34 The Life and Work
inequalities in the possessions by individuals. Primitive Communism
persists for centuries in spite of external violent despotisms, but competition by the products of great industry kills it in a comparatively
short time. With regard to the bourgeois revolution, it put an end to all
feudal fetters, "but the economic conditions did not, as Diihring
would imply, forthwith adapt itself to the political circumstances ...
on the contrary, it threw all the mouldy old political rubbish aside and
fashioned new political conditions in which the new economic conditions could find their being and develop. And it has developed splendidly in the suitable political atmosphere, so splendidly, indeed, that
the bourgeoisie is now not very far from the position which the
nobility occupied in 1789. It is becoming more and more not only a
social superfluity, but a social impediment. It takes an ever-diminishing part in the work of production, and becomes more and more, as the
noble did, a mere revenue consuming class. And this revolution—
and the creation of a new class, the proletariat—was brought about not
by any force nonsense, but by purely economic means."
It is with difficulty we refrain from giving further quotations from
this book, so rich in ideas, so profoundly and well reasoned, so full of
interesting matter, presented in a forcible, clear, logical style. Unfortunately our space is limited, and even if we have not given the best
quotations we might have done—partly at any rate because such would
have had to be more lengthy—we hope that what has been given will be
sufficient to whet the reader's appetite to make him read the book itself.
One more quotation we shall give below when dealing with what
Engels had to say about the State.
After Split in First International and Death of Marx
After the split in the International, brought about as a last straw by
the Marx-Bakunin conflict, and the removal of its headquarters to
New York> both Marx and Engels devoted themselves to their theoretical work, at the same time acting as advisers to the working-class and
Socialist movements of Europe and America. Numerous letters,
pamphlets and manifestos written by them since that time amply
testify to the fact that no one who came to them with a sincere desire to
learn, went away empty-handed, or, perhaps, we should say, empty-
headed, after seeing them.
In 1883 Marx died, and the whole of this work fell on Engels'
When Marx died, Engels was already sixty-three years of age, but,
nevertheless, not only did he continue to defend with all his wonted
vigour his and Marx's theories, not only did he continue to apply the
materialistic conception of history to all the important questions of the
day—writing numerous pamphlets and articles—but he continued his
own philosophic and historical studies, acted as general adviser to the
workers and Socialists of all nations, and last, and what he considered
to be most important of all, and as a first duty, he worked on the comple-