Marxism notes

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  • Created on: 02-04-13 08:11
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Marxism Review
Theory of History:
o History has always repeated itself in cycles, with the lower
classes rising up and overthrowing the bourgeoisie, and then the
two swapping.
o Marx believed that only Communism, where class separation was
brought down, was the only way to stop this.
Dialectic Theory:
o That any ideas and progress emerge from the clash of two ideals.
o Thesis vs. Antithesis leads to
Economic Determinism:
o Economics can be broken down into a two-part pyramid, where
there is a base and a superstructure. The base of the pyramid
comprised of the means of production (CELL) and the relations of
production (who owns the means of production, and who is
exploited in this). The superstructure is on top of the base, and
will flourish when the base grows, comprising of luxuries (music
arts etc) and other stuff (law order etc). THE ECONOMY DRIVES
EVERYTHING ELSE.
o The economic base determines society.
o It suggests that the market is influenced by larger forces, and not
by individual change, economic change is inevitable.
o Opposite of economic voluntarism, where individuals drive
economic change.
o Marx was mainly a Determinist, but left some acceptance of
individuals being the forces for change.
Revolutionary Theory
o The capitalist state was founded on violence and greed, and the
bourgeoisie would not just give up their privilege and wealth,
they would fight to defend it.
o In the case of Russia, the revolution skipped the state of `intense
capitalism' where the proletariat would have no choice but to rise
up.
o However, revolution did not spread because there was no class
consciousness, and also most governments gave enough
piecemeal change and were pragmatic enough to deflate socialist
build-up. The workers were appeased.
The proletariat are not `one class' in most countries
anyway, as there is the middle class and then those in the
lower class who are better than others in the same class.
o Compared to the French Revolution, there are some similarities
with the Communist revolution in Russia:
Unification in the hatred of the leaders (Tsar was totally
incompetent and Louis XVI would leave his windows open
so the smell of food would waft out to the starving
peasants).

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However, some capitalist societies sap revolutionary unrest
anyways. People are addicted to the hope and chance of them
improving their life, and so continued to struggle on.
How is Marxism utopian?
Optimistic view of human nature and values, believing that people are
more pro-society and less selfish.
Very radical, believes in a complete rejection of human nature. It was
the cause of inequality and greed, and needed to be completely
uprooted.
Marx sees human nature as unselfish and are more socially-minded than
selfishly-minded.…read more

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