The Communist Manifesto
A summary of the book of Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx
People all over the world go hungry because others waste perfectly good food; corporations profit from distant civil wars in which child soldiers are forced to slaughter one another, and factory owners profit from mothers sewing cheap clothes in their factories for a pittance so that the West can shop at competitive prices.
All of these heinous photographs demonstrate the open exploitation that exists in our contemporary capitalist economic production system.
Of course, this is not a new phenomenon. Similar situations were observed by nineteenth-century communists in industrializing Europe’s industries, and they were outraged. Indeed, communism’s political ideology evolved from the working class’s agony.
This is an excellent bit of political writing. The Communist Manifesto is an excellent introduction to the ideas and goals of the early proletarian movement.
The foundations of communist political philosophy will be taught to you directly from the source in this book summary.
The economic class wields power over society.
Why do we never see impoverished folks in Congress or wealthy landowners laboring in factories? The affluent always appear to hold positions of power, while the rest of us are at their mercy. But how did this come to be? The solution can be found in economics.
Changes in the economy generate changes in society. Every change in social connections is precipitated by a shift in the mode of production or the way by which the essentials of existence as food, housing, and transportation are produced.
The manner of food production in hunter-gatherer societies, for example, was such that humans could only supply for their nearby groups. As a result, there were little class divisions within a society; individuals were more or less equal.
However, with the introduction of farming, a more efficient form of food production arose. Suddenly, there was an abundance of food, enough for farmers to sell to others.
This shift in production resulted in the formation of a hierarchy between those who controlled the food supply and those who had to labor for them. As a result, the first class structure was born: the class that had economic power also wielded political authority.
Historically, all civilizations have been structured into complex hierarchies of opposing classes. The distinctions between these groups may be traced back to their degree of control over the processes of production. In essence, the class that controls a society’s riches dominates that society by utilizing its position to enslave the other classes.
Slaves, for example, were not permitted to own property under the Roman Empire, which exacerbated their tyranny.
In feudal civilizations of medieval Europe, impoverished serfs were bound to their land and owed to wealthier landlords. In other words, these landowners owned them and compelled them to work the land.
The class conflict has been driven by the interaction between these oppressor and oppressed classes.
The bourgeoisie controls the economy and, as a result, society.
You don’t have to go to a medieval cathedral or castle to understand the immense influence that rulers and the church once had. However, they now have relatively little authority, and the power they previously possessed is now in the hands of the great rulers of industry. In other words, the latter constitute today’s ruling class. So, how did they take over?
Their rise to prominence occurred with the demise of the feudal order.
The monarch, its nobles, i.e., the aristocracy, and the church owned the means of production (mostly agricultural land) under the feudal system. They retained authority over the other classes because they controlled the land. Peasants could only gain access to land by selling themselves into servitude in order to produce or earn enough to subsist.
However, industrialisation in the eighteenth century introduced alternative modes of production to feudal slavery, providing farmers with a new source of income: factory labour.
Farmers migrated in droves from agriculture to industry, and the old social structure collapsed. Oppression, on the other hand, did not evaporate with it: a new strong class formed — the bourgeoisie, or owners of industrial capital.
The emergence of the bourgeoisie was revolutionary: feudalism was replaced by naked self-interest and the invisible hand of the free market.
However, the underlying socioeconomic order remained unchanged: employees sold their labor for a salary that was insufficient to compensate them for the quantity of capital (or total value) they produced.
In concrete words, when a manufacturing worker makes a chair, his salary is not equivalent to the cost of the chair. Rather, he obtains a part of its value. The remaining capital falls into the hands of the bourgeoisie, increasing their influence even more.
Meanwhile, the bourgeoisie is always on the lookout for new sources of wealth and markets to exploit, transforming capitalism into a worldwide phenomenon. Capitalism has become the defining economic philosophy of our time as the bourgeoisie’s dominance has grown.
Despite being oppressed, the working class is growing more united.
Today, the bourgeoisie has taken the role of an oppressive monarchy. With them in power, a new downtrodden class has emerged: the working-class proletariat.
If there was ever any charm in the workplace, it is already gone. You don’t work and produce for yourself, but for a factory owner who will only pay you what you need to live, not because he cares about you, but so you can keep working for him and helping his factory expand.
As a result, you’ll live as long as you can find employment and die as soon as your labor is no longer adequate to increase the bourgeoisie’s wealth. As a result, employees have devolved into little more than utilitarian commodities.
As if that weren’t terrible enough, employees become increasingly unimportant with each rise in the division of labor, i.e., as the processes necessary to produce anything grow smaller, simpler, and more specialized.
Individuals today face the boredom of turning a single factory lever all day for a pittance salary, rather than manufacturing a whole product as they would have in the past. Under capitalism, all characteristics of humanity no longer matter: age, sex, ambitions, and aspirations all lose their value; humans are simply the limbs of a machine.
Because of the enormous magnitude of industrial production, there are more employees now than ever before. Furthermore, as they have become more agglomerated in cities, their methods of communication have expanded, and distinctions between them have been obliterated by their reduction to commodity status.
Despite being driven into direct competition with one another in terms of labor and salary, workers have learned that only by banding together can they oppose the system created by the bourgeoisie. The proletariat is a revolutionary force, and workers have banded together to build a more equitable society.
Workers have fought against the bourgeoisie from the dawn of the proletariat class. Capitalists will soon find they have given birth to their own gravediggers.
Communists and the proletariat have the same goal, to eliminate private property and seize political power.
Workers’ fury is evident, but the issue remains: how can the proletariat channel its rage and frustration into a political movement that brings about real change? The communists have a plan.
Communists aim to unify workers behind a single goal. While unions are sprouting up in many nations and industries, their networks are still much too tiny in comparison to the worldwide dominance of the bourgeoisie, with their economic clout and international ties.
As a result, international communists have vowed to champion the interests of the proletariat as a worldwide class. These communists come from working-class parties and organizations all across the world, and they bring with them an awareness of the broader picture — a global proletarian movement that transcends national boundaries.
And, in order to realize their vision, communists seek to destroy private property.
Many people are perplexed by this because they feel that earning money and obtaining private property under capitalism is the only thing that motivates individuals to work. They believe that eliminating private property would have disastrous economic effects since nothing would ever be created.
The proletariat, on the other hand, does not generate any property for itself through wage labor. Workers are paid the absolute minimum to guarantee their poor livelihood, which is far from adequate to allow them to save for the future.
The bourgeoisie is the only one that benefits from the property generated by wage labor, and it is precisely this property that acts as the basis for its dominance over the proletariat. In essence, under capitalism, the proletariat develops the means for its own exploitation.
As a result, there is no legitimate foundation for individual or private capital ownership under communist rule: capital creation necessitates an entire community and should thus be possessed by everyone.
As a result, the communists’ objectives are urgent and decisive: the unified proletariat must overthrow the capitalists and take political power in order to redistribute wealth to everyone in society.
The International Communists’ 10 demands.
There are 10 requirements that must be satisfied in order to usher in a fair and just communist society:
- Land exclusivity creates and maintains class disparities. As a result, all land property and all land rentals must be expropriated for public use.
- A hefty progressive tax must be implemented to guarantee that wealth does not accrue and concentrate at the top.
- Inheritance concentrates wealth in the hands of the already rich, cementing class differences. As a result, all inheritance rights should be repealed.
- Emigrants who have left their home nation have no need for their belongings. As a result, we will seize that property, as well as the property of those who would subvert proletarian rule.
- Credit institutions operate only on the basis of their capital, making no inputs to output. As a result, the State will enjoy an exclusive credit monopoly through a national bank with State capital.
- Freedom of movement is a right that every person should have and for which society is accountable. As a result, the state will gain control of transportation.
- Much of our land remains underutilized. We should employ the State’s current production tools to cultivate the wastelands and enhance the soil.
As things are, the many work for the advantage of the few. As a result, everyone should be compelled to work.
- In addition, industrial armies, particularly for agriculture, should be formed.
- Encourage the eventual elimination of differences between urban and countryside by more evenly dispersing the people.
- Our lives are shaped in part by the quality of our upbringing. As a result, education in public schools will be free, and children’s factories in their existing form will be eliminated.
All typical communist objections are easily refuted.
Clearly, the communists’ ambitious goal for social revolution has met with tremendous opposition. However, the objections are both hypocritical and fallacious. Here are a few examples of the most common:
Communism has been accused as being anti-family, but this is not the case. Communists are accused of undermining traditional family values and connections by demanding that children be taught in public rather than at home.
But we can only laugh at this criticism. Capitalism has already succeeded in destroying families! Mothers labor 60 hours per week, and children are imprisoned in factories practically as soon as they can walk, reduced to little more than commodities.
Communism merely demands that education be free and free of the control of the ruling class.
Others would have you think that communism deprives workers of their nationality. Workers, on the other hand, do not have a country to begin with.
Workers are not represented by the wonderful ideals and history that nationalists give to their countries. Rather, they are represented by their work and their status as oppressed subjects.
Communists cannot steal from workers what they do not own. While communism will begin with national governmental rule, communists intend to further erase national borders. Workers from all nations have already grown more similar due to standardization, international trade, and a shared purpose, which will facilitate this trend.
Moreover, others fear that communism would weaken Christianity. Indeed!
Communism seeks to replace the present set of morality, which have been molded by our capitalist society’s repressive power relations. Historically, religion has served primarily to sustain the ruling classes. It supports the king’s right to govern in feudal society; under capitalism, it opposes socialist and communist movements.
Because of the church’s role in maintaining class hierarchy, religion must be discarded along with the rest of the old world.
The criticisms leveled about communism are feeble. All they show is that many people still do not understand the causes and demands of the proletariat revolution, which is why this manifesto is so vital.
The only two useful and coherent conclusions you learn from reading Karl Marx:
1- Never waste your time reading Karl Marx
2- Never waste your time on people who read Karl Marx
Why? Because Marxism only makes sense when you realize Marx was just a semi-literate idiot.