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Thread: The Communist Manifesto-THE most influential 19th century book?

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    The caffeinated newbie SFG75's Avatar
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    Post The Communist Manifesto-THE most influential 19th century book?

    So what do you think? Because of it, Marx became a heavyweight in four disciplines. Sociology, history, economics, and philosophy. It inspired a revolution where up to sixty nations in the world turned to communism(however a bastardized form it was) and altered the course of history as a result.

    Is The Communist Manifesto the most influential book of the 19th century?

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    L'artiste est morte crisaor's Avatar
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    I don't think it as Marx's most influential book (IMO that would be Das Kapital), much less of the entire 19th century.

    However, I agree that it bears significant relevance.
    Ningún hombre llega a ser lo que es por lo que escribe, sino por lo que lee.
    - Jorge Luis Borges

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    lunatic zen philosopher Triskele's Avatar
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    i don't know that Das Kapital was as ifluential as the Manifesto... its true that Marxs economic theory is relevant in this modern age, and the socialist theories that northern european countries have begun to employ may in the FUTURE make Das Kapital more influential, but to date the Manifesto has begun two cultural upheavals and a cold war b/w two major world powers.

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    I think the question to begin with was wrong. How can one actually weigh the influence of a book? Read up.

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    dreamer genoveva's Avatar
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    If I remember correctly, there was more than one Manifesto, wasn't there? It most definately helped to birth the Surrealist movement.
    "I have so often dreamed of you that you become unreal." ~ Robert Desnos

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    lunatic zen philosopher Triskele's Avatar
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    the book itself may not influence things, but ideas, ideas shape history, and the the concepts from the manifesto, the bold wording that just sucks you into his ideology, in general, marxs ideas did shape history in a bid way. and genoveva, there were multiple manifesto's, but there was one main one that marx wrote for i think the socialist party in berlin, and i assume that that is the one we are talking about.

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    The caffeinated newbie SFG75's Avatar
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    Triskele has an excellent point. Marx provided the framework for the seubsequent ideology which in his name, ran roughshod over the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, varous African nations, Asia, and a handful of South American ones at that. Certainly none of his contemporaries can claim credit. Proudhon?, Malatesta?, any fascist or economic writers?.

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    The Capital is certainly more influential in the field of economics. Most economists agree that Marx' analysis of capitalism is very sound and its still used by many writers of all creeds as something to which they have to position themselves. However, the Manifesto gave direction to unrest and discontent that had no clear direction before (they still would have been upheavals I think because the situation of workers was almost unendurable at the time). It also provided the ideological foundation of social movements and, in consequence, the communist countries although I would not agree that it caused the Cold War. So, in socio-political terms, it is one of the most influential books ever but on a general society-self-perception level, it may have been Freud (although his work reaches well into the 20th century) who exerted the most influence so much so that his ideas became (although in a simplified form) part of our understanding of individuals. He created psychology as a science if you want and all spheres of life are touched by his ideas (from marketing and childcare to psychological warfare and psychological experiments in space travel).
    It's life, Jim, but not as we know it.

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    The Most influential is Darwin Origem of Species. An influence to Marx himself.

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    definetely not THE most influential book (? - not quite sure it was considered a book) nit definetely one of the most influential written works.
    If you do want to list it as that then you might as well mention Engels.

    However, most influential MINDS are Marx, Darwin, and Freud.

    i wonder if Marx, himself, ever thought of it as an ideology though >_<

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    Champion Pierogi Eater Mr. Vandemar's Avatar
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    I'm not as acquainted with the 19th century as I would like to be, but the Communist Manifesto influenced me very heavily when I read it. My views on society did not change after I had read it, I merely was able to use his ideas to solidify my own. I would be confidant in saying that I am now a Marxist.

    I think that you are correct in comparing the Manifesto to other great works of the 19th century, but I do not know if anyone would be correct in calling it the "greatest" or "most influential". I do think however that it was VERY influential, look at the Communist revolutions of 1848 (the year the Manifesto was written).

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    The caffeinated newbie SFG75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCamilo View Post
    The Most influential is Darwin Origem of Species. An influence to Marx himself.
    Of everything posted up to his point, I believe you have provided the most formidable counter argument. Like Marx, Darwin's work crossed academic disciplines(also in bastardized forms, but I digress) and still influence us to this day.

    Das Kapital was more influential? I'm not certain that Das Kapital is what inspired revolutionaries across the globe. It is a good economic piece, don't get me wrong. At the same time, discussing the faults of the "superstructure" and it's base piece isn't what necssarily leads the poor to take to the streets.

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    The simple truth is that The Communist Manifesto had little if any influence on the revolutions that occurred in the nineteenth century. It had some influence on the twentieth century revolutions. To call The Communist Manifesto "great" is simply ridiculous. Marx and communism in general has been discredited for quite awhile. They were both failures, and to state that The Communist Manifesto still has influence simply displays a gross ignorance of both history and political theory.

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    The caffeinated newbie SFG75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dinkleberry2010 View Post
    To call The Communist Manifesto "great" is simply ridiculous. Marx and communism in general has been discredited for quite awhile. They were both failures, and to state that The Communist Manifesto still has influence simply displays a gross ignorance of both history and political theory.
    Just to quibble on a few points-what other book by an author has crossed so many academic disciplines? On top of that, effectiveness is an entirely different matter. I would agree that those who say "it was never actually practiced" are being simply dishonest. At the same time, I'm not certain that he would have agreed with the tactics of a Pol Pot or Joseph Stalin. We will never know that for certain, though he did believe push would come to shove, so maybe that is a valid point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dinkleberry2010 View Post
    The simple truth is that The Communist Manifesto had little if any influence on the revolutions that occurred in the nineteenth century. It had some influence on the twentieth century revolutions. To call The Communist Manifesto "great" is simply ridiculous. Marx and communism in general has been discredited for quite awhile. They were both failures, and to state that The Communist Manifesto still has influence simply displays a gross ignorance of both history and political theory.
    That's a very superficial reading of Marx though, his theories bear almost no relationship with the 20th century revolutions.

    He's somewhat surpassed because of a few recent developments he didn't forsee -world trade and alienation that leads to no-class conscience-, but the rest of his work is still "truth".
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