Politics in Minutes (2016)

Marx: politics and the inevitability of socialism

Before writing his massive book, Das Kapital, Marx had been a co-author with Friedrich Engels of the Communist Manifesto, in which he explains that capitalism contains within it the seeds of its own destruction. Because capitalism has created two classes, the business-owning bourgeoisie and the labouring proletariat, the tension between them will inevitably result in social and economic change. In the words of the Manifesto, ‘What the bourgeoisie produces above all is its own grave diggers’, meaning that capitalism has created the conditions for a conflict in which the proletariat will seize ownership of the means of production, and change the ‘dictatorship of the bourgeoisie’ to a ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ run on socialist economic and social principles. But this is, Marx says, only a transitional stage to the ultimate conclusion of historical development, communism – a classless society that brings to an end the historical conflict between classes, and in which private property and the state itself no longer exist.