Human Rights According to Marxism
Humboldt University of Berlin - Faculty of Law
September 16, 2008
Guild Practitioner, Vol. 65, No. 249
Marxism sees liberal individualist freedoms as a step up from feudalism but not as the end of historical development. Marxism defends not just negative "freedoms from" (procedural justice) but also affirmative "rights to" (claims). However, rights are contextualized in Marxism by the logic of socialist development rather than capitalism. Thus, rights are collective, social, relative and substantive rather than individual, absolute and procedural. The Marxist critique of fundamental rights and freedoms is a dialectic between first and second generation rights. This article presents a detailed explanation of the Marxist conception of human rights and critique of capitalist individual freedoms. Rights and freedoms are best seen not as conflicting but as complementing each other.
Human Rights According to Marxism 1
A. The Marxist Critique of Human Rights 3
B. The Marxist Concept of Human Rights in Theory 7
C. The Marxist Concept of Human Rights in practice 8
D. Conclusion: The Liberal Critique of Marxist regimes 9
Number of Pages in PDF File: 12working papers series
Date posted: September 16, 2008 ; Last revised: December 17, 2009
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