Animal Farm




























by George Orwell




Character Descriptions (brief)

Plot Outline (brief)

Russian Revolution Timeline (brief)

Study Questions A

Study Questions B


Theme Analysis

Metaphor Analysis

Novel Notes

Character Descriptions (in-depth)

Plot Outline (in-depth)

Russian Revolution Timeline (in-depth)

Historical Backdrop:  Orwell and the Times in Which He Lived

The October Revolution and the Working Class Today

Eighty Years of Capitalist Lies

Libertarianism and Trotskyism

The Decline of the Revolution and Libertarianism

The Errors of the Russian Working Class

Lessons of the Russian Experience

The Principals of Communism by Frederick Engels

The Communist Manifest


Animal Farm by George Orwell




More often than not, Animal Farm is taught as little more than a lesson in what happened in Russia in 1917. In this regard, the story teaches much about a historical event of major significance, but one that, in light of the end of the cold war, has diminishing "realness" for modern students. Of course, the lessons of the Russian Revolution can be applied to other political revolutions and thereby the story picks up a bit more universality. However, I would suggest that students should also realize that Orwell speaks of an ongoing battle against the exploitation of the weak by the strong.


The essential question of Animal Farm is NOT "Could it happen again?" The essential question is "Do you realize that it IS happening everyday all around you?" And beyond that question is, perhaps the more important question, "What are YOUR responsibilities to do something about it?"



Terms you need to know:



























Character Descriptions (brief)



Mr. Jones


Old Major







                  who moves nimbly and has a shrill voice






                  They just go on as they always have, despite the circumstances


Beasts of England


The Farmhouse


The Flag


The Windmill


The Whip


Plot Outline (brief)



Ch. I          Old Major reveals his dream.

                  The animals learn Beasts of England.


Ch. II         Old Major dies.

                  “Manor Farm” becomes “Animal Farm.”


Ch. III       The animals run the farm.

                  Snowball organizes committees.

                  Napoleon educates the puppies.


Ch. IV       Mr Jones tries to recapture the farm,

                        but he and the other farmers are driven off in the Battle of the Cowshed.


Ch. V         Snowball proposes the windmill.

                  Napoleon signals the dogs to drive Snowball away.

                  Napoleon cancels Sunday debates and announces that the windmill will be built after all.


Ch. VI       Napoleon announces trade with humans.

                  The pigs move into the farmhouse.

                  Napoleon blames Snowball for the collapse of the windmill.


Ch. VII            The hens protest when Napoleon decides to sell their eggs.

                  Squealer tells the animals that Snowball was in league with Mr. Jones from the beginning.

                  The dogs kill Napoleon’s enemies and some self-confessed traitors.


Ch. VIII    Mr. Frederick pays for the pile of timber with forged banknotes.

                  Mr. Frederick and the other farmers attack the farm and destroy the windmill,

                        but are driven off by the animals in the Battle of the Windmill.


Ch. IX       Boxer collapses and is taken away by the slaughterer

                  Squealer tells the other animals that Boxer was taken to a hospital and died.

                  The pigs hold a banquet for themselves in Boxer’s honor.


Ch. X         Few animals remain who remember life before the rebellion.

                  The pigs walk on their hind legs, carry whips,

                        and becomes indistinguishable from humans.

                  “Animal Farm” becomes “Manor Farm.”

Russian Revolution Timeline (brief)



1613 –       first Romanov czar


1861 –       Czar Alexander II signs the emancipation decree freeing all the Russian serfs


1903 –       the Bolshevik Party is formed


1905 –       In January, the Russian Revolution begins, the first time the Soviets are organized. 

            Bloody Sunday – Czarist troops open fire on a peaceful demonstration of workers in

                  St. Petersburg

            In October, a general strike sweeps Russia.  The strike ends when the Czar promises a



1906 –       Russia’s first parliament, the Duma, is formed and later dissolved.


1914 – World War I (WWI) begins.  St. Petersburg is changed to Petrograd


1916 – Rasputin is murdered


1917 – In February, the revolution begins.  Nicholas II is forced to abdicate the throne.  A

provisional government is formed.  The Bolsheviks take over, and Lenin returns from


            In March, the death penalty is abolished.

            In July, Kerensky becomes the prime minister.  The government headquarters is moved

from Petrograd to Moscow.  The death penalty is reinstated.  Trotsky is arrested, and

Lenin goes into hiding.

            In October, the Bolsheviks overthrow the provisional government.

            On October 25, the Winter Palace is stormed, and Nicholas II and his family are executed.

            On October 27, the death penalty is abolished again.


1918 – Lenin sends Trotsky to sign a peace treaty with Germany, but he walks out of the

negotiations.  The Bolshevik Party is renamed the Communist Party.


1921 – A peasant unrest sweeps Russia.  These uprisings are suppressed, but the New Economic

Policy is proclaimed that gives the peasants the right to sell their grain surpluses.


1922 – Russia becomes the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).  IN April, Stalin

becomes Secretary General, and Lenin has his first stroke.


1923 – Lenin has a second stroke.


1924 – Lenin dies.  Petrograd becomes Leningrad.  The USSR constitution is ratified.  Trotsky is

defeated by a triumvirate of Stalin, Kamenev, and Zinoviev.  Though Stalin stays in

the background, it is he who has the real power.


1929 – Trotsky is deported.  Collectivization begins.


1934 – Stalinist purges begin.  The Great Purge includes the execution of many Soviet army

commanders by Stalin’s secret police.


1939 – Minimum labor days are set for collective farms.  Stalin is named “Man of the Year” by

Time magazine.


1940 – Trotsky is murdered in Mexico.


1941 – Stalin names himself head of government.


1942 – Stalin is named “Man of the Year” a second time.


1953 – Stalin dies.





Study Questions



Chapter 1

  1.  What is the name of the farm?

  2.  Who owns the farm?

  3.  What problem does he have?

  4.  Who had a strange dream?

  5.  Why does Old Major assemble the animals?

  6.  Identify the following: 3 hogs, 2 carthorses, goat, donkey, mare, raven.

  7.  Describe the animals’ lives according to Old major (3 things) How is their life similar to the lives

            of migrant farm workers who work on someone else’s land?

  8.  Who do the animals see as the enemy?

  9.  In one word, what is Old Major's message to the animals?

10.  To what situation does Old Major point to show that there are opportunities for the animals to

            run the farm on their own?

11.  List the ideals outlined by Old Major that should prevail after the rebellion.

12.  Who were voted in as comrades?

13.  What song did the animals sing?

14.  What did the singing do?

15.  Reread the words of the “Beasts of England” song.  Which things do the animals want to

            vanish?  Which things do they see as an important part of the utopia to come?

16.  What broke up the meeting?

17.  What political idea in Russian history does Old Major represent?

18.  To what political figure in Russian history does Jones correspond?




  1.  ensconced

  2.  benevolent

  3.  cynical

  4.  laborious

  5.  tyranny

  6.  dissentients





Chapter 2

  1. What time of year did old major die?

  2.  The pigs take over like the Bolsheviks did.  Why does this seem natural?

  3. Which animal was the most clever?

  4. What two pigs were emerging as leaders? Describe each of them.

  5.  Who are the three main pigs?  Who/ What do they represent?

  6.  The pigs formulate the teachings of Old Major into a system of thought.  What is it called?

            To what does it correspond?

  7.  What mysterious place did Moses talk of?

  8.  What was Mr. Jones' favorite "watering hole"?

  9.  What problems are encountered as the animals begin to discuss the coming rebellion?

10.  What animal committed the first rebellious act? What did they do?

11.  To whom does Mollie correspond?

12.  What problems does Moses, the raven, cause?

13.  Why is the rebellion so easily accomplished?

14.  What had the pigs taught themselves to do?

15.  What was the name of the farm changed to?

16.  List the 7 Commandments.

17.  What is done with the farmhouse?

18.  What have the pigs been doing for the past three months?

19.  Who formulated the Seven Commandments?

20.  How well did the Commandments ascribe to Old Major’s Dream?

21.  What was ironic about the working conditions after the rebellion?

22.  What is the motivation of the new government?

23.  What evidence is there of foreshadowing?




  1.  preeminent

  2.  vivacious

  3.  gamboled


Chapter 3

  1.  Is the society of Animal Farm a classless one or are the animals divided into classes?

      Support your answer.

  2.  Did the pigs actually work? Discuss.

  3.  What is significant about the quarrels between Napoleon and Snowball?

  4.  How long did it take the animals to do the harvest?

  5.  What was Boxer's personal motto?

  6.  Describe Animal Farm's flag. What did it represent?

  7.  Describe the ceremonies that took place on Sundays.

  8.  What did the pigs use as their headquarters?

  9.  What is the significance of Napoleon’s taking away the puppies?

10.  To what extent did Boxer learn the alphabet?

11.  What single sentence did Snowball reduce the 7 Commandments to?

12.  How does reducing the Seven Commandments reflect Orwell’s ideas about totalitarianism and

      what happens after revolution?

13.  Who repeatedly talked to the animals on behalf of the pigs?

14.  What episode causes Squealer to use trickery?

15.  What were the animals completely certain of?

16.  Does the work on the farm conform to the ideal “from each according to his ability, to each

      according to his need”?

17.  Who is most admired among the workers?

18.  Why did Benjamin say, “Donkeys live a long time.  None of you has ever seen a dead donkey”?

19.  To what do the “hoof and horn” on the flag correspond?

20.  How much did the reading and writing lessons accomplish?

21.  What happened to the apples?  Why is this important?

22.  Who do the sheep, when chanting “Four legs good, two legs bad,” symbolize?




  1.  obstinate

  2.  cryptic

  3.  indefatigable

  4.  maxim

  5.  propulsion







Chapter 4

  1.  What is the historical parallel to “Manor Farm” being changed to “Animal Farm”?

  2.  How did Napoleon and Snowball spread the news of the rebellion to the animals on

            neighboring farms?

  3. What two farms were beside Animal Farm?

  4.  Did Pilkington and Frederick offer to help Jones at first?  How did they react to their own

            animals singing “Beasts of England”?  What is the historical correlation?

  5. What time of year did the first battle take place?

  6.  To what does the Battle of the Cowshed correlate historically?

  7. What book did Snowball study in preparing the farm's defenses?

  8. Who was killed?

  9. What animal was wounded?

10. Which one of the humans was injured?

11.  Where was Mollie during the battle?  Who does she symbolize?

12.  From where did Snowball give the sound for retreat?

13.  Why did Snowball call for retreat?

14. What two military decorations were created?

15.  What makes Boxer seem particularly human and likable?

16.  How does Napoleon show his ruthlessness?

17. What did the battle become known as?

18. What was set up at the foot of the flagstaff?

19.  What human rituals did the animals use to celebrate their victory?




  1.  tractable

  2.  irrepressible

  3.  ignominious

  4.  posthumously



Chapter 5

  1.  Who disappeared? Where was she later seen?

  2.  What happened at crucial moments in Snowball's speech?

  3.  What did Snowball want to build?

  4.  What did Napoleon do to Snowball's plans?

  5.  Under what two slogans did the animals form themselves?

  6.  What happened to Jessie and Bluebell's puppies?

  7.  What happened to Snowball?

  8.  What did Napoleon announce would come to an end?

  9.  What was set up on a stump at the foot of the flagstaff?

10.  Who had a remarkable gift for composing songs and poems?

11.  If Mollie was a person, what would she be like?

            How does she betray the ideals of Animal Farm?

12.  What does Mollie lose by her actions?  What commentary about materialism does this reveal?

13.  Describe the power struggle between Napoleon and Snowball. 

            To what does this relate historically?

14.  What idea did Snowball have to improve conditions on the farm?

15.  The animals divided into two factions.  What slogans were devised? 

16.  Who said life would “go on badly, as it always had”?

17.  What was the dispute about defense of the farm?  Which plan seems best?

18.  How did the animals react when they listened to Napoleon and Snowball?

19.  What happens at the meeting about the windmill?  To what historical even does this relate?

20.  Look back at the Seven Commandments.  Which one is no longer in effect?

21.  What is significant about the dogs wagging their tails at Napoleon?

22.  What changes are made after Snowball is ousted?

23.  How did Squealer convince the animals that Napoleon was actually helping them?

24.  What phrase always stopped any arguments from the animals?

25.  What two phrases does Boxer use frequently?

26.  When Squealer explains about the windmill at the end of Chapter 5, what two things cause the

            animals to go along with his explanation?

27.  Who do the fierce dogs symbolize?




  1.  pretext

  2.  canvassing

  3.  sordid




Chapter 6

  1. What did Napoleon announce? What was the penalty for not volunteering?

  2. How did the animals deal with the huge boulders?

  3. What were Boxer's two slogans?

  4. What new policy did Napoleon decide upon?

  5. Who was hired to handle the affairs of Animal Farm?

  6. What sight brought a certain pride to the animals?

  7. What commandment did the pigs break? How did they cover it up?

  8. Which animal refused to grow enthusiastic about the windmill?

  9. What happened to the windmill?

10. What did Napoleon offer for the capture of Snowball?

11.  What is ironic about the animals working on the windmill on Sundays?

12.  Why were the animals willing to work so hard?

13.  What special difficulties did the windmill present?

14.  Without whom would the windmill have been impossible?

15.  Why is the phrase “even the pigs joined in at critical moments” important?

16.  What was the explanation for trading with other farms? 

            What was the reaction of some of the       animals?  What was the pigs’ answer?

17.  What did Napoleon tell the hens about giving up their eggs?

18.  How is Snowball used as a scapegoat?

19.  What other habit have the pigs adopted that bother the other animals, Clover in particular?

20.  Which commandment is changed and how?

21.  The discovery of pig footprints leading away from the windmill into the hedge is given as proof

      that Snowball sabotaged the windmill.  What is the fallacy in this logic?




  1.  arable

  2.  intermediary

  3.  perpendicularity

  4.  malignity








Chapter 7

  1.  How was the building of the windmill going to be different?

  2.  How did the animals attempt to fool Mr. Whymper?

  3.  Why were the hens upset?

  4.  What rumor was circulating about Snowball?

  5.  Who was said to be in league with Snowball?

  6.  Who had difficulty believing Snowball was a threat?

  7.  What did Napoleon award himself?

  8.  Which animals were the first killed by Napoleon?

  9.  What happened to "Beasts of England"?

10.  Who wrote the new song?

11.  What was one of the strongest motivations for completing the rebuilding of the windmill?

12.  How were the humans tricked into thinking conditions on Animal Farm were better than they

            really were?

13.  Why does it finally become necessary for the hens to surrender all their eggs?

14.  How did the hens react?

15.  What “deal” is Napoleon contemplating?  What does this symbolize?

16.  What additional information is revealed about Snowball?

17.  Even Boxer does not believe that Snowball was always a traitor.  Why is it a dangerous move for

            him to say this?  What clues (foreshadowing) are given in the text?

18.  What do the confessions and executions of the pigs, hens, goose, and sheep symbolize?  Which                  of the Seven Commandments does this violate?

19.  To what did Boxer attribute the frightening slaughter of fellow animals?

20.  What is Squealer’s explanation for forbidding the singing of “Beasts of England”?

21.  How is the general idea of the new song completely different from “Beasts of England”?




  1.  capitulated

  2.  categorically

  3.  retribution



Chapter 8

  1.  How was the sixth Commandment changed?

  2.  What titles did the pigs invent for Napoleon?

  3.  What poem did Minimus write in honor of Napoleon?

  4.  What terrible stories concerning Mr. Frederick were circulating around the farm?

  5.  What name was given to the windmill?

  6.  Why was Napoleon upset with Mr. Frederick?

  7.  What battle took place in this chapter?

  8.  Did the animals win the battle? Why or Why not?

  9.  What new decoration did Napoleon create?

10.  How was the fifth Commandment changed?

11.  Why did no one “care to mention” recalling a commandment about animals killing other

            animals in the hearing of the pigs or the dogs?

12.  How had the sixth commandment been changed?

13.  Squealer’s Sunday morning revelation of the increased production figures is a good example of….?

14.  What language manipulation causes the animals to give Napoleon the credit for all of the good

            things accomplished on the farm?

15.  What were the animals told about Snowball’s medals?

16.  What problem occurred with the wood deal?  What does the wood deal represent?

17.  Describe the battle with Frederick’s men and explain how the animals felt immediately after the

            destruction of the windmill.  How did the pigs renew the animals’ spirits?

18.  Who, for the first time, is starting to feel old?

19.  What vice have the pigs now adopted?  This is against what commandment?

20.  What made Squealer announce that Napoleon was dying?

21.  Why did Napoleon plough up the retired animal grazing ground?

22.  What is the connection between Squealer’s fall from the ladder and the change in the fifth

            commandment?  Who noticed the change?




  1.  impending

  2.  machinations

  3.  censured

  4.  conciliatory



Chapter 9

  1. What was Boxer's one real ambition?

  2. How old was Boxer?

  3. What was going to be built in the farmhouse garden?

  4. How much beer were the pigs receiving daily? What about Napoleon?

  5. What happened in April?

  6. According to Moses, what was Sugar Candy Mountain like?

  7. How did Boxer get hurt?

  8. What was Boxer's fate?

  9. What did Squealer announce to the animals concerning Boxer's death?

10. What did the pigs purchase at the end of the chapter?

11.  How does the prospect of retirement inspire Boxer to work harder? 

            How is this similar to human feelings and reactions toward retirement?

12.  What euphemism was used to convince the animals that they were not really receiving less food

            than they had under Jones?

13.  Why do the animals think that these days are better than the days under Jones?

14.  Which species of animal is increasing in number?  Which is decreasing?

15.  What is significant about only the young pigs being educated and their being discouraged from

            playing with other young animals?

16.  What do the pigs’ green tail ribbons represent?

17.  How were the Spontaneous Demonstrations useful to the pigs?  Think of similar examples of

            crowd events and rituals which please the masses in our world.

18.  How was the president of the new Republic elected?  What does the farm changing to a

            Republic symbolize?

19.  What is significant about the reappearance of Moses at this time?

20.  What is the tragedy of Boxer?  If Boxer symbolizes the loyal proletariat, what was Orwell saying

            about Communism?

21.  Why were the animals willing to believe the stories Squealer told them about the circumstances

            of Boxer’s death?

22.  How did the pigs use Boxer’s death to further their aims?




  1.  superannuated



 Chapter 10

  1. Who were the only animals to remember the old days with Mr. Jones?

  2. What was the windmill used for?

  3. What do the pigs learn to do?

  4. What do the pigs now carry in their trotters?

  5. What do the Sheep now say?

  6. What remains of the seven Commandments?

  7. Who made a toast to the Animal Farm?

  8. What did Napoleon announce would be the new name of Animal Farm?

  9. What was the source of the violent quarrel between Mr.Pilkington and Napoleon?

10. What is the difference between man and pig at the end of Chapter 10?

11.  Had any of the animals retired?

12.  According to Benjamin, what is the unalterable law? Is this true?

13.  Although the animals’ living conditions have not improved, what one thing do they feel proud about?

14.  What do you think the secret knowledge of “The Beasts of England” signifies?  Tie this to the

            events of 1990-1991?

15.  What dream do the animals still have at the beginning of Chapter X?  What happens to destroy this hope?

16.  What does Benjamin read to Clover?

17.  What does the meeting between the humans and pigs at the end of the chapter represent?  What

            does the quarrel over the two aces stand for?

18.  Discuss the final irony at the end of the novel.

19.  What does the ending have to say regarding Orwell’s attitude toward both Communism and           Capitalism?  Does either system treat its “lower classes” well in the novel?




  1.  incumbent

  2.  license

  3.  bon mot

Character Descriptions (in-depth)



Animal Farm is written in the form of a fable, and therefore its characters are often less important for their individual characteristics as for the more general types and specific historical figures they represent. While Animal Farm satirizes totalitarian regimes in general, it also refers more specifically to the Russian Revolution of 1917, and for this reason, many of its characters represent specific figures from those events.


Old Major: Old Major is the old pig whose visionary dream inspires the animals with their first concept of revolution. He may be compared to Karl Marx, whose ideologies and writings eventually led to the Communist Revolution.  The prize-winning boar whose vision of a socialist utopia serves as the inspiration for the Rebellion. Three days after describing the vision and teaching the animals the song "Beasts of England," Major dies, leaving Snowball and Napoleon to struggle for control of his legacy. Orwell based Major on both the German political economist Karl Marx and the Russian revolutionary leader Vladimir Ilych Lenin.


Clover - A good-hearted female cart-horse and Boxer's close friend. Clover often suspects the pigs of violating one or another of the Seven Commandments, but she repeatedly blames herself for misremembering the commandments.   The mare who, along with Boxer, becomes a loyal and devoted believer in the Revolution. After the executions on the farm, Clover assumes a motherly position, to which the other animals retreat for comfort and understanding.




Snowball (In-Depth Analysis)


 The brilliant, idealistic pig who, along with Napoleon, assumes a loose leadership at the beginning of the Revolution. His ideas are not always practical, but they are always grand and far-reaching. He is run off the farm by Napoleon and subsequently vilified by the common animals.

            Orwell's stint in a Trotskyist battalion in the Spanish Civil War—during which he first began plans for a critique of totalitarian communism—influenced his relatively positive portrayal of Snowball. As a parallel for Leon Trotsky, Snowball emerges as a fervent ideologue who throws himself heart and soul into the attempt to spread Animalism worldwide and to improve Animal Farm's infrastructure. His idealism, however, leads to his downfall. Relying only on the force of his own logic and rhetorical skill to gain his influence, he proves no match for Napoleon's show of brute force.

            Although Orwell depicts Snowball in a relatively appealing light, he refrains from idealizing his character, making sure to endow him with certain moral flaws. For example, Snowball basically accepts the superiority of the pigs over the rest of the animals. Moreover, his fervent, single-minded enthusiasm for grand projects such as the windmill might have erupted into full-blown megalomaniac despotism had he not been chased from Animal Farm. Indeed, Orwell suggests that we cannot eliminate government corruption by electing principled individuals to roles of power; he reminds us throughout the novella that it is power itself that corrupts.




Napoleon (In-Depth Analysis)


The aggressive, shrewd pig who, along with Snowball, becomes the early leader of Animal Farm. After he successfully eliminates Snowball, he gradually increases his personal power and privileges, while simultaneously tightening the control over the other animals. By seizing onto a populist revolution and turning it into his personal regime, he may be compared to his namesake, Napoleon Bonaparte of France.


            From the very beginning of the novella, Napoleon emerges as an utterly corrupt opportunist. Though always present at the early meetings of the new state, Napoleon never makes a single contribution to the revolution—not to the formulation of its ideology, not to the bloody struggle that it necessitates, not to the new society's initial attempts to establish itself. He never shows interest in the strength of Animal Farm itself, only in the strength of his power over it. Thus, the only project he undertakes with enthusiasm is the training of a litter of puppies. He doesn't educate them for their own good or for the good of all, however, but rather for his own good: they become his own private army or secret police, a violent means by which he imposes his will on others.

Although he is most directly modeled on the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, Napoleon represents, in a more general sense, the political tyrants that have emerged throughout human history and with particular frequency during the twentieth century. His namesake is not any communist leader but the early-eighteenth-century French general Napoleon, who betrayed the democratic principles on which he rode to power, arguably becoming as great a despot as the aristocrats whom he supplanted. It is a testament to Orwell's acute political intelligence and to the universality of his fable that Napoleon can easily stand for any of the great dictators and political schemers in world history, even those who arose after Animal Farm was written. In the behavior of Napoleon and his henchmen, one can detect the lying and bullying tactics of totalitarian leaders such as Josip Tito, Mao Tse-tung, Pol Pot, Augusto Pinochet, and Slobodan Milosevic treated in sharply critical terms.



Squealer (In-Depth Analysis)

This young pig is the persuasive speaker who is the liaison to the common animals, always convincing them to accept Napoleon's latest infringements on their rights. In this role, he represents the propaganda machine of a totalitarian government.

      Throughout his career, Orwell explored how politicians manipulate language in an age of mass media. In Animal Farm, the silver-tongued pig Squealer abuses language to justify Napoleon's actions and policies to the proletariat by whatever means seem necessary. By radically simplifying language—as when he teaches the sheep to bleat "Four legs good, two legs better!"—he limits the terms of debate. By complicating language unnecessarily, he confuses and intimidates the uneducated, as when he explains that "a bird's wing … is an organ of propulsion and not of manipulation." In this latter strategy, he also employs jargon ("tactics, tactics") as well as a baffling vocabulary of false and impenetrable statistics, engendering in the other animals both self-doubt and a sense of hopelessness about ever accessing the truth without the pigs' mediation. Squealer's lack of conscience and unwavering loyalty to his leader, alongside his rhetorical skills, make him the perfect propagandist for any tyranny. Squealer's name also fits him well: squealing, of course, refers to a pig's typical form of vocalization, and Squealer's speech defines him. At the same time, to squeal also means to betray, aptly evoking Squealer's behavior with regard to his fellow animals.






Boxer (In-Depth Analysis)

Boxer is the hardworking cart-horse who becomes the strongest devotee of the Revolution, standing behind Napoleon through all of the outrages he commits. He symbolizes the downtrodden peasants who are lied to and mistreated by political figures out for personal gain.

      The most sympathetically drawn character in the novel, Boxer epitomizes all of the best qualities of the exploited working classes: dedication, loyalty, and a huge capacity for labor. He also, however, suffers from what Orwell saw as the working class's major weaknesses: a naive trust in the good intentions of the intelligentsia and an inability to recognize even the most blatant forms of political corruption. Exploited by the pigs as much or more than he had been by Mr. Jones, Boxer represents all of the invisible labor that undergirds the political drama being carried out by the elites. Boxer's pitiful death at a glue factory dramatically illustrates the extent of the pigs' betrayal. It may also, however, speak to the specific significance of Boxer himself: before being carted off, he serves as the force that holds Animal Farm together.

            Boxer is the hardworking cart-horse who becomes the strongest devotee of the Revolution, standing behind Napoleon through all of the outrages he commits. He symbolizes the downtrodden peasants who are lied to and mistreated by political figures out for personal gain.





Mollie: Mollie is the young mare who runs away because she cannot endure the loss of her precious sugar lumps and colored ribbons. Her departure is seen by some of the animals as a betrayal. Mollie represents the fickle class of nobles who fled Russia after the Revolution.


Benjamin: Benjamin is the gloomy, cynical donkey who never embraces the Revolution or stands in opposition to it. He represents the human tendency toward cynicism, apathy, and the belief that "things will never change".


Moses: Moses the raven always tells the animals fantastical tales of Sugarcandy Mountain, a marvelous place where no animals have to work. Moses, however, is free to fly away, and comes and goes from Animal Farm as he chooses. He symbolizes organized religion in general, and the Russian Orthodox Church more specifically.


Farmer Jones: Farmer Jones is the man who originally owned Animal Farm, and who is overthrown by the animals at the beginning of the Revolution. He symbolizes corrupt and fatally-flawed governments that create societies ripe for Revolution.


Muriel: Muriel the goat is the farm animal who reads better than the rest of the "common' animals. Though she does not always understand the meaning of what she reads, she often reads the altered Commandments to the other farm animals, and so to the reader she may symbolize a revelatory force.


Pilkington: The neighboring farmer who Napoleon plays off Frederick in negotiations for the pile of timber. Pilkington's nonchalance and apathy toward the situation at large is a commentary on a specific type of decadent and unpolitically-minded British gentleman, as well as on the slow response of the Allies during World War II.


Frederick: The evil and cruel farmer to whom Napoleon eventually sells the pile of timber; he pays in forged bank notes, thus cheating Animal Farm. The rumors of exotic and cruel animal tortures he performs on his "farm" are meant to echo the horror stories emerging from Nazi Germany.


Whymper: Whymper is the man who acts as a trade agent for Animal Farm. His interests in the farm's affairs are purely business-minded, and his lack of concern for the animal rights issues behind the Animal Farm regime offer up a parody of the activities of countries that conduct business with communist regimes.


Squealer (In-Depth Analysis)

      Throughout his career, Orwell explored how politicians manipulate language in an age of mass media. In Animal Farm, the silver-tongued pig Squealer abuses language to justify Napoleon's actions and policies to the proletariat by whatever means seem necessary. By radically simplifying language—as when he teaches the sheep to bleat "Four legs good, two legs better!"—he limits the terms of debate. By complicating language unnecessarily, he confuses and intimidates the uneducated, as when he explains that "a bird's wing … is an organ of propulsion and not of manipulation." In this latter strategy, he also employs jargon ("tactics, tactics") as well as a baffling vocabulary of false and impenetrable statistics, engendering in the other animals both self-doubt and a sense of hopelessness about ever accessing the truth without the pigs' mediation. Squealer's lack of conscience and unwavering loyalty to his leader, alongside his rhetorical skills, make him the perfect propagandist for any tyranny. Squealer's name also fits him well: squealing, of course, refers to a pig's typical form of vocalization, and Squealer's speech defines him. At the same time, to squeal also means to betray, aptly evoking Squealer's behavior with regard to his fellow animals.




Moses - The tame raven who spreads stories of Sugarcandy Mountain, the paradise to which animals supposedly go when they die. Moses plays only a small role in Animal Farm, but Orwell uses him to explore how communism exploits religion as something with which to pacify the oppressed.

Mollie - The vain, flighty mare that pulls Mr. JJones's carriage. Mollie craves the attention of human beings and loves being groomed and pampered. She has a difficult time with her new life on Animal Farm, as she misses wearing ribbons in her mane and eating sugar cubes. She represents the petit bourgeoisie that fled from Russia a few years after the Russian Revolution.


Benjamin - The long-lived donkey who refuses to feel inspired by the Rebellion. Benjamin firmly believes that life will remain unpleasant no matter who is in charge. Of all of the animals on the farm, he alone comprehends the changes that take place, but he seems either unwilling or unable to oppose the pigs.


Benjamin (In-Depth Analysis)

      Although he is a minor figure in the plot of Animal Farm, the old mule Benjamin represents an important point of view in the novel. Firmly rooted in the working class, Benjamin nevertheless shows great insight into the thought processes of the elite, recognizing the pigs' strategies of social control and seeing through their promises of a brighter future. Benjamin appears to be the only animal in a position to set things right again, but, for whatever reason, he chooses not to organize the lower animals or to oppose the pigs openly himself. Perhaps a stand-in for the class of disaffected intellectuals to which Orwell himself belonged, Benjamin provides an image of the potential power of writers on the left—a power that Orwell suggests is all too often wasted.


Muriel - The white goat who reads the Seven Commandments to Clover whenever Clover suspects the pigs of violating their prohibitions.


Mr. Jones - The often drunk farmer who runs the Manor Farm before the animals stage their Rebellion and establish Animal Farm. Mr. Jones is an unkind master who indulges himself while his animals lack food; he thus represents Tsar Nicholas II, whom the Russian Revolution ousted.


Mr. Frederick - The tough, shrewd operator of Pinchfield, a neighboring farm. Based on Adolf Hitler, the ruler of Nazi Germany in the 1930s and 1940s, Mr. Frederick proves an untrustworthy neighbor.


Mr. Pilkington - The easygoing gentleman farmer who runs Foxwood, a neighboring farm. Mr. Frederick's bitter enemy, Mr. Pilkington represents the capitalist governments of England and the United States.

Mr. Whymper - The human solicitor whom Napoleon hires to represent Animal Farm in human society. Mr. Whymper's entry into the Animal Farm community initiates contact between Animal Farm and human society, alarming the common animals.


Jessie and Bluebell - Two dogs, each of whom gives birth early in the novel. Napoleon takes the puppies in order to "educate" them.


Minimus - The poet pig who writes verse about Napoleon and pens the banal patriotic song "Animal Farm, Animal Farm" to replace the earlier idealistic hymn "Beasts of England," which is passed on to the others by Major.




Plot Outline (in-depth)



Chapter One: Summary

      As the story opens on Mr. Jones's farm, the farm animals are preparing to meet after Mr. Jones goes to sleep, to hear the words that the old and well-respected pig, Old Major, wants to say to them. The animals gather around as Old Major tells them that he had a dream the previous night and senses that he will not live much longer. As the animals prepare for his speech, the narrator identifies several of the animals that will become more important in the story: the cart-horses Boxer and Clover, the old donkey Benjamin, and Mollie the pretty mare. Before he dies, he wants to tell the animals what he has observed and learned in his twelve years. Old Major goes on to say that animals in England are cruelly kept in slavery by man, who steals the animals' labor and is "the only creature that consumes without producing". He describes his vision of an England in which animals are free and live in complete harmony and cooperation, free of the tyranny of man and his evil habits.

      Old Major tells the animals that they must all band together to fight the common enemy, Man, and rise up in rebellion when the opportunity comes. He exhorts them to remain true to their animal ways, and then leads them in a rousing song of revolution, called "Beasts of England". They are stirred into a frenzy by Old Major's speech and sing the song five consecutive times, until Mr. Jones stirs and fires a shot into the air to quiet them down. Soon the whole farm falls asleep.


Chapter One: Analysis

      Animal Farm is a satire on the Russian Revolution, and is one of the best 20th-century examples of allegory, an extended form of metaphor in which objects and persons symbolize figures that exist outside the text. As its title suggests, the setting for this fable-like novel is a farm, and the bulk of the characters are the farm animals themselves, all of whom symbolize various revolutionary figures or political ideologies.

The opening chapter introduces the theme of revolution that dominates Animal Farm, as well as introduces the farm animals who are less notable for their individual characters than for the political figures they will symbolize in later chapters. Old Major is the central figure in Chapter One. He lights the spark of revolution on the farm, and symbolizes the idealistic revolutionary leaders whose ideas served as the catalyst for revolution in Russia and more general within the Communist movement. His statement that "the life of an animal is misery and slavery" echoes the 17th-century philosopher Hobbes, who famously described human life as "nasty, brutish, and short".

      The first chapter contains many examples of the whimsy that is scattered throughout Animal Farm, most notably in the way Orwell describes the various farm animals in semi-human terms. We meet Clover, the mare "who never quite got her figure back after her fourth foal," an example of Orwell drawing attention to the very "animalness" of the farm animals by juxtaposing it with traditionally human characteristics and foibles. Orwell's writing style here, as throughout the novel, is plain, spare, and simple, a technique which emphasizes the fable aspect of Animal Farm; by using minimalist language and short, simple sentence structure, Orwell draws the reader's attention to the animals' perspective, a point of view which will lead to great irony as the revolution unfolds.


Chapter Two: Summary

      Three days later, Old Major dies and is buried. His revolutionary fervor lives on, and the animals begin to flesh in the revolutionary ideology with which they will overthrow Mr. Jones. Two of the pigs, Snowball and Napoleon, emerge as the leaders of the animals. Snowball is naturally vivacious, while Napoleon "has a reputation for getting his own way". Another pig named Squealer also becomes prominent for his persuasive speaking ability. These three pigs create a system of tenets and name it "Animalism," and begin imparting it to the rest of the animals, often simplifying and slowly reasoning with the less-intelligent animals such as the Sheep, or the frivolous animals, like Mollie the white mare. The cart-horses Boxer and Clover are the most responsive of all the animals, and Moses the tame raven is the most difficult animal for the pigs to persuade to join the revolution. Moses claims that he knows of the existence of a magical place called Sugarcandy Mountain, and his tales are a constant distraction to the other animals.

Revolution comes earlier than anyone expected, when Mr. Jones gets so drunk that he is unable to go feed the animals. After a day and a half without food, the hungry animals finally riot and break into the feeding area themselves, prompting Mr. Jones and his field hands to come outside. The animals attack them with a vengeance, and the men flee, leaving Manor Farm to the animals. Mrs. Jones wakes up during the commotion, and when she discovers what has happened, she runs off with a suitcase of clothes herself. The animals rejoice, walking over the farm to examine their property, curiously investigate the farmhouse interior, and celebrate with extra rations of food. The next morning, Snowball repaints the sign reading "Manor Farm" to say "Animal Farm," and he and Napoleon introduce the animals to The Seven Commandments, which form the tenets of their "Animalism":

1.       Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.

2.       Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.

3.       No animal shall wear clothes.

4.       No animal shall sleep in a bed.

5.       No animal shall drink alcohol.

6.       No animal shall kill another animal.

7.       All animals are created equal.

The cows by this time need milking, so the pigs manage to milk them. Several of the animals want some of the milk for themselves, but Napoleon distracts them, saying that they have more important things to attend to and that he will take care of it. Later that day, the animals notice that the milk had disappeared.


Chapter Two: Analysis

      With his death, Old Major symbolizes the idealistic, often intellectual or abstract vision that leads to a revolution. His death clears the path for other younger figures to seize the revolutionary fervor which is sweeping the farm and use it to propel themselves to position of power. Napoleon, Snowball, and Squealer are cleverer, sneakier, and more aggressive than the other animals, and they soon rise to power as the leaders of the revolutionary movement.

      The other animals' hesitancy to accept the revolutionary ideology right away is symbolic of the peasants in Russia who were at first suspicious of the revolutionaries motives. The reservations they express, such as the plaint that "Mr. Jones feeds us. If he were gone, we would starve to death," symbolize the people's reluctance to abandon the security of their familiar forms of governance in favor of a self-determined, less secure future. Squealer's persuasive tactics in convincing the animals to unite in revolution symbolize the personable, persuasive speaking powers of a charismatic political leader.

The Seven Commandments are significant for their resounding censure not only of animal inequality, but less predictably of human habits at large. The first two and last two commandments are aimed at reinforcing the unity of the animal world and establishing some basic beliefs for the animals to share. Commandments 3-5, which explicitly forbid the animals to engage in human activities such as sleeping in beds, wearing clothes, or drinking alcohol, are fundamentally different. With these Commandments, the animal society attaches a significance and prestige to these vestiges of human life that they might have not developed otherwise. With no taboos against wearing the Jones's clothes, for example, one can imagine a scenario where the animals wear the clothes briefly as a curiosity, with no harm done. By forbidding these acts, the Revolutionary leaders turn the items into signifiers of prestige and social standing, making the pigs' eventual adoption of human habits particularly disillusioning.









Chapter Three: Summary

      The Animalism regime begins very promisingly, with all the animals working industriously to improve the farm, and enjoying the feeling of self-governance and "animal pride" which their regime produces. Inspired by the idea that they would enjoy the fruits of their own labors for the first time, the animals overcome the challenges of farming without man and bring in the largest harvest Animal Farm has ever produced. Boxer the horse becomes a model of hard work and devotion to the cause, and adopts the personal motto, "I will work harder". The pigs do not actually perform any work, but instead supervise and coordinate the work for the rest of the animals. Mollie the mare is the only animal who shirks work. Benjamin, the old donkey, remains unchanged after the revolution, and cryptically says that "Donkeys live a long time." The animals observe a flag-raising ritual on Sundays, which is a day of rest for them. Snowball forms an array of committees aimed at social improvements, education, training, and the like. The education program achieves the greatest success, with all the animals achieving some degree of literacy. After the discovery that the stupider animals could not learn the Seven Commandments, Snowball reduces the tenets down to the maxim "Four legs good, two legs bad," which even the sheep can memorize, and bleat for hours on end. The dogs have a litter of nine puppies, which Napoleon takes under the guise of educating them. He keeps them secluded in the loft, and soon the other animals forget about them. After the apple harvest, the pigs announce that they will reserve all the apples and milk for themselves, to fuel the strenuous efforts required to manage the farm. The other animals reluctantly acquiesce.


Chapter Three: Analysis

      In Chapter Three we begin to see the first unmistakable signs that the Revolution will drift away from the common animals' ideals, which were more aligned with Old Major's vision of a classless society. The exclusion of the pigs from the farm labor marks the beginnings of the social stratification that would have been anathema to Old Major. The animals go along with these developments out of fear that without the pigs, Mr. Jones will return, though these fears are implanted by Squealer, who early on recognizes the value of fear in persuading the animals.

      Chapter Three also establishes the division between Snowball and Napoleon. Snowball is clearly the "thinker" of the movement, developing the flag-raising ritual and symbolism and creating the elaborate system of committees. To the reader, much of Snowball's activity seems benign, and even benevolent, as in the education efforts and improvement-minded groups like the Whiter Wool Movement for the sheep. These efforts establish Snowball as the symbolic descendant of Old Major's vision of animal life.

Napoleon, in contrast, becomes subtly malevolent in his interactions with the newborn puppies. Here, Orwell's use of perspective to create irony is significant. The scene (as is all of Animal Farm) is narrated from the unquestioning animals' point of view, and the narrator only remarks that Napoleon "kept [the puppies] in such seclusion that the rest of the farm soon forgot their existence". The tone of Orwell's animal perspective is, as always, noncommittal and unremarkable, but the more-perceptive reader is instantly alerted by this suspicious behavior on Napoleon's part, and is cued for the bolder violations which Napoleon will commit in subsequent chapters.


Chapter Four: Summary

      News of the rebellion at Animal Farm spreads quickly to the rest of the animals in England, and the words to "Beasts of England" can soon be heard on farms everywhere. Emboldened by the Animal Farm revolution, other previously subdued animals begin displaying subversive behavior in subtle ways, such as tearing down fences and throwing riders. This development alarms the local farmers, who have listened to Mr. Jones's tale of woe at the Red Lion tavern where he now spends most of his time. Alarmed by the developments at Animal Farm and the threat of revolution spreading, the townsmen band together with Mr. Jones and attempt to reclaim his farm. The animals successfully defend it, led by the strategy and bravery of Snowball. A young farm hand is thrown to the ground by Boxer, and at first it appears that he has been killed, but he gains consciousness a few moments later and runs off. At the first gunshot, Mollie the mare runs into the barn in terror and buries her head in the hay. Snowball and Boxer are given medals for their courageous fighting.

Chapter Four: Analysis

      One of the most notable features of this chapter is the conspicuous absence of Napoleon. This is the only post-revolution chapter in the book in which Napoleon is not mentioned even a single time. In contrast with Snowball's display of intelligence and bravery, Napoleon's absence can only mean that he was not a participant in the fighting, which supports the growing body of evidence in the reader's mind that Napoleon's fidelity to the revolutionary cause is questionable.

      Throughout the battle scenes, Snowball is repeatedly shown leading the charge against the men and organizing the battle plan, after the narrator casually mentions that he has been studying a copy of Julius Caesar's battle plans, which he found in the barn. The significance of this understated fact is not lost on the reader, and it contributes to the growing identification of Snowball with scholarship and intellectualism. By bestowing a medal on Snowball, the animals unwittingly raise the Napoleon/Snowball tension to a climax, resulting in an ideological face-off which soon prompts Napoleon to take drastic measures.

Chapter Four also offers the reader a first telling look at the reaction of the townspeople to the revolution on Animal Farm. Their reactions, which range from disbelief to fear to self-interest, represent the attitudes of modern states to revolution in another country. This symbolism becomes even clearer when the townsmen begin spreading rumors of natural perversion at Animal Farm, in the form of cannibalism, torture, and immoral sexual practices. The remarks reveal the degree to which Animal Farm threatens the other farmers, and form a parody of the propaganda that states so often employ as weapons against each other's regimes.


Chapter Five: Summary

      Unhappy with the new workload at Animal Farm, Mollie runs away to work pulling a dogcart for a man who feeds her sugar lumps, and she is never spoken of again. When winter comes, Snowball begins talking of a plan to build a windmill to bring electricity to the farm. Snowball has spent much of his spare time reading Mr. Jones's old books on farming techniques, and he envisions an Animal Farm where increased productivity will result in less work and more comfortable lifestyles for all the animals. Napoleon, who by this time disagrees with Snowball about almost everything, is bitterly opposed, and the animals become divided into two camps of supporters. Napoleon and Snowball also disagree about the best course of defense for the farm, with Snowball advocating the spread of the revolutionary spirit to neighboring farms, while Napoleon feels the animals should procure weapons and develop a military force. The animals are set to vote, and after Snowball's impassioned speech, Napoleon whistles for nine large dogs (the puppies that he has trained), and they attack Snowball and drive him off the farm. Napoleon becomes the single leader of the animals, abolishes their weekly debates and meetings, and announces that they will go through with the windmill scheme after all. The animals are initially dismayed by these developments, but Squealer eventually smoothes things over.


Chapter Five: Analysis

      In Chapter Five, the strife between Napoleon and Snowball reaches its climax. The two pigs represent two divisions of a post-revolutionary government, one (symbolized by Snowball) the more intellectual, visionary, and idealistic, and the other (represented by Napoleon) more economically-minded and authoritarian. With the appearance of the young puppies, now trained into killer attack dogs by Napoleon, the animals give their first strong sense of Napoleon's ideological betrayal; the dogs were the resources of the farm, and Napoleon seized them and then turned them against the farm animals themselves.

      Squealer's role becomes more central to the political development of the farm in these scenes as well. His persuasive abilities are now used exclusively to pacify the animals after each of Napoleon's disturbing proclamations. In this sense, Squealer functions as the charismatic and eloquent mouth-piece of the increasingly tyrannical government that Napoleon quickly puts in place.

      The reactions of Mollie the mare and Boxer the cart-horse can be contrasted in Chapter Five. Mollie is unable (or unwilling) to stand the strain of the new Animal Farm workload, and her love of luxuries such as sugar lumps and ribbons incline her more toward contact with humans anyway. Her flight can be seen as a portrayal of the flight of pampered nobles after a revolution. Boxer, on the other hand, responds to Napoleon's increasing control by giving himself a new mantra, "Napoleon is always right." Here Orwell satirizes the blind, unthinking devotion of the masses toward the political figure they originally supported, despite the leader's devolution into tyranny.


Chapter Six: Summary

      The animals begin working like slaves to complete the harvest and build the windmill. Napoleon announces that the animals will now perform "voluntary" work on Sundays. Though the work is officially called voluntary, any animal who does not participate will have their food rations cut in half. To finance the completion of the windmill, Napoleon announces that Animal Farm will begin trading with the men who run nearby farms. The animals think they remember Old Major speaking against evil human habits such as trade. Squealer convinces the animals that they are only imagining it. The sight of Napoleon on four legs conducting business with the farm's trade agent Mr. Whymper, who stands upright, makes the animals so proud that they ignore their misgivings. The pigs then move into the farmhouse, and Squealer again convinces that animals that they are only imagining the earlier rules against sleeping in beds. Some of the animals go to check the Fourth Commandment, and discover that it actually reads "No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets". Rather than realizing that the Commandment has been altered, the animals accept that they must have forgotten the ending before. The windmill is destroyed in a storm, and Napoleon blames it on Snowball, and places a reward on his head.


Chapter Six: Analysis

      Napoleon's reintroduction of trade to Animal Farm is his first step towards the reappearance of human customs. Not surprisingly, the pigs' move to the farmhouse follows shortly thereafter. Napoleon here proves himself willing to directly violate the Seven Commandments which had governed the animals since the revolution. His attempt to hide the illegality of this move by literally changing the wording of the commandments is quite telling, symbolizing a tyrant's disregard for truth and ethical considerations.

The specific rewording of the Fourth Commandment is also significant. Napoleon does not remove any of the commandments or substitute a new one for it, but rather adds a phrase to it to make it more specific; an injunction against sleeping in beds becomes an injunction against sleeping in beds with sheets. This narrowing of originally broader ideas is the key to Napoleon's slow transformation of the farm. He takes the revolution's original general ideas and language and alters, appends, and incorporates them into his own reign, so that they are barely recognizable to their original form.

      By blaming the windmill destruction on Snowball, Napoleon avoids the realization among the animals that anything, including storms, is out of his control. The Snowball lie unites the animals against a common enemy, just as the original revolution had bound them together against Man. Ironically though, the true leader of that revolution is twisted into their common enemy under Napoleon's propaganda.


Chapter Seven: Summary

      A hard winter comes, and the animals face near-starvation. To hide the food shortage from the outside world, Napoleon fills the grain bins with sand to fool Mr. Whymper. He also plants several animals at strategic locations during Mr. Whymper's visits so that he can hear them making "casual" (and false) remarks about food surpluses and increased rations. Napoleon announces the plan to sell a pile of timber to one of two neighboring farmers, Mr. Frederick or Mr. Pilkington. At Napoleon's bidding, Squealer announces that the hens will have to give up their eggs to be sold for money to buy grain. The hens refuse at first, but Napoleon cuts off their food rations until they relent, after nine of them have died from starvation. All sorts of acts of mischief and vandalism begin to surface, which are immediately attributed to Snowball. Soon after, Napoleon announces that an attempted rebellion has been discovered, and has several of the farm animals executed. The remaining animals react with fear and horror, and huddle around Clover the mare for comfort. She reminds them of Old Major's glorious speech and leads them all in "Beasts of England," which prompts Napoleon to forbid the singing of the song and replace it with the song "Animal Farm, Animal Farm, never through me shall thou come to harm".

Chapter Seven: Analysis

      Napoleon's decision to hide the food shortage from the outside world is meant to satirize the actions often taken by totalitarian regimes which experience internal crises. Reaching out to the capitalist/democratic powers for help would indicate the inferiority of authoritarian governments, and instead many leaders choose to sacrifice their citizens' welfare to save face. Napoleon's cover-up, as well as his personal gluttony, reflects the cruelty of his reign.

      The propaganda that Squealer begins spreading concerning Snowball aims to completely sever all remaining ties with the original revolution. By saying that Snowball was a traitor from the beginning‹that he was never truly concerned with the animals' welfare and was fooling them all along‹Napoleon attempts to discredit the entire early history of the revolution. By convincing the animals to go along with this toughest ideological shift, Squealer and Napoleon pave the way for their future changes.

      This ideological departure is further symbolized by the decision to abolish the singing of "Beasts of England." When the animals' traditional anthem is replaced by a tune praising Animal Farm as the ideal society, the animals never quite embrace the new song in the same way. This reluctance to accept the new song, especially when compared with the animals' relative ease at accepting new laws, work schedules, and ideologies, is a telling commentary on the enduring power of culture, and the difficulties faced by regimes that attempt to subvert a society's low-level cultural traditions.


Chapter Eight: Summary

      The animals discover that after the executions, another commandment is different from how they remembered it; the Sixth Commandment now reads "No animal shall kill another animal without cause". Napoleon has a long poem praising his leadership painted on the side of the barn, and it is announced that the gun will be fired each year on his birthday. All orders are delivered through Squealer, with Napoleon living in near seclusion in the farmhouse and rarely appearing on the farm in person. When he does make public appearances, it is only while accompanied by a retinue of dogs and other servants. Napoleon announces the sale of the pile of timber to Frederick, a neighboring farmer whose acts of cruelty toward his animals are legendary. After the transaction, it is revealed the Frederick paid with forged bank notes.  

      Napoleon pronounces a death sentence onto Frederick. Shortly thereafter, the farm is again attacked by neighboring farmers, led by Frederick himself. Napoleon appeals to Pilkington to help the cause of Animal Farm, but Pilkington's interest in the farm were only economic, and since he did not get the pile of timber, he refuses to help, sending Napoleon the message "Serves you right". The animals finally repel the farmers, but only with great difficulty, with Boxer sustaining a severe injury to his hoof and the windmill being destroyed in an explosion. Napoleon celebrates the victory by drinking lots of whisky, and despite his vicious hangover, the Fifth Commandment soon reads "No animal shall drink alcohol in excess".


Chapter Eight: Analysis

      In light of Napoleon's increasing distance from the rest of the animals, the poem composed in his honor by the official poet Minimus is fraught with irony. Napoleon is described as the "Ducklings' Friend," the "Friend of the Fatherless" who watches over all. Napoleon's actual isolation from the animals makes these praises ironically empty at best.

      Another important aspect of Napoleon's public persona is revealed by his actions after the farmers' last attack. He insists on firing the gun to celebrate the animals' victory, even though their collective mood can be gathered from Boxer's bitter question, "What victory?” Why does Napoleon insist on declaring the attack a victory for the animals? Thanks to the lionized persona he has built up for the masses, the acknowledgment of any kind of failure would represent a complete contradiction to his public image. His perceived perfection has been built up to such an extent that he can no longer afford anything less than complete success.

      After Napoleon has Squealer change the Fifth Amendment to allow the consumption of alcohol, Muriel the goat notices that "there was yet another of them which the animals had remembered wrong". Again and again, the discrepancies between what the animals remember as law and what Napoleon and Squealer declare is explained by the animals "remembering wrong". The question of the reliability of memory is one of the major themes of Animal Farm, and represents the effectiveness of official propaganda at erasing and calling into question the collective memories of entire nations.


Chapter Nine: Summary

      More and more, the animals begin to think about the generous retirement plans that had been part of the ideology of the early Revolution. Life is hard for the animals, and rations continue to be reduced, except for the pigs, who are allowed to wear green ribbons on Sundays, drink beer daily, and actually seem to be gaining weight. To keep the animals from complaining about the obvious discrepancies, Squealer continually reads the animals’ reports which detail how much better off they are now then before the Revolution. Animal Farm is declared a Republic and must elect a President. Napoleon is the only candidate and is elected unanimously. Moses the raven returns after an absence of several years, still talking about the mystical Sugarcandy Mountain. Boxer falls ill and Napoleon promises to send him to a hospital, but the animals read the sign of the truck as he is hauled away and discover that he is being taken to the butcher's. Squealer eventually convinces the animals that they are mistaken.


Chapter Nine: Analysis

      Napoleon's sudden announcement that the farm is to become a Republic is a social commentary on the manner in which many totalitarian regimes establish puppet democracies. The animals go through the motions of voting, but with only Napoleon running in the election, there is no true choice to be made. The result is a farcical parody of democracy that sets up a chilling contrast to the open decision-making process of the farm's early Revolutionary days.

      The language of the regime begins to play an important role in Chapter Nine as well. Squealer is always the bearer of bad news for the animals, and when he comes to tell them of yet another ration reduction, Orwell writes “ Squealer always spoke of it as a ‘readjustment’ never as a ‘reduction’ ". This aside plays up the uses of language to enforce and distort public perception.

      Moments like Boxer's removal to the horse butcher are when Animal Farm's ironic point of view becomes most crucial. The animals slowly grasp that Boxer is being sold for glue, but Squealer is easily able to pacify them with a sloppy lie. The reader, however, is not so easily tricked, and this discrepancy between what the animals and the narrating voice believe to be true and what the reader knows creates a bitter sense of irony.


Chapter Ten: Summary

      Years pass, and many of the older animals, who remember life before the Revolution, die off. Only cynical Benjamin remains just as he always was. The animal population has increased, but not as much as would have been predicted at the Revolution's beginning. Talk of retirement for the animals stops, and the pigs, who have become the largest group of animals by far, form a bureaucratic class in the government. As Napoleon ages, Squealer assumes a position of increasing power, and learns to walk upright. He teaches the sheep to change their chant to "Four legs good, two legs better," and the Seven Commandments are replaced with a single commandment: "All animals are created equal, but some animals are more equal than others". The animals are once again uneasy by the new political developments, but they comfort themselves with the knowledge that at least they have no human master. Squealer begins to seek out the approval of the neighboring farmers for his efficiency and order at Animal Farm. The pigs invite a group of townsmen to dinner to inspect the efficiency of Animal Farm, and the men congratulate the pigs on their achievements, noting that the animals at Animal Farm did more work and required less food than any farm in the county. Napoleon refers to the farm animals as "the lower classes" and announces that Animal Farm will take back its original name of The Manor Farm. As the animal watch the dinner proceedings through the window, they realize with horror that they can no longer tell the pigs' faces from the human ones.





Chapter Ten: Analysis

      The aging of the animals with the passage of time removes much of the grumblings and covert dissent that the regime faced early on in its existence. This transformation returns to the earlier theme of the reliability of memory. With all cultural traditions from the Revolution (such as the song "Beasts of England") now eliminated, and the older citizens slowly dying out, the Animal Farm society is becoming increasingly harsh, bleak, and ignorant of the great claims the revolutionaries once made.

      The rise of the bureaucracy offers a commentary on the nature of totalitarian governments which favor one class over the common citizens. Faced with a pig population growing much more rapidly than the rest of the animals, Squealer is forced to invent semi-secret and unnecessary "work" for them to perform. He explains to the other animals about the pigs' outputs, which "were large sheets of paper that had to be covered closely with writing, and as soon as they were so covered, they had to be burnt in the furnace."

The final, climactic scene, where the animals finally see the parallels between the pigs and the humans, is both chilling and poignant. The animals are honestly not as smart as the pigs, so it is with earnest and gullible faith that they have withstood the destruction of their revolutionary ideals and the advent of the totalitarian regime. The moment where they vividly recognize the pigs for the human-minded, and therefore hopelessly corrupted, rulers that they are, is a moment of disillusionment, and ultimately horror.



Russian Revolution Timeline (in-depth)



The Decembrists, a secretive organization dedicated to the overthrow of the Russian monarchy, attempts to spark a revolution in Russia. The effort fails, and many members are arrested.



Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto is completed in Brussels, Belgium.

The pamphlet became the defining document of a revolutionary new idea: the political and social system called communism.
Liberal revolutions in France and Germany create a climate of instability throughout Europe.



Seeking to increase its influence in the Middle East and to gain a southern port city, Russia attacks Turkey. The 3-year Crimean War follows, during which the Russians are badly defeated through the combined efforts of France, Britain, and Turkey.



The "narodnikis," a populist movement sparks short-lived peasant rebellions in Russia. The pressure applied by the narodnikis contributes to the emancipation of the serfs.



Russia's government declares the emancipation of the serfs. Russian peasants are freed from their formal bonds of servitude. The policy does little to remove the peasants' heavy burdens of poverty and backbreaking labor.



Marx organizes the First Communist Internationale in London, England. Its governing council directs the modest growth of communism in the coming years.



Vladimir Lenin is born in Simbirsk, Russia.




Future rivals to Lenin, Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin are born, the former in the Ukraine, the latter in the Russian territory called Georgia.



Revolutionary sentiment continues to build in Russia, as dissatisfaction with the political system and general conditions within the nation culminates with the assassination of Czar Alexander II.



Karl Marx dies.




Russo-Japanese War begins. A conflict over competing territorial interest in the Far East, Russia loses badly, duplicating their poor performance in the Crimean War of 1853-1856. Russia's economy is crippled by the expensive war effort, and many citizens are driven deeper in poverty.



"Bloody Sunday." Protestors gather at the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg--home to the Czar--to demand changes in the government and the alleviation of hunger and poverty in the nation. Royal troops fire into the crowd, killing many.

Arrival of the mystical peasant Rasputin in the royal court. Believed to have prophetic and healing powers, the dangerously unstable Rasputin soon comes to dominate court appointments and decisions.



Revolutionary Gavrilo Princip assassinates Austrian head of state Franz Ferdinand, sparking World War I. Russia's entry into the war strains its already outmoded and inefficient economy, creating catastrophic food shortages and widespread poverty.










"The February Revolution," growing out of violent street protests against the war and the poverty it contributed to, finally topples Czar Nicholas II. With the Czar gone, both the Provisional Government and the communist soviets make claims to power.

The October Revolution--Bolshevik troops, at the behest of Vladimir Lenin advance on the Provisional Government headquarters at the Winter Palace. A bloodless coup brings the soviets to power, and marks the start of the communist era.












Leon Trotsky signs a peace treaty with Germany and Austria-Hungary at Brest-Litovsk, Poland, ending Russian involvement in World War I. The treaty is not favorable to Russia; it passes a great deal of land to the enemy, and demands huge "reparations fees" be paid.

Civil war begins in Russia. "White" forces, intent on removing the soviets from power, battle the "Red" forces of communist Russia, under the leadership of Leon Trotsky. Trotsky’s skillful execution of the three-year war effort results in the maintenance of communist authority.

Vladimir Lenin orders the beginning of the "Red Terror," a systematic campaign during which the communist police and army forces round up and execute suspected opponents.



Lenin announces the New Economic Policy, which allows for limited private ownership of land and business. Lenin calls it a necessary "breathing space" before true communism can prevail.







USSR is formally established. It is a federation of Russian states united under the communist system.

Joseph Stalin is named Secretary-General, a powerful position in the communist hierarchy. His ability to make appointments to other positions of power gains him many important allies.

Lenin suffers paralyzing strokes, which remove him from a position of leadership.



Lenin dies. In the ensuing struggle for power, Joseph Stalin adroitly out-maneuvers Leon Trotsky, and assumes full command of the USSR. He immediately begins the process of isolating Trotsky within the party.



Stalin announces the first Five Year Plan, an ambitious attempt to make Russia a modern industrial state. Stalin exhorts his "comrades" throughout the Soviet Union to work harder than they ever have, so that Soviet Russia can prosper as a beacon of hope to workers everywhere.





Rise of fascist Adolph Hitler in Germany.

Stalin proposes the second Five Year Plan, which again emphasizes the rapid growth of Soviet Industry. By the end of the second Five Year Plan, Soviet Russia is a formidable world power.



The beginning of the "Great Purges" and "show trials" under Stalin. These public accusations and forced confessions were followed by quick trials and executions or imprisonment. Between 2-7 million people suspected of opposition to Stalin are executed; many more are sentenced to years of hard labor in the Gulags--cruel Soviet labor camps.




German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact: a secret agreement between Joseph Stalin and Adolph Hitler which carved Eastern Europe into German and Soviet spheres of influence. The pact also guaranteed that neither country would oppose or attack the other, in perpetuity.



Adolph Hitler begins "Operation Barbarossa," the full-frontal assault on the Soviet Union, in defiance of the Non-Aggression Treaty of 1939. Hitler moves quickly into Russia, straining his supply lines and trapping his troops deep within Russia as winter approached. The bitter winter that followed sapped German troop strength, and they began to retreat under a withering new counter-assault by the Russians.



World War II in Europe ends.


Historical Backdrop: Orwell and the Times in Which He Lived

"Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism as I understand it."

-- George Orwell, "Why I Write"


Animal Farm was published in August of 1945--a crucial moment in European and world history. In the previous four months, President Roosevelt, Mussolini and Hitler had died and Winston Churchill had been voted out of office. Germany had surrendered, and the U.S. had dropped atomic bombs over Japan. Of the big three Allied leaders, only Stalin survived.

In some ways, Animal Farm stands at the very beginning of the Cold War. During World War II, Russia had been an ally of the U.S. and England. After the battle of Normandy in February of 1944--when the Allies first began to beat back the German forces--Western nations felt a strong feeling of solidarity with the Russian people. The Russian army had suffered great losses, but it had helped protect England from a German invasion. As a result of the pro-Russian atmosphere, Orwell had a hard time finding a publisher for Animal Farm.

However, in the years following Animal Farm's publication, Russia fell farther and farther out of favor. In this respect, the novel stands as a predictor of what would later come to pass. However, it is important to note that Orwell's attack of Russia did not come from the political right--as most capitalist thinkers would attack it. Rather, Orwell’s complaint was from the left. He was concerned with the damage that the Soviet state did to the cause of socialism. He wrote in the preface to the Ukrainian edition:


"Nothing has contributed so much to the corruption of the original idea of Socialism as the belief that Russia is a Socialist country and that every act of its rulers must be excused, if not imitated. And so for the past ten years I have been convinced that the destruction of the socialist myth was essential if we wanted a revival of the socialist movement."


In 1848, German political philosopher Karl Marx with Friedrich Engels, published an influential pamphlet called the Communist Manifesto. Marx's criticism focused on the dominant political and economic system of his time, known as "capitalism." Germany, the United States, and England were powerful nations that lived under this system, and they were exporting it--sometimes by force--over the face of the globe. Capitalism encourages competition between its citizens, and provides rewards in an unequal way. Capitalist nations defended this distribution of goods on the grounds that the factory owners had often taken risks, or mastered skills, that the meat-packer had not. Therefore, the factory owner deserved the extra benefits.

Marx directed scathing attacks against this philosophy. The capitalist nations, he argued, allowed the wealthy few to amass huge fortunes, while the numerous poor toiled in unsafe factories for low wages, lived in wretched filth, and died before their time. Worse still, the rich denied equal opportunity to the poor, hoarding goods and reserving advantages like education and health care for themselves. Vast mansions existed alongside tenement-houses; in the one, every possible luxury could be found and every need was met, while next door whole families stuffed themselves into single rooms and ate meager rations. How could it be fair that the wealthy few had extra millions in the bank, while the masses struggled to survive, or starved to death?

Writing from Paris--where he lived in exile--Marx spoke of the dawning of a new social order based on the equal distribution of wealth and possessions among a nation's citizenry. In such a society, Marx theorized, tranquil relations would prevail between all men and women, and age-old problems like poverty, ignorance, and starvation would vanish. The rich would be compelled to yield their surplus to the poor, and individuals would produce according to their abilities, and consume according to their needs. Everyone would have what he or she needed, and no one citizen would possess more than another. 

An idealistic vision of the future--which would never arrive, Marx realized--until certain events came to pass. A brilliant economist and social critic, Marx understood that massive obstacles stood in the way of his better world. Casting his eye back across the arc of history, he asserted that in every era the same fundamental conflict emerged: The few well-placed and powerful sought to maintain their wealth by actively suppressing the natural desires of the many poor. These cruel circumstances were hard to change because the rich had no reason to share, and possessed the means by which to control the impoverished masses. The sheer numbers of the downtrodden represented a definitive advantage, however, and a declaration of war on their part would resolve the dispute. Marx took the view that it was the destiny of history itself that this battle should take place, and that the victorious poor would usher in an age of justice and equality.


In 1883, Karl Marx died in London, England. At the time of his passing, the full-scale revolutions he had predicted had not occurred, and no nations had declared themselves communist. Between 1848 and 1883, however, Marx had been busy spreading his creed. In the 1850's and 1860's he succeeded in forming various councils that directed broad revolutionary strategies. Throughout Europe, discontented workers met to plot the overthrow of political systems that were not communist in nature. Among the leaders of these wide-spread movements were two Russians--Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky. Having been banished from Russia on the charge of treason, both promoted revolution from abroad. Within Russia itself, a young man recently converted to the cause of democratic socialism hoped to unseat the leader. His given name was Joseph Dzhugashvili, but he adopted the surname Stalin, which translates as "man of steel."

As the dawn of the 20th Century approached, Russia lingered in the past. Where other European nations had begun the process of "industrialization," which sent citizens pouring into the cities and brought the unmatched power of machines to their daily lives, Russia remained a country of farmers tethered to the old-fashioned plow. Illiteracy was higher in Russia than elsewhere, poverty was more widespread, land was scarce, and food was hard to come by.

More significantly, Russia's political system was a remnant of the past. In Great Britain, France and Germany, democratic political systems had replaced the ancient rights of kings and queens, and yielded partial power to the common man. Voters elected representatives to governing bodies, and thus secured a voice in the national decision-making process. In Russia, however, little had changed in centuries. The Czar still occupied the royal throne and dictated state policy without regard to the concerns of the people. He claimed to draw his power directly from God, and passed the throne to a chosen successor without the interference of elections. His rule was absolute; those who protested his decisions were subject to severe and immediate punishment, including execution.

Russian citizens thus faced enormous hardships: grinding poverty, hunger, and joblessness were widespread. In 1914, tensions between the expanding and increasingly wealthy nations of Europe exploded in World War I. Russia joined the battle on the side of the British, French, and Italians; they fought the united Germans and Austrians. From the beginning of the conflict, Russia was outmatched. Money, food, and raw materials flowed out of the country to support the war effort. A dangerously unstable populace sunk deeper into despair: Food was even more scarce, the cotton needed to make clothing was used by the soldiers; precious metals were fashioned into guns and bullets. Starvation and disease ran rampant throughout the country, and still the Czar persisted in the war effort. The royals, it was understood, were not as deeply affected by the war as the common people were; they possessed luxuries even while the peasants desperately sought the barest necessities.

Between 1914 and 1917, the cities of Russia witnessed many minor revolts among the citizenry. Tens of thousands of hungry workers joined the communist "soviets"--the Russian word for "councils"--which organized massive protests and labor strikes to show their displeasure at food shortages and the endless prosecution of the war. The well-organized communists dominated the soviet leadership, and made impassioned speeches demanding "land, bread, and peace." The workers, ignored by their government, rallied to the soviets and thus added themselves to the communist cause.

Meanwhile, the Russian army suffered numerous defeats in the field, and Russian territory began to be lost to the enemy. Finally, in February of 1917, weeks of violent street skirmishes backed by the soviets ended with a mob assault on the seat of government. In a remarkable and long-awaited moment, the Czar's soldiers stood aside and let the people take control of the streets. On February 28, 1917, Czar Nicholas II admitted defeat, and left the royal throne.


For eight months following the czar's abdication in late February 1917, there was no unified, widely accepted government within Russia. A council of acknowledged leaders formed the Provisional Government, but it proved weak and ineffective. Worse, what little power the Provisional Government possessed it used foolishly: It repeatedly decided to keep Russia in World War I, despite continuing street protests and disastrous shortages of food and raw materials.

Meanwhile the soviets--now fully controlled by the brilliant organizer and motivator Vladimir Lenin--focused on winning the support of army troops, and began to take control of Russia's railroads and telegraph lines. In this way the soviets could manipulate all movement and communication within the country. With the full backing of the troops, they would possess the means with which to secure state authority for themselves.

Lenin was aided by two prominent communist allies: his old friend Leon Trotsky, and a new acquaintance, Joseph Stalin. The three guided soviet policy, promising workers and soldiers food, abundant land, and an end to Russia’s involvement in the war. In the future, Lenin declared, goods would not be stolen from the poor and given to the rich. Vast tracts of land would not be held aside for the church, the royal family, or the wealthy. Everyone, he said, would benefit equally from a new social order, an experiment that had never been tried before. "Land, bread, and peace" for everyone, Lenin promised: "All power to the soviets!"

In October of 1917, Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin decided to make their move. Thousands of soviet workers and soldiers were armed and informed of a plan to seize the government. On October 24, 1917, the assault on the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg, where the Provisional government was headquartered, began. By the following night, the Provisional Government had fallen, and Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin were poised on the verge of ushering in the first-ever Communist government.



Days after the successful revolution, Lenin called a meeting of all Russian soviets. He opened this Congress with words of characteristic bravado: "We shall now proceed to the construction of the communist order." The new soviet government quickly stripped all land from owners, and forbade the holding of private property. Fields were to be redistributed according to need. Hired labor was outlawed. Banks and businesses would be "nationalized" gradually; that is, they would come under state control, so that owners could not divide profits unfairly. The communist era had begun: Its goal was equality and peace for all, and forever.

A peace agreement proved difficult to accomplish. Eventually, the Russians were forced to accept an unfavorable treaty at Brest-Litovsk, Poland, in March of 1918. They agreed to give up a great deal of their own territory, and pay a huge monetary penalty to the enemy. Within Russia, the formerly well-placed and wealthy--now displaced from their land and divested of their possessions--began to organize a campaign against the soviets. General dissatisfaction with the peace treaty brought more members to their cause. Concerned foreign nations, including the United States and Great Britain, contributed money and resources to these opponents of the revolution.

The soviet leadership--Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin--faced a dilemma. How did they bring about an age of peace and equality when they were confronted with opposition? Their answer was quick and brutal: The dissenting elements must be rooted out and destroyed. The soviets formed the "Red Army" and began a terror campaign that identified and executed suspected anti-Communists. Between 1918-1921, a civil war raged between the communists and their enemies. Led by Leon Trotsky, the "Red Army" prevailed, and the communists maintained their hold on power. Some wondered whether the communist revolution had already been betrayed: How could tranquility come to the Russian nation now that so many citizens had been killed?

Before Lenin could formulate an answer, and bring about the golden days of the new government, he suffered three paralyzing strokes. In 1922, the last episode took his life. A new leader must step forward, but both Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin coveted the seat of power.


Trotsky was a brilliant speaker and writer. His passionate support of communism had provided much of the fire in the early years of the soviets. Trotsky was a man with an appetite for books and ideas. He was a visionary thinker, and hoped to transform Russia into an industrial powerhouse, the envy of the whole world. When he spoke in defense of these dreams, he did so with such eloquence--and with such command of his subject matter--that he gained many loyal followers. He was an intellectual giant, and a formidable opponent for Joseph Stalin.

Stalin had his strengths as well. His mind was quick and he spoke well, but he was not of Trotsky's caliber in these realms. Where Trotsky dreamed, Stalin focused instead on administrative duties and on creating bonds of loyalty between himself and powerful men within the soviets. By the time Lenin died in 1922, Stalin's strategy had paid off. In the ensuing discussion of new leadership, he had the hard-won support of important allies. Even the brilliant words of Trotsky could not turn them from backing Stalin.

The Stalin era lasted for 25 years. Among his most important contributions to the Soviet Union were his "Five Year Plans," ambitious programs to propel Russia into the industrial age. The first "Plan" began in 1928 and ended in 1933; the second and third were undertaken in the following ten years. By the early 1940's, Russia had achieved an industrial strength that was equal to the former world leaders in the capitalist countries.

The changes came with a price. Unable to tolerate any competing voices or ideas, Stalin maintained his grip on power through the use of political and social terror. He increased the size of Russia's internal police force (KGB) drastically, and he used them to spy on suspected enemies within the country. In effect, Stalin silenced all opposition, and any words uttered against him became a rationale for incarceration, or worse. Vast prison systems sprung up in the hinterlands of the Russian state. These "Gulags" used inmates as cheap labor and deprived them of even the barest necessities. It was a brutal institution, designed to inspire fear in prisoners, and in free citizens who contemplated criticizing the Stalin regime.

In 1934, Stalin set a series of political "purges" in motion. High-ranking officials in the Soviet government were systematically arrested, forced to admit to crimes they did not commit, and summarily executed. The purges grew in scope quickly, so that by the conclusion of the purge years much of Russian society had come under its terrifying gaze, and many estimates put the total number killed at between 2 and 7 million people. Many more were made prisoners. Thus the Soviet Union became simultaneously one of the most powerful, and most despotic, of all the world's governments. Stalin's death in 1953 brought many of his excesses to an end, but the basic institutions and patterns of the life that he had created remained.



Between the death of Stalin and the early years of the 1980's, the Soviet Union remained a highly repressive government. Internal spying was rampant, voices of protest were brutally squashed, and all organs of communication were tightly monitored by the communists. Ideas that were not officially sanctioned by the State were dangerous, and those who held or published them risked threats, imprisonment, or worse. Newspapers and TV stations tirelessly promoted communist doctrine, or were shut down. Individual ownership of business was still strictly forbidden. In all aspects, the Soviet government retained an iron grip on the nation, and attempted to control the lives, ambitions, and even the thoughts of its citizens.

In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev took the reigns of Soviet power. A courageous and far-sighted leader, he saw that the Soviet Union had both economic and social shortcomings that inhibited growth. The Western nations, by contrast, were increasingly prosperous, and their world-wide influence grew correspondingly. Gorbachev knew that Russia must change to compete.

Thus, in 1985 Gorbachev announced the twin pillars of a radical new policy - perestroika (economic restructuring) and glasnost (social and political openness). Soon, he introduced legislation that loosened the restrictions on individual ownership of property and business, and allowed for greater freedom of expression. Ideas long unspoken coursed through the Russian nation: Perhaps socialism was not best for Russia; maybe the Communist leaders were ineffective, even corrupt; perhaps new leaders and new ways of governing were needed. Once unleashed, these ideas proved difficult to stop; indeed, they were hard to influence or temper in any way. Within several years, the once unassailable Soviet government teetered on the verge of collapse.

By 1991, the rising tide of voices opposed to the communist government had reached a critical mass. Large-scale street protests throughout Russia and in its closely allied satellite states shook the foundations of the Soviet system. The people were free to speak, and in vast numbers they rejected the long experiment with communism. In December of 1991, the communist government of the Soviet Union acknowledged its own end, and an anxious period of instability and doubt began.

In eras when governance is not clearly assigned, opportunities for abuse of power present themselves. In the former communist republics of Czechoslovakia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Yugoslavia, for example, ancient ethnic hatreds re-emerged and spiraled toward violence once the Soviet insistence on internal unity disappeared. In Yugoslavia, in particular, bitter rivalries between peoples of different heritages drifted catastrophically towards open warfare. Serbian, Croatian, and Albanian peoples faced each other in tense standoffs over land, religion, and culture.

Leaders like Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic sought to exploit the situation by inflaming hatreds and calling for policies of direct, violent conflict with perceived enemies. He began a plan of systematically banishing minority ethnic groups from their homelands and reclaiming the emptied towns as part of a greater Serbia. Under his guidance, Serbian troops burned, looted, and killed in a widespread policy that came to be called "ethnic cleansing." The presence of concentration camps, mass graves, and other atrocities have been, and are currently being verified in the contested lands of the former Yugoslavia.

To implement such inhumane policies, voices of protest must be silenced, and the media must be made to serve the state. The appearance of nationwide support--even if is untrue--creates a climate in which challenges seem futile, or unpatriotic. With all open discussion effectively blunted, the truth becomes unknowable, and unthinkable acts of brutality become commonplace. Yugoslavia is emblematic of this phenomenon, but it is only a single example.

Questions of power are universal, and in every nation decisions about the distribution of authority have vast implications for the future of justice, equality, and freedom within its borders. When governments abuse power, these hallmarks of a healthy society are jeopardized. In extreme cases, leaders protect their own authority through the use of state-sponsored terrorism, propaganda, and murder. Individual citizens become expendable, and maintenance of the power and authority of the State becomes of paramount importance. Brutality and violence become the dominant cultural characteristics; the lives of thousands, even millions of people are ruled by fear and despair.


Activity: Below are some questions raised by George Orwell's Animal Farm, a powerful meditation on the serious implications of State power. Every day, in every nation, citizens must face these critical questions of social and political organization, if they are to avoid the mistakes of the past and present, and live in a better world.

How would you define tyranny?

How is governmental power best distributed?

Is democracy the best system?

Does the United States have a government that produces perfect equality among the citizenry?

What amount of inequality or brutality should be tolerated within a nation?

What different kinds of brutality or inequality can you think of?





 The Principles of Communism

Frederick Engels


Written: October-November 1847;
Source: Selected Works, Volume One, p. 81-97;
Publisher: Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1969;
First Published: 1914, Eduard Bernstein in the German Social Democratic Party’s Vorwärts!;
Translated: Paul Sweezy;
Online Version: MEA 1993; 1999;
Transcribed: Zodiac;
HTML Markup: Brian Basgen.

- 1 -
What is Communism?

Communism is the doctrine of the conditions of the liberation of the proletariat.


- 2 -
What is the proletariat?

The proletariat is that class in society which lives entirely from the sale of its labor and does not draw profit from any kind of capital; whose weal and woe, whose life and death, whose sole existence depends on the demand for labor -- hence, on the changing state of business, on the vagaries of unbridled competition. The proletariat, or the class of proletarians, is, in a word, the working class of the 19th century.1


- 3 -
Proletarians, then, have not always existed?

No. There have always been poor and working classes; and the working class have mostly been poor. But there have not always been workers and poor people living under conditions as they are today; in other words, there have not always been proletarians, any more than there has always been free unbridled competitions.


- 4 -
How did the proletariat originate?

The Proletariat originated in the industrial revolution, which took place in England in the last half of the last (18th) century, and which has since then been repeated in all the civilized countries of the world.

This industrial revolution was precipitated by the discovery of the steam engine, various spinning machines, the mechanical loom, and a whole series of other mechanical devices. These machines, which were very expensive and hence could be bought only by big capitalists, altered the whole mode of production and displaced the former workers, because the machines turned out cheaper and better commodities than the workers could produce with their inefficient spinning wheels and handlooms. The machines delivered industry wholly into the hands of the big capitalists and rendered entirely worthless the meagre property of the workers (tools, looms, etc.). The result was that the capitalists soon had everything in their hands and nothing remained to the workers. This marked the introduction of the factory system into the textile industry.

Once the impulse to the introduction of machinery and the factory system had been given, this system spread quickly to all other branches of industry, especially cloth- and book-printing, pottery, and the metal industries.

Labor was more and more divided among the individual workers so that the worker who previously had done a complete piece of work now did only a part of that piece. This division of labor made it possible to produce things faster and cheaper. It reduced the activity of the individual worker to simple, endlessly repeated mechanical motions which could be performed not only as well but much better by a machine. In this way, all these industries fell, one after another, under the dominance of steam, machinery, and the factory system, just as spinning and weaving had already done.

But at the same time, they also fell into the hands of big capitalists, and their workers were deprived of whatever independence remained to them. Gradually, not only genuine manufacture but also handicrafts came within the province of the factory system as big capitalists increasingly displaced the small master craftsmen by setting up huge workshops, which saved many expenses and permitted an elaborate division of labor.

This is how it has come about that in civilized countries at the present time nearly all kinds of labor are performed in factories -- and, in nearly all branches of work, handicrafts and manufacture have been superseded. This process has, to an ever greater degree, ruined the old middle class, especially the small handicraftsmen; it has entirely transformed the condition of the workers; and two new classes have been created which are gradually swallowing up all the others. These are:

(i) The class of big capitalists, who, in all civilized countries, are already in almost exclusive possession of all the means of subsistence and of the instruments (machines, factories) and materials necessary for the production of the means of subsistence. This is the bourgeois class, or the bourgeoisie.

(ii) The class of the wholly property-less, who are obliged to sell their labor to the bourgeoisie in order to get, in exchange, the means of subsistence for their support. This is called the class of proletarians, or the proletariat.


- 5 -
Under what conditions does this sale of the labor of the proletarians to the bourgeoisie take place?

Labor is a commodity, like any other, and its price is therefore determined by exactly the same laws that apply to other commodities. In a regime of big industry or of free competition -- as we shall see, the two come to the same thing -- the price of a commodity is, on the average, always equal to its cost of production. Hence, the price of labor is also equal to the cost of production of labor.

But, the costs of production of labor consist of precisely the quantity of means of subsistence necessary to enable the worker to continue working, and to prevent the working class from dying out. The worker will therefore get no more for his labor than is necessary for this purpose; the price of labor, or the wage, will, in other words, be the lowest, the minimum, required for the maintenance of life.

However, since business is sometimes better and sometimes worse, it follows that the worker sometimes gets more and sometimes gets less for his commodities. But, again, just as the industrialist, on the average of good times and bad, gets no more and no less for his commodities than what they cost, similarly on the average the worker gets no more and no less than his minimum.

This economic law of wages operates the more strictly the greater the degree to which big industry has taken possession of all branches of production.


- 6 -
What working classes were there before the industrial revolution?

The working classes have always, according to the different stages of development of society, lived in different circumstances and had different relations to the owning and ruling classes.

In antiquity, the workers were the slaves of the owners, just as they still are in many backward countries and even in the southern part of the United States.

In the Middle Ages, they were the serfs of the land-owning nobility, as they still are in Hungary, Poland, and Russia. In the Middle Ages, and indeed right up to the industrial revolution, there were also journeymen in the cities who worked in the service of petty bourgeois masters. Gradually, as manufacture developed, these journeymen became manufacturing workers who were even then employed by larger capitalists.


- 7 -
In what way do proletarians differ from slaves?

The slave is sold once and for all; the proletarian must sell himself daily and hourly. The individual slave, property of one master, is assured an existence, however miserable it may be, because of the master's interest.

The individual proletarian, property as it were of the entire bourgeois class which buys his labor only when someone has need of it, has no secure existence. This existence is assured only to the class as a whole.

The slave is outside competition; the proletarian is in it and experiences all its vagaries.

The slave counts as a thing, not as a member of society. Thus, the slave can have a better existence than the proletarian, while the proletarian belongs to a higher stage of social development and, himself, stands on a higher social level than the slave.

The slave frees himself when, of all the relations of private property, he abolishes only the relation of slavery and thereby becomes a proletarian; the proletarian can free himself only by abolishing private property in general.


- 8 -
In what way do proletarians differ from serfs?

The serf possesses and uses an instrument of production, a piece of land, in exchange for which he gives up a part of his product or part of the services of his labor.   The proletarian works with the instruments of production of another, for the account of this other, in exchange for a part of the product.  The serf gives up, the proletarian receives. The serf has an assured existence, the proletarian has not. The serf is outside competition, the proletarian is in it.   The serf liberates himself in one of three ways: either he runs away to the city and there becomes a handicraftsman; or, instead of products and services, he gives money to his lord and thereby becomes a free tenant; or he overthrows his feudal lord and himself becomes a property owner. In short, by one route or another, he gets into the owning class and enters into competition. The proletarian liberates himself by abolishing competition, private property, and all class differences.


- 9 -
In what way do proletarians differ from handicraftsmen?

See endnote #2.


- 10 -
In what way do proletarians differ from manufacturing workers?

The manufacturing worker of the 16th to the 18th centuries still had, with but few exception, an instrument of production in his own possession -- his loom, the family spinning wheel, a little plot of land which he cultivated in his spare time. The proletarian has none of these things.

The manufacturing worker almost always lives in the countryside and in a more or less patriarchal relation to his landlord or employer; the proletarian lives, for the most part, in the city and his relation to his employer is purely a cash relation.

The manufacturing worker is torn out of his patriarchal relation by big industry, loses whatever property he still has, and in this way becomes a proletarian.


- 11 -
What were the immediate consequences of the industrial revolution and of the division of society into bourgeoisie and proletariat?

First, the lower and lower prices of industrial products brought about by machine labor totally destroyed, in all countries of the world, the old system of manufacture or industry based upon hand labor.

In this way, all semi-barbarian countries, which had hitherto been more or less strangers to historical development, and whose industry had been based on manufacture, were violently forced out of their isolation. They bought the cheaper commodities of the English and allowed their own manufacturing workers to be ruined. Countries which had known no progress for thousands of years -- for example, India -- were thoroughly revolutionized, and even China is now on the way to a revolution.

We have come to the point where a new machine invented in England deprives millions of Chinese workers of their livelihood within a year's time.

In this way, big industry has brought all the people of the Earth into contact with each other, has merged all local markets into one world market, has spread civilization and progress everywhere and has thus ensured that whatever happens in civilized countries will have repercussions in all other countries.

It follows that if the workers in England or France now liberate themselves, this must set off revolution in all other countries -- revolutions which, sooner or later, must accomplish the liberation of their respective working class.

Second, wherever big industries displaced manufacture, the bourgeoisie developed in wealth and power to the utmost and made itself the first class of the country. The result was that wherever this happened, the bourgeoisie took political power into its own hands and displaced the hitherto ruling classes, the aristocracy, the guild masters, and their representative, the absolute monarchy.

The bourgeoisie annihilated the power of the aristocracy, the nobility, by abolishing the entailment of estates -- in other words, by making landed property subject to purchase and sale, and by doing away with the special privileges of the nobility. It destroyed the power of the guild masters by abolishing guilds and handicraft privileges. In their place, it put competition -- that is, a state of society in which everyone has the right to enter into any branch of industry, the only obstacle being a lack of the necessary capital.

The introduction of free competition is thus public declaration that from now on the members of society are unequal only to the extent that their capitals are unequal, that capital is the decisive power, and that therefore the capitalists, the bourgeoisie, have become the first class in society.

Free competition is necessary for the establishment of big industry, because it is the only condition of society in which big industry can make its way.

Having destroyed the social power of the nobility and the guild masters, the bourgeois also destroyed their political power. Having raised itself to the actual position of first class in society, it proclaims itself to be also the dominant political class. This it does through the introduction of the representative system which rests on bourgeois equality before the law and the recognition of free competition, and in European countries takes the form of constitutional monarchy. In these constitutional monarchies, only those who possess a certain capital are voters -- that is to say, only members of the boourgeoisie. These bourgeois voters choose the deputies, and these bourgeois deputies, by using their right to refuse to vote taxes, choose a bourgeois government.

Third, everywhere the proletariat develops in step with the bourgeoisie. In proportion, as the bourgeoisie grows in wealth, the proletariat grows in numbers. For, since the proletarians can be employed only by capital, and since capital extends only through employing labor, it follows that the growth of the proletariat proceeds at precisely the same pace as the growth of capital.

Simultaneously, this process draws members of the bourgeoisie and proletarians together into the great cities where industry can be carried on most profitably, and by thus throwing great masses in one spot it gives to the proletarians a consciousness of their own strength.

Moreover, the further this process advances, the more new labor-saving machines are invented, the greater is the pressure exercised by big industry on wages, which, as we have seen, sink to their minimum and therewith render the condition of the proletariat increasingly unbearable. The growing dissatisfaction of the proletariat thus joins with its rising power to prepare a proletarian social revolution.


- 12 -
What were the further consequences of the industrial revolution?

Big industry created in the steam engine, and other machines, the means of endlessly expanding industrial production, speeding it up, and cutting its costs. With production thus facilitated, the free competition, which is necessarily bound up with big industry, assumed the most extreme forms; a multitude of capitalists invaded industry, and, in a short while, more was produced than was needed.

As a consequence, finished commodities could not be sold, and a so-called commercial crisis broke out. Factories had to be closed, their owners went bankrupt, and the workers were without bread. Deepest misery reigned everywhere.

After a time, the superfluous products were sold, the factories began to operate again, wages rose, and gradually business got better than ever.

But it was not long before too many commodities were again produced and a new crisis broke out, only to follow the same course as its predecessor.

Ever since the beginning of this (19th) century, the condition of industry has constantly fluctuated between periods of prosperity and periods of crisis; nearly every five to seven years, a fresh crisis has intervened, always with the greatest hardship for workers, and always accompanied by general revolutionary stirrings and the direct peril to the whole existing order of things.


- 13 -
What follows from these periodic commercial crises?

First: That, though big industry in its earliest stage created free competition, it has now outgrown free competition; that, for big industry, competition and generally the individualistic organization of production have become a fetter which it must and will shatter; that, so long as big industry remains on its present footing, it can be maintained only at the cost of general chaos every seven years, each time threatening the whole of civilization and not only plunging the proletarians into misery but also ruining large sections of the bourgeoisie; hence, either that big industry must itself be given up, which is an absolute impossibility, or that it makes unavoidably necessary an entirely new organization of society in which production is no longer directed by mutually competing individual industrialists but rather by the whole society operating according to a definite plan and taking account of the needs of all.

Second: That big industry, and the limitless expansion of production which it makes possible, bring within the range of feasibility a social order in which so much is produced that every member of society will be in a position to exercise and develop all his powers and faculties in complete freedom.

It thus appears that the very qualities of big industry which, in our present-day society, produce misery and crises are those which, in a different form of society, will abolish this misery and these catastrophic depressions.

We see with the greatest clarity:

(i) That all these evils are from now on to be ascribed solely to a social order which no

longer corresponds to the requirements of the real situation; and

(ii) That it is possible, through a new social order, to do away with these evils altogether.


- 14 -
What will this new social order have to be like?

Above all, it will have to take the control of industry and of all branches of production out of the hands of mutually competing individuals, and instead institute a system in which all these branches of production are operated by society as a whole -- that is, for the common account, according to a common plan, and with the participation of all members of society.

It will, in other words, abolish competition and replace it with association. Moreover, since the management of industry by individuals necessarily implies private property, and since competition is in reality merely the manner and form in which the control of industry by private property owners expresses itself, it follows that private property cannot be separated from competition and the individual management of industry. Private property must, therefore, be abolished and in its place must come the common utilization of all instruments of production and the distribution of all products according to common agreement -- in a word, what is called the communal ownership of goods.

In fact, the abolition of private property is, doubtless, the shortest and most significant way to characterize the revolution in the whole social order which has been made necessary by the development of industry -- and for this reason it is rightly advanced by communists as their main demand.


- 15 -
Was not the abolition of private property possible at an earlier time?

No. Every change in the social order, every revolution in property relations, is the necessary consequence of the creation of new forces of production which no longer fit into the old property relations.

Private property has not always existed.

When, towards the end of the Middle Ages, there arose a new mode of production which could not be carried on under the then existing feudal and guild forms of property, this manufacture, which had outgrown the old property relations, created a new property form, private property. And for manufacture and the earliest stage of development of big industry, private property was the only possible property form; the social order based on it was the only possible social order.

So long as it is not possible to produce so much that there is enough for all, with more left over for expanding the social capital and extending the forces of production -- so long as this is not possible, there must always be a ruling class directing the use of society's productive forces, and a poor, oppressed class. How these classes are constituted depends on the stage of development.

The agrarian Middle Ages give us the baron and the serf; the cities of the later Middle Ages show us the guild master and the journeyman and the day laborer; the 17th century has its manufacturing workers; the 19th has big factory owners and proletarians.

It is clear that, up to now, the forces of production have never been developed to the point where enough could be developed for all, and that private property has become a fetter and a barrier in relation to the further development of the forces of production.

Now, however, the development of big industry has ushered in a new period. Capital and the forces of production have been expanded to an unprecedented extent, and the means are at hand to multiply them without limit in the near future. Moreover, the forces of production have been concentrated in the hands of a few bourgeois, while the great mass of the people are more and more falling into the proletariat, their situation becoming more wretched and intolerable in proportion to the increase of wealth of the bourgeoisie. And finally, these mighty and easily extended forces of production have so far outgrown private property and the bourgeoisie, that they threaten at any moment to unleash the most violent disturbances of the social order. Now, under these conditions, the abolition of private property has become not only possible but absolutely necessary.


- 16 -
Will the peaceful abolition of private property be possible?

It would be desirable if this could happen, and the communists would certainly be the last to oppose it. Communists know only too well that all conspiracies are not only useless, but even harmful. They know all too well that revolutions are not made intentionally and arbitrarily, but that, everywhere and always, they have been the necessary consequence of conditions which were wholly independent of the will and direction of individual parties and entire classes.

But they also see that the development of the proletariat in nearly all civilized countries has been violently suppressed, and that in this way the opponents of communism have been working toward a revolution with all their strength. If the oppressed proletariat is finally driven to revolution, then we communists will defend the interests of the proletarians with deeds as we now defend them with words.


- 17 -
Will it be possible for private property to be abolished at one stroke?

No, no more than existing forces of production can at one stroke be multiplied to the extent necessary for the creation of a communal society. In all probability, the proletarian revolution will transform existing society gradually and will be able to abolish private property only when the means of production are available in sufficient quantity.


- 18 -
What will be the course of this revolution?

Above all, it will establish a democratic constitution, and through this, the direct or indirect dominance of the proletariat. Direct in England, where the proletarians are already a majority of the people. Indirect in France and Germany, where the majority of the people consists not only of proletarians, but also of small peasants and petty bourgeois who are in the process of falling into the proletariat, who are more and more dependent in all their political interests on the proletariat, and who must, therefore, soon adapt to the demands of the proletariat. Perhaps this will cost a second struggle, but the outcome can only be the victory of the proletariat.

Democracy would be wholly valueless to the proletariat if it were not immediately used as a means for putting through measures directed against private property and ensuring the livelihood of the proletariat. The main measures, emerging as the necessary result of existing relations, are the following:

(i) Limitation of private property through progressive taxation, heavy inheritance taxes, abolition of

inheritance through collateral lines (brothers, nephews, etc.) forced loans, etc.

(ii) Gradual expropriation of landowners, industrialists, railroad magnates and ship owners, partly

through competition by state industry, partly directly through compensation in the form of bonds.

(iii) Confiscation of the possessions of all emigrants and rebels against the majority of the people.

(iv) Organization of labor or employment of proletarians on publicly owned land, in factories and

workshops, with competition among the workers being abolished and with the factory owners, in so

far as they still exist, being obliged to pay the same high wages as those paid by the state.

(v) An equal obligation on all members of society to work until such time as private property has

been completely abolished. Formation of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

(vi) Centralization of money and credit in the hands of the state through a national bank with state

capital, and the suppression of all private banks and bankers.

(vii) Education of the number of national factories, workshops, railroads, ships; bringing new lands

into cultivation and improvement of land already under cultivation -- all in proportion to the growth

of the capital and labor force at the disposal of the nation.

(viii) Education of all children, from the moment they can leave their mother's care, in national

establishments at national cost. Education and production together.

(ix) Construction, on public lands, of great palaces as communal dwellings for associated groups of

citizens engaged in both industry and agriculture and combining in their way of life the advantages of

urban and rural conditions while avoiding the one-sidedness and drawbacks of each.

(x) Destruction of all unhealthy and jerry-built dwellings in urban districts.

(xi) Equal inheritance rights for children born in and out of wedlock.

(xii) Concentration of all means of transportation in the hands of the nation.


It is impossible, of course, to carry out all these measures at once. But one will always bring others in its wake. Once the first radical attack on private property has been launched, the proletariat will find itself forced to go ever further, to concentrate increasingly in the hands of the state all capital, all agriculture, all transport, all trade. All the foregoing measures are directed to this end; and they will become practicable and feasible, capable of producing their centralizing effects to precisely the degree that the proletariat, through its labor, multiplies the country's productive forces.

Finally, when all capital, all production, all exchange have been brought together in the hands of the nation, private property will disappear of its own accord, money will become superfluous, and production will so expand and man so change that society will be able to slough off whatever of its old economic habits may remain.


- 19 -
Will it be possible for this revolution to take place in one country alone?

No. By creating the world market, big industry has already brought all the peoples of the Earth, and especially the civilized peoples, into such close relation with one another that none is independent of what happens to the others.

Further, it has co-ordinated the social development of the civilized countries to such an extent that, in all of them, bourgeoisie and proletariat have become the decisive classes, and the struggle between them the great struggle of the day. It follows that the communist revolution will not merely be a national phenomenon but must take place simultaneously in all civilized countries -- that is to say, at least in England, America, France, and Germany.

It will develop in each of the these countries more or less rapidly, according as one country or the other has a more developed industry, greater wealth, a more significant mass of productive forces. Hence, it will go slowest and will meet most obstacles in Germany, most rapidly and with the fewest difficulties in England. It will have a powerful impact on the other countries of the world, and will radically alter the course of development which they have followed up to now, while greatly stepping up its pace.

It is a universal revolution and will, accordingly, have a universal range.


- 20 -
What will be the consequences of the ultimate disappearance of private property?

Society will take all forces of production and means of commerce, as well as the exchange and distribution of products, out of the hands of private capitalists and will manage them in accordance with a plan based on the availability of resources and the needs of the whole society. In this way, most important of all, the evil consequences which are now associated with the conduct of big industry will be abolished.

There will be no more crises; the expanded production, which for the present order of society is overproduction and hence a prevailing cause of misery, will then be insufficient and in need of being expanded much further. Instead of generating misery, overproduction will reach beyond the elementary requirements of society to assure the satisfaction of the needs of all; it will create new needs and, at the same time, the means of satisfying them. It will become the condition of, and the stimulus to, new progress, which will no longer throw the whole social order into confusion, as progress has always done in the past. Big industry, freed from the pressure of private property, will undergo such an expansion that what we now see will seem as petty in comparison as manufacture seems when put beside the big industry of our own day. This development of industry will make available to society a sufficient mass of products to satisfy the needs of everyone.

The same will be true of agriculture, which also suffers from the pressure of private property and is held back by the division of privately owned land into small parcels. Here, existing improvements and scientific procedures will be put into practice, with a resulting leap forward which will assure to society all the products it needs.

In this way, such an abundance of goods will be able to satisfy the needs of all its members.

The division of society into different, mutually hostile classes will then become unnecessary. Indeed, it will be not only unnecessary but intolerable in the new social order. The existence of classes originated in the division of labor, and the division of labor, as it has been known up to the present, will completely disappear. For mechanical and chemical processes are not enough to bring industrial and agricultural production up to the level we have described; the capacities of the men who make use of these processes must undergo a corresponding development.

Just as the peasants and manufacturing workers of the last century changed their whole way of life and became quite different people when they were impressed into big industry, in the same way, communal control over production by society as a whole, and the resulting new development, will both require an entirely different kind of human material.

People will no longer be, as they are today, subordinated to a single branch of production, bound to it, exploited by it; they will no longer develop one of their faculties at the expense of all others; they will no longer know only one branch, or one branch of a single branch, of production as a whole. Even industry as it is today is finding such people less and less useful.

Industry controlled by society as a whole, and operated according to a plan, presupposes well-rounded human beings, their faculties developed in balanced fashion, able to see the system of production in its entirety. The form of the division of labor which makes one a peasant, another a cobbler, a third a factory worker, a fourth a stock-market operator, has already been undermined by machinery and will completely disappear. Education will enable young people quickly to familiarize themselves with the whole system of production and to pass from one branch of production to another in response to the needs of society or their own inclinations. It will, therefore, free them from the one-sided character which the present-day division of labor impresses upon every individual. Communist society will, in this way, make it possible for its members to put their comprehensively developed faculties to full use. But, when this happens, classes will necessarily disappear. It follows that society organized on a communist basis is incompatible with the existence of classes on the one hand, and that the very building of such a society provides the means of abolishing class differences on the other.

A corollary of this is that the difference between city and country is destined to disappear. The management of agriculture and industry by the same people rather than by two different classes of people is, if only for purely material reasons, a necessary condition of communist association. The dispersal of the agricultural population on the land, alongside the crowding of the industrial population into the great cities, is a condition which corresponds to an undeveloped state of both agriculture and industry and can already be felt as an obstacle to further development.

The general co-operation of all members of society for the purpose of planned exploitation of the forces of production, the expansion of production to the point where it will satisfy the needs of all, the abolition of a situation in which the needs of some are satisfied at the expense of the needs of others, the complete liquidation of classes and their conflicts, the rounded development of the capacities of all members of society through the elimination of the present division of labor, through industrial education, through engaging in varying activities, through the participation by all in the enjoyments produced by all, through the combination of city and country -- these are the main consequences of the abolition of private property.


- 21 -
What will be the influence of communist society on the family?

It will transform the relations between the sexes into a purely private matter which concerns only the persons involved and into which society has no occasion to intervene. It can do this since it does away with private property and educates children on a communal basis, and in this way removes the two bases of traditional marriage -- the dependence rooted in private property, of the women on the man, and of the children on the parents.

And here is the answer to the outcry of the highly moral philistines against the "community of women". Community of women is a condition which belongs entirely to bourgeois society and which today finds its complete expression in prostitution. But prostitution is based on private property and falls with it. Thus, communist society, instead of introducing community of women, in fact abolishes it.


- 22 -
What will be the attitude of communism to existing nationalities?

See Endnote #3


- 23 -
What will be its attitude to existing religions?

See Endnote #4


- 24 -
How do communists differ from socialists?

The so-called socialists are divided into three categories.


[ Reactionary Socialists: ]

The first category consists of adherents of a feudal and patriarchal society which has already been destroyed, and is still daily being destroyed, by big industry and world trade and their creation, bourgeois society. This category concludes, from the evils of existing society, that feudal and patriarchal society must be restored because it was free of such evils. In one way or another, all their proposals are directed to this end.

This category of reactionary socialists, for all their seeming partisanship and their scalding tears for the misery of the proletariat, is nevertheless energetically opposed by the communists for the following reasons:

(i) It strives for something which is entirely impossible.

(ii) It seeks to establish the rule of the aristocracy, the guildmasters, the small producers, and their

retinue of absolute or feudal monarchs, officials, soldiers, and priests -- a society which was, to be

sure, free of the evils of present-day society but which brought it at least as many evils without even

offering to the oppressed workers the prospect of liberation through a communist revolution.

(iii) As soon as the proletariat becomes revolutionary and communist, these reactionary socialists

show their true colors by immediately making common cause with the bourgeoisie against the



[ Bourgeois Socialists: ]

The second category consists of adherent of present-day society who have been frightened for its future by the evils to which it necessarily gives rise. What they want, therefore, is to maintain this society while getting rid of the evils which are an inherent part of it.

To this end, some propose mere welfare measures -- while others come forward with grandiose systems of reform which, under the pretense of re-organizing society, are in fact intended to preserve the foundations, and hence the life, of existing society.

Communists must unremittingly struggle against these bourgeois socialists because they work for the enemies of communists and protect the society which communists aim to overthrow.


[ Democractic Socialists: ]

Finally, the third category consists of democratic socialists who favor some of the same measures the communists advocate, as described in Question 18, not as part of the transition to communism, however, but as measures which they believe will be sufficient to abolish the misery and evils of present-day society.

These democratic socialists are either proletarians who are not yet sufficiently clear about the conditions of the liberation of their class, or they are representatives of the petty bourgeoisie, a class which, prior to the achievement of democracy and the socialist measures to which it gives rise, has many interests in common with the proletariat.

It follows that, in moments of action, the communists will have to come to an understanding with these democratic socialists, and in general to follow as far as possible a common policy with them -- provided that these socialists do not enter into the service of the ruling bourgeoisie and attack the communists.

It is clear that this form of co-operation in action does not exclude the discussion of differences.


- 25 -
What is the attitude of the communists to the other political parties of our time?

This attitude is different in the different countries.

In England, France, and Belgium, where the bourgeoisie rules, the communists still have a common interest with the various democratic parties, an interest which is all the greater the more closely the socialistic measures they champion approach the aims of the communists -- that is, the more clearly and definitely they represent the interests of the proletariat and the more they depend on the proletariat for support. In England, for example, the working-class Chartists are infinitely closer to the communists than the democratic petty bourgeoisie or the so-called Radicals.

In America, where a democratic constitution has already been established, the communists must make the common cause with the party which will turn this constitution against the bourgeoisie and use it in the interests of the proletariat -- that is, with the agrarian National Reformers.

In Switzerland, the Radicals, though a very mixed party, are the only group with which the communists can co-operate, and, among these Radicals, the Vaudois and Genevese are the most advanced.

In Germany, finally, the decisive struggle now on the order of the day is that between the bourgeoisie and the absolute monarchy. Since the communists cannot enter upon the decisive struggle between themselves and the bourgeoisie until the bourgeoisie is in power, it follows that it is in the interest of the communists to help the bourgeoisie to power as soon as possible in order the sooner to be able to overthrow it. Against the governments, therefore, the communists must continually support the radical liberal party, taking care to avoid the self-deceptions of the bourgeoisie and not fall for the enticing promises of benefits which a victory for the bourgeoisie would allegedly bring to the proletariat. The sole advantages which the proletariat would derive from a bourgeois victory would consist

(i) in various concessions which would facilitate the unification of the proletariat into a closely knit,

battle-worthy, and organized class; and

(ii) in the certainly that, on the very day the absolute monarchies fall, the struggle between

bourgeoisie and proletariat will start. From that day on, the policy of the communists will be the

same as it now is in the countries where the bourgeoisie is already in power.



The following footnotes are from the Chinese Edition of
Marx/Engels Selected Works
Peking, Foreign Languages Press, 1977.
with editorial additions by



Introduction In 1847 Engels wrote two draft programmes for the Communist League in the form of a catechism, one in June and the other in October. The latter, which is known as Principles of Communism, was first published in 1914. The earlier document Draft of the Communist Confession of Faith, was only found in 1968. It was first published in 1969 in Hamburg, together with four other documents pertaining to the first congress of the Communist League, in a booklet entitled Gründungs Dokumente des Bundes der Kommunisten (Juni bis September 1847) (Founding Documents of the Communist League).

At the June 1847 Congress of the League of the Just, which was also the founding conference of the Communist League, it was decided to issue a draft "confession of faith" to be submitted for discussion to the sections of the League. The document, which has now come to light, is almost certainly this draft. Comparison of the two documents shows that Principles of Communism is a revised edition of this earlier draft. In Principles of Communism, Engels left three questions unanswered, in two cases with the notation "unchanged" (bleibt); this clearly refers to the answers provided in the earlier draft.

Engels worked out the new draft for the programme on the instructions of the leading body of the Paris circle of the Communist League. The instructions were decided on after Engles' sharp criticism at the committee meeting, on October 22, 1847, of the draft program drawn up by the "true socialist" Moses Hess, which was then rejected.

Still considering Principles of Communism as a preliminary draft, Engels expressed the view, in a letter to Marx dated November 23-24, 1847, that it would be best to drop the old catechistic form and draw up a program in the form of a manifesto.

"Think over the Confession of Faith a bit. I believe we had better drop the catechism form and call the thing: Communist Manifesto. As more or less history has got to be related in it, the form it has been in hitherto is quite unsuitable. I am bringing what I have done here with me; it is in simple narrative form, but miserably worded, in fearful haste...."

At the second congress of the Communist League (November 29-December 8, 1847) Marx and Engels defended the fundamental scientific principles of communism and were trusted with drafting a programme in the form of a manifesto of the Communist Party. In writing the manifesto the founders of Marxism made use of the propositions enunciated in Principles of Communism.

Engels uses the term Manufaktur, and its derivatives, which have been translated "manufacture", "manufacturing", etc. Engels used this word literally, to indicate production by hand, not factory production for which Engels uses "big industry". Manufaktur differs from handicraft (guild production in mediaeval towns), in that the latter was carried out by independent artisans. Manufacktur is carried out by homeworkers working for merchant capitalists, or by groups of craftspeople working together in large workshops owned by capitalists. It is therefore a transitional mode of production, between guild (handicraft) and modern (capitalist) forms of production.

(Last paragraph paraphrased from the
Introduction by Pluto Press, London, 1971)

1. In their works written in later periods, Marx and Engels substituted the more accurate concepts of "sale of labour power", "value of labour power" and "price of labour power" (first introduced by Marx) for "sale of labour", value of labour" and "price of labour", as used here.

2. Engels left half a page blank here in the manuscript. In the Draft of the Communist Confession of Faith, the answer to the same question (Number 12) reads as follows:

"In contrast to the proletarian, the so-called handicraftsman, as he still existed almost everywhere in the past (eighteenth) century and still exists here and there at present, is a proletarian at most temporarily. His goal is to acquire capital himself wherewith to exploit other workers. He can often achieve this goal where guilds still exist or where freedom from guild restrictions has not yet led to the introduction of factory-style methods into the crafts nor yet to fierce competition But as soon as the factory system has been introduced into the crafts and competition flourishes fully, this perspective dwindles away and the handicraftsman becomes more and more a proletarian. The handicraftsman therefore frees himself by becoming either bourgeois or entering the middle class in general, or becoming a proletarian because of competition (as is now more often the case). In which case he can free himself by joining the proletarian movement, i.e., the more or less communist movement."

3. Engels' notation "unchanged" obviously refers to the answer in the June draft under No. 21 which read as follows:

"The nationalities of the peoples associating themselves in accordance with the principle of community will be compelled to mingle with each other as a result of this association and thereby to dissolve themselves, just as the various estate and class distinctions must disappear through the abolition of their basis, private property."

4. Similarly, this refers to the answer to Question 23 in the June draft which reads:

"All religions so far have been the expression of historical stages of development of individual peoples or groups of peoples. But communism is the stage of historical development which makes all existing religions superfluous and brings about their disappearance."

5. The Chartists were the participants in the political movement of the British workers which lasted from the 1830s to the middle 1850s and had as its slogan the adoption of a People's Charter, demanding universal franchise and a series of conditions guaranteeing voting rights for all workers. Lenin defined Chartism as the world's "first broad, truly mass and politically organized proletarian revolutionary movement" (Collected Works, Eng. ed., Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1965, Vol. 29, p. 309.) The decline of the Chartist movement was due to the strengthening of Britain's industrial and commercial monopoly and the bribing of the upper stratum of the working class ("the labour aristocracy") by the British bourgeoisie out ot its super-profits. Both factors led to the strengthening of opportunist tendencies in this stratum as expressed, in particular, by the refusal of the trade union leaders to support Chartism.

6. Probably a references to the National Reform Association, founded during the 1840s by George H. Evans, with headquarters in New York City, which had for its motto, "Vote Yourself a Farm".








Manifesto of the Communist Party


By Karl Marx and Fredrick Engels























Written: Late 1847

First Published: February 1847

Translated: From German by Samuel Moore (ed. by Fredrick Engels) in 1888

Offline version: Marx/Engels Internet Archive (, 2000

Transcription/markup: Zodiac and Brian Basgen


      A specter is haunting Europe -- the specter of communism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this specter: Pope and Tsar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police-spies.

      Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as communistic by its opponents in power? Where is the opposition that has not hurled back the branding reproach of communism, against the more advanced opposition parties, as well as against its reactionary adversaries?


      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 specter of communism with a manifesto of the party itself.


      To this end, Communists of various nationalities have assembled in London and sketched the following manifesto, to be published in the English, French, German, Italian, Flemish and Danish languages.



Bourgeois and Proletarians[1]


      The history of all hitherto existing society[2]  is the history of class struggles.


      Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master[3] and journeyman, 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 reconstitution 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 arrangement of society into various orders, a manifold gradation of social rank. In ancient Rome we have patricians, knights, plebeians, slaves; in the Middle Ages, feudal lords, vassals, 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 conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in place of the old ones.


      Our epoch, the epoch of the bourgeoisie, possesses, however, this distinct feature: it has simplified class antagonisms. Society 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 East-Indian and Chinese markets, the colonization of America, trade with the colonies, the increase in the means of exchange and in commodities generally, 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 development.

      The feudal system of industry, in which industrial production was monopolized by closed guilds, now no longer suffices for the growing wants of the new markets. The manufacturing system took its place. The guild-masters were pushed aside by the manufacturing middle class; division of labor between the different corporate guilds vanished in the face of division of labor in each single workshop.

      Meantime, the markets kept ever growing, the demand ever rising. Even manufacturers no longer sufficed. Thereupon, steam and machinery revolutionized industrial production. The place of manufacture was taken by the giant, Modern Industry; the place of the industrial middle class by industrial millionaires, the leaders of the 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 turn, reacted on the extension of industry; and in proportion as industry, commerce, navigation, railways extended, in the same proportion the bourgeoisie developed, increased its capital, and pushed into the background every class handed down from the Middle Ages.

      We see, therefore, how the modern bourgeoisie 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 bourgeoisie was accompanied by a corresponding political advance in that class. An oppressed class under the sway of the feudal nobility, an armed and self-governing association of medieval commune[4]: here independent urban republic (as in Italy and Germany); there taxable "third estate" of the monarchy (as in France); afterward, in the period of manufacturing proper, serving either the semi-feudal or the absolute monarchy as a counterpoise against the nobility, and, in fact, cornerstone of the great monarchies in general -- the bourgeoisie has at last, since the establishment of Modern Industry 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 pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his "natural superiors", and has left no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous "cash payment". It has drowned out the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervor, 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 chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable 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 halo every occupation hitherto honored and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage laborers.


      The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced the family relation into a mere money relation.

      The bourgeoisie has disclosed how it came to pass that the brutal display of vigour in the Middle Ages, which reactionaries so much admire, found its fitting complement in the most slothful indolence. It has been the first to show what man's activity can bring about. It has accomplished wonders far surpassing Egyptian pyramids, Roman aqueducts, and Gothic cathedrals; it has conducted expeditions that put in the shade all former exoduses of nations and crusades.

      The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society. Conservation of the old modes of production in unaltered form, was, on the contrary, the first condition of existence for all earlier industrial classes. Constant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance 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 ones become antiquated before they can ossify. 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 condition of life and his relations with his kind.

      The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the entire surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere.

      The bourgeoisie has, through its exploitation of the world market, given a cosmopolitan character to production and consumption in every country. To the great chagrin of reactionaries, it has drawn from under the feet of industry the national ground on which it stood. All old-established national industries have been destroyed or are daily being destroyed. They are dislodged by new industries, whose introduction becomes a life and death question for all civilized nations, by industries that no longer work up indigenous raw material, but raw material drawn from the remotest zones; industries whose products are consumed, not only at home, but in every quarter of the globe. In place of the old wants, satisfied by the production of the country, we find new wants, requiring for their satisfaction the products of distant lands and climes. In place of the old local and national seclusion and self-sufficiency, we have intercourse in every direction, universal inter-dependence of nations. And as in material, so also in intellectual production. The intellectual creations of individual nations become common property. National one-sidedness and narrow-mindedness become more and more impossible, 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 immensely facilitated means of communication, draws all, even the most barbarian, nations into civilization. The cheap prices of commodities are the heavy artillery, with which it batters down all Chinese walls, with which it forces the barbarians' intensely 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 civilization into their midst, i.e., to become bourgeois themselves. In one 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 barbarian and semi-barbarian countries dependent on the civilized ones, nations of peasants on nations of bourgeois, the East on the West.

      The bourgeoisie keeps more and more doing away with the scattered state of the population, of the means of production, and of property. It has agglomerated population, centralized the means of production, and has concentrated property in a few hands. The necessary consequence of this was political centralization. Independent, or but loosely connected provinces, with separate interests, laws, governments, and systems of taxation, became lumped together into 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 forces than have all preceding generations together. Subjection of nature's forces to man, machinery, application of chemistry to industry and agriculture, steam navigation, railways, electric telegraphs, clearing of whole continents for cultivation, canalization or 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 labor?

      We see then: the means of production and of exchange, on whose foundation the bourgeoisie built itself up, were generated in feudal society. At a certain stage in the development of these means of production and of exchange, the conditions under which feudal society produced and exchanged, the feudal organization of agriculture and manufacturing industry, in one word, the feudal relations of property became no longer compatible with the already developed productive forces; they became so many fetters. They had to be burst asunder; they were burst asunder.

      Into their place stepped free competition, accompanied by a social and political constitution adapted in it, and the economic 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 exchange, 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 industry 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 bourgeois and of its rule. It is enough to mention the commercial crises that, by their periodical return, put the existence of the entire bourgeois society on its trial, each time more threateningly. In these crises, a great part not only of the existing products, but also of the previously created productive forces, are periodically 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 subsistence; industry and commerce seem to be destroyed. And why? Because there is too much civilization, too much means of subsistence, too much industry, too much commerce. The productive forces at the disposal of society no longer tend to further 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 overcome these fetters, they bring disorder into the whole of bourgeois society, endanger the existence of bourgeois property. The conditions of bourgeois society are too narrow to comprise the wealth created by them. And how does the bourgeoisie get over these crises? On the one hand, by enforced destruction of a mass of productive forces; on the other, by the conquest of new markets, and by the more thorough exploitation of the old ones. That is to say, by paving the 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 laborers, who live only so long as they find work, and who find work only so long as their labor increases capital. These laborers, who must sell themselves piecemeal, are a commodity, like every other article of commerce, and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition, to all the fluctuations of the market.

      Owing to the extensive use of machinery, and to the division of labor, the work of the proletarians has lost all individual character, and, consequently, all charm for the workman. He becomes an appendage of the machine, and it is only the most simple, most monotonous, and most easily acquired knack, that is required of him. Hence, the cost of production of a workman is restricted, almost entirely, to the means of subsistence that he requires for maintenance, and for the propagation of his race. But the price of a commodity, and therefore also of labor, is equal to its cost of production. In proportion, therefore, as the repulsiveness of the work increases, the wage decreases. What is more, in proportion as the use of machinery and division of labor increases, in the same proportion the burden of toil also increases, whether by prolongation of the working hours, by the increase of the work exacted in a given time, or by increased speed of machinery, etc.


      Modern Industry has converted the little workshop of the patriarchal master into the great factory of the industrial capitalist. Masses of laborers, crowded into the factory, are organized like soldiers. As privates of the industrial army, they are placed under the command of a perfect hierarchy of officers and sergeants. Not only are they 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, in 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 of strength implied in manual labor, in other words, the more modern industry becomes developed, the more is the labor of men superseded by that of women. Differences of age and sex have no longer any distinctive social validity for the working class. All are instruments of labor, more or less expensive to use, according to their age and sex.

      No sooner is the exploitation of the laborer by the manufacturer, so far at an end, that he receives his wages in cash, than he is set upon by the other portion of the bourgeoisie, the landlord, the shopkeeper, the pawnbroker, etc.

      The lower strata of the middle class -- the small trades people, shopkeepers, and retired tradesmen generally, the handicraftsmen and peasants -- all these sink gradually into the proletariat, partly because their diminutive 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 specialized skill is rendered worthless by new methods of production. Thus, the proletariat is recruited 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 laborers, then by the work of people of a factory, then by the operative of one trade, in one locality, against the individual bourgeois who directly exploits them. They direct their attacks not against the bourgeois condition of production, but against the instruments of production themselves; they destroy imported wares that compete with their labor, 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 laborers still form an incoherent mass scattered over the whole country, and broken up by their mutual competition. If anywhere they unite to form more compact bodies, this is not yet the consequence 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 bourgeois. 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 equalized, in proportion as machinery obliterates all distinctions of labor, 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 increasing improvement of machinery, ever more rapidly developing, makes their livelihood more and more precarious; the collisions between individual workmen and individual bourgeois take more and more the character of collisions between two classes. Thereupon, the workers begin to form combinations (trade unions) against the bourgeois; they club together in order to keep up the rate of wages; they found permanent associations in order to make provision beforehand for these occasional revolts. Here and there, the contest breaks out into riots.

      Now and then the workers are victorious, but only for a time. The real fruit of their battles lie 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 another. It was just this contact that was needed to centralize the numerous local struggles, all of the same character, into one national 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 highways, required centuries, the modern proletarian, thanks to railways, achieve in a few years.

      This organization of the proletarians into a class, and, consequently, into a political party, is continually being upset again by the competition between the workers themselves. But it ever rises up again, stronger, firmer, mightier. It compels legislative recognition of particular interests of the workers, 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 aristocracy; later on, with those portions of the bourgeoisie itself, whose interests have become antagonistic to the progress of industry; at all time with the bourgeoisie of foreign countries. In all these battles, it sees itself compelled to appeal to the proletariat, to ask for 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 education; in other words, it furnishes the proletariat with weapons for fighting the bourgeoisie.

      Further, as we have already seen, entire sections of the ruling class 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 enlightenment and progress.

      Finally, in times when the class struggle nears the decisive hour, the progress of dissolution going on within the ruling class, in fact within the whole range of old society, assumes such a violent, glaring character, that a small section of the ruling class cuts itself adrift, and joins the revolutionary class, the class that holds the future in its hands. Just as, therefore, at an earlier period, a section of the nobility went over to the bourgeoisie, so now a portion of the bourgeoisie goes over to the proletariat, and in particular, a portion of the bourgeois ideologists, who have raised themselves to the level of comprehending theoretically the historical movement as a whole.

      Of all the classes that stand face to face with the bourgeoisie today, the proletariat alone is a genuinely 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 manufacturer, the shopkeeper, the artisan, the peasant - all these fight against the bourgeoisie, to save from extinction their existence as fractions of the middle class. They are therefore not revolutionary, but conservative. Nay, more, they are reactionary, for they try to roll back the wheel of history. If, by chance, they are revolutionary, they are only so in view of their impending transfer into the proletariat; they thus defend not their present, but their future interests; 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 the 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 condition of the proletariat, those of old society at large are already virtually swamped. The proletarian is without property; his relation to his wife and children has no longer anything in common with the bourgeois family relations; modern industry labor, 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, religion, are to him so many bourgeois prejudices, behind which lurk in ambush just as many bourgeois interests.

      All the preceding classes that got the upper hand sought to fortify their already acquired status by subjecting society at large to their conditions of appropriation. The proletarians cannot become masters of the productive forces of society, except by abolishing their own previous mode of appropriation, 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 immense majority. The proletariat, the lowest stratum of our present society, cannot stir, cannot raise itself up, without the whole super incumbent strata of official society being sprung into the air.

      Though not in substance, yet in form, the struggle of the proletariat with the bourgeoisie is at first a national struggle. The proletariat of each country must, of course, first of all settle matters with its own bourgeoisie.


      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 bourgeoisie lays the foundation for the sway of the proletariat.

      Hitherto, every form of society has been based, as we have already seen, on the antagonism of oppressing and oppressed classes. But in order to oppress a class, certain conditions 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 the feudal absolutism, managed to develop into a bourgeois. The modern laborer, on the contrary, instead of rising with the process of industry, sinks deeper and deeper below the conditions of existence of his own class. He becomes a pauper, and pauperism develops 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 overriding law. It is unfit to rule because it is incompetent to assure an existence to its slave within his slavery, because it cannot help letting him sink into such a state, that it has to feed him, instead of being fed by him. Society can no longer live under this bourgeoisie, in other words, its existence is no longer compatible with society.

      The essential conditions for the existence and for the sway of the bourgeois class is the formation and augmentation of capital; the condition for capital is wage labor. Wage labor rests exclusively on competition between the laborers. The advance of industry, whose involuntary promoter is the bourgeoisie, replaces the isolation of the laborers, due to competition, by the revolutionary combination, due to association. The development of Modern Industry, therefore, cuts from under its feet the very foundation on which the bourgeoisie produces and appropriates products. What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own gravediggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable.



Proletarians and Communists



      In what relation do the Communists stand to the proletarians as a whole? The Communists do not form a separate party opposed to the other working-class parties.

      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 mold the proletarian movement.

      The Communists are distinguished from the other working-class parties by this only:

(1) In the national struggles of the proletarians 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 which the 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 parties 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 lines of march, the conditions, and the ultimate general results of the proletarian movement.

      The immediate aim of the Communists is the same as that of all 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.


      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 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, 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 private property is the final and most complete expression of the system of producing and appropriating products that is based on class antagonisms, on the exploitation of the many by the few.

      In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.

      We Communists have been reproached with the desire of abolishing the right of personally acquiring property as the fruit of a man's own labor, which property is alleged to be the groundwork of all personal freedom, activity and independence.

      Hard-won, self-acquired, self-earned property! Do you mean the property of petty artisan and of the small peasant, a form of property that preceded the bourgeois form? There is no need to abolish that; the development of industry has to a great extent already destroyed it, and is still destroying it daily.

      Or do you mean the modern bourgeois private property?

      But does wage labor create any property for the laborer? Not a bit. It creates capital, i.e., that kind of property which exploits wage labor, and which cannot increase except upon conditions of begetting a new supply of wage labor for fresh exploitation. Property, in its present form, is based on the antagonism of capital and wage labor. 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 production. Capital is a collective product, 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 only 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 thereby transformed into social property. It is only the social character of the property that is changed. It loses its class character.

      Let us now take wage labor.

      The average price of wage labor is the minimum wage, i.e., that quantum of the means of subsistence which is absolutely requisite to keep the laborer in bare existence as a laborer. What, therefore, the wage laborer appropriates by means of his labor merely suffices to prolong and reproduce a bare existence. We by no means intend to abolish this personal appropriation of the products of labor, an appropriation that is made for the maintenance and reproduction of human life, and that leaves no surplus wherewith to command the labor of others. All that we want to do away with is the miserable character of this appropriation, under which the laborer 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 labor is but a means to increase accumulated labor. In communist society, accumulated labor is but a means to widen, to enrich, to promote the existence of the laborer.

      In bourgeois society, therefore, the past dominates the present; in communist society, the present dominates the past. In bourgeois society, capital is independent and has individuality, while the living person is dependent and has no individuality.

      And the abolition of this state of things is called by the bourgeois, abolition of individuality and freedom! And rightly so. The abolition of bourgeois individuality, bourgeois 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 bourgeois about freedom in general, have a meaning, if any, only in contrast with restricted selling and buying, with the fettered traders of the Middle Ages, but have no meaning when opposed to the communist abolition of buying and selling, or the bourgeois conditions of production, and of the bourgeoisie itself.

      You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society, private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the population; 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 property, the necessary condition for whose existence is the non-existence of any property for the immense majority of society.

      In one word, you reproach us with intending to do away with your property. Precisely so; that is just what we intend.

      From the moment when labor can no longer be converted into capital, money, or rent, into a social power capable of being monopolized, i.e., from the moment when individual property can no longer be transformed into bourgeois property, into capital, from that moment, you say, individuality vanishes.

      You must, therefore, confess that by "individual" you mean no other person than the bourgeois, than the middle-class owner of property. This person must, indeed, be swept out of the way, and made impossible.

      Communism deprives no man of the power to appropriate the products of society; all that it does is to deprive him of the power to subjugate the labor of others by means of such appropriations.

      It has been objected that upon the abolition of private property, all work will cease, and universal laziness will overtake us.

      According to this, bourgeois society ought long ago to have gone to the dogs through sheer idleness; for those who acquire anything, do not work. The whole of this objection is but another expression of the tautology: There can no longer be any wage labor when there is no longer any capital.

      All objections urged against the communistic mode of producing and appropriating material products, have, in the same way, been urged against the communistic mode of producing and appropriating intellectual products. Just as to the bourgeois, the disappearance of class property is the disappearance of production itself, so the disappearance of class culture is to him identical with the disappearance of all culture.

      That culture, the loss of which he laments, is, for the enormous majority, a mere training to act as a machine.

      But don't wrangle with us so long as you apply, to our intended abolition of bourgeois property, the standard of your bourgeois notions of freedom, culture, law, etc. Your very ideas are but the outgrowth of the conditions of your bourgeois production and bourgeois property, just as your jurisprudence is but the will of your class made into a law for all, a will whose essential character and direction are determined by the economical conditions of existence of your class.

      The selfish misconception that induces you to transform into eternal laws of nature and of reason the social forms stringing from your present mode of production and form of property -- historical relations that rise and disappear in the progress of production -- this misconception you share with every ruling class that has preceded you. What you see clearly in the case of ancient property, what you admit in the case of feudal property, you are of course forbidden to admit in the case of your own bourgeois form of property.

      Abolition of the family! Even the most radical flare up at this infamous proposal of the Communists.

      On what foundation is the present family, the bourgeois family, based? On capital, on private gain. In its completely developed form, this family exists only among the bourgeoisie. But this state of things finds its complement in the practical absence of the family among proletarians, and in public prostitution.

      The bourgeois family will vanish as a matter of course when its complement vanishes, and both will vanish with the vanishing of capital.

      Do you charge us with wanting to stop the exploitation of children by their parents? To this crime we plead guilty.

      But, you say, we destroy the most hallowed of relations, when we replace home education by social.

      And your education! Is not that also social, and determined by the social conditions under which you educate, by the intervention direct or indirect, of society, by means of schools, etc.? The Communists have not intended the intervention of society in education; they do but seek to alter the character of that intervention, and to rescue education from the influence of the ruling class.

      The bourgeois claptrap about the family and education, about the hallowed correlation of parents and child, becomes all the more disgusting, the more, by the action of Modern Industry, all the family ties among the proletarians are torn asunder, and their children transformed into simple articles of commerce and instruments of labor.

      But you Communists would introduce community of women, screams the bourgeoisie in chorus.

      The bourgeois sees his wife a mere instrument of production. He hears that the instruments of production are to be exploited in common, and, naturally, can come to no other conclusion that the lot of being common to all will likewise fall to the women.

      He has not even a suspicion that the real point aimed at is to do away with the status of women as mere instruments of production.

      For the rest, nothing is more ridiculous than the virtuous indignation of our bourgeois at the community of women which, they pretend, is to be openly and officially established by the Communists. The Communists have no need to introduce free love; it has existed almost from time immemorial.

      Our bourgeois, not content with having wives and daughters of their proletarians at their disposal, not to speak of common prostitutes, take the greatest pleasure in seducing each other's wives.

      Bourgeois marriage is, in reality, a system of wives in common and thus, at the most, what the Communists might possibly be reproached with is that they desire to introduce, in substitution for a hypocritically concealed, an openly legalized system of free love. For the rest, it is self-evident that the abolition of the present system of production must bring with it the abolition of free love springing from that system, i.e., of prostitution both public and private.

      The Communists are further reproached with desiring to abolish countries and nationality.

      The working men have no country. We cannot take from them what they have not got. Since the proletariat must first of all acquire political supremacy, must rise to be the leading class of the nation, must constitute itself the nation, it is, so far, itself national, though not in the bourgeois sense of the word.

      National differences and antagonism between peoples are daily more and more vanishing, owing to the development of the bourgeoisie, to freedom of commerce, to the world market, to uniformity in the mode of production and in the conditions of life corresponding thereto.

      The supremacy of the proletariat will cause them to vanish still faster. United action of the leading civilized countries at least is one of the first conditions for the emancipation of the proletariat.

      In proportion as the exploitation of one individual by another will also be put an end to, the exploitation of one nation by another will also be put an end to. In proportion as the antagonism between classes within the nation vanishes, the hostility of one nation to another will come to an end.

      The charges against communism made from a religious, a philosophical and, generally, from an ideological standpoint, are not deserving of serious examination.

      Does it require deep intuition to comprehend that man's ideas, views, and conception, in one word, man's consciousness, changes with every change in the conditions of his material existence, in his social relations and in his social life?

      What else does the history of ideas prove, than that intellectual production changes its character in proportion as material production is changed? The ruling ideas of each age have ever been the ideas of its ruling class.

      When people speak of the ideas that revolutionize society, they do but express that fact that within the old society the elements of a new one have been created, and that the dissolution of the old ideas keeps even pace with the dissolution of the old conditions of existence.

      When the ancient world was in its last throes, the ancient religions were overcome by Christianity. When Christian ideas succumbed in the eighteenth century to rationalist ideas, feudal society fought its death battle with the then revolutionary bourgeoisie. The ideas of religious liberty and freedom of conscience merely gave expression to the sway of free competition within the domain of knowledge.

      "Undoubtedly," it will be said, "religious, moral, philosophical, and juridicial ideas have been modified in the course of historical development. But religion, morality, philosophy, political science, and law, constantly survived this change."

      "There are, besides, eternal truths, such as Freedom, Justice, etc., that are common to all states of society. But communism abolishes eternal truths, it abolishes all religion, and all morality, instead of constituting them on a new basis; it therefore acts in contradiction to all past historical experience."

      What does this accusation reduce itself to? The history of all past society has consisted in the development of class antagonisms, antagonisms that assumed different forms at different epochs.

      But whatever form they may have taken, one fact is common to all past ages, viz., the exploitation of one part of society by the other. No wonder, then, that the social consciousness of past ages, despite all the multiplicity and variety it displays, moves within certain common forms, or general ideas, which cannot completely vanish except with the total disappearance of class antagonisms.

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

      But let us have done with the bourgeois objections to communism.

      We have seen above that 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 degree, all capital 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 productive forces as rapidly as possible.

      Of course, in the beginning, this cannot be effected except by means of despotic inroads on the rights of property, and on the conditions of bourgeois production; by means of measures, therefore, which appear economically 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 production.

      These measures will, of course, be different in different countries.

Nevertheless, in most advanced countries, the following will be pretty generally applicable.

1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.

2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.

3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.

4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.

5. Centralization of credit in the banks 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 obligation of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for


9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the

distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the

populace 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 industrial production, etc.


      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 oppressing 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 old conditions of production, then it will, along with these conditions, have swept away the conditions for the existence of class antagonisms and of classes generally, and will thereby have abolished its own supremacy as a class.

      In place of the old bourgeois 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.

Socialist and Communist Literature


1. Reactionary Socialism


A. Feudal Socialism


      Owing to their historical position, it became the vocation of the aristocracies of France and England to write pamphlets against modern bourgeois society. In the French Revolution of July 1830, and in the English reform agitation, these aristocracies again succumbed to the hateful upstart. Thenceforth, a serious political struggle was altogether out of the question. A literary battle alone remained possible. But even in the domain of literature, the old cries of the restoration period had become impossible.[5]

      In order to arouse sympathy, the aristocracy was obliged to lose sight, apparently, of its own interests, and to formulate its indictment against the bourgeoisie in the interest of the exploited working class alone. Thus, the aristocracy took their revenge by singing lampoons on their new masters and whispering in his ears sinister prophesies of coming catastrophe.

      In this way arose feudal socialism: half lamentation, half lampoon; half an echo of the past, half menace of the future; at times, by its bitter, witty and incisive criticism, striking the bourgeoisie to the very heart's core, but always ludicrous in its effect, through total incapacity to comprehend the march of modern history.

      The aristocracy, in order to rally the people to them, waved the proletarian alms-bag in front for a banner. But the people, so often as it joined them, saw on their hindquarters the old feudal coats of arms, and deserted with loud and irreverent laughter.

      One section of the French Legitimists and "Young England" exhibited this spectacle.

      In pointing out that their mode of exploitation was different to that of the bourgeoisie, the feudalists forget that they exploited under circumstances and conditions that were quite different and that are now antiquated. In showing that, under their rule, the modern proletariat never existed, they forget that the modern bourgeoisie is the necessary offspring of their own form of society.

      For the rest, so little do they conceal the reactionary character of their criticism that their chief accusation against the bourgeois amounts to this: that under the bourgeois regime a class is being developed which is destined to cut up, root and branch, the old order of society.

      What they upbraid the bourgeoisie with is not so much that it creates a proletariat as that it creates a revolutionary proletariat.

      In political practice, therefore, they join in all corrective measures against the working class; and in ordinary life, despite their high-falutin phrases, they stoop to pick up the golden apples dropped from the tree of industry, and to barter truth, love, and honor, for traffic in wool, beetroot-sugar, and potato spirits.[6]

      As the parson has ever gone hand in hand with the landlord, so has clerical socialism with feudal socialism.

      Nothing is easier than to give Christian asceticism a socialist tinge. Has not Christianity declaimed against private property, against marriage, against the state? Has it not preached in the place of these, charity and poverty, celibacy and mortification of the flesh, monastic life and Mother Church? Christian socialism is but the holy water with which the priest consecrates the heart-burnings of the aristocrat.





B. Petty-Bourgeois Socialism


      The feudal aristocracy was not the only class that was ruined by the bourgeoisie, not the only class whose conditions of existence pined and perished in the atmosphere of modern bourgeois society. The medieval burgesses and the small peasant proprietors were the precursors of the modern bourgeoisie. In those countries which are but little developed, industrially and commercially, these two classes still vegetate side by side with the rising bourgeoisie.

      In countries where modern civilization has become fully developed, a new class of petty bourgeois has been formed, fluctuating between proletariat and bourgeoisie, and ever renewing itself a supplementary part of bourgeois society. The individual members of this class, however, as being constantly hurled down into the proletariat by the action of competition, and, as Modern Industry develops, they even see the moment approaching when they will completely disappear as an independent section of modern society, to be replaced in manufactures, agriculture and commerce, by overlookers, bailiffs and shopmen.

      In countries like France, where the peasants constitute far more than half of the population, it was natural that writers who sided with the proletariat against the bourgeoisie should use, in their criticism of the bourgeois régime, the standard of the peasant and petty bourgeois, and from the standpoint of these intermediate classes, should take up the cudgels for the working class. Thus arose petty-bourgeois socialism. Sismondi was the head of this school, not only in France but also in England.

      This school of socialism dissected with great acuteness the contradictions in the conditions of modern production. It laid bare the hypocritical apologies of economists. It proved, incontrovertibly, the disastrous effects of machinery and division of labor; the concentration of capital and land in a few hands; overproduction and crises; it pointed out the inevitable ruin of the petty bourgeois and peasant, the misery of the proletariat, the anarchy in production, the crying inequalities in the distribution of wealth, the industrial war of extermination between nations, the dissolution of old moral bonds, of the old family relations, of the old nationalities.

      In it positive aims, however, this form of socialism aspires either to restoring the old means of production and of exchange, and with them the old property relations, and the old society, or to cramping the modern means of production and of exchange within the framework of the old property relations that have been, and were bound to be, exploded by those means. In either case, it is both reactionary and Utopian.

      Its last words are: corporate guilds for manufacture; patriarchal relations in agriculture.

      Ultimately, when stubborn historical facts had dispersed all intoxicating effects of self-deception, this form of socialism ended in a miserable hangover.



C. German or "True" Socialism


      The socialist and communist literature of France, a literature that originated under the pressure of a bourgeoisie in power, and that was the expressions of the struggle against this power, was introduced into Germany at a time when the bourgeoisie in that country had just begun its contest with feudal absolutism.

      German philosophers, would-be philosophers, and beaux esprits (men of letters), eagerly seized on this literature, only forgetting that when these writings emigrated from France into Germany, French social conditions had not immigrated along with them. In contact with German social conditions, this French literature lost all its immediate practical significance and assumed a purely literary aspect. Thus, to the German philosophers of the eighteenth century, the demands of the first French Revolution were nothing more than the demands of "Practical Reason" in general, and the utterance of the will of the revolutionary French bourgeoisie signified, in their eyes, the laws of pure will, of will as it was bound to be, of true human will generally.

      The work of the German literati consisted solely in bringing the new French ideas into harmony with their ancient philosophical conscience, or rather, in annexing the French ideas without deserting their own philosophic point of view.


      This annexation took place in the same way in which a foreign language is appropriated, namely, by translation.

      It is well known how the monks wrote silly lives of Catholic saints over the manuscripts on which the classical works of ancient heathendom had been written. The German literati reversed this process with the profane French literature. They wrote their philosophical nonsense beneath the French original. For instance, beneath the French criticism of the economic functions of money, they wrote "alienation of humanity", and beneath the French criticism of the bourgeois state they wrote "dethronement of the category of the general", and so forth.

      The introduction of these philosophical phrases at the back of the French historical criticisms, they dubbed "Philosophy of Action", "True Socialism", "German Science of Socialism", "Philosophical Foundation of Socialism", and so on.

      The French socialist and communist literature was thus completely emasculated. And, since it ceased, in the hands of the German, to express the struggle of one class with the other, he felt conscious of having overcome "French one-sidedness" and of representing, not true requirements, but the requirements of truth; not the interests of the proletariat, but the interests of human nature, of man in general, who belongs to no class, has no reality, who exists only in the misty realm of philosophical fantasy.

      This German socialism, which took its schoolboy task so seriously and solemnly, and extolled its poor stock-in-trade in such a mountebank fashion, meanwhile gradually lost its pedantic innocence.

      The fight of the Germans, and especially of the Prussian bourgeoisie, against feudal aristocracy and absolute monarchy, in other words, the liberal movement, became more earnest.

      By this, the long-wished for opportunity was offered to "True" Socialism of confronting the political movement with the socialistic demands, of hurling the traditional anathemas against liberalism, against representative government, against bourgeois competition, bourgeois freedom of the press, bourgeois legislation, bourgeois liberty and equality, and of preaching to the masses that they had nothing to gain, and everything to lose, by this bourgeois movement. German socialism forgot, in the nick of time, that the French criticism, whose silly echo it was, presupposed the existence of modern bourgeois society, with its corresponding economic conditions of existence, and the political constitution adapted thereto, the very things those attainment was the object of the pending struggle in Germany.

      To the absolute governments, with their following of parsons, professors, country squires, and officials, it served as a welcome scarecrow against the threatening bourgeoisie.

      It was a sweet finish, after the bitter pills of flogging and bullets, with which these same governments, just at that time, dosed the German working-class risings.

      While this "True" Socialism thus served the government as a weapon for fighting the German bourgeoisie, it, at the same time, directly represented a reactionary interest, the interest of German philistines. In Germany, the petty-bourgeois class, a relic of the sixteenth century, and since then constantly cropping up again under the various forms, is the real social basis of the existing state of things.

      To preserve this class is to preserve the existing state of things in Germany. The industrial and political supremacy of the bourgeoisie threatens it with certain destruction -- on the one hand, from the concentration of capital; on the other, from the rise of a revolutionary proletariat. "True" Socialism appeared to kill these two birds with one stone. It spread like an epidemic.

      The robe of speculative cobwebs, embroidered with flowers of rhetoric, steeped in the dew of sickly sentiment, this transcendental robe in which the German Socialists wrapped their sorry "eternal truths", all skin and bone, served to wonderfully increase the sale of their goods amongst such a public. And on its part German socialism recognized, more and more, its own calling as the bombastic representative of the petty-bourgeois philistine.

      It proclaimed the German nation to be the model nation, and the German petty philistine to be the typical man. To every villainous meanness of this model man, it gave a hidden, higher, socialistic interpretation, the exact contrary of its real character. It went to the extreme length of directly opposing the "brutally destructive" tendency of communism, and of proclaiming its supreme and impartial contempt of all class struggles. With very few exceptions, all the so-called socialist and communist publications that now (1847) circulate in Germany belong to the domain of this foul and enervating literature.[7]


2. Conservative or Bourgeois Socialism


      A part of the bourgeoisie is desirous of redressing social grievances in order to secure the continued existence of bourgeois society.

      To this section belong economists, philanthropists, humanitarians, improvers of the condition of the working class, organizers of charity, members of societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals, temperance fanatics, hole-and-corner reformers of every imaginable kind. This form of socialism has, moreover, been worked out into complete systems.

      We may cite Proudhon's Philosophy of Poverty as an example of this form.

      The socialistic bourgeois want all the advantages of modern social conditions without the struggles and dangers necessarily resulting therefrom. They desire the existing state of society, minus its revolutionary and disintegrating elements. They wish for a bourgeoisie without a proletariat. The bourgeoisie naturally conceives the world in which it is supreme to be the best; and bourgeois socialism develops this comfortable conception into various more or less complete systems. In requiring the proletariat to carry out such a system, and thereby to march straightaway into the social New Jerusalem, it but requires in reality that the proletariat should remain within the bounds of existing society, but should cast away all its hateful ideas concerning the bourgeoisie.

      A second, and more practical, but less systematic, form of this socialism sought to depreciate every revolutionary movement in the eyes of the working class by showing that no mere political reform, but only a change in the material conditions of existence, in economical relations, could be of any advantage to them. By changes in the material conditions of existence, this form of socialism, however, by no means understands abolition of the bourgeois relations of production, an abolition that can be affected only by a revolution, but administrative reforms, based on the continued existence of these relations; reforms, therefore, that in no respect affect the relations between capital and labor, but, at the best, lessen the cost, and simplify the administrative work of bourgeois government.

      Bourgeois socialism attains adequate expression when, and only when, it becomes a mere figure of speech.

      Free trade: for the benefit of the working class. Protective duties: for the benefit of the working class. Prison reform: for the benefit of the working class. This is the last word and the only seriously meant word of bourgeois socialism.

      It is summed up in the phrase: the bourgeois is a bourgeois -- for the benefit of the working class.



3. Critical-Utopian Socialism and Communism


      We do not here refer to that literature which, in every great modern revolution, has always given voice to the demands of the proletariat, such as the writings of Babeuf and others.

      The first direct attempts of the proletariat to attain its own ends, made in times of universal excitement, when feudal society was being overthrown, necessarily failed, owing to the then undeveloped state of the proletariat, as well as to the absence of the economic conditions for its emancipation, conditions that had yet to be produced, and could be produced by the impending bourgeois epoch alone. The revolutionary literature that accompanied these first movements of the proletariat had necessarily a reactionary character. It inculcated universal asceticism and social leveling in its crudest form.


      The socialist and communist systems, properly so called, those of Saint-Simon, Fourier, Owen, and others, spring into existence in the early undeveloped period, described above, of the struggle between proletariat and bourgeoisie (see Section 1. Bourgeois and Proletarians).

      The founders of these systems see, indeed, the class antagonisms, as well as the action of the decomposing elements in the prevailing form of society. But the proletariat, as yet in its infancy, offers to them the spectacle of a class without any historical initiative or any independent political movement.

      Since the development of class antagonism keeps even pace with the development of industry, the economic situation, as they find it, does not as yet offer to them the material conditions for the emancipation of the proletariat. They therefore search after a new social science, after new social laws, that are to create these conditions.

      Historical action is to yield to their personal inventive action; historically created conditions of emancipation to fantastic ones; and the gradual, spontaneous class organization of the proletariat to an organization of society especially contrived by these inventors. Future history resolves itself, in their eyes, into the propaganda and the practical carrying out of their social plans.

      In the formation of their plans, they are conscious of caring chiefly for the interests of the working class, as being the most suffering class. Only from the point of view of being the most suffering class does the proletariat exist for them.

      The undeveloped state of the class struggle, as well as their own surroundings, causes Socialists of this kind to consider themselves far superior to all class antagonisms. They want to improve the condition of every member of society, even that of the most favored. Hence, they habitually appeal to society at large, without the distinction of class; nay, by preference, to the ruling class. For how can people when once they understand their system, fail to see in it the best possible plan of the best possible state of society?

      Hence, they reject all political, and especially all revolutionary action; they wish to attain their ends by peaceful means, necessarily doomed to failure, and by the force of example, to pave the way for the new social gospel.

      Such fantastic pictures of future society, painted at a time when the proletariat is still in a very undeveloped state and has but a fantastic conception of its own position, correspond with the first instinctive yearnings of that class for a general reconstruction of society.

But these socialist and communist publications contain also a critical element. They attack every principle of existing society. Hence, they are full of the most valuable materials for the enlightenment of the working class. The practical measures proposed in them -- such as the abolition of the distinction between town and country, of the family, of the carrying on of industries for the account of private individuals, and of the wage system, the proclamation of social harmony, the conversion of the function of the state into a more superintendence of production -- all these proposals point solely to the disappearance of class antagonisms which were, at that time, only just cropping up, and which, in these publications, are recognized in their earliest indistinct and undefined forms only. These proposals, therefore, are of a purely utopian character.

      The significance of critical-utopian socialism and communism bears an inverse relation to historical development. In proportion as the modern class struggle develops and takes definite shape, this fantastic standing apart from the contest, these fantastic attacks on it, lose all practical value and all theoretical justifications. Therefore, although the originators of these systems were, in many respects, revolutionary, their disciples have, in every case, formed mere reactionary sects. They hold fast by the original views of their masters, in opposition to the progressive historical development of the proletariat. They, therefore, endeavor, and that consistently, to deaden the class struggle and to reconcile the class antagonisms. They still dream of experimental realization of their social utopias, of founding isolated phalansteres, of establishing "Home Colonies", or setting up a "Little Icaria"[8] -- pocket editions of the New Jerusalem -- and to realize all these castles in the air, they are compelled to appeal to the feelings and purses of the bourgeois. By degrees, they sink into the category of the reactionary conservative socialists depicted above, differing from these only by more systematic pedantry, and by their fanatical and superstitious belief in the miraculous effects of their social science.

      They, therefore, violently oppose all political action on the part of the working class; such action, according to them, can only result from blind unbelief in the new gospel.

      The Owenites in England, and the Fourierists in France, respectively, oppose the Chartists and the Réformistes.

Position of the Communists in Relation to the Various Existing Opposition Parties


      Section II has made clear the relations of the Communists to the existing working-class parties, such as the Chartists in England and the Agrarian Reformers in America.

      The Communists fight for the attainment of the immediate aims, for the enforcement of the momentary interests of the working class; but in the movement of the present, they also represent and take care of the future of that movement. In France, the Communists ally with the Social Democrats[9] against the conservative and radical bourgeoisie, reserving, however, the right to take up a critical position in regard to phases and illusions traditionally handed down from the great Revolution.

      In Switzerland, they support the Radicals, without losing sight of the fact that this party consists of antagonistic elements, partly of Democratic Socialists, in the French sense, partly of radical bourgeois.

      In Poland, they support the party that insists on an agrarian revolution as the prime condition for national emancipation, that party which fomented the insurrection of Krakow in 1846.

      In Germany, they fight with the bourgeoisie whenever it acts in a revolutionary way, against the absolute monarchy, the feudal squirearchy, and the petty-bourgeoisie.

      But they never cease, for a single instant, to instill into the working class the clearest possible recognition of the hostile antagonism between bourgeoisie and proletariat, in order that the German workers may straightway use, as so many weapons against the bourgeoisie, the social and political conditions that the bourgeoisie must necessarily introduce along with its supremacy, and in order that, after the fall of the reactionary classes in Germany, the fight against the bourgeoisie itself may immediately begin.

      The Communists turn their attention chiefly to Germany, because that country is on the eve of a bourgeois revolution that is bound to be carried out under more advanced conditions of European civilization and with a much more developed proletariat than that of England was in the seventeenth, and France in the eighteenth century, and because the bourgeois revolution in Germany will be but the prelude to an immediately following proletarian revolution.

      In short, the Communists everywhere support every revolutionary movement 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 democratic parties of all countries.

      The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.




Appendix: Prefaces to various Language Editions


The 1872 German Edition


      The Communist League, an international association of workers, which could of course be only a secret one, under conditions obtaining at the time, commissioned us, the undersigned, at the Congress held in London in November 1847, to write for publication a detailed theoretical and practical programme for the Party. Such was the origin of the following Manifesto, the manuscript of which travelled to London to be printed a few weeks before the February Revolution. First published in German, it has been republished in that language in at least twelve different editions in Germany, England, and America. It was published in English for the first time in 1850 in the Red Republican, London, translated by Miss Helen Macfarlane, and in 1871 in at least three different translations in America. The french version first appeared in Paris shortly before the June insurrection of 1848, and recently in Le Socialiste of New York. A new translation is in the course of preparation. A Polish version appeared in London shortly after it was first published in Germany. A Russian translation was published in Geneva in the 'sixties. Into Danish, too, it was translated shortly after its appearance.

      However much that state of things may have altered during the last twenty-five years, the general principles laid down in the Manifesto are, on the whole, as correct today as ever. Here and there, some detail might be improved. The practical application of the principles will depend, as the Manifesto itself states, everywhere and at all times, on the historical conditions for the time being existing, and, for that reason, no special stress is laid on the revolutionary measures proposed at the end of Section II. That passage would, in many respects, be very differently worded today. In view of the gigantic strides of Modern Industry since 1848, and of the accompanying improved and extended organization of the working class, in view of the practical experience gained, first in the February Revolution, and then, still more, in the Paris Commune, where the proletariat for the first time held political power for two whole months, this programme has in some details been antiquated. One thing especially was proved by the Commune, viz., that "the working class cannot simply lay hold of ready-made state machinery, and wield it for its own purposes." (See The Civil War in France: Address of the General Council of the International Working Men's Assocation, 1871, where this point is further developed.) Further, it is self-evident that the criticism of socialist literature is deficient in relation to the present time, because it comes down only to 1847; also that the remarks on the relation of the Communists to the various opposition parties (Section IV), although, in principle still correct, yet in practice are antiquated, because the political situation has been entirely changed, and the progress of history has swept from off the earth the greater portion of the political parties there enumerated.

      But then, the Manifesto has become a historical document which we have no longer any right to alter. A subsequent edition may perhaps appear with an introduction bridging the gap from 1847 to the present day; but this reprint was too unexpected to leave us time for that.


Karl Marx & Fredrick Engels

London, June 24, 1872




The 1882 Russian Edition


      The first Russian edition of the Manifesto of the Communist Party, translated by Bakunin, was published early in the 'sixties by the printing office of the Kolokol. Then the West could see in it (the Russian edition of the Manifesto) only a literary curiosity. Such a view would be impossible today.

      What a limited field the proletarian movement occupied at that time (December 1847) is most clearly shown by the last section: the position of the Communists in relation to the various opposition parties in various countries. Precisely Russia and the United States are missing here. It was the time when Russia constituted the last great reserve of all European reaction, when the United States absorbed the surplus proletarian forces of Europe through immigration. Both countries provided Europe with raw materials and were at the same time markets for the sale of its industrial products. Both were, therefore, in one way of another, pillars of the existing European system.

      How very different today. Precisely European immigration fitted North American for a gigantic agricultural production, whose competition is shaking the very foundations of European landed property -- large and small. At the same time, it enabled the United States to exploit its tremendous industrial resources with an energy and on a scale that must shortly break the industrial monopoly of Western Europe, and especially of England, existing up to now. Both circumstances react in a revolutionary manner upon America itself. Step by step, the small and middle land ownership of the farmers, the basis of the whole political constitution, is succumbing to the competition of giant farms; at the same time, a mass industrial proletariat and a fabulous concentration of capital funds are developing for the first time in the industrial regions.

      And now Russia! During the Revolution of 1848-9, not only the European princes, but the European bourgeois as well, found their only salvation from the proletariat just beginning to awaken in Russian intervention. The Tsar was proclaimed the chief of European reaction. Today, he is a prisoner of war of the revolution in Gatchina, and Russia forms the vanguard of revolutionary action in Europe.

      The Communist Manifesto had, as its object, the proclamation of the inevitable impending dissolution of modern bourgeois property. But in Russia we find, face-to-face with the rapidly flowering capitalist swindle and bourgeois property, just beginning to develop, more than half the land owned in common by the peasants. Now the question is: can the Russian obshchina, though greatly undermined, yet a form of primeval common ownership of land, pass directly to the higher form of Communist common ownership? Or, on the contrary, must it first pass through the same process of dissolution such as constitutes the historical evolution of the West?

      The only answer to that possible today is this: If the Russian Revolution becomes the signal for a proletarian revolution in the West, so that both complement each other, the present Russian common ownership of land may serve as the starting point for a communist development.


Karl Marx & Fredrick Engels

January 21, 1882, London




The 1883 German Edition


      The preface to the present edition I must, alas, sign alone. Marx, the man to whom the whole working class class of Europe and America owes more than to any one else -- rests at Highgate Cemetary and over his grave the first grass is already growing. Since his death [March 13, 1883], there can be even less thought of revising or supplementing the Manifesto. But I consider it all the more necessary again to state the following expressly:

      The basic thought running through the Manifesto -- that economic production, and the structure of society of every historical epoch necessarily arising therefrom, constitute the foundation for the political and intellectual history of that epoch; that consequently (ever since the dissolution of the primaeval communal ownership of land) all history has been a history of class struggles, of struggles between exploited and exploiting, between dominated and dominating classes at various stages of social evolution; that this struggle, however, has now reached a stage where the exploited and oppressed class (the proletariat) can no longer emancipate itself from the class which exploits and oppresses it (the bourgeoisie), without at the same time forever freeing the whole of society from exploitation, oppression, class struggles -- this basic thought belongs soley and exclusively to Marx.[10]


      I have already stated this many times; but precisely now is it necessary that it also stand in front of the Manifesto itself.


Fredrick Engels

June 28, 1883, London




The 1888 English Edition


      The Manifesto was published as the platform of the Communist League, a working men's association, first exclusively German, later on international, and under the political conditions of the Continent before 1848, unavoidably a secret society. At a Congress of the League, held in November 1847, Marx and Engels were commissioned to prepare a complete theoretical and practical party programme. Drawn up in German, in January 1848, the manuscript was sent to the printer in London a few weeks before the French Revolution of February 24. A French translation was brought out in Paris shortly before the insurrection of June 1848. The first English translation, by Miss Helen Macfarlane, appeared in George Julian Harney's Red Republican, London, 1850. A Danish and a Polish edition had also been published.

      The defeat of the Parisian insurrection of June 1848 -- the first great battle between proletariat and bourgeoisie -- drove again into the background, for a time, the social and political aspirations of the European working class. Thenceforth, the struggle for supremacy was, again, as it had been before the Revolution of February, solely between different sections of the propertied class; the working class was reduced to a fight for political elbow-room, and to the position of extreme wing of the middle-class Radicals. Wherever independent proletarian movements continued to show signs of life, they were ruthlessly hunted down. Thus the Prussian police hunted out the Central Board of the Communist League, then located in Cologne. The members were arrested and, after eighteen months' imprisonment, they were tried in October 1852. This selebrated "Cologne Communist Trial" lasted from October 4 till November 12; seven of the prisoners were sentenced to terms of imprisonment in a fortress, varying from three to six years. Immediately after the sentence, the League was formlly dissolved by the remaining members. As to the Manifesto, it seemed henceforth doomed to oblivion.

      When the European workers had recovered sufficient strength for another attack on the ruling classes, the International Working Men's Association sprang up. But this association, formed with the express aim of welding into one body the whole militant proletariat of Europe and America, could not at once proclaim the principles laid down in the Manifesto. The International was bound to have a programme broad enough to be acceptable to the English trade unions, to the followers of Proudhon in France, Belgium, Italy, and Spain, and to the Lassalleans in Germany.[11]

      Marx, who drew up this programme to the satisfaction of all parties, entirely trusted to the intellectual development of the working class, which was sure to result from combined action and mutual discussion. The very events and vicissitudes in the struggle against capital, the defeats even more than the victories, could not help bringing home to men's minds the insufficiency of their various favorite nostrums, and preparing the way for a more complete insight into the true conditions for working-class emancipation. And Marx was right. The International, on its breaking in 1874, left the workers quite different men from what it found them in 1864. Proudhonism in France, Lassalleanism in Germany, were dying out, and even the conservative English trade unions, though most of them had long since severed their connection with the International, were gradually advancing towards that point at which, last year at Swansea, their president could say in their name: "Continental socialism has lost its terror for us." In fact, the principles of the Manifesto had made considerable headway among the working men of all countries.


      The Manifesto itself came thus to the front again. Since 1850, the German text had been reprinted several times in Switzerland, England, and America. In 1872, it was translated into English in New York, where the translation was published in Woorhull and Claflin's Weekly. From this English version, a French one was made in Le Socialiste of New York. Since then, at least two more English translations, more or less mutilated, have been brought out in America, and one of them has been reprinted in England. The first Russian translation, made by Bakunin, was published at Herzen's Kolokol office in Geneva, about 1863; a second one, by the heroic Vera Zasulich, also in Geneva, in 1882. A new Danish edition is to be found in Socialdemokratisk Bibliothek, Copenhagen, 1885; a fresh French translation in Le Socialiste, Paris, 1886. From this latter, a Spanish version was prepared and published in Madrid, 1886. The German reprints are not to be counted; there have been twelve altogether at the least. An Armenian translation, which was to be published in Constantinople some months ago, did not see the light, I am told, because the publisher was afraid of bringing out a book with the name of Marx on it, while the translator declined to call it his own production. Of further translations into other languages I have heard but had not seen. Thus the history of the Manifesto reflects the history of the modern working-class movement; at present, it is doubtless the most wide spread, the most international production of all socialist literature, the common platform acknowledged by millions of working men from Siberia to California.

      Yet, when it was written, we could not have called it a socialist manifesto. By Socialists, in 1847, were understood, on the one hand the adherents of the various Utopian systems: Owenites in England, Fourierists in France, both of them already reduced to the position of mere sects, and gradually dying out; on the other hand, the most multifarious social quacks who, by all manner of tinkering, professed to redress, without any danger to capital and profit, all sorts of social grievances, in both cases men outside the working-class movement, and looking rather to the "educated" classes for support. Whatever portion of the working class had become convinced of the insufficiency of mere political revolutions, and had proclaimed the necessity of total social change, called itself Communist. It was a crude, rough-hewn, purely instinctive sort of communism; still, it touched the cardinal point and was powerful enough amongst the working class to produce the Utopian communism of Cabet in France, and of Weitling in Germany. Thus, in 1847, socialism was a middle-class movement, communism a working-class movement. Socialism was, on the Continent at least, "respectable"; communism was the very opposite. And as our notion, from the very beginning, was that "the emancipation of the workers must be the act of the working class itself," there could be no doubt as to which of the two names we must take. Moreover, we have, ever since, been far from repudiating it.

      The Manifesto being our joint production, I consider myself bound to state that the fundamental proposition which forms the nucleus belongs to Marx. That proposition is: That in every historical epoch, the prevailing mode of economic production and exchange, and the social organization necessarily following from it, form the basis upon which it is built up, and from that which alone can be explained the political and intellectual history of that epoch; that consequently the whole history of mankind (since the dissolution of primitive tribal society, holding land in common ownership) has been a history of class struggles, contests between exploiting and exploited, ruling and oppressed classes; That the history of these class struggles forms a series of evolutions in which, nowadays, a stage has been reached where the exploited and oppressed class -- the proletariat -- cannot attain its emancipation from the sway of the exploiting and ruling class -- the bourgeoisie -- without, at the same time, and once and for all, emancipating society at large from all exploitation, oppression, class distinction, and class struggles.

      This proposition, which, in my opinion, is destined to do for history what Darwin's theory has done for biology, we both of us, had been gradually approaching for some years before 1845. How far I had independently progressed towards it is best shown by my Conditions of the Working Class in England. But when I again met Marx at Brussels, in spring 1845, he had it already worked out and put it before me in terms almost as clear as those in which I have stated it here.

      From our joint preface to the German edition of 1872, I quote the following:


"However much that state of things may have altered during the last twenty-five years, the general principles laid down in the Manifesto are, on the whole, as correct today as ever. Here and there, some detail might be improved. The practical application of the principles will depend, as the Manifesto itself states, everywhere and at all times, on the historical conditions for the time being existing, and, for that reason, no special stress is laid on the revolutionary measures proposed at the end of Section II. That passage would, in many respects, be very differently worded today. In view of the gigantic strides of Modern Industry since 1848, and of the accompanying improved and extended organization of the working class, in view of the practical experience gained, first in the February Revolution, and then, still more, in the Paris Commune, where the proletariat for the first time held political power for two whole months, this programme has in some details been antiquated. One thing especially was proved by the Commune, viz., that "the working class cannot simply lay hold of ready-made state machinery, and wield it for its own purposes." (See The Civil War in France: Address of the General Council of the International Working Men's Assocation 1871, where this point is further developed.) Further, it is self-evident that the criticism of socialist literature is deficient in relation to the present time, because it comes down only to 1847; also that the remarks on the relation of the Communists to the various opposition parties (Section IV), although, in principle still correct, yet in practice are antiquated, because the political situation has been entirely changed, and the progress of history has swept from off the Earth the greater portion of the political parties there enumerated.


"But then, the Manifesto has become a historical document which we have no longer any right to alter."


      The present translation is by Mr Samuel Moore, the translator of the greater portion of Marx's Capital. We have revised it in common, and I have added a few notes explanatory of historical allusions.


Fredrick Engels

January 30, 1888, London




The 1890 German Edition


      Since [The 1883 German edition preface] was written, a new German edition of the Manifesto has again become necessary, and much has also happened to the Manifesto which should be recorded here.

      A second Russian translation -- by Vera Zasulich -- appeared in Geneva in 1882; the preface to that edition was written by Marx and myself. Unfortunately, the original German manuscript has gone astray; I must therefore retranslate from the Russian which will in no way improve the text. It reads:


      [ Reprint of the 1882 Russian Edition ]


      At about the same date, a new Polish version appeared in Geneva: Manifest Kommunistyczny.

      Furthermore, a new Danish translation has appeared in the Socialdemokratisk Bibliothek, Copenhagen, 1885. Unfortunately, it is not quite complete; certain essential passages, which seem to have presented difficulties to the translator, have been omitted, and, in addition, there are signs of carelessness here and there, which are all the more unpleasantly conspicuous since the translation indicates that had the translator taken a little more pains, he would have done an excellent piece of work.

      A new French version appeared in 1886, in Le Socialiste of Paris; it is the best published to date.

      From this latter, a Spanish version was published the same year in El Socialista of Madrid, and then reissued in pamphlet form: Manifesto del Partido Communista por Carlos Marx y F. Engels, Madrid, Administracion de El Socialista, Hernan Cortes.

      As a matter of curiosity, I may mention that in 1887 the manuscript of an Armenian translation was offered to a publisher in Constantinople. But the good man did not have the courage to publish something bearing the name of Marx and suggested that the translator set down his own name as author, which the latter however declined.

      After one, and then another, of the more or less inaccurate American translations had been repeatedly reprinted in England, an authentic version at last appeared in 1888. This was my friend Samuel Moore, and we went through it together once more before it went to press. It is entitled: Manifesto of the Communist Party, by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels. Authorized English translation, edited and annotated by Frederick Engels, 1888, London, William Reeves, 185 Fleet Street, E.C. I have added some of the notes of that edition to the present one.

      The Manifesto has had a history of its own. Greeted with enthusiasm, at the time of its appearance, by the not at all numerous vanguard of scientific socialism (as is proved by the translations mentioned in the first place), it was soon forced into the background by the reaction that began with the defeat of the Paris workers in June 1848, and was finally excommunicated "by law" in the conviction of the Cologne Communists in November 1852. With the disappearance from the public scene of the workers' movement that had begun with the February Revolution, the Manifesto too passed into the background.

      When the European workers had again gathered sufficient strength for a new onslaught upon the power of the ruling classes, the International Working Men's Association came into being. Its aim was to weld together into one huge army the whole militant working class of Europe and America. Therefore it could not set out from the principles laid down in the Manifesto. It was bound to have a programme which would not shut the door on the English trade unions, the French, Belgian, Italian, and Spanish Proudhonists, and the German Lassalleans. This programme --the considerations underlying the Statutes of the International -- was drawn up by Marx with a master hand acknowledged even by the Bakunin and the anarchists. For the ultimate final triumph of the ideas set forth in the Manifesto, Marx relied solely upon the intellectual development of the working class, as it necessarily has to ensue from united action and discussion. The events and vicissitudes in the struggle against capital, the defeats even more than the successes, could not but demonstrate to the fighters the inadequacy of their former universal panaceas, and make their minds more receptive to a thorough understanding of the true conditions for working-class emancipation. And Marx was right. The working class of 1874, at the dissolution of the International, was altogether different from that of 1864, at its foundation. Proudhonism in the Latin countries, and the specific Lassalleanism in Germany, were dying out; and even the ten arch-conservative English trade unions were gradually approaching the point where, in 1887, the chairman of their Swansea Congress could say in their name: "Continental socialism has lost its terror for us." Yet by 1887 continental socialism was almost exclusively the theory heralded in the Manifesto. Thus, to a certain extent, the history of the Manifesto reflects the history of the modern working-class movement since 1848. At present, it is doubtless the most widely circulated, the most international product of all socialist literature, the common programme of many millions of workers of all countries from Siberia to California.

      Nevertheless, when it appeared, we could not have called it a socialist manifesto. In 1847, two kinds of people were considered socialists. On the one hand were the adherents of the various utopian systems, notably the Owenites in England and the Fourierists in France, both of whom, at that date, had already dwindled to mere sects gradually dying out. On the other, the manifold types of social quacks who wanted to eliminate social abuses through their various universal panaceas and all kinds of patch-work, without hurting capital and profit in the least. In both cases, people who stood outside the labor movement and who looked for support rather to the "educated" classes. The section of the working class, however, which demanded a radical reconstruction of society, convinced that mere political revolutions were not enough, then called itself Communist. It was still a rough-hewn, only instinctive and frequently somewhat crude communism. Yet, it was powerful enough to bring into being two systems of utopian communism -- in France, the "Icarian" communists of Cabet, and in Germany that of Weitling. Socialism in 1847 signified a bourgeois movement, communism a working-class movement. Socialism was, on the Continent at least, quite respectable, whereas communism was the very opposite. And since we were very decidely of the opinion as early as then that "the emancipation of the workers must be the task of the working class itself," we could have no hesitation as to which of the two names we should choose. Nor has it ever occurred to us to repudiate it.

      "Working men of all countries, unite!" But few voices responded when we proclaimed these words to the world 42 years ago, on the eve of the first Paris Revolution in which the proletariat came out with the demands of its own. On September 28, 1864, however, the proletarians of most of the Western European countries joined hands in the International Working Men's Association of glorious memory. True, the International itself lived only nine years. But that the eternal union of the proletarians of all countries created by it is still alive and lives stronger than ever, there is no better witness than this day. Because today, as I write these lines, the European and American proletariat is reviewing its fighting forces, mobilized for the first time, mobilized as one army, under one flag, for one immediate aim: the standard eight-hour working day to be established by legal enactment, as proclaimed by the Geneva Congress of the International in 1866, and again by the Paris Workers' Congress of 1889. And today's spectacle will open the eyes of the capitalists and landlords of all countries to the fact that today the proletarians of all countries are united indeed.


      If only Marx were still by my side to see this with his own eyes!


Fredrick Engels

May 1, 1890, London




The 1892 Polish Edition


      The fact that a new Polish edition of the Communist Manifesto has become necessary gives rise to various thoughts.

      First of all, it is noteworthy that of late the Manifesto has become an index, as it were, of the development of large-scale industry on the European continent. In proportion as large-scale industry expands in a given country, the demand grows among the workers of that country for enlightenment regarding their position as the working class in relation to the possessing classes, the socialist movement spreads among them and the demand for the Manifesto increases. Thus, not only the state of the labour movement but also the degree of development of large-scale industry can be measured with fair accuracy in every country by the number of copies of the Manifesto circulated in the language of that country.

      Accordingly, the new Polish edition indicates a decided progress of Polish industry. And there can be no doubt whatever that this progress since the previous edition published ten years ago has actually taken place. Russian Poland, Congress Poland, has become the big industrial region of the Russian Empire. Whereas Russian large-scale industry is scattered sporadically – a part round the Gulf of Finland, another in the center (Moscow and Vladimir), a third along the coasts of the Black and Azov seas, and still others elsewhere – Polish industry has been packed into a relatively small area and enjoys both the advantages and disadvantages arising from such concentration. The competing Russian manufacturers acknowledged the advantages when they demanded protective tariffs against Poland, in spit of their ardent desire to transform the Poles into Russians. The disadvantages – for the Polish manufacturers and the Russian government – are manifest in the rapid spread of socialist ideas among the Polish workers and in the growing demand for the Manifesto.

      But the rapid development of Polish industry, outstripping that of Russia, is in its turn a new proof of the inexhaustible vitality of the Polish people and a new guarantee of its impending national restoration. And the restoration of an independent and strong Poland is a matter which concerns not only the Poles but all of us. A sincere international collaboration of the European nations is possible only if each of these nations is fully autonomous in its own house. The Revolution of 1848, which under the banner of the proletariat, after all, merely let the proletarian fighters do the work of the bourgeoisie, also secured the independence of Italy, Germany and Hungary through its testamentary executors, Louis Bonaparte and Bismarck; but Poland, which since 1792 had done more for the Revolution than all these three together, was left to its own resources when it succumbed in 1863 to a tenfold greater Russian force. The nobility could neither maintain nor regain Polish independence; today, to the bourgeoisie, this independence is, to say the last, immaterial. Nevertheless, it is a necessity for the harmonious collaboration of the European nations. It can be gained only by the young Polish proletariat, and in its hands it is secure. For the workers of all the rest of Europe need the independence of Poland just as much as the Polish workers themselves.


F. Engels

London, February 10, 1892




The 1893 Italian Edition


      Publication of the Manifesto of the Communist Party coincided, one may say, with March 18, 1848, the day of the revolution in Milan and Berlin, which were armed uprisings of the two nations situated in the center, the one, of the continent of Europe, the other, of the Mediterranean; two nations until then enfeebled by division and internal strife, and thus fallen under foreign domination. While Italy was subject to the Emperor of Austria, Germany underwent the yoke, not less effective though more indirect, of the Tsar of all the Russias. The consequences of March 18, 1848, freed both Italy and Germany from this disgrace; if from 1848 to 1871  these two great nations were reconstituted and somehow again put on their own, it was as Karl Marx used to say, because the men who suppressed the Revolution of 1848 were, nevertheless, its testamentary executors in spite of themselves.

      Everywhere that revolution was the work of the working class; it was the latter that built the barricades and paid with its lifeblood. Only the Paris workers, in overthrowing the government, had the very definite intention of overthrowing the bourgeois regime. But conscious though they were of the fatal antagonism existing between their own class and the bourgeoisie, still, neither the economic progress of the country nor the intellectual development of the mass of French workers had as yet reached the stage which would have made a social reconstruction possible. In the final analysis, therefore, the fruits of the revolution were reaped by the capitalist class. In the other countries, in Italy, in Germany, in Austria, the workers, from the very outset, did nothing but raise the bourgeoisie to power. But in any country the rule of the bourgeoisie is impossible without national independence Therefore, the Revolution of 1848 had to bring in its train the unity and autonomy of the nations that had lacked them up to then: Italy, Germany, Hungary. Poland will follow in turn.

      Thus, if the Revolution of 1848 was not a socialist revolution, it paved the way, prepared the ground for the latter. Through the impetus given to large-scaled industry in all countries, the bourgeois regime during the last forty-five years has everywhere created a numerous, concentrated and powerful proletariat. It has thus raised, to use the language of the Manifesto, its own grave-diggers. Without restoring autonomy and unity to each nation, it will be impossible to achieve the international union of the proletariat, or the peaceful and intelligent co-operation of these nations toward common aims. Just imagine joint international action by the Italian, Hungarian, German, Polish and Russian workers under the political conditions preceding 1848!

      The battles fought in 1848 were thus not fought in vain. Nor have the forty-five years separating us from that revolutionary epoch passed to no purpose. The fruits are ripening, and all I wish is that the publication of this Italian translation may augur as well for the victory of the Italian proletariat as the publication of the original did for the international revolution.

      The Manifesto does full justice to the revolutionary part played by capitalism in the past. The first capitalist nation was Italy. The close of the feudal Middle Ages, and the opening of the modern capitalist era are marked by a colossal figured: an Italian, Dante, both the last poet of the Middle Ages and the first poet of modern times. Today, as in 1300, a new historical era is approaching. Will Italy give us the new Dante, who will mark the hour of birth of this new, proletarian era?


Fredrick Engels

London, February 1, 1893



[1] By bourgeoisie is meant the class of modern capitalists, owners of the means of social production and employers of wage labor. By proletariat, the class of modern wage laborers who, having no means of production of their own, are reduced to selling their labor power in order to live. [Engels, 1888 English edition]


[2]  That is, all written history. In 1847, the pre-history of society, the social organization existing previous to recorded history, all but unknown. Since then, August von Haxthausen (1792-1866) discovered common ownership of land in Russia, Georg Ludwig von Maurer proved it to be the social foundation from which all Teutonic races started in history, and, by and by, village communities were found to be, or to have been, the primitive form of society everywhere from India to Ireland. The inner organization of this primitive communistic society was laid bare, in its typical form, by Lewis Henry Morgan's (1818-1861) crowning discovery of the true nature of the gens and its relation to the tribe. With the dissolution of the primeval communities, society begins to be differentiated into separate and finally antagonistic classes. I have attempted to retrace this dissolution in Der Ursprung der Familie, des Privateigenthumus und des Staats, second edition, Stuttgart, 1886. [Engels, 1888 English Edition]


[3]  Guild-master, that is, a full member of a guild, a master within, not a head of a guild. [Engels, 1888 English Edition]


[4] This was the name given their urban communities by the townsmen of Italy and France, after they had purchased or conquered their initial rights of self-government from their feudal lords. [Engels, 1890 German edition]


  "Commune" was the name taken in France by the nascent towns even before they had conquered from their feudal lords and masters local self-government and political rights as the "Third Estate". Generally speaking, for the economical development of the bourgeoisie, England is here taken as the typical country, for its political development, France. [Engels, 1888 English Edition]

[5] Not the English Restoration (1660-1689), but the French Restoration (1814-1830). [Engels, 1888 German edition]

[6] This applies chiefly to Germany, where the landed aristocracy and squirearchy have large portions of their estates cultivated for their own account by stewards, and are, moreover, extensive beetroot-sugar manufacturers and distillers of potato spirits. The wealthier british aristocracy are, as yet, rather above that; but they, too, know how to make up for declining rents by lending their names to floaters or more or less shady joint-stock companies. [Engels, 1888 German edition]

[7] The revolutionary storm of 1848 swept away this whole shabby tendency and cured its protagonists of the desire to dabble in socialism. The chief representative and classical type of this tendency is Mr Karl Gruen. [Engels, 1888 German edition]

[8] Phalanstéres were Socialist colonies on the plan of Charles Fourier; Icaria was the name given by Cabet to his Utopia and, later on, to his American Communist colony. [Engels, 1888 English Edition]


   "Home Colonies" were what Owen called his Communist model societies. Phalanstéres was the anem of the public palaces planned by Fourier. Icaria was the name given to the Utopian land of fancy, whose Communist instituions Cabet portrayed. [Engels, 1890 German Edition]

[9] The party then represented in Parliament by Ledru-Rollin, in literature by Louis Blanc, in the daily press by the Reforme. The name of Social-Democracy signifies, with these its inventors, a section of the Democratic or Republican Party more or less tinged with socialism. [Engels, English Edition 1888]

[10] "This proposition", I wrote in the preface to the English translation, "which, in my opinion, is destined to do for history what Darwin's theory has done for biology, we both of us, had been gradually approaching for some years before 1845. How far I had independently progressed towards it is best shown by my Conditions of the Working Class in England. But when I again met Marx at Brussels, in spring 1845, he had it already worked out and put it before me in terms almost as clear as those in which I have stated it here."]

[11] Lassalle personally, to us, always acknowledged himself to be a disciple of Marx, and, as such, stood on the ground of the Manifesto. But in his first public agitation, 1862-1864, he did not go beyond demanding co-operative workshops supported by state credit.