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UNIT TWO

What is Marxism?
Scenario
Imagine that you live in a society that requires all kids between the ages of five and twenty to go
to boarding school. Kids have no choice on the matter; if you refuse to attend school, you will be forcibly
sent to prison. You must attend school 16 hours a day, and the rest of your time is reserved for sleeping.
At school, you are required to write essays and solve equations all day. You are given some food
throughout the day, but you are always hungry. You will suffer from malnutrition, poor eyesight from
reading and writing, permanent claw-like hands caused by excessive pencil-gripping, and numerous other
ailments. The teachers at your school don't teach. All they do is collect student work and sell it to book
publishers. Teachers make a lot of money from these books, over $500 000 per year, and have all the free
time they want.
1. Could the teachers continue to make money without thousands of students?
No, the teachers would not be able to make as much money without thousands of students. The
students are responsible for producing the goods which make the teachers money. If there were
fewer students, book production would decrease, which would see a decline in sales and
ultimately ad decline in profit.
2. Describe your quality of life as a student.
As a student at this school, quality of life would be dismal. Kids as young as five years old are in
constant pain and are hungry. Undoubtedly, students would also be under copious amounts of
stress due to the idea of being sent to prison. Furthermore, students are completely deprived of
social and physical stimulation.
3. One of your friends is talking about overthrowing the teachers. What do you think? How would
you divide up the work and money?
I would agree, support, and take part in a revolution to overthrow the teachers. As the number of
students far outweighs the number of teachers, there is a highly probable chance of success. If an
overthrow did succeed, work and profits would be divided equally, or according to who does the
most work, in order to avoid the rise of another dictator-like leader.

Definitions
o

Bourgeoisie: a middle social class typically concerned with wealth, material possessions, and
respectable behaviour
ex: factory owners

Proletariat: the lower labouring or working social class, typically lack their own means of
production and must sell their labour to live
ex: factory workers

exploitation: the act of treating someone or something unfairly in order to benefit from their work
or resources
ex: students being taken advantage of: students do all the work while teachers make all
the money

class consciousness: an awareness of one's own social or economic rank in society; the
identification of exploitation
ex: the students realize how much money the teachers are making, and decide as a group
that they deserve better

The Marxist Revolution: the overthrow of the Bourgeoisie by the Proletariat once the workers had
become class conscious; the revolution to bring communism
ex: the overthrow of the teachers by the students