Oliver Cox

American sociologist
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Oliver Cromwell Cox (25 August 1901 – 4 September 1974) was a Trinidadian-American sociologist.



Caste, Class, and Race: A Study in Social Dynamics (1948)

  • "It is remarkable that some of the most precious rights of human welfare are attributed to the advocacy and practice of communists; and yet, in the same breath, we are asked to hate communists."
    • Caste, Class and Race: A Study in Social Dynamics, Monthly Review Press, New York, (1959) pg. xxxiii
  • "it should not be forgotten that, above all else, the slave was a worker whose labor was exploited in production for profit in a capitalist market. It is this fundamental fact which identifies the Negro problem in the United States with the problem of all workers regardless of color."
    • ibid. pg. xxxii
  • "Racial antagonism is part and parcel of this class struggle, because it developed within the capitalist system as one of its fundamental traits. It may be demonstrated that racial antagonism, as we know it today, never existed in the world before about 1492; moreover, racial feeling developed concomitantly with the development of our modern social system." ibid. pg. xxx
    • ""The capitalist State is not a spiritual product; its function, from its inception in the medieval town, has always been primarily to secure the interest of a certain class." "ibid".
  • At best, Marxian hypotheses are "servants, not masters." Indeed, it has been said that Karl Marx himself was not Marxian because in his studies he strived to understand modern society, while the religious Marxists, in their exegetical discussions, center their attention not upon the ongoing social system but rather upon an explanation and criticism of Marx — a sort of rumination of his conclusions, incidental errors and all. If, therefore, parts of this study seem Marxian, it is not because we have taken the ideas of this justly famous writer as gospel, but because we have not discovered any other that could explain the facts so consistently.
    • p. xi
  • Quite frequently during World War II, President Roosevelt declared there should be no "master race" in the world as the Germans claimed to be, and the Secretary of State, Cordell Hull, stated explicitly that one principal purpose of the war was to eliminate fascism wherever found in the world. ... It would seem quite obvious that countries like Great Britain and the United States, whose ruling classes are in fact master races, may not be ready to eliminate this reality in the world. The master race idea and fascism can be purged from the social system only by a change in the system itself; and, for great powers, this is ordinarily a domestic undertaking.
    • p. xxxvii
  • Christianity and Brahmanism go back to different basic premises. The one holds that in the beginning man was created in the likeness of God, while, the other maintains that from an original being came men into the world originally unequal, with special emphasis upon the god's conscious purpose that men should forever remain socially unequal.
    • p. 42
  • The law itself is the instrument of the ruling class; hence it is a logical impossibility for another class to assume power legally.
    • p. 164
  • Much of the sanctimonious abhorrence displayed by the ruling class and its apologists against the use of violence in the class struggle is rooted in the desire to maintain the integrity of its class monopoly of violence.
    • p. 168
  • The purpose of capitalist democracy is to provide a favorable situation for the exercise of free enterprise and not for the planning of a society that will make business a social service. If the commonality attempts to take the latter view of democracy and to implement it, the capitalist will quickly scrap the institution.
    • p. 190
  • The capitalists cannot conceivably eliminate the proletariat as a class; it could at most only temporarily destroy or drive its leadership underground. On the other hand, the proletariat can eliminate the capitalists completely; it must do this if socialism is to be achieved.
    • p. 192
  • The proletariat cannot vote for socialism in a bourgeois parliament because the capitalists will not permit themselves to be destroyed by their own instrument. The machinery of the capitalist state has been fashioned by the bourgeoisie to suit the needs of their class; therefore, in the achievement of its ends, the working class must contrive its own institutions.
    • p. 200

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