MARX VS. STIRNER

Ralph Dumain rdumain at igc.apc.org
Wed Dec 28 23:45:20 MST 1994


Many moons ago, David Westling wrote the following about
Marx/Engels' THE GERMAN IDEOLOGY:

>Lobkowicz focusses on the discrepancy between Marx's idea of
>historical inevitability and his exhortation to the philosopher
>to change the world;

You mean the old chestnut about the contradiction between
voluntarism and determinism?

>in the aftermath of _Der Einzige_, the former ideals are
>conceived of as having historical necessity.

I am suspicious of this formulation.  Perhaps the issue is really
trying to concretize ideals in a way that enacting them has some
connection with material reality.  I don't even see an issue over
ideals per se, rather a basic difference in the conception of how
society works and how the individual relates to it.  And that's
treating Stirner charitably.

>But Marx never resolved the tension between these two aspects of
>reality and he knew it, judging by the extremely vitriolic and,
>frankly, "unbalanced" attack on Stirner's concepts.

I have read the first 460 pages of THE GERMAN IDEOLOGY, and I
don't see this at all.  Lobkowicz and I must have read two
different books, or a big surprise awaits me in the next 100
pages.  Do you accept this analysis?  I'd like some clarification
of your position, especially what is so unbalanced about the
critique of Stirner.  It seems to me Marx dissected Stirner's
mentality with great precision.  I've known a lot of Stirners
myself; I only wish I had had Marx with me to pull my coat as to
what I was dealing with.


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