Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels define class by the attributes of a group of people or members involved. Since industrialized cities were expanding, much of the working class was in poverty. According to Marx, the triumph of one class would pave the way for the future freedom of the rest of society. The wealthy oppressed the slaves, plebeians and laborers. As new technology immersed, market forces gained strength, which allowed the middle classes to gain wealth and power from trade and manufacture. This challenged the upper class authority and the old rulers. The bourgeoisie property owning class and the proletariat industrial working class clashed and created a class struggle. To Marx and Engels, this meant that the capitalist bourgeoisie class exploited the proletariat. The work done by the proletariat allowed for a large amount of wealth for the bourgeoisie, and the product created in the factories were sold for more than the value of the labor. The capitalist, who has control over process of production, makes the profit, whereas the workers do not benefit from their own labor.
The class struggle of the 19th century Europe differs from class struggle in previous eras because “the manufacturing system took its place” (263). The feudal system was monopolized by closed guilds, and modern industry took the place of the middle class. Class struggle under feudalism differed drastically from non-feudal systems. The feudal industry and the developed productive forces were no longer well matched, and were torn apart.
The bourgeoisie are factory owners, who own and control the means of production and employers of laborers. Marx and Engels characterize the bourgeoisie as “the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells.” This class gets through a crisis by “enforced destruction of a mass of productive forces… the conquest of new markets, and...
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