^ in a nutshell
Capitalism brought about an enormous development in technology and production: “The bourgeoisie has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all preceding generations together.” But workers were now nothing more than commodities, their lives subject to the domination of the market. And as capitalism becomes more and more obviously inadequate to control its own enormous growth, the working class will become the instrument for its replacement.
As workers become “a ruling class,” representing the vast majority of the nation, they will sweep away the conditions for the existence of all classes, “and will therefore have abolished its own supremacy as a class.” The climactic sentence of the first part of the Manifesto is profoundly important, repudiating any notion of a police state, and insisting on the ultimate goal of individual freedom: “In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.”
- Modern work is alienated
- Modern work is insecure
- Workers get paid little while capitalists get rich
- Capitalism is very unstable
- Capitalism is bad for capitalists
We owe much to Marx’s attempt to provide us with a coherent and stimulating analysis of the commodity and commodity relations, to an activist philosophy, a systematic social theory, an objectively grounded or “scientific” concept of historical development, and a flexible political strategy.
3 See also
But for the most part, as we have seen, Marxism’s economic insights belonged to an era of emerging factory capitalism in the nineteenth century. Brilliant as a theory of the material preconditions for socialism, it did not address the ecological, civic, and subjective forces or the efficient causes that could impel humanity into a movement for revolutionary social change.
By emphasizing the nation-state—including a “workers’ state”—as the locus of economic as well as political power, Marx (as well as libertarians) notoriously failed to demonstrate how workers could fully and directly control such a state without the mediation of an empowered bureaucracy and essentially statist (or equivalently, in the case of libertarians, governmental) institutions. As a result, the Marxists unavoidably saw the political realm, which it designated a workers’ state, as a repressive entity, ostensibly based on the interests of a single class: the proletariat.
5 Elsewhere in the garden
Notes that link to this note (AKA backlinks).
I would describe myself as an anti-capitalist, sitting somewhere on the spectrum of revolutionary socialism. I read plenty about anarchism and Marxism, but not too sure yet where I'd place myself. Somewhere in between the horizontal and the vertical. Interested in but not very knowledgeable about autonomism of late.
In the opening essay, “The Communalist Project,” Bookchin situates Communalism vis-à-vis other left ideologies, arguing that the world has changed significantly from the times that birthed anarchism and Marxism; he contends that these older ideologies are no longer capable of addressing the new and highly generalized problems posed by the modern world, from global warming to postindustrialization.
And maybe some tension between post-structuralism and Marxism, in its presentation of a scientific approach to history (Revolutionary Left Radio: Post-Structuralism, Postmodernism, and… Metamodernism?).
False consciousness is a term used—primarily by Marxist sociologists—to describe ways in which material, ideological, and institutional processes are said to mislead members of the proletariat and other class actors within capitalist societies, concealing the exploitation intrinsic to the social relations between classes.
…the Situationist International (1957–1972), a group of avant-garde artists and political theorists united by their opposition to advanced capitalism. At varying points the group’s members included the writers Raoul Vaneigem and Michèle Bernstein, the artist Asger Jorn, and the art historian T.J. Clark. Inspired primarily by Dadaism, Surrealism, and Marxist philosophy, the SI rose to public prominence during the May 1968 demonstrations during which members of the group participated in student-led occupations and protests.