A Reply to Manjur's Question

Fri, 6 Mar 1998 09:53:37 -0500 (EST)
Rob Beamish (beamishr@post.queensu.ca)

Manjur's question provides me with an opportunity to make a few points.
First, he has asked about a footnote to my paper but there is a
technological irony here. The computer and web technology that has allowed
me to submit my paper to the seminar has also restricted the form in which I
was able to submit it. For whatever reasons, I could only successfully
transmit an ASCII version of the paper and while this has resulted in *a
form* of my text appearing, it is a limited one. It is limited partly by
the aggravating presence of various symbols for the foreign characters in
the text (as well as some unexplained spaces in the middle of words and
absent apostrophes). I apologize for the difficulty that this has created
in reading my paper. Second, the posted text is without footnotes (I was
able to send Manjur a WordPerfect 6.0 version of the text on a diskette
through the regular mail - hence his ability to read the footnotes). For
those who are interested in the full text, I can try to send those who
contact me directly (beamishr@post.queensu.ca) the word perfect version as
an attachment (although I have discovered that this is not always possible).

So much for technology and its limits and possibilities!

The note Manjur asks about occurs at the end of the block quotation in the
section entitled "Producing the Manifesto" - the quotation from the January
26, 1848 communication to Marx from Schapper, Bauer and Moll. I will
present the note in full.

Cited in *The Communist Manifesto of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels,*
edited, with an introduction, explanatory notes and appendices by D.
Ryazanoff, New York: Russell & Russell Inc., 1963, pp. 21-2. It seems
unlikely that Marx met the February 1st deadline but he must have delivered
the manuscript to London by early to mid-February. The minutes of the London
“Workingmen’s Educational Society” indicate February 29, 1848 approval of
the transfer of funds covering the costs of the *Manifesto’s* publication.
Working backwards from that date, the pamphlet was probably printed the
preceding week (February 22-29) or as early as February 14-21. Since the
page proofs were set in the office of the Worker’s Educational Society (191
Drury Lane, High Holborn) with the gothic character set the Society had
purchased in the summer of 1847, and then delivered to the printer, J. E.
Burghard, at his shop at 46 Liverpool Street, Bishopsgate by Friedrich
Leszner, it seems that Marx must have submitted the manuscript to London in
early to mid-February; see B. Andréas, *Le Manifeste Communiste de Marx et
Engels,* *op. cit.,* pp. 9-10; Friedrich Leßner, “Erinnerungen eines
Arbeiters an Karl Marx,” *Karl Marx als Denker, Mensch und Revolutionär,*
edited by D. Ryazanoff, Berlin: Verlag für Literatur und Politik, 1928, p.

One can also consult the old MEGA, Pt. I, Vol. 6, p. 683.

The date of February 26 which was suggested to Manjur (I have no idea how
reliable a source *Books of Days for the Literary Year* edited by Neal Jones
is - and, unfortunately, it's not in my university library though I will
have to look for it because I am quite curious to see how that date is
arrived at and presented) is consistent with the evidence that I examined.
I would also speculate - though here I am simply speculating - that a
publication date later in February rather than earlier is most probable.
It's an interesting question and one of those questions that one would love
to know the answer with complete certainty.

That comment brings me to an additional point I should make about my paper.
My main work on Marx has centred on Marx's method as it can be seen in the
creation of some of his specific texts (I had/have a special interest in
his 1861-63 notebooks) and I had, until this paper, done little on the
*Manifesto*. I was strongly encouraged, a very short time before the final
date of submission, to prepare and submit a paper on the history of the
development of the *Manifesto* in view of some of the other things I have
done on Marx's "production". Unfortunately, the constraints of time
prevented me from examining all the sources I might have wished to use (my
personal library isn't too shabby and with additional materials I could find
in the university library there was enough to do an adequate, though
limited, job). But, as a result, I did *not,* for example, consult Hal
Draper's *The Adventures of the Communist Manifesto* noted by Chris Arthur
in his contribution to the seminar (I have now ordered a copy and am
interested in seeing what new material Draper has added to that already
presented in Andreas's *Le Manifesto Communiste de Marx et Engels* which is
part of my library and which I used in preparing my paper; I did also
consult my copy of Draper's material on the *Manifesto* contained in *The
Marx-Engels Register* Vol. II of The Marx-Engels Cyclopedia - see item 33,
pp. 4-6). I am also interested in pursuing Meiser's 1996 contribution to
MEGA-Studien which Chris Arthur drew to the seminar's attention. So there
is additional historical and archival material to consult - and it's from a
seminar such as this that one learns about sources that one might not
otherwise discover.

That brings me to my second last point. Chris Arthur has certainly peaked
my interest in the forthcoming volume of *Studies in Marxism* because I am
interested in knowing more about the dynamics of the Communist League and
the piece he mentions on Cabet may well support some of my own suspicions
about its dynamics (which I drew some attention to in my discussion of the
relationship between men and women presented in the *Manifesto* in contrast
to Hess's position in his "Communist Confession in Questions and Answers.")
Cabet, it is my understanding, in his 1841 *La Femme dans la société
actuelle et dans la communauté* argued that communism did *not* mean the end
of marriage and the family (a position that was thus contrary to many
followers of Fourier) and this is a position that influences the *Manifesto*.

And that brings me to my final point - one that I hope is obvious from my
paper. While Marx penned the final version of the *Manifesto* - it was a
product of debate and political struggle. Gunder Frank and others have
argued that the produce of that struggle was Eurocentric and limited in a
number of ways. By de-reifying the *Manifesto* - by placing its production
back into its full social and historical context (at both a macro-historical
and micro-interaction level) one can, I think, appreciate it as a powerful
document that continues to have relevance for all of us today though it is,
at the same time, a provisional document and one limited by the debate from
which it emerged. Among its most relevant features today is our
understandings of its limitations in view of current research and debate as
well as the appreciation that "it is a synthesis of theory with the thinking
and practice of people engaged in efforts to enhance the world" and it is
this type of struggle that will help us generate new orientations to our
contemporary struggles.

Rob Beamish