The Communist Manifesto

The Communist Manifesto

Edited and with an Introduction by Jeffrey C. Isaac
Steven Lukes
Stephen Eric Bronner
Vladimir Tismaneanu
Saskia Sassen
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    The Communist Manifesto
    Book Description:

    Marx and Engels'sCommunist Manifestohas become one of the world's most influential political tracts since its original 1848 publication. Part of the Rethinking the Western Tradition series, this edition of theManifestofeatures an extensive introduction by Jeffrey C. Isaac, and essays by Vladimir Tismaneanu, Steven Lukes, Saskia Sassen, and Stephen Eric Bronner, each well known for their writing on questions central to theManifestoand the history of Marxism. These essays address theManifesto's historical background, its impact on the development of twentieth-century Communism, its strengths and weaknesses as a form of ethical critique, and its relevance in the post-1989, post-Cold War world. This edition also includes much ancillary material, including the many Prefaces published in the lifetimes of Marx and Engels, and Engels's "Principles of Communism."

    eISBN: 978-0-300-16320-9
    Subjects: Philosophy, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Introduction: Rethinking the Communist Manifesto
    (pp. 1-42)

    TheCommunist Manifestois perhaps the most extensively published and widely read text in the history of political thought. An obscure pamphlet penned by and for marginal German émigré radicals in 1847–48, in its 160-plus years it has been translated into scores of languages and published in hundreds of editions. According to theGuinness Book of World Records, it is the second best-selling book of all time.¹ Of course, much of its circulation is due to its long-standing status as a veritable “bible” of the Soviet and Chinese Communist party-states—who made its study mandatory—and of the world...

  5. A Note on the Texts
    (pp. 43-44)
    Jeffrey C. Isaac
  6. Preliminary Drafts of the Communist Manifesto
    • “Draft of a Communist Confession of Faith” (1847)
      (pp. 47-51)

      Question 1: Are you a Communist?

      Answer: Yes.

      Question 2: What is the aim of the Communists?

      Answer: To organise society in such a way that every member of it can develop and use all his capabilities and powers in complete freedom and without thereby infringing the basic conditions of this society.

      Question 3: How do you wish to achieve this aim?

      Answer: By the elimination of private property and its replacement by community of property.

      Question 4: On what do you base your community of property?

      Answer: Firstly, on the mass of productive forces and means of subsistence resulting...

    • “Principles of Communism” (1847)
      (pp. 52-70)

      Communism is the doctrine of the conditions of the liberation of the proletariat.

      The proletariat is that class in society which lives entirely from the sale of its labor and does not draw profit from any kind of capital; whose weal and woe, whose life and death, whose sole existence depends on the demand for labor—hence, on the changing state of business, on the vagaries of unbridled competition. The proletariat, or the class of proletarians, is, in a word, the working class of the 19th century.

      No. There have always been poor and working classes; and the working class...

  7. The Text of the Communist Manifesto
    • The Communist Manifesto
      (pp. 73-102)

      A spectre is haunting Europe—the spectre of communism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Pope and Tsar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police-spies.

      Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as communistic by its opponents in power? Where is the opposition that has not hurled back the branding reproach of communism, against the more advanced opposition parties, as well as against its reactionary adversaries?

      Two things result from this fact:

      I. Communism is already acknowledged by all European powers to be itself a...

      (pp. 103-116)
  8. Essays
    • The Morals of the Manifesto
      (pp. 119-143)

      What is the moral message of theCommunist Manifesto?Its political message could not be clearer—“Working men of all countries, unite!” The economics and sociology that it contains are, though as yet rudimentary, sharply and vividly presented. But what answers does it offer to such questions as: What are the harms that capitalism inflicts? By what standards do we judge these to be harms? What would a better world, more fit for human beings, look like? By what standards would we judge it to be better? If we seek to bring it about, which ways of behaving are permissible...

    • The Communist Manifesto: BETWEEN PAST AND PRESENT
      (pp. 144-165)

      Eighteen forty-eight was one of those historical moments when anything seems possible.¹ Its dynamics were crystallized in theCommunist Manifestoof Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. But the drama associated with “the springtime of the peoples” was only heightened by the stultifying conservatism of the preceding decades. The years 1815–1848 marked an international period of reaction against everything associated with the revolutionary age of insurgent democracy that extended from 1688 to 1789. Political liberalism constituted the primary target of what Prince von Metternich of Austria-Hungary in 1815 termed the “counterrevolutionary principle.” He believed (correctly) that democracy has its own...

    • Reflections on the Fate of Marxism in Eastern Europe: FULFILLMENT OR BASTARDIZATION?
      (pp. 166-186)

      In this essay I propose to treat the theses of theCommunist Manifesto—the incendiary text that Leszek Kolakowski rightly called a “masterpiece of propagandist literature”¹—as the ideological core of the project to totally transform society, economy, culture, and human nature, a twentieth-century experiment whose laboratory was centered in Eastern Europe. Marxism was a complex political movement, but what distinguished it as a movement was its grandiose and ideologically inflected political ambitions. In this sense Marxism was first and foremost a demiurgic attempt to surpass an abhorred bourgeois order based on market relations (private property), transcend alienated social relations,...

      (pp. 187-204)

      I explore in this essay whether theCommunist Manifestocontains elements that might help to illuminate key features of the current phase of economic globalization. This is the second time that I have been called upon to reflect on this question. The first was in 1998 by the editors ofConstellations, who organized one of many symposia occasioned by the 150th anniversary of theManifestoand the new edition introduced by Eric Hobsbawm (1998). In that earlier contribution, I approached theManifestoprimarily as a work of social theory, asking whether it contained analytic elements, perhaps buried beneath its passionate...

  9. Index
    (pp. 205-212)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 213-214)