Social Scientist. v 9, no. 98-99 (Sept-Oct 1980) p. 3.

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Class Struggles^ Economic Laws and Historical Materialism

MARX first discovered "the great law of motion of history, the law according to which all historical struggles, whether they proceed in the political, religious, philosophical or some other ideological domain, are in fact only the more or less clear expression of struggles of social classes, and that the existence and thereby the collisions, too, between these classes arc in turn conditioned by the degree of development of their economic position, by the mode of their production and of their exchange determined by it".1 This law has the same significance for history as the law of transformation of energy has for natural science. Indeed, "the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles".2 Where do economic laws then find their place in the midst of the ceaseless process of class struggles? If class struggles arc a corollary of historical materialism, where do then economic laws stand? If economic "laws which are valid for definite modes of production and forms of exchange hold good for all historical periods in which these modes of production and forms of exchange prevail"3, what part then do they play in the contradictions within, and between, the basis and the superstructure of the society?

It is worthwhile to remember that classes and class struggles were recognized long before Marx came to formulate the laws of

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