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Marxism. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (1818-1883) (1820-1895). Intellectual parents of Marxism Two main strands of thought Centralized strand = Communism Decentralized strand = socialism. Why is Marxism still Relevant?. Think about the movie “The Corporation”.

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karl marx and friedrich engels 1818 1883 1820 1895
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels(1818-1883) (1820-1895)
  • Intellectual parents of Marxism
  • Two main strands of thought
  • Centralized strand = Communism
  • Decentralized strand = socialism
why is marxism still relevant
Why is Marxism still Relevant?
  • Think about the movie “The Corporation”.
  • The corporation as a legal “person”.
  • The profit motive
  • Productivity
  • Efficiency
  • Critique of Capitalism
marx s critique of capitalism 114 118
Marx’s Critique of Capitalism (114-118)
  • Compared to past economic forms, Marx thought that capitalism was…?
  • The best yet.
  • But things could be even better.
  • Capitalism is a necessary stepping stone to a better future.
  • Communism.
first element of the critique alienation
First element of the critique: Alienation
  • In capitalism people are treated like property.
  • They are used, treated as tools.
  • They are means and not ends.
  • Menial, meaningless, repetitive jobs result in three-fold alienation from self, from job, and from fellow human beings.
material production 114 116
Material Production (114-116)
  • Economic Relationships basic to human life.
  • Three components:
  • Labor Theory of Value
  • Subsistence Wages
  • Surplus Value
capitalist exploitation 115
Capitalist Exploitation (115)
  • Capitalists (Bourgeoisie) exploit workers (proletariat).
  • Marx’s fundamental interest and motivation: how to end exploitation?
  • Major obstacle: workers denied education, kept ignorant of their condition: “false consciousness” through ideology.
materialism 118 120
Materialism (118-120)
  • The way people think is greatly affected by the way they live (socialization).
  • “Material” for Marx meant the economic foundation, the bedrock of social relationships.
economic base structure 116 117
Economic Base—Structure (116-117)
  • The economic structure or “base” greatly effects every other element of society.
  • Also referred to as the “mode of production.”
ideological superstructure 117 119
Ideological Superstructure (117, 119)
  • The economic base greatly effects: religion, politics, the state, culture, art, the family.
religion 116 117
Religion (116-117)
  • Used to justify exploitative economic system.
  • Tells workers to suffer in this life for greater rewards in the next.
  • Meanwhile, the fat cats are living the good life today.
  • But, Marx also knew that religion in its best form was empowering for people: Marx argued that the religion contains the highest expression of human ethics.
the state 115 116
The State (115-116)
  • = officials: police, army, bureaucrats and others used to keep the workers down.
  • The state is a violent tool wielded by the minority under capitalism.
politics
Politics
  • Think about the movie “the Corporation.”
  • Corporation is something granted by the public which was distorted after the civil war.
  • If the economic base prizes profit, productivity, and efficiency over all else then no matter how hard we try the ideological superstructure will reflect those interests.
the family 117
The Family (117)
  • Husband tells wife what to do.
  • Wife acts as an extension of the husband.
  • Wife stays at home, does not become educated, does not discover her interests—only those of the husband.
culture
Culture
  • Consumerism shapes our identity under capitalism.
  • “Shop till you drop”.
  • Product logos become more than simply signs, they become symbols telling us how to feel about the products we buy.
slide16
Art
  • Music: Jazz, Blues, Rock and Roll, Punk, and Hip Hop.
  • All are critical of the dominant culture but all have become “coopted” by the dominant culture. They become just another product, feeding our identity as good consumers.
progress 120
Progress (120)
  • Like liberalism, Marx believed in progress
  • Why?
dialectical materialism 120 122
Dialectical Materialism (120-122)
  • Marx believed in progress because he believed that every dominant structure contained within it the seeds of its future destruction, and evolution.
dialectical materialism as a tool
Dialectical Materialism as a Tool
  • To analyze the structure of the system within which we live.
  • Assumes that flaws exist.
  • Uses those flaws to transform, and make better.
example feudalism thesis
Example: Feudalism (thesis)
  • Economic system
  • Serfs work the land and give everything they make except what they need to live to the Lord.
  • Everything belongs to the King, granted by God (divine right).
antithesis
Antithesis
  • Feudalism is inefficient.
  • Property, if held privately, will encourage productivity because of self-interest.
synthesis capitalism
Synthesis (capitalism)
  • The clash between feudalism and its antithesis (“unity of opposites”) results in capitalism.
  • An economic system based upon private property.
historical materialism 122 124
Historical Materialism (122-124)
  • Marx: “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.”
  • The flaws in society provide the opportunity for change.
  • Many Marxists believe that this change is inevitable and will occur no matter what.
marx as theorist vs revolutionary
Marx as theorist vs. revolutionary
  • If the revolution is inevitable, why organize?
  • “the philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point, however, is to change it.”
the class struggle 124 125
The Class Struggle (124-125)
  • Bourgeoisie
  • Proletariat
revolution
Revolution
  • Two types
  • Political workers seize power.
  • Social  if the base (structure) changes, then ideological superstructure changes.
  • Both are “revolutionary” in the sense that they completely change the relationships regarding who rules and how society is ruled.
need a revolution be violent
Need a revolution be violent?
  • A complete or marked change in something.
  • A radical or pervasive change in society and the social structure; especially one made suddenly and often accompanied by violence.
vladimir lenin 1870 1924 p 126 127
Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924) (p. 126-127)
  • Leader of the Russian “Bolshevik” Revolution (October 1917)
  • Contributed to Marxism by developing the concept of the “vanguard.”
  • Articulated the notion of “democratic centralism.”
mao zedong 1893 1976 p 128
Mao Zedong (1893-1976) (p. 128)
  • Leader of the Chinese revolution (April 1949)
  • Most famous for developing guerilla warfare
  • Hit and run
  • Fight only when certain of winning
  • Constant pressure on the enemy
  • Requires: support of the people.
dictatorship of the proletariat 128 130
Dictatorship of the Proletariat (128-130)
  • Marx did very little theorizing about this.
  • Lenin and Mao are main examples because they lead successful revolutions.
  • We do know that when Marx talked about it, he said it should be short.
  • It was meant to be the stage between capitalism and communism (see list on 128-129).
full communism 130 131
Full Communism (130-131)
  • Compare list on 130 with one on 128-129.
  • Main difference is the role of the state.
again why is communism still worth studying
Again: Why is communism still worth studying?
  • Tool of analysis
  • Vision of a better world
alternative marxist traditions
Alternative Marxist Traditions
  • Eduard Bernstein
  • Rosa Luxemburg
  • Antonio Gramsci
  • George Lukacs
  • Anton Pannekoek
  • The Frankfurt School
  • Ernst Bloch
current trends
Current Trends
  • Critique of modern capitalism: remaining relevance of exploitation.
  • Some debate exists over whether capitalism has truly “won” or if capitalists have simply gotten better at convincing people that they’ve won.
  • How is this ideological?
today
Today
  • Post-Marxism
  • Analytical Marxism
  • Ecological Marxism