Marxist humanism

The English and French Wikipedia articles on “Marxist Humanist” state that the Frankfurt School (Herbert Marcuse, Walter Benjamin, Erich Fromm), and people related to it like André Gorz, belonged to this school of thought.

Really? I mean, to me, these people are quite anti-science, with their promotion of pseudo-scientific psychoanalysis, existentialism, and a harsh criticism of the industrial society. Walter Benjamin was a mystic, a romantic, an idealist: what is the relation with humanism? :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Reading the book of Lamont The philosophy of humanism (1997), where he states (p. 29):

Finally, we find in the category of naturalistic Humanists the followers of Karl Marx, who call themselves variously Marxists, Communists, or Socialists. On economic, political, and social issues the Marxist Humanists are of course much to the left of the other types of Humanists I have described. Ordinarily they use the formidable phrase Dialectical Materialism to designate their philosophy, though they often talk in a general way about the Humanist civilization of Soviet Russia and of the socialist world. The Marxist materialists disagree sharply on certain philosophic issues with me and with other Humanists, particularly in their ambiguous attitude toward democracy and their acceptance of determinism.
They are, however, unquestionably humanistic in their major tenets of
_rejecting the supernatural and all religious authority,
_of setting up the welfare of humankind in this life as the supreme goal,
_and of relying on science and its techniques

So I feel quite confused. :expressionless:

One of the basic tenet of humanism is that men are ends and not means, are not objects or tools

Another tenet of humanism is the idea of equality of men, beyond everything which separate them !!! all are men without any hierarchy

Marxists share these tenets.

Now Marx was complex and his thoughts have changed during his life.

Young Marx thought that under capitalism men are alienated, reified. Later he played down these ideas. Frankfurt school worked from this basis and has rejected Leninism.

[Frankfurt School - Wikipedia]

The fact the marxism can be a humanism does not surprise me so much.
I know many “traditional” socialists get nuts about the New Left and its irrationality and anti-universality…

But the fact that the Frankfurt School can, is very surprising to me. This school has produced many anti-science books such as The Eclipse of Reason, and the Dialectic of Enlightenment.
André Gorz was personally closed to the Frankfurt School, he was an existentialist and a phenomenologist: not a paramount of Reason and science in my view.

I’m more of a Democratic Socialist than I am a Democrat, so I can see how Marxism and humanism can go together.

Hi mriana. As a humanist, and though I am in favor of free-market economy, I noticed I prefer debating with “traditional” socialists than with liberal conservatives, although I would normally share with them many common conceptions (small government, bourgeois ethics, entrepreneurship, economy over politics, etc.). Debating with liberal conservatives and irrational anarcho-capitalists (I am not an anarcho-capitalists, I believe in the importance of the state and authority) was one of the most frustrating thing I endured in recent years.

This may be because I am a humanist before being a pro free-market. Free-market and small government is just a means for greater individual freedom and material prosperity; it is not an end at all.

I’m not a traditional socialist nor am I a liberal conservative. I’m also not a capitalist.

“Democratic socialism” is what I would consider “traditional” (in opposition to New Left) socialism, together with other forms of socialism.

Capitalism is a word which does not exist in free-market economy theory. Maybe it refers to crony capitalism, to which free-market economists are very opposed.

au contraire, the word free market doesnt exist in capitalism

Frankfurt school leading figures were not affiliated with the Forth International. Their work was antithetical to classical marxism with writings of marx and engels insignificant compared to those of schelling schopenhauer nietzsche and heidegger . It did not see the working class as a revolutionary force and pays no credit for thier role on political events

Which surprises me even more that they are classified as “Marxist humanists”!

In my memory, Francfort school Indeed, retains from Marxism and the Enlightenment ideal of emancipation the main idea that philosophy must be used as a social critique of capitalism and not as a justification and legitimisation of the existing order.

The alienation of the human beings by the system and by the modern world is very strong. This idea is not foreign to Marx.

They are not Leninists or Troskyists, for sure but one can be Marxist without being one.

Thank you very much.

So the Frankfurt School is to be considered humanist in that it endeavors, in the continuation of the humanist project, to free people?

But these Frankfurt guys disdained humanism, right?

Even Marx was a critique of humanism? (tried to find more information about Marx and its critique of the Enlightenment, the bourgeois ethics, and humanism, so if you had any information, they would be very welcome!)

The relationship between Marxism and Humanism is complex.

By humanism, I mean a system of reflection on man for which man is
the supreme good, is an aim and not an object or a tool and a political thought which seeks to ensure to Man the best conditions of

Marxism is an humanism. When i say that, I exclude Leninism such as it was practiced.

But Marxism wants to be a materialism. The Man ideologies are born from the material conditions of existence of different men.

Marxism is a realism. It is interested by the man as it exists in our world, in our society, not by an idea of man, an abstract concept of humanity, even if this concept is born from religion or other ideologies.

And Marxism is a tool to fight to free Man from capitalism and alienation.

For these reasons, Marxism is very far from others humanisms.


Ah? Why? Materialism is a value of secular humanism. Realism too. Freedom (the alienation thing) too.

Interesting discuss, especially since I never learned much about it, beyond knowing that there was such a thing as the Frankfurt School line of thinking, but was incapable of wading through all the gobbledegook of the highbrows, when I actually tried reading related articles. So, I don’t have much to add here. Never really looked into Marx either, I was more into learning by living, then endless reading.

But, I’ve considered myself a humanist because I rejected magical thinking and from what I read, Humanism deals with ourselves from a first person perspective, and not some god inspired projection, and it was concerned with our human condition more than maximizing profit and consumption. That was enough for me.

But, now I read this:

I absolutely reject this notion that “man is the supreme good” - that’s what my obvious irritation with the long tradition of Abrahamic thinking is all about, the arrogance of thinking we are the only good in the world and that the Earth and it’s resources were placed here for our enjoyment and in total disregard to anything else unfolding upon our Earth.

Makes me glad I took the time to enunciate quite a different self-centered kind of thinking - Earth Centrism, which appreciates we are evolved creatures, products of Earth’s processes and kin to all else upon this Earth. Appreciating the Human Mindscape ~ Physical Reality divide, and all that. So, why the heck can’t we treat all of that with some reverence, respect? You know, caring the way we do with our human kin.

Oh wait a minute, we haven’t even figured out that all of humanity is kin to us.

In any event, thanks for the clarification, I’ll be sure to be much more caution about considering, or calling, myself a “humanist.”

Other humanisms are not materialist ones but are idealist ones. That’s makes a big difference.

Marxism claims to be materialist.

To give an example, for a Marxist, ideas and ideologies are born from the economic and social conditions of men. The ideology of the ruling class is the dominant ideology. its function is to justify the economic and social system.

For example, feudal ideology, based on the idea of the three orders, nobility, clergy and third estate, aimed to explain and justify the feudal system.

What is interesting is that the vision of a world divided between those who fight, those who pray and those who work fits into the trifunctional hypothesis.

[Trifunctional hypothesis - Wikipedia]

I totally agree with you. May be my definition was imperfect. I meant by that that for a humanist, man is never an object or a mean, but always an aim. It is the supreme good as it come over any ideologies such as communism or fascism, or any totalitarianism who want to use man .

And that does not excludes the recognizing that we live on a finite planet, borrowed from those who will follow us.

Which are these humanisms?

Could you explain how this kind of rhetoric and argumentation differs from “appeal to motive” (procès d’intention), ad hominem argument, and conspiracy theory?

I don’t think business owners should be in control of the economy, gobbling up all/most of the profits for themselves, instead of sharing the wealth. Big Business, Big Pharma, etc decide how much they will pay their employees and they choose not to pay a living wage. This type of control is a new form of slavery, IMO, because they don’t pay a living wage. They know they have to pay us something though, because if they don’t people won’t work for them. Even so, back in the days of slavery, slaves got at least one set of clothing for the season, shoes (sometimes they went barefooted, if outgrown or worn out before the Massa gave them new), the leftovers the Massa’s family didn’t want, a shack for shelter (and if a tornado or something came, who cares about them), a vet for a doctor, and a small fireplace to cook and have some heat. Barely even basic needs. What people are paid now days, barely covers basic needs, thus it takes more than one person working in the home and maybe they break even.

Very true.

In France, land speculation has been so much allowed that many people don’t earn enough to pay for the rent of their flats, even if the building was built by a public office with public money.

That means public money is paid monthly to allow them to be housed.

6 millions of households, 13, 3 millions of persons are helped for more than 40 billions of euros each year.

In fact, speculators and business report on the tax payer the cost of housing.

The word should be in free-market economy theory because Capitalisn is being practiced, is ruining the economy and it needs to be restricted.

Have you noticed that there used to be a sliding scale taxation that over a certain limit the excess income gets taxed at a higher rate? Well, that has been replaced by the opposite, the more you make the less taxes you pay.
Note that

I t is called “unearned” income such as dividends and interest, income not from labor but from money itself and not producing anything at all.

Key Takeaways

  • Earned income is what you receive from working. It includes wages, salaries, and self-employment income.

Taxes on Earned Income vs. Unearned Income

Here’s what these two types of income include and how they’re taxed

  • Some tax breaks depend on you having at least some earned income. You can be disqualified from claiming them if you don’t.
  • Unearned income is that which you don’t have to work for. Think interest and dividends from investments, alimony, and capital gains.
  • Some unearned income is taxed at its own special rates that can be kinder than those applied to earned income.

Unearned income is all income that an individual receives from sources other than work or employment. This includes income from things like interest, stock dividends, child support, and alimony payments. Unearned income is sometimes also called passive income.Dec 30, 2022

It means income from “doing nothing”.

IOW, the working person who struggles to make ends meet, pays relatively more in taxes than the richest people who can afford to pay their fair share.

Artificially avoiding payment it is an unnatural way and has an unbalancing influence on the environment.