A Marxist Analysis of Ideology and Class Consciousness

I have argued that, under capitalism, the working class is the group which has not only the ability to make change, but the objective interest to do so. Why, then, does this class seem to go along with the status quo so often, or even embrace out-and-out reactionary ideas that are opposed to these objective interests? If the working class can change the world, why don’t they do it? Here, I want to go back through the theoretical underpinnings of this question with an eye towards answering two specific questions that are related to this broader one: 1) what are the effects of ideology on the working class, and 2) what is the relationship of Marxist theory and organization to these effects?

For Marxists, an understanding of ideology must begin with an understanding of consciousness and its relationship to the material world. Ideology is one aspect of consciousness, but is not identical to it. Marx and Engels’ first conceptions of consciousness developed in struggles against idealism on the one hand and mechanical materialism on the other. It is through these struggles that we come to understand ideology and its effects on consciousness. This requires an understanding of the philosophical core of Marxism: dialectical materialism.

At a very basic level, dialectical materialism (or diamat) is a way of understanding reality through the material world. As one might expect, it is the combination of dialectics and materialism. I will attempt to define and analyze each of these in turn.

Dialectics is a method of philosophical reasoning which aims to understand things as they exist concretely. It accounts for the movement and change of things, examining their contradictory sides in concert with one another.

There are three components of dialectics within Marxism. They are the law of the unity and conflict of opposites, the law of the passage of quantitative changes into qualitative changes, and the law of the negation of the negation [1].

The law of the unity and conflict of opposites, also called the law of the interpenetration of opposites, refers to the idea that there is no perfectly sharp division between opposite sides. There are borderline cases and contradictions between opposites [2]. In physics, for example, changes in either the electrical field or the magnetic field will cause the other to change [3].

The next law is concerned with quality and quantity. A quality is a property that cannot be measured in numbers and does not come in degrees, such as being at war or unemployed. A quantity is a property that can be measured in numbers, such as hourly wage or rate of profit. Change of quantity usually goes through intermediate stages, but change of quality can happen without going through an intermediate stage. The general principle is that if a quantitative change occurs long enough, a qualitative change will occur [4]. One example is the heating of water. The change in the temperature of water is quantitative, but the change from not-boiling to boiling is qualitative [5].

The last of these laws refers to Hegel’s idea that the thesis generates its negation in the antithesis. The synthesis is the resolution of the tension between the thesis and the antithesis [6]. These laws have their roots in Ancient Greek philosophical thought, as well as ancient Chinese and sub-Saharan African philosophies. There is unity of dialectical thought across all philosophy, not just the west [7]. It is also worth noting that Hegel himself never used these three terms, they were simply used to describe his ideas later [8].

Dialecticians oppose the formal mode of thought which operates with a fixed definition of things according to their attributes. Let’s take the example of fish. The formal understanding of fish would be something like “a fish is an animal which lives in water and has no legs.” A more essential understanding, however, is dialectical in nature. Some animals living in water are not fish, and some fish have legs. To explain the nature of a fish, we must take the whole interconnected process of what makes a fish. That is, we must understand that a fish came from something and is evolving into something else. Only when we consider these two forms (and their contradictions) can we understand what a fish really is [9].

Dialecticians seek to go beyond the appearance of something and understand its  essence. Within formal thought, there is little if any difference between the form of a thing and the essence of a thing. A fish appears as something with no legs which lives in water, so that must be what a fish is. However, dialecticians study the existence of contradictions between form and content. A good example of this would be parliamentary democracy in capitalist societies. In form it is a system which allows the masses of people to determine the structure of society, but in content it is a way for the capitalist class to  monopolize this process. Democracy in form, dictatorship in content [10].

Dialecticians understand that there can be contradictions in the essence of things as well. Formal thought dictates that light must be either a wave or a particle, but the truth is that light can be either or both. Light acts dialectically [11].

In other words, dialecticians see the truth as the whole picture. Each understanding or aspect of this picture is one-sided and incomplete. Dialecticians seek to understand things by synthesizing the different aspects and looking at their contradictions.

Now let’s look at materialism. Thankfully, this is a much simpler concept than dialectics. It is  a mode of thought which stands in opposition to the notion that an idea can determine the world. For Marx and Engels, thoughts were not passive, independent reflections of the material world. Thoughts were the product of human labor, and contradictions within them had their roots in the contradictions of human society [12]. This meant that dialectical materialism was not something that had been imposed from the outside. It could not be discovered merely by study or reason. It was a product of human labor changing the world; people changed and developed its form. It could only be understood by the struggle to overcome these contradictions, not merely in thought, but in practice. It sees the material world as primary [13]. Our ideas are in large part determined by the way in which goods and services are coordinated within society. Being, matter, and nature are the base forces of society. Thinking, mind, and spirit are secondary to and derived from these. This concept serves to counteract idealism, which states that historical events are brought into existence when people act on their ideas. This is a flawed perspective because it does not explain how or why the idea came to exist in the first place. Through an analysis of productive forces, materialism does answer these questions [14].

Since dialectical materialism is concerned with practice, Marx and Engels were very interested in applying the philosophy to historical and political reality. The result of this process is known as historical materialism. Engels gave the best summary of this approach to history in his speech at Marx’s graveside. As he put it, “Marx discovered the law of human history. The simple fact, hitherto concealed by an overgrowth of ideology, that mankind must first of all eat, drink, have shelter and clothing, before it can pursue politics, science, art, religion and so on. That therefore the production of the immediate material means of subsistence, and consequently the degree of economic development attained by a given people or during a given epoch, form the foundation upon which the state institution, the legal conception, art, and even the ideas on religion of the people concerned, have been evolved” [15]

This is the basis of what Marx and Engels Called the materialist conception of history, which later came to be called historical materialism. In order to survive, human beings must first meet their material needs. The way in which we go about meeting those needs profoundly shapes our society and the individuals in it. To take a contemporary example, the attitudes and beliefs of people who grow up in rural areas and engage in agricultural production are typically very different to those of the people who perform industrial labor in heavily populated urban areas [16].

In his speech, Engels calls the way production is organized and the level of economic development that a society has achieved the foundation on which other ideas and institutions rest [17]. Elsewhere, he and Marx sometimes call it the base that supports a legal, political, and cultural superstructure. In using this metaphor of base and superstructure, Marx and Engels are not proposing that influence only goes in one direction. Legal, political, and even religion ideas can affect the way production is organized, and vise versa. These two things are constantly interacting with and shaping one another, in a dialectical relationship [18].

Over the long run, however, it is the productive base of a society that has the most profound effect on how that society develops. One reason why this is true is because human societies are and have been divided into classes. Those who are at the top of society will obviously use their considerable resources and influence to shape ideas and institutions in ways that benefit them. That is why Marx and Engels say in The German Ideology that “the ruling ideas of each age have ever been the ideas of its ruling class” [19]. The power and wealth of the ruling class rests on their control of the economy. This is one important way in which the economic base and the material interests to which it gives rise determine the superstructure.

If the base in some way explains the superstructure, then we should expect fundamental changes in society as a whole to be due to changes in the base. Perhaps Marx’s most famous substantiation of this claim is contained in the preface to his 1859 book A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy. Here, he writes “in the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter into definite relations which are independent of their will. Namely, relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production. The totality of their relations of production constitute the economic structure of society, the real foundation on which arises a legal and political superstructure….It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness” [20].

Marx uses a lot of technical terms in this passage, but the two most important ones are the forces of production (productive forces) and the relations of production. The forces of production are all the elements needed to engage in the labor process. In other words, the things humans use to act upon and change the natural world in any particular historical period [21]. These things will obviously change depending on a variety of factors, but there are two components needed for any labor process. Human labor power and means of production.

Human labor power includes not just the efforts of individuals, but what Marx calls modes of cooperation. These are the ways in which individuals work together to produce something. The social relations of slavery entailed slaves working together with their own tools, whereas the modern factory sees a number of workers operating large machines, often in concert with one another. These are two fundamentally different modes of cooperation [22].

The labor process also requires means of production. Land, raw materials, and the technology created to use them. These are things like factories, farms, machinery, and offices. Essentially, means of production are anything one would need to do work [23].

The labor process by itself, however, does not tell us what kind of society we have. As Marx put in it Capital Volume One, “the taste of porridge does not tell us who brewed the oats, and the production process we have presented does not reveal the conditions under which it takes place, whether it is happening under the slave owner’s brutal lash or the anxious eye of the capitalist” [24].

This fact brings us to the relations of production. These have to do not with the inner workings of the labor process, but with who controls the labor process and its output. As we have already noted, human societies have been divided into antagonistic classes for the past several thousand years. The class structure of any given society might be quite complicated, but there are generally two central classes: those who produce for  not only for their own immediate needs but also produce a surplus, and those who control this surplus. In slave societies, slaves produced the surplus, which was then controlled by the slave owners. In feudal societies, peasants produced the surplus, which was controlled by lords. In capitalist societies, workers create surplus value, which is then controlled by capitalists [25].

It is these relations of production that define society. In the earliest human societies, there was little surplus produced. When there was a surplus, it was owned in common. These were primitive communist societies with no class differentiations. Since then, we have seen a variety of class societies emerge, including slave, feudal, and capitalist societies. Each one is distinguished by the specific way in which the rulers extract a surplus from the direct producers. The sum of all of a society’s relations of production constitutes what Marx calls its economic structure, or base. It is on this that the legal, political, and cultural superstructure rest [26].

There are two more things to say about the relations of production. First, in class societies, relations of production involve not just the specific relations of the ruling class to the producing class, but also the relationship of the members of the ruling class to each other. Members of the ruling class in one country want bigger market shares than members of the ruling class in another country, so their relationships are often antagonistic. However, different ruling classes may unite to combat a particular crisis or moment of intense class struggle. Fourteen capitalist nations were able to set aside their differences to invade the USSR and attempt to crush socialism, for example [27].

Second, there is an important relationship between the level of development of the forces of production and the specific relations of production that exist within a society. Marx says that the relations of production correspond to, or are appropriate to, specific stages in the development of the forces of production [28]. What this means at a minimum is that not every set of relations of production is compatible with a given level of development in the forces of production. Modern industrial production is not compatible with chattel slavery, except at the margins. This is because it requires a workforce with the high level of technical knowledge necessary to operate complex machinery. This would be impossible in a chattel slave society. There, slaves must be kept ignorant so that they do not revolt against their masters. This is why it was illegal for slaves to learn to read in the American South prior to the Civil War. This is also because a modern industrial workforce must be highly flexible, able to be shifted from one sector to another relatively quickly, or laid off when the economy slows down. This would not be possible if the ruling class owned the producers, because they could not be gotten rid of so easily.

Similarly, Marx argues that communism is impossible in a society in which the development of the forces of production is not high enough to produce relative abundance. Without a high level of abundance, scarcity cannot be abolished. The result would be, as Marx and Engels put it it in The German Ideology, that “want is merely made general, and with destitution, the struggle for necessities and all the old filthy business would necessarily be reproduced” [29]. This is one reason why the transition period of socialism is necessary. It is in this period that the abundance necessary for communism is reached.

The forces of production, therefore, put limits on what relations of production are possible. Yet this is not all. As we will see, the forces of production can significantly affect the ways in which the forces of production develop. These, too, interact with and alter one another dialectically.

At any given point, the combination of the forces of production and the relations of production in a society make up what Marx called the mode of production in that society [30].

What is the point of all this terminology? The distinctions Marx draws are crucial for understanding the process of historical change. That is, how one economic structure, one network of social relations governing material production shift to a different structure. Put another way, how can a dominant class, be it feudal lords or modern capitalists, ever be removed from power given the vast amount of resources at its disposal? The ruling class not only has society’s ruling ideas in its favor, it also has control of the state and the armed men that come along with that.

Marx addresses this question of basic change in the above-mentioned 1859 preface. He writes “at a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production. From forms of development of the productive forces, these relations turn into their fetters. The changes in the economic foundation lead sooner or later to the transformation of the whole immense superstructure” [31].

At a certain point, the development of the forces of production brings them into conflict with the existing relations of production. Relations that had previously been conducive to the development of the forces now hold them back. This results in a social crisis that weakens the power of the ruling class, and eventually results in its overthrow or transformation. This is how we went from slave society to capitalist society: the contradictions between the forces of production and the relations of production necessitated that this change take place.

According to this theory of historical materialism, the primitive communism of tribal societies represented the original thesis of human development. This in turn generated the antithesis of private ownership and class society (which came about through the development of productive forces). The synthesis of these ideas will be advanced communism, in which the workers own the means of production in an advanced industrial society. This can only emerge after various stages of development, such as slavery, feudalism, capitalism, and socialism [32].

Many people have interpreted this theory as being deterministic. They argue that, because developments in the forces of production are inevitable, communism must also be inevitable. At some point, the forces of production will develop to such a degree that socialism, and eventually communism, will come about naturally. There is no need, argue the determinists, to fight for socialism or communism, because history dictates that they will happen of their own accord.

But history is not an automatic process. Marx was well aware that there is no inevitability to human history. As he points out in the beginning of The Communist Manifesto, class struggle can culminate either in “a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes” [33]. Marx argued that the end of capitalism was inevitable, due to the development of the productive forces. But the end of capitalism is not the same as the beginning of socialism. If we do not actively struggle for socialism, capitalism will result in the destruction of the planet. It is, as Rosa Luxembourg put it, a question of “socialism or barbarism” [34].

Marx continually emphasized the role of class struggle in history. His most often-quoted line is again in The Communist Manifesto, in which he wrote “the history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggles” [35]. He did not believe that history could be reduced to impersonal economic forces. Rather it was the result of humanity acting, consciously or not, in the class interests dictated by its relationship to the means of production. In 1845, he wrote, “History does nothing. It possesses no immense wealth, wages no battles. It is man, real living man, who does all that, who possesses and fights. History is not, as it were, a person apart, using man as a means to achieve its own aims. History is nothing but the activities of man pursuing those aims” [36]. Marx never denies the importance of human agency.

It follows from this that neither socialism nor communism are inevitable. The end of capitalism is likely inevitable due to the system’s need to progress and develop its forces of production. However, advanced communism will not come about in its own. The working class must first break free from the institutions of repression that capitalist society has created in order to perpetuate itself. This necessitates a violent revolution, ending in the establishment of socialism and the dictatorship of the proletariat.  This is a sudden qualitative change, coming about after a quantitative change in the number of class-conscious proletarians. Notice that this is in keeping with the second law of dialectics, the passage of quantitative change into qualitative change.

Dialectal materialism has further implications for revolutionaries, beyond that which I have just mentioned. To explain what I mean by this, I would like to introduce a metaphor. Capitalism is seen as being similar to gravity, in the sense that it envelopes our world completely. It does this to such a degree that it is easy for us to forget about it entirely. One can go through an entire day without thinking about how gravity or capitalism operate, but both still hold sway over one’s life.

In fact, the two are seen as so important that attempts to distance oneself from them can result in serious injuries or death. No one would look at a staircase and think they could simply avoid the reality of descending that staircase. If one did believe this, they would in all likelihood break their neck.

By the same token, workers in capitalist societies do not believe that they can simply take home with them that which they produced. To do this would be to risk the threat of job loss or even incarceration.

A consequence of this metaphor, which is propagated nearly every day in all spheres of life, is that capitalism is seen as immutable and eternal. The power of capitalism to structure the social world, like gravity’s pull on everything around us, is so all-encompassing that many people never even become aware of it as a force with its own laws. Other than physicists, few could state Newton’s law of universal gravitation. Other than economists, few could articulate capitalism’s law of surplus value extraction. Capitalism, like gravity, is treated by the masses as simply something that happens, rather than something that can be escaped from or transcended.

Capitalism, of course, is unlike gravity in the sense that it can be transcended. Capitalism is a historically specific social structure, the product of thousands of years of prior human civilizations. It is a product of human activity that emerged out of thousands of years of historical development. Just like the fish, it came after something (feudalism) and comes before something else. With any luck, this will be Socialism.

The dialectical method is a crucial tool, not only for understanding history, but for revealing the passing and transitory nature of a social system that, most of the time, appears to be a fact: as real and unmovable as the floor at the bottom of the staircase. As I said above, dialects takes as its starting point that the world is in a constant state of change, of motion. It follows from this that capitalism is a product of human activity that arises out of the material world.

The idealists saw ideas, rather than the material world, as the driving force of society, and thus saw the “criticism of false and mystifying ideas as the chief tasks of radicals” [37]. Marx and Engels, by contrast, argued that consciousness arises from practical activity and is conditioned by that activity. They wrote, “[people], developing their material production…alter, along with this…their thinking and the products of their thinking. Life is not determined by consciousness but consciousness by life” [38]. Elsewhere, they maintained this view: “It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but…their social being that determines their consciousness” [39]. Engels put this succinctly in his speech at Marx’s graveside, saying, “mankind must first of all eat, drink, have shelter and clothing before it can pursue politics, art, religion…the production of the immediate material means…form the foundation upon which [ideology and consciousness] of the people concerned have been evolved, and in the light of which they must therefore be explained….” [40]. Yet this is not all. If one simply stops with these selections, we will come away with a one-sided view of what Marx is arguing. Marx did not see the material world as a separate, objective reality independent of human activity. Rather, he saw the world as being constituted by human activity. Even nature, which would seem the most solid and objective fact, is itself changed by human activity. Marx explained this in the context of an argument against those who advocated going “back to nature” as an escape from class struggle. He wrote that “the nature that has preceded human history today no longer exists anywhere…” [41]. Human activity changes nature, meaning that nature itself does not stand above human activity. The objective, material world does not exist independent of human activity. Indeed, the opposite is true. As Marx put it, “human activity is itself objective activity” [42]. In other words, the material world is a product of human creation. We confront facts, but these facts were historically constituted by human action.

This was essentially Marx and Engels’ criticism of the mechanical materialists. These theorists viewed the world in a static way, as a series of objective factors that existed outside of, but simultaneously dictated, that activity. Marx, on the other hand, grasped the unity of thought and being. Although these things “[were] indeed distinct, they [were] also in unity with each other” [43]. Marx viewed the material world in a dialectical sense. The world reacted upon humans, changing their conditions and modes of thought, but humans also acted upon and changed the world. In so doing, humans were able to alter “the products of their thinking,” as Marx put it above.

This is an incredibly important development in the history of revolutionary thought. Looking at the world today, with its hunger, poverty, inequality, and oppression, it is natural to feel helpless at times. But Marx shows us that these factors are historically contingent, created by humans engaging in activity. What we create, we can also tear down.

In light of this understanding of dialectical materialism (which opens up revolutionary action as a distinct possibility), we can come to understand ideology and consciousness. Consciousness, in dialectical thinking, is the “subjective link between objective processes” [44]. How is this subjective link determined, and how is it that this subjective link is often distorted, rather than a useful guide to action? Why is it that, as Marx says, “the outward appearance of things and their essence do not in fact coincide?” [45]. This gap between appearance and reality, in the realm of consciousness, is the context in which ideology assumes its importance.

A common refrain on the “broad left” is that we need to be attentive to people’s divergent lived experience, that those who live oppression know best how to organize around it. There is a significant sense in which this is true, and indeed obvious. It is the height of arrogance, of chauvinism, to assert that individuals (particularly oppressed individuals) do not have an accurate picture of themselves and their experiences regarding that oppression. The assertion that those who know most about oppression are those most fit to combat it is one that all revolutionaries should abide by. As Mao put it, “no investigation, no right to speak” [46].

But our lived experiences are not the end-all, be-all of life. Our consciousness often fails us. One might assume they are angry when they are really just afraid, for example. “False consciousness” is a phenomenon which we ignore at our own peril.

Additionally, individual lived experiences deviate strongly, and thus can never form a complete picture of a situation. If members of a particular social group report having similar lived experiences, then it would be reasonable to assume that these experiences are universal and “correct.” But this is not the end of the investigation; it is the beginning. Consciousness of the experience of oppression is an important part of political action, but more components need to be addressed. Where does this oppression come from and who does it serve? These are questions that cannot be fully answered by appealing to immediate lived experiences. Rather, they require rigorous social and theoretical investigation that takes lived experiences into account. Experiences are always mediated by the collective, social world. Conducting an investigation into a social issue without taking into account this collective world can only result in confusion and political failure.

In fact, trusting personal experiences without the weight of systemic investigation is a tactic used to uphold capitalism and oppression. The idea, for example, that a gay person has a correct analysis on all issues affecting the queer community, is a profoundly anti-revolutionary one. It shuts out any opinion that contradicts that which has been expressed by the particular gay person, and thus turns the queer community into a monolith. It actually contributes to the further marginalization of the oppressed, rather than their liberation.

Under capitalism, this means that pro-capitalist perspectives will always be privileged over and above anti-capitalist ones. Many queer perspectives (such as mine) hold that capitalism harms LGBT+ people, and should therefore be abolished. But absolute trust in personal experiences allows one to justify ignoring that perspective on the basis that some queer individuals (usually those in positions of power) believe that capitalism is beneficial to their community. Since these privileged perspectives are the ones that threaten the capitalist status quo the least, they are the ones likely to receive the most media coverage and public attention (this gets at the role of media in perpetuating ideology, which we will return to in some detail later). Since this is the case, the masses will be more likely to hear these opinions and treat them as incontrovertible facts. This means that radical queer perspectives will be ignored because they fail to conform to the “gay opinion. In this way, capitalism and oppression are strengthened rather than undermined. What we need is not a blanket accepting of personal experience, but a rigorous analysis that situates these experiences within a broader social context. We need to understand how these two components interact. What we need, in a word, is a dialectical materialist analysis.

How do we go from personal, immediate consciousness to a systemic consciousness? This question, Marxists argue, must be understood as a consequence of the division of society into dominating and dominated classes. Once society has been divided into classes, a growing division between mental and manual labor is introduced. For the first time, there are people who are able to concentrate their full efforts not on producing material goods, but on producing intellectual goods. This is where “ideology,” in the sense of a cache of ruling ideas and systems of thought, first arises.

In feudal society, these “Ideologues” were largely persists and other members of the clergy. Under capitalism, intellectual labor has been diversified. It is now carried out by the clergy, yes, but also economists, academics, think tanks, and media pundits. These intellectual laborers are, like manual workers, beholden to capital. Although they often have more autonomy and investment in this relationship, the fact remains that the ideas espoused by the “commentariat” will be those ideas that are least likely to offend their bosses and keep them employed. As such, these ideas will be ideas that work to uphold capitalism against the interests of labor. This is what Marx means when he says that “the ruling ideas are, in every epoch, are the ideas of the ruling class” [47].

These “ruling ideas” should not be understood mainly, or even primarily, as “propaganda” or ideas created for the specific purpose of “duping people” and upholding the supremacy of capital. Ideology arises out of definite social relations, the most fundamental way we organize our society to meet our basic needs. Ideology is not cooked up in the laboratory of capital (though it is often exacerbated by this), but is the product of real activity engaged with at the point of production. Objects, even ideological objects, are nothing but the result of human practice. Ideology arises out of the mode of production, but it does not do so unmediated. There is not a one-to-one relationship between ideology and mode of production. We cannot say, “because people live under capitalism, they all universally believe X,” in the same way that we cannot say “one gay person believes that capitalism is beneficial, so all gay people believe that capitalism is beneficial. The point is that mode of production is the first factor in determining the dominant ideology of a given society [48].

Ideology is an expression of the mode of production, but this does not mean that ideology is an accurate reflection of the mode of production. Rather, ideology is an inversion of the mode of production that helps to conceal its true character. Like many of his key concepts, Marx initially borrowed the idea from Hegel, then “turned it on its head” [49]. Hegel argued that there was a distinction between appearance and essence, form and content. He further argued that the outward appearance was the inverse, the direct opposite, of the essence that it was meant to conceal. As Hegel puts it “it is the world itself and its opposite in a single unity” [50]. For Hegel, this inversion arises out of the very process of objectified practice itself. When human beings create objects, when they produce things, their consciousness becomes split from that object. The object then appears as an alienated expression of human practice. As soon as we start to produce things that exist outside of us, there is a split between ideas and the object produced. For Hegel, this is a necessary consequence of the division between an object and abstract thought. Hegel implies that this inversion is inherent in the human condition of practice, and as such can never be overcome [51].

Marx approached inversion in a radically different way. For him, the fact that human beings produce objects independent from themselves is not inherently alienating. The process of object production only becomed alienating when the object, in addition to being literally independent from producer, is then forcibly taken from the producer and used to satisfy a need other than that of the producer. It is not production that is alienating, but a particular kind of production: the production of commodities [52].

Humans are not inherently unable to grasp the inner essence of a thing, to move beyond the appearance of that thing. Through conscious practice, we produce an objective power that is the conjunction of the relations of production (the manner in which we produce things) as well as the forces of production (our capacity to produce things). This objectification of our human activity is not in itself alienating. There is nothing unknowable about it, there is nothing that makes human beings unable to comprehend and consciously guide their practice. The alienation of human  practice arises out of the fact that people do not control its results, but are controlled by them. This is not inevitable, but the product of definite social relations and conditions [53].

For Hegel, inversion and alienation are the product of a necessary split between consciousness and objectified practice, and thus are overcome (if they are overcome at all) purely through consciousness rather than material practice. All we need to do, in Hegel’s conception, is to recognize that objects are nothing but the result of our practice. On the question of religion, for example, humans simply needed to understand that they had created the idea of gods, not the other way around. God was the inverted product of human consciousness. Hegel assumed that as soon as we realized this, religious ideas and superstitions would disappear [54].

For Marx, on the other hand, inverted consciousness is the product of an inverted material reality. Religion was not just the product of an inverted conscious (in simple terms “bad ideas), but the way in which consciousness helped to explain a twisted and distorted reality. Ideologies are not just “bad ideas” but ideas that explain bad things. One cannot simply abolish religion by getting people to see it as an illusion, because it arises to explain a truth. This truth is inverted, but it is true nonetheless. Marx, then, proposes the existence of a “double inversion” with two main components. These are the “inversion of consciousness” and the “inversion of objectified social practice.” It is the inversion of consciousness that gives rise to ideology, while the inversion of objectified social practice gives rise to alienation. They are two aspects of the same process, two sides of the same coin [55].

All of this becomes clear when we look at the concrete workings of capitalism. The essence of the capitalist mode of production is the expropriation of surplus value from labor, or exploitation. But this is achieved through a “sleight of hand.” Workers are paid a wage, which appears as a free and fair exchange on the market. There may be a negotiation of the conditions under which this exchange takes place, lending credence to the idea that this exchange is fair. The terms of the exchange may ultimately be seen as unfair, but the exchange itself appears as legitimate. In fact, this is not the case. Under capitalism, the exchange of labor power for a wage is based, in its essence, on theft. While it may appear that labor is being bought, the capitalist is actually purchasing Labor Power-the ability to work. The capitalist buys the worker’s ability to produce as much as possible within the given amount of time. This produces a value far in excess of what the worker is paid, or even what is needed to reproduce the worker’s conditions of life. The excess is appropriated as surplus value [56]. (see “What is Exploitation?”).

The dominant ideology is one that will explain and justify this appropriation. This is illuminated when we compare capitalist relations of production to feudal ones. Under feudalism, the labor of the producing class was split. Part of the day or year was spent producing the immediate needs of this class, while another part was spent producing goods that were then taken by the owning class (in this case the lords). It was obvious that the products of labor were being expropriated by a dominating class. Ideological forms emerged to make this seem like “common sense.” Religion and the Church came to dominate the feudal order. The Church preached obedience to one’s master and reward in the afterlife. The idea was that if you keep your head down and do as you are told, you will be rewarded with riches beyond your wildest dreams. This was meant to dissuade the producing class from struggle, since to struggle would mean jeopardizing their chances of entering heaven. The producers largely accepted this because they were beholden to the feudal lords (literally tied to the land) and thus felt that the lords were more intelligent than them [57].

Under capitalism, labor is still expropriated by a dominating class, but this process is concealed in the wages system. It appears to us as an objective, immutable function of market relations. Our very labor power is bought and sold via a “free market” governed by forces we are powerless to change. Like religion in the feudal era, free market ideology is meant to keep us from struggling against capital. Unlike the feudal epoch, however, ideology is also concealed. Workers do not struggle against capitalism proper not because they believe it will jeopardize their chances at some future reward, but because they believe it is impossible to do so. They see “the market” as something beyond human action, something that they could never hope to influence. As such, they see no point in attempting to abolish it [58].

Let us return to Marx’s “double inversion.” First, we have the inversion of material life, the dispossession of the laborer from the products of their labor and their labor power. Next, we have the inversion of appearances: the wage form that disguises this relationship and makes it appear as a fair exchange on the market. This inversion expresses itself in an inverted consciousness or ideology: “a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work” [59].

In order for the capitalist class to realize surplus value, the products of labor must be sold on the market for a profit. This is what makes the products of labor commodities, with labor itself being the most essential commodity. Thus, everything produced by the working class appears not as products of their own creation, but as things separate from workers that have a life of their own on the market. This is the process of reification and commodity fetishism discussed in “What is Alienation?” [60].

This is why the reigning champions of bourgeois ideology are things like “freedom,” “equality,” and “the centrality of the individual.” These ideas conceal fundamental contradictions at the heart of the relations of production. We are “free” to sell our labor power to any capitalist we choose, but we are not free to abstain from selling our labor power altogether. We have no choice but to go to work in order to survive. We are “formally equal” before the law in a way that was not true of peasants, but we are fundamentally unequal in the sense that our bosses have near-absolute power over us. We are “individuals” in the sense that we must fend for ourselves in order to survive, but we do not have the capacity to develop and express the full range of our personalities. The most important and pervasive elements of bourgeois ideology are built into the workings of the system, baked into our social relations [61].

Because we must continually reproduce our social relations, the ideology that justifies these social relations is also reproduced. This is what Marx describes as “reproductive practice” [62]. Through the labor process, workers sink deeper and deeper into false consciousness promoted by the capitalists. Ideology is not merely “ideas” but the material basis through which these ideas perpetuate themselves. Capital is compelled to reproduce itself by reproducing its opposite, labor. In order to ensure that capital’s opposite does not overtake capital, capital must ensure that the opposite is constantly made to feel as though it is impossible to do this. Reproduction of material wealth goes hand in hand with the reproduction of contradictory ideology.

This is where the idea of contradiction becomes important. It is not simply the case that the relationship between capital and labor exists at the heart of capitalist society as a whole. The important thing is that this relationship is contradictory. Labor and capital are not simply two halves of a whole, they are contradictory opposites that could not survive without conflict. They have antagonistic and irreconcilable interests. In a certain sense, however, they are dependent on one another. Capital is compelled to maintain itself, but it can only do so by further maintaining labor. This is its central struggle. For the working class, the inverse is true. It is compelled to abolish capital, and, by consequence, itself.

This antagonistic relationship gives rise to contradictory forms of consciousness and differing worldviews. The ruling ideas may be the ideas of the ruling class, but the ruling ideas are not (and cannot possibly be) the only ideas. They are contested. Thus, the dominant class has a very real interest in concealing the contradictions of capitalism. It is critical that the social relations within which we live are seen as natural, universal, and transhistorical. The history of how these relationships came to be must be obscured. The working class, however, has an interest in revealing the contradictions that are the genesis of its own inhuman conditions. The relationship between capital and labor is fundamentally antagonistic.

Bourgeois ideology, then, must be legitimized, justified, and reimposed. To do so successfully, it will necessarily avoid becoming monolithic. It will incorporate experiences of subordinate classes, and will attempt to create frameworks within which even oppositional movements will articulate their interests. For example, the capitalist class’ adoption of neoliberalism is not only a policy that serves their own interests, but also a framework in this vein. Movements can oppose neoliberalism rather than capitalism proper, thus allowing the bourgeoisie to adapt and continue its rule.

We will recognize these articulations as taking place in what Marx called the superstructure. Marx argued, as we have seen, that the economic foundation (the base), there arises a set of legal, political, and cultural institutions to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness (the superstructure). The superstructure is the arena in which contending forces (capital and labor) become conscious of their antagonisms and fight to resolve them. This often takes the form of competing political ideologies. For example, trade unionism and Keynesianism versus laissez-faire capitalism. Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci spoke of the superstructure as establishing the “terrain” on which people wage their initial struggles [63].

The rise of superstructures-and the component ideologies-is a historical process that goes through different stages. When a class is “rising” (when it is in a position to resolve the contradictions of society in its favor), it has a material interest in laying bare these contradictions and gaining a total understanding of them. Bourgeois economists, in their rising phase, “discovered” the idea that labor creates all wealth so that they could better discipline labor, though this is just one example [64].

A ruling class that is consolidating its hold, rather than on gaining a hold in the first place, has an interest in maintaining the existing social relations, and will therefore attempt to conceal contradictions. It can necessarily obtain only a partial view of the society it controls, because to have a full view of the society would be to reveal the necessity of its own destruction.

At this point, theory and ideas degenerate into attempts to transform specific, superficial aspects of society into general laws. This is reflected, for example, in the forms of social science under capitalism. We are presented with a series of separate, self-contained disciplines, such as politics and sociology. Each of these treats aspects of society as independent of one another rather than intimately connected. This is an ideological formation because the very way in which it is structured prevents us from understanding the whole of existing society. Ideology sanctifies the status quo [65].

Capitalism uniquely structures the way in which ideas are produced and put forward. Under capitalism, the market reigns supreme, even in the realm of ideas. There is a “marketplace of ideas” that tends towards a proliferation of different, if only slightly varied, ideas. Rather than the totalizing, hegemonic workings of the clergy present in feudalism, many ideas are “allowed” to contend. The very fact that there are so many of them helps to conceal the contradictions of class domination. We assume that because so many ideas are given airtime, no one can be oppressed. In actuality, however, all of these ideas perpetuate the rule of capital in some form or another [66].

If human beings create and recreate their own alienated conditions, and thus reproduce the ideological justification for these conditions, how is it possible to change these conditions? It would seem that we are doomed to be hemmed in by ideology. If ideology is built into the very ways in which we reproduce ourselves as people, how do we escape? We understand how consciousness arises, now we must contend with another problem: how does consciousness change?

For Marxists, the process of change is not an intellectual exercise, but a guide to action. Our conception of change is fundamentally linked to our end goal: revolution and the fundamental reordering of society. With this in mind, I would like to spend some time going over common non-Marxist ideas about change are and explaining why they are insufficient. There are three very common ideas about change that most of us will hold at one point or another in our political development. I am going to take each of these ideas in turn.

The very worst idea, the one that is least conducive to liberation, is that people do not change at all. This idea sees human beings as fundamentally static, unalterable, preprogrammed into certain modes of behavior. Its conclusions are profoundly cynical, and is often used to legitimate the worst forms of oppression, exploitation, and bigotry. If people are fundamentally unalterable, change in societal structures is out of the question entirely. Given this, it scarcely needs proof that we ought to abandon this idea. If oppression (or even oppressive behavior) is a given fact, why bother struggling against it all?

The second idea is very much the opposite of the one I just laid out. It proposes that we are all “sheep,” blindly following whatever lies the media feeds us. In this conception, we are blank slates, ready to do or buy anything the television tells us to. Of course, we are profoundly influenced by television, advertising, and the like. That is the point of these institutions! We must soberly assess the influence of these things if we wish to succeed. However, we must reject the idea that working class people are not capable of complex thought. This argument, as the explanation for why a certain group is not more progressive, is used to dehumanize the poor, exploited, and oppressed, and in this sense lets the capitalist class off the hook. It proposes that oppressed people are responsible for their own oppression, that it is their fault for not fighting against it sooner. But this ignores that the working class and the oppressed will always struggle. The question is not whether they will struggle, but how far that struggle will go.

The third idea is that ideas change through the gradual accumulation of better ideas. On this view, injustice is the result of ignorance or lack of knowledge about the rest of the world and the people in it. There is an element of truth to this concept. If one is never given the opportunity to learn about other cultures, this will impact one’s understanding of the world. This does not mean, however, that people’s lives would improve if they simply had “better ideas” or were “more educated.” According to this framework, the primary role of those interested in changing the world is to educate the masses, rather than organize them. This implies that those responsible for oppression are not in this position willfully, but because they have “bad ideas.” It asserts that we can convince the capitalist class and the oppressors to give up their positions of power and privilege. In order to be a capitalist, one must understand not only how to manage capital and read the market, but also how to wage war and make political deals. One does not get to run the world by being stupid. They know exactly what they are doing. The oppressors are not ignorant. Rather, they are interested in maintaining their own authority. The danger of this conception of change is that it blames individuals for their condition, not the system as a whole. If we are focused on individuals, we will never be rid of oppression. The capitalist class is like a hydra: cut off one head and two more grow in its place. What we need to do is not disempower or win over individual capitalists, but create a world in which the existence of capitalists is impossible.

If these explanations for how ideas or consciousness changes do not hold up, then what does? I would argue that dialectical materialism is the answer to this problem. In the above paragraphs, I attempted to explain why this is the case. We are shaped by our environment, but we are capable of shaping our environment as well. As Hericletus put it, “strife is the father of all things” [67]. Contradiction, the struggle between two competing things, is the natural order, not the opposite. In light of this, we should interpret ideology as a thing constantly in flux, adapting and shifting. Not only this. We should see ideology for what it really is: something that can be overcome. There is nothing that cannot be transformed into something new. The old axiom holds true: the only constant is change.

The human capacity for changing the world, Marx argues, is what separates humans from other animals. He writes, “the species-nature of animal is an eternal repetition. That of humans is transformation, development, and change” [68]. Our ability to consciously interact with and transform the world through labor, is what makes us human. Marx further argued that “humans make their own history, but they do not make it…under circumstances of their own choosing.” Rather, these circumstances are “directly…transmitted from the past” [69]. History is the activity of real people interacting with and struggling against one another. Put simply, change is the product of struggle within and against a contradiction.

Ideas, then are not static, nor will they slowly evolve into better ones. Ideas do not evolve, they explode. They tend to change quite dramatically and suddenly, passing over from quantitative to qualitative. This occurs on both a collective and individual scale. Change is the product of contradiction. There are a number of contradictions inherent to capitalism that make change likely, and in some sense inevitable.

The major contradiction is that capitalism creates the conditions of exploitation and oppression (it cannot survive without either of these things), but these conditions produce resistance. It creates a class of people-the working class-that is not only interested in overcoming these conditions, but materially positioned to do so. Capitalism produces the potential for its own demise. To ask why the working class is not struggling for socialism is to miss the point. The struggle for socialism is a both a product of and the negation of capitalism. Revolution is an actuality, a determinate and distinct possibility.

How does the working class become aware of this possibility? In simple terms, they do so through struggle. The ruling ideas of society, no matter how powerful, come into contradiction with the lived experience of the working class. Gramsci put it this way: “worker resistance signifies that the social group in question may indeed have its own conception of the world, even if only embryonic, a conception which manifests itself in action” [70]. It is only when struggle erupts that workers can understand the true nature of society and their place within it. It is only in activity that workers glimpse their real potential as a class, and come to understand what their interests are. It is in this process of struggle that workers come to understand their power and ability as well as their objective interests. They break free of the narrow vantage point that sees oppression and exploitation as individual issues rather than systemic ones. When the working class understands itself, it, in an admittedly somewhat limited sense, understands society as a whole. When what we are told comes into contradiction with what we experience, we are driven to struggle. The core of this is that people learn by doing. We learn about the world through a process of interacting with and being changed by it. It is in this learning that workers can overcome ideology.

A concrete example of this overcoming can be found in the Russian Revolution. The eight months in Russia between February and October consist in some of the most hurried and monumental political development the world has ever seen. Here, I want to examine how and why the workers went from handing power to the capitalists in February to seizing it for themselves by October. How is it that they went from creating dual power to insisting on sole power? This step requires a huge shift in consciousness, and I believe it has a number of lessons for how we ought to approach these questions today.

There are a few major periods that we ought to delineate between in order to learn these lessons, some of which lasted only a few weeks. The major period was an initial feeling of euphoria among workers and peasants, characterized by national unity, in February and March. This gave way to clear, opposing interests-antagonisms-in April. These antagonisms would sharpen into a premature attempt by some workers to take power in July, which lead to a time of reaction in which the bourgeoisie was capable of regaining control. That was followed by an overstep in August in which the capitalists attempted to institute a military dictatorship. Finally, of course, we have the October revolution itself, in which the working class realized it had no choice but to take complete control of the country. For the sake of space, I will largely focus on developments in Petrograd, which are in general reflective of the general mood of the country.

Amazing abilities in terms of working class consciousness flourished in February and April. Glimpses of the conflicts that would explode over the course of the year were visible in the first weeks of the revolution. Before getting into that, though, it is necessary to answer a burning question: why were two revolutions necessary in 1917? Why didn’t the workers jump straight ahead to running society after overthrowing the tsar?

Recall that after the fall of the tsar, two forms of government sprung up: the provisional government for the capitalists and the elected soviets for the workers. The soviets were stronger, and after the fall of the tsar, could have taken control of the country. It chose instead to willingly hand over power to the bourgeoisie. There are two major reasons for this.

The first is that no socialist organization in Russia called for soviet rule at the time. The main parties in the leadership positions of the soviets, the Mensheviks and the Social-Revolutionaries, both believed that the next step in struggle was establishing liberal capitalism. They thought the soviet was necessary, but only as a kind of “check” to prevent the return to tsarism [71]. Even the Bolsheviks were divided on this question with up to four different positions. It would take several weeks, and Lenin’s return to Russia, before the Party would reach a consistent line. This was due in no small part to the publication of Lenin’s “April Theses” [72].

The second reason, and the most important for our purposes here, is that the workers themselves were not ready. They were caught up in a mood of national unity, a desire to return to normalcy after years of war. They faced fear of a return to tsarism or of civil war, and were underconfident in their own abilities. It is also important to note that the workers were generally making gains without a worker’s state. The secret police had been abolished, and trade unions had been legalized. Left political parties were allowed to operate aboveground. For many workers, taking on the burden of ruling seemed superfluous, unnecessary [73].

This does not mean that working class militancy was absent from the landscape. Workers struck over everything in this period. The eight-hour day, overtime pay, and maternity leave for women were all sites of struggle. In some cases, striking workers dumped hated bosses into canals from wheelbarrows. This shows that, even in a situation vastly improved from their previous one, workers will be driven to struggle by the very conditions of the economic system. In March, 95% of strikes lead to advancement [74]. Workers won nearly every time they made demands. These victories, though not yet revolutionary, helped to develop the consciousness and ability of the working class.

This can be seen in the way that the workers resisted the attempts of the bourgeoisie to drive a wedge between their class and the soldiers. In response to the lie that the “greedy strikes” of the workers were endangering the war effort, workers at one factory sent a letter to the soldiers which read, “to our enemies, who are attempting to divide us, we loudly declare: no, stand back, for you are enslavers…living off our labor” [75]. The bosses’ press campaign backfired, binding workers and soldiers more closely together. Some soldiers, although they were practically starving, sent money to the families of workers who had died in the revolution. Despite the tremendous power of the bosses (who controlled the majority of the newspapers) workers were able to form alliances with their ostensible enemies, the soldiers. Although ideology is often a stupefying force, it is not insurmountable. Workers will learn the falseness of the bourgeoisie’s ideas through struggle. They are not timid, but resolute and willing.

Not only did the workers have to wage ideological struggle with their own bourgeoisie, they also came into conflict with the early leaders of their soviets over a number of issues. One of these was the so-called “liberty loan,” proposed by the Provisional Government in April as a means to help fund the war effort. The soviet leadership was for it, even though individual factory committees-and the Bolsheviks-were against it. On April 7, the Soviet Executive Committee voted 21 to 14 to endorse the loan. On April 10, the workers retaliated. One engineering department resolved, by a vote of over 400 to 7, drafted a declaration which read, in part, “this fratricidal war…is a benefit only to the imperialist bourgeoisie, we do not consider it the interest of the socialist proletariat to take part in this loan. [T]he money should be taken from the pockets of the bourgeoisie that has instigated and continued this slaughter, making millions in profit….We consider [acceptance of the loan] to the cause of the proletariat a betrayal….” This issue lead to the first recall of soviet delegates, with Bolsheviks generally being elected in their place [76].

As a result of all this activity, some workers began to recognize the need to take over some elements of management. During this period, the workers were making gains at the same time that they were accruing a kind of “struggle debt.” The settlements worker’s made with the bosses could not solve the fundamental contradictions of an anarchic, war-torn capitalist economy. They could only postpone further reckoning. The gains made were outstripping the economy’s ability to deliver. Workers, through the very process of winning reforms, came to understand that capitalist ideology was wrong: capitalism could not create a society in which the working class and the oppressed were truly free [77].

In the April days, a secret note was published by the Provisional Foreign Minister Miliukov, swearing to Russia’s allies that the country would be in the war “until the last drop of blood” [78]. Petrograd exploded in a series of political strikes that called for an end to the war and attacked the soviets for not taking more concrete steps towards this goal. Bolsheviks used this opening to push workers further, towards revolution. We see here that worker’s struggles lead to a rudimentary form of political consciousness, rather than simply more and more ambitious economic demands. Workers begin to overcome bourgeois ideology in the process of their own struggles.

During the course of May and June, Petrograd workers became increasingly fed up with the Provisional Government, moving far ahead of the rest of the country, which still accepted dual power. In early July, discontent began to boil over. More and more workers became angry, leading to greater revolutionary zeal. Dialectically speaking, a quantitative change gave way to a qualitative one. A layer of workers set their sights on toppling the provisional government, despite their battles being confined to the factory floor a few short months prior. This lead to massive repression, and Lenin was forced into hiding [79].

By May, inflation had eaten away at all the gains made by the workers previously. Food shortages abounded, while rations were cut. In some instances, factory owners attempted to move machinery out of the cities on barges. Far from leading to deteriorated class consciousness, this further galvanized workers and pushed them towards the seizure of power. Having learned through struggle that victory in the realm of reforms was possible, workers were ready to defend them with their lives. They physically blocked machine removal and struck to protect their gains, the eight-hour day chief among them. The length of strikes doubled between March and May [80]. While it might seem that ideology is a mountain that cannot be climbed, workers will continue to struggle even in periods of defeat. This struggle is a matter of survival. It is the working class’ need to struggle against the bosses that allows them to break through ideology.

Soon, many workers began to realize that a system requiring owners would always leave their class at a disadvantage. In early June, a delegate from a power company said, “for us workers, it is clear that the bourgeoisie is waging a counter-revolution against democracy…the immediate establishment of worker’s control [can alone put an end to] the counter-revolutionary ideas of the capitalists” [81]. Another statement from an infantry reserve regiment read, in part, “we demand that the soviets seize all power…we will never allow anyone to destroy [our revolution]” [82]

 

By August, most workers were completely fed up with the bourgeoisie. In Moscow, the Provisional Government discovered that waiters would not serve them in restaurants, cabbies would not drive them to their meetings, and hotel workers refused to clean their rooms. This was in spite of the moderate leadership of the Moscow soviet telling workers want to strike. In many cases, the experience of struggle leads workers to run ahead of the traditional leadership [83]. Would this be the case if ideology were the death blow many claim it to be?

Despite this tremendous leap in class consciousness (which again puts the lie to the idea that ideology is impenetrable), many workers still believed that factory owners were necessary. They simply wanted to maintain control commissions that would oversee every aspect of their work. Although the advanced workers understood that their class could rule, the majority was still inundated with the bourgeois idea that they could not do so.

We see here that, although workers are able to overcome certain aspects of ideology on their own, class consciousness will always remain uneven. The advanced workers must organize into a vanguard party and lead the majority towards revolution. This can be seen by the fact that the workers were transformed into a fighting force by following Bolshevik orders. The Bolsheviks helped form a defense committee, which expanded the workers militias, procured weapons, and taught thousands of workers how to shoot. The factories increased production to arm these budding revolutionaries, producing as much in three days as usually took three weeks [80]. With the intervention of the Bolsheviks, workers came to understand that a new society was not only necessary, but possible.

The role of organization cannot be overstated. My aim here has not been to convince you that workers are already revolutionary, but that they are worth being made revolutionary. We ought not despair at the prominence of ideology. The experience of the Russian Revolution shows that workers will always struggle and seek to overcome ideology. The working class did not immediately reach revolutionary consciousness. It required months of agitation on the part of the advanced workers, represented by the Bolshevik Party.

The fact remains, though, that working class struggle is inevitable. This raw material, revolutionary in aims, must be molded into a disciplined force capable of winning a revolution rather than just wishing for one. The answer to the question “why haven’t workers made revolution?” is not just “ideology,” but “organization.” Workers have yet to make revolution not because they think it impossible, but because, on some level, socialists do. The power of the working class must be refined and awakened in struggle. If we want to make a revolution, we must organize workers for this purpose.

The point, ultimately, is this: people’s ideas are not fixed. People can and do move from accepting the status quo to turning it on its head, but this process is one of long, protracted struggle. It is neither mechanical nor determined. It requires politics, discipline, and organization.

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  28. Ibid.
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  32. Ibid.
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  52. Ibid.
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  54. Ibid.
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  66. Ibid.
  67. G. S. Kirk (2010), Heraclitus: The Cosmic Fragments, Cambridge University Press.
  68. Quoted in Western, David, Rosemary Groom, and Jeffrey Worden. “The impact of subdivision and sedentarization of pastoral lands on wildlife in an African savanna ecosystem.” Biological Conservation 142.11 (2009): 2538-2546.
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  70. Quoted in Amoore, Louise. The global resistance reader. Psychology Press, 2005.
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  72. Frankel, Jonathan. “Lenin’s Doctrinal Revolution of April 1917.” Journal of Contemporary History 4.2 (1969): 117-142.
  73. Nabokov, Vladimir. The Provisional Government. John Wiley & Sons, 1970.
  74. Ascher, Abraham. The revolution of 1905: Russia in disarray. Vol. 1. Stanford University Press, 1994.
  75. Steinberg, Mark D. Voices of revolution, 1917. Yale University Press, 2001. p. 92
  76. Chamberlin, William Henry. The Russian Revolution, Volume I: 1917-1918: From the Overthrow of the Tsar to the Assumption of Power by the Bolsheviks. Vol. 1. Princeton University Press, 2014.
  77. Ibid.
  78. Lincoln, W. Bruce. Red Victory: A History of the Russian Civil War, 1918-1921. Da Capo Press, 1999.
  79. Rabinowitch, Alexander. Prelude to revolution: The Petrograd Bolsheviks and the July 1917 uprising. Vol. 661. Indiana University Press, 1991.
  80. Chamberlin, Op. Cit.
  81. Rabinowitch, Alexander. The Bolsheviks come to power: The revolution of 1917 in Petrograd. Pluto Press, 2004.
  82. Chamberlin, Op. Cit.
  83. Ibid.