Essays On Marxism

Essays On Marxism-79
The actual changes that occur in history are seen here as the outcome of opposing tendencies, or "contradictions", which evolve in the ordinary functioning of society.

The actual changes that occur in history are seen here as the outcome of opposing tendencies, or "contradictions", which evolve in the ordinary functioning of society.

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I bought an apple for 5 cents, spent the evening polishing it, and sold it the next day for 10 cents. Karl Marx sought the answers to these questions by trying to understand how our capitalist society works (for whom it works better, for whom worse), how it arose out of feudalism and where it is likely to lead.

With this I bought two apples, spent the evening polishing them,and sold them for 2O. It was at this point that my wife's father died and left us a million dollars". Concentrating on the social and economic relations in which people earn their livings, Marx saw behind capitalism's law and order appearance a struggle of two main classes: the capitalists, who own the productive resources, and the workers or proletariat, who must work in order to survive.

It is from the German philosopher, Hegel, that Marx learned a way of thinking about the world, in all its fluid complexity, that is called "dialectics." The British political economists, Adam Smith and David Ricardo, provided Marx with a first approximation of his labor theory of value.

From the French utopians, especially Charles Fourier and the Comte de Saint-Simon, Marx caught a glimpse of a happier future that lay beyond capitalism.

There is also Marxism as it has been understood and practiced by the various Leninism) became the doctrine of the communist parties set up after the Russian Revolution (1917).

Offshoots of this included Marxism as interpreted by the anti-Stalinist Leon Trotsky and his followers, Mao Zedong’s Chinese variant of Marxism-Leninism, and various Marxisms in the developing world.In the social production that men carry on, they enter into definite relations that are indispensable and independent of their will, relations of production which correspond to a definite stage of development of their material forces of production.The sum total of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which rises a legal and political superstructure, and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness.Along with the paradox of an Industrial Revolution which produced as much poverty as it did wealth, these are the main ingredients that went into the formation of Marxism.*A shortened version of this essay appeared in the Academic American Encyclopedia (Arete" Publishing Company, Princeton, NJ., 1981), and was republished in Monthly Review (New York, April, 1981).Although Marx stated that there is a correspondence between the “material forces” of production and the indispensable “relations” of production, he never made himself clear on the nature of the correspondence, a fact that was to be the source of differing interpretations among his later followers. Above the economic structure rises the superstructure, consisting of legal and political “forms of social consciousness” that correspond to the economic structure.Marx says nothing about the nature of this correspondence between ideological forms and economic structure, except that through the ideological forms individuals become conscious of the conflict within the economic structure between the material forces of production and the existing relations of production expressed in the legal property relations.In this way, the system of capitalism, the wider context, is never lost sight of when studying any event within it, an election or an economic crisis for example; nor are its real past and future possibilities, the historical context, ever neglected when dealing with how something appears in the present.Whatever Marx's subject of the moment, his dialectical approach to it insures that his fuller subject is always capitalist society as it developed and is still developing.Marxism, a body of doctrine developed by Karl Marx and, to a lesser extent, by Friedrich Engels in the mid-19th century.It originally consisted of three related ideas: a philosophical anthropology, a theory of history, and an economic and political program.


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