Communism is one of the most influential utopian social theories that have a great influence on the development of many countries. The first document that presents the detailed outline of the main principles and goals of communism is The Communist Manifest written in 1848 by Engels and Marx.
This document is considered to me one of the most influential in the world history. We can put it in the same rank with the Bible and Koran for its influence on the word society. The Manifesto provoked many positive and negative responses, it has a great influence on the literature and rhetoric. A detailed rhetorical analysis of the document reveals the influence of it on the reader, as well as provides a “corrective” understanding of the text.
As it has already been mentioned, the Marxist theory provoked many discourses and was analyzed by many linguists from the point of view of its “rhetorical power” and function of the language as the main rhetorical means.
A famous philologist and linguist Bakhtin described the use of language in its relation to the particular circumstances and he emphasized the process of subject formation: “pre-empts the phenomenological theory of the subject by producing a broader concept of subject-formation at the Level of society. He casts his argument in terms of ideology rather than simply language, making the case that ideological construction is in fact material and does contribution to subject-formation” (Bernard-Donals 15).
The rhetoric of Marxism also influenced the works by Virginia Woolf. One of the examples is the essay Profession for Women. In this essay, she explores her mind and call woman overcome prejudices and obstacles in their life.
The essay is devoted to the role of woman in the society and her struggle with the social prejudices. The idea of communist equality is one of the core ideas of this work. However, Woolf does not put women in opposition with men. She emphasizes that every woman should explore her personality and develop as an individual.
According to Krista Patcliffe’s book, “examination of Wool’s critique of women, language and culture we can outline her feminine rhetorical tradition. The genre concepts of this tradition are: material conditions, language function text, author, style and audience” (33).
Another philosopher and sociologist Michel Foucault was the follower of structuralism. In his work, The Archaeology of Knowledge, in which he discovers different approaches to the history of discourse. He explores the discursive relations between statements. Gloria Anzaldua’s From Borderlands is another work that explores the problem of social equality, gender equality in particular.
It is an autobiographical work which key concept is the author’s acquisition and development of spiritual awareness, which is represented as a source of empowerment leading to self-transformation” (Slepoy 3). The language of the work is extremely beautiful. In such a beautiful language, the author describes the modern tendencies of society, relations between man and women and the role of women in the society.
The Manifesto begins with the outline of the purposes and of communism in order to attract the public attention. The main intention of the author was to make the document easy to understand by the general public. The Manifesto is written with the purpose to describe communism as the best way of life and prevent fears of people and government for this political movement.
So, the general subject of the Communist manifesto is to explain to a broad public the benefits of the communist theory and to call the workers from all over the world to unite and struggle against class inequality and defeat the bourgeois capitalist society.
The manifesto call to a proletarian revolution and establishing a new society based on social, economic and political equality. This idea runs through the text in different interpretations. It is the main theme of the document and its thesis.
The structure of the document has a big meaning for the influence on the audience. The writing is divided into four parts, each part of the document describes a particular theme. Marx starts with the explanation of the structure of the society in different times and class struggle:
“The history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight,” (Marx and Engels 7).
The second section describes a new working class “proletarian”. The authors emphasize that it is the only and perfect social structure and only working class can create new “social paradise”. The third and fourth parts of the document are devoted to the discussion of the forms of socialism and describe a “true socialism”.
The manifesto has a very strong “rhetorical power”. First of all, it is based on opposition: the authors oppose two classes bourgeois and working class. They focus on the exploitation of one class (workers) by another (ruling bourgeois). Furthermore, the text has a great emotional power as it addresses the issues that worried people at that time.
The tone is solemn and contains notes that evoke the desire for struggle. The authors address the reader that makes him/her feel involved and significant. His purpose is to inform, explain persuade and motivate the reader.
In addition, the authors use various stylistic means, such as comparisons, hyperboles and repetitions, “It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connexions everywhere” (Marx and Engels 8), and emotionally colored words, such as adjectives, for example, “In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation” (Marx and Engels 8).
Moreover, the authors use broad explanations and examples in order to support their point of view. Thus, the language of the document contributes to the text and helps in supporting the main idea of the document.
The Communist theory had a great influence on the social and cultural development in many countries. It was very popular in Europe and its influence can be compared only to the influence of Bible and Koran. The principles of communism are described in the Communist Manifest by Marx and Engels.
This document has a very big “rhetorical power” due to its structure, language and stylistic means used by the authors. A detailed rhetorical analysis of the writing can help explain the influence of it on the reader, as well as provides a “corrective” understanding of the text. This document remains the best example of the art of rhetoric. It became a basis for many scientific works and had a great influence on works of modern and post-modern writers, psychologists and linguists.
Bernard-Donals, Michael F. Mikhail Bakhtin: Between Phenomenology and Marxism (Literature, Culture, Theory). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994.
Marx, Karl and Friedrich Engels. The Communist Manifesto. Web. 14 Dec. 2010.
Ratcliffe, Krista. Anglo-American Feminist Challenges to the Rhetorical Traditions: Virginia: SIU Press, 1996.
Slepoy, Graciela Susana Moreira. An Exploration of Gloria Anzaldua’s Feminist Thought in Borderlands/LaFrontera: The New Mestiza. Web. 14 Dec. 2010.