CHAPTER 3 CLASS STRUGGLE Generally class struggle means conflict between the upper class and lower class the idea of Class struggle is long-used mostly by socialists and communists, who define a class by its relationship to the means of production such as factories, land, and machinery. From this point of view, the social control of production and labour is a fight between classes, and the division of these resources basically involves conflict and causes damage. Societies are socially divided based on status, wealth, or control of social production and distribution, and in this division of class conflict arises. It is important to know Karl Marx theory on class struggle; he viewed the structure of society in relation to
Amongst other notions, such as habitus, field and symbolic violence, Bourdieu developed the theory of capital, which he divided into four forms of capital, cultural, economic, social and symbolic (Wacquant 2007, 268) in order to explain the “realities of social inequality” (Gauntlett 2011). Regarding the notion of cultural capital, which to some extent is based on Karl Marx’s capitalistic approach when describing class struggle, Bourdieu mentions the “scarce symbolic goods, skills and titles” (L. Wacquant 2007, 268) that a part of society possesses. In fact, the elite detains cultural knowledge that they use in order to maintain their status in society, and keep their position above the working-class. Bourdieu also emphasizes how this scheme is reproduced within education, and thereby how social hierarchy not only occurs, but is also conserved (ibid, 262). Indeed, Bourdieu assesses that the educational system replicates the social inequalities that rely within society, which undeniably favors students from upper-class families.
In 1848 Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published The Communist Manifesto. Communism is a society in which all property is publicly owned and each person works and is paid according to their abilities and need, ‘‘Thus, the needs of a society would be put above and beyond the specific needs of an individual.’’. Marx and Engels desired to end capitalism feeling that it was the social class system that led to the exploitation of workers. The workers that were less valuable would develop class consciousness causing conflict among the classes that would be resolved through violent means. In theory communism sounds like a good idea but in reality it has never worked.
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels express their major critiques and opinions on capitalism in their 1848 publication of The Communist Manifesto. Their critiques are based around the idea that capitalism is simply unfair, meaning that one class benefits significantly more than the rest. The class that benefits least from capitalism is the proletariats. This unintelligent labor class suffers from the capitalists dominance, and is unaware of the damage they are experiencing. George Orwell’s depiction of Boxer in his novel, Animal Farm, fits precisely into Marx and Engels’ negative critique of capitalism by representing a strong symbol for the proletariat class and succumbing to the powerful demands of the capitalists.
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.
Historian George F. Kennan maintains that the ideology and circumstances of the Soviet Union were accountable for the political nature of this communist state. Kennan discusses a distinct pattern of thought and concepts to describe the Soviet Union 's position on capitalism and motivation for their conduct. Kennan understands Russian History to be a significant influence in the nature of the Soviet Union 's conduct and discusses a clear hostility towards capitalism. Capitalism was perceived as a destructive and unjust ideology. It exploited the working class, failed to produce adequate resources and created uneven economic and social distributions.
In modern American society, the term “socialism” carries a lot of baggage. It has been used as a negative label and fears left over from the red scare still cloud people’s judgment of what the term actually represents. It’s often said that socialism leads to communism, or that socialism and communism are the same things. This simply isn’t true. The socialist account of history is that capitalism is unjust and leads to the downfall of great nations.
On one side there are the people. Kotkin refers to them as the ‘civil society’, a group of people ‘imagining’ themselves as opposition when in fact they did not contribute anything to the fall of the Communist regimes. In contrast to this, he labels the other side as ‘uncivil society’, the Communist regimes. They were a society because they contained a social ranking, shared an ideology and lived the same lives. This is seen as more important because the fall occurred within the sphere of the governments.
According to Marx there are only two classes which exist: Bourgeoisie, which means powerful or dominant class and Proletariat, which means the peasant or working classes. Bourgeoisie, which gains the power, defines superstructure “including all social and legal institution, all political and educational systems, all religions and all art” (Bressler, 162), and articulate the ideology which is based on profits of bourgeoisie. The bourgeoisie ideology leads to alienation of individuals, especially proletariats. This bourgeoisie ideology creates the clash between the two classes. Marx supported the working class and their victory over dominant class.
I see Marx as a voice for the voiceless, the weak, and the vulnerable in all societies across the globe. “Karl Marx was a German philosopher and economist who with Friedrich Engels authored the “communist manifesto” a critical analysis of capitalism that saw the material or economic basis of inequality and power relations as the cause of social instability and conflict” (Little & McGivern, 2013, p.13). Marx worked towards changing the economic dynamics of the society. He foresaw impact of private dominance, “ Marx’s analysis of the foundations of a capitalist society raises questions of the justice of the distribution of wealth,” (Amies, 2008, p.7). This is worse in today’s world.
Karl Marx coined the theory in the 1800s as a way of describing the class struggle he was observing. Conflict theory relates societies inequity to those it supports and oppresses. It states that we cannot achieve true equality because society upholds oppressive power structures. Karl Marx believed that a truly equal society could only be achieved through communism. He predicted that oppressed working class “proletariats” would someday become aware of the system that forced them to suffer and revolt against the middle class “bourgeoisie” who controlled the means of production.