as a means to achieve its own aims; history
is nothing but the activity of man pursuing his aims. If
Absolute Criticism, after Feuerbach’s brilliant reasoning, still
dares to reproduce the old trash in a new form...” (139-140)
etc.—then, Engels says, this fact alone is sufficient to
assess the Critical naïveté, etc.
 

And after this, in regard to the opposition of Spirit
and “Matter” (Criticism calls the mass “matter”), Engels
says:

“Is Absolute Criticism then not genuinely Christian-
German
? After the old contradiction between spiritualism

and materialism has been fought out on all sides and over-
come once for all by Feuerbach, ‘Criticism’ again makes
a basic dogma of it in its ugliest form and gives the victory
to the ‘Christian-German spirit.’” (141)



In regard to Bauer’s words: “To the extent of the prog-
ress now made by the Jews in theory, they are emancipated;
to the extent that they wish to be free, they are free” (142),
Marx says:
 

“From this proposition one can immediately measure
the critical gap which separates mass profane communism
and socialism from absolute socialism. The first proposition
of profane socialism rejects emancipation in mere theory
as an illusion and for real freedom it demands besides
the idealistic ‘will,’ very tangible, very material conditions.
How low ‘the Mass’ is in comparison with holy Criticism,
the Mass which considers material, practical upheavals
necessary, merely to win the time and means required
to deal with ‘theory’!” (142)
 

Further, (pp. 143-167), the most boring, incredibly
caviling criticism of the Literary Gazette, a sort of word
by word commentary of a “blasting” type. Absolutely noth-
ing of interest.
 

The end of the section ((b) The Jewish Question No. II.
pp. 142-185)—pp. 167-185 provides an interesting answer
by Marx to Bauer on the latter’s defence of his book Juden-
frage
, which was criticised in the Deutsch-Französische
Jahrbücher
. (Marx constantly refers to the latter.) Marx here
sharply and clearly stresses the basic principles of his entire
world outlook.
 

“Religious questions of the day have at present a social sig-
nificance” (167)—this was already pointed out in the Deutsch-
Französische Jahrbücher
. It characterised the “real position
of Judaism in civil society today.” “Herr Bauer explains
the real Jew by the Jewish religion, instead of explaining
the mystery of the Jewish religion by the real Jew.” (167-168)
 

Herr Bauer does not suspect “that real, worldly Judaism,
and hence religious Judaism too, is being continually pro-
duced by present-day civil life and finds its final develop-
ment in the money system.”
 

It was pointed out in the Deutsch-Französische Jahr-
bücher
that the development of Judaism has to be sought
“in der kommerziellen und industriellen Praxis”[34] (169),
—that practical Judaism “vollendete Praxis der christlichen
Welt selber ist.”[35] (169)
 

“It was proved that the task of abolishing the essence
of Judaism is in truth the task of abolishing Judaism in
civil society
, abolishing the inhumanity of the present-day
practice of life, the summit of which is the money system.
” (169)
 

In demanding freedom, the Jew demands something
that in no way contradicts political freedom (172)—it is
a question of political freedom.
 

“Herr Bauer was shown that it is by no means contrary
to political emancipation to divide man into the non-re-
ligious citizen and the religious private individual.” (172)
 

And immediately following the above:
 

“He was shown that as the state emancipates itself from
religion by emancipating itself from state religion and
leaving religion to itself within civil society, so the indi-
vidual emancipates himself politically from religion by re-
garding it no longer as a public matter but as a private
matter
. Finally, it was shown that the terroristic attitude
of the French Revolution to religion, far from refuting this
conception, bears it out.” (172)
 

The Jews desire allgemeine Menschenrechte.[36]
 

“In the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher it was
expounded to Herr Bauer that this ‘free humanity’ and
the ‘recognition’ of it are nothing but the recognition of the
selfish, civil individual and of the uncurbed movement
of the spiritual and material elements which are the content
of his life situation, the content of civil life today; that the
Rights of Man do not, therefore, free man from religion
but give him freedom of religion; that they do not free
him from property, but procure for him freedom of prop-
erty
; that they do not free him from the filth of gain but give
him freedom of choice of a livelihood.
 

“He was shown that the recognition of the Rights
of Man by the modern state
means nothing more than
did the recognition of slavery by the ancient state. In
fact, just as the ancient state had slavery as its natural
basis
, the modern state has civil society and the man of
civil society, i.e., the independent man connected with
other men only by the ties of private interest and uncon-
scious
natural necessity, the slave of labour for gain and
of his own as well as other men’s selfish need. The mo-
dern state has recognised this as its natural basis as
such in the universal Rights of Man.” [37] (175)
 


“The Jew has all the more right to the recognition of
his ‘free humanity’” “as ‘free civil society’ is of a thoroughly
commercial and Jewish nature and the Jew is a necessary
link in it.” (176)
 

That the “Rights of Man” are not inborn, but arose histor-
ically, was known already to Hegel. (176)
 

Pointing out the contradictions of constitutionalism,
“Criticism” does not generalise them (faßt nicht den allge-
meinen Widerspruch des Constitutionalismus[38]). (177-178)
If it had done so, it would have proceeded from constitu-
tional monarchy to the democratic representative state,
to the perfect modern state. (178)
 

Industrial activity is not abolished by the abolition
of privileges (of the guilds, corporations, etc.); on the con-
trary it develops more strongly. Property in land is not
abolished by the abolition of privileges of landownership,
“but, rather, first begins its universal movement with the
abolition of its privileges and through the free division
and free alienation of land.” (180)
 

Trade is not abolished by the abolition of trade privileges
but only then does it become genuinely free trade, so also

with religion, “so religion develops in its practical univer-
sality only where there is no privileged religion (one calls
to mind the North American States).”


...“Precisely the slavery of bourgeois society is in ap-
pearance
the greatest freedom....” (181)
 

To the dissolution (Auflösung) (182) of the political
existence of religion (the abolition of the state church),
of property (the abolition of the property qualification
for electors), etc.—corresponds their “most vigorous life,
which now obeys its own laws undisturbed and develops
into its full scope.”
 

Anarchy is the law of bourgeois society emancipated
from privileges. (182-183)

... C) CRITICAL BATTLE AGAINST
THE FRENCH REVOLUTION

“The ideas”—Marx quotes Bauer—“which the French
Revolution gave rise to did not, however, lead beyond the
order that it wanted to abolish by force.
 

Ideas can never lead beyond an old world order but
only beyond the ideas of the old world order. Ideas cannot
carry anything out at all. In order to carry out ideas men
are needed who dispose of a certain practical force.” (186)


The French Revolution gave rise to the ideas of communism
(Babeuf), which, consistently developed, contained the idea
of a new Weltzustand.[39]

In regard to Bauer’s statement that the state must hold in
check the separate egotistic atoms, Marx says (188-189) that
the members of civil society are, properly speaking, by no
means atoms, but only imagine themselves to be such, for they
are not self-sufficient like atoms, but depend on other persons,
their needs continually forcing this dependence upon them.

“Therefore, it is natural necessity, essential human
properties
, however alienated they may seem to be, and
interest that hold the members of civil society together;
civil, not political life is their real tie.... Only political
superstition
still imagines today that civil life must be
held together by the state, whereas in reality, on the contrary,
the state is held together by civil life.” (189)

Robespierre, Saint-Just and their party fell because they
confused the ancient realistically-democratic society, based
on slavery, with the modern, spiritualistically-democratic
representative state, based on bourgeois society. Before
his execution Saint-Just pointed to the table (Tabelle
a poster? hanging) of the Rights of Man and said: “C’est
pourtant moi qui ai fait cela.”[40] “This very table proclaimed
the rights of a man who cannot be the man of the ancient
republic any more than his economic and industrial relations
are those of the ancient times.” (192)

On the 18th Brumaire,[41] not the revolutionary movement
but the liberal bourgeoisie became the prey of Napoleon.
After the fall of Robespierre, under the Directorate, the
prosaic realisation of bourgeois society begins: Sturm

und Drang [42] of commercial enterprise, the whirl (Taumel)
of the new bourgeois life; “real enlightenment
of the land of France, the feudal structure of which had
been smashed by the hammer of revolution, and which the
numerous new owners in their first feverish enthusiasm now
put under all-round cultivation; the first movements of
an industry that had become free—these are a few of the signs
of life of the newly arisen bourgeois society.” (192-193)

 

CHAPTER VI. ABSOLUTE CRITICAL CRITICISM,
OR CRITICAL CRITICISM
IN THE PERSON OF HERR BRUNO

. . . 3) ABSOLUTE CRITICISM’S THIRD CAMPAIGN. . .
d) CRITICAL BATTLE AGAINST FRENCH MATERIALISM
(195-211)

[[This chapter (subsection d in the third section of Chap-
ter VI) is one of the most valuable in the book. Here there
is absolutely no word by word criticism, but a completely
positive exposition. It is a short sketch of the history
of French materialism
. Here one ought to copy out the
whole chapter, but I shall limit myself to a short summary
of of the contents.]]

The French Enlightenment of the eighteenth century and
French materialism are not only a struggle against the exist-
ing political institutions, but equally an open struggle against
the metaphysics of the seventeenth century, namely,

against the metaphysics of Descartes, Malebranch, Spin-
oza and Leibnitz
. “Philosophy was opposed to metaphys-
ics as Feuerbach, in his first decisive attack on Hegel,
opposed sober philosophy to drunken speculation.” (196)


The metaphysics of the seventeenth century, defeated by
the materialism of the eighteenth century, underwent a vic-
torious and weighty (gehaltvolle) restoration in German phi-
losophy, especially in speculative German philosophy of the
nineteenth century. Hegel linked it in a masterly fashion with
the whole of metaphysics and with German idealism, and he
founded ein metaphysisches Universalreich.[43] This was fol-
lowed again by an “attack on speculative metaphysics and
metaphysics in general. It will be defeated for ever by mater-
ialism, which has now been perfected by the work of specu-
lation itself and coincides with humanism. Just as Feuerbach
in the theoretical field, French and English socialism and co-
mmunism in the practical field represented materialism coin-
ciding with humanism.” (196-197)

There are two trends of French materialism: 1) from Des-
cartes, 2) from Locke. The latter mündet direkt in den Soc-
ialismus.[44] (197)

The former, mechanical materialism, turns into French nat-
ural science.

Descartes in his physics declares matter the only sub-
stance. Mechanical French materialism takes over Descartes’
physics and rejects his metaphysics.

“This school begins with the physician Le Roy, reaches its
zenith with the physician Cabanis, and the physician Lamet-
trie
is its centre.” (198)

Descartes was still living when Le Roy transferred the
mechanical structure of animals to man and declared the soul
to be a modus of the body, and ideas to be mechanical
movements. (198) Le Roy even thought that Descartes had
concealed his real opinion. Descartes protested.

At the end of the eighteenth century Cabanis perfected
Cartesian materialism in his book Rapports du physique
et du moral de l’homme
.[45]

From the very outset the metaphysics of the seventeenth
century had its adversary in materialism. Descartes—Gas-
sendi
, the restorer of Epicurean materialism, in England—
Hobbes.

Voltaire (199) pointed out that the indifference of the
Frenchmen of the eighteenth century to the disputes of the
Jesuits and others was due less to philosophy that to Law’s
financial speculations. The theoretical movement towards
materialism is explained by the practical Gestaltung[46] of
French life at that time. Materialistic theories corresponded
to materialistic practice.

The metaphysics of the seventeenth century (Descartes,
Leibnitz) was still linked with a positive (positivem) content.
It made discoveries in mathematics, physics, etc. In the
eighteenth century the positive sciences became separated
from it and metaphysics war fad geworden.[47]

In the year of Malebranche’s death, Helvétius and Cond-
illac were born. (199-200)

Pierre Bayle, through his weapon of scepticism, theore-
tically undermined seventeenth-century metaphysics. He re-
futed chiefly Spinoza and Leibnitz. He proclaimed atheistic
society. He was, in the words of a French writer, “the last
metaphysician in the seventeenth-century sense of the word
and the first philosopher in the sense of the eighteenth cen-
tury.” (200-201)

This negative refutation required a positive, anti-meta-
physical system. It was provided by Locke.

Materialism is the son of Great Britain. Its scholastic
Duns Scotus had already raised the question: “ob die
Materie nicht denken könne?
[48] He was a nominalist.
Nominalism is in general the first expression of material-
ism.[49]

The real founder of English materialism was Bacon. (“The
first and most important of the inherent qualities of matter is
motion, not only as mechanical and mathematical movement,
but still more as impulse, vital spirit, tension, or ... the throes
(Qual) ... of matter.”—202)

“In Bacon, its first creator, materialism has still concealed
within it a naïve way the germs of all-round development.
Matter smiles at man as a whole with poetical sensuous
brightness.”

In Hobbes, materialism becomes one-sided, menschen-
feindlich, mechanisch.[50] Hobbes systematised Bacon, but
he did not develop (begründet) more deeply Bacon’s fund-
amental principle: the origin of knowledge and ideas from
the world of the senses (Sinnenwelt).—P. 203.

Just as Hobbes did away with the theistic prejudices of
Bacon’s materialism, so Collins, Dodwell, Coward, Hartley,
Priestley, etc., destroyed the last theological bounds of
Locke’s sensualism.[51]

Condillac directed Locke’s sensualism against seven-
teenth-century metaphysics; he published a refutation of the
systems of Descartes, Spinoza, Leibnitz, and Malebranche.

The French “civilised” (205) the materialism of the English.

In Helvétius (who also derives from Locke), materialism
was given a properly French character.

Lamettrie is a combination of Cartesian and English mat-
erialism.

Robinet has the most connection with metaphysics.

“Just as Cartesian materialism passes into natural sci-
ence proper
, the other trend of French materialism flows
directly into socialism and communism.” (206)

Nothing is easier than to derive socialism from the premis-
es of materialism (reconstruction of the world of the senses—
linking private and public interests—destroying the Geburts-
stätten[52] of crime, etc.).

Fourier proceeds immediately from the teaching of the
French materialists. The Babouvists[53] were crude, immature
materialists. Bentham based his system on the morality of
Helvétius, while Owen takes Bentham’s system as his starting-
point for founding English communism. Cabet brought com-
munist ideas from England into France (populärste wenn auch
flachste[54] representative of communism) 208. The “more
scientific” are Dézamy, Gay, etc., who developed the teach-
ing of materialism as real humanism.

On pp. 209-211 Marx gives in a note (two pages of small
print) extracts from Helvétius, Holbach and Bentham, in or-
der to prove the connection of the materialism of the eight-
eenth century with English and French communism of the
nineteenth century.

Of the subsequent sections the following passage is worth
noting:

“The dispute between Strauss and Bauer over Substance
and Self-Consciousness is a dispute within Hegelian
speculation. In Hegel there are three elements: Spinoza’s
Substance
, Fichte’s Self-Consciousness, and Hegel’s ne-
cessary and contradictory unity of the two, the Absolute
Spirit
. The first element is metaphysically disguised nature in
separation from man; the second is metaphysically disguised
spirit in separation from nature; the third is the metaphysical-
ly disguised unity of both, real man and the real human
race
” (220), and the paragraph with its assessment of Feuer-
bach:

“In the domain of theology, Strauss quite consistently
expounded Hegel from Spinoza’s point of view, and Bauer
did the same from Fichte’s point of view. Both criticised
Hegel insofar as with him each of the two elements was
falsified by the other, while they carried each of the elements
to its one-sided and hence consistent development.—Both
of them therefore go beyond Hegel in their Criticism, but
both of them also remain within the framework of his specu-
lation and each represents only one side of his system. Feuer-

bach was the first to bring to completion and criticise Hegel
from Hegel’s point of view
, by resolving the metaphysical
Absolute Spirit into ‘real man on the basis of nature,’ and
the first to bring to completion the Criticism of religion by
sketching in a masterly manner the general basic features
of the Criticism of Hegel’s speculation and hence of every
kind of metaphysics
.” (220-221)


Marx ridicules Bauer’s “theory of self-consciousness” on
account of its idealism (the sophisms of absolute idealism—
222), points out that this is a periphrasing of Hegel, and
quotes the latter’s Phenomenology and Feuerbach’s criti-
cal remarks (from Philosophie der Zukunft,[55] p. 35, that
philosophy negates—negiert — the “materially sensuous,”
just as theology negates “nature tainted by original sin”).



The following chapter (VII) again begins with a series of
highly boring, caviling criticisms [1). Pp. 228-235]. In section
2a
there is an interesting passage.

Marx quotes from the Literary Gazette the letter of a “re-
presentative of the Mass,” who calls for the study of reality, of
natural science and industry (236), and who on that account
was reviled by “criticism”:

“Or”(!), exclaimed “the critics” against this representa-
tive of the Mass,—“do you think that the knowledge of his-
torical reality is already complete? Or (!) do you know

of any single period in history which is actually known?”

“Or does Critical Criticism”—Marx replies—“believe that
it has reached even the beginning of a knowledge of histori-
cal reality so long as it excludes from the historical move-
ment the theoretical and practical relation of man to na-
ture, natural science and industry? Or does it think that it
actually knows any period without knowing, for example,
the industry of that period, the immediate mode of pro-
duction of life itself? True, spiritualistic, theological Crit-
ical Criticism only knows (at least it imagines it knows)
the major political, literary and theological acts of his-
tory. Just as it separates thinking from the senses, the
soul from the body and itself from the world, it separates
history from natural science and industry and sees the origin
of history not in vulgar material production on the earth
but in vaporous clouds in the heavens.” (238)

No-
ta
be-
ne

Criticism dubbed this representative of the mass a mas-
senhafter Materialist
.[56] (239)

“The criticism of the French and the English is not an abs-
tract, preternatural personality outside mankind; it is the real
human activity
of individuals who are active members of
society and who as human beings suffer, feel, think and act.
That is why their criticism is a the same time practical, their
communism a socialism in which they give practical, tangible
measures, and in which they do not only think but even more
act; it is the living real criticism of existing society, the discov-
ery of the causes of ‘decay’.” (244)

[[The whole of Chapter VII (228-257), apart from the pas-
sages quoted above, consists only of the most incredible capti-
ous criticisms and mockery, noting contradictions of the most
petty character, and ridiculing each and every stupidity in the
Literary Gazette, etc.]]

In Chapter VIII (258-333) we have a section on the “Crit-
ical Transformation of a Butcher into a Dog”—and further on
E u g è n e  S u e ’ s  Fleur de Marie[57] (evidently a
novel with this title or the heroine of some novel or other) with
certain “radical“ but uninteresting observations by Marx. Worth
mentioning perhaps are only p.  2 8 5  — against Eugène
Sue’s
defence of the prison cell system (Cellularsystem).

“The mystery of this” (305) (there was a quotation from
Anekdota [58] above) “courage of Bauer’s is Hegel’s Phenom-
enology
. Since Hegel here puts self-consciousness in the
place of man, the most varied human reality appears only
as a definite form, as a determination of self-consciousness.
But a mere determination of self-consciousness is a ‘pure
category
,’ a mere ‘thought’ which I can consequently also
transcend in ‘pure’ thought and overcome through pure

thought. In Hegel’s Phenomenology the material, sensuous,
objective bases of the various alienated forms of human
self-consciousness are left as they are. The whole destructive
work results in the most conservative philosophy [sic!]
because it thinks it has overcome the objective world, the
sensuously real world, by merely transforming it into

a ‘thing of thought,’ a mere determination of self-con-
sciousness
, and can therefore dissolve its opponent, which
has become ethereal, in the ‘ether of pure thought.’ The
Phenomenology is therefore quite consistent in ending by re-
placing all human reality by ‘Absolute Knowledge’ —
Knowledge, because this is the only mode of existence of
self-consciousness, and because self-consciousness is con-
sidered as the only mode of existence of man;—Absolute
Knowledge for the very reason that self-consciousness knows
only itself and is no more disturbed by any objective world.
Hegel makes man the man of self-consciousness instead
of making self-consciousness the self-consciousness of man,
of the real man, and therefore of man living also in a real objec-
tive world and determined by that world. He stands the world
on its head and can therefore in his head dissolve all limita-
tions, which nevertheless, of course, remain in existence for e-
vil sensuousness
, for real man. Moreover, everything which
betrays the limitations of general self-consciousness— all
sensuousness, reality, individuality of men and of their world—
is neccessarily held by him to be a limit. The whole of the Phe-
nomenology
is intended to prove that self-consciousness is the
only reality and all reality....” (306)
 

...“Finally, it goes without saying that if Hegel’s Phe-
nomenology
, in spite of its speculative original sin, gives
in many instances the elements of a true description of hu-
man relations, Herr Bruno and Co., on the other hand,
provide only an empty caricature....” (307)

 


“Thereby Rudolph unconsciously revealed the mystery,
long ago exposed, that human misery itself, the infinite ab-
jectness which is obliged to receive alms, has to serve as
a plaything to the aristocracy of money and education to
satisfy their self-love, tickle their arrogance and amuse
them.

“The numerous charitable associations in Germany, the
numerous charitable societies in France and the great num-
ber of charitable quixotic societies in England, the concerts,
balls, plays, meals for the poor and even public subscriptions
for victims of accidents have no other meaning.” (309-310)

And Marx quotes from Eugène Sue:

“Ah, Madame, it is not enough to have danced for the be-
nefit of these poor Poles.... Let us be philanthropic to the
end.... Let us have supper now for the benefit of the
poor
!”[60] (310)

On pp. 312-313 quotations  f r o m   F o u r i e r
(adultery is good tone, infanticide by the victims of seduction
— a vicious circle.... “The degree of emancipation of woman
is the natural measure of general emancipation....” (312) Civ-
ilisation converts every vice from a simple into a complex, am-
biguous, hypocritical form), and Marx adds:
 

“It is superfluous to contrast to Rudolph’s thoughts
Fourier’s masterly characterisation of marriage[61] or the

works of the materialist section of French communism.” (313)

P. 313 u. ff., against the political-economic projects of
Eugène Sue and Rudolph (presumably the hero of Sue’s
novel?), projects for the association of rich and poor, and
the organisation of labour (which the state ought to do),
etc.—e.g., also the Armenbank[62] [7)—b) “The bank for
the Poor” pp. 314-318] = interest-free loans to the unem-
ployed. Marx takes the  f i g u r e s  of the project and
exposes their meagreness in relation to need. And the idea
of an Armenbank, says Marx, is no better than Sparkas-
sen[63]..., i.e., die Einrichtung[64] of the bank “rests on the
delusion that only a different distribution of wages is needed
for the workers to be able to live through the whole year.”
(316-317)

Section c) “Model Farm at Bouqueval” 318-320, Ru-
dolph’s project for a model farm, which was praised by
“Criticism,” is subjected to devastating criticism: Marx de-
clares it to be a utopian project, for on the average one
Frenchman gets only a quarter of a pound of meat per day,
only 93 francs in annual income, etc.; in the project they
work twice as much as before, etc., etc. ((Not interesting.))
 

320: “The miraculous means by which Rudolph accomp-
lishes all his redemptions and marvellous cures is not his fine
words but his ready money. That is what the moralists are
like, says Fourier. One must be a millionaire to be able to
imitate their heroes.


“Morality is ‘Impuissance mise en action.’[65] Every time
it fights a vice it is defeated. And Rudolph does not even rise
to the standpoint of independent morality based at least on
the consciousness of human dignity. On the contrary, his
morality is based on the consciousness of human weakness.
He represents theological morality.” (320-321)

...“As in reality all differences boil down more and more
to the difference between poor and rich, so in the idea do
all aristocratic differences become resolved into the opposi-
tion between good and evil. This distinction is the last form
that the aristocrat gives to his prejudices....” (323-324)

...“Every movement of his soul is of infinite importance to
Rudolph. That is why he constantly observes and appraises
them....” (Examples.) “This great lord is like the members of
Young England,’ who also wish to reform the world, to
perform noble deeds, and are subject to similar hysterical
fits....” (326)
 

  Has  not  Marx  in  mind  here  the  
  English  Tory  philanthropists  who 
  passed  the  Ten  Hours’  Bill?[66]

 


Notes

[1] The Holy Family, or Critique of Critical Criticism. Against Bruno Bauer and Co.—the first joint work of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. It was written between September and November 1844 and was published in February 1845 in Frankfort-on-Main. 

“The Holy Family” is a mocking reference to the Bauer brothers and their followers grouped around the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (General Literary Gazette). While attacking the Bauers and the other Young Hegelians (or Left Hegelians), Marx and Engels at the same time criticised the idealist philosophy of Hegel. 

Marx sharply disagreed with the Young Hegelians as early as the summer of 1842, when the club of “The Free” was formed in Berlin. Upon becoming editor of the Rheinische Zeitung (Rhine Gazette) in October 1842, Marx opposed the efforts of several Young Hegelian staff members from Berlin to publish inane and pretentious articles emanating from the club of “The Free,” which had lost touch with reality and was absorbed in abstract philosophical disputes. During the two years following Marx’s break with “The Free,” the theoretical and political differences between Marx and Engels on the one hand and the Young Hegelians on the other became deep-rooted and irreconcilable. This was not only due to the fact that Marx and Engels had gone over from idealism to materialism and from revolutionary democratism to communism, but also due to the evolution undergone by the Bauer brothers and persons of like mind during this time. In the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, Bauer and his group denounced “1842 radicalism” and its most outstanding proponent—the Rheinische Zeitung. They slithered into vulgar subjective idealism of the vilest kind—propagation of a “theory” according to which only select individuals, bearers of the “spirit,” of “pure criticism,” are the makers of history, while the masses, the people, serve as inert material or ballast in the historical process. 

Marx and Engels decided to devote their first joint work to the exposure of these pernicious, reactionary ideas and to the defence of their new materialist and communist outlook. 

During a ten-day stay of Engels in Paris the plan of the book (at first entitled Critique of Critical Criticism. Against Bruno Bauer and Co.) was drafted, responsibility for the various chapters apportioned between the authors, and the “Preface” written. Engels wrote his chapters while still in Paris. Marx, who was responsible for a larger part of the book, continued to work on it until the end of November 1844. Moreover, he considerably increased the initially conceived size of the book by incorporating in his chapters parts of his economic and philosophical manuscripts on which he had worked during the spring and summer of 1844, his historical studies of the bourgeois French Revolution at the end of the 18th century, and a number of his excerpts and conspectuses. While the book was in the process of being printed, Marx added the words The Holy Family to the title. By using a small format, the book exceeded 20 printer’s sheets and was thus exempted from preliminary censorship according to the prevailing regulations in a number of German states.

[2] Engels, F. und Marx, K., Die heilige Familie, oder Kritik der kritischen Kritik, Frankfurt a. M., 1845. —Ed.

[3] Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung (General Literary Gazette)—a German monthly published in Charlottenburg from December 1843 to October 1844 by Bruno Bauer, the Young Hegelian.

[4] pedantic thoroughness—Ed.

[5] und folgende bis—and following up to—Ed.

[6] formula and significance—Ed.

[7] justice—Ed.

[8] juridical practice—Ed.

[9] characterising translation No. I, II, etc.—Ed.

[10] critical gloss No. I, etc.—Ed.

[11] Umrisse zu einer Kritik der Nationalökonomie (Outlines of a Critique of Political Economy) was first published by Engels at the beginning of 1844 in Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher (Franco-German Annals)—see Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Moscow, 1959, pp. 175-209.

[12] Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher (Franco-German Annals)—a magazine published in German in Paris and edited by Karl Marx and Arnold Ruge. The only issue to appear was a double number published in February 1844. It included Marx’s articles “A Critique of the Hegelian Philosophy of Law (Introduction)” and “On the Jewish Question,” and also Engels’ articles “Outlines of a Critique of Political Economy” and “The Position of England. Thomas Carlyle. ‘Past and Present’.” These works mark the final transition of Marx and Engels to materialism and communism. Publication of the magazine was discontinued chiefly as a result of the basic differences between Marx’s views and the bourgeois-radical views of Ruge.

[13] party—Ed.

[14] This refers to Proudhon’s work of 1840 Qu’est-ce que la propriété ou Recherches sur le principe du droit et du gouvernement (What Is Property? or Studies on the Principle of Law and Government). Marx presents a critique of this work in a letter to Schweitzer dated January 24, 1865 (see Marx and Engels, Selected Correspondence, Moscow, 1955, pp. 185-192).

[15] Marx is quoting Edgar.

[16] if the word may be allowed—Ed.

[17] “blacksmith”—Ed.

[18] “if the rich only knew it!”—Ed.

[19] debasing of sensuousness—Ed.

[20] This refers to Eugène Sue’s novel Les mystères de Paris (Mysteries of Paris), which was written in the spirit of petty-bourgeois sentimentality. It was published in Paris in 1842-43 and very popular in France and abroad.

[21] a student—Ed.

[22] worker—Ed.

[23] “from the outset”—Ed.

[24] Marx is referring here to articles by Jules Faucher entitled Englische Tagesfragen (Topical Questions in England), which were published in Nos. VII and VIII (June and July 1844) of the Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung.

[25] at the end—Ed.

[26] spirit—Ed.

[27] mass—Ed.

[28] Loustallot’s journal of 1789—a weekly publication entitled Révolutions de Paris (Parisian Revolutions), which appeared in Paris from July 1789 to February 1794. Until September 1790 it was edited by Elisée Loustallot, a revolutionary publicist.

[29] The great only seem great to us
   Because we are on our knees.
   Let us rise!—Ed.

[30] Phänomenologie des Geistes (Phenomenology of Mind) by G. W. F. Hegel was first published in 1807. In working on The Holy Family, Marx made use of Vol. II of the second edition of Hegel’s works (Berlin, 1841). He called this first large work of Hegel, in which the latter’s philosophical system was elaborated, “the source and secret of Hegel’s philosophy.”

[31] Doctrinaires—members of a bourgeois political grouping in France during the period of the Restoration (1815-30). As constitutional monarchists and rabid enemies of the democratic and revolutionary movement, they aimed to create in France a bloc of the bourgeoisie and landed aristocracy after the English fashion. The most celebrated of the Doctrinaires were Guizot, a historian, and Royer-Collard, a philosopher. Their views constituted a reaction in the field of philosophy against the French materialism of the 18th century and the democratic ideas of the French bourgeois revolution (see Holy Family ch.VI 3. d.).

[32] after the event—Ed.

[33] The refutation of the views expounded by Bruno Bauer in his book Die Judenfrage (The Jewish Question), Braunschweig, 1843, was made by Marx in an article entitled “Zur Judenfrage” (“On the Jewish Question”), published in 1844 in Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher.

[34] “in commercial and industrial practice”—Ed.

[35] “is the perfected practice of the Christian world itself”—Ed.

[36] the universal rights of man—Ed.

[37] The Universal Rights of Man—the principles enunciated in the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen” and proclaimed during the time of the French bourgeois revolution of 1789-93.

[38] does not conceive the general contradiction of constitutionalism—Ed.

[39] world order—Ed.

[40] “Yet it was I who made that.”—Ed.

[41] The 18th Brumaire (9 November 1799)—the day of the coup d’état of Napoleon Bonaparte, who overthrew the Directorate and established his own dictatorship.

[42] Storm and stress—Ed.

[43] a metaphysical universal kingdom—Ed.

[44] flows directly into socialism—Ed.

[45] Cartesian materialism—the materialism of the followers of Descartes (from the Latin spelling of Descartes—Cartesius). The indicated book—Rapports du physique et du moral de l’homme (Relation of the Physical to the Spiritual in Man) by P. J. G. Cabanis—was published in Paris in 1802.

[46] mould—Ed.

[47] became insipid—Ed.

[48]whether matter can think?”—Ed.

[49] Nominalism—the trend in medieval philosophy that considered general concepts as merely the names of single objects in contrast to medieval “realism,” which recognised the existence of general concepts or ideas independent of things. 

Nominalism recognised objects as primary and concepts as secondary. Thus, as Marx says in The Holy Family, nominalism represents the first expression of materialism in the Middle Ages (see Marx and Engels, The Holy Family, Moscow, 1956, p. 172).

[50] misanthropic, mechanical—Ed.

[51] Sensualism—the philosophical doctrine that recognises sensation as the sole source of cognition.

[52] sources—Ed.

[53] Babouvists—adherents of Gracchus Babeuf, who in 1796 led a utopian communist movement of “equals” in France.

[54] the most popular, though most superficial—Ed.

[55] Lenin is referring to Feuerbach’s Grundsätze der Philosophie der Zukunft (Principles of the Philosophy of the Future), 1843, which constitutes a continuation of the latter’s aphorisms Vorläufige Thesen zu einer Reform der Philosophie (Preliminary Theses on the Reform of Philosophy), 1842, in which the author expounds the basis of his materialist philosophy and criticises Hegel’s idealist philosophy.

[56] mass materialist—Ed.

[57] Fleur de Marie—heroine of Eugène Sue’s novel Mysteries of Paris.

[58] Anekdota zur neuesten deutschen Philosophie und Publizistik. Von Bruno Bauer, Ludwig Feuerbach, Friedrich Köppen, Karl Nauwerk, Arnold Ruge und einigen Ungenannten (Unpublished Recent German Philosophical and Other Writings of Bruno Bauer, Ludwig Feuerbach, Friedrich K√∂ppen, Karl Nauwerk, Arnold Ruge and Several Anonymous Writers)—a collection of articles that were banned for publication in German magazines. It was published in 1843 in Zurich by Ruge and included Marx as one of its contributors.

[59] the law of the talion—an eye for an eye—Ed.

[60] criminal justice and justice for virtue!—Ed.

[61] plaything—Ed.

[62] bank for the poor—Ed.

[63] savings-banks—Ed.

[64] the institution—Ed.

[65] “impotence in action”—Ed.

[66] Tory philanthropists—a literary-political group—“Young England.” 

This group was formed in the early 1840s and belonged to the Tory Party. It voiced the dissatisfaction of the landed aristocracy with the increased economic and political might of the bourgeoisie, and resorted to demagogic methods to bring the working class under its influence and use it in its fight against the bourgeoisie. 

“In order to arouse sympathy,” Marx and Engels wrote in the Manifesto of the Communist Party, “the aristocracy were obliged to lose sight, apparently, of their own interests, and to formulate their indictment against the bourgeoisie in the interest of the exploited working class alone.” 

Ten Hours’ Bill—a law on the l0-hour working day for women and juveniles, adopted by the English Parliament in 1847.

“According to Hegel, the criminal in his punishment passes sentence on himself. Gans developed this theory at greater length. In Hegel this is the speculative disguise of the old jus talionis [59] that Kant expounded as the only juridical penal theory. For Hegel, self-judgment of the criminal remains a mere ‘Idea,’ a mere speculative interpretation of the current empirical penal code. He thus leaves the mode of application to the respective stages of development of the state, i.e., he leaves punishment just as it is. Precisely in that does he show himself more critical than this Critical echoer. A penal theory that at the same time sees in the criminal the man can do so only in abstraction, in imagination, precisely because punishment, coercion, is contrary to human conduct. Besides, the practical realisation of such a theory would be impossible. Pure subjective arbitrariness would replace abstract law because in each case it would depend on official ‘honest and decent’ men to adapt the penalty to the individuality of the criminal. Plato long ago had the insight to see that the law must be one-sided and must make abstraction of the individual. On the other hand, under human conditions punishment will really be nothing but the sentence passed by the culprit on himself. There will be no attempt to persuade him that violence from without, exerted on him by others, is violence exerted on himself by himself. On the contrary, he will see in other men his natural saviours from the sentence which he has pronounced on himself; in other words, the relation will be exactly reversed.” (285-286)

 


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