In reading Marx and Engle themselves, I’m struck by the definitiveness of their point of view. They basically say this is how it works: the thinkers in the ruling class establish/maintains ideologies that benefit the ruling class and impose their perceptions of the world onto the passive masses. There can hostility within the ruling class because of the split between the thinkers and the active members of the class, but those conflicts disappear when the whole of the ruling class is threatened, by, say, revolution, which has a ruling class all its own.
Now, the elites can’t simply impose their ideology onto the masses, they have to make the masses believe the ideology of the elites is the ideology that brings them the most benefit; that the way elites say things should be are the way the masses think things ought to be.
And a new ruling class can, in fact, raise prospects for members of the masses, but only insofar as they themselves have a better chance at entering the ruling class under the new regime.
“Every new class, therefore, achieves domination only on a broader basis than that of the ruling class previously…”
Now to the point: Marx and Engle say this whole manipulative/thought-controlling process breaks down when class is dissolved; when we no longer organize society into classes. If that’s the case, then thought and ideas become the dominant force in history and each idea a form of self-determination.
To see this fact, one “must separate the ideas of those ruling” from rulers, recognizing that ideas truly rule the illusions of history. Then, one must connect the ruling ideas through whatever historical epoch, but with removing the mystical connotations of that and recognizing the individuals (ruling elites) who perpetuate the rule of certain ideas.