Reflection #3 The Communist Manifesto


The book I selected is The Communist Manifesto. This book discussed the ideology of socialism and was first published in 1848 by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. 

The Communist Manifesto reflects an attempt to explain the goals of Communism, as well as the theory underlying this movement. Class is defined by the means of production. The bourgeoisie controls the capital and uses the labor of proletarians to reproduce value. By its nature, the relationship between the bourgeoisie and proletarian is characterized by conflict. However, all the revolution in history is based on the reallocation of capital, and the capital is always controlled by the leading/dominant class. Therefore, conflicts can not be ceased. The Communist Manifesto discussed that proletariat has no way of appropriating property so they have to destroy all ownership of private property when they obtain control, and classes themselves will disappear.

There are four parts to this book. The first part is the Communists’ theory of history and the relationship between proletarians and the bourgeoisie. The second part is the relationship between the Communists and the proletarians. The third part discussed the flaws of previous socialist literature. The final part discussed the relationship between the Communists and other parties.


Pedagogical use of the book:

This book is not very easy to read from an L2 learners’ perspective therefore I think the language teacher needs to adapt it to the specific contexts. But the content addressed the issue of class and the conflict of bourgeoisie and proletarians. It can be used to teach students about reflection on current class issues. Many people hold the point that social injustice is mainly from the existence of class and the conflicts between different classes. This book provides a comprehensive analysis of classes. My future ideal teaching context is college level and I think it is a great source for my students to use. It provides a perspective to think about society in a socialist view. Moreover, one of the main power conflicts in today’s world is socialism vs capitalism. I have heard of this thousand times that many people think China is a communist country and people don’t have human rights there. But when we are teaching languages, with my mother culture, I always feel sensitive and exhausted to talk about this topic. For one side, it takes time to explain a new concept to people who don’t trust it or even have biases on it; for another side, when I talk about this topic, I seem to show my patriotic attitude even though I am just explaining what I have been through and what I trust. It is not easy to talk about the topic of socialism in Chinese as a foreign language classroom. However, if I could integrate the content of this book into my syllabus or curriculum, it would be great to open students’ minds and enrich their perspectives in viewing their own culture or political stances. 


Discussion Points for Students Reflection:

  • What is the relation between proletarians and bourgeoisie?
  • What problems do socialism and capitalism bring to society?
  • What did the conflict has been brought to the current society?
  • Can you give examples of the conflicts in today’s American society?
  • Can you recognize the socialist aspect of the current health care/ housing/ education policy? 
  • What is similar between socialism and capitalism when the ideologies are embodied in societal policies?
  • Do you see any common ground between these two?


Core-concepts of Social Justice:

The core-concept of The Communist Manifesto in terms of social justice is class equity. The nature of the difference existing in proletarians and bourgeoisie leads to the injustice in property allocation. This injustice caused many consequential problems, such as housing injustice, education injustice. People who live in the class with more property in society can access better housing/education/health care sources. 

Xinxin Liu

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