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Class 11. Karl Marx.docx

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University of Ottawa
Liam Kilmurray

Karl Marx May 5, 1818 – March 12, 1883 Trier Germany What is Marxism? - Marxism is a philosophy of history. It is also an economic doctrine. Marxism is also a theory of revolution for how societies go through the process of change. Marxists believe that they and they alone have the process of historical change, as well the key to predicting the future. As Marx put it, “Communism is the riddle of history solved.” Marxists also believe that they and they alone have an empirical, scientific approach. Class Struggle (Social Classes) - Marx argued that your relationship to the means of production objectively determined your social class - Identified two great classes in Capitalists society: o The Bourgeoisie (Upper or Ruling class) – those people who owned the means of production o The Proletariat (Working Class) - Base: Economic relationships – the “infrastructure” or “economic base” of society - Superstructure: Political/ideological relationships – the “superstructure” of society Basic Contradiction Between 1. The forces of production (the things that are required to produce commodities) and 2. The relations of production (in basic terms, who benefits the most from these arrangements) a. However, if the relationship between social classes is i. Unequal ii. Exploitative iii. Founded on a conflict of interest b. Why exploited put up with this situation? c. Concepts of both “power” and “ideology” come into he equation: Foucault, Gramsci – Hegemony Communist Manifesto - Describes the position f communists - Critiques other social schools - The aim is history of society as class society - “A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of Communism” - “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles” - “The executive of the mod. State is but a committee for managing the common affair of the whole bourgeoisie” Communist Manifesto - The proletariat alone is really revolutionary class - The proletariat movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority - Capitalism will ultimately collapse under the weight of its own contradictions - Communism will make ownership communal, make labour communal, and thus do away with private property - It will not need to decree this abolition, it will follow
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