This piece is the special issue “Engels@200: Friedrich Engels in the Age of Digital Capitalism” that the journal tripleC: Communication, Capitalism & Critique published on the occasion of Friedrich Engels’s 200th birthday on 28 November 2020. The introduction introduces Engels’s life and works and gives an overview of the special issue’s contributions.
Friedrich Engels was born on 28 November 1820 in Barmen, a city in North RhineWestphalia, Germany, that has since 1929 formed a district of the city Wuppertal. In the early 19th century, Barmen was one of the most important manufacturing centres in the German-speaking world. He was the child of Elisabeth Franziska Mauritia Engels (1797-1873) and Friedrich Engels senior (1796-1860). The Engels family was part of the capitalist class and operated a business in the cotton manufacturing industry, which was one of the most important industries. In 1837, Engels senior created a business partnership with Peter Ermen called Ermen & Engels. The company operated cotton mills in Manchester (Great Britain) and Engelskirchen (Germany).