200 years of Karl Marx

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Celebrating 170 years of the Communist Party Manifest

On February 2018 we celebrate the 170 years anniversary of the first publication of the Communist Manifest, written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. In the same year the International Communist Movement (ICM) and masses all over the world celebrate the 200 years of the great Karl Marx’s birth. Such a magnificent date is an important occasion for reaffirming the full validity of the principles established in this monumental work for the proletariat and for the whole world.

Karl Marx
Karl Marx

The Manifest has set up for the first time the fundamental principles and programme for the international proletariat by which its Party was raised and built in accordance to its image and likeness, as an independent Party, opposed to all parties in history: the Communist Party. That is why it is as well the birth certificate of the International Communist Movement and its most fundamental unity basis.

The principles established by the 1848 Manifest are everlasting and indispensable for the communists, “they are the principles and programme spread by the international proletariat which will take humankind to a New World, a classless society, the Communism”.1 The birth of the International Communist Movement has changed forever the face of the planet and the course of  the humankind history.

Based on these fundamental principles, the international proletariat has developed three great phases: the marxism-leninism-maoism. Three high peaks which opened a New Era with the Great Socialist Revolution of October 1917, raising the proletariat to the strategic balance with the victory of the Great Chinese Revolution in 1949; and around 1980, with the People’s War in Peru, advanced  its strategic offensive stage which needs to be propelled  with more people’s wars all over the world to oppose to the world imperialist war the World People’s War and sweep away imperialism from the Earth.

All revisionists in history, from Kautsky to Avakian, had to throw themselves against the Manifest. Khruschev at the 22nd CPSU Congress, 1961, affirmed it was the new “Communists’s Programme”; and Avakian stated that his “New Synthesis” would be the  “new Manifest for the 21st Century”.

That is why, by celebrating the 170 years of the publication of the Manifest, we feel the need – as emphasised by Chairman Gonzalo – to study it totally, including all forewords and notes that have been established since its first publication in 1848 until the last foreword written by Engels in 1893 which, besides being an important guide for grasping its fundamental structure ( the 1848 text), would also serve for complementing the main idea and fight the revisionist stances and other deviations. With such an important approach, Chairman Gonzalo raised the understanding that all forewords and notes from Marx and Engels are part of the Manifest as well.According to what was emphasized by Marx and Engels in the foreword to the June 1872 German edition2 , the application and validity of the main principles exposed in Manifest have established the need of its creative application at each period of time ( nowadays Marxism-leninism-maoism) and at each country (need of the guide- thought): “The practical application of these principles will always depend and everywhere on the existing historical circumstances and, therefore, one cannot give exclusive importance to the revolutionary measurements numbered in chapter II”.

An important question must be emphasized and it is a great and important matter for the ICM. It is Engels’s definition as part of the Manifest, in the 1883 foreword, the role of Marx’s jefatura, afirming that “this fundamental idea belongs exclusively to Marx. I have often declared it but just now it is necessary that such a statement be placed at the head of the Manifest”.

Engels stated in the foreword of the English 1888 edition that :” The history of the Manifest shows the history of the modern workers’ class movement”.

The Manifest concept

The Communist Party Manifest was written by Marx and Engels between January 1847 and January 1848 at the charge of  the Communist League – a worker’s international clandestine organization – which has entrusted them to write a theoretical and practical programme. It was published for the first time on Februaray 1848, in London, England, and it was translated into hundreds of idioms, reproduced million times, being converted into the most important political document on the whole history.

The Manifest is the first great event in the history of the proletarian movement, whereas that, for the first time, the most revolutionary class in history has been endowed by a definitive programme for action and thinking for transforming the world , emancipating itself as a class and emancipating the whole humankind.

Engels enphasizes in the foreword to the English edition of 1888 that the defeat of the proletariat at the June Journeys of 1848 (the first great battle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie), a few months after the Manifest publication, has left as secondary the social and political aims of the European worker’s class. And, later on, when the Central Committee for the Communist League was arrested and convicted by the Prussian reaction in the famous 1852 Köln Lawsuit, disorganizing the League, a proletariat dispersion period has started.

Decades of struggles have been necessary so that the proletariat could recover its strenghts for a new assault against the bourgeoisie. Hard years of combat so that, through its direct revolutionary experience and in a difficult struggle against all strange concepts among its Class, the proletariat could lift its Manifest, making it emerge and showing its validity as the only programme and unity base for the proletariat, around which the communists could organise themselves and unite anew during the next decades.

The 1874 workers, time of the International dissolution, were not the same as in 1864 when the International had been founded. The proudhonism in France and the lassealinism in Germany were agonizing (…) As a matter of fact, the principles of the ‘Manifest’ had been definitely spread amidst the workers of all countries. Thus, the ‘Manifest’ itself was again in the first plan”.

Still in the foreword of the 1890 German edition, Engels emphasizes “how the proletariat in Europe and North America gathered around the principles established by the Manifest and organized in the International Workers Association became “ just as one army, under the same banner and for the same immediate goal: the eight-hours workday proclammed in 1886 by the International Congress (the International Association of Workers) (…) If only Marx were beside me to see it with his own eyes”.

In the foreword to the 1883 German edition, the first after Marx’s death, Engels makes a bright synthesis of the “fundamental idea present in the Manifest”,the dialects historical materialism, the recognition of the class struggle as the motor of history, “that the economic production and social structure from them derived constitute necessarily at each historical period the base on which rests the political and intelectual history of that period; that the economic production and the social structure from which necessarily derives on each historical and intellectual period of this time; that therefore the whole history ( since the solution for the primitive regime of the common land property) has been the class struggle history, the struggle between the exploited and exploiting classes, in the different fases of the social development; and that now that struggle has arrived to a phase in which the exploited and oppressed class, the proletariat, cannot emancipate itself from the class which oppresses and exploits it – the bourgeoisie – without releasing at the same time and forever the whole exploited society, from oppression and classes struggle”.

The Manifest demonstrates that, at that time, capitalism simplified all and each class contradictions into “two great classes which faced themselves directly: the bourgeoisie and the proletariat”, establishing the great principle of the class struggle as a fundamental principle which we must be guided by, and all men and women should stance themselves for one of the opposite classes. Marx has, with that, done a deadly blow in all kinds of petty-bourgeois christian socialism which presented themselves as independent reconciled currents to the class antagonism.

By establishing this scientific understanding on socialism, the Manifest has established the important principle of the inevitability of socialism and communism: “The bourgeoisie produces, before anything, its own grave-digger. Its foundation and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable”. (Chapter 1, our bold). “ The weapons served by the bourgeoisie for destroying the feudalism turn now at the bourgeoisie itself. However, the bourgeoisie has not forged only the arms which can give them many casualties; it has also produced the men who will grip those weapons: the modern workers, the proletarians!”.

In the Manifest Marx has set up the foundation of the class concept of Marxism according which the Political Power (the State) “is the organized violence from one class to the oppressed one”.

Marx has demonstrated that the development of the class strggle leads to the revolution and dictatorship of proletariat through the revolutionary violence in which “ the proletariat, destroying through violence the bourgeoisie, will implant its domination”.

Thus, he has settled on a clear manner the revolutionary violence to transform the whole social order as a main principle of Marxism.

“The communists consider unworthy to hide their ideas and purposes. They have openly proclaimed that their objective can only be reached by defeating all existing social order through violence.That the ruling classes tremble before a Communist Revolution”. ( Chapter IV, our bold).

In the 1872 German edition, Marx and Engels incorporate to the Manifest the experience developed by the proletariat between the years of the publication of the Manifest (1848/1872), especially the one in which the proletariat was taken to the Political Power during two months – the Paris Commune – a historical and transcendental event in the history of the proletarian movement. Based on the evaluation settled by Marx in the document Civil War in France (1871) the principle of dictatorship of the proletariat  was embodied into the Manifest:

“ The Commune has demonstrated mostly that ‘ the working class cannot take over the State existing machinery and march it for its own goals”. He was referring to the excerpt of Civil War in France, in which Marx states that the State machinery should be destroyed.

In the Manifest Marx has demonstrated that the proletariat is condemned to remain together while “the bourgeoisie lives in permanent struggle”. Thus, he has established the law according to which the “true result of its struggles is not the immediate success but an each time more extense union of the workers”, in its process of struggle for its political independent party – nowadays the struggle for the constitution or reconstitution of militarized maoist communist parties – is an “unceasing fight” that the more is renewed the more “comes up again, always stronger, stouter, more vigorous”. ( Chapter 1)

The Proletarian Internationalism

Marx has affirmed in the Manifest the principle of the proletarian internationalism that “The proletariat does not have a motherland”, also establishing the great premise which has been guiding the proletariat for 170 years: “Proletarians of all countries, unite!”

Such a great slogan has an important meaning for, at the same time, is a synthesis and a guide. As a synthesis, because expresses the present tasks for combatting the dispersion of forces in the ICM which steadly advances towards its overcoming. As a guide, because expresses our world concept, our final aim, the communism when, from abolishing the private property, all classes and the extinction of the State, the proletariat will be able to be totally united.

The communists, as part of the same worldly class that has its destiny indissolubly forged, understand that communism cannot happen in just one country but in all of them; either we all become communists or nobody does. Therefore, as Chairman Gonzalo affirmed: “one is not a communist if one does not think of communism”3; and that has required “ to place the proletarian internationalism in command and guide”, rendering concrete what has been established by Chairman Mao: “The internationalism is the spirit of communism”.4

This year, Marxist-leninist-maoist Parties and Organizations, united under the banner of Maoism and the People’s War launched the World Campaign for the 200 years of the great Karl Marx’s birth, under the slogan: “Proletarians of all countries, united!

Such an important World Campaign has been added and it is part of the struggle for the reunification  of the world communists, against revisionism and whose immediate and announced objective is the accomplishment of an International Maoist Unified Conference that would set up a new international maoist organization. This event will mean a leap in the struggle for building the Communist International.

The reconstitution of the Communist International has as a base the present Peoples’ Wars in Peru and India in which the new Power has been built and added to the Peoples’ Wars in the Phillipines and Turkey besides other struggles for national liberation; and in the processes of reconstitution of communist marxist-leninist-maoist militarized parties all over the world, to start the People’s War in each country as part and at the service of the World Proletarian Revolution.

This important World Campaign for the 200 years celebration of Karl Marx’s birth, therefore, developed with the base in the People’s War, demonstrates how the total validity of the communist and programme principles defined for the Manifest 170 years ago, when it was first published, has been carried out and comproved. “ The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. In exchange, they have a whole world to gain!”. (Chapter IV).


Notes:      

1. Communist Party of Peru (PCP.) On the building of the Party, Bandera Roja. N. 46, August, 1976.

2. All the quotations and references of the Manifest of the Communist Party are from the Spanish edition: Manifesto del Partido Comunista Ediciones en Lenguas Extranjeras, Pekin, 1964, and translated by the authors of this article, The refered edition in http://www.marx2mao.com.

3. Communist Party of Peru (PCP) Poner en marcha el MRDP en función de culminar brillantemente.1987.

4. Chairman Mao Tsetung. In memory of Norman Bethume. People’s Edition, Pekim, August, 1952

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Matheus Magioli Cossa

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