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Karl Marx

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Danielle Smith

on 4 November 2014

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Transcript of Karl Marx

1920
2014
1840
1990
Karl Marx
Why were Marx's ideas so important?
How did Marx's ideas develop?
Popular culture is defined by the culture that is generally well liked or favoured by many people.
Many would make a distinction between high culture (being culture that is embedded in our history (Shakespeare etc) and popular culture solely being mass produced commercial culture. In this sense, popular culture can easily be defined as mass culture – mass produced for mass consumption.
From a marxist viewpoint, it can be easily argued that the media are merely agents of capitalism. In this sense, they present a popular viewpoint, and ignore unpopular ideas.
Many of Marx's philosophies can be seen in modern day culture, especially in the media and more specifically film.
The collapse of the Soviet Union on December the 26th of 1991 was seen as a form of triumph for capitalism as it established its superiority over Marxist socialism.
This, aided by the increases in the use of internet for business, seemed to be the death of Marx's revolutionary ideas.
However the key concepts of Marxism were reinterpreted on the basis of the ‘modern day man’ in Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club, and later David Fincher’s film adaptation of the book in 2009.





Why study Marx now?
Bibliography
Why were Marx's ideas so important?
During Marx's lifetime, industrial capitalism was becoming a more prominent aspect of 19th century life.
Many believed it to be the downfall of traditional culture .
As new technologies, industries, goods and services emerge, they made older ones outdated and less valuable.
This caused much of the farming and agricultural industry to fall, as they no longer needed the 'old' ways of living, meaning the working class had to conform to new ways of living.
Therefore the bourgeoisie were able to maintain dominance over the working class.
“We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.”
(NYC General Assembly, 2014)
By Danni, Rhys and Ben
1848
1917
1989
+ Georg Hegel – 1770 – 1831
– the idea that self-consciousness can only be achieved through a dialectic.
+
Ludwig Feuerbach

1804 – 1872
– on the anthropological essence of religion – "What we believe of God is really true of ourselves." (Singer 1980 p. 16)
+
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
– That humans are affected by the society they live in, and that all human history and society could only be properly understood via its relationship to its material modes of production.

“Not the abstract general human being of the philosophers, but the concrete human being which social conditions have formed and alienated...” (Manacorda 1998 p. 54)
Marxism gave direct rise to creation and coming together of socialist parties in the late 1800's,
as an evolution of previous socialist ideas and the general enfranchisement of the working class
Was a key figure in the international workingmen's association

"Henceforth Marx was to remain its predominant spirit and the indomitable personality that held the disparate International Association together for eight difficult and often stormy years" - Saul Padover
Gave rise to the debate of peaceful revolution vs violent revolution

Communist manifesto -
"the communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. they openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions"

24 years after the Communist Manifesto Marx and Engels admitted that in developed countries "labour may attain its goal by peaceful means". Marxist scholar Adam Schaff argued that Marx, Engels and Lenin have expressed such views on many occasions".
1917 revolution - planned October revolution of 1917 led by Trotsky and based on Lenin's readings of Marxism.
This saw the first real world application of Marxism.
Marxism
Fall of the Communist state -
Any illusions of global Communist hegemony had evaporated with the collapse of Sino-Soviet relations in the 1960s."
Financial stagnantion - agriculture under Khrushchev, military spending in the arms race, dependence on the west
Failure to apply Marxism to the real world

"94 Million died in the name of Marxism" - Stephane Courtois, the black book of communism, 1997, Intro
Economic Determinism
- Marx and Engels maintained that the economic means of production ultimately determines the ‘political, social and cultural shape’ of society, and its possible future development.
+ Antonio Gramsci – 1891 – 1937
– Italian Marxist political activist – felt that any socialist or communist movement should start in the everyday life of the working classes.
+ Cultural Hegemony Theory
– how the ‘superstructural’ system works to disseminate a ruling ideology, and how subordinate classes can be brought into accepting that ideology through negotiation.
Impact of the 2008 financial crisis - sales of Marx's literature on the rise


Rancière - "The bourgeoisie has learned to make the exploited pay for its crisis and to use them to disarm its adversaries. But we must not reverse the idea of historical necessity and conclude that the current situation is eternal. The gravediggers are still here, in the form of workers in precarious conditions like the over-exploited workers of factories in the far east."
In a recent poll in America, favourable reactions to the words socialism and capitalism are equal at 43%
Francis Fukuyama - the end of history - 1992
In his book, Francis Fukuyama argues that the fall in the 20th century of Nazism, Communism and absolutism has led to the almost universal acceptance of western liberalism
"What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalisation of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government."
+ Critical Political Economy Theory
- bringing together the study of cultural texts with the economic organization of media industries.

+ Neo-Gramscian Hegemony Theory
- thinking about how ideology operates.
On Globalization:
"...the needs of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the whole surface of the globe... it must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere..."
(Berman 1983, cited in McLennan 1999, p. 559)
On Proletarianization:
"...professions which had previously enjoyed reverence were being turned into routine forms of wage labour..."
(McLennan 1999 p. 562)
On the Dynamic ‘Boom and Bust’ Nature of Capitalism:
"...all that is solid melts into air... uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation..."
(Marx and Engels 1998, cited in McLennan 1999 p. 560)
'Religion is the opiate of the masses'
Why study Marx now?
How did Marx's idea develop?
When observing this 'popular culture' from a marxist point of view, one can easily see the hidden messages behind the advertisements and culture.
Many advertisements, media and culture are manipulative towards the political left or right.
This coincides with Marxists 'opiate of the masses idea', but instead of the bourgeioise using religion to spread beliefs to create an unfair and unjust society, now popular culture is the scapegoat to put forward their beliefs.
Films / TV programmes are repetitive to give the public what they want – soothing them, and keeping them in fear (news?) – while telling them to buy things.
They amplify society’s ideals, and reflect what the world is like. In this sense they cannot ever ‘change’ anything.

Therefore, Marx was correct in terms of relating the philosophy of the human mind to material production, as seen in popular culture using advertisements to brain numb the people into buyiing things they do not actually need and therefore increasing material production and wealth for the bourgeoise.
The film and book both advocate the idea of a new modern day version of the proletariat; office based service workers.
From a Marxist viewpoint, the service workers depicted in Fight Club are similar in appearance to Marx's description of the industrial workers of the proletariat; distinctively different from the bourgeois, oppressed by ideals advocated by the bourgeois, and hold the power to form a revolution against the higher powers (Shown through project mayhem)
In this sense, Marx's philosophical ideas of 'revolution of the proletariat' are still relevant today, however they have been reinterpreted to fit the 'modern day man' working in offices to aid the growth of capitalism, instead of the industrial worker as the traditional member of the proletariat.
Balardini, Fabian (2012) ‘The Self-Destructive Logic of Capitalism and the Occupy Movement’ in Socialism and Democracy, 26(2), pp. 35 – 38

Barker, Jennifer Article (2008) “ A Hero will rise” : The myth of the Fascist man in Fight Club and Gladiator

Brizee, A., & Tompkins, J. C. (2010). Marxist criticism (1930s-present).

G. D. H. Cole European Socialism (1959)

Cowen, Tyler, (2004) Creative Destruction: How Globalization Is Changing the World's Cultures

Flynn, Thomas ,(2006) Existentialism : a very short introduction,

Kramer, S. The Second International, 1889–1914 (1956), Communism and Social Democracy, 1914–1931 (1958), and Socialism and Fascism, 1931–1939 (1960);

Landauer, C. General History of Socialism and Social Struggles (1957);

A. S. Lindemann, Socialism in Western Europe (1984);

Longhurst, Brian (2008) 'Chapter 3: Culture, Power, Globalisation and inequality' in Introducing Cultural studies, 2nd edition, Harlow: Pearson Longman pp.58-80

NYC General Assembly, ‘Declaration of the Occupation of New York City’, http://www.nycga.net/resources/documents/declaration/ Accessed: 02/11/2014.

Mario Alighiero Manacorda (1998) ‘The Manifesto and Humanity’s Destiny’ in Socialism and Democracy, 12(1), pp. 47 – 59

David McLellan (2007) Marxism After Marx, 4th Edition, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Gregor McLennan (1999) ‘Re-Canonizing Marx’ in Cultural Studies 13(4), pp. 555 – 576
Graham Murdock and Peter Golding ‘Culture, Communications and Political Economy’ in James Curran and Michael Gurevitch ed. Mass Media and Society, 4th Edition, (2005), London: Hodder Arnold

Morgan, Davis, (2007) The lure of images : a history of religion and visual media in America,

Singer, Peter (1980) Marx, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Singer, Peter (2000) Marx: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Storey, John (2009) ed. Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: A Reader, 4th Edition, Harlow: Pearson

Storey, John (2012) ‘Marxisms’ in Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: An Introduction, 6th Edition, Harlow: Pearson

Storey, John, (2013) Cultural Theory and Popular Culture : An Introduction

Strinati, Dominic (2003) ‘Chapter 4: Marxism, Political Economy and Ideology’ in An Introduction to Theories of Popular Culture, London and New York: Routledge

J. Tomaszewski, A History of European Socialism (1984);
Socialist parties: General History | Infoplease.com http://www.infoplease.com/encyclopedia/history/socialist-parties-general-history.html#ixzz3GDW2r8Up

Stuart Jefferies, Why Marxism is on the rise again http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/jul/04/the-return-of-marxism 27/10/14

Why were Marx's ideas so important?
How did Marx's ideas develop?
Why study Marx now?
Leninism - first real world application of Marxism, Party communism
Stalinism - purges and 'cult of the individual'
Maoism - cultural revolution and guerrilla warfare
Why were Marx's ideas so important?

How did Marx's ideas develop?

Why study Marx now?
Full transcript