By relating the story of the labourer in relation to the flagrant exploitation he undergoes, Marx manages to have his message on revolution resonate with many of his readers at that current time. The Manifesto begins by addressing the issue of class antagonism, in its preface, where ‘all history has been a history of class struggles, of struggles between exploited and exploiting, between dominated and dominating classes at various stages of social development’[ Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto, ed. by Jeffrey C. Isaac, (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2012).]. J. Elster in ‘An introduction to Karl Marx’ confirms this notion of the ‘contrast and the conflict between the haves and the have nots, the idle rich and the working poor, are constant themes of history. [ J. Elster, An Introduction to Karl Marx, (Cambridge, 1986), chapter 5, p.79.]
This essay explains the concept of class struggle, bourgeoisie, proletariat (the classes that emerged during the industrialisation.) and alienation on the basis of Marx’s theory. And will also look at relevance of class in the post-industrial society. This essay also talks about how the movie The Bicycle Thief portrays the class struggle that took place and how the proletariats (the working class.) suffered in order to earn money and fulfil their daily needs.
However, many critics have pointed out to lot of lacunae and inadequacies which surround the theory. Some of the criticisms of the Marxist Class theory are as follows: 1. Marx gives all importance to matter and ignores the role of human beings. Marx said that Men create history but not of their will! According to Marx, man is incapable of taking any decision on his own.
Class struggles are a fundamental part of human history: The idea behind this according to Marx is that history is a series of stages, defined by their mode of production and the struggle between classes: "The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles." According to Marx, the current historical stage is the capitalist historical stage. This is the conflict between the bourgeoisie (middle class) and the proletariat (working class). This theory is supported by the historical stages preceding the capitalist historical stage which can easily be defined by their modes of production and class struggle, or lack thereof. For example, before the existence of civil society, there were no class struggles.
The term class can become a confusing concept within social theories with theoretical disputes about the proper definition and elaboration of the concept of class. Studying the sociological theories of class by Karl Marx and Erik Olin Wright, this essay argues that the Australian myth of a wealthy and privileged minority of Australians reinforcing ongoing inequality while exercising their power produced through exploitation, symbolic capital and social stratification is relevant today. The idea behind Karl Marx’s theory of class is the structure of capitalism and can be “regarded as an objective phenomenon”1. It consists of two main classes; the bourgeoisie, the capitalists who own the means of produce, and the larger proletariat who must sell their own labour power. Erik Olin Wright’s theory is an adaptation from the classical Marxism to modern-day economies, to ‘scientifically define and clarify concepts such as class and empirically test them”.2 Karl Marx’s
This unification will, in the end, rid us of our nationalities and abolish countries (Marx, 174). Like in the case of within a nation, Marx predicts that proletariats of different nations will grow to weaken their differences and hostility towards one another and lead into world communism. “In proportion as the exploitation of one individual by another is put an end to, the exploitation of one nation by another will also be put an end to. In proportion as the antagonism between classes within the nation vanishes, the hostility of one nation to another will come to an end” (174, Marx). One of the more repellent features of capitalism is it’s imperialistic association.
The way Marx envisioned how working conditions may be bettered in a communist world is that the labourers should work in a social relations context so that they feel comfortable performing their jobs (Sayers 2011: 81), rather than working only to feed their stomachs. If this is achieved, then alienation would not be an issue anymore, because then, the workers would be in control of their time rather than being exploited. In the past, history has proven time and time again through the 1848 Revolutions, and the Communist revolutions of Russia and Cuba, that due to the alienation of work and inequality, the working class rose up against the class of the bourgeoisie. In these instances, communism was the only way out of the labourers’ suffrage to live a life where they are in control of their time, instead of living under harsh conditions where they sleep where they work. Overall, there are examples throughout history that indicate that capitalism does eventually lead to communism.
Marx argues that due to division of labor and class struggle, “man comes to objectify himself through this mere one-dimension he has created and identifies with” (Marx p.475). The class struggle resulted from division of labor created an inequality where some will own the means of production, and the lower class who provides or sells their labor or “self” to survive working for those owners of means of product. This two groups are simply explained as bourgeoisies and proletariats by Marx. As the industrialization and society modernizes, the inequality will prevail observably. Marx argues that the proletariats will revolt against bourgeoisies and lead to the fall of capitalism and rise of communism.
Doing this made it clear to some who were unsure exactly what the ideas of goals were of the communists were that they had no bad intentions. Early on in this book Marx discusses class antagonism. He states “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles”. This quote implies that the social classes that existed at the time were representing the prior hardships of that class to get to where they were at that point in their