Strategy for Revolution in 21st Century
Engels: Socialism: Utopian and Scientific 1880 Its Relation to a Culture of Peace for the 21st Century


Marx and Engels:
Communist Manifesto

Civil War in France


Theory of History

Marx and Engels:
On Human Nature


Violence and the Origin of the State

Socialism: Utopian and Scientific

Marx, Engels, Lenin:
On Dialectics

What is to be done?


The State and Revolution

Lenin: War Communism

The Cultural Revolution

Left-Wing Communism

The American Revolutions

The French Revolutions

On Workers Control

On Religion

On the Arms Race

Militarization of Labor

Russian Revolution

The Women's Question

Role of Communist Party

On Violence

On the Army

On Women

Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution

Mao and Fidel:
Fall of the American Empire

Man and Socialism in Cuba

Fighting Racism

National Liberation and Culture

Cabral: National Liberation and Culture

Nkrumah: Neo-Colonialism

In 1880, Engels took three chapters from a larger work, Anti-Dühring and turned them into a pamphlet, Socialism: Utopian and Scientific. This became the most popular pamphlet ever published by Marx and Engels except for the original Communist Manifesto.

After considering the historical origins of socialism in the work of the French philosophers of the 18th Century and dialectical philosophy of Hegel in the 19th Century, Engels lays out the materialist conception of history as developed by Marx: "The materialist conception of history starts from the proposition that the production of the means to support human life and, next to production, the exchange of things produced, is the basis of all social structure; that in every society that has appeared in history, the manner in which wealth is distributed and society divided into classes or orders is dependent upon what is produced, how it is produced, and how the products are exchanged. From this point of view, the final causes of all social changes and political revolutions are to be sought ... not in the philosophy, but in the economics of each particular epoch."

Engels provides a simplified view of the economic analysis developed by Marx in Das Kapital, explaining how the "anarchy of production" which is essential to capitalism produces a "vicious circle" of economic crises and crashes. Periods of full production and high rates of employment in capitalism produce a glut of consumer goods, and then the capitalists lay off the workers, leading to a period of high unemployment and economic stagnation because the workers have no money to buy the products they have produced. The analysis applies today no less than when it was written over 120 years ago!

"The modern state, no matter what its form," according to Engels, "is essentially a capitalist machine." It is a repressive machine, an internal culture of war, keeping the working class under control.

Engels foresees that revolution can, at last, bring economic justice: "it sets free for the community at large a mass of means of production and of products, by doing away with the senseless extravagance of the ruling classes of today, and their political representatives. The possibility of securing for every member of society, by means of socialized production, an existence not only fully sufficient materially, and becoming day-by-day more full, but an existence guaranteeing to all the free development and exercise of their physical and mental faculties - this possibility is now, for the first time, here."

After the socialist revolution, the state will be transformed according to Engels. No longer does it represent a single class, the capitalist class, but it becomes "the real representative of the whole of society." At this point, says Engels, "a special repressive force, the state, is no longer necessary ... State interference in social relations becomes, in one domain after another, superfluous, and then dies out of itself; the government of persons is replaced by the administration of things, and by the conduct of processes of production. The state is not 'abolished'. It dies out."

Engels speaks as if the socialist revolution is a once-and-for all event that takes place throughout the world. But in practice it didn't happen that way. As Lenin wrote later in 1916, "socialism cannot achieve victory simultaneously in all countries. It will achieve victory first in one or several countries, while the others will for some time remain bourgeois or pre-bourgeois. This is bound to create not only friction, but a direct attempt on the part of the bourgeoisie of other countries to crush the socialist state's victorious proletariat. In such cases a war on our part would be a legitimate and just war. It would be a war for socialism..." As Lenin indicates, even after the successful revolution, the socialist state must remain strong in order to defend the revolution against the capitalists who would destroy it.

But how can the revolution be defended without adopting a new culture of war, a socialist culture of war that cannot win in competition with the capitalist culture of war? A new revolutionary strategy is needed.

To take part in a discussion about this page, go to the Forum on Writings of Friedrich Engels on the Discussion Board:

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Revolutionary socialist culture of peace

Culture of War

Internal Culture of War

Culture of Peace

Education for nonviolence and democracy

Sustainable development for all

Human rights vs exploitation

Women's equality vs patriarchy

Democratic participation vs authoritarianism

Tolerance and solidarity vs enemy images

Transparency vs secrecy

Disarmament vs armament

Revolutionary leadership

Revolutionary organization

Proletarian Internationalism

National Liberation

Guerrilla Warfare


Agent Provocateurs

Communication systems

Psychology for revolutionaries

Capitalist culture of war

Socialist culture of war

Winning Conflict by Nonviolence

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People-power revolution in the Philippines