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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 the economic doctrines of Karl Marx, Therefore, we must understand clearly the economic interpretation of history and the theory of value enunciated by Marx. Otherwise, we cannot understand how the tide is setting in the labor movement today, - å tide which, in spite of cross-currents and a powerful undertow, is destined, or so its more aggressive leaders believe, to beat upon the seemingly eternal cliffs of capitalism 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 Comunist 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, accompanied by a corresponding shifting of social and political


Modern bourgeois, or capitalistic, society, which

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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 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 society..... that has conjured up such gigantic means of productiod 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

Ibid, 19 Ibia, 20

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