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Word Count: 785
The Communist Manifesto opens with the famous words The history of all hitherto societies has been the history of class struggles and proceeds in the next 41 pages to single-mindedly elaborate this proposition 79 In section 1 Bourgeois and Proletarians Marx delineates his vision of history focusing on the development and eventual destruction of the bourgeoisie the dominant class of his day Before the bourgeoisie rose to prominence society was organized according to a feudal order run by aristocratic landowners and corporate guilds With the discovery of America and the subsequent expansion of economic markets a new class arose a manufacturing class which took control of international and domestic trade by producing goods more efficiently than the closed guilds With their growing economic powers this class began to gain political power destroying the vestiges of the old feudal society which sought to restrict their ambition According to Marx the French Revolution was the most decisive instance of this form of bourgeois self-determination Indeed Marx thought bourgeois control so pervasive that he claimed that the executive of the modern State is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie 82 This bourgeois ascendancy has though created a new social class which labor in the new bourgeois industries This class the proletariat wage-laborers who having no means of production of their own are reduced to selling their labor power in order to live are the necessary consequence of bourgeois modes of production 79 As bourgeois industries expand and increase their own capital the ranks of the proletariat swell as other classes of society artisans and small business owners cannot compete with the bourgeois capitalists Additionally the development of bourgeois industries causes a proportional deterioration in the condition of the proletariat This deterioration which can be slowed but not stopped creates within the proletariat a revolutionary element which will eventually destroy their bourgeois oppressors As Marx says What the bourgeoisie therefore produces above all
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