Poli 305


Marx and the History of Socialism


in other words

= communism

= egalitarianism

= equalitarainism

= social and economic equality

= democratic socialism

= social democracy

= collectivism



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History of Socialism

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Primitive Communism of Jesus’ Disciples



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Thomas More, Utopia


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Gerrard Winstanley and True Levellers or Diggers, 1640s


Francois Babeuf (1760--1797)

Robert Owen (1771--1858)

August Becker (1814--1871)

Louis Blanc (1811--1882)

Phillipe Buchez (1796--1865)

Filippo Buonarroti (1761--1837)

Etienne Cabet (1788--1856)

Theodore Dezamy (1803--1850)

Ernst Dronke (1822--1891)

Thomas Edmonds (1803--1889)

... list in England, France, and Germany goes on


Marx and Engels


Karl Kautsky

Eduard Bernstein

Rosa Luxemburg

V.I. Lenin (1870--1924)

Leon Trotsky (1879--1940)

Nikolai Bukharin

Mao Tse--Tung


John Stuart Mill

Oscar Wilde

George Bernard Shaw

Bertrand Russell



 political theory that advocates public ownership and control of the means of production, distribution and exchange;


 emphasis is upon achieving some sort of economic or material equality or redistributive justice with sharing of the burdens, responsibilities, and goodies of the community



 ranges from ‘starting-point egalitarianism’ through ‘equality of opportunity’ to develop of own talents or social talents in contexts of political, and legal, but also social and economic advancement all the way to ‘result or outcome egalitarianism’ and ultimately ‘equality of condition or end’


 some shared notions with communitarianism

 inasmuch as emphasis is placed on interdependence, collaboration, collective life and sharing in the name of the public at the expense of some sacrifice of individuality and individual rights.


the public

 ranges from small worker level local cooperatives (social ownership), to giant

centralized state management (state socialism, perhaps state capitalism vis a vis external world)



ranges from minimal administrative coordination of people already disposed to cooperate to active and authoritative planning and direction for nation as a whole



of capitalism (market, private property, profit), commodification, and individualism all of which are understood as immoral or inappropriate to human nature or dignity


moral justification

 for equality ranges from absolute notions (eg primitive communism of early Christians, God requires it),

 through the claim that socialism best responds to the human condition, all

the way to the nihilist or skeptical insistence that since no grounds can be offered,  the only fair thing to do is split it up everything evenly.


program of action

 ranges from the incremental and reformist to the revolutionary and violent





What Hegel encountered, but now more manifest


 industrialization, industrial revolution, Prussia catch up with Eng

n  banks,

n  mechanized agriculture

n  factories replacing crafts

n  heavy industry: iron, steel

n  mechanized factories




demographic changes: population growth and urbanization


n  urban working conditions, too many workers, child labor

n  poverty, hunger and food riots

n  atrocious living conditions

Breslau 1847 Labor unrest


 Reaction of enhanced social control

n  mass public education

n  expanded role of prisons



 Prussian state conservatism

-- censorship

-- intellectual impotence


Karl Marx (1818-1883)



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Karl and Jenny



Marx and Engels



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 Marx and Engels as co-founders of the most influential statement of socialism, known as Marxism


-- Marx and Engels are two people, each contributed.

-- Early and Late Marx; we read the former, although see change with German Ideology on.



Karl Marx (and Friedrich Engels) Works


Toward a Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right (1844)

On the Jewish Question (1844)

Paris Notebooks or Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts (1844) unpublished

The Holy Family (1844)

Theses on Feuerbach (1845) unpublished

The German Ideology (1845) unpublished

The Poverty of Philosophy (1847)

Communist Manifesto (1848)

Wage, Labor, and Capital (1849)

Class Struggles in France (1850)

18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon (1851)

Grundisse of the Critique of Political Economy (1860)

Herr Vogt (1860)

Das Kapital (vol 1 1867; vol 2 1885)

Civil War in France (1871)

Notes on Bakunin (1873)

Critique of the Gotha Program (1875)



Marx v Engels

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Marx v Individual Agency

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Marx v Hegel

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Marx v Stirner


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Marx v Romantics

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Marx v Smith

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Marx v Future of Markets

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Marx v End of History


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Marx v Communism

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Dialectical materialism

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Erik Olin Wright



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Practically speaking, extremely influential not only in states that do or once did call themselves ‘communist’ or ‘socialist republics’, but also arguably on the shape that modern liberal democracies in the west took, in part in response to Marx and Marxist critiques, ie minimum wage legislation, unionism, welfare services, etc. in order to prevent worker revolution.

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Communist Party.





State (directed or planned) Socialism

Socialist Market Economy

Social Democracy

Anarcho or Libertarian Socialism

Christian Socialism




Take the Quiz to determine what type of socialist you are



Philosophically, a distinction needs to be drawn between

1. strict adherence to the letter of Marx & Engel's texts (Marxism, Marxist),


and 2. new analyses in the spirit or using the categories and theories (Marxian),


and 3. new analyses correcting or revising the letter of M & E (Neo-Marxist)

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