The Oxford Paragraphs:
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
The Communist Manifesto

Books Even at school, because it was that kind of school, I remember agreeing with friends during free period discussions that Communism sounded like a good idea in theory but unworkable in practice. Having finally read Engel and Marx’s work I’ve a better idea of the why. Removing social distinctions, handing power from the bourgeois to the proletarians only has the effect of shifting the class structure. There always has to be rulers, and damagingly for the philosophy, those rulers have to have a totalitarian element in order to keep the workers in line, to stop them from taking advantage of potential capitalist opportunities, which inevitably leads to rebellion, which inevitably leads to more control. The half dozen subsequent prefaces to later editions included here, filled with qualifications, corrections and clarifications to the main text also demonstrate that this was a manifesto and political philosophy which was built on shifting sands.

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