One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Saturday, October 22, 2011

"To the Finland Station": Lassalle

Sandwiched between sections dominated by Marx and Engels, we find two sections titled "Historical Actors."

The first is Historical Actors: Lassalle. Though Wilson labels Lassalle the "great spokesman of the next phase of German socialism," both Wilson and Marx agree that he's intellectually inferior to Marx.

Marx considers Lassalle's written works--e.g., the Workers' Program--bad vulgarizations of his own works, but, at least according to Wilson, Lassalle was a force to reckon with:
He had also begun talking to the liberals in terms of Marxist social dynamics: constitutional questions, he told them, were "not legal questions but questions of power"; they could never get themselves a constitution by filling up a sheet of paper with words, but only by changing the relationships of power.

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Good to a point. However, the cynic in me sees only a somewhat Viconian and unending exchange of "power" with "power."

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Ferdinand Lassalle
[From the Wikimedia Commons]
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