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It leaves this to criminal law, doctors, religion, statistical tables, politics, and the beadle. Marx, Wages of Labour Communism is the riddle of history solved, and it knows itself to be this solution. Marx, Private Property and Communism But also when I am active scientifically, etc. Not only is the material of my activity given to me as a social product as is even the language in which the thinker is active : my own existence is social activity, and therefore that which I make of myself, I make of myself for society and with the consciousness of myself as a social being.

Private Property and Communism Natural science will in time incorporate into itself the science of man, just as the science of man will incorporate into itself natural science: there will be one science. Natural science has invaded and transformed human life all the more practically through the medium of industry; and has prepared human emancipation, although its immediate effect had to be the furthering of the dehumanisation of man.

Industry is the actual , historical relationship of nature, Their resolution is therefore by no means merely a problem of understanding, but a real problem of life, which philosophy could not solve precisely because it conceived this problem as merely a theoretical one. In general it is always empirical businessmen we are talking about when we refer to political economists, who represent their scientific creed and form of existence. Marx, Human Requirements and Division of Labour Under private property Each tries to establish over the other an alien power, so as thereby to find satisfaction of his own selfish need.

The increase in the quantity of objects is therefore accompanied by an extension of the realm of the alien powers to which man is subjected, and every new product represents a new potentiality of mutual swindling and mutual plundering. Man is directly a natural being.

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As a natural being and as a living natural being he is on the one hand endowed with natural powers, vital powers — he is an active natural being. These forces exist in him as tendencies and abilities — as instincts. On the other hand, as a natural, corporeal, sensuous objective being he is a suffering , conditioned and limited creature, like animals and plants.

A being which does not have its nature outside itself is not a natural being, and plays no part in the system of nature. A being which has no object outside itself is not an objective being. Engels, Letter to Marx. January 20 Communism is for us not a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality [will] have to adjust itself. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. The conditions of this movement result from the premises now in existence. Marx, German Ideology The premises from which we begin are not arbitrary ones, not dogmas, but real premises from which abstraction can only be made in the imagination.

They are the real individuals, their activity and the material conditions under which they live, both those which they find already existing and those produced by their activity. These premises can thus be verified in a purely empirical way. Morality, religion, metaphysics, all the rest of ideology and their corresponding forms of consciousness, thus no longer retain the semblance of independence.

They have no history, no development; but men, developing their material production and their material intercourse, alter, along with this their real existence, their thinking and the products of their thinking. We know only a single science, the science of history. One can look at history from two sides and divide it into the history of nature and the history of men. The two sides are, however, inseparable; the history of nature and the history of men are dependent on each other so long as men exist.

The history of nature, called natural science, does not concern us here; but we will have to examine the history of men, since almost the whole ideology amounts either to a distorted conception of this history or to a complete abstraction from it. Ideology is itself only one of the aspects of this history. In communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic.

The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas. For each new class which puts itself in the place of one ruling before it, is compelled, merely in order to carry through its aim, to represent its interest as the common interest of all the members of society, that is, expressed in ideal form: it has to give its ideas the form of universality, and represent them as the only rational, universally valid ones.

As far as Feuerbach is a materialist he does not deal with history, and as far as he considers history he is not a materialist. Both for the production on a mass scale of this communist consciousness, and The first premise of all human history is, of course, the existence of living human individuals.

Thus the first fact to be established is the physical organisation of these individuals and their consequent relation to the rest of nature Men can be distinguished from animals by consciousness, by religion or anything else you like. They themselves begin to distinguish themselves from animals as soon as they begin to produce their means of subsistence, a step which is conditioned by their physical organisation.

By producing their means of subsistence men are indirectly producing their actual material life Marx, German Ideology The question whether objective truth can be attributed to human thinking is not a question of theory but is a practical question. Marx, Theses On Feuerbach: Thesis 2 The materialist doctrine concerning the changing of circumstances and upbringing forgets that circumstances are changed by men and that it is essential to educate the educator himself.

This doctrine must, therefore, divide society into two parts, one of which is superior to society. Marx, Theses On Feuerbach: Thesis 3 The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it. Marx, Theses On Feuerbach: Thesis 11 One of the most difficult tasks confronting philosophers is to descend from the world of thought to the actual world. Language is the immediate actuality of thought. Just as philosophers have given thought an independent existence, so they were bound to make language into an independent realm.

Marx, German Ideology, Chapter 3 Marx, The Holy Family, Chapter 6 Marx, Letter to Annenkov The hand-mill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam-mill society with the industrial capitalist. Marx, Poverty of Philosophy Economists explain how production takes place in the above-mentioned relations, but what they do not explain is how these relations themselves are produced, that is, the historical movement which gave them birth. Proudhon, taking these relations for principles, categories, has merely to put into order these thoughts.

Machines were, it may be said, the weapon employed by the capitalist to quell the revolt of specialized labor. The working class, in the course of its development, will substitute for the old civil society an association which will exclude classes and their antagonism, and there will be no more political power properly so-called, since political power is precisely the official expression of antagonism in civil society.

But in the measure that history moves forward, and with it the struggle of the proletariat assumes clearer outlines, they no longer need to seek science in their minds; they have only to take note of what is happening before their eyes and to become its mouthpiece.

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So long as they look for science and merely make systems, so long as they are at the beginning of the struggle, they see in poverty nothing but poverty, without seeing in it the revolutionary, subversive side, which will overthrow the old society. From this moment, science, which is a product of the historical movement, has associated itself consciously with it, has ceased to be doctrinaire and has become revolutionary.

The slave frees himself when, of all the relations of private property, he abolishes only the relation of slavery and thereby becomes a proletarian; the proletarian can free himself only by abolishing private property in general. Engels, Principles of Communism What is Communism? Communism is the doctrine of the conditions of the liberation of the proletariat. What is the proletariat?


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The proletariat is that class in society which lives entirely from the sale of its labor and does not draw profit from any kind of capital; whose weal and woe, whose life and death, whose sole existence depends on the demand for labor A nation cannot become free and at the same time continue to oppress other nations. The liberation of Germany cannot therefore take place without the liberation of Poland from German oppression.


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  6. Engels, Speech on Poland Under the freedom of trade the whole severity of the laws of political economy will be applied to the working classes. Is that to say that we are against Free Trade? No, we are for Free Trade, because by Free Trade all economical laws, with their most astounding contradictions, will act upon a larger scale, upon a greater extent of territory, upon the territory of the whole earth; and because from the uniting of all these contradictions into a single group, where they stand face to face, will result the struggle which will itself eventuate in the emancipation of the proletarians.

    And this life activity [the worker] sells to another person in order to secure the necessary means of life. He works that he may keep alive. He does not count the labor itself as a part of his life; it is rather a sacrifice of his life. It is a commodity that he has auctioned off to another. Marx, Wage Labour and Capital What is a Negro slave? A man of the black race. A Negro is a Negro. Only under certain conditions does he become a slave. A cotton-spinning machine is a machine for spinning cotton. Only under certain conditions does it become capital.

    Torn away from these conditions, it is as little capital as gold is itself money, or sugar is the price of sugar Marx, Wage Labour and Capital A house may be large or small; as long as the neighboring houses are likewise small, it satisfies all social requirement for a residence. But let there arise next to the little house a palace, and the little house shrinks to a hut.

    The little house now makes it clear that its inmate has no social position at all to maintain. What is free trade, what is free trade under the present condition of society? It is freedom of capital.

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    When you have overthrown the few national barriers which still restrict the progress of capital, you will merely have given it complete freedom of action. But, in general, the protective system of our day is conservative, while the free trade system is destructive. It breaks up old nationalities and pushes the antagonism of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie to the extreme point. In a word, the free trade system hastens the social revolution.

    Key Quotations in Sociology

    It is in this revolutionary sense alone, gentlemen, that I vote in favor of free trade. A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of communism. All fixed, fast frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned In bourgeois society, therefore, the past dominates the present; in Communist society, the present dominates the past.


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    In bourgeois society capital is independent and has individuality, while the living person is dependent and has no individuality. In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.

    The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Working Men of All Countries, Unite! We have no compassion and we ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror. But the royal terrorists, the terrorists by the grace of God and the law, are in practice brutal, disdainful, and mean, in theory cowardly, secretive, and deceitful, and in both respects disreputable..

    It will be the workers, with their courage, resolution and self-sacrifice, who will be chiefly responsible for achieving victory. The petty bourgeoisie will hesitate as long as possible and remain fearful, irresolute and inactive; but when victory is certain it will claim it for itself and will call upon the workers to behave in an orderly fashion, and it will exclude the proletariat from the fruits of victory.