The Communist Manifesto was a powerful and ever-changing movement that had the political potential to become revolutionary, changing the economic system and power structure within European countries. Marx and Engel within the manifesto effectively state various political and intellectual ideas that have had short and long term effects upon the not just the European society, but the whole world. They both effectively explained the functioning and evolution of the exploitative class structure that had many inequities during the time, resulting from the rise of capitalism as an economic system. It had also challenged the political and social order. The introduction to a communist revolution inspired populations to gain a wider perception of life, contributing to the functioning of the society at the time and the spread of the working-class movement.
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For the revolution to take place, it needed to be enforced by the struggles and inequities faced by people and classes within European society. During the time of this Manifesto, there were three main working classes, the bourgeoisie, the feudal and the proletariats. Each was vitally important and played a different role in the functioning of society. Through the power of the bourgeoisie, their wealth and their control with the means of production (agricultural land, factories, machinery) had classified them as the most superior class. The bourgeoisie were very intellectual and focused solely on financial and class growth. Their actions were planned cautiously and they were a lot of thought and time placed into their decisions, however, with this it created division between the classes. For example, they would oppress the working proletariat and keep the profit for themselves and their own financial needs and endeavors. In the aim to stay superior and keep the social and political order stable, the bourgeois class had created new classes in means of help and support. Marx wrote “The modern bourgeois society that has sprouted from the ruins of feudal society has not done away with class antagonisms. It has but established new classes, new conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in place of the old ones” (Marx, P.2). Through this, Marx explains that the bourgeoisie had established these new classes, not by having control on the economic engine of society, but also as those within this class wanted state power by controlling the post-feudal political system.
When workers are forced to compete with one another, it illuminates any other kinds of social ties and connections that are used to help all classes. For the bourgeoisie to uphold their power, the people within the class were forced to expand across the world, finding new customers, new workers and discovering and improving natural resources. As this was a vital demand, it had taken a toll on the worker’s state of mind and their perceptions of reality as it had all dependent upon the idea of financial growth and selfish needs. This caused a great division between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat workers. Although this action was portrayed as influential and was expanding all over the world, Marx and Engels objectified this by stating that “it was designed for failure”. This is as, the conditions of wage laborers only will get worse due to space and controversies, highlighting the need for a revolution. The rise of the Communist Party is an example of this.
The rise of the communist party did inspire all individuals to gain a deeper perspective on life. Being open to new ideas was a struggle for many during the time, as they were more comfortable living by the norms and of what they were prone to. The push of a revolution seemed unrealistic to the people, however, it was needed. “What the bourgeoisie, therefore, produces, above all, are its grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable.” Marx and Engel (P.4). This represents great significance as it highlights that each class is as equally important than the other, stating that the bourgeoisie depended upon the proletariat. Marx and Engel however, convey that the Communist party are not political workers and are shaped by the class antagonisms created by capitalism. This is evident in, “In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.” (P.4). Their goals existed then and were accomplished valid in a variety of nations around the world recognised as revolutionary movements. These goals consist of the abolition of property in land and all right of inheritance, a graduated income tax, illuminating the property of all emigrants and rebels, centralization of credit in the hands of the state and the means of communication and transport. Also, the extension of factories and instruments of productions, equal liability of all to work, combination of agriculture and manufacturing industries, free education for all children in public schools and abolition of children’s factory labor. Each of these goals had been inspiring to all and allowed for individuals to become equal and to endure a positive perception of life. It also provided one with meaning and purpose and without this, the world wouldn’t be as smooth running as it is today. Ultimately, it was a forcible overthrow of the bourgeoisie, a communist revolution. Eventually, the proletariat would lead a revolution against the bourgeoisie to overthrow capitalism and its supporters.
Marx and Engels state that the Communist party supports all revolutionary movements that challenge the existing social and political order. This is evident through their quote “Working men of all countries, unite!” (P. 6). This quote inspires the power of equality and how it can create new ideas, experiences, and new profound beginnings. These new rules and ideologies not only helped advocate a positive way of living, but it united all people with the distribution of wealth, rights and speech. Marx and Engels ‘The communist of Manifesto’ had contributed to eliminate all the old hierarchies and mystifications. For today, it had inspired people to no longer believe that ancestry or religion determined their status in life. It had helped acknowledge that we are all beings and that discrimination, inequities, and prejudices were a problem that needed to be dealt with. For the first time in history, men and women could see, without illusions, and were supported by people of power and non-power.
From the powers of the manifesto, it has influenced the spread of global capital and the revolution in technology today. This includes the production of fruits, clothes from the Philippines or Malaysia and electrical devices from Korea, all of which would not exist without the revolution. However, although this is continuously developing, capitalism is still witnessed today and the working class has no successfully conquered power. Marx and Engels in indicated their materialist theory of revolution on a historical inevitability, portraying their belief that the notion of socialism would come naturally. However, the refutation for this idea is coveyed within The Communist Manifesto itself, when it argues that there is no guaranteed transition from one mode of production to another. Either society can go forward or the failure of one side to win decisively can lead to the ‘common ruin of the contending classes’.
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Overall, Marx and Engels ‘The Communist Manifesto’ portrays the notion that history shows the role of the bourgeoisie to have been revolutionary changing the political and social order of society. It brought equality between people and joined working forces together to better the overall functioning of the working-class environment. Without the revolutionary movement, the world today would be very different and one’s rights, freedom of speech and the distribution of products and means would be diminished. Marx inspires all to perceive the world as a whole, unifying nations, spreading production, ideas, and experiences between all working societies. The role of the bourgeoisie was inspiring and helped convey the importance of equality through revolution.
- Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. The Communist Manifesto. New York: Penguin Books, 2011.
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