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The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx
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's review
Jul 29, 2011

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bookshelves: culture-revolution-etc

In short: this is well worth reading.

Primarily, it is a reaction against a system that "has resolved personal worth into exchange value" as well as the "exploitation of the many by the few". It is refreshing to hear voices, even from the distant past, to claim that an item's worth is not solely dependent upon its ability to produce profits. One may not necessarily agree to the extremity of communist ideals; in fact, Engels himself revised details of his stance after some years of cool-headed consideration. However, it must not be forgotten that the communist movement directly affected workers' rights in the modern age. It is easy to take such perks as vacation time or proscribed working intervals (eight hour days, five day work weeks) for granted, yet it was Marks and Engels that gave the working man a voice, that declared the *necessity* to *humanize* workers. Most importantly, they gave the worker a banner to rally behind, a helpful movement to organize disparate groups and make coherent demands that produced results. The communist cause was also an active promoter of feminism. When they call for equality, they mean for all people independent of race, sex, class, or religion, and some of the most dramatic shifts in women's rights happened in communist regimes of the twentieth century.

Much of the manifesto works beautifully on the page though it fails to consider the basic drivers of human endeavor that got us to where we are in the first place. At times, it seems to be wholly divorced from human nature. One cannot create a solution while completely ignoring the nature of a thing; Marcus Aurelius taught us that long ago. Yet the final words have nevertheless been a rallying cry through the ages, leading the hearts of men to something higher than that which has been given:

"Working men of all countries, unite!"

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