Courtesy Reuters

Can Intellectuals Be Marxists?

THE current spectacle of the American Communist Party shedding crocodile tears over the fate of Catholics in Germany and protesting their undying love for the New Deal would excite an onlooker's indignation or amusement even if he did not know that this sudden concern for democratic "bourgeois" principles was prompted solely by opportunism and that this opportunism is dictated by the obvious failure of Communism to establish itself in any of the democratic countries. Marxism, in fact, has been partially established in only one important country. For centuries that country had been the most despotically ruled, the least industrially developed, the most illiterate of those ranking as the Great Powers of western civilization. Pre-revolutionary Russia was, in Marxist theory, the stoniest ground on which the seed of Communism could possibly fall.

This little irony of history is further emphasized for us today by the crop of anti-Communist despotisms which has been the response of the more advanced European nations to the ill-fated evangelists of the gospel according to Marx. Everywhere the ravages of Communism are marked by the bones of democratic government. Revolution was once the traditional monopoly of the Left; it has now become a more powerful instrument in the hands of the Right. As a result, Moscow has uttered the slogan which has sent all Marxists scurrying for the protection of the last remaining bulwark against totalitarianism: the United Front. The Marxists assume that they will be accepted by the free peoples of the world on terms of democratic equality merely because the aims of Communism are not those of Fascism. They pretend not to see that Communism is merely another totalitarian régime, and that the democratic nations abhor totalitarianism as such, in any shape or form, however praiseworthy the theoretical end in view.

A gem of prevarication in Lenin's "The State and Revolution" will show both the distortions of Marxist logic and the fundamental acceptance of the totalitarian principle. "The theory of the class struggle," he wrote, "

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