Marx & Engels: The Communist Manifesto (Analysis & Interpretation)



okay so today we'll be dealing with a little excerpt of the communist manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels this is a really interesting piece of work it's one that we have to be careful with not to take the wrong way because a lot of times we just hear that word communist or communism or anything like that and we get really wrapped up in all of our 20th century notions of its evilness and all of that but this thing was published in 1848 so that sort of idea had didn't quite have the same baggage with it that we have so don't get too wrapped up in that word just to consider the big ideas that Marx and Engels bring up these two people were working together although later and his life angles gave most of the credit to Marx and Marx is the one who we know most famously today but you know angles definitely played his role as well the selection that we're going to be talking about is roughly a quarter of the book just the preamble in Chapter one there are four chapters of the book but chapter one is sort of that you know significant foundation it's built around this main big idea here right where it says the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles okay so it's basically just positing this idea that there are the rich and there are the ones who are not rich that are the ones who are in control they're the ones who are subjugated and that the clashes and conflicts between these people have basically shaped all of history many of the things that Marx and Engels bring up here are truly interesting and fascinating and they're just as relevant today and just as applicable today in our era of you know income distribution problems and the 1% and all of these types of things as they were back when Marx wrote them so there are some interesting things one of the big things that I that we need to understand are these two words that Marx is throwing around all the time I bourgeois or bourgeoisie and proletariat Harriett these words you know being long sort of lumpy words need definitions that we can understand them more fully later years after this was published angles came up with really good definitions for both of them I bourgeois as being the class of modern capitalists owners of the means of social production and employers of wage labor okay so the bourgeoisie these are the people who owned the businesses and pay other people to do the work okay the proletariat are 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 so these are all the people who basically are the paycheck garnering schlubs okay so you can sort of see like in today's world you have the the bourgeoisie or the ones who own the corporations right and then there are the proletariat who work in the factories or work in the cubicles you know so this sort of dynamic is still alive and well today it's not something that has gone anywhere there are a lot of big ideas in this little piece that we have here what I want to bring up is this idea of free trade mark says in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms has set up that single unconscionable freedom free trade so he's basically saying that in a sense this capitalism you know this bourgeois versus proletarian interest has set up a situation in which free trade is really the only freedom that we have and that freedom in other regards are not as important and you still see that in the political realm today we don't want to get too political because it could get ugly in a hurry but in a sense there is that whole entire class of people out there who are all about free trade in the markets yet they may be I have hesitation about people having other sorts of freedoms like the freedom to marry who they please or the freedom to do the drugs that they want or the freedom to have firearms you know so you see it crosses Democrat Republican lines in this American context because you know that the capitalist perspective of free trade having primacy sort of I overlaps the interests of both typical you know right wing and left wing individuals some other things that it brings up are this issue of globalization which i think is really fascinating it says in place of the old once satisfied by the production of the country we find new ones requiring for their satisfaction the products of distant lands and climes and then it says the cheap prices of commodities are the heavy artillery which with which it batters down all Chinese walls with which it forces the barbarians intensely obstinate hatred of foreigners to capitulate so basically what it's sort of getting at is that this sort of I you know capitalist you know continued production ends up resulting in us I wanting and needing things that maybe we didn't even know existed before so that's sort of an interesting thing when you have globalization you develop desires and wants for things that before one of them even been an option like for example you know you can live in the northern United States or in Canada and you can develop a want and a desire to eat oranges well before you know globalization you wouldn't even have the option to have had an orange right because they don't grow up there but now we do have this desire services creation of an increasing want also there's the idea that with globalization even barbarian nations use that offensive term you know nations that aren't civilized according to the Western paradigm of expectation they have to sort of do what Western nations and what the capitalist machine wants in order to sort of keep up you know otherwise they fall behind right so these are some of the the big ideas that are brought up here another one that's interesting is the idea of the the proletarian and the proletariat I you know population sort of being subjugated that because they are just having to use their labor to earn money they are able to earn money off of necessarily is that the things that they once upon a time I maybe would have gotten great satisfaction from laboring over now they just have to sort of mass-produced and it says modern industry has converted the little workshop of the master into the great factory of the industrial capitalists and it says not only are the bourgeoisie slaves of the borscht or that the proletariat not only are they slaves of the bourgeois class and of the bourgeois state they are daily and hourly enslaved by the machine by the overlook and above all by the individual manufacturer himself so with this idea it's sort of like you know you imagine the person who's working at McDonald's okay that's like a classic sort of proletariat type of individual is it this person working at McDonald's there and slaved by the machines that they have to work with and create they're enslaved by the products are enslaved by the overlooked or their manager who's telling them what to do all the time and more than anything they're enslaved by McDonald's okay that this thing that they sort of are in this sort of serfdom to this corporate interest where somebody else is getting rich off of their labor so you can see lots of big ideas here this is a social science type of work it's not again something that you know maybe we want to become overtly political about but there definitely are these dynamics out in the world one other thing that talks about is that basically once the piece starts to get a little bit more edgy is that it says that the the bourgeoisie because they must elicit the proletariat for acceptance and you know for votes and things like this that in a sense the bourgeoisie are actually arming the proletariat so they will eventually be able to rise up in revolution and beat them one thing that's interesting is that it suggests that increased communication is sort of the you know engine that will fuel this says this union is helped on by the improved means of communication that are created by modern industry and it placed the workers of different localities in contact with one another makes you wonder what Marx would have thought of the internet he would have thought that this is a great thing you know for organizing individuals to rise against the leaders in a sense and you saw things like that in the Arab Spring where individuals would use things like Twitter and text messages to communicate with each other to try to rebel against the government so that's the type of thing that he was talking about there so a couple other really big things that I that I want to bring up and regards to this one is in regards to minority movements he says all previous historical movements were movements of minorities or in the interest of minorities you think about that you're like huh we usually consider minorities to be you know historically subjugated people in our sort of modern context that is exactly not the way that Marx is talking about Marx is talking about the idea of movements of minorities to serve minorities being a royal family that's a minority right it's a small amount of people this this you know like a kingdom or you know some sort of dictator or you know a fiefdom or you know a knight or any of these circumstances are basically one in which you have a minority group of people who are trying to control things and take things over over the majority the thing that Marx proposes is that the proletarian movement is the self-conscious independent movement of the immense majority so he actually you know is in favor of this sort of majority rule that you get when the proletariat is in control when the people who you know work desk jobs when the people who you know make your fries when the people who fix your car you know when basically anyone who does not own a corporation right anyone who is not like a you know wealthy business owner this is the majority that should have power and he sort of concludes this idea in this chapter by suggesting that armed revolution is the only way it says in depicting the most general phases of the development of the proletariat we trace the more or less veiled civil war raging within existing society up to the point where that war breaks out into open revolution and with a violent over through the bourgeoisie lays the foundation okay so this is where things start getting dicey this is where you start to see the hints of how the Communist Manifesto written in the mid 19th century ends up leading to things like AI Maoism and the Stalinist regime and these various other you know communist elements of the 20th century that were very brutal you know for this idea of overthrowing the power and using violence to do it so problematic it even says what the bourgeoisie therefore produces above all are its own gravediggers so there are some you know tough sort of violent ideas here but despite that I think that there are just in terms of social science a lot of really astute observations about the nature of you know the those in control the haves and have-nots have-nots about globalization about the nature of communication you know that all of these things that the advancing of Technology these are all things that are really compelling and interesting here it even ends the manifesto itself ends with a famous line working men of all countries unite that you know we need to unite against those people who are just sort of sitting there you know drinking cocktails and you know letting the money roll in so there is lots of interesting stuff but the reason why this text is romantic I think is sort of interesting because it does have many of those sort of romantic signs to it you know it's it's all about the idea of you know revolution change and democracy and you know unifying individuals and all of this sort of stuff of course it's not necessarily about you know contemplating on the nature of God and the nature of nature or you know about these sort of you know maybe more typically pleasant ideas but in terms of how it wants to bring human beings together I just sort of for a greater good it might not necessarily suggest the greatest route to do that but it definitely does have some astute observations




Comments
  1. That's exactly why the F.B.I. made Steve Jobs put a back door on the Apple…however this is the internet, they have no power here

  2. "We don't want to get too political" bitch how are you going to provide "analysis and interpretation" or even talk about the book in ANY capacity without getting political. I know this is a four year old video at this point so complaining about it is pointless, but Jesus CHRIST maybe instead of blithering on about social sciences, you could try to push your analysis by relating the book's (inherently political) ideas to our modern sociopolitical conflicts? Or I guess we could all just be as passive and nonoffensive as possible and let all significant observations completely fly over our heads

  3. Good explanation of communism, even though I still don't believe that communism is a good economic theory

  4. Comparing the work done on a mid 1800's factory to one of a current day office requires some elaborate mental gymnastics.

  5. to "the kirk", maybe capitalism is responsible for some of those issues, but the fruit of communism is much more sour

  6. It’s frightening how many students on here are taking classes on this and I bet they never mention how genocidal real communism is WAKE UP PEOPLE

  7. Let’s not get wrapped up in whole communism thing, basically let’s not get wrapped up in the whole when this is implemented then they’re bloody revolution and mass genocide let’s put the horror aside

  8. the wage earners have it made compared to the business owner.  The wage earner risks nothing. They are guaranteed to make an income from their work.  It like comparing someone who receives interest on their saving and someone who receives dividends on their investment. The saver pays higher taxes than the investor because he risk nothing. His income is guaranteed.  The investor pays lower taxes because he risk losing his entire investment.  Progressive don't seem to understand this.

  9. I need the best way to understand this. I have a quiz on it tomorrow and have no idea what these guys are saying only that that there are bourgeoisie people (business owners) and proletariat people (workers) they somehow work together and can eventually eliminate themselves?

  10. So many ignorant people. Seeing the comments and people praising this. So you believe capitalism is evil and communism gives freedom and all that. Under communism everything you own belongs to the powerful. One fact remains that you are ignorant is that Karl Marx's parents were wealthy but he remained poor. At one point his father gave him a lot of money and Karl blew it all. He always blamed capitalism for what he messed up. This ignorance is beyond digusting.

  11. The bogeoise needs to rise and steal and exploit the proletariat, we need to steal a million beggars change and give them to the rich, take away the ungrateful beggars property and arms and provide them with a Gulag and forced 18 hr workdays.Beautiful Social Justice,So beautiful we’d need machine gun bunkers pointed at the Ungrateful proletariat to make them realize how good they have it.Then we’d round up the other leftist (Political Whores)And have mass torture and ultraviolence,for they know too much,They May start having delusions that this was about some abstract notion of Justice or Equality when it’s just a power grab in fact,Justice is No one having rights then equality to animals is what the new equals are. Then come the Burning of Churches and annihilation of Nuns and priest,Then we’ll root out the Kulak,Oh the dreadful hater of equality,the privileged deniers of Justice you will be starved and demonized to the point where new laws will pass too keep them from eating their young children.Nobody Said Social Justice would be easy nor Pretty but Equality and Justice for the forced laborers we shall have.The Stalins,Maos,PolPots of the world Rise, Unite what do you have to lose but your Souls?Well we don’t believe in that bullshit either so…. What’s the holdup?, Let the Revolution Commence.Be careful what u wish 4.And What’s more Likely Marx actually being a Moralist with compassion for the worker or a devilish plan to conquer Millions with their own selfish,virtue braggarts.The Narcissist unthinking Army of plausible deniability.

  12. Communism is the most evil depraved ideology to have ever existed. It is responsible for the most outrageous crimes against humanity, violation of human rights, outrageous starvation, wars and the lives of more than a hundred million human beings. Marx was a parasite that enslaved his maid for life, never owned a business or even held one single job. He lived off handouts his entire evil parasitic life. Communism has failed miserably wherever it has existed and the capitalist model is the one that has led countries to the most successful economies.

  13. I find it highly suspect that a supposedly evil man had the last name Engels. Engels means "of angels" so that.. is that, I suppose. I could be wrong, but let's closely examine these things so we're not damned, for God's sake

  14. Of course it's Romantic. It's nonsense. Marx & Engels both wrote it in just two days when there were a dozen or so Revolutions kicking off all over Europe and instead of getting involved in the real action they hid in their 'Safe Space' writing about how they were too "Left-Wing" and far too "Radical" to help unify their own country. It was also written by two young boys who had never worked a day in their lives and were living off mommy and daddy's capitalist money [Something the "Left" would have loved to have pointed out and criticized themselves if Marx had ever written about anything else but Revolution] Also, the reforms listed in this small pamphlet are not very 'Radical' at all by todays standards and they don't exactly change the Capitalist system at all. This was written in 1848, when Europe was ruled by Kings, Czars and Kaisers. What the hell it has to do with America in the 21st century? You would think someone in todays world, who thinks of themselves as Radical or Left-Wing, would come up with their own ideas and think of a brand new name for those ideas rather than 'Communism' or 'Socialism'. It goes to show, If the most Conservative of the Conservatives understand Marxism and why it is out of date and all the economic models are wrong headed and it's time to move on, what does that make the 'Left'? the Left are the last people on the planet to not actually understand Marxism. If they did they would realize that they are in fact the ones who are reactionary….. And what about the fact that Marxism is responsible for more deaths in just 10 years than any other Ideology or Religion in World History. Not even the plague is on par.

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