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Communism in Europe

Karl Marx And The Origins Of Modern Communism, Non-marxist Communism, Marxism And European Socialism

"A spectre is haunting Europe—the spectre of Communism." The famous opening line to The Communist Manifesto evokes the expectations and fears that have been associated with European communism. Published in 1848 amid a tumultuous period of political unrest across the continent, this polemical pamphlet was an idealistic call to arms directed at an emerging male working class ("the proletariat") that was identified with the growth of industrial capitalism. The authors, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, predicted that this new class would become the agent of a revolutionary transformation of the existing social order and that they would in turn create a new form of society in their own image: communism. This they foresaw would be an egalitarian proletarian civilization that abolished divisions based upon private property and the market and in which oppressive states would disappear to be replaced by "an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all." All other social groups would disappear, in particular the industrial middle class ("the bourgeoisie"), which they identified as the dominant force in the modern world. The struggle to create this new form of equal society, as close to perfect freedom as possible, would be one of the most titanic and final in human history.

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