Dissemination and Reception of the Manifesto of the Communist Party in Italy: From the Origins to 1945

I. Prologue
Owing to theoretical disputes or political events, interest in Marx’s work has never been consistent and has experienced indisputable periods of decline.
From the ‘crisis of Marxism’ to the dissolution of the Second International, from the discussions about the limits of the theory of surplus value to the tragedy of Soviet communism, criticism of the ideas of Marx always seemed to point beyond the conceptual horizon of Marxism.
Yet there has always been a ‘return to Marx’. A new need develops to refer to his work, whether the critique of political economy or the formulations on alienation or the brilliant pages of political polemic, and it continues to exercise an irresistible fascination on both followers and opponents. Pronounced dead at the end of the twentieth century, Marx has now suddenly reappeared on the stage of history: there is a rekindling of interest in his thought, and the dust is ever more frequently brushed off his books in the libraries of Europe, the United States and Japan.
The rediscovery of Marx [1] is based on his continuing capacity to explain the present; indeed, his thought remains an indispensable instrument with which to understand and transform it. In face of the crisis of capitalist society and the profound contradictions that traverse it, an author overhastily dismissed after 1989 is once more being taken up and interrogated. Thus, Jacques Derrida’s assertion that ‘it will always be a fault not to read and reread and discuss Marx’ [2] – which only a few years ago seemed an isolated provocation – has found increasing approval. Since the late 1990s, newspapers, periodicals and TV or radio programmes have repeatedly discussed Marx as being the most relevant thinker for our times. The first article of this kind that had a certain resonance was ‘The Return of Karl Marx’, published in The New Yorker. [3] Then it was the turn of the BBC, which conferred on him the crown of the greatest thinker of the millennium. A few years later, the weekly Nouvel Observateur devoted a whole issue to the theme Karl Marx – le penseur du troisième millénaire? (Karl Marx – the thinker of the third millennium). [4] Soon after, Germany paid its tribute to the man once forced into exile for 40 years: in 2004, more than 500,000 viewers of the national television station ZDF voted Marx the third most important German personality of all time (he was first in the category of ‘contemporary relevance’), and during the last national elections the famous magazine Der Spiegel carried his image on the cover, giving the victory sign, under the title Ein Gespenst kehrt zurück (A spectre is back). [5] Completing this curious collection, a poll conducted in 2005 by the radio station BBC4 gave Marx the accolade of the philosopher most admired by its British listeners.
Furthermore, the literature dealing with Marx, which all but dried up 15 years ago, is showing signs of revival in many countries, both in the form of new studies and in booklets in various languages with titles such as Why Read Marx Today? Journals are increasingly open to contributions on Marx and Marxism, just as there are now international conferences, university courses and seminars on the theme. Finally, although timid and often confused in form, a new demand for Marx is also making itself felt in politics – from Latin America to Europe, passing through the alternative globalization movement.
Once again the text of Marx’s that commands the greatest attention among readers and commentators is the Manifesto of the Communist Party, printed in dozens of new editions in every corner of the planet, even after 1989, and celebrated not only as the most widely read political text in history but also as the most prescient analysis of the tendencies of capitalism. [6] For this reason, on this hundred and sixtieth anniversary of its composition in 1848, it may be of interest to trace the vicissitudes of its early dissemination in one of the countries where it has known the greatest success: Italy.

II. Karl Marx: The Italian misunderstanding
In Italy Marx’s theories have enjoyed extraordinary popularity. Inspiring parties, trade unions and social movements, they have influenced like no other the transformation of national political life. Circulating in every field of science and culture, they have irreversibly altered their direction and their very vocabulary. Contributing to a new self-awareness on the part of subaltern classes, they have been the main theoretical instrument in the process of emancipation of millions of men and women.
The level of dissemination that they attained in Italy has parallels in few other countries. It is therefore essential to enquire into the reasons for this. When did people talk for the first time of ‘Carlo Marx’? When did this name appear in journals beneath the first translated texts? When did his reputation spread in the collective imagination of socialist workers and militants? And, above all, in which ways and in which circumstances did his thought establish a presence in Italy?
The very first translations of Marx – who was almost completely unknown during the revolutionary upheavals of 1848 – appeared only in the second half of the 1860s. But they were few and far between, and related only to the ‘Address’ and the ‘Statutes’ of the International Working Men’s Association. This lag was partly due to the isolation of Marx and Engels in Italy, since, despite their fascination for its history and culture and their demonstrations of interest in its contemporary reality, they had no correspondents there until 1860, and no real political relations until 1870.
The first signs of interest in the figure of Marx appeared in connection with the revolutionary experience of the Paris Commune. Within just a few weeks the national press, as well as the myriad working-class newssheets in existence, published biographical sketches of the ‘founder and general leader of the International’[7] as well as extracts from letters and political resolutions (including The Civil War in France). Even then, however, the list of published writings – which, together with those by Engels, reached a total of 85 in 1871-72 alone – exclusively concerned documents of the International; the focus of attention was initially political and only subsequently theoretical. [8] Some papers also printed fantasy descriptions that served to confer on him a mythical aura: ‘Karl Marx is an astute and courageous man in every test and trial. Lightning trips from one country to another, with continual changes of disguise, allow him to escape the surveillance of all the police spies of Europe.’ [9]
The authority that began to surround his name was as great as it was indefinite. [10] For, during this period, propaganda manuals disseminated images of Marx – or what they took to be Marx – along with those of Darwin and Spencer. [11] His thought was considered synonymous with legalism or positivism. [12] It was implausibly synthesized together with such polar opposites as the theories of Fourier, Mazzini and Bastiat. Or, in various other misunderstandings, his figure was compared to those of Garibaldi[13] or Schäffle. [14]
Nor did this rough acquaintance with Marx express itself in a rallying to his political positions. Italian supporters of the International sided almost unanimously with Bakunin against Marx, whose formulations remained virtually unknown, and the conflict within the International was perceived more as a personal dispute between the two men than as a theoretical contest. [15]
It was easy for anarchist ideas to establish hegemony over the following decade, in a country marked by the absence of modern industrial capitalism, a low density of workers in the population and a lively tradition of conspiracy bound up with the recent revolution. Thus, Marx’s theoretical analyses only slowly asserted themselves in the ranks of the workers’ movement. Paradoxically they first became more widespread through the anarchists themselves, who fully shared the theories of class struggle and workers’ self-emancipation contained in the ‘Statutes’ and ‘Addresses’ of the International. In this way they continued to publish Marx, often in polemics with a verbally revolutionary, but in practice legalistic and ‘revisionist’ socialism. The most important initiative was certainly the publication in 1879 of a compendium from Volume One of Capital, put together by Carlo Cafiero. It was the first time that Marx’s major theoretical concepts began to circulate in Italy, albeit in a popularized form.

III. The Eighties and ‘Marxism’ without Marx
Marx’s writings were not translated during the 1880s either. With the exception of a few articles in the Socialist press, all that appeared were two works by Engels (Socialism, Utopian and Scientific in 1883 and The Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State in 1885); and even these were in tiny editions, reliant on the stubborn and virtuous work of the Socialist from Benevento, Pasquale Martignetti. On the other hand, major parts of the official culture began to take an interest in Marx, showing fewer inhibitions in this respect than their counterparts in Germany. On the initiative of top publishers and academics, the highly prestigious Biblioteca dell’Economista – which Marx had consulted several times in his research at the British Museum – published the first volume of Capital in instalments between 1882 and 1884, and then as a single volume in 1886. One indication of the vacuity of the Italian Socialist movement is that this initiative, the sole translation of the work until after the Second World War, became known to Marx only two months before his death – and to Engels only in 1893!
For all the many limitations, as briefly described above, ‘Marxism’ did begin to circulate during this period. Yet, because of the tiny number of translations of Marx and the difficulty of tracking them down, the dissemination almost never took place on the basis of original sources, but rather through indirect references, second-hand quotations, or compendia hastily assembled and published by a host of epigones and ostensible continuators. [16]
A veritable cultural osmosis developed during these years, involving not only the various conceptions of socialism present in Italy but also ideologies that had nothing in common with socialism. Researchers, political agitators and journalists created their own hybrids by crossing socialism with all manner of theoretical ideas at their disposal. [17] And, if ‘Marxism’ rapidly asserted itself over other doctrines, partly owing to the lack of an indigenous Italian socialism, the outcome of this cultural homogenization was the birth of an impoverished and deformed Marxism. A passe-partout Marxism. Above all, a ‘Marxism’ ignorant of Marx, given that the Italian socialists who had read any of his original texts could still be counted on the fingers of one hand. [18]
Though elementary and impure, determinist and functionally tied to the political circumstances of the time, this ‘Marxism’ was still able to confer an identity on the labour movement, to assert itself within the Partito dei Lavoratori Italiani [Italian Workers’ Party] founded in 1892, and eventually to establish an hegemony within Italian culture and scholarship.
As to the Manifesto of the Communist Party, there was still no trace of it until the end of the 1880s. Yet together with its main interpreter, Antonio Labriola, it would come to play an important role in the break from the adulterated Marxism that had characterized the situation in Italy. Before turning to this , however, it is necessary to take a step back.

IV. The first editions of the Manifesto in Italy
The original preface to the Manifesto of the Communist Party in 1848 announced that it would be published in ‘English, French, German, Italian, Flemish and Danish’. [19] In reality, this ambition was not fulfilled. Or, better said, the Manifesto became one of the most widely disseminated texts in the history of humanity, but not in accordance with the plans of its two authors.
The first attempt to ‘have the Manifesto translatedinto Italian and Spanish’ was undertaken in Paris by Hermann Ewerbeck, a leading member of the League of Communists in the French capital. [20] But, despite Marx’s mistaken reference some years later in Herr Vogt to the existence of an Italian edition, the project never came to fruition. [21] The only planned translation that was actually executed was the English one of 1850, which had been preceded by the Swedish one of 1848. Subsequently, following the defeat of the revolutions of 1848-49, the Manifesto sank into oblivion. The only new editions were in German (two in the 1850s, three in the 1860s), and it was necessary to wait twenty years for new translations to appear. A Russian version went to the printers in 1869, and a Serbian in 1871, while the first American edition came out in New York in 1871 and the first French translation in 1872. The first Spanish translation also appeared in 1872, followed the next year by a Portuguese version of the same. [22]
During that period the Manifesto was still unknown in Italy. The first brief exposition, consisting of summaries and extracts of the text, saw the light of day only in 1875, in Vito Cusumano’s work Le scuole economiche della Germania in rapporto alla questione sociale (The economic schools of Germany with regard to the social question). Here we read that, ‘from the point of view of the proletariat, this programme is as important as the Déclaration des droits des homme is for the bourgeoisie: it is one of the most important events of the nineteenth century, one of those that characterize a century, giving it a name and a direction’. [23] There were few references to the Manifesto in the following years – although in 1883 it was quoted in a number of articles reporting Marx’s death. The socialist broadsheet La Plebe spoke of it asone ‘of the fundamental documents of contemporary socialism … a symbol of the majority of the socialist proletariat in the West and North America’. [24] The bourgeois daily Gazzetta Piemontese, for its part, presented Marx as author of the ‘famous Manifesto of the Communists, which became the banner of militant socialism, the catechism of the dispossessed, the gospel by which the German workers and a majority of English workers voted, swore and fought.’ [25] Notwithstanding such appreciations, however, it was still necessary to wait for an Italian edition.
In 1885, after receiving a copy of the Manifesto from Engels, Martignetti completed a translation of the work – but lack of money meant that it was never published. The first translation finally appeared, forty years late, only in 1889, by which time there had already been 21 editions in German, 12 in Russian, 11 in French, 8 in English, 4 in Spanish, 3 in Danish (the first in 1884), 2 in Swedish, and 1 each in Portuguese, Czech (1882), Polish (1883), Norwegian (1886) and Yiddish (1889). The Italian text was printed with the title Manifesto dei socialisti redatto da Marx e Engels (Manifesto of the Socialists, written by Marx and Engels), in ten instalments between August and November in the Cremona-based democratic paper L’Eco del popolo . But the quality of this version was very poor; the prefaces by Marx and Engels were missing, as was the third section (‘Socialist and communist literature’), and various other parts were either omitted or summarized. Leonida Bissolati’s translation, which used the German edition of 1883 but also drew on Laura Lafargue’s French version of 1885, simplified the most complicated expressions. Altogether, then, it was not so much a translation as a popularization of the text, with only a number of passages actually rendered into Italian. [26].
The second Italian edition, and the first to appear in brochure form, arrived in 1891. The translation (based on the French version of 1885 published in Paris by Le Socialiste) and the preface were the work of the anarchist Pietro Gori. But the text lacked the preamble and had a number of egregious errors. The publisher, Flaminio Fantuzzi, who was also close to anarchist positions, presented Engels with a fait accompli, and Engels, in a letter to Martignetti, expressed his particular annoyance at the ‘prefatory remarks by the unknown character Gori’. [27]
The third Italian translation came out in 1892, as a supplement to the Milan magazine Lotta di classe. Presenting itself as the ‘first and only translation of the Manifesto that is not a betrayal’, [28] it was based by Pompeo Bettini on the German edition of 1883. It too contained mistakes and simplified a number of passages, but it established its definite superiority over other versions and was republished many times in the years until 1926; it thus started the process of shaping Marxist terminology in Italy. In 1893 it appeared as a brochure in a thousand copies, with a number of corrections and stylistic improvements and an indication that ‘the complete version [had been] made on the basis of the 5th German edition (Berlin 1891)’. [29] In 1896 this was reprinted in two thousand copies. The text contained the prefaces of 1872, 1883 and 1890, translated by Filippo Turati, director of Critica Sociale (then the main journal of Italian socialism), as well as a special notice ‘To the Italian reader’ that he had managed to secure from Engels so that it could be differentiated from previous versions. This Italian preface was the last to be written by either of the Manifesto ’s two authors.
Two further editions that appeared in the following years based themselves decisively on Bettini’s version, though without acknowledging the translator. The first, which lacked the preface and the third section, was designed to make the Manifesto available in a cheap popular edition. Promoted by the Era Nuova journal for the 1st of May 1897, it appeared in Diano Marina (in Liguria) in eight thousand copies. The second, stripped of the prefaces, came out in Florence in 1901 at the Nerbini publishing house.

V. The Manifesto between the end of the Nineteenth Century and the fascist period
In the 1890s the dissemination of the writings of Marx and Engels experienced a major advance. A consolidation of editorial structures in what had become the Partito Socialista Italiano (Italian Socialist Party), together with the work of numerous journals and smaller publishing houses and the cooperation of Engels with Critica Sociale, were all circumstances favouring greater knowledge of Marx’s writings. But this was not enough to stem the process of distortion that went together with it. Attempts to combine Marx’s ideas with the most disparate theories were common to both ‘academic socialism’ (Kathedersozialismus) and the workers’ movement, whose theoretical contributions, though by now of significant dimensions, were still marked by a perfunctory acquaintance with Marx’s texts.
Marx’s reputation was beyond dispute, but he was still not regarded as primus inter pares among the mass of socialists at the time. Above all, he had had very poor interpreters of his thought, a good example of them all being Achille Loria, ‘the most socialist, most Marxist of the Italian economists’,[30] who corrected and perfected a Marx with whom no one was sufficiently familiar to say in what way he had been corrected or perfected. As Loria is well known from Engels’s description of him in his preface to Volume Three of Capital – ‘unlimited impudence, combined with an eel-like flair for slipping out of impossible situations; heroic contempt for kicks received, hasty appropriation of other people’s achievements…’ [31] – an anecdote that Benedetto Croce told of him in 1896 may serve to give a better idea of the falsification suffered by Marx. In 1867, in Naples, on the occasion of the founding of the first Italian section of the International, an unknown foreign individual, ‘very tall and very blond, with the manners of the old conspirators and a mysterious way of speaking’, intervened to confirm the birth of the circle. Many years later, a Neapolitan lawyer who had been present at the meeting was still convinced that ‘the tall blond man had been Karl Marx’, [32] and it took a lot of effort to convince him of the contrary. Since many Marxian concepts were introduced into Italy by the ‘illustrious Loria’, [33] it may be concluded that the one who first became known was a distorted Marx, a Marx who was also ‘tall and blond’! [34]
This state of affairs changed only through the work of Antonio Labriola, who was the first genuinely to introduce Marx’s thought in Italy, rather than interpreting, updating or ‘completing’ it with the help of other authors. [35] The key text here was the Saggi sulla concezione materialistica della storia [Essays on the materialist conception of history], published by Labriola between 1895 and 1897, of which the first, ‘In memoria del Manifesto dei comunisti’, focused precisely on the genesis of the Manifesto; Engels’s endorsement of it, shortly before his death, [36] meant that it became the most important commentary and official interpretation from the ‘Marxist’ side.
Many of Italy’s limitations could be confronted in this way. According to Labriola, the revolution ‘cannot originate in the uprising of a mass leda few, but it must be, and will be, the work of the proletarians themselves’. [37] ‘Critical communism’ – which, for the Neapolitan philosopher, was the best term to describe the theories of Marx and Engels – ‘does not manufacture revolutions, it does not prepare insurrections, it does not furnish arms for revolts…. In a word it is not a seminary in which superior officers of the proletarian revolution are trained, but it is neither more nor less than the consciousness of this revolution.’[38] TheManifesto, then, is not ‘the handbook of the proletarian revolution’, [39] but rather the instrument to expose the ingenuousness of a socialism that thinks itself possible ‘without revolution, that is to say, without a fundamental change in the general elementary structure of society’. [40]
In Labriola the Italian workers’ movement finally had a theoretician who, at one and the same time, could bestow scientific dignity on socialism, penetrate and reinvigorate the national culture, and compete at the same level with the summits of European philosophy and Marxism. Yet the rigour of his Marxism, problematic with regard to immediate political circumstances and critical of theoretical compromises, also gave it a non-topical character.
At the cusp of the two centuries, the publication of Giovanne Gentile’s La filosofia di Marx (a book which, Lenin later wrote, ‘deserves attention’[41]), Croce’s writings announcing the ‘death of socialism’ [42] and the militant political texts of Francesco Saverio Merlino and Antonio Graziadei caused the wind of the ‘crisis of Marxism’ to blow in Italy too. Unlike in Germany, however, there was no ‘orthodox’ Marxist current in the Italian Socialist Party: the battle was fought out between two ‘revisionisms’, one reformist, the other revolutionary-syndicalist. [43]
In this same period, from 1899 to 1902, a new burst of translations gave Italian readers access to much of the work of Marx and Engels that was then available. This was the context in which a new translation of the Manifesto appeared as an appendix to the third edition of Labriola’s ‘In memoria del Manifesto dei comunisti’; it would be the last version in Italy until the end of the Second World War. Attributed by some to Labriola himself and by others to his wife, Rosalia Carolina De Sprenger, it presented a number of inaccuracies and omissions and was not used in many other editions of the text.
Bettini’s version was thus the one most widely used until the late 1940s. It was reprinted numerous times from 1910, many editions being under the auspices of the ‘Società editrice Avanti’, the Socialist Party’s main vehicle for its propaganda; particularly worthy of note were two that appeared in 1914, the second of which also contained Engels’s Foundations of Communism. Between 1914 and 1916 (and again in 1921-22) it found its way into the first volume of Opere (Works) by Marx and Engels – a collection which, in a touch confirming the widespread confusion of the time, included as in Germany various writings by Lassalle. There followed one edition in 1917, two in 1918 with an appendix containing the 14 points of the Kienthal Conference and the Manifesto of the Zimmerwald Conference, another in 1920 (reprinted twice in 1922) in a revised translation by Gustavo Sacerdote, and a final one in 1925. In addition to these Avanti editions, seven reprintings were issued between 1920 and 1926 by smaller publishing houses.
In the first decade of the twentieth century, Marxism was dismissed from the everyday practice of the Italian Socialist Party. In a famous parliamentary debate in 1911, Prime Minister Giovanni Giolitti could state: ‘The Socialist Party has moderated its programme quite a lot. Karl Marx has been put away in the attic.’[44] The commentaries on Marx’s writings that shortly before had flooded the book market now dried up. And, apart from the ‘return to Marx’ in Rodolfo Mondolfo’s philosophical studies and a few other exceptions, the same trend continued in the 1910s. Meanwhile, in other quarters, the bourgeois camp had been celebrating the ‘disintegration of Marxism’, while in the Catholic church condemnations reeking of prejudice had for a very long time prevailed over attempts at analysis.
In 1922 fascist barbarism burst onto the arena, and by the following year all copies of the Manifesto were removed from public and university libraries. In 1924 all of Marx’s publications and everything associated with the workers’ movement were put on the black list. Finally, the ‘ultra-fascist’ laws of 1926 decreed the dissolution of the opposition parties and inaugurated the most tragic period of modern Italian history.
Aside from a handful of illegal typed or cyclostyled editions, the few writings by Marx published in Italian between 1926 and 1943 appeared abroad; among these were two versions of the Manifesto in France, in 1931 and 1939, and another in Moscow in 1944, in a new translation by Palmiro Togliatti. However, three separate editions of the Manifesto of the Communist Party were exceptions to the conspiracy of silence. Two of these, ‘for the use of scholars’ on advance request, came out in 1934: the first in a volume Politica ed economia edited by Robert Michels (who personally revised Bettini’s translation [45]) that also contained texts by Labriola, Loria, Pareto, Weber and Simmel; the second in Florence, in Labriola’s version, in another collective work, Le carte dei diritti, volume one of the ‘Classics of Liberalism and Socialism’ series. The third appeared in 1938, again in Labriola’s version but this time edited by Croce, as an appendix to Labriola’s essays on The Materialist Conception of History. The volume also contained Croce’s subsequently famous essay with its most explicit title: Come nacque e come morì il marxismo teorico in Italia (1895-1900) [How theoretical Marxism was born and died in Italy (1895-1900)]. But the idealist philosopher was mistaken. Italian ‘Marxism’ was not dead but only confined in Antonio Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks, which were soon to reveal all their theoretical and political value.
The liberation from fascism brought with it various new editions of the Manifesto. Provincial organizations of the Italian Communist Party, already promoting small individual publishing houses in liberated areas of southern Italy, gave a new lease of life to the text by Marx and Engels, bringing out three editions in 1943 and eight in 1944. And the phenomenon continued in the next few years, from the nine in 1945 at the end of the war to the tour de force in 1948, on its hundredth anniversary.

VI. Conclusion
This historical review clearly demonstrates how much Italy lagged behind in the publishing of the Communist Manifesto. Whereas in many countries it was the first work by Marx and Engels to appear in translation, here it came out only after a number of other writings. [46] It had a modest political influence and never directly shaped the major documents of the workers’ movement; nor was it decisive in forming the political consciousness of socialist leaders. Nevertheless, it was hugely important for scholars (the case of Labriola has been mentioned), and through its various editions it came to play an important role among the rank and file and eventually became their leading theoretical reference.
One hundred and sixty years after its first publication, studied by countless exponents, opponents and followers of Marx, the Manifesto has passed through the most diverse phases and been read in the most various ways: as a milestone of ‘scientific socialism’ or a plagiarism of Victor Considerant’s Manifeste de la démocratie; as an incendiary text guilty of fomenting class hatred in the world or a symbol of liberation for the international workers’ movement; as a classic from the past or a work looking ahead to today’s reality of ‘capitalist globalization’. Whichever interpretation one favours, one thing is certain: very few other writings in history can lay claim to such vitality and such a wide dissemination. For the Manifesto continues to be printed and talked about, in Latin America and Japan, in the United States and the whole of Europe.
If the eternal youth of a text consists in its knowing how to grow old, or in being ever capable of stimulating new ideas, then it may be said that the Manifesto most certainly possesses this virtue.

1. See Marcello Musto, ‘The rediscovery of Karl Marx’, International Review of Social History, 2007, no. 52/3, pp. 477-498.
2. Jacques Derrida, Specters of Marx, London : Routledge, 1994, p. 13.
3. John Cassidy, ‘The Return of Karl Marx’, The New Yorker, October 20/27 1997, pp. 248-59.
4. Le Nouvel Observateur , October/November 2003.
5. Der Spiegel , 22 August 2005.
6. See, in particular, Eric Hobsbawm, ‘Introduction’ to Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto, London: Verso, 1998.
7. ‘Carlo Marx capo supremo dell’Internazionale’, Il proletario Italiano (Turin), 27 July 1871.
8. See Roberto Michels, Storia del marxismo in Italia, Luigi Mongini Editore, Roma 1909, p. 15, which emphasizes that ‘at first it was the political Marx who gradually impelled Italians to occupy themselves with the scientific Marx too’.
9. ‘Carlo Marx capo supremo dell’Internazionale’, op. cit.
10. Cf. Renato Zangheri, Storia del socialismo italiano, vol. 1, Turin: Einaudi, 1993, p. 338.
11. One example is the manual by Oddino Morgari, L’arte della propaganda socialista, Florence: Libr. Editr. Luigi Contigli, 1908 (2nd edn.), p. 15. This suggested that Party propagandists should use a method of instruction in which the reading of a summary of Darwin and Spencer first gave students a general idea of modern thought, and Marx then joined the ‘magnificent triad’ that worthily completed the ‘gospel of contemporary socialists’. See Roberto Michels, Storia del marxismo in Italia, op. cit., p. 102.
12. See the widely read book by Enrico Ferri, Socialism and Positive Science (Darwin – Spencer – Marx), London: Independent Labour Party, 1905 [1894]. In the preface the author writes: ‘I intend to prove how Marxist socialism … is nothing but the fruitful practical completion, in social life, of the modern scientific revolution … brought about and given an orderly form by Charles Darwin and Herbert Spencer’ (p. xi; translation modified).
13. See, for example, the letter from the ‘Democratic Association of Macerata’ to Marx, 22 December 1871. This organization proposed Marx as an ‘honorary triumvir together with Citizens Giuseppe Garibaldi and Giuseppe Mazzini’: in Del Bo (ed.), op. cit., p. 166. In reporting this to Wilhelm Liebknecht, on 2 January 1872, Engels wrote: ‘A society in Macerata, in the Romagna, has nominated as its three honorary presidents: Garibaldi, Marx and Mazzini. Only Bakunin’s name is needed and the mess is complete.’ Marx Engels Collected Works [hereafter MECW], vol. 44, London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1989, p. 289; Marx-Engels Werke [hereafterMEW] 33, Berlin: Dietz Verlag, 1966, p. 368.
14. See Roberto Michels, Storia del marxismo in Italia, op. cit., p. 101, which states that ‘ín many people’s eyes Schäffle counted as the most genuine of all the Marxists’.
15. Cf. Paolo Favilli, Storia del marxismo italiano. Dalle origini alla grande guerra, Milan: FrancoAngeli, 2000 (1996), p. 50.
16. Cf. Roberto Michels, Storia critica del movimento socialista italiano. Dagli inizi fino al 1911, op. cit., p. 135, which asserts that in Italy Marxism, ‘in the case of nearly all its followers, sprang not from profound knowledge of the master’s scientific works but from scattered contact with some of his minor political writings and some compendium of economics, often – which is the worst – via his epigones in German Social Democracy’.
17. Cf. Antonio Labriola, Socialism and Philosophy, St. Louis: Telos Press, 1980, p. 120: ‘Many [in Italy] who claimed that in Italy ‘many of those who embrace socialism, and not merely as simple agitators, lecturers and candidates, feel that it is impossible to accept it as a scientific conviction, unless it can be combined in some way with the rest of that genetic conception of things, which lies more or less at the bottom of all other sciences. This accounts for the mania of many to bring within the scope of socialism all the rest of science which is at their disposal.’
18. Cf. Roberto Michels, Storia del marxismo in Italia, op. cit., p. 99.
19. Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx, Manifesto of the Communist Party, MECW 6, London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1976, p. 481; MEW 4, p. 461.
20. See Friedrich Engels to Karl Marx, 25 April 1848, MECW 38, London: Lawrence & Wishart, p. 1982, p. 173; MEGA² III/2, p. 153.
21. See Karl Marx, Herr Vogt, MECW 17, London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1981, p. 80; MEGA² I/18, p. 107.
22. On the bibliography and publishing history of the Manifesto of the Communist Party, see the indispensable Bert Andréas, Le Manifeste Communiste de Marx et Engels, Milan: Feltrinelli, 1963.
23. Vito Cusumano, Le scuole economiche della Germania in rapporto alla questione sociale, Giuseppe Marghieri Editore, Prato 1875, p. 278.
24. La Plebe (Milan), April 1883, No. 4.
25. Dall’Enza, ‘Carlo Marx e il socialismo scientifico e razionale’, Gazzetta Piemontese (Turin), 22 March 1883.
26. Cf. Bert Andréas, op. cit., p. 145.
27. Friedrich Engels to Pasquale Martignetti, 2 April 1891, in MEW 38, p. 72.
28. Lotta di classe ( Milan), I/8, 17-18 September 1892.
29. Carlo Marx/Friedrich Engels, Il Manifesto del Partito Comunista, Milan: Uffici della Critica Sociale, 1893, p. 2.
30. Filippo Turati to Achille Loria, 26 December 1890, in ‘Appendice’ to Paolo Favilli, Il socialismo italiano e la teoria economica di Marx (1892-1902), Naples: Bibliopolis, 1980, pp. 181-2.
31. Friedrich Engels, ‘Preface’ to Karl Marx, Capital Volume 3, London: Penguin/NLR, 1981, p. 109.
32. Benedetto Croce, Materialismo storico ed economia marxistica, Naples: Bibliopolis, 2001, p. 65.
33. Friedrich Engels, ‘Preface’, p. 109.
34. Benedetto Croce, Materialismo storico ed economia marxistica, p. 65.
35. See ‘Antonio Labriola a Benedetto Croce, 25-V-1895’, in Benedetto Croce, Materialismo storico ed economia marxistica, op. cit., p. 269.
36. ‘All very good, just a few little factual errors and, in the early part, a style that is slightly too erudite. I am very curious to see the rest.’ Friedrich Engels to Antonio Labriola, 8 July 1895, MEW 39, Berlin: Dietz Verlag, 1968, p. 498.
37. Antonio Labriola, ‘In Memory of the Communist Manifesto’, in idem, Essays on the Materialistic Conception of History (1903), reissued New York: Monthly Review Press, 1966, p. 59. Translation modified.
38. Ibid., 53.
39. Ibid., p. 40.
40. Ibid., p. 84.
41. Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, ‘Karl Marx: A Brief Biographical Sketch with an Exposition of Marxism – Bibliography’, Collected Works, vol. 21, Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1980, p. 88.
42. In this connection see Croce’s essay Come nacque e come morì il marxismo teorico in Italia (1895-1900), in Materialismo storico ed economia marxistica, op. cit., pp. 265-305.
43. Cf. Roberto Michels, Storia del marxismo in Italia, op. cit., p. 120.
44. The phrase was spoken by Giolitti in parliament, on 8 April 1911.
45. The changes to Bettini’s version contained in this new edition marked a real attempt to distort and suppress certain parts of the text, so that it would be less threatening and more in line with fascist ideology.
46. The publishing chronology in Italian of the main works of Marx and Engels up to the Manifesto of the Communist Party is as follows: 1871. Karl Marx, La guerra civile in Francia [The Civil War in France]; 1873. Friedrich Engels, Dell’autorità [On Authority]; 1873. Karl Marx, Dell’indifferenza in materia politica [On Political Indifferentism]; 1879. Carlo Cafiero, Il capitale di Carlo Marx brevemente compendiato da Carlo Cafiero [Karl Marx’s Capital abridged by Carlo Cafiero]; 1882-84. Karl Marx, Il capitale; 1883. Friedrich Engels, L’evoluzione del socialismo dall’utopia alla scienza [Socialism, Utopian and Scientific]; 1885. Friedrich Engels, L’origine della famiglia, della proprietà privata e dello Stato [Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State]; 1889. Karl Marx/Friedrich Engels, Manifesto del partito comunista (Bissolati translation); 1891. Karl Marx/Friedrich Engels, Manifesto del partito comunista (Gori translation); 1892. Karl Marx/Friedrich Engels, Manifesto del partito comunista (Bettini translation).



Pub Info:

Vol. 36 (2008), n. 3, 445-456


DOI: 10.1080/03017600802434243

Available in:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp