Thursday 21 February 2008
Why Marx and Engels Were Wrong
It was Marx who had first discovered the great law of motion of history, the law according to which all historical struggles, whether they proceed in the political, religious, philosophical or some other ideological domain, are in fact only the more or less clear expression of struggles of social classes, and that the existence and thereby the collisions, too, between these classes are in turn conditioned by the degree of development of their economic position, by the mode of their production and of their exchange determined by it. This law, which has the same significance for history as the law of the transformation of energy has for natural science.
Engels, Preface to The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1885)
And now as to myself, no credit is due to me for discovering the existence of classes in modern society or the struggle between them. Long before me bourgeois historians had described the historical development of this class struggle and bourgeois economists, the economic anatomy of classes. What I did that was new was to prove:
(1) that the existence of classes is only bound up with the particular, historical phases in the development of production,
(2) that the class struggle necessarily leads to the dictatorship of the proletariat,
(3) that this dictatorship itself only constitutes the transition to the abolition of all classes and to a classless society.
Marx, Letter to Weydemeyer (1852)
Opening line of the Communist Manifesto (1848): “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles”.
Marx moved to London in May 1849, where he was to remain for the rest of his life.
It was in London that most of his political and economic theories crystallised.
The question is, as an German emigre, how much did Marx truly understand about the nature of the society around him.
At that time in Britain the Working Class was comprised primarily of the displaced descendants of the Anglo-Saxons who were removed from the land by the Norman aristocracy, the Celtic English and also Celtic Irish immigrants who worked for the Norman aristocracy.
The Middle Class were mainly Anglo-Saxons whilst the Upper Class, Aristocracy and financiers were primarily Normans, and the Celts were the Working Class. This is due to a simple fact, that those with the land had the money.
The Anglo-Saxons who were dispossessed after 1066 had their lands taken from them and given to Norman nobles by the Norman King. Therefore they had to work for the Norman barons as landless tenants, and the landless Celts had to work as labour for the Anglo-Saxons.
It was Engels' book, The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844, which led Marx to conceive of the historical dialectic in terms of class conflict and to see the modern working class as the most progressive force for revolution.
Originally written in German as Die Lage der arbeitenden Klasse in England, it is a study of the working class in Victorian England. It was also Engels' first book, written during his stay in Manchester from 1842 to 1844. Manchester was then at the very heart of the Industrial Revolution, and Engels compiled his study from his own observations and detailed contemporary reports.
By 1841, a tenth of the city's population was Irish and many lived in the district known as "Little Ireland", a slum area in the Ancoats area of Manchester which Engels labelled in his 1845 'Condition of the Working Class In England' as "the most disgusting spot of all!". This area of the city was so overcrowded that the sudden Irish influx during the Potato Famine could not be accomodated and had to turn to other English cities, notably Liverpool and Birmingham.
Engels wrote, "The New Town, known also as Irish Town, stretches up a hill of clay, beyond the Old Town, between the Irk and St. George's Road. Here all the features of a city are lost. Single rows of houses or groups of streets stand, here and there, like little villages on the naked, not even grass-grown clay soil; the houses, or rather cottages, are in bad order, never repaired, filthy, with damp, unclean, cellar dwellings; the lanes are neither paved nor supplied with sewers, but harbour numerous colonies of swine penned in small sties or yards, or wandering unrestrained through the neighbourhood. The mud in the streets is so deep that there is never a chance, except in the dryest weather, of walking without sinking into it ankle deep at every step. In the vicinity of St. George's Road, the separate groups of buildings approach each other more closely, ending in a continuation of lanes, blind alleys, back lanes and courts, which grow more and more crowded and irregular the nearer they approach the heart of the town. True, they are here oftener paved or supplied with paved sidewalks and gutters; but the filth, the bad order of the houses, and especially of the cellars, remain the same.".
Marx's view of history, which came to be called historical materialism, was wrong as it was based on the principle that the fundamental proposition of historical materialism can be summed up in the following:
“ It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness. ”
—Karl Marx, Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy.
This is false as it misses entirely the fundamental social and human reality which is that all life and all social existence is predicated on the energy exchange process.
No energy = No Life
Human life, human consciousness and human society are all dependent upon energy - from calories to keep one alive to energy to create and maintain social complexity and social entelechy.
All human societies are not driven by the dialectic of class war, they are driven by the neccesity to secure, utilise and expend ever increasing amounts of energy from the environment in order to maintain human life, human social complexity and for all forms of human society to evolve.
Hegel was wrong (and so was Marx) in that what he and Marx defined as Class War as the principle that drives the dynamic dialectic of society, was in reality an ethnic struggle.
At the time Hegel wrote his book 'The Condition of the Working Class in England' the place he based the research on and, also the place which provided the theoretical basis of the principle of Dialectical Materialism, was Manchester.
In Manchester at that time ;
The Working Class were the descendants of the Celtic Irish and landless Anglo-Saxons.
The Middle Class were primarily Anglo-Saxon working for the same rich Norman families and aristocrats in factories owned by them and on land owned by them or in businesses owned by them.
The Upper Class were primarily Norman and those married into the Norman aristocracy. If the English are predominantly Keltic, it is likely the upper-middle and aristocratic classes of England are disproportionately Germanic.
The Anglo-Saxon overclass separated itself from the Kelts by an elaborate system of Apartheid. Subsequently, the Norman race, that other branch of the Germanic family, implemented a similar system in their subjugation of the English. The present British aristocracy is largely descended from these tribes of Germania from the Northmen (Normans) which were Scandanavian Vikings.
Therefore Class Struggle is in reality Ethnic Struggle.
The Class Struggle that Hegel defined was in reality the Norman aristocracy ( The Upper Class ) using the Anglo-Saxons ( Middle Class ) to rule the Celtic peoples (Working Class). Those Anglo-Saxons that became impoverished were also made serfs alongside the Celtic peoples, and amalgamated to form the Working Class of the Industrial Revolution.
Therefore the true statement is ' All hitherto history of all human societies is the struggle to secure energy in order to ensure individual and social survival and also the history of ethnic and racial struggle '
The Norman conquest of England in 1066 saw all land taken under the ownership of the monarchy. To this day the monarchy - in theory at least - owns all the land. The Normans changed the ownership of land with the King giving land as tribute to Norman lords and barons and depriving the Saxons. The Domesday book was the first audit of land. And the resulting system of feudalism exacted free labour, goods and produce and free military service to the land-owning classes for the rest of the middle ages.
The Diggers sought to challenge the ‘Norman Yoake’ and return the land to common people. As one Diggers’ pamphlet proclaimed ‘Seeing that the common people of England by joint consent of person and purse have caste out Charles our Norman oppressor, we have by this victory recovered ourselves from under this Norman yoake…and the land is to be held no longer from the use of them [the commoners]’ Their attempts to build communal farms were persecuted by local landowners and the Diggers were dispersed. The Diggers obtained nothing from the new Republic which eagerly sold off Church and Royalist land – the spoils of war – to its own loyal aristocrats. The redistribution of land was so enormous that Charles II under the Restoration could not undo the redefined status quo.
In the 1870s a political argument took place on the question of land ownership between the radical liberal John Bright and the conservative aristocrat Lord Derby. Bright had argued that very few – about 150 aristocrats - owned half of England and that this group used the Corn Laws to stop the importation of cheaper corn. For Bright this amounted to a subsidy to this class. Lord Derby -himself a very large landowner -claimed that land ownership was much more widespread and consequently Bright was wrong. The result was an enquiry into land ownership.
In 1872 the British Government published The Return of the Owners of Land, which is only the second audit of land to have taken place in British history, the other being the Domesday book in 1086. After 2 years of gathering all the information the returns found that 1 million people owned freeholds, about 5% of the population. The ten leading Dukes in the Kingdom owned over 100,000 acres each with the Duke of Sutherland owning 1,350,000 acres. The Duke of Northumberland owned 186,000 acres then and still owns 132,000 acres. Both sides claimed victory, and the land-owning class realised that they had given up too much information about their assets and wealth.
Since 1872 there has not been an audit of the land and the state effectively screen landowners from any enquiry into their activities, and their colossal wealth. The Royal Commission into the wealth of Britain set up by the Labour government just before Thatcher hoped to examine land ownership but found a paucity of information on the question. Thatcher abolished the commission on coming to power. None of the major political parties in the UK has any policy to redistribute land, with one exception; the Green Party.
This situation is indicative of the cosy relationship that those whose arses grace the seats in the Palaces of Westminster have with the land-owning elite. On the other hand the Green Party believes that: ‘Land, the primary source of all real wealth, is the common heritage. We acknowledge that land is held in trust by human society on behalf of other species and future generations, and that land should not be treated as a capital investment nor traded for speculative profit.’ One only hopes that Jonathan Porritt CBE; Charles Windsor’s environmental advisor inculcates this advice into the prince’s ear!
Wealth, Land and Power
Lord Derby declared in 1881: “The object which men aim at when they become possessed of land in the British Isles may, I think, be enumerated as follows. One political influence; two, social importance, founded in territorial possession, the most visible and unmistakable form of wealth; three power exercised over tenantry; the pleasure of managing, directing and improving the estate itself; four residential enjoyment, including what is called sport; five the money return – the rent”.
Derby’s point of view concerning land was not only indicative of the time, but certainly abounds amongst landowners today. The Land Reform Act (Scotland) of 2003 that gives Scots the right to roam and also the right for communities to purchase land that would benefit them. It caused strong reactions from the land-owning elite, with one of them commenting that ‘the only countries in the world left with this kind of thing are North Korea and Cuba’.
Over the centuries the land-owning class has created vast wealth for itself from its holdings. This wealth has been derived from agriculture, forestry, rents, mining and hunting and sport, and since the later part of the 20th century tourism.
They have always pursued their profitable goals against the common interest and at the expense of ordinary people. The Highland Clearances led to the displacement of 500,000 Highland peasants and crofters in the early part of the 19th century, being replaced by sheep.
Crofters were denied rights to seaweed, or access to summer pasture for their animals. Enclosure of England’s Commons and wasteland that began at the time of the Diggers was to last into middle of 19th century. Enclosure occurred at a greater rate in those counties where profits were larger, in particular for produce demanded for the ever-expanding urban industrial areas.
A system of racial segregation imposed by early Anglo-Saxon invaders in England may have massively boosted the breeding of the Germanic interlopers, much to the detriment of the native Celtic race, researchers claim in a new study.
Genetic analysis of men in modern-day central England shows that more than half of them possess a Y-chromosome that can be traced to a Germanic region – what is now Germany, Holland and Denmark.
Historians argue that fewer than 200,000 Anglo-Saxons invaded the population of about 2 million Celtic Britons during the 5th century. All things being equal, this number should account for just 10% of the gene pool being Anglo-Saxon.