Study Guide

The Communist Manifesto Beginning

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  • Here it is folks, the famous first line: "A spectre is haunting Europe—the spectre of Communism" (Beginning.1).
  • Karl says that everyone from the Pope to German policemen (he had some trouble with those coming after him) is fighting this spectre or ghost that is menacing the continent.
  • Furthermore, politicians are trying to make each other look bad by calling each other communists.
  • This means that all European political powers agree that communism is a great power, too, Karl says. Yeah, he's exaggerating here, but what's the point of writing a manifesto if you're not going to use some rhetorical devices? Plus, who wants to get in a political movement that isn't fabulous?
  • Karl thinks it's totally time for communists to openly publish their ideas and aims in order to oppose these false conceptions of communism by bringing out the real story, which is to be translated into many languages. (And indeed, it eventually was.)

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