POL 161: Marx Notes
POL 161: Marx Notes POL 161.001
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This 10 page Bundle was uploaded by Hailey True on Monday April 18, 2016. The Bundle belongs to POL 161.001 at Illinois State University taught by Jakeet Singh in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 22 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Political Theory in Political Science at Illinois State University.
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Date Created: 04/18/16
Marx Notes (18181883) Communist Manifesto o Critiques liberal capitalism based on a central commitment to freedom Freedom is hindered by capitalism His critics think (mistakenly) that Marx is against freedom We seem to think our freedom entails capitalism Marx thinks capitalism is the most dominating and oppressive Tricks, convinces us that it embodies freedom when it is the opposite. o Key themes All history is the history of class struggle Bourgeois and proletariat o Story of oppressor and oppressed Results in revolution o Complicated hierarchical arrangements All classes often associated with how society produces for itself and reproduces itself Basic economic needs, social institutions In a physical way o Our time is not what we think, as overcoming this relationship Marked instead by a specific event, a class struggle between proletariat and bourgeoisie. The great struggle of our epoch: Bourgeoisie vs proletariat Not done away with hierarchical class struggle, instead splitting up into two camps Modern bourgeoisie class struggles are simplified o Squared off against one another, to force a great battle o Most will be reduced down into the proletariat Bourgeoisie more powerful even though it holds less people o Bourgeoisie: the owners of the means of production Could be wealthy and be in proletariat Technical economic definition Do not have to identify to being bourgeoisie or proletariat Economic classes, NOT identity groups Structural economic position in a capitalist economy They own the things (means) we use to produce; they own capital. Capital: that which can be imagined to create more wealth. Can be used to create more for the society. Factory owners: do not have to sell their labor for a wage. They ae owners of a capital themselves and employ wage labor to produce profit Extract profile in any transaction or relationship. Want to turn everything into a market. More and more capital, more and more profit. To reinvest and make even more. Revolutionary class for Marx. One of the most revolutionary class in our society. Transform everything into a profit. Turn all of us into a means of production. All relationships with one another are economic transactions. (pg. 475) All former society beliefs in honor, chivalry, religion, sentimental values are dismantled and are taken over by egotistical calculation. “What is your monetary worth to me” Not valuable as a human being, no personal value Before relations of oppression were covered by religious, social, and political glosses. Now left bare by cold, hard, economic exploitations. Bourgeoisie rises, and continues to transform social relations Association with conservatism with strong commitment to capitalism. o Marx thinks it is crazy that capitalism can be joined with conservatism to keep everything he same when capitalism is a transformative force. No conservation of anything in the fall of capitalism. Revolutionary by nature o Constant revolution is the bourgeoisie era o Marked by unending periods of crises. Transforms whole world in its image This actually unleashes productive capacity, the ability to produce stuff, to generate goods on a scale the world has never known before. o What will bring capitalism down o The great internal contradiction of capitalism that will cause self destruction o Crises created are from overproduction o Problems of distribution of too much stuff o Producing more than enough for everyone (good). But cannot distribute goods to everyone because of the great mass of people who cant afford to buy those goods being produced. o Brings down capitalism in the end when the proletariat rises up and takes control of the means of production and gives it to everyone so everyone can live the life they want to live o Marx agrees that capitalism is incredibly productive and creates productive capacities and plays an important role (pg. 477) o Proletariat Do not own any significant means of production Do not own capital to reinvest to create more capital Sell their labor for a wage to survive Over time their lives become more and more dehumanizing Capitalism treats wage labor as a cost of production, these costs of production get in the way of profit. So bourgeoisie is constantly trying to replace human labor with machines that don’t have to be paid o Or seeking to push wages as low as they can be Double process: trend for decreased wages and the work that laborers do are becoming more and more mindless labor with little meaning. o Laborers subject to supply and demand (pg. 478) o Mechanized work means proletariat does not need to be intelligent, happy, healthy, or fed. o Just an appendage for the machince o Just need to be kept alive to reproduce yourself o As work increases, wage decreases and more productivity is extracted Catch: cycle of capitalism o Puts others out of business; even petty business owners cannot compete with big industry o More people pushed into proletariat o Supply of proletariat goes up. o Allows bourgeoisie to play workers off of one another, labor costs can be driven down o Skills that used to be specialized are replaced by technology o This will cause capitalism to self destruct. The proletariat will become aware of their situation and become more conscious. They will then riseup, build together o They will take control of the economic means of production o Distribute to everyone what they need o Basic needs can be met Then can do as they please, people can do kind of labor they want to freely choose. Spend life doing what you want to do instead of being enslaved for a bare minimum of living. In a communist country, there will be real freedom. o 1 footnote of text is definition of each Bourgeoisie: class of modern capitalists, own means of production, and employ wage labor Proletariat: wage laborers with no means of production themselves, selling own labor to live Role of government in capitalist society Government in capitalism is really just a body for furthering the interest of the bourgeoisie. o Their interest really matters because of what they do with capital o Political class simple becomes a committee for managing the common affairs of the bourgeoisie class (pg. 495) Bourgeoisie has exclusive pull o Work to benefit the most powerful class The real heart of power Provide the politicians Control the politicians Entire society based on capitalist society and relied upon capitalist society Therefore, need bourgeoisie Their capital is needed Bourgeoisie can exert power on working class or politicians by taking their capital elsewhere. (pg. 475) o Freetrade Structure vs. Superstructure If you want to understand the nature of a society, you need to understand the basic structure o Comprised of economic structure o How does it produce and reproduce How do they feed themselves, what kind of labor do they do, how do they live? o Produce and distribute goods o How it allows its people to reproduce The rest is derivative of the basic economic structure o The superstructure The legal, political, moral, philosophical, artistic, ideological aspects of any society that arise from the economic structure of society Level of development, means of production (had tools vs machines) relate to the social development Feudal to industrial o Shape social relations Level of development of means of production, social relations based around these. Socialized into forms of consciousness based on economic needs How an economy needs to produce for itself at this particular time When there is an economic need for hierarchy, then that is what our social consciousness needs. o Ideas of worship and hierarchical relationships A pressure builds up in the system based on technology, then a need for economic change occurs Ex (pg. 477): feudal society; agriculture based. Need people tied to land. Need level of hierarchy. o Industrialization changes economic needs need mobile labor, able to come work in a factory. Uproot from land sell their labor to factory owners. Ideas of freedom, competition. The ruling ideas at any time are the ideas of its ruling class Because if ideas are superstructure, conditioned by economic life, then ruling ideas will be based on the best interest of the ruling economic class o Along with political institutions Ruling ideas are conducive to the bourgeoisie o As material production changes, our intellectual production changes as well o The ideas of the ruing age are the production of the ruling class Relate to argument in Plato’s Republic Sophist in the beginning o Justice is the advantage of the stronger The powerful set rules of the game, their own interest and impose them on everyone else Communism will for the first time overcome this because there will not be a ruling class Liberal rights and freedoms are ‘superstructure’ of capitalism Ancient world had particular economy, when economy began to change, Christianity began to overcome the ancient religion o Christianity becomes dominant form of consciousness o Christianity tied to feudal society and economy o Feudal economy break down, Christianity gives way to rationalism (science), understanding in secular terms. Also gives way to liberalism, freedom of ideas, competition of ideas Clash of ideas to have scientific/technological economy develop Relate to Locke: o Locke is representative to their shift As Christianity was giving way to liberalism As capitalism was just developing, with Locke you can see Christianity giving wat to secularism. Locke was actually expressing historical economic change, capitalism, religion needed to get out of the way. Needed competition Locke’s argument undermined religion in public realm and put it in private realm. Marx; On the Jewish Question o Originally pitched by Bruno Bower Similar argument to Locke A question of rights of Jews to practice their religion in a Christian state o Civil, political emancipation Bower says this is the wrong question o Religion should be separated from state, then you would not need to give a minority religious rights Get rid of the Christianity of the state; privatize religion o Marx and Bower both think religion should disappear Religion used as oppression Locke wants there to be religion o Privatizing religion will cause it to go away eventually Has stayed so long because religion has been institutionalized o Main arguments: When you privatize religion, you don’t eliminate it. Rather, the state is separated from religion, but religion continues to exist in ‘civil society’ (the private sphere). o Points to U.S.: they have separation and yet religion thrives; agreeing with Locke that religion thrives when privatized. (pg. 11531154). Freedom of religion is a type of ‘political emancipation’ or ‘civil right’. These rights declare differences of religion to be formally insignificant in politics. Freedom of religion, therefore, simply separates religion from the public realm (civil society). This is analogous to what happens with private property and many other differences among us as we gain civil and political rights When religion is politically emancipated, it emancipates the state from the state of religion. (pg. 1153) As civil and political rights develop, people gain property rights, but the state declares property insignificant for citizenship Everyone has freedom of religion, but regardless of religion you can be a full citizen, have full citizen rights. Separating politics from religion and any other differences, we declare that property has been overcome when it becomes insignificant to the state, full participation in state as citizen. (pg. 1154) o It has not been overcome. We celebrate as if these differences have been overcome, but they have just been moved to civil society. A split/contradiction is therefore created in liberal capitalist society between imagined, political life and actual material life. There is abstract, formal equality in public, and concrete, substantive inequality in private Great illusion to this public realm of freedom and equality, a myth. “For man as bourgeois, life in the state is only a resemblance, or monetary exception…to the real nature of things” “The difference between the shop keeper and the citizen, between the day laborer and the citizen…” (pg. 1155) o As a real individual is living in contrast to a citizen in the state o “political lion skin” We are all different people in civil society, but all wear the same skin (a cloak, a lion skin) in the political realm. Makes us all the same, look stronger, more powerful. Some of the real bodies are malnourished and broken down. Some are healthy and thriving under the political lion skin. There is a contradiction the private sphere becomes a realm of division, inequality, instrumentality, egoism, and selfinterest. We are not actually free from these things. Use one another as instruments to further yourself Look out for own selfinterest Remint of civil society Marx noted earlier in manifesto that this is what capitalism is As religion is privatized, it becomes a realm of egoism and competition When it was public it was a community ethic Not of community or morality, only self interest (egoism) Becomes competitive enterprise like property This is what thrives in liberal capitalist society The greatest dividing factor being proletariat vs. bourgeoisie. Formally equal citizens, but capitalist society, the civil society is oppression. o Go on to thrive because it’s non political Further element to reinforce it, we all think we are free and equal to one another But it still dominated one over another or oppressed by one class over another. Civil right (including freedom of religion) causes us to confuse ‘political emancipation’ for ‘true human emancipation’ o This is not to say that civil rights are bad, but only that they are limited, incomplete, and deceiving Civil rights are a step in the right direction but not complete. It is a great step forward, but it is not the final form of universal human emancipation. Not happen until capitalism is over thrown. “This, man was not freed from religion, he received religious freedom, he was not freed from property, but received freedom of property..” (pg. 1155) Not free from oppression, freedom of oppression What liberal capitalism gives us; this makes us believe we are free and equal Causes us to confuse political emancipation for true human emancipation o Marx thinks Locke is guilty of this confusion Not substantial freedom “political emancipation is a reduction of man..” Act like we are moral to one another, but not really. “only when the actual individual man has taken both into himself the abstract man..” Split has to be overcome, free and equal has to be in real life to be true human emancipation.
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