March 4th, 1883 is the date that Karl Heinrich Marx passed away, however his theories and legacy still live to this day. Post-mortem, his messaged was interpreted and criticized very differently between numerous political scientists, philosophers and theorists. Presently, the leftist movement, which surrounds itself around his research and theories, is divided into two parties over the fall of capitalism. These two parties either believe democratic means is the answer, yet some believe constant radical steps is the only means possible. The collapse of capitalism was a crucial topic with which these critics discussed because this end never occurred within Marx's time. Marx's depiction and theory of the breakdown is described in depth inside the Manifesto. Marx believed that capitalism would destroy itself because the system would grow to such a height that it would be unable to sustain itself any longer. Once this complete plummet occurred and the working class realized the end of capitalism was near, they would openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions.
Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution (Marx 500). Other theorists, on the other hand, feel that this approach to free mankind from capitalism is either too difficult or completely the wrong approach. Still other theorists would argue that capitalism is so ingrained within society that an attempt to resist this social order is futile, which will only lead to alienation of the individual from society. In the end, the only thing a majority of the leftist theorists can agree on is that some type of action must be taken in order to overcome capitalism.
[...] Adorno believes there is no hope and capitalism will slowly take over every domain of society. The only way mankind will be able to be liberated is through constant resistance. This resistance however would result in a complete alienation of the self from society. Even an individual's private resistance is met with much hostility from society as well, child who prefers to listen to serious music or practice the piano rather than watch a baseball game or television will have to suffer as a ‘sissy' in his class or in the other groups to which he belongs and which embody far more authority than parents or teacher” (Perennial Fashion Jazz 208). [...]
[...] This slow separation however could also be to blame on the people and the working class. Although such commodities and mediums of exchange are quite compelling and seducing to watch or participate in, it is the individual that makes the decision to either watch endless television shows with numerous commercials as well as listen to present-day music with no meaning or unique qualities. Lukács is correct to blame the bourgeois for producing and distributing these useless products that the proletariat of today considers necessities, on the other hand the bourgeois is simply producing these goods in order to create more capital. [...]
[...] In the present culture, this concept of reification can be seen in day to day life especially in regards to politically led assemblies. May 1968, a large demonstration was held in Nanterre, France where students armed with trashcan lids and rocks rioted against the police marking a turning point for the leftist revolutionary movement throughout Europe. Today, however such French leftists as Raphaël Glucksmann believe “It's [the left] in a state of mental coma the young people are marching now to refuse all reforms” (New York Times). [...]
[...] Lukács believes the only line of defense left against capitalism is swift action by the entire working class. This theory, however completely contradicts his message of reification, which is why Bernstein is the only theorist that believes in action through slow and small steps as opposed to completely nothing like Adorno or gigantic movements professed by Lukács. To begin, György Lukács was a Hungarian theorist that believed reification was the tool used by capitalism and the bourgeois class in order to control and manipulate the proletariat. [...]
[...] With the increase in capital, society increases the amount of capitalists, his (Marx) subsequent account, this growth in the number of capitalists is completely ignored, and even joint-stock companies are dealt with only under the perspective of the concentration and centralization of capital” (Bernstein 57-58). This growing number of capitalists however can be argued against Bernstein's conception of democratic involvement. As more people become capitalists, they become more involved democratically but for a capitalistic end as opposed to a socialist end. Nonetheless, Bernstein believes prospects of socialism depend not on the decrease but on the increase of social wealth” (61). [...]
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