Study Guide

The Communist Manifesto Rules and Order

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Rules and Order

If you ask Marx, history is pretty much the story of rebellion against rules and order. "Hitherto, philosophers have sought to understand the world; the point, however, is to change it," he once said. Now, while others call for changing the government by reforming it through voting or by establishing new systems of governance, Marx in the Communist Manifesto was all about cooking up a revolution—a violent one, if necessary—that would put the working class in power.

Questions About Rules and Order

  1. A strike happens when laborers of a particular type refuse to work. A general strike is when all laborers refuse to work, and that's usually coordinated through unions. Have you ever seen a strike? If workers were picketing outside a store, would you still go in? Why or why not?
  2. If Marx is right, why is the bourgeoisie still the most powerful class? He says the proletariat has nothing to lose from a revolution but its chains. Do such chains truly exist? If so, why can't the proletariat remove them?
  3. Discussions about creating massive societal change often break down into a simple choice between violent revolution and reform. The reform stance suggests democracies can rearrange existing private-property relationships and access to the means of production in a way that meets the needs of all people. Violent revolution says you should kill the authorities, take power, and somehow be nice afterward. But what if neither of those options is good? How else can create wide-scale cooperation without recreating exploitation?

Chew on This

If you could create one document advocating for massive political change, it should make use of rhetorical devices and be wild.

If you could create one document advocating for massive political change, it should contain peer-reviewed scientific studies and lengthy, calm considerations of multiple points of view.

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