A CRITIQUE OF MARXISM Introduction
Introduction: Historical Background Intellectual Liberalism (Renaissance) Moral Liberalism Religious Liberalism (Protestant Revolt) Political Liberalism (French Revolution) Economical Liberalism (Industrial Revolution)
Introduction: Historical Background KARL MARX Friedrich Engels Ludwing Feuerbach Joseph Proudhon Hegel • Philosophical basis for communism • Jointly produced “The Manifesto of the Communist Party • Superimpose Hegelian dialectic into matter • Hegelian dialectics in social and economic problems: class conflict • Organic conception of society • Evolutionary view of history • Progress by means of conflict between opposing elements • Materialism
Introduction: Characteristics • Philosophy applied to economics • The core of Marxism is materialism; negation of God as the starting point • The actus essendi is replaced by material production operis homo • Any change is progress • Reaction against Idealism…. But ended up far from realism as well
Introduction: Dialectic Concept of Action • The dash of contradictory opinions possesses a twofold value: • Places two contradictory views relative to a particular topic • Gives both disputants a fuller grasp of the truth
Introduction: Dialectic Concept of Action • The final Idea, for Hegel, is arrived at through a series of three stages: • Thesis: the enunciation of the positive truth contained in the original idea. • Antithesis: the negation of the thesis of the first stage (the thesis contains within itself its opposite) • Synthesis: the developed idea that unites the content of truth which was contained in the thesis and antithesis
Introduction: Dialectic Concept of Action Hegel Marxs • As a basis of dialectical idealism • The idea is composed of contradictory elements • Idea is self-sufficient • As a philosophical system of dialectical materialism • Matter is composed of contradictory elements • Matter is self-sufficient
Introduction: Alienations • When man tries to go out of the material world, in the process, he is enslaved and becomes alienated. • Four main types of alienations: • Philosophical • Political • Economic • Religious • Social
Introduction: Strategy and Tactic of Revolution • The social organism also follows the law of dialectics: two opposing elements an exploiting and an exploited class • All this transformations from one social order to another were done by revolution • Five phases of human society • Society of common ownership of the land • Slave-holding society • Feudal society • Bourgeois or capitalistic society • Socialist and communist societies
Introduction: Strategy and Tactic of Revolution • In a communist society, the proletariat will be the ruling class, there would be no more class struggles, no oppression and no further revolutions • Revolution does not simply happen, it must be made and provoked • Three characteristics of the revolution • It will cast out all the exploiting groups • It can be achieved only if violence is used to overthrow the ruling and exploiting class • The proletarian revolution must be international in scope.
A CRITIQUE OF MARXISM The Marxist alienations
The Marxist Alienations: Religious • Religion was first invented by the primitive peoples to explain those powerful forces of nature like the wind, fire, rain and lightning. • With the coming of private ownership, the communist think that the exploitation entered society. Religion serves to protect the ruling and possessing class. • Religion the “opium of the people”; religion is justifying and rendering permanent the present economic set-up which necessarily brings the exploitation of the masses. • Religion will vanish as soon as economic exploitation vanishes, for it is the cause of religion
The Marxist Alienations: Religious • Critique • “To make one’s profit out of the need of another, is condemned by all laws human and divine (Rerum Novarum Leo XIII) • The Church is realistic enough to understand human nature and to know that even her tireless work for the poor would never bring them an earthly paradise (hence teaching patience and resignation) • Communism is the real opium • Creates a public opinion as the only one possible • Allows the communist leaders the rights to adopt any means • Makes man passive, it strips his personality of all freedom of thought
The Marxist Alienations: Philosophical • Philosophers cover the real world with a coat of metaphysical imagination. • Materialism is the only real philosophy, considers reality as it is • Only through praxis can we understand more about the relation between man and the world, and also to transform it.
The Marxist Alienations: Philosophical • Critique • To affirm that matter is the only real thing is also an erroneous supposition. • Metaphysics helps us to understand reality as it is, separating matter and form in our minds but always together in reality • Idealism separate us from the material world since it denies the material reality; materialism separate us from the spiritual world because it rejects anything that is not material.
The Marxist Alienations: Political • The mode of production current in society determines the character of the entire social superstructure, hence each type of economic production infallibly creates a distinctive type of State. • The exploiting class lead a life of ease, supported in luxury by the masses; the exploited class is one of economic servitude. • When the exploitation has reached a very high degree, the State becomes necessary, to maintain law and order, laws which will maintain the exploiting class in a position of subservience.
The Marxist Alienations: Political • Characteristics of the State • It is a class organization • An organized force, a unified public power of coercion • It has the right to levy heavy taxes • The officials hold a privileged place in society • The repressive functions of the State will increase in intensity in proportion to the development of industry on capital basis
The Marxist Alienations: Political • Critique • The State arises from the social nature of man, not from a fanatic desire to exploit. • Marx has simply confused the abuse of State power with the lawful use of power • Communism is mistaken by identifying the grave abuses of State power with the nature of the State. • The solution is not to destroy the State but to educate the rulers on the correct source and purposes of State power; the common good
The Marxist Alienations: Social • The cause of social alienation is the division of society into classes. • A class can be defined as a group of people who, in a given society with a given regime of production, are finding themselves in the same position: • Ownership or non-ownership of the property essential in the labor process • The personal freedom enjoyed or deprived of
The Marxist Alienations: Social • It is in the perennial clash of these two opposing forces, the oppressors and the oppressed, that Karl Max discovers the dynamic force which accounts for the progress and development evident in history. • It is through the conflict (class struggle) between these two classes: the bourgeois (thesis) and the proletariat (anti-thesis), there will come out a new and most perfect society: the communism (synthesis)
The Marxist Alienations: Social • Critique • Marx concludes that all society is made up of two classes, that every man either exploits or is exploited. • Ownership of property is not the cause of exploitation • Exploitation is rooted in lack of justice and charity in particular individuals • Justice and rights do no mean anything to the Marxists, and consequently, it is not possible that they really care about the welfare of the proletariat • Evil is drowned by the abundance of good.
The Marxist Alienations: Economical • Man expresses his essence, exteriorizes himself in the work of his hands, homo faber (man worker). • Private ownership is at the root of the exploitation: capitalists exploit workers; thanks to the liberal State’s protection of private ownership. • The profit, or difference between the subsistence level cost of the product (i.e., salary paid to the worker) and the actual market price, is what Marx calls “surplus value”.
The Marxist Alienations: Economical • From the surplus value theory, Marx deduces four economic laws: • The law of capital accumulation • The law of falling rate of profit (since capital accumulates under consumption also rises) • The law of concentration of capital • The law of increasing misery • According to Marx, the capitalist exploits the working man by using him for his own profit, thus enslaving him.
The Marxist Alienations: Economical • Critique • It forgets that everyone who has contributed mentally or physically toward the new product deserves some compensation. • The value of a product is not dependant on cost alone, but by the laws of supply and demand. • There is no exploitation on the part of the employer by the simple act of selling a product at a price higher than the salary given to the worker. • Because of the error of the surplus value theory, all the other economic laws derived from it are also wrong.
A CRITIQUE OF MARXISM Historical Materialism
Historical Materialism: Overview • Marxism believes that any philosophy of history which admits the existence of free will (freedom of choice) can never explain the development evident in history. • A true philosophy of history must: • Seek the fundamental dynamic power which furnishes individuals with the motives of their actions • Discover the factor(s) which mold society and its institutions • Pursue investigations beyond ideological motives (religious, patriotic,..) • Discover that which determines the character of these ideal forces which we call religion, society, the state, philosophy and social conventions.
Historical Materialism: Overview • Continuity in existence is the first law of man’s nature.Men must live before they think. The means whereby man produces these necessities of life (mode of production) must therefore be the driving force in history. • All though, religion,art,philosophy… does partially determine the course of history, it does so only as a proximate cause, since the ultimate cause, is the productive forces, the economic conditions.
Historical Materialism: Overview • Consequences • It outlaws the idea of a Supreme Intellect guiding the destinies of men by a divine providence • Refuses to regard the human intellect as the basic cause of social phenomena • It proposes a social determinism, struggle-reorganization • Marx affirms that the very end-product of the proletarian revolution will be a society without private property, classes, State, religion and without distinction between manual work and intellectual work.
Historical Materialism: Critique • Two conclusions from the theory • Whenever we find different modes of production we should find different types of States • Whenever we find similar modes of production we should find similar types of States • It is obvious that in history of mankind this two conclusions do not hold.
Historical Materialism: Critique • Religion will safeguard and foster the current method of production. All major religions have remain while the methods of production have changed. • Changes in methods of production follow upon the invention of new tools. Invention is primarily an intellectual activity, and as such, the economic motives cannot be the ultimate cause of the ideological elements of our society. • Why is it that the proletariat has the right to use the State power to suppress the bourgeois if Marx constantly condemns the State as an instrument which the class in power uses to suppress its rival class?
A CRITIQUE OF MARXISM Dialectical Materialism
Dialectical Materialism: Overview • The dialectic of Marx comes from • Marx applies dialectic to matter, conceiving matter as essentially active. • Without appealing to any cause external to the matter itself, this analysis of nature tries to offer an explanation of all natural phenomena.
Dialectical Materialism: Overview • The dialectic of Marx follows that of Hegel, which signifies a movement of jumps- by thesis, antithesis and synthesis. • Marx applies dialectic to matter, conceiving matter as essentially active. • Without appealing to any cause external to the matter itself, this analysis of nature tries to offer an explanation of all natural phenomena.
Dialectical Materialism: Dialectic and Matter • The Law of Opposites • It begins by insisting that science has outlawed the principle of non contradiction. Everything is at once itself and something else. Reality is unity of opposites. • Science has helped in this claim • A + and – charge are needed in electricity • Magnetism is made of + and – poles • Atoms are composed of protons and electrons • If a thing is looked upon in an abstract way, there is no contradiction, but there is when we look at it, as it exist in nature.
Dialectical Materialism: Dialectic and Matter • The Law of Negation • The Hegelian process: assertion, negation and negation of the negation. • DM contends that the nature of motion is such that a being in motion necessarily progresses towards its own negation. • Engels: the law of negation is the law of nature; in nature it operates in a particular way for each particular type of reality in order to produce development.
Dialectical Materialism: Dialectic and Matter • The Law of Transformation • This law asserts that a continuous quantitative development in reality very often results in the production of an entirely new form. • The emergence of all new forms, including man, is to be explained as a leap in nature, a sudden production of a qualitatively new reality due to a quantitative development in an already existing thing • It will have far-reaching effects when the principle is applied to social philosophy.
Dialectical Materialism: Dialectic and Matter • Critique • The error of the law of opposites lies on the confusion between contrary and contradictory. • Two contraries must move towards each other to be able to conflict, hence conflict is not the source of its motion. First mover of St Thomas. • The mere presence of motion of matter cannot, of itself, account for the fact that motion tends towards the development of the being. Hence there is a need of a transcendent Intelligence which directs the progress and development of all nature. St Thomas 5th way to prove the existence of God
Dialectical Materialism: Dialectic between Man and Nature • Reality is not the beings, the things, the changes of those things,etc., but rather human actions. The reality Marx talks about is the historical reality. The only thing that is real is history which is constructed by man • The relationship man-nature depends neither on the nature nor on man; it is pure activity. Man makes work and work makes man. • Work is then considered as the process of interchange of matters between man and nature. • When a worker receives his salary for his work; upon selling his work, he is selling himself as well (economic alienation).
Dialectical Materialism: Dialectic between Man and Nature • Critique • The main error is the reduction of being into action • If there is an action, it is always an action of someone since it is the individual who is the ultimate owner of the act of being which is what makes something real. • No one looses his identity (his act of being) by giving up something which does not enter into his essence, and the work of man does not determine a man to be a man.
Dialectical Materialism: Matter and Consciousness, Theory and Praxis • Materialism affirms that consciousness (ideas in our mind) is a manifestation and product of matter (things in reality) • In opposition to idealism, DM emphasizes the fact that knowledge does not have a purely subjective source; in opposition to the old materialism, it contends that the mind plays an active role in the acquisition of knowledge. Interaction between mind and external reality. • Another important interaction is known as the “unity of thought and action”, they are inseparably united. • On one hand, man himself is being changed by the knowledge which is acquiring; on the other hand, in the same act of acquiring knowledge, man is simultaneously and necessarily utilizing his knowledge to change the external reality.
Dialectical Materialism: Matter and Consciousness, Theory and Praxis • This doctrine denies the existence of contemplative knowledge. • If all knowledge must lead to action, and if the purpose of all action is to change matter, then obviously, that knowledge is true which enables us to change matter successfully. • DM is not to be identified with pragmatism, which does the same. The fundamental difference is that pragmatism is rather subjectivist, whereas DM refers to objective practice as the criterion of truth.
Dialectical Materialism: Matter and Consciousness, Theory and Praxis • Critique • First we need to establish the fact that immateriality is the basis of all knowledge • The mind is able to formulate abstract and universal concepts • The mind is able to reflect upon its own conscious state. • The presence of an immaterial mind implies the falsity of the Marxist theory that there is no distinction between mind and matter, as well as, the assumption that the mind could arrive at true knowledge of reality through a process of analysis and synthesis. • We might say to a Marxist that a thing is true not because it works; rather it works because is true. • The real criterion of truth should, therefore, be the conformity between the intellect and the thing in reality with the latter as the foundation of the marching.
Dialectical Materialism: Necessity and Freedom • Materialism tells us that the economic motives underline and determine all mental activity, but it also claims that man’s will is free. • Marxism will profess determinism but strongly protest against the theory being labeled fatalistic. • It identifies freedom of will with knowledge of natural necessity. Man is free because he is able to know that he must act according to determined laws. Man is composed of opposite elements, he is determined and free at the same time.
Dialectical Materialism: Necessity and Freedom • Critique • It is the nature of the will to tend to what is good. It is free to choose or not to choose a particular good. There is no freedom if there is no choice. • Freedom and necessity are not always opposed to each other. Men freely but necessarily desire happiness. • Two types of necessity • Necessity of force: imposed upon the will by force. • Necessity of natural inclination
A CRITIQUE OF MARXISM Decomposition Of The Theoretical Marxism
Decomposition Of The Theoretical Marxism : Orthodox Communism • Eduard Bernstein (1850-1932) • German, the denial of the necessity of revolution in order to obtain the establishment of socialism, denial of the theory of the inevitable and progressive accumulation of capital in few hands and impoverishing of the proletariat, based on the fact that the middle class increased • Nikolai Lenin (1874-1924) • Substitutes the proletariat by the communist party. • There is no need of simultaneous revolution, from Russia to the world • Imperialism is the last phase of materialism
Decomposition Of The Theoretical Marxism : Orthodox Communism • Mao Tse-tung (1893-1976) • A determinant factor is Nationalism. • Marxism is put in relations between agriculture and industry, the filed and the city. • Georgy Lukacs (1885-1971) • Hungarian, dialectic –once accepted- had to be applied also to the society born out of the Revolution. • Lukacs comes to show that if dialectics is assumed fully and brought to its last consequences, ends by denying materialism, in order to return to the idealism which it was taken.
Decomposition Of The Theoretical Marxism : Western Communism • All began with the capital points of Marx’s thought, taking for granted: atheism, materialism, dialectic and in one way or another socialism. • The problem comes when it comes to filling the voids of the Marxist system, the disintegration is produced in all directions. • The Marxism of the West is more humanistic and less dogmatic version of the Soviet one.
A CRITIQUE OF MARXISM Conclusion
Conclusion: The Absolute Incompatibility Between Christianity and Marxism • Any religion which upholds as Christianity does: • The existence of God as transcendent to the world • The freedom and immortality of the human soul • The superiority of spirit over Matter. Is radically irreconcilable with Marxism. • The recourse to class struggle and its abolition of private property goes vs Christian charity and the Church’s defense of private property