The Man and Woman Manifesto
The Man and Woman Manifesto
The Communist Manifesto-Karl Marx
Karl Marx (1818-1883) is best known as the father of Communism although his manifesto was jointly written by him and Frederick Engels (1820-1895). I am taking various paragraphs from that writing as I believe it creates a very good context of class struggle. Look at the first sentence below- The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. What a sweeping statement. And it goes on... just one sweeping statement after another. I have included enough from his manifesto for you to capture a flavor of this important document. And the question we want to be asking ourselves as we review it is, "What is the context that Marx is presenting, i.e., what is his point or stand?"
Karl Marx (1818-1884) and Frederick Engels (1820-1895)- Manifesto of the Communist Party , 1848
The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.
Freemen and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeymen, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.
In the earlier epochs of history, we find almost everywhere a complicated arrangement of society into various orders, a manifold gradation of social rank. In ancient Rome we have patricians, knights, plebeians, slaves; in the Middle Ages, feudal lords, vassals, guild-masters, journeymen, apprentices, serfs; in almost all of these classes, again, subordinate gradations.
The modern bourgeois society that has sprouted from the ruins of feudal society has not done away with class antagonisms. It has but established new classes, new conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in place of the old ones.
Our epoch, the epoch of the bourgeoisie, possesses, however, this distinctive feature: it has simplified the class antagonisms. Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other: Bourgeoisie and Proletariat.
In proportion as the bourgeoisie, i.e., capital, is developed, in the same proportion is the proletariat, the modern working class, developed-a class of labourers, who live only so long as they find work, and who find work only so long as their labour increases capital. These labourers, who must sell themselves piecemeal, are a commodity, like every other article of commerce, and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition, to all the fluctuations of the market.
Owing to the extensive use of machinery and to division of labour, the work of the proletarians has lost all individual character, and, consequently, all charm for the workman. He becomes an appendage of the machine, and it is only the most simple, most monotonous, and most easily acquired knack, that is required of him. Hence, the cost of production of a workman is restricted, almost entirely, to the means of subsistence that he requires for his maintenance, and for the propagation of his race. But the price of a commodity, and therefore also of labour, is equal to its cost of production. In proportion, therefore, as the repulsiveness of the work increases the wage decreases. Nay more, in proportion as the use of machinery and division of labour increases, in the same proportion the burden of toil also increases whether by prolongation of the working hours, by increase of the work exacted in a given time, or by increased speed of the machinery, etc.
Modern industry has converted the little workshop