Topics: Marxism, Karl Marx, Socialism Pages: 5 (1765 words) Published: March 19, 2014


An ideology is a system of ideas or a representation of, ideas, of conceptions and of consciousness that attempts to explain simply what people say, imagine and/or conceive in their minds. It encompasses politics, morality, religion, metaphysics and law among others. In the process of simplification of the complex reality, ideologies always reflect a bias and serve the interests of a particular against another. The ideas that rule, which we may simply call, ‘ruling ideas’ are of a given group of people, the ruling class which represent the dominant material relationships. According to Marx, the goal of an ideology is to legitimize the forces of the ruling class to remain in the dominant position (hegemony).This way it obscures the understanding of the disempowered group into not understanding whatever is going on. This obfuscation results to logical contradictions in the dominant ideology, and Marxism tries to open up by returning to the materialistic conditions of a society which is commonly known as mode of production of the society. In the book, German Ideology, Marx and Engels lead us into understanding that it is possible address the real conditions in which humans exist outside the ideological bewilderment. Marxism tries to convince us that if the disempowered people (Bourgeoisie) come the understanding of the ideological mystification used by the ruling class (Proletariat). The premises from which we begin are not arbitrary ones, not dogmas, but real premises from abstraction can only be made in the imagination. They are the real individuals, their activity and material conditions under which they live, both those which they find already existing and those produced by their activity. These premises can thus be verified in a purely empirical way. Marxism ideology thus is an analysis of the material conditions. Its reference starting point is the necessary economic activities required by the society to provide for its material needs. The mode of production or what is commonly known as the form of economic organization in the Marxian analysis, is seen as the basis from which the majority of other social phenomena such as the social relations, political systems, morality and religion are develop from. Marxism details that these social relations are the one that give the basis of the entire economic system forming what is called the superstructure. As the forces involved in production change (improve) especially technology, the social structure is adversely affected in that they become inefficient and derail progress. In his observation, Karl Marx postulates that, at a certain stage of development the forces of production conflict with the existing social relations. He says: “At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution” According to Marx, these inadequacies present meet us as social contradictions in society depicting some social class struggle. He generates his ideas in form of comparison of the capitalism, feudalism and socialism ideologies. He however believes that a better society can only be realized if we treat each other equally as opposed to these class struggles.

In feudalism, labor is obvious in that the person offering the labor dedicates his/her time producing for the master or the lord. A blatant exploitation therefore occurs as a result and therefore in order that we may avert a revolution or an uprising; this ideology may take a religious form where service is seen as way of benefitting later in the life to come. In this ideology, it is very hard to...

References: 1. Drachkovitch, Milorad M.. Marxist ideology in the contemporary world; its appeals and paradoxes,. New York: Published for the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif. by F.A. Praeger, 1966. Print.
2. Eagleton, Terry. Criticism and ideology: a study in Marxist literary theory. London: NLB :, 1976. Print.
3. Hänninen, Sakari. Rethinking ideology: a Marxist debate. Berlin: Argument-Verlag ;, 1983. Print.
4. Seliger, Martin. The Marxist conception of ideology: a critical essay. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977. Print.
5. Tismaneanu, Vladimir. The crisis of Marxist ideology in Eastern Europe: the poverty of Utopia. London: Routledge, 1988. Print.
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