The Communist Manifesto

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  • Topic: Marxism, Karl Marx, Socialism
  • Pages : 8 (3035 words )
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  • Published : February 18, 2007
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The Communist Manifesto, one of the world's most influential political pieces was first published on February 21, 1848. Commissioned by the communist league and written by communist theorist Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, the Communist Manifesto set out the leagues program and purpose. The widespread inequity in the distribution of valuable resources created a political, social, and economic climate perfect for the introduction of Marx and Engels' Manifesto. The work suggested a counter-hegemonic course of action. Marx and Engels were deeply moved by the disparity in the living conditions between two classes of people, the "bourgeois" and "proletariat." They argued that the far smaller bourgeois class held a position of power—a hegemonic control—over the far larger proletariat class. The Manifesto attempted to re-dress that disparity by invoking a proletarian revolution to overthrow capitalism and, eventually, bring about a classless society. In the United States, employment workers in the nineteenth century were feeling increasingly insecure about their jobs, and the unemployed expected little help from the federal government. This resulted in fifteen million unemployed Americans, which, in turn, opened the gateway to widespread unrest among the working class ( Although, Marx and Engels believed that the principles of the Communist Manifesto could not apply to American society, some Americans seized the ideology. It was "the perfect storm" and the ideology easily gained momentum starting with the labor-unions, moving past the motives to overthrow the ruling upper class, end inequality in gender and finally make general and social improvements. Thus the communist manifesto played a great role in American society by setting a precedent in the nineteenth century.

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Marx believed that every age attained the rivalry between two classes of society beginning with masters against slaves, down to the bourgeoisie against the working class. One class always exploited the other because their interests were completely opposed. As the lower class gained power, a new class would rise that would eventually include the old upper class. This kind of controversial process would create a merchant class and a working class from the struggle between peasants and nobles. However, Marx felt that there was an end to this process. At some point in history, the working class would eliminate all the remaining classes. If there was only one class, there would no longer be a class struggle. Similarly, the causes of a class conflict – distribution of resources such as money, land, and control over the means of production – would be shared equally. It is made clear in the Communist Manifesto that there must be a winner and a loser regardless of the endeavor. Marx asserts that the root of the problems of society before and during his time was in the battle between the oppressors and the oppressed. Within the Manifesto, Marx provides a thorough critique of the conflict of European social classes and advocates for communism. The Communist Manifesto begins with the Marxian view that history is a class struggle. Marx and Engles' Manifesto sought to educate the mass of workers by revealing the time conditions of their lives. In the first section, "Bourgeois and Proletarians," Marx and Engles argue that the class struggle under capitalism is between those who own the means of production – the ruling class or bourgeoisie – and those who labor for a wage – the working class or proletariat. After educating the working class of their conditions, Marx and Engles wanted a plan of action for instituting change. In addition to the relationship between the bourgeoisie and the laborers in the first section, the second section of the Communist Manifesto, "Proletarians and Communists," outlines the relationship of communists to the rest of the working class. This section also includes the outline of a set of short-term...
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