Good Example Of Literature Review On Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto
Type of paper: Literature Review
Topic: Socialism, Karl Marx, Europe, Sociology, Economics, Politics, Nationalism, Nation
Socialism emerged as the burgeoning working class’s response to the socio-economic dislocation and bifurcation they experienced amidst drastic changes that took place in western societies as industrialization and modernization were transpiring. Reframing the public dialogue about capitalism, Freidrich Engels and Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto, a seminal and path-breaking treatise that continues to resonate in modern times, rendered the new, urban, working- class a politically potent yet cogent force that fortified and edified the terms for any and all discussions regarding the relationship between the working class (proletariats) and the middle class. However, F. Engels wrote that Marx was the one who has the original idea shared in “Manifesto”: "the basic thought belongs solely and exclusively to Marx" (Malia, M., 1998, pg. 35). As trained economists, scholars and social scientists, Karl Marx and Freidrich Engels attempt to discover ad elucidate how western society developed into a capitalistic, profit-driven system that favored the privileged classes over the working class and the masses. Chasm between the rich and the poor functioned as a central paradigm within Karl Marx’s public discourses. Marx and Engels postulate that "history of all hitherto society is a history of class struggles" in which the oppressor has trans-historically struggled against the oppressed. They predicate their thesis on a prevailing philosophical theory articulated by the German philosopher Gerog Wilhelm Hegel, who proffered a view of history as a fluid and forever moving dialectic, or cyclical process. A thesis gave rise to an antithesis—or something that opposes it—which eventually spawned a so-called synthesis. In this particular case, Engel and Marx deployed this framework in order to understand the emergence of capitalism as a burgeoning and viable economic system that sanctioned inequality. The etiology of this struggle lies in feudalism, which pinned serfs against their masters. Out of this conflict arose mercantilism and the guild system in which the modern bourgeoisie became the oppressor. Capitalism became the synthesis out of that struggle, but the oppressed proletariat would prevail and the system of socialism would emerge where inequality could not exist. A socialist utopia would represent the final stage (Marx and Engels). The renowned Communist Manifesto seeks to carve out spaces of social agency for the members of the working class while also fighting back against and thwarted the oppression they faced on a quotidian basis. Moreover, this provocative work fomented a heightened a sense of hope in the workers despite the socio-economic dislocation and bifurcation they ultimately suffered from.
In order to understand how such wealth inequality materialized within modern contexts, the conflict theory in psychology epistemologies must be considered, as it underscores the role of power and coercion in the production of social cohesion and order. This particular perspective emanates from the works published by Karl Marx who viewed society as increasingly fragmented in disparate groups that have time and again struggled with one another in the procurement of vital economic and social resources. According to this line of thinking, social order was preserved and maintained by hegemonic structures with power remaining under the auspices of those individuals who retained the greatest social, political, and economic resources. Furthermore, Karl Marx theorized that coming to a consensus regarding various issues was an arduous task, and a consensus could only manifest itself vis-à-vis economic base and superstructure within the governing paradigm.
As a result of the publication of The Communist Manifesto in 1848, the emergence of an enlightened and awakened working-class consciousness quickly took place, which spawned a litany of revolutions against European overlords and alarmed the European community at large. Emile Zola's seminal novel Germinal depicts working-class life in the second half of the nineteenth century in the French context. Much larger organizations were evident, and the participation of all workers proved necessary according to Marx and Engels for revolution to materialize. The International Union soon became emblematic of the new relationship that had been forged between labor and capital and emerged as an organization thought wanted to quickly to rectify the squalid and poor working conditions and low wages. Nonetheless, the working class developed not a political force that addresses working-class conditions on a global rather than just a local scale (Zola). Various revolutions escalated during 1848 due to material realities such as starvation spawned by industrialization as well as the revolutionary currents already evident in the French context. Fueled by class conflict and the government's disregard for the people, France experienced two revolutions in one year. Nationalism emerged as a mediator for revolutionary impulses that permeated working-class circles. This working-class consciousness sparked by industrialization and its byproducts propelled political and legislative responses throughout Europe as the middle class came into being amidst the industrial revolution in Britain..
During the second half of the nineteenth century, the shift from class to nation in organizing political identities functioned in various ways and shook up the geopolitical landscape in Europe. The concept of self-determination with regards to nations and identifying one's self with the identity of the nature fostered the belief that people of the nation can determine their own futures. Although they failed, these revolutions demonstrate that nationalism and liberalism would not disappear and influenced other European elites to take control in the unification process from above and the mechanisms associated with nationalism and the liberalization of politics. In Eastern Europe, nationalism functioned in two primary ways. In the Austrian empire, it functioned as a centrifugal force because the empire was comprised of a plethora of ethnic groups such as the Menards and the Hungarians. These ethnic groups viewed themselves as nations and thus spawned national movements that attempted to break up the Austrian empire. In Germany and Italy, nationalism worked as a centripetal force and pulled people together. The rise of Bismarck in Prussia paved the way for German unification through his philosophy of “Realpolitik” and through victories in military conflicts. Prussian victory in the Franco-Prussian war marked the birth of Germany, which radically altered the geopolitical landscape in Europe and upset the balance of power. Germans believed that their own security and national greatness relied on expansionary politics, which fostered competition amongst the European powers who also embraced global expansion. As a result, European presence outside the continent increased.
Zola, Emile. Germinal. New York: Scribner, 1951. Print.
Marx, Karl, and Friedrich Engels. The Communist Manifesto. New York, NY: Signet Classic, 1998. 35. Print.