Quotes by Karl Marx
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Wikipedia Summary for Karl Marx
Karl Heinrich Marx (German: [maʁks]; 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, journalist and socialist revolutionary. Born in Trier, Germany, Marx studied law and philosophy at university. He married Jenny von Westphalen in 1843. Due to his political publications, Marx became stateless and lived in exile with his wife and children in London for decades, where he continued to develop his thought in collaboration with German thinker Friedrich Engels and publish his writings, researching in the reading room of the British Museum. His best-known titles are the 1848 pamphlet The Communist Manifesto and the three-volume Das Kapital (1867–1883). Marx's political and philosophical thought had enormous influence on subsequent intellectual, economic and political history. His name has been used as an adjective, a noun, and a school of social theory.
Marx's critical theories about society, economics, and politics, collectively understood as Marxism, hold that human societies develop through class conflict. In the capitalist mode of production, this manifests itself in the conflict between the ruling classes (known as the bourgeoisie) that control the means of production and the working classes (known as the proletariat) that enable these means by selling their labour-power in return for wages. Employing a critical approach known as historical materialism, Marx predicted that capitalism produced internal tensions like previous socioeconomic systems and that those would lead to its self-destruction and replacement by a new system known as the socialist mode of production.
For Marx, class antagonisms under capitalism, owing in part to its instability and crisis-prone nature, would eventuate the working class' development of class consciousness, leading to their conquest of political power and eventually the establishment of a classless, communist society constituted by a free association of producers. Marx actively pressed for its implementation, arguing that the working class should carry out organised proletarian revolutionary action to topple capitalism and bring about socio-economic emancipation.
Marx has been described as one of the most influential figures in human history and his work has been both lauded and criticised. His work in economics laid the basis for some current theories about labour and its relation to capital. Many intellectuals, labour unions, artists and political parties worldwide have been influenced by Marx's work, with many modifying or adapting his ideas. Marx is typically cited as one of the principal architects of modern social science.
Money is therefore not only the object but also the fountainhead of greed.
Money plays the largest part in determining the course of history.
Money is the alienated essence of man's work and existence; this essence dominates him and he worships it.
Revolutions are the locomotives of history.
The writer may very well serve a movement of history as its mouthpiece, but he cannot of course create it.
The history of all previous societies has been the history of class struggles.
The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.
Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guildmaster and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, that each time ended, either in the revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.
Capital is dead labour, which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labor, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks.
Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation.
There comes a time in your life when you have to let go of all the pointless drama and the people who create it and surround yourself with people who make you laugh so hard that you forget the bad and focus solely on the good. After all, life is too short to be anything but happy.
Everyone of our relationships with nature and man must be a definite expression of our real, individual life.
Fallen wood... has a little organic connection with the growing tree as the cast-off skin has with the snake.
Consumption is also immediately production, just as in nature the consumption of the elements and chemical substances is the production of the plant.
All our invention and progress seem to result in endowing material forces with intellectual life, and stultifying human life into a material force.
In proportion as the exploitation of one individual by another is put an end to, the exploitation of one nation by another will also be put an end to. In proportion as the antagonism between classes within the nation vanishes, the hostility of one nation to another will come to an end.
Hitherto, every form of society has been based ... on the antagonism of oppressing and oppressed classes.
There are no bigger donkeys than these workers.... Look at our 'craftsmen'; Sad that world history should be be made with such people.
In short, competition has to shoulder the responsibility of explaining all the meaningless ideas of the economists, whereas it should rather be the economists who explain competition.
Every provisional political set-up following a revolution requires a dictatorship, and an energetic dictatorship at that.
Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please.
Men make their own history, but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living.
To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is therefore in embryo the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.
Religion is only the illusory sun which revolves round man as long as he does not revolve round himself.
But capital not only lives upon labour. Like a master, at once distinguished and barbarous, it drags with it into its grave the corpses of its slaves, whole hecatombs of workers, who perish in the crises.
The method of production of the material things of life generally determines the social, political and spiritual currents of life.
In every stockjobbing swindle every one knows that some time or other the crash must come, but every one hopes that it may fall on the head of his neighbor, after he himself has caught the shower of gold and placed it in safety.
Private property has made us so stupid and partial that an object is only ours when we have it, when it exists for us as capital ... Thus all the physical and intellectual senses have been replaced by ... the sense of having.
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).
The directing motive, the end and aim of capitalist production, is to extract the greatest possible amount of surplus value, and consequently to exploit labor-power to the greatest possible extent.
Surplus-value and the rate of surplus-value are... the invisible essence to be investigated, whereas the rate of profit and hence the form of surplus-value as profit are visible surface phenomena.
Communism deprives no man of the ability to appropriate the fruits of his labour. The only thing it deprives him of is the ability to enslave others by means of such appropriations.
Communism deprives no man of the power to appropriate the products of society: all that it does is to deprive him of the power to subjugate the labor of others by means of such appropriation.
It has been objected, that upon the abolition of private property all work will cease, and universal laziness will overtake us.
According to this, bourgeois society ought long ago to have gone to the dogs through sheer idleness; for those of its members who work, acquire nothing, and those who acquire anything, do not work.
When commercial capital occupies a position of unquestioned ascendancy, it everywhere constitutes a system of plunder.
Even an entire society, a nation, or all simultaneously existing societies taken together, are not owners of the earth. They are simply its possessors, its beneficiaries, and have to bequeath it in an improved state to succeeding generations.
It would be very difficult, if not altogether impossible, to establish any principle upon which the justice or expedience of capital punishment could be founded in a society glorying in its civilization.
The introduction of free competition is thus public declaration that from now on the members of society are unequal only to the extent that their capitals are unequal, that capital is the decisive power, and that therefore the capitalists, the bourgeoisie, have become the first class in society.
The bourgeois during its rule of scarce one hundred years, has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all preceding generations together.
Anyone wanting a new house picks one from among those built on speculation or still in process of construction. The builder no longer works for his customers but for the market.
The task of abolishing the essence of Jewry is in truth the task of abolishing Jewry in civil society, abolishing the inhumanity of today's practice of life, the summit of which is the money system.
In all of human history no country or no people have suffered such terrible slavery, conquest and foreign oppression and no country and no people have struggled so strenuously for their emancipation than Sicily and the Sicilians.
The materialist doctrine that men are products of circumstances and upbringing, and that, therefore, changed men are products of other circumstances and changed upbrinding, forgets that it is men that change circumstances and that the educator himself needs educating.
The values of commodities are directly as the times of labor employed in their production, and are inversely as the productive powers of the labor employed.
Titles of property, for instance railway shares, may change hands every day, and their owner may make a profit by their sale even in foreign countries, so that titles to property are exportable, although the railway itself is not.
With disdain I will throw my gauntlet full in the fact of the world and see the collapse of this pygmy giant. Then will I wander god-like and victorious through the ruins of the world. And giving my words an active force, I will feel equal to the Creator.
The social principles of Christianity preach cowardice, self-contempt, abasement, submission, humility, in a word all the qualities of the canaille.
Accumulation of wealth at one pole is at the same time accumulation of misery, agony of toil, slavery, ignorance, brutality, mental degradation, at the opposite pole.
Those dogs of democrats and liberal riff-raff will see that we're the only chaps who haven't been stultified by the ghastly period of peace.
The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.
The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society.
The labour-power is a commodity , not capital, in the hands of the labourer, and it constitutes for him a revenue so long as he can continuously repeat its sale; it functions as capital after its sale, in the hands of the capitalist, during the process of production itself.
In reality, the labourer belongs to capital before he has sold himself to capital.
In reality, the laborer belongs to capital before he has sold himself to capital. His economic bondage is both brought about and concealed by the periodic sale of himself, by his change of masters, and by the oscillation in the market price of labor power. Capitalist production, therefore, under its aspect of a continuous connected process, of a process of reproduction, produces not only commodities, not only surplus value, but it also produces and reproduces the capitalist relation; on the one side the capitalist, on the other the wage-laborer.
When the labourer co-operates systematically with others, he strips off the fetters of his individuality, and develops the capabilities of his species.
Science and democracy are the right and left hands of what I'll refer to as the move from the realm of necessity to the realm of freedom.
If money is the bond binding me to human life, binding society to me, binding me and nature and man, is not money the bond of all bonds? Can it not dissolve and bind all ties? Is it not, therefore, the universal agent of separation?
Philosophy stands in the same relation to the study of the actual world as masturbation to sexual love.
The burgeoisie, by the rapid improvement of all instruments of production, by the immensely facilitated means of communication, draws all nations into civilization.
Free education for all children in public schools... Combination of education with industrial production.
The Tories in England had long imagined that they were enthusiastic about the monarchy, the church and beauties of the old English Constitution, until the day of danger wrung from them the confession that they are enthusiastic only about rent.
Perseus wore a magic cap that the monsters he hunted down might not see him. We draw the magic cap down over eyes and ears as a make-believe that there are no monsters.
Language is as old as consciousness, language is practical, real consciousness that exists for other men as well, and only therefore does it also exist for me; language, like consciousness, only arises from the need, the necessity, of intercourse with other men.
A commodity has a value because it is a crystallization of social labor. The greatness of its value, or its relative value, depends upon the greater or less amount of that social substance contained in it; that is to say, on the relative mass of labor necessary for its production.
It has created enormous cities, has greatly increased the urban population as compared with the rural, and has thus rescued a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural life.
No sooner is the exploitation of the labourer by the manufacturer, so far, at an end, that he receives his wages in cash, than he is set upon by the other portions of the bourgeoisie, the landlord, the shopkeeper, the pawnbroker, etc.
The social revolution...cannot draw its poetry from the past, but only from the future. It cannot begin with itself before it has stripped itself of all superstitions concerning the past.
There must be something rotten in the very core of a social system which increases its wealth without diminishing its misery.
In the various stages of development which the struggle of working class against the bourgeoisie has to pass through, they always and everywhere represent the interests of the movement as a whole.
The leading princes are the most servile tools of English despotism... The native princes are the stronghold of the present abominable English system.
Society does not consist of individuals but expresses the sum of interrelations, the relations within which these individuals stand.
All social life is essentially practical. All mysterious which lead theory to mysticism find their rational solution in human practice and in the comprehension of the practice.
Very well then; emancipation from usury and money, that is, from practical, real Judaism, would constitute the emancipation of our time.
Usury lives in the pores of production, as it were, just as the gods of Epicurus lived in the space between the worlds.
It appears then, that capitalist production comprises conditions independent of good or bad will, conditions which permit the working-class to enjoy that relative prosperity only momentarily, and at that always only as the harbinger of a coming crisis.
This young lady, who instantly overwhelmed me with her kindness, is the ugliest creature I have seen in my entire life, with repulsive Jewish facial features.
Hegel remarks somewhere that all great, world-historical facts and personages occur, as it were, twice. He has forgotten to add: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.
Philosophers have hitherto interpreted the world in various way; the point, however, is to change it.
Philosophers have hitherto interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however, is to change it.
Society is undergoing a silent revolution, which must be submitted to, and which takes no more notice of the human existences it breaks down than an earthquake regards the houses it subverts. The classes and the races, too weak to master the new conditions of life, must give way.
Labour is ... not the only source of material wealth, i.e, of the use-values it produces. As William Petty says, Labour is the father of material wealth, the earth is its mother.
Work is external to the worker... It is not part of his nature; consequently he does not fulfill himself in his work but denies himself... The worker therefore feels himself at home only during his leisure time, whereas at work he feels homeless.
Colonial system, public debts, heavy taxes, protection, commercial wars, etc., these offshoots of the period of manufacture swell to gigantic proportions during the period of infancy of large-scale industry. The birth of the latter is celebrated by a vast, Hero-like slaughter of the innocents.
Modern society, which, soon after its birth, pulled Plutus by the hair of his head from the bowels of the earth, greets gold as its Holy Grail, as the glittering incarnation of the very principle of its own life.
The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black-skins, signalised the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production.
Money appears as measure (in Homer, e.g. oxen) earlier than as medium of exchange, because in barter each commodity is still its own medium of exchange. But it cannot be its own or its own standard of comparison.
It might otherwise appear paradoxical that money can be replaced by worthless paper; but that the slightest alloying of its metallic content depreciates it.
But capitalist production begets,with the inexorability of a law of Nature, its own negation. It is the negation of negation.
Only in community with others has each individual the means of cultivating his gifts in all directions; only in the community, therefore, is personal freedom possible.
Representative government is deciding once in three or six years which member of the ruling class was to misrepresent the people in Parliament,.
The individual produces an object and, by consuming it, returns to himself, but returns as a productive and self reproducing individual. Consumption thus appears as a moment of production.
The product of mental labor -- science -- always stands far below its value, because the labor-time necessary to reproduce it has no relation at all to the labor-time required for its original production.
It is all the more clear what we have to accomplish at present: I am referring to ruthless criticism of all that exists, ruthless both in the sense of not being afraid of the results it arrives at and in the sense of being just as little afraid of conflict with the powers that be.
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.
2 is a proletariat prime, but 4, 6 and 8 are also composite proletariats. Composites of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your chains!
In the national struggles of the proletarians of the different countries, they point out and bring to the front the common interest of the entire proletariat, independently of all nationality.
There are no circumstances imaginable, not even victory, under which the proletariat should give up its possession of arms.
The first step in the revolution by the working class, is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class, to win the battle for democracy.
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.
What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable.
The more a ruling class is able to assimilate the most prominent men of a ruled class, the more solid and dangerous its rule.
The state is based on this contradiction. It is based on the contradiction between public and private life, between universal and particular interests. For this reason, the state must confine itself to formal, negative activities.
Communism is for us not a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality will have to adjust itself. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. The conditions of this movement result from the premises now in existence.
History is not like some individual person, which uses men to achieve its ends. History is nothing but the actions of men in pursuit of their ends.
In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.
Scientific truth is always paradox, if judged by everyday experience, which catches only the delusive appearance of things.
The Communist revolution is the most radical rupture with traditional property relations; no wonder that its development involves the most radical rupture with traditional ideas.
There is no royal road to science, and only those who do not dread the fatiguing climb of its steep paths have a chance of gaining its luminous summits.
Wherever the want of clothing forced them to it, the human race made clothes for thousands of years, without a single man becoming a tailor.
Constant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeosis epoch from all earlier ones.
The national debt has given rise to joint stock companies, to dealings in negotiable effects of all kinds, and to agiotage , in a word to stock-exchange gambling and the modern bankocracy .
So long as the product is sold, everything is taking its regular course from the standpoint of the capitalist producer.
We know that violent measures against religion are nonsense; but this is an opinion: as socialism grows, religion will disappear. Its disappearance must be done by social development, in which education must play a part.
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!
A circuit performed by a capital and meant to be a periodical process, not an individual act, is called its turnover. The duration of this turnover is determined by the sum of its time of production and its time of circulation.
The bourgeoisie of the whole world, which looks complacently upon the wholesale massacre after the battle, is convulsed by horror at the desecration of brick and mortar.
As the chosen people bore in their features the sign manual of Jehovah , so the division of labour brands the manufacturing workman as the property of capital .
The policy of Russia is changeless. Its methods, its tactics, its maneuvers may change, but the polar star of its policy, world domination, is a fixed star. About Russia.
When people speak of ideas that revolutionize society, they do but express the fact that within the old society, the elements of a new one have been created, and that the dissolution of the old ideas keeps even pace with the dissolution of the old conditions of existence.
All social rules and all relations between individuals are eroded by a cash economy, avarice drags Pluto himself out of the bowels of the earth.
Modern bourgeois society with its relations of production, of exchange, and of property, a society that has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, is like the sorcerer, who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells.
Fascism in power is the open, terroristic dictatorship of the most reactionary, the most chauvinistic, the most imperialistic elements of finance capitalism.
The true law of economics is chance, and we learned people arbitrarily seize on a few moments and establish them as laws.
We have no compassion and we ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror.
Surround yourself with people who make you happy. People who make you laugh, who help you when you're in need. People who genuinely care. They are the ones worth keeping in your life. Everyone else is just passing through.
A commodity appears, at first sight, a very trivial thing, and easily understood. Its analysis shows that it is, in reality, a very queer thing, abounding in metaphysical subtleties and theological niceties.
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