Marx's The Communist Manifesto: Meaning and Interpretation

The Communist Manifesto is Marxist study of human history, the study of change and progress in history along with Marxist concept of class society. In the opening of the essay Marx says that the history of human civilization, he says to develop is the history of class struggle. He says that each and every human society has two classes: the class of haves and the class of haves not.

Karl Marx (1818-1883)

The haves are also called rulers or power holders and the haves not are also called ruled or powerless people. In his opinion, there is always negative relationship between these two classes of people because the rulers always exploit the ruled.

When there is maximum exploitation, the ruled attack against the rulers which Marx says class struggle. In the class struggle, the ruled get victory over the rulers because the rulers are fewer in number. Then the ruled get power so they began to exercise power. All of the struggles and with the gain of power; Marx calls all struggles as political struggles. He also says that history is dynamic and progressive, dynamic means change which is possible through progress. After the class struggle, history changes which is dynamic process and within the change of time there is also progress, so Marx says history is dynamic & progressive.

Marx has given so many examples to support his idea of class struggle in his history as well as dynamic and progressive qualities of history. He says that in the ancient time there were two classes: Masters and slaves. After the class struggle, this class contrast was abolished but in the middle age, again two contrasting classes came in to existence: Feudal and workers. The feudal were the property owners who owned a lot of land property and they kept so many workers who ploughed land and grew the crops. Whatever was grown up the workers did not get it but the Feudal owned everything, it was the exploitation of the workers by the feudal, so that they had class struggle and the workers defeated the feudal. Marx even described about the rapidly developing modern material world of the bourgeois. The bourgeois is the modern capitalist class, which is the most progressive class because it has made a strong progress in the material world. It has developed different means of property such as transportation, communication, science and technology. But, bourgeois society has also its weakness because in the name of material progress it begins exploitation. Everything is evaluated in the relationship of money in bourgeois society and it gives birth to the exploited class of the worker called proletarians. The proletariat class is the class of the all workers who work as wage labors such as doctors, engineers, professors, lawyers etc. They are not given true value of the work and bourgeois exploit most part of their earning. The bourgeois does not work at all but it becomes the owner of large private property, while the proletariat works day and night but does not get any property at all. It is because of the exploitation. When bourgeois society is too much developed, it established again as multinational companies everywhere in the world and in the progress of business and trade, the bourgeois moves everywhere in the world. It becomes successful to collect raw material even in the Dark Continent such as Africa. It takes the raw material in chief price and sells the commodity in high price, which is the means of exploitation. Farmers are not given true value of the work because they have to sell raw chiefly and they have to pay the product expensively. Maximum exploitation to the labors increases because huge machines replace the workers and the workers are not properly paid. The proletarians and the bourgeois also take part in class struggle but in the beginning the proletariat losses because it is not united at first. When the proletariat is united and when a small part of bourgeois come to be united with proletariat it become successful over the bourgeois. Finally, proletariat comes to get power.

Marx has also given his idea about the elimination of private property. He says that private property is the cause of exploitation and the ownership of private property causes class contrast and class conflict. Similarly, he says that private property is the main cause of exploitation because the more we earn the more we want to earn and for more earning exploitation is used. Therefore, Marx says that to avoid class contrast and class conflict, private property should be seized and it should be owned by the state itself. Such property should be used for the benefit of the state and the people. The anti Marxist blame that people will not work if they are not given private property and the progress will be stopped. But, Marx sweetly replies that it is not true. He reminds the readers that in the bourgeois society there is no individual property of the workers but they have been working day and night, if so, why people are working in the bourgeois society.

In terms of the concept of religion and nationalism, Marx also gives his view clearly. He says that communist’s are blamed that they do not believe on religion. He defends that religion is the matter of concept, which changes within the change of time; as long as religion of the communists is concerned, they believe on work for all, which is the true religion. Marx rejects the religion of blind worship because such religion causes conflict among the people. Opium causes intoxication to the people. Such religion is not necessary to follow, he even says that communists are blamed that they do not believe on nationalism. He defends such blame that nationalism is less important than humanism. For the communists all the workers in the world are human beings and they are brothers and sisters to each other. In other words, communist focus on humanity and fraternity and fraternity are primary but nationality is secondly affair so it is less important.

Finally, Marx also describes about his concept of classless society. He imagines that a communist is the state of equality among the people, which is possible by creating classless society. For the formation of classless society of equality, Marx presents some points, which are applicable in the classless society, for example, he gives high importance to eliminate all the private ownership of property. All individual should be seized from his or her private ownership of property. Secondly, all the property should be under the ownership of the state bank and such property should be used for the welfare of the state and the people. Thirdly, all fallow (uncultivated) lands should be irrigated by the state to increase the crops. Fourthly, he focuses on equal development of cities and villages so that migration to the city becomes stopped and there is equal proportion of population in the city and the village. Marx also says that the state should own a means of transportation and communication. The state also should encourage for the development of personality equally so that all get equal opportunities of making career. He also says that there should be state owned free education to all the children and the education must be compulsory, all the children education system should be scientific and technical so that the product of education should be productive and independent. These ideas give the Marxist concept of classless society. But, anti Marxist blamed that even in the communist state there are rulers and ruled so there is not classless society. This blame is meaningless and illogical because classless society neither the prime minister nor the labor owns private property because all means of property are on the name of the state. So there is classlessness and equality.