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In Marxist theory, human society consists of two parts: the base and superstructure; the base comprehends the forces and relations of production — employer-employee work conditions, the technical division of labour, and property relations — into which people enter to produce the necessities and amenities of life. These relations determine society‘s other relationships and ideas, which are described as its superstructure. The superstructure of a society includes its culture, institutions, political power structures, roles, rituals, and state. The base determines (conditions) the superstructure, yet their relation is not strictly causal, because the superstructure often influences the base; the influence of the base, however, predominates.
The model and its qualification
In developing Alexis de Tocqueville‘s observations, Marx identified civil society as the economic base and political society as the political superstructure. Marx postulated the essentials of the base–superstructure concept in his Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (1859):
In the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter Into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely [the] relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure, and to which correspond definite forms of consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political, and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness. At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or — this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms — with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces, these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution. The changes in the economic foundation lead, sooner or later, to the transformation of the whole, immense, superstructure. In studying such transformations, it is always necessary to
distinguish between the material transformation of the economic conditions of production, which can be determined with the precision of natural science, and the legal, political, religious, artistic, or philosophic — in short, ideological forms in which men become conscious of this conflict and fight it out. Just as one does not judge an individual by what he thinks about himself, so one cannot judge such a period of transformation by its consciousness, but, on the contrary, this consciousness must be explained from the contradictions of material life, from the conflict existing between the social forces of production and the relations of production. Marx‘s "base determines superstructure" axiom, however, requires qualification: 1. the base is the whole of productive relationships, not only a given economic element, e.g. the working class 2. historically, the superstructure varies and develops unevenly in society‘s different activities; for example, art, politics, economics, etc. 3. the base–superstructure relationship is reciprocal; Engels explains that the base determines the superstructure only in the last instance. Contemporary Marxist interpretations, such as those of critical theory, criticise this conception of the base–superstructure interaction and examine how each affects and conditions the other. Raymond Williams, for example, argues against loose, "popular" usages of base and superstructure as discrete entities, which, he explains, are not the intention of Marx and Engels:
So, we have to say that when we talk of ‗the base‘, we are talking of a process, and not a state [....] We have to revalue ‗superstructure‘ towards a related range of cultural practices, and away from a reflected, reproduced, or specifically-dependent content. And, crucially, we have to revalue ‗the base‘ away from [the] notion[s] of [either] a fixed economic or [a] technological abstraction, and towards the specific activities of men in real, social and economic relationships, containing fundamental contradictions and variations, and, therefore, always in a state of dynamic process.
Louis Althusser Classical Marxism Dialectical Materialism False consciousness German Wikipedia, 2009-08-07 has a substantial article on subject. Historical materialism Materialism Reification
―Base and superstructure‖ entry. Atlantic Highlands. Marxism and Ideology. A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy. Jorge. "Base and Superstructure in Marxist Cultural Theory". MA: Blackwell Publishing. and Social Domination: A Reinterpretation of Marx's Critical Theory. Labour. "Tocqueville on Civilian Society. ed. Postone. Raymond. London: Verso. London: Verso.. New Left Review (82). Moishe. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ^ Pawel Zaleski. "Rethinking the Base and Superstructure Metaphor. Time. 1991. 45-48. Georg. 2. 1983. vol. Calhoun. NJ: Humanities Press. Moscow: Progress Publishers: Notes by R. Felix Meiner Verlag. Raymond (November-December 1973). Archiv für Begriffsgeschichte. Rojas. Malden. Marxist Media Theory Retrieved from "http://en. Further reading Althusser. 3. Craig (ed). External links 1. Marxism and Literature. A Dictionary of Marxist Thought. Basis und Überbau A German Political Lexicon Wiki. Hegemony and Party. David. J.org/wiki/Base_and_superstructure" View page ratings Rate this page What's this? Trustworthy Objective Complete Well-written . Stuart. Reading Capital. 1977. A Romantic Vision of the Dichotomic Structure of Social Reality". Tom (ed). Lukács. Étienne. Bloomfield. 2009. Harvey. Cambridge. ^ Dictionary of the Social Sciences. (2008). Larrain." Papers on Class. 1993. London: Lawrence & Wishart. Dictionary of the Social Sciences Oxford University Press (2002) Hall.References 1. Bottomore. 1972. ^ Marx. 50. 2010.wikipedia. 2. Cambridge [England]: Cambridge University Press. A Companion to Marx's Capital. ^ Williams. Louis and Balibar. History and Class Consciousness. Williams. 1977. 2nd ed. Karl (1977). 4. MA: MIT Press.
the economic base of society is seen as determining everything else in the superstructure. and Marx's version is also known as 'historical materialism'. Theories positing economic relations as the basic cause of social phenomena are also called materialist theories.I am highly knowledgeable about this topic (optional) Submit ratings Saved successfully Your ratings have not been submitted yet Categories: Marxist theory Personal tools Log in / create account Namespaces Article Discussion Variants Views Read View source View history Actions Marxist Media Theory Daniel Chandler Base and superstructure Economism (also called 'vulgar Marxism') is a key feature of 'classical Marxism' (orthodox or fundamentalist Marxism). Economism is related to technological determinism. . including social. political and intellectual consciousness. 1847). In economism. Marx is often interpreted as a technological determinist on the basis of such isolated quotations as: 'The windmill gives you society with the feudal lord: the steam-mill. society with the industrial capitalist' ('The Poverty of Philosophy'.
Under the influence of Althusser. Critics regard economism as reductionist.). The base/superstructure model as applied to the mass media is associated with a concern with the ownership and control of the media. Curran et al. 1982: 27). Consequently. arguing that there is a dialectic between what Marx termed 'social being' and 'social consciousness' (Curran et al. Contents Contents Page Introduction .. 'the contents of the media and the meanings carried by their messages are. or towards the heartland of the prevailing consensus' (ibid. 'commercial media organizations must cater to the needs of advertisers and produce audience-maximizing products (hence the heavy doses of sex-and-violence content) while those media institutions whose revenues are controlled by the dominant political institutions or by the state gravitate towards a middle ground.. The notion of 'relative autonomy' has been subject to criticism (e. my emphasis). According to this view. [and] the reciprocal action of the superstructure on the base' (Althusser.Mass media research in this fundamentalist tradition interprets the 'culture industries' in terms of their economic determination.. primarily determined by the economic base of the organizations in which they are produced' (Curran et al. 1982: 18). by Paul Hirst in 1977: see Lapsley & Westlake 1988: 13-14.g. Stuart Hall and other 'culturalist' Marxists reject the base/superstructure formulation. failing to account for diversity. Marxists of the 'political economy' variety (such as Graham Murdock) still see ideology as subordinate to the economic base. cited in Lapsley & Westlake 1988: 5. Althusserian Marxists propose 'the relative autonomy of the superstructure with respect to the base.. According to this view ideological practices such as the mass media are relatively autonomous from economic determination (see Stevenson 1995: 15-16). 1982: 25).
Base and superstructure Media as means of production Ideology Media as amplifiers The constitution of the subject Differences within Marxism The Frankfurt School Althusser Gramsci and hegemony Stuart Hall Limitations of Marxist analysis Strengths of Marxist analysis References Search Special:Search Search Navigation Main page Contents Featured content Current events Random article Donate to Wikipedia Interaction Help About Wikipedia Community portal Recent changes Contact Wikipedia Toolbox What links here Related changes Upload file Special pages .
1982: 28). Purely structuralist analysis focuses on 'the internal articulation of the signifying systems of the media' (Curran et al. Permanent link Cite this page Rate this page Print/export Create a book Download as PDF Printable version Languages Česky Deutsch Español Français Bahasa Indonesia Italiano 日本語 Polski Português Marxist Media Theory Daniel Chandler Differences within Marxism The different schools of thought within Marxist media theory are variously framed by commentators. 'political economists' see ideology as subordinate to the economic base (Curran et al. In the Marxist fundamentalist tradition. . Work by Graham Murdock (Murdock & Golding 1977. 'political economy' and 'culturalist' (Gurevitch et al. Michael Gurevitch and his colleagues listed three 'contending paradigms': 'structuralist'. 1982: 8). locating the power of media in the economic processes and structures of media production. Murdock 1982) represents the 'critical' political economy approach. Althusserian Marxism is structuralist. 1982: 26). Onwership and economic control of the media is seen as the key factor in determining control of media messages.
and the dominant. exemplified by Soviet Marxism-Leninism. and most versions of Western Marxism) realizes that the metaphor is all but useless as theory and denies that Marx would have accepted its hard structuralist reading. This view. The notion of relative autonomy has been developed by a number of contemporary Marxists who subscribe to the base/superstructure metaphor but who wish to correct this ‗reductionist‘ and ‗monistic‘ overemphasis on the economic side of the historical process. The state in this model is seen as epiphenomenal. The distinctiveness of Marx's method is not his alleged emphasis on the ‗economic base‘ but his insistence on understanding capitalist society in terms of class relations and class struggle. and political relations. the economic base determines the political superstructure. For most Western Marxists the base/superstructure metaphor is more an affirmation of Marx's materialism (in opposition to philosophical idealism) than a guide to historical research. The second way of interpreting the base/superstructure metaphor is to see it as a provisional level of abstraction useful for limited analytical purposes only. thus rendering a serious analysis of politics redundant. The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social. legal. In this ‗hard structural determinist‘ reading. changes in state policy are understood as merely reflecting changing economic relations. found in the ‗softer‘ more ‗humanistic‘ currents of Marxism (including Gramsci. this has done little to dissuade structuralist Marxists (and technological determinists) that the economy should be awarded primacy when studying social formations. It is not simply that each of these relations exercise reciprocal and causative influence. Chris Harman Base and Superstructure . interpretation is to see the base/superstructure metaphor as a characterization of the essence of the materialist conception of history. law. Humanistic Marxists therefore replace this monocausal economism with the dialectical notion that social relations of production only exist in the form of economic. Although Engels later tried to soften this view by introducing the notion of ‗determinant in the last instance‘. and cultural forms. determinists understand ‗economics‘ in a technicist apolitical sense and do not give sufficient attention to Marx's stress on the social relations of production. political. According to this view. The first. the Frankfurt School. In this way ‗economics‘ rests as firmly on ‗politics‘ and ‗law‘ as vice versa.which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. political and intellectual life … changes in the economic foundation lead sooner or later to the transformation of the whole immense superstructure. but that antagonistic class relations are always manifest in social.‘ Within the Marxist tradition there are two broad ways of interpreting this metaphor. and ideology. This view takes literally the notion that changes in production relations give rise to new forms of politics. its existence reducible to the economic base.
political and intellectual life process in general. .2:32. Republished in Chris Harman. Then begins an epoch of social revolution. pp. Marxism and History.(Summer 1986) First published in International Socialism. Bookmarks.3-44. relations of production which correspond to a definite stage of development of their material productive forces. the real basis on which rises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite form of social consciousness. 1998. Summer 1986. In the social production of their life. With the change of the economic foundation the entire immense superstructure is more or less rapidly transformed. Marked up by Einde O‟Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive. but. pp.7-54. London. At a certain stage in their development the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or – what is but a legal expression for the same thing – the property relations within which they have been at work hitherto. June 2003. their social being that determines their consciousness. From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into fetters. men enter into definite relations that are independent of their will. Copied with thanks from the Red Flag Archive. Online edition prepared by Marc Newman. The sum total of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being. No. The mode of production of material life conditions the social. on the contrary.
. Marxists have been arguing about the statement. Yet when it has come to spelling out what exactly is the Marxist approach there has been enormous confusion. Marx wrote in the Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy of 1857 that ‗the economic structure of society‘ forms the ‗real basis‘ on which ‗rises a legal and political superstructure. The confusion centres around the couplet ‗base‘ and ‗superstructure‘. We do not judge a period of transformation by its consciousness.‘  Ever since then. This has been shown in every generation since the method was first outlined in The German Ideology in 1846. Marx and Engels provided a method of analysing society which has been of enormous fecundity. Every pronouncement of the „death of Marxism‟ by bourgeois ideologues has been proved wrong within a decade or so by a new range of Marxist studies of society. and the legal. from the existing conflicts between the social productive forces and the relations of production. There is a confusion at the very centre of Marxism. and modem bourgeois modes of production can be designated as progressive epochs in the economic foundation of society [Karl Marx: from the Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy]...In considering such transformations. a distinction should always be made between the material transformation of the material conditions of production. ancient. on the contrary this consciousness must itself be explained from the contradictions of material life. with „Marxists‟ saying apparently contradictory things. which can be determined with the precision of natural science. feudal. aesthetic or philosophical – in short ideological – forms in which men become conscious of the conflict and fight it out. But what about ideology (and revolutionary theory)? The family? The state when it owns industry? . religious. the economy and history. political. What is the ‗base‘? The economy? The forces of production? Technology? The relations of production? What is included in the superstructure? Obviously the state. In broad outlines Asiatic.
 It is in the years after Marx‟s death that such a mechanical. Political and ideological struggle is then seen as playing no real role. but. and through it the Second International. feudalism. For Kautsky. historical development had inevitably produced each mode of production in turn – antiquity. Human beings are products of their circumstances. adaptation of forms of appropriation to forms of production‘. revolutions. what exactly is the nature of the determination? And does the superstructure have a degree of ‗autonomy‘ – and if so. they change all their social relations. Thus the Hussites of the 15th century and the revolutionary Anabaptists of the 16th century had been able to fight courageously and to present the vision of a new society. that they inevitably advance. and history proceeds completely independently of their will. But it was Marxism as seen through the eyes of Karl Kautsky. there is the view that the base is the forces of production. This view of Marxism is based upon a certain reading of Marx himself.Finally. they could not alter the inevitable development of history: . It was during this period that Marxism came to hegemonise the German workers‟ movement. The handmill gives you society with a feudal lord. for Kautsky. in particular upon a powerful polemical passage in The Poverty of Philosophy: In acquiring new productive forces.. capitalism – and would eventually lead to socialism. The outcome of wars. how can this be reconciled with talk of ‗determination‘ (even if it is only ‗determination in the last resort‘)? Mechanical materialism and its aftermath The answers given to these questions lead to very different views about how society develops. At the one extreme. men change their mode of production. what is the relation between the ‗base‘ and the ‗superstructure‘? Does the base determine the superstructure? If so.. philosophical arguments or what-not is always determined in advance. There was an ‗inevitable . and that this in turn leads to changes in society.  Revolutionary movements could not alter this pattern of development. It would have made not one iota of difference to history if Robespierre had walked under a carriage in 1788 or if the sealed train had crashed in April 1917. determinist view of history comes to be regarded as „Marxist‟ orthodoxy. the steam mill society with an industrial capitalist. the „Pope of Marxism‟. in changing their way of earning a living. and in changing their mode of production.
.  „Economic development‟. conquest of the government in the interests of the [working] class‟. He held that the development of production automatically resulted in changes in the superstructure.  . but simply to reflect its development by carefully building up socialist organisation until capitalism was ready to turn into socialism... The ‗state of the productive forces‘ determines the ‗economic relations‘ of society.. i.e. But.‘ Finally.  The task of revolutionary socialists under modem capitalism was not to try to cut short the historical process. his introduction to the German Social Democratic Party‟s Erfurt Programme.. There is no way human endeavour can block the development of the forces of production. Violent revolutionary struggles can never determine the direction of social development. of historical evolution. at the same time. counter-revolutionaries could not stop the onward march of the forces of production and.. economic relations‘. Plekhanov. this only signifies that these intentions stand in opposition to the development of the needs of production. Kautsky insisted that „regression‟ from more advanced to more backward forces of production never occurred. determine . A ‗socio-political system‘ then develops on this ‗economic basis‘.. they can only in certain circumstances accelerate their pace .  He provides a ‗formula‘ which sets out a hierarchy of causation in history.. the ‗various ideologies .. reflect the properties of that mentality‘.  ‗The final cause of the social relationships lies in the state of the productive forces.. social relations. „will lead inevitably to the .The direction of social development does not depend on the use of peaceful methods or violent struggles.  Very close to Kautsky‘s formulations were those of the pioneer Russian Marxist. It is determined by the progress and needs of the methods of production. therefore. If the outcome of violent revolutionary struggles does not correspond to the intentions of the revolutionary combatants.‘ ‗Productive forces . said his most influential work. ‗The mentality of men living in society [is] determined in part directly by the economic conditions obtaining and in part by the entire socio-political system that has arisen on that foundation. ‗Social development‘ is a ‗process expressing laws‘.
not their general trend.He would assert that ‗history is made by men‘. in the 1890s. criticising an over-crude use of historical materialism. The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte.  Just as Kautsky‟s interpretation of Marxism dominated in the parties of the Second International. Engels had written to Starkenburg: . The reaction against determinism Stalinist Marxism did not long outlast Stalin himself. They insisted. they cannot eliminate the given economic relations if the latter conform to the given state of the productive forces. fatalistic approach to historical change. that in Marx‘s own historical writings – the Class Struggles in France. but then go on to insist that ‗the average axis of mankind‘s intellectual development‘ runs ‗parallel to that of its economic development‘. so that in the end all that really matters is the economic development.  In the hands of Stalin and his „theoreticians‟ it became an unbendable historical law: development of the forces of production inevitably led to corresponding changes in society. the clearest indication that Western capitalism had outlived its lifespan was the decline in its forces of production. The Civil War in France – there is not a hint of a passive. The „new left‟ of the late 1950s and the Maoist left of the mid-1960s both launched assaults on the crude mechanical determinist account of history. so the growth of industry in Russia would inevitably lead from a „workers‟ state‟ to „socialism‟ and from „socialism‟ to „communism‟. rightly. regardless of the misery and hardship involved. Plekhanov‟s was taken up as the orthodoxy by the Stalinist parties from the late 1920s onwards. by contrast. They also laid great emphasis on certain remarks Engels had made in a series of letters he wrote at the very end of his life. Talented people can change only individual features of events.  The outcome of great historical events like the French Revolution did not depend at all on the role played by individuals like Mirabeau or Robespierre: No matter what the qualities of a given individual may be.
juristic. amid all the endless host of accidents. Hence if somebody twists this into saying that the economic element is the only determining one. The Maoist left did not begin with such an explicit break with the past. But the Althusserians created a new theoretical structure which destroyed most of the content of the old notions of ‗base‘. juridical. juridical forms and even the reflexes of these actual struggles in the brains of the participants. etc. but the various elements of the superstructure – political forms of the class struggle and its results. solely active. Louis Althusser. The doyen of this school. political. philosophical. not to be taken too seriously.Political.. while everything else is only passive effect.. Society consisted of a number of . More than that neither Marx nor I have ever asserted. the economic element finally asserts itself as necessary. was quite willing in his early 1960s writings to quote Stalin himself favourably. he transforms that proposition into a meaningless abstract senseless phrase.  And to Bloch: According to the materialist conception of history. The „reciprocal‟ influence of the superstructure on the base meant that „determination‟ was not to be seen as a strict causal relationship. ‗superstructure‘ and ‗determination‘. development is based on economic development. literary. There is an interaction of all these elements in which. There is rather interaction on the basis of economic necessity which ultimately always asserts itself. But these all react on one another and also upon the economic basis. etc. the ultimately determining element in history is the production and reproduction of real life. religious.‟  The post-1956 new left went on to argue that even the terms „base and superstructure‟ were simply a metaphor. philosophical theories. The economic situation is the basis. artistic. to wit: constitutions established by victorious classes after a successful battle. religious views and their further development into systems of dogmas – also exercise their influence upon the course of the historical struggles and in many cases preponderate in determining their form .. It is not that the economic situation is cause.
In his more theoretical writings he rejects the view that ‗economic‘ factors play any sort of determining role in history.  We are right back to the old empiricist adage. this meant moving away from any tight definition of class or any real concern with how social being might affect social consciousness. there has always been a revolutionary alternative to either mechanical materialism or voluntarism. It was only ‗in the last instance‘ that the economic was ‗determinant‘. Gareth Stedman Jones.P. or even that they can be separated out from other factors such as the ideological or judicial. So widespread has the influence of this ‗common sense‘ been that it has even affected people who reject completely the political conclusions of Thompson or Althusser. So.  But his defence of Marx involves a complete retreat to the mechanical interpretation of Kautsky and Plekhanov. however. and have moved to positions that deny any possibility of understanding how societies change. one English post-Althusserian. the linguistic – each developing at its own speed.‘ Such is the mouse that the elephantine structures of Althusserianism have given birth to.different structures – the political. But there is the same element of voluntarism as in Thompson: if only the party understands the articulation of the different structures. In the writings about current events by the most prominent British new left figure.  Yet both of them redefined historical materialism in a way that opened the door to a great dose of voluntarism. ‗Everything is what it is and nothing else. even in ‗the last instance‘.  The only concerted resistance to this tendency has come from admirers of the orthodox analytical philosopher G. At any particular point in history it could be any one of them that dominated the others. It existed in part even in . E.A.  Althusser‘s tone is different: in his earlier writings the key to change is still a party of an essentially Stalinist sort. for instance. Most of his followers have abandoned any notion of ‗determination‘. For the 1950s new left. Thompson – right through from his 1960 essay ‗Revolution‘  to his anti cruise missile writings of 1980 – there is the insistent message that energy and goodwill and a repudiation of tight categories can be enough in themselves to open the road to victory. the economic. regardless of ‗economic‘ factors. The new left and the Maoist-Althusserian schools were initially very hostile to each other. The convergence of the old new left and the Althusserians has created a sort of ‗common sense‘ among Marxists which holds that any talk of base and superstructure is really old hat. and having an impact on the others. Cohen. now tells us that the only way to understand any ideology is in its own terms and that you must not make any attempt to interpret its development in terms of the material circumstances of those who adhere to it. it can force the pace of history. the ideological. The revolutionary materialist alternative Historically.
the heyday of Kautskyism in some of the writings of Engels and in the work of the Italian Marxist, Labriola.  But the need for a theoretical alternative did not become more widely apparent until the years of the First World War and the Russian Revolution proved the bankruptcy of Kautskyism. It was then that Lenin reread Hegel and concluded, ‗Intelligent (dialectical) idealism is closer to intelligent materialism than stupid (metaphysical) materialism‘.  In the years that followed, thinkers like George Lukács, Karl Korsch and Antonio Gramsci all tried to provide versions of historical materialism which did not see human activity as simply a passive reflection of other factors. And in his magnificent History of the Russian Revolution, Leon Trotsky provided an account of a world historical event which placed massive emphasis on subjective as well as objective factors – and was criticised from a Plekhanovite point of view for doing so.  A non-mechanical, non-voluntarist version of historical materialism is absolutely vital today. It can easily be found in the works of Marx himself, if you supplement his classic account in the Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy with what he says at various points in The German Ideology, The Poverty of Philosophy, The Communist Manifesto and elsewhere.
Production and society
Marx first sets out his account of historical materialism in The German Ideology of 1846. He starts from a materialist recognition that human beings are biologically part of nature:
The premises from which we start are not dogmas, but real premises from which abstraction can only be made in the imagination. They are real individuals, their activity and the material conditions under which they live, both those which they find existing and those which they produce by their own activity. The first fact to be established is the physical organisation of these individuals and their consequent relationship to the rest of nature ... The writing of history must always set out from these natural bases and their modification in the course of history through the actions of men. We must begin by stating the first real premise of human existence, and therefore of all human history, the premise that
men must be able to live in order to „make history‟. But life involves before everything else eating and drinking, a habitation, clothing and many other things. . [This is] a fundamental condition of all human history which today as thousands of years ago must be daily and hourly fulfilled merely in order to sustain human life. 
So there is a core activity at any point in history which is a precondition for everything else which happens. This is the activity of work on the material world in order to get food, shelter and clothing. The character of this activity depends upon the concrete material situation in which human beings find themselves. This determines the content of the most basic forms of human action. And so it also determines what individuals themselves are like.
The mode of production must not be considered simply as being the reproduction of the physical existence of the individuals. Rather it is a definite form of activity of these individuals, a definite form of expressing their life, a definite mode of life on their part. As individuals express their life so they are. What they are therefore coincides with their production, both of what they produce and how they produce. The nature of individuals thus depends on the material circumstances determining their production ... 
These passages cannot be properly understood unless Marx‟s central point about human activity – best expressed in the Theses on Feuerbach (written at the same time as The German Ideology) – is understood. For Marx humanity is part of nature. It arises as a product of biological evolution, and one must never forget its physical dependence on the material world around it. All of its institutions, ideas, dreams and ideals can only be understood as arising from this material reality – even if the route through which they so arise is often long and circuitous. As Labriola
put it, „Ideas do not fall from heaven and nothing comes to us in a dream‟.  But that does not mean humans are not qualitatively distinct from the rest of nature. Like any other species, humanity has its own defining features. For Marx the key such defining features are that human beings have to react back upon the material circumstances in which they find themselves in order to survive: Men can be distinguished from animals by consciousness, by religion or anything else you like. They distinguish themselves from animals as soon as they begin to produce their means of subsistence, a step which is conditioned by their physical organisation. By producing their means of subsistence men are indirectly producing their actual material life.  Humans cannot act independently of their circumstances. But this does not mean they can be reduced to them. They are continually involved in ‗negating‘ the material objective world around them, in reacting upon it in such a way as to transform both it and themselves. At each point in history, human beings have to find some way to cope with the needs of material survival. How they cope is not something independent from the objective physical world; rather it is a product of that world. Yet it can never be grasped simply as a mechanical consequence of the physical constitution of nature. It is not mechanical causality, but human action which mediates between the world in which human beings find themselves and the lives they lead.
Production is never individual production. It is only the collective effort of human beings that enables them to get a livelihood from the world around them. So the central core activity – work – has to be organised socially. Every particular stage in the development of human labour demands certain sorts of social relationships to sustain it. In The German Ideology Marx refers to the social relations between people at any particular point in history as the ‗form of intercourse‘. And he insists that, ‗The form of intercourse is again determined by production‘.  The various institutions that embody human relationships can only be understood as developing out of this core productive interaction:
The fact is that definite individuals who are productively active in a definite way enter into these definite social and political relations ... The social structure and the state are continually evolving out of the life processes of definite individuals, but of
a band of hunter-gatherers adopts a me of radically increasing the food available to them (by. But he sees it as having even wider implications than this. reading. presuppositions and conditions independent of their will. . These core relationships provide a framework which everything else humans do has to fit on to. if they are staying in one spot. It is therefore restricted in a number of ways: it cannot be made up of bands of more than 20 or so people. since the children have to be carried when the band looks for food. This is the narrowest way in which you can grasp Marx‘s argument. human beings are forced to act on the world in certain ways – to engage in material production. And even relations between people which do not arise out production – the games people play with each other. the relations of adults and young babies – will affected. And these changes in turn then exert a pressure on all the other social relations. If. Instead of continually moving. as they operate. they have to stay in one spot until the crop can be harvested. The history of society is the history of changes in the ways in which production takes place. in earthenware pots). this necessarily changes their social relations with each other.individuals.  In order to maintain their material lives. Everything else is. The relations of material production not only limit the rest of relations in society.e. But that requires certain forms of cooperation between them. higher arithmetic. there is no means by which one section of society could be freed from labour in order to engage in writing. They provide the limits to what is possible in any society. so providing. not as they appear in their own or other people‟s imaginations. in this sense. an incentive for warfare. a hunter-gatherer society does not have the means to store food for more than a few days. for the first time. each associated with changes in the relations between human beings immediately around the productive process. So. there is no longer any necessity for restriction on the number of children per woman the crop becomes something which other bands of people can seize. the forms sex takes. between rival bands. say planting root vegetables for themselves instead of having search for them) and of storing food for long periods of time (for instance. based on them. but as they really are. for instance. for instance. they are also the source of the content of these wider relations as well. the women in it cannot bear more than one child every four or five years. etc. produce materially and hence as they work under definite material limits. Changes in the way material production takes place lead changes in the relations of society in general. i. and can only survive if its members are continually on the move looking for more foodstuffs.
resources can only be gathered together for further development of the forces of production if the surplus is controlled by a small. or those who pioneered new sorts of trade between one society and its neighbours.. There is a tendency for old patterns of working and living to crystallise into relatively inflexible structures. the subject of production. Nor does he deny that they can influence the way production itself takes place.. of commodities. which would be of long-term as well as shortterm benefit. They become „sanctified‟ with the development of systems of religion. have greater or lesser effect upon his functions and activities. rituals and so or At first these systems are carried on even in „bad times‟. by this very fact. Hence it is that wherever there is the development of agriculture proper out of horticulture. when the short term needs or desires of the individual might lead ti actions which ruin the long term interests of the social collectivity. taboos. including his functions and activities as creator of material wealth. the building of towns. the use of dams and canals for flood prevention and irrigation. affect man. privileged minority of society. Exploitation is also needed. While the surplus left after the satisfaction of everyone‘s minimal needs is small. The new exploiting group has its origins in its role in production: it is constituted out of those who were most efficient in introducing new methods of agricultural production. influence material production and have a more or less determining effect upon it. there are also the beginnings of a polarisation within society between those who exploit and those who are exploited. Exploitation and the superstructure Something more is needed than simple cooperation between people for the forces of production to develop beyond a certain point. magic. As he puts it in Theories of Surplus Value: All circumstances which .Marx does not at all deny the reality of relations other than directly productive ones. But.  This is even true in pre-class societies. or those who could justify . they discourage innovation and move to new forms of production. however and wherever they manifest themselves. In this sense it can be truly asserted that all human relations and functions. the growth of trade.
So.themselves not engaging in backbreaking manual labour because of their ability to foresee flood patterns or design waterworks. It creates a non-economic ‗superstructure‘ to safeguard the source of its own privileges in the economic ‗base‘. each with its distinctive ruling class seeking to mould the whole of society to fit in with its requirements. creates a whole network of non-productive relations to safeguard the privileged position it has gained for itself. Its armies sack towns where they are practised. But in doing so they created instruments that could be used to crush any new social force that emerged out of changes in production (eg out of the growth of handicrafts or trade). It rewrites old codes of behaviour into new sets of legal rules that sanctify its position. So great is the reciprocal impact of the ‗superstructure‘ on the base. The way the political and judicial feed back into the economic is absolutely central to Marx‘s whole approach. . so further enhancing its wealth through booty and the taking of slaves. It is this alone which enables him to talk of successive. in short. and therefore in putting a limit on changes in the relations of production. judicial and religious means to secure its own position. It uses its new wealth to wage war. for instance. distinct ‗modes of production‘ – stages in history in which the organisation of production and exploitation is frozen in certain ways. impeding the growth of new productive forces. It seeks through these political. It establishes ‗special bodies of armed men‘ to safeguard its old and its new wealth against internal and external enemies. Far from ignoring the impact of the ‗superstructure‘ on the ‗base‘. Old relations of production act as fetters. It gains control of religious rites. They are concerned with controlling the base. ascribing the advance of the social productive force to its own ‗supernatural powers‘. Its laws declare the new ways to be illegal. with fixing existing relations of exploitation. for example. The very function of these ‗non-economic‘ institutions means that they have enormous economic impact. The new exploiting group. Its police use torture against them. that many of the categories we commonly think of as ‗economic‘ are in fact constituted by both. a ruling class emerged on the basis of certain sorts of material production (agriculture involving the use of hydraulic installations) and exploitation. Its religious institutions denounce them as immoral. ‗property rights‘ are judicial (part of the superstructure) but regulate the way exploitation takes place (part of the base). On occasions that meant physically destroying the new productive means. Its members then sought to preserve their position by creating political and ideological institutions. even if this also involves stopping further development of the productive forces. as many ignorant critics have claimed for more than a century. But from the beginning the new exploiting group secures its control by means other than its role in production. How? Because of the activity of the ‗superstructure‘ in trying to stop new forms of production and exploitation that challenge the monopoly of wealth and power of the old ruling class. Marx builds his whole account of human history around it. In ancient China.
When this happens. to endless battles for place and influence. ‗The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle‘. It is economic development that produces the class forces that struggle for control of society. for Marx. But the class struggle is precisely the struggle between those who use the political and ideological institutions of the superstructure to maintain their power over the productive ‗base‘ and exploitation. displaces it. and therefore on the way they react to the other classes in society. a political fight. they want certain sorts of material production to take place to suit the particular needs of their institutions. depends. in doing so. Then material reality catches up with it and the whole social edifice comes tumbling down. displaces an old ruling class. passive reflection of the development of the forces production. destroys the resources upon which the whole of society.‘ Marxism does not see political struggle as simply an automatic. they want their sort of lifestyle to be valued more highly than that of those involved in direct production. decide.The massive political and ideological struggles that arise as a result. Any real fight against the existing structures of exploitation becomes a fight against the superstructure. it can also have profound effects on the relations between the members of the ruling class themselves. But how that struggle goes depends upon the political mobilisation that takes place within each class. whether a rising class. the police and the priesthoods live off the surplus obtained by exploitation just as much as do the direct exploiters. But none of these developments take place without massive political and ideological struggles. But the growth of superstructural institutions not only freezes existing production relations. As Lenin put it. Their attempt to gain their own particular aims can lead to the building of ever more complex institutions. based on new forms of production. whether the existing ruling class maintains its power until it ruins society. . or whether a rising class. It is these which determine whether one set of social activities (those of the superstructure) cramp a different set of social activities (those involved in maintaining and developing the material base). Those who command the armies. and those who put up resistance to them. based on new forces of production. It can become a drain on them that prevents their reproduction – and. The end result can be labyrinthine structures in which the source of wealth and privilege in material production is completely forgotten. wrote Marx and Engels at the beginning of The Communist Manifesto. to elaborate rules about social behaviour. for Marx. the superstructure can go beyond simply freezing the economic activities on which it is based. including the superstructure itself. But they also develop particular interests of their own: they want their share of the surplus to be as great as possible. ‗Politics is concentrated economics. It is these which decide. The superstructure exists to defend exploitation and its fruits. And so it is an absolute travesty of his views to claim that he ‗neglects‘ the political or ideological element.
There is still I question of where the superstructural institutions themselves come from. it can lead to viewing the dynamic of society as lying in some mystical force that lies outside society (Hegel‘s ‗world spirit‘ or Weber‘s ‗rationalisation‘).. However. . sociology).  Under any form of class rule a range of structures are built to reinforce and institutionalise exploitation. it is the view that underlies the barrenness of the modern pseudo-science of society. which influence everything else which happens in society – including the nature of material production itself. his polemic against Proudhon. Those in control these institutions have interests of their own. written soon after The German Ideology: The production relations of society form a whole.  In his writings Marx points to three different consequences of such a view of society as an undifferentiated whole.. seeing social relations as governed by ‗eternal laws which must always govern society. The only drawback to this method is that when he comes to examine a single one of these phases.. Thus there has been history. M Proudhon cannot explain it without having recourse to all the other relations of society. He takes the point up in The Poverty Philosophy. it can lead to a view in which the existing form of society is seen as eternal and unchanging (the view which Marx ascribed to bourgeois economists. And there is the all-important question of what happens if the superstructure develops in such ways as to impede the reproduction of its own material base. that cannot be the end of the matter.. but there is no longer any‘. Marx insists that simply to assert that everything in society influences everything – the superstructure the base as well as vice versa – leads nowhere. Secondly.The key role of changes in production We are now in a position to reassess Engels‟ statement that‟ various elements of the superstructure . as the ‗voluntarist‘ rendering of Engels‘ remarks implies. resulting one from the other . also exercise their influence on the course of historical struggles and in many cases preponderate in determining their forms‟. M Proudhon considers economic relations as so many social phases engendering one another. with everything influencing everything else. Firstly. which relations he has not yet made his dialectical movement engender.
People may tire of one game and start playing another. Marx noted in The Communist Manifesto that ‗conservation of the old modes of production in unaltered form was the first condition of existence of all earlier industrial classes‘. But in adopting the new ways of working. G. It could be the stifling of the new.g. Civilisation after civilisation has collapsed back into ‗barbarism‘ (i. The succession of quantitative changes then has a qualitative impact. As we have seen. does have a tendency to move in one direction rather than another. through its own language and ideas. south east Asia or central Africa. agricultural production without towns) – witness the dead ‗cities in the jungle‘ to be found in Latin America. there are several instances of hunter-gatherer peoples who show signs of once having been horticulturalists (e. the resources that allow lives to be free from material deprivation. without any reference to anything else (the position of those idealist philosophers who followed Hegel in 19th century Germany. But if they continue. They can produce random change in society.  ‗Regression‘ (from more advanced forms of production to more backward) is far from being exceptional historically.e. historically developed features of any society whether the . A ruler may die and be succeeded by another with a quite different personality. There could be the ‗mutual destruction of the contending classes‘. an additional person engaged in a particular labour process somewhere else). But all such changes are accidents. but not a dynamic which moves society in any specific direction. Marx‘s way out of this impasse is to locate the one element in the social whole that has a tendency to cumulative development of its own. it can lead to the view that what exists today can only be grasped in its own terms. access to raw materials) and new knowledge. and of more recent thinkers like Collingwood. These changes will often be so small as to be barely perceptible (a changed relationship between two people here. And these resources can be piled up in ever greater quantities. Its output is wealth. The accident of birth or upbringing may produce a gifted musician or painter. Material production. they will bring about systematic molecular change in the whole social structure. Winch and the ex-Althusserians). There is no reason why they should lead to cumulative social change of any sort. Past labour provides the means for increasing the output of present labour: both material means (tools. on the other hand.Thirdly.  The outcome of the clash between the new and the old did not have to be the defeat of the old. humans also adopt new ways of relating to each other.A. Plekhanov and. some tribes of the Amazon). the clash between new ways of producing and old social relations is a central feature in history. This is the action of humans in working on their environment to get a living for themselves.  It depends upon the particular. Cohen have claimed. Marx does not deny the possibility of changes in other aspects of social life. This does not mean that forces of production always develop as Kautsky. machines. more recently.
people have wanted to increase the livelihood they can get for a certain amount of labour. one can imagine societies which have become so sclerotic that no innovation in production is possible (with. However. It did not matter. then the superstructure itself was eventually doomed. for instance. not the norm. If it prevented this base from developing. and the leadership and understanding available to the rival classes on the other. At one extreme. Because human life is harsh. but many of those that did not were enslaved by those that did. but this did not stop them all being overwhelmed by the wave of capitalism that spread out from the western fringe of Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries. As a matter of historical fact. In this sense Engels was right to say that the ‗economic element finally asserts itself as dominant‘. even though certain activities have been sanctified and others tabooed. even if the development of the forces of production is the exception. For others it has been the social relations within which this interaction occurs. in effect. Again feudal barons and oriental despotic gentry were usually able to beat back the challenge of urban tradesmen and merchants. the forces of production did succeed in breaking down and transforming the totality of social relations in which they grew up. superstructure and social change Much of the confusion which has arisen among Marxists over the interpretation of Marx‟s Preface to A Critique of Political Economy lies in the definition of the „base‟ on which „the legal and political superstructure‟ rises. Very few societies moved on from the stage of barbarism to that of civilisation. Generally speaking. What has happened then has depended on the balance of class forces on the one hand. For those societies where the forces of production break through will thrive and. been the material interaction of human beings and nature – the forces of production. there has been a very slow development of the forces of production until the point has been reached where a new class begins to challenge the old.new forces of production can develop and the classes associated with them break through. reach the point of being able to dominate those societies where the forces of production have been stifled. eventually. how grandiose or elaborate the superstructure of any society was. at the end of the day. In fact. most human societies have been somewhere in between. For some people the ‗base‘ has. closely circumscribed religious rites determining how every act of production is performed). Base. the social relations of production. it does not invalidate Marx‘s argument. It rested on a ‗base‘ in material production. At the other extreme. . there is modem capitalist society where the be all and end all of life is meant to be increasing the productivity of labour.
In fact he is not making a single distinction in the Critique between ‗base‘ and ‗superstructure‘. It is the ‗forces of production‘ that are dynamic. Human groups who succeed in changing the ways they work in order to develop the forces of production will be more successful than those that don‘t. it is rather that they want access to the increased material productivity of horticulture over hunting and gathering. then obviously they cannot come into existence until these new social relations do. political. aesthetic. as we saw above. cumulative changes in the forces of production can take place. Relations of production ‗correspond‘ to forces of production. The reason for the confusion is this. the only way to increase their own control over the means of livelihood (to develop the forces of production under their control) is to establish new production relations. which can be determined with the precision of natural science‘ and ‗legal. changes in the social relations of production the unintended consequence. which go forward until they ‗come into conflict‘ with the static ‗relations of production‘. And then there is the distinction between the relations of production and the remaining social relations. religious. encouraging changes in the relations between people which are just as small but also just cumulative. So. there are reasons for assigning priority to the forces of production. There is the distinction between the ‗forces of production‘ and the relations of production. Two distinctions are involved. this is not primarily a result of any belief that horticultural social relations are superior to hunter-gatherer social relations. But. But he says earlier that ‗relations of production . In the same way.. For at one point he talks of the ‗sum total of these relations of production‘ as ‗the real basis on which arises a political and legal superstructure‘. it is not preference for one set of relations around the production process rather than another that leads the burghers to begin to challenge feudal society. People change their relations with each other because they want to produce the means of livelihood more easily: increasing the means of livelihood is the aim.. and he goes on to contrast ‗the material transformation of the material conditions of production. not the other way round. correspond to a definite form of development of their material productive forces‘. if hunter-gatherers decide to change their social relations with each other so as to engage in horticulture. The forces of production rebel against the existing relations of production. If new ways of working do involve new social relations. It is the ‗material productive forces‘ which come into conflict with ‗the existing relations of production‘. for instance. It is rather that for this particular grouping of people within feudalism. Of course. But one of the elements in this combination is ‗more basic‘ than the other. The ‗base‘ is the combination of forces and relations of production. not the other way round. or philosophical forms‘. . Small. there is a certain sense in which it is impossible to separate material production from the social relations it involves.You can justify any one of these positions if you take particular quotations from the Preface in isolation from the rest of the passage and from Marx‘s other writings.
The distinction between forces and relations of production is prior to the second distinction. between ‗economic base‘ and the superstructure. even if they are successfully resisted by those committed to the old social relations. These small changes might involve new property relations. Neither the social relations of production nor the wider social relations will provide any impetus to the revolutionary social changes that do occur (eg from societies of small bands to those of settled villages. The development of the forces of production leads to certain changes in the relations of production. But in any society there will be pressures in this direction at some point or other. but in many. or from those of medieval feudal manors to those of advanced industrial capitalist cities). At one point in the Preface Marx equates the social relation of production with property relations.Even when the way one society is organised changes. accidental changes in the relations of people to each other. because of the pressure of another society on it (as when India was compelled to adopt a European style land tenure system in the 19th century. until a whole range of institutions of a non-economic sort help reproduce existing economic relations (and so resist further economic change). If the forces of production are static. There is no mechanical principle which means that the expansion of material production – and with it the changes in social relations – will automatically occur. until these challenge the wider relations of society. And these pressures will have social consequences. And the ‗social relations of production‘ will not endure unless they are successful in organising material production – in finding a ‗base‘ in material production – in the society that is pressurised into adopting them. so that at most there can be random. Where they do not find such a ‗base‘ (as with the Ik in Northern Uganda) the result can even be the destruction of society. The existing social relations will simply tend to reproduce themselves. People like Cohen have given this view a central place in their own accounts of historical materialism. . The point of these distinctions is to provide an understanding of how society changes. the social organisation of production the effect.  Expansion of material production is the cause. There is a further confusion in some of the discussion on forces and relations of production. It seems to me to limit the notion of the ‗social relations of production‘ far too much. These in turn result in changes in the other relations of society being made. The cause itself can be blocked by the old form of organisation of society. cumulative changes in the social relations arising directly at the point of production. This concerns what the ‗relations of production‘ are. the reason the pressure exists is that the other society disposes of more advanced forces of production (which translate into more effective means of waging war). many important cases do not. or when hunter-gatherers have been persuaded by colonial administrators and missionaries to accept a settled agricultural life). Much of the power of Marx‘s account of history lies in the way in which it shows how small changes in the forces of production lead to small. then there is no reason why any society should undergo systematic change at all.
The forces of production exert pressure on the existing relations of production. a nobleman always remains a nobleman. these codes had their origin in material exploitation. with economic institutions on one side and political. But such protection has rarely been possible without the state intervening directly in production. The attempt to preserve existing relations of production and exploitation leads to elaborate codes assigning every individual to one or other caste or estate. defending ideologically existing forms of feudal exploitation.  . a commoner a commoner. So. a quality inseparable from his individuality‘. As Marx put it: ‗. This. The distinction between base and superstructure is not distinction between one set of institutions and another.  There is a sense in which it is true to say that only in bourgeois society do there exist ‗pure‘ classes – social groupings whose membership depends entirely upon relations to exploitation in the productive process. even the question of the class people belong to comes to depend upon superstructural factors. There is not one distinction in Marx. the medieval church was a superstructural institution. as opposed to privileges embodied in judicial or religious codes. etc institutions on the other. for instance. when a certain degree of development is reached the hereditary nature of castes is decreed as a social law‘. In the same way.For instance. Once this is grasped.. It grew up to preserve and reproduce already existing relations of production.  Of course. But it acquired such large landholdings of its own that no account of the economic structure of medieval society can ignore it.. But it cannot do this without playing a very important economic role (in the case of the working class family. And those in turn come into conflict with the existing superstructure. ideological. apart from his other relations. modern capitalist states arose out of the need for ‗bodies of armed men‘ to protect particular capitalist ruling classes. from the first planting of seed by huntergatherers to changes in production methods in capitalist countries today. determines the productive activity (if any at all) open to them.. in turn. Many particular institutions include both. There is a sense in which the questions themselves are misframed.. but centuries of frozen social development have obscured that fact. judicial. but two. an increase in the number of journeymen working for the average master craftsman in a medieval city is not change in property relations. in the case of the capitalist family defining the way in which property is passed from one generation to the next). it is possible to deal with the questions which are sometimes raised as to whether particular institutions belong to the base or the superstructure. But it does change the social relations in the town in a way which may have very important implications. It is a distinction between relations that are directly connected with production and those that are not. To sum up the argument so far.  And ‗in the estate . The situation with the capitalist family is somewhat similar to that of the medieval church or the modem state. organising the vast amount of domestic labour that goes into the physical reproduction of labour power. In pre-capitalist societies. Similar considerations apply with many other significant historical developments.
 But the distinction between base and superstructure is a distinction between social relations which are subject to immediate changes with changes in the productive forces. The simple fact is that the ‗forces of reproduction‘ do not have the tendency to cumulative change that the forces of production do. while a hunter-gatherer society is forced to restrict the number of births. but on the sphere of production. But there are certain peculiarities about their relation under capitalism that deserve a brief mention.  All parts of any social structure owe their ultimate genesis to the realm of production. many agricultural societies have an interest in as many births as possible. the survival of each individual capital depends upon expanding the forces of production at its disposal more rapidly than its rivals: The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionising the instruments of production and thereby the relations of production and with them the whole relations of society . once generated.. Under capitalism. for instance. Changes in the way reproduction is organised in general follow changes in the way production takes place. and those which are relatively static and resistant to change.  Finally. But what Marx quite rightly emphasised by talk of the ‗superstructure‘ was that. (For instance. some parts of the social structure have the effect of constraining the development of others. rose out of the needs of exploitation at a certain point in history and has continuing effects on production. the established relations of production tend to retard the forces of production. The old stand in contradiction to the new. these considerations also enable us to dispose of another argument that is sometimes raised – the claim that all social relations are ‗relations of production‘. To say that all social relations are ‗relations of production‘ is to paint a picture of social development which ignores this important element of contradiction. The possible ways of restricting the number of births hardly changed from the hunter-gatherer societies of 30. by contrast. even in its ‗economic‘ function of reproducing the labour force. for pre-capitalist societies.. Constant revolutionising of production. uninterrupted .  Base and superstructure under capitalism So far this article has been about the relationship of base and superstructure in general. Marx stresses that.) The material conditions under which children are reared do change – but as a by-product of material changes taking place elsewhere in society.This has led to attempts to assign it to the ‗base‘ because of its economic role.000 years ago until the 20th century – whether these means were used depended not on the sphere of reproduction at all. But it stands in contradiction to the new relationships that are continually being thrown up by further developments of production. The capitalist family belongs to the latter rather than the former category. The old form of organisation of the state. First is the peculiar effect of relations of production on the forces of production.
Yet the mainspring of production in this system is the rate of profit. living labour. For those of us who live in the 20th century. ever greater disproportions between the different elements of the economy. The growth of the social productive forces of humanity – increased productivity – involves combining ever greater amounts of past labour to each unit of present labour. Under capitalism this takes the form of an increase in the ratio of investment to the workforce. The source of surplus value lies in the realm of production.e. but also a conflict between different elements of the economy. some of which are seen by Marx as ‗more basic‘ than others. Yet. None of this means that the distinction between base and superstructure is redundant under capitalism.  A second difference lies in the way in which under capitalism there is not only a conflict between the development of economic relations and non-economic constraints on them. everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. What it does mean is that there are even more elements of contradiction in this system than previously. and ever deeper economic crises. Investment grows more rapidly than the source of all potential profit. and so on. at the end of the day. the credit system. Analysing these concretely is a precondition for knowing the way the system is moving and the possibilities of building a determined revolutionary opposition to it.disturbance of all social conditions. it also means an ever present tendency for economic competition to turn into military conflict. The contradiction between the drive to invest and the low level of profit to sustain investment finds expression. These take on a life of their own in a similar way to the different elements in the political and ideological superstructure. Superstructure and ideology What is the relationship of ideas and ideology to the dichotomy of base and superstructure? . with the threat of the forces of production turning into full fledged forces of destruction. in a growing tendency to stagnation in the system.  Marx holds that the contradiction between the forces of production and the relations of production still comes to the fore eventually. i. the stock market. the ratio of profit to investment. and that life affects what happens in the realm of production. for Marx. they cannot escape the fundamental fact that the surplus they dispose of comes from exploitation at the point of production – something which expresses itself in the sudden occurrence of cyclical crises. But growing out of the realm of production are a whole range of activities to do with the distribution of this surplus between different elements of the capitalist class – the buying and selling of commodities. but in a quite specific way.
He says: ‗Definite forms of social consciousness correspond to . The phantoms of the human brain are necessarily sublimates of men‟s material life process.  He implies there are a number of stages in the development of consciousness. Consciousness can never be anything else than conscious existence. religions. etc – real active men. morality.. the economic structure. up to its furthest forms. at most they are immediately aware of fleeting impressions around them. ‗social being . consciousness‘ [my emphases]. laws. the material intercourse of men appear at this stage as the direct efflux of their material behaviour. ‗the mode of production of material life conditions the social.. the language of real life. political and intellectual life process in general‘. out of the material interaction of human beings with the world and each other: The production of ideas of conceptions of consciousness is at first directly interwoven with the material activity and the material intercourse of men. Men are the producers of their conceptions.Marx is insistent that ideas cannot be divorced from the social context in which they arise. which can be empirically established and which is bound to material preconditions. Conceiving.. for him. ideas.. Ideas arise. To understand these strong assertions you have to understand how Marx sees ideas and language as developing. metaphysics. the real basis‘. and the existence of men is their actual life process.  Every idea can be shown to have its origin in the material activity of humans: We set out from real active men and on the basis of this we demonstrate the development of the ideological reflexes and echoes of this life process. The same applies to mental production as expressed in the language of politics.. as they are conditioned by the development of their productive forces and the forms of intercourse corresponding to these. etc of a people. thinking.. in acting collectively to . determines . Humans begin to move beyond this stage of immediate awareness only as they begin to interact socially with each other on a regular basis. Animals do not possess consciousness.
It depends for its functioning upon the satisfaction of the needs of the human body.  Marx‘s materialism amounts to this. but not as human sensuous activity.‘ However. It originates as consciousness of participation in those relationships. Consciousness is the subjective expression of objectively existing relations. Mind is developed upon the basis of matter. „language is the immediate actuality of thought‟. are ideas and thoughts about themselves and of people in general . then. reality. thought is . As Marx put it in the first of the Theses on Feuerbach: ‗The chief defect of all hitherto existing materialism is that the thing. The individual human being who thinks has the ability to act. if Marx asserts the reality of individual thought and activity. which in turn is a product of the need to carry out social production. for it [is] the consciousness not merely of a single individual but of the individual in his interconnection with the whole of society‘. It arises out of the need for communication. is a social product. The content of the individual mind depends upon the individual‘s material interaction with the world and other people. Thought arises from activity. which here makes its appearance in the form of agitated layers of air. Feuerbach does not conceive human activity itself as objective activity.. language like consciousness only arises from the need. but is still real. Language is as old as consciousness. It depends for the form of its consciousness upon the real relationships between individuals. ‗Ideas and thoughts of people. then.  Or.control their environment. Its embodiment. in short in language. the necessity of intercourse with other men.. The subjective develops out of the objective. sensuousness.. So he argues that it is only when humans have developed to the stage of „primary historical relations do we find that man also possesses “consciousness”. But the human mind cannot simply be reduced to matter. is a material process which is one of the constituents of these relationships. as he puts it elsewhere. sounds. language. he also emphasises their limits. humans create for the first time a material medium that enables them to fix fleeting impressions as permanent concepts: From the start the „spirit‟ is afflicted with the curse of being „burdened‟ with matter. not subjectively ..  Knowledge. And as soon as the link with activity is broken. is conceived only in the form of an object of contemplation. language is practical consciousness that exits for other men and for that reason alone it really exists for me personally as well.‟  In the process of acting together to get a livelihood.
False consciousness When people are engaged in material practice they have an immediate awareness of their action and of the part of the world it impinges on which is unlikely to be false. consciousness and intention play no part in history. Unless they are blind or deranged they know they are digging into the ground or aiming rifles at other people.e. At this level their activity and their consciousness coincide.seen to lose some of its content: ‗Man must prove the truth. Human action is continually changing the world in which human beings find themselves. and their relationships with each other. The ideas of any individual or group develop on the basis of material reality and feed back into that reality. Marx‘s historical materialism does not hold that will. It is a subjective link between objective processes. between the base and the superstructure. These are part of the real development of society. To deny that is to present a picture of society in which explosive antagonisms no longer exist. link their consciousness to it ‗The question of whether objective truth can be attributed to human thinking is not a question of theory but is a practical question . They cannot be reduced to that reality. but neither can they be divorced from it. But the content of .  It is in the coming together of humanity and the world in activity that both the reality of the world and the truth of thought are determined. It fails to see that history is the history of human activity. the dispute over the reality or non-reality of thinking that is isolated from practice is a purely scholastic question‘. It is human beings with particular ideas who invent new tools. the reality and power.‘ So thinking is only ‗real‘ in so far as it has practical application. insofar as it alters the world. The contradictions between the forces of production and the relations of production. There is an objective reality apart from human awareness. find expression in arguments. or whatnot. But it is only through their activity that humans can make contact with this reality. The mechanical materialist Kautskyite interpretation of Marxism makes the very mistake Marx himself ascribes to Feuerbach. challenge existing ways of living.. It is this link which enables us to make sense of Marx‘s notions of ‗false consciousness‘ and ‗ideology‘. the thissidedness of his thinking. organise revolutionary movements or fight to defend the status quo. But consciousness never arises in a void. organised disagreements and bitter struggles between people. But social activity involves consciousness. in practice.. i.
. you won‘t be able to sell the crop you grow and gain a livelihood. Language is the immediate actuality of thought. Its objective content is different to its subjective content. This is the secret of philosophical language in which thoughts in the form of words have their own context. he writes: The philosophers would only have to dissolve their language into the ordinary language from which it is abstracted to recognise it as the distorted language of the actual world and to realise that neither thought nor language in themselves form a reality of their own. your rifle may be defending the profits of a multinational.. It is at best partially ‗real‘. For philosophers one of the most difficult tasks is to descend from the world of thought to the actual world. In fact it hardly deserves the name „consciousness‟ at all. that they are not simply digging. It tells them. It has. general consciousness can be no more than a blind accompaniment to activity. There is no guarantee of the ‗truth‘ or ‗reality‘ of this general consciousness. This attempts to go beyond that which people immediately know and to provide some overall conception of the context they find themselves in. for instance. that they are only manifestations of actual life .this consciousness is minimal. So in criticising one particular form of ‗unreal‘ consciousness. The problem of descending from the world of thoughts to the actual world is turned into the problem of descending from language to life. Or the outcome of the activity it guides is different to what is expected. Whereas immediate consciousness is part and parcel of your activity and therefore must be ‗real‘ in certain very limited senses. In this sense it finds no expression in the world. however hard you dig. But alongside such immediate awareness there is always a more general consciousness. Just as philosophers have given thought an independent existence. no ‗thissidedness‘ and no ‗reality‘. not some alleged ‗fatherland‘. in Marx‘s words.  Yet Marx is insistent that even ‗false‘ general consciousness originates in real activity.  . but are providing themselves with a future livelihood. but are defending their ‗fatherland‘. the ‗German‘ ideology of idealist philosophy. so they had to make language into an independent realm. or that they are not simply aiming their rifles. An economic crisis can mean that.
They see false notions as arising as a result of the strange desire of philosophers to generalise. Only in a society without classes can the general notions develop straight out of the immediate experiences of people. and. hence from language to life.We have seen that the whole problem of the transition from thought to reality. And they conclude that all generalisation is wrong. a growing division between mental and manual labour. For everyone in society is then involved in a single. by contrast. some in the preservation of existing social relations. Different groups will have different practical aims. as itself having material roots. the single practice disintegrates and with it.  In a somewhat similar way ‗historicist‘ thinkers have insisted that no idea or social practice can be understood outside the particular historical and cultural context in which it is found. a clash which finds expression in the struggle between different social groups. any attempt at a wider explanation must be false. Ideology and class society Once there is a division between exploiting and exploited classes. of a weird ‗mental cramp‘ which afflicts people. In a class society the social whole is continually rent asunder by the clash between the development of the forces of production and the existing relations of production. All the mysteries which mislead theory into mysticism find their rational solution in human practice and in the contemplation of this practice. social or historical notions. some in their overthrow so as to allow the development of new social relations based . the possibility of a single view of the world.  But Marx‘s view is very different to these. the view he puts forward is very close to that of philosophers who have denied any possibility of general philosophical. the result of the divorce of theory from practice.‟ On the face of it. shared cooperative activity. exists only in philosophical illusion. without distortion. Marx.  Such a view of abstract philosophical thought leads straight to the contempt for it expressed in the Theses on Feuerbach: „Social life is essentially practical. based on that. Thus the linguistic philosophy of Wittgenstein claims that all the traditional problems of philosophy arise because philosophers have taken the concepts of ordinary life and used them out of context. sees false generalisation.
It has to assert that its notions are ‗true‘ and the others ‗false‘. They attempt to generalise the experience of a particular class in such a way as to enable it to dominate the thinking of other classes. Each will tend to develop its own overall view of society. That is why every great philosophy eventually slides into mysticism. But this does not mean. For some provide a more comprehensive view of society and its development than others. become prescriptions expressing the desires of different. a struggle by each to impose its view of society. its way of organising social activity. upon the others. which will be markedly different to that developed by the others. It is only in the minds of certain empiricist philosophers that description and prescription. its picture of society is one of a natural. associated with an advance of the productive forces. simply descriptions of what was necessary to maintain society and human life. with ‗sanctifying‘ the accomplished fact. or at least to show that the meaning given by other social groups to their activities can be subordinated to its own overall visions of the world. Categories which were previously unproblematic. A social group identified with the continuation of the old relations of production and the old institutions of the superstructure necessarily only has a partial view (or a series of partial views) of society as a whole. What is ‗good‘ or ‗valuable‘ from the point of view of one social group and its activity will be ‗bad‘ for another social group. in part. will be seen as bad by another because it obstructs the development of new forces of production. at least. opposed groups. Ideology and science A rising social group. The struggle for social domination between the different groups is. Its practice is concerned with the perpetuation of what already exists. Any philosophical view can always be countered by another. for Marx. since each has roots in the contradictory experiences of material life. that different views of the world are equally valid (or equally false). The result is that different sections of society have different experiences of social reality. Such views are not only accounts of what society is like. The attempt of philosophers to measure rival conceptions of the world against a single lodestone of ‗truth‘ is pan of this struggle. fact and value are distinct. Anything else can only be conceived as a disruption or destruction of a valuable. Therefore even at times of immense social crisis. They also serve to bind people together for the practical task of preserving or transforming society. has a quite different approach. harmonious arrangement. What one section of society sees as essential to the preservation of social life. eternally recurring harmony somehow under attack from incomprehensible. has no fear of new forms . irrational forces. this is an endless quest. But because of the real contradictions between the experiences and interests of different classes.upon new forces of production. At first. because it preserves the existing relations of production. for each prioritises some sorts of practical social activity to the detriment of others.
of social activity which disrupt the old relations of production and their superstructure along with it. is in marked contrast with a simply ‗exoteric‘ approach which takes for granted the existing external social forms. for instance. but as a guide to effective action. which has not yet subjected to itself the whole of society. Because it has a practical interest in transforming society. It can develop some sort of view of society which sees how all the different elements fit together. Their ability to develop a scientific understanding is related to the class they identify with – the rising industrial capitalists. the base and the superstructure. Marx certainly thought this was the case with classical political economy. It identifies with and understands these new forms of activity. its general ideas do not have to be either a blind commentary on events or a mysticism aimed simply at preserving the status quo. and to contrast ‗productive‘ labour which creates surplus value with the parasitic functions of the old state. The classical political economists never succeed fully in breaking with the ‗exoteric‘ method.. They were ‗scientific‘ because they tried to cut through the superficial appearances of society to grasp the ‗inner connections between the economic categories – or the hidden structure of the bourgeois economic system‘. etc‘. because it is also in collision with the old order. the oppressed class and the oppressing class. They can be scientific. despite their origin in the practice of one social group. They can be a source of real knowledge about society. the state.‘  This ‗esoteric‘ approach. the forces of production and the relations of production. Marx described Smith.  Because the industrial capitalists do not yet control society. This leads to the attempt to locate the production of wealth in the labour process. they have to adopt a critical view of its external features. ‗to attempt to penetrate the inner physiology of bourgeois society . and even of some of the mercantilist and physiocratic economists who preceded them.. church and so on. . which looks to the underlying social reality. it has practical experiences of that as well. but they begin to move in that direction. as ‗the interpreter of the frankly bourgeois upstart‘ . Again and again he refers to the ‗scientific‘ merit of the writings of Adam Smith and David Ricardo. They can act not just as a banner to rally people behind. to seek an objective analysis of the extent to which these features fit in with the drive to capital accumulation. and in doing so lay the basis for a scientific understanding of the inner structure of capitalism. ‗writing in ‗the language of the still revolutionary bourgeoisie. Yet at the same time.
‗psychology‘. but because the very way in which they are structured prevents them seeing beyond the activities and ideas which reproduce existing society – and therefore also the ruling class – to the material processes in which these are grounded. Each of these treats aspects of a unitary social development as if they occurred independently of each other. It plays about with concepts which arise in the superstructure. So you get a series of separate. Then it no longer has any use for a revolutionary critical attitude towards society as a whole. For Marx. It is the contradictions of such ‗ideological‘ arguments that can only ‗be resolved by the descent from language to life‘. instead of-seeing them as transitory products of social development. ‗neo-classical economics‘. these ‗intellectuals‘ will tend to identify with it – the ruling class establishes all sorts of mechanisms to ensure that. They sanctify the status quo because they take the concepts it uses at face value. And philosophy becomes the attempt to overcome the separation of these disciplines through looking at the concepts they use at ever greater degrees of remoteness from the world of material production and intercourse. not because they are necessarily conscious apologetics for the existing ruling class. dependent upon the ruling class for their sustenance. seeking to link and derive one from the other. But. as lacking any common root in social production. Such ways of looking at the world are ‗ideological‘. ‗History‘ becomes a more or less arbitrary linking together of events and personages. The only practical activity it is interested in is that which reproduces existing economic and social relations. . Identifying with the ruling class means stopping short of any total critique of existing social relations and taking for granted the form in which they present themselves. ‗sociology‘ and so on. without ever cutting through surface appearances to look at the real process of social production in which the superstructure and its concepts arise. The dominant social class controls the means by which a distinct layer of people can be freed from physical labour so as to engage in intellectual production. The particular aspects of existing society are then seen as self-sustaining. And so its „theory‟ degenerates into attempts to take different superficial aspects of existing society and present them as if they provided general laws about what all societies must be like. self-contained disciplines: ‗politics‘. ‗ideology‘ is a product of this situation.Ideology and the superstructure The situation changes radically when the rising class has consolidated its hold. ‗Ideology‘ in this sense is linked to the superstructure.
So a scientific Marxist analysis of any society has to be able to provide an understanding of the various ideological currents of that society. Nor is the immediate awareness which people have of their actions. the thinkers of a rising class can begin to develop a scientific understanding of social development. but in a distorted way. for instance. there is only one real test of any science: its ability to guide practice. arising out of people‘s material circumstances. expressing certain aspects of it. they have to show that they can take up and develop the insights which the thinkers of earlier rising classes made. A very important point underlies all this discussion. The scientific understanding which the thinkers of a rising class develop is not. While the thinkers of an established ruling class are confined to continual elaboration in the realm of ideology. Not all ideas about society are ‗ideological‘. For they alone are identified with a practice which puts into question all existing social relations. ‗Ideology‘ is part of the superstructure in the sense that it is a passive element in the social process. It is an active element. it has to be able to derive the ‗exoteric‘ from the ‗esoteric‘. So. linking it to underlying relations of material production and exploitation. at the end of the day. People‘s experience can be of .But this descent can only be made by thinkers who identify with a rising class. it is on its way to becoming the true self-consciousness of a society. And so arguments within Marxism itself can only be finally resolved in the course of revolutionary working class struggle. But revolutionary self-consciousness is not. between true and false consciousness. In the real world there are all sorts of hybrid sets of ideas which lie somewhere in between science and ideology. it has to be able to show how the superficial social features which ideology deals with can be derived from the underlying social processes it describes. helping to reproduce old relations of production. By contrast. This only becomes ‗ideological‘ when it is interpreted through a framework of general ideas provided by an established ruling class. Finally. but also to show how he could complete the work of classical political economy by solving problems it had set itself without success. They have to prove it. Our theory and theirs A rising class‟ thinkers cannot simply proclaim that they have the truth. As Marx puts it. seeking to criticise what happens on the surface of society. Marx set out in his economic writings not simply to give his explanation of the workings of capitalism. but feeding back into them to change them. First. showing how they arise out of the real world. if it is interpreted through the theory of a rising class. Second.
Some of its most prominent proponents can be those who make most efforts to relate to people‘s lived experiences. but seek to interpret them through piecemeal adjustments to old ideological frameworks. by pointing to the contradictory ways in which the forces of production and the relations of production. demonstrations and so on. But none of these contradictions simply resolve themselves. Even the output of the ideologies of the existing order cannot be dismissed out of hand. But this inevitably leads to contradictory accounts. The worst of them cannot completely ignore those experiences of the mass of people which challenge the ruling class‘s view of the world: their ideological function means they have. with some of the ideologues beginning to question some of the tenets of the established ideology. But that does not mean that we can neglect the elements of truth that those who practise these disciplines stumble across. Marx recognised that a great writer or artist is able to reflect all the contradictory experiences that beset people who live in his or her society. Marxism shows its superiority over bourgeois thought not by simply treating all bourgeois thinkers with contempt. if only to condemn such struggles and to isolate those involved in them.partial challenges to the existing society. as the mechanical . the base and the superstructure. The central role of class struggle The Marxist approach begins. artists and even theologians to make enormous efforts to fit empirical observation and experience into their accounts of reality. In a few cases this even leads them to a break with their own class and to identify with the revolutionary opposition to it. The ideology itself encourages ‗social scientists‘. So the worst hack journalists or TV commentators have to recognise that there is opposition to the ruling class. material reality and people‟s ideas. writers. historians. develop. but rather by showing that it can encapsulate the advances made by bourgeois thinkers into its own total view of reality – something which no bourgeois ‗social scientist‘ can do and which no bourgeois thinker has attempted since Hegel. if they are to find a mass audience. They gain partial insights into the real structure of society. The most reactionary priests are only effective insofar as they can provide illusory relief to the real problems of their parishioners. A scientific understanding of social development demands a complete break with the whole method of the pseudo-social sciences of those who defend the existing social order. somehow. and. This leads to all sorts of contradictions within the ruling ideology. however distorted. in the process to begin to go beyond the limits set by his or her class position. reporting on strikes. Still less can we ignore the often quite profound grasp of the social process to be found in certain non-Marxist historians or in great novelists like Balzac or Walter Scott. The worst pulp novelists have to start from some image of ordinary people‘s lives. to try to prove that those experiences are compatible with the ruling class‘s view. then.
The advance of every new mode of production is always marked by bitter class wars (even if. but often complicated. ideas are simply an automatic reflection of material being. Their resolution only takes place on the basis of the struggles of human beings. Economic developments are very important in this. developing out of elements of it a new total worldview. The institutions of the old ruling class are continually trying to define the ways in which people throughout society see themselves and their relations with others. The objective balance of forces is too powerfully weighted the other way. And some ways of developing the productive forces lead to qualitative changes. The members of the rising class at first accept these definitions as the only ones available to them: so for instance. But when the objective factors create a situation of near equality of forces for the rival classes. the physical resources at their disposal. of class struggles. But in real historical processes of social transformation it is never that simple. to the embryos of new exploiting and exploited classes (and. whatever it does. They determine the size of the different classes. Such direct economic factors can certainly create a situation in which the rising class cannot gain a victory. what come to matter are other factors – the ideological homogeneity. their degree of homogeneity. to the formation of a class that can run society without exploiting anyone). But the new ways of producing always face resistance from at least some of those whose interests lie in preservation of the old ways. the early medieval burghers accepted the precepts of medieval Catholicism in their totality. Once you have societies divided between those who produce directly and those who live off a surplus product. cross-cutting alliances between the most dynamic section of the rising class and certain interest groups within the old order). .materialists assert. however slow and piecemeal. the organisation and the leadership of the rival classes. Or they generalise their clash with the old ideology. For the mechanical materialist. Whether the new ways of producing break through depends on who wins these struggles. leads to a corresponding change in the objective weight of the different classes in society. these ways do not always involve clean breaks between classes. People begin to do things which the old world view says they should not. Those involved in the new forms of activity concede to the pressures on them from the old order. At this point two options are open. behind which they attempt to rally all those in a similar objective situation to themselves. But the members of a rising class get involved in practical activity which cannot easily be encompassed by the old definitions. as with the religious wars of the 16th and 17th centuries. any growth of the productive forces. The institutions that enforce the old worldview then threaten punitive action against them. and the new forms of activity cease. to new ways of extracting a surplus. eventually. their geographical concentration (and therefore the ease with which they can be organised).
as Marx put it. which is only resolved as people try to change the frameworks. workers try to fit their experience of fighting back against aspects of capitalism into ideological frameworks that are bequeathed to them from the past. Take. theoretical consciousness of his actions. Capitalism was the cause.  But the process of trying to interpret their new experiences through old frameworks creates a tension within the old frameworks. mobilising those affected by cumulative small-scale changes in production into a force whose aim is to change social relations in their entirety. which is also a knowledge of the world insofar as he changes it. it was the autonomous ‗non-economic‘ development of a new religious ideology which alone provided the ground in which new capitalist ways of producing could take root. that ‗implicit in his actions‘. so that the struggles are never a simple reflection of material interests. influences his moral behaviour and the direction of his will in a more or less powerful way. Calvin. Protestantism developed because some people in a feudal society began to work and live in ways that are not easily reconcilable with the dominant ideology of medieval Catholicism. France and Italy). It is rather a key link in the process of social transformation. As Antonio Gramsci put it. According to the mechanical materialists. it was the other way round. At this point a series of figures emerged who tried to generalise the challenge to the old ideology – Luther. the new ways of working and living became no more than marginal elements in a continuing feudal society. Puritanism caused capitalism. for instance.‘ So there are ‗two sorts of consciousness‘. and that ‗superficially explicit. like Max Weber. etc. But where the challenge was successful (in Britain and the Netherlands) it liberated the new ways of working and living from the old constraints – it generalised bourgeois forms of production. Protestantism was simply a mechanical reflection of the development of capitalist relations. According to opponents of Marxism. the classic debate on Protestantism and the rise of capitalism. The same relationship holds between the workers‘ struggle under capitalism and the ideas of revolutionary socialism. Each missed out a vital link in the chain of historical development. it binds him to a certain social group. ‗The active man of the masses works practically. Where the challenge was unsuccessful or where those who made it were forced to compromise (as in Germany. They began to reinterpret some of its tenets so as to make sense of their new forms of behaviour. But this led to clashes with the ideological guardians of the old order (the church hierarchy). Protestantism was the effect. which he has inherited from the past and which he accepts without criticism‘: This „verbal‟ conception is not without consequences. Initially. These frameworks shape the form their struggles take. but he does not have a clear. and it can reach the point where the contradiction of consciousness will not . ‗The deadweight of the past hangs like a nightmare on the brain of the living‘.A new system of ideas is not just a passive reflection of economic changes.
permit any action ... [Therefore] the unity of theory and practice is not a given mechanical fact, but a historical process of becoming. 
Thus the Chartists of the 1830s and 1840s attempted to come to terms with new experiences through older, radical democratic notions. But this created all sorts of contradictory ideological formulations. That was why some of the most popular orators and writers were people like Bronterre O‟Brien, Julian Harvey and Ernest Jones who began to articulate people‟s experience in newer, more explicitly socialist ways. Marxism itself was not a set of ideas that emerged fully formed out of the heads of Marx and Engels and then magically took a grip of the working class movement. The birth of the theory was dependent on a distillation by Marx and Engels of the experiences of the young workers‘ movement in the years prior to 1848. It has been accepted by workers since then, insofar as it has fitted in with what struggles were already beginning to teach them. But its acceptance has then fed back into the struggles to influence their outcome. The theory does not simply reflect workers‘ experience under capitalism; it generalises some elements of that experience (those of struggling against capitalism) into a consciousness of the system as a whole. In doing so, it gives new insights into how to wage the struggle and a new determination to fight. Theory develops on the basis of practice, but feeds back into practice to influence its effectiveness. The point is important because theory is not always correct theory. There have historically been very important workers‘ struggles waged under the influence of incorrect theories:
Proudhonism and Blanquism in France in the Lassallianism in Germany; Narodnism and even Russian Orthodoxism in Peronism in Argentina; Catholicism and nationalism in Poland; and, of course, the terrible twins, social democracy
second half of the 19th century;
Russia in the years before 1905;
In all of these cases workers have gone into struggle influenced by „hybrid‟ views of the world – views which combine a certain immediate understanding of the needs of class struggle with a more general set of ideas accepting key elements of existing society. Such a false understanding of society in its totality leads to enormous blunders – blunders which again and again have led to massive defeats. In the face of such confusion and such defeats, nothing is more dangerous than to say that ideas inevitably catch up with reality, that victory is certain. For this invariably leads to a downplaying of the importance of combining the practical and the ideological struggle.
The role of the party in history
The other side of the coin to the mechanical materialists‟ downgrading of the ideological struggle has been a tendency for certain socialist academics to treat the ideological struggle as something quite separate from practical conflicts. This is especially true of the reformists of the now defunct Marxism Today and of the Labour left. But the struggle of ideas always grows out of struggle in the world of material practice, where ideas have their root, and always culminates in further such material struggles. It was the everyday activity of craftsmen and merchants under feudalism which gave rise to heretical, Protestant, religious formulations. And it was the all too real activity of armies which fought across the length and breadth of Europe which, at the end of the day, determined the success or failure of the new ideology. The new idealists often claim their theoretical inspiration from Antonio Gramsci, but he was insistent on the connection between theoretical and practical struggle:
When the problem of the relation of theory and practice arises, it does so in this sense: to construct on a determined practice a theory that, coinciding and being identified with the decisive elements of the same practice, accelerates the historical process in act, makes the practice
more homogeneous, coherent and efficacious in all its elements, that is, giving it the maximum force; or else, given a certain theoretical problem, to organise the essential practical elements to put it into operation. 
If you want to challenge capitalism‟s ideological hold today, you cannot do so unless you relate to people whose everyday struggles lead them to begin to challenge certain of its tenets. And if you want to carry the challenge through to the end, you have to understand that the ideological struggle transforms itself into practical struggle. The transformation of practice into theory and theory into practice does not take place of its own accord. ―A human mass does not ‗distinguish‘ itself and does not become independent ‗by itself‘ without organising itself, and there is no organisation without intellectuals, that is, without organisers and leaders ...‖  A rising class develops a clear set of ideas insofar as a polarisation takes place within it, and what is, at first, a minority of the class carrying the challenge to the old ideology through to its logical conclusion. At a certain stage in the ideological and practical struggle that minority crystallises out as a separate ‗party‘ (whether it calls itself that or not). It is through the struggle of such parties that the development of the forces and relations of production find expression in new ideas, and that the new ideas are used to mobilise people to tear the old superstructure apart. In a famous passage in What is to be Done? Lenin said that ‗political ideas‘ are brought to the working class from outside. If he meant that workers played no part in the elaboration of the revolutionary socialist world view he was wrong.  If he meant that practical experience did not open workers up to socialist ideas he was wrong.  But if he meant to stress that socialist ideas do not conquer the class without the separation off of a distinct socialist organisation, which is built through a long process of ideological and practical struggle, he was absolutely right. The famous discussions of the mechanical materialists were about the ‗role of the individual in history‘.  But it was not the individual, but the party, which became central for the non-mechanical, non-voluntaristic materialism of the revolutionary years after 1917. Trotsky explains in his masterpiece, the History of the Russian Revolution, that revolutions occur precisely because the superstructure does not change mechanically with every change in the economic base:
 Parties are an integral part of the revolutionary process: They constitute not an independent. acting man. But nevertheless.  The „radical turns which take place in the course of a revolution‟ are not simply the result of „episodic economic disturbances‟. Without the guiding organisation. On the contrary. but nevertheless a very important element in the process. intense and passionate changes in the psychology of classes which have already been formed before the revolution‘. but the steam. For decades the oppositional criticism is nothing more than a safety valve for mass dissatisfaction. although they be nameless.Society does not change its institutions as the need arises the way a mechanic changes his instruments. Parties have to be organised around certain ideological postulates. society actually takes the institutions which hang upon it as given once and for all. a condition of the stability of the social structure. „It would be the crudest mistake to assume that the second revolution [of 1917] was accomplished eight months after the first owing to the fact that the bread ration was lowered from one and a half pounds to three quarters of a pound.  But parties always involve a subjective element in the way that economic forces and the formation of classes do not.  What become decisive are ‗swift. . the energy of the masses would dissipate like steam not enclosed in a piston box.‟ An attempt to explain things in these terms „exposes to perfection the worthlessness of that vulgarly economic interpretation of history which is frequently given out as Marxism‟. activity and argument of individuals. Materialism does not ignore the feeling.  ‗Revolutions are accomplished through people. but explains him‘. thinking. and that requires the effort. what moves things is not the piston or the box.
acting on it as an arbitrary element from outside.In Russia in 1917 the contradictions in material reality could not be resolved without the working class seizing power. ‗He merely entered into the chain of objective historical forces.  Many workers began to move. however. not one of the Bolshevik leaders dared to make a diagnosis of the revolution. to become part of a new total view of the revolution. But there is no guarantee they would have been resolved in a way which would have enabled the party to act decisively: Inner struggle in the Bolshevik Party was absolutely unavoidable. But the working class could not become conscious of that need without a minority in the class separating itself off from the ideas of the majority. under the pressure of events. This was where. There needed to be ‗the break of the proletarian vanguard with the petty bourgeois bloc‘. but it had still to be established. one individual. The factor of time is decisive here. But they were held back at first from consummating the break because of their own confused ideas: ‗They did not know how to refuse the premise about the bourgeois character of the revolution and the danger of the isolation of the proletariat‘. Lenin. True.‘ Without Lenin many workers were beginning to grope towards a knowledge of what needed to be done. But he was a great link in that chain. Is it possible.‘ He was not a ‗demiurge of the revolutionary process‘. Lenin‟s arrival merely hastened the process. And once the revolution started. But their groping needed to be generalised. His personal influence shortened the crisis. It could not be established without a party‘. He was ‗needed‘ for the party to understand events and act effectively.  The fact that the human material existed to build a party before 1917 was a result of objective historical developments. did play an unparalleled role. ‗Lenin did not impose a plan on the masses: he helped the masses to recognise and realise their own plan. ‗Until his arrival. for Trotsky. the activity of the party was not a blind reflection of reality. and it is difficult in retrospect to tell time historically.  but that depended on the ability of different individuals to articulate ideas about the objective situation and to win party members to them.  ‗The dictatorship of the proletariat was to be inferred from the whole situation. to make this break. But these developments had to find expression in the activity and ideas of individuals. ‗The party could fulfil its mission only by understanding it‘. .‘  The arguments would have taken place without him. to say confidently that the party without him would have found its road? We would by no means make bold to say that.
The point is absolutely relevant today. the prevailing culture. would have assumed an extraordinarily sharp and protracted character. The voluntarism of the new idealism fits in with the aspirations of the new middle class and of reformist intellectuals. famine and war. Without Lenin the crisis. It can be just as dangerous as the opposed error of believing that the activity of revolutionaries is the only thing that matters. For revolutionaries to deny this is to fall into a fatalism which tries to shrug off all responsibility for the outcome of any struggle. Mechanical materialism fits the life of the bureaucracies of the Labour movement.  The individual plays a role in history. They live lives cut off from the real process of production and exploitation. In modem capitalism there are continual pressures on revolutionary Marxists to succumb to the pressures of mechanical materialism on the one hand and of voluntaristic idealism on the other. becoming ‗a link in the historical chain‘. They believe the future will always be a result of gradual organic growth out of the present. . That is why a Marxism which is adjusted to their work (like that of the former Militant tendency or the pro-Russian wing of the old Communist Party) tends to be a Kautskyite Marxism. and easily fall into believing that ideological conviction and commitment alone can remove from the world the spectres of crisis. but only insofar as the individual is part of the process by which a party enables the class to become conscious of itself.Dialectical materialism at any rate has nothing in common with fatalism. previous attempts at rebellion. he or she feeds back into the historical process. however. which the opportunist leadership was inevitably bound to produce. Their positions rest upon the slow accretion of influence within existing society. An individual personality is a product of objective history (experience of the class relations of the society in which he or she grows up. Thus it is by no means excluded that a disoriented and split party may have let slip the revolutionary opportunity for many years. without the leaps and bounds of qualitative change. But if he or she plays a role in the way a section of the class becomes conscious of itself and organises itself as a party. The conditions of war and revolution. and so on). would not allow the party a long period for fulfilling its mission.
the system will „pull society down with it into the abyss‟. since the weakness in Kautsky‟s method did not prevent him producing interesting historical studies. Collected Works. Georgi Plekhanov. p. Berlin 1923.81. Karl Kautsky. London.41. Like most other mechanical materialists. Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. p. London 1906. but the contradictions of history cannot be resolved without their own. London 1971. 2. Erster Band: Kommunistische Bewegungen im Mittelalter. 4. Progress Publishers. Moscow 1975. conscious activity. p. as when he suggests in his introduction to the Erfurt Programme that unless „society shakes off the burden‟ of „the system of private ownership of the means of production‟ in the way that the „evolutionary law‟ decrees. . p. A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy. but is virtually unobtainable today. Vorläufer der neuren Sozialismus. 3. The Economic Doctrines of Karl Marx.365.166. 1925. p. 7. p.6. This is unfortunate. Vol.Revolutionary Marxism can only survive these pressures if it can group fighting minorities into parties.87. These cannot jump outside material history. An English translation of part of this work was produced in the 1890s. Kautsky could not stick rigidly to his own method. in Essays in Historical Materialism. Ethics and the Materialistic Conception of History. Karl Kautsky. New York 1940. At points he does suggest that human activity has an important role to play. Karl Marx. Notes 1. Karl Kautsky. Chicago 1910. 6. The Role of the Individual in History. The Class Struggle. 5.365.
. 17. See. The Role of the Individual in History. See. and his letter to Mehring of 14 July 1893. cit. for instance. ibid. op. 15.80. No. cit. in Is the Family Part of the Superstructure? in International Socialism. 9. p. Which is not at all to blame Plekhanov. pp. 18. London 1978. 1983).d. in Language of Class (Cambridge. his essay. p. Fundamental Problems of Marxism. also his letters to Schmidt of 5 August 1890 and 27 October 1890. May 1960. not forces of production. Letter of 21/22 September 1890. Norah Carlin‟s remark that „the distinction between base and superstructure is misleading more often than it is useful‟. for instance. 14. Marxism and Philosophy.83. and Alex Callinicos‟ suggestion that the Marxist method involves „starting from relations of production and treating them. 12.26. The Poverty of Theory. In New Left Review.251-252. . London 1983. 11. p. 10. E.8.P. Plekhanov.. as the independent‟. See. for the crudeness of the Stalinist use of his writings.. 13.3. op.12. who was often quite sophisticated theoretically. Cf. Letter of 25 January 1894. 16.44. 19.. p. Thompson‟s vigorous polemic against the Althusserians. Moscow n. See The Poverty of Theory. ibid. Georgi Plekhanov. Rethinking Chartism. for instance. Vol.
Lenin. Cohen. p. Moscow. ibid.20. G. op. vol.38.. 32. pp. cit. Lenin.. p. See the criticism of Trotsky‟s position in Isaac Deutscher. Collected Works.5. 26. This article was written using an older translation which is marginally different in places from that in the Collected Works.32. ibid. The Prophet Outcast.276. The German Ideology in Marx and Engels. V. Engels.31. 31. . 30. p. Part I. London 1960. ibid.d. p. 28. The German Ideology.55. Theories of Surplus Value.31. Vol. cit. 29.. 22. Collected Works. pp. p. The Communist Manifesto in Marx.I. p. 34. Moscow n.15. p. 27. Quoted earlier. ibid. p. See A. 41-42. p. Labriola. Karl Marx’s Theory of History: a Defence.. 33. Oxford 1978..240-247.A. 22.214.171.1240. Essays on the Materialist Conception of History and Socialism and Philosophy. 24. 23.. 25.. cit. The Poverty of Philosophy. The Essential Left.7. op. Labriola op. Chicago 1918. p.166.. Progress Publishers.
35. but does not consider where they originate. see C.93.107-112. London 1971. p. 41. This is the point Georg Lukács makes in History and Class Consciousness. Vol. 40. cit. Levi Strauss. and does not easily enable one to distinguish between the contradictions of the capitalist economy and . 135-136.55-59. 165. No. in Simon Clarke et al. 39. Capital.339-340.. 36. pp. The Mountain People. The phrasing is much more cumbersome than Marx‟s own „base‟ and „superstructure‟. pp.26. Theories of Patriarchy in International Socialism. See the brief outline of this process in Lindsey German. Gordon Childe. 37. The German Ideology. 38.1. Harmondsworth 1948. For an excellent account of how successive Bronze Age civilisations collapsed into „dark ages‟. This is the argument of Simon Clarke.. op. 1968. Simon Clarke ends up trying to relate to such contradictions by talking of the „extent that any social relation is subsumed under the capitalist relations‟. London 1980. One Dimensional Marxism. This is what some patriarchy theorists do. Cf. C. London. Turnbull. p. The Concept of Archaism in Anthropology in Structural Anthropology. Althusser’s Marxism.‟ 44. pp. pp. What Happened in History.134. For „regression‟ in the Amazon. Norah Carlin gives a lot of attention to these changes. No. ideological and political forms.20: „Social relations of production appear in specific economic.12. Her refusal to take the categories of base and superstructure seriously prevents her from doing so. 42. Harmondsworth. see V. 1974. 43. and so does Norah Carlin in Is the Family Part of the Superstructure? in International Socialism.
Politically this leads to a voluntarism very similar to that of post-Althusserianism..446. p. 48..446. Reification and the Consciousness of the Proletariat in History and Class Consciousness. cit. p... 54. p.43. gives a different significance to this distinction than does Hegel.. The distinction between different forms of consciousness was one of the fruits of German philosophy and is to be found in the earlier part of Hegel. Collected Works. Marx. Bookmarks.5. op.36. op. ibid. 52.1. For a much fuller development of these ideas see my Explaining the Crisis. The German Ideology. The problem of how it is possible to move from „immediate‟ consciousness to a true general or „mediated‟ consciousness is the concern of Lukács‟ major philosophical essay. Vol. The German Ideology. 55. p. Marx & Engels. p.3-5.43-44. 49. pp. 47. ibid. 46. London 1984.. ibid. 56. pp. All conflicts produced by the system are seen as being of equal importance. of course.83. 53. cit. op.other elements of contradiction that emerge at points in the concrete history of the system. The Communist Manifesto in Selected Works.37. Vol. Ibid.. p449. 45. 51.. ibid. 50. cit.446.. Phenomenology of Mind. Marx & Engels.36. p. p. ibid. Moscow 1962. . p.
cit. Collected Works.1. 60. Theories of Surplus Value. op. p. 58.202. Thompson (ed. Antonio Gramsci. cit. Lenin. p. 59. translated in The Modern Prince.P. op. Materialismo Storico..11. V.57. Vol.. for instance. cit.. 64. 63.234.). London 1951. see A. The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte in Collected Works.I. As he himself later admitted. Language of Class.6. Vol.291. the sense in which the term is used by Gramsci. I use „historicist‟ here in the traditional sense of a relativism which says that there are no general criteria of truth or falsity. ibid. ibid. in E. For a comparison between Marx and Wittgenstein.491. 61. It is not to be confused with Karl Popper‟s use of it in The Poverty of Historicism as a term of abuse to refer to virtually any general account of history.103. Breaking the Chains of Reason...38. political language to read a primal and material expression of interest‟. 62. Theories of Surplus Value. London 1957. 65. 66.. Out of Apathy.. Moscow n.. p. translated in The Modern Prince. It is nonsense for post-Althusserians like Gareth Stedman Jones to claim that a Marxist approach involves an attempt to „decode .66-67. p. Vol. p. p.67. but that the correctness of ideas depends on the concrete historical situation in which they are put forward. MacIntyre. pp.279. p.21.d. This is. London 1960. Avriamento allo Studio della Filosofia del Materialismo Storico in Materialismo Storico (Turin 1948). p. p. . op.
ibid. ibid. p. London 1996.8. p. cit.343.. 75. Introduction to Vols. Preface.. Party and Class..510. op. p.. 68.334. 74. Preface to Vol.. ibid. social democratic .343.339. 71. p. ibid.. 79. Party and Class in Tony Cliff et al. p.‟. The Role of the Individual in History. 72.343.2 & 3. „The working class is instinctively.302. ibid. Introduction. spontaneously. History of the Russian Revolution. Bookmarks. p. p. London 1965. p.. ibid. ibid. quoted in Chris Harman. 70... p.. Leon Trotsky.. p. Note his comment in 1905.1. Radio Rhino Home Women in Uganda UPC Party About UPC .. ibid. 77.511. 78.1. 73. p.9. Vol. ibid. 76. ibid.67. Georgi Plekhanov. 69..18.
A. Contact Us Policies/Programs Donate to UPC Constitution Manifesto Members Profiles Dr. that of national-democratic liberation which began after the attainment of independence. Obote Historical Corner Photo Gallery Communication Bureaus Newslinks Notice Board President's Corner Press Releases UPCNet UPCountry Corner Send Feedback Archives Acknowledgements page style UPC Serif Fonts Menu Top Menu Right Text Only Donate to UPC Marxism And The Uganda Peoples' Congress By Yoga Adhola Chairman Mao taught that struggles take place in phases. The bourgeoisie had to remove feudal institutions and instituted .M. In Uganda we have gone through one phase. that of the anti-colonial struggle which ended with the attainment of independence in 1962. We are now going through another. Marxists view nationaldemocratic liberation as the equivalent of the bourgeois-democratic revolutions that took place in Europe in the times when European countries were moving from the feudal era into the bourgeois one.
It is the object of this essay to examine this anomaly. but there is a difference. This is totally out of character: Marxists by their very nature should have been at the forefront of these revolutionary struggles. but only concerns those classes (or fractions thereof) that acted on the national stage up until 1972. the same outlook emanates/radiates from his analysis of capitalism. and Civil War in France) (Honneth." (Mamdani. They also seek to eliminate feudal and pre-feudal relations as well as establish new nations. and can be classified as theoretically undeveloped. This statement was made in the very early period of the theoretical development of Marx and Engel. The source of the anomaly is the paradigm the Marxists have adopted to guide their analysis of Uganda. (Brutents. waged struggles to this effect. By national-democratic revolution we mean revolutions which seek to end national and colonial oppression as a means of laying a basis of further struggles. is taking place in a different epoch and gives rise to national-democratic liberation instead. They view Uganda from the point of view of social classes. In his studies of capital. undeveloped and sometimes even misguided. for Marx. However. Nothing could be further from reality. A.classes or fractions of classes.by the antagonism between economic interests. that of countries like Uganda is not led by the bourgeoisie."(Honneth. M 1976:3) What this quote says is that the principal actors in Uganda politics are social classes.N. 1995: 149) From this point on.in accordance with his new basic concepts -. Marx ". these revolutions seem similar to those of formerly colonial countries like the United States of America which achieved independence in the earlier epoch (before monopoly capitalism).bourgeois ones." "The object of this book is to explain the politics of Uganda in the period between independence and the Asian expulsion of 1972. class struggles are conceptualized simply as struggles for economic selfassertion.. A. the Ugandan Marxists are following a tradition which is theoretically incomplete. in parts of Marx's mature work devoted not to the development of economic theory but historical and political analysis (Eighteenth Brumaire. Ironically.colonial countries such as Uganda is calling for revolutionary changes. protest and even resistance stem from economic inequalities and nothing else. Mamdani spells this out in his magnum opus. despite these achievements. According to this tradition. In the same manner the situation in the post. It is calling for a national-democratic revolution. 1995: 150).. the motives for rebellion. While the independence of the US was led by the bourgeoisie and gave rise to bourgeois democratic revolution. with remarkable consistency.let the laws of motion of conflict between different classes be fixed -. Out of a totally different cause. Marxists in (and working on) Uganda have waged relentless struggles against UPC.1977:148-154) So far the Uganda Peoples' Congress has." thunders The Communist Manifesto. K. In adapting a paradigm based on social classes or better still economic interests. he departs from these utilitarian tendencies and takes his guidance from a theory of social conflict totally different from the one found in his . "Political and Class Formation in Uganda. As defined this far. "The history of hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.which achieved a measure of independent political organization during the decade? What follows is thus not a comprehensive study of class formation in Uganda. To do so we have found it necessary to trace the formation of all those social forces.
P Thomson that analysis informed or guided by a non-economic paradigm began in the 1970s. The nationalities/identities did not visualize any redress either. with the imminence of independence. 1975) That is the time the Kingdom of Buganda eclipsed that of Bunyoro as the dominant power in the region. Unfortunately. The British found the Baganda a convenient ally to help in subjugating the rest of the peoples that eventually constituted the territory of Uganda. This was the point in time when the British were beginning to colonise the region. the dominated nationalities/identities woke up to some possibilities of redress. The over all effect of all this was to make the Baganda feel superior to the rest of the identities in the country. The experiences these identities have gone through will have brought them social shame. Moore's studies of Germany between 1848 and 1920 led him to the thesis that social confrontations can in principle be understood in terms of moral patterns of struggles for recognition (Honneth. there was no clear vision by the dominated nationalities/identities about the dominance. Eventually Bunyoro under the able leadership of Kabalega began to challenge this dominance. the Baganda were again used as the initial administrators.. this departure from the utilitarian approach is a minor de tour and Marx in the main utilizes classes and class struggle in the economic sense as the main paradigm to guide his analysis.S. The UPC is a political party which began with the aim of seeking to redress the minority nationalities of Uganda from the historic dominance and humiliation of the Baganda. The work began by Thomson was eventually completed by Barrington Moore. ".writings on the theory of capital. This gave the Baganda a head start. A. To appreciate this character of UPC." Identities with this kind of experience. (Kiwanuka. it has become clear that political struggles are not just about a fair distribution of resources or. This came about because usually the experience of a particular form of recognition or a struggle for that recognition is bound up with the disclosing of new . struggles are not limited to class struggles only.M. including the Marxists working on Uganda. better still. and brings out situations in which groups or classes confront each other in attempt to defend and assert the values that guarantee their identities. and at the same time made the other peoples feel humiliated by them. colonial development tended to begin from Buganda and radiate to the rest of the colony. It was not until the English historian. when circumstances are favourable.. launch struggles to recover their self-worth. Struggles are also about social domination or the domination of certain identities by others. also followed/follow his footsteps. However.a moral emotion that expresses diminished self-respect typically accompanying the passive endurance struggles waged by identities that have experienced humiliation and degradation. 167). E. After the subjugation. we need to briefly outline the dominance and humiliation at the hands of the Baganda the other nationalities endured.M. From that time Buganda was the dominant military power in the region. It emboldened the feeling among the Baganda that they were superior. It conqured and dominated the region. For the duration the social dominance of the Baganda lasted. The paradigm he adapts takes into account 'the culturally inherited forms of life of various social groups'. It all began around 1600. From this point on (that is in the last few decades). A sizeable portion of his followers. Thereafter. The use of the Baganda had serious effects in attitudes.
possibilities with regard to other identities. The reason why. NonBagandas were not invited despite customary practice to the contrary. Notwithstanding this fact. the non. They are ready to hand in the same resolutions. In forming the UPU. but the UNC also tended not to cater for the country as a whole. In the case of Uganda. It is this realization which brings about collective demands for expanded relations of recognition. have met and decided that Buagnda as a separate kingdom should be removed from the Colonial Office to the Foreign Office. It is only when the Kabaka declined that Musazi assumed the leadership himself.. Mamdani tells us in his book. such as Toro.Ganda members of UNC who broke . Musazi had first desired that the Kabaka of Buganda should be the leader of UNC. of this move and have the same determination.. Ugandan Marxists have a problem with the very inception of UPC. There is further need for the various nationalities/identities who have viewed their experiences of disrespect or domination as being isolated to realize that others too have gone through the same experiences. The resolution passed at this meeting says: "We disagree with being united with those territories which have different customs.D. B. UNC had been formed in1952. and two elected Lukiko members were in attendance." (Mamdani. The leadership of Kabaka would have spelt disaster for what was doled out as a national movement encompassing all Ugandans. For that reason we the members of UNC. ways of living and agreement which are entirely different from us. The top leadership of the UNC was not only numerically dominated by the Baganda. M 1976: 211. itself a struggle for the recognition of Uganda as a nation. A good example is a resolution passed at a public rally of the Baganda UNC in September 1953 and curiously enough quoted in Mamdani's book. did trigger the secondary struggles for recognition by other identities. Lango and other areas 0f Uganda approve. Buganda branch.. something which sent the wrong symbolical message to the rest of the country.. UPC was born out of the ruins of the Uganda National Congress (UNC). the struggle for national liberation from colonialism.In this determination to move from the Colonial Office to the Foreign we know that all our brothers who are in the areas surrounding us. the first political party to be formed in Uganda. was reported to have had "a colossal and unprecedented attendance". also quoted in Bowles. Under his leadership the UNC suffered a number of short comings that eventually led to a major split. There is a sense in which they don't believe the formation of UPC was historically necessary. Ankole. got materialized in Uganda People's Congress. In Uganda this collective demand for expanded relations of recognition as far as minority nationalities/identities were concerned. Its first leader was Iganatius Musazi. The meeting. Ganda neo-traditionalist in out look. 1971) It was attitudes such as the one underlying this resolution that eventually led some nonBaganda members of the UNC to break away from it and form the Uganda Peoples' Union (UPU) in 1958. The problem is that mere waking up to the necessity of waging struggle for recognition alone is not enough. Among these other identities was/is the struggle of the minority nationalities. And the disclosures of such possibilities necessarily result in struggles for the recognition of those other identities.
away. The national movement of 1949. lost steam by close of the 50s. Both those who felt time was opportune to overcome long-standing marginalisation. both. M. In 1955. religion. Professor Wallerstein has captured the arousal of this kind of consciousness very well: "By ethnic (read nationality/identity) I mean the sentiment shared by a group of people who define their boundary in cultural terms (a common language. "The political shift that took place from 1949 to 1955 was critical. the leadership of the UNC. was a popular movement which had mobilized the people from the bottom up. 1961: 65) Rather than recognize this reality. which was a raging political storm in the 40s. style of life rights in the political arena in order to defend the possibilities of their material conditions. Obote was elected President of UNC. a tribe. DP . a people or any of the other sundry terms that are used is not very material to the fact that Ethnic consciousness is latent everywhere but it is only realized when groups feel either threatened with loss of previously acquired privilege or conversely feel it is opportune moment politically to overcome long." (Mamdani. M 1983: 46) It was these reforms. Mamdani argues. I.called reforms Mamdani talks about which brought about an arousal of consciousness amongst the various groups. color history. the most significant political organization in the country." (Lowenkopf. however. There was a deeper shift. M. organised in the framework of functional groups like cooperative societies and trade unions. and those groups that had been dominant. (Mawazo 46-48) According to Mamdani. An editorial in a Luganda paper. KY-split the people along nationality lines as they organised them from top down. That they were going to resist it. that removed nationalism from being the main issue of the day and replaced it with the nationality question." (Wallerstein. the political parties-UPC. And the Baganda themselves got this message. following the 1949 riots whose organization he credits to what he calls militant "nationalists". With Obote's election as President of UNC. It was not only that the national movement. 1983: 48-49) The 1958 split in UNC did not occur because of Mamdani's imaginary reforms that the colonial government set in motion. It split because independence was imminent and the various peoples who felt oppressed saw independence as an opportunity to rid themselves of the oppression. For the Baganda the threat became rather acute when in 1959. It is this fact and not the so. 1960: 184.standing denial of privilege. Mamdani seeks to explain it away. saw it as a trigger to defend the privileges they felt were coming under threat. the colonial authorities moved in with reforms intended to sever the link between "militant nationalism and the popular masses. and those who felt threatened with loss of status began to organize themselves. Uganda Eyogera of 19th December 1958 observed: "It is generally felt that non-Ganda formed themselves into a party in an attempt to raise a force against the Baganda. Whether such a group prefers to call itself a nation. following another crisis within the UNC. or an ethnic group." (Mamdani. were making a statement to the effect that they were not going to stomach the social dominance of the Baganda any longer. and the unofficial members of the Legico (Legislative Council) had dovetailed into one . a nationality. 1973: 168) This was the situation immediately preceding independence in Uganda.
a body which the rest of the country recognized and was represented in. for the first time in about three centuries. was warmly received by the rest of the country. or chief. UNM was undoubtedly a tremendous success. Professor Low.S. D. as though to deliberately rub in the alienation of the Baganda from the rest of the country. was for the non-Baganda to realize the necessity of unified political effort. the UNM was essentially to forge unity among the Baganda who were then scattered in numerous small and insignificant parties. It was clear that the attempt to stem the tide by refusing to participate in the Committee had not affected anything. These meetings always culminated in the singing of the Buganda national anthem as the crowd faced towards the Kabaka's palace at Mengo.A. The Baganda elites of disparate political persuasion desperately closed ranks behind an all-Baganda protest movement. 1971: 209) . but their opponents had the upper hand in the Wild Committee which was setting up the ground rules for independence. the Obote wing of UNC and UPU amalgamated to form the Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC).fitted precisely the widespread anti-Baganda feeling in the rest of the country.the opposition to the pretensions of the Baganda . 1976: ) Ostensibly to protest the British insistence upon minority safeguards. The rest of the country had warmly received the Committee. every political organisation fell in line. the initiative was in the hands of the non-Baganda. However. Whether Baganda or non-Bganda. (Ghai. if not hostile in some cases. the UNM failed to gain ground in areas outside Buganda. the rest of the country was totally aloof. M. Because of the widespread dislike of Asian traders throughout Uganda. the Uganda National Movement (UNM). D. so that on March 9. As a Ganda movement intended to rally all the Baganda. M. kulak or respectable professional citizen. Something had to be done to maintain the 'old glory' (ekitibwa kya Buganda). 1970: 755-770. a trade boycott was bound to enlist popular support." (Low." (Mamdani. the UNM organized large meetings in Kampala. and nearly all the Ganda political leaders were drawn into it.M. The UNM leadership ingeniously chose the dominance by non-Africans of trade and business as the issue to rally around. indeed. Contrary to all this. making a contemporary observation. 1976: 215) Further. It declared war on all political parties. The Baganda had not only lost the leadership of the forces then moving history at the time. Kiwanuka. Finally. Furthermore. and also the opposition to the boycott from the influential non-Ganda leaders of the rest of the country in the Legico. The unintended effect of all this success. Mamdani wrote: "Every single political force in the country was compelled to voice support for the boycott. however. according it public meetings and submitting memoranda. In any case the essence of UNM was a resistance to the Wild Committee which.P. the boycott they called for was an immediate and total success in Buganda.person. largely because of the deep mistrust of the Baganda by other nationalities. as has already been indicated. wrote that: the "UPC whose prime function . because some of the principal concerns of UNM were with the prestige and status of the Kabaka. with Mulira and Musazi playing the most prominent roles. 1960. so that they could preserve their dominance over other identities and protect what they viewed as their vital interests. The UNM also lost a lot of support by hurling insults and attacks at the Legico.
D. had to reflect the social base of the movement. not only believed in maintaining contacts with the anti-imperialist world. but also communism. British colonialism. And the movement as well as the struggles that Musazi led in the late forties. At one time this need caused a number of the younger members of the UNC to break-off and form the abortive United Congress Party. E. Ever since around 1600 when Buganda eclipsed Bunyoro as the dominant power in the region. the Baganda have been socially dominant in the region. consisting of elements younger than Musazi. a half-way house between militant nationalism and a nationality based comprising tendency. This social dominance of the Baganda has not gone on well with the other nationalities and they have sought to resist it. In terms of ideology Musazi was Ganda neo-traditionalist. This is one factor that necessitated that Musazi had to be replaced.A. especially a country (meaning Egypt) that had for 2500 years controlled the whole Nile Valley.democratic movement. were more of either primary or secondary resistance movement. John Kale or Kalekezi (or Kalisa). The principal contradiction that was to eventually characterize the politics of Uganda was to hinge on the question of social identity. "The Uganda Peoples' Congress on the other hand. 1971: 254 footnote 64) The Marxists also fail to appreciate that Musazi had serious ideological shortcomings that made him totally unsuitable to lead the national movement at the time. and which Mamdani uses as evidence for arguing that Musazi was "militant nationalist" or.E. T.E. into a modern anti-colonial movement which would not only be antiimperialist but would also champion the aspirations of minorities in Uganda. 1983:48) To determine whether UPC compared to UNC as led by Musazi was watered down. La Fontaine in Low.Notwithstanding all this. Stokes. the leadership of the then national. more ideologically advanced than the UPC leadership. 1970:100-106)which both the Bataka Party and Uganda Farmers Union respectively had been. It is those tasks that form the backdrop against which we can usefully evaluate the UPC. (Apter. D. Mamdani says the UPC was a "watered-down" version of the UNC. we need to look at the tasks that had come to the fore.imperialist world." (Apter. In fact it was this ideological position of Musazi that led to a crisis in UNC in 1959. D. it made little headway. and acted as a link between the anti.1968: .O. This office did propaganda work with Radio Cairo.E.imperialist struggle elsewhere. The crisis arose out of a need for the UNC to transform itself from a 'primary' or 'secondary' resistance movement (Ranger. D. This contrasts sharply with the ideology of the eventual leadership of UPC that was/is clearly modern and nationalist. That being the case. (Apter. had gone to Cairo and opened an office for UNC. after his expulsion from Makerere University.colonial movement in Uganda and the democratic forces in the anti. Following the replacement of Musazi. and the UNC was to get seriously split over this disagreement." (Mamdani. 1961: 334 footnote 59) The other section of UNC. better still. was a watered-down version of the militant UNC. 1961: 333) The issue that came to be symptomatic of the crisis was the UNC office in Cairo. (La Fontaine 1969. much as it contained the wild aspects of this dominance. formerly under Ganda leadership. did not end it. the non-Ganda joined UNC in large numbers. and with greater exposure to the anti-colonial and anti. A section of the membership of UNC led by Musazi felt that the Cairo office was not only a means of trading "the imperialism of one country for that of another. 1961: 333) The merits of this office were disputed. M. but desired a more . In fact in a number of ways it conserved and promoted it.
donned the cloak of Uganda Peoples' Congress.between Buganda and non-Baganda . Abu Mayanja.. Ghana. and Paul Sengendo (President of Youth Organization)] of the UNC who supported the Cairo office. The contention between these two political lines came to a head on January 12.. Incidentally these six were very significant members. both with their allied intellectuals." (Apter. M. recommended that "those African traditional institutions whether political.the dominance of the non-national petty bourgeoisie ." he said. 1959. Mamdani. However. Kununka (Secretary-General).E. when Mamdani was considerably young. Otema Alimadi. The significance of these events was contemporaneously succinctly captured by David Apter's observation: "the old Congress ended.1986: 7 also in 1995: 14) Later. It has broken the chains of isolation. that was sacrilege that could not be tolerated in Congress. 1976: 212) As this was written in 1976. What was in appearance a regional and tribal split . with the sole national grievance . the kulaks and the traders. E. the state bureaucrats.. Kiwanuka defended the Cairo office and identified the real issue at stake: "Uganda cannot remain an island in a sea of Pan-African and universal nationalism. the national group per excellence." (Mamdani.who now proceeded to occupy the national stage. He proceeded to expel six (6) members [these were J.. 1961:334) Returning from Accra via Cairo. President of UNC. probably playing to the prevailing sentiments at the time. B.''(Apter. 1961:334) The response of the six and their political line did not take long to come: at the Annual Delegates Conference held on January 12. striking firmly for a united Uganda while attacking the parochialism of the Lukiko and Baganda. the traders.. was a mere traders' party: ". They had participated in passing resolutions which among other things. 1961:334) To Musazi. was to say the same thing and with even a more diminishing qualifier in 1986 in a public lecture at Makerere University. Our establishment of a national office in Cairo has marked a great era in our struggle. (Mamdani. The only significant change was that the UPC gradually brought within its fold a section of the latest emerging fraction of the petty bourgeoisie. (Apter. Ignatius Musazi. And it was the traders.E. "Historically.. and focused world attention on the seriousness of our unshakable upsurge for freedom. The conference also went on to endorse all the resolutions taken at the Accra Conference. E. where they called at the controversial office.radical nationalist movement of the mobilization type. D. D. Jolly Joe Kiwanuka.was in essence a split between the two fractions of the petty bourgeoisie. D. and Dr. M. one might have dismissed what he wrote as the analysis of an intellectual still growing and researching. John Kale. Congress had now entered the Pan. in 1988 he was to treat UPC as nothing more than a geographical phenomenon ". social or economic which clearly have shown their reactionary character and the sordid support of colonialism be condemned. was expelled from the Congress and Apollo Milton Obote elected to replace him.African phase of nationalism. The previous month three senior members of the UNC (Abu Mayanja.E.where the Nile represents not only a geographical but also a political divide: to the east according to . 1961: 334) The Marxists have also had problems characterizing UPC. after a short life as Uganda Peoples Union." (Apter..African Congress in Accra. the UPC originated from the northern petty bourgeoisie. 1959.. Kununka) had attended the Pan. D. According to Mamdani the UPC.W. Kiwanuka (Chairman).
the UPC -.colonial times as well as those which got instituted during colonialism. from the point of view of the popular classes. all its aspirations and all its energy against the external enemy. so long as its internal life is paralyzed in this way.it appeared that the nationalities which this party claimed to represent had also been marginalized in the NRA organized political life of the country." (Mamdani. that of the Nilotic north stretches reality. There were those who . As we have already indicated earlier. and the resistance to it on the other. as Mamdani seems to think.e. No less an authority than Fredrick Engels had this to say: "So long as a viable nation is fettered by an alien conqueror it necessarily directs all its efforts. The Marxist also failed to grasp the full significance of independence. He was later to write: ". M. It seeks to eradicate forms of oppression that was carried over from the pre. therefore. Mamdani wrote: "It is necessary to appreciate that. Mamdani was bound to totally mischaracterize the contradictions in Uganda on the morrow of independence. M." (Mamdani." (Engels.the political pundits. on the one side. F. 1988:1160) Obviously this characterization of independence is limited and narrow. UPC represented the interests of minority identities all over the country. These struggles are similar to those which Marxists normally call bourgeois-democratic liberation i. This is totally wrong." (Mamdani. lies the nilotic north and to the west the Bantu south. And since this center stage tended to exclude the political party that was the backbone of the Obote regime -. the term was really a catch-word for the areas that were the stronghold of Milton Obote's Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC).N 1977:168) In other words independence is just a threshold for struggles for social emancipation. 1988: 1155-1156 also in 1995: 33) Nobody who knows the political history of Uganda or who has read what we have written so far would arrive at this view. independence hardly ushered in any significant institutional change.. 1988: 1969 also in 1995: 48) The key word here is claim. for the population east of the Nile is not exclusively nilotic. M. and one between bourgeoisies as bourgeoisie.the one that informed the politics of the period under consideration was the former. the principal contradiction immediately after independence was between national-democratic liberation. it is incapable of fighting for social emancipation. The struggles that follow the attainment of independence are categorized as national-democratic liberation. The principal contradiction was between national-democratic liberation and the resistance to it. Ever. viewing things from their 'class struggle' paradigm. M. In a similar manner national-democratic liberation serves to rid society of moribund pre-capitalist institutions and practices. Of these the principal . also quoted in Brutents. In all newly independent countries there obtained two perspectives to independence on the morrow of independence. the principal contradiction after independence was not as characterized by Mamdani: "Independence thus brought forward two contradictions among the propertied classes in Uganda: one within the petty bourgeois coalition. The UPC did or does not claim to represent the aspirations of minority nationalities in northern Uganda. From our perspective. They cleansed society of feudalism and instituted bourgeois institutions. 1869.1976: 229). Having failed to grasp the true significance of independence.. Like most generalizations. K. struggles which accompanied bourgeois revolutions in Europe." (Mamdani.
the basis of his prosperity and the hallmark of his full and effective participation in the affairs of his country. and accept that the problems of poverty. by action and exhortation. The Uganda Peoples Congress as led by Obote saw independence as a threshold for further struggles: "7.. as an end of the road. therefore. 8.. or that the well-to do. The lost counties were the territories of the kingdom of Bunyoro which were allocated to Buganda as a reward for the assistance Baganda had lent the British in conquering Bunyoro in. M. but the demand for the struggle for Uhuru has no end. October 9th 1962. Bunyoro never accepted this and kept petitioning the British authorities over this through out the colonial period. their language. 1962. The party has always made it clear to the people that the only acceptable and practical meaning of October 9th. and get more if they can. has shown the people of Uganda that it was wrong and deceitful to treat and regard 9th October. At the Constitutional conference in 1962.saw it as the means and others as the end. A." (Obote.Baganda petty bourgeoisie over control of the economic surplus in Baganda. 1969) The first major national-democratic issue that the UPC dealt with was the "lost counties". Republicanism in Uganda. "The passage of the bill." Mamdani was to write: "was a prelude to an open struggle between the Baganda and non. rather. it was resolved that two years after independence a referendum would be held in the territories so that the residents could decide from where. they would like to be administered. In line with this Constitutional provision. The Banyoro resident in the "lost counties" were being administered by Baganda chiefs and forced to speak Luganda instead of Lunyoro. was the beginning of a much greater struggle of many dimensions along the road to the goal of full Uhuru. just like the political independence of Uganda is now a reality.1962 is that the people of Uganda must move away from the ways and mental attitudes of the colonial past. it stemmed from the fact that continued exercise of authority over the area by the kingdom of Buganda constituted nationality oppression of the Banyoro by Baganda. whether Buganda or Bunyoro. or the day on which the people of Uganda as a whole reached a stage in their development when all that remained was to divide the spoils on the principal of survival of the fittest. Since around 1600 when Buganda eclipsed Bunyoro as the . move away from the hold of tribal and other forms of factionalism and power of vested interests.. It is also the cornerstone of progress and of liberty of individuals..M. To understand this oppression it is necessary for us to go back to the beginning of the "lost counties" issue. in 1964 the UPC dominated parliament passed a bill directing that a referendum should be held in the "lost counties" as provided for in the Independence Constitution. without let or hindrance. developments and nation-building can and must be tackled on the basis of one Country and one People. This is part of life and part of the inalienable right of man. 1976: 243) The struggle was never over control of the surplus as Mamdani's totally skewed analysis would like us believe. During the last seven years the UPC." (Mamdani. the educated and feudal lords must and should be allowed to keep what they have.
under the able leadership of Kabalega. not only got reorgnized but also acquired muskets from the Arabs. which had been part of Bunyoro territory. (Danbur. Berkely consulted the foreign office who instructed him to implement the promise.dominant power in the region. 1965: Roberts. Bunyoro succeeded in driving the Baganda back. resigned their posts in protest against the decision. had gone into alliance with the British who had come to colonies the Nile valley and were looking for an ally. to the Baganda their being used was mistaken for the continuation of their dominance and expansion. Pulteney and Foster. (Danbar. was so blatantly unjust that two British officers then serving in Bunyoro.L.D.R. a standing arm of a sort. A number of factors made the Baganda and not any other nationality the choice for this alliance: they had a fairly developed social and administrative system. On the other hand.1965: 39) The Baganda. While the British consciously used the Baganda. This was roughly the area comprised of Buyaga and Bugangazi (or Bugangaizi as Banyoro call it) northern Singo. 1965: 84-87) This was in December 1893 when colonel Colville led a full military campaign against Kabalega and the Bunyoro. 1962: 435) The two forces thus made perfect common cause in imposing colonial rule in the rest of Uganda." (Roberts. and a history of conquest and expansion stretching for three centuries. However. On account of these two factors.D.R. the Kingdom of Bunyoro-Kitara. outside control by a few thousand colonizers is impossible without winning allies from among the colonized peoples. only to find that their final victory was frustrated by the arrival of the British who protected the Baganda with riffles and Maxim guns. an empire. he was right in saying that the passage of the bill was a prelude to an open struggle between Buganda and the rest of the country. when E. Colonization. 1962: 194) Colonel Colville was forced by illness to leave Uganda before implementing this promise. While wrong in arguing that the struggle over the "lost counties" was a struggle for control of the economic surplus. who were being seriously pressurized by the Banyoro. however powerful. For well over three hundred years Buganda had been a dominant power in the region. once they were ". Colonel Colville in the early part of 1984 promised the Baganda chiefs that all Bunyoro territory south of River Kafu would be incorporated into Buganda. After suffering a series of defeats..R. Berkely who succeeded Colville was in 1896 appointing a Munyoro to be chief of this area.J.established in Buganda. A. The incorporation into the Kingdom of Buganda of this territory. This happened to Buganda in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. which was clearly part of Bunyoro with Banyoro inhabiting. Kabalega was driven from his kingdom and forced to take refuge in Lango in 1894.independent area of northern Bugerere. (Danbur. As a reward for assistance against the Banyoro. their preferred method of consolidating themselves on the Upper Nile was simply to enlarge Buganda. Bunyoro. to the British. A.. . the Ganda chiefs present reminded him that his predecessor had pledged the area to be part of Buganda. Buruli and the formerly semi. A. The first operation the Anglo-Ganda alliance mounted was against their most serious threat. In any colony. Eventually. gets to be challenged. A. the kingdom had not been challenged. A. Banyoro never accepted this situation and this loss of territory was to become the festering "lost counties" issue that was a subject of many deputations by the kingdom of Bunyoro to the British throughout the colonial period.
including branch Chairmen. A. 1968: 35) "By 1965 there was a sudden manifestation of opulance among a section of the UPC leadership generally associated with Ibingira. when the results came and it was overwhelming in favor of Bunyoro. controlled their excesses but still left them holding a higher social status than the rest of the nationalities.which brought all the nationalities in the area under British rule. Rightly or wrongly it was assumed Obote had his binding assurance on the matter. This was the beginning in earnest of the struggles for the national-democratic revolution. Obote would not hold the referendum. As many Baganda as possible were to be 'herded' into UPC. There was talk about Ibingira and the dollars at all levels of the party. the other was Buganda's special and superior position within Uganda. nobody was above the Kabaka." (Mamdani. As independence approached they first thought they had been an understudy of the British and would take over after independence. 1980: 259) With this money. This struggle first came into the open at the UPC Annual Delegates Conference held in Gulu in 1964. "Since 1964 all major political struggles in Uganda have mainly reflected internal conflicts within a very small group: actual and aspiring compradors. The UPC worked out a strategy that enabled them to stay. in July 1965 Edward . At the UPC Annual Delegates Conference held in Gulu in 1964. As the Baganda had desired. 1968: 20) For this. if they were not going to be dominant in Uganda.M. At first they thought they could carry the referendum.W. However. M 1983: 48) This sentence clearly shows how the momentous struggles that occurred during this period totally escaped Mamdani. D. Having bagged the second most powerful position in the party. then they should leave it. While Mamdani recognizes the significance of this date. a scheme which Professor Mazrui appropriately named the 'Trojan horse' was contrived. things changed dramatically when parliament in the middle of 1964 passed a bill directing that a referendum should be held in "lost counties"." (Hancock. They also thought the "lost counties" issue would never be revisited. The struggles that began in 1964 and ended in 1966 pitted the forces of national-democratic liberation on the one side and the resistance to it on the other. Grace Ibingira who was later to emerge as the leader of the resistance to national-democratic liberation wrested the position of Secretary General of UPC from John Kakonge. When it became clear that this was not to be. he has a totally skewed understanding of the struggle that followed. they began to ally with forces against Obote to change the leadership of UPC and therefore the country. the resistance to national-democratic liberation embarked on a protracted struggle to remove Obote from the leadership of UPC. This was being in alliance with UPC. however. they tried their hand at secession. A. (Obote. Grace Ibingira then took off in December 1964 on a tour of United States to gather resources in readiness for the serious struggle that lay ahead. The plot for this involved the enlargement of the National Council of UPC in such a manner that the resistance would be in the majority. He returned with monies estimated by Obote to be one million dollars. To effect this. and probably that of the conference as well. I. with assurance of Uganda had been preserved. in other words. 1970: 118) (1) This illusion was to get reinforced when the Kabaka of Buganda was elected ceremonial President of Uganda. The alliance was meant to be one guarantee." (Nabudere. (Obote.M. "At independence the government (Buganda government) believed Dr.
henceforth referred to as the petty bourgeoisie) came to the fore. including Grace Ibingira. These events served to intensify the struggle between Buganda and the state at the center. In other words it revived its old demand for total independence. But when the cabinet met formally to appoint the proposed commission. The plan was to appoint a parliamentary commission of inquiry and compel the government to resign. it seemed. The Lukiiko refused to pass the new constitution and demanded the withdrawal of the central government from Buganda soil by May 30.at one stroke ending the financial and political autonomy of the Buganda petty bourgeoisie. five of its members were arrested. As expected the leakage alarmed the Baganda. The substance of the conflict. underlining the privileged position of the Buganda petty bourgeoisie in the existing constitutional framework. What has become known as the 1966 crisis began when the central government reduced its annual grant to the Buganda government by the amount of non-African tax collected by the later. The charges were those of corruption. Obote government introduced a 'unitary' constitution that abrogated all of Buganda's federal powers -. was over who would control the economic surplus in Buganda. The backbone of the right. With a majority in parliament it sought to control state power through a parliamentary coup. 1966. In the aftermath of the arrest of the leadership of the right faction. The 'revolutionary' constitution of 1967 outlawed all . Once in the party they were to use their numerical strength to change its leadership.Mutesa. the confiscation of monies captured during the Congo turmoil for personal use. In the leakage it was pointed out that the impending elections could affect the election of Mutesa as president of Uganda. His account of what was happening just shows he had absolutely no clue as to the nature of the forces in the struggle nor the manouvres that were going on. The Lukiiko took the case to the Privy Council in London. was crashed. which decided in its favour. The issue was now formulated in terms of the right of taxation in Buganda. unless the Baganda were in a commanding position within the UPC. members of the cabinet who were part of the plot deliberately leaked to the press cabinet resolutions on plans to call surprise elections. the struggle between 'center' and 'right'--between the representatives of the governing bureaucracy at the center and the petty bourgeoisies proper (the small property-owning traders and kulaks. To spur the Baganda into joining UPC. The 'right' in control both the post of Secretary General and the Buganda branch of the party. was at the pinnacle of its power and prestige. as it had always been. Here is Mamdani's account: "Once the KY had disbanded and its members had joined the ranks of the UPC. The issue it chose was the behind the scenes government support in men and material to the Gibenye (Lumumbist) forces in the Congo. the Kabaka of Buganda and President of Uganda convened and chaired a meeting of KY at which it was decided that KY members should join UPC in large numbers. These manouvres completely escaped Mamdani. and they enlisted as members of the UPC in large numbers.
J.6 million in 1970. In those circumstances. initially with the crushing of internal opposition within Milton Obote's own party. 133. In Marxist terms this meant the elimination of a sizeable chunk of the pre-capitalist superstructure. the Uganda Peoples Congress. This serves the purpose of both running some sort of capitalism as well as acquiring some sort of legitimacy. This was purging the country of retrogressive features.6 million in 1966 to an outflow of Shs.kingdoms in Uganda and declared the state supreme. commenting on the national-democratic revolution of 1966.A. the pre-capitalist superstructures did not leave the scene peacefully -. First and foremost it abolished the monarchy in Buganda and other kingdoms. the next event Mamdani analyses is the assassination attempt at President Obote in 1969. 73. 19. However. the 1966 revolution that abolished the monarchy and all its paraphernalia was the most decisive. 294. A. As a Marxist." (Oloka-Onyango. Professor Oloka-Onyango. To this effect he writes: "The Uganda economy was an underdeveloped economy. Ali Mazrui also had this to say: "In 1966 Buganda was humbled. The net official capital inflow which could have ameliorated the situation also declined from Shs. 183.6 million in 1969 and Shs." (Mamdani. 1976: 264) This crisis of accumulation. 1970: 1087)Notwithstanding all this achievement. The same Marxist should know that the main object of colonialism was to impose the capitalist mode of production in the area that eventually became what we call Uganda today.4 million in 1969. The process had in fact commenced in 1964." (Mamdani. It meant the liberation of the people from feudal and pre-feudal forms of exploitation and oppression. 1977:175) It is rather intriguing that a Marxist could misconstrue the revolutionary character of the abolition of kingdoms this way. The crisis of underdevelopment manifested itself as the crisis of accumulation. "manifested ." he writes.. The 1966-67 crisis.they resisted their replacement.However. The revolution had two significant results which should appeal to Marxists. generally considered the number two guy in the Mamdani political line had this to say: "A reconsideration of the events of 1966 illustrated that the abolition of kingdoms provided only part of the grand design to secure autocratic government in Uganda. In the first place a Marxist worthy the label should know that the monarchy is an aspect of the superstructure of the feudal mode of production. it resorts to articulating the then existing modes of production itself. Take the example of. After the 1966 revolution. "The 1969 crisis. Basing himself on an erroneous interpretation of these figures. the professor should know that in the situation like that which existed in Uganda at the initial period of colonialization. integrated into the world market as a dependant economy.9 million in 1966 to Shs. Mamdani jumps to the conclusion that there was a serious economic crisis in 1969.. began over the issue of taxation and ended in the elimination of the Buganda state. capitalism did not have the wherewithal to run a capitalist system nor could it immediately get rid of the modes of production it found in the area." (Mazrui. it also sought to replace the pre-capitalist superstructure by the capitalist ones. As colonialism did this. There also occurred what Professor Colin Leys has called a status reversal. Mamdani goes on was reflected in the net inflow of capital which deterioriated from a net inflow of Shs. M 1976: 244-46) To any serious Marxist what happened in 1966 should amount to nothing but a nationaldemocratic revolution. chronologically. M.
Col Bar Lev. If Bar Lee to was required urgently in Israel and there was no Ugandan flight to Israel. allegedly to catch a plane to Israel. Sebaduka looked at the new Prime Minister Milton Obote up on the dais. The evidence of British involvement in the assassination attempt is well-laid out in the book." (P160) In his book. He was carrying his son. 1976: 265) This talk about an economic crisis which is reflected at the level of polity and which leads to an assassination attempt is nonsense. Bar Lev was in Kampala." Ivan Smith also lays out evidence of Israeli involvement. Mohamed Sebaduka stood with his wife among the crowd at Kololo Airstrip to watch Uganda gain independence from British rule.The internal economic crisis. The odd thing about Bar Lev being in Nairobi. He didn't like the man. as a result of factors that were national as well as international. M. Oct. The book names Beverly Barnard as the man "responsible for the coordinating 1969assasination attempt on Dr Obote. however. "British Intelligence and Covert Action. The instruments of power from the British to Ugandans were read and handed out.. ." (Mamdani. "When I was shot on 19th December 1969. where cooperatives had organized peasant discontent: at the conclusion of the 1969 UPC conference there was an assassination attempt on Obote. was that there were frequent Ugandan military flights to Israel direct from Entebbe. was in Nairobi allegedly to catch en route to Israel.Was Bar Lev in Israel or merely wanted to be out of the country but near enough to return? Was there an Israeli civilian aircraft that Tuesday night in Nairobi or was one due the next day? Why should Bar Lev have wanted to be away instead of supervising operations if he had a hand in my assassination? These are some of the questions I keep asking myself and do not have answers.. and up went the new Ugandan flag at an equal pace. "Ghosts of Kampala. 11 2001) One of the assassins. The Union Jack was lowered slowly." (Smith..itself at the level of the economy and polity." by. Israel and Britain. could only be averted by a political solution. I. His wife was carrying their second child. I do not know what day of the week El Al used to be in Nairobi. the head of the Israeli military mission in Kampala. I was shot on Tuesday evening. the opposition of the petty bourgeoisie transcended the market place. It is circumstantial evidence Obote gave to Ivan Smith when he heard the later was writing a book on Uganda. Sebaduka wanted him to witness "with his own eyes" the historic event. Though his son was a little boy and couldn't understand what was going on. The fact of the matter is that the assassination attempt was engineered by two external powers. and thought he didn't have the experience . it is reasonable to assume that he went to Nairobi to catch a El Al. The next day. A new dawn was here. Sebaduka was 26 years old then. 1980: 79-80) Details of the internal (Ugandan) aspect of the assassination attempt were given by Charles Onyango-Obbo of "The Monitor" in a series of interviews which were published in the paper.. 1962. Sebaduka makes very clear to Onyago-Obbo what motivated him: "On the evening of October 9. At the same time. (The Monitor.
as he calls the national-democrats in the UPC. My anxiety had no precise form or cause. The next time the UPC consolidated its social base was the resolution of 'the lost counties' issue which we have already discussed." (Mamdani. With his fixation on class aspirations as the only basis for political struggles.. British interest in the overthrow of the Obote government arose from a number of factors." ( Mutesa. now it was one of them. exacerbated by the crisis of accumulation of the neo-colonial economy was proving impossible. the people welcomed a change from dictatorship. jolted the governing bureaucracy." The feelings that motivated Sebaduka were better articulated by his king. With the coup it was sandwiched between the two: while the coup was imperialist backed. Sir Edward Mutesa: "My first twinge of foreboding had come at midnight on 9 October. It is from this perspective that he cannot appreciate the real contradictions at play. into realizing that "continued rule without a mass base and in the presence of opposition from the Indian commercial bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie. 1962. Seated near Obote was Kabaka Freddie Mutesa.265) First of all UPC did not lack a mass base. He was an educated king and bore himself with the aloof regality that was his trademark. they were not welcoming the arrival of Amin: rather they were cheering the departure of Obote. E. Suddenly Sebaduka sensed that all this was going to end up badly for the country. When the people celebrated the coup of 1971. On the other hand to the minority nationalities. 1995: 15) We have very serious differences with Mamdani about the role of imperialism in the 1971 coup. She looked at him and asked what urgent matter had turned up so abruptly.. Mamdani cannot visualize any other basis of politics. Sebaduka thought perhaps the king would have done better as the country's leader. As a former colonial master. and tear them. While previously none of them could be near such performance. He felt an urge to walk up the dais. changed his mind.to lead the country. 1967: 27) The assassination attempt. M 1986: 3. Mamdani goes on. she had the most to lose from the national-democratic liberation . M 19. From the 1969 assassination attempt Mamdani moves on to the 1971 coup about which he wrote: "The first Obote regime was fighting on two fronts. and complained that she couldn't carry two children in the crowd. Then there was the 1966 national-democratic revolution. to us British imperialism and Israel masterminded it. telling her he had to go and do something. In the previous paragraphs we noted the misgivings of Buganda towards minority nationalities. He turned and asked his wife to hold the baby. grab the instruments that had been handed to Obote and were lying on a table. While to him imperialism merely backed the coup. It was more the sensing of an unfamiliar shift of emphasis. He cannot appreciate the contradiction between the minority nationalities and the Baganda. Obote's reception of the instruments of independence as well as the raising of the Ugandan flag on the night if independence was of immense symbolic value. Sebaduka paused. and stayed." (Mamdani. as I watched Milton Obote raise the flag of independence. It gave them great psychic satisfaction. a gap between what was fitting and what was not.
and no one quite knew when and where he would stop." The Israeli interest in the removal of Obote from power stemmed from the fact that Uganda bordered on southern Sudan.. Britain had established an elaborate social and political structure. bought and paid for. I asked Roy to write down all he knew about the plot. While all these things attracted the attention of Whitehall. signed Bataringaya. For the assassination. and when he had finished his deposition I asked one final question. We have details of this coup manouvres in the memoirs of Rolf Steiner. and code for this exchange with Roy. P. Taffeng. These messages had been sent from the British embassy in Uganda. In Pan-African circles. the bitterest pill was yet to come: this was the nationalization that affected 80 British firms. Obote escaped with a bullet wound in his cheek. 1982: 160) Shot. at independence Britain had striven to ensure the retention of the colonial political apparatus in Uganda. When I asked Roy about the receipt he denied all knowledge of it. We also found the radio code used by Steve Blunden for transmission to London. Obote was a noticeable member of the radical group of Heads of State. They worked on both an army takeover (together with the Israelis) and an assassination. This failure did not discourage the British. a German mercenary who was hired by the Israelis and seconded to the Anynyas of southern Sudan. enabling us to decipher a stack of carbon copies which left us in no doubt about the nature of operation he had in mind.then raging in Uganda. Who did they have in mind to replace Obote . (Steiner. By the 1966 revolution Obote had upset all this.. The training camp for the Anyanya in Sudan had been Blunden's idea: it would give him free hand to train a unit for the coup against Obote under cover of helping southern Sudanese. a Scotsman called Roy had been undermining him before the Anyanya leader.took the secret dossier under my arm. then I had it sent back to the Apolo Hotel with my card and thanks. They next moved for an outright coup. R. And as in all her former colonies. As we sifted the papers the first thing that caught our eyes was a receipt for one hundred thousand pounds sterling. J. where black guerrillas had been waging struggles . an MI5 agent was dispatched to Kampala and he master minded the assassination attempt on Obote outside a UPC Conference in 1969 (Bloch. We went through the rest of the dossier.. 1978: 191) When Steiner reported to his bosses in Kampala. It also appeared Roy was working on something totally different from the assignment Steiner had given him. Steiner ". who was Obote's own minister of interior.Bataringaya?" Roy told Steiner that Blunden had told him the British had chosen Amin "because he was easiest to manipulate. All I had learned agreed with what Taffeng had told me." Following this confession. but said Blunden claimed to have the Ugandan minister of interior in his pocket. Beverley Barnard. This apparatus was meant to serve her neo-colonial purposes. Obote had also demonstrated some very "irritating" friendship with the anti-imperialist world. & Fitzgerald. To run Uganda as a colony. It was the straw that broke the camel's back and the British began plotting Obote's overthrow. After some hard talk Steiner made a confession: "his story was that he was working for Blunden. Steiner got Roy to dupe the staff of Apolo Hotel where Blunden was living to let the duo into Blunden's room. who was in Kampala with instructions to get rid of the Ugandan president because the British did not like his policies. From the hotel room. he found one of his employees.
J & Fitzgerald. It is through this ruse that 500 Anyanya guerrillas who had been trained for the purpose of supporting the coup were brought in. 1982: 162) Much as they got a blunt refusal from Obote. Amin with his close ethnic ties with the people in Southern Sudan was not difficult to convince. Amin. (Bloch. (Bloch. I. ---. Bar-Lev with the proposal of a coup as his last ditch means of defense. Obote was attending the Commonwealth Conference in Singapore. It is understood that Bar-Lev advised him to bring to Kampala soldiers from the same area or tribe as himself. ammunition of all . the Israelis next approached Amin. the Israelis decided to assist in strengthening the Southern Sudanese guerrillas. They exhorted him that secret services sometimes make arrangements independent of their governments. who had been in the meeting discussing what to be done with Steiner called Haim. Then by curious coincidence.for independence from the predominantly Arab north. Amin feeling besieged. The evidence for this is contained in the brief Obote sent to Ivan Smith. the head of the Mossad in Uganda to reveal to him the decision on Steiner. The Israeli intelligence made its first request to the authorities in Uganda for refueling facilities towards the end of 1969. To effect this strategy. Obote concluded: "I have no doubt at all that Amin saw the trial of Steiner which the Sudanese government announced. When Akena too could not oblige.The Israelis were involved with Steiner and so was Amin." (Smith. the authorities there announced they would put Steiner on trial. they next approached Akena Adoko. This information was gleaned from Steiner's diary which had entries about visits by members of the Israeli military mission in Uganda to southern Sudan. the head of Uganda intelligence. An embezzlement inquiry in which Amin was a prime suspect was about to catch up with him. The most controversial issue at the Conference was the British sale of arms to South Africa. Bar-Lev that his local supporters were outside Kampala. 1982:164) As this was happening. Upon his arrival in the Sudan. In the brief Obote tells Smith that Rolf Steiner was arrested in November 1970 as he was entering Uganda from the Sudan. then called the a Anynya by making weekly parachute drops of weapons and medicines. Col. 1980: 79) Amin was at this same time having administrative problems in the Army. With Amin's assistance. It is at this point that the geographic location of Uganda became a crucial factor to the interests of Israel. P. desperately in need of the facilities. In 1963 the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution calling on member states "to cease forthwith the sale and shipment of arms. while some of their regular troops helped out on the ground with training. the Israeli worked out ways of supplying the Anyanyas. Bordering southern Sudan. Uganda constituted a potential base for material aid for the Anyanya. The same evening the decision was made. as his own trial. That the arrest of Steiner brought out the fact that Israel was using Uganda to supply the Anyanyas. on 25th January 1970 the second highest officer Brigadier Okoya was murdered. and that Obote was in a position to "arrest and kill him" before they could rescue him. approached the head of the Israeli military mission to Uganda. and Fitzgerald. A decision was made to take Steiner to the Sudan. There was suspicion Amin was involved in the murder of his deputy. He is reported to have told Col. J. This conflict in the Sudan had the potential of constituting a convenient device for Israel to divert Arab forces away from Sinai. P.
From this perspective." This did not go well with the Marxists. later when Labour lost the elections to the Conservatives. In a speech made in Bushenyi immediately upon his return from exile in 1980. and. when Obote described Heath's policy as racialist. & Bloch. And before Obote could unfurl any of the national-democratic programs that he had . Kaunda and Nyerere pleaded with him to attend. for one. On the other hand those that were opposed to it were in the camp of the enemy of the revolution. The point Obote was making was that UPC was going to continue prosecuting the national-democratic liberation. Obote said: "we are going to continue from where we stopped. the Labor Party government led by Harold Wilson that came to power in 1964 undertook to implement it. Edward Heath resumed British arms sale to South Africa. P. as Edward Heath had prophesied. Obote. & Fitzgerald. which were for nationaldemocratic liberation. we do not see how Obote was fighting imperialism and the people at the same time. What Mamdani calls the forces of the people. A strike force led by the Anyanya mounted an assault on Malire Mechanized Barracks. a section of the army began to move against Obote's government. support and work for the cause of socialist construction all come within the category of the people. This outraged the progressive elements in Africa. From this premise Chairman Mao went on to teach that: "At the present stage the period of building socialism. At the conference. and completely overpowered an armored battalion loyal to Obote. 1974: 29) The occasion for this test was the Commonwealth Prime Ministers conference scheduled for January 1971. However. Colonel Bar-Lev was even rumored to have helped Amin pick up his first Cabinet. P. while other forces and groups which resist the socialist revolution and are hostile to or sabotage socialist construction are all enemies of the people. J. The concept the "people" varies in content in different countries and in different periods of history in the same country. the new Prime Minister. The coup was absolutely successful. Due to the unease at home. also Hotton. Obote had twice declined to attend the conference. 1979: 175) In the early hours of 25th January 1971. was vocal and soon emerged as the most outspoken African leader against this reversal of policy." (Martin.types and military vehicles to abstained South Africa. When a number of very respected African heads of State threatened to pull out of the Commonwealth. Dan Nabudere immediately complained." (Bloch."(Mao 1971: 433) In oder for us to apply this definition of 'the people' to Uganda it is important for us to realize that the revolutionary process that was/is taking place in Uganda is national-democratic liberation. Obote took nine long years to get back to Uganda We also have a lot to disagree with Mamdani's assertion that the people welcomed the coup. Our differences emanate from our different views of what the people were at the time. Edward Heath saw this as a "test of the virility of British foreign policy in Africa. In line with Mao's concept of the people outlined above. the classes and strata and social groups which favour. D. 1982:163. Heath retorted: "I wonder how many of you will be allowed to return to your own countries from this conference. all those forces. The Israelis were at hand to provide technical back up." Although Britain had abstained at the time of the passage of the resolution. are the forces that had lost out in the 1966 revolution. J. are in camp of the people. driving tanks and piloting jets at a celebration fly-past.
. the National Resistance Movement (NRM) a very left-wing camouflage. Museveni launched a war to resist national-democratic liberation. Those who could be said to be close to the Marxists were the left-wing of the NRM. because North Korea had a military relationship with the Uganda army. None other than Mamdani himself was to admit: "When the political struggle against Obote began in 1981. "Left -wing Communism. Despite this. a prominent Muganda with monarchist sympathies became first Chairman of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) which became the umbrella for the armed struggle of the NRA.promised to continue with. Museveni gave his movement. 1997: 176) In other words. I stayed involved. also quoted in Onyango-Oloka. the Museveni war in Luwero pitted national-democratic liberation against the resistance to it. To constitute the NRM. It is very telling that they chose the word RESITANCE as a key word in the name of their movement --they were and are resisting nationaldemocratic liberation. It is ironical that none other than Professor Oloka-Onyango treats us to this analysis: "Museveni relied upon and was heavily supported by the local populace of the area. 1994: 76-7." Their understanding of Marxism was skin deep as was understanding of the situation in Uganda. 2001: 138) Joining Museveni in his so-called liberation war was probably the nadir of the Marxists failure to understand the situation in Uganda. A number of older Baganda saw the guerilla war in Luwero as a continuation of the hostilities between Obote and the Baganda which started in 1966. they collected all the forces that were against Obote and UPC. Apart from Museveni's use of Marxist rhetoric. We must have had about fifty-six chapters throughout the country." On the issue of kiganda monarchy and the active revival of kiganda ethnicity (read Ganda domination of the other nationalities). some of whom became middle-level commanders." (Mamdani. The Koreans were happy to sponsor the society that was in solidarity with their anti-imperialism struggle. Professor Oloka-Onyango goes on to quote Per Tidemund: "A song. Yusufu Kironde Lule. His rhetoric was left wing and he often used Marxist-Leninist jargon. including the Uganda-Korea friendship society. The left wing of the NRM was very much the "infantiles" Lenin talked about in his famous essay. That was one of the only organizations that could function openly. J. I was involved in various organizations. the Marxist immediately threw their support to the Museveni so-called war of liberation." (Tidemund. M. However. P. There were quite a number of people we trained and sent into the bush for Museveni. The song has been interpreted as evidence of a widespread wish among the Baganda of reinvigorating their old cultural institutions at large. there was nothing else that the Marxists shared with Museveni. what revealed the true character of the movement was its main motive force. an infantile disorder. Agawalagama mu Nkola (the struggle in the wilderness) became popular during the war among the Baganda. Our idea was to use the society to open chapters around the country and teach people to resist oppression. and we were just as happy to tell our members that the only way to fight imperialism was to fight your local dictator. This was the nadir of the Marxists mishandling their relations with UPC or better still national-democratic liberation. The main social and politics base of the NRM was reactionary Ganda chauvinism desiring to return to the times of Buganda's glory. meaning the forces against national-democratic liberation.
None other than the British Foreign Secretary at the time Dr. 1995: 15) Contrary to what Mamdani is saying here. M. having got to power despite the efforts of imperialism. David Owen has recorded in his memoirs. I will never be sure whether it was wise to do so.. 1990: 428) What a reversal of position. particularly British imperialism. Mamdani was to scathingly chastise UPC and Obote for dealing with the IMF and World Bank: "Ironically. 1986: 3." (Mamdani. Later he was ousted by Tanzanian armed intervention. Owen speak for themselves: " . 1994: 150-151) However. they were to face the same problems that UPC faced.. particularly when compared with the fire Mamdani was breathing against Obote and imperialism or the IMF in 1986! There was to be yet another pathetic reversal in a paper Mamdani wrote in 1993: "This is where a second 1986 development has had a telling effect. decent former children's doctor should be President rather than Milton Obote.In a speech that constituted a personal celebration of the NRM ascendancy to power.. Uganda was riven again and human rights were trampled. In power. Although not quite as bad as Amin. the UPC was faced with a neo-colonial economy. rather it is a question to be settled through democratic dialogue. 1995: 15) They say practice is the ultimate test. Mamdani was to get to power as an aspect of the NRM. M 1986: 4. the IMF. 1990: 427) "The very history of capitalism. K. The price we extracted from Nyerere for our material support was the promise that a mild. with Uganda still a neo-colony. the IMF and World Bank ultimately run such economies." (Mamdani. "Time to Declare". Unfortunately the doctor did not have the necessary authority. also see Ingham. So complete was the identification between the two that some popular jokes even began to refer to the IMF as "it is Milton's fault"! (Mamdani. they were willing to do the bidding of any master so long as they could sit in and around the 'chair'. M. and one which will decisively shape the nature of our politics and type of society we create. it is necessary to move away from the debate on capitalism versus socialism. he (Obote) resolved to unite with imperialism to fight the people! The conclusion was put into practice with the election of 1980 and the subsequent IMF programs of 1981-84. the path of development we embark on is not simply a technical issue to be settled by pundits reciting dogma. Incapable of coming to power on their own. the UPC position shifted as it embraced the market and its prophet. But the Amin issue did not go away. As anybody with the scantiest acquaintance of neocolonial economies knows.. during the second Obote period. In this context what do we hear from Mamdani? A totally new song: "To grasp the concrete significance of the IMF's programme for stablization and structural adjustment. M. but in the specific path of capitalist development." Mamdani continues. the efforts that Britain put up to prevent Obote and therefore UPC from getting to power. The end result was that Obote returned to the Presidency. D 1991. Six years of IMF directed Structural Adjustment Programmes have systematically and steadily eroded the . Even within parameters of capitalism.Obote's private conclusions was in line with objective needs of the rest of UPC leadership. Mamdani took occasion to indict UPC for being an agent of imperialism. "But unlike Nkrumah. Notwithstanding this fact. Obote's rule was still a disaster'' (Owen. and we aided Julius Nyerere in the attempt. The real significance of the IMF's programme lies not in defence of capitalism. whether neo-classical or any other. I will let the words of Dr. " (Mamdani. UPC actually came to power in spite of imperialism. "shows that the paths to development are diverse.
he was also to announce his withdrawal from the NRM. In that illusion Museveni imagined he was bringing about a Cubantype revolution in Uganda. On 6th February 1981 Museveni and his 27 men launched what they thought was a revolution by attacking Kabamba barracks. threatened. Mamdani should have known that Museveni was under the illusion that he was the Fidel Castro of Uganda. 1969: 13) However.economic basis for an independent political line. 1993: 45) Two points need to be made about this analysis. With the formation of the Special Brigade to fight the insurgency under the command of Colonel Ogole. for UPC such dealings are regarded by him as nothing but selling out to imperialism." (Hobsbawn. First. he should have been aware that Museveni was basing his tactics and strategy on the writings of Regis Debray. the government forces not only consolidated their firm hold on the so-called Luwero triangle but flushed out most of the NRA combatants. As a Marxist Mamdani should have known that there was/is no revolutionary situation as defined by Lenin in Uganda for the Cuban-type of revolution to take place. with Uganda being a neo-colony. What a clear case of double standards! Or shall we call it political opportunism? And this is not the only time we are treated to political opportunism. the desire to defend the old and stable society against subversion of its values. In the very same publication (Transition) in which Mamdani revealed his participation in the so-called Luwero war of liberation. disintegrating norms becomes usually strong. Initially the National Resistance Army as Museveni's military outfit was called. what else did Mamdani and the NRM expect? Secondly." (Mamdani. and that at which the traditional rural peasant society gives way to the modern economy. This is rather intriguing. The Zairean Foreign Minister even came to Uganda to report the presence of these . One does not need to prepare the people subjectively for revolution. the people of Cuba had been in very intense struggles for 100 years. According to Hobsbawn "social banditry is usually prevalent at two moments in historical evolution: that at which primitive and communally organised society gives way to class-and-state society. Further. while in the case of the NRM Mamdani mourns the effects of dealing with the IMF. All one needs is to start a foco and the people will arise. By the time Fidel Castro led the attack on the Moncada barracks thus beginning armed struggle in Cuba. the tide turned in favour of the government. And yet Uganda is totally different from the Cuba of the 1950s. This is exactly what Museveni sought to do in Uganda. as the war dragged on. an American-trained counterinsurgency officer. The writings of Regis Debray do not only give a false picture of the Cuban revolution.. the urge to restore its old. they also distill from that false picture erroneous tactics and strategy for revolution. Uganda on the other hand had not undergone such preparations.. On the eve of the coup some 400 of them surrendered to the Zairean authorities and were disarmed. This is what had prepared them for the armed struggle. E. constituted a serious nuisance to the UPC government. To Regis Debray armed struggle is everything. M. The NRA took advantage of the fact that Buganda was ripe for what Professor Hobsbawm has called social banditry. At such times. How can a Marxist of Mamdani's standing exit the NRM only when it promulgates a law banning political parties? Long before this law Mamdani should have known the Museveni's so-called war of liberation was an adventure going nowhere.
It is these fugitive NRAs who were later claimed to be a front at the Ruwenzori mountains. They plaid on the traditional rivalry between Acholis and Langis to incite the Acholis against the Langis. Repercussions on other repressive neocolonial regimes in the region-notably Kenya-are inevitable in the medium if not the short term. Abdul Rahman Babu screamed: "The Ugandan revolution is. A. again depends not upon him. and it was Henry Gombia who told him about the coup. Such a change of government under armed popular pressure rather than by a coup d'etat has never before been achieved in Africa. Henry Gombia tells us that Museveni's response upon learning about the coup was to ask: "Are you sure?" We have also talked about the combatants who had surrendered in Zaire.combatants in his country.. felt politically insecure. (Mamdani. Ghana was the first phase. what his party demands of him. Contrary to claims by the NRA that it was their struggle which brought about the coup. and upon the degree of development of the material means of existence. Musevni had gone back to exile in Sweden. and had called for dialogue with Museveni. The result was the coup of July 1985. What was the need to open another war front so far away when it is at the same time being claimed that the NRA was so strong and so near as to cause the government to fall? The coup brought into power a weak junta which the NRA over run in six short months." (Babu." (Brittain. quoted in Ondoga ori Amaza. Unfortunately this success was to constitute the Achilles heel of the UPC government. or upon the degree of development of the class struggle and its conditions. Yoweri Museveni's National Resistance Army (nra) was trained in the bush war to a level of discipline and organization which completely outclassed the corrupt government army still nominally reliant on a British Ministry of Defence training team twenty years after independence. What he ought to do. ) Mamdani too was to call the NRM ascednecy to power "an agricultural revolution". 1998: 1) The British Marxist periodical "New Left Review" also commented: "The liberation of Uganda by what its protagonists called 'a protracted people's war' took exactly five years. They began maneuvering with a view to getting the leadership of UPC changed. the relations of production and means of communication upon which the clash of interests of the classes is based every time. the coup found the NRA in total disarray. Some senior members of the UPC government who had doubted the strategy of fighting the war to the end. What he can do depends not upon his will but upon the sharpness of the clash of interests between the various classes.politically the most significant event that has happened in Africa since Ghana victory. V. Engels long ago talked about such revolutions: "The worst thing that can befall a leader of an extreme party is to be compelled to take over a government in an epoch when the movement is not yet ripe for the domination of the class which he represents and for the realisation of the measures which that domination would imply. 1986: 41) However. and Uganda the second in the long march to genuinely free Africa. M. These claims do not add up. the so-called revolution was still-born. The resulting NRA ascendency to power was warmly received by Marxists. He is bound to . and there is no doubt that in the next few years it will establish itself as having had a much more profound and far reaching impact on Africa's history than even Ghana's.H 1990: 2-7. contrary to these accolades..
Is there a third choice? Is a transitional program possible in a situation like that of Uganda.his doctrines and the demands hitherto propounded which do not emanate from the interrelations of the social classes at a given moment. a politics whose purpose must be to recast the balance of forces in society in a step-by-step fashion. though they represented only a very low level of proletarian development. to all his principles and to the present interests of his party. Whoever puts himself in this awkward position is irrevocably lost. as late as 1988. where existing balance of forces. In other words he still was in the illusion the NRM could redeem itself. and yet what he can do will contradict all his previous actions. both domestically and internationally is bound to resist any attempt at fundamental change? The assumption that has inspired this talk is that there is indeed such a choice. Others have also given up on the NRM. In the interests of the movement itself. what happens in that event? Either reality will triumph over principles. Chapter 6]" It is curious that despite the clarity of Engels words that the tragedy he is talking about sets in when the leader of what he calls an extreme party gets into power the way Museveni did. What he can do is in contrast to all his actions as hitherto practised. he is compelled to defend the interests of an alien class. or. through methods that will gradually organise the disinherited and disorganise the privileged. It can be said that former happened in the case of Rawlings and the later in that of Sankara." [Engels. he is compelled to represent not his party or his class.is either foolish beyond measure." (Mamdani. or from the more or less accidental level of relations of production and means of communication.not to speak of our own noble German provisional governments and imperial regencies . Whoever can still look forward to official positions after having become familiar with the experiences of the February government . 1988: also in 1995: 62) This illusion was eventually to clear and Mamdani has since left the NRM. To this effect Mamdani wrote: "Engels once wrote that the worst that can befall a leader of the party advocating fundamental change is to be compelled to assume power at a time when the movement is not yet ripe for the domination of the class he represents. or at best pays only lip service to the extreme revolutionary party. . with the assertion that the interests of that alien class are their own interests. and to feed his own class with phrases and promises. or the clash of principles and reality will not result in a reconciliation but confrontation. F. In a word. two years after ther NRM came to power. and that it lies first and foremost in the realm of politics. but the class for whom conditions are ripe for domination. what he ought to do cannot be achieved. and the leader will step by step come to embrace the dominant forces in society and will even become a custodian of these. We have seen examples of this in recent times. Mamdani. Thus he necessarily finds himself in a dilemma. We need only be reminded of the position taken in the last French provisional government by the representatives of the proletariat. M. was still under the illusion that there was a possibility the NRM could find itself out of the situation Engels is describing. but from his more or less penetrating insight into the general result of the social and political movement.
. and use these to implement reforms from above. through the first Obote.J. Its method was to struggle for key positions in the neo-colonial state." (Ulianovsky. 1978: 158-159). Rather than limit themselves to being empirical. They should also recognise that this is the task UPC has been prosecuting since its formation. The adherents of scientific socialism in such a block are capable of giving correct orientation to it. the progressive intelligentsia in this country put its faith in state-directed reforms. through learning from past mistakes. through correct summing up of experience. Note: (1)definition of national-democratic liberation (pa148) (2) Incidentally the Banyoro too thought UPC was favouring Buganda over these issues. D. "How then did the democratic intelligentsia inside the NRM arrive at this agrarian programme? Principally through practice. Amin and the UNLF regimes. Uganda."(Mamdani. This is how Mamdani rationalized their joining the NRM." Princeton University Press. "Museveni's Long March: from guerrilla to statesman.. As a result such intellectuals constituted the left wing of ruling parties or coalitions. R. For that reason they gave their overwhelming support to DP in both the 1961 and 1962 elections. quoted in Haykal. R. One also hopes they will realise that the struggle "demands the creation of a left-wing bloc in which the more conscious and equipped Marxist-Leninist elements would play the role of friend and helper of the national-democrats-the role of ideological beacon of socialism and advanced fighter. Princeton. Historically. effort should be spared to identify the national task which has come to the fore. This perspective was discredited in practice.. M 1995: 26 also see 1986: 40) Obviously the perspective which took Mamdani and those he calls the democratic intelligentsia to the NRM has been proved to have been flawed. "The Political Kingdom in Uganda.If the Marxist-Leninist undertake this mission in a left-wing bloc they will help the progressives avoid making mistakes and will thus exert a beneficial influence at critical moments of development.E. In my view that task is national-democratic liberation. New Jersey 1961. Kampala. 1998." Fountain Publishers. I would recommend that in their criticism and self-criticism. (1978. They were content to supply these with a progressive language and eventually themselves with a privileged income and positions. Ondoga ori. (Southall.One hopes the Marxists and those Mamdani calls the democratic intelligentsia will again sum up their experience the way they did before joining the NRM. References: Amaza. It is therefore time for another "summing up of experience" as well as learning from experience. M. 1972: 38-39) Describe those struggles and also the nature of the Bataka Party. Apter.
D. 1970. 69 number 275 April 1970. Nairobi. D. Delcorte Press. Progress Publishers." Polity Press. F Werke Marx/Engels 18 Berlin. K. "Protest and Power in Black Africa. 1969. P: "British Intelligence and Covert Action: Africa. New York : Routledge. 1 1976 pages 1-26. "Nationalism in Uganda. 1995. Hancock. R.N.D. M. I. 1990. Kampala: Directorate of Information and Mass Moblisation. USA. Oxford University Press. "Bandits." found in Rotberg.org/archive/marx/works/1850/peasant-war-germany/ch05. A. Middle East. "The Liberation of Kampala.R "A History of Bunyoro Kitara"." Kampala. "Obote : a political biography. Bloch.F The Peasant War in Germany. A. Brittain.A. Cambridge. 1982.S. NRM Secretariat. J.M." Fountain Publishers." Dublin.S.. "National Liberation Revolutions Today".S. "Theoretical Justification of the Struggle. 1983." New York. A. & Mazrui.htm Gahi.M.Babu. Bowles. 1994." London . Volume 156 number one. 1965." found at: http://www." New Left Review. "The UNM and the Trade Boycott of 1959/60. 1977 Danbar. Boston. K. Kampala. March/April 1986. "The Buganda Crisis. Makerere University." African Affairs. Ingham."Makerere Historical Journal Volume 2 No. Engels." New York. Kiwanuka. B. Honneth. Uganda. A.R. M." in "Mission to Freedom:Uganda Resistence News 1981-1985. UK & MIT Press. Vol. Ph. 1964. Hobsbawn.marxists. Kampala. 1950-1962. Brutents. Moscow.E. "Uganda National Congress and the struggle for freedom. Brandon.T.P. Kiwanuka. S. . 1971. Uganda: Makerere Historical Journal Volume 1 No. V. "The Emergence of Buganda as a dominant power in the interlacustrine region of East Africa. 1975 pages 19-32. 1969 Engesl. "Buganda Trade Boycott: a study in tribal politics and economic nationalism. and Europe since 1945. and Fitzgerald. 1600-1900. Kayunga. Oxford University Press. "The Struggle for Recognition.
Mamdani. Lowenkopf. Third World Quarterly. (1980). Mamdani. Vol. Mao "On Correct Handling of Contradiction among the people".A Uganda in Modern History. Uganda. Nabudere. University of London." London & New York." in Rotberg. "Imperialism and Revolution in Uganda. Kampala. "Background to the takeover of the state power by the NRA". Ali A. Mamdani.XV number 3 Winter 1986?87. 1969. (1993) "Pluralism and the Right of Association. . "Tribalism among the Gisu". Onyx Press Ltd. 10 Number 3 July 1988. 1961. M.H.S. J. M.A. Volume 21.S. Mamdani.I.W. J. M. M. Monthly Review Press Mamdani." London. Low.C Vazquez in Transition 10. Mamdani. University of California Press. Kampala. "Political Parties in Uganda and Tanganyika. "Uganda in transition: two years of NRA/NRM"." Unpublished M. Quoted in Low." in Development and Change. University of California Press. Dar es Salaam. "Tribalism Among the Gisu". Kampla. Berkely and Los Angeles. D. 1971. 1971. (editor)Tradition in East Africa. University of California Press. Oxford University Press. D. M "Hearts in Exile: a conversation with Moses Isegwa and Mahmood Mamdani. M. Mawazo Vol. Peking. Berkely." Monitor Publications. R. 1986. "And Fire Does Not Always Beget Ash: Critical Reflections on the NRM.2001 pages 126-150.La Fontaine. Vol. "Uganda Today. Uganda. D. 1971. M. found in "Selected Readings from the Works of Mao Tse Tung". 1995. Thesis. M. M. "The Nationality Question in a Neo-colony: An Historical Perspective"." By Michael . Berkely & Los Angeles. A. (editors) "Protest and Power in Black Africa. "Buganda in Modern History"." Ufahamu.A. "Privilege and Protest as Integrative Factors: The Case of Buganda's Status in Uganda.A. Mazrui.2. (1990) "Uganda: Contradictions of the IMF Programme and Perspective. Mamdani. Mamdani. "Politics and Class Formation in Uganda". & Mazrui. 1970. La Fontaine. in Gulliver P.M. 1990: 427-467. Uganda." CBR Publications. 5 Number 1 June 1983. Mamdani. Tanzania Publishing House (1980). Weekly Topic. Mamdani. M. Foreign Languages Press.
" found in "The Capitalist World Economy. Joseph. Copenhagen. R. Boston : Little. London. Steiner. "The Two Modes of Ethnic Conciousness: Soviet Central Asia in transition." Journal of Contemporary African Studies. "Parties and Politics in Bunyoro. "New Theories of Revolution. Brown. Charles: "Root of Discontent: The Untold Story Of The Failed 1969 Obote Assassination (Part 1)". 1972. "The Resistance Councils in Uganda: A Study in Rural Politics and Popular Democracy in Africa. Wallerstein." Viking Penguin. 1991. Radical feminism aims to challenge and to overthrow patriarchy by opposing standard gender roles and what they see as male oppression of women. Ivan. August 21st 2009 Princeton. New York. Later politics . "The Question of Buganda in Contemporary Uganda politics. Oct. 9. I." PhD dissertation submitted to Roksdale University. P. Woddis. R. New Jersey USA. arising within second-wave feminism in the 1960s. 1997. Southall. also found in Eadward Allworth: "That Nationality Question in Soviet Central Asia. "The Last Adventurer" (Rolf Steiner. Cambridge University Press. Martin's Press. Onyango Obbo." Makerere Institute of Social Research. Wallerstein. 2001. " by I. Denmark. 1980. with the collaboration of Yves-Guy Berges . "Time to Declare. D. 1994. translated by Steve Cox). and calls for a radical reordering of society. c1978.Oloka-Onyango. typically viewed patriarchy as a "transhistorical phenomenon" prior to or deeper than other sources of oppression. Praeger. J." London.J. The Monitor." New York : St. Early radical feminism." New York. M. Feminism Radical/Cultural Feminism Radical feminism focuses on patriarchy as a system of power that organizes society into a complex of relationships producing what radical feminists claim is a "male supremacy" that oppresses women. Lawrence & Wishart. "Ghosts of Kampala. 1973. 1960. Smith. Kampala. Tidemund. Owen. 1970. "not only the oldest and most universal form of domination but the primary form" and the model for all others. J. Kampala.
During these discussions. not . These consciousness-raising sessions allowed early radical feminists to develop a political ideology based on common experiences women faced with male supremacy. a radical feminist ideology began to emerge: "the personal is political" and "sisterhood is powerful. As the 1970s progressed. Based on these discussions.derived from radical feminism ranged from cultural feminism to more syncretic politics that placed issues of class. the women drew the conclusion that ending patriarchy was the most necessary step towards a truly free society. Radical feminism was brought to the UK by American radical feminists and seized on by British radical women as offering an exciting new theory. These groups brought together intellectuals. Boston. radical feminism developed as a response to some of the perceived failings of both New Left organizations such as the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and liberal-feminist organizations such as the NOW. Within groups such as New York Radical Women (1967-1969). British feminists split into two major schools of thought: socialist and radical. DC. Consciousness raising was extensively used in sub-units of the National Organization For Women (NOW) during the 1970s. In the United Kingdom. The term radical in radical feminism (from Latin." formulations that arose from these consciousness-raising sessions. meaning root) is used as an adjective meaning of or pertaining to the root or going to the root. feminism developed out of discussions within community based radical women's organizations and discussions by women within the Trotskyist left. on a par with patriarchy as sources of oppression. Chicago. and on the West Coast radical feminist groups spread across the country rapidly from 1968 to 1972. as opposed to legal systems (liberal feminism) or class conflict (socialist feminism and Marxist feminism). etc. Initially concentrated mainly in big cities like New York. economics. radical feminists introduced the use of consciousness raising groups (CR groups). Washington. Radical feminists locate the root cause of women's oppression in patriarchal gender relations. New York Radical Women fell apart in early 1969 in what came to be known as the "politico-feminist split" with the "politicos" seeing capitalism as the source of women's oppression. As a form of practice. institutionalized relations. while the "feminists" saw male supremacy as "a set of material. The Roots of Radical Feminist Movement In the United States. women noted a shared and repressive system regardless of their political affiliation or social class. workers and middle class women in developed Western countries to discuss their experiences.
intrinsic. However. which soon began referring to itself as "radical feminists" soon constituted the basis of a new organizations in 1969. this is argued to be the result of an ontological (essential. Radical feminism's strong interest in recovering or discovering positive elements in femininity (asserting in essence that it is good to be a woman and to form bonds with other women). The notion of shared oppression is intimately connected with a strong emphasis on the sisterhood of women and encourages some degree of separatism from men. clear-cut difference between men and women. this identification with women and rejection of male dominance involves both a critique of the existing organization of heterosexuality as prioritising men and a recognition of lesbianism as a challenge to that priority. Redstockings. Radical feminism pays attention to women's oppression as women in a social order dominated by men. other radical feminist writers note that male domination is a social structure and not the consequence of some in-built male propensity. the explanation for women's oppression is seen as lying in sexual oppression. Hence. in combination with its location of men as the beneficiaries of sexual power relations. involve a focus on women. Radical feminism offers a real challenge to and rejection of the liberal orientation towards the public world of men. A third major stance would be articulated by the New York Radical Feminists. Indeed it gives a positive value to womanhood rather than supporting a notion of assimilating women into arenas of activity associated with men. Ti-Grace Atkinson led "a radical split-off from NOW". According to this approach. innate) difference. even if motivations towards mastery are . this approach is inclined to accord lesbianism an honoured place as a form of mutual recognition between women. At the same time. From Wikipedia. men as a group are considered to be the beneficiaries of this social system of male supremacy (patriarchy). And because radical feminism recommends putting women first.. Radical feminists usually present a historically continuous. Radical Feminist Theory Radical feminism describes sexual oppression (patriarchy) as the fundamental form of oppression and the primary oppression for women. Furthermore. results in a relatively sharp division drawn between men and women. founded by Shulamith Firestone and Ellen Willis in 1969. Women are oppressed because of their sex. Radical feminism stresses that in a social order dominated by men the process of changing sexual oppression must.." The feminist side of the split.just bad attitudes. the distinguishing character of women's oppression is their oppression as women. Sometimes. not as members of other groups such as their social class. as a political necessity.. founded in 1969 by Shulamith Firestone (who broke from the Redstockings) and Anne Koedt. which became known as The Feminists (1968-73). making them the primary concern.
and the meaning of an embodied self (feminine subjectivity and identity). in particular. like liberal feminists. As you would expect given the name. radical feminism generally advocates a revolutionary model of social change. (Beasley) . the sexually specific body--as critical to social analysis. Indeed. In other words. radical feminism conceives the body--and. Radical feminists are far less unidimensional regarding the body. Sexual difference (evident in. sexual violence. in contrast to liberal feminist framework. motherhood and bodies. in particular sexuality. Moreover. the proposed revolutionary change in the organization of power relations between the sexes is not described in terms of a single cataclysmic moment. The agenda of radical feminist writings is to counter women's supposedly natural. Since radical feminist thinkers consider sexual oppression to be profoundly entrenched. However. and also tends to focus on the politics of the private sphere. revolutionary practice--conceived as the basis of radical feminist theory-is undertaken with an emphasis on small group organization rather than formalised centrally administered structures. Many aspects of radical feminism's emphasis on body politics have been taken up with enthusiasm by emerging groupings of feminists. stands in sharp contrast to liberal feminism's general aim of reducing or preferably eradicating attention to bodies and bodily difference as politically retrograde. frequently depicting it as the original form of coercive power. ranging over sexuality. inferiority and subordination within patriarchal society by asserting their at least equal (or superior) status in relation to men: a crucial aspect of that agenda is for women to gain control over their own bodies/biology and relatedly to value and celebrate women's bodies. the feminine body as a source for creativity and spirituality. Rather than perceiving the (sexed) body as mere. but rather as the consequence of the cumulative effect of many small-scale actions. such as psychoanalytic and postmodern/poststructuralist feminists. inanimate meat separate from social practices. they also present the social and political changes required to overthrow the system of male domination as far-reaching. the (maternal) reproductive body. Their focus on the body as a critical site of oppression for women but also as representing women's difference and therefore to be celebrated. Radical feminist may pursue a revolutionary agenda but. perceiving the state itself as being intrinsically patriarchal. radical feminism is inclined to be suspicious of government intervention. Nevertheless. for example. biological. women's capacity to give birth) is not socially insignificant. feminists in this tradition see a difference between men and women as inevitable (given by nature) or at least as so established historically that it is very deeply embedded. they stress practical political strategies. power relations or social change.typically male. this form of feminism stressed the interconnection between bodies and society.
Two Camps of Radical Feminism With the emergence of so-called essentialism in feminist thought. the belief in natural or innate differences between men and women. Radical feminists suggest we begin by eliminating gender. Later. it captured radical feminists' desire to transcend the limits of the sex/gender system by daring to be masculine as well as feminine. the kind of sexuality that meets women's own needs and fulfills their own desires. From Roemarie Tong. unity among women is the only effective means for liberating women. benefit males. These radical feminists rejected androgyny as a desirable goal. radical feminists have divided into to camps: radical-libertarian feminists and radical-cultural feminists.Feminist Separation Only the elimination of patriarchy and the destruction of male control will liberate women. and activities that are male-defined and male-operated. and social constructions as they have been constructed under patriarchy. as an outward sign of an internal rejection of patriarchal sexuality. specifically sexual status. roles. emphasizing values and virtues culturally associated with women and deemphasizing values and virtues culturally associated with men. role. and maintain male privilege. some radical feminists questions whether they wanted to be masculine at all. They believed a "Bitch" was not a full human person. Radical-libertarian feminists generally espouse the ideas of 1960s and 1970s radical feminists who drew attention to the ways in which the concept of femininity as well as women's reproductive and sexual role and responsibilities often limit women's developments as full human persons. Although this concept of androgyny is flawed due to its male bias. The emergence of lesbian separatism positions lesbianism as more than a purely personal decision. . As patriarchy is organized through men's relationships with other men. temperament. they should try to be more like women. Thus. Lesbianism becomes a paradigm for female-controlled female sexuality. women should not try to be like men. these radical-cultural feminists expressed the view that it is better to be female/feminine than it is to be male/masculine. Separation by women calls for isolation from men and from institutions." Instead of believing liberated women must exhibit both masculine and feminine traits and behavior. relationships. replacing it with a proposal to embrace women's essential "femaleness. but a woman who had embraced some of the worst features of masculinity. Female separation often falls into the trap of essentialism. These radical feminists longed for androgyny. Lesbian feminism and cultural feminism are two types of feminist separations advocating the creation of a woman-identified world through the attachments women have to each other.
Marxist Feminism Marxist feminism is a sub-type of feminist theory which focuses on the dismantling of capitalism as a way to liberate women. From Elliot and Mandell. more than any other feminist theoretical tradition. Friedrich Engels's The Origin of the Family. Agreeing. Women's generally lower economic and social status grows out of this. From this position comes The Communist Manifesto's (1848) call for the abolition of the . Marxism sees this as the key to women's oppression: despite education and healthcare in advanced capitalist countries. and sexuality have all been nurtured in women-only spaces. mothering. In the classic Marxist statement of this position. gender. where the latter is a kind of unpaid prostitute. Marxist feminists have extended traditional Marxist analysis by looking at domestic labour as well as wage work in order to support their position.Another popular strategy for resisting patriarchy has been to redefine social relations by creating womencentered cultures that emphasize the positive capacities of women by focusing on the creative dimensions of their experiences. Radical feminists. food ecology. Critiques of Radical Feminism Radical feminists fall into the trap of essentialism. Private Property and the state (1845) argues that the bourgeois family rests on a material foundation of inequality between husband and wife. Feminist art. Such a trap represents an analytic dead end as well as a political danger. for example. How does one alter or change that from which one cannot escape? Women are trapped inside their bodies and biology becomes their destiny. Marxist feminists see contemporary gender inequality as determined ultimately by the capitalist mode of production. reproduction. producing heirs for the transmission of property in exchange for board and lodging. have made considerable contributions to women's culture. the conviction that men are men and women are women and that there is no way to change either's nature. Gender oppression is class oppression and women's subordination is seen as a form of class oppression which is maintained (like racism) because it serves the interests of capital and the ruling class. the system largely depends on women's unpaid labour for the creation of a healthy workforce. Marxism and Feminism Marxism sees class division rather than gender as the root of women's oppression. From Wikipedia. Because a great deal of the time and effort needed to reproduce the workforce comes from the private family. spirituality. that women are by nature compassionate and nurturing and that men are aggressive and competitive suggests that radical feminists accept and promulgate the very stereotypes they are trying to avoid.
Sexual oppression is seen as a dimension of class power. in common with other Marxists. For Marxists this would result in one class of women bosses exploiting another group of female wage labourers. (In radical feminism the earliest forms of male domination over women produce a framework of hierarchical social relations in which class divisions arise. There are. By comparison with radical feminism there is typically less concern within Marxist feminism with ideas and attitudes and more of a focus on labour and economics when exploring women's positioning. rather than by ideas and attitudes. women who are Marxist feminists and who are critical of Engels but who broadly agree with his analysis. Hence Marxist feminists. This economic structure conditions the form of all other social relations in that society and in this sense is the basis of society. generally accept some version of what is called the base-superstructure model of society. of course. social relations--including those related to sexual inequality--are conceived as crucially shaped by the economic base of society. feminism sees Marxist economic theory as often blind to gender issues and argues that Marxism has yet to explain with reference to the needs of capitalism how women's oppression seems to exist in all known societies. class oppression predates sex oppression. an aim that chimes in with the aims of radical feminism. the organisation of labour and the tools/technologies associated with labour are perceived in concert as constituting the underlying economic structure or system of society. Nevertheless. following the work of Karl Marx. much feminism is a bourgeois theory that seeks to reform the system to the advantage of some women. of all inequalities ultimately. sexual oppression predated class power. . that is. Indeed.bourgeois family. In this model the earliest forms of class division historically give rise to male dominance. hierarchical class relations (built on unequally distributed or owned sources of wealth.) Clearly what is at stake in this difference of views is the question of which is the primary oppression for women. and therefore of class hierarchy. (Gamble 269) Theory of Marxist Feminism In Marxist feminism. and hence which should be given the highest priority in feminist political struggle. The emerging organisation of the first forms of private wealth. For Marxists. led to the treatment of women as property. In other words Marxist feminism offers a version of history and society which is in some ways the opposite of that proposed by radical feminism. including monetary and other resources) are seen as the source of coercive power and oppression. rather than get rid of the system that exploits the vast majority of women and men. (historically specific) analysis of the organisation of labour is crucial to Marxist feminist approaches. Since labour is viewed as fundamental to all economic activity. see for example Naomi Wolf's call for women to enter the workforce as bosses and as workers in Fire With Fire (1993).
along with radical feminists. . Socialist feminism is a dualist theory that broadens Marxist feminism's argument for the role of capitalism in the oppression of women and radical feminism's theory of the role of gender and the patriarchy. is controversial in Marxist feminism because Marxism largely equates the economy with the capitalist market-place. to be oriented towards the public sphere and. Marxist feminism shares with liberal feminism (both are what is described as equality or egalitarian feminisms). given its concern with the organisation of labour. In other words all socialist feminists assert. unlike liberal feminists. Marxist feminist thinkers are deeply antagonistic to the capitalist economy and advocate a revolutionary approach in which the overthrow of capitalism is viewed as the necessary precondition to dismantling male privilege. However. (Beasley 58). The main enemy in this form of analysis is the class system (capitalism. in modern societies) which creates divisions between men and women. While the impact of Marxism on feminist theory remains evident in a number of contemporary approaches. Socialist feminism focuses upon both the public and private spheres of a woman's life and argues that liberation can only be achieved by working to end both the economic and cultural sources of women's oppression. Socialist feminists attempt to maintain some elements of Marxism regarding the significance of class distinctions and labour while incorporating the radical feminist view that sexual oppression is not historically a consequence of class division. that women's subordination predated the development of class-based societies and hence that women's oppression could not be caused by class division. Its place in advocating the significance of class analysis for feminism has now largely been overtaken by a range of socialist feminisms. and which sometimes incorporate the influence of psychoanalytic feminisms. they--like men-are ultimately oppressed by capitalism. Debates between radical feminists and Marxist feminists in the 1960s and 1970s concerning the fundamental cause of social inequality were important in the formation of new groupings of socialist feminism. an assumption that there is an underlying sameness between men and women. the Marxist feminist tradition is waning. The significance of unpaid labour undertaken in the private realm. There are several versions of socialist feminism which involve different combinations of radical and Marxist feminism. and hence the interests of men and women are not crucially different. which is very much associated with women.The Marxist feminist approach tends. While women seem to be oppressed by the men around them. like liberal feminism. (Beasley 59-61) Socialist Feminism Marxist feminism was an influential school of Western feminist thought in the 1960s and 1970s. generally pays particular attention to women's position in relation to waged labour.
Dual systems theorists regard patriarchy and capitalism as distinct entities. patriarchy and capitalism. The work of Heidi Hartmann provides the classic example of dynamic duo approach. In other words. they both are conceived as having an economic form. that is. Jaggar in Feminist Politics and Human Nature (1983) argues that the concept of alienation is a category broad enough to encompass both phenomena. At the same time the approach continues to make use of a Marxian understanding of class relations. it tends to adopt a version of the Marxist base-superstructure model in which class is still ultimately fundamental (base) since sex/gender is psychological (superstructure). In broad term a psychological model of sexual power is presented alongside an (historically specific) economically based account of class power. in the third strand both sex and class power have a material aspect. Examples of this approach include work by Alison Jaggar and Iris Young.In brief. Hence. theory of social relations. investigating sex and class power according to different procedures and identifying two systems of social organisation corresponding to these forms of power. . a methodology which sees economics as the fundamental motor of social relations-shaping the form of society). each with its own agenda and sphere of social relations. as is the case in the first variant associated with Juliet Mitchell who approaches patriarchy as an ideology that transcends the material sphere. the third strand describes a dual systems model of social organisation. patriarchy is not seen as simply psychological. in some ways this is more a two-tier. the former is moulded or historically contextualised by the organising force of the latter. three major socialist feminist traditions may be described as deriving from debates between radical and Marxist feminists. Because the overall model makes use of Marxist materialism (that is. Neither is viewed as more fundamental than the other in the overall shaping of social relations. However. By contrast. including other socialist feminists). Hence the first strand of socialist feminism offers what has been termed a dual systems model of social analysis. The second major strand of socialist feminism attempts to draw the work of radical and Marxist feminists into one theory of power and describes a unified system sometimes referred to as capitalist patriarchy (although this term is also used by other feminists. rather than a mutual or dual. The first strand involves a concern with the social construction of sex (gender) which was largely seen in terms of Freudian psychoanalysis. The two-tier approach is epitomised by the early work of Juliet Mitchell. Moreover. that is. These theorists of unified system oppose dual systems by attempting to analyze patriarchy and capitalism together: for example. The third form of socialist feminism offers a more full-blown account of both systems in which sexual oppressions and class oppressions interact but are not cast as dependent form. This approach tends not to perceive sexual oppression through the Marxist lens of women's unequal socio-economic position or so-called material organisation of social life--but rather conceives that oppression as the effect of psychological functions.
indicating ongoing interactions between socialist feminist themes and feminist concerns regarding race/ethnicity.These versions of socialist feminism are identified by their views of the relationship between class and sex (sometimes referred to as the category. gender)--that is. Part of the series on Communism Concepts[show] Aspects[show] Variants[show] Internationals[show] . see Class Struggle (disambiguation). Recently. Other categories of power such as race tended to be marginalised in initial accounts of debates among socialist feminists. the relationship between capitalism and patriarchy. Indeed the issue of race and/or ethnicity. the free encyclopedia Jump to: navigation. such debates have contributed to the development of certain postcolonial feminist perspectives. for example. increasingly became a point of contention within socialist feminism given its concern with forms of power that cut across both class division and sexual difference. search For other uses. (Beasley 62-64) Class struggle From Wikipedia.
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wrote "The [written] history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle".History[show] Culture[show] Economics[show] By region[show] Lists[show] Related topics[show] Anarchism Portal Politics portal v·d·e This article needs additional citations for verification. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.ideologists of communism. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (January 2011) Class struggle is the active expression of a theoretical class conflict looked at from any kind of socialist perspective. .
The income of the capitalists. . They have little choice but to work for capital.Marx's notion of class has nothing to do with social class in the sociological sense of upper.1 Women and class struggle o 9.2 Pro-Marxist o 9. Contents [hide] 1 Main class struggle 2 "Minor" classes 3 Class and race struggle 4 Non-Marxist perspectives 5 Chronology o 5. These class or collective interests are in conflict with those of the other class as a whole. Instead. is based on their exploitation of the workers (proletariat).3 Modern era 6 Literature 7 See also 8 Footnotes 9 External links o 9. one's position in the social structure that characterizes capitalism.1 Classical antiquity o 5.2 Middle Ages o 5. Marx describes an economic class. Capital (the bourgeoisie or capitalists) includes anyone who gets their income not from labor as much as from the surplus value they appropriate from the workers who create wealth.3 Anti-Marxist  Main class struggle Marxist analysis of society identifies two main social groups: Labour (the proletariat or workers) includes anyone who earns their livelihood by selling their labor power and being paid a wage or salary for their labor time. Membership in a class is defined by one's relationship to the means of production. middle and lower classes (which are often defined in terms of quantitative income or wealth). i. Other classes such as the petty bourgeoisie share characteristics of both of these main classes (see below). therefore. since they typically have no independent way to survive. This in turn leads to conflict between individual members of different classes.e. What Marx points out is that members of each of the two main classes have interests in common.. in an age of capitalism. the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. Marx talks mainly about two classes that include the vast majority of the population.
. but without any classes there would be no need for a state. the two classes would struggle. that is. democracy under capitalism is a bourgeois dictatorship. and rent – depends on how much labor workers do for the wages or salaries they are paid. Class struggle becomes more important in the historical process as it becomes more general. A narrow struggle for higher wages by a small sector of the working-class (what is often called "economism") hardly threatens the status quo.An example of this would be a factory producing a commodity. Not all class struggle is a threat to capitalism. Some of the money received from selling widgets will be spent on things like raw materials and machinery (constant capital) in order to build more widgets. the use of union-busting legal firms and the lobbying for anti-union laws are forms of class struggle. If this is not counteracted by increasing political and economic organization by workers.e. On the employers' side. According to Marx. Not all class struggle is violent or necessarily radical (as with strikes and lockouts). Even after a revolution. i. minor sabotage and pilferage. interest. In fact. Similarly. Marx referred to this as the progress of the proletariat from being a class "in itself" (a position in the social structure) to being one "for itself" (an active and conscious force that could change the world). by applying "craft union" tactics of excluding other workers from skilled trades. such as the manufacture of widgets (a standard imaginary commodity in economics books). and as they self organize away from political parties. Marx thought that this conflict was central to the social structure of capitalism and could not be abolished without replacing the system itself. The capitalist would not be in business if not for the surplus value. as industries are organized rather than crafts. . as workers' class consciousness rises. That would lead to the classless. For Marx. as well as the amount of income generated from the sale of the product. Class antagonism may instead be expressed as low worker morale. The original meaning of this term was a workers' democracy. the money received from selling the widgets beyond that spent on constant and variable capital. and individual workers' abuse of petty authority and hoarding of information. the state apparatus would wither away. not a dictatorship in the modern sense of the word. "the dictatorship of the proletariat". Further. As class boundaries broke down. The revolution would lead to a socialist society in which the proletariat controlled the state. encouraging the revolution that would destroy capitalism itself. The amount of this surplus value – profits. encouraging overt class conflict. stateless communist society. he argued that the objective conditions under capitalism would likely develop in a way that encouraged a proletariat organized collectively for its own goals to develop: the accumulation of surplus value as more means of production by the capitalists would allow them to become more and more powerful. or even to the authority of an individual capitalist. it would inevitably cause an extreme polarization of the classes. some money – variable capital – is spent on labor power. an economistic struggle may even weaken the working class as a whole by dividing it. the main task of any state apparatus is to uphold the power of the ruling class. It may also be expressed on a larger scale by support for socialist or populist parties. but eventually the struggle would recede and the classes dissolve.
Marx deemed the lumpenproletariat as unimportant. "Minor" classes Marx noted that other classes existed. Trotsky postulated in the theory of Permanent Revolution that the support of the army would be necessary for the Russian Revolution to succeed. and not playing a major role in the labor/capital class struggle. Marx saw the problem of unemployment growing more acute as capitalism went on. Unfortunately there is also a growing structural unemployment in which people are permanently dependent on welfare programs or employed relatives. in that the wealthier land-owning peasants (Soviets found this in the Kulak) had an interest in maintaining a capitalist system. such as family farms being replaced by agribusiness. they actively support the status quo. or many small stores run by their owners being replaced by a supermarket. a tractor or reaping machine—was in most countries for a long time unthinkable. domestic servants. Capital for such workers—for example. and so male servants were not considered worthy of receiving the vote. Since Marx. Marx theorized that the army was a part of the proletariat. . technically they are workers. These people have at most a tenuous connection to production. many states have tried to compensate for the difficulties experienced by workers due to cyclical unemployment. while the poor landless peasants had interests more aligned with those of the proletariat. Other classes are: the self-employed (petit bourgeoisie)—these are people who own their own means of production. Since they are paid a wage. supervisors. similarly to the managers and supervisors. These people form the lumpenproletariat. and things would become stratified until only two classes remained. Trotsky's analysis of the peasant demonstrated this class to be divided in loyalty between the capitalist class and the proletariat. who still represented a large part of the population well into the twentieth century. they would be on the side of the proletariat. the lumpenproletariat—the chronically unemployed. white-collar staff. Marx saw these people swept away by the march of capitalism. which would become more and more polarized as time went on. and security officers—these are intermediaries between capitalists and the proletariat. but with significantly lower wages and standard of living. who often had a better standard of living than the proletariat. Since they would benefit in his view from a revolution. thus is why the peasant class could not lead a revolution. But he saw them as unreliable. along with thieves and con artists of various kinds who depend on crime for their income. so this class would exist prior to the foreseen revolution. but who were considered by society as by nature dependent upon their literal masters. peasants. thus work for themselves. and so forth. who saw a greater role for the lumpenproletariat in class struggle. since they were likely to be mercenary in their attitudes. These are often classified as class traitors by socialist organizations and government because even though they share the working man's plight. managers. This view was revised by some followers of Marx such as Mao Zedong. so they were not considered some sort of rural proletarians. these other classes would disappear. but said that as time (and capitalism) moved forward. soldiers and servicemen—Also widely considered to be class traitors. typically serving the capitalists' interest. but they represent a privileged stratum of the proletariat.
biologists.S. emerging schools of thought in the U. an important theoretician of the early socialist movement. In a letter to Friedrich Engels in 1882 Karl Marx wrote: You know very well where we found our idea of class struggle. and law. and other countries hold the opposite to be true. Class and race struggle Minneapolis Teamsters Strike of 1934 According to Michel Foucault. Moses Hess. we found it in the work of the French historians who talked about the race struggle. Marxists transformed the notions of the "race" and the "race struggle" into the concept of "class struggle". in the 19th century the essentialist notion of the "race" was incorporated by racists. The Physiocrats.. . and eugenicists. where race is held as a distraction that has kept labor divided and unorganized.  Non-Marxist perspectives This section requires expansion. property. who gave it the modern sense of "biological race" which was then integrated to "state racism". On the other hand. the class struggle will also come to a standstill. The main example given is the United States. Henry George noted the inelastic supply of land and argued that this created certain privileges (economic rent) for landowners. for it will ultimately become a scientific question of social economics.. For Foucault. the theme of social war provides overriding principle that connects class and race struggle." In modern times. The equalization of all classes of society will necessarily follow the emancipation of all the races. in his "Epilogue" to "Rome and Jerusalem" argued that "the race struggle is primary. which has the most politically weak working class of any developed nation. and after Marx. David Ricardo. the class struggle secondary. Social commentators and socialist theorists had commented on class struggle for some time before Marx. as well as the connection between class struggle. since the primary struggle is that of class since labor of all races face the same problems and injustices. That the race struggle is less important. With the cessation of race antagonism.
foundation of worker's councils ." Fascists have often opposed class struggle and instead have attempted to appeal to the working class while promising to preserve the existing social classes and have proposed an alternative concept known as class collaboration. in What is Property? (1840) states that "certain classes do not relish investigation into the pretended titles to property.France 14th century  Modern era German Peasants' War since 1524 English Civil War (1642–1651) (Diggers) French Revolution since 1789  Canut revolts in Lyon since 1831 .  Classical antiquity Roman Servile Wars  Middle Ages Ciompi in Florence 1378 Jacquerie .often considered as the beginning of the modern labor movement Paris Commune 1871 Donghak Peasant Revolution in Korea 1893/94 1907 Romanian Peasants' Revolt Mexican Revolution since 1910 October Revolution in 1917 Spartacist uprising in Germany 1919 Seattle General Strike of 1919 in Seattle General Strike of 1919 in Spain Winnipeg General Strike 1919 Ruhr Uprising in Germany 1920 Kronstadt rebellion 1921 March riots in Central Germany 1921 1926 United Kingdom general strike 1934 West Coast waterfront strike Spanish Civil War 1936-1939 Uprising of 1953 in East Germany Cuban Revolution 1953-1959 Hungarian Revolution of 1956 .Proudhon.  Chronology Riots with a basically nationalist background are not included. and its fabulous and perhaps scandalous history.
University Press of America. and the Russian Jews by Jonathan Frankel. various interviews. Cambridge University Press (1981).]: Wiley & Sons. Race and the Education of Desire: Foucault's "History of Sexuality" and the Colonial Order of Things . p.71-72 ^ quoted in Prophecy and Politics: Socialism. 3. Louis Adamic. Revised Edition (1934) Leo Zeilig (Editor). What is Property?. David Macey).  See also Aggravation of class struggle Althusser's conceptions of "class struggle in the theory" Dialectic Producerism . Poznań 1956 protests Mai 68 in France 1968/69: intensive class struggles in Italy Wild cats in Western Germany in 1969 Winter of Discontent 1978/79 UK miners' strike (1984–1985) 1993 Russian constitutional crisis 2006 Oaxaca protests in Mexico 2008 Greek riots 2010 Kyrgyzstani uprising Egyptian Revolution of 2011 2011 England riots  Literature The International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest: 1500 to the Present. 5. 2009. Dynamite: The story of class violence in America. 79 ^ Ann Laura Stoler. 2. Class Struggle and Resistance in Africa. New Clarion Press. 6. Class Struggle in the First French Republic. noting that pre-class societies existed. Duke University Press (1995). ^ see Daniel Guérin. 2005. 2003). Penguin Press (1976. 1848 ^ Quoted in Society Must be Defended by Michel Foucault (trans. p. 4. ed. 2002. chapter 2. ^ The Tavis Smiley Show/NPR. Li Yi.an alternate ideology of class struggle advocating the "middle" class Social criticism Struggle session  Footnotes 1. ^ The bracketed word reflects the footnote that Engels added later. ^ Communist Manifesto. Pluto Press 1977 . remark 2. London: Allen Lane. 22. ^ Pierre Proudhon. p. by Immanuel Ness. Malden. 7. The Structure and Evolution of Chinese Social Stratification. MA [etc. 8. Nationalism.
Net  Anti-Marxist "The Marxian Class Conflict Doctrine" Excerpt from Economic Freedom and Interventionism by Ludwig von Mises "Marxist and Austrian Class Analysis". Keynes and Marx Beyond PostCapitalism. by Hans-Hermann Hoppe Post Capitalism and Kondratieff as Alternative to Class Struggle [hide]v · d · eMarxist.org UK based class struggle resource Karl Marx Capital. External links  Women and class struggle Committee for Asian women  Pro-Marxist Collective Action Notes Karl Marx and Frederick Engels Bertell Ollman and Class Struggle Articles on Dialectics Communist Manifesto (1848) Karl Kautsky The Class Struggle (Erfurt Program) (1888).contemporary book.Com Critical Articles on Class Struggle Secular Stagnation. Marxian. Volume One ClassStruggle. Marxist-Leninist and Trotskyist terminology Bourgeoisie • Bourgeois nationalism • Bourgeois socialism • Capitalism • Class struggle • Commodification • Dictatorship of the proletariat • Imperialism • Liquidationism • Lumpenproletariat • Means of labor • Metabolic rift • Petite bourgeoisie • Primitive accumulation of capital • Proletarian internationalism • Proletarian revolution • Marxist phraseology (philosophy and politics) . The Marxists Internet Archive Class Struggle and Articles on Dialectics Karl Marx Wage Labour and Capital libcom.
Revolutionary wave • Scientific socialism • Communism • Superimperialism • Historical materialism • Theoretician (Marxism) • Two Stage Theory • Wage slavery • World revolution • Dialectics Accumulation of capital • Capitalist mode of production • Capital (economics) • Crisis of capitalism • Commodity (Marxism) • Commodity production • Materialism • Means of production • Mode of production • Productive forces • Relations of production • Law of value • Surplus value • Usevalue • Exchange value • Value (economics) • Socially necessary labour time • Socialization (economics) • Production for use • Socialist mode of production • Ruling class • Simple commodity production Cadre • Central Committee • Democratic centralism • Dual power • Enemy of the people • Foco • General line of the party • New class • Politburo • Political rehabilitation • Popular front • Revolutionary terror • United front • Vanguard party • Vanguardism • Social fascism • Socialist accumulation • Real socialism • Revisionism • Soviet democracy • Socialism in one Marxian terminology (economics and sociology) Communist (Marxist-Leninist & Stalinist) phraseology .
Metternich and Guizot. French Radicals and German police-spies.org/wiki/Class_struggle" View page ratings Rate this page What's this? Trustworthy Objective Complete Well-written Manifesto of the Communist Party: Chapter 1: [German Original] Manifesto of the Communist Party A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of communism. as well as against its reactionary adversaries? .wikipedia. against the more advanced opposition parties.country Deformed workers' state • Degenerated workers state • Social revolution • New class • Permanent Revolution • Bureaucratic collectivism Antagonistic contradiction • Bigcharacter poster • Capitalist roader • Four Olds • People's war • Revolutionary base area • Struggle session • Social imperialism • People's Republic Trotskyist phraseology Maoist phraseology Retrieved from "http://en. Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as communistic by its opponents in power? Where is the opposition that has not hurled back the branding reproach of communism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Pope and Tsar.
. a manifold gradation of social rank. their tendencies. From these burgesses the first elements of the bourgeoisie were developed. their aims. slaves. vassals. in the face of the whole world. however. In the earlier epochs of history. now open fight. we find almost everywhere a complicated arrangement of society into various orders. the epoch of the bourgeoisie. Freeman and slave. feudal lords. Bourgeois and Proletarians(1) [German Original] The history of all hitherto existing society(2) is the history of class struggles. new forms of struggle in place of the old ones. in almost all of these classes. and meet this nursery tale of the Spectre of Communism with a manifesto of the party itself. Chapter I. subordinate gradations. apprentices. Flemish and Danish languages. again. into two great classes directly facing each other — Bourgeoisie and Proletariat. a fight that each time ended. stood in constant opposition to one another. German. It is high time that Communists should openly. guild-master(3) and journeyman. new conditions of oppression. lord and serf. French. To this end. patrician and plebeian. publish their views. From the serfs of the Middle Ages sprang the chartered burghers of the earliest towns. either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large. carried on an uninterrupted. The modern bourgeois society that has sprouted from the ruins of feudal society has not done away with class antagonisms. Communism is already acknowledged by all European powers to be itself a power. oppressor and oppressed. now hidden. II. Italian. Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps. this distinct feature: it has simplified class antagonisms. plebeians. journeymen. in the Middle Ages. In ancient Rome we have patricians. guild-masters. or in the common ruin of the contending classes.Two things result from this fact: I. Communists of various nationalities have assembled in London and sketched the following manifesto. Our epoch. in a word. serfs. possesses. It has but established new classes. to be published in the English. knights.
The East-Indian and Chinese markets. exclusive political sway. Meantime the markets kept ever growing. This development has. and pushed into the background every class handed down from the Middle Ages. the modern bourgeois. wherever it has got the upper hand. afterwards.The discovery of America. trade with the colonies. to navigation. now no longer sufficed for the growing wants of the new markets. to communication by land. division of labour between the different corporate guilds vanished in the face of division of labour in each single workshop. therefore. to industry. of a series of revolutions in the modes of production and of exchange. an armed and self-governing association in the medieval commune(4): here independent urban republic (as in Italy and Germany). Each step in the development of the bourgeoisie was accompanied by a corresponding political advance of that class. has played a most revolutionary part. idyllic relations. Even manufacturer no longer sufficed. and thereby. than callous ―cash payment‖. The place of manufacture was taken by the giant. and has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked selfinterest. and in proportion as industry. The manufacturing system took its place. in the same proportion the bourgeoisie developed. The bourgeoisie. steam and machinery revolutionised industrial production. how the modern bourgeoisie is itself the product of a long course of development. in the period of manufacturing proper. conquered for itself. Modern industry has established the world market. the place of the industrial middle class by industrial millionaires. serving either the semi-feudal or the absolute monarchy as a counterpoise against the nobility. in which industrial production was monopolised by closed guilds. reacted on the extension of industry. cornerstone of the great monarchies in general. an impulse never before known. to navigation. This market has given an immense development to commerce. to the revolutionary element in the tottering feudal society. the bourgeoisie has at last. the leaders of the whole industrial armies. The bourgeoisie. The feudal system of industry. commerce. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his ―natural superiors‖. in the modern representative State. the demand ever rising. Thereupon. gave to commerce. of philistine sentimentalism. increased its capital. for which the discovery of America paved the way. of chivalrous enthusiasm. the increase in the means of exchange and in commodities generally. has put an end to all feudal. in its turn. navigation. An oppressed class under the sway of the feudal nobility. patriarchal. since the establishment of Modern Industry and of the world market. railways extended. The guild-masters were pushed on one side by the manufacturing middle class. in fact. The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value. and in place of the numberless . opened up fresh ground for the rising bourgeoisie. the rounding of the Cape. there taxable ―third estate‖ of the monarchy (as in France). Modern Industry. It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour. in the icy water of egotistical calculation. historically. the colonisation of America. We see. and. a rapid development.
and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life. In place of the old wants. fast-frozen relations. It has converted the physician. It has accomplished wonders far surpassing Egyptian pyramids. The bourgeoisie has through its exploitation of the world market given a cosmopolitan character to production and consumption in every country. the first condition of existence for all earlier industrial classes. found its fitting complement in the most slothful indolence. but raw material drawn from the remotest zones. In place of the old local and national seclusion and self-sufficiency. and his relations with his kind. universal inter-dependence of nations. The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the entire surface of the globe. the lawyer. All that is solid melts into air. . Conservation of the old modes of production in unaltered form. all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. it has conducted expeditions that put in the shade all former Exoduses of nations and crusades. there arises a world literature. All fixed. into its paid wage labourers. and with them the whole relations of society. To the great chagrin of Reactionists. by industries that no longer work up indigenous raw material. the man of science. it has substituted naked. and Gothic cathedrals. shameless. whose introduction becomes a life and death question for all civilised nations. the poet. unconscionable freedom — Free Trade. Roman aqueducts. veiled by religious and political illusions. are swept away. it has drawn from under the feet of industry the national ground on which it stood. the priest. The intellectual creations of individual nations become common property. was. and thereby the relations of production.indefeasible chartered freedoms. has set up that single. National one-sidedness and narrow-mindedness become more and more impossible. we find new wants. The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honoured and looked up to with reverent awe. Constant revolutionising of production. They are dislodged by new industries. which reactionaries so much admire. with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions. The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil. uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions. All old-established national industries have been destroyed or are daily being destroyed. And as in material. everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. It must nestle everywhere. not only at home. for exploitation. In one word. settle everywhere. we have intercourse in every direction. establish connexions everywhere. so also in intellectual production. requiring for their satisfaction the products of distant lands and climes. industries whose products are consumed. brutal exploitation. all that is holy is profaned. satisfied by the production of the country. and from the numerous national and local literatures. It has been the first to show what man‘s activity can bring about. The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionising the instruments of production. direct. on the contrary. and has reduced the family relation to a mere money relation. The bourgeoisie has disclosed how it came to pass that the brutal display of vigour in the Middle Ages. but in every quarter of the globe.
one frontier. At a certain stage in the development of these means of production and of exchange. with separate interests. The bourgeoisie keeps more and more doing away with the scattered state of the population. Into their place stepped free competition.The bourgeoisie. and systems of taxation. has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all preceding generations together. The necessary consequence of this was political centralisation. machinery. on whose foundation the bourgeoisie built itself up. The cheap prices of commodities are the heavy artillery with which it batters down all Chinese walls. canalisation of rivers. and the economic and political sway of the bourgeois class. Independent. The bourgeoisie has subjected the country to the rule of the towns. were generated in feudal society.. and has thus rescued a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural life. of the means of production. They had to be burst asunder. one code of laws. became lumped together into one nation. nations of peasants on nations of bourgeois. It has created enormous cities. Modern bourgeois society. by the rapid improvement of all instruments of production. in one word. i. steam-navigation. it creates a world after its own image. to become bourgeois themselves. has greatly increased the urban population as compared with the rural. whole populations conjured out of the ground — what earlier century had even a presentiment that such productive forces slumbered in the lap of social labour? We see then: the means of production and of exchange. Subjection of Nature‘s forces to man. to adopt the bourgeois mode of production. nations into civilisation. against the property relations that are the conditions for the existence of the bourgeois and of its rule. they were burst asunder. draws all. clearing of whole continents for cultivation. with which it forces the barbarians‘ intensely obstinate hatred of foreigners to capitulate. laws. For many a decade past the history of industry and commerce is but the history of the revolt of modern productive forces against modern conditions of production. so it has made barbarian and semi-barbarian countries dependent on the civilised ones.e. and has concentrated property in a few hands. is like the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells. during its rule of scarce one hundred years. and one customs-tariff. or but loosely connected provinces. the feudal organisation of agriculture and manufacturing industry. governments. and of property. with one government. by the immensely facilitated means of communication. a society that has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange. railways. it compels them to introduce what it calls civilisation into their midst. the East on the West. It is enough to mention the commercial crises that . In one word. centralised the means of production. with its relations of production. It compels all nations. electric telegraphs. It has agglomerated population. they became so many fetters. application of chemistry to industry and agriculture. accompanied by a social and political constitution adapted in it. one national class-interest. even the most barbarian. A similar movement is going on before our own eyes. Just as it has made the country dependent on the towns. the feudal relations of property became no longer compatible with the already developed productive forces. The bourgeoisie. of exchange and of property. the conditions under which feudal society produced and exchanged. on pain of extinction.
who must sell themselves piecemeal. in all earlier epochs. by the conquest of new markets. are organised like . endanger the existence of bourgeois property. Hence. He becomes an appendage of the machine. In these crises. But the price of a commodity. and most easily acquired knack. developed — a class of labourers. is developed. But not only has the bourgeoisie forged the weapons that bring death to itself. In proportion as the bourgeoisie. consequently. and. too much means of subsistence. in proportion as the use of machinery and division of labour increases. it appears as if a famine. it has also called into existence the men who are to wield those weapons — the modern working class — the proletarians. all charm for the workman. a great part not only of the existing products. in the same proportion is the proletariat. The weapons with which the bourgeoisie felled feudalism to the ground are now turned against the bourgeoisie itself. on the contrary. by paving the way for more extensive and more destructive crises. and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition. i. and so soon as they overcome these fetters. Society suddenly finds itself put back into a state of momentary barbarism. and by diminishing the means whereby crises are prevented. the modern working class. is equal to its cost of production. crowded into the factory.by their periodical return put the existence of the entire bourgeois society on its trial. These labourers.e. Modern Industry has converted the little workshop of the patriarchal master into the great factory of the industrial capitalist. That is to say. are a commodity. but also of the previously created productive forces. the wage decreases. therefore. and it is only the most simple. by the increase of the work exacted in a given time or by increased speed of machinery. etc. to all the fluctuations of the market. there breaks out an epidemic that. and for the propagation of his race. Owing to the extensive use of machinery. industry and commerce seem to be destroyed. and who find work only so long as their labour increases capital. in the same proportion the burden of toil also increases. The productive forces at the disposal of society no longer tend to further the development of the conditions of bourgeois property. like every other article of commerce. In these crises.. the cost of production of a workman is restricted. and to the division of labour. too much industry. a universal war of devastation. they bring disorder into the whole of bourgeois society. to the means of subsistence that he requires for maintenance. who live only so long as they find work. had cut off the supply of every means of subsistence. Nay more. on the other. almost entirely. And how does the bourgeoisie get over these crises? On the one hand by enforced destruction of a mass of productive forces. most monotonous. In proportion. are periodically destroyed. as the repulsiveness of the work increases. and why? Because there is too much civilisation. they have become too powerful for these conditions. Masses of labourers. and by the more thorough exploitation of the old ones. that is required of him. each time more threateningly. The conditions of bourgeois society are too narrow to comprise the wealth created by them. by which they are fettered. the work of the proletarians has lost all individual character. and therefore also of labour. capital. too much commerce. whether by prolongation of the working hours. would have seemed an absurdity — the epidemic of overproduction.
but of the union of the bourgeoisie. As privates of the industrial army they are placed under the command of a perfect hierarchy of officers and sergeants. they seek to restore by force the vanished status of the workman of the Middle Ages. they set factories ablaze. Thus. If anywhere they unite to form more compact bodies. and. then by the workpeople of a factory. the labourers still form an incoherent mass scattered over the whole country. At first the contest is carried on by individual labourers. able to do so. The proletariat goes through various stages of development. and is swamped in the competition with the large capitalists. is compelled to set the whole proletariat in motion. the remnants of absolute monarchy. and the resulting . the petty bourgeois. this is not yet the consequence of their own active union. With its birth begins its struggle with the bourgeoisie. which class. and retired tradesmen generally. the proletarians do not fight their enemies. At this stage. than he is set upon by the other portions of the bourgeoisie. and broken up by their mutual competition. in order to attain its own political ends. the handicraftsmen and peasants — all these sink gradually into the proletariat. and of the bourgeois State. Differences of age and sex have no longer any distinctive social validity for the working class. the proletariat not only increases in number. and is moreover yet. so far. its strength grows. and nearly everywhere reduces wages to the same low level. the whole historical movement is concentrated in the hands of the bourgeoisie. All are instruments of labour. but the enemies of their enemies. against the individual bourgeois who directly exploits them. Thus the proletariat is recruited from all classes of the population. then by the operative of one trade. above all. The growing competition among the bourgeois. Not only are they slaves of the bourgeois class. at an end. they destroy imported wares that compete with their labour. the landowners. the non-industrial bourgeois. No sooner is the exploitation of the labourer by the manufacturer. The less the skill and exertion of strength implied in manual labour. the more modern industry becomes developed. the landlord. They direct their attacks not against the bourgeois conditions of production. The various interests and conditions of life within the ranks of the proletariat are more and more equalised. they are daily and hourly enslaved by the machine. by the overlooker. the more is the labour of men superseded by that of women.soldiers. the more petty. they smash to pieces machinery. and it feels that strength more. according to their age and sex. the shopkeeper. But with the development of industry. but against the instruments of production themselves. therefore. every victory so obtained is a victory for the bourgeoisie. that he receives his wages in cash. partly because their specialised skill is rendered worthless by new methods of production. The lower strata of the middle class — the small tradespeople. shopkeepers. partly because their diminutive capital does not suffice for the scale on which Modern Industry is carried on. by the individual bourgeois manufacturer himself. in other words. etc. for a time. The more openly this despotism proclaims gain to be its end and aim. in one locality. it becomes concentrated in greater masses. more or less expensive to use. in proportion as machinery obliterates all distinctions of labour. At this stage. the more hateful and the more embittering it is. the pawnbroker.
and joins the revolutionary class. they found permanent associations in order to make provision beforehand for these occasional revolts. therefore. in times when the class struggle nears the decisive hour. to attain which the burghers of the Middle Ages. that a small section of the ruling class cuts itself adrift. supplies the proletariat with its own elements of political and general education. mightier. make the wages of the workers ever more fluctuating. they club together in order to keep up the rate of wages. later on. the class that holds the future in its hands. but only for a time. The bourgeoisie finds itself involved in a constant battle. the contest breaks out into riots. at an earlier period. makes their livelihood more and more precarious. as we have already seen. in other words. in many ways. to drag it into the political arena. whose interests have become antagonistic to the progress of industry. These also supply the proletariat with fresh elements of enlightenment and progress. the workers begin to form combinations (Trades‘ Unions) against the bourgeois. achieve in a few years. It was just this contact that was needed to centralise the numerous local struggles. entire sections of the ruling class are. into one national struggle between classes. assumes such a violent. thanks to railways. with those portions of the bourgeoisie itself. but in the ever expanding union of the workers. Finally. It compels legislative recognition of particular interests of the workers. Altogether collisions between the classes of the old society further. at all time with the bourgeoisie of foreign countries. The increasing improvement of machinery. it sees itself compelled to appeal to the proletariat. But every class struggle is a political struggle. . precipitated into the proletariat. Here and there. by taking advantage of the divisions among the bourgeoisie itself. a portion of the bourgeois ideologists. therefore. the modern proletarian. the progress of dissolution going on within the ruling class. This union is helped on by the improved means of communication that are created by modern industry. firmer. and in particular. in fact within the whole range of old society. who have raised themselves to the level of comprehending theoretically the historical movement as a whole. and that place the workers of different localities in contact with one another. and thus. with their miserable highways. the tenhours‘ bill in England was carried. ever more rapidly developing. This organisation of the proletarians into a class. stronger. by the advance of industry. The bourgeoisie itself. Thereupon. Further. so now a portion of the bourgeoisie goes over to the proletariat. Thus. At first with the aristocracy. But it ever rises up again. consequently into a political party. required centuries. not in the immediate result. And that union. to ask for help. Now and then the workers are victorious. In all these battles. Just as. The real fruit of their battles lies. and.commercial crises. all of the same character. glaring character. a section of the nobility went over to the bourgeoisie. or are at least threatened in their conditions of existence. is continually being upset again by the competition between the workers themselves. it furnishes the proletariat with weapons for fighting the bourgeoisie. the collisions between individual workmen and individual bourgeois take more and more the character of collisions between two classes. the course of development of the proletariat.
be swept into the movement by a proletarian revolution. In depicting the most general phases of the development of the proletariat. [lumpenproletariat] the social scum. raging within existing society. the proletariat is its special and essential product. behind which lurk in ambush just as many bourgeois interests. cannot raise itself up. but conservative. The proletarians cannot become masters of the productive forces of society. its conditions of life. cannot stir. first of all settle matters with its own bourgeoisie. All previous historical movements were movements of minorities. individual property. In the condition of the proletariat. the same in England as in France. They have nothing of their own to secure and to fortify. Though not in substance. are to him so many bourgeois prejudices. the proletariat alone is a really revolutionary class. and thereby also every other previous mode of appropriation. we traced the more or less veiled civil war. religion. however. independent movement of the immense majority. The proletariat of each country must. but their future interests. If by chance. his relation to his wife and children has no longer anything in common with the bourgeois family relations. up to the point where that war breaks out into open revolution. they are revolutionary.Of all the classes that stand face to face with the bourgeoisie today. may. here and there. The proletarian is without property. has stripped him of every trace of national character. they are only so in view of their impending transfer into the proletariat. prepare it far more for the part of a bribed tool of reactionary intrigue. morality. those of old society at large are already virtually swamped. the shopkeeper. The proletariat. yet in form. except by abolishing their own previous mode of appropriation. and insurances of. The other classes decay and finally disappear in the face of Modern Industry. modern industry labour. The proletarian movement is the self-conscious. modern subjection to capital. of course. All the preceding classes that got the upper hand sought to fortify their already acquired status by subjecting society at large to their conditions of appropriation. . or in the interest of minorities. that passively rotting mass thrown off by the lowest layers of the old society. they thus defend not their present. the small manufacturer. Nay more. the artisan. Law. the lowest stratum of our present society. the peasant. the struggle of the proletariat with the bourgeoisie is at first a national struggle. They are therefore not revolutionary. to save from extinction their existence as fractions of the middle class. all these fight against the bourgeoisie. they are reactionary. their mission is to destroy all previous securities for. The lower middle class. they desert their own standpoint to place themselves at that of the proletariat. for they try to roll back the wheel of history. without the whole superincumbent strata of official society being sprung into the air. in the interest of the immense majority. in America as in Germany. and where the violent overthrow of the bourgeoisie lays the foundation for the sway of the proletariat. The ―dangerous class‖.
In 1847. And here it becomes evident. in other words. certain conditions must be assured to it under which it can. and. under the yoke of the feudal absolutism. all written history. having no means of production of their own. By bourgeoisie is meant the class of modern capitalists. all but unknown. on the contrary. cuts from under its feet the very foundation on which the bourgeoisie produces and appropriates products. instead of being fed by him. The development of Modern Industry. Since then. the pre-history of society. It is unfit to rule because it is incompetent to assure an existence to its slave within his slavery. the social organisation existing previous to recorded history. by Lewis Henry Morgan's (1818-1861) crowning discovery of the true nature of the gens and its relation to the tribe. at least. above all. because it cannot help letting him sink into such a state. Society can no longer live under this bourgeoisie. the class of modern wage labourers who. Wage-labour rests exclusively on competition between the labourers. He becomes a pauper. What the bourgeoisie therefore produces. Georg Ludwig von Maurer proved it to be the social foundation from which all Teutonic races started in history. That is. whose involuntary promoter is the bourgeoisie. on the antagonism of oppressing and oppressed classes. are reduced to selling their labour power in order to live. The serf. The inner organisation of this primitive communistic society was laid bare. Chapter 2: Proletarians and Communists 1. August von Haxthausen (1792-1866) discovered common ownership of land in Russia. 1888 English edition] 2. By proletariat. The essential conditions for the existence and for the sway of the bourgeois class is the formation and augmentation of capital. [Engels. But in order to oppress a class. in the period of serfdom. or to have been. village communities were found to be. instead of rising with the process of industry. the condition for capital is wage-labour. replaces the isolation of the labourers. every form of society has been based.Hitherto. that it has to feed him. sinks deeper and deeper below the conditions of existence of his own class. are its own grave-diggers. owners of the means of social production and employers of wage labour. With the dissolution of the . managed to develop into a bourgeois. its existence is no longer compatible with society. due to competition. just as the petty bourgeois. continue its slavish existence. by and by. the primitive form of society everywhere from India to Ireland. therefore. raised himself to membership in the commune. and pauperism develops more rapidly than population and wealth. by the revolutionary combination. The modern labourer. The advance of industry. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable. as we have already seen. in its typical form. that the bourgeoisie is unfit any longer to be the ruling class in society. due to association. and to impose its conditions of existence upon society as an over-riding law.
This was the name given their urban communities by the townsmen of Italy and France. 1886. and the State. not a head of a guild. for the economical development of the bourgeoisie.primeval communities.Class struggle Article The thought of Karl Marx o Historical materialism o Analysis of society o Analysis of the economy o Class struggle o The contributions of Engels German Marxism after Engels o The work of Kautsky and Bernstein o The radicals o The Austrians . for its political development. 1890 German edition] ―Commune‖ was the name taken in France by the nascent towns even before they had conquered from their feudal lords and masters local self-government and political rights as the ―Third Estate.‖ Generally speaking. [Engels. after they had purchased or conquered their initial rights of self-government from their feudal lords. 1888 English Edition] 4. Stuttgart. Guild-master. Private Property. that is. second edition. 1888 English Edition] Submit Advanced Search Home Encyclopædia Britannica Marxism . a full member of a guild. I have attempted to retrace this dissolution in The Origin of the Family. England is here taken as the typical country. [Engels. France. a master within. [Engels. 1888 English Edition and 1890 German Edition (with the last sentence omitted)] 3. [Engels. society begins to be differentiated into separate and finally antagonistic classes.
There is also Marxism as it has been understood and practiced by the various socialist movements. a body of doctrine developed by Karl Marx and. and an economic and political program. Russian and Soviet Marxism o Lenin o The dictatorship of the proletariat o Stalin o Trotskyism Variants of Marxism o Maoism o Marxism in Cuba o Marxism in the developing world o Marxism in the West Additional Reading Related Articles External Web sites Citations EDIT SAVE PRINT E-MAIL Video. Offshoots of this included Marxism as interpreted by the anti-Stalinist Leon Trotsky and his followers. a theory of history. Mao Zedong‘s . Ebooks & More Web Links Article History Contributors Dictionary & Thesaurus Widgets Marxism ARTICLE from the Encyclopædia Britannica Marxism. by Friedrich Engels in the mid-19th century. Then there is Soviet Marxism as worked out by Vladimir Ilich Lenin and modified by Joseph Stalin. which under the name of Marxism-Leninism (see Leninism) became the doctrine of the communist parties set up after the Russian Revolution (1917). It originally consisted of three related ideas: a philosophical anthropology. to a lesser extent. Images & Audio Related Articles. particularly before 1914.
and so on) that he had inherited from earlier philosophers and economists. It is not. Immanuel Kant. Marx applied it to capitalist society.Chinese variant of Marxism-Leninism. The whole of his work is a radical critique of philosophy. the real foundation. it is on the contrary their social existence which determines their consciousness. Marx declared that philosophy must become reality. In fact. above all. both in Manifest der kommunistischen Partei . tries to relate them to historical. value. in turn. much less to a philosophical system. There were also the post-World War II nondogmatic Marxisms that have modified Marx‘s thought with borrowings from modern philosophies. Historical materialism In 1859. and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. and economic realities. they enter into definite relations that are indispensable and independent of their will. Rather. The thought of Karl Marx The written work of Marx cannot be reduced to a philosophy. he examines each problem in its dynamic relation to the others and. Johann Fichte. however. knowledge. Raised to the level of historical law. It is not the consciousness of men which determines their existence. and intellectual processes of life. Adam Smith. and various Marxisms in the developing world. and John Stuart Mill. his work teems with concepts (appropriation. Hegel‘s idealist system and of the philosophies of the left and right post-Hegelians. principally from those of Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger but also from Sigmund Freud and others. relations of production which correspond to a definite stage of development of their material forces of production. The sum total of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society. in the preface to his Zur Kritik der politischen Ökonomie (Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy). required a critique of experience together with a critique of ideas.W. The mode of production in material life determines the general character of the social. This. praxis. one must be concerned with transforming it. David Ricardo. He was not an empiricist. creative labour. political. instead of making abstract affirmations about a whole group of problems such as human nature. a mere denial of those philosophies. especially of G. which meant transforming both the world itself and human consciousness of it. What uniquely characterizes the thought of Marx is that. social. One could no longer be content with interpreting the world. and matter. alienation. Marx believed that all knowledge involves a critique of ideas. political. including Hegel.F. this hypothesis was subsequently called historical materialism. on which rises a legal and political superstructure. Marx wrote that the hypothesis that had served him as the basis for his analysis of society could be briefly formulated as follows: In the social production that men carry on.
physical. independent of him. that is acting and materially producing. 2. Above the economic structure rises the superstructure. In other words. he is a suffering. . but are the objects of his need. he never made himself clear on the nature of the correspondence. these powers exist in him as aptitudes. as they are in reality. as an objective. The Communist Manifesto) and Das Kapital (vol. a fact that was to be the source of differing interpretations among his later followers. Analysis of society To go directly to the heart of the work of Marx.‖ that is. Capital) and in other writings.(1848. the labour and means of production. he did not formulate it in a very exact manner: different expressions served him for identical realities. The point of departure of human history is therefore living human beings. It is found in Das Kapital as well as in Die deutsche Ideologie (written 1845–46. This foundation of the social on the economic is not an incidental point: it colours Marx‘s whole analysis. he is endowed on the one hand with natural powers. indispensable and essential for the realization and confirmation of his substantial powers. dependent and limited being…. Marx‘s interpretation of human nature begins with human need. as are the legal relations. except that through the ideological forms individuals become conscious of the conflict within the economic structure between the material forces of production and the existing relations of production expressed in the legal property relations. in turn. Human activity is thus essentially a struggle with nature that must furnish the means of satisfying human needs: drink. who seek to satisfy certain primary needs. . ―The first historical fact is the production of the means to satisfy these needs. Although Marx stated that there is a correspondence between the ―material forces‖ of production and the indispensable ―relations‖ of production. This is just as important for an understanding of Marx as are The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital.‖ This satisfaction. ―Man. ―The social structure and the state issue continually from the life processes of definite individuals . is first of all a natural being. 1. and (b) the overall ―relations of production. that is. opens the way for new needs. vital powers….‖ The political relations that individuals establish among themselves are dependent on material production. As a natural being and a living natural being. instincts.‖ he wrote in the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. consisting of legal and political ―forms of social consciousness‖ that correspond to the economic structure. ―The sum total of the forces of production accessible to men determines the condition of society‖ and is at the base of society. Underlying everything as the real basis of society is the economic structure. Although Marx reflected upon his working hypothesis for many years. social reality is structured in the following way: 1. natural. The German Ideology) and the Ökonomisch-philosophische Manuskripte aus dem Jahre 1844 (Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844). 1867. one must focus on his concrete program for humanity. On the other hand. the objects of his instincts exist outside him. This structure includes (a) the ―material forces of production. . If one takes the text literally. sensitive being.‖ or the social and political arrangements that regulate production and distribution. Marx says nothing about the nature of this correspondence between ideological forms and economic structure.
they become fully human by opposing it. Becoming aware in their struggle against nature of what separates them from it. Born of nature. while at the same time. He is an alienated being. by their labour. Man has thus evident and irrefutable proof of his own creation by himself. into a means of his individual existence. which Marx takes from Hegel and Ludwig Feuerbach. Thus the labour power of the worker is used along with that of others in a combination whose significance he is ignorant of. The alienation of the worker takes on its full dimension in that system of market production in which part of the value of the goods produced by the worker is taken away from him and transformed into surplus value. alien and oppressive realities to which both the individual who possesses them privately and the . the individual is not truly free. ―The generic being (Gattungwesen) of man. By their creative activity. they achieve free consciousness. In thus losing their quality as human products. humans are sufficient unto themselves: they have recaptured the fullness of humanity in its full liberty. plays a fundamental role in the whole of his written work. human activity reveals that ―for man. Under these conditions. social. workers create goods only by their labour. people discover themselves as productive beings who humanize themselves through their labour. they humanize nature while they naturalize themselves. the products of labour become fetishes. and the setting up of large enterprises. starting with the writings of his youth and continuing through Das Kapital. nature as well as his intellectual faculties. however. no pay.‖ It is thus vain to speak of God. These goods are exchangeable. so that. The idea of alienation. of the realization of their true stature. he loses it in this world of things that are external to him: no work. the historical. In this undertaking. and metaphysical problems. Fully naturalized. both individually and socially. The dawning of consciousness is inseparable from struggle.food.‖ Nature. starting with The German Ideology. By appropriating all the creative energies. and economic causes of the alienation of labour are given increasing emphasis. because his product and his labour are estranged from him. and the more values he creates the more he devalues himself.‖ When carried to its highest stage of development. private property becomes ―the product of alienated labour…the means by which labour alienates itself (and) the realization of this alienation. the development of human powers and then of human intellectual and artistic abilities. piecework. his spiritual essence become alien to him. Furthermore. Alienated labour is seen as the consequence of market product. Market production also intensifies the alienation of labour by encouraging specialization. labour denies the fullness of concrete humanity. As producers in society. is transformed into a being which is alien to him. especially in Das Kapital. his body. clothing. Their value is the average amount of social labour spent to produce them. they realize their identity with the nature that they master. instead of finding his rightful existence through his labour.‖ Although there is no evidence that Marx ever disclaimed this anthropological analysis of alienated labour. and the division of society into antagonistic classes. that is.‖ It is also at the same time ―the tangible material expression of alienated human life. Living in a capitalist society.‖ Understood in its universal dimension. creation. he is not at home in his world. they discover that ―all that is called history is nothing else than the process of creating man through human labour. man is the supreme being. ―Man is made alien to man. In the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts the alienation of labour is seen to spring from the fact that the more the worker produces the less he has to consume. the division of labour. The life of the worker depends on things that he has created but that are not his. the becoming of nature for man. which the capitalist privately appropriates. they find the conditions of their fulfillment.
Analysis of the economy Marx analyzed the market economy system in Das Kapital. Ideological alienation. This duality represents his political alienation. capitalist society the individual is divided into political citizen and economic actor.‖ Law. for Marx. appearing in economic. and technical progress. The ideas that people form are closely bound up with their material activity and their material relations: ―The act of making representations. The wealth of the societies that brought this economy into play had been acquired through an ―enormous accumulation of commodities. It is ―an opium for the people.‖ Unlike Feuerbach.‖ In bourgeois. . In this work he borrows most of the categories of the classical English economists Smith and Ricardo but adapts them and introduces new concepts such as that of surplus value. In the market economy. seem to be the direct emanation of their material relations. it is existence which determines consciousness. takes different forms. but it is as living men. The system he analyzes is principally that of mid-19th-century England. metaphysics. together with the thought of Feuerbach. this submission to things is obscured by the fact that the exchange of goods is expressed in money. ―It is not consciousness which determines existence. men acting as they are determined by a definite development of their powers of production. and legal theories. international trade. of thinking. which offer a distorted representation of and an illusory justification of a world in which the relations of individuals with one another are also distorted. Marx undertook a lengthy critique of the first in Das Kapital and of the second in The German Ideology. analyzing the unequal exchanges that take place in the market. Its rise had been facilitated by changes in the forces of production (the division of labour and the concentration of workshops).‖ Marx therefore begins with the study of this accumulation. Taking up the ideas about religion that were current in left post-Hegelian circles. morality. But ideological alienation expresses itself supremely in religion. which is further intensified by the functioning of the bourgeois state.individual who is deprived of them submit themselves. or spiritual. Marx came to see the state as the instrument through which the propertied class dominated other classes. intellectual. and religion do not have a history of their own. It is a reflection of the situation of a person who ―either has not conquered himself or has already lost himself again‖ (the individual in the world of private property). It is a system of private enterprise and competition that arose in the 16th century from the development of sea routes.‖ In other words. His analysis is based on the idea that humans are productive beings and that all economic value comes from human labour.‖ This is true of all human activity: political. Marx believed that religion would disappear only with changes in society. the adoption of mechanization. This fundamental economic alienation is accompanied by secondary political and ideological alienations. One of the distinguishing marks of Das Kapital is that in it Marx studies the economy as a whole and not in one or another of its aspects. From this study of society at the beginning of the 19th century. ―Men developing their material production modify together with their real existence their ways of thinking and the products of their ways of thinking. Marx considered religion to be a product of human consciousness. and colonialism. the spiritual intercourse of men. ―Men produce their representations and their ideas. philosophical.
These had been given substance by the writings of French historians such as Adolphe Thiers and François Guizot on the French Revolution of 1789. he is able to invest the difference in additional production. preludes to the general crisis that will sweep it away. ―Capitalist production develops the technique and the combination of the process of social production only by exhausting at the same time the two sources from which all wealth springs: the earth and the worker. whose pauperization keeps increasing. Thus. in other words. subject as it is to the internal pressures resulting from its own development. But when this equivalent value has been returned. Marx argues that the development of capitalism is accompanied by increasing contradictions. The new value which he produces during this extra time. The outlay for machinery grows faster than the outlay for wages. The value of labour power is determined by the amount of labour necessary for its reproduction or. he does not cease work. the equilibrium of the system is precarious. By means of his work the labourer creates new value which does not belong to him.According to Marx. He remains content with emphasizing this primary source: Surplus value is produced by the employment of labour power. Class struggle Marx inherited the ideas of class and class struggle from utopian socialism and the theories of Henri de Saint-Simon. But unlike the French . but it changes in its magnitude. Now labour power produces more than it is worth. but new techniques are soon taken up by his competitors. Socialism. by the amount needed for the worker to subsist and beget children. Marx is not concerned with whether in capitalist society there are sources of surplus value other than the exploitation of human labour—a fact pointed out by Joseph Schumpeter in Capitalism. is possible only because the capitalist has appropriated the means of production. and it corresponds exactly to the surplus value realized by capitalists in the market. This instability is increased by the formation of a reserve army of workers. Since only labour can produce the surplus value from which profit is derived. The difference between the two values is appropriated by the capitalist. makes itself worth more. But in the hands of the capitalist the labour power employed in the course of a day produces more than the value of the sustenance required by the worker and his family. Along with the declining rate of profit goes an increase in unemployment.‖ According to the Marxist dialectic. Throughout his analysis. the introduction of machinery is profitable to the individual capitalist because it enables him to produce more goods at a lower cost. Capital buys the labour power and pays the wages for it. including the labour power of the worker. to Marx. this means that the capitalist‘s rate of profit on his total outlay tends to decline.‖ The transformation. but continues to do so for some further hours. these fundamental contradictions can only be resolved by a change from capitalism to a new system. and Democracy (1942). but to the capitalist. and which exceeds in consequence the amount of his wage. ―Not only is the value advance kept in circulation. and it is this movement that transforms it into capital. constitutes surplus value. if the capitalist advances funds to buy cotton yarn with which to produce fabrics and sells the product for a larger sum than he paid. Crises shake it at regular intervals. He must work a certain time merely in order to reproduce the equivalent value of his wages. adds a plus to itself. both factory workers and peasants. For example.
Reading Das Kapital. This conception is set forth in a manner inspired by the Hegelian dialectic of the master and the slave. Moreover.‖ But for Marx there are two views of revolution. The fall of the bourgeoisie and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable‖ (The Communist Manifesto) because the bourgeois relations of production are the last contradictory form of the process of social production. as a universal nonhuman situation. ―a violent suppression of the old conditions of production. he was about to take up the question. and unfortunately the pen fell from Marx‘s hand at the moment when. When people have become aware of their loss. and the workers.‖ In Marx‘s view. Depending on the writings and the periods. it will be possible for them to proceed to a radical transformation of their situation by a revolution. of their alienation. the dialectical nature of history is expressed in class struggle. contradictory not in the sense of an individual contradiction. Marx never analyzed classes as specific groups of people opposing other groups of people. ―The history of all hitherto existing human society is the history of class struggles. the number of classes varies. however. Marx made class struggle the central fact of social evolution. Its mission is the political and revolutionary education of the proletariat. Once a majority has been won to the coalition. an unofficial proletarian authority constitutes itself alongside the revolutionary bourgeois authority. 3). With the development of capitalism.historians. or bourgeoisie. Two basic classes. This revolution will be the prelude to the establishment of communism and the reign of liberty reconquered. or proletariat. ―The bourgeoisie produces its own grave-diggers. If one reads The Communist Manifesto carefully one discovers inconsistencies that indicate that Marx had not reconciled the concepts of catastrophic and of permanent revolution. The Holy Family). With this social development the prehistory of human society ends. but of a contradiction that is born of the conditions of social existence of individuals. around which other less important classes are grouped. ―In the place of the old bourgeois society with its classes and its class antagonisms. or of the action of the conscious proletariat. one is furthermore left with an ambiguous impression with regard to the destruction of capitalism: will it be the result of the ―general crisis‖ that Marx expects. oppose each other in the capitalist system: the owners of the means of production. One is that of a final conflagration.‖ which occurs when the opposition between bourgeoisie and proletariat has been carried to its extreme point. in Das Kapital (vol. The other conception is that of a permanent revolution involving a provisional coalition between the proletariat and the petty bourgeoisie rebelling against a capitalism that is only superficially united. or of both at once? . there will be an association in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all. gradually assuring the transfer of legal power from the revolutionary bourgeoisie to the revolutionary proletariat. in Die heilige Familie (1845. the class struggle takes an acute form. the forces of production which develop in the midst of bourgeois society create at the same time the material conditions for resolving this contradiction.
‖ But Engels was driven to simplify problems with a view to being pedagogical. Political Economy. he tended to schematize and systematize things as if the fundamental questions were settled. Engels attempts to establish that the natural sciences and even mathematics are dialectical. The German Ideology. Engels observed carefully the life of the workers of that great industrial centre and described it in Die Lage der arbeitenden Klassen in England (The Condition of the Working Class in England). the year he began his close association and friendship with Marx. which he had begun around 1875–76. He collaborated with Marx in the writing of The Holy Family. This work was an analysis of the evolution of industrial capitalism and its social consequences. This collaboration lasted until Marx‘s death and was carried on posthumously with the publication of the manuscripts left by Marx. It contains three parts: Philosophy. Mill. The connections that he thus established between some of Marx‘s governing ideas and some of the scientific ideas of his age gave rise to the notion that there is a complete Marxist philosophy. and J. In 1844. The importance of these writings to the subsequent development of Marxism can be seen from Lenin‘s observation that Engels ―developed. published in 1845 in Leipzig. This remarkable study contained in seminal form the critique that Marx was to make of bourgeois political economy in Das Kapital. and an unfinished work. and Socialism. the most general scientific questions and the different phenomena of the past and present according to the materialist understanding of history and the economic theory of Karl Marx. and The Communist Manifesto.The contributions of Engels Engels became a communist in 1842 and discovered the proletariat of England when he took over the management of the Manchester factory belonging to his father‘s cotton firm. Engels published several articles that were collected under the title Herr Eugen Dührings Umwälzung der Wissenschaft (1878. in a clear and often polemical style. He also wrote various articles on Marx‘s work. Dialektik und Natur (Dialectics of Nature). forming volumes 2 and 3 of Das Kapital. During the first years of his stay in Manchester. history. Herr Eugen Dühring’s Revolution in Science. In response to criticism of Marx‘s ideas by a socialist named Eugen Dühring. in the sense that observable reality is dialectical: the dialectical method of analysis and thought is imposed by the material forces with which they deal.-B. Say. The idea was to play a significant role in the transition of Marxism from a ―critique of daily life‖ to an integrated doctrine in which philosophy. Engels was finishing his Umrisse zu einer Kritik der Nationalökonomie (Outline of a Critique of Political Economy)—a critique of Smith. for it shows how Engels contributed by furnishing Marx with a great amount of technical and economic data and by criticizing the successive drafts. and the sciences are fused. The correspondence between them is of fundamental importance for the student of Das Kapital. Anti-Dühring is of fundamental importance for it constitutes the link between Marx and certain forms of modern Marxism. In the first. It is thus . which Engels edited. Ricardo. better known as AntiDühring).
rightly applied to the study of history and human society. ―Motion, in effect, is the mode of existence of matter,‖ Engels writes. In using materialistic dialectic to make a critique of Dühring‘s thesis, according to which political forces prevail over all the rest in the molding of history, Engels provides a good illustration of the materialistic idea of history, which puts the stress on the prime role of economic factors as driving forces in history. The other chapters of the section Political Economy form a very readable introduction to the principal economic ideas of Marx: value (simple and complex), labour, capital, and surplus value. The section Socialism starts by formulating anew the critique of the capitalist system as it was made in Das Kapital. At the end of the chapters devoted to production, distribution, the state, the family, and education, Engels outlines what the socialist society will be like, a society in which the notion of value has no longer anything to do with the distribution of the goods produced because all labour ―becomes at once and directly social labour,‖ and the amount of social labour that every product contains no longer needs to be ascertained by ―a detour.‖ A production plan will coordinate the economy. The division of labour and the separation of town and country will disappear with the ―suppression of the capitalist character of modern industry.‖ Thanks to the plan, industry will be located throughout the country in the collective interest, and thus the opposition between town and country will disappear—to the profit of both industry and agriculture. Finally, after the liberation of humanity from the condition of servitude imposed by the capitalist mode of production, the state will also be abolished and religion will disappear by ―natural death.‖ One of the most remarkable features of Anti-Dühring is the insistence with which Engels refuses to base socialism on absolute values. He admits only relative values, linked to historical, economic, and social conditions. Socialism cannot possibly be based on ethical principles: each epoch can successfully carry out only that of which it is capable. Marx had written this in his preface of 1859.
German Marxism after Engels
The work of Kautsky and Bernstein
The theoretical leadership after Engels was taken by Karl Kautsky, editor of the official organ of the German Social Democratic Party, Die Neue Zeit. He wrote Karl Marx’ ökonomische Lehren (1887; The Economic Doctrines of Karl Marx), in which the work of Marx is presented as essentially an economic theory. Kautsky reduced the ideas of Marx and Marxist historical dialectic to a kind of evolutionism. He laid stress on the increasing pauperization of the working class and on the increasing degree of capitalist concentration. While opposing all compromise with the bourgeois state, he accepted the contention that the socialist movement should support laws benefiting the workers provided that they did not reinforce the power of the state. Rejecting the idea of an alliance between the working class and the peasantry, he believed
that the overthrow of the capitalist state and the acquisition of political power by the working class could be realized in a peaceful way, without upsetting the existing structures. As an internationalist he supported peace, rejecting war and violence. For him, war was a product of capitalism. Such were the main features of ―orthodox‖ German Marxism at the time when the ―revisionist‖ theories of Eduard Bernstein appeared. Bernstein created a great controversy with articles that he wrote in 1896 for Die Neue Zeit, arguing that Marxism needed to be revised. His divergence widened with the publication in 1899 of Die Voraussetzungen des Sozialismus und die Aufgaben der Sozialdemokratie (Evolutionary Socialism), to which rejoinders were made by Kautsky in Bernstein und das Sozialdemokratische Programm: Eine Antikritik (1899; ―Bernstein and the Social Democratic Program‖) and the Polish-born Marxist Rosa Luxemburg in Sozialreform oder Revolution (Reform or Revolution), both in 1899. Bernstein focused first of all upon the labour theory of value. Along with the economists of his time he considered it outdated, both in the form expounded by British classical economists and as set forth in Das Kapital. He argued, moreover, that class struggle was becoming less rather than more intense, for concentration was not accelerating in industry as Marx had forecast, and in agriculture it was not increasing at all. Bernstein demonstrated this on the basis of German, Dutch, and English statistical data. He also argued that cartels and business syndicates were smoothing the evolution of capitalism, a fact that cast doubt on the validity of Marx‘s theory of capitalistic crises. Arguing that quite a few of Marx‘s theories were not scientifically based, Bernstein blamed the Hegelian and Ricardian structure of Marx‘s work for his failure to take sufficient account of observable reality. To this, Kautsky replied that, with the development of capitalism, agriculture was becoming a sector more and more dependent on industry, and that in addition an industrialization of agriculture was taking place. Luxemburg took the position that the contradictions of capitalism did not cease to grow with the progress of finance capitalism and the exploitation of the colonies, and that these contradictions were leading to a war that would give the proletariat its opportunity to assume power by revolutionary means.
One of the most divisive questions was that of war and peace. This was brought to the fore at the outbreak of World War I, when Social Democratic deputies in the German Reichstag voted for the financing of the war. Among German Marxists who opposed the war were Karl Liebknecht and Luxemburg. Liebknecht was imprisoned in 1916 for agitating against the war. On his release in 1918 he took the leadership of the Spartacus League, which was later to become the Communist Party of Germany. Luxemburg had also been arrested for her antimilitary activities. In addition to her articles, signed Junius, in which she debated with Lenin on the subject of World War I and the attitude of the Marxists toward it (published in 1916 as Die Krise der Sozialdemokratie [The Crisis in the German Social-Democracy]), she is known for her book Die Akkumulation des Kapitals (1913; The Accumulation of Capital). In this work she returned to Marx‘s economic analysis of capitalism, in particular the accumulation of capital as expounded in volume 2 of Das Kapital. There she found a contradiction that had until then been unnoticed: Marx‘s scheme seems to imply that the development of capitalism can be indefinite, though elsewhere he sees the contradictions of the system as bringing about increasingly violent
economic crises that will inevitably sweep capitalism away. Luxemburg concluded that Marx‘s scheme is oversimplified and assumes a universe made up entirely of capitalists and workers. If increases in productivity are taken into account, she asserted, balance between the two sectors becomes impossible; in order to keep expanding, capitalists must find new markets in noncapitalist spheres, either among peasants and artisans or in colonies and underdeveloped countries. Capitalism will collapse only when exploitation of the world outside it (the peasantry, colonies, and so on) has reached a limit. This conclusion has been the subject of passionate controversies.
The Austrian school came into being when Austrian socialists started publishing their works independently of the Germans; it can be dated from either 1904 (beginning of the Marx-Studien collection) or 1907 (publication of the magazine Der Kampf ). The most important members of the school were Max Adler, Karl Renner, Rudolf Hilferding, Gustav Eckstein, Friedrich Adler, and Otto Bauer. The most eminent was Bauer, a brilliant theoretician whose Die Nationalitätenfrage und die Sozialdemokratie (1906; ―The Nationalities Question and the Social Democracy‖) was critically reviewed by Lenin. In this work he dealt with the problem of nationalities in the light of the experience of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He favoured the selfdetermination of peoples and emphasized the cultural elements in the concept of nationhood. Hilferding was finance minister of the German Republic after World War I in the Cabinets of the Social Democrats Gustav Stresemann (1923) and Hermann Müller (1928). He is known especially for his work Das Finanzkapital (1910), in which he maintained that capitalism had come under the control of banks and industrial monopolies. The growth of national competition and tariff barriers, he believed, had led to economic warfare abroad. Hilferding‘s ideas strongly influenced Lenin, who analyzed them in Imperializm, kak noveyshy etap kapitalizma (1917; Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism).
Russian and Soviet Marxism
Das Kapital was translated into Russian in 1872. Marx kept up more or less steady relations with the Russian socialists and took an interest in the economic and social conditions of the tsarist empire. The person who originally introduced Marxism into Russia was Georgy Plekhanov, but the person who adapted Marxism to Russian conditions was Lenin.
Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov, or Lenin, was born in 1870 at Simbirsk (now Ulyanovsk). He entered the University of Kazan to study law but was expelled the same year for
and in October the Bolshevik coup brought him to power. Lenin took up Marx‘s distinction between ―material social relations‖ and ―ideological social relations. Petersburg and became actively involved with the revolutionary workers. With his pamphlet Chto delat? (1902. and How They Fight the SocialDemocrats). dva shaga nazad (1904. from the positions both of ―orthodox Marxism‖ and of ―revisionism. he organized two international socialist conferences to fight against the war. The situation of Russia and the Russian revolutionary movement at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th led Lenin to diverge. As early as 1894. in his populist study Chto Takoye “Druzya Naroda. in particular commercial capital. Martov at the head. in the course of his development and his analyses. Two Tactics of Social Democracy in the Democratic Revolution. During World War I Lenin resided in Switzerland. He wrote: . he drew positive lessons for the future in Dve taktiki Sotsial-Demokraty v demokraticheskoy revolyutsi (1905.participating in student agitation. and induced the majority of the Congress members to adopt his views. Two Steps Back). He fiercely attacked the influence of Kantian philosophy on German and Russian Marxism in Materializm i empiriokrititsizm (1908. The latter wanted a wide-open proletarian party. he did not believe that he had only to repeat Marx‘s conclusions. Two factions formed at the Congress: the Bolshevik (from the Russian word for ―larger‖) with Lenin as the leader and the Menshevik (from the Russian word for ―smaller‖) with L. Although a disciple of Marx. where he studied Hegel‘s Science of Logic and the development of capitalism and carried on debates with Marxists like Luxemburg on the meaning of the war and the right of nations to self-determination. The Development of Capitalism in Russia) Lenin sought to apply Marx‘s analysis by showing the growing role of capital. One Step Forward. Materialism and Empirio-criticism (1908). He saw Marxism as a practical affair and tried to go beyond the accepted formulas to plan political action that would come to grips with the surrounding world.” kak oni voyuyut protiv Sotsial-Demokratov? (What the “Friends of the People” Are. The former wanted a restricted party of militants and advocated the dictatorship of the proletariat. in particular Das Kapital and The Holy Family. At the same time Lenin did not lose sight of the importance of the peasant in Russian society.‖ In Razvitiye kapitalizma v Rossi (1897–99. and in 1916 at Kiental. In 1915 at Zimmerwald. and a democratic constitution for Russia. in the exploitation of the workers in the factories and the large-scale expropriation of the peasants. Lenin compared the organizational principles of the Bolsheviks to those of the Mensheviks. (Marx) has nevertheless everywhere and always analyzed the superstructure which corresponds to these relations of production. In 1912 at the Prague Conference the Bolsheviks constituted themselves as an independent party. he specified the theoretical principles and organization of a Marxist party as he thought it should be constituted. It was thus possible to apply to Russia the models developed by Marx for western Europe. After the failure of the Russian Revolution of 1905. In his pamphlet Shag vperyod. He took part in the second Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Workers‘ Party.‖ He rediscovered the original thought of Marx by a careful study of his works.‖ In Lenin‘s eyes the importance of Das Kapital was that ―while explaining the structure and the development of the social formation seen exclusively in terms of its relations of production. collaboration with the liberals. Immediately after the February 1917 revolution he returned to Russia. In 1893 he settled in St. What Is to Be Done?). which was held in Brussels and London (1903).
In his early writings he defined the dialectic as ―nothing more nor less than the method of sociology. This decision had grave consequences in later years when Stalin used it against his opponents. at the third congress of the party. As early as 1902 he was concerned with the need for a cohesive party with a correct doctrine. he took a more activist view. to forbid all factions. helping to bring them to an awareness of their real situation. a science which socialists must further develop in all directions if they do not want to let themselves be overtaken by life. to our direction. to use it in our best interests. Among Lenin‘s legacies to Soviet Marxism was one that proved to be injurious to the party. We think on the contrary that this theory has only laid the cornerstone of the science. disciplined and directed. in perpetual development (and not as something mechanically assembled and thus allowing all sorts of arbitrary combinations of the various social elements) . it is praxis. After having studied Hegel toward the end of 1914. he secured a resolution to this effect. immutable whole. . We think that. no revolutionary movement. the dictatorship of the proletariat became the dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry. an independent elaboration of the theory is particularly necessary.‖ But this was not possible without a doctrine: ―Without revolutionary theory. in Gosudarstvo i revolyutsiya (The State and Revolution). This was the decision taken at his behest by the 10th congress of the party in the spring of 1921. while the sailors were rebelling at Kronstadt and the peasants were growing restless in the countryside. all factional activity. Thereafter.We do not consider the theory of Marx to be a complete. . for the Russian socialists. In order to do this. It would be a serious error. In What Is To Be Done? he called for a party of professional revolutionaries. which would be a motive force among the masses. its aim should be to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat.‖ On the eve of the revolution of October 1917. adapted to the exigencies of the period. In 1917 he encouraged the peasants to seize land long before the approval of agrarian reform by the Constituent Assembly. he held. Even though it was clear that the industrial proletariat constituted the vanguard of the revolution. As early as 1903. ‖ (Friends of the People). which sees society as a living organism. The dictatorship of the proletariat Lenin also put much emphasis on the leading role of the party. for the Russian revolutionary workers‘ movement to neglect the peasants. Dialectic is not only evolution. capable of defeating the police. leading from activity to reflection and from reflection to action. Lenin laid great stress upon the dialectical method. he set forth the conditions for the dictatorship of the proletariat and the suppression of the capitalist state. the discontent of the peasantry could be oriented in a direction favourable to the revolution by placing among the goals of the party the seizure of privately owned land. . Lenin assigned major importance to the peasantry in formulating his program. he wrote in Two Tactics of SocialDemocracy in the Democratic Revolution. it was necessary ―to subject the insurrection of the proletarian and non-proletarian masses to our influence. and all opposition political platforms within the party.
‖ according to Stalin. and finally. of isolated and independent phenomena. No natural phenomenon. It proceeds by successive phases that supersede one another. as set forth in Istoriya Vsesoyuznoy Kommunisticheskoy Partii (Bolshevikov): Kratky kurs (1938.‖ These contradictory elements are in perpetual struggle: it is this struggle that is the ―internal content of the process of development. not gradually. Gradually taking over power after Lenin‘s death in 1924. By practicing Marxism. because they all have a positive and a negative side. These phases are not separate. at the same time simplifying it.Stalin It is Joseph Stalin who codified the body of ideas that. ―Dialectic starts from the point of view that objects and natural phenomena imply internal contradictions. (3) Contradictions must be made manifest. but as a unified. All phenomena contain in themselves contradictory elements. one . Problems of Leninism). (4) The law of this development is economic. coherent whole. in which there is always something being born and developing and something disintegrating and disappearing. it remains that phase B was already contained in phase A and was initiated by it. nature is perpetually in movement. A Short History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union). the history of the modes of production which succeed one another through the centuries. relations of collaboration or mutual aid. and on a materialism that can be considered roughly identical to that of Feuerbach. A given epoch is entirely determined by the relations of production. no historical or social situation. sets forth an ideology of power and activism that rides roughshod over the more nuanced approach of Lenin. which appeared in 11 editions during his lifetime. All other contradictions are rooted in the basic economic relationship. it is set within a whole. growth. Stalin‘s Marxism-Leninism rests on the dialectic of Hegel. They are social relations. no political fact. can be considered independently of the other facts or phenomena that surround it. The dialectic does not regard nature as an accidental accumulation of objects. any more than birth. His work Voprosy leninizma (1926. Though it is true that phase B necessarily negates phase A. ―The history of the development of society is. (2) Evolution takes place in leaps. above all. under the name of Marxism-Leninism. Furthermore.‖ From these principles may be drawn the following inferences. Since movement is the essential fact. relations of domination or submission. Soviet dialectical materialism can be reduced to four laws: (1) History is a dialectical development. and death are separate. he assimilated it. constituted the official doctrine of the Soviet and eastern European communist parties. in a state of unceasing renewal and development. he pursued the development of the Soviet Union with great vigour. the history of the development of production. essential for penetrating the workings of Marxist-Leninist thought and its application. transitory relations that characterize a period of passage from one system to another. Stalin was a man of action in a slightly different sense than was Lenin.
The revolution must be a socialist one. to succeed the revolution must be able to draw upon the industrial techniques of the developed . was what he called revolution from above. one passes suddenly from a succession of slow quantitative changes to a radical qualitative change. Trotsky played a leading role in both the Russian Revolution of 1905 and that of 1917. a dictatorial policy to increase industrialization and collectivize agriculture based upon ruthless repression and a strong centralization of power.must distinguish between what is beginning to decay and what is being born and developing. ―As to the final victory of the propositions put forth in the Manifesto. 1890). moreover. was not only the struggle but also the birth of consciousness among the proletariat. Since the process of development takes place by leaps. Their conflict turned largely upon questions of policy. To be effective. preface to the republication of The Communist Manifesto. Trotskyism Alongside Marxism-Leninism as expounded in the former Soviet Union. rural country could be carried out only by the proletariat. Stalin‘s materialist and historical dialectic differs sharply from the perspective of Karl Marx. Once in power the proletariat must carry out agrarian reform and undertake the accelerated development of the economy. A reformist policy makes no sense. carried out by the oppressed classes. necessarily the result of common action and discussion‖ (Engels. the practical result. In the social or political realm. these sudden qualitative changes are revolutions. What counted for him. both domestic and foreign. or more exactly. The move was from a dialectic that emphasized both the objective and the subjective to one purely objective. but on those that are developing. however. he connected social evolution with the development of the forces of production. To be sure. After Lenin‘s death he fell out with Stalin. involving the abolition of the private ownership of the means of production. In The Communist Manifesto Marx applied the materialist dialectic to the social and political life of his time. objectivist. May 1. For Stalin what counted was the immediate goal. however. Human actions are to be judged not by taking account of the intentions of the actor and their place in a given historical web but only in terms of what they signify objectively at the end of the period considered. then the genesis and the growth of the proletariat within capitalism. The capitalist countries will try to destroy it. as Stalin maintained it could. One must follow a frankly proletarian-class policy that exposes the contradictions of the capitalist system. placing the emphasis on the struggle between antagonistic classes. In the chapter entitled ―Bourgeois and Proletarians. even if they represent for the moment the dominant force. Marx expected it to come primarily from the intellectual development of the working class. there arose another point of view expressed by Stalin‘s opponent Leon Trotsky and his followers (see Trotskyism). In the realm of ideas. Consequently (1) nothing can be judged from the point of view of ―eternal justice‖ or any other preconceived notion and (2) no social system is immutable. Trotsky held that a revolution in a backward. The result of Stalin‘s dialectic. But the revolution cannot be carried out in isolation. or else it will fail.‖ he studied the process of the growth of the revolutionary bourgeoisie within feudal society. one must not base one‘s action on social strata that are no longer developing.
every society. including socialist (communist) society. of seeing that the party remained open to the various revolutionary tendencies and avoided becoming bureaucratized. Trotsky emphasized the necessity of finding or creating a revolutionary situation. For Mao. which must be seen in the context of revolutionary China. of educating the working class in order to revolutionize it. between the imperialist camp and the socialist camp. and so forth—which are resolved by vigorous fraternal criticism and selfcriticism. others secondary. they brought with them a new kind of Marxism that came to be called Maoism after their leader Mao Zedong. The thought of Mao must always be seen against the changing revolutionary reality of China from 1930 onward. contradictions were at the same time universal and particular. for if one fails to do so. and finally. In their universality. and (2) nonantagonistic contradictions—between the government and the people under a socialist regime. when the time for insurrection comes. of organizing it according to a detailed plan. His thought was complex. sometimes blurred. For these reasons the revolution must be worldwide and permanent. It is an old idea advocated in different contexts by . the analysis of the social reality and the actions that follow from it will be mistaken. a Marxist type of analysis combined with the permanent fundamentals of Chinese thought and culture. one must seek and discover what constitutes their particularity: every contradiction displays a particular character. is the notion of permanent revolution. contained ―two different types of contradictions‖: (1) antagonistic contradictions—contradictions between us (the people) and our enemies (the Chinese bourgeoisie faithful). This is quite far from Stalinism and dogmatic Marxism-Leninism.countries. Some of these aspects are primary. One of its central elements has to do with the nature and role of contradictions in socialist society. It is important to define them well. between one section of the people and another under a communist regime. directed against the liberal and nationalist bourgeoisie of all countries and using local victories to advance the international struggle. in effect. For Mao. Tactically. The notion of contradiction is specific to Mao‘s thought in that it differs from the conceptions of Marx or Lenin. Another essential element of Mao‘s thought. Variants of Marxism Maoism When the Chinese communists took power in 1948. depending on the nature of things and phenomena. and so forth—which are resolved by revolution. between two groups within the Communist Party. Contradictions have alternating aspects—sometimes strongly marked.
In its liberalism. seeking in his past experience ways to mobilize the whole Chinese population against the dangers—internal and external—that confronted it in the present. Mao‘s concept of permanent revolution rests upon the existence of nonantagonistic contradictions in the China of the present and of the future. and corruption in a country then possessing 600 to 700 million inhabitants. a conception in his thought that goes back at least to 1938 and became more important after 1955 as the rhythm of the revolution accelerated. Mao drew upon an idea of nature and a symbolism found in popular Chinese Daoism. 1952). The people must be mobilized into a permanent movement in order to carry forward the revolution and to prevent the ruling group from turning bourgeois (as he perceived it had in the Soviet Union). For Mao it followed from his ideas about the struggle of humans against nature (held from 1938. Castro‘s Marxism rejects some of the tenets and practices of official Marxism-Leninism: it is . with a principally rural and military outlook. and where the previous society was extremely corrupt. Lenin. By integrating this experience into a universal vision of history. This is the background of the Cultural Revolution that began in 1966. though transformed by his Marxism. in the mobilization of youth against the cadres of the party. Mao gave it a significance that flows beyond the provincial limits of China. Mao was rooted in the peasant life from which he himself came. in the revolts against the warlords and the bureaucrats that have filled the history of China. or social. This conviction appeared in 1957 in his speeches and became manifest in 1958 in the Great Leap Forward. economic. In this sense it is related to the liberal democracy and Pan-Americanism of Simón Bolívar in Latin America during the 19th century. The distinguishing characteristic of Maoism is that it represents a peasant type of Marxism. In his effort to remain close to the Chinese peasant masses. where very old civilizations and cultures still permeated both the bourgeois classes and the peasantry. and the necessity of struggling against bureaucracy. at least). While basing himself on Marxism-Leninism.Marx. it would seem. the international dimension espoused by his predecessors. although from the very beginning of the Cuban revolution Castro revealed his attachment to certain of Marx‘s ideas. adapted to Chinese requirements. Castro‘s early socialism resembled the various French socialisms of the first half of the 19th century. It arose from Mao‘s conviction that the rhythm of the revolution must be accelerated. waste. This idea of nature is accompanied in his written political works by the Promethean idea of humanity struggling in a war against nature. Marxism in Cuba The Marxism of Fidel Castro expressed itself as a rejection of injustice in any form—political. where bureaucracy was thoroughly entrenched. in Mao‘s formulation. from his life in the red military and peasant bases and among the Red Guards of Yen-an. which were written in the classical Chinese style. and Trotsky but lacking. followed in 1966 by the Cultural Revolution. the campaigns for the rectification of thought (1942. following previous campaigns but differing from them in its magnitude and. 1951. It is necessary to shape among the masses a new vision of the world by tearing them from their passivity and their century-old habits. In these campaigns Mao drew upon his past as a revolutionary Marxist peasant leader. Only gradually did Castroism come to identify itself with Marxism-Leninism. It can be seen in his many poems.
In one sense. Marxism in the developing world The emergence of Marxist variants in the developing world was primarily influenced by the undeveloped industrial state and the former colonial status of the nations in question. its proponents believed they were loyal to the dominant Soviet Communist Party. Eurocommunism had largely been abandoned as unsuccessful. For these reasons. which is also known as Western Marxism. Prominent figures in the evolution of Western Marxism included the . In the traditional Marxist view. rather than the old Soviet one. and sectarianism. respectively. and Spanish communist parties. and their consequent fear of compromising their principles by sharing power with bourgeois parties. the secretive. Eurocommunism favoured a peaceful. and Santiago Carrillo. As described by Enrico Berlinguer. Georges Marchais. bureaucracy. can be seen as a repudiation of Marxism-Leninism. At the same time it aims to apply a purer Marxism to the conditions of Cuba: alleged American imperialism. Marxism in the West There are two main forms of Marxism in the West: that of the traditional communist parties and the more diffuse New Left form. however. which violates Marx‘s theory of class struggle by uniting all indigenous classes in the common cause of anti-imperialism. Furthermore. however. democratic approach to achieving socialism. In general. the success of western European communist parties had been hindered by their perceived allegiance to the old Soviet authority rather than their own countries. one specific to the developing world. and renounced the central authority of the Soviet party. a low initial level of political and economic development. although. One may call it an attempt to realize a synthesis of Marxist ideas and the ideas of Bolívar. guaranteed civil liberties. many developing countries chose to follow the Maoist model. the revolutionary socialist movement becomes subordinate to that of national liberation. with its emphasis on agrarian revolution against feudalism and imperialism. a single-crop economy. that capitalism introduced by imperialist rather than indigenous powers sustains rather than destroys the feudal structure of peasant society and promotes underdevelopment because resources and surplus are usurped by the colonial powers. when it was first formulated in the 1920s. bypassed capitalism and depended upon the established strength of other communist countries for support against imperialism. the leaders in the 1970s and ‘80s of the Italian. and communist parties in advanced capitalist nations returned to orthodox Marxism-Leninism despite the concomitant problems.‖ It exalts the ethos of guerrilla revolution over party politics. Castroism is a Marxist-Leninist ―heresy. the ease with which they became integrated into capitalist society. a moderate version of communism that they felt would broaden their base of appeal beyond the working class and thus improve their chances for political success. however. By the 1980s. when they began to advocate Eurocommunism. bureaucratic form of organization they inherited from Lenin. encouraged making alliances with other political parties. French.outspoken against dogmatism. Another alternative. Western Marxism. Some theorists believed. The Western parties basically adhered to the policies of Soviet Marxism until the 1970s. the growth of capitalism is seen as a step necessary for the breakup of precapitalist peasant society and for the rise of the revolutionary proletariat class.
(1978. and Jürgen Habermas. The Rev. 2nd ed. In order to explain the inarguable success of capitalist society. general science. but. when the working class appeared to them to be too well integrated into the capitalist system. and David McLellan. the German theorists who constituted the Frankfurt School. 1976–78). Henri Lefebvre. especially in relation to cultural and historical studies. The Sociology of Marx (1968. especially Max Horkheimer. that technology did not necessarily produce the crises Marx described and did not lead inevitably to revolution. Marx had predicted that revolution would succeed in Europe first. (1964. and Lucien Goldmann. originally emphasized by Engels. which contains an extensive bibliography. Theodor Adorno. Western Marxists were concerned less with the actual political or economic practice of Marxism than with its philosophical interpretation. Eventually. Later. Henri Chambre.central Europeans György Lukács. Karl Marx (1938. which they believed would eliminate professional politicians and would more truly represent the interests of the working class. Experience showed the Western Marxists. reissued 1981). Orthodox Marxism also championed the technological achievements associated with capitalism. George Lichtheim. they came to believe that traditional Marxism was not relevant to the reality of modern Western society. Studies of Marxism as a sociological doctrine may be found in Karl Korsch. In general. the developing world proved more responsive. Towards the . Disillusioned by the terrorism of the Stalin era and the bureaucracy of the communist party system. Some important analyses are assembled in David McLellan (ed. in fact. reprinted 1982). Marxism: An Historical and Critical Study. scientific doctrine that can be applied universally to nature.J. Jean-Paul Sartre. McLellanEd. they viewed it as a critique of human life. and Henri Lefebvre. reissued 1963). originally published in Polish. humanist writings rather than with his later. In particular they disagreed with the idea. they felt they needed to explore and understand non-Marxist approaches and all aspects of bourgeois culture. and orthodox Marxists have judged it impractical. Western Marxism has found support primarily among intellectuals rather than the working class. S. and Maurice Merleau-Ponty of France. their views are more in accord with those found in Marx‘s early. Main Currents of Marxism: Its Rise. however. Marxism After Marx (1979. Karl Korsch. Herbert Marcuse.). dogmatic interpretations. 1966). not an objective. Antonio Gramsci of Italy. and Sidney Hook. Western Marxism has been shaped primarily by the failure of the socialist revolution in the Western world. 3 vol.David T. Growth. Marxism: Essential Writings (1988). viewing them as essential to the progress of socialism. reprinted 1981. the Western Marxists‘ emphasis on Marx‘s social theory and their critical assessment of Marxist methodology and ideas have coloured the way even non-Marxists view the world. that Marxism is an integrated. Nevertheless. they advocated the idea of government by workers‘ councils. and Dissolution. originally published in French. the Western Marxists supported more anarchistic tactics. ARTICLE Additional Reading Good introductions to the study of Marxism include Leszek Kołakowski. reprinted 1982.
Marxism and Interpretation of Culture (1988). and Ian Cummins. 1959). The outstanding work on Marxist ethics is Eugene Kamenka. Heilbroner. and Paul Phillips. A History of Socialist Thought. and eastern European Marxist theories is covered in a number of works by both Marxist and non-Marxist authors: Herbert Marcuse. Considerations on Western Marxism (1976). (1972). Marx and Engels on Law and Laws (1980). Marxism. Marxist Theories of Imperialism: A Critical Survey (1980). Developments in Marxism as a political theory are discussed in Alfred Schmidt. Marx and the Third World (1977. Anthony Brewer. Marx on the Choice Between Socialism and Communism (1980). Other treatments of Marxist economics worth consulting are Paul M. and John Strachey. originally published in Italian. Soviet. The Social and Political Thought of Leon Trotsky (1978). Maurice Godelier. in 7 (1953– 65). reprinted 1982. emphasizes philosophical problems in lieu of political or economic ones. 1971). is an excellent collection of essays by leading economic theorists. 2nd ed. An account of the historical development of Marxism can be found in Henri Chambre. James Gregor. Anthony Giddens. originally published in French. Marx and the Disillusionment of Marxism (1985). based on anthropological research. Marx Against the Marxists: The Christian Humanism of Karl Marx (1980. Marxism and History: A Critical Introduction (1987). an alternative. see especially vol. presenting the contrasting view that classical Marxism may provide a methodology for analysis of empirical data in history and anthropology. For and Against (1980). The Theory of Capitalist Development: Principles of Marxian Political Economy (1942.). Marx. The Crisis in Marxism (1981). 2. Adamson. Interpretations of Marx (1988). to the Marxist idea that all history has been the history of class struggle. and National Movements (1980). reprinted 1985). See also Hugo Meynell. and the German Philosophical Tradition (1980). Perry Anderson. Robert L. A Contemporary Critique of Historical Materialism. Marx. The place of Marxist thought in the intellectual history of the 20th century is assessed in Jack Lindsay. originally published in French. History and Structure: An Essay on Hegelian-Marxist and Structuralist Theories of History (1981.H. A Survey of Marxism: Problems in Philosophy and the Theory of History (1965). Soviet Marxism: A Critical Analysis (1958. From Karl Marx to Mao Tse-Tung: A Systematic Survey of Marxism-Leninism (1963. 1973). Sweezy. Wolfe. A. Marx.). Tom Bottomore (ed. The Nature of Capitalist Crisis (1935).Understanding of Karl Marx (1933). S. 2 vol. Tom Rockmore. is an authoritative collection of essays. Marx and Modern Economics (1968). Perspectives in Marxist Anthropology (1977. 1850–1890. Adam Westoby. originally published in German. Ralph Miliband. Specialized studies include Stanley Moore. 1978). Bertram D.). The development and influence of Russian. Engels. Baruch Knei-Paz. Freud. (1981–85). Rigby. David Horowitz (ed. originally published in Spanish. and Morals (1981). Revolution and Reality: Essays on the Origin and Fate of the Soviet System (1981). Socialist Thought: Marxism and Anarchism. 5 vol. The Ethical Foundations of Marxism. David Rubinstein. José Porfirio Miranda. Umberto Melotti. including a discussion of the applicability of Marxism to contemporary politics in the Third World and communist countries. Marx and Wittgenstein: Social Praxis and Social Explanation (1981). presents a detailed study of the Marxist movement rather than the ideas.H. reissued 1970). and Walter L. Cole. and Gary Nelson and Lawrence Grossberg (eds. Communism Since World . George D. 1971). Fichte. Marxism and Politics (1977).
Turner. Marxism and the Good Society (1981). Discusses major aspects like dialectical and historical materialism. Challengers to Capitalism: Marx. Stephen Hill.). 3 vol. Of special reference interest are John Lachs.War II (1981). Kubálková and A. on Russia and China. The Socialist Industrial State: Towards a Political Sociology of State Socialism (1976). V. and Donald Wilhelm. and Biographical Dictionary of Neo-Marxism (1985). Marxism In Defence of Marxism "Comprehensive resource on Marxism and its importance in seeking solutions to modern political and socio-economic problems.). Lawrence Crocker.)." Marxists Internet Archive Cato Institute . Includes excerpts from classical works. Harry G. Davis. Shaffer. Bogdan Szajkowski (ed. besides analyzing current events and trends. McLellan LINKS External Web Sites Get involved Share The topic Marxism is discussed at the following external Web sites. Revolutionary Marxism Today (1979). The Right Opposition: The Lovestoneites and the International Communist Opposition of the 1930’s (1981). and Robert A.Marxist Dreams and Soviet Realities . Stalin. Horace B. Wilczynski. Specialized studies include Donald C. David T. Lenin. Hodges. Two important critical studies are David Lane. the class nature of the USSR. a compendium providing information on practitioners of Marxism in more than 50 countries. J. Biographical Dictionary of Marxism (1986). John G. The Dominant Ideology Thesis (1980). Isaac Deutscher. and Bryan S. Alexander. and the colonial revolution. Marxism in Our Time (1971). (1988). Burke. John P.A. Lenin and the Problem of Marxist Peasant Revolution (1983). Marxism-Leninism and Theory of International Relations (1980). and Mao. and Lyman H. reprinted 1981). 3rd ed. Cruickshank. An Encyclopedic Dictionary of Marxism. and Ernest Mandel. Periodicals on the Socialist Countries and on Marxism: A New Annotated Index of English-Language Publications (1977). Socialism and Communism (1981). Creative Alternatives to Communism: Guidelines for Tomorrow’s World (1977. The Bureaucratization of Socialism (1981). Gurley. Gorman (ed. Toward a Marxist Theory of Nationalism (1978). Part of the site also available in multiple languages. Esther Kingston-Mann. Robert J. Marxist Philosophy: A Bibliographical Guide (1967). Legters (eds. (1981). Marxist Governments: A World Survey. a critique of current Marxist thought. and Nicholas Abercrombie.
and modern politics (pp.Reprint of a 1988 essay by historian Ralph Raico analyzing the former Soviet Union’s communist past. where Marx establishes his materialist conception of history. 8-27) Marx became interested in Hegel's philosophy because of his dissatisfaction with Kant's "antagonism between the 'is' and the 'ought. The Critique Marx critiques Hegel's political philosophy in order to get at the roots of the Hegelian system.'" Hegel's philosophy offered a way to eliminate this dichotomy by "realizing idealism in reality. (1818-1893) (all page numbers refer to Tucker. pp. materialistic ends" (Averneri. 18-19) is an example of his application of the transformative method to critique Hegel. unless otherwise indicated) Marx on the History of His Opinions (pp. 21-23). When the material forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production. 16-25) Background information on Hegel and Feuerbach (Averneri. wanted to ground the subject in space and time and thereby develop a materialistic philosophy. A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right (pp. hidden in the inner contradictions of his theory of social and political institutions. His discussion of sovereignty (pp. however. 3-5) This is the preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (1859). 23). This is apparent in Marx's discussion of ancient. is possible. medieval. Lastly. p. He ignored the social context of human relations and rationalized existing social organizations. Compares American and Soviet ideologies. Marx criticizes Hegel's notion that the bureaucracy is the "universal class. and criticizes the early Soviet leaders’ understanding of basic economic principles. Feuerbach. which would transform the economic conditions of production and the ideological forms of consciousness. This economic structure is the foundation for legal and political superstructures as well as social consciousness." Marx later realizes that this dichotomy remains in Hegel's philosophy. Feuerbach provided Marx with a methodological device to critique Hegel . The economic structure of society is the sum of people's relations to production. His transformative method takes the human and the subject and thought as the predicate. Hegel saw the state as an entity abstracted from the social and historical forces which created it. which correspond to a definite stage of their material productive forces.the transformative method. Discusses communism’s philosophical underpinnings. a social revolution. "Democracy is the true unity of the general and the . Hegel argued that thought was the subject and existence was the predicate. Documents the mass violence undertaken by the Soviet state." Marx argues that the 'apparent idealism of the bureaucracy's dedication to the general well-being of society is nothing but a mask for it's own coarse.
60). 53-65) Written in 1843. The proletariat is the ideal class to lead the revolution because it is "a class in civil society which is not a class of civil society" and because it's sufferings are universal The proletariat will find its intellectual weapons in philosophy. but people must abandon this ideal and demand real happiness. 26-46) Written in 1843. which he claims is the premise of all criticism. Marx also emphasizes the importance of practice over theory. On the Jewish Question (pp. Political emancipation is not the final and absolute form of human emancipation. Social change is revolutionary practice. religion creates the illusion that people are happy. Marx begins this essay with a criticism of religion. 21). "Philosophy is the head of this emancipation and the proletariat is the heart" (p. The question is how to emancipate the Jews. 66-67). This view portrays people as passive and inhibits possibilities of change (Averneri. when s/he has become a species-being and has recognized her/his own powers as social powers so that s/he no longer separates this social power from himself as political power. A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right: Introduction (pp. religion does not make man" (p. 62). Human emancipation will only be complete when the real. environmental condition of human existence. 53). Theses on Feuerbach (pp. as opposed to her/his material life. Marx calls for a partial revolution in which "a section of civil society emancipates itself and attains universal domination" (p. 145). the point it to change it" (p. Also. Marx reviews two studies on the Jewish question written by Bruno Bauer. It is the state of society in which the individual is no longer juxtaposed against society. which can only be found in the material world. The perfected political state is the species-life of a person. "The philosophers have only interpreted the world. Feuerbach used religion as the basis of his transformative method. 143-145) Here Marx is criticizing the 18th century materialist view that consciousness is nothing but a reflection of the material. The answer is that we have to emancipate ourselves before we can emancipate others. This is the first time he writes of the proletariat as the vehicle for revolution. individual human has absorbed into her/himself the abstract citizen. pp.particular" (p. . Germany has long been the "theoretical consciousness" of other nations but not it needs a revolution which will "raise it not only to the official level of modern nations. Marx argues for a "radical revolution" to achieve self-realization. 65). but to the human level" (p. Marx follow his lead by saying that "man makes religion. Marx then criticizes the state of affairs in Germany and the problem of the rule of private property over nationality. another Young Hegelian.
(T)he object which labor produces confronts it as something alien. 4. 71). . The Meaning of Human Requirements (pp. 102).) Man is estranged from man. having externalized itself. 16). in capitalism. its essence. 79). into a means to his individual existence. 65-67) 1.Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 (pp. it produces itself and the worker as a commodity. human relations.. "Communism is the positive transcendence of private property.. The power of money decreases exactly in inverse proportion to the increase in the volume of production.) The relation of the worker to the product of labor as an alien object exercising power over him/her. 101-105) "Money is the pimp between man's need and the object. The Power of Money (pp. 14). All economic relations are social relations.) The relation of labor to the act of production within the labor process. and therefore is the real appropriation of the human essence by and for man. Since labor is forced it offers no intrinsic satisfactions. 12-16. encounters its own activity. and oppressive power. The worker does not control the fate of his/her products and therefore does not benefit from them. pp. p. But that which mediates my life for me. 84). It is a complete return of man to himself as a social (i. It becomes a means to an end rather than an end in itself. 93-101) The need for money is the true need produced by the modern economic system. Private Property Private property is the product of alienated labor and the means by which labor alienates itself (p. tend to become reduced to operations of the market (Giddens. Labor produces not only commodities. also mediates the existence of other people for me" (p. alien. 66-105) Estranged Labor "With the increasing value of the world of things proceeds in direct proportion the devaluation of the world of men. or human self-estrangement. p. For Marx. p. Four characteristics of the alienation of labor: (See also Giddens. The transcendence of private property is the complete emancipation of all human senses and attributes. . 2. human) being" (p. The alienation of men from their species being is a social separation from socially generated characteristics and propensities (Giddens. 3. 65) Hegel does not distinguish between the two ideas. Money is the alienated ability of mankind. Note of clarification: The difference between objectification and alienation (Swingewood. between his life and his means of life. as a power independent of the producer" (p. operating as an external. Alienation occurs only when humanity.) Estranged labor turns man's species being into a being alien to him. Swingewood.e. pp. objectification is a process through which humanity externalizes itself in nature and society and thus necessarily entering into social relations..
) ancient communal: urban system of masters and slaves.) tribal: elementary division of labor. The economic forms in which men produce. 148-149). feudal organization of trades into guilds Marx emphasizes the need to look at different societies and see how the social and political structure of each is connected to production The production of the means to satisfy biological needs is the production of material life itself. This relates to Marx's critique of Feuerbach's mechanistic materialistic position in the Theses of Feuerbach. The production of new needs is the first historical act. Proudhon is also a classical materialist and Marx criticizes this approach for overlooking the fact that human nature itself is the ever-changing product of human activity." Marx complains that Old Hegelians comprehended everything by reeducating it to a Hegelian logical category. . Marx stresses that needs are historical and not natural (p. 160). 71). p. society is the product of humans' reciprocal action. p. 162). and the Young Hegelians criticized everything by attributing it to religious conceptions. The German Ideology (146-200) Written by Marx and Engels in 1845-46. 73).. Because Proudhon does not take a historical approach. All human relations are based on material relations. no one has one exclusive sphere of activity and society regulates the general production (p.e. consume and exchange are transitory and historical. The d of l implies a contradiction between the interest of the individual and that of the community. Communism is a "world-historical" movement comprised of individuals directly linked up with world history (p. In communist society. 156. Averneri. He attacks Proudhon's individualistic economic model and develops his argument for a historical materialist approach to understanding society and economy. extension of natural d of l existing in family 2.) feudal state: rural system of lords and serfs. He later expanded it into a book called The Poverty of Philosophy. this is essentially an elaboration of the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. he fails to recognize the importance of such "economic evolutions" as the division of labor and machinery. According to Marx. 136-142) Marx wrote this letter in 1846 as a critique of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon's The Philosophy of Poverty. but no one had yet tried to connect German philosophy with German reality (pp.Society and Economy in History (pp. i. The satisfaction of the first need leads to new needs. little d of l. communal private property 3. with particular emphasis on the "materialist conception of history. of history (Averneri. Stages of development of the division of labor: 1.
Labor power is a commodity which the worker sells to capital. Only in the community is personal freedom possible (p. The worker belongs not the individual capitalist. 208). 204-205).e. The more productive capital grows. i. Relation of State and Law to Property: Through the emancipation of private property from the community. Concerning the Production of Consciousness: The ideas of the ruling class are the ruling ideas (p. Nevertheless. Wage Labor and Capital (pp. 206). Big industry universalized competition and thus produced "world history" for the first time (i. the more the d of l and application of machinery expand. the cost of existence and reproduction of the worker.e. 216). outside civil society. The worker sells his life activity in order to secure the necessary means of subsistence. the greater the competition among workers. but to the capitalist class (pp. Communism differs from all previous movements in that it overturns the basis of all earlier relations of production and intercourse (p.. the price of labor is the price of the necessary means of subsistence (p. 203-217) Published in 1849. The State is the form in which the individuals of a ruling class assert their common interests. Marx sets out the economic content of his argument for the first time. 197). the State has become a separate entity. Wage minimum is the cost of production of simple labor power. people were not dependent on the whole world to satisfy their wants). Exchange value is the ratio in which commodities are exchangeable (if this ratio is expressed in money. Wages are the sum of money paid by the capitalist for a particular labor time or for a particular output (p. and the more wages contract (p. then exchange value is simply the price of a commodity) (p.. 163). This is the separation of capital and landed property and the beginning of property having its basis only in labor and exchange (p. 193). 172). The cost of the production of labor power is the cost required for maintaining the worker as a worker. 176).Civil society is the form of intercourse determined by the existing productive forces that transcends the state and the nation (p. The Real Basis of Ideology: The greatest division of material and mental labor is the separation of town and country. 204). Commodities are products which are exchangeable for others. the .
extension. and inversely as the productiveness of the labor incorporated in it. property and the protection of acquisitions) are nothing more than these abstract moments with which no real historical stage of production can be grasped (p. ) Capitalism is a system of commodity production. labor.) use value is the utility of a thing independent of the amount of labor time used to produce it. Marx states his view on the method of political economy and develops his thesis on production as the basic category.. VolumeI (pp. 236-244) Written in 1857-58. 224-226. .g. i. Values is the labor power expended in production.) the intensity. Part I: Commodities and Money (pp. Bourgeois society is the most developed and most complex historical organization of production. but this is possible only through the selfcriticism of bourgeois society (pp. feudal. Use-value is realized only through use or consumption. A commodity is a thing that by its properties satisfies human wants of some sort.g. Studying bourgeois society is the key to understanding the structure and relations of production of former types of society (e. Exchange: 1. It is measure by the quantity of value-creating substance.) there is no exchange without the d of l 2. 240-241). Production: There are characteristics which all stages of production have in common. There are two characteristics to every commodity: 1. 226). ancient. Marx aims to explore the capitalist mode of production and the conditions of production and exchange corresponding to that mode. but the so-called general preconditions of all production (e. Capital. It is a quantitative relation..rapid growth of capital is the most favorable condition for wage labor because it may improve the material existence of the worker (pp. The Grundrisse (pp. 217). 2. 294-438) Written in 1867. and manner of exchange are determined by the development and structure of production Method of Political Economy: Labor has become the means of creating wealth in general and has ceased to be organically linked with particular individuals in any specific form (pp.) private exchange presupposes private production 3. etc.)..e. It is the substance of all wealth. 211. and which are established as general ones. 241-242). It varies directly as the quantity.) Exchange value is the proportion in which values in use of one sort are exchanged for those of another sort.
M = capital M' = M + M (M = surplus value)M . An expression of human creativity appears to be a natural object (Averneri. Relative value is the value expressed in relation to something else. This fetishism is due in part to money. A definite social relation between people assumes the form of a relation between things. Fetishism occurs when the social character of human labor appears to people as an objective character stamped upon the product of that labor. 376-417) . that in which the laborer works for him/herself and that in which s/he works for the capitalist. Equivalent value is the second commodity whose value is not expressed but it provides the material in which another value is expressed. on the average. The two-fold character of labor = useful labor + simple labor power Useful labor is that which makes a product a use-value. exists in the organism of every ordinary individual.) its instruments Surplus value is whatever the worker produces over and above the proportion of the working day needed to produce the worker's own value. apart from any special development.) work itself 2. Part IV: Production of Relative Surplus Value(pp. 117-119). Relative surplus value is produced by the curtailment of the necessary labor time plus an alteration in the respective length of the two components of the working day.C . It is the aggregate of those mental and physical capabilities existing in people which they exercise whenever they produce a use-value.M' = general formula of capitalLabor power is the capacity for labor. Part II: The Transformation of Money into Capital The circulation of commodities is the starting point of capital. Money-form is the value-form of commodities common to them all. Part III: The Production of Absolute Surplus Value The elementary factors of labor-process: 1. which conceals the social character of private labor. it presupposes the presence of another commodity.C . Simple labor power is that which.The labor time socially necessary is that required to produce an article under the normal conditions of production and with the average degree of skill and intensity prevalent at the time.The value of labor power is the value of the means of subsistence necessary for the maintenance of the laborer. Absolute surplus value is produced by the prolongation of the working day. pp.) subject of work 3. M .
the use of machinery converts variable capital (invested in labor-power) into constant capital (machinery).Machinery produces relative surplus-value by depreciating the value of labor power. 405). This is the basis of the "reserve army" (p. the larger the reserve army. Part V: Production of Absolute and Relative Surplus Value (pp. This only lasts until machinery becomes more general in a particular field. Part VIII: So-Called Primitive Accumulation (pp. the proletariat). 417-431) The composition of capital: capital value variable living of production labor power material constant means The growth of capital involves the growth of the variable constituent (i. the greater the pauperization. The absolute law of capitalist accumulation = the greater the social wealth. cheapening the commodity. The starting point of the development that gave rise to the wage-laborer as well as to the capitalist was the servitude of the laborer. and raising the social value of the article produced above its individual value.e.. 423). Then. 469-500) . 431-438) Accumulation is not the result of the capitalist mode of production but its starting point. The Communist Manifesto (pp. which does not produce surplus value (p. but makes that work uninteresting. Machinery does not free the laborer from work.
and class struggles. It is important to note that in his polemical writings. However. and the conquest of political power by the proletariat. oppression. he believes in a more complex class structure including "transition classes. They argue that: 1.Marx and Engels were commissioned in 1847 to write a manifesto for the Communist League.) Economic production and the structure of every historical epoch constitute the foundation for the political and intellectual history of that epoch. to win. they restate many of the basic premises of Marx' earlier works. The first step of revolution is to raise the proletariat to the position of the ruling class." as is evident in The Eighteenth Brumaire (Swingewood.) All history has been a history of class struggles. The immediate aim of Communists is the formation of the proletariat into a class. 84-86). pp. overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy. the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. to centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the State. Marx frequently oversimplified his view of class struggle into the opposition between 2 classes. but the abolition of bourgeois property because it exemplifies the exploitation of the many by the few. With highly charged rhetoric. Then it is necessary to wrest all capital from the bourgeoisie. 2. Workers of the world unite!!!!! They have the world . and to increase the total productive forces as rapidly as possible. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. 3.) This struggle has now reached a stage where the exploited and oppressed class (the proletariat) can no longer emancipate itself from the class which exploits and oppress it (the bourgeoisie) without freeing the whole of society from exploitation. The distinguishing feature of Communism is not the abolition of property in general.
Any merely political insurrection of the proletariat trying to create politically conditions not yet immanently developed in the socio-economic sphere is doomed to fail (Averneri. Marx divides the French Revolution into 3 main periods: 1. 194). 586-593) Marx sets out to explain why the workers' insurrection in France in 1848 failed. 594-617) Marx wants to "demonstrate how the class struggle in France created circumstances and relationships that made it possible for a grotesque mediocrity to play a hero's part" (p. King Louis Philippe was forced to abdicate because of protests of Parisian workers. They had used the workers only as fighters for bourgeois causes. the old powers of society had assembled themselves and taken over. Louis Napoleon Bonaparte was elected president and in 1851 he made himself emperor by coup d'etat. they won the terrain for the fight for their revolutionary emancipation. In June there was another workers' insurrection. . p. The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (pp.Class Struggle in France 1848-50 (pp. A real revolution is only possible when modern productive forces and bourgeois productive forms come in collision with one another. He is treating an actual historical event from the viewpoint of the materialist conception of history. 594). In December. The Provisional Government which had emerged in February was largely bourgeoisie. which was crushed by the military. Though the proletariat did not win the revolution. In February 1848. Marx says that the revolution was based on social relationships which had not yet come to the point of sharp class antagonisms.) The February period: while the proletariat reveled in the vision of the wide prospects that had opened before it.
May 1849): This was the foundation of the bourgeois republic. Marx writes about what he considered most innovative in his analysis of the human historical process. 1849 . What Marx did was to prove: 1. he allows it to regain political power. He would like to appear as the patriarchal benefactor of all classes.December 2. 2. much as potatoes in a sack from a sackful of potatoes. and 3.2. 220) In a letter to his friend Joseph Weydemeyer. He acknowledges that others before him had discovered the existence of classes and the struggle between them. but everyone else had united against this "party of anarchy. Bonaparte sees himself as the adversary of the political and literary power of the middle class. 1851): Under Bonaparte. The great mass of the French nation is formed by the simple addition of homologous magnitudes.) The period of the Constitution (May 4. The proletariat tried to revolt with the June insurrection.) that the class struggle necessarily leads to the dictatorship of the proletariat.) that the existence of classes is only bound up with particular historical phases in the development of production. They do not form a class because there is no national union or political organization. the favored section of the bourgeoisie concealed its rule under cover of the crown. but by protecting its material power. 441-442) . Class Struggle and Mode of Production (p. Bonaparte represented the small peasants.) The period of the Constitutional Republic (May 29." these "enemies of society. Bonaparte wants to make the lower classes happy within the framework of a bourgeois society.) that this dictatorship itself only constitutes the transition to the abolition of all classes and to a classless society." 3. but he can't give to one class without taking from another. Classes (pp. 1848 .
and irresolvable as long as the mode of production remains unchanged. ―patricians . occupation. they are endemic because class interests are contradictory. Class conflicts are inherent in the relationship between owners of means of production. Land was the main means of production and complex patterns of land ownership were reflected in complex networks of class relations and struggles between masters and slaves. wage-laborers live However.The three big classes of modern society are the wage-laborers. instead. place in the occupational hierarchy. capitalists on profits. he begins to argue that this is not a sufficient definition because it would This manuscript is incomplete and Dahrendorf picks up on this subject and tries to complete Marx's definition of a Class Conflict International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences | 2008 | Copyright Class Conflict BIBLIOGRAPHY Class conflicts are a crucial determinant of historical change. at best. who appropriate most of the surplus value created through production. In precapitalist social formations. based on functionalist or Weberian perspectives. on wages. income. for ―history … is the history of class struggles‖ (Marx and Engels  1998. thus obscuring the qualitative differences between class structure and social stratification. Non-Marxist theories of class. and the forms of appropriation of the surplus. class struggles assumed different forms. Consequently. and landowners. They define class. and the direct producers whose share allows them. capitalists. they conflate class with socioeconomic status. as an attribute of individuals constructed on the basis of their education. lead to the infinite fragmentation of interest and rank. Marx is concerned He starts with the hypothesis that a class For example. p. 2). depending on the level of development of the productive forces. can be defined by its sources of revenues. thereby transforming labor into wage-labor and the means of production into capital. ownership of resources. The law of development of the capitalist mode of production is to divorce the means of production from labor and to concentrate the scattered means of production into large groups. tend to underemphasize the collective dimension of class and its foundation in the objective relationship of people to the means of production. with defining what a class is. only to reproduce themselves as workers. and landownders on ground-rent. and so on.
Croix 1981. the labor process. and they own the product (Marx  1967. however. pp. and profits high. the length of the working day. They are only concerned with economic survival.‖ objectively identifiable by social scientists. Workers‘ spontaneous consciousness is largely individualistic and ―economistic.and plebeians. 52). where labor is formally free. independent peasants. and Latin America have failed. because ―the main way in which the dominant propertied classes of the ancient world derived their surplus … was due to unfree labor‖ (de Ste.‖ a phenomenon that Marxist theorists have addressed in different ways.e. The use value of labor power is the production of value far greater than its own (i. lords and serfs. entailed the expropriation of direct producers from the land through unrelenting class struggles. The revolutionary worldwide confrontation between capital and labor predicted in the Communist Manifesto (Marx and Engels  1998) has yet to happen. China. 713-716). this value is embodied in the product. . 2). And the process of ―primitive accumulation‖ through which money and commodities became capital. and so forth.‖ despite the presence of free. its history ―is written in the annals of mankind in letters of blood and fire‖ (Marx  1967. In the context of production. In capitalist social formations today. were―slave economies. and small producers became wageworkers. where workers and capitalists meet as equal commodity owners. guild-master and journeyman‖ (Marx and Engels  1998. they are not a ―class for itself‖ united and with clarity of purpose (Marx  1947). and localized attempts in Eastern Europe. p. for example. chs. they do not share a sense of themselves as a class with common anticapitalist grievances and.. In the market. for capitalists seek to keep wages low. Workers today do not have class consciousness in the classic sense. Workers‘ demands for the eight-hour day led to violent class struggles in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (Foner 1986). The Roman and Greek economies. capitalists purchase the only commodity workers can sell: labor power. there is no equality: Capitalists control working conditions. but lacking self-awareness. independent peasants and small producers. Conflicts about the length of the working day persist today. VI and VII). working hours long. the value of the wages capitalists pay). and serfs. consequently. not with the overthrow of capitalism: They are merely a ―class in itself. landowners and tenant farmers. p. some employers impose overtime rather than hire more workers and low wages force many workers to hold more than one job or work more than eight hours a day. the struggle centers around wage levels and the length of the working day.
V. I. Lenin argued that ―the working class, exclusively by its own effort, is able to develop only trade union consciousness‖ ( 1967, p. 122), hence his support for the role of a ―vanguard party‖ and the bourgeois intelligentsia in politically educating the working class. Adhering to the principle of historical materialism, that social existence determines consciousness (Marx and Engels  1947, pp. 13-14), Georg Lukacs emphasized the role of praxis or human activity in the formation of class consciousness. It is through working-class praxis that society can become conscious of itself, for the proletariat is both the subject and object of history (Lukacs 1971, pp. 18-19). Only from the class standpoint of the proletariat is it possible to comprehend social reality as a totality, a crucial prerequisite to acting as a self-conscious class (p. 20). It is unclear, however, how this comprehension will emerge, because the forces of history unfold independently of individuals‘ intentions and consciousness. Consciousness, Lukacs states, is ―subjectively justified‖ in its historical context, though it ―objectively … appears as ‗false consciousness‘ … [because] it by-passes the essence of the evolution of society … [and] fails to express it adequately‖ (pp. 47-50; italics in original). Whatever the intended motives and goals of this ―false consciousness‖ may be, however, they further ―the objective aims of society‖ (p. 50; italics in original). Class consciousness, consequently, is something different from the ordinary thoughts individuals develop through praxis; it is neither ―the sum nor the average of what is thought or felt by the single individuals who make up the class‖ (p. 51). Rather, it is ―the appropriate and rational reactions ‗imputed‘ … to a particular typical position in the process of production‖ (p. 51). Using Weber‘s methodology (Kalberg 2005, pp. 14-22), Lukacs constructs an ideal type of class consciousness, by relating it to society as a whole and then inferring the thoughts and feelings that individuals in different class positions would have if they had access to knowledge of the totality (i.e., the mode of production) and of their place in it (p. 51). Impeding the development of ―true‖ proletarian class consciousness are commodity fetishism and other reifications characteristic of capitalist culture. Lukacs‘s arguments imply, however, that as capitalism develops, workers will eventually discern their place and objectives in the totality and will therefore consciously further the ―aims of history.‖ Whether social reality will eventually become ―transparent‖ or ideology will always cloud class consciousness and, more generally, people‘s spontaneous understanding of their conditions of existence, remains an unresolved issue. Louis Althusser‘s view is that ideology as such, unlike
specific ideologies, ―has no history‖; it is, like Freud‘s unconscious, omnipresent and eternal (Althusser 2001, p. 109). To say that ideology is eternal is to point out that individuals, spontaneously, cannot penetrate the logic of history and thus acquire knowledge of the unintended consequences of their actions. The opacity of social reality is a transhistorical aspect of the human condition, unlikely to change even after capitalism has been superseded by a society in which the direct producers are in control of the mode of production. And to say that ideology has no history is to recognize that all forms of consciousness and all systematic products of intellectual labor (morality, religion, philosophy, and politics) are the outcome of human material practices under historically specific conditions of existence (Marx and Engels  1947, pp 14-15). The capitalist state rules through repressive (e.g., army, police, prisons) and ideological (e.g., family, schools, media, religion) state apparatuses. Through the latter, individuals are transformed into subjects, uncritically accepting their subjection to the Subject (i.e., God, Race, Nation, and Capital) whose power is exerted through the subjectification process. Ideologies have a material existence in practices, rituals, and institutions; they interpellate individuals as particular subjects (e.g., male, female, black, white, worker, capitalist, criminal), eliciting immediate recognition because individuals, whose social existence is embedded in ideological and material practices and rituals, are ―always-already subjects‖ (Althusser 2001, pp. 112-119). In a society in which class is part of the common sense understanding of the world and of political discourse, class would enter into the formation of subjectivities. In the United States, however, where people are ―afflicted with a serious case of social amnesia‖ (Aronowitz 1992, p. 72), it is the interpellation of cultural identities that structures people‘s subjectivities. It is through identities, rather than class, that people understand their lives and this is why the power of ideology stems from ―the degree to which, in Althusser‘s terms, it becomes … lived experience‖ (Aronowitz 1992, p. 36). Thus conceived, ideology precludes the spontaneous emergence of class consciousness, without the intervention of political parties and intellectuals bringing to the working classes an analysis of their lives that may tear away the ideological veils. In the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels confidently predicted that class conflicts would eventually result in the overthrow of capitalism. Their argument rests upon the notion of a dialectical relationship between the active and the reserve armies of labor, which assumed that the same workers would, because of the ebbs and flows of capital accumulation, experience both periods of poverty and unemployment and of economic well being. These experiences would, presumably, be the material condition for the rise of a class-conscious working class, the ―grave diggers‖ of the bourgeoisie, self-consciously engaging in anticapitalist class struggles (Marx and Engels  1998, pp. 23-24; Arrighi 1990, pp. 29-30). But while that was the case
in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as capitalism spread throughout the world it divided the global working classes, with most of the active armies located in the advanced capitalist countries and most of the reserve armies located in the poorer countries. Within countries, the gap between the active and the reserve armies grew large, and the ideological effects that emerged from workers‘ sharing common conditions of existence largely disappeared after World War II. Today, globalization has produced a ―reshuffling‖ of the global working classes; most of the active army is now in the poorer countries, whereas workers in the wealthy countries face declining wages and competition from immigrant labor willing to work for less (Arrighi 1990, p. 53). As these changes accelerate, class conflicts might become more widespread, but this does not necessarily mean that class consciousness will eventually replace other forms of workers‘ consciousness, such as, for example, identity politics, racism, or xenophobia. In any case, class conflicts will continue for as long as capitalism remains the dominant mode of production. Such conflicts have been and will continue to be fought under a variety of ideological banners because people, as ―ensembles of social relations‖ (Marx 1947, p. 198), live their lives at the crossroads of multiple experiences. Marx pointed the way toward an understanding of the relationship between social change, conflicts, and consciousness. In the process of studying change, ―it is always necessary to distinguish between the material transformation of the economic conditions of production, which can be determined with the precision of natural science, and the legal, political, religious, artistic or philosophic—in short, ideological forms in which men become conscious of this conflict and fight it out‖ ( 1970, p. 21). From Marx‘s standpoint, class consciousness should not be understood in purely economic terms, but in all its complexity. It emerges from changes in people‘s experiences and participation in class conflicts, which together pose challenges to the ideologies that have shaped their representations of those conflicts and experiences. Common experiences, the basis for the emergence of class consciousness, are ―determined‖ by the productive relations into which men are born—or enter involuntarily. Class consciousness is the way in which these experiences are handled in cultural terms (Thompson 1966, pp. 9-10). These insights from Marx and E. P. Thompson indicate that it is necessary to examine the underlying class basis of contemporary processes of political mobilization and of struggles such as those happening in Bolivia, Mexico, and Venezuela. Underlying populist and indigenous movements for social justice and national independence from imperialist and corporate domination are material class interests, which fuel the rise of political leaders like Evo Morales (Bolivia), Lopez Obrador (Mexico), and Hugo Chavez (Venezuela), as well as the national and transnational opposition to them.
The Class Struggle in the Ancient Greek World: From the Archaic Age to the Arab Conquests. 1986. Trans. and other differences irreducible to class would continue to exist. they presuppose the existence of the capitalist and working classes.  2001. Were these classes to be abolished and some form of collective ownership of the means of production to replace capitalism. Giovanni. and so forth. The Politics of Identity: Class. 1992. Ben Brewster. Philip S. however. the material conditions for social antagonisms at the level of social stratification would likely be eroded as well. May Day: A Short History of the International Worker‘s Holiday. G. Class conflicts are grounded in struggles around the production and appropriation of the surplus. that as class conflict disappeared. ethnic. In any case. Stanley. gender. Aronowitz. Surplus Value BIBLIOGRAPHY Althusser. Under capitalism. Culture. class conflict will continue to shape national and transnational political struggles. de Ste. however. New York: Routledge. 1981. practices. . and economic rewards. New York: International Publishers. M. struggles about recognition (Fraser 1995) would continue as well. Karl. social conflicts would not end. NY: Cornell University Press. Marxist Century. The interconnections between experience and consciousness suggests. conflicts will end. institutions. New Left Review 179 (January–February): 29-63. Conflicts based on social stratification would continue for as long as the subjective and material conditions inherited from capitalism persisted and competed with new forms of consciousness. as long as capitalism is the dominant mode of production. Ithaca. Marx. and Other Essays. Foner. skills. Social Movements.While class conflicts are inherent in class societies. Middle Class. SEE ALSO Class. Struggles over redistribution of income would replace class conflicts focused on the abolition of the mode of production. American Century: The Making and Remaking of the World Labour Movement. New York: Monthly Review Press. Arrighi. 1990. Croix. the division of labor would continue to divide the population according to occupation. 18861986. E. Louis. this does not mean that if classless societies become possible in the future. Lenin and Philosophy. And because racial.
New York: International Publishers. Marx. New York: Vintage Books. The Making of the English Working Class. P. W. Ed. New York: International Publishers. Gimenez Cite this article Pick a style below. Christopher Phelps. 2011 <http://www. Frederick Engels. . E. The Process of Capitalist Production. Lukacs. Karl. Ed.  1998. Malden. Ryazanskaya. Karl.com>. Rodney Livingstone. 19 Sep. trans. 2008. 1966. New York: International Publishers. Encyclopedia.Kalberg. P. 97-248. S. Marx.  1947. and Frederick Engels. Thompson. Stephen. and copy the text for your bibliography. History and Class Consciousness: Studies in Marxist Dialectics. and Friedrich Engels. Trans. Marx. Vol. MA: MIT Press. Karl. Learn more about citation styles Domestic conspiracy: class conflict and performance in Louisa May Alcott's. Lough and C.. Pascal. Martha E. R. Lenin. New York: International Publishers. The Communist Manifesto. MA: Blackwell Publishing.  1970. Karl. Moore and E. 1 of Selected Works in Three Volumes. Cambridge.encyclopedia. Maurice Dobb. Vol." International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. 2005. W. 1971. Ed. A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy.com.  1967. ed. The German Ideology.  1967. New York: Monthly Review Press. Aveling. V. Marx.. Magill. S. Georg. Max Weber: Readings and Commentary on Modernity. trans. What Is To Be Done? In Lenin: 1897 to January 1917. I. trans. MLA Chicago APA "Class Conflict. Ed. 1 of Capital: A Critique of Political Economy.
9/22/1999 Pictures from Google Image Search See more pictures of Class conflict Related topics Be the first to connect related topics with this page! Videos from YouTube .. 6/22/2000 Labor and urban politics: class conflict and the origins of modern liberalism. Magazine article from: Labour/Le Travail.Magazine article from: ATQ (The American Transcendental Quarterly)... Magazine article from: Journal of Social History.. 12/1/2008 Labor and Urban Politics: Class Conflict and the Origins of Modern Liberalism.
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