POL103 LEC 3
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September 29, 2009
Marx: State and Revolution
History and Classes
Base and superstructure
Its not who controls them, it’s the relationships involved
Marx: believes that morality, ideas, law, culture, ways that we think construct the
Being creates consciousness, consciousness does not create being
Base determines superstructure
You must also believe: be a Hegelian; believed that were stages in history, history
unfolds. Its not that Marx hated capitalism, he just felt it was unjust.
Stages of history has these two things going on: means of production, and mode of
Alienation (philosophical concept) and exploitation (economic)?
Marx saw that as a general commission of all societies, there was always
You work really hard, but your alienated from it. Work shouldn’t be horrible or a
really bad experience because someone else is expropriating things from you.
Exploitation is the economic counterpart to alienation. You can actually calculate
the portion of someone’s labor that is made alien to them and you can do that
much easier in a capitalistic society with dollars and cents.
For Marx, Societies are always in conflicts between those who control and those
who do not control the means of production.
Classes rule them, and there are classes that are ruled over. Now why is it that they
change? They change because within each kind of society, a new class arises.
Marx knows: Within feudal society a new class arises of economic entrepreneurs,
he called them capitalists (bourgeoisie). Under feudal society there were only two
classes: nobles and peasants. Within that you start to get people who have surplus
and they start accumulating surplus and selling it, and selling goods and then start
to employ people. These capitalists their problem is that society and politics are
not geared to fulfilling their interests, but rather those of the nobility.
What capitalists can do is: they apply new technology, division of labor,
machinery. They start to get wealthy, and what do they want? They want the state,
the ideas, laws to reflect them and not just the nobles. They are everything and are
thought of as nothing
Capitalists in a feudal society are low lives- thought of as nothing. Being a
businessman in a feudal society was a lousy job. Only ethnic minorities performed
these jobs in this society at this time.
Marx argued: that out of this you got revolutions – the early revolutions. The
American Revolution, the French revolution. These are all bourgeois revolutions.
This is the bourgeois class capturing state power for itself. What do they do when
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