This introduction is intended as a brief response to Marxism. It is functional and not comprehensive. First, the ideology must be defined. Second, it must be evaluated in the light of Scripture. Framing Marxism as a monolith is not impossible, but it does present problems. Christianity has an absolute, tangle authority in the Scriptures, and so disparities among adherents do not dissuade the monolithic foundation. “There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:4-6).

However, Marxism, being a form of materialism, has no self-proclaimed authority. Dogma itself is antithetical to the dialectic. This means there is no single, binding source to reference when contemplating Marxism. There is Karl Marx, but he no more speaks for all Marxists than Calvin speaks for all Calvinists. After him, pockets of Marxists have promulgated variations on his theories, such as the Russian Marxists of the late 19th/early 20th century, and 20th century critical theory. Today, we may even speak of democratic Marxism in the united states.

Essentially, what every self-acclaimed Marxist has attempted to do since Marx is be as consistent as possible. Many differences of opinion and practice have been the result, but the aim, generally speaking, has always been to work-out Marx’s accommodation of Hegel as consistently and ethically as possible. Therefore, briefly introducing Marxism is a fool’s errand. If any single Marxist is to be engaged, then he must be listened to and responded to individually. This is already a courtesy we should allow in any personal encounter, but when it comes to academic and published evaluation, we must take care to do so for Marxists.

So, with the nature of this inquiry in mind, the following introduction will seek to evaluate two items. First, Marx’s own ideas as expressed in the Communist Manifesto. Second, some contemporary ideas assumed to be part of Marxism. The assumption is that most central tenants of Marxism are found in these two sources.

Marxism Conceived

Marxism derives its name from Karl Marx. Marx (b. May 5, 1818), a native of Germany, was Jewish by ancestry and Christian by upbringing.[1] He entered higher education initially for law, but quickly found himself in general studies at the Berlin University, in 1836. Here, Marx became a Hegelian, rejecting dogmatic frameworks of the universe, along with Kant and Fichte.

Hegel’s concept of dialectic advanced conversation in the macro-philosophical community, in favor of paradigms of logic and telos that were not subject to Aristotle and Christendom. The dialectic presents change as the produce of struggle, when antagonistic elements come to a resolution. The resolution of these contradictory elements creates a synthesis, the initial two forming a new one. In this way, history has progressed and will continue progressing, through the dialogue of antagonistic elements.

Marx accepted Hegel’s dialectic theory and advanced the idea by applying it to social thinking. Marx believed that social progress required the appearance of an antagonist, a negation. Marx’s comrade Engels commented on his application of Hegel to social constructs: “A completed society, a perfect state, are things which can only exist in phantasies. On the contrary, all successive historical conditions are places of pilgrimage in the endless evolutionary progress of human society from the lower to the higher.” Engels, and many afterwards (e.g. Lenin[2]), believed that Marx had revolutionized sociology on a Darwinian level. Comparisons to social evolution seem fitting to many, but should be recognized as not necessarily native to Marx. Still, it is the estimation of this introduction that Marxism bears a similar result to biological evolution, in the sense that the evolutionary process begets improvement over time (in the language of Engels above, “human society from the lower to the higher”).

Marx acquired a doctorate in 1841 in philosophy and soon after became a free-lance journalist. Publications would be his field for some time, editing a newspaper in 1842 and Franco-German year Books (Paris) in 1843. He was introduced to Engels in Paris, when the latter (then twenty-four in Manchester) submitted an article. In 1847, a Communist league meeting in London commissioned Marx and Engels to produce what would become the Communist Manifesto. Though produced by both Marx and Engels, Engels gave credit for the fundamental propositions to Marx:

I consider myself bound to state that the fundamental proposition which forms the nucleus belongs to Marx. That proposition is: that in every historical epoch the prevailing mode of economic production and exchange, and the social organization necessarily following from it, form the basis upon which is built up, and from which alone can be explained the political and intellectual history of that epoch; that consequently the whole history of mankind (since the dissolution of primitive tribal society, holding land in common ownership) has been a history of class struggles, contests between exploiting and exploited, ruling and oppressed classes; that the history of these class struggles forms a series of evolution in which, now-a-days, a stage has been reached where the exploited and oppressed classes (the proletariat) cannot attain its emancipation from the sway of the exploiting and ruling class (the bour4geoisie) without, at the same time, and once for all, emancipating society at large from all exploitation, oppression, class-distinction and class struggles. This proposition which, in my opinion, is destined to do for history what Darwin’s theory had done for biology, we, both of us, had been gradually approaching for some years before 1845.

There is much more to be said and studied concerning Marx’s life, but this will suffice. We have been brought to the Manifesto, the historic publicizing of Marx’s theories, after they had stewed in his mind for no less than a decade. Let us now turn to an examination of Marxism itself.

Marxism Defined

Marxism, as expressed in the Communist Manifesto, has at least two broad commitments. First, Marxism asserts the perpetuity and centrality of class struggles. “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.”[3] In the first case, these struggles must be understood as perpetual. “Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.”[4] Such a struggle is a “more or less veiled civil war, raging within existing society,” and in every nation.[5]

In the second case, these struggles must be understood as central. This is to say that the principle matter of society has always been and will always be class struggles, as opposed to law, morality, religion, etc.[6] This does not speak to sociological consciousness or concern, but to the substance. Whatever you may perceive to be the essence of historical society, the true essence is class struggles.

In the third case, these struggles must be understood as between – various and ever-changing classes, yet in its simplest expression – oppressor and oppressed. “Hitherto, every form of society has been based, as we have already seen, on the antagonism of oppressing and oppressed classes.”[7] In Marx and Engels’ day, this was the bourgeoisie (owners of production and employers of wage labor) and the proletariat (wage laborers of low income).[8] Capitalism is by no means the only historic means of oppression, but it is in today’s society. Under the oppressive hand of a capitalist ruling class, “the modern labourer… instead of rising with the process of industry, sinks deeper and deeper below the conditions of existence of his own class. He becomes a pauper, and pauperism develops more rapidly than population and wealth.”[9]

Second, Marxism maintains the Labor Theory of Value (LTV). “The price of a commodity, and therefore also of labour, is equal to its cost of production.”[10] This a primary moral basis upon which the proletariat may be said to be oppressed. The Capitalist conception of value (the price of a commodity is equal to that which one agrees to pay for it) and the wage labor it facilitates is a means of robbing the proletariat of the fruit of their labor.[11] The effect of Capitalist “morals” has reached beyond the laborer and oppressed even women and children, who are but property in the scheme of Capitalism.[12] LTV manifests the injustice of capitalist bourgeois, who earn more money than wage laborers yet never earn their money. That is to say, such rulers of capitalist factories and companies do not produce anything, yet they keep for themselves a much larger portion of profit – profit which wage laborers make for the business. 

Marxism Considered

Let this ideology now be evaluated in the light of Scripture. Four merits and eight faults will be noted to this end. The merits are as follows: historical complexity, violence, oppression, depraved capitalists. The faults are as follows: false claims, historical fantasy, Pelagianism, antinomianism, discontent, antagonism, oppression, theft, idolatry.

First, note the complexity of human interaction. Marx and Engels argued that human interaction in history is not experientially monolithic, binary, or of any kind close to this. Scripture seems to be in agreement with this proposition. For example, the trial and crucifixion of Christ displayed complex motives and actions. Pharisees and priests worked from envy (Matthew 27:18, 20). Judas worked from satanic possession (Luke 22:3). The crowds worked from misplaced zeal and ignorance (Matthew 27:20-26). Pilate worked from fear of riotousness (v.24). Social history can be a complex matter.

Second, note the violence that fills history. Violence is one of the fundamental results of depravity. “Their feet run to evil, and they are swift to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; desolation and destruction are in their highways” (Isaiah 59:7-8; cf. Romans 3:15). That worldwide corruption which prompted the Deluge was depicted thus: “The earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence” (Genesis 6:11). Violence is the means of murder, though not always effectually so. Murder is always an afront upon God’s glory, for man is made in His image (Genesis 9:6; cf. 4:1-26). Scripture readily affirms, with Marxists, that conflict, war, and general violence fills history.

Third, note the oppression that plagues history. The Manifesto complains of oppressors, and the Scriptures share disdain for such men. “Again I saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them. And I thought the dead who are already dead more fortunate than the living who are still alive” (Ecclesiastes 4:1-2; cf. 5:8-9). “Because of the multitude of oppressions people cry out; they call for help because of the arm of the mighty” (Job 35:9; cf. Amos 3:9). The Israelites were oppressed in Egypt (Exodus 2:23), and glory to God that He delivered them! The church must be no friend of oppression, and must see clearly that oppression plagues human history, because humans are sinners.

Fourth, note the depravity of capitalists. While Capitalism is vindicated in this essay, capitalists are not. Many alleged injustices in the Manifesto were true injustices. Child labor was a particular grievance in the mid 19th century. “None is righteous” (Romans 3:10), and that includes Capitalists. The church herself sings, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.” Capitalists do well to heed Amos 8:

Hear this, you who trample on the needy and bring the poor of the land to an end, saying, “When will the new moon be over, that we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, that we may offer wheat for sale, that we may make the ephah small and the shekel great and deal deceitfully with false balances, that we may buy the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals and sell the chaff of the wheat?”

vv.4-6

Having clarified four affirmations, let us now move to eight denials. First, we reject false claims. Though this is not a matter of Biblical exegesis, but it is a simple and necessary observation, before the Scriptures are opened. In the first case, Capitalism weighs the wage laborer down, as he “sinks deeper and deeper below the conditions of existence of his own class.” This claim is inconsistent with data from Capitalistic societies, wherein general wealth has increased and individuals have greater and greater opportunities to rise in class. Falling in economic class is typically a result of personal choices.

In the second case, primeval societies are considered to have been communistic. Morgan pitched tent with Marx and Engels on this claim, yet it has not stood the test of historical scholarship. Even the practice of bartering is fundamentally Capitalistic. In the third case, one hundred and seventy years of practicing Marxism has yielded no favorable outcomes, in any respect, especially when compared to Capitalism. These three examples demonstrate that Marxism’s conception of social and economic reality is severely flawed.

Second, we reject historical fantasy. In the first case, it is a universe which moves along according to the dynamics of social interaction, the dialectic. In contrast, Scripture teaches that history moves along by the Providence of God. “I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose” (Isaiah 46:9-10). “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will” (Ephesians 1:11). “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…. He has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 11). “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord” (Proverbs 16:33).[13]

In the second case, it is a universe which precludes Christ as telos. Christ is the mediator of all divine grace and judgment in these last days (Isaiah 42:1-4; Ephesians 1:3-14; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:15-23), and Scripture explicitly presents Him as the culminating point of all things. “All things were created through him and for him” (v.16; cf. Romans 11:36; 1 Corinthians 8:6). “He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth” (Ephesians 1:9-10). History is not a perpetual cycle of social progression; it is a line ending with the person of Jesus Christ. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end” (Revelation 21:6).

In the third case, it roots eschatological glory outside of the grace and power of God. Every Christian concept of eschatology ends in positivity and glory: Christ reigns victorious over His enemies (Acts 2:36; 1 Corinthians 15:26-28). This glory is in no way materialized by man, whether sociologically or otherwise, but only by God. “Behold my servant, whom I uphold… He will not grow faint or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth” (Isaiah 42:1, 4). “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse…. the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (11:1, 9). “And he who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new’” (Revelation 21:5).

Third, we reject Pelagianism. Though Marxism does not necessarily teach that a perfect society or utopia will be reached, it does typically propose progression, in a type of social evolution from lower to higher. This is a denial of the total depravity of man, which states that all men are conceived in the fallenness of Adam (Genesis 3; 5:1-5). Adam represented all of his posterity in the garden, and when he sinned, we sinned too, covenantally (Romans 5:12-21). The result is death (Genesis 2:17; Ezekiel 18:20; James 1:15), and the original corruption leads to actual transgressions: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one” (Romans 3:10-12; cf. Genesis 6:5; Proverbs 20:9). When left to themselves, men spiral downward, they do not rise upward (Romans 1:24-32). Marxism proposes a materialistic form of Pelagianism.

Fourth, we reject Antinomianism. The chief ethical principle of Marxism is an unfettering of the oppressed class, while family, law, morality, state, religion, and other concepts are tools of oppressors. This abandonment of basic righteousness will be more or less present in any Marxist, but the materialistic undergirding will be present, that none of these concepts or elements have dogmatic forms which are necessary to morality. This is quickly refuted by the Scriptures, which present God’s law as the unchanging, universal dogma of morality (Genesis 15:16; Isaiah 10:5-19; Amos 2:9; Romans 2:14-15). No social context changes this (Psalm 2). Civil government (Romans 13:1-7; Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13-14) and family (Ephesians 5:22-6:9), as institutions, are designed and ordained by God. What constitutes a true religion and proper worship of God has always been dogmatically present with mankind (e.g. Genesis 4:1-7, 26).[14]Marxism calls for an abandonment of God’s dogmatic law, which is a form of Antinomianism.

Fifth, we reject discontentment. Marxism is grown with a distaste for hierarchy. Rulers, whether by formal civil governance or influence via wealth and power, are typically oppressors (especially capitalist rulers). God has created the world with hierarchy, having designed such institutions as civil government and family (Romans 13:1-7; Genesis 2:18-25), and having blessed the obedient exertion of influence. Lydia was a wealthy seller of purple goods (Acts 16:14). The Spirit compelled her, not to sell her house, but to open it for Paul’s party (v.15). Abram, and none of his contemporaries, was chosen by God to be privileged and blessed (Genesis 12:1-3). The love of money, not money itself, is a root of all kinds of evils (1 Timothy 6:10). The substance of this error is discontentment, because it betrays dissatisfaction with how God has ordered the world. “In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other” (Ecclesiastes 7:14). One family is better-off than another. One man has greater influence than another. Hierarchy is part of the fabric of the world, or else the Gospel itself is evil: “the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church” (Ephesians 5:23).

Sixth, we reject antagonism. By centralizing societal conflict in history and advocating for further, broad conflict, Marxism operates as an antagonist among men. Perhaps to Marx’s amusement, it is the negative element to any present society, with the aim of tearing down and destroying. This destructive antagonism is the mark of troublemakers. “The Lord hates… feet that make haste to run to evil… and one who sows discord among brothers” (Proverbs 6:16-19). “And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:18; cf. Matthew 5:9). There are times for conflict, for warfare, and for fighting (1 Samuel 17), but instigation is foolishness. “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Romans 12:18).

Seventh, we reject oppression. Despite its lively condemnations of oppression, Marxism is the greater oppressor. In the first case, Marxism would have social contracts enslaved to a narrow application of LTV. LTV seems to have been widely accepted before Marx, because prior to great agricultural and industrial development, labor and commodity related on a 1:1 ratio. If you wanted a tomato, you would inevitably have to do x amount of work to have a tomato. Technological development allowed for less work to produce more tomatoes. However, before Marx, there was no systematic complaint against the concept of wage labor. For as far back as we have records, men have hired additional hands to assist with various work. Marxism applies LTV by labeling wage laborers “oppressed.”

In the second case, Marxism would rob men of private property. “The theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.”[15] Marxism distinguishes between private and personal property (personal for personal use; private for business use), but such a distinction does not fit Biblical paradigms. “You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15).

Scripture refutes both of these oppressions in Matthew 20:

For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and to them he said, “You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.” So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, “Why do you stand here idle all day?” They said to him, “Because no one has hired us.” He said to them, “You go into the vineyard too.” And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, “Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.” And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, saying, “These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.” But he replied to one of them, “Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?” So the last will be first, and the first last.

vv.1-16

The point of this story is not to argue economics, but the point rests on the master’s economics being sound. If this parable does not represent honest economical conduct, then God is unjust. Therefore, notice three matters in this parable. First, there is the matter of wage. The master hires laborers for his vineyard (v.1), and he is justified in this venture. No laborer in this parable laments the fact that they were hired and paid wages (v.8). This text presents wage labor as fair and reasonable. “The wages of a hired worker shall not remain with you all night until the morning” (Leviticus 19:13).

Second, there is the matter of contract. The master agreed with the first laborers for a denarius a day (v.2). He promised the second, third, fourth, and fifth groups a fair wage if they also worked (vv.3-7). When He gave a denarius to members of every labor group (vv.8-10), the initial laborers complained: “You have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat” (v.12). The master responded, “I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius?” (v.13). This implies the freedom of both parties – laborer and employer – to enter into a contract of employment. Marxism attempts to restrict the freedom of both parties concerning such contracts.

Third, there is the matter of property. “Take what belongs to you and go” (v.14) – that is, take the denarius we agreed upon and leave. The laborers did not have a right to the fruit of the vineyard, even though they labored for it that day. The master continued, “Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?” (v.15). The money and the vineyard belonged to the master, and He had prerogatives over them. In fact, his hiring those laborers is considered generosity. That seizure of private property for which Marxism advocates is the venomous tongue of envy: “For he has crushed and abandoned the poor; he has seized a house that he did not build. Because he knew no contentment in his belly, he will not let anything in which he delights escape him. There was nothing left after he had eaten; therefore his prosperity will not endure” (Job 20:19-21). Those who plot the downfall of the wealthy, in order to share and distribute the stolen wealth equally among themselves, are without an eternal inheritance (1 Corinthians 6:10) and are fools:

If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood; let us ambush the innocent without reason;
Like Sheol let us swallow them alive, and whole, like those who go down to the pit;
We shall find all precious goods, we shall fill our houses with plunder;
Throw in your lot among us; we will all have one purse” –
My son, do not walk in the way with them; hold back your foot from their paths,
For their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood.
For in vain is a net spread in the sight of any bird,
But these men lie in wait for their own blood; they set an ambush for their own lives.
Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain; it takes away the life of its possessors.

Proverbs 11:11-19

How treacherous to Marx must the counsel of Christ be: “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages” (Luke 3:14). Contrary to Scripture, Marxism condemns wage labor, restricts contracts, and facilitates theft. To the advocates of such an oppressive ideology, we offer this admonishment: “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need” (Ephesians 4:28).

Eighth, we reject idolatry. Marxism calls for a centralization of power in civil government. For example, consider the Manifesto’s “measures to be taken”:

1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes. 
2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax. 
3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance. 
4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels. 
5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
8. Equal liability of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.
10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, &c, &c.

Marx, pg. 15-16

In the least, measures 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, and 9 demand an inflation of civil government beyond necessary and moral means. In brief, the government takes the place of God. Your education, food, currency, property, housing, and basic livelihood is given to you by civil government. It is no coincidence that Communist countries like China and North Korea have pictures of state leaders hung in places of worship, most heinously in local churches. Marxism calls for the deification of the state. Such idolatry is the basic fabric of all sin, and despicable in the sight of Almighty God.

Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever!

Romans 1:22-25

To the god of Marxism, Scriptures offer a rebuttal:

Set forth your case, says the Lord; bring your proofs, says the King of Jacob. Let them bring them, and tell us what is to happen. Tell us the former things, what they are, that we may consider them, that we may know their outcome; or declare to us the things to come. Tell us what is to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods; do good, or do harm, that we may be dismayed and terrified. Behold, you are nothing, and your work is less than nothing; an abomination is he who chooses you.

Isaiah 41:21-24

[1] His father was a Jewish jurist, and his father a rabbi. His mother came from a Dutch rabbi’s family. His household converted to Christianity in 1824.

[2] Lenin: “Just ad Darwin put an end to the view that the species of animals and plants are… ‘created by God’ and are immutable and was the first to place biology on solid scientific foundations by establishing the mutability and succession of species, so Marx put an end to the view that society is a mechanical aggregation of individuals…, and was the first to put sociology on a scientific footing by establishing the concept of the economic formation of society as the sum total of the given relations of production and by showing that the development of these formations is a process of natural history.” Quoted in Vucinich, Social Thought in Tsarist Russia (Chicago; Chicago Press, 1976), 186. Original source: Lenin, Polnoe sobranie sochinenii, 1:139.

[3] Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto (Kindle Edition; Macho Pubhouse, 2016), 2.

[4] Ibid. This is also a straightforward presentation of social dialectic theory. Again on page 9, “Hitherto, every form of society has been based, as we have already seen, on the antagonism of oppressing and oppressed classes.”

[5] Ibid. While continuation is definitional to these class struggles, it is debatable whether class struggles are definitional to society. Because Marx and Engels rejected concepts of utopia in favor of ongoing change and gradual improvement, it seems probable that class struggles are indeed definitional to society. However, it is certain that class struggles would be more definitional than law, morality, religion, and the like. On these conflicts perpetuating within distinct nations, the Manifesto notes, “Though not in substance, yet in form, the struggle of the proletariat with the bourgeoisie is at first a national struggle. The Proletariat of each country must, of course, first of all settle matters with its own bourgeoisie” (Ibid.).

[6] For example: “Law, morality, religion, are to him so many bourgeois prejudices, behind which lurk in ambush just as many bourgeois interests” (Ibid., 8). Marx’s view of such matters is probably consistent with Engels’, particularly due to the influence of Lewis H. Morgan. Morgan, though seemingly ungiven to dialectic theory, was nevertheless a staunch materialist, and it appears both Marx and Engels were glad for his contributions. For discussion on this, see Vucinich, 188-191.

[7] Marx, 9.

[8] “By bourgeoisie is meant the class of modern capitalists, owners of the means of social production and employers of wage labour. By proletariat, the class of modern wage labourers who, having no means of production of their own, are reduced to selling their labour power in order to live” (later note by Engels in the 1888 English edition; Ibid.). One may argue whether both or one of these classes remain the principle antagonists today. Capitalism remains, yet not in the same manner as before.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid., 6.

[11] “Communism deprives no man of the power to appropriate the products of society; all that it does is to deprive him of the power to subjugate the labour of others by means of such appropriations” (12). The bourgeois rule by means of capitalism because their power comes from capital, which comes from wage-labor, which comes from competition between laborers. Inversely: competition between laborers allows for wage-labor. Wage-labor allows for capital. Capital allows for bourgeois power. Therefore, the proletariat must unite and “overthrow… all existing social conditions” (Ibid., 24). The Manifesto fittingly ends with the imperative, “Proletarians of all countries, unite!” (Ibid. The common “working men” is translated from proletarier, which manifestly connects the final admonition with the prior argument of the manifesto).

[12] Ibid., 12-14.

[13] It may be objected that Marxism only speaks on a human level, which does not preclude a divine, providential level. This is a false objection, because Marxism is a materialistic ideology. It detaches sociology, and human history, from the providence of God altogether.

[14] I am aware that the Manifesto (pg.14-15) offers some dialogue with my basic point in this paragraph. However, the brief attention it gives is rhetorical, lacking any substance to which a response might be given.

[15] Marx, 10.

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