01:790:349 Lecture 3: January 24 (3)

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January 24, 2017
What is “Communism”?
Form of government where the means of production are controlled by the
state.
A political theory derived from Karl Marx, advocating class war and leading
to a society in which all property is publicly owned and each person works
and is paid according to their abilities and needs.
Communism, especially as theorized by Marx, is a theory of history.
o Theory of how history unfolds on a grand scale/evolves/works.
Certain things are seen as inevitable, and if not inevitable,
highly likely to emerge at some point.
A lot of Marxist movements see themselves as moving
history along and preventing history from moving
backwards.
Work produces your social reality so if you change the work you change the
social reality
o But also focusing on what work you do in accordance to your political
self and your true self
Used to further the people as a whole, not just to make money.
Communism is to keep people working
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2
Key Elements of Marxism
Idea that history progresses in stages, from feudalism to capitalism to
communism.
Capitalism displaces feudalism but contains the seeds of its own destruction
growing inequality that brings impoverished factory workers (the
proletariat) into conflict with the owners of capital.
o Capitalism breeds greed that is worse than that developed in
feudalism.
o Capitalism, according to Marx, had no way to move the factory
workers (proletariat) without conflict with the owners or higher ups.
The proletariat eventually rise up, seize the means of production, and run
them on their own behalf, rather than to further enrich the capitalists.
Once this happens everywhere around the globe, governments will wither
away and people will live together in harmony.
Lenin’s Contribution
He is a Marxist inspired theorist but has his own ideas and writings
Rather than waiting around for history to work its magic, a vanguard of the
proletariat could seize control of the state and use it to create a worker’s
republic right now.
o That experiment might accelerate the pace of revolution around the
world.
Russia in 1917 was not Marxist
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