Nathalie Weidhase

NAME: Nathalie Weidhase

COURSE: Culture, Media and Society

MODULE: Understanding Cultural and Literary Theory

ASSIGNMENT TITLE: Reading Diary

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

The Communist Manifesto

When I first encountered Marxist theory in High School I found it hard to believe in the ‘oppressed classes’. I think the reason for this is that I was raised in a capitalist society, am from a comparatively privileged white, middle-class background, and yet was constantly being told that I was living in a class-less society. Being raised as a rather privileged student who does not entirely rely on selling my labour to make a living, it was harder to question the dominant system and engage with Marxist ideas. Rather naively, I refused to believe that money equals power, or as Marx and Engels describe it, ‘[e]ach step in the development of the bourgeoisie was accompanied by a corresponding political advance of that class.’ When I now read The Communist Manifesto, I realise how important and valuable Marxist theory can be. When Marx and Engels write about how foreign markets ‘… gave to commerce … an impulse never before known…’ it reminds me about current issues around globalisation and how each national market is now linked and connected with other national markets around the globe. In this respect, Marx and Engels foreshadow current issues and problems.

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