Issue 273 of SOCIALIST REVIEW Published April 2003 Copyright © Socialist Review
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'A spectre is haunting Europe--the spectre of communism. 'So begins the introduction to the most influential book in political history--The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels' masterpiece is an explanation of historical materialism and the emergence of class division, an analysis of globalisation and a call to arms against capitalism.
First published in 1848, it remains remarkably relevant today. Marx and Engels foresaw, while the system was still in its infancy, how the need for a constantly expanding market would force capitalism to 'nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere', how it would urbanise the world and commodify every human relationship. But the Manifesto was also a celebration of the movement that inspired it, one which argued that another world was possible, a world in which 'the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all'.