On 21 February 2020, more than 30,000 people from south Korea to Venezuela joined public readings of the Communist Manifesto in their own languages. Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro gave the following speech marking the 173rd anniversary of its publication.
Greetings to all the intellectual movements, communist parties and publishing houses of the international left on the 173rd anniversary of the publication in London of the Communist Manifesto, who have come together to celebrate it, celebrating by sharing the central idea of Marx and Engels.
As you know, the Communist Manifesto is a political document, the most important political declaration in 200 years. It is a powerful document where Marx and Engels present their vision of historical materialism and the development of the class struggle, as well as the path to socialism that humanity will take as a result of class struggle.
Historical materialism has played a fundamental role since this time, the 19th century, and it continued to do so in the 20th century. We know the whole history of battles against imperialism, the founding of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) by Lenin, and all the other battles that were waged: the Chinese Revolution, the Cuban Revolution, the Vietnamese Revolution, and now in the 21st century, the ideas of Marx and Engels for humanity continue to have a great ideological, political and programmatic relevance.
They are ideas that we must bring directly to the present. And now going back to some ideas here that Marx and Engels said 173 years ago, “The theoretical conclusions of the communists are in no way based on ideas or principles that have been invented or discovered by this or that would-be universal reformer, they merely express in general terms actual relations springing from an existing class struggle, from a historical movement going on under our very eyes.” This is how it is and this is how it has been.
Particularly in Venezuela, the Bolivarian revolution has been the synthesis of the historical class struggles built up in over 500 years of struggle against colonialism, against neocolonialism, against imperialism, and against all the means that the bourgeoisie and the oligarchy have acquired to exercise their domination and their power in our homeland and across the region of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Our Bolivarian revolution has taken on since the beginning with Commander Hugo Chávez the fundamental ideas of Marx and Engels, the idea of historical materialism, the idea of dialectical materialism and the idea of the search for possible utopia, a concrete utopia building towards a future of a humanity with socialism with particularities in accordance with all the different regions and countries and cultures of the world.
At 173 years since the publication of this document that is fundamental in the history of humanity, we insist on these ideas of the revolutionary struggles: of the class struggle for a better and more humane society where the working class – and I say this with pride as a member and militant of the Venezuelan working class, I say it as a worker, a bus driver, a trade unionist and as a member of the Venezuelan working class – I say that the most important thing is to bring together and unite forces.
One hundred and seventy-three years later, we should say what should prevail is unity, an all-encompassing broad spirit bringing together all the progressive revolutionary forces that fight for socialism and humanity. The focus should be on coming together again and again, without any sectarianism, without any dogmatism, building according to the concrete reality, the concrete theory of class struggle and the struggle for socialism in each country and each region. This is fundamental.
I would also like to highlight from the Communist Manifesto important reflections for the working class as the fundamental class for the processes of change today in the 21st century in all countries across the world without a doubt.
As Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels said some 173 years ago: “Here and there the contest breaks out into riots. Now and then the workers are victorious, but only for a time. The real fruit of their battles lies not in their immediate result but in the ever-expanding unity of the workers.
“This union is helped out by the improved means of communication that are created by modern industry that place the workers of different localities in contact with one another. They broke the isolation of centuries and centuries of the working class.”
And the Manifesto continues saying: “It was just this contact that was needed to centralise the numerous local struggles all of the same character into one national struggle between classes. But every class struggle is a political struggle. And that union to attain which the burghers of the middle ages, with their miserable highways, required centuries, the modern proletariat, thanks to railways, achieve in a few years.”
It was a different reality in the 19th century, but they had already discovered the essence, the importance of the means of communication to unite the working class in its struggles for justice, for humanity, for socialism.
So today we have these means of communication. We must strengthen the channels of communication between our political movements, between intellectuals, between political parties, publishing houses and the forces for social change so that we can unite the current struggles and work together for the victories of the future.
From Bolivarian Venezuela, the Venezuela building socialism, from Chavista Venezuela, I say to you friends from across the world that we are here in a trench of the battle of ideas in the struggle for humanity.
Victorious we stand tall with our hand extended, calling for the union of the movements of the world. Another world is possible. One hundred and seventy-three years, and the struggle continues and advances.
Thank you so much.