The Communist Manifesto is the most often read piece of communist literature. For many of us, itís the first book or text that we read that brings the ideals of socialism and communism to our lives. The enclosed study guide for the Communist Manifesto will help you exam and discuss this important document. You will find questions, a set of definitions and charts for different sections to help you organize your thoughts and ideas. The questions within the study guide are meant to guide you, as the reader, to the important political, theoretical and philosophical aims of the Communist Manifesto.
As you begin to read the Manifesto, we must remember the historical background and importance of the Manifesto. The Communist Manifesto lays out the theory and practice of placing the working class in the center of the class struggle. Marx and Engels were commissioned by the Communist League at its convention in 1847 to draft a programme for the League together. This programme, titled The Communist Manifesto, was first published on February 21st, 1848.
The Manifesto is not meant to be in-depth. It is meant to have a broad view and cover a lot of ideas and concepts to start your thinking. It is not the end all, be all of communist thought (i.e. statements on women and religion). The Manifesto is, instead, a living document. Some of the ideas you may question and others you will find very relevant to your struggles today.
During your study of the Manifesto, you will have to pick a facilitator or a few facilitators to help lead the discussions during the meetings. For the facilitator, we have enclosed a guide to help you lead the discussion. Ideally, you would leave time in your regular club meetings for the discussions but you can also schedule times outside of club meetings to discuss the book.
We suggest that you use the edition of the Manifesto that is published by International Publishers. To order copies, you can go to IPís website or call 212-366-9816. The IP price of the book is $2.50.
At the bottom of the study guide you will find a feedback form for your club to fill out after you have gone through the study guide. Your feedback and suggestions are important to us and will help us ensure that our study guides are useful for your club. Please mail your suggestions to the national office at: YCL, 235 West 23rd street, New York, NY 10011
Have fun reading,
Education and Literature Committee, Young Communist League USA