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Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Engels-Emigration to USA and Europes Surplus Proletariat


Written in December 1889-February 1890 (translated into English in March 1890)

First published, in Russian, in Sotsialdemokrat, Nos. 1 and 2, February and August 1890, in Die Neue Zeit, No. 5, May 1890 and, in Engels' English translation, in the Time, April and May 1890

Reproduced from the Time, checked with Die Neue Zeit

“The first Russian edition of the Manifesto of the Communist Party, in Bakunin's translation, was published in the early sixties†c by the printing office of the Kolokol.†87 At that time the significance to the West of the Russian translation of this work was at most that of a literary curiosity. Such a view would no longer be possible today. What a limited field the proletarian movement still occupied at that time (January 1848†d) is best shown by the last chapter of the Manifesto: “Position of the Communists in Relation to the Various Opposition Parties.”†e The most notable omissions here are Russia and the United States. It was the time when Russia constituted the last great reserve of European reaction and when emigration to the United States absorbed the surplus forces of the European proletariat. Both countries supplied Europe with raw materials and at the same time provided markets for the sale of its manufactured goods. Thus both served, each in its own way, as pillars of the European social order.

“How all that has changed today! It is that self-same European emigration which has made possible the immense development of North American agriculture which, through its competition, is shaking the very foundations of European landed property — large and small. It has also enabled the United States to make a start on exploiting its tremendous industrial resources, and with such energy and on such a scale that this is bound in a short while to put an end to the industrial monopoly of Western Europe. And these two circumstances react in revolutionary manner also on America itself. The small and medium landed property of the self-employed farmers, the foundation of America's entire political system, is increasingly succumbing to competition from giant farms, whilst simultaneously in the industrial regions a numerically strong proletariat is taking shape for the first time alongside a fabulous concentration of capitals.

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