Marx and Engels have often been accused of advocating double standards, and having a double morality.1 Supposedly, they opposed applying the same ethical principles that usually regulate relations between individuals to the class struggle. Hence the accusation that they and their disciples (Lenin and Trotsky, among others) put forward the principle that in the class struggle ‘the end justifies the means’.
This article article originally appeared in the January 1964 issue of Nuestra Industria, the journal of the Cuban Ministry of Industry, headed by Che Guevara. Ernest Mandel and Charles Bettelheim had been requested by the Cuban government to give their ideas on socialist construction in what became known as "the Great Debate''. This translation was originally published in: Bertram Silverman (ed.) Man and Socialism in Cuba. The Great Debate (1971).
Economic Categories and Historical Reality
Naturally one cannot reduce the political struggles that characterized the three successive phases of the bourgeois, national-democratic revolutions in the Southern Netherlands (those of the 16th, 18th and 19th centuries) to purely or essentially religious and constitutional conflicts.i One must lay bare the socio-economic motivations and components of these struggles. This may sound banal. For some contemporary historians, however, it is far from self-evident.
El movimiento sindical moderno es producto de la primera fase del capitalismo moderno, el de la libre competencia. El modo de producción capitalista niega a los productores el libre acceso a los medios de producción y los alimentos, obligándolos así a vender su fuerza de trabajo para obtener los medios de subsistencia diaria; su fuerza de trabajo se transforma en una mercancía. Como cualquier propietario de mercancías, el propietario de la fuerza de trabajo va al mercado a venderla.
This year marks 25 years since Ernest Mandel died. Mandel (5 April 1923 – 20 July 1995) was one of the most significant Marxist economists of the second half of the twentieth century. To make his thinking accessible to a new generation, IIRE Amsterdam is working on several new volumes of essays by Mandel.