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Essay: Karl Marx’s Influence & Theories of Communism Through The Communist Manifesto

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  • Published: 24 February 2023*
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  • Tags: Marxism essays

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The Communist Manifesto was written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. It was published on February 21st, 1848 in London, England. The book was published in many different languages, for example German, Flemish, Danish, etc. We are learning about the Industrial Revolution in class, and within the Industrial Revolution is the birth of new social classes. These new social classes brought on many different views on how society should work. The Communist Manifesto is a book that gives important insight to the way different societies (capitalism, socialism, communism) work and the way that people who believe in them think. It is a very advantageous tool to have while we are studying this topic and the conflicts of the 19th century. It offers extensive information that we can use to better understand not just the concept of these societies, but all of the things that they have an affect on.

The authors of this text wrote it as a way to publish what they believe and spread their ideas to others. It is a very informative work, that shows what communists hold to be true and right. However, it can also be seen as a persuasive work, since the authors are trying to get others to open their minds to this kind of thinking and influence them in the “direction” of communism. The Communist Manifesto was written for people who wanted change, but didn’t know exactly how they wanted it to happen. It was for written for people who were willing to see the flaws in the past and work towards a different future. Also, the Manifesto was written for the bourgeois society to let them know what their problems were. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels set out to make known the beliefs of communists, and what they stood for. The messages presented in this work are exactly that. The many messages that the authors are trying to spread are expressed in this book in a variety of ways. They want the disadvantages of the society people were living in to be brought to light, and they wanted to show how capitalism was failing. How it was dividing and destroying the community. Marx also wanted to convey the power of communism, and how we will collectively move towards it. Many moments in Marx life led to the development of the Communist Manifesto. “As a university student, Karl Marx (1818-1883) joined a movement known as the Young Hegelians, who strongly criticized the political and cultural establishments of the day.” Karl Marx was involved in making changes early on in his life. He was always involved in challenging the way things were, and wasn’t afraid of telling people how he thinks things should be. Since he believes so strongly in the way of life he has come up with, the reader’s comprehension will be affected. There is a lot of lashing out at the Bourgeoisie, along with other social groups. We will interpret these things similar to how Marx interprets them since it is his point of view. It is his way of looking at things and when reading, it’s like looking at things through his eyes. So, when Marx gives the sense of being against something, you would understand that as something that was wrong or an issue.

The manifesto was a way for Karl Marx to declare his beliefs and make known what he stood for. It is comprised of four parts: Bourgeois and Proletariat, Proletarians and Communists, Socialist and Communist Literature, and Position of Communists In Relation to the Various Existing Opposition Parties. In part one, Bourgeois and Proletariat, Marx discusses the difference of these groups. He lists the various pairs of oppressor and oppressed throughout history. He expresses his disgust for classes, and all the chaos that these separations cause. He shows how the Bourgeois have handled things in the wrong way for too long, and how the Proletariat cannot sit idly by any longer. He then moves on to Proletarians and Communists in part two. Here, he discusses how these two groups are alike, and that their ideals are highly consubstantial. Marx makes it clear that communism is even similar to the other parties within the proletariat. In part three, Socialist and Communist Literature, he explains the many types of socialism. Within each of these subsections, Marx compiles a clear argument against these other parties, successfully explaining the faults in each and exactly why they are going to fail or are not the best option. He brings up various points, whether it be that the party has unrealistic ideas or is simply the lack of practicality in each. Lastly, in the final part, Position of Communists in Relation to the Various Existing Opposition Parties, we see Marx really call upon people. It’s his last stand, his final statements leading to a big finish. He’s laid down the facts, established his opinion, and now he is leaving it up to the people. He provides a powerful ending to his work as he looks to those who read his manifesto to hopefully do what he intended it to be read for.

The Communist Manifesto is a very interesting piece of writing. It was confusing at times, but then again was addressing a very complex topic. Karl Marx was able to make his ideas known in an effective way, and was able to accomplish getting people to see what was wrong with the world they were living in. The writing style was very elegant, and Marx was able to make the reader really think with the sentences he composed. A statement that really stands out is “The ruling ideas of each age have never been the ideas of its ruling class”. Marx isn’t afraid of calling people out, and that is a very compelling factor of this particular work. It feels good to read something that makes you realize so much and that occured a lot while reading the manifesto. However, the language Marx used could sometimes cause a dilemma. It was difficult to understand exactly what he was trying to express at times.  For example, the following quote was troubling to break down: “The robe of speculative cobwebs, embroidered with flowers of rhetoric, steeped in the dew of sickly sentiment, this transcendental robe in which the German Socialists wrapped their sorry “eternal truths”, …” The words were hard to follow at certain sections of the essay, and their meanings were hard to decipher. In the end, The Communist Manifesto was a beneficial and interesting read. It is without a doubt a challenging piece of work, but was still very much appealing.

Before reading the Communist Manifesto, it was hard to understand all the differences between socialism, communism, and capitalism. After reading, the three are now easy to seperate and not as confusing as they seemed. This book has made what we are discussing in class easier to follow and the ideas that we are learning about easier to grasp. Due to analyzing this work, my ability to work harder in understanding context has improved and it has strengthened my aptitude for challenging assignments. The Communist Manifesto was the most difficult work we have studied in class so far, so reading it has really pushed me to dig deeper and try harder to grasp the ideas represented in it. This text is very intricate and challenging, and could provide trouble to another reader. Though it is very informative, it isn’t necessarily something that should be recommended to a fellow classmate. It’s a very complex work that explains so much about the different social groups and gives so much information on Marx (and others) ideas, but is fairly difficult to comprehend. My point of view on the topic has been changed after reading The Communist Manifesto. It has definitely affected how I interpret the different ways people were trying to “fix” society. My awareness has been raised and my knowledge has been expanded, therefore my judgement on the topics discussed in this work has become more developed.

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