Open main menu

Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/209

This page has been validated.
The Question of Method

And, since we are talking of tendencies, we may note that all the thought of Marx and Engels tended in this direction, I might almost say that Marx needed for his dialectic conception of modern history a proletariat infinitely impoverished and denuded. The proletariat, to fulfil its role of "the human factor" in the Hegelian dialectic of Marx, to represent truly the idea of essential humanity, ought to be so utterly despoiled of all social rights that the quality of humanity, infinitely distressed and wronged, alone persisted. How can one pretend to understand Marx without penetrating to the dialectic origin, the fundamental basis of this thought? His "Critique of the Hegelian Philosophy of Rights," which appeared in 1844 in the Franco-German Annals, is a conclusive document in this connection. "Where," he asks, "does the practical possibility of German emancipation lie? The answer is: It lies in the formation of a class bound by Radical chains; of a class of bourgeois society that shall not be a class of bourgeois society; of a State that shall be the dissolution of all States; of a sphere that shall have a character of universality by the universality of its suffering, and that lays claim to no one especial right because it is not one special injustice but injustice as a whole that is being wreaked upon it; that can appeal to no historic title to consideration, but only to the title of humanity; that is not in special opposition to this or that result, but in general opposition to all the