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Karl Marx and Class Struggles

Posted on January 4, 2018 — 2 Minutes Read

‘The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles’ is what Karl Marx, one of the most influential revolutionaries and a lesser-known philosopher believes to be the core of the problem with capitalism and the capitalist mode of production, and is how he starts the dialogue in The Communist Manifesto, as a call to the oppressed proletariat around the world to rise against the bourgeoisie. The solution to class struggle, Marx suggests, is the abolishment of social class, for it is the source of all conflicts, as well as of money and state, for they are instruments of oppression by one social class over another. Means of production will be owned in common instead of by the few in private.

Marx believes that accomplishment of such communist utopia requires, in the process, a dictatorship of the proletariat, that is a state apparatus of the working class, with the primary goal of transforming private ownership of the means of production into the common, before it itself dissolves when the ideal of communism is attained. One problem among the many that thinkers and philosophers alike have identified, is that if money, as Marx rightly identifies, is an instrument of oppression, the abolishment of which is no guarantee that there will arise no new instrument. This evidently is the problem of the communist states of late.

History, as it always does, reveals the true depth of the class struggle, and perhaps of the human nature as well. One communist state establishes common ownership of the means of production in an attempt to remove social classes and, in the process, annihilates the oppressive instrument of money. Oppression and struggle, however, do not go away. The unending pursuit of money instead transforms into an unending pursuit of political power. It would suggest then that it was not the social class that induced the conflicts and struggle, that it was rather the other way around. Social class was, perhaps, yet another instrument for the manifestation of the conflicts between men. Conflicts that are perhaps intrinsic to men, that are perhaps, sadly, intrinsic to the human nature.