The Widespread Appeal of the Communist Manifesto

Topics: Marxism, Communism, Karl Marx Pages: 5 (1485 words) Published: March 2, 2011
The Widespread Appeal of the Communist Manifesto

In The Communist Manifesto, Marx's power lies in his ability to write with a style that could appeal to the radical extremes of society. His political theory, complex language, and intricate vocabulary lead his writing to popularity among the educated politicians and scholars, while the dramatic tone and globalist call to arms aroused the interest of the working classes across Europe. These scholars were a small part of the bourgeoisie he wrote about, and similarly the workers his writing appealed to were indistinguishable from the proletariat he described. In the books introduction, Engels, one of the manifesto’s co-authors, defines the bourgeoisie as the class of the capitalist who controls means of production in society. Likewise, he considers the proletariat to be the working majority, which sells its labor to support a system it has no control over (7). Marx, on the other hand, works to apply moral judgments to these two classes, allowing for him to write on more than just a class struggle. His bourgeoisie is exploitative, manipulative, and inherently evil, while he sees the proletariat as the masses destined to rule itself (10, 17) . The Communist Manifesto, published in 1848, was one of the most influential texts of the 19th century. In brief, it outlines how all of human development has been forms of class struggles, first with the feudal lord and peasant, and in later years the bourgeoisie and proletariat. According to Marx, the final stage of the development of society is rebellion of the working class. It is inevitable that the laborers will come to rule themselves and overthrow the capitalists. Capitalism is heavily attacked by Marx; he describes the system as exploitative, cruel, unjust, and therefore destined to be overthrown. Through the manifesto, Marx works to call the workers together to gain control of their future, as he believes they must. The Communist Manifesto was only part of Marx’s quest to promote socialism. He also attended and gave lectures, participated in conventions, and wrote other books about the communist revolution and the evils of capitalism. His oral work especially taught him to speak to the masses; he learned to speak to his audience and persuade people to support his cause. This clearly influenced his writing, numerous passages are written with a dramatic tone clearly inspired by oratory presentation. The work of Karl Marx had consequences felt across the globe: The Russian Revolution, Cold War, Communist movement in China, and countless other periods of history were all a direct result of the rise of communism. Marx served as the voice of the Communist Party, and through The Communist Manifesto declared the Party’s intentions to rebuild society. The following passage well illustrates the type of language he used to convey his ideas to the scholarly elite. The Proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority in the interest of the immense majority. The proletariat, the lowest stratum of our present society, cannot stir, cannot raise itself up, without the whole superincumbent strata of official society being sprung into the air. Here, he uses several linguistic techniques to cause for the passage to come across as more sophisticated and advanced. One of these is repetition, with the “immense majority” and the strata of society being mentioned several times, providing a sense of symmetry to their respective sentences. Calling the upper classes the superincumbent strata maintains an elitist tone meant to impress scholars more than simply calling them the higher portions or something similar.

Marx uses a similar technique to distinguish Communism from other forms of Socialism. He claims that abolishing bourgeois property defines communism because “modern bourgeois private property is the final and most complete expression of the system of producing and appropriating products, that is based...

Cited: Marx, Karl. “Communist Manifesto.” 1888. Ed. Martin Puchner. New York, Barnes & Noble Classics Series, 2005. Print.
Marx, Karl. “Communist Manifesto.” 1888. Ed. Mortimer Adler and Peter Wolff. An Introduction to the Great Books and a Liberal Education. Chicago, Encyclopaedia Brittanica Inc. 1959. Print.
Sorkin, Michael “Reds.” An Incomplete Education. Ed Judy Jones and William Wilson. New York: Random House, 1995. 600. Print.
“The Communist Manifesto.” Wikipedia. Internet. 17 May 2010.
Gavin, William. “Text vs. Context: Irony and ‘The Communist Manifesto.’” Studies in Soviet Thought, Vol. 37, No. 4. (1989): 275-285. Jstor.
Google Image. Web. 17 May 2010.
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