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The Communist Manifesto Review - A Short, Concise Summary

July 02, 2010 | Comments: 0 | Views: 150

Now largely discredited after it inspired - or some say was manipulated by - the murderous, brutal regime of Leninist/Stalinist Soviet Russia, The Communist Manifesto contains great insight into the limitations and superficiality of a Capitalist society; both the instability of the economic structure, and the shallow philosophical implications of consumerism inherent in a capitalist system. It predicts the overthrow of the elites in society by the workers, known as the bourgeois and the proletariat respectively, and the eventual abolition of all social, economic classes.

Marx saw a consistent pattern in history; that there has always been one minority ruling class exploiting the larger, workers class; his view of history is summarized in his assertion that 'All history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. He implored all the various communist groups scattered around Europe to incite revolution, in order to overthrow the self-interested, apathetic ruling classes and establish a society where class did not exist: where material would be evenly distributed to prevent inequality.

"A spectre is haunting Europe--the spectre of Communism"

Published in 1848, The Communist Manifesto was penned mostly by Marx at the request of various communist groups in Europe. The stated aim of this enterprise was to create a document that clarified and illuminated the beliefs and doctrines of communism in the face of a concerted campaign from opposing political parties who were sabotaging communism by spreading a wave of malicious falsities. The book contains a highly moralistic message of despair at the exploitation of the many by the few; the large disproportionate between the value of an individuals work, and the amount of wage they receive for it. Marx witnessed in his day the consequences of the Industrial Revolution: the squalor, the poverty and the unrest, and felt indignation at such blatant exploitation.

Let the ruling classes tremble at a communist revolution

What shrouds this work in infamy is the application of it's principles and repute in subsequent years. Lenin, and then Stalin, ran an increasingly violent and cruel state under the guise of communist principles. Collectivization was utilized, as well as centralizing the means of production, yet Stalin embarked on genocidal campaigns, and brutally neglected a criminal amount of Russian people. It is not right to associate Stalinist Russia with The Communist Manifesto. The manifesto challenges both previous and current economic, and the consequent social, systems; and it further encourages us to review and reconsider our conceptions about the world. It is by no means the manual to violent dictatorships that it is often misconceived as, and even if you strongly believe in capitalism, it remains an interesting discourse on economics and human nature.

The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Workers of the world, unite!

Luke Bodell is a freelance author living in Bath, England. He runs a book review website that provides brief, concise reviews on books in Top 10 Lists, to help people decide new books to read.

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