the working class were able to grasp it properly, would lead it toward revolutionaryactivity and the transformation of society.Such a diversion from the Marxism of the Second International was bound tocome into conflict from the established Marxist-Leninist position which had takenhold among Communists at the time. The result was what has come to be known asthe "Lukács Debate," and it was from this that Lukács's
Chvostismus und Dialektik
Tailism and the Dialectic
) was written. Newly discovered, and gathering dust in thearchives of the CPSU in Moscow, this defense of
History and Class Consciousness
shows that Lukács continued to defend his ideas as late as 1925 or 1926, when the present manuscript was written. It is also a document which develops some of theinsights which Lukács espoused to a higher degree in
History and ClassConsciousness
, stressing the necessity for thinking dialectically and resisting thehollow economic determinism which orthodox Marxism had made commonplace inthe early 20th century.
Tailism and the Dialectic
is addressed to two major critics of Lukács' seminaltext: Lazslo Rudas, a former associate of Lukács during the Hungarian revolution of 1919, and Abram Deborin, a leading Soviet philosopher who was, years after theLukács Debate, condemned by Stalin for his Hegelianism. Rudas and Deborinaddressed their attacks at Lukács's notion of subjectivity in the revolutionary process.For them, Lukács was smuggling neo-Kantian elements into Marxism. While it wasclear to them that it was the material foundations of society, of the production process,which brought about the reality of class consciousness and the revolution itself,Lukács was offering a more subjectivistic conception of the theory of revolution."Tailism," as Lukács uses the word, or "tail-ending,"refers to this interpretation of history and social reality. Deborin and Rudas are "tailists" insofar as they accept thatthe historical process will mechanistically produce social change. Marx was thesecular prophet who had unearthed the laws of history and society, and any diversionfrom recognizing those laws as deterministic were clearly bourgeois attempts atcontradicting Marxism.
THE NOTION OF SCIENCE WAS THEREFORE PULLED INTO THESPOTLIGHT
. For Lukács, any interpretation of the social world which utilized themethodology of the natural sciences was itself neo-Kantian. Lukács's position stressed the sociological character of analyzing the dynamics of society as well as knowledgeof it. The radical idea implicit here is that politics itself is not a matter of historicalinevitability, but an act of conscious, informed will. Indeed, this, for Lukács, waswhat was problematic with the entire doctrine of orthodox Marxism as it came downthrough the Second International. But, even more, the implication was that theMarxian laws of history -- as they were interpreted by orthodox Marxism -- were notto be read literally. Instead, the justification for revolution was not to be found in anhistorical mechanism, but in the implied ethics of those making the conscious choiceto follow their own interests in overthrowing the system of capitalism.This was more than a departure from orthodox Marxism; it was also a morecomplex reading of Marx's sociology. From Hegel, Lukács was able to resurrect theradical insight that human consciousness was essentially dialectical. This he saw asimplicit in Marx's sociology, but its application to the revolutionary process could not be underplayed. If workers were not cognizant of their class position and its2