In Memory of the Communist Manifesto * *
In three years we can celebrate our jubilee. The memorable date of the publication of the Communist Manifesto (February, 1848) marks our first unquestioned entrance into history. To that date are referred all our judgments and all our congratulations on the progress made by the proletariat in these last fifty years. That date marks the beginning of the new era. This is arising, or, rather, is separating itself from the present era, and is developing by a process peculiar to itself and thus in a way that is necessary and inevitable, whatever may be the vicissitudes and the successive phases which cannot yet be foreseen.
All those in our ranks who have a desire or an occasion to possess a better understanding of their own work should bring to mind the causes and the moving forces which determined the genesis of the Manifesto, the circumstances under which it appeared on the eve of the Revolution which burst forth from Paris to Vienna, from Palermo to Berlin. Only in this way will it be possible for us to find in the present social form the explanation of the tendency toward socialism, thus showing by its present necessity the unevitability of its triumph.
Is not that in fact the vital part of the Manifesto, its essence and its distinctive character?
We surely should be taking a false road if we regarded as the essential part the measures advised and prosposed at thee end of the second chapter for the contingency of a revolutionary success on the part of the proletariat, - or again the indications of political relationship to the other revolutionary parties of that epoch which are found in the fourth chapter. These indications and these measures, although they deserved to be taken into consideration at the moment and under the circumstances where they may be very important for forming a precise estimate of the political action of the German communists in the revolutionary period from 1848 to 1850,
Social Scientist, Vol. 27, Nos. 1- 4, Jan. - April 1999