1.0 Introduction I find the question in the title of this post hard to answer. I should probably say something about secondary literature, which I do not consider myself well-informed on. For purposes of this post, I ignore distinctions between socialism and communism. 2.0 Marx Wanted To Implement An Utopian Vision Of A Post-Capitalist Society You will sometimes find reactionaries assert that wherever Marxism was implemented, the government killed tens of millions. They are too ignorant to know that the phrase ‘implement Marxism’ might be meaningless. It is like saying, ‘Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.’ Marx never drew up a plan for a post-capitalist society. In the afterword to the second German edition of volume 1 of Capital, he mocks the very idea: "Thus the Paris Revue
Robert Vienneau considers the following as important: Friedrich Engels, Karl Marx
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I find the question in the title of this post hard to answer. I should probably say something about secondary literature, which I do not consider myself well-informed on. For purposes of this post, I ignore distinctions between socialism and communism.2.0 Marx Wanted To Implement An Utopian Vision Of A Post-Capitalist Society
You will sometimes find reactionaries assert that wherever Marxism was implemented, the government killed tens of millions. They are too ignorant to know that the phrase ‘implement Marxism’ might be meaningless. It is like saying, ‘Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.’
Marx never drew up a plan for a post-capitalist society. In the afterword to the second German edition of volume 1 of Capital, he mocks the very idea:
"Thus the Paris Revue Positiviste reproaches me in that, on the one hand, I treat economics metaphysically, and on the other hand - imagine! - confine myself to the mere critical analysis of actual facts, instead of writing recipes (Comtist ones?) for the cook-shops of the future." -- Karl Marx
The Engels 1880 pamphlet Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, which was taken from three chapters in Herr Duhring’s Revolution in Science, can also be cited here. Robert Owens, Charles Fourier, Saint Simon exemplify utopian socialism. According to Engels, they make up a program for future society out of their own heads and think it can be implemented by convincing others by reason and by demonstrating the success of a few voluntary communities. Unlike scientific socialism, they do not look at current trends in society and find a class base for the trends they look to continue.
I suppose one might introduce a few caveats about a short run program in the 1848 pamphlet The Communist Manifesto, a paragraph in the unpublished 1846 manuscript The German Ideology, the 1871 Marx pamphlet The Civil War in France, and the 1875 letter Critique of the Gotha Programme.3.0 To Correct an Injustice Under Capitalism
In volume 1 of Capital, Marx describes how surplus value results from the exploitation of the workers. He defines the rate of exploitation, which is an algebraic quantity that can be approximated, at least, from the data in national income and product accounts.
Marx explicitly says that exploitation is not an injury to the worker:
"The circumstance, that on the one hand the daily sustenance of labour power costs only half a day's labour, while on the other hand the very same labour power can work during a whole day, that consequently the value which its use creates, is double what he pays for that use, this circumstance is, without doubt, a piece of good luck for the buyer, but by no means an injury to the seller." -- Karl Marx, Capital, chapter VII, Section 2
One might also look at a passage about the rights of man, Bentham, and so on towards the end of chapter VI of Capital, chapter VI. Also see the end of section 1 of chapter VII of Capital. All of this is in volume 1.
Engels, in the preface to the first German edition of The Poverty of Philosophy, re-iterates Marx's position:
"According to the laws of bourgeois economics, the greatest part of the product does not belong to the workers who have produced it. If we now say: that is unjust, that ought not to be so, then that has nothing to do with economics. We are merely saying that this economic fact is in contradiction to our sense of morality. Marx, therefore, never based his communist demands upon this, but upon the inevitable collapse of the capitalist mode of production which is daily taking place before our eyes to an ever greater degree; he says only that surplus value consists of unpaid labour, which is a simple fact." -- Friedrich Engels
I have gone on about this before.4.0 To Complete a Historical Trend
Marx provides a summary statement of the theory of historical materialism in the preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy and a more detailed treatment in The German Ideology. In Capital, he writes:
"As soon as the process of transformation has sufficiently decomposed the old society from top to bottom, as soon as the labourers are turned into proletarians, their means of labour into capital, as soon as the capitalist mode of production stands on its own feet, then the further socialisation of labour and further transformation of the land and other means of production into socially exploited and, therefore, common means of production, as well as the further expropriation of private proprietors, takes a new form. That which is now to be expropriated is no longer the labourer working for himself, but the capitalist exploiting many labourers. This expropriation is accomplished by the action of the immanent laws of capitalist production itself, by the centralisation of capital. One capitalist always kills many. Hand in hand with this centralisation, or the expropriation of many capitalists by few, develop, on an ever-extending scale, the co-operative form of the labour process, the conscious technical application of science, the methodical cultivation of the soil, the transformation of the instruments of labour into instruments of labour only usable in common, the economising of all means of production by their use as the means of production of combined, socialised labour, the entanglement of all peoples in the net of the world market, and with this, the international character of the capitalistic regime. Along with the constantly diminishing number of the magnates of capital, who usurp and monopolise all advantages of this process of transformation, grows the mass of misery, oppression, slavery, degradation, exploitation; but with this too grows the revolt of the working class, a class always increasing in numbers, and disciplined, united, organised by the very mechanism of the process of capitalist production itself. The monopoly of capital becomes a fetter upon the mode of production, which has sprung up and flourished along with, and under it. Centralisation of the means of production and socialisation of labour at last reach a point where they become incompatible with their capitalist integument. The integument is burst asunder. The knell of capitalist private property sounds. The expropriators are expropriated.
The capitalist mode of appropriation, the result of the capitalist mode of production, produces capitalist private property. This is the first negation of individual private property, as founded on the labour of the proprietor. But capitalist production begets, with the inexorability of a law of Nature, its own negation. It is the negation of the negation. This does re-establish private property for the producer, but gives him individual property based on the acquisitions of the capitalist era: i.e., on co-operation and the possession in common of the land and of the means of production.
The transformation of scattered private property, arising from individual labour, into capitalist private property is, naturally, a process, incomparably more protracted violent, and difficult, than the transformation of capitalistic private property, already practically resting on socialised production, into socialised property. In the former case, we had the expropriation of the mass of the people by a few usurpers; in the latter, we have the expropriation of a few usurpers by the mass of the people." -- Karl Marx, Capital, Volume 1, Chapter XXXII
The above is more than usually quoted. I wanted to include the passage about the 'negation of the negation', where in the first negation one historical system is replaced by another. For example, the October revolution was one negation. You can see why Stalin left this dialectical principle out of Dialectical and Historical Materialism.
Marx has some empirical claims. Capitalism is to bring about greater interdependence among workers. Marx foresees the development of monopoly capitalism and globalism. Is his claim that misery of workers increases absolutely, not just relatively, with increased inequality? He does not foresee the aristocracy of labor in industrialized countries. If you look at the third world, perhaps the growth of capitalism is, indeed, accompanied by increased poverty of the masses. Anyways, perhaps the existence of a threatening alternative in the U.S.S.R. has a lot to do with the history of Europe and the U.S.A. in the last century. This existence certainly complicates any expectation that his predictions would come about in western Europe and the U.S.A.
Elsewhere, Marx writes about business cycles and the reproduction of the reserve army of the unemployed. Some have read Marx as saying that socialism will emerge as the result of increasingly more violent business cycles. The supposed tendency of the rate of profits to fall is in volume 3.
One might wonder how this analysis of historical trends is an advocacy of anything. Those trying to change the world might take comfort in being on the right side of history. On the other hand, maximalists did not feel obligated to participate in many day-to-day struggles since the revolution is inevitable.5.0 As A Solution to the Alienation of the Worker
Alienation is a prosaic concept. Marx, in the Theories of Surplus Value, quotes James Stuart writing about the 'profit upon alienation'. When one sells a good one owns, one has alienated it from oneself.
The workers do not own the commodities they produce in a capitalist society. They have alienated their labor when they sell their labor power, and thus capitalists own commodities when they have been produced by others. These commodities are related to one another in various ways. Workers will use some commodities, such as semi-finished goods and fuel, to continue production, after they are bought and sold among the capitalists. Workers will use other commodities to (re)produce the machinery and plant with which they work. Still other commodities are consumption goods, which, typically, must also be sold among capitalists before they are available for retail purchase.
Workers produce more than this alien world of commodities, in which social relations among workers are expressed. They also reproduce the employer-employee relationship since, mostly, they continue to have nothing to sell but their labor-power. They need income to buy consumption goods, and the capital goods remain in the hands of others. And it is the capitalists that have the time and income to participate in the enjoyments of luxuries, including activities that decide on the government of society.
Marx writes about the fetishism of commodities in the first volume of Capital, and Lukacs writes about reification. In the German Ideology, Marx and Engels argue that communism will eliminate this division between this alien world and the workers outside it who have produced it. They think of the proletariat as a universal class, with an end to class conflict arriving with the proletarian revolution.
Is this justification for a communist revolution considerably diminished by mass suffrage and an increase in the absolute income of the working class? Even with these developments, money, prices, and buying and selling still continue. But they also continued in the Soviet Union and China after their communist revolutions. Maybe Marx should have outlined a blueprint for a post-capitalist society.