Essay by 2be1 May 2007

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Marxism: Basic Principles "Marxism" is a perspective that involves a number of differing "sub-perspectives" (that is, whilst there tends to be a general agreement about the need to construct a critique of Capitalist society, there are major disagreements between writers working within this perspective). keeping this in mind, we can summarise some of the main Marxist ideas in the following terms:Marxism emphasises the idea that social life is based upon "conflicts of interest". The most fundamental and important of theses conflicts is that between the Bourgeoisie (those who own and control the means of production in society) and the Proletariat (those who simply sell their labour power in the market place of Capitalism).

Unlike the Functionalist version of Structuralist sociology, the concept of social class ismore than a descriptive category; social class is used to explain how and whysocieties change. Class conflict represents a process whereby change comes aboutthrough the opposition of social classes as they pursue what they see to be their(different and opposed) collective interests in society.

Marxism is a political theory who's main concern is twofold:a. To expose the political and economic contradictions inherent in Capitalism (forexample, the fact that while people co-operate to produce goods, a Capitalist classappropriates these goods for its private profit).

b. To point the way towards the establishment of a future Communist society.

Fundamentally, there are considered to be two great classes in Capitalist society(the Bourgeoisie and the Proletariat). However, at any given moment a number of classfractions will exist (that is, subdivisions of each main class). For example, theBourgeoisie might be subdivided into:The Haute (High) Bourgeoisie (owners of large companies),The Petit (Small) Bourgeoisie (owners of small businesses) andThe Professions (people who, while not owners of the means of production, help tocontrol the day-to-day running of industries).

Marx characterised human...