Karl Marx and Frederick Engels

                           of the Communist Party



Bourgeois and Proletarians | Proletarians and Communists | Socialist and
Communist Literature | Position of the Communists in relation to the various
existing opposition parties | Preface to 1872 German edition | Preface to
1882 Russian edition | Preface to 1883 German edition | Preface to 1888
English edition | Preface to 1890 German edition | Notes on the Manifesto
and translations of it


A spectre is haunting Europe -- the spectre of communism. All the powers of
old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Pope
and Tsar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police-spies.

Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as communistic by
its opponents in power? Where is the opposition that has not hurled back the
branding reproach of communism, against the more advanced opposition
parties, as well as against its reactionary adversaries?

Two things result from this fact:

I. Communism is already acknowledged by all European powers to be itself a

II. It is high time that 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

To this end, Communists of various nationalities have assembled in London
and sketched the following manifesto, to be published in the English,
French, German, Italian, Flemish and Danish languages.


                     I -- BOURGEOIS AND PROLETARIANS [1]


The history of all hitherto existing society [2] is the history of class

Freeman and slave, patrician and plebian, lord and serf, guild-master [3]
and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant
opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open
fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary
reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending

In the earlier epochs of history, we find almost everywhere a complicated
arrangement of society into various orders, a manifold gradation of social
rank. In ancient Rome we have patricians, knights, plebians, slaves; in the
Middle Ages, feudal lords, vassals, guild-masters, journeymen, apprentices,
serfs; in almost all of these classes, again, subordinate gradations.

The modern bourgeois society that has sprouted from the ruins of feudal
society has not done away with class antagonisms. It has but established new
classes, new conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in place of the
old ones.

Our epoch, the epoch of the bourgeoisie, possesses, however, this distinct
feature: it has simplified class antagonisms. Society as a whole is more and
more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes
directly facing each other -- bourgeoisie and proletariat.

From the serfs of the Middle Ages sprang the chartered burghers of the
earliest towns. From these burgesses the first elements of the bourgeoisie
were developed.

The discovery of America, the rounding of the Cape, opened up fresh ground
for the rising bourgeoisie. The East-Indian and Chinese markets, the
colonisation of America, trade with the colonies, the increase in the means
of exchange and in commodities generally, gave to commerce, to navigation,
to industry, an impulse never before known, and thereby, to the
revolutionary element in the tottering feudal society, a rapid development.

The feudal system of industry, in which industrial production was
monopolized by closed guilds, now no longer suffices for the growing wants
of the new markets. The manufacturing system took its place. The
guild-masters were pushed aside by the manufacturing middle class; division
of labor between the different corporate guilds vanished in the face of
division of labor in each single workshop.

Meantime, the markets kept ever growing, the demand ever rising. Even
manufacturers no longer sufficed. Thereupon, steam and machinery
revolutionized industrial production. The place of manufacture was taken by
the giant, MODERN INDUSTRY; the place of the industrial middle class by
industrial millionaires, the leaders of the whole industrial armies, the
modern bourgeois.

Modern industry has established the world market, for which the discovery of
America paved the way. This market has given an immense development to
commerce, to navigation, to communication by land. This development has, in
turn, reacted on the extension of industry; and in proportion as industry,
commerce, navigation, railways extended, in the same proportion the
bourgeoisie developed, increased its capital, and pushed into the background
every class handed down from the Middle Ages.

We see, therefore, how the modern bourgeoisie is itself the product of a
long course of development, of a series of revolutions in the modes of
production and of exchange.

Each step in the development of the bourgeoisie was accompanied by a
corresponding political advance in that class. An oppressed class under the
sway of the feudal nobility, an armed and self-governing association of
medieval commune [4]: here independent urban republic (as in Italy and
Germany); there taxable "third estate" of the monarchy (as in France);
afterward, in the period of manufacturing proper, serving either the
semi-feudal or the absolute monarchy as a counterpoise against the nobility,
and, in fact, cornerstone of the great monarchies in general -- the
bourgeoisie has at last, since the establishment of Modern Industry and of
the world market, conquered for itself, in the modern representative state,
exclusive political sway. The executive of the modern state is but a
committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.

The bourgeoisie, historically, has played a most revolutionary part.

The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all
feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the
motley feudal ties that bound man to his "natural superiors", and has left
no other nexus between people than naked self-interest, than callous "cash
payment". It has drowned out the most heavenly ecstacies of religious
fervor, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy
water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into
exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered
freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom -- Free Trade. In
one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it
has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.

The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honored
and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the
lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage

The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has
reduced the family relation into a mere money relation.

The bourgeoisie has disclosed how it came to pass that the brutal display of
vigor in the Middle Ages, which reactionaries so much admire, found its
fitting complement in the most slothful indolence. It has been the first to
show what man's activity can bring about. It has accomplished wonders far
surpassing Egyptian pyramids, Roman aqueducts, and Gothic cathedrals; it has
conducted expeditions that put in the shade all former exoduses of nations
and crusades.

The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the
instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with
them the whole relations of society. Conservation of the old modes of
production in unaltered form, was, on the contrary, the first condition of
existence for all earlier industrial classes. Constant revolutionizing of
production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting
uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier
ones. All fixed, fast frozen relations, with their train of ancient and
venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones
become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air,
all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with
sober senses his real condition of life and his relations with his kind.

The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the
bourgeoisie over the entire surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere,
settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere.

The bourgeoisie has, through its exploitation of the world market, given a
cosmopolitan character to production and consumption in every country. To
the great chagrin of reactionaries, it has drawn from under the feet of
industry the national ground on which it stood. All old-established national
industries have been destroyed or are daily being destroyed. They are
dislodged by new industries, whose introduction becomes a life and death
question for all civilized nations, by industries that no longer work up
indigenous raw material, but raw material drawn from the remotest zones;
industries whose products are consumed, not only at home, but in every
quarter of the globe. In place of the old wants, satisfied by the production
of the country, we find new wants, requiring for their satisfaction the
products of distant lands and climes. In place of the old local and national
seclusion and self-sufficiency, we have intercourse in every direction,
universal inter-dependence of nations. And as in material, so also in
intellectual production. The intellectual creations of individual nations
become common property. National one-sidedness and narrow-mindedness become
more and more impossible, and from the numerous national and local
literatures, there arises a world literature.

The bourgeoisie, by the rapid improvement of all instruments of production,
by the immensely facilitated means of communication, draws all, even the
most barbarian, nations into civilization. The cheap prices of commodities
are the heavy artillery with which it forces the barbarians' intensely
obstinate hatred of foreigners to capitulate. It compels all nations, on
pain of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of production; it compels
them to introduce what it calls civilization into their midst, i.e., to
become bourgeois themselves. In one word, it creates a world after its own

The bourgeoisie has subjected the country to the rule of the towns. It has
created enormous cities, has greatly increased the urban population as
compared with the rural, and has thus rescued a considerable part of the
population from the idiocy of rural life. Just as it has made the country
dependent on the towns, so it has made barbarian and semi-barbarian
countries dependent on the civilized ones, nations of peasants on nations of
bourgeois, the East on the West.

The bourgeoisie keeps more and more doing away with the scattered state of
the population, of the means of production, and of property. It has
agglomerated population, centralized the means of production, and has
concentrated property in a few hands. The necessary consequence of this was
political centralization. Independent, or but loosely connected provinces,
with separate interests, laws, governments, and systems of taxation, became
lumped together into one nation, with one government, one code of laws, one
national class interest, one frontier, and one customs tariff.

The bourgeoisie, during its rule of scarce one hundred years, has created
more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all preceding
generations together. Subjection of nature's forces to man, machinery,
application of chemistry to industry and agriculture, steam navigation,
railways, electric telegraphs, clearing of whole continents for cultivation,
canalization or rivers, whole populations conjured out of the ground -- what
earlier century had even a presentiment that such productive forces
slumbered in the lap of social labor?

We see then: the means of production and of exchange, on whose foundation
the bourgeoisie built itself up, were generated in feudal society. At a
certain stage in the development of these means of production and of
exchange, the conditions under which feudal society produced and exchanged,
the feudal organization of agriculture and manufacturing industry, in one
word, the feudal relations of property became no longer compatible with the
already developed productive forces; they became so many fetters. They had
to be burst asunder; they were burst asunder.

Into their place stepped free competition, accompanied by a social and
political constitution adapted in it, and the economic and political sway of
the bourgeois class.

A similar movement is going on before our own eyes. 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. For many a decade
past, the history of industry and commerce is but the history of the revolt
of modern productive forces against modern conditions of production, against
the property relations that are the conditions for the existence of the
bourgeois and of its rule. It is enough to mention the commercial crises
that, by their periodical return, put the existence of the entire bourgeois
society on its trial, each time more threateningly. In these crises, a great
part not only of the existing products, but also of the previously created
productive forces, are periodically destroyed. In these crises, there breaks
out an epidemic that, in all earlier epochs, would have seemed an absurdity
-- the epidemic of over-production. Society suddenly finds itself put back
into a state of momentary barbarism; it appears as if a famine, a universal
war of devastation, had cut off the supply of every means of subsistence;
industry and commerce seem to be destroyed. And why? Because there is too
much civilization, too much means of subsistence, too much industry, too
much commerce. The productive forces at the disposal of society no longer
tend to further the development of the conditions of bourgeois property; on
the contrary, they have become too powerful for these conditions, by which
they are fettered, and so soon as they overcome these fetters, they bring
disorder into the whole of bourgeois society, endanger the existence of
bourgeois property. The conditions of bourgeois society are too narrow to
comprise the wealth created by them. And how does the bourgeoisie get over
these crises? One the one hand, by enforced destruction of a mass of
productive forces; on the other, by the conquest of new markets, and by the
more thorough exploitation of the old ones. That is to say, by paving the
way for more extensive and more destructive crises, and by diminishing the
means whereby crises are prevented.

The weapons with which the bourgeoisie felled feudalism to the ground are
now turned against the bourgeoisie itself.

But not only has the bourgeoisie 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.

In proportion as the bourgeoisie, i.e., capital, is developed, in the same
proportion is the proletariat, the modern working class, developed -- a
class of laborers, who live only so long as they find work, and who find
work only so long as their labor increases capital. These laborers, who must
sell themselves piecemeal, are a commodity, like every other article of
commerce, and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes of
competition, to all the fluctuations of the market.

Owing to the extensive use of machinery, and to the division of labor, the
work of the proletarians has lost all individual character, and,
consequently, all charm for the workman. He becomes an appendage of the
machine, and it is only the most simple, most monotonous, and most easily
acquired knack, that is required of him. Hence, the cost of production of a
workman is restricted, almost entirely, to the means of subsistence that he
requires for maintenance, and for the propagation of his race. But the price
of a commodity, and therefore also of labor, is equal to its cost of
production. In proportion, therefore, as the repulsiveness of the work
increases, the wage decreases. What is more, in proportion as the use of
machinery and division of labor increases, in the same proportion the burden
of toil also increases, whether by prolongation of the working hours, by the
increase of the work exacted in a given time, or by increased speed of
machinery, etc.

Modern Industry has converted the little workshop of the patriarchal master
into the great factory of the industrial capitalist. Masses of laborers,
crowded into the factory, are organized like soldiers. As privates of the
industrial army, they are placed under the command of a perfect hierarchy of
officers and sergeants. Not only are they slaves of the bourgeois class, and
of the bourgeois state; they are daily and hourly enslaved by the machine,
by the overlooker, and, above all, in the individual bourgeois manufacturer
himself. The more openly this despotism proclaims gain to be its end and
aim, the more petty, the more hateful and the more embittering it is.

The less the skill and exertion of strength implied in manual labor, in
other words, the more modern industry becomes developed, the more is the
labor of men superseded by that of women. Differences of age and sex have no
longer any distinctive social validity for the working class. All are
instruments of labor, more or less expensive to use, according to their age
and sex.

No sooner is the exploitation of the laborer by the manufacturer, so far at
an end, that he receives his wages in cash, than he is set upon by the other
portion of the bourgeoisie, the landlord, the shopkeeper, the pawnbroker,

The lower strata of the middle class -- the small tradespeople, shopkeepers,
and retired tradesmen generally, the handicraftsmen and peasants -- all
these sink gradually into the proletariat, partly because their diminutive
capital does not suffice for the scale on which Modern Industry is carried
on, and is swamped in the competition with the large capitalists, partly
because their specialized skill is rendered worthless by new methods of
production. Thus, the proletariat is recruited from all classes of the

The proletariat goes through various stages of development. With its birth
begins its struggle with the bourgeoisie. At first, the contest is carried
on by individual laborers, then by the work of people of a factory, then by
the operative of one trade, in one locality, against the individual
bourgeois who directly exploits them. They direct their attacks not against
the bourgeois condition of production, but against the instruments of
production themselves; they destroy imported wares that compete with their
labor, they smash to pieces machinery, they set factories ablaze, they seek
to restore by force the vanished status of the workman of the Middle Ages.

At this stage, the laborers still form an incoherent mass scattered over the
whole country, and broken up by their mutual competition. If anywhere they
unite to form more compact bodies, this is not yet the consequence of their
own active union, but of the union of the bourgeoisie, which class, in order
to attain its own political ends, is compelled to set the whole proletariat
in motion, and is moreover yet, for a time, able to do so. At this stage,
therefore, the proletarians do not fight their enemies, but the enemies of
their enemies, the remnants of absolute monarchy, the landowners, the
non-industrial bourgeois, the petty bourgeois. Thus, the whole historical
movement is concentrated in the hands of the bourgeoisie; every victory so
obtained is a victory for the bourgeoisie.

But with the development of industry, the proletariat not only increases in
number; it becomes concentrated in greater masses, its strength grows, and
it feels that strength more. The various interests and conditions of life
within the ranks of the proletariat are more and more equalized, in
proportion as machinery obliterates all distinctions of labor, and nearly
everywhere reduces wages to the same low level. The growing competition
among the bourgeois, and the resulting commercial crises, make the wages of
the workers ever more fluctuating. The increasing improvement of machinery,
ever more rapidly developing, makes their livelihood more and more
precarious; the collisions between individual workmen and individual
bourgeois take more and more the character of collisions between two
classes. Thereupon, the workers begin to form combinations (trade unions)
against the bourgeois; they club together in order to keep up the rate of
wages; they found permanent associations in order to make provision
beforehand for these occasional revolts. Here and there, the contest breaks
out into riots.

Now and then the workers are victorious, but only for a time. The real fruit
of their battles lie not in the immediate result, but in the ever expanding
union of the workers. This union is helped on by the improved means of
communication that are created by Modern Industry, and that place the
workers of different localities in contact with one another. It was just
this contact that was needed to centralize the numerous local struggles, all
of the same character, into one national struggle between classes. But every
class struggle is a political struggle. And that union, to attain which the
burghers of the Middle Ages, with their miserable highways, required
centuries, the modern proletarian, thanks to railways, achieve in a few

This organization of the proletarians into a class, and, consequently, into
a political party, is continually being upset again by the competition
between the workers themselves. But it ever rises up again, stronger,
firmer, mightier. It compels legislative recognition of particular interests
of the workers, by taking advantage of the divisions among the bourgeoisie
itself. Thus, the Ten-Hours Bill in England was carried.

Altogether, collisions between the classes of the old society further in
many ways the course of development of the proletariat. The bourgeoisie
finds itself involved in a constant battle. At first with the aristocracy;
later on, with those portions of the bourgeoisie itself, whose interests
have become antagonistic to the progress of industry; at all time with the
bourgeoisie of foreign countries. In all these battles, it sees itself
compelled to appeal to the proletariat, to ask for help, and thus to drag it
into the political arena. The bourgeoisie itself, therefore, supplies the
proletariat with its own elements of political and general education, in
other words, it furnishes the proletariat with weapons for fighting the

Further, as we have already seen, entire sections of the ruling class are,
by the advance of industry, precipitated into the proletariat, or are at
least threatened in their conditions of existence. These also supply the
proletariat with fresh elements of enlightenment and progress.

Finally, in times when the class struggle nears the decisive hour, the
progress of dissolution going on within the ruling class, in fact within the
whole range of old society, assumes such a violent, glaring character, that
a small section of the ruling class cuts itself adrift, and joins the
revolutionary class, the class that holds the future in its hands. Just as,
therefore, at an earlier period, a section of the nobility went over to the
bourgeoisie, so now a portion of the bourgeoisie goes over to the
proletariat, and in particular, a portion of the bourgeois ideologists, who
have raised themselves to the level of comprehending theoretically the
historical movement as a whole.

Of all the classes that stand face to face with the bourgeoisie today, the
proletariat alone is a genuinely revolutionary class. The other classes
decay and finally disappear in the face of Modern Industry; the proletariat
is its special and essential product.

The lower middle class, the small manufacturer, the shopkeeper, the artisan,
the peasant, all these fight against the bourgeoisie, to save from
extinction their existence as fractions of the middle class. They are
therefore not revolutionary, but conservative. Nay, more, they are
reactionary, for they try to roll back the wheel of history. If, by chance,
they are revolutionary, they are only so in view of their impending transfer
into the proletariat; they thus defend not their present, but their future
interests; they desert their own standpoint to place themselves at that of
the proletariat.

The "dangerous class", the social scum, that passively rotting mass thrown
off by the lowest layers of the old society, may, here and there, be swept
into the movement by a proletarian revolution; its conditions of life,
however, prepare it far more for the part of a bribed tool of reactionary

In the condition of the proletariat, those of old society at large are
already virtually swamped. The proletarian is without property; his relation
to his wife and children has no longer anything in common with the bourgeois
family relations; modern industry labor, modern subjection to capital, the
same in England as in France, in America as in Germany, has stripped him of
every trace of national character. Law, morality, religion, are to him so
many bourgeois prejudices, behind which lurk in ambush just as many
bourgeois interests.

All the preceding classes that got the upper hand sought to fortify their
already acquired status by subjecting society at large to their conditions
of appropriation. The proletarians cannot become masters of the productive
forces of society, except by abolishing their own previous mode of
appropriation, and thereby also every other previous mode of appropriation.
They have nothing of their own to secure and to fortify; their mission is to
destroy all previous securities for, and insurances of, individual property.

All previous historical movements were movements of minorities, or in the
interest of minorities. The proletarian movement is the self-conscious,
independent movement of the immense majority, in the interest of the immense
majority. 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.

Though not in substance, yet in form, the struggle of the proletariat with
the bourgeoisie is at first a national struggl