midterm 2 review

midterm 2 review - Why isn't it possible to eliminate class...

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Why isn't it possible to eliminate class antagonisms through political reforms that improve the workers' quality of life? How does the Manifesto reply to such reformers? The proletariat is a unique class in several ways. First, the exploitation it faces is more transparent than that of any previous class. In the past, class relationships were clouded by religious beliefs and sentimentality. People did not realize that their relationships were fundamentally economic and exploitative in nature. Capitalism exposes this exploitation, because it is based solely on ideals of self-interest and money. Thus, the proletariat are uniquely aware of their status as exploited peoples. Secondly, the proletariat are more interconnected than any previous revolutionary class. This is due to improved communication brought about by capitalism's technological advances, and because the proletariat all share an equally miserable existence. They are also the majority in society, whereas previous revolutionary classes were traditionally in the minority. Finally, their historical role is unique. In order to further their ends as a class, they must destroy the entire system of class exploitation. Thus, with their revolution all private property is eliminated and classes disappear. Perhaps the most serious question about the proletariat, then, is why they will revolt. Marx believes that revolutions are spontaneous uprisings of exploited peoples. He does a plausible job of showing why the proletariat have reason to overthrow the current system, and even why they would eliminate private property if they succeeded. What is less clear is what would motivate the original revolution. There is a jump between historical forces and individual agency that it may be hard to accept. The proletarians are unique in large degree because their conditions are so dire. It is worth considering whether Marx underestimates the power of such conditions to defeat, rather than motivate, oppressed peoples. Individual rights Mill - Everyone has the right to act freely, as long as they do not harm others - Questions amount of power society can hold over individuals right of liberty doesn’t apply to children or “backward” societies – only when ppl are capable of learning from discussion does liberty hold, otherwise they
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This note was uploaded on 01/13/2012 for the course GVPT 100S taught by Professor Jamesglass during the Fall '10 term at Maryland.

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midterm 2 review - Why isn't it possible to eliminate class...

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