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Overview

"L. M. Findlay's elegant new translation is a work of textual and historical scholarship. Few books have had as much of an impact on modern history as The Communist Manifesto. Since it was first published in 1848, it has become the rallying cry for revolutionary movements around the world. This new Broadview edition draws on the 1888 Samuel Moore translation supervised by Engels - the standard English version in Marxist discourse - and on the original Helen Macfarlane translation into English of 1850." Throughout, Findlay draws on a variety of disciplines and maintains a broadranging perspective. Among the appendices are Engels' "Draft of a Communist Confession of Faith," correspondence and journalism of Marx and Engels, ten illustrations, and eight additional influential political manifestos from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
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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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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780882860435
  • Publisher: Charles H. Kerr Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 1/28/1986
  • Series: Crofts Classics Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 60
  • Sales rank: 1,333,523
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 10.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Karl Heinrich Marx (5 May 1818 - 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. Marx's work in economics laid the basis for the current understanding of labour and its relation to capital, and has influenced much of subsequent economic thought. He published numerous books during his lifetime, the most notable being 'The Communist Manifesto' (1848) and 'Das Kapital' (1867-1894).

Born into a wealthy middle-class family in Trier in the Prussian Rhineland, Marx studied at the University of Bonn and the University of Berlin, where he became interested in the philosophical ideas of the Young Hegelians. After his studies, he wrote for a radical newspaper in Cologne, and began to work out his theory of dialectical materialism. He moved to Paris in 1843, where he began writing for other radical newspapers and met Friedrich Engels, who would become his lifelong friend and collaborator.

In 1849 he was exiled and moved to London together with his wife and children where he continued writing and formulating his theories about social and economic activity.

Marx's theories about society, economics and politics - collectively known as Marxism - hold that human societies progress through class struggle: a conflict between an ownership class that controls production and a dispossessed labouring class that provides the labour for production. He called capitalism the "dictatorship of the bourgeoisie," believing it to be run by the wealthy classes for their own benefit; and he predicted that, like previous socioeconomic systems, capitalism produced internal tensions which would lead to its self-destruction and replacement by a new system: socialism.

Marx argued that class antagonisms under capitalism between the bourgeoisie and proletariat would eventuate in the working class' conquest of political power in the form of a dictatorship of the proletariat and eventually establish a classless society, socialism or communism, a society governed by a free association of producers. Along with believing in the inevitability of socialism and communism, Marx actively fought for their implementation, arguing that social theorists and underprivileged people alike should carry out organised revolutionary action to topple capitalism and bring about socio-economic change.
Marx has been described as one of the most influential figures in human history.

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Read an Excerpt

THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO
by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

 

INTRODUCTION

For much of the twentieth century, The Communist Manifesto was accepted as doctrine by those living under Communist rule as well as by those caught up in the fervor of revolutionary political activity, while others considered it a piece of propaganda of interest mainly to scholars of political history and international relations. But the Manifesto is really an extended set of provocative answers to questions about Communism, which emerged in the 1840s as a new vision of history and the nature of humans as historical beings, determined in all aspects by the material conditions of society. And as a work that places so much importance on the connection between ideas and artifacts and their historical moment, it has its own history.

In June 1848, less than six months after the Manifesto's first publication, Marx advocated shelving the document and disbanding the Communist League, which had requested in late 1847 that Marx and Engels write the Manifesto. After the widespread and unsuccessful revolutionary activity across Europe earlier in the year, it was already clear to Marx that the immediacy of the program outlined in the Manifesto could not well serve the political and social conditions of the times. Over the next twenty years, the Manifesto was largely disregarded. In the 1870s, with Marx prominent in the international socialist movement, the Manifesto came to be honored more as a document of symbolic historic significance than as a viable plan of action. By then, the vehement call to revolution in the Manifesto had been superseded by the move to accommodate different class interests within and through existing political structures, best exemplified by the flourishing of labor unions and reform legislation.

The Manifesto did not achieve canonical status as the essential informing document of the world Communist revolution until the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 in Russia and the rise of Lenin. Treated for decades as a piece of writing imbedded in an era long past, the Manifesto came to be regarded as a perennial outline of political direction. Like sacred scripture, it engendered a body of orthodox interpretation, carefully constructed to fit to the changing world scene what were considered its universal propositions.

But what of the intrinsic qualities of the Manifesto? What assures that it will be read and discussed regardless of political circumstances? In part 2, Marx and Engels assert, "The theoretical conclusions of the Communists are in no way based on ideas or principles that have been invented, or discovered, by this or that would-be universal reformer. They merely express, in general terms, actual relations springing from an existing class struggle, from a historical movement going on under our very eyes" (p. 234-235). Marx and Engels, it would seem, intended the Manifesto not only to make clear to the world the political positions and views of Communists, in order to dispel the specter of misconception, but to also describe the causes and directions of historical change as manifested through the clear-eyed view of Communists.

In brief form, the Manifesto presents nothing less than a unified theory of historical dynamics, with class struggle as the central motive and all manifestations of politics and culture, including art and literature, derived from the prevailing system of material production. This gives way to an almost exuberant characterization of capitalist productive achievement that still holds our attention as a completely recognizable portrait of the relentless drive of modern industry and trade. Set against capitalism's wonders is the human cost of being subject to a system that drains personal incentive, wears out the body and mind, and results in profound alienation from the value of one's productive activities. The plight of the proletariat forces us to consider the harrowing condition of humanity stripped of all comforting illusions: "...man is at last compelled to face with sober senses, his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind" (p. 223).

But Marx and Engels ultimately are concerned with the advent of a world in which the conditions of life will be uniformly benign and in which human relations will be in some way improved. What would be the moral basis of such a world? Marx and Engels claim that "Communism abolishes eternal truths, it abolishes all religion, and all morality, instead of constituting them on a new basis" (p. 242). In the end, readers of the Manifesto must confront a paradox that arises whenever we conceive of the individual as largely determined by circumstances. For the Manifesto is both a prediction of an inevitable course of history and a rallying cry to act in a certain way for the purpose of bringing about change and improvement. How to act autonomously in a world determined by forces more powerful than the individual is a timeless question.

 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Why do Marx and Engels believe the class struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat will have a different result from all previous class struggles in recorded history?
     
  2. Why do Marx and Engels claim that the bourgeoisie inevitably produces its own gravediggers?
     
  3. What do Marx and Engels mean when they describe the proletariat as a revolutionary class?
     
  4. What do Marx and Engels mean when they say that capital has individuality but living persons do not? Is this true of members of the bourgeoisie as well as the proletariat?
     
  5. Why does a manifesto of the Communist party place such strong emphasis on the remarkable achievements of bourgeois capitalism?
     
  6. Why do Marx and Engels assume there is a strong affinity between the grievances of the workers and the aims of Communism?
     
  7. What gives Communists an advantage over the proletariat in understanding the conditions, direction, and general results of the proletarian movement?
     
  8. What evidence do Marx and Engels give for their claim that human consciousness—ideas, views, and conceptions—changes with every change in material existence?
     
  9. Why do Marx and Engels insist that the abolition of private property is central to revolutionary change?
     
  10. If one of the early stages of the proletarian revolution is a despotism of the working class, as Marx and Engels assert, what assures that this order will give way to a free, classless society?
     
  11. Why do Marx and Engels reject the possibility that existing social and political systems can be reformed?
     
  12. In part 3 of the Manifesto, why do Marx and Engels advocate supporting the bourgeoisie in Germany when it acts in a revolutionary way, instead of advocating direct support of the proletariat in its class struggle?
For Further Reflection
  1. Is it possible to define human needs, values, and goals outside the material conditions of a society?
     
  2. How could a historical process, governed not by ideals but by the clash of materially contending interests ("the class struggle"), lead to a morally desirable result?

 

ABOUT KARL MARX AND FRIEDRICH ENGELS

Karl Marx was born in 1818 to a professional family in Prussia with liberal political leanings, which, at that time, were likely to attract police surveillance. After a vigorous academic career at the University of Berlin, where he was influenced by the historical doctrines of the philosopher Hegel, Marx became editor of a radical newspaper in Cologne, which was soon suppressed. He then left with his new wife for Paris, where he began to meet with Communist organizations of French and German workers and formulate his socialist views.

Friedrich Engels, born in 1820, came from a family of affluent industrialists and quickly developed a capacity for leading a double life. While successfully tending to family business interests as manager of and partner in textile factories in Germany, and later in Manchester, England, he pursued his involvement in revolutionary politics through writing and meeting with radical workers' groups. In 1844, he published his classic study of the social ravages of industrialized society, The Condition of the Working Class in England.

Marx and Engels began their lifelong partnership to establish what has become known as Marxist Communism during a ten-day visit in Paris in 1844. Marx once remarked that their enemies used the singular verb when speaking of "Marx-Engels." However, though joined by their mutual commitment to the cause of revolutionary socialism, they were very different in temperament and background. Engels was brisk and lighthearted, with all the social refinements of a bourgeois gentleman, while Marx was the stereotype of the ponderous scholar—slow, careful, and somber. Though he lived in London for thirty-four years, Marx never learned to speak English fluently; Engels was fluent in more than a dozen languages.

In 1847, Engels helped organize the Communist League in London; the following year, he and Marx drafted a statement of principles for this group, Manifesto of the Communist Party. By this time, Marx had moved to Brussels after a series of expulsions from France and Germany. After the unsuccessful European revolutions of 1848, which occurred immediately after the publication of the Manifesto, Marx returned to Germany to edit a newspaper. When this failed, he settled permanently in London in 1849. Earning very little from his writing and dependent on the generosity of Engels, Marx pursued his studies in economic and social history in the library at the British Museum. During fourteen years of isolation from politics, he began to write a series of books on economic theory. The culmination of these writings was his greatest work, Capital, for which Engels provided essential information about business practices and industrial operations.

With the founding of the International Working Men's Association in 1864, Marx emerged from obscurity to be a leading spirit in the movement to unite workers across political boundaries, one of the goals professed sixteen years earlier in the Manifesto. After the Paris Commune was crushed in 1870, Marx became an internationally known figure, declaring, "Its martyrs are enshrined forever in the great heart of the working class." After Marx's death in 1883, Engels used his considerable social and writing skills and persuasive abilities to popularize their mutual views. Until his death in 1895, he was generally regarded as the foremost authority on the body of economic and social theory known as Marxism.

Related Titles

Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol (1843) and Hard Times (1854)
The popular Christmas story can be read in light of what is referred to in the Manifesto as "conservative, or bourgeois, socialism"—the attempt to ameliorate the misery of the working class through charitable works. Published soon after the Manifesto, Hard Times portrays the conditions in mid-nineteenth-century industrial England that provoked Marx and Engels's critique of capitalism.

V. I. Lenin, The State and Revolution (1917)
The chief architect of the Russian Revolution draws on the work of Marx and Engels to substantiate the imminent seizing of power and establishing of a proletarian dictatorship.

Karl Marx, Capital (1867)
This work elucidates the revolutionary implications of the capitalist system of production and argues that its demise is an inevitable consequence of its own development.

Karl Popper, The Open Society and Its Enemies (1945)
This signal work of social philosophy includes a searching critique of Marx's theory of historical inevitability, arguing that it contains principles antithetical to the values of modern, liberal democracies.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality (1755)
This essay speculates that the establishment of private property underlies civil society and is the root cause of all social inequalities and class differences. Rousseau's sentiments fed the fervor of revolutionaries and socialists, including Marx and Engels, for a century.

Upton Sinclair, The Jungle (1906)
In graphic detail, this novel of social realism depicts the brutalizing effects of industrial production on the lives of workers in the Chicago stockyards. Like the Manifesto, it conveys the impressive efficiency of capitalism while deploring its human cost.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Marx and Engels : a brief chronology 50
The Communist Manifesto 59
App. A From Flora Tristan's Tour de France, September 1844 95
App. B Letter from Engels to Marx, November-December 1846 97
App. C Engels, draft of a communist confession of faith, 9 June 1847 104
App. D Marx, "the communism of the Rheinischer Beobachter," September 1847 112
App. E Communist Journal, No. 1, September 1847 125
App. F Engels, "principles of communism," late October 1847 137
App. G Letter from Engels to Marx, 23-24 November 1847 157
App. H Engels, "on the history of the communist league," 1885 160
App. I Engels, "the labour movement in America." : preface to the American edition of The condition of the working class in England, 26 January 1887 180
App. J Engels, "notes on my journey through America and Canada," late September 1888 189
App. K Engels, "impressions of a journey round America," late September 1888 192
App. L Manifestoes 195
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Reading Group Guide

THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO

 

INTRODUCTION

For much of the twentieth century, The Communist Manifesto was accepted as doctrine by those living under Communist rule as well as by those caught up in the fervor of revolutionary political activity, while others considered it a piece of propaganda of interest mainly to scholars of political history and international relations. But the Manifesto is really an extended set of provocative answers to questions about Communism, which emerged in the 1840s as a new vision of history and the nature of humans as historical beings, determined in all aspects by the material conditions of society. And as a work that places so much importance on the connection between ideas and artifacts and their historical moment, it has its own history.

In June 1848, less than six months after the Manifesto's first publication, Marx advocated shelving the document and disbanding the Communist League, which had requested in late 1847 that Marx and Engels write the Manifesto. After the widespread and unsuccessful revolutionary activity across Europe earlier in the year, it was already clear to Marx that the immediacy of the program outlined in the Manifesto could not well serve the political and social conditions of the times. Over the next twenty years, the Manifesto was largely disregarded. In the 1870s, with Marx prominent in the international socialist movement, the Manifesto came to be honored more as a document of symbolic historic significance than as a viable plan of action. By then, the vehement call to revolution in the Manifesto had been superseded by the move to accommodate different class interests within and through existing political structures, best exemplified by the flourishing of labor unions and reform legislation.

The Manifesto did not achieve canonical status as the essential informing document of the world Communist revolution until the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 in Russia and the rise of Lenin. Treated for decades as a piece of writing imbedded in an era long past, the Manifesto came to be regarded as a perennial outline of political direction. Like sacred scripture, it engendered a body of orthodox interpretation, carefully constructed to fit to the changing world scene what were considered its universal propositions.

But what of the intrinsic qualities of the Manifesto? What assures that it will be read and discussed regardless of political circumstances? In part 2, Marx and Engels assert, "The theoretical conclusions of the Communists are in no way based on ideas or principles that have been invented, or discovered, by this or that would-be universal reformer. They merely express, in general terms, actual relations springing from an existing class struggle, from a historical movement going on under our very eyes" (p. 234-235). Marx and Engels, it would seem, intended the Manifesto not only to make clear to the world the political positions and views of Communists, in order to dispel the specter of misconception, but to also describe the causes and directions of historical change as manifested through the clear-eyed view of Communists.

In brief form, the Manifesto presents nothing less than a unified theory of historical dynamics, with class struggle as the central motive and all manifestations of politics and culture, including art and literature, derived from the prevailing system of material production. This gives way to an almost exuberant characterization of capitalist productive achievement that still holds our attention as a completely recognizable portrait of the relentless drive of modern industry and trade. Set against capitalism's wonders is the human cost of being subject to a system that drains personal incentive, wears out the body and mind, and results in profound alienation from the value of one's productive activities. The plight of the proletariat forces us to consider the harrowing condition of humanity stripped of all comforting illusions: "...man is at last compelled to face with sober senses, his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind" (p. 223).

But Marx and Engels ultimately are concerned with the advent of a world in which the conditions of life will be uniformly benign and in which human relations will be in some way improved. What would be the moral basis of such a world? Marx and Engels claim that "Communism abolishes eternal truths, it abolishes all religion, and all morality, instead of constituting them on a new basis" (p. 242). In the end, readers of the Manifesto must confront a paradox that arises whenever we conceive of the individual as largely determined by circumstances. For the Manifesto is both a prediction of an inevitable course of history and a rallying cry to act in a certain way for the purpose of bringing about change and improvement. How to act autonomously in a world determined by forces more powerful than the individual is a timeless question.

 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. Why do Marx and Engels believe the class struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat will have a different result from all previous class struggles in recorded history?
     
  2. Why do Marx and Engels claim that the bourgeoisie inevitably produces its own gravediggers?
     
  3. What do Marx and Engels mean when they describe the proletariat as a revolutionary class?
     
  4. What do Marx and Engels mean when they say that capital has individuality but living persons do not? Is this true of members of the bourgeoisie as well as the proletariat?
     
  5. Why does a manifesto of the Communist party place such strong emphasis on the remarkable achievements of bourgeois capitalism?
     
  6. Why do Marx and Engels assume there is a strong affinity between the grievances of the workers and the aims of Communism?
     
  7. What gives Communists an advantage over the proletariat in understanding the conditions, direction, and general results of the proletarian movement?
     
  8. What evidence do Marx and Engels give for their claim that human consciousness—ideas, views, and conceptions—changes with every change in material existence?
     
  9. Why do Marx and Engels insist that the abolition of private property is central to revolutionary change?
     
  10. If one of the early stages of the proletarian revolution is a despotism of the working class, as Marx and Engels assert, what assures that this order will give way to a free, classless society?
     
  11. Why do Marx and Engels reject the possibility that existing social and political systems can be reformed?
     
  12. In part 3 of the Manifesto, why do Marx and Engels advocate supporting the bourgeoisie in Germany when it acts in a revolutionary way, instead of advocating direct support of the proletariat in its class struggle?
For Further Reflection
  1. Is it possible to define human needs, values, and goals outside the material conditions of a society?
     
  2. How could a historical process, governed not by ideals but by the clash of materially contending interests ("the class struggle"), lead to a morally desirable result?

 

ABOUT KARL MARX AND FRIEDRICH ENGELS

Karl Marx was born in 1818 to a professional family in Prussia with liberal political leanings, which, at that time, were likely to attract police surveillance. After a vigorous academic career at the University of Berlin, where he was influenced by the historical doctrines of the philosopher Hegel, Marx became editor of a radical newspaper in Cologne, which was soon suppressed. He then left with his new wife for Paris, where he began to meet with Communist organizations of French and German workers and formulate his socialist views.

Friedrich Engels, born in 1820, came from a family of affluent industrialists and quickly developed a capacity for leading a double life. While successfully tending to family business interests as manager of and partner in textile factories in Germany, and later in Manchester, England, he pursued his involvement in revolutionary politics through writing and meeting with radical workers' groups. In 1844, he published his classic study of the social ravages of industrialized society, The Condition of the Working Class in England.

Marx and Engels began their lifelong partnership to establish what has become known as Marxist Communism during a ten-day visit in Paris in 1844. Marx once remarked that their enemies used the singular verb when speaking of "Marx-Engels." However, though joined by their mutual commitment to the cause of revolutionary socialism, they were very different in temperament and background. Engels was brisk and lighthearted, with all the social refinements of a bourgeois gentleman, while Marx was the stereotype of the ponderous scholar—slow, careful, and somber. Though he lived in London for thirty-four years, Marx never learned to speak English fluently; Engels was fluent in more than a dozen languages.

In 1847, Engels helped organize the Communist League in London; the following year, he and Marx drafted a statement of principles for this group, Manifesto of the Communist Party. By this time, Marx had moved to Brussels after a series of expulsions from France and Germany. After the unsuccessful European revolutions of 1848, which occurred immediately after the publication of the Manifesto, Marx returned to Germany to edit a newspaper. When this failed, he settled permanently in London in 1849. Earning very little from his writing and dependent on the generosity of Engels, Marx pursued his studies in economic and social history in the library at the British Museum. During fourteen years of isolation from politics, he began to write a series of books on economic theory. The culmination of these writings was his greatest work, Capital, for which Engels provided essential information about business practices and industrial operations.

With the founding of the International Working Men's Association in 1864, Marx emerged from obscurity to be a leading spirit in the movement to unite workers across political boundaries, one of the goals professed sixteen years earlier in the Manifesto. After the Paris Commune was crushed in 1870, Marx became an internationally known figure, declaring, "Its martyrs are enshrined forever in the great heart of the working class." After Marx's death in 1883, Engels used his considerable social and writing skills and persuasive abilities to popularize their mutual views. Until his death in 1895, he was generally regarded as the foremost authority on the body of economic and social theory known as Marxism.

Related Titles

Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol (1843) and Hard Times (1854)
The popular Christmas story can be read in light of what is referred to in the Manifesto as "conservative, or bourgeois, socialism"—the attempt to ameliorate the misery of the working class through charitable works. Published soon after the Manifesto, Hard Times portrays the conditions in mid-nineteenth-century industrial England that provoked Marx and Engels's critique of capitalism.

V. I. Lenin, The State and Revolution (1917)
The chief architect of the Russian Revolution draws on the work of Marx and Engels to substantiate the imminent seizing of power and establishing of a proletarian dictatorship.

Karl Marx, Capital (1867)
This work elucidates the revolutionary implications of the capitalist system of production and argues that its demise is an inevitable consequence of its own development.

Karl Popper, The Open Society and Its Enemies (1945)
This signal work of social philosophy includes a searching critique of Marx's theory of historical inevitability, arguing that it contains principles antithetical to the values of modern, liberal democracies.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality (1755)
This essay speculates that the establishment of private property underlies civil society and is the root cause of all social inequalities and class differences. Rousseau's sentiments fed the fervor of revolutionaries and socialists, including Marx and Engels, for a century.

Upton Sinclair, The Jungle (1906)
In graphic detail, this novel of social realism depicts the brutalizing effects of industrial production on the lives of workers in the Chicago stockyards. Like the Manifesto, it conveys the impressive efficiency of capitalism while deploring its human cost.

Read More Show Less

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2008

    Know your enemy!!!

    Karl Marx: Communist Manifesto With this review I hope to cover some areas others have not. I would have the reader to read more than just my review of this product. Karl Marx: The Communist Manifesto, A Norton critical edition Edited by Frederic L Bender. The Communist Manifesto is by all means one of the most (if not the most) controversial documents of non-religious origin. This Norton Critical Edition does this work justice in many ways: It gives a bullet point historical outline of events leading up to the manifesto, provides a brief history leading up to the writing of the manifesto (a must read in my opinion), provides the manifesto itself, and then gives the reader commentary from various writers concerning the manifesto's historical impact and interpretation. All this in just over 200 pages. Those looking only for a brief description of the product need read no further. The rest of this review is my impression of the manifesto and the historical context in this volume. Events leading up to the writing of 'The Communist Manifesto' saw many Europeans in poverty. Marx himself lost three of his own children to quote a note in Oxford's version of Marx's 'Capital' stated, 'Poverty was partly responsible for the death of three of his six children.' At any rate Pauperism was the norm in European society, and Marx attempts to paint a grotesque picture for the reader: The Bourgeois (capitalists, the have's, the rich) vs. the Proletarians (impoverished). Background of the text sees the artisans (middle class) vanishing (loss of the middle class) , and an increase in number of the Proletarians. This helps the reader grasp a clear visual of European society prior to the writing of the manifesto (it is interesting to note that Germany was in ruins prior to the rise of Hitler). Let us now look at Marx himself. What I found most interesting about Marx's writing is that he really saw no other alternative but to call for removal of all Bourgeois power, and abolition of owning property. To quote Marx, 'The communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only be the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. WORKING MEN OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE!' Marx also openly criticized what he considered other forms of socialism that did not call for 'forcible overthrow' and referred to one of them as 'Utopian.' Marx states further, 'There are, besides, eternal truths, such as Freedom, Justice, etc. that are common to all states of society. But Communism abolishes eternal truths, it abolishes all religion, and all morality, instead of constituting them on a new basis it therefore acts in contradiction to all past historical experience.' This is one of the most shocking comments (to me personally) made by Marx in his manifesto. There are individuals that don't understand that under Marxist communism freedom of religion doesn't exist. There is a side note from another writing of Marx (supplied cleverly by Frederic L Bender the editor of this version ) where Marx is very critical of Christianity. To quote Marx, 'The social principles of Christianity preach cowardice, self -contempt, abasement, submissiveness and humbleness, in short all the qualities of the rabble, and the proletariat, which will not permit itself to be treated as rabble, needs its courage, its self-confidence, its pride and its sense of independence even more than its bread. The social principles of Christianity are sneaking and hypocritical, and the proletariat is revolutionary.' (Marx, The Communism of the Rheinische Beobachter, Marx, Engels Collected works). It is at this moment that I would like to divert momentarily into the difference between Christian thought and Marx. Marx writings are indignant toward Christi

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  • Posted May 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Karl Marx was really on to something

    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.

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