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Political Science
POLI 1100

Marxism Karl Marx’s political theory I. 4 common misconceptions of Marx’s thought: 1. That he is a theorist of simple equality (leveling of incomes) and not of freedom.  He’s primarily a theorist of freedom, but of the equal freedom of all, but he conceives of freedom differently than most liberals (although not so diff from Mill).  He does not simply oppose all liberal ideals; instead, he is building on and radicalizing liberal ideals & freedom, equality (and democracy) and arguing that they cannot be fully realized for all under capitalism.  His ideal (Manifesto, in Love, p. 266): a society in which the free development of each is the condition of the free development of all.  Misconception - A theorist of civil equality, not freedom o A theorist of freedom, but of the equal freedom of all human beings o Different view of freedom from Liberals o Political and economic thinking: radicalizing liberal ideals o Freedom for some, subordination for many o Communist Manifesto o Free development of each – free development of all  2. That his ideal of a just society is,  From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs! (Simon, p. 321/ Kamenka, p. 541 [2])  Marx borrowed this notion from “utopian socialists” in 1875, while criticizing other German socialists who sought a “fair distribution” of income & wealth.  Yet while Marx in principle supports the utopian socialist ideal (From each according to his ability), he also insists that misses the real issue: that it is  Marx’s point: the real key is to change the relations of production. (Kamenka, p. 541-2).  the distribution of the “conditions of production” invariably determines the distribution of “the means of consumption” (Kamenka, p. 541).  Misconception – basic ideal of society is well summarized from each according to his ability to each according to his needs o It is a mistake to focus on so-called distribution and place a fundamental stress on it o To change the relations of production, redistribute the wealth o Inequality in capitalist society: opposed distributive slogan; can’t change things without changing the relations of production in society 3. Marx as anti-democratic  He began his pol writing as a radical democrat and his communist vision was actually an outgrowth of this.  First signif work in 1843 was that of a radical democrat; not yet a communist.  He presented a view here of democracy as a form of collective self-rule that was the basis for later conception of communism.  Democ would not (could not) mean everyone gets just what they want, but rather everyone shares in collective decision-making about decisions that govern their lives; everyone would be self- governing.  He wrote in 1843: {Quote}  Democracy is the solved riddle of all constitutions. Here, not merely implicitly and in essence but existing in rea
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