Manifesto of the Communist Party. BY
KARL MARX and FREDERICK ENGELS.
A SPECTRE is haunting Europe— the spec tre of Communism. All the Powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre; Pope and Czar, Metter- nich and Guizot, Trench Radicals and Ger man police-spies.
Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as communistic by its op ponents in powerP Where the Opposition that has not hurled back the branding re proach of Communism, against the more ad vanced opposition parties, as well as against its re-actionary adversariesP
Two things result from this fact.
I. Communism is already acknowledged by all European Powers to be itself a Power. II. It is high time that Communists should openly, in the face of the whole world, publish their views, their aims, their tendencies, and meet this nursery tale of the Spectre of Communism with a Manifesto of
the party itself.
To this end, Communists of various nation
alities have assembled in London, and sketched the following manifesto, to be pub lished in the English, French, German, Italian, Flemish and Danish languages.
BOURGEOIS AND PROLETARIANS.*
The history of all hitherto existing so ciety! is the history of class struggles.
Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master t and journey man, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary re-constitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.
In the earlier epochs of history, we find almost everywhere a complicated arrange ment of society into various orders, a mani fold gradation of social rank. In ancient Borne we have patricians, knights, plebeians, slaves; in the middle ages, feudal lords, vas sals, guild-masters, journeymen, apprentices, serfs; in almost all of these classes, again, subordinate gradations.
The modern bourgeois society that has sprouted from the ruins of feudal society, has not done away with class antagonisms. It has but established new classes, new con ditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in place of the old ones.
Our epoch, the epoch of the bourgeoisie, possesses, however, this distinctive feature; ithassimplifiedtheclassantagonisms. So ciety as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other: Bourgeoisie and Proletariat.
From the serfs of the middle ages sprang the chartered burghers of the earliest towns. From these burgesses the first elements of the bourgeoisie were developed.
The discovery of America, the rounding of the Cape, opened up fresh ground for the rising bourgeoisie. The Fast-Indian and Chi nese markets, the colonisation of America, trade with the colonies, the increase in the means of exchange and in commodities gen erally, gave to commerce, to navigation, to industry, an impulse never before known, and thereby, to the revolutionary element in the tottering feudal society, a rapid develop ment.
The feudal system of industry, under which industrial production was monopolised by close guilds, now no longer sufficed for thegrowingwants01thenewmarkets. The manufacturing system took its place. The guild-masters were pushed on one side by the manufacturing middle-class; division of labour between the different corporate guilds vanished in the face of division of labour
in each single workshop.
Meantime the markets kept ever growing,
the demand, ever rising. Even manufacture no longer sufficed. Thereupon, steam and machinery revolutionised industrial produc tion. The place of manufacture was taken by the giant, Modern Industry, the place of the industrial middle-class, by industrial millionaires, the leaders of whole industrial armies, the modern bourgeois.
Modern industry has established the world-market, for which the discovery of America paved the way. This market has given an immense development to commerce, to navigation, to communication by land. This development has, in its turn, reacted on the extension of industry; and in proportion as industry, commerce, navigation, railways extended, in the same proportion the borgeoisie developed, increased its capital, and pushed into the background every class handed down from the Middle Ages.
W e see, therefore, how the modern bour geoisie is itself the product of a long course of development, of a series of revolutions in the modes of production and of exchange.
Each step in the development of the bour geoisie was accompanied by a corresponding political advance of that class. An op pressed class under the sway of the feudal nobility, an armed and self-governing asso ciation in the mediaeval commune,* here in dependent urban republic (as in Italy and Germany), there taxable "third estate" of the monarchy (as in France), afterwards, in the period of manufacture proper, serving either the semi-feudal or the absolute mon archy as a counterpoise against the nobility, and, in fact, corner stone of the great mon archies in general, the bourgeoisie has at last, since the establishment of Modern In
dustry and of the world-market, conquered for itself, in the modern representative State, exclusive political sway. The executive of the modern State is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie. The bourgeoisie, historically, has played a most revolutionary part.
The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has piti lessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his "natural superiors," and has left remaining no other nexus be tween man and man than naked self-inter est, than callous "cash payment." It has drowned the most heavenly ecstacies of re ligious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible char tered freedoms, has set up that single, un conscionable freedom— Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.
The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halt every occupation hitherto honoured a lookeduptowithreverentawe. Ithascon verted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage-labourers.
The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced the family relation to a mere money relation.
The bourgeoisie has disclosed how it came to pass that the brutal display of vigour in the Middle Ages, which Reactionists so much admire, found its fitting complement in.themostslothfulindolence. Ithasbeen the first to shew what man's activity can bring about. It has accomplished wonders far surpassing Egyptian pyramids, Roman aqueducts, and Gothic cathedrals; it has con ducted expeditions that put in the shade all former Exoduses of nations and crusades.
The bourgeoisie cannot exist without con stantly revolutionising the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of pro duction, and with them the whole relations ofsociety. Conservationoftheoldmodesof production in unaltered form, was, on the contrary, the first condition of existence for allearlierindustrialclasses. Constantrevo lutionising of production, uninterrupted dis turbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and
opinions, are swept away, all new-formed t.ies become antiquated before they can jjsify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses, his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind.
The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the whole surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, estab lish connexions everywhere.
The bourgeoisie has through its exploitalion of the world-market given a cosmopoli tan character to production and consumption in every country. To the great chagrin of Be-actionists, it has drawn from under the feet of industry the national ground on whichitstood. Allold-establishednational industries have been destroyed or are daily beingdestroyed. Theyaredislodgedbynew industries, whose introduction becomes a life and death question for all civilised nations, by industries that no longer work up indig enous raw material, but raw material drawn from the remotest zones; industries whose products are consumed, not only at home,butineveryquarteroftheglobe. In place of the old wants, satisfied by the pro ductions of the country, we find new wants, requiring for their satisfaction the products ofdistantlandsandclimes. Inplaceofthe old local and national seclusion and self- sufficiency, we have intercourse in every di rection, universal inter-dependence of na tions. And as in material, so also in intel lectual production. The intellectual crea tions of individual nations become common property. National one-sidedness and nar row-mindedness become more and more im
possible, and from the numerous national and local literatures there arises a world- literature.
The bourgeoisie, by the rapid improvement of all instruments of production, by the im mensely facilitated means of communication, draws all, even the most barbarian, nations into civilisation. The cheap prices of its commodities are the heavy artillery with which it hatters down all Chinese walls, with which it forces the barbarians' in tensely obstinate hatred of foreigners to capitulate. It compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of production; it compels them to introduce what it calls civilisation into their midst, i.e.,tobecomebourgeoisthemselves. Ina word, it creates a world after its own image.
The bourgeoisie has subjected the country to the rule of the towns. It has created enormous cities, has greatly increased the urban population as compared with the rural, and has thus rescued a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural life. Just as it has made the country dependent on the towns, so it has made bar barian and semi-barbarian countries de pendent on the civilised ones, nations of peasants on nations of bourgeois, the East on the West.
The bourgeoisie keeps more and more do ing away with the scattered state of the population, of the means of production, and of property. It has agglomerated popula tion, centralised means of production, and has concentrated property in a few hands. The necessary consequence of this was po litical centralisation. Independent, or but loosely connected provinces, with separate interests, laws, governments and systems of taxation, became lumped together in one nation, with one government, one code of laws, one national class-interest, one frontier and one customs-tariff.
The bourgeoisie, during its rule of scarce one hundred years, has created more massive and more colossal productive farces than have all preceding generations together. Subjection of Nature's forces to man, ma chinery, application of chemistry to industry and agriculture, steam-navigation, railways, electric telegraphs, clearing of whole conti nents for cultivation, canalization of rivers, whole populations conjured out of the ground— what earlier century had even a presentiment that such productive forces slumbered in the lap of social labourP
W e see then: the means of production and of exchange on whose foundation the bour geoisie built itself up, were generated in feudalsociety. Atacertainstageinthede velopment of these means of production and of exchange, the conditions under which feudal society produced and exchanged, the feudal organisation of agriculture and man ufacturing industry, in one word, the feudal relations of property became no longer com patible with the already developed produc tive forces; they became so many fetters. They had to burst asunder; they were burst asunder.
Into their places stepped free competition, accompanied by a social and political con stitution adapted to it, and by the economical and political sway of the bourgeois class. A similar movement is going on before our own eyes. Modern bourgeois society -with its relations of production, of exchange and of property, a society that has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of ex change, is like the sorcerer, who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells. For many a decade past the history of indus try and commerce is but the history of the revolt of modern productive forces against modern conditions of production, against the property relations that are the conditions for the existence of the bourgeoisie and of its rule. It is enough to mention the commer cial crises that by their periodical return put on its trial, each time more threaten ingly, the existence of the entire bourgeois society. Inthesecrisesagreatpartnotonly of the existing products, but also of the previously created productive forces, are pe riodically destroyed. In these crises there breaks out an epidemic that, in all earlier epochs, would have seemed an absurdity— the epidemic of over-production. Society suddenly finds itself put back into a state of momentary barbarism; it appears as if a famine, a universal war of devastation had cut off the supply of every means of sub sistence; industry and commerce seem to be destroyed; and whyP Because there is too much civilisation, too much means of sub sistence, too much industry, too much com merce. The productive forces at the disposal of society no longer tend to farther the development of the conditions of bourgeois property; on the contrary, they have become too powerful for these conditions, by which they are fettered, and so soon as they over come these fetters, they bring disorder into the whole of bourgeois society, endanger the existence of bourgeois property. The con ditions of bourgeois society are too narrow to comprise the wealth created by them. And how does the bourgeoisie get over these crisesP On the one hand by enforced de struction of a mass of productive forces; on the other, by the conquest of new markets, and by the more thorough exploitation of theoldones. Thatistosay,bypavingthe way for more extensive and more destructive
'crises, and by diminishing the means whereby crises are prevented.
The weapons with which the bourgeoisie felled feudalism to the ground are now turned against the bourgeoisie itself.
But not only has the bourgeoisie forged the weapons that bring death to itself; it has also called into existence the men who are to wield those weapons— the modern working- class— the proletarians.
In proportion as the bourgeoisie, i. e., capital, is developed, in the same proportion is the proletariat, the modern working-class, developed, a class of labourers, who live only so long as they find work, and who find work only so long as their labour increases capital. These labourers, who must sell them selves piecemeal, are a commodity, like every other article of commerce, and are conse quently exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition, to all the fluctuations of the market.
Owing to the extensive use of machinery and to division of labour, the work of the proletarians has lost all individual character, and, consequently, all charm for the work man. He becomes an appendage of the ma chine, and it is only the most simple, most monotonous, and most easily acquired knack thatisrequiredofhim. Hence,thecostof production of a workman is restricted, al most entirely, to the means of subsistence that he requires for his maintenance, and for the propagation of his race. But the price of a commodity, and also of labour, is equal to its cost of production. In proportion, therefore, as the repulsiveness of the work increases, the wage decreases. Nay more, in proportion as the use of machinery and divi sion of labour increases, in the same propor tion the burden of toil also increases, whether by prolongation of the working hours, by in crease of the work enacted in a given time,; or by increased speed of the machinery, etc.*
Modern industry has converted the little workshop of the patriarchal master into the great factory of the industrial capitalist. Masses of labourers, crowded into the fac tory, are organised like soldiers. As pri vates of the industrial army they are placed under the command of a perfect hierarchy of officers and sergeants. Not only are they the slaves of the bourgeois class, and of the bourgeois State, they are daily and hourly enslaved by the machine, by the over-looker, and, above all, by the individual bourgeois manufacturer himself. The more openly this despotism proclaims gain to be its end and aim, the more petty, the more hateful and the more embittering it is.
The less the skill and exertion or strength implied in manual labour, in other words, the more modern industry becomes devel oped, the more is the labour of men super sededbythatofwomen. Differencesofage and sex have no longer any distinctive so cialvalidityfortheworkingclass. Allare instruments of labour, more or less expen sive to use, according to their age and sex.
No sooner is the exploitation of the la bourer by the manufacturer, so far, at an end, that he receives his wages in cash, than he is set upon by the other portions of the bourgeoisie, the landlord, the shopkeeper, the pawnbroker, etc.
The lower strata of the Middle class— the small tradespeople, shopkeepers, and retired tradesmen generally, the handicraftsmen and peasants— all these sink gradually into the proletariat, partly because their diminu tive capital does not suffice for the scale on which Modern Industry is carried on, and is swamped in the competition with the large capitalists, partly because their specialised skill is rendered worthless by new methods of production. Thus the proletariat is re cruited from all classes of the population.
The proletariat goes through various stages of development. With its birth begins its struggle with the bourgeoisie. At first the contest is carried on by individual labour ers, then by the workpeople of a factory, then by the operatives of one trade, in one locality, against the individual bourgeois who directly exploits them. They direct their attacks not against the bourgeois conditions of production, but against the instruments of production themselves; they destroy im ported wares that compete with their labour, they smash to pieces machinery, they set factories ablaze, they seek to restore by force the vanished status of the workman of the Middle Ages.
At this stage the labourers still form an incoherent mass scattered over the whole country, and broken up by their mutual competition. Ifanywheretheyunitetoform more compact bodies, this is not yet the con sequence of their own active union, but of the union of the bourgeoisie, which class, in order to attain its own political ends, is compelled to set the whole proletariat in
motion, and is moreover yet, for a time, able to do so./ At this stage, therefore, the proletarians do not fight their enemies, but the enemies of their enemies, the remnants of absolute monarchy, the landowners, the non- industrial bourgeois, the petty bourgeoisie. Thus the whole historical movement is concentrated in the hands of the bourgeoisie; every victory so obtained is a victory for the bourgeoisie.
But with the development of industry the proletariat not only increases in number; it becomes concentrated in greater masses, its strength grows, and it feels that strength more. The various interests and conditions of■life within the ranks of the proletariat are more and more equalised, in proportion as machinery obliterates all distinctions of labour, and nearly everywhere reduces wages to the same low level. The growing competition among the bourgeois, and the resulting commercial crises, make the wages of the workers ever more fluctuating. The unceasing improvement of machinery, ever more rapidly developing, makes their liveli hood more and more precarious; the colli sions between individual workmen and indi vidual bourgeois take more and more the character of collisions between two classes. Thereupon the workers begin to form com binations (Trades' Unions) against the bour geois; they club together in order to keep
up the rate of wages; they found permanent associations in order to make provision be forehand for these occasional revolts. Here and there the contest breaks out into riots.
Now and then the workers are victorious, butonlyforatime. Therealfruitoftheir battles lies, not in the immediate result, but in the ever expanding union of the workers. This union is helped on by the improved means of communication that are created by modern industry, and that place the workers of different localities in contact with one an other. It was just this contact that was neededtocentralisethenumerous localstrug gles, all of the same character, into one na tional struggle between classes. But every class struggle is a political struggle. And that union, to attain which the burghers of the Middle Ages, with their miserable high ways, required centuries, the modern prole- terians, thanks to railways, achieve in a few years.
This organisation of the proletarians into a class, and consequently into a political party, is continually being upset again by the competition between the workers them selves. But it ever rises up again, stronger, firmer,mightier. Itcompelslegislativerec ognition of particular interests of the work ers, by taking advantage of the divisions among the bourgeoisie itself. Thus the ten- hours'-bill in England was carried.
Altogether collisions between the classes of the old society further, in many ways, the course of development of the proletariat. The bourgeoisie finds itself involved in a constant battle. At first with the aristoc racy; later on, with those portions of the bourgeoisie itself, whose interests have be come antagonistic to the progress of indus try; at all times, with the bourgeoisie of for eign countries. In all these battles it sees itself compelled to appeal to the proletariat, to ask for its help, and thus, to drag it into the political arena. The bourgeoisie itself, therefore, supplies the proletariat with its own elements of political and general educa tion, in other words, it furnishes the prol etariat with weapons for fighting the bour geoisie.
Further, as we have already seen, entire sections of the ruling classes are, by the advance of industry, precipitated into the proletariat, or are at least threatened in their conditions of existence. These also supply the proletariat with fresh elements of en lightenment and progress.
Finally, in times when the class-struggle nears the decisive hour, the process of dis solution going on within the ruling class, in fact within the whole range of old so ciety, assumes such a violent, glaring char acter, that a small section of the ruling class cuts itself adrift, and joins the revolu tionary class, the class that holds the future initshands. Justas,therefore,atanearlier period, a section of the nobility went over to the bourgeoisie, so now a portion of the bour geoisie goes over to the proletariat, and in particular, a portion of the bourgeois ideolo gists, who have raised themselves to the level of comprehending theoretically the his torical movements as a whole.
Of all the classes that stand face to face with the bourgeoisie to-day, the proletariat alone is a really revolutionary class. The other classes decay and finally disappear in the face of modern industry; the proletariat is its special and essential product.
The lower middle-class, the small manu facturer, the shopkeeper, the artisan, the peasant, all these fight against the bour geoisie, to save from extinction their exist ence as fractions of the middle class. They are therefore not revolutionary, but con servative. Nay more, they are reactionary, for they try to roll back the wheel of his tory. If by chance they are revolutionary, they are so, only in view of their impending transfer into the proletariat, they thus de fend not their present, but their future in terests, they desert their own standpoint to place themselves at that of the proletariat.
The "dangerous class," the social scum, that passively rotting mass thrown off by the lowest layers of old society, may, here and there, be swept into the movement by a proletarian revolution; its conditions of life, however, prepare it far more for the part of a bribed tool of reactionary intrigue.
In the conditions of the proletariat, those of old society at large are already virtually swamped. The proletarian is without prop erty; his relation to his wife and children has no longer anything in common with the bourgeois family-relations; modern indus trial labour, modern subjection to capital, the same in England as in France, in America as in Germany, has stripped him of every trace of national character. Law, morality, re ligion, are to him so many bourgeois preju
dices, behind which lurk in ambush just as many bourgeois interests.
All the preceding classes that got the up per hand, sought to fortify their already ac quired status by subjecting society at large to their conditions of appropriation. The proletarians cannot become masters of the productive forceB of society, except by abol ishing their own previous mode of appropria tion, and thereby also every other previous mode of appropriation. They have nothing of their own to secure and to fortify; their mission is to destroy all previous securities for, and insurances of, individual property.
All previous historical movements were movements of minorities, or in the interest of minorities. The proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interest of the immensemajority. Theproletariat,thelow est stratum of our present society, cannot stir, cannot raise itself up, without the whole superincumbent strata of official society be ing sprung into the air.
Though not in substance, yet in form, the struggle of the proletariat with the bour geoisieisatfirstanationalstruggle. The proletariat of each country must, of course, first of all settle matters with its own bour geoisie.
In depicting the most general phases of the development of the proletariat, we traced the more or less veiled civil war, raging within existing society, up to the point where that war breaks out into open revolution, and where the violent overthrow of the bour geoisie, lays the foundation for the sway of the proletariat.
Hitherto, every form of society has been based, as we have already seen, on the an tagonism of oppressing and oppressed classes. But in order to oppress a class, certain con ditions must be assured to it under which it can, at least, continue its slavish existence. The serf, in the period of serfdom, raised himself to membership in the commune, just as the petty bourgeois, under the yoke of feudal absolutism, managed to develop into
a bourgeois. The modern labourer, on the contrary, instead of rising with the progress of industry, sinks deeper and deeper below . the conditions of existence of his own classAr He becomes a pauper, and pauperism devel
ops more rapidly than population and wealth. And here it becomes evident, that the bourgeoisie is unfit any longer to be the ruling class in society, and to impose its conditions of existence upon society as an over-ridinglaw. Itisunfittorule,because it is incompetent to assure an existence to its slave within his slavery, because it can not help letting him sink into such a state, that it has to feed him, insead of being fed by him. Society can no longer live under this bourgeoisie, in other words, its exist ence is no longer compatible with society.
The essential condition for the existence, and for the sway of the bourgeois class, is the formation and augmentation of capital; the condition for capital is wage-labour. Wage-labour rests exclusively on competi tion between the labourers. The advance of industry, whose involuntary promoter is the bourgeoisie, replaces the isolation of the la bourers, due to competition, by their invol untarycombination,duetoassociation. The development of Modern Industry, therefore, cuts from under its feet the very foundation on which the bourgeoisie produces and ap propriates products. What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable.
II. PROLETARIANS AND COMMUNISTS.
In what relation do the Communists stand to the proletarians as a wholeP
The Communists do not form a separate party opposed to other working-class par ties.
They have no interests separate and apart from those of the proletariat as a whole.
They do not set up any sectarian principles of their own, by which to shape and mould the proletarian movement.
The Communists are distinguished from the other working class parties by this only:
It In the national struggles of the proleta rians of the different countries, they point out and bring to the front the common interests of the entire proletariat, independently of all nationality. 2. In the various stages of development wnicn tne struggle of the working class against the bourgeoisie has to pass through, they always and everywhere represent the interests of the movement as a whole.
The Communists, therefore, are on the one hand, practically, the most advanced and resolute section of the working class par ties of every country, that section which pushes forward all others; on the other hand, theoretically, they have over the great mass of the proletariat the advantage of clearly understanding the line of march, the condi tions, and the ultimate general results of the proletarian movement.
The immediate aim of the Communists is the same as that of all the other proletarian parties: formation of the proletariat into a class, overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy, conquest of political power by the proletariat.
The theoretical conclusions of the Commun ists are in no way based on ideas or prin ciples that have been invented, or discov ered, by this or that would-be universal re former.
They merely express, in general terms, ac tual relations springing from an existing class struggle, from a historical movement going on under our very eyes. The abolition of existing property-relations is not at all a distinctive feature of Communism.
All property relations in the past have continually been subject to historical change consequent upon the change in historical conditions.
The French Revolution, for example, abol ished feudal property in favour of bour geois property.
The distinguishing feature of Communism is not the abolition of property generally, but the abolition of bourgeois property. But modern bourgeois private property is the final and most complete expression of the system of producing and appropriating pro ducts, that is based on class antagonism, on the exploitation of the many by the few.
In this sense, the theory of the Commun ists may be summed up in the single sen tence: Abolition of private property.
W e Communists have been reproached with the desire of abolishing the right of person ally acquiring property as the fruit of a man's own labour, which property is alleged to be the ground work of all personal free dom, activity and independence.
Hard-won, self-acquired, self-earned prop erty! Doyoumeanthepropertyofthepetty artizan and of the small peasant, a form of property that preceded the bourgeois formP There is no need to abolish that; the develop ment of industry has to a great extent al ready destroyed it, and is still destroying it daily.
Or do you mean modern bourgeois private propertyP
But does wage-labour create any property for the labourerP Not a bit. It creates cap ital, i. e., that kind of property which ex ploits wage-labour, and which cannot in crease except upon condition of getting a new supply of wage-labour for fresh exploit ation. Property, in its present form, is based on the antagonism of capital and wage-labour. Let us examine both sides of this antagonism.
To be a capitalist, is to have not only a purely personal, but a social status in pro duction. Capitalisacollectiveproduct,and only by the united action of many members, nay, in the last resort, only by the united action of all members of society, can it be set in motion.
Capital is therefore not a personal, it is a social power.
When, therefore, capital is converted into common property, into the property of all members of society, personal property is not therebytransformedintosocialproperty. It is only the social character of the prop ertythatischanged. Itlosesitsclass-char acter.
Let us now take wage-labour.
The average price of wage-labour is the minimum wage, i. e., that quantum of the means of subsistence, which is absolutely re quisite to keep the labourer in bare existence as a labourer. What, therefore, the wage- labourer appropriates by means of his la bour, merely suffices to prolong and repro duce a bare existence. W e by no means in tend to abolish this personal appropriation of the products of labour, an appropriation that is made for the maintenance and repro duction of human life, and that leaves no surplus wherewith to command the labour of others. Allthatwewanttodoawaywithis the miserable character of this appropria tion, under which the labourer lives merely to increase capital, and is allowed to live only in so far as the interest of the ruling class requires it.
In bourgeois society, living labour is but a means to increase accumulated labour. In Communist society, accumulated labour is but a means to widen, to enrich, to promote the existence of the labourer.
In bourgeois society, therefore, the past dominates the present; in communist society, the present dominates the past. In bour geois society capital is independent and has individuality, while the living person is de pendent and has no individuality.
And the abolition of this state of things is called by the bourgeois, abolition of indi viduality and freedom! And rightly so. The abolition of bourgeois, individuality, bour geois independence, and bourgeois freedom is undoubtedly aimed at.
By freedom is meant, under the present bourgeois conditions of production, free trade, free selling and buying.
But if selling and buying disappears, free selling and buying disappears also. This talk about free selling and buying, and all the other "brave words" of our bourgeoisie about freedom in general, have a meaning, if any, only in contrast with restricted sell ing and buying, with the fettered traders of the Middle Ages, but have no meaning when opposed to the Communistic abolition of buy ing and selling, of the bourgeois conditions of production, and of the bourgeoisie itself.
You are horrified at our intending to do awaywithprivateproperty. Butinyourex isting society, private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the popu lation; its existence for the few is solely due to its non-existence in the hands of those nine-tenths. You reproach us, therefore, with intending to do away with a form of prop erty, the necessary condition for whose ex istence is, the non-existence of any property for the immense majority of society.
In one word, you reproach us with intend ing to do away with your property. Pre cisely so: that is just what we intend.
From the moment when labour can no longer be converted into capital, money, or rent, into a social power capable of being monopolised, i. e., from the moment when individual property can no longer be trans formed into bourgeois property, into capi tal, from that moment, you say, individual ity vanishes.
You must, therefore, confess that by "in dividual" you mean no other person than the bourgeois, than the middle-class owner of