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82 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice compact edition of an important historical document
Very smart of Bookmarks Publications to print a compact pamphlet-edition of the Communist Manifesto, allowing everyone to get hold of a handy copy for a very small fee. While the foreword is written by one of the Socialist Worker staff, hence it's somewhat (ok that's an understatement) biased, at least it dispenses with the usual hundereds of pages of commentary that...
Published on 12 Jun 2004 by E Parry

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1.0 out of 5 stars Castles in the sky
Marx and Engels take the position that globalisation is bad and that the spread of trade and free exchange of ideas is bad as it means people aren't satisfied with the old way of doing things after they are exposed to new ways. They don't like technology, adopting the luddite position that it makes everything worse. They believe technology makes workers redundant and take...
Published 20 months ago by Sam Quixote


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82 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice compact edition of an important historical document, 12 Jun 2004
By 
E Parry (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Very smart of Bookmarks Publications to print a compact pamphlet-edition of the Communist Manifesto, allowing everyone to get hold of a handy copy for a very small fee. While the foreword is written by one of the Socialist Worker staff, hence it's somewhat (ok that's an understatement) biased, at least it dispenses with the usual hundereds of pages of commentary that frequently occupy publications of this 30-page document. Previously myself and others felt it was necessary to plough through these lengthy (and often misleading) introductions before reading the thing itself, and as a result people often give up before making it that far. It turns out you don't really need to do that as the thing largely speaks for itself; the style is usually quite clear and accessible and the parts that don't seem to make sense are usually the parts that refer to persons or parties of the time (i.e that are out of date).
As for the thing itself, I think I'll avoid saying anything too inflammatory in this review. I think that whether you agree with Marx or not, everyone should read this document (no excuse now it only costs a quid). A lot of people make vast sweeping statements about how Marx was completely wrong when they (and I don't mean everyone) in fact haven't even read the Communist Manifesto. If you can't even be bothered to read 30 pages of relatively easy reading then how can you talk about such things? In any case, Marx is in fact very misunderstood, which is only inevitable given how disagreeable his ideas (the ones he *did* have not the ones people wrongly associate with him) are to some people. You need to read this to understand what Marx was actually for, and what he in fact wasn't. To put it more blunty: no system that has in history been labelled 'Communist' can actually be said to have any real relation to what Marx proposed, but rather were hiding behind the label to cover up their wrongdoings.
That said, you don't get a very in-depth idea of what Marx stood for, it's more of an introduction to Marxism. A Socialist friend of mine has recommended going on to read The German Ideology then Capital, also by Marx, in order to find out more.
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60 of 66 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book to inspire deep thought, 3 Aug 1999
By A Customer
Whilst the book is not written for the enjoyment of the reader it is written with purpose. This purpose was to formulate and summarise the ideas and ideals of the so called communist movement at the time. However, I believe if one reads the book they will have to concede that Marxs ideas of communism do not mirror those which were brought about by the revolutions of the Twentieth century. To blame Marx for these failed implications of an idealsitic system is to blame Nietzche for the attrocities of the Nazis. Both write with a positive intent and a posiitve message for mankind and neither deserve criticism for this. However, due to their unswerving belief in themselves and their often harsh / revolutionary ideas they were bound to attract it.
This book is as pertinent today as it was when it was written. The huge changes in the political scene, the growth of capitalistic society, the failed attempts at the implication of so called communism and the oversights the authors freely admitted do not retract from the message running through the text.
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic, 21 Mar 2006
By 
Henry Ireton (Cambridge) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
If you have not read this, read it now.
I do not agree with Marx but this book is indispensible to understanding the history of the 20th Century, you cannot reach into the mindset of many of the leading actors without tackling this book. There is a reason so many intelligent men and women saw within this book such a lot of truth and tried (in my view falsely) to apply it to their societies- this is a book which deserves to be read by any individual who thinks that they think. If you have read it and dismissed it or not read it you are not yet someone who has grappled with what the world is or might be. The thesis was when it was published provocative- it borrowed from Hegel, Rousseau and even for one of its most significant phrases Edmund Burke and retains features of Hegelian historical progression and Rousseauian account of the formation of civilised man- put together though it is a work of genius and deserves to be read now.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You can't say that this isn't useful?, 1 Nov 2011
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Interesting to say the least, it really does give a different interpretation of today's society. If you are a balanced person, you can't discredit it, because it's just another interpretation and another system for the way we run our lives.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent, simply written introduction to Marxist ideas, 30 Oct 2001
By A Customer
This, being one of Marx's earliest works, outlines all his major views in a clear and concise way. Ideal for anyone who is interested in the basics of Marxism and finds the prospect of reading all three Volumes of Das Kapital daunting (as nearly everyone would).
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1.0 out of 5 stars Castles in the sky, 13 April 2013
By 
Sam Quixote - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
Marx and Engels take the position that globalisation is bad and that the spread of trade and free exchange of ideas is bad as it means people aren't satisfied with the old way of doing things after they are exposed to new ways. They don't like technology, adopting the luddite position that it makes everything worse. They believe technology makes workers redundant and take less joy in their work. Before I go any further, does anyone agree with this nonsense? It's like they want to freeze time indefinitely, they're so anti-progress! So far, so dumb.

Their anti-machine spiel continues as they fume that the bourgeois are in control of the machines and therefore the direction the world is taking. They want the working class to control this instead. So it's just one group of society jealous of what another group of society have. Nothing revolutionary here.

I had to include this quote from the manifesto as I found it ironic - "He (the working man) becomes an appendage of the machine, and it is only the most simple, most monotonous, and most easily acquired knack, that is required of him." Ironic as they claim this is the state of the working man under bourgeois rule but this is ultimately what would happen to countless millions under communist rule in the 20th century.

The manifesto contains largely sweeping statements that aren't backed up with examples or facts, and bizarre statements about the communist utopia that go along the lines of "if everyone were communist then there would be no competition and nobody would be better and so there would be no war". There's a lot of this "anti-competition" sentiment in the manifesto as apparently we should all be equal and competition means some would be better than others. And all the even weirder stuff about all private property is abolished - those so-called reasons behind that argument make no sense at all.

I think besides the idealistic posturing, behind which there are no practicalities for how to bring about their "utopia". I mean who is to oversee that everyone does a certain job or where all products of production are directed, etc. etc.? There is very little of substance here. But then it's aimed at the 19th century working classes who, especially at this time, were very poorly educated, if at all, and so they wouldn't have the critical thinking to dissect the propaganda and lack of pragmatism that the manifesto contains, they would simply swallow the message of "bourgeois bad, working class good, we will make the working class have better living standards". Like a politician, all style, no substance.

And ultimately the manifesto was used as a tool for a whole new group of people to enslave the same people while taking the wealth for themselves. Look at the legacy that the 20th century left us - two failed ideologies, fascism and communism. And yet when you look at the two, in practice they weren't that different. Communist Russia, Vietnam, Cuba, North Korea, all became totalitarian regimes under the guise that they were doing it all for the working man. That may not have been Marx and Engels' plan but that was certainly what happened and their convincing (to others that is, I certainly wasn't convinced by any of the empty arguments) arguments led millions of people to their deaths and inadvertently changed the world for the worse, hence my view that "The Communist Manifesto" is demonstrably not a great idea. Their utopia was like all utopias: a mirage and nothing more.

As for the rest of the manifesto, it talks a lot about different kinds of communists which was dull, it repeats the word "bourgeois" far too often (but then this is a propaganda leaflet so they had to hammer home the message that property and individual freedoms are bad), though there are moments of strangely poetic writing such as "the robe of speculative cobwebs, embroidered with flowers of rhetoric, steeped in the dew of sickly sentiment, this transcendental robe..." (p.42).

I found it quite a chore to read but necessary as it's a document that has had an inordinate amount of impact on our world and it's communist ideas continue to brainwash the people of North Korea and Cuba (both third world countries led by dictators). I'm glad I read it too because I learned that sometimes ideas that are meant to be beneficial to mankind can be subverted by others to exploit people and change the stated purpose to something completely different, like Nietzsches' "Superman" theory with Hitler's Nazi party.

It's an interesting historical document, competently written, but don't expect revelations in the text or well thought out ideas. What you'll find inside are idealism, strange rhetoric, character assassination, and a lack of coherent thinking - in short, propaganda, nothing more.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A spectre is haunting Europe...apparently!, 9 Jan 2002
By A Customer
Hmmm...where does one start? At the beginning, I suppose, just as Marx tried to when he wrote The Communist Manifesto in the mid-c19, just before the 1848 Revolutions which shook Europe.
Needless to say, Marx (and Engels, his life-long collaborator), were socialists, but had their own distinct 'brand' of the ideology, preferring a revolutionary path to a socialist society rather than the earlier evolutionary socialist thinkers like Owen and Fourier, whom Marx referred to as 'Utopians', working on the basis that the liberal/bourgeois leaders of society would not allow the working-classes to destroy them with their own tools, i.e via parliamentary and democratic routes. Marx believed a revolution was needed to overthrow the bourgeoisie, just as the bourgeoisie had overthrown the previous 'old order', the aristocracy and monarchies, pushed out in England in the c17 and France in the c18, which in turn had overcome the slavery-based mode of production before this. Which is where the beginning came in...
Socialists essentially believe that all humans are necessarily inherently good, but that society corrupted them, to become the greedy blighters that we are today. Marx, then, although believing that in prehistory we were all originally communistic in a primitive sense, says that scarcety and hunger provoked some humans to attack and subjugate others, thus leading to slavery, which in turn was succeeded by serfdom, and so on. This is the interesting bit. Marx, subscribing to the Hegelian ideal of the 'dialectic', though putting it in a historically materialistic context, says that we will not stop having revolutions until we have achieved the fifth historical stage (of communism), as there will be no 'material' conflict left in society. So, in slavery, it was Slave-owner vs. Slave; under serfdom, it was Land-owner vs. Serf, and under capitalism, it is Bourgeoisie vs. Proletariat (those that own the 'means of production', i.e the factories, against those that have to sell their labour to live, i.e wage-slaves). As under communism the mode of production will be held in common, nobody can claim to be economically opressed. And in a nutshell, there you have it. There is more, a lot more, in this small book, and it's surprising how this piece of literature, little more than a leaflet, has played such a huge role in world history since its publication in 1847/8, when Marx was commissioned by the Communist Pary in London to create a manifesto for their group.
I'm no Marxist, nor a socialist in general, but as someone who takes a great interest in history, philosophy and politics (and economics), this book is essential reading, and I've read The Communist Manifesto twice, which leads me on to my next point...
I have read both the Penguin and the Oxford versions, and although they are the same price and include most of the prefaces to the different editions of the book in the different European countries where it was published in the c19, the introductions are totally different, though equally valuble to students of Philosophy/History/Politics, although I would personally give Penguin the edge. In the Oxford edition, it's by David McLellan, who has done other bits and bobs on other works by Marx, and tends to document Marx and his life and times, as well as the importance of the text. On the other hand, and if you are a Politics student, the introduction by A.J.P Taylor in the Penguin edition examines the text in much more depth and is much more critical that the passive McLellan. Also, Taylor was a celebrated historian, and although I'm sure Mr McLellan is just as respectable, Taylor would look better as a quote on those essays!
So, to sum up: it's not a bad read, even if you don't agree with it, and it's extremely thought-provoking, especially when read in its own context, although I would possibly consider giving the Penguin edition an extra star for its more analytical approach in the introduction. Not bad.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fansastic, 22 Mar 2014
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Marx is a true philosopher and genius, he outlines the principles of communism very clearly in the Manifesto. It is a constant debate between the bourgeois way and the communist way, although it is obviously leaned completely towards communism.

Marx was a talented writer and this is reflected in the manifesto, not a word is wasted and it is written in such beautiful wording. It is interesting to read his principles of communism and then to study how overs have interpreted them and created there own versions of communism, e.g Maoism, Starlinism. Each time the communist ideas stray further from the original principles outlined in the manifesto so excellently by Marx. There were hundreds of Manifestos written in 1888 it says something about this one seen as it is still been read avidly by many today.

If you have any interests in communism then you must read this, let Marxism live on.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice version and great value, 28 Feb 2014
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Very nice print of this clasic and well bound hardback.
Would recoment this version to anyone, very good value at this price.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Done the job., 17 Dec 2013
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Got this book to help me in my studies. It was great for referencing and to give more context to what I was studying.
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