Neil's Noodlemaps


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.

Howard Zinn on How Karl Marx Predicted Our World Today

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.”

Howard Zinn on How Karl Marx Predicted Our World Today

1 Alienation

The central concept was alienation, but Marx saw the source of this alienation not as a problem of consciousness, as Hegel put it, but in the material conditions of capitalist society. Under capitalism, human beings led a nonhuman existence, being alienated from their work, from the product of their labor, from one another, from nature, from their own true selves. The solution was not in the realm of ideas, but in action to overturn these conditions.

Howard Zinn on How Karl Marx Predicted Our World Today

2 Communist Manifesto

The Manifesto demolished the idea that capitalism was a natural and eternal condition. It was a stage in history, which came out of feudalism and would give way to a more humane society

Howard Zinn on How Karl Marx Predicted Our World Today


3 Marxist humanism

Some say Marx's values changed over time. Younger Marx cared more about humanity, later Marx cared more about the science and politics of his theories.

On this podcast, Maximillian Alvarez says that if you're anti-capitalist, you're pretty much by definition believe in Marxist humanism. Because if you didn't care about what was happening to people under capitalism, why would you be bothering?

Contrast Marxist humanism with liberal humanism.

4 Revisionism

Attempts to massively revise Marxist theory. I'm not sure what the boundary is, because obviously it's open to critique and re-evaluation when context changes. You shouldn't be doctrinaire. I guess it's when the revision is seen to be particular egregious, e.g. Bernstein, to the extent that the theory is neutered and aligning itself with the bourgoise.

5 Caliban and the witch

Witch trials coincided with enclosure of the commons, and the removal of women from the public sphere and the appropriate of their labour for free. A means to subjugate women who tried to assert themselves.

6 Withering away of the state

"with realization of the ideals of socialism, the social institution of a state will eventually become obsolete and disappear as the society will be able to govern itself without the state and its coercive enforcement of the law."

7 Backlinks

This page last updated: 2020-02-29 Sat 13:43. All recent changes