COMMUNIST PARTY OF IRELAND | PÁIRTÍ CUMANNACH NA hÉIREANN
On February 21st 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published the Manifesto of the Communist Party. It was to be published in English, French, German, Italian, Flemish and Danish. In 1986 an Irish translation – Clár na Comharsheilbhe – was published by the Communist Party of Ireland. The Manifesto was published on the cusp of a European wide revolt against monarchy, a revolt that had its echoes in Ireland, where, ravaged by the Great Hunger, the Young Irelanders sought to overthrow British colonial rule.
The anniversary of its publication is now celebrated worldwide on February 21st – Red Books Day – when public readings of passages from the book take place worldwide. The aim of Red Books Day is to encourage people to read and study the Manifesto. Within its pages Marx and Engels declared that “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles” and explained how modern capitalist society came about. The Manifesto shows how capitalism created the modern world through its need to expand in its quest for increased profits, leading to colonialism, imperialism, and war, as it created a world economy based on exploitation.
We live in a world where the gap between rich and poor is bigger than ever, where working people produce enough wealth to feed, clothe, house, and educate every person in the world, yet poverty, starvation, homelessness, and exploitation is the reality for much of the world’s population. Here in Ireland, north and south, homelessness, low wages, unemployment, poverty, lack of educational opportunities, and ever-increasing waiting lists for medical treatment is the reality in urban and rural working class communities, despite Ireland being a wealthy country. We have seen the return of absentee landlords as successive governments, in line with EU policy, have gifted ownership of housing to foreign vulture funds.
The Manifesto explains why. It points the finger of blame for poverty, homelessness, war, and exploitation where it belongs, with capitalism. For that reason, it is ignored by the media and education system.
The ruling class fear a united, class-conscious working class, which understands the true nature of capitalist society and seeks a socialist alternative. Its agents in government, in the media, in the far-right, try to divide us by religion, race, gender, and sexual orientation. They turn settled against Traveller, Irish born against immigrant, in an attempt to keep us divided and maintain its grip on power. However, the message of the Manifesto is as revolutionary today as it was in 1848.
“The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.
Workers of all Countries, unite!”
Join us online today as members of the Communist Party of Ireland read passages of The Communist Manifesto from Ireland’s oldest radical bookshop, Connolly Books.