The Communist Manifesto Project
Why a Website Devoted to The Communist Manifesto?
The aim of this site is to use The Communist Manifesto to rescue Marx from the 'Marxists'. It is well suited to that task given that it was written by Marx and Engels as a short and concise exposition of their views, and in particular brings out their revolutionary critique of capitalism which is a far cry from the prevailing reactionary critique that passes for "left" thought.
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These are some comments to consider while reading The Communist Manifesto. Most of them highlight the many instances where Marx's views are contrary to those of present-day "Marxists". [more]
Marx was no Green
However, the "ecological Marxist" John Bellamy Foster at Monthly Review seems to think he was. [more]
Socialism and Communism
Communism will be preceded by a transition period that has usually been called socialism or the dictatorship of the proletariat. This period will begin with a revolution that takes the means of production from the capitalists. Then follows a protracted and tortuous period of class struggle with a new bourgeoisie that will inevitably emerge because it is not possible to immediately eliminate the old division of labor. For some time society will still have a lot of hierarchy, and all levels of government including the very top will be full of phonies pretending to be revolutionaries and also former revolutionaries who have been corrupted by power. In this struggle workers will have to learn to run their own society without masters and be guided by the morality of mutual regard. This struggle will encounter many mishaps and reversals but final victory is premised on the fact that communism is the answer to the problems of capitalism. To date the only experience we have is of transition failure, in countries where the conditions for success were completely absent.
The Communist Manifesto Online
The best source is marxists.org. As well as the web version, they also have it in audio, Word, PDF, mobi and prc formats.
What is Communism?
Communism is a global, classless society based on social ownership of the means of production that we can expect will supersede capitalism.
Such a superior society based on mutual regard rather than profit is made possible by capitalism itself. On the the one hand, the high level of economic development achieved under capitalism means that communism would not be shared poverty and toil but rather its opposites - shared abundance and work done willingly, that fully develops the individual's creative powers. On the other hand, capitalism creates the agent of change, the proletariat. This is a class to which most people belong once capitalism is fully developed. It has no interest in the present system and is equipped by modern conditions to begin the struggle to transform society and itself.
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Rescuing the Message of The Communist Manifesto: the revolutionary role of capitalism
In The Communist Manifesto of 1848, Marx and Engels emphasize the revolutionary role of capitalism. It drags humanity out of economic and social backwardness, and changes us from peasants into proletarians. By doing this, capitalism removes the only insurmountable obstacles to a classless communist society. Such a society ceases to be pie in the sky, and instead becomes something made possible by historically created conditions. The more that capitalism displaces the old conditions the better the basis for a revolutionary transition.
Hasn't Communism already Failed?
No. Marxism shows how communism can only emerge from advanced capitalism. It could not be expected to emerge from the backward conditions that existed in regions such as Russia and China in the first half of the 20th century.
What failed was a transition process that only took the first steps before succumbing to the unfavorable circumstances.
Go here for more on this question.
This is just another instance where Marx and the "Marxists" are on different planets. [more]
Red and Green at odds
Greens believe that the global abundance required to lay the basis for communism is unachievable because of "limits to growth" or "planetary carrying capacity". [more]
A short outline of The Communist Manifesto. No endorsement implied.