Marxism Full Notes (got 92% on Final)

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Political Science
POS 210

UUnit  Seven MARXISM Modern  liberalism  rounded  off some  of the  sharp  edges  of capitalism.    The  way  to make  the  system  less  brutal  was  to reform  some  of its  worse  aspects­ ­allow  unions,  improve  wages,  shorten  hours,  improve   working  conditions.    But the  most  effective  change  was  having  the  owners  come  to  see  that  workers  themselves  were  consumers.   Here  was  a new   market. Karl Marx thought  that  tinkering  with  capitalism  would  not  end  the   exploitation  of the  workers.   To think  that  it would  was  to  misunderstand  the  nature  of man  (humans)  and  the  flow of history.    Capitalism  and  bourgeois  liberalism  were  not  to be  reformed.   According  to Marx, they  were  to be  dismantled  and  destroyed. Marx was  clearly  a socialist,  but  to differentiate  his socialism  from   utopian  socialism  he  called  his brand  "scientific" socialism  or at  other   times  "communism." But when  Engels  converted  to communism  as  a happy­ go­lucky,  young   bourgeois  the  term  had  no very  clear  definition  other  than  to suggest   this  idea  of an  end  to private  ownership. {We  shall apply  the  term  "communism"  mostly  to the   ideology  developed  by Lenin  for and  in Russia,  which  until recently  we   called  the  Soviet  Union­­the  Union  of Soviet  Socialist  Republics.} So why  isn’t Marxism  utopian?   Why did Marx criticize  the  utopian   socialists?   Marx attacked  the  utopian  ideas  and  the  followers  of  Owen,  Fourier,  Saint­ Simon,  for being  unrealistic  and  criticized  them   for three  basic  reasons:   1) The  utopians  had  failed  to understand  the  class  basis  of society.    Equalizing  incomes  could  never  come  about  without  the  abolition  of  the  classes.    2) The  emancipation  of the  working  class  depended,  he  argued,  on  struggle,  on revolution , and  not  on good  will or gradual  reforms.    Cooperative,  communal,  and  decentralized  social ideas  are  simply   "utopian." 1 3) The  utopians  had  laid out  blueprints  of what  future  socialist   society  would  look like.  Marx argued  that  this  could  not  be  done,  and   he  refused  to write  “recipes  for the  cook  shops  of the  future”( Kapital,  Volume  1, p. 99).   The  best  that  could  be  predicted  was  that  the   means  of production  would  be  owned  first  by the  state  (“Seizure  of  state  power”)—and  then  owned  by everyone—and  that  the  mode  of  production  would  change,  though  industrialism  would  continue.   We  shall put  together  toward  the  end  of this  unit,  however,  a picture  of  “higher  communism”  or “true  socialism,”  as  he  called  the  final stage   of history,  from  some  of his writings. But Marx, and  his sidekick  Engels,  did admire  the  utopians’  critiques  of  early  capitalism  and  agreed  with  many  of their  ideals­ ­cooperation  and   distribution  according  to need.   And they  agreed  that  people  should   not  be  equal  in all things .  That  Marx dismissed  contemptuously  as   "raw  communism."   He wanted  to abolish  class  distinctions  and   class  privileges.   When  these  were  removed,  the  natural  differences   among  persons  would  remain. It was  not  necessarily  Marx's  view  of socialism  that  differed  widely   from  the  utopian  socialists;  it was  his conception  of how  it would  come   about.   He gave  a materialist,  and  therefore  a "scientific," account  of  the  transition.   WE'LL COME BACK TO THIS LATER ON. WHO WERE MARX AND ENGELS? The  two  could  not,  in style  and  temperament,  have  been  more   different.   Marx looked  like a revolutionary:  His children  called  him   "The  Moor," because  of his dark  skin and  deep­ set,  flashing  eyes.   He  was  stocky  and  powerfully built, with  a glowering  expression  and  a  rich beard.   He was  sloppily dressed,  with  disheveled  clothes  stained   with  tobacco  ash.   His home  and  desk  were  like the  man­ ­disorderly   and  dusty. Engels,  on the  other  hand,  was  a tall and  elegant  aristocrat,  a man   who  liked  to hunt  and  fence.   He was  cheerful  and  witty  and  well­ spoken,  with  a delight  for the  bourgeois  pleasures,  especially  good   wine. And though  Engels  had  a quick  and  facile  mind,  Marx was  the   intellectual  heavyweight  of the  two.   Engels  in personality  and  writing   provided  the  dash  and  breadth;  but  Marx always  provided  the  depth. FIRST ENGELS: 2 Engels  was  the  son  of a successful  manufacturer  in Germany.   As a  young  man,  Engels  was  packed  off by his father  to live in Bremen  and   learn  the  export  business.   Engels  applied  himself  well, though   everything  was  colored  by his "rosy"  personality. When  he  got  to the  docks,  he  observed  both  the  first­class   accommodations,  in which  he  usually  traveled,  as  well as  the  steerage   where  the  people  were  “packed  in like the  paving­ stones  in the   streets.”   He was  horrified  that  people  could  be  treated  so, and  he   began  to read  the  radical  literature  of his time.   By age  22  had   converted  to the  ideals  of radical  socialism. From  Bremen  he  traveled  to Manchester,  England,  to enter  his father's   textile  business.   Manchester,  like Bremen,  had  a pleasant  facade  that   masked  the  desperation  that  housed  most  men.   There  were  pretty   streets  lined  with  shops,  but  behind  them  lay hidden  the  dark,  Satanic   mills that  housed  a stunted  population  living  in a state  of filth and   turning  to booze  and  drugs  to pass  through  a life that  was  hopeless   and  brutal. Engels  spent  his time  examining  every  sordid  corner  of Manchester,   and  he  published  his findings  in what  one  commentator  called  "the   most  terrible  verdict  ever  passed  on the  world  of industrial  slums":   The  Condition  of  the  Working  Class  in England  in 1844 . He was  writing  regularly  now,  and  one  of his contributions  made  a  special  impression  on a young  writer  who  was  editing  a radical   philosophy  journal  in Paris.  This was,  of course,  Karl Marx.  Engels   traveled  to Paris  to meet  Marx.  Engels  had  meant  only to call on Marx   to introduce  himself,  but  they  had  so much  to say  to each  other  that   their  conversation  lasted  for ten  days.   Their work thereafter  was   always  in at  least  hidden  collaboration. KARL MARX Marx was  born  in 1818  into  a prosperous,  liberal,  even  slightly  radical,   Jewish  family.  Shortly  after  Karl's  birth,  his family converted  to  Christianity  so that  his father's  law practice  would  be  less  restricted.    The  family lived  in Trier, the  commercial  capital  of the  Moselle   winegrowing  region  of the  Rhineland.   The  Rhineland  was  the  most   industrially  advanced  regions  of Germany,  which  was  dominated  by  Prussia. Heinrich  Marx had  hoped  that  his son  would  study  law, but  at  the   University  of Bonn  the  young  Marx spent  most  of his time  writing   poetry,  dueling,  and  drinking.   Seeing  that  his son  was  not  living  up  to  3 expectations,  his father  sent  him  to the  larger  and  more  academically   intense  University  of Berlin.   Hegel's  Dialectical  Theory  of  History There  Marx was  swept  up  by the  great  philosophical  debates  of the   day.   Hegel  had  propounded  a radical  theory  of history­ ­that  every   idea,  every  force  irrepressibly  carried  within  itself  its opposite,  and  the   two  merged  into  a unity  that  in turn  produced  its own  contradiction  or  opposite.    For example,  the  feudal  system  carried  within  it the  conflict   between  aristocrats  and  serfs.   Indeed,  aristocrats  or the  nobility  were   in part  defined  by the  very  existence  of serfs,  so the  serf class  was  not   optional  but  was  essential  to feudalism.   Yet out  of this  conflict   between  lords  and  serfs  comes  the  middle  class,  in essence  a merging   of the  lords  and  serfs.   Such  changes  guided  all human  affairs.   Except,  argued  Hegel,   the  affairs  of the  Prussian  state  underwent  no such  changes.   With the   Prussian  state  all the  rules  of the  dialectic  were  off, they  no longer   applied,  because  that  state  had  reached  a level  of sustained   perfection.   The  Prussian  government  was  like "the  walk of God  on  earth." The  progressive  movement  from  one  stage  (thesis)  and  its opposite   (antithesis)  to a new  stage  (synthesis),  only to start  again  as  the   synthesis  becomes  the  new  thesis  was  known  as  the  dialectic , though   Hegel  himself  never  used  the  terms  “thesis”­ “antithesis”­ “synthesis.” Marx joined  a group  of intellectuals  known  as  the  Young  Hegelians  and   debated  questions  about  atheism  and  pure  theoretical  communism.    Marx decided  to become  a philosopher  himself,  and  he  probably  would   have  had  it not  been  for that  Godlike  state  of Prussia.   Marx's  mentor,   Bruno  Bauer,  the  leader  of the  Young  Hegelians,  was  accused  of  antireligious  ideas  and  dismissed  from  the  University.   So went  Marx's   hopes  for an  academic  career,  for Marx would  not  be  able  to get  an   academic  post  without  the  aid  of his mentor,  though  he  did earn  his  doctorate  in philosophy. Instead  Marx turned  to journalism.   A small liberal  newspaper  to which   he  had  frequently  contributed  asked  him  to join as  editor.   His career   lasted  five months.   He wrote  editorials  that  were  too  strong  for the   Prussian  government.   How radical  were  these  articles?   Not very.   In  one  he  denounced  a law that  would  prevent  the  peasants  from   exercising  their  rights  to gather  deadwood  in the  forests.   For this  he   was  warned.   Then  he  wrote  unkind  things  about  the  Czar  in Russia.    For this  the  paper  was  shut  down  and  he  was  expelled. 4 While working  for the  newspaper  in Germany  Marx had  written  an   expose  on the  poverty  and  dire  conditions  of the  Moselle  wine   growers.   It was  this  piece,  wrote  Engels  later,  that  led  Marx "from   pure  politics  to economic  relationships  and  to socialism." Exile took  him  to Paris  and  the  editorship  of another  small radical   newspaper.   But it, too,  was  shut  down  and  the  Prussian  government   had  him  expelled  from  Paris  in 1845.   By this  time  Marx had  turned  to  reading  the  classical  British  economists­ ­Adam  Smith,  Malthus,   Ricardo. Marx then  spent  the  next  three  years  in Brussels.   In the  fall of 1845   Marx went  to London  to visit Engels  and  work on a collaborative  book­­ The  German  Ideology .  At this  time  he  met  the  leaders  of a radical   group  called  the  League  of the  Just.   This was  a group  of German   artisans  living  in London.   In 1847  the  League  decided  it needed  firmer   theoretical  foundations  for its organization.   During  two  long   congresses  in London  the  League  formally  accepted  the  ideas  of Marx  as  their  guiding  principles,  changed  their  name  to the  Communist   League , and  commissioned  Marx and  Engels  to write  out  their   principles.   Thus  was  born  The  Communist  Manifesto . Marx was  married  by this  time  to Jenny  von  Westphalen,  the  daughter   of a Prussian  aristocrat.   Baron  von  Westphalen  and  his family had   lived  next  door  to the  Marxes,  and  Marx had  conversed  widely  with   the  Baron  about  the  Baron's  humanistic  and  liberal  ideas.   Indeed,  the   Baron  had  introduced  Marx to the  ideas  of Saint­ Simon. Jenny  was  the  belle  of the  town,  and  she  surely  could  have  done   better  than  the  brooding  and  dark  Karl Marx.  But she  had  fallen  in  love  with  him,  and  their  families  had  approved.   The  Marxes  had  seen   the  marriage  as  a social triumph,  while  the  Baron  saw  it as  a  vindication  of his humanist  ideas. But later  life was  not  kind  to Karl and  Jenny  Marx.  In place  of the   pleasant  and  comfortable  surroundings  in Trier, she  spent  most  of her   married  life in two  dismal  rooms  in a London  slum.   At one  point  Jenny   would  be  forced  to share  the  bed  of a prostitute  in jail; at  another,  she   had  to beg  from  a neighbor  the  money  to buy  a coffin to bury  one  of  her  children. But both  Jenny  and  Karl were  devoted  to each  other.   Karl Marx was  a  most  intolerant  and  quarrelsome  man,  who  could  not  believe  that   anyone  who  disagreed  with  him  had  any  intelligence  or sense.   But he   was  a loving  father  and  husband,  who  actively  played  with  his children   and  ended  each  week  with  a Sunday  picnic. 5 Even  though  Karl Marx had  an  ongoing  affair with  Lenchen,  the   Westphalen  family maid,  who  worked  for the  Marxes,  unpaid,  all their   days,  and  even  though  an  illegitimate  child was  born  out  of this  affair,  it did not  undo  the  relationship  between  Jenny  and  Karl.  It was  Engels   who  accepted  paternity  for the  illegitimate  child, though  the  child's   father  was  really  Marx. By this  time  Marx was  in severe  financial  need.   Life was  a continual   struggle  against  bankruptcy.   Engels  continued  his double  life—as  a  radical  writer  and  a respected  member  of the  Manchester  Stock   Exchange—and  supplied  the  Marxes  with  money  and  loans—up  to  £500  per  year.   Because  of Marx's  disorderly  life, he  could  not  manage   money,  and  the  family continued  to face  debt  and  poverty.   He also   had  his own  set  of priorities.   So while  the  children  had  music  lessons,   the  family went  without  heat. The  income  from  Engels  would  have  been  adequate,  but  Marx  and  his wife had  extravagant  tastes.   He commented  more  than  once   on the  irony  that  a man  who  had  written  so much  on capital  had  so  little  talent  for managing  it. Excluding  Lenchen,  there  were  six of them  to feed,  clothe,  and  shelter.   Marx had  no work.   Instead  he  followed  a disciplined  daily regimen:   Everyday  he  went  to the  British  Museum,  where  he  worked  at  the   same  desk  from  10  am  to 6 pm,  with  an  hour  off for lunch  at  the  pub   across  the  street.   Food  is just  as  bad  there  today  as  it undoubtedly   was  in Marx's  day. In 1850  his youngest  child, Guido,  died.   The  worst  blow  was  the  death   of his eldest  son,  at  age  8, in 1856.    Around  1850  Marx broke  with  the  Communist  League  over  the  pace  of  revolution.   Marx argued  that  "a new  revolution  is possible  only in  consequence  of a new  crisis."  When  the  economic  crises  came,  THEN  revolution  would  follow.   But others  in the  League  argued  that  revolution  should  be  used   to precipitate  economic  crises.   If that  happened,  said  Marx, the  result   would  be  a bloody  terror  and  a subsequent  dictatorship.   THIS IS AN INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT LESSON : IF REVOLT IS  USED TO BRING ON CRISIS, THEN THE TERROR SUCH AS SEEN AFTER  THE FRENCH REVOLUTION IS UNAVOIDABLE.  WE SHALL SEE THE  RESULTS IN RUSSIA AND CHINA OF NOT FOLLOWING MARX HERE.  So Marx left the  League  and  retired  from  active  politics.   He belonged   to no political  organization  for 10  years. 6 He earned  a little  money  writing  occasional  political  commentary  for  the  New  York Daily Tribune , whose  editor  was  a Fourierist.   But it was   Engels,  with  his more  relaxed  style,  who  wrote  most  of the  articles  for  Marx.  When  the  articles  stopped,  Marx took  a clerical  job with  the   railroad,  but  was  dismissed  because  his handwriting  was  so awful. Then  he  pawned  what  was  left in his name,  which  amounted  to little   since  he  had  long  before  sold  the  family silver  and  other  valuables.   At  times  the  Marxes  were  in such  desperate  shape  that  Karl had  to sit at   home  because  his shoes  and  coat  were  pawned.   At other  times  he   lacked  the  money  to buy  postage  stamps  to send  his works  to the   publisher. There  was  only Engels  to fall back  on.  Marx wrote  him  often  about  his  situation: My wife  is ill.  Little  Jenny  is ill.  Lenchen  has  a   sort   of   nervous   fever   and   I  can't   call   in   the   doctor  because  I have  no  money  to  pay  him.   For  about  eight  or  ten  days  we  have  all been   living   on   bread   and   potatoes   and   it   is   now   doubtful  whether  we  shall  be  able  to  get  even   that.  . .  .I have  written  nothing  for Dana  [the   Fourierist  editor  of the  NY Tribune ] because  I  have  not  had  the  money  to buy  newspapers.  . .  . How  am  I to  get  out  of  this  devilish  mess?   During  the  past  week  or  so  I have  borrowed  a   few  shillings  and  even  pence  from  workers.   It  was  terrible  but  it was  absolutely  necessary  or   we  should  have  starved. Only were  his last  years  easier.   Engels  decided  to sell his share  of his  business.   He then  set  up  an  annuity  for Marx.  Around  the  same  time   a friend  left him  a small bequest,  and  he  was  able  to live in some   comfort. But while  retaining  his revolutionary  politics,  Marx had  adopted  the   lifestyle  of a Victorian  gentleman.   He could  now  send  his daughters  to   a ladies'  private  school,  he  could  travel  to the  continent  to the  health   spas,  and  he  even  boasted  of gambling  on the  stock  exchange.   The   family moved  to a large  house  on Maitland  Park  Road,  an  upscale   section  of London,  where  Marx could  play  with  his daughters'  children   as  he  had  played  with  his own. 7 But despite  the  end  of his financial  worries,  Marx lost  his creative  zip.   He did not  work productively.   He did little  more  than  take  notes.   In  1873  he  suffered  something  like a stroke  and  spent  much  of his time   traveling  in search  of health. In 1881  Jenny  died.   Marx was  too  ill to go to the  funeral,  and  with  her   death  he  lost  his zest  for life.  Marx lingered  for two  more  years,  while   growing  increasingly  weary  of the  bickering  within  the  working­ class   movement­ ­so much  so that  he  delivered  a message  that  to this  day   still perplexes  Marxists:  "I am  not  a Marxist ." What  had  Marx done  with  his life? 1) He had  produced  an  international  working­ class  movement.    2) But most  important  of all, Marx had  contributed  theory—a   materialist  theory  of history  and  a theory  about  the  collapse  of  capitalism. THE THEORY Where  do we  find his theories?   To learn  about  Marx's  views  on  capitalism,  one  should  look at,  naturally,  Das  Kapital.  It took  18  years   to produce,  a huge  bundle  of virtually  illegible  manuscripts  that  took   two  years  to edit  into  Volume  I.  Engels  edited  Volumes  II and  III after   Marx's  death.   Volume  IV came  out  in 1910. It is 2500  pages  of technical  matters,  of angry  and  passionate   arguments,  heavily  footnoted,  written  by an  economist  who  had  read   every  other  economist.   The  analysis  in it is coldly logical.   In it Marx  shows  that  even  the  purest  form  of capitalism  imaginable  is doomed   to collapse;  therefore  real  capitalism,  with  so many  more  flaws,  should   fall sooner. Marxism  demands  two  fundamental  changes  in industrial,  capitalist   societies:   1) the  control  of the  means  of  production  must  move  from  private   hands  to  the  public  sector; 2) political  institutions  must  eventually  be  abolished , though   social institutions  remain—this  because  there  will be  no need  for  politics  once  socialism  is in place. It is not  surprising,  therefore,  given  the  need  to abolish  politics,  that   one  party  often  dominates  in communist  countries,  because  the   8 abolition  of rival political  parties  is seen  as  the  first  step  toward   abolishing  politics.   Rival parties  reflect  false  consciousness  because   they  are  based  on ideologies,  while  the  communist  party  is based  on  the  scientific reading  of history. What  is Marx's  notion  of ideology ? Ideology  consists  of those  ideas  and  values  and  standards  produced   through  the  social experience  of a particular  class.   For Marx one's   membership  in a class  produces  a certain  picture  of how  the  world   works.   That  picture  is shaped  entirely  by class  prejudices. Thus  it is almost  impossible  for any  member  to achieve  a true  and   accurate  conception  of the  world.   We are  captured  by the  limited   perspective,  to say  nothing  of the  prejudices  and  illusions,  of our  class.   We come  to think  that  this  perspective  shows  how  the  world  really  works.   This is one’s  class  consciousness.  But to make  matters  worse,   the  worldview  that  we  live by may  not  really  be  that  of our  own  class.    It is that  of the  dominant  class.  In capitalism  the  dominant  class  is the   bourgeoisie.  Thus,  if we  are  members  of the  proletariat,  the   subordinate  class  of workers,  then  we live in false  consciousness .   False  consciousness  means  that  the  picture  of the  world  is  manipulated  so that  we cannot  see  the  roots  of our  own  oppression.    So people  in the  working  class  come  to support  bourgeois  ideology   because  it is presented  as  true.   How doe  this  happen? We internalize  the  interpretation  of the  dominant  class.   That   means  that  workers  come  to accept  as  fact  the  nature  of their  social  conditions  and  lives.   (Of course,  one  can  also  argue  that  because  the   world  does  not  operate  according  to the  ideas,  values,  and  standards —the  ideology—of  the  bourgeois  worldview,  that  the  bourgeoisie  is  also  suffering  from  “false  consciousness,”  though  whether  that  class  is  subjected  to “oppression”  is debatable.) If the  capitalist  class  in power  is primarily  conservative,  then  workers   would  come  to accept  that  they  cannot  rise  out  of their  class,  that   wealth  will never  be  theirs  because  it is not  their  lot.   If the  capitalist  class  is liberal,  workers  might  then  come  to   accept  that  they  can  improve,  because  all men  are  created  equal.   But   if they  do not,  then  it is their  own  fault;  they  cannot  blame  society,   because  we are  all free  individuals  who  rise  or fall according  to our   own  actions. These  were  the  only two  views  associated  at  the  time  with  capitalism.    By accepting  either  of these  views,  workers  accept  and  reproduce   their  own  powerlessness  and  the  oppression  that  follows  from  it. 9 Only in a post­ revolutionary  classless  society—the  kind  of society  that   Marx argued  will come  at  the  end  of history—will all men  and  women   be  free  of ideology.   Until then,  they  are  bound  by class   consciousness.   Those  boundaries  and  contents  that  make  up  that   consciousness  are  known  as  "ideology ," whether  working­ class  or the   bourgeois  class. Since  it can  only see  through  its own  ideology,  each  class  has  only a  partial  understanding  of the  conflict.   Since  that  understanding  is  partial,  that  perspective  is faulty,  since  it parades  as  the  whole.   The   ruling  or capitalist  class  dominates,  and  therefore  its ideology  will be   the  governing  ideology.   Thus  law, religion,  morality,  social and   political  theories  will all reflect  capitalist  bias  and  will be  set  up  to  perpetuate  capitalist  domination.    Marx argued  that  the  bourgeoisie  or the  class  made  up  of owners   and  professionals  enjoyed  freedom­ ­freedom  to do and  work as  they   saw  fit.  But this  freedom  came  only on the  backs  of the  exploited   workers.   To be  free  the  bourgeoisie  needed  a servile  class  of  exploited  workers,  called  the  proletariat . TO REPEAT:  Although  workers  or the  proletariat  should  have  their  own   ideology  or set  of ideas  generated  by their  own  class  experiences,  the   dominant  capitalist  ideology  misleads  the  workers  into  thinking  that   there  are  no conflicts  between  the  classes.   The  workers  are  therefore   misled  about  the  nature  of their  exploited  state.   Marx said  that   workers  are  thus  victims  of false  consciousness ; they  are  not  aware   of their  true  situation.   Under  false  consciousness  workers  buy  such   ideas  as  that  "everyone  should  pay  his own  way";  "if you  don't  make   it, it is your  own  fault,  not  society's."   This establishes  the  work ethic,   the  consumption  ethic,  the  ideal  of the  self­made  man,  the  sanctity  of  private  property,  and  an  emphasis  on the  individual.   It also  sets  up   money  as  the  measure  of success  and  value—as  Marx and  Engels   wrote  in The  Communist  Manifesto : “the  only nexus  is cash   exchange.” Such  attitudes  pervade  the  consciousness  of the   proletariat,  so that  if they  become  better  off, they  are  inclined  to  identify  with  the  bourgeoisie.   For Marx the  rights  of man  in the  Declaration  of Independence  or the   French  Declaration  of the  Rights  of Man and  Citizen ­­that  is, liberal   rights­ ­were  only the  rights  of mutually  hostile  individuals  motivated   by and  in pursuit  of self­interest.  Marx therefore  dismissed  liberal   10 rights  as  thinly  disguised  assertions  of bourgeois  individualism,   egoism,  and  property  rights. The  right  of property,  so central  to capitalism  and  liberalism,  is "the   right  to  enjoy  his  possessions  and  dispose  of  the  same   arbitrarily,  without  regard  for  other  men,  independently  of   society,  the  right  of  selfishness." Indeed,  all aspects  of the  culture,  of what  Marx called  "the   superstructure,"  are  established  to perpetuate  and  vindicate   capitalism.   If it's  good  for capitalists,  it's  going  to be  bad  for laborers. Thus  classical  liberal  economic  theory  justifies  laissez­ faire  and   competition,  which  favor  capitalists;  utilitarianism  justifies  self­interest   as  the  basis  of all action,  which  favors  those  with  the  material   wherewithal  to function  in society  and  the  market. Only scientific socialism,  or communism—that  is, the  teachings  of  Marx—are  objective  descriptions  of social relations;  the  rest,  Marx  says,  are  inaccurate  and  false. BUT THIS RAISES A DILEMMA: HOW CAN ANYONE, MARX INCLUDED,  STEP OUT OF HIS CLASS TO PERCEIVE THE WORLD, SOCIETY, OR  CLASS ACCURATELY?  HOW CAN MARX ESCAPE THE IDEOLOGY HE  GREW UP IN AND WITH? One  can  do so through  history  and  the  proper  view  of human  nature.    One  can  do so, that  is, through  science  and  the  laws  of history,  which   for Marx (as  a man  of the  Enlightenment)  are  objective. HUMAN  NATURE: In opposition  to the  liberal  assumption  of individual  autonomy  and   free  will, Marx proposed  that  man  and  his thoughts  and  activities  are   socially interactive[sound  familiar?].    Man can  only be  understood  through  relationships.   Individuals  only  exist  in relationships  with  others,  in social interactions  with  others.    Therefore,  individuals  are  not  found  outside  of society.   Thus  it is not   the  single  isolated  individual  who  acts  in history,  it is not  the  liberal   notion  of man  who  is central  to politics;  it is man  in society,  man  in  relationships.   And it is not  just  being  in society  that  defines  man's  nature;  it is what   and  how  man  produces , how  he  works , that  is essential: 11 "What  individuals  are  coincides  with  their   production,  both  with  what  they  produce  and  with  how  they  produce." Men differ  from  other  animals  by what  they  produce.   Other  animals   produce  only what  they  need  to satisfy  their  immediate  needs.   Man  produces  things  in accordance  with  his preconceived  plans.   Thus   while  other  animals  follow their  instincts—and  can  only follow their   instincts—men  can  produce  creatively.   Freed  from  the  need  to  produce  necessities  of life, they  can  make  things  for beauty.   In  creating  things  man  "affirms  his species­ being ."—that  is, what  sets   him  off from  other  animals  and  makes  him  a human  being.   Species­ being  is creative  production. So it is man's  essential  productive  capacity,  and  not  reason,  as  liberals   thought,  that  gives  him  his human  identity.   Through  his laboring,   productive  capacities  man  constantly  develops  and  changes  his  own   nature : Man is self­created. Therefore  the  way  that  productive  activity  is organized  is crucial  to  human  identity.  Under  capitalism  that  activity  alienates  man  from  a)  his species­ being  or from  his creative  productivity;  b) alienates  him   from  what  he  produces;  c) from  those  with  whom  he  produces;  and  d)  alienates  him  from  the  work itself, by denying  workers  control  over   their  work and  reducing  them  to machines  doing  little  but  mindless   assembly­ line  repetition  (See  Ball and  Dagger  on these  four  types  of  alienation.). Because  labor  is central  to human  nature,  the  organization  of  production  is crucial  to the  well being  of citizens.   In fact,  says  Marx,  the  organization  of production  or of economic  activity  determines  all  other  aspects  of social life. It even  largely  determines  one’s   consciousness.   Here  is Marx turning  Hegel  on his head.   It is not  mind   or spirit that  motivates  human  history;  it is persons  struggling  to  organize  themselves  against  obstacles  to survival…including   starvation  and  deprivation  of all sorts. MODE OF PRODUCTION The  organization  of work,  called  the  mode  of  production , together   with  the  method  of distribution,  constitutes  the  structure  of society;   all other  aspects  of society  are  the  superstructure .   In a building  analogy  the  foundation  of the  building  would  be   economics ; the  building  itself would  be  all the  other  social aspects:   politics,  religion,  morality,  social associations,  etc.   Economics  was  the   foundation  or base,  for here  is the  arena  in which  men  must  solve  the   12 life­and­ death  questions  for themselves—how  to eat,  how  to provide   clothing  and  protection  for themselves  and  their  families.  This base   Marx calls the  structure  of society.  Everything  else  in society  that  is a  product  of economics  and  that  is needed  to keep  the  economic  system   going  is called  the  superstructure . The  solution  to basic  economic  problems—to  those  life­and­ death   questions—results  in the  decision  to institute  a certain  mode  of   production .  What  is that?   The  mode  of production  consists  of  a) technologies­ ­how  goods  are  produced,  the  techniques  and   methods  by which  goods  are  produced;  what  goods  can  be  produced.    This represents  the  material  forces  of production. b) class  ownership­ ­who  owns  the  factories,  industries,  raw  materials,   land,  equipment  [the  means  of production]  where  goods  are   produced; c) who  decides  what  is produced,  how  it is produced,  and  how  it is  distributed.  In brief,  this  means  who  has  control  or power,  which  is  often  the  ownership  class,  and  who  has  to take  orders. B) +  C) =  social relations  of production  (See  B&D, 136­ 139). The  organizing  of these  factors,  the  social relations  of production,   results  in certain  classes  and  divisions:  some  on top,  some  lower   down,  some  on the  bottom.   Class  is based  on one's  relationship  to  the  means  of production,  and  therefore,  of course,  the  mode  of  production.   This relationship  favors  (bourgeoisie)  or harms   (proletariat)  the  person.   When  the  Industrial  Revolution  took  hold,  the   positive  relationship  of the  landed  gentry  was  disrupted  by the  change   in mode  of production  brought  about  by the  capitalist  and  his factory. So when  the  steam  mill replaced  the  medieval  hand  mill, and   the  market  and  the  factory  replaced  the  feudal  way  of life, more   occurred  than  just  new  methods  destroying  old ones.   New institutions   arose;  new  classes  displaced  old  ones .  The  market  nurtured  a new   industrialist  class,  and  the  factory  made  possible  the  birth  of an   industrial  proletariat.   So industrialization  brought  forth  a new  mode  of  production  and  therefore  two  new  classes­ ­one,  the  unity  of aristocrat   and  burgher  into  a new  class— the  bourgeoisie ; the  other,  the  opposite   of that  class­ ­the  manual  or wage  workers,  the  proletariat .  With new   classes  came  new  ideology  or new  class  consciousness. Here  is history  unfolding:  The  landed  lords  fight  for their  privileges   against  the  rising  merchant  class;  the  guilds  fight  the  rising  capitalists.   This is the  theory  of historical  materialism. 13 MARX'S  Materialist  View  of  History The  two  pillars  of  Marxist  history:  Class  Struggle  and  the   Organization  of  Work 1)  Marx took  from  Hegel  the  idea  that  there  are  stages  of history.   But   the  first  pillar  of  his  theory  was  that  history  is  nothing  but  the   reflections  of class  struggle.   Marx did not  reject  the  utopian   socialists'  idea  of natural  sociability  of humans,  but  he  thought  that   under  capitalism  the  only relevant  form  of sociability  is the  class   consciousness  of an  aroused­ ­angry­ ­proletariat.   REMEMBER: One  of  Marx's  criticisms  of the  utopian  socialists  is their  failure  to understand   class. 2)  The  second  pillar  is his understanding  of the  mode  of  production ,  the  organization  of work and  the  social relations  of production.    Remember:  Class  is based  on one's  relation  to the  means  of  production. Marx used  a version  of Hegel's  dialectic.   Hegel  viewed  history  as  a  progression,  in which  unstable  stages  characterized  by contradictions   resolve  themselves  into  more  stable  or higher  social and  political   forms.    Marx applied  this  "dialectic"­­this  idea  of unfolding  and  progressing   history  that  moves  through  stages  characterized  by contradictions­ ­to  capitalist  society.   Capitalism,  he  thought,  is contradictory  in that  it is  propelled  by class  conflict.   Just as  the  hierarchical  feudal  system  was   dismantled  and  replaced  by the  nation­ state  through  capitalism,  so  capitalism  shall be  succeeded  by socialism. Marx described  these  five  stages  of history,  all fueled  by class   struggle . (See  also  The  Communist  Manifesto .): 1) First  is primitive  society  or primitive  communism .  Here  all  property  is held  in common,  and  there  was  equality.   But human   productive  forces  were  so poorly  organized  that  people  had  to spend   all their  time  providing  for their  needs.   Since  all their  time  was  taken   14 up  with  necessary  work, they  were  not  free  to choose  what  to do, to  develop  species  being. 2) Next  came  the  stage  of empire , characterized  by the  master­ slave   relationship.   Here  work is performed  by slaves,  and  the  leisure  life of  masters  depends  upon  this  organization.   Clearly  here  two  distinct   classes  arise,  as  opposed  to the  first  stage  which  was  classless,  but   unacceptable.   The  slave  is not  free,  but  neither  is the  master.   Marx's   point,  like Hegel’s,  is that  the  master's  identity  as  a master  is as   dependent  on the  slave  as  the  slave's  identity  is on having  a master.    Thus  the  master  is not  free  to choose  without  the  slave,  and  the   master  in this  relationship  
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