Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Marxism In A Nutshell

According to my friends at the Socialist end of the spectrum, since the finances of the World went down the gurgler, there has been a distinct upturn in the amount of interest in Marxist ideology. I myself have been asked recently about nationalisation and Socialism but there does seem to be an unclear view of what the German was advocating so here it is, in a nutshell, Marxism. Let's see how much of what Marx predicted has come to fruition.

Marx said that humans had progressed through a series of stages, from slaves society through to capitalism and in each stage a dominant class had exploited the labour of the larger class of workers.
In each of these stages, these ruling classes had become corrupt and had been overthrown and a new system implemented. Marx acknowledged that capitalism was a necessary stage of development but it would be corrupted by unfair distribution of the wealth and the political power that went with it.
These captains of industry would reap the profits while paying the workers a pittance. Under capitalism, Marx claimed, workers are not paid fully or fairly for their labour because the top guys siphon off the profit, earning the owners enormous wealth, while the workers struggle by on poor salaries.
Here is the important bit, this wealth also enables the owners to control the government, which would in turn do the bidding of the wealthy and the powerful to the detriment of the poor and the powerless.
He said that the workers, who would make up the majority, would rise up and overthrow their corrupt leaders and install a fairer system which would benefit the workers who would distribute fairly the share of the profits. This he called Communism from the Latin word for 'shared'.

This is only a quick walk through a small part of Marx's philosophy but wealthy owners, poorly paid staff, money buying influence in seats of power, unfair distribution of profits, angry and disillusioned workers. Even the most right wing hackneyed capitalist can't argue that Mr Marx wasn't a million miles off so far with his theory of how things will pan out.


Cheezy said...

I think Marx is THE great critic of capitalism par excellence for all time. He was the political equivalent of Darwin in that he got in there remarkably early, saw things for how they were (more or less) and then wrote about them extremely eloquently for generations to come. I remember reading his stuff about worker alienation for the first time and it was like a light being switched on.

Unlike Darwin though, his alternative thesis/manifesto (basically his prescription for societies) isn't a go-er. Mainly because - very unlike Darwin - it doesn't take into account simple human nature which is far more aspirational and competitive than he credits. This is essentially what dooms any kind of pure Marxist experiment to be an eventual failure, in my opinion.

And I don't think the credit-crunch & oncoming recession changes this situation one iota.

Lucy said...

I don't disagree Cheezy. Marx's thoughts about how the movement will unfold is eerily correct, but then it tends to fall down with how to implement his vision, hence the wide range of left wing groups all claiming the same ground. Something will have to give soon if the price of fuel, food and gas/electric continues to rise.

Anonymous said...

Lucy, its sure nice to hear an American being praised. The Marx Brothers were an institution in this blessed land though I can't recall which brother was the one your talking about.

Someone told me that America is having a few financial problems at the moment. Must be that Armadinnerjab or Chovez. If I wasn't a Christian I'd say nuke them. Have a nice day.


Anonymous said...


I think Cheesy nailed it. Marx is another great critic of capitalism - probably the best as Cheezy opines.

Yet, Marx fails to offer an improved system based in reality. Marx is ultimately suggesting that we change human nature. Right...

Water is wet, sky is blue, people put their needs ahead of the needs of others until theirs are secured - sadly, for many people security is not acheivable...


Anonymous said...

Karl Marx was a jack-ass of major proportions.

Fuck him and the ideologies of which he spoke.