Marxism, which derives its name from Karl Marx (1818-83); the basic concept of Marxism was first developed in around 1840s by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (1820-95), after severe criticism of ‘Utopian Socialists’, who first recognised the problems with liberalism and how with the passage of time liberalism in its bid to provide human freedom failed miserably and became a capitalist economy instead. The theory of Utopian Socialism as opposed to liberalism proposed free cooperation instead of free competition, it promoted social ownership of the means of production but in a more visionary manner which ignored the hard realities of life. Marx and Engels came up with a more scientific solution to this problem, they identified the issue as a class conflict between the Bourgeoisie and the Proletariat, they considered that liberalism gave rise to the capitalist economy in which, one class of people owned all the means of social production and it compelled the other class to work for it which was the working class. Marx and Engels in the Communist Manifesto called out the working class and asked them to revolutionise against this divide to secure social ownership of all the means of production.
Marx criticised the capitalist economy on multiple grounds; He stated that the working class were subject to undue harassment by the Bourgeoisie on various grounds such excessive work load and little incentive, the Bourgeoisie were arbitrary in nature and they exploited the masses for their own gain.
MAIN TENETS OF MARXISM
Some basic premises of Marxism are as follows-:
- Dialectical Materialism- Marx borrowed his philosophical method German philosopher,
G.W.F. Hegel (1770- 1831), whose work was basically concerned with ‘ideas’ or ‘consciousness’, he believed that ideas were the spirit of the universe and they only formed the society which was constantly changing due to the changing forms of ideas. But, opposing to this Marx propounded that ‘matter’ rather than idea was the essence of the universe, he stated that due to its inherent tension matter underwent dialectical process, until perfect material conditions came into being, Engels postulated three laws of Dialectical Materialism: (a). the transformation of quantity into quality and vice versa; (b). unity of opposites; (c). the negation of negation.
2. Historical Materialism- As discussed previously, Marx was of the opinion that matter brings about changes in the universe not ideas. Prior to Marx, it was the general consensus that ideas bring about changes in the history, but Marx strongly disagreed emphasizing on the notion that people’s consciousness does not define their social being but it is actually the opposite. He explained with the help of an illustration that; the society is like a skyscraper, in which, the means of production is the base (substructure); and the political, legal, social structures of the society can be considered as the exterior (superstructure) of the building.
This illustration clearly explains that any impact/changes in the economics (base) of the society impacts the social structure (exterior) but not the vice versa.
3. Doctrine of Class Conflict- One of the most famous quotes by Karl Marx reads as follows; ‘the history of all hitherto society is the history of class struggles’. Here, Marx tries to explain history with the help of a class division which he thinks has always been the part of the society. Marx was of the view that since the earliest development of means of production there has always been a class conflict. Master and Slave in ancient Slave-owning society; Lord and Serf in Medieval Feudal Society; and Bourgeoisie and Proletariat in the present-day Capitalist society. All these example point to only one phenomenon which is the class conflict.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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