POL113 - Chapter 5 – Marxism.docx

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Political Science
Mark Lippincott

Chapter Five – Marxism  In countries with a Revolution- the communist movement would “organize itself as a class”- “make itself the ruling class”  A victory by the communists would bring an end to capitalism  Marx and Engels  They posited that a revolution would fundamentally eliminate unequal power relationships  A society full of equality- all are free to develop and live their live  Marxism in practice has not yet succeeded in producing the goal culture  Socialist regimes have succeeded in realizing the vision of Marx and Engels in other ways: by eliminating private property, collective ownership, general social services, challenging the ideology of egoistic individuals  Marxism encouraged people to dream beyond their historical experience; radical actions to eliminate economic suffering  The creed of Marxism: The Manifesto of the Communist Party  The Bible: Das Kapital  Classical Marxist tend to emphasize the concepts of dialectical materialism the labor theory of value- analyses of the economic and political structures of capitalism  Revisionists say that this emphasis greatly neglects Marx’s earlier and more philosophic and humanistic writings  Humanistic emphasis preceded the more structural analysis of capitalism  Marx’s writing, the young period includes his doctoral dissertation  All later works, are seen to be products of a more late scholar  It is essential to understand Hegel’s thinking on 1) dialectics 2) labor and history and 3) politics- Marx embraced 1 and 2, but rejected the third  Hegel’s contention that all prior philosophic thinking was incomplete  Aristotelian logic- forced people to think about their environment in an abstract fashion  Principle of non-contradiction held that a concept could not be both itself and its opposite at one and the same time  Greek philosopher Heraclitus believed that there was no permanent reality, except the reality of change; altering and transforming  Continually evolving world of interpenetrating opposites  The key to understanding reality was in seeing that everything in existence in some sense contained within itself its opposite, its negation  To know the world, one must see the particulars of reality as containing their opposites  The dialectical method- we can actuality describe the true nature of reality  The world is constantly in transformation, the method of knowing must be based upon the conception of motion  Traditional logic- fixed, static world where time and motion do not operate  The dialectical process contains three basic elements: thesis, antithesis, and synthesis  Aufheben: to preserve, to eliminate and to transcend  Dialectics is based on a theory of internal relations- everything is interrelated  Our understanding of reality is both complete and incomplete  Marx also accepted Hegel’s view of labor as the principle manner in which people realize themselves and their potential as true human beings  Human brings become increasingly free  Process by which one achieves this is through interaction with the natural and built environment; interaction labor  In their labor, humans objectify themselves- they create things, they transform themselves from pure, isolated subjects into an object- the put part of themselves into the object  Labor is then the objectification of human consciousness  “Man against the world”- subject (self) becomes objectified (object)  Freedom and labor are linked: to be free is to be able to approach the world as an object of one's own, rational self- consciousness  Emancipation and rationalization and liked: we are becoming more “rational” because increasing numbers of people were able to labor freely  Approaching the ideal unification of all dialectical processes and contradictions wherein the grand Idea of Freedom becomes realized in the governing institutions of human society.  For the world to be fully rational, all people must be capable of achieving freedom, and no one individual may possess it at the expense of others  Humans were reduced to small elements in the overall pattern of things, where to Feuerbach they were actually the central figures in history  Absolute, Idea, Rationality, and Freedom become abstract ideas that falsely satisfy without attempting to solve problems  A major source of inequality was private property  Capitalism was an economic system that denied people their own humanity- dehumanized  Humans see their creative powers and existence manifested in the world created by their labor  Human beings are created through their life activity  When they labor, they interact with the external world (nature)  Marx used the term alienated to describe the condition of human beings existing under a capitalist economic system 1. Alienation between workers and the product of their labor- something of that person is in the statue  Capitalis
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