Historical Background of Karl Marx

Karl Marx was born to a middle-class family on May 5, 1818, in Trier. He was a German political theorist, journalist, historian, and philosopher. He studied political economy and Hegelian philosophy. Marx lived in London for the most of his adult life, where he developed his philosophical ideas in conjunction with Friedrich Engels, a German philosopher. The 1848 Communist Manifesto and the Das Kapital are two of the more well-known books they created and published. These writings have had a big impact on political, intellectual, and economic history. Marx developed various political, social, and economic theories that are collectively referred to as Marxism. Marxism holds that human societies develop through class struggle whereby those who have control of the production factors control the rest. The class struggle manifests itself in capitalism as a conflict between the ruling class (commonly known as bourgeois) and the working class (commonly referred to as proletariat). The communist Manifesto significantly changed the relationship between the working class and the ruling class.

Introduction to the study

Karl Marx generated various theories whereby he analyzed the over-exploitation of the ruling class on the working class. On his Marxism theory, Marx observed and analyzed material conditions and economic activities that are required to meet the set society needs. He noted that the mode of production results into direct influences on the social and economic existence of people.

The Communist Manifesto was originally written by political theorists, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in Germany. Marx was not a professional philosopher but had progressed into attaining a doctorate in philosophy. He is well known for his immense contribution to the foundation of social sciences. The principal contribution that Marx had in the Social Sciences was the Communist Manifesto caused a change in the political dimensions after 1848. The Manifesto is a review that reflects on the attempt to explain goals of Communism and the theories supporting the movement. The manifesto holds that class differences and exploitation of one by the other are the motivating factors for historical developments. The economic forces, brought by forces of production, dictate the move from one class to the other. For instance, the modern society is characterized by class conflict between the haves and the have not (commonly known as bourgeoisie and proletariat). The conflict raises revolution whereby the proletariat rises against the bourgeoisie destroying properties and leveling the economic sector. This essay seeks to give a broad explanation of the communist manifesto by Karl Marx.

The Communist Manifesto starts with Marx's generalization that the history of life is based on class struggle. Marx explains these classes as having binary oppositions where one party is the oppressor and the other oppressed. The French Revolution destroyed feudalism bringing about simplification of class differences. The society is gradually dividing into two classes, the Bourgeoisie and Proletariat. Marx argued that the haves greatly exploited the have not. He pointed out that effort of the proletariat created massive wealth for the bourgeoisie. The rich used their influence in the society to impose control over the have not. Marx believed that capitalism had factors that contributed to its destruction.

Karl Marx believed neoliberalism, created to serve needs of the elites, was the major agent for capitalism fall. The elites, especially economic elites controlled all the factors of production. They restricted the workers in direct involvement in wealth creation and amassment. The elite class also has control over mental production thus control all the factors that aid acquisition of knowledge. Inequality allocation of education and other production facilities gave birth to organized revolts against the elites. They aligned themselves in confronting the elites in addressing their discomfort on the continuous mistreatments. They wanted direct involvement in all production sectors. For effective change in the production factors, outlined the manifesto in four sections. The Manifesto covered the relationship between bourgeois and proletarians, proletarians and communists, socialist and communist literature, and the position of communists about the prevailing opposition parties.

The bourgeois and the proletarians

According to Marx, the bourgeois is capitalist controlling the means of production while the proletarians are laborers working for the bourgeois. As a result, the bourgeois exercised control on almost everything, leaving the proletarians without any say in political matters. Marx continues to note that the proletarians number would finally increase beyond that of the bourgeois and start a revolt against them. It is this statement by Marx which was used by the low-class people to stage revolution across Europe to address their continued suppression by the owners of the factors of production.

Marx extensively indicated the over-empowerment of the bourgeois in his Communist Manifesto. He believed that the laborers were not being paid according to the accepted standards. Those who provided work exercised full control over the factors of production, leaving the laborers miserable due to their inability to access basic living conditions. Failure to access basic human needs drives one into a crisis state whereby he can resolve to seek use of harsh ways of addressing his predicaments.

Proletarians and communists

Marx gives an elaborate explanation of the social changes communists intend to employ on the proletariat. The communists' first aim was to form a class for the proletariat and overthrow the over domination of the bourgeois. The aim was only visible if the working class could get access to the necessities of life. The communists, therefore, planned on the active involvement of the proletariat in all the sectors of the economy. Gradually, the proletariat got access to better services like better education opportunities, access to better medical services and acquisition of property like any other person from the ruling class. Areas where the ruling class restricted the corrective efforts of the communists, active resistance emerged resulting in massive revolutions seen in largest parts of Europe. The communists' theory describes a movement meant to abolish private property for an effective crackdown on repressive nature of the bourgeois.

Marx mentions that communists have been noted for their endless desire to abolish acquisition of private property through the exploitation of one's labor. However, Marx notes that laborers do not acquire private property through the efforts of their labor. He instead says that the property that the working class achieves serves to exploit them. The property under bourgeoisie's control represents social but not a personal power. The extent of power that the bourgeoisie exercises on the working class is limited to being a social factor rather than an individual influence. Therefore, changing the ownership of a shared property does not extinguish the property as a right but alters its social character by the removal of its class character. Hence, under communism, labor will be there for the good of the laborer but not for manufacturing bourgeoisie-controlled property.

Marx, in his manifesto, proposes that the working class shall engage in efforts of producing properties for the self-improvement purposes. He insists that communism will cure the over-exploitation widely exercised on the proletarians. The communism goal challenges bourgeoisie's freedom on exploiting the proletariat. Despite the communists' developments on property ownership, it does not prevent people from appropriating labor products. Marx covers various objections to communism by both the ruling and the working class.

The manifesto points out that people will be demotivated from working if the private property is extinguished. However, through the development of thoughts against private property, the bourgeoisie society should have been destroyed out of laziness. But in the present world, it is a reality that people who work acquire little and those who receive much does not work. Other researchers point out that the communism ideologies will finally destroy all the intellectual properties. The notion that people should not have private property and that it should be communal will eventually extinguish private ownership of products and a collapse of the already privately owned properties. However, this notion results from the misunderstanding of the bourgeoisie on the extinction of class culture as it does not mean the disappearance of all culture.

Marx shifts his take by raising arguments against the communist proposal of abolishing social units like the family. He points out that the contemporary family is based on the private and capital gains. Marx claims that the communists render themselves "guilty" out of their efforts to remove the exploitation of children by their parents. The communist ban on the use of the labour of other people in gaining private property includes work of children in building family property. This in itself becomes a limiting factor in family unity and progress due to the misinterpretation of the communist ideologies.

Marx's Communist Manifesto raises criticism on the desire of the communists to abolish nationality and country. Marx claims that laborers do not have a state and nothing should never be taken from them because they don't have anything worthwhile. Marx continues to say that industrialization increasingly standardizes lie leading to the loss of national differences.

Socialist and communist literature

Here, Marx discusses the evolution of European socialism from its origin up to his time. He disregarded the previous communism movements due to their theoretical and political inadequacy and in return proposed that his own as the best alternative. For effective coverage of the new thought of socialism and communism, he developed an extensive literature whereby he divided the study into three subsets. The subsets were reactionary communism, conservative or Bourgeoisie, Socialism and the Critical-Utopian Socialism and Communism. Reactionary Socialists include the Pretty-Bourgeoisie Socialist, Feudal Socialists and German or "True Socialists."

Feudal Socialism

It was the earliest form of socialism which was developed by the aristocrats who were against the negative social changes that were brought by the bourgeoisie. Although, Marx was against the feudal socialists because they were as well as exploiters while in power. Marx argues that the Feudal Socialists did not have the appreciation for historical progress and never understood that the bourgeoisie was their offspring. Failure to correctly relate the past and their present, the Feudal Socialists developed a poor generalization of socialism.

Pretty-Bourgeoisie Socialism

As noted earlier, Marx said that continuous bourgeoisie dominance leads to division of the society into two classes. There is a third class which has developed and constantly lies between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, the petty-bourgeoisie. Gradually, this class is becoming assimilated into the proletariat due to the increased industrial development and urban movement of masses. Regardless of the enmity between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, the petty-bourgeoisie develops and takes the ideologies of the proletariat. Marx agrees with the thoughts of this school of socialism because the renewed Feudalism accurately addressed the contradiction arising from modern production. However, Marx disqualifies the class due to their efforts of reviving old social formations leading to a failed feudalism.

Critical-Utopian and Socialism Communism

The earliest analysts of Socialism and Communism did not appreciate the fact that the proletariat played a role of revolutionary class. According to them, the proletariat was a class of misery that continuously was in need. They put most of their energies in addressing their immediate problems rather than taking the lead in social movements.

The position of communists about the prevailing opposition parties

Marx concludes the Manifesto with a widely drawn discussion on the role of the communists while they work with other parties. Communism promotes the rights of the working class. They work with the political parties that promote communism ideologies even if it means working together with the bourgeoisie. However, they constantly motivate the working class through instilling them with the recognition of the hostile relationship between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. Communist provides full support to the working class by helping them to gain enough resources for overthrowing the bourgeoisie. Everywhere, the communists support revolutionary movements that are staged against the existing political and social order of things. They hold that their aims will only be met through the use of force to overthrow all the existing social conditions.

Marx identifies the allied parties throughout the European states stating that the communists continuously support the proletariat even if they support all the working-class parties. Specifically, Marx asserts that Germany is the principal focus of communism due to the rapid development of the proletariat's influence on the aristocrats. The proletariat in Germany is more developed than how it was when the English and French bourgeoisie attained their independence. This implies that the proletariat revolutionary movement will reach in Germany first. Despite these developmental differences, the communists support all social movements that provide full support for the abolition of private property and promote the proletariat interests.


Marx broadly covered on social divisions in his famous Communist Manifesto. Together with Engels, they came up with philosophical thoughts and theories that elaborated the class struggle in the society. According to Marx, there are two well-pronounced classes which struggle to meet their needs, the proletariat and the Bourgeoisie. The Bourgeoisie controls all the factors of production through a constant exploitation of the proletariat to amass wealth. The continuous exploitation leads to the development of socialist movements which finally leads to the emergence of communist ideologies. The communists advocate for the abolishment of private properties to address the miseries of the working class. Through the help of the communist thoughts, proletariats start engaging the ruling class in revolutionary movements for leveling the social and political fields. The communist work freely with the political parties that support abolition of the private properties.

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