Among the numerous works presented in The Marx and Engels reader, edited by Robert C. Tucker, I've decided to focus my study on that which seems to me to be the most influential text in Marx's work, the Manifesto of the Communist Party. The Manifesto was first published in 1848 in London upon solicitation by the Communist League, an association of German workers and immigrants exiled in Great Britain, in Belgium or in France. The Manifesto presents the aspirations of Communism, its position towards Socialism, and other XIXth century parties. The main idea of the Manifesto is that the whole story of humanity is the one of a perpetual class struggle. In the XIXth century, the evolution of the opposition between these the bourgeoisie and the proletariat lead to the eventual awareness among the proletariat of its status as a class and of its undeniable revolutionary potential.
[...] This means that the end of history can be nothing but the end of class struggles. The proletariat fight would start to defend work and its economic interests. But if the proletariat is able to get united, it is because it has nothing left. It lacks property, nor individuality, law, religion, and morale as everything is monopolized by the bourgeoisie. It is the vastness of its destitution which gives the proletariat a universal revolutionary mission. Concurrently, the revolution accomplished by the proletariat could only be a “total revolution”, which aims to suppress all classes. [...]
[...] Thus, the radical and international definition of Communism given by Marx and Engels inevitably carries out to a prospect for a transition between capitalism and Communism: the dictatorship of the proletariat. As a majority political instrument for the benefit of the majority, this new regime does not have need for a heavy apparatus of civil servants for administration, or for a heavy apparatus of repression. It is a State "sui generis" willing to transfer functions to self-administered groups of citizens, before transferring all its power to the society as a whole. [...]
[...] However, theses authors have been considered to be too idealistic, and not reformist enough (as can be seen in the third part of the Manifesto about “Socialist and Communist Literature”). In the subpart about “Critical- Utopian Socialism and Communism”, Marx and Engels mention Owen, Fourier and Cabet but reject their theories, because they believe that when the class struggle will take shape these utopian projects would have no more reason to exist. Besides, they assert that such forms of socialism can only take one of the two other forms of socialism described in the Manifesto: they will become a conservative or a reactionary socialism. [...]
[...] In the late Middle Ages the journeymen in the cities worked for petty-bourgeoisie, and eventually they became specialized workers serving the interests of Capitalism. The bourgeoisie was the first to be aware of its status as a class. In the beginning, the only true dominant class, as the only owner of capital, was the bourgeoisie which produced new ideas, inspired new social practices, and thus contributed to change mind-sets. This period was also characterized by a constant upheaval in the instruments of production and in social relations, which was significantly different from the previous periods characterized by stability. [...]
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