Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Communist Manifesto and Melodrama "Revised"

The Communist Manifesto is in many ways a melodramatic writing, where different social classes are mentioned as antagonistic—in a realistic way, society’s anxiety of modern capitalism is expressed, and sacrilegious and collectivistic thoughts are advocated.
Marx and Engles start the Communist Manifesto with the most important point they want to highlight; class struggle. Marx and Engles point out the ongoing fight between different socioeconomic classes throughout the history and continue by actually praising the heroic characteristics of the bourgeois in overthrowing the “evil” feudalism and being able to actually maintaining their power in the midst of all social confusion. The Communist Manifesto is a literary realism, focusing on the everyday life of the two social classes of bourgeois and proletariat. Marx and Engles describe the injustice done to the working class by writing “[the working class] who live only as long as they find work, and who find work only as long as their labour increases capital. These labourers who must sell themselves piecemeal, are a commodity.” This claim is in many ways similar to what Singer writes in Melodrama and Capitalism that “melodrama portrayed the individual’s powerlessness within the harsh and unpredictable material life of modern capitalism.” Therefore, the idea of helplessness of the proletariats and the belief that justice ultimately takes over are the major themes in this writing—justice for the working class is explained through the populist ideology of liberal democracy or majority rule.
In the melodrama, the idea of “destiny out of control” or as Singer writes “the anxiety brought by a frightening new world” is also a major theme. This anxiety that was caused after the overthrow of feudalism, was the driving force for Marx and Engles to publish The Communist Manifesto. They thought that the existing distribution of wealth, where those who did not work had property and those who did work owned nothing would one overthrow the bourgeois. They also thought that this rebellion would cause capitalism to shift towards a semi-socialistic society and then finally a communist society where everyone gets what they deserve.
One of the other characteristics of Modernity is promotion of secularization and collectivism. Singer believes that “Modernity erorded stability, certainty, and simplicity of traditional religious faith and patrioarchial tradition,” making the people of the working class feel alienated both from God, society, and even their family. Marx and Engles believe that Communism would abolish religion and would unify the people through collectivism. Therefore, instead of people being individual pieces only working for their own success, society would work as a whole and share the collected benefits evenly among its members.

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