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In Marxism, class consciousness is the set of beliefs that a person holds regarding their social class or economic rank in society, the structure of their class, and their class interests.   According to Karl Marx, it is an awareness that is key to sparking a revolution that would "create a dictatorship of the proletariat, transforming it from a wage-earning, property-less mass into the ruling class". 
Early in the 19th century, the labels "working classes" and "middle classes" were already coming into common usage: "The old hereditary aristocracy, reinforced by the new gentry who owed their success to commerce, industry, and the professions, evolved into an "upper class". Its consciousness was formed in part by public schools (in the British sense where it refers to a form of private school) and Universities. The upper class tenaciously maintained control over the political system, depriving not only the working classes but the middle classes of a voice in the political process".  
While German theorist Karl Marx rarely used the term "class consciousness", he did make the distinction between "class in itself", which is defined as a category of people having a common relation to the means of production; and a "class for itself", which is defined as a stratum organized in active pursuit of its own interests.  
Defining a person's social class can be a determinant for their awareness of it. Marxists define classes on the basis of their relation to the means of production, especially on whether they own capital. Non-Marxist social scientists distinguish various social strata on the basis of income, occupation, or status.  
Whereas Marx believed that the proletariat achieved class consciousness as a result of experiences of exploitation, later orthodox Marxism, in particular Vladimir Lenin, believed that the working class by itself could only achieve "trade union consciousness" and thus needed a vanguard party of intellectuals outside the class to bring class consciousness to it. 
In order to achieve a unity of theory and praxis, theory must not only tend toward reality in an attempt to change it; reality must also tend towards theory. Otherwise, the historical process leads a life of its own, while theorists make their own little theories, desperately waiting for some kind of possible influence over the historical process. Henceforth, reality itself must tend toward the theory, making it the "expression of the revolutionary process itself". In turn, a theory which has as its goal helping the proletariat achieve class consciousness must first be an "objective theory of class consciousness". However, theory in itself is insufficient, and ultimately relies on the struggle of humankind and of the proletariat for consciousness: the "objective theory of class consciousness is only the theory of its objective possibility".  
Austrian School economist Ludwig von Mises argued that "Marx confus[ed] the notions of caste and class". Mises allowed that class consciousness and the associated class struggle were valid concepts in some circumstances where rigid social castes exist, e.g. when slavery is legal and slaves thus share a common motive for ending their disadvantaged status relative to other castes, but that class is an arbitrary distinction in capitalism where there is equality before the law.  Von Mises' follower Murray Rothbard argued that Marx's efforts to portray the workers and capitalists as two monolithic groups was false as workers and capitalists would routinely compete within themselves, such as capitalist entrepreneurs competing amongst themselves or native workers competing with immigrant workers. Rothbard argued that if there is constant conflict between different members of the same class, then it is absurd to argue that these members have objective interests with one another against another class. 
Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, journalist, critic of political economy, and socialist revolutionary. His best-known titles are the 1848 pamphlet The Communist Manifesto and the four-volume Das Kapital (1867–1883). Marx's political and philosophical thought had enormous influence on subsequent intellectual, economic, and political history. His name has been used as an adjective, a noun, and a school of social theory.
Karl Marx's theory of alienation describes the estrangement of people from aspects of their human nature as a consequence of the division of labor and living in a society of stratified social classes. The alienation from the self is a consequence of being a mechanistic part of a social class, the condition of which estranges a person from their humanity.
Marxism is a left-wing to far-left method of socioeconomic analysis that uses a materialist interpretation of historical development, better known as historical materialism, to understand class relations and social conflict and a dialectical perspective to view social transformation. It originates from the works of 19th-century German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. As Marxism has developed over time into various branches and schools of thought, no single, definitive Marxist theory exists.
Reserve army of labour is a concept in Karl Marx's critique of political economy. It refers to the unemployed and underemployed in capitalist society. It is synonymous with "industrial reserve army" or "relative surplus population", except that the unemployed can be defined as those actually looking for work and that the relative surplus population also includes people unable to work. The use of the word "army" refers to the workers being conscripted and regimented in the workplace in a hierarchy under the command or authority of the owners of capital.
Criticism of Marxism has come from various political ideologies and academic disciplines. This includes general intellectual criticism about dogmatism, a lack of internal consistency, criticism related to materialism, arguments that Marxism is a type of historical determinism or that it necessitates a suppression of individual rights, issues with the implementation of communism and economic issues such as the distortion or absence of price signals and reduced incentives. In addition, empirical and epistemological problems are frequently identified.
Marxian class theory asserts that an individual's position within a class hierarchy is determined by their role in the production process, and argues that political and ideological consciousness is determined by class position. A class is those who share common economic interests, are conscious of those interests, and engage in collective action which advances those interests. Within Marxian class theory, the structure of the production process forms the basis of class construction.
Marxist humanism is an international body of thought and political action rooted in a humanist interpretation of the works of Karl Marx. It is an investigation into "what human nature consists of and what sort of society would be most conducive to human thriving" from a critical perspective rooted in Marxist philosophy. Marxist humanists argue that Marx himself was concerned with investigating similar questions.
In Marxism, reification is the process by which social relations are perceived as inherent attributes of the people involved in them, or attributes of some product of the relation, such as a traded commodity. This concept specifies the dialectical relationship between social existence and social consciousness – that is, between objective social relations and the subjective apprehension of those relations – in a society dominated by commodity production.
In Marxist theory and Marxian economics, the immiseration thesis, also referred to as emiseration thesis, is derived from Karl Marx's analysis of economic development in capitalism, implying that the nature of capitalist production stabilizes real wages, reducing wage growth relative to total value creation in the economy, leading to the increasing power of capital in society.
Structural Marxism is an approach to Marxist philosophy based on structuralism, primarily associated with the work of the French philosopher Louis Althusser and his students. It was influential in France during the 1960s and 1970s, and also came to influence philosophers, political theorists and sociologists outside France during the 1970s. Other proponents of structural Marxism were the sociologist Nicos Poulantzas and the anthropologist Maurice Godelier. Many of Althusser's students broke with structural Marxism in the late 1960s and 1970s.
The correct place of Karl Marx's early writings within his system as a whole has been a matter of great controversy. Some believe there is a break in Marx's development that divides his thought into two periods: the "Young Marx" is said to be a thinker who deals with the problem of alienation, while the "Mature Marx" is said to aspire to a scientific socialism.
Classical Marxism refers to the economic, philosophical, and sociological theories expounded by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels as contrasted with later developments in Marxism, especially Marxism–Leninism.
Marxism was introduced by Karl Marx. Most Marxist critics who were writing in what could chronologically be specified as the early period of Marxist literary criticism, subscribed to what has come to be called "vulgar Marxism." In this thinking of the structure of societies, literary texts are one register of the superstructure, which is determined by the economic base of any given society. Therefore, literary texts are a reflection of the economic base rather than "the social institutions from which they originate" for all social institutions, or more precisely human–social relationships, are in the final analysis determined by the economic base.
Revolutionary socialism is a political philosophy, doctrine, and tradition within socialism that stresses the idea that a social revolution is necessary to bring about structural changes in society. More specifically, it is the view that revolution is a necessary precondition for transitioning from a capitalist to a socialist mode of production. Revolution is not necessarily defined as a violent insurrection; it is defined as a seizure of political power by mass movements of the working class so that the state is directly controlled or abolished by the working class as opposed to the capitalist class and its interests.
In Marxist philosophy, the dictatorship of the proletariat is a condition in which the proletariat holds state power. The dictatorship of the proletariat is the intermediate stage between a capitalist economy and a communist economy, whereby the post-revolutionary state seizes the means of production, compels the implementation of direct elections on behalf of and within the confines of the ruling proletarian state party, and instituting elected delegates into representative workers' councils that nationalise ownership of the means of production from private to collective ownership. During this phase, the administrative organizational structure of the party is to be largely determined by the need for it to govern firmly and wield state power to prevent counterrevolution and to facilitate the transition to a lasting communist society. Other terms commonly used to describe the dictatorship of the proletariat include socialist state, proletarian state, democratic proletarian state, revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat and democratic dictatorship of the proletariat. In Marxist philosophy, the term dictatorship of the bourgeoisie is the antonym to the dictatorship of the proletariat.
Marxist philosophy or Marxist theory are works in philosophy that are strongly influenced by Karl Marx's materialist approach to theory, or works written by Marxists. Marxist philosophy may be broadly divided into Western Marxism, which drew from various sources, and the official philosophy in the Soviet Union, which enforced a rigid reading of Marx called dialectical materialism, in particular during the 1930s. Marxist philosophy is not a strictly defined sub-field of philosophy, because the diverse influence of Marxist theory has extended into fields as varied as aesthetics, ethics, ontology, epistemology, social philosophy, political philosophy, the philosophy of science, and the philosophy of history. The key characteristics of Marxism in philosophy are its materialism and its commitment to political practice as the end goal of all thought. The theory is also about the struggles of the proletariat and their reprimand of the bourgeoisie.
György Lukács was a Hungarian Marxist philosopher, literary historian, literary critic, and aesthetician. He was one of the founders of Western Marxism, an interpretive tradition that departed from the Soviet Marxist ideological orthodoxy. He developed the theory of reification, and contributed to Marxist theory with developments of Karl Marx's theory of class consciousness. He was also a philosopher of Leninism. He ideologically developed and organised Lenin's pragmatic revolutionary practices into the formal philosophy of vanguard-party revolution.
Orthodox Marxism is the body of Marxist thought that emerged after the death of Karl Marx (1818–1883) and which became the official philosophy of the majority of the socialist movement as represented in the Second International until the First World War in 1914. Orthodox Marxism aims to simplify, codify and systematize Marxist method and theory by clarifying the perceived ambiguities and contradictions of classical Marxism.
Dialectical materialism is a philosophy of science, history, and nature developed in Europe and based on the writings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Marxist dialectics, as a materialist philosophy, emphasizes the importance of real-world conditions and the presence of contradictions within things, in relation to but not limited to class, labor, and socioeconomic interactions. This is in contrast to the idealist Hegelian dialectic, which emphasizes the observation that contradictions in material phenomena could be resolved by analyzing them and synthesizing a solution whilst retaining their essence. Marx supposed that the most effective solution to the problems caused by said contradictory phenomena was to address and rearrange the systems of social organization at the root of the problems.
Historical materialism is the term used to describe Karl Marx's theory of history. Marx locates historical change in the rise of class societies and the way humans labor together to make their livelihoods. For Marx and his lifetime collaborator, Friedrich Engels, the ultimate cause and moving power of historical events are to be found in the economic development of society and the social and political upheavals wrought by changes to the mode of production. Historical materialism provides a challenge to the view that historical processes have come to a close and that capitalism is the end of history. Although Marx never brought together a formal or comprehensive description of historical materialism in one published work, his key ideas are woven into a variety of works from the 1840s onward. Since Marx's time, the theory has been modified and expanded. It now has many Marxist and non-Marxist variants.