Karl Marx (1818-1883) Communism

Recommended Resouce
http://csf.colorado.edu/mirrors/marxists.org/

 

Background:
Dialectical
Materialism

 

 

  1.  This proposition … in my opinion, is destined to do for history what  Darwin's theory has done for biology. (Engels, The Communist Manifesto, Preface to the 1888 English Edition)
  2. In short, the Communists everywhere support every revolutionary movement against the existing social and political order of things. In all these movements, they bring to the front, as the leading question in each, the property question, no matter what its degree of development at the time. Finally, they labor everywhere for the union and agreement of the democratic parties of all countries. (Marx & Engels, The Communist  Manifesto, Preface to the 1872 German Edition)
  3. The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions.  Let the ruling classes tremble at a communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. (Marx & Engels, The Communist  Manifesto, Preface to the 1872 German Edition)
  4. Working men of all countries, unite!  (Marx & Engels, The Communist  Manifesto, Preface to the 1872 German Edition)
  5. It must ... be understood that all the worth which the human being possesses -- all spiritual reality -- he possesses only through the State. ... Thus only is he fully conscious; thus only is he a partaker of morality -- of a just and moral social and political life. For Truth is the unity of the universal ... and the Universal is to be found in the State, in its laws, its universal and rational arrangements. The state is the Divine Idea as it exists on Earth. (G. W. F. Hegel, The Philosophy of History)
  6. Thereby the dialectic of concepts itself became merely the conscious reflex of the dialectical motion of the real world and thus the dialectic of Hegel was turned on its head; or rather, turned off its head. on which it was standing, and placed upon its feet. {Engels, Ludwig Feurerbach and the End of Classical German Philosophy, Part IV)
  7. The basic thought running through the Manifesto -- that economic production, and the structure of society of every historical epoch necessarily arising therefrom constitute the foundation for the political and intellectual history of that epoch; that consequently (ever since the dissolution of the primaeval communal ownership of land) all history has been a history of class struggles, of struggles between exploited and exploiting, between dominated and dominating classes at various stages of social evolution; that this struggle, however, has now reached a stage where the exploited and oppressed class (the proletariat) can no longer emancipate itself from the class which exploits and oppresses it (the bourgeoisie), without at the same time forever freeing the whole of society from exploitation, oppression, class struggles -- this basic thought belongs solely and exclusively to Marx. (Engels, The Communist  Manifesto, Preface to the 1883 German Edition)

Alienation

 

  1. From political economy itself we have shown that the worker sinks to the level of a commodity, and to a most miserable commodity; that the misery of the worker increases with the power and volume of his production; that the necessary result of competition is the accumulation of capital in a few hands; and thus a restoration of monopoly in its most terrible form; and finally that the distinction between capitalist and landlord, and between agricultural and factory worker, must disappear, and the whole of society divide into the two classes of property owners and propertyless workers. (180)
  2. What is embodied in the product of his labor is no longer his own. The greater this product is, therefore, the more he is diminished. The alienation of the worker in his product means not only that it becomes an object, assumes an external existence, but that [it] ... stands opposed to him as an autonomous power.  The life which he has given to the object sets itself against him as an alien and hostile force. (181)
  3. Finally the external character of the work for the worker is shown by the fact that it is not his own work but work for someone else, that in work he does not belong to himself but to another person. (181)
  4. The devaluation of the human world increases in direct relation with the increase in value of the world of things.  Labour does not only create goods; it also produces itself and the worker as a commodity, and indeed in the same proportion as it produces goods. (180)

Surplus
Value 
and the
Exploitation
of Workers

  1. [T]he appropriation of unpaid labor is the basis of the capitalist mode of production, and of the exploitation of the worker that occurs under it: even if the capitalist buys the labor power of  his laborer at its full value as a commodity on the market he extracts more value from it than he paid for it, and in the ultimate analysis this surplus value forms those sums of value from which are heaped up the constantly increasing masses of capital in the hands of the possessing classes. (181-182)
  2. The contradiction between socialized production and capitalistic appropriation manifested itself as the antagonism of proletariat and bourgeoisie. (182)
  3. [The solution) can only consist in the practical recognition of the social nature of the modern force of production, and therefore in the harmonizing of the modes of production, appropriation and exchange with the socialized  character of the means of production. (182)
  4. In communist society . . . society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow .... (183)
  5. The extraneous objective forces that have hitherto governed history pass under the control of man himself. Only from that time will man himself: more and more consciously make his own history -- only from that time will the social causes set in movement by him have, in the end in a constantly growing measure, the results intended by him. It is the ascent of man from the kingdom of necessity to the kingdom of freedom. (183)

Theory of
Social
Causation


Friedrich Engels
(1820-1895)

  1. History is economics in action.
  2. [T]he prevailing mode of economic production and exchange, and the social organization necessarily following from it, form the basis upon which is built up, and from which alone can be explained, the political and intellectual history of that epoch; [and] consequently the whole history of mankind has been a history of class struggles. (184)
  3. What else does the history of ideas prove than that intellectual production changes in character in proportion as material production is changed? The ruling ideas of each age are the ideas of its ruling class. (184)
  4. The executive of the modern state is nothing but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie. (Marx & Engels)
  5. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the sentiment of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. (188)
  6. [Established law, morality, religion, and culture are] merely so many bourgeois prejudices behind which lurk just as many bourgeois interests. (186)
  7. The Communist revolution is the most radical rupture with traditional property relations; no wonder that its development involves the most radical rupture with traditional ideas. (187)
  8. Material force can only be overthrown by material force; but theory itself becomes a material force when it has seized the masses.
  9. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of man, is a demand for their real happiness. The call to abandon their illusions about their conditions is a call to abandon a condition which requires illusions. (188)

Assessment

  1. The chief defect of all hitherto existing materialism ... is that the object, reality, sensuousness, is conceived only in the form of the object of contemplation, but not as human sensuous activity, practice, not subjectively. (191)
  2. The philosophers have interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however is to change it . (191)
  3. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. From the moment we turn to our own use of these objects, according to the qualities we perceive in them, we put to an infallible test the correctness or otherwise of our sense perceptions.  If these perceptions have been wrong then our estimate of the use to which an object can be turned must also be wrong, and our attempt must fail. (19l )
  4. The bourgeoisie is unfit ... to rule because it is incompetent to assure the existence of its slave within his slavery, because it cannot help but let him sink into such a state that it has to feed him, instead of being fed by him.  Society can no longer live under this bourgeoisie, in other words, its existence is no longer compatible with society. (185)