Karl Marx, Communist Manifesto (1848)

Author(s): Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels

  • Karl Marx (1818- 1883) was a prominent German philosopher whose ideas on economics, labor, and classism have and continue to influence nations worldwide.
  • Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) was also an important German philosopher who shared views and co-authored with Marx.

Context: 

  • laid out the aims and ideals of the Communist party
  • this manifesto was written after much of Europe had recognized communism as a threat to current powers
  • Communists from several nations worked together to draft the manifesto to replace “the spectre of communism” with a clear representation of the party’s views.
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A Manifesto So Compelling, Intriguing, Controversial, and Most Importantly, Still Relevant Today

The Communist Manifesto (1848)

Author: Karl Marx (1818-1883)

  • One of the most important and influential intellectuals of the nineteenth century
  • Economic situation was very volatile, but usually in poverty
  • Banned from entering many locations due to his radical ideas

Context:

  • Published in 1848
  • Industrial Revolution is either in full swing or starting to take hold, depending on location
  • The Communists has become feared by many in Western Europe, yet the group itself does not have a clear purpose, direction, or organization
    • Many of its members are not that knowledgeable of the complexities and history that Marx was able to notice
  • Western Europe is on the verge of revolution in many different locations – especially Germany

Language:

  • The Manifesto seems to be split into two in this regard:
    • Some sections are very dense with heavy academic wording and style → hard to read
    • Some sections are very straightforward and easy for everyone to understand
      • The list Marx made towards the end of the second section
      • The last words of the Manifesto, which are in all caps and are in simple terms
    • Marx, who ran his own newspaper, likely did this on purpose.
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Marx on Estranged Labour

Karl Marx is a German author who is most famous for writing the Communist Manifesto with Fredrick Engels. He was a German who wrote on the final socialist revolution after the industrial revolution began to take off in the mid 19th century. Marx also wrote specifically on the plight of the worker from which he derived his Manifesto. Estranged Labor is essentially a treatise on how the worker is treated in the new industrial society.

Marx begins to talk about how the worker has power over his job as he is specialized into his field, however the better he does his job, the more power he is giving to his bosses.… Read the rest here

Karl Marx and Comte de Saint-Simon

Author: Comte de Saint-Simon

– Born October 17th, 1760 in France and died May 19th 1825 in Paris.

– Belonged to a poor aristocratic family, had a bumpy education, and joined the army at 17.

– Aided the Americans in the Revolutionary War.

– Gained wealth due to the Reign of Terror, but quickly became bankrupt and attempted to take his own life.

 

Context:

– Wrote during a very tumultuous time in France’s history, before industrialization.… Read the rest here

Zamyatin’s We

Yevgeny Zamyatin’s Dystopian Future novel We, is one of the greatest works of science fiction. We, is remarkable for a number of reasons. The first being that it draws so much from Zamyatin’s own experiences such as his naming of the auditorium. Auditorium-112 was his cell number from his time in jail. The book is a commentary about the new socialist movements in Russia brought to the extremes in the One State. D-503 the narrator, and the main protagonist is a faithful follower of the Benefactor, or the leader of the One State.… Read the rest here

Is the One State Practical?

Yevgeny Zamyatin’s “We” is an iconic example of a dystopian society that is threatened by individuality.  The One State and its inhabitants were a supposed perfect population who had found happiness through conformity and rationality.  The citizens of the One State were kept under the watchful eye of the Benefactor as well as his secret police force, the Guardians.  In order to eliminate individuality, people were given numbers instead of names (D-503 and I-330), as well as a large sum of rules and regulations to abide by throughout their lives.  … Read the rest here

We

The book We was written by Yevgeny Zamyatin in 1921 in early Soviet Russia. Zamyatin became a Bolshevik in the early 1900’s, working with the Bolsheviks throughout the years leading up to the October Revolution and being exiled multiple times by the Russian government. Zamyatin was an Old Bolshevik and he truly believed that Russian society had to change, so he supported the October Revolution and was present in St. Petersburg when it took place. However, in the years following the October Revolution, the Communist Party began to become more oppressive, primarily regarding censorship.… Read the rest here

Mussolinism

While Fascist Italy under Mussolini sought to control its people and implement a new united world of ideas and ways of life in Italy, it did not succeed. Bosworth’s article, “Everyday Mussolinism: Friends, Family, Locality and Violence in Fascist Italy” demonstrated the disunity and corruption under Fascist rule.1 Bosworth cited numerous examples of Fascist leaders who corrupted the system. They reverted to the well known political practices. They appeared almost like American gangsters from the same era.… Read the rest here

Habitual Terror

The In Sheila Fitzpatrick’s book Everyday Stalinism; Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times: Soviet Russia in the 1930s, the chapter “A Time of Troubles” analyzes the nature and evolution of the Great Purges of 1937-1938. She introduces the notions of surveillance, when the State monitors its population, and terror, when the population are the target of extreme State violence, and tracks their relationship in the Soviet Union1 . She writes about how State violence, originally aimed at specific classes, eventually turned inward and escalated due to paranoia and publicity.… Read the rest here

Totalitarianism: A Comparison

Ian Kershaw’s Totalitarianism Revisited: Nazism and Stalinism in Comparative Perspective applies the modern definition of totalitarianism to Nazism, Fascism, and Stalinism. On the surface level, these three governments appear to be similar in their nature. A powerful figurehead dominating the governments ideologies and fueling the motives at large, while controlling their state with force and surveillance. Kershaw does a good job in pointing out while the term authoritarianism needs to be adjusted based on the evolution of Nazism and Stalinism, the term can be applied to Italy’s, Russia’s, and Germany’s governments spanning from a pre-WWII era to the transition the USSR endured following Stalin’s death, but emphasizes the importance of not losing track of their singularities.… Read the rest here