Saturday, January 22, 2011

Basic Guide to Marxism


A political praxis and social theory based on the works of Karl Marx, a nineteenth century philosopher, economist, journalist, and revolutionary.

Marxist believe that the capitalist society is divided into two social classes:

1. The working class/proletariat
  - "Those individuals who sell their labor and do not own the means of production."
  - Believed working class was responsible for the wealth of a society.
  - Further divided into lumpen proletariat, or those who cannot find legal work on a regular basis. i.e. prostitutes, beggars, homeless

2. The Bourgeoisie
  - Those who "own the means of production" and employ the proletariat.
  - Further subdivided into the very wealthy bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie (or those who can employ labour but also work for themselves).

Marx developed these ideas to support his advocacy of socialism and communism.

Some of these ideas are shared by anarchists, though the differed their beliefs on how to bring about an end to class society.
Anarchists such as Mmikhail Bakunin and Peter Kropotkin argued that the state per se was the problem, and that destroying it should be the aim of any revolutionary activity.

Many governments, political parties, social movements, and academic theorists have claimed to be founded on Marxist principles. Important examples include:

  • Social democratic movements in 20th century Europe
  • The Soviet Union & other Eastern Bloc countries
  • Mao & other revolutionaries in agrarian developing countries

The 1917 October Revolution, led by Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky was the first large scale attempt to put Marxist ideas about a workers' state into practice.

Counterrevolution, civil war, foreign interventions, and failed socialist revolutions in Germany and other small countries...
...Led to...
...Opportunity for Stalin to take power when Lenin died.

Stalin's socialism in one country was unable to maintain itself. The USSR ceased to show the characteristics of a socialist state long before its formal dissolution.

Important sites for information:

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