By John P. Gerber

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Additional info for Anton Pannekoek and the Socialism of Workers’ Self Emancipation, 1873-1960

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In a broader historical sense, it was not the ideas of Marx per se that had the greater significance, but the fact that these ideas represented the first systematic formulation of the ideology of a rising revolutionary working class movement. His theories sprang from the PANNEKOEK'S METHODOLOGY 25 recognition o f an actually existing social movement opposed t o the prevail­ ing conditions, and they were expected to help this movement realize its own potentialities . The theoretical and philosophical formulation of ideas was, from this standpoint, not the basis of, but just the transitory ideological form of the revolutionary class struggle.

In strictly social terms, Hegel 's thoug h t was the product of the reaction against both bourgeois society and bourgeois philosophy that developed after the French Revolution. Histor­ ically, Hegel 's attempt to develop a practical critique of bourgeois philoso­ phy as but one part of a larger intellectual effort to provide a theoretical j ustification of the Restoration. Stripped of its social origins and transcen­ dental character, the real significance of Hegelian philosophy lay in the fact that it provided an excellent theory of the human mind and its working methods: 'The vicissitudes of the absol u te spirit in the course of its self­ development are but a fantastical description of the process which the real 18 PANNEKOEK'S METHODOLOGY human mind experiences i n its acquaintance with the world and its active participation in life.

The spiritual sciences differ from the natural sciences not so much in their obj ect as well as in their method, their notion of science. While the purpose of the natural sciences is to formulate, by way of abstraction from reality, a system of laws and formulas, in which the universal is ex­ pressed, the purpose of spiritual science is to describe a given series of real­ ities in such a way, that the particularity and individuality of each reality is adequately expressed. '4° For Pannekoek, there were no doubts that Marxism was a science, but a science founded on the new theoretical object of social practice.

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Anton Pannekoek and the Socialism of Workers’ Self by John P. Gerber
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