The Communist Manifesto

by

Karl Marx

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Communism is the opposite of capitalism—an economic and political system in which the resources of society are collectively owned and distributed fairly amongst society. In Marx and Engels’ definition, communism outlaws any accumulation of private property that creates unfairness and facilitates oppression of one part of the population by another. In communism, government is meant to be run by the people and for the people, meaning that state-owned resources are in the hands of the entire population, rather than a select few. Since Marx and Engels’ manifesto, various countries and leaders have tried to implement communism. Communism has many offshoots and competing ideas.

Communism Quotes in The Communist Manifesto

The The Communist Manifesto quotes below are all either spoken by Communism or refer to Communism. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Capitalism and Progress Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Signet edition of The Communist Manifesto published in 2011.
Introduction Quotes

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 Czar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police-spies.

Related Characters: Communists
Page Number: 61
Explanation and Analysis:
II. Proletarians and Communists Quotes

The proletariat will use its political supremacy to wrest, by degrees, all capital from the bourgeoisie, to centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the State, i.e., of the proletariat organized as the ruling class; and to increase the total of productive forces as rapidly as possible.

Of course, in the beginning, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on the conditions of bourgeois production; by means of measures, therefore which appear economically insufficient and untenable, but which, in the course of the movement, outstrip themselves, necessitate further inroads upon the old social order, and are unavoidable as a means of entirely revolutionizing the mode of production.

Related Characters: Bourgeoisie, Proletariat
Page Number: 92
Explanation and Analysis:
IV. Position of the Communists... Quotes

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!

Related Characters: Bourgeoisie, Proletariat, Communists
Related Symbols: Chains
Page Number: 111
Explanation and Analysis:
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Communism Term Timeline in The Communist Manifesto

The timeline below shows where the term Communism appears in The Communist Manifesto. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Introduction
Capitalism and Progress Theme Icon
Intellectual Suppression vs. Empowerment Theme Icon
According to Marx and Engels, the European powers are scared of the “spectre” of communism; the term is used to tarnish parties that seek to challenge those in power. (full context)
II. Proletarians and Communists
Capitalism and Progress Theme Icon
Work Theme Icon
Marx and Engels explain that the purpose of communism is to support the proletariat. The Communist political party differs from other working-class parties only... (full context)
Capitalism and Progress Theme Icon
Class and Hierarchy Theme Icon
The chief goals of communism are the “formation of the proletariat into a class,” the overthrow of the bourgeoise’s supremacy,... (full context)
Class and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Inequality and Distribution of Wealth Theme Icon
Marx and Engels defend communism against accusations that it wants to stop people acquiring property through their own labor. They... (full context)
Inequality and Distribution of Wealth Theme Icon
Work Theme Icon
...generated by the proletariat, yet it does not become their property. Marx and Engels say communism simply wants to address this inequality; in communist society, accumulated labor will “widen, enrich and... (full context)
Class and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Inequality and Distribution of Wealth Theme Icon
The bourgeoisie paint communism as the “abolition of individuality and freedom,” but Marx and Engels counter that it is... (full context)
Inequality and Distribution of Wealth Theme Icon
Communism, to Marx and Engels, is not about depriving anyone of the “power to appropriate the... (full context)
Intellectual Suppression vs. Empowerment Theme Icon
Another criticism Marx and Engels hear about communism is that it will destroy all intellectual products and class culture. To them, however, communism... (full context)
Class and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Inequality and Distribution of Wealth Theme Icon
Communism has also been criticized as wanting to abolish the family, say Marx and Engels. They... (full context)
Class and Hierarchy Theme Icon
The bourgeoisie, continue Marx and Engels, even sees women as “mere instruments of production.” Communism is criticized for wanting to establish a “community of women,” which Marx and Engels say... (full context)
Capitalism and Progress Theme Icon
Class and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Intellectual Suppression vs. Empowerment Theme Icon
Another criticism Marx and Engels often hear is that communism wishes to abolish countries and national identity. Their defense is that working men don’t have... (full context)
Capitalism and Progress Theme Icon
Class and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Intellectual Suppression vs. Empowerment Theme Icon
Marx and Engels do not consider the criticisms of communism from a religious or philosophical standpoint worth addressing. They say that all “ideas, views and... (full context)
Capitalism and Progress Theme Icon
Class and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Inequality and Distribution of Wealth Theme Icon
Marx and Engels say they have spoken enough about the bourgeoisie’s objections to communism. Instead, they want to point the way forward. They say the first step in the... (full context)