Marx on Class Consciousness and Organization

  • Robert X. Ware
Part of the Marx, Engels, and Marxisms book series (MAENMA)


It is a puzzle that Marx did not write about class consciousness. His emphasis, in The Communist Manifesto and elsewhere, is about organizations and communication. To understand Marx’s views about the proletariat as a revolutionary agent, it is necessary to understand his views about class, about consciousness, and about unity. The discussion raises subtle but critical questions about individual and collective interpretations. It also leads to important questions about organization.


  1. Note: References to the work of Frederick Engels and Karl Marx are from Karl Marx, Frederick Engels, Collected Works. 50 Volumes, 1975–2004. New York, NY: International Publishers. (Referred to in text as “MECW” with volume and page).Google Scholar
  2. Beynon, Huw. 1973. Working for Ford. London, UK: Allen Lane.Google Scholar
  3. Cohen, G.A. 2001 [1978]. Karl Marx’s Theory of History: A Defence. Expanded ed. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. (Published in 1978 by Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
  4. Draper, Hal. 1978. Karl Marx’s Theory of Revolution, Volume II: The Politics of Social Classes. New York, NY: Monthly Review Press.Google Scholar
  5. Levin, Michael. 1980. Marx and Working-Class Consciousness. History of Political Thought 1 (3): 499–515.Google Scholar
  6. McCarney, Joe. 1980. The Real World of Ideology. Brighton, UK: Harvester.Google Scholar
  7. Wood, Allen W. 2004 [1981]. Karl Marx. 2nd ed. Oxford, UK: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert X. Ware
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.Carleton UniversityOttawaCanada

Personalised recommendations