Karl Marx / Friedrich Engels

Manifesto of the Communist Party

A spectre is haunting Europe -- the spectre of Communism. All the Powers of old 
Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Pope and 
Czar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police-spies.

Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as Communistic by its 
opponents in power? Where the Opposition that has not hurled back the branding 
reproach of Communism, against the more advanced opposition parties, as well as 
against its reactionary adversaries?

Two things result from this fact.

I. Communism is already acknowledged by all European Powers to be itself a 

II. It is high time that Communists should openly, in the face of the whole 
world, publish their views, their aims, their tendencies, and meet this nursery 
tale of the Spectre of Communism with a Manifesto of the party itself.

To this end, Communists of various nationalities have assembled in London, and 
sketched the following Manifesto, to be published in the English, French, 
German, Italian, Flemish and Danish languages.

I. Bourgeois and Proletarians

The history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class 

Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and 
journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to 
one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight 
that each time ended, either in a revolutionary re-constitution of society at 
large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.

In the earlier epochs of history, we find almost everywhere a complicated 
arrangement of society into various orders, a manifold gradation of social rank. 
In ancient Rome we have patricians, knights, plebeians, slaves; in the Middle 
Ages, feudal lords, vassals, guild-masters, journeymen, apprentices, serfs; in 
almost all of these classes, again, subordinate gradations.

The modern bourgeois society that has sprouted from the ruins of feudal society 
has not done away with clash antagonisms. It has but established new classes, 
new conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in place of the old ones. 
Our epoch, the epoch of the bourgeoisie, possesses, however, this distinctive 
feature: it has simplified the class antagonisms: Society as a whole is more and 
more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes, directly 
facing each other: Bourgeoisie and Proletariat.

From the serfs of the Middle Ages sprang the chartered burghers of the earliest 
towns. From these burgesses the first elements of the bourgeoisie were 

The discovery of America, the rounding of the Cape, opened up fresh ground for 
the rising bourgeoisie. The East-Indian and Chinese markets, the colonisation of 
America, trade with the colonies, the increase in the means of exchange and in 
commodities generally, gave to commerce, to navigation, to industry, an impulse 
never before known, and thereby, to the revolutionary element in the tottering 
feudal society, a rapid development.

The feudal system of industry, under which industrial production was monopolised 
by closed guilds, now no longer sufficed for the growing wants of the new 
markets. The manufacturing system took its place. The guild-masters were pushed 
on one side by the manufacturing middle class; division of labour between the 
different corporate guilds vanished in the face of division of labour in each 
single workshop.

Meantime the markets kept ever growing, the demand ever rising. Even manufacture 
no longer sufficed. Thereupon, steam and machinery revolutionised industrial 
production. The place of manufacture was taken by the giant, Modern Industry, 
the place of the industrial middle class, by industrial millionaires, the 
leaders of whole industrial armies, the modern bourgeois.

Modern industry has established the world-market, for which the discovery of 
America paved the way. This market has given an immense development to commerce, 
to navigation, to communication by land. This development has, in its time, 
reacted on the extension of industry; and in proportion as industry, commerce, 
navigation, railways extended, in the same proportion the bourgeoisie developed, 
increased its capital, and pushed into the background every class handed down 
from the Middle Ages.

We see, therefore, how the modern bourgeoisie is itself the product of a long 
course of development, of a series of revolutions in the modes of production and 
of exchange.

Each step in the development of the bourgeoisie was accompanied by a 
corresponding political advance of that class. An oppressed class under the sway 
of the feudal nobility, an armed and self-governing association in the mediaeval 
commune; here independent urban republic (as in Italy and Germany), there 
taxable "third estate" of the monarchy (as in France), afterwards, in the period 
of manufacture proper, serving either the semi-feudal or the absolute monarchy 
as a counterpoise against the nobility, and, in fact, corner-stone of the great 
monarchies in general, the bourgeoisie has at last, since the establishment of 
Modern Industry and of the world-market, conquered for itself, in the modern 
representative State, exclusive political sway. The executive of the modern 
State is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole 

The bourgeoisie, historically, has played a most revolutionary part.

The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all 
feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the 
motley feudal ties that bound man to his "natural superiors," and has left 
remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than 
callous "cash payment." It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious 
fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy 
water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange 
value. And in place of the numberless and feasible chartered freedoms, has set 
up that single, unconscionable freedom -- Free Trade. In one word, for 
exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, naked, shameless, 
direct, brutal exploitation.

The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honoured and 
looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the 
priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage labourers.

The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has 
reduced the family relation to a mere money relation.

The bourgeoisie has disclosed how it came to pass that the brutal display of 
vigour in the Middle Ages, which Reactionists so much admire, found its fitting 
complement in the most slothful indolence. It has been the first to show what 
man's activity can bring about. It has accomplished wonders far surpassing 
Egyptian pyramids, Roman aqueducts, and Gothic cathedrals; it has conducted 
expeditions that put in the shade all former Exoduses of nations and crusades.

The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionising the instruments 
of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole 
relations of society. Conservation of the old modes of production in unaltered 
form, was, on the contrary, the first condition of existence for all earlier 
industrial classes. Constant revolutionising of production, uninterrupted 
disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation 
distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen 
relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, 
are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. 
All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at 
last compelled to face with sober senses, his real conditions of life, and his 
relations with his kind.

The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the 
bourgeoisie over the whole surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, 
settle everywhere, establish connexions everywhere.

The bourgeoisie has through its exploitation of the world-market given a 
cosmopolitan character to production and consumption in every country. To the 
great chagrin of Reactionists, it has drawn from under the feet of industry the 
national ground on which it stood. All old-established national industries have 
been destroyed or are daily being destroyed. They are dislodged by new 
industries, whose introduction becomes a life and death question for all 
civilised nations, by industries that no longer work up indigenous raw material, 
but raw material drawn from the remotest zones; industries whose products are 
consumed, not only at home, but in every quarter of the globe. In place of the 
old wants, satisfied by the productions of the country, we find new wants, 
requiring for their satisfaction the products of distant lands and climes. In 
place of the old local and national seclusion and self-sufficiency, we have 
intercourse in every direction, universal inter-dependence of nations. And as in 
material, so also in intellectual production. The intellectual creations of 
individual nations become common property. National one-sidedness and narrow-
mindedness become more and more impossible, and from the numerous national and 
local literatures, there arises a world literature.

The bourgeoisie, by the rapid improvement of all instruments of production, by 
the immensely facilitated means of communication, draws all, even the most 
barbarian, nations into civilisation. The cheap prices of its commodities are 
the heavy artillery with which it batters down all Chinese walls, with which it 
forces the barbarians' intensely obstinate hatred of foreigners to capitulate. 
It compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of 
production; it compels them to introduce what it calls civilisation into their 
midst, i.e., to become bourgeois themselves. In one word, it creates a world 
after its own image.

The bourgeoisie has subjected the country to the rule of the towns. It has 
created enormous cities, has greatly increased the urban population as compared 
with the rural, and has thus rescued a considerable part of the population from 
the idiocy of rural life. Just as it has made the country dependent on the 
towns, so it has made barbarian and semi-barbarian countries dependent on the 
civilised ones, nations of peasants on nations of bourgeois, the East on the 

The bourgeoisie keeps more and more doing away with the scattered state of the 
population, of the means of production, and of property. It has agglomerated 
production, and has concentrated property in a few hands. The necessary 
consequence of this was political centralisation. Independent, or but loosely 
connected provinces, with separate interests, laws, governments and systems of 
taxation, became lumped together into one nation, with one government, one code 
of laws, one national class-interest, one frontier and one customs-tariff. The 
bourgeoisie, during its rule of scarce one hundred years, has created more 
massive and more colossal productive forces than have all preceding generations 
together. Subjection of Nature's forces to man, machinery, application of 
chemistry to industry and agriculture, steam-navigation, railways, electric 
telegraphs, clearing of whole continents for cultivation, canalisation of 
rivers, whole populations conjured out of the ground -- what earlier century had 
even a presentiment that such productive forces slumbered in the lap of social 

We see then: the means of production and of exchange, on whose foundation the 
bourgeoisie built itself up, were generated in feudal society. At a certain 
stage in the development of these means of production and of exchange, the 
conditions under which feudal society produced and exchanged, the feudal 
organisation of agriculture and manufacturing industry, in one word, the feudal 
relations of property became no longer compatible with the already developed 
productive forces; they became so many fetters. They had to be burst asunder; 
they were burst asunder.

Into their place stepped free competition, accompanied by a social and political 
constitution adapted to it, and by the economical and political sway of the 
bourgeois class.

A similar movement is going on before our own eyes. Modern bourgeois society 
with its relations of production, of exchange and of property, a society that 
has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, is like the 
sorcerer, who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom 
he has called up by his spells. For many a decade past the history of industry 
and commerce is but the history of the revolt of modern productive forces 
against modern conditions of production, against the property relations that are 
the conditions for the existence of the bourgeoisie and of its rule. It is 
enough to mention the commercial crises that by their periodical return put on 
its trial, each time more threateningly, the existence of the entire bourgeois 
society. In these crises a great part not only of the existing products, but 
also of the previously created productive forces, are periodically destroyed. In 
these crises there breaks out an epidemic that, in all earlier epochs, would 
have seemed an absurdity -- the epidemic of over-production. Society suddenly 
finds itself put back into a state of momentary barbarism; it appears as if a 
famine, a universal war of devastation had cut off the supply of every means of 
subsistence; industry and commerce seem to be destroyed; and why? Because there 
is too much civilisation, too much means of subsistence, too much industry, too 
much commerce. The productive forces at the disposal of society no longer tend 
to further the development of the conditions of bourgeois property; on the 
contrary, they have become too powerful for these conditions, by which they are 
fettered, and so soon as they overcome these fetters, they bring disorder into 
the whole of bourgeois society, endanger the existence of bourgeois property. 
The conditions of bourgeois society are too narrow to comprise the wealth 
created by them. And how does the bourgeoisie get over these crises? On the one 
hand inforced destruction of a mass of productive forces; on the other, by the 
conquest of new markets, and by the more thorough exploitation of the old ones. 
That is to say, by paving the way for more extensive and more destructive 
crises, and by diminishing the means whereby crises are prevented.

The weapons with which the bourgeoisie felled feudalism to the ground are now 
turned against the bourgeoisie itself.

But not only has the bourgeoisie forged the weapons that bring death to itself; 
it has also called into existence the men who are to wield those weapons -- the 
modern working class -- the proletarians.

In proportion as the bourgeoisie, i.e., capital, is developed, in the same 
proportion is the proletariat, the modern working class, developed -- a class of 
labourers, who live only so long as they find work, and who find work only so 
long as their labour increases capital. These labourers, who must sell 
themselves piece-meal, are a commodity, like every other article of commerce, 
and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition, to all the 
fluctuations of the market.

Owing to the extensive use of machinery and to division of labour, the work of 
the proletarians has lost all individual character, and consequently, all charm 
for the workman. He becomes an appendage of the machine, and it is only the most 
simple, most monotonous, and most easily acquired knack, that is required of 
him. Hence, the cost of production of a workman is restricted, almost entirely, 
to the means of subsistence that he requires for his maintenance, and for the 
propagation of his race. But the price of a commodity, and therefore also of 
labour, is equal to its cost of production. In proportion therefore, as the 
repulsiveness of the work increases, the wage decreases. Nay more, in proportion 
as the use of machinery and division of labour increases, in the same proportion 
the burden of toil also increases, whether by prolongation of the working hours, 
by increase of the work exacted in a given time or by increased speed of the 
machinery, etc.

Modern industry has converted the little workshop of the patriarchal master into 
the great factory of the industrial capitalist. Masses of labourers, crowded 
into the factory, are organised like soldiers. As privates of the industrial 
army they are placed under the command of a perfect hierarchy of officers and 
sergeants. Not only are they slaves of the bourgeois class, and of the bourgeois 
State; they are daily and hourly enslaved by the machine, by the over-looker, 
and, above all, by the individual bourgeois manufacturer himself. The more 
openly this despotism proclaims gain to be its end and aim, the more petty, the 
more hateful and the more embittering it is.

The less the skill and exertion of strength implied in manual labour, in other 
words, the more modern industry becomes developed, the more is the labour of men 
superseded by that of women. Differences of age and sex have no longer any 
distinctive social validity for the working class. All are instruments of 
labour, more or less expensive to use, according to their age and sex.

No sooner is the exploitation of the labourer by the manufacturer, so far, at an 
end, that he receives his wages in cash, than he is set upon by the other 
portions of the bourgeoisie, the landlord, the shopkeeper, the pawnbroker, etc.

The lower strata of the middle class -- the small tradespeople, shopkeepers, 
retired tradesmen generally, the handicraftsmen and peasants -- all these sink 
gradually into the proletariat, partly because their diminutive capital does not 
suffice for the scale on which Modern Industry is carried on, and is swamped in 
the competition with the large capitalists, partly because their specialized 
skill is rendered worthless by the new methods of production. Thus the 
proletariat is recruited from all classes of the population.

The proletariat goes through various stages of development. With its birth 
begins its struggle with the bourgeoisie. At first the contest is carried on by 
individual labourers, then by the workpeople of a factory, then by the 
operatives of one trade, in one locality, against the individual bourgeois who 
directly exploits them. They direct their attacks not against the bourgeois 
conditions of production, but against the instruments of production themselves; 
they destroy imported wares that compete with their labour, they smash to pieces 
machinery, they set factories ablaze, they seek to restore by force the vanished 
status of the workman of the Middle Ages.

At this stage the labourers still form an incoherent mass scattered over the 
whole country, and broken up by their mutual competition. If anywhere they unite 
to form more compact bodies, this is not yet the consequence of their own active 
union, but of the union of the bourgeoisie, which class, in order to attain its 
own political ends, is compelled to set the whole proletariat in motion, and is 
moreover yet, for a time, able to do so. At this stage, therefore, the 
proletarians do not fight their enemies, but the enemies of their enemies, the 
remnants of absolute monarchy, the landowners, the non-industrial bourgeois, the 
petty bourgeoisie. Thus the whole historical movement is concentrated in the 
hands of the bourgeoisie; every victory so obtained is a victory for the 

But with the development of industry the proletariat not only increases in 
number; it becomes concentrated in greater masses, its strength grows, and it 
feels that strength more. The various interests and conditions of life within 
the ranks of the proletariat are more and more equalised, in proportion as 
machinery obliterates all distinctions of labour, and nearly everywhere reduces 
wages to the same low level. The growing competition among the bourgeois, and 
the resulting commercial crises, make the wages of the workers ever more 
fluctuating. The unceasing improvement of machinery, ever more rapidly 
developing, makes their livelihood more and more precarious; the collisions 
between individual workmen and individual bourgeois take more and more the 
character of collisions between two classes. Thereupon the workers begin to form 
combinations (Trades Unions) against the bourgeois; they club together in order 
to keep up the rate of wages; they found permanent associations in order to make 
provision beforehand for these occasional revolts. Here and there the contest 
breaks out into riots.

Now and then the workers are victorious, but only for a time. The real fruit of 
their battles lies, not in the immediate result, but in the ever-expanding union 
of the workers. This union is helped on by the improved means of communication 
that are created by modern industry and that place the workers of different 
localities in contact with one another. It was just this contact that was needed 
to centralise the numerous local struggles, all of the same character, into one 
national struggle between classes. But every class struggle is a political 
struggle. And that union, to attain which the burghers of the Middle Ages, with 
their miserable highways, required centuries, the modern proletarians, thanks to 
railways, achieve in a few years.

This organisation of the proletarians into a class, and consequently into a 
political party, is continually being upset again by the competition between the 
workers themselves. But it ever rises up again, stronger, firmer, mightier. It 
compels legislative recognition of particular interests of the workers, by 
taking advantage of the divisions among the bourgeoisie itself. Thus the ten-
hours' bill in England was carried.

Altogether collisions between the classes of the old society further, in many 
ways, the course of development of the proletariat. The bourgeoisie finds itself 
involved in a constant battle. At first with the aristocracy; later on, with 
those portions of the bourgeoisie itself, whose interests have become 
antagonistic to the progress of industry; at all times, with the bourgeoisie of 
foreign countries. In all these battles it sees itself compelled to appeal to 
the proletariat, to ask for its help, and thus, to drag it into the political 
arena. The bourgeoisie itself, therefore, supplies the proletariat with its own 
instruments of political and general education, in other words, it furnishes the 
proletariat with weapons for fighting the bourgeoisie.

Further, as we have already seen, entire sections of the ruling classes are, by 
the advance of industry, precipitated into the proletariat, or are at least 
threatened in their conditions of existence. These also supply the proletariat 
with fresh elements of enlightenment and progress.

Finally, in times when the class struggle nears the decisive hour, the process 
of dissolution going on within the ruling class, in fact within the whole range 
of society, assumes such a violent, glaring character, that a small section of 
the ruling class cuts itself adrift, and joins the revolutionary class, the 
class that holds the future in its hands. Just as, therefore, at an earlier 
period, a section of the nobility went over to the bourgeoisie, so now a portion 
of the bourgeoisie goes over to the proletariat, and in particular, a portion of 
the bourgeois ideologists, who have raised themselves to the level of 
comprehending theoretically the historical movement as a whole.

Of all the classes that stand face to face with the bourgeoisie today, the 
proletariat alone is a really revolutionary class. The other classes decay and 
finally disappear in the face of Modern Industry; the proletariat is its special 
and essential product. The lower middle class, the small manufacturer, the 
shopkeeper, the artisan, the peasant, all these fight against the bourgeoisie, 
to save from extinction their existence as fractions of the middle class. They 
are therefore not revolutionary, but conservative. Nay more, they are 
reactionary, for they try to roll back the wheel of history. If by chance they 
are revolutionary, they are so only in view of their impending transfer into the 
proletariat, they thus defend not their present, but their future interests, 
they desert their own standpoint to place themselves at that of the proletariat.

The "dangerous class," the social scum, that passively rotting mass thrown off 
by the lowest layers of old society, may, here and there, be swept into the 
movement by a proletarian revolution; its conditions of life, however, prepare 
it far more for the part of a bribed tool of reactionary intrigue.

In the conditions of the proletariat, those of old society at large are already 
virtually swamped. The proletarian is without property; his relation to his wife 
and children has no longer anything in common with the bourgeois family-
relations; modern industrial labour, modern subjection to capital, the same in 
England as in France, in America as in Germany, has stripped him of every trace 
of national character. Law, morality, religion, are to him so many bourgeois 
prejudices, behind which lurk in ambush just as many bourgeois interests.

All the preceding classes that got the upper hand, sought to fortify their 
already acquired status by subjecting society at large to their conditions of 
appropriation. The proletarians cannot become masters of the productive forces 
of society, except by abolishing their own previous mode of appropriation, and 
thereby also every other previous mode of appropriation. They have nothing of 
their own to secure and to fortify; their mission is to destroy all previous 
securities for, and insurances of, individual property.

All previous historical movements were movements of minorities, or in the 
interests of minorities. The proletarian movement is the self-conscious, 
independent movement of the immense majority, in the interests of the immense 
majority. The proletariat, the lowest stratum of our present society, cannot 
stir, cannot raise itself up, without the whole superincumbent strata of 
official society being sprung into the air.

Though not in substance, yet in form, the struggle of the proletariat with the 
bourgeoisie is at first a national struggle. The proletariat of each country 
must, of course, first of all settle matters with its own bourgeoisie.

In depicting the most general phases of the development of the proletariat, we 
traced the more or less veiled civil war, raging within existing society, up to 
the point where that war breaks out into open revolution, and where the violent 
overthrow of the bourgeoisie lays the foundation for the sway of the 

Hitherto, every form of society has been based, as we have already seen, on the 
antagonism of oppressing and oppressed classes. But in order to oppress a class, 
certain conditions must be assured to it under which it can, at least, continue 
its slavish existence. The serf, in the period of serfdom, raised himself to 
membership in the commune, just as the petty bourgeois, under the yoke of feudal 
absolutism, managed to develop into a bourgeois. The modern laborer, on the 
contrary, instead of rising with the progress of industry, sinks deeper and 
deeper below the conditions of existence of his own class. He becomes a pauper, 
and pauperism develops more rapidly than population and wealth. And here it 
becomes evident, that the bourgeoisie is unfit any longer to be the ruling class 
in society, and to impose its conditions of existence upon society as an over-
riding law. It is unfit to rule because it is incompetent to assure an existence 
to its slave within his slavery, because it cannot help letting him sink into 
such a state, that it has to feed him, instead of being fed by him. Society can 
no longer live under this bourgeoisie, in other words, its existence is no 
longer compatible with society.

The essential condition for the existence, and for the sway of the bourgeois 
class, is the formation and augmentation of capital; the condition for capital 
is wage-labour. Wage-labour rests exclusively on competition between the 
laborers. The advance of industry, whose involuntary promoter is the 
bourgeoisie, replaces the isolation of the labourers, due to competition, by 
their revolutionary combination, due to association. The development of Modern 
Industry, therefore, cuts from under its feet the very foundation on which the 
bourgeoisie produces and appropriates products. What the bourgeoisie, therefore, 
produces, above all, is its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the 
proletariat are equally inevitable.

II. Proletarians and Communists

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

The Communists do not form a separate party opposed to other working-class 

They have no interests separate and apart from those of the proletariat as a 

They do not set up any sectarian principles of their own, by which to shape and 
mould the proletarian movement.

The Communists are distinguished from the other working-class parties is only: 
(1) In the national struggles of the proletarians of the different countries, 
they point out and bring to the front the common interests of entire 
proletariat, independently of nationality. (2) In the various stages of 
development which the struggle of the working class against the bourgeoisie has 
to pass through, they always and everywhere represent the interests of the 
movement as a whole.

The Communists, therefore, are on the one hand, practically, the most advanced 
and resolute section of the working-class parties of every country, that section 
which pushes forward all others; on the other hand, theoretically, they have 
over the great mass of the proletariat the advantage of clearly understanding 
the line of march, the conditions, and the ultimate general results of the 
proletarian movement.

The immediate aim of the Communist is the same as that of all the other 
proletarian parties: formation of the proletariat into a class, overthrow of the 
bourgeois supremacy, conquest of political power by the proletariat.

The theoretical conclusions of the Communists are in no way based on ideas or 
principles that have been invented, or discovered, by this or that would-be 
universal reformer. They merely express, in general terms, actual relations 
springing from an existing class struggle, from a historical movement going on 
under our very eyes. The abolition of existing property relations is not at all 
a distinctive feature of Communism.

All property relations in the past have continually been subject to historical 
change consequent upon the change in historical conditions.

The French Revolution, for example, abolished feudal property in favour of 
bourgeois property.

The distinguishing feature of Communism is not the abolition of property 
generally, but the abolition of bourgeois property. But modern bourgeois private 
property is the final and most complete expression of the system of producing 
and appropriating products, that is based on class antagonisms, on the 
exploitation of the many by the few.

In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single 
sentence: Abolition of private property.

We Communists have been reproached with the desire of abolishing the right of 
personally acquiring property as the fruit of a man's own labour, which property 
is alleged to be the groundwork of all personal freedom, activity and 

Hard-won, self-acquired, self-earned property! Do you mean the property of the 
petty artisan and of the small peasant, a form of property that preceded the 
bourgeois form? There is no need to abolish that; the development of industry 
has to a great extent already destroyed it, and is still destroying it daily.

Or do you mean modern bourgeois private property?

But does wage-labour create any property for the labourer? Not a bit. It creates 
capital, i.e., that kind of property which exploits wage-labour, and which 
cannot increase except upon condition of begetting a new supply of wage-labour 
for fresh exploitation. Property, in its present form, is based on the 
antagonism of capital and wage-labour. Let us examine both sides of this 

To be a capitalist, is to have not only a purely personal, but a social status 
in production. Capital is a collective product, and only by the united action of 
many members, nay, in the last resort, only by the united action of all members 
of society, can it be set in motion.

Capital is, therefore, not a personal, it is a social power.

When, therefore, capital is converted into common property, into the property of 
all members of society, personal property is not thereby transformed into social 
property. It is only the social character of the property that is changed. It 
loses its class-character.

Let us now take wage-labour.

The average price of wage-labour is the minimum wage, i.e., that quantum of the 
means of subsistence, which is absolutely requisite in bare existence as a 
labourer. What, therefore, the wage-labourer appropriates by means of his 
labour, merely suffices to prolong and reproduce a bare existence. We by no 
means intend to abolish this personal appropriation of the products of labour, 
an appropriation that is made for the maintenance and reproduction of human 
life, and that leaves no surplus wherewith to command the labour of others. All 
that we want to do away with, is the miserable character of this appropriation, 
under which the labourer lives merely to increase capital, and is allowed to 
live only in so far as the interest of the ruling class requires it.

In bourgeois society, living labour is but a means to increase accumulated 
labour. In Communist society, accumulated labour is but a means to widen, to 
enrich, to promote the existence of the labourer.

In bourgeois society, therefore, the past dominates the present; in Communist 
society, the present dominates the past. In bourgeois society capital is 
independent and has individuality, while the living person is dependent and has 
no individuality.

And the abolition of this state of things is called by the bourgeois, abolition 
of individuality and freedom! And rightly so. The abolition of bourgeois 
individuality, bourgeois independence, and bourgeois freedom is undoubtedly 
aimed at.

By freedom is meant, under the present bourgeois conditions of production, free 
trade, free selling and buying. But if selling and buying disappears, free 
selling and buying disappears also. This talk about free selling and buying, and 
all the other "brave words" of our bourgeoisie about freedom in general, have a 
meaning, if any, only in contrast with restricted selling and buying, with the 
fettered traders of the Middle Ages, but have no meaning when opposed to the 
Communistic abolition of buying and selling, of the bourgeois conditions of 
production, and of the bourgeoisie itself.

You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your 
existing society, private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of 
the population; its existence for the few is solely due to its non-existence in 
the hands of those nine-tenths. You reproach us, therefore, with intending to do 
away with a form of property, the necessary condition for whose existence is the 
non-existence of any property for the immense majority of society.

In one word, you reproach us with intending to do away with your property. 
Precisely so; that is just what we intend.

From the moment when labour can no longer be converted into capital, money, or 
rent, into a social power capable of being monopolised, i.e., from the moment 
when individual property can no longer be transformed into bourgeois property, 
into capital, from that moment, you say individuality vanishes.

You must, therefore, confess that by "individual" you mean no other person than 
the bourgeois, than the middle-class owner of property. This person must, 
indeed, be swept out of the way, and made impossible.

Communism deprives no man of the power to appropriate the products of society; 
all that it does is to deprive him of the power to subjugate the labour of 
others by means of such appropriation.

It has been objected that upon the abolition of private property all work will 
cease, and universal laziness will overtake us.

According to this, bourgeois society ought long ago to have gone to the dogs 
through sheer idleness; for those of its members who work, acquire nothing, and 
those who acquire anything, do not work. The whole of this objection is but 
another expression of the tautology: that there can no longer be any wage-labour 
when there is no longer any capital.

All objections urged against the Communistic mode of producing and appropriating 
material products, have, in the same way, been urged against the Communistic 
modes of producing and appropriating intellectual products. Just as, to the 
bourgeois, the disappearance of class property is the disappearance of 
production itself, so the disappearance of class culture is to him identical 
with the disappearance of all culture.

That culture, the loss of which he laments, is, for the enormous majority, a 
mere training to act as a machine.

But don't wrangle with us so long as you apply, to our intended abolition of 
bourgeois property, the standard of your bourgeois notions of freedom, culture, 
law, etc. Your very ideas are but the outgrowth of the conditions of your 
bourgeois production and bourgeois property, just as your jurisprudence is but 
the will of your class made into a law for all, a will, whose essential 
character and direction are determined by the economical conditions of existence 
of your class.

The selfish misconception that induces you to transform into eternal laws of 
nature and of reason, the social forms springing from your present mode of 
production and form of property-historical relations that rise and disappear in 
the progress of production -- this misconception you share with every ruling 
class that has preceded you. What you see clearly in the case of ancient 
property, what you admit in the case of feudal property, you are of course 
forbidden to admit in the case of your own bourgeois form of property.

Abolition of the family! Even the most radical flare up at this infamous 
proposal of the Communists.

On what foundation is the present family, the bourgeois family, based? On 
capital, on private gain. In its completely developed form this family exists 
only among the bourgeoisie. But this state of things finds its complement in the 
practical absence of the family among the proletarians, and in public 

The bourgeois family will vanish as a matter of course when its complement 
vanishes, and both will vanish with the vanishing of capital.

Do you charge us with wanting to stop the exploitation of children by their 
parents? To this crime we plead guilty.

But, you will say, we destroy the most hallowed of relations, when we replace 
home education by social.

And your education! Is not that also social, and determined by the social 
conditions under which you educate, by the intervention, direct or indirect, of 
society, by means of schools, etc.? The Communists have not invented the 
intervention of society in education; they do but seek to alter the character of 
that intervention, and to rescue education from the influence of the ruling 

The bourgeois clap-trap about the family and education, about the hallowed co-
relation of parent and child, becomes all the more disgusting, the more, by the 
action of Modern Industry, all family ties among the proletarians are torn 
asunder, and their children transformed into simple articles of commerce and 
instruments of labour.

But you Communists would introduce community of women, screams the whole 
bourgeoisie in chorus.

The bourgeois sees in his wife a mere instrument of production. He hears that 
the instruments of production are to be exploited in common, and, naturally, can 
come to no other conclusion than that the lot of being common to all will 
likewise fall to the women.

He has not even a suspicion that the real point is to do away with the status of 
women as mere instruments of production.

For the rest, nothing is more ridiculous than the virtuous indignation of our 
bourgeois at the community of women which, they pretend, is to be openly and 
officially established by the Communists. The Communists have no need to 
introduce community of women; it has existed almost from time immemorial.

Our bourgeois, not content with having the wives and daughters of their 
proletarians at their disposal, not to speak of common prostitutes, take the 
greatest pleasure in seducing each other's wives.

Bourgeois marriage is in reality a system of wives in common and thus, at the 
most, what the Communists might possibly be reproached with, is that they desire 
to introduce, in substitution for a hypocritically concealed, an openly 
legalised community of women. For the rest, it is self-evident that the 
abolition of the present system of production must bring with it the abolition 
of the community of women springing from that system, i.e., of prostitution both 
public and private.

The Communists are further reproached with desiring to abolish countries and 

The working men have no country. We cannot take from them what they have not 
got. Since the proletariat must first of all acquire political supremacy, must 
rise to be the leading class of the nation, must constitute itself the nation, 
it is, so far, itself national, though not in the bourgeois sense of the word.

National differences and antagonisms between peoples are daily more and more 
vanishing, owing to the development of the bourgeoisie, to freedom of commerce, 
to the world-market, to uniformity in the mode of production and in the 
conditions of life corresponding thereto.

The supremacy of the proletariat will cause them to vanish still faster. United 
action, of the leading civilised countries at least, is one of the first 
conditions for the emancipation of the proletariat.

In proportion as the exploitation of one individual by another is put an end to, 
the exploitation of one nation by another will also be put an end to. In 
proportion as the antagonism between classes within the nation vanishes, the 
hostility of one nation to another will come to an end.

The charges against Communism made from a religious, a philosophical, and, 
generally, from an ideological standpoint, are not deserving of serious 

Does it require deep intuition to comprehend that man's ideas, views and 
conceptions, in one word, man's consciousness, changes with every change in the 
conditions of his material existence, in his social relations and in his social 

What else does the history of ideas prove, than that intellectual production 
changes its character in proportion as material production is changed? The 
ruling ideas of each age have ever been the ideas of its ruling class.

When people speak of ideas that revolutionise society, they do but express the 
fact, that within the old society, the elements of a new one have been created, 
and that the dissolution of the old ideas keeps even pace with the dissolution 
of the old conditions of existence.

When the ancient world was in its last throes, the ancient religions were 
overcome by Christianity. When Christian ideas succumbed in the 18th century to 
rationalist ideas, feudal society fought its death battle with the then 
revolutionary bourgeoisie. The ideas of religious liberty and freedom of 
conscience merely gave expression to the sway of free competition within the 
domain of knowledge.

"Undoubtedly," it will be said, "religious, moral, philosophical and juridical 
ideas have been modified in the course of historical development. But religion, 
morality philosophy, political science, and law, constantly survived this 

"There are, besides, eternal truths, such as Freedom, Justice, etc. that are 
common to all states of society. But Communism abolishes eternal truths, it 
abolishes all religion, and all morality, instead of constituting them on a new 
basis; it therefore acts in contradiction to all past historical experience."

What does this accusation reduce itself to? The history of all past society has 
consisted in the development of class antagonisms, antagonisms that assumed 
different forms at different epochs.

But whatever form they may have taken, one fact is common to all past ages, 
viz., the exploitation of one part of society by the other. No wonder, then, 
that the social consciousness of past ages, despite all the multiplicity and 
variety it displays, moves within certain common forms, or general ideas, which 
cannot completely vanish except with the total disappearance of class 

The Communist revolution is the most radical rupture with traditional property 
relations; no wonder that its development involves the most radical rupture with 
traditional ideas.

But let us have done with the bourgeois objections to Communism.

We have seen above, that the first step in the revolution by the working class, 
is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling as to win the battle of 

The proletariat will use its political supremacy top wrest, by degrees, all 
capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralise all instruments of production in the 
hands of the State, i.e., of the proletariat organised as the ruling class; and 
to increase the total of productive forces as rapidly as possible.

Of course, in the beginning, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic 
inroads on the rights of property, and on the conditions of bourgeois 
production; by means of measures, therefore, which appear economically 
insufficient and untenable, but which, in the course of the movement, outstrip 
themselves, necessitate further inroads upon the old social order, and are 
unavoidable as a means of entirely revolutionising the mode of production.

These measures will of course be different in different countries.

Nevertheless in the most advanced countries, the following will be pretty 
generally applicable.

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

2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.

3. Abolition of all right of inheritance.

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

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

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

7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the 
bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil 
generally in accordance with a common plan.

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

9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition 
of the distinction between town and country, by a more equable distribution of 
the population over the country.

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

When, in the course of development, class distinctions have disappeared, and all 
production has been concentrated in the hands of a vast association of the whole 
nation, the public power will lose its political character. Political power, 
properly so called, is merely the organised power of one class for oppressing 
another. If the proletariat during its contest with the bourgeoisie is 
compelled, by the force of circumstances, to organise itself as a class, if, by 
means of a revolution, it makes itself the ruling class, and, as such, sweeps 
away by force the old conditions of production, then it will, along with these 
conditions, have swept away the conditions for the existence of class 
antagonisms and of classes generally, and will thereby have abolished its own 
supremacy as a class.

In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, 
we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the 
condition for the free development of all.

III. Socialist and Communist Literature

1. Reactionary Socialism

A. Feudal Socialism

Owing to their historical position, it became the vocation of the aristocracies 
of France and England to write pamphlets against modern bourgeois society. In 
the French revolution of July 1830, and in the English reform agitation, these 
aristocracies again succumbed to the hateful upstart. Thenceforth, a serious 
political contest was altogether out of the question. A literary battle alone 
remained possible. But even in the domain of literature the old cries of the 
restoration period had become impossible.

In order to arouse sympathy, the aristocracy were obliged to lose sight, 
apparently, of their own interests, and to formulate their indictment against 
the bourgeoisie in the interest of the exploited working class alone. Thus the 
aristocracy took their revenge by singing lampoons on their new master, and 
whispering in his ears sinister prophecies of coming catastrophe.

In this way arose Feudal Socialism: half lamentation, half lampoon; half echo of 
the past, half menace of the future; at times, by its bitter, witty and incisive 
criticism, striking the bourgeoisie to the very heart's core; but always 
ludicrous in its effect, through total incapacity to comprehend the march of 
modern history.

The aristocracy, in order to rally the people to them, waved the proletarian 
alms-bag in front for a banner. But the people, so often as it joined them, saw 
on their hindquarters the old feudal coats of arms, and deserted with loud and 
irreverent laughter.

One section of the French Legitimists and "Young England" exhibited this 

In pointing out that their mode of exploitation was different to that of the 
bourgeoisie, the feudalists forget that they exploited under circumstances and 
conditions that were quite different, and that are now antiquated. In showing 
that, under their rule, the modern proletariat never existed, they forget that 
the modern bourgeoisie is the necessary offspring of their own form of society.

For the rest, so little do they conceal the reactionary character of their 
criticism that their chief accusation against the bourgeoisie amounts to this, 
that under the bourgeois regime a class is being developed, which is destined to 
cut up root and branch the old order of society.

What they upbraid the bourgeoisie with is not so much that it creates a 
proletariat, as that it creates a revolutionary proletariat.

In political practice, therefore, they join in all coercive measures against the 
working class; and in ordinary life, despite their high falutin phrases, they 
stoop to pick up the golden apples dropped from the tree of industry, and to 
barter truth, love, and honour for traffic in wool, beetroot-sugar, and potato 

As the parson has ever gone band in hand with the landlord, so has Clerical 
Socialism with Feudal Socialism.

Nothing is easier than to give Christian asceticism a Socialist tinge. Has not 
Christianity declaimed against private property, against marriage, against the 
State? Has it not preached in the place of these, charity and poverty, celibacy 
and mortification of the flesh, monastic life and Mother Church? Christian 
Socialism is but the holy, water with which the priest consecrates the heart-
burnings of the aristocrat.

B. Petty-Bourgeois Socialism

The feudal aristocracy was not the only class that has ruined by the 
bourgeoisie, not the only class whose conditions of existence pined and perished 
in the atmosphere of modern bourgeois society. The mediaeval burgesses and the 
small peasant proprietors were the precursors of the modern bourgeoisie. In 
those countries which are but little developed, industrially and commercially, 
these two classes still vegetate side by side with the rising bourgeoisie.

In countries where modern civilisation has become fully developed, a new class 
of petty bourgeois has been formed, fluctuating between proletariat and 
bourgeoisie and ever renewing itself as a supplementary part of bourgeois 
society. The individual members of this class, however, are being constantly 
hurled down into the proletariat by the action of competition, and, as modern 
industry develops, they even see the moment approaching when they will 
completely disappear as an independent section of modern society, to be 
replaced, in manufactures, agriculture and commerce, by overlookers, bailiffs 
and shopmen.

In countries like France, where the peasants constitute far more than half of 
the population, it was natural that writers who sided with the proletariat 
against the bourgeoisie, should use, in their criticism of the bourgeois regime, 
the standard of the peasant and petty bourgeois, and from the standpoint of 
these intermediate classes should take up the cudgels for the working class. 
Thus arose petty-bourgeois Socialism. Sismondi was the head of this school, not 
only in France but also in England.

This school of Socialism dissected with great acuteness the contradictions in 
the conditions of modern production. It laid bare the hypocritical apologies of 
economists. It proved, incontrovertibly, the disastrous effects of machinery and 
division of labour; the concentration of capital and land in a few hands; 
overproduction and crises; it pointed out the inevitable ruin of the petty 
bourgeois and peasant, the misery of the proletariat, the anarchy in production, 
the crying inequalities in the distribution of wealth, the industrial war of 
extermination between nations, the dissolution of old moral bonds, of the old 
family relations, of the old nationalities.

In its positive aims, however, this form of Socialism aspires either to 
restoring the old means of production and of exchange, and with them the old 
property relations, and the old society, or to cramping the modern means of 
production and of exchange, within the framework of the old property relations 
that have been, and were bound to be, exploded by those means. In either case, 
it is both reactionary and Utopian.

Its last words are: corporate guilds for manufacture, patriarchal relations in 

Ultimately, when stubborn historical facts had dispersed all intoxicating 
effects of self-deception, this form of Socialism ended in a miserable fit of 
the blues.

C. German, or "True", Socialism

The Socialist and Communist literature of France, a literature that originated 
under the pressure of a bourgeoisie in power, and that was the expression of the 
struggle against this power, was introduced into Germany at a time when the 
bourgeoisie, in that country, had just begun its contest with feudal absolutism.

German philosophers, would-be philosophers, and beaux esprits, eagerly seized on 
this literature, only forgetting, that when these writings immigrated from 
France into Germany, French social conditions had not immigrated along with 
them. In contact with German social conditions, this French literature lost all 
its immediate practical significance, and assumed a purely literary aspect. 
Thus, to the German philosophers of the eighteenth century, the demands of the 
first French Revolution were nothing more than the demands of "Practical Reason" 
in general, and the utterance of the will of the revolutionary French 
bourgeoisie signified in their eyes the law of pure Will, of Will as it was 
bound to be, of true human Will generally.

The world of the German literate consisted solely in bringing the new French 
ideas into harmony with their ancient philosophical conscience, or rather, in 
annexing the French ideas without deserting their own philosophic point of view.

This annexation took place in the same way in which a foreign language is 
appropriated, namely, by translation.

It is well known how the monks wrote silly lives of Catholic Saints over the 
manuscripts on which the classical works of ancient heathendom had been written. 
The German literate reversed this process with the profane French literature. 
They wrote their philosophical nonsense beneath the French original. For 
instance, beneath the French criticism of the economic functions of money, they 
wrote "Alienation of Humanity," and beneath the French criticism of the 
bourgeois State they wrote "dethronement of the Category of the General," and so 

The introduction of these philosophical phrases at the back of the French 
historical criticisms they dubbed "Philosophy of Action," "True Socialism," 
"German Science of Socialism," "Philosophical Foundation of Socialism," and so 

The French Socialist and Communist literature was thus completely emasculated. 
And, since it ceased in the hands of the German to express the struggle of one 
class with the other, he felt conscious of having overcome "French one-
sidedness" and of representing, not true requirements, but the requirements of 
truth; not the interests of the proletariat, but the interests of Human Nature, 
of Man in general, who belongs to no class, has no reality, who exists only in 
the misty realm of philosophical fantasy.

This German Socialism, which took its schoolboy task so seriously and solemnly, 
and extolled its poor stock-in-trade in such mountebank fashion, meanwhile 
gradually lost its pedantic innocence.

The fight of the German, and especially, of the Prussian bourgeoisie, against 
feudal aristocracy and absolute monarchy, in other words, the liberal movement, 
became more earnest.

By this, the long wished-for opportunity was offered to "True" Socialism of 
confronting the political movement with the Socialist demands, of hurling the 
traditional anathemas against liberalism, against representative government, 
against bourgeois competition, bourgeois freedom of the press, bourgeois 
legislation, bourgeois liberty and equality, and of preaching to the masses that 
they had nothing to gain, and everything to lose, by this bourgeois movement. 
German Socialism forgot, in the nick of time, that the French criticism, whose 
silly echo it was, presupposed the existence of modern bourgeois society, with 
its corresponding economic conditions of existence, and the political 
constitution adapted thereto, the very things whose attainment was the object of 
the pending struggle in Germany.

To the absolute governments, with their following of parsons, professors, 
country squires and officials, it served as a welcome scarecrow against the 
threatening bourgeoisie.

It was a sweet finish after the bitter pills of floggings and bullets with which 
these same governments, just at that time, dosed the German working-class 

While this "True" Socialism thus served the governments as a weapon for fighting 
the German bourgeoisie, it, at the same time, directly represented a reactionary 
interest, the interest of the German Philistines. In Germany the petty-bourgeois 
class, a relic of the sixteenth century, and since then constantly cropping up 
again under various forms, is the real social basis of the existing state of 

To preserve this class is to preserve the existing state of things in Germany. 
The industrial and political supremacy of the bourgeoisie threatens it with 
certain destruction; on the one hand, from the concentration of capital; on the 
other, from the rise of a revolutionary proletariat. "True" Socialism appeared 
to kill these two birds with one stone. It spread like an epidemic.

The robe of speculative cobwebs, embroidered with flowers of rhetoric, steeped 
in the dew of sickly sentiment, this transcendental robe in which the German 
Socialists wrapped their sorry "eternal truths," all skin and bone, served to 
wonderfully increase the sale of their goods amongst such a public.

And on its part, German Socialism recognised, more and more, its own calling as 
the bombastic representative of the petty- bourgeois Philistine.

It proclaimed the German nation to be the model nation, and the German petty 
Philistine to be the typical man. To every villainous meanness of this model man 
it gave a hidden, higher, Socialistic interpretation, the exact contrary of its 
real character. It went to the extreme length of directly opposing the "brutally 
destructive" tendency of Communism, and of proclaiming its supreme and impartial 
contempt of all class struggles. With very few exceptions, all the so-called 
Socialist and Communist publications that now (1847) circulate in Germany belong 
to the domain of this foul and enervating literature.

2. Conservative, or Bourgeois, Socialism

A part of the bourgeoisie is desirous of redressing social grievances, in order 
to secure the continued existence of bourgeois society.

To this section belong economists, philanthropists, humanitarians, improvers of 
the condition of the working class, organisers of charity, members of societies 
for the prevention of cruelty to animals, temperance fanatics, hole-and-corner 
reformers of every imaginable kind. This form of Socialism has, moreover, been 
worked out into complete systems.

We may site Proudhon's Philosophie de la Misere as an example of this form.

The Socialistic bourgeois want all the advantages of modern social conditions 
without the struggles and dangers necessarily resulting therefrom. They desire 
the existing state of society minus its revolutionary and disintegrating 
elements. They wish for a bourgeoisie without a proletariat. The bourgeoisie 
naturally conceives the world in which it is supreme to be the best; and 
bourgeois Socialism develops this comfortable conception into various more or 
less complete systems. In requiring the proletariat to carry out such a system, 
and thereby to march straightway into the social New Jerusalem, it but requires 
in reality, that the proletariat should remain within the bounds of existing 
society, but should cast away all its hateful ideas concerning the bourgeoisie.

A second and more practical, but less systematic, form of this Socialism sought 
to depreciate every revolutionary movement in the eyes of the working class, by 
showing that no mere political reform, but only a change in the material 
conditions of existence, in economic relations, could be of any advantage to 
them. By changes in the material conditions of existence, this form of 
Socialism, however, by no means understands abolition of the bourgeois relations 
of production, an abolition that can be effected only by a revolution, but 
administrative reforms, based on the continued existence of these relations; 
reforms, therefore, that in no respect affect the

relations between capital and labour, but, at the best, lessen the cost, and 
simplify the administrative work, of bourgeois government.

Bourgeois Socialism attains adequate expression, when, and only when, it becomes 
a mere figure of speech.

Free trade: for the benefit of the working class. Protective duties: for the 
benefit of the working class. Prison Reform: for the benefit of the working 
class. This is the last word and the only seriously meant word of bourgeois 

It is summed up in the phrase: the bourgeois is a bourgeois -- for the benefit 
of the working class.

3. Critical-Utopian Socialism and Communism

We do not here refer to that literature which, in every great modern revolution, 
has always given voice to the demands of the proletariat, such as the writings 
of Babeuf and others.

The first direct attempts of the proletariat to attain its own ends, made in 
times of universal excitement, when feudal society was being overthrown, these 
attempts necessarily failed, owing to the then undeveloped state of the 
proletariat, as well as to the absence of the economic conditions for its 
emancipation, conditions that had yet to be produced, and could be produced by 
the impending bourgeois epoch alone. The revolutionary literature that 
accompanied these first movements of the proletariat had necessarily a 
reactionary character. It inculcated universal asceticism and social levelling 
in its crudest form.

The Socialist and Communist systems properly so called, those of Saint-Simon, 
Fourier, Owen and others, spring into existence in the early undeveloped period, 
described above, of the struggle between proletariat and bourgeoisie (see 
Section 1. Bourgeois and Proletarians).

The founders of these systems see, indeed, the class antagonisms, as well as the 
action of the decomposing elements, in the prevailing form of society. But the 
proletariat, as yet in its infancy, offers to them the spectacle of a class 
without any historical initiative or any independent political movement.

Since the development of class antagonism keeps even pace with the development 
of industry, the economic situation, as they find it, does not as yet offer to 
them the material conditions for the emancipation of the proletariat. They 
therefore search after a new social science, after new social laws, that are to 
create these conditions.

Historical action is to yield to their personal inventive action, historically 
created conditions of emancipation to fantastic ones, and the gradual, 
spontaneous class-organisation of the proletariat to the organisation of society 
specially contrived by these inventors. Future history resolves itself, in their 
eyes, into the propaganda and the practical carrying out of their social plans.

In the formation of their plans they are conscious of caring chiefly for the 
interests of the working class, as being the most suffering class. Only from the 
point of view of being the most suffering class does the proletariat exist for 

The undeveloped state of the class struggle, as well as their own surroundings, 
causes Socialists of this kind to consider themselves far superior to all class 
antagonisms. They want to improve the condition of every member of society, even 
that of the most favoured. Hence, they habitually appeal to society at large, 
without distinction of class; nay, by preference, to the ruling class. For how 
can people, when once they understand their system, fail to see in it the best 
possible plan of the best possible state of society?

Hence, they reject all political, and especially all revolutionary, action; they 
wish to attain their ends by peaceful means, and endeavour, by small 
experiments, necessarily doomed to failure, and by the force of example, to pave 
the way for the new social Gospel.

Such fantastic pictures of future society, painted at a time when the 
proletariat is still in a very undeveloped state and has but a fantastic 
conception of its own position correspond with the first instinctive yearnings 
of that class for a general reconstruction of society.

But these Socialist and Communist publications contain also a critical element. 
They attack every principle of existing society. Hence they are full of the most 
valuable materials for the enlightenment of the working class. The practical 
measures proposed in them -- -such as the abolition of the distinction between 
town and country, of the family, of the carrying on of industries for the 
account of private individuals, and of the wage system, the proclamation of 
social harmony, the conversion of the functions of the State into a mere 
superintendence of production, all these proposals, point solely to the 
disappearance of class antagonisms which were, at that time, only just cropping 
up, and which, in these publications, are recognised in their earliest, 
indistinct and undefined forms only. These proposals, therefore, are of a purely 
Utopian character.

The significance of Critical-Utopian Socialism and Communism bears an inverse 
relation to historical development. In proportion as the modern class struggle 
develops and takes definite shape, this fantastic standing apart from the 
contest, these fantastic attacks on it, lose all practical value and all 
theoretical justification. Therefore, although the originators of these systems 
were, in many respects, revolutionary, their disciples have, in every case, 
formed mere reactionary sects. They hold fast by the original views of their 
masters, in opposition to the progressive historical development of the 
proletariat. They, therefore, endeavour, and that consistently, to deaden the 
class struggle and to reconcile the class antagonisms. They still dream of 
experimental realisation of their social Utopias, of founding isolated 
"phalansteres," of establishing "Home Colonies," of setting up a "Little Icaria" 
-- duodecimo editions of the New Jerusalem -- and to realise all these castles 
in the air, they are compelled to appeal to the feelings and purses of the 
bourgeois. By degrees they sink into the category of the reactionary 
conservative Socialists depicted above, differing from these only by more 
systematic pedantry, and by their fanatical and superstitious belief in the 
miraculous effects of their social science.

They, therefore, violently oppose all political action on the part of the 
working class; such action, according to them, can only result from blind 
unbelief in the new Gospel.

The Owenites in England, and the Fourierists in France, respectively, oppose the 
Chartists and the Reformistes.

IV. Position of the Communists in relation to the various existing opposition parties

Section II has made clear the relations of the Communists to the existing 
working-class parties, such as the Chartists in England and the Agrarian 
Reformers in America.

The Communists fight for the attainment of the immediate aims, for the 
enforcement of the momentary interests of the working class; but in the movement 
of the present, they also represent and take care of the future of that 
movement. In France the Communists ally themselves with the Social-Democrats, 
against the conservative and radical bourgeoisie, reserving, however, the right 
to take up a critical position in regard to phrases and illusions traditionally 
handed down from the great Revolution.

In Switzerland they support the Radicals, without losing sight of the fact that 
this party consists of antagonistic elements, partly of Democratic Socialists, 
in the French sense, partly of radical bourgeois.

In Poland they support the party that insists on an agrarian revolution as the 
prime condition for national emancipation, that party which fomented the 
insurrection of Cracow in 1846.

In Germany they fight with the bourgeoisie whenever it acts in a revolutionary 
way, against the absolute monarchy, the feudal squirearchy, and the petty 

But they never cease, for a single instant, to instil into the working class the 
clearest possible recognition of the hostile antagonism between bourgeoisie and 
proletariat, in order that the German workers may straightaway use, as so many 
weapons against the bourgeoisie, the social and political conditions that the 
bourgeoisie must necessarily introduce along with its supremacy, and in order 
that, after the fall of the reactionary classes in Germany, the fight against 
the bourgeoisie itself may immediately begin.

The Communists turn their attention chiefly to Germany, because that country is 
on the eve of a bourgeois revolution that is bound to be carried out under more 
advanced conditions of European civilisation, and with a much more developed 
proletariat, than that of England was in the seventeenth, and of France in the 
eighteenth century, and because the bourgeois revolution in Germany will be but 
the prelude to an immediately following proletarian revolution.

In short, the Communists everywhere support every revolutionary movement against 
the existing social and political order of things.

In all these movements they bring to the front, as the leading question in each, 
the property question, no matter what its degree of development at the time.

Finally, they labour everywhere for the union and agreement of the democratic 
parties of all countries.

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

Working men of all countries, unite!