The danger of Marxism: why Lenin cannot be condemned, but Marx cannot be saved


In 1971, a group of Guatemalan businessmen founded in their country Francisco Marroquin University. Their goals were clear: in a unique environment like Central America, they wanted to consolidate ideals such as the free market, open competition, and individual responsibility. Decades later, its leaders congratulate themselves on achieving this and celebrate the institution’s fiftieth anniversary at its headquarters in Madrid.

Arturo Fabra, director of UFM Madrid.

“How can we explain this leap that we have made to Europe?” is the commemoration between the speeches. “Well, we believe that after fifty years of experience in Guatemala, we can contribute to Madrid.” In addition, the purpose of the center is to provide new opportunities for young Guatemalans who want to leave the country; and to their teachers, so that they maintain closer contact with colleagues from across the ocean. But above all, the ideal must deal primarily with the cause of freedom. “For 51 years, we have worked diligently to promote the values ​​of a free society, which has led us, above all, to warn about its risks.” One of their most pressing problems has to do with the rise of a new ideological Marxism in American faculties. Therefore, it is not surprising that the person responsible for delivering the central speech at the ceremony, Juan Ramon Ralloand that the theme chosen is Karl Marx’s concept of freedom.

communism and freedom

There are several reasons why Rallo wanted to prepare such a conference. First, he has been working on this topic for some time and will publish a book in a few months. The other two, more theoretical, are related to widespread disregard for Marx’s own work in a society that still has broad sections that claim it. “My intention is twofold: to clarify what the concept of freedom really is in one of the most influential thinkers of the last two centuries, and to show how the Marxist concept of freedom leads to monstrous practical conclusions“Apart from those who defend that Marx can be separated from Lenin, for example, Rallo explains that this is not the case. “There is a very clear line of succession. And although everything ultimately depends on the interpretation of their texts, the truth is that they provide enough explicit material to justify the drift of communism and “real socialism”.

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Intervention moment of Juan Ramon Rallo.

For Rallo, the problem is at the very beginning. “Marx believes that a person has two essential characteristics: on the one hand, he homo faberbecause he produces the tools that enable him to survive; on the other hand, he is a social being, which makes his isolated existence impossible. historical concept of the German thinker it revolves around the alienation that a species undergoes in order to ensure its survival. “A person is not completely free, either because he does not have absolute control over his production environment, over nature, or because he lives in isolation, without real communication with the rest of the community.” His idea arose because in the historical period of capitalism, man would have achieved, based on the alienation of his social side, absolute control over his production environment. And that therefore the last historical step must consist of restore the lost edge of the communityonce the production problem has been solved.

Another basic idea in it is that it subordinates the entire human present to the historical development of the race. “Man must sacrifice himself for centuries so that his descendants may ever achieve complete liberation.” Thus, communism would be a period when the proletariat would expropriate the capitalist expropriators in order to allow the state to control all the means of production – which could already control nature at will – and thus allow a full return to communitarianism.

But what will be the freedom in this new world? Marx talks about this several times. “Begins where the work imposed by necessity ends”, for example. Or: “This is the development of human abilities as an end in itself.” Complete freedom lies in the fact that a person can “have the means to develop all his abilities in all possible directions.” In other words, this can only happen when the means of production produce enough surpluses to enable us to free ourselves from the slavery of labor.

In any case, even in this case, the question remains whether human freedom in its communitarian aspect should consist of the ability of the individual to develop according to his will, or, conversely, it refers exclusively to the interests of the community. “For Marx, freedom always belongs to the whole, not to the individual.Rallo answers. And he illustrates it with quotes. “Marx had the worst opinion of individual rights because, unlike liberals, he did not see freedom as individual and negative—my freedom ends where everyone else’s freedom begins—but as communitarian and positive.” The liberal concept of freedom, according to Marx, is the concept of “selfish people who separate themselves from other people and from society” and, therefore, stay aloof. “The individual has no real right to isolate himself. He must obey the group.”

Participants of the event.

Marx does not present a scenario in which conflicts can arise between the individual and the rest of society, because he subordinates everything to the economic problem of production. “It does not ask what would happen if different members of the community made different decisions about what to produce and what not” and, therefore, is unable to provide solutions to other possible conflicts that could arise in her long-awaited “end of history”. “For communism, the individual can develop his freedoms only to the extent that the commune allows it.“. And nothing more.

What will happen to disagreement then? Marx answers:History has always had the right to dispose of the life, happiness and freedom of the individual.“. That is, any person can be sacrificed for the highest public good. From all these Marxist premises, it is not surprising that subsequently such communist ideologists as Lukacs they could write, for example, that “true freedom implies that the individual submits himself to the will of the community, which leads us to complete freedom.” Or, to translate this into a political and social context, that “we must all obey the party“And it lies in the fact that, according to Rallo, it is possible to identify a clear line of continuity between the Marxist concept of freedom and the horrors of communism. For this reason,” he concludes, “it is necessary to rehabilitate liberal concepts that defend individual freedom and negativity.” The only vision which allows people, as far as possible, to develop in society without falling under the influence of the masses.


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