Is Engels very racist or is he being taken out of context?

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Anarcho
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Feb 18 2019 17:30
explainthingstome wrote:
I'm convinced that Engels was racist towards Slavs. However, I am not sure about the view that Engels wanted to exterminate Slavic people. [...] That doesn't sound like something someone who wants to exterminate Slavs would say. Assuming he's not masquerading?

So in many decades later, Engels came to the conclusion that perhaps certain slavs did not have to "disappear from the face of the earth" "down to their very names."

We can all agree that this is a definite step forward from 1848-9...

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Uncreative
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Feb 18 2019 18:02
Anarcho wrote:
It seems pretty clear what he meant by those words... what part of "war," "annihilate," "disappear from the face of the earth" and "even to their very names" is difficult to understand?

Or is it because Engels wrote these words and so somehow we need to delve deeply into what they could possibily mean? Or is Engels such a bad writer that he simply cannot express what he meant?

I remember seeing at an anarchist bookfair in london a few years back (the last one at that big university, was it up the road from Freedom Press?) a bunch of people outside crowded around some guy (by all accounts, an arsehole) and chanting "kill all men". I didn't realise at the time how much danger I clearly was in.

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explainthingstome
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Feb 18 2019 19:27

The reason I went "that doesn't make any sense" was that you used the existance of the Welsh as proof that Engels wanted to kill Slavs. So if the Welsh didn't exist today Engels wouldn't want to kill Slavs? But nevermind, it's not a big deal

Anarcho wrote:
Rosdolsky quotes from it, and others. The Marx-Engels archive has (or at least had) the relevant articles, plus of course the Collected Works from 1848-9.

Sorry, my bad, turns out it's from the article that my original post quoted.

Anarcho wrote:
It seems pretty clear what he meant by those words... what part of "war," "annihilate," "disappear from the face of the earth" and "even to their very names" is difficult to understand?

I might be willing to agree with your intepretation, but I want to play Devils advocate, since some people here disagree with your intepretation.

What would you say about the idea that

"the general war that breaks out will break up this Slavic Sonderbund and destroy all these little bull-headed nations down to their name"

simply meant

"the war will break up this Slavic Sonderbound and make these states dissappear, in the same way that Poland dissappeared in the 17th century"

I.e. the Slavic governments will vanish, but the Slavic people will remain?

Anarcho wrote:
Presumably those are slavs who are appropriately "grateful" for being "civilised" by the Germans....

Do you mean that those Slavs were abandoning their Slavic culture (like their language and religion for example) and that's why Engels didn't want to kill them?

Anarcho wrote:
So in many decades later, Engels came to the conclusion that perhaps certain slavs did not have to "disappear from the face of the earth" "down to their very names."

But do you believe that Engels still wanted to kill some Slavic ethnicities in 1882?