Rescuing the Communist Manifesto

Karl Marx once said that he was not a Marxist. That was in the 1870s, according to his comrade Frederick Engels writing in 1890. Apparently, Marx found the French Marxists particularly embarrassing. Today, he would find nearly all of them so.

The Communist Manifesto Project has released a 16 page pamphlet, Rescuing the message of The Communist Manifesto: the revolutionary role of capitalism, with a view to rescuing Marxism from the ‘Marxists’ and offering a view of what it means in this century.

Here’s a sampler:

“At the moment when inquiring minds seek to learn about communism they will encounter a range of appalling nonsense from various tiny groups claiming to be communist or Marxist. Some support the regimes in Cuba and China, and there are even the occasional North Korea supporters. The absurd regime in Venezuela inspires many of them. They all cling onto the once true but now outdated view that US imperialism is the main problem in the world today. They oppose external support for the Arab battle for democracy and hold the mainstream view that regime change in Iraq has been a disaster and the fascist Baath Party should have been left in power. These groups never talk about how capitalism is creating the conditions for communism but simply whine about how terrible the system is, and often do this in a reactionary way particularly in their opposition to “corporate globalization” and acceptance of green views on virtually everything. They rarely talk about and scarcely understand communism, and they simply see it as something in never-never land rather than their real purpose. So communism will have to be rediscovered in the face of all kinds of claptrap. This will have to be done by the now very young or the yet to be born. For anyone older it would require too much of a break from their entrenched ways of thinking”.


The Communist Manifesto Project

The Communist Manifesto was published in 1848. That’s a long time ago. And the communist revolutions of last century have ultimately failed. So what would a C21st version look like?

That’s the aim of an exciting new project that seeks to ‘save Marx from the Marxists’!



Here’s the preamble from the project’s draft document:

The Communist Manifesto Project, October 2015


Marx and Engels published The Communist Manifesto in 1848 and “Marxists” have been disregarding its message ever since. It tells us how communism cannot emerge without capitalism first creating both the pre-conditions and the forces that will bring it to fulfillment. Capitalism is like the caterpillar to the communist butterfly. Communism is a consequence of capitalism and the next step in the progress of humanity

Present-day “Marxists” totally oppose this view. Their anti-capitalism is reactionary. They believe capitalism is destroying much of the past that should be preserved and is leading us down a path from which we must retreat. There are no prospects for their backward looking project and if there were it would be self-defeating because we would be simply reverting to conditions that history shows would eventually bring us back to where we are. In their day Marx and Engels had to contend with similar trends and, indeed, a section of The Communist Manifesto is devoted to them.

The message of The Communist Manifesto of course is also ignored by those for whom capitalism is the best of all possible worlds. It gets in the way of their “communism has failed” mantra which they base on abortive revolutions in backward essentially pre-capitalist regions during the 20th century. This experience in fact only confirms the message that communism can only successfully emerge from advanced capitalism.