Lektion 8, Thema 2
In Progress

Marx, Engels and the communist manifesto

herr-stritt 14. Juli 2021
Lektion Progress
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D O Hill’s impression of Charles Tennant & Co’s St.Rollox Chemical Works and Iron Foundry on the day of the opening of the Garnkirk & Glasgow Railway, September 1831.

We are in the year 1848 1Source of this text: https://www.getabstract.com/de/zusammenfassung/das-kommunistische-manifest/3733, last access: July 14th, 2021. , the time of Restauration: The old powers try to re-establish themselves, while being threatened by revolutionary and democratic ideas of the bourgeoisie. At the same time, another revolution was already taking place: namely, the industrial one, which brought great wealth to the early capitalists, while for many people it meant a miserable existence in the modern cities and factories.

Enraged by this mass impoverishment, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels write The Communist Manifesto. The influence, however, was only really felt 70 years later – the time of the Russian October Revolution in 1917. The original goal of the communists: a thoroughly human society without bondage and oppression.

These are the most important take-aways of The Communist Manifesto:

  • The Communist Manifesto predicted the end of capitalism – at a time (1848) when it was only beginning its great upswing.
  • The Manifesto justifies the political action of the proletarians from the necessary course of history.
  • The text was published at a time when early capitalism was creating great social contrasts: hardship and misery here, outrageous wealth there.
  • The initial thesis of the Communist Manifesto: all human history is a history of class struggles.
  • In antiquity there was the class antagonism between slaveholders and slaves, in the Middle Ages that between feudal lords and serfs.
  • In the modern era, bourgeois capitalists and workers oppose each other as oppressors and oppressed.
  • The unequal property and production relations in bourgeois society create a tremendous tension that will be discharged in a revolution.
  • If private property is abolished, the class antagonisms also disappear.
  • The communists are the consistent representatives of the interests of the workers.
  • Other socialist parties are not radical enough and therefore end up playing the game of the oppressors.
  • The workers become the ruling class, but only temporarily: in the end there is the classless society without bondage, exploitation and oppression.
  • Through the Russian October Revolution (1917), The Communist Manifesto became one of the key political texts of the 20th century.

Assignment


Read the text above well, and write down the most memorable facts about The Communist Manifesto. Think back about Major Pig’s speech: What are the parallels between this speech and the changes demanded by Marx and Engels?