2017年7月15日 星期六

( Friedrich) Engels By David McLellan 恩格斯傳; 烏克蘭的恩格斯雕像,胡不魂歸曼徹斯特。

David McLellan 1977恩格斯傳 北京:中國人民大學,2017

Friedrich Engels was a German philosopher, social scientist, journalist, and businessman. He founded Marxist theory together with Karl Marx. Wikipedia
BornNovember 28, 1820, Barmen, Germany
DiedAugust 5, 1895, London, United Kingdom
The state is nothing but an instrument of opression of one class by another - no less so in a democratic republic than in a monarchy.
All history has been a history of class struggles between dominated classes at various stages of social development.
An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.


Back on his pedestal: the return of Friedrich Engels A socialist resurgence has revived the radicalism of the German Marxist thinker. Now the artist Phil Collins is bringing his statue back to the British city he called home Share on Twitter (opens new window) Share on Facebook (opens new window) Share on LinkedIn (opens new window) 6 Save 15 HOURS AGO by: John Lloyd The artist Phil Collins wanted to bring Friedrich Engels back to Manchester where, in the mid-19th century, he had lived for two decades. The German Marxist thinker established the first great industrial city in the annals of communist history with his excoriating 1845 polemic The Condition of the Working Class in England. But in the 171 years since his death, Manchester forgot about him. Collins told me his search for Engels was a “dream”. And it came true: he found him lying face down in the earth, long neglected, behind a creamery in Mala Pereshchepina, a few hours from the north-eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. He was a man of two halves, sawn through at the waist, mouldy, unlovely, cast in concrete. His sorry condition told a wider story. After the Soviet Union emerged from the terror-driven idealism of the Stalinist era, party leader Leonid Brezhnev sought to hold up the USSR as a “developed” socialist state. Other gods were put into place: Lenin statuary was displayed everywhere, as were busts of Karl Marx and, less frequently, his friend and funder Engels. All gazed purposefully into the future. This one had been erected in 1970 and stood stonily in the village for several decades, a gentleman of the Victorian era in frock coat and long beard. Phil Collins in Zaporizhia, Ukraine with a statue of Vladimir Lenin that he was ultimately unable to bring back to the UK © Nikiforov Yevgen The collapse of Soviet communism two decades later saw many come off their pedestals — a culling that was more or less total in the satellite states. Some remained in the Russified areas of eastern Ukraine; but in 2015, as the conflict between Russia and Ukraine continued, an increasingly anti-Russian government decreed that Soviet symbols must be removed, pro-Soviet speech banned and even the singing of Soviet-era songs forbidden. So Collins, previously nominated for the Turner Prize for a video about people whose lives had been ruined by appearing on reality TV, came upon the object of his search when it was at a literal low point in its concrete existence. He and two Russian-speaking aides, Anya Harrison and Olga Borissova, had begun their search in August last year, sensibly enough, in the city of Engels, on the Volga. There they found a statue, also concrete, still standing amid the ruin of the meatpacking plant that had commissioned it. But the local authority, at first helpful, later proved fearful of giving the icon to foreigners at a time of east-west tension. It referred the decision to a court: a decision is still pending. With time running against them, the searchers moved on to the Belarusian city of Vitebsk, where they found a triptych statue — an Asian woman, an African man, with a white young man between them, embracing both, expressing the theme of brotherhood (and less overtly, Soviet leadership). Collins was tempted but it, too, was denied a visa. Collins with a statue of Engels that did not come back to the UK © Nikiforov Yevgen Finally they came to Mala Pereshchepina, where the local authorities were only too glad to get rid of what was by now a legally toxic artefact. In mid-May this year, the two-tonne, near-four-metre-high cement behemoth was loaded on to a flatbed truck to be trundled across Europe, to the city of Engels’ epiphany. This Sunday evening, when it is unveiled outside Home, a big modern arts building in Manchester largely funded by the city council, Collins’ quest will finally be at an end. The artist’s timing is impeccable. June’s UK general election saw a surge of support for the Labour party led by the far-left Jeremy Corbyn. Like Bernie Sanders in last year’s US Democratic primaries, this ageing socialist appealed first of all to the young. Marxism, which had been read the last rites by many, has found new life, reuniting its long-lonely intellectuals and academic advocates with the masses. The French economist Thomas Piketty’s 2013 book Capital in the Twenty-First Century, a self-conscious echo of Marx, was a huge seller. Commentators on the left are making connections between what Engels wrote and contemporary society. Writing in the Guardian after the fire at the Grenfell Tower block of flats in London, Aditya Chakrabortty explicitly linked the tragedy with The Condition of the Working Class, stating Britain “remains a country that murders its poor”. In such narratives, modern despair and marginalisation are laid at the feet of capitalism. The brutality of regimes working under Marxist rules — dramatised this week by the death of China’s most prominent dissident Liu Xiaobo, a few days after his release from long imprisonment — fades to the background. Collins believes that Engels is a writer “with whom we can engage today, with the questions he raises. He isn’t to be confined to his time and forgotten.” Engels’ writing shocked the Victorians. In The Condition of the Working Class he stressed that Britain’s wealth and imperial power (which impressed him), was built on the degradation and endless labour of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children, living in “half or wholly ruined buildings . . . rarely a wooden or stone floor to be seen in the houses, almost uniformly broken, ill-fitting windows and doors, and a state of filth!” Karl Marx, whom Engels had known slightly before he left Germany, was said to have been bewitched by the book. A villager in Mala Pereshchepina, Ukraine, with the statue of Engels that eventually came to Manchester © Shady Lane Productions The brutal world Engels described became a backdrop to some of the era’s best-known literature. The future prime minister, Benjamin Disraeli, published Sybil in 1845; Charles Dickens brought out Hard Times in 1854 and Mrs Gaskell North and South in 1855. All expressed horror at the human cost of industrialism, though with much more sentimentality and much less detail. Even now, when — for all the excesses of capitalism — the stark exploitation Engels evoked has disappeared in the western world, The Condition of the Working Class is an uncomfortable read. The homelessness of the rising generation; the precariousness of freelance work; the feared mass unemployment once artificial replaces human intelligence; the long, spiky tail of the banking collapse of 2008; the end of the postwar expectation that children will ascend further and richer than their parents — these are plausibly presented by the left as a 21st-century equivalent of the Condition of the Working, and even Middle Class of England, and the rest of the capitalist world. Looking out from Home’s café on to the space where Engels will finally rest — and remain — Sarah Perks, the centre’s artistic director for visual arts, tells me that discussion points will be created around the statue’s base to encourage viewers to become participants: “We want to try to understand what the equivalent hardships to those described by Engels would be for today’s working class.” *** Collins intersects with Engels in two ways. Born in the Cheshire port of Runcorn, he works mainly in Manchester. He also has a home in the North Rhine-Westphalia city of Wuppertal, where Engels was born to a pious and wealthy manufacturing family, mainly in the dyestuffs trade (he was already a fledgling socialist when sent by his despairing father to Manchester to work at one of his part-owned subsidiaries in the city). Moving the statue © Shady Lane Productions More than most contemporary artists on the left, Collins shows a strong sympathy for the communist era: one of his films, Marxism Today, is composed of tender interviews with former teachers of Marxism-Leninism in East Germany who were rendered unemployable by its collapse. “When the wall fell, there was also a collapse of something which had been solidarity, co-operative working: individualism flourished,” he says. First and foremost, though, he is engaged in an ironic, post-modernist project. He has taken an icon rejected by a recently socialist state as a sign of imperialist oppression to give it an honoured place in Manchester, the birthplace of industrial capitalism and of free trade. He sees Manchester as a city imbued with a kind of generic leftism: “There’s a Mancunian spirit of radicalism, an interest in politics and what it can do for people if properly managed.” He is most interested in “those who have been occluded from society or history” as Engels was in Manchester, where there is no statue to commemorate him. He thought it necessary to place him back in the city which he had described so graphically, to provide a contrast to the statues of local figures, some of whom — like Richard Cobden and John Bright, the proponents of free trade — were major national figures. On the long trip back from Ukraine to Manchester, he found that the huge, grubby, sundered statue “became a revelation: I felt more connected with him, he became suddenly real. It’s very alive — its physiognomy changed, depending on how it was placed, on the ground, or on the truck, or in the old train depot (its temporary home in Manchester).” The trip, which Collins filmed, featured a number of organised setpieces. In Kharkiv, a reception was arranged. “There were schoolchildren, and a teacher gave a lesson about Marx and Engels, Manchester and its importance, the Soviet Union, and the process of de-communisation. Then a girls’ choir, all in white, stood up on the truck and sang a Soviet-era song called ‘The Jolly Wind’ (presumably in defiance of the law), as they waved goodbye.” A choir of schoolchildren in Kharkiv, where a reception was arranged for the statue © Shady Lane Productions At Rosa Luxemburg Platz in Berlin (named after the communist activist murdered in the city in 1919) actors and others — many from the Volksbühne, or People’s Theatre — put on a show. There were speeches by academics belonging to the “accelerationist” school — a protean thought system with left and right branches, whose basis is the desire to speed up technological change to accelerate social transformation. The trip and the project display the artist’s ability to draw in myriad influences and strands, from kitsch through social realism and Soviet sentimentality for the loss of an authoritarianism they had experienced as security. Collins believes that, in the collapse of communism, “Something had been lost. The usual prism through which we saw, say, the East German society, was so strong that we didn’t see the ordinary; it frustrated our ability to see the day-to-day life.” He believes his Engels project “points to the fact we can have different kinds of statues here. It’s a found object, not something specially made. It’s transformative. It’s one kind of history coming back into the forge that created it.” *** The indifference of Manchester to Engels was noted by the former Labour MP Tristram Hunt in his fine biography, The Frock-Coated Communist. He found an Engels House on a council estate, where the residents complain of damp. In 2014, when the university in neighbouring Salford had the Engine Arts Theatre Company build a five-metre-high fibreglass Engels bust in which his vast beard was a climbing frame, one reviewer described it “as having all the intelligence and subtlety of making a see-saw shaped like Marx’s bum boils”. Things are changing, according to Jonathan Schofield, who writes about the city and conducts tours. Schofield thinks Manchester, along with other Midlands and northern cities, is shaking off its subaltern deference to London. “The provincial cities in the 19th century were more important than London. Now you’re finding a reawakening of civic pride: coming into their own again,” he says. He does a Marx and Engels tour that takes in Chetham’s Library, the oldest free library in the UK, opened in the mid-17th century through the bequest of Humphrey Chetham, a local merchant. “It’s the only building left where Engels definitely was. He worked with Marx at a table, still there, with the books they both used. When I take Chinese visitors to see it, some of them cry.” Vinnie Gavin (right) and his son Scott Gavin of 'Stone Central' work on restoring the statue of Friedrich Engels in Manchester in July © Greg Funnell For all the mass murders committed in their name, Marx and Engels continue to loom large today, not just in the consciousness of lachrymose visitors from China — where they remain on their pedestals. Their ideas are being revived beyond the lecture room. They represent a way not taken, a revolution betrayed. And on Sunday evening, Manchester’s first communist will be unveiled on a capitalist pedestal at last. John Lloyd is an FT contributing editor Photographs: Greg Funnell; Yevgen Nikiforov