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By Enzo Traverso

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By no means. Assume a particular state of development in the productive forces of man and you will get a particular form of commerce and consumption. Assume particular stages of development in production, commerce and consumption and you will have a corresponding social constitution, a corresponding organisation of the family, of orders or of classes, in a word, a corresponding civil society. 2 Marx took up and elaborated the ideas of his letter in a fullscale reply to Proudhon published in the summer of 1847.

Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable. a 1 KMSW, p. 227. 2 KMSW, p. 229. 3 KMSW, p. 231. 1848-1850 47 In the second section Marx and Engels raised the question of the relationship of the communists to the proletarians as a whole. The communists were not opposed to other working-class parties; their interests were those of the proletariat as a whole. Their distinction from other working-class groups was twofold: they were international, and they understood the significance of the proletarian movement.

Lassalle, a fellow socialist, started a collection among friends in the Rhineland to finance his trip and Marx left in August. He was followed in September by his wife and their three children. C. CoMMENTARY The Communist Manifesto has four sections. The first section gives a history of society as class society since the Middle Ages and 1848-1850 45 ends with a prophecy of the victory of the proletariat over the present ruling class, the bourgeoisie. The second section describes the position of communists inside the proletarian class, rejects bourgeois objections to communism and then characterises the communist revolution, the measures to be taken by the victorious proletariat and the nature of' the future communist society.

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