[Marxism] Do you agree or disagree with the following proposition

Charles Brown cbrown at michiganlegal.org
Mon Mar 27 09:53:17 MST 2006

Tom O'Lincoln 

>>Production and economic classes are the starting point of Marxist
analysis of human society, including in the Manifesto, because human life,
like all plant and animal life must fulfill biological needs to exist as
life at all. Marx and Engels are looking for _necessity_  to put historical
materialism on a scientific basis. In human biology there is
necessity,things that must be done.<<

But production and economic classes represent an element of freedom as well
as an element of necessity. Humans create the means of production through
conscious actions, and the new means of production make new types of action
possible. Classes engage in struggles that make history.

I tend to think the starting point for Marxism is the dialectic of freedom
AND necessity. People make history, but not under conditions of their own

CB; I agree with you. And freedom is the mastery of necessity.

I am just trying to focus in on the necessity aspect a bit here.

 Knowing  _what_ is necessary is a first step in consciously mastering what
is necessary.

The "classes" we speak of are a specific type of class. There are other
"classes" or groups of people in society. Marxists focus on socio-economic
classes. I am asking why we focus on those particular types of classes. The
proposal is that we focus on socio-economic classes, not other groupings of
people, because socio-economic classes are in production ,and it is in
production that the necessaries of physical life are produced.

This is not the end of the story of classes, but it is the "beginning" ,how
we get to looking at socio-economic classes in the first place. This
original reason for Marxists to focus on classes is not always stated, it
has become a sort of silent reason, lost in the recesses of _The German
Ideology_, disdained by anti-transhistoricalists and anti-essentialists of
post-moderrn times. 

_Capitalist_ classes are not the natural organization of society, as
capitalist theorists claim, and Marx opposed. However the struggle of
socio-economic classes under capitalism is determinative of the motion of
society _because_ biologically necessary production is done by
socio-economic classes in capitalism, as in all class divided modes of

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