The Communist Manifesto: A Road Map to History's Most Important Political Document
“What is globalization? Here is one of the best answers. It is the ‘constant revolutionizing of production’ and the ‘endless disturbance of all social conditions.’ It is ‘everlasting uncertainty.’ Everything ‘fixed and frozen’ is ‘swept away,’ and ‘all that is solid melts into air.’ Yes, you have read this before. It is from The Communist Manifesto, by Messrs. Marx and Engels.”—The New York Times
Here, at last, is an authoritative introduction to history’s most important political document, with the full text of The Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels.
This beautifully organized and presented edition of The Communist Manifesto is fully annotated, with clear historical references and explication, additional related texts, and a glossary that will bring the text to life for students, as well as the general reader.
Since it was first written in 1848, the Manifesto has been translated into more languages than any other modern text. It has been banned, censored, burned, and declared “dead.” But year after year, the text only grows more influential, remaining required reading in courses on philosophy, politics, economics, and history.
“Apart from Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species,” notes the Los Angeles Times, the Manifesto “is arguably the most important work of nonfiction written in the 19th century.” The Washington Post calls Marx “an astute critic of capitalism.” Writing in The New York Times, Columbia University Professor Steven Marcus describes the Manifesto as a “masterpiece” with “enduring insights into social existence.”
The New Yorker recently described Karl Marx as “The Next Thinker” for our era. This book will show readers why.
Phil Gasper is a professor of philosophy at Notre Dame de Namur University in northern California. He writes extensively on politics and the philosophy of science and is a frequent contributor to CounterPunch.
advanced and militant section of the workers’ movement. The central idea of communism is the abolition of bourgeois private property (which Marx and Engels distinguish from the abolition of all property). Much of the rest of this section responds to various objections to communism. Finally, Marx and Engels set out the program that might be implemented by a successful workers’ revolution. In section III, Marx and Engels criticize other tendencies identified as socialist. “Feudal socialism” was an
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. * Guild-master, that is, a full member of a guild, a master within, not a head of a guild. [Engels, 1888 English
case, it is both reactionary and utopian. Its last words are: corporate guilds for manufacture; patriarchal relations in agriculture. Ultimately, when stubborn historical facts had dispersed all intoxicating effects of self-deception, this form of socialism ended in a miserable fit of the blues. 16. By “utopian,” Marx and Engels mean a vision of a new kind of society that in some way ignores material conditions. The schemes of the petty-bourgeois socialists are unrealizable because social
character which the present-day division of labor impresses upon every individual. Communist society will, in this way, make it possible for its members to put their comprehensively developed faculties to full use. But, when this happens, classes will necessarily disappear. It follows that society organized on a communist basis is incompatible with the existence of classes on the one hand, and that the very building of such a society provides the means of abolishing class differences on the
manufacturing period, the public opinion of Europe had lost the last remnant of shame and conscience. The nations bragged cynically of every infamy that served them as a means to capitalistic accumulation. Read, e.g., the naïve Annals of Commerce of the worthy A. Anderson. Here it is trumpeted forth as a triumph of English statecraft that at the Peace of Utrecht,16 England extorted from the Spaniards by the Asiento Treaty the privilege of being allowed to ply the negro trade, until then only