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Karl Marx and Marxism The Development of Scientific Socialism.

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1 Karl Marx and Marxism The Development of Scientific Socialism

2 KARL MARX AND MARXISM student of Hegel and part of the anti-religious group “The Young Hegelians” received a PhD in Philosophy in 1841 participated as a writer (Neue Rheinische Zeitung) during the Revolutions of 1848 moved to London after the Revolutions and observed industrial Britain. This experience contributed to his key works -- DasKapital, Communist Manifesto, etc. established the International Workingmen’s Association in 1864 (First International)

3 The Social Situation of the Time Crime, violence and social injustice are everywhere. Poverty, child labour, homelessness, malnutrition and disease are major social problems in most countries. Unsafe working conditions, low pay, worker exploitation.

4 Marx’s View of the State of Nature Humanity is distinguished from the animals by the ability to build and the intrinsic satisfaction gained from building Material reward is not the goal of labour. People seek subsistence and work in order to play Ideally, we tend to specialize in the things we feel best about doing, and those the community appreciates most There are no Natural Rights or Inherited Rights

5 Marxist Theory: Dialectic Materialism Marx “borrowed” the theory from Hegel Materialism Theory seeks to understand the world as it is, not as we perceive or think of it (idealism is based upon pure intellectual constructs: ideology, god, religion, etc.) He was not a Utopian Socialist “It is not consciousness that determines existence, but existence which determines consciousness”

6 Marxist Theory: Dialectic Materialism Materialism has an economic base and a social superstructure (Feuerbach)

7 Marxist Theory: Dialectic Materialism Dialect is the process of change and development, with matter in motion -- interaction (thesis, anti-thesis, synthesis), conflict, and revolution

8 Historical Determinism Marx believed that the past held the key to the future. Past economic and social developments “conditioned”future developments “All history heretofore is the history of class struggle” Stages of development -- Tribalism, Slavery (Plato), Feudalism (Hobbes), Capitalism (Smith), Communism (Marx’s theoretical next stage)

9 The Problem as Marx Sees It The capitalist world is divided between Bourgeoisie (owners of production) and Proletariat (workers) People are deceived by the socio-economic system into believing that satisfaction comes from the accumulation and consumption of material goods

10 The Problem as Marx Sees It Materialism leads to alienation, the expropriation of resources, and the creation of classes Class distinctions invariably lead to exploitation (Kings exploit subjects, owners exploit workers) Surplus labour is kept by slave owners, kings and capitalists

11 Philosophical Perspective While Rousseau claimed revolution was a duty in such circumstances, Marx claimed it was an inevitability – Marx was an Empiricist, Pragmatist, and Realist Marx rejects any idea that does not fit with the “reality of human existence” Marx also rejects the idea of absolutes in morality and law – Property rights and ownership are the basis of capitalist exploitation (You have no inalienable rights, not even the right to life – so the Proletariat may eliminate the Bourgeoisie)

12 The Solution Revolution to overthrow the exploiters of the Proletariat. As he starts his Communist Manifesto, “workers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains.” Public “ownership” of all material items – eliminate private ownership which leads to alienation, inequality, etc. “Dictatorship of the Proletariat” – The workers run everything – There is no one left to exploit

13 The Solution We all have one thing in common – Labour. “From each according to his (her) ability, to each according to his need.” Universal World Government

14 Final Thoughts Think of the “crazy” people who fought to eliminate inequality in any of its forms: Christ, Confucius, Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela. What do they have in common? What makes Marx so different and so hated? Is it his focus on property, not spiritual or legal rights. What does that tells us about….us?

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