The Communist Manifesto: Book Critique April 5, 2013
In The Communist Manifesto, otherwise known as The Manifesto of the Communist Party, Karl Marx, the author and experienced political writer, attempts to explain the intentions and beliefs of the Communist Party. He explains the bases for all historical development and dabbles in his view of how the revolution will occur. The vast majority of the manifesto is centered on capitalism and its flaws. The manifesto does not actually go into much detail about how Communists would run the economy and society as a whole, and seems to be more about how he thinks Communists should go about bracing the revolution, their goals, and how he believes it will transpire. The goals of the communists, as in the book, are to make the working class aware of class antagonisms, therefore instilling in them a need for revolution leading to the abolition of private property, and ultimately, a communistic world.
The beginning of the book opens with the statement of its purpose, which is to make the views and inclinations of the Communists public. He discusses class struggles, property, and the nature of what he calls “proletariats”. In the beginning of section 1, Marx is stating that classes are created based on the economic system of the era. He is saying when an economic system are in place, this system is the bases for the creation of the different classes. These classes are conflicted in the simple relationship of either being the oppressed or the oppressor. He also claims that this struggle between classes is the driving force for all historical development. This is apparent in the quote “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.” (Marx, 13). He goes on to say that these relationships between classes will eventually become incompatible with the new and developing forces of production. When this occurs, a revolution occurs, and a new ruling class emerges out of the old. This all seems plausible and makes quite a bit of since with many different societies. On the other hand, this is quite a generalization of over 5,000 years of complex civilization. Another thing to note is that there has not been much discussion of communism or communists themselves, and because the book is so short, short enough that it is often not even considered to be a book, this is already a good chunk into the book.
More-so towards the end of the first section, Marx talks about the quandary of the proletariats and how they must go about bettering their existence. Marx writes, “He becomes an appendage of the machine, and is only the most simple, most monotonous, and most easily acquired knack, that is required of him.” (Marx, 24) In this, Marx argues that the proletariat is treated like a commodity and is viewed as part of the machinery with which they work. Marx also argues that the proletariat has importance only if he continues to produce and has no control in the earnings of his work. The bourgeoisie has absolute control over the wages of the proletariat and continuously lowers the wages which is causing the existence of the proletariat to become unsustainable. Marx believes that the proletariats are extremely unique in the sense that are connected by means of new industrial communications technology, by a shared miserable existence, and the fact that they are the majority in their society and are still increasing in number. This is all quite accurate fact of the time and is an important idea to grasp while reading the manifesto. The most significant characteristic of the proletariat, Marx goes on, is that they have nothing to lose. They have no property, no rights, and no time: their family relationships are destroyed. This is where communism really comes into play for the first time so-far; the proletariats must destroy the entire system, including private property. This is evident in the quote, “They have nothing of their...