15 Mar 2015

Marx & Engels (intro) Manifesto of the Communist Party, Preamble, summary

by Corry Shores

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[The following is summary. All underlining, boldface, and bracketed commentary are my own.]

Karl Marx & Frederick Engels

Manifesto of the Communist Party



Brief Summary:
Communism at this time of 1844 is a political ideology that is seen in a negative light and as a threat. This testifies to its influence and importance. But it also presents the need to correct the record and to give it a fair account. That is the purpose of this manifesto, which is meant for the audience of all of Europe.


In Europe [at this time, 1844], communism was a political idea already with some influence, yet it was often considered in a negative light (208).

In fact, ‘communism’ is often used as a political insult or accusation (208).

There are two results of this:

1) The fact that it is such a strong accusation means that “Communism is already acknowledged by all European powers to be itself a power” (208), and

2) Since the negativity of this accusation is based on hearsay and misunderstanding, “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” (208).

The following is the effort to accomplish this task. It is translated into many major European languages [so to broaden the spread of its ideas] (209).

Works Cited

Marx, Karl and Frederick Engels. Manifesto of the Communist Party. In Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. Trans. Martin Milligan. pp.203-243. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 1988 [1844].

Available online: https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/index.htm

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