The Communist Manifesto

by Friedrich Engels, Karl Marx
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"Working Men Of All Countries, Unite!"

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Last Updated on May 20, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 246

Context: "A spectre is haunting Europe–the spectre is Communism." This document that changed world history begins with a warning and ends with a gloomy forecast–at least for capitalism. It was written to foment revolt, and it appeared at a time when social conventions were ripe for revolution. The League of the Just was organized in 1836. It held its first congress in London during the summer of 1847, at which time, under the direction of Friedrich Engels, it became known as the Communist League. The second congress came in December of the same year, and Engels and Marx were commissioned to prepare a declaration of principles and a plan of action. They lost no time and published the Manifesto in January, 1848. Simply stated, the Manifesto portends the collapse of capitalism resulting from the overthrow of the bourgeois by the proletarians. This "inevitable" overthrow was to result from the friction between the two classes–bourgeoisie and proletariat–at dialectic conflict. The Manifesto was written long before Capital–Marx's masterpiece that was the end-product of years of careful and scholarly research–but it contains the central theory of Communistic doctrine.

The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.
Working men of all countries, unite!

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