Talk:Marxist Socialism

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 Definition Refers to a Marxian school of economics which emerged soon after Marx's death, led by his companions and co-writers, Friedrich Engels and Karl Kautsky. [d] [e]
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Text here was removed by the Constabulary on grounds of civility. (The author may replace this template with an edited version of the original remarks.) Please keep talking about CONTENT not presentation, views pro and contra visions can and must be part of any mature discussion. Abject rejection without proper alternatives are not academic in nature. Please try to construct a positive discussion. Robert Tito |  Talk  00:03, 28 March 2007 (CDT)

Just to clarify, one of our grounds for removal is this: "Disrespectful characterization of others' work on talk pages or other open forums. Note, mere criticism of a position or a forceful reply does not necessarily qualify as disrespectful; objectionable language has an implication of personal criticism, or can be reasonably taken to have such an implication." See Constabulary Blocking Procedures. So, while of course it's highly desirable for us to have intelligent criticisms of others' work, criticisms should be made civilly, or professionally. This does not need further discussion here; please just note the policy. --Larry Sanger 12:46, 28 March 2007 (CDT)
I did not intend to criticize the author of this article, but I see this article as having problems with presentation so severe as to make it difficult, if not impossible, to meaningfully discuss the content. The "introduction of this article does not, in my opinion, provide an educated reader a coherent foundation to learn more about the subject of this article. I will attempt to restate my objections to the article as it is evolving in a more constructive way.
First, this article is poorly titled. The article is about a particular strain of thought in the economic analysis of capitalism (as is emphasised early in the article), but the title implies a theory of the function of a socialist society, or an analysis of the implementation of socialism. A better title might be "Marxian economic analysis".
Second, the second paragraph fails to clearly explain what status quo is being described - the status quo of existing political-economic systems, or the status quo of economic theory. It then links various "heterodox" economists to various disturbances and revolutionary movements without any explanation or context - it is not explained that the purpose of heterodox economists is to overthrow existing social arrangements, it is merely assumed. (This assumption is also factually incorrect.)
Third, once the article introduces Marx's Capital, rather than attempting to summarize how Capital contributed to economic thought, it immediately moves on to the improvements and extensions of Marx's theory, and starts describing the endlessly tedious factionalism of marxist scholars.
Suggested improvements:
  • Rename article Marxian Economic Theory
  • Throughout the article, maintain a clear distinction between analytic economic theory and proposals for change of existing social-economic arrangements
  • After the initial introductory paragraph, explain briefly the state (or history) of economic theory prior to Marx's publication of Capital.
  • In the paragraph which announces the publication of Capital, explain (as it does now) the publication history (Engels completing it, etc), then briefly summarize how it changes the state of economic theory. If the publication of Capital (rather than other works of Marx) is considered important to the history of movements for restructuring the economic order, then explain that briefly, too.
These suggestions are just that; the article author (as there is still just one) may choose to organize the beginning of the article in some other way. I do not have sufficient background in Marxian economics to undertake this work myself.
The work which has been added since my initial complaint appears to be proceeding in a much more organized fashion; if the beginning of this article can be cleaned up, the overall article should be quite an addition to Citizendium. Anthony Argyriou 01:19, 28 March 2007 (CDT)

A reply...

As I said before, this article is UNDER CONSTRUCTION. The part you seemed to disagree most with is an "Introduction" which is meaningless without the remaider of the article. It refers to the previous heterodox thinkers who are analysed, in detail, each one separately, in Economic heterodox tradition, linked to this article. There is no point in repeating the same explanations here. I will prefer to discuss appropriateness of the title and specific topics after the article is complete. However, Marxist socialism is a type of socialism, the first type, as opossed to, for instance, "fabian socialism" (revisionist).
(From the text):
(...)"marxist socialism", or "socialism" as conceived by Marx himself, also called "mechanical socialism". "Marxist socialism" supposes a class war, resting on the clear-cut distinction devised by Marx, and conceives a logically developed system of the control of the economy by government.
Also view:
Folowing this answer there is a schematic guide on the history of the period in consideration, which might be useful to those interested in understandig the events. It is from the Modern History Sourcebook edited in association with Fordham University, the Fordham University History Department, and the Fordham Center for Medieval Studies. Its link will be placed in "External Links" to be avaliable to all.
I which to stress here, once more, the point that this article is neither intended to be "pro-Marx" nor "anti-Marx". Being "pro" or "con" is a subject for a political debate forum; there are thousands of them on the Net, freely avaliable to those rightfuly interested in defending their own personal political views. But the CZ project is not one of them. As for your comments on "educated readers", I assume all readers to be educated, some more, some less.


Socialism, Marxism, and Trade Unionism

Origins of Socialism

  • French Revolution - theory and organization necessary for change
  • Industrial Revolution:
-the oppression of the working class
-a new possibility - that poverty might be abolished
-Creation of class consciousness
  • Judeo-Christian ideas of Justice

Utopian Socialists

  • Count Claude Henry de Saint-Simon (1760-1825)
  • Charles Fourier (1772-1837) - phalansteres (cf. Kibbutzim in Israel]
  • Louis Blanc (1811-1882)
  • Pierre Joseph Proudhon

Early English Socialism

  • Robert Owen (1771-1858) - New Lanark
  • Chartism
  • The Grand National Consolidated Trade Union

Socialist Philosophy - Marx and Others

  • Karl Marx(1818-1883)
  • Fredrich Engels(1820-1895)
  • The Communist Manifesto 1848
  • Das Kapital 1867

Origins of Marxism

  • German Philosophy - [Hegel] - for analysis of historical process
  • English Economics [Smith, Riccardo] - for importance and mechanics of economic
  • French Politics - [repeated revolutions - for means of social change

Dialectical Materialism

Thesis - Antithesis


Synthesis - Antithesis

New Synthesis

In sum - History has meaning

Marx's Application to European History

Feudalism - creates bourgeoisie


Capitalism - creates proletariat

Will create Socialism

In sum - a "scientific" approach to history

Alternatives to Marx


  • Edward Bernstein (1850-1932) - Revisionism
  • Fabianism 1884
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)
Sidney (1859-1947) and Beatrice Webb.(1866-1946).

Trade Unions:

  • Craft Unions
  • General Unions

Socialist Parties

  • Needed universal or mass male suffrage: Arrives in late 19th century
Britain 1867, 1884 (not quite universal)
Germany 1871
France, 1871
Switzerland 1879
Spain 1890
Belgium 1893
Netherlands 1896
Norway 1898
Italy 1912
  • German Social Democrat Party [SPD]
founded 1875 by Ferdinand Lasselle.
  • Labour Party in Britain
Keir Hardie first socialist MP - 1892
Independent Labour Party - 1901
Taft Vale Decision - Unions can be sued for damages
Trades Union Congress launches Labour Representation Committee
Labour Party 1906.

JPRC 08:54, 28 March 2007 (CDT)

Opening quotation

There is no good reason to open any encyclopedia article with a quotation at all; but if we were to do so, it should express a sentiment that virtually everyone can agree to. The following self-congratulatory quotation implies that Marxist socialists are (1) open to scientific criticism, which assertion is controversial, and (2) that Marxist socialists do not care about public opinion, which is also very controversial:

Every opinion based on scientific criticism I welcome. As to prejudices of so-called public opinion, to which I have never made concessions, now as aforetime the maxim of the great Florentine is mine:
Segui il tuo corso, e lascia dir le genti. (Follow your own course, and let people talk) – paraphrased from Dante; Karl Marx, London, July 25, 1867.

Again, João, if you haven't done so yet, I would have you read Article Mechanics. If you disagree with any part of it, I'd hope you'd raise your objections. --Larry Sanger 20:21, 4 April 2007 (CDT)

--Larry Sanger 20:21, 4 April 2007 (CDT)

I wouldn't dare to object as I am no Diderot to be setting rules on how an enciclopedia should be structured. That is not my point. Nor do I particularly care about the exact location of that specific quote. What I think is most significant, what is really in discussion here, is not a question of "mechanics"; it is a question of "concepts". I do raise my eybrows when I read:
(...)it should express a sentiment that virtually everyone can agree to.
(1) (...)open to scientific criticism, which assertion is controversial, and (2) that Marxist socialists do not care about public opinion, which is also very controversial.
I don't agree with most things that I read, do you ? I don't even agree with some things that I write myself, when I am trying to express somebody's else positions or describing somebody's else behaviour. Are people supposed to be restricted to read things with which everybody can agree to ? If Marx himself put that quotation on the preface of the first edition of his "opus magnus", did he place it there absent-mindedly or did he "mean" to say something with it ? Did Marx perhaps want to "raise a controversy" ? Should this "fact" (it is a fact!) be hidden from prudish ears who would rather not hear it because they abhor controversies, or perhaps even loath Marx altogether  ?
If we try to write only those "facts" that will not shock anybody's feelings or touchy ears, I start to wonder if we won't be creating a fictitious representation of reality here, a sort of a "novel-Encyclopedia", for the amusement of the dilettanti ?
"Property is theft!" Do you agree ? No ? Neither do I. But Proudhon said exactly that, he even wrote a book to prove it (and by doing so was criticized by Marx, who wrote a harsh critic of his book). Should we hide this fact from our readers, because some people might be shocked with it or might feel uncomfortable when they read the phrase "property is theft" ? Do they have to agree, if they read it?

J. R. Campos 21:55, 8 April 2007 (CDT)

A reply to Larry Sanger and other critics...

Well, now it is really much better !!!
I never have had the faintest intention of implying that CZ "endorsed" that particular Marx quote, nor any of Marx writtings; I was only putting first what Marx himself had chosen to put first <MARX, Karl, Capital, 1867; Volume One Preface to the First German Edition, page 1>. (And please note that I do not have any "strong positions" on exactly WHERE in the article that quote should had been placed; the location for me is irrelevant -I notice it was not for you - all I am concerned about is the "information" it contained).
I ask my critics to keep in mind that the Marx's quote was mentioned in the context of an article which purposes to portray the figure of "Marxist Socialists", also called "Mechanical Socialists" (as explained in the article) who lived in the midst of XIX century. I doubt there is a single genuine "Marxist Socialist", (which is a very specific type of socialist) alive. (I am still trying to understand this episode; for me it all still sounds as if I had been "accused" of promoting a "Roman Legion"; or of having been practicing some other sort of sorcery).
With reference to "The quotation you used had the effect of portraying Marxist socialists in a very flattering light", please, my dear !... You have deservingly earned a Ph.D. in Philosophy ! Don't ever use it against me; it would not be fair. I have never earned one.
What is being discussed here is a "quotation from Marx". And not any one quotation, that I could have surreptitiously chosen to "dig" from some obscure passage on his vast writtings for the purpose of promoting a group of already burried political activists; I was quoting first what the author himself had chosen to place in his book first. I am "forced", I am "obliged", I am "conducted", really, by logic, to presume that the idea Marx so expressed was important to him. Now, you will certainly agree with me that "Marxist Socialists" would not really be "sound Marxist Socialists" if they did not look in a "flattering light" when compared to a quote made by Marx himself. We are here just discussing a tautology.
If anyone at CZ, (be it in the administration itself or even amongst our readers) understood the quote from Marx to mean that the article was promoting "Marxist Socialism" (in the XXIst century ?? !!! ) I am affraid I will be forced to think whoever tought that way was certainly going off track. For every one text any interpretation is always possible, justifiable. But in real life one normally should not go about reasoning with the extraordinary.
And I will leave to my critics a final question open on in the air: one can find, at least, one thousand good reasons to disagree with Marx. Why focus in exactly in one of the least important ?
J. R. Campos 15:08, 9 April 2007 (CDT)


Re-reading casualy, the expression "touchy ears" came to my mind... J. R. Campos 10:22, 20 April 2007 (CDT)

Use value and clarity

It seems to me that the article lacks clarity. The paragraph on value is the heart of the matter and deserves more prominence. But it does not make sense to me because it does not draw a distinction between labour value and use value. Nick Gardner 02:10, 23 October 2007 (CDT)