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The Communist Manifesto and Our Present: Four Theses on Its Historical Actuality

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Chapter Summary

In the case of the Communist Manifesto, even though it owes its intelligibility to those features of nineteenth-century capitalist development studied and criticised in the text, we find a series of reflections on the fundamental components of the capitalist system that persist throughout the different moments of its development. This is precisely where the 'genetic information' that enables its historical existence is situated - its lasting presence as well as its twilight. A Marxist reading of the Manifesto draws its strength precisely from the disclosure of the text's intimate link with the extraordinary reality of present-day capitalism, its component-parts and the material conditions for its overcoming. The reading that the author proposes in this chapter is meant precisely to demonstrate certain aspects of the actuality of the Manifesto, or, of how the present epoch is, in general terms, unable to overcome the historical era portrayed in the Communist Manifesto.

Keywords: capitalism; Communist Manifesto; Marxist reading; material movement

10.1163/9789004254442_003
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