The Communist Manifesto

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In their Manifesto, Marx and Engels predicted that one day the proletariat of the world would rise up in an inevitable revolution. This is based around the theory of how the world is defined by a struggle between and among economic classes, which will eventually lead to the establishment of a provisional vanguard state that would slowly transition a society to a communist society by abolishing class altogether. The procedure and the process of the revolution that is to occur, is built upon Marx 's famous generalization that ‘the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles’[ Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto, ed. by Jeffrey C. Isaac, (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2012).]. Marx 's…show more content…
By relating the story of the labourer in relation to the flagrant exploitation he undergoes, Marx manages to have his message on revolution resonate with many of his readers at that current time. The Manifesto begins by addressing the issue of class antagonism, in its preface, where ‘all history has been a history of class struggles, of struggles between exploited and exploiting, between dominated and dominating classes at various stages of social development’[ Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto, ed. by Jeffrey C. Isaac, (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2012).]. J. Elster in ‘An introduction to Karl Marx’ confirms this notion of the ‘contrast and the conflict between the haves and the have nots, the idle rich and the working poor, are constant themes of history.[ J. Elster, An Introduction to Karl Marx, (Cambridge, 1986), chapter 5, p.79.] Through history, society has managed to arrange and rearrange itself into complicated class structures. For example, the medieval era presented a feudal system, with feudal lords, guild masters, merchants, apprentices and serfs, which according to Marx’s modern bourgeoisie society is a by-product of the feudal society. The normative concept of exploitation, therefore as Marx speaks of it in the manifesto can be understood by its two distinct…show more content…
Marx’s ideas on this exploitation refers to a feudalistic driven society, where the performance of labour is over and above what is needed to produce goods consumed by the labourer. An example to sustain his theory is of when the exploiter ends up with a surplus. The proletariat or working class is therefore not paid the full value of what she or he produces, the rest is the surplus value which is the capitalist’s profits, and according to Marx known as the ‘unpaid labour of the working class’. The bourgeoisie force down wages of the proletariat to increase their own profits and this creates a more direct conflict between the classes and gives rise to the development of class consciousness in the working class. The working class, through trade unions and other struggles becomes conscious of itself as an exploited class. As Marx’s theory suggests exploitation of this kind will result in revolution in the favour for social change. Elster’s criticises this as he explains how at times, surplus can be thinly spread over the exploiters trade partners. Moreover, an independent farmer producing more than he can consume may not know of his exploitation status and therefore may not be motivated to revolt. One may argue that this way, Marx’s requirement for us to compare the amount of labour a person performs and the
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