26 Mar 2015

Somers-Hall, (1.2), Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition, ‘1.2 Aristotle’s Conception of Difference (30–3/38–42)’, summary


by
Corry Shores
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[The following is summary. All boldface, underlining, and bracketed commentary are my own. Proofreading is incomplete, so please forgive my typos and other distracting mistakes. Somers-Hall is abbreviated SH, and Difference and Repetition as DR.]



Henry Somers-Hall


Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition:
An Edinburgh Philosophical Guide


Part 1
A Guide to the Text

 

Chapter 1. Difference in Itself

1.2 Aristotle’s Conception of Difference (30–3/38–42)


Summary



Brief summary:

Aristotle’s conception of difference is bound up with his theory of classification. A genus is divided into species, which differ in kind. The division terminates in the individuals, which differ in number and only accidentally [rather than essentially like species do]. The genus-species distinction is relative, such that any genus can be a species to a higher genus, just as any species can be a genus to a lower species. The one exception is the species-individual relation, in which the species cannot again serve as genus, given that there are no species below it; instead there are only individuals. Difference in its truest sense is the difference in kind which distinguishes one species from another.



Summary


Deleuze’s critique of representation begins with Aristotle, whose philosophy in this account is thought to have presented “the first formulation of representation” (23). Aristotle conceived of difference in terms of opposition: “x differs from y if x is not y”. Deleuze says that this implies a certain concept of being.  Deleuze will instead formulate a univocal conception of being in terms of intensive difference. Later Deleuze will discuss two ways of understanding difference, either spatially or as intensity. If spatially, then being is understood as fragment. If intensively, then being is understood univocally. In the following, SH will go over Aristotle’s basic ontological concepts of genus, species, difference, and accident, drawing primarily from his commentator Porphyry. Afterward we will see why Aristotle’s thinking leads him to certain problems. (24)


[The following can be confusing for a number of reasons. For example, there is terminology used in a way that is unfamiliar to me, and also the terminology is slightly inconsistent, namely in the cases of the phrases: predicated in and predicated of. Perhaps their meanings are identical, but even if so, I am not exactly sure I know how to define them. Also, there are two definitions given for genus, but in subtle ways they do not seem to line up, since the second one adds concepts not found in the first one. Another problem is that we might be familiar with this pairing: subject – predicate. And we might also be familiar with this pairing: genus – species. But somehow we need to combine them such that a genus, species, or individual can be predicated of or in something else. How to clearly conceptualize this is not apparent to me yet. The conclusion we will arrive at is that we need a species in between genus and individual. Yet, the exact reasoning for this is also unclear to me. The basic reason seems to be that the definition necessitates it. However I am not sure why the definition is formulated exactly in this way and not in some other manner. So according to the definition, the genus is made of different things that differ in kind. Working just with this definition, perhaps the reasoning is like this. We think of a set of individuals. If they are included in the genus, then so far we only know what generically is common to all of them (what is essential to them all) but their distinctions are not thereby designated. So it is as if they are all the same. In order for there to be a real diversity such that there are numerous members for the group, the individuals need to have differences in kind, which would be like subgroupings, and thus be species intermediateing between genus and individual. What is not clear to me is why genus is defined in this way and rather not just defined as a group of members. Perhaps the idea is that in order for it to be a group, it needs different things and not just one thing. And in order to have different things, they cannot be many instances of the same thing (or different quantitative variations of the same thing), since these could collapse again into one thing (or into one thing having different degrees of itself). They need to be different in kind in order to be a real multiplicity, and thus perhaps there needs to be species groupings among the members. Please read and discern the correct meaning of this paragraph for yourself.]

Porphyry defines the genus as ‘what is predicated in answer to “What is it?”, of several items which differ in species, for example, animal’ (Porphyry 2003: 4). This follows from Aristotle’s own definition: ‘what is predicated in the category of essence of a number of things exhibiting differences in kind’ (Aristotle 1984d: 102a). What does it mean to be predicated of items that differ in kind? If we take the case of Socrates, it should be clear that ‘animal’ can be predicated of him, to the extent that Socrates is a man (a rational animal). For Porphyry and Aristotle, however, there is no difference in kind between different men, but rather a difference in number. While it is the case that a given genus, such as animal, is predicated of an individual, such as Socrates, the genus cannot simply be directly used to define the individual. If it were used in this way, the genus would be the only function which was essential to each individual. This would mean that in essence each individual would be different only in number, whereas the definition of genus requires that it is predicated of what also differs in kind. We therefore need the intermediary category, which Aristotle and Porphyry call the species.
(24)


[The terms predicated of and predicated to would seem to mean: “is a predicate to”. So for example, animal can be predicated of Socrates, since it is a predicate to Socrates as in the formulation: Socrates is an animal. Now we move to the definition of species. The genus, we saw above, is what can be the predicate to a species, which would be groups of individuals that differ in kind to other species. So the genus animal can be predicated to various species, such that, ‘man is an animal’, ‘dog is an animal’, and so on.] Species we now see are what are predicated to things which differ in number. [So perhaps there is no difference in kind between Socrates and Plato. They is just difference in number. They are different instances of the same species man. So, “Socrates is a man” and “Plato is a man”.] Thus the individual can be predicated of both its genus and its species. [But we ask now, how would we define the grouping above “animal”? Perhaps it might be, “living creature”, including also plants and whatever else. It would seem that ‘genus’ and ‘species’ are relative terms, such that a genus can serve as a higher genus’ species.]

Porphyry writes that ‘the intermediate | items will be species of the items before them and genera of the items after them. Hence these stand in two relations, one to the items before them (in virtue of which they are said to be their species), and one to the items after them (in virtue of which they are said to be their genera)’ (Porphyry 2003: 6).
(SH 24-25)

[This also means that only the lowest species has individuals as its more basic members. We need to define species now in terms of its genus, and not just in terms of having members differing in kind, like we saw above. I am not exactly sure how this is done. Perhaps the new definition of species would be: ‘a species is the subgrouping of the genus, and this grouping is based on differences in kind.” But that does not add anything to the definition of genus, so I am not sure.]

A consequence of this is that we now need to define the species in terms of something other than the individual, since only the lowest species relates directly to things which differ only in number. Instead, we now define the species in terms of its genus. Thus we have a hierarchy, reaching from the highest genera to the individual, through which the individual is specified by a process of division from the genus through the various species, gaining determinations as it goes, since each genus will determine the essence of that below it.
(25)

[Next we look at ‘accidents’. SH says they do not define species, so it is not clear yet why we need to mention them. Perhaps they are what distinguish individuals, which differ in number, but not in essence. There are separable and inseparable accidents. This distinction is not very clear to me. Separable accidents are not defined, but they are exemplified, for example, Socrates can be sitting or not sitting. It is clear why this is accidental, since it is arbitrary and does not change Socrates himself. Inseparable ones are explained as being accidental traits that were they removed from the individual, that individual could still keeps his essence. The counter example is a trait that were it removed, the individual does lose its essence. All this is clear, except it is not clear why the second kind of accidents are called inseparable, since they can be separated without changing the individuals essence. Perhaps they are inseparable in the sense that they are inherent to the individual and physically inseparable, even though they are non-essential.]

The last category we need to consider are accidents, which do not define a species. These can either be separable (as in the case of Socrates, who can be sitting or not sitting), or not separable (for instance, ‘being black is an inseparable accident for ravens and Ethiopians’ [Porphyry 2003: 12]), in that an Ethiopian could lose his skin colour without ceasing to be an Ethiopian, whereas a man without reason (at least potentially) is no longer a man.
(25)


SH now asks what the role of difference is in this hierarchical schema. For Aristotle, only things sharing something in common can also differ, for otherwise the difference would be so great as to disallow any basis for them to stand in relation to one another. [The commonality seems to be a shared genus at some higher level]. SH then asks “If differences between things of different genera are too broad, how can we formulate a narrower conception of difference?” [But it is not yet clear to me yet how some genera are similar enough to have an evident difference and others do not, and I also do not understand what is meant by a narrower conception of difference and how it would solve this problem.] SH explains that [in the face of this problem] there are three forms of difference, namely, common difference, proper difference, and the most proper difference. Yet Porphyry only considers the most proper difference to be real difference. Common difference is not real difference, because it is the difference between accidents, meaning that that the difference is between “non-essential predicates, and is not effective in determining a real difference between entities” (SH 25). Proper differences are in fact real differences because they are inseparable properties of things [above we looked at inseparable accidents, like the black of the Ethiopian. It is not clear how that notion fits here into proper differences. Perhaps they are the same, and here proper differences distinguish individuals but perhaps like inseparable accidents they do not distinguish species.] (25) Then we have the most proper difference, which is specific difference. It “is what allows species to be defined in Porphyry’s tree by dividing the genus” (25d). [It is not clear to me what the ‘proper’ means here and why more proper brings the difference to the difference between species. Accidental traits it seems distinguish individuals. Proper differences do too. And somehow, the more proper, the less distinguishing of individuals and the more of species.] [So now we are somehow no longer thinking of proper difference as distinguishing individuals but instead as dividing genera into species. Recall also that difference between genera can be so great such that the genera are too other to one another that they cannot be properly distinguished. (There was no example for this, so it is difficult to conceptualize. Perhaps this would happen if the genera are at least two steps removed. So consider these two classifications: 1) Socrates – Man – Animal – Living Thing. 2) The largest cut diamond – Gem – Stone – Non-Living Thing. Perhaps Gem and Man are too other, since we cannot say, Both Man and Gem are X, except Man is has these distinguishing traits and Gems have these other distinguishing traits. For, the next most common genus is ‘thing’, but to make the comparison, we would say, a man is a thing, that is also a living thing, that is also an animal, while a Gem is a thing, which is also, … etc. So specific difference, which would also for some reason be equated with conceptually significant difference, is in between the otherness of genetic difference and the ultimate specificity of individual difference. Perhaps also to see just individual difference is to be aware of metamorphoses, on account of very specific changes which cannot be reduced to a single common thing happening over those changes. I am not sure, so please judge for yourself the meaning of these sentences.]

The most proper difference, however, is specific difference. Specific difference is what allows species to be defined in Porphyry’s tree by dividing the genus. So, if we take the genus, animal, we are able to determine the species, man, by dividing animals into two kinds: rational and non-rational animals. Difference is the criterion by which | we divide the genus into two species. Conceptually significant difference therefore occupies a middle point between the extremes of otherness and accidental difference: ‘Specific difference refers only to an entirely relative maximum, a point of accommodation for the Greek eye – in particular for the Greek eye which sees the mean, and has lost the sense of Dionysian transports and metamorphoses’ (DR 32/40).
(25-26)


Porphyry then, by means of these divisions based on essential differences, “provides an account of the determination of objects that allows us to characterise all of their essential determinations through a process of division. We begin with a property which belongs to everything, for instance, substance, and by a repeated process of division of things into contrary classes, we eventually arrive at a complete determination of the subject” (SH 26). [SH then quotes Porphyry who speaks of the form-matter distinction in this context. It seems to add concepts that we will not need later, so I will just replicate the text without commenting on it.]

He puts this point as follows [quoting Porphyry up to the citation]:

For in the case of objects which are constituted of matter and form or which have a constitution at least analogous to matter and form, just as a statue is constituted of bronze as matter and figure as form, so too the common and special man is constituted of the genus analogously to matter and of the difference as shape, and these – rational mortal animal – taken as a whole are the man, just as they are the statue. (Porphyry 2003: 11)

Of course, Porphyry is not implying that what we have here is a temporal constitution (we don’t find in the world beings that are only determined as animals, for instance). Rather, his point is that the series of genera and species provide an account of the logical order of determinations of a particular object.
(SH 26)

 



Citations from:

Somers-Hall, Henry. Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition. An Edinburgh Philosophical Guide. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University, 2013.


Or if otherwise noted:

Aristotle (1984d), ‘Topics’, trans. W. A. Pickard-Cambridge, in Jonathan Barnes (ed.), The Complete Works of Aristotle, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 167–277.




Porphyry (2003), Introduction, trans. Jonathan Barnes, Oxford: Clarendon Press.

 

21 Mar 2015

Somers-Hall, (1.1), Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition, ‘1.1 Introduction [to DR’s 1st Chapter]’, summary


by
Corry Shores
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[The following is summary. All boldface, underlining, and bracketed commentary are my own.]



Henry Somers-Hall


Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition.
An Edinburgh Philosophical Guide


Part 1
A Guide to the Text

 

 

Chapter 1. Difference in Itself

1.1 Introduction (28–30/36–8)


Summary



Brief summary:

We are seeking a more profound notion of difference than what we normally ascribe to it. We operate as though there is a world to which our judgments make differentiations and determinations. We say, ‘this is an x’, and in this way we use the subject-predicate structure to designate things in an otherwise undifferentiated world. But in fact, using such representations will not suffice to explain the grounds of our representational system, which is subrepresentational.

 

 


Summary


The first chapter begins with the notion of the absence of difference (indifference), and Deleuze aims here to show how representation tries to tame difference. Deleuze gives two examples of indifference: 1) The undifferentiated abyss into which everything dissolves, and 2) The white nothingness on which are scattered unconnected determinations (21-22). In the first case, a lack of difference makes everything seem indistinguishable and seemingly be identical. In the second case, the lack of difference prevents things from forming determinate relations with one another. Deleuze then explains two main ways of understanding difference: either as secondarily imposed on an indifferent world or instead as something which emerges immanently on its own accord (22).


Then Deleuze returns to the idea of representation. It is a matter of asking ‘what is it?’. The sought answer would take the form ‘it is x’, which takes the structure of a judgment with its subject and its predication. In the undifferentiated abyss, one of the conditions has not been met [since either the things in the abyss cannot be pulled apart into distinct subjects or those subjects are distinct but the predications which distinguish them are not]. Thus judgment is impossible and so is representation and as well “thinking is suspended” (22).


By examining this undifferentiated abyss which receives determining judgments we see “the central problem of representation” (22d). Representation in a sense is descriptive of what comes about, but it cannot account for how things do come about. There must be some subrepresentational level to which representation imposes its forms but to which representation is inadequate to express in its originality.

The first of these possibilities, the abyss, brings us to the central problem of representation. While representation is able to qualify forms and subjects (‘this square is red’), it is unable to account for the genesis of form itself. Form simply has to be imposed on something fundamentally non-representational; something that simply cannot be captured within the formal structures of judgement. Such an abyss is in a literal | sense unthinkable. This is the dialectic of representation which operates in the opening of Chapter 1. If form, and with it the structure of the world of subjects and properties, emerge from an abyss, and if this emergence cannot be explained in terms of representation, how can it be explained? The difference between the formless abyss and form must be something that falls outside of representation. Difference is therefore Deleuze’s name for this process of the emergence of form, which cannot be captured within the structure of the already formed.
(22-23)


But representation should want to be grounded, however it cannot think its own (subrepresentational) ground. When trying to represent these grounds, we resort to concepts of identity, analogy, opposition, and resemblance. But Deleuze shows in this chapter why these attempts fail.

In the process, he will make the claim that underlying representation is a structure that is different in kind from it. Underneath the represented world of subjects and properties is a differential field of intensity. (23)


SH then outlines the structure of Deleuze’s argument. First Deleuze looks at Aristotle’s theory of species and genera, which is “a paradigm case of representation;” next Deleuze shows what is wrong with this theory; third, he gives an alternative conception; fourth, he argues that “Leibniz and Hegel’s attempts to save representation fail;” and finally, he shows that Plato, although a founder of representation, also hints at an “alternative ontology” (23).

 

 

Somers-Hall, Henry. Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition. An Edinburgh Philosophical Guide. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University, 2013.


Somers-Hall, (0.7), Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition, ‘0.7 Conclusion [to the Introduction]: Three Forms of Difference’, summary


by
Corry Shores
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[The following is summary. All boldface, underlining, and bracketed commentary are my own. Somers-Hall is abbreviated SH, and Difference and Repetition as DR.]



Henry Somers-Hall


Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition.
An Edinburgh Philosophical Guide


Part 1
A Guide to the Text

 

0 Introduction: Repetition and Difference

0.7 Conclusion [to the Introduction]: Three Forms of Difference


Summary



Brief Summary:

We have seen two main types of difference, conceptual and non-conceptual. Deleuze in the first chapter of Difference and Repetition will “perform an enquiry into the principle of difference which neither sees it as conceptual nor sees its non-conceptuality as the end of our enquiry” (21).



Summary


Somers-Hall examined a couple kinds of difference in the Introduction to Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition, and he will now review them briefly.


1) Conceptual difference:
Conceptual differences can be represented. We obtain them by finding conceptual boundaries and specifications that distinguish things.


2) The difference between incongruent counterparts:
We cannot conceptualize this difference. There is no conceptual difference between right and left. Rather, we tell the difference between them by means of experience.


3) The difference that gives rise to incongruent counterparts:
There is an inner difference that distinguishes incongruent counterparts [this is not entirely clear, but it is different than the internal relations of the parts. It seems to be inner more in the sense of inherent, and it has certain spatial features inherent to it.] For Deleuze there is a sort of difference which gives rise to such inherent differences as left and right handedness (21). This means then that there is a deeper sort of repetition based on this deeper sort of difference. “In other words, Deleuze wants to provide an account of the genesis of the kind of spatiality which Kant takes as his starting point” (21).

 
For Leibniz difference is conceptual and for Kant it is non-conceptual. Deleuze’s project will be

to perform an enquiry into the principle of difference which neither sees it as conceptual nor sees its non-conceptuality as the end of our enquiry. In doing so, he will develop an account of difference which allows us to explain the kinds of differences presupposed but not explained by Kant and the atomists. Developing this new concept of difference is the primary aim of chapter one of Difference and Repetition. (21)




Citations from:

Somers-Hall, Henry. Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition. An Edinburgh Philosophical Guide. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University, 2013.



16 Mar 2015

Marx & Engels (4) Manifesto of the Communist Party, Selections from Ch.4 ‘Position of the Communists in Relation to the Various Existing Opposition Parties’, summary


by Corry Shores

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[The following is summary. All underlining, boldface, and bracketed commentary are my own.]


[The following also has not been sufficiently proofread, so please forgive the typos and other distracting mistakes.]




Karl Marx & Frederick Engels


Manifesto of the Communist Party


Selections from
Ch.4
Position of the Communists in Relation to the Various Existing Opposition Parties


Summary

 

 

Brief Summary:
The communist revolution will rectify the injustices of capitalism. The wealthy and powerful have deprived the working class so much that they have nothing to lose and everything to gain in uniting to overthrow the current system to install a more equitable one.




Summary


[This summary skips pages 242b-243c]


The revolutionary communist movement brings to the forefront the question of property (243c).


Communists also fight “for the union and agreement of the democratic parties of all countries” (243c).


The communists do not hide the fact they call for a revolution that radically changes the economic system. The wealthy and powerful should fear the might of the proletariat, whom they have given nothing else to lose in the fight and everything to gain. Thus all workers are called to unite in this common cause to benefit all society.

The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.


WORKINGMEN OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE!
(243d)






Works Cited


Marx, Karl and Frederick Engels. Manifesto of the Communist Party. In Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Trans. Martin Milligan. pp.203-243. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 1988 [1844].


Available online: https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/index.htm



Marx & Engels (2) Manifesto of the Communist Party, Selections from Ch.2 ‘Proletarians and Communists’, summary


by Corry Shores

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[The following is summary. All underlining, boldface, and bracketed commentary are my own.]


[The following also has not been sufficiently proofread, so please forgive the typos and other distracting mistakes.]




Karl Marx & Frederick Engels


Manifesto of the Communist Party


Selections from
Ch.2
Proletarians and Communists


Summary



Very brief summary:

Capitalism is unjust, since it exploits workers. It reduces the freedoms and well-being of 9/10ths of the population. It should be replaced with a communist system where there is no private property and thus no basis for one class to subjugate another.

 

Brief Summary:
The communist movement has certain motivations and prescribed means to change society for the better, and they have rebuttals to capitalist critiques. In capitalism, the bourgeoisie exploit workers to advance their own private property, using as a basis for this purpose capital, that is, private property. Thus the cause and end of the exploitation is private property, and it should be done away with. In capitalism, most people work, but only a few benefit. Were private property to be abolished, we would have a classless society in which the production of one person benefits the entire society as a whole, who all share equally in those profits. To obtain this, first a violent revolution and despotic transitional State is necessary, bringing along with it economic turmoil. Then gradually out of this a more democratic and economically successful system will develop. There are a couple objections to such a communist system. 1) It does away with private property and thus the source of liberty. However, 1a) capitalism already does away with the private property of 9/10ths of the population, and 1b) certainly they are enslaved rather than free, being that they are toiling laborers earning very little of what they produce. So the freedom and private property in capitalism are not those of society at large but of a select wealthy few. Therefore capitalism cannot be justified in public policy. 2) Doing away with private property will eliminate the incentive that makes people work. However 2a) under capitalism, the people who toil the most gain nearly no private property as a result, so they are not motivated to work in order to obtain private property, and 2b) those who do profit are the capitalists who do none of the real labor. Thus the desire to acquire private property does not motivate them to work but rather to do nothing and let everyone else do the work.




Summary


The authors wonder what the relation is of communists to the proletariat (222b).


They state that the “Communists do not form a separate party opposed to the other working-class parties” (222bc).


In fact, the Communists only have interests that the proletariat have (222bc).


[They also do not have any policies aimed at shaping the proletarian movement.] “They do not set up any sectarian principles of their own, by which to shape and mould the proletarian movement” (222bc).


There are just two things that distinguish the communists from the other working-class parties. 1) Even in national proletariat struggles, they emphasize the interests of the proletariat as a whole, regardless of nationality. 2) Throughout the development of the proletariat’s struggle with the bourgeoisie, at each stage the communists emphasize the proletariat movement on the whole (222c).


[The Communists practically speaking are highly advanced and resolute, pushing forward all the other working class parties; and theoretically speaking, they are well equipped to lead the proletarian movement. (222d)] “The immediate aim of the Communists is the same as that of all other proletarian parties: formation of the proletariat | into a class, overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy, conquest of political power by the proletariat” (222-223).


The communists do not draw their conclusions from the ideas of ‘would-be universal reformers’ (223a).


Rather, their ideas come from where we are in the history of class struggle. Doing away with private property is part of this progress. “They merely express, in general terms, actual relations springing from an existing class struggle, from a historical movement going on under our very eyes. The abolition of existing property relations is not at all a distinctive feature of communism” (223ab).


For, “All property relations in the past have continually been subject to historical change consequent upon the change in historical conditions” (223b).


For example, as a result of the French Revolution, feudal property was abolished in favor of bourgeois property (223b).


Similarly, Communism wants not necessarily to abolish all private property but merely bourgeois property. However, “modern bourgeois private property is the final and most complete expression of the system of producing and appropriating products, that is based on class antagonisms, on the exploitation of the many by the few” (223bc).


[Since communists want the end of bourgeois property, and because bourgeois property is the last possible private property] “the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property” (223c).


Communists have been criticized for wanting to take away the right to acquire private property by means of one’s own labor, and these critics claim that this property is the basis for “all personal freedom, activity and independence” (223c).


Perhaps the critics are talking about the private property of the “petty artisan” and the “small peasant.” [But we have seen how the things they produce are taken from them by their employers and in return they are given but a fraction of the profit those productions earn.] But the capitalist system has already done away with this property.

Hard-won, self-acquired, self-earned property! Do you mean the property of petty artisan and of the small peasant, a form of property that preceded the bourgeois form? There is no need to abolish that; the development of industry has to a great extent already destroyed it, and is still destroying it daily.
(223d)


Or perhaps the critics mean that bourgeois private property is the fruit of one’s labor and the source of liberty (223d).


However, for the wage laborer it creates no private property. [The following part is not clear to me. Marx and Engels will say that it creates capital. But I am not entirely sure that he is saying that it creates capital for the laborer. If so, it is not clear how a low wage at subsistence level constitutes capital. If not, it is not clear to me how that point follows from the prior question asking if it creates property for the laborer, in which case it would seem to be: no.] It does create capital [for either the laborer or the capitalist], which is “that kind of property that exploits the laborer, and which cannot increase except upon condition of begetting a new supply of wage-labour for fresh exploitation” (223d). In fact, property in the form it now takes “is based on the | antagonism of capital and wage labour” (223-224). Since there are two sides in this struggle, the authors will look at both, starting with the capitalist side (224a).


[Capital is generated by many workers and circulated among them and among other capitalists. Thus,] “To be a capitalist, is to have not only a purely personal, but a social status in production. Capital is a collective product, and only by the united action of many members, nay, in the last resort, only by the united action of all members of society, can it be set in motion” (224a).


[Private property is personal. But since capital is something produced and circulated among all members of society, and since it is a source of a class distinction that subjugates one social class to the other,] “Capital is therefore not only personal; it is a social power” (224ab).


[This personal capital might be somehow converted into public property, perhaps through tax revenue spent on publicly owned properties. So since capital begins as social property, when it] “is converted into common property, into the property of all members of society, personal property is not thereby transformed into social property. It is only the social character of the property that is changed. It loses its class character” (224b).


The authors now move from the side of the capitalist to the side of the wage-laborer (224b).


[The capitalist’s income normally goes beyond subsistence and is plenty to reinvest to make yet even greater income.] The average wage of the laborer is “minimum wage, i.e., that quantum of the means of subsistence which is absolutely requisite to keep the labourer in bare existence as a labourer” (224bc). [The capitalist “appropriates” the profit from others’ labor. But] “What, therefore, the wage-labourer appropriates by means of his labour, merely suffices to prolong and reproduce a bare existence” (224bc). [This bare wage could be considered personal property.] Communists do not want to do away with the bare minimum that keeps people alive. Instead, “All that we want to do away with is the miserable character of this appropriation, under which the labourer lives merely to increase capital, and is allowed to live only in so far as the interest of the ruling class requires it” (224c).


[Capital is generated by labor, and its accumulation is then perhaps what the authors are calling “accumulated labor”. In capitalism, laborers are put to work to make a profit so to increase the capitalists’ accumulated wealth. However, in communism, the laborer’s work is invested back not into the personal wealth of a few individuals but rather in the increased well-being of the worker.]

In bourgeois society, living labour is but a means to increase accumulated labour. In Communist society, accumulated labour is but a means to widen, to enrich, to promote the existence of the labourer.
(224cd)


[The accumulated wealth, that is, the “accumulated labor”, is something generated in the past. It is reinvested, making subtractions in the near future, especially in the lives of workers. I am not sure if those ideas will help us interpret the following sentences. Please read them to obtain a better interpretation.] “In bourgeois society, therefore, the past dominates the present; in Communist society, the present dominates the past. In bourgeois society capital is independent and has individuality, while the living person is dependent and has no individuality” (224d).


[So clearly personal property is a means of enslaving people, since its investments exploit labor and perhaps also somehow limit current freedoms on the basis of past investment sacrifices having consequences in the present. Communism is accused of wanting to abolish private property and thus freedom. In fact, they want to abolish capital property and do away only with the ‘freedom’ of one class to exploit another.] “And the abolition of this state of things is called by the bourgeois, abolition of individuality and freedom! And rightly | so. The abolition of bourgeois individuality, bourgeois independence, and bourgeois freedom is undoubtedly aimed at” (224-225).


In a capitalist system, “freedom” is “free trade, free selling and buying” (225a).


Certainly in the context of history, all people now, the wealthy especially, have more freedom to buy and sell than they did in the Middle Ages. However, given the freedom for all society that would result in abolishing private property, we are now much less free than we could be, compared to the future that communists propose (225b).


The bourgeoisie are upset that communists want to do away with private property. But they themselves have already done away with it for the nine-tenths of the population whom they deprive of it.

You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society, private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the population; its existence for the few is solely due to its non-existence in the hands of those nine-tenths. You reproach us, therefore, with intending to do away with a form of property, the necessary condition for whose existence is the non-existence of any property for the immense majority of society.
(225b)

[[We might wonder at this point how well these arguments would stand up now in societies where workers make enough to accumulate modest amounts of private property.]]


[Thus this criticism of communism only emphasizes the good that it can do.] “In one word, you reproach us with intending to do away with your property. Precisely so; that is just what we intend” (225c).


Capitalists convert the proletariat’s labor into capital, that is, to profit from the labor or from rent, which is a “social power capable of being monopolized.” This is also a way that individual property [taken from the production of the workers] is converted into bourgeois property [the accumulated wealth of the capitalists]. Capitalists think that if you do away with this system, “individuality vanishes” (225c) [perhaps because they think that one’s power as an individual vanishes. Perhaps this power is really the individual power to subjugate other individuals, but I am not sure what the authors mean here by “individuality” and how capitalists think it is tied to capital.]


[Since the only “individuals” whose freedom their system aims to protect are the select wealthy,] “You must, therefore, confess that by “individual” you mean no other person than the bourgeois, than the middle-class owner of property. This person must, indeed, be swept out of the way, and made impossible” (225d).


Under communism, everyone benefits from everyone else’s productions. Thus “Communism deprives no man of the power to appropriate the products of society; all that it does is to deprive him of the power to subjugate the labour of others by means of such appropriations” (225d).


There is another criticism capitalists make of communism. They say that working for personal profit is what motivates people to work in the first place. That motivation is lacking when people work for society’s benefit. Thus, “It has been objected that upon the abolition of private property, all work will cease, and universal laziness will overtake us” (225d).


[However, as we have seen, the proletariat never acquire any property anyway. They only work for subsistence. Also, those who get rich do none of the labor. So they are not motivated to work on the basis of accumulated property. Rather, they are motivated to exploit workers for this purpose.] “According to this, bourgeois society ought long ago to have gone to the dogs through sheer idleness; for those of its members who work, acquire nothing, and those who acquire anything do not work. The whole of this objection is but another expression of the tautology: that there can no longer be any wage-labour when there is no longer any capital” (226a).


[This summary skips pages 226b-230a]


The authors end their rebuttals to bourgeois arguments against communism (230ab).


So the aim is the revolution by the working class. The first step in this “is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class to win the battle of democracy” (230b). [[We notice here the aim is democracy and not totalitarian regimes.]]


In order to achieve this, property must be taken from the bourgeoisie and given to the state.

The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degree, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralise all instruments of production in the hands of the State, i.e., of the proletariat organised as the ruling class; and to increase the total productive forces as rapidly as possible.
(230b)


To make this transition will require despotic means and a period of economic turmoil.

Of course, in the beginning, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on the conditions of bourgeois production; by means of measures, therefore, which appear economically insufficient and untenable, but which, in the course of the movement, outstrip themselves, necessitate further inroads upon the old social order, and are unavoidable as a means of entirely revolutionising the mode of production.
(230bc)


The steps taken will differ according to the needs of each nation (230c).


However, in advanced societies, the steps will generally be the following [which is all quotation]:

1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
7. Extension of factories and instruments of production | owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
8. Equal liability of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.
10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, &c, &c.
(230-231)

[[Note above step 2’s similarity to Thomas Picketty’s new book Capital in the 21st Century: “The right solution is a progressive annual tax on capital” (572). However, here in this manifesto, it is not clear to me how after abolishing private property in the first step a taxation could be put in place in the second step.]]


Political power “is merely the organised power of one class for oppressing another.” Thus, “When, in the course of development, class distinctions have disappeared, and all production has been concentrated in the hands of a vast association of the whole nation, the public power will lose its political character” (231bc). This revolution, if successful will “have swept away the conditions for the existence of class antagonisms and of classes generally, and will thereby have abolished its own supremacy as a class” (231c).


This will instate a single class of all society in which, unlike in capitalism, the free development of one individual benefits all other in the society. “In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all” (231c).

 





Works Cited


Marx, Karl and Frederick Engels. Manifesto of the Communist Party. In Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Trans. Martin Milligan. pp.203-243. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 1988 [1844].


Available online: https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/index.htm



15 Mar 2015

Marx & Engels (1) Manifesto of the Communist Party, Ch.1 ‘Bourgeois and Proletarians’, summary, b


by Corry Shores

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Karl Marx & Frederick Engels


Manifesto of the Communist Party


Ch.1
Bourgeois and Proletarians


Summary



Very brief summary:

The progress of history is a chain of revolutions where an oppressed class overcomes its oppressor and instates itself as the ruling class. Currently capitalists, the bourgeoisie or middle-class, have taken this position of power. But they do not deserve to keep it, since they exploit the masses and reduce their existence to unacceptably low levels. Also, the development of industry is creating a working class that is more homogenized, on account of increasingly mechanizing the labor, and thus this unity and solidarity of the laborers will eventually result in the overthrow of the bourgeoisie. They will do away with the bourgeoisie’s source of power by ending private property. But by doing so, they will eliminate the means that any one class can oppress another, thereby ending the history of class conflicts.

 

Brief Summary:
History can be understood as a sequence of class struggles in which revolutions instate new class divisions along with their own new class struggles. The most recent revolution was the change from feudal classes to the current bourgeoisie/proletariat [capitalist/worker] class structure, resulting from the rise of capitalism, modern industry, and global trade. The system works by exploiting laborers. They are paid as little as possible, worked as hard and long as possible, and the rise of the division of labor in the factory along with the increasing use of machinery has reduced labor from a rewarding human activity to a form of mechanized slavery. But since all jobs are becoming more and more mechanical, the importance of specialized skill is reduced, which puts all workers more on par with each other. This then creates the conditions for their solidarity, which is enhanced by technological developments in communications and transportation. Also, the bourgeoisie, besides the immorality and injustice of exploiting labor, have proven themselves unfit to rule, since they have overseen only the decrease in the quality of life of the majority of the population to bare subsistence and slave-like labor. They came to power as a part of a larger historical pattern of revolution. The conditions lending to their power are also what will make that power crumble. So not only should they fall, they inevitably will fall.



Summary


Marx & Engels offer a view of human history as being the ongoing story of the political, social, and economic struggles between hierarchized classes.

The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.
(209b)


This struggle holds between such classes as “Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman” or in other words, more generally between  “oppressor and oppressed” (209). These warring classes have “carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes” (209bc).


These clashing classes can be discerned in all epochs of history.

In the earlier epochs of history, we find almost everywhere a complicated arrangement of society into various orders, a manifold gradation of social rank. In ancient Rome we have patricians, knights, plebeians, slaves; in the Middle Ages, feudal lords, vassals, guild-masters, journeymen, apprentices, serfs; in almost all of these classes, again, subordinate gradations.
(209c)


Modern bourgeois society arose out of the prior feudal class system. Although their rise saw the end of feudal classes, it “has not done away with class antagonisms. It has but established new classes, new conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in place of the old ones” (210a).


Although earlier epochs, as we noted, had a “complicated arrangement” of social classes,

Our epoch, the epoch of the bourgeoisie, possesses, however, this distinct feature: it has simplified class antagonisms. Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other: Bourgeoisie and Proletariat.
(210a)


The bourgeoisie originated from the [merchant middle-class] burghers who were previously serfs in the Middle Ages (210b).


World exploration and colonization enriched and empowered the rising bourgeoisie (210b).


The guild system of feudal times was preplaced by the manufacturing system, to meet new market demands. “The guild-masters were pushed on one side by the manufacturing middle class; division of labour between the different corporate guilds vanished in the face of division of labour in each single workshop” (210c).


But even the manufacturing system could not keep up with demand, and so steam powered industry arose. “The place of manufacture was taken by the giant, Modern Industry; the place of the industrial middle class by industrial millionaires, the leaders of the whole industrial armies, the modern bourgeois” (210cd).


As the world markets expanded, so too did domestic industry and infrastructure (210-211).


The modern bourgeoisie is the result of a series of revolutions [and therefore may itself fall victim to yet another revolution undoing its order].

We see, therefore, how the modern bourgeoisie is itself the product of a long course of development, of a series of revolutions in the modes of production and of exchange.
(211a)


And, each small advance in the bourgeoisie’s rise to power “was accompanied by a corresponding political advance of that class” (211a):

An oppressed class under the sway of the feudal nobility, an armed and self-governing association in the medieval commune: here independent urban republic (as in Italy and Germany); there taxable “third estate” of the monarchy (as in France); afterwards, in the period of manufacturing proper, serving either the semi-feudal or the absolute monarchy as a counterpoise against the nobility, and, in fact, cornerstone of the great monarchies in general, the bourgeoisie has at last, since the establishment of Modern Industry and of the world market, conquered for itself, in the modern representative State, exclusive political sway. The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.
(211b)


Thus as we see from the political upheaval it brought about, “The bourgeoisie, historically, has played a most revolutionary part” (211bc).


This is seen especially in how it has “has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations” and “pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his ‘natural superiors’; and it has “drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation” (211d). [We notice here the violent rhetoric. If the bourgeoisie has committed such violent acts, it is only fitting that the communists should use in a similar way, metaphorically or otherwise, violence to change their order. As we will see in the next lines, their order is unjust and cruel:]

[The bourgeoisie] has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom — Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, | veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.
(211-212)

[So while the feudal lords at least veiled their exploitation behind religious or political values, the bourgeoisie merely reduces human life to exploitative profit-making labor without any sugar-coating to conceal its injustice and immorality.]


Where previously certain occupations like doctor, lawyer, priest, scientist, and poet were held with “reverent awe” [and valued for their contributions to society’s well-being, functioning, knowledge, and culture], they are now viewed no more than as “paid wage laborers” [whose productive worth is quantifiable only in terms of currency value] (212a).


It has also reduced family life and relations to “mere monetary relations” [perhaps because people relate to each other only in terms of paying for one another]. (212ab)


Bourgeoisie has also demonstrated what humans are capable of when they are industrious. “It has accomplished wonders far surpassing Egyptian pyramids, Roman aqueducts, and Gothic cathedrals; it has conducted expeditions that put in the shade all former Exoduses of nations and crusades” (211b).


In the bourgeoisie epoch [on account of the forces of capitalism,] new methods and modes of production replace older ones [if they prove to generate more profit. As a result, the normally stable and secure structures of life and relations among people are made unstable and fluid, which is perhaps unsettling in a psychological and existential way.]

Constant revolutionising of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind.
(212c)


The capitalist need for more sources of and markets for production has caused the bourgeoisie to occupy all corners of the world (212d).


World trade and production has minimized the importance of national boundaries. Goods are imported and exported everywhere, making all parts of the world interconnected and interdependent. This even holds in “intellectual production” as for example cultural products. “National one-sidedness and narrow-mindedness become more and more impossible, and from the numerous national and local literatures, there arises a world literature” (213a-b). [This could also pave the way for a world socialism.]


The spread of the bourgeoisie’s influence has caused many other nations, no matter how developed, to enter into this capitalist system. “It compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of production; it compels them to introduce what it calls civilisation into their midst, i.e., to become bourgeois themselves. In one word, it creates a world after its own image” (213c).


The bourgeoisie have moved populations and productivity into the towns. This has prevented many people from residing in the “idiocy of rural life,” but it has also made country depend on towns and lesser-developed nations dependent on more developed ones (213d).


The bourgeoisie has not only centralized populations into towns, but it as well has centralized property and the means of production into only a few hands. As a result, political power has been concentrated and centralized as well.

The bourgeoisie keeps more and more doing away with | the scattered state of the population, of the means of production, and of property. It has agglomerated population, centralised the means of production, and has concentrated property in a few hands. The necessary consequence of this was political centralisation. Independent, or but loosely connected provinces, with separate interests, laws, governments, and systems of taxation, became lumped together into one nation, with one government, one code of laws, one national class-interest, one frontier, and one customs-tariff.
(213-214)


The amount of productive potential that was realized by the bourgeoisie surpasses anything that was previously accomplished or even dreamed of.

The bourgeoisie, during its rule of scarce one hundred years, has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all preceding generations together. Subjection of Nature’s forces to man, machinery, application of chemistry to industry and agriculture, steam-navigation, railways, electric telegraphs, clearing of whole continents for cultivation, canalisation of rivers, whole populations conjured out of the ground — what earlier century had even a presentiment that such productive forces slumbered in the lap of social labour?
(214b)


In sum, the bourgeoisie has overturned the feudal system, which had to be done away with given how production and trade were developing (214c).


Then into the place of the feudal structures “stepped free competition, accompanied by a social and political constitution adapted in it, and the economic and political sway of the bourgeois class” (214d).


But this great system of production and trade is also unpredictable and dangerous. It “is like the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells” (214d). There have been crises that were caused by over-production, where

there is too much civilisation, too much means of subsistence, too much industry, too much commerce. The productive forces at the disposal of society no longer tend to further the development of the conditions of bourgeois property; on the contrary, they have become too powerful for these conditions, by which they are fettered, and so soon as they overcome these fetters, they bring disorder into the whole of bourgeois society, endanger the existence of bourgeois property. The conditions of bourgeois society are too narrow to comprise the wealth created by them.
(215a)

They solve these crises in three ways: 1) by destroying the excessive productive forces, 2) by conquering new markets, and 3) by further exploiting older ones. “That is to say, by paving the way for more extensive and more destructive crises, and by diminishing the means whereby crises are prevented” (215cd).


Since it was these capitalist productive systems that overturned the feudal system, “The weapons with which the bourgeoisie felled feudalism to the ground are now turned against the bourgeoisie itself” (215d).


[These machines of production, which are in a sense no entirely within the control of the bourgeoisie, can also be appropriated by the working class and used against the bourgeoisie.]

But not only has the bourgeoisie forged the weapons that bring death to itself; it has also called into existence the men who are to wield those weapons — the modern working class — the proletarians.
(215d)


[Normally we think of the power of wealth of the bourgeoisie increasing as corresponding to the decrease of wealth and power of the proletariat. However, perhaps because these seem capitalist tools can be appropriated by the proletariat, who is already operating them, perhaps their potential power increases as well. Or perhaps the meaning of the following passage is more generally that the workers advance in training and abilities with increased sophistication of the industry.] The proletariat develops at pace with capital and the bourgeoisie. Laborers are dependent on this industry and are vulnerable to its fluxuations. (216a)


Because of the division of labor, factory work is less rewarding then it was back when workmen were more attached to their productions. Their work becomes machine-like. [Also, perhaps because the crappiest jobs produce only the least valuable goods, the worse the work, the lower the pay.] And the pay is as low as possible, and it gets lower with the repulsiveness of the work. Workers also must keep at pace with the machines.

Owing to the extensive use of machinery, and to the division of labour, the work of the proletarians has lost all individual character, and, consequently, all charm for the workman. He becomes an appendage of the machine, and it is only the most simple, most monotonous, and most easily acquired knack, that is required of him. Hence, the cost of production of a workman is restricted, almost entirely, to the means of subsistence that he requires for maintenance, and for the propagation of his race. But the price of a commodity, and therefore also of labour, is equal to its cost of production. In proportion, therefore, as the repulsiveness of the work increases, the wage decreases. Nay more, in proportion as the use of machinery and division of labour increases, in the same proportion the burden of toil also increases, whether by prolongation of the working hours, by the increase of the work exacted in a given time or by increased speed of machinery, etc.
(216b)


The modern factory is like a slave operation run by a despot. [It is thus unjust and deserving of change. But also, since workers are ‘organized like soldiers’, there is the basis for them to fight against the system like soldiers.]

Modern Industry has converted the little workshop of the patriarchal master into the great factory of the industrial capitalist. Masses of labourers, crowded into the factory, are organised like soldiers. As privates of the industrial army they are placed under the command of a perfect hierarchy of officers and sergeants. Not only are they slaves of the bourgeois class, and of the bourgeois State; they are daily and hourly enslaved by the machine, by the overlooker, and, above all, by the individual bourgeois manufacturer himself. The more openly this despotism proclaims gain to be its end and aim, the more petty, the more hateful and the more embittering it is.
(216c-d)


Mechanization and the division of labor have made physical strength and skill less necessary in factory work. This has made men and woman equally viable as workers, and since woman and children can be paid less, they are often preferred (216-217).


And even though the laborer earns a wage, it is instantly lost back to other parts of the bourgeoisie.

No sooner is the exploitation of the labourer by the manufacturer, so far, at an end, that he receives his wages in cash, than he is set upon by the other portions of the bourgeoisie, the landlord, the shopkeeper, the pawnbroker, etc.
(217a)


The lower middle-class, including “the small tradespeople, shopkeepers, and retired tradesmen generally, the handicraftsmen and peasants” do not really remain middle class but instead “sink gradually into the proletariat”. This is because their capital is not great enough to compete with larger industries and also because their specialized skills become less valuable when new methods of production make them obsolete (217b).



“The proletariat goes through various stages of development” (217c). At first it fights against the “instruments of production;”

They direct their attacks not against the bourgeois conditions of production, but against the instruments of production themselves; they destroy imported wares that compete with their labour, they smash to pieces machinery, they set factories ablaze, they seek to restore by force the vanished status of the workman of the Middle Ages.
(217cd)


[At this stage, for some reason, it seems that the workers are not organized against the bourgeoisie but rather somehow the bourgeoisie unites the workers against the bourgeoisie’s former rivals, the wealthy aristocrats from the prior monarchies.]

At this stage, therefore, the proletarians do not fight | their enemies, but the enemies of their enemies, the remnants of absolute monarchy, the landowners, the non-industrial bourgeois, the petty bourgeois. Thus, the whole historical movement is concentrated in the hands of the bourgeoisie; every victory so obtained is a victory for the bourgeoisie.
(217-218)


But as the industry develops, labor becomes less specialized. It also puts all the workers on a more equal level and gives them a greater sense of solidarity. They form unions and may at times riot together (218b).

The victories of proletariat are slight. But with each one, their union grows stronger. New developments in communications and transportation also help them strengthen relations among them (218c-d).


Although the union of workers is at times weakened by their own infighting, it nonetheless “ever rises up again, stronger, firmer, mightier,” and it has been able to influence legislation in its favor (218-219).


The bourgeoisie is involved in its own battles: 1) with the former aristocracy, 2) with those parts of the bourgeoisie itself that are antagonistic to the progress of industry, and 3) sometimes with the bourgeoisie of other nations. In all these cases, the bourgeoisie [somehow] brings the proletariat into the fight. By doing so, they educate the proletariat in certain political matters that the proletariat can then somehow use against the bourgeoisie.

In all these battles, it sees itself compelled to appeal to the proletariat, to ask for help, and thus, to drag it into the political arena. The bourgeoisie itself, therefore, supplies the proletariat with its own elements of political and general education, in other words, it furnishes the proletariat with weapons for fighting the bourgeoisie.
(219b)


As we noted above, members of the bourgeoisie slip into the proletariat. [Somehow] “These also supply the proletariat with fresh elements of enlightenment and progress” (219c).


Progress is moving toward the dissolution of the ruling class. Some of its members, seeing that the future lie in the working class, are converting over to this other side. This is even seen among bourgeois intellectuals who understand the tide of this historical movement and also convert.

Finally, in times when the class struggle nears the decisive hour, the progress of dissolution going on within the ruling class, in fact within the whole range of old society, assumes such a violent, glaring character, that a small section of the ruling class cuts itself adrift, and joins the revolutionary class, the class that holds the future in its hands. Just as, therefore, at an earlier period, a section of the nobility went over to the bourgeoisie, so now a portion of the bourgeoisie goes over to the proletariat, and in particular, a portion of the bourgeois ideologists, who have raised themselves to the level of comprehending theoretically the historical movement as a whole.
(219d)


Since times are changing and the worker is the one who keeps up with them, the proletariat is in a special position to help bring about the future that is already set in motion.

Of all the classes that stand face to face with the bourgeoisie today, the proletariat alone is a really revolutionary class. The other classes decay and finally disappear in the face of Modern Industry; the proletariat is its special and essential product.
(219d)


The lower middle classes who fight the bourgeoisie only to hold onto their middle class status are not revolutionary but are rather conservative, since they do not want to change the class system (220a). In fact, they are reactionary, since the tide has already begun turning.


There are also those who are social scum, the ‘dangerous class’. They could join the revolution, but their life is so bad they are more apt to be bribed into service by the bourgeoisie [perhaps to stir trouble among the revolutionaries] (220b).


The proletariat are in a state where the system is of no use to them [and thus they have every reason to change it.]

In the condition of the proletariat, those of old society at large are already virtually swamped. The proletarian is without property; his relation to his wife and children has no longer anything in common with the bourgeois family relations; modern industry labour, modern subjection to capital, the same in England as in France, in America as in Germany, has stripped him of every trace of national character. Law, morality, religion, are to him so many bourgeois prejudices, behind which lurk in ambush just as many bourgeois interests.
(220bc)


[In previous revolutions, a portion of the society subjugates other portions. The proletariat, for some reason, if it wants control of “the productive forces of society,” it must do away with such a subjugating structure by getting rid of individual property. For, were no one group to have more property than another, then no group can subjugate another.]

All the preceding classes that got the upper hand sought to fortify their already acquired status by subjecting society at large to their conditions of appropriation. The proletarians cannot become masters of the productive forces of society, except by abolishing their own previous mode of appropriation, and thereby also every other previous mode of appropriation. They have nothing of their own to secure and to fortify; their mission is to destroy all previous securities for, and insurances of, individual property.
(220cd)


Previous revolutions have been conducted by or for some minority. The proletariat revolution, however, will be an act of nearly all of society.

All previous historical movements were movements of minorities, or in the interest of minorities. The proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interest of the immense majority. The | proletariat, the lowest stratum of our present society, cannot stir, cannot raise itself up, without the whole superincumbent strata of official society being sprung into the air.
(220-221)


[Although eventually all proletariat of the world must unite,] the proletariat’s revolts must begin on the national level, [perhaps on account of the immediacies of their class conflicts.] (221a)


The authors have depicted how there has been a veiled civil war between bourgeoisie and proletariat that develops to open revolution (21b).


In prior class conflicts, the oppressed classes were able to improve their situation. The condition of the proletariat, however, continues to decline [on account of the problems of mechanized labor that continue to worsen with its development]. Thus the bourgeoisie cannot be trusted to govern, since they are unable to keep the lives of the masses at a certain basic condition.

Hitherto, every form of society has been based, as we have already seen, on the antagonism of oppressing and oppressed classes. But in order to oppress a class, certain conditions must be assured to it under which it can, at least, continue its slavish existence. The serf, in the period of serfdom, raised himself to membership in the commune, just as the petty bourgeois, under the yoke of the feudal absolutism, managed to develop into a bourgeois. The modern labourer, on the contrary, instead of rising with the process of industry, sinks deeper and deeper below the conditions of existence of his own class. He becomes a pauper, and pauperism develops more rapidly than population and wealth. And here it becomes evident, that the bourgeoisie is unfit any longer to be the ruling class in society, and to impose its conditions of existence upon society as an over-riding law. It is unfit to rule because it is incompetent to assure an existence to its slave within his slavery, because it cannot help letting him sink into such a state, that it has to feed him, instead of being fed by him. Society can no longer live under this bourgeoisie, in other words, its existence is no longer compatible with society.
(221b-d)


The bourgeoisie’s power comes from capital, which is obtained and grown through wage-labor. Modern industry unites wage-laborers [as we saw above]. Thus modern industry’s development is bringing about the overturn of the class division that has been fostering and benefiting from this very same industrial development.

The essential conditions for the existence and for the sway of the bourgeois class is the formation and augmentation of capital; the condition for capital is wage-labour. Wage-labour rests exclusively on competition between the labourers. The advance | of industry, whose involuntary promoter is the bourgeoisie, replaces the isolation of the labourers, due to competition, by the revolutionary combination, due to association. The development of Modern Industry, therefore, cuts from under its feet the very foundation on which the bourgeoisie produces and appropriates products. What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable.
(221-222)

 

 

 



Works Cited


Marx, Karl and Frederick Engels. Manifesto of the Communist Party. In Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Trans. Martin Milligan. pp.203-243. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 1988 [1844].


Available online: https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/index.htm



 

Marx & Engels. Communist Manifesto. Entry Directory


by Corry Shores
[Search Blog Here. Index-tags are found on the bottom of the left column.]

 

[Central Entry Directory]
[Economics Entry Directory]
[Karl Marx, Entry Directory]

[The following is summary. All underlining, boldface, and bracketed commentary are my own.]




Karl Marx & Frederick Engels


Manifesto of the Communist Party


Preamble


Ch.1: Bourgeois and Proletarians


Ch.2: Proletarians and Communists
[Selections]


Ch.3: Socialist and Communist Literature


Ch.4: Position of the Communists in Relation to the Various Existing Opposition Parties
[Selection]





Marx, Karl and Frederick Engels. Manifesto of the Communist Party. In Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Trans. Martin Milligan. pp.203-243. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 1988 [1844].


Available online: https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/index.htm

Marx & Engels (intro) Manifesto of the Communist Party, Preamble, summary


by Corry Shores

[Search Blog Here. Index-tags are found on the bottom of the left column.]

[Central Entry Directory]
[Economics Entry Directory]
[Karl Marx, Entry Directory]
[Marx & Engels Communist Manifesto, entry directory]

[The following is summary. All underlining, boldface, and bracketed commentary are my own.]




Karl Marx & Frederick Engels


Manifesto of the Communist Party


Preamble


Summary



Brief Summary:
Communism at this time of 1844 is a political ideology that is seen in a negative light and as a threat. This testifies to its influence and importance. But it also presents the need to correct the record and to give it a fair account. That is the purpose of this manifesto, which is meant for the audience of all of Europe.



Summary


In Europe [at this time, 1844], communism was a political idea already with some influence, yet it was often considered in a negative light (208).


In fact, ‘communism’ is often used as a political insult or accusation (208).


There are two results of this:


1) The fact that it is such a strong accusation means that “Communism is already acknowledged by all European powers to be itself a power” (208), and


2) Since the negativity of this accusation is based on hearsay and misunderstanding, “Communists should openly, in the face of the whole world, publish their views, their aims, their tendencies, and meet this nursery tale of the Spectre of Communism with a manifesto of the party itself” (208).


The following is the effort to accomplish this task. It is translated into many major European languages [so to broaden the spread of its ideas] (209).





Works Cited


Marx, Karl and Frederick Engels. Manifesto of the Communist Party. In Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Trans. Martin Milligan. pp.203-243. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 1988 [1844].


Available online: https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/index.htm