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Communist Manifesto

Helen Bluemel

Subject History
Social Movements » Collective Behaviour

Place World

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1800-1899

Key-Topics capitalism, communism, revolution, socialism

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.00384.x


The Communist Manifesto , also published as the Manifesto of the Communist Party , was written by Germans Karl Marx (1818–83) and Frederick Engels (1820–95), and was first printed in London in February 1848. In the previous year both were assigned to write a theoretical and practical party program for the League of the Communists. This association was an international, clandestine organization of workers. This party program was meant to introduce the history, concepts, and plans of communism in a comprehensive manner. Part I, “Bourgeois and Proletariat,” is a historical overview of existing societies up until 1848. By “bourgeoisie,” Marx and Engels meant the social stratum of capitalists, the owners of the means of production (owning machines, factory buildings, and raw materials). The proletarians are the class of wage laborers, who do not own anything apart from the labor of their hands, which they have to sell to secure livelihoods. The main premise is the notion that “all hitherto history is the history of class struggle.” This means that throughout humankind's development, each society was divided into classes of rulers and ruled (each category consisting of one or more subdivisions). The development from the ancient to feudal to the industrial age is explained in terms of historical materialism. This means a notion of history that bases any developments on the economic ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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