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Karl Marx: The Communist Manifesto
Transcript of Karl Marx: The Communist Manifesto
Marx was born in Germany to a Jewish family, who later converted to Lutheranism. His studies focused on literature and philosophy, after earning a doctorate from the University of Jena. He is best known by the world today as the author of The Communist Manifesto (1848). This work, like a majority of his writings, was written with the help of Friedrich Engels, although it was Vladimir Lenin's triumph in the Russian revolution that catapulted Marx and "Marxism" into the modern world. Marx's ideas are generally taken two different ways depending on one's predisposition to capitalistic or communistic leanings. The Capitalists find Marxism's social structure unconvincing, whilst the Communists have found him to be their leader in social structure and the application of social ideas and structure. His writings basically center around the bourgeois and the proletarians. The bourgeois were those who owned property while the proletarians were those who owned nothing but whose work produced goods and wealth. He speaks of economic class struggle, how it is inherent to every society and how it is necessary to the evolution of countries. Marx says "history is progressive and to an extent inevitable", meaning while we progress, some things stay the same. We learn from history but some actions preceding it it can be a formidable and unchanging force.
The proletarians began in struggle. Slowly through time, they have economically risen and, I would say in modern society, win more "battles" than they lose. Regardless of what they win, they never have the same width of monetary possessions as the bourgeois. During the industrial age, the proletarians made massive legal gains. Their numbers increased and culminated more as a cohesive whole around the globe. This gave them more power than they had from the previous scattered nature of the class. As the bourgeois continued to compete with themselves to garner even more wealth, the proletarians were negatively affected with consistently lower wages and longer hours. However, small defeats mean less to the proletarians than the constant slow push to win. The expanse of their numbers brought an expanse of the worker unions, conclusively giving them more rights, more status and forced concrete boundaries against the bourgeois. A great example is the labor laws of today, such as the Minimum Wage Law, which apply to virtually all businesses.
Bourgeois and Proletarians
Existing in society since the beginning of classes. The freeman and the slave, lord and serf and a multitude of others. The oppressor and the oppressed have always stood at opposite ends of the battlefield. Society has moved forward and has created even more class structures. The class struggle may seem nonexistent but when you delve between the layers, you find what Marx says will always exist. As Marx says there is always a rise and fall of who is winning the battle of the classes.
The bourgeois casually remain on top in the sense of overall wealth and have always held a majority of economic power. This is why they are considered the oppressor of the oppressed, though their success, in a way, dictates the financial success of the proletariat. While there are victories of the proletariat over the bourgeois, not much has been done to move more proletarians into the bourgeois class. There are some examples, however, where we see individuals falling from this higher tier of society through such actions as lay offs of management at companies, businesses closing or filing for bankruptcy, etc.
To remain at their status, the bourgeois find bigger and better ways of using money to place their lifestyle out of reach. Face it, if everyone had the ability to substantiate their way of life, classes would vanish.
ex. Tom Cruise reportedly gave a customized Gulfstream jet to Katie Holmes as a wedding gift with the approximate cost of $20 million.
ex. Eva Longoria married Tony Parker in 2007, and her registry reportedly included cocktail stirrers from Tiffany that cost $100 each.
The following is an example of the "real fruit" borne from the battle of the proletariat - wages. Labor Laws are constantly changing to better protect and serve the worker which may be have a positive or negative effect on those who own businesses (the bourgeoisie). Minimum wage, in my opinion, is by far the most perfect example of the continuous victory and aiding argument that the class struggle lives on today.
"The California minimum wage will change to $8.00 per hour effective January 1, 2008. (Labor Code
section 1182.11 and appropriate Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) Order) There are a few exceptions to the minimum wage requirement. Some of these exceptions include:
- Employees (learners) during their first one hundred and sixty (160) hours of employment in
occupations in which they have no previous similar or related experience, may be paid $6.38
per hour effective 1/1/07 or 85% of minimum wage. After that, they must be paid the
minimum wage in effect (See appropriate IWC Order and Minimum Wage Order MW-2007).
- Persons who are not productive because of mental or physical handicaps may be paid less
than the minimum wage, if the employer first obtains a special license from the Division of
Labor Standards Enforcement. (Labor Code § 1191)
- Any individual who is a parent, spouse, child or legally adopted child of the employer is not
subject to the minimum wage laws. (See appropriate IWC Order and MW-2007)
- Any outside salesperson is not subject to the minimum wage laws. (See appropriate IWC
Order and MW-2007) " - http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/minimumwage.pdf
The key to a fluid society is consistent struggle. Progression can not be obtained with out it. Competition breeds growth, growth breeds continual success. Invention of new gadgets, better work ethic, betterment of knowledge and a multitude of progressive ideas. If neither party ever wanted more, the world would become stale from an acceptance of the norm. I've highlighted the wins on both sides of the table. These rises and falls are what keep society moving. History is progress, History is inevitable.
Anne Hathaway's quote "There's a storm coming, Mr. Wayne. … When it hits, you're all going to wonder how you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us." Is a good way to epitomize the thoughts and feelings of the proletariat class.
Marx, Karl. "Communist Manifesto" A World of Ideas:
Essential Readings for College Writers. 9th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's,
2002. 51-141. Print.
Karl Marx: The Communist Manifesto