In short, what might in have struck an uncommitted reader as revolutionary rhetoric — or, at best, as plausible prediction — can now be read as a concise characterization of capitalism at the end of the twentieth century. Of what other document of the s can this be said? It has undoubtedly tended to do so, though today the incomes of some who are technically employees hired for a salary, such as corporation executives, can hardly count as proletarian.
Nor does it lie essentially in their belief that most of this working population would consist of a workforce of industrial labour. While Great Britain remained quite exceptional as a country in which wage-paid manual workers formed the absolute majority of the population, the development of industrial production required massive and growing inputs of manual labour for well over a century after the Manifesto. Unquestionably this is no longer the case in modern capital- intensive high-tech production, a development not considered in the Manifesto, though in fact in his more mature economic studies Marx himself envisaged the possible development of an increasingly labourless economy, at least in a post-capitalist era.
Indeed, with very few exceptions — such as Britain, Belgium and the USA — in industrial workers probably formed a larger proportion of the total occupied population in the industrial and industrializing world than ever before. Since capitalism has not been overthrown, we are apt to dismiss this prediction. Yet — utterly improbable though it looked in — the politics of most European capitalist countries were to be transformed by the rise of organized political movements basing themselves on the class- conscious working class, which had barely made its appearance outside Great Britain.
The Bolshevik branch is no longer of much significance in Europe, or parties of this kind have assimilated to social-democracy. Social-Democracy, as understood in the days of Bebel or even Clement Attlee, is fighting a rearguard action. Nevertheless the social-democratic parties of the Second International, sometimes under their original names, are still potentially the parties of government in several European states. Though such governments were less common in the early twenty-first century than they had been in the late twentieth, these parties have shown a unique record of continuity as major political agents over more than a century.
It was a double mechanism. Far from providing the profit which fuelled the engine of capitalism, labour now drained it away. But — given the enormous economic potential of capitalism so dramatically expounded in the Manifesto itself — why was it inevitable that capitalism could not provide a livelihood, however miserable, for most of its working class or, alternatively, that it could not afford a welfare system? This dissolution of society as a particular class is the proletariat The emancipation of the German is the emancipation of the human being.
Philosophy is the head of this emancipation and the proletariat is its heart. Philosophy cannot realise itself without abolishing the proletariat, and the proletariat cannot be abolished without philosophy being made a reality. He knew even less about labour movements, though he knew a great deal about the history of the French Revolution.
In the s the conclusion that society was on the verge of revolution was not implausible. Nor was the prediction that the working class, however immature, would lead it. After all, within weeks of the publication of the Manifesto a movement of the Paris workers overthrew the French monarchy, and gave the signal for revolution to half of Europe. Nevertheless, the tendency for capitalist development to generate an essentially revolutionary proletariat could not be deduced from the analysis of the nature of capitalist development.
It was one possible con- sequence of this development, but could not be shown to be the only possible one.
From the Preparatory Materials
Still less could it be shown that a successful overthrow of capitalism by the proletariat must necessarily open the way to communist development. The Manifesto claims no more than that it would then initiate a process of very gradual change. It must reach a point — and in it is not only Marxists who will accept this — where:.
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 The conditions of bourgeois society arc too narrow to encompass the wealth created by them.
However — as the effects of the world economic explosion on the world environment demonstrate — it will necessarily have to mark a sharp shift away from private appropriation to social management on a global scale. For this, as the Manifesto holds, is central to the shaping of historical change. The Manifesto has been read primarily as a document of historical inevitability, and indeed its force derived largely from the confidence it gave its readers that capitalism was inevitably destined to be buried by its gravediggers, and that now — and at no earlier era in history — the conditions for emancipation had come into being.
Yet contrary to widespread assumptions — inasmuch as it believes that historical change proceeds through men making their own history, it is not a determinist document. The graves have to be dug by or through human action. A determinist reading of the argument is indeed possible. When it leaves the field of historical analysis and enters the present, it is a document of choices, of political possibilities rather than probabilities, let alone certainties.
Historical change through social praxis, through collective action, is at its core. The commitment to politics is what, historically, distinguished Marxian socialism from the anarchists, and the successors of those socialists whose rejection of all political action the Manifesto specifically condemns. But this lesson might also have been learned from considering the implications of The Communist Manifesto.
But then, the Manifesto — and this is not the least of its remarkable qualities — is a document which envisaged failure. Many years later, another Marxian rephrased this as the choice between socialism and barbarity. Which of these will prevail is a question which the twenty-first century must be left to answer. Dalle origini alla grande guerra Milan , pp.
Histoire et Bibliographie — Milan For work on particular texts and topics see below.
- Table of Contents.
- The Formation of Marx’s Critique of Political Economy: From the Studies of 1843 to the Grundrisse!
- Knox-Johnston On Sailing (1st Edition);
- The Personality of the Preschool Child. The Childs Search for his Self;
- Eric Hobsbawm's Introduction to the 2012 Edition of Marx & Engels 'The Communist Manifesto'?
- The History of the Hobbit.
Gurvitch, G. Voegelin, E. McCoy, C.
- Related Books?
- Navigation menu;
- March 1843-August 1844.
McLellan, David Marx before Marxism , chs. O'Malley, section 3. Hunt, R. Teeple, G. Berki, R. See also 'Law in Marx: general'. For Marx's critique of human rights see 'Rights and Marx'. For relations to his law teachers see 'Savigny and Marx', 'Gans'. Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right . On the Jewish Question , part 1 . The German Ideology  ch. J Arthur, pp. Schefold, C. Hirst, P. Guastini, R. Szabo, I. Sayer, Derek 'The critique of politics and political economy: capitalism, communism and the state in Marx's writings of the mids', Sociological Review 33 2.
Mah, H. Bailey, C. Mins, H. Mehring, F. Sannwald, R.
The Working Class and the Birth of Marxism
Hillmann, G. Livergood, N. Gabaude, J. Baranovitch, L. Jena Eine Quellenedition. Fenves, P. Murray, P. Balaban, O. Browning, Gary 'Marx's doctoral dissertation: the development of a Hegelian thesis', T. Fraser eds The Hegel-Marx Connexion.
Collected Works of Bastiat, vol. 4: Miscellaneous Economic Writings - Online Library of Liberty
Schafer, P. These interpretations usually focus on notebook 6 of the preparatory Notebooks on Epicurean Philosophy on Aristotelianism and Platonism , on the parallel note on Hegelianism in the Doctoral Dissertation, and on the appendix to the Doctoral Dissertation on Plutarch. Jeannot, T. And other contemporary political writings.
For the idea of law in these articles, see 'Right and law in the early political writings '. Letter to Ruge of 13 March , CW1 pp. Pascal, R. Karl Marx: His Apprenticeship to Politics. Adelman ed Demythologizing Marxism.
Draper, H. Lubasz, H. Hardt, H. Chitty, Andrew 'The basis of the state in the Marx of ', in D. Including comparisons between Hegel and the early Marx on civil society. For particular topics see 'Modern state', 'Separation of state and civil society' and ' Democracy, republicanism and politics in the early Marx'.