Summary of Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx
Karl Marx was born in 1818 into a middle-class, German family. During his studies, Marx was heavily influenced by the philosophy of Hegel. He joined a group called the “Young Hegelians.” The group, though “inspired by Hegel, [was] determined to champion the more radical aspects of the old master's system.”[i] Though he was a strong scholar, he got into trouble because of his radical political views.[ii] In 1847, together with fellow German, Freidrich Engels, Marx wrote The Communist Manifesto. The Central Authority of the Communist League approved The Communist Manifesto January of 1848, and the document began printing the next month.[iii] The manifesto was “inspired by the emergence of the modern working class, [he] developed a wholly new socialist outlook based upon the principle of socialism from below.”[iv] In Marx’s version of socialism, there were two central themes, one of which was that the working class had to liberate themselves from their oppressors, and the other involved the working people overthrowing their current government to create a new, democratic society for themselves.[v]
Summary of Section 1
Marx begins by showing that throughout all of history humans have divided themselves into certain ranks or classes. For example, in the Middle Ages social divisions were “feudal lords, vassals, guild-masters, journeymen, apprentices, [and] serfs.”[vi] As long as social stratification has existed, one group or groups have been the oppressor while another group or groups have been the oppressed. The fight that exists between the oppressed and the oppressor is destine to end reconstruction of society triggered by revolution or in the demise of both classes. Modern society is split into two classes: the bourgeoisie, who were the capitalists that employ the working class laborers and control production, and the proletariat, who were the working class laborers that must work in order to survive.
The Communist Manifesto goes on to explore the origin of the bourgeoisie as a result of development in means of production. As new markets were within reach and increasing in number so was the demand for products, but the manufacturing industry could not keep up with such a high demand. Out of this problem came the Industrial Revolution, which provided development in means of production, and in turn manufacturing could keep up with the demand. This increased the wealth of the bourgeoisie, and with this increase in wealth came their increase in power. The developments in production lead to the development of the bourgeoisie, which “was accompanied by a corresponding political advance of that class.”[vii]
The bourgeoisie had destroyed the relations that link individuals to their superiors; the only remaining tie between humans is monetary exchange. The specialists, such as doctors, have been reduced to laborers and...