Western Marxism Essay

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1687 Words
Date:  2022-05-15


Marxism refers to the process of social and economic analysis of capitalism through critical examination of class relations using materialistic deductions of historical developments taking into consideration the dialectical ideas of the social changes in the society (Russell, 2013). Marxism originated from the works of the German Philosopher and Social revolutionary, Karl Marx, and Philosopher Friedrich Engel. The Marxism theory has developed into several different schools of thought, and this paper illustrates the elements of Western Marxism.

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Western Marxism refers to the various schools of thought found in Central, Western Europe, and North America since the death of Karl Marx in 1883. Western philosophy is an academic and political discipline that attempts to comprehend the nature of something through analysis of its place in the circles of historicism (Chino, 2015). The Western Marxism was founded by a Hungarian philosopher known as Georg Lukacs and spread the philosophy through the publication of his book entitled History and class consciousness. The Western Marxists emphasis on sociological goals. Philosopher Georg reframed Marxists philosophy of alienation.


Alienation is a sociological concept that denotes the situation indicated by minimal cases of integration and great isolation between persons and/or a group of individuals in the society (Russell, 2013). They formulated four kinds of alienation notably economic and social alienation, ideological alienation, political alienation and human alienation. The most prominent type of alienation is the economic and social alienation.

According to the western Marxists, in economic and social alienation, the proletariat are detached from their products as a result of exploitation by the bourgeoisie (Kaldis, 2013). According to the studies, political alienation plans and coordinates the production process of the economic systems thereby alienating the systematic economic growth and development. Ideological alienation refers to the religious diversion where religious persons divert from "true happiness" and end in "illusory happiness (Chino, 2015). Human alienation connotes the aspect of failure to satisfy the human wants and needs. After satisfying the basic human needs and wants people continually develop the desire to satisfy more needs. Alienation expounds the inadequacy of the human mind in connection to the cosmos. Western Marxists believed that alienation was caused by the oppressive nature of capitalism.

The aspect of alienation was the central issue in Hegelian dialects. Some Western Marxists renounced Orthodox Marxism as historically outdated (Russell, 2013). Philosopher Karl Korsch tried to reconstruct the historic nature of Marxism in his works entitled Marxism and Philosophy.

Cultural Hegemony

The ideals of western Marxism were formulated by different philosophers found in different geographical locations. Antonio Gramsci, the Italian author, and political philosopher initiated the Italian nationalism and postulated significant western Marxism ideals. Gramsci was the founder and leader of the Communist Party of Italy. According to Gramsci, Cultural hegemony is the process of maintaining the state in a class consciousness society and should be advocated (Chino, 2015. The Western scholars stipulated the theory of hegemony pertaining to the consent of the governed (Russell, 2013). The philosophers expounded that the governance of modern societies lay in the hands of the ruled. Democracy occurs in the event of stable hegemony. The governing structures must get consent from the governed. In stable hegemony, consent of governance is properly given to the authorities while unstable hegemony occurs in the existence of a crisis hegemony. Crisis hegemony denotes a situation where the relations between the authorities and the governed is uneven.

The state has direct domination of the society while authority in the civil society is through social consent (Chino, 2015). According to Western Marxists, the state should differentiate between the political philosophy and the civil groupings. In this sense, the policing department, the armed forces, and the court system should be distinct from the family system, trade organizations, education curricula, health sector and the housing systems. The laborers had to be adequately educated to promote intellectual growth and development. Western Scholars expounds that there should be a revolution against the social traditions and the various forms of authority (Kaldis, 2013). They advocate for molarity in the wielding of political power and authority. The doctrines of social hegemony can be advantageous to society psycho-analysis hence social and political transformation.

Absolute Historicism

Absolute Historicism refers to the political philosophies and doctrines that attribute worthwhile importance to geographical space and time (Russell, 2013). Historicism as a major component of western Marxism prioritizes contextualized analysis of data and disregards universal doctrines of know-how such as empiricism. The historical ideals reject the roles and functions of traditions. Social theorists greatly describe the concept of epistemology philosophy. They advocate that the materialism historical ideals are correct. It should be noted that absolute historicism was entrenched by controversies in1930s.

Absolute historicism is distinct from the aspects of materialistic concepts (Russell, 2013). The Western Marxists believe that historical growth and development can be analyzed through consideration of conceptual ideas and notions. The conceptual structures are embodied in the historical ideals. Reification was advocated by the western thinkers. According to the philosopher, Lukacs reification was a result of the absence of dialectical ideals attributed to the inhuman nature of the bourgeois society. The thinkers stipulated that real know-how contributes to self-knowledge which defines and describes the activities of the proletariat.

Economic Determinism

Another major aspect of western Marxism is economic determination. Western Marxism fails to espouse the Russian Marxism that stipulates the notion of economic base as the main determinant of the establishment of the society (Russell, 2013). The philosophers were the critique of the economic doctrines of Marxism-Leninism and laid more emphasis on the role of cultural and political domains on the formation of human society. Philosopher Rosa Luxemburg stressed the independence of political domains and social revolution from the ideals of Russian Marxism. The western thinkers differentiated the economic domains from the superstructure and framed the political set up and civil society as part of the superstructure (Chino, 2015). The doctrine of economic totality defined Marxism instead of economic determination. Western Marxists defines proletariats as the group of the waged workers in the society. Proletariats are recognized as major agents of social changes. The workers should strive to obtain hegemony over all the other groupings in the society particularly the bourgeois society. The laborers should have a utopian vision of establishment of a classless state of an ideal society. The ethical aspects pertaining to Marx`s critique of capitalism is an element of Western Marxism.

Hegelian dialectic philosophy influenced the Western Marxists and they criticized capitalism in the society (Russell, 2013). They mainly focused on cultural domains rather than the economic aspects of capitalism. The German American philosopher and Socialist, Herbert Marcuse, was a great critique of capitalism in his works captioned Feud, Eros, and Civilization (1955) and One-Dimensional Man published in 1966 (Kaldis, 2013).


Existentialism refers to the theories of truth and their reflections to particular persons. The concept determines personal and societal virtues and vices (Russell, 2013). Western Marxists advocates rationalism in the modern states. Al our know-how is founded on experience. According to the western scholars, there are three theories of truth notably theories of correspondence, coherence and pragmatic. The theories define a true and a false notion. In the philosophical circles, an idea is true if it meets certain conditions (Chino, 2015). The statement must be logistically consistent with other ideals regarded as true. Western Marxism defines a false statement as any belief that is not consistent with other ideas considered to be true. Pragmatic truth theory stipulates that a statement is true if it allows free and effective interaction with the cosmos (McLellan, 2014). False beliefs permit minimum interactions with the cosmos. Scientific growth and development influence the theories of truth. To sum up, the truth is the end of investigations and enhances the ideology of satisfactorily understanding of concepts.

The western thinkers led to the establishment and spread of scientific know-how. According to the philosophers, understanding, and application of mathematics is promoted by the rationality of the human brain through the application of the philosophy of Mathematics (Kaldis, 2013). Jean-Paul Sartre, a philosopher, and playwright attempted to reconstruct the ideals of philosopher Soren Kierkegaard with Hegelian dialects in his book, Critique of Dialectical Reason.

Mass Mobilization

Western Marxism explored the concept of the process of mobilization of different social classes (Russell, 2013). The modern states have noted that they cannot operate without mass support hence the governing authorities have the burden of developing social consciousness among the peoples' as to promote the theory of consciousness. As a result, the masses will internalize the societal expectations. Philosopher Lukacs formulated the theory of false consciousness which indicates how the bourgeois manipulates the awareness of the laborers in the production systems (Kaldis, 2013). According to Philosopher Gramsci, the Catholic Church underwent massive transformation after the French revolution. The Church started questioning the validity of its doctrines and dogmas against other social forces. The changes led to the Lateran Conference of 1929 which instituted the Catholic religious teachings through nonspiritual modalities such as education (Russell, 2013).

Marxist politics was the concern of many Western Marxists (Chino, 2015). They were active politicians while others were political theorists (Russell, 2013). For example, Philosopher Antonio Gramsci was an Italian politician and a political theorist. Gramsci enhanced the nationalism movement and initiated the formation of Communist Party in Italy. Philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre was also entrenched in active Marxist politics.

The exercise of the integration of national cohesion, societal power, and authority, internal and external justice contributed to rising and growth of nationalism in several European nations such as the Republic of Italy, France Britain, and Holland (Kaldis, 2013). Since the death of Karl Marx in 1883, several organizations have applied Marxism as the theoretical approaches for their social and political governance which in most cases turned to be chaotic and full of conflicts. Marxist political and social organizations have been formed after the fall of Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1991 (McLellan, 2014). The fall of U.S.S.R marked replacement of communism with socialism and the establishment of the environmental management and conservation movements.

Concept of Ideology

The concept of ideology is explicated by the western Marxists (Kaldis, 2013). The philosophes thoroughly researched on the functions of doctrine in terms of reflecting the economic base of the society and answers the question of production and its societal effects. In the process, t...

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Western Marxism Essay. (2022, May 15). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/western-marxism-essay

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