“Manifesto of the Communist Party” – Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

“Manifesto of the Communist Party” – Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

Introduction

  • Communism is coming. All of the old powers of Europe right and left to stop it
    • This is an acknowledgement that Communism is a force to be reckoned with
    • Communists need to stop hiding and make themselves be heard

Chapter 1 – Bourgeois and Proletarians

  • Bourgeois – class of modern capitalists, owners of means of social production and employers of wage labor
  • Proletarians – class of modern wage-laborers who by having no means of production of their own are reduced to selling their labor power to live

 

  • All written history is a class struggle and every era has different classes arranged by social rank
  • Modern social hasn’t got rid of class antagonism
    • It just has new classes, conditions of oppression that replace old ones
  • The Bourgeoisie has simplified class antagonisms by pitting 2 classes against each other: Bourgeoisie and Proletariat
  • Bourgeoisie created in chartered town in the Middle Ages
  • Guilds couldn’t keep up with production demand of expanding markets àmodern industry took over and leaders were the Bourgeoisie
  • Modern Bourgeoisie is a product of development and revolutions of production and trade
    • Each step has given the class more political power à ended Feudalism, patriarchal and idyllic relations trying men to their superiors and replaced it wash cash payment for work à pure self-interest
    • All energy put into religious fervor, chivalry and sentimentalism has been replace by cold calculation
    • All changes – free trade, personal value diminished à exploitation
    • These lower the status of doctors, lawyers, priests, poets and scientists to wage laborers
    • Reduced the family to a money-based relation
  • Bourgeoisie can’t live without revolutionizing production and consequently, production relations
    • à Preservation of modes of production maintained in class relations
  • Old established national industries are withering away
    • à Inputs from far away are making the production truly global à nations aren’t independent anymore and are connection Barbarian nations into Civilization
  • Countries like China cannot resist the West’s cheap goods and have caved to the West
    • They must adopt this mode of production or suffer the consequences
  • Bourgeoisie have created huge cities whose populations make up the majority of the country
    • The Barbarian and Semi-Barbarian nations are dependent on the civilized ones à the East is dependent on the West
  • Bourgeoisie is concentrating power into fewer hands and doing the same with political power
    • Laws, government customs/tariffs all to benefit them
  • Means of production = means of growth of Bourgeoisie
    • Eventually free competition had to step in economically, socially and politically
  • Notice that production changes are coupled by social, economic, political changes
    • We’re not yet at the point where any production improvements won’t do them any good
    • Any progress beyond now will harm them but creating its own enemy à Proletariat
  • The Proletariat sells its self to get a wage to continue to live and can only do so if labor can increase capital’s output
    • They are slaves to the Bourgeoisie and machines
      • It is dehumanizing and stripping them of any real skill
      • Making women relatively better off because their labor isn’t worth less than a man’s because the machines are stripping the men of their old value
    • Labor receives wages and forced to buy stuff from the production of the Bourgeoisie à from the landlords, shopkeepers, etc.
      • Lower middle class are squeeze out of the Bourgeoisie and into the Proletariat because their scale of production isn’t enough
    • Development must:
      • Struggle with the Bourgeoisie
        • Individual workers à
        • Factory worker force
        • Factory workers of an entire industry à
        • Factory workers of an entire region à
        • Factory workers of an entire country à
          • Everybody against 1 man
        • Proletarians are still disorganized – still fighting what remains of the monarchy for the Bourgeoisie à also landowners, non-industrial Bourgeoisie and petty Bourgeoisie
        • The losers of these battles become proletarians and the total number grows
          • Machines eliminate class distinctions and reduce wages to the same low level since all skill is low or non-existent
          • The class struggle grows throughout the whole world
        • Proletarians form a political part and force legislative actions for them: reforms, education, etc.
        • The inevitable happens à the bourgeois begins to splinter – they buy off some proles and some bourgeois join the proles
        • The minority accrue numbers slowly and steadily until it becomes a majority
          • It either wins through legislation or victorious rebellion
          • The Bourgeoisie’s greed is what kills it in the end

Chapter 2 – Proletarians and Communists

  • What is the relation between Communists and Proletarians?
    • They share the same interests but shape and mold the proletarians’ movement
  • They are only distinguished in two ways
    • They bring up and point out what proletarians problems are internationally
    • They represent the movement of the proletarians in their struggle as a whole
  • Communists are the most advanced and resolute of the working-class parties because they move them to act and understand the movement, conditions and goals of it all
    • The goal is to form proletarians into a party, overthrow Bourgeois supremacy and get all political control
    • They remind everyone of political and class struggles and urge the abolition of property relations (there’s historical evidence for this)
      • Only goal is to abolish bourgeois property which is the final and most complete expression of production that produces class antagonism and exploitation
      • ABOLISH ALL PRIVATE PROPERTY
    • But to what level? The level of the artisan? The peasant? Or the modern Bourgeois private property?
      • Capital is not just personal but social – a collective product that can only be set in motion collectively
    • When capital is made into common property, most also make personal property collective because it is also social à only its social character has changed.
    • A wage is the minimum needed to keep a laborer. It only produces a bare existence. Abolition of the private nature of capital only frees the worker from the existence of working just to increase capital and benefit the bourgeoisie
    • Labor only exists to benefit the Bourgeoisie in a capitalist society but in a communist society, labor exists to promote itself
    • Bourgeois society has capital as independent and with individuality but the living person is dependent and has no individuality
    • Bourgeois focus on freedom and the conditions of production lead to free trade which is purely selling and buying
    • Private property for 90% is already gone and only exists to benefit the few financially
    • When labor can no longer convert to capital, rent, money and individuals’ property can’t be made into bourgeois property – individuality vanishes
      • MUST ELIMINATE THE BOURGEOIS
    • Communism only prevents a man from subjugating the labor of others through appropriation
    • What if abolition of property leads to laziness?
      • It should have happened under bourgeois system but didn’t because they don’t do shit while the workers do everything
    • What about the disappearance of class culture?
      • That’s fine as long as it’s the bourgeois culture that disappears. It’s based on previous ownership which is based on previous ownership…
    • What about the abolition of the family?
      • The bourgeois family is based on capital ownership and private gain only to benefit the Bourgeoisie but Proletarians have nothing to pass on to their children.
      • We must stop parents from exploiting their children
      • Education is only there to indoctrinate us with apologies or excuses for the bourgeois system
    • What about women?
      • The bourgeois uses his family as an instrument of production to be exploited
      • Communists have always fought for women and don’t treat them like prostitutes like the Bourgeois do
        • Bourgeois marriage is legalized prostitution
      • What about individual countries
        • Communists want to abolish them because working men haven’t got any country of their own. They have only served the Bourgeoisie’s needs for themselves and to antagonize the Proletariat of other countries.
      • When the Proletariat take over, countries will disappear for a universal emancipation of the Proletariat
      • We won’t even consider any religious, philosophical or ideological objection to Communism because it goes without saying that views, ideas, etc. change with the conditions of material existence, which is all going to change anyway
      • We have historical evidence that the ruling class have imposed ideas on workers – new eras will erase the old, bad ideas
      • Christianity was broken or had been transformed by newer ideas à Bourgeois ideas will be changed too
      • Why will Communism abolish all of our sense of morality and eternal truths?
        • All of past society saw the exploitation of the Proletariat as moral – it’s only right to part from it
        • Advent of Democracy has change legality and it’s inevitable that proletarians will take over, take all capital and eliminate the Bourgeoisie
      • The Following will happen
        • Abolition of property, land, rent – all will be public
        • Heavy progressive/graduated income tax
        • No inheritance
        • Confiscation of emigrants’ and rebels’ property
        • Centralization of credit to the state
        • Creation of a national bank and allow the government a monopoly on banking
        • Centralization of communication and transport to the state
        • Extension of factories and production to the state – all waste lands will be cultivated and improve land according to a common plan
        • Equal obligation to work. Establish industrial armies à especially agriculture
        • Combine agriculture with manufacturing industries and abolish distinction between city and country by re-distributing population
        • Free education. Abolish child factory labor. Combine education with industrial production
        • Eliminate all political parties that push for exploitation of one class over another
          • If revolution is necessary, so be it

Chapter 3 – Socialist and Communist Literature

A – Reactionary Socialism

I – Feudal Socialism

  • Actually, developed by aristocrats in England and France, focusing on problems of the Proletariat
  • Considered exploiters in power with no understanding of historical progress
  • Feudal Socialism à Clerical/Christian Socialism concerned with reinstating social order
  • Christian Socialism is the Holy Water that the priest consecrates the burning heart of the aristocrat

II – Petty Bourgeois Socialism

  • Small peasant bourgeoisie and Medieval Burgesses – a class that comes and goes between the Proletariat and the Bourgeoisie but depends on the Proletariat and will eventually be subsumed by them
  • This class has pointed out the problems with modern production and economics theories presented
  • However, they still try to uphold Bourgeois classist manners and the status quo

III – German / “True” Socialism

  • Was a response to French Socialist literature that described a world in France that had not yet come to Germany because there were no proletarians there yet
  • Germans took these ideas and filtered them through reason – without concern for any particular class
  • However, it was too early for the proletarians to win over. The Aristocracy and the Bourgeois were against each other. Proletarians didn’t want a violent upheaval

B – Conservative or Bourgeois Socialism

  • This sort of Bourgeois want to reform its class and interclass relations, rather than destroy the class altogether
  • But they also don’t want to take any responsibility for any oppression they might have done – just more harmony – ultimately ending in more oppression

C – Critical-Utopian Socialism and Communism

  • Early writers didn’t understand Proletarians as a class
  • Proletarians to them were just the oppressed and it wasn’t inevitable to them that they’d take over
    • They thought that they could plead with the Aristocracy and Bourgeoisie to make things better for them
    • As class antagonism built up, their ideas became sill and far less likely
    • They wanted to abolish class conflict without abolishing reasons why class exists in the first place
    • As divisions grew their relevance waned

Chapter 4 – Position of the Communists in Relation to the Various Existing Opposition Parties

  • Communists are the only ones looking out for the long-term interests of the Proletariat and the only ones able to do so
  • The primary focus should be on Germany because its Bourgeoisie have not yet won out against the Aristocracy and Proletarians can take advantage of this because they are more developed than the English and French were when they got their independence and squandered the chance to make it a Communist revolution
  • The Proletarian revolution will happen first in Germany and then spread
  • Communists every will support and fight for the abolition of private property and advancement of the Proletariat
    • They’ve got nothing to lose but their chains
    • All workers should unit for the cause

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