Pavel Yudin 1948

Centenary of the "Communist Manifesto"

Written: By Pavel Yudin, 1948;
Source: For a Lasting Peace, for a People's Democracy! Vol. 2, no. 4; February 15, 1948;
Transcribed: David Adams, March 2022.

The working class and the Communist Parties of the world are celebrating a notable date—the centenary of the “Communist Manifesto” of Marx and Engels.

In the summer of 1847 the Communist League, the organisation of the revolutionaries of different countries, which was established with the active participation of Marx and Engels, held its first congress in London.

Towards the end of the same year the Communist League convened its second congress, at which Marx and Engels played a decisive role. Marx submitted a detailed outline of his new theory of scientific Communism. Engels testifies that the theses presented to the Congress by Marx were unanimously adopted by the delegates.

The Congress of the Communist League, the first international organisation of the working class with a clearly defined programme of scientific Communism, instructed Marx and Engels to draft the Manifesto of the Communist Party.

Marx and Engels wrote the “Communist Manifesto” which was published at the end of February 1848.

The “Communist Manifesto” is one of the great landmarks of the working class struggle for Liberation from the yoke of capitalism.

It was the first programme of scientific Communism in which the experience of history is brilliantly generalised, in which the laws of capitalism are scientifically defined and subjected to detailed criticism, and in which the historic role of the working class in overthrowing capitalism and creating a new social order—Communism— is clearly outlined.

Viewed from all aspects the “Communist Manifesto” represents a highly mature work of scientific Communism. It was proof of the entry of the working class into the historical arena as the most progressive and most revolutionary section of capitalist society, capable of leading the working people to economic and political emancipation.

Lenin wrote of the “Communist Manifesto” that it contains a masterly description of the new world outlook, consistent. materialism, which covers also the sphere of social life, dialectics as the most thorough and profound teachings of development, the theory of the class struggle and the world historic revolutionary role of the proletariat, the architect of the new, Communist society.

The world outlook of the working class—Marxism—was proclaimed as the programme, the banner of all working people. The “Manifesto” ushered in a new era, the beginning of a new epoch in the development of history. It opened the era of the political, conscious, organised and purposeful struggle of the working class for the overthrow of capitalism, for the creation of a new society—socialism.

All previous systems. schools and concepts were, firstly, the world outlook, as a rule of the exploiting classes, secondly were of an idealistic, and not a scientific, nature, thirdly, were the teachings of individuals or small select groups and not the views of the popular masses. These schools of thought deliberately ignored the popular masses because they failed to grasp the historical force which the masses represent and did not consider them capable of any independent social-political action.

The “Communist Manifesto” showed that Marxism, as a new world outlook had been born. Us appearance was in the nature of a discovery, a revolution in the old established views on the world: in philosophy, political economy, history, politics, and in the strategy and tactics of the class struggle. The world outlook of Marxism differed in essence from all former conceptions.

Marxism is not merely a philosophical or sociological school. It is the ideology of the proletariat, that is, the world outlook of millions of working people. The teachings of Marxism symbolise the faith of the people, the bible of the working people.

The appearance of the “Manifesto” and its widespread appeal reflect the history of the age-old struggle of the working class against exploitation, for freedom, for socialism.

The “Manifesto” was a product of the vital tasks raised by historical development. by the course of the struggle of the working class. Accordingly as the working class took shape in the different countries the “Manifesto” became the sought for programme. Engels wrote in 1888 that the history of the “Manifesto” to a considerable extent reflected the history of the contemporary labour movement. He pointed out that the “Manifesto” undoubtedly was the most widely circulated, the most international work of all socialist literature, was the common programme of millions of workers from Siberia to California.

Today, a hundred years after its first appearance the “Manifesto” is truly a world masterpiece. It has been published in the languages of all nations. Indeed no other work can boast of this distinction since the age of the printed word. And in our day, too, the “Manifesto” has preserved ifs scientific and revolutionary significance. It is the immortal creation of the geniuses of the working class, of its teachers and leaders-Marx and Engels.

In Comrade Stalin’s words the “Communist Manifesto” is the song of songs of Marxism!


In a preface written in 1872 for the German edition of the “Manifesto” Marx and Engels declared that even though conditions had radically changed during the previous twenty— five years, the general theses outlined in the “Manifesto” could, as a whole be applied to the present situation.

And repeating the thoughts of Marx and Engels it can be said that although conditions have changed radically during the past hundred years the general guiding theses outlined in the “Manifesto” hold true for the present situation.

The fundamental idea of the “Manifesto” is the pronouncement of the inevitable doom of capitalist society and its replacement by a socialist society. This idea, now realised in the USSR and in the process of crystallisation in the new democracies, also holds true for today.

Marx and Engels were able to formulate this idea with such clarity because they had subjected it to a thorough study. This idea was the culmination, the outcome of enormous research into the entire ideological heritage; it was the result, above all, of the study made of the laws governing capitalist production, their study of the antagonistic contradictions between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat and their irreconcilable struggle.

The founders of Communism made the greatest of scientific discoveries they revealed the law of historical development and founded the science of society. On the basis of rich historical material relating to all periods of social development they showed that in every epoch the means of production constitute the material foundation, the economic base of society, which determines the nature of the social super-structures: the political system, legal relations, religion, etc.

The development of the means of production and the changing forms of production result in the appearance of new classes, while the struggle between the classes is rooted in the very essence of material production. In our day the history of class struggle has entered the phase when the exploited and oppressed class—the proletariat—can no longer liberate itself from capitalist bondage without liberating, once and for all, the whole of society from all exploitation, oppression, class division and class struggle.

Great changes have taken place in the life of mankind during the hundred years that have elapsed Since the “Manifesto” was first published. Capitalism has entered on its last phase the phase of imperialism Some of the one-time leading countries have suffered decline, while former backward countries have gone forward. Nations, which formerly played but an insignificant role are now in the mainstream of history. Mankind has experienced a number of devastating wars unleashed by the bourgeoisie. A number of countries have witnessed revolutionary upheavals and in Russia the Socialist Revolution has triumphed.

But the general trend of history has followed, and is going forward in the direction outlined by Marx and Engels in the “Communist Manifesto”.

With relentless logic Marx and Engels characterised the bourgeoisie as a social class which is striving to make its system immutable, and to establish its world-wide domination. To achieve its aims and to maintain its domination the bourgeoisie wages ruthless and merciless struggle.

The bourgeoisie of a hundred years ago was progressive in a measure, compared to the present-day bourgeoisie in such countries as the United States, Britain, France and Italy, and certainly was far less experienced in all kinds of political knavery than the bourgeoisie of today.

The bourgeoisie was then a relatively young class and in its activity expressed a certain eagerness, freshness and novelty. But the contemporary bourgeoisie decrepit and depraved in the extreme, resorts to every abomination, is cynical and devoid of any human feeling.

Take, for example, the bourgeoisie of the United States. Their “achievements” in reducing relations between people to a matter of hard cash, in the ideological and moral corruption of people offers striking proof of this. Take the press in America where adventurers and gangsters like Hearst have on their payrolls thousands of corrupt hack writers who to please their masters daily fill hundreds of newspapers with crude and stupid slander.

The “Communist Manifesto” profoundly analyses the cardinal circumstance which decides the destiny of modern society, that capitalism as a method of production is no longer progressive, that it has in the main exhausted its possibilities of developing the productive forces and, in view of this, must inevitably be replaced ,by socialist methods of production as a higher and more progressive form.

Marx and Engels developed this idea during their lifetime. In his monumental work “Capital” Marx proved beyond doubt that because of the inner laws of its development capitalism is doomed. Capitalism cannot exist without a continual growth of the productive forces. And the increase of the productive forces leads to their expansion beyond the framework of bourgeois property. This fundamental contradiction of capitalist society gives rise to economic crises which are becoming more frequent and more destructive. As the “Manifesto” states bourgeois relations have become too restricted to contain their wealth.

One of the forms of crisis is wars for markets and sources of raw materials.

This contradiction of capitalism has become particularly pronounced in the epoch of imperialism. Two world wars, unleashed by contemporary capitalism, have taken place during the lifetime of one generation.

And although the scars of the recent war are still fresh the American imperialists are already planning another world war. Describing the disastrous consequences of capitalist crisis, the reasons for these crises and after posing the question why capitalism leads to such devastation the “Manifesto” answers that this is because society has become too big for civilisation, its productive forces too great and its industry and commerce too extensive to fit into the framework of bourgeois ownership. Hence the inevitable conclusion: bourgeois society is no longer capable of handling the present-day productive forces. There is only one solution—the transition to Socialism as the higher stage of social development as the more progressive method of production.

This thesis of the “Manifesto” found brilliant confirmation in the USSR. The Socialist order in the Soviet Union showed how correct were Marx and Engels, who proclaimed this great truth one hundred years ago.

Socialism has emancipated the peoples of the USSR from all the contradictions and horrors of capitalist society. Crises and unemployment are alien to Soviet economy. In a society where there are neither exploiters nor exploited economy is organised according to plan, and develops in accordance with the laws of expanding socialist re-production.

The grandeur of the ideas contained in the “Manifesto” is daily borne out by new examples, by the experience of the new democracies. While these countries as yet have merely taken the first steps towards Socialism, they have achieved really magnificent results.

While economic chaos continues as before and acute economic crises await the countries where capitalism has been preserved, that is in Britain, France and Italy which, for example, are economically more developed in the new democracies where the big capitalists have been expropriated and the principal means of production have become public property the productive forces are on the upgrade and there are no signs of crisis.

Britain, the classic country of capitalism, the country which a hundred years ago served Marx as the principal object for his economic observations of the laws of capitalism, is today floundering in economic contradictions and economic crisis, while Yugoslavia but recently an Anglo-French colony, a semi- agrarian country, having taken the path of socialism is forging ahead economically and politically and will, in the none too distant future outstrip Britain.

For more than a century the British bourgeoisie boasted of their national independence while suppressing the national independence of millions of people in all parts of the world. Today Britain is steadily losing its independence to American imperialism.

The clearest proof of the resilience and scientific vigour of the “Communist Manifesto” is that historically capitalism has outlived itself, that Socialism is now on the order of the day for the peoples, that the era of capitalism is drawing to a close while the era of socialism is dawning.

For a number of countries and for many peoples the prophetic words of the “Communist Manifesto” have come true, namely, that the old bourgeois society with its classes and class anti- theses will be replaced by an association in which the free development of the individual becomes the condition for the free development of all.


The bourgeoisie has developed the productive forces to the degree where these self-same forces are in daily conflict with the domination of the bourgeoisie. The famous words of the “Manifesto” that the bourgeoisie has not only forged the weapon which will cause its death but has also created the people who will turn this weapon against it—the contemporary working class, the proletariat,—sounds the death knell of the entire capitalist system.

One of the greatest discoveries of Marx and Engels and their immortal service to history was that they saw the working class as the principal productive force in modern society, saw the proletariat at the most progressive force, the only force capable of overthrowing the bourgeois system and building a socialist society.

The section of the “Manifesto” which deals with the working class is truly written in letters of gold. The words are imbued with the love and boundless faith of the great leaders and ardent proletarian revolutionaries in the invincible strength of the proletariat.

This literary masterpiece and profound dialectical logic, biting shots of satire hurled against the bourgeoisie and its apologists, the moving pathos of the architects of the new ideology and the profundity of their brilliant ideas sound like a majestic pane to the working class, to its historical constructive work, to its mental and moral superiority over the bourgeoisie, to its coming triumph.

The class struggle sharpens in proportion to the growth of the productive forces of capitalism and the development of bourgeois society in proportion to the rising antagonism between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The class struggle of the proletariat is the decisive force and the principal weapon with the aid of which it will destroy the bourgeoisie and the entire system of bourgeois society.

The working class draws its strength not only from its own ranks but also from all working people. The working class movement is the independent movement of the overwhelming majority in the interests of the overwhelming majority. This true concept of the “Manifesto” has been proved daily throughout the long history of the conscious struggle of the working class.

The working class of Russia was able to carry out the socialist revolution and build socialism precisely because this working class, guiding itself by the ideas of the “Manifesto,” further developed by Lenin and Stalin, always aimed to give leadership to all the working people and all exploited; it helped to liberate them from oppression and exploitation by gradually drawing them into the struggle against the entire bourgeois order.

Today in the new democracies the working class has rallied around it all sections of the working people and together with them are advancing steadily towards socialism.

In the capitalist countries ever greater sections of the people are being drawn into the struggle of the working class against the bourgeoisie.

Since the “Manifesto” was first published this idea, that is the idea that the working-class movement is a movement in the interests of the overwhelming majority, was widely developed in the works of Lenin and Stalin and found expression in the theory of the alliance of the working class peasantry and all working people.

The theory of Marxism-Leninism is being enriched and further developed in the course of the struggle of the popular masses for their liberation; this theory is applied concretely to the historical conditions of the different countries.

The concrete embodiment, of the ideas of Marxism regarding the unity of the working class with the majority of the working people can be seen today in the new democracies. This idea has taken the form of the united people’s front. It has been most consistently developed in Yugoslavia where the People’s Front unites 7 million people, that is, almost the total adult population of the country.

The people’s front is not merely a coalition of parties; it is a social political organisation of the people in which the working class, headed by the Communist Party, plays the leading role. In Bulgaria the Fatherland Front is being transformed into a social-political organisation of the people.

Marx and Engels described the principal forms of the class struggle of the proletariat and showed that the inevitable outcome of this struggle must be the overthrow of the domination of the bourgeoisie and the seizure of political power by the proletariat.

The great architects of scientific Communism clearly saw that the working class would not be able to carry out its historic role unless it was ideologically equipped and organisationally consolidated.

This role of ideological leader and organiser of the proletariat must be taken by the Communist Party.

Only the Communist Party can be the genuine workers’ party. The existence of a single party of the working class is the higher stage of the political maturity of the working class and the people.

The Communist Party is the most resolute party, it has the advantage of understanding the conditions, the progress and general results of the working-class movement.

Precisely because the Communist Party is able to see beyond the other parties it is the duty of the Party, as long as other parties exist, to pursue the tactic of isolating and defeating all parties hostile to the proletariat, and to achieve unity of action with the parties which are interested in the overthrow of the bourgeoisie.

Lenin and Stalin further developed the ideas of the “Manifesto” regarding the Communist Party, its strategy and tactics, in keeping with the new historical conditions of the epoch of imperialism and proletarian revolutions.

The bourgeoisie and its ideological salesmen denounce the Communists, hold them responsible for the abominations of bourgeois society and ascribe all the vices of this society to them. The brilliant and merciless criticism to which Marx and Engels subjected the enemies of the Communist Party is every bit as effective today.

The modern bourgeoisie, which accuses the Communists of all the deadly sins has grown more decrepit and stupid. The American, British, French and Italian bourgeoisie are prepared to hold the Communists responsible not only for the chaos rampant in the economic and political life of their countries, but also for all the other sins of the bourgeoisie.

Disclosing the laws of bourgeois society, the laws of the class struggle, and having pointed out the tasks of the working class in the coming socialist revolution Marx and Engels also outlined the immediate measures to be taken by the proletariat to build socialism when it wins political power and stands at the head of society.

With the exception of a few obsolete points the practical programme of the “Manifesto” is applicable to those countries which have taken the path to Socialism. It is even more true for the working class of those countries in which the transfer of power into the hands of the working class is a matter of the near future.

Today, when Socialism has been established in the USSR and the gradual advance towards Communism is under way these points of the “Manifesto” naturally are out of date and the experience of the Soviet Union serves as an example for the working class of other countries.

But their vital importance is demonstrated by the new constitutions adopted, for example, in Yugoslavia and Bulgaria, and also by certain laws that have been introduced in other countries—where no constitution has been adopted as yet— with the aim of carrying out land reform, nationalisation of key industries, transport and banks (Poland, Rumania, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Albania).

Thus, the practical experience of a number of countries has also vindicated the vitality of the “Manifesto” and the brilliant genius of Marx and Engels who founded the theory of scientific Communism, and who equipped the working class of the world with a mighty and invincible doctrine.


A hundred years ago the capitalist system of production had, in the main, outlived itself and was no longer progressive. And simultaneously the objective conditions for replacing capitalism by a socialist system of production had matured. This thesis was scientifically demonstrated by Marx and Engels in the “Manifesto”, and later, was brilliantly depicted in a number of the works by Lenin and Stalin. It was proved by the course of history throughout the last century, and particularly by the 30 years existence of the Soviet Union and also by the experience of the new democracies. And if any further proof is needed then look up the blind alley in which the entire capitalist world, headed by imperialist America, finds itself. However, capitalism still rules in most countries. What is the explanation for this. How is it that capitalism has not yet been eliminated throughout the world?

Lenin and Stalin gave profound answers to this question. In his classic work “Anarchism or Socialism?” Comrade Stalin pointed out that the main obstacle retarding the doom of capitalism is the bourgeois State.

And the principal reason why the bourgeois State has not yet been eliminated must be sought in the lack of unity in the ranks of the working class Had the working class been united, the bourgeois State would have been eradicated long ago in all countries and capitalism’ would have been replaced by socialism.

Consequently, the main responsibility for the. continued existence of capitalism in the majority of the countries, rests with the pseudo-worker, pseudo-Socialist parties who are splitting the ranks of the revolutionary working class. The champions and supporters of dying social systems always deck themselves in new attire and mask themselves with new ideas in order to preserve the old structure.

Even when the “Manifesto” first appeared the defenders of capitalist society were then taking to the new proletarian, socialist fashions.

Marx and Engels ruthlessly exposed these elements, tore off their treacherous masks and showed them in their true colours. The defenders of the feudal system who resisted’ capitalist society and who quite naturally fought against the working class in the first place, always declared themselves socialists and champions of the working class.

The “Manifesto” dealt scathingly with these “socialists”, saying that the aristocracy was doling out crumbs to the proletariat in an endeavour to win them over. But every time the people followed in the wake of the aristocracy they saw the old feudal emblem emblazoned on its back and scorned its leadership.

At the time the “Manifesto” appeared there existed along with “feudal socialism” petty-bourgeois and bourgeois “socialism”. The object of this kind of socialism was to prove, with the help of Socialist phraseology, that the capitalist system was eternal and to inculcate in the working’ class a negative attitude towards any revolutionary movement. These “Socialists” asserted that capitalism existed for the benefit of the working class.

What a similarity with the present right-wing Socialists, with Blum, Attlee, Bevin, Schumacher and their kind! Modern reformism has degenerated completely into an open agency of American imperialism. The rightwing Socialists frankly come forward in support of the US plans of imperialist aggression, the so-called Marshall Plan, and they qualify these aggressive imperialist designs as Socialist measures.

The backs of the modern pseudo Socialists are emblazoned not with feudal emblems but American dollars. The British Labour leaders are loyally defending British imperialism with all the’ might of State power. The French and Italian right wing Socialists are supporting and preserving by their splitting policy the most reactionary, pro-fascist forces. The right-wing Socialists constitute the main bulwark of modern imperialism. They are cultivating in the working class the illusion that capitalism can be “improved” and that Socialism can be achieved without class struggle and the overthrow of capitalism.

A relentless struggle against the right-wing Socialists constitutes the fundamental condition for getting rid of capitalism and securing a lasting peace and popular democracy.

The “Communist Manifesto” ends with a passionate call to the working class of the world: “Workers of all lands, unite!” This call reflects the international essence of the working class struggle for the overthrow of world capitalism.

Today, as was the case throughout the past century, capitalism is waging a desperate struggle to preserve its domination. The American and British imperialists are maintaining the capitalist order by force of arms wherever they can.

This proves once again that in fighting their own capitalists the working class of the various countries must always remember their international obligations.


In the hundred years that have passed since the appearance of the “Communist Manifesto” the working class in all countries have traversed under the banner of Marxism, a glorious path of struggle. They have won great successes in all spheres of activity.

A steady development and enrichment of their revolutionary theory represents one of the main results of this fruitful struggle of the working class for their liberation.

In the last 50 years the centre of the revolutionary movement has shifted from the West to the East—to Russia. The working class bf Russia won the leading position in the international working class, and the Marxist party of the Russian working class, the Communist Party (Bolsheviks), headed by its great leaders Lenin and Stalin, became the vanguard party of international Communism.

Lenin and Stalin are the direct successors and inheritors of the ideological treasure of Marx and Engels. They approached Marxism in the creative spirit and developed it further in accordance with new historic conditions.

Lenin and Stalin imparted to Marxism an all-round development. They discovered new laws of capitalist development and created the theory of imperialism as the final stage of capitalism. They elaborated also the new theory of socialist revolution that in the epoch of imperialism socialism cannot be achieved simultaneously in all countries. Lenin and Stalin further developed and enriched the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat and discovered the new form of political power of the working class—Soviet power.

Comrade J. V. Stalin has played a tremendous role in developing the theory on Socialism and the socialist State.

The ideas contained in the “Manifesto” have been enriched by a hundred years of working-class struggle. Today these ideas are mightier than ever before.

Under the banner of Marxism-Leninism the working class will see to it that socialism will triumph throughout the world.