Karl Marx’s Theory of Class Struggle: The Working Class & Revolution

Published On May 5, 2018 | By Eddie McCabe | History, Theory

Two hundred years since Karl Marx was born and 170 years since his most famous work, The Communist Manifesto, was published, Eddie McCabe looks at Marx’s theory of class struggle and assesses its relevance for today. Originally published in Socialist Alternative, the political journal of the Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland)

Without the labour power of workers, capitalists can’t make profits. The system can’t function.

Of all the things a capitalist can buy to build their business, only labour power adds value; meaning the business can produce something worth more than the original cost of the components that went into the finished product. The time, thought and energy applied by workers in the production process – whose efforts are only partially compensated by the employer who keeps the output – is the ultimate source of profit (or surplus value) in a capitalist economy. Put simply, all profits come from the unpaid work of workers. And of course the drive for profit is the beating heart of capitalism.1

This revolutionary discovery by Karl Marx paved the way for a comprehensive explanation of the workings of the capitalist system – identifying exploitation, and therefore injustice, at its core. It underlies the socialist understanding of the world’s economies and societies today; the contradictions and antagonisms in social relations and the inherent instability and conflict arising from the fundamental division of the world into those who own capital and exploit others, and those who own little or nothing and are exploited; namely, capitalists and workers.

Workers and capitalists

Workers are those who have none of the necessary premises, equipment, materials, or the money to acquire these things, that are needed to engage in production or exchange – to make a living on the market – and can trade only their ability to work (labour power). Capitalists do have the above, but to put them to use efficiently enough to make a profit they need other people to work them. So they offer wages to workers that will (a) allow the workers to subsist, and (b) allow the capitalist to profit from everything made after this subsistence is paid for. The lower the wage and the more hours worked for that wage, the more the capitalist is exploiting the worker, i.e. the more money they’re making at the worker’s expense.

It’s true that this arrangement is one that both the employer and the employee enter into freely, and centuries of ideological sugarcoating have created the impression that this is a fair deal for both parties. From a certain point of view, with a narrow focus on individuals, this can seem reasonable – both worker and capitalist get paid at the end of the day. The problem is that they both get paid from the work that only one of them engages in. This reality becomes clearer when looked at from the perspective not of individuals but classes. When the above scenario is generalised across the whole economy we find two main classes: (1) a majority-class of labourers who do virtually all of the work and create all of the wealth, but own very little, and (2) a minority-class who do very little work and create none of the wealth, but own virtually all of it.

Competition in the market and their insatiable need to make more profits compels the capitalists to expand their enterprises by intensifying the exploitation and amassing greater numbers of – increasingly restless – employees; who in order to defend and extend their rights and conditions are likewise compelled to organise together. This instinctive desire on the part of both capitalist and worker to push the rate of exploitation in opposite directions creates a constant tension in capitalist society: the class struggle (with all its social manifestations in conflicting ideas, organisations, institutions), the very existence of which is denied by right-wing ideologues: but the class struggle, with its ups, downs, swings and roundabouts over time, in the last analysis, decisively influences all social and historical change.

Recognising this ingrained friction (which heightens significantly in times of crises) and their central role in production (which gives them huge potential power), Marx identified the working class as key to challenging the rule of the exploiters; and moreover, establishing a society where the wealth that’s produced collectively would be enjoyed collectively.

Backlash and confusion

For socialists, this analysis remains valid in its essentials. It has withstood not just the test of time and the innumerable challenges from economic and political theorists from across the spectrum, but has been reaffirmed by the history of the working-class movement in the century and a half since Marx worked out his ideas. Conservative ideologues have always disputed the validity of Marxism, fearing most of all its revolutionary conclusions. But over time and increasingly – in the face of the failure to as yet achieve the aims of the socialist movement – even those who are critical of the system and recognise its deep-rooted and insoluble problems, deny the potential for revolutionary change and in particular the revolutionary capability of the working class.

The weakening of the traditional working-class organisations (the trade unions and the social democratic parties), both numerically and ideologically in the wake of the collapse of Stalinism and the rise of neo-liberalism, has left a major political vacuum. In the years since then the leaderships of these organisations in almost every country have made a wholesale accommodation to the system, dumping even their nominal support for an alternative to capitalism. As a result, the workers’ movement, which was a clear point of reference for millions of workers and young people in the past, is now seen as a mere auxiliary to social struggles, not its base and leadership.

On top of this the capitalist establishment, sensing this weakness, has gone on an offensive against the ideas of socialism. Their aim has been to disguise the existence of a class divide at all, but especially the existence of a potentially powerful class that can act independently, and in the interests of all of those who struggle against the system. And they’ve had a real impact, leading to much disappointment, frustration and confusion among the mass of workers and young people in recent decades. However the current crisis of the capitalist system, which sees no end in sight, is itself undermining ideological war against Marxism, as the (ever-present) class struggle ratchets up again.

As we celebrate 200 years since the birth of Karl Marx, reviewing his ideas on the class struggle and revolution will help us engage in the struggle all the better.

‘Oppressor and oppressed’

The Communist Manifesto opens with the declaration that, “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.” Engels later clarified that this meant all ‘written history’, since for the vast bulk our existence human societies were based, by necessity, on cooperation and equality. Primitive conditions and an egalitarian ethos prevented the accumulation of private wealth and property and the development of any significant hierarchy within social groups.

A revolution from this ‘primitive communist’ way of life took place with the domestication of animals and the beginning of farming about 10,000 years ago. This allowed for the production of a permanent surplus product for the first time, and from that – over hundreds or thousands of years – came class divisions between those who had ownership of the surplus, who became the rich, and those who didn’t, who became the poor. Other new features of the more complex, technologically and culturally advanced class society included: wars for land and resources; slavery for exploitation; the state with its armed bodies to protect property; the patriarchal family to pass on privileges to next generations; and popular uprisings of the lower classes, including at times, revolutionary movements.2

Class-divided society made inequality and injustice systemic, whereas before they were irregular occurrences. Sections of society were now denied the fruits of their collective labour by other sections, who developed institutions and ideological or religious justifications to maintain their powerful positions. These elite minorities made up the ruling classes in pre-capitalist societies: the pharaohs, emperors, kings, sultans, popes, tsars and their relations and ‘noble’ supporters. Beneath these supreme orders, in the societies and economies they ruled over, a class struggle was in constant motion. “An uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight”, as Marx and Engels put it, between “freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed.”3

Marx wasn’t the first to see class division and struggle in human societies, but what he did uncover was the relationship between the class struggle and “the particular, historical phases in the development of production”,4 which was key to understanding how and why revolutions happen.

Materialist view of history

For Marx, the study of human history and its development, just like the study of natural history, should begin with the question of how humans beings live and reproduce themselves – how they eat, drink and sleep, and stay warm, dry and safe in whatever environment they find themselves in. These basic needs have to be met before any other creative endeavours, like art, science or philosophy, can be pursued. So the starting point for analysing any society is how it organises the production of whatever it needs to exist (the ‘mode of production’), and then, if it can produce more than what is needed to exist, how those additional resources (and indeed the means to produce them, the ‘forces of production’) are used. Or in class society, by whom they are owned and controlled and from whom they are appropriated (the ‘relations of production’).

Reviewing the history of class society, Marx noted that while a general trend of advancement in civilisation was clear, it was not a simple, continuous, unswerving process, but included regression and stagnation as well as progress (in the sense of advances towards a society that, in theory, could produce enough to provide for everyone’s needs), and crucially that the development of the productive capacity of society was the fundamental driver of that progress. He identified three primary modes of production – with various hybrid offshoots also common – these were:

One, the Ancient Mode, in which ‘masters’ literally owned slaves who they exploited in these largely agricultural economies where trade also took place, the type of societies that existed in ancient Greece and Rome for example; Two, the Feudal Mode, a more advanced and widespread agriculture-based economic system, where the main relations were between lords who owned land that was worked for them by serfs who also worked for themselves, the mode of production in most of Europe until the 18th century; and three, the Bourgeois Mode, where industry and trade is dominant and where the main contending classes are capitalists and wage-workers.

Each distinct mode of production had its exploited classes and its ruling classes. And each mode contributed, in its own way and for a definite period, to the evolution of the productive forces. The ruling classes, by establishing the supremacy and expansion of their system for their own selfish interests, also oversaw a break with the old ways of operating. In this sense they played an historically progressive role. But at certain points in time, when the right conditions came together, further technological and scientific breakthroughs were made, opening the way for new, more efficient ways of organising production – but which were inevitably constrained by the existing class relations that were specially suited to a particular (now outmoded) economic and social structure. At this point the progressive character of the ruling class was no more. Marx put it like this:

“At a certain stage of their development, the material productive forces of society come in conflict with the existing relations of production, or – what is but a legal expression for the same thing – with the property relations within which they have been at work hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an epoch of social revolution.”5

(It’s worth noting how this applies to the capitalist world we live in today. Take just one example, agriculture, where the productive forces actually produce 50% more than what would be needed to feed everyone on the planet,6 and yet 815 million people went hungry and malnourished in 2016.7 The reason for this comes back to the relations of production under capitalism, which mean that the profits of the capitalists, and not the needs of the majority in society, are all that matter. In this sense they are clearly a block on so much potential. Only a socialist, democratically planned economy could harness the productive capacity and potential that exists to actually provide for everyone.)

To be sure, the beginning of an ‘epoch of social revolution’ does not necessarily conclude in a revolutionary transition from one mode of production to another. A rising social class has to exist that can move the situation on and challenge the class in power, and even then “the common ruin of the contending classes” is always a possibility. Hence, a mechanical interpretation of Marx’s stress on production as the motor force of history is one-sided and wrong. As he wrote elsewhere, “History does nothing, it ‘possesses no immense wealth’, it ‘wages no battles’. It is man, real, living man who does all that, who possesses and fights.” The outcome of an epoch of social revolution, therefore, depends on the class struggle.

The role of the Bourgeoisie

What Marx’s materialist conception of history proved is that nothing is fixed, ordained or inevitable. Empires, dynasties and whole social systems that seemed at one time all-powerful and everlasting have in fact disappeared. To invoke Heraclitus, one of Marx’s favourite philosophers, change is the only constant in history. Marx was keen to convey the implications of this for the social system that was predominant in his own time – capitalism. And to that end, his orientation was to the emerging class of wage-labourers, which “of all the classes that stand face to face with the bourgeoisie” he considered to be the only “really revolutionary class.”8

What was it that led him to this view? Well Marx was, in the words of his close friend Engels, “before all else a revolutionist.” What made him a revolutionist, from an early age, was an instinctive revulsion at all the injustice in the world, and being the studious type(!), he naturally put his inquisitive mind to work trying to understand that world. Quickly enough he located the root of inequality in class-divided society itself and its modern incarnation, ‘bourgeois’ society, which in the course of its relatively short reign, had shown itself to be incredibly dynamic, and just as brutal. However, Marx and Engels, in their collaborative investigations came to realise that this dynamism is both capitalism’s main strength, and at the same time, its main weakness. They wrote:

“Modern bourgeois society, with its relations of production, of exchange and of property, a society that has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, is like the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells… The productive forces at the disposal of society no longer tend to further the development of the conditions of bourgeois property; on the contrary, they have become too powerful for these conditions… they bring disorder into the whole of bourgeois society, endanger the existence of bourgeois property. The conditions of bourgeois society are too narrow to comprise the wealth created by them.”

Capitalism’s aggressive and unruly ways are the product of acute internal contradictions, which also result in periodic economic crises. But unlike crises in the past which stemmed from scarcity, these crises of competition come as a result of too much being produced, too fast, such that the market is overwhelmed, profits decline and investments dry up. Then the familiar effects of scarcity are felt as human and material waste piles up, while the market tries to adjust itself. As The Communist Manifesto explains:

“And how does the bourgeoisie get over these crises? On the one hand by enforced destruction of a mass of productive forces; on the other, by the conquest of new markets, and by the more thorough exploitation of the old ones. That is to say, by paving the way for more extensive and more destructive crises, and by diminishing the means whereby crises are prevented.”

And then comes the kicker:

“The weapons with which the bourgeoisie felled feudalism to the ground are now turned against the bourgeoisie itself. But not only has the bourgeoisie forged the weapons that bring death to itself; it has also called into existence the men who are to wield those weapons – the modern working class – the proletarians.”9

Does Marx’s proletariat still exist?

Famously, Marx and Engels went on to assert that, “What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers.”10

Before looking at what are the particular characteristics of the working class that make this so, it’s worth dealing briefly with an all-too-common assumption made about Marx and his view of the working class and struggle: specifically that the working class that Marx knew, in the factories of Manchester and London in the mid-19th century, no longer exists and looks nothing like the working class in Manchester and London today, for example; and consequently, that his theories about the role that the working class would or could play, whether they were ever valid, are outdated and not applicable in the modern world.

Of course it’s undeniable that capitalism has gone through many changes in the 150 years since Marx wrote Capital, and naturally the working class has likewise, whether in its size, location or composition. These changes are real, tangible and in some cases significant, and absolutely have to be assimilated by serious Marxists today. But it also has to be said that, had Marx experienced the last 150 years, it’s unlikely he would be terribly surprised that such changes have occurred. In fact, incorporated into his theory of the working class is the expectation that its size, location and composition will continually evolve. After all he wrote, “All previous historical movements were movements of minorities, or in the interest of minorities. The proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interest of the immense majority,”11 at a time when the working class made up only about 2-3% of the world’s population. And the largest section of the proletariat in England when he lived were not burly industrial workers, but domestic servants – predominantly women. His view of the working class was based on much more general considerations than the specific conditions and experiences of any particular sector of workers.

It’s also a fact that the Dickensian conditions faced by workers in Marx’s time are still very much in place in certain regions. For example, corporate exploitation of child labour remains rampant – affecting 168 million children in 2012; whether in the sweatshops of Bangladesh, where they work 11-hour days for the $22 billion garment industry, or in Peru for the $3 billion gold mining industry.12 And Victorian conditions are commonplace even in high-tech companies like Amazon, where staff work 55-hour weeks and are forced to set up camp in the warehouses because there isn’t enough time between their shifts to travel home.13

The precariat: a new class?

Precariousness is one feature of the workforce today that has been emphasised by many as a break with the ‘classic’ working class. Economist, Guy Standing, is probably the leading exponent of the new ‘precariat’ who goes so far as to insist that the modern low-paid, insecure, transient worker is part of a new class, or “a new class in the making”, with “distinctive relations of production, relations of distribution and relations to the state” and consequently, separate interests to those in decent-paying, stable employment. He says:

“The precariat [is] not part of the ‘working class’ or the ‘proletariat’. The latter terms suggest a society consisting mostly of workers in long-term, stable, fixed-hour jobs with established routes of advancement, subject to unionisation and collective agreements, with job titles their fathers and mothers would have understood, facing local employers whose names and features they were familiar with.”14

Standing’s view of the proletariat, then, is at odds with the Marxist view, since he has, somewhat arbitrarily, narrowed the definition of the proletariat to exclude a majority of those who sell their labour power to make a living. It seems his definition is influenced by a traditional, cultural view of the working class as it was in the 1950s and 60s in the advanced industrial world, not as it was before then or is in reality today. To the extent that secure, unionised workplaces were prevalent then, it still only represented a certain snapshot in time and even then there existed many precarious workers. Indeed the benefits and rights these workers enjoyed, which many still enjoy, were won through struggle by the equivalent of the ‘precariat’ of the 1920s, 30s and 40s, and they have been defended by organised workers ever since.

Precarity has always existed for workers under capitalism; firstly because the contradictions in the system produce periodic crises that can put even ‘stable’ jobs at risk; and secondly because of the existence of a reserve army of labour in the form of the unemployed and underemployed. The hardship faced by the unemployed is counter-posed to the ‘privilege’ of those with jobs. The latter, it’s argued, would be unwise to risk their lot when they can, if necessary, be replaced.

The negative conditions Standing describes, of ‘casualisation, informalisation, agency labour, part-time labour, phoney self-employment and the new mass phenomenon of crowd-labour’ are very real for many workers, especially young people and migrants. The increased precariousness experienced by workers today is a direct result of the neo-liberal policies advanced by right-wing governments the world over and likewise the glaring deficiency of trade union organisation.

Highlighting these issues and focusing on the particular plight of ‘the precariat’ is not in itself a problem. Much needs to be done to grapple with the task of organising these workers. Where it becomes a problem, however, is when a false division is created between sections of workers who do have, regardless of sectional differences, shared interests best summed up in the old labour movement slogan, “an injury to one, is an injury to all.” Standing’s assertion that the ‘old proletariat’ is no longer capable of being revolutionary because it has been bought off by ‘pensions’ and ‘labour rights’ – which are actually under sustained attack by the same neo-liberal forces – is simply false.

Workers of the world today

The truth is that the Marxist definition of the working class, as outlined at the beginning, which includes all those who sell their labour power in order to live and who produce surplus value, encompasses a majority of the planet’s active workforce, which the International Labour Organisation now puts at 3.4 billion people. Within the three main sectors of the economy (services, industry, agriculture), this category breaks down as follows:

  • 75 million are employers: big and (mostly) small capitalists who make up roughly 1% of the world’s population, though obviously only a fraction hold the real wealth and power
  • 1500 million are classified as vulnerably employed: ‘own account workers’ or self-employed people who don’t employ others. Also included are 400 million unpaid family workers who are related to these self-employed people. This huge group makes up most of the world’s poor.
  • 1800 million are workers who earn a wage or salary: 200 million of whom are currently unemployed, many more are under-employed or part-time. Some are paid exorbitant salaries and don’t associate with the rest, but this immense mass can be considered to be the core of the workers of the world.15

However the working class in its totality also includes retired workers, workers on disability, workers in bogus self-employment (and some other forms of self-employment) and all those also dependent on those paychecks – stay-at-home parents, carers, young people etc. As a class that exists in itself, simply as raw material for exploitation (not conscious of its place in the system or its potential power if organised), it is in fact larger now than it’s ever been and it continues to grow. Urbanisation and industrialisation, particularly in developing countries in the last 30 years or so, has seen the size of the working class increase by more than a third.

This is evidenced by the rapid growth of the world’s urban population. Since 1950 it has more than quintupled from 746 million to 3900 million, now making up 53% of the entire population.16

Revolutionary character of the working class

The actual or relative size of the working class today is an important thing for socialists to be aware of. Though being a majority, or even just being very big is not what gives the working class its revolutionary character – again something Marx and Engels identified when the working class was still dwarfed by a much larger peasantry. But what the size and the continued growth of the working class today do illustrate is the increasingly powerful position it holds in the dynamics of the capitalist system’s development; something to which no other social force can compare and which is key to breaking down the system and building something new.

Marx explained that capitalism, by its very nature, first makes the working class, and second, makes the working class revolutionary. So what are the special characteristics that bestow on the working class its revolutionary potential? In no particular order, they can be summed up as follows:

1) Capitalism concentrates workers into large towns and cities based around workplaces where the exploitation for surplus value takes place. The organising and collective struggle against this exploitation is likewise concentrated in ways that isn’t possible for peasants who are tied to plots of land spread out across the countryside. More broadly, working-class communities understand that they can resist only by linking with their neighbours who are in the same position. These processes produce a collective class-consciousness, far beyond what most atomized slaves or serfs ever could.

2) The capitalist economic model instills workers with a sense of discipline, cooperation and organisation, in two ways. First, a certain degree of regimentation and teamwork is demanded of workers by management who are tasked with extracting as much labour as possible within the timeframe of the working day. Second, in order to mitigate the worst excesses of this same regimentation and the adverse impact of recurring economic crises, workers have always instinctively moved to form their own organisations – trade unions and then also independent political parties – to safeguard and fight for their economic and political rights.

3) The advancements made by the capitalist system in science and technology means that production and exchange are more complicated arenas, requiring the mass of producers and distributors attain a higher level of basic skills (literacy and numeracy) and knowledge in order for society to function. On top of this, workers have fought for the right to education on a higher level again, for themselves and their families.

4) The world market is based on a global division of labour that connects all workers. Most of the commodities that we use in our everyday lives are the products of labour by not one, but many workers, using diverse skills and from completely different parts of the world. The struggle of the working class is a global one.

5) The liberation of the working class – that is the successful culmination of its political and economic struggle – can only come about by ending the exploitation of its labour under capitalism. As Engels put it: “The slave frees himself when, of all the relations of private property, he abolishes only the relation of slavery and thereby becomes a proletarian; the proletarian can free himself only by abolishing private property in general.”17

6) The working class is the only social force with the power to challenge the rule of the capitalist class. No other class, group or demographic has the necessary weight, cohesion, or organisation to take on the might of the capitalists, and their ideological and physical apparatus (including the surveillance state with its intelligence agencies, police and armies).

Here it’s worth underlining that the above imbue the working class with revolutionary potential only, as it goes without saying the working class is far from being in a revolutionary state at all times. Capitalism has also built up its defences to stave off any threats to its rule. At base is the state apparatus itself (the armed bodies of people, just mentioned), but its more sophisticated defence is the ideological hold it maintains through the prevailing morality, culture and social practices which accept the legitimacy of its rule (not to mention its control of the mass media, education etc.). As Leon Trotsky put it once, “He who owns surplus-product is master of the situation – owns wealth, owns the state, has the key to the church, to the courts, to the sciences and to the arts.”18 It also consciously stokes and exploits divisions among the workers and oppressed peoples, to weaken its natural opponents.

All of which produces unevenness in the consciousness – the moods, attitudes and awareness – of the working class, which counteracts its unity, confidence and revolutionary power.

Of course the working class is also not a homogeneous mass. Since its very emergence there have always been different layers of the working class, most obviously skilled and unskilled. Its evolution involves absorbing sections of the middle class on the one hand and the urban and rural poor on the other. Its mass character means that it is animated by multiple genders, nationalities, religions, ethnicities and sexual orientations; all of which leads naturally to many shades of political opinion, identity etc. But this diverse, lively and colourful working class is organically united by a common exploitation by a common enemy, which it can only challenge through unity and solidarity in a common struggle.

If it can achieve this, in the right conditions and with the necessary organisation and leadership, then it can make a revolution – the very experience of which is the key to the socialist transformation of society. Wrote Marx and Engels:

“Both for the production on a mass scale of this communist consciousness, and for the success of the cause itself, the alteration of men on a mass scale is necessary, an alteration which can only take place in a practical movement, a revolution; this revolution is necessary, therefore, not only because the ruling class cannot be overthrown in any other way, but also because the class overthrowing it can only in a revolution succeed in ridding itself of all the muck of ages and become fitted to found society anew.”19

The struggle ahead

In truth, the validity of Marx’s theory of class struggle has been borne out by the history of the working-class movement. Under capitalism the class struggle has intensified. The 20th century saw far more revolutionary movements than any other, including the first successful socialist revolution in Russia in 1917 (a revolution that was later betrayed, but nevertheless happened). The 21st century has already experienced a profound crisis for the capitalist system, and indeed has seen its fair share of significant mass mobilisations of workers, poor and young people around the world. These movements resemble movements of the past in many ways, but in many other ways are completely novel, which brings with it new challenges for Marxists.

Today we are seeing significant and militant strike action by teachers in the US and lecturers in Britain, reflecting a widespread process of ‘proletarianisation’ in which professions that were once considered to be in some way privileged, have been ground down by neo-liberal assaults on conditions and forced to organise. Strikes by teachers and lecturers would have been unheard-of in Marx’s day, as would the ‘feminist strike’ of five million workers in Spain on International Women’s Day in 2018, which followed the example of women in Poland defending abortion rights in 2016. These examples, and many more just like them around the globe, show that the working-class methods and traditions of organisation and struggle will redevelop, in new forms and on a higher level, as working-class people clash with the same unequal, violent, oppressive system that led them to struggle in the first place.

Nothing is surer than that the greatest (and most trying) events in the history of the class struggle lay ahead of us, not behind. But it’s worth remembering that the aim of the socialist movement for Marx and Engels was to engage in the class struggle on the side of and as part of the proletariat, which they sought to make “conscious of the conditions of its emancipation” – to finally bring the class struggle to an end by sweeping away “the conditions for the existence of class antagonisms and of classes generally… [and] In place of the old bourgeois society… we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.”20

This is the socialist world the workers have to win.

Notes

1. For a clear exposition of this theory see Karl Marx, 1865, Value Price & Profit

2. See Friedrich Engels, 1884, The Origin of the Family, Private Property & the State

3. Marx & Engels, 1848, Manifesto of the Communist Party

4. Marx to J. Weydemeyer in New York, 1852

5. Karl Marx, 1859, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, Preface

6. Eric Holt Gimenez, 18 December 2014, “We Already Grow Enough Food For 10 Billion People”, Huffpost

7. United Nations, 2017 – The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) Report

8. Marx & Engels, 1848

9. Ibid

10. Ibid

11. Ibid

12. Ashley Tseng, 26 June 2014, “Child Labour: A Global Scourge”, www.wsws.org

13. Monika Janas, January 2018, “Understanding Wealth Inequality”, The Socialist, Issue 113

14. Guy Standing, 2011, The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class, Bloomsbury Academic, p.6

15. International Labour Organisation, Global Employment Trends 2014: supporting data sets, www.ilo.org

16. United Nations, World Urbanization Prospects: The 2014 Revision

17. Engels, 1847, Principles of Communism

18. Leon Trotsky, 1939, Marxism in Our Time

19. Marx & Engels, 1846, The German Ideology

20. Marx & Engels, 1848

  • All Marx’s writings listed above can be found online at: www.marxists.org

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