Intellectuals, Political Power and Emancipation from Marx to the October Revolution
thesisposted on 14.12.2012, 12:39 by Alexander A. Chryssis
The introductory chapter of the work sheds light on the philosophical background of the intellectual-question. To this end, the author draws critical arguments from classical works such as Plato's Republic, Aristotle's Politics, Rousseau's On the Social Contract, focusing his attention on the tension arising among intellectual vanguard, on the one hand, political power and emancipation, on the other. Given this philosophical frame of reference, the first part of the study constitutes a critical presentation of Marx's and Engels's commitment to the proletarian movement of the 1840s with special emphasis on their role in the Communist League. According to the author the fact that Marx and Engels finally entered the League represents a decisive turn from the role of the philosopher-interpreter and educator to the role of the philosopher-lawgiver and governor. The second part of this work deals with the participation of Marx, Engels and Bakunin- in the First International and, furthermore, with the Marx-Bakunin controversy. The indisputable datum that Marx and Engels were against a Blanquist or a Bakuninist type of elite organization, the author suggests, does not mean that they were against any kind of intellectual and political vanguard. In fact, the author argues, intellectual leadership and proletarian self-emancipation do not necessarily contradict each other. To support this argument, a direct juxtaposition has been suggested between Marx's and Engels's aristodemocratic version of the intellectual-people relation and Bakunin's apparently ultra-libertarian and actually quasidictatorial approach to the same relation. The third part of the study includes a further analysis of the intellectual-question, as this was posed in the framework of the European proletarian movement, and a critical presentation of the Russian Populist and Social Democratic intelligentsia. Moreover, the author takes advantage of the aristodemocracy-concept in order to evaluate particular versions of the intellectual-proletarian relation as appeared in the field of the Russian Populism and Marxism during the end of the nineteenth and the early years of the twentieth century. It is, finally, in the concluding chapter of the whole work, where the author argues that en route to the October Revolution, and especially during the years 1905-1917, the aristodemocratic transition to the people's self-emancipation and determination proved to be an unfulfilled utopia for intellectuals and proletarians alike.