The ABC of the 'The ABC of Socialism' | 2 >
Internal Document of the ICLC
The ABC of the "The ABC of Socialism"
By Lyndon H. LaRouche
July 1, 1977
The reactions to the publication of the "ABC of Socialism" reported from Nordrhein-Westfalen may be special to that region in their particular form, but nonetheless typify reactions which must tend to occur in one form or another throughout much of the European organization, This must especially be the case among members who entered the organization after 1973 or during the last half of 1973. Certain experiances of the 1966-1973 period in the USA and Canada, while replicated in essentials by the EEC and the majority of EC members, have been known only in a documentary or oral report form to the majority of the European membership, and are known thus more as formal ideas than sensuously developed conceptions. The questions provoked by the "ABC of Socialism" pose certain issues in a form through which members can freshly experience something of the kind of process through which the organization was developed during the pre-1974 period.
The questions to which I refer, first, the query whether "The ABC of Socialism" signifies in fact that we have implicitly evolved a perspective of another quarter-century of capitalism?, and, second, "Are we Marxists?" The second question is the more interesting, and puts the thoughts behind the first question in a more profound perspective.
I shall outline the approach to be taken to the second question. Then, I shall situate this discussion in terms of the strategic overview of the history of the organization. Then, I shall return to the second question, and finally, conclude with a summary discussion of the first.
"Are we marxists? "
If the question, "Are we Marxists?", is meant: do we regard Marx's theoretical approach to all politically- relevant questions of policy and method as having ultimate authority for determining the organization's analyses and policies, the answer is "No". We have never been "Marxists" in that sense.
Although I have not unilaterally determined the development of the organization, our policies have been developed through principally a growing cadre of leading members who came into association through agreement with my original perspectives on three interrelated matters : (1) My correction of errors in Marx, (2) The strategic program matic conjuctural perspective I had developed chiefly during the 1955-1958 period, (3) The conception of the class-for-itself notion as a ruling political method. Although the development of the organization has been the joint work of a growing association based on agreement with those ruling con- ceptions, it is proper to take into account my personal development prior to 1966 as a matter of accounting for the seed-crystal on which the organization's development was based.
As most members should know from the material already published (e.g., The History of the Labor Committees). I was born into an "evangelical Quaker" household whose other principal cultural feature was a dominant influence of science and technology, and in which circumstances I emerged as a mixture of a Wunderkind and Hans Christian Anderssen's "Ugly Duckling." Hence, my childhood preoccupation was that of finding a common intersection of religious neo-platism [sic] and science. By the onset of adolescence this plunged me into a voracious reading of the Enlightenment philosophers, among whom I established Descartes and Leibniz as corresponding best to my own outlook, and, at about fourteen continued this process by becoming a fervent Kantian. As a result of my thorough immersion in Kant, two days after intensive reading of Vol. I of Marx's Capital during Jan. 1943 convinced me - especially Marx's section on "The Fetishism of Commodities," that Marx had essentially solved the Kantian antinomies - I had no significant knowledge of Hegel at that time. From that moment, I became a "Marxist" in those precise philosophical terms of reference, and have remained so through all subsequent development.
The notable distinction of my commitment was that I did not - as most professed Marxists did - enter this or that professedly socialist current and undertake a study of Marx as some sort of doctrinal authority within an organized institution, nor was my relationship to Marx's writings poisoned by intervention of some half-witted university professor or anything of that sort. My relationship to Marx was of the same form as my relationship to Descartes, Leibniz and Kant, excepting that I found Marx to have solved a problem which those predecessors had failed to solve. I never saw Marx as some secularist equivalent of the prophet Moses.
Thus, at the end of the war I searched for a Marxist movement, hoping to find a matured expression of my own commitment. All of these organized "Marxist" entities were alien to me in a fundamental way. They stunk of philistinism. Nonetheless, I continued searching, convinced that somewhere in this mess of philistinism there must be a genuine, non-philistine kernel of Marxists. I would not wish to imply that those I knew were mercenary philistines. Many were sincere, dedicated and in some respects talented and useful people, for whom I preserve personal affection. However, even the best of them were flawed with the pervasive philistinism. The Marxist movement, as manifest by its miserable literature, was a mixture of pseudo-intellectualism ( a parody or direct reflection of the vulgarity one meets today among typical, boorish, half-witted university professors) or the sort of endemic "proletarian" anti-intellectualism which verges upon the Proletkult, anarchosyndicalism and so forth. Therefore, long before I broke with these organizations,