The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
The Communist Manifesto
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
1:22 h Ideas Lvl 9.9 43.2 mb
The Communist Manifesto, originally the Manifesto of the Communist Party (German: Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei), is an 1848 political pamphlet by the German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. The Manifesto was later recognised as one of the world's most influential political documents. It presents an analytical approach to the class struggle (historical and then-present) and the conflicts of capitalism and the capitalist mode of production, rather than a prediction of communism's potential future forms.

Manifesto of the Communist Party

by
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels


Photo of Karl Marx by Friedrich Karl Wunder. Photo of Friedrich Engels by George Lester.

A spectre is haunting Europe—the spectre of Communism.All the Powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance toexorcise this spectre: Pope and Czar, Metternich and Guizot,French Radicals and German police-spies.

Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried asCommunistic by its opponents in power? Where is the Oppositionthat has not hurled back the branding reproach of Communism,against the more advanced opposition parties, as well as againstits reactionary adversaries?

Two things result from this fact.

I. Communism is already acknowledged by all European Powersto be itself a Power.

II. It is high time that Communists should openly, in theface of the whole world, publish their views, their aims, theirtendencies, and meet this nursery tale of the Spectre ofCommunism with a Manifesto of the party itself.

To this end, Communists of various nationalities haveassembled in London, and sketched the following Manifesto, to bepublished in the English, French, German, Italian, Flemish andDanish languages.


Section I
Bourgeois and Proletarians

The history of all hitherto existing societies is the historyof 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 anuninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each timeended, either in a revolutionary re-constitution of society atlarge, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.

In the earlier epochs of history, we find almost everywhere acomplicated arrangement of society into various orders, amanifold gradation of social rank. In ancient Rome we havepatricians, knights, plebeians, slaves; in the Middle Ages,feudal lords, vassals, guild-masters, journeymen, apprentices,serfs; in almost all of these classes, again, subordinategradations.

The modern bourgeois society that has sprouted from the ruinsof feudal society has not done away with class antagonisms. Ithas but established new classes, new conditions of oppression,new forms of struggle in place of the old ones. Our epoch, theepoch of the bourgeoisie, possesses, however, this distinctivefeature: it has simplified the class antagonisms. Society as awhole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps,into two great classes, directly facing each other: Bourgeoisieand Proletariat.

From the serfs of the Middle Ages sprang the chartered burghersof the earliest towns. From these burgesses the first elementsof the bourgeoisie were developed.

The discovery of America, the rounding of the Cape, opened upfresh ground for the rising bourgeoisie. The East-Indian andChinese markets, the colonisation of America, trade withthe colonies, the increase in the means of exchange and incommodities generally, gave to commerce, to navigation, toindustry, an impulse never before known, and thereby, to therevolutionary element in the tottering feudal society, a rapiddevelopment.

The feudal system of industry, under which industrial productionwas monopolised by closed guilds, now no longer sufficed for thegrowing wants of the new markets. The manufacturing system tookits place. The guild-masters were pushed on one side by themanufacturing middle class; division of labour between thedifferent corporate guilds vanished in the face of division oflabour in each single workshop.

Meantime the markets kept ever growing, the demand ever rising.Even manufacture no longer sufficed. Thereupon, steam andmachinery revolutionised industrial production. The place ofmanufacture was taken by the giant, Modern Industry, the place ofthe industrial middle class, by industrial millionaires, theleaders of whole industrial armies, the modern bourgeois.

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