The claim of this article is to argue that the main thrust of Karl Marx’s philosophy was neither a critique of political economy, nor a critique of the bourgeois political system, but an anti-theistic raid of a metaphysical nature, and that this drive gave him the impetus that motivated his intellectual activity from the time when he had not yet had any economic theory and when the proletariat had not yet played a major role within the purview of his interests. Marx’ rebellion led him to a condemnation of the entire creation as a product of an evil Demiurge, who – to exacerbate the situation even further – was nothing else than a product of human false consciousness, manifesting itself politically as a division of any populace into friends and foes, who were subsequently conglomerated into antagonistic social classes but could be transformed in appropriate conditions into stateless community of friends.
The article discusses views and the ideological evolution carried out by Pitirim Alexandrovich Sorokin, a Russian-American sociologist, philosopher and political activist. Influenced by his observations of the events of 1917, Sorokin radically reformulated his opinions about Marx and Marxism which resulted in his espousing of a traditionalist and anti-revolutionary position. He still shared with Marx his negative diagnosis of the modern world, but proposed a different solution as a remedy. His solution was a purification of the idea of equality by liberating it from reductive materialism. Nevertheless Sorokin’s concept of spiritual equality was as utopian as Marx’s. He presented his ideas in a littleknown novel titled: Предтеча (or Прачечная человеческих душ – ‘предтеча’ means ‘ancestor’ and is commonly referred to John the Baptist). This work is a signal for Sorokin’s denial of Marx’s ideas and his revolutionary zeal.
The article discusses little-known facts from the lives of two great representatives of the Silver Age of Russian philosophy – Nikolai Berdyaev and Sergei Bulgakov – referring to the period when both were ardent Marxists. It discusses the beginning of the academic career of both thinkers, the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. In the archives of Karl and Luise Kautsky in Amsterdam (International Institute of Social History) there are two Berdyaev’s letters to Kautsky regarding polemics about Marx and Marxism, which unfolded between them after Kautsky’s decision to publish in the pages of Die Neue Zeit an article by Berdyaev “F.A. Lange and Critical Philosophy in Its Relation to Socialism” (1900). This correspondence has probably become the catalyst for Berdyaev’s transition from ‛orthodox’ to ‛critical’ Marxism. On the other hand, Bulgakov’s letters to Kautsky (and those of his wife, Helena Tokmakova, to Luisa Kautsky) refer to the time of a research internship of Bulgakov in Berlin in the years 1898–1900. He then met Kautsky and Bernstein families, and engulfed himself in theoretical problems of Marxism. The text of the speech is accompanied by a translation into Polish and provided with comments on two Berdyaev’s letters to Kautsky (February and May 1900).