As we state in Our Purpose, we believe that one of the biggest reasons that the Marxist science has not taken root in Western Culture, where its principles would be most applicable, is the fact that far too many people simply don’t understand the language used. This is an attempt to modernize the Communist Manifesto into a more easily accessible, understandable, and globally inclusive literature, while still preserving the ideas and concepts of Marx and Engels in their entirety. A link to the original text (English translation) can be found in the sidebar. Part II. Part III. Part IV. Part V – Addendum.
A Modern Communist Manifesto
An idea has taken root, one of a better and more inclusive society, in every corner of the world – an idea that, in its very name, advocates for all members of our global Community to be valued and treated as equals. That is the idea of Communism. The global powers of Capitalist Imperialism, though often at odds with each other, have indeed banded together to erase this idea. Police states, Fascist states, Corporate states, Government Intelligence agencies, “Law” Enforcement agencies, Surveillance States, Corporate Propaganda outlets – all are dedicated to erasing Communism from the earth and proliferating the Capitalist exploitation of the Workers of the World and of the planet itself.
Every opposition of the established Institutions of Capitalist Power is disparagingly labelled Communist, though this name is hardly an insult. The very words “Socialist” and “Communist” find themselves met with anger and fear. That repulsion comes not only from the Capitalist Class, who understand the results of a Communist movement all too well, who have everything to lose. That disgust, strangely enough, also comes from the Working Class, those who the Capitalist exploits, those who have nothing to lose and everything to gain, those who would benefit most – a result of generations of Anti-Communist propaganda which has fostered a complete lack of understanding of the ideas of Socialism and Communism.
This shows us two things:
- Communism is already seen by the Global Powers of Capitalism to be a power in and of itself, despite the misconceptions of this idea that are rampant throughout today’s Working Class.
- Having openly published our views, tendencies, aims, and a Manifesto (of which this is a mere reproduction in modern times), it is time that we actively propagate these views throughout the Working Class, whose inherent tendencies are also our own, and demonstrate these ideas in practice on a local, a national, and, ultimately, a global scale so that we may, once and for all, remove all of the myths and misinformation about Communism among the People.
In an effort to contribute to that goal, we draw upon the original text of The Communist Manifesto, viewing it through the lens of modern society and the advancements (and also the limitations) of our modern era.
I. The Capitalist and the Wage-Slave
Throughout the written and documented history of society, we can see class struggle. The Slave-owner and the Slave, the Lord and the Indentured Servant, the Corporation and the Worker – each of these is an example of the Oppressor and the Oppressed. These classes stand in constant opposition, waging a continuous battle – sometimes in the open, other times in the dark – a battle that has never truly ended but has sometimes paused, always at either a point of revolutionary reformation of society as a whole, or at a point of mutual disaster for both sides.
From the beginnings of written history, we see distinct classes of rule and privilege. And within those classes we see yet more distinction in the gradients of rule and privilege. From the destruction of the Feudal Society before it, the Capitalist Society was born. Rather than doing away with class struggle for rule and privilege, Capitalism has evolved that struggle into new classes, new privilege, new forms of oppression, and more effective methods of creating division between and within those classes.
Our modern age – the Age of the Capitalist – is unique from the eras before it in that it has served to simplify Class Struggle. Society as a whole has split into two distinct sides, each equally hostile toward the other. These two great classes facing each other are The Capitalist and the Wage-Slave. (Marx called these the Bourgeoisie and the Proletariat – this language is still widely used today)
The beginning stages in the development of the World Market, made possible through Colonization and Imperialism, increased the means and methods of production and exchange, and in the supply of commodities overall. This gave Industry and Commerce a boost that it had not known before. The industrial capacity of the Feudal Society could no longer meet the needs of the growing markets, now interconnected through advancements in travel and navigation.
Manufacturing and mass-production took place of independent workshops as the division of labor increased the efficiency of production. As those markets continued to grow, even manufacture was no longer sufficient, until the Industrial Revolution, when steam-power and machinery transformed production. Manufacture was replaced by Modern Industry. The industrial middle class was replaced by industrial millionaires – the Capitalists, the Bourgeoisie.
The World Market was established by Modern Industry, brought on by the European “discovery” and colonization, and the consequent exploitation and native genocides, of the American Continents. This contributed further to the expansion of Industry, and to the development of commerce, travel, and communication. As these developments advanced, so advanced the Capitalist Class, increasing its wealth and pushing down – oppressing – all other classes into the Working Class.
This is how the Capitalist itself is the result of a long course of development in the methods of production and exchange.
Each step in the development of the Capitalist Class has also seen a corresponding political advancement of that class. Through legislative means and the systematic oppression of the Working Class, the Modern Capitalist has succeeded in claiming for itself exclusive access to the political operations of the State (here viewed as the whole of governments worldwide). The Modern State exists solely for the purpose of managing the common affairs of the Capitalist Class.
Over history, the Bourgeoisie itself has led us toward revolution.
Wherever the Capitalist Class has taken control of a people, it has completely stripped down the humanity of the Worker, leaving no traces of empathy between humankind. What remains is nothing but self-interest, signified by cash payment – life has become nothing more than a grind for the dollar, and at a fraction of the value of the work that we put in. The life of the individual Worker, and of the Working Class as a whole, has been reduced to the calculations of the Accounting Department, to ensure that the continued employment of the Worker is “cost-effective”. Personal worth has been transformed into exchange value – the Worker, and their Labor, are seen as nothing more than commodities. Behind the illusion of the “Freedom” that Capitalism promises lies the only true freedom in the Age of the Capitalist – the “Free Market”. Where the exploitation of the Proletariat by the Bourgeoisie once took place under religious or political pretense, that exploitation now occurs in broad daylight, unhidden and direct. And it’s effects are brutal.
The Capitalist has torn down occupations that once were held in high esteem; doctors, lawyers, scientists, artists – all are reduced to an exchange commodity. Healing, Justice, Knowledge, Expression – all are no longer virtues, but instead their values are determined by the marketability of their skill set.
The Capitalist has torn apart all family relations. More and more, family bonds erode as time spent Working – both in the Capitalist’s domain as well as unpaid domestic labor – is time that can no longer be spent enjoying leisure time with each other. Family relations – particularly in cases of child custody after a divorce, but in many other instances as well – have been reduced to mere money relations.
Without continuously revolutionizing the instruments and methods of production, thereby adding more and more automation to each process and making certain modes of employment obsolete, the Capitalist Class cannot exist. This shift in the modes of production, in turn, create a shift and an uncertainty in Modern Industry’s relation to the Working Class. These shifts and uncertainties have the whole of society in an uninterrupted state of disturbance in all social conditions. These characteristics are distinct in the Age of the Bourgeoisie, where in earlier Industrial classes, following and mastering a complete process of production was how Industrialists of the time held sway over the marketplace, lending to a more stable, albeit stagnant, relationship between classes.
In the Age of the Capitalist, all relations from past until the present time have been swept away as fast as those relations have come into being. Nothing is sacred, nothing has value, unless and until it can be sold for a profit. We are compelled at this point to face ourselves and each other, and to take, with a clear mind, a realistic and critical inventory of our current conditions.
Like the wild animal will search far and wide until they find a source of food, the Capitalist will search every inch of the Earth to find what sustains them – Constantly Increasing Profit. The market must constantly be expanded, and more resources consumed. There is no end to the Capitalist’s appetite. No stone shall be left unturned in this quest.
Through the continued exploitation of the World Market by the Capitalist Class, production and consumption has been given a very alluring veneer, one of cultured high-class society, a hollow mask to the truths of the destruction Capitalism causes. National industries are destroyed, entire regions and their inhabitants become nothing more than pools of resources, to be exploited to the fullest. Resources from foreign lands are brought in to sustain the Capitalist’s consumption, destroying environments and local economies, enslaving the people of those lands. Products are sent far and wide, to wherever they can be sold at a profit. Goods from other lands, where labor is valued less, are imported to be sold at an even higher margin. As quickly as the old desires are satisfied, new products to desire take their place, and the consumer cycle continues unfettered. In place of self-sufficiency, all nations are now connected to and dependent on this World Market.
With the rapid advancement of production methods and machinery, travel, and communication, the Bourgeoisie have pulled even the most isolated peoples, untouched by civilization as we know it, into its web of production and exploitation. Less developed lands and nations, and the people that inhabit them, that were once self-sustaining become more and more dependent on the World Market. The very threat of extinction compels all to kneel before the Law of Profit. If we do not work – that is to say, if we do not produce value for the Capitalist – we may very well starve, homeless and forgotten. Without becoming a Capitalist, a transformation that does not occur without Capital in the first place, our station is that of the Worker, and therefore our very life hangs in the balance of spreadsheets analyzing our cost-benefit to the Corporation.
The Bourgeoisie have made living in excess while others starve seem virtuous and appealing. It drives people to accumulate their own wealth in the hopes of becoming Bourgeoisie as well. This ultimately serves to profit the Capitalist further, as the Worker creates more and more surplus production value in the hopes of getting ahead. But, the Capitalist knows too well that for every increase in wage or payment for labor, there must be an exponential increase in the Surplus Value created by the Worker. This hidden truth doesn’t stop the Capitalist from encouraging the Worker in their misguided quest.
That is not to say that some do not rise from the Working Class to the Capitalist Class. However, for every one that transcends that Class divide, there are ten million more who will struggle and toil until the grave. Further, one of the biggest deceits of the Ruling Class is that everyone has the opportunity to become wealthy, if only they work hard enough. But the truth of Capitalism is this – without an endless pool of Labor, the Capitalist cannot create Surplus Value in the commodities they intend to sell for Profit. One rising from the ranks of the Working Class to the Bourgeoisie cannot occur unless ten million more are kept in their current condition of Wage-Slavery.
The Capitalist Class has removed all autonomy from the rural lands, concentrating power and wealth in the Metropolitan areas of Modern Industry. Where they once enjoyed life in communities that provided for each member, country folk are now dependent on the towns and cities they live closest to as a source of sustenance. In much the same way, the Bourgeoisie have made undeveloped and semi-developed lands dependent on the more “civilized” nations. Impoverished countries that would surely perish are dependent on the Modern Industry that exploits them.
Just as the Capitalist Class has concentrated populations of immense proportions into the cities and towns, so too has the means of production and private property been centralized into just a few hands. This required political centralization. States and provinces that were independent or only loosely connected became lumped together under the control of one central government. With these governments designed to handle the economic affairs of the Capitalist Class, the entire world is held under the sway of the Bourgeoisie. The ability of the Working Class to survive in even their most basic needs is dependent upon the success of the Capitalist. Entire nations are brought to the brink of starvation and economic ruin by the Capitalist, all the while completely convinced that the Capitalist’s exploitation of their land and people is the only thing saving them from finally reaching the tipping point of revolution.
Over the past 250 years, the Capitalist Class has created forces more immense and seemingly more insurmountable than all the previous Ruling Classes combined. From this analysis of the history and conditions of the Bourgeoisie and the Proletariat, we see that the means of production and exchange as we know them today have their roots in Feudal Society. As the methods became more automated, and the process of mass-production necessitated a division of labor, these developments made the Feudal class relations obsolete. Feudalism could no longer sustain the needs of the World Market. The old way of creating and accumulating wealth were no longer compatible with the constantly developing characteristics of Modern Industry. They became a hindrance to the Capitalist. They had to be removed, and they were.
What resulted was “Free” Competition, but only truly free amongst the Capitalist Class, necessitating the further enslavement and oppression of the Working Class, through economic means as well as social and political. In fact, the social and political means of controlling the Working Class often stemmed from that economic exploitation and oppression. The Bourgeoisie today control virtually every aspect of our lives in one way or another. Our working days are spent serving them. Our leisure time is spent giving our meager wages back to them.
In proportion to this development of the Capitalist Class, we find the development of a most destructive and chaotic force. Modern bourgeois society is like a sorcerer who has lost all control over the forces that were summoned to a spell. As the never-ending quest for bigger profits drives the Capitalist to constantly expand the World Market, it also forces the Capitalist to cheapen the commodities that it consumes, thereby cheapening the value of the Labor Force as a whole. This leads to plenty of discontent among the Working Class, yet there is still another destructive force that the Capitalist Class brings about – Economic Crisis.
Economic Crisis comes about periodically, and each time it is more threatening than the last. Each time a Crisis develops, society sees the same effects as it would as if a famine or a war had cut off supplies of the means of subsistence. And each Crisis is worse than the last. The productive forces, and the products of those forces, must be destroyed in order to free up more room for Capitalist growth. Therefore, all Economic Crises have a basis in Over-Production. When a commodity is on the Market in such a quantity that it becomes worth less than the value of the raw materials and the Production Value of the Worker in the final product, employment must be terminated, cheaper supplies must be found, and the value of Labor down the line of all commodities involved is lessened. In times before Capitalism, production was more limited to use – the quantity of a commodity produce was closer to the in-use demand for that commodity. The Industrialist would create the products needed to satisfy the demands of their customers. The Blacksmith would get an order for horseshoes, and would then procure the needed materials, forge the product, and fill the order. Production-For-Profit, rather than Production-For-Use is a characteristic that is unique to the Age of the Bourgeoisie. This wasteful system of creating a commodity surplus above the in-use demand results in wasteful destruction of finite natural resources, a cheapening of Labor Value across the whole of an entire industry, and eventually Economic Crisis.
There is too much Industry, too much Commerce, at the times when we see these Economic Crises. The Productive Forces exploited by the Capitalist no longer benefit the Capitalist Class. Instead, those forces become too powerful, out of the control of the Capitalist. The Material Conditions of the Bourgeoisie (that is to say, the state of tangible existence of the Capitalist Class, outside of any philosophical of religious analysis) now become too constricting for those Productive Forces. A Crisis in any branch of Industry brings disruption and uncertainty to the whole of Capitalist Class, and thereby to the whole of Modern Industry altogether. The Crisis endangers the existence of Capitalist Property. The wealth created by the Bourgeois Class has outgrown the constraints of the Class itself. The Productive Forces, however, cannot simply be stopped or slowed down, because that would necessitate stopping or slowing production of all commodity producers before it and all consumption – and therefore profit – after. The national economies that depend on the fluid and uninterrupted processes of Production are held in a precarious balance. The Crisis occurs when Production now costs more than the final product can be sold for, and the investment of Capital now creates not a profit but a loss.
How does the Capitalist Class handle these Crises, then, if they cannot simply slow down or stop production for a period? They must remove some of the Productive Force – Workers must be laid off so that Labor does not cost as much and profit is increased. They must destroy some or all of the Commodity, so the supply does not outpace the demand, and profit is increased, wasting all of the Production Value in the Commodity and in all of the Commodities that came before it. They must expand the Market even more in an effort to find new sources of Consumption, and must exploit the current Markets more effectively and thoroughly. In all of these instances, we see nothing more than the reinforcement of the very same practices that caused the Crisis in the first place. Capitalism, which has created this Crisis, is used in vain as a temporary solution to that same Crisis. In reality, this “solution” does nothing more but pave the way for more extensive and destructive Crises, and make it even harder to prevent future Economic Crises. In short, more of the same will only lead to more of the same.
In times of Economic Crises, we see the same cause-and-effect. The Capitalist Class causes a Crisis, and the effects are felt throughout the Working Class. It is true that a single Capitalist, or several Capitalists in the same branch of Industry, may lose their accumulated Wealth, and they may fall from the Bourgeoisie to the Proletariat. But looking at the Bourgeoisie and the Proletariat as a whole – the Capitalist and the Wage-Slave – the effects of an Economic Crisis are handed down to the Working Class in one form or another. Job loss, wage cuts, social benefits removed, and, in more recent times, the new developments of Government Bailouts of the Capitalists of a branch of Industry – in the past few decades, the US saw bailouts of the Automotive Industry, the Banking Industry, the Housing Industry, and the Airline Industry. These bailouts are intended to keep an Industry, and therefore entire portions of the Working Class, afloat. However, though the Capitalists of those particular Industries have been given relief and security in their Material Conditions, the effects of the Crisis still impact the Working Class for years, even decades, afterwards. The biggest lie of the Trickle-Down Economic Theory of Capitalism was that wealth would find its way from the Bourgeoisie to the Proletariat. It isn’t wealth that is passed down, but disaster. As the Capitalist remains affluent, still able to exploit the Labor Force in the meanwhile, the Working Class as a whole becomes more destitute, more impoverished, and more angry, desperate for some relief.
In proportion to the development of the Bourgeoisie we see the growth of the Proletariat as a profitable commodity. This is not to say that the Proletariat benefits from such a growth. Rather, it is a growth of a pool of Labor that the Capitalist can selectively draw from, keeping the members of the Working Class in competition with one another. If the Capitalist can pay one Worker less to perform a certain task, they can pay ALL workers less in that capacity. This growth of the Proletariat as a commodity makes the Independence and Freedom of the Working Class, as promised by the Capitalists and their apologists, impossible to attain without becoming a Capitalist themselves. It results in a class of Laborers that are chained to their employment by the Capitalist. The Worker can survive only as long as they can find work, and they can only find work as long as they are able to make their work profitable for the Capitalist. The Individual Worker itself becomes a commodity, and is subject to the volatile fluctuations of the World Market, and bears the brunt of the effects of all catastrophic Economic Crises that the Capitalist Class creates through their need to consume resources and create profit.
The weapons that Capitalism used to destroy the Industrialists of Feudalism before it are now turned on the Modern Bourgeoisie.
Through extensive automation of the processes of Production, and through the Division of Labor of skilled trade into the manufacturing line, the Proletarian has lost all connection to the creative process. We are told that “A job well done is it’s own reward”, that we should be satisfied with the effort of Labor, and that our very survival is second to creating profit for the Capitalist. At the same time, the Capitalist seeks more efficient methods of production and machinery to replace the valued “hard day’s work” of the Laborer, reducing the process of manufacture and production to the simple, monotonous pressing of a button or pulling of a lever, or inspection of one single part of the final product. The Capitalist, where they once had to seek out skilled Workers to complete a task, has simplified the process enough to be able to employ unskilled Laborers, and therefore cheaper Labor, to complete the same processes. The Worker becomes part of the machinery, both in practice and in spreadsheets of cost-benefit analysis. The Worker loses all individuality and sense of connection to our survival. The world has been reduced to the cold cash-exchange for survival.
The cost of Labor is now reduced to the bare minimum that the Worker needs to nourish themselves and continue the propagation of the Working Class – a never-ending pool of cheaper and cheaper labor to draw from. The more a process becomes simplified, the less training it takes to carry out that process, and the wage paid for completing that process decreases. Today, in many instances, the full-time Worker still cannot earn enough to maintain their own survival and that of those dependent on the Worker – i.e., their children, disabled or elderly relatives, etc. They appeal to the State for relief, while the Capitalist continues to increase their profit on the backs of Workers who cannot even maintain a sufficient income to survive.
Of course, the Capitalist would not have us see things in this light – rather than take responsibility for the Material Conditions of the Working Class of Modern Industry, they have convinced themselves and a large portion of the Proletariat that it is the fault of the poor that the Middle Class cannot rise to the level of the Bourgeoisie. They have tricked us into thinking that those who have nothing – no political power, no property, no Capital – are the ones who are responsible for the Material Conditions of the whole of society. In reality, the relief given by the State serves to benefit the Capitalist, not the Proletariat. Every dollar given in Welfare to those in need is a dollar that the Bourgeoisie does not have to pay the Laborer. Every dollar given in welfare to the Proletariat makes the Bourgeoisie one dollar richer. The true beneficiary of any and all public financial assistance from the State is the Corporation, the Capitalist, the Ruling Class – the Bourgeoisie.
Modern Industry has taken the workshop of the Trademaster and converted it into large-scale manufacturing. Capitalism takes no apprentices for training and mastering a trade, but instead crowds masses of laborers into the factory to toil on the production lines. We are organized like soldiers, with a distinct hierarchy of commanders. The Proletariat is not just a slave to the Capitalist and to the Capitalist State. We are enslaved by the machinery of our position on the manufacturing line or in the process of production. We are enslaved by our supervisors, our overseers, our department heads. We are moreover enslaved by the individual Capitalist himself. Every moment of the working day is spent in servitude to that individual Capitalist in order to get back some small fraction of the Production Value of our labor. But the exploitation doesn’t stop at the end of the shift.
As soon as the work week is at an end, when the Laborer finally gets our wages from our portion of the Production Value that we have given to the Capitalist (on credit, no less!), the Worker is then set upon and further exploited by other portions of the Capitalist Class – the Landlord or Mortgage Company, the Shopkeeper, the Bill Collector, the Tax Authority, the Pay-Day Loan Office.
No sooner is the exploitation of the labourer by the manufacturer, so far, at an end, that he receives his wages in cash, than he is set upon by the other portions of the Bourgeoisie, the landlord, the shopkeeper, the pawnbroker…
(original text, English translation)
Where there was a thriving middle class of the industrial society – small business owners, small specialty shops, independent repair and renovation professionals, even retirees and piecemeal workers could at least make a living – these all eventually sink into the Proletariat. This is partially an inevitable result of Capitalism’s need to constantly revolutionize Modern Industry making certain positions unskilled and eventually obsolete. This is also partially because they lack the Capital necessary to compete as large corporations expand and secure more control over the market, funneling more wealth from the Proletariat and into the hands of the Bourgeoisie, another inevitable result of Capitalism. In this way, the Proletariat is formed from all classes, creeds, and professions. In the end, on a macro-economic scale, there are only the two opposing classes – The Ruling Class v The Working Class; The Bourgeoisie v The Proletariat; The Capitalist v The Wage-Slave. This, too, is the inevitable result of Capitalism.
At the same time that the Capitalist Class goes through its various cycles and stages of development, so too does the Working Class. From its birth, the Proletariat’s struggle against the Bourgeoisie begins. The fight is first carried on by individual Workers, who then tend to band together as coworkers in a particular Workplace, leading in turn to the Workers of one branch of Industry banding together across a region or locality, or across a nation in various corporate branches, etc. against the individual Capitalist, or the Capitalists of the particular Branch of Industry, which exploits those Workers directly. But rather than directing their actions on the Capitalist system and the conditions of Production, their actions are directed to the instruments of production themselves – machinery, factories and shops, imported goods of cheaper labor competition. It is in these outbursts that we see a desperation to lift the Proletariat out of the impoverished conditions that Capitalistic wealth accumulation have created. They seek an end to the uncertainty of survival.
As the Proletariat develops, we still see the Workers as an incoherent mass, still divided by their mutual competition and instincts of self-preservation. The divisions within the Working Class, however, start to wear thin as more united groups of Workers organize. This organization, like the development of the Bourgeoisie, the expansion of the World Market, the evolving automation of Modern Industry, and Economic Crises from a Production-For-Profit system, is an inevitable result of Capitalism. Realizing the political power of mobilizing the masses, the Bourgeoisie will often do so. At this point, the Proletariat does not fight our enemies – the Capitalist Class as a whole – but instead the enemies of our enemies – those social and political institutions that obstruct the goal of Capitalist Expansion, Colonialism, and Imperialism. At this point, the entire momentum of the Proletariat is still very much within the grasp of the Capitalist. Every victory for the Proletariat is, in actuality, ultimately a victory for the Bourgeoisie.
But as Modern Industry continues to develop, the Proletariat not only grows in number, we become concentrated in greater unions, our strength grows, and we grow into that strength. We find a common ground of collective interests. Our Material Conditions become more and more equalized. This equalization proceeds as automation of Industry removes all distinctions of skill and branch of labor, further driving the growth of the Proletariat as wages fall across every branch of Industry. Growing competition among the Capitalist Class, and the resulting Economic Crises that result, make the Workers’ wages even more uncertain as the value of their labor continues to drop. The battles that began as individual Worker v individual Capitalist begin to take the shape of a battle between classes. We see Trade Unions forming against the Capitalist, banding together to keep wages at a living standard. We see organization of workers to strike in protest of poor working conditions. And, now and again, these battles may break out into civil unrest.
Here and there we see small victories for the Workers, but these victories last only so long as Capitalism continues its expansion throughout all Markets and Industries. The true victory in these battles is the expansion of the union of workers. The Capitalist Class, recognizing this, uses the State to outlaw any Unionizing wherever they can. This organization of the Working Class, however, though stunted, still continues, assisted by the improved communication methods and allowing for new chapters of unions in different locations.
This organization of Workers into a unified class, and hence a political power, is continually disrupted by wage-competition and other divisions within the Proletariat. But, as Capitalism plods forward to it’s inevitable result, that wage-competition equalizes and we rise up again, stronger and more unified. The unified Working Class here and there will win small legislative victories – though these victories are often based on the divisions within the Proletariat, they are still evidence of the power of a mobilized Proletariat. In this way, we have won a Federally mandated Minimum Wage, a 40-hour work week (give or take depending on profession and locality), and other provisions for the general welfare of the Working Class.
As Capitalism has continued to consume and control every market and every labor force, the Capitalist finds itself in constant battle not only with the Proletariat but also with other portions of the Bourgeoisie itself – sometimes with those that impede and obstruct the development of Industry in their own interests as their production methods inevitably become obsolete, and always with those in competition that control any sizable shares of any Market, foreign or domestic, within the same branch of Industry. In each instance of opposition, the Bourgeoisie is forced to enlist the Proletariat, asking for help, and thereby supplying the Working Class with its source of political education and tools of political power. In other words, the Capitalist gives the Wage-Slave everything it needs to fight the Capitalist itself. In addition, as we have already seen, as Modern Industry continues advancement, portions of the Ruling Class are pushed into the Working Class, or at least threatened in their wealth and material accumulation. This also provides the Proletariat with further education and development within itself.
In the final stages of this development of the Proletariat, as the Class Struggle reaches its breaking point, the internal struggle and decay of the Ruling Class turns into such a violent and barbaric struggle that a portion of the Bourgeoisie cuts all ties with the Ruling Class and join the now revolutionary Proletariat with sights set on the future. In particular, scholars and political historians of the Bourgeoisie who have an understanding of the evolution of the Proletariat as a whole will align themselves with the Revolution.
In this way, the Proletariat becomes the Revolutionary Class, all other classes and divisions disappearing within it as a result of the development of Modern Industry. The Proletariat is a unique class, being created and sustained by the Capitalist’s need for a labor pool, and also becoming the source of their demise – an end to Wage-Slavery by the ultimate abolishment of the Capitalist Class.
There are yet factions that fight against the Bourgeoisie purely out of preservation of their own social and economic status, maintaining the status quo – the small business owner, the shopkeeper, the artisan. They fight not for the victory and welfare of the Proletariat, but instead that their own positions in society be held intact. They are not Revolutionaries but Conservatives (seeking to conserve their individual status). More than this, they are Reactionaries, wishing to roll back the development of both the Bourgeoisie but also the Proletariat. Some may in fact be Revolutionary, but only in the sense that they see the inevitable conclusion of the Class Struggle and abandon their status in defense of their future conditions rather than dissatisfaction with their present conditions.
The lumpenproletariat, in today’s terms meaning that portion of the Proletariat that is neither interested in nor engages in the Proletarian Revolution, may yet find itself engaged in battle against the Bourgeoisie. However, they are just as likely to be found engaged in Conservative and Reactionary battles, as this portion of the Working Class is often susceptible to demagogues and fascism.
Roughly translated as slum workers or the mob, this term identifies the class of outcast and submerged elements that make up a section of the population. It included beggars, prostitutes, gangsters, racketeers, swindlers, petty criminals, tramps, chronic unemployed or unemployables, persons who have been cast out by industry, and all sorts of declassed and degraded elements. In times of prolonged crisis (depression), innumerable young people also, who cannot find an opportunity to enter into the social organism as producers, are pushed into this limbo of the outcast. Here demagogues and fascists of various stripes find some area of the mass base in time of struggle and social breakdown, when the ranks of the Lumpenproletariat are enormously swelled by ruined and declassed elements from all layers of a society in decay.
– Adapted from the Glossary at Marxists.org
*Please see Part V – Addendum in regards to the language used here, and for further clarification on the concept of the Lumpenproletariat
The condition of the Proletarian is that of one without property; whose family relations, now strained and broken, bearing no resemblance to the family relations of the Bourgeoisie; to the Proletarian, all Law, Morality, Religion, these are nothing more than Capitalist prejudices, tools of the Ruling Class, masks behind which hide even more exploitation and antagonism in Bourgeois interests.
Previous Ruling Classes throughout history would subject society at large to the security of the ownership of the means of production (or property) and the reinforcement of social status, and thereby social classes. The Proletariat cannot become the masters of the forces of social production without abolishing the method of appropriation that creates their current conditions – Capitalism. The proletarians have no property to keep secure, no social status to reinforce. The entire mission of the Proletariat is to destroy all securities and insurances for the ownership of the means of production.
All previous historical movements have been of minorities, or in the interests of minorities – Women’s Suffrage and the Civil Rights era in the US, for example. The Proletarian movement, in contrast, is a self-conscious, independent movement of the vast majority of society in the interests of the vast majority of society. The Proletariat cannot rise up without also lifting into equal status all minorities and social sects as well.
Though the Wage-Slave fights against Capitalism itself, the battle takes place first on a national or regional level. The Proletarians of each land and region must first handle its affairs with its own Bourgeoisie.
As we have seen from tracing the general timeline and conditions of the development of the Proletariat, we have outlined a somewhat hidden civil war raging within society between these two opposing classes. What is yet to come is inevitable – the overthrow of the Bourgeoisie to the Proletarians. And the powerful never relinquish their power willingly. Or peacefully.
Every form of society in documented history has been has been based on the opposition of the oppressors and the oppressed. In order to oppress a class, however, certain conditions must be met where the oppressed class can continue its existence, however slave-like it might be. The Industry of those times long past would elevate the oppressed class in proportion with the development of that Industry. The Proletariat, on the contrary, is not elevated along with the development of Modern Industry, but instead sinks deeper and deeper below the conditions where the Worker can meet their own necessities. They become impoverished, and poverty spreads and deepens much faster than a population grows or wealth can be accumulated. This is the point where it at last becomes completely evident that the Bourgeoisie, the Capitalist Class, is no longer fit to be the Ruling Class and to impose the method of their appropriation on the whole of society as the Law of the Land. It is unfit because Capitalism is too incompetent a system to insure that the Wage-Slaves that it depends on can survive the conditions that Capitalism itself has wrought for them. It cannot help but let the Proletarian sink into the conditions that they can no longer feed the Capitalist but must instead be fed by the Capitalist. Society as a whole can no longer live under the incompetent rule of the Capitalist Class. Capitalism is no longer compatible with any society, in any form or state of development. The Capitalist is no longer compatible with humanity.
The essential conditions for the creation of the Capitalist Class, and for the power of rule that the Capitalist holds, is the creation and conversion of Capital into profit. The condition for Capital is Wage-Slavery. Wage-Slavery depends on competition between and isolation of Workers. As the Bourgeoisie encourages the advancement of Modern Industry, the isolation of the Worker is replaced with the Revolutionary Association of the entire Proletariat. Modern Industry and the Capitalist Class destroy themselves with the very foundation of its wealth.
What the Bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the Proletariat are equally inevitable.
(original text, English translation)