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History and Human Emancipation: Struggle, Uncertainty and Openness

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The critique of class society finds the positive only in the classless society, in communism. The difficulty of conceiving of human emancipation has to do with the very idea of communism. In distinction to the pursuit of profit, seizure of the state, pursuit and preservation of political power, and economic value and human resource, it follows a completely different entelechy of human development. Communism means Commune, an association of the direct producers where each contributes according to her abilities, and where each receives according to her needs. In distinction to the second and third Internationals, which subscribed to naturalised conceptions of society and history, there is no universal historical law that leads human kind from some imagined historical beginning via capitalism to communism. If, however, history is not the consequence of either divine revelation or abstract historical laws, what is it? History does not make history. Neither is history on the side of the working class. History takes no sides: it can as easily be the history of barbarism as of socialism. History is made, and will be made. The future that will come will not result from some objective laws of historical development but will result from the struggles of today. The communist future is a future present. Its reality is the everyday struggle over the production and appropriation of surplus value.
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Keywords: Class; Communism; History; Human Emancipation; Idealism; Materialism; Reason; Uncertainty

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2010

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