Rebecca's Reviews > The Communist Manifesto

The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx
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really liked it
bookshelves: victorian-studies, political, essays, history, lit-in-translation, free-other

I read this on the train to Manchester, appropriate reading when approaching one of the UK’s biggest centers of Victorian industry and the place where Marx and Engels met to discuss ideas in the mid-1840s. Marx was the chief author of this 50-page pamphlet, first published in London in 1848. It had never occurred to me that it was first issued in German, Marx’s native language. Like Darwin’s Origin of Species, another seminal Victorian text, this has so many familiar lines and wonderful metaphors that have entered into common discourse that I simply assumed it was composed in English. My eyes glaze over at politics or economics, so I valued this more for its language than for its ideas. Part II, “Proletarians and Communists,” is the most focused part if you want to sample it.

Here are some of the memorable phrases:

“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 by his spells.”

“The proletariat, the lowest stratum of our present society, cannot stir, cannot raise itself up, without the whole superincumbent strata of official society being sprung into the air.”

“In bourgeois society, therefore, the past dominates the present; in Communist society, the present dominates the past.”

“Communism deprives no man of the power to appropriate the products of society; all that it does is to deprive him of the power to subjugate the labor of others by means of such appropriation.”

(The last paragraph)
“The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. WORKING MEN OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE!”
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Reading Progress

February 14, 2015 – Shelved as: to-read
February 14, 2015 – Shelved
February 14, 2015 – Shelved as: victorian-studies
February 14, 2015 – Shelved as: political
February 14, 2015 – Shelved as: essays
Started Reading
August 30, 2015 – Finished Reading
September 1, 2015 – Shelved as: history
September 1, 2015 – Shelved as: lit-in-translation
February 6, 2019 – Shelved as: free-other

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