Marx, Karl & Engels, Friedrich: The Communist Manifesto (Study Guide)

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Study Guide for The Communist Manifesto Click here for the Manifesto online. Page numbers referred to in these notes are those of the International Publishers edition. The Communist Manifesto, first published in 1848 for theCommunist League, had little influence in its own day. Only after Karl Marx andFriedrich Engels` other writings had made their views on socialism widely known did itbecome a standard text. For about a century it was one of the most widely read(and some would argue misread) documents in the world. But why study it today? Most of the communist world has collapsed. Nominallycommunist countries like Vietnam and China are busily building market economiesin defiance of everything Marx advocated, and Korea and Cuba are barelysurviving, serving as models for no one. Has not Marxism been relegated to theash-heap of history? There are several reasons why The Communist Manifesto is stillan important document. As a historically significant work, it has a certainintrinsic interest. It is good to know what the great ideas are which haveshaped history. Some people would argue that Marxists so thoroughly betrayedMarxism that the document can be used to show why attempts at buildingcommunist states failed: they were never truly Marxist at all. If true Marxismhas never been tried, then it might be worth reconsidering afresh. Or if, asothers argue, Marxism has intrinsic flaws that doomed it from the beginning, wemight hope to discover traces of them here which might teach ...

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