Interview with the Marxist philosopher Thomas Metscher

Interviewed by Milena Rampoldi and first published at Translated from German by Jenny Farrell.

“Courage is needed in times of defeat, and undoubtedly hope is needed to combat despair. But there is also false courage and deceptive hope. This gives Marxism a semblance of religion, indeed turns it into a profane religion, leading into a cul-de-sac and making defeat irreversible. Marxism only has a future if it divests itself of any quasi-religious guise. It is knowledge, indeed critical knowledge, and it responds critically to any ideology.”

How did you come to Marxism? What does Marxism mean to you today, after your long career?
That is a long story. I came to Marxism differently from many others of my social class and generation. I was lucky to have had a middle-class anti-fascist father. In contrast to what was the norm in the German lower middle class, my father was a politically conscious opponent of Hitler at the end of the war. He openly welcomed the Red Army as liberators. He hated Hitler and fascism, as he despised every form of militarism. I was brought up in this spirit. He taught me to see anti-Semitism as Germany’s great historic crime. His thinking was in keeping with Lessing’s Nathan the Wise, which he often quoted from. He was left-wing, but bourgeois left-wing, not socialist. He was guided by Tucholsky, Ossietzky, the magazine Die Weltbühne, the great realist literature of the nineteenth century, especially Tolstoy, Fontane, Galsworthy, the modern writer Leonhard Frank, whom he taught me to love, Heinrich, and Thomas Mann, also Bertolt Brecht.
     So, I had a good starting-point—that rare species of the critical German citizen, with a cosmopolitan, non-nationalist attitude. I developed gradually from this basis. Profoundly formative was the fact that I lived in the Soviet zone after the war, in the later GDR. I cherish wonderful memories from this time. I felt at home, at school too, like never since. As a fourteen-year-old I saw my first publication, an anti-war poem; I won a school prize in Russian and also a school swimming competition. It was not until the late 1940s that we moved to West Berlin, for work-related, non-political reasons. Until the end of his life my father agreed politically with Walter Ulbricht’s position regarding the policy on Germany. He discovered a continuity with the old Germany in Adenauer’s policy, which stood for the alliance of capital and politics. He realised that the womb was fertile yet—and how right he was, looking back today!
     My next sustained period of politicisation took place during my student days in West Berlin. I joined in the resistance to rearmament and the nuclear arms race. A crucial event was the anti-nuclear congress of 1958, at which I met the philosopher Günther Anders and got to know Wolf Haug. I was involved in the founding of Argument, where my first theoretical essay, “Notes on an Ontology of the Nuclear Situation,” was published, following Anders’ thinking.
     The reading of Marx, Lukács, Brecht gave me a foundation, including in my study of literature. I have to say, though, that all this was my own reading, because this was not taught. The path now led directly to Marxism, and to its political organisation. At that time I was critical, but never hostile, to what was called “existing socialism.” I regarded the GDR as the better Germany in terms of possibilities: as the basis of a truly democratic, definitely anti-militarist development. A crucial insight for me was the organic link between fascism and capitalism, which I gained gradually: the insight that fascism is a form of bourgeois rule, and that fascist forms of rule necessarily arise from certain developments of capitalism in its present, imperialist phase. This was the case in Europe in the twenties and thirties, and it is the situation again at present. Fascism is the dictatorial rule of the most reactionary and aggressive factions of imperialist capital. Fascism is not linked to any particular ideological content—beyond its anti-rationalism, its opposition to enlightenment and socialism. It has an ideologically functional character. I say this so clearly because this question is supremely relevant in today’s Europe.
     Since the time when I discovered Marxism as an “answer” to many of my deeply pressing questions—political as well as theoretical—I have grappled with it critically and questioningly. I did not just receive but also produced; I have written, rethought, taken positions, first in Argument, then beyond, and finally also within the German Communist Party, with which I have been connected for many years. Marxism—and this is one of my central conclusions after decades of grappling and working with it—is for me not a finite theory, it can and never will be—and when it becomes one it ceases being Marxism.

What do you mean by Marxism?
Marxism, as the concept has developed in the wide scope of my experience, is on the one hand narrower, on the other hand broader than generally understood by those who use the term. If we look at the world-historical situation from the point of view of the history of socialism and socialist hopes, it can hardly be denied that we are currently at a low point. In such a situation there is the temptation to turn Marxism into a messianism, communism to the “hypothesis,” which can be won by a “leap of faith.” Marxism thus becomes a quasi-religion.
     I find such ideas in authors who currently enjoy media credit—Žižek, Badiou; and even Haug, referring to Benjamin and Derrida, speaks of a “Messianism without a Messiah,” referring to Marxism—I think of such writers as people who sing in the dark, to give themselves courage.
     Courage is needed in times of defeat, and undoubtedly hope is needed to combat despair. But there is also false courage and deceptive hope. This gives Marxism a semblance of religion, indeed turns it into a profane religion, which leads into a cul-de-sac and makes defeat irreversible. Marxism only has a future if it divests itself of any quasi-religious guise. Fundamental to it is the separation of knowledge and faith. It is not a messianism of any kind. It is knowledge, critical knowledge, and it is critical of any ideology. Without the element of criticism it becomes an ideology. Its fundamental category is dialectics as a principle, regarding each evolved form of life as being in movement, as part of a process, and thus changeable; understanding cognition itself as an infinite process. The knowledge of Marxism is thus relative, infinite, limited within the framework of human knowledge at a given moment in history.
     I would like to put it this way: Marxism is a political world view in which, according to the postulate of the unity of theory and practice, political movement and conceptual world view meet. Its purpose, as stated in the eleventh thesis on Feuerbach, is to interpret the world and to change it.
     As a conceptual world view Marxism rests on three pillars: science, philosophy, and art. This latter aspect is the one that proposes a decided extension to the usual and traditional views of Marxism. Science and philosophy are generally seen as connected; I propose a methodical and categorical separation.
     The scientific foundation of Marxism consists of economics, politics, history, legal and social sciences, including the arts and natural sciences by extension, their respective shares varying depending on the subject matter.
     When we speak of the philosophical basis of Marxism we must mention the materialism of the ancients (Democritus, Epicurus, Lucretius), most notably also Hegelian philosophy, and with it the tradition of dialectical thought. In a wider sense we also include the nominalist, empirical and natural-philosophical currents (as represented by Francis Bacon’s philosophical theory of science).
     However, the third pillar on which Marxism in its developed form is based is art, especially literature, but also the other arts. This is the decisive expansion of Marxism as concept and world view, which I propose. The following names are to indicate my meaning: Bertolt Brecht, Pablo Neruda, Mikhail Sholokhov, Anna Seghers, Seán O’Casey, Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Hugh MacDiarmid, David Craig, Nazim Hikmet, Giannis Ritsos, Peter Hacks and José Saramago, Peter Weiss, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Pablo Picasso, Renato Guttuso, Willi Sitte, Dmitri Shostakovich, Hanns Eisler. They represent a selection to indicate the field of “Marxism in art.” It comprises a significant portion of contemporary art, far more than the art of the former socialist countries, let alone art produced around Marxist political organisations. Marxist art, understood as such, whose ideological basis and political orientation is Marxism, possesses an astonishing breadth and variety. It forms a distinct dimension in contemporary world art. Therefore, if we are to speak of the wealth and potential of Marxism, the arts must be discussed alongside science and philosophy.
     However, science is at the heart of Marxism as a world view. Its core area is, using Engels’ term, scientific socialism. This is not an ideology; it does not represent the claim to absolute truth (it may be seen as the criterion of ideologies that they occur with an absolute claim to truth), but is a body of scientific knowledge aware of the possibilities and limits of such knowledge and reflects this consciousness in the concept of criticism: as criticism of political economy, criticism of ideology and social consciousness, criticism of ethics, culture and the arts, etc. Positive knowledge in all these fields can be gained from criticism.
     This means that Marxism as a scientific theory is an inherited body of knowledge, which requires constant examination, the revision of mistakes, further development in the light of new experiences and insights. This is not to be confused with relativism, and it has absolutely nothing to do with revisionism. Within Marxism there is a substantive core of theoretical knowledge that has passed the test of critical examination. The surrendering of such knowledge, for whatever reason (usually opportunist), is what is rightly criticised as “revisionism” and, if necessary, must be combated within the organisation. The substantive core of this knowledge is, for example, the knowledge of Marx’s critique of political economy, its findings in the theory of ideology, the insight that all history since the end of primitive society has been a history of class societies, the basic insights of the theory of imperialism as developed by Lenin and Luxemburg (despite internal differences), basic knowledge in the area of culture, aesthetics and the arts, and much more. But even in these fields historically new phenomena arise, which must be theoretically processed and can lead to changes, an expansion to the theory.
     The fundamental category of Marxist theory, as I mentioned, is dialectics, and dialectics as a method requires and enables us to grasp a changing reality, in the state of change, as well as knowledge regarding these changes. The power of dialectics allows us to incorporate in the corpus of Marxist thought the unprecedented increase of human knowledge that is taking place in our present day. For Marxism understood in this way I coined the term “integrative Marxism”: it is integrative in its ability to integrate scientific and cultural knowledge in the conceptual system of Marxist thinking. Marxism so understood possesses a future potential, which raises it above any other scientific world view competing with it.
     An example of a legitimate and necessary (i.e. non-revisionist) correction of traditional theory is utopia. We are familiar with the critical attitude of Marx and Engels to utopia (in the form of utopian socialism). The development of socialism from utopia to science was a necessary step in Marx and Engels’ historical situation. Today we are in a different historical situation, in one of universal peril. It requires utopian thinking to gain perspectives for focused action. My suggestion, therefore, is to bring utopia back into Marxism—not against its scientific orientation but for the purpose of its extension: utopia as a form of thinking about what is historically possible. Judging what is historically possible lies within the possibilities of scientific understanding. Jean Ziegler has shown this convincingly in his important books on world hunger.
     In its substantive ideas, Marxism is a theory of liberation. It is concerned, according to Marx, with the overthrow of all conditions “in which man is a debased, enslaved, abandoned, despicable essence”1—the emancipation of humanity in complete this-worldliness. Our lack of a developed political ethics is a deficiency. Lukács planned to write an ethics in his old age, as a culmination of his great work, but was unable to do so in the end. And yet ethics is as central to Marxism as is the utopia in the sense explained above—alongside which it has its place. It provides a normative2 horizon to the critique of prevailing conditions. Jointly with the utopia, it refers to a possible and desirable world. It is a world, which Brecht describes in his epochal poem “An Nachgeborenen” (to future generations3), “when | one can help another.” In such a world the ethos of kindness and solidarity prevails. Conceptually, a line may be drawn to the plebeian Christian commandment of love, to the idea that all humans possess inherent dignity by virtue of their humanity and materiality. Shakespeare expressed this idea in Lear’s storm scenes in a way that makes them belong to the foundation of a Marxist ethic—I may yet write something about that. The close connection between Marxism and the humanist traditions in art can be grasped at such a point, as is the idea of peace: a world free from fear and misery. There is a close connection between Marxism and the Enlightenment, the realisation that Marxism is a humanism, and that the destruction of this core destroys it at its roots.

What influence did your stay abroad in Belfast have on your world view and your way of seeing and interpreting the world?
I spent ten years in Belfast, in the North of Ireland, first as a language teacher, then as a lecturer in German literature in the German Department of the university there. During this period I studied Irish history and the Irish working-class movement. At the time, I wrote my dissertation about the great Irish dramatist Seán O’Casey. That left a strong impact on me. Not least I found a new political access to Marxism here. Ireland—England’s first colony, and also the first colony that took up the struggle against colonial oppression—became a symbol of anti-colonial liberation. So Ireland has become my second home; I almost stayed there. It was there I met my wife, who is Irish. There is always also an emotional element in the formation of life-shaping attitudes. By the way, my wife later wrote her PhD thesis in Bremen on Republicanism and Socialism in Ireland, the historical movement from the Enlightenment man Wolfe Tone to the Marxist James Connolly. Her resulting book has just been republished in Ireland.4

What relationship do you see between Islam and Marxism?
First, there is the difference between Marxism and religion. Islam is a religious ideology, Marxism is a world view based on science, philosophy, and art. According to the traditional Marxist view, this difference is irreconcilable. Marxism is scientific atheism; its relation to religion it is that of opposition—at best that of a tactical arrangement. I believe this conclusion is theoretically wrong, and politically devastating.
     As I pointed out, Marxism as a scientific theory cannot claim absolute knowledge. If it does it turns itself into a quasi-religion, and through such a false claim it becomes ideology. For “scientific knowledge is relative” means precisely: there are limits to this knowledge, and these limits leave room for individual beliefs, and even allow belief its own specific space. Therefore, the view of scientific atheism is a wooden iron. Science can be neither theistic nor atheistic. Within the framework of scientific knowledge there is as little space for God as for No-God. With Kant’s refutation of evidence for the existence of God, the non-evidence is also refuted. So the theoretical position of Marxism towards people of religious faith is clear and unequivocal. Marxism is not a religion, and it should divest itself of any religious form. Religious people can very well be Marxists—indeed they may well, as is often the case, derive their motivation for political action from their faith.
     Let us note that Marxism is essentially an emancipatory theory. Its goal is this-worldly: true liberation, an existence freed from fear, violence and misery based on human equality. This means: socialism as a true democracy. In pursuit of this, all forces committed to this goal should get together. In view of the enemy’s superiority, imperialist capital and its political agencies, the political alliance of all anti-imperialist forces is prerequisite to the struggle. Religions as institutions must to be judged according to their function in the global anti-imperialist struggle. Where they stand on the side of the anti-imperialist coalition, they are to be welcomed as equal partners and fellow-fighters, but if they place themselves on the side of the ruling class, as they have often done in the past, they must be regarded as enemies and be opposed with the means necessary in a given historical situation.
     To avoid any misunderstanding—this is a point where misunderstandings can easily arise, and a point of great political significance—Marxism is not an ideology. Its first foundation is science. Its position on institutionalised religions is historically critical, it understands them as ideological and judges them according to their societal function.
     Islam, like any other religion, must be asked to what extent it can contribute to human emancipation. Islam plays a very important role in shaping life on our planet, in view of its enormous human influence, its dynamism, and its worldwide distribution. Does it have emancipatory potential in the sense described above? This is the key question. To what extent can links be established between Marxism and Islam? If they exist, this would be an important step forward.
     At first glance, there are great differences. But knowledge is lacking on both sides. One should explore possibilities for contact points. I think of Spanish Islam before the Reconquista as a social model of tolerance between ideologies and religions. In Andalusia all people lived their own culture, on condition that they accepted the state order, politically and legally. Philosophy also flourished. Take Bloch’s pioneering work Avicenna and the Aristotelian Left. In it he explains Arab philosophy as part of the history of materialist thought. We must remember that Aristotle came to the Christian Middle Ages through the intermediary of the Arabic. Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Contra Gentiles is about this fact. It is the attempt to assert Christian thought over the non-Christian, Arab and Jewish. We need studies on the history of Islam, both politically and culturally, its links with the non-Islamic world, its cultural potential. Naturally these will be critical studies, but such that will crystallise Islam’s cultural accomplishments as well as its emancipatory achievements. In this context, Goethe’s West-Eastern Divan deserves mention. Here he celebrates Hafis, the Persian poet of the fourteenth century, as his brother in spirit, proclaiming a Eudaimonian5 existence, earthly bliss, the union of joy of life and mystical spiritualisation. Here the Islamic world stands as a counter-project to Christian asceticism. Here we find arguments against religious fundamentalism of every kind, at the same time gaining the ground for literary internationalism—Goethe’s idea of world literature.
     These are ways to form historical consciousness, to establish common ground, to break down boundaries. Work on the humane core of world cultures can only be achieved as a common task. It takes a central place in the Marxist concept of the cultural.

How can Marxism contribute today to the struggle for human rights and justice?
Here, too, initial theoretical clarification is necessary. The idea of Right (to use Hegel’s term)—the question of individual rights, international law, human rights—was too often viewed purely ideologically by traditional Marxism, and in some forms of Marxism it is to this day. Obviously, in class societies rights are primarily class rights. However, it is often forgotten that law is, moreover, an achievement of civilisation, which goes beyond its class character—as human rights, international law, individual rights, the rule of law, in the form of a constitutional state, as I would put it. Stalin’s rule alone should teach us what can happen if fundamental principles of law are violated in socialism. We witness the elimination of fundamental rights in current bourgeois society at all levels and in many places, despite their assertions of freedom and democracy. Such dismantling of the rule of law is at its most advanced in the United States, and in Turkey in the European sphere. The struggle for emancipation today has in many respects become a struggle to maintain—in future to expand—constitutional democracy.
     Let’s look at Germany. It is becoming increasingly clear that Germany is deeply divided. Without doubt a large part of the population has a solid democratic, humane kindness towards fellow-beings. On the other hand, right-wing radicalism in the shape of the AfD is moving into the parliaments. Neo-fascism is publicly active; the brown mobs set fire to refugee shelters, the police are incapable (or unwilling) to protect them. The so-called intelligence service acts in an extralegal space, its links to the right-wing underground are surfacing bit by bit in the continuing neo-fascist murder trial.6 Details are a matter of conjecture. The implementation of constitutional society—the practiced rule of law—is only a demand here, not a reality.
     In these dark times it is essential to defend the constitutional state and to establish democratic rule of law, where they do not exist. Our strengths and possibilities are few. There are many fields of work: political work, work at schools and universities. At universities the situation for Marxists is desolate. The content of education has changed: the sciences have turned bourgeois, clad ideologically in the latest fashions, most recently the postmodern. The professors have been replaced accordingly. Today there is hardly any (if any) Marxist teaching at the universities. The situation here is significantly worse than, for example, in the Unitrd States, where there are still left-wing, including Marxist, university teachers, not only celebrities such as the admirable Noam Chomsky but also others, less known. Here in Germany the academic Augean stables were cleared of all left-wing “trash” after the so-called reunification, which I prefer to speak of as the Reconquista.

How can we implement Marxist ideals in Western society?
They can be implemented, if at all, only in the long term, by what I call a democratic revolution. This means a fundamental transformation of the systems of production and power within the framework of a constitutional democracy. The basis for this is the socialisation of monopoly property, such as financial capital, societal control in the area of basic economic relationships, the development of the constitutional state beyond its class limitations, the development of a socialist constitutional society. In the epoch of imperialist capital, this is a huge undertaking.
     Imperialist capital seems as unassailable as the city of Rome at the time of the Roman Empire. Yet such a transformation is possible in principle within the framework of the democratic constitutional state—in Germany within the Basic Law—and even if such a policy does not have any real basis in the European context, it is already a political fact in other parts of the world, such as Latin America.
     A democratic revolution is neither romantic spin nor anarchist violence: it is the actual possibility for political action here and today. Its first stage would be the socialisation of imperialist capital. On this basis, the democratic transformation of civil society as well as the legal and governmental sectors would have to take place—according to the criteria of the democratic revolution, with the aim of creating conditions for the full realisation of human potential.
     At the same time we must never lose sight of what communism means in the Marxist sense: solidarity and a peaceful world; the transformation of the bourgeois constitutional state into a universal constitutional society; the abolition of economic, social, cultural exploitation and oppression; the abolition of poverty as a condition of cultural education; equitable distribution of social wealth as a prerequisite for the development of the wealth of individual life; social individuality as a core category; the preservation of nature as the cosmological habitat of humankind. In its normative form,7 communism is a concrete utopia. The realisation of its emancipatory ideals will only be achieved over a long period and many stages.
     Today, the struggle over constitutional matters and the rule of law is a struggle for the preconditions of the revolution. To put it pointedly: the revolution has already begun with this struggle. And one thing is certain: there will be a struggle, a hard struggle, because capital will not leave the stage of world history without a fight—as Marx says, born “dripping from head to foot, from every pore, with blood and dirt,”8 and it will not leave the world any differently. The possibility cannot be disregarded that it will take humankind with it in its plunge into hell.
     Conditions for such a transformation are currently dire, but resignation would be the worst response. This would mean giving up before the fight has started. Patience is the first virtue of the revolutionary. As scientists and Marxists, we have learned to think historically. It took centuries for bourgeois society to succeed feudalism as a world-historical social formation. The process ran through a series of revolutions. It began in the fourteenth century and was finally completed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; and even today there are a number of monarchies and other modern remnants of feudalism. At its height, the Roman Empire seemed to its inhabitants as though it was made for eternity. Its emperors celebrated themselves as gods; and yet it disappeared in the whirlpool of history, leaving only its well-known and much-admired remnants. Thus, we too should also take into account the dimension of historical time, its long-term structures, for our struggle as well as our concept of the future.
     History does not move in a straight line but runs in spirals—a metaphor that Peter Weiss took over from Lenin and used in his book, The Aesthetics of Resistance. The danger of disaster is ubiquitous, the relapse into barbarism a constant possibility. Re-barbarisation is inscribed in the nature of imperialism. Today, after two world wars and European fascism, we are moving towards a new climax.
     Just now, Noam Chomsky warns against the danger of a third world war, this time triggered by the United States. In such an event “the likelihood of survival of the human species would be reduced to a minimum.” Chomsky recalls Einstein’s answer to the question of which weapon would be used in the next war after the atomic bomb: “the only weapon that would remain available to man would be a stone axe” (“Conversation with Noam Chomsky”). The fight for peace is now about nothing less than the survival of humankind.
     But even aside from such extremity, we are living in an epoch of civilatory regression, despite all technological advances. This will persist, indeed gain momentum, as long as its causes are not eliminated. They lie in the dominant production, property and power relations. Since Lenin and Luxemburg, they have been called imperialism. With great insight, they were probably the first to recognise the profoundly barbaric nature of imperialist capitalism. This is the “epoch of wars and revolutions.” It is characterised by the merging of monopoly capital and financial capital, which is linked to the formation of a system of cosmopolitan domination (“cosmopolitan” in the sense given by Marx and Engels to the concept in the Communist Manifesto): “the striving for domination and not for freedom, the exploitation of an increasing number of small or weak nations by a handful of the richest or most powerful nations.”9 Imperialism is also capable of an unimaginable acceleration of technological advance—into the high-tech production of the present, to the projected invention of trans-human intelligences, designed to replace humans. Correspondingly, it represents, in his internal cultural constitution, the re-barbarisation of human civilisation in an equally unimaginable measure to that of technological progress. In this historical situation, the possibility of humanity’s suicide appears alongside re-barbarisation.
     The struggle against a social formation that has such consequences must be carried out with all means available and with all determination. I return here to the concept of the “democratic revolution,” the fact that here in Germany, as in other constitutional states, this struggle can be waged legally. Neruda, referring to the Chilean revolution, speaks of “lawful revolution.” The struggle can be waged lawfully as long as the constitutional state exists. However, we are aware that the ruling forces will be the first to dismantle it as soon as their power is threatened (thus the Chilean revolution, like the Spanish one before it, was quenched in blood by a fascist dictatorship aided by imperialist capital). But even if this struggle succeeds, many steps will be needed, presumably many revolutions—as Marx put it, an “epoch of social revolutions”—to remove this building of injustice (Hegel’s concept).
     Time will pass before humanity can return to the work of progress. To quote Brecht, “The goal |[Is] far in the distance, | Clearly visible, though for [us] | Hard to reach.”10

Please tell us something about the main ideas of your book The Idea of Peace in European Literature.
My book has been out of print for quite a while. It gives a selected overview of the development of the peace idea in European literature. It examines a theme that scant attention has been paid to in traditional literary scholarship. This is all the more surprising as war and peace play an important role in this literature (and not just here but also in other cultures: think of China alone). My approach in this book is to sketch and set focuses. I go back to antiquity, to epic drama and lyric, early articulations of the peace idea in Homer, Euripides, Aristophanes, Virgil. This is not only about war and idealised heroism but also about the horrors of war (think of Euripides’ Trojan plays), the necessity of peace, and in Virgil’s Fourth Eclogue the utopia of a peaceful world. I take a cursory look at the tradition of peace in Christian thought, another focus is Shakespeare. I then draw the line via humanism, the enlightenment, German classic literature, and romanticism, to modernity. The book concludes with a study on Peter Weiss’s book The Aesthetics of Resistance and an essay on Picasso’s Guernica. Thus, I take a look beyond the boundaries of literature at the neighbouring country of painting.
     In some sense, the book was a discovery for me. Before I wrote it I was not clear to what extent criticism of war and violence and the counter-image of peace were inscribed in the literatures of Europe. But this also applies to other literatures. Thus, in Chinese poetry there is a continuity of anti-war poetry, which is equal to the European one. Here the past reveals itself in dimensions that open the future to utopia. In it, peace is a determining feature.
     The question of peace is a fundamental question of our era, as I pointed out in my previous answer. The question of peace should therefore be a core issue of our scientific efforts. The fact that it isn’t sheds light on the dominant spirit of this age.

1. Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, Introduction.
2. Setting the norm, or ideal.
3. Variously translated, also “to those who follow in our wake.” In this text the translation by Peter Levine is used.
4. Priscilla Metscher, Republicanism and Socialism in Ireland: From Wolfe Tone to James Connolly (Connolly Books, Dublin, 2016).
5. Human flourishing.
6. The NSU trial referred to here is the highest-profile neo-Nazi murder trial in Germany in decades.
7. In the ideal state.
8. Capital I, volume 1, chapter 31: “Genesis of the industrial capitalist.”
9. Lenin, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, chapter X, “The place of imperialism in history.”
10. Brecht, “To Future Generations.”

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