Juridical Rights, Human Emancipation, and the Revolution: A Marxian Analysis

  • Abstract:

    Karl Marx’s notion of human nature has significant bearing on such political developments as the establishment of juridical rights of man, political emancipation, and the necessary overthrow of what I will call the “juridical” man in the Marxian revolution. Marx’s analysis of human nature (heavily inspired by Aristotle) synchronizes, in many ways, with the juridical notion of human rights that advanced in tandem with the bourgeois capitalist system, the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. This paper examines Marxian human nature – never fully cleaved from the politico-economic – within Marx’s theories of political and human emancipation, and demonstrates why, for Marx, the former is insufficient for the latter. In doing so, I will analyze not only the moment but also the form that revolution must take for Marx, which may subsequently allow for more theoretical and critical analyses of contemporary revolutionary movements, particularly in the Middle East. Ultimately, I hope to show that, for Marx, the European notion of the juridical man allows for the perpetuation of capitalism, and that a critique of capitalism is always at the same time a critique of juridical human rights. As a result, it will be clear that successful human emancipation necessitates the dissolution not only of capitalism, but also of juridical man.