The Communist Manifesto (Penguin Edition) – Review (Legendas PT-BR)

The Communist Manifesto (Penguin Edition) – Review (Legendas PT-BR)


Hi there guys! Today I’d like to make a
short review of this book, the Communist Manifesto, by Marx and Engels, Penguin Edition. Well, actually I’m not going to review the Manifesto itself. I’m going to
review the huge introduction we have here, which takes at about two-thirds of
this volume. So, if you are thinking about buying this edition, maybe you’d like to
hear what I have to say about it. There’s an old saying that says: “never judge a book by it’s cover”. And when you take this cover, what do you see? Well, that’s
the Communist Manifesto, but instead of red flags, with the hammer and the sickle,
we have here German flags. Well, at first I just thought: “Well, maybe that’s because
they wanted to do something different, okay, maybe that’s not a problem.” But I
was wrong. Actually the fact that we have German
flags here and not the red flags with the hammer and the sickle indicates what
this edition is about. I bought this book not because of the Manifesto,
because I have already the Manifesto in the original German Edition (because I
live here in Germany and I can speak German), so I was really interested in the
huge introduction. I just found this book in a German bookstore, here in Germany,
and then I thought: “Well, it seems that I can get a lot of new information about
the context in which the manifesto was written and something like that, and so
okay, so let me buy that”, (actually after that I went to the internet and
ordered the original English Edition). After reading this introduction I had
the idea that the purpose of Penguin’s edition was to write something that
could somehow “inoculate” the Manifest. Because everything this guy wrote is to
say that communism today is nothing more than historical curiosity. Well, I’d
like to read some passages here to show you what I mean. Right from the beginning we find this information, page four: “The increase in female employment
has made the language of the Manifesto appear dated. Appeals for the unity of
working men have all but ceased.” Well, actually he’s saying that the last
sentence of the Communist Manifesto, “workers of all countries, unite!”, mean that Marx and Engels thought that the revolution would be made only by working
men, and they were excluding women. But that’s completely nonsense! Marx and
Engels used the common word for “proletarians”. In the German Edition we
read this: “Proletarier aller Länder, vereinigt euch!” Marx and Engels are using here the plural form of the word “proletarian”, and
that doesn’t mean they were sexist. And I was simply shocked when I read in this
Penguin edition the information – or at least the suggestion – that Marx and
Engels had failed to see that women were part of the working class. When you read
such a thing right on the fourth page of a text, it gives you a really bad
impression of what is to come. And from page five we can see what are the political positions of the author. For example, he says here: “Belief in the possibility – or
even the desirability – of a future communist society has become extinct.”
Really? There are no communists in the world today? Does this really belong just
to history? Man, you’ve got to be kidding! After that he asks whether the Manifesto
will become a classic of political philosophy, just like the Republic, by
Plato, or the Prince, by Machiavelli, or the Leviathan, by Thomas Hobbes, and so on. And his answer is that the Manifesto “will remain a classic if only because of
its brief but it’s still quite unsurpassed depiction of modern
capitalism.” So the Communist Manifesto will become a classic
because of capitalism, because it depicts capitalism. But the most problematic
thesis I find in this introduction is that the author says that communism has
religious roots and that Marx and Engels simply tried to cover up these
religious origins, but that if you read the Manifesto carefully, you can still
find these religious inspirations there. For example, he says the following on
page nine, and I quote: “In the Manifesto Marx and Engels made a successful effort to
cover over these religious tracks and to set in their place a social-economic
genealogy appropriate to their new communist self-image.” Well, we don’t have any problem with the fact that socialism has always been associated with
religious movements. If you read the Bible, for example, you’ll see that the first
Christians had a kind of socialist community. Although he doesn’t make that explicit here, what is suggested is that communism is still a religious movement
because of its origins, and that’s called in logic “genetic fallacy”. I mean,
when you try to prove that something is false only because of its origins. He even
says that, and I quote: “The speculative or quasi religious origins and characters
of socialist Creed’s, including that built upon the
pronouncement of the Manifesto itself, continued to shine through the laboriously elaborated socio-economic façade.” That means, he thinks that the laboriously
elaborated socio-economic façade, that means he calls the critique of political
economy made by Karl Marx during decades of his life was just a facade for
religious questions, to cover over religious questions. I think that’s a
really problematic assertion. Another theory presented here is that Karl Marx has never been able to complete his theory of communism. As if Karl Marx were really trying to do that. The question is: when we study Marx
from a Hegelian perspective, we know very well why he didn’t want to present a
theory of communism. He didn’t want to foresee the future, exactly for the same
reasons Hegel had avoided to do that. I was really shocked to find this
information in this book, and mainly because right at the introduction he
says that he taught Hegel. Well, if this guy knows Hegel enough to give lessons
on Hegel, why doesn’t he mentioned that? Is it really difficult to see that Hegel
didn’t want to predict the future and that, for the same reason, Karl Marx, first
a young Hegelian who adopted the dialectical method of Hegel, he didn’t
want to do so? And another question he poses here that could be answered with a
good understanding of Hegel is on page thirteen. He asks and I quote: “Why should a declaration of communism have placed such emphasis upon the world transforming
achievements of the bourgeoisie?” Well, we all know that in the Manifesto Marx and
Engels, they praised the bourgeoisie for everything it did against feudalism. But
if we really understand the Hegelian concept of Aufhebung we know that Aufhebung is a dialectical movement in which three things happen at the same time.
When an Aufhebung happens, we at the same time 1) we cancel something, 2) we preserve this something, and 3) we elevate this thing to a higher level. That’s the movement we find
all over the Phenomenology of spirit, by Hegel. That has nothing to do with thesis
antithesis and synthesis. No, that’s Fichte, that’s not Hegel. In Hegel we have
these three movements called Aufhebung, and that’s exactly how Marx and
Engels solve the transition from capitalism to communism. So a communist revolution doesn’t mean to destroy everything, to destroy the capitalist world and after that create everything anew, as if
it were a new paradise on earth. No, because Aufhebung means you cancel or you deny something, but at the same time you preserve something. For
sure capitalism is a precondition to communism. Although there are many
problematic points in this introduction, and the impression that its purpose is
to minimize the effects of the Communist Manifesto, I do think that are good
information you can get from here. I certainly learned a lot of new things
here about the context, about minor authors, for example, Moses Hess or Stirner, and a lot of other guys I had never heard about. If you’re thinking about
buying this edition, okay, I think you benefit from it. But just pay attention
to these weird, strange claims this guy makes about Marxism and communism,
because it seems he’s an anti-communist and he wants you not to be impressed by
the transforming language, by the transforming reading of the communist
manifesto. So that’s it guys, so don’t forget to like this video, to share your
thoughts in the comments below and to subscribe to our Channel.

7 Comments on "The Communist Manifesto (Penguin Edition) – Review (Legendas PT-BR)"


  1. Bacana tentar alcançar o público de língua inglesa. Eu, por minha vez, treino meu listening/reading, rs.

    Reply

  2. Really good point about the bourgeoisie. Marx saw them as a "revolucionary" and even "progressive" class for it's time. But, after the spread of capitalism was complete, they've turn they're back to the working classes that helpd them. And, if i'm not mistaken, accourdinly to Marx, this happend as a result of the "idealogy". For him ideaology was like a "fog" that diminish the perception of people and only made them give importance to it's own interest. Something that future marxists would desagree. Is that right?

    by the way, a vídeo just about the "Aufhebung" would be a good idea!

    Reply

  3. O ideal é comprar edições publicadas por grupos ligados a partidos marxistas, e não essas edições publicadas por empresas reacionárias.

    Reply

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