Marxism since the Communist Manifesto

Marxism since the Communist Manifesto

Marxism since the Communist Manifesto

Marxism since the Communist Manifesto

Excerpt

The events of 1848/9 brought bitter disappointment to liberal and socialist radicals throughout Europe, dashed exuberant hopes for years or even decades, and produced a mood of despair and soul-searching that provided a turning point in the intellectual development of many of the Continent's leading minds. With some qualifications, the above statement applies also to the authors of the Communist Manifesto (as that document is customarily called), which had been published on the eve of the revolution. Anyone reading this summary of what Marx and Engels had come to believe will be struck by the sense of immediate deliverance expressed in it. To judge from the pamphlet, the two authors expected that the coming "bourgeois" revolution would not stop until it had turned into a revolt of the working class, which, in turn, would end exploitation, domination, and inequality forever. The evils of class society were about to be overcome.

Marxist theories, wide in scope and quite complicated, are extremely difficult to summarize. At the grave risk of oversimplification, we might nevertheless attempt to sum them up as follows: According to Marx and Engels, history must be seen primarily as man's effort to master the forces of nature so as to secure for himself material security and comfort. History is therefore the history of production , and, since all production is carried out within the framework of an organized society, history is more specifically the development of social organization--human relationships and institutions seen as parts of an ever-changing productive machinery. History is progress because man's mastery over nature (the "forces of production") has steadily increased. It is also regression because in perfecting the forces of production . . .

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