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Mike Roth - With Marx Against Marx? (Against Habermas)

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  • 7/25/2019 Mike Roth - With Marx Against Marx? (Against Habermas)





    AnAlternative to Juergen Habermas Theses Towardsthe Reconstruction of Historical Materialism

    by Mike Roth

    In this debate it cannot be so much a matter of criticising falseassertions and replacing them with true statements. For Habermastheses are principally a research programme, directed against certainother research programmes. For me, the dispute is still(l) on thesame level as in 1969, which Renate Damus formulated as &dquo;confron-tation ... of a Critical Theory which ... renounces a preoccupationwith political economy and a position which, after being buried fordecades, holds this preoccupation for most imperative&dquo;.(2) The in-completeness of the attempts at a presentation within the rival re-search programmes admits of discussion only preparatory to system-atic argumentation and in partial anticipation of results which have

    yet to be proven.

    The question I address is what is to be understood under recon-struction of historical materialism and what programmatic directionis indicated by Habermas reconstruction of historical materialism?In this connection it is important to explicitly distinguish twomeanings of the term historical materialism.

    Historical materialism can be understood i) as designating thattheory whose subject matter is the historically specific character ofthe present(3) form of material reproduction of life, to anticipatethe capitalist form of society 4HlStOma$1 is synchronic).

    Historical materialism can be understood ii) as designating thattheory which treats the history of the development of humankindas a chain of class societies (Histomat2 is diachronic).

    Histomatl and Histomat2 have the common characteristic thathere theory is undertaken with the perspective of the practicaldissolution of, to anticipate, class society. On Histomat2 on thehistory of development of class societies, there are only occasionalasides from Marx, apart from the hitherto scarcely systematicallyevaluated excerpts on early history and ethnology from 1880-82.These asides, I claim, serve Marx mainly as contrasting illustrationsfor the capital analysis. This function is probably also fulfilled bythe remarks in the draft of a general introduction from 1857 to thetext Zur Kritik der politischen Oekonomie, the first published bookof the capital analysis.

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    In the Preface to this work of i~~i~, he states:

    6I suppress a genera! introduction which I had

    sketched, since, on closer consideration, to me anyanticipation of results which have yet to be provenseems


    seems disturbing.&dquo;

    Anticipated results which have yet to be proven are strictlyspeaking, not a result of scientific argumentation.

    Next I will try to demonstrate that precisely these favourite partsof the Preface which are used to support Histornat2 fall to thecriticism of the above cited marxian self-critique of the suppressedgeneral introduction. (I do not shy away from establishing aninconsistency in Pdlarx which has many later consequences.) Myargumentation aims at the following: Juergen Habermas treats asbasic postulates of a universal theory of development (Histomat2)what Marx can only claim as results of his analysis of the capitalistepoch and therefore related only to capitalism. it seems to me,firstly, that this analysis is prccisciy tbc point&dquo; and, secondly, thatnot only Habermas was led astray by marxian formulations which

    go beyond this.

    Marx writes in the 1859 Preface with regard to his Critical

    Revision of the Hegelian Philosophy of Right

    &dquo;My investigation culminated in the result thatrelations of right, as well as forms of state, areneither to be conceptualised out of themselves,nor out of the so-called universal development ofthe human spirit, but rather are rooted in thematerial relations of life whose totality (Gessmtheit)Hegel, following the precedent of the English andthe French in the I 8th century, summarised under

    the name of bourgeois society (buergerlicheGeselischaf t) that, however, the anatomy of

    bourgeois society is to be sought in poiiticaleconomy.&dquo;

    Against the transepochal marxian formulation (relations of rightas well as forms of state), it is to be emphasised that here bourgeoissociety is the object of attention. For Marx mentions that, followingon from his critique of Hegel, he had studied the system of bourgeoiseconomy.And regarding these studies he says: &dquo;The general resultat which I arri~cd and, once won, served as guiding thread to mystudiesher-- Marxs studies ol the anatomy of bourgeois societyare again referred to. It is important to note that not only resultbut aso guiding thread relate to the not yet completed researchprocess.(4) Only after this prelude follows the classic formulation,which is mostly cited in isolation: &dquo;In the social production of theirlife, humans enter ...&dquo;

  • 7/25/2019 Mike Roth - With Marx Against Marx? (Against Habermas)



    I draw attention to the fact that this marxian formulation (relatinggenerally to humans) stands in marked contrast to its prelude,where it is a matter of preoccupation with the capitalist epoch. Thetheme becomes, without notice, no longer the humans in bourgeoissociety, but generally related to various social formations and theirchange.


    Thus it is explicitly and concisely said one page later:

    &dquo;In crude outline, asiatic, antique, feudal andmodern bourgeois modes of production can be

    designated as progressive epochs of the economicsocial formation.&dquo;

    To me, however, the continuation seems important since it givesthe purpose of the quick marxian view over the history of humandevelopment. Immediately following on it reads:

    &dquo;The bourgeois relations of production are the lastantagonistic form of the social production process... but the forces of production which develop inthe womb of bourgeois society create at the sametime the material conditions for the solution ofthis antagonism. With this social formation there-

    fore, the prehistory of human society comes to aclose.

    The purpose which Marx has in referring to the precapitalist modesof production is the discussion of the solution of class antagonism.In this connection, the observation of the intimate bond betweendevelopment of the productive forces and tendencies towards the

    changing of relations of production belongs to the discussion ofbourgeois society, even though Marxs formulations are often in-appropriately general. Asiatic, antique, feudal and capitalist modesof production appear as a chain of class societies from the perspectiveof l~Iarxs analysis of capitalist society, which has tracked down thefundamental division of the working day of the immediate producerinto the necessary labour time for his/her immediate individualreproduction and surplus labour time.(5) Only when this is pre-supposed as

    result,can one talk of class society. The

    non-materiallyproducing class always appropriates the surplus product of the im-mediate producers. (This prevalent trait of Histomat2 - classsociety - is eliminated in Habermas theses for reconstruction.) .

    I want to underline that also with regard to the central formulationsof the 1859 Preface, it is a matter of anticipated results. I thinkMarx sees himself forced to such an anticipation for, without referenceto the final aim of his theory, to present the conditions for andresistances against the solution of class antagonism, the mediatingsteps to those results which have yet to be proven, as tiresome

    investigations of apparent economic minutae, threaten to meetwith a lack of interest on the part of a politically motivated general

  • 7/25/2019 Mike Roth - With Marx Against Marx? (Against Habermas)



    public. Here one should think in particular about the time of publi-cation of Zur Kritik der politischen Oekonotme and its content (6)(see below).

    Now that I have indicated why Marx allows himself to go againsthis previous explicit attitude to the anticipation of results which have

    yet to be proven, I want to touch on what has to be done to provethem. The marxian anticipation of results can be understood in twocontexts corresponding to the distinction between Histomati and

    ~iston~at2: i) in relation to capitalism (Histomati); ii) in relation tothe chain of class societies from theAsiatic via the antique and feudalto capitalist society (Histomat2).

    The proof restricted to the bourgeois form of society and its genesisout of pre-industrial European feudal society as well as its transitioninto a fully industrial socialist society - this proof can only be carriedout through the completed analysis of the bourgeois form of society.With the analysis ofcommodity and money which follows the Preface,Marx offers, when one views the entire analysis which has to be per-formed, only a tiny initial piece of the required proof in which, in

    particular, the specific capitalist productive forces of labour, themechanical means of production and therefore also the base-super-structure thesis, the &dquo;dialectic of productive forces and relations of

    production&dquo;, as well as the &dquo;unity of theory and practice&dquo; are nottreated at ~.11.(7) In relation to the analysis of bourgeois society, thebase-superstructure passage of the Preface is therefore a claim whichstill has to be substantiated according to the architecture(8) indicatedat the beginning of the Preface.

    &dquo;I treat the system of bourgeois economy in theorder: capital, landed property, wage-labour, state,for eign trade, world market.&dquo;

    With capital, landed property, wage-labour, the three revenuesources are mentioned whose investigation completes the analysis ofcapital in general available in the three systematic volumes ofCapital. As a detailed draft(9) by Marx, it can sensibly be taken asthe object of efforts at reconstruction. In the last decade, such

    attempts have been published in WestGermany

    by the Frankfurttheoreticians Alfred Schmidt, Hans-Georg Backhaus, Hans-JuergenKrahl, Helmut Reichelt; by the Konstanz Research Project(10) inwhich I have worked; the Berlin Group Project around JoachimBischoff; Juergen Ritsert (Frankfurt); the Marxistische Gruppe(Arbeitskonferenz) in Munich; and Wolfgang Fritz Haug (~erlin).(I 1 )In relation to bourgeois society, the base-superstructure thesis,which is treated as the kernel of historical materialism, can only besubstantiated through the reconstruction of the general capitalanalysis and its continuation in a theory of the superstructuralforms which is grounded on the capital analysis.( 12)

  • 7/25/2019 Mike Roth - With Marx Against Marx? (Against Habermas)



    The present state of research into Histomati in my view, offers

    grounds for optimism regarding the scientific demonstration of theresults anticipated by Marx with respect to our capitalist society.The marxian anticipation in programmatic phrases, when explicitlydemonstrated as result, can be grasped in a less misunderstandableway and with well defined area and grounds of validity.

    With this I have done nothing more than to express an expectation.That isnt much. I want to draw attention to the fact that Jeurgen

    Habermas theses have implicitly the contrary expectation as theirpoint of departure. I dont believe that Habermas has for this alter-native assessment, an argument at his disposal which I dont have.The matter can only be settled by a convincing working out of thecapital analysis. One way or the other. To be consistent, Habermaswould have to work out the capital analysis &dquo;as a subtheory&dquo; ofhistorical materialism in the sense reconstructed by him.( 13)

    The background of our opposed expectations, however, is differer-ent. Habermas and Wellmer have already criticised( 14) the marxianvalue theory several years ago. They have not yet taken a position onthe answer given in 1969 to this critique. On the other hand, theyhave not followed the attempts at reconstruction of Capital under-taken since 1971, at least not directly and without having explicitlytaken an attitude towards them.

    Now to the marxian anticipation of results when one understandsit in its second context. There is a striking difference: in relation to

    Histomat2, there is nothing following up the hints and claims strewnby Marx in various places which could be conceived even provisionallyas an outline of a systematic presentation. (On this point Habermashas the same opinion(15).) The treatment of Histomat2 by Engels,Lenin and Stalin have in no way the same scientific status as Marxs

    Capital. They are in part quickly thrown together (hingehauene)(Engels)(16) works of intervention or apologetics for a definitepolitics (Stalin).

    Viewed with a scientific eye, these classic texts on Histomat2prove themselves to be in part internally inconsistent, and partly asstanding in contradiction with the marxian postulate that the econo-mic structure constitutes the basis. This holds not only for the am-

    bitious Engelsian text, The Origin of the Family, Private Propertyand the State, which earlier was much read by social democraticworkers (Erhard Lucas has brought together material for itscritique)( 17) but also in particular for a publication by an officialParty writers collective under Stalins leadership, On Dialectical andHistorical Materialism( 1 8 )( 1 9 3 8 . (distributed in an edition of 200million), as the commentary by lrin g Fetscher shows.

    From the fact that Habermas does not take up anything substantiveout of the classical texts of Engels and Stalin, I conclude that weagree in our low estimation of them. If that is so, then it is misleadingwith respect to the development ofhumankindwhen going backwards

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    from the capitalist epoch to, in particular, the early historical 19)development of humankind, to represent the programme as a &dquo;re-construction of historical materialism&dquo;. For what is to be recon-structed ? Not Marx and also not Stalin.

    To summarise so far: Juergen Habermas can support his programmefor reconstruction on an inconsistency(20) which has eluded Marx.The point is to explicitly criticise this weakness in Marx by taking upMarxs systematic course of argumentation and not, following the

    model of the official marxist party orthodoxy, to make this weaknessinto the receptacle for a relatively capricious filling out of the emptyformula Histomat2, be it in the form of reflections on mating groupsand incest (as in Engels) or the compilation of learning-theoretical,developmental-psychological, communication-theoretical aspects ofthe development of humankind.

    Thoughts on the history ofhumankind which have been stimulatedby the occasional classical statements by Marx cannot, in view ofthe totally shaky status of I-Iistomat2, be served up as reconstruction.It should by now have become questionable whether Habermas infact undertakes a reconstruction of Marx. The next question is then,what is the relation between the habermasian research programmewithin Histomat2 and what can be called reconstruction of historicalmaterialisml (understood as a methodologically explicit(21) recon-struction (Nachkonstruktion) of the capital analysis and the executionof the transition to the theory of the bourgeois state and privatelife{22) )? I have the impression that at the end of the sixties, at thehigh point of the student movement, Habermas came to a dead endwith his own attempts at reconstruction of the capital analysis andthat Habermas and Wellmer therefore formulated their results as a

    critique of Marx. However, they have not directly answered theanti-critique(23) of their critique nor the subsequent more recentattempts at reconstruction. Rather, Habermas now tries to get overthe problem with his version of the development theory Histo-mat2.(24)

    In conclusion I want to offer for discussion some thoughts on therelation of Juergen Habermas considerations to the marxian theoryof emancipation from class society, which proceeds from the analysisof the capitalist form of social synthesis (Vergesellschaftung). Likethe contemporary (positivist and anti-positivist) theory of science,Habermas obviously also wants to see a very extensive piece of theorycome before the preoccupation with capitalist society. With thetheoreticians in theory of science, this piece is a doctrine of scientificspeech, abstracted altogether from the object of the theory of capi-talist society. With Critical Theory a la Habermas 1975, we have adevelopment theory over epochs, a doctrine of human developmentin general. The capital analysis remains in this universal developmenttheory - and herein lies the parallel to the marxist orthodoxy - butonly with the status of a &dquo;partial theory&dquo; (Habermas). Consequently,this partial theory would have to be newly formulated in the frame-work of the universal development theory Histomat2. And herein

  • 7/25/2019 Mike Roth - With Marx Against Marx? (Against Habermas)



    lies the real point: the ostensible efforts at reconstruction on closer

    inspection prove themselves to be a revision of the claim to autono-mous validity made by Marx for the capital analysis. For, thecriterion for the testing of the validity of Capital in future is to beprovided by the purportedly systematically prior universal develop-ment theory. Here too, the procedure has the same model as thereconstructions of the positivist and anti-positivist(25) theory ofscience.

    But is that a deficiency?(26) Does that constitute a knock-downargument against Habermas? I think that through such referencesconnections can only be made to scientific, scientifico-political andpolitical experiences which can be distinguished among the disputers.In particular, it depends on the degree of optimism held for thepossibility of the reconstruction of the capital analysis as an analysisof the boundary conditions of action for the emancipation from classsociety, whether the habermasian research programme, whichdiverges strongly from the marxian programme, should be pursuedor not.

    I personally see in Habermas theses on a modified version of adevelopment theory Histomat2 no occasion for interrupting or re-structuring the work on the reconstruction(27) of Marxs analysisof the &dquo;anatomy of bourgeois society&dquo;. If the reconstruction and

    completion of Histomat 1, the systematic theory of bourgeois society,should actually succeed, the following questions can be posed. Towhat extent is it necessary to have a development theory alongsidethe systematic theory of our form of society, which contains theconditions for and resistances against the emancipation from classdomination? What would this development theory look like, andwhy should we bother ourselves with it?

    * Translated by Michael Eldred in consultation with the author

    from the original Mit Marx an Marx Vorbei? HistomatundHistomat2 in 1st Systematische Philosophie Moeglich? Stutt-garten Hegel-Kongress, 1975, Dieter Henrich (ed.), Bonn, 1977.Habermas essay Thesen zur Rekonstruktion des Historischentllatericclism

    appearsin the above volume and in Zur Rekonstruk-

    tion des Historischen Materialism, Frankfurt a.M. 1976. AnEnglish translation is contained in Communication and theEvolution of Society, Ch.4, London d 979. Emphases in passagescited by the author have been changed or added without notice.

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    1. EmilioAgazzi told me that "a deficit of the Frankfurt

    School in political economy" was also expressed byAmericanand Italian theorists at a colloquium on the reception of

    Critical Theory in the Starnberg Institute, December 1980.

    (Cf. also Iring Fetschers foreword to Reichelt Zur logischenStruktur de Kapitalbergriffs bei Karl Marx, Frankfurt a.M.,

    1970, S. 10f: "Subtle in the uncovering of hidden reactionin the representatives of the left bourgeois peoples front,inventive in the discovery of secret protest in the apoliticalartists of LArt pour LArt, Critical Theory remained de-ficient in the actualisation of the Marxian critique of the

    economy. Some of its representatives prematurely held this

    critique to be obsolete because they overlooked the necessarydistance from the general concept of capital to the appar-ent phenomena of the economic sphere. Unconsciously,feudalistic questions of status may have played a role inthis neglect. Economics is dirty."

    2. Sozialistiche Politik,4, S23.

    3. Capitalism is also, with respect to those societies whichunderstand themselves as socialist, in their connections toworld trade and in a series of internal "birthmarks of theold society", a still-present reality.

    4 That the research process is not yet complete is expressedin the above formulation from the Preface: "That, however,the anatomy of bourgeois society is to be sought in politicaleconomy." This research process is, however, nothing otherthan a series of attempts at a presentation. The most im-portant attempt at a presentation to which Marx can referin 1859 are the Grundrisse der Kritik der politischenOekonomie (Rohentwurf 1857-1858) first publishedMoscow, 1939.

    5. Today (1981), I would not formulate class exploitation interms of periods independent of the value-form. Cf. Roth/

    Kleiber/Hanlon/Eldred, Die gedoppelte Verdopplung: ZumAusbau des Marxschen Systemfragments, forthcoming.Form-independent formulations are of importance forHistomat2, which strives to make its categories transepochal.Such formulations are central for an understanding of thefascination of the workers movement with Histomat2 ("Allprevious history was a history of class struggles.").

    6. From the viewpoint of the politically interested reader, thepolitical relevance was to become stark with the third chap-ter, Capital, which is not contained in the 1859 work ZurKritik. "For with Chapter 3 the real battle begins." (Marxto Lassalle, 28.3.1859, in Briefe ueber Das Kapital, S.99.)

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    On the other hand, Marx wanted to impress his bourgeoiscritics with his scientific achievement before letting "thekernel of the bourgeois shit" (Marx to Engels, 7.11.1859,Briefwechsel, II.Bd., Berlin 1949, 531) out of the bag:"... it appeared to me advisable not to horrify right fromthe beginning ..." (Marx to Lassalle, 28.3.1859, Briefe ...,loc.cit.). With this stragegy of holding back "Chapter 3",Marx wanted to "force the dogs later to take my views on

    capitalrather seriously" (Marx to Engels, c.13.1.1859,

    Briefe ..., 94). The political content of Zur Kritik, whichcontains two chapters on Commodity and Money, is con-tained in the critique of "Proudhonian socialism, nowfashionable in France, which wants to let private productionstay, but organise the exchange of private products; whichwants to have the commodity, but not money ... Com-munism must, above all, free itself from this false brother."(Marx to Weydemeyer, 1.2.1859, Briefe ..., 96.) This cri-

    tique, together with the analysis of "the commodity, of thespecifically social, in no way absolute character of bourgeoisproduction." (Marx to Engels, 22.7.1859, Briefe ...,100)is what Marx wanted Engels to bring out in a review of ZurKritik (cf. ibid.).Engels however, was far more impatient than Marx withregard to the political impact of Marxs theory: "The

    undelayed appearance of your second book (the continua-tion of Zur Kritik, tr.) is ... of course most important ...For once be a little less conscientious with your own work;

    it is still much too good for the lousy public. That the thinggets written and appears is the main thing; the weaknesseswhich occur to you wont be discovered by the asses in anycase; and when troubled times start, what do you win fromthe fact that the whole thing becomes interrupted beforeyou are ready with Capital in general?" (Engels to Marx,31.1.1860, Briefe ...,100ff.) In his review of Zur Kritikpublished in 1859, Engles goes even further than Marx inthe anticipation of results for the sake of political effect.The materialist postulate that being determines conscious-ness becomes a statement which "is so simple, that everybodymust be able to understand it on its own", although, he is

    quick to add, "... it is plain as day that one cannot makeanything out of the mere phrase". (MEW 13: 470, 471.)For Engels, however, the proof of the results lies in "mass-ive, critically viewed, completely mastered historicalmaterial". See Backhaus, Materialien zur Rekonstruktionder Marxschen Werttheorie 3, in Gesellschaft 11, 1978, fora discussion of logical and logical-historical modes ofpresentation. (tr.)

    7. Cf. J. Habermas, Zur Rekonstruktion des Historischen

    Materialismus, Frankfurt a.M., 1976, 159, 144; Communi-

    cation ...,145, 130ff.

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    8. On changes in architecture cf. the preface of the Marx-

    Engels Institute, Moscow to the Grundrisse, and RomanRosdolsky, The Making of Marxs Capital, London, 1977,10ff.

    9. The first volume of Capital (first and second editions) wereprepared by Marx himself for the press. The third volumeis taken from a draft of 1864-65. An examination of the

    manuscript in the International Institute of Social HistoryinAmsterdam reveals that, in his posthumous edition,Engels has stuck close to the single draft. For the secondvolume, there are over ten manuscripts. Engels commentson these in the Preface to the second volume. A careful

    investigation is contained in Ivan Glaser, Warum Das Kapitalein Torso blieb (Why Capital Remained a Torso), Habilita-tionsschrift, Universitaet Konstanz, 1980. With regard tothe second volume it is still an open question whether

    plausible alternatives to the engelsian edition could be given.

    10. Since the 1975 Hegel Congress, the author has spent a yearin the Department of General Philosophy, Sydney Univer-sity as a guest lecturer(1976), during which timea collabo-ration with the translator began. Since then, the researchproject has straddled the distance between Konstanz and

    Sydney, resulting in Eldred/Roth Guide To Marxs Capital,London 1978, and the forthcoming Roth et.al.

    11. Cf.Alfred Schmidt, Der Bergriff der Natur in der Lehre vonMarx (Dissertation 1960), Frankfurt a.M., 1962. In 1971,the revised, enlarged new edition, with an afterword,appeared; ditto, Geschichte und Struktur Muenchen 1971,H.-G. Backhaus, Zur Dialektik der Wertform in Beitraegezur marxistischen Erkenntnistheorie, A. Schmidt (ed.),Frankfurt, 1969. English in Thesis Eleven, No.1, 1980;ditto, Materialen zur Rekonskruktion der MarxschenWerttheorie 1,2,3, in Gesellschaft:Beitraege zur MarxschenTheorie Nos.1,3 and 11; ditto, Marx und die marxistischeOrthodoxie, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt a.M., forthcoming; Hans-Juergen Krahl, Zur Wesenslogik der Marxschen Warenanalyse



    paper given inan

    Adorno seminar inWinter Semester 1965/66. Published in Konstitution undKlassenkampf: Zur historischen Dialektik von buergerlicherEmanzipation und proletarischer Revolution, Frankfurt a.M.1971; ditto, Bemerkungen zum Verhaeltnis von Kapital undHegelscher Wesenslogik, Frankfurt a.M., 1970; HelmutReichelt, Anmerkungen zur Marxschen Werttheorie undderen Interpretation ber Werner Hoffmann in SozialistischePolitik (SoPo) Organ Kritischer Wissenschaft, editedin theOtto-Shur Institut, West Berlin, Jg.1 Nr.2 (June 1969);ditto, Zur logischen Strukion des Kapitalbergriffs bei Kar1Marx(seworkeddissertationof1969), Frankfurta. M., 1970;Mike Roth, Kernstruktur unserer kapitalistischen Gesell.

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    schaf; Fragen. Thesen, KurzdarstellungenzumAufbau desAnfangsstuecks derAnalyse des Kapitals imAllgemeinen,Frankfurt a. M., 1972, ditto, Kurzer Abriss der Kapitalan-alyse; Lernmaterial fuer den ersten Durchgang durch KarlMarx, Das Kapital Band I-III, Eriangen, 1974; von Hoit/Pasero/Roth, Zur Wertformanalyse; Aspekte der Marx-schen Theorie 2, Frankfurt a.M.,1974; the series Interpre-tationen zum Kapital in Verlag fuer das Strudium der

    Arbeiterbewegung (VSA), West Berlin (from 1973 on);

    Juergen Ritsert, Probleme politisch-oekonomischer Theorie-bildung, Frankfurt, 1973; Resultate derArbeitskonferenz,Theoretisches Organ der Marxistischen Gruppe (from 1974on); Wolfgang Fritz Haug, Vorlesungen zur Einfuehrung insKapital, Koeln1974.

    12. Cf. Flatow/Huisken Zum Problem der Abeitung desbuergerlichen Staates in Prokla, Nr.7, West Berlin, 1973,Roth et.al., op.cit.; Projekt Klassenanalyse Oberflaeche undStaat, West Berlin, July 1974; Resultate derArbeitskon-ferenz, Nr.1and 3, Muenchen, 1974, 1979

    13. Communication..., p. 130.

    14. In the meantime, the Konstanz-Sydney Project has alsocome to a critique of the labour theory of value whichconsists of separating a labour content theory from ananalysis of the value-form. Cf. Roth et.al., and Eldred/Hanlon, Reconstructing Value-Form Analysis, in

    Capital & Class, No. 13, London, 1981.

    15. Cf. Habermas, Communication and the Evolution of

    Society, London, 1979, pp.130,225, fns.1 and 2.

    16. According to Erhard Lucas, Engels wrote the text The

    Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State in twomonths. In addition, the visit of friends took place.

    17. Cf. Erhard Lucas, Die Rezeption Lewis H. Morgans durchMarx und Engels and Marx Studien zur Fruehgeschichteund Ethnologie 1880-82 nach unveroeffentlichten Exzerp-ten in Saeculum 15, 1964, S.153-176, 327-343. Theseexcerpts, which Lucas has inspected in the IISGArchive in

    Amsterdam, have been published in the meantime; cf.Lawrence Krader, The Ethnological Notebooks of KarlMarx, second edition,Assen 1974. Lucas has written anextensive critical review of Kraders editorial work and his

    commentary: Der spaete Marx und die Ethnologie. ZuLawrence Kraders edition der Exzerpte 1880-1882 inSaeculum 26, 1975.

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    18. Stalin Ueber dialektischen und historischen Materialismus,complete text and commentary by Iring Fetscher, 7thedition, Frankfurt/Berlin/Bonn, 1961, 11ff.

    19. Habermas jump from Marx to Engels/Stalin may disguisethe fact that in the marxian listing of "progressive epochs"in the 1859 Preface, the "primitive community" does notappear. In his extensive text for the preparation of the

    colloquium, essential parts of Habermas considerationsrelate precisely to the "neolithic revolution" and earlierepochs of the development of humankind. Habermas doesnot go explicitly either into the relation of the capitalanalysis (Histomat1) to his own reflections on the theoryof development (Histomat2), nor does he treat the relationof Engels text, The Origin ..., which is taken to be aclassic of Histomat2, to Marxs excerpts, on which Engelspresumably bases himself. The way in which this happenshas been represented in a flattering light by Krader, towhom Habermas refers, and in an unflattering way byLucas, who obviously is unknown to Habermas. Cf. fn.6.

    20. An inconsistency insofar as it says that to Marx, "on closer

    consideration, every anticipation of results which have yet tobe proven seems disturbing". Above, I have indicated why

    Marx, in spite of this, lets himself be moved to an anticipation.

    21. Here, the way of argumentation which, in the analysis, leads tothe various contents should always be given in discussing thesecontents. Cf. Eldred/Roth Guide, 9ff, and Eldred, MaterialDialectics and Socialist Politics, Thesis Eleven, 2.

    22. Cf. footnote 10, but note that the references given there (apartfrom Roth et .al.) have no analysis of the private sphere.

    23. Important points are made in some of the contributions to the

    polemic Die linke antwortet Juergen Habermas, Frankfurt

    a.M., 1968. Extended and unanswered anti-critiques have been

    published in the first numbers of the journal SozialistischePolitik: Wolfgang Mueller, Habermas und dieAnwendbarkeitderArbeitswerttheorie, SoPo,1; Renate Damus, Habermasund der "heimliche Positivismus" bei Marx, SoPo,4; Claus

    Rolschausen, Technik und Wissenschaft als Ideologie, SoPo, 4.

    24. Cf. also the appendix on basic assumptions of historicalmaterialism, Exkurs ueber Grundannahmen des HistorischenMaterialismus in Habermas/Luhmann, Frankfurt, 1971.

    25. There is today in West Germany a flowering school, referred toas logical constructivism (in contrast to logical positivism).Cf. Juergen Mittelstrass (ed.), Methodologische Probleme einernormativ-kritischen Gesellschaftstheorie, Frankfurt, 1975; andPaul Lorenzen, Normative Logic and Ethics, (1967 JohnLocke Lectures, Oxford), Mannheim, 1969.

  • 7/25/2019 Mike Roth - With Marx Against Marx? (Against Habermas)



    26. In such systematically prior preludes, it is a matter of theseparation of dialectical method from dialectical theory. Itseems that Habermas and Wellmer still representedAdornos

    position in Der Positivismusstreit in der deutschen Soziologie,Maus/Fuerstenberg (eds.), Neuwied and Berlin, 1970. See

    Adornos introduction. On the occasion of the awarding ofthe Adorno Prize to Habermas on September 11, 1980,Michael Theunissen remarked (it seems not without irony):"On the way, Habermas has distanced himself fromAdorno,and the oeuvre on which he can today already look back onowes its richness more to the emancipation from the common

    heritage than to faithfulness to him. Its true that he hasthought of his teacher several times. But since, on suchoccasions, he speaks a different language, to a certain extent,than usual, the estrangement is revealed. The differences inthe language games which the teacher and his former pupilhave practised, point to a difference in the respective represen-tative works.Adorno, the emigrant, was to the last at home inGerman philosophy, whose language participates in the forma-tion of his thought. Habermas, still in the country in spite ofall the animosities, has opened himself to theAnglo-Saxon spiritand thereby to a language which passes on finished thoughts inthe most precise way. In any case, always ready to work over

    something new and, apparently, almost limitless in his learning

    capacity, he is particularly receptive to this spirit, thanks tothe analytical sharpness of his own thinking. His great insightsare based on distinctions such as in behaviour theory betweenpurposeful/rational and communicative action, labour andinteraction, the differentiation of purposeful/rational actioninto instrumental and strategic, the marking off of all actionfrom discourse. To the thought ofAdorno, however, suchanalytics is just as alien as is the contructivist tinge which inHabermas development, to this point, has come forward evermore strongly. As the starting point of the path on whichHabermas has won more and more distance fromAdorno, wecan view, in this simple presentation, his contribution to thepositivism dispute in German sociology. Habermas still fightsonAdornos side against Popper and his school. There he rep-resents a dialectical theory of society as totality. Born out ofthe

    spirit ofAdorno, this social theory is firstly dialectical,secondly, knowledge of the totality, and thirdly, above all, adiagnosis of the contemporary social formation. Just howmuch this theory frees itself from its heritage in its progressioncan be read in its increasing de-dialectification (Entdialektisie-rung) for which it is telling that its author silently takes backthe once rejected separation of is from ought." This trend is

    presently on the increase; cf. Honneth/Jaeggi,Arbeit, Hand-lung, Normativitaet: Theorien des Historischen Materialismus,2, Frankfurt, 1980.

    27. Cf. footnote 11.