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Introduction to IR

Communism
Communism
At most basic level: It may defined
as an ideology that seeks to create
human equality by eliminating private
property and market forces.
As a political theory and ideology
can be traced back to the German
philosopher Karl Marx(1818-1883)
Karl Marx
HOMO LABOURANS
Materialistic interpretation of History.
Human beings are not essentially rational creatures, or children of
god, or political animals. By contrast, human beings are not
essentially anything; they are what they doand what they do is
work to derive a life for themselves from the world around them.
Everything about them, including their consciousness of
themselves and their understanding of nature and their belief in
God is a direct product of what they physically do in their daily
lives. For Marx, the human beings is homo laborans [a working
human].
Thus, for Marx alienation is a physical and psychological
condition which arises out of the conditions of modern work.
Since the worker does not own what he produces, since he lives
as an extension of the machine, since he hates what he does, then
the worker does not own his own life, he is in a basic sense simply
a human machine.
surplus value of labor

Starts with a simple observation; human
beings are able to creat objects of value by
investing their own time and labor in their
creation.
o surplus value of labor
Stays with the object and can be useful to
anyone apart from market
An opportunity for those with political
power; to extract the surplus value at little
cost to enrich themselves by using
coercion to acquire them
While impoverishing others
For Marx:
World understood properly in economic
terms
That all human action flowed from the
relationship between the haves and
haves-not
Structures are important, in making
human history
Based on base and superstructure
Base; system of economic production,
level of technology and kind of class
relations
false consciousness
Superstructure: represents all human
institutions-politics and state, national
identity and culture, religion and gender
Created essentially to justify and
continue the existing order
Consequently people suffer from false
consciousness
Meaning: belief that they(the people)
understood the true nature of the world
around them but in reality they are
deluded by the superstructure
imposed by capitalism
The True Picture
if you ask a good liberal, like me, for a description
and justification of, say, Liberal Studies, I would
give you all sorts of labels like Critical Thinking,
learning community, friendship, general skills,
learning for its own sake, the pursuit of truth, and
so on. For the Marx those are simply the "official"
veil thrown over the economic realities by the ruling
class. What is really going on at the material level is
that, for example, students are being forced to carry
out obediently a series of meaningless tasks, to
meet deadlines, to comply with authority, to write
official standard prose, to come to classes on time,
to sit passively through boring lectures in freezing
rooms--in short they are being required to turn
themselves into people eminently well suited for a
career as a mindless servant of the capitalist
system and to call this a valuable education
Marx and Revolution:
Human history developed in specific
phases
Driven by particular nature of
exploitation; build around existing level
of technology available
For Example: early agrarian societies ,
feudalism was the dominant political
and economic order; available
technology was used to tie the
individuals to the land so that their labor
could be exploited by the aristocracy

Cont
The relationship between the haves and
haves- not is stable, but the technology itself is
dynamic
Changes in technology would increase
tensions between the rulers and ruled, as new
from of technology empowered new groups who
clashed with the base and superstructure
Again, in case feudalism, emerging
technology empowered an early capitalist,
property owning middle class or bourgeoisie,
whose members sought political power for
themselves and remaking of the economic and
social order in a way that better fits capitalist
ambitions
dialectical materialism
This tension would lead to
revolution; those in power would be
overthrown, a new ruling class would
come to power
This change would be sudden and
violent, and would pave the way for
new economic base and
superstructure
Termed as dialectical materialism
Revolutions come about as a result
of this tension between the
economic classes
Marxs Conclusion:
On this basis, the capitalist democracy,
which has displaced feudalism, would
itself be overthrown by its internal
flaws
As capitalism developed, competition
between firms would intensify
Working class would find itself on the
loosing end of this process and firms
introduce more and more technology
to reduce the number of workers
Similarly, unprofitable businesses
would began to go bankrupt in the face
of intense competition
Cont
The bourgeoisie would grow smaller
and wealth concentrated in fewer
hands
Large monopolies would come to
dominate the economy
Wages of the working class would
decline in the face of competition and
ranks of unemployed would swell
gain consciousness
Alienated and driven to desperation by
these conditions, proletariat would gain
consciousness
Realizing the true source of their
poverty and rise up in rebellion
Seizing control of state and economy
Marx, saw this phenomena not as a
national but as an international one
When the conditions are right,
revolution will spread all over the
capitalist world, in a short period of
time
dictatorship of the
proletariat
Temporary dictatorship of the proletariat
During which , last vestiges of capitalist, the
old remnants of the superstructure, would
be swept away
After the elimination of the capitalist
institutions, the institutions of the state would
wither away
Their would be no need for laws and police,
armies and flags
As people would be united in equality rather
than blinded by the false consciousness of
nationalism

Age of communism
People would live in stateless word
Exploitation and class struggle would
come to an end
Marx: only then one can speak of
communism
(which is why communist parties speak
of their countries as being socialist,
since they were still controlled by the
state)
For communists, socialism is a
transition phase; an outcome where
private property no longer exists
"Religion is the opium of the
people."
Religion, for example, is an invaluable tool in keeping the
toiling dissatisfied masses persuaded that their harsh
conditions are ordained by God; liberal democracy is an
invaluable means of persuading the people that they are
"free," that in the "progressive unrolling of the historical
development of freedom" they are precisely where they
ought to be and have no right to complain, that in the
concept of "progress" they are on the right track, and so on.
To the extent that capitalism can persuade people that free
speech is an essential duty, it will further persuade them to
purchase newspapers full of advertisements which will be
important stimulus to a more energetic participation in
capitalism itself.