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Karl Marx, part 4: 'Workers of the world, unite!'

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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 07:39 PM
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Karl Marx, part 4: 'Workers of the world, unite!'

Karl Marx, part 4: 'Workers of the world, unite!'
The main point of the Communist Manifesto is that capitalism creates the conditions for its own downfall

Peter Thompson, Monday 25 April 2011

I finished last week with Marx's great line from the 18th Brumaire that "people make their own history but not in conditions of their own making". So what were the conditions in which he was trying to make his own history?

He was born 19 years after the French revolution. That was, of course, the great seismic event in the development of modernity and the ensuing political tsunami forced its way into every corner of Europe. The Communist Manifesto appeared in 1848, the next great year of European revolution. It hoped that the shifting plate tectonics of socioeconomic change would ignite a German revolution, aid the Chartists in England and bring the growing proletariat onto the European political stage. This was Marx's communist spectre haunting Europe, a spectre before which the old order was supposed to tremble.

The Communist Manifesto is probably the widest read and most influential political document of the modern age, but it is also probably the most misunderstood and misquoted. Famously, the opening section is a song of praise to the modernising tendencies of bourgeois capitalist rule and it is in the manifesto that we find the insights about globalisation and the spread of capitalist modernity around the world, quotes which garner grudging admiration today for their prescience even from Wall Street and the City. The creative destruction that modern capitalist society unleashes, in which "everything that is solid melts into air", is for Marx a precondition for the development of the productive forces to a point where there is an adequate surplus generated for it to be redistributed. ...................(more)

The complete piece is at:

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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-25-11 07:41 PM
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1. I didn't realize he came so much earlier than the Bolsheviks.
Suddenly 1848 makes so much more sense. All the ferment in Europe.
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