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Primary_Sources_on_Communism - I“ I mm N‘le and cage/5...

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Unformatted text preview: I“ I , mm N‘le and cage/5, 200 “A World to Wml”; The Indusmal Revolution 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 Communists are in no way based on ideas or principles that have been invented, or discovered, by this or that would—be universal reformer. 7 They merely express, in general terms, actual 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 fea— ture of Communism. All property relations in the past have continually been subject to histori- cal change consequent upon the change in historical conditions. ' The French Revolution, for example, abolished feudal property in favor of bourgeois property. The distinguishing feature of Communism is not the abolition of property generally, but the abolition of bourgeois property. But modern bourgeois pri- vate property is the final and most complete expression of the system of pro— ducing and appropriating products, that is based on class antagonism, on the exploitation of the many by the few. In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the sin- gle sentence: Abolition of private property. . . 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. But let us have done with the bourgeois objections to Communism. We have seen abovejthat the first step in the revolution by the working class, is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class, to win the battle of democracy. The proletariat will use its political supremacy, to wrest, by degrees, all cap- ital from‘the bourgeoisie, to centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the State, i.e., of the proletariat organized as the ruling class; and to increase the total of productive forces as rapidly as possible. Of course, in theebeginning, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on the conditions of hour-- geois production; by means of measures, therefore, which appear economi— cally insufficient and untenable, but which, in the course of the movement, outstrip themselves, necessitate further inroads upon the old social order, and are unavoidable as a means of entirely revolutionizing the mode of pro— duction. These measures will of course be different in different countries. Nevertheless in the most advanced countries the followmg will be pretty generally applicable: 1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to pub- lic purposes. 2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax. 7‘1 Qmmuwv’ filmm‘fm‘o ’ fat/AM? “A World to Win!” Thei’ndusinalRevolution 201 . Abolition of all rights of inheritance. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels. . Centralization of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank With State capital and an exclusive monopoly. 6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State. 7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State; the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan. 8. Equal liability of all to labor. Establishment of industrial armies, espe— cially for agriculture. 9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abo— lition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equable distribution of population over the country. 10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with indus— trial production, etc., etc. Org-ism When, in the course of development, class distinctions have disappeared, and all production has been concentrated in the hands of a vast association of the whole nation, the public power will lose its political character. Political power, properly so called, is merely the organized power of one class for. op— pressing another. If the proletariat during its contest with the bourgeoiSie is compelled, by the force of circumstances, to organize itself as a class, if, by means of a revolution. it makes itself the ruling class, and, as such, sweeps away by force the 01d conditions of production, then it will, along with these conditions, have swept away the conditions for the existence of class antago— nisms, and of class generally, and will thereby have abolished its own su— premacy as a class. In place of the old bourge01s society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all. , . . In short, the Communists everywhere support every revolutionary move— ment against the existing social and political order of things. In all these movements they bring to the front, as the leading question in each, the property question, no matter What its degree of development at the time. Finally, they labor everywhere for the union and agreement of the democ— ratic parties of all countries. The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly de— clare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all ex- isting social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revo— lution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to Win. Workers of the world, unitel 22 / INDUSTRIALIZATION, URBANIZATION, AND REVOLUTION, 1830—1850 WWW”. Draft of a Communist Confession of Faith June 9, 1847 QUESTION 1: Are you a Communist? ANSWER: Yes. QUESTION 2: What is the aim of the Communists? ANSWER: To organise society in such a way that every member of it can de~ velop and use all his capabilities and powers in complete freedom and without thereby infringing the basic conditions of this society. QUESTION 3: How do you wish to achieve this aim? ANSWER: By the elimination of private property and its replacement by com— munity of property. QUESTION 4: On what do you base your community of property? ANSWER: Firstly, on the mass of productive forces and means of subsistence resulting from the development of industry, agriculture, trade and colonisation, and on the possibility inherent in machinery, chemical and other resources of their infinite extension. Secondly, on the fact that in the consciousness or feeling of every individual there exist certain irrefutable basic principles which, being the result of the whole of historical development, require no proof. QUESTION 5: What are such principles? ANSWER: For example, every individual strives to be happy. The happiness of the individual is inseparable from the happiness of all, etc. QUESTION 6: How do you wish to prepare the way for your community of property? ANSWER: By enlightening and uniting the proletariat. QUESTION 7: What is the proletariat? ANSWER: The proletariat is that class of society which lives exclusively by its labour and not on the profit from any kind of capital; that class whose weal and woe, whose life and death, therefore, depend on the alternation of times of good and bad business; in a word, on the fluctuations of competition. QUESTION 8: Then there have not always been proletarians? ANSWER: No. There have always been poor and working classes; and those who worked were almost always the poor. But there have not always been prole— tarians, just as competition has not always been free. QUESTION 9: How did the proletariat arise? ANSWER: The proletariat came into being as a result of the introduction of the machines which have been invented since the middle of the last century and the moSt important of which are: the steam-engine, the spinning machine and the power loom. These machines, which were very expensive and could therefore only be purchased by rich people, supplanted the workers of the time, because by the use of machinery it was possible to produce commodities more quickly and cheaply than could the workers with their imperfect spinning wheels and hand—looms. The machines thus delivered industry entirely into the hands of the big capitalists and Friedrich Engels Tu Draft of a Communist Confessum of Faith 127 mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm ,. WWW...” MmmmamwmnmwnWWMMW—«Wma rendered the workers’ scanty property which consisted mainly of their tools, looms, etc, quite worthless, so that the capitalist was left with everything, the worker with nothing. In this way the factory system was introduced. Once the capitalists saw how advantageous this was for them, they sought to extend it to more and more branches of labour. They divided work more and more between the workers so that workers who formerly had made a whole article now produced only a part of it. Labour simplified in this way produced goods more quickly and therefore more cheaply and only now was it found in almost every branch of labour that here also machines could be used. As soon as any branch of labour went over to factory pro- duction it ended up, just as in the case of spinning and weaving, in the hands of the big capitalists, and the workers were deprived of the last remnants of their indepen— dence. We have gradually arrived at the position where almost all branches of labour are run on a factory basis. This has increasingly brought about the ruin of the pre— viously exrsting middle class, especially of the small master craftsmen, completely transformed the previous position of the workers, and two new classes which are gradually swallowing up all other classes have come into being, namely: 1. The class Of the big capitalists, who in all advanced countries are in al— most exclusrve possession of the means of subsistence and those means (machines, factories, workshops, etc.) by which these means of subsis— tence are produced. This is the bourgeois class, or the hourgeoiste. II. The class of the completely propertyless, who are compelled to sell their labour to the first class, the bourgeois, simply to obtain from them in return their means of subsistence. Since the parties to this trading in labour are not equal, but the bourgeois have the advantage, the property- less must submit to the bad conditions laid down by the bourgeois. This class, dependent on the bourgeois, is called the class of the proletarians or the proletariat. QUESTION 10: In what way does the proletarian alifi‘er from the slave? ANSWER: The slave is sold once and for all, the proletarian has to sell himself by the day and by the hour. The slave is the property of one master and for that very reason has a guaranteed subsistence, however wretched it may be. The pro— letarian is, so to speak, the slave of the entire bourgeois class, not Of one master, and therefore has no guaranteed subsistence, since nobody buys his labour if he does not need it. The slave is accounted a thing and not a Inember of civil society. The proletarian is recognised as a person, as a member of civil society. The slave may, therefore, have a better subsistence than the proletarian but the latter stands at a higher stage of development. The Slave frees himself by becoming a proletar— ian, abolishing from the totality of property relationships only the relationship of slavery. The proletarian can free himself only by abolishing property in general. QUESTION 11: In what way does the proletarian difler from the serf? ANSWER: The serf has the piece of land, that is, of an instrument of produc— tion, in return for handing over a greater or lesser portion of the yield. The pro— letarian works with instruments of production which belong to someone else who, in return for his labour, hands over to him a portion, determined by 128 22 / lNDUSTRIALIZATION, URBANIZATION, AND REVOLUTION, 18304850 competition, of the products. In the case of the serf, the share of the labourer is determined by his own labour, that is, by himself. In the case of the proletarian it is determined by competition, therefore in the first place by the bourgeOIs. The serf has guaranteed subsistence, the proletarian has not. The serf frees himself by driving out his feudal lord and becoming a property owner himself, thus enter— ing into competition and joining for the time being the possessing class, the privileged class. The proletarian frees himself by doing away with property, competition, and all class differences. QUESTION 12: In what way does the proletarian dififer from the handicraftsman? ANSWER: As opposed to the proletarian, the so—called handicraftsman, who still existed nearly everywhere during the last century and still exists here and there, is at most a temporary proletarian. His aim is to acquire capital himself and so to exploit other workers. He can often achieve this aim where the craft guilds still exist or where freedom to follow a trade has not yet led to the organisation of handwork on a factory basis and to intense competition. But as soon as the fac— tory system is introduced into handwork and competition is in full swing, this prospect is eliminated and the handicraftsman becomes more and more a prole— tarian. The handicraftsman therefore frees himself either by becoming a hour— geois or in general passing over into the middle Class, or, by becoming a proletarian as a result of competition (as now happens in most cases) and joining the movement of the proletariat—Le, the more or less conscious communist movement. QUESTION 13: Then you do not believe that community ofproperty has been possible at any time? ‘ ANSWER: No. Communism has only arisen since machinery and other inven— tions made it- possible to hold out the prospect of an all—sided development, a happy existence, for all members of society. Communism is the theory of a liber— ation which was not possible for the slaves, the serfs, or the handicraftsmen, but only for the proletarians and hence it belongs of necessity to the 19th century and was not possible in any earlier period. QUESTION 14: Let us go back to the sixth question. As you wish to prepare for community of property by the enlightening and uniting of the proletariat, then you reject revolution? ANSWER: We are convinced not only of the uselessness but even of the harm— fulness of all conspiracies. We are also aware that revolutions are not made deliberately and arbitrarily but that everywhere and at all times they are the nec— essary consequence of circumstances which are not in any way whatever depen— dent either on the will or on the leadership of individual parties or of whole classes. But we also see that the development of the proletariat in almost all countries of the world is forcibly repressed by the possessing classes and that thus a revolution is being forcibly worked for by the opponents of communism. If, in the end, the oppressed proletariat is thus driven into a revolution, then we will defend the cause of the proletariat just as well by our deeds as now by our words. Friedrich Engels o Draft of a Communist Confession of Faith 129 QUESTION 15: Do you intend to rep prroperty at one stroke? ANSWER: We have no such intention. The development of the masses cannot be ordered by decree. It is determined by the development of the conditions in which these masses live, and therefore proceeds gradually. QUESTION 16: How do you think the transition from the present situation to community of property is to be efi’ected? ANSWER: The first, fundamental condition for the introduction of commu— nity of property is the political liberation of the proletariat through a democratic constitution. lace the existing social order by community 2QUESTION 17: What will be your first measure once you have established democ- racy. ANSWER: Guaranteeing the subsistence of the proletariat. QUEsrioN 18: How will you do this? ANSWER: l. By limiting private property in such a way that it gradually pre~ pares the way for its transformation into social property, eig., by progressive taxation, limitation of the right of inheritance in favour of the state, etc., etc. ll. By employing workers in national workshops and factories and on national estates. Ill. By educating all children at the expense of the state. QUESTION I9: How will you arrange this kind of education during the period of transition? ANSWER: All children will be educated in state establishments from the time when they can do without the first maternal care. QUESTION 20: Will not the introduction of community of property be accompa— nied by the proclamation of the community of women? ANSWER: By no means. We will only interfere in the personal relationship be— tween men and women or With the family in general to the extent that the mainte— nance of the ex13ting institution would disturb the new social order. Besides, we are well aware that the family relationship has been modified in t i I he course of history by the property relationships and by periods of development, a i 1 d. I . nd that consequently tie en ing of private property Will also have a most important influence on it. QUESTION 21: Will nationalities continue to exist under communism? ; ANSWER: The nationalities of the peoples who join together according to the principle of community will be just as much compelled by this union to merge with one another and thereby supersede themselves as the various differences be- tween estates and classes disappear through the superseding of their basis—pri~ vate property. QUESTION 22: Do Communists reject the existing religions? r ANSWER: All religions which have existed hitherto were expressions of histor— ical stages of development of individual peoples or groups of peoples. But com- munism is that stage of historical development which makes all existing religions superfluous and supersedes them. 324 The Russian Revolution and the Development of the Totalitmion State (19] 7—1939) In fulfilling these tasks, the Provisional Government is animated by the be- lief that it will thus execute the will of the people, and that the whole nation will support it in its honest efforts to insure the happiness of Russia. This belief in— spires it with courage. Only in the common effort of the entire nation and the Provisional Government can it see a pledge of triumph of the new order. March 19. 1917 Policy of the Petrograd Soviet (March 27, 1917) Comrade—proletarians, and toilers of all countries: We, Russian workers and soldiers, united in the Petrograd Soviet of Work— ers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, send you warmest greetings and announce the great event. The Russian democracy has shattered in the dust the age—long despotism of the Tsar and enters your family [of nations] as an equal, and as a mighty force in the struggle for our common liberation. Our Victory is a great victory for the freedom and democracy of the world. The chief pillar of reaction in the world, the “Gendarme of Europe” is no more. May the earth turn to heavy granite on his gravel Long live freedom! Long live the interna- tional solidarity of the proletariat, and its struggle for final victoryl Our work is not yet finished: the shades of the old order have not yet been dispersed, and not a4 few enemies are gathering their forces against the Russ- ian revolution. Nevertheless our achievement so far is tremendous. The peo— ple of Russia will express their will in the Constituent Assembly, which will be called as soon as possible on the basis of universal, equal, direct, and secret suffrage. And it may already be said without a doubt that a democratic repub- lic will triumph in Russia. The Russian people now possess full political lib— erty. They can now assert their mighty power in the internal government of the country and in its foreign policy. And, appealing to all people who are being, destroyed and ruined in the mons...
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