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The theory of class struggle by Marx declares that, "All people in the society share the history of class struggle," asserting that classes are groups with intrinsic interests that differ and sometimes conflict with the needs of people from other classes. It is based on production and states that all the interests of the two classes are driven by the power possessed by each in their means of production (Bancroft and Rogers). The conflict persists where the difference in the interests and the need to work together for production and survival in a structure where the capitalists are focused on the accumulation of wealth through the exploitation of the labor off the workers who exhibit resistance in an effort to protect their own interests (Crossman; Warrington).
Marx views the lack of control over the rightful compensation of their labor among the laborers as a form of exploitation that forces such a laborer into the proletariat or bourgeoisie/ capitalist classes. Marx uses a dichotomy of classes, ignoring the middle class and assuming that it shall disappear with time, contrary to the reality. According to Marx, the capitalist production mode is the accumulation of money and the use of labor used in commodity production as a resource of the creation of more value of commodities. The capitalist determines the compensation of the labor provided by the worker (Marx).
As opposed to the philosophical definition of class as the two groups-laborers and land owners-who have sharply contrasting interests in relation to production, the sociological defines class in relation to the accumulation of power through the accumulation of wealth and the subsequent increase in the access to power, prestige and authority, consists of various classes with high mobility. Sociologists explain that class consists of the various hierarchies of people in their power over the economic production. The sociological definition of class explains that a class is a group of people that that are of the same status and that have similar levels of wealth and power. The sociological definition explains that the needs of the different classes and their modes of relationships allow for social mobility and a change in the interests of the members of each class (Daniel Jakopovich; Ollman).
The philosophical definition of class by Marx differs from the sociological definition in relation to the numbers of classes-two- and the fact that it implies that the needs of each class are rigid and does not consider the possibility of a change of interests in some members of a certain class, which is usually the drive for mobility. Whereas the philosophical description focuses on a dichotomous structure of class, the sociological shows a more diverse stratification that consists of the upper class- the elite, the upper middle class, lower middle class, working class, and the poor. The sociological theory talks about other elements that serve as sources of interest among the different classes such as prestige, satisfaction, and status, which go beyond production to other factors such as money and knowledge (Little).
People such is Donald Trump and Bill Gates are members of the bourgeoisie while all regular Americans are members of the proletariat class. I believe I belong to the Proletariat class according to the dichotomous classification of Marx. As a student, I fall in the middle class based on my status-I am not famous, my level of education-it is an asset yet to recognize its full potential of full expression, and my career at the moment-I support professionals. My income is modest and I have little power by myself.
The surrender of the control over something through the separation of a person from their attributes is called alienation. The survival of the capitalist society depends on such alienation. Objective alienation comes with the loss of control over the object such as the loss of power over labor. There is a surrender of the power of the objectification of such power to the producer where the owner takes up control. There exists aa gap between the owner and the worker as a result.
The different interests that come with classes causes an estrangement among the people where human actions shape the various societal forces and the fact that the resultant society is a result of the power differences and various advancements. Taking the capitalist production system into consideration, the alienation comes where some members of the society are more enabled to make critical decisions in relation to the future of a country or the world whereas others have no power to make even the slightest contribution towards the same.
The difference could being the form of poverty in knowledge, skills, or money. Such groups of people are denied the chance to think and express their thoughts. For instance, human actions are beneficial in the introduction of technological advancements and innovations that drive faster economic growth. However, the same comes with negative effects such as global warming, pollution, and great disparities between members of different classes.
Objective alienation largely comes from the lack of means of production among the workers where such workers have little or no say in the decisions made about the products, production process, and the impact of such production. When a person has no access to any of the following, their opinion does not seem to matter. Alienation is experienced in terms of the worker and the product, the worker and the act of production, the worker and his gatungswesen.
A current example of objective alienation comes with the rule of Donald Trump where the powerful few hold the stakes of the country in relation to global warming and the activities that result in global warming. Objective alienation is seen among workers in the capitalist society where the worker does not legally own the product of their labor and in the end his own labor seems to be something separate an alien to him. That is because the alienation reduces or eliminates the ability of such a person to make decisions related to such labor and the subsequent outputs.
The people in support of the withdrawal of the US from any unions that requires it to adhere to the global requirements of the adherence of production are the powerful in charge of industries and other production departments are members of the upper class. Such withdrawals shall cause the US to let go of the environmental conscious means of production which the industry owners considered to be expensive. The people that suffer are the people at the bottom who live in the poor, highly polluted neighborhoods with little or no means of protection against the harmful effects of such pollution.
I am objectively alienated from my product in labor where by the lack of influence I have over the product. For instance, I work in the services industry as a humanitarian on occasion. However, the work done by humanitarians is then transferred to decision makers other than the people that provide such labor, to deciding on what to do with the results. The last experience of the same came in after the collection of donations and volunteers for disaster-stricken cities in the US. Most of the people involved in the labor process thought it necessary for the government to put up more dependable structures to protect from the adversities that come with such disasters. As the people in charge of the labor, that seemed like a long-term solution. The county government took up the suggestion but they never materialized.
In the current society where most people focus on getting employed, objective alienation is common among workers where work is considered over the ‘person.’ Work comes first. Such workers remain relevant as long as they are workers. The value goes with the title which is a form of physical bondage where human beings exist as mere physical subjects (The Socialist).
Subjective alienation is experienced where the life activities of one person are in the control of another person. It arises from the need for interdependence among different individuals, departments, technology, companies, countries, and people/companies and the environment. In the end, the worker does not own the activity and does not feel the sense of ownership. It is for that reason that people consider work as an entity different from their actual lives (Graff).
It arises from the separation from the means of production and the capitalist division of labor where the activities that the worker engages in are determined by other parties. An example of subjective alienation is seen among workers who get a job description from their employer and receive instruction from various authorities during their employment. For instance, a technician receives their job description from the business owner and the human resource department. Major decisions in relation to his activities are made by boards of directors and the existing foreign competition determines the direction of the activities so as to keep up with such competition (Horowitz).
I am subjectively alienated because of the various forces that drive my life and career activities. Although I intend to be self-employed eventually, such self-employment does not guarantee the escape from such alienation. My alienation is in the form of the way that my activities are driven by my superiors and supervisors. Although I own my activities to a limited extent, most of what II do is dictated by other parties and occasionally I leave work feeling like I have been working for the course of another person and not mine.
Bancroft, Angus and Sioned Rogers. Class Theory. 7 7 2010. Web. 30 4 22017. <https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/socsi/undergraduate/introsoc/marx6.html>.
Crossman, Ashley. Class Conflict and Struggle. 5 11 22014. Web. 30 4 22017.
Daniel Jakopovich. The Concept of Class . Cambridge: SSRG, 2014. Web.
Graff, Holly. Marx's Theory of Alienation. 2017. Web. 3 5 2017. <https://www.oakton.edu/user/2/hgraff/Alienation%20summary.htm>.
Horowitz, Asher. Marx’s Theory of Alienation. 2010. Web. 3 5 2017. <https://www.yorku.ca/horowitz/courses/lectures/35_marx_alienation.html>.
Little, Daniel. The sociology of class. 18 12 2008. Web. 3 5 2017.
Marx, Karl. "Lecture 13 - Marx's Theory of Class and Exploitation." Marx, Collected Works, "The Manifesto of the Communist Party," (2013): 477-506. Web.
Ollman, Bertell. Marx's Use of "Class". 2004. Web. 3 5 22017.
The Socialist. Alienation in Capitalist Society. 1979. Web. 30 3 22017. <https://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/education/study-guides/alienation-capitalist-society>.
Warrington, Ronnie. "What is Capitalism?" Socialist Standard (1978): 100-102. Web.
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