The Atlas Society Newsletter

Get updated first

© 2019 By The Atlas Society. Proudly created by Wix.com

  • Grey Instagram Icon
  • Grey YouTube Icon
  • Grey Facebook Icon
  • Grey Twitter Icon

Socialism

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party

Executive Summary

Karl Marx was a 19th-century German thinker who devised the ideology of communism. In this work, he presented his main criticisms of the bourgeois society and urged for a revolution that would radically change the structure of capitalist society.

 

  1. Marx proclaims the inevitable self-destruction of capitalism due to its internal contradictions. Capitalism is characterized by two antagonistic economic classes: property-owners—the bourgeoisie—who hold all the economic and political power, and workers—the proletariat—who have neither. 

  2. Marx acknowledges that capitalism is more civilized and cosmopolitan than feudalism and that it has rapidly created the most efficient production system in history. Yet it will destroy itself for three reasons. 

  3. The first is capitalism’s overabundance of production and, at the same time, the urge of capitalists for constant expansion.

  4. The second is the concentration of the means of production and capital in the hands of a few. That number will shrink further as bigger capitalists outcompete smaller. 

  5. The third is the increasingly immiserated existence of the proletariat. They are slaves in capitalism’s social order, not having access to property or the means of subsistence and being alienated even from their own labor. 

  6. Marx argues these three factors signify the bourgeoisie are “unfit to rule.” So the system is doomed to destruction at the hands of the most oppressed—the working class. 

  7. A special group among the working class—Communists—will formulate the theory of the revolution and raise the workers’ self-consciousness by explaining the necessary abolition of the fundamental condition of bourgeois society—private property. 

  8. Communists (not other socialists) should lead due to their commitment to revolutionary action and a period of dictatorship necessary to make a classless society. 

  9. Marx further thinks that class antagonism will be resolved on an international scale as the proletariat, due to their shared alienation, does not have any allegiance except to their own class.

Read Marx & Engels’s The Communist Manifesto here. Summary by Andrei Volkov and Stephen Hicks, 2020.