This short essay is a study of LukÃ¡cs, specifically the political ideas of LukÃ¡cs and the Socialist ideas of LukÃ¡cs. Georg LukÃ¡cs has always been remembered as a great thinker. He is one of the few Socialist philosophers who is legitimately respected by all sides of the Left. Most Socialist groups study his works, and most Socialist groups study his ideas. He is probably the best known Hungarian thinker – and the best known Hungarian Socialist. Since the decline of the Soviet Union, LukÃ¡cs has become even more significant. His Socialism is held up as an example of the possibilities of Marxism – a Marxism based on humanism, politics, philosophy, history, and revolution.
A key work by LukÃ¡cs is his study of History and Class-Consciousness (1923) . This work from 1923 is probably LukÃ¡cs’ masterpiece – giving a full outline of Orthodox Marxism, the Marxism of Rosa Luxemburg, the revolutionary power of the working-class, historical materialism, class consciousness, and a brief outline of Bolshevism. History and Class-Consciousness, as a book and as a series of studies, is effectively the philosophical argument for Marxism and for revolutionary Marxism. This book, in effective terms, provides the basis for thinking through the philosophical issues of Marxism – and the means by which the ideas of Marxism can be translated into revolutionary action. The book, and its studies, also gives a clear outline of LukÃ¡cs’ own thought – his attempt to develop philosophy in revolutionary terms, to make philosophy part of the struggle for Revolution and for Socialism. LukÃ¡cs’ greatest contribution to the politics of Socialism remains History and Class-Consciousness, which outlines, fully, the philosophical argument for Revolutionary Socialism.
LukÃ¡cs is the philosopher of Socialist Revolution. His ideas always called for the open social struggle for revolution and for social revolution. His ideas, in effect, are the ideas of achieving social liberation via the process of social revolution. Social liberation and social revolution, for LukÃ¡cs, are always the same process – guiding the process of social struggle towards Socialism. This makes him one of the key philosophers of Marxism – both as a philosophy of theory and as a philosophy of practice.
We can conclude this short essay by suggesting that LukÃ¡cs remains the great philosopher of Socialist Revolution. No other thinker in the Marxist tradition, since the 1950s, has managed to so firmly establish the philosophical basis for Socialism and Socialist Revolution as LukÃ¡cs. Indeed LukÃ¡cs’ greatest contribution, as a thinker, and as a philosopher, was his development of a theory of a philosophy of Socialist Revolution. This allowed his thought to influence the overall development of Western Marxism in a very positive sense – allowing Western Marxism, as a philosophical movement, to remain a revolutionary movement for Socialism and for the Socialist Revolution. Like Marx, the philosophy of LukÃ¡cs is the philosophy of achieving revolution and changing the world. This is the revolutionary importance of LukÃ¡cs – both as thinker and as theorist. He not only described the revolutionary theory of Marx and Lenin, he expanded upon that theory and placed it firmly within a materialist understanding of philosophy. This means that LukÃ¡cs can still be part of the overall struggle for Socialism – despite his death. His ideas still have something to offer in terms of the political development of Socialist Politics and the Politics of Socialism. If we understand LukÃ¡cs, correctly, we might yet understand the potential of revolution – the philosophy of revolution. This makes LukÃ¡cs crucial. We must read him. We must understand him.
1 G. LukÃ¡cs, History and Class Consciousness, (1923)
2 G. LukÃ¡cs, Lenin: A Study on the Unity of his Thought, (1924)
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This post was written by R.G. Williams