The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
MANIFESTO OF THE COMMUNIST PARTY
Abolition of the family! Even the most radical flare up at this infamous proposal of the
On what foundation is the present family, the bourgeois family, based? On capital, on
private gain. In its completely developed form this family exists only among the
bourgeoisie. But this state of things finds its complement in the practical absence of the
family among the proletarians, and in public prostitution.
The bourgeois family will vanish as a matter of course when its complement vanishes,
and both will vanish with the vanishing of capital.
Do you charge us with wanting to stop the exploitation of children by their parents? To
this crime we plead guilty.
But, you will say, we destroy the most hallowed of relations, when we replace home
education by social.
And your education! Is not that also social, and determined by the social conditions under
which you educate, by the intervention, direct or indirect, of society, by means of
schools, etc.? The Communists have not invented the intervention of society in
education; they do but seek to alter the character of that intervention, and to rescue
education from the influence of the ruling class.
The bourgeois clap-trap about the family and education, about the hallowed co-relation of
parent and child, becomes all the more disgusting, the more, by the action of Modern
Industry, all family ties among the proletarians are torn asunder, and their children
transformed into simple articles of commerce and instruments of labour.
But you Communists would introduce community of women, screams the whole
bourgeoisie in chorus.
The bourgeois sees in his wife a mere instrument of production. He hears that the
instruments of production are to be exploited in common, and, naturally, can come to no
other conclusion than that the lot of being common to all will likewise fall to the women.
He has not even a suspicion that the real point is to do away with the status of women as
mere instruments of production.
For the rest, nothing is more ridiculous than the virtuous indignation of our bourgeois at
the community of women which, they pretend, is to be openly and officially established
by the Communists. The Communists have no need to introduce community of women; it
has existed almost from time immemorial.
Our bourgeois, not content with having the wives and daughters of their proletarians at
their disposal, not to speak of common prostitutes, take the greatest pleasure in seducing
each other's wives.
Bourgeois marriage is in reality a system of wives in common and thus, at the most, what
the Communists might possibly be reproached with, is that they desire to introduce, in
substitution for a hypocritically concealed, an openly legalized community of women.
For the rest, it is self-evident that the abolition of the present system of production must
bring with it the abolition of the community of women springing from that system, i.e., of
prostitution both public and private.