Manifesto of the Communist Party

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Manifesto of the Communist Party

by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels
February 1848

Written: Late 1847;
First Published: February 1848;
Source: Marx/Engels Selected Works, Vol. One, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1969, pp. 98-137;
Translated: Samuel Moore in cooperation with Frederick Engels, 1888;
Transcribed: by Zodiac and Brian Baggins;
Proofed: and corrected against 1888 English Edition by Andy Blunden 2004;
Copyleft: Marxists Internet Archive ( 1987, 2000, 2010. Permission is granted to distribute this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License.

Table of Contents

Manifesto of the Communist Party 1

Editorial Introduction 4

Preface to The 1872 German Edition 6

Preface to The 1882 Russian Edition 7

Preface to The 1883 German Edition 8

Preface to The 1888 English Edition 9

Preface to The 1890 German Edition 12

[Reprint of the 1882 Russian Edition ] 12

Preface to The 1892 Polish Edition 15

Preface to The 1893 Italian Edition 16

Manifesto of the Communist Party 17

I. Bourgeois and Proletarians 17

II. Proletarians and Communists 25

III. Socialist and Communist Literature 31

1. Reactionary Socialism 31

A. Feudal Socialism 31

B. Petty-Bourgeois Socialism 32

C. German or “True” Socialism 32

2. Conservative or Bourgeois Socialism 34

3. Critical-Utopian Socialism and Communism 35

IV. Position of the Communists in Relation to the Various Existing Opposition Parties 37

Letter from Engels to Marx, 24 November 1847 39

Paris, 23-24 November 1847 39

Tuesday evening 39

Draft of a Communist Confession of Faith 40

A Communist Confession of Faith 41

The Principles of Communism 45

The Principles of Communism 46

– 1 –
What is Communism? 46

– 2 –
What is the proletariat? 46

– 3 –
Proletarians, then, have not always existed? 46

– 4 –
How did the proletariat originate? 46

– 5 –
Under what conditions does this sale of the
labor of the proletarians to the bourgeoisie take place? 47

– 6 –
What working classes were there before the industrial revolution? 47

– 7 –
In what way do proletarians differ from slaves? 48

– 8 –
In what way do proletarians differ from serfs? 48

– 9 –
In what way do proletarians differ from handicraftsmen? 48

– 10 –
In what way do proletarians differ from manufacturing workers? 49

– 11 –
What were the immediate consequences of the industrial revolution and of the division of society into bourgeoisie and proletariat? 49

– 12 –
What were the further consequences of the industrial revolution? 50

– 13 –
What follows from these periodic commercial crises? 50

– 14 –
What will this new social order have to be like? 51

– 15 –
Was not the abolition of private property possible at an earlier time? 52

– 16 –
Will the peaceful abolition of private property be possible? 52

– 17 –
Will it be possible for private property to be abolished at one stroke? 53

– 18 –
What will be the course of this revolution? 53

– 19 –
Will it be possible for this revolution to take place in one country alone? 54

– 20 –
What will be the consequences of the

ultimate disappearance of private property? 54

– 21 –
What will be the influence of communist society on the family? 56

– 22 –
What will be the attitude of communism to existing nationalities? 56

– 23 –
What will be its attitude to existing religions? 56

– 24 –
How do communists differ from socialists? 56

[ Reactionary Socialists: ] 56

[ Bourgeois Socialists: ] 57

[ Democratic Socialists: ] 57

– 25 –
What is the attitude of the communists to the
other political parties of our time? 57

Demands of the Communist Party in Germany 59

Demands of the Communist Party in Germany 60

The Paris Commune.

Address to the International Workingmen’s Association, May 1871 62

Endnotes 71

Editorial Introduction

The “Manifesto of the Communist Party” was written by Marx and Engels as the Communist League’s programme on the instruction of its Second Congress (London, November 29-December 8, 1847), which signified a victory for the followers of a new proletarian line during the discussion of the programme questions.

When Congress was still in preparation, Marx and Engels arrived at the conclusion that the final programme document should be in the form of a Party manifesto (see Engels’ letter to Marx of November 23-24, 1847). The catechism form usual for the secret societies of the time and retained in the “Draft of a Communist Confession of Faith” and “Principles of Communism,” was not suitable for a full and substantial exposition of the new revolutionary world outlook, for a comprehensive formulation of the proletarian movement’s aims and tasks. See also “Demands of the Communist Party in Germany,” issued by Marx soon after publication of the Manifesto, which addressed the immediate demands of the movement.

Marx and Engels began working together on the Manifesto while they were still in London immediately after the congress, and continued until about December 13 when Marx returned to Brussels; they resumed their work four days later (December 17) when Engels arrived there. After Engels’ departure for Paris at the end of December and up to his return on January 31, Marx worked on the Manifesto alone.

Hurried by the Central Authority of the Communist League which provided him with certain documents (e.g., addresses of the People’s Chamber (Halle) of the League of the Just of November 1846 and February 1847, and, apparently, documents of the First Congress of the Communist League pertaining to the discussion of the Party programme), Marx worked intensively on the Manifesto through almost the whole of January 1848. At the end of January the manuscript was sent on to London to be printed in the German Workers’ Educational Society’s print shop owned by a German emigrant J. E. Burghard, a member of the Communist League.

The manuscript of the Manifesto has not survived. The only extant materials written in Marx’s hand are a draft plan for Section III, showing his efforts to improve the structure of the Manifesto, and a page of a rough copy.

The Manifesto came off the press at the end of February 1848. On February 29, the Educational Society decided to cover all the printing expenses.

The first edition of the Manifesto was a 23-page pamphlet in a dark green cover. In April-May 1848 another edition was put out. The text took up 30 pages, some misprints of the first edition were corrected, and the punctuation improved. Subsequently this text was used by Marx and Engels as a basis for later authorised editions. Between March and July 1848 the Manifesto was printed in the Deutsche Londoner Zeitung, a democratic newspaper of the German emigrants. Already that same year numerous efforts were made to publish the Manifesto in other European languages. A Danish, a Polish (in Paris) and a Swedish (under a different title: “The Voice of Communism. Declaration of the Communist Party”) editions appeared in 1848. The translations into French, Italian and Spanish made at that time remained unpublished. In April 1848, Engels, then in Barmen, was translating the Manifesto into English, but he managed to translate only half of it, and the first English translation, made by Helen Macfarlane, was not published until two years later, between June and November 1850, in the Chartist journal The Red Republican. Its editor, Julian Harney, named the authors for the first time in the introduction to this publication. All earlier and many subsequent editions of the Manifesto were anonymous.

The growing emancipation struggle of the proletariat in the ’60s and ’70s of the 19th century led to new editions of the Manifesto. The year 1872 saw a new German edition with minor corrections and a preface by Marx and Engels where they drew some conclusions from the experience of the Paris Commune of 1871. This and subsequent German editions (1883 and 1890) were entitled the Communist Manifesto. In 1872 the Manifesto was first published in America in Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly.

The first Russian edition of the Manifesto, translated by Mikhail Bakunin with some distortions, appeared in Geneva in 1869. The faults of this edition were removed in the 1882 edition (translation by Georgi Plekhanov), for which Marx and Engels, who attributed great significance to the dissemination of Marxism in Russia, had written a special preface.

After Marx’s death, the Manifesto ran into several editions. Engels read through them all, wrote prefaces for the 1883 German edition and for the 1888 English edition in Samuel Moore’s translation, which he also edited and supplied with notes. This edition served as a basis for many subsequent editions of the Manifesto in English – in Britain, the United States and the USSR. In 1890, Engels prepared a further German edition, wrote a new preface to it, and added a number of notes. In 1885, the newspaper Le Socialiste published the French translation of the Manifesto made by Marx’s daughter Laura Lafargue and read by Engels. He also wrote prefaces to the 1892 Polish and 1893 Italian editions.

This edition includes the two earlier versions of the Manifesto, namely the draft “Communist Confession of Faith” and “The Principles of Communism,” both authored by Engels, as well as the letter from Engels to Marx which poses the idea of publishing a “manifesto,” rather than a catechism. The Manifesto addressed itself to a mass movement with historical significance, not a political sect.

On the other hand, the “Demands of the Communist Party in Germany” is included to place the publication of the Manifesto in the context of the mass movement in Germany at the time, whose immediate demands are reflected by Marx in this pamphlet. Clearly the aims of the Manifesto were more far-reaching the movement in Germany at the time, and unlike the “Demands,” was intended to outlive the immediate conditions.

The “Third Address to the International Workingmen’s Association” is included because in this speech Marx examines the movement of the working class manifested in the Paris Commune, and his observations here mark the only revisions to his social and historical vision made during his lifetime as a result of the development of the working class movement itself, clarifying some points and making others more concrete.

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