Encyclopedia of Marxism: Glossary of People
"Ferdinand Lassalle took part in French Revolution of 1848. Created the
Democratic Socialist Party in Germany. In 1862 proposed a theory (Lassalleanism)
in opposition to Marxism, explaining that while bourgeois society
"guaranteed" all individuals unlimited development of their individual
productive forces the moral idea of the proletariat is to render useful
service to the community.
Lassalle wrote the Science and the Working Man:
"The course of history, is a struggle against nature, against ignorance and
impotence, and consequently, against slavery and bondage of every kind in
which we were held under the law of nature at the beginning of history. The
progressive overcoming of this impotence is the evolution of liberty, of
which history is an account. In this struggle humanity would never have made
one step in advance, and men gone into the struggle singly, each for
himself. The state is the contemplated unity and co-operation of individuals
in a moral whole, whose function it is to carry on this struggle, a
combination which multiplies a million-fold the forces of all the
individuals comprised in it, and which heightens a million times the powers
which each individual would be able to exert singly."
Lassalle believed that the proletariat represented community, solidarity of
interest, and reciprocity of interest. He believed therefore that the cause
of the workers is the cause of humanity; when the proletariat gains
political supremecy a higher degree of morality, culture and science would
occur which would further civilisation.
Lassalle believed in the State as Hegel did, as the organ of right and
justice. He believed that only through the State could victory be gained,
explaining the state as "the union of individuals which increases a
million-fold the forces of the individuals." He explained that "The aim of
the State is the education and development of liberty in the human race." He
believed that the State would hear the cause of the proletariat, and so
revolution was not necessary.
Killed in a duel by the Wallachian Count von Racowitza on August 31, 1864.
His works included:
Die Philosophie Herakleitos des Kunkeln (1858)
Das System der erworbenen Rechte (1861) "