With an introduction by David Aarovitch, The Communist Manifesto was first published in London, by two young men in their late twenties, in 1848. Its impact reverberated across the globe and throughout the next century, and it has come to be recognized as one of the most important political texts ever written. Maintaining that the history of all societies is a history of class struggle, the manifesto proclaims that communism is the only route to equality, and is a call to action aimed at the proletariat. It is an essential read for anyone seeking to understand our modern political landscape.
Karl Marx was born in 1818 in Trier, Prussia. While attending university in Berlin he was influenced by the ideas of the philosopher Hegel and his critics, the Young Hegelians, but Marx eventually rejected both schools of thought. He quickly earned the reputation of a revolutionary and left Germany for Paris, where he met his lifelong friend and collaborator, Friedrich Engels. Together they wrote and published The Communist Manifesto, which was published in 1848, just before the first wave of revolutions in France. Marx returned to Germany but his radical activities led to expulsion, whereupon he moved to London. There, Marx and Engels collaborated on further works on economics and contemporary politics. Marx also wrote his major treatise, Das Kapital, but only the first volume was published in his lifetime. Marx died in poverty on March 14, 1883, and was buried in Highgate Cemetery. Friedrich Engels (1820-95) was the son of a Manchester factory owner. He wrote several groundbreaking essays on contemporary social and political conditions in Britain, including The Condition of the Working Class in England (1845), in which he criticised the working conditions and treatment of the urban poor. After Karl Marx' death, Engels completed and published the last two volumes of Das Kapital (1884, 1894) from his friend's surviving papers.