Philosophy of Karl Heinrich Marx (Marx)June 27, 2021
Marxism is also a philosophy of praxis. After his death, leaders such as Lenin, Mao, Stalin and Trotsky interpreted Marxism in various ways, and the movements they produced as a result of these interpretations were named with names such as Leninism and Maoism.
The premise of Marx’s philosophy is man’s nature and his place in society. With the help of Hegelian dialectics, he rejects the concept of the immutability of human nature. What is meant here is not the human nature, physiological needs, but the movement and behavior style that man creates in society. It does this by considering the concepts of “historical process” and “nature” together. Social conditions determine behavior before nature determines human behavior. But this does not deny the existence of human nature, on which the theory of alienation is built. Human labor inevitably requires a natural capacity, but this is closely linked to the active role of human consciousness:
“Just as the spider sees his work in a similar way to the weaver, the bee embarrasses many architects in making its comb. What distinguishes the worst architect from the best bee, however, is that the architect can construct his structure in his image before he actually builds it.” (Capital, Volume 1, Part Three, Chapter 7, Part 1)
Marx’s analysis of history is based on the distinction between the productive forces directly necessary for the production of a good and the relations of production that define the social and technological relations established by the people who use these means of production, which can be counted as land and shovels in agricultural societies, mines and factories in industrial society. This separation and bond forms the production style. Marx says that with the change in the mode of production in Europe, there was a transition from feudalism to the capitalist mode of production. Marx says that the productive forces come before the relations of production and change faster.
In the study “The Poverty of Philosophy”, this situation takes place as follows:
“Social relations are closely tied to the productive forces. To provide new productive forces, people change their mode of production; to change their mode of production, to change their way of earning a living, they change all their social relations. The windmill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam mill , industrial capitalist society.”
Marx says that classes in society are formed depending on these modes of production. The people who make up a class are not brought together by their own will or consciousness. Each class also has a different desire for its own benefit, which leads to conflict in society.
The most hereditary feature of human history is the clash of social classes:
“The history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggles.”
Marx was also interested in people’s own labor power and its relation to it. The problem of alienation is an area of particular interest to the Young Marx. In the capitalist system, with the alienation of man from his own nature, he becomes alienated from both his own labor, the production process and social relations. In Capital he gives way to commodity fetishism, which he defines in more detail.
False consciousness also has an important place in Marxist terminology. It is very closely connected with the concept of ideology and negates it. The class that owns the means of production also pumps its own worldview into the lower classes. Thus, the proletariat cannot see where its own interests lie, and thinks that it has no chance to change the order. He sees events from a religious or human perspective, which is far from a revolutionary thought.
In “Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right”, Marx says:
“Religious sadness is partly the expression of real sadness and another part of protesting against real sadness. Religion constitutes the inner melody of the oppressed people, the warmth of a heartless world, the spirit of social conditions in which the spirit is excluded. Religion is the opium of the people.”
Marx’s Understanding of History
Marx’s theory of historical materialism claims that society is always determined primarily by material conditions, where the relations of production and, accordingly, the economy are the dynamics of the system. People first enter into relationships with each other in order to meet the needs such as “to live, above all to drink, eat, shelter and dress”. Marx and Engels describe the development and future of Western societies in five successive stages:
Primitive communism: Cooperative tribes, tribes based on shared property and primitive democracy in the hunter-gatherer era.
Slavery: The period when society passed from tribe to city-state, slavery, private property and aristocracy were born, and agriculture was widespread.
Feudalism: The third period in which the aristocracy, including the king, became the ruling class and religion held an important place.
Capitalism: The period in which the bourgeois class is the ruling class and the proletariat is the oppressed class, the parliamentary democracy is a widespread political system, the market economy operates and the means of production are predominantly private property.
Communism: The fifth period in which workers revolutionized and drove out the capitalists and created a stateless, classless, propertyless society.