Marxism is a set of socio-economic and political theory formed by Karl Marks, a German philosopher of the 19th century. He analyzed the life, society and the culture as a whole. The thoughts and ideas of Marxism are based on the socio-economic condition of the society. Marxism as a theory came in response to the western capitalism. Karl Marks saw several injustice, discrimination and exploitation by ruling class through this idea Marks wanted to free the laborer from exploitation and he wanted to establish the classless society.
The fundamental premises of Marxism
Economy is the basic premises of Marxism. As psychoanalysis gives priority over unconscious, Marxism gives priority over the socio-economic base. It is the matter which determines the consciousness. Getting and keeping economic power is the motive behind all social and political activities, including philosophy, religion, government, the arts, science, technology, and media and so on. The social culture is divided into base and superstructure. The base is the production system, the economic reality of the society. The superstructure supports the base. For example: in Feudalistic base system, the rules and base system should be like feudalism. The superstructure takes forms according to base. And the superstructure helps in regulating the base. The next premises are the matter. In Marxism, matter plays vital role. It is the matter which determines classes like “haves” and “haves not”. In all sort of mode of production, there lies only these two classes but their identity might vary.
Co modification is the actual behavior of Bourgeois. In production system, Bourgeois buys everything. In other word, they get values laden over each and everything. The objectification of labor, human in total is called co modification. Co modification is the act of relating to object or person in terms of their exchanged value or sign exchange value. Co modification is an act of relating and treating person or things on the basis of exchange and sign value. Treating humans as the sellable commodity in the market is the co modification of the human beings are often co modified to promote and advance the business activity in the market.
The role of ideology
Ideology is a belief system. It is a set of believes through which we experience and understand the things around us. In every part of our life we are surrounded by various ideologies. We are not born with them but we slowly and gradually grow within the ideology. So, these ideologies play a significant role to form the subjectivity. It is a false consciousness created by the capitalist through cultural conducting. Capitalism, communism, Marxism, patriotism, religion, ethical system, humanism, and environmentalism and so on are all ideologies. Most of scholars believe that the most successful ideologies are not recognized as ideologies but are thought to be natural ways of seeing the world by the people who subscribe to them. There are especially two types of ideologies that are repressive and non-repressive. Marxism is a non-repressive ideology. It works to make us constantly aware of all the ways in which we are products of materials or historical circumstances of the repressive ideologies that serve to blind us to this fact in order to keep us subservient to the ruling power system. Patriarchy on the other hand is an example of repressive ideology. Capitalistic ideology can be known by American dream. It blinds the middle class that financial success is simply the product of initiative and handwork.
Ideologies from the Marxist point of view
Ideology is the key concept in the Marxism and Marxist critic Karl Marx places it in the superstructure that is ideologies are the reflection of what is there on the base. This base is held by those who captured the mode of production. Ideologies are constructed by the people who are in power and who hold economy. Some critics also consider it as a false consciousness, it seems natural and real but inwardly it is constructed by the ruling class with the motive of exploiting labor class. There are multiple ideologies which are functioning consciously. Not all of them are bad in nature but some of them have good influence too.
Human, behavior the commodity and the family
Karl Marx observes and studies the society and shows and how it functions but he also studies human behavior and human psychology in relation to the social reality, socio economic conditions of society. He reveals the effect of capitalism on the behaviors and the psychology of labors. He further says that the effect of factory work in the psychology of laborer is gradual damaging. When the worker starts working in the industry they lose their individual ability and skill. They get also be separate from the work they are doing that is fragmented. They have the double feelings of separation that is called the effect of alienation. As results, they suffer psychologically. Thus, this damaging effect is not limited only on the part of laborers but also on the people living in the society. And this effect appears in relation to the commodity.
The work capitalism carries one very important word capital which means money. The money oriented or profit oriented concept is capitalism. Capitalism sets the entire object according to their value. Objects value becomes impersonal and calculated through its market price. Even the capitalist adds prices tags upon human labor. They buy labors and produce goods. They sell goods. None of the goods bore there name or any other mark of their individual contribution. They get disassociated from their level. It is the commodification of human labor. And object always has to value- use value or science exchange value. The use value means the usefulness of the object. How much the object is useful is the use value of the object. Such as if have a beautiful Chinese cup and I used it to drink coffee or tea, or use it to keep anything, it is use value of the cup. But if I sell the cup for money it has exchange value and I placed it in showcase it has sign exchange value. The exchange value and sign exchange value commodity the object. If any girls judge her mate according to his getup and the money he spends upon her she is co modifying her mate?
The economy of capitalism is market oriented. The survival of capitalism therefore depends on consumerism. They through media, art and literature create fashion. By producing fashionable object they enhance consumerism. From the promotion of industrialization, the capitalist started to feel the need of market to sell their access production. It is generated the colonies- a forceful capture of other countries administration. They use to take the raw materials from colonize in low price and sold the same product after refinement in high prize.
Marxism and literature
Literature is one of the means in creating ideology. Marxism because of its search for the repressive ideology can rescue the proletariat from being captive in the net of ideology by exposing the Latin reality of literature. Literature in all periods is affected by the ruling class ideology. In medieval periods the feudal lord to provide aid fir the writer so they write praising feudal culture. But it does not mean that the literature only has repressive ideology. It also has none repressive ideology. But both ideology needs to be exposed. It is the duty of critics to provide the true interpretation of text. Hence, Marxism searches the socio- economic based in literature. It would be the perfect tool for critics in analyzing literature.
Tyson, L. (2013). The critical theory today. Kathmandu: Ekta Publications.