Marx & Friends in their own words

Giving you all the quotations that Marxists hope you never hear about


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Monday, January 31, 2005

Marx to Engels: "If a negotiation I have initiated with Lassalle succeeds, and he lends me £30, and you lend me the remainder, I would at last be independent again and reorganise all my domestic arrangements, whereas at present I have to pay out 25 per cent to the pawnshop alone, and in general am never able to get things in order because of arrears. As has once again been demonstrated in Trier, nothing will be achieved with my old lady until I can go and personally sit on her throat".

Context here

The German

Marx an Engels, 13. September 1854

"Mit meiner Alten ist, wie sich noch einmal in Trier bewährt, nichts zu machen, bis ich ihr direkt auf dem Halse sitze."

MEW a.a.O. 28, 391., Rotbuch S. 108

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Karl Marx: Advertisement Duty -- Russian Movements -- Denmark. 19.Aug.1853:

"The Scandinavians and the Germans have in this way found that they cannot base their respective national claims on the feudal laws of royal succession. They have had the even stronger experience that they, the Germans and the Scandinavians -- who both belong to one overall race -- will only pave the way for their hereditary enemy, the Slavs, if they fight with one-another rather than uniting."

The German

Marx: Die Annoncensteuer - Russische Schritte - Dänemark - Die Vereinigten Staaten in Europa:

"Die Skandinavier und die Deutschen haben auf diese Weise die Erfahrung gemacht, daß sie ihren respektiven nationalen Ansprüchen nicht die feudalen Gesetze der königlichen Erbfolge zugrunde legen dürfen. Sie haben die noch bessere Erfahrung gemacht, daß sie, die Deutschen und die Skandinavier, die beide zu der gleichen großen Rasse gehören, nur den Weg für ihren Erbfeind, den Slawen, bereiten, wenn sie miteinander streiten, statt sich zu verbinden."

Karl Marx - Friedrich Engels - Werke, Band 9, S. 245-251. MEW a.a.O. 9, 248.

Context in German only here

Note: This was originally published in English but is not available in English online. I hope my back-translation measures up.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

And expressed not the slightest regret about it

Karl Marx in the New York Tribune 1853, "Forced Emigration":

"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.

Context here

Friday, January 28, 2005

(I imagine the text below is a translation of a German original in which Engels originally wrote: "Kleinbürger" or "petit bourgeois" for "petty trader".)

"The practical revolutionary experience of 1848-49 confirmed the reasonings of theory, which led to the conclusion that the democracy of the petty traders must first have its turn, before the Communist working class could hope to permanently establish itself in power"

Originally published in English. See here

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Marx to Engels (letter, 21.Jan.1853) "The little Jew Bamberger hasn't given me a centime so far, though he promised, and until he comes, I will draw at least 15 pounds on a bill to him, little by little".

(No other English translation available online)

The German

Marx an Engels, 21. Januar 1853

"Jüdchen Bamberger hat mir bisher noch keinen Centime gegeben, aber versprochen, und ich werde ihm nach und nach auf den Wechsel wenigstens 15 £ (bis er kömmt) abpressen."

MEW a.a.O. 28, 207.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Marx to Adolf Cluss (letter, 20.Jul.1852): "There are no bigger donkeys than these workers.... Look at our "craftsmen"; Sad that world history should be be made with such people".

(No other English translation available online)

The German

Marx an Adolf Cluß, 20. Juli 1852

"Komplettere Esel als diese Arbeiter gibt es wohl nicht (...) Voilà unsere Straubinger; schlimm, daß mit solchen Leuten Weltgeschichte gemacht werden soll (...)"

MEW a.a.O. 28, 537.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

I have pointed out previously that Marx & Engels got a lot of their ideas from Hegel and I picked out a quote from Hegel to illustrate what his central message was. In pointing to the "origin" of any idea or type of thinking, however, we of course run into Solomon's old and wise observation that "there is nothing new under the sun". So the obvious next question is: "Where did Hegel get his ideas from?"

It is getting too far away from the main purpose of this blog to attempt to answer that in any detail but if a one-word answer is possible the answer is "Plato". Plato's Republic with its ideal of a polity ruled by "philosopher kings" has always had a lot of appeal to Leftists -- who mentally elect themselves as the philosopher kings concerned -- so it should be no surprise that Hegel liked Plato too. I am indebted to a commentator here for drawing my attention to some excellent quotes from a Marxist site which spell that all out: The quotes are from an article on Hegel by Z. A. Pelczynski . We start with an excerpt from Pelczynski and then go on to a quote from Hegel himself:


In Hegel’s Lectures on the History of Philosophy (the Haldane-Simson translation in three volumes published 1892-6) Hegel gives Plato’s Republic twenty-six pages of print, compared with the less than four that he gives to Aristotle’s Politics. He regarded Aristotle’s main political work as a common-sense but pedantic and largely empirical treatise, while the Republic seemed to him a work of true genius and a most profound theory expressing the essence of Greek society and culture (PhR, Preface). The fundamental presupposition of the Republic and ancient Greek political life generally (Hegel argues) was the absolute priority of the community over the individual. Hegel refers to it usually as the ‘substantiality’ of the polis or ‘the substantial character of ethical life’ in Greece. The ancient Greek thought of himself as a political animal by nature. He saw himself as a son of his city, a member of an ongoing and historical community and not as an independent individual, facing other similar individuals in an atomistic state of nature or some rather loosely structured society which they had voluntarily established. A Greek citizen was so wholly immersed in the politics and ethos of his city that he cared little for himself. He guided his actions not by his self-interest or some private conception of happiness and virtue, but by the traditional ideals of his city, which he accepted without questioning.’ One could say that he had no individuality in the full sense of the word; he was merely an instrument, a member of an organism, which acted through him in pursuit of its own universal ends.


We are accustomed to take our start from the fiction of a condition of nature, which is truly no condition of mind, of rational will, but of animals among themselves: wherefore Hobbes has justly remarked that the true state of nature is a war of every man against his neighbour . . . The fiction of a state of nature starts from the individuality of the person, his free will, and his relation to other persons according to this free will. What has been called natural law is law in and for the individual, and the condition of society and the state has been looked upon as the means of the individual person, who is the fundamental end. Plato, in direct contrast with this lays as his foundation the substantial, the universal, and he does this in such a way that the individual as such has this very universal as his end, and the subject has his will, activity, life and enjoyment in the state, so that it becomes his second nature, his habits and his customs. This ethical substance which constitutes the spirit, life and being of individuality, and which is its foundation, systematises itself into a living, organic whole, and at the same time it differentiates itself into its members, whose activity brings the whole into existence.

I am not of course going to argue with Hegel's reasoning and analysis here. The whole idea of a "state of nature" or an "original state" of mankind is a theoretical invention much beloved of all sorts of Leftists from Rousseau to Rawls but rests entirely on unsubstantiated assertions. If you could get a libertarian to venture into such speculations he would probably counter-assert that the state of nature is voluntary co-operation between free, happy and autonomous individuals. And conservatives, of course, are concerned only about what has developed so far, rather than any high-flown theories that reduce the vast complexity of humanity to simple generalizations.

Monday, January 24, 2005

And welcomed economic difficulties

Engels: "There seems little doubt about the advent of the crisis, even if the recent bankruptcies were no more than precursors. Unfortunately the harvests in North-East Germany, Poland and Russia show signs of being passable, and in places even good. Here the recent good weather has likewise borne fruit. But France is still in the soup, and that's enough to be going on with."

Context here

The German

Engels an Marx, 24. August 1852

"Leider scheint die Ernte in Nordostdeutschland, Polen und Russland passabel, stellenweise gut zu werden. Hier hat auch das letzte gute Wetter gefruchtet. Aber Frankreich bleibt in der Sauce, und das ist schon viel."

MEW a.a.O. 28, 118.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

I deliberately called this blog "Marx and Friends" because I wanted to give a few quotes from related thinkers at some stage. So I am now going to inflict Hegel on whoever is reading this. Hegel is VERY heavy going but he seems to have had practically all of the many second-rate 19th century German and American thinkers enraptured so it seems important to get at least some idea of what he was on about. The excerpt below is from an essay called "The Nature of Spirit". And I have highlighted in red what I think are the most significant phrases:

"We have considered subjective volition where it has an object which is the truth and essence of a reality, viz. where it constitutes a great world-historical passion. As a subjective will, occupied with limited passions, it is dependent, and can gratify its desires only within the limits of this dependence. But the subjective will has also a substantial life -- a reality, -- in which it moves in the region of essential being, and has the essential itself as the object of its existence. This essential being is the union of the subjective with the rational will: it is the moral whole, the state, which is that form of reality in which the individual has and enjoys his freedom; but on the condition of his recognizing, believing in and willing that which is common to the whole. And this must not be understood as if the subjective will of the social unit attained its gratification and enjoyment through that common will; as if this were a means provided for its benefit; as if the individual, in his relations to other individuals, thus limited his freedom, in order that this universal limitation -- the mutual constraint of all -- might secure a small space of liberty for each. Rather, we affirm, are law, morality, government, and they alone, the positive reality and completion of freedom. Freedom of a low and limited order, is mere caprice; which finds its exercise in the sphere of particular and limited desires.

Aaaargh! Is that what you are saying? I don't blame you. Anyone used to Anglo-Saxon ideals of making things clear should gag on that lot. I hope the red bits helped, anyway. So let me try to sum up in plain words what Hegel is on about. Very cheeky of me to think I can do that in just a few paragraphs but we Anglo-Saxon analytical philosophers are a disrespectful lot.

Hegel's basic idea -- and the idea that absolutely GRABBED Marx, Engels and Hitler -- was that history is ORDERLY -- rather than just repeating itself, it is actually a progression towards an endpoint of perfection. And that perfect end is freedom -- but not freedom as we would know it. And history somehow also has a spirit -- in a way that makes sense only to German philosophers as far as I can see. So M, E & H all thought they saw the perfection of human history gradually unfolding before their eyes and wanted to give it a kick along. And they were greatly motivated by Hegel's view that some people and events are of "world-historical" significance. Anybody reading this blog will have noticed that phrase cropping up and, as you can see from the excerpt above, the phrase comes from Hegel. In other words, some people and events are major influences in giving history a kick along in its journey towards its ultimate end. And guess who wanted to be counted among those "world-historical" figures? Our old friends M, E and H, of course. Being a world-historical figure would have to be the ultimate ego-trip.

So you also see where Marx's theory of historical stages comes from. It is just an attempt to firm up Hegel's basic idea.

And you also note what an Orwellian view of freedom Hegel had. THE STATE is the essential reality and embodies all of human progress. And we are free only when we are all merged into a common will within the State. So the ultimate freedom is the freedom of the ant -- freedom to march happily and voluntarily in lockstep with everybody else. Any other freedom is "of a low and limited order" and "mere caprice".

Horrific? Maybe to most people reading this but the political Left of today still seems to have that ideal. That is where the political correctness movement seems to be marching off towards -- a total uniformity of thought and speech where nobody is "offended" and everybody lives by "enlightened" rules.

And you can also see the foundation for the ideas that Hitler, Mussolini and Lenin had about the supremacy of the State over the individual. And hopefully, seeing how those particular States ended up warns us of how dangerous Hegel's seemingly obscure ideas in fact are.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Marx to Engels: "The only good news we have received came from my Sheriff's-wife sister-in-law, the news about the illness of my wife's indestructible uncle. If the dog dies now, I'm out of trouble".

MEW a.a.O. 28,30.

(No version in English available elsewhere online)

The German

Marx an Engels, 27. Februar 1852

"Die einzige gute Nachricht haben wir von meiner ministeriellen Schwägerin erhalten, die Nachricht von der Krankheit des unverwüstlichen Onkels meiner Frau. Stirbt der Hund jetzt, so bin ich aus der Patsche heraus."

MEW a.a.O. 28,30., Rotbuch S. 98

Note: I don't know enough about the life and times of Marx's family to be 100% certain of the translation of "ministeriellen" above but Brockhaus tells me that "der Ministeriale" is a sheriff, presumably an official of a court of justice.


I have now had it on good authority that "ministeriell" should be translated as "bossy". So the translation now reads: "The only good news we have received came from my bossy sister-in-law, the news about the illness of my wife's indestructible uncle. If the dog dies now, I'm out of trouble".

I am still rather bemused by the fact that I, as a conservative with a very imperfect grasp of German, seem to be the first person to put English translations of some Marxian texts onto the net. Fortunately, I do have some helpers but occasional expressions in Marx's German puzzle all of us at times -- probably because the expressions were common at the time Marx wrote but are no longer so.

Friday, January 21, 2005

"May the devil take these peoples movements, especially when they are "peaceful""

(No version in English available elsewhere online)

The German

Marx an Engels, 4. Februar 1852

"Der Teufel soll diese Volksbewegung holen und gar, wenn sie pacifiques sind."

MEW a.a.O. 28, 19.

Note: Marx used a French word in this letter to Engels: "pacifiques". In French, it just means any peaceful people, not pacifists. At least, that is what my Larousse tells me.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Marx: "It would perhaps be as well if things were to remain quiet for a few years yet, so that all this 1848 democracy has time to rot away."

Context here

The German

Marx an Joseph Weydemayer, 27. Juni 1851

"Es wäre vielleicht gut, wenn es noch einige Jahre ruhig bliebe, damit diese gesamte Demokratie von 1848 Zeit fände zu verfaulen."

MEW a.a.O. 27, 558 ff.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Nice type

Marx: "Then I wrote to my mother, threatening to draw bills on her and, in case of non-payment, to go to Prussia and get myself locked up."

Context here

The German

Marx an Engels, 31. März 1851

„Dann schrieb ich meiner Mutter, drohte ihr, Wechsel auf sie zu ziehn und im Nichtzahlungsfall nach Preußen zu gehn und mich einsperren zu lassen (...)“

MEW a.a.O. 27, 226 f.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Rules written by Marx and others

Rules of the Communist League (Art. 42): Removed and expelled members, like suspect individuals in general, are to be watched in the interest of the League, and prevented from doing harm. Intrigues of such individuals are at once to be reported to the community concerned.

Context here

The German

Marx u.a.: „Statuten des Kommunistischen Bundes“, 1850

„4. Wer die Bedingungen der Mitgliedschaft verletzt, wird ausgeschlossen (...)
Die Ausgeschlossenen werden dem ganzen Bunde angezeigt und gleich allen verdächtigen Subjekten von Bundes wegen überwacht.“

MEW a.a.O. 7, 565 f.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Engels: "We discovered that in connection with these figures the German national simpletons and money-grubbers of the Frankfurt parliamentary swamp always counted as Germans the Polish Jews as well, although this dirtiest of all races, neither by its jargon nor by its descent, but at most only through its lust for profit, could have any relation of kinship with Frankfurt".

Context here

The German

Engels, NRZ 29. Apr. 1849

„... daß die deutschen Nationalgimpel und Geldmacher des Frankfurter Sumpfparlaments bei diesen Zählungen immer noch die polnischen Juden zu Deutschen gerechnet, obwohl diese schmutzigste aller Rassen weder in ihrem Jargon, noch ihrer Abstammung nach, sondern höchstens durch ihre Profitwütigkeit mit Frankfurt im Verwandtschaftsverhältnis stehen kann (...)“

MEW a.a.O. 6, 448 f.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

And dismissed justice and morality from consideration in the matter. And he didn't think much of brotherhood either

(...)Justice and other moral considerations may be damaged here and there; but what does that matter to such facts of world-historic significance?
Following that, Bohemia and Moravia passed definitely to Germany and the Slovak regions remained with Hungary. And this historically absolutely non-existent "nation" puts forward claims to independence?
Of course, matters of this kind cannot be accomplished without many a tender national blossom being forcibly broken. But in history nothing is achieved without power and implacable ruthlessness,
To the sentimental phrases about brotherhood which we are being offered here on behalf of the most counter-revolutionary nations of Europe, we reply that hatred of Russians was and still is the primary revolutionary passion among Germans; that since the revolution hatred of Czechs and Croats has been added, and that only by the most determined use of terror against these Slav peoples can we, jointly with the Poles and Magyars, safeguard the revolution.
Then there will be a struggle, an "unrelenting life-and-death struggle" against those Slavs who betray the revolution; an annihilating fight and most determined terrorism -- not in the interests of Germany, but in the interests of the revolution!

Context here

The German

Engels, NRZ 15. Feb. 1849

„... die 'Gerechtigkeit' und andere moralische Grundsätze mögen hier und da verletzt sein; aber was gilt das gegen solche weltgeschichtlichen Tatsachen? (....)

Dann kommt Böhmen und Mähren definitiv zu Deutschland, und die slowakischen Gegenden bleiben bei Ungarn. Und diese geschichtlich gar nicht existiende 'Nation' macht Ansprüche auf Unabhängigkeit? (...)

Freilich, dergleichen läßt sich nicht durchsetzen ohne manch sanftes Nationenblümlein gewaltsam zu zerknicken. Aber ohne Gewalt und ohne eherne Rücksichtslosigkeit wird nichts durchgesetzt in der Geschichte, (...)

Auf die sentimentalen Brüderschaftsphrasen, die uns hier im Namen der kontrevolutionärsten Nationen Europas dargeboten werden, antworten wir, daß der Russenhaß die erste revolutionäre Leidenschaft bei den Deutschen war und noch ist; daß seit der Revolution der Tschechen- und Kroatenhaß hinzugekommen ist und daß wir, in Gemeinschaft mit Polen und Magyaren, nur durch den entschiedensten Terrorismus gegen diese slawischen Völker die Revolution sicherstellen können (....)

Dann Kampf, 'unerbittlicher Kampf auf Leben und Tod' mit dem revolutionsverräterischen Slawentum; Vernichtungskampf und rücksichtslosen Terrorismus - nicht im Interesse Deutschlands, sondern im Interesse der Revolution!“

MEW a.a.O. 6, 286.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

He thought the Yugoslavs in particular deserved to be wiped out .... Hmmmm

"Among all the nations and sub-nations of Austria, only three standard-bearers of progress took an active part in history, and are still capable of life -- the Germans, the Poles and the Magyars. Hence they are now revolutionary. All the other large and small nationalities and peoples are destined to perish before long in the revolutionary world storm.


This remnant of a nation that was, as Hegel says, suppressed and held in bondage in the course of history, this human trash, becomes every time -- and remains so until their complete obliteration or loss of national identity -- the fanatical carriers of counter-revolution, just as their whole existence in general is itself a protest against a great historical revolution.


Such, in Austria, are the pan-Slavist Southern Slavs, who are nothing but the human trash of peoples, resulting from an extremely confused thousand years of development.


The next world war will result in the disappearance from the face of the earth not only of reactionary classes and dynasties, but also of entire reactionary peoples. And that, too, is progress.

A source in English

The German

Friedrich Engels, NRZ 13. Jan. 1849

„Unter all den Nationen und Natiönchen Österreichs sind nur drei, die die Träger des Fortschritts waren, die aktiv in die Geschichte eingegriffen haben, die jetzt noch lebensfähig sind - die Deutschen, die Polen, die Magyaren. Daher sind sie jetzt revolutionär. Alle anderen großen und kleinen Stämme und Völker haben zunächst die Mission, im revolutionären Weltsturm unterzugehen. (...)

Diese Reste einer von dem Gang der Geschichte, wie Hegel sagt, unbarmherzig zertretenen Nationen, diese Völkerabfälle werden jedesmal und bleiben bis zu ihrer gänzlichen Vertilgung oder Entnationalisierung die fanatischen Träger der Kontrerevolution, wie ihre ganze Existenz überhaupt schon ein Protest gegen eine große geschichtliche Revolution ist (...)

So in Österreich die panslawistischen Südslawen, die weiter nichts sind als der Völkerabfall einer höchst verworrenen tausendjährigen Entwicklung. (...)

Der nächste Weltkrieg wird nicht nur reaktionäre Klassen und Dynastien, er wird auch ganze reaktionäre Völker vom Erdboden verschwinden machen. Und das ist auch ein Fortschritt.“

MEW a.a.O. 6, 176.

Friday, January 14, 2005

"(...) In Vienna, Croats, Pandours, Czechs, Serezhans and similar rabble throttled German liberty, and the Tsar is now omnipresent in Europe"


The German

Karl Marx, NRZ 1. Jan. 1849

„(...) in Wien erwürgten Kroaten, Panduren, Tschechen, Sereczaner und ähnliches Lumpengesindel die germanische Freiheit (...)“

MEW a.a.O. 6, 150.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Engels: "And the farmers have over six million votes, over two thirds of all votes in the elections in France. (...) The French proletariat, before it can accomplish its demands, will have to defeat a general farmer's war."

The German

Friedrich Engels, „Von Paris nach Bern“, 1848

„Und die Bauern haben über sechs Millionen Stimmen, über zwei Drittel aller Stimmen bei den Wahlen in Frankreich (...) Das französische Proletariat, ehe es seine Forderungen durchsetzt, wird zuerst einen allgemeinen Bauernkrieg zu unterdrücken haben (...)“

MEW a.a.O. 5, 474 f.

No respect for the voters there! Military oppression instead is envisaged. And Stalin and others did just that.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

"And as for the Jews, who since the emancipation of their sect have everywhere put themselves, at least in the person of their eminent representatives, at the head of the counter-revolution -- what awaits them?"


The German

Karl Marx, NRZ 17. Nov.1848

„Und nun gar die Juden, die seit der Emanzipation ihrer Sekte wenigstens in ihren vornehmen Vertretern überall an die Spitze der Kontrerevolution getreten sind, was harrt ihrer?“

MEW a.a.O. 6, 25.

Marx is here gloating that the conservatism of the German Jews has not saved them from loss of their rights at the hands of the government. At least that's one way Hitler and Marx differed. Hitler thought the Jews were too revolutionary and Marx thought they were too conservative. Either way it was tough luck to be a Jew, though.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Nice guy. He got his wish, though

The purposeless massacres perpetrated since the June and October events, the tedious offering of sacrifices since February and March, the very cannibalism of the counterrevolution will convince the nations that there is only one way in which the murderous death agonies of the old society and the bloody birth throes of the new society can be shortened, simplified and concentrated, and that way is revolutionary terrorism.


The German:

Karl Marx, NRZ 7.Nov. 1848

„...daß es nur ein Mittel gibt, die mörderischen Todeswehen der alten Gesellschaft, die blutigen Geburtswehen der neuen Gesellschaft abzukürzen, zu vereinfachen, zu konzentrieren, nur ein Mittel - den revolutionären Terrorismus.“

MEW a.a.O. 5, 457.

I note that the Marxists translate "Terrorismus" above as "Terror". If Marx had meant "terror" he would presumably have said so. The word is the same in English and in German. In fact what he clearly said was "terrorism".

Monday, January 10, 2005

Far from starting futile quarrels with the democrats, in the present circumstances, the Communists for the time being rather take the field as democrats themselves in all practical party matters. In all civilised countries, democracy has as its necessary consequence the political rule of the proletariat, and the political rule of the proletariat is the first condition for all communist measures. As long as democracy has not been achieved, thus long do Communists and democrats fight side by side, thus long are the interests of the democrats at the same time those of the Communists. Until that time, the differences between the two parties are of a purely theoretical nature and can perfectly well be debated on a theoretical level without common action being thereby in any way prejudiced. Indeed, understandings will be possible concerning many measures which are to be carried out in the interests of the previously oppressed classes immediately after democracy has been achieved, e.g. the running of large-scale industry and the railways by the state, the education of all children at state expense, etc.


The first part in German:

Friedrich Engels, „Die Kommunisten und Karl Heinzen“, 1847

„Die Kommunisten, weit entfernt, unter den gegenwärtigen Verhältnissen mit den Demokraten nutzlose Streitfragen anzufangen, treten vielmehr für den Augenblick in allen praktischen Parteifragen selbst als Demokraten auf. (...) Solange die Demokratie noch nicht erkämpft ist, solange kämpfen Kommunisten und Demokraten also gemeinsam (...)“

MEW a.a.O. 4, 317.

This passage is of course a classical formulation of the "fellow-traveller" doctrine. As we saw in my post of 2nd., Engels despised democracy but above he sees Communism as the ultimate endpoint of democracy so says that Communists and democrats should work together to achieve State control of industry and education as the final steps before Communism is achieved.

The State control of industry has fallen by the wayside in modern times but education still seems to be well on track.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

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


The German

Karl Marx, NRZ 14. Sep. 1848

„Jeder provisorische Staatszustand nach einer Revolution erfordert eine Diktatur, und zwar eine energische Diktatur.“

MEW a.a.O. 5, 401.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Because Germany was more "civilized"! Adolf, of course, agreed

"By the same right under which France took Flanders, Lorraine and Alsace, and will sooner or later take Belgium -- by that same right Germany takes over Schleswig; it is the right of civilization as against barbarism, of progress as against stability. Even if the agreements were in Denmark's favor -- which is very doubtful-this right carries more weight than all the agreements, for it is the right of historical evolution"


The German:

Friedrich Engels, NRZ 10. Sep. 1848 (NRZ = Neue Rheinische Zeitung)

„Mit demselben Recht, mit dem die Franzosen Flandern, Lothringen und Elsaß genommen haben und Belgien früher oder später nehmen werden, mit demselben Recht nimmt Deutschland Schleswig: mit dem Recht der Zivilisation gegen die Barbarei, des Fortschritts gegen die Stabilität.“

MEW a.a.O. 5, 395.

I note that the Marxists I link to above have translated the "Stabilität" that Engels referred to as "static stability" rather than just "stability". I wonder why? Let me guess: Stability is good once the Marxists are in charge. That is "progressive" stability, not "static stability". So the enforced inertia and uniformity of the old USSR was "progressive stability". Too bad they made such little progress that they eventually collapsed! But how sad it is that the Marxists have to mistranslate their own founding fathers to justify themselves! I can't say I am surprised, though.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Marx to Engels:

I have devised an infallible plan for extracting money from your old man, as we now have none.

Write me a begging letter (as crude as possible), in which you retail your past vicissitudes, but in such a way that I can pass it on to your mother. The old man's beginning to get the wind up.

More here

The German:

Karl Marx an Engels, 29. November 1848

„Ich habe einen sicheren Plan entworfen, Deinem Alten Geld abzupressen, da wir jetzt keins haben. Schreib einen Geldbrief (möglichst graß an mich), worin Du Deine bisherige Fata erzählst, aber so, daß ich ihn Deiner Mutter mitteilen kann. Die Alte fängt an, Furcht zu bekommen.“

MEW a.a.O. 27, 131.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Sounds a lot like Pol Pot, funnily enough

Feuerbach starts out from the fact of religious self-alienation, of the duplication of the world into a religious world and a secular one. His work consists in resolving the religious world into its secular basis. But that the secular basis detaches itself from itself and establishes itself as an independent realm in the clouds can only be explained by the cleavages and self-contradictions within this secular basis. The latter must, therefore, in itself be both understood in its contradiction and revolutionized in practice. Thus, for instance, after the earthly family is discovered to be the secret of the holy family, the former must then itself be annihilated in theory and in practice.

The German

Karl Marx, „Thesen über Feuerbach“, 1845

„....Also nachdem z.B. die irdische Familie als das Geheimnis der Heiligen Familie entdeckt ist, muß nun erstere selbst theoretisch und praktisch vernichtet werden.“

MEW a.a.O. 3, 6.

See also here

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Another indication of how hate-filled Leftists are. And how odd that his followers -- such as Lenin and Hitler -- actually put his vision into practice!

"The proletarians, driven to despair, will seize the torch which Stephens has preached to them; the vengeance of the people will come down with a wrath of which the rage of 1795 gives no true idea. The war of the poor against the rich will be the bloodiest ever waged".


Tuesday, January 04, 2005

He was good at despising. Just like modern-day Leftist elitists, Engels thought country-people were stupid

Firstly, the farmers, the most stupid set of people in existence, who, clinging to feudal prejudices, burst forth in masses, ready to die rather than cease to obey those whom they, their fathers and grandfathers, had called their masters; and submitted to be trampled on and horse-whipped by.

Context here

The original German follows:

Friedrich Engels, „Deutsche Zustände“, 1845

„Zunächst die Bauernschaft, die stupideste Menschenklasse auf Erden, eine Klasse, die, feudalen Vorurteilen anhängend, (...)“

MEW a.a.O. 2, 570., Rotbuch S. 49

Note: I have translated "Bauernschaft" as "farmers" above rather than as "peasantry" because "peasant" is derogatory. "Bauer" is the normal German word for "farmer". "Schaft" means something like "fraternity". So "farming fraternity" would be a third possible translation. However you translate it, however, it is clear that Engels was referring to the small farmers of his day.

Monday, January 03, 2005

He despised both

The French Revolution was the rise of democracy in Europe. Democracy is, as I take all forms of government to be, a contradiction in itself, an untruth, nothing but hypocrisy (theology, as we Germans call it), at the bottom. Political liberty is sham-liberty, the worst possible sort of slavery; the appearance of liberty, and therefore the worst servitude. Just so also is political equality for me; therefore democracy, as well as every other form of government, must ultimately break to pieces.

Another translation and more context here

The original German follows:

Friedrich Engels, „Frankreich“, 1843

„Demokratie ist - und so schätze ich alle Regierungsformen ein - ein Widerspruch in sich, eine Unwahrheit, im Grunde nichts als Heuchelei (...) Politische Freiheit ist Scheinfreiheit, die schlimmste Art von Sklaverei, der Schein der Freiheit und deshalb die schlimmste Knechtschaft. Ebenso verhält es sich mit der politischen Gleichheit, deshalb muß die Demokratie so gut wie jede andere Regierungsform schließlich in Scherben gehen: (...)“

MEW a.a.O. 1, 481.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

His words:

"I have just been visited by the president of the Israelites here, who has asked me for a petition for the Jews to the Provincial Assembly, and I am willing to do it. Given how repellent the Israelite faith is to me, Bauer's view seems to me too abstract. It is still however worthwhile to knock as many breaches as possible into the Christian state and to smuggle in as much good sense as we can. At least, it must be attempted--and the embitterment grows with every petition that is rejected with protestations".

So, in order to further his political ends, Marx was prepared to pretend that he favoured a group that he really loathed. Sounds VERY familiar -- like the modern day American Leftists who despise "rednecks" and "trailer trash" but still pretend to be for "the little guy".

The original German follows:

Karl Marx an Arnold Ruge, 13. März 1843

„Soeben kömmt der Vorsteher der hiesigen Israeliten zu mir und ersucht mich um eine Petition für die Juden an den Landtag, und ich will's tun. So widerlich mir der israelitische Glaube ist, so scheint mir Bauers Ansicht doch zu abstrakt. Es gilt so viele Löcher in den christlichen Staat zu stoßen als möglich und das Vernünftige, soviel an uns, einzuschmuggeln.“

MEW a.a.O. 1, 338.,

There is a more sanitized translation here

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Leftist psychologists have, since the 1950 work of Theodor Adorno and his collaborators, been enthusiastic in claiming that conservatives are "authoritarian" -- despite much contrary evidence. But Engels had a very different view of the matter -- a much more straightforward one:

"Revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon" (Friedrich Engels -- from his controversy with the Anarchists).

This rather obvious insight from Karl Marx's collaborator -- which associates authoritarianism with Leftism -- seems to have been totally overlooked by psychologists. This is rather surprising when we realize that the tradition of research into psychological authoritarianism traces back to The Authoritarian Personality by Adorno, Frenkel-Brunswik, Levinson and Sanford (1950). And the leading author (Adorno) of the study concerned was a prominent Marxist theoretician! One might have thought that a Marxist would have made the quotation mentioned central to his discussion of authoritarianism.

This overlooking of the obvious by the Adorno team was however symptomatic of their whole approach. Apparently, as committed Leftists, they wanted to explain Nazism and Fascism in a way that discredited Rightists rather than Leftists. But the theoretical convolutions required for that were from the outset truly heroic -- considering that Hitler was a socialist rather than a conservative, considering that Mussolini was a prominent Marxist theoretician, considering that Stalin had been a willing ally of Hitler as long as Hitler wanted him and considering that Hitler's most unrelenting enemy was no Leftist but the arch-Conservative Winston Churchill.

But facts never trouble Leftists.