Europe in the tenth and eleventh centuries was a continent in transition. The states of Europe were still in flux and the kings of Europe had limited authority outside their own personal demesne. Although individual French kings did wield considerable power, they waged a constant struggle to have their authority recognized by the great magnates in France, especially after the fall of the Carolingian dynasty in the ninth century. The rest of Europe was no exception, in England the king was engaged in a great struggle with his leading barons and the Pope that would not be settled until the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215.
Communist Manifesto and the Present
This is a piece that talks about Marx, The Communist Manifesto, and how or even if,Â Marxism is still relevant in the contemporary world.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The verdict of history regarding Marxism would seem to be on the side of those who claim that the Marxist program has been a colossal failure. None of the predictions made by Marx in his manifesto have come true, certainly not his central theme in which the masses reap the benefits of an equalization of status in society. It is certain that everywhere Marxism has been tried it has failed China, Russia, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Cuba among others. Marxism has failed and failed spectacularly. However, it continues to exert an attraction for those who felt that society should provide for all or that are disenchanted with the capitalist system and fell that there must be some better way of running the world.
David Horowitz made this point extremely well when he pointed out that: “since the â€˜Manifestoâ€™ was writtenâ€¦ 100 million people have been killed in its name. Between 10 and 20 times that number have been condemned to lives of unnecessary misery and human squalor, deprived of the life chances afforded the most humble citizens of the industrial democracies that Marxists set out to destroy.â€Â Apparently people are not willing to give up their economic autonomy as easily as Marx thought they would be and so they must be forced into doing what Marxists perceive as being in their best interests.
Bread and Circuses
I was driving back to the office from an appointment today and heard on the radio that there were demonstrations in Athens this morning in sympathy with the Italians against proposed austerity measures. I immediately started to reflect on the number of demonstrations/riots in Europe in the past few months because of budget tightening measures necessitated by the rapidly failing social states of Europe. The first phrase that came to my mind was how angry people get when their bread and circuses get reduced which got me to thinking of where the phrase Bread and Circuses came from. The phrase comes from the Roman playwright Juvenal who wrote … More after the Jump…