Sunday, 24 February 2008

The Communist Manifesto

The Communist Manifesto of 1848, Disney Style.

The Manifesto of the Communist Party, usually referred to as The Communist Manifesto, was first published on February 21, 1848, and is one of the world's most influential political tracts. Commissioned by the Communist League and written by communist theorists Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx, it laid out the League's purposes and program. The Manifesto suggested a course of action for a proletarian (working class) revolution to overthrow the ruling class of bourgeoisie and to eventually bring about a classless society.

Although the names of both Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx appear on the title page alongside the "persistent assumption of joint-authorship", Engels, in the preface introduction to the 1883 German edition of the Manifesto, said that the Manifesto was "essentially Marx's work" and that "the basic thought... belongs solely and exclusively to Marx."[1] McLellan, along with many other scholars, believes that "the actual drafting of The Communist Manifesto was done exclusively by Marx.

It is claimed in the text itself to have been sketched by a group of Communists from various countries that gathered together in London.

Textual History

The Communist Manifesto's initial publication, in 1848, was in German. The first English translation was produced by Helen MacFarlane in 1850. The Manifesto went through a number of editions from 1872 to 1890; notable new prefaces were written by Marx and Engels for the 1872 German edition, the 1882 Russian edition, the 1883 German edition, and the 1888 English edition. This edition, translated by Samuel Moore with the assistance of Engels, has been the most commonly used English text since.

However, some recent English editions, such as Phil Gasper's annotated Road Map (Haymarket Books, 2006), have used a slightly modified text in response to criticisms of the Moore translation made by Hal Draper in his 1994 history of the Manifesto, The Adventures of the "Communist Manifesto (Center for Socialist History, 1994).

Manifesto on line
In Commemoration of the Communist Manifesto (SPGB article from 1948)

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