The Communist Manifesto

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As of December 31, 2013, Facebook boasts over a billion monthly active users, Twitter has about 190 million and YouTube gets about 92 billion page views per month. (Facbook, 2014; Statistic Brain, 2014) Americans spend more time on social media than on any other Internet activity, including email. (Business Insider, 2014) While social media differs from traditional media outlets such as television and newspapers in that it allows users to generate content to advance their own ideas, social media outlets have also become large corporations that function in the same way as mass media in using our labor, information and attention as commodity to generate profit. In this paper, I will outline how Marxist ideologies of power and exploitation are still at play under the new guise of accessibility and Internet freedom that social media claims to provide.
For Marx, power arises from controlling the essential means of production needed by the human society to provide for its material needs. Marx writes, "the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles" between those who control the modes of production and those who don’t. In the Communist Manifesto, he claims that the demise of feudalism led to a simplification of class conflict from multi-membered class hierarchy to one between the ‘Bourgeoisie and Proletariat’ as the society was being progressively divided into the two classes. As the demand for large-scale production and increased efficiency led to new modes of manufacturing - division of labor and during the rise of industrialization, use of machinery - the bourgeoisie gained considerable economic power, and became "modern Capitalists, owners of the means of social production and the employers of wage lab...

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...ers are often isolated when they use social media – they sit in their rooms and use the computer or read on their smartphones – and are hardly in a position to collectively challenge capitalism at the point of production. Only when the creators of the surplus value actualize the outputs of their labor, will they be able to stand up in rebellion and fight the bourgeoisie and aim to take social media into democratic public ownership.

Works Cited

The Communist Manifesto

Facebook (2014). News room. Retrieved from https://newsroom.fb.com/key-Facts

Business Insider (2013). Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/a-primer-on-facebook-demographics-2013-10

New York Times (2012) http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/05/opinion/sunday/facebook-is-using-you.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

http://www.businessinsider.com/social-media-engagement-statistics-2013-12#ixzz2uOKeVYkU

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