Women's role in the emergence of human solidarity

In the first part of this article, published in the International Review n°150, we considered the role of women in the emergence of culture among our species Homo sapiens. In this second, and final, part we propose to examine what we feel to be one of the most fundamental problems posed by primitive communist society: how did the evolution of the genus Homo produce a species whose very survival is based on mutual confidence and solidarity, and more particularly what was woman’s role in this process.

The study of Capital and the foundations of Communism

In the previous article in this series (IR73) we saw that Marx and his tendency, having come to terms with the defeat of the 1848 revolutions and the onset of a new period of capitalist growth, embarked upon a project of deep theoretical research aimed at uncovering the real dynamic of the capitalist mode of production, and thus the real basis for its eventual replacement by a communist social order.

1848: Communism as a political program

The previous two articles in this series[1] have to a large extent focused on the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 because they are a rich vein of material on the problem of alienated labor and on the ultimate goals of communism as envisaged by Marx when he first adhered to the proletarian movement. But although Marx had, as early as 1843, identified the modern proletariat as the agent of the communist transformation, the EPM are not yet precise about the practical social movement that will lead from the society of alienation to the authentic human community. This fundamental development in Marx's thinking was to come about through the convergence of two vital elements: the elaboration of the historical materialist method, and the overt politicization of the communist project.

Communism: the real beginning of human society

Having examined the various facets of man's alienation, the next task Marx took up in the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts was to criticize the crude and inadequate conceptions of communism which predominated in the proletarian movement of his time. As we showed in the first article in this series, Marx rejected the conceptions inherited from Babeuf and still propagated by the followers of Blanqui because they tended to present communism as a general leveling-down, as a negation of culture in which "the category of worker is not abolished but extended to all men"

How the proletariat won Marx to communism

"The theoretical conclusions of the communists are in no way based on ideas or principles that have been invented, or discovered, by this or that would-be universal reformer. They merely express, in general terms, actual relations springing from an existing class struggle, from a historical movement going on under our very eyes." (Communist Manifesto)

From Primitive Communism to Utopian Socialism

The first aim of the series of articles we are beginning here is to reaffirm the marxist position that communism is not a nice idea. As Marx put it in The German Ideology"Communism is not for us a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality will have to adjust itself.

We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. The condition of this movement result from premises now in existence".

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