Political Ideologies: A Comparative Approach

By Mostafa Rejai | Go to book overview
Save to active project

aggrandizement of a few. The primacy of economic forces and the institutionalization of ownership-as-the-arena-of-exploitation give rise to incessant class struggle, oppression, and alienation. Conflict, in other words, is inherent in the economic structure of society.

The overriding and unifying theme in Marxism, as we have seen, is moral outrage against the institutions and practices of Western capitalist societies. When combined with unceasing reminders of exploitation, brutalization, dehumanization, and alienation, this dimension provides one of the most potent emotional appeals in human history. Thus, to paraphrase, Marx's Communist Manifesto closes with the ringing exhortation: Workers of all countries unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains.

Ideally, the evaluative component of Marxism revolves around egalitarianism, communalism, and communal ownership and control of national wealth. All this is merely a step toward the realization of a classless society in some distant future--a society in which all conflict ends, peace and harmony prevail, human creativity finds complete fulfillment, and the formula, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need," is promulgated.

The programmatic ingredient of Marxism is weak and untenable in that it calls for spontaneous and successful risings of the oppressed against the oppressor. As we shall see, however, this weakness was amply remedied by Lenin, Mao, Ho, and Castro, among others.

The social base of Marxism is, strictly speaking, fully internationalist: the proletariat, regardless of time and place. (In classless society, of course, all distinctions will presumably vanish into one harmonious human race.) In practice, however, as we shall see, Lenin, Mao, Ho, and Castro turned Marxism into national enterprises. As a result, there is as much friction between communist countries today as there is between any other groups.

Selected Bibliography

Avineri, Shlomo. The Social and Political Thought of Karl Marx. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970.

-----, ed. Marx's Socialism. New York: Atherton Press, 1973.

Bober, M. M. Karl Marx's Interpretation of History. Rev. ed. New York: Norton, 1965.

Bottomore, T. B., ed. Karl Marx: Early Writings. London: C. A. Watts, 1963.

Cohen, G. A. Karl Marx's Theory of History: A Defense. Princeton, NJ.: Princeton University Press, 1979.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Political Ideologies: A Comparative Approach


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 202

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?