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it has also called into existence the class that is to wield
1 those weapons - the modern working-class.
Laborers are a commodity exposed to competition.
use of machinery and the division of labor have converted them
As the workmen are concentrated in greater masses, they
feel their strength more, and as the various interests and con
ditions 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
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, be
cause pauperism is developing more rapidly than population and
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
The proletarians have nothing to lose but
Working men of
their chains. They have a world to win.
1 all countries, uni to'"
Thus Marx taught that all history has been a ser
ies 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 strug
gle, 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
2 "crystallized social labor. "The relative values of com
modities are, therefore, determined by the respective quan
tities or amounts of labor, worked up, realized, fixed in
them. The correlative quantities of commodities which can
3 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 con
ditions of production, with a given social average intensity
1. Ibid, 62.
and average skill of the labor employed.'
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 fruction
of the value created.
In other words, labor produces a sur
plus 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
4 power, i. e., the workman is paid a subsistence wage for
the physical element, that is to say, to maintain and repro
duce itself, to perpetuate its physical existence, the work
ing class must receive the necessaries absolutely indispens
,,5 able for living and multiplying. The social element, the
standard of life, may be depressed to the mere physical min
"The general tendency of capitalistic production is
.......to sink the average standard of wages. ...more or
1. Ibid. 62 E. Ibid, 63. 3. Ibid, 112. 4. Ibid, 76. 5. Ibid, 116. 6. Ibid, 125.