The Social Base of Politics

In the investigation of political conditions one is too easily tempted to overlook the objective nature of the relationships and to explain everything from the will of the persons acting.  There are relationships, however, which determine the actions of private persons as well as those of individual authorities, and which are as independent as are the movements in breathing.  Taking this objective standpoint from the outset, one will not presuppose an exclusively good or bad will on either side.  Rather, one will observe relationships in which only persons appear to act at first.  As soon as it is demonstrated that something was necessitated by conditions, it will not be difficult to figure out under which external circumstances this thing actually had to come into being, and under which other circumstances it could not have come about although a need for it was present.  One can determine this with almost the same certainty as a chemist determines under which external circumstances some substance will form a compound…. (28-29)

Marx | “The Social Base of Politics” in Karl Marx: The Essential Works

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