Manifesto of the Communist Party (1847)

by Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels

Karl Marx


1) Marx considers all epochs, including the present one, to be characterized by class antagonism. Why does he think that his own epoch differs from the others?

2) What is the relationship as Marx describes it between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat? How did these classes according to Marx come into being? How is each class related to industry and commerce, and the means of production and exchange?

3) What are the political consequences of the supremacy of the bourgeoisie?

4) Socially, Marx explains, the development of the bourgeoisie has torn apart the relations among human beings, leaving "no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callus 'cash payment'." Moreover, the rule of the bourgeoisie has reduced freedom to Free Trade, and substituted "naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation" for "exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions." Explain what Marx means by this. What are the consequences for families, religion, and traditionally noble professions, etc.?

5) What according to Marx are the good or progressive aspects of the development of bourgeoisie society?

6) Why does Marx call the bourgeoisie is its "own grave-diggers"?

7) When the proletariat, uniquely a majority, finally begin to organize, they must determine to destroy private property altogether, according to Marx. Why?

8) Consider how Marx describes the abolition of private property. What charges against communism does he address concerning individuality, freedom, laziness, culture? How satisfactory are his responses?

9) What are the charges against communists concerning the family, children and the community of women? How does Marx answer them? Do these charges make sense to you? How satisfactory are his responses?

10) What is Marx's opinion of law in capitalist society? Why? What determines law, according to Marx?

11) Consider, finally, Marx's response to the charge that communists are desirous of abolishing countries and nationalities. How does he reply? Are you persuaded that hostilities between individuals and nations could vanish with the abolition of private property?

12) What are the steps Marx outlines toward world revolution? What despotic acts does Marx contemplate in such a revolution? Why is despotism required? What will become of the state and of politics?


1) Like Marx, Smith treats labor, and hence the class of laborers, as a commodity. Explain the similarities and differences of these authors on labor and justice.

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