Marx believed that political reforms cannot eliminate class antagonisms within modern industrial society because these antagonisms exist as a result of the basic structure of society. He wrote that class is an outgrowth of the means of production and that this economic structure that gives certain people the power to exploit others. As long as this structure is in place, there will be a ruling class and an exploited class.

Marx also believed that while reforms might improve the standard of living of the exploited class, they cannot alter the fact that those who are exploited are powerless socially. He referred to the advocates of such reforms as “Conservative Socialists.” He believed them to be misguided because they do not realize that class struggle is integral to history and is unavoidable in the capitalist system. He said that these reformers, in fact, represent bourgeois interests because they are trying to preserve bourgeois hegemony by dampening the revolutionary energy of the proletariat. Marx was convinced that conservative socialists will ultimately fail, however, because the revolution is an unavoidable stage of history, and the proletariat will always be a revolutionary class.

Popular pages: The Communist Manifesto