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By Donald Clark Hodges

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It is in this sense that Marxism is not a dogma but a guide to action. " Marx and Engels were neither prophets nor visionaries. If they were wrong about their forecasts of a postcapitalist society, if the new social order that emerged from the Bolshevik Revolution did not turn out to be the communist society they had anticipated, then their conceptual framework was at fault. This revolution of the twentieth century was supposed to fit their particular theory; but when it failed to fit, its apologists were confronted with a dilemma.

Let us see what this process of abolishing bourgeois property implies Page 2 for Marx and Engels. In part 2 of the Communist Manifesto its abolition is associated with six corollaries. " Marx would later repeat this forecast in his 1859 preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy: "The bourgeois relations of production are the last antagonistic form of the social process of production. "Antagonistic in what respects? The antagonism, Marx tells us, is not only between owners and nonowners but also between the expanding forces of production and the forms of ownership operating as fetters on economic development.

Although right in anticipating the abolition of bourgeois property as capital, he was wrong in believing that the new social order would eliminate classes and class antagonisms. He was mistaken in believing that exploitation would be entirely abolished. Contrary to the forecasts in the Communist Manifesto, the new society has not overcome the commodity form of production, nor has the repressive state apparatus even begun to wither away. Nor does Marx's theory help in determining whether capitalism was displaced by a transitional society sharing features of both capitalism and communism or by an entirely new social formation distinct from both.

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