The Communist Manifesto- Marx

Sources:

Engels, Frederick; Marx, Karl. (1848) Manifesto of the Communist Party; Samuel Moore Translation (1888) and Hal Draper Translation (1994). (1-28)

Drew, J. (2008, September 25) The Communist Manifesto Illustrated by Cartoons. [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/embed/0KUl4yfABE4

I have heard about this document before but have always been scared to actually sit down and read it because I thought it would be very challenging. I actually found it interesting and although it was written a long time ago, I found a lot of the points I could relate to society now. The Communist Manifesto is Marx’ attempts to explain the reasoning behind Communism and talk about the relationships between classes and the struggles they face. He starts off by introducing the bourgeoisie and the proletariat as classes directly facing each other. The bourgeoisie are the “middle class” but more specifically the owners of companies who employ the proletariat. The proletariat are the wage earners, especially manual laborers who make up the working class.

Marx discusses modern industry and how there is always a constant demand and the immense development of commerce has changed the way our system runs. The urban population has greatly expanded with enormous cities making the need for laborers high. (7) Our capitalist society is the system that developed social rank. The classes struggle because the bourgeoisie want low labor costs to make a profit but the proletariat obviously want to be paid more so they can support their families and actually make a living. The problem with the system is that if you ask for higher wages, you will most likely be fired because there are many people waiting for a job that will take your place for the horrible working conditions. (5) Another interesting point was that in trying to make a profit a bourgeoisie may sacrifice health/safety, quality of product, and the overall niceness of the company. It’s crazy that the quality of work isn’t really the issue, our society focuses more on the cheap price.

After comparing the classes, Marx introduces the role of Communists. (10)  He says that they are distinguished from other working class parties by things like common interests and Communists represent the interests of the movement as a whole. The aim of Communists is “formation of the proletariat into a class, overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy, conquest of political power by the proletariat” and later down the page sums it up by saying “Abolition of private property.” (11) It is interesting because he describes capital as being social power which is true, but it is how our society runs. They believe there should be no private property and to keep society fair there should be common ownership to manage the economy for the well-being and interests of the proletariat and masses, not the elites.

I went on “YouTube” to see if there were any videos that were interesting and after looking through the website there were a lot of videos that were not so informative, and others that were. I found a video called “The Communist Manifesto Illustrated by Cartoons” and although it sounds silly it was actually kind of nice to see it illustrated. The author describes the video saying that U.S cartoons were thought to be conveyors of capitalist ideologies and consumerism which I never thought about so the video was informative and helped me understand a little more even though it was just pictures to back up the words of Marx. The cartoons used were mostly older, and the creator chose the shows that had images that would describe the words of Marx. I am more of a visual learner, so the video was nice to look at along with the manifesto.

From both the videos I watched and the manifesto, I got many different ideas about Communism. A lot of people say in theory it may be good, but it would never work and would cause problems. I think that we have a huge gap of wealth in the United States that needs to be dealt with, but Communism will not solve this. It would basically force people to redistribute wealth and this would cause problems that I don’t think the economy could be functional. The rich do have a lot of focus on private gain, but I think the idea of Communism is a very radical idea that would do more harm than good. If everyone was equal, there would be no incentive to work hard. Capitalist systems reward those who work hard and as we discussed in class part of human nature is to have personal values in working hard. With a Communist society, this lack of motivation would be the end of production and we would be left with nothing. The issue of communism vs. capitalist society is a length argument that is too long to discuss here, I just wanted to discuss the issue briefly. Basically I found the manifesto and my personal research from that to be very informative and interesting. Of course there are problems with our systems that need to be altered, by trying to make everyone equal and free of private property will cause more harm than good.

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