The Communist Manifesto or Communist Party Manifesto is a document written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, founders of Scientific Socialism , and published on February 21, 1848 to guide the action of workers during the rise of the labor movements. Communist Manifesto definition
Written in the form of a pamphlet, the document was intended to define and make known the purposes of the League of Communists and to call for the union of all workers in the world.
According to the authors, history is a sequence of conflicts between the working classes that have no possessions and the exploiting classes, which have the means of production.
One of the main objectives of the Manifesto was to make workers aware of the power they would have if they joined forces.
Historical Context of the Communist Manifesto
Europe was going through a period of intense revolutions in the nineteenth century and this was reflected in the ideals of the population, especially workers, who began to reflect on their rights. Communist Manifesto definition
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels were thinkers who questioned, among other things, the ideology of the bourgeoisie. At the same time that this happened, the workers gathered in groups to discuss problems that happened within their own class, such as poverty.
The two strengthened relations with the so-called League of the Just , a union of workers created by German artisans who resided in England.
Subsequently, the League went through a crisis mainly for not having its ideals defined and for having concepts that were very far from the reality of workers in England.
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels joined the League, renamed it the Communist League, and reorganized the concepts of this union of workers in accordance with the ideals of Communism.
At the first congress of the new League, held in 1847, the need for a document to guide workers mainly in relation to their rights arose. Communist Manifesto definition
It was out of this need that the Manifesto was written.
Summary by chapters
In order to be accessible to readers, the Communist Manifesto was written in language that is clear and simple to understand.
Its structure was very simplified, consisting of a brief introduction, three chapters and a conclusion. Let’s see a little more about what each chapter is about:
It approaches the reality of the bourgeois and the proletariat comparatively, emphasizing the differences between them and describing the evolution of each of the two classes. It criticizes capitalism and draws attention to the fact that the least favored lived excluded, on the margins of society. Communist Manifesto definition
It addresses the relationship between the proletariat and the parties, and the points in common between them, highlighting the fall in the superiority of the bourgeoisie and the growth of power in the hands of the workers.
The third and last chapter of the Manifesto talks about the socialist regime and the communist regime and criticizes reactionary socialism (bourgeois ideal that defends the maintenance of production and exchange), conservative socialism (which defends a reform instead of a revolution) and the critical socialism – utopian (which aimed at change through example and not political struggle).
What was the impact of the Communist Manifesto?
The central idea of the document was to show workers that what prevented them from having a decent life were the subordination relations imposed by their respective employers.
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels defended the idea that workers were not obliged to live as prisoners of bourgeois ideology. In the pamphlet, the liberal state was accused of failure and the workers called for a great revolution in favor of their rights. Shortly after the document was written, the French Revolution of 1848, also known as the February Revolution, took place. Communist Manifesto definition
One of the great achievements of the Communist Manifesto was the reduction of the workload from twelve to ten hours a day.
Over the years, the pamphlet has gained worldwide importance and is now translated into several languages.