Marxist Theory Of Class Conflict

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Essay on Marxian Theory of Class Struggle

The Idea of Class Conflict is Central to Marxian Thought:

The theory of class struggle or class conflict is central to Marxian thought. In fact, Marxian sociology is often called “The sociology of class conflict.” The idea of class war emerges from the theories of dialectical materialism, materialistic interpretation of history, and surplus value. The main promise of the “Marxian Class Theory” is to be found in the opening sentence of his famous work “The Communist Manifesto, 1848” which reads as follows;

“The history of the hitherto existing society is the history of the class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebian, lord and serf, guild-master and journey man, in a word, oppressor
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History presents nothing but the record of a war between classes.

Every exploiting class at each stage gives rise to an opposite class. Hence thesis and anti-thesis can be noted. Feudal barons and capitalists form the thesis, and the serf and the proletariat respectively constitute the anti-thesis. Marx gave a call to the workers to overthrow the thesis of capitalism by the antithesis of organised labour.

Essential Aspects of the Marxian Theory of Class Conflict:

Marx developed his theory of class conflict in his analysis and critique of the capitalist society. The main ingredients of this theory of conflict have been enlisted by Abraham and Morgan who may be briefly described here

1. The Development of the Proletariat:

Accentuation of capital is the essence of capitalism. In Raymond Aron’s words, “The essence of capitalist exchange is to proceed from money to money by way of commodity and end up with more money than one had at the outset.” Capital is gained, according to Marx, from the exploitation of the masses of population, the working
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Through the development of class consciousness, the economic conditions of capitalism united the masses and constituted them into “a class for itself’….. (Abraham and Morgan. Page: 37.)

2. Importance of Property:

According to Marx, the most distinguishing feature of any society is its form of property. An individual’s behaviour is determined by his relations to property. Classes are determined on the basis of individual’s relation to the means of production. Means of production or forces of production represent a type of property which in the capitalist society is owned by the capitalists.

Here, an individual’s occupation is not important but his relations to the means of production are important. “Property divisions are the crucial breaking lines in the class structure.”

3. Identification of Economic and Political Power and

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