For Marx took to heart two bitter critiques of communism that had become prominent in Europe. One was by the French mutualist anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, who denounced communism as "oppression and slavery," and to whom Marx explicitly referred in his essay. The other was a fascinating book by the conservative Hegelian monarchist Lorenz von Stein (1815–1890), who had been assigned by the Prussian government in 1840 to
Most remarkably, Marx admittedly agreed with Proudhon's, and particularly Stein's, portrayal of the first stage of the postrevolutionary society, which he agreed with Stein to call "raw communism." Stein forecast that raw communism would be an attempt to enforce egalitarianism by wildly and ferociously expropriating and destroying property, confiscating it, and coercively communizing women as well as material wealth. Indeed, Marx's evaluation of raw communism, the stage of the dictatorship of the proletariat, was even more negative than Stein's:
In the same way as woman is to abandon marriage for general [i.e. universal] prostitution, so the whole world of wealth, that is, the objective being of man, is to abandon the relation of exclusive marriage with the private property owner for the relation of general prostitution with the community.Not only that, but as Professor Tucker puts it, Marx concedes that
raw communism is not the real transcendence of private property but only the universalizing of it, not the overcoming of greed but only the generalizing of it, and not the abolition of labour but only its extension to all men. It is merely a new form in which the vileness of private property comes to the surface.In short, in the stage of communalization of private property, what Marx himself considers the worst features of private property will be maximized. Not only that, but Marx concedes the truth of the charge of anticommunists then and now that communism and communization is but the expression in Marx's words, of "envy and a desire to reduce all to a common level." Far from leading to a flowering of human personality as Marx is supposed to claim, he admits that communism will negate it totally. Thus Marx:
In completely negating the personality of men, this type of communism is really nothing but the logical expression of private property. General envy, constituting itself as power, is the disguise in which greed re-establishes itself and satisfies itself, only in another way … In the approach to woman as the spoil and handmaid of communal lust is pressed the infinite degradation in which man exists for himself.All in all, Marx's portrayal of raw communism is very like the monstrous regimes imposed by the coercive Anabaptists of the sixteenth century.
Professor Tucker adds, perhaps underlining the obvious, that "these vivid indications from the Paris manuscripts of the way in which Marx envisaged and evaluated the immediate postrevolutionary period very probably explain the extreme reticence that he always later showed on this topic in his published writings."
To say the least, Marx cannot and does not attempt to explain how a system of total greed becomes transformed into total greedlessness. He leaves it all to the wizardry of the dialectic, now a dialectic fatally shorn of the alleged motor of the class struggle, which yet somehow transforms the monstrosity of raw communism into the paradise of communism's "higher stage."