Karl Marx


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Karl Marx (1818–1883), German historian, philosopher, and revolutionary wrote The Communist Manifesto (1848);

"A spectre is haunting Europe -- the spectre of Communism. All the Powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Pope and Czar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police-spies. Where is the party in opposition that has not been decried as Communistic by its opponents in power? Where the Opposition that has not hurled back the branding reproach of Communism, against the more advanced opposition parties, as well as against its reactionary adversaries?"--Introduction to The Communist Manifesto

Karl Heinrich Marx was born on 5 May 1818 in Trier, Prussia (now Germany). Although the Marxs were Jewish they converted to Christianity due to Prussia's anti-Jewish laws of the time. Marx studied law and history at Bonn, and earned his PhD in Philosophy in 1841, basing his thesis on Democritus. Becoming a proponent of the dialectical Hegelian philosophy, he joined the `Left Hegelians' in Berlin. For a time he was editor of the pro-democratic, yet increasingly revolutionary Rheinische Zeitung, until the government suppressed it entirely in 1843. Marx next turned to the study of political economy. In 1843 he married his childhood friend Jenny von Westphalen (1814-1881) of bourgeois Prussian nobility. They would have seven children.

Having broken away from the Left Hegelians Bruno Bauer and Max Stirner, Marx moved to Paris in the 1840's where he met Friedrich Engels who became a life-long friend. Together they produced The German Ideology, the first substantial work of Marxist theory. Poverty of Philosophy was published in 1847. With the German and French governments increasingly critical of his revolutionary activities, Marx moved to Brussels where he and Engels joined the Communist League and together they outlined its purpose and program in The Communist Manifesto. Addressing the issues of class struggle, materialism, and the role of the proletariat, it is probably Marxs' most widely read work.

After being banished from Belgium, Marx lived in exile between France and Germany and suffered the harsh straits and degradations of poverty and rootlessness. The failures of the Revolutions in 1848-49 were also moral defeats for Marx. After settling in London, England where he remained for the rest of his life, Marx worked on the first volume of his critical analysis of capitalism, Das Capital (1867), a treatise of 20th century politics and economy. With influences from Jean Jacques Rousseau's Social Contract and Scottish political economist Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, it would profoundly "reveal the law of motion of modern society" and be influential in the formation of some of the world's future communist regimes. Engels would subsequently finish the second two volumes from Marxs' notes after his death.

By 1864, along with Engels, Marx was actively involved in the foundation of the International Working Men’s Association in London. The historic challenge to uniformly unite the proletariat in various labour movements in numerous countries was an enormous task that Marx set-to with great passion and dexterity. His monumental efforts however, took their toll on his health, and on 14 March 1883 Karl Marx died in London, still in somewhat impoverished circumstances. He now lies buried beside Jenny in the Highgate Cemetery in London, England. His gravestone reads "Workers of all lands, unite"

Biography written by C.D. Merriman for Jalic Inc. Copyright Jalic Inc. 2006. All Rights Reserved.

The above biography is copyrighted. Do not republish it without permission.

Recent Forum Posts on Karl Marx

Communism - Totalizing

I am hoping for some help with this question. I am not looking to debate whether or not Communsim is right/wrong or effective/ineffective etc. All I was wondering was whether Marx and/or Engels acknowledged that Communism needed to spread across the globe in order to be realized, or if that was a latter Trotsky addition. Obviously if you don't have a central authoritative governement, then you do not have a cohesive standing army and leave yourself wide open to attack - especiallt in the post industrialized era of planes, bombs and distance warfare. Trotsky openly acknowledged this - I want to know if he was the first.


Empfindungen. (Feelings)

Empfindungen. English translation: Feelings Never can I do in peace That with which my Soul’s obsessed, Never take things at my ease; I must press on without rest. Others only know elation When things go their peaceful way, Free with self-congratulation, Giving thanks each time they pray. I am caught in endless strife, Endless ferment, endless dream; I cannot conform to Life, Will not travel with the stream. Heaven I would comprehend, I would draw the world to me; Loving, hating, I intend That my star shine brilliantly. All things I would strive to win, All the blessings Gods impart, Grasp all knowledge deep within, Plumb the depths of Song and Art. Worlds I would destroy for ever, Since I can create no world, Since my call they notice never, Coursing dumb in magic whirl. Dead and dumb, they stare away At our deeds with scorn up yonder; We and all our works decay -- Heedless on their ways they wander. Yet their lot I would share never -- Swept on by the flooding tide, On through nothing rushing ever, Fretful in their Pomp and Pride. Swiftly fall and are destroyed Halls and bastions in their turn; As they fly into the Void, Yet another Empire’s born. So it rolls from year to year, From the Nothing to the All, From the Cradle to the Bier, Endless Rise and endless Fall. So the spirits go their way Till they are consumed outright, Till their Lords and Masters they Totally annihilate. Then let us traverse with daring That predestined God-drawn ring, Joy and Sorrow fully sharing As the scales of Fortune swing. Therefore let us risk our all, Never resting, never tiring; Not in silence dismal, dull, Without action or desiring; Not in brooding introspection Bowed beneath a yoke of pain, So that yearning, dream and action Unfulfilled to us remain. Since Karl Marx has his own subforum (why?), I thought I might as well post a piece of his poetry, which he wrote in juvenile years. I just found out that he also started to write a tragedy and a novel during his university years... Has anyone actually read one of his literary works? Here (German) and here (English) you can read some of his works online.


More on Marx: Critical Theory

In this post I continue the juxtaposition of the Baha'i Faith and Marxism which has interested me for some time.:idea: ________________ THE CRITIQUE GOES ON A 'critical theory' of society emerged in June 1844 with the Economical and Philosophical Manuscripts of Karl Marx. Marx had been working on his Manuscripts in the months before and after the Bab's declaration to Mulla Husayn in May 1844. Critical theory lay dormant after 1848 until 1917. The term 'critical theory' was not coined, though, until 1930 by Max Horkheimer. The first systematic philosophy of history or social theory, the precursor to Marx's critical theory, was Hegel's. Put another way, "the methodological basis of the critical theory of society" is to be found in "the dialectical logic of George F. Hegel."1 Hegel's first major works in philosophy were composed after Shaykh Ahmad had arrived in Iran to continue his work as a precursor of the Bab. Hegel died in 1831, five years after Shaykh Ahmad's passing. The entire history of critical theory, one of modern sociology's major theoretical orientations, has, for me, an interesting comparison and contrast, an interesting juxtaposition, with the history of the Babi and Baha'i religions and their precursors -Ron Price with thanks to 1R. George Kirkpatrick, George N. Katsiaficas, Mary Lou Emery, "Critical Theory and the Limits of Sociological Positivism," Transforming Sociology Series, Red Feather Institute, 1978, pp.1-21. You1 got a new lease on life in the late teens, say 1917 to 1921, when George Lukacs' work "History and Class Consciousness," was published and promulgated, when the Frankfurt School was born with its centre at Columbia by 1934. We, too, were articulating our architectural ediface, our institutional framework in these years up to the mid-'30s, not on a Marxian foundation as it was with you, with your critique, but on an ediface of some 75 years of infallible, authoritative, guidance. Yes, our world collapsed in the trenches. Liberalism had proved useless and socialism's death knell would be wrung.2 When all hope seemed lost in that decade of disillusionment,3 critical theory was born anew. And we had found our institutional form, then. In time, you had your Habermas4 and we had our House of Justice to provide the context for the search, the adequacy of perspective, the blending and harmonizing of salutary truths, the generation of spiritual nerves and sinews, tapping as they do the roots of motivation and the meaning of this Revelation. 1 Critical Theory 2 many sociologists have pointed out the end of socialism and liberalism, some say by the end of WWI, others by the end of WW2 and still others at various stages in the post-WWII period. Of course, there are many who still find hope in these 'isms. Perhaps what I say here is said in the booklet Baha'u'llah(p.1) a little differently: "a succession of ideological upheavals.....have exhausted themselves." 3 1930s 4 leading writer in 'critical theory.' Ron Price 18 October 2001:idea:


Bursting The Walls

In June 1852 Karl Marx obtained an admission card to the reading room of the British Museum. There he would sit from 10:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. every day, pouring over Blue Books of factory inspectors and perusing the immense documentation about the inequities of the operation of the capitalist system that was to become an important part of Das Kapital published in 1867. Here also, filling notebook after notebook, he deepened his knowledge of the British political economists whom he had begun to study during the Paris days. -Ron Price with thanks to Lewis A.. Coser, Masters of Sociological Thought: Ideas in Historical and Social Context, 2nd ed., Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., Fort Worth, 1977, pp. 63-65. In that same June 1852 Baha’u’llah began His last two months before His imprisonment in the Siyah Chal on August 16th 1852. He stayed at the summer residence of the brother of the Grand Visier in Lavasan outside Tihran. During this summer He was kept informed of the rising and ultimately engulfing tide of anger and hatred against Him, especially from the Shah’s mother. We are informed by Balyuzi that “Baha’u’llah remained calm and composed.”1 Baha’u’llah’s enemies wanted to arrest Him and while they were looking for Him Baha’u’llah rode out toward them without fear or panic.-Ron Price with thanks to H. Balyuzi, Baha’u’llah The King of Glory, George Ronald, Oxford, 1980, p.77. So much had got going back in ’44, manuscripts produced in that spring and summer, a fertile partnership,1 one in Paris and one in Shiraz, would transform the world. Much more got going in ’52 when a Revelation flowed out from His travailing soul, piercing the gloom of that pestilential pit and bursting its walls to propagate itself to the far ends of the earth. And from that museum, too, something would infuse the entire body of humankind with its potentialities shaping the course of human society. 1 Marx’s first writings The Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts date from the summer of 1844; the Bab’s manuscript, the Qayyum’u’l-Asma, written in May of 1844 was read later in the summer by a scholar named Qujjat and 1000s of Qujjat’s fellow townspeople in Zanjan became Babis. Ron Price July 15th 2006


Marx and the Anarchists

An interesting question arose elsewhere on the forum which has captured my attention: namely, "What is the relationship between Anarchists and Marxism. By the way, this post constitutes HISTORY and not POLITICS. A discussion of the Peloponnesian Wars during Herodotus' day was politics, but now it is history. Here are some things I quickly found, I must read them over and read the links in their entirety, but at least it is a start. diy-punk.org/anarchy/secA1.html (excerpts): Anarchism is a political theory which aims to create anarchy, "the absence of a master, of a sovereign." [P-J Proudhon, What is Property , p. 264] In other words, anarchism is a political theory which aims to create a society within which individuals freely co-operate together as equals. As such anarchism opposes all forms of hierarchical control - be that control by the state or a capitalist - as harmful to the individual and their individuality as well as unnecessary.


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