Category Archives: European History

The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

The Communist Manifesto (Das Kommunistische Manifest), originally titled Manifesto of the Communist Party (German~Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei) is a short 1848 publication written by German political theorists Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.  It has since been recognized as one of the world’s most influential and widely read political manuscripts of the 20th century.

It presents an analytical approach to class struggle (historical and present) and the problems of capitalism, rather than a prediction of communism’s potential future forms. Marx sought to differentiate his brand of socialism from others by offering a scientifically based theory predicated on an “objective” study of history- which he saw a continuous process of change and transformation.  Just as feudalism evolved to mercantilism and then to capitalism, thus capitalism eventually gives way to socialism and then communism as the result of class struggle.

The book contains Marx and Engels’ Marxist theories about the nature of society and politics, that in their own words, “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles”.

Karl Marx

The Manifesto demonstrates that capitalism, due to its internal contradictions, inevitably moves from crisis to crisis. “And how does the bourgeoisie get over these crises?” asks the Manifesto. By the conquest of new markets, which only paves the way for “more extensive and destructive” crises.

The essential condition for the existence and power of the capitalist class is “the formation and augmentation of capital.” Yet inevitably as the capitalist class develops, so the working class develops proportionately.

The Role of the Working Class:

“Working class,” in Marxist terms, does not mean only factory or industrial workers. Nor does it merely refer to anyone who is impoverished or exclude those who cannot work – the unemployed, the disabled, and people who care for children or relatives for example, or school students and those in further or higher education – who would be working for a living, if circumstances were different.

Workers are those who “must sell themselves piecemeal” for a wage or salary.

Friederich Engels

“All previous historical movements were movements of minorities… The proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interests of the immense majority. The proletariat, the lowest stratum of our present society, cannot stir, cannot raise itself up, without the whole superincumbent strata of official society being sprung into the air.”

Contents ~    Preamble
I:   Bourgeois and Proletarians
II: Proletarians and Communists
III: Socialist and Communist Literature
IV: Position of the Communists in Relation to the Various Existing Opposition Parties

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Communist_Manifesto

http://www.marxist.net/index.html

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A Peoples’ Primer on U.S.-Iran Relations

U.S. military bases in the Middle East

 

POLITICAL HISTORY OF IRAN

  • 1908: Oil is discovered in Persia.
  • 1914: Russian, British, and German troops occupy the country during WWI.
  • 1935: Reza Shah had the official name of the country changed from Persia to Iran.
  • 1941: During WWII, Reza Shah is forced by the Allies to grant the throne to his son, Mohammad Rezā Shāh Pahlavi due to his alleged pro-German sentiments.
  • 1951, the Majlis (Parliament of Iran) named Mohammad Mossadegh as new prime minister by a vote of 79–12, who shortly after nationalized the British-owned oil industry (see Abadan Crisis). Mossadegh was opposed by the Shah who feared a resulting oil embargo imposed by the West would leave Iran in economic ruin. The Shah flees Iran.
  • 1951: Prime Minister Mosadegh nationalizes Iran’s oil industry.
  • 1953: With British and U.S.  help, Mohammad Rezā Shāh Pahlavi returns to Iran via CIA’s  Operation Ajax.
  • 1953-1979: Mohammad Rezā Shāh Pahlavi makes Iran a rentier state (economy based on the selling of some commodity) based on oil and import substitution industrialization (focus on capital-intensive industry) which led to the neglect of agriculture and small-scale production.

The 1953 Iranian coup d’état was the first time the U.S. used the CIA to overthrow a democratically elected, civil government. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, encouraged by his Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, a defender of transnational corporate power, agreed to send the Central Intelligence Agency in to depose Mossadegh ending democracy in Iran.

Click Link for “History of Iran & USA in 10 min”

The operation – code name “Operation Ajax” – took less than a month in the summer of 1953. Continue reading

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Filed under American History, American Politics, anti-war, European History, Middle East, The Carter Administration, The Nixon Administration

Eric Hobsbawm | C (for Crisis)

London Review of Books

C (for Crisis)

Eric Hobsbawm

The Morbid Age: Britain between the Wars by Richard Overy

 

There is a major difference between the traditional scholar’s questions about the past – ‘What happened in history, when and why?’ – and the question that has, in the last 40 years or so, come to inspire a growing body of historical research: namely, ‘How do or did people feel about it?’ The first oral history societies were founded in the late 1960s. Since then the number of institutions and works devoted to ‘heritage’ and historical memory – notably about the great 20th-century wars – has grown explosively. Studies of historical memory are essentially not about the past, but about the retrospect to it of some subsequent present. Richard Overy’s The Morbid Age demonstrates another, and less indirect, approach to the emotional texture of the past: the difficult excavation of contemporary popular reactions to what was happening in and around people’s lives – one might call it the mood music of history.

Though this type of research is fascinating, especially when done with Overy’s inquisitiveness and surprised erudition, it presents the historian with considerable problems. What does it mean to describe an emotion as characteristic of a country or era; what is the significance of a socially widespread emotion, even one plainly related to dramatic historical events? How and how far do we measure its prevalence? Polling, the current mechanism for such measurement, was not available before c.1938. In any case, such emotions – the extremely widespread dislike of Jews in the West, for instance – were obviously not felt or acted on in the same way by, say, Adolf Hitler and Virginia Woolf. Emotions in history are neither chronologically stable nor socially homogeneous, even in the moments when they are universally felt, as in London under the German air-raids, and their intellectual representations even less so. How can they be compared or contrasted? In short, what are historians to make of the new field?

The specific mood Overy looks into is the sense of crisis and fear, ‘a presentiment of impending disaster’, the prospect of the end of civilisation, that, in his view, characterised Britain between the wars. There is nothing specifically British or 20th-century about such a mood. Indeed, in the last millennium it would be hard to point to a time, at least in the Christian world, when it found no significant expression, often in the apocalyptic idiom constructed for the purpose and explored in Norman Cohn’s works. (Aldous Huxley, in Overy’s quotation, sees ‘Belial’s guiding hand’ in modern history.) There are good reasons in European history why the sense that ‘we’ – however defined – feel under threat from outside enemies or inner demons is not exceptional.

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