Marx – Commodity Fetishism & Surplus Value

Marx is famous for his analysis of “surplus value.” If you’re familiar with business jargon, this is just another way of translating the previously existing term that Marx used, mehrwert, which can also be translated to the more familiar term “value added.” If M is the cost of the wood, and M’ is the amount… Continue reading Marx – Commodity Fetishism & Surplus Value

Marx – The German Ideology

The young Marx was an active member of a radical leftist group called the Young Hegelians. They read Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit as the historical process of emancipation brought about by Western society’s philosophers and thinkers. They saw the philosophers as humanity’s only hope for a just future. Among this group Marx was one of… Continue reading Marx – The German Ideology

Engels – Socialism: Utopian and Scientific

Unless you have read Marx and/or Engels before, forget everything you think you know about Marxism. While there are many valid criticisms to make of Marx, they are probably not the criticisms with which you are familiar. Marx was an important influence in the history of the USSR and Mao’s China, but Marx and “actually… Continue reading Engels – Socialism: Utopian and Scientific

Hegel – Democracy as its Opposite (the French Revolution)

What do we mean when we say “freedom?” Do we mean freedom to live in peace and quiet? Freedom to live under a government with checks and balances? Or do we mean free to participate in the decision-making processes of our government? Hobbes and Hume were concerned with the Utility of government. As long as… Continue reading Hegel – Democracy as its Opposite (the French Revolution)

Robespierre & the French Revolution

WARNING: I am not a historian, and barely know what I’m talking about. I’d love for someone to do some fact checking for me.  Background In the 1780s France was well out of the Middle Ages, but there were many, many aspects of society that retained the “irrational” history of feudalism. For example, laws legitimized… Continue reading Robespierre & the French Revolution

Zizek – the Refugee Crisis For those on the Left, Zizek’s claims that capitalism is one of the (indirect) causes of the refugee crisis is not controversial. If you accept this premise, which Zizek’s audience typically does, the debate concerning the refugee crisis centers around what the (capitalist) West is obligated to do for the refugees. For Zizek the… Continue reading Zizek – the Refugee Crisis

West – Race and Social Theory

Cornel West proposes that a genealogical materialist methodology is necessary in order to understand African American oppression. West’s vocabulary is tremendous, and he can be quite loquacious, assuming his audience is as well read and well spoken as himself. “Genealogical” and “materialist” are two terms with specific philosophical definitions that he fails to explain. If… Continue reading West – Race and Social Theory

Engels – The Principles of Communism

The revolution will start in England, America, France, and Germany, the developed nations, and then spread to the rest of the world. It is only a matter of time before the workers rise up against their oppressors. In the past, as technology evolved, social relations consequently changed. In every era there exists a class that… Continue reading Engels – The Principles of Communism

Žižek – An Attempted Introduction

DISCLAIMER: It is my opinion that Žižek presents himself as more radical than he actually is because you have to be willing to imagine the impossible in order to challenge ideology. Like all major philosophers, Žižek’s popularity strips him of his historical roots. The first categorization of Žižek I came across said he was a… Continue reading Žižek – An Attempted Introduction