Presentation on theme: "Fr. Karl Marx’s The German Ideology (also Friedrich Engels)"— Presentation transcript:
1 Fr. Karl Marx’s The German Ideology (also Friedrich Engels) MarxismFr. Karl Marx’s The German Ideology (also Friedrich Engels)
2 Context The German Ideology was originally written in 1840s. It was influenced by the French Revolution (1789 – 99), driven largely by the idea that freedom could never be possible in an unequal society.It was also influenced by Hegelian Philosophy that maintained history is the development of ideas.
3 Context (cont.)The German Ideology was not published until 1932 in Moscow; Russian government used The Ideology out of context to support the political transition to full national communism.The German Ideology’s understanding has been confused because The Communist Manifesto (1848) was published first.The Ideology contextualizes The Manifesto.
4 Important to RememberThe German Ideology explains how things are (“the materialist conception of history”); it does not advocate for anything.Philosophically, Marx and Engels wanted to author a socialist vision that was realistic, rather than idealistic. (They move toward this with The Communist Manifesto – but understand that socialism/communism in Manifesto is likely not what you believe those concepts to be. There is a difference between what Marx wrote, and what the Soviet Union did.)
5 The BasicsMarx does not offer a theory as much as an idea that is foundational to all contemporary theories we will study. (All theories, in some way, either react to or continue from Marxist ideologies.)
6 The Basics (cont.)This selection, specifically, is a continuation of the ideas of Ludwig Feuerbach who wrote in response to Kantian idealism of the 1700s.Idealism, philosophically, means:We can only know how things appear to usNothing has an inherent existenceThere is no “thing in itself”
7 The Materialist Method (p. 42) History is about real people – what they do and how they live (production)Production creates material lifeMen differ from animals because of productionHumans cannot be separated from their material / what they produceProduction determines relationships between people (qt. p. 42, bottom)
8 Division of Labor (p. 43)The relation of individuals to one another is the process of productionSophistication of production = sophistication of nationAs production increases, divisions of labor become more definedDivisions of labor are made up of forms / stages of ownership (stufen – suggests both a process and can stand alone)
9 First Stage of Ownership: Tribal (p. 44) Undeveloped productionSociety based in hunting and gatheringLive in tribes and / or familiesTransition to Stage Two:Family / tribe becomes hierarchical as population increasesMore production (food) neededWith more produced, more is available – leads to wants (materialistic) rather than needs (materialist)
10 Second Stage of Ownership: Communal (p. 44) Several tribes / families join to form a city, or community (either forced or agreed)Leads to a more developed division of labor (more people means specific people need to have specific duties / jobs)Private property exists – naturally, not intentionally (people have stuff and they move it around with them)Transition to Stage Three:Class distinctions begin to form with work and propertyPrivate interests become more important than those of the communityThe existence of different cities / communities creates a natural conflict
11 Third Stage of Ownership: Feudal / Estate (p. 45-46) Clear class divisions and dutiesProduction becomes specialized – guilds, crafts, etcPower lies with land owners and also people with specialized trades (representing “different conditions of production”) – not a true division of laborRise of the marketplace
12 (Implied) Fourth Stage of Ownership: Capitalism (p. 52 - 53 ish) Division of labor (or not) leads to forced positions in societyPositions in society create competition as people try to acquire the most of what is producedThis system will destroy society because it breaks down what was a community into individuals
13 The Cure for Capitalism (p. 52 ->) Marx offers true communism as the cure to capitalismWith communism, there is no division of labor, no private property, no class distinctionsWithout communism, capitalism will become the 4th stage and will drive the world with only a few ruling countriesMarx recognizes the impossibility of communism in practice, but calls for a change to combat the inevitability of capitalism
14 Tangent (pp. 46 – 51)The production of things leads to a production of ideas – ideas become things that people produce.Our actions dictate our thoughts. (This is contrary to Hegelian philosophy that history is about ideas. Marx always believes history is about people and people produce ideas.)“Life is not determined by consciousness, but consciousness by life” (47).
15 Tangent (cont.)Cultural Superstructure is created from the thoughts that are created from the production that is a product of the people.All cultural superstructures are based on socioeconomics, power relationships, class struggles, etc.Who you are determines what you think: The life you lead, dictates the ideas you have.
16 Tangent (cont.) - Superstructures Religion (our life is not based off our religion, we practice a religion based upon our life)Law (we don’t base our choices on the laws, we create laws that fit with our lives)PhilosophyArtIdeasFamilyLanguage
17 Tangent (cont.)Production of ideas creates man – men will produce others who think the same (this is the purpose of religion and school, and other cultural superstructures)“consciousness is a social product” (51)[Comber comment – not in Marx: all theories of social construction stem from Marx]
18 Works CitedMarx, Karl and Frederick Engels (sic). The German Ideology. Trans. International Publishers Co Ed. C.J. Arthur. NY: International Publishers, Print.