The Communist Manifesto

Author: Karl Marx and Friedrich Engles.  Marx was a German philosopher, economist, and a revolutionist. Marx published many widely known articles, but some of the most famous include Das Capital, Estranged Labor, and The Manifesto of the Communist Party. Marx worked on a radical newspaper as well, and his ideas remain influential and relevant today. Friedrich Engles assisted with the writing of The Communist Manifesto, and he was a social scientist, philosopher, and political theorist. He was good friends with Marx, and worked with Marx in other writings, such as Das Capital. Read the rest here

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.
Read the rest here

Socialist Opinions in an Industrial Society

Robert Owen

Author

  • Robert Owen
  • English cotton manufacturer
  • “Utopian” socialist and workers’ rights advocate
  • Headed England’s Revolutionary Trades Union movement in 1830s
  • Worked in America/England

Context

  • Industrial Revolution is booming
  • Working conditions are not good and there are few laws in place to protect them
  • In United States, President Andrew Jackson defunded Second Bank of U.S. on March 28 (much to many peoples’ disapproval)

Language

  • Negative opinion on the flaws of the system
  • Persuasive with extended flowery (yet still understandable) language

Audience

  • Literate upper/middle class
  • Voters, landowners, business owners (people of everyday influence)
  • Great Britain’s people

Intent

  • Explain why the current system is so flawed
  • Incite change in a bloodless revolution

Message

  • Unite as Consolidated Union
  • By holding a strong moral influence, help man reach its full potential outside the evil grasps of the current flawed system

Karl Marx

Author

  • Karl Marx
  • Wealthy middle class
  • When this was published he was working as the editor to a paper in Paris

Context

  • Industrial Revolution
  • Very poor conditions for workers
  • France during the July Monarchy

Language

  • Very philosophical… breaks down each basic element and defines/redefines to reach a certain conclusion
  • Rational
  • Easy to understand and follow

Audience

  • Workers
  • Lower classes of Paris

Intent

  • Reach the workers and convince them of a socialist system where they are not devalued

Message

  • Political economy based on greed and competition
  • Workers are objectified, estranged, and treated poorly in a system based on greed
  • People are alienated from their products by the system which contradicts their nature
  • Private property causes this estrangement

Claude Henri de Rouvroy, comte de Saint-Simon

Author

  • Claude Henri de Rouvroy, comte de Saint-Simon
  • Scientist, businessman, and theorist
  • Writing had more influence after his death

Context

  • France under Napoleon’s constitutional monarchy
  • Industrial rev with poor working conditions and a lot of angry, hungry workers

Language

  • Emotional and persuasive
  • Many questions

Audience

  • Working class and middle class

Intent

  • Offer an opinion against laissez-faire economics

Message

  • Personal and social interests do not always coincide, which is why laissez-faire economics don’t always work
  • Those at the top become corrupted while those at the bottom suffer
Read the rest here

Capitalism and its critics

  1. The Legacy of Robert Owen to the Population of the World – Robert Owen (1834)
    1. Author
      1. Robert Owen (1771-1858)
      2. English cotton manufacturer
      3. “Utopian” socialist
      4. Advocated for universal education for children and workers’ rights
    2.  Context
      1. Owen is addressing members of the Grand National Consolidated Trades Union of Great Britain and Ireland
      2. Written during a time of rebellion
    3. Language
      1. Negative and outraged at the foundations of society.
    4. Audience
      1. For people in rebellion of the unjust system put in place.
Read the rest here

Early Socialist Thinkers: Owen, Saint-Simon, and Marx

1.) “The Legacy of Robert Owen to the Population of the World”

Author: Robert Owen. Welsh cotton manufacturer. Utopian socialist and a founder of the cooperative movement. Founder of (failed) New Harmony colony in the U.S. Had a vision of an ideal society.

Context: Great Britain, 1844. Industrial Revolution. Many of the Factory Acts were in place, including many that regulated child labor.

Language: Persuasive, confident, hopeful

Audience: The Grand National Consolidated Trades Union of Great Britain and Ireland

Intent: To persuade listeners to begin a bloodless revolution driven by morality and wisdom.… Read the rest here

Dictators… Aren’t They All The Same?

Dictators. We tend to think of Hitler and Mussolini as having similar ideals and regimes based on the sole fact that they are both dictators. However, when analyzing their doctrines’ theories, one can see their goals and philosophies were not similar. In Hitler’s The 25 Points 1920: An Early Nazi Program the focus is on the purification of Germany. Contrastingly, in Benito Mussolini: What is Fascism, the focus is on the State’s importance exercised through expansion.… Read the rest here

“We Do Our Part”: Looking at FDR, Hitler, and Mussolini

Three New Deals by Wolfgang Schivelbusch is a historical analysis comparing Roosevelt, Mussolini, and Hitler between the years of 1933 and 1939. Schivelbusch states his thesis in the introduction; he argues that the programs of FDR, Hitler, and Mussolini (specifically the New Deal, Fascism, and National Socialism) all gave a new vision to their respected nation. Each leader did this through post liberal state-capitalist or state-socialist systems, rising as autocrats through legal means, and seeking a nation of protection and equality.… Read the rest here

The “Nature” of Communism

A key aspect of the Soviet Union’s quest for true Communism was becoming waste-free and efficient. Every single resource was utilized for the common good of the state; this included people, materials, machines, and even nature. Unused land was waste, and waste had no place in the Party’s strategy.

Looking back, particularly with today’s heightened emphasis on preserving the environment, it is easy to see the ways in which these policies of brutal extraction from the land would lead to future consequences.… Read the rest here

Early Nazi Platform: Liberalism and Socialism?

In 1920 the newly created Nazi party had to create a platform to stand for. To do so they wrote a 25 point program conveying their goals and demands that they saw as necessary to the future of Germany. The program expressed many changes for the German people, forefront among them ideas of socialism, expansionism, statism, and racism. In our discussion of the modern state I see another great step forward from fascism with the German extreme nationalism in this document.… Read the rest here

Khrushchev’s Unintended Consequences

In response to Khrushchev’s denunciation of Stalin in Moscow, as well as to the growing discontent at home, citizens of Poland, Hungary and eventually Czechoslovakia.

Poland: June 1956

Workers broke out in protest against the unpopular Communist regime and demanded better pay and treatment at the hands of the government. The demonstrations eventually fizzled out thanks to the reformist Wladyslaw Gomulka, who worked with Soviet leaders and the Polish Communist Party to appease the workers and avoid a revolution.… Read the rest here