A book review by Dialyn Roque
The book is compelling, it houses the series of thought flow on how Karl Marx introduced society evolving from different labels of antagonism; also how one is necessarily connected to each other. His idealism on the roots of how man evolved in his society as he would put it is a result of continuous opposition that ironically works for both parties although it does in an unfair and probably inhumane way of co-existing.
I am a medical major, so you can just imagine the wrinkling of my forehead the moment I started reading until I finished. I’m more of an active reader, I believe that when I read a book it’s as if I am having a sit-down chat on a cup f tea or coffee with the actual author. This one was a seemingly easy read because of the number of pages, then I learned content can never be equated with volume. Every sentence had the weight of a whole chapter compared to some books. I even think that I probably would need to read it again for a different perspective.
Going back, If you may try to recall the basic ideals of Feudalism, where the relationship of a serf to a lord depends on the work the former does for the latter in exchange for lease of the lord’s land. Over a long period of time, since there is no terms of ownership this relationship creates a social environment that results to an opportunity for abuse and exploitation as profit of the production is not shared among both parties but exclusively owned and acclaimed by the upper strata. As the author explains it, each antagonism over a period of time is then ended and actually renewed with a change only on the names of the strata and the manner of how these two co-exist.
The age of Feudalism actually gave way for the bourgeoisie. To a lay person’s social and economic background this would be “The age of Monopoly” giving way to “The age of Capitalism”. Quoting from the book: “From the serfs of the Middle Ages sprang the chartered burghers of the earliest towns. From these Burgess the first elements of the bourgeoisie were developed”. Gone are those days where trade and commerce are both central to the aristocrats, the demand for produce all over the planet has set forth the need for more people who see and work on the potential of new markets and new trends of consumerism; hence the bourgeoisie.
Quoting again from the book: “Constant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones”. Since the object of this idealism revolves around “Production” and “Profit”, there was always a need to better, faster and in all sense, competitive. This ran for a continuous cycle of wanting something good and then better and it was so close to the point that it creates a trend where something new is always the way to go. With the dawn of industrialism comes the rise of heavy machinery and lesser of the need to have more men to for human labor. With the surplus of produce and of workforce comes the realization and existence of the Proletarians of what is about to come in store for them.
“The proletariat goes through various stages of development. With its birth begins its struggle with the bourgeoisie. At first the contest is carried on by individual laborers, then by the working people of a factory, then by the operatives of one trade, in one locality, against the individual bourgeois who directly exploits them”
At last, the lower strata of society has acknowledged the fact that something is wrong and that something needs to be done. The manifesto relays the series of movements the Proletarians have done involving not only a few locals but of those probably of an entire country. I believe as I used to be a member of one, that Unions still exists amongst different companies which serve to protect the rights and promote the well-being of its co-employees as the council are a selected few elected by their colleagues.
“The real fruit of their battles lies, not in the immediate result, but in the ever-expanding union of the workers. This union is helped on by the improved means of communication that are created by modern industry and that place the workers of different localities in contact with one another.”
There was still an existing combat between the bourgeoisie and proletarians but it can’t be denied that the latter has and is now a stronger social, political and economic force than ever before. The working class have learned so much from experience and from co-laborers thru these established unions that enables them to communicate, moreover generate ideals of how they see it best for a man to work in an environment. With the new generation of workforce. gaining access to property which they only have been enslaved for in the past are starting to create a new set of stratum that may possibly be the extreme of capitalists since now people, relations and everything else is equated with the amount of money they generate or the amount they are worth of. Now, a question arises among the thinking class of the society about when will inequality end and what is the due steps of making it possible for all men?
Communism is not something new for many of us, we may have the slightest idea about it but no one knows nothing of it. The idea is that no man’s greater than another. “The theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.” It actually makes sense because if you try to go back, the existence of social differences is the drive of the upper class to have more which had made them exploit the rights of the many and result in the gain of a few. I personally have a take on this thought which I’ll be discussing at the end.
“We Communists have been reproached with the desire of abolishing the right of personally acquiring property as the fruit of a man’s own labor, which property is alleged to be the groundwork of all personal freedom, activity and independence. In bourgeois society, therefore, the past dominates the present; in Communist society, the present dominates the past. In bourgeois society capital is independent and has individuality, while the living person is dependent and has no individuality”
In my own opinion, Society was the way it was and the way it is now because the human need is evolving from the ground up. A few people might seem ahead of it but they are still a coherent part of the majority’s development. It is but of human nature to want more, to be better and to mold themselves up to the image of a higher being. The challenge is to establish the most narrow difference among the higher and the lower class because as a society or better yet as a human being I wouldn’t like to see anybody dying from hunger and I would like to have the world I live in be conducive to letting anybody be accessible to attaining his or hers fullest potential.
Author: Karl Marx Link: