Neo-communism: 1. Critical points of Marx’s and Engel’s Communist Manifesto 1.2.The dualism: Bourgeoisie and proletarians

1.2. The dualism: Bourgeoisie and proletarians

These two concepts were conceived with a very specific meaning and to be used only in the historical moment Marx lived in. To talk about bourgeoisie and proletarians in the twenty-first century is anachronistic and therefore the reach of these concepts nowadays must be clarified. The bourgeoisie and the proletarians, as described by Marx, always existed together with the middle class, which to Marx was only one of the transitory classes, such as the aristocracy. Nowadays the most common social division is in: higher, middle and lower class, and it has to do only with income because there is social mobility between classes. This social mobility is one of the results of class struggles and the imposition of some communist ideas on society. Among the communist measures which the Communist Manifesto promoted, some are present in almost every society. Here are the measures which appear in Marx’s and Engel’s manifesto and which have been applied in most of societies since then:

2.A heavy progressive or graduated income tax (…) 5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the State through a national bank with state capital, and the suppression of all private banks and bankers.(…) 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; (…) 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 (Marx; Engels 1848: 27).

Some of these measures are nowadays almost universal, such as free education for children, and some fluctuate according to the government in turn, such as centralization of credit and means of communication and extension of instruments of productions owned by the State. This is why politics is nowadays mostly a dualism between left and right. If we consider that the Manifesto had ten measures to be applied in communist societies, and five of them are nowadays applied in some societies, we could say that the communist movement had a partial victory, although it was thoroughly quelled by the defenders of capitalism. We could say that today’s world is not fully capitalist or communist but something in between. The proletarians as described by Marx don’t exist anymore except in the least developed countries, which continued to be exploited by other countries. But the current process of perpetuation of poverty in less developed countries is through corruption, that is, it is not the rule but the exception, because it is done through a certain loophole in international law. These loopholes can be addressed and fixed and a best way of enforcement can be sought to solve the problem of exploitation in the twenty-first century. The proletarian class is nonexistent in developed countries and this was achieved without a revolution but simply by checking the power of the capitalists and demanding fairer conditions. The same can happen in less developed countries. The bourgeoisie still exists and it has developed in multinational corporations, just as described by Marx and Lenin. Their aim is still the same: Monopoly and expansion. But the suppression of capitalism is a utopia, the same as the extinction of wars. They are part of human nature, although a low and vile part, and they are currently booming in many societies. Also, the only current way of suppressing them is by force, which is counterproductive because violence only leads to more violence. In front of exploiters, we need to exercise the third option: Not to comply with their orders, not to break away by force, but to demand fairer conditions for everyone. Nowadays, most societies could prosper by simply being let alone and by getting rid of foreign exploitation and internal mechanisms of perpetuation of poverty. A clear example is the recent case of Bolivia, which has nationalized most of its energy resources, which allowed it to triple its income. No deal with foreign investors was necessary, but they needed to indemnify the capitalists whose companies were expropriated. In this case, fairer conditions implied getting rid of the foreign capital, but it was done by pacific means. This tells us that the only way to a real communist society is through pacifism. Although Morales, the president of Bolivia, is accused of not fulfilling the expectations of the Bolivian left, who expected a redistribution of wealth, the steps he took were communist: “Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State”. The problem with the current communist movements is that they expect a revolution the same as Jews expect a Messiah or Christians the Armageddon. They won’t be fulfilled unless it happens violently, and this is the main fault in Marx’s writings: He didn’t allow for a pacific evolution towards communism.

Many people may argue that Marxism was a pacific movement, and they can present some passages of the Communist Confession of Faith as proof:

Question 16: How do you think the transition from the present situation to community of Property is to be effected?

Answer: The first, fundamental condition for the introduction of community of property is the political liberation of the proletariat through a democratic constitution (Marx; Engels 1848: 39).

Here is more than evident that Engels proposes democratic and therefore pacific means to achieve a communist society: Through constitutional law. However, and equal share of the profits of the exploitation of the land does not guarantee peace because it does not suppress the source of violence: exploitation. A capitalist, who is exploiting the land, could rightfully argue that since exploitation is legal, he has all the right to the fruits of his or his ancestor’s labor. He cannot control the economic rules by which his capital is exponentially increased and therefore he is not responsible for it, but he is entitled to the profits. Any measure to counteract this natural economic law is unlawful and unrightful. Marxism saw the evil results of capitalism, but it failed to go to its source. Inequality is the evil result of exploitation and not of bad distribution of wealth. The problem with capitalism is not what we do with the money but how we got it in the first place. This question must be addressed to create an equal society. Exploitation of men by men and of nature by men must reach an end to fix society.


This is part of the book Neo-communism, written by Juan Martin Sanchez


I'm a writer born in Argentina, but currently living in Poland. I work as an English and French teacher, translator and copywriter.

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