If human history has been able to mass-produce one thing, and one thing well, it has been political revolution. Whether it was the movement from Conservatism to Liberalism, or Democracy to Dictatorship; revolution was the push that made these changes happen. In the Post-World War II era, one particular political movement rose to prominent status: Communism. China, Cuba, North Korea and many Eastern Bloc countries made this shift, all through the help of revolution. This is understandable given that Communism is appealing. Communism helps to support everyone and puts society on an equal playing field. The problem lies in its application; Communism looks great on paper, but it is abysmal in practice. Communism causes politi cal instability and economic turmoil. This paper will seek to explain the original ideasCommunism – based on Karl Marx and Frederick Engels’s work the Manifesto of the Communist Party. It will then present eight criticisms, divided into three categories; social, economic and political viewpoints
The first chapter is titled “Bourgeois and Proletarians.” In the first sentence, Marx and Engels highlight the problem with European society. They (1848) write,“the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.” The particular struggle identified is that between the bourgeoisie – the employers – and the proletarians – the workers. Marx and Engels identify the first problem in the relationship between the bourgeoisie and proletarians. Namely, the bourgeoisie exploit the work of the proletarians. The proletarians are described as slaves and “they are daily and hourly enslaved by the machine” (Marx & Engels, 1848); the machine being capitalism. What is surprising to Marx and Engels about this relationship is that the dominant force is the minority. Marx and Engels (1848) argue that “the proletarian movement is the independent movement of the immense majority, in the interest of the immense majority.” The fact that a minority is the dominant figure is appalling to Marx and Engels. At the end of the chapter, they write that the bourgeoisie are no longer fit to be the ruling class in society because they are “incompetent to assure an existence to its slave within his slavery.” (Marx & Engels, 1848). Marx and Engels view the bourgeoisie-proletarian relationship as a master-slave relationship, or at best the proletarians as indentured servants to the bourgeoisies. Marx and Engels suggest that the only way for the proletarians to escape this struggle is to do away with Capitalism. The second chapter is titled “Proletarians and Communists” and it is here that the solution to this class struggle is provided. Communists are presented as the liberators of the proletariat. The Communists will “[form] the proletariat into a class [and] overthrow the bourgeois supremacy” (Marx & Engels, 1848).The Communist sees himself as being above the national level. That is to say, he is not working solely in the interest of the domestic proletariat but for all proletarians in general. Now in the event of a Communist takeover, there needs to be some groundwork laid before Communism can flourish. Marx and Engels present what is now referred to as the “10 Courses of Action,” otherwise known as the 10 Planks of the Communist Manifesto. These planks are the short-term demands that need to be implemented in order to make Communism most effective. At the conclusion of Chapter 2, Marx and Engels argue that “public power will lose its political character” (1848). The reason being that political power “is merely the organized power of one class for oppressing the other.” (1848). They argue that the proletarians should take over thereby negating any need for the bourgeoisie. This classless society would be the foundation for Communism and is the only way to truly liberate the proletariat. The third chapter, “Socialist and Communist Literature,” looks at the theories of Socialism that were...
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