The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.
Our epoch, the epoch of the bourgeoisie, possesses, however, this distinctive feature; it has simplified the class antagonisms. Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other: Bourgeoisie and Proletariat.
The executive of the modern State is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.
The weapons with which the bourgeoisie felled feudalism to the ground are now turned against the bourgeoisie itself.
In proportion as the bourgeoisie, i. e., capital, is developed, in the same proportion is the proletariat, the modern working-class, developed, a class of laborers, who live only so long as they find work, and who find work only so long as their labor increases capital.
Modern industry has converted the little workshop of the patriarchal master into the great factory of the industrial capitalist.
At this stage the laborers still form an incoherent mass scattered over the whole country, and broken up by their mutual competition.