Class Struggles

Nicole McWhorter

In the Communist Manifesto Marx lays out the reasons why he believes a communist society is necessary. He describes the proletariat and bourgeoisie classes at the time and uses them to point out that change is needed. He says that “The history hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles” (Marx)1. Marx describes the issues between the different classes and states that “Though not in substance, yet in form, the struggle of the proletariat with the bourgeoisie is at first a national struggle. The proletariat of each country must, of course, first of all settle matters with its own bourgeoisie” (Marx)2. The principles Marx explains in his Communist Manifesto dwell on the issue of class struggles and although his solutions may not work, his reasoning for them is still seen in problems with societies today.

Class struggles have been a problem in history and still continue to be a problem. Most people criticize communism because it may not work but the problems that it stemmed from are still around. In almost every country there is a divide between the rich and the poor. The United States is an example of a country with a divide. One source claims that “The gap between the rich and poor can be illustrated by the fact that the three wealthiest individuals in the world have assets that exceed those of the poorest 10 percent of the world‘s population” (boundless)3. This is mostly what Marx wanted to get rid of when he came up with the basis for communism. Marx has a reason to abolish private property in order to close this gap but in North Korea where the gap is closed the people are worse off. For example, there may be a divide of classes in America, but in North Korea the people are staved, malnourished and have nothing of their own. The problem with the society that Marx envisions is that someone has to be above everyone in order to make sure everyone is treated equally. The world will always be separated into the “proletariat” and “bourgeoisie” classes. This is not a criticism of communism, but from these readings it is clear that history repeats itself and revolutions will continue because people will always try to get above in society. There will always be different classes because people all have different human capital and this puts them above or below in society. A world cannot be completely equal because people have different skills and experiences that put them where they are. Unfortunately society places people based on their human capital whether it is their skills or education. Overall, the Communist Manifesto points out the issues with the world that are deemed to continue but other readings point out that each person has the opportunity to rise in society.


  1. Marx, Karl. The Communist Manifesto. Edited by Friedrich Engels. London, 1848.
  2. Marx
  3. Boundless. “Growing Gap Between Rich and Poor.” Boundless. Accessed December 5,
    2016. https://www.boundless.com/sociology/textbooks/
    boundless-sociology-textbook/
    stratification-inequality-and-social-class-in-the-u-s-9/social-mobility-76/
    growing-gap-between-rich.
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