Read The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx Free Online
Book Title: The Communist Manifesto|
The author of the book: Karl Marx
Edition: Penguin Classics
Date of issue: December 3rd 1985
ISBN 13: 9780140444780
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 914 KB
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Reader ratings: 4.4
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Long overdue update (2013): I read this book five years ago and in almost every respect, I have mellowed considerably.
You can read my review below. It's unchanged. You can read the comments below that. Also unchanged.
I never seriously expected anyone to read this review, much less love or hate it so strongly. I am not apologizing for my view of the book or Marx. He put his entire life into this slender and influential book, and I respect that. I understand a bit more about where he was coming from historically, and it doesn't seem as inherently ridiculous as I might have claimed five years ago. But I still largely stand by my original take on it. What Marx predicts is an oppressive totalitarian regime which would be able to commit all kinds of human rights abuses far too easily. I'm not OK with that. And I don't think it works from a philosophical point of view, mainly because I think it neglects the realities of human nature. I think free market capitalism does the exact same thing, though the end results are different. Or are they?
It's funny. People commenting here seem to think I'm a proponent of free market capitalism (I do consider myself a capitalist, but not of the lassiez faire variety...its track record is poor as far as I'm concerned). I'm not. Whereas on other posts and comment threads on this same site I've been accused of being a socialist. Now that's funny!
Disclaimer: I read this book with a heavy bias against Marxist thought. That being said, I like to think of myself as a logical person so I have framed my thoughts as logically as possible instead of in the 'Communists are bad! They just are!' line of reasoning. That being said...
The spectre of Communism is still haunting the world...it has died.
Suffice it to say that I was sorely disappointed with Marx's argument. So much so that I fail to believe that anyone over the age of twenty-one could take him seriously even on a theoretical basis. Perhaps a century and a half of perspective is to blame. Maybe I'm missing a dimension of Marx's argument. It could simply be that the manifesto is a by-product of the industrial revolution that looks quite silly in "post-industrial" America.
Summing up Marx in two sentences: Class struggle is the defining injustice and condition of human society. We, the proletariat, must rise up through a violent and sudden revolution and overthrow our capitalist oppressors.
Let me get this straight. We're going to overcome class struggle by perpetrating a class war against the bourgoisie? If a major goal of communism is to eradicate social classes, why does it temporarily aim to establish the proletariat as the ruling class?
Oh right. Becauase once the proletariat gains power it will someday voluntarily abdicate said power for the greater good of society. As Mugatu said about Zoolander when he points out that all of the latter's 'looks' are actually the same: "I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!" It makes little rational sense.
Now onto more specific arguments regarding Marx's "generally applicable measures" that must be established by the proletariat after the violent overthrow of capitalism. It's pretty scary, actually.
No ownership of land, a heavy income tax, no rights of inheritance, seizure of all property from "rebels" (whatever that means...presumably political enemies) and emigrants, centralized credit and capital in the hands of the state, state ownership of the means of transportation and communication, establishment of 'industrial armies', equitable distribution of the populace in town and country, and an abolition of child labor with concurrent establishment of public education (actually that last point I agree with).
Such a strategy will ALWAYS lead to a totalitarian government that needlessly and wantonly causes suffering and economic hardship for the vast majority of its citizens.
I have yet to hear anybody move beyond theoretical praise of Marxism. Even the most ardent supporters will be forced to conclude that in real life the Marxist state is not preferred over the capitalist state because there is still an inequitible division of power between the ruling class and the common man. And the 'evil capitalism' that they rail against is actually the governmental imperialism of capitalist states, not the economic structure of said state.
The argument against capitalism is too much capital in the hands of too few. But Marxism advocates all capital be concentrated in the hands of a totalitarian regime that gives too little to the vast majority.
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Read information about the authorIn 1818, Karl Marx, descended from a long line of rabbis, was born in Prussian Rhineland. Marx's' father converted to Protestantism shortly before Karl's birth. Educated at the Universities of Bonn, Jena, and Berlin, Marx founded the Socialist newspaper Vorwarts in 1844 in Paris. After being expelled from France at the urging of the Prussian government, which "banished" Marx in absentia, Marx studied economics in Brussels. He and Engels founded the Communist League in 1847 and published the Communist Manifesto. After the failed revolution of 1848 in Germany, in which Marx participated, he eventually wound up in London. Marx worked as foreign correspondent for several U.S. publications. His Das Kapital came out in three volumes (1867, 1885 and 1894). Marx organized the International and helped found the Social Democratic Party of Germany. Although Marx was not religious, Bertrand Russell later remarked, "His belief that there is a cosmic force called Dialectical Materialism which governs human history independently of human volitions, is mere mythology" (Portraits from Memory, 1956). Marx once quipped, "All I know is that I am not a Marxist" (according to Engels in a letter to C. Schmidt; see Who's Who in Hell by Warren Allen Smith). D. 1883.
Marx began co-operating with Bruno Bauer on editing Hegel's Philosophy of Religion in 1840. Marx was also engaged in writing his doctoral thesis, The Difference Between the Democritean and Epicurean Philosophy of Nature, which he completed in 1841. It was described as "a daring and original piece of work in which Marx set out to show that theology must yield to the superior wisdom of philosophy": the essay was controversial, particularly among the conservative professors at the University of Berlin. Marx decided, instead, to submit his thesis to the more liberal University of Jena, whose faculty awarded him his PhD in April 1841. As Marx and Bauer were both atheists, in March 1841 they began plans for a journal entitled Archiv des Atheismus (Atheistic Archives), but it never came to fruition.
Marx has been described as one of the most influential figures in human history. Marx is typically cited, with Émile Durkheim and Max Weber, as one of the three principal architects of modern social science.
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