Marxism 101

Marxism 101Hammer and Sickle

Marx and Engles

Marx and Engels

Basic Information

Marxism is a method of socioeconomic analysis that uses a materialist interpretation of historical development (better known as historical materialism) to understand class relations and social conflict as well as a dialectical perspective to view social transformation.

Historical Materialism is a method to how to analyze a historical development. It not about different socioeconomic stages but it’s a method about how history develops along socioeconomic lines.

For example, the reason countries go to war isn’t because they are run by angry and hateful men. But it’s because those countries as entities want to control more wealth. This is what is meant by historical materialism, that history is driven by socioeconomic forces, like money, the control of resources, and people’s access to those resources.

Now, this doesn’t mean everything everyone does is for socioeconomic reasons. But that the main driver of large-scale society are the material factors of society.

Marxist Q&A

Q. Is Marxism authoritarian?
A. No, Marxism is about analyzing class society and its negative ramifications. This would apply to all forms of socioeconomic dominance of one group by another. Class systems, according to Marxism creates tensions within themselves, which leads to social conflict.

Q. What is Communism anyway?
A. Communism is a purposed economic system were classes, states, and private property has been abolished and where society is organized on the township, district, or parish level. Basically, the level under a county is posted to a national or state level that it is today.

Q. Isn’t Marxism just what Marx and Engels wrote?
A. Oh no, having a full understanding of Marxism requires a wider perspective than that of two 19th century German socialist writers. What they did was set up the beginning framework of Marxism that later thinkers have added to and expanded upon. With the writing of Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg, Antonio Gramsci, Horkheimer, Adorno, Marcuse, Angela Davis, and even Zizek. Marxism is a theory based on analyzing the present material reality of society. Revisions, addendums, and changes are all a part of Marxism’s ever-changing perspective of the world.

Q. Isn’t Marx outdated?
A. Marx primarily wrote during the beginning of industrial capitalism but his criticism of capitalism still remains very relevant today. As even though things have changed a lot we still have commodity production, class conflict, and The Falling Rate of Profit.

Q. What is The Dictatorship of the Proletariat?
A. It is a society organized as the rule of the WHOLE working class as the dominant class in society. Meaning that working-class people are all equal participants in political society. But society still has its capitalist traits, like money or private property.

Q. Are there other Communist Ideologies other than Marxist-Communism?
A. Yes, Anarchist-Communist thinkers have been very influential in the larger socialist movement. Examples include, Peter Kropotkin, Emma Goldman, Errico Malatesta, and a more contemporary example is Murray Bookchin. He sorta broke away from pure Anarchist-Communism and made his own theory based on Anarchist-Communism and Marxist-Communism called Communalism. Which, yeah the names are all similar.

Marxist Reading List

Easy

‘Wage, Labour, and Capital’ by Karl Marx
‘Value, Price, and Profit’
by Karl Marx
‘Economic & Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844’
by Karl Marx
‘Critique of the Gotha Program’
by Karl Marx
‘Principles of Communism’
by Friedrich Engles
‘State and Revolution’
by Vladimir Lenin
‘Reform or Revolution’
by Rosa Luxemburg
‘The Mass Strike, the Political Party and the Trade Unions’
by Rosa Luxemburg
‘On Practice’
by Mao Zedong
‘On Contradiction’
by Mao Zedong
‘Capitalism Realism is there no Alternative?’ by Mark Fisher
‘Why Marx was Right’ by Terry Eagletson

Medium

‘A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy’ by Karl Marx
‘The German Ideology’
by Karl Marx
‘The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte’
by Karl Marx
‘The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State’
by Friedrich Engles
‘Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism’
by Vladimir Lenin
‘The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception’
by Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer
‘Women Race and Class’ by Angela Davis
‘Are Prisons Obsolete?’ by Angela Davis

Hard

‘Capital Volume 1’ by Karl Marx
‘Capital Volume 2’
by Karl Marx
‘Capital Volume 3’
by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engles
‘Socialism: Utopian and Scientific’
by Friedrich Engles
‘Selections from Prison Notebooks’
by Antonio Gramsci
‘One-Dimensional Man’ by Herbert Marcuse
‘Simulacra and Simulation’
by Jean Baudrillard
‘The Sublime Object of Ideology’ by Slavoj Zizek

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