What did Marx think of justice?

Marx deemed capitalism exploitative and saw a need for change, but he did not call the system unjust. Determining his thoughts on the matter largely depend on whether you look to his works as a young man largely founded upon liberalism, or to his later works. 

–> Early Marx: critiqued capitalism as game with rules. Though the game is itself is exploitative, actions which abide by those rules are by definition, “just”.

–> Later Marx rejects the idea of justice. He believes that philosophy is a result of the economic system in place, and justice is a part of this superstructure (philosophy) created by capitalism. In communism, there is no need for a concept of justice or injustice, since it is a perfect material practice without contradictions. 



The Constitution of the People’s Republic of China and Mao Zedong


The Constitution of the People’s Republic of China: 1982

and Mao-Zedong Conceptions of Justice


Mao Zedong: 1893-1976

This communist revolutionary is inscribed into history as the founding father of the People’s Republic of China (established in 1949), in which he served as Chairman of the Communist Party of China until his death. He drove the nation with a political ideology which resonated not only in China. Globally, Mao is regarded for his Marxist-Leninist philosophy, which is referred to as Maoism or Mao-Zedong Thought.

While regarded as a national hero by some, others criticize him for the mass violence that occurred during his rule, particularly during the Cultural Revolution.


Mao-Zedong Thought in a Nutshell:

It is the “Anti-Revisionist” form of Marxism-Leninism, meaning, a return to the fundamental pillars of original Marxist theory, which were seen to be ‘watered down’ by deemed ‘Revisionists’ who at the time promoted the concept of a peaceful transition to communism without violent class struggle and revolution.

Singular characteristics of Maoism include the primary role of agrarian members of society rather than working class- the rural peasants who would rise up in a People’s War fighting for revolution by guerilla warfare. Mao also uniquely opposed the division between rural and industrial nations, which he saw as a tool of capitalist oppression.


Justice in Mao-Zedong Thought:

Considerations of justice are centered around the collective, not individual rights as in liberal capitalist societies. In accordance with Marxist thought, the exploitative hierarchical class system of capitalism makes justice impossible, as people begin with unequal opportunities. With the removal of capitalism and the barrier between the industrial and the rural, justice is closer. This is to occur through the People’s War, which must be violent. This violence is justified for the creation of a more just society, with an improved social order. This social order, communism, must be adhered to within Mao’s China, and not observing it is unjust.


Quotation from “On Protracted War”

“How do we justify the encouragement of heroic sacrifice in war? Does it not contradict “self-preservation”? No, it does not; sacrifice and self-preservation are both opposite and complementary to each other. War is politics with bloodshed and exacts a price, sometimes an extremely high price. Partial and temporary sacrifice (non-preservation) is incurred for the sake of general and permanent preservation. This is precisely why we say that attack, which is basically a means of destroying the enemy, also has the function of self-preservation. It is also the reason why defence must be accompanied by attack and should not be defence pure and simple.”

Here is a link to many of Mao’s fascinating texts:



In the Constitution:

From Preamble

China is at the primary stage of socialism. The basic task of the nation is, according to the theory of building socialism with Chinese characteristics, to concentrate its effort on socialist modernization. Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China and the guidance of Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong Thought, the Chinese people of all nationalities will continue to adhere to the people’s democratic dictatorship and follow the socialist road, persevere in reform and opening to the outside, steadily improve socialist institutions, develop socialist democracy, improve the socialist legal system and work hard and self-reliantly to modernize industry, agriculture, national defense and science and technology step by step to turn China into a socialist country with prosperity and power, democracy and culture.”

Article 1:

Sabotage of the socialist system by any organization or individual is prohibited.

Article 6: the principle of ‘from each according to his ability, to each according to his work.

Article 24.

The state strengthens the building of socialist spiritual civilization through spreading education in high ideals and morality, general education and education in discipline and the legal system, and through promoting the formulation and observance of rules of conduct and common pledges by different sections of the people in urban and rural areas. The state advocates the civic virtues of love for the motherland, for the people, for labour, for science and for socialism; it educates the people in patriotism, collectivism, internationalism and communism and in dialectical and historical materialism; it combats the decadent ideas of capitalism and feudalism and other decadent ideas.

The state maintains public order and suppresses treasonable and other counter- revolutionary activities; it penalizes actions that endanger public security and disrupt the socialist economy and other criminal activities, and punishes and reforms criminals.

Article 51.

The exercise by citizens of the People’s Republic of China of their freedoms and rights may not infringe upon the interests of the state, of society and of the collective, or upon the lawful freedoms and rights of other citizens.

Article 53.

Citizens of the People’s Republic of China must abide by the constitution and the law, keep state secrets, protect public property and observe labour discipline and public order and respect social ethics.

Article 55.

It is the sacred obligation of every citizen of the People’s Republic of China to defend the motherland and resist aggression. It is the honourable duty of citizens of the People’s Republic of China to perform military service and join the militia in accordance with the law.