Weekly Discussion and Review Questions

 Chapter 4 Communal, Radical and Marxian Socialism 

Questions of the Documents: 

What does Rousseau argue is both the cause of civil society and its evils? Why?

As has been frequently noted, Rousseau asks the right questions, but fails to come up with many good answers. What solution does Babeuf propose to cure all of the evils of society based upon property? Why is he so convinced that his cure will "sweep away iron bars, dungeon walls" etc.?

What was the new idea implemented at New Lanarck?

According to Robert Owen, what is the principle cause of the ills suffered by workers? How does he propose to remedy them?

How does Fourier intend to make work more enjoyable? Why does this have to be done in a Commune like the Phalanstery

Owen, Fourier and the people of the Oneida Community proceeded with certain assumptions about human nature. What are these assumptions? Specifically, why did they HAVE to have such assumptions in order to propose their solutions.

Some have called Owens and the leaders of the Oneida Community "brain-washers." Would you agree? What were the goals of both groups?

What does Proudhon mean by "occupancy," and why does he consider this idea better than "property?" Would you agree?

What evidence does Engels produce to prove the existence of "class warfare," and what is the chief weapon in this war?

What does Blanc mean by "social workshop" and why is it up to the state to create these?

How does Blanc answer Samuel Smiles prescription of self-improvement through education?

According to Marx's letter to Annenkov, how are all social and political relations defined?

How does the Communist Manifesto define the bourgeoisie, and how do they differ from the "middle-class," or from "burghers?"

List some of the remarkable accomplishments which the Communist Manifesto attributes to the Bourgeoisie.

What crises face the bourgeoisie? Why is the bourgeoisie incapable of solving them?

List several of the ways in which, according to the Manifesto, the bourgeosie are destroying themselves and their society.

According to the Manifesto, what are proletarians, and how are they created? How is their "consciousness" formed?

Marx and Engels argue that the most revolutionary event is the "organization of the proletarians into a class." What is "class" and what makes one class more revolutionary than another?

What do Marx and Engels mean by the term "revolution?" Do they think it must include violence?

In Das Kapital, what is Marx's understanding of "surplus value," and "industrial reserve army?" Why are these terms essential to "capital accumulation?"


Chapter Summary Questions:



Terms to Know

Human Nature
Associative Labor
Oneida Community
"Criticism, praise and change"
Right of Occupancy
Bourgeoisie (noun) bourgeois (adj)
Proletariat (noun) proletarian (adj)
Class Warfare
Dialectical Materialism
"Cash Nexus"
"Wage Laborers"
"Labor Theory of Value"
"Surplus Value"

Some Key Dates for Socialism


Robert Owens, New Lanark (1799-1825); New Harmony Indiana (1825-1827)

John Humphry Noyes, Oneida Community (1848-1881)

Brook Farm, West Roxbury (1841-1847); Fruitlands Commune, Harvard Massachusetts (1850-1852) 

Karl Marx: Communist Manifesto (1848); Das Kapital (vol. I, 1867, vols. 2 & 3 published posthumously); foundation of First International in 1864.


To see any of the following charts, which were used in my lecture this week, click on the appropriate designation:

Hegel's Dialectic

  Marx's Dialectical Materialism

Marx Theory of Capitalism Part I

Marx Theory of Capitalism Part II

Marx Theory of Capitalism Part III


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