The Communist Manifesto,is the most influential political call-to-arms ever written. In the century and a half since its publication the world has been shaken repeatedly by those who sought to make its declamations a reality.
But the focus of this modern edition is not primarily the vivid history of Marx and Engels’ most important work. Rather, with a characteristically elegant and acute introduction by the distinguished historian Eric Hobsbawm, it asserts the pertinence of the Manifesto today.
Hobsbawm writes that ‘the world described by Marx and Engels in 1848 in passages of dark, laconic eloquence, is recognizably the world we live in 150 years later.’ He identifies the insights which underpin the Manifesto’s startling contemporary relevance: the recognition of capitalism as a world system capable of marshalling production on a global scale; its devastating impact on all aspects of human existence, work, the family and the distribution of wealth; and the understanding that, far from being a stable, immutable system, it is, on the contrary, susceptible to enormous convulsions and crisis, and contains the seeds of its own destruction.
For anyone skeptical of the triumphalism of the financial markets in recent years, who chooses to focus instead on the growing global divergence of rich and poor, the ravaging of the environment and the atomization of society, the Manifesto will appear as a work of extraordinary prescience and power.