From Socrates To Sartre; #24; The World to Come
Or. Communism. These opening words of the Communist Manifesto present the image of communism as a ghost haunting Europe and the manifesto ends with what the ghost is about to come forth. The operation is about a communist revolution is about to go and the economic foundations the governments and the cultural existence of the capitalist countries of the world. Although both Marx and Engels are credited with writing The Communist Manifesto in fact Engels wrote only a first draft in the uninspired form of 25 questions and answers about communism. It is Marx who rewrites the whole documents and his rewrite is a work of
genius. The product of his stupendous intellectual imaginative creative powers the British philosopher sir Isaiah Berlin has rightly said that no other modern political movement or cause can claim to have produced anything comparable with the manifesto in eloquence or power. The manifesto swiftly deftly explains the human possed as the history of class struggles which have taken place according to a necessary dialectical laws intertwined with this theoretical explanation of human history. The manifesto offers a diagnosis of the present period as a fateful time in the time of the last great struggle of history between the capitalist class and the proletariat which is the last and slave clause remaining to be freed. But the capitalist cos. It is the most revolutionary class which ever existed up to the present times as Marx the capitalist system
is so competitive that the bourgeoisie must constantly be trying to develop and improve their instruments and technologies of production. As a result the achievements of the bourgeoisie have been tremendous Mox acknowledges this in the manifesto. When he says the bourgeoisie has accomplished wonders far surpassing Egypt and pyramids Roman aqueducts and Gothic cathedrals. The capitalist mode of production has revolutionized all the instruments and technologies of production and it has brought technologically developed industry to every part of the world during its rule of scarcely 100 years. The bourgeoisie has created says Marx more massive and were colossal productive forces than all the preceding generations of the world together. But along with its material achievements the bourgeoisie these leaders of whole industrial armies have changed the face of human life by
destroying the superstructure of the traditional values and human relationships. Nothing in human life has any value now except as monetary value. In the capitalist economy capitalism has destroyed the feudal I was to credit culture. It has destroyed religious piety. It has turned the personal value of a human being into Wordsworth as a mere commodity in the market it has created enormous cities and subjected the country to the rule of the urban centers and it has crowded laborers into the factories as slaves of the machine receiving the wages in exchange for work. It has destroyed the lower levels of the middle class. The small businessman the shopkeeper the farmer all of these sows Mox sink gradually into the proletariat because they lack the capital and the technology to compete with big capital. The enormous progress of the capitalist forces of production have vastly improved the material conditions of human life. But on the negative side the
revolutionary energies of the bourgeoisie in developing production will lead to their own destruction. In the manifesto Marx says that capitalism is like the magician was unable to control the forces he has magically unleashed. So in the same way the bourgeoisie cannot control all of the new instruments methods technologies that they have created and the result is overproduction of goods and the conflict between the capitalist relations of production and distribution of profits and the constantly expanding forces of production and the floor with a constant flow of products. But the dialectical process is now moving rapidly. The contradiction between the expanding forces of production and the capitalist relations of production is worsening unemployment and starvation is what the proletariat suffers when the capitalist slows down production. No power on earth can prevent the outcome of this last class struggle. The capitalist class is doomed to
extinction. It has performed its necessary role in the long history of man's transformation of nature and human nature not of the proletariat class is destined by the inexorable dialectic of history to be liberated. And with this liberation of the last remaining slave class of history all mankind will be free. The future will be wrongs to the proletariat. It is theirs because the dialectical laws of history make it inevitable. Mox calls to the proletariat to break their chains to liberate themselves by uniting in a revolutionary action under the control of the Communist Party which will win for them. The world which capitalism has developed. But here Marxist theory runs into serious difficulties and confusions which it has never been able to overcome. Is it not confused and your logical thinking on Marxist part to incite the proletariat to action to ring the bell of a revolution that is inevitable and
necessary according to dialectical laws of economics. Why whip the proletariat into action to bring about a revolution which is necessary. You're never really coming so inexorable in its approach that no force on earth can stop it. Why fight for the inevitable. A second then related problem. Well now immediately a curfew is marks in the amount of Festo offering us truth or propaganda is Marx's economic theory of history an objectively true theory which correctly presents what has taken place in human societies and in historical change. Or is it instead propaganda the manipulation of thoughts for a political and in this case the manipulation of the passions of the frustrated suffering proletariat to take revolutionary action and overthrow capitalism. If Marx is in fact offering not an objectively true theory of history but propaganda which will galvanize the proletariat into revolutionary action then we can explain
Marx's strange inconsistency in urging the proletariat to fight for what is inevitably going to happen anyway as a result of necessary economic laws. Could this be Marxist thinking that if his theory convinces the proletariat that their successful revolution against the capitalist is inevitable guaranteed by necessary economic laws then they will believe that this is true and will act on this belief and so make it come true. Then if the proletariat fights for the Revolutionary War the revolution because they believe Marxist propaganda that a successful revolution is inevitable by their action they will have made it inevitable. This is in fact mocks his own viewpoint which he has let us in on over and over again and most clearly in his 11 theses on Feuerbach. Did he not say in the second of his theses on Feuerbach. The question whether our objective truth can be attributed to human thinking is not a question of theory but is a practical
question. In practice men must prove the truth. This is to say that a theory about society or history is true not because it provides an object of incorrect analysis but rather the theory is true if it works if it leads people to believe in it and act upon it. This will make the theory true. But what view of truth is this. It is a view of truth which is today called radical pragmatism. Radical Pragmatism is the view that a statement is true if it works in bringing about some desired goal. If it works in practice but Marxist theory of history thus loses it's going to object of truth and is revealed either as propaganda or as radical pragmatism a theory which denies that there was object of truth and claims instead that any statement must be regarded as true. If people believe it and if it works for them and practice the obvious danger in radical pragmatism is that a false theory. A theory which is merely a propagandist
manipulative or based upon myths or real Lucian's may be useful and may work in getting people to believe it and to take action in achieving a desired political goal. Should we call such a theory true because it works. A third problem also shows itself at this point. What kind of thinking does the Communist Manifesto represent. Is the manifesto science or is it philosophy. Clearly it is not science. The use of the manifesto of the philosophical Julian laws of dialectic and the propagandistic appeal for revolutionary action both disqualify the manifesto from being considered to be a scientific statement. Nor is it philosophy as philosophy is usually understood. So if we compare the manifesto with the Hey goals philosophy of history for example we see a profound difference. The manifesto does not merely interpret or explain history. It intertwines its explanation of history as a necessary economic dialectic of modes of production with explicit
inspiring political ideas and values on behalf of the interest of the proletariat. But then has not Marx fallen into the trap of ideology which he himself set and which he himself used to condemn all POS theories. It was not his own theory and ideology. A system of ideas determined by class conflict and reflecting the interest of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie. Is he not like all ideologists seeking to promote the interests of a specific social group. And if the manifesto was so clearly ideological a system of ideas serving to bring about the interest of the proletariat and their victory over the capitalist class then must we not be suspicious of all the rest of Marx's writings as well. It was a Marx himself who taught us to be ideologically suspicious of all theory Marx is brilliant and forceful Communist Manifesto was written in great haste for the Communist League of London which published it as a propaganda tract in what
appeared to be a swelling movement toward revolution at that moment. But although at the time of its publication the manifesto was hardly noticed by anyone. Rocks and angles had correctly sensed the coming of revolution before the manifesto had rolled off the printing presses in February 1848 the revolutions of 1848 had begun. Within a few weeks the King of France was overthrown and the revolutions of 1848 began to explode in one country after another in Switzerland Italy France Germany Hungary but all of these wildly hopeful revolutionary outbursts in which middle class and working class joining together. Where do you think good and in ruins you for the year 1848 came to an end. Now came the long years of exile from mosques in London where Marx was to live for over half his life from eight hundred forty nine to his death in 1883. The first years in London were the worst Moxon Jenny and the children lived
in two or three rooms in a poor crowded rundown section of London. The spirits of Jenny and locks were broken by the deaths of three of the children in the years between 1850 and 1856. They lived at the edge of starvation hounded by creditors for nonpayment of bills. Repeatedly they were a victim for nonpayment of rent. Here was the beginning of the chronic illnesses that Marx and Johnnie suffered a period in which Jenny later described as a real misery in London in the 1850s woks found herself isolated with few friends and exiled from the stimulating atmosphere of the European continent. Knox's own personality aggressive domineering contemptuous isolated him still further and England was in no revolutionary mood. Its only recent radical movement chart ism had just been defeated and England was just now at the beginning stages of an economic upswing and an enormous growth in industry and
trade which took the ground from under all revolutionary movements. The 1850s in England after the radicalism of the 1840s in England have been compared to the 1970s in the United States to the radicalism of the 1960s. A new sober mood anti radical and conservative swept England then as it has swept our country today and the economic upswing that began in England in the 1850s continued until the end of the 19th century. It is one of the ironies and frustrations of the life of Mach's the revolutionary that he lived the second half of his life in a time of increasing economic prosperity and the continuing improvement of the standard of living of the working class. More and more the unionized Industrial Workers of England saw themselves as gaining better wages and working conditions and the radical propaganda lost its appeal. Yet Marx continued his ties with the Communist League and with the revolutionary
remnant of other exiles like himself. His days were spent in the reading room of the British Museum which is the great public library of London where he did his endless reading and his writing at the same desk every day from 9:00 in the morning until seven at night when the museum closed and then home to a long night of further study and writing here in the reading room of the British Museum all of Marx's subsequent works were written and most notably what he regarded as his greatest work. Das copy tell capital the first volume of which appeared in 1867 and which had been fifteen years in the writing. Here in capital there's the most complete statement of maturer Marxism of the scientifics on their way out of world history and specifically the scenario of the present historical moment as a claw struggle. What major new elements does capital add in addition to contributing a clear overview of the entire capitalist mode of production worked out in great economic detail.
Capital provides the famous concepts of the labor theory of value surplus value. The theory of exploitation and the polarization of classes. These are all economic concepts of the economic scientific scenario of world history and we will look at them very briefly. First of all what is capitalism. Marx develops but does not ever change his fundamental view that a capitalistic mode of production is one in which a few human beings. Only the major forces or means of production as their private property and they employ as workers. Those who have nothing to sell but their own labor power. The commodities that the workers produce March argues have a value equivalent to the amount of labor needed to produce them. Here Marx was borrowing from the British economists Adam Smith and David Ricardo. Their labor theory of value their principle that the value of anything is determined by how much of labor has been required to produce it. The labor theory of value has
been strenuously objected to by recent economists who have pointed out for example that the value of commodities is determined by supply and demand rather than the amount of labor needed to produce them and also that is not the amount of labor that determines the value of a commodity but the degree of skill that is required to produce it directly related to Marx's labor theory of value is a crucial concept of surplus value. This is a concept which explains both the profit of the council list and the exploitation of the worker marks to find surplus value as the difference between the workers wages and the value of what he has produced. That difference the difference between what the capitalist must pay the worker as wages and what the capitalist can sell the workers product for makes up the capitalist profit. And here we have the key argument in Marxist theory of exploitation capitalism of their system of exploitation in which the capitalist profits by paying the workers the going rate of wages rather than
the full value of the goods the worker produces. But another factor enters this picture of the capitalist mode of production. Capitalists are in relentless competition with one another in selling their goods. And this involves them and competing with one another by investing their capital in new machinery in order to increase production. But this investment of capital in more and more costly new machinery eats into the profit that the capitalist makes from the surplus value that his workers produce for him. Moreover all of the capitalist competitors have also introduced the new machinery and have increased their output of commodities as well. With the result that larger and larger amounts of commodities are now produced and thrown on the market and profits decline and the crisis of overproduction occurs in which the capitalist tries to salvage his business by cutting wages or by reducing production but cutting wages or cutting production mean poverty and unemployment for the workers. And as these intensify they lead to revolution.
Here we have once more come upon the contradiction between the first and the relations of production which leads to revolution. And lastly capital offers its theory of the polarization of society into two economic losses. Mox me believes that the capitalist costs will shrink in size as capital as competition increases and the more successful capitalist undersell of the capitalists and buy them out or drive them out of business. But Rob the capitalist class is decreasing in size. The proletariat COS is rapidly growing in numbers because her are gradually sinking into the proletariat. Shopkeepers skilled craftsman farmers and in this way capitalism reduces so society to two main crosses one growing richer as the other grows poorer. But as the proletariat cost increases in size under the impact of repeated crises unemployment poverty and starvation they will come to see their real situation as it is and they will
become revolutionary. And now we must ask what follows the revolution. What is the shape of the communist world to come. The communist world of the future mocks tells us will come in two stages. First there will be the stage which March called the dictatorship of the proletariat in which the proletariat will establish a government with absolute dictatorial power in order to guarantee a successful transition from capitalism to government as all row for mocks. The state is an instrument of cross oppression. The proletariat itself must become a ruling class using the state army courts police all of the means of oppression and coercion in order to destroy any remnants of capitalist power. Marx calls the dictatorship of the proletariat a period of crude communism. In this period. Private property will be seized and made into the property of all new crew satisfaction of the same money
mania and greed as had existed in the abolished capitalist society. This was a materialistic stage of communism a stage still focused on material goods. Everyone will become an employee of the state with a strict equality of wages. The old envy and jealousy which the proletariat had for the bourgeoisie will still be visible in the insistence in the dictatorship of the proletariat that no one receives higher wages or possess more goods than anyone else. The dictatorship of the proletariat were reduced the standard of living for all to a common low level monks predicts and or preach self-denial for the good of the revolution and the sharing of work and the equality of wages. Crude communism will have no useful culture and civilization but will fall to the level of the very poor who have no useful culture because they have no knowledge of it. In this stage of communism the society itself is an all powerful capitalist for whom
everyone works and by whom everyone is paid. What have you not already recognized that Marx's description of the dictatorship of the proletariat and its crude communism is a remarkably accurate picture of present day Soviet Russia has Soviet communism since the Communist Revolution of 1917. Been in the stage of the dictatorship of the proletariat the dictatorship of the Communist Party and of Lenin Stalin and their successors. About the second stage of communism rocks was understandably reluctant to be drawn into specific detail in the world to come the evils and shortcomings of the dialectical stages of history will be overcome. Mankind's alienation from the work of his own hands will be overcome and he will relate to the whole of the material objects as a product of human labor which he can value and enjoy without the need to possess them as his private property. Mankind will be liberated from being controlled by the economic
circumstances of life and rather than wages strictly for work before on the principle of ultimate communism will be from each according to his ability to each according to his need. Mankind will be liberated from the division of labor and from competition with a style of sense and communist society as Mark says. Society regulates the general production and thus it makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow to hunt in the morning to fish in the afternoon. I raise cattle in the evening criticized after dinner just as I have in mind without ever becoming a hunter fisherman Sheppard or critic. But how will this life or free spontaneous activity be possible in the advanced Historical Society of communism. Mox does not Tellus Mox cannot tell us because it is not possible. But the picture he is trying to give us is
clear. It is of a future world to come as the end as the fulfillment of historical time in which man will exist in harmony and peace with himself with other human beings and with nature and in which is life will be free from our viewers toil free from want or care and his days will be spent in joyous creative activity here in this vision of the communist world to come. Mark says once more returned to Hegel and to a had a vision of history as a great triad from the thesis of the original primitive communism to an antithesis in the long centuries of toil under economic systems of private property. The Asiatic the Classical the feudal and the capitalist. And finally to return in the synthesis to a new advanced industrial communism. But Marx is also expressing something deeper than Hegel his vision is a profoundly Judeo-Christian one of man's fall from paradise and the wrong use of labor in exile with the hope of the
peace and joy of Paradise to be regained in the new communist world to come. And his vision also powerfully reminds us of the revelations of John in the New Testament where Jones speaks of the great destruction ofter which there arises a new and totally redeemed man in a new and purified Jerusalem. Here Maak says move beyond propaganda beyond ideology philosophy or science. He has moved into a religious vision and prophecy of the liberation and moral purification of mankind. But how other powerful are the religious and moral currents in Marxist thought his specific predictions with regard to capitalism and communism. We know recognize a seriously mistaken. Contrary to Marxist predictions capitalism has not been destroyed. It works vastly underestimated the powers of capitalism to reform itself. The unrestrained capitalism of Marx's time no longer exists. Capitalism has long
since incorporated many of the demands of the Communist Manifesto and with respect to communism. Again contrary to a Marxist prediction communism has not arisen in highly developed capitalist countries out of the conflict between the relations and forces of production. Rather communism has sprung up in feudal underdeveloped countries like Russia and China. Nevertheless the contribution of Marx to the intellectual world stands and must be recognized for his concepts of the economic foundations of society social class ideology and the influence of social economic and historical conditions upon human life. Marx must be regarded as a founder of sociology and an economic and intellectual history whose thought has transformed both the intellectual world and the political world. Marx died in 1883 all over his grave. A great sculpture of the head of Karl Marx looks
out over London and beyond to a world in which in his name Marxist Communism has spread from Russia to over satellite countries to China to Indochina to Africa and now to Latin America. What is the power of Marxism. It is the poller of an ideology which explains the history of the world as an economic exploitation and shows the ready to liberation by a great final destruction. After which all of mankind will be purified and restored to power dies. A specter is haunting Europe Asia Africa and Latin America. A specter is haunting the world. There were good public broadcasting.
- From Socrates To Sartre
- Episode Number
- The World to Come
- Producing Organization
- Maryland Public Television
- Contributing Organization
- Maryland Public Television (Owings Mills, Maryland)
- AAPB ID
- Episode Description
- Marx IV: Ethics. Marxism as Ideology. Leninism - The classless society. Alienation overcome. Species-man emerges. Marx's Ethics. Overview, Criticism, Influence. Influence on theory and on world affairs. The peculiar power of Marxism as ideology. Criticism of fundamental concepts. Leninism.
- Series Description
- "From Socrates to Sartre is an educational show hosted by Dr. Thelma Z. Lavine, who teaches viewers about the theories and history of philosophy."
- Created Date
- Asset type
- Media type
- Moving Image
Copyright Holder: MPT
Host: Thelma Z. Lavine, Ph.D.
Producing Organization: Maryland Public Television
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
Maryland Public Television
Identifier: 36592.0 (MPT)
Format: Digital Betacam
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
- Chicago: “From Socrates To Sartre; #24; The World to Come,” 1979-02-02, Maryland Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 4, 2023, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-394-46d25chp.
- MLA: “From Socrates To Sartre; #24; The World to Come.” 1979-02-02. Maryland Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 4, 2023. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-394-46d25chp>.
- APA: From Socrates To Sartre; #24; The World to Come. Boston, MA: Maryland Public Television, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-394-46d25chp