Last update: Monday, December 17, 2012 06:41:54 PM
The Communist Manifesto
The first edition of the book, in German.
The rational for this presentation is not so much
that communism is a practical form of civilization and democracy and capitalism
is a perfect form of government but rather that abundance (greed)
Western form of governing and wealth building is not realistic due to the fact
peoples' attitude about it is fundamental erroneous. The false notion that
anything in this world which people assume is theirs is absolutely not
because one thing is certain that people did not create it but merely transform
it from the earth and by the logic that what is yours is only the right to
temporarily use and consume it but not actually own it.
So with communism there is a more sane and realistic approach to possession in that insofar as ownership is concerned it's never really intrinsically "owned", a contradiction in term, by any one individual or group.
|Author (s)||Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels|
|Language||Originally German, subsequently into many others.|
|Publication date||21 February 1848|
Friedrich Engels has often been credited in composing the first drafts, which led to The Communist Manifesto. In July 1847, Engels was elected into the Communist League, where he was assigned to draw up a catechism. This became the Draft of a Communist Confession of Faith. The draft contained almost two dozen questions that helped express the ideas of both Engels and Karl Marx at the time. In October 1847, Engels composed his second draft for the Communist League entitled The Principles of Communism. The text remained unpublished until 1914, despite its basis for The Manifesto. From Engels's drafts Marx was able to write, once commissioned by the Communist League, The Communist Manifesto, where he combined more of his ideas along with Engels's drafts and work, The Condition of the Working Class in England.
Although the names of both Engels and Karl Marx appear on the title page alongside the "persistent assumption of joint-authorship", Engels, in the preface introduction to the 1883 German edition of the Manifesto, said that the Manifesto was "essentially Marx's work" and that "the basic thought... belongs solely and exclusively to Marx."
Engels wrote after Marx's death,
"I cannot deny that both before and during my forty years' collaboration with Marx I had a certain independent share in laying the foundations of the theory, but the greater part of its leading basic principles belong to Marx....Marx was a genius; we others were at best talented. Without him the theory would not be by far what it is today. It therefore rightly bears his name."
Despite Engels's modesty in these two quotations, in fact he made major contributions to the Manifesto, starting with the suggestion to abandon "the form of a catechism and entitle it the Communist Manifesto." Moreover, Engels joined Marx in Brussels for the writing of the Manifesto. There is no evidence of what his contributions to the final writing were, but the Manifesto bears the stamp of Marx's more rhetorical writing style. Nevertheless, it seems clear that Engels's contributions justify his name's appearance on the title page after Marx's.
The Manifesto is divided into an introduction, three substantive sections, and a conclusion.
The preamble to the main text of the Manifesto states that the continent of Europe fears the "specter of communism", and the powers of old Europe are uniting in "a holy alliance [intended to] exorcise this specter". Marx refers here to not only the houses of power and landed gentry of old Europe—the bourgeoisie—but diverse factions such as the papacy and the emerging corporate world as well. Marx declares that "It is high time that Communists should openly, in the face of the whole world, publish their views, their aims, their tendencies, and meet this nursery tale of the specter of communism with a manifesto of the party itself".
The first chapter of the Manifesto, "Bourgeois and Proletarians", examines the Marxist conception of history, with the initial idea asserting that "The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles". It goes on to say that in capitalism, the working class, proletariat, are fighting in the class struggle against the owners of the means of production, the bourgeois, and that past class struggle ended either with revolution that restructured society, or "common ruin of the contending classes".
It continues by adding that the bourgeois exploits the proletariat through the "constant revolutionizing of production [and] uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions".
The Manifesto explains that the reason the bourgeois exist and exploit the proletariat with low wages is private property, "the accumulation of wealth in private hands, the formation and increase of capital" and that competition amongst the proletariat creates wage-labor, which rests entirely on the competition among the workers.
This section further explains that the proletarians will eventually rise to power through class struggle: the bourgeoisie constantly exploits the proletariat for its manual labour and cheap wages, ultimately to create profit for the bourgeois; the proletariat rise to power through revolution against the bourgeoisie such as riots or creation of unions. The Communist Manifesto states that while there is still class struggle amongst society, capitalism will be overthrown by the proletariat only to start again in the near future; ultimately communism is the key to class equality amongst the citizens of Europe.
The second section, "Proletarians and Communists", starts by stating the relationship of conscious communists to the rest of the working class, declaring that they will not form a separate party that opposes other working-class parties, will express the interests and general will of the proletariat as a whole, and will distinguish themselves from other working-class parties by always expressing the common interest of the entire proletariat independently of all nationalities and representing the interests of the movement as a whole.
The section goes on to defend communism from various objections, such as the claim that communists advocate "free love", and the claim that people will not perform labor in a communist society because they have no incentive to work. The section ends by outlining a set of short-term demands:
The implementation of these policies would, as believed by Marx and Engels, be a precursor to the stateless and classless society. In a controversial passage they suggested that the "proletariat" might in competition with the bourgeoisie be compelled to organize as a class, form a revolution, make itself a ruling class, sweep away the old conditions of production, and in that step have abolished its own supremacy as a class. This account of the transition from socialism to communism was criticized particularly during and after the Soviet era.
The third section, "Socialist and Communist Literature," distinguishes communism from other socialist doctrines prevalent at the time the Manifesto was written. While the degree of reproach of Marx and Engels toward rival perspectives varies, all are dismissed for advocating reformism and failing to recognise the preeminent role of the working class.
The concluding section, "Position of the Communists in Relation to the Various Opposition Parties", briefly discusses the communist position on struggles in specific countries in the mid-nineteenth century such as France, Switzerland, Poland, and Germany, and declares that Germany "is on the eve of a bourgeois revolution", and predicts that a world revolution will soon follow. It then ends by declaring an alliance with the social democrats, boldly supporting other communist revolutions, and calling the proletarians to action, ending with the rallying cry of communism, "Workers of the world, unite!".