Title Image - Quotes by Author Karl MarxPhoto Credit: WikiMedia Commons

Welcome to our collection of quotes (with shareable picture quotes) by Karl Marx. We hope you enjoy pondering them and that you will share them widely.

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.

The bureaucracy takes itself to be the ultimate purpose of the state.

--Karl Marx

Junk food, empty calories and carbs are the big data of the masses.

--Karl Marx

Capital is dead labour, which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labor, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks.

--Karl Marx

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation.

--Karl Marx

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.

--Karl Marx

Everyone of our relationships with nature and man must be a definite expression of our real, individual life.

--Karl Marx

Fallen wood... has a little organic connection with the growing tree as the cast-off skin has with the snake.

--Karl Marx

Consumption is also immediately production, just as in nature the consumption of the elements and chemical substances is the production of the plant.

--Karl Marx

All I know is I'm not a Marxist.

--Karl Marx

Misery motivates, not utopia.

--Karl Marx

All our invention and progress seem to result in endowing material forces with intellectual life, and stultifying human life into a material force.

--Karl Marx

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.

--Karl Marx

Hitherto, every form of society has been based ... on the antagonism of oppressing and oppressed classes.

--Karl Marx

There are no bigger donkeys than these workers.... Look at our 'craftsmen'; Sad that world history should be be made with such people.

--Karl Marx

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.

--Karl Marx

Every provisional political set-up following a revolution requires a dictatorship, and an energetic dictatorship at that.

--Karl Marx

Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please.

--Karl Marx

Longer Version:

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.


A people without a heritage are easily persuaded.

--Karl Marx

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.

--Karl Marx

Religion is only the illusory sun which revolves round man as long as he does not revolve round himself.

--Karl Marx

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.

--Karl Marx

All commodities, as values, are realized human labours.

--Karl Marx

The method of production of the material things of life generally determines the social, political and spiritual currents of life.

--Karl Marx

One basis for life and another basis for science is a priori a lie.

--Karl Marx

Necessity is blind until it becomes conscious. Freedom is the consciousness of necessity.

--Karl Marx

The traditions of the dead generations weigh like a nightmare upon the living.

--Karl Marx

The consciousness of the past weighs like a nightmare on the brain of the living.

--Karl Marx

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.

--Karl Marx

Merely quantitative differences, beyond a certain point, pass into qualitative changes.

--Karl Marx

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.

--Karl Marx

The essence of the free press is the reliable, reasonable and moral nature of freedom.

--Karl Marx

If production be capitalistic in form, so, too, will be reproduction.

--Karl Marx

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 Proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains.

--Karl Marx

We will hang the capitalists with the rope that they sell us.

--Karl Marx

The way people get their living determines their social outlook.

--Karl Marx

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.

--Karl Marx

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.

--Karl Marx

Nothing is more tedious than the dreaming platitude.

--Karl Marx

If I negate powdered wigs, I am still left with unpowdered wigs.

--Karl Marx

Wages are determined by the bitter struggle between capitalist and worker.

--Karl Marx

The economic concept of value does not occur in antiquity .

--Karl Marx

Value, therefore, does not stalk about with a label describing what it is.

--Karl Marx

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.

--Karl Marx

Longer Version:

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.

--Karl Marx

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.

--Karl Marx

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.

--Karl Marx

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.

--Karl Marx

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.

--Karl Marx

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.

--Karl Marx

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.

--Karl Marx

They don't know it, but they are doing it.

--Karl Marx

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.

--Karl Marx

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.

--Karl Marx

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.

--Karl Marx

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.

--Karl Marx

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.

--Karl Marx

The Communists have no need to introduce free love; it has existed almost from time immemorial.

--Karl Marx

The social principles of Christianity preach cowardice, self-contempt, abasement, submission, humility, in a word all the qualities of the canaille.

--Karl Marx

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.

--Karl Marx

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.

--Karl Marx

The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.

--Karl Marx

A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.

--Karl Marx

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.

--Karl Marx

Since only what is material is perceptible, knowable, nothing is known of the existence of God.

--Karl Marx

Money is therefore not only the object but also the fountainhead of greed.

--Karl Marx

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.

--Karl Marx

In reality, the labourer belongs to capital before he has sold himself to capital.

--Karl Marx

Longer Version:

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.

--Karl Marx

If the labourer consumes his disposable time for himself, he robs the capitalist.

--Karl Marx

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.

--Karl Marx

Last words are for fools who haven't said enough.

--Karl Marx

Go on, get out! Last words are for fools who haven't said enough!

--Karl Marx

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?

--Karl Marx

Philosophy stands in the same relation to the study of the actual world as masturbation to sexual love.

--Karl Marx

The burgeoisie, by the rapid improvement of all instruments of production, by the immensely facilitated means of communication, draws all nations into civilization.

--Karl Marx

Free education for all children in public schools... Combination of education with industrial production.

--Karl Marx

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.

--Karl Marx

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.

--Karl Marx

There is a physical relation between physical things. But it is different with commodities.

--Karl Marx

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.

--Karl Marx

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.

--Karl Marx

Religion is the opiate of the people.

--Karl Marx

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.

--Karl Marx

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.

--Karl Marx

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.

--Karl Marx

There must be something rotten in the very core of a social system which increases its wealth without diminishing its misery.

--Karl Marx

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.

--Karl Marx

When the sufferers learn to think, then the thinkers will learn to suffer.

--Karl Marx

The leading princes are the most servile tools of English despotism... The native princes are the stronghold of the present abominable English system.

--Karl Marx

Napoleon swept away everywhere the establishments of feudality. ... He was Caesar himself.

--Karl Marx


Quotes by Karl Marx are featured in:


History Quotes
Money Quotes

Know a quote that we are missing? Please use our suggest a quote form below and let us know. Thank YOU for visiting -- we wish you a perfect day!