Talk:Marxism/Archive 2

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Total rewrite of Marxism complete - proposing to replace current article

I have taken all of the content that is currently on this page and transformed it into an article that deals with all of the various parts of Marxism in an orderly and strucutred way. I think the new article definitely still needs work, but it is a good step forward. The new article is currently lcoated at User:JenLouise/Marxism proposed.

I have also kept a record of all the information from this current article that has not been included in my version, so that other people can attempt to include the information where appropriate if they feel that it should be included. All information not currently in the new verison is contained at User:JenLouise/Marxism old.

I can't think of any reason why the new article cannot replace the existing article now, but I obviously will not make such a huge change without people having the chance to discuss it first.

Please view the proposed article and record your thoughts here.

I propose to replace this article with the new version in the week beginning Monday 25th of September unless anyone comes up with a good reason why this should not happen. JenLouise 03:43, 14 September 2006 (UTC)


DONE JenLouise 07:01, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

---

From what i've read this is a pretty thorough and well written article, i would consider paring done some the length though, i.e. some of the more indirect variations on Marxism or less relevant Marxists. --Awenty 19:30, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Well Jen Lousie this is one heck of a piece of work! It is certainly very detailed. I do have some issues with some of the interpretation; however, I am a bit rusty and need to refresh my memory before I could offer a corrective; However, there is one area where this is unneccessary. While bearing in mind that ths is a broad sketch and as with a map some key features may be left out in order to focus on a survey of a particular area allowing it to fit in an acceptable amount of space. However, you write When describing the Russian Revolution: "Lenin died and Joseph Stalin gradually assumed control, eliminating rivals and consolidating power as the Soviet Union faced the horrible challenges of the 1930s and its global crisis-tendencies...." This sounds a bit Apologetic (platonic meaning). The truth is that Lenin "gradually assumed control, eliminated rivals and consolidated power" before Stalin See leonard Schapiro's Scholarly History The Communist part of the Soviet Union as well as his The Russian Revolutions of 1917. Schaprio's scholarship is impecable. Lenin used the uprising at the Kronstadt naval base to draft rules consolidating power in Bolshevik hands while,among others, Mensheviks SRs who had gone out to deal with the uprising. Of course if one likes primary resources, you start with Lenin's testament, where he realizes he has constructed a system that contained no safeguards against a man like Stalin. Or as Trotsky put it years earlier-though Max Eastmen would object. "The organisation of the party will take the place of the party; the Central Committee will take the place of the organisation; and finally the dictator will take the place of the Central Committee." At the time of lenin's Death The CC had clearly repalced the "[t]he organisation of the party and it was Lenin who inaugerated the earlier phases. The "Crises that led to such consolidation was primarily the implementation of Marx's 10 point program from the Communist manifesto, only referred to as War Communism in retrospect. 129.33.1.37 (talk) 11:00, 4 February 2008 (UTC)129.33.1.37 (talk) 11:01, 4 February 2008 (UTC) Spiker_22

Question?

First bullet sentence reads:

  • an attention to the material conditions of people's lives, and lived relations between people

I have a problem understanding the last part of this sentence; "and lived relations between people." Is this a grammar error, or some thing I'm not understanding? Does the word lived, in Marxism, mean something other than the past tense verb of live? If so, please explain. If it's an error, please fix the sentence to read what it's supposed to mean, as I have no idea! - Jeeny Talk 21:37, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

Jeeny: I personally can't fix the sentence since I am not its author, but I beleive I can help you understand the point. If you're familiar with Maslow's hierarchy of needs, you know that it prioritizes man's needs from the most basic physiological needs of shelter and security up to those of self actualization in terms of morality etc. Roughly speaking, in Marx's case, he recognizes that the way in which the most basic needs of food and shelter are aquired and the relations formed during this aquisition are a key ingredient in the shaping the higher needs and the way in which they are aquired. 129.33.1.37 (talk) 09:56, 4 February 2008 (UTC) Spiker-22

Total rewrite of Marxism complete - areas needing more work

  • If somebody did not know what Marixsm was, they would not easily learn it from this current article, but they would definitely have a pretty good idea by the time they finished reading the new one. I'm not saying the new article is perfect - very far from it - but it is a good start, and once it became the real article, then lots of people working on it would help to fix any current problems with it. JenLouise
My initial sense is, "brava!" but I need to look at it more closely! Slrubenstein | Talk 04:12, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
On my quick first glance, I'd say it's definitely an improvement over the current article, which is certainly a bit messy. My only real concern is that it spends a lot of time and detail on Marx and Engels before it says anything about later developments, and the material on later Marxism is also a bit sketchier -- which in an article about Marxism (as opposed to the article on Marx himself) seems like a slight misplacement of emphasis. The lead section will also need some tweaking for clarity, and the lead sentence itself is not ideal. But all in all I'd say the new version provides a much better base to work from than the current one. Good work, and let's go from there. -- Rbellin|Talk 04:21, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
I tried to deal with the different versions of marxism in chronological order, hence wy Marx/ENgels comes first without reference to the rest. However the table of contents clearly sets out what follows. I would say that considering all other forms of Marxism are based on Marx's work, that it is logical that more space would be dedicated to explaining the tenets of his work. The reason most of the other areas are much shorter, is simply becuase I don't know alot about them and just pulled what I thought important off their articles. If you think too much space is given to Marx/Engels, then perhaps a Classical Marxism page can be created with all of this content, and then just a briefer summary be included in this article. The influences section is probably too long, and can be summarised even more if someone wants to try. JenLouise 12:36, 19 September 2006 (UTC)

The emphasis on Marx and Engles is entirely appropriate in an introductory article on Marxism. Most people looking for information of that sort are not going to know enough to look for Classical Marxism etc. Awareness of different flavors suggests advanced knowledge. Spiker 22 (talk) 07:00, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

New version is improvement, but it doesn't deal with the greatest problem of current article – complete lack of references. Also, criticisms section is weak. -- Vision Thing -- 08:46, 14 September 2006 (UTC)
Pretty much all of the content that didn't come from this article, comes from the main article pages, and its true I didn't bring the references across with the content. However if the other pages are well referenced, it shouldn't be too difficult to bring those references into this article. I'll have a look next time I get a chance. (At least the criticisms section is more than just a heading...it was all I could manage at the time - the criticisms article was way too long and all over the place for me to be able to summarise it easily. I'll leave that to someone else!) JenLouise 12:36, 19 September 2006 (UTC)
I think this is excellent work. While we could perfect it, especially with references, it is already stronger than the existing argument. I have three comments from a Trotskyist perspective.
  • The order of Marx/Engels, then Western Marxism, then Post-Marxism, suggest that Marxism after Marx and Engels is Western Marxism. However, in so far as Western Marxism develops or reworks Marx, perhaps a majority of non-academic Marxists are not Western Marxists but orthodox Marxists (for example, Marxist-Leninist or Trotskyist).
  • It could be POV to say that Marxism Leninism is Marxism as developed by Lenin. This is discussed on Marxism Leninism; The term ML was coined by Stalin and include post-Leninist ideas, such as the theory of socialism in one country, which were not developed by Lenin.
  • The term 'socialist states' is tricky, since the notion that these states reached socialism is disputed. Perhaps 'workers' states' or 'transitional states' or 'revolutionary dictatorships' would be better? --Duncan 07:45, 21 September 2006 (UTC)
All the material that I got on Marxism-Leninism, socialism, socialist states, etc, all came from the various articles already existing on wikipedia - all I did was provide a summary of what I could find, I didn't do any additional research at all, mainly because I know nothing about this side of Marxism. But you seem to so perhaps it would be best for you to make the changes you think necessary? JenLouise 07:01, 26 September 2006 (UTC)
Can someone also clean upp Antihumanism? Car54 00:04, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

New content of page

As no-one had any reason not to replace the current article I have replaced the old article with the content as proposed above. I will also try to address some of the concerns raised above. JenLouise 06:49, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

  • With regard to referencing, I know that this new article still hardly has any references, and I was originally going to go through and pick up references from the main articles as that is where all the content came from, but according to Summary Style this is not actually necessary. This doesn't mean that it doens't need references - it does, but the references should be ones that apply to the article as a whole, and so will require a bit of digging up.
  • I have reduced the size of Classical Marxism to try and balance the page. I now note that Marxism as a political practice now takes up half the article length, which I believe is also an imbalance.
  • I believe it would be a good idea to create an article such as Marxism (political practice) (someone else probably has a better name) which could house the current content from this section and then it could be summarised to bring this section into line with the style of the rest of the article. JenLouise 06:54, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

Also the following branches of Marxism exist on wikipedia, but did not make it into the new article:


These are all stub articles, and fairly vague as to what they represent, but if an article exists on them, I think they should at least rate a mention in this article. Anyone have any idea where they might fit? JenLouise 03:24, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

Archive of discussion needed!

Now that most of the content on this article has been updated/replaced, I think that most of this disucssion needs to be archived. Can someone who has more knowledge of wikipedia than I do, please archive most of the discussion on this page? I would leave the sections Total rewrite of Marxism complete - proposing to replace current article and below on this page as they relates to the article in its current format, but everything before that has very little relevance now. JenLouise 03:41, 27 October 2006 (UTC)

Done JenLouise 02:03, 16 November 2006 (UTC)

GA Candidacy

The expanded use of inline citations will be necessary for this article to pass and become a Good Article. Please continue the process as quickly as possible, for a reviewer might fail it for the current state of referencing. -Fsotrain09 05:14, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

GA review

The key reason this article doesn't yet (as of 12/5/06) pass as a good article is the lack of citation, inline or otherwise. A well-cited article on Marxism should cite biographies of the philosophers, works representative of the branches of Marxism, histories of the various countries discussed, etc.

Some other issues I noticed (minor enough that they probably wouldn't make me fail the article):

  • "Classical Marxism" is awfully list-oriented. Is there a way to synthesize Marx's basic points into more readable paragraphs?
  • There are some weird assertions about China in the article. For instance, "Maoism" is always pejorative? This sort of thing really has to be sourced, and would probably remain controversial anyway.

Please renominate the article when it's cited. For now, I've put it on the Unreferenced GA list. Twinxor t 14:14, 5 December 2006 (UTC)


Hi, this is a summary article of the related Marxism articles. According to Wikipedia guidelines summary articles do not need to repeat references that are included in the linked articles. They only need to cite references which relate to the main article as a whole which it does. JenLouise 22:53, 6 December 2006 (UTC)

Notice of error in article

I believe there is a mistake in the text of this article. Look for the following sentence:

" Karl Marx is currently lives in America and is the first, one-hundred and first senator in the United States. " —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 71.54.2.252 (talk) 08:45, 17 December 2006 (UTC).

This article seems to be heavily subject to vandalism. Can more experienced wikipedians start the process of protecting it, e.g. not allowing edits by non-signed in editors? BobFromBrockley 12:46, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

Isn't marxism the same as communism?? What is the difference

Just 1 paragraph for criticism?

The men was indirecty responsible for the deaths of more than 100 milion, and there is just 1 paragraph of criticism?

Wikipedia is fulkl of comunists! —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 201.39.190.3 (talk) 15:03, 24 February 2007 (UTC).

There's an entire article dedicated to Criticisms_of_Marxism. The paragraph in this article in merely an introduction to that article, which is system used for many of the sub-topics. If we include all possible discussion of Marxism on this page, it will become impossibly long.--Camipco 08:32, 12 April 2007 (UTC)


"Wikipedia is fulkl of comunists!"

communism is an ideology of freedom, wikipedia is a form of freedom of expression where people of given the chance to share their knowledge for free for the benefit of others, whether its written by a communist or not does it really matter? --Paco-- 19:16, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

In a nutshell?

What are everyone's thoughts on an abbreviated synopsis on what marxism primarily entails? I came here shortly after a debate to make sure that indeed, I had a grip on what marxism is and found this long winded article to be lacking a simple, clear explanation. Ought not there be a quick explanation for the layman, particularly in the opening paragraph? Right now, if I knew nothing of it, reading the opening paragraphs would yield mostly: 1. It's a philosophy/theory based on Marx's ideas (not very insightful if I don't know who he is), 2. it describes an economic evolution leading to the abolishing of private property (now we're getting somewhere... but couldn't this be expressed a little more concisely?), 3. interpretation of marxism is debateable (that doesn't help explain what it is).

I find the intro to be rather muddled and indirect. Would it not be appropriate to cut to the chase? At least in the opening sentence/paragraph? Something like, say, for instance: Marxism is a social theory/philosophy by Karl Marx that critiques social and economic class stratification, believing it/them to be the primary cause of social antagonism... etc, etc. Hey, maybe it's not accurate, but what do I know? I might know if the article were a little more clear! --Crimson30 23:02, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

Classical Marxism §

Too much quoting. That whole section seems more like a portion of a persuasive essay than an encyclopedia entry. It needs editing. One option is to leave the first two sentences, which seem objective to me, and then remove the rest and add a "for more information see [link to classical marxism]. --AstoVidatu 18:58, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

We need citations, so perhaps this material could be simplified and merged with the paragraphs above, which begin "Nevertheless, there have been numerous debates among Marxists over how to interpret Marx's writings and how to apply his concepts to current events and conditions". Make the well known and importnat point that Marx dissociated himself with various interpretations of his writings even in his day, with at least one or two quotes.
But then what about moving the historical materialism material at the top, German Ideology precis down to the classical marxism section, making a subsection - 'overview of Marxist view of history' (See suggestion below) —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Andysoh (talkcontribs) 12:17, 19 March 2007 (UTC).
I am in favor of the merge. Probably should be accompanied by some consolidation/restructuring. Lycurgus (talk) 17:37, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

re the rough German Ideology precis in the first few paragraphs of the article

Just a thought: This section which divides human history into five sections, which serves to introduce some of the most basic concepts of marxism to a new audience, was a good idea, and perhaps reflected the need to make the article more accessible on a basic level. Possibly even the marvellous "basic ideas" section further down may be a bit formidable to a young or new audience, so something more accessible to start with is good.

I wonder however if it would not be out of place in the first section, 'classical marxism', or perhaps it needs its own section, "Overview of the marxist view of history" or something, which could be the first section. This would keep it near the top, but reduce the size of the opening section, which ought to be a breif summary.

Strictly it defines only one aspect of marxism (historical marterialism), and this could be noted. Andysoh 12:01, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

bullet point the intro

Hi, I think the first introductory paragraph is very good and inclusive, clear and to the point.

Three mainly stylistic suggestions:

1. Use bullet points, like:

Marxism refers to the philosophy and social theory based on Karl Marx's work on one hand, and the political practice based on Marxist theory on the other hand (namely, parts of the First International during Marx's time, communist parties and later states).

Most forms of Marxism share a belief that:

  • peoples' consciousness [of the conditions of their lives] are reflections of their material conditions of existence and the material relations people enter into in the course of their existence;
  • an understanding of these material conditions and relations as historically malleable;
  • an understanding of "class" as a particular position in the social relations that organize economic production;
  • an understanding of history in terms of conflict between classes with opposing interests;
  • a sympathy for the exploitation of workers;
  • a belief that the ultimate interests of workers best match those of humanity in general.

Main points of contention among Marxists is the degree to which they are committed to a workers' revolution as the means of achieving human emancipation and enlightenment, and the actual mechanism through which such a revolution might occur and succeed.

2. Possibly the first bullet point could read

  • The material relations people must enter into to ensure their daily existence (for instance to earn a living by getting a job, and the various conditions in the job) determines, in the final analysis, their outlook on life (or their consciousness)
  • Thus a person's consciousness is a reflection of their material conditions of existence

But I don't want to rock the boat on this one...

3. I wonder whether, then, the following paragraph beginning "Marx, a 19th century socialist philosopher, economist, journalist, and revolutionary, " could head the section Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels as a one para introductory summary.

This would considerably lighten the load on the opening remarks, with a view to accessiblity (see complaints above)

Any thoughts?

Andysoh 20:26, 8 April 2007 (UTC)

I just saw this post. I like that suggestion. I particuarly like your improvement to the first bullet point. It took me a couple of tries to parse the current wording, and I already know the theory :) --Camipco 08:54, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Work on the intro

Hi. I did some work on the intro, and I hope I didn't step on any toes. I certainly think there is plenty of improvement still to be made to my effort. My goal was to provide the following structure:

1st paragraph: simple and direct description of the core of the theory and why it is important. My feeling is that many visitors to long articles such as this read only the first paragraph, and that should leave the reader with a basic understanding of the idea.

2nd paragraph: the historical introduction. I kept this basically untouched (this was imo the best-written of the paragraphs), but moved it a little earlier in the intro. It felt like a strange thing to have last. I especially like the explanation of the difficulty of "defining the core" of the theory, which transitions well into...

3rd paragraph: an attempt to define the core. I also left this basically untouched. It's more thorough and technical than paragraph 1.

I think another legitimate approach would be to start with paragraph 2, and consolidate 1 and 3 into a single 2nd paragraph.

In any case, I hope the introduction is now more welcoming.

--Camipco 08:51, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Ok, so looking at the April 11th revert I agree that this is sensible. However, I think "Most forms of Marxism share a belief that peoples' consciousness of the conditions of their lives are reflections of the material conditions of existence and the material relations people enter into in the course of their existence; an understanding of these material conditions and relations as historically malleable" is dreadful. For a start, it should go without saying that material conditions and relations entered into outside of the course of people's existence has no effect on their lives. But in general, this sentence is REALLY hard to parse. I think this article makes the mistake of assuming knowledge of Marxism in the reader. Visitors to this page who have not studied Marxism will find the description given unintelligible.

Having said that, I think the generalized description is more accurate than my attempt. The challenge is finding a balance between accuracy and function. I like the bullets, and I really think we need to work on those first two points.

--Camipco 20:32, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

conflicted your intro, my tough in [] "Marxism is a socioeconomic theory which views Capitalist society as divided into two classes: the proletariat (working class) and bourgeoisie (owning class). Marxism argues that the bourgeoisie, who own the means of production, exploit the labor of the proletariat [not enough, need explanation]. Marxism claims that the exploitative nature of Capitalism is both unethical and unsustainable [is not true]], creating a class struggle and leading to revolution [like all former society]. Marxism has had a tremendous influence on academic disciplines including economics, philosophy, art, sociology, anthropology, political science, literary criticism, and literary history. It has had a profound impact on contemporary culture and politics, and is the fundamental ideology for Socialism and Communism[com. and soc. is not same of marxism, there is a communism not marxist like Cabet communism, a socialism not marxist like Owen socialism].

i'm sorry my English is bad--Francomemoria 20:37, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Hi Francomemoria, I agree with your criticism of my introduction (which was mostly taken from the text that was in the intro yesterday which was a lot worse than the revert you made.) I'm not attached to it. I would like, however, to work on some more accessible language for the points in the current introduction. I like the first influence sentence too:

"Marxism has had a tremendous influence on academic disciplines including economics, philosophy, art, sociology, anthropology, political science, literary criticism, and literary history."

I'm going to try adding that, and maybe will make some other adjustments. Thanks for the revert, it was definitely appropriate. I obviously turned up during a blip :)

--Camipco 22:53, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

i'm not agree with your adjustments: not all first international was marxist, i don't know why this " belief that peoples' consciousness of the conditions of their lives are reflections of the material conditions of existence and the material relations people enter into" is not ok --Francomemoria 11:15, 13 April 2007 (UTC)


One or two suggestions.
Francomemoria is right about the 1st international, (included anarchists, etc) perhaps best leave it out in the opening remarks. how about trying to make the sentences really simple and direct?
How about something like:
Marxism takes its name from the politics, philosophy and theory of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. Any political practice which is based on an interpretation of the works of Marx and Engels (including the later Communist Parties and Communist states) may be termed Marxism.


Regarding the first bullet point, I believe that it's not a very good sentence structure (in the English language anyway) to write that the "x of the y of the z is the a of the b of the c".
Additionally, Marx ensures, in his writing, that what "material relations" means is explained, and unless we do this, the phrase is simply not accessible.
That's why I suggested the rather prosaic:
  • The material relations people must enter into to ensure their daily existence (for instance to earn a living by getting a job, and the various conditions in the job) determines, in the final analysis, their outlook on life (or their consciousness) (See section XYZ)
  • Thus a person's consciousness is a reflection of their material conditions of existence.
I would like to suggest, to further lighten the opening remarks, the para begining "Marx, a 19th century..." should go under the Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels section,
and why not have the following para, begining "There have been numerous debates " as a concluding para in the first Classical Marxism section?
Against, these suggestions are stylistic, but they make the article more accessible to, perhaps, the people Marx would most like it to be accessible to!!
But these are just thoughts for consideration.
Andysoh 12:41, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

I have made some changes based on your suggestions. However, I think "reflection" is better than "determines" - while Marx used the word "determine" there has been a lot of debate about what he meant and many marxists have argued that it is a mistake to view Marx as a determinist. Maybe he was, but I don't think we should open this can of worms in the intro. Slrubenstein | Talk 13:50, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

Yes, lets avoid the determinist debate in the opening lines - well spotted! Personally I think it is much more accessible. The only, vey minor thing that I would change, would be to have the opening line say 'politics and philosophy' rather than 'philosophy and politics' because, in my opinion, Marx is defined, both by his own life and also by every significant movement in his name, first and foremost by his politics, and even that his philosophy also firstly reflects or serves his political outlook. Just a thought.
Andysoh 23:07, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
I think, in general, the introduction is improving. Appreciate everyone's work.
I don't like the link to "praxis." I think that's a technical term, and it links to a ::disambiguation page which is never a good sign. I think the common word "practice" would do just ::as well (although I understand praxis has a slightly more nuanced usage as regards Marxism).
I added "economic relations" in the problematic sentences. Is that a resonable phrase to use? I do ::like the split into two bullets. I also took out all the references to existence or during lives. ::I think it should go without saying that only the material relations people enter into during ::their existence influence them. There isn't much in the way of material relations during ::non-existence.
--Camipco 23:48, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

"Economic" is a problem for two reasons: first, what marx meant by economy is not what economists today, and most people, think of economy; second, too many people mischaracterize marx as an economic determinist and including "economic" clouds the issues. If you want Marxists to include the many academics and activists who have been influenced by Marx but who do not focus on capitalist societies - and there are many - "economy" raises more questions than it answers. "Praxis" on the other hand is crucial because it is arguably one of the central defining features of any major Marxist movement - and gets at what is wrong with Andysoh's question of whether to put politics first or philosophy first. Marx and Marxists are distinguished by their belief that they must erase the distinction between the two; praxis replaces both ideas (and the conceptual distinction between them). Slrubenstein | Talk 11:05, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

I take your point about the problematic nature of "economic," Slrubenstein. However, I think "material relations" is a meaningless term to a reader without a background in Marxist theory. Perhaps we should use Andysoh's "for instance to earn a living by getting a job, and the various conditions in the job." Or something.
I appreciate the work everyone has been doing to keep the introduction accurate to a sophisticated understanding of Marxism. I hope we can simultaneously keep the introduction accessable to the reader with no such understanding. The clueless reader, after all, most needs the introduction.
Praxis. I think your current wording is far superior to the first pass. And you are absolutely right that the term is more accurate and specific to a Marxist understanding of the interaction between philosophy and politics. I'm still uncomfortable with having an obscure term of art in the opening sentence, but it's a big improvement to have a working definition, and you did a great job wording the definition. I'm going to remove the link, because the disambiguation page adds nothing to your definition except confusion.
Thanks for the edits, everyone. We're close to the goal, in my mind, of having an introduction that will leave a clueless reader with a working understanding of the fundamentals of the topic. Just need to get those first two bullet points right...

--Camipco 12:55, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

I agree with Camipco that the introduction is now far batter than a few weeks ago. I also agree about the problem with 'praxis'. It occured to me that if we include the explanation, we may as well omit the term:

"Marxism is the synthesis of the philosophy and political action of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels."

That's quite a striking statement. I would still swap it round to read: "Marxism is the synthesis of the political action and philosophy of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels."

For the second bullet point I would perhaps prefer "A belief that people's consciousness reflects their material conditions of existence." but we are in the general area, and caught between precision of terms and accessibility. Andysoh 19:59, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

Good point Andysoh, I like your proposed first sentence. I don't have a strong feeling about the order of political action and philosophy. I see your point about importance of political action.

As for the conciousness/material conditions sentence, I like your suggestion, but it maintains the problem that the reader already has to know what Marxists mean by "conciousness" and "material conditions" before they can understand the sentence.

--Camipco 17:42, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Some thoughts about the body

I like sections 1 and 2, they feel thorough without being overwhelming and use sub-articles well.

Post-Marxism and Marxist-Feminism feel like they should be 2.3 and 2.4 to me. I understand these are not sub-categories of Western Marxism. But the level of discussion presented in the article feels un-even. Perhaps 2 should be "Marxist Schools of Thought" with 2.1 as Western Marxism, 2.2 as key Western Marxists. Perhaps the article should also include some key Post-Marxists and Marxists-Feminists. As a side note, the article on Marxists-Feminists should really include some key Marxist-Feminists. Currently, the article contains only criticism!

Section 5 feels too long. It seems like the standard for inclusion under sub-headings with linked articles is a lot higher than the standard used in sections 1 and 2.

Section 7 (/* Marxist Literature & Cultural References */) was laughable and embarrasing so I deleted it. If a list of cultural references to Marxism is needed, it should be given a thorough article. But that's far too large a topic to handle on this already long page.

--Camipco 09:15, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

I don't see any problem with incorporating Post-marxism and marxism-feminism into the second section. I think your suggestion is a good one if I interpret it to be:

2. Marxist Schools of Thought

2.1 Western Marxism
2.1.1 Key Western Marxists
2.2 Post-marxism
2.2 Marxism-feminism

I assume that "Marxist Schools of Thought" would not be considered by anyone to include socialism/communism, etc. JenLouise 12:14, 17 April 2007 (UTC)


Also, can someone please explain the following sentence?

Classical Marxism can also refer to the second era of Marxism, where an organization known as the Second International propagated the expansion of socialism internationally.

Is there any reference for this at all because I have never heard of this "era" of Marxism being called classical marxism. I also don't think it belongs where it is. The article clearly separates Marxism as a social theory and marxism as a political practice. Classical Marxism is one part of the social theory section. This quote mixes it up with political practice. Perhaps we need to be specific in saying that sections 1 through 4 (this will be section 1 and 2 if the above suggestion is implemented) are the social theory bit, although I did think that spoke for itself. Personally, I think the sentence should just be removed, but I don't like deleting anything on this page without first mentioning it. JenLouise 12:14, 17 April 2007 (UTC)


Changing the structure as per the suggestion above and removing sentence regarding classical marxism. JenLouise 02:25, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

Introduction: "Ultimate interests of workers"

I don't know a good source for this statement (which doesn't mean that it doesn't exist):

  • a belief that the ultimate interests of workers best match those of humanity in general.

Instead, I would try to express "a coarse idea in everyday's language what Marxist communism could mean" as

  • a belief that people can enjoy individual freedom when they associate.[1]
  1. ^ “(...) Only in community [with others, has each] individual the means of cultivating his gifts in all directions; only in the community, therefore, is personal freedom possible.(...)” Karl Marx: The German Ideology, Part I: Feuerbach. Opposition of the Materialist and Idealist Outlook D. Proletarians and Communism Individuals, Class, and Community

Schwalker 15:28, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

Yes, it needs work. However the term "associate", of course, is taken to imply the abolition of "private property". But this needs to be explicit to make its meaning clear to non-marxists (otherwise "associate" is not clear).
The abolition of "private property" is assumed but not explicit in the statement you want to replace either, so either way, this must be made clear.
"private property" as a term, of course, also needs to be explained, like it is under the sub-section "Marx's theory of history", since otherwise it is understood or misrepresented as personal possessions, to the non-marxist.
Andysoh 19:54, 15 April 2007 (UTC)

See the Communist Manifesto. The quote from the German Ideology accurately conveys Marx's and Engels' vision of the ideal life. In the manifesto, they make it clear that it is the working class's revolution that will produce that ideal life. If you look in the 1844 manuscripts you will see Marx struggling with the problem of alienation. It is when Marx pinpoints alienation from labor-power (which defines the working class) as the crucial alienation, and the elimination of this specific alienation (which is the interest of the working class) that Marx really becomes a Marxist. Slrubenstein | Talk 10:21, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

I agree. The question is how to convey it. I think that people coming to the subject fresh, need to realise that the existing social relations they take for granted have not only been questioned here, but are assumed to have been overthrown before this blossoming can take place without the exploitation and alienation integral to class society. I think this is what makes this statement difficult.
How about something like
  • A belief that only after the abolition of class society and the exploitation of man by man [person by person?], people can enjoy individual freedom when they associate ...(etc)
or something (Contribution by User:Andysoh)

Thanks for the hint to the Manifesto, which helped to clarify my objections. It seems that (just) a sympathy for the exploitation of workers is what Marx/Engels see as the limited view of early socialist-utopists. I think Marx/Engels rather had

  • a sympathy for the exploitation of workers, and engagement in solidarity with them.

Likewise, for them, a belief that the ultimate interests of workers best match those of humanity in general seems to be the irreal view of a German Idealists. Marx and Engels reject the relevance of an "interest of the general human being" for class struggle. Instead Manifesto, I. states: The proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interest of the immense majority.

I agree that just "people associate" is too unclear. I actually like the idea to include Marx's own notions of common versus private property and division of labour. For example, Marxists have

  • a belief that the ultimate interest of workers is common property and abolishing the division of labour.

Schwalker 20:19, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

I think this brain teaser is going in the right direction, but 'common property' is open to misinterpretation, e.g. that marxists want to take away your property. This is taken up in the Manifesto, where they say, the capitalist have already abolished the workers' property! but as you know it is still an issue today e.g. fears of forced collectivisation, taking away ownership of my house and car! etc So we have to be more explicit. "the common ownership and management of the commanding heights of the economy" or something ... It woud be great to use the manifesto as references for the statements where possible. Andysoh 00:17, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
how about adding a penultimate statement

Most forms of Marxism share....

  • ...
  • A sympathy for the exploitation of workers and [peasants/other oppressed sections], and engagement in solidarity with them.
  • A belief that communism involves the common ownership and management of the means of producing wealth
  • That in a communist society human beings are finally free to develop fully as individuals
or something Andysoh 00:47, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
I think your last bullet point is a good idea. I oppose both using the word solidarity and combining it in the same bullet-point as sympathy for workers. They are two different ideas and deserve their own bullets. And solidarity is not quite right. Marx really believed that the workers have an almost messianic role in ending human alienation. The point is not that marx is in solidarity with workers, the point is that only the workers (acting not with false consciousness but true to their real interests - according to Marx and later the Party!) can emancipate humans from alienation and thus end history (the history of alienation and social conflict). Slrubenstein | Talk 11:10, 17 April 2007 (UTC)


To believe in an (almost) messianic role of workers seems to be the attitude of a religious person rather than a scientist. I disagree with, but accept such an interpretation of Marx. Let me add the quotes on which I base my opinions.

A sympathy for the exploitation of workers is a feeling shared by many non-Marxists, for example by Socialist-Utopists like Robert Owen. He improved working and living conditions in his colony, but it failed within the real world. "The founders of these systems see, indeed, the class antagonisms, as well as the action of the decomposing elements in the prevailing form of society. But the proletariat, as yet in its infancy, offers to them the spectacle of a class without any historical initiative or any independent political movement." Manifesto III.

"Just as, therefore, at an earlier period, a section of the nobility went over to the bourgeoisie, so now a portion of the bourgeoisie goes over to the proletariat, and in particular, a portion of the bourgeois ideologists, who have raised themselves to the level of comprehending theoretically the historical movement as a whole." Manifesto I. Here Marx and Engels seem to speak of (prototypes of) themselves: bourgeois who act in solidarity with the workers.

"(...) since it [the French Socialist and Communist literature] ceased in the hands of the German to express the struggle of one class with the other, he felt conscious of having overcome “French one-sidedness” and of representing, not true requirements, but the requirements of Truth; not the interests of the proletariat, but the interests of Human Nature, of Man in general, who belongs to no class, has no reality, who exists only in the misty realm of philosophical fantasy." Manifesto III. Here Marx and Engels mock about the (idealist) German's concept of the "interests of Man in general". Schwalker 15:37, 17 April 2007 (UTC)


I agree with both Scwalker and Slrubenstein, here. I was working on the latter two points, and merely amalgamated what had been said before into the first.
First, the statements start out *not* by trying to define marx's thought, but what "most forms of marxism share".
Should we try to do this?
Where, for instance, does Stalinism fit in with this, or Maoism, or China's official ideology?
There is no way of generalising to include these "forms". So we should say rather that:

"most agree that core marxist ideas are:"

Then one could meet objections from China's rulers (!) by saying, well, china's 'communism with capitalist characteristics', or whatever the Chinese communist party now call it, has departed, somewhat, from core marxist ideas, defined as ideas based on the work of marx and engels (in the first para)
I think you are over-analyzing here. Let's not get into detailed debates about present-day China, for example. This is the introduction and I think that even Mao would have agreed with the bullet points. The introduction is just meant to introduce. If we try to come up with something that Stalin, Mao, Trotsky, and Deng Tso Ping and Tito and Ceauscescau all agreed on .. well, we might as well just give up. Let's introduce marxism in the intro, go into major debates in the body, and leave it to linked articles (e.g. Maoism, Stalinism, Trotskyism0 to go into the details. Slrubenstein | Talk 18:54, 17 April 2007 (UTC)


But also this solves the second problem. Many forms of marxism have departed from the analysis of Marx that the working class is central to the socialist transformation of society, but, as Scwalker says, it is core marxism.
So then one ould say

Most agree that core marxist ideas are

  • ...
  • That the working class is central to the socialist transformation of society into communism
  • A belief that communism involves the common ownership and management of the means of producing wealth
  • That in a communist society human beings are finally free to develop fully as individuals
And also, we are free to reference each statement with plentiful quotes from Marx and Engels
Just my thoughts. Perhaps others disagree. Andysoh 18:30, 17 April 2007 (UTC)
Here I think you are really getting off-track. Let us not conflate Marxism and Communism. They each have their own article. What most communists agree on should be in the article on communism. I think you are putting too many ingredients in the pot. Slrubenstein | Talk 18:56, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

That's fine, but remember that this section of this talk page began by addressing the problem of one of the summary statements:

  • a belief that the ultimate interests of workers best match those of humanity in general.

and it's inadequacy. We recognise that it wsas refering to marx's vision, in for instance the german ideology (and elsewhere) of the advantages of abolishing class divisions - e.g. communism (with a small "c")

I think communism was central to marx's vision, as it is to marxism, so it needs to be addressed as one of the summary statements, even if only in summary with a reference to the Main article. Then one can address the notion of abolition of the alienation of class society. Andysoh 13:07, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

Now I've edited the article. I guess the problem is related to what Althusser calls the "epistemological break" of the young Marx. He explains the (his) problems with Marxist humanism in this chapter.
--Schwalker 14:32, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

That's good. Then we only have a problem with

  • a sympathy for the exploitation of workers

How about

  • Some form of participation in the struggle for the liberation of the exploited classes

Andysoh

I think the bullet points and the introduction are pretty good right now and I don't see any value in tinkering. I suggest that people could spend their energy much more productively by working on the body of the article (where we can flesh out details, nuance, and of course alternate views) or linked articles (e.g. on Althusser, or structural marxism, or the young marx). Slrubenstein | Talk 13:28, 22 April 2007 (UTC)
I reverted a change to the bullet points that emphasized community and division oflabor rather than class. I did this for two reasons. First, many other 19th and 20th century thinkers who were not Marxists were critical of the division of labor and promoted notions of community so these ideas do not distinguish marx. Second, Marx was emphatic about the importance of class as the analytical and political and social/spiritual problem. Slrubenstein | Talk 17:50, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

Sure, Manifesto, I. starts with the famous phrase The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles., and class is a central concept of Marx and Engels. But, as far as I know, they have almost never used the term "classless" society, but describe it by "abolition of the divison of labour". Since a quote has been used to support one or two of the bullet points, I felt obliged to rephrase the quote's contents in the bullet points as accurately as possible. Marx not just merely "promotes notions" of community and abolition of division of labour, but links them to the possibility of individual freedom. Marxism intends to spread the bourgeois possibilities of education and self-appropriation for the whole population. This approach is different from ideologies of "equality" or "equal chances", and I think makes it unique among other 19th or 20th century ideologies. A similar thought is at the end of part II of the Manifesto: (...) we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.--Schwalker 20:32, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

Concerning this phrase "people enjoy personal freedom" - perhaps it is harmless - in a sense I think most people will understand it as Marx intended. But in the US at least ost people will completely misunderstand it (as if it were a libertarian view). marx was very critical of the Western liberal idea of individual freedom, which he saw as alienated and anti-social. Any ideas? Slrubenstein | Talk 08:49, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

Well, it was you who put the phrase "people enjoy personal freedom" there. If you think that your own edit was misleading, you can revert it, or replace it with something else. So, since this situation is a bit muddled, please excuse my helplessness when asked for fresh ideas.

For the moment, just an reiteration of old ideas: instead of that current last bullet point, and in order to avoid a dispute whether Marx really meant what the bullet points say, it would be possible to use Marx's own plain words, at least as a first preliminary step. In a later step, one could try to translate it into slang:

Most Marxists share (...)
  • a belief that only in community [with others has each] individual the means of cultivating [her or] his gifts in all directions (Footnote: Marx: The German Ideology, I. Feuerbach, D. Proletarians and Communism Individuals, Class, and Community)
  • a belief that private property can be abolished only on condition of an all-round development of individuals (Footnote: Marx: The German Ideology Chapter Three: Saint Max Conclusion to “The Unique” On Individuality).

--Schwalker 12:19, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

Socialist State v Communist State

"A Communist state is a state which declares its allegiance to the principles of Marxism-Leninism."

I see several problems with that definition:

  • This article is about Marxism. In Marxism, communism leads to the destruction of the State, thus the phrase "Communist state" somehow seems an oxymoron.
  • None of the countries listed styled itself communist. They claimed to be socialist, not communist, for the transition to communism had not been achieved.
  • Many Marxists contend that no country so far became Communist.

David.Monniaux 08:46, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

I understand what you're saying, and I'm not sure which term should be used. However this section is about Marxism as a political practice not Marxism as the theory espoused by Marx. Marx believed that "communism leads to the destruction of the State" and its true that many marxists beleive there have been no truly communist states. However this is part of the theory, in practice a number of states have called themselves "Communist States" and in this section it should be based on what the country itself beleive. If as you say, none of the countries style themselves communist, then that may constitute a reason to make a change. However China, which is listed in this section, definitely styles itself as communist - its ruling political power is the Chinese Communist Party. JenLouise 02:36, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

Have any states ever called themselves Communist states? The USSR always called itself socialist, as does China AFAIK. We could rephrase it to talk about states ruled by Communist parties, which would be accurate to their self-description. VoluntarySlave 03:31, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
in practice a number of states have called themselves "Communist States"
That's the problem. As far as I know, no country ever styled itself "communist". Note how the USSR was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and not the Union of Soviet Communist Republics. Perhaps "countries ruled by a Communist party" would be more accurate. David.Monniaux 07:04, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

Calling them "states rules by communist parties" is a mouthful and I don't think that people coming to article would understand the distinction. I would certainly think that a state ruled by a communist party was a communist state.

BTW, considering that a discussion was started on the talk page to discuss this issue, I have temporarily reverted the change by VoluntarySlave until a decision is reached in the discussion. I don't agree with the changes made and I think we should discuss them specifically first here rather than editing and editing and editing the article until we are all happy.

Furthermore, this article is a summary style article and this section summaries the article on Communist state. If you have an issue with this definition, which is drawn directly from the Communist state article, then perhaps you should propose this debate on the Talk:Communist state page, which would allow you to get proper input from those people that have a direct interest, and then once agreement is reached there, we can update this section to reflect the main article. JenLouise 03:55, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

You are right that "states rules by communist parties" is a mouthful. I tried to explain the matter shortly. David.Monniaux 08:02, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

As North Korea is officially known as The Democratice Peoples Repulic of Korea, where it is actually a dictatorship, essentially means that parties can techinically call themselves whatever they want, even if if is misrepresentative of their true nature. Also, states have described themselves as communist since they strove for true communism, but since that has never been achieved, were/are never truly communist.  —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.64.52.110 (talk) 01:15, 25 September 2007 (UTC) 


In response to: "Calling them 'states rules by communist parties' is a mouthful and I don't think that people coming to article would understand the distinction."

I believe you're exaggerating your point a little with all due respect. You seem to have used the most lengthy and confusing (spelling error aside) words possible to backup your point. Here's a very simple way of putting it: "Communist Party-controlled states".

This only adds two words to it, and it's clearly still comprehensible. Also, whether or not people coming to the article would "understand the distinction" or not is frankly irrelevant in my view. We should not dumb-down our articles for people by omitting key facts, such as the fact that there is a serious distinction between a Communist state and a Communist Party-controlled state. If they don't understand that distinction, then it is the job of the article to make them understand-- I mean, that's what encylopedias are for, right? So the article should explain the distinction, not simply ignore it at the expense of the article's accuracy as a way of making it "less confusing" to the layperson. Give the readers some credit. Simply referring to them as "Communist states" is inaccurate and would only serve to reinforce the misconception that any state ruled by a party calling itself Communist is in fact a Communist state.71.197.156.89 09:21, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

Removed added sentence to intro.

The following sentence was added and I've temporarily removed it:

  • a belief that the class of the bourgeoisie, the highest class in society except the ruler alone, should be extinguished

It is not sourced (I realise very little else in the article is) and I don't believe this sentence is correct. I beleive a source should be provided, or at the very least discussion on its accuracyshould occur before being replaced. JenLouise 02:18, 7 May 2007 (UTC)

Question?

First bullet sentence reads:

  • an attention to the material conditions of people's lives, and lived relations between people

I have a problem understanding the last part of this sentence; "and lived relations between people." Is this a grammar error, or some thing I'm not understanding? Does the word lived, in Marxism, mean something other than the past tense verb of live? If so, please explain. If it's an error, please fix the sentence to read what it's supposed to mean, as I have no idea! - Jeeny Talk 21:37, 1 June 2007 (UTC)

It's not an error or a specifically Marxist term, but it is a turn of phrase that doesn't get used much outside of academia. Roughly, "lived relations" means relations as they occur in people's daily lives, rather than (say) formal legal relations. I imagine your not the only person who finds the phrase "lived relations" unclear; hopefully someone can come up with a better way to phrase it (the only alternative that come to my mind are "concrete" and "actually existing", which are both vaguer and more jargony, so worse than "lived"). VoluntarySlave 21:56, 1 June 2007 (UTC)
How about something like this
  • an attention to the material conditions of people's lives, and the relations people must enter into to ensure their daily existence
One could, indeed perhaps should, add as a reference (I mean a "<ref>") the famous 'Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy': "In the social production which men carry on they enter into definite relations that are indispensable and independent of their will; these relations of production correspond to a definite stage of development of their material powers of production...The mode of production in material life determines the general character of the social, political and spiritual processes of life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but, on the contrary, their social existence determines their consciousness."</ref>Andysoh 13:14, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

The problem with just "relations" and the quote from PCCPE is that it supports the structuralist Marxist reading of Marx. There is nothing wrong with this as Althusser was in his time very important and there is indeed considerable support from stuff marx and especially Engels wrote to support this form of Marxism. However, there are Marxists who reject this approach or who explore other streams of Marxism. As the article developes, I think a full account of these views should go in the article (e.g. what makes Walter Benjamin or EP Thompson different from Althusser, even though they were all Marxists) but I think the introduction should be as neutral on this as possible. "Lived relations" is perfectly acceptable English grammer. The past participle is not the same thing as the past tense and we use it all the time to talk about the present e.g. "This situation is all fucked up man." Slrubenstein | Talk 13:40, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

I'm not a great fan of Althusser and unsure how "lived relations" differs from "the relations people must enter into to ensure their daily existence". Is there another way of expressing "lived relations" in plain English? Andysoh 21:00, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

Q: Does anyone know if Marx (or Lenin) ever used the word "slave," especially for the word "worker," "employee," or "lumpenproletariat"? Or anything else? If so, it's so important that it should be included in this article so others can begin to see that wage-slaves are slaves. See under "Class" he says "the lumpenproletariat ...must sell themselves to the highest bidder' which to me shows it's still slavery but voluntary slavery. Sundiii (talk) 17:50, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

In Capital the distinction between slaves (people who are bought and sold) and workers (people who sell their labor) is essential to Marx's analysis, just read chapter 1. Towards the end of chapter 1 of The Communist manifesto Marx and Engels seem to equate workers to slaves (and this is suggested by the antepenultimate line of the manifesto), but I believe it is a simile. In other words, Marx the revolutionary often uses poetic rhetoric, rich with imagery and metaphor. Imagery and metaphor are important even in the works of Marx the scholar. So yes, there are plenty of places where Marx suggests that in some ways workers are like slaves. But the fact remains, in his analysis of capitalism he makes it very clear that they are not slaves, that there is an important difference between a slave and a worker and between a slave-based society and a capitalist society. Slrubenstein | Talk 19:14, 9 January 2008 (UTC)

Intro: "essentially an economic interpretation of history"?

I propose that the opening line of the article either be deleted or moved to another section in the article, e.g., to a section on Marxist philosophy of history. I think the opening line of this article, as well as the entire opening paragraph, should be general enough to introduce some fundamental themes of Marxism; the current quotation which opens the article, however, collapses Marxism from the very start into historical materialism, as though Marxism were not just as essentially a political philosophy, a kind of humanism, a theory of class formation, a form of revolutionary praxis, a critique of German idealism, etc. My point is not that the opening line is false; rather, it threatens to simplify a subject that should be approached, especially in an introduction, more broadly (lest the reader think Marxism can be reduced to Marx's Capital). Moreover, I find the source of the quotation to be of questionable scholarship. I'm sure the writers are intelligent people. But the sloppy spelling in the article - the authors note that Marx was heavily influenced by "Fuhrboch" (Feuerbach) - diminishes its scholarly quality, and, by association, the quality of this wiki article. That an article on Marxist anthropology should be used to explain the "essence" of Marxism is also troubling, for Marxism is more than an anthropology. Augenblick 05:01, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

That was quite recently introduced, and I agree -- it's a terrible lead sentence. It's very poor style to use a direct quote in the lead, this is a silly quote to use as it's hardly from the most authoritative source on Marxism tout court, and in fact it is wrong in that it overspecifies something that is in fact often taken to mean different and/or broader things. Not too many Marxists would agree that Marxism is first and foremost an "interpretation of history" (e.g. see the 11th of the Theses on Feuerbach on that). We should revert to the previous version or concoct a similar new one (along the lines of "Marxism is the theory and practice of politics derived from the work of Marx and Engels"). -- Rbellin|Talk 05:07, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
I've taken a crack at a new lead sentence derived from the previous version before the introduction of the ill-advised quote. It seemed desirable to make "praxis" a subordinate part of the sentence, as that's field-specific jargon and the lead section in particular needs to favor easy readability, and focus the syntax on "theory and practice," which are more common words. -- Rbellin|Talk 05:14, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
While we are discussing the lead section, I'd like to point out that, though I think abstracting general features shared among many Marxisms is a good goal for the lead, some of these bullet points are a bit unclear and either confusingly worded or just wrong. For instance, "a belief that people's consciousness of the conditions of their lives reflects these material conditions and relations" is vague, but the word "reflect" seems to indicate a strong form of economic or social determination of thought; this is actually a major point of contention within Marxist thought, not a universal characteristic of Marxism. And I'm not sure that "sympathy" for the working class is anything notably different from belief in its revolutionary nature. -- Rbellin|Talk 05:56, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

I wrote some of those bullet points but I think your criticisms are fair and invite you to propose changes. I think that there needs to be something about the importance of the working class, but invite you to suggest other wording. And I think there needs to be something about the relationship between consciousness and the material conditions of life (I do not think that the Marx ever seriously diverged from the views espoused in The German Ideology) but invite you to suggest different wording. When I say "different wording" I understand that you think the problem is substance and not just style. Please, suggest some alternatives! Slrubenstein | Talk 21:45, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

I will have to think hard about this before making any more substantial proposal, because I think readability and simple language are paramount here, and that kind of quick summary is quite hard to do well. (And please don't think I'm disparaging what we have there now; it's already a great improvement over any previous version of this article that I've seen.) The only suggestion I'll make right now is that the two final bullet points might be combined into one without losing much. -- Rbellin|Talk 21:56, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

(1) take your time; (2) I agree about readability; (3) thanks. I don't think you need to rush to make changes, I just welcome your contributions. Apropos, please note, the intention was NOT to produce an list of points all forms of Marxism share, but rather an inclusive list of points that cover the range of "marxisms." Personally, I think it would be next to impossible and perhaps pointless to come up with a list of points that Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Mao, Luxemborg, Gramsci, Korsch, Althusser, E.P. Thompson, Raymond Williams, and Harold Braverman would all agree on. I am not saying the list of bullet-points cannot be improved on. But I am suggesting that we perhaps modify the way it is introduced to specify that different variants of Marxism consider different points central, and different points secondary, or something like that. Finally, I have no problem with your putting "praxis" in a parenthetical. However, I do think we need to make the point that for many Marxists the theory and the political practice cannot exist independent of one another. (My point is that Marxism is not just (1) a theory and (2) a political practice, it is a position regarding/claim about the relationship (or even identity, for some) between theory and practice. Slrubenstein | Talk 22:03, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

Quite right -- in fact, some form of that idea (the interdependency btw. theory and practice) would make an excellent addition to the bullet points. -- Rbellin|Talk 23:16, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
Re the intro, I removed the parentheses around "including those of the later Communist Parties and Communist states" because this seems like much more than a parenthetical comment. Whether they were/ are abominations in the eyes of some Marxists, the past and current communist experiments are part of the Marxist legacy, and I think this should be stated directly instead of parenthetically.
Moroever, I included "however" in the next sentence because the previous sentence implies that, since the works of Marx and Engels, Communist Parties and states, and diverse academic research all can be called Marxism, they all are fundamentally the same. Note that the sentence says ANY interpretation can be called Marxism. It seems absolutely necessary, then, to follow this very inclusive claim with a contrary remark: they are not fundamentally the same (especially since several scholars distinguish between the "orthodox Marxism" of the Soviet Union and its satellites and other forms of Marxist thought). The reader should know right away that, even if the ideologies of former and current Communist Parties count as versions of Marxism, this does not mean all Marxisms are theoretically and practically harmonious. "However" seems to me to have this effect. If anyone disagrees, please engage my argument before removing the term. Augenblick 05:38, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
"However" doesn't make any sense to me here. The sentences basically say: Any of several very different things may be called X; however, these things are different in many ways. "However" implies that the second sentence is in some way surprising or apparently contradictory in relation to the first. Here, the second sentence in fact follows quite clearly from the first. Harmony or agreement between the various things called Marxism is not said or implied anywhere that I can see here; all the article says is that they all go under the same name. -- Rbellin|Talk 06:03, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
I see your point. I think I need to be clearer. The first sentence, in my view, says that if X is based on an interpretation of Marx and Engles, X is Marxism; being an interpretation of Marx and Engles is a sufficient condition for being called Marxism. I find such a sufficient condition to be necessary, because any definition of Marxism must be broad enough to include a variety of interpretations. However, I also find it to be potentially misleading because it says that things like The Communist Manifesto, the Marxism of the Soviet Union, and academic Marxisms originating in places like Duke University are all equally worthy of being called Marxism. The lay reader will not know from this definition that these things are strikingly different. You read the sentence to mean "any of several VERY DIFFERENT things may be called X" (my emphasis); I don't see how the sentence says that the works of Marx and Engels, Soviet Marxism, and academic Marxism are very different at all; rather, it says that they all satisfy the same sufficient conditions for being called Marxism, and thereby implies similarity. In fact, most people generally think that the work of Marx and Engels = Soviet Communism, and unless the article clearly states that they are not the same, such readers may continue to believe this falsehood.
We seem to agree that the things mentioned in the first sentence are very different. If you'd like to remove however, can you think of another way of wording the first sentence so that it actually does say that "any of several VERY DIFFERENT things may be called X"? 72.29.164.14 19:19, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
I would be fine with including the word "different" somewhere in the sentence for emphasis. But I think any reader can be given credit for understanding that governments, parties, books, and academics are different things. If the sentence said only that various states and parties called themselves Marxist, there might be more room for confusion, but this is an obviously heterogeneous list. And I think "equally worthy of being called Marxism" is your interpolation here; all the article says (and rightly so) is that they are called Marxism. This is a purely descriptive claim. -- Rbellin|Talk 20:02, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
My point was not that the old sentence made things like books and parties appear to be similar entities (ontologically similar). Obviously we can trust readers know that a book is not a party. My point was that the sentence needed to state clearly that the list named books, parties, etc. with different philosophical and practical views of Marxism, and that it needed to do so because the view that Marxism = Soviet bloc Communism is so prevalent that we couldn't have trusted the first-time reader to immediately notice that the list was heterogeneous. The new sentence points this out clearly. Thanks. Augenblick 04:47, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

We need some sources for the lead.. --BMF81 11:28, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

What seems to you to need a direct citation, and why? -- Rbellin|Talk 15:27, 5 July 2007 (UTC)
Mostly the overview of shared ideas. Why? To comply with Featured Article criteria.--BMF81 22:31, 5 July 2007 (UTC)
I'm afraid that it could turn out to be impossible to give sources for a sentence starting with the ambigious word "Most". In order to have a sentence which can be sourced according to Wikipedia:Verifiability#Burden_of_evidence, the sentence would read either "All forms of Marxism do agree on A, and B, and... .", or "Some forms of Marxism can include A, or B, or ...".--Schwalker 15:19, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

Anyway, my point is that we need sources. I added one, surely not one from a top-notch academic journal, but that's better than the current nothing.--BMF81 15:58, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

McClellan wrote a book called Marxism After Marx which I bet would support the claims currently in the intro - and if it doesn't, this book would provide a very hany source for revising it, at least prvisionally (my point is not that McLellan is "the" expert but that he is a good enough authority who has written a book that tries to encompass all the major 2oth century trends and therefore is relevant and helpful) - if anyone has access to his book, I hope they will see how the current intro holds up against it. Slrubenstein | Talk 14:04, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

CONSCIOUSNESS?

Folks, comrades, and vagabonds: I thought that the work on consciousness could use a lift. First, the only entry is on class consciousness. This to me is a subset (albeit a critical one) of consciousness. Also, this article on class consciousness deals almost entirely with Lukacs' work. That's great (and thanks to the authors!), but Lukacs' work shouldn't be the sole focus. The link to consciousness proper is non-political, so to speak: it's a rumination on creatures with the capacity of self-reflection and so forth. What I did was to begin a page titled political consciousness, with the notion of elaborating Marx's general formulations on consciousness, which are somewhat different from his notions of class consciousness. I'm well versed, but I'd like to ask for help and responses. In the spirit of Karl, I think this should be a collective enterprise. :) --Dylanfly 20:53, 9 July 2007 (UTC)

Also, would anyone else agree that Consciousness needs disambiguation? I mean, it's not much more than neuro-science at this point. See my discussion on that page. I think us politicos need to diversify consciousness, ya know? --Dylanfly 01:46, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

Disputing the claims of communist states as marxist

The section entitled "disputing these claims" was deleted with the following reason given:

Anarchist bullshit. To claim that marx never talked about socialism is complete bullshit. Marx agreed at lenghts against anarchism.)

This section is not anarchist and does not claim that Marx didn't talk about socialism. It says that many thinkers dispute the claim of communist states being marxist (that is, accurately representing what Marx saw as socialism & communism). I ahve therefore added the section back in. If anyone has reasonable dispute with the section they can discuss it here first before deleting whole sections. Cheers, JenLouise 02:43, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

The "communist states" were not Marxist. First of all, a communist state cannot exist, since communism is stateless! Second of all communism is the embodiment of democratic order, thus a dictatorship with a planned economy is not communism, or even socialist for that matter. The reason that most people believe that the USSR and the members of the Warsaw Pact and the Comintem were communist, is because of the extensive propaganda campaign that the Americans undertook to convince the public of such a thing. That's the truth, and I would gladly die fighting to defend it. (Demigod Ron 05:38, 19 August 2007 (UTC))

Proposal for semi-protection

Since there is more than usual nonsense-editing lately in this article, it could be convenient to protect this page against IP-edits for a while. --Schwalker 17:35, 22 September 2007 (UTC)

Labor vouchers

Just a few notes on this interesting topic. Labor vouchers featured twice in the subsection on socialism, so I have rearranged the material slightly to bring it all together. This has changed the emphasis slightly, so I thought I'd better discuss this here:

The develoment of the Marxism article recently has brought more easily identifiable bullet points, which no doubt help the public feel that the article is accessible. However, I wondered whether too great an emphasis fell on the Labour Vouchers question at the head of the section. I've moved the text down to where the subject is developed by a quote.

I think these remarks of Marx, set in context and keeping in mind what he was attempting to do in his criticism of the Gotha programme, are schematically exemplifying what a workers' state might do, as a foil to the reformist conceptions of the authors of the Gotha programme, situated very much in the context of the time. We must of course recognise and bring out the essential features of what Marx was saying, although Labour vouchers have not, in my experience, featured as key elements of Marxist's conception of a socialist vision, and the historical context needs to be clear. Marx is in part emphasising that as yet the old capitalist ways of commodity exchange have not and cannot be directly abolished, although they suffer qualitative alteration. He thus puts the limited conception of the writers of the Gotha programme, which he was criticising, into a geater perspective of a move towards a future communist goal.

When Marx wrote, most workers were literally paid in pitiful pennies each week and never saw a bank note let alone a bank account. Today credit cards are a significant part of many workers lives in the advanced capitalist countries (for good and bad), and many workers are paid direct to their bank.

So how would Marx pose the question today, in order to communicate socialism to workers - in order not to alienate them?

For instance if socialism was achieved today along the lines of a Marxist conception, the banking system, although qualitatively transformed in "form and content", as Marx says, could after all still be used. At the simplest level, workers could still be paid into their bank accounts if they wished. Posing this question now opens up a whole series of further questions. But the essential point is that there is still the hangover of commodity exchange and a means of exchange - call it money - but the 'fictional' element is removed. The workers themselves determine the division of the product of their labour, after a deduction for universal health care, etc.

So how would Marx pose it today? We don't know, but we must be careful, in my opinion, not to suggest that Marxists think that a socialist society would be a purely literal imposition of the words of Marx, which after all he himself poses as an example, as opposed to a living creation of the working class after the overthrow of capitalism.

Andysoh 22:09, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

Valid points, but remember that socialism is born from capitalism, thus it bears some of its characteristics. Obviously a society based on monetary exchange cannot go to a society where all goods are essentially free. Socialism exists as an intermediate between capitalism and communism. Thus workers will still be paid according to their labor (though in socialism labor would be contributions to society and not be what it is in capitalism). The difference between socialism and capitalism is that since socialism is the state of the workingmen, workers would be given the full product of their labor, hence they would be paid in hours not meaningless units like dollars or pounds. Labor vouchers are an important part of marxist socialism, the reason that they are mentioned so few times is likely because Marx believed that they would be an obvious part of socialist society. (Demigod Ron 04:00, 15 October 2007 (UTC))

Hi Ron,
Can we look at the sentence:
  • "The worker is paid the full product of his labor, however. He is not robbed as he was under capitalism." ?
It seems to me Marx says that workers would get not get paid, at least through 'labour vouchers', "the full product of their labor" at all. Instead he lists in detail all the deductions, (which our text now makes clear). Marx then says:
He seems to be emphasising this in the opening few pages of the Critique of the Gotha programme.
As you know, Marx here criticises the notion that workers will get the Lassallian notion of the "undiminished proceeds of Labour". He is immediately concerned that the programme to be adopted realistically takes into account all the deductions from the total social product (our text now makes that clear.)
Marx, I believe, feels that it is important that the new workers' society is clear that what is being created is a social product from which there are funds for social projects such as health care, education, and are aware that this proportion will increase.
Marx would like to change the emphasis away from what he here terms "bourgeois right" ("Hence, equal right here is still in principle -- bourgeois right, although principle and practice are no longer at loggerheads, while the exchange of equivalents in commodity exchange exists only on the average and not in the individual case." ibid.) so that the empahsis falls more on the social projects which can be developed from the total social product. Marx calls the phrase "proceeds of Labour", "objectionable on account of its ambiguity". I think he has this in mind.
Perhaps therefore we should remove that sentence. It re-occurs anyway, after the question of the deveopment of the "common satisfaction of needs" has been properly treated.
Just a couple of other points. Firstly, the trade unions, totally transformed, will not go away after the socialist transformation of society and will be an important part of the new society, I think, and will negotiate with the various workers' committees/communes to ensure the various sections of the workforce get a good part of the total product of production. Whether they use 'hours' as you suggest, from an example Marx gives, or some of the more highly sophisticated measures, which take into account a whole range of aspects of work, which they, at shop and workplace level, have developed since Marx (but, often suffering poor leadership at the national level, have rarely been able to fight for), simply remains to be seen.
Marx talks about a certificate, (as the text you re-inserted rightly mentions) and this has been rendered as a 'voucher' in the past, I guess (perhaps more so in the USA?). But especially now that every supermarket and highstreet shop (in the UK) seems to give out almost valueless vouchers, (but also since rationing in this country) this rendering as "labour vouchers" is a poor translation of Marx's meaning, and may bring to mind rationing. But the way Marx renders it, it could easily be translated today into payments into workers' bank accounts and the use of a bank card on the proceeds. 'Vouchers' paints a poor picture, I think.
I still feel that many Marxists today will probably say that the inclusion here of 'labour vouchers' brings to the fore a schematic of Marx's which has not been much to the fore in Marxism as a whole since, making the section somewhat idiosyncratic.
Anyway, my thoughts. Andysoh 21:07, 15 October 2007 (UTC)
There's really no other way to say it besides "the worker is not robbed." And, as Marx explained in the Critique of the Gotha Programme, its impossible to "pay" the worker the full product of his labor but in socialism this payment will be much closer to the true value than it was in capitalism (since socialism is geared around consumption not profit.) I haven't found any other way to phrase that particular characteristic than the simplistic "the workers are given labor vouchers that reflect the amount of labor they've contributed, and the humble worker is not robbed as he was in capitalism".....It's simplistic, yes, but a larger percentage will understand what Marx was talking about if we say that than if we quote the man himself directly. I can't think of any other term to use besides labour vouchers, since that's what most people would be familiar with. Nonetheless, you have valid points and we wouldn't want Marx to turn in his grave because we're bastardizing his words. (Demigod Ron 21:30, 15 October 2007 (UTC))
Since we are examining a passage where Marx begins "For example", and since we really don't know how a self-organising society at the first stage of communism would behave, we should perhaps cautiously make the following change:
Current text:
  • Each worker would be given a certificate verifiying his contribution which he could then exchange for goods.
Perhaps change to:
  • Marx speculated that in a socialist society each worker could simply receive a certificate verifiying his contribution, which he could then exchange for goods.
However, it must be said that if one focuses too much on the distribution of the wealth, one finds (as Marx explains) that a single healthy male worker will complain that in this new socialist society part of his labour is going to the social fund for education and health care, yet he has no children to educate and has always been healthy, and is therefore being robbed! Instead, to make the point that the worker is no longer being robbed but is being raised to a new higher quality of living, one has to approach the matter from the way that production now assumes more and more of a social character.
So instead one could focus, as the fourth point (underneath Council Democracy) on this social character: Something roughly like:
  • Social satisfaction of needs: according to Marxists, under the supervision and guidance of the workers, the immense wealth formerly robbed from the workers by the capitalists would be utilised to usher in a shorter working week, higher wages and better conditions, the ending of wars and occupations, and a higher quality of living for all, including, without restrictions, good quality, free universal health care, education, housing and transport. For instance, the healthcare facilities formerly only accessible to the wealthy would mark the standard by which all healthcare provision would be made be available to all without exception, being rapidly expanded to meet all needs. This would mark the elementary basis for a new socialist society.
Words along those lines would be my preference.
Andysoh 19:16, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

Language complexity

I just wanted to bring up an issue for discussion.

Marx intended for his writings to inspire social change. Marx himself committed his life to the cause of social change. Marx's theories state that the working class will over throw the ruling class and found what he called "communism."

My issue is this. After SMOG (readability) testing a number of articles in the Marxism series, I haven't found one that requires anything less than 14 years of (good) education to comprehend the articles on first read. The average reading level of a drop-out in the United States is 3rd grade. The average for everyone is between 7th or 8th.

I've personally witness the use of wikipedia transcending socio-economic boundries, which simply means proles use it to. So do you think we could keep that in mind when writing some of these? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 216.79.193.120 (talkcontribs)

Although Wikipedia is not intended as a vehicle of social change or intended to further Marx's ideas any more than a library would, you bring up a good point. You may be interested in checking out Simple English Wikipedia. But that does not mean that there aren't ways to improve this article. If you have some specific suggestions, it would be interested to review. Thanks, --TeaDrinker 16:37, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

Class interests

I was surprised to lean that there was no article on the above. So I started one today. Please come over and help develop it. Thank you. --Ludvikus 04:35, 20 October 2007 (UTC)

Marx's theory of history

This section is very long and given undue space in an article this size. I believe that this content should be moved to the Classical Marxism page (or possibly used to create a new article in itself as there is plenty of information) and then a very short summary be used in this article linking to the article containing information. Any problems with this? Also, it not being an area I have studied much, does anyone know of any sources I can use to reference it if creating a new article? Cheers, JenLouise 12:28, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

I have created a new article on Marx's theory of history and moved almost all of the content to that page. The section in this article could do with a touch of minor commentary (i.e.analysis not description) if anyone knows much about it. Cheers, JenLouise 09:16, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

This is much better. Marxism is such a deep subject that including something like the theory of history with a summary of the philosophy would instantly make people who are not familiar with the subject cringe and go look at another article. Now it's far less intimidating. (Demigod Ron 17:59, 25 October 2007 (UTC))

Reference tag

I have re-added a more appropriate referneces tag at the top of the page that asks for more citations to improve the article. As this was the reason that the article failed GA status I think it is important (even though in theory according WP policy says that summary article only need references that apply to the article as a whole in practice, it is common for people to comment on the lack of inline citing in this article). JenLouise 08:15, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Very very long article

This article is very, very long. What do people think of the possibility of splitting the article into two: Marxism (political practice) and Marxism (social theory) and making the Marxism page a disambiguation page that also includes the different types of marxism and socialism/communism etc? JenLouise 09:19, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

I think this would be a bad idea. If we're going to divide the article into chunks, I'd propose instead doing it by historical period (say, Marx and Engels' lives, pre-1917, 1917-1945, 1945-1989, or something like that). A historically divided summary of each era's political and theoretical developments would be a more interesting and informative read, and would avoid making divisions like theory/practice, which are already a bit more interpretive than I'd be comfortable with. -- Rbellin|Talk 17:32, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

I agree that it's near-uselessly long, and covers a lot of concepts like "Neo-Maxism" that aren't core. If I hadn't already read & taken a class, this would be over my college-educated head. 18:46, 12 December 2007 (UTC) Ubiquitousnewt —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.61.22.110 (talk)

List of Marxists

So exactly who decided the List of Marxists should be deleted and the link redirect here, without any discussion? Cheers, anonymous benefactors; the complete loss of an important and useful resource. Didn't you think for even one minute to consult the pages's users and contributors?

And does anyone know how this can be resurrected without starting over again?86.0.203.120 16:45, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

I've reverted that change, which was done without discussion of any kind. In the future, you can always visit the redirect page (by clicking on "Redirected from (article name)" and then look at the article's history to determine what's happened. Further discussion should be moved to Talk:List of Marxists. -- Rbellin|Talk 16:53, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
I see that User:Violetriga keeps undoing the restoration of the article regardless of the request for an AFD discussion. I have left him a note on his talk page and restored the article once more. THe discussion is being continued at Talk:List of Marxists. If you have a view please join in this discussion. JenLouise 11:58, 2 November 2007 (UTC)
It is not acceptable to have content that violates our WP:BLP policy. I know you have looked at said policy but I'm afraid your interpretation of when it is appropriate to delete content is not correct. Further discussion at Talk:List of Marxists. violet/riga (t) 13:48, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

Engels and Classical Marxism

There is a little debate arising in the Classical Marxism page over whether Engels belongs in it. The article previous began with the same sentence that starts the section off in this article. Can you please look at the discussion page and contribute your opinions? Thanks muchly, JenLouise 13:36, 2 November 2007 (UTC)

Atheism Category

I just noticed the atheism category and I have to question it, though I'm not going to outright single-handedly strike it down. Marx spoke of religion as being the opiate of the masses, but he was neither speaking of religion as being bad or necessarily that he himself was atheist. The statement is that the masses get their solace from religion. Now, there have been many marxists who have been religious leaders, without having to make mention specifically to liberation theology. It seems awfully short sighted to categorize it under atheism.

On the other hand, I will note that a form of marxism was purported by the Soviet Union to be their practice, and they did actually actively enforce atheism. This seems more a category for Soviet Communism or whatever it's classified under rather than Marxism.

KV(Talk) 21:40, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

This is just silly. Of course Marx was an atheist, and Marxian materialism leaves little room theoretically to be anything else. Now, of course there are those who support the practical aims of Marxism without buying into the entire philosophical framework, and that's fine. In any event, here are some quotes (more could be produced at will) that adequately make clear Marx's atheism:

"In the same way atheism being the supersession of God, is the advent of theoretical humanism, and communism, as the supersession of private property, is the vindication of real human life as man’s possession and thus the advent of practical humanism, or atheism is humanism mediated with itself through the supersession of religion, whilst communism is humanism mediated with itself through the supersession of private property. Only through the supersession of this mediation – which is itself, however, a necessary premise – does positively self-deriving humanism, positive humanism, come into being." - Critique of Hegel's Philosophy in General 1844

"Pierre Bayle not only prepared the reception of materialism and of the philosophy of common sense in France by shattering metaphysics with his scepticism. He heralded the atheistic society which was soon to come into existence by proving that a society consisting only of atheists is possible, that an atheist can be a man worthy of respect, and that it is not by atheism but by superstition and idolatry that man debases himself." - Holy Family (sounds pretty approving to me)

"Religion, the family, the state, law, morality, science, art, etc., are only particular modes of production and therefore come under its general law. The positive supersession of private property, as the appropriation of human life, is therefore the positive supersession of all estrangement, and the return of man from religion, the family, the state, etc., to his human – i.e., social – existence. Religious estrangement as such takes place only in the sphere of consciousness, of man's inner life, but economic estrangement is that of real life – its supersession therefore embraces both aspects. Clearly the nature of the movement in different countries initially depends on whether the actual and acknowledged life of the people has its being more in consciousness or in the external world, in ideal or in real life. Communism begins with atheism (Owen), but atheism is initially far from being communism, and is for the most part an abstraction. The philanthropy of atheism is therefore at first nothing more than an abstract philosophical philanthropy, while that of communism is at once real and directly bent towards action." - Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts 1844

"His Christian “is never convinced of the vanity of the word of God” and, in consequence of this lack of conviction, he “believes” “in its eternal and invincible truth” (p. 22). Just as Stirner’s ancient is ancient because he is a non-Christian, not yet a Christian or a hidden Christian, so his primitive Christian is a Christian because he is a non-atheist, not yet an atheist or a hidden atheist. Stirner, therefore, causes Christianity to be negated by the ancients and modern atheism by the primitive Christians, instead of the reverse." - The German Ideology

76.216.124.112 22:20, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

The category had been added without a comment only recently, on November 22 2007.

What King Vegita says is not silly in my opinion. Some of the quotes cited to me rather show that for Marx, atheism is no sufficient, if any, prerequisit for (concrete, as opposed to abstract) communism. We should also keep in mind that the Parisian manuscripts were written before the so called epistemological break, and before some of Marx' main works.

--Schwalker 14:41, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

Using the Wikipedia:Categorization#When_to_use_categories it says "If you go to the article from the category, will it be obvious why the article was put in the category? Is the category subject prominently discussed in the article?" and the answer here is clearly: No. "Atheism" is never mentioned once in the article.
The issue of Marx's own Atheism isn't relevant. (There are many atheists but what they write about never gets placed into cat of atheist unless it's commenting on that.) The text doesn't make the relationship clear. The fact the word "Atheist" or "Atheism" are not used in the text at all and only the word "Religion" means "Criticism of religion" is a better category unless someone can expand the actual article to show the relationship with "Atheism". Ttiotsw (talk) 00:44, 4 June 2008 (UTC)

Status of anti-revisionism

I have undone an edit by User:Mqduck, which removed some text. The original text, before his edit, read:

Many Marxists contend that, historically, there has never been any communist country.

His revision removed this qualifier:

Marxists contend that, historically, there has never been any communist country.

His edit summary stated that "(There is no subset of Marxism, even a tiny fringe one, that doesn't agree that there has never been a communist country." I believe this is incorrect, and my rationale for reverting the edit is as follows:

  • The unqualified version suggests that no one who would say there has ever been a Communist country is a Marxist. This is a No true scotsman fallacy, since a great many prominent Marxist theorists in the Lenin-Stalin-Mao line considered their programs to be fully Communist, as indicated in other articles.
  • For example, the article Anti-revisionism says: "Anti-revisionists claim that the Soviet Union under Stalin's leadership represented the last and final correct and successful practical implementation of the ideas of the scientific socialist ideas of Marx, Engels and Lenin in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR)...Anti-revisionism is based on the view that the Soviet Union successfully implemented Marxism-Leninism during approximately the first thirty years of its existence..." The article contains a list of important political figures who are Anti-revisionists as well as political parties that are anti-revisionist.

ausa کui × 03:45, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

sorry for my english, nobody marxist, also stalinist and maoist (and is debated that are marxists) considered a state communist, is differend considered their programs comunist and considered their state communist (in marxist theory not state can be communist).--Francomemoria (talk) 12:33, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
Incidentally, I also agree with this interpretation of Marxist thought, and find Anti-revisionism puzzling because I don't know how they reconcile any of the writings of Marx or Engels (that I've read, anyway) with the political structure of the USSR. Still, this does not resolve the contradiction between the current revision of Marxism (since you have now reverted back to Mqduck's edit) and Anti-revisionism. Either Anti-revisionism doesn't exist, or one of these articles needs editing to make Wikipedia internally consistent. ausa کui × 23:22, 8 December 2007 (UTC)
a fast view of antirevisionism and that article is wrong, never in CCCP consider itself communist only a advanced socialist state--Francomemoria (talk) 00:28, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
The anti-revisionism article, as I read it, doesn't say that the USSR had actually acheived communism, but rather that the political line of the USSR until 1956 was the completely correct line to be followed in order to reach communism - quoting that article: "a prosperous communism could have been achieved if the Soviet Union had remained on this same course" (my emphasis). So I don't see a contradiction between that article and this one. VoluntarySlave (talk) 00:45, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
To emphasize, I believe the most stark contradiction is with this passage:
  • Anti-revisionists claim that the Soviet Union under Stalin's leadership represented the last and final correct and successful practical implementation of the ideas of the scientific socialist ideas of Marx, Engels and Lenin in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR)
I think that in order to clear this up, we need two things:
  1. A citation supporting the claim that no Marxist has ever said that any nation achieved communism, or was communist;
  2. A reconciliation of this difficulty in wording; perhaps something like making it more clear that Anti-revisionists believe that Stalinism is the best "path to communism" or somesuch.
ausa کui × 02:49, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
i'm agree with Delaney--Francomemoria (talk) 12:37, 9 December 2007 (UTC)

Marxism-Leninism

I've also reverted a piece on Marxism-Leninism. Mqduck edited the following passage, which read:

It involves subscribing to the teachings and legacy of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (Marxism), and that of Lenin, as carried forward by Joseph Stalin. Those who view themselves as Marxist-Leninists, however, vary with regards to the leaders and thinkers that they choose to uphold as progressive (and to what extent). Maoists tend to downplay the importance of all other thinkers in favour of Mao Zedong, whereas Hoxhaites repudiate Mao.

to:

It involves subscribing to the teachings and legacy of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (Marxism), and that of Lenin. There have been numerous people who are believed by some to have evolved Leninism further. The three most notable are Joseph Stalin, Leon Trotsky and Mao Zedong. These days, there are few outside Russia who call themselves Stalinist, other than orthodox Maoists. Many of those who today would simply call themselves Leninist are often derided as "Stalinist" by some Trotskyists. There is often much fighting between these camps, within these camps, and among Communists in general.

Although I think the previous revision is inadequate and in need of citation and further explanation, I believe Mqduck's revision is more problematic due to being heavily compromised by weasel words.

ausa کui × 03:55, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

i'm agree --Francomemoria (talk) 12:39, 8 December 2007 (UTC)

The Failure of Marxism

Should not this article mention that Marxism is a flawed, obsolete and failed philosophy? It was tried for 80 years in the world's biggest country, and produced the exact opposite of Marx's predictions. There was pitiful productivity, hopelessness, poverty, alcoholism, and a ruined economy. Far from a "classless" society, the hierarchy of the powerful and the powerless remained, except that as opposed to Democratic Capitalistic societies, there was no hope for mobility. The ability to move among the social classes is an underemphasized strength of Capitalism. A person may be a wage laborer, but he knows that given enough cleverness and motivation, he could be the factory owner. This potential, even if unfulfilled, is of vast importance to the state of mind of the people.

It should be noted that Lenin himself felt that the masses were too ignorant to read and understand the works of Marx, and that they needed an elite group of professional "revolutionaries" who would read and interpret the Communist scripture, and then tell the masses what to do, and they better well do it. Sound familiar? The vast hypocrisy in this view is beyond belief. Lenin didn't want a classless society, he wanted the same old ruling hierarchy as the monarchy or the church had, he just wanted to be on top.74.239.2.104 (talk) 19:25, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

No. See WP:NPOV KV(Talk) 20:46, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

The sort of criticism that you have stated above, belongs in a critique of socialism or communism - the historical attempts by people to put marx's philosophy into action - which it is true did not produce the type of society that Marx predicted. However there is a strong academic debate about whether these attempts can technically be called Marxism - which is why they are in a separe section on Marxism as a political practice, which puts forth the history of these attemps as well as acknowledging the controversy regarding Marxism that was espoused by Marx, and political attempts to restrucutre society that claimed to be Marxist. JenLouise (talk) 05:24, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

Pseudoscience

The Category:Pseudoscience is being cleaned up following a deletion discussion. I added this tag to this article but other editors consider this to be a joke or WP:POINT. They don't seem to have considered the matter carefully as it seems to me that Marxism is well-known for its scientific pretensions in which it seems to fall short of true scientific rigour. The article already cited a relevant source before I got here. Here are many more scholarly sources. Colonel Warden (talk) 07:37, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

  • There is indeed a large backlash against Marxism in academic circles. I think it would be a good idea to have a section detailing the history of criticism of Marxism that discusses that. But putting it in the category doesn't do us much good.ausa کui × 17:48, 29 January 2008 (UTC)


1. The term Pseudoscience is not NPOV. 2.) The "scientific pretensions" of Marxism must be understood in the context of Marx's time as well as within the framework of scientific development of that time. Roughly speaking Kant had introduced the problem of metaphysics becoming a science (Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics) While Kant was dealing with fundamentally different questions, I would argue that German thinkers tried to carry forward the idea of developing other areas of thought to the point where they were comparable with mathematics and what kant referred to as the science of nature. The distinction between hard and soft science did not exist in Marx's day and was totally unwarranted until the "soft sciences" reached maturity. In sum, Marx, for all his economic and philosphical failures, discovered Sociology Spiker 22 (talk) 07:35, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

Journal article: Popper's critique of Marx. I think a history of criticism can't be missing in this article. Obviously the most urgent think this article is missing is a clear, engaging and updated description of Marxism.--SummerWithMorons (talk) 08:21, 5 February 2008 (UTC) PS. quote from one more: "Pavlov had spoken openly denouncing Marxism as pseudo-science" [1]

We need to tread carefully here. I think it is fair to judge communists claims about "scientific socialism" in the 20th century by scientific standards of the 20th century. ButSpiker 22 is right: When Marx used the term "science," it simply did not mean, in the 1840s-1860s, what it means today. Also, we have to be careful about what language Marx wrote in; Wissenschaft is commonly translated as "science" but the German concept of Wissenschaft is far more inclusive than the English word "science." I consider pseudoscience to involve a deliberate immitation of scientific language and forms for non-scientific purposes - intention is crucial, if we are to distinguish pseudoscience from bad science. i think many of Marx's current critics think marxism is bad science and wrong, but that is not the same as "pseudoscience." We also have to be careful about how we use Popper; while he was and remains influential, his project of logical positivism was eventually rejected as wrong by scientists and philosophers. His is a notable point of view, but he is not the divine judge of what is and is not scientific. Slrubenstein | Talk 16:47, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
You also need to have someone credible make that claim to cite. KV(Talk) 17:18, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
uh, make which claim? Slrubenstein | Talk 17:28, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
The claim that Marxism is pseudoscience, which isn't necessarily your claim, but the claim of the section. KV(Talk) 17:40, 5 February 2008 (UTC)
It is easy to demonstrate that many people think that Marxism is a pseudoscience, but I am not sure how many of those people are notable. It is a fair question, Does Popper use the word "pseudoscience" in his critique of Marx? Does Sidney Hook? I think these are the two most famous critiques of Marx's claims as a philosopher or scientist. But let's not resort to some blog essay on the web saying that Popper called marx a pseudoscientist. Can someone here - I assume many Wikipedians own popper's book on the free Society - check and see if popper uses this word? Slrubenstein | Talk 17:57, 5 February 2008 (UTC)


The more important question when considering the scientific character of Marxism is to consider the distinction between hard and soft science- While Marxism definitely does not fit in the former, the question is whether it belongs to the latter. I continue to believe that in Marx's time such a distinction could not yet be made or would have been much more debateable. To be sure,as Thomas Sowell observed: "Marxism has taught many--inside and outside its ranks--to sneer at capitalism, at inconvenient facts or contrary interpretations, and thus ultimately to sneer at the intellectual process itself." Marxism: Philosophy and Economics(208-9) in this sense Marx and his followers can indeed be called unscientific.

Slrubenstein is correct when he claims that intention is crucial, but the "immitation of scientific language and forms" is not always deliberate or intentional; however, a Marxist who immitates scientific language and forms" could be criticised even from a marxian perspective in so far as they do not take account of scientific (read economic and sociological) developments after Marx. Furhter, insofar as Communism with its subsequent declining standard of living, and sytematic scarcity of resources is a problem for marxism as a political reality, it is also a problem for Marxism as an economic and philosophical worldview. As to Popper's reliability I will point out the problems with his attacks on Hegel See Walter Kaufman's excellent The Hegel Myth and its method http://hegel.net/en/kaufmann1959.htm) While the subjet matter was not Marxism, it definitely raises questions about Popper's reliability. Furhter, as Lenin understood a proper understanding of Hegel is important to understanding Marx. Finally an outstanding and to my knowledge, unsurpassed, critique of Marxism is Thomas Sowell's Marxism: Philosophy and Economics Spiker 22 (talk) 07:40, 6 February 2008 (UTC) Spiker_22

Misleading Intro?

As one who doesn't equate Marxism primarily with "communist" experiments in Europe, I find it potentially misleading for the first-time reader that the article immediately identifies Marxism with communist parties and communist states, with the observation that it is also a scholarly field of research trailing almost as an afterthought. This creates the impression, I think, that the "political philosophy" and "political practice" based on the works of Marx and Engels has primarily been the political philosophy and political practice of self-proclaimed communist movements. Now, it is certainly true that the latter have a deep connection with Marxism, and must absolutely be mentioned. I only wonder if there is a way to reword the intro so that it strikes more of a balance, that is, avoids collapsing Marxism into the history of communism. (I mentioned this problem on this discussion page before, but now after reading the article again I'm still bugged by the intro. Also FYI: the entry on Marxism in the Oxford Encyclopedia of Philosophy aggressively rejects any strong association between Marxism and the history of communism) Augenblick (talk) 17:13, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

Okay, care to suggest an alternate phrasing? Slrubenstein | Talk 19:37, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

I edited the intro elaborating more on marxism among scholars and the key differences between marxism and communism.--SummerWithMorons (talk) 19:08, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Marxist

Why must every article be biased? This was not written by wikipedians as it seems, but by narrow minded marxist who wish to spread their philosophy through an article. How about removing this "marxism is great" style.--207.68.234.177 (talk) 22:55, 14 December 2009 (UTC)

It seems as though this three-pronged analysis of Marx's ideas is a bit of an oversimplification of a complex system of thought. 13 April 2010