Manifesto of the Communist Party

A ‘Manifestoon’

A comrade has pointed out the Manifesto of the Communist Party by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels has an animated version on YouTube. You can view it below. The animated version includes many Disney characters from the heartlands of capitalism. The animations used are excellent if a little dated — the cartoon refers to ‘our epoch’ as being the ’20th century’.

The Manifesto remains timeless although the facts used by Marx and Engels are based in the 19th century. Capitalism continues to evolve on its old themes of profit and growth based on the exploitation of workers.

Communist Mainfesto - LeftPress Edition - $2 from PO Box 5093 West End 4101.

Many years ago Leftpress Workers Printing and Publishing printed an edition with our own introduction.

“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master 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 reality for all the great changes since 1848 the injustices which first prompted the Manifesto still remain evident….

We seek a world free of the obscene competition for weapons of mass destruction and free of poverty, illiteracy and inhuman living conditions; a world where the word solidarity is not just an empty phrase but is an animated thing given flesh and breath with new economic and political structures which eliminate human misery and alienation. For us, although written more than a century ago, the Communist Manifesto remains a valid tool of criticism and source of inspiration (extract from the Publishers Note) – Reprinted by Leftpress ( 48 pages)

Ian Curr
Jan 2010

[Thanks to Don Wilson for the tip about the animation on You Tube]

14 responses to “Manifesto of the Communist Party

  1. “False Promises: An Indigenist Examination of Marxist Theory and Practice” by Ward Churchill cwis.org/fwj/22/falsep.htm

    sorry, I cut off the link. try this…. http://cwis.org/fwj/22/falsep.htm

    See also http://unlearningtheproblem.wordpress.com/

    Like

  2. "A Spectre is Haunting..." Communism, Hope and the Future conference

    Thanks to Dan O’Neill for this message.

    Hi Dan,

    As promised, here are some brief details on the communism conference
    being held next Saturday, the 13th. The location is the ‘Turnstyle’
    centre at 10-12 Laura St Highgate Hill. As you can see, we are drawing
    on an unfortunately narrow field of ‘talent’… If you have any other
    questions, feel free to ask.

    Comradely,
    Jon Piccini

    “A Spectre is Haunting…” Communism, Hope and the Future conference

    “Children of the metropolis, we offer this wager: it’s in the most
    profound deprivation of existence, perpetually stifled, perpetually
    conjured away, that the possibility of communism resides” – The
    Invisible Committee

    The recent crisis of global capitalism, the collapse of the financial
    markets, housing, commodity prices and employment witnessed the end of
    the neoliberal era. However, this recent period has also revealed
    something disturbing: the failure of the Left to present a radical
    alternative to the capitalist system. This failure of the Left does not
    mean that capitalism is free from antagonism, rather that the old forms
    cannot express contemporary proletarian struggles and desires. Across
    the globe, in conferences in London, riots in Paris and university
    strikes in California we have witnessed the attempt to reinstall
    Communism as the signifier of hope for our struggle and emancipation. We

    want to be part of this…

    *** PROGRAM ***

    09:30 Registration (Free)

    09:50 – 10:00 Opening

    10:00 – 11:15 The Genesis of Capitalism: England, ‘Bourgeois Revolution’

    and the Birth of the Modern State – Gonzalo Villanueva

    11:15 – 12:30 What’s It All Worth? Marx and Value – Dave Eden

    12:30 – 13:30 Lunch (Free/By Donation)

    13:30 – 14:45 We Who Are Nothing Shall Be All: Class and Communist
    Possibilities – Dave Eden

    14:45 – 16:00 Internationalism: What Way Forward for World Revolution –
    Dom Hale

    16:00 – 16:15 Afternoon Break

    16:15 – 17:30 Henri Lefebvre, the Politics of Urban Space, and Everyday
    Life in the 21st Century – Jon Piccini

    17:30 Communism: Hope and the Future – Open Forum

    Evening – Dinner (Free/By Donation). Cultural Event – T.B.A

    * Unregistered presentations are welcome and can be scheduled into the
    day’s agenda.

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  3. I have just posted a link to a video of Bejam Denis Walker on the Oodgeroo thread.
    here is the link again
    http://treatynow.wordpress.com/treaty-bejam-at-the-world-parliament-of-religions-melbourne-2009/

    In that video Bejam refers to the difference between hunter gatherer society and hoarder society.

    This is the essence of the incompatibility of traditional or “pure” Marxism and indigenous consciousness, modes of organisation, aspirations and relationship to the means of production.

    This difference can not be reconciled by any notion of working class solidarity.

    This is not an us and them thing. We can re-examine the history and evolution of western european culture by the same analysis to understand the development of class exploitation. This leads to an antithesis of Marxism which wants to move towards centralised industrialisation and away from “savagery” and “barbarism”.

    A hunter gatherer/hoarder analysis would suggest the drive to industrialisation and capitalism is in fact a bad thing that destroys economies and enslaves people. Centralised Industrialisation is devolution from a liberated state (of being) rather than an evolution towards liberation.

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  4. 'What does the Left Want?'

    See post — What does the Left Want?

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  5. Ian,

    Also from the manifesto……..”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.”

    Álvaro García Linera (Bolivian socialist) states that Marxism’s “ideology of industrial modernisation” and “consolidation of the national state” implied the “‘inferiority’ of the country’s predominantly peasant societies.”

    I got that quote from this link “Is Marxism Eurocentric? A view from Latin America”
    http://kasamaproject.org/2009/12/04/is-marxism-eurocentric-a-view-from-latin-america/

    I was aware, mainly through GLW, of some of Venesuela’s programs to incorporate indigenous structures and agendas into the process of government. However through all the Latin American solidarity propaganda of the last few decades, the Australian left seems to have ignored the development of the Indianismo movement. After web-surfing this issue I now realise it is a major theme in the development of Latin American revolutionary history and ideology.

    Similarly, the Australian left has ignored Australian Indianismo which was most prominant in the land rights movements of the 1980s (except of course for the guerilla struggle of the 19th century).

    Indigenous perspective has been ignored and Aboriginal people have been objectified and assimilated into the hobby theories of non-Aboriginal people. I mentioned the Gurindgi walk off and the difference between land rights and equal wages. Closer to now has been the socialists protests against Noel Pearson and the Cape York trial – which dismiss the will and perspective of Cape York people in favour of a bourgoise notion of human rights. Here the competing perspectives are self determination and civil liberties for which the left has clung to the latter and ignored the former.

    Ironically, Pearson’s program for economic development mirrors Lenin’s plan for peasants, yet the Australian Leninists oppose this in favour of bourgoise notions of welfare.

    When I speak of racism I do not speak of xenophobia or racial villification. The racism I speak of is the cultural arrogance of western society that assumes its own culture and perspective to be universally normative. Academia has recognised this phenomenon in the emerging discipline of “Whiteness studies”. Critical anthropology has also adopted post-modernist frameworks in identifying the cultural bias of observation of one culture by another.

    Engel’s frameworks of savagery, barbarism and civilisation are not far below the surface when issues of gender arise in contact between the bourgoise left and traditional Aboriginal society (much of which remains in modern urban Aboriginal sociology).

    The bourgoise feminist framework is reinfoced by Marx’s comments on the dialectical struggle of gender exploitation and the evolution to gender equality (or homogeneity).

    Aboriginal frameworks are underpinned by a gender division of labour, territory and politics.

    When, for example, an Aboriginal community in the NT or Cape York insists on being publically represented by a man in certain matters in accordance with traditional custom, this is perhaps politely tolerated by non-Ab leftists and feminists but it is ignored or privately condemned. Only the points of Aboriginal sociology, such as vague notions of sharing or ecology, that conform to socialist/feminist orthodoxy are embraced by non-Ab supporters. The notion of women’s business has been bastardised to conform to white notions of feminism and mens business has been reduced to a co-counselling strategy to combat domestic violence.

    The central dynamo of Aboriginal culture – the perpetual dialectic between men and women that determines sociology and consciousness is essentially rejected by marxist and feminist philosophy and modes of operation.

    Brisbane Aboriginal Matriarch, the Late Aunty Eileen Brady said, as told to me by her eldest daughter and prominent Aboriginal activist of the 70s and 80s Marceile Lawrence, Feminism has contributed as much to the destruction of Aboriginal culture as the church has.

    All of these cultural complications of the bourgoise left’s engagement with the lumpen proletarite exist elsewhere also, such as Palestine, Africa and Latin America. Yet our international solidarity, just like our local solidarity with Aboriginal people, is always framed within the culture and ideology of the European working class.

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  6. Hello John and Martin,

    I have been busy on another project so I have been unable to reply to what has been said here.

    So that my statement about workers and peasants is not distorted by a device as simple as repetition of another caricature [according to John T in the BDS thread I am a racist, a hobbyist, and by implication a Trotskyite) — for the record what I said was, you can check in my comments titled ‘Our Mob‘ in the Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions [BDS] thread:

    “The other wing of Trotskyism, epitomised by international socialism, leans back to a pure form of Marxism that workers must lead, not peasants. These are by no means definitive statements but I hope it helps.”

    I am sure International Socialists in Australia would probably take issue with this over-simplification of their purpose. They have for years been fearful of an outbreak of nationalism in the Australian working class that, if I do them justice, would result in the kind of racism that surfaced with the rise of Pauline Hanson in Queensland and federal politics. Personally, I differ with their emphasis but then, who is to say there is not merit in their position.

    I certainly reject John T’s charge that the more pure form of marxism represented by this international socialist current can be charaterised as stemming from religious belief in socialism. If you want any proof of this just look at the issues that they have taken up and organised around – the right of refugees to seek asylum in Australia, the rejection of successive governments intervention into Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory and Queensland, a consistent support of womens right to control their own bodies and on the international stage they have campaigned for Palestinian self determination. For example I place the British MP George Galloway in this international socialist current.

    For those younger readers who may be interested, this international socialist current have stuck it out in Brisbane [and elswehere] in one form or other for over 30 years, or put another way, from the democratic rights street marches in the late 1970s to the NT and Qld intervention in the 2000s — they are hardly a bunch of racists or religious finactics that John T. would have us believe.

    Also to take Engels to task on his eurocentric view of non-europeans and to equate a socialist view of Murri struggle here with what Marx, Trotsky or Lenin may have written on the role of the peasant class in previous socialist revolutions is a recipe for confusion. Surely the analysis has to come from here and now not from there and then.

    To begin to understand the basis upon which socialists struggle a good starting point is the quote from the ‘Manifesto of the Communist Party’ written by both Marx and Engles:

    “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master 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”

    Ian Curr
    Jan 2010

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  7. “19th century Polynesians, Aborigines….were not less evolved than European workers”

    You do not understand Marxism, might I suggest you read ‘Origin of the Family, Private property and the state’ which will introduce to the Marxist method of examining socities at different stages of development. Furthermore if you bother to read it, it will reveal to you the mechanism by which societies evolve from one level to another.

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    • Hello Martin.

      I have read “Origin of the family, private property and the state”. The Engels quote is from there.

      While I think Morgan’s anthropology is naive and misguided, his and Engels’ theory might have some relevance to those who identify their cultural ancestry eminating from Greece and Rome. The story Engels tells of the transition from extended families and communal property to private property and the nuclear family may well explain the evolution of the culture of christendom but it does not explain the history and circumstance of other societies in particular those who christendom has colonised.

      Morgans examination of, for example, Iraquois society through the prism of Greko-Roman history gives no insight into the historical material circumstance of Iroquis society. It is just a projection of European cultural assumptions.

      But Engels book is not prescriptive, it does not articulate a strategy of emancipation. Those who have done this such as Marx, Lenin and Trotsky have assumed that the basis of international revolution and solidarity is civilised society, generalising the perspective of the European urban worker – if necessary in opposition to the needs and aspirations of sub-civilised people such as the Russian peasants.

      When Ian (on the BDS thread) claims that pure Marxism dictates that the workers not the peasants must lead, this is an imposition of the history and perspective of Christendom’s working class onto people with a different cultural history and relationship to the means of production. The assumption that only the industrial working class can create socialism is a European myth that is undermined by the existence of tribal communism in savage and barbarous societies, a fact central to Morgan/Engels’ theory. Instead of embracing this tribal socialism, Marxists have dismissed them as retarded. Lenin’s prescription for the Peasantry was not to reinforce their socialist culture but to develop capitalist industry to turn the peasants into workers – to fast track their social evolution. Marxists have been as eager to convert the uncivilised heathen as colonial christian missionaries have been.

      Morgan, Marx and Engels were products of their time and history. They embraced the same notions of “civilisation” and cultural superiority that the European elite held. They were wrong, it is as plain as that. Their “science” is an outdated discredited scheme of anthropology. Denying and evading their wrongness, especially while promoting their philosophy, is a matter of religious faith, not critical social analysis.

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      • Hello John,

        Your statement “Morgan, Marx and Engels were products of their time and history. They embraced the same notions of “civilisation” and cultural superiority that the European elite held” is unfair and untrue.

        The three people you name rejected the elitist view held by many eurocentric thinkers.

        “Morgan was personally most familiar [with the Iroquois that you mention above] In 1846 he was in fact “adopted” by one of its constituent tribes, the Seneca, as a warrior of the Hawk clan.” (Rosemount).

        Rosemont writes: “Again and again when these smirking apologists for imperialism direct their condescending ridicule at the “superstitious” beliefs and practices of Australian aborigines or other native peoples, Marx turns it back like a boomerang on the “civilized canaille.”

        “He (Marx) accepted-at least, he did not contradict — Lubbock’s hypothesis that the earliest human societies were atheist, but had only scorn for Lubbock’s specious reasoning: that the savage mind was not developed enough to recognize the “truths” of religion! No, Marx’s notes suggest, our “primitive” ancestors were atheists because the belief in gods and other priestly abominations entered the world only with the beginnings of class society.”

        “Relentlessly, in these notes, he follows the development of religion as an integral part of the repressive apparatus through its various permutations linked to the formation of caste, slavery, patriarchal monogamy and monarchy. The “poor religious element,” he remarks, becomes the main preoccupation of the gens precisely to the degree that real cooperation and common property decline…”

        John, the ‘analytical’ method that you adopt is as worrying to me as the ‘pseudo-marxists’ you condemn.

        Firstly you caricature or stereotype. Then, when confronted with your simplistic caricature, you reach for an obscure source (in this case a little know anthopologist, Morgan and his writings on the North American Indian tribe, the Iroqois) to justify your argument. You often simply repeat the same argument again and again, even after you have got your point across. This has the effect of talking down to our readers, not giving them the benefit of the doubt that they have picked up on what you are saying.

        Finally, if all else fails, you simply misquote a source hoping that your perceived adversary will not have the sense to check your caricature.

        This is hardly a method that engenders credibility to our readers.

        The quote from the author (Rosemount) is someone I do not know. I have not studied Marx’s Ethnological notes which accordingly to Rosemount are full of observations on the ‘South’. I have uploaded the document, “Karl Marx and the Iroquois” by Franklin Rosemont, if others wish to study it.

        As i said previously my comments on Marx and various Marxist groups are not intended to be definitive. I am no academic nor am I a student of the sectarian groups, I have better things to do.

        Nevertheless I have read all Engels and Marx’s references to Australian Aborigines in the second volume of Das Kapital (Capital) and in Engels manuscript on the family quoted in my comments titled ‘Our Mob‘ .

        In my opinion, Engels made the scientific mistake of not knowing how developed Aboriginal society and its dreamtime is.

        But then I am told the father of evolution, Darwin, made similar mistakes.

        Even great intellectuals are fallible and human.

        Ian Curr
        Jan 2010

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      • Ian,

        1/ please identify where you think I have misquoted a source.

        2/ Morgan is not ” an obscure source” that I have reached for, as you suggest. Morgan was hugely influential on Marx and Engels. Engel’s “Origins of Private Property, Family and the State” is basically a precis of Morgans thesis and Marx’s later ethnological notes are essentially reflections on Morgans work.

        Like

      • Sorry, I meant to say that you misrepresented Engels, Marx and Lenin.

        But you did misquote me. You claimed I said: “When Ian (on the BDS thread) claims that pure Marxism dictates that the workers not the peasants must lead, this is an imposition of the history and perspective of Christendom’s working class onto people with a different cultural history and relationship to the means of production.”

        What I actually said was: ““The other wing of Trotskyism, epitomised by international socialism, leans back to a pure form of Marxism that workers must lead, not peasants. These are by no means definitive statements but I hope it helps.”

        Perhaps you can’t see the difference?

        For example, on what basis do you say: “Engel’s “Origins of Private Property, Family and the State” is basically a precis of Morgans thesis and Marx’s later ethnological notes are essentially reflections on Morgans work”?

        Morgan is obscure for me.

        Like

      • Ian,

        responding to your last question

        I meant paraphrase, not precis.

        Morgans “Ancient Society Or
        Researches in the Lines of Human Progress from
        Savagery through Barbarism to Civilization”
        http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/morgan-lewis/ancient-society/index.htm

        I haven’t read it but compare the chapter outline with Engels book and the parallels are obvious.

        Engels said…….

        From “Origins of Family, Private Property and the state” Preface to first edition…..

        “The following chapters are, in a sense, the execution of a bequest. No less a man than Karl Marx had made it one of his future tasks to present the results of Morgan’s researches in the light of the conclusions of his own — within certain limits, I may say our — materialistic examination of history, and thus to make clear their full significance.”

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  8. Hello Ian,

    continued from……
    https://bushtelegraph.wordpress.com/2009/12/16/bds-movement-requests-international-trade-unions-to-build-ties-with-palestinian-unions/#comment-7721

    perhaps this thread is more appropriate for a critique of Marxism, however the original point on the BDS thread was that Australian activists support only their own ideological preconceptions rather than the agendas of the people struggling. This is the case with Marxists/unionists as well as christians and neo-liberal freemarketeers. It is a matter of colonial consciousness.

    However, in terms of the theory, Engels racist attitudes to non-industrialised sociology cannot be explained by a simple ignorance of the Australian Aborigines of whom he spoke. The theory of dialectical evolution through the epochs of savagery, barbarism and civilisation are central to Marxist understandings of history and the struggle of the working class today as well as the rationale (expressed by you) for the assumption that the working class should lead struggle rather than the peasantry.

    This theory of human evolution is very poor in light of modern anthropology.

    Engels’ racist caracature of Australian Aborigines provides those of us with an insight into Aboriginal culture a clear indication of the flaw of the Engels Hypothesis. However his racism is not an isolated instance, neither was Trotsky’s genocide of Russian peasants or the old AWU’s demand of “Australia for the white man”..

    19th century Polynesians, Aborigines and European peasants were not less evolved than European workers. They were/are highly sophisticated societies that evolved through ecolological modes of production rather than industrialised modes. In the case of Polynesians and Aborigines their sociology had evolved without capitalism and feudalism which, I suggest, have been retardants to social evolution in Europe rather than the motor of it.

    The mythical utopian tribal communism that was wished for by the young Marx as the next evolutionary epoch beyond socialism is ironic in that Marxism has been blind to the existence of tribal communism, dismissing it as retarded savagery just as the European colonial elite did.

    And by the way, Engels comments on Australian Aborigines were a bit more specific than simply…. “The Australian aborigines and many of the Polynesians are still in this middle stage of savagery today.” as you suggest.

    Consider the quote in context…….

    “But the tribes which figure in books as living entirely, that is, exclusively, by hunting never existed in reality; the yield of the hunt was far too precarious. At this stage, owing to the continual uncertainty of food supplies, cannibalism seems to have arisen, and was practiced from now onwards for a long time. The Australian aborigines and many of the Polynesians are still in this middle stage of savagery today.”

    Engels not only displays his ignorance of tribal sociology but also of the capacity of the earth to feed humans without the capitalist/industrial modes of European agriculture.

    His assumptions about non-industrialised modes of production are as flawed as his assumptions of non-industrialised consciousness.

    His assumption of canibalism is based on the assumption of food scarcity because of un-evolved modes of production. Joseph Banks used this same theory to explain why Australian Aborigines were dying out they would either starve or canibalise themselves into extinction.

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    • p.s.

      Responding to the JFP supporter’s comment……”Australian workers defended the Aboriginal strike on Lord Vesty’s station of Wattie Creek”

      This is a case in point of what I am saying. The Gurindgi’s demand was land rights. The left/union demand was equal wages. While the union campaign for equal wages was successful this resulted in aboriginal workers being sacked and disposessed from their land, many going to places like the Alice Springs town camps.

      A great socialist success was really a major advance of the genocide. Still today socialists celebrate their great intervention. But it should be examined as a disaster, not a victory.

      Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

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