INTRODUCTION TO COMMUNIST MANIFESTO
Contrary to what some people believe, Communism's threat to the United States did not vanish with the disintegration of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). There is no excuse for willful ignorance of this fact. A quote attributed to Nikita Khrushchev, a leader of the USSR in the mid 20th century, is: “We can’t expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."
German members of the Communist League in England contracted in 1847 with Karl Marx to write the Communist Manifesto for them. He wrote it in the German language with input from his friend Frederick Engels. It was first published in German in England in February 1848. Due to its public domain status, the Communist Manifesto is not protected by copyright laws. I transcribed the Communist Manifesto to my website because I believe that every American should not only read but understand it. To make this pamphlet easier to get through, in my transcription I underline the points I feel are most critical and make clarifying remarks in bold, italicized red print.
Reportedly Karl Marx grew up in an upper class family and was college educated in his homeland Germany (then Prussia). Forgoing a working class job, he lived off the proceeds of his incendiary Socialist writings and was driven out of Germany as well as other countries. Settling finally in England, there were times he could not leave his home because he had pawned his clothes. Three of his children died because he did not pay for their medicine.
Reading Marx’s prescription for bringing down an advanced capitalist country is not easy. I was tempted to rip it up the first 6 times I read it. Also, it is not well written and for that I blame Marx and not the translators. Marx wrote under the pressure of time and probably with limited paper and ink, so most of his critical points are written in throwaway lines. Subsequent Communist writers continue to embellish on his points.
In his first section, Marx reduces all history to class warfare and details the two main classes of his (and our) day. The oppressor “ruling” class is the capitalist class which he calls the “bourgeois.” The oppressed class is the working class which he calls the “proletarian.” To be fair, his 1st section makes some valid observations about living conditions at his time, which was nearer the onset of the industrial age.
In his 2nd section Marx describes the relationship of Communists to Proletarians. Communists, as a working-class party, are proletarians who “clearly understand the . . . ultimate general results of the proletarian movement . . . . summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.” The end of section 2 is the easiest part of the manifesto to read. There Marx numbered 1—10 ten interventions for bringing about the downfall of advanced capitalist countries. In his 3rd section, Marx does a review of the Socialist and Communist literature. He details the different Socialist parties of the day and their usefulness to Communists. In his short 4th section, Marx emphasizes that Communists should use various existing opposition parties for Communist purposes, and he calls on the democratic parties and working men of all countries to unite.
It is remarkable that Marx excluded mention of the slavery of his day (referring to it only as if it was in the distant past). Instead he equated the oppression of the working class by the middle class to the oppression of the slave by the slave owner. He took the real life experiences of Africans sold into slavery in America and substituted the word proletarian for African and bourgeoisie for slave owner.
It is also notable that Karl Marx, after assessing all of the parties of the day in 1848, selected the democratic party to advance the Communist agenda. The Democratic Party of the USA, the oldest existing in the world, was started in 1828-32 to aid in the reelection of our 7th president, Andrew Jackson (1829-37). President Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) is well known for enforcing the Indian Removal Act which he signed into law May 28, 1830. Native American Indians were forced to leave their lands and possessions in the states of Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. They were relocated to the Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). Roughly 4,000 died along the “Trail of Tears.”
Within the text of the Communist Manifesto, Marx takes positions in direct opposition to those taken by the authors of the Constitution of the United States. He is dismissive of political constitutions (e.g., “Into their place stepped free competition, accompanied by a social and political constitution adapted to it, and by the economical and political sway of the bourgeois class”) and he is dismissive of family, country, law, morality and religion (e.g., “Law, morality, religion, are to him so many bourgeois prejudices”). Marx’s Communist Manifesto is, essentially, the antithesis of the Constitution of the United States.
From "Introduction" by Francis B. Randall, Sarah Lawrence College, page 25:
At a time when most European countries were still ruled, or at least co-ruled, by kings and nobles, Marx had the vision to see that the bourgeoisie was taking over. "Bourgeoisie" had originally meant the inhabitants of cities, but by the Romantic age the term had come to mean the middle classes, whether they lived in cities or not. Businessmen from the greatest textile magnates to the smallest hole-in-the-wall shopkeepers, doctors, lawyers, teachers and other educated and professional people, all the groups that we now call "white collar workers" were part of the bourgeoisie. Marx often felt compelled to give a narrow economic definition of the bourgeoisie--"the owners of the means of capitalist production"--but he used the term to indicate the middle classes as a whole.
Preceding quote from: The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels; the Revolutionary Economic, Political, and Social Treatise That Has Transfigured the World translation by Samuel Moore, edited by Joseph Katz, copyrighted 1964, first published by Pocket Books, New York, NY, available at simonandschuster.com.
The following quotation is from page 276 of W. Cleon Skousen's The Naked Communist, (Salt Lake City: Ensign Publishing Company, 1958) Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 58:14464.
Suggestions for Parents
1. Stay close to your children to make sure they are being trained to think like Washington and Lincoln, not like Marx and Lenin. 2. In providing physical needs for your family, don't forget their spiritual needs. We are in an ideological war. From a Marxist viewpoint an atheistic mind is already three-fourths conquered.
For background material read Marx for Beginners, by Rius, copyright 2003 Random House, Inc.
A Layman's Definition of a Communist: "A Socialist with a Gun" (origin unknown)