I don’t usually post on consecutive days because who really wants to hear my little rambles that much? But I’m confused about something and I wanted to get it down so I remember it as it may actually come up in conversation — given the rabid geeks I associate with now and am likely to in the future. I’ve been doing a lot of reading this morning on labor practices as they relate to outsourcing American jobs, which necessarily led me to some interesting reading on labor practices in less Democratic countries, which further led to labor issues in general, which finally led me to the distinct differences between capitalism as a system of labor and communism. So here’s where I’m confused: if Marx and Engels really believed that a capitalist system would necessarily lead to a massive gap between the haves and the have nots, and that this would always and ultimately lead to a revolution by the underclass, which they most certainly did as this philosophy is what led to the Communist Manifesto, why did they feel the need to spur the revolution on? In the beginning of their Manifesto, they say this:
“Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary re-constitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes”.
But then later, they’ve decided that — I guess? — the inevitability of the revolution isn’t enough so they need to force the issue and incite the conflict:
“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. WORKING MEN OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE!”
Perhaps I’m a dolt — or perhaps this has been covered and I missed it in the Manifesto (Confession: I didn’t read the whole thing, in this sitting or in undergrad when I should have) — but if you know the sun is going to rise, don’t you just have to sit back and wait for it to happen? It seems to me that FORCING a revolution is bound to fail because conditions aren’t ripe or the revolution WOULD ALREADY BE HAPPENING. I suppose the only argument is that they couldn’t bear to watch the working man continuing to suffer, which is rational. But if that’s the case, is it better to watch him die in a bloody revolution? If things rapidly change following the revolution then I can see it, but since that’s never happened, can we finally put it to rest that Marx and Engels intellectual progeny don’t give a holler about the working man?
What a crap philosophy. I’m going for a run.