The Foundation of the Communist Movement

Essay by Eggy January 2004

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The Communist Manifesto, written by Karl Marx and Fredrich Engels, has become one of the world's most influential and significant pieces of political propaganda ever written. It contains the viewpoints and ideology of the world-view that Marx and Engels had come to know from their political involvement from the previous years. Published in 1848, in a time of European revolution, the Manifesto is an incisive summary of the Marxist vision and outlines the foundation of the Marxist movement.

According to Marx, four stages of human development exist. In the beginning of social development there is slavery where political and social freedoms are non-existent. The second stage of development, known as feudalism, is a system in which freedom becomes slightly more obtainable, yet a lord or vassal who oversees all rules. The third, and most controversial of stages, is known as capitalism. Here, private or corporate ownership of capital goods is determined by private decisions rather than the state.

Price, production and the distribution of goods are determined mainly by competing in a free market. Lastly, the forth stage of human development, is referred to as Communism. This is a final stage of society in Marxist theory in which the state and private ownership is demolished, and economic goods are owned and distributed equally. In the stages of society previous to communism, society is based on antagonisms of the ìoppressed and the oppressing,î from freeman and slaves, working class and government, to proletariat and bourgeois.

Each stage of the social order goes through a passage from one stage to the other. The movement from one platform to another is best described as going through a corresponding political advance, in which an oppressed class takes sway over the feudal nobility. In the case of the capitalist society, the bourgeoisie seek greater...