Socialism : Communism

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  • Communism
    • Classical Marxism
      • This ‘base’ consists essentially of ‘the mode of production’ or economic system. (Feudalism, capitalism, socialism)
      • Historical materialism - A Marxist theory that holds that material of economic conditions ultimately structure law, politics, culture and other aspects of social existence.
      • History has therefore been a long struggle between the oppressed and the oppressor, the exploited and the exploiter. Pre - history of mankind would come to an end when communism begins
      • Marx thus explained historical change by reference to internal contradictions within each mode of production, arising from the existence of private property. Capitalism is this doomed because it embodies its own antithesis the proletariat, seen by Marx as the ‘gravedigger of capitalism’.
      • All parts in history are defined by class struggle, tribal societies in which material scarcity caused conflict, slaves and masters, feudalism the landowner and the surf, capitalism proletariat and bourgeoisie
      • This led Marx to conclude that political, legal, cultural, religious, artistic and other aspects of life would primarily be explained by economic factors.
      • Philosophy of history that outlines why capitalism is doomed and why socialism is destined to replace it, based on supposedly scientific analysis.
      • Marx undertook a laborious empirical analysis of history and society, hoping to thereby to gain an in insight into the nature of future developments.
      • Marxism as the attempt to gain historical understanding through the application of scientific methods, later developed into Marxism as a body of scientific truths, gaining a status more akin to that of a religion
      • Social consciousness and ‘the legal and political, superstructure’ arise from the ‘economic base’ the real foundation of society.
      • Dialect - A process of development in which interaction between two opposing forces leads to a further or higher stage; historical change resulting from internal contradictions within a society.
    • Philosophy
    • Economics
      • Alienation - To be deprecate from one's genuine or essential nature; used by Marxists to describe the process whereby, under capitalism, labour is reduced to being a mere commodity.
      • Ruling class - A Marxist term denoting the class that lend the means of production, and so wields economic and political power.
      • Surplus value - A Marxist term denoting the value that is extracted from the labour of the proletariat by the mechanism of capitalist exploitation.
      • From what they produce - not from them - commodities
      • From each other - workers self interested, not working with each other
      • From themselves - no job satisfaction
      • From the process of labour - de personalised, cog in the machine
    • Politics
      • Social revolution - A qualitative change in the structure of society; for Marxist a social revolution involves a change in the mode of production and the system of ownership.
      • Dictatorship of the proletariat- A Marxist term denoting transitory phase between capitalism and the establishment of full communism characterised by the establishment of a proletarian state.
      • Class is economic power in relationship to ownership of the means of production class is the driving force of history - From his empirical studies as opposed to - nationality, political parties
      • Capitalism is destined to be overthrown by proletariat revolution, that would establish a new mode of production and culminate in the achievement of full communism
    • Orthodox Communism
      • Leninism - Lenin’s theoretical contributions to Marxism, notably his belief in the need for a revolutionary or ‘vanguard’ party to raise the proletariat to class consciousness
      • Democratic centralism - The Leninist principle of the partying Organization, based on a supposed balance between freedom of discussion and strict unity of action.
      • Stalinism -   A centrally planned economy supported by systematic and brutal political oppression, based on the structures of Stalin’s Russia
      • Marx believed the working class would develop class consciousness and a new revolution would happen spontaneously
      • Lenin thought that the working class would stay in trade union consciousness unless a revolutionary party helped them gain class consciousness
      • Lenin supported Democratic centralism as it gives a balance between freedom and strict party unity, led to 1 communist party, proletariat vs bourgeois interests, wanted to ensure communist party had power
      • Path to Marxism; Developing class consciousness, spontaneous revolution, dictatorship of the proletariat, classless and stateless society.
    • Neo-Marxism
      • Neo Marxism - An updated and revised form of Marxism that rejects determinism, the primacy of economics and the privileged status of the proletariat.
      • New left - An ideological movement that sought to revitalise socialist thought by developing a radical critique of advanced industrial society, stressing the need for decentralisation, participation and personal liberation.
      • When Marx’s prediction about the fall of capitalism failed to materialise, neo-Marxists were forced to re-examine conventional class analysis.
      • Neo Marxists were able to break free from the rigid ‘base/superstructure’ straightjacket. In short the class struggle was no longer treated as the beginning and end of social analysis.
      • Marxism was presented as a humanistic philosophy, emphasising the process of ‘reification’ through which capitalism dehumanises workers by reducing them to passive objects or marketable commodities.
      • This drew attention to the degree which the class system is upheld not simply by unequal economic and political power, but also by bourgeois ‘hegemony’ the spiritual and cultural supremacy of the ruling class, brought about by the spread of bourgeois values and beliefs via society - the media, churches, youth movements, trade unions and so on.
      • The new left was developed by the so called Frankfurt school, whose theorists developed a ‘critical theory’ a blend of Marxist political economy, Hegelian philosophy and Freudian psychology. They devilled ‘crisis’ In the capitalist society that arises from tension between capital accumulation and democracy.
    • The Death of Marxism?
      • November 1989 - Fall of Berlin Wall
      • By 1991 Soviet model of Orthodox communism had collapsed
      • This broke up the soviet union, although there are still socialist states in the world they have devolved from the ideas of communism like the spread of communism.
      • Marxism may be halted by global system of capitalism
      • Post Marxists have been forced to think of new theories as system of class has changed along with postmodernity
      • Marxism is still relevant as people experience problems highlighted by Marx today, although revolution is harder, Most have looked to revisionist socialism.
    • Communism
      • No private ownership Communal ownership ‘Each according to his ability each according to his need’ - Marx
      • A core view of communism is its rejection of private property, and preference forms of common or collective ownership
      • Communism in its simplest sense, refers to the communal Organization of the social existence, especially through the collective ownership of property. For Marxists communism is a theoretical ideal.


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