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The Communist Manifesto

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A rousing call to arms whose influence is still felt today

Originally published on the eve of the 1848 European revolutions, The Communist Manifesto is a condensed and incisive account of the worldview Marx and Engels developed during their hectic intellectual and political collaboration. Formulating the principles of dialectical materialism, they believed that labor creates wealth, hence capitalism is exploitive and antithetical to freedom.

This new edition includes an extensive introduction by Gareth Stedman Jones, Britain's leading expert on Marx and Marxism, providing a complete course for students of The Communist Manifesto, and demonstrating not only the historical importance of the text, but also its place in the world today.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

288 pages, Paperback

First published February 21, 1848

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About the author

Karl Marx

2,836 books4,767 followers
Karl Marx, Ph.D. (University of Jena, 1841) was a social scientist who was a key contributor to the development of Communist theory.

Marx was born in Trier, a city then in the Kingdom of Prussia's Province of the Lower Rhine. His father, born Jewish, converted to Protestantism shortly before Karl's birth in response to a prohibition newly introduced into the Rhineland by the Prussian Kingdom on Jews practicing law. Educated at the Universities of Bonn, Jena, and Berlin, Marx founded the Socialist newspaper Vorwärts! in 1844 in Paris. After being expelled from France at the urging of the Prussian government, which "banished" Marx in absentia, Marx studied economics in Brussels. He and Engels founded the Communist League in 1847 and published the Communist Manifesto. After the failed revolution of 1848 in Germany, in which Marx participated, he eventually wound up in London. Marx worked as foreign correspondent for several U.S. publications. His Das Kapital came out in three volumes (1867, 1885 and 1894). Marx organized the International and helped found the Social Democratic Party of Germany. Although Marx was not religious, Bertrand Russell later remarked, "His belief that there is a cosmic force called Dialectical Materialism which governs human history independently of human volitions, is mere mythology" (Portraits from Memory, 1956). Marx once quipped, "All I know is that I am not a Marxist" (according to Engels in a letter to C. Schmidt; see Who's Who in Hell by Warren Allen Smith). D. 1883.

Marx began co-operating with Bruno Bauer on editing Hegel's Philosophy of Religion in 1840. Marx was also engaged in writing his doctoral thesis, The Difference Between the Democritean and Epicurean Philosophy of Nature, which he completed in 1841. It was described as "a daring and original piece of work in which Marx set out to show that theology must yield to the superior wisdom of philosophy": the essay was controversial, particularly among the conservative professors at the University of Berlin. Marx decided, instead, to submit his thesis to the more liberal University of Jena, whose faculty awarded him his PhD in April 1841. As Marx and Bauer were both atheists, in March 1841 they began plans for a journal entitled Archiv des Atheismus (Atheistic Archives), but it never came to fruition.

Marx has been described as one of the most influential figures in human history. Marx is typically cited, with Émile Durkheim and Max Weber, as one of the three principal architects of modern social science.

More: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Marx








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Displaying 1 - 30 of 8,773 reviews
Profile Image for Jeremy.
256 reviews65 followers
June 24, 2013
Long overdue update (2013): I read this book five years ago and in almost every respect, I have mellowed considerably.

You can read my review below. It's unchanged. You can read the comments below that. Also unchanged.

I never seriously expected anyone to read this review, much less love or hate it so strongly. I am not apologizing for my view of the book or Marx. He put his entire life into this slender and influential book, and I respect that. I understand a bit more about where he was coming from historically, and it doesn't seem as inherently ridiculous as I might have claimed five years ago. But I still largely stand by my original take on it. What Marx predicts is an oppressive totalitarian regime which would be able to commit all kinds of human rights abuses far too easily. I'm not OK with that. And I don't think it works from a philosophical point of view, mainly because I think it neglects the realities of human nature. I think free market capitalism does the exact same thing, though the end results are different. Or are they?

It's funny. People commenting here seem to think I'm a proponent of free market capitalism (I do consider myself a capitalist, but not of the lassiez faire variety...its track record is poor as far as I'm concerned). I'm not. Whereas on other posts and comment threads on this same site I've been accused of being a socialist. Now that's funny!


Disclaimer: I read this book with a heavy bias against Marxist thought. That being said, I like to think of myself as a logical person so I have framed my thoughts as logically as possible instead of in the 'Communists are bad! They just are!' line of reasoning. That being said...

The spectre of Communism is still haunting the world...it has died.

Suffice it to say that I was sorely disappointed with Marx's argument. So much so that I fail to believe that anyone over the age of twenty-one could take him seriously even on a theoretical basis. Perhaps a century and a half of perspective is to blame. Maybe I'm missing a dimension of Marx's argument. It could simply be that the manifesto is a by-product of the industrial revolution that looks quite silly in "post-industrial" America.

Summing up Marx in two sentences: Class struggle is the defining injustice and condition of human society. We, the proletariat, must rise up through a violent and sudden revolution and overthrow our capitalist oppressors.

Let me get this straight. We're going to overcome class struggle by perpetrating a class war against the bourgoisie? If a major goal of communism is to eradicate social classes, why does it temporarily aim to establish the proletariat as the ruling class?

Oh right. Becauase once the proletariat gains power it will someday voluntarily abdicate said power for the greater good of society. As Mugatu said about Zoolander when he points out that all of the latter's 'looks' are actually the same: "I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!" It makes little rational sense.

Now onto more specific arguments regarding Marx's "generally applicable measures" that must be established by the proletariat after the violent overthrow of capitalism. It's pretty scary, actually.

No ownership of land, a heavy income tax, no rights of inheritance, seizure of all property from "rebels" (whatever that means...presumably political enemies) and emigrants, centralized credit and capital in the hands of the state, state ownership of the means of transportation and communication, establishment of 'industrial armies', equitable distribution of the populace in town and country, and an abolition of child labor with concurrent establishment of public education (actually that last point I agree with).

Such a strategy will ALWAYS lead to a totalitarian government that needlessly and wantonly causes suffering and economic hardship for the vast majority of its citizens.

I have yet to hear anybody move beyond theoretical praise of Marxism. Even the most ardent supporters will be forced to conclude that in real life the Marxist state is not preferred over the capitalist state because there is still an inequitible division of power between the ruling class and the common man. And the 'evil capitalism' that they rail against is actually the governmental imperialism of capitalist states, not the economic structure of said state.

The argument against capitalism is too much capital in the hands of too few. But Marxism advocates all capital be concentrated in the hands of a totalitarian regime that gives too little to the vast majority.
Profile Image for Jason.
28 reviews59 followers
June 14, 2008
Read this and understand why your imperialist capitalist government spent the better part of a century playing hot potato with ICBMs, invading and incinerating peaceful, peasant countries, and making your mom and dad piss themselves under school desks.

The elite were scared shitless and by no means would they allow their slaves, errr labor force, a fraction of freedom or equality or means to resist. The 60 year propaganda campaign against Communism and the virtual disappearance of strong labor unions prove this.

Marx is downright bold in his call for the "FORCIBLE OVERTHROW OF ALL EXISTING SOCIAL CONDITIONS!" In fact, the Manifesto is a flat-out demand that you go out and set shit on fire, and that's cool enough for me.

Of course, Marxism is flawed because any prick with enough power will undoubtedly exploit the little guy bla bla bla...
The point is maybe there is a better system based on real freedom instead of free-trade.
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,113 reviews44.4k followers
February 10, 2017
Communism doesn’t work. Its ideals are perfectly understandable, justifiable even, but the way it seeks to attain them, that’s just terrible. In reality communist policy falls apart or isn’t fully followed.

The driving force is to achieve a classless rather than class based society. Sounds good on paper doesn’t it? But in order to achieve such a thing, the manifesto proposes a revolution that will wipe out private property. This is more than following the march of history. Mankind has seen countless revolutions that have failed. The Bourgeois (ruling class) is replaced by the Proletariats (working class) which then go on to form a new ruling class. The difference with communism, and why it will apparently succeed, is that the new rising class will destroy ownership; thus, the cycle has been broken: there will no longer be any class divides.

But what’s left? A power vacuum and a new means to create more wealth and ownership? Then surely the system just begins anew. Surely people just belong to the government even more so than before. Then there’s the total lack of proof. There are huge statements in this, huge sweeping statements, that suggest that worldwide communism will end all wars. Isn’t that slightly naïve? What’s to stop two opposing communist nations fighting over natural resources or land? Nothing. Communism isn’t the answer to the world’s problems.


And besides, the manifesto initially advocates war to create a temporary class. What kind of political party overtly advocates war, death and human suffering? It speaks of blood spilt over the ages, wasted blood, and then goes on to propose the shedding of more. Isn’t this just a little hypocritical? Sure, some extremists may deem that a necessary cost, but it’s just another form of corruption. Communism opposes the capitalist world on the idea that wealth is concentrated in the upper reaches of society. That’s true. Capitalism, obviously, has many flaws, but that’s beside the point. Communist rulers seek to grasp that wealth for the “good” of their people. What do they then do with it? They wage war, covertly or overtly, on the capitalist world and watch as their people starve. But that doesn’t matter, right? As long as communism spreads…….

This is a most interesting read. And whist I obviously take issue with the politics, I’m glad I read it. This is a product of history, one that should be read and understood by all.

Penguin Little Black Classic- 20


The Little Black Classic Collection by penguin looks like it contains lots of hidden gems. I couldn’t help it; they looked so good that I went and bought them all. I shall post a short review after reading each one. No doubt it will take me several months to get through all of them! Hopefully I will find some classic authors, from across the ages, that I may not have come across had I not bought this collection.
Profile Image for Always Pouting.
568 reviews717 followers
February 14, 2020
I finally read this even though someone gave it to me forever ago. I think the ideas are interesting but I think this functions more into explaining communist ideology in that historical period and for explaining the positioning in regards to other groups. I would rather read more about the idea of history as class struggle but expanded upon which seems like it could be an interesting framework or the themes of the inherent instability of capitalism that was being argued for. I don't think I have the capacity to read Capital right now though. I also read this because someone told me if I didn't read it I wouldn't understand Marx's ideas but I'm pretty sure I had the grasp of them without this and this just supports my hypothesis that really I should never have to read source materials when I can just read summaries.
Profile Image for Jenna ❤ ❀  ❤.
789 reviews1,186 followers
September 8, 2021
"You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society, private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the population."

The Communist Manifesto is a good introduction to Marx's philosophy and ideals and I was frequently blown away by his observations on the wealthy and Capitalism. 

I'm not going to analyze this book or Marxist thought -- there are too many aspects I need to mull over and much I need to learn. I will say though that I agree with Marx on the sins of capitalism. Sure, there has been good that came and comes from it.... but at the expense of billions who've been exploited and suffered, billions who continue to be exploited and who continue to suffer "for the good of the economy".

I will not claim that Marx's ideas are perfect nor do I agree with his methods. Obviously we have witnessed egregious and unfathomable human rights violations under Communist rule. It sounds good on paper but seems to be easily corrupted when put into practice, leading me to think that Communism will never be, and must not be, the solution.

Perhaps I have grown too cynical and pessimistic but I have little hope that humans will ever create a fair and just society for all. But we can at least try and Democratic Socialism seems to me to be a good place to start.

Capitalism only exists to keep the wealth in the hands of the few - at the expense of the majority.

I'm not against private property or people being wealthy. I am against a tiny percentage of people hoarding all the wealth while exploiting the rest of humanity. I am against a tiny percentage of people hoarding all the wealth while billions live in poverty and die from lack of food or health care.

Until all humans have their basic needs met, no human should have more than they could ever use. In a world where one billion people live on less than a dollar a day, the existence of billionaires is evil.

I do not have the answers and I'm not sure anyone ever has or ever will. Any and every ideology has flaws because they are human constructions. Every ideology must continually be put up to debate and criticism in order to improve society.

And those are my thoughts on this.
Profile Image for Darwin8u.
1,559 reviews8,692 followers
January 17, 2019
“Political power, properly so called, is merely the organised power of one class for oppressing another.”
― Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto


Vol 20 of my Penguin Little Black Classics Box Set. To be clear, I'm not giving this 5-stars because I'm a Communist just waiting start a revolution (not that I'm against a good revolution here or there)*. I do come from a religious tradition that experimented in the 1800s with ideas of consecration and communalism. They called it the United Order. Even with a charismatic leader and the hope of Zion, it was a failed experiment.

As an economic system, I think there are serious flaws built into Marxism/Communism or any of the isms that derived from Marx and Engles ideas. That said, there are also SERIOUS flaws with Capitalism, Christianism, etc. I think the idea that there is one perfect economic dogma for all levels and all people and all societies is a bit naive. Anyway, I'm giving this 5-stars because it is a helluva tract. It, obviously, lit a fire that spread quickly through Europe, Asia, etc. Love it or hate it, we are all living in a world that has been marked by Marx. Personally, I dig Das Kapital more. I LOVE Marxist theory way more than Marxist practice.

* My wife and I DID have a cat in college named Marx.
Profile Image for Mike (the Paladin).
3,145 reviews1,820 followers
June 2, 2021
Like many people (at least of my generation) I got this out of the library when I was in high school. You can't describe this as "good" or "a good read" etc. I would however recommend reading this with an open and thoughtful mind. I don't see how any thinking person can read this without seeing the logical fallacies.

What is presented in this book is more properly called Marxist Communism or Marxism. But with only a little knowledge of history it is obvious that wherever "classic" Communism or Marxist Communism has ever been tried it has been a failure, bringing want and misery rather than its stated goal of betterment for all.

The only ones who "prosper" under communism are the ones running the show....true in any form of large intrusive government however.

"How do you tell a communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin."
Ronald Reagan

"All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others"
George Orwell from Animal Farm

Just a note, I got an update where someone said Orwell was a Socialist. The sight for some reason says they can't find it now. Whatever, no he wasn't. He explored a lot of ideas in his life, but he did not settle on Socialism. Sorry...mate.
Profile Image for Leonard Gaya.
Author 1 book865 followers
December 3, 2022
With a profuse beard, a Beethovenian hairstyle, a knack for well-chosen demonstrations and ground-breaking political ideas, Karl Marx was (still is) an idol. And The Communist Manifesto, although extremely short (alongside Das Kapital, which is extremely long), is one of the most influential texts in Western history, probably on par with the Gospels. Indeed, there is (still is) the same sort of bigotry and anathema around Marx, the same dogmatism and heresies, the same confrontations and bloodshed as there were, centuries earlier, around Saint Paul or Martin Luther. The “wars of religion” around Marx were at their apex during the Cold War and the disastrous Soviet regime. But they haven’t entirely stopped, since the Chinese government still adheres (apparently with some success) to Marxist doctrine, while the Western ruling elites only swear by neo-liberal capitalism and free trade as the only conceivable economic/political model (which is probably contentious)—sometimes twisting it toward a sort of protectionist populism.

Marx’s and Engel’s political pamphlet was published in London in 1848, almost two centuries ago and, obviously, is a text of its time. What they describe is, essentially, the new economic order ushered in by the late 18th-century industrial revolution, the end of Christian feudalism and the advent of secular capitalism. The mechanisms of exploitation it brings to light are the very same Charles Dickens or Victor Hugo described in Oliver Twist or Les Misérables. In that sense, the Manifesto is dated, but this doesn’t mean it’s aged.

In fact, its visionary power is almost miraculous. Marx catches sight of the fundamental features of industrial capitalism as we know it, notably: the essentially antagonistic and competitive nature of the economy, the stark inequalities, the exploitation of one part of society by the other, the globalisation of trade, the continual trend towards technological innovation, standardisation, consumerism and overproduction, and the endless cycles of relative prosperity and devastating crises.

Some terms and concepts would have to be transposed to understand how they can still make sense to a 21st-century reader. For instance, Marx uses the term “bourgeoisie” to name the factory owners. Nowadays, we would use “shareholders” as another, more abstract notion to designate the owners of “the means of production” (i.e., the companies, the firms). Similarly, the term “wage-labourer” or “proletariat” is a concept coined by Marx to name the working class of artisans of his time. It would, instead, make more sense to us if we spoke of “employees”, in other words, people who forgo their freedom to earn their crust in exchange for their time and work—and this includes every sort of employee, from the factory worker to the chief executive. And the concept of “class struggle” between the two categories is extraordinarily illuminating. To some extent, it could even be projected as a model for the colonial and post-colonial relationships of exploitation of Western over Third-World countries.

Marx’s and Engel’s analyses and proposals also have glaring limitations. First, the political programme outlined at the end of the Manifesto is, to a large degree, utopian and highly debatable; e.g., the abolition of private property (inspired by Proudhon), the proletarian revolution and dictatorship to overthrow the bourgeoisie (inspired by the French 1789 Revolution), the end of bourgeois marriage, the end of the nation-state, etc. And, in essence, their prediction that capitalist society would be replaced by socialism was wide of the mark (just like the Gospel's prediction that the end of times was nigh).

Also, the features of 21st-century “neo-liberal” capitalism elude almost entirely some of Marx’s arguments. For example, the gradual transition from a wage-based economy towards a “gig economy” and widespread self-employment or “Uberisation”; or the new incentive schemes of equity compensation offered to the upper management; or the wealth accumulation by financial markets and pension funds. All these recent developments tend to jumble together the old Marxist categories and his worker vs capitalist antagonism.

Nevertheless, the Manifesto, unlike any other political or philosophical work (say, Plato’s Republic or More’s Utopia), is among the very few texts that redefined the framework of civilisation across the globe, even to this day.
Profile Image for Glenn Russell.
1,359 reviews11.8k followers
August 11, 2020

Are there any Marxists around today?

I recently did a reread of this book. Does anybody still consider themselves a member of the bourgeois or the proletariat?

Karl Marx published his manifesto in 1847. Nearly 200 years later and it strikes me the long shadow of Marxism remains: a person's underlying everyday reality and range of choices is defined by one question: Are you rich or are you poor?
Profile Image for Rachel.
122 reviews134 followers
January 4, 2015
One word review: disgusting.

There is so much I could say, and there isn't the space to say it in a review... Where do I even begin?

For starters, the book began on a whining note. There were basically two main thrusts: first that free trade was so unfair to the poor proletariat; second, that the communistic movement had only the interests of the proletariat at heart. It was unhindered by nationality or any other interests and existed solely to make the working class successful.

What started out as a whining tirade coming from a man who obviously wanted to abolish free trade because it did not suit him as he wished, ended with an abolition of family, home education, patriotism, and marriage.

Little sins like self-centeredness, sloth, and greediness, if not repented of can lead the heart to seek justification on its own. The heart tries to justify itself before the cries of conscience by rationalizing and eventually developing a system consistent with itself... and you end up with Sartre, Nietzsche, or Marx with ideas to make you shudder.

"The charges against Communism made from a religious, a philosophical, and generally, from an ideological standpoint are not deserving of a serious examination". That was literally the only thing said to those objections. Seriously!?

I came away with a lot of observations, but three were especially notable:

Marx hoped that social change would change man's heart (environmental determinism).

The State = the proletariat as an organized ruling class

The abolition of private property was number one on Marx's hit list.

The ending note is one of the reasons I think Communism has such an appeal. It offers purpose, hope, and excitement.

This is the only thing I sympathized with somewhat in the whole thing. I am afraid that Christians have held out an impotent, limp, and emasculated truncation of Christianity for too long. The human heart longs for a higher purpose, a kingdom, a cause. Christ Jesus, King of Kings and Lord of Lords is the answer, not communism.

"The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by 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!"

And so ends a despicable document.
Profile Image for Steve Evans.
Author 81 books17 followers
April 1, 2012
No one should feel the need to agree with this short polemic to realise that it is one of the most important books ever written. It should be required reading in schools really, but anyone who hasn't read it should nip out and get a copy straight away, and put her or his nose in it. Most though not all of Marxism is summed up in it, and unless one is really dedicated, very little else is needed for an understanding of "Marxism". I was one of those people and have read a lot of Marx and Engels and their followers over the years, and still dip into their works from time to time. They were misunderstood by practically everybody, most crucially by their followers and even themselves, yet pregnant with astonishing insights that can help anyone make sense of a confusing world.

Sadly, Marx opened up the possibility of distorting his methods and his insights, as well as his beliefs, in a way that enabled later "Marxists" to employ the most incredible methods in his name, and it is now hard, even impossible, not to associate him with mass murder and truly crazy political methods and systems. He would no doubt have been horrified to see what was done in his "honour", but I am not sure it is possible to exonerate him on that basis.

Even so, this little book is a must for any thinking person. Combined with the preface to the Critique of Political Economy - and just a few pages of that really - nearly everything most thinking people need to know about "dialectical and historical materialism" may be found.

For a searching critique of Marx's methods and outlook, Karl Popper's The Open Society and Its Enemies is wonderful. Popper is also essential reading in my opinion for anyone wishing to be literate in political philosophy.
Profile Image for J.G. Keely.
546 reviews9,782 followers
October 26, 2007
It is an error to assume that the problem with humanity is an inability to recognize our own problems. While it's true that we constantly look outside for answers, this is just because we are unhappy with the answers we have. We know that success requires hard work and knowledge, but we want something easier. We will accept an easier answer even when it isn't true. We are not motivated by what is true or likely, but by frightening or enticing stories.

We are driven away from the necessary and the difficult by our inadequacies and fears, and so rarely move ourselves any closer to fulfillment. In a perversity of justice, those who do achieve the things which we imagine would fulfill us (wealth, fame, beauty, genius) are no more fulfilled than the average man, and just as beset by inadequacy and fear. Often, more so.

Transhumanism represents a hope that we can escape this pattern of ignorance and self-destruction but only by escaping the human bodies and minds that cannot control themselves.

The Manifesto always seemed little more than a sad reminder of our failings, though it did motivate people and provided a test of the mettle of humanity. Beyond that, it does more to rile than to increase understanding of the economy and our role within it. It is sad that a work which is at least based on some worthwhile principles falls to the same simple fears and ideals that plague our everyday lives.

The manifesto tries to take all of the economic theory of its authors and create from it a story that will excite the common man. They did not expect that most of them would pick up Das Kapital and start really thinking about their role in things. It was enough to engage their greed and sense of injustice without intruding much on their understanding.

The average man does not want to understand, he would prefer to believe. It is unfortunate that the main effect proven by the Communist movement is that any and every political system simply shifts wealth and power from one group to another, and little aids the serf or the unlucky.

We Americans are in little position to stand over the 'failure of Communism', since democracy has not proven any kinder to mankind, nor can it deliver justice equally to the poor and the rich.
Profile Image for Traveller.
228 reviews716 followers
September 21, 2012
This tract by Marx and Engels is too enormous in implication to review fully in the small little space that GR allows, so what I'll do for now is take extracts from it and comment on them, piece by piece.

Per the Maifesto:"
"Abolition of the family! Even the most radical flare up at this infamous proposal of the Communists. On what foundation is the present family, the bourgeois family, based? On capital, on private gain. In its completely developed form this family exists only among the bourgeoisie. But this state of things finds its complement in the practical absence of the family among the proletarians, and in public prostitution. The bourgeois family will vanish as a matter of course when its complement vanishes, and both will vanish with the vanishing of capital. Do you charge us with wanting to stop the exploitation of children by their parents? To this crime we plead guilty. But, you will say, we destroy the most hallowed of relations, when we replace home education by social. And your education! Is not that also social, and determined by the social conditions under which you educate, by the intervention, direct or indirect, of society, by means of schools, etc.? The Communists have not invented the intervention of society in education; they do but seek to alter the character of that intervention, and to rescue education from the influence of the ruling class. The bourgeois clap-trap about the family and education, about the hallowed co-relation of parent and child, becomes all the more disgusting, the more, by the action of Modern Industry, all family ties among the proletarians are torn asunder, and their children transformed into simple articles of commerce and instruments of labour.

Marx and Engels are here addressing a snapshot in time of European history. I don't have much knowledge of conditions during the industrial revolution in the rest of Europe, but have researched the situation relatively extensively as it was in Britain, as a background to a lot of criticism that was launched against the status quo by a lot of Victorian writers of fiction.

In the feudal system, "labor" did not remove laborers from their families at all, in fact, it rather strengthened family ties since most of what can be seen as the proletariat of feudal times, were indebted laborers on the fiefdom of their feudal lord.

So, the only labor which compromised the family situation, was the kind of labor done by men, women and children in mines and factories during the industrial revolution, from around 1750 to the early 1900's.

If you read up on reforms in Britain, you will see that by about 1831, public outcries against child labor and the conditions that adults and children were made to work under in mines, caused public commissions to be instituted by government, which started a slow and gradual reform of conditions via legislation, to the point that all kinds of laborers are pretty well-protected and well-represented at the present day.

Ironically, the big bad fat cats these days are not the kind that deal with direct labor, but rather the type who deal in/with secondary products (like financial products) and services. (By services we do not mean of the "labour" kind that Marx addressed- Marx was addressing the kind of workers who were exploited in mines and factories.)

Note that the industrial revolution, although it started off bringing such untold misery to so many, also had the following effect: average income and population began to exhibit unprecedented sustained growth. In the two centuries following 1800, the world's average per capita income increased over tenfold, while the world's population increased over sixfold. Finally it was within the grasp of those born outside of nobility to make a decent living for themselves.

A lot of workplace reform has taken place since the IR started.. and not through rabble-rousers like Marx, but because people with a conscience raised their voices and cried out against the injustices being done by capitalists against fellow human beings.

Authors like Charles Dickens, for instance, and Victor Hugo, helped to encourage the privileged to look upon their less fortunate brethren with greater sympathy, and to call for social reform in the name of conscience.

...so, Karl Marx is being a great opportunist here. At a time when history and society is in great flux and inner revolution, when a new era is dawning and social conscience still needs to become cognizant of the suffering of some of the members of society, Karl Marx exploits the situation, ironically by making use of the exploitation by one element of society, of another.

It is the poor and the ignorant that is being exploited, and Karl Marx exploits their helplessness, ignorance and gullibility to shout for revolution instead of evolution. Marx and Engels call for violence where no violence is necessary, because peaceful change was already taking place in any case.

Per the manifesto:
But you Communists would introduce community of women, screams the whole bourgeoisie in chorus. The bourgeois sees in his wife a mere instrument of production. He hears that the instruments of production are to be exploited in common, and, naturally, can come to no other conclusion than that the lot of being common to all will likewise fall to the women. He has not even a suspicion that the real point is to do away with the status of women as mere instruments of production. For the rest, nothing is more ridiculous than the virtuous indignation of our bourgeois at the community of women which, they pretend, is to be openly and officially established by the Communists. The Communists have no need to introduce community of women; it has existed almost from time immemorial. Our bourgeois, not content with having the wives and daughters of their proletarians at their disposal, not to speak of common prostitutes, take the greatest pleasure in seducing each other's wives. Bourgeois marriage is in reality a system of wives in common and thus, at the most, what the Communists might possibly be reproached with, is that they desire to introduce, in substitution for a hypocritically concealed, an openly legalised community of women. For the rest, it is self-evident that the abolition of the present system of production must bring with it the abolition of the community of women springing from that system, i.e., of prostitution both public and private.

The implication is obvious. According to the authors, the implication is that marriage is a bourgeois, patriarchal institution for the exploitation of women, a form of prostitution. You would think that anybody who is even in the slightest familiar with history, would be able to see immediately how fallacious and false such an accusation is, since marriage is a social institution that evolved gradually over many centuries, but has always been something that protected rather than exploited women. Remember, for centuries and centuries, women had no recourse save sexual abstinence (for which the best path was to become a nun) against falling pregnant.

Women had exactly three choices: Be a prostitute, be a nun, or have the protection of marriage, where you could at least have the privilege of raising your children in a protected environment, and in which the father of the child had the responsibility to care for the children and their mother on a material level.

It is only through birth control, which we at last have 99% effective technology for, that woman is emancipated from the hearth and can take her place next to males as a fully economically productive partner, since she doesn't have to be tied down in a perpetual cycle of pregnancy, childbirth and nursing anymore.

This has nothing to do with the bourgeoisie except that it was people out of the horrible, terrible ranks of those dastardly bourgeoisie, that modern medicine was developed, modern medicine, which keeps child- and maternal mortality at bay, has brought better health to people of all walks and stations in life, and has given us the technology to be able to choose when we do or don't have children. (..except if you let The Pope tell you, of course).

I have an overwhelming feeling that Marx was simply exploiting women's emancipation movements to gain more supporters for Communism, when he says the following:
He has not even a suspicion that the real point is to do away with the status of women as mere instruments of production.
Yes, women were being marginalized, but by the fact that we were excluded from property holding rights (something Marx scorns in any case) and from having an equal right to vote (something else which he scorns too).

Let's analyze this carefully:
How are bourgeois males exploiting women by marrying them? ..by having sex with them and expecting of them to have children? ..but it is usually women who want children in the first place. Certainly, in feudal times, children sons were deemed an essential item for males to acquire in order to continue the family line, but, since the human species would discontinue should women stop having children, calling it an exploitation of women by men sounds like a rather strange, roundabout way of putting things.

Certainly in the time that capitalism has steadfastly taken root, children have become really more of a liability financially speaking, than a prize.

..and calling a married woman more of a prostitute than an unmarried woman would be, who will still be used for sex, just this time by the entire mob instead of her husband, (unless the married woman decides to swing which will be HER decision to cuckold her husband - unless they both agree to swing) just sounds a bit crazy.

In fact, if you think about it, it is Marx who is making the implication that women are mere objects, property to be owned like cows or camels, by suggesting that they will be seen as fair game ("community of women", as he puts it, having a similar meaning to "community of property") under Communist rule.
I just can't help finding his attitude massively patronizing and insulting, both towards men and women, as much as I decry the patriarchy of the past, because Marx himself is speaking with the very voice of patriarchy and sexism that he supposedly decries. He speaks their language, the language of the white, supremacist patriarchal 'master'.

Also from the manifesto:
"The education of all children,from the moment that they can get along without a mother's care, shall be in state institutions at state expense."

...and our children must be taken away from us and brought up in some state institution. See: Communist Party Education Workers Congress, Communist quotes:
We must create out of the younger generation a generation of Communists. We must turn children, who can be shaped like wax, into real, good Communists.... We must remove the children from the crude influence of their families. We must take them over and, to speak frankly, nationalize them. From the first days of their lives they will be under the healthy influence of Communist children's nurseries and schools. There they will grow up to be real Communists.

It is generally accepted knowledge that institutionalized care away from any sort of notion of family, is psychologically unhealthy for children.

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deinstit...

..so Marx wants to pull down the very fabric of society, to the point of removing even the notion of family - to remove from children the prerogative of having your own mother and father, of having brothers and sisters, and instead, humans must become cogs in the wheel of Communism, mindless automatons who have no individuality, no sense of self.

No thanks, I don't buy into the hive-mind insect-think.

This review is a work in progress, so more to follow soon.

EDIT: Dear reader, if you feel you need to comment, please take the time to read the discussion thread below first - these issues and even more regarding Marxism, Communism, etc, are discussed EXTENSIVELY in the comment thread below, and I fear that comments are starting to become repetitive, with clear indications that commentors are not bothering to check if their arguments might already have been discussed a few times over. Unfortunately all that is discussed cannot be worked into the review itself, since GR limits review space, and this is a HUGE subject.

I'd also like to mention that I am absolutely to a large extent a fan of Socialism in general and a great fan of the Scandinavian mixed system. What I am criticizing in this review, is specifically this document, 'The Communist Manifesto', and not Socialism itself.

I promise to make time soon to work more of the discussions into the review itself, but some very well-read and intelligent Marxian apologists have commented, so it might be worth your time to read the discussions in any case.
Thanks. :)
Profile Image for Fei Fei .
27 reviews20 followers
November 27, 2012
The terms Marxism and Communism are so misused nowadays that it is difficult to hold an intellectual conversation with people about this deeply fascinating political and economic theorist. It is partly the fault of the school curriculum, I fear. For whenever schools teach Marx, they inevitably always start with this book, the Communist Manifesto. But this is precisely the worst place to begin understanding Marxist philosophy. The Communist Manifesto is an anomaly in Marx's work. Strictly speaking, it is not even a formal piece of argumentative writing, neither particularly theoretical nor informative (though certainly engaging a read). The Manifesto was originally a rally speech, given to assemblies of deeply dissatisfied factory workers in a time before unions and labour laws were formalized (which, shortly after Marx's major publications, were formed). Marx was trying to rouse these workers to take into their hands their own fate and change the economic structure they feel trapped in. The ideas Marx proposes in this piece of work were sparse and barely formed because its purpose was not to lay out the foundation of his theories, but to inspire and incite.

It is unfortunate that this is the most widely read piece of Marx's work because it forms the smallest part in his theories. In particular, I find the critiques Marx raises concerning the system of Capitalism and its effects on the social fabric to be particularly astute and wholly accurate. For so long have people labelled Marx as a crazy-thinking radical that they've failed to remember that he was actually a trained lawyer with a deep understanding of business and economics. All the negative outcomes he forsees inherently built into our economic structure has been borne out - perhaps even more accurately than Marx himself could have envisioned. For example, he identifies the three ways that capitalists make money: depress the wages of the labourers they hire, overvalue the value of the end product, or somehow obtain the raw materials for production for free (eg steal it). The most common way capitalists choose to turn a profit is depress wages. Wage labourers lack sufficient bargaining power to prevent this because the nature of their work makes them easily replaceable with the pool of available unemployed inherent in a capitalist society. Capitalists will always seek ways to suppress wages in order to turn larger profits, willing to replace uncooperative workers with ones willing to accept the lower wages. Now tell me, does this not sound like the kinds of multinational corporations we have today, outsourcing jobs in an effort to cut costs?

Do not get me wrong. Marx does not present a utopia of political justice and governance. In many ways, the solutions Marx presents as a response to Capitalism are insufficient and ill-elucidated. But I think people really need to gain a better appreciation for his work (and the sheer size is sort of staggering) because the arguments Marx presents to the flaws of the Capitalist economic structure and the problems he sees facing a Capitalist society are extremely compelling and worthy of consideration. In my humble opinion, one is better off starting with his early 1844 Economic Manuscripts than this Manifesto.
Profile Image for فؤاد.
1,057 reviews1,725 followers
October 21, 2017
بعد نوشت:
فرازی جالب از کتاب اسطوره، رویا، راز اثر میرچا الیاده:

اجازه دهید وارد مسئلۀ اعتبار فلسفی مارکسیسم و سرنوشت تاریخی آن نشویم و تنها الگوی اسطوره ای کمونیسم و راز معادشناختی محبوبیت همگانی آن را در نظر آوریم، زیرا به گمان ما، صرف نظر از تمامی ادّعاهای علمی مارکس، روشن است که نویسندۀ مانیفست کمونیسم یکی از مهم ترین اسطوره های جهان خاورمیانه را گرفته و پرداخته است، از جمله: نقش منجی ای «بر حق»، «برگزیده»، «از خود گذشته»، «معصوم» و «مبلغ» که در زمان ما پرولتاریا باید آن را ایفا کند. همانی که رنج هایش موجب تغییر وضعیت هستی شناسانۀ جهان می شود.

در واقع جامعۀ بی طبقۀ مارکس و ناپدید شدن تمامی تنش های تاریخی، به شکلی دقیق در اسطورۀ «عصر طلایی» وجود دارد، که بنا به سنت های دینی مختلف عصری آرمانی است که در سرآغاز تاریخ وجود داشته و در پایان تاریخ بازگشت می کند. مارکس این اسطورۀ مقدس را با ایدئولوژی منجی گرایانۀ مسیحی-یهودی غنی می سازد: از سویی، به یاری کارکرد پیامبرانه و منجیانه ای که به پرولتاریا نسبت می دهد، و از سوی دیگر به کمک نبرد نهایی خیر و شر که می توان آن را با نبرد میان مسیح و ضدّ مسیح در مکاشفات یوحنّا مقایسه کرد که به پیروزی قطعی مسیح می انجامد.

این بسیار مهم است که مارکس امیدهای معادشناسانۀ یهودی-مسیحی به «هدف مطلق تاریخ» را وارد گفته های خود می سازد، و از این لحاظ از سایر فیلسوفان تاریخ از جمله گروچه و اورتگایی گاست جدا می شود، زیرا در نظر آن ها تنش های تاریخ ملازم شرایط انسانی است و بنابراین هرگز نمی تواند به طور کامل از میان برود.

ریویوی سابق:

حقيقت يكى بيشتر نيست، و قابل کشف است، و در تصرف منِ کارل ماركس است.
تاريخ امرى عقلانى و مكانيكى است، و مى توان حتى قبل از پديد آمدن انسان بر روى سياره، با قطعيت نشان داد كه او دقيقاً به چه سمتى حركت خواهد كرد.
همه ى جوامع چه ساكنان بدوى جزيره ى تاهيتى در ميان اقيانوس آرام، چه افريقاييان و چه ساكنان هر سياره اى كه فرض شود، لاجرم به سمتى خواهند رفت كه اروپاى غربى قرن نوزدهم در آن قرار داشت.
تنها يك شكل پيشرفت قابل فرض است و آن پيشرفت اروپاى غربى قرن نوزدهم است، در نتيجه هر جامعه اى كه به سمت اين پيشرفت خاص نيامده باشد، هر حركتى هم در طول تاريخ كرده باشد، در حقيقت در جا زده.

قرائت مارکس در عصر پسامدرن.
Profile Image for Xio.
256 reviews1 follower
May 7, 2007
Its awful fun to grow up marxist in the US. You get to go to meetings where you, as a kid, soon realize there's no point in paying attention so off you go with the other rowdy tots into the ghetto to make trouble with whatever you find to hand.

And you get to read this novella and if you're bored and underchallenged but over bothered you can begin to argue against american capitalist imperialism and the growth of consumerist doctrine using your new found propaganda skills til you bait a teacher into telling you to move to Russia if you like that stuff so much (*true story)
Profile Image for Riku Sayuj.
653 reviews7,023 followers
October 5, 2014

The history of all hitherto existing society* is the history of class struggles.

* That is, all written history.


We read the same written history and read it as progress, as stories, etc. The real history, on the other hand, is something else. Played out differently. Yeah, that is the catch.

This was a reading of only the bare text (along with the many prefaces!). It was very powerful and I am now reading the Penguin edition with the really long introduction next. Will write more about this important book there.

In the mean time, it is hardly 40 pages - why haven't you read this yet? It is not often that you get the summary of one of the most influential thought-structures in history in under 40 pages! It was a rhetorical masterpiece too, by the way.
Profile Image for Kevin.
278 reviews754 followers
May 12, 2023
“A specter is haunting Europe”...

…so begins 40 readable pages that somehow always raises new questions and insights with every re-reading.
--As always, I try to distinguish methodologies from their contextual implementation at a specific moment in time (29-year-old Marx and 27-year-old Engels writing this political pamphlet to rally support for the 1848 revolutions). Indeed, Marx/Engels later write how they did not update the manifesto and kept it as a historical record.
...Eventually I'll update this review to reflect on how a newcomer would experience it.

The Missing/Contentious:
1) While I find the historical materialist stages of development to be a useful analytical framework to try out in your toolkit, some of the rhetoric in Part I do seem Eurocentric:
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 civilization. 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. [...]

United action [of the proletariat of the world], of the leading civilized countries at least, is one of the first conditions for the emancipation of the proletariat.
I’m eager to synthesize this with later developments in:
a) Actual socialist revolutions of the 20th century's decolonization process of the Global South/periphery, especially Vijay Prashad's work at the Tricontinental Institute:
-The Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World
-Red Star Over the Third World
b) More on the “Asiatic mode of production” as well as that of the "Near East" (ex. ...And Forgive Them Their Debts), and recent radical anthropology/archaeology (ex. The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity: despite the provocative rhetoric used in this book, I still see much room for synthesis)

2) The emphasis on the revolutionary nature of the bourgeoisie still follows too closely to the paradigm of classical Liberal economics, which seems to set up Marx’s premature projections for Western capitalist countries and their proletarian revolutions. This is most problematic when considering:
a) Imperialism: where Western capitalism resorted to directly destroying competitive (even superior) productive capacities (with the obvious examples of India and China) not to mention genocide and slavery.
-intro: The Divide: A Brief Guide to Global Inequality and its Solutions
-Lenin's Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism
-masterpiece: Capital and Imperialism: Theory, History, and the Present
-The Agrarian Question in the Neoliberal Era: Primitive Accumulation and the Peasantry
-The Veins of the South Are Still Open: Debates Around the Imperialism of Our Time
-Late Victorian Holocausts: El Niño Famines and the Making of the Third World

b) Classical political economy’ goal of freeing the market from economic rent (“rentier” class relying on unearned income, i.e. feudal landlords with land rents, bankers with usurious debt/interest payments, monopolists with extortionist fees esp. for utilities) has been reversed by Neoclassical (i.e. mainstream) economics, which explicitly avoids analyzing economic rent. Marx's Capital project (which he spent so much of the rest of his life developing) seems to both build on the Classical school (Smith/Ricardo etc.) and transition beyond (paradigm shift):
-ex. Classical/Marxist [Michael Hudson|26855] distinguishes Finance Capitalism vs. Industrial Capitalism: https://youtu.be/mH8FWrbzxEs + The Bubble and Beyond
-ex. Classical/Marxist Anwar Shaikh brings a synthesis of Classical + Marx with the central focus on analyzing/critiquing capitalism's war-like competition.
-ex. Marxist geographer David Harvey emphasizes Marx's critique of capitalism's value system (exchange-value triumphing over use-value): A Companion to Marx's Capital. This is particular useful for uprooting our ecological crises: Less is More: How Degrowth Will Save the World.

3) Marx’s fascinating dissection of capitalism’s irrationalities are not explained in the Manifesto (only a couple sentences on the crisis of overproduction).
-Marx: Wage Labour and Capital pamphlet for his (in)famous Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Volume 1 tome.
-modern intros:
-Talking to My Daughter About the Economy: or, How Capitalism Works—and How It Fails
-World-Systems Analysis: An Introduction

The Good:
Part I – Bourgeois and Proletarians:
--Touches on core concepts in early Marxism’s political economy, starting with “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.”
--While I raised some concerns over a few of the Manifesto’s conclusions, the methodology of analyzing/synthesizing social relations, institutions, history, political economy, and technology led to some prophetic insights:

1) Historical materialism, capitalism, growth and overproduction:
--I like to describe "liberalism" as "cosmopolitan capitalism", and then use the following quote to bring clarity to that sense people have of technology/economics speeding up with humans/communities losing control and becoming cogs in the machine, from 1818 Frankenstein to 1936 Modern Times (Charlie Chaplin film) to 1999 The Matrix [emphasis added]:
Constant revolutionising of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch [i.e. capitalism, with its singular endless profit-seeking, competition’s “creative destruction”, boom/bust volatility] 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 condition 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 connections everywhere.”
--“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.”
--“In these [commercial] crises there breaks out a social epidemic that, in all earlier epochs, would have seemed an absurdity – the epidemic of over-production.”
--"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.”

2) Capitalism, wage labour, division of labour and automation:
--"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.
--"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.
...Keep in mind, this is something that Adam Smith (a moral philosopher, after all) recognized with his own focus on capitalism's increasing division of labour, i.e. while the factory output may improve, this logic increasingly destroys the human capabilities in the wage labourer individual.

Part II – Proletarians and Communists:
--Distinguishes “Communists” and briefly addresses common objections (not enough to convince staunch opposition, but a start):
1) Property rights (basically: personal property vs. means of production:
--On the "means of production", it is crucial to understand capitalist theft through privatization, i.e. Enclosures of the Commons, colonialism:
--Marx debunks Smith's so-called "primitive accumulation" (initial accumulation from hard-working capitalists saving up, classic) by detailing the real-world history of violent appropriation, i.e. theft (another crucial point is how the big-bad state cannot be separated from some utopic "free market" capitalism, since the state created and protects capitalist property rights/markets) in the last part of Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Volume 1.
--Colonialism/imperialism as the core of global capitalism: Capital and Imperialism: Theory, History, and the Present
--Capitalism and gender: Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation
--Marx's Capital Vol. 1 focuses on capitalist production of "real commodities", as well as the contradictions of capitalism's labour market (as well as mentions of the money). We should synthesize this with the other Karl (Polanyi) on the 3 peculiar markets of capitalism (labour/land/money), which feature "fictitious commodities" since humans/nature/purchasing power are not "produced" (with a cost of production) just for selling/buying on the market:
-Intro: Talking to My Daughter About the Economy: or, How Capitalism Works—and How It Fails
-Fraser synthesizing Marx/Polanyi (see comments)
-Source: The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time

2) Work, laziness, family, country/nationality, etc.
3) Finishes with a list of 10 measures for “advanced countries” to adopt; 2 concerns I have:
i) How to defend against counter-revolutionary violence? Was this easier to assume away because the assumption was for the “most advanced” countries to lead the socialist revolutions, thus avoiding imperialist interventions?
ii) How to prevent State hierarchy, i.e. how will the withering away of the State occur? Turns out Lenin addresses this in The State and Revolution, but we need to combine theory with real-world history.

Part III – Socialist and Communist Literature, Part IV – Position of the Communists in Relation to the Various Existing Opposition Parties:
--Brief critiques of the other strains of socialism (reactionary, bourgeois, utopian). I found Engels provided helpful context distinguishing “scientific socialism” in: Socialism: Utopian and Scientific
Profile Image for Gary.
941 reviews205 followers
July 14, 2020
I've never been a Communist but I do think we should read this as a warning as to where the evils and dangers of unfettered capitalism (in those days it included child labour and workhouses in Britain) lead. Espeically since I always find myself surrounded by fanatical free market libertarian lunatics who believe free markets are more important thank human life.
Profile Image for Greg Brozeit.
461 reviews102 followers
March 29, 2021
The most boring and most interesting thing I've ever read. The most profound and most ridiculous thing I've ever read. The most frustrating and most coherent thing I've ever read. The most far-seeing and most fantasy-derived thing I've ever read. But I'm really glad I read it, occasionally re-read it, and am influenced by it, good or bad.

In my opinion, much of the Communist Manifesto is a restatement of Luke 6:31. No matter if you think this is important or tripe, if you've actually read it, then I hope you will agree with me that the intent was a just world. You may disagree about the means, but not its aspiration. Honestly.
Profile Image for Ben Loory.
Author 25 books679 followers
January 13, 2014
wow, this was just amazing. i expected it to be long and dry and boring but instead it's like a pamphlet, it's a stirring infomercial, and the writing is incredible, like walt whitman or tennyson's "ulysses"-level rhetoric. i mean when you get to the list of the changes they actually want to make, you go OH JEEZ NO I DON'T THINK THAT'S GONNA WORK!!! but you can't help but see how this would've moved people to action (and probably still continues to do so to this day). it's electrifying and mesmerizing and often just plain undeniably right.

You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society, private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the population; its existence for the few is solely due to its non-existence in the hands of those nine-tenths. You reproach us, therefore, with intending to do away with a form of property, the necessary condition for whose existence is the non-existence of any property for the immense majority of society.

In one word, you reproach us with intending to do away with
your property. Precisely so; that is just what we intend.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
3,608 reviews2,581 followers
February 6, 2019
I read this on the train to Manchester, appropriate reading when approaching one of the UK’s biggest centers of Victorian industry and the place where Marx and Engels met to discuss ideas in the mid-1840s. Marx was the chief author of this 50-page pamphlet, first published in London in 1848. It had never occurred to me that it was first issued in German, Marx’s native language. Like Darwin’s Origin of Species, another seminal Victorian text, this has so many familiar lines and wonderful metaphors that have entered into common discourse that I simply assumed it was composed in English. My eyes glaze over at politics or economics, so I valued this more for its language than for its ideas. Part II, “Proletarians and Communists,” is the most focused part if you want to sample it.

Here are some of the memorable phrases:

“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.”

“The proletariat, the lowest stratum of our present society, cannot stir, cannot raise itself up, without the whole superincumbent strata of official society being sprung into the air.”

“In bourgeois society, therefore, the past dominates the present; in Communist society, the present dominates the past.”

“Communism deprives no man of the power to appropriate the products of society; all that it does is to deprive him of the power to subjugate the labor of others by means of such appropriation.”

(The last paragraph)
“The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by 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!”
Profile Image for Olivia-Savannah .
717 reviews479 followers
February 28, 2021
I did agree with a lot of things in this manifesto such as capitalism being over the top and getting out of hand. When the economic situations in history were broken down and explained, I was nodding along. I was surprised by how readable the manifesto was. I expected to get lost in the economic and class distinction jargon, but that didn’t happen at all. When it came to the second chapter, I started to disagree with some things. I felt like they started to sound a bit egotistical when discussing ideas they’d created. I also think they made some generalisations which should have been explored in more detail. Regardless of whether I agree or disagree, it definitely gave me a lot of food for thought. I was less interested in the third chapter. But I was intrigued and agreed with a lot of what they said about bourgeois socialism.

This review and others can be found on Olivia's Catastrophe: https://oliviascatastrophe.com/2021/0...
Profile Image for Amin Dorosti.
139 reviews85 followers
May 21, 2017
شبحی اروپا را در می نوردد، شبح کمونیسم!

این کتاب را در روزهای خوب ِ آرامانخواهی جوانی خواندم، روزهای پر شکوه آرمان های بزرگ و امیدهای پاک. روزهای معصومانۀ جنبش های دانشجویی در دانشگاه، روزهای پر تپش و روزهای که واقعا زندگی می کردم. روزهایی که همچون شبحی سراسر زندگی مرا در نوردیده است.
برای من این کتاب گذشته از محتوای آن یادآور همان روزهاست و بس، و از این روست که بعد از آن روزها هرگز و هرگز نتوانستم و نخواستم مانیفست را دوباره بخوانم! برای من مانیفست یک خاطره است، خاطرۀ روزهای خوب ِ رفاقت هایی که خیلی زود تمام شد، خاطرۀ خوب روزهای آرمان خواهی!
Profile Image for Mohammed.
430 reviews534 followers
October 5, 2020
بيان العفيف الأخضر، عندما يصبح الهامش صفحة.

أقتنيت هذا الكتاب ظنًا مني أن الكتاب سيتمحور بشكل رئيسي حول البيان الشيوعي وما تمخض عنه من آليات وتطبيقات سياسية واجتماعية. لكن البيان لم يأخذ سوى جزء ضئيل من الكتاب فيما استغل الكاتب/المترجم ما تبقى من المساحة لتسليط الضوء على الصراع الطبقي عبر التاريخ في الشرق والغرب.

في البداية ينبري العفيف لنقد الترجمات السابقة للبيان الشيوعي، مدعيًا أن المترجمين العرب ذبحوه إما بسكين التحامل أو بسكين اللغة. في الحقيقة قام العفيف الأخضر بتسديد طعنة جديدة للبيان ولكن هذه المرة بخنجر الهوامش. بالنسبة لي يجب أن يبقى الهامش هامشًا، مثلما نقول (هامشي) أو (على الهامش)، لا أن يحتل صفحة كاملة. في بعض المرات كنت أقلب الصفحة فأجد الهامش قد احتل الصفحتين المتقابلتيّن. آخر مرة قرأت بها كتابًا تحتل الهوامش فيه كل هذه المساحة كانت محاولتي لقراءة ديوان إمرئ القيس، وحتى الديوان الجاهلي لم تصل فيه الهوامش إلى هذا الحد من التطفل.

هذا لا يعنى أن الكتاب خالٍ من المحتوى المفيد، بل على العكس فقد تمكنت من رؤية التاريخ من منظار شيوعي تركّز عدسته على معاناة الطبقة الكادحة مهما تعاقبت الدول والإمبراطوريات. يتوصل ذلك العرض التاريخي إلى أن الحل يكمن في إلغاء الطبقات لا في تنظيم العلاقة بينها، فالأخيرة هي تحسين لشروط العبودية ليس إلا.

يرى الكاتب أن البورجوازية الغربية امتداد للإقطاع، تلى ذلك انفصال بين الطبقتيّن وصراع باسم ثوراتٍ وحروب وطنية انتهت بانتصار الطبقة البروجوازية. أما في العالم العربي فقد كانت البورجوازية امتدادًا للاستعمار، وعليه فلم تأخذ من الديموقراطيات البورجوازية الغربية شيئًا من ميزاتها مثل الحكومات النيابية والصحافة الحرة. يرى الكاتب أن الدول في التاريخ العربي كانت تطورًا للعشيرة واستمرت بالتفكير بنفس الطريقة حتى عهد قريب. كما يرى أن الفلاح في العالم العربي تعرض لظلم شديد فما بين نهب العشائر وضرائ�� الخليفة وتبريرات المؤسسة الدينية ضاع محصوله ومجهوده وظل يرزح تحت نير العبودية.

ثمة نقاط مهمة في الكتاب مثل مناقشة سبب ضعف قطاع الصناعة في العالم العربي. ذكر المؤلف بعض الأسباب مثل الامتيازات التجارية التي حصل عليها المُوَردون الغربيون أيام الدولة العثمانية فاكتسحت منتجاتهم السوق العربية ووأدت الصناعات العربية في المهد. من الأسباب أيضا عدم تطور القطاع الزراعي الذي اعتمد على أدوات عتيقة وأساليب لم تتطور على مر الزمن.

لا بأس بالكتاب إذا تغاضينا عن اللغة المتشنجة التي أزعجتني في البداية ثم وجدتها مسلية في بقية الكتاب. النبرة الشيوعية طاغية في النص ويجب أن يكون هذا هو المتوقع وليس العكس. يجب أيضا إعادة توصيف الكتاب فهو ليس مخصصاً للبيان الشيوعي وإن تضمنه أحد فصوله. في النهاية أعتقد من وجهة نظر شخصية أن نقرأ ونسمع أفكار الجميع مع تنشيط منطقتيّ التقبّل والنقد في الذهن، فلا نفتح باب عقلنا على مصراعيه ولا نوصده بقفل صدئ.
Author 10 books145 followers
March 28, 2016
Whether you disagree with Marx or not, this is an important book. It was part of a wider debate back when the idea of revolutionary strategy was taken seriously by the intellectuals of the day. I personally favour the principles of anarcho-syndicalism as being the path towards a freer, more democratic and peaceful world. I also think manifestos such as this lead to dogma rather than allowing revolutionary activity to be experimental and spontaneous.

That said Marx is an important figure in the debate and anyone interested in revolutionary ideas should consider reading this book as to get a basic understanding of Marx and what the original vision of communism looked like.

I'll have to reread it someday as it's only short. It's been a while.
Profile Image for Gary.
941 reviews205 followers
January 17, 2021
I've never been a Communist but I do think we should read this as a warning as to where the evils and dangers of unfettered capitalism (in those days it included child labour and workhouses in Britain) lead. Especially since I always find myself surrounded by fanatical free market libertarian lunatics who believe free markets are more important than human life.
472 reviews61 followers
June 24, 2020
Un texto que no sobresale más por su gramática, sino por lo histórico que fue, no pasa de ser un boletín político pero ahí no radica su grandeza, sino lo que este manifiesto logro histórica y políticamente en el mundo, para bien o para mal, este es un escrito que cambio al mundo, muchas veces más mal interpretado y todavía peor, llevado más mal a la práctica. Podrás estar a favor o en contra de los ideales comunistas, pero si quieres defender tu postura o atacar esta forma de pensamiento, debes leer este texto ya que aquí están las grandes bases del comunismo como ideología política y económica y solo por eso es un texto digno de leer.

“los comunistas consideran indigno ocultar sus puntos de vista e intenciones. Declaran abiertamente que sus objetivos solo pueden ser alcanzados mediante la subversión violenta de todo orden social preexistente. Las clases dominantes pueden temblar ante una revolución comunista. Los proletarios no tienen otra cosa que perder en ella que sus cadenas. Tienen un mundo que ganar ¡proletarios de todos los países, uníos!”
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