Some words are not readily defined in dictionaries. Marxism is the philosophical and sociological approach of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, and their followers. It is very much influenced by the dialectical method of Hegel, but rejects Hegel's philosophic idealism and replaces it with dialectical materialism. Marxism sees the economic factors as the base causal and conditioning factors in both individuals and history. History is seen as basically a series of class struggles, with classes being defined in terms of their relation to the means of production. According to Marx, each period of history has a dominant economic class and a developing rising economic class. In time, a conflict breaks out between the dominant and rising class, which results in the overthrow of the old ruling dominant class and the establishment of the new rising class as the new dominant class. In this manner, the capitalist class or bourgeoisie replaced the feudal aristocracy or ruling class as the dominant class in the West. This historical process does, however, end for Marx, and it is the industrial working class that is given this special historical role of ending class conflict once and for all and establishing a classless society. Marx maintained that industrialized, capitalist societies were becoming increasingly polarized into two classes: the dominant capitalist class (the bourgeoisie) and the rising working-class (the proletariat), and that the working-class would eventually overcome the ruling bourgeoisie to establish the classless-socialist-communist society.












   

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