Remember the future? The Communist Manifesto as historical and cultural form

Abstract

With the disappearance of the horizon of proletarian revolution, and the retreat to the spirit world of the famous 'spectre' of communism, the text has undergone a profound transformation. In short, the Manifesto appears to have been transformed from an eschatological tour de force, in which the end of capitalism was assured ('What the bourgeoisie...produces, above all, is its own gravediggers'), into what Marshall Berman has notoriously described as a 'lyrical celebration of bourgeois works': a celebration, more specifically, of the revolutionary temporality of capitalism; a capitalism which - without a fundamental countervailing force - appears now as open-ended. From the standpoint of the philosophy of history, communism as the eschatological absolute has given way to the 'bad infinity' of capitalism - 'the affirmation as negation of the finite' - capitalism without end, amen. Or at least, so it would seem. But does the rest of the Manifesto belong unambiguously to a shape of life grown old? Or is there another sense in which it is still a 'living' text, after the fall of historical communism? Is there, perhaps, new life in it today? What lives in the Communist Manifesto? In particular - and this is the question I shall address here - what is the temporal character of its address to us, citizen-subjects of Western capitalist democracies? How does it inscribe us into historical time, today?

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,088

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

  • Only published works are available at libraries.

Similar books and articles

Text vs.context: Irony and 'the communist manifesto'.William J. Gavin - 1989 - Studies in East European Thought 37 (4):275-285.
Addressing empire.Roger Deacon - 2005 - Theoria 44 (108):102-117.
Communist manifesto.Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels - 2002 [1848] - Penguin Classics.
The Communist Manifesto.Karl Marx - unknown - Yale University Press.
Marx: later political writings.Karl Marx - 1996 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Terrell Carver.
Karl Marx.Jonathan Wolff - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Analytics

Added to PP
2010-07-24

Downloads
44 (#327,510)

6 months
6 (#252,172)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Peter Osborne
Kingston University

References found in this work

Draft of a Communist Confession of Faith.Friedrich Engels - 2017 - In Jeffrey C. Isaac (ed.), The Communist Manifesto. Yale University Press. pp. 47-51.

Add more references