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3 [From the English edition of 1888, edited by Friedrich Engels]
6 A spectre is haunting Europe--the spectre of Communism.
7 All the Powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to
8 exorcise this spectre: Pope and Czar, Metternich and Guizot,
9 French Radicals and German police-spies.
11 Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as
12 Communistic by its opponents in power? Where is the Opposition
13 that has not hurled back the branding reproach of Communism,
14 against the more advanced opposition parties, as well as against
15 its reactionary adversaries?
17 Two things result from this fact.
19 I. Communism is already acknowledged by all European Powers
20 to be itself a Power.
22 II. It is high time that Communists should openly, in the
23 face of the whole world, publish their views, their aims, their
24 tendencies, and meet this nursery tale of the Spectre of
25 Communism with a Manifesto of the party itself.
27 To this end, Communists of various nationalities have
28 assembled in London, and sketched the following Manifesto, to be
29 published in the English, French, German, Italian, Flemish and
30 Danish languages.
36 The history of all hitherto existing societies is the history
37 of class struggles.
39 Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf,
40 guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed,
41 stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an
42 uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time
43 ended, either in a revolutionary re-constitution of society at
44 large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.
46 In the earlier epochs of history, we find almost everywhere a
47 complicated arrangement of society into various orders, a
48 manifold gradation of social rank. In ancient Rome we have
49 patricians, knights, plebeians, slaves; in the Middle Ages,
50 feudal lords, vassals, guild-masters, journeymen, apprentices,
51 serfs; in almost all of these classes, again, subordinate
52 gradations.
54 The modern bourgeois society that has sprouted from the ruins
55 of feudal society has not done away with class antagonisms. It
56 has but established new classes, new conditions of oppression,
57 new forms of struggle in place of the old ones. Our epoch, the
58 epoch of the bourgeoisie, possesses, however, this distinctive
59 feature: it has simplified the class antagonisms. Society as a
60 whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps,
61 into two great classes, directly facing each other: Bourgeoisie
62 and Proletariat.
64 From the serfs of the Middle Ages sprang the chartered burghers
65 of the earliest towns. From these burgesses the first elements
66 of the bourgeoisie were developed.
68 The discovery of America, the rounding of the Cape, opened up
69 fresh ground for the rising bourgeoisie. The East-Indian and
70 Chinese markets, the colonisation of America, trade with
71 the colonies, the increase in the means of exchange and in
72 commodities generally, gave to commerce, to navigation, to
73 industry, an impulse never before known, and thereby, to the
74 revolutionary element in the tottering feudal society, a rapid
75 development.
77 The feudal system of industry, under which industrial production
78 was monopolised by closed guilds, now no longer sufficed for the
79 growing wants of the new markets. The manufacturing system took
80 its place. The guild-masters were pushed on one side by the
81 manufacturing middle class; division of labour between the
82 different corporate guilds vanished in the face of division of
83 labour in each single workshop.
85 Meantime the markets kept ever growing, the demand ever rising.
86 Even manufacture no longer sufficed. Thereupon, steam and
87 machinery revolutionised industrial production. The place of
88 manufacture was taken by the giant, Modern Industry, the place of
89 the industrial middle class, by industrial millionaires, the
90 leaders of whole industrial armies, the modern bourgeois.
92 Modern industry has established the world-market, for which the
93 discovery of America paved the way. This market has given an
94 immense development to commerce, to navigation, to communication
95 by land. This development has, in its time, reacted on the
96 extension of industry; and in proportion as industry, commerce,
97 navigation, railways extended, in the same proportion the
98 bourgeoisie developed, increased its capital, and pushed into the
99 background every class handed down from the Middle Ages.
101 We see, therefore, how the modern bourgeoisie is itself the
102 product of a long course of development, of a series of
103 revolutions in the modes of production and of exchange.
105 Each step in the development of the bourgeoisie was accompanied
106 by a corresponding political advance of that class. An
107 oppressed class under the sway of the feudal nobility, an
108 armed and self-governing association in the mediaeval commune;
109 here independent urban republic (as in Italy and Germany),
110 there taxable "third estate" of the monarchy (as in France),
111 afterwards, in the period of manufacture proper, serving either
112 the semi-feudal or the absolute monarchy as a counterpoise
113 against the nobility, and, in fact, corner-stone of the great
114 monarchies in general, the bourgeoisie has at last, since the
115 establishment of Modern Industry and of the world-market,
116 conquered for itself, in the modern representative State,
117 exclusive political sway. The executive of the modern State is
118 but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole
119 bourgeoisie.
121 The bourgeoisie, historically, has played a most revolutionary
122 part.
124 The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an
125 end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has
126 pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to
127 his "natural superiors," and has left remaining no other nexus
128 between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous "cash
129 payment." It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of
130 religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine
131 sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It
132 has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of
133 the numberless and indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that
134 single, unconscionable freedom--Free Trade. In one word, for
135 exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, naked,
136 shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.
138 The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation
139 hitherto honoured and looked up to with reverent awe. It has
140 converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the
141 man of science, into its paid wage labourers.
143 The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental
144 veil, and has reduced the family relation to a mere money
145 relation.
147 The bourgeoisie has disclosed how it came to pass that the
148 brutal display of vigour in the Middle Ages, which Reactionists
149 so much admire, found its fitting complement in the most slothful
150 indolence. It has been the first to show what man's activity can
151 bring about. It has accomplished wonders far surpassing Egyptian
152 pyramids, Roman aqueducts, and Gothic cathedrals; it has
153 conducted expeditions that put in the shade all former Exoduses
154 of nations and crusades.
156 The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionising
157 the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of
158 production, and with them the whole relations of society.
159 Conservation of the old modes of production in unaltered form,
160 was, on the contrary, the first condition of existence for all
161 earlier industrial classes. Constant revolutionising of
162 production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions,
163 everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois
164 epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen relations,
165 with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and
166 opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated
167 before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all
168 that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face
169 with sober senses, his real conditions of life, and his
170 relations with his kind.
172 The need of a constantly expanding market for its products
173 chases the bourgeoisie over the whole surface of the globe. It
174 must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connexions
175 everywhere.
177 The bourgeoisie has through its exploitation of the world-market
178 given a cosmopolitan character to production and consumption in
179 every country. To the great chagrin of Reactionists, it has
180 drawn from under the feet of industry the national ground on
181 which it stood. All old-established national industries have
182 been destroyed or are daily being destroyed. They are dislodged
183 by new industries, whose introduction becomes a life and death
184 question for all civilised nations, by industries that no longer
185 work up indigenous raw material, but raw material drawn from the
186 remotest zones; industries whose products are consumed, not only
187 at home, but in every quarter of the globe. In place of the old
188 wants, satisfied by the productions of the country, we find new
189 wants, requiring for their satisfaction the products of distant
190 lands and climes. In place of the old local and national
191 seclusion and self-sufficiency, we have intercourse in every
192 direction, universal inter-dependence of nations. And as in
193 material, so also in intellectual production. The intellectual
194 creations of individual nations become common property. National
195 one-sidedness and narrow-mindedness become more and more
196 impossible, and from the numerous national and local literatures,
197 there arises a world literature.
199 The bourgeoisie, by the rapid improvement of all instruments of
200 production, by the immensely facilitated means of communication,
201 draws all, even the most barbarian, nations into civilisation.
202 The cheap prices of its commodities are the heavy artillery with
203 which it batters down all Chinese walls, with which it forces the
204 barbarians' intensely obstinate hatred of foreigners to
205 capitulate. It compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to
206 adopt the bourgeois mode of production; it compels them to
207 introduce what it calls civilisation into their midst, i.e., to
208 become bourgeois themselves. In one word, it creates a world
209 after its own image.
211 The bourgeoisie has subjected the country to the rule of the
212 towns. It has created enormous cities, has greatly increased the
213 urban population as compared with the rural, and has thus rescued
214 a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural
215 life. Just as it has made the country dependent on the towns, so
216 it has made barbarian and semi-barbarian countries dependent on
217 the civilised ones, nations of peasants on nations of bourgeois,
218 the East on the West.
220 The bourgeoisie keeps more and more doing away with the
221 scattered state of the population, of the means of production,
222 and of property. It has agglomerated production, and has
223 concentrated property in a few hands. The necessary consequence
224 of this was political centralisation. Independent, or but
225 loosely connected provinces, with separate interests, laws,
226 governments and systems of taxation, became lumped together into
227 one nation, with one government, one code of laws, one national
228 class-interest, one frontier and one customs-tariff. The
229 bourgeoisie, during its rule of scarce one hundred years, has
230 created more massive and more colossal productive forces than
231 have all preceding generations together. Subjection of Nature's
232 forces to man, machinery, application of chemistry to industry
233 and agriculture, steam-navigation, railways, electric telegraphs,
234 clearing of whole continents for cultivation, canalisation of
235 rivers, whole populations conjured out of the ground--what
236 earlier century had even a presentiment that such productive
237 forces slumbered in the lap of social labour?
239 We see then: the means of production and of exchange, on whose
240 foundation the bourgeoisie built itself up, were generated in
241 feudal society. At a certain stage in the development of these
242 means of production and of exchange, the conditions under which
243 feudal society produced and exchanged, the feudal organisation of
244 agriculture and manufacturing industry, in one word, the feudal
245 relations of property became no longer compatible with the
246 already developed productive forces; they became so many fetters.
247 They had to be burst asunder; they were burst asunder.
249 Into their place stepped free competition, accompanied by a
250 social and political constitution adapted to it, and by the
251 economical and political sway of the bourgeois class.
253 A similar movement is going on before our own eyes. Modern
254 bourgeois society with its relations of production, of exchange
255 and of property, a society that has conjured up such gigantic
256 means of production and of exchange, is like the sorcerer, who is
257 no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he
258 has called up by his spells. For many a decade past the history
259 of industry and commerce is but the history of the revolt of
260 modern productive forces against modern conditions of production,
261 against the property relations that are the conditions for the
262 existence of the bourgeoisie and of its rule. It is enough to
263 mention the commercial crises that by their periodical return put
264 on its trial, each time more threateningly, the existence of the
265 entire bourgeois society. In these crises a great part not only
266 of the existing products, but also of the previously created
267 productive forces, are periodically destroyed. In these crises
268 there breaks out an epidemic that, in all earlier epochs, would
269 have seemed an absurdity--the epidemic of over-production.
270 Society suddenly finds itself put back into a state of momentary
271 barbarism; it appears as if a famine, a universal war of
272 devastation had cut off the supply of every means of subsistence;
273 industry and commerce seem to be destroyed; and why? Because
274 there is too much civilisation, too much means of subsistence,
275 too much industry, too much commerce. The productive forces at
276 the disposal of society no longer tend to further the development
277 of the conditions of bourgeois property; on the contrary, they
278 have become too powerful for these conditions, by which they are
279 fettered, and so soon as they overcome these fetters, they bring
280 disorder into the whole of bourgeois society, endanger the
281 existence of bourgeois property. The conditions of bourgeois
282 society are too narrow to comprise the wealth created by them.
283 And how does the bourgeoisie get over these crises? On the one
284 hand inforced destruction of a mass of productive forces; on the
285 other, by the conquest of new markets, and by the more thorough
286 exploitation of the old ones. That is to say, by paving the
287 way for more extensive and more destructive crises, and by
288 diminishing the means whereby crises are prevented.
290 The weapons with which the bourgeoisie felled feudalism to the
291 ground are now turned against the bourgeoisie itself.
293 But not only has the bourgeoisie forged the weapons that bring
294 death to itself; it has also called into existence the men who
295 are to wield those weapons--the modern working class--the
296 proletarians.
298 In proportion as the bourgeoisie, i.e., capital, is developed,
299 in the same proportion is the proletariat, the modern working
300 class, developed--a class of labourers, who live only so long
301 as they find work, and who find work only so long as their labour
302 increases capital. These labourers, who must sell themselves
303 piece-meal, are a commodity, like every other article of
304 commerce, and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes of
305 competition, to all the fluctuations of the market.
307 Owing to the extensive use of machinery and to division of
308 labour, the work of the proletarians has lost all individual
309 character, and consequently, all charm for the workman. He
310 becomes an appendage of the machine, and it is only the most
311 simple, most monotonous, and most easily acquired knack, that is
312 required of him. Hence, the cost of production of a workman is
313 restricted, almost entirely, to the means of subsistence that he
314 requires for his maintenance, and for the propagation of his
315 race. But the price of a commodity, and therefore also of
316 labour, is equal to its cost of production. In proportion
317 therefore, as the repulsiveness of the work increases, the wage
318 decreases. Nay more, in proportion as the use of machinery and
319 division of labour increases, in the same proportion the burden
320 of toil also increases, whether by prolongation of the working
321 hours, by increase of the work exacted in a given time or by
322 increased speed of the machinery, etc.
324 Modern industry has converted the little workshop of the
325 patriarchal master into the great factory of the industrial
326 capitalist. Masses of labourers, crowded into the factory, are
327 organised like soldiers. As privates of the industrial army they
328 are placed under the command of a perfect hierarchy of officers
329 and sergeants. Not only are they slaves of the bourgeois class,
330 and of the bourgeois State; they are daily and hourly enslaved by
331 the machine, by the over-looker, and, above all, by the
332 individual bourgeois manufacturer himself. The more openly this
333 despotism proclaims gain to be its end and aim, the more petty,
334 the more hateful and the more embittering it is.
336 The less the skill and exertion of strength implied in manual
337 labour, in other words, the more modern industry becomes
338 developed, the more is the labour of men superseded by that of
339 women. Differences of age and sex have no longer any distinctive
340 social validity for the working class. All are instruments of
341 labour, more or less expensive to use, according to their age
342 and sex.
344 No sooner is the exploitation of the labourer by the manufacturer,
345 so far at an end, that he receives his wages in cash, than he is
346 set upon by the other portions of the bourgeoisie, the landlord,
347 the shopkeeper, the pawnbroker, etc.
349 The lower strata of the middle class--the small tradespeople,
350 shopkeepers, retired tradesmen generally, the handicraftsmen and
351 peasants--all these sink gradually into the proletariat, partly
352 because their diminutive capital does not suffice for the scale
353 on which Modern Industry is carried on, and is swamped in the
354 competition with the large capitalists, partly because their
355 specialized skill is rendered worthless by the new methods of
356 production. Thus the proletariat is recruited from all classes
357 of the population.
359 The proletariat goes through various stages of development.
360 With its birth begins its struggle with the bourgeoisie. At
361 first the contest is carried on by individual labourers, then by
362 the workpeople of a factory, then by the operatives of one trade,
363 in one locality, against the individual bourgeois who directly
364 exploits them. They direct their attacks not against the
365 bourgeois conditions of production, but against the instruments
366 of production themselves; they destroy imported wares that
367 compete with their labour, they smash to pieces machinery, they
368 set factories ablaze, they seek to restore by force the vanished
369 status of the workman of the Middle Ages.
371 At this stage the labourers still form an incoherent mass
372 scattered over the whole country, and broken up by their mutual
373 competition. If anywhere they unite to form more compact bodies,
374 this is not yet the consequence of their own active union, but of
375 the union of the bourgeoisie, which class, in order to attain its
376 own political ends, is compelled to set the whole proletariat in
377 motion, and is moreover yet, for a time, able to do so. At this
378 stage, therefore, the proletarians do not fight their enemies,
379 but the enemies of their enemies, the remnants of absolute
380 monarchy, the landowners, the non-industrial bourgeois, the petty
381 bourgeoisie. Thus the whole historical movement is concentrated
382 in the hands of the bourgeoisie; every victory so obtained is a
383 victory for the bourgeoisie.
385 But with the development of industry the proletariat not only
386 increases in number; it becomes concentrated in greater masses,
387 its strength grows, and it feels that strength more. The various
388 interests and conditions of life within the ranks of the
389 proletariat are more and more equalised, in proportion as
390 machinery obliterates all distinctions of labour, and nearly
391 everywhere reduces wages to the same low level. The growing
392 competition among the bourgeois, and the resulting commercial
393 crises, make the wages of the workers ever more fluctuating. The
394 unceasing improvement of machinery, ever more rapidly developing,
395 makes their livelihood more and more precarious; the collisions
396 between individual workmen and individual bourgeois take more and
397 more the character of collisions between two classes. Thereupon
398 the workers begin to form combinations (Trades Unions) against
399 the bourgeois; they club together in order to keep up the rate of
400 wages; they found permanent associations in order to make
401 provision beforehand for these occasional revolts. Here and
402 there the contest breaks out into riots.
404 Now and then the workers are victorious, but only for a time.
405 The real fruit of their battles lies, not in the immediate
406 result, but in the ever-expanding union of the workers. This
407 union is helped on by the improved means of communication that
408 are created by modern industry and that place the workers of
409 different localities in contact with one another. It was just
410 this contact that was needed to centralise the numerous local
411 struggles, all of the same character, into one national struggle
412 between classes. But every class struggle is a political
413 struggle. And that union, to attain which the burghers of the
414 Middle Ages, with their miserable highways, required centuries,
415 the modern proletarians, thanks to railways, achieve in a few
416 years.
418 This organisation of the proletarians into a class, and
419 consequently into a political party, is continually being upset
420 again by the competition between the workers themselves. But it
421 ever rises up again, stronger, firmer, mightier. It compels
422 legislative recognition of particular interests of the workers,
423 by taking advantage of the divisions among the bourgeoisie
424 itself. Thus the ten-hours' bill in England was carried.
426 Altogether collisions between the classes of the old society
427 further, in many ways, the course of development of the
428 proletariat. The bourgeoisie finds itself involved in a constant
429 battle. At first with the aristocracy; later on, with those
430 portions of the bourgeoisie itself, whose interests have become
431 antagonistic to the progress of industry; at all times, with the
432 bourgeoisie of foreign countries. In all these battles it sees
433 itself compelled to appeal to the proletariat, to ask for its
434 help, and thus, to drag it into the political arena. The
435 bourgeoisie itself, therefore, supplies the proletariat with its
436 own instruments of political and general education, in other
437 words, it furnishes the proletariat with weapons for fighting
438 the bourgeoisie.
440 Further, as we have already seen, entire sections of the ruling
441 classes are, by the advance of industry, precipitated into the
442 proletariat, or are at least threatened in their conditions of
443 existence. These also supply the proletariat with fresh elements
444 of enlightenment and progress.
446 Finally, in times when the class struggle nears the decisive
447 hour, the process of dissolution going on within the ruling
448 class, in fact within the whole range of society, assumes such a
449 violent, glaring character, that a small section of the ruling
450 class cuts itself adrift, and joins the revolutionary class, the
451 class that holds the future in its hands. Just as, therefore, at
452 an earlier period, a section of the nobility went over to the
453 bourgeoisie, so now a portion of the bourgeoisie goes over to the
454 proletariat, and in particular, a portion of the bourgeois
455 ideologists, who have raised themselves to the level of
456 comprehending theoretically the historical movement as a whole.
458 Of all the classes that stand face to face with the bourgeoisie
459 today, the proletariat alone is a really revolutionary class.
460 The other classes decay and finally disappear in the face of
461 Modern Industry; the proletariat is its special and essential
462 product. The lower middle class, the small manufacturer, the
463 shopkeeper, the artisan, the peasant, all these fight against the
464 bourgeoisie, to save from extinction their existence as fractions
465 of the middle class. They are therefore not revolutionary, but
466 conservative. Nay more, they are reactionary, for they try
467 to roll back the wheel of history. If by chance they are
468 revolutionary, they are so only in view of their impending
469 transfer into the proletariat, they thus defend not their
470 present, but their future interests, they desert their own
471 standpoint to place themselves at that of the proletariat.
473 The "dangerous class," the social scum, that passively rotting
474 mass thrown off by the lowest layers of old society, may,
475 here and there, be swept into the movement by a proletarian
476 revolution; its conditions of life, however, prepare it far more
477 for the part of a bribed tool of reactionary intrigue.
479 In the conditions of the proletariat, those of old society at
480 large are already virtually swamped. The proletarian is without
481 property; his relation to his wife and children has no longer
482 anything in common with the bourgeois family-relations; modern
483 industrial labour, modern subjection to capital, the same in
484 England as in France, in America as in Germany, has stripped him
485 of every trace of national character. Law, morality, religion,
486 are to him so many bourgeois prejudices, behind which lurk in
487 ambush just as many bourgeois interests.
489 All the preceding classes that got the upper hand, sought to
490 fortify their already acquired status by subjecting society at
491 large to their conditions of appropriation. The proletarians
492 cannot become masters of the productive forces of society, except
493 by abolishing their own previous mode of appropriation, and
494 thereby also every other previous mode of appropriation. They
495 have nothing of their own to secure and to fortify; their mission
496 is to destroy all previous securities for, and insurances of,
497 individual property.
499 All previous historical movements were movements of minorities,
500 or in the interests of minorities. The proletarian movement is
501 the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority,
502 in the interests of the immense majority. The proletariat, the
503 lowest stratum of our present society, cannot stir, cannot raise
504 itself up, without the whole superincumbent strata of official
505 society being sprung into the air.
507 Though not in substance, yet in form, the struggle of the
508 proletariat with the bourgeoisie is at first a national struggle.
509 The proletariat of each country must, of course, first of all
510 settle matters with its own bourgeoisie.
512 In depicting the most general phases of the development of the
513 proletariat, we traced the more or less veiled civil war, raging
514 within existing society, up to the point where that war breaks
515 out into open revolution, and where the violent overthrow of the
516 bourgeoisie lays the foundation for the sway of the proletariat.
518 Hitherto, every form of society has been based, as we have
519 already seen, on the antagonism of oppressing and oppressed
520 classes. But in order to oppress a class, certain conditions
521 must be assured to it under which it can, at least, continue its
522 slavish existence. The serf, in the period of serfdom, raised
523 himself to membership in the commune, just as the petty
524 bourgeois, under the yoke of feudal absolutism, managed to
525 develop into a bourgeois. The modern laborer, on the contrary,
526 instead of rising with the progress of industry, sinks deeper and
527 deeper below the conditions of existence of his own class. He
528 becomes a pauper, and pauperism develops more rapidly than
529 population and wealth. And here it becomes evident, that the
530 bourgeoisie is unfit any longer to be the ruling class in
531 society, and to impose its conditions of existence upon society
532 as an over-riding law. It is unfit to rule because it is
533 incompetent to assure an existence to its slave within his
534 slavery, because it cannot help letting him sink into such a
535 state, that it has to feed him, instead of being fed by him.
536 Society can no longer live under this bourgeoisie, in other
537 words, its existence is no longer compatible with society.
539 The essential condition for the existence, and for the sway of
540 the bourgeois class, is the formation and augmentation of
541 capital; the condition for capital is wage-labour. Wage-labour
542 rests exclusively on competition between the laborers. The
543 advance of industry, whose involuntary promoter is the bourgeoisie,
544 replaces the isolation of the labourers, due to competition,
545 by their revolutionary combination, due to association. The
546 development of Modern Industry, therefore, cuts from under its
547 feet the very foundation on which the bourgeoisie produces and
548 appropriates products. What the bourgeoisie, therefore, produces,
549 above all, is its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of
550 the proletariat are equally inevitable.
556 In what relation do the Communists stand to the proletarians as a
557 whole?
559 The Communists do not form a separate party opposed to other
560 working-class parties.
562 They have no interests separate and apart from those of the
563 proletariat as a whole.
565 They do not set up any sectarian principles of their own,
566 by which to shape and mould the proletarian movement.
568 The Communists are distinguished from the other working-class parties
569 by this only: (1) In the national struggles of the proletarians
570 of the different countries, they point out and bring to the front
571 the common interests of the entire proletariat, independently of
572 all nationality. (2) In the various stages of development which the
573 struggle of the working class against the bourgeoisie has to pass
574 through, they always and everywhere represent the interests of the
575 movement as a whole.
577 The Communists, therefore, are on the one hand, practically,
578 the most advanced and resolute section of the working-class
579 parties of every country, that section which pushes forward
580 all others; on the other hand, theoretically, they have over
581 the great mass of the proletariat the advantage of clearly
582 understanding the line of march, the conditions, and the ultimate
583 general results of the proletarian movement.
585 The immediate aim of the Communist is the same as that of all
586 the other proletarian parties: formation of the proletariat into
587 a class, overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy, conquest of
588 political power by the proletariat.
590 The theoretical conclusions of the Communists are in no way
591 based on ideas or principles that have been invented, or
592 discovered, by this or that would-be universal reformer. They
593 merely express, in general terms, actual relations springing from
594 an existing class struggle, from a historical movement going on
595 under our very eyes. The abolition of existing property
596 relations is not at all a distinctive feature of Communism.
598 All property relations in the past have continually been subject
599 to historical change consequent upon the change in historical
600 conditions.
602 The French Revolution, for example, abolished feudal property in
603 favour of bourgeois property.
605 The distinguishing feature of Communism is not the abolition of
606 property generally, but the abolition of bourgeois property. But
607 modern bourgeois private property is the final and most complete
608 expression of the system of producing and appropriating products,
609 that is based on class antagonisms, on the exploitation of the
610 many by the few.
612 In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in
613 the single sentence: Abolition of private property.
615 We Communists have been reproached with the desire of abolishing
616 the right of personally acquiring property as the fruit of a
617 man's own labour, which property is alleged to be the groundwork
618 of all personal freedom, activity and independence.
620 Hard-won, self-acquired, self-earned property! Do you mean the
621 property of the petty artisan and of the small peasant, a form of
622 property that preceded the bourgeois form? There is no need to
623 abolish that; the development of industry has to a great extent
624 already destroyed it, and is still destroying it daily.
626 Or do you mean modern bourgeois private property?
628 But does wage-labour create any property for the labourer? Not
629 a bit. It creates capital, i.e., that kind of property which
630 exploits wage-labour, and which cannot increase except upon
631 condition of begetting a new supply of wage-labour for fresh
632 exploitation. Property, in its present form, is based on the
633 antagonism of capital and wage-labour. Let us examine both sides
634 of this antagonism.
636 To be a capitalist, is to have not only a purely personal, but a
637 social status in production. Capital is a collective product,
638 and only by the united action of many members, nay, in the last
639 resort, only by the united action of all members of society,
640 can it be set in motion.
642 Capital is, therefore, not a personal, it is a social power.
644 When, therefore, capital is converted into common property, into
645 the property of all members of society, personal property is not
646 thereby transformed into social property. It is only the social
647 character of the property that is changed. It loses its
648 class-character.
650 Let us now take wage-labour.
652 The average price of wage-labour is the minimum wage, i.e.,
653 that quantum of the means of subsistence, which is absolutely
654 requisite in bare existence as a labourer. What, therefore, the
655 wage-labourer appropriates by means of his labour, merely
656 suffices to prolong and reproduce a bare existence. We by no
657 means intend to abolish this personal appropriation of the
658 products of labour, an appropriation that is made for the
659 maintenance and reproduction of human life, and that leaves no
660 surplus wherewith to command the labour of others. All that we
661 want to do away with, is the miserable character of this
662 appropriation, under which the labourer lives merely to increase
663 capital, and is allowed to live only in so far as the interest of
664 the ruling class requires it.
666 In bourgeois society, living labour is but a means to increase
667 accumulated labour. In Communist society, accumulated labour
668 is but a means to widen, to enrich, to promote the existence
669 of the labourer.
671 In bourgeois society, therefore, the past dominates the present;
672 in Communist society, the present dominates the past. In
673 bourgeois society capital is independent and has individuality,
674 while the living person is dependent and has no individuality.
676 And the abolition of this state of things is called by the
677 bourgeois, abolition of individuality and freedom! And rightly
678 so. The abolition of bourgeois individuality, bourgeois
679 independence, and bourgeois freedom is undoubtedly aimed at.
681 By freedom is meant, under the present bourgeois conditions of
682 production, free trade, free selling and buying.
684 But if selling and buying disappears, free selling and buying
685 disappears also. This talk about free selling and buying, and
686 all the other "brave words" of our bourgeoisie about freedom in
687 general, have a meaning, if any, only in contrast with restricted
688 selling and buying, with the fettered traders of the Middle Ages,
689 but have no meaning when opposed to the Communistic abolition of
690 buying and selling, of the bourgeois conditions of production,
691 and of the bourgeoisie itself.
693 You are horrified at our intending to do away with private
694 property. But in your existing society, private property is
695 already done away with for nine-tenths of the population; its
696 existence for the few is solely due to its non-existence in the
697 hands of those nine-tenths. You reproach us, therefore, with
698 intending to do away with a form of property, the necessary
699 condition for whose existence is the non-existence of any
700 property for the immense majority of society.
702 In one word, you reproach us with intending to do away with your
703 property. Precisely so; that is just what we intend.
705 From the moment when labour can no longer be converted into
706 capital, money, or rent, into a social power capable of being
707 monopolised, i.e., from the moment when individual property can
708 no longer be transformed into bourgeois property, into capital,
709 from that moment, you say individuality vanishes.
711 You must, therefore, confess that by "individual" you mean no
712 other person than the bourgeois, than the middle-class owner of
713 property. This person must, indeed, be swept out of the way, and
714 made impossible.
716 Communism deprives no man of the power to appropriate the
717 products of society; all that it does is to deprive him of the
718 power to subjugate the labour of others by means of such
719 appropriation.
721 It has been objected that upon the abolition of private property
722 all work will cease, and universal laziness will overtake us.
724 According to this, bourgeois society ought long ago to have gone
725 to the dogs through sheer idleness; for those of its members who
726 work, acquire nothing, and those who acquire anything, do not
727 work. The whole of this objection is but another expression of
728 the tautology: that there can no longer be any wage-labour when
729 there is no longer any capital.
731 All objections urged against the Communistic mode of producing
732 and appropriating material products, have, in the same way,
733 been urged against the Communistic modes of producing and
734 appropriating intellectual products. Just as, to the bourgeois,
735 the disappearance of class property is the disappearance of
736 production itself, so the disappearance of class culture is to
737 him identical with the disappearance of all culture.
739 That culture, the loss of which he laments, is, for the enormous
740 majority, a mere training to act as a machine.
742 But don't wrangle with us so long as you apply, to our intended
743 abolition of bourgeois property, the standard of your bourgeois
744 notions of freedom, culture, law, etc. Your very ideas are but
745 the outgrowth of the conditions of your bourgeois production and
746 bourgeois property, just as your jurisprudence is but the will of
747 your class made into a law for all, a will, whose essential
748 character and direction are determined by the economical
749 conditions of existence of your class.
751 The selfish misconception that induces you to transform into
752 eternal laws of nature and of reason, the social forms
753 springing from your present mode of production and form of
754 property--historical relations that rise and disappear in the
755 progress of production--this misconception you share with every
756 ruling class that has preceded you. What you see clearly in the
757 case of ancient property, what you admit in the case of feudal
758 property, you are of course forbidden to admit in the case of
759 your own bourgeois form of property.
761 Abolition of the family! Even the most radical flare up at this
762 infamous proposal of the Communists.
764 On what foundation is the present family, the bourgeois family,
765 based? On capital, on private gain. In its completely developed
766 form this family exists only among the bourgeoisie. But this
767 state of things finds its complement in the practical absence of
768 the family among the proletarians, and in public prostitution.
770 The bourgeois family will vanish as a matter of course when its
771 complement vanishes, and both will vanish with the vanishing of
772 capital.
774 Do you charge us with wanting to stop the exploitation of
775 children by their parents? To this crime we plead guilty.
777 But, you will say, we destroy the most hallowed of relations,
778 when we replace home education by social.
780 And your education! Is not that also social, and determined by the
781 social conditions under which you educate, by the intervention,
782 direct or indirect, of society, by means of schools, etc.? The
783 Communists have not invented the intervention of society in
784 education; they do but seek to alter the character of that
785 intervention, and to rescue education from the influence of the
786 ruling class.
788 The bourgeois clap-trap about the family and education, about
789 the hallowed co-relation of parent and child, becomes all the
790 more disgusting, the more, by the action of Modern Industry, all
791 family ties among the proletarians are torn asunder, and their
792 children transformed into simple articles of commerce and
793 instruments of labour.
795 But you Communists would introduce community of women, screams
796 the whole bourgeoisie in chorus.
798 The bourgeois sees in his wife a mere instrument of production.
799 He hears that the instruments of production are to be exploited
800 in common, and, naturally, can come to no other conclusion than
801 that the lot of being common to all will likewise fall to the
802 women.
804 He has not even a suspicion that the real point is to do away
805 with the status of women as mere instruments of production.
807 For the rest, nothing is more ridiculous than the
808 virtuous indignation of our bourgeois at the community of women
809 which, they pretend, is to be openly and officially established
810 by the Communists. The Communists have no need to introduce
811 community of women; it has existed almost from time immemorial.
813 Our bourgeois, not content with having the wives and daughters
814 of their proletarians at their disposal, not to speak of common
815 prostitutes, take the greatest pleasure in seducing each other's
816 wives.
818 Bourgeois marriage is in reality a system of wives in common
819 and thus, at the most, what the Communists might possibly
820 be reproached with, is that they desire to introduce, in
821 substitution for a hypocritically concealed, an openly legalised
822 community of women. For the rest, it is self-evident that the
823 abolition of the present system of production must bring with it
824 the abolition of the community of women springing from that
825 system, i.e., of prostitution both public and private.
827 The Communists are further reproached with desiring to abolish
828 countries and nationality.
830 The working men have no country. We cannot take from them what
831 they have not got. Since the proletariat must first of all
832 acquire political supremacy, must rise to be the leading class of
833 the nation, must constitute itself the nation, it is, so far,
834 itself national, though not in the bourgeois sense of the word.
836 National differences and antagonisms between peoples are daily
837 more and more vanishing, owing to the development of the
838 bourgeoisie, to freedom of commerce, to the world-market, to
839 uniformity in the mode of production and in the conditions of
840 life corresponding thereto.
842 The supremacy of the proletariat will cause them to vanish still
843 faster. United action, of the leading civilised countries at
844 least, is one of the first conditions for the emancipation of
845 the proletariat.
847 In proportion as the exploitation of one individual by another
848 is put an end to, the exploitation of one nation by another will
849 also be put an end to. In proportion as the antagonism between
850 classes within the nation vanishes, the hostility of one nation
851 to another will come to an end.
853 The charges against Communism made from a religious, a
854 philosophical, and, generally, from an ideological standpoint,
855 are not deserving of serious examination.
857 Does it require deep intuition to comprehend that man's ideas,
858 views and conceptions, in one word, man's consciousness, changes
859 with every change in the conditions of his material existence, in
860 his social relations and in his social life?
862 What else does the history of ideas prove, than that
863 intellectual production changes its character in proportion as
864 material production is changed? The ruling ideas of each age
865 have ever been the ideas of its ruling class.
867 When people speak of ideas that revolutionise society, they do
868 but express the fact, that within the old society, the elements
869 of a new one have been created, and that the dissolution of the
870 old ideas keeps even pace with the dissolution of the old
871 conditions of existence.
873 When the ancient world was in its last throes, the ancient
874 religions were overcome by Christianity. When Christian ideas
875 succumbed in the 18th century to rationalist ideas, feudal
876 society fought its death battle with the then revolutionary
877 bourgeoisie. The ideas of religious liberty and freedom of
878 conscience merely gave expression to the sway of free competition
879 within the domain of knowledge.
881 "Undoubtedly," it will be said, "religious, moral, philosophical
882 and juridical ideas have been modified in the course of
883 historical development. But religion, morality philosophy,
884 political science, and law, constantly survived this change."
886 "There are, besides, eternal truths, such as Freedom, Justice,
887 etc. that are common to all states of society. But Communism
888 abolishes eternal truths, it abolishes all religion, and all
889 morality, instead of constituting them on a new basis; it
890 therefore acts in contradiction to all past historical experience."
892 What does this accusation reduce itself to? The history of
893 all past society has consisted in the development of class
894 antagonisms, antagonisms that assumed different forms at
895 different epochs.
897 But whatever form they may have taken, one fact is common to all
898 past ages, viz., the exploitation of one part of society by the
899 other. No wonder, then, that the social consciousness of past
900 ages, despite all the multiplicity and variety it displays,
901 moves within certain common forms, or general ideas, which
902 cannot completely vanish except with the total disappearance of
903 class antagonisms.
905 The Communist revolution is the most radical rupture with
906 traditional property relations; no wonder that its development
907 involves the most radical rupture with traditional ideas.
909 But let us have done with the bourgeois objections to Communism.
911 We have seen above, that the first step in the revolution by the
912 working class, is to raise the proletariat to the position of
913 ruling as to win the battle of democracy.
915 The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by
916 degrees, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralise all
917 instruments of production in the hands of the State, i.e., of the
918 proletariat organised as the ruling class; and to increase the
919 total of productive forces as rapidly as possible.
921 Of course, in the beginning, this cannot be effected except by
922 means of despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on
923 the conditions of bourgeois production; by means of measures,
924 therefore, which appear economically insufficient and untenable,
925 but which, in the course of the movement, outstrip themselves,
926 necessitate further inroads upon the old social order, and are
927 unavoidable as a means of entirely revolutionising the mode of
928 production.
930 These measures will of course be different in different
931 countries.
933 Nevertheless in the most advanced countries, the following will
934 be pretty generally applicable.
936 1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents
937  of land to public purposes.
939 2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
941 3. Abolition of all right of inheritance.
943 4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
945 5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the State, by means
946  of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive
947  monopoly.
949 6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport
950  in the hands of the State.
952 7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by
953  the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and
954  the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a
955  common plan.
957 8. Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of
958  industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
960 9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries;
961  gradual abolition of the distinction between town and
962  country, by a more equable distribution of the population
963  over the country.
965 10. Free education for all children in public schools.
966  Abolition of children's factory labour in its present form.
967  Combination of education with industrial production, &c., &c.
969 When, in the course of development, class distinctions have
970 disappeared, and all production has been concentrated in the
971 hands of a vast association of the whole nation, the public power
972 will lose its political character. Political power, properly so
973 called, is merely the organised power of one class for oppressing
974 another. If the proletariat during its contest with the
975 bourgeoisie is compelled, by the force of circumstances, to
976 organise itself as a class, if, by means of a revolution, it
977 makes itself the ruling class, and, as such, sweeps away by force
978 the old conditions of production, then it will, along with these
979 conditions, have swept away the conditions for the existence of
980 class antagonisms and of classes generally, and will thereby have
981 abolished its own supremacy as a class.
983 In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and
984 class antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which
985 the free development of each is the condition for the free
986 development of all.
996 A. Feudal Socialism
998 Owing to their historical position, it became the vocation of the
999 aristocracies of France and England to write pamphlets against
1000 modern bourgeois society. In the French revolution of July 1830,
1001 and in the English reform agitation, these aristocracies again
1002 succumbed to the hateful upstart. Thenceforth, a serious political
1003 contest was altogether out of the question. A literary battle
1004 alone remained possible. But even in the domain of literature
1005 the old cries of the restoration period had become impossible.
1007 In order to arouse sympathy, the aristocracy were obliged to
1008 lose sight, apparently, of their own interests, and to formulate
1009 their indictment against the bourgeoisie in the interest of the
1010 exploited working class alone. Thus the aristocracy took their
1011 revenge by singing lampoons on their new master, and whispering
1012 in his ears sinister prophecies of coming catastrophe.
1014 In this way arose Feudal Socialism: half lamentation, half
1015 lampoon; half echo of the past, half menace of the future; at
1016 times, by its bitter, witty and incisive criticism, striking the
1017 bourgeoisie to the very heart's core; but always ludicrous in
1018 its effect, through total incapacity to comprehend the march of
1019 modern history.
1021 The aristocracy, in order to rally the people to them, waved the
1022 proletarian alms-bag in front for a banner. But the people, so
1023 often as it joined them, saw on their hindquarters the old feudal
1024 coats of arms, and deserted with loud and irreverent laughter.
1026 One section of the French Legitimists and "Young England"
1027 exhibited this spectacle.
1029 In pointing out that their mode of exploitation was different to
1030 that of the bourgeoisie, the feudalists forget that they
1031 exploited under circumstances and conditions that were quite
1032 different, and that are now antiquated. In showing that, under
1033 their rule, the modern proletariat never existed, they forget
1034 that the modern bourgeoisie is the necessary offspring of their
1035 own form of society.
1037 For the rest, so little do they conceal the reactionary
1038 character of their criticism that their chief accusation against
1039 the bourgeoisie amounts to this, that under the bourgeois regime
1040 a class is being developed, which is destined to cut up root and
1041 branch the old order of society.
1043 What they upbraid the bourgeoisie with is not so much that it
1044 creates a proletariat, as that it creates a revolutionary
1045 proletariat.
1047 In political practice, therefore, they join in all coercive
1048 measures against the working class; and in ordinary life,
1049 despite their high falutin phrases, they stoop to pick up the
1050 golden apples dropped from the tree of industry, and to barter
1051 truth, love, and honour for traffic in wool, beetroot-sugar, and
1052 potato spirits.
1054 As the parson has ever gone hand in hand with the landlord,
1055 so has Clerical Socialism with Feudal Socialism.
1057 Nothing is easier than to give Christian asceticism a Socialist
1058 tinge. Has not Christianity declaimed against private property,
1059 against marriage, against the State? Has it not preached in the
1060 place of these, charity and poverty, celibacy and mortification
1061 of the flesh, monastic life and Mother Church? Christian
1062 Socialism is but the holy, water with which the priest consecrates
1063 the heart-burnings of the aristocrat.
1066 B. Petty-Bourgeois Socialism
1068 The feudal aristocracy was not the only class that was ruined by
1069 the bourgeoisie, not the only class whose conditions of existence
1070 pined and perished in the atmosphere of modern bourgeois society.
1071 The mediaeval burgesses and the small peasant proprietors were
1072 the precursors of the modern bourgeoisie. In those countries
1073 which are but little developed, industrially and commercially,
1074 these two classes still vegetate side by side with the rising
1075 bourgeoisie.
1077 In countries where modern civilisation has become fully
1078 developed, a new class of petty bourgeois has been formed,
1079 fluctuating between proletariat and bourgeoisie and ever renewing
1080 itself as a supplementary part of bourgeois society. The
1081 individual members of this class, however, are being constantly
1082 hurled down into the proletariat by the action of competition,
1083 and, as modern industry develops, they even see the moment
1084 approaching when they will completely disappear as an independent
1085 section of modern society, to be replaced, in manufactures,
1086 agriculture and commerce, by overlookers, bailiffs and shopmen.
1088 In countries like France, where the peasants constitute far more
1089 than half of the population, it was natural that writers who
1090 sided with the proletariat against the bourgeoisie, should use,
1091 in their criticism of the bourgeois regime, the standard of the
1092 peasant and petty bourgeois, and from the standpoint of these
1093 intermediate classes should take up the cudgels for the working
1094 class. Thus arose petty-bourgeois Socialism. Sismondi was the
1095 head of this school, not only in France but also in England.
1097 This school of Socialism dissected with great acuteness the
1098 contradictions in the conditions of modern production. It laid
1099 bare the hypocritical apologies of economists. It proved,
1100 incontrovertibly, the disastrous effects of machinery and
1101 division of labour; the concentration of capital and land in a
1102 few hands; overproduction and crises; it pointed out the
1103 inevitable ruin of the petty bourgeois and peasant, the misery
1104 of the proletariat, the anarchy in production, the crying
1105 inequalities in the distribution of wealth, the industrial war of
1106 extermination between nations, the dissolution of old moral
1107 bonds, of the old family relations, of the old nationalities.
1109 In its positive aims, however, this form of Socialism aspires
1110 either to restoring the old means of production and of exchange,
1111 and with them the old property relations, and the old society, or
1112 to cramping the modern means of production and of exchange,
1113 within the framework of the old property relations that have
1114 been, and were bound to be, exploded by those means. In either
1115 case, it is both reactionary and Utopian.
1117 Its last words are: corporate guilds for manufacture,
1118 patriarchal relations in agriculture.
1120 Ultimately, when stubborn historical facts had dispersed all
1121 intoxicating effects of self-deception, this form of Socialism
1122 ended in a miserable fit of the blues.
1125 C. German, or "True," Socialism
1127 The Socialist and Communist literature of France, a literature
1128 that originated under the pressure of a bourgeoisie in power, and
1129 that was the expression of the struggle against this power, was
1130 introduced into Germany at a time when the bourgeoisie, in that
1131 country, had just begun its contest with feudal absolutism.
1133 German philosophers, would-be philosophers, and beaux esprits,
1134 eagerly seized on this literature, only forgetting, that when
1135 these writings immigrated from France into Germany, French social
1136 conditions had not immigrated along with them. In contact with
1137 German social conditions, this French literature lost all its
1138 immediate practical significance, and assumed a purely literary
1139 aspect. Thus, to the German philosophers of the eighteenth
1140 century, the demands of the first French Revolution were nothing
1141 more than the demands of "Practical Reason" in general, and the
1142 utterance of the will of the revolutionary French bourgeoisie
1143 signified in their eyes the law of pure Will, of Will as it was
1144 bound to be, of true human Will generally.
1146 The world of the German literate consisted solely in bringing
1147 the new French ideas into harmony with their ancient philosophical
1148 conscience, or rather, in annexing the French ideas without
1149 deserting their own philosophic point of view.
1151 This annexation took place in the same way in which a foreign
1152 language is appropriated, namely, by translation.
1154 It is well known how the monks wrote silly lives of Catholic
1155 Saints over the manuscripts on which the classical works of
1156 ancient heathendom had been written. The German literate
1157 reversed this process with the profane French literature. They
1158 wrote their philosophical nonsense beneath the French original.
1159 For instance, beneath the French criticism of the economic
1160 functions of money, they wrote "Alienation of Humanity," and
1161 beneath the French criticism of the bourgeois State they wrote
1162 "dethronement of the Category of the General," and so forth.
1164 The introduction of these philosophical phrases at the back of
1165 the French historical criticisms they dubbed "Philosophy of
1166 Action," "True Socialism," "German Science of Socialism,"
1167 "Philosophical Foundation of Socialism," and so on.
1169 The French Socialist and Communist literature was thus completely
1170 emasculated. And, since it ceased in the hands of the German to express
1171 the struggle of one class with the other, he felt conscious of having
1172 overcome "French one-sidedness" and of representing, not true
1173 requirements, but the requirements of truth; not the interests of the
1174 proletariat, but the interests of Human Nature, of Man in general, who
1175 belongs to no class, has no reality, who exists only in the misty realm
1176 of philosophical fantasy.
1178 This German Socialism, which took its schoolboy task so seriously
1179 and solemnly, and extolled its poor stock-in-trade in such
1180 mountebank fashion, meanwhile gradually lost its pedantic
1181 innocence.
1183 The fight of the German, and especially, of the Prussian bourgeoisie,
1184 against feudal aristocracy and absolute monarchy, in other words, the
1185 liberal movement, became more earnest.
1187 By this, the long wished-for opportunity was offered to "True"
1188 Socialism of confronting the political movement with the
1189 Socialist demands, of hurling the traditional anathemas
1190 against liberalism, against representative government, against
1191 bourgeois competition, bourgeois freedom of the press, bourgeois
1192 legislation, bourgeois liberty and equality, and of preaching to
1193 the masses that they had nothing to gain, and everything to lose,
1194 by this bourgeois movement. German Socialism forgot, in the nick
1195 of time, that the French criticism, whose silly echo it was,
1196 presupposed the existence of modern bourgeois society, with its
1197 corresponding economic conditions of existence, and the political
1198 constitution adapted thereto, the very things whose attainment
1199 was the object of the pending struggle in Germany.
1201 To the absolute governments, with their following of parsons,
1202 professors, country squires and officials, it served as a welcome
1203 scarecrow against the threatening bourgeoisie.
1205 It was a sweet finish after the bitter pills of floggings and
1206 bullets with which these same governments, just at that time,
1207 dosed the German working-class risings.
1209 While this "True" Socialism thus served the governments as a
1210 weapon for fighting the German bourgeoisie, it, at the same time,
1211 directly represented a reactionary interest, the interest of the
1212 German Philistines. In Germany the petty-bourgeois class, a
1213 relic of the sixteenth century, and since then constantly
1214 cropping up again under various forms, is the real social basis
1215 of the existing state of things.
1217 To preserve this class is to preserve the existing state of
1218 things in Germany. The industrial and political supremacy of the
1219 bourgeoisie threatens it with certain destruction; on the one
1220 hand, from the concentration of capital; on the other, from the
1221 rise of a revolutionary proletariat. "True" Socialism appeared to
1222 kill these two birds with one stone. It spread like an epidemic.
1224 The robe of speculative cobwebs, embroidered with flowers
1225 of rhetoric, steeped in the dew of sickly sentiment, this
1226 transcendental robe in which the German Socialists wrapped their
1227 sorry "eternal truths," all skin and bone, served to wonderfully
1228 increase the sale of their goods amongst such a public. And on
1229 its part, German Socialism recognised, more and more, its own
1230 calling as the bombastic representative of the petty-bourgeois
1231 Philistine.
1233 It proclaimed the German nation to be the model nation, and the
1234 German petty Philistine to be the typical man. To every
1235 villainous meanness of this model man it gave a hidden, higher,
1236 Socialistic interpretation, the exact contrary of its real
1237 character. It went to the extreme length of directly opposing
1238 the "brutally destructive" tendency of Communism, and of
1239 proclaiming its supreme and impartial contempt of all class
1240 struggles. With very few exceptions, all the so-called Socialist
1241 and Communist publications that now (1847) circulate in Germany
1242 belong to the domain of this foul and enervating literature.
1247 A part of the bourgeoisie is desirous of redressing social
1248 grievances, in order to secure the continued existence of
1249 bourgeois society.
1251 To this section belong economists, philanthropists,
1252 humanitarians, improvers of the condition of the working class,
1253 organisers of charity, members of societies for the prevention of
1254 cruelty to animals, temperance fanatics, hole-and-corner
1255 reformers of every imaginable kind. This form of Socialism has,
1256 moreover, been worked out into complete systems.
1258 We may cite Proudhon's Philosophie de la Misere as an example of
1259 this form.
1261 The Socialistic bourgeois want all the advantages of modern
1262 social conditions without the struggles and dangers necessarily
1263 resulting therefrom. They desire the existing state of society
1264 minus its revolutionary and disintegrating elements. They wish
1265 for a bourgeoisie without a proletariat. The bourgeoisie
1266 naturally conceives the world in which it is supreme to be the
1267 best; and bourgeois Socialism develops this comfortable
1268 conception into various more or less complete systems. In
1269 requiring the proletariat to carry out such a system, and thereby
1270 to march straightway into the social New Jerusalem, it but
1271 requires in reality, that the proletariat should remain within
1272 the bounds of existing society, but should cast away all its
1273 hateful ideas concerning the bourgeoisie.
1275 A second and more practical, but less systematic, form of this
1276 Socialism sought to depreciate every revolutionary movement in
1277 the eyes of the working class, by showing that no mere political
1278 reform, but only a change in the material conditions of
1279 existence, in economic relations, could be of any advantage to
1280 them. By changes in the material conditions of existence, this
1281 form of Socialism, however, by no means understands abolition of
1282 the bourgeois relations of production, an abolition that can be
1283 effected only by a revolution, but administrative reforms, based
1284 on the continued existence of these relations; reforms,
1285 therefore, that in no respect affect the relations between
1286 capital and labour, but, at the best, lessen the cost, and
1287 simplify the administrative work, of bourgeois government.
1289 Bourgeois Socialism attains adequate expression, when, and only
1290 when, it becomes a mere figure of speech.
1292 Free trade: for the benefit of the working class. Protective
1293 duties: for the benefit of the working class. Prison Reform: for
1294 the benefit of the working class. This is the last word and the
1295 only seriously meant word of bourgeois Socialism.
1297 It is summed up in the phrase: the bourgeois is a bourgeois--for
1298 the benefit of the working class.
1303 We do not here refer to that literature which, in every great
1304 modern revolution, has always given voice to the demands of the
1305 proletariat, such as the writings of Babeuf and others.
1307 The first direct attempts of the proletariat to attain its own
1308 ends, made in times of universal excitement, when feudal society
1309 was being overthrown, these attempts necessarily failed, owing
1310 to the then undeveloped state of the proletariat, as well as to
1311 the absence of the economic conditions for its emancipation,
1312 conditions that had yet to be produced, and could be produced
1313 by the impending bourgeois epoch alone. The revolutionary
1314 literature that accompanied these first movements of the
1315 proletariat had necessarily a reactionary character. It
1316 inculcated universal asceticism and social levelling in its
1317 crudest form.
1319 The Socialist and Communist systems properly so called, those of
1320 Saint-Simon, Fourier, Owen and others, spring into existence in
1321 the early undeveloped period, described above, of the struggle
1322 between proletariat and bourgeoisie (see Section 1. Bourgeois
1323 and Proletarians).
1325 The founders of these systems see, indeed, the class antagonisms, as
1326 well as the action of the decomposing elements, in the prevailing form
1327 of society. But the proletariat, as yet in its infancy, offers to them
1328 the spectacle of a class without any historical initiative or any
1329 independent political movement.
1331 Since the development of class antagonism keeps even pace with
1332 the development of industry, the economic situation, as they find
1333 it, does not as yet offer to them the material conditions for the
1334 emancipation of the proletariat. They therefore search after a
1335 new social science, after new social laws, that are to create
1336 these conditions.
1338 Historical action is to yield to their personal inventive
1339 action, historically created conditions of emancipation to
1340 fantastic ones, and the gradual, spontaneous class-organisation
1341 of the proletariat to the organisation of society specially
1342 contrived by these inventors. Future history resolves itself, in
1343 their eyes, into the propaganda and the practical carrying out of
1344 their social plans.
1346 In the formation of their plans they are conscious of caring
1347 chiefly for the interests of the working class, as being the most
1348 suffering class. Only from the point of view of being the most
1349 suffering class does the proletariat exist for them.
1351 The undeveloped state of the class struggle, as well as their
1352 own surroundings, causes Socialists of this kind to consider
1353 themselves far superior to all class antagonisms. They want to
1354 improve the condition of every member of society, even that of
1355 the most favoured. Hence, they habitually appeal to society at
1356 large, without distinction of class; nay, by preference, to the
1357 ruling class. For how can people, when once they understand
1358 their system, fail to see in it the best possible plan of the
1359 best possible state of society?
1361 Hence, they reject all political, and especially all
1362 revolutionary, action; they wish to attain their ends by
1363 peaceful means, and endeavour, by small experiments, necessarily
1364 doomed to failure, and by the force of example, to pave the way
1365 for the new social Gospel.
1367 Such fantastic pictures of future society, painted at a time
1368 when the proletariat is still in a very undeveloped state and has
1369 but a fantastic conception of its own position correspond with
1370 the first instinctive yearnings of that class for a general
1371 reconstruction of society.
1373 But these Socialist and Communist publications contain also a
1374 critical element. They attack every principle of existing society.
1375 Hence they are full of the most valuable materials for the
1376 enlightenment of the working class. The practical measures
1377 proposed in them--such as the abolition of the distinction
1378 between town and country, of the family, of the carrying on of
1379 industries for the account of private individuals, and of the wage
1380 system, the proclamation of social harmony, the conversion of the
1381 functions of the State into a mere superintendence of production,
1382 all these proposals, point solely to the disappearance of class
1383 antagonisms which were, at that time, only just cropping up, and
1384 which, in these publications, are recognised in their earliest,
1385 indistinct and undefined forms only. These proposals, therefore,
1386 are of a purely Utopian character.
1388 The significance of Critical-Utopian Socialism and Communism
1389 bears an inverse relation to historical development. In
1390 proportion as the modern class struggle develops and takes
1391 definite shape, this fantastic standing apart from the contest,
1392 these fantastic attacks on it, lose all practical value and all
1393 theoretical justification. Therefore, although the originators
1394 of these systems were, in many respects, revolutionary, their
1395 disciples have, in every case, formed mere reactionary sects.
1396 They hold fast by the original views of their masters, in
1397 opposition to the progressive historical development of the
1398 proletariat. They, therefore, endeavour, and that consistently,
1399 to deaden the class struggle and to reconcile the class antagonisms.
1400 They still dream of experimental realisation of their social
1401 Utopias, of founding isolated "phalansteres," of establishing
1402 "Home Colonies," of setting up a "Little Icaria"--duodecimo
1403 editions of the New Jerusalem--and to realise all these castles
1404 in the air, they are compelled to appeal to the feelings and
1405 purses of the bourgeois. By degrees they sink into the category
1406 of the reactionary conservative Socialists depicted above,
1407 differing from these only by more systematic pedantry, and
1408 by their fanatical and superstitious belief in the miraculous
1409 effects of their social science.
1411 They, therefore, violently oppose all political action on the
1412 part of the working class; such action, according to them, can
1413 only result from blind unbelief in the new Gospel.
1415 The Owenites in England, and the Fourierists in France,
1416 respectively, oppose the Chartists and the Reformistes.
1423 Section II has made clear the relations of the Communists to the
1424 existing working-class parties, such as the Chartists in England
1425 and the Agrarian Reformers in America.
1427 The Communists fight for the attainment of the immediate aims,
1428 for the enforcement of the momentary interests of the working
1429 class; but in the movement of the present, they also represent
1430 and take care of the future of that movement. In France the
1431 Communists ally themselves with the Social-Democrats, against the
1432 conservative and radical bourgeoisie, reserving, however, the
1433 right to take up a critical position in regard to phrases and
1434 illusions traditionally handed down from the great Revolution.
1436 In Switzerland they support the Radicals, without losing sight
1437 of the fact that this party consists of antagonistic elements,
1438 partly of Democratic Socialists, in the French sense, partly of
1439 radical bourgeois.
1441 In Poland they support the party that insists on an agrarian
1442 revolution as the prime condition for national emancipation, that
1443 party which fomented the insurrection of Cracow in 1846.
1445 In Germany they fight with the bourgeoisie whenever it acts in a
1446 revolutionary way, against the absolute monarchy, the feudal
1447 squirearchy, and the petty bourgeoisie.
1449 But they never cease, for a single instant, to instil into the
1450 working class the clearest possible recognition of the hostile
1451 antagonism between bourgeoisie and proletariat, in order that the
1452 German workers may straightaway use, as so many weapons against
1453 the bourgeoisie, the social and political conditions that the
1454 bourgeoisie must necessarily introduce along with its supremacy,
1455 and in order that, after the fall of the reactionary classes in
1456 Germany, the fight against the bourgeoisie itself may immediately
1457 begin.
1459 The Communists turn their attention chiefly to Germany, because
1460 that country is on the eve of a bourgeois revolution that
1461 is bound to be carried out under more advanced conditions
1462 of European civilisation, and with a much more developed
1463 proletariat, than that of England was in the seventeenth, and of
1464 France in the eighteenth century, and because the bourgeois
1465 revolution in Germany will be but the prelude to an immediately
1466 following proletarian revolution.
1468 In short, the Communists everywhere support every revolutionary
1469 movement against the existing social and political order of
1470 things.
1472 In all these movements they bring to the front, as the leading
1473 question in each, the property question, no matter what its
1474 degree of development at the time.
1476 Finally, they labour everywhere for the union and agreement of
1477 the democratic parties of all countries.
1479 The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims.
1480 They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by
1481 the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions.
1482 Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution.
1483 The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains.
1484 They have a world to win.