On the 170th Anniversary of the Publication of the Communist Manifesto:

Socialism and Communism Remain the Practical Problems Taken Up for Solution

February 12, 2018

This month marks 170 years since the publication of the Communist Manifesto, written by Karl Marx and Frederich Engels.

The Communist Manifesto was the first comprehensive, scientific program of the working class, a declaration and proof that the working class had emerged as an independent political force.

The Communist Manifesto set forth the aims of the working class: to organize itself as an independent class, win the battle for democracy by constituting itself as the ruling class in society and emancipate itself by abolishing the system of capitalist wage-slavery based on private property in the means of production and building the new socialist and communist society based on collective ownership of the means of production.

The Communist Manifesto, with its rallying cry “Workers of All Countries, Unite,” recognized that the working class is an international class, that, in every country, the general conditions, aims and principles of the working class movement were the same, regardless of nationality. The Manifesto underscored that while in each country the workers must first of all “win the struggle against their own bourgeoisie,” they must, at same time, work for the victory of the proletarian movement in every country.

In the 170 years since its publication, the Communist Manifesto has been studied and its program taken up by hundreds of millions of workers the world over, just as the working class itself has irresistibly come to the fore as the decisive and leading social force.

In 1848 the modern working class was just coming into being. It made up only a small fraction of the population, mainly only in Europe, and it was just starting to get organized as a class. Yet because the working class was and remains the representative of the advanced productive forces it grew to become the overwhelming majority of the population throughout the globe. Everywhere the workers have organized themselves into trade unions and other mass organizations as well as their own political parties in order to push forward their class interests.

During these 170 years, the working class has put socialism on the agenda as the practical problem to be solved, as the next and higher stage in the development of human society. Throughout this entire period, the workers have risen, again and again, in the revolutionary struggle to abolish capitalism. First in the Paris Commune, later in the Soviet Union and Albania and elsewhere, the workers successfully created the first socialist societies. In all countries, the working class has continually come out not only to advance its own class interests but also is in the forefront of every progressive social movement – in the struggle for national liberation and minority rights, in the movement for the emancipation of women, and so forth.

Because the working class cannot emancipate itself without uprooting completely the exploiting, oppressive relations of class society, everywhere it has brought to the fore the need to recognize the social character of society and for a modern conception of rights, which recognizes the humanity of every individual and which empowers the people as the sovereign creators of their own human environment.

Of course, the world bourgeoisie has used everything at its disposal to suppress the ideas of the Communist Manifesto – to suppress the theory and program of modern communism – precisely because it is this program which gives consciousness, organization and political independence to the working class movement. Just as Marx and Engels, the authors of the Manifesto, were exiled from their homeland, hounded and persecuted throughout Europe, so too millions of people have been killed simply for advocating the ideas of the Manifesto and taking part in the working class movement for emancipation. Fascism in Germany and countless other countries was spawned by the world bourgeoisie as its antidote to communism and the working class movement. No one can count the number of books and articles concocted by the capitalists to slander and defame communism. Combined with open counter-revolution and suppression, the capitalists continually fostered and spawned various phony communists as a trojan horse to fight the worker
movement from within. It was such phony communists, like Khrushchev and others, who betraying socialism and the working class, are responsible for the defeat of socialism in the Soviet Union and elsewhere.

Despite the difficulties, despite the ferocity of the capitalist counter-revolutions and the temporary defeat of socialism in the USSR and elsewhere, socialism has proven its infinite superiority to capitalism and remains the aim of the working class movement.

Today, the world bourgeoisie continue their attacks on modern communism, on the ideals and program embodied in the Communist Manifesto, because just as at the time of its publication the “specter of Communism” is haunting the old, dying world of capitalism. Despite the boasts about the “final victory of capitalism,” everywhere the contradictions of this exploiting system have reached the bursting point. In the 21st century, when all the conditions exist for humanity to take a giant leap forward out of the realm of necessity and into the realm of freedom, capitalism is not only holding society back but imposing a thoroughly anti-social, reactionary agenda on the peoples. Poverty and unemployment, disease and hunger, exploitation and oppression, rather than being eliminated from human society, have become runaway cancers.

The capitalists are turning back towards Medievalism, demanding that everything in society be put at their disposal and that human beings have no rights which must be recognized, that society is nothing but an arena in which the rich and powerful can exploit and prey on the masses of people. Everyday the highly advertised “representative democracy” of capitalism is further exposed as nothing but the arbitrary, violent power of the capitalist class. The biggest monopolies are trying to return to the days of open colonialism, fomenting racism and national chauvinism, organizing wars and the enslavement of whole nations and peoples.

But the offensive of the bourgeoisie is only a temporary phenomenon. In this era – the era of the working class and the Communist Manifesto – the historic initiative remains in the hands of the people. Despite the setbacks, despite the temporary divisions created within the working class by the pressure of the bourgeoisie and the phony communists, the working class is reorganizing itself and preparing again for the needed social revolutions. Everywhere development demands the recognition of the social character of human society; everywhere the people are demanding a new political system which genuinely empowers them.

The ideals and program of the Communist Manifesto, given new life and enriched by the demands and struggles of the times, remain the compass, the North Star, illuminating the future of humanity and guiding the working class struggle for emancipation. In the course of leading the whole people in the fight against the anti-social agenda of monopoly capital and imperialism, the working class is preparing the social revolution, preparing to create that new socialist and communist society which will mark the era of the liberation and emancipation of all human beings.