By John P. Gerber
Publication by means of Gerber, John P.
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Additional resources for Anton Pannekoek and the Socialism of Workers’ Self Emancipation, 1873-1960
1 Through his study of Dietzgen, Pannekoek developed the key philosophical and scientific concepts upon which he built his Marxism, and which he retained with only slight revision and reformation throughout the different phases of his political career. Like Pannekoek, J oseph Dietzgen (1 828-1 888) has remained a largely ne glected theorist, who was once widely known and respected. A tanner and autodidact with little more than an elementary school education, Dietzgen had been active in the socialist movement in both Europe a nd the United States.
These new truths then become a powerful weapon in the struggle against the rulers of the declining social order, who have neither interest in, nor understanding of, the new doctrines and perceive them only as a threat [ . . ]. So it was with the natural science that accompanied the rise of the bourgeoisie; so too is it with political economy, which is a science of the proletariat. '29 Pannekoek treated it as axiomati c that the emergence of new forms of scientific consciousness entailed an intense process of 'spiritual struggle' in which new views are both counterposed to the old views and at the same time evolve out of them.
41 In the same vein, Pannekoek insisted that Marxism could never be con sidered a theory of physical materialism. What distinguished physical mate rialism (or what Pannekoek chose to call 'bourgeois materialism') from his torical materialism, he maintained, was its conceptual focus . For historical materialism, matter was essentially 'an abstraction, a concept by the spirit out of phenomena which our sensations construct' . 42 From a methodologi cal standpoint, this meant that: ' Historical materialism sees the results of science, concepts, substances, natural laws and forces, although formed b y nature, as first o f all the products of the mental work of humanity.
Anton Pannekoek and the Socialism of Workers’ Self Emancipation, 1873-1960 by John P. Gerber