Marx 'uprights' Spinoza
Understanding Marx’s response to neo-feudalism usefully illustrates the nature of the victorious party - the neo-feudalists - and the liberal-left-Marxist-finance-globalising nexus which sustains it through a socio-political, cultural and academic dominance.
The Spinozist threat from a ‘state within the state’ that Fichte had described was analysed in much more detail by Marx in the Jewish Question.
Marx’s argument that the emancipation of Jews had been brought about by everyone else becoming ‘Jews’ was not meant in a flippant way. Following the victory over Napoleonic France, the path of monetarism became firmly established. Economic development ceased to be a moral imperative or a definition of humanness. In a historical case of hypostasis writ large, money became the externalised power over man; it became God.
Marx argued that the practical essence of Judaism is ‘practical need, self-interest... huckstering... money’ (48). He used anti-Semitic stereotypes to describe how Judaism had been validated as higher than the notionally Christian socio-political and cultural sphere, through the emphasis on selfish practical need in civil society.
Of course, in Marxian terms, the Jews would not be fully emancipated until capitalism had been abolished, which meant abolishing the practical essence of Judaism: ‘huckstering.’ ‘The social emancipation of the Jew is the emancipation of society from Judaism’.
Marx associated Jewish ‘huckstering' with what he conceptualised at length as capitalism, the supposedly new socio-economic phenomenon that was sweeping away all the old social relationships. But this was an elaborately constructed myth.
Marx’s capitalism - a pejorative term already used by socialists in the nineteenth century - remained at the monetary level of ‘huckstering’, giving workers an easy target, the ‘straw man’ capitalist, whilst giving the neo-feudalists a controlled opposition as a result.
Marx vigorously asserted, almost to the point of an obsession, the myth that British capitalist development was the inevitable economic path to follow and David Ricardo its most advanced proponent, and, working within the framework of that fraud or delusion, he laid down the systematic, internal analysis of capitalism, falsely establishing it as a progression beyond the feudalism that never died.
Marx established a monetary path to ‘the emancipation of society from Judaism’, formulating capitalism and the rigorously progressive stages of history that led to it and beyond. His construction of a self-contained systematised analysis was a form of economistic Spinozism, and it has been tacitly accepted as a truism by nominal friends and foes alike to the present day.
Along this path of inevitability, the individual is dominated by external forces and subordinated to history, necessity and ‘the People’. Human will and creativity are denied as forces that can shape history.
The prize comes at the end. Day one of communist freedom holds the promise of self-gratifying material choices - ‘to hunt in the morning, to fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have in mind’. (The German Ideology Vol 1, Part1)
Whereas for Fichte, freedom was to be found in the intersubjectivity of human beings. Freedom of the individual had never been an end in itself, rather a means to an end, in that only fully developed individuals could ever impose man’s reason over nature. Rather than being subject to external forces, Fichte’s individual had an active role in furthering human development by dominating those forces. The mindsets of Fichte and Marx were diametrically opposed, just as Fichte’s and Spinoza’s had been.
Under neo-feudalism, and its concomitant central banking, mercantilist rentier finance, and tax-farming orientation, the financial aristocracy augments its appropriation of social wealth at the expense of the relatively stagnant mode of production on which the financier parasite feeds.
As a minority within society, the oligarchical class must propagate ideologies which prompt masses of people to submit themselves passively to bestialised forms of ‘zero-growth’ existence.
By his denial of human will and creativity, Marx knowingly, or in ignorance, provided the ideology that is now the socio-political and cultural counterpart to globalising finance.
What was strange in Marx’s upturning assertion about Hegel is laid bare here.
The truth is that Marx espoused Spinozism and, by default, also adopted the Counter-Renaissance objective of Spinozism, which was to re-establish a feudalist world order.
There is no such thing as Marxism, there is only Spinozism. Marx took much from Hegel, but Hegel was a Spinozist.
Marx adopted the motor of history with which Hegel had animated the otherwise dead and static Spinozism.
When Marx ‘turned Hegel on this head’, he was in reality ‘uprighting’ Spinoza, setting right, as he saw it, Fichte’s inversion of Spinoza.
© John Dunn.