Friday, September 23, 2005

Reflection Paper: The Communist Manifesto

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Karl Marx is a name everyone has heard of but few have actually read.  That was the position I found myself in prior to this class.  I had heard the name plenty of times, but had never actually sat down and worked my way through his writings.  (I never took History 102 at Calvin, opting for History 101 instead).
After reading, “The Communist Manifesto”, I was surprised by a couple of things.  To begin with, I thought that his work would focus on the morality of the situation.  He would rail about how immoral it was for the capitalists to have so much wealth when there were people starving.  To my surprise, he focuses very little on the morality of the situation.
Instead Karl Marx talks about the inevitableness of the workers revolution.  I almost got the impression from reading this work that he did not view it as either a good thing nor a bad thing, simply a historical inevitability.  A cold fact that people should prepare themselves for.
Of course the belief in the historical inevitability of communism is something I had heard before in history classes many times.  However I always kind of got the impression it was simply a side note in the ideology.  I thought the morality was the main thrust, with a little bit of “by the way it is inevitable.”  I also thought that most Marxists did not truly believe that communism was inevitable.  If it was inevitable, why did Marxists sacrifice so much in attempts to bring it about?

Seeing that the inevitableness is the main thrust causes some things to make a little more sense.  If communism is inevitable, perhaps that explains why the communist party had so much power in Communist states.  It was as if they ruled by divine right.

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