7 Marxist Understanding of Politics and Power

Shivani Kapoor

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The following chapter begins by examining certain key events in the contemporary political-economic scenario. Following which the chapter, undertakes an exploration of some of the central ideas of Marx, vis-à-vis these events.




The word ‘Marxism’ often invokes very specific kinds of imageries. Most of them like the romanticized description of communes, or a stateless world, or even the iconic images of workers out on the streets, are not only historically limited but also in some sense also reify the very complex and layered natured of the ideology and practice of Marxism. Yet on the other hand, these images also keep reminding the society and politics at large, of the presence of this theoretical and political ‘Other’ of the dominant capitalist system.


The Occupy Wall Street Movement (OWS) which broke out in 2011 in New York, was one such instance when the believers and readers of Marxism, sat up and took notice. The very powerful symbols and imagery which this movement threw up, was a strong reminder of the challenge which Marxism poses to the capitalist ideology, systems and structures. Thousands of people pouring out on the streets demanding that control of the economy and society be given back to the metaphorical (and possibly, statistically true) 99%1. While not a textbook Marxist event, the OWS movement nonetheless borrowed shades from communism, socialism, Marxism and to some extent even anarchism. At least in its fundamental and perhaps the only demand – restoring control back to the majority – of producers and workers, rather than the capitalists – the OWS movement actually represents the fundamental concern of the large spectrum of communist and socialist movements, of which Marxism is one variant.

1http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/08/09/why-is-the-u-s-s-1-percent-so-much-richer-than-everywhere-else/ Accessed on August 10, 2013 at 19.30.

(Image Source: http://laloalcaraz.com/occupy-wall-street-version-of-my-new-poster)


This would be a good departure into David Harvey’s Introduction to The Communist Manifesto2, written in 2008.


While we may not have the right, as Marx and Engels wrote in their Preface to the 1872 edition, to alter what had even by then become a key historical document, we do have both the right and the political obligation to reflect upon and if necessary re-interpret its meanings, to interrogate its proposals, and, above all, to act upon the insights we derive from it.”


Harvey goes on to show how, even know with the collapse of the USSR and the subsequent turbulence in institutionalized Marxism, we may choose to believe that the ideas in Marxism hold no relevance now, yet the conditions of capitalism today lead us again and again to the texts written by Marx and Engels. What are these conditions that we are talking about? The 2008 US economy meltdown, which triggered a domino effect on economies around the world, was one such moment of ‘crisis’ for the capitalist system. This system which was largely seen as infallible, creating immense stocks of wealth and generating employment by thousands, suffered a fatal blow. Stock markets crashed, jobs were lost, home loans were dead money and jobless people were also forced to become homeless. Ultimately the state had to step in, to bail out not just the private sector banks, riddled with crippling dead loans, but also had to stimulate the economy as such. This very act of the state was a regression on some of the fundamental capitalist edicts – the invisible hand which controls the economy, a non-interfering limited state and the self-correcting market system. Talking about the proposals of reform in the Manifesto, Harvey observes quite astutely, “Interestingly, one of its modest proposals for reform – the centralisation of credit in the hands of the state – seems to be well on the way to realisation, thanks to the collective actions of the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and the central banks of the other leading capitalist powers in bailing out the world’s financial system (the British


2 Marx and Engels, The communist Manifesto, Pluto Press, 2008. Pg 1-2.


ended up nationalising their leading ailing bank, Northern Rock). So why not take up some of the other equally modest but wholly sensible proposals – such as free (and good) education for all children in public schools; equal liability of all to labour; a heavy progressive or graduated income tax to rid ourselves of the appalling social and economic inequalities that now surround us?”3


But this was certainly not done and the crisis of the capitalist system did not stop in 2008. Since late 2009, the ‘Eurozone’ crisis, the most visible of which had been the Greek government debt crisis, has been plaguing economies in this entire region. To put it very simply, Greece, as a nation-state and a capitalist economy went bankrupt in 2012 and declared its inability to pay its debts which currently amounts to over 300 billion euros4. Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Cyprus were soon to follow suit. Closer home, the economic slowdown, coupled with rising inflation and price rise of even the most basic commodities, signals not only a failure of the capitalistic economic structures, but also confirms a long standing argument about the ‘development of underdevelopment’ in the so called Third World countries. Most of these post-colonial nation-states like India, Brazil and Mexico were forced to open up their still nascent domestic economies to FDI and FII and undergo the resultant structural adjustments. In a short spans of a couple of decades this meant that crucial sectors like healthcare, education, insurance and manufacturing and retail have become largely privatized. The Maruti Suzuki Workers’ struggle, which is currently going on, is merely one instance of workers trying to come to terms with an extremely exploitative system with low wages, no social security and no rights of association. The link between opening up of the economy and worker’s insecurity and housing mortgage crisis is only too obvious.


Thus there also seems some merit in going back to some critical ideas in Marx.




There are several methods to approach the labyrinth of ideas which constitute Marxism. First, one could restrict themselves to only the study of what was written by Karl Marx himself as a 3 Ibid. Pg 2-3


4http://www.statista.com/statistics/167459/national-debt-of-greece/. Accessed on August 10, 2013 at19.30.


pure sort of an exercise. On the other hand one could also expand the study to include the various Marxist writers and schools of thought who succeeded Marx and derived from or interpreted his ideas. These could include the large tradition of Western Marxism, the Marxist-Leninist school, the Stalinist interpretation of Marx’s ideas, Maoism, Trotskyism, Structural Marxism, Marxist Humanism and Marxist feminism, to name a few. The second method to read Marx could be what is largely called the epistemological break in Marx. Although it is a much debated idea, yet in terms of ease of navigating through the plethora of Marx’s writings, it seems like a useful approach. The epistemological break in Marx suggests that chronologically there are two kinds of writings that Marx has produced – Early, ‘young’, humanist Marx with writings with a largely philosophical core, like The Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 (published in 1932).


Late Marx, mature Marx, marked most prominently with the publication of the German Ideology (written in 1844) in 1932. This text is seen as marking the break with the earlier kind of writing and giving way to the economic analysis and the critique of capitalism that Marx is mostly known for. However, there are intense debates surrounding this method of classification of Marx’s writings, since it is difficult to delineate when one text was written and the gap in its publication.


Marx began writing at a time when much of the intellectual debate centered on Hegel. A group called Young Hegelians had started responding to Hegel’s works within a decade of his death. Marx was a part of this group. It was in this early stage of his work that Marx proposes his theory of alienation and concepts like dialectical materialism. Hegel believed that there is a dialectical progression of history whereby an original idea exists (the “thesis”). Over time, opposition to these ideas develop in the form of the “antithesis”. The two are resolved through a process called “synthesis”, which then becomes the new “thesis”. Over time this new thesis will again be opposed, the process of synthesis will repeat itself and history will continue to progress. For instance, in the feudal age, the “thesis” is the existence of landlord-serf relationship, bonded labour and a guild based economy where excess money is saved as gold. Slowly, this class of landlords is opposed by that of the rising merchants, with their “antithesis” of capitalism. A resolution occurs with the development of early mercantile capitalism and society and history move from a feudal to a capitalist age.


Marx argued against Hegel’s idea that ideas determine the course of history. Marx proposed instead that ideas have a material basis in the economic and social conditions of a historically specific time and age. Unless these material conditions change, ideas and thus history cannot move ahead. In the above example then, the “antithesis” was not just the idea of capitalism but the economic condition that for capitalism to survive it needed to free up both labour and gold and convert them into workers and capital respectively. In Marx, this is termed as historical materialism or dialectical materialism – the fact that history depends on material ideas for its movements. This dialectic, based on materialism, occurs between the relations and the means of production.


Economythen seems to be a vantage point from where one can weave into the rest of Marx’s concepts. This is by no means suggests that the entirety of Marx’s thought can be reduced to an economic analysis. In fact, it refers to Althusser’s famous interpretation that economy only determines in the last instance. Economy in Marx is intrinsically linked to the idea of human beings being marked with the capacity of ‘production’. Human beings are not just rational beings in Marx, rather they are creative being who can produce, and imagine and enjoy the fruits of their labour. This creativity then also means that human beings as a ‘species-being’ are capable of shaping their own nature and history. Marx differs from Hegel on this account. While Hegel argues that it is ideas which propel history forward, Marx believes in a rather materialistic interpretation that it is human effort and creativity, embodied as consciousness, which takes forward history. Marx believes that it is the interaction between the forces of production and the relations of production which compels human beings to produce in different ways and thus move ahead in history.




Every epoch in history has a specific set of forces of production which include means of production like machines, animals and equipment and labour power. Technological advancements cause a change in these forces of production and thus they continue to be historically specific. So for instance, in a historical age where the task of energy generation was done by bullocks encircling a well, the level of industrial or agricultural option would be significantly low. As the forces of production change, say bullocks are replaced by wind energy, the style and rate of industrial production will also change. Further advancements in terms of coal based energy generation would then push production in very specific directions. The industrial revolution in England was an example on one such historical conjecture. Relations of production refer to who owns the forces of production and who is working with those elements. The relation between the master and a slave in a slave society, or between a landowner and a serf in a feudal society would be examples of relations of production. The movement from one mode of production to the other happens when there is a contradiction between the relations of production and the forces of production. To take an historical example, the movement from a feudal to a capitalist mode of production happens with the break- up of the guild system, investment of accumulated capital into the economy and the need to free up labour locked up as serfs. This is because in capitalism, the worker needs to be able to sell her/his labour freely as per the highest wage rates.




According to Marx,


“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.5”


“Our epoch, the epoch of the bourgeoisie, possesses, however this distinct feature: it has simplified class antagonisms. Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other – Bourgeoisie and Proletariat”6.


Class struggle is a central concept for understanding Marx’s analysis of the capitalist society. History moves forward because of this class struggle, caused by the contradiction between the relations and the forces of production. While Marx argues that struggle between classes has been a feature for all epochs in history, in this particular stage of capitalism, class struggle has become extremely polarized between only two classes – those who own the means of production and those who only own labour power. The other classes have been mostly forced to enter the class of workers. Some of them may have also entered the class of factory-owners or at least the petty bourgeoisie. Ownership of the means of production or the lack of such ownership then becomes


5Marx, Karl, Manifesto of the Communist Party, Pluto Publishers, 2008, pp 33.

6Ibid, pp 34.


the criteria for determining one’s class position. Thus those who own the means of production will also have similar interests and positions. For instance, factory owners will want longer working weeks, low minimum wages and easy access to raw material in order to maximize profit. This makes the factory owners a ‘class in itself’ – the bourgeoisie. Similarly, there is a class of workers, who are interested in shorter working weeks, higher wages and easier access to basic resources. This not only makes them a class in itself, the proletariat, but also makes them come into direct opposition to the bourgeoisie.


A class in itself becomes a class for itself, when the members of this group become aware of or conscious of their similar interests. Thus formations like FICCI or CII, indicate a high level of consciousness on part of the bourgeoisie, since they realize that collective action and demands through such fora, will gather better attention. Also their interests would be better met through such collectivities. The proletariat on the other hand, can associate through means like the trade union, where they can debate, discuss and demand the betterment of their class.


Class consciousness is an important element in Marx’s understanding of class struggle and finally revolution. Only a class for itself has consciousness enough to fight for itself. In the history of capitalism, when the proletariat become a class for itself, it will lead a revolution against the bourgeoisie. In the current scenario, with the attack on the very legality of trade unions in many industrial pockets and because of a general weakening of worker’s movements, this kind of class consciousness is fairly low. Marx would also say that this is because of the hegemonic rule of the bourgeoisie over media, knowledge and political practices. Ideology thus becomes false consciousness. According to Marx, the exploited classes actually do not realize that they are being exploited due to the hegemonic control of the bourgeoisie on ideas, knowledge and even consciousness. What masquerades as ideology then is actually what the bourgeoisie wants the society to believe in.


Alienation and Commodity Fetishism



According to Shefali Jha, “The most important idea that I associate with Karl Marx is his critique of capitalism as a system lacking freedom. Taking seriously the Hegelian idea that individual freedom was the result of specific social conditions, Marx concluded that the modern social conditions exemplified by the capitalist mode of production were antithetical to freedom.”7


Perhaps the highest manifestation of this loss of freedom is explained in Marx through the concept of alienation and commodity fetishism.


Marx writes in Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts,


“Labour not only produces commodities; it also produces itself and the workers as a commodity and it does so in the same proportion in which it produces commodities in general.”8


Marx here means that the product of labour becomes alien to the one who produces it, to the one who labours. The product of labour objectifies labour and its owner, the worker, itself as an object.


Marx continues,


“In the sphere of political economy, this realization of labour appears as a loss of reality for the worker, objectification as loss of and bondage to the object, and appropriation as estrangement, as alienation.”9


What does it mean for labour to be objectified? Naomi Klein in her book No Logo, talks about her visit to a garment sweatshop in Jakarta around 1997, where a labour strike against longer working hours and abysmal pay scales had just been concluded. Klein wanted to know which brand of clothing these women were making by the thousands. This is how that conversation goes,


“This company produces long sleeves for cold seasons,” one worker offered.


I guessed: “Sweaters?”


7Jha, Shefali, Western Political Thought : From Plato to Marx, Pearson, 2010, pp 216

8Marx, Karl, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844, Progress publishers, 1977, pp 67-68

9 Ibid, pp 68-69.


“I think not sweaters. If you prepare to go out and you have a cold season you have a…”


I got it: “Coat!”


“But not heavy. Light.”




“Yes, like jackets, but not jackets-long.”10


Klein continues, “You can understand the confusion: there isn’t much need for overcoats on the equator, not in the closet and not in the vocabulary. And yet increasingly, Canadians get through their cold winters not with clothing manufactured by the tenacious seamstresses still on Spadina Avenue but by young Asian women working in hot climates like this one.” 11


Thus what these women are producing is alienated from them or made alien to them at many different



  1. Alienation from labour
  2. Alienation from the product of labour
  3. Alienation from the society and the fellow workers
  4. Alienation from themselves as humans.


Workers in a capitalist society rarely create an entire commodity on their own. More importantly they never see the finished product of their labour. Due to the assembly line production or the increased level of footloose labour and capital, the shirt sleeves maybe made in Malaysia, the button may come from Congo, the label maybe made in the unorganized sector in India, and the shirt maybe put together in China, for sale in New York and the in the metropolises of all these contributing countries. Like in the above example, the worker who is producing only buttons may not even recognize the final product in terms of a shirt – s/he neither has the need nor has


10Klein, Naomi, No Logo, Flamino Publishers, 2000 pp 12-15.

11 Ibid.


probably ever seen one. More importantly, the worker may not be able to actually ever afford the product of her/his own labour – that shirt is completely an alien object for this group of workers. They cannot decide how it will look, what colour it will be, where it will be sold and how much it will be sold for – the workers cannot possess the product which their own labour produced. This then alienates the human beings from themselves. Marx begins by saying the humans are productive, creative beings, and in order to satisfy this part of themselves they need to be able to enjoy and possess their labour and its products. But this kind of a capitalist process where the worker can neither choose what kind of labour s/he wants to indulge in, nor can s/he decide when to labour and at what rate, does not provide the kind of fulfillment that labour should in an ideal scenario.


Ultimately, all social relationships are turned into economic exchanges, even between workers themselves. This is what blocks class consciousness and does not let a class for itself develop. Commodity fetishism is an advanced stage of this phenomenon when the exchange value of commodities begins to override the use value. Further, even though exchange value is an indicator of the amount of labour that has gone into making the commodity, under commodity fetishism, this commodity gets a life of its own, independent of the labour which has gone into it.


Commodities acquire an exchange value, or rather a value per se, only because of what they will fetch in the capitalist market.12 The rise of gold as the most precious metal in terms of economy or the trade diamonds is an example of this. On their own, gold and diamonds do not have much utility but they have been imbued with great exchange value, and thus have become precious commodities. It is due to the same logic that they have been termed as ‘rare’ as well – the exchange value of commodities naturally increases with its rarity. This fetishism for gold and diamonds then completely negates the value of labour which has gone into making these commodities. Ultimately labour power (the capacity to labour) itself becomes a commodity which is bought and sold in the market depending on its exchange value. Now because this labour power cannot be separated from the human being who carries this labour power, human beings and their relationships also become commodities and thus alienated.


12Jha, Shefali, Western Political Thought : From Plato to Marx, Pearson, 2010, pp 221-222


The capitalist mode of production – Profit and exploitation


Apart from being alienated, workers are also exploited. This exploitation arises from a basic distinction – whether you own the means of production or whether you are selling your labour. The bourgeoisie, because they own the means of production, force the proletariat to sell their labour and extract a surplus out of that labour. In return for her/his labour power the worker gets a wage.


For Marx, the surplus value is the difference between the value a worker produces and the value of his labour. The value of labour power is calculated by the amount of labour which goes into producing it. 13 This means that the value is calculated according to what it would cost to allow the worker to labour – which means that the worker has to eat, sleep, clothe her/himself and also reproduce so that capitalism has a steady supply of workers. Labour thus has to reproduce itself. Now the capitalist actually makes the workers labour for much more than this cost. The worker thus labours for much more than the cost of her/his basic existence. This difference between what is paid and how much value is extracted from the worker, is what constitutes surplus for the bourgeoisie. This surplus value is then accumulated as profit. This surplus value is also the basis for the exploitation of the workers.


Marx’s Theory of State and Revolution


State, in Marx, is an instrument in the hands of the ruling class. Marx says, “The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie14. Through obfuscation of ideology and through hegemony, the ruling class keeps the state as an extension of itself. This is why for any revolution to take place it is essential that the revolutionary class capture the state.


For Marx, the roots of revolution lay in the struggle between classes. The bourgeoisie, according to Marx, was the original revolutionary class, trying to break free from feudal control and leading to the establishment of mercantile capitalism. In the course of history however, this



13Ibid, pp 222-223.

14Marx, Karl, Manifesto of the Communist Party, Pluto Publishers, 2008, pp 36.


classes loses its revolutionary potential and becomes the dominant hegemonic bourgeoisie that we know of today. The progress of history as well as the contradiction between forces and mode of production, will eventually force capitalism to begin contradicting itself.With an increasing class consciousness about their conditions, at this point in history the proletariat, or the working class, would take over the state through a revolution and establish the dictatorship of the proletariat. Under the rule of the proletariat, called state socialism, the bourgeoisie institution of private property will be abolished; division of labour will cease to exist along with other instruments of state power. Slowly, this state will wither away and it is place a communist society – stateless and classless will be formed.


However, Marx’s ides of the state has been much discussed. One such strand is the debate on the state being a capitalist instrument vs. relative autonomy of the state. The discussion on Passive revolution also features in this set of arguments.


Antonio Gramsci, first proposed, that in a capitalist society, the only way to bring about revolution would be through a relatively “passive” mode. Institutions like the civil society would aid in this through a process of organic change. This would be similar to what happened in much of Europe.


In Selections from Prison Notes, Gramsci argues that15, while France went through a ruptural revolution, other European countries did not do so, but went through a passive revolution in which the old feudal aristocracy was not destroyed, but compromises were made between the rising industrial class and the aristocracy. There was no popular participation in this transition.


Nicholas Poulantaz and Ralph Miliband have also engaged in a debate about the nature of the capitalist state. In The State in Capitalist Society published in 1969, Miliband argued that the state serves capitalist interests because the social origins of members of state government is roughly from the capitalist class. Further, because of these social origins, the ruling elites are also the members of the government and the networks and ties between them, produces similar interests. Poulantzas published a review of this work and critiqued Miliband claiming that state



15Gramsci, Antonio, Selections From The Prison Notebooks Of Antonio Gramsci, Edited and Translated by Quintin Hoare and Geoffrey Nowell Smith, International Publishers, 1992, pp106-120


in itself is a capitalist entity and does not need external influences like a networked class to make it work for capitalism. The state will be capitalist even if we change who runs this state.


Miliband responded to this argument by claiming that Poulantzas model leaves no room for agency of individual actors, who could possibly affect the way the state behaves.


Indian  Marxists   like   Pranab   Bardhan  have   argued  that  the   state   in  India  was  relatively autonomous because the relative strength of all competing classes was roughly equal. Thus while the classes wrestled with each other, the state was left ‘relatively autonomous’ to carry forward its own agenda. Thus the state in India, did not become an instrument of any class. In a similar argument, Sudipta Kaviraj also provides an argument for the Indian state. Partha Chatterjee, summerises, Kaviraj’s analysis,


“The dominant class coalition model was given a robust theoretical shape in a classic essay by Sudipta Kaviraj (1989) in which, by using Antonio Gramsci’s idea of the “passive revolution” as a blocked dialectic, he was able to ascribe to the process of class domination in postcolonial India its own dynamic. Power had to be shared between the dominant classes because no one class had the ability to exercise hegemony on its own. But “sharing” was a process of ceaseless push and pull, with one class gaining a relative ascendancy at one point, only to lose it at another. Kaviraj provided us with a synoptic political history of the relative dominance and decline of the industrial capitalists, the rural elites and the bureaucratic-managerial elite within the framework of the passive revolution of capital.”16


Chatterjee has also worked on the idea of passive revolution and argues that the Indian state was largely autonomous of the bourgeoisie and the landed elites. He writes about the characteristics of passive revolution in India,


“…the supervision of the state by an elected political leadership, a permanent bureaucracy and an independent judiciary; the negotiation of class interests through a multi-party electoral system; a protectionist regime discouraging the entry of foreign capital and promoting import substitution; the leading role of the state sector in heavy industry, infrastructure, transport, telecommunications; mining, banking and insurance; state control over the private manufacturing sector through a regime of licensing; and the relatively


16Chatterjee, Partha, Democracy and Economic Transformation in India, Economic and Philosophical

Weekly, April

19, 2008, pp 53-62


greater influence of industrial capitalists over the central government and that of the landed elites on the state governments”. 17


The contemporary nature of the state thus differs significantly from Marx’s original idea, due to factors like post – colonialism, mixed economic models and the lack of a clear transition from feudalism to capitalism in much of the world outside pockets of Europe.




The Cold War years are usually considered to be the high point of ideology. The two dominant ideologies – Communism and capitalism came in direct confrontation and the debate was intense. The creation and the subsequent survival of USSR was a significant event of world history. For the followers of Communism and Socialism, the USSR was the most tangible form their ideas had ever taken. Even though it remained confined to the state socialism paradigm and never really transcended to the communist society form, yet the USSR provided a fertile ground for the testing and fine-tuning of Marxist ideas. Along with much of Latin America and China, the USSR provided a formidable challenge to the ideology of capitalism or at least to the idea of a hegemonic, monist interpretation of the world.


The end of the Cold war and the apparent triumph of capitalism heralded the end of ideology. From now onwards capitalism would be the only ideology in the world and thus there remained no gap between ideology and capitalism. Ideology had become redundant in favour of capitalism. And indeed, it appears that today, there is no merit in thinking about things like extraction of surplus, exploitation and alienation. These are after all highly legitimized elements of the capitalist system, which in turn is now a highly legitimized system in itself. The realization that exploitation is not a given or a necessary outcome of the production process is very hard to come by now. Thus call cen tre employees trudge through the night, faking accents, participating in neo-imperialism all over again, justifying all of it through high wages, independence and generation of employment. Workers in factories get beaten and shot for demanding health benefits and minimum wage. Yet, we only lament the loss of productive days 17Ibid.


caused by the strike. Farmers are asked to plough cemented pieces of land and we shrug it off as a necessary step towards development.


The end of the Cold War was not simply the apparent triumph of capitalism. It was actually the loss of alternatives. With the collapse of the USSR and the collapse of the Berlin Wall, capitalism actually lost its most formidable other. East Germany and the USSR were symbols of a world willing to debate and choose, rather than lose itself in a universality of jeans, burgers, loans and structural adjustments. It is not as if we do not have communist alternatives left today. Societies like those of Cuba, Venezuela and in some measure Afghanistan and Iran continue challenge the hegemonic flow of ideas, knowledge and information from the West. The problem however is that in a short span of a little more than 20 years, capitalist ideas have become ‘normalized’ so much so that a Cuba or an Iran begins to appear like an aberration, a rather evil one at that. The world is still perhaps not unipolar, in terms of ideology, but it has rather been split into the normal (of capitalism) and the abnormal.


Yet, there are splits which emerge. The OWS movement was one such crack in the otherwise flawless montage of Western capitalism. The intense opposition to developmental projects in India, like Posco, Niyamgiri and Narmada Valley, hint towards a multipolar world, where this kind of development has not been found acceptable. It is here that Marx’s idea of surplus extraction has led to the idea of accumulation by dispossession, of primitive accumulation and to an understanding that development and decent working conditions are not antonyms. Employment generation is possible without neo-imperialistic tendencies also. The problem is actually with the way capitalism has become the only alternative. The failing economies of the Western capitalist world, the terrible human rights record of the manufacturing giant China, somewhere indicate that capitalism is also accumulating its own crises, which probably began when it lost its ‘Other’ in 1991.

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  • Chatterjee, Partha, Democracy and Economic Transformation in India, Economic and Political Weekly, April 19, 2008
  • Gramsci, Antonio, Selections From The Prison Notebooks Of Antonio Gramsci, Edited and Translated by Quintin Hoare and Geoffrey Nowell Smith, International Publishers, 1992
  • Jha, Shefali, Western Political Thought : From Plato to Marx, Pearson, 2010
  • Marx and Engels, The Communist Manifesto, Pluto Press, 2008
  • Marx, Karl, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844, Progress publishers, 1977
  • Marx, Karl, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, Progress Publishers.
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  • Popper, Karl, The Open Society and Its Enemies. Vol. 2, The High Tide of Prophecy: Hegel and Marx (London, 1945).
  • Poulantzas, N. & Miliband, R. (1972). The Problem of the Capitalist State. In R. Blackburn (ed.) Ideology in Social Science: Readings in Critical Social Theory. NY: Pantheon Books. Pp. 238-262.