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Manifesto of the Communist Party (The Communist Manifesto)

Manifesto of the Communist Party (The Communist Manifesto)

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by Karl Marx

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The Communist Manifesto (Das Kommunistische Manifest), originally titled Manifesto of the Communist Party (German: Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei) is a short 1848 publication written by the political theorists Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. It has since been recognized as one of the world's most influential political manuscripts. Commissioned by the Communist


The Communist Manifesto (Das Kommunistische Manifest), originally titled Manifesto of the Communist Party (German: Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei) is a short 1848 publication written by the political theorists Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. It has since been recognized as one of the world's most influential political manuscripts. Commissioned by the Communist League, it laid out the League's purposes and program. It presents an analytical approach to the class struggle (historical and present) and the problems of capitalism, rather than a prediction of communism's potential future forms.

The book contains Marx and Engels' theories about the nature of society and politics, that in their own words, "The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles". It also briefly features their ideas for how the capitalist society of the time would eventually be replaced by socialism, and then eventually communism.

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 The text remained unpublished until 1914, despite its basis for The Manifesto.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."

The Communist Manifesto was first published (in German) in London by a group of German political refugees in 1848. It was also serialised at around the same time in a German-language London newspaper, the Deutsche Londoner Zeitung. The first English translation was produced by Helen Macfarlane in 1850, and the book was first published in the United States by Stephen Pearl Andrews. The Manifesto went through a number of editions from 1872 to 1890; notable new prefaces were written by Marx and Engels for the 1872 German edition, the 1882 Russian edition, the 1883 French edition, and the 1888 English edition. The 1910 edition, translated by Samuel Moore with the assistance of Engels, has been the most commonly used English text since.

The preamble to the main text of the Manifesto states that the continent of Europe fears the "spectre of communism", and the powers of old Europe are uniting in "a holy alliance intended to exorcise this spectre". 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 spectre of communism with a manifesto of the party itself".

The Manifesto continues with the following: Bourgeois and Proletarians, Proletarians and Communists, Socialist and Communist Literature, and Position of the Communists in Relation to the Various Opposition Parties.

As a consequence of the Manifesto, Marx and his wife were arrested and expelled from Belgium. The work was suppressed in Germany, and Marx was also expelled from Germany and France, and, in August 1849 he sought refuge in London.

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Meet the Author

Karl Heinrich Marx (5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist movement. He published various books during his lifetime, with the most notable being The Communist Manifesto (1848) and Capital (1867–1894); some of his works were co-written with his friend and fellow German revolutionary socialist, Friedrich Engels

Born into a wealthy middle-class family in Trier (formerly in Prussian Rhineland, now called Rhineland-Palatinate), Marx studied at both the University of Bonn and the University of Berlin, where he became interested in the philosophical ideas of the Young Hegelians. In 1836 he became engaged to Jenny von Westphalen, marrying her in 1843. After his studies, he wrote for a radical newspaper in Cologne, and began to work out his theory of dialectical materialism. Moving to Paris in 1843, he began writing for other radical newspapers. He met Engels in Paris, and the two men worked together on a series of books. Exiled to Brussels, he became a leading figure of the Communist League, before moving back to Cologne, where he founded his own newspaper. In 1849 he was exiled again and moved to London together with his wife and children. In London, where the family was reduced to poverty, Marx continued writing and formulating his theories about the nature of society and how he believed it could be improved, and also campaigned for socialism—he became a significant figure in the International Workingmen's Association.

Marx's theories about society, economics and politics—collectively known as Marxism—hold that all societies progress through the dialectic of class struggle: a conflict between an ownership class which controls production and a lower class which produces the labour for goods. Heavily critical of the current socio-economic form of society, capitalism, he called it the "dictatorship of the bourgeoisie", believing it to be run by the wealthy classes purely for their own benefit, and predicted that, like previous socioeconomic systems, it would inevitably produce internal tensions which would lead to its self-destruction and replacement by a new system, socialism. He argued that under socialism society would be governed by the working class in what he called the "dictatorship of the proletariat", the "workers state".

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Manifesto of the Communist Party 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is an important one that has influenced years of World history. We've seen the fall of Russian Tsarism, the expansion of socialist government, and the increasing backlash against corporatism - much of which are based on the ideas in this book. An important investigation is wether or not the continual "socialist experiments" throughout the world are in line with the ideals suggested in this book. One cannot talk intelligibly about socialism or communism without knowing its roots. An anonymous poster before me has suggested that we shouldn't be influenced by communism. Is that really a relevant consideration as to wether or not you should buy this book? The people most fervent to defend capitalism should read this book as much as those who support communism. Learning what communist ideals are BASED ON is a pre-requsitie to refutation and discussion. I'm sorry that people are using this comment forum as a pedestal for wether or not communism is 'right'. Those considerations are irrelevant; This book is of historical relevance and importance for all who want to sound like a well-informed citizen of a capitalist country.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just received this on my Nook, and I’m not happy. (I do think the “Communist Manifesto” should be read and studied by people worldwide, and I agree with it.) However, my ‘copy’ is obviously just a photocopy of the pages of a version (preface dated 1888). The print is small and on a grey background, making it difficult to read. But the main problem is that each page has the bottom cut off! I don’t know how many lines of each page are missing; hopefully, only one. Pretty shabby, I think, for such an important work. It also has the whole book listed as “1/1” page even though the pages in the top corners go up to 48 (so you can’t ‘jump’ back and forth).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago