Wednesday, January 19, 2011

rereading the Communist Manifesto

After translating the introduction of the Communist Manifesto into American (a bogeyman is scaring America: the Declaration of the Fair Share Party), I was tempted to translate the rest, but I've given up that whim. The Communist Manifesto is both timeless and hopelessly of its time, like Swift's "A Modest Proposal—if you don't get it, an American version won't help.

Rereading the beginning, I saw something I hadn't noticed before. It anticipates neoliberalism:
The bourgeoisie ... has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom — Free Trade.
And I still love this observation of life under capitalism:
All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind.
Alas, it's a century and a half later, and what's solid is still melting.

Eta: Tweaked to correct a sloppiness.