Marxism

Marxism is a method of socio-economic inquiry based upon a materialist interpretation of historical development, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis of class-relations and conflict within society. Marxist methodology informs an economic and sociopolitical worldview based on their application to the analysis and critique of the development of capitalism and the role of class struggle in systemic economic change. In the mid-to-late 19th century, the intellectual tenets of Marxism were inspired by two German philosophers: Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Marxist analyses and methodologies have influenced multiple political ideologies and social movements throughout history. Marxism encompasses an economic theory, a sociological theory, a philosophical method, and a revolutionary view of social change.[1] There is no one definitive Marxist theory; Marxist analysis has been applied to a variety of different subjects and has been misconceived and modified during the course of its development, resulting in multiple and sometimes contradictory theories that fall under the rubric of Marxism or Marxian analysis.[2] Marxism is based on a materialist understanding of societal development, taking as its starting point the necessary economic activities required by human society to provide for its material needs. The form of economic organization, or mode of production, is understood to be the basis from which the majority of other social phenomena – including social relations, political and legal systems, morality and ideology – arise (or at the least by which they are directly influenced). These social relations form the superstructure, for which the economic system forms the base. As the forces of production (most notably technology) improve, existing forms of social organization become inefficient and stifle further progress. These inefficiencies manifest themselves as social contradictions in the form of class struggle.[3] According to Marxist analysis, class conflict within capitalism arises due to intensifying contradictions between highly-productive mechanized and socialized production performed by the proletariat, and private ownership and private appropriation of the surplus product in the form of surplus value (profit) by a small minority of private owners called the bourgeoisie. As the contradiction becomes apparent to the proletariat, social unrest between the two antagonistic classes intensifies, culminating in a social revolution. The eventual long-term outcome of this revolution would be the establishment of socialism - a socioeconomic system based on cooperative ownership of the means of production, distribution based on one's contribution, and production organized directly for use. Karl Marx hypothesized that, as the productive forces and technology continued to advance, socialism would eventually give way to a communist stage of social development. Communism would be a classless, stateless, humane society based on common ownership and the principle of "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs". Marxism has developed into different branches and schools of thought. Different schools place a greater emphasis on certain aspects of Classical Marxism while deemphasizing or rejecting other aspects of Marxism, sometimes combining Marxist analysis with non-Marxian concepts. Some variants of Marxism primarily focus on one aspect of Marxism as the determining force in social development – such as the

 1


: mass culture. or Feminism). morality and ideology – arise (or at the least by which they are directly influenced). class. As the forces of production. different variants of Marxism apply Marxist analysis to study different aspects of society (e. power-relationships or property ownership – while arguing other aspects are less important or current research makes them irrelevant. different schools of Marxism might reach contradictory conclusions from each other. existing forms of social organization become inefficient and stifle further progress. These social relations base the economic system and the economic system forms the superstructure. literary criticism.[8] Overview Karl Marx The Marxian analysis begins with an analysis of material conditions. sociological theory. cultural studies. theater. geography. economic crises. or mode of production. art history and art theory. Furthermore. advocate different programs and policies. 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. is understood to be the basis from which the majority of other social phenomena – including social relations. As Karl Marx observed: "At a certain stage of development. and philosophy. improve. critical psychology. most notably technology. leads the Marxist analysis to the conclusion that capitalism exploits and oppresses the proletariat. which leads to a proletarian revolution. Capitalism (according to Marxist theory) can no longer sustain the living standards of the population due to its need to compensate for falling rates of profit by driving down 
 2
 .mode of production. history. and the vast majority of the population (the proletariat) who produce goods and services. Despite sharing similar premises. Under the capitalist mode of production. political and legal systems. One example of this is the division between revolutionary socialists and reformists that emerged in the German Social Democratic Party during the early 20th century.[5] These theoretical differences have led various socialist and communist parties and political movements to embrace different political strategies for attaining socialism. The form of economic organization. Then begins an era of social revolution. Marxist understandings of history and of society have been adopted by academics in the disciplines of archaeology and anthropology. different Marxian economists have contradictory explanations of economic crisis and different predictions for the outcome of such crises. Taking the idea that social change occurs because of the struggle between different classes within society who are under contradiction against each other.[4] For example. this struggle materializes between the minority (the bourgeoisie) who own the means of production."[9] These inefficiencies manifest themselves as social contradictions in society in the form of class struggle. economics. education.[6] media studies. taking at its starting point the necessary economic activities required by human society to provide for its material needs.[7] political science.g. aesthetics.

At first the base gives rise to the superstructure and remains the foundation of a form of social organization. removed two chief defects of earlier historical theories. etc. an idea often conveyed with the metaphor of the base and superstructure. the earlier theories did not cover the activities of the masses of the population. without grasping the objective laws governing the development of the system of social relations. and it conditions the superstructure and the dominant ideology.[15] This relationship is reflexive. philosophy. i. All constituent features of a society (social classes.wages. The socialist system would succeed capitalism as humanity's mode of production through workers' revolution. direct individual appropriation. whose relationship is not unilinear but dialectic. A socialist economy would not base production on the creation of private profits. direct social appropriation." Russian Marxist theoretician and revolutionary Vladimir Lenin. ruling class.)."'[11] Concepts Historical Materialism "The discovery of the materialist conception of history.. or rather. A conflict between the development of material productive forces and the relations of production provokes social revolutions. but would instead base production and economic activity on the criteria of satisfying human needs – that is. ideologies) stem from economic activity. as means of subsistence and of enjoyment. the consistent continuation and extension of materialism into the domain of social phenomenon.[12] "Society does not consist of individuals. In the first place. upon the one hand. cutting social benefits and pursuing military aggression. in the second place. that formed social organization can act again upon both parts of the base and superstructure. Grundrisse. but expresses the sum of interrelations. namely a relationship driven by conflicts and contradictions. Hence. political pyramid. According to Marxism. especially arising from Crisis theory.. forms a society's economic base." — Karl Marx. As Friedrich Engels clarified: "The history of all 
 3
 . Socialism is a historical necessity (but not an inevitability). and then appropriator. the resultant changes to the economic base will lead to the transformation of the superstructure. thus. The base corresponds to the social consciousness (politics. 1913. From this base rises a superstructure of political and legal institutions.[10] In a socialist society private property in the means of production would be superseded by co-operative ownership. The base and superstructure metaphor explains that the totality of social relations in and by which humans product and re-product their social existence. the relations within which these individuals stand. as means to the maintenance and extension of production_ on the other.. whereas historical materialism made it possible for the first time to study with the accuracy of the natural sciences the social conditions of the life of the masses and the changes in these conditions. is replaced by the mode of appropriation of the product that is based upon the nature of the modern means of production. As Engels observed: "Then the capitalist mode of appropriation in which the product enslaves first the producer.e. religion. 1858[13] The historical materialist theory of history [14] dialectically analyzes the underlying causes of societal development and change in the collective ways humans make their living. they at best examined only the ideological motives of the historical activity of human beings. production would be carried out directly for use.

the worker must work or starve. or in the common ruin of the contending classes.. capitalist exploitation is realised as deriving surplus value from the worker. Accordingly Marx designates human history as encompassing four stages of development in relations of production. that result is more subtly achieved. he or she must voluntarily enter into an exploitive work relationship with a capitalist in order to earn the necessities of life. In capitalism. Marxism and Class. Gimenez. and is one of the principal features distinguishing the social classes. In the capitalist mode of production. now open fight.[19] Marx believed that the capitalist bourgeois and their economists were promoting what he saw as the lie that "The interests of the capitalist and those of the worker are." —Martha E. either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large. Slave Society: a development of tribal progression to city-state. Under that condition. together. thus."'[16] Marx considered these socio-economic conflicts as the driving force of human history since these recurring conflicts have manifested themselves as distinct transitional stages of development in Western Europe. exploitation of the worker was achieved via physical coercion. in a word. Feudalism: aristocrats are the ruling class.[17] Primitive Communism: as in co-operative tribal societies. merchants evolve into capitalists. now hidden. aristocracy is born. Freeman and slave. a fight that each time ended. he believed that they did this by purporting the concept that "the fastest possible growth of productive capital" was best not only for the wealthy capitalists but also for the workers because it provided them with employment. because the worker does not own the means of production. define the historical specificity of the capitalist modes of production and reproduction and underlay their observable manifestations. one and the same". guild-master and journeyman. carried on uninterrupted. The worker's entry into such employment is voluntary in that he or she chooses which capitalist to work for. oppressor and oppressed. Gender and Race: Rethinking the Trilogy[18] According to the Marxist theoretician and revolutionary Vladimir Lenin. surplus value (the difference between the value produced and the value received by a labourer) is synonymous with the term "surplus labour". in Marx's terms. Capitalism: capitalists are the ruling class.. The power of one social class to control the means of production enables its exploitation of the other classes. "the principal content of Marxism" was "Marx's economic doctrine". the value of a commodity equals the socially necessary labour time required to produce it. Exploitation has been a socio-economic feature of every class society. who create and employ the proletariat. 'an ensemble of social relations' and we live our lives at the core of the intersection of a number of unequal social relations based on hierarchically interrelated structures which. lord and serf.[20] Exploitation is a matter of surplus labour – the amount of labour one performs beyond what one receives in goods. patrician and plebeian. the labour theory of value is the operative concern. stood in constant opposition to one another. However. 
 4
 .hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Criticism of capitalism "We are. In pre-capitalist economies.

degrading them from the middle class to the proletariat. beggars.[24] Because the ruling class controls the societyʼs means of production. trade workers et al. peasant landlords. the ruling social ideas are determined by the best interests of the said ruling class. Petit bourgeoisie are those who work and can afford to buy little labour power i. Marxism predicts that the continual reinvention of the means of production eventually would destroy the petit bourgeoisie.[23] Marx used the term to denote the production of images of social reality. The real motive forces impelling him remain unknown to him."[22] The capitalist mode of production establishes the conditions enabling the bourgeoisie to exploit the proletariat because the workersʼ labour generates a surplus value greater than the workersʼ wages. Alienation is the estrangement of people from their humanity (German: Gattungswesen. and the "voluntary" nature of a worker participating in a capitalist society is illusory. but with a false consciousness. "the ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas. small business owners. is. which is a systematic result of capitalism. and its capacity to rationally act in their best interests. its ruling intellectual force". because in the capitalist mode of production. "species-essence". and some become landlords.e. who expropriate the surplus created by others.e. Under capitalism. and so generate alienated labourers. alienation is an objective characterization of the worker's situation in capitalism – his or her self-awareness of this condition is not prerequisite. vagabonds. hence. exploitation is inevitable. As Andrei Platonov expressed "The working class is my home country and my future is linked with the proletariat. Without defining ideology. thus exploiting the proletariat. most of whom would enter the proletariat. at the same time. prostitutes. Social Classes The identity of a social class derives from its relationship to the means of production. who have no stake in the economy and no mind of their own and so are decoyed by every bidder. In The German Ideology. Lumpenproletariat: The outcasts of society such as criminals.[21] In Marx's view. they do not own the means of production". "species-being"). the class which is the ruling material force of society. according to Engels.. the superstructure of society. it is true. Class consciousness denotes the awareness – of itself and the social world – that a social class possesses.[25] The term political economy originally denoted the study of the conditions under 
 5
 . class consciousness is required before they can effect a successful revolution. Hence he imagines false or seeming motive forces". they subdivide as bourgeoisie and the petit bourgeoisie. the fruits of production belong to the employers. Bourgeoisie: those who "own the means of production" and buy labour power from the proletariat. i. Marx describes the social classes in capitalist societies: Proletariat: "those individuals who has nothing to offer but their labour power. et al. Peasantry and farmers: a scattered class incapable of organizing and effecting socioeconomic change.Thus. Landlords: an historically important social class who retain some wealth and power. otherwise it simply would not be an ideological process. "ideology is a process accomplished by the socalled thinker consciously.

Lenin wrote that "The socialization of production is bound to lead to the conversion of the means of production into the property of society. who in the Greek legend fell in love with his own reflection. "Marxism. In Marxism. always critical. "Marxism taught me what society was.[30][31] American Marxist scholar Hal Draper responded to this comment by saying. primitive. always self-critical. and communism Marxists believe that the transition from capitalism to socialism is an inevitable part of the development of human society. and "what Marx believed". in 1883. then I am not a Marxist"."[27] Marxists believe that a socialist society will be far better for the majority of the populace than its capitalist counterpart. prior to the Russian revolution of 1917.[32] Criticism Some Marxists have criticised the academic institutionalisation of Marxism for being too shallow and detached from political action. and the replacement of the remnants. If you don't eventually come to truly understand the history of the class struggle. specifically of capital..which economic production was organised in the capitalist system. who doesn't even know where north or south is. stated that "Its practitioners remind one of Narcissus.. is always open. Zimbabwean Trotskyist Alex Callinicos. for instance. but indeed for Western Marxists this has become an end in itself. from Marx's letter derives the paraphrase: "If that is Marxism. thus. disunited production by collective and improved labour.. as Lenin stated. political economy studies the means of production. Marx wrote to the French labour leader Jules Guesde and to Paul Lafargue (Marxʼs son-in-law) – both of whom claimed to represent Marxist principles – accusing them of "revolutionary phrase-mongering" and of denying the value of reformist struggle."[28] Classical Marxism Main article: Classical Marxism The term Classical Marxism denotes the collection of socio-eco-political theories expounded by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels." [29] As such. and how that manifests as economic activity. the ruins of small-scale.[26] Revolution. by Marxists and anti-Marxists alike". not knowing anything. socialism.. I was like a blindfolded man in a forest. and that some people subjugate and exploit other people." Cuban revolutionary and Marxist-Leninist politician Fidel Castro on discovering Marxism. a reduction of working hours. "it is evident that Marx deduces the inevitability of the transformation of capitalist society [into a socialist society] wholly and exclusively from the economic law of motion of contemporary society. 2009. Sometimes it is necessary to devote time to clarifying and developing the concepts that we use. himself a professional academic."[33] Academic Marxism 
 6
 . or at least have a clear idea that society is divided between the rich and the poor. Classical Marxism distinguishes between "Marxism" as broadly perceived. "there are few thinkers in modern history whose thought has been so badly misrepresented. For instance. you're lost in a forest. This conversion will directly result in an immense increase in productivity of labour. The result is a body of writings incomprehensible to all but a tiny minority of highly qualified scholars. as Ernest Mandel remarked.

The theoretical development of Marxist archaeology was first developed in the Soviet Union in 1929. most notably by the Australian academic V.[34] These theoretical developments were subsequently adopted by archaeologists working in capitalist states outside of the Leninist bloc.[1] In general Marx and Engels identified five successive stages of the development of these material conditions in Western Europe. for instance to feed and clothe themselves and their families. for Marx himself. Each passing stage would therefore raise the standard of living of the masses while at the same time be doomed to its own downfall because of internal contradictions and class conflicts. However the downfall would not be an automatically negative event. Gordon Childe (1892–1957). mines and other means of producing the material means of existence).slave ownership (since slaves work the land. since with each step humanity at large would benefit. and so.[2] Private property[edit source] The Marxist concept of private property gives the basis for Marx's theory. Within this work. With socialism the final 
 7
 . as a part of the academic reforms instituted in the Soviet Union under the administration of Premier Stalin. Gordon Childe. and . does not mean the simple possessions of a person.in the case of slave society . when a young archaeologist named Vladislav I. who used Marxist theory in his understandings of the development of human society.One of the 20th century's most prominent Marxist academics. the very discipline of archaeology as it then stood was criticised as being inherently bourgeoisie and therefore anti-socialist. and for Marxists sometimes today. "Private property" in the terminology of Marx's time. the Australian archaeologist V. Marxism has been adopted by a large number of academics and other scholars working in various disciplines. land ownership. share ownership. Ravdonikas (1894– 1976) published a report entitled "For a Soviet history of material culture". but the ownership of productive property or property which produces a profit for the owner. a great emphasis was placed on the adoption of Marxist archaeology throughout the country.[35] Marx's theory of history The Marxist theory of historical materialism understands society as fundamentally determined by the material conditions at any given time .[3] such as corporate ownership. Only the last two epochs are spared from this fate. The stages of history[edit source] Marx saw that each stage or epoch created a new class or invention that would lead to its downfall.this means the relationships which people enter into with one another in order to fulfill their basic needs.

with size being dependent upon the environment.[citation needed] Primitive communist societies tend to be very small. which are the main means of producing wealth. such as cattle and slaves.[citation needed] Proto-democracy: there is usually no concept of "leadership" yet. So tribes are led by the best warrior if there is war. whilst the vast majority have very little or nothing. This stage ends with the development of private property[citation needed]. at the stage where fire is developed. Democracy and Authoritarianism: these opposites develop at the same stage. The first three stages are not given particular attention. Class: here the idea of class appears. The need to keep conquering more slaves 
 8
 .[citation needed] Hunting and gathering: tribal societies have yet to develop large scale agriculture and so their survival is a daily struggle. However these epochs have common characteristics nonetheless. especially with the development of large scale agriculture. and communal living therefore becomes more convenient. Land ownership is especially important during a time of agricultural development. he does not provide the principles of these stages as he does for capitalism and the stages that follow.[citation needed] Slave Society[edit source] The Second Stage: may be called Slave Society. Shared property: there is no concept of ownership beyond individual possessions. All is shared by the tribe to ensure its survival. From a Marxist perspective.oppressive class is overthrown and society is put under the dictatorship of the proletariat and thus advances into communism. In this stage humanity is no different from any other animal. Agriculture: people learn to cultivate plants and animals on a large enough scale to support large populations. Primitive Communism[edit source] The First Stage: is usually called Primitive communism. in that it has not yet found ways to bend nature to its will. There is always a slave-owning ruling class and the slaves themselves. Statism: the state develops during this stage as a tool for the slave-owners to use and control the slaves. followed by the totalitarian empire. consisting of a maximum of a few hundred members. slaves who work for no money. since by Marx's time they had long come to pass. who were also dispossessed during this period. and in most cases women. Democracy arises first with the development of the republican city-state. This in turn produces productive property. The slave-owning class "own" the land and slaves. the best diplomat if they have steady contact with other tribes and so forth. considered to be the beginning of "class society" where private property appears. Private Property: citizens now own more than personal property. As such. It has the following characteristics. slave society collapsed when it exhausted itself. The propertyless included the slave class.[citation needed] The primitive communism stage most likely begins soon after the dawn of humanity itself.

Theocracy: this is a time of largely religious rule. At the same time that societies must create all these new classes. the serfs are tied to the land and cannot become industrial workers and wage earners. it appears after slave society collapses. some little more than slaves. Nation-state: nations are formed from the remnants of the fallen empires. the Highest Stage of Capitalism. which in western society classically arose "red in tooth and claw" from feudal society in a revolutionary movement. The old feudal kings and lords cannot accept the new social changes the capitalists want for fear of destabilizing or reducing their power base. Most of these inherit their titles for good or ill.e. When there is only one religion in the land and its organizations affect all parts of daily life. a capitalist class emerges within this feudal society. Aristocracy: the state is ruled by monarchs who inherit their positions. Then begins an epoch of social revolution (the French Revolution of 1789. Capitalism may be considered the Fourth Stage in the sequence. The Roman Empire).) since the social and political organization of feudal society (or the property relations of feudalism) is preventing the development of the capitalists' productive forces. and serfs. Sometimes to rebuild themselves into empires once more. Hereditary classes: castes can sometimes form and one's class is determined at birth with no form of advancement. It appears after the bourgeois revolution when the capitalists (or their merchant predecessors) overthrow the feudal system. Supporters of laissez faire economics argue that there should be little or no intervention from the government under capitalism. however. Marxists. argue that the capitalist 
 9
 . the English Civil War and the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Feudalism[edit source] The Third Stage: may be called Feudalism. trade with other nation-states increases rapidly. This was most obvious during the European Dark Ages when society went from slavery to feudalism.[4] Capitalism[edit source] Marx pays special attention to this stage in human development. This catalyzes the creation of the merchant class. Capitalism is categorized by the following: Market Economy: in capitalism the entire economy is guided by market forces.created huge problems. Such as England's transition from a province to an empire. These proto-capitalist and capitalist classes are driven by the profit motive but are prevented from developing further profits by the nature of feudal society where. for instance. lords. among various other reasons that are not all tied to power or money. This was the case with India. The bulk of his work is devoted to exploring the mechanisms of capitalism. Marx says. such as maintaining the vast empire that resulted (i. However there are immediate conflicts with the aristocracy. It is ultimately the aristocracy born in this epoch that demolishes it and forces society to step onto the next stage. During feudalism there are many classes such as kings. such as Lenin in his Imperialism. etc. Out of the merchants' riches. or at times marry or conquer their ways into leadership.

Historically it has excluded (by force. the threat of war. In this sense all paid employment is exploitation and the worker is "alienated" from their work. the profit motive rules and people. The rest is surplus value . laws are made to protect wealth. ex-slaves. the struggles of the working class against the attacks of the capitalist class lead the working class to establish its own collective 
 10
 . like slave society and feudalism. but rather they are controlled by the capitalists. to the extent the state directs the warfare or other foreign intervention. it is in this way that banks dramatically improve class mobility. But according to Marx. capitalism. although it may be extended to the whole population. The working class. unrestrained market forces will create monopolies from the most successful commercial entities. Capitalist (bourgeois) democracy. Monopolistic tendencies: the natural. The capitalists control the means of production through commercial enterprises (such as corporations) which aim to maximize profit. freed from serfdom. Warfare: capitalism spreads from the wealthiest countries to the poorest as capitalists seek to expand their influence and raise their profits. or the export of capital. This is done directly through war. also has critical failings . Parliamentary democracy: the capitalists tend to govern through an elected centralized parliament or congress." The capitalists are forced by competition to attempt to drive down the wages of the working class to increase their profits.the difference forming profit for the employer. The capitalist class are free to spread their laissez faire practices around the world. which Marx calls the "unpaid labour of the working class. In reality workers are paid less than the value of their productivity . does not necessarily lead to universal suffrage. the capitalists through various methods. especially to the poor. work for the capitalists for wages. through trade union and other struggles. and this creates conflict between the classes. and gives rise to the development of class consciousness in the working class. The working class. The worker is not paid the full value of what he or she produces. Financial institutions: Banks and capital markets such as stock exchanges direct unused capital to where it is needed. The capitalist's control over the state can thus play an essential part in the development of capitalism. is the "grave digger" of capitalism. In the view of classical Marxism. legislation or other means) sections of the population such as women. segregation. and is controlled by. slaves. In capitalism. becomes conscious of itself as an exploited class. as all employers will act in the same manner. Power elites propagate the illusion that market forces mean wages converge to an equilibrium at which workers are paid for precisely the value of their services. workers are rewarded according to their contract with their employer. Wages: in capitalism.government is a powerful instrument for the furtherance of capitalism and the capitalist nation-state. people of color or those on low income. Private property: the means of production are no longer in the hands of the monarchy and its nobles.the capitalist's profit. it is impossible for workers to be paid for the full value of their labour. Insofar as the profit-motive drives the market. In the capitalist-controlled parliament.inner contradictions which will lead to its downfall. They reduce barriers to entry in all markets. particularly in the conquest of markets abroad. The government acts on behalf of. rather than under an autocracy. to which the capitalist class gave birth in order to produce commodities and profits.

Lenin divided communism. Labor vouchers: Marx explained that. Marx explains that socialist society. is to destroy the "old state 
 11
 . on a thorough study of the writings of Marx and Engels. but Lenin points to later remarks of Engels which suggest that what people commonly think of as socialism equates to Marx's "first phase" of communism. He called this the dictatorship of the proletariat. (e. believed that the workers would govern themselves through system of communes.control over production . The State and Revolution. basing himself on a thorough study of Paris Commune. Socialism[edit source] After the working class gains class consciousness and mounts a revolution against the capitalists.the basis of socialist society. in the interest of the immense majority. will be attained. cannot raise itself up. Each worker would be given an amount of standardised credit verifying his contribution which he could then exchange for goods. Socialism may be categorized by the following: Decentralized planned economy: rather than by market forces alone which brought the crises of capitalism. Council democracy: Marx. The proletariat. and then later. socialism. makes such a society one of the vast majority governing over their own lives: The proletarian movement is the self-conscious. without the vast waste of anarchic capitalist society. into two stages: first socialism. Marx uses the terms the "first phase" of communism and the "higher phase" of communism. having risen from a self conscious movement of the vast majority. Economically this translates into the individual worker being awarded according to the amount of labor he contributes to society.g. overthrowing the dictatorship (governance) of capital. cannot stir. from the state and trade unions) the sooner it finds itself in crisis. the lowest stratum of our present society. which may be considered the Fifth Stage. since socialism emerges from capitalism. independent movement of the immense majority. the period following the overthrow of capitalism.[5] Lenin based his 1917 work. Marx believed that capitalism always leads to monopolies and leads the people to poverty. production is based on scientific planning and the democratic consensus of the workers. This translates into the democratic communes controlling the means of production. once the last vestiges of the old capitalist ways have withered away. stateless communism or pure communism. its wars and destruction of the planet. if the workers are successful. it would be "stamped with its birthmarks". but in a democratically planned way. One of the primary tasks of the workers in the socialist society. would democratically plan production and the resources of the planet. yet the fewer the restrictions on the free market. after placing the means of production into collective ownership. which. without the whole superincumbent strata of official society being sprung into the air Now the productive forces are truly free to develop. Marx is rather vague in his explanation of how the working class will come to consciousness. via communes or councils[citation needed]. Common property: the means of production are taken from the hands of a few capitalists and put in the hands of the workers.

despite the fact that each worker's ability and family circumstances would differ. body. which the individual worker 
 12
 . From the members of the Commune downwards.. of course.Instead of deciding once in three or six years which member of the ruling class was to represent and repress [ver. and at all times revocable. each worker is paid according to the amount of labor contributed to society. since socialism. in which rulers are elected only once every few years at best.. such as schools. The judicial functionaries lost that sham independence. the public service had to be done at workmen's wages. as individual suffrage serves every other employer in the search for workers.. Marx explains that it holds legislative-executive power and is subservient only to the workers themselves: The Commune. All goods (such. they were thenceforward to be elective.. in other words according to the agreed difficulty.machinery. modeled after the Paris Commune. executive and legislative at the same time. agent of the Commune. Fiat money and credit whose values were determined by anarchic market forces are abolished. responsible.. money) in socialist society but with the speculative element removed. and fiat and credit money are abolished.and zertreten] the people in parliament. in his Critique of the Gotha programme. In this way. so that the results would still be unequal at this stage. as housing) are priced in a greater degree according the amount of labor required to produce them.” Hence the bourgeoisie's parliamentary democracy ceases to exist. responsible and revocable at any time. would be "in every respect. was to be a working. for instance. and turned into the responsible. foremen and accountants for his business. still stamped with the birthmarks of the old society from whose womb it emerges". although fully supported by social provision. After these deductions the workers could divide up the wealth produced by their labor and everyone could be simply given a "certificate from society". Having once got rid of the standing army and the police.. length of time. So were the officials of all other branches of the administration. and intensity of his labor. chosen by universal suffrage in the various wards of the town.e. Instead.. deductions "for those unable to work. the power of the priests. the first stage of communism.. The majority of its members were naturally working men. The privileges and the representation allowances of the high dignitaries of state disappeared along with the high dignitaries themselves.. and. the Commune proceeded at once to break the instrument of spiritual suppression. The police. Marx speculated schematically that from the "total social product" there would be deductions for the requirements of production and "the common satisfaction of needs. the instruments of physical force of the old government. which could then be exchanged for products. has a completely different political character from the parliament. health services. or acknowledged representatives of the working class... was at once stripped of its political attributes. which until then had been the instrument of the Government. economically. instead of a dictatorship of capital. The commune. This schematically introduces a means of exchange ("the same principle" i. universal suffrage was to serve the people constituted in communes. the state is ruled through the dictatorship of the proletariat with the democratically elected workers' commune to replace the parliament: The Commune was formed of the municipal councilors. In Marx's view. Marx explained that. and intellectually. etc". not a parliamentary. each worker would naturally expect to be awarded according to the amount of labor he contributes. morally... in Marx and Engels' view. and revocable. etc" which latter deduction "grows in proportion as the new society develops".

class distinctions have disappeared. But as far as the distribution of the latter among the individual producers is concerned. and ending the need for imperialist conquest for the possession of commodities and markets. Here. along with these conditions. then it will. and the communist organization of society will begin to emerge. the same principle prevails as that which regulates the exchange of commodities. He receives a certificate from society that he has furnished such-and-such an amount of labor (after deducting his labor for the common funds). As socialism raises everyone's quality of life above the precarious existence they knew hitherto. which may be considered the Sixth Stage. because under the altered circumstances no one can give anything except his labor. In The Communist Manifesto Marx describes communism as: When. child care. Communism will have spread across the world and be worldwide. stateless communism or pure communism. which has the following features: Statelessness: there are no governments. the new socialist society begins to break down the old inevitably pecuniary habits. What he has given to it is his individual quantum of labor. by means of a revolution. or nations any more. properly so called. obviously. and everyone has plenty of personal possessions. Propertylessness: there is no money or private property. laws. the public power will lose its political character. If the proletariat during its contest with the bourgeoisie is compelled. the same principle prevails as in the exchange of commodity equivalents: a given amount of labor in one form is exchanged for an equal amount of labor in another form. is established. in the view of Marxists. Eventually the state will "wither away" and become obsolete. will succeed in raising the quality of life for all by ending the destructive contradictions which arise in capitalism through conflicts between competing capitalists and competing capitalist nations. Thus. the social working day consists of the sum of the individual hours of work. by the force of circumstances. in the course of development. The same amount of labor which he has given to society in one form. have swept away the conditions for the existence of class antagonisms and of classes generally. Socialism. as such. the need for a state apparatus will wither away. all goods are free to be consumed by anyone who needs them. For example. everyone works for everyone else. and because. as people administer their own lives without the need for governments or laws. is merely the organized power of one class for oppressing another. and. on the other hand. except individual means of consumption.can buy with his labor voucher. Content and form are changed. Communism[edit source] Some time after socialism is established society leaps forward. he draws from the social stock of means of consumption as much as the same amount of labor cost. and with this certificate. and class society ended. it makes itself the ruling class. housing. Political power. his share in it. to organize itself as a class. nothing can pass to the ownership of individuals. and will thereby 
 13
 . if. Classlessness: all social classes disappear. Only if this new socialist society manages to end the destructiveness of capitalism and leads to a higher quality of life for all will socialist society be successful. and other social provision for all without exception. and all production has been concentrated in the hands of a vast association of the whole nation. but no one can exploit another person for private gain through the ownership of vast monopolies. providing decent health care. and so forth. he receives back in another. the individual labor time of the individual producer is the part of the social working day contributed by him. Classes are thus abolished. as far as this is exchange of equal values. sweeps away by force the old conditions of production.

Early writings. we shall have an association in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all. only now does the real history of human society begin. 426. whatever the historic circumstances in which it finds itself". he explains.g. ISBN 9780226288819. who now own and control the means of production collectively. (Marx. but Marx suggests that what has ended is only the "prehistory" [9] of human society. p. The Critique of the Gotha Programme ^ Marx.have abolished its own supremacy as a class. by the vast majority. with its classes and class antagonisms. University of Chicago Press. Early writings. are based on a concrete study of the actual conditions that pertained in Europe. Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy Marx. the philosophical system used by Marxism to explain the past progressions of human society and predict the nature of communism. Penguin. for the first time. The German Ideology ^ Marx makes no claim to have produced a master key to history. Instead human beings can plan for the needs of society. ^ Gewirth. Penguin. p425-6 ^ Lenin: The State and Revolution ^ a b Marx and Engels. In place of the old bourgeois society. Alan (1998). Few applications of historical materialism.
 
 14
 . account for a stage beyond communism. the free market) which act independently of their control.' the former consisting in consumer goods directly used by the owner. democratically. now. humankind will no longer be at the mercy of productive forces (e. Retrieved 2012-12-29. 168. Karl. p. The Community of Rights (2 ed. 1877) His ideas." ^ Marx. inclusively. By implication. while the latter is private ownership of the major means of production. Letter to editor of the Russian paper Otetchestvennye Zapiskym. 1975. Historical materialism is not "an historico-philosophic theory of the marche generale imposed by fate upon every people. 1975. The Civil War in France ^ Marx and Engels. See also[edit source] Marxism Classical Marxism Historical Materialism References[edit source] ^ See in particular Marx and Engels. The Communist Manifesto ^ a b Marx and Engels.). then. "Marxists sometimes distinguish between 'personal property' and 'private property.