Daniel Barrera Soc 356 Paper #1 “The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas: i.
e. , the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling its ruling intellectual force” (Reader 35). Karl Marx was basically saying that the ruling class would always stay in power, why? When the ruling class changes, so to do the ruling ideas and the new ruling class instills upon society its own ideas. While giving these “ideas the form of universality, and represent them as the only rational, universally valid ones” (36).However, one might wonder how does this ruling class control these ruling ideas? Marx believed, “the class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it” (35) Marx is saying that, we, the working class are told what to think, that we lack the means to create our own thoughts or as he would put it, our own “consciousness”.These so called ruling ideas today we known as the media, we carry ourselves as we are told by the media because our thoughts have been put in our minds by the ruling class and we fail to see that as individuals, in the society we live in today.
Marx believed that society has made us “stupid”, because the values we believe are those that society has installed in our minds (Barnes 2010). We work to purchase goods that we want to be seen with, in order to be accepted into a certain social class.This ruling class also known as the Capitalists, control the working class in virtually every aspect through the division of labor. The capitalist are basically riding a mule (mule being the working class) while holding a carrot in front of this mule so that it keeps walking and thinking it will get to the carrot; capitalism simply makes the working class think if they keep working they can someday be equal, but this idea of equality is just an illusion for the working class to work harder. This is because of the fact that all the working class has to offer is the ability to sell their labor ower to the capitalist (Barnes 2010). As Marx said we then become enslaved by our job, “…division of labour offers us this the first example of how, as long as man remains in natural society, that is as long as a cleavage exists between the particular and the common interest…as activity is not voluntarily, but naturally, divided, man’s own deed becomes an alien power opposed to him, which enslaves him instead of being controlled by him” (32).
Today the division of labor is divided into two parts: material versus mental.You have the person who works in the factory (proletariat) to receive wages for their “means of subsistence” (52) and you have the owner of the corporation (bourgeois) who sole purpose is to turn a profit, by producing the most and best output it can with the least of amount of input possible. Thus, capitalism gives society class struggle by giving the working class a class-in-itself by developing a false consciousness of someday being wealthy. This then leads to the exploitation of the working class and other consequences of capitalism such as greed, lay-offs, unequal education, tax cuts for the rich…Marx believed the solution to capitalism was a transition into communism. He said, “communism is for us not a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality [will] have to adjust itself.
We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. The conditions of this movement result from premises now in existence” (33) The equality that comes from communism allows each individual to be his or her “better person” not by being better then the person next to them (as capitalism has lead us to believe).It allows a person to reach full range of human potential, “while in communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes if possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticize after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming, hunter, fisherman, shepherd or critic” (32).This transition to communism Marx believed would create a “classless society” with no one class to dominate leaving the state to “wither away”. However, first the working class would have to seize state power and abolish private property, rights of inheritance, distinction between town and country. Implement free and equal education for all children and allow the centralization of banks and credit (Barnes 2010). A segment in CBS Evening News titled The American Spirit gives a good perspective on Marx’s theories.
Tedd Ginn Sr. principal of an all boys academy in Cleveland, Ohio says, “if you goin’ right and it’s not workin’ you gotta do something different. ” Obviously Marx knew that society was going in the wrong direction his ideas to go in a different direction, a direction towards communism. Marx believed that the working class was depressed into a false consciousness to the point where there was no point in dreaming because they would never get to where they wanted to be.Ginn, dealed with boys with the similar problem “at risk teens” is what they were referred to in the segment, “you have to teach a kid to dream, and not just to dream but to dream big”.
These kids in relation to Marx’s readings would be the working class; before Ginn started this academy these kids had an unequal education along with living in poverty they were destined to be enslaved by a future job. Marx believed in equal education through communism and this is what Ginn was giving these troubled teens.This school, in a way is run like an equal communist society in the same way Marx was preaching. The students wear a uniform along with a bright red blazer, “I got the red jacket because you have to be tough to wear a red jacket everyday, they’re gonna laugh at ya, but if you believe in why you’re wearing that jacket…whatever they say don’t matter, so you got to have courage to be different” said Ginn.
This is what Marx was saying, that to beat capitalism you have to not care about the “ruling ideas” and indeed you need to be tough to do that. It is not easy to be different, because the ruling class has and wants is that way. However if everyone did it, it would be much easier, Ginn says, “a big part of standing out, is standing together,” just like Marx was explaining, to beat capitalism it must be a worldwide movement.