As a group we decided to focus our discussion on Marx’s, The German Ideology. We all agreed it was a difficult reading to understand, but that it brought up interesting key points. Our group’s discussion was mainly on the concept of idealism, as well as Marx’s notions of the relations of production. Before we could begin discussing the readings however, we decided to define some essential words seen through out the readings. Relations of productions can be defined as the link between the owners and workers of production. Marx explains this concept by using the bourgeoisie to represent the capitalist class, or the one who owns production. While the proletariat class represents the working class. The means of production on the other hand are the resources and labor used in production.
One key aspect of the reading was that of class struggle. We focused on this as a group, because it was something that sparked our attention in the reading. Marx’s concepts can be best understood in the context of the struggles and hardships faced by workers in France, England, and Germany in the 19th century. In the reading he states: “For each new class which puts itself in the place of one ruling before it, is compelled, merely in order to carry through it aim, to represent its interest as the common interest of all the members of society, that is, expressed in ideal form: it has to give its ideas the form of universality, and represent them as the only ration, universally valid ones”(Marx 174). He urges the working class to not wait for the inevitable revolution but to unite and proactively launch it. When a revolution occurs, a new class emerges as the reigning one. In the context of his times, Marx sees this struggle play out as a conflict between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The goal of the revolution is to make the proletariat the dominant class. We examined how capitalism can be thought of as unsustainable, and that too delay its demise, the bourgeoisies must continue to stay in power. As a group we talked about how revolution is inevitable, and that the communists view this as a requirement for change and growth. If society wants to remove this system of social classes, it must come through revolution. A society based on capitalism reveals exploitation in the system; due to capitalism being founded on self-interest principles. The objective is a working class revolution, where there is an end of class warfare. We discussed how Marx believed that reform in the government is not enough, that a revolution is indeed required. This is because, unless the current social class structure is destroyed, their will always be a ruling and exploited class.
This also led us to end our discussion on the term self-consciousness that was talked about in the reading. “From this is follows that this transformation of history into world history is not indeed a mere abstract act on the part of “self-consciousness,” the world spirit, or of any other metaphysical spectra, but a quite material empirically verifiable act, an act the proof of which every individual furnishes as he comes and goes, eats, drinks and clothes himself”(Marx 172). This idea of self-consciousness was a topic we conversed over, and also we were able to relate it to our class discussion of false consciousness. Overall, this allowed us to tie it back into our earlier topic, of how the conscious working class begins a revolution.