Did Marx have a particular way of thinking of 'power', be that communist power, proletarian power, or bouregois power, in particular before the international revolution? The communist manifesto begins and ends

I. Communism is already acknowledged by all European powers to be itself a power... The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.

Is this just rhetorical or is he suggesting that, in matters of class struggle at least, the working class is powerless and the communist vanguard are ascendant? If so, in what way?

1 Answer 1


Indeed Marx and Engels distinguish between three groups: The “bourgeois (owning class)”, the “proletarians (working class)”, and the “communists” (members of the international communist movement).

Presently the proletarians are powerless, the class struggle is about political power. The bourgeois and the communists have different types of power.

How is the communist vanguard ascencendant? By uniting proletarians from all countries, bringing the proletarians to political power and by abolition the private property of the bourgeois (expropriation).

  • yeah i like that "bringing the proletarians toi political power"
    – user70707
    Jan 12 at 16:51
  • What was Marx's definition of "power"?
    – Ptah-hotep
    Jan 12 at 19:20
  • @al-Mu'tamid See the Manifesto of the Communist Party marxists.org/archive/marx/works/download/pdf/Manifesto.pdf If you search for "power" you will find in section II that "to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class" means "to win the battle of democracy". The Manifesto then lists the actions taken by the political supremacy.
    – Jo Wehler
    Jan 12 at 20:15
  • @JoWehler thanks. If as you say that, "power" is "to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class" & the manifesto states: "..capital is the decisive power, and that therefore the capitalists, the bourgeoisie, have become the first class in society." then it seems, "to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class" is for the proletariat to have capital like the ruling class, then power = capital? Chimes well with, "wherever big industries displaced manufacture, the bourgeoisie developed in wealth & power to the utmost & made itself the first class of the country."
    – Ptah-hotep
    Jan 12 at 22:58

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