Marx Preface/Critique

MARIPOWER716 at aol.com MARIPOWER716 at aol.com
Mon Feb 18 22:46:16 MST 2002



"Then begins an epoch of social revolution. With the change of the economic
foundation the entire immense superstructure is more or less rapidly
transformed. In considering such transformations a distinction should always
be made between the material transformation of the economic conditions of
production, which can be determined with the precision of natural science,
and the legal, political, religious, aesthetic or philosophic - in short,
ideological forms in which men become conscious of this conflict and fight it
out. Just as our opinion of an individual is not based on what he thinks of
himself, so can we not judge of such a period of transformation by its own
consciousness; on the contrary, this consciousness must be explained rather
form the contradictions of material life, from the existing conflict between
the social productive forces and the relations of production.


No social order ever perishes before all the productive forces for which
there is room in it have developed; and new, higher relations of production
never appear before the material conditions of their existence have matured
in the womb of the old society itself. Therefore mankind always sets itself
only such tasks as it can solve; since, looking at the matter more closely,
it will always be found that the tasks itself arises only when the material
conditions of its solution already exist or are at least in the process of
formation.


In broad outlines Asiatic, ancient, feudal, and modern bourgeois modes of
production can be designated as progressive epochs in the economic formation
of society. The bourgeois relations of production are the last antagonistic
form of the social process of production - antagonistic not in the sense of
individual antagonisms, but of one arising form the social conditions of life
of the individuals; at the same time the productive forces developing in the
womb of bourgeois society create the material conditions for the solution of
that antagonism. This social formation brings, therefore, the prehistory of
society to a close.


Frederick Engels, with whom I maintained a constant exchange of ideas by
correspondence since the publication of his brilliant essay on the critique
of economic categories (printed in the Deutsch-Franzosische Jahrbucher,
arrived by another road (compare his History of the Working Class in England)
at the same result as I, and when in the spring of 1845 he too came to live
in Brussels, we decided to set forth together our conception as opposed to
the ideological one of German philosophy, in fact to settle accounts with our
former philosophical conscience.


"No social order ever perishes before all the productive forces for which
there is room in it have developed; and new, higher relations of production
never appear before the material conditions of their existence have matured
in the womb of the old society itself."

"for which there is room" = completion of all the quantitative boundaries.

"Frederick Engels, . . . arrived by another road (compare his Lage der
arbeitenden Klasse in England) at the same result as I,"

"the same result as I" = determination of the evolution of value and the end
of society moving in antagonism.

M.P




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