The theories of Karl Marx have influenced some of the world’s greatest thinkers. Marx’s idea of the inevitable class struggle within capitalism and consequent place for a socialist society is professed within ‘The Manifesto of the Communist Party.’ It is necessary to explore why Marx and Engels believed class conflict to be unavoidable in order to understand why the preconditions for socialism could be established. It is clear that economics is at the heart of Marxist thought and it can be arguably suggested that economic determinism offers an answer to the question of inevitability. Marx often appears to be working towards a pre-determined end and therefore class struggle can be explained as just a step towards the inexorable development of a socialist society. However it is necessary to further explore the question of why Marx and Engels believed that an unyielding class conflict would create the preconditions for socialism.
A very important aspect of Marx’s theory was the fact that the proletariat had to be ready for a revolution. One must examine this factor in order to determine why socialism could occur. This essay will therefore begin by exploring the inevitability of a class struggle which will explain why the proletariat were ready through the development of class consciousness.
By observing class patterns throughout history Marx asserted that all past societies had a characteristic economic structure which has always engendered a structured class system. There is always an oppressive class, therefore there is bound to be a class conflict under a bourgeoisie society. Marx states in his manifesto that new classes have been created by capitalism, as have “new conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in place of the old...