Preface to Marx-Engels Collected Works Volume (6)
Works 1845-1848[edit source]
Volume 6 of the Collected Works of Marx and Engels covers the period between the autumn of 1845 and March 1848, when the bourgeois-democratic revolutions in Europe were maturing, and the contents reflect the manifold theoretical studies and practical activities of Marx and Engels undertaken on the eve of the revolutions of 1848-49. In these activities Marx and Engels were mainly concerned with completing their working out of the general theoretical foundations of Marxism as the ideology of the working class, with taking the first steps towards the creation of a proletarian party based on the principles of scientific communism and proletarian internationalism, and with drawing up the programme and tactical platform of the international working-class movement. It was in this period that Marx and Engels founded the first international proletarian organisation — the Communist League, and produced Marxism’s first programmatic statement — the Manifesto of the Communist Party.
The volume begins with an article by Engels, “The Festival of Nations in London”, in which the principles of proletarian internationalism are set forth in print for the first time. Here Engels stressed that “the proletarians in all countries have one and the same interest, one and the same enemy”, that “only the proletarians can destroy nationality, only the awakening proletariat can bring about fraternisation between the different nations” (see this volume, p. 6).
The idea of international proletarian solidarity is also expressed in the “Address of the German Democratic Communists of Brussels to Mr. Feargus O'Connor”, a declaration of the German Communists’ support for the British working men who had joined forces in the Chartist Association which was effectively the first party of the working class. It was written for the Brussels Communist Correspondence Committee, which Marx and Engels had initiated at the beginning of 1846 to promote unity of ideas and organisation among the leading figures of the proletarian and socialist movement.
Of great importance among surviving papers of the Brussels Communist Correspondence Committee is the “Circular Against Kriege”, a criticism of German “true socialism”. Here Marx and Engels firmly opposed the views of the “true socialist” Kriege, who was at this time active in the United States. He was substituting a sentimental theory of universal love for communist ideas, and seeking at the same time to present the American democratic movement for agrarian reform, the progressive significance of which Marx and Engels fully recognised, as a struggle for the communist transformation of society. The “Circular” showed that there was no point in trying to give socialist doctrines a religious colouring and that the communist world outlook was incompatible with religion.
On a more general plane, the “Circular Against Kriege” was also a blow against the views of Weitling and his supporters, who advocated egalitarian utopian communism. Similar in many ways to the beliefs of the “true socialists”, these views increased the ideological confusion among the working class and encouraged sectarian and dogmatic attitudes.
Marx’s “Declaration Against Karl Grün”, Engels’ unfinished “The Constitutional Question in Germany”, his essays “German Socialism in Verse and Prose”, and some other works, are also devoted to the criticism of “true socialism”. In “The Constitutional Question in Germany” Engels takes issue with “true socialist” political views. He shows that, by ignoring the supremacy of the absolutist system in Germany and opposing progressive bourgeois reforms, the “true socialists” were playing into the hands of the absolutist feudal circles and acting in profound contradiction to the interests of the working people. After a searching analysis of the social and political situation in Germany Engels outlines the revolutionary tactics of the proletariat in the approaching bourgeois revolution, emphasising that the working class has an interest in the consistent realisation of the aims of such a revolution.
In his essays “German Socialism in Verse and Prose” Engels then criticises the aesthetic ideals of “true socialism”, as represented in the poetry and literary criticism of its supporters (the poet Karl Beck, the literary historian Karl Grün, and others). He censures their characteristically sentimental, merely philanthropic themes, their petty-bourgeois tastes and illusions and philistine moralising.
Progressive writers and poets should, he declares, bring to their readers the advanced ideas of their time and acclaim not a “cowardly petty-bourgeois wretchedness”, but a “proud, threatening, and revolutionary proletarian” (see this volume, p. 235). Here Engels arrives, too, at important principles of Marxist aesthetics and criteria for the appreciation of works of art. In contrast to Grün’s extremely naive and thoroughly petty-bourgeois attitude to the work of such a great writer as Goethe, Engels shows that the critic’s task is always to reveal the link between the writer’s social environment and his world outlook and thoroughly to investigate its contradictions. He must be able to distinguish between elements of genuine artistic and social value in the work and those which express only a narrowness of outlook on the writer’s part.
One of the most important theoretical works of Marxism — Marx’s The Poverty of Philosophy. Answer to the “Philosophy of Poverty” by M. Proudhon — belongs to this period. Aimed against the growing trend of Proudhonism — a trend which was later to acquire considerable influence in the working-class movement and which Marx and his associates fought for decades — this book was compiled to meet the contemporary needs of the revolutionary struggle and to help make the proletariat theoretically and ideologically independent of the petty bourgeoisie.
The Poverty of Philosophy was prompted by the publication of Proudhon’s Système des contradictions économiques, ou Philosophie de la iq misère. Marx saw in Proudhon’s ideas the embodiment of a petty-bourgeois mentality, the inconsistency and utopianism permeating the outlook of a class which seeks at once to escape from the disastrous consequences of capitalist development and to preserve the economic foundation of the system — private ownership of the means of production and wage labour. Criticism of Proudhon’s views was therefore fundamental for establishing among the workers a true understanding of the revolutionary aims of proletarian struggle and for exposing any attempts to replace these aims with the utopian reformist idea of adapting the capitalist system to the interests of the working people.
Marx’s Poverty of Philosophy is one of the first works of mature Marxism. Besides criticising Proudhon, Marx expounds his own philosophical and economic views. Here, therefore, in print for the first time (though still in a somewhat polemical form) were formulated the scientific principles of historical materialism which Marx and Engels had worked out mainly in the process of writing The German Ideology. The Poverty of Philosophy was Marx’s public début as an economist. It is the first published work to outline the fundamental propositions of Marx’s economic theory which form the point of departure of Marxist political economy. Marx himself wrote in 1880: “... This book contains in embryo what after a labour of twenty years became the theory that was developed in Capital.” The Poverty of Philosophy also enunciates a number of basic propositions about the working-class movement and its tactics.
Marx first of all shows the weakness of Proudhon’s basic approach. He had attempted to apply Hegelian dialectics to political economy with no understanding of what dialectics really means. In Proudhon, dialectics is reduced to the artificial construction of contradictions. He accepted basic facts of economic production and exchange as given and unalterable, and then put forward the utopian idea that their “bad” side Could be eliminated, while preserving their “good” side. In this way, he thought, the capitalist system could be “purified” of all those consequences of its development that were inimical to the small producer — competition, concentration of production, the domination of big, particularly banking, capital, and so on. Marx stresses that Proudhon “has nothing of Hegel’s dialectics but the language” (see this volume, p. 168), and remains in practice a metaphysician. He shows that Proudhon adopts the idealist form of Hegel’s theory of contradictions and deprives it ‘ of its rational elements.
Marx contrasts his own interpretation of the materialist character of dialectics to Hegel’s idealist interpretation, drawing a clear line of distinction between his own scientific method and the Hegelian method.
In The Poverty of Philosophy Marx expressed the essence of the materialist understanding of history in a clear and concise formula: “Social relations are closely bound up with productive forces. In acquiring new productive forces men change their mode of production; and in changing their mode of production, in changing the way of earning their living, they change all their social relations. The hand-mill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam-mill, society with the industrial capitalist” (see this volume, p. 166). Defining the meaning of the term “productive forces”, Marx states that it embraces not only the instruments of production but also the workmen themselves, and he thus arrives at the important proposition that “... the greatest productive power is the revolutionary class itself” (see this volume, p. 211).
In the course of his studies in political economy from 1845 to 1846 Marx had demonstrated the utopianism of the attempts of the English Ricardian socialists — Bray, Thompson and others — to deduce a socialist system from the — postulates of classical political economy, particularly, from the labour theory of value. In The Poverty of Philosophy he showed that Proudhon was repeating and aggravating this mistake by regarding the economic categories of bourgeois society as the foundation on which to build a new, “just” social order. Unlike the English socialists, however, whose goal was the radical transformation of society on socialist principles, Proudhon sought merely to save the small private producer.
The Poverty of Philosophy describes English classical political economy in its most characteristic aspects and shows the important part it played in the development of economic thought. At the same time, although the criticism of the classical economists is not complete, it shows its weaknesses. Even in this work, however, Marx is already basing his study of economic life on entirely new premises, fundamentally different from those of the classical economists. In contrast to Smith, Ricardo and other bourgeois economists who assumed the eternal and immutable nature of the economic laws of capitalism, Marx argues that the laws of bourgeois production are transient in character, just as the laws of the pre-capitalist social-economic formations were transient. There will inevitably come a time, he wrote, when the laws of bourgeois production will be superseded because the very system of bourgeois relations will disappear from the face of the earth.
In his polemic with Proudhon and the bourgeois economists Marx took a new standpoint in analysing such categories of political economy as value, money, rent, and such economic phenomena as the division of labour and application of machinery, competition and monopoly. Here he still employs as in other. economic works of this period (specifically, in the manuscript published in this volume under the title of “'Wages”) concepts borrowed from the classical economists — “labour as a commodity”, “value of labour” and “price of labour” — but he gives these concepts a new meaning which discloses the underlying exploitation in the relations between capital and wage labour. In contrast to Ricardo, who regarded labour as a commodity the same as any other, Marx sees it as a commodity of a special kind, the purchase and use of which leads to the enrichment of the capitalist and a worsening in the position of the owner of this commodity — the worker. Marx formulates, as yet in a general, rudimentary form, the universal law of capitalist accumulation. Under capitalism, he writes, “in the selfsame relations in which wealth is produced, poverty is produced also” (see this volume, p. 176). In The Poverty of Philosophy Marx singles out the industrial proletariat that came into being in the process of the development of machine production as the real social force destined to resolve the contradictions of bourgeois society by its revolutionary transformation.
Marx refuted Proudhon’s contention that strikes and trade union organisation are of no use to the workers. He showed that the economic struggle, strikes and workers’ combinations were essential for the unity and revolutionary education of the proletarian masses. The Poverty of Philosophy expresses the profound idea that the awareness of the fundamental contradiction between its own interests and the continuation of the capitalist system, which the proletariat acquires as an organised movement develops, plays a decisive role in converting it from a mass that is “already a class as against capital, but not yet for itself “, into “a class for itself “ (see this volume, p. 21 1). Here Marx also formulates one of the most important tactical principles of the revolutionary proletarian movement — the unity of economic and political struggle and the decisive role of the political struggle for the emancipation of the proletariat.
In the period leading up to the revolutions of 1848 Marx and Engels were extremely active as proletarian journalists, reacting to all contemporary events, especially those of a revolutionary nature. This volume includes a large number of their articles and reports published in the working-class and democratic press of the time, particularly in the Deutsche-Brüsseler-Zeitung, which under their influence became the unofficial organ of the Communist League. The chief aim of Marx and Engels’ writing for the press in this period was to explain to the working class its role and tasks in the imminent bourgeois revolution, to prepare the proletarian party that was beginning to take shape for the forthcoming battles, to spread the new revolutionary proletarian world outlook and to defend scientific communism from the attacks of its enemies.
Continuing his contributions to the Chartist Northern Star, which he had begun in 1843, Engels wrote regular articles about the maturing revolutionary situation in Germany (“The State of Germany”, “Violation of the Prussian Constitution”, etc.) and the imminent revolutionary crisis in France (“Government and Opposition in France”, “The Decline and Approaching Fall of Guizot. — Position of the French Bourgeoisie”, “The Reform Movement in France”, etc.). In October 1847 he made contact with the French democrats and socialists associated with the newspaper La Réforme, and became an active contributor. He sent the paper a series of articles on the Chartist movement in England (“The Agrarian Programme of the Chartists”, “The Chartist Banquet in Connection with the Elections of 1847”, etc.), and translated and published with commentaries the major Chartist documents, reports of Chartist meetings, and so on. His contributions also included several articles on the national liberation movement in Ireland (“The Commercial Crisis in England. — The Chartist Movement. — Ireland”, “The Coercion Bill for Ireland and the Chartists”). At the same time the Deutsche-Brüsseler-Zeitung published articles, mainly by Engels, on the revolutionary events in Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Austria and Denmark (“The Civil War in Switzerland”, “The Movements of 1847”, “Three New Constitutions”, etc.), Engels’ article “Revolution in Paris” was a response to the events of February 1848 in France.
The publication of these articles and reports helped to strengthen the international ties between the proletarian and democratic circles of the European countries and to evolve a common platform for the revolutionary forces. The same purpose was served by Marx and Engels’ work in the Brussels Democratic Association, their friendly contacts with the London society of Fraternal Democrats, their growing ties with the leaders of Chartism, and their speeches at international meetings and conferences — as a number of the articles included in this volume bear witness (e.g. Marx’s article “The Débat social of February 6 on the Democratic Association” and Engels’ report “The Anniversary of the Polish Revolution of 1830”), and likewise the documents published in the Appendices.
Many of the articles in this volume announce important propositions of the theory of Marxism and the tactics of proletarian revolutionary struggle. Prominent among these is the article “The Communism of the Rheinischer Beobachter”, which was aimed against the supporters of feudal socialism and their attempts to attribute a special social mission to the Prussian monarchy. This article gave the German working class a clear orientation in a situation of mounting revolution.
To the moderate and conciliatory councils of the liberal opposition Marx counterposed the revolutionary overthrow of the absolute monarchy and drew up a programme of revolutionary-democratic reforms. The victory of the bourgeois revolution, he declared, would make it easier for the working class to achieve its own class aims. “The rule of the bourgeoisie does not only place quite new weapons in the hands of the proletariat for the struggle against the bourgeoisie, hut ... it also secures for it a quite different status, the status of a recognised party” (see this volume, p. 222).
The idea that the working class should take an active part in the bourgeois-democratic revolution was further developed in the polemic that Marx and Engels conducted with the German democrat Karl Heinzen, who expressed the hostility to communism of a whole group of German radical journalists. Engels’ articles “The Communists and Karl Heinzen” and Marx’s work “Moralising Criticism and Critical Morality” provide striking examples of how to answer anti-communism and expose its slanders of Communists.
In reply to Heinzen’s accusation that the Communists split the democratic camp, Marx and Engels demonstrate that, although their ultimate aims go far beyond establishing bourgeois-democratic freedoms, the Communists’ immediate aim is to win democracy, and in this struggle they make common cause with the democrats.
In what Marx and Engels wrote against Heinzen we find a draft of the proposition that the working class must lead the revolutionary movement. In contrast to Heinzen, who assigned the leading role in the impending revolution to the peasantry and urban petty bourgeoisie, Engels argued that not the peasantry but “the industrial proletariat of the towns has become the vanguard of all modern democracy; the urban petty bourgeoisie and still more the peasants depend on its initiative completely” (see this volume, p. 295).
Marx and Engels regarded the bourgeois-democratic revolution as merely an intermediate stage in the proletariat’s revolutionary struggle. The proletarians, Marx wrote, “can and must accept the bourgeois revolution as a precondition for the workers’ revolution” (this volume, p. 333). With the victory of the democratic revolution the proletariat is confronted with the task of “becoming a power, in the first place a revolutionary power” in order to carry the struggle against the bourgeoisie itself to its ultimate conclusion (see this volume, p. 319). Thus in their polemic with Heinzen Marx and Engels approached the idea of uninterrupted revolution and regarded the working class’ conquest of political power as its next stage. Here we have the first published formulation of the idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat as an instrument for the revolutionary reconstruction of society.
In “Moralising Criticism and Critical Morality” Marx laid the groundwork for the theory of the dialectical interrelationship between the economic basis and the political superstructure. It is not political power, he stressed, that determines property relations, as the bourgeois and petty-bourgeois democrats imagine, but, on the contrary, the character of political power itself depends on historically formed production relations (property relations) and the class structure of society thus created. At the same time, Marx points out that political power is an active factor in social life. In the hands of the rising class it accelerates progressive development; in the hands of the obsolete class it acts as a powerful brake on progress. The revolutionary supplanting of the old political superstructure is therefore an essential condition for the victory of the new social system.
Articles by Engels published in this volume — “The ‘Satisfied’ Majority...... “Louis Blanc’s Speech at the Dijon Banquet”, and Marx’s “Remarks on the Article by M. Adolphe Bartels” — like the articles against Heinzen, show that while opposing sectarian isolation from the democratic movement and advocating an alliance with the democrats, Marx and Engels sought to build the relations between the proletarian party and the democratic organisations on a principled basis. They refused to condone democratic mistakes and illusions. Engels, in particular, spoke out against the Réforme party leaders on issues where their platform was unacceptable to the Communists — their notion of the special cosmopolitan role of France in world history and their nationalistic claims that French democracy should hold a leading position in the international democratic movement. “The union of the democrats of different nations does not exclude mutual criticism,” Engels wrote. “It is impossible without such criticism. Without criticism there is no understanding and consequently no union” (this volume, p. 409).
Marx and Engels’ criticisms of the bourgeois free traders, for whom free trade was to become a blessing for the proletariat and a panacea for all social ills, provide a striking example of their struggle against ideology hostile to the working class. In the materials relating to the international congress of economists in Brussels, and in Marx’s “Speech on the Question of Free Trade”, the theory of free trade and its rival bourgeois economic system of protectionism are alike subjected to scientific criticism and given a specifically historical evaluation. In the conditions of the 1840s, Marx gave preference to the free-trade system as the more progressive of the two. “We are for Free Trade, because by Free Trade all economical laws, with their most astounding contradictions, will act upon a larger scale, upon a greater extent of territory, upon the territory of the whole earth; and because from the uniting of all these contradictions into a single group, where they stand face to face, will result the struggle which will itself eventuate in the emancipation of the proletarians” (see this volume, p. 290).
Marx and Engels paid great attention to national liberation movements. They realised the importance of the emancipation struggles of the oppressed peoples in the imminent bourgeois-democratic revolution, and in their articles “The Beginning of the End in Austria” and “A Word to the Riforma” and in their speeches at public meetings to mark the anniversaries of the Polish uprisings of 1830 and 1846, they sought to provide the working class with a thoroughly argued position on the question of nationalities. Marx and Engels were emphatic that the proletariat must give full support to the national liberation movement of the oppressed peoples and urged proletarian groups to ally themselves with the revolutionary-democratic wings of the national movements. They saw the guarantee of success for the latter in a combination of the struggle for national liberation with the demand for deep-going internal revolutionary-democratic changes.
“A nation cannot become free,” Engels wrote, “and at the same time continue to oppress other nations” (this volume, p. 389). He and Marx stressed that the nationalities question could be finally solved only after the proletariat’s victory over the bourgeoisie, whose domination inevitably leads to the intensification of national antagonisms and colonial oppression. The proletarian revolution, they declared, is “the signal of liberation for all oppressed nations” (this volume, p. 388).
Some of the judgments and conclusions reached by Marx and Engels in their articles and reports were still of a preliminary character and sometimes one-sided; they reflected the level of Marxist thought at the time and were later supplemented or clarified in the light of new historical experience and a more profound and comprehensive study of the subject. In their later works, for example, Marx and Engels gave a different, positive interpretation of the role of the peasant movements in the Middle Ages, as compared with what we find in the article “The Communists and Karl Heinzen”. They also arrived at a rather different estimate of the struggle of the Swiss against Austrian domination in the 14th and 15th centuries, and the character and results of the war waged by the USA against Mexico in 1846-48, and so on.
The material in this volume shows the work of Marx and Engels as organisers and leaders of the Communist League and, above all, enables us to trace the stages in their working out of the programme and organisational principles of the League.
This volume contains the “Draft of a Communist Confession of Faith”, written by Engels for the First Congress of the Communist League (June 1847), Engels’ manuscript of the Principles of Communism (October 1847) and the Manifesto of the Communist Party, written by Marx and Engels on the instructions of the Second Congress held at the end of November and beginning of December 1847. The Appendices to the volume contain two versions of the Rules of the Communist League, which Marx and Engels took part in compiling, and also other documents of the League, to which they contributed in some degree or other.
The “Draft of a Communist Confession of Faith” (the so-called “Credo”) which was discovered only in 1968, is the first version of the Marxist programme for the working-class movement. It defines the aims of the Communists and describes the proletariat as the class destined to bring about the socialist revolution. Engels shows that the communist transformation of society depends on historical conditions and the laws of history, maps its paths and indicates the tasks of the working class after its conquest of political power in the conditions of the transitional period from capitalism to the new communist system. This document expresses some profound thoughts concerning the elimination of national differences and the overcoming of religious prejudices in the society of the future.
The programmatic document the Principles of Communism, which is written on a broader, more comprehensive theoretical basis, was in effect the original draft of the Communist Manifesto. Verifying the formulations and deepening the arguments, Engels introduces a number of points that were absent from the “Draft of a Communist Confession of Faith” and substantially revises many of its propositions (for example, the description of the transitional period). He also defines communism as the theory of the emancipation of the proletariat, reveals the historical preconditions for the rise and development of the working-class movement and formulates its goals. The goal of the proletarian revolution, he writes, “absolutely necessitates a completely new organisation of society, in which industrial production is no longer directed by individual factory owners, competing one against the other, but by the whole of society according to a fixed plan and according to the needs of all” (see this volume, p. 347).
In the Principles of Communism the answer to the question of the possible ways of abolishing capitalist private property is more clearly worded than in the “Draft of a Communist Confession of Faith”. In contrast to the advocates of peaceful reforms (Cabet, Proudhon and the “true socialists”), and also the Blanquists, who thought communism could be established by means of conspiratorial action on the part of a select group of revolutionaries, Engels argues the necessity for a deep-going proletarian revolution carried out by the masses of the working people — a revolution which in the historical conditions obtaining at the time could be carried out only by force. At the same time Engels stressed that if there arose anywhere or at any stage of development a real possibility of achieving the revolutionary abolition of private property by peaceful means, “the Communists certainly would be the last to resist it” (this volume, p. 349).
The Principles of Communism touches upon the possibility of the victory of a communist revolution in one country. In reply to this question Engels developed the conception of revolution already expounded in The German Ideology. He indicated that the proletarian revolution could not be victorious in one country alone, but must take place more or less simultaneously in the developed capitalist countries. “It is a worldwide revolution and will therefore be worldwide in scope” (see this volume, p. 352). These notions of the forthcoming revolutionary process corresponded to the level of capitalist development that had been reached in those days. In the ensuing historical period, however, the transition to imperialism made the development of the capitalist countries far more uneven. Lenin, who shared the general basic conceptions of Marx and Engels in the theory of world communist revolution, reached the fundamentally different conclusion that socialism could be victorious at first in a few capitalist countries or even in one alone.
The description of communist society figures prominently in the Principles of Communism. With considerable scientific provision Engels threw light on many important aspects of the future system and the changes that would ensue in production and consumption, in social relations and social consciousness.
The summit of Marx and Engels’ creative work before the 1848 revolution is the Manifesto of the Communist Party, the first programmatic document of the international proletarian movement. It was the first document to expound the fundamentals of the Marxist outlook in a comprehensive and systematic form that reflected the essential unity of all the components of Marx’s teaching. “With the clarity and brilliance of genius,” Lenin wrote of the Manifesto, “this work outlines a new world-conception, consistent materialism, which also embraces the realm of social life; dialectics, as the most comprehensive and profound doctrine of development; the theory of the class struggle and of the world-historic revolutionary role of the proletariat — the creator of a new, communist society” (V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 21, p. 48).
The Manifesto of the Communist Party armed the proletariat by proclaiming the scientific proof of the inevitability of the collapse of capitalism and the triumph of the proletarian revolution. “But not only has the bourgeoisie,” states the Manifesto, “forged the weapons that bring death to itself; it has also called into existence the men who are to wield those weapons — the modern working class — the proletarians” (this volume, p. 490). Having demonstrated the role of the class struggle in history, Marx and Engels went on to argue that the proletariat was the most revolutionary of all classes known in history, the class whose world-historic role was to perform a mission of liberation in the interests of the whole of toiling humanity by ridding society for ever of all oppression and exploitation.
The cornerstone of the Manifesto is the idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat — of a proletarian government which is democratic by its very nature, expresses the interests of the great majority of the people and relies on their support. Although they do not as yet use the term “dictatorship of the proletariat”, Marx and Engels show how the proletarian state is needed in order to eliminate the exploiting classes, abolish the conditions for the existence of classes in general and ensure the final victory of the social relations of a classless society.
The Manifesto described and predicted more fully the features of the future communist system outlined in the Principles of Communism — the abolition of all exploitation of man by man, of war, of social and national oppression, and of colonial enslavement; the true burgeoning of material production, the powerful development of the productive forces for the full and all-round satisfaction of the material and spiritual needs of all members of society; the elimination of the antithesis between mental and physical work and between town and country; genuine freedom of the individual, equality of women, and unity of personal and social interests. Marx and Engels emphasise that communism cannot be established all at once. It can be achieved only through the gradual transformation of the old society into the new, so that the proletarian state must carry out a number of measures that prepare the ground for this transformation. While presenting a programme of these measures, they do not treat them as self-sufficient; the specific conditions of the building of the new society would inevitably lead to their being amended.
The Manifesto lays the foundations of the Marxist conception of the proletarian party as the organiser and leader of the working class and outlines the fundamentals of its tactics. The setting up of such a party, Marx and Engels stress, is absolutely essential if the proletariat is to win political power and bring about the socialist transformation of society. To perform its role as the vanguard of the proletariat, the party must be able to subordinate the immediate aims of the proletarian movement to its ultimate aims, maintain the unity of the national and international tasks of the proletariat, and support every revolutionary and progressive trend. Of fundamental importance is the section of the Communist Manifesto which examines would-be socialist trends alien to the scientific outlook of the working class — feudal, Christian, petty-bourgeois and bourgeois socialism. Revealing the class roots of these trends in bourgeois society, Marx and Engels showed the working class and its party how to recognise the anti-revolutionary direction of socialist theories that could lead the working class off the right path and how to combat and overcome them. In their analysis of the teaching of the great utopian socialists, however, they pointed to its rational as well as its weak, anti-scientific sides, and warned against sectarian and dogmatic interpretations of the socialist ideological legacy.
The communist movement must always be international in character, the Manifesto declared, and emphasised the tremendous importance of achieving unity of views and actions among the proletarians of various countries, the importance of international proletarian solidarity. In their great slogan “Working Men of All Countries, Unite!” Marx and Engels expressed for their own time and for the times to come the community of the class interests and aims of the workers of the whole world, the idea of proletarian internationalism as the principle of the international communist movement.
The publication of the Communist Manifesto (February 1848) signified that the process of the formation of Marxism as an integrated revolutionary world outlook was basically complete.
In the section of the volume headed “From the Preparatory Materials” the reader will find, among other documents, the draft plan for Section III of the Manifesto and the only extant page of the rough manuscript of the Manifesto. Appearing in English for the first time, they serve as an illustration of how Marx worked on the structure and text of this work.
Besides the already mentioned documents on Marx’s and Engels’ activities in the Communist League and the Brussels Democratic Association, the Appendices also contain reports of their speeches at international meetings and conferences in London and Brussels, and biographical documents, including papers that illustrate the police action taken against Marx and other German revolutionaries.
A substantial portion of the works published in this volume appear in English translation for the first time. These include the “Circular Against Kriege” by Marx and Engels, “The Constitutional Question in Germany” and “German Socialism in Verse and Prose” by Engels, the text of an undelivered speech by Marx at the congress of economists in Brussels, the articles by Engels “The Communists and Karl Heinzen”, a number of his articles about the Chartist movement in England published in La Réforme, documents in the section “From the Preparatory Materials” and the bulk of the material in the Appendices. Information concerning complete or partial publication in earlier English translations of the works included in this volume is provided in the notes. In the present volume these works are published in new or thoroughly revised and amended translations. The translations from the French are noted at the end of each work, where it is also indicated which texts were originally written in English.
The present edition notes more fully than was done in previous publications discrepancies between the authorised translations of certain works (“Speech on the Question of Free Trade”, Manifesto of the Communist Party) and the texts of these works in the language of the original.
The volume was compiled and the preface and notes written by Vera Morozova and edited by Lev Golman (CC CPSU Institute of Marxism-Leninism). The name index and the indices of quoted and mentioned literature and of periodicals were prepared by Irina Shikanyan (CC CPSU Institute of Marxism-Leninism), and the subject index by Marlen Arkumanov and Boris Gusev.
The translations were made by Jack Cohen, Michael Hudson, Catherine Judelson, Jonathan Kemp, Frida Knight, Hugh Rodwell, Barbara Ruhemann, Christopher Upward and edited by Robert Daglish, Richard Dixon, W. L. Guttsman, Frida Knight, Margaret Mynatt, and Alick West.
The volume was prepared for the press by the editors Natalia Karmanova, Margarita Lopukhina and Galina Sandaineva for Progress Publishers, and Vladimir Mosolov, scientific editor for the Institute of Marxism-Leninism, Moscow.