DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes Chapter 3 Karl Marx (1818 -1883)
My dialectic method is not only different from Hegelian but is its direct opposite.”
Critically examine Marx Dialectic Materialism.
“It is a matter of regret,” writes Wayper, “that inspite of basic position occupied by the theory of dialectical materialism in their socialism edifice, Marx and Engels never worked out their ideas about it. Nowhere do they treat it in detail, though it is, of course, assumed in all their writings.” In so far as Marxism dialectic is claimed to be Hegelian dialectic turned right side up, it would be desirable to examine Hegelian dialectic first.
According to Hegel, Spirit or Reason is the ultimate reality in this universe. Since Reality is dynamic and evolutionary in nature, it cannot be understood by means of the static concepts of formal- logic. The logic which can help us to understand this developing and changing universe must be different from the old traditional logic. Hegel formulated this new logic for the purpose of explaining change and development and called it dialectic which seeks to explain evolution through the law of contradictions.
Thus Hegel propounded the belief that reality can only be comprehended by a method of congrasting one thing with its opposite. Thus goodness was only comprehensible when it was compared with badness, heat with cold, want with statiety. Hegel called the first assertion made by the mind, the thesis, its contradiction, the antithesis. “The state of negation”, he said, ‘is the very heart best of progress and life’. He further argued that once the thesis and antithesis were perceived by the mind, the apprehension of these two aspects of reality produced a new concept by their juxta-position.
Thus Hegel called this composition or reconciliation of the two opposites into a third and a new idea as synthesis. According to Hegel, all life proceeded by this method of assertion, negation and reconciliation. Thus, according to Hegel, the dialectic method was not a process by which logical ideas developed. It was a Process by which all ideas in the world developed. ‘History snowed a continuous and orderly unfolding. Each of its periods naa its own character which united all the institutions of that period, its religion, its philosophy, its art and its political history. He regarded the historical process as intrinsically comprehensible and reducible to a logical principle.
Marx was highly impressed by the Hegelian way of explaininging evolution, but was repelled by Hegelian idealism which regarded ideas as the principal cause of the historical evolution and the Absolute Idea fully conscious of itself as the goal of the evolutionary process. For Marx ‘there is no such thing as infallible dogmas and were is no such things as complete truth. Every truth like religious dogmas is only half-truth. That is why Karl Marx regards religion as an opium of the masses’.
Marx, held that Matter and not the Spirit was the ultimate reality nna a socialist society organised for production in which there shaS e no exploitation of one class by another the goal of the evolutionary Process. He thought that he could unite his belief in dialectic with his belief in matter as the ultimate reality. By this expedient are not only discovered the great force which drives humanity forward from negation to negation but also claimed to have turned Hegelian dialectic right side up. Marx took from Hegel the device he dialectic. He believed that history does move by contradiction ana conflict but the actors in this cosmic drama are real events in e ordinary empirical sense, not in Hegel’s special ideal sense.
Marx and Engels refused to accept the idea that external reality was a mere mirror or image of something inside the human mind. While the idealists believe that only mind exists, the materialists believe that matter is an objective reality existing outside and independent of mind. The matter is primary and is the source of sensations and ideas. Mind is only secondary and is a reflection, matter.
Unlike idealism which regarded the world as the embodiment of an absolute idea, a universal spirit; Marx developed the theory of philosophical materialism. According to him, the world is by its nature material. The world develops in accordance with the laws of movement of matter. The different social ideas and theories which appeared at various periods of history were merely a reflection of the material being of society. The material being of society included nature, geographical movement, population, its density etc., but the chief force which determined the physiognomy of society was the method of procuring the means of life necessary for human existence.
The difference between the Hegelian dialectic and the Marxian dialectic proceeds from the fact that whereas for Hegel the ultimate reality is Spirit or Reason ; for Marx it is matter in motion. According to Hegel, the historical development takes place under the stress of conflict between nations ; its moving force are ideas.
Marx, on the other hand, holds that the units in which humanity becomes organised in the course of historical development are economic classes and not nations. The goal towards which the dialectic materialism is moving is the society perfectly organised for production in which there shall be no class distinctions and no exploitation, ft represents the final synthesis which would not give rise to its antithesis. Sabine has stated that difference between Hegelian dialectic and Marxian dialectic in the following way :
- Phenomena are originally connected with are dependent on and are limited by each other.
- Phenomena should be considered from the stand point of their movement, change and development.
- Change is no – mere quantitative change, but at certain stages leaps in quality rise, as the natural result of accumulations of gradual, quantitative changes.
- Internal contradictions are inherent in all things and phenomena, for all things have a past and a future something dying away and something developing’.
Thus, while borrowing the dialectic from Hegel, Marx made profound changes in it. Marxian dialectic is very much different from that of Hegelian. Marx borrowed from Hegel the idea that history through the law Of contradiction and conflict, but as different from Hegel he conceived matter and no spirit as ultimate reality and a classless society established for perfect production and not the rise of nation-state as the final end of social evolution. Dialectic was accepted by Marx as a correct description of the apparatus of social development, but with this crucial difference for the Absolute Idea of Hegel, Marx substituted the “forces of production.”
Thus dialectic materialism as an evolutionary philosophy has much to command itself; but as a revolutionary philosophy explaining social cause and effect, it has much to condemn itself.’ There is a sense in which ‘idea’ may be self-evolving ; but there is hardly any sense in which matter may be regarded as self-evolving because of an inner necessity. Dialectic may apply to the growth of idea, but it can hardly be made to apply to the growth of matter.
State and examine the Marxian conception of Materialistic interpretation of history.
Marx’s Interpretation of History. Historical materialism or the materialist conception of history is the direct application of the principles of dialectical materialism to the development of society. Karl Marx made it the cornerstone of his social and political philosopy. Thus although Marx does not very much explain as to what he means by his theory of historical materialism; it is, in fact an economic interpretation of history. Marx probably used the word materialistic to contrast theory with that of Hegel as sharply as theory of the materialistic conception of history starts with that of Hegel as sharply as he could.
The theory of the materialistic conception of history starts with the belief that economic activities are the basis of the political, legal, cultural and religious institution and belief. Various forms of state or varieties of legal system cannot be taken as results of the development of human mind, but have their origin in the material conditions of human life. The theory starts with the simple truth that man must eat to live and in order to eat he must produce. Thus his survival depends upon the success with which he can produce what he wants from nature. Production is the most important of all human activities. Society is the result of these necessities of man.
Marx grouped the efforts of man in the past of secure the necessities, of four main stages : (i) the primitive or Asiatic stage in which the forms of production are slight and communally owned (ii) the ancient (iii) the feudal; and (iv) the capitalist. In all These three stages, the class which controls the means of production controls the rest. It is this fact of domination v/hich creates of perpetual state of tension and conflict. In all stages of human life the forces or conditions of production determine the structure of society.
Critical Evaluation. Marx’s theory of materialistic conception or history contain a greater amount, of truth than his dialectical materialism. According to Carew Hurt, all modern writers on social science are indebted to Marx, even if they do not admit it. In this sense Marx s historical materialism or economism as it may be more called represents a very valuable advance in the methods of social sciences.
But it is impossible to explain all historical movements exclusively in economic terms. Human life is too complex to admit of complete explanation in terms of a single factor like economics, religion philosophy, or climate etc. All these factors and many others, like greed, personal ambition, love and sex play their part in determining the historical events. The theory ignores the fact that human passions, sentiments, emotions, religion etc. also influence human activities. According to Russell, “Larger events in our Political life are determined by the interaction of material conditions and human passions.” As a philosophical doctrine, the economic interpretation of history is incapable of universal application.
We may see reason in the emphasis laid down by Marx on economic factors because history cannot however be explained in terms of decisions made by politicians and kings acting in a vacuum. But the problem arises when the views of Marx are offered as complete explanation of extremely complex phenomena. Many idaea s which, according to Marx, were only reflections of material interests, of one’s place in the economic order, actually attain independent status. Probably Karl Marx and his colleague Engels recognised the overemphasis that was laid on the economic factors.
The excessive zeal of some of his admirers to make his ideas rigicL. led Marx on one occasion to say that he was not a Marxist. By this he seems to have meant that he was rigid than they were m applying the materialist conception of history.
Describe and examine the Marxian theory that the mechanism of social change is to be found in the idea of class struggle. Do you accept the view that revolution is the indispensable mid-wife of social change.
Marx on Social Change. The doctrine of class-war may be said to be a natural corollary of Marxian theory of materialistic interpretation of history. If the fatter may be said to con am his theory of social change, the former describes the mechanism, manner in which society progress from one stage to another in the course of historical development. Hegel viewed the history as record of wars between nations and kings or generals . Marx envisaged it a succession of struggles between the opposed classes for economic and political power. He finds in class-struggle key to the understanding of human society.
Thus, according to Karl Marx society in every age has divided itself into two main hostile classes differentiated by economic conditions – one is the small privileged class owing the means of production and the other the larger class of toilers who work up the raw material. These two classes whom Marx calls economic classes have been at war with each other. In other words, is a constant struggle between them for economic and political power and the great movements of history are the consequence of this struggle. These classes always stood in constant opposition to one another constantly carrying on a fight, now hidden, now open This class antagonism exist in the present society also but with the different that it now exists in a simplified from. To quote Marx. “The modern bourgeois society that has sprouted from the ruisn of feudal society has not done away with class antagonism. It has but established new classes, new conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in place of the old ones. Our epoch, the epoch of the bourgeoisie possesses, however, this distinctive feature; it has simplified the class antagonisms. Society as a whole is more an more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other – bourgeoisie and proletariate.
Marxian thesis is that in every system of production the society becomes divided into two hostile groups with conflicting interests. We may understand how this division takes place. According to ar Marx, ‘there are three main stages in human history, i.e, the feudal Jism, capitalism and socialism. Even before the rise of feudal society, there were claves based upon economic forces. On the one hand there were salve-owners who possessed the means of production on the other hand, there were slaves who possessed nothing.
Marx also asserts that the owners of the means of production control not only the economic life of the society but also the political life. According to Marx, the powerful economic class will become the ruling class. In his arguments, Marx simply point out to the relation between the economic and political power. Those who possess economic power also possess political power.
But no class structure is stable. In part the reason for change is improvement of technology. When men learnt the art of systematic cultivation, they found that agriculture was more productive than hunting. Others found that commerce was mere gainful than agriculture. Further changes showed that industry is more productive than any previous system of production. So nee the previous system allows only a few people to live well, the new system makes an appeal to the masses.
Those who promote the new system find that the people support them and they themselves grow rich. This combination of self-interest of the masters of the new system of production combined with the general support proves irresistible. After a fight, the old ruling class surrenders and indeed many of its members join the new ruling class. Marx pointed out that the class-struggle is an objective process. It is a result of the economic and social forces and can not be stopped simply by convincing people that it is bad.
Marx says that capitalism carries within itself the seeds of its own decay. While analysing the growth of capitalism he says that the “modern bourgeois society with its relation of production, of exchange and of property, a society that has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, is like the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the other world whom he has called up by his spells”. To quote him further, “the weapons with which the bourgeousic felled feudalism to the ground are now turned against the bourgeousie itself. But not only has the “bourgeoisie forged the weapons that bring death to itself it has also called into existence the men who are to wield those weapons the modern working class the proletarians. In proportion as the bourgeoisie is developed, in the same proportion is the proletariate, the modem working class, developed a class of labourers, who live only so long as they final work, and he find work only no long as as their labour increases capital.
But with the development of industry the proletariate not only increases in number ; it becomes concentrated in greater masses, its strength grows ; and it feels that strength more The increasing improvement of machinery, ever more rapidly developing makes their livelihood more and more precarious : the collisions between individual workmen and individual Ibourgeoisie take moreand more the character of collisions between two classes. There upon the workers begin to form combinations (trade unions) against the bourgeoisie, they club together in order to keep up the rate of Wages ; they found permanent associations in order to make provisions before hand for these occasional revolts.
In this way, Marx tries to show that class war is the direct result of his dialectic and a fact traceable to history. Capitalism shows the seeds of its own destruction. “Its fall and victory of the proletariate are equally inevitable”. Karl Marx did not regard himself to be the author of the theory of class-war. He merely took over and extended the theory of class antagonism which already existed. He himself recognised Augustine Theory as “the father of class struggle in French historical writings. However, Karl Marx was responsible for making the idea of class-war a major factor in world of politics.
Critical Evaluation of Marx’s Theory. The theory c-t claSs-war has been severely criticized on the following grounds :
- The law that sustains the universe and makes for progress is not the law of struggle and competition, but the law of love, co-operation and sacrifice. Plato’s analysis of society as based on the need of mutual co-operation for the satisfaction of common needs is more true than that of Marx.
- The belief in the final triumph of the proletariate over the bourgeoisie is nothing more than an unproved assumption.
- No one can deny the existence of social classes always’ in society but it is doubtful if these classes can be called economic classes in the true sense of the world.
- Marx’s prophecy that as a result of increasing wealth the society will become divided into two clear-cut classes- bourgeoisie and proletariate and as a result thereof otjier classes would disappear has not come out true. Still more, the society does not show any sign of proletarianism.
- There seems no signs of the gradual downfall of capitalism. Capitalism instead of showing signs of decline is rather growing. More and more countries are coming under this way. Capitalism has shown great flexibility in adjusting and adopting itself to the needs of the changing society.
- As Prof. Laski says, “The breakdown of capitalism might result not in communism but in anarchy from which there might emerge some dictatorship unrelated in principle to communist ideals”.
- It is wrong to say that worker’s victory would lies to a classless society. After the removal of the bourgeoisie, the solidarity of the proletariate may disappear and divisions and various groups may develop.
Write critical notes on :
(a) The Theory of Surplus Value,
(b) Dictatorship of the Proletariate.
The Theory of Surplus Value. This theory is one of the contributions of Karl Marx to Political E co’riomy. This theory has been discussed by him in ‘Das Kapital’. The theory is based upon the labour theory of value. According to Prof. Sabine, “The theory of surplus value- was professedly an extension of the labour theory of value already stated by Ricardo and the classical economists”. The labour theory of value was first formulated by Sir William Penty in England and wa later developed by the classical economists like Adam Smith and R jardo.
These economists distinguished between the national value and artificial value of a thing. By natural value is m -ant the instrinstic value of a thing, while artificial value include the human labour spent in producing the thing. According to these economists the value of a thing is determined by the labour spent upon it. In other words, it is labour that produces value.
Marx adopted the labour theory of value and pointed out that it is labour alone that produces value. According to him, since the value of a thing is created by labour, therefore the whole of the price that the thing fetches should go to the labour. But this is not so in actual practice. The labour is given only his wages which are just enough to keep him alive. The capitalists give only a little to the labourer and keep the rest for themselves.
They appropriate the whole value created by labour in the form of profits, rents and interests. Marx called surplus value as “concealed labour” or labour not paid for. Surplus value was the difference between the value of the commodity and the wages received by the labourer. The appropriation of surplus value by the capitalists is simple and pure exploitation. It is this appropriation of surplus value by the capitalists which makes the capitalists system exploitative in nature. Marx used the theory of surplus value to prove his thesis that capitalism is by its very nature exploitative.
Marxian theory of surplus value may be criticised from numerous angles. It is wrong to say that labour alone creates value. Production is a co-operative effort of the entire community, i.e., labour, capital, management, science and technology, etc. All have a claim to a share in the value of the commodity. Labour cannot work without capital. Nor can it be said that the proletarian labour is the most important factor. Even Dr. Engels admitted that “the perfecting of machinery is making human labour superfluous”. Technical skill, industry, enterprise and organisational capacity are to less important for the creation of value than mere proletarian labour.
Further if surplus value is produced only by labour, then an industry in which the capital invested goes mainly to buy labour should produce more surplus value than one in which capital goes to buy machinery. According to Bertrand Russell, the theory of surplus value is rather to be viewed as a translation into abstract Terms of the hatred with which Marx regarded the present system than as a contribution to pure theory. The theory of surplus value required a lot of abstract discussion of pure economic theory without “having much bearing upon the practical truth or falsehood of socialism”.
Dictatorship of the Proletariate. According to Karl Marx, capitalism is inevitably doomed to destruction and communism is bound to blossom. But after this capitalism, is destroyed communism will not spring up all at once. Its march will be preceded by what Marx calls ‘proletarian dictatorship. The dictatorship of the proletariate is an essential stage in the course of transition from the capitalistic society to the socialistic society. Before communism can be established, the bureauocratic and military machine erected by the bourgeoisie must be completely smashed a new order must be set up in its place. Marx thus contemplated a transitional stage between the conquest of power by the proletariate and the establishment of the new’ social order. As he writes “Between capitalist and communist society lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. There corresponds to this also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariate”.
Though the idea of the dictatorship of the proletariate occupies an important place in the philosophy of Marx, yet it is unfortunate ‘that he does not lay down the organisation of the proletarian state. Beyond laying down n that the proletariate would organise itself as the Paling power after the capitalist state has been smashed the Manifesto says nothing.
As said earlier, Marx did not fully elaborate the organisation of the proletarian state. It was Lenin who worked out it fully. The way in which proletarian state was to actually conduct itself may be seen from what has happened in Soviet Russia during the transitional stage of communism. It need not be said that in working out the Marxian programme Lenin made its his own contributions which greatly altered the spirit of Marxism.
Marx and nor Lenin predicted the date at which the proletarian dictatorship would come to an end. Marx warned that “you will have to go through fifteen, twenty or even fifty years of civil and international war not only to change relationships. but also to change your ownselves, to render yourselves fit to assume the political reins”. Lenin said simply that we do not know and cannot know’. However, one point is agreed that since the task of over-throwing the bourgeoisie completely is going to be a hard one, it will take a long time before complete communism can be a reality * and the dictatorship of the proletariate can wither away.
What Is Marx’s most enduring contribution to the History of Social Thought ?
Contribution of Karl Marx. The greatness of Marx is difficult to estimate. As Maxey writes : “it is hard to deal temperately with a man whom millions revere as a god and other millions despise as a devil”. However, the greatness of Marxian hardly be denied. He has been the greatest influence on the practical politics of the world. What he tought has been put in practice in some of the countries of the world. Not only that’Soviet Russia under the influence of Marxian has become a major world power to reckon with.
Marxian philosophy chook the world political thought. It is true that every stone of the Marxian edifice was prefigured m the works of his predecessors, but that does not make Marx a second hand philosopher and minimise the significance of what he did. The important thing about the work of Marx was not its originality, but its synthetic power. He seized upon the philosophic materials which had been lying about loose and largely unused for many years and fused them into a systematic whole and supplied the prolatnate movement with a dynamic theory and a tremendous impulse .to action.
Proletarianism before Marx was mainly protest and aspiration ; proletarianism after marx confidently put forth the claim that science was on its side, know what objectives it wished to attain, had a definite technique of organisation and a sack, and thus became militantly aggressive. It was the avowed purpose Of Marx to make socialism, rentiflor. It has been said that he succeeded only to the extent of making it psuedo-scientific, but there is no denying he made it a tremendous force”.
The main tenets of Marxian philosophy were dialectic materialism, materialistic conceptions of history, the theory of class- war and the theory of surplus value. By substituting matter in place of puritas the ulimate reality Marx claimed to have turned the Hegelian dialectic upside down but in doing so be rather made the concept of the entire dialectic meaningless. His theory of materielistic conception of history and his theory of surplus value suffer from partiality and do not give the ’true and full view of the phenomena. His theory of class-war is an oversimplification of the struggle that has gone in history.
If Marxism suffers from so many weakness, how is it that he has a great appeal to millions of men and women. According to Catlin, ‘What Marx did was to provide a movement with a creed, a’ movement which hitherto had no adequate theory, Owen, Simon and Proudhon may have expressed truths of the first order, neglected by Marx. But their theories had been intellectual patchwork.
Marx gave the movement whole, cloth to Hegel. He did more. The workers had leaders who dreamed beautiful’ dreams of brotherly love, Marx did for the socialist movement what Machiavelli did for the state theory”.
Rudolf Scheminger has given an estimate of Karl Marx in these words: In making an appreciation of Marx’s work, we merely appear to have established a different aspect of its historical limitation. He has disentangled the philosophical structure built by Home, Kant and Hegel from idealist metaphysics; he has moved progressive thought from the quest for realisation of abstract ideas to the concrete, investigation of the ways in which human lives are moulded by institutions, and institutions transformed by human action. He has led the modern labour movement”. According to Wayper, “Marx suceeded because he was such an explosive compound of Hebrew prophet and scientific propounder of political and economic theory.
It is Marx the Hebrew prophet ? Who is no filled with a religious conviction of the rottenness of Western civilization that he makes denunciation the keynote of the Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital. It is Marx the scientific propounder of political and economic theory who produces alike the theory of party tactics and a philosophical theory of the inevitable course of social development. Sometimes the two elements in him, Hebrew prophet and social scientists, support each other. As prophet he is filled with fury at the wickedness of those who have acted in a way that as scientist he maintains was indispensable for the progress of the race”.
Karl Marx has thrown remarkable impact on the ideas of thinkers ‘Though not of universal application his sociological ideas still, are the matter of debate. He expressed his views regarding the evils of the capitalist society in his Communist Manifesto, Preface to the critique of Political Economy and the Capital. Marx sociology in its essence is sociology of classes struggle’. His major sociological contributions are following :
- Historical ‘Materialism
- Private Property
- The new society.
These are being explained below :
1. Historical Materialism
Marx in his economic interpretation of history he maintained that all evolution and developments ‘are the product of economic forces. Karl Marx, in this regard, was the product of economic forces. Karl Marx in this regard, was the product of historicism, like Hegal, Hegal explained, “as being involved in a process of evolution in inherently propelled by the ideal (a mystical God) to create and negate and re-create one stage after another and each higher than the other in eternal progression, each stage creating its own antagonism which negates it, at the same time creating a new and higher state”, there is nothing ultimate, final, absolute or sacred.
Karl Marx accepted this Hegelian view in principle but at the place of idea (the mystical God) be regarded ‘‘the economic force; as the predominant dynamic agency of human society and its history.
Marx maintained that it is the material conditions of the of the individuals that determines their consciousness and not the consciousness of men which determines the material conditions of life.
The animate factors of production led by the workers are more important to ‘inanimate factor of production including soil raw material and tools. The productive forces are followed by the condition of Production, comprising fòrrns of state, laws and grouping of social classes. The struggle between the forces of production and the conditions of production promotes a conflict of Interestsd later develops into class-struggle, thereby transforming the old order, So, the element of determinism is powerful in history cal materialism’ Marx explained, that the “mode of production in, Material life determines the general charaçter of the social, political and spiritual process of life”.
It is said that None can undermine the role of economic factors in eVolution, but it would not be proper tó maintáin that economic factors alone are the Cause of revolution and change.
Karl Marx oversimplifies and thus fails to explain the sirnplicity of the Phenomena of social evohtion.
When a workers does not get the job, he wants to do, and is rather employed at different place of work, he feels alienated from is work. The work is forced upon a worker and this system provides no job satisfaction. A worker is treated as something external.
1. “Alienation from work stands opposed to the worker in sense that whatever is produced for worker is an objectification of his labour. “So much does objectification appear as loss of the object that the worker is deprived of the most essential things not Only of life but also of work. Labour itself becomeš an object which are not acquirp only by the greatest effort and will unpredictable interruptions. So much does the appropriation of the object
appears as alienation that the more objects The worker produces the fewer he can possess and the more he falls under the domination of his product of capital.
2. What is embodied in the product of his labour is no lunger his/own, the greater this product is, therefore, the more he is dismissed.
3. “Thus the more the Worker appropriates, the external world of sensuous nature by his labour the more he deprives himself of means of existence”.
4. “In both respects, therefore, the worker becomes a slave of the object; first in that he receives an object of work, he. receives work and secondly that he receives means of subsistance. Thus the object enables him to exist, first as a worker and secondly, as a physical subject”.
Alienation and Private Property. Private property, according to Karl Marx “is the result of alienated labour, private property is derived from alienated man, alienated labour, alienated life and estranged man”.
Karl Marx contends that once the relationship between alienated labour and private property was identified, desire for the removal of the private property becomes logical. Without emancipation for private property no society can do justice to working force”.
According to Rosside, “alienation is especially acute in capitalist society, with its propensity for turning human beings into commodities. The key to the reduction and elimination of material, and thus moral, scarcity of technology on a material abundance has been reached, historical systems of economic inequality, with their corresponding structures of moral scarcity, will disappear and a classless society represents the need of the control of human beings by blind economic forces and also represents the end of human beings, alienation from themselves from each other, and from nature’ –
3. The Theory Of Class Struggle
The concept of class struggle existed before to Karl Marx but his contribution gave a distinct interpretation and a great contribution to the sociological study of human behaviour. In the economic aspect of class-struggle the dominant class is busy in exploiting the working class. According to Raymond Aron “the classes are the principle actor in the historical drama of capitalism in particular and of history in general”.
In Das Capital, Marx explains his views of classes and class- struggle. He differentiates between three classes, on the basis o income. These classes are :
- The owners of land, who receive rent.
- The owners of capital, who receive profit.
- The owners of simple labour power who receive wages’.
The nature of classr-struggle. Marx interprets history in terms of class-struggle. The classes have changed their names from time to time but it has been a record of battles between the oppressor and the oppressed. According to Karl Marx, “No social order ever disappears before all the forces, for which there is room in it have been developed and the new higher relations of production never appears before the material condition of their existence have matured in the womb of the old society”.
4. The New Society
Karl Marx declared that the class-struggle carried on by the revolution of proletariat will remancipate the society from class structure ; and society will finally become a class-less society Marx declared in the communist Manifesto. The dictatorship of prolerariat brought out by revolution will be a transitory phase and of every short duration. A pattern of society will be organised the basis of two principles and with establishment of such a society, the state will “wither away”.