Karl Korsch, 60 years later

William Westall, The Beginning of the Flood, 1848.
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By GABRIEL TELES*

The importance of the German philosopher is not accompanied by a greater knowledge of his work

Karl Korsch can undoubtedly be considered one of the most important Marxists of the first half of the XNUMXth century. His life and work are expressions of a drive for revolution and a stubborn defense of a non-dogmatic, critical and revolutionary Marxism. Korsch was one of those Marxist intellectuals who, to the fullest, realized what Karl Marx had formulated in his youth: “Although the construction of the future and its definitive consolidation is not our business, it is even clearer, in the present, what we must accomplish . I am referring to the ruthless critique of what exists, ruthless both in the sense of not being afraid of one's own results and in the sense that one cannot fear conflicts with those who hold power.[I].

Such importance, however, is not accompanied by a greater knowledge of his work. Korsch, within discussions of Marxism, is often quoted, but little read and debated. This finding is easy to verify. A simple bibliographic search exercise on Karl Korsch is enough and we will see that, almost always, there are few studies on the author. What we have, in abundance, are punctual and restricted mentions, articulating him to other authors, such as Gramsci and Lukács, in an analytical key that became known as “Western Marxism”, a term coined by Korsch himself, but transformed into a construct by Merleau-Ponty and popularized by Perry Anderson. The problem nevertheless persists. Even considered, along with those two authors, a precursor of Western Marxism, Karl Korsch is the least debated: dozens of pages are spent with Gramsci and Lukács, but little developed is the discussion on Korschian reflection.

Such a scenario is aggravated when realizing that even these few studies focus, almost always, solely on a work by Korsch, Marxism and Philosophy, disregarding all the rest of his previous and subsequent production, rich in diverse analyzes and contributions to the critical understanding of capitalist society.

This set of findings leads us to the following question: how to explain, in its multiple determinations, the peripheral status of Korsch's thought or the silence about his work?

The intention of this text, evidently, is not to answer this question in its entirety, but to focus on a fundamental aspect of his thought, which gives intelligibility and explains one of the reasons for the existence of both non-readers and bad readers of the necessary work. and current by Karl Korsch. From this angle, we aim in this text to explain, even if synthetically, Korsch's proposal of critical-revolutionary Marxism and how such an understanding crossed the set of his political militancy and his theoretical work. As we will see further on, his conception of Marxism and the consequences drawn from it create difficulties for those who do not take to the last consequences the radical and revolutionary political project of which Marxism itself is a manifestation. Before, however, let us make some brief biographical notes situating his intellectual and political trajectory.

1.

Karl Korsch was born in 1886, Tostedt, district of Hamburg, Germany. Coming from the German privileged classes, he studied law, sociology and philosophy, obtaining a doctorate in law in 1911 from the University of Jena.

While preparing for the tests required to pursue a legal career in the German State, Korsch is invited to work, in 1912, in England. His job would consist of translating from English into German a new book by the famous English jurist Sir. Simon Shuster. From the period established in London, the key will be Korsch's rapid political development and his adherence to his first political organization after his experience in the student movement: the Fabian Society.[ii].

In the midst of the outbreak of World War I, he returns to Germany and participates in the conflict as an officer. In the last years of the war, with the increase of misery among the subaltern classes (workers, peasants, etc.) and the fatigue of the soldiers at the front, an immense wave of dissatisfaction began, with the outbreak of wild strikes, revolts, collective insubordination of soldiers in almost every nation participating in the War. The year 1917 represented an important shift in World War I with the impact of the Russian Revolution and the massive strikes in Berlin and Leipzig, in addition to an initial worker radicalization in Italy, Hungary, France, among other countries. This whole process had an impact on Korsch, who became more and more radicalized.

All these elements were further intensified with the experience of the German Revolution of 1918 and the creation and generalization of workers' councils. Korsch's company also created its workers' councils and, thanks to its prestige and its growing radicalism, he was elected as one of its representatives. At the end of the war, his company had become known as the “Red Company”, as everyone was in favor of the revolution and for an immediate end to the war.

Upon returning from the war, in January 1919, after participating in the creation of the first councils of German soldiers, Korsch joined the USPD (Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany), especially in its “leftist” ranks, which were more connected to the movement. of the councils at its base, than the “centrists” of the party, who were linked in their articulations with the SPD in the new German republic. In addition, at the same time, he returns to his former university town and begins his career as a professor of law at the University of Jena.

It is also at the beginning of 1919 that Korsch is invited by Robert Wilbrandt to participate as his “scientific assistant” in the Commission for the Socialization of German Industries, chaired by Karl Kautsky (representative of the SPD) and Ernst Francke (from the Institute for Social Reform). Korsch was in charge of preparing recommendations for the socialization of the coal industry. From this experience, one of Korsch's best-known works, the brochure What is Socialization? written in March 1919.

Korsch, disillusioned with social democracy and its pseudo plan for socialization, began an intense and profound study of Marx's work in the early 20s with the aim of giving greater concreteness to his political positions. In a short time, he assimilates the foundations of Marx's theory, especially his theory of capitalism, contained in Capital, and begins a practice that he will carry out throughout his militant life: confronting Marx's supposed epigones, evidencing the non-Marxist character of his writings and political practice. In this spirit, he will develop a polemic with social democracy and later also with Leninism.

Frustrated with both the SPD and the USPD, he participated in the famous congress of the latter party at the end of 1920, when the party split and the majority opted to join the KPD, Communist Party of Germany. Korsch, seeking new political airs, also joined the KPD, despite his deep reservations regarding the 21 points formulated by the Communist International, which highlighted, among other determinations, the discipline centralized by Moscow and the degree of dependence on the Russian party. . Korsch, driven by his “practical socialism”, joined the KPD because he believed that revolutionary workers were migrating to that party and that eventually this process could give some survival to the already initial decline of the workers councils.

During his years inside the KPD, Korsch would stand out and become one of the great intellectuals of that party, giving several speeches and being very active in its newspapers and magazines. He will be elected deputy for the Landtag (provincial parliament) of Thuringia between the years 1920 and 1923.

Korsch became, from then on, a great reference in the debates on Marxism. He was one of the key pieces for the constitution of the famous Erste Marxistische Arbeitswoche (First Marxist Work Week), which took place near Ilmenau (Thuringia) on May 20, 1923, on the initiative of Félix J. The idea of ​​the Week was proposed by Korsch himself, who made the suggestion to Félix[iii], who became the main financial supporter and patron of the event.

Korsch, at that time, lived in Jena and lived in the building that housed the newspaper Die Neue Zeitung, the party's publishing house. His life was immersed in his political militancy, sometimes as an important member of the KPD and deputy in the Landtag, sometimes as an intellectual scholar and theorist of Marxism. But in 1923, two important events took place in Korsch's life that brought this phase of his career to an end.

The first of these is the publication of his book Marxism and Philosophy, a collection of texts by Korsch that aimed to reconstitute Marxism on its revolutionary basis.

The second event is his role as Minister of Justice in Thuringia for six months, where a coalition government between communists (KPD) and independent social democrats (left wing of the USPD) was formed. The pretension of the party leaders was that this government would become a central and regional base for the revolutionary insurrection that was taking shape since then in Germany.

The failure of what became known as the “October Rising” created a deep discussion within the KPD, creating several internal divisions and disputes about the direction the party would take. The bolshevization of the parties became imperative with the guidelines of the Third International and this process had direct repercussions on the KPD after its failure in 1923. Korsch, who always took sides for the autonomy of the proletariat, attentively absorbed this discussion and began a process of self-clarification about his political militancy and determinations of the proletarian defeat in Germany. As a result, he became a staunch critic of the hegemonic wing of his own party and linked to organizations critical of the Soviet experience, culminating in his expulsion from the KPD in 1926, freeing himself from the burden of being in a party that he believed was no longer revolutionary, but which remained in it in the hope of equally radicalizing its other members or the group of workers still linked to it.

From 1926, with his expulsion from the KPD, he continued to be linked to the labor movement in his theoretical and political publications. Until 1932, he published important essays dealing with various subjects: Marxism, historical materialism, sociology, fascist rise, Soviet Union, etc.

With the rise of Nazism in Germany in 1933, he was expelled from the University of Jena and migrated to Denmark, Sweden, England and finally settled permanently in the United States. In 1937, he publishes another important work, in English, Karl Marx, for a collection of sociology of London School of Economics[iv]. With no organizational link, after breaking with several political parties and being expelled from the KPD, Korsch finds himself partially isolated in the United States.

It was from this moment on that he joined the council communists who also went into exile in the USA, especially Paul Mattick, Anton Pannekoek, Canne Meijer, among others. Council communism was a Marxist tendency that developed in the midst of the German revolutionary process, with representatives from both Germany and the Netherlands (many of them derived from the so-called "German-Dutch left"), characterized by the defense of workers' councils, the fight against social democracy, Bolshevism, syndicalism and the rescue of Marx's revolutionary theory, especially his defense of proletarian self-emancipation (synthesized in the phrase “the emancipation of the working class is the work of the working class itself”).

Korsch's work with council communists became his main political activity after the migration, especially in the magazine Mattick founded, Living Marxism.[v]. Korschian reflection now leans toward explaining the determinations of the proletarian defeat and the rise of the counterrevolution, be it fascist or Soviet ballast. In addition, our author also made several studies on Marxism, anarchism, anti-colonial struggles in peripheral countries, etc.

Until his death, in 1961, he continued teaching classes at several American universities and published dozens of political essays in various magazines linked to the restricted American revolutionary bloc, such as Living Marxism, Modern Quarterly, New Essays, Partisan Review Politics, etc.

From the 1950s, Korsch's political and intellectual activity ebbed drastically. His health deteriorated rapidly. In 1957 he collapsed in the last stages of disability from multiple sclerosis. Karl Korsch, due to this condition, dies on October 21, 1961, in Belmont, Massachusetts. Finally, it ends the trajectory of a great Marxist intellectual who, like the revolutionary movement of the proletariat, had its tragic end struck by the counterrevolution.

2.

Korsch's turbulent but coherent political and intellectual trajectory[vi] points to a fundamental concern: to plant the ground of theoretical criticism, the weapons of criticism, in the revolutionary movement of the proletariat. From this perspective, Korsch sought throughout his militancy, even if it cost his isolation in moments of ebb of the class struggle, to base Marxism on its concrete base, which is that social class that has the potential to radically transform the society as a whole: the proletariat. To do so, he did not dodge a decisive question, which the Marxist communist tradition was dealing with in the first decades of the XNUMXth century, after the degeneration of the Second International: what is Marxism?

This question, which apparently appears to be trivial or even accessory to the political tasks of the beginning of the XNUMXth century, in turmoil —especially with the intensification of social conflicts—, actually occupies a fundamental position in the relationship between theory and practice within revolutionary and reformist organizations. The background to this inquiry was based on the following question: whether individuals as diverse as Bernstein, Kautsky, Rosa Luxemburg, Lenin, Anton Pannekoek, Otto Ruhle, Plekhanov (who expressed even antagonistic political positions) advocated for themselves the title of Marxists, what could explain such diversity? How to define Marxism without falling into simplistic relativism or idealistic moralism or, even, into an opportunism concerned with other interests?

Karl Korsch lived in a favorable time to reflect on these issues: on the one hand, there were the transformations in capitalist society as a whole, which pointed to a deep crisis of capital accumulation and, consequently, to the intensification of social conflicts ( World War I and the Russian Revolution being the most dramatic historical events in this process); on the other, the maturation of the labor movement and the organizations derived from its dynamics, with their defeats, victories, disappointments and development. Armed with the weapons of criticism (his deep knowledge of the work of Marx, Hegel and the socialist tradition) and the criticism of weapons (he participated actively and directly in the German Revolution and in the constitution of the workers' councils in that region), Korsch embarked on the search for a adequate and coherent conception of Marxism that authentically expressed its emancipatory project.

3.

The first element that Korsch points out is the limitation of all other definitions of Marxism made until the beginning of the XNUMXth century by self-styled Marxists. Thus, Marxism could not be a “neutral and objective science”, apart from concrete social relations and mainly from the perspective of the proletariat, as defended by some revisionists, such as in Bernstein's discussion. Marxism, likewise, could not be based solely on its formal elements, as stated by Kaustky (and taken up again by Lenin) in his reflection on the three “constitutive sources of Marxism”: German classical philosophy, English classical economics and economics. French utopian socialism. Marxism, still, finally, would not be “a system of ideas and doctrine of Marx”, as in Lenin’s popular but incorrect formula. Korsch rejects all these reflections with scientistic, objectivist, positivist, formalist, idealist, etc. ballasts. All of them, in short, leave aside vital questions and the purpose of Marxism.

The second element, and the most decisive of all, is the way in which Korsch structures the foundation of Marxism. In contrast to the limitations of the previous definitions, our author will base his definition on the theoretical and methodological tools of Marxism itself. That is, it is a historical materialist analysis of historical materialism itself, a dialectical analysis of the dialectical method itself. It is from this principle that he explains the concept, points out its historical development and its link with concrete social relations. Thus, the various interpretations of Marxism that often enter into contradiction become theoretically explainable and understandable, since “the usual moral and voluntarist condemnation is replaced by a theoretical and historical explanation”[vii]. In your own words:

The only truly 'materialist and therefore scientific' (Marx) method for an investigation of this type “consists rather in applying the dialectical perspective introduced by Hegel and Marx in the study of history, and which, until now, we have only applied to the philosophy of idealism German and the Marxist theory born out of it, as well as its further evolution up to the present day”. That is to say, we have to try to understand all the transformations, developments and regressions, in theory and in practice, of this Marxist theory, since its formation from the philosophy of German idealism, as necessary products of its time (Hegel), or, more precisely, to understand them in their conditioning by the totality of the historical and social process of which they are the general expression.[viii]

The idea of ​​applying historical materialism to itself was, of course, not unique to Korsch. She was initially nominated and drafted by Antonio Labriola in The Materialist Conception of History, 1896, Rosa Luxemburg in Paralysis and progress in Marxism, 1903 and finally Georg Lukács in History and Class Consciousness, from 1923. However, without a doubt, it was Korsch who took this perspective to its ultimate consequences and fully realized it, even with the limitations that we will point out later.

This structuring is directly derived from one of the main principles of historical materialism: the thesis of unity between being and consciousness. This principle leads us to one of the most important reflections of this theory: it is not consciousness that determines life, but the opposite, life that determines consciousness.

And on German Ideology that Marx and Engels develop such questions, showing that ideas in general, as well as the products of human consciousness, cannot be considered independent and autonomous creations of real and concrete human beings. This work are manuscripts of the two authors that were never published in their lifetime and were only released posthumously in 1926.[ix] The work where Korsch discusses these same issues (Marxism and Philosophy) was published in 1923, that is, three years before the first publication of The German Ideology; that demonstrates that Korsch captured the discussion well, even before the publication of Marx's and Engels' manuscripts.

Based on these premises, Korsch bases Marxism on concrete social relations, intrinsically relating this theory to the proletariat, the revolutionary class of our times. And here lies exactly the specificity of this theory: Marxism is the theoretical expression of the revolutionary movement of the proletariat.[X]. Thus, Marxism is not a mere doctrine based on the texts of Marx and Engels; it is not only in the reading of his writings that he presents himself, but, fundamentally, in the understanding of their content. Korsch elaborates this definition considering the approach taken in the Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels, especially when these authors pose the relationship between the communists and the labor movement.

The theoretical propositions of communists are in no way based on ideas or principles invented or discovered by this or that world reformer. They are only the general expression of the effective conditions of an existing class struggle, of a historical movement that develops before our very eyes.[xi].

4.

In this way, Korsch, starting from historical materialism, takes up the prerogative of the class struggle and the labor movement to understand and analyze Marxist theory. Therefore, this theory is presented by him not as “the doctrines of Marx and Engels”, but rather as a perspective whose content must be understood from its concrete historical formation. In summary, it is also decisive that Marxism permanently submit itself to the same critical-revolutionary scrutiny that it exercises over concrete reality and all ideologies that seek to obscure the correct understanding of that same reality. This is, for Korsch, the fundamental guarantee against all kinds of petrification, dogmatization and withdrawal of Marxism that were practiced first by the Second International and later by the Third International. Hence the non-dogmatic and anti-dogmatic character of its conception, reinserted in a perception that rescues the historicity[xii] and totality – fundamental categories of historical materialism.

Korsch, however, not only limited himself to defining Marxism, but also sought to make a Marxist analysis of his own history. He analyzed this history focusing on the advances and setbacks of the labor movement. If this movement retreated, its theoretical expression (Marxism) also tended to retreat and eventually transform itself into ideology (in the sense that Marx attributed to the word, that is, systematized false consciousness). On the other hand, if the proletariat presented itself in the arena of class struggle in a self-determined way, that is, in its revolutionary aspect, Marxism tended to advance and deepen. That is why Korsch states that “[…] the appearance of Marxist theory is nothing but the 'other aspect' of the appearance of the real proletarian movement; the two aspects together constitute the concrete totality of the historical process.[xiii].

5.

The previous discussion brings us to what Paul Mattick[xiv] once said about the content of Korsch's Marxism: the understanding that Marxist theory must be seen as a constitutive part of the struggle of the proletariat for the abolition of capitalist society. Therefore, it only has meaning as an indivisible and essential part of this social transformation. That is, Marxism is, in essence, a theory of proletarian social revolution. And here we come to two aspects that I would like to explore now in Korsch's reflection: the critical and revolutionary character of Marxism and its implications both for this theory and for the class struggle in general.

Marxism is critical because it effects a ruthless criticism of the set of social relations that sustain the totality of capitalist society as well as its legitimizing ideologies. In this sense, Korsch will demonstrate how Marx, founder of this revolutionary theory, sought to criticize all the ideologies of his time: philosophy, utopian socialism, political economy. It is not a mere trinket, therefore, the subtitle of his main work, Capital: critique of political economy. Such criticism, however, cannot be confused with a 'pure' criticism, disinterested and alien to concrete social relations. Marxist theory, therefore: “[…] does not intend to be a “pure” science or philosophy; rather, it must ruthlessly criticize the “impurity” of every known bourgeois science or philosophy, mercilessly exposing its implicit “assumptions”. And this criticism, in turn, never wants to be “pure” criticism in the bourgeois sense of the word. It is not carried out in an “objective” way; on the contrary, it maintains the closest relationship with the practical struggle that the working class wages for its emancipation, a struggle of which this critique is nothing more than the theoretical expression. It therefore distinguishes itself from all non-critical bourgeois science or philosophy (dogmatic, metaphysical or speculative), as well as, also radically, from everything that is called “criticism” in traditional bourgeois science and philosophy and whose theoretical form most complete is found in Kant's critical philosophy.[xv].

Korsch insists on this issue in almost all texts and books dealing with Marxism, as we can also see in his text Because I'm a marxist, written in 1935: “Marxian theory is neither a positive materialist philosophy nor a positive science. From beginning to end, it is a critique, both theoretical and practical, of existing society.”[xvi].

Marxism, however, is not just critical; it is also revolutionary. In this sense, we have a simultaneous movement of negation and affirmation. Negation of the existing society and affirmation of a new society, the dawn of humanity inscribed in communism (as Marx and Engels said in the Communist Manifesto), in the free association of producers (as Marx said in The capital). It is from the negation (practical and theoretical, which form a unit) of the first that the second blossoms. Korsch summarizes this relationship in his important book, Karl Marx, originally published in 1938, stating that Marxism “[…] assumes itself, at the same time, as a [critical] theory of bourgeois society and a theory of proletarian revolution[xvii]".

If Marxism, as we have seen, is the theoretical expression of the revolutionary movement of the proletariat, then its essence is to contribute to the ultimate objective of that movement: the destruction of existing society and the establishment of human emancipation via proletarian revolution. In this perspective, Marxism cannot, by its essence, retreat to a contemplative analysis of reality, uncritical of the social processes that produce the maintenance of exploitation, domination, oppression and psychic misery. Much less close in a descriptive analysis, even if critical, of the existing society. Marxism, being a theory of revolution, is also a theoretical revolution, breaking with all previous philosophy and partial bourgeois sciences, which slice up reality by diluting the perception of concrete totality, one of the fundamental categories of Marxist dialectics. From this angle, Korsch will state:

For the bourgeois scholars of our day, Marxism represents not only a serious theoretical and practical difficulty of the first order, but, in addition, a theoretical difficulty of the second order, an “epistemological” difficulty. It is not possible to put him in any of the traditional drawers of the system of bourgeois sciences and even if he wanted to open a new drawer called sociology especially for him and his closest comrades, he would not even stay quiet inside, he would constantly wander to all the others. “Economics”, “philosophy”, “history”, “theory of Law and the State”, none of these rubrics can contain it, but none would be safe from it if it wanted to put it in another[xviii].

That is why the form (theoretical expression) and the content (revolutionary proletariat) of Marxism point to a project that aims at the future, the concrete utopia as Ernst Bloch would say. The denial of the present in favor of the emancipating future.

6.

Thus, we can summarize Korsch's contribution as a relentless struggle to preserve the essence of Marxism in its critical and revolutionary character, fighting all kinds of dogmatism, determinism and retreats in its radical political propositions.

His understanding of Marxism undoubtedly led to numerous clashes inside and outside that milieu. It is from this point of view that Korsch fought what he called pseudo-Marxism, both in the Second International and in the Third. Thus, Korsch radically criticized both social democracy and Bolshevism. This process, however, did not happen automatically. Korsch, throughout his political intellectual development, became radicalized and broke with different organizations and perspectives until he conformed to a current of Marxism known as council communism, which had as representatives Paul Mattick, Anton Pannekoek, Herman Gorter, Otto Rühle, between others[xx].

It is essential to add that Korsch did not limit himself to analyzing Marxism, its theoretical-methodological tools and its historical development.[xx]. In addition to being a committed intellectual, he was an important member of several organizations, actively participated in several struggles and wrote about numerous burning issues for the revolutionary struggle of his time.

Aside from reflection within Marxism, two of Korsch's major concerns were revolutionary processes and counterrevolutions. Themes that are directly linked to our author's notion of Marxism and class struggle. That is why he analyzed different revolutionary experiences, both from the past (Paris Commune, Revolution of 1844, etc.) and from his time (Russian Revolution, German Revolution, Spanish Civil War, etc.), as well as counterrevolutionary processes, such as such as Nazism, Fascism, Bolshevism and the liberal democracies of imperialist capitalist countries[xxx].

7.

Due to his political positions and the coherence of his revolutionary project, Korsch lived the last decades of his life in exile and isolation in the United States of America. After breaking up, at the end of the 1920s, with the German Communist Party (KPD), due to its subordination to the Soviet Union via the Bolshevization of the communist parties, Korsch came to be disowned by a large part of the so-called Marxist movement, where silence reigned in the face of his works and opinions.

With the ebb of the class struggle, especially with the defeat of the German Revolution, the establishment of state capitalism in the Soviet Union and the transformation of Marxism into ideology, Korsch, as well as all those who sought to continue the critical and revolutionary flame of Marxism, was summarily “forgotten” and disowned. It couldn't be otherwise. In non-revolutionary times, it becomes difficult to maintain a theory that proposes, from beginning to end, a radical and revolutionary project. Hence the marginalization of Marxism, which can only be a theoretical expression of the revolutionary movement of the proletariat.

Before ending this essay, it is important to point out that Korsch has contradictions, gaps and limits, like any militant who is immersed in the class struggle of his time. Briefly, I mention a few: a) his complete historicism, which did not perceive the relationship between essence and existence within the concepts; b) his criticisms of Marx, especially on the question of the character and distinction between bourgeois revolution and proletarian revolution, derived from an imprecise reading of Marxian texts; c) a wavering in his assessment of Lenin's perspective; d) conceptual inaccuracies, especially with the notion of science.

Karl Korsch, as we have already mentioned, died on October 21, 1961, in the United States. This year (2021) marks the 60th anniversary of his death. Korsch died without recognition, marginalized by his radical political positions and his rejection of the “official Marxism” of the Soviet Union and its satellites, the Communist Parties around the world.

Interest in his work gained momentum, however, with the destabilization of capitalism in the late 1960s and early 1970s and the intensification of the class struggle, bringing a new impetus and an intense republication and translation of his texts and books. [xxiii]. The same thing happens again in the 2000s, when a new cycle of interest in Korsch's work reappears under the winds of anti-globalization and autonomous struggles, thirsty for theoretical references that give structure to his actions. His work, therefore, will always be an opportune political and theoretical compass that aims at the process of radical transformation of society via proletarian revolution and his political contribution will be valid as long as capitalist society lasts.

*Gabriel Teles is a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of São Paulo (USP).

Originally published on newsletter Maria Antonia, GMarx USP, year II, n. 33.

Notes


[I] Letter from Marx to Arnold Ruge, September 1843. Available at: https://criticadesapiedada.com.br/carta-de-marx-a-arnold-ruge-1843/.

[ii] The Fabian Society was an organization that aimed at socialism based on gradual reforms and the education of the masses; it was, therefore, a reformist organization more closely linked to a mixture of liberal and social democratic traditions, critical of Marxism and revolutionary theory in general.

[iii]ALEXANDER, S. MarxistischeArbeitswoche 1923.In: Beiträge zur Geschichte der Arbeiterbewegung. jg. 27, No. 1, 1985, S. 53–54.

BUCKMILLER, M. Die Marxistische Arbeitswoche 1923 und die Gründung des Instituts für Sozialforschung. In: Gunzelin Schmid Noerr, Willem van Reijen (Hrsg.): Grand Hotel Abgrund. Eine Photobiographie der Kritischen Theorie. Junius Verlag, Hamburg 1988, S. 151.

[iv]LANGKAU, Gotz. About the text of this edition. In: KORSCH, Karl. Karl Marx. Barcelona: Ariel, p. 5-16, 1981.

[v] In addition to the magazine Living Marxism, Korsch contributes to several other political publications of the peripheral US revolutionary bloc, such as Living Marxism, Modern Quarterly, New Essays, Partisan Review Politics, etc.

[vi] In my doctoral thesis,Karl Korsch and the Marxist analysis of Marxism, in the process of being concluded, there is a specific chapter on the intellectual trajectory and a developed biography of Karl Korsch; soon it will be available for a greater knowledge of his life and a global glimpse of his production. Until then, I refer the reader to the memoirs of his partner, Hedda Korsch, published from an interview with her in 1972, Cf. KORSCH, Hedda. Memoirs of Karl Korsch. Marxism and Self-Management Magazine, year 01. no. 01, Jan./Jun., 2014.

[vii] MUSSE, Richard. Marxism and Philosophy. In: Left bank: Marxist essays, number 17. São Paulo: Boitempo, 2011.

[viii] KORSCH, Karl. Marxism and philosophy. Porto: Afrontamento, 1977, p. 90.

[ix] VIANA, Nildo. Karl Korsch and the Materialist Conception of History. Florianopolis: Bookess, 2012.

[X]Lukács (2012, p. 66) defines Marxism similarly in History and Class Consciousness: “The theory that announces this [ie, that announces the proletariat as advocating the dissolution of the existing world] is not linked to the revolution in a more or less contingent way, by interconnected and 'misinterpreted' relations. It is essentially just the thought expression of the revolutionary process itself.” In another work, we compared the definitions of Marxism between Korsch and Lukács, see cf. FERREIRA, Aline C.; TELES, Gabriel. The Marxist Definition of Marxism in Georg Lukács and Karl Korsch. Free Space Magazine, Goiania, v. 13, no. 25, p. 7-18, Jan./Jun. 2018. Available at: https://redelp.net/revistas/index.php/rel/article/view/798/685.

[xi] MARX, Karl; ENGELS, Friedrich. Manifesto of the Communist Party. Trans. Álvaro Pina; Ivana Jinkings. São Paulo: Boitempo, 2010

[xii] Historicity is a fundamental element in Korschian thought. Throughout his work, he highlights what he calls the “principle of historical specificity”, a category of the dialectical method that he rescues from Marx and develops in several texts. For Korsch, the analysis of any social phenomenon must be understood in its historical particularity. Moreover, this principle “applies” in politics as well: “The principle reinforces the debater in the political discussion between a tendency apologetics, that is, defender of existing circumstances, and a social-critical, revolutionary tendency” (KORSCH, 1983, p. 35).

[xiii] KORSCH, Karl. Marxism and philosophy. Porto: Afrontamento, 1977, p. 79.

[xiv] MATTICK, Paul. Karl Korsch and Marxism. Goiânia: Coping Editions, 2020.

[xv] Ibidem, p. 92.

[xvi] KORSCH, Karl. Because I'm a Marxist. Available in: https://criticadesapiedada.com.br/porque-sou-marxista-karl-korsch/.

[xvii] KORSCH, Karl. Karl Marx. Lisbon: Antigone, 2018, p. 84.

[xviii] Ibidem, p. 139.

[xx] Lucas Maia, one of the main researchers of council communism in Brazil, made an excellent synthesis of the characteristics of this current: “a) the fundamental determination for the emergence of council communism was naturally the emergence of workers’ councils as a form of organization and concrete struggle of the workers; b) this process comprises the critique of the ideology, strategy and political practice of the social-democratic and Bolshevik parties, as well as the trade unions. Finally, the elaboration of a critique of party and union bureaucracies; c) another aspect is the development of original Marxism. The council communists were authors linked to Marxism, that is, they had in historical-dialectical materialism their theoretical perspective of analysis of reality. Its theoretical development meant adapting and deepening Marxism to the conditions of the workers' struggle in the first decades of the 20th century.” MAIA, Lucas. Council communism and social self-management. Rio de Janeiro: Achiamé: 2016, p. 26.

[xx] Describing and analyzing this entire set of Korschian contributions is obviously not our goal here, beyond the limited space.

[xxx] There is still little bibliographic material on Korsch published in Portuguese, especially on his analyzes of revolution and counterrevolution. A collection of his essays on the Paris Commune was recently published by Enfrentamento. This book, together with the famous Marxism and Philosophy, are Korsch's only books published in Brazil. There are, however, several texts dispersed in various digital portals. The Crítica Desapiedada Portal made an interesting compilation of these Korsch texts published in Portuguese.

Available in:https://criticadesapiedada.com.br/2021/07/05/dossie-karl-korsch-1886-1961/>.

[xxiii] BUCKMILLER, Michael. ZurAktualität von Karl Korsch und seine Bedeutung für die Entwicklung der sozialistischenLinken: VeröffentlichungenSopos, 2013.

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