Glossary: Terms associated with Marxism

MarxismNote on Internet ReferencesThe following terms associated with Marxism / Marxist terminology have been sourced from;;; and ——————————————-

Karl Marx Karl Heinrich Marx (May 5, 1818, Trier, GermanyMarch 14, 1883, London) was an immensely influential German philosopher, political economist, and socialist revolutionary. While Marx addressed a wide range of issues, he is most famous for his analysis of history in terms of class struggles, summed up in the opening line of the introduction to the Communist Manifesto: “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.”

Friedrich Engels Friedrich Engels (November 28, 1820, WuppertalAugust 5, 1895, London), a 19th-century German political philosopher, developed communist theory alongside his better-known collaborator, Karl Marx, co-authoring The Communist Manifesto (1848). Engels also edited several volumes of Das Kapital after Marx’s death.

Bonapartism Karl Marx … used the term Bonapartism to refer to a situation in which counterrevolutionary military officers seize power from revolutionaries, and then use selective reformism to co-opt the radicalism of the popular classes. In the process, Marx argued, Bonapartists preserve and mask the power of a narrower ruling class. He saw Napoleon I and Napoleon III as having both corrupted revolutions in France in this way. Marx offered this definition of and analysis of Bonapartism in “The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte,” written in 1852.

Bourgeoisie The class of people in bourgeois society who own the social means of production as their Private Property, ie, as capital.

Bourgeois Society (or “capitalism”) The ruling class in bourgeois society is the bourgeoisie, who own the means of production as Private Property, despite the fact that the productive forces have become entirely socialised and operate on the scale of the world market.The producing class in bourgeois society is the proletariat, a class of people who have nothing to sell but their capacity to work; since all the means of production belong to the bourgeoisie, workers have no choice but to offer their labour-power for sale to the bourgeoisie.This system of buying and selling labour-power is called wage-labour and is characteristic of bourgeois society, though it has been around since the Peasant Revolt of 1381. The classic form of wage labour is payment for work by the hour or week. Nowadays many workers work on the basis of contracts and piece-work but these forms only disguise the underlying relationship, which remains that of wage-labour.Money and all forms of credit reach their highest development in bourgeois society. As a result, life in bourgeois society “happens” to people in much the same way as the weather happens to people, with money flowing around apparently according to its own laws. To put this another way, in bourgeois society there is a “fetishism“ of commodities; just as tribal peoples believed that their lives were being determined by trees and animals and natural forces possessing human powers, in bourgeois society, people’s lives are driven by money and other commodities, whose value is determined by extramundane forces; instead of ethics and morality being governed by traditional systems of belief and imagined spiritual forces, there is just the ethic of cash-payment.

Bourgeois Democracy A government that serves in the interests of the bourgeois class. The word Democratic is attached to such a government, because in it all people in such a society have certain freedoms: those who own the means of production, the bourgeoisie, are free to buy and sell labor-power and what is produced by it solely for their own benefit. Those who own only their own ability to labor, the proletariat, are free to sell themselves to any bourgeois who will buy their labor power, for the benefit of maintaining their own survival, and giving greater strength and power to the bourgeoisie. The state fundamentally represents the interests of one class over others. On this basis Lenin named bourgeois democracy bourgeois dictatorship. On the same token, Lenin made no distinction that the socialist state, being a state that represents the working-class, is a dictatorship of the proletariat. In no civilized capitalist country does “democracy in general” exist; all that exists is bourgeois democracy, and it is not a question of “dictatorship in general”, but of the dictatorship of the oppressed class, i.e., the proletariat, over its oppressors and exploiters, i.e., the bourgeoisie, in order to overcome the resistance offered by the exploiters in their fight to maintain their domination. Vladimir LeninFirst Congress of the Communist International

Comprador bourgeoisie

The comprador bourgeoisie are non-capitalist bourgeoisie who owe their existence to imperialist capitalists but cannot function on their own as a capitalist class. In Marxist terms, comprador bourgeoisie exist in developing countries and act in their own economic interests, often sacrificing national interests and the interests of their country’s proletariat in order to do so. The concept of “comprador bourgeoisie” generally ties in with Marxism.

Dictatorship of the proletariat

The “dictatorship of the proletariat” is a term employed by Karl Marx in his 1875 Critique of the Gotha Program that refers to a transition period between capitalist and communist society “in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat“. The term refers to a concentration of power in which rule by the proletariat (working class) would supplant the current political situation controlled by the bourgeoisie (propertied class).

DialecticsA pattern of change that begins with some state of affairs (“˜thesis’); which then is overturned because of its own contradictions, giving rise to its opposite (“˜antithesis’); and which then reaches an equilibrium where the best features of the original state of affairs are preserved (“˜synthesis’). Marx argues that historical change is dialectical: each stage of class society contains contradictions that lead to its overthrow, yet this series of revolutions is progressive.