Young Karl Marx contends that no real reform can occur through government or through the beneficence of the ruling class. This is because the ruling class realizes (at some level) that if Society were to truly and fundamentally improve the lot of the working classes at the bottom of the social pyramid, those people would begin to rise, thus making the whole pyramid unstable– and perhaps– gasp!– causing the classes residing at the pyramid’s zenith to tumble and fall.
“The feeding and educating of the entire growing proletariat, would be the ABOLITION of the proletariat,” says Young Marx. And since the extinction of exploitation puts exploiters out of a job, the end of the proletariat would mark the end of wealth and privilege.
Of course, Young Marx prefers to state all this in Hegelian terms… For Marx, Proletariat and Wealth are Antitheses. As such they constitute a Hegelian whole. The Proletariat and the Wealthy are opposite poles of the same structure, the structure under consideration being Private Property.
According to Hegelian thought, the getting rid of one pole of the antithetical arrangement (say, the elimination of poverty) would require the simultaneous annihilation of the other pole. This could only occur through a Synthesis of both poles into something in the middle, something new and different from either pole. Thus, the rich will not really want to do away with poverty because that would mean forcing the Synthesis and annihilating their own position of wealth. If the wealthy wish to STAY wealthy, says Young Marx, they are compelled to maintain the existence of their “Antithesis,” the Proletariat. Again, without the exploited, there is no exploiter.
Therefore, the plight of the working poor can NEVER truly be addressed by the State (the State naturally being merely the tool of the in-power class). The most that will be attempted by the State, declares Marx, will be the superficial ointments of “administrative and charitable measures.”
Meanwhile, continues Young Marx, “the Proletariat, to use Hegel’s words, is abased and indignant at its abasement– a feeling to which it is necessarily driven by the contradiction between its Human Nature and its situation in life, a situation that is openly, decisively, and comprehensively the negation of that Nature.”
In an article written in 1843 or 1844, Young Marx claims that the Proletariat represent “the complete loss of humanity” whereas the Wealthy represent the freedom to live fully human. When the Proles finally rise, they will transend both themselves and their counter-pole (the wealthy) and in the new Synthesis created from the merging of the opposites, humanity will be redeemed– and poverty and wealth (along with their basis, private property) will simultaneously cease to exist. Thus, the Proletariat will “redeem itself through the total redemption of humanity.”
Way to go, Proles! [finally getting to CLASS WARFARE next…]
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