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The Communist Manifesto was written in 1847 by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels for the Communist League of London.

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Introduction

Kimberly Velez Velez 1 Dr. Simon Honors Seminar: 20th Century Civilization I 5 November 2002 The Communist Manifesto was written in 1847 by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels for the Communist League of London. Within The Communist Manifesto Marx and Engels focus on communism and its implication. Communism, as laid out in this work, is an egalitarian system where everyone would share equally in both labor and the profits of labor. This concept thrives on the fact that no one person or group of people should own the means of production, and therefore there would be nothing with which to oppress others. The main argument of the text will be explored with emphasis on Marx's outline of the historical development of capitalism, as well as the development of the capitalist and working class. The Communist Manifesto focuses on explaining the emergence of capitalism, and the resulting social classes that emerge out of this new mode of production. Foremost Marx notes that capitalism comes forth out of the context of feudal society. "The feudal system of industry, under which industrial production was monopolized by closed guilds, now no longer sufficed for the growing wants of the new markets. The manufacturing system took its place." (p. 36) Marx captures the continuum of events leading to the state of modern industry by writing "the place of manufacture was taken by the giant, Modern Industry, the place of the industrial middle class, by industrial millionaires, ... ...read more.

Middle

Marx notes other such legal changes by writing "it is has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom - Free Trade." (p. 37) Finally Marx notes changes to dominant ideology by capitalists, particularly the shift from noble responsibility to individualism following the introduction of capitalism. "The bourgeoisie, whenever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly turn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his natural superiors, and has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self interest, than callous 'cash payment'." (p. 37) Marx continues his discussion of class conflict shaping history by discussing the class which opposes the capitalists - the working class. The working class or proletariat also develops out the capitalist mode of production, and are described by Marx as "a commodity, like every other article of commerce, and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition, to all the fluctuations of the market." (p. 41) Marx notes that the working class, since made legally free and stripped of the means to work for themselves, must sell their labor power to the capitalists. This labor Marx argues, is alienated from the work process, as the capitalist class provide only highly repetitive jobs without room for creative expression. ...read more.

Conclusion

This concentration of workers results in an increase of the social aspects of the workplace, and Marx believed that in turn, changes were needed to the political and legal relations of society to reflect this. Rather than these changes occurring however, the formation of trade unions by the working class occurs, as Marx indicates by writing "thereupon the workers begin to form combinations (Trade Unions) against the bourgeoisie; they club together in order to keep up the rate of wages ..." (p. 42) The final stage of the workers organization against the capitalist class is their formation of a political voice, as Marx indicates by writing "the organization of the proletariat into a class, and consequently into a political party ... it compels legislative recognition of particular interests of the workers, by taking advantage of the divisions among the bourgeoisie itself." (p.43) These are the ethical portrayals of how the proletariat can change their current status. In conclusion, the control of the bourgeoisie over the proletariat is very delicate at best. Centuries of neglect and alienation have made the proletariat bitterer towards the bourgeoisie. This bitterness will then change into an open revolt against the bourgeoisie, once they can no longer placate and deceive the proletariat. Only when this happens, the result will be an equal opportunity for all social classes. Marx concludes The Manifesto with a statement that summarizes the ultimate ethical change that will put an end to capitalism "WORKINGMEN OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE!" (p. ...read more.

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