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Georg Lukács: My Way to Marx, his Postscript of 1957 translated from German by Peter D S Krey

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Georg Lukács Postscript 1957 to: My Way to Marx of 1933

From Nuovi Argumenti: Notebook 33 (1958), p. 1-16.

Lukács provided this original draft in German for his Schriften zur Ideologie und Politik[1]

and now translated for Oscar Pemantle into English by Peter D. S. Krey July 13 to 15, 2019

 

The lines that preceded these, as everybody can see, were written in a highly strung, intense state of mind. This state of mind comes after almost 50 years filled with many intellectual adventures, and is based on finally feeling solid ground under my feet. For it, as well, the events during the one and a half decades which just occurred, have also played a strong role. I have, of course, already spoken about the first years of the revolution, but not about the time after the death of Lenin. As a fighter alongside Stalin, I have experienced and seen his battle against Trotsky, Sinowjew, etc., for the correct legacy of Lenin, as the gift Lenin left us, in order that precisely these achievements could be saved and used for further development. For the period from 1924-1930 and for the experience of the years in-between, nothing has substantially changed for that kind of a judgment. In addition, the philosophical discussion in 1929-1930 allowed me to hope that one could clarify and open up a new horizon for philosophical research regarding Hegel and Marx, Feuerbach and Marx, Marx and Lenin in the liberation from the so-called Plechanovian Orthodoxy. Moreover the unraveling of the R.A.P.P. (Russian Society for Proletarian Authors)(1932), a society which I constantly opposed, opened up a wider perspective for me and many others, one that was not limited by any bureaucratic promotion of socialist literature, the Marxist literature theory and literature critique: but immediately two components of the Marxist-Leninist character of the literature theory and literature critique, as well as the failure of the established bureaucratic boundaries have to be strongly underscored. And when I add to that, that right in these years the fundamental works of the young Marx, above all his “Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts” and the philosophical legacy of Lenin came to our knowledge: these facts account for the great excitement and new hope called forth for us by the beginning of the 1930’s.

     Although, even at the time – to give it an optimistic expression, just about every second thought that strayed from the routine pattern met with a muted or aggressive resistance, it was only very gradually that the coloration of these hopes became more dampened. In the beginning I believed – and with me not a few others, that we merely opposed left-over matters that had not yet been overcome from the past (“Rappists,” vulgar socialists, etc.). Later it became clear that all these tendencies that hindered theoretical progress possessed solid bureaucratic footholds of support. For a while many of us thought this dogmatism was an accidental manifestation of a system-defense; many of us sighing in the meantime, thinking about Stalin, Ah, si le roi le savait. ”Ah, if the king only knew!” That condition, naturally could not last without having a limit. One finally had to understand that the source of this contradiction, between struggling forward for the enriching streams of Marxist culture and the bureaucratic suppression of every independent thought, had to be sought in the regime of Stalin itself and therefore also in his person.

    There are twelve remaining pages. Buy this whole important Lukács Essay for $3.99  in the SCHOLAR STORE of this Website. It is historically important for the light he throws on what happened from Marx and Engels to Lenin and then Stalin in World War II and the Post War history of the Soviet Union. Peter Krey

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