The Communist Manifesto: A Modern Edition
Friedrich Engels, Karl Marx
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In the two decades following the fall of the Berlin Wall, global capitalism became entrenched in its modern, neoliberal form. Its triumph was so complete that the word “capitalism” itself fell out of use in the absence of credible political alternatives. But with the outbreak of financial crisis and global recession in the twenty-first century, capitalism is once again up for discussion. The status quo can no longer be taken for granted.
As Eric Hobsbawm argues in his acute and elegant introduction to this modern edition, in such times The Communist Manifesto emerges as a work of great prescience and power despite being written over a century and a half ago. He highlights Marx and Engels’s enduring insights into the capitalist system: its devastating impact on all aspects of human existence; its susceptibility to enormous convulsions and crises; and its fundamental weakness.
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
come to an end. The charges against communism made from a religious, a philosophical, and, generally, from an ideological standpoint, are not deserving of serious examination. Does it require deep intuition to comprehend that man’s ideas, views and conceptions, in one word, man’s consciousness, changes with every change in the conditions of his material existence, in his social relations and in his social life? What else does the history of ideas prove, than that intellectual production
introduced into Germany at a time when the bourgeoisie, in that country, had just begun its contest with feudal absolutism. German philosophers, would-be philosophers and beaux esprits eagerly seized on this literature, only forgetting that when these writings immigrated from France into Germany, French social conditions had not immigrated along with them. In contact with German social conditions, this French literature lost all its immediate practical significance, and assumed a purely literary
part in the German Revolution, not least through the newspaper Neue Rheinische Zeitung (1848–49), which Karl Marx edited. The first edition of the Manifesto was reprinted three times in a few months, serialized in the Deutsche Londoner Zeitung, corrected and reset in thirty pages in April or May 1848, but dropped out of sight with the failure of the 1848 revolutions. By the time Marx settled down to his lifelong exile in England in 1849, the Manifesto had become sufficiently scarce for him to
industrial middle class, by industrial millionaires, the leaders of whole industrial armies, the modern bourgeois. Modern industry has established the world market, for which the discovery of America paved the way. This market has given an immense development to commerce, to navigation, to communication by land. This development has, in its turn, reacted on the extension of industry; and in proportion as industry, commerce, navigation, railways extended, in the same proportion the bourgeoisie