May 25, 2022

Finale Paper: Critique of the Communist Manifesto
Aaron McInelly
Utah Valley University
December 06, 2021

Karl Marx created the fundamental idea of Communism as viewed today, with his writings in “The Communist Manifesto.” Along with Friedrich Engels, they laid out an idea that would be so corrupted by every Dictator and Leader of any Nation that sought to impose its ideology upon the world, his reputation will be one of stark division. This divide, so easily identified by those that have understood the real teachings of Marxism, as to cause a disturbance amongst those who have never read even a single quote from Karl Marx.

“By bourgeois it meant that people in the date of modern capitalism, owners of the means of social production and employers of wage labor. By proletarians, the people in the class of modern wage laborers who, having no means of production of their own, are reduced to selling their labor power in order to live.” (Marx et al., 1964, p. 61)

In this I will identify the true nature of Communism as taught by Marx and highlight the simple reason as to why it was corrupted throughout the years since its inception.

Marx wrote that the Proletariats are those who provide the results of production, they are the workers or working-class. They provide the labour that produces the means of production. The modern day middle-class would be the ones who Marx is speaking about in Capitalism, the bourgeois. We become mindless drones for the system as we work ourselves to death for the bourgeois, those who benefit the most from the means of production. The bourgeois are those who do not produce the products, but rather own the means of production itself, produced by the proletariat, the bourgeois benefit the most, while doing the least.

“In a sense, the theory of Communists may be summed up in the single phrase: Abolition of private property.” (Marx et al., 1964, p. 65)

Because without the bourgeois’s ownership of property, the workers would have no means to produce the fruits of their labor. The fundamental idea of one’s right to own property is embedded in the notion that they are required to work, for such property. The ownership of land by the magistrates or the government of any land is one that we should abolish firsthand, that is what Marx meant in my understanding of his teaching.

The bourgeoisie is the modern day elite, the political upper-class that owns the means of production. The ownership of corporations and media conglomerates, mass amounts of land and regulating majority into the federal governments hands. They benefit the most however, while they contribute the least. The Communist Manifesto was the writings of Karl Marx that made the biggest impact, that book defined the Marxist as we describe them today. However, the idea for Communism as taught by Marx, is not Communism as described by media sources such as Fox or some other far right extremist, or the Liberal Leftist. The two are similar, and conflated in order to confuse the masses. Pure communism as taught by the ideal Marxist, is to abolish all personal property. I get the notion that the idea of capitalism is conflated by Marx into the misrepresentation of what capitalism actually is. For the most part, Marx lived in a Monarchy, or the rule of a single leader such as a king or queen. This could have contributed to his misunderstanding of what true free-market capitalism really is today. However, America is different today compared to how it was in the 1800’s. Encompassing in itself the idea that allowing the working-class, or “The People,” to overthrow such rule and liberate themselves from the bourgeoisie. This is defined in the American Consitution.

“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.”               (Marx et al., 1964, p. 45)

In the opening of the Communist Manifesto, Marx shows a distinction between the bourgeois and the proletarians. A class distinction as it existed back then, is how it still exists today. Now modern society has for the most part dissolved the notion of privilege being granted by birth right nobility. In its stead, they have enthralled upon itself a never ending wheel of inherited rights, granted regardless of one’s birth. This class distinction is covered in the notion of “free-market” capitalism. One of which the wealth is recycled from one generation to another.

This causes a form of alienation, “a state of powerlessness, frustration, repressed resentment, and despair.”(Soccio, 2010, p. 383)

Something that is a byproduct of capitalism, when one works towards a means of production they alienate themselves from society within their work to increase their personal capital through countless hours of hard-work.

This is because we are co-opted in this society. “You are co-opted when you are tricked, seduced, or somehow convinced to further interests that are to your ultimate disadvantage – and think you do so willingly.” (Soccio, 2010, p. 381)

Because of this, we forever keep the bourgeoisie in power to rule over the working-class, the proletariat will always be a slave to a system that keeps them enslaved. When positions of political power also seem to be inherited, some families staying in power for decades, a generational lineage. We as a “free,” people ought change these systems of control and place a burden on them through the will of the people.

Taken from his writings, on the “Thefts of Wood,” Marx said; “The representation of private interests… abolishes all natural and spiritual distinctions by enthroning in their stead the immoral, irrational and soulless abstraction of a particular material object and a particular consciousness which is slavishly subordinated to this object.” (Marx, 1842, online)

Which to me shows that our desire for material gain surpasses our understanding of individual suffering. We allow ourselves to be ruled by ideas, created by the ruling class in order to enslave us to their idea, the idea; that is for their own personal gain.

The capital gained from the labor that produces the products by the proletariat, is largely held by the bourgeoisie who do the least of the labor. In capitalism the bourgeoisie are CEO’s, men or women who can prophet 10,000 times more than the entry level worker. However, most CEO’s had to create their company in order to generate profits from their services or products. The worker-class in capitalism is the middle-class in American class distinction. This is often the reason I see a disconnect from what Marx really meant, and that view some often hold as the meaning he gave.

The bourgeoisie of the 1800’s, particularly those of France and Great Britain, differed greatly from those of 21st century capitalistic CEO’s in America. Royalty and different lineages of Lordships are almost non-comparable to some people’s journey to the top in America. Respect isn’t a granted birthright, as Lt. Col Grossman wrote in his book Oncombat. Which states that I shouldn’t respect someone just because they were born as “royalty”. He later defines it as something earned through blood or sacrifice, which indicates that the person had to earn it through hard work, dedication and a willingness to potentially lose everything.

Making this distinction of class separation is necessary, in order to see that the class comparison is almost non-existent. There is a difference between someone who is born into wealth and someone who earns their wealth. Being born into wealth gives someone the ability to live free of stress from going without. It is stressful to worry about how you are going to eat in order to survive. When you are living at the most basic instinct of survival, one searching for food and shelter. You are unable to see the world as anything other than a struggle, that is not to say that someone born into wealth does not struggle; it is to say that the struggle is not the same, that was a class separation that Marx was unable to see.

Even the Americas of the 1800’s was one of almost generational wealth. The land owners that spread throughout the vast open lands here in America, were able to claim land for theirs and all future generations, which inherited it forever. The abolishment of land ownership that is acquired by such means, should not be abolished, the government federally reserving the land for their ownership is what I think Marx was speaking about when it comes to abolishing private interests of land ownership. Similar to how royal families own the mass amount of private property in parts of Europe and the UK. I personally do not think that people should be born with a noble birthright. However, that distinction needs to be made clear.

Marx envisioned a world where the proletariat or the working-class liberated themselves from the control of the bourgeois. The bourgeois are the property owners or the middle-class, the middle-class in American capitalism is oftentimes not the same as property owners.

“Modern industry has established the world market, for which the discovery of America paved the way.” (Marx et al., 1964, p. 46)

Modern ownership of industry, is the private property Marx was talking about, corporations were built upon lands founded by an individual to dominate industry markets. The working-class or the proletariat has to unite together, “the demand grows among the workers of that country for enlightenment regarding their position as the working class in relation to the possessing classes, the socialist movement spreads among them and the demand for the Manifesto increases.” (Marx et al., 1964, p. 109) The only way the working-class can unite together is behind the single idea that the land owners , the bourgeois, oppress them. When they liberate themselves what then will they do? The distribution of wealth is what needs to be rearranged in the excessive amounts of money it takes to acquire land. Allowing for banks to seize control of the houses assets by furnishing the loan that purchases the house.

People who own houses merely own a piece of debt, the bank owns the house and everything in it. The banks of modern day capitalism are the bourgeois of the past Marx speaks of. The cost of land should be less, but who determines that cost? That is why often, the land is what is inherited in the United States, abolishing this would take mass amounts of property away from families who own them. Even if that happened, what would humans do? Claim it for their own and build upon it? One leads to another always, that is why the free market of capitalism is the best we can do. Limiting the government’s control is the easiest way to guarantee the rights of The People come first, the rights of The People are only instituted by The People.

In a true democracy we “elect” a ruling class, “all forms of the state have democracy for their truth, and for that reason are false to the extent that they are not democracy.” (Marx, 1843)

When we think of the United States we often think that we are a Democracy, when in fact we are a Constitutional Republic. Because we are a Constitutional Republic and not a Democracy we cannot be compared to what Marx meant as a “Democracy.” The fact that North Korea is considered a Democracy is absurd, when their only option for a vote is Kim Jong Un. That form of Communism is what Marx was trying to teach us to avoid. That is a totalitarian government, one of absolute governmental control.

Summing up Marxism, we have covered what some think true Marxism is, and what others believe it to be; which is often mistaken and different. This difference is the misunderstanding I spoke about, the “right,” think that it leads to complete government control. The “left,” doesn’t realize the right sees what people are truly capable of. It is impossible to understand what people truly believe without understanding their intentions and desires. Which we can’t possibly know. I believe that what Marx really meant was the ruling political class of people, which is often mistaken for something other than what it already is. A Nation of pure class divide, from those who have and those who have nothing. The middle-class of the 21st century is no different than the proletarians of the 1800’s.

Citations

Marx, K., Engels, F., Moore, S., Randall, F. B., & Katz, J. (1964). The Communist Manifesto. Pocket Books.

Marx, K., & Engels. (1842). Marx quotes: Quotes from Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. Retrieved December 5, 2021, from http://hiaw.org/defcon6/works/subject/quotes/index.html.
Marx, K. (1843). Notes for a critique of Hegel’s philosophy of right, by Karl Marx. Retrieved December 7, 2021, from https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1843/critique-hpr/ch02.htm.

Soccio, D. J. (2010). Archetypes of Wisdom: An introduction to philosophy. Wadsworth/Cengage Learning.