Never has human society had a greater capacity to reshape the world around us to meet our needs – from abundant food to instantaneous communication around the globe. Yet under capitalism the class divide, private ownership and the structures of society render the vast majority powerless. Marx in the 1840s started to theorise this problem as humanity’s alienation. Unlike his Hegelian contemporaries, Marx situated his theory of alienation in the social relations of production that divides humanity in class societies, and in particular capitalism. He also rejected the assumption made by many philosophies that alienation in a permanent feature of the human condition.
This session will explore the Marxist theory of alienation, touching on how this theory helps socialists understand economic, enivornmental and social ills as well as a strategy for transcending them.