The Communist Manifesto

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Here is the complete text of The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, in the 1888 English version edited by Engels himself. One of the most influential political treatises of all time, The Communist Manifesto is essential reading for every student of politics and history.

"A spectre is haunting Europe," Karl Marx and Frederic Engels wrote in 1848, "the spectre of Communism." This new edition of The Communist Manifesto, commemorating the 150th anniversary of its publication, includes an introduction by renowned historian Eric Hobsbawm which reminds us of the document's continued relevance. Marx and Engels's critique of capitalism and its deleterious effect on all aspects of life, from the increasing rift between the classes to the destruction of the nuclear family, has proven remarkably prescient. Their spectre, manifested in the Manifesto's vivid prose, continues to haunt the capitalist world, lingering as a ghostly apparition even after the collapse of those governments which claimed to be enacting its principles.

Customer Reviews:

  • The Most Misunderstood Piece of Literature in the World
    Most people that decry this monumental piece have never read this piece--or failed to understand the author's meaning. I read with much amusement another reviewer's clain of "evil incarnate" and comparisons to Machiavelli (another book that is greatly misunderstood). Marx's view of capitalism was not against the system itself; capitalism is an idea, a theory, and therefore like socialism is neither evil or good. Rather, as Marx is pointing out, it is the capitalists (or to satisfy others, the socialists) who would pervert the idea to accommodate personal agendas of greed and power (much the same as Machiavelli tries to demonstrate). At one point in history, to be labeled a socialist/communist in the U.S. was as damming as being labeled a heretic during the Spanish or French inquisition. I thought we had progressed past that point but as politics has polarized over the last decade, I have come to find that being labeled a "liberal" may be just as dangerous (ask Ghandi, Socrates, Lincoln, MLK, or Jesus). Marx merely picked up the banner of free-thinkers such as Voltaire: "It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong" which was then handed to Valery: "Politics is the art of preventing people from taking part in affairs which properly concern them". This document (which within this publication is actually a series of various translations) concerns anyone and everyone, conservatives and liberals, who feel that liberty is the right of dissent.
    "If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind." - John Stuart Mill (probably another communist--lol)...more info
  • Idealism
    a fantasy, a load of garbage... call it what you will... this critique on modern society; the smiling face of capitalism hiding behind the insidious mask of religion / morality / prosperity, will evermore, smoulder in the hearts of many....more info
  • Great Publication
    While it is likely that you (like myself) might not agree with many of Marx's and Engels ideas, this book is essential for understanding much of modern history. A few good reasons to purchase this publication is that this publication is quite small, light and cheap. It contains a good number of prefaces written by both Marx and Engels so if you are interested its worth the money....more info
  • not the martin malia edition
    Just so all who are thinking about buying the Kindle edition know: the Signet Classic edition features an introduction by Martin Malia, which is outstanding in every respect. The link from that edition takes you to the one you are thinking of buying now, but which is actually a different edition of the Manifesto. The Signet edition is worth buying just for Malia's introduction. Don't purchase this edition if you want the best available. Instead, get Amazon to request the Signet edition in Kindle form (please!). Currently there's no way to do this. But one can always hope......more info
  • Negative/Optimistic
    The first half of this book provides some fairly good insight into the effects of capitalism. It outlines how classes are easily divided by the system of capitalism, and notes the inherent inequalities of the capitalist system. Marx is, however, very doomsday. he underestimates ones ability to move up or advance in the capitalist system and his outlook is completely negative of the system entirely.

    Unlike his negative assessment of capitalism, Marx expresses extreme hope in the good of humanity as seen in teh second half of the manifesto. Marx apparently believes that human nature is entirely changeable. One must wonder how Marx would eliminate laziness, selfishness, and other qualities many consider innate.

    Overall, Marx makes some good observations about the effects of capitalism. His solution however, is completely absurd. He gives far too much credit to the ability of a communist state and human nature. ...more info
  • Its about Freedom Baby!
    I picked up this book because it the central document of a particular ideal that I wanted to understand a bit better. Also, it was only $5. Potential enlightenment for $5 is always a bargain no matter the ism.

    The book managed to impress me in several ways.

    First was its brevity. I had no idea it was so small. The actual Manifesto is only about 40 pages. The rest of the 90 page book consists of various prefaces released at different times.

    I expected it to strike a note of fearful reverence given the stated global goal of the communist movement. It never happened. The tone of the book is somewhat of a rant and its focus is more or less obsolete if not silly. It is possible that in the last 150 years, these concepts have become so well understood that they are no longer shocking. At the time of writing, these issues were apparently circulated underground in secrecy. 150 year old secret ideas are not very intimidating.

    What I gathered from the book was that Marx and Engels failed to anticipate the scale of wealth open market could actually generate nor any idea of the power of technology. Instead, it dwells on class competition and social movement as classes. People are individuals and wherever possible think as individuals, even when the cause and overall movement is common.

    In reading it, I envision a pair of intellectuals with empty stomachs conspiring to understand the difficult world they live in. Of course they are angry. Hard work should bear fruits. Unfortunately, a framework for realizing the fruits of labor has nothing to do with institutionalized classes. It has everything to do with individual freedom. ...more info
  • Romanticism.
    This book did not start it all, consider all the other communist publications of the time period. Also the artistic movement at the time, which was the romantic era. That has nothing to do with lovey duvey romance of today, and Karl Marx would have hated all the "dictators" that have enslaved so many people. If you cant see that obviously you havent read it, thats why it cannot work. Its too perfect of an overall view of people and the economy for equality. Romanticism....more info
  • Nice Version of a Classic
    Marx's 1848 Communist Manifesto is arguably the most influential text of the nineteenth century - clearly the most significant piece of political philosophy stemming from that period. This small text does a nice job of situating Marx's work and introducing the manifesto.

    Marx is essential reading for all students of history and the Communist Manifesto is the ideal starting point. I highly recommend this text to all readers.

    ...more info
  • Communist Manifesto of Confusion
    Any hint of government control in our lives is always shot down with the utmost intensity. This intensity stems from our historical memories of totalitarian frameworks such as fascism and communism. We have seen that these two extremes of the political spectrum cannot yield positive results (fascism being the result of the extreme right-wing, and communism being the result of the extreme left). Often I hear the rumblings of neo-communists touting the benefits of Marx's ideology with little regard to the true nature of communism. The premiss always sounds simple and wonderful, "all men will be truly equal." But this is hardly the case as we have seen in the former USSR, China, and Cuba. For this reason I have attempted to address the basic tenants of communist thought by addressing the simplified doctrine of communism found in Karl Marx's "Communist Manifesto."

    It is clear throughout this Manifesto that Karl Marx has captured the plight of the European working class of the latter half of the 19th century. It is unclear as to why he has not seen the obvious similarities of his proposed "communist" system to his arch enemy's "capitalist" system which will be addressed below.

    Within the Manifesto, Marx states in general terms how throughout man's history, there has existed a constant antagonism between classes. It has always been, as he states, that one class has always dominated and inevitably oppressed the one(s) below it. Whether this domination is intentional or not, Marx does not entertain this debate. Instead, the upper class of society, as he infers, is inherently corrupt solely by means of their economic status. He brings this opposition to a simplified form relating directly to Europe's then current class system: bourgeois and proletariat. The upper of middle class constitute the bourgeoisie while the working class make up the proletariat.

    Marx goes on in attempts to describe in detail how the upper class inevitably oppress the lower. While his historical accounts appear to be quite accurate, his venom for the bourgeoisie seems more out of anger than rationale. In general, he insists that a capitalist society cannot exist without the absolute oppression of its working class. This is a sweeping and ill-thought generalization of capitalism. Marx describes how his current bourgeois system is utilizing the same oppressive methods of economy used by the Romans, and later the feudalists of the Middle Ages. While this may be true, it does not necessarily follow that all capitalist systems of economy are destined to yield corrupt results. For instance, the United States' working class has long employed the use of workers' unions to avoid oppression by the upper class. It should be noted that these unions can only operate under conditions of a "free," democratic culture, one which Marx is convinced is highly inept. It should also be noted here, in defense of Marx, that his life-span did not enable him to see the results of an often complex but relatively balanced democratic society such as employed by the United States.

    His epoch at the time was one of great change throughout the world, especially in the form of industrialization. It is true that the working classes were forced into unbearable conditions, all at the hands of those in charge of these industrialized revolutions. However, instead of systematic, peaceful attempts at reform, Marx calls for revolution by "force." More accurately, "They (the communists) openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions." A powerful but rash statement.

    Next, Marx creates an enumerated list of general intentions to be carried out by his communist party should they be triumphant in their crusade:

    1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.

    This would of course bring the working class instant equality in economic terms to the upper class. It is almost certain, however, that the upper class would not surrender their hard-earned property without a fight. Contrary to Marx's belief, the middle and upper classes (with the exception of a minority of wealthy heirs) had to work hard and earn their property. This wealth did not magically appear in the hands of the bourgeoisie, as the working class would be led to believe, but through education and hard labor. Perhaps not the same, physical, back power labor accustomed to the proletariat, but a hard brain power labor which indeed is attainable by all who have the foresight to achieve such.

    2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.

    There is no greater instigation of rebellion than that of a heavy tax. It would have done Marx a great deal to investigate history in more detail. In doing so, he would inevitably find that all societies, indeed every man, will only succumb to the pressures of a heavy tax for so long before rebellion on all levels is eminent. It is unlikely that even the most ideal heads of State would disburse this heavy tax in a truly equal and progressive manner; especially since the body who controls these funds will inevitably become corrupt as Marx himself has so stated.

    3. Abolition of all right of inheritance.

    Is it not the right of every man to do with this wealth as he chooses? If he amasses a certain amount of money or property by his own labor, whether it be physical or mental labor, is it not his reward to choose the direction of his fortune? Who is to say that the State can determine that direction better than the man himself? Simply put; his labor, his money, his choice (this of course relates to money earned honestly outside the scope of corruption that may or may not occur at the megacorporate level. That is another discussion).

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

    If Marx here is describing the untaxed (emigrants) and criminals (rebels), then provide a means by which they may be (fairly) taxed, and a means for them to reform their criminal behavior. In actuality, case by case decisions should be made as to the outcome of this property.

    5. Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.

    Once again, he who has the money has the power. This is one of the more obvious holes in Marx's thought: he intends to take away the wealth (and thus the power) of upper classes and distribute it to the whole of society. Who will execute this distribution; the State? Who will ensure the fair disbursement of funds; the State? Certainly a number of actual people will be charged with this sole purpose of maintaining this Communistic State. These people will indeed need a certain amount of power to ensure that every man is equally funded. Thus, this "class" will inevitably hold power over the money and therefore over the people. And this, as Marx has so stated, is the very concept he is trying to escape: one class having power over the next.

    6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.

    This centralization of communication and transport has its positive and negative aspects. Certain regulations are necessary for reasons of public safety and protection of public rights as would be the function of such Federal Departments as the FCC and the Department of Transportation. However, where the government serves as a means of regulation, the private industries provide the development and means of transport and communication.

    With the advent of megamedia corps, a centralized system of communication (tv, radio, news, internet) would inevitably spell disaster. The disastrous results of a State-controlled information media would mean the end of free expression, thought and analysis.

    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 plane.

    With the exception of leaving matters solely in the hands of the State, this ecological development is a wise decision for both economic growth as well as for maximizing environmental potential. The problem again is leaving the matter entirely up to State officials.

    8. Equal liability of all to labor. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

    Marx is referring here to ensuring that everyone work equally. That is, there will be no ditch-diggers supervised by the yachting elite. The problem with this forced equality is the necessary function of hierarchy in an organization. Someone must be in charge and delegate responsibilities to the labor force. This does not mean the oppression of the labor force is inevitable, it its merely a necessity of function. I realize Marx is trying to avoid giving the elite too much power in a hierarchy, but forced equality of work is not a practical solution to progress. Not to say that current systems are flawless, but some compromise must be sought.

    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.

    It seems that with the onslaught of industrialization, agriculture was pushed to the background with little emphasis placed on its vitality. Perhaps Marx feared that this industrial trend was overtaking the world. It seems though that the combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries would serve little realistic purpose. It seems that farming areas would tend to do better on their own if they weren't forced to compete with manufacturing facilities for resources. In hindsight, Marx actually got what he wanted. Today's agricultural industries are largely infused with the industrialization process. Agriculture is forced to compete on the same economic level as Coke or AOL. This, as it turns out, is not serving the agriculture industry as well as Marx would have hoped. As for the equable distribution of the population over the country, Marx once again fails to understand the human need to determine one's own destiny and to not have it determined by an all powerful State.

    10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production.

    This portion of Marx's agenda is, for obvious reasons, the wisest. Citizens of every nation have only to benefit by means of education throughout each generation. Abolition of children's factory labor has thankfully occurred, yet free and equal education for all is not quite perfect. Sure, everyone in the United States has the right to free public education, but it is quite clear, that depending on one's economic status, not all public education is truly equal.


    Marx then delivers and entirely contradictory set of circumstances concerning the means of revolution by the proletariat. In order to establish this communist society, the working class must overthrow the upper class and thus organize itself as the ruling class. Once the communists have collected then disbursed the collective funds of the nation, it follows then that this new "class" will somehow abolish itself simply by means of its lack of economic power. But as the old saying goes, "absolute power corrupts absolutely."

    Those who are thrust into power rarely relinquish it willingly. Even if some of the more noble communists rise to power through revolution and relinquish it willingly, there are always others there ready to fill the void. It is these people who snatch the reigns of power, consolidate the economic, military, and political resources (that the people have so willingly given to the State), then turn around and proceed to rule the country under an iron fist. Who is going to stop them, the military, the police, a political party? All have been consolidated into the hands of the State which ultimately fall into the hands of a few people at the top: essentially a dictatorship (Lenin, Stalin, Castro, Mao, Jong-il). It is for this simple reason that Marx's ideology can never work. I have often heard people say that the communism practiced in the USSR, China, and Cuba is not true Marxist communism. The simple truth of the situation is that the USSR, China, and Cuba are the inevitable results of Marxist thought. Marxist ideology will lead to a dictatorship every time. It has proven to fail and is still proving to fail on a large scale.

    Doesn't Marx realize that the State he professes will indeed be that ruling class he so despises? And by his design, the same State, which holds and disburses money, which controls all property, and which dictates the means of communication and transportation, will be exactly the same, identical oppressor as the bourgeoisie, and in fact more powerful. That is Marx's fatal and most obvious ill-logic.

    The very nature and purpose of communism is to replace capitalism with its brand of so-called freedom. The only problem with this is that a communist State is inevitably more dangerous than the capitalist system it was trying to overthrow. Communism does not give the underclass more freedom, it merely elevates all to the level of proletariat. Instead of bringing economic wealth to those who are oppressed by the rich, it simply inhibits the flow of wealth to anyone but the State.

    In Marx's defense, he did not have the benefit of seeing his work put to use on a large scale, i.e., the USSR, China, Cuba. If so, he would have seen not only the economic depravation, but more importantly, the depravation of the human spirit. For as much as Marx yearns for a utopian equality among men, he fails to realize that man cannot be forced into such a condition. In doing so, man is stripped of his individuality, as well as his desire to succeed, not merely through economic means, but through the rigors of life itself. Communism, on the whole, is a valuable lesson learned, one that should be studied, remembered and never repeated. ...more info
  • Working-Class Guide
    Written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels at the request of the 2nd Congress of the Communist League, the Communist Manifesto was the first document expounding the basic ideas of scientific socialism. The Manifesto's basic premise is that in bourgeois society, two main and antagonistic classes, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, are engaged in an irreconcilable struggle. Having become the economically dominant class, the bourgeoisie seized state power and has used it to defend its selfish class interests and to suppress the toilers.

    For the first time in the social sciences, Marx and Engels defined the place of capitalism in human society. They show its progressive character compared to preceding systems and also the inevitability of its downfall. They demonstrate that the entire history of society has been the history of the struggle of classes with the exception of the primitive communal system.

    Marx and Engels reveal the irreconcilable contradictions in bourgeois society. Capitalist relations of production become an obstacle to further progress. The contradiction between the social nature of production and private forms of appropriation causes economic crises, during which finished goods and productive forces are continuously destroyed.

    The Manifesto proves the role of the proletariat as the gravedigger of capitalist society and the builder of communism. It is the working class that will liberate society from oppression by replacing capitalism with a form of public ownership. Marx and Engels declare that the working class could fulfill this task through a struggle against the bourgeoisie, through socialist revolution.

    The Manifesto emphasizes that the destruction of capitalism and the abolition of exploitation of man by man will end oppression and international enmity. Marx and Engels note that one of the basic principles of the revolutionary activity of Communists in different countries is their mutual aid and support in the struggle against social oppression and exploitation, arising from their common goals. Explaining the great and humane goals of Communism, Marx and Engels show the unsoundness of bourgeois ideologists' attacks on Communists. They expose the class limitations and self-interested nature of bourgeois ideas, such as those of property, ethics, marriage, and homeland.

    The Communist Manifesto opened the way to a new era in the history of mankind and initiated the great revolutionary movement for the socialist transformation of the world. As Lenin wrote, this little booklet is worth whole volumes. To this day its spirit inspires and guides the entire organized working class of the world. ...more info
  • Justifying the Means by the End
    This is a quick read. Even if you read it out loud, very slowly, it should not take longer than two hours. Which means that no one with even the slightest interest in history has any excuse for not reading it.

    Within its few pages, the *Manifesto* briefly describes the then-current state of Communism and Socialism across Europe, trying to correct what Marx and Engels perceived as misconceptions. It then goes on to apply Hegel's philosophy of history to the idea of struggles between classes (without mentioning Hegel, however), of which the proletariat now have no other choice but to radically overthrow the bourgeois in order to end the oppression and usher in a new era of harmony.

    This is a noble idea, but, as we all know, the 20th century has shown where it can lead. And the seeds for the despotism of Communism are already planted in the *Manifesto* itself. Consider this passage:

    "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 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, 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."

    *The Communist Manifesto* remains one of the most important documents of history, but not for the reason Marx and Engels had hoped. It now stands as a dire warning for how even well-intentioned ideas can be extremely dangerous and how, if you justify the means by the end, the envisioned end might never be achieved.

    This is not to say that Marx and Engels have nothing worthwhile to say beyond that. They do, especially in the time of economic crisis, but for that, one has to turn to Marx' other writings.
    ...more info
  • Actually zero stars
    If you have 90 minutes to kill and an appetite for economic fiction, go ahead and read this book. The pages of this book are great for making paper airplanes, but if you are looking for anything remotely rational or intellectual, you will not find it here. Two of the major premises of the Communist Manifesto are to abolish private property and religion. The ultimate goal is to serve the common good at the expense of individual liberty. Many of the twentieth centuries most evil and ruthless dictators subscribed to this very belief. Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Tito, Pol Pot, etc., acted in the name of the common good, and individual liberty be damned.

    Abolishing private property creates no economic incentives and gives all power to the state. Why work if you can never purchase property, create wealth and improve your lot in life?

    The Communist Manifesto is void of any serious intellectual thought. It is more of a handbook for rebellion with very little rationale as to how that rebellion would leave anybody in a better position in the aftermath.


    ...more info
  • It is really surprising!!
    It is really surprising to see that Sales Rank is #2,995 for this book in the US, while I never see anyone buying or reading this book inside China....more info
  • This is a very interesting book
    Many reviews before me have said "communism is evil." But in my opinion, Communism isn't evil, the rules who distort communism are evil. If a person were to read Karl Marx before simply commenting they would probably have a different opinion.

    I reccomend The Communist Manifesto to anyone interested in political theory, This book changed my view of communism in a big way, I no longer see it as evil or oppressive but as an alternative to big business and false democracy. Anyone who says Karl Marx's theories are evil, must like to be oppressed by the wealthy....more info
  • An Important Historical Document
    No one can discount the importance this document has to the history of the modern world. This is not an "enjoyable" read by any stretch of the imagination, and the true power of its ideals are not in its wording, but its timing. This is where this document finds its relevance.

    The reader would be well advised to understand the political climate of the age when it was written. Reading this from a modern "Western" context will likely lead to the scratching of your head while wondering how anyone believed these "ideals."

    If you are a history buff or a student of a political nature, this book is an important read, or if you are a skeptical type, you may find this book challenging. At the end of this, the important question to ask yourself is; "Do I believe what I believe because of the merits of the idea or because of the emotions associated with its timing?"...more info
  • Reject it, but read it.
    I've talked a lot of[...]about Marx in my time, had a few drunken and impassioned arguments over the merits of communism as a workable social system (I maintain that, on a large scale, it isn't, at least as Marx envisioned it), so I figured I should at least read the original declaration. My criticisms were more or less along the lines I had anticipated. Marx is too concerned with class-consciousness, and fermenting resentment among the working class. One gets the feeling, reading Marx, that Bourgeois and Proletariat are two mutually exclusive categories or separate races, like the Eloi and Morlocks in H.G. Wells' The Time Machine. Incidentally the socialist Wells, in his Outline Of History, has a few incisive comments on this movement which indicate the problems of Marx's view on class. He says, "Throughout its history socialism has been the work mainly of men not workers." He says that the Bolshevik leaders were "of the writing, talking type, without any managerial experience." It's no wonder they were unfit to take over for the imperial system they replaced, even as corrupt as it was, and that the autocratic Stalin, more than willing to use unlimited violence, came to take the reigns of Russia. Elsewhere Wells says, "there us no great appeal in the socialist formula to the peasant, who owns or wants to own the land he cultivates." Of greater concern to me is Marx's sly, tacit approval of violent ("forcible" is his preferred term) means to accomplish the communist revolution. Nowhere does he explicitly tell anyone to take up arms, but neither does he outline a plan to achieve the goals he states here. Bloody revolution probably seemed romantic in the mid-nineteenth century, but the events of the twentieth have wearied the western world of it, hopefully.

    I also find Marx to be a frustrating writer. He says something brilliant in one line, and follows it with something smug or glib; something memorable followed by something vague. Could be Engels, though. Not sure what his contribution is. ...more info
  • Great
    everything went great. The package got in time and the product was in a great condition. I would definitely recommend this seller...more info
  • Workers of the World Unite!
    I had read this book in 1990. I had read in the foreward that people nowadays might think of the language of the Manifesto as mild. Marx and Engels were unemployed German lawyers. They spent their time well writing this creative book since it set the world on fire!
    I do say that I know about Class Warfare pretty good from my experience with some of the rich arrogant suburban snots who think that in high school at Toledo St. Francis and in grad school some student snots at Michigan State Unveristy that they were just naturally better than I. And even my own two brothers who are bettter off think my mom and I are not as good as they! I mean even Jesus Christ said "Blessed are the Poor" and James that the poor are rich in faith and have favor in God's future kingdom. I had read in some Christian newsletter that Mikhail Gorbachev had once called Jesus Christ "a pioneering socialist"! Apparently now in America like in Europe of old the Christian church is a friend of the rich over the poor.
    But I do know from my ex-father in law who seemed like the stereotypical greedy American "It's all about the Almighty Dollar". He would work on Christmas Day than spend it with his family because his factory paid him triple overtime-unbelieveable! And I guess in America that is the way it is in the most capitalist nation on earth! The women I have tried to talk to don't want me because I am poor. So, these women seem no better [...] to me-why don't they just [...]! It does not matter that I was in WHO'S WHO AMONG YOUNG AMERICAN PROFESSIONALS, grad school educated and even a very accomplished Christian, it all comes down to dollars and cents! Or just like the AC/DC hard rock song MONEY TALKS-"Hey little girl what do you do that's guaranteed!" I mean even my dead dad from Germany as well as the 60's crowd knew of Marx's FREELOVE-where the best things in life are free. Now they are in it for the bucks. America could really use to be more socialist like Russia where DTMS TV had said on RUSSIAN BRIDES that Russian men do not pay alimony or child support in divorce court! The more greedy people I meet the more virtue I see in communism!
    In my shortwave radio hobby in the early 90's, I had picked up Radio Pyongyang from North Korea on Christmas day. In return for my reception report they sent me a booklet which was a transcript of a leader's speech to their Young Communist League. The part of the speech which I did read did really move me. They had said that the reason for the MENTAL DISABILITIES (Like mine), the DRUG ADDICTION AND ALCOHOLISM was due to American society being overly sucess driven and too greedy! Back then I used to say that if Kim Jung Il was running for president here in the USA, I would have voted for him! ...more info
    This year is the 160th Anniversary of the publication of the Communist League's Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx in 1848, a document that has played a central role in world history since then, if not always happily. Below is a review of this document that I wrote in 2006 and proudly stand by today.

    If you are a revolutionary, a radical or merely a liberal activist you must come to terms with the theory outlined in the Communist Manifesto. Today's political activists are obviously not the first to face this challenge. Radicals, revolutionaries and liberals have had to come to terms with the Manifesto at least since 1848, when it was first published. That same necessity; perhaps surprisingly to some given the changes in the political landscape since then, is true today. Why surprisingly? On the face of it, given the political times, it would appear somewhat absurd to make such a claim about the necessity of coming to terms with the overriding need for the revolutionary overturn of the capitalist order outlined in the Manifesto. It, however, is.

    With the collapses of the Soviet Union and the Soviet-influenced Eastern European states about fifteen years ago, which were supposedly based on Marxist concepts, one would think that Marxism was a dead letter. But hear me out. Even the less far-sighted apologists for the international capitalist order are now worrying about the increasing gap between rich and poor, not only between the so-called first and third worlds but also within the imperial metropolitan centers themselves. Nowhere is that more evident that in the United States where that gap has dramatically increased over the last thirty years. Thus, despite the carping of the `death of communism' theorists after the decisive capitulation of international Stalinism in the early 1990's, an objective criterion exists today to put the question posed by the ongoing class struggle and of the validity of a materialist concept of history back on the front burner.

    Whether one agrees with the Marxian premises about the need for revolution and for a dialectical materialist conception of the workings of society or not one still must, if for no other reason that to be smart about the doings of the world, confront the problem of how to break the stalemate over where human history is heading. 'Globalization' has clearly demonstrated only that the 'race to the bottom' inherent in the inner workings of capitalism is continuing at full throttle. Moreover, the contradictions and boom/bust cycles of capitalism have not been resolved. And those results have not been pretty for the peoples of the world.

    Experience over the last 160 years has shown that those who are not armed with a materialist concept of history, that is, the ability to see society in all its workings and contradictions, cannot understand the world. All other conceptual frameworks lead to subjectivist idealism and utopian concepts of social change, at best. One may ultimately answer the questions posed by the Manifesto in the negative but the alternatives leave one politically defenseless in the current one-sided international class war.

    So what is the shouting over Marxism, pro and con, all about? In the middle of the 19th century, especially in Europe, it was not at all clear where the vast expansion and acceleration of industrial society was heading. All one could observe was that traditional society was being rapidly disrupted and people were being uprooted, mainly from the land, far faster than at any time in previous history. For the most part, political people at that time reacted to the rise of capitalism with small plans to create utopian societies off on the side of society or with plans to smash the industrial machinery in order to maintain an artisan culture (the various forms of Ludditism). Into this chaos a young Karl Marx stepped in, and along with his associate and co-thinker Friedrich Engel, gave a, let us face it, grandiose plan for changing all of society based on the revolutionary overthrow of existing society.

    Marx thus did not based himself on creation of some isolated utopian community but rather took the then current level of international capitalist society as a starting point and expanded his thesis from that base. Now that was then, and today still is, a radical notion. Marx, however, did not just come to those conclusions out of the blue. As an intellectual (and frustrated academian) he took the best of German philosophy (basically from Hegel, then the rage of German philosophical academia), French political thought and revolutionary tradition especially the Great French Revolution of the late 1700'and English political economy.

    In short, Marx took the various strands of Enlightenment thought and action and grafted those developments onto a theory, not fully formed at the time, of how the proletariat was to arise and take over the reins of society for the benefit of all of society and end class struggle as the motor force of history. Unfortunately, given the rocky road of socialist thought and action over the last 160 years, we are, impatiently, still waiting for that new day.

    In recently re-reading the Manifesto this writer was struck by how much of the material in it related, taking into account the technological changes and advances in international capitalist development since 1848, to today's political crisis of humankind. Some of the predictions and some of the theory are off, no question, particularly on the questions of the relative staying power of capitalism, the relative impoverishment of the masses, the power of the nation-state and nationalism to cut across international working class solidarity and the telescoping of the time frame of capitalist development but the thrust of the material presented clearly speaks to us today. Maybe that is why today the more far-sighted bourgeois commentators are nervous at the reappearance of Marxism in Western society as a small but serious current in the international labor movement. Militant leftists can now argue- Stalinism (the horrendous distortion of Marxism) never again, to the bourgeois commentators' slogan of - socialist revolution, never again.

    As a historical document one should read the Manifesto with the need for updating in mind. The reader should nevertheless note the currency of the seemingly archaic third section of the document where Marx polemicized against the leftist political opponents of his time. While the names of the organizations of that time have faded away into the historical mist the political tendencies he argued against seem to very much analogous to various tendencies today. In fact, in my youth I probably argued in favor of every one of those tendencies that Marx opposed before I was finally won over to the Marxian worldview. I suggest that not only does humankind set itself the social tasks that it can reasonably perform but also that when those tasks are not performed there is a tendency to revert to earlier, seemingly defeated ideas, of social change. Thus the resurgent old pre-Marxian conceptions of societal change have to be fought out again by this generation of militant leftists. That said, militant leftists should read and reread this document. It is literarily the foundation document of the modern communist movement. One can still learn much from it. Forward.

    Revised September 26, 2006

    ...more info
  • No Matter Where You Stand On Communism, Read This
    Wherever you stand on the topic of Communism, you should read this book. In the Manifesto, Marx outlines exactly what Communists stand for and what they want government to be. It is a very simple and short book, intended to be a pamphlet easily understood by the masses. As mentioned above, wherever you stand on Communism, you will get something out of this book. Whether it confirms what you feel, makes you question your beliefs, or makes you wonder about things you have not wondered about before, the Communist Manifesto will do something for you.

    Communism is certainly one of the most misunderstood words in America. It is used as a swear word in many cases, "He's a commie!" If everyone were to read this book, it would eliminate much of the ignorance that plagues the modern world. Personally, I am not to fond of Communism in history, but I think that certain aspects of Communism are very applicable to today's society. I think that many people would share that opinion, if they would only just honestly examine communism straight from the source, The Communist Manifesto.

    Many of the one-star reviews here on Amazon have some personal beef with Communism, and they explain nothing about the actual book. There may or may not be something wrong with communism, but there is nothing wrong this book. If you have to, read it only to eliminate ignorance. However, this is much more to be gained from this book.

    One final word about the Communist Manifesto; I do not own this version of it. My version was loaded with introductions, footnotes, and end notes. The actual Manifesto only comprised a small portion of the thickness of the book. I assume that it will be the same wonderful story with this publication. ...more info
  • The Liberal Agenda
    A must read for all who are concerned about business and the future of America. This book was the communist's and socialists answer to Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations." Read it and you will begin to understand why liberals declare on big business & free trade and must raise taxes. It explains why union labor and social programs are so important to the Democratic Party. This could become an instruction manual for Prsident Barak Hussein Obama - SCARY!...more info
  • good
    Very interesting to see the flawed sort of ideology communisim of the 20 century was based on. Good quick read....more info
  • One of the most important works in Western thought
    Note to reader: this review is written for all the editions of this book; and not just this version.

    The 1800s provided many great works of political thought; few of which can compare in importance as this short tract by Karl Marx. Along with Das Kapital, this was one of the first major works in human history to link economics with sociology and political institutions, this text has done for economic liberty and equality what the US Constitution and Declaration of Independence has done for political liberty and equality. Written by Marx as part propaganda to invoke change, and part retribution to his enemies; intellectual and otherwise, this book has inspired political movements ever since.

    In short, the book argues for equality, security, and freedom in the economic realm. Specifically, Marx lays out a series of planks, or reforms, that he believes societies should undertake to solve the problems of laissez-faire capitalism. These include the abolition of child labor, public funding of a universal social security program, a minimum wage, progressive taxation, free public education for all children irregardless of heritage, employee-financed disability benefits, universal health care, etc...

    If one looks thru at the ensuing 150 years since its initial publication; those nations that have seen the highest raises in standards of living are those that have implemented the majority of these reforms. These nations include Singapore, Canada, post-WWII Japan, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, New Zealand, and the USA. If one looks within nations, such as the USA for example, those states with the higher standards of living generally have adopted more of these reforms at an ealier date than those states with a lower standard of living. I measure standard of living by criteria such as life expectancy, infant mortality rate, crime rates, rates of incarceration, etc...

    Critical throughout all these nations is the enfranchisement of a greater percentage of the population in both economic and political rights. Democracy and equality are the keys here, whether it be in local elections, stockholder meetings, or decision making inside corporations. Democracy and equality are what Marx argued for in this work, though he does so in a language we in the 21st century find hard to decipher.

    Likewise, those nations that have witnessed the worst standards of living are those that have mostly ignored the ideas in this book. Maoist China and the USSR under Stalin are the two ideal examples. Contrary to the popular view of conservatives and mainstream thought, neither of these countries examplified communism. Both examplified one thing and one thing only; dictatorships of a few over the many. In both countries, it is the few who control the resources, make the decisions, and make the profits. The rest of the population sacrifice and work. Both Maoist China and the USSR are essentially aristocracies.

    Overall, I highly recommend this book. Read it slowly and read it carefully; then look at the history of the world since then. You will quickly realize that the reforms it advocates are those that have improved living standards everywhere....more info
  • A possible future
    With the events in our country under Bush, the possible world could look like a communist outlook. It is revealing on the insights, religion, and world under tight rule. We are lucky to live in America where we can change things with our government if we don't like it. We have the freedoms to work with us on many issues. This is an excellent book....more info
  • Insightful
    I had recently read a biography of the Communist dictator Joseph Stalin and the idea of Communism intrigued me so I decided to get this as the works of Marx are frequently mentioned. I must make it clear at this point that upon purchasing this I knew absolutely nothing about Communism and only had a really vague idea thanks to the brief references in the Stalin biography.

    I have to be honest and say that although I learned a little more about the concepts of Communism, I felt I should have started somewhere simpler in terms of the history of the manifesto and Communism. The introduction to the Manifesto by Gareth Stedman Jones is very detailed and insightful in terms of important figures that helped influence the contents of the Manifesto, and also touching upon the relationship between Capitalism and Religion.

    For those familiar with the concepts of Communism or even those who have studied Psychology or Politics, this may be a bit easier to get your head around, but the introduction confused me quite a bit. In terms of the Manifesto itself and I am taking into account the time of which this was written, Marx is extremely passionate about his cause and it really shows. His hatred for the bourgeoisie class is apparent from the start.

    The Manifesto presents the ideas of Communism and how they propose the abolition of private property would fix society and help in creating a kinder human nature. I have heard Marx work discussed before reading this, and from the way he's discussed and the enthusiasm about him presented from those talking about him, you would think he is someone who would remain objective and just seek to present his idea of how to fix which the broken and selfish society of his time.

    You would be also forgiven for thinking that his ideas would be a way of allowing cooperation between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie in creating an idea that would satisfy both sides in the distribution of wealth. However, that is not the case. Although his disdain towards the bourgeois is understandable, the venomous hatred comes across a bit too heavily in the Manifesto and I find myself accepting why Communism doesn't work as, the way it's presented by Marx, implies that for it to work, it would mean the total elimination of the bourgeoisie.

    This hatred becomes quite off putting and although I agree in principle to some of the arguments that he tries to put across, but the venomous hatred expressed makes it understandable to know why Communism by many is considered a dirty word. This is still a fantastically helpful book for those who are more knowledgeable in the terms of such social problems, but for me, I think I'll return to this when I've read something along the lines of Communism for Dummies....more info
  • Marx, communist manifesto
    With this review I hope to cover some areas others have not. I would have the reader to read more than just my review of this product.

    Karl Marx: The Communist Manifesto, A Norton critical edition
    Edited by Frederic L Bender.

    The Communist Manifesto is by all means one of the most (if not the most) controversial documents of non-religious origin. This Norton Critical Edition does this work justice in many ways: It gives a bullet point historical outline of events leading up to the manifesto, provides a brief history leading up to the writing of the manifesto (a must read in my opinion), provides the manifesto itself, and then gives the reader commentary from various writers concerning the manifesto's historical impact and interpretation. All this in just over 200 pages. Those looking only for a brief description of the product need read no further.

    The rest of this review is my impression of the manifesto and the historical context in this volume. Events leading up to the writing of "The Communist Manifesto" saw many Europeans in poverty. Marx himself lost three of his own children; to quote a note in Oxford's version of Marx's "Capital" stated, "Poverty was partly responsible for the death of three of his six children." At any rate Pauperism was the norm in European society, and Marx attempts to paint a grotesque picture for the reader: The Bourgeois (capitalists, the have's, the rich) vs. the Proletarians (impoverished). Background of the text sees the artisans (middle class) vanishing (loss of the middle class) , and an increase in number of the Proletarians. This helps the reader grasp a clear visual of European society prior to the writing of the manifesto (it is interesting to note that Germany was in ruins prior to the rise of Hitler). Let us now look at Marx himself.

    What I found most interesting about Marx's writing is that he really saw no other alternative but to call for removal of all Bourgeois power, and abolition of owning property. To quote Marx, "The communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only be 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. WORKING MEN OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE!" Marx also openly criticized what he considered other forms of socialism that did not call for "forcible overthrow" and referred to one of them as "Utopian."

    Marx states further, "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." This is one of the most shocking comments (to me personally) made by Marx in his manifesto. There are individuals that don't understand that under Marxist communism freedom of religion doesn't exist. There is a side note from another writing of Marx (supplied cleverly by Frederic L Bender the editor of this version ) where Marx is very critical of Christianity. To quote Marx,

    "The social principles of Christianity preach cowardice, self -contempt, abasement, submissiveness and humbleness, in short all the qualities of the rabble, and the proletariat, which will not permit itself to be treated as rabble, needs its courage, its self-confidence, its pride and its sense of independence even more than its bread. The social principles of Christianity are sneaking and hypocritical, and the proletariat is revolutionary." (Marx, The Communism of the Rheinische Beobachter, Marx, Engels Collected works).

    It is at this moment that I would like to divert momentarily into the difference between Christian thought and Marx. Marx writings are indignant toward Christianity in general, and call on the state to assume control over all aspects of life: religion, property, and all business. The Christianity of the Bible was never a political system. Peter told Ananias in Acts 5:3-4 that the property that Ananias sold was his own, and that "after it was sold was it not in thine own power?" Ananias could have chosen to not sell the property, or to keep a portion of the money for himself without lying about it. The record itself shows a spiritual decision that took Ananias outside God's protection. However, the important context is that the decision belonged to Ananias. No one forced him to sell his property. After all Peter stated, "Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? And after it was sold , was it not in thine own power?" Christian doctrine did NOT involve the FORCED take over of property, nor did it impose a belief system on those who chose not to commit to Christian doctrine. Now what men have done in the name of God over the centuries is a much different story, and would not be prudent to indulge in at this time.
    In closing, I would like to point out that Marx was a free trade advocate. The editor of this text points this out on numerous occasions that sited other works of Marx. Marx himself saw free trade as a vehicle to unite socialism. The reader needs to be aware that Marx vision was to see the rise of Capitalism as a necessity means to the bourgeois coming to power and a proletariat revolt. Unfortunately after deep consideration I can see these forces at work in the U.S.A.!!! The almost certain death of the middle class and the rise of huge corporations. Politicians who succumb to help the few at the expense of many. We are in fact becoming more of a have and have not society ourselves. The one great principle we as Americans have is the ability to start our own business. Small business is still the key to wealth in this country. Employers will never give an individual financial freedom. It is only the right we still hold by a thread to start our own business and make our own wealth that really keeps capitalism alive and thriving. Without it, you are left with a have and have not society, and with it will come the rise of another Marx. I pray that our country turns from this form of soft socialism that has been imposed upon us, and that we never have to witness those horrid words spring forth from another's pen, " WORKING MEN OF ALL COUNTRIES UNITE!"
    That is the biggest lesson I took away from this.
    ...more info
  • Evil in carnet
    The book that destroyed the world and continues to do so. This book should be read by everyone but only as a guide of what not to do. It was written by a genius of marketing that took an already fully debunked philosophy (Socialism) and won over the world with it by demonizing the very thing that was saving the world...Laissez Faire Capitalism. This was and could only be done by debasing reality and morality (right and wrong, not the already debased Christian morality) and people's ability to judge things critically.

    Its funny that it is paired in with the book the prince by Nicolo Machiavelli because that is the other most evil of books that teaches people power politics (The art of Killing your way to control) and is what Marx used to create Communism or Revolutionary international Socialism.

    For any of you still thinking that this book is of intellectual value for organizing political societies please read two books:
    1. Socialism by Ludwig von Mises (The Einstein of economics)
    2. Atlas shrugged by Ayn Rand

    Those two books alone will lay to rest all of Marx's fallacies and all fallacies that any form of socialism can work or has ever worked and socialisms claim of being morally valid.

    Read those two books because there has only ever been two types of political systems:
    1. Slavery
    2. Freedom

    All political systems throughout history were systems of slavery (Especially Socialism/Communism/Fascism)
    The United States tried to put together a system of freedom/liberty just over 200 years ago, but it was quickly perverted because it was not set up correctly.

    If you are interested in a political system that promotes Morality (Right and wrong, not Christian morality) Life, Happiness, Freedom, Justus, Liberty and especially abundance, start with reading Atlas Shrugged and then read Socialism.

    In the poorest countries of the world that suffer most under the ideas of socialism/communism like Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras these two books are already causing demonstrations in the street against their socialist dominated governments.
    ...more info
  • Corrections of Previous Reviews.
    Let's put to rest, finally, the idea that Hitler was somehow related to Marx. Some reviewers on this site have suggested this. Hitler hated Marxism and Marxists, and used the paranoia over these groups in Germany to gain power.

    Read Marx for what it is. It may be the distant foundation of Stalinism, but it is also necessary for understanding historical theory, sociology, and economic theory. This little book is, like it or not, one of the corner stones of the modern social sciences.

    And one more correction: One review said that Marxism is alive and well in America because we have a progressive income tax and a death tax. This is a huge stretch. First of all, Marx would have disagreed with any working class compromise with capitalism, which these policies represent. Which brings me to the irony of this comment. Were this reviewer to achieve his goal of a state without these policies, capitalism really would begin to look more and more like Marx's description of capitalism and therefore set up the historical circumstances that Marx claimed were necessary for communist revolution. ...more info
  • Please actually read Marx...
    ...and PLEASE read beyond the Manifesto! Ignore the anti-Marx ideologues who do not actually read him, and give him a shot. Forget, for a minute, all preconceived notions of communism, and take his writings as though they are fresh and brand new. Only then should you proceed on to reading criticism of him, history of Marxism, etc. The reader who is willing to undertake an actual study of Marx will find him infinitely valuable, and very astute on many things.

    First, I'd like to (try to) clear up a few misconceptions about Marx that linger implacably in the minds of almost all Americans.

    1) The Soviet Union, China, etc. were not Communist societies.
    They were brutal dictatorships under the guise of communism, using it as an ideological blanket to mask their terrible atrocities. Moreover, Marx intended for Communism to evolve out of Capitalist societies (i.e., Britain and America during his time), not out of the feudalistic Russia/China. The argument that Communism killed 100 million is just wrong--dictators corrupting the ideas of communism (Lenin, Stalin, Mao, etc.) did so. So yes, Marx caused the deaths of 100 million in the same way Adam Smith caused the deaths of the Chinese and Irish immigrants who toiled on the railroad--in other words, not at all.

    2.) Marxism =/= violence.
    In certain places, especially the Manifesto, Marx does permit violence, and, indeed, advocate it. But Marx does not think it NECESSARY--that's the key point. Good Marxist thinkers, and I believe Marx himself, would say that communistic reforms could come just as easily and likely more efficiently from peaceful processes, as we have seen them for the most part in the United States.

    3.) Communism is not welfare statism.
    In fact, in a, actually realized communist society (unlikely to ever happen, I'll admit) there would be no government. Marx advocated the PEOPLE owning the means of production, not the state. This is a HUGE error that many make when reading Marx. I suspect he was just as distrusting of the state as your average libertarian, he just thought it necessary to rectify some of the wrongs of capitalism and a necessary step toward communism. Note the use of step there: Marx, taking from his predecessor Hegel, believes everything must proceed in steps!!

    4.) The Communist Manifesto is not the end-all of communism.
    Honestly, the Manifesto is a rather juvenile work compared to many of Marx's other writings, like DAS KAPITAL or GRUNDRISSE. It was intended as a sort of primer to communism, accessible to the common, sparsely-educated worker of Marx's time, and is a better demonstration of Marx/Engel's (everyone forgets about poor Engels!) rhetorical ability than of their thought proper.

    I also believe that the Manifesto isn't really the best place to start. It breeds far too many misconceptions about communist thought, partly due to its theatricality, partly due to the way it has been misconstrued throughout the decades. If you do start with the Manifesto, as most people do, PLEASE continue on and read more about Marx! Trust me, it's worth it, and you learn the extreme depth of his theory.

    One need only look at their time to understand why Marx and Engels were so infuriated at the capitalist system. Those years of the Industrial Revolution were an exciting and terrifying time. New wealth and new commodities were springing up constantly, but they tended to be concentrated in the hands of very few, while created at the expense of millions of common, downtrodden labourers. Those who attack government regulation of corporations should study the Gilded Age of America, and the Industrial Revolution in England. Child labourer, no safety laws whatsoever, no minimum wage, no work-week, no fair bargaining between workers and employees, government subsidizing of wealthy corporations, union-busters, etc. Is there any wonder Marx and Engels, who were essentially exiled to England during this time, were filled with such anger at the system that caused so much human suffering?

    Marx's critique of capitalism is in my estimate the strongest part of his theory, and it is likely that his witnessing the above exploitations of workers is why it is so strong, and why the Manifesto seems so... angry. I strongly recommend that anyone interested in Marxist theory pick up a copy of the Marx-Engels Reader (also available on Amazon) and read through the "Critique of Capitalism" section, which offers selections from his writings under this topic.

    How right Marx was is for the reader to decide. Again, I find his critique of capitalism VERY accurate, and believe the only reason his predictions haven't come to fruition to be because we implemented some of his recommended policies (we now live in a blended economy, somewhere on the spectrum between pure capitalism and communism). Communism itself is a bit silly, but not so much as the anti-Marxists make it out to be. The real take-away point here is that you should study (not read, STUDY) Marx for yourself, and not accept what I, or the anti-Marxists, tell you.

    ...more info
  • The Best Misunderstand Political Classic of All-Time.
    Two of the best 19th century social science thinkers ,who had a lasting and profound effect,on world politics,was Charles Darwin and Karl Marx.Both became disillusioned, when their works became largely misinterpreted and misquoted,by the reading public. Marx was a socialist philosopher,who dabbled in economic theory.Marx believed that the labor of the pearl-divers(perlen-tauschers),gave the pearls their intrinsic true worth,rather than an ascribed value one places on the pearls.)Marx the Economist has simply been discredited by all leading monetary-specialists.Though his revolutionary bombshell treatise, has rippled into political tidelwaves ,reaching learned generations everyday.Marx was always steering the red bicycle,yet Fredrick Engels was doing most of the pedaling.Karl Marx was a rabbi's son ,from the prussian town of Trier.A provincial catholic town ,in a largely Protestant region of Germany.Citizen Marx became the editor-in-chief of a coulpe of left-wing Rheinland papers that quickly folded.He intensified his economic-political readings,being mostly supported by his old collaborator friend,Fredrick Engels.His writings on the French Revolution and Grundrisse ,would have earned him a literary footnote.Yet,it was his ideas on the socialization of government policies and state-control over industries ,that sparked the imaginations of the oppressed colonial workers of the world.His magnum opus,Das Kapital,was meant to became a foundation for an egalitarian socialist class,yet it devolved largely into a blueprint for oppossive military dictators.The illiterate masses were and are largely powerless,finding themselves duped by the exploitative military-functionaries of the old Royalist or Colonialist-Capitalist systems. Marx ,just days before he expired,loudly lamented ,"I am not a Marxist!".The die was cast,and the stage was set for global political chaos and labor struggles.Playing out, on the world stage ever since . For better or worse,this little political book,has had a tremendous effect on world leaders ,of yesterday and today....more info
  • Good Primer for Future Marx/Engels' Writings
    The Manifesto is a short political tract, under sixty pages, but its affect on history has been enormous. We forget this today, especially after the Cold War, but if one reads into Marx's critique of capitalism, it still resonates even a century and a half later.

    Of course, the tract is enunciated by a 19th century positivism that seems grossly misplaced in our postmodern, cynical world. Additionally, the rise and collapse of the Soviet Union and Communism (except in maybe today's North Korea and rhetorically in Cuba) has illuminated the weaknesses of the application of Marx's ideas. Nevertheless, it shows the costs of an unfettered market economy, in an industrial context, extremely well. Notice also the ten planks of the Communist Manifesto platform of action, to be implemented by a revolutionary state, which included some things we take for granted today--abolition of land ownership, progressive income tax, public and universal education, and nationalization of all railways, means of transportation, as well as abolition of child labor, and centralization of bank credit in a state bank.

    If you're going to study 20th century politics and social movements, the Communist Manifesto is a must. It is a nice, more readable introduction to some of Marx's more obtuse works, such as his writings on German philosophy (The German Ideology), the 1848 revolutions, the 1871 Paris Communards (covered in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon and the Revolutions in France), philosophy (The Poverty of Philosophy), and the three volume set of Das Kapital [the last two of which Engels co-wrote and edited from Marx's writings and transcripts]....more info
  • Education and Insight
    As other reviewers have noted, regardless of one's political views this is an important work. Beyond its historical significance, reading it provides a glimpse into what made it so popular for so long: the authors' new world view, their amazing foresight (and false predictions!), their rallying cry to radicals everywhere.

    This edition provides excellent insight into the background, influences and setting of its writing. The introduction is great history and education, but even if one reads only the actual Manifesto, the end notes add so much! And while the end notes are almost as long as the work itself, don't neglect them: they add so much insight into the environment (and, as one reviewer here mentions, Marx's grudges) in which it was written.

    I'm glad I finally read this - and I'm glad I picked up this edition; I've now a much better understanding of its adherents' tenets and philosophy....more info
  • vivan los trabajadoras
    Really gets the blood pumping. No wonder Mr. Marx had so many followers. With such moral and vigor, its hard to view Karl and Engels as anything but divine figures with only good intentions. They make communism sound so feasible and rewarding. If everyone were to read this material, the world would truly find itself elevated beyond any non-utopian state....more info
  • An interesting read
    I actually received this text as an ebook, since it is now in the public domain. I think breaking it up like that helped me to absorb more of this text, which honestly is pretty difficult to read in English, since so many concepts of the Russian language cannot be gracefully translated. That said, this is a very important piece of political literature, one which I believe should be required for study in all high schools to help students better understand the reality of Communism as opposed to the "horror stories" that students were told when I was young. The ideals of Communism - that all should be equal and each should give any excess out to the rest of the population rather than hoarding it, as in capitalism - actually make a great deal of sense. The trouble is caused by the fact that humans absolutely cannot live an ideal existence. Thus, a strong centralized government is created to force people to live that idealized existence, which just causes upset, rebellion and greed. But I wander afield. Let me just end by reiterating that this is a must-read for any politically-minded person, or for anyone at all in order to create a more balanced society....more info
  • The Hobo Philosopher
    Well, if you are a student of Philosophy or economics you must make this a part of your reading whether you want to or not. It is not long. It is not difficult. It is quite explicit. And after you read it you should have a better understanding of where you personally stand politically. I am not going to comment on what it says or advocates. Read it and find out for yourself. You won't need an interpreter.

    Books written by Richard Noble - The Hobo Philosopher:
    "Hobo-ing America: A Workingman's Tour of the U.S.A.."
    "A Summer with Charlie"
    "A Little Something: Poetry and Prose"
    "Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother"
    "The Eastpointer" Selections from award winning column. ...more info
  • Good in theory
    Kinda a pointless book now that communism has been proven ineffective. I guess if you still want to live in this type of society you can move to Russa, China, Cuba etc. Lucky for them they have the US to give them foreign aid. Communism would be dead within a few decades without a capitolistic nation to support it....more info
  • Just not that good
    I guess you had to be there. The "book" (really more a pamphlet) makes a lot of time-specific references that today's common person will not be familiar with. What's the difference between French and German socialists of the 19th century? History buffs may know, but I certainly do not. Stuff like this makes the read very dry and boring.

    Another major gripe is that you can sum up the whole thing with about two sentences and the infamous list: "The proletariat are always getting exploited by the bourgoise. {Insert 10 point plan} UNITE AND REVOLT!" There, I just saved you 2 hours....more info
  • An important work of historical significance
    Beloved by many, reviled by many more, from a literary standpoint it is amazing that a book 150+ years old probably evokes stronger emotions now than when it was first published. Of course, reading the Manifesto now, it is nearly impossible to separate this small ideological work from the historical events before, during, and after the Cold War that indelibly etched people's impressions of "Communism" into their minds. Adherents of Communism protest that the regimes in the USSR and China under Stalin and Mao were not truly "communist" (and they are likely correct in their protestation), but the reality is that for most people born and raised on this side of the Iron Curtain, the communist ideology of Marx and Engels became inseparable from the communism-in-practice of self-identified communists like Mao, Kim, Castro, and Stalin. All became the "face" of Commumism for many, whether rightfully or not.

    Today, the Manifesto is still a shocking document. Full of pessimism about the old order and hope for a new one, the reader cannot help but be absorbed by the text from the first mention of the "spectre of Communism" haunting Europe to the final cry for the working man to cast off his chains and unite. There is passion, youthfulness, and idealism behind the words; an urgency captured by an appeal more to the heart than to the mind. After all, this is an intendedly propagandist piece for mobilizing the working class: Marx and Engels probably figured, what proletarian has time to read and digest the vast tome of Das Kapital?

    Put into its historical context, however, perhaps it should not be so shocking that a work like the Manifesto emerged given the circumstances. A series of revolutions and restorations marked the violent death throes of feudalism, which did not go quietly into the night. Seeing the end of a political, economic, and social order that had reigned supreme over Europe for centuries, it should not be surprising that Marx did not place much faith in the permanence of the status quo, nor did he underestimate the power of insurrection. It should not be all that surprising that class struggle and the oppression of the working class should capture Marx's attention either, for we only need to read the works of history or the fiction of his contemporaries to know that the gap between the "haves" and have-nots" in the beginning of the industrial age was quite extreme. This is clear, whether one is reading the Manifesto or Oliver Twist. Social issues of poverty, illiteracy, poor health care, etc. makes the plight of the exploited understandably dire and immediate. It is no wonder that Marx expected capitalism as he knew it to sow the seeds of its own ruin.

    But what happened was not the collapse of capitalism, but its evolution. The fact that modern readers are as horrified by the conditions described by Dickens as Marx was speaks to the fact that capitalism and social progress are not mutually exclusive phenomena. The reality is that just as "pure" Communism has never been practiced, neither has "pure" Capitalism. Remembering that Adam Smith was as much moral philosopher as (political) economist, this is not so surprising. Indeed, it is interesting that of the ten policies clearly articulated by Marx in the Manifesto, a number of them (progressive taxation, strong central banks, free education, etc.) are in practice in capitalist societies around the world today. Some have argued that this simply represents the adoption of Marxist ideas into capitalism, but let's remember that Adam Smith advocated a progressive tax long before Karl Marx did. What's more important is the fact that disparate theories can apparently support strikingly similar policies. For me, I think it's important to recognize that all systems of social organization have their warts, and that all systems can learn something from the others: no single ideology has a monopoly on good ideas.

    My intent is not to get into a discussion of the relative merits of capitalism versus communism, because others have already done so much more elegantly and persuasively than I. My final point to make is that I believe the Communist Manifesto is a book that should be read, regardless of where you stand on the political and economic spectrum. It is a book of importance given its immense influence on subsequent historical events. It is also a valuable reminder that the economic, political, and social spheres are very much interrelated in their evolution. A diversity of opinions can only serve to improve the status quo, and it is my hope that readers can approach the Manifesto with an objective mind for critical analysis of its merits and its flaws....more info
  • A Utopian society gone south in practice
    The idea of this book is simple enough: it's Marx's and Engels' concept and plan for a totally fair society where everything is shared and everyone is (supposedly) equal.

    The problem is, "...absolute power corrupts absolutely," and when authoritarian dictators implement these ideas it always results in two percent of the people having everything and the remaining ninety-eight percent having nothing.

    The core focus of this political persuasion is on "the worker". It evolved from a prior eternity of monarchs dominating the poor and a response to the scourge of serfdom. Ultimately, Lenin used "The Communist Manifesto" as a means of promoting the Russian Revolution which ultimately became the cultural horror which the rest of us came to know as The Soviet Union. In other words, it provided the basis for a ploy on the part of the Bolsheviks (Communist Party).

    During the years of Communism, the Soviet workers used to convey a covertly-spoken credo: "We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us". That pretty much sums up how Marx's and Engels' plan played out in actual practice.

    Strangely, few people ever make the observation that the ideas of Marx and Engels were not at all original. Thomas More (1478-1535) conveyed almost the same concept when he scribed his famous work: Thomas More's Utopia. In fact, people who have obviously never read "Utopia" would clearly not cite it as "the ideal society" if they were even slightly apprised of the numerous horrors of that fictional society. And so goes "The Communist Manifesto" in actual practice.

    Still, this is an incredible, eye-opening read and we SHOULD read it if for no other reason than to see how mans' best-laid plans can easily go awry. Highly recommended.
    ...more info
  • Wordy and Repetitious, Yet Worth the Read
    One hundred ninety-seven times. That is how many times the word bourgeois (or bourgeoisie) is used in Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto. That number comes only from the 50 pages of the manifesto itself (table of contents included), not the various introductions and prefaces in the book.

    To save you from this Chinese-water-torture-in-print, I will sum up Mr. Marx's more important points:

    1. The struggle between the bourgeiosie (wealthy middle class) and proletariat (exploited working class) will eventually end in a workers' revolt wherein the established class system is redefined and property becomes distributed evenly or becomes public property.

    2. The struggle between classes is a political struggle.

    Historically, this overthrow of the established wealthy classes by the working class has never happened. What has happened is that countries lead by a "Communist" government have had a vitriolic separation of classes wherein the ruling class enjoys nearly unlimited wealth and luxuries, and the general populace must divide what is left among themselves.

    All of this has cast a negative light on the Communism that Marx expresses in his Manifesto. Sadly, Marx's solid philosophy of socialism is also dragged down with Communism. Whereas Communism is a political philosophy, socialism is an ethical philosophy, emphasizing the needs of society over personal desires. This mode of thought is evident everywhere in the Manifesto as the architecture that Marx's Communist doctrine was built upon.

    For those with a keen interest in sociopolitical philosophy, or for those interested in Communist-era history, the Manifesto is an obvious must-read. Not recommended for the casual reader, though, as the work tends to be extremely verbose and repetitive even in laying out its basic principles. If you aren't particularly interested in the work's historical signifigance, search the internet for a summary or try a different text....more info
  • Barak Obamas favourite Book
    Barak Obama is a muslim and this is his way of taking over america with communism .....slavery is commensurate with islam and this book is his means to the end of moving ever faster towards an american islamic caliphate...more info
  • Essential read
    This is an essential read for anyone who has ever complained about political systems. Read this very short book and inform yourself of where "these guys" are coming from. The book is not easy to read in some places because of the now out-dated writing style (and German author), but it's worth the time....more info
  • Hate Litterature
    When I read this, I was not expecting to become a commie, but at least I was hoping for something more compelling than the pure hatred of people who have more than others and the racist concsipracy theories (especially re Jews) that the authors came up with.

    I understand that people accord this book some respect because it has influcenced many people. But that is what hate litterature does. This book is especially powerful in its attempt to find sharp class lines to allow the "masses" to hate....more info
  • A Masterpiece
    If you have any interest in either Philosophy or Political Theory, this is definitely a must-own. For those not too familiar with Marx or Engels, I recommend that first you read Marx's Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 and Engel's 'The Condition of England in the 18th Century' for a better understanding of the principles spelled out within the Communist Manifesto.

    I will attempt to write a brief overview of this holy grail of thought. Marx's life and writings are all solely based on the concept of 'alienation' - alienation from oneself, alienation from others, and alienation from the products created by the Proletariat class. Marx says we have a 'species-being' which is our place in society in relation to all others. In a capitalist system, greedy money-hungry pigs (who we all meet on a daily basis here in America) are so consumed with the concept of wealth that they lose their individuality and consume themselves in a state of alienation where their only function is to serve the bourgeoisie. For example, your specific interest or drive in life may be theatre, but because theatre doesn't pay as well as say an accountant, greed and interest in monetary payoff drive the actor to be an accountant...or some other type of laborer. The Communist Manifesto teaches us that the bourgeoisie will ultimately contribute to the overpowering strength of the proletarians and will result in a violent revolution. Only through this revolt can we do away with private property and the bourgeoisie. We will establish a working class with a shared wealth which will ultimately end most forms of alienation and opression.

    Obviously, this system has some flaws, and there are two major derivatives of Marxism. On one hand, we have Socialist-type governments in places such as China, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, North Korea, and Cuba. On the other hand, we can integrate Marxism into a democratic system, as we see in the Social Democracies of western Europe. In those systems, revolution is not needed to implement social change; elections are sufficient in guiding a Marxist integration. Unfortunately, here in America, 'anti-Communism' is almost a national religion, and ignorant pickup-truck driving, television watching sheep make up the majority, so it's going to be tough to actively pursue implementation of a Marxist system into modern society. However, programs such as medicare, medicaid, affirmative action, and welfare are all small examples of socialist elements. I hope that in the future, we can go a little further, and join the rest of the developed nations by raising taxes and implementing a national healthcare system. These are a few of the ways we can increase the 'shared wealth' while still maintaining a non-revolutionary capitalist system.

    I also would like to point out that the Communist Manifesto is the best 'self-help' book out there. Who wants Tony Robbins when you have Karl Marx? Just ask yourself this question: "If all jobs paid the same amount of money, would I be doing what I'm doing right now?" I know that 95% of the people out there would say 'No'. I, for one, can answer 'Yes' to that. Can You? We all only have one life to live...don't lie to yourself by dedicating your life to the needs of the bourgeoisie...don't let private property and money be your driving force. Don't limit yourself to the one-dimensional thought that capitalism dictates. The capitalist pig will tell you that Reality is Truth. This is incorrect. The proper way to look at it is that Truth is Reality. Therefore, intellectuals such as myself are the only individuals living in a true reality. The majority does not need to represent reality. ...more info
  • Let's clear something up
    "On reviewer wrote this: "reward those who don't produce, and punish those who do," as the main theme of the Manifesto, calling it fantasy. Is it possible that Bill Gates "produces" 2.5 billion times more and than a minimum-wage worker does who actually does the producing? Not only is this an illogical point, it is not at all any kind of point being made by the Manifesto. Punish those who oppress those who produce and let those who produce organize society. That's the point of it."

    Considering that Bill Gates acutally provided the brainpower, blueprints, and ideas for a good or service that some would find of value, followed by the initial design, all while incurring expenses in order to find the best possible capital investment at the best price, and took the greatest responsibility for the company and much of the risks, while the minimum-wage employee merely followed orders about what to do or produce using capital investment that they didn't produce, create, or purchase themselves, then YES, Bill Gates deserves everything that he gets (unless it's of course some form of corporate subsidies, which goes against the tenants of FREE-MARKET capitalism). It wasn't the lower-wage employees at Microsoft who created Microsoft. It was Bill Gates. The lower-wage employees probably didn't experiment to find out how things work and how to create new computers with programs that the rest of society finds useful. The lower-wage employee just did what their job description required, which is to help MASS-PRODUCE something (somethimes without much of an understanding about the specific mechanics within each thing and where specifically each one came from. What about those that don't provide goods, but provide services, such as barbers, doctors, etc. Do you think that they don't deserve the incomes that they make. Do you consider them members of the "borgouis" (even thought they own their own means of production)?

    To the person who said that you shouldn't pursue money and private property? Why do workers pursue that all the time? Money is a medium of exchange that gets traded in for food, shelter, medicine, and some fun activities in the end as well. And private property is the same thing as personal property (since private property is for personal use). Should a barber not be allowed to own the scissors that they use. You say that people should be allowed to pursue their interest. How does collectivism allow that. You say that capitalism doesn't allow people to pursue their interests. Considering that capitalism is a legal structure desinged to protect individual rights, I fail to see that. It's just that because of the scarcity of resources, me must make sacrifices sometimes to provide for ourselves first (which is our most important self-interest), although we can go into business for ourselves using our interests. However collectivism, forces us to pursue the interests of the collective instead. Which is no different than forcing the workers to provide for the State, which is why Hitler was a lot like Marx. Both believed that the individual was not sovereign and must be sacrificed.

    Keep in mind that there are other forms of private property besides land. THere's also one's income earned from hard work, one's mind, one's own resources as well (such as a simple pair of scissors owned by a barber).

    And before you respond, keep in mind that I'm a tour guide that makes just over minimum wage. Yet, I am also allowed to accept tips, which I provide first for my basic essentials and then also have invested in all sorts of books, that have increased my knowledge, improved my tour, and also allowed me to make more tips, making me better off to pursue some of my own interests. And I don't want some freeloading parasite who doesn't know jack-squat about economics telling me that I should be forced to subsidize them, irregardless of whethter I think they've earned it....more info
  • Greatest and most important political work of all-time.
    Although it at first had little or no impact on the widespread and varied revolutionary movements of the mid-19th century Europe, the Communist Manifesto was to become one of the most widely read and discussed documents of the 20th century. Marx sought to differentiate his brand of socialism from others by insisting that it was scientifically based in the objective study of history, which he saw as being a continuous process of change and transformation. Just as feudalism had naturally evolved into mercantilism and then capitalism, so capitalism would inevitably give way to its logical successor, socialism (a term which in Marx's usage includes its most advanced form, communism) as the necessary result of class struggle. Marx's insistence that tough-minded realism should replace the utopian idealism of earlier socialists had profound consequences: it enabled revolutionaries like Lenin to be put it into action, but it also tended to encourage its followers to accept ruthless means to justify what they believed were historically necessary ends. Radical politics were being much more widely discussed than the small number of radicals justified; but Marx uses this fact to his advantage by proclaiming that any ideology so feared must be important and worth explaining clearly....more info
  • The book that started it all!
    In this particular edition of the Communist Manifesto, the reader is treated to an introduction by Leon Trotsky, one of the central leaders of the Russian Revolution as well as some correspondence from Marx and Engels. But it is the Manifesto itself which bears repeated readings and discussion.
    How could such a short work have been the basis for revolutions around the world? It is due I think to the fundamental points made: i.e. that workers of the world must unite---as they have more in common with each other than their own national rich and powerful. In very brief but cogent explanations, Marx and Engels give a concise history of mankind and prove that all history in the "history of class struggles". Be it feudal lords and serfs or autoworkers and General Motors, it is still the truth. If you can't get this book from Amazon, try books by Pathfinder under the "new and used" button above....more info
  • Overload
    Gareth Stedman Jones is a brilliant man, and it shows in his introduction. He completely explains the roots of Marx and Engels thought, showcasing with an almost masterful wealth of history where their ideas came from and how they were developed. The man explains the social, political, and historical context of each and everyone involved in the development of communism in this well researched objective piece. But my god it's a lot to chew at once. Now I am not a political scientist, and with the few college courses I have taken on philosophy and theology, I can say that I am not a neophyte in this field of study. Even in my personal time I have read the works of Nietzsche, Kant, Hobbes, Rousseau, and others, Montesquieu, Aristotle, but Jones is almost caviler with his vast knowledge that I found my self bogged down by the onslaught of quote after quote, citation after citation, not to mention the superfluous speech he unleashes at the middle section of each chapter. Basically each section begins with a simple biography then a mad dash to the centripetal shaft of each founders perplexity, motive, curiosity, resentments, till he summarizes his basic point in the last few pages. Its a lot of information, and I think he could have broken this down into a few books or one long one to more easily get his point across (at least to me). The beauty of Enlightenment and philosophy writers is that each work is contained within itself, so that a reader can bifurcate between what they are reading and what they should be understanding. But Jones won't let you do that. He lays everything on the table and you have to be willing to keep up. I guess my dumbass will have to read it again. ...more info
  • Raising Cain
    This brilliantly written book neatly explains communism in brief, cogent, powerful language. All societies except for primitive tribal ones are built on class struggle. The struggle involves the few exploiting the many for their labor. The social phases of society are scientifically determined and unvarying: first tribal, then feudal, then bourgeois, then proletarian.

    The feudal society, ruled by kings and aristocrats, exploits the masses as slaves, serfs, and craftsmen. The bourgeois society overthrows the aristocracy and continues the exploitation of the masses, who are now workers rather than slaves. The workers finally revolt against their bourgeois masters, abolish private property, and put the means of production into the hands of the state.

    Marx's simple theory is compelling, sustained by countless historical examples and by his analysis of the relationship between capital and labor. He drives home the point by analyzing the pernicious effects of capital when work becomes a commodity that drives workers into subsistence existence. The world is filled with sweatshops and factories every bit as horrific as the ones Marx described in early 19th Century England, and the common denominator certainly seems to be the limitless desire to concentrate capital in the hands of those individuals and shareholders who control the means of production.

    The Kindle introduction to this book points out that it's unfair and impossible to criticize Marx since no society has ever truly implemented his vision of communism. On the other hand, Marx's argument that the proletarian revolution and abolition of private property is inexorable in the developed bourgeois state has not been borne out.

    The Communist Manifesto is a quick and compelling read, and a masterful exposition of the principles of communism. It's a shame I waited this long to finally read it....more info
  • Not good in theory
    The number of times I've heard someone claim that communism is good in theory truly amazes me. Let us all think about something for a moment.

    Conservative estimates of the number of people that died under communist regimes in the twentieth century sit at around 90 million. R.J. Rummel estimates the figure to be more in the league of 148 million. Most estimates go for a nice, neat 100 million. Let's think about that for a moment. 100,000,000. It may just look like a series of digits, but that number represents individual human lives. Lives that were terminated long before their time had come. Human beings slaughtered. And it all comes back to this book.

    People speak of Mein Kampf as if it were evil in its purest form, yet keep in mind that Adolf Hitler was reponsible for between 5 million and 6.5 million deaths and that, until his defeat in the war he drastically improved the economic situation of the German people. Lenin alone was responsible for a famine that killed 7 million and by the regimes own boasting it carried out over 2 million executions in its first years in power. If Mein Kampf can be decried as the book that inspired the deaths caused by Nazism and thus labelled as evil, then surely the same rule applies to this book to an even greater extent.

    And let's remember - not only did this inspire successive waves of political terror and mass murder - as far as economic theories go, this one would be hard pressed to scrape a pass if it were handed in my a first year economics student. Marx was, simply speaking, wrong on almost every prediction and assertion he made. Every time Marxist economics have been put into practice the result has been degrading poverty.

    In 1986 the Vietnamese Communist Party held its Sixth Congress. At this Congress Marxist economics were officially abandoned. Since then Vietnam has routinely recored economic growth figures of 7-9% per annum (compare to the US's 3%). Until that time Vietnam was one of the world's ten poorest countries. Need I repeat it - the economic theories of Marx and Engels are utter rubbish.

    So this book is not only evil, but is a brilliant display of utter stupidity. It would be laughable that people actually take it seriously if it's pages were not soaked in the blood of 100 million innocent people....more info