The Communist Manifesto

by Friedrich Engels, Karl Marx
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In the first half of Part I of the Communist Manifesto (roughly through the top of page 72), Marx describes all the ways that the bourgeoisie have altered the course of history. Can you explain some of these ways in further detail? It would be useful to me if you used quotes as well

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In The Communist Manifesto, Marx describes all of history as a cycle of class antagonisms, which he characterizes as "freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman." These classes of people were defined by their relationship to the means of production. The rise of industry, Marx writes, has led to the rise of a new class, the bourgeoisie. According to Marx, this class has changed history in a number of ways. Basically, the bourgeoisie (or, more accurately, the forces that created it) has "simplified class antagonisms." It has done this in a variety of ways, which Marx lists in the section referenced by this question. According to Marx, the bourgeoisie has

  • destroyed all human relations other than "cash payment."
  • converted the practitioners of once-prestigious crafts and occupations into "wage-labourers."
  • usurped the family as a nexus of human relations.
  • through its unmatched ability to mobilize labor, constructed technological marvels unsurpassed through the ages.
  • created a global market that has destroyed cultural and political autonomy of many peoples.
  • brought the countryside under the rule of towns.
  • concentrated property ownership in just a few hands.

Through all of this, Marx writes, the bourgeoisie has also created its antithesis, the proletariat, or working class. Eventually, through creating an increasingly alienated working class, the bourgeoisie is inadvertently sowing the seeds of its own downfall.

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