The Communist Manifesto, is one of the most influential pieces of literature in modern history, yet the least read. In the Communist Manifesto Marx and Engels argue that class struggles are what is responsible for all of the developments in history. They both argue that sooner or later these class
struggles fail to work together and actually start causing problems. When the classes start to fail at working together that is when a revolution starts and then we see a different class become the dominant one. Marx calls this the “march of history”. They believe in two classes, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Marx concludes with the idea that the Proletariat will someday lead the revolution against the bourgeoisie and destroy all concepts of private property and classes. In the Communist Manifesto they argue that all of this is inevitable and that someday the proletariat will take over because capitalism is far too unstable. As communists it is their belief that they need to speed up this process that leads to revolution. Now that I have provided the basic ideas behind the Communist Manifesto I will elaborate with each of the various sections.
The first section of the Manifesto is titled The Bourgeoisie and the Proletariat. The first thing that it brings up is the idea of class struggle. Marx states that throughout history there are two main classes the class that oppresses and the class that is oppressed. Marx states that the fight either ends in a revolution or the complete destruction of the classes. He goes on to state that currently there are two classes, the Bourgeoisie and the Proletariat. These classes are, as Marx states, are just a simplified version of the feudal system that came before it. He explains how the bourgeoisie came out of the industrial revolution and are basically the “industrial millionaires”. He says that the bourgeoisie completely replaced the middle class. From there the bourgeoisie basically forced the lower classes into oppression and slavery. He states that the state is made up for the bourgeoisie’s interests. He claims that the bourgeoisie are responsible for making so that men only care about their own self-interest. He believes that the bourgeoisie have made it so that everything in society is about money including family. Marx writes that the bourgeoisie are responsible for the materialism that takes part in society. They create materialism as to make the proletariat dependent upon the bourgeoisie. Marx argues that free competition is what led the bourgeoisie to power.
He now begins to talk about the proletariat. Marx states that it is the proletariat that will rise and defeat the bourgeoisie. The proletariat is both a slave and a soldier. The proletariat have been in constant struggle with the bourgeoisie ever since their existence. He states that they tried to establish unions to help fight against the bourgeoisie but in actuality they were working for the bourgeoisie. He goes on to argue that the creation of industry has given the proletariat more power because it increased their numbers. Soon the differences disappear and they all become low wage workers. Basically what happens is that the proletariat continue to become stronger and stronger. He goes on to claim that the bourgeoisie will fall and that the proletariat will win. The proletariat will destroy all property rights and make everyone equal.
Marx goes on to speak of what the Communists do. He says that the Communists basically speed up this process. They help the proletariat defeat the bourgeoisie. They help in destroying private property. He makes the point that property actually ends up exploiting a person. This is because it is controlled by the bourgeoisie. He makes arguments that even if there is no private property that people will still work because the bourgeoisie have not worked and have still attained private property. He goes on to argue against the family saying that the family because it leads to exploiting children. He basically goes on to defend all of communisms most ridiculous ideas. For example his ideas on abolishing nationality and his idea that there are no universal truths. Soon the proletariat will take over and be the ruling class.
Marx goes on to talk about the different kinds of socialism and communism that there are. The first one is Reactionary Socialism, which is basically the ones who fight against the bourgeoisie without knowing the history behind them. They dislike the bourgeoisie because they believe that they are a threat to their own way of life. The next for is that of Conservative Socialism. Basically the whole idea behind them is that they do not want the class struggles that capitalism brings but they do want all of the benefits from modern industry. The last type is that of Critical-Utopian Socialism or Communism. This is the most extreme version and is basically the idea behind the manifesto. That the proletariat rise up and defeat the bourgeoisie for their own end.
Finally Marx ends with explaining the role of the what a Communist is actually supposed to do. They are supposed to fight for the workers. They work through political parties. Sometimes it seems as if they have infiltrated both of them. They help the proletariat gain power to defeat the bourgeoisie. Lastly they remark that the only way that they will be able to attain their goals is by destroying all current social and political conditions. To give a brief opinion on the Manifesto, I believe that it is strictly founded upon fear. Marx actually has the influence to make people hate because of their fear. This is probably one of the scariest political philosophies that I have read.