PapersThe Death of Communism
The United States longest and bloodiest war was the Vietnam War, which was fought from 1959 until 1975.(Communist Manifesto 1) In this war 57,685 Americans were killed, and their were over 2 million Vietnamese deaths.(Communist Manifesto 3) One of the main causes of the war was a commonly held American belief called the Domino Theory. This theory stated that if the U.S. allowed one country to fall to communism, those around it would fall, and then those around it, eventually taking over the whole world. However, the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 allows to approach communism in a new light.
The Communist Manifesto has three sections. The first is an outline of the history of the bourgeois and the proletariat, and a explanation on how the bourgeois will bring about their defeat. The second section shows the framework of the communist goals, and their long range plan to abolish private property. The last section criticizes other socialist attempts at the time, calling all workers to unite under communism.
The bourgeois Marx speaks of in the manifesto is simply the capitalist of the time. The proletariat are the workers of the world, people who, according to Marx, have “become an appendage of the machine.”(Marx 3) Marx speaks of their horrible fate saying “they are daily and hourly enslaved by the machine, by the overlooker, and, above all, by the individual bourgeois manufacturer himself.”(Marx 3) Marx documents the stages of the proletariats struggle with the bourgeois: “at first the contest is carried on by individual laborers, then by the workpeople of a factory, then the operatives of one trade, in one locality, against the bourgeois that directly exploits them.”(Marx 4) Marx tells how this indignation and desire for better working conditions brings about the formation of labor unions. These unions then increase in political power, until a movement is started. Thus the bourgeois are heightening the antagonism that will bring their defeat.
The second section of the Communist Manifesto clarifies the aims of communist. It states that communist do not form a separate working class party, that they do not have interest separate from the working class as a whole, and they do not seek to mold the proletarian movement. Marx states that “the distinguishing feature of Communism is not the abolishment of property generally, but the abolishment of bourgeois property.”(Marx 7) Marx is arguing that the capitalist societies of the time have done away with property for nine-tenths of the population already, and the only way to remove class distinctions is to abolish private property.
The final section of the Communist Manifesto, Marx attacks various countries attempts at socialism and proclaims that communist “disdain to conceal their aims.”(Marx 8) He finishes with a call to arms: “Let the ruling classes tremble at a communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Working men of all countries, unite!”(Marx 9)
The Communist Manifesto was written in a time when people were starting to realize all the injustices the industrial revolution and modern industry had created. However, this situation no longer exists. Gone, are the bourgeois and proletarians; a middle class has risen up; communism has begun to fall.
Marx describes the rise of the bourgeois by saying “the place of manufacture was taken by the giant, Modern Industry, the place of the industrial middle class, by the industrial millionaire, the leaders of whole industrial armies, the modern bourgeois.”(Marx 2) But this leader has disappeared in our world today. One no longer hears of a Henry Ford or a John Rockefeller. These industrial giants have been replaced by corporations. CEOs now head these corporation, that are owned publicly through stock. Proletarians have disappeared as well. There are no longer thousands upon thousands of people who work in “the great factory of the industrial capitalist.”(Marx 2) These people have risen into the middle class, a class that did not exist when the manifesto was written. The manifesto no longer addresses the needs of the people, because the people it addressed, the proletariat, no longer exist.
Therefore communism no longer can be applied to modern
PapersThe Death of Communism