By: Jeremías Rucci
It has always struck me how the Communist Manifesto (written in 1848 by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels) has managed to have such an impact. So much so that by the hundredth anniversary of its publication, half of humanity was under the communist boot and its intellectual influence extended to the entire globe.
Which forces us to ask ourselves: Why was the Manifesto so successful?
To try to explain it, I outline three reasons, in my opinion, crucial:
1. Communism puts the focus on the adversary. The Communist Manifesto does not speak of the benefits of communism, but rather describes the capitalist system in terms of exploitation, individualism and injustice. Let’s see it with an example: Juan is poorer than Pedro, because Pedro is his employer and takes part of Juan’s earnings. It is the exploitation and appropriation of surplus value by his employer that condemns Juan to poverty. It is the very nature of the system.
2. Marxist ideology addresses a specific sector of society. Unlike liberal authors who identify with a social harmony (where all society under the principles of freedom can coexist), Marxists focus on a deep discord between proletarians and bourgeoisie, where they do not seek to reach all social classes, rather, how to make the proletariat understand that harmony will come when they have power.
3. Marxist ideology offers a solution to the problem of exploitation that is the dictatorship of the proletariat and, eventually, a classless society.
What these three points show is how Marxism first identifies and characterizes the antagonist, then addresses a particular audience (the working class), and finally offers a utopian solution.
The modus operandi of Marxism refers us to the actions of another totalitarian movement … in a very distant galaxy.
In one of the chapters of the well-known Star Wars saga, Sheev Palpatine’s character has a conversation with Anakin, where the Chancellor explains that the Republic’s problem is the current Jedi council. (Thus Palpatine, like the communist manifesto, puts the focus on the adversary).
Palpatine at the beginning of his dictatorship gives a speech where he excludes the users of the lightsaber in what would be the new Republic known as: “The new galactic empire.” (Delimiting which sector of society you decide to address).
The problem of the current Republic of the Jedi was settled with the dictatorship established by the chancellor of the Republic Sheev Palpatine (he offered an authoritarian solution to the problem as does the Communist Manifesto).
In conclusion, Marxism is so effective because it offers blunt solutions to people who are disappointed by existing institutions.
Jeremías Rucci is part of the Team of the International Foundation Bases. He is also a member of Students for Freedom since 2019, where he served in his first year as a volunteer and today he is a Local Coordinator.