Monday, November 20, 2017

Marx's Class Struggle explained simply

     If we combine Karl Marx's dialectical approach with his materialist interpretation of history (see previous summary), we get dialectical materialism (a term that Marx never used himself and that was offered by later followers of Marx).  Class struggle for Marx is a condition which is dialectical on the struggle side of it and material on the class side of it. Within Dialectical materialism,  each social class generates its opposite with which it is in continual conflict.  Thus, the bourgeoisie requires the existence of the proletariat (this is very reminiscent of Hegel's Slave-Master Dialectic, only on the material and ideal side) Yet they are in conflict over wages and working conditions. “The history of all heretofore existing societies is the history of class struggles”; this is the famous opening line of the Communist Manifesto and it tries to give the gist of Marx's dialectical materialism and his perception of how history functions, and most important, where it is headed (hint: communism).  But while two social classes are in conflict, production requires that they cooperate with each other until capitalism is no longer fruitful and its exploitation is revealed, and this will bring the communist revolution. This, to Marx, was one of the contradictions of capitalism. Marx's thought that as long as there is class struggle history progresses. Eventually the process of dialectical materialism will bring an end to class struggle with the unavoidable establishment of a society without classes and therefore without struggle or conflict. Marx's popular text, the Communist Manifesto, indeed called the proletariat to rebel, but for his this only expediting the inevitable process of history as dictated by the notions of class struggle or conflict and dialectical materialism.

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