Communist Manifesto

Karl Marx, founder of Marxism school of thought was the most prominent philosopher and sociologist whose theories have influenced great political and social changes. Manifesto of the Communist party or Communist Manifesto was first published on February 21, 1848 in German and its English edition was published in 1888. The book was co-authored by Friedrich Engels, though he himself gives the credit for all major ideas to Karl Marx.  As the name suggests, the book is about Communism and offers an analytical approach to class struggle, caused by Capitalism. The book is divided into the following parts (1) Bourgeois and Proletarians.  (2) Proletarians and Communists (3) Socialist and Communist literature.

Marx has referred the ruling class as Bourgeois. They own all the factors of production, which forms the basis of survival of any society.  The other class of people is the labour class or working class known as Proletariats. The bourgeois and Proletariats are also known as The have`s and have not respectively, because one class owns every resource while other does not.  Marx believes that the political, economic and social difference between these two classes caused by the exploitation of Bourgeois towards Proletariat is the reason for class struggle. And this class struggle shall continue as long as the exploitation continues. The opening lines of the manifesto say – The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle. The manifesto explains how the ruling class exploits the working class on a day to day basis and eventually a day comes when the working class rise to the occasion and overthrow the ruling class, ultimately leading to a classless society.  It has very categorically mentioned how the ruling class exploit the working class in factories to produce finish goods and services and pay very little wages for the same, and finally leave the working class to buy their own produced goods and services at higher prices, hence maintaining the class difference.

One of the most fascinating aspects of Communist Manifesto is its relevance even today. Hence in Europe of 19th century, the class struggle was between the Bourgeois and Proletariat, i.e factory owners who owned  means of production and the workers of these factories. Today the role of the Bourgeois is played by big MNC`s and international organizations, and the role of Proletariat ( exploited class) is played by poor nations and other economies dependant upon them. For example – world bank exploiting African countries. In India we see the fight in Lalgarah between farmers and the government regarding the opening of SEZ`s.  A number of Maoist ideologies are based or inspired from the class struggle mentioned by Marx.

But at the same time many of Marx`s critique label his concept of communism as Utopian, as they believe Capitalism can never be overthrown in real and practical world. And that there will always be a class of people exploiting another class of people.

Communist Manifesto is one of the best and the most controversial works of political theory and shall remain so. It’s a must read for students of politics, society and for people who wish to gain an insight into the philosophy of Marxism.

Shantanu Mehra

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