THE EARLY LIFE OF KARL MARX
1. Karl Marx was born in 1818, the same year in which Hegel was called to a prestigious professorship at the University of Berlin.
2. Marx was born in the city of Trier in the Moselle River Valley.
a. Marx's own family was comfortably middle class, his father maintaining an active legal practice.
b. His father held an official position as lawyer for the high court of appeals in Trier.
c. Both of Karl's parents were descended from many generations of illustrious of Jewish rabbis.
3. Heinrich Marx, Karl's father, was a believer in the French Enlightenment's belief in reason and its principle of toleration.
a. This was the principle that had given all Jews the rights of French citizenship, including the right to enter the professions.
b. When the Wars of Liberation had defeated Napoleon, the Prussian Government reannexed the city of Trier from the France in 1814.
c. The Prussian Government then reinstated anti-Jewish laws forcing Heinrich Marx to convert to Christianity to retain his official position.
d. Karl and the other children were baptized Lutherans in 1824, and their mother in the following year.
4. Karl attended local schools and at seventeen he went to the University of Bonn to study law.
a. His first year at Bonn was spent in writing poetry, drinking, and dueling.
b. His father was to convince Marx to transfer to the more intellectual environment of the University of Berlin.
THE YOUNG HEGELIANS
1. During the time that Marx was studying for his doctorate (1836-41), the mood of radical intellectuals at universities throughout Germany was depressed and bitter.
a. Frederick Wilhelm III of Prussia ruled as a strict reactionary against the principles of freedom which had been spread by the French Revolution.
b. Frederick Wilhelm IV proved to be an even more efficient reactionary than his father.
2. Prussia had now become an authoritarian police state.
3. When Marx came to the University of Berlin in 1836, the great philosopher Hegel had been dead for five years.
a. Yet, the influence of Hegel at the university and through out Germany was still very strong.
b. The followers of Hegel were now split into right-wing conservative, and left-wing radical groups.
c. Marx forgot about the law and immersed himself in the study of Hegel, and became one of the leaders of the left-wing radical group called the Young Hegelians.
HEGEL'S AMBIGUITIES AND THE YOUNG HEGELIANS
1. The political conflict in Prussia had turned into a bitter antagonism between the two camps of followers of Hegel.
2. This was in part due to the ambiguity and double meaning that could be taken from Hegel.
3. Hegel had presented the Christian-Germanic State (of Prussia) as the culmination of all human history.
a. Hegel had also presented his theory of dialectic which continued to negate whatever existed to bring about change and the further development of rationality.
b. The Young Hegelians argued that the Prussian State was becoming increasingly more restrictive and authoritarian.
c. They maintained that the State was not immune to the negative, critical power of dialectic and must be attacked.
4. Hegel also had nothing but contempt for political liberalism, and its twin components of individualism and democracy.
a. For Hegel the state also had absolute power and moral authority over the individual.
b. Yet, Hegel's philosophy of history claimed that the true meaning of human history was the progress of a consciousness of freedom.
c. The Young Hegelians called for freedom over authoritarianism of the Prussian State.
5. The third instance of ambiguity within Hegel was his conception of God.
a. Hegel's metaphysics saw reality as an absolute spirit (or mind of God) which is the totality of truth.
b. Hegel acknowledged that God has no existence except in the human sphere.
c. God exists only as He is revealed to the finite human mind through the course of history.
d. The Young Hegelians finally came to the conclusion of athesim.
ie. a God who exists only as human consciousness does not exist at all.
6. Another area of conflict arose from Hegel's famous statement that "the real is the rational and the rational is the real".
a. The conservative right-wing group took the first half of Hegel's statement.
ie. "The real is the rational."
b. They interpreted it to mean that whatever exists is necessary in the rational process of dialectic (which embodies the Absolute).
1. To try to change the status quo (meaning to oppose the Prussian State) is to oppose the rational process of dialectic.
2. This is to oppose God who is embodied in the state and the king.
c. The radical left-wing camp took the second half of the statement.
ie. "the rational is the real."
1. The Young Hegelians maintained that Hegel never meant to defend the status quo.
2. They maintained that Hegel meant that only what is rational has a claim to being called real.
3. They believed the most important task of Philosophy is to criticize all social institutions so that they can become more rational and thus more real.
ie. "Criticism" became the slogan of the Young Hegelians.
7. The Young Hegelians were calling for the continuing process of dialectical negation in order to reach a higher form of government.
a. Against political absolutism, they called for progress in freedom.
b. Against a god who exists only in human life, they defended atheism.
c. Against defending whatever exists as rational and divinely ordained, they insisted that what exists must be criticized so that it can be made rational.
ie. By violent revolution if necessary.
THE INFLUENCE OF THE YOUNG HEGELIANS: Criticism, The Divinity of Man, and
1. The Young Hegelians were not satisfied with just reinterpreting the philosophy of Hegel.
2. Their slogan of "criticism" took the form of attacks on law, political thought, philosophy, and religion.
a. As late as 1843 Marx wrote to his friend Arnold Ruge (1802-1880), another Radical Hegelian urging what is now needed is:
"a merciless criticism of everything existing, merciless in two senses: this criticism must not be afraid of its own conclusions and must not shrink from a collision with established powers."
b. In an article written about Hegel's Philosophy of Right, Marx still sees criticism as a means to change the world. Criticism, Marx says now:
"is not an anatomic knife but a weapon. Its object is its enemy, which it wants not to refute but to destroy."
c. Marx continued to recognize the significance of intellectual criticism, but he changed his mind on its importance as the most effective weapon with which to bring about change.
d. Instead of theoretical criticism, he came to believe that the ultimate weapon for change was to organize the power of the proletariat.
3. The Young Hegelian's Criticism of Hegel's God:
a. They believed that a God who exists only as human consciousness, only in the form of man, does not exist.
ie. They were theists.
b. They developed a new concept of divinity from their criticism of Hegel's concept of God.
c. If all of the absolute's development of rationality is within the human sphere, and it's carried out by man, the man is the true God.
ie. The human being is the true divinity.
4. The Young Hegelians maintained Man's Divinity, his God-like nature, has not yet been realized.
a. This realization of Man's divinity could only be achieved through revolution.
b. It would be a world wide revolution against the existing conditions of the world -- to make the world one in which the human being can live as a God.
c. It is viewed as a necessary world revolution, world catostrophe by which the institutions of the world will be destroyed.
5. These three themes (criticism as a political weapon, the divinity of man, and world revolution) remain a permanent part in the development of Marx's thought.
THE INFLUENCE OF FEUERBACH
1. In 1814 - Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-72) published a work called The Essence of Christianity.
2. He takes the Young Hegelian view of man as the true God and develops it into a theory about religion, specifically about Christianity.
a. Feuerbach says that Christianity is a projection upon God of man's own ideas of knowledge, will and love -- elevated to infinite power.
b. The essence of God is thus nothing but the projected essence of man, who is the true God.
c. Feuerbach uses this theory to show that Hegel's doctrine of the Absolute is the Christian concept of God in disguised form.
3. To grasp the truth of Hegel's philosophy, says Feuerbach, we must turn Hegel upside down -- we must transform/translate what Hegel says about the absolute into a profound philosophy of man.
4. Feuerbach maintains that the basis of philosophy should not be a concept of God or Spirit of the Absolute, but man himself, real material man in a real material world.
5. Marx took away two messages from Feuerbach's attack on Hegel.
a. Feuerbach's Materialism, his metaphysical theory that reality is primarily material, and not spiritual as Hegel claimed.
b. When Hegel is correctly translated, he is actually revealing man's life in the material world rather than God's manifestation.
ie. Hegel is still the master.
EDITOR OF THE RHENISH NEWS (RHEINISCHE ZEITUNG)
1. Marx had arranged to obtain his doctoral degree in absentia from the University of Jena, in April 1841.
2. Marx had been encouraged by a friend, Bruno Bauer, to try to gain a teaching position at the University of Bonn where he was teaching.
a. 1842: the Prussian minister of education condemned the Young Hegelians as an illegal group.
b. Bauer was dismissed from the University, and Marx realized there was no future for him there.
3. Marx then moved to the city of Cologne where he became editor of a liberal journal. the Rhenish News (Rheinische Zeitung).
THE PARIS YEARS: 1843-45
1. In June of 1843, Marx married Jenny von Westphalen moving then to Paris in November where they lived until 1845.
2. The move to Paris was prompted by Marx's realization that German censorship and reactionary politics would silence him.
3. The specific reason was a job offer to assist Arnold Ruge, another Young Hegelian, with the editing of a new journal.
ie. German-French Annals (Deutsch-Franzosische Jahrbucher)
a. Ruge hoped to publish articles from both German and French radical contributors.
b. Letter to Ruge (acceptance) in the Summer of 1843:
"I am tired of this hypocrisy and stupidity. I am tired of having to bow and scrape and invent safe and harmless phrases. In Germany there is nothing I can do ... in Germany one can only be false to oneself."
4. There was another reason for the choice of Paris.
a. Paris at this time was the most hospitable and tolerant city in Europe toward different political opinions.
b. Paris provided a rich and exciting intellectual atmosphere, especially for refugees from repressive governments.
5. At the same time France was the scene of rapid and socially disruptive changes as a result of the Industrial Revolution.
a. The government of France was weak and corrupt and controlled by the newly created industrialists and financiers.
b. Discontent among factory workers in rural areas of France had resulted in riots and strikes.
6. Paris before the revolutionary year of 1848 had become the breeding ground of modern socialist thought (ie. nurtured by the earlier models of 1789 and 1830).
a. Marx became very critical of many French radicals considering them to be utopians in their views.
b. He believed their theories could never be put into practice -- they presented glorious (laudable) ends without the means to achieve them.
PARIS, 1844: THE ECONOMIC AND PHILOSOPHIC MANUSCRIPTS
1. During his Paris years Marx began to concentrate on two problems which raised questions that the utopians had failed to ask.
2. The first problem was: "Why had the French Revolution failed?"
a. Europe was no closer to freedom than it had been before the revolution.
b. It took the position that the Age of Enlightenment had been naive to think that the world could be changed by reason, by science and education.
c. The radical Jacobin Party of the revolution had also failed to bring about change through the Reign of Terror.
d. Marx did not believe there was value in Hegel's viewpoint that the French Revolution had failed because it had not yet reached the dialectical state of freedom.
e. Marx was still left with the problem: is it possible to know when that dialectical stage has been reached when revolution will not fail.
3. The second problem was: "What is the significance of the new Industrial Revolution that was transforming the social, economic, and political life of the world."
a. Marx asked could the inequities and dehumanization which were visible in both France and England continue indefinitely without a revolution to correct them.
b. Marx also considered the question what is there to prevent such a revolution from failing as the French Revolution failed.
4. Marx read and studied with a passion in an attempt to answer these questions.
a. He taught himself French by reading the works of all the contemporary French socialists.
b. He also read French and German history written with Hegel's approach to human understanding.
c. He read all the major economic theorists from the 17th Century to his own time, most notably Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations.
5. The result of this intense intellectual activity (in the Spring and Summer of 1844) were the publication of a series of articles that are now known as the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts, the 1844 Manuscripts, or the Paris Manuscripts.
a. These manuscripts incorporated Marx's economic interpretation of history.
b. They were the key concepts of Marxism which received its full treatment in his last work, Capital.
THE REFUGEE TRAIL
1. Copies of the German-French Annals which Marx and Ruge coedited had been seized in April by the government of Prussia.
2. The first issue of the Annals was the last.
a. Marx was now converted to communism and had broken with Arnold Ruge who was strongly anti-communist.
b. Marx became a contributor to Forward, another radical journal.
3. On February 25, 1845: Forward was closed down by the French government for subversive radicalism.
a. Marx was expelled from France with only 24 hours to leave Paris.
b. Jenny, his wife, sold their furniture and left Paris a few days later.
4. The Brussels Period: 1845-48
a. Marx began to work at organizing an international revolutionary group.
b. He was soon joined with English radicals in an organization called the Communist League -- Marx soon became the leader of this growing organization.
c. In 1847 the Communist League commissioned Marx to prepare a document that would state the aims of their organization.
d. This resulted in the publication of the Communist Manifesto of the Communist Party.
5. With the outbreak of the revolution in Paris, Marx was expelled from Belgium.
a. He returned to Paris, but then moved on to Germany when the Revolution of 1848 began to break out there.
b. Marx quickly established a radical newspaper, the New Rhenish News in the city of Cologne.
c. When the German Revolution failed, Marx was deported from Germany never to return again.
6. Marx and his wife attempted to return to Paris but were not allowed to by the government -- they then moved to London in the Fall of 1849.
a. Marx was 31 and Jenny was 35 -- London became their home for the rest of their lives.
b. They lived in poverty and ill health -- three of their children died from lack of proper medical treatment.
c. Marx continued to write and plan for the world revolution which he would bring about, in part, but never see.
1. The Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts which Marx wrote in Paris in the Summer of 1844 were hidden from public view for almost a hundred years.
2. Before these manuscripts of the young Marx were discovered and published, Marxism was primarily thought of as the work of the mature Marx.
a. It was thought of as a scientific system, or a scientific socialism, as Marx and Engles had called it.
b. Marx scholars had accepted the view that for Marx the meaning of history is found in the division of labor, class struggle, class consciousness, and the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism.
c. As a scientific theory, It was regarded as having no moral or religious or philosophical meaning, but simply as an explanation of the necessary economic laws governing historical change.
3. The Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts were unknown until the 1930's.
a. The Marx-Engles Institute in Moscow published them as part of the collected works of Marx and Engles (commonly referred to as MEGA).
b. The Director of the Institute was David Riazanov, one of many Marxist intellectuals who were put to death in the purges ordered by Stalin.
4. After World War II, a new Marx emerged from the study of these Paris Manuscripts.
a. A view of Marxism as a moral or religious or humanistic system of thought.
b. Its fundamental theme was the moral regeneration of humanity through world revolution.
c. It had an appeal to many Western Intellectuals - to the alienation and the lonliness of modern society.
d. Marx placed an emphasis on authenticity -- to live in terms of our human essence; the religiousappeal of rising up against the false money-God.
5. Many non-communist scholars of Marx have abandoned the view of Marxism as scientific socialism or as an economic theory of history.
a. Marx is increasingly being viewed in moral or religious terms (coming from the 1844 manuscripts written when Marx was twenty-six years old).
b. The official communist position of Soviet scholars condemned this shift to the young Marx as a bourgeois attack on the theoretical foundations of communism.
Question: Are there really two Marxisms?
The Importance of Economics
1. By the Fall of 1843, shortly before Marx arrives in Paris, economics had become increasingly more important.
a. Marx was reading Adam Smith, David Ricardo, and other economic theorists.
b. It was an attempt to understand the Industrial Revolution, and its impact on human life and its future course.
a. The role of economics in human history had already been established in Marx's thinking by Hegel's analysis of Civil Society.
b. Hegel, said: "Economic relations of civil society constitutes a battle field where everybody's individual private interests meets everyone else's."
c. To Hegel, civil society in its economic affairs was a war of all against all, the continuous conflict of egoist desires.
3. The Jewish Question:
a. Marx's own thought on economic life in civil society can be seen in an essay entitled "The Jewish Question".
b. Marx puts an emphasis on economic alienation of human beings living within the alien world of commerce in which money is God.
c. Marx maintains that the modern commercial world is a religion of money worship, and he equates this worship of money with Judaism.
1. Jews are not longer a religious or a racial group -- Judaism is a religion of practical need, selfishness, and egoism.
2. It has enabled Jews to gain the power of money, vast political influence, and dominance in the competitiveness of civil society.
"Money is the jealous one God of Israel, beside which no other God may stand. Money dethrones all the gods of man and turns them into a commodity. Money is the universal, independently constituted value of all things. It has therefore deprived the whole world, both the world of man and nature, of its own value. Money is the alienated essence of man's work and his being. This alien being rules him and he worships it."
d. Marx also says that Christianity has now taken over this worship of money -- the world of competitive individuals has reached its completion in the Christian World.
ie. Christian civil society has become Jewish.
e. On the question of whether to emancipate the Jews from laws which discriminate against them, Marx argued:
1. The emancipation of Jews is the emancipation of humanity from Judaism.....from huckstering andmoney.
2. Judaism must be recognized as a "universal anti-social element of the present time.
3. A social revolution which would abolish the possibility of huckstering "would make the Jew impossible".
f. Christians would then be emancipated from the worship of money, and thus from their economic alienation.
THE ECONOMIC AND PHILOSOPHIC MANUSCRIPTS
Hegel Upside-down is Economics:
1. In the manuscript entitled "Criticism of the Hegelian Dialectics and Philosophy as a Whole", Marx presents an economic interpretation of history.
2. Marx maintains that Hegel was talking about Man externalizing himself in material objects -- of man's self-alienation in the objects which he produces.
3. For Marx the underlying, hidden meaning of Hegelian Philosophy is economics.
a. Hegel turned upside down (translated) provides a study of man's alienation form the production of his own labor in the money economy of capitalism.
b. Marx praises Hegel for his grasp of the meaning of labor:
"The greatness of the Hegelian Phenomenology lies, firstly, in the fact that Hegel grasps the self-production of man as a process, conceives objectification as loss of the object, as alienation and transcendence of this alienation; that he therefore grasps the essence of labor and conceives objective man......as the result of his labor."
4. Marx takes Hegel as a model for his own account of the self-realization of labor, of economic man.
a. For Hegel the Spirit achieves self-realization through the alienation of its true essence and the course of history.
ie. It is a developmental process.
b. Marx says that the true meaning of history is the developmental process.
c. The process in which generic man, laborer, producer, creator of material and nonmaterial objects, repossesses his own essence and achieves self-realization.
5. Marx criticizes Hegel's conception of Man as spirit arguing that Man is a natural being, within a world of natural objects.
6. Hegel proposed that alienation can be overcome through consciousness or spiritual activity.
ie. a "thought (intellectual) process.
7. Marx maintains that overcoming alienation merely in the form of thought will leave the alien, hostile world unchanged.
Man as Creator of Nature and Culture
1. Man as a species is a natural being which develops in the course of world history.
a. He is a (primarily) creative being with desires and powers, faculties, creative abilities, which have their outcome in production.
b. Man's history is the transformation of the objects of the natural world by which he has created the entire world of culture.
c. Man's creative powers are externalized by the material and cultural objects of mankind.
"The whole so-called world history is nothing other than the production man through human labor."
2. It is Marx's belief that self-realization is the result of the great totality of created objects in nature and human culture.
ie. World History is the developmental process.
a. Industrial Mechanization is the externalization of human hands - of man's creative powers.
b. The human species does not realize that he is the creator of the world of natural objects and of culture.
c. Man sees these objects that He has produced as alien, as existing in an alien, hostile world standing over him and against him.
d. Man believes this since his productive activity is done in servitude to the God money rather than in spontaneous self-determination.
1. According to Marx, human alienation takes four forms.
2. Man is alienated from the product of his work, from the act of producing, from his own social nature, and from his fellow men.
3. First: The worker in industrialized capitalism is alienated from his product.
a. It exists outside of him, independently, as something alien to him and even hostile to him.
b. His product is not his own but is utilized by strangers as their private property.
c. The more the worker produces, the less is his productivity valued ("the worker becomes an even cheaper commodity, the more cheap commodities he creates").
d. The worker's wages are just sufficient to maintain him with what is necessary to keep him working.
4. Second: the capitalist system alienates man from his productive activity.
a. His activity is not determined by his personal interest or his creativity, but is something which he is compelled to do in order to remain alive.
b. Marx said: "His labor is forced labor. The worker only feels himself outside his work, and in his work he feels outside of himself."
c. The more he works the less human he becomes -- he only feels at home in the animalistic functions of eating, drinking, and sexuality.
5. Third: capitalist society alienates the worker from the essential qualities of the human species.
a. Unlike animals who produce only for their immediate needs, humans produce knowledge and culture (such as art, science, technology) for the whole human race.
b. Marx maintains that the capitalist system degrades man's urge to produce for all mankind into animal labor, into a mere means to satisfy his personal physical needs.
6. Fourth: is the alienation or "the estrangement of man from man".
a. One's fellow man is a stranger competing with him as a worker and for the products of their labor.
b. Marx then maintains that both are estranged from "man's essential nature".
ie. the social nature of man.
The Passion of Greed
1. In the alienated world of capitalism not only the capitalist but also the worker is in bondage to greed.
ie. "A slave before the master-money, the money-God of Capitalism."
2. Marx says that Man is influenced by the dominant ideas of his capitalist environment to save his money and increase his capital.
Marx: The Paris Manuscripts
"The less you eat, drink and read books; the less you go to the theater, the dance hall, the public-house; the less you think, love, theorize, sing, paint, fence etc., the more you save - the greater becomes your treasure which neither moths nor dust will devour - your capital. The less you are the more you have art, learning, the treasurers of the past, political power - (money) can buy all this for you............... Yet being all this, it is inclined to do nothing but create itself, buy itself; for everything else is after all its servant. And when I have the master I have the servant......All passions and all activity must therefore be submerged in greed."
3. Hegel had identified human passion as the prime motivating force in the human world.
4. Marx identifies this force as the passion for greed of money, the money mania which equates money with power.
a. To Marx - this is the force that has alienated Man from his human essence and its the force that is dehumanizing him.
b. Marx says that Man worships money as the "all powerful master, as an overturninng power that can turn all values and relationships into their opposites".
"Money transforms fidelity into infidelity, love into hate, hate into love, virtue into vice, vice into virtue, servant into master, master into servant, idiocy into intelligence, and intelligence into idiocy."
The Overcoming of Alienation
1. Alienation which infiltrates every aspect of human life is the decisive character of human history.
2. Man the producer,who transformed the world of nature and created the world of nature and created the world of culture, is estranged from his creative powers.
3. Hegel's man (finite spirit) in the course of history is continually progressing in the consciousness of freedom.
4. Marx's man (natural man the producer) is not progressing in the consciousness of freedom but in the consciousness of slavery.
ie. human history constantly exhibits increasing alienation.
5. Raw Communism
a. Man can overcome self-alienation and free himself from money mania by mounting a world revolution and seizing the totality of property from the capitalists.
b. Human self-realization, the goal of world history, is not achieved simply by the seizure of property.
c. Raw or crude communism will exist at this point -- it is a transitional stage before the advent of pure communism.
d. Marx says that it wants to destroy everything (such as talent) that is not capable of being possessed by all as private property.
e. This type of communism does not overcome greed -- it universalizes greed for private property reducing everything to a common level.
f. Some French communist theorists take raw communism as the goal of revolution.
1. They call for the abolition of private property into common property.
2. To Marx -- this does not abolish money mania, but continues it (ie. Marx sees raw communism as merely another form of private property).
6. Ultimate Communism
a. The stage of raw communism will eventually pass into ultimate communism which Marx calls "positive humanism".
b. Man will repossess his alienated powers and the totality of objects they have created.
1. Greed for money and private property will have been overcome.
2. Labor itself will be abolished and in its place there will be free, joyous, productive activity.
c. With the end of economic alienation, there will also be an abolition (end) of all other forms of man's alienation from his human essence.
1. There will be an end to the state, the family, law, religion, morality - all the institutions which Marx believes are forms of human slavery to the money-God of capitalism.
2. Man will now repossess himself from his enslavement and live in unity with man and nature in the communist world to come.
1. In 1844 Marx had also established a friendship with Friedrich Engles.
a. Both Marx and Engles had been brought up in upper middle class homes.
b. Both had become involved in the Young Hegelians, and moved on to communism and radical politics.
2. The intellectual and personal styles of Marx and Engles were different though.
a. Marx was the speculative, creative, synthesizing type of mind, while Engles was practical and empirical.
b. Marx was explosive, self-involved, and domineering while Engles was even-tempered and outgoing.
c. Marx was a family man, and Engles was a womanizer who never married.
3. Friedrich Engles was the son of a Protestant family of wealthy cotton-mill owners in the German Rhineland.
a. His lifelong career was in his family's business, and his interests were primarily in economics.
b. During a year of military service in Berlin, Engles came to know the Young Hegelians at the University of Berlin.
c. At the end of his military service, he spent a year in England working at the Manchester branch of his father's firm.
d. On his way back to Germany he stopped off in Paris, where on August 28, 1844, he met Marx.
4. The two men decided to collaborate on a radical pamphlet which turned into a 300 page book called The Holy Family.
a. Before this book was finished, Marx was expelled from Paris and moved to Brussels.
b. Engles moved into a house next door to Marx, and they began work in September 1845 on a criticism of the Young Hegelians.
ie. The German Ideology
The German Ideology and the Beginning of Scientific Marxism
1. The German Ideology of 1846 represents an intellectual break with the Paris Manuscripts of 1844.
2. It is a formulation of the so called "Mature Marx", in which the theory of self-alienated man is now dismissed as a conception of left-wing Hegelian philosophers.
ie. It is now seen as having no value.
3. Marx has now moved away from the idea of the self and the humanistic concern for self-realization.
4. The German Ideology
a. It speaks about social relations, class interests, labor versus capital, proletariat versus bourgeosie.
b. It speaks of forces of production, about an economic base.
c. In place of philosophic theories, there is an emphasis on scientific laws.
1. Historical Materialism is the central theme of the "Mature Marx".
2. Materialism (in general) is any metaphysical theory which claims that reality is material.
3. Materialism had its greatest modern historical influence in the form of mechanistic materialism originally formulated by Rene Descartes in the 17th Century.
a. It holds that reality exclusively consists of matter in motion, and denies that mind or consciousness is real.
b. It is rejected by Marx since the only significance it gives to consciousness and human action is the passive results of motion in matter.
4. Marx believed that human consciousness and human labor are creative and productive forces in transforming the world of nature and thus man's own essence.
5. Marx believed that his own materialism was different from all earlier conceptions of materialism.
ie. He called it "new materialism".
a. He believed that the reality of material objects was not independent of human beings.
b. It is a reality which has been transformed by human labor in the course of history.
ie. He saw it as a new way of understanding history.
Society: Economic Base
1. For Marx just like Hegel, every individual society is an inter-related organic totality in which no part can be understood in isolation.
2. Hegel's explanation of this unity is found in the Spirit of the People (Absolute).
3. Marx's materialism explains organic unity of a particular society by its material economic foundation.
4. Marx's concept of economic structure or foundation is central to his view of society and history.
a. Man must produce the food, clothing, and shelter which will meet his basic human needs.
b. Man must produce the means to change what nature provides into things suitable for human needs.
c. When Man's basic needs are satisfied, he develops new needs which he satisfies by his productive activity.
d. Human nature is expressed in this on-going productive activity and its creative power, by which man continually transforms the material world and transforms himself.
5. Marx maintains that the process of Man's material production consists of three component parts.
a. Conditions of Production: conditions that affect human production such as climate, geography of a society's physical location, supply of new raw materials, total population.
b. Forces of Production: he means the types of skills, tools, instruments, and technology as well as the labor force available in a given society.
c. Relations of Production: he means the property relations within a society, specifically the social structure by which it organizes its conditions and forces of production -- and how it distributes the product among the members of society.
6. These three factors are viewed as a Hegelian dialectical triad.
a. Conditions of Production - the thesis.
b. Forces of Production - the antithesis.
c. Relations of Production - the synthesis.
7. The "sum total" of these component parts in any society is its economic foundation or economic substructure.
ie. organic unity?
Division of Labor
1. Marx took this concept from Adam Smith and other economic theorists for whom it was the specialization of labor to perform efficiently the different tasks required in production.
2. For Marx, the division of labor into specialized jobs has a dehumanizing and evil consequence.
a. It enslaves the worker to a limited and restricted sphere of activity from which there is no escape.
b. The worker is denied the fulfillment of the totality of his human creative powers.
ie. according to Marx these powers can never develop under a division of labor.
3. It also creates a slavelike-state in which the individual no longer controls the means for his own subsistence, his own livelihood.
4. Relations of Production take the place of human relations in social life.
a. Individuals no longer appear to one another as persons.
b. They have become economic units within the impersonal process of production.
5. It also alienates the individual worker from his fellow workers.
6. It implies a division between capital and labor, and the different form of property itself.
a. One man produces and another man appropriates the greater part of it as private property.
b. The product of labor no longer belongs to the one who produced it, but to the non-productive owner.
c. Marx maintains that the division of labor is the source of of the institution of private property.
1. Private property leads to class division between the class of owners and the class of producers.
2. These two classes are in a master-slave relationship -- the producers are in a slave relationship to the owners who appropriate the major share of what the workers produce.
d. Marx concludes that Class Struggle is the inevitable result of this relationship.
7. Marx scholars have pointed out that the social scientific concept of the division of labor (the mature Marx) has replaced alienation, the philosophic concept (the young Marx) as the problems of human existence.
1. For Marx an ideology is a system of ideas which is determined by class conflict and which reflects and promotes the interest of the dominant class.
a. They are distortions of consciousness which Marx says falsify true reality to defend and promote the economic interests of a social class.
b. Throughout history in which there has been a division of labor and class conflict the dominant beliefs have served the dominant class.
2. To Marx the history of human culture is a history of ideology (religious, philosophic, legal) that claims to be universal and eternal truths for all mankind.
a. Marx says that they actually represent the ruling class and attempt to legitimize its authority and power.
b. The French bourgeoisie called for freedom and equality for all, but in reality it gave them political power which they lacked.
c. Principal ideas and values of history can be shown to have functioned to protect class interests.
d. It has been done deceptively to keep the truth of the dehumanizing aspects of civil society from being recognized by the exploited class.
3. Marx maintains that the only way to overcome the falsifying ideologies of the ruling class is through worldwide revolution waged by the proletariat.
a. The economic foundation of world capitalism and its class conflict will be destroyed.
b. The cultural superstructure which conditioned that conflict will also be destroyed.
4. Marx maintains that the proletariat will move by stages toward a classless society in which ideologies (with their defenses and deceptions) will have no function and will disappear.
Theory of Historical Change
1. Marx like Hegel sees history as a developmental, rational process revealing itself in time according to the laws of dialectic.
2. For Marx the individual units of the dialectical historical process are not the great nation-states, but are the economic modes of production.
3. Marx is committed to historicism like Hegel.
a. Marx rejects Hegel's theory of historical change as the dialectical development of the idea of freedom.
b. For Marx, only economic forces are strong enough to bring about historical change.
c. It is the conflict within the triad of the economic foundation of society that will destroy society and bring about change.
d. It is the conflict that develops between the constantly growing forces of production (skills, technology, inventions) and the existing relations of productions (social structure) or property relations.
Theory of Revolution
1. Man, the creative producer, transforms production by developing new methods or technologies of production.
2. In the early stages of production (capitalism/industrialization), the relations of production and their distribution of property aid in the development of improved skills and technology.
a. At later stages, growing new forces of productions come into conflict with the existing relations of productions.
b. The ruling class resists change and keeps the existing property distribution unchanged, since their position depends on it.
3. The ruling class (relations of production) now becomes an obstacle to further development (ie. technology) to prevent overproduction and to protect profits and investments.
a. Marx says that a revolution must break out to ensure man's productive forces to continue to grow.
b. Social Revolution is the result of the suffering of labor from unemployment, underemployment, loss of new types of work, and the limitation of new fores of production.
4. The producers break the power of the dominant class, seizing political power and generating their mode of production, which then determines their forms of thought.
ie. the transformation of man (his essence) through labor.
5. For Hegel, dialectic was only a means of interpreting history - the wisdom of dialectic came too late to predict change.
ie. "the Owl of Minerva"
6. Marx: The dialectical conflict between the relations of production provide a necessary iron law of history by which the future can be predicted.
ie. the development of history is inevitable.
a. The proletariat will become revolutionary and break the economic base of capitalism just as capitalism broke the economic base of feudalism.
b. The proletariat will introduce a communist mode of production.
c. They will seize political power and establish a dictatorship of the proletariat which will be an interim stage before a classless society is established.
d. In the Communist World to Come: there will be no private property, no division of labor, no class conflict, no exploitation of human beings, no alienation or enslaving institutions of the family, morality, laws, state, no ideology.
THE FINAL WORDS of the Communist Manifesto: 1848.
"The communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a communist revolution. The proletariat have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Workers of the world unite!"
Manifesto of the Communist Party
1. Although both Marx and Engles are credited with writing the Communist Manifesto, Engles only wrote an uninspired first draft of twenty-five questions and answers about communism.
2. Marx rewrote the whole document, and it is a product of his intellectual, imaginative, and political creative powers.
3. It explains all of the human past as a history of class struggles which have taken place according to dialectical laws.
4. It presents a diagnosis of the present period (1848) as the last great class struggle of history between the capitalist and the proletariat.
ie. the proletariat being the last enslaved class remaining to be freed.
The Rise of the Bourgeosie
1. Marx maintains that the capitalist class is the most revolutionary class that has existed up to the present time.
2. The rising bourgeosie (the owners of the forces of production) completely revolutionized economic production.
a. They have dominated the world and established world markets which in turn accelerated the growth of industrial production.
b. The origin of the bourgeois revolution lay in the Age of Discovery, Colonialism, and the trade which they opened up.
3. Marx maintains it is a class that cannot exist without revolutioning the instruments of products and thus the relations of production.
4. The bourgeosie have created in every country new needs (demand) for the products of industry -- and a world market for the technology of industry.
a. They have broken down national barriers by the introduction of international trade and industry.
b. They have also broken down national intellectual isolation through the international exchange of ideas.
ie. through trade and industry.
5. Capitalism also destroyed the feudal aristocratic culture.
a. The feudal economic structure of a dependent agrarian society came to an end. (ie. need for labor).
b. Feudal traditional hierarchial and patriarchal relationships were replaced with the self-interest of cash payments.
6. According to Marx capitalism turned the personal value of a human being into its worth as a mere commodity in the market.
Dialectic of Capitalism: Its Achievements Leads to Its Own Destruction.
1. The rapid growth of industry and communication has created enormous cities that are subject to the rule of the urban centers.
a. Laborers have been crowded into factories, as slaves to machines, receiving wages for their work.
b. It has destroyed the lower level of the middle class.
2. According to Marx, in the bourgeois era society is rapidly splitting into two hostile camps, the proletariat and the bourgeoisie.
3. Marx admits that capitalism has developed the material world and has vastly improved the material condition of life.
a. This is also viewed by Marx as necessary for the future development of human beings (history).
b. Capitalism is thus a necessary stage in history.
4. Capitalism is subject to dialectic, and to the dialectical principle of negation.
a. Capitalist relations of production has been chained to the forces of production that will destroy it.
b. The forces of production that the capitalist has brought about will result in the crisis of overproduction of goods.
c. It is at this crisis where the relations of production and forces of production will come into conflict.
5. The Capitalist had constantly demanded the improvement and expansion of productive forces.
a. Now the over production of goods threatens the profit and property relations of the capitalist.
b. The only alternative is the slowing down of production which means unemployment and suffering for the proletariat.
c. The proletariat has been increasing in numbers as a result of the productive energies of the bourgeoisie.
d. Under these conditions of the increased ranks of the proletariat will become united and revolutionary against the bourgeoisie.
Marx: In the Manifesto.
"What the bourgeoisie, therefore, produces, above all, is its own grave diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable."
6. Marx believes that no power on earth can prevent the advent and outcome of this last class struggle.
a. The capitalist class is doomed to extinction since it has performed its necessary role in the dialectical history of man (ie. man's transformation of nature and of human nature, the essence of man).
b. Marx calls on the proletariat to unite under the Communist Party in a revolutionary victory over the bourgeoisie.
PROBLEMS: The Communist Manifesto
1. Marx's theory has run into serious difficulties and confusions which it has never been able to overcome.
2. Marx maintains that a proletarian revolution is inevitable - then why is it necessary to incite the proletariat to action.
ie. the role of the Communist Party.
3. Historical Materialism: Truth or Propaganda
a. Question: Is it an objectively true theory about what has taken place in human society, or is it propaganda for a political end?
b. If the proletariat fights for the revolution believing Marx's propaganda that a successful revolution is inevitable, by their action they will have made it inevitable.
c. Marx said in his Theses on Feuerbach in 1845:
"The question whether objective truth can be attributed to human thinking is not a question of theory, but is a practical question. Men must prove the truth."
d. Marx is saying that a theory is true if it works -- it will be made true when it leads people to believe in itand act upon it.
e. "Praxis" - is the Marxian term for the use of theory to move the masses and by this means to change social conditions.
4. This view of truth can be called radical pragmatism.
a. Pragmatism is a theory of truth which holds that a statement is true if it "works" in the sense of making tested, verified predictions.
b. Radical Pragmatism is the view that any statement may be called true if it "works" in the sense of bringing about the desired goals of those who believe it.
c. When a statement is regarded as true if people believe it and if it "works" for them in practice, it loses its claim to objective truth.
5. The third problem that presents itself is whether the Communist Manifesto is science, philosophy, or ideology.
a. The Manifesto does not merely interpret or explain history, it incites the proletariat to action with a specific revolutionary guide for the future.
b. It appears to be an ideology conditioned by class conflict distorting consciousness and falsifying the truth.
c. Marx claimed that all thought was ideological, but his views escaped the ideological trap and are objectively true.
Marx: The London Years
1. After the Revolution of 1848, he escaped to London where he lived from 1849 until his death in 1883.
2. The first years in London were the worst -- living in cramp, crowding housing; loosing three children between 1850 and 1856; hounded by creditors for non-payment of bills, and constantly evicted for non-payment of rent.
3. Marx's principle source of income during these years was from newspaper articles which he wrote as a foreign correspondent for the New York Daily Tribune.
a. He was paid two pounds, approximately ten dollars, for each article.
b. The rest of their money came from small inheritances and support from Engles and other friends.
4. The Marxes endured almost twenty years of poverty before Engles, who had received an increased income from his family's Manchester mills, gave them an annual income on which they could live in comfort.
5. In London in the 1850's Marx found himself isolated, without many friends, and exiled from the stimulating atmosphere of Continental Europe.
a. England in the 1850's had begun to experience an economic upswing and rapid growth in industry and trade.
b. The 1850's in England after the radicalism of the 1840's have been compared to the 1970's in the United States after the radicalism of the 1960's.
6. It is an irony that Marx lived the second part of his life during a period of increasing economic prosperity and a continuing improvement of the standard of living of the working class.
7. Unionized industrial workers of England saw themselves gaining better wages and working conditions -- the appeal of radical propaganda had simply lost its influence.
8. Marx continued his ties with the Communist League and other revolutionary exiles.
a. His time was spent in the reading room of the British Museum where he spent endless hours reading and writing.
b. Here all of Marx's subsequent works were written, and most notably - Capital (Das Kapital).
1. Capitol is considered to be the most complete statement of mature Marxism especially history as a class struggle determined by the division of labor moving towards its ultimate end by the iron law of economic dialectics.
2. Capitol provides a systematic analysis of the famous concept of the labor theory of value, surplus value, the theory of exploitation, and the polarization of classes.
3. These are economic concepts of scientific socialism within the context of world history.
4. Capitalism: definition
a. Marx's fundamental view is that a capitalistic mode of production is one in which a few men own and control the forces or means of production as their own.
b. The capitalists employ as workers those who have nothing to sell but their own labor.
5. Labor Theory of Value
a. Marx maintains that commodities (products) have a value equivalent to the amount of labor needed to produce them.
b. The principle was borrowed by Marx from the British economists Adam Smith and David Ricardo.
c. Contemporary economists object to this concept pointing out that the value of a commodity is determined by supply and demand.
d. They also maintain that it is not the amount of labor that determines the value of a commodity, but the degree of skill that is required to produce it.
e. Marx, also, deliberately excludes the labor of the capitalist himself from the value of a commodity.
6. Surplus Value
a. This is the concept that attempts to explain both the profit of the capitalist and the exploitation of the workers.
b. Marx defines surplus value as the difference between the value of wages received by the worker and the value of what he has produced.
c. The difference between wages and the sale price of a commodity is the capitalist's profit.
7. Theory of Exploitation
a. The working class is forced into the position of selling their labor for the going rate of wages.
b. Marx maintains that the capitalist exploits the worker by selling the goods the worker produces for more money than he pays the worker.
c. Criticism of Marx
d. Exploitation then is the difference between wages and the market value of a commodity.
8. Capitalist Competition and Crises of Overproduction
a. Marx maintains that Capitalists are in relentless competition with one another in selling their goods.
b. This results in the investment of capital in new machinery to increase production.
c. The cost of new machinery cuts into the profit that he makes from the surplus value of what his workers produce.
d. Competitors have also introduced new machinery, and increased their production commodities.
e. Result: the increased amount of commodities on the market reduces profits and create a crisis of overproduction.
f. Marx maintains that this again shows the contradiction between the forces and the relations of production that leads to revolution.
9. Polarization of Classes
a. Marx believes that the capitalist class will shrink in size as competition increases.
b. The more successful capitalists undersell others and buy them out or drive them out of business - their number will decrease.
c. While the capitalist class is decreasing in size, the proletariat class is rapidly growing in numbers.
d. Marx maintains that these small producers are disappearing because they cannot compete with the capital, mass production, and the underselling of capitalist businesses.
e. In this way capitalism reduces society into two main classes: one growing richer as the other grows poorer.
f. The enlarged proletariat will come to realize the cause of their situation, and they will become revolutionary.
The Communist World to Come
1. First Stage: The Dictatorship of the Proletariat
a. The proletariat will establish a government with absolute, dictatorial power to guarantee a successful transition from capitalism to communism.
b. For Marx the state is an instrument of class oppression -- yet, the proletariat must become a ruling class to destroy any remnant of capitalist power.
c. This is accomplished by using all the means of coercion.
ie. the state, army, courts, police.
Marx: in the Communist Manifesto
"The proletariat will use its political supremacy to take, by degrees, all capital from the bourgeosie, to centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the State, ie., of the proletariat organized as the ruling class; and to increase the total production as rapidly as possible. Of course, in the beginning, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads on the right of property....."
d. The dictatorship of the proletariat will be "raw/crude materialistic communism" focusing upon material possession.
e. All private property will be seized from the owners and nationalized thus becoming the equal property of all.
f. Everyone will be a worker and will become an employee of the state, with a strict equalization of wages.
g. The dictatorship of the proletariat will be driven to reduce the standard of living for all to a common law level to rationalize poverty as virtuous self-denial for the good of the revolution.
h. Raw Communism will have no use for the "whole world of Culture and Civilization" and will become a state of "unnatural simplicity".
i. At this stage of communism the state itself becomes a single, all powerful capitalist.
1. It is a state for whom everyone works, by whom everyone is paid equally, and by whom everyone's life is controlled.
2. One could take the view that it is as communism exists today and that it has never progressed beyond the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.
2. Second Stage: Ultimate Communism
a. Marx maintains that the evils and short-comings of all dialectical stages of history will be overcome.
b. At this fully developed state of communism, man will recognize the material world as his own and will dominate it.
ie. No longer dominated by it.
1. Man's alienation from his work will be overcome, and he will relate to the world of material objects as the product of human labor.
2. He will see them as human objects which he valued and enjoyed without being possessed as private property.
c. Instead of wages the Principle of Ultimate Communism will be: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."
d. Marx says that Man will be liberated from the division of labor and from competition with his fellow man.
* Ultimate Communism will establish this state since:
"Society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, to fish in the afternoon, raise cattle in the evening, criticize after dinner, just as I have a mind, without becoming hunter, fisherman, shepherd or critic."
3. The problem is that Marx is depicting a fantasy of an idealic paradise (utopia) which is impossible.
a. Marx has once more returned to a Hegelian vision of history as a great triad.
b. From a thesis of primitive communism, to the antithesis of long centuries of toil under economic systems of private ownership of the means of production --
ie. Asiatic, Classical, Feudal, and Capitalist, and finally to a synthesis of advanced, industrial communism.
c. Marx has moved beyond propaganda and ideology, beyond philosophy and science -- to express a religious vision and prophecy of the liberation and purification of mankind.
1. The picture of the world to come which Marx is depicting is very much reminiscent of Hegel's Absolute (mind of God).
2. Yet, the mature Marx is secular, materialistic, and atheistic having no claim to such religious visions.
1. Contrary to Marx's predictions, Capitalism has not been destroyed -- Marx vastly underestimated the powers of capitalism to reform itself.
a. The unrestrained capitalism of Marx's day does not exist anymore.
b. Capitalism has incorporated many of the demands of the Communist Manifesto and has moved in the direction of the welfare state.
2. Communism has not arisen in highly developed capitalist countries out of the conflict between relations and forces of production.
3. The contributions of Marx to intellectual and political culture exist and must be recognized.
a. By his concepts of the economic foundations of society, social classes, ideology and its culture.
b. By historical conditions on human life and thought.
c. Marx must be regarded as a major political economist and as a founder of sociology, and of intellectual history.
d. Marxist thought has transformed both the intellectual culture and the political existence of the twentieth century.