MARXISM AS A HUMANISM : AN EXPOSE ABSTRACT Humanism is any outlook or way of life centred on human need and interest. It is a rational outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human (well-being) rather than divine or supernatural matters. It is also a philosophy that usually rejects supernaturalism and stresses on individuals dignity, worth and capacity for self realization through reason. Marxism is an economic and social system based upon the political and economic theories of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. While it would take veritably volumes to explain the full implications and ramifications of the Marxist social and economic ideology, its also a theory in which class struggle is a central element in the analysis of social change in western societies. Marxism is the antithesis of capitalism. In as much as Humanism deals with the well-being of the people and because anti-religion usually incorporates the humanist approach, the indication that Marxism is a humanism could be viewed from the fact that Karl Marx in his theory tried to abolish religion as the illusion happiness of the people. For Marx, the purpose of religion is primarily to conceal reality in a veil of decision. Marx exposes the social and political underpinnings of religion which theologians are at pains to conceal. Marx was totally against the using of man as a means to an end (exploitation) which is also an except of what the Humanist approach is against. What I intend to do, is to evaluatively criticize religion capitalism and other dehumanized economic system because anti-religion usually incorporates humanism and also to discuss or to give an expository account of Marxism in a humanist approach. The method of approach would be classified as analytical, synthetically and critical in nature. TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER ONE: GENERAL INTRODUCTION 1.1 Background of the Study 1.2 Statement of the Problem 1.3 Purpose of the Study 1.4 Significance of the Study 1.5 Scope of the Study 1.6 Method of the Study 1.7 Literature Review Endnotes CHAPTER TWO:HUMANISM 2.1 The Concept of Humanism (The general notion of humanism) 2.2 A Historical Analysis of Humanism in Philosophy 2.2.1 Humanism in Ancient Greek Philosophy 2.2.2 Humanism in Medieval Philosophy 2.2.3 Renaissance Humanism 2.2.4 Humanism on the Threshold of Modernity 2.2.5 Humanism and Religion 2.4 Humanism and Terrorism Endnotes CHAPTER THREE: MARXISM AS A HUMANISM: AN EXPOSE 3.1 Karl Marx: Life and Works 3.2 Influences (Karl Marx) 3.2.1 Frederick Engels 3.2.2 Ludwig Von Andreas Feuerbach 3.2.3George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel 3.3 Some major Themes in Marxism 3.3.1 Dialectical Materialism 3.3.2 Historical Materialism 3.3.3 The Class War/Struggle 3.3.4 Surplus value 3.3.5 Alienation 3.4 Marxian Conception of Capitalism as an Anti-Humanistic Concept 3.5 Marxian Conception of religion as an Anti-Humanistic Concept (Socialism against Religion) 3.6 Marxism as a Humanism Endnotes CHAPTER FOUR: A CRITIQUE OF MARXISM AS A HUMANISM 4.1 Effects of the theory of Marxism as a Humanism 4.1.1 A Critique of its Merits 4.1.2 A Critique of its Demerits 4.2 Evaluation 4.3 Conclusion Endnotes Bibliography CHAPTER ONE GENERAL INTRODUCTION 1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY Throughout the historical epoch of man’s existence, there has always been a class struggle among men as regards to their engagement in economic activities that are aimed at the maintenance and sustenance of their livelihood. Before proceeding on the course of the study, I am compelled to ask: Is Marxian – Humanism not just a mere idealism or utopianism? Is the true emancipation that comes through communism not another form of exploitation and expropriation of the citizens by the government? Is socialism really unassailable due to the condemnation of capitalism? Given (by Marx) that capitalism forces individual to behave in a profit seeking manner, they are in constant conflict with one another and are thus in need of rights to protect themselves. Would the abolishment of capitalism and the embrace of socialism cum communism be realistic or holistically attainable? Can capitalism be totally eradicated? Would the annihilation of capitalism cum religion really solve the problem of mankind? Anti-humanist like Friedrich Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger have the criticism against the humanist concept. Nevertheless, the essence of this work centers on Marxism as a humanism. Our focal point would be to give an expose on Marxian- humanism. Humanism is any outlook or way of life centered on human need, human welfare and interest. This theory attaches prime importance to the wellbeing of humans rather than divine or supernatural matters. This would lead us to posit some crucial questions. How did Karl Marx work portray a humanist approach? What are the linkage between Marxism and humanism? Can humanism be fused in Marxism? Can they be interwined? Marxism is an economic and social system based upon the political and economic theory of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Marx in his humanistic approach clamoured for the annihilation of capitalism in replacement of socialism that would finally synthesize into communism. He was also against the exploitation and expropriation of surplus value of the proletariat. Karl Marx saw capitalism as an ideology and mode of economic system is exploitative, dehumanizing and evil which is rightly an antithesis to the humanist concept. Furthermore, one other common goal shared between Marxism and humanism is the kicking against religion. Those who toil and live in want all their lives are taught by religion to be submissive and patient while here on earth and to take comfort in the hope of a heavenly reward.1 Religion justifies the capitalist (Bourgeoisie) of her exploitation and expropriation, giving hope to the working class (proletariat) and selling them at a moderate price ticket to a well-being in heaven. The humanist projected that religion should be independent of the state. If possible people should be atheist but if they still feel out of their volition to embrace religion, it should not be dependent on the state. Religion societies must have no connection with government authority. Everyone must be absolutely free to profess any religion, he pleases or no religion whatever i.e to be an atheist, which every socialist is as a rule. Marx also described religion as the opium of the people.2 As a result of these factors serving as impediments against human welfare-well being, Marx proposed what he felt would be a solution to this deplorable condition of the proletariats. One of his solutions was that there should be an annihilation of the capitalist system and an introduction and establishment of a new economic system, he termed communism through socialism. However, he warned that this could only be achieved through a violent and bloody mass revolution. In conclusion, from the aforementioned critique on humanism and impediments befalling the concept of humanism by man, our intention would be to point out how Marxism and humanism are intertwined. Also, to evaluatively criticize every policy of the economy that is antithetical to the well being of man-kind. Furthermore, in the course of this research, we would get to know acquainted if the Marxian – socialism communism is unassailable or his concept is just merely idealistic and utopic in nature. 1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM Following the Marxian-humanist approach on the critique of the factors that serve as impediment on the well-being and the welfare of citizens of a given state, we would find out that religion, terrorism, capitalism (class struggle, alienation, surplus value) to mention but a few are part of the factors that infringe on the well being of the people. Is it the fact that humanism gives special importance to human concerns, values and dignity, makes this ideology unassailable? That is, it cannot be subjected to questioning? Furthermore, another major factor that constitute a setback or an impediment to the well being of people in a state is the presence of capitalism. Capitalism has the vices of alienation, surplus value, exploitation to mention but a few. All these infringes on the welfare of the proletariat (the common man i.e the talakawas), which is rightly against the precept of humanism. Most of these problems are faced and are evident in the capitalism economies in the world today and also present in a society veiled in the dogma and bigotry of religiosity. The questions is: Is Karl Marx corpenican revolution of putting an end to capitalism and making religion independent of the state tenable or actualization, since they are impediments on the well being of the people (citizen)? How certain is it that the government (socialism) would not turn their back against the citizens when power is vested upon them?. Is socialism and communism unassailable? Moreover, humanism has been misconstrued over the years. Humanism has been misinterpreted for utilitarianism, utopianism, speciecism, scienticism, naturalism, materialism and physicalism.3 However, the situation, plan as I have presented it expresses itself as the statement of the problem and I shall proceed to the purpose of study. 1.3 THE PURPOSE OF THE STUDY The purpose of this research work is as follows: Firstly, it is envisioned to state the features of Marxism in a humanistic approach expositorily. Secondly, to write an expose on the impediments of the well being of man. That is, to evaluatively carry out a critique on these impediments and stipulate or propose an ideology that ascribes prime importance to the well being of man-kind. For example; capitalism and religion are part of the major impediments against the well being of man. Also to get a clear-cut picture of how Marx proposed a bloody revolution to eradicated and install communism through socialism. Finally, we shall critically analyse Marxim as humanism. If it is deemed fit for what it purports to accomplish. Having thus presented the purpose of the study, I would move on to the next stage of action. 1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY The significance of this research work, though it seems quite enormous and elaborate, shall be staged out. First of all, it would be used to appraise Marxist ideology over the vast contribution made to mankind in portraying a humanistic approach and also by condemning every infringement on the well-being of man. As well as his proposal for instituting a new economic system to replace capitalism with the aid of socialism and as well for a violent revolution against the dehumanized state of man caused by capitalism, religion and other vices that constitute impediments against the well being of man. However, it would also be used as a medium to pinpoint faults involved in the Marxist ideology and his humanist misconception of the potentials embedded in capitalism, religion and other acclaimed/alleged vices. Karl Marx seemed to have had a one-sided view of capitalism and religion which is the negative aspects. What if he had rather than condemn and replace the ideology, sought to have improved it? Hence, we shall as well use the medium to give the acclaimed or alleged vice which infringes on the well being of man by man by the Marxian-ideology a ground for self defense and see if it is fit enough to counter the attacks thrown at it by Marx. 1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY The scope of this essay and research work shall be limited to the humanist outlook of Marxism or Marxian conception of humanism. Here we shall first give a philosophical analysis of humanism. Secondly, we shall give serious attention to the concrete analysis and systematic study of10 Karl Marx’s philosophy especially in his appraisal and the clamouring for the well-being of the proletariat against the exploitation and expropriation of the capitalist (Bourgeousie). Consequently, we shall look at the factors that contribute to the impediments and infringements on the betterment and well-being of man. Furthermore, a conclusion/evaluation, remarks and recommendations shall be made with regards to how tenable or valid Marxian-humanist concept of capitalism religion and other factors that serve as impediment to the well being of man can stand the test of time. 1.6 METHODOLOGY As a philosophical study, the methodology for this research work shall be analytical, synthetical and critical in nature. Analytically synthesizing Marxism and Humanism, i.e how they link and correlate with each other. Critically analyzing the impediments infringing on human well being … Eventually, this will bring about a clear understanding of the historical and social analysis of the welfare of man, paying particular attention to Marx’s humanism. In as much as these objectives shall have to be accomplished, materials and textbooks to be used for the prosecution of this research work will be obtained from the world wide web, relevant text books, the library, relevant class- notes, as well a s from other obtainable and reliable sources. In so far as there are sufficient and necessary information from them with regards to this research work. 1.7 LITERATURE REVIEW The first book reviewed for this research work is “Marx’s concept of man” written by Erich Fromm. In this book, Enrich Fromm analyses Marxism in a humanistic form. Fromm holds that Marx’s philosophy like much of existentialist thinking, represents a protest against man’s alienation, his loss of himself and his transformation into a thing; it is a movement against the dehumanization of automatization of man inherent in the development of western industrialism. The second book reviewed is socialism and religion. A reproduced text of V.I. Lenin. In this book, Lenin talked about how the present day society is wholly based on the exploitation of the vast masses (the working class) by a tiny minority of the population, the class of the land owners and that of the capitalist. He kicked against capitalism as the economic oppression that engender every kind of political oppression and social humiliation, the coarsening and darkening of the spiritual and moral life of the masses. The third, book reviewed as “The Communist Manifesto” written by Karl Marx, while it was translated by Samuel Moore and Friedrich Engels, exposes Karl Marx’s critique on the dehumanization inflicted on may by the capitalist economy. The fourth book reviewed is “socialist humanism” written by Erich Fromm. This book is built primarily upon the early works of Karl Marx, Fromm sought to re-emphasis the idea of freedom, missing from most soviet Marxism and more frequently found in the writings of libertarian socialists and liberal theoreticians. The fifth book reviewed as “The radical humanism written by Erich Fromm. A central feature of Fromm’s radical humanism is a rehabilitation of the much abused notion of human nature. Fromm’s work is in a unique position to tease out the revolutionary dimensions of human nature from those deployed in the service of the status quo. The sixth book reviewed is “Socrates to Sartoe and beyond”. (A history of philosophy) written by Samuel Enoch Stumpf and James Fieser. They held the view that Karl Marx looked upon ‘history as the product of conflict and relied heavily upon the Hegelian concept of dialectics to explain it. The seventh book reviewed is “Marx Engels Marxism’ written by V.I. Lenin. It focuses more on the development of Marxism as a result of the evils of capitalism and how these evils can be remedied by advocating for the introduction of a classes society with equal opportunities and privileges. V.I Lenin, in this book, remarked that capitalism breeds and encourages class distinction which expands the gap between the rich and the poor. The eight book reviewed is titled “Economic and philosophic Manuscripts of 1844” written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels and translated by Martin Mulligan . In this book, Karl Marx pays particular attention to the problem of alienation. According to him, ‘through estrange, alienation labour, the worker produces the relationship to this labour of man alien to labour and standing outside it. The ninth book reviewed is “the sane society” written by Erich Fromm. The sane society is continuation and extension of the brilliant psychiatric concepts Erich Fromm first formulated in Escape from freedom, Fromm examples man’s escape into over conformity and the danger of robotism in contemporary industrial society: modern humanity has, he maintains been alienated from the world of their own creation. Here Fromm offers a complete and systematic exploration of his “humanistic psycho analysis”. The tenth book reviewed is titled “Dialectics of human nature in Marx’s philosophy” written by Mehmet Tabok. He highlights Marx’s humanism. However, instead of putting Marx’s humanism against materialism, dialectical and historical, this book demonstrates their unity in a novel way. The method employed is exegetical, with an emphasis on Marx’s own dialectic method. End Notes 1. V.I. Lenin, Socialism and Religion, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1972, p.3.
2. Ibid, p.4.
3. Stephen Law, blogspot.com/2014/01/what is humanism
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