The Communist Manifesto

The Communist Manifesto

3.8 68
by Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels

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The perfect books for the true book lover, Penguin's Great Ideas series features twelve more groundbreaking works by some of history's most prodigious thinkers. Each volume is beautifully packaged with a unique type-driven design that highlights the bookmaker's art. Offering great literature in great packages at great prices, this series is ideal for those readers

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The perfect books for the true book lover, Penguin's Great Ideas series features twelve more groundbreaking works by some of history's most prodigious thinkers. Each volume is beautifully packaged with a unique type-driven design that highlights the bookmaker's art. Offering great literature in great packages at great prices, this series is ideal for those readers who want to explore and savor the Great Ideas that have shaped our world.

The Communist Manifesto changed the face of the twentieth century beyond recognition, inspiring millions to revolution, forming the basis of political systems that still dominate countless lives and continuing to ignite violent debate about class and capitalism today.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"the greatest charter of our movement." --Rosa Luxemburg

"an integral and systematic exposition of [Marx's] doctrine ... the best to this day." Lenin "laid the foundation for modern socialism." --Karl Kautsky

Renate Holub
"L.M. Findlay's excellent translation of The Communist Manifesto, embedded in a splendid introduction and a most carefully chosen appendix of Marx and Engels pieces, superbly places this nineteenth-century classic in an extraordinary historical context. There is no other edition at the moment that can match its quality in terms of translation, and its substance in terms of historical context."
Bryon Moraski University of Florida
"Findlay engages the reader by depicting how personal and historical events shaped the thinking of Marx and Engels. At the same time, he clarifies why Marx and Engels pursue the manifesto format, explains its historical significance as a political genre, and highlights the importance of Marxist concerns in the post-industrial, post-Cold War era. Combined with the excellent array of appendices, Findlay's translation should enrich readers' understanding of the Manifesto's historical context and help solidify their understanding of the fundamentals of Marxism."
Walter Adamson Emory University
"Findlay's new edition of The Communist Manifesto is very scholarly, and the additional documents are a real bonus, providing an interesting context for the work. All in all, this is an excellent edition."
James Tully University of Victoria
"A great teaching text."

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Penguin Publishing Group
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Penguin Great Ideas Series
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4.43(w) x 7.12(h) x 0.37(d)
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A SPECTRE is haunting Europe—the spectre of Communism. All the Powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise 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 as Communistic by its opponents in power? Where the Opposition that has not hurled back the branding reproach of Communism, against the more advanced opposition parties, as well as against its reactionary adversaries?

Two things result from this fact.

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

II. 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.

To this end, Communists of various nationalities have assembled in London, and sketched the following Manifesto, to be published in the English, French, German, Italian, Flemish and Danish languages.


The history of all hitherto existing society 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, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary re-constitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.

In the earlier epochs of history, we find almost everywhere a complicated arrangement of society into various orders, a manifold gradation of social rank. In ancient Rome we have patricians, knights, plebeians, slaves; in the Middle Ages, feudal lords, vassals, guild-masters, journeymen, apprentices, serfs; in almost all of these classes, again, subordinate gradations.

The modern bourgeois society that has sprouted from the ruins of feudal society has not done away with class antagonisms. It has but established new classes, new conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in place of the old ones.

Our epoch, the epoch of the bourgeoisie, possesses, however, this distinctive feature: it has simplified the class antagonisms: Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other: Bourgeoisie and Proletariat.

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

The discovery of America, the rounding of the Cape, opened up fresh ground for the rising bourgeoisie. The East-Indian and Chinese markets, the colonisation of America, trade with the colonies, the increase in the means of exchange and in commodities generally, gave to commerce, to navigation, to industry, an impulse never before known, and thereby, to the revolutionary element in the tottering feudal society, a rapid development.

The feudal system of industry, under which industrial production was monopolised by closed guilds, now no longer sufficed for the growing wants of the new markets. The manufacturing system took its place. The guild-masters were pushed on one side by the manufacturing middle class; division of labour between the different corporate guilds vanished in the face of division of labour in each single workshop.

Meantime the markets kept ever growing, the demand ever rising. Even manufacture no longer sufficed. Thereupon, steam and machinery revolutionized industrial production. The place of manufacture was taken by the giant, Modern Industry, the place of the industrial middle class, by industrial millionaires, the leaders of whole industrial armies, the modern bourgeois.

Modern industry has established the world-market, for which the discovery of America paved the way. This market has given an immense development to commerce, to navigation, to communication by land. This development has, in its turn, reacted on the extension of industry; and in proportion as industry, commerce, navigation, railways extended, in the same proportion the bourgeoisie developed, increased its capital, and pushed into the background every class handed down from the Middle Ages.

We see, therefore, how the modern bourgeoisie is itself the product of a long course of development, of a series of revolutions in the modes of production and of exchange.

Each step in the development of the bourgeoisie was accompanied by a corresponding political advance of that class. An oppressed class under the sway of the feudal nobility, an armed and self-governing association in the mediaeval commune,* here independent urban republic (as in Italy and Germany), there taxable "third estate" of the monarchy (as in France), afterwards, in the period of manufacture proper, serving either the semi-feudal or the absolute monarchy as a counterpoise against the nobility, and, in fact, corner-stone of the great monarchies in general, the bourgeoisie has at last, since the establishment of Modern Industry and of the world-market, conquered for itself, in the modern representative State, exclusive political sway. The executive of the modern State is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.

The bourgeoisie, historically, has played a most revolutionary part.

The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his "natural superiors," and has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous "cash payment." It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom—Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.

The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honoured and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage-labourers.

The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced the family relation to a mere money relation.

The bourgeoisie has disclosed how it came to pass that the brutal display of vigour in the Middle Ages, which Reactionists so much admire, found its fitting complement in the most slothful indolence. It has been the first to show what man's activity can bring about. It has accomplished wonders far surpassing Egyptian pyramids, Roman aqueducts, and Gothic cathedrals; it has conducted expeditions that put in the shade all former Exoduses of nations and crusades.

The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society. Conservation of the old modes of production in unaltered form, was, on the contrary, the first condition of existence for all earlier industrial classes. Constant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses, his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind.

The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the whole surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connexions everywhere.

The bourgeoisie has through its exploitation of the world-market given a cosmopolitan character to production and consumption in every country. To the great chagrin of Reactionists, it has drawn from under the feet of industry the national ground on which it stood. All old-established national industries have been destroyed or are daily being destroyed. They are dislodged by new industries, whose introduction becomes a life and death question for all civilized nations, by industries that no longer work up indigenous raw material, but raw material drawn from the remotest zones; industries whose products are consumed, not only at home, but in every quarter of the globe. In place of the old wants, satisfied by the productions of the country, we find new wants, requiring for their satisfaction the products of distant lands and climes. In place of the old local and national seclusion and self-sufficiency, we have intercourse in every direction, universal inter-dependence of nations. And as in material, so also in intellectual production. The intellectual creations of individual nations become common property. National one-sidedness and narrow-mindedness become more and more impossible, and from the numerous national and local literatures, there arises a world literature.

The bourgeoisie, by the rapid improvement of all instruments of production, by the immensely facilitated means of communication, draws all, even the most barbarian, nations into civilisation. The cheap prices of its commodities are the heavy artillery with which it batters down all Chinese walls, with which it forces the barbarians' intensely obstinate hatred of foreigners to capitulate. It compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of production; it compels them to introduce what it calls civilisation into their midst, i.e., to become bourgeois themselves. In one word, it creates a world after its own image.

The bourgeoisie has subjected the country to the rule of the towns. It has created enormous cities, has greatly increased the urban population as compared with the rural, and has thus rescued a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural life. Just as it has made the country dependent on the towns, so it has made barbarian and semi-barbarian countries dependent on the civilized ones, nations of peasants on nations of bourgeois, the East on the West.

The bourgeoisie keeps more and more doing away with the scattered state of the population, of the means of production, and of property. It has agglomerated population, centralised means of production, and has concentrated property in a few hands. The necessary consequence of this was political centralisation. Independent, or but loosely connected provinces, with separate interests, laws, governments and systems of taxation, became lumped together into one nation, with one government, one code of laws, one national class-interest, one frontier and one customs-tariff.

The bourgeoisie, during its rule of scarce one hundred years, has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all preceding generations together. Subjection of Nature's forces to man, machinery, application of chemistry to industry and agriculture, steam-navigation, railways, electric telegraphs, clearing of whole continents for cultivation, canalisation of rivers, whole populations conjured out of the ground—what earlier century had even a presentiment that such productive forces slumbered in the lap of social labour?

We see then: the means of production and of exchange, on whose foundation the bourgeoisie built itself up, were generated in feudal society. At a certain stage in the development of these means of production and of exchange, the conditions under which feudal society produced and exchanged, the feudal organisation of agriculture and manufacturing industry, in one word, the feudal relations of property became no longer compatible with the already developed productive forces; they became so many fetters. They had to be burst asunder; they were burst asunder.

Into their place stepped free competition, accompanied by a social and political constitution adapted to it, and by the economical and political sway of the bourgeois class.

A similar movement is going on before our own eyes. Modern bourgeois society with its relations of production, of exchange and of property, a society that has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, is like the sorcerer, who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells. For many a decade past the history of industry and commerce is but the history of the revolt of modern productive forces against modern conditions of production, against the property relations that are the conditions for the existence of the bourgeoisie and of its rule. It is enough to mention the commercial crises that by their periodical return put on its trial, each time more threateningly, the existence of the entire bourgeois society. In these crises a great part not only of the existing products, but also of the previously created productive forces, are periodically destroyed. In these crises there breaks out an epidemic that, in all earlier epochs, would have seemed an absurdity—the epidemic of over-production. Society suddenly finds itself put back into a state of momentary barbarism; it appears as if a famine, a universal war of devastation had cut off the supply of every means of subsistence; industry and commerce seem to be destroyed; and why? Because there is too much civilisation, too much means of subsistence, too much industry, too much commerce. The productive forces at the disposal of society no longer tend to further the development of the conditions of bourgeois property; on the contrary, they have become too powerful for these conditions, by which they are fettered, and so soon as they overcome these fetters, they bring disorder into the whole of bourgeois society, endanger the existence of bourgeois property. The conditions of bourgeois society are too narrow to comprise the wealth created by them. And how does the bourgeoisie get over these crises? On the one hand by enforced destruction of a mass of productive forces; on the other, by the conquest of new markets, and by the more thorough exploitation of the old ones. That is to say, by paving the way for more extensive and more destructive crises, and by diminishing the means whereby crises are prevented.

The weapons with which the bourgeoisie felled feudalism to the ground are now turned against the bourgeoisie itself.

But not only has the bourgeoisie forged the weapons that bring death to itself; it has also called into existence the men who are to wield those weapons—the modern working class—the proletarians.

In proportion as the bourgeoisie, i.e., capital, is developed, in the same proportion is the proletariat, the modern working class, developed—a class of labourers, who live only so long as they find work, and who find work only so long as their labour increases capital. These labourers, who must sell themselves piece-meal, are a commodity, like every other article of commerce, and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition, to all the fluctuations of the market.

Owing to the extensive use of machinery and to division of labour, the work of the proletarians has lost all individual character, and consequently, all charm for the workman. He becomes an appendage of the machine, and it is only the most simple, most monotonous, and most easily acquired knack, that is required of him. Hence, the cost of production of a workman is restricted, almost entirely, to the means of subsistence that he requires for his maintenance, and for the propagation of his race. But the price of a commodity, and therefore also of labour, is equal to its cost of production. In proportion, therefore, as the repulsiveness of the work increases, the wage decreases. Nay more, in proportion as the use of machinery and division of labour increases, in the same proportion the burden of toil also increases, whether by prolongation of the working hours, by increase of the work exacted in a given time or by increased speed of the machinery, etc.

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From the Publisher
"the greatest charter of our movement." —Rosa Luxemburg "an integral and systematic exposition of [Marx's] doctrine ... the best to this day." Lenin "laid the foundation for modern socialism." —Karl Kautsky

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The Communist Manifesto 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 68 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For those people who are confused by communism or opposed to it, I highly encourage you to read this remarkable text to understand what it is. Many people still debate about how "communism" has been practiced in the world and how it has had devastating effects on socity. Communism, in fact, has yet to be practiced. By reading this text, you will be able to clearly understand what Marx had in mind, and you will be able to discuss his political theory with an education and understanding. Don't let your opinions on communism be formed by what the skeptics say! This work, including others of Marx, illustrate what his ideas are and one will see that the "communism" that has been put into practice doesn't resemble his ideals at all!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels were simply products of their time. They observed the opression of obvious capitalist England. Though the care of the working class has greatly improved, they are still treated, to scale, like trash. Marx and Engels show human nature and how no one will stay opressed, in theory. The ideas of the book are great but in todays capitalism it would be a imposiblity for a socialist/Marxist reform. Of course Marx or Engels couldnt have known how strong capitalism would have become,nevertheless, the book still has very strong points to be made about the working class. I heard from a earlier reviewer that one of the 'paradoxes' was that once the proletarian took power they wouldn't elect a leader and hand over power. The reviewers point was that due to human nature no one would just give up the power they fought for. Not many revoluitions have been succesfully carried out and sustained by the working class but one comes to mind and that is the French Revolution ( the second part). And the working class did give over power. So theres some historical evidence to back up this book. I would suggest this book to anyone honestly, its gives a very straight foward view of how capitalism cannot work forever.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this pamphlet. As a teenager, I know that kids today are raised with "communism is evil, capitalism is good, and that's that" without being explained to what exactly they are, and why one is considered bad, and the other good. this book is sometimes kinda boring at parts and hard to understand, mostly due to the vocabulary, but other times is wonderful, enlightening, and makes you upset about current society. you'll find yourself thinking, hmm communism is a good idea! i suggest this book to everybody frustrated with capitalism. WORKINGMEN OF ALL NATIONS, UNITE!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Since Americans don't really know what communism is, they should probably pick up this book. The scholarly Karl Marx explicates his predictions for the proletariat to rise against the bourgeois, and the elimination of private property--this is communism. The short book sums up the true basis of the economic/political system at its very beginnings. What is communism? It is not what we were taught during the Red Scare. It is different and deeper than that.
AReese More than 1 year ago
This is a great book espousing what is, at least "in theory", the most fair social and economic system of principles in existence. However practical it is "in practice", that's another question. But a must-read for every citizen, whatever one's political persuasion, especially for those with a particular interest in sociology, economics, politics, and the role that government can play in bettering our lives. This is one of the great manifestos for all mankind. When we look at the politics and economics of today's modern democracy, we see how a few at the top are getting rich and phat off the sweat of the masses, just as Karl Marx says. I still prefer capitalism overall for all the individual opportunity and freedom it allows, but still, our modern-day economic problems have certainly proven the serious fallbacks and excesses of our dog-eat-dog capitalist system. It's basically one man exploiting another for personal financial gain in the name of money, basically, greed. The collective good is sacrificed to individualism. This is true. Buy this book and read it, it's fascinating.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It may be a little difficult to read, but it's pretty short, so you can do it. Besides, it will be well worth your while. Whether you decide at the end if there's something to Marx's ideas, or if its all junk is up to you, but this is definately a work that you should read, if only to give you something to muse about in your spare time . . .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There are some truly inspired and compelling ideas put forth in this work, which, being read from a twenty first century perspective, are indeed utopian and idealistic as has been proven by the course of history. Yet many of the idealisms of Marx's manifeso still incite one to examine one's own place in their community and consider the possibilities of a classless society, however unlikely they are to be realized. Definitely worth a read and ongoing discussion as history continues forward.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't worry folks, I didn't read it to learn from it, I read it to do some homework for my next book and also to remind myself of the lunacy behind the book that stir up a lot of turmoil and misery in the world. I don't want to review the book itself, since there are many reviews already out there. I rather point out what it does to a free society. Communism/socialism creates equality for sure. It makes everyone equally miserable. How do I know? Because I lived in one of those so called Soviet created equalities. While there are many people who try to define what Soviets were as oppose to the socialism that was preached by this book, I would like to remind them that Lenin was a student of Marx's teachings. Not directly, but studying and documenting all that he could in order to rise up the masses of Russian people. Also, to remind everyone, the people were easily swayed, since the times of Tsar were not easy for many peasants and a large percentage of them were not educated, so it was easy to preach equality that can never exist in the real world to the mass of 'oppressed' and convince them to take away, not just from Royal Russian family and their supporters, but anyone who had something that they earned on their own. Kulaks, people who worked hard and had enough. The rest thought that spreading the others' hard work is a good idea. Sounds familiar in today's world. Whether it was equal and fair, well, so called Kulaks worked for what they had, so anyone can make that judgement call on fair. Marx speaks of what needs to be done and one that should stick out to everyone is this perfect society for the working man and NO INHERITANCE? Excuse me, I have seen this before, but just a reminder to everyone. Equal and fair, fine, I will byte, but after you work your whole life, you can not leave the inheritance and that is a good idea? It is a good book to read to understand the mind of a alcoholic, such as Marx, who was offered numerous opportunities to provide for his family and in not taking those opportunities, this bum allowed a few of his own kids die from starvation. Does that sound like a man whom anyone would listen to? If you would like a more realistic book than this one, I would recommend "Lord of the Ring" (sarcasm intended). Read it for your own knowledge, but to take any of this seriously is to say that you want to give up your freedoms to society, to others and in Marx's school of socialism to government, who are always 'just' (sarcasm intended again).
Bookjunkie40 More than 1 year ago
So believe it or not, I turned into a crispy kritter reading this book at the beach. Yea, I know I have no concept of lite reading. But, I had to read it, hearing that Marx's ideas were unrealistic and time has proven that point. I disagree. I have actually found many of Marx's and Engles ideas in the book has come true. I'm not going to give anything away, plus this would be the longest review in history. You have to read with a open and critical mind, I will admit it is a little dry if your not used to reading this type of books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Communist Manifesto has resulted in some of the greatest tragedy and terrible genocide the world has ever seen (ex. Soviet Union, North Korea, and China). Its effects on history is immense and sad. Only in this context should the book be read. The economic theory the book presents is flawed yet unfourtunately tempting for many who wish to live in a world free of the responsibility and liberty of private ownership. A world free of economic liberty is also a world free of personal choice. For all you communist out there, and anyone interested in the relationship between socialism and totalitarianism, I recommend that you read 'The Road to Serfdom' by Hayek. The Communist Manifesto is important only to history and its economic theory should be abandoned.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thirty pages in, and it's obvious that Marx never had a working class job. Moreover, when due diligence has been completed, it is a fact that he never had a working class job. None of his theories are based from experience. It's not that his theories are great, but bad in practice; the theories are empty, and therefore horrible when put in practice.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Communism seems pretty legit..why wouldnt everyone want to be equal? Yes maybe it is ideaistic cuz there is no such thing as utopia but im sure some form of socialism would be the best way...i havent fully read this but i read excerpts from this for AP euro history...again tho my class thinks my communistic/socialistic ideas r insane why equality for all
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jugding from the nay reviews, it seems to me that many people missed the point. Karl Marx's beliefs were not practical. But they had some good in them. People in the reviews are jugding Marx's beliefs based on they way communism has been used. But that is not What Marx's really had in mind. Dictators have taken Marx's ideas and have used them, as humans usually do, for bad. That ia not Marx's fault. Marx had intended communism to be positive and helpful, but i would agree that he didnl not take into account that humans can not be trusted. So the point is: "true communism has been used, and because of human nature will be used as it was originally thought up."
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As a young adult this book has changed my political views and if your a person who wants to know more about Communism, Socialism, and how they view capitalism opposed to them; I would definitely pick this book up.
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