You are on page 1of 15

Marx and Human Rights

According to Marx, human rights are the rights of the egoistic man, separated from his fellow men and from the community. They are the rights of man as an isolated, inward looking, and self-centered creature

who regards his free opinion as his intellectual private property instead of a part of communication who uses his right to private property not in order to create a beach-head for his public and cultural life but to accumulate unnecessary wealth and to protect unequal property relationships

who uses the right to privacy as a wall keeping out the poor snoopers watching the rich people who considers fellow men as the only legitimate restraint on his own freedom, and therefore as a limit instead of the source of his own thinking, identity and humanity (this is the way in which Marx read art. 6 of the French constitution of 1793: Liberty is the power which man has to do everything which does not harm the rights of others)

who considers freedom to be no more than the ability to pursue selfish interests and to enjoy property, unhindered by the need to help other people, without regard for other men and independently of society

and who considers equality to be the equal right to this kind of freedom (everybody can emancipate himself by becoming a bourgeois).

Human rights, in this view, serve only to protect egoism and the unequal distribution of property, and to oppress the poor who question this and who try to redistribute property. On top of that, human rights obscure this fact because they are formulated in such a way that it seems that everybody profits from them. Contrary to what is implicit in their name, human rights are not general or universal rights. They are the rights of those who have property and who want to keep it. A specific situation of a specific group of people is generalized in human rights.

Of course, this criticism can be correct. No one will deny that human rights can serve to protect and justify egoism, oppression of the poor and indifference. They can help to shield people behind private interest and to transform society into a collection of loose, self-centered, self-sufficient, withdrawn, independent, sovereign and isolated individuals. Because the rich have more means to use, for example, their freedom of expression, this freedom can be an instrument of the rich to monopolize political propaganda and political power and to use this power to maintain their privileged situation. Economic relationships can be maintained by legal means.

However, in order to judge and possibly reject a phenomenon, one should also look at its intended and ideal functions, not only at the ways in which it can be abused. Human rights not only protect man against the attacks and claims of other people (for example the attacks and claims on his property); they also create the possibility of forcing people to help each other. They do not allow you to do something to other people (taking their property, determining their opinions etc.), but at the same time they invite you to do something with other people. In other words, they are not only negative. They not only limit the way we relate to other people, they also stimulate and protect the way we relate to other people.

Marxist Law
Marxist Law Introduction Karl Marx views the notion of Marxist Law from the following perspective, Law, morality, religion, are to [the proletariat] so many bourgeois prejudices, behind which lurk in ambush just as many bourgeois 1 interests. The assumptions basic to Marxist legal theoryfirst, that God does not exist; and second, that humans are evolving animalsdeny both the possibility of an absolute moral code and the existence of any law grounded in any authority other than human authority. V. I. Lenin says, In what sense do we repudiate ethics and morality? . . . In the sense in which it was preached by the bourgeoisie, who derived ethics 2 from Gods commandments. We, of course, say that we do not believe in God. L.S. Jawitsch, a modern-day Marxist legal theorist, maintains Lenins denial of anything supernatural, 3 saying, There are no eternal, immutable principles of law. Therefore, Marxist law cannot be based on anything other than human rationality. In Lenins words, We repudiate all morality taken apart from 4 human society and classes . Marxist Law The Origin of Law Marxists explain that law and human rights arise from the interactions of human beings within social structures that contain economic class distinctions. Class divisions within societies create conflict and disorder and therefore law (and the state) comes into existence to deal with this conflict. According to Engels, In order that these . . . classes with conflicting economic interests, may not annihilate themselves and society in a useless struggle, a power becomes necessary that stands apparently above society and has the function of keeping down the conflicts and maintaining order. And this power, the outgrowth of 5 society, but assuming supremacy over it and becoming more and more divorced from it, is the State. The state that rises to maintain order within society perpetuates the conflict as a dominant class wielding power over classes with less power. Lenin explains, The State is an organ of class domination, an organ of oppression of one class by another; its aim is the creation of order which legalizes and perpetuates 6 this oppression by moderating the collisions between the classes. Laws are thus imposed by the state to quell these disturbances. Marxist Law The Origin of Law In the Marxist view of law, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat are the two classes involved in the struggle for power. Societies that allow the bourgeoisie to make moral decisions and formulate laws are unjust societies. In the Communist Manifesto, Marx denounces bourgeois law as nothing more than a reflection of the desires of that class. Speaking to the bourgeois, he says, [Y]our jurisprudence is but the will of your class made into a law for all, a will, whose essential character and direction are determined by the economic 7 conditions of existence of your class. Bourgeois law is oppressive because it is based on the concept of private property, and thus laws are created that promote unequal rights. Capitalism cannot create equal rights for all because the very nature of the economic system creates haves and have-nots. Cornforth states, There cannot be equality 8 between exploiters and exploited. A capitalist society that creates unequal rights based on property and class leads those with fewer rights to protest in the form of lawlessness. Engels explains, The contempt for the existing social order is most 9 conspicuous in its extreme form -- that of offences against the law. Society, therefore, is more responsible than the individual for lawlessness. Indeed, criminals need not feel remorse for their actions because the unjust bourgeois society leaves them no alternative but to lash out against it. The Marxist solution to the unjust society and lawlessness is to overthrow the bourgeoisie, thus allowing

the proletariat to make the laws. The legal system that promotes the interests of the working class is called proletariat law. Jawitsch believes, Complete success in the masses struggle for their democratic rights and liberties can only be achieved by overcoming monopoly capitals economic and political 10 domination and establishing a state authority that expresses the interests of the working people. According to Marxist legal theory, the working class may break capitalistic law if such an action is in pursuit of equality. According to Lenin, The revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat is won and maintained by the use of violence by the proletariat against the bourgeoisie, rule that is unrestricted by 11 any laws. Marxist Law Law and Socialist Economics Once the revolution of the proletariat has succeeded, the new Marxist law (socialistic law) will reflect the desires of the working people rather than those of the bourgeoisie. Law based on the will of the proletariat will create a society that is less exploitative than that based on capitalist bourgeois law. According to Jawitsch, An anti-exploiter tendency is what characterizes the special features of all the principles of the 12 law of socialist society in most concentrated form. The will of the proletariat becomes the basis for all rights, laws, and judgments, thereby negating natural law, God, or any absolute moral code. Howard Selsem explains, Marxism, which has been so often accused of seeking to eliminate moral considerations from human life and history emphasizes rather the moral issues involved in every situation. It does so, however, not by standing on a false platform of 13 absolute right, but by identifying itself with the real needs and interests of the workers and farmers. Marxists see law based on the will of the proletariat as flexible rather than inconsistent, a flexibility that denies a need for a comprehensive legal system. Pashukanis writes, We require that our legislation 14 possess maximum elasticity. We cannot fetter ourselves by any sort of system. Marxist Law Law Withers Away Because Marxists believe law arises from class conflicts caused by property, the need for law itself will dissolve once a communist society is established. Since only one class (the proletariat) will then exist, the need to promote order between classes will no longer remainin effect law will have become unnecessary. Marxists believe that when classes are abolished, all people will create and live in an environment that promotes harmony. Criminal activity will be almost nonexistent since the catalysts for anti-social activity injustice and inequalitywill no longer exist. Plamenatz says that in a communist society crime will be virtually unknown because motives will be less urgent and frequent, and the offender w ill be more 15 easily brought to his senses by the need to regain the good opinion of his neighbors. Unfortunately, more than 5,000 years of recorded history disproves the probability of such a utopian plan working. Marxist Law Conclusion Both Marxist law and Secular Humanist law are grounded in a denial of the existence of God and a belief that we and our social systems are evolving. These assumptions require Marxists and Secular Humanists to rely on legal positivism as the basis for law. The Marxist version of legal positivism adds the unique feature of class-consciousness to the states role as the will of the ruling proletarian class. Furthermore, the working class must rule under the guidance of the Marxist-Leninist political party, giving the party final authority on morality and law. When those adhering to a specific ideology arbitrarily determine a system of law, laws will be created that are prejudiced against those with opposing views. In such a society, freedom disappears, as each citizen is held hostage by the arbitrary laws of the state.

Marxist Ethics
Marxist Ethics Introduction Marxist ethics proceeds out of Marxist theology, philosophy, biology, economics, and history. Whereas Secular Humanists have a difficult time reaching a consensus regarding their ethical beliefs, Marxists do notmainly because of their single-minded approach to all five aforementioned disciplines. This approach is rooted in dialectical materialism and the class struggle. While there is no absolute foundation for Marxist ethical ideals, most Marxists believe the dialectical view of the class struggle is foundation enough. According to the Marxist dialectic, everything in the universeincluding societyis in a state of constant change. These changes are moving society upward toward the elimination of all social and economic class distinctions. The next social advance in history will be the move from capitalism to socialism, which will inevitably result in changes in societys moral ideals. The dialectical view of his tory dictates the clash of thesis and antithesisin this historical context, the relentless clash between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. Marxist-Leninists believe that the morality of these two classes is totally different, and when the proletariat finally destroys the bourgeoisie, a new morality will reigna new morality for the new social system. Marxists believe that old moralitythe morality of the reigning capitalist classexploits the working class. According to this view, old religious moral codes must be abandoned. For Karl Marx and Frederick Engels Thou shalt not steal establishes a society in which some have property and some do not; such an establishment is the root of the problem. It must be constantly borne in mind, says Howard Selsam, that Marx and Engels denied that moral 1 ideals, moral considerations, are central in human life and social evolution. Rather, it is biological and social evolution that determines morality. What is right or wrong is determined by what is best for this evolution. If the bourgeois class hinders either biological or social evolution, nature dictates the removal of that class. Marxist Ethics The Evolution of Morality The inevitability of change is the cornerstone of Marxist ethics. Marx writes in the Manifesto of the Communist Party, Does it require deep intuition to comprehend that mans ideas, views and conceptions, in one word, mans consciousness, changes with every change in the conditions of his material existence, 2 in his social relations and in his social life? By Marxs definition, our social and economic status is always changing according to the laws of the dialectic, so our ideas about morality must also be in a state of continual change. V.I. Lenin answers the charge that the inevitability of change in both history and ethics precludes the existence of a moral code in Marxist philosophy: Is there such a thing as communist morality? Of course there is. It is often suggested that we have no ethics of our own; very often the bourgeoisie accuse us Communists of rejecting all morality. This is a method of confusing the issue, of throwing dust in the eyes of the workers and peasants. In what sense do we reject ethics, reject morality? In the sense given to it by the bourgeoisie, who based ethics on Gods commandments. On this point we, of course, say that we do not believe in God, and that we know perfectly well that the clergy, the landowners and the 3 bourgeoisie invoked the name of God so as to further their own interests as exploiters. In Lenins view, Communist morality had to evolve beyond that morality of outdated Christian myth used by the exploiting class to suppress the exploited class. When all class distinctions are erased, however, the Marxist moral view necessarily must change again because promoting class struggle will no longer be the immediate moral necessity. We say immediate because the dialectic is an eternal process that entails a continuing thesis/antithesis struggle. The everchanging nature of history will dictate a new moral view for Marxists. When Marxists say there is no system of morality that fits all times, they include the future in their philosophy, realizing that history will change our perceptions of life again after our present aims are attained. Something can be morally right

only in its context in history. Today the morally right action is the one necessary to attain the victory of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie. The new classless society will determine the new morality, just as this evolution toward a classless society is dictating todays morality. For Marxists, morality is conduct that is in harmony with history as it flows in the direction of a classless society and beyond. Marxist Ethics Moral Revolution When pursuing Marxist ethics, revolution is the most efficient means for creating a society without class distinctions. According to Marxists, revolution is unavoidable and it is the only way to overthrow the bourgeoisie and lift up the proletariat. Communists believe their revolution is unquestionably moral. Andreyev says, From the point of view of communist morality the struggle against everything which hinders the cause of communist construction is moral and humane and for this reason we consider the struggle against the enemies of communism to be 4 of a moral nature. This class struggle is not peaceful just as the struggle for survival in nature is not peaceful. According to Marxists, critics of the elimination of the bourgeoisie for social evolutionary reasons fail to remember the cost in death and suffering caused by biological evolution. Nature accumulates the good and disposes of the bad. The fit must survive both biologically and socially. The unfit, along with their social institutions, must perish. Marx states, The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their 5 ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. They perceive this forcible overthrow as morally right. It is right because it destroys hindrances to a communist society. Morally speaking, Communists have an ethical duty to work toward the forcible overthrow of capitalism. The obligation to work toward the overthrow of the bourgeoisie may very well include the duty to kill. Khrushchev explains, Our cause is sacred. He whose hand will tremble, who will stop midway, whose knees will shake before he destroys tens and hundreds of enemies, he will lead the revolution into danger. Whoever will spare a few lives of enemies, will pay for it with hundreds and thousands of lives of 6 the better sons of our fathers. Communists cannot know if their revolutionary actions are the right ones to accomplish Marxist goals. According to Lenin, they will make mistakes, but the cause is worth the risk: Even if for every hundred correct things we committed 10,000 mistakes, our revolution would still beand it will be in the judgment 7 of historygreat and invincible. . . . Stalin took Lenins philosophy to heart, stating, To put it briefly: the dictatorship of the proletariat is the domination of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie, untrammeled by the law and based on violence and 8 enjoying the sympathy and support of the to iling and exploited masses. Consistent with his rhetoric, 9 Stalin announced on December 27, 1929, the liquidation of the kulaks as a class. British journalist D.G. Stewart-Smith estimates that international communism is responsible for 83 million deaths between 1917 and 1964. From a Marxist- Leninist perspective, if 83 million people died to abolish social classes and private property, it was worth the priceeven morally just. Marxists judge the results, not the methods. Stalin, therefore, acted always within the Marxist-Leninist ethical code. He used means that he assumed would serve his endsthe destruction of the class enemyand should those ends ever be accomplished, Marxists would have to applaud Stalin as a Marxist with the proper concept of morality. But Stalin was not alone in his morality; Lenin, too, advocated the elimination of the kulaks as a class, 10 insisting that they were not human beings and that it was necessary to have recourse to economic 11 terror. Marxist Ethics Conclusion Many uncertainties surround Marxist ethics. While virtually all Marxists agree on the dialectical materialist

foundation for morality and the inevitability of the evolution of moral precepts, they cannot predict what the ethics of a classless society would look like. Marxists label Christian ethics immoral because it theoretically maintains the domination of the bourgeoisie over the proletariat; but Marxists cannot conceive of a moral scheme other than the vague idea of the creation of a new moral man. An ethical ideology that includes the inevitability of change and the evolution of morals leaves Marxists free to abandon generally accepted moral standards in pursuit of a greater good the creation of a classless communist society. This pursuit requires Marxists to dedicate themselves to the cause and to use whatever action they believe will bring about a classless society. Any course of action then, no matter how immoral it appears to a world that believes in an absolute or universal moral standard, is morally good within the Marxist-Leninist worldview.

Marxist Theology
Marxist Theology Atheism Marxist Theology is clearly stated by Lenin, Religion is opium for the people. Religion is a sort of spiritual 1 booze We Communists are atheists, declared Chou En-lai at the Bandung, Indonesia Conference in April 1955. This Chinese communist leader captured the fundamental theological ingredient of MarxismLeninism in one word: atheism. Today, Marxists-Leninists prefer two words: scientific atheism. From the university days of Karl Marx to the present, official spokesmen for Marxism have been consistent about the content of their theologythat God, whether known as a Supreme Being, Creator, or 3 Divine Ruler, does not, cannot, and must not exist. God is considered an impediment, even an enemy, to a scientific, materialistic, socialistic outlook. The idea of God, insists Lenin, encourages the working class (the proletariat) to drown its terrible economic plight in the spiritual booze of some mythical heaven (pie in the sky by and by). Even a single sip of this intoxicant decreases the revolutionary fervor necessary to exterminate the oppressing class (the bourgeois), causing the working class to forfeit its only chance of creating a truly human heaven on earth: global communism. Marxist Theology Marxs Theological Beliefs In Marxist theology, religion as the opium of the masses was a later development in the mind of Karl Marx. His atheism was conceived in the heady arena of philosophy, not economics or sociology. When Marx became an atheist at the University of Berlin, he was not thinking about surplus value or the dictatorship of the proletariat. He was thinking about the philosophies of Prometheus, Georg W. F. Hegel, Bruno Bauer, David Strauss, and Ludwig Feuerbach. Philosophy makes no secret of it, said Marx. Prometheuss admission: In sooth all gods I hate is its own admission, its own motto against all gods, heavenly and earthly, who do not acknowledge the 4 consciousness of man as the supreme divinity. There must be no god on a level with it. In a circle of radical Young Hegelians that included Ludwig Feuerbach and Frederick Engels, Marx became an atheist. Atheism was embraced by the group, with Feuerbach proclaiming, It is clear as the 5 sun and evident as the day that there is no God; and still more, that there can be no God. Accepting Feuerbachs conclusion that God is a projection of humanitys own making, Marx boasted, Man is the highest being for man. Indeed, Marx explains that this view signals the demise of all religion: 6 The criticism of religion ends with the teaching that man is the highest being for man. . . . For Marx, then, humanity is God. We created God in our own image. We created religion in order to worship ourselves. The notion that God is merely our projection is contained in Marxs assertion that man looked for a superhuman being in the fantastic reality of heaven and found nothing there but the

reflection of himself.

Because Marx believes that we are God, he also believes we must seize control of reality and shape it to our specifications. The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways, says Marx; the point, however, is to change it.8 Because the institutions of society rested on a foundat ion of theism, Marx determined to change all social institutions and re-establish them on atheistic foundations. To this end, Marx and Engels, in the Communist Manifesto, called for the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. This call was based on Marxs dogmatic atheism, and not on dispassionate societal observation. Marxs economic theoriesand, indeed, his entire worldviewwere tailored to fit his theology. Marxist Theology Significance of Theology in Marxist Theory While some attempts have been made to minimize atheisms role in Marxist theology (especially in recruiting naive Christians and other religious people to participate in Marxist-Leninist activity, such as the Liberation Theology movement), Marxists are privately aware of their fundamental need for an atheistic foundation. Marxs search for scientific truths to bolster his atheism led him to conclusions that shaped his communist theory. As he moved from the philosophical basis for atheism into the socioeconomic realm, he reached the conclusion (based upon his atheistic assumptions) that religion is merely an antidepressant for the oppressed working class. His summary of this explanation has been quoted throughout the world, even though it was not his original basis for atheism. Religion, said Marx, is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the sentiment of a heartless world, as it is the spirit of spiritless 9 conditions. It is the opium of the people. Marxs friend and fellow atheist, Engels, declared, We want to sweep away everything that claims to be supernatural and superhuman, for the root of all untruth and lying is the pretension of the human and the natural to be superhuman and supernatural. For that reason we have once and for all declared war on 10 religion and religious ideas and care little whether we are called atheists or anything else. As with Marx, Engels foresaw a time when all religion would cease. He contended that when society adopts socialism, i.e., when society takes possession of all means of production and uses them on a planned basis (thus eliminating the working classs economic bondage), religion itself will vanish. Marxist Theology Conclusion In theory and practice, Marxism reflects its atheistic base. To be a Marxist demands adherence to atheism. To be a good Marxist entails being a propagator of atheism. To be the best Marxist is to see atheism as part of the scientific, materialistic, socialistic outlook and to strive to eradicate all religious sentiment. From the heady days of Marx and Engels through the era of Lenin and Stalin and on to the Frankfurt School (Adorno, Marcuse, etc.), the Red Brigades, Herbert Aptheker, William Z. Foster, Paul Robeson (winner of the Stalin Peace Prize), the Communist Party USA, Gerda Lerner, Eric Foner, Howard Zinn, International ANSWER, Antonio Gramsci, Gyorgy Lukacs, Walter Benjamin, Eric Hobsbawn the trial of Marxism continues along its atheistic theology. From The Communist Manifesto (1848) to the latest manifesto entitledEmpire (2000), the quest for a godless world continues. Empire was written by Michael Hardt of Duke University and Antonio Negri and published by the Harvard University Press. Negri, associated with the Red Brigades, was responsible for much mayhem across Europe. He and Hardt instruct us, Our pilgrimage on earth, however, in contrast to Augustines has no transcendent telos beyond [purpose beyond this world]; it is and remains absolutely immanent [here and now]. Its continuous movement, gathering aliens in community, making this world its 12 home, is both means and end, or rather a means without an end.

National Review referred to Empire as the Communist hot, smart book of the moment and Foreign 14 Affairs magazine referred to it as [a] sweeping neo-Marxist vision of the coming world order. Theists everywhere recognize, as did Feodor Dostoevsky, that [t]he problem of Communism is not an economic 15 problem. The problem of Communism is the problem of atheism.


Marxist Ethics and Old Morality

Marxist Ethics Old Morality Marxists wholeheartedly reject moral codes that are founded in religious beliefs, including traditional universal moral ideals. They reject and label such ideals as old morality, as products of the bourgeoisie invented and used by the propertied class to oppress the propertyless proletariat. G.L. Andreyev, in What Kind of Morality Does Religion Teach?, states, In the reigning morality under capitalism that act is considered moral which promotes the preservation and strengthening of the system of exploitation and the acquirement of profits. Religion merely justifies this unjust and oppressive, bloody, and inhuman 1 system in the name of God. Marxist Ethics Classless Society Marxists believe that what is generally regarded by society as moral directly contradicts the Marxist goal of a classless society. Nikita Khrushchev states, So long as classes exist on the earth, there will be no such thing in life as something good in the absolute sense. What is good for the bourgeoisie, for the imperialists, is disastrous for the working class, and, on the contrary, what is good for the working people 2 is not admitted by the imperialists, by the bourgeoisie. This, then, is the whole problem with the old morality as perceived by Marxiststhe old morality is simply a tool used by the oppressing classes to maintain their position in society. Christian ethics is the means by which the rich control the working class poor. Marx says that for the proletariat, Law, morality, religion, are . . . so many bourgeois prejudices, behind 3 which lurk in ambush just as many bourgeois interests. Lenin agrees with Marx: The old society was based on the principle: rob or be robbed; work for others or make others work for you; be a slave-owner 4 or a slave.

Marxist Ethics and Proletariat Morality

Marxist Ethics Proletariat Morality
The proper Marxist morality for the present historical period is a class moralityspecifically, the morality of the proletariat, the propertyless masses. According to Scientific Communism: A G lossary, Devotion to the cause of the working class, collectivism, mutual aid, comradely solidarity, hatred toward the bourgeoisie and toward traitors to the common cause, internationalism, and stoicism in struggle are traits which not only define the content of proletarian ethics, but also characterize the moral image of the typical representatives of the working class.1 This is the code of ethics Marxists hold and promote.

Marxist Ethics Class Hatred

Hatred of the bourgeoisie is fundamental to the Marxist ethical code. Robert Conquests The Harvest of Sorrow, a documentation of the inhumanity of applied Marxist theory, contains illustration after illustration of class hatred or communist class morality in practice. According to Marxist ethics, hatred is moral as long as it is directed toward the proper institution, class, or enemy. Hatred thus becomes a necessary ingredient in the clash between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. It follows, then, th at societys

generally accepted moral principles (which Marxists claim are bourgeois tools) are in direct opposition to the moral principles of the proletariat. If this is true, no one in the bourgeoisie can do right or act morally. Unless members of the propertied class became proletarian, anything they do, no matter how moral by their standards, will be contemptible to Marxists. Lenin sums up Marxist Ethics as follows: Is there such a thing as communist morality? Of course, there is. It is often suggested that we have no ethics of our own; very often the bourgeoisie accuse us Communists of rejecting all morality. This is a method of confusing the issue, of throwing dust in the eyes of the workers and peasants.

Marxist Ethics and Utilitarianism

Marxist Ethics Utilitarianism To Marxists, the acceptable action in class morality is whatever it takes to accomplish the ultimate goal namely, a classless communist society. In other words, utilitarianism the end justifies the means. Freedom can be achieved only when all class barriers are erased, and therefore anything that serves that end is judged as moral. Ethics, in short, says Selsam, is good only as anything else is good, for what it 1 can accomplish, for the direction in which it takes men. The Basic Idea of Utilitarianism The Greatest Happiness Principle: Actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness John Stuart Mill

Happiness Unhappiness

= =

pleasure, and the absence of pain pain, and the absence of pleasure

Happiness is the only thing that has intrinsic value Marxist Ethics Serve the Higher Good The problem, of course, is that we can justify mistreating our neighbor by claiming that it will serve the higher good in the long run. Ivan Bahryany, a Ukrainian citizen who estimates that the Soviets killed 10 million of his countrymen between 1927 and 1939, states the problem this way: The party clique which follows the slogan expressed by the saying the end justifies the means is actually always ready to use 2 any means. In the case of the Ukrainians, the means included shooting, starvation, and slave labor in Siberia. Joseph Stalin referred to this action as the liquidation of the kulak class. Lenin admitted that the proletariat would be willing to work with the petty bourgeois proprietors as long as their work furthered the Marxist cause, [b]ut after that our roads part. Then we shall have to engage in the most

decisive, ruthless struggle against them.

Marxist Law is Legal Positivism

Marxist Law is Legal Positivism

An elastic legal system is consistent with the Marxist view of human evolution. Humans are constantly evolving; law is based on the will of the proletariat; therefore law is also constantly changing. Marxist laws and human rights are arbitrary, based on the will of the ruling class, the proletariat. Jawitsch describes law in a Marxist society this way: As a component of the legal superstructure law is closely linked with 1 the political superstructure and with the state. Lenin agrees, saying, A court is an organ of state power. 2 Liberals sometimes forget that. It is a sin for a Marxist to forget it. Courts, in other words, determine and dispense justice through thwill of the ruling class, the state. Marxist Law Positive Law Any system of law based on the will of those in powerthe stateis legal positivism. Marxists, however, do not recognize or admit that their approach to law is from a legal positivist perspective.

Marxist Law as an Extension of Party Politics

Marxist Law as an Extension of Party Politics Because Marxism bases much of its legal theory on economics, its version of legal positivism differs in one sense from the Secular Humanist approach. In Marxism, the proletariat must gain control of the state and formulate new laws in order to create a truly just society. Therefore, Marxist-Leninist legal positivism requires a class-consciousness that Secular Humanist positivism does not emphasize. The working class must lead the Marxist state. Marxist Law as a Guiding Force for the Working Class However, Marxists believe the political party functions as the guiding force for the working class once it attains power. In actuality, then, the entity that determines justice is not the working class, but the MarxistLeninist political party. Vyshinsky explains, There might be collisions and discrepancies between the formal commands of laws and those of the proletarian revolution. . . . This collision must be solved only 1 by the subordination of the formal commands of law to those of party policy.

Marxist Law and the Enemies of the Proletariat

Marxist Law and the Enemies of the Proletariat In the Marxist system, those who disagree with the Marxist-Leninist party are guilty of lawlessness. Since the party decides what is legal and illegal, it wields tremendous power in dispensing its form of justice to those who disagree with it. The 1936 Soviet Constitution affirmed that all citizens are granted certain rights in conformity with the interests of the working people, and in order to strengthen the socialist system.1 Thus, citizens are granted certain rights, but they cannot exercise them in ways that would undermine the advance of socialism and communism. Citizens whose actions are deemed unacceptable by the Marxist-Leninist party find themselves without any rights. Alexander Solzhenitsyn in The Gulag Archipelago2 and Stephane Courtois (et al.) in The Black Book Of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression3 document the loss of rights by those who are deemed enemies of the state. Marxist Law Must Support Communist Ideology Vyshinsky believes legal discrimination by the party should be relentless against those who disagree with its political agenda: The task of justice . . . is to assure the precise and unswerving fulfillment of . . . laws by all the institutions, organizations, officials, and citizens of the [state]. This the court accomplishes by destroying without pity all the foes of the people in whatsoever form they manifest their criminal

encroachments upon socialism.4 Those who create and enforce laws within a specific ideology cannot tolerate actions that oppose the ideology.

Marxism and religion

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Part of a series on


Theoretical works[show]









Socialism portal

Communism portal Philosophy portal

Part of the series on







Related topics[show]

Communism portal

The founder and primary theorist of Marxism, the nineteenth-century German thinker Karl Marx, had a negative attitude to religion, viewing it primarily as "theopium of the people" that had been used by the ruling classes to give the working classes false hope for millennia, while at the same time recognizing it as a form of protest by the working classes against their poor economic conditions.[1] In the end, Marx rejects religion.[2] In the Marxist-Leninist interpretation of Marxist theory, developed primarily by Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin, religion is seen as retarding human development, and socialist states that follow a Marxist-Leninist variant are atheistic and explicitly antireligious. Due to this, a number of Marxist-Leninst governments in the twentieth century, such as the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China, implemented rules introducing state atheism. However, several religious communist groups exist, and Christian communism was important in the early development of communism.

1 Marx on religion 2 Lenin on religion 3 Nikolai Bukharin and Evgenii Preobrazhensky on religion 4 In self-identified "Marxist" states

o o o o o o

4.1 Religion in the Soviet Union 4.2 Religion in the Socialist People's Republic of Albania 4.3 Religion in the People's Republic of China 4.4 Religion in Democratic Kampuchea 4.5 Religion in Laos 4.6 Religion in the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan

5 Communism and Christianity 6 Communism and Islam 7 Communism and Judaism 8 Communism and Buddhism 9 Communism and Hinduism 10 Religious criticism of communism 11 See also 12 References

Marx on religion[edit source | editbeta]

See also: Opium of the People

Karl Marx's religious views have been the subject of much interpretation. He famously stated in Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right "Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo. Criticism has plucked the imaginary flowers on the chain not in order that man shall continue to bear that chain without fantasy or consolation, but so that he shall throw off the chain and pluck the living flower. The criticism of religion disillusions man, so that he will think, act, and fashion his reality like a man who has discarded his illusions and regained his senses, so that he will move around himself as his own true Sun. Religion is only the illusory Sun which revolves around man as long as he does not revolve around himself. [3]

Lenin on religion[edit source | editbeta]

Vladimir Lenin was highly critical of religion, saying in his book Religion Atheism is a natural and inseparable part of Marxism, of the theory and practice of scientific socialism.[4] In About the attitude of the working party toward the religion, he wrote Religion is the opium of the people: this saying of Marx is the cornerstone of the entire ideology of Marxism about religion. All modern religions and churches, all and of every kind of religious organizations are always considered by Marxism as the organs of bourgeois reaction, used for the protection of the exploitation and the stupefaction of the working class.[5]

Nikolai Bukharin and Evgenii Preobrazhensky on religion