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"The Forerunners of Modern Socialism"

by Karl Kautsky Select passages from Vorlufer Des Neueren Sozialismus by David Hindley 2012

2 vols, 1895-7 [2nd ed. 1909, but this isn't it] Google Translated from the OCR PDF file located at http://www.archive.org/details/vorlauferneuerv1pt1kaut and further edited by David C. Hindley, 2012.

First volume, first part Section One Platonic and early Christian communism Chapter Two: The early Christian communism I. The roots of the early Christian communism
We have already said that the development which we have described in the entrance of the previous chapter, and confirmed by the example of Athens, the fate of every nation and state has been in antiquity. Even the world-dominating Rome was not spared. It was already far advanced in his mind's decline, when it arrived at the height of its external power. His empire, which included all the countries around the Mediterranean, formed a mixture of states, all walked the same path, the one located in the east and south of the Mediterranean, were ahead in Rome, the others were in the west and north, behind him retarded, but they were eager to reach the same height as the capital and go with her to where Greece and the countries of the Orient were already: the complete social disintegration. We have seen how the people of Athens freedom deteriorated and the republic was ripe for the transition to autocracy. The same thing happened in other democracies, as well as in Rome. At the same time, in which one is the birth of Christ, are the death throes of the Roman Republic and the beginnings of Caesarism. The aristocracy and democracy were at that time bankrupt in the same way. The core of the people, the free peasantry was stunted in the Roman empire, in many places completely disappeared, size and fame of the state arose from the ruin of the farmers. The eternal war, led by peasant militia armies took it as meaning that the husbandry of the farmers degenerated, however, the husbandry of the larger landowners, with the sheep ended with slavery, did not suffer. On the contrary, the war provided him with just incredibly cheap slave material. No wonder that the slave economy quickly took the upper hand and drove the husbandry of the free peasants. Like snow before the sun, the free, bold peasantry was melting away, they partly crippled, for the most part but they sank into the proletariat, ie the rag poor proletariat, as a wage labor, they would have to turn to was not at that time significantly. In industry as in agriculture there was slave labor. The landless peasants crowded into the large city, where they formed together with freed slaves, the lowest stratum of the population. But as long as there was still a democratic republic, which meant mass poverty not the mass misery. The masses had, if nothing else then at least the political power, and they knew that to live well, they take advantage of the varied forms of creation of the rich and the tributary subject areas. Not just bread and circuses gave them their political power, but sometimes also the granting of means of production, of landed property. By the last centuries of the Roman Republic to move continuously through the attempts by distribution of farm goods to a new proletarian peasantry to establish. Yet all these attempts to turn back the wheel of economic development were in vain. They failed at the political and economic supremacy of the landowner, which prevented the completion of these experiments, where they were and what, where it still managed to establish free farmers, they quickly crushed and bought from. They failed but also on the depravity of the rag poor proletariat, which would work frequently

and no longer preferred to amuse themselves in the city, instead of leading the country to the poor, labor and sorrowful existence of a small farmer. The proletarians prevented many social reforms that were intended for their benefit, in that they allocate its assets without further formalities once squandered, they prevented but also often by the fact that they sold their political power of the wealthy landowners, and they turned against the social reformer . The grandest of these attempts at social reform were led and guided by the two Gracchi, Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus (born 163, killed by his aristocratic opponents 133 BCE) and the resolute and Gaius Gracchus further (b. 153), of the work his older brother continued, but as these succumbed to the fury of the latifundia (121). Has been called the two Gracchi Communists that they were not in any way. What they aspired to, was not an abolition of private property, but the creation of new owners, the restoration of a strong peasantry, the most solid foundation of private property. They traded it in line with the economic conditions of their time. Well then repressed not only the large landowners to small landowners, but also many of the major operating the small business. But this was not the result of the technical and economic superiority of the former, but the consequence of the enormous cheapness of its labor force, the slaves. The eternal war brought many war prisoners as slaves to the market. Many a war of the Romans was caused merely by the need of the landlord to approve of slavery, the slave-hunting pure. Enormous masses of slaves came together, no wonder that their prices were down tremendously. Even in Athens, slavery had resulted in a similar situation improved dramatically. It was one of those countries by the year 300 BC In addition to 21,000 citizens there were 400,000 slaves. Aeschines of it is told as a sign of special poverty, that he only owned seven slaves. In the Roman empire, the slave was still worse mischief. The Roman general Lucullus sold (in the second half of the first century before our era) POWs, the piece to three marks (calculated in our money), as slaves. Now it was profitable to buy large herds of slaves together - rich Romans had thousands of slaves - to put together and to work. In place of small farms were erected large plantations and how to put it, factories. This term for the large industrial enterprises of the Greeks and Romans, however, is inaccurate. Because she wore a very different character than the modern factories and factories, they were not as superior to these small businesses. The major industrial operation with slave labor cannot be compared with factories, but most, if you will use to compare a modern phenomenon, with the prison labor. No one will argue that this is the free trade to a higher mode of production. The slave labor was, especially in the agriculture, as crude and uneconomical as possible [1], the individual slave in these large firms contributed much less than a free laborer in a small business. If the slave is still operating in the united cheaper produced so only because he himself almost cost nothing, and to be due to the cheapness and massiveness of the slaves material not protected and fed and clothed adequately needed. Let them perish, they found plenty of others in their place. 1) Marx noted in his capital in a note on the slave labor: "The laborer is here (in slavery), the felicitous expression of the old just as instrumentum vocal (voice or voice gifted tool) from the animal as instrumentum semi-vocal (almost spoke gifted tool) and the dead work stuff as instrumentum mutum (dumb tool ) differ. He can work and stuff animals to feel that he is unequaled, but a human. It gives the sense of self of its difference from them by making them mistreated and con amore devastated. It is therefore considered the economic principle of this mode of production, only the crudest, most ponderous, but precisely because of their clumsiness unwieldy to ruinous work hard to use tools. " K. Marx, Capital, I, 2 Ed, p 185)

Compare this with the following version, which we in Sismondi's Etudes sur l'conomie politique have found (Paris 1837). He gives as an extended excerpt from a work by Ch Comte on slavery, and says among other things: "The slaves to our days are incapable requires for each labor, the intelligence, taste, carefulness. It is probably, that the beautiful works household methods of the Roman antiquity from people that had already reached their industrial Dexterity as Free and the had only made of the war into slaves. For as soon as the Romans had once subjugated about every industrial Nations, so that they only still were able make among the barbarians slaves, the arts and all kinds of the industry degenerated uncommonly rapidly and they themselves fell into disrepair in barbarism. "But the slavery corrupts not merely the oppressed go, but also the the open, because she breeds those contempt of the industrial labor, which back is urging the employment of the poorer outdoors with industry always more. of the condition of the proletarians of the Roman Republic, which were back kept of any work likely to partly through the contempt of the labor, and partly through the competition of the slaves, is a remarkable and shocking example of the Degradation and of misery, into the overthrows the slavery that portion of the people that neither the masters nor the servants of one." (I, pp. 382-393)

We see that the displacement of small business by the big business in the Roman Empire was based on very different terms than today's similar appearance. The preconditions for a higher mode of production, as the small business (in agriculture and also in the work place) means a cooperative production, were not given. If so, the Gracchi, representing the interests of the proletariat was nothing less than communist, it fully corresponded to the economic conditions, they found. What is true of the Gracchi, can also Catiline be said (b. 108 BC), the leader of a conspiracy against the Roman landowners regime, who, after all other attempts by his party to seize political power had failed, with its enjoyed was driven to violent collection and superiority of his opponents died in battle most heroic (62 BC). He, too, have been branded as communists - Mommsen to the "Anarchist" - but without any permission. Just as with the Gracchi it was in Catiline to the abolition of private property, and the introduction of a communist society. He aspired to the conquest of political power by the have-nots to the haves to make them. Another direction was thinking of the workers and their friends, as the political life died out, as the havenots had degenerated morally and politically as well as the haves, the democracy was equally unfounded as the aristocracy and the land cleared was there for occurrence of an autocrat, an emperor, a mercenary army of the lord and the beginnings of a bureaucracy. With the political power ebbed, the most important and almost the only source of income of the ancient proletariat. Being poor was now also be miserable. The dispossession of the masses developed in Roman society atrocious conditions that had been formerly unknown. Pauperism, the mass poverty and mass misery was now the most important social question, a question that more and more urgent steal their solution, because the social development went its course, the middle classes fell more and more, the rich were getting richer, the number of have-nots grew . This was not the only social issue that moved the society of the Roman Empire. The decay of the free peasantry that led to Tsarist-like absolutism, was the forerunner of the economic decay of the whole society.

Even before the Roman society had abdicated politically, militarily, they had resigned. With the farmers of the militia army soldiers were gone. Instead of that came a mercenary army, the strongest support of despotism. But this army, had an irresistible inward, sometimes hard to resist the external enemy, especially the Germans, who always tended to be powerful, however, the Roman military system fell into disrepair. This brings about very important economic consequences. The wars of conquest were rare, and the eternal war that raged on the borders, turned out into a pure defensive war, which brought more losses of warriors, as he delivered to prisoners of war. The supply of slaves was gradually getting scarcer. With the cessation of the plentiful supply of slaves, but broke the basis of the then major operation, especially in the agriculture together. Slavery itself did not stop completely, but they became more and more luxury mere slavery. This did not mean a return to a free peasantry, and a free craft. The industry remained the largest part in the hands of slaves. The reduction in supply of slaves led to the emergence of a rare free, powerful craft, but mostly to the decline and fall of the industry. Not much better it was in agriculture. The free peasants had been crippled by the slave economy and slain, and where once they were gone the Roman Empire, since farm husbandry could not take root again. For although the large company was less profitable, the large estates was, yes, he also extended even more, because the extortions of the Imperial officers and the devastation that brought particularly unfortunate wars over many landscapes, he was able to resist better than the smaller landowners. But the major operation he could finally no longer keep up. The same was in decline, and beside him was developed the system, the large estates throughout to parcel out or in part, and the tiny little property to certain goods and services to lease, to so-called tenant farmers, which is especially in the later centuries of the empire so closely to bind to the soil as possible was looking for - the predecessor of the medieval serfs. The cause of this bondage was the rapid reduction of manpower in the Empire. Apart from a few rich and a comparatively small number of free and independent workers in the vestigial remnants of peasant agriculture and handicrafts, the bulk of the population were slaves, and rag poor [offscourings]. Without parent family relationships usually living in the most miserable conditions, neither the one nor the other able to even partially achieve a sufficient offspring. The many unhappy wars have increased the deficit in humans. The population declined rapidly. To get coloni and soldiers, had the ruling classes of Rome more and more foreigners, barbarians, pull into the State Food Estate's military status and eventually immigrated mainly from these strangers and their descendants formed. But that was not enough to replace the departure of people, and it was always rougher, deeper standing elements, had to draw on it. The Roman culture had been able to reach their height only by the abundance of labor, who had confessed to her and she had to bid recklessly be wasted. With the abundance of labor also heard on the abundance of products, agriculture and industry declined, were always raw and barbaric. And with them degenerated art and science. This social decline took a long period of time. It took several centuries before the Roman empire's proud height that it took under Augustus and his first successors, had sunk deep into the wretched state it has reached the beginning of the Great Migration. But the direction of this decline in the first century of our era, and may in some points clear. With him and through him, that new social power has grown up that saved in the general decline, which could still be saved, and finally the remains of Roman culture, the Germans sent, where they offing a new and higher culture. This power was the Christianity.

II The nature of the early Christian communism


As at the time of the decline of Greece, had now also in the Roman Empire and all thinking with their suffering brethren feeling men feel the urge to find a way out of the terrible conditions. When asked about this way a variety of answers were given. Even the Platonic ideal was revived, but it could now exert even less influence than at the time of its origin. The Neoplatonist Plotinus (third century AD) but won the favor of the higher classes, even the Emperor Gallienus and the Empress Salonina so highly, that he could think of to start with the help of a city modeled on the Platonic community . But these philosophers of fashion-salon Communism was only one of many gadgets with which the Supreme squanderers idlers of the time. It was not even made an attempt to execute the plan, if not the invention of a name for the colony - Platonopolis, will be regarded as such - Plato city. The general state of violence encountered distrust and general indifference, and corruption of the social body was so severe that one could by any mortal, and we expect he would have been the most powerful of the Caesars, he may be able to breathe new life into the same. Only a superhuman power that only a miracle could bring this about. Who was it not possible that to take place still wonder, sank into gloomy pessimism or drugged into unthinking pleasure. Among the sanguine enthusiast, to them, such things are the same was not possible, some began to believe the miracle au. In particular, this was the case for the enthusiasts of the lowest strata of the people who felt the general decline in the most oppressive, and had neither the means to intoxicate themselves in pleasures, nor felt the hangover of on such a noise like this and so easily the pessimism generated. From their ranks mainly exploded the idea that a savior will of heaven to come in the near future to establish a glorious kingdom on earth, where there is no war and rule no poverty, the joy, peace and abundance, and infinite bliss. This was the Lord's anointed savior - Christ. [2] 2) christos, Greek = anointed. Once one had as much to keep the miracle possible, then all limits of the imagination were torn down, and each of the believers could imagine the coming kingdom so exuberant as possible. Not only the company, all of nature was about to change, all injuries were to disappear from it all the pleasures it offers, grossly enlarged, enjoy the people. [3] 3) Corrodi has in his Kritische history of the chili Asmus (Frankfurt 1781) the strange bubbles, which these fantasies threw, described in depth, yes even - criticizes! The first Christian Scripture, were pronounced in such expectations is the so-called "Revelation", the Apocalypse, probably soon after Nero's was death written and proclaimed that it would very soon a terrible fight weave to be among the returning Nero, the Antichrist, and the returning Christ, a struggle that fought all nature. Christ will emerge victorious from this struggle and establish a millennial kingdom in which the righteous will reign with Christ without death is a power over them. But not only that, after this will create a new kingdom heaven and a new earth, and on this earth, a new Jerusalem, the seat of bliss. The millennial kingdom - that is the future state of primitive Christianity, and after him all the exuberant expectations of the coming of a new society, appear in the Christian sects, as millenarian [4] called.

4) chilias, Greek = the number one thousand. Following the Apocalypse have many Christian teachers in the first centuries of Christianity expressed millenarian expectations and sometimes, as Irenaeus (second century) and even Lactantius (about 320 BC), the coming paradise on earth in great detail and in the most glowing sensual colors described, [5] had only changed completely when the conditions for Christianity, as it stopped, only to have the faith of the unfortunate and the oppressed, the proletarians and slaves and their friends, as it was also the belief of the rich and powerful since gradually fell into disfavor of millenarianism in the official church, because he always had a revolutionary flavor, was always a prophecy of the coming upheaval of the existing society. 5) Wine and the Vine played a large role in the coming Christian empire. Irenaeus taught: "There will come the time, since grow the wine sticks, at any with ten thousand vines, each Vine with ten thousand large twigs, at any large branch with ten thousand other little twigs, every little branch with ten thousand grapes, each grape with ten thousand berries and each Berries Berry with juice for twenty measure of wine." Hopefully thirst grows in whom a thousand year's kingdom into same relation. Irenaeus represents but still more tender joys in prospect: "The young girls be revel themselves since in society der Jnglinge; the old men be enjoy the same Privileges and her Kummer will themselves trigger in pleasure." Namely latter prospect must for the younger and older old men of the Roman fin de sicle- society be been very tempting. St. Augustine, who lived in the second half of the fourth century and the first of the fifth (he died 430) fought, first decided the uncomfortable lesson through a series of sophistic interpretations of the Apocalypse. From then all of millenarianism is regarded as "heretical." The official church offset the coming kingdom of bliss in the clouds. You chiliastic expectations are one of the most outstanding features of the early Christian spiritual life. But as one who is on the wrong track, believes that today's social democrats draw their strength from the promise of some "future state" would also be wrong, of supposing that the early Christians have pulled out of the millenarianism of the most important part of his force. Like the Social Democrats is also the primitive Christianity of the rulers of his time thus become invincible, that for the bulk of the population is indispensable was. His practical work, not his religious enthusiasms have helped him to victory. The practical work will look at us now. Pauperism, as we have seen, the great social question of the imperial period. All attempts by the state to oppose it, proved in vain. Some emperors, and also private parties sought to control it by charitable foundations. But that was woefully insufficient, there were drops in the bucket, and the rapacious Roman bureaucracy did not make the best managers of such facilities. The pessimists and the enjoyment of people did against the pauperism, which they also give the other evils in the state and society towards did, namely nothing. They explained that it was very sad that such a circumstance stocks, but these are inevitable and philosophers are likely against the inevitable is not fight. Unlike the sanguine enthusiasts and proletarians that used to bear the misery. You could view it impossible to quiet, they had to seek after it, to cause him to an end. With the exuberant dreams of bliss that will bring the Messiah down from the clouds, the destitute ligand was not helped. The same circles, which came from the millenarianism arose, and energetic attempts to move the existing body of misery.

These experiments had to be completely different way than had been the Gracchi. They had appealed to the state, they wanted the proletariat conquer political power and make them subservient to them. Now every political movement had ceased and the state authority had fallen into general disrepute. Not by the state, but behind his back, through special, totally independent of his organization wanted the new Social Reformer transform society. More importantly, there was another difference. The movement was a semi-rural Gracchan, it relied not only on the urban proletariat, but also to the decadent farmers, and they wanted to make those farmers as well. The urban proletariat was rooted with just one foot still in the peasantry. In the Empire city and country were already completely separated. The urban and rural populations formed two nations that no longer understood each other. The Christian movement was in its infancy a purely metropolitan - so much so that compatriot and non-Christian were synonymous terms. [6] 6) The word paganus (Latin "village inhabitants") came to designate "pagans" among Christians. So closely together is the key difference between the Gracchi and of Christian social reform. Those who wanted to oust the plantation husbandry by the farmers grazing husbandry, if they touched the existing distribution of property, it occurred to pave the way to reform the mode of production. But precisely because they had necessarily, as we have seen that recognize private property (means of production). For Christianity in its early days was the decisive class an urban rag-proletariat, which had been weaned off of work. To produce these elements appeared to be a rather indifferent thing; their model was the lilies of the field, sow nor spin, yet thrive. If they are a different distribution of property aspired, they did not have the means of production in the eye, but the means of enjoyment, a communism of consumption for the rag-proletariat was not unheard of that time. At times, public feedings of large masses of needy or distributions of food to them had been in the last days of the Republic usually found initially in the Empire held still, what could be better than these meals and distributions to bring in a system, a regular communism of the existing staple provisions - partly due to uniform distribution, partly by sharing the same - to pursue. It emerged communist ideas like this, sometimes even communist communities in implementation. The first formed in the Orient, which had advanced economically most, especially among the Jews, who had developed even before the Christians already apocalyptic expectations, and we already around the year 100 before our era, a Communist secret society, which the Essenes founded. "The wealth they hold for nothing," reported Josephus, "however, they are very proud community of goods, and we find none among them who would be richer than the other. You have the law that all who wish to enter into their order, must proffer their goods to be shared, so when you realize they neither want nor excess, but they all have in common as brothers ... You do not live together in a city, but in all cities have their special houses, and when people who have their order, they come from elsewhere to share it with them their property, and they can use it as their own property. They turn out from a close, even if they have never seen each other, and behave as if they were her whole life long been in familiar intercourse. If they travel over land, they take nothing with them as a weapon against predators. In each city they have a guest master, who dispenses the stranger food and clothes ... You do not trade with each other, but if someone one who has the defect, something gives, however, he receives back from him what he needs. And if he cannot even offer it, he may nevertheless without reserve, from whom he wants to desire, what he does need." [7] 7) Josephus, History of the Jewish War, II Book, 8, 3, 4

Quite similarly, the first Christian communities were organized. Whether and to what extent there is here guarded imitation is not lightened. The resemblance of a can with the others by the similarity of the circumstances arising, which they have sprung. In any case, towered over the Christian communities soon the Essene in one essential point: in its international character, which corresponded to the international character of the great Roman Empire. The Essenes held tenaciously on Judaism. They have remained a small sect, which hardly ever counted more than 4,000 members. Christianity conquered the Roman Empire. Initially targeted Christians often after the introduction of a complete communism. Jesus speaks in the Gospel of Matthew (19, 21) to the rich young man: "You Want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor" [8] In Acts (4, 32, 34) the first church in Jerusalem described as follows: "No one said of his goods, that they were his, but they had everything in common ... There was not one of them, the lack was, for how many were their that there were fields and houses, they sold them and brought the of the good sold and laid it at the apostles' feet, and they gave to every man what he need was. Ananias and Sapphira, who withheld some of their money to the community, were well known, punished by God with death." [9] 8) Cf Matthew 10, 21; Luke 12, 33; 18, 21 9) Apostles are also important in Acts 5, 44, 45 Practically, however, went beyond this kind of communism that all means of production into staple provisions and the same should be distributed to the poor: the mean, if implemented widely, the end of all production. Just as the early Christians might take care of the philosopher as a real beggar, producing a permanent larger society could not be established on this basis. The then state of production demanded the private property of means of production, and the Christians could not get beyond. [10] So they had to seek after it, to unite private property and communism together. They could not do in the way Plato's, which was the privilege of an aristocracy and communism are the private property of the masses did. It is this needed now of communism. 10) The monasteries formed an exception apparition, the monastic organization was able never become an general form of the society. But also in the monasteries was the commonality of consumerism Irenaeus the main thing, the means of production a minor matter. We come tailor returned to another context. The association of private property and communism happened in such a way that everyone his own, especially on the means of production, and left only the communism of the enjoyment and usage especially the food - calling. Of course, this distinction was not, in theory, so sharp a distinction was not then in economic matters. But the practice went beyond it, and only with the help of this distinction it is possible to understand the apparent contradiction in the teachings of the Church, in the first centuries of the common property and simultaneously glorified frowned upon any actual facts assault on private property. The property owners should keep their means of production and exploitation, and above all their land, but they possessed of means of consumption and acquired - food, clothing, housing and money to buy like yours - that's the Christian community provided.

"So it was the common ownership of property only a community of use. Every Christian was calling for the brotherly connection right to the goods of all members of the whole community and could in case of necessit, that the wealthy members of his so much of their wealth imparted, as required for its emergency assistance was. Every Christian was able to make use of the goods of his brothers, and the Christians who had something, could not deny their poor brethren to use and the use thereof. A Christian, for example, who had no house could, by another Christian, who had two or three houses desire, that he give him a home, but why did this master of the house. Because of the use of the Community but had a flat the other hand, are left to use." [11] 11) J. Q. Bird, the first and oldest Christian antiquities, Hamburg, 1780, p.47 The portable food and money, were brought together and elected their own municipal officers, who had to direct the dispensation of these gifts. The full communism, Christianity was the first of which, even if only partial, broken recognition of private property. He should still experience a further slowdown. The communism of consumption depends, as we have seen already in the consideration of the Platonic state, let's closely together with the abolition of the family and monogamy. This can be achieved in two ways: by community of women and children or by the omission of the sexual intercourse, by celibacy. Plato chose the former route, the Essenes, the latter. They paid homage to the celibacy. In his radical communist beginnings, Christianity was also looking for the family and marriage go, it is mostly in the form of asceticism, which corresponded to the mood of the time cat miserable best, but it has also given Christian sects, such as the Adamites, a Gnostic sect of the second century, which taught the funnier live form of the repeal of family and marriage and practice. The Gospel of Matthew can say Christ (19, 29): "Those who left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake, shall reap a hundredfold reward and gain eternal life." And in the Gospel of Luke calls Christ: "If any man come to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, even his own life, which cannot be my disciple." [12] 12) Cf also Matt. 10, 37, 12, 46 ff Mark. 3, 31 ff, 10, 29 Luke. 8, 20, 18, 29 In all early Christian communities is the peculiar quest to lift the family life at least to a certain extent. Thus we find in them the means indicates that the daily meals were common. (See Acts 2, 46) This love feast, Agape, correspond to the common meals, Suffitien [Latin "sufficient"], the Spartans and the Platonic state. [13] They were the natural consequence of communism, the means of enjoyment. 13) However, if my kind should believe Daumer, The secrets of of Christian antiquity, (Hamburg 1847), these meals would be, not love meals, but rather - humans eaters. However, as already said, Christianity could not overcome the small business and private property of means of production. This is necessarily the single family connected, not merely as a form of coexistence between man and woman, between parents and children, but also as an economic unit. As Christianity could not bring a new mode of production, it had to be made also the traditional family form, however much they disagreed with the communism of consumption. Not the kind in which people enjoy, but how they produce goods decide at the last line of the character of society. How full of communism was also sought annulment of the marriage and family are incompatible with the spread of Christianity in society. She's always been limited to individual cults and corporations. It failed to gain universal validity.

III. The decline of the early Christian communism


About the contradiction between the individual family and the communism of the enjoyment away and usage could only help an extraordinary enthusiasm. This was the first Christian communities also exist. However, the more numerous the Christians were, the less in proportion to the total number would naturally be in their midst, the number of exceptionally gifted natures. And the average person created the social conditions of Rome sinking everything else rather than energetic devotion. No class was exempt. Therefore, even in Christian communities, the individual family soon defeated the communism of the stimulant. The home meals were the norm, more and more limited the Agape on festive occasions. In this limit, they were given during the first centuries of Christianity, then they fell completely, have become mere poor meals, which hosted the rich at times, without them even participated in part of the meal. The concern for the family came to the fore again, not just what they needed was one of the community, the Church. The common use of the possession of all comrades reduced in the surrender of the superabundance of individuals to the community fund. The excess of income over what is necessary that each individual reached, he should give to the church. This was the form which took the Christian communism in practice soon. But because the same social conditions of the Empire, which made the implementation of communism impossible the formation favored communist ideas, received the Communist tradition of primitive Christianity long life, always bought new communist sects, and also the victorious church among the organizations, the Catholic, was in theory a long time Communist. As before, the Fathers of the Church thundered against the wealth and inequality. "You wretch," calls to St. Basil in the fourth century, the rich, "as you want your answer to the eternal judge? ... Your replies to me: How I'm wrong because I keep only for myself, what's mine? But I ask you, what you call your property? From whom did you obtain it? You act like a man in the theater, which hastened to occupy all the seats, and now wants to prevent others to enter, by its use of reserves, what is there for all. How the rich get rich than by taking possession of things that belong to all? If every man for himself would take no more than he needs for its preservation, and the rest could be others, there would be neither rich nor poor." Even in the sixth century Gregory the Great wrote: "There is not enough that others cannot take their property, it is not innocent, as long as goods reserves, which God created for all. Who the others not exist, what he has, is a murderer and a murderer, because he keeps for himself, which would have served to maintain the poor, we can say that it day in day out kills so many, could be life from his abundance. If we share with those who are in need, then we give them is not something that belongs to us, but what belongs to them. It is not a work of mercy, but the payment of a debt." [14] 14) Quoted by F. Villegardelle, Histoire des ides socialistes avant la revolution franaise, (Paris 1846), p. 71 ff. Villegardelle cites numerous passages with similar contents from the writings of other Church teachers compiled of the first centuries. Unfortunately he has not let us know which works he has taken these citations from. It made verification of the quotations therefore impossible. One of the most remarkable testimonies to the Communist character of primitive Christianity is to be found but in the writings of St. John, surnamed Chrysostom, ie Golden Mouth, because of his fiery

eloquence so named. Born 347 in Antioch, he rose to the dignity of a Patriarch of Constantinople. But the fearlessness with which he denounced the immorality of the residence, including the court, persuaded, that the Emperor Arcadius exiled him. He died in exile (in Armenia) in 407. In the eleventh of his homilies (sermons) on the Acts of this bold man came to the communism of the early Christians to speak. He quoted by the following sentence from the Acts of the Apostles: "Great grace was upon them all and there was none among them who had the defect." This, however, he continues, was the fact that "Neither of his parents said that they were his, but they all had in common." "Grace was among them because no one suffered from a lack, that is, because they gave so eagerly that none remained poor. Because they did not retain a portion of another and for themselves, yet they gave all their property, as it were. They picked up the inequality and lived in great abundance, and they did so in the prizewinning way. They did not dare to give the donations into the hands of the needy, yet they gave with haughty condescension, but they laid at the feet of the apostles, and made them masters of the gifts and distributions. What was needed, then removed from the store of the community, not the private property of individuals. This has been achieved, that the donor is not relieved of vanity. "If we were to do the same today, we live much happier, the rich and the poor, and the poor would not win by luck than the rich ... because the givers were not only not poor, they also made the poor rich. "Let the thing before: Everyone give what they have in common property. No one should be alarmed about it, neither the rich nor the poor. How much do you think that money will come together? I conclude - because certainly one cannot say it - if each individual surrenders all his money, his lands, his possessions, his houses (of the slaves, I will not speak, because the early Christians were probably not, since they probably were free), then probably a million pounds gold come together, so probably two or three times as much. For me tell you how many people including our city (Constantinople)? How many Christians? Will it be a hundred thousand? And how many heathens and Jews! How many thousands of pounds of gold must come together here! And how many poor people we have? I do not think there are more than fifty thousand. How much would be necessary to feed them every day? If you dine at a common table, the cost will not be very large. So what will we do with our vast wealth? Do you think he could ever be exhausted? And the blessing of God will not pour forth a thousand times more abundant on us? If we do not make the earth a heaven? If this has been for three or five thousand (the first Christians) have proven so brilliantly, and none of them suffered from shortage, how much more must it prove with such a large crowd? Not any of new arrivals add something? "The fragmentation of the goods caused by the greater effort and poverty. Take a house with a husband and wife and ten children. It operates weaving, he is looking at the market of his maintenance, they will need more if they share a home or if they live apart? Obviously, if they live apart. If separate, the ten sons, they need ten Hnser, ten tables, ten servants, and all other multiplied to a similar extent. And what about the number of slaves? Cannot they be together at a table meal in order to save on costs? The fragmentation leads to waste on a regular basis, the summary in order to save the existing. So you now living in monasteries, and so lived the faithful. Who died because of hunger? Who was not saturated plentiful? And yet the people afraid of this state more than a leap into the infinite sea. Would we make it a try and attack the thing boldly! What a blessing it would be! For if at that time, where the number of believers was so small, only three to five thousand, if the time when the whole world are hostile to where nowhere waving a consolation, our predecessors were so determined by how much more confidence, we should now have, by God's grace which believers are everywhere! Who would want to remain pagan? No, I think. All we would put on us and make us weigh." [15] 15) P. N. Joanni Chrysostomi opera omnia quae exstant, (Paris 1859, edition J P Migne, Patrologia cursus completus), IX., pp. 96-98.

Chrysostom concluded his remarks with a request to implement its proposal. These so-sober, purely economic, free from any religious exuberance sermon is most remarkable in every respect. It shows us clearly to communism of primitive Christianity, whose traditions were still alive, but they can also see clearly that he was a communism of consumers, not the producers. Chrysostom tries to win over his audience for communism by them, calculates that the amount of economic common household compared to the fragmentation in many households is. But those who want everything to produce what does this communist household, not a word. In this area should remain just as it all was. The proposal of Chrysostom remained unfulfilled. Like the church had strayed from the communist nature of their origin, he tells us so himself: "People are afraid of communism, even more than the leap into the wide sea." And just as clearly as the other spoke Chrysostom Church. Their very passionate declamations against the rich, the Christian kingdoms to prove that in the Church since the second century, not only the practice, but even the spirit of communism waned, the feeling of equality and fraternity, it was shown once again that the physical conditions are stronger than the ideas and these are dominated by them. The church was irresistibly driven to adapt their teaching by their extension changed circumstances. Since you do not destroy the communist tradition could explain away they looked. And to reconcile with a number of subtleties, as were the former, more than caviling researching philosophy close to reality. From then dispensed Christianity aim to solve the problem of poverty, abolish the distinction between rich and poor. To hold that the first Christians have claimed that no rich man could the kingdom of heaven are partakers, be taken that in their community, not all worldly possessions to the poor were to donate and even poor will, only the poor could be saved, so now this purely material conditions reinterpreted as spiritual relationships. "The Church," Ratzinger said in his History of the Church's care for the poor (Freiburg 1860), in his characteristic train of thought of the first teachers of the church on the property was "intended only for the poor, the rich were excluded. This alienation of the property does not need a complete renunciation of life itself to be, it is sufficient if he (the rich) is the overindulgence in the property, the lust of the same, in short, the greed, purifies ... The rich man also had to separate his heart from all earthly possessions, he was allowed to be a steward of God looking at having just as if he does not possess, he should use only the most necessary for his support, all the rest but as a faithful steward of God for the poor use, "but no more than the rich, the poor man must strive for earthly possessions, he must be content with his lot and grateful to accept the crumbs that accuses him of the kingdoms." (pp. 9, 10) What a cute egg dance! Not anymore, only his heart, the rich need to separate from earthly possessions, he should have, as he did not possess! Thus did Christianity come to terms with its communist origins. But even in its weakened form of Christianity for centuries has long Significant done in the fight against pauperism. If it is not removed, it was the organization that proved by far the most effective to alleviate the poverty in their area, which grew out of mass poverty. And therein lies perhaps the most important lever of his success. However, the more powerful it became, the more helpless against the social problem of his time, from which it considered its strength. Not only that Christianity is incapable proved the class distinctions to make an end, it found it, it self-generated with the increase of his power and his wealth a new class conflict: it was in the church of a ruling class, the clergy, which the class, the laity [16], was obedient. 16) From the Greek laos, the people.

Originally prevailed in the Christian communities full self-government. The trustees at their head, the bishops and priests were elected by the parishioners in their own circles, they were accountable. They pulled no advantage from their office. However, once the individual communities became larger and richer, and the tasks which fell the chiefs grew so much that they do not incidentally, could be operated next to a civilian job. There was a division of labor, the offices in the Christian communities were specific professions, all the people required. The church property was no longer exclusively for the support of the poor are facing, it was necessary to deny the cost of his administration of it, the cost of the Assembly building and the conservation of church officials. Who comprised the bulk of the community? Rag-proletariat, and these have never been able to power that gave them a democratic constitution to preserve. They were there in the church any more than in the Republic. They sold it and lost in that of the bishop, as they do this at the Caesar had lost. The bishop had to manage the assets of his church, that his congregation, and to determine what type to use the revenues of the church were. Thus the rag poor proletariat against an immense power was placed in his hands, which grew more and more, the greater the wealth accumulated the church. The bishops were more independent of their constituents, they were more dependent on them. Hand in hand with this development came closer and closer together closing the individual communities that had originally been completely independent, to a great club that general church. Same ideas, same goals, same persecutions led early on some communities, passing through sending letters and deputies to the market together, towards the end of the second century, the combination of many churches in Greece and Asia was so narrow that the churches of individual provinces stronger associations formed, were the highest instances of trustees meetings, synods of bishops. Towards them contracted the autonomy of the individual communities together very, bringing the bishops about their parishioners, but was encouraged by it. Finally, there was a summary of all the Christian communities of the empire into a single organization, and in the fourth century of our era we find already imperial synods (the first 325 to Nicaea). Within the councils themselves but dominirten those bishops who were of the richest and most powerful communities. So finally the Bishop of Rome came to the forefront of Western Christendom. This whole development was not without great battles in front of him, fighting against the state, the new state within a state was not seeking to survive, fighting between the various organizations and within organizations, struggles between the people and clergy, in which the former is usually the moved faster. Already in the third century the people had almost everywhere, only the right of confirmation of the church officials, they had organized themselves into a cohesive entity that added himself and the church had the power at their discretion. From now on, the church was the one organization in the Roman Empire, which gave the best head, then an aspiring career. The political career had ceased since the political life was extinct, and the war service had been left almost entirely to hired barbarians, art and science-ended her life only tedious, and the state administration and decayed more and more ossified. Only in the church there was life and movement, where one could most likely rise to a social power. Almost everything that the pagan world was all energy, and intelligence had to exhibit, turned now to Christianity, and in that of the ecclesiastical career, and the church, which proved to be invincible, began the struggle with the authorities, they even make themselves subservient.

At the beginning of the fourth century, was already a cunning pretender to the throne, Constantine out, that the victory beckoned to those who accept the Christian God is favorable, that is, which by the Christian clergy are on good terms. Through him Christianity was the dominant, soon to be the only religion in the Roman Empire. From then on, was the proliferation of church even more rapidly. King and private parties vied with one another to buy the favor of the new power through gifts. On the other hand, saw the Emperor, more and more causes of the church bureaucracy to allocate the purchase of a number of governmental and municipal functions, where it was not enough, the rotten state bureaucracy. Also, they had to open the church certain revenue sources. Heretofore, the gifts of the parishioners of the church had been purely voluntary. Since this is the protection of state power enjoyed, she began to meditate on regular duties. Tithing was introduced, initially driven only by moral means, but also eventually by force. [17] 17) The 2nd Council of Tours (567) requires of the faithful that they should, among other things, tithe, even the serfs. The church was now enormously rich while their clergy was entirely independent of the laity. No wonder they left off in proportion as their wealth grew, more and more to manage their assets in the interests of the poor! The clergy used it for themselves, greed and waste pulled into the church, especially in the rich churches in Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, etc. From a communist prison, she was the most gigantic exploitation machine, which saw the world. Already in the fifth century we find the division of church income in four parts as such a body of the Roman Church. One part belonged to the bishop, a part of his clergy, was a part of the worship needs (construction and maintenance of churches and the like), and only a portion of the poor. These were only together as much as the Bishop alone! And this quartering was not even introduced most likely to put to disadvantage the poor, but in order to protect them so that the lords do not graze throughout the church property for their own squandering. However, the communist ideological content of Christianity did not smother itself, as long proven the social circumstances that gave birth to him. As long did the Roman Empire, and until the time of the migration into it was to the church property as the property of the poor (pauperum patrimony), and none of the Church, no council would be remembered that to deny. Of course, the administrative costs of such property had become quite high, they were eating at times on the entire income, but this is a peculiarity of most charitable institutions. Therefore, it would have no one but dared to assert that the administrators are the owner of the property. This last step was to blur the communist origins of the church completely, could happen only after the invading Germanic tribes, the Roman world and the church in a whole new social foundations were made.

IV The church property in the Middle Ages


Christianity was not able to justify and could not be in a position to a new mode of production to bring about such a revolution. So it was not to be able to save the Roman Empire before the destruction. If despite all this social depravity of its existence could drag on through the centuries, it had the advantage

of not Christianity, but the heathen barbarians, the Germanic tribes. These were, as we have seen, as mercenaries and colonizers, the supports of the sinking company. But mercenary opportunities and colonization were not enough to satisfy the encroaching Germans. This means they only showed the weakness of the empire and made them acquainted with flavors that were to meet only in the Roman Empire, it reinforced the drive to the south. Finally, the German crowds overflowed the kingdom, and took possession of it, a party of the other and displacing and pushing forward until peace came gradually back into the chaos, the individual colonies were settled and new states were formed, a new social order was developing. The Germans were in the age of migration at the stage of primitive agrarian communism. The various tribes, districts and communities formed cooperatives, money co-operatives, with common property in land. House and home, however, were already private property of individual families become, the arable land was divided among them for special purposes, but it was the right of property to the cooperative, pasture, forest and water remained in the use of the Community. The poverty, the lack of possessions as a mass phenomenon ceased since the great migrations. Probably occurs in the Middle Ages often mass misery, but it is due to crop failure or war or epidemics, but not by possessions, and it was always a temporary and not a misery for life. Where, however, were found in need because they do not leave there: the cooperative, to which they belonged, offered them protection and assistance. The benevolence of the church ceased to be a more necessary for the survival of society factor. The church organization was even in the storms of the time, but only in that they are adapting to new conditions, that they completely changed their character. From a institution of charity she became a political institution, their political functions besides their riches were the main source of their power in the Middle Ages. Their wealth saved the church in the storms of the Great Migration from the old to the new company. How much did they lose it, as much or even more, they knew how to acquire new. The church was included in all the Christian-Germanic States the largest landowner and one third of the country the way they see, in some areas even more. This rich patrimony belongs now to complete to be for welfare of the poor. Charlemagne even as some other institution of the Roman Empire did, including the quartering of Church property transferred into the Frankish kingdom. But like most of his "reforms" that remained on paper - or parchment. A few years after Charles's death already appeared Isidore Decretals, a collection of cheeky invented and falsified documents, which should justify the claims of the papacy and the legal basis of his politics were. In relation to the church property claim this Decretals, that among the poor, whose fortune it fancy, understand only the clergy were to have taken the vow of poverty. This theory was generally brought to bear, from then on the church property were considered to be goods of the clergy. In the 12th Century, this theory was their consistent training by claiming that all church property belongs to the pope, who could dispose of at will. [18] 18) This change in the character of the church property had an important consequence. She urged for performing the celibacy, of the celibacy of the clergymen. For ideological reasons had different directions desired in the Church since always been the celibacy of the clergymen, sometimes also arranged but it was not with them succeeded, penetrate with it. These aspirations had only success, than themselves a material interest linked thus, the worry about the church resources. As long as this as Good of the municipalities was regarded, which the bishops had to manage only, it was threatened in it existed through the families of the clergymen not very. That changed themselves, than the church resources the resource of the clergy was itself. Well was looking at any clerics, had of the children, to communicate to these dated Church Good as

possible much. "One experienced every day that these priest sons received not alone the genetic make of their fathers, but also the Kirchengut, whose usufruct Those have had, than her Inherits healing took in claim!" (Giese Brecht, Gesch. d German. Emperor time, II, p 406) At all touchingly are the lawsuits, the eg Benedict VIII On the Council of Ticino (1014-1024) about it intoned: "Large basic pieces, large goods that what always they can acquire, the vile fathers (the married clergymen) their vile sons out of the Church treasure - because something Other they possess not " etc. (In the case Gieseler, teaching book of the Church history, Bonn 1831, I., p. 282. Through Gieseler we made attentively out of context between church resources and celibacy of the clergy.) But the squandering of the Church related product to the children of the clerics was able effectively done only halt be, than in the Church the sole rule of Popery was been firmly established. One of the first tasks of the papal power was now fighting the marriage of priests. Leo IX. (1048-1054) began thus, of the energetic Gregor VII (1073-1085) led the prohibition of the priests marriage through at the most determined. Meanwhile it lasted north of the Alps long, until it was widely recognized. In Liege we still find in 1220, and in 1230 in Zurich, still married clergy in office. (Gieseler, cit, p 290) As a secularized in the Reformation the church resources, by the princes torn in itself was and the clergymen transformed themselves into officials the State aimed were living from her the pay, of course every interest disappeared in the maintenance of celibacy of the clergy. The Protestant clergymen can have children, so much he wants, he finds not a church resource, he could have them dig trenches. These views correspond entirely to the actual facts, the rule which the Church in the state and society that practiced the papacy in the Church. But if the church property also ceased to be for welfare of the poor, so that it does not mean that is the average age of pages of church organizations nothing happened to the poor, as far as it ever was poor at that time. Although there is no proletariat was in our favor in the first centuries of the Middle Ages except for some cities maybe - so there were not occasionally a few needy, as we mentioned earlier, in times of bad harvest the hungry, in times of epidemics sick and widows and orphans who lacked a family that received them in time of war even landless people from the neighborhood or from a distance, the enemy had driven the slump. To support those in need was in the Middle Ages as the duty of every property owner, above all, each landowner, including the largest landowner, the Church. This duty they did not meet because they would have been a special charitable institution, but because they belonged to the haves, this duty was not the outcome of a particular Christian, but a general, if you will, pagan principle, a principle that all nations in common is available at a lower stage of civilization: the hospitality. The joy of parts, at the mid-Healing is all one people, where the primitive communism, or at least its traditions still prevail. And the stranger is just there so rare, so striking fact that he may face impossible to remain indifferent, depending on its origin and behavior do you fight him as an enemy, honors or him as a guest, as a valued member of the family, it splits his skull, or is it home and yard, kitchen and cellar are available, sometimes even the marriage bed. The joy of communication of the surplus that generates its own husbandry than the needs of the family also receives, so long as there is the so-called natural economy, so long for the market or the customer is not producing for sale but for the own use. This mode of production prevailed during the Middle Ages, at least in agriculture, and this branch of production at that time was for the social life of much of the key.

The more developed the production, the greater the excess of the estate each scored. Especially in the hands of large landowners, the kings of the high nobility, the bishops, the monasteries accumulated huge surpluses of food to which they could not sell. They could, they just - feed. They used them to keep many men of war, practicing artists and artisans, as well as the most generous hospitality. It had then been subject to highly indecent if point an average family would have failed a peaceful stranger food and drink and shelter as soon as this matter addressed. If bishops and monasteries, the hungry fed, the naked clothed and sheltered the homeless, they did nothing that did not end any other property in the Middle Ages as well. The difference was most of that, as the wealthiest, the other property owners it could be ahead. But the custom of hospitality is growing rapidly to an end as soon as the production of commodities begins to be produced for the sale, once a market for various products, enlightens. The individual host properties are now in a position to convert their surpluses for cash, those great producers of power from which you can never have too much that does not spoil, the clump can be. Instead of the joy of healing from the mid surplus occurs at the pleasure of storing up treasures that generosity is killed by the greed. The more so-called push back the money economy, the natural economy, a process of the from Italy and southern France since the 13th Century, spread rapidly through the rest of Europe, the more restrict the property owners their hospitality and generosity. But in the same proportion in which the generosity vanished, increased the number of the poor. The development of commodity produced a proletariat that grew rapidly and reached a significant expansion in some areas. His best refuge found this in the generosity of the monasteries. Large corporations seem increasingly cumbersome to be in its development and changes in circumstances less easily adapt as individuals. [19] Certainly this was the case with the monasteries. She held out longest in the old kind traditions of their tenants, while around them the benefits were converted into money taxes, they avoided more than their neighbors to deprive the farmers of their land allotments or screw them of their services, they kept finite in general longer than this old-fashioned hospitality and their generosity. 19) Consider the tenacity of the great English trade unions kept their old politics, while everywhere otherwise in the world workers joyfully gathered under the flag of socialism. But could not close completely, the monasteries of the new time. Their occupants were taken thirst of gold, their meals for the needy reduced more and more on "broad beggars' soup." And even where they clung to the old liberalism, as it turned out to be less and less adequate to the growing demands of mass poverty. Again arose the problem of poverty, and again were formed communist ideas and aspirations. This took on two forms. In the lower classes was early on a vague feeling of communism, in the layers of learned men and bold friends later formed a clearly thought-out, philosophical communism, utopianism. In purely literary, the latter direction appears to be a continuation of the Platonic, the former as a continuation of the early Christian communism.

About two directions are different from their predecessors in these key areas. For a new social power arises and takes possession of the communist idea of a power of Plato and the early Christians knew nothing: the wage labor as the basis of a new mode of production.