We refrain from signing the ICOR resolution for the following reasons:
- inaccurate assessment of the pre-bourgeois Islamic-fundamentalist ISIS as “fascist”;
- one-sided assessment of the moods of the Arab and especially the Turkoman population;
- inadequate description of non-interference (as well as some sympathy and even support of Kurds by arms) of the imperialist powers as direct aggression against the Kurds.
- Generally speaking, it would be better not to destroy any monuments, especially those which have artistic or historical significance. Such actions are often burdened by the risk of vandalism, the irretrievable destruction of cultural and historical values and the discordance among the broad masses of the people. However, it should be understood that old cultural values are not a sacred cow, especially if it is not about highly artistic works or total destruction; there are more important things in the world. Certainly, we are still in solidarity with the struggles against the neo-fascist movement, including the alt-right, waging in the United States, but we believe that such struggles should not be subordinated to the interests of the “democratic” faction of the imperialist bourgeoisie, which seeks to draw them into an acceptable framework.
It is doubtful whether the attacks on the monuments carried out by Communists 1, leftists and other anti-racist radicals in the United States are reasonable at the present time and in the present situation. It is remarkable that during the protests there were attacks on the old and very old symbols of colonialism and these attacks had meet friendly attention of a significant part of the bourgeois authorities and the mass-media. These protests are confined within the framework of the general imperialist consensus. However, in our opinion, a much greater threat to world peace presently is, figuratively speaking, rallying around the Three Soldiers monument 2, rather than around the statues of Columbus or General Lee. It should be clearly understood that the proletariat and the peoples of the world do not care whether a pilot of the NATO bomber has black or white skin and they have no reasonable grounds to lament if transgender people, for example, are not be allowed to this military service. The main enemy in the US are not those with “Southern Pride”
or other neo-Confederates, but the US Army, Congress and Wall Street, whether they stand on racist positions or not.
Communists in no case should fundamentally reject any amateur violence of the masses, in any time and situation. The establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat requires the highest consciousness and organization, but it always occurs under the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, in extremely constrained circumstances. At the same time, a new organization can not be freely prepared in full. Hence, the proletarian revolution can not in any way exclude a significant spree of spontaneity, an uncontrolled initiative from below. Moreover this is a necessary condition for its making and saving. If a revolution is restrained and waiting for the absolutely complete preparation of its organized forces to the quality of a new state machine, it will inevitably be crushed long before this and suppressed by the ruling exploiting classes. To say the opposite would mean to take the stand of so-called “peaceful transition” and “structural reforms”, rejecting revolutionary communism in favor of social-democratic opportunism. Such political line eventually leads to the path of revisionist degeneration.
Amateur violence, on the one hand, should be considered fundamentally acceptable, on the other hand it should not be treated in the same manner. It is progressive or reactionary, depending on the driving forces, social circumstances and the historical moment.
As the United States is the sole superpower in the world today, their foreign policy and not their internal policy is essentially more important for the proletariat and the people of the world. To put the question in the contrary way means locally closed-mindedness and egoism.
Although it is incorrect to completely deny the reactionary innovations in US domestic policy under Trump such as attempts to tighten antisocial austerity measures and favoring right-wing fans of the patriarchal slave-owning past. These politics hit the poorest, most proletarianized and vulnerable groups of the population first. Resistance to such a course is justified. We do not reject this resistance but we uphold a comprehensive and balanced assessment, a correct detection of the main enemies, the priorities in the struggle and the methods of attack.
- Trump has indeed already made aggressive and arrogant insults against the DPRK and Venezuela, as well as Iran, and has retained and even slightly expanded the US military contingent in Afghanistan.
On the other hand, Trump has not yet actually managed to catch up with his predecessors in the foreign policy agenda of intervention and aggression. Trump was not the one who introduced the unfriendly US policy against the DPRK and Venezuela, the US contingent in Afghanistan was an order of magnitude greater during the first term of Obama 1, the intervention in Syria was also launched under Obama with Hillary Clinton’s active participation. So far, in spite of his abusive insults, Trump has actually shown himself to be the most peace-loving president of the United States since Jimmy Carter! For more than thirty years, all Trump’s predecessors, both Republicans and Democrats, have arranged for invasions and wars:
- Ronald Reagan (1981–1989) — intervention in Afghanistan (1981), intervention in Lebanon and Grenada (1983), bombing Libya (1986), invasion to Panama (1989);
- George Bush Sr (1989–1993) — the Gulf War (1991) and subsequent missile strikes against Iraq;
- Bill Clinton (1993–2001) — invasion of Haiti (1994), war with Yugoslavia (1999);
- George Bush Jr (2001–2009) — interventions in Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003);
- Barack Obama (2009–2017) — intervention in Libya (2011), participation in the suppression of the Tuareg rebellion (2012–2013), intervention in Syria (since 2014).
Trump’s rival in the presidential election, Hillary Clinton is notorious as a ‘hawk’, consistently seeking an escalation, in particular, an even greater and more dangerous escalation of the already deplorably tense Russian–US relations.
Of course, the seeming ‘love for peace’ of Trump is not because he has allegedly changed his imperialist nature and ‘became a Buddha’, but because, firstly, bloodthirstiness is generally and naturally inherent to the leaders of this greatest of predatory powers, and, secondly, he has only been president for a very short time yet. Nevertheless, there is the possibility that Trump will not unleash any war until the end of his term, in which case, he could not be compared with his mentioned predecessors.
Therefore, one should not distort reality in any way:
- neither turning a blind eye to the imperialist nature of Trump’s policy,
- nor exaggerating it and thus distracting attention from the constancy and regularity of such US imperialist policy.
Some of the capitalists in the USA are dissatisfied with Trump and are striving for an even more active imposition of their will and interests on other nations. It should be kept in mind that the movement personally focused on the ‘rogue president’ 2 Trump contributes to the success of this reactionary group and prepares the ground for the future election campaign of the so-called Democratic Party.
How should Communists properly oppose Trump?
One should attack Trump in such a way that does not focus on his differences from his predecessors and his rival. The opposite way is to spread among the people the illusion of their greater ‘acceptability’ and to work in the interests of an interventionist bourgeois camp.
One should attack Trump as the same imperialist and capitalist as his predecessors are, following their common path.
One should attack Trump from an openly communist standpoint, as an enemy of the independence of Third World nations and the proletariat. In particular, first of all, it is necessary to speak out for the defense of the DPRK and Venezuela.
One should not in no case allow any union with the slogans raised by the servants of the interventionists, even if they allegedly are ‘leftists’. In particular, one should oppose the xenophobic and Russophobic hysteria that contributes to the growth of international tension 3.
Finally, a campaign directed personally against one of the representatives of the class promotes the spreading of hardcore idealistic way of thinking among the masses and political militants. 4
- See U.S. troops and contractors in Afghanistan by year. ↩
- This phrase has indeed already been used in the ICOR resolution ‘Trump’s Pull-out from the Paris Climate Accord’. ↩
- See stigmatizing Trump as a ‘
Russian traitor’ by Michael Moore. ↩
- An example of such an absurd personal obsession can be seen at the website of the ICOR where Obama is mentioned only 17 times after his eight years of rule but Trump is already mentioned 47 times after only eight months! It grotesquely seems as if Trump is thirty times the worst enemy of the peoples and the proletariat than Obama! ↩
We reaffirm our commitment to the principle of national self-determination in connection with the referendums on independence that took place on September 25 in Iraqi Kurdistan and October 1 in Catalonia.
The Catalans have separate (from the Castilian Spaniards) ethnic identity, their own language, their own experience with statehood 1 and subsequent history of a national movement against the policy of assimilation and oppression pursued by Spain 2. Catalonia has no less grounds for independence than, for example, Portugal or neighboring Andorra. 3.
The current Spanish regime is the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy imposed by the fascist dictatorship of Franco in 1978, the successor to the old monarchy and fascism. It puts forward the slogan of ‘
indissoluble unity’ of Spain contrary to the real multinationality of the country, and it has defended and continues to defend this principle by violence.
We are outraged by the (expected) duplicity of the authorities of the EU and Russia who have rejected Catalonian 4 (as well as Iraqi Kurdish 5) self-determination, though the former favored the disintegration of Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia and the latter protected and defended the self-determination of Crimea and, partly, the Donbass region.
We welcome the establishment in Catalonia of a republican form of government instead of an archaic monarchy. We also hope for
- the withdrawal of Catalonia from NATO and its subsequent peaceful policy;
- solidarity of the revolutionary Catalans with other national liberation movements including the Spanish and French Basques, divided Kurds, the Russians of the South-East of Ukraine, the Tamils of Lanka, the Nepalese Madhesi and other peoples who struggle for the respect of their national identity and self-determination in the form of a federation or their own national state.
We are aware that the national liberation of the Catalan people is not just burdened by bourgeois ideologies but it is headed by the same capitalists who were part of the monarchical regime. So it is quite impossible to firmly rely on these or other further progressive steps. However, following Stalin’s instructions 6 we do not perceive such steps as a condition for supporting the national movement or the right of nations to self-determination. The transform from the dependent periphery to a national state contributes to the political development of this country (as well as its former metropoly) and to the political delimitation of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie as far as possible in the conditions of a rich imperialist center with the appropriate prevalence of the labor aristocracy.
- The Barcelona county existed as an independent state in the ⅩⅠ—ⅩⅡ centuries, then until the ⅩⅧ century in the union with Aragon. ↩
- Even the national anthem of Catalonia, The Reapers, which was approved in 1993, is dedicated to the revolt against Spanish absolutism in 1640. ↩
- The majority of the population of Andorra are Catalans. ↩
Under the Spanish Constitution, yesterday’s vote in Catalonia was not legal. For the European Commission, as President Juncker has reiterated repeatedly, this is an internal matter for Spain that has to be dealt with in line with the constitutional order of Spain.’ (Statement on the events in Catalonia). ‘
Moscow considers the referendum in Catalonia as an internal matter for Spain, said Russian president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov.’ (Кремль прокомментировал каталонский референдум). ↩
The EU has consistently confirmed its full support for the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq. It therefore appealed for the referendum not to be held in this unilateral manner, and especially not in disputed areas. It regrets that these calls have not been heeded.’ (Statement of the Spokesperson on the referendum held by the Kurdistan Regional Government). ‘
Our support for the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of friendly Iraq and other states of the Middle East remains unchanged. Moscow respects the national aspirations of the Kurds’ (Комментарий Департамента информации и печати МИД России в связи с референдумом в Иракском Курдистане). ↩
The unquestionably revolutionary character of the vast majority of national movements is as relative and peculiar as is the possible revolutionary character of certain particular national movements. The revolutionary character of a national movement under the conditions of imperialist oppression does not necessarily presuppose the existence of proletarian elements in the movement, the existence of a revolutionary or a republican programme of the movement, the existence of a democratic basis of the movement. The struggle that the Emir of Afghanistan is waging for the independence of Afghanistan is objectively a revolutionary struggle, despite the monarchist views of the Emir and his associates, for it weakens, disintegrates and undermines imperialism’ (J. V. Stalin, The Foundations of Leninism, Ⅵ. The National Question). ↩
The Russian Maoist Party doesn’t share the assessments expressed in the article but publishes it for the discussion.
Geographically Nepal is divided into 3 regions from East to West. High Mountains or Himalayas are in the North, and are Hills in the middle and plain areas of the South, also called Tarai or Madhesh. The North borders with China and in the East, South and West borders with India. Nepal is a land-locked country. Between Nepal and China lie high Himalayas, the East, South and West have open border with India.
At present, the issue of Tarai has become very serious, critical and complicated political problem of Nepal, and it is known worldwide too. Tarai is mostly inhabited by Madhesi and Tharu people, and they are mostly laboring peasants. They have been exploited or oppressed by feudal or land lords of both Hill and Madhesh origin. In the past, the Communist Party of Nepal had organized big peasant struggles against the feudal exploitation in Tarai. But at present the peasant movement has almost slackened in Terai because of growing regional trends.
To understand the problem of Tarai properly, we should make a demarcation between two terms-Madhesi people and Madheshbadis. To look at first both terms seem to indicate same meaning. But in realities, both terms have fundamental differences. Madhesis are exploited people of Tarai. But Madhesbadi are handful persons working to fulfill the interests of Indian expansionism (IE) in Nepal. In latter decades, they have formed various political organizations with the backing of IE.
The leadership of them (Madhesbadis) is mainly composed of naturalized citizens immigrated from India and big Madhesh landlord of Tarai. Many of them have been ministers in various cabinets of Nepal, and some of them are members of the parliament even today. Politically, they represent reactionary trend. In the parliament, they always have been firmly opposing any kind of land reforms. They always try their best to keep intact the existing feudal system. Regionalism has become a weapon in their bands to safeguard their pro-Indian and feudal interests and to keep exploited people of Tarai into their fold. They are in favor of curtailing the rights given to local bodies.
The political parties of Nepal, including communist party, had never demanded federal system to introduce in Nepal. The Madheshbadis were the first to demand the federalism in Nepal. Under the pressure of IE, the political parties of Nepal under the leadership of Girija Parasad Koirala had agreed to amend the Interim constitution and add the provision of federalism on that. However, our party has been opposing federalism from the very beginning.
India has been adopting the policy of penetrating many present Madhesbadis leaders for long in various prominent political parties of Nepal, mainly Nepali Congress, and the UML too, some extent. But later, IE adopted the policy of forming separate political organizations of Madheshbadis. It was in such a background that various Madheshbadis political organizations emerged in Terai and they are now working systematically in planned way to fulfill the expansionist interests of India in Nepal.
In comparison to other parts of Nepal, feudalism is most rampant in Tarai. So, the main problem of Tarai is to abolish feudalism. But the Madhesbadis have quite contradictory position on this problem. They are interested to keep their exploitation and oppression upon the people by all means. Federalism and regionalism have been the main weapons to serve their these interests of those. In the parliament, they have been struggling hard to keep the subject of land systems under Pradesh (Provinces) government so that they might always be able to obstruct the issue of land reform. Because of such a reactionary views on their part, they are unable to view the problem of Tarai people in a correct way.
Since British left India, the ruling class of India has been adopting an expansionist policy towards Nepal. They are trying not only to dominate politically or economically, but also to merge Nepal into India. Sardar Ballavbhai Patel, the then Deputy Prime-minister and Home Minister of India, had putforth the view that using armed forces like in the Hyderabad of Nizam, Nepal should be merged into Indian Union. The ruling classes of India from the very beginning have been following the line of Sardar Patel in one or another way. However, in latter days various governments of India more or less adopted indirectly a liberal policy instead of directly applying Hyderabad method used by Patel. More important factors that contributed to Nepal’s independence several are the continuous movement of Nepali people against Indian interference to defend the nationality, sovereignty and integrity of Nepal. International public opinion and the presence of China in the North of Nepal are other important factors.
There was somewhat illiterate difference between the line of Patel and Nehru. The Former, as referred before, was in favor of direct action to amalgamate Nepal into India. But Nehru preferred comparatively liberal policy of domination in Nepal. Current Prime minister of India Narendra Modi supports the line of Patel more than that of Nehru.
The Modi government is trying its best to fulfill the dream of Sardar Patel to annex Tarai from Nepal as a first step to achieve that goal. For the time being, their main emphasis is on the amendment of the constitution adopted by the constitution assembly (CA) of Nepal. At first, the proposal to amend the constitution was put forth by the Indian government, although it always have been denying that. A prominent Indian magazine India Today, had published full text of the proposal of the amendment put forth by Indian government. The Madhesbadis has been agitating to press to the parliament or government to accept amendments. It is under the pressure of Madhesbadis directly and of Indian government indirectly that the Prachanda government has brought the Constitution Amendment Bill (CAB). The main concept of the Bill is to make a separate Pradesh of the 5 districts of Tarai belonging to no. 5 by separating district from Hilly area. What makes the problem very serious is the Bill if adopted by the parliament; it will pave the way to intensify the process to make Madhes Pradeshes in whole Tarai separating from the hill district completely.
According to constitution, Nepal is divided into 7 Pradeshes. Out of these Pradeshes No. 2 is fully composed of districts belonging to Tarai. All other Pradeshes are made by combining districts of both Tarai and Hill areas. India has been emphasizing to make separate two Pradeshes of all districts of Tarai separating them from the hill. This is a part of their strategy to separate the whole Tarai first to make free, and later to merge that into India. Such a success on the part of IE will make its line clear to bring the whole Nepal into Indian domination and fulfill the dream of Sardar Patel.
In the present condition, government is composed of Moist-Center and Nepali congress led by Parchanda under the “grand design” of India to make it work to fulfill its expansionist objectives in Nepal. It is due to such a liability that Prachand government has put forth the CAB.
Modi government of India first, imposed blockade on Nepal to compel to accept the amendments in the constitution. The objective of such amendments was to pave the way ultimately to make Nepal 2nd Sikkim. Secondly, the after the Indian efforts failed, India tried to internationalize the problem of Madhes and constitution of Nepal. India is trying to influence by giving impression to international community, mainly focusing on two major points: 1) the constitution of Nepal is incomplete and 2), the rights of Madhes people are not well defended in the constitution. Our party, NCP (Mashal) also has many fundamental differences with the provisions of the constitution and we have been struggling to amend theme. We are opposing the federalism from the very beginning with an emphasis to amend the provision of federalism. Similarly, we differ with many other provisions regarding citizenship rights, land system. Strategically, our fundamental objective is to replace the existing political system, including the constitution, by new democratic system. But tactically we struggle to defend the constitution, republic, secularism and many other positive provisions. But the way India wants to make amendments in the constitution conforms neither to the national interest of Nepal, nor of the interest of Madhesi or Tharu people of Terai.
However, the Madheshbadis are not satisfied with the Bill as it proposed to make only five districts of five number Pardesh. It is far beyond than their demand to make two Madhesh Pradeshes in the whole Terai from East to West.
After the CAB is registered in the secretariat, a mass movement is going on in the whole country in general and in five number Pardesh in particular. It is worth mentioning that almost all members of the parliament of the ruling parties and the grass root workers of them have too raised voice against the Bill and have joined the movement. Because of such a strong opposition in the parliament and outside the government has not been able to table the bill in the parliament till now.
The CAB requires two-third majority of the total member of parliament to endorse it. But not only the combined opposition of the parliament, but also many of the members of the parliament belonging to the ruling parties, Maoist-Centre, Nepali Congress also have already declared to vote against the Bill if that is put in the parliament for voting. So it is obvious that there is very little chance of it being adopted by the parliament.
The Indian government has publicly supported the Bill, although it is far behind than the requirements of India. Yet they seem to think that it is better to secure whatever is achieved and continue their efforts to gain what is still left out. remaining. The separation of the No. 5 Pardesh and the formation of a Madhesh Pardesh out of that also will be a big gain for them. On the other, that is a tactical move of them. The Indian Embassy held a meeting of all prominent leaders of the Madhesbadi leaders and instructed them to follow their tactical move. Such an instruction on the part of Indian Embassy to Madhesbadis also shows that the so called movement of Madheshbadis is not an independent one, but a part of the Indian expansionist strategy.
India had faced many failures in the recent months. They failed to compel the political parties or government of Nepal to write the constitution as they had wished and their effort to make them postpone the declaration of the constitution also proved to be a futile exercise. They also failed to make Sushil Koirala, the President of Nepali Congress, Prime Minister of Nepal. Their blockade also failed to achieve their goal, i.e. to compel the government of Nepal to assert the amendments put forth by them. However, they partially succeeded to topple the Oli government and replacing it by a coalition government of Maoist Center and Nepali Congress led by Parchanda. Such a success on their part was due to the Maoist Center, a major partner in the Oli government, which had withdrawn its support to that (Oli government). As a price of that, Prachanda is made Prime Minister with the support of Nepali Congress and IE.
Pressure upon the Prachand government is increasing more and more to withdraw the Bill. But he again and again has declared that he would not withdraw the Bill at any cost. He is afraid of that if he withdraws the Bill he will lose the support of Madhesbadi and Indian government and that might cause him to lose the post of Prime Minister immediately. According to the understanding reached between Maoist and Congress, after 5 months, he will handover the power to Sher Bahadur Deuba, the president of the Nepali Congress. Thus he (Prachanda) is only a temporary prime minister. But in spite of that, he is trying his best to serve the interest of the IE by pushing forth the Bill. In such a case even if the Bill could not be adopted he will have ground for face saving that he had done his best to make the Bill adopted in the parliament.
At present, the country wide movement in the country is centered against the CAB. But even if the effort of government Bill to carry out is through the Parliament fails, the danger put by the IE will not be solved. The IE and Madheshbadis will take another step to make the coalition government of unity center and Nepali congress to serve their expansionist objectives. So the danger posed by IE to nationality, sovereignty and integrity has a long term character. The situation created by the CAB today has a long background and it is certain that in future it will go through a various phases. The pro Indian character of Nepali political parties will make the problem of Nepal many times more critical and complicated. But it has bright aspect too. Nepali people have successfully faced the danger put by Patel and we are convinced that Nepali people will succeed to defend the nationality, sovereignty, and integrity of Nepal in coming days too.
Recent years were marked by increasing expansion of the Russian capital. For six years the sum of the Russian investments placed abroad has grown in more than 12 times; and only in 2008 crisis has slowed down this process somewhat.
In 2007 Gazprom Germania bought 25 % in the fourth license block in Northern Sea, and Gazprom received several projects in Libya. Together with other Russian companies Gazproms is consolidating in Venezuela, Nigeria and Northern America. Supporting Serbia in a question on keeping Kosova had given a prize to Gazprom which had got power holding Naftna Industrija Srbije. In 2008 Gazprom decided to take part in privatization of Kyrgyzgaz and Kyrgyzneftegaz, and then signed the agreement with the government of Tadjikistan on geological prospecting of four large oil-and-gas deposits. Gazprom declares its intention ‘
to become the company number one over the world.’
In 2007 Lukoil got 376 filling stations in Europe. The same firm achieved the right to develop oil field West Qurnah-2 in Iraq. Lukoil became the first foreign firm which received access to gas deposits in Uzbekistan.
Evraz Group got companies Claymont Steel and Oregon Steel Mills and became the world’s largest manufacturer of rails; in Ukraine its basic shareholder bought the metallurgical enterprises of group Privat and half of the largest Southern ore-dressing and processing enterprise. Novolipetsk Steel got John Maneely Company, the largest independent manufacturer of pipes in Northern America. Severstal has four factories in the USA that makes it the fourth manufacturer of steel there. State monopoly Russian Railways took as a concession the network of Armenian Railways. Vympelcom got the cellular operator Sotelco in Cambodia and created joint telecommunication holding in Vietnam. The cellular operator MTS bought K-Telecom (two third of Vietnam’s market).
In Mongolia Russians own half of railways and large shares in gold and copper mines. In Kyrghyzstan in exchange for debt forgiveness Russia received a control stock of factory Dastan, one of the largest manufacturers of the sea weapon in the ex-USSR.
Imperialistic expansion caused deterioration of relations with neighbours; their ‘obduracy’ raises chauvinistic disapproval. So, ‘
for last half-year Russians had essentially cooled off’ even loyal A. Lukashenko (as it was marked by sociologists in the beginning of 2007). So he broke down and declared that Russia aspires not only to get some enterprises for a song but also to privatize the entire republic. At the end of 2008 Russia tried to get 12 dairy factories for the credit, and after refusal the Federal service on supervision in protection of the consumers’ rights forbid import of dairy production of Belarus. Russian EuroChem Mineral and Chemical Company tried to buy for a song the Gomel chemical plant having over 90 % in the Belarusian market of phosphoric fertilizers. At last Lukashenko declared aggrievedly: ‘
Our officials should stop creeping on theirs knees in the Russian offices.’ Belarus has never recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia. In March of 2010 it even complained against Russia to Economic court of the CIS in connection with introduction export duties on products of oil refining and petrochemical raw material by later (this measure ‘
means threat of a full work stoppage on the largest enterprises of a petrochemical complex in Belarus…’
For economic and military interests of Russia Ukraine has special value that places its sovereignty under a threat. So when the deputy chief of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine called a payment by Russia for using objects of the Black Sea Fleet ‘
absolutely inadequate amount’, the counsellor of embassy of the Russian Federation in Kiev V. Lysenko declared that attempt of its revision could become the basis for raising by Russia demand for all Crimea. Meanwhile the Supreme economic court of Ukraine confirmed that the Russian Black Sea Fleet illegally uses navigating-hydrographic objects in Crimea; however Russia refuses to implement such judgements. Crimean resorts belong to Russian proprietors too, in particular, to the Moscow government. By the way in 2009 the prime minister of the Russian Federation V. Putin declared its readiness to take part in privatization of gas-transport system of Ukraine.
In 2007 Russian Television and Radio Broadcasting Network bought state owned Transdniestrian radiotelevision centre though the vice-speaker of Moldova’s parliament I. Roşca declared that his country didn’t recognize any privatization bargain in Transdniestria.
As Izvestia frankly wrote, Russians ‘
possess half of unrecognized republic’ of Abkhazia. Such a thing had became possible due to the secession carried out by Russia: ‘
Apartments and houses being up for sale now belonged to Georgians formerly. During the war they became refugees.’
In 2007 Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods bought the third dairy products manufacturer in Georgia – Georgian Products Ltd., intending to use this factory as jumping-off place for the markets of Armenia and Azerbaijan. However the countries have extremely strained political relations. At summit of the CIS countries in October, 2007, the president of Georgia Michael Saakashvili declared that concerning Georgia in the CIS ‘
any favourable rule doesn’t work’ and Russia subjected his country to economic and transport blockade.
As a result of the war in August, 2008, Russia annexed Abkhazia and South Ossetia, including the areas historically populated by Georgians. These actions were justified with widely propagated but false messages on murdering two thousand Ossets in Tskhinval. In Kodori Gorge and the Georgian enclaves in South Ossetia massive ethnic cleanings against the Georgians were carried out.
From the end of 2009 the new obviously far-fetched anti-Georgian campaign was launched in connection with the demolition of the Memorial of Glory in Kutaisi. Though accusations against Estonia in connection with the transferring of the Bronze Soldier in 2007 were more proved however then campaign of protests in Russia had great-power chauvinistic character too.
The famous TV reporter, United Russia’s party member M. Leontjev openly declared on December 15, 2008: ‘
Why we not returning Baltic as well? Why not? The state independence of Baltic republics appeared insolvent. The great majority of ethnically local electorate is Nazis. … They should be shot. … So they will end up by our tanks’ deployment in Riga.’
Militaristic moods dominate over the society. This decade ‘
both in speeches of the overwhelming majority of politicians and almost in all mass-media demands of military expenditure’s increase became distinctly prevail.’ According to sociological interrogations, the overwhelming majority of the population feels pride, respect and hope to army; almost three quarters consider that military expenditure should be increased.
To facilitate military interventions, the upper chamber of parliament in December, 2009, gave the right ‘
to decide on operative armed forces’ use abroad personally’ to the president. Russia remains, alongside with the USA, one of the largest sellers of armament, keeping a quarter of the world market.
For the summer of 2005 on the Russian Air Forces’ base in Kyrghyzstan were stationed about 500 soldiers and officers and two dozens of airplanes. Then the contingent was increased in 2.5 times. In August, 2007, the Russian ambassador in Kyrghyzstan V. Vlasov declared new increase of personal and technical stuff of this base. In July, 2009, Russia came to agreement with Kyrghyzstan leaders about deployment one more military base there (in spite of the fact that Uzbekistan ‘categorically’ opposes creations of new foreign bases in the territory of neighbouring countries).
In September, 2007, the vice-speaker of the State Duma A. Tchilingarov declared, that Russia should lay claim to Lomonosov and Mendeleev Ridges containing a quarter of world reserves of hydrocarbons. Analytics marked that ‘
the struggle for the Arctic shelf reminded last colonial redivision of the world.’ The questioned belonging of Kuriles, transfer of islands on the river Amur to China and the Chinese immigration to Russia don’t become the important questions of interstate politics but are constantly present at mass consciousness generating nationalist flashes.
The international organizations note curtailment of democracy in Russia. Even the president of Belarus A. Lukashenko expressed his uneasiness that there the cult of personality of his colleague V. Putin was formed in Russia. In 2007 the press-secretary of ODIHR U. Gunnarsdottir declared that OSCE cannot guarantee qualitative performance of standard procedure on supervision over elections in conditions of ‘
unprecedented’ restrictions on presence of the international observers. The threshold was raised from 5 % to 7 %, the turnout minimum and a ballot choice ‘against all’ were abolished, independent Russian observers were forbidden. Observers from OSCE and the PACE estimated these elections as not free, unfair and accompanied with numerous infringements. According opinion surveys, by 2007 already more than half of Russians had come to a conclusion, that there is only one strong party – Unites Russia, the others do not play an appreciable role. By the way, by 2008 UR at last had directly formulated that it asserted ‘
the conservative ideology.’
In 2008 Amnesty International ascertained that for last years all basic civil rights and freedoms (first of all, the right on freedom of speech, and also the right of associations and meetings) were considerably restricted in Russia. LGBT-militants note: ‘
United Russia has created the extremely homophobic climate in our country.’
Minister of Internal Affairs R. Nurgaliev noted ‘
rude and even boorish treatment’ of citizens by police, and the chief of HR department recognized growth of drug crimes in the police, traffic accidents involving police, and a large corruption.
Former judge of the Supreme Court V. Radchenko notes that over 15 million were condemned for criminal offences for 1992–2007 in Russia. Annual average of condemned grew twice against 1987–1991. This growth exceeds growth of criminality that speaks about repressive character of the present criminal legislation. The deputy general public prosecutor E. Zabarchuk recognized that prisoners’ rights on health protection and proper sanitary conditions weren’t observed.
Nationalist and chauvinistic moods are widely-spread. During public opinion poll (2006) 55 % supported the slogan ‘Russia for Russians’ in a varying degree. Meanwhile many small-numbered peoples proved to be critically endangered as a result of neo-liberalism in 1990ies. Tatar militants are anxious about the position of their nation too. On October 11, 2009, they come to Memorial Day of Kazan’s defenders with the slogan: ‘Our Goal is Independence’. The event’s resolution noted that ‘
there is a continuous russification and christianization the Russian Federation, all is adjusted under the Putin’s [power] vertical’, and emphasized: ‘
The concept of national-liberation movement is renamed into terrorism.’
Well-known experts G. Kozhevnikova and A. Verhovsky noted: ‘
…Growth of neo-Nazi and racist violence proceeds. Activity and mass character of the public events by right radicals increase… It becomes more and more obvious that not only right radicals but also quite respectable parties are ready to use (and already use) ethnonationalism as an electoral resource. Xenophobic moods of Russians are used for the justification inadequately aggressive policy of Russia to the nearest neighbours… …The State even more often addresses to illegitimate use of the antiextremist legislation against political opposition…’; ‘
Attacks against representatives of the left movements or youth subcultures alternative to skinheads’ have become more frequent.
The Russian capital actively exploits migrant workers whose contribution to economy exceeded 3,8 % of GNP in 2007. In 2008 Russia took the second place in the world (after the USA) on number of immigrants. Huge shares of workers of Tadjikistan, Kyrghyzstan and Moldova work in Russia.
It is supposed that besides 1.65 million registered foreigners still about 2 million worked at Russia illegally. The Federal migratory service involves youth movement Mestnye (The Natives) to ‘hunting’ on ‘illegal’ workers. The neo-fascist MAII cooperates with it too.
The average working day of migrant builders exceeds 12 hours. Sometimes migrant workers are keeping as slaves. Brutal conditions of workers’ settlement cause their deaths: seven workers from Tadjikistan were lost in Zhulebino in the underground garage (their dwelling) which burned out in January, 2009.
Migrant workers are organized for protection of their rights: in Ekaterinburg over 300 Tadjik builders called a strike and complained to public prosecutor’s office after they did not receive any wages more than four months.
The situation in Ciscaucasia remains tense. In August, 2007, the military group of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Ingushetia was increased up to almost 2.5 thousand cadres and supported by dozens of armoured units. Ingushetian MIA’s chiefs were replaced with the officials from Moscow and Saint Petersburg. A lawlessness of repressive bodies provokes terrorism. D. Umarov (who accepted responsibility for explosions in the Moscow underground on March 29, 2010.) declared that it was a revenge for special action of federal forces in villages Arshty and Datyh which caused four deaths of non-combatants.
Clericals have a strong support by authorities in a strengthening their influence on broad masses. Recently the Ministry of culture implementing orders of the country’s leaders introduced a move for an official celebrating of Day of the Baptism of Rus. The Chechen president R. Kadyrov threatened to close all local broadcasting companies which did not explain bases of the Islam.
Soon after the Russia–Georgia War the deputy head of the department of external church relations of The Moscow Patriarchate protoiereus V. Chaplin called the Russian authorities ‘
to be strong, including the military respects, to have will and ability to stop any encroachment on… our interests in the world and our ability to influence processes all over the world.’
only third of Russians are ready to base the public life on religious… values…’ The deputy director of the State policy department of the Ministry of Education and Science T. Petrova noted on christianisation in schools that ‘
as you go further from Moscow, this activity is decreasing.’
The level of health of the population in Russia is much worse, than usually in the countries with comparable economic conditions. Distribution of a drug addiction and the bad culture of contraception (lasting since revisionist epoch) cause significant number of AIDS cases. Alcoholic poisoning annually kills more than 30 thousand Russians. For last ten years consumption of wines has increased twice, and beer – three times! The nutrition structure ‘
is characterized by reduction… of adequate proteins, vitamins and mineral substances; non-balancing of a diet…’ President D. Medvedev noted that third dying in Russia are able-bodied population including ‘190 thousand deaths from influence of harmful and dangerous manufactures’.
To reduce labour force costs capitalists indirectly exploit a work outside working week and of unemployed relatives of workers: dachas (suburban plots) which almost of half of Russians have serve as additional help for livelihood more and more. Other way is a lowering pensionable age. President assistant A. Dvorkovich cynically told about this: ‘
It seems to me that time has come, and there is no need to deceive itself that people aren’t ready. They are ready.’
The belief in efficiency of strikes has considerably decreased for last twenty years: the fifth part of Russians believes that strikes can gain nothing. Up to half of Russians note an opportunity of prosecutions for participation in strikes during public opinion poll.
Three significant problems prevent us from recognising the left movement in Russia as communist.
First, it is under oppression of social-chauvinism. The Communist Party of the Russian Federation demanded military aggression of the government, up to an incursion into Tbilisi. Alas, more left groups actually supported the anti-Georgian propagation in many respects.
Second, the left are keen on ‘a political pops’: they adjoin to petty-bourgeois mass movements, not putting forward their own program and dragging behind (nationalist or liberal) anticommunists. It is appreciable, for example, in connection with introduction of the USE, the unified examination procedure between secondary and higher education. Left participants of the anti-USE movement refuse to put forward slogans of a cancellation of examinations or general higher education as ‘
Thirdly, since the reshuffle in 2008 (V. Putin become the prime minister and his ‘successor’ D. Medvedev was elected as new president) there is occurred their contraposition frequently: some support ‘democrat’ Medvedev against ‘autocrat’ Putin and some support ‘patriot’ Putin against ‘comprador’ Medvedev. People, however, is more sober than such odd theorists: four fifth are convinced that Medvedev ‘
mainly’ or ‘
exactly proceeds Putin’s politics’.
The left movement remains shattered, however it is hard to welcome integration process around of the Tyulkin’s RCWP–RPC. It goes on a unscrupulous basis, without exposure of mistakes and opportunistic lines of this party and its allies. Alliance ROT-front is essentially created for the sake of obtaining the state registration and participation in elections, but propagandists from the RCWP–RPC pass it off as something the greater and suppress communist criticism against the antimarxist elements in it.
We regret that the ICC of the ICOR ignored our political observations on the draft ICOR-Resolution on US presidential election and consider it necessary to openly express our views in this text and the results of the election.
We share and support the title idea of the resolution: “
US presidential election between pest and cholera”.
However, the resolution by itself runs counter to that title. It’s very one-sided and all along suggests that Clinton is allegedly less reactionary or even the preferred candidate. But this is not the case. To represent Trump as more reactionary than Obama or Clinton is to completely miss the fact that it is just Clinton who openly claims to overthrow the governments of other countries and acts as a warmonger in international relations.
It is a well known and generally recognized fact that Trump meant when he was speaking on December 1 in Cincinnati and promising to “
stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments” 1. Clinton herself talked about interventions in Libya and Syria, for example, in an interview with “Atlantic” in August, 2014 2. Jill Stein who was the Green Party’s candidate in this election correctly pointed out that “
Donald Trump is a total wildcard, but Hillary has the proven record of the most pro-conflict military policy possible”, and warned that if Clinton would win then it would need to be to “
get ready for war with Russia” 3 It is a fact that can’t be ignored! 4
The ICOR resolution is almost entirely (except of course the final provisions) acceptable for Clinton’s supporters and shamefully flirts with them! We believe that the Marxist-Leninists should fully and expressly exclude any illusions about Clinton while condemning Trump.
This is especially important in our country. Because Clinton is a fierce advocate of escalating tensions between the US and Russia, a pro-Clinton position is an anti-Russian one at the same time. Therefore the resolution which doesn’t reject Clinton’s aggressive policy sufficiently clearly will only stir up sympathy for the reactionary Trump among Russian people.
Although Clinton indeed ostentatiously defends some of the democratic gains in the US it should not be given too much importance, because there is a contradiction within the imperialist empire center, of a more or less uniform distribution of the imperialist super-profits, and of a more or less liberal governance of parasitic society. 5
- On December 1, 2016, Trump spoke in Cincinnati (Ohio): “
At the same time, we will pursue a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past. We will stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments, folks. Remember, $6 trillion, $6 trillion in the Middle East, $6 trillion. Our goal is stability not chaos, because we want to rebuild our country. It’s time. It’s time. We will partner with any nation that is willing to join us in the effort to defeat ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism. OK? We have to say the term. Have to say the term”. (Hereinafter comments are by Maoism.Ru editor being not a part of the statement approved by the RMP.) ↩
- Clinton said in the interview with Jeffrey Goldberg on August 10, 2014: “
…We helped overthrow Qaddafi” and “
Well, I did believe, which is why I advocated this, that if we were to carefully vet, train, and equip early on a core group of the developing Free Syrian Army, we would, number one, have some better insight into what was going on on the ground”. ↩
- Stein said in an interview with Fox Business on November 3, 2016: “
And she [Clinton] has said that she will lead the charge with a no-fly zone in Syria, and that basically amounts to a declaration of war against Russia, who is there under international law, having been invited by the sitting government. Like it or not, Russia has the sanction of international law to be there. For us to go in and declare a no-fly zone means get ready for war with Russia”. In the interview with the journalist Marc Lamont Hill, November 6, 2016, Stein, branded Clinton as a “
warmonger”, and Trump as a “
fascist” said: “
Yes, Donald Trump is a total wildcard, but Hillary has the proven record of the most pro-conflict military policy possible”. See Jill Stein Agrees with Trump: Hillary Clinton Presidency Means Nuclear War, a ‘Mushroom Cloud Waiting to Happen’ and This is a mushroom cloud waiting to happen: Jill Stein blasts ‘warmonger’ Hillary saying a vote for Clinton could lead to nuclear war with Russia. ↩
- See also what the Revolutionary Organization of Labor, the ICOR party in the United States, writes on this election (RAY O’ LIGHT NEWSLETTER November-December 2016 Number 99): “
In that light, a Clinton presidency would have been more dangerous for the international working class and the oppressed peoples of the world. One example: The anti-Russia hysteria fomented by the Clinton/Democratic Party campaign in concert with the monopoly capitalist-controlled mass media turned Clinton’s Wikileaks problem into a Trump problem of allegedly being ‘soft’ on Russia and promoting Russian interference in the U.S. election. A President Clinton could have led in short order to a major war between Russia and the USA, as Clinton’s bloody record as Secretary of State in Libya, Syria, Honduras et al. demonstrates. Certainly the Trump election has made this specific horrific prospect less likely at least in the near future”. And then: “
While Clinton was more immediately dangerous regarding the U.S. Empire’s unceasing war abroad against the rest of the international working class and the oppressed peoples of the world, Trump represents a more immediate danger to the workers and oppressed nationalities within the U.S. multinational state. The Trump campaign with its outrageously chauvinistic attacks on Muslims, Latino immigrants, Afro-Americans, its misogyny toward women as well as antipathy toward LGBT, disabled and other marginalized folks, the violence encouraged toward so many by Trump himself, all point toward an increasingly fascist culture and society to match the fascistic bipartisan Republicrat foreign policy that has included an unending war of terror over the last 15 years against the peoples of the world, including those of us in the belly of the beast itself.” ↩
- See, e.g.: First World Elections, First World Divisions by Jacob Brown. ↩
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 Tsar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police-spies.
Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as communistic by its opponents in power? Where is the opposition that has not hurled back the branding reproach of communism, against the more advanced opposition parties, as well as against its reactionary adversaries?
Two things result from this fact:
Communism is already acknowledged by all European powers to be itself a power.
It is high time that Communists should openly, in the face of the whole world, publish their views, their aims, their tendencies, and meet this nursery tale of the Spectre of Communism with a manifesto of the party itself.
To this end, Communists of various nationalities have assembled in London and sketched the following manifesto, to be published in the English, French, German, Italian, Flemish and Danish languages.
The history of all hitherto existing society 2
Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master 3 and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.
In the earlier epochs of history, we find almost everywhere a complicated arrangement of society into various orders, a manifold gradation of social rank. In ancient Rome we have patricians, knights, plebeians, slaves; in the Middle Ages, feudal lords, vassals, guild-masters, journeymen, apprentices, serfs; in almost all of these classes, again, subordinate gradations.
The modern bourgeois 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.
From the serfs of the Middle Ages sprang the chartered burghers of the earliest towns. From these burgesses the first elements of the bourgeoisie were developed.
The discovery of America, the rounding of the Cape, opened up fresh ground for the rising bourgeoisie. The East-Indian and Chinese markets, the colonisation of America, trade with the colonies, the increase in the means of exchange and in commodities generally, gave to commerce, to navigation, to industry, an impulse never before known, and thereby, to the revolutionary element in the tottering feudal society, a rapid development.
The feudal system of industry, in which industrial production was monopolised by closed guilds, now no longer sufficed for the growing wants of the new markets. The manufacturing system took its place. The guild-masters were pushed on one side by the manufacturing middle class; division of labour between the different corporate guilds vanished in the face of division of labour in each single workshop.
Meantime the markets kept ever growing, the demand ever rising. Even manufacturer no longer sufficed. Thereupon, steam and machinery revolutionised industrial production. The place of manufacture was taken by the giant, Modern Industry; the place of the industrial middle class by industrial millionaires, the leaders of the whole industrial armies, the modern bourgeois.
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 its 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 of that class. An oppressed class under the sway of the feudal nobility, an armed and self-governing association in the medieval commune 4: here independent urban republic (as in Italy and Germany); there taxable “third estate” of the monarchy (as in France); afterwards, 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, historically, has played a most revolutionary part.
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 remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous “cash payment”. It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, 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 honoured 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 labourers.
The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced the family relation to a mere money relation.
The bourgeoisie has disclosed how it came to pass that the brutal display of vigour 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 and crusades.
The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionising 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 revolutionising 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 conditions 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 connexions everywhere.
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 Reactionists, 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 civilised 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 literature.
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 civilisation. The cheap prices of commodities are the heavy artillery with which it batters down all Chinese walls, 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 civilisation 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 civilised 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, centralised the means of production, and has concentrated property in a few hands. The necessary consequence of this was political centralisation. 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-tariff.
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, canalisation of 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 labour?
We see then: the means of production and of exchange, on whose foundation the bourgeoisie built itself up, were generated in feudal society. At a certain stage in the development of these means of production and of exchange, the conditions under which feudal society produced and exchanged, the feudal organisation of agriculture and manufacturing industry, in one word, the feudal relations of property became no longer compatible with the already developed productive forces; they became so many fetters. They had to be burst asunder; they were burst asunder.
Into their place stepped free competition, accompanied by a social and political constitution adapted in it, and the economic and political sway of the bourgeois class.
A similar movement is going on before our own eyes. Modern bourgeois society, with its relations of production, of exchange and of property, a society that has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, is like the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells. For many a decade past the history of industry and commerce is but the history of the revolt of modern productive forces against modern conditions of production, against the property relations that are the conditions for the existence of the bourgeois and of its rule. It is enough to mention the commercial crises that by their periodical return put the existence of the entire bourgeois society on its trial, each time more threateningly. In these crises, a great part not only of the existing products, but also of the previously created productive forces, are periodically destroyed. In these crises, there breaks out an epidemic that, in all earlier epochs, would have seemed an absurdity — the epidemic of over-production. Society suddenly finds itself put back into a state of momentary barbarism; it appears as if a famine, a universal war of devastation, had cut off the supply of every means of subsistence; industry and commerce seem to be destroyed; and why? Because there is too much civilisation, too much means of subsistence, too much industry, too much commerce. The productive forces at the disposal of society no longer tend to further the development of the conditions of bourgeois property; on the contrary, they have become too powerful for these conditions, by which they are fettered, and so soon as they overcome these fetters, they bring disorder into the whole of bourgeois society, endanger the existence of bourgeois property. The conditions of bourgeois society are too narrow to comprise the wealth created by them. And how does the bourgeoisie get over these crises? On the one hand by enforced destruction of a mass of productive forces; on the other, by the conquest of new markets, and by the more thorough exploitation of the old ones. That is to say, by paving the way for more extensive and more destructive crises, and by diminishing the means whereby crises are prevented.
The weapons with which the bourgeoisie felled feudalism to the ground are now turned against the bourgeoisie itself.
But not only has the bourgeoisie forged the weapons that bring death to itself; it has also called into existence the men who are to wield those weapons — the modern working class — the proletarians.
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 labourers, who live only so long as they find work, and who find work only so long as their labour increases capital. These labourers, 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.
Owing to the extensive use of machinery, and to the division of labour, the work of the proletarians has lost all individual character, and, consequently, all charm for the workman. He becomes an appendage of the machine, and it is only the most simple, most monotonous, and most easily acquired knack, that is required of him. Hence, the cost of production of a workman is restricted, almost entirely, to the means of subsistence that he requires for maintenance, and for the propagation of his race. But the price of a commodity, and therefore also of labour, is equal to its cost of production. In proportion, therefore, as the repulsiveness of the work increases, the wage decreases. Nay more, in proportion as the use of machinery and division of labour increases, in the same proportion the burden of toil also increases, whether by prolongation of the working hours, by the increase of the work exacted in a given time or by increased speed of machinery, etc.
Modern Industry has converted the little workshop of the patriarchal master into the great factory of the industrial capitalist. Masses of labourers, crowded into the factory, are organised 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 overlooker, and, above all, by 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.
The less the skill and exertion of strength implied in manual labour, in other words, the more modern industry becomes developed, the more is the labour of men superseded by that of women. Differences of age and sex have no longer any distinctive social validity for the working class. All are instruments of labour, more or less expensive to use, according to their age and sex.
No sooner is the exploitation of the labourer by the manufacturer, so far, at an end, that he receives his wages in cash, than he is set upon by the other portions of the bourgeoisie, the landlord, the shopkeeper, the pawnbroker, etc.
The lower strata of the middle class — the small tradespeople, shopkeepers, and retired tradesmen generally, the handicraftsmen and peasants — all these sink gradually into the proletariat, partly because their diminutive capital does not suffice for the scale on which Modern Industry is carried on, and is swamped in the competition with the large capitalists, partly because their specialised skill is rendered worthless by new methods of production. Thus the proletariat is recruited from all classes of the population.
The proletariat goes through various stages of development. With its birth begins its struggle with the bourgeoisie. At first the contest is carried on by individual labourers, then by the workpeople of a factory, then by the operative of one trade, in one locality, against the individual bourgeois who directly exploits them. They direct their attacks not against the bourgeois conditions of production, but against the instruments of production themselves; they destroy imported wares that compete with their labour, they smash to pieces machinery, they set factories ablaze, they seek to restore by force the vanished status of the workman of the Middle Ages.
At this stage, the labourers 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 equalised, in proportion as machinery obliterates all distinctions of labour, 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 (Trades’ 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.
Now and then the workers are victorious, but only for a time. The real fruit of their battles lies, not in the immediate result, but in the ever expanding union of the workers. This union is helped on by the improved means of communication that are created by modern industry, and that place the workers of different localities in contact with one another. It was just this contact that was needed to centralise the numerous local struggles, all of the same character, into one national struggle between classes. But every class struggle is a political struggle. And that union, to attain which the burghers of the Middle Ages, with their miserable highways, required centuries, the modern proletarian, thanks to railways, achieve in a few years.
This organisation of the proletarians into a class, and, consequently into a political party, is continually being upset again by the competition between the workers themselves. But it ever rises up again, stronger, firmer, mightier. It compels legislative recognition of particular interests of the workers, by taking advantage of the divisions among the bourgeoisie itself. Thus, the ten-hours’ bill in England was carried.
Altogether collisions between the classes of the old society further, in many ways, the course of development of the proletariat. The bourgeoisie finds itself involved in a constant battle. At first with the aristocracy; later on, with those portions of the bourgeoisie itself, whose interests have become antagonistic to the progress of industry; at all time with the bourgeoisie of foreign countries. In all these battles, it sees itself compelled to appeal to the proletariat, to ask for help, and thus, to drag it into the political arena. The bourgeoisie itself, therefore, supplies the proletariat with its own elements of political and general education, in other words, it furnishes the proletariat with weapons for fighting the bourgeoisie.
Further, as we have already seen, entire sections of the ruling class are, by the advance of industry, precipitated into the proletariat, or are at least threatened in their conditions of existence. These also supply the proletariat with fresh elements of enlightenment and progress.
Finally, in times when the class struggle nears the decisive hour, the progress of dissolution going on within the ruling class, in fact within the whole range of old society, assumes such a violent, glaring character, that a small section of the ruling class cuts itself adrift, and joins the revolutionary class, the class that holds the future in its hands. Just as, therefore, at an earlier period, a section of the nobility went over to the bourgeoisie, so now a portion of the bourgeoisie goes over to the proletariat, and in particular, a portion of the bourgeois ideologists, who have raised themselves to the level of comprehending theoretically the historical movement as a whole.
Of all the classes that stand face to face with the bourgeoisie today, the proletariat alone is a really revolutionary class. The other classes decay and finally disappear in the face of Modern Industry; the proletariat is its special and essential product.
The lower middle class, the small manufacturer, the shopkeeper, the artisan, the peasant, all these fight against the bourgeoisie, to save from extinction their existence as fractions of the middle class. They are therefore not revolutionary, but conservative. Nay more, they are reactionary, for they try to roll back the wheel of history. If by chance, they are revolutionary, they are only so in view of their impending transfer into the proletariat; they thus defend not their present, but their future interests, they desert their own standpoint to place themselves at that of the proletariat.
The “dangerous class”, [lumpenproletariat] the social scum, that passively rotting mass thrown off by the lowest layers of the old society, may, here and there, be swept into the movement by a proletarian revolution; its conditions of life, however, prepare it far more for the part of a bribed tool of reactionary intrigue.
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 labour, 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 superincumbent 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.
Hitherto, every form of society has been based, as we have already seen, on the antagonism of oppressing and oppressed classes. But in order to oppress a class, certain conditions must be assured to it under which it can, at least, continue its slavish existence. The serf, in the period of serfdom, raised himself to membership in the commune, just as the petty bourgeois, under the yoke of the feudal absolutism, managed to develop into a bourgeois. The modern labourer, on the contrary, instead of rising with the process of industry, sinks deeper and deeper below the conditions of existence of his own class. He becomes a pauper, and pauperism develops more rapidly than population and wealth. And here it becomes evident, that the bourgeoisie is unfit any longer to be the ruling class in society, and to impose its conditions of existence upon society as an over-riding law. It is unfit to rule because it is incompetent to assure an existence to its slave within his slavery, because it cannot help letting him sink into such a state, that it has to feed him, instead of being fed by him. Society can no longer live under this bourgeoisie, in other words, its existence is no longer compatible with society.
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-labour. Wage-labour rests exclusively on competition between the labourers. The advance of industry, whose involuntary promoter is the bourgeoisie, replaces the isolation of the labourers, 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 what relation do the Communists stand to the proletarians as a whole?
The Communists do not form a separate party opposed to the other working-class parties.
They have no interests separate and apart from those of the proletariat as a whole.
They do not set up any sectarian principles of their own, by which to shape and mould the proletarian movement.
The Communists are distinguished from the other working-class parties by this only: 1. In the national struggles of the proletarians of the different countries, they point out and bring to the front the common interests of the entire proletariat, independently of all nationality. 2. In the various stages of development which the struggle of the working class against the bourgeoisie has to pass through, they always and everywhere represent the interests of the movement as a whole.
The Communists, therefore, are on the one hand, practically, the most advanced and resolute section of the working-class parties of every country, that section which pushes forward all others; on the other hand, theoretically, they have over the great mass of the proletariat the advantage of clearly understanding the line of march, the conditions, and the ultimate general results of the proletarian movement.
The immediate aim of the Communists is the same as that of all other proletarian parties: formation of the proletariat into a class, overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy, conquest of political power by the proletariat.
The theoretical conclusions of the Communists are in no way based on ideas or principles that have been invented, or discovered, by this or that would-be universal reformer.
They merely express, in general terms, actual relations springing from an existing class struggle, from a historical movement going on under our very eyes. The abolition of existing property relations is not at all a distinctive feature of communism.
All property relations in the past have continually been subject to historical change consequent upon the change in historical conditions.
The French Revolution, for example, abolished feudal property in favour of bourgeois property.
The distinguishing feature of Communism is not the abolition of property generally, but the abolition of bourgeois property. But modern bourgeois private property is the final and most complete expression of the system of producing and appropriating products, that is based on class antagonisms, on the exploitation of the many by the few.
In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.
We Communists have been reproached with the desire of abolishing the right of personally acquiring property as the fruit of a man’s own labour, which property is alleged to be the groundwork of all personal freedom, activity and independence.
Hard-won, self-acquired, self-earned property! Do you mean the property of petty artisan and of the small peasant, a form of property that preceded the bourgeois form? There is no need to abolish that; the development of industry has to a great extent already destroyed it, and is still destroying it daily.
Or do you mean the modern bourgeois private property?
But does wage-labour create any property for the labourer? Not a bit. It creates capital, i.e., that kind of property which exploits wage-labour, and which cannot increase except upon condition of begetting a new supply of wage-labour for fresh exploitation. Property, in its present form, is based on the antagonism of capital and wage labour. Let us examine both sides of this antagonism.
To be a capitalist, is to have not only a purely personal, but a social status in production. Capital is a collective product, and only by the united action of many members, nay, in the last resort, only by the united action of all members of society, can it be set in motion.
Capital is therefore not only personal; it is a social power.
When, therefore, capital is converted into common property, into the property of all members of society, personal property is not thereby transformed into social property. It is only the social character of the property that is changed. It loses its class character.
Let us now take wage-labour.
The average price of wage-labour is the minimum wage, i.e., that quantum of the means of subsistence which is absolutely requisite to keep the labourer in bare existence as a labourer. What, therefore, the wage-labourer appropriates by means of his labour, merely suffices to prolong and reproduce a bare existence. We by no means intend to abolish this personal appropriation of the products of labour, an appropriation that is made for the maintenance and reproduction of human life, and that leaves no surplus wherewith to command the labour of others. All that we want to do away with is the miserable character of this appropriation, under which the labourer lives merely to increase capital, and is allowed to live only in so far as the interest of the ruling class requires it.
In bourgeois society, living labour is but a means to increase accumulated labour. In Communist society, accumulated labour is but a means to widen, to enrich, to promote the existence of the labourer.
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 individuality.
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 Communistic abolition of buying and selling, of 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 intend.
From the moment when labour can no longer be converted into capital, money, or rent, into a social power capable of being monopolised, i.e., from the moment when individual property can no longer be transformed into bourgeois property, into capital, from that moment, you say, individuality vanishes.
You must, therefore, confess that by “individual” you mean no other person than the bourgeois, than the middle-class owner of property. This person must, indeed, be swept out of the way, and made impossible.
Communism deprives no man of the power to appropriate the products of society; all that it does is to deprive him of the power to subjugate the labour of others by means of such appropriations.
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 of its members who work, acquire nothing, and those who acquire anything do not work. The whole of this objection is but another expression of the tautology: that there can no longer be any wage-labour 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, &c. 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.
The selfish misconception that induces you to transform into eternal laws of nature and of reason, the social forms springing from your present mode of production and form of property – historical relations that rise and disappear in the progress of production – this misconception you share with every ruling class that has preceded you. What you see clearly in the case of ancient property, what you admit in the case of feudal property, you are of course forbidden to admit in the case of your own bourgeois form of property.
Abolition [Aufhebung] 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 the 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, &c.? The Communists have not invented 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 ruling class.
The bourgeois clap-trap about the family and education, about the hallowed co-relation 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 labour.
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 women.
He has not even a suspicion that the real point aimed at is to do away with the status of women as mere instruments of production.
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 community of women; 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 legalised community of women. For the rest, it is self-evident that the abolition of the present system of production must bring with it the abolition of the community of women 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. We cannot take from them what they have not got. Since the proletariat must first of all acquire political supremacy, must rise to be the leading class of the nation, must constitute itself the nation, it is so far, itself national, though not in the bourgeois sense of the word.
National 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 thereto.
The supremacy of the proletariat will cause them to vanish still faster. United action, of the leading civilised countries at least, is one of the first conditions for the emancipation of the proletariat.
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.
Does it require deep intuition to comprehend that man’s ideas, views, and conception, in one word, man’s consciousness, changes with every change in the conditions of his material existence, in his social relations and in his social life?
What else does the history of ideas prove, than that intellectual production changes its character in proportion as material production is changed? The ruling ideas of each age have ever been the ideas of its ruling class.
When people speak of the ideas that revolutionise society, they do but express that fact that within the old society the elements of a new one have been created, and that the dissolution of the old ideas keeps even pace with the dissolution of the old conditions of existence.
When the ancient world was in its last throes, the ancient religions were overcome by Christianity. When Christian ideas succumbed in the 18th century to rationalist ideas, feudal society fought its death battle with the then revolutionary bourgeoisie. The ideas of religious liberty and freedom of conscience merely gave expression to the sway of free competition within the domain of knowledge.
“Undoubtedly,” it will be said, “religious, moral, philosophical, and juridical ideas have been modified in the course of historical development. But religion, morality, philosophy, political science, and law, constantly survived this change.”
“There are, besides, eternal truths, such as Freedom, Justice, etc., that are common to all states of society. But Communism abolishes eternal truths, it abolishes all religion, and all morality, instead of constituting them on a new basis; it therefore acts in contradiction to all past historical experience.”
What does this accusation reduce itself to? The history of all past society has consisted in the development of class antagonisms, antagonisms that assumed different forms at different epochs.
But whatever form they may have taken, one fact is common to all past ages, viz., the exploitation of one part of society by the other. No wonder, then, that the social consciousness of past ages, despite all the multiplicity and variety it displays, moves within certain common forms, or general ideas, which cannot completely vanish except with the total disappearance of class antagonisms.
The Communist revolution is the most radical rupture with traditional property relations; no wonder that its development involved the most radical rupture with traditional ideas.
But let us have done with the bourgeois objections to Communism.
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 centralise all instruments of production in the hands of the State, i.e., of the proletariat organised 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 revolutionising the mode of production.
These measures will, of course, be different in different countries.
Nevertheless, in most advanced countries, the following will be pretty generally applicable.
Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
Centralisation of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
Centralisation of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
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.
Equal liability of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
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 the country.
Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, &c, &c.
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 organised power of one class for oppressing another. If the proletariat during its contest with the bourgeoisie is compelled, by the force of circumstances, to organise 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.
Owing to their historical position, it became the vocation of the aristocracies of France and England to write pamphlets against modern bourgeois society. In the French Revolution of July 1830, and in the English reform agitation 5, these aristocracies again succumbed to the hateful upstart. Thenceforth, a serious political struggle was altogether out of the question. A literary battle alone remained possible. But even in the domain of literature the old cries of the restoration period had become impossible. 6
In order to arouse sympathy, the aristocracy was obliged to lose sight, apparently, of its own interests, and to formulate their indictment against the bourgeoisie in the interest of the exploited working class alone. Thus, the aristocracy took their revenge by singing lampoons on their new masters and whispering in his ears sinister prophesies of coming catastrophe.
In this way arose feudal Socialism: half lamentation, half lampoon; half an echo of the past, half menace of the future; at times, by its bitter, witty and incisive criticism, striking the bourgeoisie to the very heart’s core; but always ludicrous in its effect, through total incapacity to comprehend the march of modern history.
The aristocracy, in order to rally the people to them, waved the proletarian alms-bag in front for a banner. But the people, so often as it joined them, saw on their hindquarters the old feudal coats of arms, and deserted with loud and irreverent laughter.
One section of the French Legitimists and “Young England” exhibited this spectacle.
In pointing out that their mode of exploitation was different to that of the bourgeoisie, the feudalists forget that they exploited under circumstances and conditions that were quite different and that are now antiquated. In showing that, under their rule, the modern proletariat never existed, they forget that the modern bourgeoisie is the necessary offspring of their own form of society.
For the rest, so little do they conceal the reactionary character of their criticism that their chief accusation against the bourgeois amounts to this, that under the bourgeois régime a class is being developed which is destined to cut up root and branch the old order of society.
What they upbraid the bourgeoisie with is not so much that it creates a proletariat as that it creates a revolutionary proletariat.
In political practice, therefore, they join in all coercive measures against the working class; and in ordinary life, despite their high-falutin phrases, they stoop to pick up the golden apples dropped from the tree of industry, and to barter truth, love, and honour, for traffic in wool, beetroot-sugar, and potato spirits. 7
As the parson has ever gone hand in hand with the landlord, so has Clerical Socialism with Feudal Socialism.
Nothing is easier than to give Christian asceticism a Socialist tinge. Has not Christianity declaimed against private property, against marriage, against the State? Has it not preached in the place of these, charity and poverty, celibacy and mortification of the flesh, monastic life and Mother Church? Christian Socialism is but the holy water with which the priest consecrates the heart-burnings of the aristocrat.
The feudal aristocracy was not the only class that was ruined by the bourgeoisie, not the only class whose conditions of existence pined and perished in the atmosphere of modern bourgeois society. The medieval burgesses and the small peasant proprietors were the precursors of the modern bourgeoisie. In those countries which are but little developed, industrially and commercially, these two classes still vegetate side by side with the rising bourgeoisie.
In countries where modern civilisation has become fully developed, a new class of petty bourgeois has been formed, fluctuating between proletariat and bourgeoisie, and ever renewing itself as a supplementary part of bourgeois society. The individual members of this class, however, are being constantly hurled down into the proletariat by the action of competition, and, as modern industry develops, they even see the moment approaching when they will completely disappear as an independent section of modern society, to be replaced in manufactures, agriculture and commerce, by overlookers, bailiffs and shopmen.
In countries like France, where the peasants constitute far more than half of the population, it was natural that writers who sided with the proletariat against the bourgeoisie should use, in their criticism of the bourgeois régime, the standard of the peasant and petty bourgeois, and from the standpoint of these intermediate classes, should take up the cudgels for the working class. Thus arose petty-bourgeois Socialism. Sismondi was the head of this school, not only in France but also in England.
This school of Socialism dissected with great acuteness the contradictions in the conditions of modern production. It laid bare the hypocritical apologies of economists. It proved, incontrovertibly, the disastrous effects of machinery and division of labour; the concentration of capital and land in a few hands; overproduction and crises; it pointed out the inevitable ruin of the petty bourgeois and peasant, the misery of the proletariat, the anarchy in production, the crying inequalities in the distribution of wealth, the industrial war of extermination between nations, the dissolution of old moral bonds, of the old family relations, of the old nationalities.
In its positive aims, however, this form of Socialism aspires either to restoring the old means of production and of exchange, and with them the old property relations, and the old society, or to cramping the modern means of production and of exchange within the framework of the old property relations that have been, and were bound to be, exploded by those means. In either case, it is both reactionary and Utopian.
Its last words are: corporate guilds for manufacture; patriarchal relations in agriculture.
Ultimately, when stubborn historical facts had dispersed all intoxicating effects of self-deception, this form of Socialism ended in a miserable fit of the blues.
The Socialist and Communist literature of France, a literature that originated under the pressure of a bourgeoisie in power, and that was the expressions of the struggle against this power, was introduced into Germany at a time when the bourgeoisie, in that country, had just begun its contest with feudal absolutism.
German philosophers, would-be philosophers, and beaux esprits (men of letters), eagerly seized on this literature, only forgetting, that when these writings immigrated from France into Germany, French social conditions had not immigrated along with them. In contact with German social conditions, this French literature lost all its immediate practical significance and assumed a purely literary aspect. Thus, to the German philosophers of the Eighteenth Century, the demands of the first French Revolution were nothing more than the demands of “Practical Reason” in general, and the utterance of the will of the revolutionary French bourgeoisie signified, in their eyes, the laws of pure Will, of Will as it was bound to be, of true human Will generally.
The work of the German literati consisted solely in bringing the new French ideas into harmony with their ancient philosophical conscience, or rather, in annexing the French ideas without deserting their own philosophic point of view.
This annexation took place in the same way in which a foreign language is appropriated, namely, by translation.
It is well known how the monks wrote silly lives of Catholic Saints over the manuscripts on which the classical works of ancient heathendom had been written. The German literati reversed this process with the profane French literature. They wrote their philosophical nonsense beneath the French original. For instance, beneath the French criticism of the economic functions of money, they wrote “Alienation of Humanity”, and beneath the French criticism of the bourgeois state they wrote “Dethronement of the Category of the General”, and so forth.
The introduction of these philosophical phrases at the back of the French historical criticisms, they dubbed “Philosophy of Action”, “True Socialism”, “German Science of Socialism”, “Philosophical Foundation of Socialism”, and so on.
The French Socialist and Communist literature was thus completely emasculated. And, since it ceased in the hands of the German to express the struggle of one class with the other, he felt conscious of having overcome “French one-sidedness” and of representing, not true requirements, but the requirements of Truth; not the interests of the proletariat, but the interests of Human Nature, of Man in general, who belongs to no class, has no reality, who exists only in the misty realm of philosophical fantasy.
This German socialism, which took its schoolboy task so seriously and solemnly, and extolled its poor stock-in-trade in such a mountebank fashion, meanwhile gradually lost its pedantic innocence.
The fight of the Germans, and especially of the Prussian bourgeoisie, against feudal aristocracy and absolute monarchy, in other words, the liberal movement, became more earnest.
By this, the long-wished for opportunity was offered to “True” Socialism of confronting the political movement with the Socialist demands, of hurling the traditional anathemas against liberalism, against representative government, against bourgeois competition, bourgeois freedom of the press, bourgeois legislation, bourgeois liberty and equality, and of preaching to the masses that they had nothing to gain, and everything to lose, by this bourgeois movement. German Socialism forgot, in the nick of time, that the French criticism, whose silly echo it was, presupposed the existence of modern bourgeois society, with its corresponding economic conditions of existence, and the political constitution adapted thereto, the very things those attainment was the object of the pending struggle in Germany.
To the absolute governments, with their following of parsons, professors, country squires, and officials, it served as a welcome scarecrow against the threatening bourgeoisie.
It was a sweet finish, after the bitter pills of flogging and bullets, with which these same governments, just at that time, dosed the German working-class risings.
While this “True” Socialism thus served the government as a weapon for fighting the German bourgeoisie, it, at the same time, directly represented a reactionary interest, the interest of German Philistines. In Germany, the petty-bourgeois class, a relic of the sixteenth century, and since then constantly cropping up again under the various forms, is the real social basis of the existing state of things.
To preserve this class is to preserve the existing state of things in Germany. The industrial and political supremacy of the bourgeoisie threatens it with certain destruction — on the one hand, from the concentration of capital; on the other, from the rise of a revolutionary proletariat. “True” Socialism appeared to kill these two birds with one stone. It spread like an epidemic.
The robe of speculative cobwebs, embroidered with flowers of rhetoric, steeped in the dew of sickly sentiment, this transcendental robe in which the German Socialists wrapped their sorry “eternal truths”, all skin and bone, served to wonderfully increase the sale of their goods amongst such a public.
And on its part German Socialism recognised, more and more, its own calling as the bombastic representative of the petty-bourgeois Philistine.
It proclaimed the German nation to be the model nation, and the German petty Philistine to be the typical man. To every villainous meanness of this model man, it gave a hidden, higher, Socialistic interpretation, the exact contrary of its real character. It went to the extreme length of directly opposing the “brutally destructive” tendency of Communism, and of proclaiming its supreme and impartial contempt of all class struggles. With very few exceptions, all the so-called Socialist and Communist publications that now (1847) circulate in Germany belong to the domain of this foul and enervating literature. 8
A part of the bourgeoisie is desirous of redressing social grievances in order to secure the continued existence of bourgeois society.
To this section belong economists, philanthropists, humanitarians, improvers of the condition of the working class, organisers of charity, members of societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals, temperance fanatics, hole-and-corner reformers of every imaginable kind. This form of socialism has, moreover, been worked out into complete systems.
We may cite Proudhon’s Philosophie de la Misère as an example of this form.
The Socialistic bourgeois want all the advantages of modern social conditions without the struggles and dangers necessarily resulting therefrom. They desire the existing state of society, minus its revolutionary and disintegrating elements. They wish for a bourgeoisie without a proletariat. The bourgeoisie naturally conceives the world in which it is supreme to be the best; and bourgeois Socialism develops this comfortable conception into various more or less complete systems. In requiring the proletariat to carry out such a system, and thereby to march straightway into the social New Jerusalem, it but requires in reality, that the proletariat should remain within the bounds of existing society, but should cast away all its hateful ideas concerning the bourgeoisie.
A second, and more practical, but less systematic, form of this Socialism sought to depreciate every revolutionary movement in the eyes of the working class by showing that no mere political reform, but only a change in the material conditions of existence, in economical relations, could be of any advantage to them. By changes in the material conditions of existence, this form of Socialism, however, by no means understands abolition of the bourgeois relations of production, an abolition that can be affected only by a revolution, but administrative reforms, based on the continued existence of these relations; reforms, therefore, that in no respect affect the relations between capital and labour, but, at the best, lessen the cost, and simplify the administrative work, of bourgeois government.
Bourgeois Socialism attains adequate expression when, and only when, it becomes a mere figure of speech.
Free trade: for the benefit of the working class. Protective duties: for the benefit of the working class. Prison Reform: for the benefit of the working class. This is the last word and the only seriously meant word of bourgeois socialism.
It is summed up in the phrase: the bourgeois is a bourgeois — for the benefit of the working class.
We do not here refer to that literature which, in every great modern revolution, has always given voice to the demands of the proletariat, such as the writings of Babeuf and others.
The first direct attempts of the proletariat to attain its own ends, made in times of universal excitement, when feudal society was being overthrown, necessarily failed, owing to the then undeveloped state of the proletariat, as well as to the absence of the economic conditions for its emancipation, conditions that had yet to be produced, and could be produced by the impending bourgeois epoch alone. The revolutionary literature that accompanied these first movements of the proletariat had necessarily a reactionary character. It inculcated universal asceticism and social levelling in its crudest form.
The Socialist and Communist systems, properly so called, those of Saint-Simon, Fourier, Owen, and others, spring into existence in the early undeveloped period, described above, of the struggle between proletariat and bourgeoisie (see Section 1. Bourgeois and Proletarians).
The founders of these systems see, indeed, the class antagonisms, as well as the action of the decomposing elements in the prevailing form of society. But the proletariat, as yet in its infancy, offers to them the spectacle of a class without any historical initiative or any independent political movement.
Since the development of class antagonism keeps even pace with the development of industry, the economic situation, as they find it, does not as yet offer to them the material conditions for the emancipation of the proletariat. They therefore search after a new social science, after new social laws, that are to create these conditions.
Historical action is to yield to their personal inventive action; historically created conditions of emancipation to fantastic ones; and the gradual, spontaneous class organisation of the proletariat to an organisation of society especially contrived by these inventors. Future history resolves itself, in their eyes, into the propaganda and the practical carrying out of their social plans.
In the formation of their plans, they are conscious of caring chiefly for the interests of the working class, as being the most suffering class. Only from the point of view of being the most suffering class does the proletariat exist for them.
The undeveloped state of the class struggle, as well as their own surroundings, causes Socialists of this kind to consider themselves far superior to all class antagonisms. They want to improve the condition of every member of society, even that of the most favoured. Hence, they habitually appeal to society at large, without the distinction of class; nay, by preference, to the ruling class. For how can people, when once they understand their system, fail to see in it the best possible plan of the best possible state of society?
Hence, they reject all political, and especially all revolutionary action; they wish to attain their ends by peaceful means, necessarily doomed to failure, and by the force of example, to pave the way for the new social Gospel.
Such fantastic pictures of future society, painted at a time when the proletariat is still in a very undeveloped state and has but a fantastic conception of its own position, correspond with the first instinctive yearnings of that class for a general reconstruction of society.
But these Socialist and Communist publications contain also a critical element. They attack every principle of existing society. Hence, they are full of the most valuable materials for the enlightenment of the working class. The practical measures proposed in them — such as the abolition of the distinction between town and country, of the family, of the carrying on of industries for the account of private individuals, and of the wage system, the proclamation of social harmony, the conversion of the function of the state into a more superintendence of production — all these proposals point solely to the disappearance of class antagonisms which were, at that time, only just cropping up, and which, in these publications, are recognised in their earliest indistinct and undefined forms only. These proposals, therefore, are of a purely Utopian character.
The significance of Critical-Utopian Socialism and Communism bears an inverse relation to historical development. In proportion as the modern class struggle develops and takes definite shape, this fantastic standing apart from the contest, these fantastic attacks on it, lose all practical value and all theoretical justification. Therefore, although the originators of these systems were, in many respects, revolutionary, their disciples have, in every case, formed mere reactionary sects. They hold fast by the original views of their masters, in opposition to the progressive historical development of the proletariat. They, therefore, endeavour, and that consistently, to deaden the class struggle and to reconcile the class antagonisms. They still dream of experimental realisation of their social Utopias, of founding isolated “phalansteres”, of establishing “Home Colonies”, or setting up a “Little Icaria” 9 — duodecimo editions of the New Jerusalem — and to realise all these castles in the air, they are compelled to appeal to the feelings and purses of the bourgeois. By degrees, they sink into the category of the reactionary [or] conservative Socialists depicted above, differing from these only by more systematic pedantry, and by their fanatical and superstitious belief in the miraculous effects of their social science.
They, therefore, violently oppose all political action on the part of the working class; such action, according to them, can only result from blind unbelief in the new Gospel.
The Owenites in England, and the Fourierists in France, respectively, oppose the Chartists and the Réformistes.
Section Ⅱ has made clear the relations of the Communists to the existing working-class parties, such as the Chartists in England and the Agrarian Reformers in America.
The Communists fight for the attainment of the immediate aims, for the enforcement of the momentary interests of the working class; but in the movement of the present, they also represent and take care of the future of that movement. In France, the Communists ally with the Social-Democrats 10 against the conservative and radical bourgeoisie, reserving, however, the right to take up a critical position in regard to phases and illusions traditionally handed down from the great Revolution.
In Switzerland, they support the Radicals, without losing sight of the fact that this party consists of antagonistic elements, partly of Democratic Socialists, in the French sense, partly of radical bourgeois.
In Poland, they support the party that insists on an agrarian revolution as the prime condition for national emancipation, that party which fomented the insurrection of Cracow in 1846.
In Germany, they fight with the bourgeoisie whenever it acts in a revolutionary way, against the absolute monarchy, the feudal squirearchy, and the petty bourgeoisie.
But they never cease, for a single instant, to instill into the working class the clearest possible recognition of the hostile antagonism between bourgeoisie and proletariat, in order that the German workers may straightway use, as so many weapons against the bourgeoisie, the social and political conditions that the bourgeoisie must necessarily introduce along with its supremacy, and in order that, after the fall of the reactionary classes in Germany, the fight against the bourgeoisie itself may immediately begin.
The Communists turn their attention chiefly to Germany, because that country is on the eve of a bourgeois revolution that is bound to be carried out under more advanced conditions of European civilisation and with a much more developed proletariat than that of England was in the seventeenth, and France in the eighteenth century, and because the bourgeois revolution in Germany will be but the prelude to an immediately following proletarian revolution.
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 labour 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 Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.
Working Men of All Countries, Unite! 11
- By bourgeoisie is meant the class of modern capitalists, owners of the means of social production and employers of wage labour. By proletariat, the class of modern wage labourers who, having no means of production of their own, are reduced to selling their labour power in order to live. [Engels, 1888 English edition] ↩
- That is, all written history. In 1847, the pre-history of society, the social organisation existing previous to recorded history, all but unknown. Since then, August von Haxthausen (1792-1866) discovered common ownership of land in Russia, Georg Ludwig von Maurer proved it to be the social foundation from which all Teutonic races started in history, and, by and by, village communities were found to be, or to have been, the primitive form of society everywhere from India to Ireland. The inner organisation of this primitive communistic society was laid bare, in its typical form, by Lewis Henry Morgan’s (1818-1881) crowning discovery of the true nature of the gens and its relation to the tribe. With the dissolution of the primeval communities, society begins to be differentiated into separate and finally antagonistic classes. I have attempted to retrace this dissolution in The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State, second edition, Stuttgart, 1886. [Engels, 1888 English Edition and 1890 German Edition (with the last sentence omitted)] ↩
- Guild-master, that is, a full member of a guild, a master within, not a head of a guild. [Engels, 1888 English Edition] ↩
- This was the name given their urban communities by the townsmen of Italy and France, after they had purchased or conquered their initial rights of self-government from their feudal lords. [Engels, 1890 German edition] “Commune” was the name taken in France by the nascent towns even before they had conquered from their feudal lords and masters local self-government and political rights as the “Third Estate.” Generally speaking, for the economical development of the bourgeoisie, England is here taken as the typical country, for its political development, France. [Engels, 1888 English Edition] ↩
- A reference to the movement for a reform of the electoral law which, under the pressure of the working class, was passed by the British House of Commons in 1831 and finally endorsed by the House of Lords in June, 1832. The reform was directed against monopoly rule of the landed and finance aristocracy and opened the way to Parliament for the representatives of the industrial bourgeoisie. Neither workers nor the petty-bourgeois were allowed electoral rights, despite assurances they would. ↩
- Not the English Restoration (1660-1689), but the French Restoration (1814-1830). [Note by Engels to the English edition of 1888.] ↩
- This applies chiefly to Germany, where the landed aristocracy and squirearchy have large portions of their estates cultivated for their own account by stewards, and are, moreover, extensive beetroot-sugar manufacturers and distillers of potato spirits. The wealthier British aristocracy are, as yet, rather above that; but they, too, know how to make up for declining rents by lending their names to floaters or more or less shady joint-stock companies. [Note by Engels to the English edition of 1888.] ↩
- The revolutionary storm of 1848 swept away this whole shabby tendency and cured its protagonists of the desire to dabble in socialism. The chief representative and classical type of this tendency is Mr Karl Gruen. [Note by Engels to the German edition of 1890.] ↩
- Phalanstéres were Socialist colonies on the plan of Charles Fourier; Icaria was the name given by Cabet to his Utopia and, later on, to his American Communist colony. [Note by Engels to the English edition of 1888.] “Home Colonies” were what Owen called his Communist model societies. Phalanstéres was the name of the public palaces planned by Fourier. Icaria was the name given to the Utopian land of fancy, whose Communist institutions Cabet portrayed. [Note by Engels to the German edition of 1890.] ↩
- The party then represented in Parliament by Ledru-Rollin, in literature by Louis Blanc, in the daily press by the Réforme. The name of Social-Democracy signifies, with these its inventors, a section of the Democratic or Republican Party more or less tinged with socialism. [Engels, English Edition 1888] ↩
- The famous final phrase of the Manifesto, “Working Men of All Countries, Unite!”, in the original German is: “Proletarier aller Lä.nder, vereinigt euch!” Thus, a more correct translation would be “Proletarians of all countries, Unite!” “Workers of the World, Unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains!” is a popularisation of the last three sentences, and is not found in any official translation. Since this English translation was approved by Engels, we have kept the original intact. ↩
The deputies of RuSSia’s [sic] federal Duma continue to support the processes of their bureaucratic thinking at the expense of the workers; processes which are completely useless and often even harmful for our suffering people. V. Bulavinov, G. Raykov, D. Rogozin and later A. Mitrofanov have become troubled by the depopulation of the Russian people and with a bourgeois casualness offered to solve this problem by welcoming gays and lesbians into the jail system.
Of course, from the point of view of the ruling class, the reduction of workforce, which it sees as unfavourable, is caused by the uncomfortable conquest of democracy, for example individual freedom. As we analyze the assessment of depopulation as an abnormal phenomenon, we look at it from the point of view of the people, struggling not due to an excess of civil liberties, but rather due to the lack of the most basic means of existence.
To oppose the utopian stupid plans of the deputies, as they seek to force the people to reproduce like livestock, we put forward our fair demands, the carrying out of which is indissolubly tied to the normalization of the demographic situation:
- The liquidation of poverty, the establishment of salaries and social benefits at a fitting level for all and the timely payment thereof;
- The uninterrupted supplying of the population with electricity, cold and hot water and gas;
- The resettlement of people living in homes that do not meet sanitary requirements into new apartments;
- The return to free and quality education and health care;
- The integration of youth sexual education in order to reduce the level of abortions and sexually-transmitted diseases.
It goes without saying that for all this, it is necessary that the rich abandon the capitals, which serve only them, and that the public servants start working not for their own benefit and their protectors, but rather for the common good. The people do not need the masters showing them how to correctly have sex. The people need what belongs rightfully to them – willpower and the resources created by its labour.