On Marxism

To Be a Marxian

Before he died, Karl Marx
told one of his friends,
“I have lived long enough to
be able to say
that I am not a Marxian.”
To be a Marxian, according to
the logic of Das Kapital,
is to maintain that the best thing to do
is to wait patiently till capitalism
has fulfilled its historic mission.
To be a Marxian, according to
the logic of Das Kapital,
is to step back, take an
academic view of things
and watch the self-satisfied capitalists
dig their own graves.
To be a Marxian, according to
the logic of Das Kapital,
is to have faith in the forces of
forces so powerful, according
to materialists,
that they will bring the millennium
whether man wants it or not.
To be a Marxian, according to
the logic of Das Kapital,
is to let economic evolution do its work
without ever attempting to give it a push.

What Karl Marx Realized

Karl Marx soon realized
that his own analysis of bourgeois society
could not be the basis
of a dynamic revolutionary movement.
Karl Marx soon realized
that a forceful Communist Manifesto
was the necessary foundation
of a dynamic Communist Movement.
Karl Marx soon realized.
as Lenin realized,
that there is no revolution
without revolutionary action,
that there is no revolutionary action
without a revolutionary movement.
that there is no revolutionary movement
without a vanguard of revolution,
and that there is no vanguard
of revolution
without a theory of revolution.

The Communist Manifesto

Having realized that a
Communist Manifesto
was the basis of a Communist Movement,
Karl Marx decided to write
a Communist Manifesto.
To write the Communist Manifesto
Karl Marx did not use his
analysis of capitalism.
He took the definition of
Communism of Proudhon
and made it his own.
He borrowed Utopian
criticism and Utopian aims
and decided to advocate class-struggle,
that is to say, materialist aims.
As some people used to think
that we need a good honest war
to end all wars,
Karl Marx used to think
that we need a gigantic class-struggle
to bring about a classless society.

For Catholic Action

We Catholics have a better criticism
of bourgeois society
than Victor Considerant’s criticism.
used by Karl Marx.
Our criticism of bourgeois society
is the criticism of St. Thomas More.
We Catholics have a better
conception of Communism
than the conception of Proudhon.
Our conception of Communism
is the conception of St. Thomas Aquinas
in his doctrine of the “Common Good.”
We Catholics have better means
than the means proposed by Karl Marx.
Our means to realize the “Common Good”
are embodied in Catholic Action.
Catholic Action is action by Catholics
for Catholics and non-Catholics.
We don’t want to take over the control
of political and economic life.
We want to reconstruct the social order
through Catholic Action
exercised in Catholic

The Bishops’ Program

Shortly after the war
Bishops of America
formulated a Program of
Social Reconstruction
largely based on co-operation.
But the Bishops’ Program
failed to materialize
for lack of co-operators.
Catholic laymen and women
were more interested
in a laissez-faire economy.
So Catholic laymen and women
went back to Normalcy with Harding;
they tried to Keep Cool with Coolidge,
and then to See Rosy with Roosevelt.
Catholic laymen and women
are more interested
in political action
than they are interested
in Catholic Action.
Catholic laymen and women
are more ready to follow
the leadership of the politicians
than they are ready to follow
the leadership of the Bishops.

Reconstructing the Social Order

The Holy Father and the Bishops ask us
to reconstruct the social order.
The social order was once constructed
through dynamic Catholic Action.
When the barbarians invaded
the decaying Roman Empire
Irish missionaries went all over Europe
and laid the foundations of medieval Europe.
Through the establishment of
cultural centers,
that is to say, Round-Table Discussions,
they brought thought to the people.
Through free guest houses,
that is to say, Houses of Hospitality,
they popularized the divine
virtue of charity.
Through farming colonies,
that is to say, Agronomic Universities,
they emphasized voluntary poverty.
It was on the basis of personal charity
and voluntary poverty
that Irish missionaries
laid the foundations
of the social order.