Analysis of The Communist Manifesto Karl Marx and Freidrich Engles, The Communist Manifesto is an announcement of the aims of a communist organization. It has also functioned as an explanation of the ideas that form the foundation of communist and socialist philosophy. It begins with the view of history as a class struggle. With Karl Marx’s view of history class struggle, there are two classes in constant battle. First it was the master slave relationship, then follows peasant and nobility, on down to the bourgious and the proletarait.
It was a struggle between the oppressed and the oppressor, the owner and the owned. One class exploited the other because their relationships were completely opposed. This would create a merchant class and a working class from the struggle between the peasant and the nobility. But Marx and Engles felt that at some point the working class would eliminate all the remaining classes. If there was only one class, there wouldn’t be a class struggle. There would no longer be a need for money, religion, nation-states and governments.
Marx and Engels actually believed that they had discovered a method that could be applied in a scientific manner to the businesses of the world. It has been well over 100 years since the publication of the Communist Manifesto and there are many arguments as to why this method has never taken place and many argue over what made the plan unsuccessful. It may be that some of the assumptions for example, the labor theory of value were mistaken. Or the problem with the Marxian ideas set in the manifesto might be that Marx misunderstood which class would ultimately incorporate all the others.
He was under the impression that laborers must ultimately take over the means of production and in doing so terminating the capitalist system. What he could not understand was that the means of production would become less and less expensive all the time due to efficiencies in production such as technology. He couldn’t predict the arrival of computers and tools that would greatly reduce the costs of labor. The Communist Manifesto ideas are worthy of study because there are economic and historical truths within it. The first section introduces the Marxian idea of history as a class struggle.
Marx and Engels were the first to put forward the notion that the working class is exploited by the bourgeoisie. With a labor theory of value where the value of goods and services is based on the amount of labor that is put into them, all the surplus that goes to the capitalist as profits is in reality the “property” of the working class who created that wealth. The second section of the Communist Manifesto addresses the nature of the new working class which he calls the proletariat. He looks at its implications for the advancement of society, including the abolition of property and family.
This section also stresses a kind of Ideal that can only be brought about by violence and conflict with the working class taking power from the bourgeoisie (the owners of the means of production). This conflict is anticipated also to bring about the end of nation-states and, ultimately, all forms of government, bring about a worker’s paradise. Parts 3 and 4 of the Communist Manifesto are more cryptic and relate more with the politics of the age and topographical region in which the document was written in 1848.
Section 3 discusses the various forms of socialism, feudal socialism, petty-bourgeios socialism, and “true” socialism. Part 4 goes on to show how these different groups inter-relate. Ultimately, Marx and Engles, wrote about communism, a society where classes were eliminated, people were seen as equals and work was distributed as such. The manifesto urged the proletarait to revolt, it expressed the wrong doings and downfalls of the “evil” bourgious and created a paradise for the working class and gave theories on change for the better. The document ends with a stirring shout, “Working men of all countries, unite! ”