gahhh really basic question - embaressed that i don't understand yet [communist manifesto]

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lem_
gahhh really basic question - embaressed that i don't understand yet [communist manifesto]
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the communist manifesto's ten points

 

1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
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; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
8. Equal liability of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.
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.

 

are these before are after a revolution in which the proletariant sieze the means of production?

slothjabber
10 points

I would say, they're after a revolution which takes place before about 1865. Marx and Engels wrote in the Preface to the German Edition of the Manifesto published in 1872 that the tactics suggested in Ch.2 were out of date. It was the experience of the Paris Commune, as well as the development of capitalism over 25 years, that brought them to this conclusion. The 10 Points are intended as the programme of a victorious working class that institutes a democratic republic, and are thus capitalist measures from the period when the bourgeoisie was still in the process of dealing with the tail-end of feudalism. By the later part of the 19th century, Marx and Engels became convinced that this was no longer necessary as capitalism had taken most of these measures itself.

A.Simpleton
Only human

I don't think there is any need for embarassment lem_: on the contrary: without the threefold context of:

i) Marx and Engels' personal situation

ii) the historical setting - within the very first attempt at International Communist 'networking' - only 18 months old - which wanted to produce the very first Communist platform/set of positions

iii) the linguistic context of what was meant by 'property' ('ownership' is closer imho) et alia 

these stark proclamations might well seem to suggest that Communism - even if a material necessity - is not a nice idea. Moreover, without these contexts they are vulnerable to not only misunderstanding but - more dangerously - misuse. Certain 'historical figures' would have benefitted greatly by taking your 'hang on a minute' stance.

Re:

i) Personal context : 1845 : Marx 'deported' from France: moves to Brussels: Engels joins him and their lifelong co-operation begins: they visit London and meet exiled members of the 'League of the Just' : they write The German Ideology

ii) Historical setting:1846 they build on the link up with London to form the first communist network of correspondence between England, France, Germany. At only its second meeting in 1847 this communist League decides it needs a manifesto to define clearly the state of affairs, the history of how that state of affairs came to be - written for the first time from the starting point of their actual material position in the relations of production: a manifesto revealing not merely the real possibility that they (all) could take back what had been stolen from them(all) , but that the very concepts of 'ownership' 'class' were based on the 'reversed-world-bourgeois-lie' 

So in answer to your final question : it most definitely is talking about the initial state of affairs after the Proletariat have overthrown the Bourgeoisie : nothing can be done 'without' the Proletariat or 'instead' of the Proletariat or 'on behalf ' of them

It is most certainly not some set of final 'rules' for what by definition was an unprecedented, new, emerging human era.

That would have been contrary to Marx's most basic core principles and understanding.

AS

LoneLondoner
No set rules or templates

A.Simpleton wrote:

It (ie the Communist Manifesto) is most certainly not some set of final 'rules' for what by definition was an unprecedented, new, emerging human era.

That would have been contrary to Marx's most basic core principles and understanding.

AS

Before the Commune, the most advanced fraction of the class, the communists, had understood that the working class had to take political power as a first step towards building the classless human commonwealth. But the precise manner in which the proletariat would establish its dictatorship had not yet been clarified because such a theoretical advance could only be based on the living experience of the class. The Paris Commune was such an experience, perhaps the most vivid proof that the communist program is not a fixed and static dogma but something that evolves and grows in intimate connection to the practice of the working class; not a utopia, but a great scientific experiment whose laboratory is the actual movement of society. It is well known that Engels made a particular point, in his later introductions to the Communist Manifesto of 1848, of stating that the experience of the Commune had rendered obsolete those formulations in the text which conveyed the idea of capturing the existing state machine. The conclusions that Marx and Engels drew from the Commune, in other words, are a demonstration and a vindication of the historical materialist method.

This is drawn from an article on the Paris Commune that you might find interesting as a sketch of the evolution of Marx's ideas on the role of the state and the proletarian dictatorship

Alf
another article

Masterful post, AS, and I agree with LL's follow up. In particular, in response to Lem's 'embarrassment', going back to texts like the Manifesto always helps you see key points that you hadn't even noticed before. 

I can also point, earlier on in the same series, to an article on the Communist Manifesto and its historical context

 

https://en.internationalism.org/node/3582

A.Simpleton
bold method

Thanks LL for the link to the very relevant article and, as I hint in the post's title, for your emphasis on method. 

I personally was fortunate to be guided to the early manuscripts 'almost' first: the actual 'first' being : Theses On Feuerbach. I well remember a certain bafflement: who on earth was this 'Feuerbach' ? and why was Marx 'bothering' to render his theses flawed - (bear in mind that at the time I most likely thought Marx was 'some Russian who 'started' 'The Revolution')

His step by step exposition on 'Alienated Labour', however, cut like a scalpel through chaotic understanding: not because it was a 'better idea' than any one else's, not because it was 'more logical' but because I had never encountered any approach to social analysis which explained what was right under my feet/ in my face: a different league

Marx's method was and still is one of a kind: revealing right from its inception, the essence of what things are behind the appearance of what they are: testing itself against the whole of 'history' to reveal the how and why the way things are came to be: the essences behind the changing appearances: and thus - without invention or fabrication - revealing the unprecedented possibility - at least - of 'resuming' (re sumo: back/again take) real human life.

AS

 

 

A.Simpleton
Thanks for the link

There are a number of related points it brings up : later for that .

More grist ....(sadly I can no longer get replacement parts for my handmill)

:@-

lem_
"So in answer to your final

"So in answer to your final question : it most definitely is talking about the initial state of affairs after the Proletariat have overthrown the Bourgeoisie : nothing can be done 'without' the Proletariat or 'instead' of the Proletariat or 'on behalf ' of them

It is most certainly not some set of final 'rules' for what by definition was an unprecedented, new, emerging human era."

:-) yes. is it worth me making sure i agree based on the text itself? it was giving me a headache heh.

concerning my embaressment... one thing that i find a little upsetting is how people talk about political questions (anything, immigration, taxes) and it seems like they have rushed to a conclusion they think is their own, when a) they have hardly exhausted themselves researching it and b) there may even be no discernable answer - at least that the one they have is basically just ideology and nothing more.

i wonder if maybe what is needed is not so much a new form of democracy based on "workers councils" (though in no way am i saying these are unncessary to achieve communism) but a state of affairs in which the questions have answers.

what are you saying about method - are you cross posting?

in solidarity :-) !

A.Simpleton
Understand _lem

Some thoughts out loud - bit jumbled - hopefully helpful.

I'm sure many experience the impression that a particular latest position on - as you say - any area of questioning can seem like a definitive 'conclusion' - taking on an apparent air of certainty that sort of 'sustains its own life' by that apparent certainty, which isn't actually a 'certainty' at all.

No I wasn't cross-posting (athough I am a dab hand at posting a reply to the right question but on the wrong thread:@-) I was referring to Lone Londoner's post on this thread - with specific regard to 'The Communist Manifesto' -  which is actually very relevant to your broader points about 'certainty' 'rush to judgement' 'no discernable answer': remember his post was entitled : 'No set rules or templates' capturing - even just in the title - a kind of 'anti-conclusiveness' He then specifically mentions the following:

' It is well known that Engels made a particular point, in his later introductions to the Communist Manifesto of 1848, of stating that the experience of the Commune had rendered obsolete those formulations in the text which conveyed the idea of capturing the existing state machine. The conclusions that Marx and Engels drew from the Commune, in other words, are a demonstration and a vindication of the historical materialist method.'

As I read it, this is one example (of many) that confirms the radically unique durability and universal applicability of Marx's method of historical analysis: the dialectic model as used by Marx -was/ is not some 'high-level/artyfarty/only for PhDs/innaccessible piece of thought intricacy: yes it was a philosophical/in the realm of ideas/thought scheme/originally (and Hegel was not the first or only 'dialectician')

Marx and only Marx revealed the 'poverty of this philosophy and philosophy in general' :its impotence to describe/analyse/prescribe action  precisely because it took for granted without scrutiny (and without even realising the need for scrutiny) the actual material fact:  blood and guts world - workers worked to death: and sought 'solutions' from idea-land to be brought down to earth.

Marx turned that whole approach upside down: started from what was actually going on 'in-yer-face'.

The key point I take from LL's quote and the bold 'method' spoken of is that the actual experience, events of the Paris uprising (ending in a bloodbath of defeat) rendered their best efforts at formulating a plan of action ( that particular 'to-do-list' if you like) - obsolete

Their strong correct method survived along with its materialist conception starting point,.Their method was vindicated because it 'demanded' their own to do list in that particular case be binned -as it were. 

I'm ( as usual) trying to say too much at once : (pms always welcome - where one can be more colloquial about doubts and stuff which we all have)

AS