In 1848 Karl Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto which was a formal statement of the communist party. “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles […] we find almost everywhere a complicated arrangement of society into various orders, a manifold graduation of social rank” (Cohen and Fermon, 448). Marx believed that throughout the past the great societies of the world have all experienced class struggle in all their internal conflict. Marx felt that the class struggle that exists in capitalism would become the main internal conflict surpassing all other struggles. Marx illustrated class distinctions in both ancient history and modern history. Marx explained, “In ancient Rome we have patricians, knights, plebeians, (and) slaves; in the middle ages, feudal lords, vassals, guild masters, journeymen, and apprentices” (Cohen and Fermon, 448). Marx makes this point to show that if a knight fought a slave then it was a class struggle, the oppressor vs. the oppressed.
Marx comments on the cycles between the oppressors and the oppressed because he felt that the capitalistic ways of oppression have been replaced with new forms of oppression, he stated:
The modern bourgeois society […] has established new classes, new conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in the place of old ones. Our epoch has simplified the class antagonisms: Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, two great camps facing each other: Bourgeois and Proletariat (Cohen and Fermon, 448-449).
One can see an example of prejudice disappearing in a capitalist society through women in the modern workplace, which shows that prejudices are of less importance when it comes to making money for the bourgeoisie. Marx felt that the disappearance of certain prejudice through capitalism would be replaced with enslavem...
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...need to produce for everyone’s needs. He said, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” (Cohen and Fermon, 465). Everyone getting what they need when they are working to the best to their ability is true equality.
I think that with the changes that have been made to our form of capitalism, a communist society will never come into existence because we have a national minimum wage, laws against monopolies, child labor restrictions, welfare, and other laws to stop abuses by the bourgeoisie. I do think that if capitalism would have continued like Marx saw it around the turn of the century and that we had until the New deal politics of Roosevelt, and some other changes to the America capitalist style that we could possibly be coming to the time when a communist society could be possible in America. I think that Marx’s critique on capitalism is correct and I have shown why I still feel that his critique is correct today even though we have made changes to capitalism to help prevent some of the problems that do in fact arise.
Mitchell Cohen & Nicole Fermon Princeton Readings in Political Thought: Essential Texts since Plato. Princeton University Press
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