It is 200 years since the birth of Frederick Engels. He was born on 28 November 1820 in Barmen, then a city part of the Kingdom of Prussia, which would later become Germany. Together with his friend Karl Marx, they were the founders of scientific socialism.
This special edition of International Correspondence is dedicated to remembering and honouring him. Engels’ militant and investigative activity developed in the 19th century. Marx and Engels were activists and scholars, scientific researchers and fighters who promoted and organised strikes, unions and workers’ parties. In 1848, they published the Communist Manifesto, the first revolutionary program of a small, clandestine workers’ party, the Communist League.
Lenin and Trotsky gave continuity to revolutionary Marxism with the Russian revolution of October 1917, the Bolshevik Party and the founding of the Third and Fourth International
Sectors such as Social Democracy and Stalinism did atrocities in the name of Engels and Marx. They distorted revolutionary Marxism and smeared the banners of socialism. They installed dictatorships against their peoples and betrayed the revolutions. It is enough to name Joseph Stalin and the communist parties. The capitalist dictatorship of the CP of China continues to use the symbols of Marx, Engels and Lenin to rule with the multinationals and exploit the working class.
It is 200 years since Engels’ birth. Yet his ideas are still current. The capitalist system only offers more misery and social marginalisation, as Marx and Engels already said in the Communist Manifesto. In 2020, we are experiencing the most serious crisis in the history of capitalism, with the Covid-19 pandemic, the destruction of the environment and millions of unemployed people in the world.
The pillars that Engels and Marx built for the working class to advance in its liberation from capitalist exploitation and in the imposition of a new socialist world are still there, as solid as back then. In the 21st century, the revolutionary socialists of the IWU-FI, who are part of the world Trotskyist movement, continue to raise the teachings and banners of the founders of scientific socialism. We continue the struggle to end the capitalist system and exploitation and impose the liberation of the working class and world socialism.
Engels passed away on 5 August 1895 in London. There is no grave to remember him because he arranged to be cremated and for his ashes to be thrown into the North Sea. But Frederick Engels has a privileged place in the historical memory of the working class.