The Communist Manifesto should be taught in schools

The reasons in this list will be arguing for the reading(on mass, maybe as a requirement in schools) of the text, not for the ideas within it. this article is written(to the best of my ability) from an impartial perspective on the ideas presented within it and the movements inspired by those ideas. Additionally, the schools referred to in the article are highschools, as highschool is the period where politics and government are learned in most places(to the best of my knowledge) and it makes more sense to teach The Manifesto then and not prior in a person’s education.

five reasons are going to be listed. The reasons listed will be broken down into two groups: content and accessibility.

Content:

History

Many of the most influential movements in modern history, including the trade unionist movements of most countries, the Bolsheviks, the Chinese and Vietnamese independence movements, and many more, were influenced by marxism, communism or socialism and specifically by The Manifesto. Reading it can provide much-needed context when discussing or studying nineteenth and twentieth-century history. too many times at schools communist and socialist movements are discussed(usually in a negative light) without proper explanation or understanding of the ideas guiding these movements, and with a cold war attitude of complete negativity towards them, because those very movements were considered to be enemies of the west more than 30 years ago. The cold war is over, the west isn't fighting against communism or socialism anymore, we need to find a more useful way to discuss these historical movements, the causes that propelled them to historical relevancy and the ideas behind them(whether we approve of them or not). the first step in doing that is to understand those ideas, and the communist manifesto, as one of the more well-known and widely read texts explaining them, is a good start for understanding these ideas and putting many aspects of history in their proper context.

Modern Politics

The communist manifesto is considered by most Marxists, socialists and communists(including anarchists) as a key text for them, a text that summarizes their ideas, beliefs and analysis well. Most countries have a significant socialist party, movement or wing(be it communist, social democratic or any other tendency in between). Therefore, in order to understand modern politics in most countries, socialist ideas and texts must be understood, and furthermore, it stands to reason that one of the main texts that will need to be examined in order to understand socialist ideas and beliefs is The Communist Manifesto. To many times we can hear arguing for and against socialism, communism or marxism without a concrete definition or understanding of any of these terms and ideologies. This is a problem when these ideologies are politically relevant, because it turns political discourse from a discussion about ideas and the validity or morality of them, to a discussion of semantics and esthetics. The teaching of The Manifesto and socialist ideas(as neither correct nor wrong, but as existent and influential) in schools will solve this problem, will give the population of a country a better understanding of politics and will make political discourse much more productive, as it will move from arguments over the definition of words, to a more discussion of political and economic ideas.

Accessibility:

length

The Communist manifesto is quite short. Its length ranges from about 23 pages to about 80 pages, depending on the language, translation and physical size of the version of it in question. The short length of the manifesto and its conciseness mean that reading it and understanding the ideas it presents(that have already been demonstrated as important to understand) should take a small amount of time and work to do, making it quicker and easier for already stressed out and overworked highschoolers to learn and learn from.

language

Most editions of the communist manifesto are written in relatively simple and plain language. This is because originally, it was meant to be a pamphlet to be distributed alongside newspapers or within them, and was meant to be read and understood by non-academics. This contrasts most other socialist, communist, Marxist and political texts in general, that were usually written by academics, in academic language, for academics or other, usually wealthy, well-educated individuals. The relative simplicity of the language The manifesto is written in means it is much easier to understand than many other texts discussing its ideas, making it a better text to be read by high-school students(or people in general), who are not academics(at least not yet) and usually will find it very difficult to read a text in technical, academic or otherwise esoteric language.

availability

The communist manifesto, as one of the most widely read texts in the world, is readily available in most places and to most people — There is a free version on Ibooks, there is a free pdf version at: www.marxists.org and most libraries and bookshops will have a copy or multiple, of this text. the wide availability of the manifesto means students shouldn’t have a problem in obtaining the text, and schools shouldn't have a problem in providing students and teachers with the text. many books that are required reading in education systems around the world are harder and/or more expensive to get, so the communist manifesto should have no such troubles.

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Adam Stern

Adam Stern

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An Israeli anti-zionist, anarcho-communist, eco-socialist, feminist, and bisexual activist, film editor and member of the Communist Party.