on April 16, 2004
In reading some of the reviews below, it becomes quite evident that many of the readers who gave this book a low rating have never actually read the book. People generally think they understand communism based on their knowledge of the Soviet Union, or North Korea, or China, or Vietnam, etc. Based on this "knowledge," they judge Marx's ideas to be either unrealistic or just plain bloody without reading the book itself. The reality, however, is that one cannot know communism through the experiences of 20th century history since communism as Marx and Engels envisioned it has not existed on this planet. Furthermore, one cannot understand Marx's ideas only through the reading of this book.
The Communist Manifesto was written as a political pamphlet, and thus is written like a piece of propaganda. Marx does not discuss in great deal some significant points in his theory. He doesn't discuss the dialectic in great detail, nor does he discuss his view on human nature a great deal. Most people are unaware of Marx's view on human nature, and this has led to him being labeled an "idealist," and communism labeled "utopian."
This book gets 4 stars from me for two reasons. Based on historical importance alone, this book should receive 5 stars. Given its amazing significance, it seems ridiculous to me that someone could give this book one or no stars. I may not be a Christian, but I'd give the Bible 5 stars just because of its tremendous historical importance. That being said, I only give the Manifesto 4 stars because, as a representation of Marx's ideas, it is incomplete, and I think in many ways, it contributes to the general lack of understanding of Marx that is so common today. People think they understand the philosophy of communism after reading just the Manifesto, and that false sense of knowledge only makes them seem that much more ignorant.
This is a book that changed the world. Anyone that finds the writings of various economic view points to be of interest, will not be disappointed by this book.
Marx and Engles seem to feel the only way that the lower classes can break out of their situation, is through Communism.
You have to realize that the lower classes had been trapped in poverty for over a thousand years. I think you can understand that Marx and Engels thought this situation would never change under the current set of social conditions. This false conclusion, is what sets the manifesto in the wrong direction. Capitalism has created a huge middle class, and prosperity beyond anything a person 200 years ago could have imagined.
Abolition of private property, is really what communism is all about.
There seems to be a never ending list of people that believe one day, communism will work. I am not one of them.
An interesting note about Friedrich Engels, he was a successful capitalist. He had a seat on the Liverpool Stock Exchange.
on December 2, 2003
Obviously, Karl Marx as a great thinker unmasked the blueprint of a communist type of state. in his communist manifesto, he revealed and predicted the pattern for the best state that never materialized. he had the vision of a type of government that will benefit the prolectrate, though it was astoundingly powerful to run, but it failed in the shrouds of capitalist.
it never emerged, because capitalists were self-centered and greedy, comunism is only seen by the masses as being good, to the rich, it was bad, even an omen since capitalists are profited oriented. in this manifesto, the versatile genius decodes how a unique and immaculate community should be ruled by maping out strategic standards for the smooth operation of a perfect communist state. it pains see the fall of communism and the rise of capitalism to imperialism and now globalization, thereby eliminating the elements and properties of a communist society.
Karl Marx forcast the evils of capitalism when he saw how the poor are malginalized as a result of their lack of access to state power. he tries to shun the arrogant ways of capitalism and usher in a new trend of economy system which is communism. but it is a pity that today, the former has eraesed the latter to take up the scene and unless communism stands, there will never be a better governance for equality and transparency. but capitalism has gone too far to be destroyed and it will continue to grow and advance. it has grown from its original stage into imperialism and now it has fully blown into globalization.
the auther was a great thinker, he designed this blueprint for the best society in the globe, it is a socio-political and economic structure well study and presented for a republic without any form of biaz or choas, but it was murdered in the process of advancing into maturity. even at his death, no one will ever have his hopes, dreams and aspiration for a better society with the best Blueprint ever programmed.
Though he state the factors of a state, he never oppossed values, conflicts or rights, rather his system was meant to restore dignity to man and prosper him through integrity, giving to every man according to his needs, you dont have more than, and you wont have less than, it is to be contempted at your level. the book is nice, though non scholars could find it too ambigious to quantify and understand but it is the real expertized and genuis touch. it has a perfect polishing and the best finishing ever, why not go take a glimps at its contents, you may find it nourishing than blueberries. but as controversial as it is, it has failed and will never rise again. just feel my pains. a good work that died. go get it. dont forget, its for keeps.
on September 6, 2003
Aloha, First, this is an extremely poorly written book. Nonetheless, Marx quite accurately diagnoses the problem, namely people in power exploiting and taking advantage of the population. A problem that is as big an issue today as it was in the days of Marx. However, his cure seems formed in a laboratory, away from the real world. It's deeply intellectual, yet lacking in heart, soul, and street smarts. Feeling the pulse of this text, it is easy to conceive how it would serve to shape the Soviet Union into the cold and lifeless entity that it became. ------------------------------------------------------------- Marx fails to see that the issue confronting mankind isn't so much an external issue of what political system they live under, but rather a crisis of the heart and soul which is a deeply internal matter. Marx basicly replaces the bourgeois with the state. The net results are largely no better than before the revolution. The bourgeois were selfish, corrupt and exploitive, and so were the members of the state who replaced them. He kicked out one set of crooks, and replaced them with another set of crooks. ----------------------------------------------------- An outward revolution cannot, and will not ever change the inside of the human heart. And until there is radical inward transformation, there will be no significantly fruitful outward change in the state of the world. Marx's system would work great if the ruling entities and the masses were all Buddhas, Christ figures, saints and sages. But to be honest, Capitalism would work great under those circumstances as well. But humans are far more flawed than that. They are fearful, greedy and selfish mixed with attributes of goodness. ------------------------------------------------------- The question becomes, what political/economic system bests nurtures the goodness, yet keeps the selfish aspects from running wild? Good question! Yet I see the extreme leftist theory of Marxism to be very similiar to the extreme rightist beliefs of Bastiat. One tries to control too much to the point of squeezing the very life and soul out of the population. The other controls too little, essentially letting the wolf has his way in the hen house. Yet they become one at the point that neither will ever work unless all involved are truly enlightened beings who genuinely have the welfare of his neighbor at the forefront of their mind. -------------------------------------------- We're not there yet, and it's going to be awhile. At this point in human developement, we should focus on something in between the two poles. Something that effectively mixes liberties with social responsibility and equality. And in the meantime, we can continue to chip away at the selfish and fearful core that tortures mankind. Only when that inner freedom progresses significantly, can we have hope for a bright new day.
on July 7, 2003
The origins of private property and the subsequent capitalization of the world, leveraging on that property along with the cruel effects of industrial reveution is what made Engels and Marx write this manifesto. And it is worth a serious reading. Most of the points the authors stress are as relevant today as they were 150 years back. The mundane lives of the working class people, their strugle to make ends meet while the upper class with their means to capital enjoy life was disturbing to the angry Marx and he proposed a complete overhaul of that system. The book begins with understanding how once upon a time all land belonged to all people but later on a few got hands on the property to control many. The few versus many, the us versus them resounds throughout the book. The authors (in strong language) talk about the perils of capitalism, stressing on the delitirious effects of evil corporations (Without seeing FightClub :) that had turned most of the citizens of the world, slaves to the capital controlling masters. The puppets of these masters lack the means of production. And Marx hits the capitalists by attacking that the common man can never get the control over production, hence his life depends of the vagaries of busines cycles and his master. A good point, but the solution given is not very practical. While revolution might not feed the hunger, entrepreneurship will and this is what is ignored totally by Engels and Marx. The authors are more concerned about the distribution of wealth, than creation of new wealth. Wealth cannot be created by spilling blood or regime changes. It has to be created in the old fasioned way of hard work...etc! The manifesto is a copy every man interested in economics should have. It gives deep insights into philosophy, history, economics and psychology. Its a great reading and a powerfull one at the same time, a little flawed? Well, history has shown that.
on May 28, 2003
The Communist Manifesto is cited, quoted and refered to way too often in refrence to Marxist thinking. It is not an explanation of Communism, but an introduction. Much of it is outdated, and it often refers to schools of thought and ideas long since out of date. It is not meant to explain how Communism or Marxism should be carried out, just give you the VERY basic outline of thinking. For that one should read Das Capital. The document itself is only twenty or thrity pages long, and can be read, even analyticaly in a matter of hours. When you read it, don't bother buying it. Seeing as it is immensely short instead go to a site ... and read it there (being so old it isn't copywritten). In buying the book you just purchase a bunch of critisisms and introductions. I severly recommend you read this, but don't amke your judgements of Marxism based on it. Instead, read it alongside Das Capital which will give you a much more detailed and clear understanding of how it should be carried out. Only then can one see the distinct differences between Soviet (Stalinism, Trotskyism, Leninism), Cuban, Chinese (Maoism), Vietnamese, and Korean Communism, vs. what was actually said by Marx. Everyone should read Marx, no matter what your political alignment, but don't start with "The Manifesto". Despite it's pretty language to seemingly aim toward an uneducated audience, you'll walk away a bit confused. Start with Das Capital and work your way here. It will make a lot more sense.
on May 17, 2003
Those of you that have attacked this are ridiculous. First of all read the bloody title its a Manifesto of the Communist Party in no way does it have to reveal the way communism should or would work. It gives the general views of a the communist party as an international organisation. Also if this is the only thing that you have read on communism and Karl Mark then you are a fool. Go read Das Kapital before you make unjust decisions on communism and Karl Marxs ideas. I mean this is only a pamplet. I'll admit that communism, as in the Soviet form, failed. But marxism and soviet communism are two very different things. When the the Russian Revolution took place you can not say that it was Marx at the frontline because it just wasn't. Lenin was the leader and yes he was influenced by Marx. But by dismissing communism because of the Soviet Union is like dismissing Christianity because of the atrocious acts such as the Spanish Inquisition happened in its name or the slaughter of many native americans due to manifest destiny. Stalin bastardized communism and it will stand at that. The fact that someone suggested to read Wealth of Nations was good but there intentions are sick. If the poor fool can not see the depravity that has resulted from capitalism (poverty, third world debt, etc.) then they are foolish. Capitalism works because it runs of the greed. And as far as the "American Dream" thats ... families come hear and get burned alive by our unfair economy. I quite frankly think that it is unfair that people such as Bill Gates are at the top with billions were as my family is struggling to get out of debt. The "american dream" amounts to a dream of exploitation. And dont say comments like "ask the russians if they like communism or if their economy is good or look how many died?" because i already said Stalin bastardized communisim and marxs ideas. Think before you write.
as for customers, buy this, buy Wealth of Nations, buy Das Kapital their all great.
I like this edition because it as the prefaces of many different releases and its cheap.
on February 9, 2003
I read this book for the first time today actually. I haven't read it more then once, or really had time to let the book brew in me, but I was very satisfied with it. I read it in the cafe section of a book store because I was unwilling, or even able, to buy it. It's a great book for this purpose. I took a couple of hours, and read it cover to cover. It wasn't exactly earth shattering for me, but it got me thinking. Don't expect more then a small paper on the subject, it's just some simple facts, good for a pocket book. In fact, the various different introductions that were included with different printings take longer to read then the actual manifesto. I was very impressed by them especially, well written, and provide some views into what is essentially a dated book.
One particular interesting subject in one oof the many introductions is a slight dip into the life and views of Thomas Jefferson. It includes a quote from the declaration of independence, all men are endowed with certain inalienable rights, among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, forgive the errors, I don't feel like looking it up to make it correct. That particular quote and it's placement got me thinking about the complete ignorance we have of it. Everyone has the right to life, so murder is wrong, but to infringe upon their right to live in order to punish it is just as unjust an action. Imprisonment infringes upon the right of liberty. Drug laws, anti-suicide laws, and a million other things we do infringe upon both the rights of liberty, and the right to pursue happiness. Although we have succeeded in being a totalitarian state as America, we have not followed the radical views of those tired with the corruption of society, the very ones that are mocked every day in schools across the country by their views being taught through rose colored glass. As I put it to my brother, capitalism is like building a skyscraper with bodies, the higher the building gets, the less stable it becomes, and the only ones that will survive the fall are the ones who are not ingrained in it.
This book is not about communism as an ideal, it's about communism as a reality. There is only so long that a race will live in slavery.
on January 30, 2003
The Communist Manifesto is arguably one of the greatest pieces of literature ever to have been published. It contains several great ideas, but is extremely ambiguous in some areas as well as hopelessly idealistic. That being said, some of the documentation in this book still holds true today, such as the class system and the struggle linked with it. The idea of the "dictatorship of the proletariat" has been interpreted in many ways, but here's a hint to all: "proletariat" refers to something in plural, and analysis of the language used seems to indicate that this "dictatorship" is nothing more than control by the proletariat over the factors of production, a state-controlled economy. If only everyone would read this book, they would come to the conclusion that true Communism has never been done; the regimes of Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and Castro have relatively little in common with what is written by Marx and Engels. Of course, true Communism cannot be done in this day and age, but that does not totally discredit the ideas of Marx and Engels. All should read this book first and then make a judgement on Communism.
on January 11, 2003
As a history teacher, I am glad that this book exists. It is never good to destroy literature, especially something that has so fundamentally changed the course of the world.
That being said, Communism has been shown to be a bankrupt system. Ideologists can argue until they are blue in the face, but the system does not work. Certain aspects of it do work (socialized medecine, social security) but the basic premise of 'Power to the People' is not viable.
Many conservatives argue that Marx is evil. Many liberals argue that communism is a viable way of giving the people the power to run their country. The truth is that man will always seek power and that the powerful will seek to keep their power. In a system with no formal method for changing government you end up with totalitarianism and dictatorships.
The last bastions of true communism (or what passes for communism) are China, Cuba and North Korea. Of the three, only one is successfully moving towards a free market. Coincidentally, only one of the three is actually managing to succeed in the world market.