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it has also called into existence the class that is to wield those weapons - the modern working-class...."
Laborers are a commodity exposed to competition. The use of machinery and the division of labor have converted them into appendages to machines. The workshop has become a depotically organized factory. More and more the labor of men is superseded by that of women and children. The small capitalist sinks gradually into the proletariat.
As the workmen are concentrated in greater masses, they feel their strength more, and as the various interests and conditions of life are equalized by machinery to the same low level, the struggle takes on the nature of a class-struggle. Thereupon workers begin to form unions in order to keep up the rate of wages. Modern means of communication facilitate the ever-expanding union of workers, who must organize into a class and consequently into a political party.
The proletariat alone, say Marx and Engels, is a really revolutionary class. It has no property of its own to fortify; its mission is to destroy individual property and thereby abol
Capitalists are unfit any longer to rule society, because pauperism is developing more rapidly than population and wealth. Just as the involuntary association of large masses of wage-laborers for production leads to combination into unions, so the victory of the proletariat over capitalists is equally inevitable.
1. Ibid, 21.
"Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution, the proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Working men of all countries, unite'"
Thus Marx taught that all history has been a series of class struggles, brought on by economic evolution, and that it is the historic mission of the working-class to abolish classes forever by the overthrow of capitalism.
Besides teaching this doctrine of the class struggle, Marx has powerfully stimulated class-consciousness among working-men by his theory of value. What is the value of a commodity? Marx says that commodities represent "crystallized social labor."" "The relative values of com
modities are, therefore, determined by the respective quantities or amounts of labor, worked up, realized, fixed in them. The correlative quantities of commodities which can be produced in the same time of labor are equal."
"I used the word 'social labor," " says Marx, "and many points are involved in this qualification of 'social'. In saying that the value of a commodity is determined by the quantity of labor worked up or crystallized in it, we mean the quantity of labor necessary for its production in a given state of society, under certain social average conditions of production, with a given social average intensity
1. Ibid, 62. 2. Karl Marx, Value, Price, and Profit, 56. 3. Ibid, 57.
and average skill of the labor employed."1 Normal exchange value is regulated by the "quantity of socially necessary labor realized in commodities.""
Marx not only has a labor theory of value, but also a theory of "surplus value". Although labor creates all value, the wages paid represent, according to Marx, only a fraction of the value created. In other words, labor produces a surplus for which it is not paid. "On the basis of the present system,” says Marx, "labor is only a commodity like others." Wages are "determined by the value of the necessaries required to produce, develop, maintain, and perpetuate the laboring power,"4 i. e., the workman is paid a subsistence wage for himself and his family. "The value of the laboring power is formed by two elements - the one merely physical, the other historical or social. Its ultimate limit is determined by the physical element, that is to say, to maintain and reproduce itself, to perpetuate its physical existence, the working class must receive the necessaries absolutely indispensable for living and multiplying." The social element, the standard of life, may be depressed to the mere physical minimum. "The general tendency of capitalistic production is .........to sink the average standard of wages.... more or less to its minimum limit."
The laborer produces more than an equivalent for his
daily maintenance, - produces a "surplus value" for which he
1. Ibid, 62 E. Ibid, 63. 3. Ibid, 112. 4. Ibid, 76. 5. Ibid, 116. 6. Ibid, 125.