SOCA02H3 Chapter Notes -Bourgeoisie, Proletariat, Wield

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12 Feb 2011
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Karl Marx
Friedrich Engels
The history of existing society is the history of class struggles.
In the earlier epochs of history, we find almost everywhere complicated arrangement
of society into various orders, a manifold gradation of social rank.
The modern bourgeois society that has sprouted from the ruins of feudal society has
established new classes, new conditions of oppression, and new forms of struggle in
place of the old ones.
The epoch of bourgeoisie 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.
From the serfs of the Middle Ages sprang the chartered burghers of the earliest town
and from these burgesses the first elements of the bourgeoisie were developed.
The discovery of America, the rounding of the Cape, opened up ground for the rising
The feudal system of industry now no longer sufficed for the growing wants of the
new markets. The manufacturing system took its place.
The guild-masters were pushed on one side by the manufacturing middle class;
division of labour between the different corporate guilds vanished in the face of
division of labour in each single workshop.
The markets kept ever growing, the demand ever rising.
Steam and machine revolutionized industrial production.
Modern industry has established the world-market.
oThis market has given an immense development to commerce, navigation, to
communication by land. This development has reacted on the extension of
industry; and in proportion as industry, commerce, navigation, railways
extended, in the same proportion the bourgeoisie developed, increased its
capital, and pushed into the background every class handed down from the
Middle Ages.
The bourgeoisie has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations.
oFor exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted
naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.
It has basically converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of
science, into its paid wage-labourers.
The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced
the family relation to a mere money passion.
The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the instruments of
production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole
relations of society.
Bourgeoisie must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, and establish connections
The bourgeoisie has given a cosmopolitan character to production and consumption
in every country.
The bourgeoisie draws all, even the most barbarian, nations into civilization.
The bourgeoisie has subjected the country to the rule of the towns.
oCreated enormous cities and has greatly increased the urban population as
compared with the rural.
Just as it has made the country dependent on the towns, so it has made barbarian
and semi-barbarian countries dependent on the civilized ones, nations of peasants
on nations of bourgeoisie, the East on the West.
The bourgeoisie has mass population, centralized means of production, and as
concentrated property in a few hands.
The bourgeoisie has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than
have all preceding generations together.
The means of production and of exchange, on whose foundation the bourgeoisie built
itself up, were generated in feudal society.
The feudal relations of property became no longer compatible with the already
developed productive forces, they became so many restraints.
Industry and commerce seem to be destroyed because there is too much civilization,
too much means of subsistence, too much industry, too much commerce.
The productive forces bring disorder into the whole of bourgeois property.
The conditions of bourgeois society are too narrow to comprise the wealth created by
Bourgeoisie get over the crises through enforced destruction of a mass of productive
forces and by the more thorough exploitation of the old ones.
oBy paving the way for more extensive and more destructive crises, and by
diminishing the means whereby crises are prevented.
The men who are to wield the weapons with which the bourgeoisie felled feudalism
to the ground are the modern working class (the proletarians).
The proletariat created a class of labourers.
As the repulsiveness of the work increases, the wage decreases.
Modern industry has converted the little workshops of the patriarchal master into
the great factory of the industrial capitalist.
The more industry becomes developed, the more is the labour of men outmoded by
that of women.
Differences of age and sex have no longer any distinctive social validity for the
working class. All are instruments of labour, more or less expensive to use, according
to their age and sex.