Communist Manifesto discussion questions

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  1. Why do Marx and Engels believe the class struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat will have a different result from all previous class struggles in recorded history?

  2. Why do Marx and Engels claim that the bourgeoisie inevitably produces its own gravediggers?

  3. What do Marx and Engels mean when they describe the proletariat as a revolutionary class?

  4. What do Marx and Engels mean when they say that capital has individuality but living persons do not? Is this true of members of the bourgeoisie as well as the proletariat?

  5. Why does a manifesto of the Communist party place such strong emphasis on the remarkable achievements of bourgeois capitalism?

  6. Why do Marx and Engels assume there is a strong affinity between the grievances of the workers and the aims of Communism?

  7. What gives Communists an advantage over the proletariat in understanding the conditions, direction, and general results of the proletarian movement?

  8. What evidence do Marx and Engels give for their claim that human consciousnessideas, views, and conceptionschanges with every change in material existence?

  9. Why do Marx and Engels insist that the abolition of private property is central to revolutionary change?

  10. If one of the early stages of the proletarian revolution is a despotism of the working class, as Marx and Engels assert, what assures that this order will give way to a free, classless society?

  11. Why do Marx and Engels reject the possibility that existing social and political systems can be reformed?

  12. In part 3 of the Manifesto, why do Marx and Engels advocate supporting the bourgeoisie in Germany when it acts in a revolutionary way, instead of advocating direct support of the proletariat in its class struggle?

For Further Reflection

  1. Is it possible to define human needs, values, and goals outside the material conditions of a society?

  2. How could a historical process, governed not by ideals but by the clash of materially contending interests ("the class struggle"), lead to a morally desirable result?

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