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CompleteMartialArts.com - The Communist Manifesto (Penguin Classics)

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Binding: Paperback
Dewey Decimal Number: 335.422
EAN: 9780140447576
ISBN: 0140447571
Label: Penguin Classics
Manufacturer: Penguin Classics
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 304
Publication Date: 2002-08-27
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Release Date: 2002-08-27
Studio: Penguin Classics

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Editorial Reviews:

Originally published on the eve of the 1848 European revolutions, The Communist Manifesto is a condensed and incisive account of the worldview Marx and Engels developed during their hectic intellectual and political collaboration. Formulating the principles of dialectical materialism, they believed that labor creates wealth, hence capitalism is exploitive and antithetical to freedom.

This new edition includes an extensive introduction by Gareth Stedman Jones, Britain's leading expert on Marx and Marxism, providing a complete course for students of The Communist Manifesto, and demonstrating not only the historical importance of the text, but also its place in the world today.

Spotlight customer reviews:

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: A Utopian society gone south in practice
Comment: The idea of this book is simple enough: it's Marx's and Engels' concept and plan for a totally fair society where everything is shared and everyone is (supposedly) equal.

The problem is, "...absolute power corrupts absolutely," and when authoritarian dictators implement these ideas it always results in two percent of the people having everything and the remaining ninety-eight percent having nothing.

The core focus of this political persuasion is on "the worker". It evolved from a prior eternity of monarchs dominating the poor and a response to the scourge of serfdom. Ultimately, Lenin used "The Communist Manifesto" as a means of promoting the Russian Revolution which ultimately became the cultural horror which the rest of us came to know as The Soviet Union. In other words, it provided the basis for a ploy on the part of the Bolsheviks (Communist Party).

During the years of Communism, the Soviet workers used to convey a covertly-spoken credo: "We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us". That pretty much sums up how Marx's and Engels' plan played out in actual practice.

Strangely, few people ever make the observation that the ideas of Marx and Engels were not at all original. Thomas More (1478-1535) conveyed almost the same concept when he scribed his famous work: Thomas More's Utopia. In fact, people who have obviously never read "Utopia" would clearly not cite it as "the ideal society" if they were even slightly apprised of the numerous horrors of that fictional society. And so goes "The Communist Manifesto" in actual practice.

Still, this is an incredible, eye-opening read and we SHOULD read it if for no other reason than to see how mans' best-laid plans can easily go awry. Highly recommended.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 1/5Average rating of 1/5Average rating of 1/5Average rating of 1/5Average rating of 1/5
Summary: Good in theory
Comment: Kinda a pointless book now that communism has been proven ineffective. I guess if you still want to live in this type of society you can move to Russa, China, Cuba etc. Lucky for them they have the US to give them foreign aid. Communism would be dead within a few decades without a capitolistic nation to support it.

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Summary: Communist brainwashing propaganda
Comment: Communism is dead as a doornail. Those who think otherwise are simply brainwashed by propaganda and completely ignorant of world history. The Soviet Union collapsed after decades of backwardness and Marxism, not that its economic failure was ever in doubt. Their pseudo-"industrialization" caused huge famines that killed tens of millions, and did not reduce the technological lag that persisted for decades - they were in the stone ages technologically. They were only saved in World War II by American lend-lease shipments, and then donations of grain and wheat. The Soviet Union was a failure, and was lagging behind the West in industrial production, agriculture, military strength, applied science, everything. Their physical indices and statistics (along with the alleged achievements of the military and space program) were proven to be bungled lies and propaganda. Their Marxist economists were incompetent, and failed to solve any planning problems. Those who deny these historical facts are just as pathetic and ignorant as Holocaust deniers or flat-Earthers. Cuba hardly fared any better - it was ruled by a brutal dictatorship, and it is lost to history how many millions were also killed by famines and harebrained government schemes. Those who still doubt this need to WAKE UP, get some sunlight and stop reading pseudo-intellectual tracts like this.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5Average rating of 5/5
Summary: Please actually read Marx...
Comment: ...and PLEASE read beyond the Manifesto! Ignore the anti-Marx ideologues who do not actually read him, and give him a shot. Forget, for a minute, all preconceived notions of communism, and take his writings as though they are fresh and brand new. Only then should you proceed on to reading criticism of him, history of Marxism, etc. The reader who is willing to undertake an actual study of Marx will find him infinitely valuable, and very astute on many things.

First, I'd like to (try to) clear up a few misconceptions about Marx that linger implacably in the minds of almost all Americans.

1) The Soviet Union, China, etc. were not Communist societies.
They were brutal dictatorships under the guise of communism, using it as an ideological blanket to mask their terrible atrocities. Moreover, Marx intended for Communism to evolve out of Capitalist societies (i.e., Britain and America during his time), not out of the feudalistic Russia/China. The argument that Communism killed 100 million is just wrong--dictators corrupting the ideas of communism (Lenin, Stalin, Mao, etc.) did so. So yes, Marx caused the deaths of 100 million in the same way Adam Smith caused the deaths of the Chinese and Irish immigrants who toiled on the railroad--in other words, not at all.

2.) Marxism =/= violence.
In certain places, especially the Manifesto, Marx does permit violence, and, indeed, advocate it. But Marx does not think it NECESSARY--that's the key point. Good Marxist thinkers, and I believe Marx himself, would say that communistic reforms could come just as easily and likely more efficiently from peaceful processes, as we have seen them for the most part in the United States.

3.) Communism is not welfare statism.
In fact, in a, actually realized communist society (unlikely to ever happen, I'll admit) there would be no government. Marx advocated the PEOPLE owning the means of production, not the state. This is a HUGE error that many make when reading Marx. I suspect he was just as distrusting of the state as your average libertarian, he just thought it necessary to rectify some of the wrongs of capitalism and a necessary step toward communism. Note the use of step there: Marx, taking from his predecessor Hegel, believes everything must proceed in steps!!

4.) The Communist Manifesto is not the end-all of communism.
Honestly, the Manifesto is a rather juvenile work compared to many of Marx's other writings, like DAS KAPITAL or GRUNDRISSE. It was intended as a sort of primer to communism, accessible to the common, sparsely-educated worker of Marx's time, and is a better demonstration of Marx/Engel's (everyone forgets about poor Engels!) rhetorical ability than of their thought proper.

I also believe that the Manifesto isn't really the best place to start. It breeds far too many misconceptions about communist thought, partly due to its theatricality, partly due to the way it has been misconstrued throughout the decades. If you do start with the Manifesto, as most people do, PLEASE continue on and read more about Marx! Trust me, it's worth it, and you learn the extreme depth of his theory.

One need only look at their time to understand why Marx and Engels were so infuriated at the capitalist system. Those years of the Industrial Revolution were an exciting and terrifying time. New wealth and new commodities were springing up constantly, but they tended to be concentrated in the hands of very few, while created at the expense of millions of common, downtrodden labourers. Those who attack government regulation of corporations should study the Gilded Age of America, and the Industrial Revolution in England. Child labourer, no safety laws whatsoever, no minimum wage, no work-week, no fair bargaining between workers and employees, government subsidizing of wealthy corporations, union-busters, etc. Is there any wonder Marx and Engels, who were essentially exiled to England during this time, were filled with such anger at the system that caused so much human suffering?

Marx's critique of capitalism is in my estimate the strongest part of his theory, and it is likely that his witnessing the above exploitations of workers is why it is so strong, and why the Manifesto seems so... angry. I strongly recommend that anyone interested in Marxist theory pick up a copy of the Marx-Engels Reader (also available on Amazon) and read through the "Critique of Capitalism" section, which offers selections from his writings under this topic.

How right Marx was is for the reader to decide. Again, I find his critique of capitalism VERY accurate, and believe the only reason his predictions haven't come to fruition to be because we implemented some of his recommended policies (we now live in a blended economy, somewhere on the spectrum between pure capitalism and communism). Communism itself is a bit silly, but not so much as the anti-Marxists make it out to be. The real take-away point here is that you should study (not read, STUDY) Marx for yourself, and not accept what I, or the anti-Marxists, tell you.

Customer Rating: Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5Average rating of 3/5
Summary: Marx, communist manifesto
Comment: With this review I hope to cover some areas others have not. I would have the reader to read more than just my review of this product.

Karl Marx: The Communist Manifesto, A Norton critical edition
Edited by Frederic L Bender.

The Communist Manifesto is by all means one of the most (if not the most) controversial documents of non-religious origin. This Norton Critical Edition does this work justice in many ways: It gives a bullet point historical outline of events leading up to the manifesto, provides a brief history leading up to the writing of the manifesto (a must read in my opinion), provides the manifesto itself, and then gives the reader commentary from various writers concerning the manifesto's historical impact and interpretation. All this in just over 200 pages. Those looking only for a brief description of the product need read no further.

The rest of this review is my impression of the manifesto and the historical context in this volume. Events leading up to the writing of "The Communist Manifesto" saw many Europeans in poverty. Marx himself lost three of his own children; to quote a note in Oxford's version of Marx's "Capital" stated, "Poverty was partly responsible for the death of three of his six children." At any rate Pauperism was the norm in European society, and Marx attempts to paint a grotesque picture for the reader: The Bourgeois (capitalists, the have's, the rich) vs. the Proletarians (impoverished). Background of the text sees the artisans (middle class) vanishing (loss of the middle class) , and an increase in number of the Proletarians. This helps the reader grasp a clear visual of European society prior to the writing of the manifesto (it is interesting to note that Germany was in ruins prior to the rise of Hitler). Let us now look at Marx himself.

What I found most interesting about Marx's writing is that he really saw no other alternative but to call for removal of all Bourgeois power, and abolition of owning property. To quote Marx, "The communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only be the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. WORKING MEN OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE!" Marx also openly criticized what he considered other forms of socialism that did not call for "forcible overthrow" and referred to one of them as "Utopian."

Marx states further, "There are, besides, eternal truths, such as Freedom, Justice, etc.; that are common to all states of society. But Communism abolishes eternal truths, it abolishes all religion, and all morality, instead of constituting them on a new basis; it therefore acts in contradiction to all past historical experience." This is one of the most shocking comments (to me personally) made by Marx in his manifesto. There are individuals that don't understand that under Marxist communism freedom of religion doesn't exist. There is a side note from another writing of Marx (supplied cleverly by Frederic L Bender the editor of this version ) where Marx is very critical of Christianity. To quote Marx,

"The social principles of Christianity preach cowardice, self -contempt, abasement, submissiveness and humbleness, in short all the qualities of the rabble, and the proletariat, which will not permit itself to be treated as rabble, needs its courage, its self-confidence, its pride and its sense of independence even more than its bread. The social principles of Christianity are sneaking and hypocritical, and the proletariat is revolutionary." (Marx, The Communism of the Rheinische Beobachter, Marx, Engels Collected works).

It is at this moment that I would like to divert momentarily into the difference between Christian thought and Marx. Marx writings are indignant toward Christianity in general, and call on the state to assume control over all aspects of life: religion, property, and all business. The Christianity of the Bible was never a political system. Peter told Ananias in Acts 5:3-4 that the property that Ananias sold was his own, and that "after it was sold was it not in thine own power?" Ananias could have chosen to not sell the property, or to keep a portion of the money for himself without lying about it. The record itself shows a spiritual decision that took Ananias outside God's protection. However, the important context is that the decision belonged to Ananias. No one forced him to sell his property. After all Peter stated, "Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? And after it was sold , was it not in thine own power?" Christian doctrine did NOT involve the FORCED take over of property, nor did it impose a belief system on those who chose not to commit to Christian doctrine. Now what men have done in the name of God over the centuries is a much different story, and would not be prudent to indulge in at this time.
In closing, I would like to point out that Marx was a free trade advocate. The editor of this text points this out on numerous occasions that sited other works of Marx. Marx himself saw free trade as a vehicle to unite socialism. The reader needs to be aware that Marx vision was to see the rise of Capitalism as a necessity means to the bourgeois coming to power and a proletariat revolt. Unfortunately after deep consideration I can see these forces at work in the U.S.A.!!! The almost certain death of the middle class and the rise of huge corporations. Politicians who succumb to help the few at the expense of many. We are in fact becoming more of a have and have not society ourselves. The one great principle we as Americans have is the ability to start our own business. Small business is still the key to wealth in this country. Employers will never give an individual financial freedom. It is only the right we still hold by a thread to start our own business and make our own wealth that really keeps capitalism alive and thriving. Without it, you are left with a have and have not society, and with it will come the rise of another Marx. I pray that our country turns from this form of soft socialism that has been imposed upon us, and that we never have to witness those horrid words spring forth from another's pen, " WORKING MEN OF ALL COUNTRIES UNITE!"
That is the biggest lesson I took away from this.

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