Marx & Engels. Economic & Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 The German Ideology The Communist Manifesto. I. Dialectical Materialism. From the Manifesto :
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Marx & Engels Economic & Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 The German Ideology The Communist Manifesto
I. Dialectical Materialism • From the Manifesto: “What else does the history of ideas prove, than that intellectual production changes its character in proportion as material production is changed? The ruling ideas of each age have ever been the ideas of its ruling class.”
I. Dialectical Materialism • We need to examine how these means of production are mobilized and organized to actually produce the means of subsistence
I. Dialectical Materialism • We need to know how the various members of the society stand in relation to the means of production. • Class – defined as one’s position vis-à-vis the means of production • Broadly, you either own the means of production or you labor on the means of production
I. Dialectical Materialism • When we look back at history we see certain patterns emerge. • Primitive Communism • Slave Labor • Feudalism • Capitalism
I. Dialectical Materialism • But remember the connection between the material conditions of existence and the ideas of “the age.” • As they note in the German Ideology…
I. Dialectical Materialism “The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas: ie., the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production”
I. Dialectical Materialism • In other words, in a capitalism, we shouldn’t be surprised to find media and other institutions extolling the virtues of the market and the factors that contribute to its existence • “Freedom” in capitalism means we are all “free” to say or print anything, but that means whoever has the more money has more freedom
II. Critique of Capitalism Marx & Engels develop 2 main arguments against capitalism based on the following: • Exploitation • Alienation
II. Critique of Capitalism 1 In capitalism, the 2 main classes are: Proletariat (workers) Capitalists(bourgeoisie
II. Critique of Capitalism I Workers Capitalist What occurs during the workday in capitalist system?
II. Critique of Capitalism I Workers Capitalist Labor time Wages
II. Critique of Capitalism Labor time = 8 hours Workers Capitalist Wages = $/hour worked
II. Critique of Capitalism Labor time = 8 hours Workers Capitalist Wages = $/hour worked Where does the capitalist’s profit come from?
II. Critique of Capitalism “If one day’s work were necessary in order to keep one worker alive for one day, then capital would not exist, because the working day would then exchange for its own product, so that capital could not realize itself and hence could not maintain itself as capital…”
II. Critique of Capitalism “If, however, only half a working day is necessary in order to keep one worker alive one whole day, then the surplus value of the product is self-evident, because the capitalist has paid the price of only half a working day but has obtained a whole day objectified in the product; thus has exchanged nothing for the second half of the work day.
II. Critique of Capitalism “The only thing which can make him into a capitalist is not exchange, but rather a process through which he obtains objectified labour time, ie, value, without exchange.” -- The Grundrisse (1857/58)
II. Critique of Capitalism Labor time = 8 hours Workers Capitalist Wages = $/hour worked
II. Critique of Capitalism Worker labors 8 hours… But produces value worth 12 hours Workers Capitalist The worker is exploited by the capitalist Capitalist pays for 8 hours, gets 4 hours free!
II. Critique of Capitalism 1 “The worker becomes all the poorer the more wealth he produces, the more his production increases in power and range. The worker becomes an ever cheaper commodity the more commodities he creates. With the increasing value of the world of things proceeds in direct proportion the devaluation of the world of men.” -- 1844 Manuscripts
II. Critique of Capitalism 2 • Alienation • By alienation, Marx & Engels mean that we feel estranged from ourselves, that we no longer feel any connection to the basics of our life
II. Critique of Capitalism 2 “…[T]he object which labor produces – labor’s product – confronts it as something alien, as a power independent of the producer. The product of labor is labor which has been congealed in an object, which has become material: it is the objectification of labor.” -- 1844 Manuscripts
II. Critique of Capitalism 2 “It is true that labor produces for the rich wonderful things – but for the worker it produces privation. It produces palaces– but for the worker, hovels. It produces beauty– but for the worker, deformity. It replaces labor by machines– but some of the workers it throws back to a barbarous type of labor, and the other workers it turns into machines. It produces intelligence– but for the worker idiocy, cretinism.” -- 1844 Manuscripts
II. Critique of Capitalism 2 • Recall the earlier point about the importance of labor in the evolution of the human species. • It is labor which helped separate human beings from nature; it is a creative, essential part of our being
II. Critique of Capitalism 2 In capitalism, the nature of the work day experience makes us hate and detest this essential human activity; and instead…
II. Critique of Capitalism 2 “As a result, therefore, man (the worker) no longer feels himself to be freely active in any but his animal functions – eating, drinking, procreating, or at most in his dwelling and in dressing-up, etc....
II. Critique of Capitalism 2 “and in his human functions he no longer feels himself to be anything but an animal. What is animal becomes human and what is human becomes animal.’ --1844 Manuscripts
II. Critique of Capitalism 2 Or, as Marx & Engels note in the Manifesto: “Owing to the extensive use of machinery and to division of labor, the work of the proletarians has lost all individual character, and consequently, all charm for the workman…
II. Critique of Capitalism 2 “He becomes an appendage of the machine, and it is only the most simple, most monotonous, and most easily acquired knack, that is required of him… as the repulsiveness of the work increases, the wage decreases.” -- The Communist Manifesto
II. Critique of Capitalism 2 • Not only are we estranged from ourselves, but capitalism severs our connection with each other
II. Critique of Capitalism 2 “The bourgeoisie … has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous ‘cash payment.’ It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervor, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation…”
II. Critique of Capitalism 2 “In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation… The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honored and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage-laborers.” -- The Communist Manifesto
II. Critique of Capitalism “[Capitalism] compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of production; it compels them to introduce what it calls civilisation into their midst, i.e., to become bourgeois themselves. In one word, it creates a world after its own image...”
II. Critique of Capitalism “The bourgeoisie has subjected the country to the rule of the towns. It has created enormous cities, has greatly increased the urban population as compared with the rural, and has thus rescued a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural life. Just as it has made the country dependent on the towns, so it has made barbarian and semi-barbarian countries dependent on the civilised ones, nations of peasants on nations of bourgeois, the East on the West.” -- Communist Manifesto
III. The Communist Future • So, where do we go from here? • Recall the dialectical method • Within capitalism itself, we see the seeds of its own destruction • The Proletariat is the first “universal” class
III. The Communist Future “All previous historical movements were movements of minorities, or in the interests of minorities. The proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interests of the immense majority. The proletariat, the lowest stratum of society, cannot stir, cannot raise itself up, without the whole superincumbent strata of official society being sprung into the air.” -- The Communist Manifesto
III. The Communist Future • Unlike all previous classes in history, the proletariat is the only class that doesn’t need the existence of other classes • Human history has been moving, inexorably, towards a communist future
III. The Communist Future • We need to abolish the division of labor, the system of wage-labor, and private property in general* *Not small-scale private property, but private control of the meansof production. “Capital is, therefore, not a personal, it is a socialpower.” -- The Communist Manifesto
III. The Communist Future “You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society, private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the populations; its existence for the few is solely due to its non-existence in the hands of those nine-tenths.” -- The Communist Manifesto
III. The Communist Future • By that, Marx & Engels mean a classless society that is free of exploitation and alienation
III. The Communist Future “The division of labor offers us the first example of how… man’s own deed becomes an alien power opposed to him, which enslaves him instead of being controlled by him…
III. The Communist Future “For as soon as the distribution of labour comes into being, each man has a particular, exclusive sphere of activity, which is forced upon him and from which he cannot escape. He is a hunter, a fisherman, a shepherd, or a critical critic, and must remain so if does not want to lose his means of livelihood…”
III. The Communist Future “while in a communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, 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, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticize after dinner, just as I have a mind without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, shepherd, or critic.” -- The German Ideology
III. The Communist Future • A communist society is then based on the principle: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”
III. The Communist Future • In other words, we’ll establish a system where: • “In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.” -- Communist Manifesto
“The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.” Thesis XI Theses on Feuerbach
Conclusion • How do we get there?