PLS 200-05

[Missed first 10 min of class]

Communism (Marx’s assumptions)

Dialectic method
Thesis (assumptions) –> antithesis –> synthesis –> thesis –> antithesis –> synthesis, etc. until “truth” is reached

materialism = nature of the world
property, wealth result in class structure

exploitation of proletariat (workers)

Marx rejects outright non-material things

religion provides false hope, “opiate of the masses”

working class’ duty to overthrow exploitative society in order to free mankind

life = class struggle = constant change


  • change is the rule of life
  • change is progressive
  • what leads change? technology applied to the real world
  • ultimately leads from lower forms of society to higher (Communism)
  • Communism:

  • economic base
    • labor exploited by elites
  • sets up class struggle (those who control labor control economy)
  • property is the means through which control is instituted
  • change is brought about through revolution

Communist progression of societal development:
Slavery -> feudalism -> capitalism -> dictatorship of proletariat -> communism

Classless society implies destruction of individualism & identity — Ultimate goal: abolition of the nation-state

In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.


The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degrees, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralise all instruments of production in the hands of the State, i.e., of the proletariat organised as the ruling class; and to increase the total of productive forces as rapidly as possible.

Of course, in the beginning, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on the conditions of bourgeois production; by means of measures, therefore, which appear economically insufficient and untenable, but which, in the course of the movement, outstrip themselves, necessitate further inroads upon the old social order, and are unavoidable as a means of entirely revolutionising the mode of production.

These measures will of course be different in different countries.

Nevertheless in the most advanced countries, the following will be pretty generally applicable.

1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.

2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.

3. Abolition of all right of inheritance.

4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.

5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.

6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.

7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.

8. Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.

10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, &c., &c.

When, in the course of development, class distinctions have disappeared, and all production has been concentrated in the hands of a vast association of the whole nation, the public power will lose its political character.

— Marx & Engels, The Communist Manifesto (emphases added)

  1. nature of man: selfish, self-serving
  2. rate/nature of change: inevitable, inexorable, technology driven (some argue violence is necessary)
  3. private property: abolished
  4. role of the state: voluntary self-rule becomes government structure
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