Marxism

“Bernie Sanders 2016” by photogism is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/. https://www.flickr.com/photos/45306791@N02/27049490811

How do YOU feel about communism or socialism? Well, years before Americans were feelin’ the Bern, Marxism described a wide range of social and political philosophy that was built on the work of 19th-century philosopher Karl Marx. One of the most influential and controversial philosophers of all time, Marx is perhaps best known for his critique of capitalism (and his stellar beard).

Key to this critique is the analytical framework known as “historical materialism” which measures societies growth based on money 💵 and cents rather than ideas and social progress. Marx was deeply interested in labor and value under capitalism and the conflict between the two classes in capitalism- the proletariat (who worked in the factories 🏭) and the bourgeoisie (the people who made money 💰off of those factories 🏭). He hoped that the conflict would eventually lead to the creation of a new economic system, one where everyone was able to break bread 🍞. Marx’s thought would influence the development of critical theory in philosophy and in social science more generally.

Podcasts

  • “Karl Marx’s Political Philosophy (Part I)

    The Panpsycast Philosophy Podcast

    Listen
  • Karl Marx

    Philosophy Talk

    Listen
  • Marx

    BBC In Our Time

    Listen

Want to Know More?

Questions to Think About

  • How does capitalism change our perception on what we produce and how we view others?

  • How does capital exploit labor?

  • What’s a better measure of success, the amount of money you have, or how woke you are?

  • Why would humans feel attachment to belongings?

  • Are classes (rich, poor) necessary for a society to do well?

Key Thinkers

  • Theodor Adorno

  • Louis Althusser

  • Walter Benjamin

  • Friedrich Engels

  • Antonio Gramsci

  • Jürgen Habermas

  • Max Horkheimer

  • Frederic Jameson

  • Rosa Luxemburg

  • Herbert Marcuse

  • Karl Marx

  • Slavoj Žižek

 “File:Adorno.jpg” by Jeremy J. Shapiro is licensed with CC BY-SA 3.0. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/. https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5732061

 “Louis Althusser for Pifal” by Arturo Espinosa is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/. https://www.flickr.com/photos/40683483@N07/8420987781 

 “Walter Benjamin” by bhlogiston is licensed with CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/. https://www.flickr.com/photos/56207649@N00/7548593772 

 “Friedrich Engels, one of the fathers of the Marxist theory” by Migration UK is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/. https://www.flickr.com/photos/118126116@N08/18041402579 

“File: Gramsci.png” by Masae~commonswiki is licensed with CC0 1.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gramsci.png 

“File:Juergen-Habermas-philosopher-.jpg” by Dianepl-hcs21 is licensed with CC BY-SA 4.0 To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0.  https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Juergen-Habermas-philosopher-.jpg 

“File:FM-2019-1-6-4-30–Niggl-Radloff-B-Max-Horkheimer-ONLINE.jpg” by Barbara Niggl Radloff is licensed CC BY-SA 4.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0.https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FM-2019-1-6-4-30–Niggl-Radloff-B-Max-Horkheimer-ONLINE.jpg 

“File:Fredric Jameson no Fronteiras São Paulo (5768136053).jpg” by Fronteiras do Pensamento and uploaded by Sturm via Wikimedia Commons is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fredric_Jameson_no_Fronteiras_S%C3%A3o_Paulo_(5768136053).jpg 

 “Rosa Luxemburg” by Cassowary Colorizations is licensed with CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/. https://www.flickr.com/photos/150300783@N07/27675721178 

 “File:Herbert Marcuse in Newton, Massachusetts 1955.jpeg” by Copyright holder: Marcuse family, represented by Harold Marcuse is licensed with CC BY-SA 3.0. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/. https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=233434 

“Karl Marx | Карл Маркс, 1875” by klimbims is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/. https://www.flickr.com/photos/22155693@N04/32109448247 

“Slavoj Zizek in Liverpool” by Andy Miah is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/. https://www.flickr.com/photos/25272992@N00/2340881163 

Key Texts

  • Proletariat
    the working class; those who sell their labor power for a wage
  • Bourgeoisie
    the class who owns the means of production
  • Class conflict
    the political and economic struggle caused by the opposing interests of the proletariat and the bourgeoise
  • Means of production
    raw materials, factories, machinery, and tools used to create commodities
  • Labor power
    the capacity to do work
  • Commodity
    an object produced for exchange
  • Alienation
    the process by which workers are disconnected from the labor process and the products of their labor, as well as one another.

Similar Starter Packs

All Resources