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Published On: Fri, Feb 21st, 2014

This Day in History: Karl Marx publishes The Communist Manifesto

It was February 21, 1848 that Karl Marx, with the help of Friedrich Engels, published The Communist Manifesto, as revolutionary socialists calling themselves the Communist League.

Karl MarxThe Manifesto is obviously one of the most influential political proclamations in history,

Marx has been described as one of the most influential figures in human history.] Revolutionary socialist governments espousing Marxist concepts took power in a variety of countries in the 20th century, leading to the formation of such socialist states as the Soviet Union in 1922 and the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles” is one of the most famous quotes from the work.

Writing in 2003, the English Marxist Chris Harman described the work, stating that “There is still a compulsive quality to its prose as it provides insight after insight into the society in which we live, where it comes from and where it’s going to. It is still able to explain, as mainstream economists and sociologists cannot, today’s world of recurrent wars and repeated economic crisis, of hunger for hundreds of millions on the one hand and “overproduction” on the other. There are passages that could have come from the most recent writings on globalization.”

Some of the key principles promoted by Marx: 

  1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
  2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
  3. Abolition of all right of inheritance.
  4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
  5. Centralisation of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
  6. Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
  7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste-lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
  8. Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
  9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equitable distribution of the population over the country.
  10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form and combination of education with industrial production.[15]

 

The implementation of these policies would, as believed by Marx and Engels, be a precursor to the stateless and classless society.

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