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[From the English edition of 1888, edited by Friedrich Engels]

{Transcribed by allen lutins

with assistance from Jim Tarzia}

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 Czar, 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 the Opposition

that has not hurled back the branding reproach of Communism,

against the more advanced opposition parties, as well as against

its reactionary adversaries?

Two things result from this fact.

I. Communism is already acknowledged by all European Powers

to be itself a 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 societies is the history

of class struggles.

Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf,

guild-master 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 re-constitution 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


The modern bourgeois society that has sprouted from the ruins

of feudal society has not done away with clash 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 distinctive

feature: it has simplified the 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


generally, gave to commerce, to navigation, to industry, an


never before known, and thereby, to the revolutionary element in

the tottering feudal society, a rapid development.

The feudal system of industry, under 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 manufacture 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 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 time, 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 mediaeval commune; here

independent urban republic (as in Italy and Germany), there

taxable "third estate" of the monarchy (as in France),

afterwards, in the period of manufacture proper, serving either

the semi-feudal or the absolute monarchy as a counterpoise

against the nobility, and, in fact, corner-stone 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


The bourgeoisie, historically, has played a most revolutionary


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 self-interest, 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 and feasible chartered freedoms, has set up that

single, unconscionable freedom -- Free Trade. In one word, for

exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, 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


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 Reactionists

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 crusades.

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


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


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 whole surface of the globe. It must


everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connexions everywhere.

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 old-established 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 productions 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 its 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 West.

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 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 customs-tariff. 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, steam-navigation, railways, electric telegraphs,

clearing of whole continents for cultivation, canalisation of

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 to it, and by the

economical 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 bourgeoisie and of its rule. It is enough to

mention the commercial crises that by their periodical return put

on its trial, each time more threateningly, the existence of the

entire bourgeois society. 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 over-production.

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 inforced 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


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

piece-meal, 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 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 his 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 increase of the work exacted in a given time or by

increased speed of the 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 over-looker, 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 is.

The less the skill and exertion of strength implied in manual

labour, in other words, the more modern industry becomes


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


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, 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

specialized skill is rendered worthless by the 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 operatives 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

bourgeoisie. 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

unceasing 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 proletarians, thanks to railways, achieve in a few


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 ten-hours' bill in England was carried.

Altogether collisions between the classes of the old society

further, in many ways, the course of development of the


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


to the progress of industry; at all times, with the bourgeoisie

of foreign countries. In all these battles it sees itself


to appeal to the proletariat, to ask for its help, and thus, to


it into the political arena. The bourgeoisie itself, therefore,

supplies the proletariat with its own instruments of political

and general education, in other words, it furnishes the


with weapons for fighting the bourgeoisie.

Further, as we have already seen, entire sections of the ruling

classes 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 process of dissolution going on within the ruling

class, in fact within the whole range of 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 whole.

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 so only 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," the social scum, that passively rotting

mass thrown off by the lowest layers of 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 conditions 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

industrial 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 interests of minorities. The proletarian movement is

the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority,

in the interests 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 feudal absolutism, managed to

develop into a bourgeois. The modern laborer, on the contrary,

instead of rising with the progress 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 condition 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 laborers. The

advance of industry, whose involuntary promoter is the

bourgeoisie, replaces the isolation of the labourers, due to

competition, by their 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, is its own grave-diggers. Its

fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable.



In what relation do the Communists stand to the proletarians as a


The Communists do not form a separate party opposed to 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 is 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 entire proletariat,

independently of 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 line of march, the conditions, and the ultimate

general results of the proletarian movement.

The immediate aim of the Communist is the same as that of all

the 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


historical change consequent upon the change in historical


The French Revolution, for example, abolished feudal property in

favour of bourgeois property.

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 the 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 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 antagonism.

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 a personal, it is a social power.

When, therefore, capital is converted into common property, into


property of all members of society, personal property is not


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 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


abolition of individuality and freedom! And rightly so. The


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 bourgeoisie 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 itself.

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 society.

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


of society; all that it does is to deprive him of the power to

subjugate the labour of others by means of such appropriation.

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 of its members who

work, acquire nothing, and those who acquire anything, do not


The whole of this objection is but another expression of the


that there can no longer be any wage-labour when there is no


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 modes 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, etc. 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 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


Do you charge us with wanting to stop the exploitation of

children by their parents? To this crime we plead guilty.

But, you will 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, etc.? 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 class.

The bourgeois clap-trap about the family and education, about

the hallowed co-relation of parent and child, becomes all the

more disgusting, the more, by the action of Modern Industry, all

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 whole bourgeoisie in chorus.

The bourgeois sees in his wife a mere instrument of production.

He hears that the instruments of production are to be exploited


common, and, naturally, can come to no other conclusion than that

the lot of being common to all will likewise fall to the women.

He has not even a suspicion that the real point 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 the wives and daughters of


proletarians at their disposal, not to speak of common


take the greatest pleasure in seducing each other's wives.

Bourgeois marriage is in reality a system of wives in common and


at the most, what the Communists might possibly be reproached


is that they desire to introduce, in substitution for a


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 antagonisms 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


United action, of the leading civilised countries at least, is

one of

the first conditions for the emancipation of the proletariat.

In proportion as the exploitation of one individual by another

is 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 end.

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 conceptions, 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


is changed? The ruling ideas of each age have ever been the

ideas of

its ruling class.

When people speak of ideas that revolutionise society, they do

but express the 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


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 that assumed different forms at different epochs.

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


No wonder, then, that the social consciousness of past ages,


all the multiplicity and variety it displays, moves within


common forms, or general ideas, which cannot completely vanish


with the total disappearance of class antagonisms.

The Communist revolution is the most radical rupture with

traditional property relations; no wonder that its development

involves 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 as to win the battle of democracy.

The proletariat will use its political supremacy top wrest, by

degrees, 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 of productive forces as rapidly as possible.

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,


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


Nevertheless in the most advanced countries, the following will

be pretty generally applicable.

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 right of inheritance.

4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.

5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the State, by means

of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive


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


State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the

improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common


8. Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of

industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries;

gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by

a more equable distribution of the population 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.








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, these

aristocracies again succumbed to the hateful upstart.

Thenceforth, a serious political contest 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.

In order to arouse sympathy, the aristocracy were obliged to

lose sight, apparently, of their 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 master, and whispering

in his ears sinister prophecies of coming catastrophe.

In this way arose Feudal Socialism: half lamentation, half


half 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 existed, they forget

that the modern bourgeoisie is the necessary offspring of their

own form of society.

For the rest, so little do they conceal the reactionary

character of their criticism that their chief accusation against

the bourgeoisie amounts to this, that under the bourgeois regime

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


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,


and honour for traffic in wool, beetroot-sugar, and potato


As the parson has ever gone band in hand with the landlord,

so has Clerical Socialism with Feudal Socialism.

Nothing is easier than to give Christian asceticism a Socialist


Has not Christianity declaimed against private property, against


against the State? Has it not preached in the place of these,

charity and

poverty, celibacy and mortification of the flesh, monastic life


Mother Church? Christian Socialism is but the holy, water with


the priest consecrates the heart-burnings of the aristocrat.


B. Petty-Bourgeois Socialism

The feudal aristocracy was not the only class that has ruined by

the bourgeoisie, not the only class whose conditions of existence

pined and perished in the atmosphere of modern bourgeois society.

The mediaeval burgesses and the small peasant proprietors were

the precursors of the modern bourgeoisie. In those countries


are but little developed, industrially and commercially, these


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, 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 regime, 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 self-deception, this form of Socialism

ended in a miserable fit of the blues.


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 expression 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,

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 law of pure Will, of Will as it was

bound to be, of true human Will generally.

The world of the German literate 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 literate

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


not the interests of the proletariat, but the interests of Human


of Man in general, who belongs to no class, has no reality, who


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

mountebank fashion, meanwhile gradually lost its pedantic


The fight of the German, and especially, of the Prussian


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 whose 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 floggings and

bullets with which these same governments, just at that time,

dosed the German working-class risings.

While this "True" Socialism thus served the governments as a

weapon for fighting the German bourgeoisie, it, at the same time,

directly represented a reactionary interest, the interest of the

German Philistines. In Germany the petty-bourgeois class, a

relic of the sixteenth century, and since then constantly

cropping up again under 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


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.



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 site Proudhon's Philosophie de la Misere 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 economic 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

effected 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


Bourgeois Socialism attains adequate expression, when, and only

when, it becomes a mere figure of speech.

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 class.



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, these attempts 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


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


form of society. But the proletariat, as yet in its infancy,


to them the spectacle of a class without any historical


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 the organisation of society specially

contrived by these inventors. Future history resolves itself, in

their eyes, into the propaganda and the practical carrying out of

their social plans.

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 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


action; they wish to attain their ends by peaceful means, and


by small experiments, 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 functions of the State into a mere superintendence of

production, all these proposals, point solely to the


of class antagonisms which were, at that time, only just cropping


and which, in these publications, are recognised in their


indistinct and undefined forms only. These proposals, therefore,

are of a purely Utopian character.

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," of setting up a "Little Icaria" --

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 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 science.

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 Reformistes.





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 themselves with the Social-Democrats, against the

conservative and radical bourgeoisie, reserving, however, the

right to take up a critical position in regard to phrases 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 instil into the

working class the clearest possible recognition of the hostile

antagonism between bourgeoisie and proletariat, in order that the

German workers may straightaway 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


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 of

France in the eighteenth century, and because the bourgeois

revolution in Germany will be but the prelude to an immediately

following proletarian revolution.

In short, the Communists everywhere support every revolutionary

movement against the existing social and political order of


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 countries.

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.