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The Communist Manifesto Written by Karl Marx

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The Communist Manifesto written by Karl Marx explains the history of all societies as the history of class conflicts, he claims that the power and direction of all societies is determined by the modes of production, as such when the mode of production no longer suits the relations of society there is a revolution. He predicts that a revolution is coming between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, and calls its coming inevitable. Marx argues that the bourgeoisies are no longer fit to rule, nor is their rule sustainable, as such the proletariat will overthrow them and end all class antagonisms with the creation of a classless society. However, Marx does not give enough credit to nationalism, nor does he ascribe to the possibility of compromise between the classes. Due to this he predicts a class war which never, and might never, take place.

The first section of the Communist Manifesto describes the history of all society as the history of class conflicts. Claiming, that every society is essentially divided into, the oppressors and the oppressed. Furthermore, Marx adds, in the past, societies were organized in more complex combinations and hierarchies, but modern society is being split into two Ð''hostile camps'. There has always been a continuous conflict between the different classes; the end result of these conflicts is always, either the total suppression of the oppressed classes, or a revolution, which leads to an overhaul of society. He blames the cause for the separation of modern society into only two groups, on the fall of feudalism. These new class antagonisms are between the proletariat, and the bourgeoisie.

Marx views the rise of the bourgeoisie in Europe as the result of a couple of factors; firstly, he believes that, the initial elements of the bourgeoisie, were developed by the chartered burghers who evolved from the serfs of the medieval ages. Next, following the great colonization of the 16th and 17th centuries the market expanded, leading to a great need for increased production. This great demand could not be sufficed by the feudal guilds, as such they were replaced with manufacturing. However, the markets and the demand kept increasing and the manufacturing system could no longer keep up, as such it also was replaced, by Modern Industry. The Industrial Revolution of the late 18th century and the early 19th century which lead to great advances in technology, energy sources, and communication, combined with the ever expanding new markets, allowed for the creation of a powerful bourgeoisie class. The bourgeoisie's ever increasing wealth was, Marx believed, proportionally followed with increasing political advance. As such Marx believes, the governments of Europe were "but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie" (247). The bourgeoisie, Marx claims, destroyed all the relations between men, except for Ð''naked self interest'; the bourgeoisie has transformed personal self worth into exchange value. Marx notes that, the exploitation previously veiled by religious and political Ð''illusions' is now direct, brutal and blatant.

The bourgeoisie differs from other industrial classes in that it requires a constant revolutionizing of the modes of production, therefore it also requires a constant revolutionizing of the relations in society. Furthermore the relentless need for an expanding market stretches the bourgeoisie all over the globe, Marx claims that because of this national sovereignty and isolationism have become less possible to sustain. Thus the whole world is forced to become bourgeoisie, however, this also means that over the whole world the proletariat are coming into existence as well.

Marx argues that, the bourgeoisie like all the oppressing classes before it will eventually be destroyed. Furthermore, he believes that the bourgeoisie is creating both the soldier and the sword for its own destruction. More specifically, Marx argues that each society has an economic structure which determines class relations, these relations however, are never permanent. As history moves on, the current modes of production, in other words the economic structure, become incompatible with the current class struggle. At that moment, the current structure must be destroyed. This is an inevitable process, it created the bourgeoisie out of the feudal system and it will also lead to the victory of the proletariat over the bourgeoisie. Marx claims in a quasi-Hegelian way, that all of history can be understood as the process where the changing means of production cause the different classes in society to comply and change with them. Marx is fairly adamant about economic relations alone shaping the inevitable general course of history. However, Marx believes that the current conflict between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie is the final such conflict and thus the end of this history. This is because it is the one that will lead to a classless society, thus bringing an end to class relations and antagonisms. Marx notes the three reasons why this conflict will be the last, and why it is inevitable. One, the class antagonisms now concern just two Ð''hostile camps'. Two, the exploitation by the oppressors is no longer hidden behind political or religious ideologies, and is now blatantly expressive of self-interest. Three, due to the need of the bourgeoisie system to constantly revolutionize the modes of production, and consequently all social relations, this creates a very unstable state for all the relations in society.

The proletariat victory is, Marx claims, as inevitable as the fall of the bourgeoisie. The proletariat live only so long as they can find work, which depends on whether their labor increases capital. Within the modern industry, the workers are merely accessories to machines, in fact they are treated like machines; their wages being precisely that which is the minimal requirement to keep them in existence. Additionally, the wages get proportionally lower with the improvement of industrial technology. Because of this, the differences between different workers disappear. As such the workers in all industries and countries are the same, and together under the banner of the proletariat.

The rise of the proletariat is helped by increased industrialization, since it causes their numbers and concentration to grow. Furthermore, the proletariat are also helped in their cause, by the bourgeoisie themselves, since the bourgeoisies use the proletariat to further their political interests against both the old classes and other bourgeoisies. As such the bourgeoisies provide the proletariat with the tools they need for a revolution;



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