Social Scientist. v 27, no. 318-319 (Nov-Dec 1999) p. 69.

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Thoughts on the Communist Manifesto: Ideology, Paraxis and Revolution

The communist revolution is the most radical rupture with traditional property relations; no wonder that its development involves the most radical rupture with traditional ideas.

- Manifesto of the Communist Party

The 150th year of the publication of the Communist Manifesto and the period since then has witnessed a commendable intellectual effort towards a reappraisal of the historic document. Within the vast expanse of the literature emanating from radical thinkers across the globe, the contributions made by the Left wing intellectuals of India stand apart in the freshness of their thoughts as well as the seriousness with which important issues were addressed. This is not to belittle the insights provided by so many other especially from the advanced world but to underscore the importance of ensuring that the revolutionary movements of the Third World, which is more likely to be the theatre of radical transformations in this century, are not starved of newer ideas. The essays on the Manifesto compiled in A World to Win and the articles on it published in the Social Scientist are immensely stimulating.1 The present article tries to pen down some thoughts which have been inspired and provoked by these writings.

An important contribution made by the Manifesto was a rigorous and powerful exposition of the materialist conception of history and the application of the dialectical method to undertake an objective

* Research Scholar, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Social Scientist, Vol. 27, Nos. 11-12, Nov. - Dec. 1999

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