Karl Marx 1880

Introduction to the French Edition of Engels’
Socialism: Utopian and Scientific

Written: May 5 1880;
First published: in a pamphlet: F. Engels, Socialisme utopique et socialisme scientifique, Paris, 1880;
Source: MECW, Volume 24, the first English translation;
Transcribed: by Andy Blunden.

The last page of the manuscript contains a postscript in Marx’s handwriting: “Dear Lafargue, here is the fruit of my consultation (of yesterday evening) with Engels. Polish the phrases, leaving the gist intact.” The introduction was initialled “P.L.” in the pamphlet. The editors of MECW used Marx’s original manuscript and checked it against the text in the pamphlet.

The pages which form the subject of the present pamphlet, first published as three articles in the Revue socialiste, have been translated from the latest book by Engels Revolution in Science [i.e., Anti-Dühring].

Frederick Engels, one of the foremost representatives of contemporary socialism, distinguished himself in 1844 with his Outlines of a Critique of Political Economy, which first appeared in the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher, published in Paris by Marx and Ruge. The Outlines already formulates certain general principles of scientific socialism. Engels was then living in Manchester, where he wrote (in German) The Condition of the Working-Class in England (1845), an important work to which Marx did full justice in Capital. During his first stay in England he also contributed — as he later did from Brussels — to The Northern Star, the official journal of the socialist [i.e. Chartist] movement, and to the New Moral World of Robert Owen.

During his stay in Brussels he and Marx founded the German workers’ communist club, linked with Flemish and Walloon working men’s clubs, and, with Bornstedt, the Deutsche-Brüsseler Zeitung. At the invitation of the German committee (residing in London) of the League of the Just, they joined this society, which had originally been set up by Karl Schapper after his flight from France, where he had taken part in the Blanqui conspiracy of 1839. From then on the League was transformed into an international League of Communists after the suppression of the usual formalism of secret societies. Nevertheless, in those circumstances the society had to remain a secret as far as governments were concerned. In 1847 at the International Congress held by the League in London, Marx and Engels were instructed to draft the Manifesto of the Communist Party, published immediately before the February Revolution and translated [at once] into almost all the European languages.[1]

In the same year they were involved in founding the Democratic Association of Brussels, an international and public association, where the delegates of the radical bourgeois and those of the proletarian[2] workers met.

After the February Revolution, Engels became one of the editors of the Neue Rheinische Zeitung (Nouvelle Gazette Rhénane), founded in 1848 by Marx in Cologne and suppressed in June 1849 by a Prussian coup d'état. After taking part in the rising at Elberfeld Engels fought in the Baden[3] campaign against the Prussians (June and July 1849) as the aide-de-camp of Willich, who was then colonel of a battalion of francs-tireurs.

In 1850, in London, he contributed to the Review of the Neue Rheinische Zeitung edited by Marx and printed in Hamburg. There Engels for the first time published The Peasant War in Germany, which 19 years later appeared again in Leipzig as a pamphlet and ran into three editions.

After the resumption of the socialist movement in Germany, Engels contributed to the Volksstaat and Vorwarts his most important articles, most of which were reprinted in the form of pamphlets such as On Social Relations in Russia, The Prussian Schnapps in the German Reichstag, The Housing Question, The Cantonalist Rising in Spain,[The Bakunists at Work] etc.

In 1870, after leaving Manchester for London, Engels joined the General Council of the International, where he was entrusted with the correspondence with Spain, Portugal and Italy.

The series of final articles which he contributed to the Vorwärts under the ironic title of Herr Dühring’s Revolution in Science (in response to the allegedly new theories of Mr. E. Dühring on science in general and socialism in particular) were assembled in one volume and were a great success among German socialists. In the present pamphlet we reproduce the most topical excerpt from the theoretical section of the book, which constitutes what might be termed an introduction to scientific socialism.


1. In the 1880 French edition of the pamphlet Lafargue added here: “The Communist Manifesto is one of the most valuable documents of modern socialism; even today it remains one of the most vigorous and clearest expositions of the development of bourgeois society and the formation of the proletariat which must put an end to capitalist society; as in The Poverty of Philosophy by Marx, published a year earlier, here, for the first time, the theory of class struggle is clearly formulated.”

2. The 1880 edition has “socialist” instead of “proletarian” here.

3. The 1880 edition has “and Palatinate” inserted here.