Notes On Manifesto-ism

On technology, its always already there in *the* Manifesto:

Seems to me that its worth remembering some interesting correspondences:

The Manifesto - (1847 version, refuse all imitations) - is proliferating
on this auspicious anniversary. May there be 100, 1000 10,000
manifestos, but let us remember the point is not to manifest, but to
change the world.

So, one hundred and fifty years ago in France Marx published 'The
Poverty of Philosophy', and although this work has always been eclipsed
by another text written that same year, it is worth consulting and is as
much deserving of reprint as the Manifesto (which has been released
again by at least six different publishers - both texts can be readily
accessed via the world wide web).

[I note with some amusement another correspondence: that the typewriter
was invented in the same year as that other great piece of 19th century
technology 'Das Kapital' - 1867. (Gayatri Spivak made a similar point
about the ticker tape machine)].

Marx and Engels did write in the COM.MANIFEST about the bourgeoisie
rapidly expanding the means of communication...

'The bourgeoisie, by the rapid improvement of all the instruments of
production, by the *immensely facilitated means of communications*,
draws all, even the most barbarian nations into civilization. The cheap
prices of its commodities are the heavy artillery with which it batters
down all Chinese walls, with which it forces the barbarians' intensely
obstinate hatred of foreigners to capitulate. It compels all nations, on
pain of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of production; it
compels them to introduce what it calls civilization into their midst,
i.e., to become bourgeois themselves. In a word, it creates a world
after its own image' (Marx and Engels 1847/1952: 47)

Interestingly, the 'immensely facilitated' means of communications of
the English translation might also be rendered with a stronger
affirmation when translated as 'infinite release' - the 'unendlich
erleichterten' (Marx and Engels 1847/1970: 47) suggests also the release
of a never-ending opening of communications that already anticipates the
continually developing communications environment characteristic of the
information order today.


John Hutnyk

REfs (as in referee??):
Marx. Karl and Engels, Fred 1847/1952 Manifesto of the Communist Party,
Progress Press, Moscow.

Marx, Karl and Engels, Frederick 1847/1970 Manifest der Kommunistischen
Partei, Dietz Verlag Berlin.

Marx, Karl 1847 The Poverty of Philosophy

Spivak 1997 The Spivak Reader, Routledge.


Dr John Hutnyk

European Science Foundation Research Fellow
University of Heidelberg
Mail: Schiffgasse 4
69117 Heidelberg


Digital Communication, Digital Composition


John Hutnyk's "Notes on Manifesto-ism" draws parallels between Marx and Engels' Communist Manifesto and contemporary information environments like the Internet.


John Hutnyk




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September 13, 1997




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