A Layman's Look at the Communist Manifesto

Partially Educated

The Communist Manifesto is one of those documents I was aware of, but had never taken the time to actually read. As a woefully undereducated product of the public education system, I somehow managed to slip by the class that required reading of the old Marx and Engels classic. So, in the course of continuing liberty self-education, I found a translation on the web in order to better understand this failed canon of anti-freedom. My reaction: wow. The Communist Manifesto, written in 1848, looks a lot like the Democratic Party Positions, written in 2000.

The Pseudo-History of Class Warfare

The first chapter of the Manifesto is a rambling pseudo-history that rails against the bourgeois as the historically re-incarnated oppressors vis-à-vis the continually oppressed proletariat. I was reminded of the slave reparations, minority oppression, women oppression, and other Democratic Party class based arguments. The second chapter is a lengthy list of "Bourgeois" complaints against the generally perceived Communist aims, and the communist response to them. Among the Bourgeois complaints the manifesto defends are: abolition of family, abolition of religion, socialization of education, and abolition of nations. Does this remind us of current complaints within the political system? Interestingly, the manifesto presents the following observation regarding the abolition of nations:

National differences and antagonism between peoples are daily more and more vanishing, owing to the development of the bourgeoisie, to freedom of commerce, to the world market, to uniformity in the mode of production and in the conditions of life corresponding thereto.

This is a fairly prescient assessment, given the franchise-ization of the world. As an aside, I spent 9 months in various cities as part of my job in 1998. The thing that surprised me most in my tour of 30-odd medium and large American town was the uniformity. Like Edward Norton in Fight Club, I found the same hotel soaps in the same hotels, next to the same Applebee's or Chili's. It was Generica, not America. That, however, is a different article; one that addresses how government zoning laws and tax schemes aide and abet big business in destroying small, local competition. Back to the original point, however, I wonder what Marx and Engels saw as the downside to the vanishing of “antagonism between peoples” that bourgeoisie and freedom of commerce had brought about. I suppose it was their follow-on predication, which is wrong.

The supremacy of the proletariat will cause them (national differences and antagonism) to vanish still faster.

The Tyranny of Democracy

Like any wacko manifesto, the Communist Manifesto has just enough facts, just enough history, and just enough lucid observations to cover the other 90% of it, which is utter crap. One of the lucid observations in the Manifesto, is that the proletariat constitute the majority of the population. The communists realized that by organizing the proletariat politically, they could just vote themselves more power. This is one of the two the real gems of chapter two. It explains a great deal about the tyranny of democracy, and the modus operandi of our current political parties.

The Politics of Jealousy

The other gem in chapter two immediately follows the observation that the proletariat must first seize control of "political supremacy". Once that is accomplished, well, Marx and Engels say it best: "The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degree, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the state…" The Democrats, like the Communists, realize that by dividing people into groups, all with a chip on their shoulder against the oppressor, they can vote themselves chunks of the oppressors' property. Let's call this the politics of jealousy and victimhood. I suppose this explains how communism could organize itself, at least initially. There will always be people of extraordinary talent running businesses, inventing new things, and generally pushing the boundaries of science, technology, and commerce. Let's use Bill Gates as an example of this natural elite. For every Bill Gates, there are a thousand Joe Programmers at Microsoft who are smart and talented. They are the second line of the elite, in Marx's view, the bourgeois. For every Joe Programmer at Microsoft, there are a thousand Mary Secretaries, a thousand Bob Lawnmower, a thousand Doug Factoryworker, and Susie Governmentbureaucrat; these are the proletariat in the Marxian view. None of them have the combination of mental ability, circumstance, and determination that Bill Gates has, and most of them know it. However, these thousands have a lot more votes than Bill and his programmers. Those votes are political power, and the Marxists know it.

The 10 Measures of Communism

And how will the proletariat use their political clout to wrest capital away from the capitalists? With the 10 measures Marx and Engels laid out in 1848. As the master communists aver, the exact implementation will vary slightly from county to country, but will follow the general thrust of the measures.

Here are the 10 measures the proletariat will use to bring about the full realization of the communist utopian dream, once they have the political power:

  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. Centralization of credit in the banks of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.
  6. Centralization 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 obligation 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 labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc.

Take a second to compare them with the Democratic Party Positions. Note that the communists speak in terms of oppressed and oppressor, guilty rich, and noble worker, just like the Democrats. Solely by observing the title link of the various positions, you can see the Democrats place no value on Americans in general, but play race and class warfare by dividing people into ethnic, social, gender, and special interest groups.

Observations on The Communist Goals

Here are the 10 points from the Communist Manifesto again, with a few observations.

  1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.

    The communist revolution is about half successful here. Private property rights are eroded daily in this country. Property Tax in most areas goes directly to fund the “public purpose” of public education. (confer #10). The US government is the single largest land owner, but instead of selling off “public” land, the government continues to acquire more under the guide of “protecting wilderness” or some other such nonsense. The land under direct federal control is not the only property held by the government. The use of executive branch regulatory edicts to put severe restrictions on private property has the effect of putting much more property in the hands of the government. Do you really own that South Florida beachfront property if you can't build a beach house on it? As long as it's to save the Red Mangrove, Loggerhead Turtle, and Brown Pelican, you see.

  1. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
  2. Can someone please explain how a flat tax RATE is not already graduated? A truly flat tax would be something like $500 per person per year. A graduated tax is 5% per person per year. A punitive tax on innovation and achievement is our current manipulative system. When historians look back at the United States, they will ask how, in this day and age of instant access to information and history, a people could fail to see the obvious parallels between the Gestapo, the KGB, and the IRS. They all use fear, intimidation, spying, and invasion of privacy to keep people in line. This awful agency should be abolished and replaced with nothing. The tax code is such an obvious tool of social manipulation that it absolutely disgusts me. Do you think its any coincidence that the tax code has a marriage penalty, and the number of unmarried couples living together has gone up? Check off one of the previously stated goals of the communists as partially achieved: abolition of the family.

  3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
  4. Well, the current Estate Tax rate of 55% means we're just over half way towards this one. Part of the communist goal of ultimate state power is the destruction of the family (outlined in chapter 2 of the manifesto). One of the ties that bind families together, as well as encourage parents to work for the betterment of their children is the promise of leaving an estate or inheritance. By legislating that the property owned and accumulated over a lifetime can't be passed on, we help replace the idea of the parent and family with the idea of a benevolent state. Further, the idea of ownership of one's labor and the property earned by it is undermined. One of the tests of ownership is the ability to grant a thing to another person. If you aren't free to do that, you don't really own something.

  5. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
  6. The US has relatively few emigrants, but we have plenty of rebels. While assorted tax resistors and government regulatory resistors fall in the rebel category, the new favorite catch-all prosecutorial group is "suspected" drug dealers. Suppose I sell my 1986 Honda CRX for $800 cash, then drive to the bank to deposit it, get stopped on the way, searched (under duress, naturally), and the cop decides the cash might be used for drugs. Buh-bye cash. I just might be a drug dealer. I'm suspected, and suspicion is all it takes. No need to worry about due process or anything, kind of like Salem, circa 1692. This is the drug war. Police Forces can confiscate your entire house if they find one pot leaf in it. The same holds true for your car, or boat. Having a pile of money that could be used to buy drugs is suspicious.

    The drug war has flown this one in under the Radar of most commie-fighting Republicans who roundly support the new prohibition, but as Marx and Engels noted "The forms these take will vary from country to country". The Communists are ends-justify-the means kind of folks.

  7. Centralization of credit in the banks of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.
  8. Done. Don't think so? Quick, who's Chairman of the Federal Reserve? That's right, our good friend, Alan Greenspan. He and the rest of the board set the prime-lending rate, and control the money supply. In my Keynesian slanted Macro Economic class, they called this "fiscal and monetary policy". After a good dose of Austrian economics, I now spot it as "Objective 5 of the Communist Manifesto – Government Command Economy" or "taxation via inflation". Control of the banking system by the fed is so complete that Wall Street, the supposed paragon of free-market capitalism, wags up and down to the mumblings of a single un-elected bureaucrat.

  9. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in he hands of the state.
  10. AT&T was a government sanctioned monopoly for 70 years. Thanks to the heroic Carter Phone Company making a phone other than black, and suing to break the government imposed monopoly, the communications industry has been making spectacular progress after begin stifled for three-quarters of a century, thanks to Uncle Stalin, errr, Sam. Jeremy Sapienza asks if we might not be online in 1950 if not for Intellectual Property restrictions. Given that the telephone took 67 years to get to 50% of US households thanks to the strangling effects of monopoly status, compared with 6 years for the World Wide Web to hit 50%, Mr. Sapienza may be right.

    While the free market has broken the communications impasse electronically, the real world still has only one choice for "first class" mail, and the transportation system is still in the hands of the state. Think about this the next time you're in traffic. When was the last time you went to a grocery store where the checkout lines were routinely so frustratingly long that the patrons started shooting each other. I would love nothing better than for a private company to start leasing tracts of land on the north side of Atlanta, build an outer perimeter based on profit sharing of toll revenue collected from wireless tags, and then watch the MARTA and highway planning goofballs tear their hair. What kind of organization actually plans 20 years down the road when traffic jams are driving people bonkers today? A government agency of course. Back to the communist aspects of this, the central planners love the idea that everyone has the same kind of transportation. How dare we express individuality, or class distinction based on the kind of car we drive.

  11. 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.
  12. Governor Gray Davis of California has a few things to say about this: namely, he's all for it. In fact, having wrecked havoc on California's electric and utility companies through price controls, he's proposed confiscating them and giving them to the state to run. Governor Davis, welcome to the pantheon of fellow communist confiscators: Mao, Stalin, and Castro.

  13. Equal obligation of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
  14. Marx and Engels knew that growing food in a collective commune would require some of the very productivity advances brought about by capitalism and the industrial revolution in order to supply anything above a subsistence level. The solution for them was that everyone would work, and agriculture would use industrial techniques. In this analysis, they were correct: agriculture in the 21st century is often referred to as agribusiness. It looks a lot more like steel refining than the picturesque farmer of yore, tilling his fields behind an ox, or the post Great Depression family farmer on his tractor. Hurray for it. Getting food was the daily occupation for most of humanity for as long as we've been on this planet. In 1800, it's estimated that 80% of the American workforce was involved in farming. In 1990, it's estimated that 3% of the American workforce was involved in farming. 3% of the population provides food for the other 97%, of their own free will, without hoarding, price fixing, or the other bugga-bears of the free market.

    The modern form of the industrial army is undeniably the union. Just like an army, unions use force to get their way. Sometimes its physical force, other times political force. I fully support the freedom of and freedom from association. If a group of workers wants to form a club and bargain collectively, so be it. If their employer wants to fire them all together, well, that's fine too. Naturally, the unions, consisting of the democratic mob, have passed legislation making it legal for them to organize, but illegal for their employer to terminate them. Forward the communist army!

  15. 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.
  16. The original aim of this communist policy seems to be melding the oppressor and oppressed classes: a mass of proletariat concentrated in the city, a countryside of peasant farmers, and a few aristocracy with massive tracts of hereditary land. Notice the reference to "equable distribution" of the populace. This can only be accomplished by land redistribution. The communists saw the distinction between city dwellers, townies, and country folk. They knew the city, filled with factory workers, was their natural base from which to mount an assault on the property rights conscious farmers and aristocratic landowners. While moving people into the countryside seems antithetical to today's environmental movement, the two are actually after the same goal: reduction of property rights. The greens realize the communist goal by forcing the people out of the country, and into the city and suburbs. Think Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge in reverse. Thus, the common thread in these nihilistic, authoritarian political movements is revealed.

  17. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc.

Well, we've certainly reached the education camp ideal espoused in the communist manifesto. Instead of universal access to “free” education, we now have universal compulsory indoctrination. Look at the assault on home-schoolers for further proof. I asked a friend of mine who recently graduated with an education degree what she learned in her degree major classes. The response frightened me; she had learned how to control classroom behavior. She told me it usually “takes 3 or 4 years before children are broken in to the idea of a teacher in charge”. She teaches 2nd graders. Stories of public school officials promoting political agendas are legion. Almost universally, that agenda takes its cues from the communist manifesto, and its modern keepers.

Back to point 10 of the Manifesto. The combination of education with industrial production looks exactly like the work to school programs that find such favor with our public education system. The abolition of factory slave labor, and the preservation of third world "habitat" are two verses in the same tribal chant of the neo-communist environmental movement. This is all in the name of preventing the third world country de jour in cahoots with Nike from wrecking the natural habitat of their beautiful swamps and deserts while exploiting the children, of course. The natural consequence that the now unemployed children will have to beg or prostitute themselves to stay fed is ignored by our enlightened watermelon (red with a thin green skin) protestors.


Am I suggesting some massive conspiracy to infiltrate the Democratic (and to a lesser degree the Republican) Party by the International Commune? No. What I am suggesting is that communists gravitate towards political parties that see no wrong in enforcing edicts via state control. I am also suggesting that people with authoritarian tendencies will never come out and directly say that they want to run your life. They'll tell you to support some piece of legislation in the name of fairness, or the environment, or safety, or the children, or “our” future, or humanitarian intervention, or national security. Those who oppose are branded heartless, or selfish, or sadistic, or cowardly, or stupid, or greedy. The collectivists make the claim to the moral high ground based on the false assumption that they know what's best for someone else, and how dare you get in the way. The worst part may be the fact that most Americans don't realize the stated goals of communism, and the means to achieve those goals are at work in our society today. I suppose most people assume the communists will come out and say they want to run your life. No one can be enslaved all at once; no one would volunteer for it. But the incremental approach to control is insidious, and dishonest. It doesn't speak its name, since detection would render people alert to it, and ready to destroy it. Well, folks, here's your wakeup call. You will know the authoritarians are attempting to gain control by reading their Manifesto in their own words. It's plain as day if you take the time to read it.

July 7, 2001