The Workers' Advocate Supplement

Vol. 6 #7


August 15, 1990

[Front page: Marx and Engels on socialism (II)]

In the last issue:

General definitions and descriptions of socialism


The material base of socialism

Prospects of world-wide revolution

Socialism is based on the proletariat

Socialism is made through revolution

Revolution and the transition to socialism

The seizure of political power and the state


The overthrow of the bourgeois state

In this Issue:

The dictatorship of the proletariat--general........................................... 2
The dictatorship of the proletariat, the republic and pure democracy..... 6
The dictatorship of the proletariat-the Paris Commune.......................... 8

Some economic questions of Socialism................................................ 13
Economic advantages of socialism over capitalism................................ 13
Expropriation........................................................................................... 16
Planning................................................................................................... 17
Management............................................................................................ 18
Distribution and wages............................................................................ 19
Money, the labor certificate, and communist society.............................. 24
More on commodity production and money........................................... 26
Agriculture, rural laborers, and the peasants........................................... 29
The bourgeois and petty-bourgeois intelligentsia................................... 33

Socialism in relation to other social questions.................................... 35
Nationality............................................................................................... 35
Woman and family................................................................................... 36
Education................................................................................................. 39
Religion................................................................................................... 40

The classless society............................................................................... 41
Miscellaneous.......................................................................................... 41
Withering away of the state..................................................................... 43
Elimination of the separation of town and country................................ 43
Elimination of the separation of mental and manual labor...................... 45
Communist distribution and wages......................................................... 46

Marx and Engels on socialism (II)

The dictatorship of the proletariat - general

The dictatorship of the proletariat, the republic, and pure democracy

The dictatorship of the proletariat - the Paris Commune

Some economic questions of socialism

Socialism in relation to other social questions

The classless society

Marx and Engels on socialism (II)

In this issue of the Supplement we complete the collection of extracts from Marx and Engels on socialism that was started last time. This is not a complete collection of the views of Marx and Engels, nor a commentary, but we hope that it will provide valuable reference material and encourage further study of Marxism-Leninism. The ongoing collapse of revisionism underlines the need to rescue the teachings of Marx, Engels, and Lenin from the blatant distortions to which they have been subject. As well, the study of such writings helps impart a coherent Marxist world view in place of the bourgeois prejudices which are propagated all the time by the capitalist media and educational system.

There are some added comments or subheads interspersed in the extracts. Those in angular brackets <> are by MLP comrades, while those in square brackets [] are from the translators or editors of the editions of Marx's and Engels' works from which these extracts were taken.

It should also be noted that many extracts fell in several different categories, but with only a few exceptions, they were included only under one category. For example, there are few comments under expropriation or planning, partially because most of these comments occur in the midst of passages under other topics.

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The dictatorship of the proletariat - general

Marx, Letter to Weydemeyer, March 5, 1852

And now as to myself, no credit is due to me for discovering the existence of classes in modern society nor yet the struggle between them. Long before me bourgeois historians had described the historical development of this class struggle and bourgeois, economists the economic anatomy of the classes. What I did that was new was to prove: (1) that the existence of classes is only bound up with particular; historic phases in the development of production; (2) that the class struggle necessarily leads to the dictatorship of the proletariat; (3) that this dictatorship itself only constitutes the transition to the abolition of all classes and to a classless society.

Engels, On Authority Oct. 1872 - March 1873

A number of Socialists have latterly launched a regular crusade against what they call the principle of authority. It suffices to tell them that this or that act is authoritarian for it to be condemned.... Authority in the sense in which the word is used here, means the imposition of the will of another upon ours; on the other hand, authority presupposes subordination. Now, since these two words sound bad and the relationship which they represent is disagreeable to the subordinated party, the question is to ascertain whether there is any way of dispensing with it, whether--given the conditions of present-day society--we could not create another social system, in which this authority would be given no scope any longer and would consequently have to disappear. On examining the economic, industrial and agricultural conditions which form the basis of present-day bourgeois society, we find that they tend more and more to replace isolated action by combined action of individuals. modern industry with its big factories and mills, where hundreds of workers supervise complicated machines driven by steam, has superseded the small workshops of the separate producers;... Even agriculture falls increasingly under the dominion of the machine and of steam.... Everywhere combined action, the complication of processes dependent upon each other, displaces independent action by individuals. But whoever mentions combined action speaks of organization; now, is it possible to have organization without authority?

Supposing a social revolution dethroned the capitalists,... Supposing, to adopt entirely the point of view of the anti-authoritarians, that the land and the instruments of labor had become the collective property of the workers who use them. Will authority have disappeared or will it only have changed it form? Let us see. Let us take by way of example a cotton spinning mill... All these workers, men, women and children, are obliged to begin and finish their work at the hours fixed by the authority of the steam, which cares nothing for individual autonomy. The workers must, therefore, first come to an understanding on the hours of work;... thereafter particular questions arise in each room and at every moment... which must be settled at once on pain of seeing all production immediately stopped; whether they are settled by decision of a delegate placed at the head of each branch of labor or, if possible, by a majority vote, the will of the single individual will always have to subordinate itself, which means that questions are settled in an authoritarian way. The automatic machinery of a big factory is much more despotic than the small capitalists who employ workers ever have been.... If man, by dint of his knowledge and inventive genius, has subdued the forces of nature, the latter avenge themselves upon him by subjecting him, in so far as he employs them, to a veritable despotism independent of all social organization. Wanting to abolish authority in large-scale industry is tantamount to wanting to abolish industry itself, to destroy the power loom in order to return to the spinning wheel....

Let us take another example--the railway. Here too the co-operation of an infinite number of individuals is absolutely necessary, and this co-operation must be practiced during precisely fixed hours so that no accidents may happen. Here, too, the first condition of the job is a dominant will that settles all subordinate questions, whether this will is represented by a single delegate or a committee charged with the execution of the resolutions of the majority of persons interested. In either case there is very pronounced authority. Moreover, what would happen to the first train dispatched if the authority of the railway employees over the Hon. passengers were abolished?

But the necessity of authority, and of imperious authority at that, will nowhere be found more evident that on board a ship on the high seas. There, in time of danger, the lives of all depend on the instantaneous and absolute obedience of all to the will of one.

When I submitted arguments like these to the most rabid anti-authoritarians the only answer they were able to give me was the following: Yes, that's true, but here it is not a case of authority which we confer on our delegates, but of a commission entrusted! These gentlemen think that when they have changed the names of things they have changed the things themselves. This is how these profound thinkers mock at the whole world.

...Hence it is absurd to speak of the principle of authority as being absolutely evil, and of the principle of autonomy as being absolutely good. Authority and autonomy are relative things whose spheres vary with the various phases of the development of society. If the autonomists confined themselves to saying that the social organization of the future would restrict authority solely to the limits within which the conditions of production render it inevitable, we could understand each other; but they are blind to all facts that make the thing necessary, and they passionately fight the word.

Why do the anti-authoritarians not confine themselves to crying out against political authority, the state? All Socialists are agreed that the political state, and with it political authority, will disappear as a result of the coming social revolution, that is, that public functions will lose their political character and be transformed into the simple administrative functions of watching over the true interests of society. But the anti-authoritarians demand that the authoritarian political state be abolished at one stroke, even before the social conditions that gave birth to it have been destroyed. They demand that the first act of the social revolution shall be the abolition of authority. Have these gentlemen ever seen revolution? A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon--authoritarian means, if such there be at all; and if the victorious party does not want to have fought in vain, it must maintain this rule by means of the terror which its arms inspire in the reactionaries. Would the Paris Commune have lasted a single day if it had not made use of this authority of the armed people against the bourgeois? Should we not, on the contrary, reproach it for not having 'used' it freely enough?

Engels, Letter to August Bebel, March 18-28, 1875

...The whole talk about the state should be dropped especially since the <Paris> Commune, which was no longer a state in the proper sense of the word. The "people's state" has been thrown in our faces by the Anarchists to the point of disgust, although already Marx's book against Proudhon <"The Poverty of Philosophy"> and later the Communist Manifesto directly declare that with the introduction of the socialist order of society the state will dissolve of itself and disappear. As, therefore, the state is only a transitional institution which is used in the struggle, in the revolution, to hold down one's adversaries by force, it is pure nonsense to talk of a free people's state: so long as the proletariat still uses the state, it does not use it in the interests of freedom but in order to hold down its adversaries, and as soon as it becomes possible to speak of freedom the state as such ceases to exist. We would therefore propose to replace state everywhere by Gemeinwesen, a good old German word which can very well convey the meaning of the French word "commune".

Marx, Critique of the Gotha Program, April or early May,1875


I come now to the democratic section.

A "The free basis of the state."


The question then arises: what transformation will the state undergo in communist society? In other words, what social functions will remain in existence there that are analogous to present state functions? This question can only be answered scientifically, and one does not get a flea-hop nearer to the problem by a thousandfold combination of the word people with the word state.

Between capitalist and communist society lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. Corresponding to this is also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat.

Now the programme does not deal with this nor with the nature of the future state [Staatswesen] of communist society.

Its political demands contain nothing beyond the old democracy litany familiar to all: universal suffrage, direct, legislation, popular rights, a people's militia, etc.... They are all demands which, in so far as they are not exaggerated in fantastic presentation, have already been realized. Only the state to which they belong does not lie within the borders of the German Empire, but in Switzerland, the United States, etc....

But one thing has been forgotten. Since the German workers' party expressly declares that it acts within "the present-day national state," hence within its own state, the Prusso-German Empire... it should not have forgotten the chief thing, namely, that all those pretty little gewgaws rest on the recognition of the so-called sovereignty of the people and hence are appropriate only in a democratic republic.

Since one has not the courage--and wisely so, for the circumstances demand caution--to demand the democratic republic,... one should not have resorted, either, to the subterfuge, neither "honest" <*> nor decent, of demanding things which have meaning only in a democratic republic from a state which is nothing but a police-guarded military despotism, embellished with parliamentary forms, alloyed with a feudal admixture, already influenced by the bourgeoisie and bureaucratically carpentered, and then to assure this state into the bargain that one imagines one will be able to force such things upon it "by legal means."

Even vulgar democracy, which sees the millennium in the democratic republic and has no suspicion that it is precisely in this last form of state of bourgeois society that the class struggle has to be fought out to a conclusion-- even it towers mountains above this kind of democratism within the limits of what is permitted by the police and not permitted by logic.

*<A pun, as the word "honest" was. one of the nicknames used to refer to the Social-Democratic Workers' Party (Eisenachers), with which August Bebel and Wilhelm Liebknecht were associated, as opposed to the Lassalleans of the General German Workers' Union. The draft program being criticized by Marx was written for the unity congress at Gotha of both groups.>

Engels, Letter to Van Patten, April 18, 1883 Engels, On the Occasion of Karl Marx's Death, May 12,1883

<The following passage from Engels' letter to Van Patten was quoted directly by Engels in his article. >

Marx and I, ever since 1845, have held the view that one of the final results of the future proletarian revolution will be the gradual dissolution and ultimate disappearance of that political organization called the State; an organization the main object of which has ever been to secure, by armed force, the economical subjection of the working majority to the wealthy minority. With the disappearance of a wealthy minority the necessity for an armed repressive State-force disappears also. At the same time we have always held, that in order to arrive at this and the other, far more important ends of the social revolution of the future, the proletarian class will first have to possess itself of the organized political force of the State and with this aid stamp out the resistance of the Capitalist class and reorganize society. This is stated already in the Communist Manifesto of 1847, end of Chapter II.

The anarchists reverse the matter. They say that the Proletarian revolution has to begin by abolishing the political organization of the State. But after the victory of the Proletariat, the only organization the victorious working class finds ready-made for use is that of the State. It may require adaptation to the new functions. But to destroy that at such a moment would be to destroy the only organism by means of which the victorious working class can exert its newly conquered power, keep down its capitalist enemies and carry out that economic revolution of society without which the whole victory must end in a defeat and in a massacre of the working class like that after the Paris Commune.

Engels, "The Labor Movement In America" Preface to the American edition of "The Condition of the Working Class In England", January 26, 1887

Consequently, the platform of the American proletariat will in the long run coincide, as to the ultimate end to be attained, with the one Which, after sixty years of dissensions and discussions, has become the adopted platform of the great mass of the European militant proletariat. It will proclaim, as the ultimate end, the conquest of political supremacy by the working class, in order to effect the direct appropriation of all means of production--land, railways, mines, machinery, etc.--by society at large, to be worked in common by all for the account and benefit of all.

Engels, Letter to Conrad Schmidt, October 27, 1890

If therefore Barth supposes that we deny any and every reaction of the political, etc., reflexes of the economic movement upon the movement itself, he is simply tilting at windmills. He has only got to look at Marx's Eighteenth Brumaire, which deals almost exclusively with the particular part played by political struggles and events, of course within their general dependence upon economic conditions. Or Capital, the section on the working day, for instance, where legislation, which is surely a political act, has such a trenchant effect. Or the section on the history of the bourgeoisie (Chapter XXIV. <*>) Or why do we fight for the political dictatorship of the proletariat if political power is economically impotent? Force (that is, state power) is also an economic power!

< What was intended here was probably not Chapter XXIV but the chapters of Part VIII, starting with Chapter XXVI. >

Marx, Capital, Vol I, 1867

...In England at the end of the 17th century, they < methods of primitive capitalist accumulation > arrive at a systematical combination, embracing the colonies, the national debt, the modern mode of taxation, and the protectionist system. These methods depend in part on brute force, e.g., the colonial system. But they all employ the power of the State, the concentrated and organized force of society, to hasten, hothouse fashion, the process of transformation of the feudal mode of production into the capitalist mode, and to shorten the transition. Force is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one. It is itself an economic power.

(From Chapter XXXI "Genesis of the industrial capitalist" of Part VIII "The so-called Primitive Accumulation")

Engels, Letter to F. Wiesen, March 14, 1893

The immediate aim of the labor movement is to win political power for and through the working class. If we are of like mind on this score, differences of opinion over the means and methods that are to be applied in the struggle will hardly lead to any fundamental disagreements between upright people who are in command of their five senses. As I see it, for each country the best tactic leading to that goal is the surest and shortest one.

Engels, Introduction to Marx's "The Class Struggles In France, 1848-50", March 6, 1895

...Moreover, when the Paris uprising found its echo in the victorious insurrections in Vienna, Milan and Berlin; when the whole of Europe-right up to the Russian frontier was swept into the movement; when thereupon in Paris, in June, the first great battle for power between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie was fought; when the very victory of its class so shook the bourgeoisie of all countries that it fled back into the arms of the monarchist-feudal reaction which had just been overthrown--there could be no doubt for us, under the circumstances then obtaining, that the great decisive combat had commenced, that it would have to be fought out in a single, long and vicissitudinous period of revolution, but that it could only end in the final victory of the proletariat.

...Vulgar democracy expected a renewed outbreak any day; we declared as early as autumn 1850 that at least the first chapter of the revolutionary period was closed and that nothing was to be expected until the outbreak of a new world economic crisis. For which reason we were excommunicated, as traitors to the revolution, by the very people who later, almost without exception, made their peace with Bismarck < prime minister of Prussia and then chancellor of the German empire during the unification of Germany on Prussian reactionary lines, he was the representative of the Junkers, or feudal-aristocratic big landowners of Prussia >--so far as Bismardk found them worth the trouble.

But history has shown us too to have been wrong, has revealed our point of view of that time to have been an illusion. It has done even more: it has not merely dispelled the erroneous notions we then held; it has also completely transformed the conditions under which the proletariat has to fight. The mode of struggle of 1848 is today obsolete in every respect, and this is a point which deserves closer examination on the present occasion.


History has proved us, and all who thought like us, wrong. It has made it clear that the state of economic development on the Continent at that time was not, by a long way, ripe for the elimination of capitalist production; it has proved this by the economic revolution which, since 1848, has seized the whole of the Continent, and has caused big industry to take real root in France, Austria, Hungary; Poland and, recently, in Russia, while it has made Germany positively an industrial country of the first rank --all on a capitalist basis, which in the year 1848, therefore, still had great capacity for expansion. But it is just this industrial revolution which has everywhere produced clarity in class relations, has removed a number of intermediate forms handed down from the period of manufacture and in Eastern Europe even from guild handicraft, has created a genuine bourgeoisie and a genuine large-scale industrial proletariat and has pushed them into the foreground of social development. However, owing to this, the struggle between these two great classes, a struggle which, apart from England, existed in 1848 only in Paris and, at the most, in a few big industrial centers, has spread over the whole of Europe and reached an intensity still inconceivable in 1848. At that time the many obscure evangels of the sects, with their panaceas; today the one generally recognized, crystal-clear theory of Marx, sharply formulating the ultimate aims of the struggle. At that time the masses, sundered and differing according to locality and nationality, linked only by the feeling of common suffering, undeveloped, helpless tossed to and fro from enthusiasm to despair; today the one great international army of Socialists, marching irresistibly on and growing daily in number, organization, discipline,'insight and certainty of victory. If even this mighty army of the proletariat has still not reached its goal, if, far from winning victory by one mighty stroke, it has slowly to press forward from position to position in a hard, tenacious struggle, this only proves, once and for all, how impossible it was in 1848 to win social transformation by a simple surprise attack.

...The period, however, is brought to a close by the Paris Commune. An underhand attempt by Thiers to steal the cannon of the Paris National Guard called forth a victorious rising. It was shown once more that in Paris none but a proletarian revolution is any longer possible. After the victory power fell, quite of itself and quite undisputed, into the hands of the working class. And once again it was proved how impossible even then, twenty years after the time described in our work, this rule of the working class still was. On the one hand, France left Paris in the lurch, looked on while it bled profusely from the bullets of MacMahon; on the other hand, the Commune was consumed in unfruitful strife between the two parties which split it, the Blanquists (the majority) and the Proudhonists (the minority), neither of which knew what was to be done. The victory which came as gift in 1871 remained just as unfruitful as the surprise attack of 1848.

It was believed that the militant proletariat had been finally buried with the Paris Commune. But, completely to the contrary, it dates its most powerful resurgence from the Commune and the Franco-Prussian War. …

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The dictatorship of the proletariat, the republic, and pure democracy

Engels, Letter to Eduard Bernstein, March 24, 1884

...In my opinion what should be said is this: the proletariat too needs democratic forms for the seizure of political power but they serve it, like all political forms, as means. But if we want to make democracy an end today it is necessary to rely on the peasantry and petty bourgeoisie, i.e., on classes that are in process of dissolution and reactionary in relation to the proletariat when they try to maintain themselves artificially. Furthermore it must not be forgotten that it is precisely the democratic republic which is the logical form of bourgeois rule; a form however that has become too dangerous only because of the level of development the proletariat has already reached; but France and America show that it is still possible as purely bourgeois rule.. ...the liberal constitutional monarchy is an adequate form of bourgeois domination: (1) at the beginning, when the bourgeoisie have not quite finished with the absolute monarchy, and (2) at the end, when the proletariat has already made the democratic republic too dangerous. And yet the democratic republic always remains the last form of bourgeois rule, that in which it is broken to pieces.

Engels, A Critique of the Draft Social-Democratic Program of 1891, June 1891


Paragraph 10. After "class rule" The words "and the classes themselves" should be inserted: The abolition of classes is our basic demand, without which the abolition of class rule is economically inconceivable. Instead of "for equal rights for all," I suggest: "for equal rights, and equal duties of all," etc. Equal duties are for us a particularly important addition to the bourgeois-democratic equal rights and do away with their specifically bourgeois meaning.

The political demands of the draft have one great fault. It lacks precisely what should have been said.... It is an obvious absurdity to wish "to transform all the instruments of labor into common property" on the basis of this constitution <the imperial German constitution> and the system of small states sanctioned by it, on the basis of the Tunion" between Prussia and Reuss-Greiz-Schleiz-Lobenstein <ridiculing the names of two tiny states belonging to the Reuss dukes of the senior and junior lines, namely, Reuss-Greiz and Reuss-Greiz-Schleiz-Lobenstein-Ebersdorf>, in which one has as many square miles as the other has square inches.

To touch on that is dangerous, however. Nevertheless, somehow or other, the thing has to be attacked. How necessary this is is shown precisely at the present time by opportunism, which is gaining ground in a large section of the Social-Democratic press. Fearing a renewal of the Anti-Socialist Law, or recalling all manner of over-hasty pronouncements made during the reign of that law, they now want the Party to find the present legal order in Germany adequate for putting through all Party demands by peaceful means.... One can conceive that the old society may develop peacefully into the new one in countries where the representatives of the people concentrate all power in their hands, where, if one has the support of the majority of the people, one can do as one sees fit in a constitutional way... But in Germany where the government is almost omnipotent and the Reichstag and all other representative bodies have no real power, to advocate such a thing in Germany, when, moreover, there is no need to do so, means removing the fig-leaf from absolutism and becoming oneself a screen for its nakedness.

In the long run such a policy can only lead one's own Party astray. They push general, abstract political questions into the foreground, thereby concealing the immediate concrete questions, which at the moment of the first great events, the first political crisis automatically pose themselves....

Which are these ticklish, but very significant points?

First. If one thing is certain it is that our Party and the working class can only come to power under the form of a democratic republic. This is even the specific form for the dictatorship of the proletariat, as the Great French Revolution has already shown. It would be inconceivable for our best people to become ministers under an emperor, as Miquel. It would seem that from a legal point of view it is inadvisable to include the demand for a republic directly in the program, although this was possible even under Louis Philippe in France, and is now in Italy. But the fact that in Germany it is not permitted to advance even a republican party program openly, proves how totally mistaken is the belief that a republic, and not only a republic, but also communist society, can be established in a cozy, peaceful way.

However, the question of the republic could possibly be passed by. What however, in my opinion should and could be included is the demand for the concentration of all political power in the hands of the people's representatives. That would suffice for the time being if it is impossible to go further.

Second. The reconstitution of Germany. On the one hand, the system of small states must be abolished... On the other hand, Prussia must cease to exist and must be broken up into self-governing provinces for the specific Prussianism to stop weighing on Germany. The system of small states and Prussianism are the two sides of the antithesis now gripping Germany in a vice, in which one side must always serve as the excuse and justification for the existence of the other.

What should take its place? In my view, the proletariat can only use the form of the one and indivisible republic. In the gigantic territory of the United States, the federal republic is still, on the whole, a necessity, although in the Eastern states it is already becoming a hindrance. It would be a step forward in Britain where the two islands are peopled by four nations and in spite of a single. Parliament three different systems of legislation already exist side by side. In little Switzerland, it has long been a hindrance, tolerable only because Switzerland is content to be a purely passive member of the European state system. For Germany, federalization on the Swiss model would be an enormous step backward. Two points distinguish a union state from a completely unified state: first, that each member state, each canton, has its own civil and criminal legislative, and judicial system, and, second, that alongside a popular chamber there is also a federal chamber in which each canton, whether large or small, votes as such.

So, then, a unified republic. But not in the sense of the present French Republic, which is nothing but the Empire established in 1798 without the Emperor. From 1792 to 1798 each French department, each commune, enjoyed complete self-government on the American model, and this is what we too must have. How self-government is to be organized and how we can manage without a bureaucracy has been shown to us by America and the First French Republic, and is being shown even today by Australia, Canada and the other English colonies. And a provincial and communal self-government of this type is far freer than, for instance, Swiss federalism, under which, it is true, the canton is very independent in relation to the federation, but is also independent in relation to the district and the commune. The cantonal governments appoint the district governors and prefects, which is unknown in English-speaking countries and which we want to abolish here as resolutely In the future as the Prussian Landrate and Regiecungsrate.

Probably a few of these points should be included in the program. I mention them also mainly to describe the system in Germany where such matters cannot be discussed openly, and to emphasize the self-deception of those who wish to transform such a system in a legal way into communist society. Further, to remind the Party Executive that there are other important political questions besides direct legislation by the people and the gratuitous <free> administration of justice without which we can also ultimately get by. In the generally unstable conditions these questions may become urgent at any time and what will happen then if they have not been discussed by us beforehand and no agreement has been reached on them?

However, what can be included in the programme and can, at least indirectly, serve as a hint of what may not be said directly is the following demand:

"Complete self-government in the provinces, districts and communes through officials elected by universal suffrage. The abolition of all local and provincial authorities appointed by the state."

5. Complete separation of the Church from the state. All religious communities without exception are to be treated by the state as private associations. They are to be deprived of any support from public funds and of all influence on public schools. (They cannot be prohibited from forming their own schools out of their own funds and from teaching their own nonsense in them.)


8 and 9. Here I want to draw attention to the following: These points demand that the following should be taken over by the state: (1) the bar, (2) medical services, (3) pharmaceutics, dentistry, midwifery, nursing, etc., etc., and later the demand is advanced that workers' insurance become a state concern. Can all this be entrusted to Herr von Caprivi <chancellor of the German empire from 1890- 94>? And is it compatible with the rejection of all state socialism as stated above?

10. Here I should say: "Progressive... tax to cover all expenditure of the state, district and community, insofar as taxes are required for it. Abolition of all indirect state and local taxes, duties, etc. The rest is a redundant commentary of motivation that tends to weaken the effect.

III. Economic demands

To item 2. Nowhere more so than in Germany does the right of association require guarantees also from the state.

Engels, Letter to Paul Lafargue, March 6, 1894

With respect to the proletariat the republic differs from the monarchy only in that it is the ready-for-use political form for the future rule of the proletariat. You are at an advantage compared with us in already having it; we for our part shall have to spend twenty-four hours to make it but a republic, like every other form of government, is determined by its content; so long as it is a form of bourgeois rule It is as hostile to us as any monarchy (except that the forms of this hostility are different). It is therefore a wholly baseless illusion to regard it as essentially socialist in form or to entrust socialist tasks to it while it is dominated by the bourgeoisie. We shall be able to wrest concessions from it but never to put in its charge the execution of what is our own concern, even if we should be able to control it by a minority strong enough to change into the majority overnight

Engels, Letter to Bebel, December 11, 1884

As to pure democracy and its role in the future I do not share your opinion. Obviously it plays a far more subordinate part in Germany than in countries with an older industrial development. But that does not prevent the possibility, when the moment of revolution comes, of its acquiring a temporary importance as the most radical bourgeois party (it has already played itself off as such in Frankfort) and as the final sheet-anchor of the whole bourgeois and even feudal regime. At such a moment the whole reactionary mass falls in behind it and strengthens it; everything which used to be reactionary behaves as democracy. Thus between March and September 1848 the whole feudal-bureaucratic mass strengthened the liberals in order, to hold down the revolutionary masses, and, once this was accomplished, in order, naturally, to kick out the liberals as well. Thus from May 1848 until Bonaparte's election in France in December, the purely republican party of the National, the weakest of all the parties, was in power, simply owing to the whole collective reaction organized behind it. This has happened in every revolution: the tamest party still remaining in any way capable of government comes to power with the others just because it is only in this party that the defeated see their last possibility of salvation. Now it cannot be expected that at the moment of crisis we shall already have the majority of the electorate and therefore of the nation behind us. The whole bourgeois class and the remnants of the feudal landowning class, a large section of the petty bourgeoisie and also of the rural population will then mass themselves around the most radical bourgeois party, which will then make the most extremely revolutionary gestures, and I consider it very possible that it will be represented in the provisional government and even temporarily form its majority,...

...In any case our sole adversary on the day of the crisis and on the day after the crisis will be the whole collective reaction which will group itself around pure democracy, and this, I think, should not be lost sight of.

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The dictatorship of the proletariat - the Paris Commune

Marx, The Civil War in France, April-May, 1871

The direct antithesis to the empire was the Commune. The cry of "social republic," with which the Revolution of February <1848> was ushered in by the Paris proletariat, did but express a vague aspiration after a Republic that was not only to supersede the monarchical form of class-rule, but class-rule itself. The Commune was the positive form of that Republic.

Paris, the central seat of the old governmental power, and, at the same time, the social stronghold of the French working class, had risen in arms against the attempt of Thiers and the Rurals to restore and perpetuate that old governmental power bequeathed to them by the empire. Paris could resist only because, in consequence of the siege, it had got rid of the army, and replaced it by a National Guard, the bulk of which consisted of working men. This fact was now to be transformed into an institution. The first-decree of the Commune, therefore, was the suppression of the standing army, and the substitution for it of the armed people.

The Commune was formed of the municipal councilors, chosen by universal suffrage in the various wards of the town, responsible and revocable at short terms. The majority of its members were naturally working men, or acknowledged representatives of the working class. The Commune was to be a working, not a parliamentary, body, executive and legislative at the same time. Instead of' continuing to be the agent of the Central Government, the police was at once stripped of its political attributes, and turned into the responsible and at all times revocable agent of the Commune. So were the officials of all other branches of the Administration. From the members of the commune downwards, the public service had to be done at workmen's wages. The vested interests and the representation allowances of the high dignitaries of State disappeared along with the high dignitaries themselves. Public functions ceased to be the private property of the tools of the. Central Government. Not only municipal administration but the whole initiative hitherto exercised by the State was laid into the hands of the Commune.

Having once got rid of the standing army and the police, the physical force elements of the old Government, the Commune was anxious to break the spiritual force of repression, the "parson-power," by the disestablishment and disendowment of all churches as proprietary bodies. The priests were sent back to the recesses of private life, there to feed upon the alms of the faithful in imitation of their predecessors, the Apostles. The whole of the educational institutions were opened to the people gratuitously, and at the same time cleared of all interference of Church and State. Thus, not only was education made accessible to all, but science itself freed from the fetters which class prejudice and governmental force had imposed upon it.

The judicial functionaries were to be divested of that sham independence which had but served to mask their abject subserviency to all succeeding governments to which, in turn, they had taken, and broken, the oaths of allegiance. Like the rest of public servants, magistrates and judges were to be elective, responsible, and revocable.

The Paris Commune was, of course, to serve as a model to all the great industrial centers of France. The Communal regime once established in Paris and the secondary centers, the old centralized Government would in the provinces, too, have to give way to the self-government of the producers. In a rough sketch of national organization which the Commune had no time to develop, it states clearly that the Commune was to be the political form of even the smallest country hamlet, and that in the rural districts the standing army was to be replaced by a national militia, with an extremely short term of service. The rural communes of every district were to administer their common affairs by an assembly of delegates in the central town, and these district assemblies were again to send deputies to the National Delegation in Paris, each delegate to be at any time revocable and bound by the mandat imperatif (formal instructions) of his constituents. The few but important functions which still would remain for a central government were not to be suppressed, as has been intentionally misstated, but were to be discharged by Communal, and therefore strictly responsible agents. The unity of the nation was not to be broken, but, on the contrary, to be organized by the Communal Constitution and to become a reality by the destruction of the State power which claimed to be the embodiment of that unity independent of, and superior to, the nation itself, from which it was but a parasitic excrescence. While the merely repressive organs of the old governmental power were to be amputated, its legitimate functions were to be wrested from an authority usurping pre-eminence over society itself, and restored to the responsible agents of society. Instead of deciding once in three or six years which member of the ruling class was to misrepresent the people in Parliament, universal suffrage was to serve the people constituted in Communes, as individual suffrage serves every other employer in the search for the workmen and managers in his business. And it is well known that companies, like individuals, in matters of real business generally know how to put the right man in the right place, and, if they for once make a mistake, to redress it promptly. On the other hand, nothing could be more foreign to the spirit of the Commune than to supersede universal suffrage by hierarchic investiture.


...In reality, the Communal Constitution brought the rural producers under the intellectual lead of the central towns of their districts, and these secured to them, in the working men, the natural trustees of their interests. The very existence of the Commune involved, as a matter of course, local municipal liberty, but no longer as a check upon the now superseded State power.... The Commune made that catchword of bourgeois revolution, cheap government, a reality, by destroying the two greatest sources of expenditure--the standing army and State functionarism. Its very existence presupposed the nonexistence of monarchy, which, in Europe at least, is the normal incumbrance and indispensable cloak of class-rule. It supplied the Republic with the basis of really democratic institutions. But neither cheap Government nor the "true Republic" was its ultimate aim; they were its mere concomitants.

The multiplicity of interpretations to which the commune has been subjected, and the multiplicity of interests which construed it in their favor, show that it was a thoroughly expansive political form, while all previous forms of government had been emphatically repressive. Its true secret was this. It was essentially a working-class government, the produce of the struggle of the producing against the appropriating class, the political form at last discovered under which to work out the economic emancipation of labor.

Except on this last condition, the Communal Constitution would have been an impossibility and a delusion. The political rule of the producer cannot coexist with the perpetuation of his social slavery. The Commune was therefore to serve as a lever for uprooting the economical foundations upon which rests the existence of classes, and therefore of class-rule. With labor emancipated, every man becomes a working man, and productive labor ceases to be a class attribute.

... The Commune, they <the mouthpieces of capitalism> exclaim, intends to abolish property, the basis of. all civilization! Yes, gentlemen, the Commune intended to abolish that class-property which makes the labor of the many the wealth of the few. It aimed at the expropriation of the expropriators. It wanted to make individual property a truth by transforming the means of enslaving and exploiting labor, into mere instruments of free and associated labor. --But this is Communism, "impossible" Communism! Why, those members of the ruling classes who are intelligent enough to perceive the impossibility of continuing the present system--and they are many--have become the obtrusive and full-mouthed apostles of cooperative production. If co-operative production is not to remain a sham and a snare; if it is to supersede the Capitalist system; if united co-operative societies are to regulate national production upon a common plan, thus taking it under their own control, and putting an end to the constant anarchy and periodical convulsions which are the fatality of Capitalist production--what else, gentlemen, would it be but Communism, "possible" Communism? …


When the Paris Commune took the management of the revolution in its own hands; when plain working men for the first time dared to infringe upon the Governmental privilege of their "natural superiors," and, under circumstances of unexampled difficulty, performed their work modestly, conscientiously, and efficiently,--performed it at salaries the highest of which barely amounted to one-fifth of what, according to high scientific authority (Professor Huxley) is the minimum required for a secretary to a certain metropolitan school board,--the old world writhed in convulsions of rage at the sight of the Red Flag, the symbol of the Republic of Labor, floating over the Hotel de Ville < city hall >.

And yet, this was the first revolution in which the working class was openly acknowledged as the only class capable of social initiative, even by the great bulk of the Paris middle class--shopkeepers, tradesmen, merchants-- the wealthy capitalists alone excepted. The Commune had saved them by a sagacious settlement of that ever-recurring cause of dispute among the middle class themselves--the debtor and creditor accounts. The same portion of the middle class, after they had assisted in putting down the working men's insurrection of June, 1848, had been at once unceremoniously sacrificed to their creditors by the then Constituent Assembly. But this was not their only motive for now rallying round the working class. They felt that there was but one alternative--the Commune, or the Empire--under whatever name it might reappear....

The Commune was perfectly right in telling the peasants that "its victory was their only hope." Of all the lies hatched at Versailles and re-echoed by the glorious European penny-a-liner, one of the most tremendous was that the Rurals represented the French peasantry.... The Commune, on the other hand, in one of its first proclamations, declared that the true originators of the war would be made to pay its cost. The Commune would have delivered the peasant of the blood tax,--would have given him a cheap government,--transformed his present bloodsuckers, the notary, advocate, executor, and other judicial vampires, into salaried Communal agents, elected by, and responsible to, himself. It would have freed him of the tyranny of the garde champetere, the gendarme, and the prefect; would have put enlightenment by the schoolmaster in the place of stultification by the priest. And the French peasant is, above all, a man of reckoning. He would find it extremely reasonable that the pay of the priest, instead of being extorted by the tax gatherer, should only depend upon the spontaneous action of the parishioners' religious instincts. Such were the great immediate boons which the rule of the Commune--and that rule alone--held out to the French peasantry. It is, therefore, quite superfluous here to expatiate upon the more complicated but vital problems which the Commune alone was able, and at the same time compelled, to solve in favor of-the peasant, viz., the hypothecary debt, lying like an incubus upon his parcel of soil, the proletariat foncier (the rural proletariat), daily growing upon it, and his expropriation from it enforced, at a more and more rapid rate, by the very development of modern agriculture and the competition of capitalist farmings

...The peasant was a Bonapartist, because the great Revolution, with all its benefits to him, was, in his eyes, personified in Napoleon. This delusion, rapidly breaking down under the Second Empire (and in its very nature hostile to the Rurals), this prejudice of the past, how could it have withstood the appeal of the Commune to the living interests and urgent wants of the peasantry?

The Rurals--this was, in fact, their chief apprehension --knew that three months' free communication of Communal Paris with the provinces would bring about a general rising of the peasants, and hence their anxiety to establish a police blockade around Paris, so as to stop the spread of the rinderpest.

If the Commune was thus the true representative of all the healthy elements of French society, and therefore the truly national Government, it was, at the same time, as a working men's Government, as the bold champion of the emancipation of labor, emphatically international. Within sight of the Prussian army, that had annexed to Germany two French provinces, the Commune annexed to France the working people all over the world.

The Second Empire had been the jubilee of cosmopolitan blacklegism, the rakes of all countries rushing in at its call for a share in its orgies and in the plunder of the French people.... The Commune admitted all foreigners to the honor of dying for an immortal cause. ... The Commune made a German working man its Minister of Labor.... The Commune honored the heroic sons of Poland by placing them at the head of the defenders of Paris....

The great social measure of the Commune was its own working existence. Its special measures could but betoken the tendency of a government of the people by the people. Such were the abolition of the nightwork of journeymen bakers; the prohibition, under penalty, of the employers' practice to reduce wages by levying upon their work-people fines under manifold pretexts,--a process in which the employer combines in his own person the parts of legislator, judge, and executor, and filches the money to boot. Another measure of this class was the surrender, to associations of workmen, under reserve of compensation, of all closed workshops and factories, no matter whether the respective capitalists had absconded or preferred to strike work.

The financial measures of the Commune, remarkable for their sagacity and moderation, could only be such as were compatible with the state of a besieged town. Considering the colossal robberies committed upon the city of Paris by the great financial companies and contractors, under the protection of Haussmann, the Commune would have had an incomparably better title to confiscate their property than Louis Napoleon had against the. Orleans family. The Hohenzollem and the English oligarchs, who both have derived a good deal of their estates from Church plunder, were, of course, greatly shocked at the Commune clearing but 8,000 f. [francs] out of secularization.

...the Commune dismissed and arrested its generals whenever they were suspected of neglecting their duties. The expulsion from, and arrest by, the Commune of one of its members who had slipped in under a false name, and had undergone at Lyons six days' imprisonment for simple bankruptcy, was it not a deliberate insult hurled at the forger Jules Favre, then still the foreign minister of France... But indeed the Commune did not pretend to infallibility, the invariable attribute of all governments of the old stamp. It published its doings and saying, it initiated the public into all its shortcomings.

(Section III)

<With respect to the relation of the Commune to various classes, Lenin's words may also be noted:

"Only the workers remained loyal to the Commune to the end. The bourgeois republicans and the petty bourgeoisie soon broke away from it: the former were frightened off by the revolutionary-socialist, proletarian character of the movement; the latter broke away when they saw that it was doomed to inevitable defeat. Only the French proletarians supported their government fearlessly and untiringly, they alone fought and died for it..." (Collected Works, Vol. 17, "In Memory of the Commune", p. 140) >

Marx, First Draft of "The Civil War in France", April-May, 1871

...On its existing military organization it <Paris> grafted a political federation according to a very simple plan. It was the alliance of all the National Guards put in connection the one with the other by the delegates of each, company, appointing in their turn the delegates of the battalions, who in their turn appointed general delegates, generals of legions, who were to represent an arrondissement and to co-operate with the delegates of the 19 other arrondissements. Those 20 delegates, chosen by the majority of the battalions of the National Guard, composed the Central Committee, which on the 18th March initiated the greatest revolution of this century and still holds its post in the present glorious struggle of Paris. Never were elections more sifted, never delegates fuller representing the masses from which they had sprung.

(In the latter part of the last paragraph of the section. "La Commune/The rise of the Commune and the Central Committee")

With all the great towns organized into Communes after the model of Paris, no government could have repressed the movement by the surprise of sudden reaction. Even by this preparatory step the time of incubation, the guarantee of the. movement, won. All France would have been organized into self-working and self-governing Communes, the standing army replaced by the popular militias, the. army of state parasites removed, the clerical hierarchy displaced by the schoolmasters, the state judge transformed into Communal organs, the suffrage for national representation not a matter of sleight of hand for an all-powerful government, but the deliberate expression of the organized Communes, the state functions reduced to a few functions for general national purposes.

(Near the end of the section "The character of the Commune")

... It begins the emancipation of labor--its great goal-- by doing away with the unproductive and mischievous work of the state parasites, by cutting away the springs which sacrifice an immense portion of the national produce to the feeding of the state monster, on the one side, by doing, on the other, the real work of administration, local and national, for working men's wages. It begins therefore with an immense saving, with economical reform as well as political transformation.

The Communal organization once firmly established on a national scale, the catastrophes it might still have to undergo would be sporadic slaveholders' insurrections, which, while for a moment interrupting the work of peaceful progress, would only accelerate the movement, by putting the sword into the hand of the Social Revolution.

The working classes know that they have to pass through different, phases of class struggle. They know that the superseding of the economical conditions of the slavery of labor by the conditions of free and associated labor can only be the progressive work of time (that economical transformation), that they require not only a change of distribution, but a new organization of production, or rather the delivery (setting free) of the social forms of production in present organized labor (engendered by present industry) of the trammels of slavery, of their present class character, and their harmonious national and international co-ordination. They know that this work of regeneration will be again and again relented and impeded by the resistance of vested interests and class egotisms. They know that the present "spontaneous action of the natural laws of capital and landed property" can only be superseded by "the spontaneous action of the laws of the social economy of free and associated labor" in a long process of development of new conditions, as was the "spontaneous action of the economic laws of slavery" and the "spontaneous action of the economical laws of serfdom". But they know at the same time that great strides may be [made] at once through the Communal form of political organization and that the time has come to begin that movement for themselves and mankind.

(Concluding passage of the section "The character of the Commune")

Engels, Introduction to "The Civil War In France", March 18, 1891

The members of the Commune were divided into a majority, the Blanquists, ...; and a minority, members of the International Working Men's Association, chiefly consisting of adherents of the Proudhon school of Socialism.... Naturally, the Proudhonists were chiefly responsible for the economic decrees of the Commune, both for their praiseworthy and their unpraiseworthy aspects; as the Blanquists were for its political commissions and omissions. And in both cases the irony of history willed--as is usual when doctrinaires come to the helm--that both did the opposite of what the doctrines of their school prescribed.

Proudhon, the Socialist of the small peasant and master-craftsman, regarded association with positive hatred. He said of it that there was more bad than good in it; that it was by nature sterile, even harmful, because it was a fetter on the freedom of the worker; that it was a pure dogma, unproductive and burdensome, in conflict as much with the freedom of the worker as with the economy of labor;... Only in the exceptional cases--as Proudhon called them --of large-scale industry and large establishments, such as railways, was the association of workers in place....

By 1871, large-scale industry had already so much ceased to be an exceptional case even in Paris, the center of artistic handicrafts, that by far the most important decree of the Commune instituted an organization of large-scale industry and even of manufacture which was not only to be based on the association of the workers in each factory, but also to combine all these associations in one great union; in short, an organization which, as Marx quite rightly says in The Civil War, must necessarily have led to communism, that is to say, the direct opposite of the Proudhon doctrine. And, therefore, the Commune was the grave of the Proudhon school of Socialism.... Only among the "radical" bourgeoisie are there still Proudhonists.

The Blanquists fared no better. Brought up in the school of conspiracy, and held together by the strict discipline which went with it, they started out from the viewpoint that a relatively small number of resolute, well-organized men would be able, at a given favorable moment, not only to seize the helm of state, but also by a display of great, ruthless energy, to maintain power until they succeeded in sweeping the mass of the people into the revolution and, ranging them round the small band of leaders, This involved, above all, the strictest, dictatorial centralization of all power in the hands of the new revolutionary government. And what did the Commune, with its majority of these same Blanquists, actually do? In all its proclamations to the French in the provinces, it appealed to them to form a free federation of all French Communes with Paris, a national organization which for the first time was really to be created by the nation itself. It was precisely the oppressing power of the former centralized government, army, political police, bureaucracy, which Napoleon had created in 1798 and which since then had been taken over by every new government as a welcome instrument and used against its opponents--it was precisely this power which was to fall everywhere, just as it had already fallen in Paris.

From the very outset the Commune was compelled to recognize that the working class, once come to power, could not go on managing with the old state machine; that in order not to lose again its only just conquered supremacy, this working class must, on the one hand, do away with all the old repressive machinery previously used against it itself, and on the other, safeguard itself against its own deputies and officials, by declaring them all, without exception, subject to recall at any moment....

Against this transformation of the state and the organs of the state from servants of society into masters of society --an inevitable transformation in all previous states--the Commune made use of two infallible means. In the first place, it filled all posts--administrative, judicial and educational--by election on the, basis of universal suffrage of all concerned, subject to the right of recall at any time by the, same electors. And, in the second place, all officials, high or low were paid only the wages received by other workers. The highest salary paid by the Commune to anyone was 6,000 francs. In this way an effective barrier to place-hunting and careerism was set up, even apart from the binding mandates to delegates to representative bodies which were added besides.

This shattering of the former state power and its replacement by a new and truly democratic one is described in detail in the third section of The Civil War. But it was necessary to dwell briefly here once more on some of its features, because in Germany particularly the' superstitious belief in the state has been carried over from philosophy into the general consciousness of the bourgeoisie and even of many workers.... And people think they have taken quite an extraordinarily bold step forward when they have rid themselves of belief in hereditary monarchy and swear by the democratic republic. In reality, however, the state is nothing but a machine for the oppression of one class by another, and indeed in the democratic republic no less than in the monarchy; and at best an evil inherited by the proletariat after its victorious struggle for class supremacy, whose worst sides the victorious proletariat, just like the commune, cannot avoid having to lop off at once as much as possible until such time as a generation reared in new, free social conditions is able to throw the entire lumber of the state on the scrap heap.

Of late, the Social-Democratic philistine has once more been filled with wholesome terror at the words: Dictatorship of the Proletariat. Well and good, gentlemen, do you want to know what this dictatorship looks like? Look at the Paris Commune. That was the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.

(From the concluding passage of Engels' introduction.)

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Some economic questions of socialism

Economic advantages of socialism over capitalism

Engels, Speeches in Elberfeld, 1845

In communist society, where the interests of individuals are not opposed to one another but, On the contrary, are united, competition is eliminated. As is self-evident, there can no longer be any question of the ruin of particular classes, nor of the very existence of classes such as the rich and the poor nowadays. As soon as private gain, the aim of the individual to enrich himself on his own, disappears from the production and distribution of the goods necessary to life, trade crises will also disappear of themselves. In communist society it will be easy to be informed about both production and consumption. Since we know how much, on the average, a person needs, it is easy to calculate how much is needed by a given number of individuals, and since production is no longer in the hands of private producers but in those of the community and its administrative bodies, it is a trifling matter to regulate production according to needs.

Thus we see how the main evils of the present social situation disappear under communist organization. If, however, we go into a little more detail, we will find that the advantages of such a social organization are not limited to this but also include the elimination of a host of other defects. I shall only touch today on a few of the economic drawbacks. From the economic point of view the present arrangement of society is surely the most irrational and unpractical we can possibly conceive. The opposition of interests results in a great amount of labor power being utilized in a way from which society gains nothing, and in a substantial amount of capital being unnecessarily lost without reproducing itself. We already see this in the commercial crises; we see how masses of goods, all of which men have produced with great effort, are thrown away at prices which cause loss to the sellers; we see how masses of capital, accumulated with great effort, disappear before the very eyes of their owners as a result of bankruptcies. Let us, however, discuss present-day trade in a little more detail. Consider through how many hands every product must go through before it reaches the actual consumer. Consider, gentlemen, how many speculating swindling superfluous middlemen have now forced themselves in between the producer and the consumer! Let us take, for example, a bale of cotton produced in North America. The bale passes from the hands of the planter onto those of the agent on some station or other on the Mississippi and travels down the river to New Orleans. Here it is sold--for a second time, for the agent has already bought it from the planter--sold, it might well be, to the speculator, who sells it once again, to the exporter. The bale now travels to Liverpool where, once again, a greedy speculator stretches out his hands towards it and grabs it. This man then trades it to a commission agent who, let us assume, is a buyer for a German house. So the bale travels to Rotterdam, up the Rhine, through another dozen hands of forwarding agents, being unloaded and loaded a dozen times, and only then does it arrive in the hands, not of the consumer, but of the manufacturer, who first makes it into an article of consumption, and who perhaps sells his yarn to a weaver, who disposes of what he has woven to the textile printer who then does business with the wholesaler, who then deals with the retailer, who finally sells the commodity to the consumer. And all these millions of intermediary swindlers, speculators, agents, exporters, commission agents, forwarding agents, wholesalers and retailers, who actually contribute nothing to the commodity itself--they all want to live and make a profit --and they do make it too, on the average, otherwise they could not subsist. Gentlemen, is there no simpler, cheaper way of bringing a bale of cotton from America to Germany and of getting the product manufactured from it into the hands of the real consumer than this complicated business of ten times selling and a hundred times loading, unloading and transporting it from one warehouse to another? Is this not a striking example of the manifold waste of labor power brought about by the divergence of interests? Such a complicated way of transport is out of the question in a rationally organized society. To keep to our example, just as one can easily know how much cotton or manufactured cotton goods an individual colony needs, it will be equally easy for the central authority to determine how much all the villages and townships in the country need. Once such statistics have been worked out--which can easily be done in a year or two--average annual consumption will only change in proportion to the increasing population; it is therefore easy at the appropriate time to determine, in advance what amount of each particular article the people will need--the entire great amount will be ordered direct from the source of supply; it will then be possible to procure it directly, without middlemen, without more delay and unloading than is really required by the nature of journey, that is, with a great saving of labor power; it will not be necessary to pay the speculators, the dealers large and small, their rake-off. But this is not all--in this way these middlemen are not only made harmless to society, they are, in fact, made useful to it. Whereas they now perform to the disadvantage of everyone else a kind of work which is, at best, superfluous but which, nevertheless, provides them with a living, indeed, in many cases even with great riches, whereas they are thus at present directly prejudicial to the general good, they will then become free to engage in useful labor and to take up an occupation in which they can prove themselves as actual members, not merely apparent, sham members, of human society, and as participants in its activity as a whole.

Present-day society, which breeds hostility between the individual man and everyone else, thus produces a social war of all against all which inevitably in individual cases, notably among uneducated people assumes a brutal, barbarously violent form--that of crime. In order to protect itself against crime, against direct acts of violence, society requires an extensive, complicated system of administrative and judicial bodies which requires an immense labor force. In communist society this would likewise be vastly simplified, and precisely because--strange though it may sound --precisely because the administrative body in this society would have to manage not merely individual aspects of social life, but the whole of social life, in all its various activities, in all its aspects. We eliminate,the contradiction between the individual man and all others, we counterpose social peace to social war, we put the axe to the root of crime--and thereby render the greatest, by far the greatest, part of the present activity of the administrative and judicial bodies superfluous. Even now crimes of passion are becoming fewer and fewer in comparison with calculated crimes, crimes of interest--crimes against persons are declining, crimes against property are on the increase. Advancing civilization moderates violent outbreaks of passion even in our present-day society, which is on a war footing; how much more will this be the case in communist, peaceful society! Crimes against, property cease of their own accord where everyone receives what he needs to satisfy his natural and his spiritual urges, where social graduations and distinctions cease to exist. Justice concerned with criminal cases ceases of itself, that dealing with civil cases, which are almost all rooted in the property relations or at least in such relations as arise from the situation of social war, likewise disappears; conflicts can then be only rare exceptions, whereas they are now the natural result of general hostility, and will be easily settled by arbitrators. The activities of the general administrative bodies at present have likewise their source in the continual social war--the police and the entire administration do nothing else but see to it that the war remains concealed and indirect and does not erupt into open violence, into crimes. But if it is infinitely easier to maintain peace than to keep war within certain limits, so it is vastly more easy to administer a communist community rather than a competitive one. And if civilization has already taught men to seek their interest in the maintenance of public order, public security, and the public interest, and therefore to make the police, administration and justice as superfluous as possible, how much more will this be the case in a society in which the public interest is no longer distinct from that of each individual! What already exists now, in spite of the social organization, how much more will it exist when it is no longer hindered, but supported by the social institutions! We may thus also in this regard count on a considerable increase in the labor force of which society is deprived by the present social condition.

One of the most expensive institutions which present-day society cannot dispense with are the standing armies, by which the nation is deprived of the most vigorous and useful section of the population and compelled to feed it since it thereby becomes unproductive. We know from our own budget what the standing army costs--twenty-four million a year and the withdrawal from production of twice one hundred thousand of the most muscular arms. In communist society it would not occur to anyone to have a standing army. What for, anyhow? To maintain peace in the country? As we saw above, it will not occur to anyone to disturb internal peace. Fear of revolutions is, of course, the consequence only of the opposition of interests; where the interests of all coincide, such fears are out of the question. --For aggressive wars? But how could a communist society conceive the idea of undertaking an aggressive war? --This society which is perfectly well aware that in war it will only lose men and capital while the most it could gain would be a couple of recalcitrant provinces, which would as a consequence be disruptive to the social order. --For a war of defense? For that there is no need of a standing army, as it will be easy to train every fit member of society, in addition to his other occupations, in real, not barrack-square handling of arms to the degree necessary for the defense of the country. And, gentlemen, consider this, that in the event of a war, which anyway could only be waged against anti-communist nations, the member of such a society has a real Fatherland, a real hearth and home to defend, so that he will fight with an enthusiasm, endurance and bravery before which the mechanically trained soldiers of a modern army must be scattered like chaff! Consider what wonders were worked by the enthusiasm of the revolutionary armies from 1792 to 1799, which only fought for an illusion, for the semblance of a Fatherland, and you will be bound to realize how powerful an army must be which fights, not for an illusion, but for a tangible reality. Thus these immense masses, of labor power of which the civilized nations are now deprived by the armies, would be returned to labor in a communist society; they would not only produce as much as they consume, but would be able to supply to the public storehouses a great many more products than those necessary for their own sustenance.

An even worse wastage of labor power is to be seen in our existing society in the way the rich exploit their social position. I will say nothing of all the useless and quite ridiculous luxury which arises only from the passion for display and occupies a great deal of labor power. But, I gentlemen, just go into the house, the inmost sanctuary, of a rich man and tell me if it is not the most senseless waste of labor power when you have a number of people waiting on one single individual, spending their time in idleness or, at best, in work which results from the isolation of a single man inside his own four walls? This crowd of maids, cooks, lackeys, coachmen, domestic servants, gardeners and whatever they are called, what do they really do? For how few moments during the day they are occupied in making the lives of their masters really pleasant, in facilitating the free development and exercise of their human nature and inborn capacities--and how many hours during the day they are occupied in tasks which arise only from the bad arrangement of social relations--standing at the back of the carriage, serving their employers every whim, carrying lap-dogs, and other absurdities. In a rationally organized society, where everyone will be in a position to live without pandering to the whims of the rich and without lapsing into any such whims himself--in such a society, the labor power now thus wasted on the provision of luxury can naturally be used to the advantage of all and to its own.

A further waste of labor power occurs in our present society quite directly as a result of competition, for this creates a large number of destitute workers who would gladly work, but cannot get any work. Since society is not by any means arranged so as to be able to pay attention to the real utilization of the labor force, since it is left to every individual to look for a source of gain, it is quite natural that when really or apparently useful work is being distributed, a number of workers are left without any. This is all the more the case as the competitive struggle compels everyone to strain his power to the utmost, to utilize all available advantages, to replace dearer labor by cheaper for which advancing civilization provides more and more means or, in other words, everyone has to work at making others destitute, at displacing other people's labor by one means or another. Thus in every civilized society there are large numbers of unemployed people who would gladly work but cannot find work and their number is larger than is.commonly believed. And so we find these people prostituting themselves in one way or another, begging, sweeping the streets, standing on corners, only barely keeping body and soul together by occasional small jobs, hawking and peddling all manner of petty wares or, as we saw a couple of poor girls doing this evening, going from place to place with a guitar, playing and singing for money, compelled to put up with all kinds of shameless talk, every insulting suggestion in order to earn a couple of groschen <coins>. How many finally fall victims to real prostitution! Gentlemen, the number of these destitute people who have no other course open but to prostitute themselves in one way or another is very large--our Poor Relief authorities can tell you all about this--and don't forget that society nevertheless feeds these people in one way or another despite their uselessness. If then, society has to bear the cost of their maintenance, it should also make it possible for these unemployed to earn their keep honorably. But the present competitive society cannot do this.

If you think about this, gentlemen,--and I could have given you many other examples of how our present society wastes its labor force--if you think about this, you will find that human society has an abundance of productive forces at its disposal which only await a rational organization, regulated distribution, in order to go into operation to the greatest benefit for all. After this you will be able to judge how totally unfounded is the fear that, given a just distribution of social activity, individuals would have to bear such a load of labor as would make it impossible for them to engage in anything else. On the contrary, we can assume that given this kind of organisation, the present customary labor time of the individual will be reduced by half simply by making use of the labor which is either not used at all or used disadvantageous.

However, the benefits which communist organization offers through the utilization of wasted labor power are not yet the most significant. The greatest saving of labor power lies in the fusing of the individual powers into social collective power and in the kind of organization which is based on this concentration of powers hitherto opposed to one another. Here I should like to subscribe to the proposals of Robert Owen, the English Socialist, since these are the most practical and fully worked out. Owen proposes that instead of the present towns and villages with their separate individual houses standing in each other's way, we should construct large palaces which, built in the form of a square some 1,650 feet in length and breadth, would enclose a large garden and comfortably accommodate from two to three thousand people. It is obvious that such a building, while providing its occupants with the amenities of the best contemporary housing, is far cheaper and easier to erect than the present system for the same number of people. The many rooms which now remain empty in almost every decent house, or are only used once or twice a year, disappear without any inconvenience; the saving in space for store-rooms, cellars, etc., is also very great. --But it is only when we go into domestic economy in detail that we will really grasp the advantages of community housing. What an amount of labor and material is squandered under the present system of separate housing--in heating for example! Every room needs to have a separate stove, every stove has to be specially heated, kept alight, supervised, the fuel for heating has to be brought to all the different places, the ashes removed; how much simpler and cheaper it would be to install, instead of the present separate heating, large-scale central heating unit, as is already done in big public buildings, factories, churches, etc. Gaslighting, again, is expensive at present because even the thinner pipes have to be laid underground and owing to the large areas to be illuminated in our towns the pipes have to be disproportionally long, whereas under the proposed arrangement everything would be concentrated in an area of a 1,650 foot square and the number of gas burners would nevertheless be as great, so that the result would be at least as beneficial as in a moderately-sized town. And then the preparation of meals--what a waste of space, ingredients, labor, is involved in the present, separate households, where every family cooks its little bit of food in its own, has its own supply of crockery, employs its own cook, must fetch its own supplies separately from the market, from the garden, from the butcher, and the baker! One can safely assume that under a communal system of preparing and serving meals, two-thirds of the labor force now engaged in this work will be saved, and the remaining third will nevertheless be able to perform it better and more attentively than is the case at present. And finally, the housework itself! Will not such a building be infinitely easier to keep clean and in good condition when, as is possible, this kind of work also is organized and regularly shared out, than the two to three hundred separate houses which would be the equivalent under the present housing system?

These, gentlemen, are a few of the innumerable economic advantages which are bound to result from the communist organization of human society. It is not possible for us in a couple of hours and in a few words to elucidate our principle and duly substantiate it from all points of view. Nor is this by any means our intention. All we can and want to do is to shed light on a few points and to induce those to whom the matter is still strange to study it. And we hope at least that we have made it clear this evening that communism is not contrary to human nature, reason, or the human heart, and that it is not a theory which, taking no account whatever of reality, is rooted in pure fantasy.

Engels, Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, January-first half of March, 1889

<The conditions for the development of the individual exist >

In every crisis, society is suffocated beneath the weight of its own productive forces and products, which it cannot use, and stands helpless, face to face with the absurd contradiction that the producers have nothing to consume, because consumers are wanting. The expansive force of the means of production bursts the bonds that the capitalist mode of production had imposed upon them. Their deliverance from these bonds is the one precondition for an unbroken, constantly accelerated development of the productive forces, and therewith for a practically unlimited increase of production itself. Nor is this all. The socialized appropriation of the means of production does away not only with the present artificial restrictions upon production, but also with the positive waste and devastation of productive forces and products that are at the present time the inevitable concomitants of production, and that reach their height in the crises. Further, it sets free for the community at large a mass of means of production and of products, by doing away with the senseless extravagance of the ruling classes of today and their political representatives. The possibility of securing for every member of society, by means of socialized production, an existence not only fully sufficient materially, and becoming day by day more full, but an existence guaranteeing to all the free development and exercise of their physical and mental faculties--this possibility is now for the first time here, but it is here.

<An end to commodity production; from anarchy to organization; from necessity to freedom>

With the seizing of the means of production by society, production of commodities is done away with, and, simultaneously, the mastery of the product over the producer. Anarchy in social production is replaced by systematic, definite organization. The struggle for individual existence disappears. Then for the first time man, in a certain sense, is finally marked off from the rest of the animal kingdom, and emerges from mere animal conditions of existence into really human ones. The whole sphere of the conditions of life which environ man, and which have hitherto ruled man, now comes under the dominion and control of man, who for the first time becomes the real, conscious lord of Nature, because he has now become master of his own social organization. The laws of his own social action; hitherto standing face to face with man as laws of Nature foreign to, and dominating him, will then be used with full understanding, and so mastered by him. Man's own social organisation, hitherto confronting him as a necessity imposed by nature and history, now becomes the result of his own free action. The extraneous objective forces that have hitherto governed history pass under the control of man himself. Only from that time will man himself, with full consciousness, make his own history--only from that time will the social causes set in movement by him have, in the main, and in a constantly growing measure, the results intended by him. It is the ascent <leap> of man from the kingdom <realm> of necessity to the kingdom of freedom.

(From a few pages from the end of the work. This passage can also be found in Engels's work "Herr Eugen Duhring's Revolution in Science (Anti-Diihring)", near the end of Chapter II "Theoretical" of Part III "Socialism")


Marx and Engels, The Manifesto of the Communist Party, 1848

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 appropriation.

(From Section II "Proletarians and Communists")

Marx, Capital, Vol. 1, 1867

As soon as this process of transformation has sufficiently decomposed the old society from top to bottom, as soon as the laborers are turned into proletarians, their means of labor into capital, as soon as the capitalist mode of production stands on its own feet, then the further socialization of labor and further transformation of the land and other means of production into socially exploited and, therefore, common means of production, as well as the further expropriation of private proprietors, takes a new form. That which is now to be expropriated is no longer the laborer, working for himself, but the capitalist exploiting, many laborers. This expropriation is accomplished by the action of the immanent laws of capitalistic production itself, by the centralization, of capital. One capitalist always kills many. Hand in hand with this centralization, or this expropriation of many capitalists by few, develop, on an ever-extending scale, the co-operative form of the labor process, the conscious technical application of science, the methodical cultivation of the soil, the transformation of the instruments of labor into instruments of labor only usable in common, the economizing of all means of production by their use as the means of production of combined, socialized labor, the entanglement of all peoples in the net of the world-market, and with this, the international character of the capitalistic regime. Along with the constantly diminishing number of the magnates of capital, who usurp and monopolize all advantages of this process of transformation, grows the mass of misery, oppression, slavery, degradation, exploitation; but with this too grows the revolt of the working-class, a class always increasing in numbers, and disciplined, united, organized by the very mechanism of the process of capitalist production itself. The monopoly of capital becomes a fetter upon the mode of production, which has sprung up and flourished along with, and under it. Centralization of the means of production and socialization of labor at least reach a point where, they become incompatible with their capitalist integument. This integument is burst asunder. The knell of capitalist private property sounds. The expropriators are expropriated.

The capitalist mode of appropriation, the result of the capitalist mode of production, produces capitalist private property. This is the first negation of individual private property, as founded on the labor of the proprietor. But capitalist production begets, with the inexorability of a law of Nature, its own negation. It is the negation of negation. This does not re-establish private property for the producer, but gives him individual property based on the acquisitions of the capitalist era; i.e., on co-operation and the possession in common of the land and of the means of production.

The transformation of scattered private property, arising from individual labor, into capitalist private property is, naturally, a process, incomparably more protracted, violent, and difficult, than the transformation of capitalistic private property, already practically resting on socialized production, into socialized property. In the former case, we had the expropriation of the mass of the people by a few usurpers; in the latter, we have the expropriation of a few usurpers by the mass of the people.

(From Chapter XXXII "The historical tendency of capitalist accumulation" of Part VIII "The so-called primitive accumulation")

Engels, Introduction to "The Civil War in France", March 18, 1891

...The hardest thing to understand is certainly the holy awe with which they remained standing respectfully outside the gates of the Bank of France. This was also a serious political mistake. The bank in the hands of the Commune --this would have been worth more than ten thousand hostages. It would have meant the pressure of the whole of the French bourgeoisie on the Versailles government in favor of peace with the Commune. But what is still more wonderful is the correctness of much that nevertheless was done by the Commune, composed as it was of Blanquists and Proudhonists.


By 1871, large-scale industry had already so much ceased to be an exceptional case even in Paris, the center of artistic handicrafts, that by far the most important decree of the Commune instituted an organization of large-scale industry and even of manufacture which was not only to be based on the association of the workers in each factory, but also to combine all these associations in one great union; in short, an organization which, as Marx quite rightly says in The Civil War must necessarily have led in the end to communism, that is to say, the direct opposite of the Proudhon doctrine. And, therefore, the Commune was the grave of the Proudhon school of socialism.

(In the last third of the introduction)


Engels, Introduction to Dialectics of Nature, 1875-76

...Only conscious organization of social production, in which production and distribution are carried on in a planned way, can lift mankind above the rest of the animal world as regards the social aspect, in the same way that production in general has done this for men in their aspect as species. Historical evolution makes such an organization daily more indispensable, but also with every day more possible. From it will date a new epoch of history, in which mankind itself, and with mankind all branches of its activity, and especially natural science, will experience an advance that will put everything preceding it in the deepest shade.

(From the latter part of the "Introduction")

Engels, A Critique of the Draft Social-Democratic Program of 1891, June 1891

<In Germany, a form of state monopoly capitalism was developing. It sought to, plan whole spheres of production, while capitalist anarchy was reproduced on a higher level. >

Paragraph 4.

"The want of plan rooted in the nature of capitalist private production" needs considerable improvement. I am familiar with capitalist production as a social, form, or an economic phase; capitalist private production being a phenomenon which in one form or another is encountered in that phase. What is capitalist private production? Production by separate entrepreneurs, which is increasingly becoming an exception. Capitalist production by joint-stock companies is no longer private production but production on behalf of many associated people. And when we pass on from joint-stock companies to trusts, which dominate and monopolize whole branches of industry, this puts an end not only private production but also to planlessness. If the word "private" were deleted the sentence could pass.


Engels, Herr Eugen Duhring's Revolution in Science (Anti-Duhring), September 1876 - June 1878

<All the ruling and exploiting class have become superfluous due to the growth of the productivity of labor>

We may add at this point that all historical,antagonisms between exploiting and exploited, ruling and oppressed classes to this very day find their explanation in this same relatively undeveloped productivity of human labor. So long as the really working population were so much occupied with their necessary labor that they had no time left for looking after the common affairs of society--the direction of labor, affairs of state, legal matters, art, science, etc.-- so long was it necessary that there should constantly exist a special class, freed from actual labor, to manage these affairs; and this class never failed, for its own advantage, to impose a greater and greater burden of labor on the working masses. Only the immense increase of the productive forces attained by modern industry has made it possible to distribute labor among all members of society without exception, and thereby to limit the labor-time of each individual member to such an extent that all have enough free time left to take part in the general--both theoretical and practical--affairs of society. It is only now, therefore, that every ruling and exploiting class has become superfluous and indeed a hindrance to social development, and it is only now, too, that it will be inexorably abolished, however much it may be in possession of "direct force."

(Fourth paragraph from the end of Chapter IV "The force theory (conclusion)" of Part II)


Engels, Social Classes--Necessary and Superfluous, August 1-2, 1881

Now the economical function of the capitalist middle class has been, indeed, to create the modern system of steam manufactures and steam communications, and to crush every economical and political obstacle which delayed or hindered the development of that system. No doubt, as long as the capitalist middle class performed this function it was, under the circumstances, a necessary class. But is it still so? Does it continue to fulfill its essential function as the manager and expander of social production for the benefit of society at large? Let us see.

To begin with the means of communication, we find the telegraphs in the hands of the Government. The railways and a large part of the sea-going steamships are owned, not by individual capitalists who manage their own business, but by joint-stock, companies whose businesses managed for them by paid employees, by servants whose position is to all intents and purposes that of superior, better paid workpeople. As to the directors and shareholders, they both know that the-, less the former. interfere with the management, and the latter, with the supervision, the better for the concern. A lax and mostly perfunctory supervision is, indeed, the only function left to the owners of the business. Thus we see that in reality the capitalist owners of these immense establishments have no other action left with regard to them, but to cash the half-yearly dividend warrants. The social function of the capitalist here has been transferred to servants paid by wages; but he continues to pocket in his dividends, the pay for those functions though he has ceased to perform them.

But another function is still left to the capitalist, whom the extent of the large undertakings in question has compelled to "retire" from their management. And this function is to speculate with his shares on the Stock Exchange. For want of something better to do, our "retired" or in reality superseded capitalists, gamble to their hearts content in this temple of mammon. They go there with the deliberate intention to pocket money which they were pretending to earn; though they say, the origin of all property is labor and saving--the origin perhaps, but certainly not the end. What hypocrisy to forcibly close petty gambling houses, when our capitalist society cannot do without an immense gambling house, where millions after millions are lost and won, for its very center! Here, indeed, the existence of the "retired" shareholding capitalist becomes not only superfluous, but a perfect nuisance.

What is true for railways and steamshipping is becoming more and more true every day for all large manufacturing and trading establishments. "Floating"--transforming large private concerns into limited companies--has been the order of the day for the last ten years and more. From the large Manchester warehouses of the City to the ironworks and coalpits of Wales and the North and the factories of Lancashire, everything has been, or is being, floated. In all Oldham there is scarcely a cotton mill left in private hands; nay, even the retail tradesman is more, and more superseded by "cooperative stores", the great majority of which are co-operative in name only--but of that another time. Thus we see that by the very development of the system of capitalist's production the capitalist is superseded quite as much as the handloom-weaver. With this difference, though, that the handloom-weaver is doomed to slow starvation, and the superseded capitalist, to slow death from overfeeding. In this they generally are both alike, that neither knows what to do with himself.

This, then, is the result: the economical development of our actual society tends more and more to concentrate, to socialize production into immense establishments which cannot any longer be managed by single capitalists. All the trash of "the eye of the master", and the wonders it does, turns into sheer nonsense as soon as an undertaking reaches a certain size. Imagine "the eye of the master" of the London and North Western Railway! But what the master cannot do the workmen, the wages-paid servants of the Company, can do, and do it successfully.

Thus the capitalist can no longer lay claim to his profits as "wages of supervision", as he supervises nothing. Let us remember that when the defenders of capital drum that hollow phrase into our ears.

Distribution and wages

Marx, Critique of the Gotha Program, April or May 1875

3. "The emancipation of labor demands the promotion; of the instruments of labor to the common property of society and the co-operative regulation of the total labor with a fair distribution of the proceeds of labor."

Let us take first of all the words "proceeds of labor" in the sense of the product of labor; then the co-operative

proceeds of labor are the total social product.

From this must now be deducted:

First, cover for replacement of the means of production used up.

Secondly, additional portion for expansion of production

Thirdly, reserve or insurance funds to provide against accidents, dislocations caused by natural calamities, etc.

These deductions from the "undiminished proceeds of labor" are an economic necessity and their magnitude is to be determined according to available means and forces, and partly by computation of probabilities, but they are in no way calculable by equity < "fairness" or "rights" or "undiminished proceeds" >.

There remains the other part of the total product, intended to serve as means of consumption.

Before this is divided among the individuals, there has to be deducted again, from it;

First, the general costs of administration not belonging to production.

This part will, from the outset, be very considerably restricted in comparison with present-day society and it diminishes in proportion as the new society develops.

Secondly, that which is intended for the common satisfaction of needs, such as schools, health services, etc.

From the outset this part grows considerably in comparison with present-day society and it grows in proportion as the new society develops.

Thirdly, funds for those unable to work, etc., in short, for what is included under so-called official poor relief today.

Only now do we come to the "distribution" which the program, under Lassallean influence alone has in view in its narrow fashion, namely, to that part of the means of consumption which is divided among the individual producers of the co-operative society.

The "undiminished proceeds of labor" have already unnoticeably become converted into the "diminished" proceeds, although what the producer is deprived of in his capacity as a private individual benefits him directly or indirectly in his capacity as a member of society.

Just as the phrase of the "undiminished proceeds of labor" has disappeared, so, now does the phrase of the "proceeds of labor" disappear altogether.

Within the co-operative society based on common ownership of the means of production, the producers do not exchange their products; just as little does the labor employed on the products appear here as the value of these products, as an objective quality possessed by them, since now, in contrast to capitalist society, individual labor no longer exists in an indirect fashion but directly as a component part of the total labor. The phrase "proceeds of labor," objectionable also today on account of its ambiguity, thus loses all meaning.

<The labor certificate>

What we have to deal with here is a. communist society, not as it has developed on its own foundations, but ton the contrary, just as it emerges from capitalist society; which is thus in every respect, economically, morally and intellectually, still stamped with the birth marks of the old society from whose womb it emerges. Accordingly, the individual producer receives back from society--after the deductions have been made--exactly what he gives to it. What he has given to it is his individual quantum of labor. For example, the social working day consists of the sum of the individual hours of work; the individual labor time of the individual producer is the part of the social working day contributed. by him, his share in it. He receives a certificate from society that he has furnished such and such an amount of labor (after deducting his labor for the common funds), and with this certificate, he draws from the social stock of means of consumption as much as the same amount of labor costs. The same amount of labor which he has given to society in one form he receives back in another.

Here obviously the same principle prevails as that which regulates the exchange of commodities, as far as this is exchange of equal values. Content and form are changed, because under the altered circumstances no one can give anything except his labor, and because, on the other hand, nothing can pass into the ownership of individuals except individual means of consumption. But, as far as the distribution of the latter among the individual producer is concerned, the same principle prevails as in the exchange of commodity-equivalents: a given amount of labor in one form is exchanged for an equal amount of labor in another form.

<To each according to one's work is still, in principle, bourgeois right and has its limitations >

Hence, equal right here is still in principle--bourgeois right, although principle and practice are no longer at loggerheads, while the exchange of equivalents in commodity exchange only exists on the average and not in the individual case.

In spite of this advance, this equal right is still constantly stigmatized by a bourgeois limitation. The right of the producers is proportional to the labor they supply; the equality consists in the fact that measurement is made with an equal standard, labor.

But one man is superior to another physically or mentally and so supplies more labor in the same time, or can labor for a longer time; and labor, to serve as a measure, must be defined by its duration or intensity, otherwise it ceases to be a standard of measurement. This equal right is an unequal right for unequal labor. It recognizes no class differences, because everyone is only a worker like everyone else; but it tacitly recognizes unequal individual endowment and thus productive capacity as natural privileges. It is, therefore, a right of inequality in its content, like every right. Right by its very nature can consist only in the application of an equal standard; but unequal individuals (and they would not be different individuals if they were not unequal) are measurable only by an equal standard in so far as they are brought under an equal point of view, are taken from one definite side only, for instance, in the present case, are regarded only as workers and nothing more is seen in them, everything else being ignored. Further, one worker is married, another not; one has more children than another, and so on and so forth. Thus, with an equal performance of labor, and hence an equal share in the social consumption fund, one will in fact receive more than another, one will be richer than another, and so on. To avoid all these defects, right instead of being equal would have to be unequal.

<It is determined not by philosophizing about justice but by the economic structure of society and the resulting cultural development >


But these defects are inevitable in the first phase of communist society as it is when it has just emerged after prolonged birth pangs from capitalist society. Right can never be higher than the economic structure of society and its cultural development conditioned thereby.

In a higher phase of communist society, after the enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labor, and therewith also the antithesis between mental and physical labor, has vanished; after labor has become not only a means of life but life's prime want; after the productive forces have also increased with the all-round development of the individual, and all the springs of cooperative wealth flow more abundantly--only then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be crossed in its entirely and society inscribe on its banners: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!

I have dealt more at length with the "undiminished proceeds of labor," on the one hand, and with "equal right" and "fair distribution," on the other, in order to show what a crime it is to attempt, on the one hand, to force on our Party again, as dogmas, ideas which in a certain period had some meaning but have now become obsolete verbal rubbish, while again perverting, on the other, the realistic outlook, which it cost so much effort to instill into the Party but which has now taken root in it, by means of ideological nonsense about right and other trash so common among the democrats and French Socialists.

<The system of distribution follows from the conditions of production itself>

Quite apart from the analysis so far given, it was in general a mistake to make a fuss about so-called distribution and put the principal stress on it.

Any distribution whatever of the means of consumption is only a consequence of the distribution of the conditions of production themselves. The latter distribution, however, is a feature of the mode of production itself. The capitalist mode of production, for example, rests on the fact that the material conditions of production are in the hands of nonworkers in the form of property in capital and land, while the masses are only owners of the personal condition of production, of labor power. If the elements of production are so distributed, then the present-day distribution of the means of consumption results automatically. If the material conditions of production are the co-operative property of the workers themselves, then there likewise results a distribution of the means of consumption different from the present one. Vulgar socialism (and from it in turn a section of the democracy) has taken over from the bourgeois economists the consideration and treatment of distribution as independent of the mode of production and hence the presentation of socialism as turning principally on distribution. After the real relation has long been made clear, why retrogress again?

(From Section I)

Engels, Herr Eugen Duhring's Revolution In Science (Anti-Duhring), September 1876 - June 1878

<Distribution determined by production and exchange>

The mode of production and exchange in a definite historical society, and the historical conditions which have given birth to this society, determine the mode of distribution of its products. In the tribal or village community with common ownership of land--with which, or with the easily recognizable survivals of which, all civilized peoples enter history--a fairly equal distribution of products is a matter of course; where considerable inequality of distribution among the members of the community sets in, this is an indication that the community is already beginning to break up....

The introduction and extensive use of metallic money in a country in which hitherto natural economy was universal or predominant is always associated with a more or less rapid revolutionization of the former mode of distribution, and this takes place in such a way that the inequality of distribution among the individuals and therefore the opposition between rich and poor becomes more and more pronounced. The local guild-controlled handicraft production of the Middle Ages precluded the existence of big capitalists and lifelong wage-workers just as these are inevitably brought into existence by modern large-scale industry, the credit system of the present day, and the form of exchange corresponding to the development of both of them--free competition.

But with the differences in distribution, class differences emerge. Society divides into classes: the privileged and the dispossessed, the exploiters and the exploited, the rulers and the ruled; and the state, which the primitive groups of communities of the same tribe had at first arrived at only in order to safeguard their common interests (e.g. irrigation in the East) and for protection against external enemies, from this stage onwards acquires just as much the function of maintaining by force the conditions of existence and domination of the ruling class against the subject class.

< Distribution in turn reacts back upon production and exchange>

Distribution, however, is not a merely passive result of production and exchange; it in its turn reacts upon both of these. Each new mode of production or form of exchange is at first retarded not only by the old forms and the political institutions which correspond to them, but, also by the old mode of distribution; it can secure the distribution which is suitable to it only in the course of a long struggle. But the more mobile a given mode of production and exchange, the more capable it is of perfection and development, the more rapidly does distribution reach the stage at which it outgrows its progenitor, the hitherto prevailing mode of production and exchange, and comes into conflict with it. The old primitive communities which have already teen mentioned could remain in existence for thousands of years--as in India and among the Slavs up to the present day--before intercourse with the outside world gave rise in their midst to the inequalities of property as a result of which they began to break up. On the contrary, capitalist production, which is hardly three hundred years old and has become predominant only since the introduction of modern industry, that is, only in the last hundred years, has in. this short time brought about antitheses in distribution-- concentration of capital in a few hands on the one side and concentration of the propertyless masses in the big towns on the other--which must of necessity bring about its downfall.

<How distribution is seen by the popular instinct>

The connection between distribution and the material conditions of existence of society at any period lies so much in the nature of things that it is always reflected in popular instinct. So long as a mode of production still describes an ascending curve of development, it is enthusiastically welcomed even by those who come off worst from its corresponding mode of distribution. This was the case with the English workers in the beginnings of modern industry. And even while this mode of production remains normal for society, there is, in general, contentment with the distribution, and if objections to it begin to be raised, these come from within the ruling class itself (Saint-Simon, Fourier, Owen) and find no response whatever among the exploited masses. Only when the mode of production in question has already described a good part of its descending curve, when it has half outlived its day, when the condition of its existence have to a large extent disappeared, and its successor is already knocking at the door --it is only at this stage that the constantly increasing inequality of distribution appears as unjust, it is only then that appeal is made from the facts which have had their day to so-called eternal justice. From a scientific standpoint, this appeal to morality and justice does not help us an inch further; moral indignation, however justifiable cannot serve economic science as an argument, but only as a symptom. The task of economic science is rather to show that the social abuses which have recently been developing are necessary consequences of the existing mode of production, but at the same time also indications of its approaching dissolution; and to reveal, within the already dissolving economic form of motion, the elements of the future new organization of production and exchange which will put an end to those abuses. The wrath which creates the poet is absolutely in place in describing these abuses, and also in attacking those apostles of harmony in the service of the ruling class who either deny or palliate them; but how little it proves in any particular case is evident from the fact that in every epoch of past history there has been no lack of material for such wrath.

Political economy however, as the science of the conditions and forms under which the various human societies have produced and exchanged and on this basis have distributed their products--political economy in this wider sense has still to be brought into being. Such economic science as we possess up to the. present is limited almost exclusively to the genesis and development of the capitalist mode of production: it begins with a critique of the survivals of the feudal forms of production and exchange, shows the necessity of their replacement by capitalist forms, then develops the laws of the capitalist mode of production and its corresponding forms of exchange in their positive aspects, that it, the aspects in which they further the general aims of society, and ends with a socialist critique of the capitalist mode of production, that is, with an exposition of its laws in their negative aspects, with a demonstration that this mode of production, by virtue of its own development, drives towards the point at which it makes itself impossible. This critique proves that the capitalist forms of production and exchange become more and more an intolerable fetter on production itself, that the mode of distribution necessarily determined by those forms has produced a situation among the classes which is daily becoming more intolerable--the antagonism, sharpening from day to day, between capitalists, constantly decreasing in number but constantly growing richer, and propertyless wage-workers, whose number is constantly increasing and whose conditions, taken as a whole, are steadily deteriorating; and finally, that the colossal productive forces created within the capitalist mode of production which the latter can no longer master, are only waiting to be taken possession of by a society organized for cooperative work on a planned basis to ensure to all members of society the means of existence and of the free development of their capacities, and indeed in constantly increasing measure.

(From the third paragraph of Chapter I "Subject Matter and Method" of Part II "Political Economy")

< Commodity production leads to capitalist production>

...Now in Capital, Marx proved with absolute clarity, and Herr Duhring carefully avoids even the slightest reference to this--that at a certain stage of development, the production of commodities becomes transformed into capitalist production, and that at this stage "the laws of appropriation or of private property, laws that are based on the production and circulation of commodities, become by their own inner and inexorable dialectic changed into their very opposite. The exchange of equivalents, the original operation with which we started, has now become turned round in such a way that there is only an apparent exchange. This is owing to the fact, first, that the capital which is exchanged for labor-power is itself but a portion of the product of others' labor appropriated without an equivalent; and, secondly that this capital must not only be replaced by its producer, but replaced together with an added surplus.... At first the rights of property seemed to us to be based on a man's own labor....Now, however (at the end of the Marxian analysis), property turns out to be the right, on the part of the capitalist, to appropriate the unpaid labor of others or its product, and to be the impossibility, on the part of the laborer, of appropriating his own product. The separation of property from labor has become the necessary consequence of a law that apparently originated in their identity."

(From Chapter II "The Force Theory" of Part II. The passage from "Capital" is about midway in Section 1 "...Transition of the laws of property that characterize production of commodities into laws of capitalist appropriation" of Chapter XXIV "The conversion of surplus-value into capital" of Part VII.)

<The relation of skilled and unskilled labor>

The passage in Marx which calls forth this "mighty wrath" on Herr Duhring's part is very brief. Marx is examining what it is that determines the value of commodities and gives the answer: the human labor embodied in them. This, he continues, "is the expenditure of simple Tabor power which, on an average, apart from any special development, exists in the organism of every ordinary individual....Skilled labor counts only as simple labor intensified, or rather, as multiplied simple labor, a given quantity of skilled labor being considered equal to a greater quantity of simple labor. Experience shows that this reduction is constantly being made. A commodity may be the product of the most skilled labor, but its value, by equating it to the product of simple unskilled labor, represents a definite quantity of the latter labor alone. The different proportions in which different sorts of. labor are reduced to unskilled labor as their standard, are established by a special process that goes on behind the backs of the producers and, consequently, appears to be fixed by custom." <in Section 2 of Chapter I "Commodities" of Part I of Capital, Volume I>

Marx is dealing here directly only with the determination of the value of commodities, i.e., of objects which, within a society composed of private producers, are produced and exchanged against each other by these private producers for their private account. In this passage therefore there is no question whatever of "absolute value" ... but of the value which is current in a definite form of society. ...

"Therefore the position is not," Herr Duhring proceeds, "as in Herr Marx's nebulous conception, that the labor time of one person is in itself more valuable than of another... but all labor time is in its essence and without exception--and therefore without any need to take an average--absolutely equal in value." It is fortunate for Herr Duhring that fate did not make him a manufacturer, and thus preserved him from fixing the value of his products on the basis of this new rule and thereby running inevitably into the arms of bankruptcy. What! Are we here still in. the society of manufacturers? No, far from it. With his natural costs of production and absolute value Herr Duhring has made us take a leap, a veritable salto mortale, out of the present evil world of exploiters into his own economic commune of the future, into the pure air of equality and justice; and so we must now, even though prematurely, take a glance at this new world.

It is true that, according to Herr Duhring's theory, only the labor-time expended can measure the value of economic things even in the economic commune; but as a matter of course the labor-time of each individual must be considered absolutely equal to start with, all labor-time is iri principle and without exception absolutely equal in value, without any need to take first an average. <Engels then proceeds to refer to Duhring's characterizations of Marx's views as hazy, a carryover from the educated classes, etc.> And now compare with this radical equalitarian socialism hazy Marx's conception that the labor-time of one person is in itself more valuable than that of another, because more average labor-time is condensed, as it were, within it--a conception which held Marx captive by reason of the traditional mode of thought of the educated classes, to whom it necessarily appears monstrous that the labor-time of a porter and that of an architect should be recognized as of absolutely equal value from the standpoint of economics!

Unfortunately Marx put a short footnote to the passage in Capital cited above: "The reader must note that we are not speaking here of the wages or value that the laborer gets for a given labor-time, but of the value of the commodity in which that labor-time is materialized." <See Section 2 "The Twofold Character of the Labor embodied in Commodities" of Chapter I of Part I> Marx, who seems here to have had a presentiment of the coming of his Duhring, therefore safeguards himself against an application of his statements quoted above even to the wages which are paid in existing society for compound labor. And if Herr Duhring, not content with doing this all the same, presents these statements as the principles on which Marx would like to see the distribution of the necessaries of life regulated in society organized socialistically, he is guilty of a shameless imposture, the like of which is only to be found in the gangster press.

<Labor is the measure of value, and therefore doesn't itself have a value>

But let us look a little more closely at the "doctrine of equality in values." All labor-time is entirely equal in value, the porter's and the architect's < according to Duhring's premise>. So <it must follow from Duhring's views that> labor-time, and therefore labor itself, has a value. But labor is the creator of all values. It alone gives the products found in nature value in the economic sense. Value itself is nothing else than the expression of the socially necessary human labor materialized in an object. Labor can therefore have no value. One might as well speak of the value of value, of try to determine the weight, not of a heavy body, but of heaviness itself, as speak of the value of labor, and try to determine it. Herr Duhring dismisses people like Owen, Saint-Simon and Fourier by calling them social alchemists. His subtilizing over the value of labor-time, that is, of labor, shows that he ranks far beneath the real alchemists. And now let the reader fathom Herr Duhring's brazenness in imputing to Marx the assertion that the labor-time of one person is in itself more valuable than that of another, that labor-time, and therefore labor, has a value--to Marx, who first demonstrated that labor can have no value, and why it cannot!

<Communist distribution of the necessities of life is not some sort of purified wage system >

For socialism, which wants to emancipate human labor-power from its status of a commodity, the realization that labor has no value and can have none is of great importance. With this realization all attempts--inherited by Herr Duhring from primitive workers' socialism--to regulate the future distribution of the necessaries of life as a kind of higher wages fall to the ground. And from it comes the further realization that distribution, in so far as it is governed by purely economic considerations, will be regulated by the interests of production, and that production is. most encouraged by a mode of distribution which allows all members of society to develop, maintain and exercise their capacities with maximum universality. It is true that, to the mode of thought of the educated classes which Herr Duhring has inherited, it must seem monstrous that in time to come there will no longer be any professional porters or architects, and that the man who for half an hour gives instructions as an architect will also act as a porter for a period, until his activity as an architect is once again required. A fine sort of socialism that would be-- perpetuating professional porters!

If the equality of value of labor-time means that each laborer produces equal values in equal periods of time, without there being any need to take an average, then this is obviously wrong. If we take two workers, even in the same branch of industry, the value they produce in one hour of labor-time will always vary with the intensity of their labor and their skill--and not even an economic commune, at any rate not on our planet, can remedy this evil--which, however, is only an evil for people like Duhring. What, then, remains of the complete equality of value of any and every labor? Nothing but the purely braggart phrase, which has no other economic foundation than Herr Duhring's incapacity to distinguish between the determination of value by labor and determination of value by wages--nothing but the ukase <official decree or proclamation> the basic law of the new economic commune: Equal wages for equal labor-time! Indeed, the old French communist workers and Weitling had much better reasons for the equality of wages which they advocated.

<The problem of higher wages for skilled labor>

How then are we to solve the whole important question of the higher wages paid for compound labor? In a society of private producers, private individuals or their families pay the costs of training the qualified worker; hence the higher price paid for qualified labor-power accrues first of all to private individuals: the skilful slave is sold for a higher price, and the skilful wage-earner is paid higher wages. In a socialistically organized society, these costs are borne by society, and to it therefore belong the fruits, the greater values produced by compound labor. The worker himself has no claim to extra pay. And from this, incidentally, follows the moral that at times there is a drawback to the popular demand of the workers for "the full proceeds of labor."

(From Chapter VI "Simple and Compound Labor" of Part II)

Engels, Letter to C. Schmidt, August 5, 1890

There has also been a discussion in the Volks-Tribune about the distribution of products in future society, whether this will take place according to the amount of work done or otherwise. The question has been approached very "materialistically" in opposition to certain idealistic phraseology about justice.. But strangely enough it has not struck, anyone that, after all, the method of distribution essentially depends on how much there is to distribute, and that this must surely change with the progress of production and social organization, so that the method of distribution may also change. But to everyone who took part in the discussion, "socialist society" appeared, not as something undergoing continuous change and progress but as a, stable affair fixed once for all, which must, therefore, have a method of distribution fixed once for all. All one cap reasonably do, however, is 1) to try and discover the method of distribution to be used at the beginning, and 2) to try and find the general tendency of the further development. But about this I do not find a single word in the whole debate.

Money, the labor certificate, and communist society

Engels, Herr Eugen Duhring's Revolution in Science (Anti-Duhring), September 1876 - June 1878

< Duhring apparently ridiculed the views of other socialists about labor certificates and prided himself on holding that the future "economic commune" would maintain money permanently, and furthermore maintain it on "the basis provided by the precious metals," that is, metallic currency. In his view, "the output of the precious metal will continue, as now, to determine the value of money." He states that "the system of the free economic society...remains a vast exchange institution, the operations within which are carried out through the medium of the basis provided by the precious metals. It is insight into the inevitable necessity of this fundamental property which distinguishes our scheme from all those nebulosities which cling even to the most rational forms of current socialist thought."

But exchanges (buying and selling) in Duhring's economic commune would be according to the "universal principle of justice". That is, exchange would take place between things which represent equal amounts of labor with each other. Payment by the commune to members would be based on the quantity of labor, with the exception that "Society honors itself, in distinguishing the higher types of work by a moderate additional allocation for consumption." As well, "inheritance conforming to the basic principle of justice" would be permissible." With the payment from the economic commune, the member can obtain consumer goods, etc.

Capitalist relations are to be prevented in Duhring's commune by the inability to use the metallic currency for creating enterprises or obtaining things for which one can charge rent.

<Engels criticizes Duhring's plan. In some respects, insofar as it actually is a socialist plan, it is similar To the labor certificates that Duhring denounces as nebulous fantasies. On the other hand, certain specific features which distinguish Duhring's system from other socialists, such as the permanent keeping of money, actually lead back towards capitalism. Duhring seems unable to get beyond various capitalist features, and visualizes socialism with these features, which he believes can be tamed by being regulated according to "basic principles of justice" by ensuring equal exchange.

Engels criticizes Duhring repeated use of abstract justice. For example, he criticizes the rhetoric about the commune returning "equal labor for equal labor" the same way as Marx criticizes the idea of receiving the "full proceeds of labor" in his "Critique, of the Gotha Program." He goes on to dwell on the issue of money.>

So have your choice; either the economic commune exchanges "equal labor for equal labor," and in this case it cannot accumulate a fund for the maintenance and extension of production, but only the individual members can do this; or it does form such a fund, but in this case it does not exchange equal labor for equal labor.

Such is the content of exchange in the economic commune. What of its form? The exchange is effected through the medium of metal money and Herr Duhring is not a little proud of the "world-historic import" of this reform. But in the trading between the commune and its members the money is not money at all, it does not function in any way as money. It serves as a mere labor certificate; to use Marx's phrase, it "is merely evidence of the part taken by the individual in the common labor, and of his right to a certain portion of the common produce destined for consumption," and in carrying out this function it is "no more 'money' than a ticket for the theatre.' <See footnote 1 of Section 1 of Chapter III "Money, or the Circulation of Commodities" of Part I> It can therefore be replaced by any other token, just as Weitling replaces it by a "ledger," in which the labor hours worked are entered on one side and means of subsistence taken as compensation " on the other. In a word, in the trading of the economic commune with its members it functions merely as Owen's "labor money," that "fantasy" which Herr Duhring looks. down upon from such a height, but nevertheless is himself compelled to introduce in his economic of the future. Whether the token which certifies the measure of fulfillment of the "obligation to produce," and thus of the earned "right to consume" is a scrap of paper, a counter or a gold coin is absolutely of no consequence for this purpose. For other purposes, however, it is by no means immaterial, as we shall see.

If therefore, in the trading of an economic commune with its members, metallic money does not function as money but as a disguised labor certificate, it performs its money function even less in exchange between the different economic communes. In this exchange, on the assumptions made by Herr Duhring, metallic money is totally superfluous. In fact, mere bookkeeping would suffice,....

Thus neither in exchange between the economic commune and its members nor in exchange between the different communes can gold, which is "money by nature," get to realize this its nature. Nevertheless, Herr Duhring assigns to it the function of money even in the "socialitarian" system. Hence, we must see if there is any other field in which its money function can be exercised. And this field exists.... by accepting money in payment without any question, the commune leaves open the door to the possibility that this money may have been obtained otherwise than by the individual's own labor. Non olet. <It doesn't smell--i.e. there is no trace of where it came from. > The commune does not know where it comes from. But in this way all conditions are created permitting metallic money, which hitherto played the role of a mere labor certificate, to exercise its real money function. Both the opportunity and the motive are present, on the one hand to form a hoard, an on the other to run into debt. The needy individual borrows from the individual who builds up a hoard. The borrowed money, accepted by the commune in payment for means of subsistence, once more becomes what it is in present-day society, the social incarnation of human labor, the real measure of labor, the general medium of circulation. All the "laws and administrative regulations" in the world are just as powerless against it as they are against the multiplication table or the chemical composition of water. And as the builder of the hoard is in a position to extort interest from people in need, usury is restored along with metallic money functioning as money.

Up to this point we have only considered the effects of existence of metallic money with the area of the Duhring economic commune. But outside this area the rest of the profligate world carried on contentedly along its old paths. On the world market gold and silver remain world money, a general means of purchase and payment, the embodiment of wealth. And this property of the precious metals gives the individual members of the economic communes a new motive to the accumulation of a hoard, to getting rich, to usury; the motive to act freely and independently of the commune outside its borders and to realize on the world market the private wealth which they have accumulated. The usurers are transformed into dealers in the medium of circulation, bankers, controllers of the medium of circulation and of world money, and thus into controllers of production, and thus into controllers of the means of production, even though these may still for many years be registered nominally as the property of the economic and trading communes. And so the hoarders and usurers, transformed into bankers, become the masters also of the economic and trading communes themselves. Herr Duhring's "socialitarian system" is indeed quite fundamentally different from the "nebulosities" of other socialists....

Ignorance of earlier socialist thought is so widespread in Germany that an innocent youth might at this point raise the question whether, for example, Owen's labor certificates might not lead to a similar abuse.... in the first place, such a misuse of Owen's labor certificates would require their conversion into real money, while Herr Duhring presupposes real money, though attempting to prohibit it from functioning otherwise than as mere labor certificates. While in Owen's scheme there would have to be a real abuse, in Duhring's scheme the immanent nature of money, independently of human volition, would assert itself; money would insist on its specific, correct use as against the misuse which Herr Duhring tries to impose on it owning to his own ignorance of the nature of money. Secondly, with Owen the labor certificates are only a transitional form to complete communism and the free utilization of the resources of society; and incidentally at most only a means designed to make communism plausible to the British public. If therefore any form of misuse should compel Owen's society to do away with the labor certificates, the society would take a step forward towards its goal, entering upon a more complete stage of its development. But if the Duhring economic commune abolishes money, it at one blow destroys its "human and historical import," it puts an end to its peculiar beauty, ceases to be the Duhring economic commune and sinks to the level of the nebulosities to lift it from which Herr Duhring has devoted so much of the hard labor of his rational fantasy.*

What then is the source of all the strange errors and entanglements amid which the Duhring economic commune moves? Simply the nebulosity which, in Herr Duhring's mind, envelops the concepts of value and money, and finally drives him to attempt to discover the value of labor,

(From Chapter TV "Distribution" of Part III "Socialism")

*<What follows is a footnote by Engels> It may be noted in passing that the part played by labor certificates in Owen's, commupist society is completely unknown to Herr Duhring. He knows these certificates--from Sargant --only in so far as- they figure in the Labor Exchange Bazaars, which of course were failures--inasmuch as they were attempts by means of the direct exchange of labor to pass from existing society into communist society.

Marx, Capital, Vol. 1, 1867

The question--Why does not money directly represent labor-time, so that a piece of paper may represent, for instance, x hour's labor, is at bottom the same as the question why, given the production of commodities, must products take the form of commodities. This is evident, since their taking the form of commodities implies their differentiation into commodities and money. Or, why cannot private labor--labor for the account of private individuals--be treated as its opposite, immediate social labor? I have elsewhere examined thoroughly the Utopian idea of "labor-money" in a society founded on the production of commodities... On this point I will only say further, that Owen's "labor-money," for instance, is no more "money" than a ticket for the theater. Owen presupposes directly associated labor, a form of production that is entirely inconsistent with the production of commodities; The certificate of labor is merely evidence of the part taken by the individual in the common labor, and of his right to a certain portion of the common produce destined for consumption. But it never enters into Owen's head to presuppose the production of commodities, and at the same time, by juggling with money, to try to evade the necessary conditions of that production.

(From footnote 1 of Section 1 "The measure of values" of Chapter III "Money, or the Circulation of Commodities" of Part L"Commodities and Money")

More on commodity production and money

Engels, Herr Eugen Duhring's Revolution In Science (Anti Duhring), September 1876 - June 1878

<What are commodities? What are their social character? And on socially-necessary labor-time versus individual labor-time.>

The only value known in economics is the value of commodities. What are commodities? Products made in a society of more or less separate private producers, and therefore in the first place private products. These private products, however, become commodities only when they are made, not for consumption by their producers, but for consumption by others, that is, for social consumption; they enter into social consumption through exchange. The private producers are therefore socially interconnected, constitute a society. Their products, although the private products of each individual, are therefore simultaneously, but unintentionally and as it were involuntarily, also social products. In what, then, consists the social character of these private products? Evidently in two peculiarities: first, that they all satisfy some human want, have a use-value not only for the producers but also for others; and secondly, that, although they are at the same time products of the most varied individual labor, they are at the same time products of human labor as such, of general human labor. In so far as they have a use-value also for other persons, they can, generally speaking, enter into exchange; in so far as general human labor, the simple expenditure of human labor-power is incorporated in all of them, they can be compared with each other in exchange, be said to be equal or unequal, according to the quantity of this labor embodied in each. In two equal products made individually, social conditions being equal, an unequal quantity of individual labor may be contained, but always only an equal quantity of general human labor. An unskilled smith may make five horseshoes in the time a skilful smith makes ten. But society does not form value from the accidental lack of skill of an individual; it recognizes as general human labor only labor of a normal average degree of skill at the particular time. In exchange, therefore, one of the five horseshoes made by the first smith has no more value than one of the ten made by the other in an equal time. Individual labor contains general human labor only in so far as it is socially necessary.

<The value of commodities is expressed in its relationship to other commodities, not directly as x hours of individual labor time>

Therefore when I say that a commodity has a particular value, I say (1) that it is a socially useful product; (2) that it has been produced, by a private individual for private account; (3) that, although a product of individual labor, it is nevertheless at the same time and as it were unconsciously and involuntarily, also a product of social labor and, be it noted, of a definite quantity of this labor, ascertained in a social way, through exchange; (4) I express this quantity not in labor itself, in so and so many labor-hours, but in another commodity. If therefore I say that this clock is worth as much as that piece of cloth and each of them is worth fifty shillings, I say that an equal quantity of social labor is contained in the clock, the cloth and the money. I therefore assert that the social labor-time represented in them has been socially measured and found to be equal. But not directly, absolutely, as labor-time is usually measured, in labor-hours or days, etc., but in a roundabout way, through the medium of exchange, relatively. That is why I cannot express this definite quantity of labor-time in labor-hours--how many of them remains unknown to me --but also only in a roundabout way, relatively, in another commodity, which represents an equal quantity of social labor-time. The clock is worth as much as the piece of clock.

<Money is the developed form of value, in which it takes on an independent life of its own>

But the production and exchange of commodities, while compelling the society based on them to take this roundabout way, likewise compel it to make the detour as short as possible. They single out from the commonality of commodities one sovereign commodity in which the value of all other commodities can be expressed once and for all; a commodity which serves as the direct incarnation of social labor, and is therefore directly and unconditionally exchangeable for all commodities--money. Money is already contained in embryo in the concept of value; it is value, only in developed form. But since the value of commodities, as opposed to the commodities themselves, assumes independent existence in money, a new factor appears in the society which produces and exchanges commodities, a factor with new social functions and effects. We need only state this point at the moment, without going more closely into it.

<There has been social production without commodity production in the past, and there will be in the future>

Commodity production, however, is by no means the only form of social production. In the! ancient Indian communities and in the family communities of the southern Slavs, products are not transformed into commodities. The members of the community are directly associated for production; the work is distributed according to tradition and requirements, and likewise the products to the extent that they are destined for consumption. Direct social production and direct distribution preclude all exchange of commodities, therefore also the transformation of the products into commodities (at any rate within the community) and consequently also their transformation into values.

From the moment when society enters into possession of the means of production and uses them in«, direct association for production, the labor of each individual, however varied its specifically useful character may be, becomes at the start and directly social labor. The quantity of social labor contained in a product need not then be established in a roundabout way; daily experience shows in a direct way how much of it is required on the average. Society can simply calculate how many hours of labor are contained in a steam-engine, a bushel of wheat of the last harvest, or a hundred square yards of cloth of a certain quality. It could therefore never occur to it still to express the quantities of labor put into the products, quantities which it will then know directly and in their absolute amounts, in a third product, in a measure which, besides, is only relative, fluctuating, inadequate, though formerly unavoidable for lack of a better, rather than express them in their natural, adequate and absolute measure, time. Just as little as it would occur to chemical science still to express atomic weights in a roundabout way, relatively, by means of the hydrogen atom, if it were able to express them absolutely, in their adequate measure, namely in actual, weights, in billionths or quadrillionths of a gram. Hence, on the assumptions we made above, society will not assign values to products. It will not express the simple fact that the hundred square yards of cloth have required for their production, say, a thousand hours of labor in the oblique and meaningless way, stating that they have the value of a thousand hours of labor. It is true that even then it will still be necessary for society to know how much labor each article of consumption requires for its production. It will have to arrange its plan of production in accordance with its means of production, which include, in particular, its labor-power. The useful effects of the various articles of consumption, compared with one another and with the quantities of labor required for their production will in the end determine the plan. People will be able to manage everything very simply, without the intervention of much-vaunted "value". *

* <Note by Engels> As long ago as 1844 I stated that the above-mentioned balancing of useful effects and

expenditure of labor would be all that would be left, in a communist society, of the concept of value as it appears in political economy (Deutsch-Franzosische Jahrbucher, p. 95) The scientific justification for this statement, however, as can be seen, was only made possible by Marx's Capital

<The concept of value contains in embryo all the features of capitalism>

The concept of value is the most general and therefore the most comprehensive expression of the economic conditions of commodity production. Consequently, this concept contains the germ, not only of money, but also of all the more developed forms of the production and exchange of commodities.... Finally, when the specific commodity labor-power appears on the market, its value is determined, like that of any other commodity, by the labor-time socially necessary for its production. The value form of products therefore already contains in embryo the whole capitalist form of production, the antagonism between capitalists and wage workers, the industrial reserve army, crises. To attempt to abolish the capitalist form of production by establishing "true value" is therefore tantamount to attempting to abolish Catholicism by establishing the "true" Pope, or to set up a society in which at last the producers control their products, by consistently carrying into life an economic category which is the most comprehensive expression of the enslavement of the producers by their own product. <This latter refers to the idea of abolishing capitalist exploitation by insisting that all exchange be fair and equal exchange. >

Once the commodity-producing society has further developed the value form, which is inherent in commodities as such, to the money form, various germs still hidden in value break through to the light of day.... Money forces the commodity, form even on the objects which have hitherto been produced for the producer's own use; it drags them into exchange. Thereby the commodity form and money penetrate the internal economy of the community directly associated for production, they break one tie after another within the community, and dissolve the community into a mass of private producers. At first, as can be seen in India, money replaces joint tillage of the soil by individual tillage; at a later stage it puts an end to the common ownership of the tillage area, which still manifests itself in periodical redistribution, by a final division finally, it forces the dividing-up of whatever woodland and grazing land still remains owned in common.... And, despite all "laws and administrative regulations," money would with the same natural necessity inevitably break up the Duhring economic commune <Duhring makes it a key point for the commune to preserve money, indeed, metallic currency>, if it ever came into existence.

We have already seen...that it is a contradiction in itself to speak of the value of labor. As under certain social relations labor produces not only products but also value, and this value is measured by labor, the latter can as little have a separate value as weight, as such, can have a separate weight or heat, a separate temperature. But it is the characteristic peculiarity of all social confusion that ruminates on "true value" to imagine that in existing society the worker does not receive the full "value" of his labor, and that socialism is destined to remedy this. Hence it is necessary in the first place to discover what the value of labor is, and this is done by attempting to measure labor, not by its adequate measure, time, but by its product. The worker should receive the "full proceeds of labor." Not only the labor product, but labor itself should be directly exchangeable for products; one hour's labor for the product of another hour's labor. This, however, gives rise at once to a very "serious" hitch. The whole product is distributed. The most important progressive function of society, accumulation, is taken from society and put into the hands, placed at the arbitrary discretion, of individuals. The individuals can do what they like with their "proceeds," but society at best remains as rich or poor as it was. The means of production accumulated in the past have therefore been centralized in the hands of society only in order that all means of production accumulated in the future may once again be dispersed in the hands of individuals. One knocks to pieces one's own premises; one has arrived at a pure absurdity.

Fluid labor, active labor-power, is to be exchanged for the product of. labor. Then labor-power is a commodity, just like the product for which it is to be exchanged. Then the value of this labor-power is not in any sense determined by its product, but by the social labor embodied in it, according to the present law of wages.

But it is precisely this which must not be, we are told. Fluid labor, labor-power, should be exchangeable for its full product. That is to say, it should be exchangeable not for its value, but for its use-value; the law of value is to apply to all other commodities, but must be repealed so far as labor-power is concerned. Such is the self-destructive confusion that lies behind the "value of labor."

The "exchange of labor for labor on the principle of equal valuation," in so far as it has any meaning, that is to say, the mutual exchangeability of products of equal social labor, hence the law of value, is the fundamental law of precisely commodity production, hence also of its highest form, capitalist production. It asserts itself in present-day society in the only way in which economic laws can assert themselves in a society of private producers: as a blindly operating law of nature inherent in things and relations, and independent of the will or actions of the producers. By elevating this law to the basic law of his economic commune and demanding that the commune should execute it in all consciousness, Herr Duhring converts the basic law of existing society into the basic law of his imaginary society. He wants existing society but without its abuses. In this he occupies the same position as Proudhon. Like him, he wants to abolish the abuses which have arisen out of the development of commodity production into capitalist production, by giving effect against them to the basic law of commodity production, precisely the law to whose operation these abuses are due. Like him, he wants to abolish the real consequences of the law of value by means of fantastic ones.

(From the latter part of Chapter IV "Distribution" of Part III "Socialism")

Agriculture, rural laborers, and the peasants

Marx, Letter to Engels In Manchester, April 16, 1856

...The whole thing in Germany will depend on the possibility of backing the proletarian revolution by some second edition of the Peasant War. Then the affair will be splendid.

Engels, Preface to the second edition of his "The Peasant War in Germany", February 1870

Wherever medium-sized and large estates prevail, farm laborers form the most numerous class in the countryside. This is the case throughout the North and East of Germany and it is there that the industrial workers of the towns find their most numerous and most natural allies. In, the same way as the capitalist confronts the industrial worker, the landowner or large tenant confronts the farm laborer. The same measures that help the one must also help the other. The industrial workers can free themselves only by transforming the capital of the bourgeois, that is, the raw materials, machines and tools, and the means of subsistence they need to work in production, into the property of society, that is, into their own property, used by them in common. Similarly, the farm laborers can be rescued from their hideous misery only when, primarily, their chief object of labor, the land itself, is withdrawn from the private ownership of the big peasants and the still bigger feudal lords, transformed into public property and cultivated by co-operative associations of agricultural workers on their common account. Here we come to the famous decision of the International Working Men's Congress in Basle <September 6-11, 1869> that it is in the interest of society to transform landed property into common, national property. This resolution was adopted mainly for countries where there is big landed property, and where, consequently, these big estates are operated by one master and many laborers. This state of affairs, however, is still largely predominant in Germany, and therefore, next to England, the decision was most timely precisely for Germany. The agricultural proletariat, the farm laborers, that is the class from which the bulk of the armies of the princes is recruited. It is the class which, thanks to universal suffrage, sends into parliament the numerous feudal lords and Junkers <Prussian feudal-aristocratic large landholders>; but it is also the class nearest to the industrial workers of the towns, which shares their living conditions and is steeped even more in misery than they. To galvanize and draw into the movement this class, impotent because split and scattered, is the immediate and most urgent task of the German labor movement. Its latent power is so well known to the government and nobility that they let the schools fall into decay deliberately in order to keep it ignorant. The day the farm laborers will have learned to understand their own interests, a reactionary, feudal, bureaucratic or bourgeois government will become impossible in Germany.

(The concluding passage of the preface.)

Marx, The Nationalization of the Land, March-April, 1872

...I assert that the economical development of society, the increase and concentration of people, the very circumstances that compel the capitalist farmer to apply to agriculture collective and organized labor, and to have recourse to machinery and similar contrivances, will more and more render the nationalization of land a "Social Necessity," against which no amount of talk about the rights of property can be of any avail....

What we require is a daily increasing production and its exigencies cannot be met by allowing a few individuals to regulate it according to their whims and private interests, or to ignorantly exhaust the powers of the soil. All modern methods, such as irrigation, drainage, steam ploughing, chemical treatment and so forth ought to be applied to agriculture at large....


All the citizens I have heard here today during the progress of the debate, on this question, defended the nationalization of land, but they took very different views of it.


To nationalize the land, in order to let it out in small plots to individuals or working men's societies, would, under a middle-class government, only engender a reckless competition among themselves and thus result in a progressive increase of "Rent" which, in its turn, would afford new facilities to the appropriators of feeding upon the producers.

At the International Congress <of the International Workingmen's Association> of Brussels, in 1868, one of our friends said:

"Small private property in land is doomed by the verdict of science, large land property by that of justice. There remains then but one alternative. The soil must become the property of rural associations or the property of the whole nation. The future will decide that question."

I say on the contrary; the social movement will lead to this decision that the land can but be owned by the nation itself. To give up the soil to the hands of associated rural laborers, would be to surrender society to one exclusive class of producers.

The nationalization of land will work a complete change m the relations between labor and capital, and finally, do away with the capitalist form of production, whether, industrial or rural. Then class distinctions and privileges will disappear together with the economical basis upon which they rest. To live on other people's labor will become a thing of the past. There will be no longer any government or state power, distinct from society itself! Agriculture, mining, manufacture, in one word, all branches of production, will gradually be organized in the most adequate manner. National centralization of the means of production will become the national basis of a society composed of associations of free and equal producers, carrying on the social business on a common and rational plan....

Engels, Letter to Bebel, December 11, 1884

If you are bringing forward motions in the Reichstag, there is one which should not be forgotten. The state lands are mostly let out to big farmers; the smallest portion of them is sold to peasants, whose holdings are, however, so small that the new peasants have to resort to working as day laborers on the big farms. The demand should be made that the great demesnes which are not yet broken up should be let out to co-operative societies of agricultural laborers for joint farming... I think this firebrand must be thrown among the agricultural day laborers. Which can indeed be done in one of the many debates on state socialism. This and this alone is the way to get hold of the agricultural workers: this is the best method of drawing their attention to the fact that later on it is to be their task to cultivate the great estates of our present gracious gentlemen for the common account.

Engels, Afterword to the Work "On Social Relations in Russia", 1894 is not only possible but inescapable that once the proletariat wins out and the means of production pass into common ownership among the West-European nations, the countries which have just managed to make a start on capitalist production, and where tribal, institutions, or relics of them are still intact, will be able to use these relics of communal ownership and the corresponding popular customs as a powerful means of considerably shortening their advance to socialist society and largely sparing themselves the sufferings and the struggles through which we in Western Europe have to make our way. But an inevitable condition of this is the example and active support of the hitherto capitalist West. Only when the capitalist economy has been overcome at home and in the countries of its prime, only when the retarded countries have seen from their example "how it's done", how the productive forces of modern industry are made to work as social property for society as a whole--only then will the retarded countries be able to start on this abbreviated process of development. But then their success will be assured. And this applies not only to Russia but to all countries at the pre-capitalist stage of development. However, this will be relatively easiest done in Russia, where a part of the native population has already assimilated the intellectual fruits of capitalist development which will make it possible, in a period of revolution, to carry out her special transformation almost simultaneously with that of the West.

Marx and I said as much on January 21, 1882, in the Preface to the Russian Edition of the Manifesto of the Communist Party, in a translation by Plekhanov. We wrote:

"But in Russia we find, face to face with the rapidly developing capitalist swindle and bourgeois landed 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 the 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 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."

It should be borne in mind, however, that the said far-gone dissolution of Russian communal property has since then considerably advanced. The defeats in the Crimean War clearly showed the need for Russia's rapid industrial development. The primary need was for railways, and these cannot be had on a large scale without a domestic large-scale industry. The preliminary condition of the latter was the so-called emancipation of the peasants; this ushered Russia into the capitalist era, and thereby into an era of rapid erosion of the common ownership of land.... The ancient economic relations were disrupted, there ensued the disarray which always accompanies the transition from the natural to the money economy, great property distinctions appeared between the members of the community--the poor fell into the clutches of the rich.... and there is similarly no power on earth capable of restoring the Russian community, once its disintegration has reached a certain culminating point.

(About midway in the afterword.)

...So there continues this accelerated transformation of Russia into an industrial capitalist state, the proletarization of a large part of her peasantry, and the destruction of the old communist community.

I do not undertake to say whether this community is still sufficiently intact to become, when the occasion arises, and in combination with a revolution in Western Europe, the starting point for communist development, as Marx and I had still hoped in 1882. This much, however, is certain; if anything of this community is to be salvaged, the first requirement is the overthrow of the tsarist despotism, a revolution in Russia. The Russian revolution will not only wrest the greater part of the nation, the peasants, from their isolation in the villages, constituting their mir, their universe, it will not only lead the peasants out into the large arena, where they will come to know the outside world and with it their own selves, their own conditions, and the means of escape from their present misery--the Russian revolution will also give a fresh impulse to the labor movement in the West, creating for it new and better conditions for struggle and thereby advancing the victory of the modern industrial proletariat, a victory without which present-day Russia, whether on the basis of the community or of capitalism, cannot achieve socialist transformation of society.

(This passage concludes the afterword)

Engels, The Peasant Question in France and Germany, November 15-22, 1894


In one point our French comrades are absolutely right: No lasting revolutionary transformation is possible in France against the will of the small peasant. Only it seems to me they have not got the right leverage if they mean to bring the peasant under their influence.

They are bent, it seems to win over the small peasant forthwith, possibly even for the next general elections. This they can hope to achieve only by making very risky general assurances in defense of which they are compelled to set forth even much more risky theoretical considerations....

<What the petty-bourgeois outlook leads the peasants to look for>

Let us say it outright: in view of the prejudices arising out of their entire economic position, their upbringing and their isolated mode of life, prejudices nurtured by the bourgeois press and the big landowners, we can win the mass of the small peasants forthwith only if we make them a promise which we ourselves know we shall not be able to keep. That is, we must promise them not only to protect their property in any event against all economic forces sleeping upon them but also to relieve them of the burdens which already now oppress them: to transform the tenant into a free owner and to pay the debts of the owner succumbing to the weight of his mortgage. If we could do this we should again arrive at the point from which the present situation would necessarily develop anew. We shall not have emancipated the peasant but only given him a reprieve.

But it is not in our interests to win the peasant overnight only to lose him again on the morrow if we cannot keep our promise. We have no more use for the peasant as a Party member if he expects us to perpetuate his property in his small holding than for the small handicraftsman who would fain be perpetuated as a master....


What, then, is our attitude towards the small peasantry? How shall we have to deal with it on the day of our accession to power?

To begin with, the French program <the French Marxist socialists first adopted an agrarian program at their Marseilles Congress in 1892 and further developed it at the Nantes Congress in 1894> is absolutely correct in stating: that we foresee the inevitable doom of the small peasant but that it is not our mission to hasten it by any interference on our part.

<Not forcibly dispossessing the peasants but attracting them to large-scale production>

Secondly, it is just as evident that when we are in possession of state power we shall not even think of forcibly expropriating the small peasants (regardless of whether with or without compensation), as we shall have to do in the case of the big landowners. Our task relative to the small peasant consists, in the first place, in effecting a transition of his private enterprise and private possession to co-operative ones, not forcibly but by dint of example and the proffer of social assistance for this purpose. And then of course we shall have ample means of showing to the small peasant prospective advantages that must be obvious to him even today.

Almost twenty years ago the Danish Socialists, who have only one real city in their country--Copenhagen--and therefore have to rely almost exclusively on peasant propaganda outside of it, were already drawing up such plans. The peasants of a village or parish--there are many big individual homesteads in Denmark--were to pool their land to form a single big farm in order to cultivate it for common account and distribute the yield in proportion to the land, money and labor contributed. In Denmark small landed property plays only a secondary role. But if we apply this idea to a region of small holdings we shall find that if these are pooled and the aggregate area cultivated on a large scale, part of the labor power employed hitherto is rendered superfluous. It is precisely this saving of labor that represents one of the main advantages of large-scale farming. Employment can be found for this labor power in two ways. Either additional land taken from big estates in the neighborhood is placed at the disposal of the peasant cooperative or the peasants in question are provided with the means and the opportunity of engaging in industry as an accessory calling, primarily and as far as possible for their own use. In either case their economic position is improved and simultaneously the general social directing agency is assured the necessary influence to transform the peasant co-operative to a higher form, and to equalize the rights and duties of the co-operative as a whole as well as of its individual members with those of the other departments of the entire community. How this is to be carried out in practice in each particular case will depend upon the circumstances of the case and the conditions under which we take possession of political power. We may thus possibly be in a position to offer these co-operatives yet further advantages: assumption of their entire mortgage indebtedness by the national bank with a simultaneous sharp reduction of the interest rate; advances from public funds for the establishment of large-scale production (to be made not necessarily or primarily in money but in the form of required products: machinery, artificial fertilizer, etc.), and other advantages.

The main point is and will be to make the peasants understand that we can save, preserve their houses and fields for them only by transforming them into co-operative property operated co-operatively. It is precisely the individual farming conditioned by individual ownership that drives the peasants to their doom. If they insist on individual operation they will inevitably be driven from house and home and their antiquated mode of production.superseded by capitalist large scale production. That is how the matter stands. Now we come along and offer the peasants the opportunity of introducing large-scale production themselves, not for account of the capitalists but for their own, common account. Should it really be impossible to make the peasants understand that this is in their own interests, that it is the sole means of their salvation?

<The small peasant must be told the truth about the fate of individual, small-scale production >

Neither now nor at any time in the future can we promise the small-holding peasants to preserve their individual property-and individual enterprise against the overwhelming power of capitalist production. We can only promise them that we shall not interfere in their property relations by force, against their will. Moreover, we can advocate that the struggle of the capitalists and big landlords against the small peasants should be waged from now on with a minimum of unfair means and that direct robbery and cheating, which are practiced only too often, be as far as possible prevented. In this we shall succeed only in exceptional cases. Under the developed capitalist mode of production nobody can tell where honesty ends and cheating begins. But always it will make a considerable difference whether public authority is on the side of the cheater or the cheated. We of course are decidedly on the side of the small peasant: we shall do everything at all permissible to make his lot more bearable, to facilitate his transition to the co-operative should he decide to do so, and even to make it possible for him to remain on his small holding for a protracted length of time to think the matter over, should he still be unable to bring himself to this decision. We do this not only because we consider the small peasant living by his own labor as virtually belonging to us, but also in the direct interest of the Party. The greater the number of peasants whom we can save from being actually hurled down into the proletariat, whom we can win to our side while they are still peasants, the more quickly and easily the social transformation will be accomplished. It will serve us naught to wait with this transformation until capitalist production has developed everywhere to its utmost consequences, until the last small handicraftsman and the last small peasant have fallen victim to capitalist large-scale production. The material sacrifice to be made for this purpose in the interest of the peasants and to be defrayed out of public funds can, from the point of view of capitalist economy, be viewed only as money thrown away, but it is nevertheless an excellent investment because it will effect a perhaps tenfold saving in the cost of the social reorganization in general. In this sense we can, therefore, afford to deal very liberally with the peasants. This is not the place to go into details, to make concrete proposals to that end; here we can deal only with general principles.

Accordingly we can do no greater disservice to the Party as well as to the small peasants than to make promises that even only create the impression that we intend to preserve the small holdings permanently. It would mean directly to block the way of the peasants to their emancipation and to degrade the Party to the level of rowdy anti-Semitism. On the contrary, it is the duty of our Party to make clear to the peasants again and again that their position is absolutely hopeless as long as capitalism holds sway, that it is absolutely impossible to preserve their small holdings for them as such, that capitalist large-scale production is absolutely sure to run over their impotent antiquated system of small production as a train runs over a pushcart. If we do this we shall act in conformity with the inevitable trend of economic development, and this development will not fail to bring our words home to the small peasants.

<The big and middle peasants>

We now come to the bigger peasants. Here as a result of the divisions of inheritance as well as of indebtedness and forced sales of land we find a variegated pattern of intermediate stages, from small-holding peasant to big peasant proprietor, who has retained his old patrimony intact or even added to it. Where the middle peasant lives among small-holding peasants his interests and views will not differ greatly from theirs; he knows from his own experience how many of his kind have already sunk to the level of small peasants. But where middle and big peasants predominate and the operation of the farms requires, generally, the help of male and, female servants it is quite a different matter. Of course a workers' party has to fight, in the first place, on behalf of the wage-workers, that is, for the male and female servants and the day laborers. It is unquestionably forbidden to make any promises to the peasants which include the continuance of the wage slavery of the workers. But as long as the big and middle peasants continue to exist as such they cannot manage without wage-workers. If it would, therefore, be downright folly on our part to hold out prospects to the small-holding peasants of continuing permanently to be such, it would border on treason were we to promise the same to the big and middle peasants.

We have here again the parallel case of the handicraftsmen in the cities. True, they are more ruined than the peasants but there still are some who employ journeymen in addition to apprentices or for whom apprentices do the work of journeymen. Let those of these master craftsmen who want to perpetuate their existence as such cast in their lot with the anti-Semites until they have convinced themselves that they get no help in that quarter either. The rest, who have realized that their mode of production is inevitably doomed, are coming over to us and, moreover, are ready in future to share the lot that is in store for all other workers. The same applies to the big and middle peasants. It goes without saying that we are more interested in their male and female servants and day laborers than in them themselves. If these peasants want to be guaranteed the continued existence of their enterprises we are in no position whatever to assure them of that. They must then take their place among the anti-Semites, peasant leaguers and similar parties who derive pleasure from promising everything and keeping nothing. We are economically certain that the big and middle peasant must likewise inevitably succumb to the competition of capitalist production and the cheap overseas corn, as is proved by the growing indebtedness and the everywhere evident decay of these peasants as well. We can do nothing against this decay except recommend here too the pooling of farms to form co-operative enterprises, in which the exploitation of wage labor will be eliminated more and more, and their gradual transformation into branches of the great national producers' co-operative with each branch enjoying equal rights and duties can be instituted. If these peasants realize the inevitability of the doom of their present mode of production and draw the necessary conclusions they will come to us and it will be incumbent upon us to facilitate to the best of our ability also their transition to the changed mode of production. Otherwise we shall have to abandon them to their fate and address ourselves to their wage-workers, among whom we shall not fail to find sympathy. Most likely we shall be able to abstain here as well from resorting to forcible expropriation, and as for the rest to count on future economic developments making also these harder pates < heads > amenable to reason.

< About the big landed estates >

Only the big landed estates present a perfectly simple case. Here we are dealing with undisguised capitalist production and no scruples of any sort need restrain us. Here we are confronted by rural proletarians in masses and our task is clear. As soon as our Party is in possession of political power it has simply to expropriate the big landed proprietors just like the manufacturers in industry. Whether this expropriation is to be compensated for or not will to a great extent depend not upon us but the circumstances under which we obtain power, and particularly upon the attitude adopted by these gentry, the big landowners, themselves. We by no means consider compensation as impermissible in any event; Marx told me (and how many times!) that in his opinion we would get off cheapest if we could buy out the whole lot of them. But this does not concern us here. The big estates thus restored to the community are to be turned over by us to the rural workers who are already cultivating them and are to be organized into co-operatives. They are to be assigned to them for their use and benefit under the control of the community. Nothing can as yet be stated as to the terms of their tenure. At any rate the transformation of the capitalist enterprise into a social enterprise is here fully prepared for and can be carried into execution overnight, precisely as in Mr. Krupp's or Mr. von Stumm's factory. And the example of these agricultural co-operatives would convince also the last of the still resistant small-holding peasants, and surely also many big peasants, of the advantages of co-operative, large-scale production.

The bourgeois and petty-bourgeois intelligentsia

Engels, Letter to Otto von Boenigk, August 21, 1890

...The patronizing and errant lecturing of our so-called intellectuals seems to me a far greater impediment. We are still in need of technicians, agronomists, engineers, chemists, architects, etc., it is true, but if the worst comes to the worst we can always buy them just as well as the capitalists buy them, and if a severe example is made of a few of the traitors among them--for traitors there are sure to be-- they will find it to their own advantage to deal fairly with us. But apart from these specialists, among whom I also include schoolteachers, we can get along perfectly well without the other "intellectuals." The present influx of literati and students into the party, for example, may be quite damaging if these gentlemen are not properly kept in check.


Engels, Letter to Bebel, October 24, 1891

In order to take possession and set in motion the means of production, we need people with technical training, and masses of them. These we have not got, and up till now we have even been rather glad that we have been largely spared the "educated" people. Now things are different. Now we are strong enough to stand any quantity of educated Quarcks <*> and to digest them, and I foresee that in the next eight or ten years we shall recruit enough young technicians, doctors, lawyers and schoolmasters to enable us to have the factories and big estates administered on behalf of the nation by Party comrades. Then, therefore, our entry into power will be quite natural and will be settled up quickly--relatively. If, on the other hand, a war brings us to power prematurely, the technicians will be our chief enemies; they will deceive and betray us wherever they can and we shall have to use terror against them but shall get cheated all the same. It is what always happened, on a small scale, to the French revolutionaries; even in the ordinary administration they had to leave the subordinate posts, where real work is done, in the possession of old reactionaries who obstructed and paralyzed everything.

* <On the reference to "Quarcks", see Engels letter of July 19, 1884 to Kautsky; in which he states:

That the Neue Zeit is to come to an end is no misfortune for the Party. It is becoming more and more apparent that the great majority of the literary Party people in Germany belong to the opportunists and Cautious goers... Hence the mere task of filling a journal of this kind every month demands very great tolerance, which results in its being gradually overrun with philanthropy, humanitarianism, sentimentality, and whatever all the anti-revolutionary vices of the Freiwalds, Quarcks, Schippels, Rosuses, etc. are called. People who do not want to learn anything fundamentally and only make literature about literature and incidentally out of literature (nine-tenths of present-day German writing is writing about other writing), naturally achieve more printed pages per annum than those who grind at something and only want to write about other books when: (1) they have mastered these other books and (2) there is something in them worth the trouble. The preponderance of these former gentlemen which has been produced by the Socialist Law <**> in the literature printed in Germany is inevitable while the Law lasts. Against it we have in the literature published abroad a weapon which strikes in a totally different manner.

** <Referring to "iron chancellor*' Bismarck's Exceptional Law Against the Socialists, in effect from Oct. 21, 1878 to Oct. 1, 1890. It banned socialist and workers' organizations and papers throughout Germany.>

Engels, Message of Greeting to the International Congress of Socialist Students, December 19, 1893

The bourgeois revolutions of the past, required nothing from the universities but lawyers as the best primary material for their politicians; the emancipation of the working class will, in addition, require physicians, engineers, chemists, agronomists and other specialists, for it will entail taking charge not only of the political machine, but also of all social production--and here solid knowledge is needed in place of sonorous phrases.

Engels, Letter to C. Schmidt, August 5, 1890

In general, the word 'materialistic' serves many of the younger writers in Germany as a mere phrase with which anything and everything is labelled without further study, that is, they stick on this label and then consider the question disposed of. But our conception of history is above all a guide to study, not a lever for construction after the manner of the Hegelian. All history must be studied afresh, the conditions of existence of the different formations of society must be examined individually before the attempt is made to deduce from them the political, civil-law, aesthetic, philosophic, religious, etc., views corresponding to them. ... instead of this too many of the younger Germans simply make use of the phrase historical materialism (and everything can be turned into a phrase) only in order to get their own relatively scanty historical knowledge... constructed into a neat system as quickly as possible, and they then deem themselves something very tremendous. And after that a Barth can come along and attack the things itself, which in his circle has indeed been degraded to a mere phrase.

However, all this will right itself. We are now strong enough in Germany to stand a lot. One of the greatest services the Anti-Socialist Law <lasting from 1878 to 1890> did us was to free us from the obtrusiveness of the German intellectual who had got tinged with socialism. We are now strong enough to digest the German intellectual too, who is giving himself great airs again. You, who have really done something, must have noticed yourself how few of young literary men who fasten themselves on to the Party give themselves the trouble to study economics, the history of economics, the history of trade, of industry, of agriculture, of the formations of society.... The self- sufficiency of the journalist must serve for everything here and the result looks like it. It often seems as if these gentlemen think anything is good enough for the workers. If these gentlemen only knew that Marx thought his best things were still not good enough for the workers, how he regarded it as a crime to offer the workers anything but the very best! …

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Socialism in relation to other social questions


Engels, Draft of a Communist Confession of Faith, 1847

Question 21: Will nationalities continue to exist under communism?

Answer: The nationalities of the peoples who join together according to the principle of community will be just as much compelled by this union to merge with one another and thereby supersede themselves as the various differences between estates and classes disappear through the superseding of their basis--private property.

Marx and Engels, The Manifesto of the Communist Party, 1848

...In the national struggles of the proletarians of the different countries, they <the communists> point out and bring to the front the common interests of the entire proletariat, independently of all nationality.

(Near the start of section II)

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 antagonisms 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 is 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.

(From the latter part of Section II)

Engels, Letter to Karl Kautsky, September 12, 1882

...In my opinion, the colonies proper, i.e., the countries occupied with a European population, Canada, the Cape, Australia, will all become independent; on the other hand, the countries inhabited by a native population, which are simply subjugated, India, Algiers, the Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish possessions, must be taken over for the time being by the proletariat and led as rapidly as possible towards independence. How this process will develop is difficult to say. India will perhaps, indeed very probably, produce a revolution; and as the proletariat emancipating itself cannot conduct any colonial wars, this would have to be given full scope; it would not pass off without all sorts of destruction, of course, but that sort of thing is inseparable from all revolution. The same might also take place elsewhere, e.g., in Algiers and Egypt, and would certainly be the best thing for us. We shall have enough to do at home. Once Europe is reorganized, and North America, that will furnish such colossal power and such an example that the semi-civilized countries will follow in their wake of their own accord. Economic needs alone will be responsible for this. But as to what social and political phases these countries will then have to pass through before they likewise arrive at socialist organization, we today can only advance rather idle hypotheses, I think. One thing alone is certain: the victorious proletariat can force no blessings of any kind upon any foreign nation without undermining its own victory by so doing. Which of course by no means excludes defensive wars of various lands.

Marx, Letter to Meyer and Vogt, April 9, 1870

England, as the metropolis of capital, as the power which has hitherto ruled the world market, is for the time being the most important country for the workers' revolution, and moreover the only country in which the material conditions for this revolution have developed up to a certain point of maturity. Therefore to hasten the social revolution in England is the most important object of the International Workingmen's Association. The sole means of hastening it is to make Ireland independent.

Hence the task of the "International" is everywhere to put the conflict between England and Ireland in the foreground, and everywhere to side openly with Ireland. The special task of the Central Council in London is to awaken a consciousness in the English workers that from them the national emancipation of Ireland is no question of abstract justice or human sympathy but the first condition of their own emancipation.

Engels, Preface to the Italian edition of 1893 of "The Manifesto of the Communist Party", February 1, 1893

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-scale 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 towards 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.

Woman and family

Engels, Draft of a Communist Confession of Faith, 1847

Question 20: Will not the introduction of community of property be accompanied by the proclamation of community of women?

Answer: By no means. We will only interfere in the personal relationship between men and women or with the family in general to the extent that the maintenance of the existing institution would disturb the new social order. Besides, we are well aware that the family relationship has been modified in the course of history by the property relationships and by periods of development, and that consequently the ending of private property will also have a most important influence on it.

Engels, Principles of Communism, 1847

Question 21: What influence will the communist order of society have upon the family?

Answer: It will make the relation between the sexes a purely private relation which concerns only the. persons involved, and in which society has no call to interfere. It is able to do this because it abolishes private property and educates children communally, thus destroying the twin foundation of hitherto existing marriage--the dependence through private property of the wife upon the husband and of the children upon the parents. Here also is the answer to the outcry of moralizing philistines against the communist community. of women. Community of women is a relationship that belongs altogether to bourgeois society and is completely realized today in prostitution. But prostitution is rooted in private property and falls with it. Thus instead of introducing the community of women, communist organization puts an end to it.

Marx and Engels, The Manifesto of the Communist Party, 1848

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 the 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 will 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 invented 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 clap-trap about the family and education, about the hallowed co-relation of parent and child, becomes all the more disgusting, the more, by the action of Modern Industry, all 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 whole bourgeoisie in chorus.

The bourgeoisie sees in 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 than 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 Comnpnists. The Communists have no need to introduce community of women; it has existed almost from time immemorial.

Our bourgeois, not content with having the 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 hypocritically concealed, an openly legalized community of women. For the rest, it is self-evident that the abolition of the present system of production must bring with it the abolition of the community of women springing from that system, i.e., of prostitution both public and private.

(In the middle of Section II "Proletarians and communists")

Marx, Capital, Vol. I, 1867

So long as Factory legislation is confined to regulating the labor in factories, manufactories, etc., it is regarded as a mere interference with the exploiting rights of capital. But when it comes to regulating the so-called "home- labor," it is immediately viewed as a direct attack on the patria potestas, on parental authority. The tender-hearted English Parliament long affected to shrink from taking this step. The force of facts, however compelled it at least to acknowledge that modern industry, in overturning the economical foundation on which was based the traditional family, and the family labor corresponding to it, had also unloosened all traditional family ties. The rights of the children had to be proclaimed. The final report of the Ch. Empl. Comm, of 1866 states: "It is unhappily, to a painful degree, apparent throughout the whole of the evidence, that against no persons do the children of both sexes so much require protection as against their parents." The system of unlimited exploitation of children's labor in general and the so-called home-labor in particular is "maintained only because the parents are able, without check or control, to exercise this arbitrary and mischievous power over their young and tender offspring..... Parents must not possess the absolute power of making their children mere 'machines to earn so much weekly wage.'.... The children and young persons, therefore, in all such cases may justifiably claim from the legislature, as a natural right, that an exemption should be secured to them, from what destroy prematurely their physical strength and lowers them in the scale of intellectual and moral beings." It was not, however, the misuse of parental authority that created the capitalistic exploitation, whether direct or indirect, of children's labor; but, on the contrary, it was the capitalistic mode of exploitation which, by sweeping away the economical basis of parental authority, made its exercise degenerate into a mischievous misuse of power. However terrible and disgusting the dissolution, under the capitalist system, of the old family ties may appear, nevertheless, modern industry, by assigning as it does an important part in the process of production, outside the domestic sphere, to women, to young persons, and to children of both sexes, creates a new economical foundation for a higher form of the family and of the relations between the sexes. It is, of course, just as absurd to hold the Teutonic-christian form of the family to be absolute and final as it would be to apply that character to the ancient Roman, the ancient Greek, or the Eastern forms which, moreover, taken together form a series in historic development. Moreover, it is obvious that the fact of the collective working group being composed of individuals of both sexes and all ages, must necessarily, under suitable conditions, become a source of humane development; although in its spontaneously developed, brutal, capitalistic form, where the laborer exists for the process of production, and not the process of production for the laborer, that fact is a pestiferous source of corruption and slavery.

(From Section 9 "The Factory Acts. Sanitary and Educational Clauses of the same. Their general Extension in England" of Chapter XV "Machinery and modern Industry" of Part IV "Production of Relative Surplus-value")

Engels, Herr Eugen Duhring's Revolution In Science (Anti-Duhring), September 1876 - June 1878

Just as Herr Duhring at an earlier point imagined that the capitalist mode of production could be replaced by the social, without transforming production itself, so now he imagines that the modern bourgeois family can be torn from its whole economic foundations without thereby transforming its whole form. To him, this form is so immutable that he even makes "ancient Roman law," though in a somewhat "ennobled" form, govern the family for all time; and he can only conceive a family as an "inheriting," which means a possessing, unit. Here the Utopians are far in advance of Herr Duhring. They considered that the socialization of education and, with this, real mutual freedom in the relations between members of a family, would necessarily follow from the free association of men and the transformation of private domestic work into a public industry. Marx also has already shown... <in Capital, Vol. I, Part IV, Chapter XV, Section 9> that "modern industry, by assigning as it does an important part in socially organized processes of production, outside the domestic sphere, to women, to young persons, and to children of both sexes, creates a new economic foundation for a higher form of the family and of the relations between the sexes."

(From Chapter V "State, Family, Education " of Part III "Socialism".)

Engels, Letter to K. Kautsky, February 1, 1881

< Engels denies the contention that overpopulation is currently a problem, citing the beginnings of American mass production and large-scale agriculture threatening to smother the world in foodstuffs. He also states that to the contrary, that there is now the problem of "first populating the Earth...and which certainly requires of necessity a strong increase of population also in Europe...." Engels goes on to say that overpopulation might someday become a problem, but that if so, communism alone could solve it; >

The abstract possibility that the human population is becoming so great that barriers must be raised to its increase, is indeed present. But if communist society should once see itself in the necessity to regulate the production of human beings as it has already regulated the production of things, then it will be precisely that communist society, and [it] alone, which will do so without difficulty. To achieve in a planned manner in such a society a result which has already now spontaneously and without any plan developed in France and in Lower Austria, seems to me by no means so difficult. In any case it is those people's business, whether, when and how, and what means they will use for that purpose. I do not feel that I have the mission to advise and counsel them on that matter. These people will certainly be as shrewd as we are.

For the rest, I wrote already in 1844..,: "Even if Malthus were unconditionally right, then this (socialist) transformation should be undertaken immediately, because only it, only the education of the masses which it will give, makes possible that moral limitation of the procreative urge which Malthus himself presents as the most effective and easiest antidote against overpopulation."

Engels, The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, March-May, 1884

Sex love in the relation of husband and wife is and can become the rule only among the oppressed classes, that is, at the present day, among the proletariat, no matter whether this relationship is officially sanctioned or not. But here all the foundations of classical monogamy are removed. Here, there is a complete absence of all property, for the safeguarding and inheritance of which monogamy and male domination were established. Therefore, there is no stimulus whatever to assert male domination. What is more, the means, too, are absent; bourgeois law, which protects this domination, exists only for the propertied classes and their dealings with the proletarians. It costs money, and therefore, owing to the worker's poverty, has no validity in his attitude towards his wife. Personal and social relations of quite a different sort are the decisive factors here. Moreover, since large-scale industry has transferred the woman from the house to the labor market and the factory, and makes her, often enough, the breadwinner of the family, the last remnants of male domination in the proletarian home have lost all foundation--except perhaps, for some of that brutality towards women which became firmly rooted with the establishment of monogamy. Thus, the proletarian family no longer monogamian in the strict sense, even in cases of the most passionate love and strictest faithfulness of the two parties, and despite all spiritual and worldly benedictions which may have been received. The two eternal adjuncts of monogamy--hetaerism and adultery--therefore, play an almost negligible role here; the woman has regained, in fact, the right of separation, and when the man and woman cannot get along they prefer to part. In short, proletarian marriage is monogamian in the etymological sense of the word, but by no means in the historical sense.


...The modern individual family is based on the open or disguised domestic enslavement of the woman;... Today, in the great majority of cases, the man has to be the earner, the bread-winner of the family, at least among the propertied glasses, and this gives him a dominating position which requires no special legal privileges. In the family, he is the bourgeois; the wife represents the proletariat. In the industrial world, however, the specific character of the economic oppression that weighs down the proletariat stands out in all its sharpness only after all the special legal privileges of the capitalist class have been set aside and the complete juridical equality of both classes is established. The democratic republic does not abolish the antagonism between the two classes; on the contrary, it provides the field on which it is fought out. And, similarly, the peculiar character of man's domination over woman in the modern family, and the necessity, as well as the manner, of establishing real social equality between the two, will be brought out into full relief only when both are completely equal before the law. It will then become evident that the first premise for the emancipation of women is the reintroduction of the entire female sex into public industry; and that this again demands that the qualify possessed by the individual family of being the economic unit of society be abolished.


We are now approaching a social revolution in which the hitherto existing economic foundations of monogamy will disappear just as certainly as will those of its supplement--prostitution.... Since monogamy arose from economic causes, will it disappear when these causes disappear?

One might not unjustly answer: far from disappearing, it will only begin to be completely realized.

...With the passage of the means of production into common property, the individual family ceases to be the economic unit of society. Private housekeeping is trans- formed into a social industry. The care and education of the children becomes a public matter....

Here a new factor comes into operation, a factor that, at most, existed in embryo at the time when monogamy developed, namely, individual sex love.


Since sex love is by its very nature occlusive--although this exclusiveness is fully realized today only in the woman --then marriage based on sex love is by its very nature monogamy.... With the disappearance of the economic considerations which compelled women to tolerate the customary infidelity of the men--the anxiety about their own livelihood and even more about the future of their children--the equality of woman thus achieved will, judging from all previous experience, result far more effectively in the men becoming really monogamous than in the women becoming polyandrous.

What will most definitely disappear from monogamy, however, is all the characteristics stamped on it in consequence of its having arisen out of property relationships. These are, first, the dominance of the man, and secondly, the indissolubility of marriage.... The duration of the urge of individual sex love differs very much according to the individual, particularly among men; and a definite cessation of affection, or its displacement by a new passionate love, makes separation a blessing for both parties as well as for society. People will only be spared the experience of wading through the useless mire of divorce proceedings.

Thus, what we can conjecture at present about the regulation of sex relationships after the impending effacement of capitalist production is, in the main, of a negative character, limited mostly to what will vanish. But what will be added? That will be settled after a new generation has grown up: a generation of men who never in all their lives have had occasion to purchase a woman's surrender either with money or with any other means of social power, and of women who have never been obliged to surrender to any man out of any consideration other than that of real love, or,to refrain from giving themselves to their beloved for fear of the economic consequences. Once such people appear, they will not care a rap about what we today think they should do. They will establish their own practice and their own public opinion, conformable therewith, on the practice of each individual--and that's the end of it.

(From section 4 "The Monogamian Family" of Chapter II "The Family")

...Here we see already that the emancipation of women and their equality with men are impossible and must remain so as long as women are excluded from socially productive work and restricted to housework, which is private. The emancipation of women becomes possible only when women are enabled to take part in production on a large, social scale, and when domestic duties require their attention only to a minor degree. And this has become possible only as a result of modern large-scale industry, which not only permits of the participation of women in production in large numbers, but actually calls for it and, moreover, strives to convert private domestic work also into a public industry.

(From Chapter IX "Barbarism and Civilization")


Engels, Principles of Communism, 1847

...Industry which is carried on jointly and according to plan by the whole of society wholly presupposes people whose abilities have been developed all-round who are capable of surveying the entire system of production. Consequently, the division of labor already undermined by the machine system...will thus completely disappear. Education will enable young people quickly to acquaint themselves with the whole system of production, it will enable them to pass in turn from one branch of industry to another according to social needs or the bidding of their own inclination.

(From the answer to question 20 What will be the consequences of the final abolition of private ownership?")

Marx, Capital, Vol. I, 1867

Paltry, as the education clauses of the <Factory> Act appear on the whole, yet they proclaim elementary education to be an indispensable condition to the employment of children. The success of those clauses proved for the first time the possibility of combining education and gymnastics with manual labor, and, consequently, of combining manual labor with education and gymnastics. The factory inspectors soon found out by questioning the schoolmasters, that the factory children, although receiving only one half the education of the regular day scholars, yet learnt quite as much and often more.... Further information on this point will be found in Senior's <a bourgeois economist> speech at the Social Science Congress at Edinburgh in 1863. He there shows, amongst other things, how the monotonous and uselessly long school hours of the children of the upper and middle classes, uselessly add to the labor of the teacher, "while he not only fruitlessly, but absolutely injuriously, wastes the time, health, and energy of the children." From the Factory system budded, as Robert Owen has shown us in detail, the germ of the education of the future, an education that will, in the case of every child over a given age, combine productive labor with instruction and gymnastics, not only as one of the methods of adding to the efficiency of production, but as the only method of producing fully developed human beings.

Modern Industry, as we have seen, sweeping away by technical means the manufacturing division of labor, under which each man is bound hand and foot for life to a single detail-operation. At the same time, the capitalistic form of that industry reproduces this same division of labor in a still more monstrous shape;...

(From, Section 9 "The Factory Acts. Sanitary and Educational Clauses pf the same. Their general Extension in England. " of Chapter XV "Machinery and modern Industry" of Part IV)

Modern Industry never looks upon and treats the existing form of a process as final. The technical basis of that industry is therefore revolutionary, while all earlier modes of production were essentially conservative.... At the same time, it thereby also revolutionizes the division of labor within the society, and incessantly launches masses of capital and of workpeople from one branch of production To another. But if modern Industry, by its very nature, therefore necessitates variation of labor, fluency of function, universal mobility of the laborer, on the other hand, in its capitalistic form, it reproduces the old division of labor with its ossified particularizations. We have seen how this absolute contradiction between the technical necessities, of modern Industry, and the social character inherent in its capitalistic form, dispels all fixity and .security in the situation of the laborer... Modern Industry, on the other hand, through its catastrophes imposes the necessity of recognizing, as a fundamental law of production, variation of work, consequently fitness of the laborer for varied work, consequently the greatest possible development of his varied aptitudes. It becomes a question of life and death for society to adapt the mode of production to the normal functioning of this law....

One step already spontaneously taken towards effecting this revolution is the establishment of technical and agricultural schools, and of "ecoles d'enseignement professionnel," in which the children of the working-men receive some little instruction in technology and in the practical handling of the various implements of labor. Though the Factory Act, that first and meager concession wrung from capital, is limited to combining elementary education with work in the factory, there can be no doubt that when the working class comes into power, as inevitably it must, technical instruction, both theoretical and practical, will take its proper place in the working-class schools. There is also no doubt that such revolutionary ferments, the final result of which is the abolition of the old division of labor, are diametrically opposed to the capitalistic form of production, and to the economic status of the laborer corresponding to that form. But the historical development of the antagonisms, immanent in a given, form of production, is the only way in which that form of production can be dissolved and a new form established.


Engels, Herr Eugen Duhring's Revolution In Science (Anti-Duhring), September 1876 - June 1878

...It is true that Herr Duhring has heard something about the combination of work and instruction in socialist society, which is to ensure an all-round technical education, as well as a practical foundation for scientific training; and this point, too, is therefore brought in to help the socialitarian scheme in the usual way. But because, as we have seen, the old division of labor, in its essentials, is to continue to exist peacefully in the Duhringian production of the future, this technical training at school is deprived of any practical use later on in life, or any significance for production itself; it has only a purpose within the school: it is to replace gymnastics, which our deep-rooted revolutionizer wants to abolish altogether. He can therefore only offer us a few phrases, as for example, "young and old will work, in the full sense of the word." This backboneless and meaningless effusion is really pitiful when we compare it with the passage in Capital, < contained in Section 9 "The Factory Acts..." of Chapter XV of Part IV>... in which Marx develops the thesis that "from the factory system budded, as Robert Owen has shown us in detail, the germ of the education of the future, an education that will, in the case of every child over a given age, combine productive labor with instruction and gymnastics, not only as one of the methods of adding to the efficiency of production, but as the only method of producing fully developed human beings."

(In the latter part of Chapter V "State, Family, Education " of Part III "Socialism")


Engels, Draft of a Communist Confession of Faith, 1847

Question 22: Do Communists reject the existing religions?

Answer: All religions which have existed hitherto were expressions of historical stages of development of individual peoples or groups of peoples. But communism is that stage of historical development which makes all existing religions superfluous and supersedes them.

Engels, Herr Eugen Duhring's Revolution In Science (Antl-Duhrlng), September 1876 - June 1878

<Fantastic nature of religion, its natural death, and against banning it>

All religion, however, is nothing but the fantastic reflection in men's minds of those external forces which v control their daily life, a reflection in which the terrestrial forces assume the form of supernatural forces.... We have already seen, more than once, that in existing bourgeois society men are dominated by the economic conditions created by themselves, by the means of production which they themselves have produced, as if by an extraneous force. The actual basis of religious reflex action therefore continues to exist, and with it the religious reflex itself....

It is still true that man proposes and God (that is, the extraneous force of the capitalist mode of production) disposes.... when society, by taking possession of all means of production and using them on a planned basis, has freed itself and all its members from the bondage in which they are at present held by these means of production which they themselves have produced but which confront them as an irresistible extraneous force; when therefore man no longer merely proposes, but also disposes--only then will the last extraneous force which is still reflected in religion vanish; and with it will also vanish the religious reflection itself, for the simple reason that then there will be nothing left to reflect.

Herr Duhring, however, cannot wait until religion dies this natural death. He proceeds in more deep-rooted fashion. He out-Bismarcks Bismarck <*>; he decrees sharper May laws <the Prussian anti-Jesuit laws of May 1873> not merely against Catholicism, but against all religion whatsoever; he incites his gendarmes of the future against religion, and thereby helps it to martyrdom and a prolonged lease of life. Wherever we turn, we find specifically Prussian socialism.

(From Chapter V "State, Family, Education" of Part III "Socialism

<Bismarck, a representative of the Prussian Junkers, or large aristocratic-feudal landlords, was German chancellor during the period when Germany was unified, but on the bureaucratic-reactionary Prussian model. He fought Catholicism for a few years during the period of what was called at the time the "Kulturkampf" of "struggle for culture" in order to strike at the anti-Prussian and localist stand of the Catholic Center Party. (The Center Party and the socialist workers both opposed the Prussification of Germany but from quite different standpoints.) The "Kulturkampf" was an attempt to appeal to the bourgeois liberals, and it seems to have combined some reforms with outright persecution of the Catholic Church and an attempt to take it over by the German government apparatus. The Center Party continued to grow, and later Bismarck actively courted it. Meanwhile, during the "Kulturkampf the Catholic Church was championing the then-new doctrine of the infallibility of the Pope and maintenance of a miserable system of religious indoctrination and non-education. Engels, commenting on the way Prussia implemented the system of universal education, wrote in a footnote to The Role of Force in History that "Even during the 'Kulturkampf' days, industrialists on the Rhine complained to me that they could not promote otherwise excellent workers to the job of supervisor because of the insufficiency of their knowledge acquired at school. This was particularly true in Catholic regions." >

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The classless society


Marx and Engels, The German Ideology, 1845-46

... In the present epoch, the domination of material relations over individuals, and the suppression of individuality by fortuitous circumstances, has assumed its sharpest and most universal form, thereby setting existing individuals a very definite task. It has set them the task of replacing the domination of circumstances and of chance over individuals by the domination of individuals over chance and circumstances. It has not, as Sancho imagines, put forward the demand that "I should develop myself," which up to now every individual has done without Sancho's good advice; it has on the contrary called for liberation from a quite definite mode of development. This task, dictated by present-day relations, coincides with the task of organizing society in a communist way.

... We have also shown that the abolition of division of labor is determined by the development of intercourse and productive forces to such a degree of universality that private property and division of labor become fetters on them. We have further shown that private property can be abolished only on condition of an all-round development of individuals, precisely because the existing form of intercourse and the existing productive forces are all-embracing and only individuals that are developing in an all-round fashion can appropriate them, i.e., can turn them into free manifestations of their lives. We have shown that at the present time individuals must abolish private property, because the productive forces and forms of intercourse have developed so fat that, under the domination of private property, they have become destructive forces, and because the contradiction between the classes has reached its extreme limit. Finally, we have shown that the abolition of private property and of the division of labor is itself the association of individuals on the basis created by modern productive forces and world intercourse.

Within communist society, the only society in which the genuine and free development of individuals ceases to be a mere phrase, this development is determined precisely by the connection of individuals,... We are, therefore, here concerned with individuals at a definite historical stage of development and by no means merely with individuals chosen at random, even disregarding the indispensable communist revolution; which itself is a general condition for their free development. The individuals' consciousness

.... of their mutual relations will, of course, likewise be completely changed, and therefore, will no more be the "principle of love" or "devoument" <devotion> than it will be egoism.

(Part III "Saint Max", Section 1 Subsection 6 "Solomon's Song of Songs or the Unique" or Marx and Engels, "Collected Works", Volume 5, p. 438)

Engels, Principles of Communism, 1847

Question 20: What will be the consequences of the final abolition of private property?

Answer: Above all, through society's taking out of the hands of the private capitalists the use of all the productive forces and means of communication as well as the exchange and distribution of products and managing them according to a plan corresponding to the means available and the needs of the whole of society, all the evil consequences of the present running of large-scale industry will be done away with. There will be an end of crises; the extended production, which under the present system of society means overproduction and is such a great cause of misery, will then not even be adequate and will have to be expanded much further. Instead of creating misery, overproduction beyond the immediate needs of society will mean the satisfaction of the needs of all, create new needs and at the same time the means to satisfy them. It will be the condition and the cause of new advances, and it will achieve these advances without thereby, as always hitherto, bringing the order of society into confusion. Once liberated from the pressure of private ownership, large-scale industry will develop on a scale that will make its present level of development seem as paltry as seems the manufacturing system compare with the large-scale industry of our time. This development of industry will provide society with a sufficient quantity of products to satisfy the needs of all. Similarly agriculture, which is also hindered by the pressure of private ownership and parcelling of land from introducing the improvements already available and scientific advancements, will be given a quite new impulse, and place at society's disposal an ample quantity of products. Thus society will produce enough products to be able so to arrange distribution that the needs of all its members will be satisfied. The division of society into various antagonistic classes will thereby become superfluous. Not only will it become superfluous, it is even incompatible with the new social order. Classes came into existence through the division of labor and the division of labor in its hitherto existing form will entirely disappear. For in order to bring industrial and agricultural production to the level described, mechanical and chemical aids alone are not enough; the abilities of the people who set these aids in motion must also be developed to a corresponding degree. Just as in the last century the peasants and the manufactory workers change their entire way of life, and themselves became quite different people when they were drawn into large-scale industry, so also will the common management of production by the whole of society and the resulting new development of production require and also produce quite different people. The common management of production cannot be effected by people as they are today, each one being assigned to a single branch of production, shackled to it, exploited by it, each haying developed only one of his abilities at the cost of all the others and knowing only one branch, or only a branch of a branch of the total production. Even present-day industry finds less and less use for such people. Industry carried on in common and according to plan by the whole of society presupposes moreover people of all-round development, capable of surveying the entire system of production. Thus the division of labor making one man a peasant, another a shoemaker, a third a factory worker, a fourth a stockjobber, which has already been undermined by machines, will completely disappear. Education will enable young people quickly to go through the whole system of production, it will enable them to pass from one branch of the industry to another according to the needs of society or their own inclinations. It will therefore free them from that one-sidedness which the present division of labor stamps on each and every one of them. Thus the communist organization of society will give its members the chance of an all-round development. With this, the various classes will necessarily disappear. Thus the communist organization of society is, on the one hand, incompatible with the existence of classes and, on the other, the very establishment of this society furnishes the means to do away with these class differences.

It follows from this that the antagonism between town and country will likewise disappear. The carrying on of agriculture and industrial production by the same people, instead of by two different classes, is already for purely material reasons an essential condition of communist association. The scattering of the agricultural population over the countryside, along with the crowding of the industrial population into the big towns, is a state which corresponds only to an undeveloped stage of agriculture and industry, and obstacle to all further development which is already now making itself very keenly felt.

The general association of all members of society for the common and planned exploitation of the productive forces, the expansion of production to a degree where it will satisfy the needs of all, the termination of the condition where the needs of some are satisfied at the expense of others, the complete annihilation of classes and their antagonisms, the all-round development of the abilities of all the members of society through doing away with the hitherto existing division of labor, through industrial education, through change of activity, through the participation of all in the enjoyments provided by all, through the merging of town and country--such are the main results of the abolition of private property.

Withering away of the state

Marx and Engels, The Manifesto of the Communist Party, 1848


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.

Engels, "Herr Eugen Duhring's Revolution In Science (Antl-Duhring), September 1876 - June 1878

...The proletariat seizes the state power; and transforms the means of production in the first instance into state property. But, in doing this, it abolishes itself as proletariat, abolishes all class distinctions and class antagonisms, abolishes also the state as state. Society thus far, based upon class antagonisms, had need of the state, that is, of an organization of the particular class, which was pro tempore <for the time being> the exploiting class, for the maintenance of its external conditions of production, <*> and, therefore, especially, for the purpose of forcibly keeping the exploited classes in the condition of oppression corresponding with the given mode of production (slavery, serfdom, wage-labor). The state was the official representative of society as a whole; the gathering of it together info a visible embodiment. But it was this only in so far as it was the state of that class which itself represented, for the time being, society as a whole: in ancient times, the state of slave-owning citizens; in the Middle Ages, the feudal lords; in our own time, the bourgeoisie. When at last it becomes the real representative of the whole of society, it renders itself unnecessary. As soon as there is no longer any social class to be held in subjection; as soon as class rule, and the individual struggle for existence based upon our present anarchy in production with the collisions and excesses arising from these, are removed, nothing more remains to be repressed, and a special repressive force, a state, is no longer necessary. The first act by virtue of which the state really constitutes itself the representative of the whole of society--the faking possession of the means of production in the name of society--this is, at the same time, its last independent act as a state. State interference in social relations becomes, in one domain after another, superfluous, and then withers away of itself; the government of persons is replaced by the administration of things, and by the conduct of processes of production. The state is not "abolished." It withers away. This gives the measure of the value of the phrase "a free people's state," both as to its justifiable use at times by agitators, and as to its ultimate scientific insufficiency; and, also of the demands of the so- called anarchists for the abolition of the state out of hand.

(From the last quarter of Section II "Theoretical" of Part III "Socialism")

*<In Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, which consists of three chapters from Anti-Duhring rewritten by Engels to form a self-contained work, this phrase reads as follow: "for the purpose of preventing any interference from without with the existing conditions of production." >

Engels, Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State, March-May, 1884

The state, then, has not existed from all eternity. There have been societies that did without it, that had no idea of the state and state power. At a certain stage of economic development, which was necessarily bound up with the split of society into classes, the state became a necessity owing to this split. We are now rapidly approaching a stage in the development of production at which the existence of these classes not only will have ceased to be a necessity, but will become a positive hindrance to production. They will fall as inevitably as they arose at an earlier stage. Along with them the state will inevitably fall. Society, which will reorganize production on the basis of a free and equal association of the producers, will put the whole machinery of state where it will then belong: into the museum of antiquities, by the side of the spinning-wheel and the bronze axe.

Elimination of the separation between town and country

Engels, The Housing Question, May 1872 - January 1873

For Proudhon, on the other hand, the whole industrial revolution of the last hundred years... is a highly repugnant occurrence, something which really ought never to have taken place.... <But> it is precisely this industrial revolution which as raised the productive power of human labor to such a high level that--for the first time in the history of mankind--the possibility exists, given a rational division of labor among all, of producing not only enough for the plentiful consumption of all members of society and for an abundant reserve fund, but also for leaving each individual sufficient leisure so that what is really worth preserving in historically inherited culture--science, art, forms of intercourse--may not only be preserved but converted frond a monopoly of the ruling class into the common property of the whole society, and may be further developed. And here is the decisive point: as soon as the productive power of human labor has risen to this height, every excuse disappears for the existence of a ruling class. After all, the ultimate basis on which class differences were defended was always: there must be a class which need not plague itself with the production of its daily subsistence, in order that it may have time to look after the intellectual work of society. This talk, which up to now had its" great historical justification, has been cut off at the root once and for all by the industrial revolution of the last hundred years. The existence of a ruling class is becoming daily more and more a hindrance to the development of industrial productive power, and equally so to that of science, art and especially of forms of cultural intercourse. There never were greater boors than our modern bourgeois.

(Almost midway into Part One "How Proudhon Solves the Housing Question ")


The abolition of the antithesis between town and country is no more and no less utopian than the abolition of the antithesis between capitalists and wage-workers. From day to day it is becoming more and more a practical demand of both industrial and agricultural production. No one has demanded this more energetically than Liebig <an eminent chemist, who was known, among other things, for his work in organic chemistry and agricultural chemistry> in his writings on the chemistry of agriculture, in which his first demand has always been that man shall give back to the land what he receives from it, and in which he proves that only the existence of the towns, and in particular the big towns, prevents this. When one observes how here in London alone a greater quantity of manure than is produced by the whole kingdom of Saxony is poured away every day into the sea with the expenditure of enormous sums, and what colossal structures are necessary, in order to prevent this manure from poisoning the whole of London, then the utopia of abolishing the distinction between town and country is given a remarkably practical basis.... On the other hand, it is completely utopian to want, like Proudhon, to upheave present-day bourgeois society while maintaining the peasant as such. Only as uniform a distribution as possible of the population over the whole country, only an intimate connection between industrial and agricultural production together with the extension of the means of communication made necessary thereby--granted the abolition of the capitalist mode of production--will be able to deliver the rural population from the isolation and stupor in which it has vegetated almost unchanged for thousands of years. To be utopian does not mean to maintain that the emancipation of humanity from the chains which its historic past has forged will be complete only when the antithesis between town and country has been abolished; the utopia begins only when one ventures, "from existing conditions", to prescribe the form in which this or any other antithesis of present- day society is to be resolved.

(From Section III of Part III "Supplement on Proudhon and the Housing Question")

Engels, Herr Eugen Duhring's Revolution In Science (Anti-Duhring), September 1876 - June 1878

The basic form of all production hitherto is the division of labor, on the one hand within society as a whole, and on the other within each separate productive establishment....

The first great division of labor in society is the separation of town and country.

(Midway in Chapter III "Production" of Part III "Socialism")

< Against the old division of labor>

The Utopians were already perfectly clear in their minds as to the effects of the division of labor, the stunting on the one hand of the laborer, and on the other of the labor function, which is restricted to the lifelong, uniform, mechanical repetition of one and the same operation. The abolition of the antithesis between town and country was demanded by Fourier, as by Owen, as the first prerequisite for the abolition of the old division of labor altogether. Both of them thought that the population should be scattered through the country in groups of sixteen hundred to three thousand persons; each group was to occupy a gigantic palace, with a household run on communal lines, in the center of their area of land. It is true that Fourier occasionally refers to towns, but these were to consist in turn of only four or five such palaces situated near each other. Both writers would have each member of society occupied in agriculture as well as in industry; with Fourier, industry covers chiefly handicrafts and manufacture, while Owen assigns the main role to modern industry and already demands the introduction of steam-power and machinery in domestic work. But within agriculture as well as industry both of them also demand the greatest possible variety of occupation for each individual, and in accordance with this, the training of the youth for the utmost possible all-round technical functions. They both consider that man should gain universal development through universal practical activity and that labor should recover the attractiveness of which the division of labor has despoiled it, in the first place through this variation of occupation, and through the correspondingly short duration of the "sitting"--to use Fourier's expression--devoted to each particular kind of work. Both Fourier and Owen are far in advance of the mode of thought of the exploiting classes inherited by Herr Duhring, according to which the antithesis between town and country is inevitable in the nature of things; the narrow view that a number of "entities" must in any event be condemned to the production of one single article, the view that desires to perpetuate the "economic species" of men distinguished by their way of life--people who take pleasure in the performance of precisely this and no other thing, who have therefore sunk so low that they rejoice in their own subjection and one-sidedness. In comparison with the basic conceptions even of the "idiot" Fourier's most recklessly bold fantasies; in comparison even with the paltriest ideas of the "crude, feeble, and paltry" Owen-- Herr Duhring, himself still completely dominated by the division of labor, is no more than an impertinent dwarf. <The abusive terms for Fourier and Owen are, quoted ironically by Engels from Duhring's opinons.>

<The contradiction between town and country>

...Though water-power was necessarily confined to the countryside, steam-power is by no means necessarily confined to the towns. It is the capitalist mode of its utilization which concentrates it mainly in the towns and changes factory villages into factory towns. But in so doing, it at the same time undermines the conditions of its own exploitation. The first necessity for the steam engine, and a main requirement of almost all branches of production, is relatively pure water. The factory town, however, transforms all water into stinking ditch water. However much therefore concentration in the towns is a basic condition of capitalist production, each individual industrial capitalist is constantly striving to get away from the large towns necessarily created by it, and to move towards exploitation in the countryside.... modern capitalist industry is constantly bringing new large towns into being by constantly fleeing from the towns into the country....

Once more, only the abolition of the capitalist character of modem industry can bring us out of this new vicious circle, can resolve this contradiction in modern industry, which is constantly reproducing itself. Only a society which makes it possible for its productive forces to dovetail harmoniously into each other on the basis of one single vast plan can allow industry to be distributed over the whole country in the way best adapted to its own development, and to the maintenance and development of the other elements of production.

< Abolishing this contradiction is not merely possible, but is necessary>

Accordingly, abolition of the antithesis between town and country is not merely possible. lt has become a direct necessity of industrial production itself, just as it has become a necessity of agricultural production and, besides, of public health. The present poisoning of the air, water and land can be put an end to only by the fusion of town and country; and only such fusion will change the situation of the masses now languishing in the towns, and enable their excrement to be used for the production of plants instead of for the production of disease.

Capitalist industry has already made itself relatively independent of the local limitations arising from the location of sources of raw materials. The textile industry, in the main, works up imported raw materials. Spanish iron ore is worked up in England and Germany and Spanish and South American copper ores are used in England.... Society liberated from the barriers of capitalist production can go much further still. By generating a race of producers with an all-round training who understand the scientific basis of industrial production as a whole, and each of whom has had practical experience in a whole series of branches of production from start to finish, this society will bring into being a new productive force which will abundantly compensate for the labor required to transport raw materials and fuel from great distances.

The abolition of the separation,of town and country is therefore not utopian, also, in so far as it is conditioned on the most equal distribution possible Of modern industry over the whole country. It is true that in the huge towns civilization has bequeathed us a heritage which it will take much time and trouble to get rid of. But it must and will be got rid of, however protracted a process it may be. Whatever destiny may be in store for the German Empire of the Prussian nation, Bismarck can go to his grave proudly aware that the desire of his heart is sure to be fulfilled: the great towns will perish. < Engels is referring ironically to the dislike for cities as centers of the revolutionary movement of Bismarck, prime minister of Prussia (1862-71) and then the first chancellor of the German empire (1871-1890). >

(From Section III "Production" of Part III "Socialism")

Elimination of the separation between mental and manual labor

Engels, Herr Eugen Duhring's Revolution In Science (Anti-Duhrlng), September 1876 - June 1878

In making itself the master of all the means of production to use them in accordance with a social plan, society puts an end to the former subjection of men to their own means of production. It goes without saying that society cannot free itself unless every individual is freed. The old mode of production must therefore be revolutionized from top to bottom, and in particular the former division of labor must disappear. Its place must be taken by an organization of production in which, on the one hand, no individual can throw on the shoulders of others his share in productive labor, this natural condition of human existence; and in which, on the other hand, productive labor, instead of being a means of subjugating men, will become a means of their emancipation, by offering each individual the opportunity to develop all his faculties, physical and mental, in all directions, and exercise them to the full--in which, therefore, productive labor will become a pleasure instead of being a burden.

<The reduction of the work day>

Today this is no longer a fantasy, no longer a pious wish. With the present development of the productive forces, the increase in production that will follow from the very fact of the socialization of the productive forces, coupled with the abolition of the barriers and disturbances, and of the waste of products and means of production, resulting from the capitalist mode of production, will suffice, with everybody doing his share of work, to reduce the time required for labor to a point which, measured by our present conceptions, will be small indeed.

<Abolition of the old division of labor is required by modern industry>


Nor is the abolition of the old division of labor a demand which could only be carried through to the detriment of the productivity of labor. On the contrary. Thanks to modern industry it has become a condition of production itself. "The employment of machinery does away with the necessity of crystallizing this distribution after the manner of Manufacture, by the constant annexation of a particular man to a particular function. Since the motion of the whole system does not proceed from the workman, but from the machinery, a change of persons can take place at any time without an interruption of the work.... Lastly, the quickness with which machine-work is learnt by young people does away with the necessity of bringing up for exclusive employment by machinery, a special class of operatives." <*> But while the capitalist mode of employment of machinery necessarily perpetuates the old division of labor with its fossilized specialization, although it has become superfluous from a technical standpoint, the machinery itself rebels against this anachronism. The technical basis of modern industry is revolutionary. "By means of machinery, chemical processes and other methods; it is continually causing changes not only in the technical basis of production, but also in the functions of the laborer, and in the social combinations of the labor process. At the same time, it thereby also revolutionizes the division of labor within the society, and incessantly launches masses of capital and of workpeople from one branch of production to another. modern industry, by its very nature, therefore necessitates variation of labor, fluency of function, universal mobility of the laborer.... We have seen how this absolute contradiction...vents its the incessant human sacrifices from among the working class, in the most reckless squandering of labor-power, and in the devastation caused by social anarchy. This is the negative side. But, if, on the one hand, variation of work at present imposes itself after the manner of an overpowering natural law, and with the blindly destructive action of a natural law that meets with resistance at all points, modern industry, on the other hand through its catastrophes imposes the necessity of recognizing, as a fundamental law of production, variation of work, consequently fitness of the laborer for varied work, consequently the greatest possible development of his varied aptitudes. It becomes a question of life and death for society to adapt the mode of production to the normal functioning of this law. Modern industry, indeed, compels society, under penalty of death, to replace the detail-worker of today, crippled by lifelong repetition of one and the same trivial operation, and thus reduced to the mere fragment of a man, by the fully developed individual, fit for a variety of labors, ready to face any change of production, and to whom the different social functions he performs, are but so many modes of giving free scope to his own natural and acquired powers." <**>

(From Section III "Production" of Part III "Socialism")

* < "Capital", Vol. I, from Section 4 "The Factory" of Chapter XV of Part IV, p. 421 (International Publishers) or p. 460 (Kerr edition) >

** <Ibid., from Section 9 "The Factory Acts..." of Chapter XV of Part IV, p. 487-8 (Int. Pub.) or pp. 533-4 (Kerr)>

Communist distribution and wages

Marx, Critique of the Gotha Program, April or May 1875

In a higher phase of communist society, after the enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labor, and with it also the antithesis between mental and physical labor, has vanished; after labor has become not only a means of life but itself life's prime want; after the productive forces have also increased with the all-round development of the individual, and all the springs of co-operative wealth flow more abundantly--only then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be crossed in its entirety and society inscribe on its banners: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!

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