A Critical Analysis of the Communist Manifesto
The Communist Manifesto was written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels which contained all of the ideas and assumptions by Marx. The Communist Manifesto was able to inspire a number of philosophers and theorists.
And as it was published at the height of the political turmoil in Europe, it also served as an engine for many revolutions that took place within the past century. Hence, following the publication of the Communist Manifesto, it inspired a number of revolutions to overturn the rise of Capitalism, particularly in Russia and China (“The Communist Manifesto,” n.p).
The writings by Marx and Engels which composed the main tenets in the Communist Manifesto influenced revolutions not by just mere agitation through writing; rather they fueled revolutionary groups by confronting the capitalist forces through the forces of the proletariats. They discovered the special role of the proletariats, who they believed were capable of overthrowing the capitalist class (“The Communist Manifesto,” n.p).
The Communist Manifesto is centered on the idea of class struggle and continuing antagonisms in the society. This according to the Manifesto, class struggle revolves between the bourgeoisie and the proletarians – the oppressor and the oppressed; the few and many. Hence, the Manifesto predicts the probable ways of eliminating oppression by abolishing the basic factors that instigate oppression – example: private property – which shall eventually lead towards overthrowing the bourgeosie (“The Communist Manifesto,” n.p).
In accordance with this pursuit, Marx drafted the Communist Manifesto guided by Historical Dialectical Materialism in order to point out the problems that had been consuming the society. Using this guide, he predicted the changes that could happen in the society as the mode of production changes gradually.
And these changes shall become the engine for a revolutionary overthrow of the current dominating class. And as capitalism will reach its peak, it will become saturated and will eventually meet its demise under the leadership of the proletariats.
The Pursuit of a Stateless Society
Consequently, Marx noted predictions on several factors that will help build a stateless society. This includes: (1) enforcement of progressive taxation. (2) abolition of inheritance, (3) equalization of wages and (4) the communal appropriation of lands. With these things in mind, Marx pictured a stateless society wherein antagonisms among classes can be eliminated.
However, there are various sides that are to be looked upon if the society should be changed. There are specific levels wherein a country should cope with in order to effectively carry out these kinds of changes which can prove to be beneficial for the citizens.
Different countries may react on certain circumstances if things are to be imposed on them. And there should be clarity of the possible outcomes that it may bring. In particular, communist countries had deteriorated and has broken down in the last decades.
None of the communist countries have sustained its staying power, in particular, China and Russia. And for the case of Cuba, their existence in the communist realm has served as an example to no one.
For the Communists, especially for Marx, a stateless society meant the establishment of a classless society and rendering common ownership of all the means of productions. It also entails equitable distribution of income among the citizens. However, it requires a number of processes and cycles that are to be undertaken in order to achieve it. Consequently, the factors mentioned above are the firsts on the list in attaining a classless society.
As such, though these factors that Marx mentioned in the Manifesto may contribute greatly towards the attainment of a stateless society, they may have negative implications in the society.
There are still downsides that are attributable with these steps that may have direct effect in the growth and development of the society, and also lies the possibility that it may serve detrimental outcomes for them. Thus, these policies should be analyzed to assess their reasonability and soundness if they can be beneficial to the people in general.
Thesis and Argument
The purpose of this paper would be to carefully analyze the contents of the Manifesto, in particular, the four measures that Marx proposed towards attaining a stateless society. Thus, the thesis of this paper is to prove that there are adversaries that may be caused if those measures will be employed. And that the reasonability of each measure depends on the possible outcomes that may be derived from it.
Hence, the arguments revolve on three parallel ideas: (1) these measures if employed, though may speed up the process of attaining a stateless society, may also impede social, political and economic growth; (2) ironically, though a stateless society aims towards eliminating class antagonisms, these four measures mentioned.
Considerably increases the gap between the proletariats and the bourgeosie by the intentional disregard of the bourgeosie class; and (3) given the altruistic desire from the Manifesto to eradicate poverty, the ideals presented through these measures were really idealistic and utopian, hence may render these inappropriate and not feasible for most of the countries.
Progressive taxation is one of the twelve measures that Communism intended to enforce. Progressive taxation is a system wherein tax rates are imposed based on the economic status and well-being of the person to be taxed. The tax rates are identified according to the ability of an individual to pay. In essence, if a person earns big, then he will be subjected to higher tax rates; the same way that a person who earns little will be taxed according to his capacity to pay (Lakoff and Budner, n.p).
For the advocates of Communism, progresive taxation can provide redistribution of capital, which they believe can further hasten the process of eliminating class struggle. Through this, it is believed that redistributing the tax burden towards the people who can afford to pay can stabilize the flow of capital, and the economy in return. In addition, progresive taxation also serves as a monitoring device to limit acquisition of private property.
Furthermore, progresive taxation eases the burden for those who cannot pay enabling them to allot a larger portion of their income for their family’s basic needs. Thus, progressive taxation for the Communists render individuals to have a more equitable outcome so that they can make the most out of the fruits of their labor (“Capitalism, Socialism & Communism,” n.p).
Although there are certain benefits that are attainable through progressive taxation, likewise there are downsides of it. There are individuals who consider this kind of tax policy as discriminatory and inefficient.
Progressive taxation is discriminatory in such away that the people who work harder gets more compelled on paying higher taxes; while those who do not work and strive enough are being subjected to receive government subsidies and privileges.
In addition, it caters inefficiency in the way taxes are being imposed on individuals, while tolerating income misappropriation bundled by the State’s deliberate interference which is then translated in the citizen’s fear of crossing the edges between democracy and dictatorship. (“Few Words on the Nature of Taxation.” n.p).
Thus, as progressive taxation can indeed eliminate class struggle and enhance the ability to create a stateless society through equitable sharing of tax obligations, it also harnesses the biased nature of the Communist government in their inclination towards the poor. Though it is rational and reasonable to impose taxes on individuals who have higher capacity to pay, certain considerations are also ought to be given.