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Anti-Individualist Chords in the Romanian-Marxist Rhapsody Author(s): Juliana Geran Pilon Reviewed work(s): Source: Studies in Soviet Thought,

Vol. 19, No. 3 (Apr., 1979), pp. 233-238 Published by: Springer Stable URL: . Accessed: 11/03/2013 11:38
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at some semblance of pluralism within the Soviet from well recent take Romania's heart recalcitrance. sphere may To cite a well-known student of Romanian affairs, Stephen Fischer-Galati: of attempts Communist
until Certainly rooted in those the sixties the principles Marxism-Leninism. and of Romanian practices Ceausescu's [Since Nicolae of Stalinism in all forms the doctrine aspiration of fusion communism were

of Soviet

in 1965, however,] contribution thereto, nation as the total

repudiation through has evolved Ceausescu synthesis of the historic

to power coming . .. and the party's of party, state, and of Romania.1

of all inhabitants

While more

this new development indicates that Romanian socialism is becoming nationalistic and implicitly less Russian, there is still a question as to what brand of socialism we have here. Is this new philosophy more compati ble with our own, more sympathetic to the Western ideal of individual free dom than is its Soviet counterpart? A question for a philosopher, yet of no small interest to the general public. By way of preliminary search for an answer, I have chosen to examine one the few books of Romanian in the United philosophy published after 1944 that are States: Istoria Filozofiei Rom?nesti {The History of which appeared in 1972. The text consists of a collec


available Romanian

Philosophy) tion of essays written by contemporary Romanian philosophers; the author of each chapter is clearly identified.2 In order to locate some of the philoso phical underpinnings of Romanian socialism, I have embarked upon amodest yet possibly quite fruitful task: to take a look at some anti-anarchist argu


found in the Romanian Marxist tradition before 1944 as put forth in this text by the contemporary heirs of that tradition. The pre-1944 thinkers that I intend to discuss here are: Constantin Dobrogeanu-Gherea, Raicu

Ionescu-Rion, Stefan St?nca, and Panait Musoiu. The essay on Gherea was written by Radu Pantazi, the ones on Rion and St?nca by Florica Neagoe, and the essay on Musoiu is by Nicolae Gogoneaf?. Whether or not the essays reflect adequately the views of the philosophers discussed is a question that cannot be answered without should not affect the significance a detailed analysis of the primary sources, but it of the present study. For what I intend to 0039-3797/79/0193-0233
Holland, and Boston,

Studies in Soviet Thought 19 (1979) 233-238.

Copyright ? 1979 by D. Reidel Publishing


Co., Dordrecht,

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highlight is precisely the way modern Romanian philosophers understand their own background, how they present the ideas under consideration. What emerges from my reading is a repudiation of various arguments put forth by anarchist thinkers by presenting a defense of 'scientific socialism' as mani control as against 'idealistic' individualism. own opposition to anarchism in The State and Re Contrary section volution (Chapter IV, 2) which involved repudiating only a premature withering of the state, there is no mention of any such 'withering' in the pre 1944 Romanian Marxist tradition as put forth in Istoria Filozofiei Rom?nesti. fested in statism and economic to V. I. Lenin's The need for centralized, state economic control, and a distrust of a harmon ious state of nature ? la Rousseau - in the absence of collectivist planning ?
emerge as a result.

significant Romanian Marxist thinker of the nineteenth century was Constantin Dobrogeanu-Gherea who was born in Russia (1855?1920), but settled in Romania after 1875. His main works specifically directed at anarchism Deosebirea are Anarhia dintre cuget?rii {The Anarchy of Thought) of 1891 and socialism si anarhism {The Distinction between Socialism

The most

of 1901. Characterizing the common elements of anarchist and Anarchism) thought as 'metaphysical simplisticism' (common to such diverse figures as Max Stirner, Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, and Mikhail A. Bakunin) and likening it to Utopian socialism as opposed to his own scientific socialism (as did George V. Plekhanov Anarchy

in his Anarchism as follows:

social life into

and Socialism2),

Gherea writes

in The

of Thought


categories categories; and

that are without




other the seen factors

and close in all dis


of these by means relation that exists among its reciprocal complexities, appears.4

independent the social the



therefore, interrelation

in mind keeping social life is not of all social

then proceeds to attack specifically the ideas of Max Stirner and his reduction to the T. Stirner is criticized for having "sought to metaphysical ? indeed transform an illusion, a metaphysical into a entity, into a reality as of realities served which his of in the construction reality point departure Gherea of a new society".5 This Marxist philosophy which social factors. Gherea 'idealistic' conception is then contrasted with true is said to emphasize the dependence of the T upon attacks the philosophical basis of anarchism which is of thought and of research into

"subjective idealism, the metaphysical mode the phenomena of nature and society".6

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between Social In his other pamphlet against anarchism, The Distinction ism and Anarchism, Gherea again criticizes the anarchist emphasis on the individual. Anarchists are said to admit biological, physiological, and psychol ? which, according to Gherea, is tantamount ogical laws, but not social laws to idealism. Radu Pantazi paraphrases Gherea's argument:
From this idealistic and metaphysical there follows follow the contrasts the individual which to society, position the theory that personalities have a decisive role in etc. Gherea tactics of individual analyzes terrorism,

the former, absolutizing and there also history, step by idealist

and practical anarchist their unscientific, theories, step the theoretical unveiling His critique is of particular because it points out the character. importance is opposed of anarchism which to Marxist inconsistencies theoretical philosophy.7

insight into Gherea's antipathy to the philosophical emphasis on the individual as opposed to the group may be obtained from his arguments in Robia ?i socialismul {Slavery and Socialism) of 1884-1886, against Herbert a Plekhanov had called 'conservative Spencer (whom anarchist'8). P?ntazi Further writes:
Gherea socialism collective. historical but be on rises who, Spencer against means a future form of Dobrogeanu-Gherea not character, the economic-social will the liberty affirming slavery, the enslavement shows that liberty must of of be the the individual, individual asserts that


the against in a concrete

the master


of his no longer

Man depends not only on the natural environment abstractly. environment and he will be free only when he will be able to own work, can only be accomplished which in socialism, when be left to blind forces (emphasis added).9

It is difficult

to resist the inference

that Gherea believed

in scientific control

of the economy, that he unequivocally repudiated the laissez-faire dynamics that results from autonomous choices made by sovereign individuals (who may elect to cooperate, of course, but do so freely) as advocated by Spencer. As Gherea dismisses the theoretical concept of the sovereign individual for and idealistic, he implicitly tilts the argument toward another abstract being fundamental conception, that of the collective. Gherea is evidently not pre

individual choice, pared to allow for 'blind forces' as the result of uncontrolled at least not in the socio-economic same the In vein, in 1883 Gherea sphere. had attacked Romanian Prime-minister I. C. Br?tianu's defense of the theory of private property and his belief that only people who have adopted such a ? "based on the individualist principle"10 ? have prospered. It is theory absurd to claim, says Gherea, that two isolated factors (the individualistic theory of private property, on the one hand, and economic prosperity, on

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the other) are causally related; Br?tianu's argument is thus irrelevant, and his individualistic theory of private property is by no means demonstrated.11 It can be concluded only that Gherea saw the concept of scientific socialism as implicitly rejecting the theory of private property and economic dynamics and, more importantly, the individualism that such a Radu Pantazi, having put forth Gherea's arguments, theory presupposes. then goes on to commend Gherea on these matters and supports him on all left to 'blind forces' against the 'retrograde anarchist ideology' and its meta basis.12 physical Another Romanian Marxist Ionescu-Rion philosopher, Raicu (1872? to Florica Neagoe, Rion 1895), also argues against anarchism. According writes that Hegel's philosophy socialism but also, in her words,
of subjectivism,

of his conclusions




the seeds of scientific

the possibilities The anarchism. torical necessity

young Hegelians in the direction

which developed by some young Hegelians, produced and anarchists of his depart from the Hegelian principle of an exaggeration of the role of individual conscience.

"From the great, all-encompassing role of the individual anarchism had to emerge by logical necessity". (The pas sage is from Sociolog?a burgheza fata cu teor?a luptei de clasa {Bourgeois vs. the Theory of Class Action), Sociology published in the period 1891? in social evolution 1893.)14 Neagoe concludes her discussion by congratulating Rion for "having played a major role as one of the first Romanian Marxists who, by populariz ing Marxist political economy and historical materialism, tacked sociological idealisms".15 has vigorously at

To cite Rion himself:

The other pre-'liberation' Marxists are mentioned briefly in Istoria Filozo Stefan St?nca (1865-1897) and Panait Musoiu (1864-1944). fiei Rom?nesti: The editorial remarks regarding these two thinkers are interesting indeed, providing another glimpse of the contemporary Romanian attitude against individualism. Regarding Mu?oiu's position on anarchism, we have apparently only his response of 1929 to a journalist: "I have not disregarded works labeled as 'anarchistic'. ... I have studied anarchism in detail, but it did not at the time shake my previous beliefs, any more than it does so today".16 Even though such a statement is hardly a concession to anarchism, the philos opher Nicolae Gogoneat? feels compelled to add: "Musoiu could be reproach ed for the fact that, having translated and edited the works of anarchist theoreticians, he did not criticize anarchist conceptions but considered them

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'nuances' of 'integral socialism' as he conceived of it".17 In a similar vein, Stefan St?nca is criticized by Neagoe on the grounds that he 'oversimplifies'. St?nca, according to her, "in criticizing capitalism, idealizes the primitive
commune and maintains that insofar as there was no hostile social environ

ment, primitive man was happier than civilized man".18 Thus anarchism could be seen to favor a social arrangement such as a commune whose deci of the individual members; Stinc?'s ideal as could be understood favoring such an arrangement. Yet this form of anar chist ideal appears to be incompatible with a socialist ideal where nothing is left to blind (read: uncontrolled) economic forces - a commune ? la Rousseau will not do. What emerges, then, from this necessarily brief analysis of some precursors of contemporary Romanian Marxism is a repudiation of anarchism on the idealistic emphasis on grounds, specifically, that it rests upon ametaphysical, the sanctity of individual choice. When such repudiation is not explicit, as in the case of Mu?oiu, or when implicitly there is no such repudiation, as in the case of St?nca, there is immediate editorial reprimand. Both Rion and Gherea, on the other hand, are commended for correctly opposing anarchism, that is, for correctly rejecting its basic concept of the primacy of the self and the autonomy of personal choice while embracing, instead, the ideals of controlled scientific socialism. A deeper analysis of this issue would have to involve a closer look at these various thinkers, most of whose original works do not in the United States at the present time. An important a to such moreover, would deal with contemporary anti-anar study, sequel chist Romanian Marxist thought and its anti-individualist underpinnings as adumbrated in the editorial comments cited in connection with pre-1944 Marxism. Whether either of these studies will be undertaken part on the willingness of Romanian authorities to allow it. Emory University depends in large seem to be available sions are based on the consensus



Twentieth Columbia Fischer-Galati, Stephen Century Rumania, University Press, New York and London, 1970, pp. 220-221. 2 Istoria Filozofiei ed. by Nicolae (ed. in chief), Radu Pantazi, Gogoneat? Rom?ne?ti, Simion Ghita, Petru Vaida, Radu Tomoiag?, Gh. Epure, Vasile Vetisanu, Elena Gheran I. S. Firu, AI. Dutu, Ion Lungu, Florica Neagoe, Carol G?llner, Editura Academiei Mewes, 1

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I. Socialiste Bucuresti, Romania, 1972, Vol. Republicii 3 Charles Anarchism and Socialism, Plechanoff, George 1908. In the text I use standard spelling of his name. 4 Istoria, p. 595. 5 Loc. cit. 6 Istoria, p. 596. 7 Istoria, pp. 596-7. 8 Plechanoff, p. 143. 9 Istoria, p. 593. 10 Loc. cit. 11 Istoria, p. 594. 12 Loc. cit. 13 Istoria, p. 615. 14 Loc. cit. 15 Istoria, p. 616. 16 Mono, p. 630. 17 Loc. cit. 18 Istoria, p. 623.

H. Kerr

and Company,


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