The Communist Manifesto, published in 1848 by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, is one of the world's most influential political tracts, advocating a political and economic philosophy known as Communism, or more precisely Marxism. The Manifesto suggested a course of action for a proletariat revolution in order to bring about a classless society. This plan encompassed many better known political philosophies as steps within it. What is often known as socialism was intended in the eyes of the Manifesto's authors to be a precursor to Communism. However, all three of these philosophies were later generalized by many people, often those with a negative outlook on Marxism, under the blanket term Communism. This was also in turn due the the misues of the term by Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin and other political leaders. It is called "The Communist Manifesto" because it advocates an economic philosophy which is based on the individual unit of a commune, or community--and also, of course, because the manifesto is itself a document of the Communist Party. In this way, Marx's original ideas where very much based on the idea of communal effort. Its opening and closing words are famous: "A specter is haunting Europe--the specter of communism" and "Working men of all countries, unite!" It went through a number of editions from 1872 to 1890. Written for a lay audience--addressed, indeed, to "workers"--it is one of the most readable works of Marx.
Perhaps we could have a brief summary of each part below?
Text of The Communist Manifesto
- /Bourgoise and Proletarians
- /Proletarians and Communists
- /Socialist and Communist Literature
- /Position of the Communists in relation to the various existing opposition parties