A Criticism Of The Manifesto Of The Communist Party

917 words - 4 pages

Marx, in the late 1840’s, outlines most of his economic philosophy in the Manifesto of the Communist Party. He leads us through his materialistic conception of history, outlining the major class difference between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. He transitions this into a more teleological argument of the necessary evolution from the bonds of capitalistic slavery to communism, and criticizes all modern versions of socialism. Concluding with statements relating the modern communism movement to his underlying philosophy, Marx brings full circle the cry for a communist revolution. This paper will both argue for the validity of the materialistic conception of history based on division of labor and the rise of the proletarian as a force, and justify Marx’s brutal criticism of other types of socialism. However, Marx’s flips into praising communism as the inherent answer to economic and societal problems, and even states a list of short-term demands. Communism’s rise from the ashes of failed capitalism will be shown to be a perhaps misguided attempt at corralling the current and future intrinsic problems of capitalism into an impossible generalization impractical in the face of the modern relative luxury of the American Proletariat. Marx leaves us with unanswered questions as to the practicality and implementation (as well as perhaps the need) of a communist fix to capitalism’s complications.
In the first section entitled “Bourgeois and Proletarians,” Marx expounds on his view of the past as the “history of class struggles” (Tucker, 473). He introduces in the first few sentences the key division of the oppressor and the oppressed. For his purposes, the oppressor is considered the dominant class in a society, and the oppressor is represented by the working class. Marx examines history with an economic conscious, and rightly determines that the social construct has and still revolves around a division of labor. He references ancient Rome and its plebeians and slaves, as well as the serfs and vassals in the Middle Ages to give examples. These four social groups are what Marx considers “subordinate gradations” in a structured class society (Tucker, 474).
The single most important relationship in human existence is that between a man and his method of production. Though not explicitly referenced in this text, Marx believes that all social classes are a result of this relation to production and the pursuant requirement of humans to fulfill basic and false needs. As history advances, what becomes important is not the individuals and the events that surround them, but the further clarification and organization of labor. This progression from simple family units all the way to the emergence of the bourgeois as it exists in Marx’s time (and arguably still exists in the twenty-first century) justifies the view of history as the explicit march and development of...

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