Essay on Karl Marx Karl Heinrich Marx was the oldest surviving boy of nine children. His father, Heinrich, a successful lawyer, was a man of the Enlightenment, devoted to Kant and Voltaire, who took part in agitations for a constitution in Prussia. His mother, born Henrietta Press burg, was from Holland. Both parents were Jewish and were descended from a long line of rabbis, but, a year or so before Karl was born, his father-probably because his professional career required it-was baptized in the Evangelical Established Church. Karl was baptized when he was six years old. Although as a youth Karl was influenced less by religion than by the critical, sometimes radical social policies of the Enlightenment, his Jewish background exposed him to prejudice and discrimination that may have led him to question the role of religion in society and contributed to his desire for social change.
Marx was educated from 1830 to 1835 at the high school in Trier. Suspected of harbouring liberal teachers and pupils, the school was under police surveillance. Marx's writings during this period exhibited a spirit of Christian devotion and a longing for self-sacrifice on behalf of humanity. In October 1835 he matriculated at the University of Bonn.
The courses he attended were exclusively in the humanities, in such subjects as Greek and Roman mythology and the history of art. He participated in customary student activities, fought a duel, and spent a day in jail for being drunk and disorderly. He presided at the Tavern Club, which was at odds with the more aristocratic student associations, and joined a poets' club that included some political activists. A politically rebellious student culture was, indeed, part of life at Bonn. Many students had been arrested some were still being expelled in Marx's time, particularly as a result of an effort by students to disrupt a session of the Federal Diet at Frankfurt. Marx, however, left Bonn after a year and in October 1836 enrolled at the University of Berlin to study law and philosophy.
Marx's crucial experience at Berlin was his introduction to Hegel's philosophy, regnant there, and his adherence to the Young Hegelians. At first he felt a repugnance toward Hegel's doctrines; when Marx fell sick it was partially, as he wrote his father, "from intense vexation at having to make an idol of a view I detested." The Hegelian pressure in the revolutionary student culture was powerful, however, and Marx joined a society called the Doctor Club, whose members were intensely involved in the new literary and philosophical movement. Their chief figure was Bruno Bauer, a young lecturer in theology, who was developing the idea that the Christian Gospels were a record not of history but of human fantasies arising from emotional needs and that Jesus had not been a historical person. Marx enrolled in a course of lectures given by Bauer on the prophet Isaiah. Bauer taught that a new social catastrophe "more tremendous" than that of the advent of Christianity was in the making.
The Young Hegelians began moving rapidly toward atheism and also talked vaguely of political action. The Prussian government, fearful of the subversion latent in the Young Hegelians, soon undertook to drive them from the universities. Bauer was dismissed from his post in 1839. Marx's "most intimate friend" of this period, Adolph Rutenberg, an older journalist who had served a prison sentence for his political radicalism, pressed for a deeper social involvement. By 1841 the Young Hegelians had become left republicans.
Marx's studies, meanwhile, were lagging. Urged by his friends, he submitted a doctoral dissertation to the university at Jena, which was known to be lax in its academic requirements, and received his degree in April 1841. His thesis analyzed in a Hegelian fashion the difference between the natural philosophies of Democritus and Epicurus. More distinctively, it sounded a note of Promethean defiance: Philosophy makes no secret of it. Prometheus' admission: "In sooth all gods I hate," is its own admission, its own motto against all gods, ... Prometheus is the noblest saint and martyr in the calendar of philosophy.
In 1841 Marx, together with other Young Hegelians, was much influenced by the publication of Das Wesen des Christentum's (1841; The Essence of Christianity) by Ludwig Feuerbach. Its author, to Marx's mind, successfully criticized Hegel, an idealist who believed that matter or existence was inferior to and dependent upon mind or spirit, from the opposite, or materialist, standpoint, showing how the "Absolute Spirit" was a projection of "the real man standing on the foundation of nature." Henceforth Marx's philosophical efforts were toward a combination of Hegel's dialectic-the idea that all things are in a continual process of change resulting from the conflicts between their contradictory aspects-with Feuerbach's materialism, which placed material conditions above ideas. (See dialectical materialism. ) In January 1842 Marx began contributing to a newspaper newly founded in Cologne, the Rheinische Zeitung. It was the liberal democratic organ of a group of young merchants, bankers, and industrialists; Cologne was the centre of the most industrially advanced section of Prussia. To this stage of Marx's life belongs an essay on the freedom of the press.
Since he then took for granted the existence of absolute moral standards and universal principles of ethics, he condemned censorship as a moral evil that entailed spying into people's minds and hearts and assigned to weak and malevolent mortals powers that presupposed an omniscient mind. He believed that censorship could have only evil consequences. On Oct. 15, 1842, Marx became editor of the Rheinische Zeitung. As such, he was obliged to write editorials on a variety of social and economic issues, ranging from the housing of the Berlin poor and the theft by peasants of wood from the forests to the new phenomenon of communism. He found Hegelian idealism of little use in these matters.
At the same time he was becoming estranged from his Hegelian friends for whom shocking the bourgeois was a sufficient mode of social activity. Marx, friendly at this time to the "liberal-minded practical men" who were "struggling step-by-step for freedom within constitutional limits," succeeded in trebling his newspaper's circulation and making it a leading journal in Prussia. Nevertheless, Prussian authorities suspended it for being too outspoken, and Marx agreed to credit with the liberal Hegelian Arnold Rule a new review, the Deutsch-franz sische Jahrb cher ("German-French Yearbooks"), which was to be published in Paris. First, however, in June 1843 Marx, after an engagement of seven years, married Jenny von Westphal en. Jenny was an attractive, intelligent, and much-admired woman, four years older than Karl; she came of a family of military and administrative distinction. Her half-brother later became a highly reactionary Prussian minister of the interior.
Her father, a follower of the French socialist Saint-Simon, was fond of Karl, though others in her family opposed the marriage. Marx's father also feared that Jenny was destined to become a sacrifice to the demon that possessed his son. Four months after their marriage, the young couple moved to Paris, which was then the centre of socialist thought and of the more extreme sects that went under the name of communism. There, Marx first became a revolutionary and a communist and began to associate with communist societies of French and German workingmen. Their ideas were, in his view, "utterly crude and unintelligent," but their character moved him: "The brotherhood of man is no mere phrase with them, but a fact of life, and the nobility of man shines upon us from their work-hardened bodies," he wrote in his so-called "+konomische-philosophische Manuskripte aus dem Jahre 1844 (written in 1844; Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 ). (These manuscripts were not published for some 100 years, but they are influential because they show the humanist background to Marx's later historical and economic theories.
) The "German-French Yearbooks" proved short-lived, but through their publication Marx befriended Friedrich Engels, a contributor who was to become his lifelong collaborator, and in their pages appeared Marx's article "Zur Kritik der Hegelschen Rechtsphilosophie" ("Toward the Critique of the Hegelian Philosophy of Right") with its oft-quoted assertion that religion is the "opium of the people." It was there, too, that he first raised the call for an "uprising of the proletariat" to realize the conceptions of philosophy. Once more, however, the Prussian government intervened against Marx. He was expelled from France and left for Brussels-followed by Engels-in February 1845. That year in Belgium he renounced his Prussian nationality. Marx, Karl Brussels period The next two years in Brussels saw the deepening of Marx's collaboration with Engels. Engels had seen at firsthand in Manchester, Eng.
, where a branch factory of his father's textile firm was located, all the depressing aspects of the Industrial Revolution. He had also been a Young Hegelian and had been converted to communism by Moses Hess, who was called the "communist rabbi." In England he associated with the followers of Robert Owen. Now he and Marx, finding that they shared the same views, combined their intellectual resources and published Die heil ige Familie (1845; The Holy Family), a prolix criticism of the Hegelian idealism of the theologian Bruno Bauer. Their next work, Die deutsche Ideologies (written 1845-46, published 1932; The German Ideology), contained the fullest exposition of their important materialistic conception of history, which set out to show how, historically, societies had been structured to promote the interests of the economically dominant class. But it found no publisher and remained unknown during its authors' lifetimes. During his Brussels years, Marx developed his views and, through confrontations with the chief leaders of the working-class movement, established his intellectual standing.
In 1846 he publicly excoriated the German leader Wilhelm Witling for his moralistic appeals. Marx insisted that the stage of bourgeois society could not be skipped over; the proletariat could not just leap into communism; the workers' movement required a scientific basis, not moralistic phrases. He also polemicized against the French socialist thinker Pierre-Joseph Proudhon in Mis re de la philosophie (1847; The Poverty of Philosophy), a mordant attack on Proudhon's book subtitled Philosophie de la mis re (1846; The Philosophy of Poverty). Proudhon wanted to unite the best features of such contraries as competition and monopoly; he hoped to save the good features in economic institutions while eliminating the bad.
Marx, however, declared that no equilibrium was possible between the antagonisms in any given economic system. Social structures were transient historic forms determined by the productive forces: "The hand mill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam mill, society with the industrial capitalist." Proudhon's mode of reasoning, Marx wrote, was typical of the petty bourgeois, who failed to see the underlying laws of history. An unusual sequence of events led Marx and Engels to write their pamphlet The Communist Manifesto. In June 1847 a secret society, the League of the Just, composed mainly of emigrant German handicrafts men, met in London and decided to formulate a political program. They sent a representative to Marx to ask him to join the league; Marx overcame his doubts and, with Engels, joined the organization, which thereupon changed its name to the Communist League and enacted a democratic constitution. Entrusted with the task of composing their program, Marx and Engels worked from the middle of December 1847 to the end of January 1848.
The London Communists were already impatiently threatening Marx with disciplinary action when he sent them the manuscript; they promptly adopted it as their manifesto. It enunciated the proposition that all history had hitherto been a history of class struggles, summarized in pithy form the materialist conception of history worked out in The German Ideology, and asserted that the forthcoming victory of the proletariat would put an end to class society forever. It mercilessly criticized all forms of socialism founded on philosophical "cobwebs" such as "alienation." It rejected the avenue of "social Utopias," small experiments in community, as deadening the class struggle and therefore as being "reactionary sects." It set forth 10 immediate measures as first steps toward communism, ranging from a progressive income tax and the abolition of inheritances to free education for all children. It closed with the words, "The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains.
They have a world to win. Workingmen of all countries, unite!" Revolution suddenly erupted in Europe in the first months of 1848, in France, Italy, and Austria. Marx had been invited to Paris by a member of the provisional government just in time to avoid expulsion by the Belgian government. As the revolution gained in Austria and Germany, Marx returned to the Rhineland.
In Cologne he advocated a policy of coalition between the working class and the democratic bourgeoisie, opposing for this reason the nomination of independent workers' candidates for the Frankfurt Assembly and arguing strenuously against the program for proletarian revolution advocated by the leaders of the Workers' Union. He concurred in Engels' judgment that The Communist Manifesto should be shelved and the Communist League disbanded. Marx pressed his policy through the pages of the Neue Rheinische Zeitung, newly founded in June 1849, urging a constitutional democracy and war with Russia. When the more revolutionary leader of the Workers' Union, Andreas Gottschalk, was arrested, Marx supplanted him and organized the first Rhineland Democratic Congress in August 1848. When the king of Prussia dissolved the Prussian Assembly in Berlin, Marx called for arms and men to help the resistance.
Bourgeois liberals withdrew their support from Marx's newspaper, and he himself was indicted on several charges, including advocacy of the nonpayment of taxes. In his trial he defended himself with the argument that the crown was engaged in making an unlawful counterrevolution. The jury acquitted him unanimously and with thanks. Nevertheless, as the last hopeless fighting flared in Dresden and Baden, Marx was ordered banished as an alien on May 16, 1849. The final issue of his newspaper, printed in red, caused a great sensation. Early years in London Expelled once more from Paris, Marx went to London in August 1849.
It was to be his home for the rest of his life. Chagrined by the failure of his own tactics of collaboration with the liberal bourgeoisie, he rejoined the Communist League in London and for about a year advocated a bolder revolutionary policy. An "Address of the Central Committee to the Communist League," written with Engels in March 1850, urged that in future revolutionary situations they struggle to make the revolution "permanent" by avoiding subservience to the bourgeois party and by setting up "their own revolutionary workers' governments" alongside any new bourgeois one. Marx hoped that the economic crisis would shortly lead to a revival of the revolutionary movement; when this hope faded, he came into conflict once more with those whom he called "the alchemists of the revolution," such as August von Will ich, a communist who proposed to hasten the advent of revolution by undertaking direct revolutionary ventures. Such persons, Marx wrote in September 1850, substitute "idealism for materialism" and regard pure will as the motive power of revolution instead of actual conditions. While we say to the workers: "You have got to go through fifteen, twenty, fifty years of civil wars and national wars not merely in order to change your conditions but in order to change yourselves and become qualified for political power," you on the contrary tell them, "We must achieve power immediately." The militant faction in turn ridiculed Marx for being a revolutionary who limited his activity to lectures on political economy to the Communist Workers' Educational Union.
The upshot was that Marx gradually stopped attending meetings of the London Communists. In 1852 he devoted himself intensely to working for the defense of 11 communists arrested and tried in Cologne on charges of revolutionary conspiracy and wrote a pamphlet on their behalf. The same year he also published, in a German-American periodical, his essay "Der Achtzehnte Brumaire des Louis Napoleon" (The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte), with its acute analysis of the formation of a bureaucratic absolutist state with the support of the peasant class. In other respects the next 12 years were, in Marx's words, years of "isolation" both for him and for Engels in his Manchester factory.
From 1850 to 1864 Marx lived in material misery and spiritual pain. His funds were gone, and except on one occasion he could not bring himself to seek paid employment. In March 1850 he and his wife and four small children were evicted and their belongings seized. Several of his children died-including a son Guido, "a sacrifice to bourgeois misery," and a daughter Fran ziska, for whom his wife rushed about frantically trying to borrow money for a coffin. For six years the family lived in two small rooms in Soho, often subsisting on bread and potatoes. The children learned to lie to the creditors: "Mr.
Marx ain't upstairs." Once he had to escape them by fleeing to Manchester. His wife suffered breakdowns. During all these years Engels loyally contributed to Marx's financial support. The sums were not large at first, for Engels was only a clerk in the firm of Er men and Engels at Manchester. Later, however, in 1864, when he became a partner, his subventions were generous. Marx was proud of Engels' friendship and would tolerate no criticism of him.
Bequests from the relatives of Marx's wife and from Marx's friend Wilhelm Wolff also helped to alleviate their economic distress. Marx had one relatively steady source of earned income in the United States. On the invitation of Charles A. Dana, managing editor of The New York Tribune, he became in 1851 its European correspondent. The newspaper, edited by Horace Greeley, had sympathies for Fourierism, a Utopian socialist system developed by the French theorist Charles Fourier. From 1851 to 1862 Marx contributed close to 500 articles and editorials (Engels providing about a fourth of them).
He ranged over the whole political universe, analyzing social movements and agitations from India and China to Britain and Spain. In 1859 Marx published his first book on economic theory, Zur Kritik der politischen +konomie (A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy). In its preface he again summarized his materialistic conception of history, his theory that the course of history is dependent on economic developments. At this time, however, Marx regarded his studies in economic and social history at the British Museum as his main task.
He was busy producing the drafts of his magnum opus, which was to be published later as Das Kapital. Some of these drafts, including the Outlines and the Theories of Surplus Value, are important in their own right and were published after Marx's death. Role in the First International Marx's political isolation ended in 1864 with the founding of the International Working Men's Association. Although he was neither its founder nor its head, he soon became its leading spirit. Its first public meeting, called by English trade union leaders and French workers' representatives, took place at St. Martin's Hall in London on Sept.
28, 1864. Marx, who had been invited through a French intermediary to attend as a representative of the German workers, sat silently on the platform. A committee was set up to produce a program and a constitution for the new organization. After various drafts had been submitted that were felt to be unsatisfactory, Marx, serving on a subcommittee, drew upon his immense journalistic experience.
His "Address and the Provisional Rules of the International Working Men's Association," unlike his other writings, stressed the positive achievements of the cooperative movement and of parliamentary legislation; the gradual conquest of political power would enable the British proletariat to extend these achievements on a national scale. As a member of the organization's General Council, and corresponding secretary for Germany, Marx was henceforth assiduous in attendance at its meetings, which were sometimes held several times a week. For several years he showed a rare diplomatic tact in composing differences among various parties, factions, and tendencies. The International grew in prestige and membership, its numbers reaching perhaps 800, 000 in 1869. It was successful in several interventions on behalf of European trade unions engaged in struggles with employers. In 1870, however, Marx was still unknown as a European political personality; it was the Paris Commune that made him into an international figure, "the best calumniated and most menaced man of London," as he wrote.
When the Franco-German War broke out in 1870, Marx and Engels disagreed with followers in Germany who refused to vote in the Reichstag in favour of the war. The General Council declared that "on the German side the war was a war of defence." After the defeat of the French armies, however, they felt that the German terms amounted to aggrandizement at the expense of the French people. When an insurrection broke out in Paris and the Paris Commune was proclaimed, Marx gave it his unswerving support. On May 30, 1871, after the Commune had been crushed, he hailed it in a famous address entitled Civil War in France: History has no comparable example of such greatness...
Its martyrs are enshrined forever in the great heart of the working class. In Engels' judgment, the Paris Commune was history's first example of the "dictatorship of the proletariat." Marx's name, as the leader of The First International and author of the notorious Civil War, became synonymous throughout Europe with the revolutionary spirit symbolized by the Paris Commune. The advent of the Commune, however, exacerbated the antagonisms within the International Working Men's Association and thus brought about its downfall. English trade unionists such as George Oder, former president of the General Council, opposed Marx's support of the Paris Commune. The Reform Bill of 1867, which had enfranchised the British working class, had opened vast opportunities for political action by the trade unions.
English labour leaders found they could make many practical advances by cooperating with the Liberal Party and, regarding Marx's rhetoric as an encumbrance, resented his charge that they had "sold themselves" to the Liberals. A left opposition also developed under the leadership of the famed Russian revolutionary Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin. A veteran of tsarist prisons and Siberian exile, Bakunin could move men by his oratory, which one listener compared to "a raging storm with lightning, flashes and thunderclaps, and a roaring as of lions." Bakunin admired Marx's intellect but could hardly forget that Marx had published a report in 1848 charging him with being a Russian agent. He felt that Marx was a German authoritarian and an arrogant Jew who wanted to transform the General Council into a personal dictatorship over the workers. He strongly opposed several of Marx's theories, especially Marx's support of the centralized structure of the International, Marx's view that the proletariat class should act as a political party against prevailing parties but within the existing parliamentary system, and Marx's belief that the proletariat, after it had overthrown the bourgeois state, should establish its own regime. To Bakunin, the mission of the revolutionary was destruction; he looked to the Russian peasantry, with its propensities for violence and its uncurbed revolutionary instincts, rather than to the effete, civilized workers of the industrial countries.
The students, he hoped, would be the officers of the revolution. He acquired followers, mostly young men, in Italy, Switzerland, and France, and he organized a secret society, the International Alliance of Social Democracy, which in 1869 challenged the hegemony of the General Council at the congress in Basel, Switz. Marx, however, had already succeeded in preventing its admission as an organized body into the International. To the Bakuninists, the Paris Commune was a model of revolutionary direct action and a refutation of what they considered to be Marx's "authoritarian communism." Bakunin began organizing sections of the International for an attack on the alleged dictatorship of Marx and the General Council. Marx in reply publicized Bakunin's embroilment with an unscrupulous Russian student leader, Sergey Gennadiyevich Nechaev, who had practiced blackmail and murder. Without a supporting right wing and with the anarchist left against him, Marx feared losing control of the International to Bakunin.
He also wanted to return to his studies and to finish Das Kapital. At the congress of the International at The Hague in 1872, the only one he ever attended, Marx managed to defeat the Bakuninists. Then, to the consternation of the delegates, Engels moved that the seat of the General Council be transferred from London to New York City. The Bakuninists were expelled, but the International languished and was finally disbanded in Philadelphia in 1876. Last years During the next and last decade of his life, Marx's creative energies declined. He was beset by what he called "chronic mental depression," and his life turned inward toward his family.
He was unable to complete any substantial work, though he still read widely and undertook to learn Russian. He became crotchety in his political opinions. When his own followers and those of the German revolutionary Ferdinand Lassalle, a rival who believed that socialist goals should be achieved through cooperation with the state, coalesced in 1875 to found the German Social Democratic Party, Marx wrote a caustic criticism of their program (the so-called Gotha Program), claiming that it made too many compromises with the status quo. The German leaders put his objections aside and tried to mollify him personally.
Increasingly, he looked to a European war for the overthrow of Russian tsarist, the mainstay of reaction, hoping that this would revive the political energies of the working classes. He was moved by what he considered to be the selfless courage of the Russian terrorists who assassinated the tsar, Alexander II, in 1881; he felt this to be "a historically inevitable means of action." Despite Marx's withdrawal from active politics, he still retained what Engels called his "peculiar influence" on the leaders of working-class and socialist movements. In 1879, when the French Socialist Workers' Federation was founded, its leader Jules Gue sde went to London to consult with Marx, who dictated the preamble of its program and shaped much of its content. In 1881 Henry Mayers Hyndman in his England for All drew heavily on his conversations with Marx but angered him by being afraid to acknowledge him by name.
During his last years Marx spent much time at health resorts and even traveled to Algiers. He was broken by the death of his wife on Dec. 2, 1881, and of his eldest daughter, Jenny Longue t, on Jan. 11, 1883. He died in London, evidently of a lung abscess, in the following year. Character and significance At Marx's funeral in Highgate Cemetery, Engels declared that Marx had made two great discoveries, the law of development of human history and the law of motion of bourgeois society.
But "Marx was before all else a revolutionist." He was "the best-hated and most-calumniated man of his time," yet he also died "beloved, revered and mourned by millions of revolutionary fellow-workers." The contradictory emotions Marx engendered are reflected in the sometimes conflicting aspects of his character. Marx was a combination of the Promethean rebel and the rigorous intellectual. He gave most persons an impression of intellectual arrogance. A Russian writer, Pavel Annenkov, who observed Marx in debate in 1846 recalled that "he spoke only in the imperative, brooking no contradiction," and seemed to be "the personification of a democratic dictator such as might appear before one in moments of fantasy." But Marx obviously felt uneasy before mass audiences and avoided the atmosphere of factional controversies at congresses. He went to no demonstrations, his wife remarked, and rarely spoke at public meetings. He kept away from the congresses of the International where the rival socialist groups debated important resolutions.
He was a "small groups" man, most at home in the atmosphere of the General Council or on the staff of a newspaper, where his character could impress itself forcefully on a small body of coworkers. At the same time he avoided meeting distinguished scholars with whom he might have discussed questions of economics and sociology on a footing of intellectual equality. Despite his broad intellectual sweep, he was prey to obsessive ideas such as that the British foreign minister, Lord Palmerston, was an agent of the Russian government. He was determined not to let bourgeois society make "a money-making machine" out of him, yet he submitted to living on the largess of Engels and the bequests of relatives. He remained the eternal student in his personal habits and way of life, even to the point of joining two friends in a students' prank during which they systematically broke four or five streetlamps in a London street and then fled from the police. He was a great reader of novels, especially those of Sir Walter Scott and Balzac; and the family made a cult of Shakespeare.
He was an affectionate father, saying that he admired Jesus for his love of children, but sacrificed the lives and health of his own. Of his seven children, three daughters grew to maturity. His favourite daughter, Eleanor, worried him with her nervous, brooding, emotional character and her desire to be an actress. Another shadow was cast on Marx's domestic life by the birth to their loyal servant, Helene De muth, of an illegitimate son, Frederick; Engels as he was dying disclosed to Eleanor that Marx had been the father.
Above all, Marx was a fighter, willing to sacrifice anything in the battle for his conception of a better society. He regarded struggle as the law of life and existence. The influence of Marx's ideas has been enormous. Marx's masterpiece, Das Kapital, the "Bible of the working class," as it was officially described in a resolution of the International Working Men's Association, was published in 1867 in Berlin and received a second edition in 1873.
Only the first volume was completed and published in Marx's lifetime. The second and third volumes, unfinished by Marx, were edited by Engels and published in 1885 and 1894. The economic categories he employed were those of the classical British economics of David Ricardo; but Marx used them in accordance with his dialectical method to argue that bourgeois society, like every social organism, must follow its inevitable path of development. Through the working of such immanent tendencies as the declining rate of profit, capitalism would die and be replaced by another, higher, society. The most memorable pages in Das Kapital are the descriptive passages, culled from Parliamentary Blue Books, on the misery of the English working class. Marx believed that this misery would increase, while at the same time the monopoly of capital would become a fetter upon production until finally "the knell of capitalist private property sounds.
The expropriators are expropriated." Marx never claimed to have discovered the existence of classes and class struggles in modern society. "Bourgeois" historians, he acknowledged, had described them long before he had. He did claim, however, to have proved that each phase in the development of production was associated with a corresponding class structure and that the struggle of classes led necessarily to the dictatorship of the proletariat, ushering in the advent of a classless society. Marx took up the very different versions of socialism current in the early 19 th century and welded them together into a doctrine that continued to be the dominant version of socialism for half a century after his death.
His emphasis on the influence of economic structure on historical development has proved to be of lasting significance. Although Marx stressed economic issues in his writings, his major impact has been in the fields of sociology and history. Marx's most important contribution to sociological theory was his general mode of analysis, the "dialectical" model, which regards every social system as having within it immanent forces that give rise to "contradictions" (dis equilibria) that can be resolved only by a new social system. Neo-Marxists, who no longer accept the economic reasoning in Das Kapital, are still guided by this model in their approach to capitalist society. In this sense, Marx's mode of analysis, like those of Thomas Malthus, Herbert Spencer, or Vilfredo Pareto, has become one of the theoretical structures that are the heritage of the social scientist.
(L. S. F. /D. T. McL.
) Durkhiem Childhood and education. Durkheim was born into a Jewish family of very modest means. It was taken for granted that he would study to become a rabbi, like his father. The death of his father before Durkheim was 20, which burdened him with heavy responsibilities, and the increased rival rous tensions between France's eastern provinces and Germany, may have contributed to making Durkheim a severely disciplined young man. As early as his late teens Durkheim became convinced that effort and even sorrow are more conducive to the spiritual progress of the individual than pleasure or joy. His outstanding success at school designated him clearly as a candidate to the renowned +cole Normale Sup rieur e in Paris-the most prestigious teachers' college in France.
While preparing for the +cole Normale at the Llc e Louis le Grand, Durkheim took his board at the Institution Jauffret in the Latin Quarter, where he became acquainted with another gifted young man from the provinces, Jean Jaur s, later to lead the French Socialist Party and at that time inclined like Durkheim toward philosophy and the moral and social reform of his countrymen. Durkheim passed the stiff competitive examination for the +cole Normale one year after Jaur s, in 1879. It is clear that his religious faith had vanished by then. His thought had become altogether secular but with a strong bent toward moral reform. Like a number of French philosophical minds during the Third Republic, he looked to science and in particular to social science and to profound educational reform as the means to avoid the perils of social disconnectedness or "anomie," as he was to call this condition in which norms for conduct were either absent, weak, or conflicting. (See anomie.
) He enjoyed the intellectual atmosphere of the +cole Normale-the discussion of metaphysical and political issues pursued with eagerness and animated by the utopian dreams of young men destined to be among the leaders of their country. He soon enjoyed the respect of his peers and of his teachers, but he was impatient with the excessive stress then laid in French higher education on elegant rhetoric and surface polish. His teachers of philosophy struck him as too fond of generalities and of monotonous worship of the past. Fretting at the conventionality of formal examinations, he passed the last competitive examination in 1882, but without the brilliance that his friends had predicted for him. He then accepted a series of provincial assignments as a teacher of philosophy at the state secondary schools of Sens, Saint-Quentin, and Troyes between 1882 and 1887. In 1885-86 he took a year's leave of absence to pursue research in Germany, where he was impressed by Wilhelm Wundt, pioneer experimental psychologist.
In 1887 he was appointed as lecturer at the University of Bordeaux, where he subsequently became professor and taught social philosophy until 1902. Analytic methods. Durkheim was familiar with several foreign languages and reviewed volumes in German, English, and Italian at length in the learned journal L'Ann e Sociologique, which he founded in 1896. But it has been noted, at times with disapproval and amazement, by non-French social scientists, that he travelled little and that, like many French scholars as well as the notable British anthropologist Sir James Frazer, he never undertook any fieldwork. The vast information he studied on the tribes of Australia or of New Guinea or on the Eskimos was all collected by other anthropologists, travellers, or missionaries. This was not, in Durkheim's case, due to provincialism or lack of attention to the concrete.
He did not resemble the French philosopher Auguste Comte in making venturesome and dogmatic generalizations and disregarding empirical observation. He did, however, maintain that concrete observation in remote parts of the world does not always lead to illuminating views on the past or even on the present. To him facts had no meaning for the intellect unless they were grouped into types and laws. He claimed repeatedly that it is from a construction erected on the inner nature of the real that knowledge of concrete reality is obtained, a knowledge not perceived by observation of the facts from the outside.
He thus constructed concepts such as that of the sacred or of totemism, exactly in the same way that Karl Marx developed the concept of class. In truth, Durkheim's vital interest did not lie in the study for its own sake of so-called primitive tribes, but rather in the light such a study might throw on the present. The outward events of his life as an intellectual and as a scholar may appear undramatic. Still, much of what he thought and wrote stemmed from the events that he witnessed in his formative years, in the 1870 s and 1880 s, and in the earnest concern he took in them. The Second Empire, which collapsed in the French defeat of 1870 at the hands of Germany, had seemed an era of levity and dissipation to the earnest young Durkheim. France, with the support of many of its liberal and intellectual elements, had plunged headlong into a war for which it was unprepared; its leaders proved incapable.
The left-wing Commune that took over Paris after the French defeat in 1871 led to senseless destruction, which appeared to Durkheim's generation, in retrospect, as evidence of the alienation of the working classes from capitalist society. The bloody repression that followed the Commune was taken as further evidence of the ruthlessness of capitalism and of the selfishness of the frightened bourgeoisie. Later, the crisis of 1886 over Georges Boulanger, minister of war, who demanded a centralist government to execute a policy of revenge against Germany, was one of several events that testified to the resurgence of nationalism, soon to be accompanied by anti-Semitism. Such major French thinkers of the older generation as Ernest Renan and Hippolyte Taine interrupted their historical and philosophical works, after 1871, to analyze those evils and to offer remedies. Durkheim was one of several young philosophers and scholars, fresh from their +cole Normale training, who became convinced that progress was not the necessary consequence of the development of science and technology, that it could not be represented by an ascending curve, justifying complacent optimism. He perceived around him the prevalence of "anomie," a personal sense of rootlessness fostered by the absence of social norms.
Material prosperity set free greed and passions that threatened the equilibrium of society. These sources of Durkheim's sociological reflections, never remote from moral philosophy, were first expressed in his very important doctoral thesis, De la division du travail social (1893; The Division of Labour in Society), and in Le Suicide (1897; Suicide). In his view ethical and social structures were being endangered by the advent of technology and mechanization. The division of labour rendered workmen both more alien to one another and more dependent upon one another, since none of them any longer built the whole product by himself. Suicide appeared to be less frequent where the individual was closely integrated with his culture; thus, the apparently purely individual decision to renounce life could be explained through social forces. Effect of the Dreyfus affair.
These early volumes, and the one in which he formulated with scientific rigour the rules of his sociological method, Les R gles de la m thode sociologique (1895; The Rules of Sociological Method), brought Durkheim fame and influence. But the new science of society frightened timid souls and conservative philosophers, and he had to endure many attacks. The Dreyfus affair-resulting from the false charge against a Jewish officer, Alfred Dreyfus, of spying for the Germans-erupted in the last years of the century, and the slurs or outright insults aimed at Jews that accompanied it opened Durkheim's eyes to the latent hatred and passionate feuds hitherto half concealed under the varnish of civilization. He took an active part in the campaign to exonerate Dreyfus.
He was not elected to the Institut de France, although his stature as a thinker suggests that he should have been named to that prestigious, learned society. He was, however, appointed to the University of Paris in 1902 and made a full professor there in 1906. (See Dreyfus, Alfred. ) More and more, the sociologist's thought became concerned with education and religion as the two most potent means of reforming humanity or of molding the new institutions required by the deep structural changes in society. His colleagues admired Durkheim's zeal in behalf of educational reform.
His efforts included participating in numerous committees to prepare new curriculums and methods; working to enliven the teaching of philosophy, which too long had dwelt on generalities; and attempting to teach teachers how to teach. A series of courses that he had given at Bordeaux on the subject of L'+volution p dagogique en France ("Pedagogical Evolution in France") was published posthumously in 1938; it remains one of the best informed and most impartial books on French education. The other important work of Durkheim's latter years dealt with the totemic system in Australia and bore the title of Les Formes l ment aires de la vie religieuse (1915; The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life). The author, despite his own agnosticism, evinced a sympathetic understanding of religion in all its stages.
French conservatives, who in the years preceding World War I turned against the Sorbonne, which they charged was unduly swayed by the prestige of German scholarship, railed at Durkheim, who, they thought, was influenced by the German urge to systematize, making a fetish of society and a religion of sociology. (See "Elementary Forms of Religious Life, The." ) In fact, Durkheim did not make an idol of sociology as did the positivists schooled by Comte, nor was he a "functionalist" who explained every social phenomenon by its usefulness in maintaining the existence and equilibrium of a social organism. He did, however, endeavour to formulate a positive social science that might direct people's behaviour toward greater solidarity. The outbreak of World War I came as a cruel blow to him. For many years he had expended too much energy on teaching, on writing, on outlining plans for reform, on ceaselessly feeding the enthusiasm of his disciples, and eventually his heart had been affected. His gaunt and nervous appearance filled his colleagues with foreboding.
The whole of French sociology, then in full bloom thanks to him, seemed to be his responsibility. Death and legacy. The breaking point came when his only son was killed in 1916, while fighting on the Balkan front. The father stoically attempted to hide his sorrow, but the loss, coming on top of insults by nationalists who denounced him as a professor of "apparently German extraction" who taught a "foreign" discipline at the Sorbonne, was too much to bear.
He died in November 1917. Durkheim left behind him a brilliant school of researchers. He had never been a tyrannical master; he had encouraged his disciples to go farther than himself and to contradict him if need be. His nephew, Marcel Mauss, who held the chair of sociology at the Coll ge de France, was less systematic than Durkheim and paid greater attention to symbolism as an unconscious activity of the mind. Claude L vi-Strauss, who occupied the same chair of sociology and resembles Durkheim in the way he combines reasoning with intensity of feeling, also offered objections and corrections to Durkheim's views.
With Durkheim, sociology had become in France a seminal discipline that broadened and transformed the study of law, of economics, of Chinese institutions, of linguistics, of ethnology, of art history, and of history. (H. M. P. ) | collective behaviour Individual motivation theories Among the analytic theories that seek to eschew evaluation, the most popular ones stress individual motivation in accounting for collective behaviour. Frustration and lack of firm social anchorage are the two most widely used explanations for individual participation in collective behaviour of all kinds.
In the psychiatric tradition, frustration heightens suggestibility, generates fantasy, brings about regressions and fixations, and intensifies drives toward wish fulfillment so that normal inhibitions are overcome. Since most forms of collective behaviour promote thoughts that are otherwise difficult to account for and that breech behavioral inhibitions, this is often a fruitful source of explanation. In the sociological tradition of +mile Durkheim, absence of firm integration into social groups leaves the individual open to deviant ideas and susceptible to the vital sense of solidarity that comes from participation in spontaneous groupings. Drawing upon both the psychiatric and the sociological traditions, Erich Fromm attributed the appeal of mass movements and crowds to the gratifying escape they offer from the sense of personal isolation and powerlessness that people experience in the vast bureaucracies of modern life.
Extending Karl Marx's theory of modern man's alienation from his work, many contemporary students attribute faddish, crowds, movements of the spirit, and interest-group and revolutionary movements to a wide-ranging alienation from family, community, and country, as well as from work. (See Marxism. ) According to the approach suggested by the U. S.
political scientist Hadley Cantrip, participation in vital collectivities supplies a sense of meaning through group affirmation and action and raises the member's estimate of his social status, both of which are important needs often frustrated in modern society. Eric Hoffer, a U. S. philosopher, attributed a leading role in collective behaviour to "true believers," who overcome their own personal doubts and conflicts by the creation of intolerant and unanimous groups about them.
Crowds A thin line separates crowd activities from collective obsessions. The crowd is, first, more concentrated in time and space. Thus a race riot, a lynching, or an orgy is limited to a few days or hours and occurs chiefly within an area ranging from a city square or a stadium to a section of a metropolitan area. Second, a concern of the majority of the crowd (many participants do not always share the concern) is a collaborative goal rather than parallel individual goals. The "june bug obsession" cited earlier, in which dozens of women went home from work because of imaginary insect bites, could have turned into a crowd action if the women had banded together to demand a change in working conditions or to conduct a ceremony to exorcise the evil. Third, because the goal is collaborative, there is more division of labour and cooperative activity in a crowd than in collective obsessions.
Finally, a major concern of a crowd is with some improvement or social change expected as a result of its activity. Labour rioters expect management to be more compliant after the riot; participants in a massive religious revival expect life in the community to be somehow better as a result. The crucial step in developing crowd behaviour is the formation of a common mood directed toward a recognized object of attention. In a typical riot situation a routine police arrest or a fistfight between individuals from opposing groups focuses attention. Milling and rumour then establish a mood of indignation and hostility toward an identified enemy or enemies. In a collective religious experience there is usually an amazing event that rivets attention.
Through elementary collective behaviour the mood is defined as religious awe and gratitude toward the supernatural and its agents. As the mood and object become established, either an "active" crowd or an "expressive" crowd is formed. The active crowd is usually aggressive, such as a violent mob, though occasionally it acts to propel members into heroic accomplishments. The expressive crowd has also been called the dancing crowd because its manifestations are dancing, singing, and other forms of emotional expression..