The Marxist Theory of Alienation

The Marxist Theory of Alienation

Language: English

Pages: 102

ISBN: 0873482301

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Alienation from one's fellow human beings is rooted in the development of class society itself, the authors argue. It can be overcome only through the revolutionary fight for a society both free of domination by the capitalist class, and with complete democratic control of the government and economy by working people.


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I shall limit my citations on this point to the foremost Comm unist philosophers: Georg Lukacs of H ungary, Adam Schaff of Poland, and Roger G araudy of France. All three have acknowledged, not only that alienation is rife in the w orkers' states, but also that this fact poses a prim e challenge to M arxist theory. Lukacs has asserted, som ew hat paradoxically, that alien­ ation is the m ost prom ising of all subjects for Communist writers. This reversal of values which horrifies the g u ard ­

h a r­ a c teristic o f m ost o f th em is th e absence fro m th e ir w ritin g s of an analysis in d e p th w h ic h w o u ld b rin g o u t th e law s o f d e v elo p ­ m e n t o f social re ality fro m a p u re ly p h enom enological d esc rip ­ tio n o f it. B y statin g th a t th e re w ill alw ays be “ those w h o c o m m an d ” and “ those w h o o b e y ,” th a t th e re w ill alw ays be scarce goods and th e n ecessity o f an alien atin g m e th o d o f allo tin g them , these au­ th o rs

suprem e authority, the m aster hierarch y which alon e retains the right to m ake the key econom ic decisions. 39. N orbert Wiener, T he H u m a n Use o f H u m a n B ein g s { New York, 1 9 5 4 ), pp. 158-160. 4 0 . The case of the Am erican war m achine, which is h igh ly m echanized (esp ecially as regard s the w arnin g system , guided b y com pu ters), but which culm inates in the President of the United States, w h o a lo n e h as the right to press certain buttons, Progressive

f Political Econom y, Capital) M arx takes the com modity as the cell of capitalism , he here puts forw ard alienated labor as the central concept. He even views private property as derived from the alienation of labor. It is both the product of estranged labor, he writes, and the m eans by which la b o r is estranged from itself. "Just as we have derived the concept of private property from the concept of estranged alienated labor by analysis, in the same way every category of political economy

United States. Thus the "C om m unitarian Socialism" of this H um anist turns out to be a faded copy of the utopian fantasies of the last century. It is a form of flight from the real facts of m odern technology which dem and large-scale p roduction on a universal scale to sustain and elevate the ex p an d ing population of the globe. It is also an eva­ sion of the pressing tasks involved in elim inating the evils of capitalist reaction and Stalinism, because it alien­ ates itself in theory and

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