Ravago – The Communist Manifesto

In Marx’s, The Communist Manifesto, he criticizes the “established new classes, new conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in place of the old ones,” (Communist Manifesto 14) with the creation of the social classes. He is concerned about the freedoms of people and believes that the bourgeoisie controls the means of production and the products produced. “From the serfs of the Middle Ages sprang the chartered burghers of the earliest towns. From these burgesses the first elements of the bourgeoisie were developed,” (Communist Manifesto 15). The bourgeoisie is the middle class that consists of merchants, owners of production, etc. With modern production and industry, created the “place of the industrial middle class by industrial millionaires, the leaders of the whole industrial armies, the modern bourgeois,” (Communist Manifesto 15). The bourgeoisie, having the “upper hand,” therefore exploited society and “has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage labourers.”  Marx believed that this difference is what leads to exploitation in capitalism, in the form of wage labor. 

Marx believed that the classes would struggle with the higher class of the bourgeoisie. The material interests of the bourgeoisie were the means of production and of exchange. They were the ones in charge of the factories and produced work for the proletarians. The inequity comes from the difference between these classes. The bourgeois decides where the surplus goes and they make more profit. Marx argues that the proletariats are left with only the labor, while the bourgeoisie would be finding ways to make more profit by lowering wages and increasing productivity. This means the bourgeoisie supported capitalism. Capitalism is where they could make as much profit as they like by their own means. This gives them the freedom to produce more and produce more profit, keeping the surplus of production for themselves. Marx claims that this unfair system creates more suffering for the Proletariats, since they are left with so little. Even though Marx criticized capitalism and what it produces socially, he still supports the fact that the rest of the world should practice capitalism, so there would be more laborers to facilitate a revolution. 

He claims that the bourgeoisie produced one good thing, which was creating cities that “has greatly increased the urban population as compared with the rural, and has thus rescued a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural life,” (Communist Manifesto 17). Marx approved this industrialization of the cities, that the bourgeoisie facilitated through the means of capitalism. With this development, Marx claims how “the feudal relations of property became no longer compatible with the already developed productive forces,” (Communist Manifesto 17). This means that production loses its initial value. The laborers would have to work even more and are valued less as a person.    

If the entire social class were to be eliminated, as Marx proposes, there would be nothing holding back the people who were previously on the lower social class to want more power. Since there is no higher class opposing them, anyone could easily take power. Some might want to become more distinguished than others and with no social classes in place, they are essentially left with the freedom to gain power. This is exactly what occurred in history where Stalin wanted more power than Lenin, which led to dictatorship and a lot of suffering, famine, and death for the people. Marx fails to emphasize the alternative outcomes of dismantling a social class.

Napoleon, for example, as seen in, The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, was supported by the bourgeoisie republic. The bourgeoisie republic consisted of merchants and owners of production, who wanted to return to the “old republic,” before the revolution, where they were not held accountable for political means. With this new system, the bourgeois were afraid of having their taxes raised and be voted off. For this is the reason, the bourgeois favored Napoleon, yet they found themselves “tumble and [threw themselves] on the shoulders of [the] armed force,” (18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte 42) after believing they secured a position with the Order. Marx describes this as a “ridiculous posture [that] loses its balance,” (18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte 43) thus creating a revolution. The bourgeoisie were eventually voted off and lost their position. 

Communism in theory would work if everyone was inherently good. The idea of creating a fair paradigm where no one suffers or struggles in terms of money and labor, would be ideal. The problems created completely contradicts what Marx proposes. Marx wanted social freedom, because through labor, people are able to free themselves of the natural constraints and this created “Free Trade,” (Communist Manifesto 16). Under Feudalism, for example, the nobility were the people who benefitted from the labors of peasants and Marx saw this as an injustice. The surplus in every society was for the higher class at no personal labor expense, while the laborers had to work harder to survive serving the nobility and themselves. If individuals did not have the need to be greedy and selfish, such as Napoleon or Stalin, for example, communism could have benefited society in terms of fair labor. Marx has an interesting theory, although with many flaws and gaps, as seen throughout the course of history; it was a futile attempt to help the struggling class.   

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