Demands of the Communist Party in Germany
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The reading below are reading that must be used as sources to write this commentary:
source 1= Sam Bowles, Richard Edwards, and Frank Roosevelt, Understanding Capitalism—Competition, Command, and Change, Oxford University Press.
source2= Ha-Joon Chang, Economics: The User’s Guide, Pelican Books.
source 3= Robert Heilbroner, The Worldly Philosophers (Links to an external site.), seventh edition, Simon and Schuster, 1999.
source4= The document attached.
Demands of the Communist Party in Germany
“Workers of all countries, unite!”
1. The whole of Germany shall be declared a united, indivisible republic.
2. Every German who is 21 years old shall be a voter and be eligible for election, assuming he has not been sentenced for a criminal offence.
3. Representatives of the people shall be paid so that workers may also sit in the parliament of the German people.
4. Universal arming of the people. In future armies shall at the same time be workers’ armies so that the armed forces will not only consume, as in the past, but produce even more than it costs to maintain them.
In addition, these shall be a means of organising work
5. Maintenance of justice shall be free of charge.
6. All feudal burdens, all fees, labour services, tithes etc. which have previously oppressed the peasantry shall be abolished without any compensation.
7. All baronial and other feudal estates, all mines, pits etc. shall be converted into state property. On these estates agriculture shall be practised on a large scale and with the most modern scientific tools for the benefit of all.
8. The mortgages on peasant farms shall be declared state property. The interest for these mortgages shall be paid by the peasants to the state.
9. In the areas where leasing has developed the ground rent or lease payment shall be paid to the state as a tax.
All these measures specified under 6, 7, 8 and 9 will be composed in order to minimise public and other burdens of the peasants and small leaseholders without reducing the means necessary to cover public expenses and without endangering production itself.
10. All private banks will be replaced by a state bank whose bonds will have the character of legal tender.
This measure will make it possible to regulate credit in the interests of the whole people and will thus undermine the dominance of the large financiers. By gradually replacing gold and silver by paper money, it will cheapen the indispensable instrument of bourgeois trade, the universal means of exchange, and will allow the gold and silver to have an outward effect. Ultimately, this measure is necessary to link the interests of the conservative bourgeoisie to the revolution.
11. All means of transport: railways, canals, steamships, roads, posts etc. shall be taken in hand by the state. They shall be converted into state property and made available free of charge to the class without financial resources.
12. In the remuneration of all civil servants there shall be no difference except that those with a family, i.e. with greater needs, shall also receive a larger salary than the others. 4
13. Complete separation of church and state. The clergy of all denominations shall only be paid by their own voluntary congregations.
14. Limitation of inheritance.
15. Introduction of strongly progressive taxes and abolition of taxes on consumption.
16. Establishment of national workshops. The state shall guarantee the livelihood of all workers and provide for those unable to work.
17. Universal free education of the people.
It is in the interests of the German proletariat, the petty bourgeoisie and the peasantry to work with all their might to implement the above measures. Because it is only through the realisation of these that the millions who have until now been exploited by a small number in Germany and whose exploiters will attempt keep them in subjection will attain their rights and that power owed to them as the creators of all wealth.
Karl Marx Karl Schapper H. Bauer F. Engels
J. Moll W. Wolff
Written: between 21 and 29 March 1848;
First Published: as a leaflet around about 30 March 1848 in Paris and before 10 September 1848 in Cologne;
Source: German text from Marx Engels Werke, Vol. 5, East Berlin 1975, pp. 3-5;
Text originally taken from the Cologne leaflet.
Translated: by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive. (April 2014)
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