In his analysis of the capitalist society, Marx says “of all the classes, the proletariat alone is a really revolutionary class”. He observed that under capitalism society as a whole is splitting into two hostile camps directly facing each other. The proletarian revolution would bring the final emancipation of mankind because there is no class below the proletariat which could be subjected to exploitation.
1. Marx uses the term class in ambiguous way. It no where mentions the amount of wealth or capital as a determinant of a particular class. 2. Marx’s contention that proletarian revolution represents the final epoch of man’s struggle for emancipation from exploitation has not lived up to expectation. In fact, in erstwhile Soviet Union it resulted in new form of bureaucratic centralism and exploitation. 3.
Contrary to Marx’s expectation of emergence of two classes, a new middle class has emerged. If, anything it has come to play significant role in industrial enterprises. 4. Marx’s optimism with proletariat revolution is questionable.
As Laski observed “The breakdown of capitalism might result not in communism but in anarchy from which there might emerge some dictatorship unrelated in principle of communist ideals”. Despite limitations, the philosophical soundness of Marx’s theory of class struggle cannot be neglected. It has hopes for millions of unskilled, unemployed, illiterate masses being made a cog in wheel in modern capitalist enterprises. If it failed, it was not due to its intellectual limitations but rigidity and parochialism on the part of elites which Marx would have never wanted.