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Chapter I

Marxian Economics and Its Influence on the Labor Movement

Industrial unionism, which is the theme of this paper,

is firmly rooted in tne economic doctrines of Karl Marx. There

fore, we must understand clearly the economic interpretation of

history and the theory of value enunciated by Marx.


we cannot understand how the tide is setting in the labor move

ment today,

- & tide which, in spite of cross-currents and a

powerful undertow, is destined, or so its more aggressive lead

ers believe, to beat upon the seemingly eternal cliffs of cap

italism until they are carried away into the sea.

Not what is

true, as Professor Dunning so well reminds us, but what men

believe to be true, shapes the course of history. Karl Marx is the one economist whose teachings penetrate beyond aloof

academic circles to the restless world of labor.

To that world

he seems the evangel of a new economic dispensation.

The materialistic conception of history and doctrine of

the class struggle set forth by Marx and Engels in the Manifesto

of the Communist Party in 1848 may be thus summarized, using, so

far as possible, the words of the text:

"The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles..?

In successive periods, slave struggled against freeman, plebeian against patrician, serf against

feudal lord.

A revolution in the modes of production and

1. Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, The Manifest of the Communist

Party, 12.

exchange has always produced a new class alignment, accom

panied by a corresponding shifting of social and political


Modern bourgeois, or capitalistic, society, which sprouted from the ruins of feudalism, has played a most

revolutionary part.

It has left no bond between man and

man except that of self-interest.

It has converted lawyers,

priests, and men of science into paid wage-laborers. Family

ties are rent asunder and the children of the proletariat

"are transformed into simple articles of commerce and instruments of labor..?

"The bourgeoisie has, through its

exploitation of the world-market, given a cosmopolitan

2 character to production and consumption..... Capitalism

has resulted in the concentration of population in cities

and in the concentration of the means of production and of

wealth, and of government in the hands of the few.

Under capitalism, social labor power has created

"more colossal productive forces than have all preceding generations together. Nevertheless, "modern bourgeois



..... 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. 4 "Not only has the

bourgeoisie forged the weapons that bring death to itself;

1. Ibid, 38 2. Ibid, 17 3. Ibid. 19 4. Ibid, 20

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