A Marxist answer to the utopian idea that we can achieve peace through disarmament without doing away with the capitalist system - as relevant today as when it was first written by Lenin.
One hundred and twenty years ago - on March 14 1883 to be precise - Karl Marx, one of the greatest figures in human history, died. Despite over a century of attacks, distortions and attempts to belittle Marx's contribution, no-one can doubt that he dramatically altered the course of human history.
In 1947 the Labour Party decided to reprint the Communist Manifesto, with an historical introduction by Harold Laski, to mark the document's centenary. We're reprinting the foreword to reflect just how significant Marxism has been within the British labour and trade union movement. The Labour Party didn't see the Manifesto as just another historical document, as can be seen clearly in the text. It was a document vitally relevant to the policies of the 1945 Labour government.
This month marks a key anniversary in the development of scientific socialism. One hundred and fifty years ago the most famous document of the Marxist movement was produced: The Manifesto of the Communist Party, written by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels.
At first sight it may seem that the republication of The Communist Manifesto requires an explanation. How can one justify a new edition of a book written almost 150 years ago? Yet in reality the Manifesto is the most modern of books.
On the 14th of March, at a quarter to three in the afternoon, the greatest living thinker ceased to think. He had been left alone for scarcely two minutes, and when we came back we found him in his armchair, peacefully gone to sleep - but forever.
"I have come from the heart of Germany to express my love and gratitude to my unforgettable teacher and faithful friend. To my faithful friend! Karl Marx's greatest friend and colleague has just called him the best-hated man of this century. That is true. He was the best-hated but he was also the best-loved. The best-hated by the oppressors and exploiters of the people, the best-loved by the oppressed and exploited, as far as they are conscious of their position. The oppressed and exploited people love him because he loved them. For the deceased whose loss we are mourning was great in his love as in his hatred. His hatred had love as its source. He was a great heart as he was a great mind. All who knew him know that.
It is hard to believe that the centennial of the Manifesto of the Communist Party is only ten years away! This pamphlet, displaying greater genius than any other in world literature, astounds us even today by its freshness. Its most important sections appear to have been written yesterday. Assuredly, the young authors (Marx was twenty-nine, Engels twenty-seven) were able to look further into the future than anyone before them, and perhaps than anyone since them.
Trotsky's analysis of the League of Nations (predecessor to the United Nations) exposes the weakness and hypocrisy of a world body dominated by imperialist powers.
This letter from Frederick Engels to Florence Kelly Wischnewetsky shows his perspective for the development of a labour party in the United States and the way that the Marxists should orient to such a party. He warns revolutionaries in the U.S. of the dangers of transforming Marxist ideas into a lifeless dogma by taking a sectarian attitude towards such a massive movement of the working class "not of their creation." Even in this brief letter, there are numerous lessons for Marxists today.