Individualism in Marx

Michael Perelman michael at
Tue Aug 31 08:52:42 MDT 1999

Sam Pawlett was correct in pointing out my error.  Thanks.:

> > Isn't Marx's individualism dialectical?  Capitalism snuffs out
> > individualism.
>  I think you're confusing individualism and individuality here.
> Capitalism crushes individuality through the individualism of the
> market. As I read Marx, individuals in socialism realize themselves
> through social mediation whereas in capitalism individuals realize
> themselves in an alienated and isolated manner because of the
> reification of social relations which is to say capitalism blocks and
> stunts the self-realization of individuals.

In what follows, I was unclear.  I meant that in the struggle to win rights for
workers under capitalism, unions will fail

>  Unions will ultimately fail, forcing the workers to see
> > themselves as a class.
>  Unions won't fail, they will no longer exist because the working class
> will no longer exist as an objective class (or class-in-itself).
>  I would hope that in a socialist society the opposition of the private
> and public sphere begins to break down. In socialism, individuality and
> socailty are reintegated into the social individual. Only then is
> alienation transcended. Further, the individual cannot reproduce herself
> as a social individual unless she takes an active part in determining
> all aspects of her life.
> Sam Pawlett


Michael Perelman
Economics Department
California State University
michael at
Chico, CA 95929
fax 530-898-5901

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