The Communist Manifesto Essay, Research Paper
Karl Marx s The Communist Manifesto forecasted the downfall of capitalism and the rise of communism. It predicted that the communist revolution was most likely to take place first in Britain or Germany because of their high population of proletarian factory workers. However, he was proved incorrect because these factory workers were happy with their conditions and felt no need to revolt.
The Communist Manifesto appeals mostly to the lowest of the lower class, what he called the “proletariat”. The idea of a communist society is that everything is owned by the state. People are paid “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”; meaning that depending on how many people the salary must support is the determining factor in the size of the paycheck. This would appeal to the proletariats because it would put them on equal footing with everyone else. The abolishment of a class system benefited them greatly. Marx reasoned that his ideals appealed most to the working class, therefore it would catch on in countries with large populations of working class people, i.e. Germany and Britain.
The reason that a communist revolution did not take place in Britain is due simply to Marx s timing. The Communist Manifesto was published in 1848, but the ideas of Marxism did not catch on until the 1870s-80s. When it was first published, the British Industrial Revolution had already started. When its popularity began to rise, it did not catch on in England because working conditions in the English factories had improved drastically from what they had once been. The “oppressed” people Marx was trying to appeal to in 1848 did not in fact feel oppressed when they were being informed of the communist ideals, so therefore they had no reason to revolt. They were happy with the way things were because they had already gotten so much better. In the 1820s-30s, when the English proletariats felt oppressed, would have been the ideal time for a revolution, but unfortunately communism was not in existence.
In Germany the communist revolution did occur, but not until thirty years after the Manifesto s publication. In 1848, the German Industrial Revolution had not even started. The Manifesto was read mostly by intellectuals, because the people Marx was trying to appeal to were illiterate. When the Industrial Revolution occurred, however, more literacy among the lower classes became necessary to operate the machines, which were getting more complicated. Now that they were literate, the proletariats could and did read The Communist Manifesto. The Industrial Revolution in Germany allowed proletariats to be able to gain power, because class relationships had been simplified to the extreme. They had been kept from power for so long that when they realized that communism would support their goals for equality, the ideas of communism began to catch on.
The Communist Manifesto forecasted the rise of communism in Germany and Britain, however at the time when it was published it did not catch on in either place. In Britain, the Manifesto came too late; the window of opportunity for a revolt had passed and now the people were happy. In Germany, the Manifesto was ahead of its time. Marx predicted Germany would be one of the first countries to adopt communism, but in fact it took thirty years for the conditions to be right for revolt.