The modern bourgeois [middle class] 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.
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: 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, 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 man and man than naked self-interest, than callous
"cash payment". It has drowned out the most heavenly
ecstasies 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 laborers.
The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its
sentimental veil, and has reduced the family relation into a mere
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
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
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
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 image.
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
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?
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.
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 over-looker, 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.
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.
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 super incumbent 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
struggle. The proletariat of each country must, of course, first
of all settle matters with its own bourgeoisie.
In depicting the most general phases of the development
of the proletariat, we traced the more or less veiled civil war,
raging within existing society, up to the point where that war
breaks out into open revolution, and where the violent overthrow
of the bourgeoisie lays the foundation for the sway of the proletariat.
The essential conditions for the existence
and for the sway of the bourgeois class is the formation and augmentation
of capital; the condition for capital is wage labor. Wage labor
rests exclusively on competition between the laborers. The advance
of industry, whose involuntary promoter is the bourgeoisie, replaces
the isolation of the laborers, due to competition, by the revolutionary
combination, due to association. The development of Modern Industry,
therefore, cuts from under its feet the very foundation on which
the bourgeoisie produces and appropriates products. What the bourgeoisie
therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers. Its
fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable.
In bourgeois society, therefore, the past
dominates the present; in communist society, the present dominates
the past. In bourgeois society, capital is independent and has
individuality, while the living person is dependent and has no
And the abolition of this state of things is called
by the bourgeois, abolition of individuality and freedom! And
rightly so. The abolition of bourgeois individuality, bourgeois
independence, and bourgeois freedom is undoubtedly aimed at.
By freedom is meant, under the present bourgeois
conditions of production, free trade, free selling and buying.
But if selling and buying disappears, free selling
and buying disappears also. This talk about free selling and buying,
and all the other "brave words" of our bourgeois about
freedom in general, have a meaning, if any, only in contrast with
restricted selling and buying, with the fettered traders of the
Middle Ages, but have no meaning when opposed to the communist
abolition of buying and selling, or the bourgeois conditions of
production, and of the bourgeoisie itself.
You are horrified at our intending to do away with
private property. But in your existing society, private property
is already done away with for nine-tenths of the population; its
existence for the few is solely due to its non-existence in the
hands of those nine-tenths. You reproach us, therefore, with intending
to do away with a form of property, the necessary condition for
whose existence is the non-existence of any property for the immense
majority of society.
In one word, you reproach us with intending to
do away with your property. Precisely so; that is just what we
It has been objected that upon the abolition
of private property, all work will cease, and universal laziness
will overtake us.
According to this, bourgeois society ought long
ago to have gone to the dogs through sheer idleness; for those
who acquire anything, do not work. The whole of this objection
is but another expression of the tautology: There can no longer
be any wage labor when there is no longer any capital.
All objections urged against the communistic mode
of producing and appropriating material products, have, in the
same way, been urged against the communistic mode of producing
and appropriating intellectual products. Just as to the bourgeois,
the disappearance of class property is the disappearance of production
itself, so the disappearance of class culture is to him identical
with the disappearance of all culture.
That culture, the loss of which he laments, is,
for the enormous majority, a mere training to act as a machine.
But don't wrangle with us so long as you apply,
to our intended abolition of bourgeois property, the standard
of your bourgeois notions of freedom, culture, law, etc. Your
very ideas are but the outgrowth of the conditions of your bourgeois
production and bourgeois property, just as your jurisprudence
is but the will of your class made into a law for all, a will
whose essential character and direction are determined by the
economical conditions of existence of your class.
Abolition of the family! Even the most radical
flare up at this infamous proposal of the Communists.
On what foundation is the present family, the bourgeois
family, based? On capital, on private gain. In its completely
developed form, this family exists only among the bourgeoisie.
But this state of things finds its complement in the practical
absence of the family among proletarians, and in public prostitution.
The bourgeois family will vanish as a matter of
course when its complement vanishes, and both will vanish with
the vanishing of capital.
Do you charge us with wanting to stop the exploitation
of children by their parents? To this crime we plead guilty.
But, you say, we destroy the most hallowed of relations,
when we replace home education by social.
And your education! Is not that also social, and
determined by the social conditions under which you educate, by
the intervention direct or indirect, of society, by means of schools,
etc.? The Communists have not intended the intervention of society
in education; they do but seek to alter the character of that
intervention, and to rescue education from the influence of the
The bourgeois claptrap about the family and education,
about the hallowed correlation of parents and child, becomes all
the more disgusting, the more, by the action of Modern Industry,
all the family ties among the proletarians are torn asunder, and
their children transformed into simple articles of commerce and
instruments of labor.
But you Communists would introduce community of
women, screams the bourgeoisie in chorus.
The bourgeois sees his wife a mere instrument of
production. He hears that the instruments of production are to
be exploited in common, and, naturally, can come to no other conclusion
that the lot of being common to all will likewise fall to the
He has not even a suspicion that the real point
aimed at is to do away with the status of women as mere instruments
For the rest, nothing is more ridiculous than the
virtuous indignation of our bourgeois at the community of women
which, they pretend, is to be openly and officially established
by the Communists. The Communists have no need to introduce free
love; it has existed almost from time immemorial.
Our bourgeois, not content with having wives and
daughters of their proletarians at their disposal, not to speak
of common prostitutes, take the greatest pleasure in seducing
each other's wives.
Bourgeois marriage is, in reality, a system of
wives in common and thus, at the most, what the Communists might
possibly be reproached with is that they desire to introduce,
in substitution for a hypocritically concealed, an openly legalized
system of free love. For the rest, it is self-evident that the
abolition of the present system of production must bring with
it the abolition of free love springing from that system, i.e.,
of prostitution both public and private.
The Communists are further reproached with desiring
to abolish countries and nationality.
The working men have no country
differences and antagonism between peoples are daily more and
more vanishing, owing to the development of the bourgeoisie, to
freedom of commerce, to the world market, to uniformity in the
mode of production and in the conditions of life corresponding
In proportion as the exploitation of one individual
by another will also be put an end to, the exploitation of one
nation by another will also be put an end to. In proportion as
the antagonism between classes within the nation vanishes, the
hostility of one nation to another will come to an end.
The charges against communism made from a religious,
a philosophical and, generally, from an ideological standpoint,
are not deserving of serious examination.
We have seen above that the first step in
the revolution by the working class is to raise the proletariat
to the position of ruling class to win the battle of democracy.
The proletariat will use its political supremacy
to wrest, by degree, 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 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
These measures will, of course, be different in
Nevertheless, in most advanced countries, the following
will be pretty generally applicable.
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 rights of inheritance.
4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants
5. Centralization of credit in the banks of the
state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive
6. Centralization 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
8. Equal obligation of all to work. Establishment
of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing
industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town
and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over
10. Free education for all children in public schools.
Abolition of children's factory labor in its present form. Combination
of education with industrial production, etc.
When, in the course of development, class distinctions
have disappeared, and all production has been concentrated in
the hands of a vast association of the whole nation, the public
power will lose its political character. Political power, properly
so called, is merely the organized power of one class for oppressing
another. If the proletariat during its contest with the bourgeoisie
is compelled, by the force of circumstances, to organize itself
as a class; if, by means of a revolution, it makes itself the
ruling class, and, as such, sweeps away by force the old conditions
of production, then it will, along with these conditions, have
swept away the conditions for the existence of class antagonisms
and of classes generally, and will thereby have abolished its
own supremacy as a class.
In place of the old bourgeois society, with its
classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association in
which the free development of each is the condition for the free
development of all
In short, the Communists everywhere support every
revolutionary movement against the existing social and political
order of things.
In all these movements, they bring to the front,
as the leading question in each, the property question, no matter
what its degree of development at the time.
Finally, they labor everywhere for the union and
agreement of the democratic parties of all countries.
The Communists disdain to conceal their views and
aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only
by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let
the ruling classes tremble at a communist revolution. The proletarians
have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.
WORKERS OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE!