Antiquated Modernity

Hoffman defines the traditional sense of modernity as liberal democracy and industrial capitalism. This idea or narrow concept of modernity, in my mind, proceeds from our desire to clearly identify the others: to separate the proverbial tares from the wheat. However, in our insatiable egotism and self justification we construct rigid lines of demarcation by which to separate ourselves from the others. Hoffman deconstructs this archaic version of modernity to define the more fundamental, rational sense of true modernity.… Read the rest here

Truman’s Ulterior Motives

3 Observations

1. In his address to Congress to request aid for the reconstruction of Greece and Turkey due to the damages done during the Second World War, President Truman justified his request by saying that if the United States didn’t provide assistance to these countries, another power could potentially impose upon their respective sovereignty. He omitted what seemed to be his true intention: the inhibition of communist ideas. He seemed to believe that if the United States did not act promptly, the Soviet Union would instead try to impose communism upon these nations, even though he did not once mention the Soviet Union by name.… Read the rest here

Stalin’s Speech at a Meeting of Voters of The Stalin Electoral District

Three Points:

1. Stalin started his speech with the discussion of the nature of the two world wars, that the first world war was mainly a result of rising capitalism countries’ demand for redistribution of  “sphere of influence” and that the second world war was one of anti-fascism and liberation.

2. He then brought up the point that the second world war served as a test of the Soviet Union in many ways. Constructed as a multi-national union, Soviet Union succeeded in muting the sceptic who doubted if the multi-nation political institution could survive.… Read the rest here

Pope Leo XIII and the “Rerum Novarum”

AUTHOR- Pope Leo XIII, who served from 1878 to 1903

CONTEXT- toward the end of the second Industrial Revolution; this was when Communism began to gain momentum as a viable alternative to capitalism, which led to Leo’s response in the Rerum Novarum

LANGUAGE- instructive, meant to explain how Communism infringes on justice and freedom as the Catholic Church describes it; points out that it can be sinful

AUDIENCE- members of the Church, whom he addresses at the beginning of the document

INTENT- to prevent the spread of Communism, because it goes against human nature by eliminating the concept of private property and privacy

MESSAGE- Communism is harmful to the human nature because a human must be able to own (or invest in) property in order to make a living, to survive.… Read the rest here

Marx and the Communist Manifesto

Marx delved into the many details describing why the current system was failing and was always bound to fail. He repeated the themes of antagonism and struggle. The proletariat was always in a losing battle against the bourgeoisie. He pointed out that the free market had gotten out of hand. A candle lit by the bourgeoisie had turned into a wildfire, which burnt down cities. The destruction did not stop at borders or coasts. The  system caused barbaric nations to be dependent on civilized ones just as the workers were dependent on the ruling class.… Read the rest here

Interchangeable Parts

“These workers, forced to sell themselves piecemeal, are a commodity like every other article of commerce, and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition, and all the fluctuations of the market.”

I chose this passage because it relates directly to the readings and class topics that have been discussed over the past week. It expresses very similar ideas to those of Oastler and Heine, and the tones are very similar to Marx’s estranged labor.… Read the rest here

The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx

The Communist Manifesto is the crowning achievement of Karl Marx.  The groundwork for the economic and social aspects of communism.  Marx, a German philosopher and economist was extremely discontent with the results of the industrial advancements made with capitalism.  As a reaction to the rise in capitalism, Marx created The Communist Manifesto.  The bourgeois continued to separate themselves from the working class economically due to the lack of attention paid to worker’s conditions, as well as extremely low wages.… Read the rest here

The Economic Option

All three of the historians that we examined had different viewpoints regarding economics than did Adam Smith. While Smith believed laissez-faire capitalism was the best economic method a country could employ, his opponents (Marx, Saint-Simon and Owens) all believed that it belittled the poor to such an extent that it was not a viable option. Although the capitalist method increases production to unforeseen levels, it creates an undeniable divide between social classes. The owners of the companies become much richer than the working class people, while all they have to do is sit down and watch the money being made in front of their eyes.… Read the rest here

Norris and the Role of Luxury in Communism

When readers are first introduced to the character of Arthur Norris, he is offered a cigarette by William Bradshaw, a luxury reserved more or less “for the common folk”. As we see his character develop, the amount of wealth he flaunts becomes greater and greater, bragging about having a bedroom in Paris that he customized himself and worth a small fortune. Later he goes on to show this wealth with the amount of servants and the quality of decoration his house has to Bradshaw, which in turn helps characterize him for the reader.… Read the rest here

Communism, Nazism, and the Berlin Stories

In The Berlin Stories, author Christopher Isherwood characterizes the social and political climates in Germany during the rise of Nazism through a series of vignettes centered around William Bradshaw, “a young bourgeois intellectual,” and Arthur Arnold, an older Englishman with subversive Communist sympathies. (Isherwood, 64)  The first one hundred pages of the novel recount the pair’s activities and correspondence centered around the city of Berlin.  Each chapter puts forth several small fragments of interwar Germany with regard to everything from its nightlife (“‘Oh, you mean those whores on the corner there'”) to its foreign policy (“‘The workers demand assistance for the hundreds of thousands of Chinese peasants now rendered homeless'”), ultimately creating an anecdotal portrait of this dynamic period in European history.… Read the rest here