08. April 2021
A Common Agreement Between Gandhism And Marxism
Capitalists should become the trustees of the country`s wealth, and they should use their genius for common salvation. Capitalists, in agreement with society, should set a nominal profit. All classes should work together to increase production. Gandhiji was not for big industries. There is a great resemblance between Mahatma Gandhi and Kart Marx. You will have noticed that these two readings of Gandhi, which I pass off as absurd, are made for each other. Both deny exactly what I call his „integrity“, the latter believing that he is everything and that he is only a philosopher with no serious interest in politics, the former claiming that our interest in him is due only to his political successes, not to his distant philosophy. Therefore, the idea of „integrity“ is precisely intended to make it clear that these two points of view, despite their open opposition to each other, have a common fundamental error, because they do not perceive what I call Gandhi`s integrity. Let me conclude my lengthy answer to your question with a point that I consider very strongly, even if it may seem terminology. It is tempting to say that Marx is a figure of the Enlightenment, and how can he present him as a source of criticism of modernity? I think it`s a tiring and useless way to think about intellectual history.
It is simply a question of denying the weight and obesity of liberalism in the organisation of modernity which, until today, has a dominant maintenance in society and which, I would say, is even totally complicit in the so-called right-wing populist efforts to oppose it. The Political Enlightenment and its legacy are strongly marked by liberal thought and ideals. It completely distorts things, seeing the Enlightenment as a simple bunch of teachings and ideas in which Locke and Mill and Hegel and Marx can be thrown. It is much more intellectually honest to say that there were radically divergent voices like Marx, and Marx was part of the tradition of romantic thought in many ways. If you take a book like Christopher Hills` The World Turned Upside Down, in which he looks at the first radical and communist ideas at the time of the English Revolution, there are Forerunners of Marx who presented ideas that, if they had prevailed instead of being oppressed, would have prevailed on the path that England and Europe would have taken from the beginning of modernity to the end of modernity. These ideas were Marx`s forerunners and are the beginning of an evolution that led to Marx on romantic thought, both in England and Germany. In fact, very often in this book, when Christopher Hill wants to present some of these radical ideas, he quotes Blake, like other left-wing historians and intellectual historians like E.P. Thompson. But romantics are often seen as „against“ elucidations.
So what about a path that some will call counter-recognition under the label „Lights“? So I think it`s just a dogmatic catch of the word „Enlightenment“ to insist that characters like Marx and Gandhi and the romantics should all be counted as part of the Enlightenment. It brings much more clarity (not to mention intellectual honesty), simply admitting, which is indeed the case, that terms such as „modernity“ and „light“ are self-gratifying notions that have arisen when it became clear that liberal doctrine is over and that institutions (including the institutions and policies surrounding capital, as well as the capital constraints created with „social democracy“) had marked Europe`s imprint.