Countering the Mystique of the Proletariat

The Communist Manifesto, written by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels in 1848, asserts that “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles,” that social transformations grow out of the contradiction between productive forces and the relations of production when the latter become too constricting for the development of the former. In every epoch a revolutionary class incarnates these productive forces. [For Marxists, the classic historic example of a class struggle which is followed by a radical social transformation is the transition from feudalism to capitalism. In this example the bourgeoisie incarnated the new productive forces: the feudal relations of production (the way society was organized), were too inflexible to accommodate the increasing commodity production.