How to Write a Manifesto
A manifesto is a public declaration in written form of the objectives, perspectives and future intentions of a political group, social movement or organization. The word "manifesto" stems from the Latin word "manifestum," which means to make intention's public. Manifestos have been written by radical individuals who subscribe to certain beliefs or political doctrines. Some of the more famous revolutionary manifestos include, "Manifesto of the Communist Party," written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in 1848 about the future of capitalism; "A Cyborg Manifesto," an essay on feminism and science written by academic Donna Haraway in 1991; and "The Conscience of a Hacker," sometimes known as "The Hacker Manifesto," written in 1986 by a computer security hacker about the intentions of the hacking subculture.
Discuss with like-minded friends or colleagues the main objective(s) of your manifesto and how these fit into current social or political debates. Write a list of ideas generated in discussion.
Research at a library or using the internet the philosophical foundation(s) of the argument you aim to make in the manifesto. Most well-received manifestos engage with solid philosophical stances to substantiate claims and arguments.
Use the list and the research to write a draft of manifesto in a short essay format using a word processor. Clearly state at the beginning of the manifesto the main argument using declarative terms.
Explain the current political or social circumstances from which the manifesto emerges. Define what your organization, political stance or individual beliefs are, how they developed, and how they connect to and differ from other political and social beliefs. Use brief examples to illustrate your points.
Outline what you intend to do, think, or how you intend to respond to this particular understanding of the social or political circumstances.
Offer specific ways that readers or others subscribing to your political or social vision can work together to achieve the intentions discussed in your manifesto.
Share a draft of the manifesto with others whom you trust. Discuss how it can be improved or clarified. If others work together with you in writing a manifesto, determine who will be identified as the author or authors.
Finalize, proofread, publish and circulate the manifesto.
Items you will need
- The New York Times; Article Collections; Manifesto
- "Encyclopedic Dictionary of Roman Law, 43"; Adolf Berger; 1991
- Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary: Manifesto
- Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images