marxism

Topics: Communism, Marxism, Socialism Pages: 9 (2870 words) Published: December 10, 2013
Many argue that today's society is far from perfect, but if that is right, what could the possible alternatives be to the order of things we tend to take for granted? Marxism or some form or derivation of it, is probably the most popular one of such alternatives, but it seems to imply a rather devastating side- effect.  The question arises then,  if  Marxism can be established without a dictatorship?

The basis of Marx's idea of communism is the immanent antagonism and conflict between the only two social classes he perceived as fundamental, the 'Bourgeoisie' and 'Proletariate'. Marx often calls them the 'Oppressor' and 'Oppressed' which describes the relationship of the two in his mind, one that is based on one's exploitation of the other, with the bulk of humanity being on the unfavorable side.  Marx argues that this structure of status in society arrenged into different orders has always existed throughout History, only it did in forms different from those of today. Among the examples he mentions are the patricians, plebeians and slaves of Ancient Rome and the landlords and peasants of the Middle-Ages. He perceives his age, however, as a culmination of this unfolding struggle, where these different social classes are enlisted into two antagonistic clusters: 

"Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes. (...) Our epoch, the epoch of the bourgeoisie, possesses, however, this distinct feature: it has simplified 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"1

Although social differences are present in all areas of life, Marx focuses on the economy as he considers it the primary factor or infrastructure  of society in shaping ideas and consciousness.The Bourgoise, or capitalists are those who own most of the world's capital and means of production, thus leaving only one way for proletarians to produce: selling their workforce under the authority of the capitalist. To maintain their power, it is essential for the capitalists to keep the amount of consuming ever increasing, which makes it possible to increasingly industrialize production, which makes manufacturing cheaper according to the theory describing the developments of modernity:

"Meantime the markets kept ever growing, the demand ever rising. Even manufacturer no longer sufficed. Thereupon, steam and machinery revolutionised industrial production. The place of manufacture was taken by the giant, Modern Industry; the place of the industrial middle class by industrial millionaires, the leaders of the whole industrial armies, the modern bourgeois.(...) This market has given an immense development to commerce, to navigation, to communication by land. This development has, in its turn, 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 need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the entire surface of the globe."2

The so called middle class, that is, merchants, shopkeepers and craftsmen were unable to keep pace with mass production, so they all sink to the status of proletarian.  The latter, who form the majority of the world's population are not only stuck in poverty, but they also lose control over their own destiny. The rapid improvement of machinery is also making human labor and skills less necessary, resulting in high unemployment rates and menial...

Bibliography: Bender, Frederic L., and Karl Marx. Karl Marx, the Communist Manifesto. New York [u.a.: Norton, 1988. Print.
Colby, Ira C., Catherine N. Dulmus, and Karen M. Sowers. Connecting Social Welfare Policy to Fields of Practice. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2013. Print.
Gay, Peter. "The Dilemma of Democratic Socialism: Eduard Bernstein 's Challenge to Marx [Hardcover]." The Dilemma of Democratic Socialism: Eduard Bernstein 's Challenge to Marx: Peter Gay: 9780882548371: Amazon.com: Books. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2013.
Berman, Sheri. "Understanding Social Democracy." Columbia University, n.d. Web.
"Historical Overview of the Khmer Rouge." Www.cambodiatribunal.org/. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2013.
Hopkin, Jonathan. European Social Democracy. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.
"Lenin 's Implementation of Leninism in Russia and the Changes Made | South African History Online." South African History Online. N.p., n.d. Web.
"Russia : The Stalin Era (1928-53)." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, n.d. Web.
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