POLB72H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Productive Forces, The Proletariat, Bourgeoisie

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14 Aug 2016
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POLB72- Karl Marx Lecture Notes
Common Assumptions about Marx:
Marx was anti-democratic and discussed the materialistic theory of history
Marx wanted to level-down individual differences.
Marx only trashed capitalism.
Marx wanted to abolish property altogether.
Marx argued in favour of a repressive state and was hostile to individual freedom.
Situating Marx in Political Theory
A child of the Enlightenment and its ideal of universal human emancipation and
advancement. (Nietzsche would call him either a socialist or free spirit)
The question he poses: Has freedom been given its rightful due in the context of
capitalist modernity?
Capitalism & Beyond: The Struggle to Change the World
He characterizes history by class struggle as:
-The history of all existing society is the history of class struggles: the freeman and slave,
patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman = oppressor and
oppressed. (p.474)
Class Struggle under Capitalism
“The modern bourgeois society that has sprouted from the ruins of feudal society has not
done away with clash antagonisms...our epoch, the epoch of the bourgeoisie, possesses,
however, this distinctive feature: it has simplified the class antagonisms: Society as a whole
is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly
facing each other: Bourgeoisie and Proletariat.” (p.474)
Marx understands class as: society splitting up into two: the bourgeoisie and proletariat
Capitalism`s Unprecedented Global Reach & the Revolutionary Role of the Bourgeoisie
-“The bourgeoisie, historically, has played a most revolutionary part.” (p.475).
“The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal,
patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley 'feudal ties that bound
man to his 'natural superiors,’ and has left remaining no other nexus between man and man
than naked self-interest, than callous ‘cash payment’.”
Marx and Engels’ belief that the bourgeoisie has played a revolutionary role as:
-The bourgeoisie constantly revolutionize the instruments of production, thereby the
relations of production, affecting the whole relations of society, compelling all societies and
nations to adopt the bourgeois mode of production and adopt civilisation (the stage of
human social development and organization that is considered most advanced), to work to
become bourgeois themselves, creating a world after its own image.
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