Introduction to the Communistic Manifest’s

Manifesto of the Communist Party
By Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels
Written: Late 1847.
First Published: February 1848.

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
Two things result from this fact:
I. Communism is already acknowledged by all European powers to be itself a power.
II. It is high time that Communists should openly, in the face of the whole world, publish
their views, their aims, their tendencies, and meet this nursery tale of the Spectre of
Communism with a manifesto of the party itself.
To this end, Communists of various nationalities have assembled in London and sketched
the following manifesto, to be published in the English, French, German, Italian, Flemish and
Danish languages.

The history of all hitherto existing society2 is the history of class struggles.
Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master3 and journeyman, in a
word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an
uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary
reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.
In the earlier epochs of history, we find almost everywhere a complicated arrangement of
society into various orders, a manifold gradation of social rank. In ancient Rome we have
patricians, knights, plebeians, slaves; in the Middle Ages, feudal lords, vassals, guild-masters,
journeymen, apprentices, serfs; in almost all of these classes, again, subordinate gradations.
The modern bourgeois society that has sprouted from the ruins of feudal society has not
done away with class antagonisms. It has but established new classes, new conditions of
oppression, new forms of struggle in place of the old ones.
Our epoch, the epoch of the bourgeoisie, possesses, however, this distinct feature: it has
simplified class antagonisms. Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great
hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other — Bourgeoisie and Proletariat.
From the serfs of the Middle Ages sprang the chartered burghers of the earliest towns. From
these burgesses the first elements of the bourgeoisie were developed.
The discovery of America, the rounding of the Cape, opened up fresh ground for the rising
bourgeoisie. The East-Indian and Chinese markets, the colonisation of America, trade with the
colonies, the increase in the means of exchange and in commodities generally, gave to

1 By bourgeoisie is meant the class of modern capitalists, owners of the means of social production and employers of
wage labour. By proletariat, the class of modern wage labourers who, having no means of production of their own,
are reduced to selling their labour power in order to live. [Engels, 1888 English edition]
2 That is, all written history. In 1847, the pre-history of society, the social organisation existing previous to recorded
history, all but unknown. Since then, August von Haxthausen (1792-1866) discovered common ownership of land in
Russia, Georg Ludwig von Maurer proved it to be the social foundation from which all Teutonic races started in
history, and, by and by, village communities were found to be, or to have been, the primitive form of society
everywhere from India to Ireland. The inner organisation of this primitive communistic society was laid bare, in its
typical form, by Lewis Henry Morgan’s (1818-1861) crowning discovery of the true nature of the gens and its relation
to the tribe. With the dissolution of the primeval communities, society begins to be differentiated into separate and
finally antagonistic classes. I have attempted to retrace this dissolution in The Origin of the Family, Private Property,
and the State, second edition, Stuttgart, 1886. [Engels, 1888 English Edition and 1890 German Edition (with the last
sentence omitted)]
3 Guild-master, that is, a full member of a guild, a master within, not a head of a guild. [Engels, 1888 English Edition]

commerce, to navigation, to industry, an impulse never before known, and thereby, to the
revolutionary element in the tottering feudal society, a rapid development.
The feudal system of industry, in which industrial production was monopolised by closed
guilds, now no longer sufficed for the growing wants of the new markets. The manufacturing
system took its place. The guild-masters were pushed on one side by the manufacturing middle
class; division of labour between the different corporate guilds vanished in the face of division of
labour in each single workshop.
Meantime the markets kept ever growing, the demand ever rising. Even manufacturer no
longer sufficed. Thereupon, steam and machinery revolutionised industrial production. The place
of manufacture was taken by the giant, Modern Industry; the place of the industrial middle class
by industrial millionaires, the leaders of the 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 developed, increased its capital, and pushed into the background every class
handed down from the Middle Ages.
We see, therefore, how the modern bourgeoisie is itself the product of a long course of
development, of a series of revolutions in the modes of production and of exchange.
Each step in the development of the bourgeoisie was accompanied by a corresponding
political advance of that class. An oppressed class under the sway of the feudal nobility, an
armed and self-governing association in the medieval commune4: here independent urban
republic (as in Italy and Germany); there taxable “third estate” of the monarchy (as in France);
afterwards, in the period of manufacturing proper, serving either the semi-feudal or the absolute
monarchy as a counterpoise against the nobility, and, in fact, cornerstone of the great monarchies
in general, the bourgeoisie has at last, since the establishment of Modern Industry and of the
world market, conquered for itself, in the modern representative State, exclusive political sway.
The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the
whole bourgeoisie.
4 This was the name given their urban communities by the townsmen of Italy and France, after they had purchased or conquered
their initial rights of self-government from their feudal lords. [Engels, 1890 German edition]
“Commune” was the name taken in France by the nascent towns even before they had conquered from their feudal lords and
masters local self-government and political rights as the “Third Estate”. Generally speaking, for the economical development of
the bourgeoisie, England is here taken as the typical country, for its political development, France. [Engels, 1888 English

The bourgeoisie, historically, has played a most revolutionary part.
The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal,
idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his
“natural superiors”, and has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked selfinterest,
than callous “cash payment”. It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious
fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical
calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless
indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom — Free Trade.
In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked,
shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.
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.
The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced the
family relation to a mere money relation.
The bourgeoisie has disclosed how it came to pass that the brutal display of vigour in the
Middle Ages, which reactionaries so much admire, found its fitting complement in the most
slothful indolence. It has been the first to show what man’s activity can bring about. It has
accomplished wonders far surpassing Egyptian pyramids, Roman aqueducts, and Gothic
cathedrals; it has conducted expeditions that put in the shade all former Exoduses of nations and
The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionising the instruments of
production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society.
Conservation of the old modes of production in unaltered form, was, on the contrary, the first
condition of existence for all earlier industrial classes. Constant revolutionising of production,
uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation
distinguish the bourgeois epoch 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 conditions of life, and
his relations with his kind.

The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the
entire surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connexions
The bourgeoisie has through its exploitation of the world market given a cosmopolitan
character to production and consumption in every country. To the great chagrin of Reactionists,
it has drawn from under the feet of industry the national ground on which it stood. All oldestablished
national industries have been destroyed or are daily being destroyed. They are
dislodged by new industries, whose introduction becomes a life and death question for all
civilised nations, by industries that no longer work up indigenous raw material, but raw material
drawn from the remotest zones; industries whose products are consumed, not only at home, but
in every quarter of the globe. In place of the old wants, satisfied by the production of the country,
we find new wants, requiring for their satisfaction the products of distant lands and climes. In
place of the old local and national seclusion and self-sufficiency, we have intercourse in every
direction, universal inter-dependence of nations. And as in material, so also in intellectual
production. The intellectual creations of individual nations become common property. National
one-sidedness and narrow-mindedness become more and more impossible, and from the
numerous national and local literatures, there arises a world literature.
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
civilisation. The cheap prices of 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. It compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of
production; it compels them to introduce what it calls civilisation into their midst, i.e., to become
bourgeois themselves. In one word, it creates a world after its own image.
The bourgeoisie has subjected the country to the rule of the towns. It has created enormous
cities, has greatly increased the urban population as compared with the rural, and has thus
rescued a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural life. Just as it has made the
country dependent on the towns, so it has made barbarian and semi-barbarian countries
dependent on the civilised ones, nations of peasants on nations of bourgeois, the East on the
The bourgeoisie keeps more and more doing away with the scattered state of the population,
of the means of production, and of property. It has agglomerated population, centralised the
means of production, and has concentrated property in a few hands. The necessary consequence
of this was political centralisation. Independent, or but loosely connected provinces, with
separate interests, laws, governments, and systems of taxation, became lumped together into one

nation, with one government, one code of laws, one national class-interest, one frontier, and one
The bourgeoisie, during its rule of scarce one hundred years, has created more massive and
more colossal productive forces than have all preceding generations together. Subjection of
Nature’s forces to man, machinery, application of chemistry to industry and agriculture, steamnavigation,
railways, electric telegraphs, clearing of whole continents for cultivation, canalisation
or rivers, whole populations conjured out of the ground — what earlier century had even a
presentiment that such productive forces slumbered in the lap of social labour?
We see then: the means of production and of exchange, on whose foundation the bourgeoisie
built itself up, were generated in feudal society. At a certain stage in the development of these
means of production and of exchange, the conditions under which feudal society produced and
exchanged, the feudal organisation of agriculture and manufacturing industry, in one word, the
feudal relations of property became no longer compatible with the already developed productive
forces; they became so many fetters. They had to be burst asunder; they were burst asunder.
Into their place stepped free competition, accompanied by a social and political constitution
adapted in it, and the economic and political sway of the bourgeois class.
A similar movement is going on before our own eyes. 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. 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 bourgeois and of its rule. It is enough to mention the commercial crises that
by their periodical return put the existence of the entire bourgeois society on its trial, each time
more threateningly. In these crises, a great part not only of the existing products, but also of the
previously created productive forces, are periodically destroyed. In these crises, there breaks out
an epidemic that, in all earlier epochs, would have seemed an absurdity — the epidemic of overproduction.
Society suddenly finds itself put back into a state of momentary barbarism; it appears
as if a famine, a universal war of devastation, had cut off the supply of every means of
subsistence; industry and commerce seem to be destroyed; and why? Because there is too much
civilisation, too much means of subsistence, too much industry, too much commerce. The
productive forces at the disposal of society no longer tend to further the development of the
conditions of bourgeois property; on the contrary, they have become too powerful for these
conditions, by which they are fettered, and so soon as they overcome these fetters, they bring
disorder into the whole of bourgeois society, endanger the existence of bourgeois property. 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.
The weapons with which the bourgeoisie felled feudalism to the ground are now turned
against the bourgeoisie itself.
But not only has the bourgeoisie forged the weapons that bring death to itself; it has also
called into existence the men who are to wield those weapons — the modern working class —
the proletarians.
In proportion as the bourgeoisie, i.e., capital, is developed, in the same proportion is the
proletariat, the modern working class, developed — a class of labourers, who live only so long as
they find work, and who find work only so long as their labour increases capital. These
labourers, who must sell themselves piecemeal, are a commodity, like every other article of
commerce, and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition, to all the
fluctuations of the market.
Owing to the extensive use of machinery, and to the 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. Hence, the cost of production of a workman
is restricted, almost entirely, to the means of subsistence that he requires for maintenance, and
for the propagation of his race. But the price of a commodity, and therefore also of labour, is
equal to its cost of production. In proportion, therefore, as the repulsiveness of the work
increases, the wage decreases. Nay more, in proportion as the use of machinery and division of
labour increases, in the same proportion the burden of toil also increases, whether by
prolongation of the working hours, by the increase of the work exacted in a given time or by
increased speed of machinery, etc.
Modern Industry has converted the little workshop of the patriarchal master into the great
factory of the industrial capitalist. Masses of labourers, crowded into the factory, are organised
like soldiers. As privates of the industrial army they are placed under the command of a perfect
hierarchy of officers and sergeants. Not only are they slaves of the bourgeois class, and of the
bourgeois State; they are daily and hourly enslaved by the machine, by the overlooker, and,
above all, by the individual bourgeois manufacturer himself. The more openly this despotism
proclaims gain to be its end and aim, the more petty, the more hateful and the more embittering it

The less the skill and exertion of strength implied in manual labour, in other words, the more
modern industry becomes developed, the more is the labour of men superseded by that of
women. Differences of age and sex have no longer any distinctive social validity for the working
class. All are instruments of labour, more or less expensive to use, according to their age and sex.
No sooner is the exploitation of the labourer by the manufacturer, so far, at an end, that he
receives his wages in cash, than he is set upon by the other portions of the bourgeoisie, the
landlord, the shopkeeper, the pawnbroker, etc.
The lower strata of the middle class — the small tradespeople, shopkeepers, and retired
tradesmen generally, the handicraftsmen and peasants — all these sink gradually into the
proletariat, partly because their diminutive capital does not suffice for the scale on which
Modern Industry is carried on, and is swamped in the competition with the large capitalists,
partly because their specialised skill is rendered worthless by new methods of production. Thus
the proletariat is recruited from all classes of the population.
The proletariat goes through various stages of development. With its birth begins its struggle
with the bourgeoisie. At first the contest is carried on by individual labourers, then by the
workpeople of a factory, then by the operative of one trade, in one locality, against the individual
bourgeois who directly exploits them. They direct their attacks not against the bourgeois
conditions of production, but against the instruments of production themselves; they destroy
imported wares that compete with their labour, they smash to pieces machinery, they set factories
ablaze, they seek to restore by force the vanished status of the workman of the Middle Ages.
At this stage, the labourers still form an incoherent mass scattered over the whole country,
and broken up by their mutual competition. If anywhere they unite to form more compact bodies,
this is not yet the consequence of their own active union, but of the union of the bourgeoisie,
which class, in order to attain its own political ends, is compelled to set the whole proletariat in
motion, and is moreover yet, for a time, able to do so. At this stage, therefore, the proletarians do
not fight their enemies, but the enemies of their enemies, the remnants of absolute monarchy, the
landowners, the non-industrial bourgeois, the petty bourgeois. Thus, the whole historical
movement is concentrated in the hands of the bourgeoisie; every victory so obtained is a victory
for the bourgeoisie.
But with the development of industry, the proletariat not only increases in number; it
becomes concentrated in greater masses, its strength grows, and it feels that strength more. The
various interests and conditions of life within the ranks of the proletariat are more and more
equalised, in proportion as machinery obliterates all distinctions of labour, and nearly
everywhere reduces wages to the same low level. The growing competition among the
bourgeois, and the resulting commercial crises, make the wages of the workers ever more

fluctuating. The increasing improvement of machinery, ever more rapidly developing, makes
their livelihood more and more precarious; the collisions between individual workmen and
individual bourgeois take more and more the character of collisions between two classes.
Thereupon, the workers begin to form combinations (Trades’ Unions) against the bourgeois; they
club together in order to keep up the rate of wages; they found permanent associations in order to
make provision beforehand for these occasional revolts. Here and there, the contest breaks out
into riots.
Now and then the workers are victorious, but only for a time. The real fruit of their battles
lies, not in the immediate result, but in the ever expanding union of the workers. This union is
helped on by the improved means of communication that are created by modern industry, and
that place the workers of different localities in contact with one another. It was just this contact
that was needed to centralise the numerous local struggles, all of the same character, into one
national struggle between classes. But every class struggle is a political struggle. And that union,
to attain which the burghers of the Middle Ages, with their miserable highways, required
centuries, the modern proletarian, thanks to railways, achieve in a few years.
This organisation of the proletarians into a class, and, consequently into a political party, is
continually being upset again by the competition between the workers themselves. But it ever
rises up again, stronger, firmer, mightier. It compels legislative recognition of particular interests
of the workers, by taking advantage of the divisions among the bourgeoisie itself. Thus, the tenhours’
bill in England was carried.
Altogether collisions between the classes of the old society further, in many ways, the course
of development of the proletariat. The bourgeoisie finds itself involved in a constant battle. At
first with the aristocracy; later on, with those portions of the bourgeoisie itself, whose interests
have become antagonistic to the progress of industry; at all time with the bourgeoisie of foreign
countries. In all these battles, it sees itself compelled to appeal to the proletariat, to ask for help,
and thus, to drag it into the political arena. The bourgeoisie itself, therefore, supplies the
proletariat with its own elements of political and general education, in other words, it furnishes
the proletariat with weapons for fighting the bourgeoisie.
Further, as we have already seen, entire sections of the ruling class are, by the advance of
industry, precipitated into the proletariat, or are at least threatened in their conditions of
existence. These also supply the proletariat with fresh elements of enlightenment and progress.
Finally, in times when the class struggle nears the decisive hour, the progress of dissolution
going on within the ruling class, in fact within the whole range of old society, assumes such a
violent, glaring character, that a small section of the ruling class cuts itself adrift, and joins the
revolutionary class, the class that holds the future in its hands. Just as, therefore, at an earlier

period, a section of the nobility went over to the bourgeoisie, so now a portion of the bourgeoisie
goes over to the proletariat, and in particular, a portion of the bourgeois ideologists, who have
raised themselves to the level of comprehending theoretically the historical movement as a
Of all the classes that stand face to face with the bourgeoisie today, the proletariat alone is a
really revolutionary class. The other classes decay and finally disappear in the face of Modern
Industry; the proletariat is its special and essential product.
The lower middle class, the small manufacturer, the shopkeeper, the artisan, the peasant, all
these fight against the bourgeoisie, to save from extinction their existence as fractions of the
middle class. They are therefore not revolutionary, but conservative. Nay more, they are
reactionary, for they try to roll back the wheel of history. If by chance, they are revolutionary,
they are only so in view of their impending transfer into the proletariat; they thus defend not their
present, but their future interests, they desert their own standpoint to place themselves at that of
the proletariat.
The “dangerous class”, [lumpenproletariat] the social scum, that passively rotting mass
thrown off by the lowest layers of the old society, may, here and there, be swept into the
movement by a proletarian revolution; its conditions of life, however, prepare it far more for the
part of a bribed tool of reactionary intrigue.
In the condition of the proletariat, those of old society at large are already virtually
swamped. The proletarian is without property; his relation to his wife and children has no longer
anything in common with the bourgeois family relations; modern industry labour, modern
subjection to capital, the same in England as in France, in America as in Germany, has stripped
him of every trace of national character. Law, morality, religion, are to him so many bourgeois
prejudices, behind which lurk in ambush just as many bourgeois interests.
All the preceding classes that got the upper hand sought to fortify their already acquired
status by subjecting society at large to their conditions of appropriation. The proletarians cannot
become masters of the productive forces of society, except by abolishing their own previous
mode of appropriation, and thereby also every other previous mode of appropriation. They have
nothing of their own to secure and to fortify; their mission is to destroy all previous securities
for, and insurances of, individual property.
All previous historical movements were movements of minorities, or in the interest of
minorities. The proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the
immense majority, in the interest of the immense majority. 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.
Though not in substance, yet in form, the struggle of the proletariat with the bourgeoisie is at
first a national struggle. The proletariat of each country must, of course, first of all settle matters
with its own bourgeoisie.
In depicting the most general phases of the development of the proletariat, we traced the
more or less veiled civil war, raging within existing society, up to the point where that war
breaks out into open revolution, and where the violent overthrow of the bourgeoisie lays the
foundation for the sway of the proletariat.
Hitherto, every form of society has been based, as we have already seen, on the antagonism
of oppressing and oppressed classes. But in order to oppress a class, certain conditions must be
assured to it under which it can, at least, continue its slavish existence. The serf, in the period of
serfdom, raised himself to membership in the commune, just as the petty bourgeois, under the
yoke of the feudal absolutism, managed to develop into a bourgeois. The modern labourer, on the
contrary, instead of rising with the process of industry, sinks deeper and deeper below the
conditions of existence of his own class. He becomes a pauper, and pauperism develops more
rapidly than population and wealth. And here it becomes evident, that the bourgeoisie is unfit
any longer to be the ruling class in society, and to impose its conditions of existence upon society
as an over-riding law. It is unfit to rule because it is incompetent to assure an existence to its
slave within his slavery, because it cannot help letting him sink into such a state, that it has to
feed him, instead of being fed by him. Society can no longer live under this bourgeoisie, in other
words, its existence is no longer compatible with society.
The essential conditions for the existence and for the sway of the bourgeois class is the
formation and augmentation of capital; the condition for capital is wage-labour. Wage-labour
rests exclusively on competition between the labourers. The advance of industry, whose
involuntary promoter is the bourgeoisie, replaces the isolation of the labourers, due to
competition, by the revolutionary combination, due to association. The development of Modern
Industry, therefore, cuts from under its feet the very foundation on which the bourgeoisie
produces and appropriates products. What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its
own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable.

Proletarians and Communists
In what relation do the Communists stand to the proletarians as a whole? The Communists
do not form a separate party opposed to the other working-class parties.
They have no interests separate and apart from those of the proletariat as a whole.
They do not set up any sectarian principles of their own, by which to shape and mould the
proletarian movement.
The Communists are distinguished from the other working-class parties by this only:
(1) In the national struggles of the proletarians of the different countries, they point
out and bring to the front the common interests of the entire proletariat, independently
of all nationality.
(2) In the various stages of development which the struggle of the working class
against the bourgeoisie has to pass through, they always and everywhere represent the
interests of the movement as a whole.
The Communists, therefore, are on the one hand, practically, the most advanced and
resolute section of the working-class parties of every country, that section which pushes forward
all others; on the other hand, theoretically, they have over the great mass of the proletariat the
advantage of clearly understanding the lines of march, the conditions, and the ultimate general
results of the proletarian movement.
The immediate aim of the Communists is the same as that of all other proletarian parties:
formation of the proletariat into a class, overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy, conquest of
political power by the proletariat.
The theoretical conclusions of the Communists are in no way based on ideas or principles
that have been invented, or discovered, by this or that would-be universal reformer.
They merely express, in general terms, actual relations springing from an existing class
struggle, from a historical movement going on under our very eyes. The abolition of existing
property relations is not at all a distinctive feature of communism.
All property relations in the past have continually been subject to historical change
consequent upon the change in historical conditions.

The French Revolution, for example, abolished feudal property in favour of bourgeois
The distinguishing feature of Communism is not the abolition of property generally, but
the abolition of bourgeois property. But modern bourgeois private property is the final and most
complete expression of the system of producing and appropriating products, that is based on
class antagonisms, on the exploitation of the many by the few.
In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence:
Abolition of private property.
We Communists have been reproached with the desire of abolishing the right of personally
acquiring property as the fruit of a man’s own labour, which property is alleged to be the
groundwork of all personal freedom, activity and independence.
Hard-won, self-acquired, self-earned property! Do you mean the property of petty artisan
and of the small peasant, a form of property that preceded the bourgeois form? There is no need
to abolish that; the development of industry has to a great extent already destroyed it, and is still
destroying it daily.
Or do you mean the modern bourgeois private property?
But does wage-labour create any property for the labourer? Not a bit. It creates capital, i.e.,
that kind of property which exploits wage-labour, and which cannot increase except upon
condition of begetting a new supply of wage-labour for fresh exploitation. Property, in its present
form, is based on the antagonism of capital and wage labour. Let us examine both sides of this
To be a capitalist, is to have not only a purely personal, but a social status in production.
Capital is a collective product, and only by the united action of many members, nay, in the last
resort, only by the united action of all members of society, can it be set in motion.
Capital is therefore not only personal; it is a social power.
When, therefore, capital is converted into common property, into the property of all
members of society, personal property is not thereby transformed into social property. It is only
the social character of the property that is changed. It loses its class character.
Let us now take wage-labour.

The average price of wage-labour is the minimum wage, i.e., that quantum of the means of
subsistence which is absolutely requisite to keep the labourer in bare existence as a labourer.
What, therefore, the wage-labourer appropriates by means of his labour, merely suffices to
prolong and reproduce a bare existence. We by no means intend to abolish this personal
appropriation of the products of labour, an appropriation that is made for the maintenance and
reproduction of human life, and that leaves no surplus wherewith to command the labour of
others. All that we want to do away with is the miserable character of this appropriation, under
which the labourer lives merely to increase capital, and is allowed to live only in so far as the
interest of the ruling class requires it.
In bourgeois society, living labour is but a means to increase accumulated labour. In
Communist society, accumulated labour is but a means to widen, to enrich, to promote the
existence of the labourer.
In bourgeois society, therefore, the past dominates the present; in Communist society, the
present dominates the past. In bourgeois society capital is independent and has individuality,
while the living person is dependent and has no individuality.
And the abolition of this state of things is called by the bourgeois, abolition of
individuality and freedom! And rightly so. The abolition of bourgeois individuality, bourgeois
independence, and bourgeois freedom is undoubtedly aimed at.
By freedom is meant, under the present bourgeois conditions of production, free trade, free
selling and buying.
But if selling and buying disappears, free selling and buying disappears also. This talk
about free selling and buying, and all the other “brave words” of our bourgeois about freedom in
general, have a meaning, if any, only in contrast with restricted selling and buying, with the
fettered traders of the Middle Ages, but have no meaning when opposed to the Communistic
abolition of buying and selling, of the bourgeois conditions of production, and of the bourgeoisie
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

In one word, you reproach us with intending to do away with your property. Precisely so;
that is just what we intend.
From the moment when labour can no longer be converted into capital, money, or rent,
into a social power capable of being monopolised, i.e., from the moment when individual
property can no longer be transformed into bourgeois property, into capital, from that moment,
you say, individuality vanishes.
You must, therefore, confess that by “individual” you mean no other person than the
bourgeois, than the middle-class owner of property. This person must, indeed, be swept out of
the way, and made impossible.
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 labour of others by means of such
It has been objected that upon the abolition of private property, all work will cease, and
universal laziness will overtake us.
According to this, bourgeois society ought long ago to have gone to the dogs through sheer
idleness; for those those of its members who work, acquire nothing, and those who acquire
anything do not work. The whole of this objection is but another expression of the tautology: that
there can no longer be any wage-labour when there is no longer any capital.
All objections urged against the Communistic mode of producing and appropriating
material products, have, in the same way, been urged against the Communistic mode of
producing and appropriating intellectual products. Just as, to the bourgeois, the disappearance of
class property is the disappearance of production itself, so the disappearance of class culture is to
him identical with the disappearance of all culture.
That culture, the loss of which he laments, is, for the enormous majority, a mere training to
act as a machine.
But don’t wrangle with us so long as you apply, to our intended abolition of bourgeois
property, the standard of your bourgeois notions of freedom, culture, law, &c. Your very ideas
are but the outgrowth of the conditions of your bourgeois production and bourgeois property, just
as your jurisprudence is but the will of your class made into a law for all, a will whose essential
character and direction are determined by the economical conditions of existence of your class.

The selfish misconception that induces you to transform into eternal laws of nature and of
reason, the social forms springing from your present mode of production and form of property –
historical relations that rise and disappear in the progress of production – this misconception you
share with every ruling class that has preceded you. What you see clearly in the case of ancient
property, what you admit in the case of feudal property, you are of course forbidden to admit in
the case of your own bourgeois form of property.
Abolition [Aufhebung] 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 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, &c.?
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
The bourgeois clap-trap about the family and education, about the hallowed co-relation of
parents and child, becomes all the more disgusting, the more, by the action of Modern Industry,
all the family ties among the proletarians are torn asunder, and their children transformed into
simple articles of commerce and instruments of labour.
But you Communists would introduce community of women, screams the bourgeoisie in

The bourgeois sees 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
that the lot of being common to all will likewise fall to the women.
He has not even a suspicion that the real point aimed at 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 wives and daughters of their proletarians at their
disposal, not to speak of common prostitutes, take the greatest pleasure in seducing each other’s
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 Communists are further reproached with desiring to abolish countries and nationality.
The working men have no country. We cannot take from them what they have not got.
Since the proletariat must first of all acquire political supremacy, must rise to be the leading class
of the nation, must constitute itself the nation, it is so far, itself national, though not in the
bourgeois sense of the word.
National differences and antagonism between peoples are daily more and more vanishing,
owing to the development of the bourgeoisie, to freedom of commerce, to the world market, to
uniformity in the mode of production and in the conditions of life corresponding thereto.
The supremacy of the proletariat will cause them to vanish still faster. United action, of the
leading civilised countries at least, is one of the first conditions for the emancipation of the
In proportion as the exploitation of one individual by another will also be put an end to, the
exploitation of one nation by another will also be put an end to. In proportion as the antagonism

between classes within the nation vanishes, the hostility of one nation to another will come to an
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 conception, 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 changes its
character in proportion as material production is changed? The ruling ideas of each age have ever
been the ideas of its ruling class.
When people speak of the ideas that revolutionise society, they do but express that fact that
within the old society the elements of a new one have been created, and that the dissolution of
the old ideas keeps even pace with the dissolution of the old conditions of existence.
When the ancient world was in its last throes, the ancient religions were overcome by
Christianity. When Christian ideas succumbed in the 18th century to rationalist ideas, feudal
society fought its death battle with the then revolutionary bourgeoisie. The ideas of religious
liberty and freedom of conscience merely gave expression to the sway of free competition within
the domain of knowledge.
“Undoubtedly,” it will be said, “religious, moral, philosophical, and juridical ideas have
been modified in the course of historical development. But religion, morality, philosophy,
political science, and law, constantly survived this change.”
“There are, besides, eternal truths, such as Freedom, Justice, etc., that are common to all
states of society. But Communism abolishes eternal truths, it abolishes all religion, and all
morality, instead of constituting them on a new basis; it therefore acts in contradiction to all past
historical experience.”
What does this accusation reduce itself to? The history of all past society has consisted in
the development of class antagonisms, antagonisms that assumed different forms at different
But whatever form they may have taken, one fact is common to all past ages, viz., the
exploitation of one part of society by the other. No wonder, then, that the social consciousness of
past ages, despite all the multiplicity and variety it displays, moves within certain common

forms, or general ideas, which cannot completely vanish except with the total disappearance of
class antagonisms.
The Communist revolution is the most radical rupture with traditional relations; no wonder
that its development involved the most radical rupture with traditional ideas.
But let us have done with the bourgeois objections to Communism.
We have seen above, that the first step in the revolution by the working class is to raise the
proletariat to the position of ruling class to win the battle of democracy.
The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degree, all capital from the
bourgeoisie, to centralise all instruments of production in the hands of the State, i.e., of the
proletariat organised as the ruling class; and to increase the total productive forces as rapidly as
Of course, in the beginning, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads on
the rights of property, and on the conditions of bourgeois production; by means of measures,
therefore, which appear economically insufficient and untenable, but which, in the course of the
movement, outstrip themselves, necessitate further inroads upon the old social order, and are
unavoidable as a means of entirely revolutionising the mode of production.
These measures will, of course, be different in different countries.

Nevertheless, in most advanced countries, the following will be pretty generally
1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to
public purposes.
2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
5. Centralisation of credit in the banks of the state, by means of a national
bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands
of the State.
7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the
State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the
soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
8. Equal liability of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies,
especially for agriculture.
9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual
abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable
distribution of the populace over the country.
10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of
children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with
industrial production, &c, &c.
When, in the course of development, class distinctions have disappeared, and all
production has been concentrated in the hands of a vast association of the whole nation, the
public power will lose its political character. Political power, properly so called, is merely the
organised power of one class for oppressing another. If the proletariat during its contest with the
bourgeoisie is compelled, by the force of circumstances, to organise itself as a class, if, by means
of a revolution, it makes itself the ruling class, and, as such, sweeps away by force the old
conditions of production, then it will, along with these conditions, have swept away the
conditions for the existence of class antagonisms and of classes generally, and will thereby have
abolished its own supremacy as a class.
In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have
an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development
of all.

Socialist and Communist Literature
1. Reactionary Socialism
A. Feudal Socialism
Owing to their historical position, it became the vocation of the aristocracies of France and
England to write pamphlets against modern bourgeois society. In the French Revolution of July
1830, and in the English reform agitation[A], these aristocracies again succumbed to the hateful
upstart. Thenceforth, a serious political struggle was altogether out of the question. A literary
battle alone remained possible. But even in the domain of literature the old cries of the
restoration period had become impossible.5
In order to arouse sympathy, the aristocracy was obliged to lose sight, apparently, of its own
interests, and to formulate their indictment against the bourgeoisie in the interest of the exploited
working class alone. Thus, the aristocracy took their revenge by singing lampoons on their new
masters and whispering in his ears sinister prophesies of coming catastrophe.
In this way arose feudal Socialism: half lamentation, half lampoon; half an echo of the past,
half menace of the future; at times, by its bitter, witty and incisive criticism, striking the
bourgeoisie to the very heart’s core; but always ludicrous in its effect, through total incapacity to
comprehend the march of modern history.
The aristocracy, in order to rally the people to them, waved the proletarian alms-bag in front
for a banner. But the people, so often as it joined them, saw on their hindquarters the old feudal
coats of arms, and deserted with loud and irreverent laughter.
One section of the French Legitimists and “Young England” exhibited this spectacle.
In pointing out that their mode of exploitation was different to that of the bourgeoisie, the
feudalists forget that they exploited under circumstances and conditions that were quite different
and that are now antiquated. In showing that, under their rule, the modern proletariat never
[A] A reference to the movement for a reform of the electoral law which, under the pressure of the working class, was pased by
the British House of Commons in 1831 and finally endorsed by the House of Lords in June, 1832. The reform was directed
against monopoly rule of the landed and finance aristrocracy and opened the way to Parliament for the representatives of the
industrial bourgeoisie. Neither workers nor the petty-bourgeois were allowed electoral rights, despite assurances they would.
[Editor’s note]
5 Not the English Restoration (1660-1689), but the French Restoration (1814-1830). [Engels, 1888 German edition]

existed, they forget that the modern bourgeoisie is the necessary offspring of their own form of
For the rest, so little do they conceal the reactionary character of their criticism that their
chief accusation against the bourgeois amounts to this, that under the bourgeois régime a class is
being developed which is destined to cut up root and branch the old order of society.
What they upbraid the bourgeoisie with is not so much that it creates a proletariat as that it
creates a revolutionary proletariat.
In political practice, therefore, they join in all coercive measures against the working class;
and in ordinary life, despite their high-falutin phrases, they stoop to pick up the golden apples
dropped from the tree of industry, and to barter truth, love, and honour, for traffic in wool,
beetroot-sugar, and potato spirits.6
As the parson has ever gone hand in hand with the landlord, so has Clerical Socialism with
Feudal Socialism.
Nothing is easier than to give Christian asceticism a Socialist tinge. Has not Christianity
declaimed against private property, against marriage, against the State? Has it not preached in the
place of these, charity and poverty, celibacy and mortification of the flesh, monastic life and
Mother Church? Christian Socialism is but the holy water with which the priest consecrates the
heart-burnings of the aristocrat.
B. Petty-Bourgeois Socialism
The feudal aristocracy was not the only class that was ruined by the bourgeoisie, not the only
class whose conditions of existence pined and perished in the atmosphere of modern bourgeois
society. The medieval burgesses and the small peasant proprietors were the precursors of the
modern bourgeoisie. In those countries which are but little developed, industrially and
commercially, these two classes still vegetate side by side with the rising bourgeoisie.
In countries where modern civilisation has become fully developed, a new class of petty
bourgeois has been formed, fluctuating between proletariat and bourgeoisie, and ever renewing
itself as a supplementary part of bourgeois society. The individual members of this class,
6 This applies chiefly to Germany, where the landed aristocracy and squirearchy have large portions of their estates cultivated for
their own account by stewards, and are, moreover, extensive beetroot-sugar manufacturers and distillers of potato spirits. The
wealthier British aristocracy are, as yet, rather above that; but they, too, know how to make up for declining rents by lending their
names to floaters or more or less shady joint-stock companies. [Engels, 1888 German edition]

however, are being constantly hurled down into the proletariat by the action of competition, and,
as modern industry develops, they even see the moment approaching when they will completely
disappear as an independent section of modern society, to be replaced in manufactures,
agriculture and commerce, by overlookers, bailiffs and shopmen.
In countries like France, where the peasants constitute far more than half of the population, it
was natural that writers who sided with the proletariat against the bourgeoisie should use, in their
criticism of the bourgeois régime, the standard of the peasant and petty bourgeois, and from the
standpoint of these intermediate classes, should take up the cudgels for the working class. Thus
arose petty-bourgeois Socialism. Sismondi was the head of this school, not only in France but
also in England.
This school of Socialism dissected with great acuteness the contradictions in the conditions
of modern production. It laid bare the hypocritical apologies of economists. It proved,
incontrovertibly, the disastrous effects of machinery and division of labour; the concentration of
capital and land in a few hands; overproduction and crises; it pointed out the inevitable ruin of
the petty bourgeois and peasant, the misery of the proletariat, the anarchy in production, the
crying inequalities in the distribution of wealth, the industrial war of extermination between
nations, the dissolution of old moral bonds, of the old family relations, of the old nationalities.
In its positive aims, however, this form of Socialism aspires either to restoring the old means
of production and of exchange, and with them the old property relations, and the old society, or
to cramping the modern means of production and of exchange within the framework of the old
property relations that have been, and were bound to be, exploded by those means. In either case,
it is both reactionary and Utopian.
Its last words are: corporate guilds for manufacture; patriarchal relations in agriculture.
Ultimately, when stubborn historical facts had dispersed all intoxicating effects of selfdeception,
this form of Socialism ended in a miserable hangover.
C. German or “True” Socialism
The Socialist and Communist literature of France, a literature that originated under the
pressure of a bourgeoisie in power, and that was the expressions of the struggle against this
power, was 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 (men of letters), 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 aspect. Thus, to the German philosophers of the Eighteenth Century, the
demands of the first French Revolution were nothing more than the demands of “Practical
Reason” in general, and the utterance of the will of the revolutionary French bourgeoisie
signified, in their eyes, the laws of pure Will, of Will as it was bound to be, of true human Will
The work of the German literati consisted solely in bringing the new French ideas into
harmony with their ancient philosophical conscience, or rather, in annexing the French ideas
without deserting their own philosophic point of view.
This annexation took place in the same way in which a foreign language is appropriated,
namely, by translation.
It is well known how the monks wrote silly lives of Catholic Saints over the manuscripts on
which the classical works of ancient heathendom had been written. The German literati reversed
this process with the profane French literature. They wrote their philosophical nonsense beneath
the French original. For instance, beneath the French criticism of the economic functions of
money, they wrote “Alienation of Humanity”, and beneath the French criticism of the bourgeois
state they wrote “Dethronement of the Category of the General”, and so forth.
The introduction of these philosophical phrases at the back of the French historical criticisms,
they dubbed “Philosophy of Action”, “True Socialism”, “German Science of Socialism”,
“Philosophical Foundation of Socialism”, and so on.
The French Socialist and Communist literature was thus completely emasculated. And, since
it ceased in the hands of the German to express the struggle of one class with the other, he felt
conscious of having overcome “French one-sidedness” and of representing, not true
requirements, but the requirements of Truth; not the interests of the proletariat, but the interests
of Human Nature, of Man in general, who belongs to no class, has no reality, who exists only in
the misty realm of philosophical fantasy.
This German socialism, which took its schoolboy task so seriously and solemnly, and
extolled its poor stock-in-trade in such a mountebank fashion, meanwhile gradually lost its
pedantic innocence.
The fight of the Germans, and especially of the Prussian bourgeoisie, against feudal
aristocracy and absolute monarchy, in other words, the liberal movement, became more earnest.

By this, the long-wished for opportunity was offered to “True” Socialism of confronting the
political movement with the Socialist demands, of hurling the traditional anathemas against
liberalism, against representative government, against bourgeois competition, bourgeois freedom
of the press, bourgeois legislation, bourgeois liberty and equality, and of preaching to the masses
that they had nothing to gain, and everything to lose, by this bourgeois movement. German
Socialism forgot, in the nick of time, that the French criticism, whose silly echo it was,
presupposed the existence of modern bourgeois society, with its corresponding economic
conditions of existence, and the political constitution adapted thereto, the very things those
attainment was the object of the pending struggle in Germany.
To the absolute governments, with their following of parsons, professors, country squires,
and officials, it served as a welcome scarecrow against the threatening bourgeoisie.
It was a sweet finish, after the bitter pills of flogging and bullets, with which these same
governments, just at that time, dosed the German working-class risings.
While this “True” Socialism thus served the government as a weapon for fighting the
German bourgeoisie, it, at the same time, directly represented a reactionary interest, the interest
of German Philistines. In Germany, the petty-bourgeois class, a relic of the sixteenth century,
and since then constantly cropping up again under the various forms, is the real social basis of
the existing state of things.
To preserve this class is to preserve the existing state of things in Germany. The industrial
and political supremacy of the bourgeoisie threatens it with certain destruction — on the one
hand, from the concentration of capital; on the other, from the rise of a revolutionary proletariat.
“True” Socialism appeared to kill these two birds with one stone. It spread like an epidemic.
The robe of speculative cobwebs, embroidered with flowers of rhetoric, steeped in the dew of
sickly sentiment, this transcendental robe in which the German Socialists wrapped their sorry
“eternal truths”, all skin and bone, served to wonderfully increase the sale of their goods amongst
such a public.
And on its part German Socialism recognised, more and more, its own calling as the
bombastic representative of the petty-bourgeois Philistine.
It proclaimed the German nation to be the model nation, and the German petty Philistine to
be the typical man. To every villainous meanness of this model man, it gave a hidden, higher,
Socialistic interpretation, the exact contrary of its real character. It went to the extreme length of
directly opposing the “brutally destructive” tendency of Communism, and of proclaiming its
supreme and impartial contempt of all class struggles. With very few exceptions, all the so-called

Socialist and Communist publications that now (1847) circulate in Germany belong to the
domain of this foul and enervating literature.7
2. Conservative or Bourgeois Socialism
A part of the bourgeoisie is desirous of redressing social grievances in order to secure the
continued existence of bourgeois society.
To this section belong economists, philanthropists, humanitarians, improvers of the condition
of the working class, organisers of charity, members of societies for the prevention of cruelty to
animals, temperance fanatics, hole-and-corner reformers of every imaginable kind. This form of
socialism has, moreover, been worked out into complete systems.
We may cite Proudhon’s Philosophis de la Misère as an example of this form.
The Socialistic bourgeois want all the advantages of modern social conditions without the
struggles and dangers necessarily resulting therefrom. They desire the existing state of society,
minus its revolutionary and disintegrating elements. They wish for a bourgeoisie without a
proletariat. The bourgeoisie naturally conceives the world in which it is supreme to be the best;
and bourgeois Socialism develops this comfortable conception into various more or less
complete systems. In requiring the proletariat to carry out such a system, and thereby to march
straightway into the social New Jerusalem, it but requires in reality, that the proletariat should
remain within the bounds of existing society, but should cast away all its hateful ideas
concerning the bourgeoisie.
A second, and more practical, but less systematic, form of this Socialism sought to depreciate
every revolutionary movement in the eyes of the working class by showing that no mere political
reform, but only a change in the material conditions of existence, in economical relations, could
be of any advantage to them. By changes in the material conditions of existence, this form of
Socialism, however, by no means understands abolition of the bourgeois relations of production,
an abolition that can be affected only by a revolution, but administrative reforms, based on the
continued existence of these relations; reforms, therefore, that in no respect affect the relations
between capital and labour, but, at the best, lessen the cost, and simplify the administrative work,
of bourgeois government.
Bourgeois Socialism attains adequate expression when, and only when, it becomes a mere
figure of speech.
7 The revolutionary storm of 1848 swept away this whole shabby tendency and cured its protagonists of the desire to dabble in
socialism. The chief representative and classical type of this tendency is Mr Karl Gruen. [Engels, 1888 German edition]

Free trade: for the benefit of the working class. Protective duties: for the benefit of the
working class. Prison Reform: for the benefit of the working class. This is the last word and the
only seriously meant word of bourgeois socialism.
It is summed up in the phrase: the bourgeois is a bourgeois — for the benefit of the working
3. Critical-Utopian Socialism and Communism
We do not here refer to that literature which, in every great modern revolution, has always
given voice to the demands of the proletariat, such as the writings of Babeuf and others.
The first direct attempts of the proletariat to attain its own ends, made in times of universal
excitement, when feudal society was being overthrown, necessarily failed, owing to the then
undeveloped state of the proletariat, as well as to the absence of the economic conditions for its
emancipation, conditions that had yet to be produced, and could be produced by the impending
bourgeois epoch alone. The revolutionary literature that accompanied these first movements of
the proletariat had necessarily a reactionary character. It inculcated universal asceticism and
social levelling in its crudest form.
The Socialist and Communist systems, properly so called, those of Saint-Simon, Fourier,
Owen, and others, spring into existence in the early undeveloped period, described above, of the
struggle between proletariat and bourgeoisie (see Section 1. Bourgeois and Proletarians).
The founders of these systems see, indeed, the class antagonisms, as well as the action of the
decomposing elements in the prevailing form of society. But the proletariat, as yet in its infancy,
offers to them the spectacle of a class without any historical initiative or any independent
political movement.
Since the development of class antagonism keeps even pace with the development of
industry, the economic situation, as they find it, does not as yet offer to them the material
conditions for the emancipation of the proletariat. They therefore search after a new social
science, after new social laws, that are to create these conditions.
Historical action is to yield to their personal inventive action; historically created conditions
of emancipation to fantastic ones; and the gradual, spontaneous class organisation of the
proletariat to an organisation of society especially contrived by these inventors. Future history

resolves itself, in their eyes, into the propaganda and the practical carrying out of their social
In the formation of their plans, they are conscious of caring chiefly for the interests of the
working class, as being the most suffering class. Only from the point of view of being the most
suffering class does the proletariat exist for them.
The undeveloped state of the class struggle, as well as their own surroundings, causes
Socialists of this kind to consider themselves far superior to all class antagonisms. They want to
improve the condition of every member of society, even that of the most favoured. Hence, they
habitually appeal to society at large, without the distinction of class; nay, by preference, to the
ruling class. For how can people, when once they understand their system, fail to see in it the
best possible plan of the best possible state of society?
Hence, they reject all political, and especially all revolutionary action; they wish to attain
their ends by peaceful means, necessarily doomed to failure, and by the force of example, to
pave the way for the new social Gospel.
Such fantastic pictures of future society, painted at a time when the proletariat is still in a
very undeveloped state and has but a fantastic conception of its own position, correspond with
the first instinctive yearnings of that class for a general reconstruction of society.
But these Socialist and Communist publications contain also a critical element. They attack
every principle of existing society. Hence, they are full of the most valuable materials for the
enlightenment of the working class. The practical measures proposed in them — such as the
abolition of the distinction between town and country, of the family, of the carrying on of
industries for the account of private individuals, and of the wage system, the proclamation of
social harmony, the conversion of the function of the state into a more superintendence of
production — all these proposals point solely to the disappearance of class antagonisms which
were, at that time, only just cropping up, and which, in these publications, are recognised in their
earliest indistinct and undefined forms only. These proposals, therefore, are of a purely Utopian
The significance of Critical-Utopian Socialism and Communism bears an inverse relation to
historical development. In proportion as the modern class struggle develops and takes definite
shape, this fantastic standing apart from the contest, these fantastic attacks on it, lose all practical
value and all theoretical justification. Therefore, although the originators of these systems were,
in many respects, revolutionary, their disciples have, in every case, formed mere reactionary
sects. They hold fast by the original views of their masters, in opposition to the progressive
historical development of the proletariat. They, therefore, endeavour, and that consistently, to

deaden the class struggle and to reconcile the class antagonisms. They still dream of
experimental realisation of their social Utopias, of founding isolated “phalansteres”, of
establishing “Home Colonies”, or setting up a “Little Icaria”8 — duodecimo editions of the New
Jerusalem — and to realise all these castles in the air, they are compelled to appeal to the
feelings and purses of the bourgeois. By degrees, they sink into the category of the reactionary
[or] conservative Socialists depicted above, differing from these only by more systematic
pedantry, and by their fanatical and superstitious belief in the miraculous effects of their social
They, therefore, violently oppose all political action on the part of the working class; such
action, according to them, can only result from blind unbelief in the new Gospel.
The Owenites in England, and the Fourierists in France, respectively, oppose the Chartists
and the Réformistes.
8 Phalanstéres were Socialist colonies on the plan of Charles Fourier; Icaria was the name given by Cabet to his Utopia and, later
on, to his American Communist colony. [Engels, 1888 English Edition]
“Home Colonies” were what Owen called his Communist model societies. Phalanstéres was the name of the public palaces
planned by Fourier. Icaria was the name given to the Utopian land of fancy, whose Communist institutions Cabet portrayed.
[Engels, 1890 German Edition]

Position of the Communists in Relation to the Various
Existing Opposition Parties
Section II has made clear the relations of the Communists to the existing working-class
parties, such as the Chartists in England and the Agrarian Reformers in America.
The Communists fight for the attainment of the immediate aims, for the enforcement of the
momentary interests of the working class; but in the movement of the present, they also represent
and take care of the future of that movement. In France, the Communists ally with the Social-
Democrats9 against the conservative and radical bourgeoisie, reserving, however, the right to
take up a critical position in regard to phases and illusions traditionally handed down from the
great Revolution.
In Switzerland, they support the Radicals, without losing sight of the fact that this party
consists of antagonistic elements, partly of Democratic Socialists, in the French sense, partly of
radical bourgeois.
In Poland, they support the party that insists on an agrarian revolution as the prime condition
for national emancipation, that party which fomented the insurrection of Cracow in 1846.
In Germany, they fight with the bourgeoisie whenever it acts in a revolutionary way, against
the absolute monarchy, the feudal squirearchy, and the petty bourgeoisie.
But they never cease, for a single instant, to instill into the working class the clearest possible
recognition of the hostile antagonism between bourgeoisie and proletariat, in order that the
German workers may straightway use, as so many weapons against the bourgeoisie, the social
and political conditions that the bourgeoisie must necessarily introduce along with its supremacy,
and in order that, after the fall of the reactionary classes in Germany, the fight against the
bourgeoisie itself may immediately begin.
The Communists turn their attention chiefly to Germany, because that country is on the eve
of a bourgeois revolution that is bound to be carried out under more advanced conditions of
European civilisation and with a much more developed proletariat than that of England was in
the seventeenth, and France in the eighteenth century, and because the bourgeois revolution in
Germany will be but the prelude to an immediately following proletarian revolution.
9 The party then represented in Parliament by Ledru-Rollin, in literature by Louis Blanc, in the daily press by the Réforme. The
name of Social-Democracy signifies, with these its inventors, a section of the Democratic or Republican Party more or less tinged
with socialism. [Engels, English Edition 1888]

In short, the Communists everywhere support every revolutionary movement against the
existing social and political order of things.
In all these movements, they bring to the front, as the leading question in each, the property
question, no matter what its degree of development at the time.
Finally, they labour everywhere for the union and agreement of the democratic parties of all
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.

Appendix: Prefaces to various Language Editions
The 1872 German Edition
The Communist League, an international association of workers, which could of course be
only a secret one, under conditions obtaining at the time, commissioned us, the undersigned, at
the Congress held in London in November 1847, to write for publication a detailed theoretical
and practical programme for the Party. Such was the origin of the following Manifesto, the
manuscript of which travelled to London to be printed a few weeks before the February
Revolution. First published in German, it has been republished in that language in at least twelve
different editions in Germany, England, and America. It was published in English for the first
time in 1850 in the Red Republican, London, translated by Miss Helen Macfarlane, and in 1871
in at least three different translations in America. The french version first appeared in Paris
shortly before the June insurrection of 1848, and recently in Le Socialiste of New York. A new
translation is in the course of preparation. A Polish version appeared in London shortly after it
was first published in Germany. A Russian translation was published in Geneva in the ‘sixties.
Into Danish, too, it was translated shortly after its appearance.
However much that state of things may have altered during the last twenty-five years, the
general principles laid down in the Manifesto are, on the whole, as correct today as ever. Here
and there, some detail might be improved. The practical application of the principles will
depend, as the Manifesto itself states, everywhere and at all times, on the historical conditions for
the time being existing, and, for that reason, no special stress is laid on the revolutionary
measures proposed at the end of Section II. That passage would, in many respects, be very
differently worded today. In view of the gigantic strides of Modern Industry since 1848, and of
the accompanying improved and extended organization of the working class, in view of the
practical experience gained, first in the February Revolution, and then, still more, in the Paris
Commune, where the proletariat for the first time held political power for two whole months, this
programme has in some details been antiquated. One thing especially was proved by the
Commune, viz., that “the working class cannot simply lay hold of ready-made state machinery,
and wield it for its own purposes.” (See The Civil War in France: Address of the General
Council of the International Working Men’s Assocation, 1871, where this point is further
developed.) Further, it is self-evident that the criticism of socialist literature is deficient in
relation to the present time, because it comes down only to 1847; also that the remarks on the
relation of the Communists to the various opposition parties (Section IV), although, in principle
still correct, yet in practice are antiquated, because the political situation has been entirely
changed, and the progress of history has swept from off the earth the greater portion of the
political parties there enumerated.

But then, the Manifesto has become a historical document which we have no longer any right
to alter. A subsequent edition may perhaps appear with an introduction bridging the gap from
1847 to the present day; but this reprint was too unexpected to leave us time for that.
Karl Marx & Fredrick Engels
London, June 24, 1872
The 1882 Russian Edition
The first Russian edition of the Manifesto of the Communist Party, translated by Bakunin,
was published early in the ‘sixties by the printing office of the Kolokol. Then the West could see
in it (the Russian edition of the Manifesto) only a literary curiosity. Such a view would be
impossible today.
What a limited field the proletarian movement occupied at that time (December 1847) is
most clearly shown by the last section: the position of the Communists in relation to the various
opposition parties in various countries. Precisely Russia and the United States are missing here.
It was the time when Russia constituted the last great reserve of all European reaction, when the
United States absorbed the surplus proletarian forces of Europe through immigration. Both
countries provided Europe with raw materials and were at the same time markets for the sale of
its industrial products. Both were, therefore, in one way of another, pillars of the existing
European system.
How very different today. Precisely European immigration fitted North American for a
gigantic agricultural production, whose competition is shaking the very foundations of European
landed property — large and small. At the same time, it enabled the United States to exploit its
tremendous industrial resources with an energy and on a scale that must shortly break the
industrial monopoly of Western Europe, and especially of England, existing up to now. Both
circumstances react in a revolutionary manner upon America itself. Step by step, the small and
middle land ownership of the farmers, the basis of the whole political constitution, is succumbing
to the competition of giant farms; at the same time, a mass industrial proletariat and a fabulous
concentration of capital funds are developing for the first time in the industrial regions.
And now Russia! During the Revolution of 1848-9, not only the European princes, but the
European bourgeois as well, found their only salvation from the proletariat just beginning to
awaken in Russian intervention. The Tsar was proclaimed the chief of European reaction. Today,
he is a prisoner of war of the revolution in Gatchina, and Russia forms the vanguard of
revolutionary action in Europe.

The Communist Manifesto had, as its object, the proclamation of the inevitable impending
dissolution of modern bourgeois property. But in Russia we find, face-to-face with the rapidly
flowering capitalist swindle and bourgeois property, just beginning to develop, more than half
the land owned in common by the peasants. Now the question is: can the Russian obshchina,
though greatly undermined, yet a form of primeval common ownership of land, pass directly to
the higher form of Communist common ownership? Or, on the contrary, must it first pass
through the same process of dissolution such as constitutes the historical evolution of the West?
The only answer to that possible today is this: If the Russian Revolution becomes the signal
for a proletarian revolution in the West, so that both complement each other, the present Russian
common ownership of land may serve as the starting point for a communist development.
Karl Marx & Fredrick Engels
January 21, 1882, London
The 1883 German Edition
The preface to the present edition I must, alas, sign alone. Marx, the man to whom the whole
working class class of Europe and America owes more than to any one else — rests at Highgate
Cemetary and over his grave the first grass is already growing. Since his death [March 13, 1883],
there can be even less thought of revising or supplementing the Manifesto. But I consider it all
the more necessary again to state the following expressly:
The basic thought running through the Manifesto — that economic production, and the
structure of society of every historical epoch necessarily arising therefrom, constitute the
foundation for the political and intellectual history of that epoch; that consequently (ever since
the dissolution of the primaeval communal ownership of land) all history has been a history of
class struggles, of struggles between exploited and exploiting, between dominated and
dominating classes at various stages of social evolution; that this struggle, however, has now
reached a stage where the exploited and oppressed class (the proletariat) can no longer
emancipate itself from the class which exploits and oppresses it (the bourgeoisie), without at the
same time forever freeing the whole of society from exploitation, oppression, class struggles —
this basic thought belongs soley and exclusively to Marx.10
10 “This proposition”, I wrote in the preface to the English translation, “which, in my opinion, is destined to do for history what
Darwin’s theory has done for biology, we both of us, had been gradually approaching for some years before 1845. How far I had
independently progressed towards it is best shown by my Conditions of the Working Class in England. But when I again met Marx at
Brussels, in spring 1845, he had it already worked out and put it before me in terms almost as clear as those in which I have stated
it here.”]

I have already stated this many times; but precisely now is it necessary that it also stand in
front of the Manifesto itself.
Fredrick Engels
June 28, 1883, London
The 1888 English Edition
The Manifesto was published as the platform of the Communist League, a working men’s
association, first exclusively German, later on international, and under the political conditions of
the Continent before 1848, unavoidably a secret society. At a Congress of the League, held in
November 1847, Marx and Engels were commissioned to prepare a complete theoretical and
practical party programme. Drawn up in German, in January 1848, the manuscript was sent to
the printer in London a few weeks before the French Revolution of February 24. A French
translation was brought out in Paris shortly before the insurrection of June 1848. The first
English translation, by Miss Helen Macfarlane, appeared in George Julian Harney’s Red
Republican, London, 1850. A Danish and a Polish edition had also been published.
The defeat of the Parisian insurrection of June 1848 — the first great battle between
proletariat and bourgeoisie — drove again into the background, for a time, the social and political
aspirations of the European working class. Thenceforth, the struggle for supremacy was, again,
as it had been before the Revolution of February, solely between different sections of the
propertied class; the working class was reduced to a fight for political elbow-room, and to the
position of extreme wing of the middle-class Radicals. Wherever independent proletarian
movements continued to show signs of life, they were ruthlessly hunted down. Thus the Prussian
police hunted out the Central Board of the Communist League, then located in Cologne. The
members were arrested and, after eighteen months’ imprisonment, they were tried in October
1852. This selebrated “Cologne Communist Trial” lasted from October 4 till November 12;
seven of the prisoners were sentenced to terms of imprisonment in a fortress, varying from three
to six years. Immediately after the sentence, the League was formlly dissolved by the remaining
members. As to the Manifesto, it seemed henceforth doomed to oblivion.
When the European workers had recovered sufficient strength for another attack on the ruling
classes, the International Working Men’s Association sprang up. But this association, formed
with the express aim of welding into one body the whole militant proletariat of Europe and
America, could not at once proclaim the principles laid down in the Manifesto. The International
was bound to have a programme broad enough to be acceptable to the English trade unions, to

the followers of Proudhon in France, Belgium, Italy, and Spain, and to the Lassalleans in
Marx, who drew up this programme to the satisfaction of all parties, entirely trusted to the
intellectual development of the working class, which was sure to result from combined action
and mutual discussion. The very events and vicissitudes in the struggle against capital, the
defeats even more than the victories, could not help bringing home to men’s minds the
insufficiency of their various favorite nostrums, and preparing the way for a more complete
insight into the true conditions for working-class emancipation. And Marx was right. The
International, on its breaking in 1874, left the workers quite different men from what it found
them in 1864. Proudhonism in France, Lassalleanism in Germany, were dying out, and even the
conservative English trade unions, though most of them had long since severed their connection
with the International, were gradually advancing towards that point at which, last year at
Swansea, their president could say in their name: “Continental socialism has lost its terror for
us.” In fact, the principles of the Manifesto had made considerable headway among the working
men of all countries.
The Manifesto itself came thus to the front again. Since 1850, the German text had been
reprinted several times in Switzerland, England, and America. In 1872, it was translated into
English in New York, where the translation was published in Woorhull and Claflin’s Weekly.
From this English version, a French one was made in Le Socialiste of New York. Since then, at
least two more English translations, more or less mutilated, have been brought out in America,
and one of them has been reprinted in England. The first Russian translation, made by Bakunin,
was published at Herzen’s Kolokol office in Geneva, about 1863; a second one, by the heroic
Vera Zasulich, also in Geneva, in 1882. A new Danish edition is to be found in
Socialdemokratisk Bibliothek, Copenhagen, 1885; a fresh French translation in Le Socialiste,
Paris, 1886. From this latter, a Spanish version was prepared and published in Madrid, 1886. The
German reprints are not to be counted; there have been twelve altogether at the least. An
Armenian translation, which was to be published in Constantinople some months ago, did not see
the light, I am told, because the publisher was afraid of bringing out a book with the name of
Marx on it, while the translator declined to call it his own production. Of further translations into
other languages I have heard but had not seen. Thus the history of the Manifesto reflects the
history of the modern working-class movement; at present, it is doubtless the most wide spread,
the most international production of all socialist literature, the common platform acknowledged
by millions of working men from Siberia to California.
Yet, when it was written, we could not have called it a socialist manifesto. By Socialists, in
1847, were understood, on the one hand the adherents of the various Utopian systems: Owenites
11 Lassalle personally, to us, always acknowledged himself to be a disciple of Marx, and, as such, stood on the ground of the
Manifesto. But in his first public agitation, 1862-1864, he did not go beyond demanding co-operative workshops supported by state

in England, Fourierists in France, both of them already reduced to the position of mere sects, and
gradually dying out; on the other hand, the most multifarious social quacks who, by all manner
of tinkering, professed to redress, without any danger to capital and profit, all sorts of social
grievances, in both cases men outside the working-class movement, and looking rather to the
“educated” classes for support. Whatever portion of the working class had become convinced of
the insufficiency of mere political revolutions, and had proclaimed the necessity of total social
change, called itself Communist. It was a crude, rough-hewn, purely instinctive sort of
communism; still, it touched the cardinal point and was powerful enough amongst the working
class to produce the Utopian communism of Cabet in France, and of Weitling in Germany. Thus,
in 1847, socialism was a middle-class movement, communism a working-class movement.
Socialism was, on the Continent at least, “respectable”; communism was the very opposite. And
as our notion, from the very beginning, was that “the emancipation of the workers must be the
act of the working class itself,” there could be no doubt as to which of the two names we must
take. Moreover, we have, ever since, been far from repudiating it.
The Manifesto being our joint production, I consider myself bound to state that the
fundamental proposition which forms the nucleus belongs to Marx. That proposition is: That in
every historical epoch, the prevailing mode of economic production and exchange, and the social
organization necessarily following from it, form the basis upon which it is built up, and from that
which alone can be explained the political and intellectual history of that epoch; that
consequently the whole history of mankind (since the dissolution of primitive tribal society,
holding land in common ownership) has been a history of class struggles, contests between
exploiting and exploited, ruling and oppressed classes; That the history of these class struggles
forms a series of evolutions in which, nowadays, a stage has been reached where the exploited
and oppressed class — the proletariat — cannot attain its emancipation from the sway of the
exploiting and ruling class — the bourgeoisie — without, at the same time, and once and for all,
emancipating society at large from all exploitation, oppression, class distinction, and class
This proposition, which, in my opinion, is destined to do for history what Darwin’s theory
has done for biology, we both of us, had been gradually approaching for some years before 1845.
How far I had independently progressed towards it is best shown by my Conditions of the
Working Class in England. But when I again met Marx at Brussels, in spring 1845, he had it
already worked out and put it before me in terms almost as clear as those in which I have stated it
From our joint preface to the German edition of 1872, I quote the following:
“However much that state of things may have altered during the last twenty-five years, the general principles laid
down in the Manifesto are, on the whole, as correct today as ever. Here and there, some detail might be
improved. The practical application of the principles will depend, as the Manifesto itself states, everywhere and

at all times, on the historical conditions for the time being existing, and, for that reason, no special stress is laid
on the revolutionary measures proposed at the end of Section II. That passage would, in many respects, be very
differently worded today. In view of the gigantic strides of Modern Industry since 1848, and of the
accompanying improved and extended organization of the working class, in view of the practical experience
gained, first in the February Revolution, and then, still more, in the Paris Commune, where the proletariat for the
first time held political power for two whole months, this programme has in some details been antiquated. One
thing especially was proved by the Commune, viz., that “the working class cannot simply lay hold of readymade
state machinery, and wield it for its own purposes.” (See The Civil War in France: Address of the General
Council of the International Working Men’s Assocation 1871, where this point is further developed.) Further, it
is self-evident that the criticism of socialist literature is deficient in relation to the present time, because it comes
down only to 1847; also that the remarks on the relation of the Communists to the various opposition parties
(Section IV), although, in principle still correct, yet in practice are antiquated, because the political situation has
been entirely changed, and the progress of history has swept from off the Earth the greater portion of the political
parties there enumerated.
“But then, the Manifesto has become a historical document which we have no longer any right to alter.”
The present translation is by Mr Samuel Moore, the translator of the greater portion of
Marx’s Capital. We have revised it in common, and I have added a few notes explanatory of
historical allusions.
Fredrick Engels
January 30, 1888, London
The 1890 German Edition
Since [The 1883 German edition preface] was written, a new German edition of the
Manifesto has again become necessary, and much has also happened to the Manifesto which
should be recorded here.
A second Russian translation — by Vera Zasulich — appeared in Geneva in 1882; the preface
to that edition was written by Marx and myself. Unfortunately, the original German manuscript
has gone astray; I must therefore retranslate from the Russian which will in no way improve the
text. It reads:
[ Reprint of the 1882 Russian Edition ]
At about the same date, a new Polish version appeared in Geneva: Manifest
Furthermore, a new Danish translation has appeared in the Socialdemokratisk Bibliothek,
Copenhagen, 1885. Unfortunately, it is not quite complete; certain essential passages, which

seem to have presented difficulties to the translator, have been omitted, and, in addition, there are
signs of carelessness here and there, which are all the more unpleasantly conspicuous since the
translation indicates that had the translator taken a little more pains, he would have done an
excellent piece of work.
A new French version appeared in 1886, in Le Socialiste of Paris; it is the best published to
From this latter, a Spanish version was published the same year in El Socialista of Madrid,
and then reissued in pamphlet form: Manifesto del Partido Communista por Carlos Marx y F.
Engels, Madrid, Administracion de El Socialista, Hernan Cortes.
As a matter of curiosity, I may mention that in 1887 the manuscript of an Armenian
translation was offered to a publisher in Constantinople. But the good man did not have the
courage to publish something bearing the name of Marx and suggested that the translator set
down his own name as author, which the latter however declined.
After one, and then another, of the more or less inaccurate American translations had been
repeatedly reprinted in England, an authentic version at last appeared in 1888. This was my
friend Samuel Moore, and we went through it together once more before it went to press. It is
entitled: Manifesto of the Communist Party, by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. Authorized
English translation, edited and annotated by Frederick Engels, 1888, London, William Reeves,
185 Fleet Street, E.C. I have added some of the notes of that edition to the present one.
The Manifesto has had a history of its own. Greeted with enthusiasm, at the time of its
appearance, by the not at all numerous vanguard of scientific socialism (as is proved by the
translations mentioned in the first place), it was soon forced into the background by the reaction
that began with the defeat of the Paris workers in June 1848, and was finally excommunicated
“by law” in the conviction of the Cologne Communists in November 1852. With the
disappearance from the public scene of the workers’ movement that had begun with the February
Revolution, the Manifesto too passed into the background.
When the European workers had again gathered sufficient strength for a new onslaught upon
the power of the ruling classes, the International Working Men’s Association came into being. Its
aim was to weld together into one huge army the whole militant working class of Europe and
America. Therefore it could not set out from the principles laid down in the Manifesto. It was
bound to have a programme which would not shut the door on the English trade unions, the
French, Belgian, Italian, and Spanish Proudhonists, and the German Lassalleans. This
programme –the considerations underlying the Statutes of the International — was drawn up by
Marx with a master hand acknowledged even by the Bakunin and the anarchists. For the ultimate

final triumph of the ideas set forth in the Manifesto, Marx relied solely upon the intellectual
development of the working class, as it necessarily has to ensue from united action and
discussion. The events and vicissitudes in the struggle against capital, the defeats even more than
the successes, could not but demonstrate to the fighters the inadequacy of their former universal
panaceas, and make their minds more receptive to a thorough understanding of the true
conditions for working-class emancipation. And Marx was right. The working class of 1874, at
the dissolution of the International, was altogether different from that of 1864, at its foundation.
Proudhonism in the Latin countries, and the specific Lassalleanism in Germany, were dying out;
and even the ten arch-conservative English trade unions were gradually approaching the point
where, in 1887, the chairman of their Swansea Congress could say in their name: “Continental
socialism has lost its terror for us.” Yet by 1887 continental socialism was almost exclusively the
theory heralded in the Manifesto. Thus, to a certain extent, the history of the Manifesto reflects
the history of the modern working-class movement since 1848. At present, it is doubtless the
most widely circulated, the most international product of all socialist literature, the common
programme of many millions of workers of all countries from Siberia to California.
Nevertheless, when it appeared, we could not have called it a socialist manifesto. In 1847,
two kinds of people were considered socialists. On the one hand were the adherents of the
various utopian systems, notably the Owenites in England and the Fourierists in France, both of
whom, at that date, had already dwindled to mere sects gradually dying out. On the other, the
manifold types of social quacks who wanted to eliminate social abuses through their various
universal panaceas and all kinds of patch-work, without hurting capital and profit in the least. In
both cases, people who stood outside the labor movement and who looked for support rather to
the “educated” classes. The section of the working class, however, which demanded a radical
reconstruction of society, convinced that mere political revolutions were not enough, then called
itself Communist. It was still a rough-hewn, only instinctive and frequently somewhat crude
communism. Yet, it was powerful enough to bring into being two systems of utopian
communism — in France, the “Icarian” communists of Cabet, and in Germany that of Weitling.
Socialism in 1847 signified a bourgeois movement, communism a working-class movement.
Socialism was, on the Continent at least, quite respectable, whereas communism was the very
opposite. And since we were very decidely of the opinion as early as then that “the emancipation
of the workers must be the task of the working class itself,” we could have no hesitation as to
which of the two names we should choose. Nor has it ever occured to us to repudiate it.
“Working men of all countries, unite!” But few voices responded when we proclaimed these
words to the world 42 years ago, on the eve of the first Paris Revolution in which the proletariat
came out with the demands of its own. On September 28, 1864, however, the proletarians of
most of the Western European countries joined hands in the International Working Men’s
Association of glorious memory. True, the International itself lived only nine years. But that the
eternal union of the proletarians of all countries created by it is still alive and lives stronger than

ever, there is no better witness than this day. Because today, as I write these lines, the European
and American proletariat is reviewing its fighting forces, mobilized for the first time, mobilized
as one army, under one flag, for one immediate aim: the standard eight-hour working day to be
established by legal enactment, as proclaimed by the Geneva Congress of the International in
1866, and again by the Paris Workers’ Congress of 1889. And today’s spectacle will open the
eyes of the capitalists and landlords of all countries to the fact that today the proletarians of all
countries are united indeed.
If only Marx were still by my side to see this with his own eyes!
Fredrick Engels
May 1, 1890, London
The 1892 Polish Edition
The fact that a new Polish edition of the Communist Manifesto has become necessary gives
rise to various thoughts.
First of all, it is noteworthy that of late the Manifesto has become an index, as it were, of the
development of large-scale industry on the European continent. In proportion as large-scale
industry expands in a given country, the demand grows among the workers of that country for
enlightenment regarding their position as the working class in relation to the possessing classes,
the socialist movement spreads among them and the demand for the Manifesto increases. Thus,
not only the state of the labour movement but also the degree of development of large-scale
industry can be measured with fair accuracy in every country by the number of copies of the
Manifesto circulated in the language of that country.
Accordingly, the new Polish edition indicates a decided progress of Polish industry. And
there can be no doubt whatever that this progress since the previous edition published ten years
ago has actually taken place. Russian Poland, Congress Poland, has become the big industrial
region of the Russian Empire. Whereas Russian large-scale industry is scattered sporadically – a
part round the Gulf of Finland, another in the center (Moscow and Vladimir), a third along the
coasts of the Black and Azov seas, and still others elsewhere – Polish industry has been packed
into a relatively small area and enjoys both the advantages and disadvantages arising from such
concentration. The competing Russian manufacturers acknowledged the advantages when they
demanded protective tariffs against Poland, in spit of their ardent desire to transform the Poles
into Russians. The disadvantages – for the Polish manufacturers and the Russian government –
are manifest in the rapid spread of socialist ideas among the Polish workers and in the growing
demand for the Manifesto.

But the rapid development of Polish industry, outstripping that of Russia, is in its turn a new
proof of the inexhaustible vitality of the Polish people and a new guarantee of its impending
national restoration. And the restoration of an independent and strong Poland is a matter which
concerns not only the Poles but all of us. A sincere international collaboration of the European
nations is possible only if each of these nations is fully autonomous in its own house. The
Revolution of 1848, which under the banner of the proletariat, after all, merely let the proletarian
fighters do the work of the bourgeoisie, also secured the independence of Italy, Germany and
Hungary through its testamentary executors, Louis Bonaparte and Bismarck; but Poland, which
since 1792 had done more for the Revolution than all these three together, was left to its own
resources when it succumbed in 1863 to a tenfold greater Russian force. The nobility could
neither maintain nor regain Polish independence; today, to the bourgeoisie, this independence is,
to say the last, immaterial. Nevertheless, it is a necessity for the harmonious collaboration of the
European nations. It can be gained only by the young Polish proletariat, and in its hands it is
secure. For the workers of all the rest of Europe need the independence of Poland just as much as
the Polish workers themselves.
F. Engels
London, February 10, 1892
The 1893 Italian Edition
Publication of the Manifesto of the Communist Party coincided, one may say, with March 18,
1848, the day of the revolution in Milan and Berlin, which were armed uprisings of the two
nations situated in the center, the one, of the continent of Europe, the other, of the
Mediterranean; two nations until then enfeebled by division and internal strife, and thus fallen
under foreign domination. While Italy was subject to the Emperor of Austria, Germany
underwent the yoke, not less effective though more indirect, of the Tsar of all the Russias. The
consequences of March 18, 1848, freed both Italy and Germany from this disgrace; if from 1848
to 1871 these two great nations were reconstituted and somehow again put on their own, it was
as Karl Marx used to say, because the men who suppressed the Revolution of 1848 were,
nevertheless, its testamentary executors in spite of themselves.
Everywhere that revolution was the work of the working class; it was the latter that built the
barricades and paid with its lifeblood. Only the Paris workers, in overthrowing the government,
had the very definite intention of overthrowing the bourgeois regime. But conscious though they
were of the fatal antagonism existing between their own class and the bourgeoisie, still, neither
the economic progress of the country nor the intellectual development of the mass of French
workers had as yet reached the stage which would have made a social reconstruction possible. In

the final analysis, therefore, the fruits of the revolution were reaped by the capitalist class. In the
other countries, in Italy, in Germany, in Austria, the workers, from the very outset, did nothing
but raise the bourgeoisie to power. But in any country the rule of the bourgeoisie is impossible
without national independence Therefore, the Revolution of 1848 had to bring in its train the
unity and autonomy of the nations that had lacked them up to then: Italy, Germany, Hungary.
Poland will follow in turn.
Thus, if the Revolution of 1848 was not a socialist revolution, it paved the way, prepared the
ground for the latter. Through the impetus given to large-scaled industry in all countries, the
bourgeois regime during the last forty-five years has everywhere created a numerous,
concentrated and powerful proletariat. It has thus raised, to use the language of the Manifesto, its
own grave-diggers. Without restoring autonomy and unity to each nation, it will be impossible to
achieve the international union of the proletariat, or the peaceful and intelligent co-operation of
these nations toward common aims. Just imagine joint international action by the Italian,
Hungarian, German, Polish and Russian workers under the political conditions preceding 1848!
The battles fought in 1848 were thus not fought in vain. Nor have the forty-five years
separating us from that revolutionary epoch passed to no purpose. The fruits are ripening, and all
I wish is that the publication of this Italian translation may augur as well for the victory of the
Italian proletariat as the publication of the original did for the international revolution.
The Manifesto does full justice to the revolutionary part played by capitalism in the past. The
first capitalist nation was Italy. The close of the feudal Middle Ages, and the opening of the
modern capitalist era are marked by a colossal figured: an Italian, Dante, both the last poet of the
Middle Ages and the first poet of modern times. Today, as in 1300, a new historical era is
approaching. Will Italy give us the new Dante, who will mark the hour of birth of this new,
proletarian era?
Fredrick Engels
London, February 1, 1893
Source: Marx/Engels Selected Works, Volume One, Progress Publishers, Moscow, USSR, 1969, pp. 98-137.
Translated: Samuel Moore in cooperation with Frederick Engels, 1888.
Public Domain: This work is completely free.