The History Of Class Conflicts In Karl Marx And Engels

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Karl Marx’s class theory lies upon the premise that "the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles." He meant by this that ever since the inception of modern human society, people have been always divided into classes which are in conflict with each other due to class interests. An argument against class interests is that they are not given ab initio, they arise out of exposure of people occupying different social positions in varying social contexts. Karl Marx and Engels divided the masses into three broad classes, the proletariats, the petty bourgeoisie and the bourgeoisie. The proletariats are the wage earners or the labour class, in a capitalist society the proletarians don’t have much wealth, and their main asset is their labour power. The bourgeoisie is the class that owns the means of production, their class interest lies in the value of property and the preservation of capital, and this ensures their perpetual economic supremacy in society. According to Marx, in the capitalist mode of production, a worker slowly loses the power to decide upon his or her life and destiny, they lose their Gattungswesen (“species-essence”), and this is a consequence of living in a socially stratified society, where human beings become a mechanistic part of a social class. Even though human beings are self-conscious and autonomous, in a capitalist society they are nothing but an economic entity whose acts are dictated by the bourgeoisie, with the aim
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