I completed the majority of this week's reading while working in a Western wear store, this seemed to be a very strange environment to take on such an endeavor. While telling this to the friend I was filling in for she summed it up before I could finish my sentence "I'm reading the Communist Manifesto in a Western wear store it feels very...."switch to Caity "Unpatriotic?" And this was actually very correct, its seems from the day that American children learn in school the term Communist that they face the rest of their lives hearing about how it is a flawed system and would never work and in even in picking up a copy of the Communist Manifesto they should in this action well up in guilt; picking up the Communist Manifesto in an establishment filled with belt-buckles and cowboy boots they enviably will feel like a slimeball who needs to be thrown of the cliff of American justice(reading the Communist Manifesto in the public school system however is a whole different story).
While reading though I thought about the idea of Communist Cowboys and how foreign this seems. I tried to think of what would convince a hypothetical group of Cowboys to go commie...my mind went blank. I realized that this hypothetical situation was doomed and no amount of sheer propaganda and or "common property" icecream would help in achieving the posed objective.
Simply put Communism seems to idealistic for any realist including Cowboys and Economists!
The following passages alone made me shiver at the wealth destruction that are connected to such statements:
"Free Trade, In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploration"
"the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property"
But listing points that make me gasp or dissing communism over-and-over again is not at all the point of this post (and will probably be the majority length of the discussion this Thursday) my point is this doesn't the whole American capitalist machismo way of treating the topic of Communism fail to get us anywhere on an academic level of study. I was thinking about how many brilliant people stood by Communism in it's hay day (no pun intended) and it would be narcissistic to say that all of these individuals were simply brainwashed.
Timing is everything which is why it is so easy for me to read passages and gasp in horror rather than excitement at Marx and Engels points. If you think about it what the world had known then is very different in the realms of collective knowledge than what it knows now. If you think about the mercantilism(equating wealth with gold and sliver...like Aaron ;-)that was the earlier economic system at this time it is easy to note how the wealthy individuals of the day were indeed taking advantage of other nations in a destructive manner that may have helped these said individuals and wealthy nations stay at the top but did very little in creating real wealth. After this period you get the Industrial Revolution which is the heart of the communist movement. I think experincing life during this time could have a huge impact on how the communist system looks to the individuals and I will try to keep this point in the back of my mind during our next meeting.
PS-I was surprised by the accuracy present in the explanation of the Union Effect in the Manifesto.