I picked this up as part of my desire to understand more about the history of socialism. I fully expected to find everything written repugnant, but found this was not the case. The core ideology, however misguided, is simply the outcry of the less fortunate, oppressed class (proletariat) against the ruling class (bourgeoisie). While the terms have changed, the opposition between the haves and have nots continues today.
I find of utmost interest that the earliest movements of socialism were based on a fully nationalistic mindset whereas today’s socialist are very anti-nationalism.
Basic outline of communistic measures:
- Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
- A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
- Abolition of all right of inheritance.
- Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
- Centralization of credit in the hands of the State, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly.
- Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the State.
- Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the State, the bringing into cultivation of wastelands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
- Equal liability of all to labour. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
- Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinctions between town and country, by a more equable distribution of population over the country.
- Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children’s factory labour in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc., etc. (the etcs are actually there and quoted as such – Matthew)
Here are a few quotes from the work:
- the prevailing mode of economic production and exchange… form the basis… of political and intellectual history
- By bourgeoisie is meant the class of modern capitalists, owners and means of social production and employers of wage labor.
- By proletariat, the class of modern wage-labourers who, having no means of production of their own, are reduced to selling their labour-power in order to live.
- The bourgeoisie… has set up that single, unconscionable freedom – Free Trade.
- The theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.
- The ruling ideas of each age have ever been the ideas of its ruling class.
- Communism abolishes eternal truths, it abolishes all religion, and all morality.