Communist Manifesto: Book Critique

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Karl Marx was a German philosopher who wrote many influential works, such as the Communist Manifesto alongside Frederidck Engels. He spread the ideas of Communism all over the world. He was born May 5th, 1818, in Trier, Germany, and studied philosophy at the University of Berlin. He later married Jenny von Westphalen in 1843 and lived alone with her and his children in London where he published most of his books. Marx is an incredibly important figure in history whose political and philosophical viewpoints are still heavily analyzed today. I think Mr. Boni chose this book for us to better understand Communism, as it is proved to be one of the most influential social and political movements ever created. Analyzing The Communist Manifesto helps us comprehend how revolutions can begin and how opinions and ideas can develop and spread. This is useful for our studies as it relates to other time periods we have discussed in class, and helps us to see connections between these time periods and Marx’s work. We can deepen our knowledge about revolutions throughout history and the impact on those countries that embraced Marx’s ideas.

Karl Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto in order to spread his ideas of communism everywhere. He wanted a revolution of the social classes and reform on a global scale. He wanted to inform people of his philosophy, but truly wanted to see it put into action around the world. The targeted audience of the Manifesto is clearly the Proletariat, or the working class. Throughout the Manifesto, Marx describes how the working class is oppressed in multiple ways by the Bourgeoisie middle class. He talks about how the middle class is destroying society and holding the power and property while the working class is left to work and support the economy. He wants the working class to focus on his ideas, so that they can revolt against the Bourgeoisie and achieve the “classless, stateless society” Marx wanted. In his view, Marx wanted to show the evils of the Bourgeoisie – their abuse and possession of land and power – so that the Proletariat would adhere to the basic ideals of his philosophy. He heavily criticized the middle class and revealed the negative effects they had on society, politics, and the economy. The Manifesto is a call to action for the people oppressed by higher social classes; Marx wanted to convey a message of revolution and reaction to what the Bourgeoisie was doing. Marx’s viewpoints make me understand that he is portraying the Bourgeoisie as the enemy, and he wants the working class to unite and advocate for reform and change. His final words of the Manifesto are, “Workingmen of all countries, unite!”[footnoteRef:0] This statement supports the revolutionist tone he sets throughout the manifesto, and it brings the Proletariat together to fight against the Bourgeoisie – the enemy in his eyes. [0: ]

In the first section of the Communist Manifesto, Marx describes the Bourgeoisie and the Proletarians. He explains how the Bourgeoisie abused and exploited the Proletarians, and that all throughout history there has been class struggle. He states that this struggle usually ends in revolution or reform. Previously in history, there were complex social classes which were diverse. But in modern times, he says that the bourgeoisie developed from the ruins of feudal society and distinguished two main classes. The Bourgeoisie destroyed all previous social classes, and changed varying and interesting occupations, such as physicians and poets, into mere sources of money. Marx talks about how the Industrial Revolution was a large factor in the Bourgeoisie’s rise to power, as they began to profit by owning factories and dominating resource production. The Bourgeoisie continued to exploit the world market and economy in order to keep their power, and they expanded and forced their middle class practices to other parts of the world. Marx says that this action is taking away the freedom and individuality of other nations, as the Bourgeoisie is creating their own civilization and forcing these nations to submit to their world view. Throughout all of this, Marx states that the Bourgeoisie destroyed life for the Proletarians. They hold the power and are only focused on financial gain while the working class engages in hard labor and miserable living conditions to support the Bourgeoisie.

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In the second section of the Manifesto, Marx describes the goals of communism and the relations of communists and proletarians. He talks about how the communists shouldn’t form separate parties because their interests are very similar to that of the proletarians. The main goals of communism include the proletarians being formed into a social class and the destruction of Bourgeoisie dominance. He also emphasizes the abolition of private property. He states that private property already barely exists in society, and the people who own private property do not work on it. Wage-labor also does not create property for workers in his opinion, it only produces capital, which he states as being social power.

He then goes into detail how the communistm strives to destroy capitalist society, and its rules of production, and free trade. In Marx’s view, all these capitalist practices contributed to the exploitation of the working class in the first place. In order to address possible objections, Marx defines communism as depriving man of using labor for personal gain. Next, Marx talks of the abolition of modern middle class families, because the Bourgeoisie see their families as means of production. Marx believed that communism needed to be practiced on a global scale. It was the only way to stop Bourgeoisie exploitation, of the world market and the working class, along with stopping exploitation between nations. Marx deems other objections to communism from religious and philosophical viewpoints as pointless and ineffective, because communism abolished religion and morality. He says that the working class must overcome the objections to communism in order to establish a democracy and rise above Bourgeoisie dominance. Marx says that after the Proletariat accomplishes this goal and uses political power to centralize production and take away capital from the Bourgeoisie, what occurs next in countries which practice communism will vary. However, Marx wrote 10 main steps for countries which want a communist society. Along these steps he speaks of abolition of private property, centralization of property and credit to the state, equal work and pay for all, and education for children with the abolition of child labor. If these steps are taken in society and the proletariat is able to overcome the challenges it faces, Marx says that free development is given to society and the people.

In the third section, Marx talks about different branches of socialist and communist literature. The first subsection of socialism Marx describes is reactionary socialism. Included in reactionary socialism is Feudal socialism, Bourgeoisie socialism, and German, or “True” socialism. Feudal socialism is the earliest form of socialism, and it was formed by aristocrats who didn’t want to comply with the development and expansion of the new bourgeoisie class. Marx says that these feudal socialists wanted to aid the proletariat because they were being exploited by the bourgeoisie, however he also explains that these feudal socialists were exploiters themselves when they were in power.

The next branch Marx describes is titled Bourgeoisie-Socialism. He says that this subsection is based around the belief that class lies somewhere between the Bourgeoisie and the Proletariat. However, the Industrialization of nations then led to the unfair labor conditions and exploitation. Marx talks about how this branch showcases the negative effects of all the machinery and the abuse of the working class. He describes its one positive aim as restoring the old ways of production and exchange, however this system ultimately failed. The final subsection of socialism is German socialism. Marx explains that German socialism originated with the promise of adopting modern French ideas into unison with German beliefs and viewpoints. Marx also talks about how socialism wasn’t all that significant in Germany, because there was no Proletariat present in German society. Germany was focused on conserving their old ways of society and economy and viewed communism as harmful, leading them to oppose communism. Because of this, Marx deems German literature as useless.

The next form of major socialism Marx discusses is Conservative, or Bourgeoisie Socialism. Marx says that the socilist bourgeoisie want the existence and advantages of modern society without all the hardships that come present with it. They want the proletariat to support this system and get rid of the hate they carry for the Bourgeoisie. Also, Marx explains that the Bourgeoisie want to abolish any revolutionary movements created by the working class because they strive for social unity and peace. However, Marx says that the Bourgeoisie do not understand that this promise of social peace will not be achieved until capitalism is destroyed. Finally, Marx describes Critical-Utopian Socialism and Communism. This system revolved around the structure and peace of overall society. Marx talks about supporters of this system as believing in non-violent change and reform. This system also views future society as fantastic and peaceful. The goal of this system, Marx states, is to abolish class conflict without destroying the existence of social classes.

In the fourth and final section of the Manifesto, Marx describes the position of Communists in relation to other existing parties. He says that the Communists will fight for the interests of the working class and also to preserve the future of Communism. In order to do so they take action in various countries. Marx says that in France, the Communists join the Social-Democrats, in Switzerland, they support the radicals, in Poland they aid parties which strive for agrarian revolutions, and in Germany they fight with the Bourgeoisie when they try to revolt. Overall, he says that Communists all over the world support revolutions against the social and political order of things. The Manifesto ends with Marx calling the working classes of the world to unite and achieve the goals of Communism.

I enjoyed reading the Communist Manifesto, because I was able to understand Marx’s famous philosophy under a new light and I understood why it appealed to so many people around the world. Marx goes into great detail about how there has been class struggle all throughout history, and how communism will provide freedom and equality for all. It will abolish the dominance of the Bourgeoisie and establish a classless, stateless society. From the very beginning of the Manifesto, Marx attacks the Bourgeoisie social class and discusses the struggle of the working class. He opens the Manifesto by saying, “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.”[footnoteRef:1] With this statement, Marx is setting up his viewpoints on the class struggle he describes throughout the Manifesto. During the time it was written, the Proletariat was being heavily exploited by the Bourgeoisie, which is why so many members of the working class supported this system. Marx criticizes the Bourgeoisie on nearly every page of the book. He exposes its dominance and abuse of other nations and the economy. In the first section of the Manifesto, he states, “The bourgeoisie, by the rapid improvement of all instruments of production, by the immensely facilitated means of communication, draws all nations, even the most barbarian, into submission.”[footnoteRef:2] He points out the flaws of every action of the Bourgeoisie in order to make Communism more appealing, and he did so in a strong and clever way. Overall, I think Marx fulfilled his purpose when writing the Manifesto. He wanted a global response to his book and a chance to portray the evil of the Bourgeoisie to the public. The idea of Communism spread all across the world and caused revolutions and revolts – from Central Europe to Asia. People wanted to get rid of the oppression of the Bourgeoisie and achieve the communist society Marx described in his writing. However, Communism was not as successful as Marx probably believed it would be, because many nations which attempted to adopt it lacked the knowledge and skill to do so. [1: ] [2: ]

Reading the Communist Manifesto was interesting as it was a clear way to understand what Communism is, why it was favored and also objected, how it originated and developed, and how it spread. Observing Marx’s thoughts and rules on how a Communist society should function was enlightening because it allowed me to understand who Karl Marx actually was and what he wanted to achieve. The only uninteresting parts of the book were when Marx goes into drawn out detail about the oppression of the Bourgeoisie to get his already obvious point across. He tended to over explain a lot of his ideas with complex vocabulary, which sometimes led to very slow reading. Reading the Manifesto was worthwhile. It is an incredibly important philosophical work of history which helped spread the ideals of Communism. It allows the reader to observe the thoughts of one of the most influential philosophers to ever exist.

Before reading the Communist Manifesto, I did not know much about Communism. However, this book helped expand my knowledge on this philosophy and what its goals and practices are. I was also able to better observe a famous and influential historical figure. Writing these reports is important, as it helps us develop our working capabilities as students. It is important to read and analyze texts that provoke debate and discussion, and ones you may even disagree with. These large assignments help prepare us later in life for similar assignments. They are good practice for harder reports in future years of high school and college. I would definitely recommend this text to another student. Many questions you may have about the philosophy of communism and Karl Marx can be answered by reading the Manifesto. It is a great way to analyze a historical philosophy and with this knowledge we can apply this philosophy to modern times. We can also realize why Communism was not as successful as Marx wanted it to be, and how it aged throughout time.

I always believed Communism was a bad idea, and after reading the Manifesto, I realized that some of its ideas sounded good. I now understand why it appealed to so many people and why they wanted to spread it. It promised freedom and equality, along with destroying the always evident exploitation of lower social classes. However, although some ideas of the Manifesto seem good, its overall aim of a classless, stateless society provokes chaos and disorder, and did not work when put into action. Overall, the Communist Manifesto was an influential and important read that expanded my thoughts on Marx’s famous philosophy and helped me understand how Communism originated and spread.


  1., 30 Jan. 2008,
  2. Marx, Karl, and Frederick Engels. Manifesto of the Communist Party,
  4. “The Communist Manifesto.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 14 Mar. 2020,


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