Applicability of Marxism in Modern Society and


The Failure of The Proletarian Revolution


One of the main reasons for the failure of the proletarian revolution was Marx’s idealistic forecast of what was to come. He founded his theory of the class struggle on some basic assumptions about the working class but he underestimated the bourgeoisie. He believed that the proletariat would focus their energies together against the present state of affairs. Because as the bourgeoisie gathers more and more capital, the number of proletariat increases exponentially. Marx stated that eventually the oppression from the bourgeoisie would be so great that the proletariat would eventually get so angered that they would band together and overthrow the bourgeoisie.


Throughout “The Communist Manifesto” there are certain observations that, even though it was written 100 years ago, are very relevant today. Marx noted the exploitation of developing nations as an aspect of capitalism. He held that capitalism will attempt to exploit every worker on earth and spread its principles to every corner of the known world. And that the bourgeoisie will attempt to move from place to place in a never ending search to seek cheap human labour. This is a tendency, still valid for every corporation involved in some kind of production using manual labour, in the contemporary business environment without boundaries.


So, what exactly went wrong? Why hasn\'t the proletarian revolution occurred? Marx overlooked one of the very issues which he mentioned as part of his dialectic: the action - reaction relationship between the bourgeoisie and proletariat. As the bourgeoisie got more aggressive they needed a method of keeping the proletariat at bay. They have been able to relieve the social tension by providing the working class with small number of gains. By allowing the formation of what Marx defines as “combinations against the bourgeoisie”, namely the trade unions, they supplied the proletariat with just enough means of protection of their self-interest to confine the growth of the anti-capitalistic movement to safe proportions. Through the unions the workers were able to strive for wage increases, amenities and benefits. The belief that they could achieve something with the assistance of the unions turned the efforts of the working class into less radical direction.


Another reason for the failure of the revolution was the spread of an ideology which seemed appealing to the proletariat. The ideology was actually rather simple: if you work hard and faithfully you will be successful. In America this was coined “the American Dream.” In this way the bourgeoisie made the workers believe that they could become something with enough hard work.


This gave rise of what is called the “middle class” and altered the applicability of Marx\'s concepts in the 20th Century. Even if a two-class analysis was applicable at the time when Marx wrote his significant work, say in the 19th Century, the rise of the middle class has made such an analysis obsolete. Some of the main arguments that Marx used to support his theory were no longer valid. He wrote that “All previous historical movements were movements of minorities. The proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interest of the immense majority. The proletariat, the lowest stratum of our present society, cannot stir, cannot raise itself up, without the whole superincumbent strata of official society being sprung into the air.” But they did raise gradually until reaching the present condition when most of the people belong to the “middle class.” This proved such statements wrong and prompted other questions about the communist theory. Another argument against the Marxist concept of class concerns changes in the structure of capitalism. Marx maintained that the capitalist class was defined in terms of the ownership of the means of production. But, the rise of the limited liability, stock issuing company in the 19th Century - which became the dominate form of business in the 20th- has meant that control over corporate capital has come to be separated from ownership because ownership is widely distributed among thousands, even millions of stockholders. Such changes further undermine the Marxist concept of class. He stated that “By bourgeoisie is meant the class of modern capitalists, owners of the means of social production and employers of wage labour. By proletariat, the class of modern