The Communist Manifesto The Communist Manifesto discussion

The Communist Manifesto

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message 1: by Surma (last edited Aug 25, 2016 10:54AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Surma Hamid It was really great to have this book, i have enjoyed the truth and reality about the world, which were fantastic, thanks Foad

message 2: by Bijan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 10:55AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bijan Sabbagh Nothing about it! A must-read book for all the people who try to have a free world, and escape from being stuck by Imperialism! It's just a start but I bet it's a proper one!!!

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

A great book with ideas so awesome they led to totalitarian dictatorships and more massacred than World War II! SWEET!

Communism is fascinating and a proven failure.

message 4: by Francisco (last edited Aug 25, 2016 10:55AM) (new)

Francisco ¡JA, JA, JA! It's a "GREAT" book... Use it for support a wobbly table.
Its literary value is zero; no scientific basis, and its conclusions are wrong; and (last but not least), the tentatives for practice were catastrophes...
¡JA, JA, JA! Es un "gran" libro... Úsalo para calzar una mesa coja.
Su valor literario es nulo; la base científica errónea y sus conclusiones equivocadas; y los intentos de llevarlo a la práctica han terminado en catástrofes...

message 5: by Marc (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:00PM) (new)

Marc Hmmm! Don't get me wrong, I am not a marxist or communist by any stretch but that does not mean that I would go as far as discrediting him as a bitter revolutionary. He catched a lot of unfair hate, because of his followers. Most of these lazy insurgents actually do not have much of a clue about his theories. I thought the same way abot Marx, but was really caught off-guard when highly regarded economists at my university praised his contributions to economic theory (and they were no lefties by any measure) and explained that there is a reason he is regarded to be in the same class with the likes of Smith and Ricardo. I also learned the flawes of his theory from them, but they are not nearly as obvious as you try to make it look(matter of fact, what a lot people see as flaws in his work, makes perfect sense in the context of his model). People are quick to discredit his theory because of the failed communist experiment, but fail to realize that there is a reason this theory was so tempting to many people in the old days. And a rational marxist with deep knowledge of the working body can be tough person to debate with. Even as a senior in economics and political science, I am not sure if I could handle that.
The beautiful and at the same time dangerous thing about economics, is its uncertain nature. By that accoun we still can not pinpoint the perfect economic system. While Marx conclusion about the best economic form is wrong, we can not fully falsify a lot of his predictions for the future of capitalism just yet. The problems we will face in the imminent future (dollar, marginalisation of the factor work all over the world, speculation bubbles,...) makes me afraid that there is a chance that he is right after all.

message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Well, I suggest we dissolve the family NOW and move the children to the communal education camps as soon as possible, as Marx suggests.

Get on it, people! I'm tired of you teaching your children all this capitalist tripe and inculcating love for the family and individual and NOT the Collective!

Viva la revolucion!

message 7: by Anna (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:00PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anna I'd think that a theory that has been tried so many times, in so many different geographical settings but yet have to prove its validity (as the answer to all societal ills), may just be best left at the "Scholarly Arguments"-shelf in the library?

message 8: by [deleted user] (new)


When the Great Space Aliens who are Communists and Scientologists arrive from the Eighth Dimension to rule us as communal, swill-eating slaves, YOU, Anna, will have the WORST-TASTING SWILL!

message 9: by Anna (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:02PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anna But you missed the point, my dear, um, green alien (Tiny Space Alien?). Will they be handsome?
Beauty before Truth!

And not to worry - I have stocked up on all flavor additives in my underground cave.
Swill with Spinach flavor [E23 bq*4], anyone?

message 10: by Trevor (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:12PM) (new)

Trevor It fascinates me that no one thinks it is at all necessary to even mention what Marx's arguments were - just to state that they were either completely wrong or completely right. Imagine 'discussing' the Manifesto without even mentioning the class struggle. It begger's belief.

I can only assume no one has actually read this tiny book - how else could the discussion have gotten onto space aliens?

Marx isn't defeated by referring to 20th Century Socialism. Just as Nietzsche isn't defeated by reference to Nazism or Jesus with reference to christianity. It was Plato who wanted to 'dissolve' the family - I can't remember any mention of this in the Manifesto at all.

Marx's point is remarkably simple - it was that historical progress is premised on economic progress. That economic progress to date has depended on one class in society forcing all other classes in society to spend part of their labour in sustaining the ruling class. That the power relationships in a society are based on economic relationships. When these economic and political relationships stop society from being able to continue to develop the class struggle increases to such a point that these relationships are overthrown, as they were in ancient slave societies, as they were in feudal societies and, as Marx predicts, they will be in Capitalist societies.

In Marx's terms, when the relationships to production within a society become a fetter on the further development of the productive forces in that society the class struggle resolves this contradiction by smashing the relations to production and replacing them with new relationships.

A valid criticism of Marx would be to look at the world and see if Capitalism has proven to be a fetter on the development of the productive forces - any honest analysis would have to say that it has not. In fact, the failure of Socialism was its failure to keep pace with Capitalism in developing the productive forces and (ironically, as Marx predicted) any society that fails to develop its productive forces will inevitably be condemned to the dust bin of history.

There is much to learn from Marx and Engels and particularly this tiny book that no one seems to have read - you may be surprised to learn that none of the things that are worth saying about this book have anything to do with space aliens or the family.

message 11: by Ken (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ken For those of you who doubt Marx's contributions please read Das Capital. Once you get past the 9 chapters of how much linen a coat is worth it is an excellent empirical critic of capitalism. One should understand the system they live under not just blindly accept what is fed to you.The effects of the capitalist systems in place have global repercussions.

Maxine One has to look at the historical perspective from which Marx was writing. Capitalism was still in its infancy and the conditions under which the working class lived were horrendous. Compare, for example, the world of Jane Austen at the end of pre-industrialism to that of Dickens only two decades later. Charles Darwin's theory of evolution had just been published and Marx believed that economic systems would evolve like biological systems, gradually, that socialism would erupt from the failure of capitalism just as capitalism had erupted from the failure of feudalism. He expected that England would be the birthplace of socialism, not a country like Russia which was still, essentially, feudal at the time of the revolution and was, thus, using Marxian theory, doomed to fail. As to the eventual success or failure of capitalism, one has to assume that the people who lived under feudalism for more than a millenium thought that it would never end.

``Laurie All Satan has to offer is heaven on earth, but because of our fallen natures this will never be possible.
Read the book of Genesis to learn about the fall of man and then the Gospels to learn about our redemption.

message 14: by Mark (new) - rated it 1 star

Mark Weak, formulaic. I read the Communist Manifesto as a schoolboy and was astonished people could really take this cartoon-like simplification of history seriously.

Maxine Mark wrote: "Weak, formulaic. I read the Communist Manifesto as a schoolboy and was astonished people could really take this cartoon-like simplification of history seriously."

Interesting. You're saying the Manifesto is formulaic. Could you give some examples of previous writings to it which back up this comment? Anything written after wouldn't count as I'm sure you understand. As to weak, that seems somewhat subjective on your part if you consider how influential it has proved to be since it was first published in 1848. As to its simplification of history, it was, as its title suggests, a manifesto written for the Communist League at a time of great revolutionary zeal in Europe, not a history text. It was meant more to energize the working class than to explain its place in history although, admittedly, it did try to do that as well. Although it puts forward the premise that all history comes from class struggle, I am not sure you can make a case that is a simplification of history rather than a theoretical starting point. Admittedly, my degree in history could, itself, be considered history given its age but I'm not aware of any schools of thought (not counting Christian Revisionism, of course) that backs up your statement. But I'm a great lover of all things history and am always willing to learn.

message 16: by Mark (last edited May 01, 2013 03:01AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Mark Maxine wrote: "Mark wrote: "Weak, formulaic..."

Could you give some examples of previous writings to it which back up this comment? Anything written after wouldn't count as I'm sure you understand.

Of course, Maxine, but formulaic doesn't mean unoriginal. Marx's claim was fairly new, but this doesn't stop it from being an oversimplified formula. Marx might have copied or adapted other ideas he rebranded as his own (that profit is stolen labour - copied from English socialist Thomas Hodgkin, that employment of marginal resources will inevitably drive wages down - adapted from his misunderstanding of English economist David Ricardo), but I'm not aware of an earlier theory that history is about class struggle in _quite_ his terms.

Of course, you are right - it _is_ a manifesto, intended as motivational propaganda rather than deep analysis. However, the feeling it gave me was that there was no really substantial analysis behind it, and my later reading of Marx did nothing to change this view.

Class-struggle as the main theme in history certainly has a superficial plausibility about it from our viewpoint, which is why so many read Marx and cry "Of course!" But the actual evidence is weak.

For example, there is a very low correlation between socio-economic class and voting loyalties: Frank Sulloway argues that voting preferences measurably track birth order in the family more closely than they do class membership. As another example, most wars in history were waged over disputes _within_ a class - aristocrat versus aristocrat - and the number of struggles which look evenly remotely Marxist is vanishingly small. (The slave revolt led by the Roman gladiator Spartacus is a reasonable contender for a war which really was a struggle by a socio-economic class based on class, but wars like this are noticeable by their rarity.)

The main reason the Frankfurt School started their interesting examination of the mass media is that they were Marxists who were troubled that Marx's analytical ideas fit real history and sociology so badly ....troubled because at an emotional level they wanted Marx's thinking to somehow be right. So if Marx was so consistently wrong about the working classes then the working classes must be shown to be suffering from "false consciousness" and so on....

Maxine Formulaic means following a formula which suggests a set of pre-established rules. Therefore, I would argue that something original cannot be formulaic although it can establish a formula. I'm not sure, though, that there are many examples of people copying Marx's style. Simplistic is a different animal altogether but, even here, I would suggest that he was a great deal less simplistic than, say, the objectivism that is permeating political and economic theory today or it's evil stepchild, austerity, which has recently been discredited although not stopped.

I will agree that his ideas weren't all original - you could add Hegel (dialectical method) and Aristotle (labour - labour power) to his influences. But he was writing in the mid-1800s where giving credit to others was not always the done thing especially in a short manifesto.

As to the validity of his theory about class struggle, he was arguing that all struggle is between classes whether peasant, knight, merchant, or, in his time, working class against whatever class was in power. Aristocracy did not mean ruling. Many kings hated and feared the aristocracy more than the peasants - Louis XIV forced the aristocracy to live at court to keep an eye on them, a move which had far-reaching consequences and played a great part in the Revolution during his grandson's time. Given the incendiary times he was living in, Marx would probably have felt that he had plenty of proof of his theory given the French and American Revolutions, the rise and fall and rise again of a Napoleon, not to mention the Magna Carta and Cromwell in earlier centuries.

I am not saying he was right - my knowledge is in history , not in economics or politics - and Marx was a man of his time. The one thing he didn't see coming was the flexibility of capitalism - its ability to change, at least for a time, to save itself. It is hard to know what would have happened if governments hadn't put in place measures to stimulate the economy during the great Depression of the '30s. There certainly was enough unrest among the unemployed and working classes to posit a different outcome. Unfortunately, we may soon get a glimpse of these possibilities if reaction to austerity measures in Europe is any indication. And I doubt Socialism is the likely outcome. I'm not a betting woman but, if I were, I would put my money on Fascism which, as Mussolini, so succinctly pointed out, is a great friend to the capitalist system.

Nor could he have predicted the rise of technology which would allow the proliferation of propaganda into every home. You have to wonder what he would have made of Fox News. It should also be noted that he changed his mind about violent revolution after the failure of the Paris Commune and, instead, posited gradual change, based on Darwin's theory of evolution. One could argue, and I know professors who do, that Marx was a Social Democrat.

However, enough. I have enjoyed this exchange and I would like to thank you. I have questioned people in the past and on other sites when they make strong but unsubstantiated statements like your first one and the usual response is one referring to certain parts of my anatomy and what I can do with them assuming, of course, that I am double-jointed. Your response has been polite, helpful, and informative. I knew little about the Frankfurt School before except Erich Fromm's involvement (he was very popular in universities when I attended) but I appreciate your comments about it - you have definitely piqued my interest and I will be looking further into it.

message 18: by James (new)

James Hadfield A peaceful road to Socialism: ! :-) ! .... ! :-) :-) :-) !

message 19: by Paul (last edited Dec 22, 2014 02:33PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Paul I think it's interesting when people say that socialism failed and capitalism has succeeded, but ignore that what has succeeded in the years since Marx is a hybrid of capitalism and socialism. Marx couldn't foresee that, of course; he was writing in an era in which capitalism's failures were all too abundant, and it made sense to begin writing its obituary.

But capitalism in its 19th-century liberal form did indeed fail, in 1929. What rose from the ashes was a much more collectivized economy that contained enough elements of the free market to keep the capitalist brand despite containing significant pieces of socialism under the hood. It seems unfair to dock Marx for failing to see that synthesis without at least crediting him for being so instrumental in establishing the ideas that allowed the synthesis to occur.

message 20: by James (new)

James Hadfield We have never had Socialism, only state - capitalism, only when a majority is prepared and convinced, will this real life drama come to reality and this will be done through a peaceful way

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