The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
"A SPECTRE is haunting Europe - the spectre of Communism."
Naturally this first line hooked me, and immediately I found myself turning the pages with awe and utter fascination. Marx is a naturally prolific writer, and no one can deny his natural abilities to persuade the readers to agree with his arguments. Growing up in Canada, the mere mention of Communism was something of a taboo. No one is allowed to speak about it in public or even in academic settings. I was aware that there was an underground Communism party at my University Campus, but I was still ignorant of their arguments or the reason the hammer and sickle was ever apparent on the grungy brick walls across campus. After reading this book, however, I can now understand the appeal of Marx's words. There is a wave of electrifying energy in it, a call to arms to fight back against the bourgeois and the aristocracy. A cry for man and woman to band together, to create a union where they can unite under a common cause. There were points that I could agree with him, and see the failings of the Capitalist society, especially in our modern age. There were a few sections in particular, which immediately grabbed my attention. For instance, Marx wrote:
"The essential condition for the existence, and for the sway of the bourgeois class, is the formation and augmentation of capital; the condition for capital is wage labour. Wage labour rests exclusively on competiton between the labourers."
This argument brought forth two ideas: the question of the bourgeois existence and the issues with wage labour, or even the problem of minimum wage. I have heard lots of economists argue over the issue of minimum wage; the difficulties of raising it because it negatively effects businesses and mitigates their profits. I have even heard some Free Market economists argue that we should get rid of minimum wage all together, and let the employer choose the prices. This freedom would be beneficial for the "bourgeois" but what about the proletariat? Will they have any say at all? And would that not increase the level of competition between the labourers as they fight for high paying jobs? It would undoubtedly go against Marx's ideals, which believe that the proletariat should come together in a single union to propagate their own ideas.
The entire argument over Capitalism and Communism has been going on for centuries. Each side has their pros and cons, and even now when we look at the 21st century we can see how each country has benefited from their political ideologies. At the present moment, America is become less of a superpower and their "Free Market" is steadily turning into a Socialist regime. When property is steadily being taken over the State, taxes against the rich increase, and instruments of productions are gradually being taken up by the Government, you can only wonder where is the fine line between Capitalism and Socialism. Is there a way to balance between the two? And as the United States Government changes from the far right to lean over to the left, it makes you wonder about the future of the United States. We all know that the FED is printing out trillions of dollars for covid relief funds, and that they are slowly slipping towards the edge of inevitable bankruptcy (if the money printer continues to go), so what will happen when Communist China eventually emerges as the next world superpower? Does that mean that Marx's ideologies are right? Or do we as a society must admit that each ideology has their own merits, and that we cannot simply choose one over the other?
I suppose "The Communist Manifesto" got me thinking about the politics and the power of the Government. It made me think about the ever widening gap between "the half and the half not." The fact that homelessness is growing in the United States, or the fact that in my own hometown the housing crisis and inflation is only making things harder for those that are homeless or living below the poverty line. The Free Market is supposed to benefit everyone and we go around saying that we can live "The American Dream," but you have to wonder if there is a myth behind that Utopian ideology. In a world where there are billionaires flying up to space, and others so poor that they have to walk for miles for drinkable water, you have to wonder if Capitalism is the way to go? Are we simply kidding ourselves? Or is it a lesser evil to the ideas of Communism?
I will leave the final words of Marx, to display his true power when it comes to persuasive writing:
"Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win."
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