A manifesto is a published declaration of the intentions, motives, or views of the issuer, be it an individual, group, political party or government. A manifesto usually accepts a previously published opinion or public consensus or promotes a new idea with prescriptive notions for carrying out changes the author believes should be made. It often is political, social or artistic in nature, sometimes revolutionary, but may present an individual's life stance. Manifestos relating to religious belief are generally referred to as creeds or confessions of faith.
It is derived from the Italian word manifesto, itself derived from the Latin manifestum, meaning clear or conspicuous. Its first recorded use in English is from 1620, in Nathaniel Brent's translation of Paolo Sarpi's History of the Council of Trent: "To this citation he made answer by a Manifesto" (p. 102). Similarly, "They were so farre surprised with his Manifesto, that they would never suffer it to be published" (p. 103).
1. The Communist Manifesto (1848) by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
The Communist Manifesto outlined the principles of communism and called for the overthrow of capitalism. It has been a hugely influential document in the history of socialism and communism. It has been controversial since its publication, with some critics arguing that it advocates for the violent overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of a totalitarian state, or that a true communist society could never exist. Its supporters argue that it has been misinterpreted and that its principles have been distorted by authoritarian regimes (such as the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China).
2. Port Huron Statement (1962) by Students for a Democratic Society
The Statement was a list of principles and values issued by the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), a leftwing student activist organization in the United States. The manifesto called for greater democracy, individual freedom, and social justice, and it challenged the prevailing norms of American society at the time. The "Port Huron Statement" helped to inspire a generation of young activists and was a defining document of the New Left movement. It has been criticized for being too radical and wanting utopian and unrealistic changes.
3. Industrial Society and Its Future (1995) by Theodore John Kaczynski
This manifesto lays very detailed blame on technology for destroying human-scale communities. Kaczynski contends that the Industrial Revolution harmed the human race by developing into a sociopolitical order that subjugates human needs beneath its own. This system, he wrote, destroys nature and suppresses individual freedom. The manifesto calls for the overthrow of this system and modern technological economies. It has been criticized for Kaczynski's violent 1978-1995 bombing campaigns which brought the manifesto to attention and its links to green anarchism.