Revolution Karl Marx Quotes

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Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Workingmen of all countries unite!
Karl Marx (The Communist Manifesto)
Labor in the white skin can never free itself as long as labor in the black skin is branded.
Karl Marx (Das Kapital/Das kommunistische Manifest)
No revolution is made out of shame. I reply: Shame is already revolution of a kind
Karl Marx
When, in the course of development, class distinctions have disappeared and all production has been concentrated in the hands of a vast association of the whole nation, the public power will lose its political character. Political power, properly so called, is merely the organized power of one class for oppressing another. If the proletariat during its contest with the bourgeoisie is compelled, by the force of circumstances, to organize itself as a class, if, by means of a revolution, it makes itself the ruling class, and, as such, sweeps away by force the old conditions of production then it will, along with these conditions, have swept away the conditions for the existence of class antagonisms, and of classes generally, and will thereby have abolished its own supremacy as a class. In place of the old bourgeois society with its classes and class antagonisms we shall have an association in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.
Karl Marx (The Communist Manifesto)
The obvious differences apart, Karl Marx was no more a reliable prophet than was the Reverend Jim Jones. Karl Marx was a genius, an uncannily resourceful manipulator of world history who shoved everything he knew, thought, and devised into a Ouija board from whose movements he decocted universal laws. He had his following, during the late phases of the Industrial Revolution. But he was discredited by historical experience longer ago than the Wizard of Oz: and still, great grown people sit around, declare themselves to be Marxists, and make excuses for Gulag and Afghanistan.
William F. Buckley Jr.
In the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness. At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or – this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms – with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution. The changes in the economic foundation lead sooner or later to the transformation of the whole immense superstructure.
Karl Marx (A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy)
The revolution has to be self-liberation.
Michael Löwy (On Changing the World: Essays in Marxist Political Philosophy, from Karl Marx to Walter Benjamin)
Revolutions occurred in almost every European city with more than 50,000 inhabitants. The occasion for the revolutions was hunger.
A.J.P. Taylor (The Communist Manifesto)
Revolutions in short are made in the name of the proletariat, not by it, and usually in countries where the proletariat hardly exists.
A.J.P. Taylor (The Communist Manifesto)
The rule apparently is – once a social revolution takes place there’s no need to stoke the boiler. But I ask you: why, when this whole business started, should everybody suddenly start clumping up and down the marble staircase in dirty galoshes and felt boots? Why must we now keep our galoshes under lock and key? And put a soldier on guard over them to prevent them from being stolen? Why has the carpet been removed from the front staircase? Did Marx forbid people to keep their staircases carpeted? Did Karl Marx say anywhere that the front door of No. 2 Kalabukhov House in Prechistenka Street must be boarded up so that people have to go round and come in by the back door? What good does it do anybody? Why can’t the proletarians leave their galoshes downstairs instead of dirtying the staircase?’ ‘But the proletarians don’t have any galoshes, Philip Philipovich,’ stammered the doctor.
Mikhail Bulgakov (Heart of a Dog)
Study of the past often turns into love of the past and a desire to keep it.
A.J.P. Taylor (The Communist Manifesto)
Intelligence and rationalism are not in themselves revolutionary. But technical thinking is foreign to all social traditions: the machine has no tradition. One of Karl Marx's seminal sociological discoveries is that technology is the true revolutionary principle, beside which all revolutions based on natural law are antiquated forms of recreation. A society built exclusively on progressive technology would thus be nothing but revolutionary; but it would soon destroy itself and its technology.
Carl Schmitt (Roman Catholicism and Political Form (Contributions in Political Science Book 380))
...it happens that "society is saved" as often as the circle of its ruling class is narrowed, as often as a more exclusive interest asserts itself over the general. Every demand for the most simple bourgeois financial reform, for the most ordinary liberalism, for the most commonplace republicanism, for the flattest democracy is forthwith punished as an "assault upon society" and is branded as "Socialism.
Karl Marx (The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte)
Both for the production on a mass scale of this communist consciousness, and for the success of the cause itself, the alteration of men on a mass scale is necessary, an alteration which can only take place in a practical movement, a revolution; this revolution is necessary, therefore, not only because the ruling class cannot be overthrown in any other way, but also because the class overthrowing it can only in a revolution succeed in ridding itself of all the muck of ages and become fitted to found society anew.
Karl Marx
But, in general, the protective system of our day is conservative, while the free trade system is destructive. It breaks up old nationalities and pushes the antagonism of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie to the extreme point. In a word, the free trade system hastens the social revolution. It is in this revolutionary sense alone, gentlemen, that I vote in favor of free trade.
Karl Marx (On the Question of Free Trade (Annotated))
Everyone who knows anything of history also knows that great social revolutions are impossible without the feminine ferment. Social progress may be measured precisely by the social position of the fair sex (plain ones included).
Karl Marx
The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
Karl Marx
It was not Marxism that made Lenin a revolutionary but Lenin who made Marxism revolutionary.
Orlando Figes (A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution, 1891 - 1924)
Marx was concerned to change society or rather, if he adhered rigidly to his system, expected society to change in the way he wanted.
A.J.P. Taylor (The Communist Manifesto)
The bourgeoisie, in truth, is bound to fear the stupidity of the masses so long as they remain conservative, and the insight of the masses as soon as they become revolutionary.
Karl Marx (The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte)
A silent, unavoidable revolution is taking place in society, a revolution THAT CARES AS LITTLE ABOUT THE HUMAN LIVES IT DESTROYS as an earthquake cares about the houses it ravages. Classes and RACES THAT ARE TOO WEAK to dominate the new conditions of existence WILL BE DEFEATED.
Karl Marx
With the historical radar of Marx’s theories, on whose screen observers who have not swallowed the alcohol of the intoxicating bourgeois ideology cannot read lies, in the fog of the depths off Nantacket, in the dark of the walled tomb of the living in Marcinelle, in the bitterness of the slime of the stagnant ponds of the Arabian Desert, while the forces of the Revolution seem to be hiding and Great Capital carouses in the bright sunlight, we have again found, at his inexhaustible work, the Old Mole who undermines the curse of the infamous social forms, who prepares for the not near, but most certain, destructive explosion.
Amadeo Bordiga
Communism is what Karl Marx hoped could be an economic scheme for making industrialized nations take as good care of people, and especially of children and the old and disabled, as tribes and extended families used to do, before they were dispersed by the Industrial Revolution.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Armageddon in Retrospect)
The bourgeois period of history has to create the material basis of the new world — on the one hand universal intercourse founded upon the mutual dependency of mankind, and the means of that intercourse; on the other hand the development of the productive powers of man and the transformation of material production into a scientific domination of natural agencies. Bourgeois industry and commerce create these material conditions of a new world in the same way as geological revolutions have created the surface of the earth. When a great social revolution shall have mastered the results of the bourgeois epoch, the market of the world and the modern powers of production, and subjected them to the common control of the most advanced peoples, then only will human progress cease to resemble that hideous, pagan idol, who would not drink the nectar but from the skulls of the slain.
Karl Marx (The First Indian War of Independence 1857-1859)
When a great social revolution shall have mastered the results of the bourgeois epoch, the market of the world and the modern powers of production, and subjected them to the common control of the most advanced peoples, then only will human progress cease to resemble that hideous pagan idol, who would not drink the nectar but from the skulls of the slain.
Karl Marx
The man who stands in dependence on another is no longer a man at all, he has lost his standing, he is nothing but the possession of another man.
Mary Gabriel (Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution)
These contradictions, of course, lead to explosions, crises, in which momentary suspension of all labour and annihilation of a great part of the capital violently lead it back to the point where it is enabled [to go on] fully employing its productive powers without committing suicide. Yet, these regularly recurring catastrophes lead to their repetition on a higher scale, and finally to its violent overthrow. There are moments in the developed movement of capital which delay this movement other than by crises; such as e.g. the constant devaluation of a part of the existing capital: the transformation of a great part of capital into fixed capital which does not serve as agency of direct production; unproductive waste of a great portion of capital etc.
Karl Marx (Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy)
The terrible meaning of the Washington apparatus is that, even in the United States, that stage of the revolution of our times has been reached, “that decisive hour,” which Karl Marx acutely forecast a hundred years before: when “the process of dissolution going on within . . . the whole range of the old society” becomes so violent “that a small section of the ruling class . . . joins the revolutionary class.” This “small section,” says Marx, is “in particular,” the middle-class intellectuals. When this happens, it is very late in the night of history, and in the life of nations.
Whittaker Chambers (Witness (Cold War Classics))
The Constitution, the National Assembly, the dynastic parties, the blue and the red republicans, the heroes of Africa, the thunder from the platform, the sheet lightning of the daily press, the entire literature, the political names and the intellectual reputations, the civil law and penal code, the liberté, égalité, fraternité and the second of May 1852—all have vanished like a phantasmagoria before the spell of a man whom even his enemies do not make out to be a magician. Universal suffrage seems to have survived only for a moment, in order that with its own hand it may make its last will and testament before the eyes of all the world and declare in the name of the people itself: Everything that exists has this much worth, that it will perish.
Karl Marx (The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte)
More pertinent, however, is that capitalism tends to stultify the worker’s creativity, his human urge for self-expression, freedom, mutually respectful interaction with others, recognition of his self-determined sense of self, recognition of himself as a self rather than an object, a means to an end. Karl Marx called it “alienation.” Capitalism alienates the worker—and the capitalist—from his “fundamental human need” for “self-fulfilling and creative work,” “the exercise of skill and craftsmanship,”8 in addition to his fundamental desire to determine himself (whence comes the desire to dismantle oppressive power-relations and replace them with democracy). Alternative visions of social organization thus arise, including Robert Owen’s communitarian socialism, Charles Fourier’s associationist communalism, Proudhon’s mutualism (a kind of anarchism), Marx’s communism, Bakunin’s collectivist anarchism, Kropotkin’s anarchist communism, Anton Pannekoek’s council communism, and more recently, Murray Bookchin’s libertarian municipalism, Michael Albert’s participatory economics, Takis Fotopoulos’s inclusive democracy, Paul Hirst’s associationalism, and so on. Each of these schools of thought differs from the others in more or less defined ways, but they all have in common the privileging of economic and social cooperation and egalitarianism.
Chris Wright (Worker Cooperatives and Revolution: History and Possibilities in the United States)
Napoleon represented the last battle of revolutionary terror against the bourgeois society which had been proclaimed by this same Revolution, and against its policy. Napoleon, of course, already discerned the essence of the modern state; he understood that it is based on the unhampered development of bourgeois society, on the free movement of private interest, etc. He decided to recognise and protect this basis. He was no terrorist with his head in the clouds. Yet at the same time he still regarded the state as an end in itself and civil life only as a treasurer and his subordinate which must have no will of its own. He perfected the Terror by substituting permanent war for permanent revolution. He fed the egoism of the French nation to complete satiety but demanded also the sacrifice of bourgeois business, enjoyments, wealth, etc., whenever this was required by the political aim of conquest. If he despotically suppressed the liberalism of bourgeois society — the political idealism of its daily practice — he showed no more consideration for its essential material interests, trade and industry, whenever they conflicted with his political interests. His scorn of industrial hommes d'affaires was the complement to his scorn of ideologists. In his home policy, too, he combated bourgeois society as the opponent of the state which in his own person he still held to be an absolute aim in itself. Thus he declared in the State Council that he would not suffer the owner of extensive estates to cultivate them or not as he pleased. Thus, too, he conceived the plan of subordinating trade to the state by appropriation of roulage [road haulage]. French businessmen took steps to anticipate the event that first shook Napoleon’s power. Paris exchange- brokers forced him by means of an artificially created famine to delay the opening of the Russian campaign by nearly two months and thus to launch it too late in the year.
Karl Marx (The Holy Family)
The difficulties connected with my criterion of demarcation (D) are important, but must not be exaggerated. It is vague, since it is a methodological rule, and since the demarcation between science and nonscience is vague. But it is more than sharp enough to make a distinction between many physical theories on the one hand, and metaphysical theories, such as psychoanalysis, or Marxism (in its present form), on the other. This is, of course, one of my main theses; and nobody who has not understood it can be said to have understood my theory. The situation with Marxism is, incidentally, very different from that with psychoanalysis. Marxism was once a scientific theory: it predicted that capitalism would lead to increasing misery and, through a more or less mild revolution, to socialism; it predicted that this would happen first in the technically highest developed countries; and it predicted that the technical evolution of the 'means of production' would lead to social, political, and ideological developments, rather than the other way round. But the (so-called) socialist revolution came first in one of the technically backward countries. And instead of the means of production producing a new ideology, it was Lenin's and Stalin's ideology that Russia must push forward with its industrialization ('Socialism is dictatorship of the proletariat plus electrification') which promoted the new development of the means of production. Thus one might say that Marxism was once a science, but one which was refuted by some of the facts which happened to clash with its predictions (I have here mentioned just a few of these facts). However, Marxism is no longer a science; for it broke the methodological rule that we must accept falsification, and it immunized itself against the most blatant refutations of its predictions. Ever since then, it can be described only as nonscience—as a metaphysical dream, if you like, married to a cruel reality. Psychoanalysis is a very different case. It is an interesting psychological metaphysics (and no doubt there is some truth in it, as there is so often in metaphysical ideas), but it never was a science. There may be lots of people who are Freudian or Adlerian cases: Freud himself was clearly a Freudian case, and Adler an Adlerian case. But what prevents their theories from being scientific in the sense here described is, very simply, that they do not exclude any physically possible human behaviour. Whatever anybody may do is, in principle, explicable in Freudian or Adlerian terms. (Adler's break with Freud was more Adlerian than Freudian, but Freud never looked on it as a refutation of his theory.) The point is very clear. Neither Freud nor Adler excludes any particular person's acting in any particular way, whatever the outward circumstances. Whether a man sacrificed his life to rescue a drowning, child (a case of sublimation) or whether he murdered the child by drowning him (a case of repression) could not possibly be predicted or excluded by Freud's theory; the theory was compatible with everything that could happen—even without any special immunization treatment. Thus while Marxism became non-scientific by its adoption of an immunizing strategy, psychoanalysis was immune to start with, and remained so. In contrast, most physical theories are pretty free of immunizing tactics and highly falsifiable to start with. As a rule, they exclude an infinity of conceivable possibilities.
Karl Popper
Therefore, while the revolution was undeniably a transforming event, it was not about the “fundamental transformation” of American civil society itself, as President Barack Obama would proclaim about his own election. Moreover, its purpose and principles were the antithesis of and incompatible with the philosophies that undergird the modern Progressive Movement, such as those espoused by German philosophers Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and Karl Marx, and later American progressive intellectuals including Herbert Croly, Woodrow Wilson, John Dewey, and Walter Weyl, among others.
Mark R. Levin (Unfreedom of the Press)
…his love for children was often remarked on by friends and family. Liebknecht recalled that during the Soho years, when his own family had nothing, Marx would often trail off in midsentence if he saw a neglected child on the street. As broke as he was if he had a penny or ha’penny he would slip it into the child’s hand. If his pocket was empty he would offer comfort by speaking gently to the youngster and stroking his or her head. In later years he could often be seen on the Heath trailed by a gaggle of children who apparently saw in this stern revolutionary an apparition of Father Christmas…
Mary Gabriel (Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution)
Karl Marx began by claiming that all religions were oppressive frauds, and he encouraged his followers to investigate for themselves the true nature of the global order. In the following decades the pressures of revolution and war hardened Marxism, and by the time of Stalin the official line of the Soviet Communist Party said that the global order was too complicated for ordinary people to understand, hence it was best always to trust the wisdom of the party and do whatever it told you to do, even when it orchestrated the imprisonment and extermination of tens of millions of innocent people. It may look ugly, but as party ideologues never got tired of explaining, revolution isn't a picnic, and if you want an omelette you need to break a few eggs. (page 132)
Yuval Noah Harari (21 Lessons for the 21st Century)
As a practical revolutionary Marx was active only for about 12 years (1848-1852, 1864-1872), and was not particularly successful; his role was primarily that of a theorist, an advocate of ideas. Yet it has sometimes been said that Marx exercised a decisive influence on the history of the 20th century. In reality, the people who exercised the decisive influence were the men of action (Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Mao, Castro, etc.) who organized revolutions in the name of Marxism. And these men, while calling themselves Marxists, never hesitated to set Marx's theories aside when "objective" circumstances made it advisable for them to do so. Moreover, the societies that resulted from their revolutions resembled the kind of society envisioned by Marx only insofar as they were in a general way socialistic.
Theodore J. Kaczynski (Anti-Tech Revolution: Why and How)
Communism, from which everything that is useful has developed, all our wealth, all that is noble in the hearts of men, will be set up again. Communism, of which the great philosophers like Plato have dreamt; Communism which was the seed and aim of the early Christians; Communism which is described and depicted in the sacred pictures of all great religions; Communism, for which all the poor and oppressed classes have struggled throughout the period of private ownership up to our own times; Communism which was imagined by our Utopists; for which our comrades of all lands have given their lives; the Communism which our great leader, Karl Marx, foresaw, knew, and understood, the modern Communism based on scientific knowledge, of which he laid the foundation stone; this now comes forth in all its wonder and beauty.
Herman Gorter (The World Revolution)
Varlıklarının toplumsal üretiminde, insanlar, belirli ilişkiler kurarlar; bu üretim ilişkileri, onların maddi üretici güçlerinin belirli bir gelişme derecesine tekabül eder. Bu üretim ilişkilerinin tümü, toplumun iktisadi yapısının, belirli toplumsal bilinç şekillerine tekabül eden bir hukuksal ve siyasal üstyapının, üzerinde yükseldiği gerçek temeli oluşturur. Maddi yaşamın üretim tarzı, genel olarak toplumsal, siyasal ve entelektüel yaşam sürecini koşullandırır. İnsanların varlığını belirleyen şey, bilinçleri değildir; tam tersine, onların bilincini belirleyen, toplumsal varlıklarıdır. Gelişmelerinin belirli bir aşamasında toplumun maddi üretici güçleri, o zamana kadar içinde hareket ettikleri mevcut üretim ilişkilerine, ya da bunların hukuksal ifadesinden başka bir şey olmayan mülkiyet ilişkilerine ters düşerler. Üretici güçlerin gelişmesinin biçimleri olan bu ilişkiler, onların engelleri haline gelirler. O zaman bir toplumsal devrim çağı başlar. İktisadi temeldeki değişme, kocaman üstyapıyı, büyük ya da az bir hızla altüst eder.
Karl Marx (A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy)
The working class, in the course of its development, will substitute for the old civil society an association which will exclude classes and their antagonism, and there will be no more political power properly so-called, since political power is precisely the official expression of antagonism in civil society. Meanwhile the antagonism between proletariat and the bourgeoisie is a struggle of class against class, a struggle which carried to its highest expression is total revolution. Indeed, is it at all surprising that a society founded on the opposition of classes should culminate in brutal contradiction, the shock of body against body, as its final dénouement? Do not say that social movement excludes political movement. There is never a political movement which is not at the same time social. It is only in an order of things in which there are no more classes and class antagonisms that social evolutions will cease to be political revolutions. Till then, on the eve of every general reshuffling of society, the last word of social science will always be: 'Le combat ou la mort; la lutte sanguinaire ou le néant. C'est ainsi que la question est invinciblement posée.' -George Sand.
Karl Marx (The Poverty of Philosophy)
The father of communism, Karl Marx, famously predicted the “withering away of the state” once the proletarian revolution had achieved power and abolished private property. Left-wing revolutionaries from the nineteeth-century anarchists on thought it sufficient to destroy old power structures without giving serious thought to what would take their place. This tradition continues up through the present, with the suggestion by antiglobalization authors like Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri that economic injustice could be abolished by undermining the sovereignty of states and replacing it with a networked “multitude.”17 Real-world Communist regimes of course did exactly the opposite of what Marx predicted, building large and tyrannical state structures to force people to act collectively when they failed to do so spontaneously. This in turn led a generation of democracy activists in Eastern Europe to envision their own form of statelessness, where a mobilized civil society would take the place of traditional political parties and centralized governments. 18 These activists were subsequently disillusioned by the realization that their societies could not be governed without institutions, and when they encountered the messy compromises required to build them. In the decades since the fall of communism, Eastern Europe is democratic, but it is not thereby necessarily happy with its politics or politicians.19 The fantasy of statelessness
Francis Fukuyama (The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution)
Now, insurrection is an art quite as much as war or any other, and subject to certain rules of proceeding, which, when neglected, will produce the ruin of the party neglecting them. Those rules, logical deductions from the nature of the parties and the circumstances one has to deal with in such a case, are so plain and simple that the short experience of 1848 had made the Germans pretty well acquainted with them. Firstly, never play with insurrection unless you are fully prepared to face the consequences of your play. Insurrection is a calculus with very indefinite magnitudes, the value of which may change every day; the forces opposed to you have all the advantage of organization, discipline, and habitual authority: unless you bring strong odds against them you are defeated and ruined. Secondly, the insurrectionary career once entered upon, act with the greatest determination, and on the offensive. The defensive is the death of every armed rising; it is lost before it measures itself with its enemies. Surprise your antagonists while their forces are scattering, prepare new successes, however small, but daily; keep up the moral ascendancy which the first successful rising has given to you; rally those vacillating elements to your side which always follow the strongest impulse, and which always look out for the safer side; force your enemies to a retreat before they can collect their strength against you; in the words of Danton, the greatest master of revolutionary policy yet known, de l'audace, de l'audace, encore de l'audace!
Karl Marx
There can be no doubt–and this very fact has led to false conceptions–that the great revolutions that took place in trade in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, along with the geographical discoveries of that epoch, and which rapidly advanced the development of commercial capital, were a major moment in promoting the transition from the feudal to the capitalist mode of production. The sudden expansion of the world market, the multiplication of commodities in circulation, the competition among the European nations for the seizure of Asiatic products and American treasures, the colonial system, all made a fundamental contribution towards shattering the feudal barriers to production. And yet the modern mode of production in its first period, that of manufacture, developed only where the conditions for it had been created in the Middle Ages. Compare Holland with Portugal, for example.49 And whereas in the sixteenth century, and partly still in the seventeenth, the sudden expansion of trade and the creation of a new world market had an overwhelming influence on the defeat of the old mode of production and the rise of the capitalist mode, this happened in reverse on the basis of the capitalist mode of production, once it had been created. The world market itself forms the basis for this mode of production. On the other hand, the immanent need that this has to produce on an ever greater scale drives it to the constant expansion of the world market, so that now it is not trade that revolutionizes industry, but rather industry that constantly revolutionizes trade. Moreover, commercial supremacy is now linked with the greater or lesser prevalence of the conditions for large-scale industry. Compare England and Holland, for example. The history of Holland’s decline as the dominant trading nation is the history of the subordination of commercial capital to industrial capital. The
Karl Marx (Capital: Critique of Political Economy, Vol 3)
This is not a hypothetical example. In the middle of the nineteenth century Karl Marx reached brilliant economic insights. Based on these insights he predicted an increasingly violent conflict between the proletariat and the capitalists, ending with the inevitable victory of the former and the collapse of the capitalist system. Marx was certain that the revolution would start in countries that spearheaded the Industrial Revolution – such as Britain, France and the USA – and spread to the rest of the world. Marx forgot that capitalists know how to read. At first only a handful of disciples took Marx seriously and read his writings. But as these socialist firebrands gained adherents and power, the capitalists became alarmed. They too perused Das Kapital, adopting many of the tools and insights of Marxist analysis. In the twentieth century everybody from street urchins to presidents embraced a Marxist approach to economics and history. Even diehard capitalists who vehemently resisted the Marxist prognosis still made use of the Marxist diagnosis. When the CIA analysed the situation in Vietnam or Chile in the 1960s, it divided society into classes. When Nixon or Thatcher looked at the globe, they asked themselves who controls the vital means of production. From 1989 to 1991 George Bush oversaw the demise of the Evil Empire of communism, only to be defeated in the 1992 elections by Bill Clinton. Clinton’s winning campaign strategy was summarised in the motto: ‘It’s the economy, stupid.’ Marx could not have said it better. As people adopted the Marxist diagnosis, they changed their behaviour accordingly. Capitalists in countries such as Britain and France strove to better the lot of the workers, strengthen their national consciousness and integrate them into the political system. Consequently when workers began voting in elections and Labour gained power in one country after another, the capitalists could still sleep soundly in their beds. As a result, Marx’s predictions came to naught. Communist revolutions never engulfed the leading industrial powers such as Britain, France and the USA, and the dictatorship of the proletariat was consigned to the dustbin of history. This is the paradox of historical knowledge. Knowledge that does not change behaviour is useless. But knowledge that changes behaviour quickly loses its relevance. The more data we have and the better we understand history, the faster history alters its course, and the faster our knowledge becomes outdated.
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow)
The tactical situation seems simple enough. Thanks to Marx’s prophecy, the Communists knew for certain that misery must soon increase. They also knew that the party could not win the confidence of the workers without fighting for them, and with them, for an improvement of their lot. These two fundamental assumptions clearly determined the principles of their general tactics. Make the workers demand their share, back them up in every particular episode in their unceasing fight for bread and shelter. Fight with them tenaciously for the fulfilment of their practical demands, whether economic or political. Thus you will win their confidence. At the same time, the workers will learn that it is impossible for them to better their lot by these petty fights, and that nothing short of a wholesale revolution can bring about an improvement. For all these petty fights are bound to be unsuccessful; we know from Marx that the capitalists simply cannot continue to compromise and that, ultimately, misery must increase. Accordingly, the only result—but a valuable one—of the workers’ daily fight against their oppressors is an increase in their class consciousness; it is that feeling of unity which can be won only in battle, together with a desperate knowledge that only revolution can help them in their misery. When this stage is reached, then the hour has struck for the final show-down. This is the theory and the Communists acted accordingly. At first they support the workers in their fight to improve their lot. But, contrary to all expectations and prophecies, the fight is successful. The demands are granted. Obviously, the reason is that they had been too modest. Therefore one must demand more. But the demands are granted again44. And as misery decreases, the workers become less embittered, more ready to bargain for wages than to plot for revolution. Now the Communists find that their policy must be reversed. Something must be done to bring the law of increasing misery into operation. For instance, colonial unrest must be stirred up (even where there is no chance of a successful revolution), and with the general purpose of counteracting the bourgeoisification of the workers, a policy fomenting catastrophes of all sorts must be adopted. But this new policy destroys the confidence of the workers. The Communists lose their members, with the exception of those who are inexperienced in real political fights. They lose exactly those whom they describe as the ‘vanguard of the working class’; their tacitly implied principle: ‘The worse things are, the better they are, since misery must precipitate revolution’, makes the workers suspicious—the better the application of this principle, the worse are the suspicions entertained by the workers. For they are realists; to obtain their confidence, one must work to improve their lot. Thus the policy must be reversed again: one is forced to fight for the immediate betterment of the workers’ lot and to hope at the same time for the opposite. With this, the ‘inner contradictions’ of the theory produce the last stage of confusion. It is the stage when it is hard to know who is the traitor, since treachery may be faithfulness and faithfulness treachery. It is the stage when those who followed the party not simply because it appeared to them (rightly, I am afraid) as the only vigorous movement with humanitarian ends, but especially because it was a movement based on a scientific theory, must either leave it, or sacrifice their intellectual integrity; for they must now learn to believe blindly in some authority. Ultimately, they must become mystics—hostile to reasonable argument. It seems that it is not only capitalism which is labouring under inner contradictions that threaten to bring about its downfall …
Karl Popper (The Open Society and Its Enemies)
Political power, properly so called, is merely the organised power of one class for oppressing another. If the proletariat during its contest with the bourgeoisie is compelled, by the force of circumstances, to organise itself as a class, if, by means of a revolution, it makes itself the ruling class, and, as such, sweeps away by force the old conditions of production, then it will, along with these conditions, have swept away the conditions for the existence of class antagonisms and of classes generally, and will thereby have abolished its own supremacy as a class.
Karl Marx (The Communist Manifesto)
The Bolshevik Revolution, which had happened only a quarter century earlier, had in contrast involved the embrace of concentrated authority as a means of overthrowing class enemies and consolidating a base from which a proletarian revolution would spread throughout the world. Karl Marx claimed, in the Communist Manifesto of 1848, that the industrialization capitalists had set in motion was simultaneously expanding and exploiting the working class, which would sooner or later liberate itself. Not content to wait for this to happen, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin sought to accelerate history in 1917 by seizing control of Russia and imposing Marxism on it, even though that state failed to fit Marx’s prediction that the revolution could only occur in an advanced industrial society. Stalin in turn fixed that problem by redesigning Russia to fit Marxist-Leninist ideology: he forced a largely agrarian nation with few traditions of liberty to become a heavily industrialized nation with no liberty at all. As a consequence, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was, at the end of World War II, the most authoritarian society anywhere on the face of the earth.
John Lewis Gaddis (The Cold War: A New History)
FREE CITIES AND THE BOURGEOISIE Contemporary conventional wisdom has it that democracy will not emerge without the existence of a strong middle class, that is, a group of people who own some property and are neither elites nor the rural poor. This notion finds its origins in English political development, which to a greater degree than any other European country (with the possible exception of Holland) saw the early emergence of cities and an urban-based bourgeoisie. The urban middle class played a key role in Parliament and gained substantial economic and political power well prior to the Civil War and Glorious Revolution. It was a powerful counterweight to the great lords and the king in their three-way contest for power. The rise of an urban bourgeoisie was part of a broader Western European shift that encompassed the Low Countries, northern Italy, and the Hanseatic port cities of northern Germany as well. This important phenomenon has been described at length by authors from Karl Marx to Max Weber to Henri Pirenne.15 Marx made the “rise of the bourgeoisie” the centerpiece of his entire theory of modernization, a necessary and inevitable stage in the developmental process of all societies. The existence of free cities explains, as we
Francis Fukuyama (The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution)
Between economic growth and social development, or the development of civil society A lot of classic social theory links the emergence of modern civil society to economic development.28 Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations noted that the growth of markets was related to the division of labor in society: as markets expand and firms take advantage of economies of scale, social specialization increases and new social groups (for example, the industrial working class) emerge. The fluidity and open access demanded by modern market economies undermine many traditional forms of social authority and force their replacement with more flexible, voluntary forms of association. The theme of the transformative effects of the expanding division of labor was central to the writings of nineteenth-century thinkers like Karl Marx, Max Weber, and Émile Durkheim.
Francis Fukuyama (The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution)
Among ideas, legitimacy, and all of the other dimensions of development Ideas concerning legitimacy develop according to their own logic, but they are also shaped by economic, political, and social development. The history of the twentieth century would have looked quite different without the writings of an obscure scribbler in the British Library, Karl Marx, who systematized a critique of early capitalism. Similarly, communism collapsed in 1989 largely because few people any longer believed in the foundational ideas of Marxism-Leninism. Conversely, developments in economics and politics affect the kinds of ideas that people regard as legitimate. The Rights of Man seemed more plausible to French people because of the changes that had taken place in France’s class structure and the rising expectations of the new middle classes in the later eighteenth century. The spectacular financial crises and economic setbacks of 1929–1931 undermined the legitimacy of certain capitalist institutions and led the way to the legitimization of greater state control over the economy. The subsequent growth of large welfare states, and the economic stagnation and inflation that they appeared to encourage, laid the groundwork for the conservative Reagan-Thatcher revolutions of the 1980s. Similarly, the failure of socialism to deliver on its promises of modernization and equality led to its being discredited in the minds of many who lived under communism. Economic growth can also create legitimacy for the governments that succeed in fostering it. Many fast-developing countries in East Asia, such as Singapore and Malaysia, have maintained popular support despite their lack of liberal democracy for this reason. Conversely, the reversal of economic growth through economic crisis or mismanagement can be destabilizing, as it was for the dictatorship in Indonesia after the financial crisis of 1997–1998.33 Legitimacy also rests on the distribution of the benefits of growth. Growth that goes to a small oligarchy at the top of the society without being broadly shared often mobilizes social groups against the political system. This is what happened in Mexico under the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz, who ruled the country from 1876 to 1880 and again from 1884 to 1911. National income grew rapidly in this period, but property rights existed only for a wealthy elite, which set the stage for the Mexican Revolution of 1911 and a long period of civil war and instability as underprivileged groups fought for their share of national income. In more recent times, the legitimacy of democratic systems in Venezuela and Bolivia has been challenged by populist leaders whose political base is poor and otherwise marginalized groups.34
Francis Fukuyama (The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution)
Die Gesamtheit dieser Produktionsverhältnisse bildet die ökonomische Struktur der Gesellschaft, die reale Basis, worauf sich ein juristischer und politischer Überbau erhebt und welcher bestimmte gesellschaftliche Bewußtseinsformen entsprechen. Die Produktionsweise des materiellen Lebens bedingt den sozialen, politischen und geistigen Lebensprozeß überhaupt. Es ist nicht das Bewußtsein der Menschen, das ihr Sein, sondern umgekehrt ihr gesellschaftliches Sein, das ihr Bewußtsein bestimmt. Auf einer gewissen Stufe ihrer Entwicklung geraten die materiellen Produktivkräfte der Gesellschaft in Widerspruch mit den vorhandenen Produktionsverhältnissen oder, was nur ein juristischer Ausdruck dafür ist, mit den Eigentumsverhältnissen, innerhalb deren sie sich bisher bewegt hatten.
Karl Marx (A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy)
HOW TO MAKE A REVOLUTIONARY CONSCIOUSNESS IS: educate yourself. On the train, for example, read the same two pages of Das Kapital over and over, willing them to make sense.
Garth Risk Hallberg
Man is the highest essence of man, hence with the categorical imperative to overthrow all relations in which man is a debased, enslaved, abandoned, despicable essence.
Karl Marx
European revolutions followed textbooks—Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man, Karl Marx’ Communist Manifesto or Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf—while Mexicans wrote their texts after the fighting was over.
Richard Grabman (Gods, Gachupines and Gringos: A People's History of Mexico)
A second and more practical, but less systematic, form of this Socialism sought to depreciate every revolutionary movement in the eyes of the working class, by showing that no mere political reform, but only a change in the material conditions of existence, in economic relations, could be of any advantage to them. By changes in the material conditions of existence, this form of Socialism, however, by no means understands abolition of the bourgeois relations of production, an abolition that can be effected only by a revolution, but administrative reforms, based on the continued existence of these relations; reforms, therefore, that in no respect affect the relations between capital and labour, but, at the best, lessen the cost, and simplify the administrative work, of bourgeois government.
Karl Marx (The Communist Manifesto)
Page 204: In an 1848 address, he (Karl Marx) observed: "Generally speaking, the Protective system in these days is conservative, while the Free Trade system works destructively. It breaks up old nationalities and carries antagonism of proletariat and bourgeoisie to the uttermost point. In a work, the Free Trade system hastens the Social Revolution. In this revolutionary sense alone, gentlemen, I am in favor of Free Trade." … the neo-fascist right is more likely than the cosmopolitan left to benefit from erosion of living standards by free-market globalism. Laissez-faire globalism may breed its own nemesis, in the form of the most radical and destructive kinds of ethnic nationalism and economic statism.
Michael Lind (The Next American Nation: The New Nationalism and the Fourth American Revolution)
Of the Russian exiles, Lenin is the last I should have picked as a man of destiny. [Angelica] Balabanoff says that she cannot remember where she first met Lenin and that even when she became conscious of his existence he made no impression upon her. Many others would say the same, but I remember vividly my first meeting with him. It was at dinner in a small Greek restaurant in Soho, not far from the house which bears the tablet commemorating the fact that Karl Marx once lived there. I met him again at Stuttgart, [at the International Socialist Congress] in 1907. In the meantime he had acquired the reputation of being a brilliant student of Marxian economics, a dangerous antagonist in all intra-party controversies and a master of revolutionary tactics and sectarian conspiracies. At the conference he was usually surrounded by a small group of whispering disciples. … Some of Lenin's enemies believed that he was a paid emissary of the Russian police. His tactics and the dissensions which he promoted among the Russian socialists aroused suspicion. He was a fanatic, a disorganizer, a sectarian, who gave no indication in pre-war days of having the qualities of a national leader. He won his battles but they were always directed against his comrades.
Robert Hunter (Revolution Why, How, When?)
Given all these conditions, it is not surprising that a section of the intelligentsia grew receptive to the ideology of proletarian socialist revolution being propagated by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. In a number of European countries there existed by this time Social Democratic parties professing Marxism as their program and acting in the name of the industrial working class as their principal constituency.
Robert C. Tucker (Stalin as Revolutionary: A Study in History and Personality, 1879-1929)
Since The Great Recession, the global financial crash of 2008-09, the debt-fuelled post-recession recovery has been the weakest in the post-war era (since the end of World War Two). Whereas total outstanding credit in the US after the Wall Street Crash grew from 160% to 260% of GDP between 1929 and 1932, the figure rose from 365% in 2008 to 540% in 2010. (And this does not include derivatives, whose nominal outstanding value is at least four times GDP).[34] A long depression and rising right-wing populism have followed, including the stunning ascendency of property tycoon and TV celebrity demagogue Donald Trump as the President of the US in 2016.[35] The British public’s vote in June 2016 to leave the EU delivered another shock of global significance. A chronic drift towards trade wars and protectionism is accelerating and in January 2018, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said that “great power competition, not terrorism, is now the primary focus of US national security”, putting Russia, China and – yes – Europe in the crosshairs of the world’s long-time dominant economic and military power. Adding to this age of anxiety is the accelerating automation revolution. What should be an emancipatory and utopian development only generates insecurity at the prospect of unprecedented mass unemployment. It can be no coincidence that all these crises are converging at exactly the same time. They cannot be explained away by cynical and shallow generalisations about ‘human nature’. In the course of this investigation we will see that in fact all of these crises have a common root cause: the decaying nature of capitalism and its tendency towards breakdown. Indeed, average Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rates in the world’s richest countries have fallen in every decade since the 1960s and are clearly closing in on zero. Rates of profit, manufacturing costs and commodity prices are also trending towards zero. Drawing on Henryk Grossman’s vital clarification of Karl Marx’s methodology, we shall see that capitalism is heading inexorably towards a final, insurmountable breakdown that is destined to strike much earlier than a zero rate of profit. Indeed, we shall also see that the next, imminent economic crash will result in worldwide hyperinflation. We will also show that the economic crisis is intensifying competition between nation-states, forcing them into a situation which threatens the most destructive world war to date.
Ted Reese (Socialism or Extinction: Climate, Automation and War in the Final Capitalist Breakdown)
(In Marxist theory, the middle class is always the real impediment to a true revolution. No wonder Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels said in The Communist Manifesto that the “bourgeois,” “the middle-class owner of property” must be “swept out of the way. . . .” and that the “first step in the revolution by the working class, is to raise the proletariat to the position of the ruling class, to establish democracy” and then “centralize all instruments of production in the hands of the state.”)
Mary Grabar (Debunking Howard Zinn: Exposing the Fake History That Turned a Generation against America)
Word arrived of an uprising in the Prussian region of Silesia. For the likes of Marx and the workers in Paris this was electrifying as a portent of what was to come. On June 4th 1844, driven mad by their misery, a group of weavers marched on the home of a pair of Prussian industrialist brothers, demanding higher pay, and singing, “You villains all, You hellish drones / You knaves in Satan’s raiment!/ You gobble all the poor man owns / Our curses be your payment!” The protestors were beyond desperate, beyond furious. Men, women and children had been subjected to such low wages that some of the workers had starved. Their demands denied, the enraged weavers stormed the house and destroyed it….
Mary Gabriel (Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution)
Karl Marx, observing this disruption in the middle decades of the nineteenth century, could not accept the English evolutionary explanation for the emergence of capitalism. He believed that coercion had been absolutely necessary in effecting this transformation. Marx traced that force to a new class of men who coalesced around their shared interest in production, particularly their need to organize laboring men and women in new work patterns. Separating poor people from the tools and farm plots that conferred independence, according to Marx, became paramount in the capitalists’ grand plan.6 He also stressed the accumulation of capital as a first step in moving away from traditional economic ways. I don’t agree. As Europe’s cathedrals indicate, there was sufficient money to produce great buildings and many other structures like roads, canals, windmills, irrigation systems, and wharves. The accumulation of cultural capital, especially the know-how and desire to innovate in productive ways, proved more decisive in capitalism’s history. And it could come from a duke who took the time to figure out how to exploit the coal on his property or a farmer who scaled back his leisure time in order to build fences against invasive animals. What factory work made much more obvious than the tenant farmer-landlord relationship was the fact that the owner of the factory profited from each worker’s labor. The sale of factory goods paid a meager wage to the laborers and handsome returns to the owners. Employers extracted the surplus value of labor, as Marx called it, and accumulated money for further ventures that would skim off more of the wealth that laborers created but didn’t get to keep. These relations of workers and employers to production created the class relations in capitalist society. The carriers of these novel practices, Marx said, were outsiders—men detached from the mores of their traditional societies—propelled forward by their narrow self-interest. With the cohesion of shared political goals, the capitalists challenged the established order and precipitated the class conflict that for Marx operated as the engine of change. Implicit in Marx’s argument is that the market worked to the exclusive advantage of capitalists. In the early twentieth century another astute philosopher, Max Weber, assessed the grand theories of Smith and Marx and found both of them wanting in one crucial feature: They gave attitudes to men and women that they couldn’t possibly have had before capitalist practices arrived. Weber asked how the values, habits, and modes of reasoning that were essential to progressive economic advance ever rooted themselves in the soil of premodern Europe characterized by other life rhythms and a moral vocabulary different in every respect. This inquiry had scarcely troubled English economists or historians before Weber because they operated on the assumption that human nature made men (little was said of women) natural bargainers and restless self-improvers, eager to be productive when productivity
Joyce Appleby (The Relentless Revolution: A History of Capitalism)
First, that capitalists invest in the pursuit of high returns; when and where returns go down, capital accumulation tends to go down as well. Second, that as capitalists as a class accumulate more and more capital, the productivity of capital becomes lower because there are not enough workers to work with it. In economics this is known as diminishing returns. It has a long pedigree. French economist Anne Robert Jacques Turgot, who was briefly France’s finance minister and one of the many experts who tried unsuccessfully to head off France’s headlong descent into the economic chaos that eventually precipitated the French Revolution, wrote about it in 1767.30 Karl Marx took it as a premise. As he saw it, this was why capitalism was doomed: the insatiable greed of the capitalist class in the pursuit of more and more capital will drive the return on capital into the ground (in Marxist parlance this is called the “falling rate of profit”) and precipitate the crises that eventually end capitalism.31
Abhijit V. Banerjee (Good Economics for Hard Times: Better Answers to Our Biggest Problems)
Our culture is also built on something no bacterium or chimp can conceive. It’s built on an ancestor worship that keeps our ancient trail of insights alive for hundreds of generations and passes them down the line. We worship ancestors more than we know. In science, we invoke their names to validate our scientific claims. We refer to Plato, Aristotle, Newton, Darwin, and Einstein. [...] In political life, we invoke our founding fathers [...]. Islam invokes the memory of Mohammed and has produced tens of thousands of pages recording nearly every moment of his life. Buddhism is built on the memory of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha. And antiglobalism and anticapitalism keep alive the spirit of the French Revolution, Karl Marx, and Michele Foucault. The result is a layer-upon-layer crepe-cake of thought-tools that accumulates the way that bacterial stromatolites rise from the bottom of the sea and reach for the sky. But this multilayered monument exists in imagination and achievement. It exists as a product of human minds.
Steven J. Dick (Cosmos & Culture: Cultural Evolution in a Cosmic Context)
As a historical materialist and African Internationalist, Yeshitela is not a Marxist, but uses his critique of the works of Karl Marx as a building block for the theory of African Internationalism. Chairman Omali quotes Marx to show that, limited by his own European viewpoint on the pedestal of colonialism and slavery, Marx was not capable of understanding the significance of his own words. Marx summed up the ruthless and bloody enslavement of African people, genocide of the Indigenous people, the conquest and looting of India with the term “primitive accumulation” of capital. If Marx had comprehended his own words, he would have “been forced to declare that the road to socialism is painted black,” the Chairman argues.
Omali Yeshitela (An Uneasy Equilibrium: The African Revolution versus Parasitic Capitalism)
1848…..they returned to Cologne to begin a new working-class group there. By April it had eight thousand members. Almost immediately, Marx disagreed with its leader Gottschalk over tactics. Gottschalk preferred explosive rhetoric about worker’s rights and arming a people’s militia, communist notions that terrified the middle classes of Germany who were afraid the rights just won would be lost with a revolt by the more numerous lower classes. Marx, however, believed that although the pace of change was frustrating, historical development was slow, and before there could be proletariat rule, there had to be middle-class rule. In any case, a proletariat ‘class’ barely existed in Germany. The number of people who labored with their hands was great, but they were disorganized and did not as yet recognize their own strength. To support the ultimate goal of that group, Marx believed one had to work for middle-class democracy. Viewing upcoming elections as just such an opportunity, he encouraged participation to ensure by democratic candidates over reactionaries who would roll back on reforms. Marx further believed that any newspaper he and his associates published In Colgne had to be democratic not communist, because in Germany democracy was the ideology with the greater immediate potential. If they had chosen to produce an ultra-radical newspaper, Engels said, ‘there was nothing left for us to do but to preach communism in a little provincial sheet and to found a tiny sect instead of a great party of action.’ The pragmatic approach was not unlike the one Marx had taken during his tenure as editor…
Mary Gabriel (Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution)
Big business was certainly producing and reproducing racist policies and ideas to divide and conquer the working class, decrease its labor costs, and increase its political power. However, the CPUSA downplayed or ignored the ways in which White laborers and unions were discriminating against and degrading Black laborers to increase their own wages, improve their own working conditions, and bolster their own political power. And why would White labor not continue ruling Black labor if labor gained political and economic control over capital in the United States? The Communists did not address that; nor did they address their own racist ideas during these formative years, which were pointed out by the antiracist Blacks joining their ranks. In seeking to unify the working class, CPUSA leaders focused their early recruiting efforts on racist White laborers. They refused to update Karl Marx’s scriptures to account for their deeply racialized nation in 1919. CPUSA officials typically stayed silent on what it might mean for the future of racism if a Communist revolution took place that did not simultaneously support a revolution against racism.15
Ibram X. Kendi (Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America)
According to this conception, the ultimate causes of all social changes and political revolutions are not increasing insight into justice; they are to be sought not in the philosophy but in the economics of the epoch concerned. The growing realization that existing social institutions are irrational and unjust is only a symptom …’ It is the theory of which a modern Marxist says: ‘In founding socialist aspirations on a rational economic law of social development, instead of justifying them on moral grounds, Marx and Engels proclaimed socialism a historical necessity.
Karl Popper (The Open Society and Its Enemies)
The separation between the Man of Labour and the Instruments of Labout once established, such a state of things will maintain itself and reproduce itself upon a constantly increasing scale, until a new and fundamental revolution in the mode of production should again overturn it, and restore the original union in a new historical form.
Karl Marx (Wage-Labour and Capital/Value, Price and Profit)
The broad use of state in Hegelese presents translation problems. Marx’s early formulations, in the Hegelian spirit, often come close to counterposing the state concept (the ideal state) against what we would now understand by the term.
Hal Draper (Karl Marx’s Theory of Revolution I)
More specific material relating to the bourgeois state will be found in subsequent volumes. This approach is of a piece with Marx’s. One must remember that most of the states that Marx had occasion to discuss were not capitalist states—as yet—even in Europe, let alone throughout the rest of the world. From the standpoint of theory this is a good thing, since no phenomenon can be thoroughly understood if only one specimen or type is available for examination. The literature of Marxism and marxology is unfortunately full of statements about Marx’s views which actually apply only to capitalism and the bourgeois era, and which require at least considerable qualification as soon as the focus is widened to include most of the world and world history. It is a form of ethnocentrism.
Hal Draper (Karl Marx’s Theory of Revolution I)
Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.
Karl Marx (The Communist Manifesto)
But English history has demonstrated well enough how the assertion of divine inspiration from above evokes the counterassertion of divine inspiration from below, and Charles I mounted the scaffold by virtue of divine inspiration from below.
Hal Draper (Karl Marx’s Theory of Revolution I)
Censorship places us all in subjection, just as under despotism we are all equal … that kind of freedom of the press acts to introduce oligarchy into questions of the spirit. … That [kind of] freedom of the press pushes presumptuousness to the point of forestalling world history, substituting itself for the voice of the people. …
Hal Draper (Karl Marx’s Theory of Revolution I)
Who is Friedrich Engels?” “He was Karl Marx’s inspiration for the Communist Manifesto. The early nineteenth century was a dark time for the workingman. The majority of the children born to working-class parents died before the age of five. So while Engels wrote about a political revolution, Dickens was writing about a different kind of revolution—a revolution of the heart. He was writing about the things he wrote about in his other books, the welfare of children and the need for social charity.
Richard Paul Evans (The Mistletoe Promise (Mistletoe #1))
In the struggle against that state of affairs, criticism is no passion of the head, it is the head of passion. It is not a lancet, it is a weapon. Its object is its enemy, which it wants not to refute but to exterminate. For the spirit of that state of affairs is refuted. In itself, it is no object worthy of thought, it is an existence which is as despicable as it is despised. Criticism does not need to make things clear to itself as regards this object, for it has already settled accounts with it. It no longer assumes the quality of an end-in-itself, but only of a means. Its essential pathos is indignation, its essential work is denunciation.
Karl Marx (Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right)
Through capitalism we gain, but we also lose. The loss, Smith felt, was felt most among the lowest classes—his particular example was employees in a pin factory—whose cramped place in the chain of production leaves no room for the enlargement of the mind and spirit, which the freedom of commercial society should open up. Smith in fact defined the problem of the “assembly line” mentality of factory workers almost two decades before the Industrial Revolution got fully under way—the problem that Karl Marx and his followers would call alienation. It was especially worrisome to Smith, because “in free countries, where the safety of government depends very much upon the favourable judgement which the people may form of its conduct,” a mass of ignorant, culturally degraded citizens easily becomes an immense drag on the system. They become easy prey to demagogues and applaud every attempt to undermine the foundations of that “natural liberty” which they have enjoyed in the first place.
Arthur Herman (How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe's Poorest Nation Created Our World and Everything In It)
Nowadays, the idea of development, of evolution, has penetrated the social consciousness almost in its entirety, but by other ways, not through Hegelian philosophy. But as formulated by Marx and Engels basing themselves on Hegel, this idea is far more comprehensive, far richer in content than the current idea of evolution. A development that seemingly repeats the stages already passed, but repeats them differently, on a higher basis (‘negation of negation’), a development, so to speak, in a spiral, not in a straight line; a development by leaps, catastrophes and revolutions; ‘breaks in continuity’; the transformation of quantity into quality; inner impulses to development, imparted by the contradiction and conflict of the various forces and tendencies acting on a given body, or within a given phenomenon, or within a given society; the interdependence and the closest, indissoluble connection of all sides of every phenomenon (history constantly discloses ever new sides), a connection that provides a uniform, law governed, universal process of motion - such are some of the features of dialectics as a richer (than the ordinary) doctrine of development.
Vladimir Lenin (Karl Marx)
But the working class cannot simply lay hold of the ready-made state machinery, and wield it for its own purposes.
Karl Marx (The Civil War in France)
We were restored, in the first place, because other nations dared to make a revolution, and, in the second place, because other nations suffered a counter revolution: in the first place, because our masters were afraid, and, in the second place, because they regained their courage.
Karl Marx (Selected Essays)
The Communist Party and Karl Marx were names I had picked up on since coming to Blantyre, so I read what I could on the subject. The very last English essay I wrote in May 1961, before leaving school, was a biographical sketch of Karl Marx together with a synopsis of The Communist Manifesto, outlining Marx and Frederick Engels’s views of revolution as a consequence of the class struggle.
Stuart Christie (My Granny Made Me an Anarchist. The Christie File: Part 1, 1946 - 1964 (The cultural and political formation of a West of Scotland 'baby-boomer'))
Marx envisioned an apocalyptic revolution leading to the overthrow of capitalism by the impoverished working class, the common people, the masses—the so-called “proletariat.” The stage in the revolutionary process immediately following this overthrow would be that of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. That “dictatorship” would be a waystation on the road to the ultimate utopian goal of a “classless society.” The state, in the process, would be abolished; it would die out; it would “wither away.” With a classless society, class antagonisms would hence disappear, as would conflict (including armed conflict), as would economic inequality, as would social inequality, and peace and harmony would follow. Society would evolve through dialectical stages: from feudalism to capitalism to socialism to communism.
Paul Kengor (The Devil and Karl Marx: Communism's Long March of Death, Deception, and Infiltration)
He stated emphatically that “Socialism cannot be brought into existence without revolution.
Paul Kengor (The Devil and Karl Marx: Communism's Long March of Death, Deception, and Infiltration)
The so-called revolutions of 1848 were but poor incidents — small fractures and fissures in the dry crust of European society. However, they denounced the abyss. Beneath the apparently solid surface, they betrayed oceans of liquid matter, only needing expansion to rend into fragments continents of hard rock. Noisily and confusedly they proclaimed the emancipation of the Proletarian, i.e. the secret of the 19th century, and of the revolution of that century." - Speech at anniversary of the People’s Paper, April 1856
Karl Marx
That social revolution, it is true, was no novelty invented in 1848. Steam, electricity, and the self-acting mule were revolutionists of a rather more dangerous character than even citizens Barbés, Raspail and Blanqui." - Speech at anniversary of the People’s Paper, April 1856
Karl Marx
In the signs that bewilder the middle class, the aristocracy and the poor prophets of regression, we do recognise our brave friend, Robin Goodfellow, the old mole that can work in the earth so fast, that worthy pioneer — the Revolution. The English working men are the firstborn sons of modern industry. They will then, certainly, not be the last in aiding the social revolution produced by that industry, a revolution, which means the emancipation of their own class all over the world, which is as universal as capital-rule and wages-slavery. I know the heroic struggles the English working class have gone through since the middle of the last century — struggles less glorious, because they are shrouded in obscurity, and burked by the middleclass historian. " - Speech at anniversary of the People’s Paper, April 1856
Karl Marx
Welch became more confident that the press was reporting his words more accurately, but that worked against him because his discourses on the rise of the Illuminati or the Insiders made him sound strange to some, or worse. In September 1973, he sat for the Boston Globe and just purged. He told the reporter that it all began in Bavaria on May 1, 1776, when Baron Adam Weishaupt founded the Order of the Illuminati. It's all in a book by John Robinson, Welch explained. But the Illuminati were forced underground when Bavarian authorities raided their headquarters. The reporter's eyes probably widened. But by 1840, the Illuminati was strong and produced the Great Revolution of 1848 and the League of the Just Men, which hired Karl Marx to draft Das Kapital. The conspiracy was on the doorsteps of Russia by 1905, Welch continued, and in 1917, the agents of the Illuminati, Lenin, Stalin, and Trotsky, threw over the czars, with funding from the Rotschilds. Welch was on fire now. The Insiders, he continued, went to Yale and Harvard, grew up with all the advantages, controlled American politics and international banking, and wanted to enslave everyone else. In 1912, the Insiders brought in Woodrow Wilson to drag the country into World War I. They convinced America to fight World War II with assistance from Insiders like President Roosevelt and George Marshall. They master-planned the civil rights revolution, and they work through the UN, the Council on Foreign Relations, and tax-free foundations. Perhaps the reporter nodded now and then, encouraging him on.
Edward H. Miller (A Conspiratorial Life: Robert Welch, the John Birch Society, and the Revolution of American Conservatism)
Critical theory grew out of the Marxism of the 1800s. Karl Marx taught that all of history has been one long economic class struggle between oppressed and oppressor groups, and that the only way for the oppressed to be liberated was for them to engage in violent revolution toward socialism. In the 1930s, intellectuals of the Frankfurt School in Germany broadened Marx's analysis to apply not only to economics but also to culture and mass media. In the decades that followed, this basic framework was extended to other areas: race, gender, sexuality, physical ability, and a host of other identity markers. Like the working class in Marx's analysis, people of color, women, and those in the LGBTQ community were identified as victims of social structures that empowered their oppressors and kept them marginalized.
Natasha Crain
All property relations in the past have continually been subject to historical change consequent upon the change in historical conditions. The French Revolution, for example, abolished feudal property in favor of bourgeois property.
Karl Marx (The Communist Manifesto)
We do not here refer to that literature which, in every great modern revolution, has always given voice to the demands of the proletariat, such as the writings of Babeuf and others.
Karl Marx (The Communist Manifesto)
Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains.
Karl Marx (The Communist Manifesto)
The minority puts a dogmatic view in place of the critical, and an idealist one in place of the materialist. They regard mere discontent, instead of real conditions, as the driving wheel of revolution. Whereas we tell the workers: You have to go through fifteen, twenty, fifty years of civil wars and national struggles, not only in order to change conditions but also to change yourselves and make yourself capable of political rule, you, on the contrary, say: ‘We must come to power immediately, or else we may as well go to sleep.’ Whilst we make a special point of directing the German workers’ attention to the undeveloped state of the German proletariat, you flatter the national feeling and the status-prejudice of the German artisans in the crudest possible way—which, admittedly, is more popular. Just as the word ‘people’ has been made holy by the democrats, so the word ‘proletariat’ has been made holy by you.
Karl Marx
I can see you smile and say: what good will that do? Revolutions are not made by shame. And my answer is that shame is a revolution in itself; it really is the victory of the French Revolution over that German patriotism which defeated it in 1813. Shame is a kind of anger turned in on itself. And if a whole nation were to feel ashamed it would be like a lion recoiling in order to spring.
Karl Marx
PROLETARIAT. This is the term used by Karl Marx to refer to the working class, and it is defined as the class within capitalism that does not own the means of production, the class that owns nothing other than its labor power. The proletariat is locked in struggle with the bourgeoisie which owns and controls the means of production, and by extension controls the state. Gradually developing in size, organization, and class consciousness the proletariat, Marx believes, will bring about revolutionary change, overthrowing capitalism and instituting communism after a transitional phase of the dictatorship of the proletariat. With the advent of communism and the abolition of private property the proletariat along with all other classes will disappear. There are a number of significant problems with Marx’s notion of the proletariat. First, Marx nowhere develops a theory of class and fails to offer more than a terse definition of the proletariat. This means that it is very difficult to determine exactly who falls into the category of proletarian. For example, managers, professionals, intellectuals and housewives/husbands are all propertyless, but it is not clear if they should be included in the proletariat since they do not create value and in the case of managers and professionals in particular they may earn vastly more than and see themselves very differently from a more typical member of the proletariat such as a factory worker. Also, there is the problem of the lack of a revolutionary consciousness emerging in the proletariat, which has led to some Marxists, such as Vladimir Ilich Lenin, arguing for a vanguard party to import revolutionary consciousness into the proletariat, and others, for example the members of the Frankfurt School, taking a more pessimistic view of the possibility of the proletariat being an agent of revolution at all.
Walker David (Historical Dictionary of Marxism (Historical Dictionaries of Religions, Philosophies, and Movements Series))
The social revolution of the nineteenth century cannot take its poetry from the past but only from the future.
Karl Marx (The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte)
Drawing on her humanist readings of Karl Marx, Grace urges us to analyze not only the material forms of inequality caused by capitalism but also the dehumanization and spiritual impoverishment inherent in a society dominated by money relations.
Grace Lee Boggs (The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century)
Meantime the markets kept ever growing, the demand ever rising. Even manufacture no longer sufficed. Thereupon steam and machinery revolutionized industrial production. The place of manufacture was taken by the giant, Modern Industry, the place of the industrial middle class, by industrial millionaires, the leaders of whole industrial armies, the modern bourgeois. Modern industry has established the world's market, for which the discovery of America paved the way. The market has given an immense development to commerce, to navigation, to communication by land. This development has, in its turn, reacted on the extension of industry; and in proportion as industry, commerce, navigation and railways extended, in the same proportion the bourgeoisie developed, increased its capital, and pushed into the background every class handed down from the middle ages. We see, therefore, how the modern bourgeoisie is itself the product of a long course of development, of a series of revolutions in the modes of production and of exchange.
Karl Marx (The Communist Manifesto)
Finally, in times when the class struggle nears the decisive hour, the process of dissolution going on within the ruling class, in fact within the whole range of old society, assumes such a violent, glaring character, that a small section of the ruling class cuts itself adrift, and joins the revolutionary class, the class that holds the future in its hands. Just as, therefore, at an earlier period, a section of the nobility went over to the bourgeoisie, so now a portion of the bourgeoisie goes over to the proletariat, and in particular, a portion of the bourgeois ideologists, who have raised themselves to the level of comprehending theoretically the historical movement as a whole. Of all the classes that stand face to face with the bourgeoisie to-day, the proletariat alone is a really revolutionary class. The other classes decay and finally disappear in the face of modern industry; the proletariat is its special and essential product. The lower middle class, the small manufacturer, the shopkeeper, the artisan, the peasant, all these fight against the bourgeoisie to save from extinction their existence as fractions of the middle class. They are therefore not revolutionary, but conservative. Nay, more, they are reactionary, for they try to roll back the wheel of history. If by chance they are revolutionary, they are so only in view of their impending transfer into the proletariat; they thus defend not their present, but their future interests, they desert their own standpoint to place themselves at that of the proletariat. The "dangerous class," the social scum, that passively rotting class thrown off by the lowest layers of old society, may, here and there, be swept into the movement by a proletarian revolution; its conditions of life, however, prepare it far more for the part of a bribed tool of reactionary intrigue. In the conditions of the proletariat, those of old society at large are already virtually swamped. The proletarian is without property; his relation to his wife and children has no longer anything in common with the bourgeois family relations; modern industrial labor, modern subjection to capital, the same in England as in France, in America as in Germany, has stripped him of every trace of national character. Law, morality, religion, are to him so many bourgeois prejudices, behind which lurk in ambush just as many bourgeois interests.
Karl Marx (The Communist Manifesto)
the schemes of the International Jews. The adherents of this sinister confederacy are mostly men reared up among the unhappy populations of countries where Jews are persecuted on account of their race. Most, if not all of them, have forsaken the faith of their forefathers, and divorced from their minds all spiritual hopes of the next world. This movement among the Jews is not new. From the days of Spartacus-Weishaupt to those of Karl Marx, and down to Trotsky (Russia), Bela Kun (Hungary), Rosa Luxembourg (Germany), and Emma Goldman (United States), this world-wide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilisation and for the reconstitution of society on the basis of arrested development, of envious malevolence, and impossible equality, has been steadily growing. It played, as a modern writer, Mrs. Webster, has so ably shown, a definitely recognisable part in the tragedy of the French Revolution. It has been the mainspring of every subversive movement during the Nineteenth Century; and now at last this band of extraordinary personalities from the underworld of the great cities of Europe and America have gripped the Russian people by the hair of their heads and have become practically the undisputed masters of that enormous empire.
Winston S. Churchill (Zionism Versus Bolshevism)
The united front was a development of a new tactical line by the Communist International in 1935. This new tactical line was developed at the seventh world congress of the Communist International in Moscow in 1935. Georgi Dimitrov, general secretary of the Communist International, presented this new tactical line to the seventh world congress. Now, the essence of it was to infiltrate churches, trade unions and all other organizations through the process of involving them into a so-called united front on the basis of a program presented to them by the Communist Party. Now, the united front was a coalition or an alliance of the church, trade unions, farm and youth and women’s organizations of the Communist Party, under Communist Party leadership and for the promulgation of the Communist Party program. It was a step in the formation of a people’s front government, which of course is a form of transition to proletarian revolution and the seizure of power in a given country. As Dimitrov said, the united front is useful, but the final salvation is in a socialist revolution. The united front is used for revolutionary training of the masses.
Paul Kengor (The Devil and Karl Marx: Communism's Long March of Death, Deception, and Infiltration)
Notably, Johnson thereby had backed Ben Gitlow’s testimony regarding where and when this new tactical line had started: in Moscow in 1935. And the ultimate goal was not Christian salvation, of course, but the “final salvation” of a socialist revolution
Paul Kengor (The Devil and Karl Marx: Communism's Long March of Death, Deception, and Infiltration)