“The ‘Manifesto’ made its first appearance in America in the New York weekly, ‘Die Republik der Arbeiter’, October-November 1851. Only Sections I and II appeared. Weitling was an editor of the paper and away on a tour; he probably suppressed further publication – at any rate, no more was published. Marx, in a letter to Weydemeyer, October 16, 1851, suggested that he might try to have the English translation published in Dana’s ‘New York Tribune’, but nothing came of it. A later suggestion by Marx, in a letter to F.A. Sorge in 1854, also came in nothing. Interest in the ‘Manifesto’ revived with the International Working Men’s Association (IWA), better known as the First International. The ‘New York World’ (September 21, 1871) published some parts of the English translation. Then a full English translation – the one by Macfarlane of 1850 with the Harney introduction – was published in ‘Woodhull and Caflin Weekly’, December 30, 1871. This a periodical issued in New York by the two militant feminists, the sisters Virginia Woodhull and Tennessee Claflin, who also had run a medicine show and a stock brokerage office (under the auspices of Commodore Vanderbilt), and now dabbled in socialism. They dominated Section 12 of the IWA, but were soon expelled because of their advocacy of free love. In this curious way the English version of the ‘Manifesto’ arrived on the American scene. From this version a French translation of Section I and II was published between January and March 1872 in ‘Le Socialiste’, New York, the organ of the French section of the IWA. Engels was interested in the two translations and asked Sorge to send him copies. He needed especially the French version to counteract the propaganda of the Bakuninists and the Prouhonistes in France. Also in 1871 one of the Chicago sections of the IWA brought out, as a pamphlet, the original German text, after the second (Leipzig) edition of 1866. This was probably the edition which was recommended to Samuel Gompers, then a young cigarmaker in New York, by his friend Karl Laurell, the secretary of the Scandinavian section of the IWA. Gompers later wrote in his autobiography: “(Laurell) placed  in my hands a copy of the Communist Manifesto. As it was in German and my knowledge of the language was still inadequate, he translated and interpreted it for me paragraph by paragraph. That document brought me an interpretation of much that before had been inarticulate feeling. This insight into a hidden world of thought aroused me to master the German language in order that i might read for myself” (1)” [Karl Marx Friedrich Engels , a cura di Dirk J. Struik, Birth of the Communist Manifesto. With Full Text of the ‘Manifesto’, all Prefaces by Marx and Engels, Early Drafts by Engels and other Supplementary Material, 1971] [(1) S. Gompers, Seventy Years of Life and Labor, New York, 1957, p. 74]

Chiudi il menu