Read the following extract from the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, and write a three-page essay answering the following questions: 1. What do Marx and Engels mean by the “class struggle”? In what ways is the class struggle responsible for historical change? 2. In what ways do Marx and Engels view capitalism as a revolutionary economic and social system? In what ways is it global? 3. Why did Marx and Engels think that capitalism would produce its own “gravediggers”? Why did they think that capitalism is doomed? Karl Marx (1818-1883) and Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) were both born in modern-day Germany. As young men they joined the Communist League, a revolutionary organization led by German political exiles in France and England, and in 1848 they were commissioned to write its political program. Their collaboration produced the Communist Manifesto, arguably one of the most influential documents in history. In 1848 both men participated in the democratic revolution in Germany, and after it was defeated they went into exile in Britain where they lived for the rest of their lives. Marx went on to write Das Kapital, a fulllength study of the workings of capitalist society, and both men played an active role in organizing international collaboration between communists and other radical activists. For more background information, see The Earth and Its Peoples, pages 568-569; 696-698.
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