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Book Title: Socialism: Utopian and Scientific|
The author of the book: Friedrich Engels
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 775 KB
Edition: Intl Pub
Date of issue: January 1st 1972
ISBN 13: 9780717801916
Read full description of the books Socialism: Utopian and Scientific:In my opinion, this is a better introduction to Marxism than the Communist Manifesto. The first chapter focuses on utopian socialist who tried to make reforms but ran up against roadblocks of the bourgeoisie, and since it was based on an unscientific view, it lead to a "mish-mash of critical statements, economic theories and pictures of future societies," none of which had the momentum to implement their ideas. Unfortunately, this still sounds like the Left today.
The second chapter, talks about the history of historical materialism in Europe as arising from Hegel. History now could be viewed as a system of processes that affect humans, rather than random acts of violence and war. This made is possible for socialist to explain HOW capitalism exploits the working class.
In the third, and honestly only essential, chapter Engels demonstrates the use of historical materialism by showing how the capitalist revolution ended the feudal system. He then goes on to explain the boom/bust cycle of capitalism. This was the most interesting section to me, given our current economic situation. Even back then, during the bust cycles the state ultimately took control of the direction of production--think of the recent bailouts. However, because "the modern state is essentially a capitalist machine," "the more it proceeds to the taking over of productive forces, the more it actually becomes the national capitalist, the more citizens does it exploit."
Whether Engels ending theory--that by the working classes usurping power, the state will inevitably dissolve--can actually succeed in overcoming all the obstacles that Marx and Engel never foresaw, we may never know. However, I think the following quotation best summarizes the reason why these ideas are still important to study today:
"As long as we obstinately refuse to understand the nature and the character of these social means of action--and this understanding goes against the grain of the capitalist mode of production and it's defenders--so long as these forces are at work in spite of us, in opposition to us, so long as they master us."
Read information about the authorIn 1820, Friedrich Engels was born in Germany into a wealthy family. Managing a branch of his father's business in Manchester, England, from 1842-1845, Engels became appalled at the poverty of the workers. He wrote his first socialist work, Conditions of the Working Class in England. After their meeting in 1844, Engels and Karl Marx became lifelong colleagues. While co-writing an article with Engels called "The Holy Family," Marx was expelled from France at Prussian insistence. Engels followed him to Belgium. They founded the Communist League in London in 1846 and co-wrote The Communist Manifesto. A month after it was published in 1848, Marx was expelled from Belgium. Engels became a primary financial supporter of the Marx family, returning to work in Germany with his father while Marx lived in England. Prime Minister John Russell had refused to expel Marx or Engels on principles of freedom of thought. Engels' books include Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State. After Marx's death in 1883, Engels edited and translated his writings. According to freethought encyclopedist Joseph McCabe, Engels' acquaintance, Ernest Belfort Bax, called him "the devout Atheist" (A Biographical Dictionary of Modern Rationalists). D. 1895.
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