The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx Bookcover

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The Communist Manifesto was conceived as an outline of the basic beliefs of the Communist movement. The authors believed that the European Powers were universally afraid of the nascent movement, and were condemning as “communist,” people or activities that did not actually conform to what the Communists believed. This Manifesto, then, became a manual for their beliefs.

In it we find Marx and Engel’s rehearsal of the idea that Capital has stolen away the work of the artisan and peasant by building up factories to produce goods cheaply. The efficiency of Capital depends, then, on the wage laborers who staff the factories and how little they will accept in order to have work. This concentrates power and money in a Bourgeois class that profits from the disunity of workers (Proletarians), who only receive a subsistence wage.

If workers unite in a class struggle against the bourgeois, using riot and strikes as weapons, they will eventually overthrow the bourgeois and replace them as a ruling class. Communists further believe in and lay out a system of reforms to transform into a classless, stateless society, thus distinguishing themselves from various flavors of Socialism, which would be content to have workers remain the ruling class after the revolution.

The Manifesto caused a huge amount of discussion for its support for a forcible overthrow of the existing politics and society. (Summary by Mark F. Smith)

Section 1 – Bourgeois and Proletarians by Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels — 00:00:00​

Section 2 – Proletarians and Communists by Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels — 00:36:00​

Section 3 – Socialist & Communist Literature; & Section 4 – Position of the Communists in Relation to the Various Existing Opposition Parties by Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels — 00:59:23​

Read it online.

From the archives:

Definitions: The Bourgeoisie by Gaither Stewart

Definitions: The Proletariat by Gaither Stewart

Socialism, Land and Banking: 2017 Compared to 1917 by Michael Hudson

What If Workers Ran Society? by Elizabeth Schulte

Caleb Maupin in Red Square: Let’s Talk About Communism!

The Difference Between Socialism, Communism, and Marxism Explained by a Marxist

Understanding Marx by William T. Hathaway

Law of Value 1: Introduction by Brendan M. Cooney

Getting started with Marx and Engels by Todd Chretien

29 thoughts on “The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

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  25. Thanks for posting this Lo. I read it when I was about sixteen, probably quite soon after Kennedy was assassinated.

    As an enthusiast for the cultural avant-garde, I found myself in complete agreement with its radical ethos that communicated its obvious sense to my youthful, rebellious and establishment-alienated self. Growing up in bleak, class-ridden Britain, this was also when Private Eye, Carnaby Street, Mary Quant and then, the Beatles & Biba were starting to claim our attention and attract our participatory engagement.

    So it will be interesting to revisit this text in a more mature frame of mind, and also from the deeper context I am now more conversant with; like C19th French radicalism, the emergence of the British Labour movement, and the enormously significant metaphysical, scientific and creative developments of the early 1900’s.

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