Revolutions. Dedication and sacrifice. Karl and Jenny Marx

Tue May 10, 2011 12:28 pm

Exciting are the images of revolution and revolutionaries in the images of Spartacus and the armed slaves rebellion fighting and defeating the army of the Roman ruling classes' State. Thomas Munzer in Germany leading and army of armed peasants battling the trooups of landords and the princes of State and Church Oliver Cromwell's Independent Army routing the armies of the landed aristocracies and royalty, and chopping off the head of king Charles, the Parisian masses of the sans coluttes storming of the Bastile and Jean-Paul Marat in his tub writings fiery declarations and radical and articles for The Friend of the People. Harriet Tubman leading a band of armed slaves from Southern plantations to Canada and freedom. V.I. Lenin in hiding in the forest sitting on a stump writing The State and Revolution, Leon Trotsky marshalling of the Russian proletariat's Red Guard storming of the winter Palace and subsequently forming the working class into a professional Red Army or Machno's Insurrectionary Army in Ukraine, Mao tse-Tung and the band of Communist Party cadres, having escaped the Koumantang's massacres in Shanghai on the treck across the mountain's 'long march' organizing peasants into the People's Liberation Army, Che Gueverra and Castro in the Sierra Maestra fighting the Batista army and from victory to victory by gueralla warfare becoming a peasant army that would capture Havana and send Batista and the Cuban landed gentry and bourgeoisie fleaing to Miami. The Tet Offensive in Vietnam. The French workers May-June general strike. The Black Panther Party forming the Black lumpenproletariat of America's inner cities into an armed black liberation cadre. Not to worry -

Actual revolutionary processes are dedicated long term, tedious and in one word, boring work. Years of patient, tedious political work among the working classes and toiling masses becoming a determined revolutionary class requires more sacrifice than the brief moments of courage characterised in the history books.

Karl Marx, spent years of research and at his writing desk at the British Museum produced Capital, founded the International Working Men's Association which resulted in the Paris Commune and his Civil War in France is all part and parcel of the same revolutionary praxis, proletarian praxis. Class struggle is ideological struggle as well as strikes, demonstrations and armed confrontations. As Lenin put it: "Without revolutionary theory, there can be no revolutionary movement".

The rising classes must be clear on their political objectives, which are based in the objective technoeconomic conditions of production that determine the demands and the programme of the revolutionary classes, shaping the sociopolitical movements into revolutionary activities resulting in radical changes that reconstitute Society.

Lil Joe

From Lenin's Karl Marx

In September 1844, Frederick Engels came to Paris for a few days, and from that time on became Marx's closest friend. They both took a most active part in the then seething life of the revolutionary groups in Paris (of particular importance at the time was Proudhon's[4] doctrine), which Marx pulled to pieces in his Poverty of Philosophy, 1847); waging a vigorous struggle against the various doctrines of petty-bourgeois socialism, they worked out the theory and tactics of revolutionary proletarian socialism, or communism Marxism). See Marx's works of this period, 1844-48 in the Bibliography. At the insistent request of the Prussian government, Marx was banished from Paris in 1845, as a dangerous revolutionary. He went to Brussels. In the spring of 1847 Marx and Engels joined a secret propaganda society called the Communist League;[5] they took a prominent part in the League's Second Congress (London, November 1847), at whose request they drew up the celebrated Communist Manifesto, which appeared in February 1848. With the clarity and brilliance of genius, this work outlines a new world-conception, consistent with materialism, which also embrace the realm of social life; dialectics, as the most comprehensive and profound doctrine of development; the theory of the class struggle and of the world-historic revolutionary role of the proletariat—the creator of a new, communist society.

On the outbreak of the Revolution of February 1848,[6] Marx was banished from Belgium. He returned to Paris, whence, after the March Revolution,[7] he went to Cologne, Germany, where Neue Rheinische Zeitung[8] was published from June 1, 1848, to May 19, 1849, with Marx as editor-in-chief. The new theory was splendidly confirmed by the course of the revolutionary events of 1848-49, just as it has been subsequently confirmed by all proletarian and democratic movements in all countries of the world. The victorious counter-revolution first instigated court proceedings against Marx (he was acquitted on February 9, 1849), and then banished him from Germany (May 16, 1849). First Marx went to Paris, was again banished after the demonstration of June 13, 1849,[9] and then went to London, where he lived until his death.

His life as a political exile was a very hard one, as the correspondence between Marx and Engels (published in 1913) clearly reveals. Poverty weighed heavily on Marx and his family; had it not been for Engels' constant and selfless financial aid, Marx would not only have been unable to complete Capital but would have inevitably have been crushed by want. Moreover, the prevailing doctrines and trends of petty-bourgeois socialism, and of non-proletarian socialism in general, forced Marx to wage a continuous and merciless struggle and sometime to repel the most savage and monstrous personal attacks (Herr Vogt).[10] Marx, who stood aloof from circles of political exiles, developed his materialist theory in a number of historical works (see Bibliography), devoting himself mainly to a study of political economy. Marx revolutionized science (see "The Marxist Doctrine", below) in his Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (1859) and Capital (Vol. I, 1867).

The revival of the democratic movements in the late fifties and in the sixties recalled Marx to practical activity. In 1864 (September 28) the International Working Men's Association—the celebrated First International—was founded in London. Marx was the heart and soul of this organization, and author of its first Address[11] and of a host of resolutions, declaration and manifestoes. In uniting the labor movement of various forms of non-proletarian, pre-Marxist socialism (Mazzini, Proudhon, Bakunin, liberal trade-unionism in Britain, Lassallean vacillations to the right in Germany, etc.), and in combating the theories of all these sects and schools, Marx hammered out a uniform tactic for the proletarian struggle of the working in the various countries. Following the downfall of the Paris Commune (1871)—of which gave such a profound, clear-cut, brilliant effective and revolutionary analysis (The Civil War In France, 1871)—and the Bakunin-caused[12] cleavage in the International, the latter organization could no longer exist in Europe. After the Hague Congress of the International (1872), Marx had the General Council of the International had played its historical part, and now made way for a period of a far greater development of the labor movement in all countries in the world, a period in which the movement grew in scope, and mass socialist working-class parties in individual national states were formed.

Marx's health was undermined by his strenuous work in the International and his still more strenuous theoretical occupations. He continued work on the refashioning of political economy and on the completion of Capital, for which he collected a mass of new material and studied a number of languages (Russian, for instance). However, ill-health prevented him from completing Capital.

His wife died on December 2, 1881, and on March 14, 1883, Marx passed away peacefully in his armchair. He lies buried next to his wife at Highgate Cemetery in London. Of Marx's children some died in childhood in London, when the family were living in destitute circumstances. Three daughters married English and French socialists; Eleanor Aveling, Laura Lafargue and Jenny Longuet. The latters' son is a member of the French Socialist Party.

Jenny Marx To Frederick Engels In Manchester
[London, 9 April 1858]
Dear Mr Engels,

For the past week Karl has been so unwell as to be quite incapable of writing. He believes you will already have deduced from the laboured style of his most recent letter that his bile and liver are again in a state of rebellion. I trust his medicines will finally take effect. The worsening of his condition is largely attributable to mental unrest and agitation which now, of course, after the conclusion of the contract with the publishers are greater than ever and increasing daily, since he finds it utterly impossible to bring the work to a close. I now also intend to write straight away to the little Berlin Jew who this time has proved a clever manager. The children are well. Unfortunately they had to stay indoors all through the Easter holidays. The weather was too ghastly and the perpetual rain made our clayey soil so soft and muddy that it was like having the whole of Böckeburg clinging to one's soles. The Guardians with the two very interesting articles on France arrived today. From this we gather that you, too, are in Manchester and haven't risked an Easter trip. But fox-hunting no doubt?

Warmest regards from us all.

Jenny Marx

Jenny Marx To Marx In Manchester

[London, about 9 May 1858]
My darling Karl,

I'm sorry I haven't anything better to send you than Sch['...] Koller's letter; I kept it back yesterday but maybe you ought to see it after all.

I hope that you will reach some definite point of fact with Friedländer; nothing much is ever to be got out of a German newspaper and it's beyond me how you could ask the enormous rate of £1 10/- for more than one article, especially since they have a correspondent for their regular business; they certainly can't want more than an enjolivement. The most that can be extracted from the Presse, as an average maximum, will be £2 — don't delude yourself on that score. Engels is sure to say `you'll be able to make at least £10 a week out of it'; though such delusions may be very agreeable at the time, they are often doomed to disappointment in the event.

The course of the revolution in Prussia tickles me tremendously; particularly the `ships, sails, masts and [waves]' speech made by liquor Prince Smith on his Baltic estate, and the rapturous applause it received. And on top of that the Kölnische Zeitung's transports over von der Heydt, and the admiration evinced even by the Presse for the energy and determination shown by the democratic press in Berlin??!!

The girls would have written to you long ago, but little Jenny declared that she detested the idea of what was simply a private letter being subjected to threefold censorship. Hence her silence.

Karl dear, it's frightful that I should have to bother you amidst all your other tribulations; but, with Easter upon us, the fellows are growing rabid. Can't you manage to raise something, if only, for Withers. They are the worst....

The others are better — they can still be staved off for a while. I went to see Miss Morton yesterday and explained matters to her.


Jenny Marx To Ludwig Kugelmann
In Hanover

[London,] 1 April 1866
1 Modena Villas, Maitland Park
Dear Sir,

I presume that the registered letter that I received from Hanover late yesterday evening is from you. I cannot send it on to my husband in Margate until tomorrow unfortunately, as in pious England all communications halt on Sundays. Since the reply may be held up by this delay, I hasten to let you know immediately today that the letter has arrived safely; but, at the same time, I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to you for my total silence. Just how indebted I am to you for the great sympathy and touching friendship you have shown my husband was really brought home to me when the young man from the City called to enquire on your behalf as to my husband's condition. Immediately after my last letter to you, Karl really became gravely ill; a fresh carbuncle (not a furuncle) erupted, and was indeed so obstinate and so inflammatory that for almost 3 weeks my poor husband could scarcely move and was entirely confined to the sofa. Since we are all only too well aware how dangerous this complaint is, if it keeps recurring over a period of years, you can well imagine how melancholy the days and nights have been for us.

On the advice of Doctor Gumpert in Manchester, he decided to begin the arsenic cure, as well as to spend a few weeks at the seaside after the abscess had healed. He has now been in Margate, a coastal resort quite near here, for nearly 2 weeks, and it seems to us that his health has been greatly restored there. He will return next week to pick up with renewed energy the completion of that work of his [Capital] which has so often been interrupted.

Yesterday he sent me his photogram, and since you would perhaps appreciate a sunny picture of the man to whom you have shown so much friendship, although you do not know him personally, I am enclosing 1 copy with this note.

With all my respects, despite our not being acquainted

Yours truly
Jenny Marx

Jenny Marx To Engels
In Manchester

[London,] Monday 1 o'clock [24 December 1866]
My dear Mr Engels,

The hamper has just arrived, and the bottles have been put on parade, with the Rhenish to the fore! How can we thank you for all your friendship! The £10 which arrived on Saturday will avert the harshest storms of Christmastide and enable us to celebrate a Merry Christmas. The wine was particularly welcome this year, as with the young Frenchman [Paul Lafargue] in the house we like to keep up appearances.

If the publisher in Hamburg' really can print the book [Capital] as fast as he says, it is certain to come out by Easter in any case. It is a pleasure to see the manuscript lying there copied out and stacked up so high. It is an enormous weight off my mind; we have enough troubles and worries left without that, especially when the girls fall in love and become engaged, and to Frenchmen and medical students to boot! I wish I could see everything couleur de rose as much as the others do, but the long years with their many anxieties have made me nervous, and the future often looks black to me when it all looks rosy to a more cheerful spirit. Cela entre nous.

Once more, a thousand thanks for the hock and all its train!

Jenny Marx

Jenny Marx
To Johann Philipp Becker

We present here an excerpt from a letter by a friend in London; among other things, it mentions the Working Men's Congress in Lausanne and the Peace Congress in Geneva [349] as well as Marx's latest work:

"...You will simply not believe what a tremendous sensation the Lausanne Congress has caused here in all the papers. Once The Times had set the tone, by printing daily reports [from Eccarius], the other papers no longer considered it beneath their dignity to print not just short notices on the labour question, but even long editorials. There has been comment on the Congress not only in all the dailies, but the weeklies, too. It was, on occasion, quite naturally treated in a condescending and ironical way. After all, everything has a comical side, as well as a more lofty one, so why should our good Working Men's Congress, with its garrulous Frenchmen, be the exception? In spite of everything, however, generally it was treated quite properly and taken au sérieux. Even the Manchester Examiner, the organ of the Manchester school,[350] and John Bright himself, in an excellent leader presented it as important and epoch-making. When compared with its stepbrother, the Peace Congress, the advantage was always on the elder brother's side, one seen as a threatening tragedy of fate, while the other as merely farce and burlesque.

"If you have already acquired Karl Marx's book,[Capital, Volume I] and if, like me, you have not yet managed to work through the dialectical subtleties of the first chapters, I advise you to read those on the primitive accumulation of capital and the modern theory of colonisation first. I am sure that, like myself, you will obtain great satisfaction from this part. Marx does not, of course, have any specific remedy at hand, which the bourgeois world, that now also calls itself socialist, so violently cries out for, he has no tablets, no ointments, or lint, to heal the gaping, bleeding wounds of our society; but to me it seems that, basing himself on the natural historical rise and development of modern society he has indicated the results and their practical application, including even the most daring conclusions, and that it was no small matter to bring the astounded philistine to the giddy heights of the following problems by means of statistical data and dialectical reasoning:

"`Force is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one. It is itself an economic power... A great deal of capital, which appears today in the United States without any certificate of birth, was yesterday, in England, the capitalised blood of children... If money "comes into the world with a congenital blood-stain on one cheek", capital comes dripping from head to foot, from every pore with blood and dirt.' Or the whole passage from: `The knell of capitalist private property sounds, etc.', to the end.

"I must admit openly that I was gripped by this simple pathos and that history became as clear as daylight to me."


348 The manuscript of this letter has not come down to us. Judging by a letter of October 5, 1867, which has survived, from Mrs. Marx to Becker and his reply to her on October 7, this material was sent by her to Geneva on about October 5.

349 The Lausanne Congress of the International was held on September 2-8, 1867. Marx took part in the preparations but, as he was busy, reading the proofs of the first volume of Capital, was unable to attend: he withdrew his candidature at the General Council meeting of August 13, 1867.

The Congress was attended by 64 delegates from six countries Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy and Switzerland). Apart from the annual report of the General Council, the Congress heard reports from the local sections which indicated the increased influence of the International on the proletarian masses and the growing strength of its organisations in different countries. The Proudhonist-minded delegates, especially the French, made an attempt to change the orientation of the International's activity and its programme principles. Despite the efforts of the General Council's delegates, they imposed their agenda on the Congress and sought to revise the Geneva Congress resolutions in a Proudhonist spirit. They managed to pass a number of their resolutions, in particular on cooperation and credit, which the Proudhonists regarded as the chief factors in changing society by means of reform.

However, the Proudhonists failed to achieve their main aim. The Congress confirmed the Geneva Congress resolutions on the economic struggle and strikes. As distinct from the Proudhonist dogma on abstaining from political struggle, the Lausanne Congress resolution on political freedom emphasised that the social emancipation of workers was inseparable from political liberation. The Proudhonists likewise failed to seize the leadership of the International. The Congress re-elected the General Council in its former composition and retained London as its seat.

The League of Peace and Freedom was a pacifist organisation set up in 1867 with the active participation of Victor Hugo, Giuseppe Garibaldi and other democrats. Voicing the anti-militarist sentiments of the masses, the League's leaders did not reveal the social sources of wars and often confined anti-militarist activity to mere declarations. The inaugural Congress of the League was to open on September 9 (originally on September 5) in Geneva and was specially timed to coincide with the end of the Lausanne Congress of the International (September 2-8, 1867). At the General Council meeting of August 13, Marx spoke against the International's official participation in the League's Congress, since this would mean solidarity with its bourgeois programme; but he recommended that sonic members of the International should attend the Congress on their own in order to make it adopt revolutionary-democratic decisions. Concluding his speech, Marx submitted this resolution, which the Council adopted. In the Minute Book of the General Council, the speech and resolution are reproduced in the form of a clipping from The Bee-Hive carrying a report of the Council meeting.

The Lausanne Congress ignored the General Council's resolution and, influenced by petty-bourgeois elements, resolved officially, to take part in the Congress of the League of Peace and Freedom The Congress of the League, however, attended by several General Council and some other International members revealed great differences between the proletarian and the abstract, pacifist approach to the struggle for peace. Marx's tactics in regard to the League was fully approved at the Brussels Congress of the International in 1868, which opposed official affiliation to the League but called upon the working class to combine efforts with all progressive anti-military forces.

The Inaugural Congress of the bourgeois-pacifist League of Peace and Freedom (see Note 155) was originally to he held in Geneva on September 5, 1867. The League's Organising Committee, which had enlisted the support of bourgeois-radical and democratic leaders (John Stuart Mill, the Reclus brothers and others), also counted on the participation in the League's work of representatives of European proletariat and its international organisation. The Committee consequently invited the sections of the International and its leaders, Marx included, to attend the Congress. At the same time it was decided to postpone the opening of the Congress until September 9, so as to enable delegates of the Lausanne Congress of the International (to be held on September 2-8) to take part.

The International's attitude towards the League of Peace and Freedom was discussed both by the General Council and the local sections. Unlike the advocates of unconditional support of the League's activity, in particular the leaders of British trade unions, Marx, in his speech on August 13, 1867 and the resolution he proposed, formulated the principles of the International's tactics as regards this kind of bourgeois-democratic movement. These principles envisaged the joint struggle with the democrats against the war threat on condition that the proletarian organisation preserves its class independence, and, in opposition to bourgeois-pacifist illusions, takes a revolutionary proletarian approach to the problems of war and peace.

In a letter to Engels of September 4, 1867 Marx wrote about the wide response to his speech. He also pointed out the extremely concise record of his speeches (Eccarius' report of the Council meeting published in The Bee-Hive Newspaper on August 17, 1867 and pasted into the Minute Book). He went on to say that this record gave only approximate idea of his speech, which lasted half an hour (see present edition, Vol. 42).

350 The Manchester School — a trend in political economy expressing the interests of the industrial bourgeoisie. It favoured free trade and non-interference by the state in the economy. The Free Traders' stronghold was Manchester, where the movement was led by Cobden and Bright, two textile manufacturers who founded the Anti-Corn Law League in 1838. In the 1840s and 1850s the Free Traders were an independent political group which later formed the Left wing of the Liberal Party

Jenny Marx To Ludwig Kugelmann
In Hanover

[London, 24 December 1867]
1 Modena Villas, Maitland Park
My dear Mr Kugelmann,

You can have no idea of the delight and surprise you occasioned us yesterday, and I really do not know how I should thank you for all your friendship and sympathy, and especially now for the latest visible sign of your regard, old Father Zeus, who now occupies the place of the `baby Jesus' in our household. Our Christmas festivities this year are again very much overshadowed by the fact that my poor husband is once more laid low with his old complaint. There have been 2 further eruptions, one of which is of some size and in a most painful spot, obliging Karl to lie on one side. I hope we shall soon get the better of this illness, and that in the next letter you will no longer be confronted with the temporary private secretary.

Yesterday evening we were all at home together sitting downstairs, which in English houses is the kitchen area from which all `creature comforts' make their way up to the higher regions, and were busy preparing the Christmas pudding with all due thoroughness. We were seeding raisins (a most disagreeable and sticky task), chopping up almonds and orange and lemon peel, minutely shredding suet, and with eggs and flour kneading together the oddest potpourri from the whole mishmash; when all at once there was a ring at the door, a carriage was stopped outside, mysterious footsteps were going up and down, whispering and rustling filled the house; at length a voice sounded from above: `A great statue has arrived.' If it had been `Fire, fire, the house is on fire', the `Fenians' have come, we could not have dashed upstairs in greater astonishment or confusion, and there it stood in all its colossal splendour, in its ideal purity, old Jupiter tonans himself, unscathed, undamaged (one small edge of the piedestal is slightly chipped) before our staring, delighted eyes!! Meanwhile, the confusion having somewhat abated, we then read the accompanying kind words you sent via Borkheim, and after pausing in deepest gratitude to you, we at once began debating which would be the worthiest niche for the new `dear god who is there in heaven and on Earth'.' We have not yet resolved this great question, and we shall make many trials before that proud head finds its place of honour.

My warmest thanks to you also for your great interest and indefatigable efforts on behalf of Karl's book [Capital]. It would seem that the Germans' preferred form of applause is utter and complete silence. You have given fresh heart to all the moaners.

Dear Mr Kugelmann, you can believe me when I tell you there can be few books that have been written in more difficult circumstances, and I am sure I could write a secret history of it which would tell of many, extremely many unspoken troubles and anxieties and torments. If the workers had an inkling of the sacrifices that were necessary for this work, which was written only for them and for their sakes to be completed they would perhaps show a little more Interest. The Lassalleans appear to be the quickest to seize the book, so that they may fittingly bowdlerise it. However, that will do no harm.

But to conclude, I have a bone to pick with you. Why do you address me so formally, even using the title `gracious', for me, who am such an old campaigner, such a hoary head in the movement, such an honest fellow-traveller and fellow-tramp? I would so much have liked to visit you and your dear wife and Fränzchen this summer, of whom my husband cannot stop saying so many nice and good things, I would so much have liked to see Germany again after 11 years. I have often been unwell in the past year, and I am sorry to say that of late I have lost much of my `faith', my courage in facing up to life. I often found it hard to keep my spirits up. However, since my girls were embarking on a long journey — they had been invited to stay with Lafargue's parents in Bordeaux — it was impossible for me to undertake my own excursion at the same time, and it is therefore now my fondest hope for next year.

Karl sends his warmest greetings to your wife and to yourself, to which the girls sincerely add their own, and I extend my hand to you and your dear wife from afar.

Jenny Marx

not gracious and not by the grace of God.

Jenny Marx To Johann Philipp Becker
In Geneva

[London, after 10 January 1868]
1 Modena Villas, Maitland Park
My dear Mr Becker,

Don't be cross with me for not replying sooner to your kind last letter. Unfortunately, the reason for my silence was not a happy one. For my poor husband has once again been laid up and fettered hand and foot by his old, serious and painful complaint, which is becoming dangerous through its constant recurrence. Nothing depresses him more than to be constantly condemned to idleness once again, particularly now when there is so much to be done, the 2nd part [of Capital] is demanded and, to put it shortly, when the world begins once again to burn and blaze, though for the time being with `Greek fire', and not with the `Red Cock' [symbol of revolutionary action in the Peasant War in Germany]. The idlers and loafers have cash in their pockets and health in their blood, and the people who belong to the new world, who have devoted their bodies and souls to it, are sick — poor and thus well and truly locked in handcuffs. `Shame, shame' as the English shout at their meetings. You will not believe how often my husband thinks of you, with sincere honour and admiration. He regards your little paper' as quite definitely the best and most effective, and every time we receive news of our native kindergarten, or rather Gartenlaube, he exclaims: `If only the Germans had more men like old Becker!! As temporary secretary, I have just written to Schily and sent him the letter of the man who has offered to make the translation.' You see, Moses Hess has also offered himself as translator through Schily and wanted to launch some preliminary ballons d'essais in the Courrier français But we have long heard and seen nothing of the two gentlemen, but, to judge by the letter I just mentioned, the matter will be a success. Because of his education in philosophy, and his orientation in the arts of dialectical leaps and balances, Hess would be preferable to many other translators who would be simply literal, but, on the other hand, our mystical Rabbi Rabbuni is often not quite reliable (not quite kosher), and often careless, so it would be wrong to reject other offers because of him. Schily will now act as chargé d'affaires, and see which is the right man.

Your last article on the Peace dawdlers was excellent, and, by God (the Good Lord always springs nolens volens to the lips and the pen, although he has long left the place of honour in our hearts), was the best that we have seen hitherto.

`Goegg' is still roaming around here on his propaganda merry-go-round. And Borkheim could have been smarter than to give him 100fr. travelling expenses. If the coins are itching and burning a hole in his pocket like that, he should let them fall and burn elsewhere. I think there are better things to do than supporting these apostles. Amand was dealt with quite differently by Engels in Manchester. For your amusement, here is a passage about it from Engels' letter.

`Moreover, yesterday I had a visit from the ex-dictator Goegg, who is travelling for the ridiculous Peace League and who ruined my evening. Luckily, Schorlemmer (a very important chemist, one of `our people') `also happened by, and got the surprise of his life with this fossil of Federal Republic; he had not believed such a thing possible. The stupid oaf has become ten times more stupid through the unthinking repetition of the same phrases, and has lost all points of contact with the world of common sense (not to mention actual thinking). Apart from Switzerland and the Canton of Baden, there is still nothing else in the world for people of this sort. For all that, he soon convinced himself of the truth of my first reply to his application for support: that the further apart we lived and the less we had to do with one another, the better we would get on. — He admitted that in the Vogt affair Blind has behaved like a coward, but said he was after all a worthy fellow, and even threatened to reconcile you and Blind! Vogt — no politician, but a decent fellow, honest to the backbone, who simply scribbled away in the daytime without considering the content — if we 2 spent an hour together then we would be like brothers. He admitted him to be a Bonapartist, but not a paid one. To which I replied that all Bonapartists were paid, there were no unpaid ones, and if he could show me an unpaid one, then I would accept the possibility that Vogt was not paid; otherwise I would not. This astonished him, but finally he discovered one — Ludwig Bamberger! Incidentally, he said that Vogt had continually had a very hard time, his wife was a peasant girl from the Bernese Oberland, whom he had married out of virtue. Vogt, the artful dodger, appears to have pulled the wool well over this jackass's eyes. But when Schorlemmer and I explained to him that Vogt had not produced anything as a natural scientist either, you should have seen his rage: Had he not popularised? Was not that worth while?

Thus Engels. So Goegg left empty-handed. Now he is trying his luck in other towns. Have you seen or heard anything of Bakunin? My husband sent his book [Capital] to him as an old Hegelian, — not a sign near or far. Has he received it? You can't really trust all those Russians. If they don't adhere to the `Väterchen' in Russia, then they adhere to, or are kept by, `Herzens Väterchen', which in the end comes to the same thing. Six of one and half a dozen of the other.

Things look good here, the English are running away from themselves in panic, and, if somebody hears a cork pop, he imagines it is Greek fire, and if John Bull sees an innocent phosphorus match he believes it is impregnated with glycerine, paraffin, nicotine and God knows what, and starts to run, and soon everybody is running, and finally the genuine constables are running ahead of the false bobbies, the so-called Specials, who are now keeping order in the streets with their lead batons. Ireland has taken the lead in the entire political programme, the English are already shouting in favour of Ireland at their meetings, and it has almost become respectable to lament the 7-hundred-year suffering of sweet Erin — to weep over it; and all this has been accomplished by a phosphorus match and a rope. How easy is it to frighten the gentlemen out of their wits!? The short fear of physical means has accomplished more than centuries of moral threats. ...
[manuscript breaks off here]

Marx To Sigfrid Meyer In New York

Hanover, 30 April 1867
Dear Friend,

You must think very badly of me, and all the more so when I tell you that your letters did not merely give me great pleasure but were a real comfort to me since they reached me at a time of great affliction. The knowledge that a capable man, à la hauteur des principes, has been won for our party, is some compensation to me for the worst. Your letters were furthermore full of such warm friendship for me personally, and you will appreciate that I who am engaged in a most bitter struggle with the world can least afford to underestimate such things.

Why then did I not answer you? Because I was the whole time at death's door. I thus had to make use of every moment when I was capable of work to complete my book [Capital] to which I have sacrificed my health, happiness, and family. I hope this explanation suffices. I laugh at the so-called `practical' men and their wisdom. If one wanted to be an ox, one could, of course, turn one's back on the sufferings of humanity and look after one's own hide. But I should really have thought myself unpractical if I had pegged out without finally completing my book, at least in manuscript.

The first volume of the book will be published by Otto Meissner in Hamburg in a few weeks. The title of the work is: `Capital. A Critique of Political Economy'. I travelled to Germany to bring over the manuscript, and I am spending a few days with a friend in Hanover on my way back to London.

Volume I comprises the `Process of Production of Capital'. As well as setting out the general theory, I examine in great detail the conditions of the English — agricultural and industrial — proletariat over the last 20 years, ditto the condition of Ireland, basing myself on official sources that have never previously been used. You will immediately realise that all this serves me solely as an argumentum ad hominem.

I hope that a year from now the whole work will have appeared. Volume II contains the continuation and conclusion of the theory, Volume III the history of political economy from the middle of the 17th century.

As to the `International Working Men's Association', it has become a power to be reckoned with in England, France, Switzerland, and Belgium. You should form as many branches as possible in America. Contribution per member 1 penny (about 1 silver groschen) per year. However, every branch gives what it can. Congress in Lausanne this year, 3 September. Every branch can send one representative. Do write to me about this matter, about how you are faring in America and about conditions in general. If you do not write, I shall take it as showing that you have not yet absolved me.

With warmest greetings

Karl Marx


Meyer, Siegfried (1840-72) German-American socialist, member of the First International; took part in the organization of the German workers' movement in New York.

Marx intended to publish the continuation of the first volume of Capital in one volume; this volume grew into two. Consequently the volume which had been planned as Volume III, Theories of Surplus Value, was numbered IV.

Karl Marx
Capital Volume One

Preface to the First German Edition

The work, the first volume of which I now submit to the public, forms the continuation of my Zur Kritik der Politischen Oekonomie (A Contribution to the Criticism of Political Economy) published in 1859. The long pause between the first part and the continuation is due to an illness of many years' duration that again and again interrupted my work.

The substance of that earlier work is summarised in the first three chapters of this volume. This is done not merely for the sake of connexion and completeness. The presentation of the subject matter is improved. As far as circumstances in any way permit, many points only hinted at in the earlier book are here worked out more fully, whilst, conversely, points worked out fully there are only touched upon in this volume. The sections on the history of the theories of value and of money are now, of course, left out altogether. The reader of the earlier work will find, however, in the notes to the first chapter additional sources of reference relative to the history of those theories.

Every beginning is difficult, holds in all sciences. To understand the first chapter, especially the section that contains the analysis of commodities, will, therefore, present the greatest difficulty. That which concerns more especially the analysis of the substance of value and the magnitude of value, I have, as much as it was possible, popularised. [1] The value-form, whose fully developed shape is the money-form, is very elementary and simple. Nevertheless, the human mind has for more than 2,000 years sought in vain to get to the bottom of it all, whilst on the other hand, to the successful analysis of much more composite and complex forms, there has been at least an approximation. Why? Because the body, as an organic whole, is more easy of study than are the cells of that body. In the analysis of economic forms, moreover, neither microscopes nor chemical reagents are of use. The force of abstraction must replace both. But in bourgeois society, the commodity-form of the product of labour — or value-form of the commodity — is the economic cell-form. To the superficial observer, the analysis of these forms seems to turn upon minutiae. It does in fact deal with minutiae, but they are of the same order as those dealt with in microscopic anatomy.

With the exception of the section of value-form, therefore, this volume cannot stand accused on the score of difficulty. I presuppose, of course, a reader who is willing to learn something new and therefore to think for himself.

The physicist either observes physical phenomena where they occur in their most typical form and most free from disturbing influence, or, wherever possible, he makes experiments under conditions that assure the occurrence of the phenomenon in its normality. In this work I have to examine the capitalist mode of production, and the conditions of production and exchange corresponding to that mode. Up to the present time, their classic ground is England. That is the reason why England is used as the chief illustration in the development of my theoretical ideas. If, however, the German reader shrugs his shoulders at the condition of the English industrial and agricultural labourers, or in optimist fashion comforts himself with the thought that in Germany things are not nearly so bad; I must plainly tell him, "De te fabula narratur!" [It is of you that the story is told. – Horace]

Intrinsically, it is not a question of the higher or lower degree of development of the social antagonisms that result from the natural laws of capitalist production. It is a question of these laws themselves, of these tendencies working with iron necessity towards inevitable results. The country that is more developed industrially only shows, to the less developed, the image of its own future.

But apart from this. Where capitalist production is fully naturalised among the Germans (for instance, in the factories proper) the condition of things is much worse than in England, because the counterpoise of the Factory Acts is wanting. In all other spheres, we, like all the rest of Continental Western Europe, suffer not only from the development of capitalist production, but also from the incompleteness of that development. Alongside the modern evils, a whole series of inherited evils oppress us, arising from the passive survival of antiquated modes of production, with their inevitable train of social and political anachronisms. We suffer not only from the living, but from the dead. Le mort saisit le vif! [The dead holds the living in his grasp. – formula of French common law]

The social statistics of Germany and the rest of Continental Western Europe are, in comparison with those of England, wretchedly compiled. But they raise the veil just enough to let us catch a glimpse of the Medusa head behind it. We should be appalled at the state of things at home, if, as in England, our governments and parliaments appointed periodically commissions of inquiry into economic conditions; if these commissions were armed with the same plenary powers to get at the truth; if it was possible to find for this purpose men as competent, as free from partisanship and respect of persons as are the English factory-inspectors, her medical reporters on public health, her commissioners of inquiry into the exploitation of women and children, into housing and food. Perseus wore a magic cap down over his eyes and ears as a make-believe that there are no monsters.

Let us not deceive ourselves on this. As in the 18th century, the American war of independence sounded the tocsin for the European middle class, so that in the 19th century, the American Civil War sounded it for the European working class. In England the process of social disintegration is palpable. When it has reached a certain point, it must react on the Continent. There it will take a form more brutal or more humane, according to the degree of development of the working class itself. Apart from higher motives, therefore, their own most important interests dictate to the classes that are for the nonce the ruling ones, the removal of all legally removable hindrances to the free development of the working class. For this reason, as well as others, I have given so large a space in this volume to the history, the details, and the results of English factory legislation. One nation can and should learn from others. And even when a society has got upon the right track for the discovery of the natural laws of its movement — and it is the ultimate aim of this work, to lay bare the economic law of motion of modern society — it can neither clear by bold leaps, nor remove by legal enactments, the obstacles offered by the successive phases of its normal development. But it can shorten and lessen the birth-pangs.

To prevent possible misunderstanding, a word. I paint the capitalist and the landlord in no sense couleur de rose [i.e., seen through rose-tinted glasses]. But here individuals are dealt with only in so far as they are the personifications of economic categories, embodiments of particular class-relations and class-interests. My standpoint, from which the evolution of the economic formation of society is viewed as a process of natural history, can less than any other make the individual responsible for relations whose creature he socially remains, however much he may subjectively raise himself above them.

In the domain of Political Economy, free scientific inquiry meets not merely the same enemies as in all other domains. The peculiar nature of the materials it deals with, summons as foes into the field of battle the most violent, mean and malignant passions of the human breast, the Furies of private interest. The English Established Church, e.g., will more readily pardon an attack on 38 of its 39 articles than on 1/39 of its income. Now-a-days atheism is culpa levis [a relatively slight sin, c.f. mortal sin], as compared with criticism of existing property relations. Nevertheless, there is an unmistakable advance. I refer, e.g., to the Blue book published within the last few weeks: "Correspondence with Her Majesty's Missions Abroad, regarding Industrial Questions and Trades' Unions." The representatives of the English Crown in foreign countries there declare in so many words that in Germany, in France, to be brief, in all the civilised states of the European Continent, radical change in the existing relations between capital and labour is as evident and inevitable as in England. At the same time, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, Mr. Wade, vice-president of the United States, declared in public meetings that, after the abolition of slavery, a radical change of the relations of capital and of property in land is next upon the order of the day. These are signs of the times, not to be hidden by purple mantles or black cassocks. They do not signify that tomorrow a miracle will happen. They show that, within the ruling classes themselves, a foreboding is dawning, that the present society is no solid crystal, but an organism capable of change, and is constantly changing.

The second volume of this book will treat of the process of the circulation of capital (Book II.), and of the varied forms assumed by capital in the course of its development (Book III.), the third and last volume (Book IV.), the history of the theory.

Every opinion based on scientific criticism I welcome. As to prejudices of so-called public opinion, to which I have never made concessions, now as aforetime the maxim of the great Florentine is mine:

"Segui il tuo corso, e lascia dir le genti."
[Follow your own course, and let people talk – paraphrased from Dante]

Karl Marx
July 25, 1867

Afterword to the Second German Edition

I must start by informing the readers of the first edition about the alterations made in the second edition. One is struck at once by the clearer arrangement of the book. Additional notes are everywhere marked as notes to the second edition. The following are the most important points with regard to the text itself:

In Chapter I, Section 1, the derivation of value from an analysis of the equations by which every exchange-value is expressed has been carried out with greater scientific strictness; likewise the connexion between the substance of value and the determination of the magnitude of value by socially necessary labour-time, which was only alluded to in the first edition, is now expressly emphasised. Chapter I, Section 3 (the Form of Value), has been completely revised, a task which was made necessary by the double exposition in the first edition, if nothing else. — Let me remark, in passing, that that double exposition had been occasioned by my friend, Dr. L Kugelmann in Hanover. I was visiting him in the spring of 1867 when the first proof-sheets arrived from Hamburg, and he convinced me that most readers needed a supplementary, more didactic explanation of the form of value. — The last section of the first chapter, "The Fetishism of Commodities, etc.," has largely been altered. Chapter III, Section I (The Measure of Value), has been carefully revised, because in the first edition this section had been treated negligently, the reader having been referred to the explanation already given in "Zur Kritik der Politischen Oekonomie," Berlin 1859. Chapter VII, particularly Part 2 [Eng. ed., Chapter IX, Section 2], has been re-written to a great extent.

It would be a waste of time to go into all the partial textual changes, which were often purely stylistic. They occur throughout the book. Nevertheless I find now, on revising the French translation appearing in Paris, that several parts of the German original stand in need of rather thorough remoulding, other parts require rather heavy stylistic editing, and still others painstaking elimination of occasional slips. But there was no time for that. For I had been informed only in the autumn of 1871, when in the midst of other urgent work, that the book was sold out and that the printing of the second edition was to begin in January of 1872.

The appreciation which "Das Kapital" rapidly gained in wide circles of the German working class is the best reward of my labours. Herr Mayer, a Vienna manufacturer, who in economic matters represents the bourgeois point of view, in a pamphlet published during the Franco-German War aptly expounded the idea that the great capacity for theory, which used to be considered a hereditary German possession, had almost completely disappeared amongst the so-called educated classes in Germany, but that amongst its working class, on the contrary, that capacity was celebrating its revival. T

o the present moment Political Economy, in Germany, is a foreign science. Gustav von Gulich in his "Historical description of Commerce, Industry," &c., [1] especially in the two first volumes published in 1830, has examined at length the historical circumstances that prevented, in Germany, the development of the capitalist mode of production, and consequently the development, in that country, of modern bourgeois society. Thus the soil whence Political Economy springs was wanting. This "science" had to be imported from England and France as a ready-made article; its German professors remained schoolboys. The theoretical expression of a foreign reality was turned, in their hands, into a collection of dogmas, interpreted by them in terms of the petty trading world around them, and therefore misinterpreted. The feeling of scientific impotence, a feeling not wholly to be repressed, and the uneasy consciousness of having to touch a subject in reality foreign to them, was but imperfectly concealed, either under a parade of literary and historical erudition, or by an admixture of extraneous material, borrowed from the so-called "Kameral" sciences, a medley of smatterings, through whose purgatory the hopeful candidate for the German bureaucracy has to pass.

Since 1848 capitalist production has developed rapidly in Germany, and at the present time it is in the full bloom of speculation and swindling. But fate is still unpropitious to our professional economists. At the time when they were able to deal with Political Economy in a straightforward fashion, modern economic conditions did not actually exist in Germany. And as soon as these conditions did come into existence, they did so under circumstances that no longer allowed of their being really and impartially investigated within the bounds of the bourgeois horizon. In so far as Political Economy remains within that horizon, in so far, i.e., as the capitalist regime is looked upon as the absolutely final form of social production, instead of as a passing historical phase of its evolution, Political Economy can remain a science only so long as the class struggle is latent or manifests itself only in isolated and sporadic phenomena.

Let us take England. Its Political Economy belongs to the period in which the class struggle was as yet undeveloped. Its last great representative, Ricardo, in the end, consciously makes the antagonism of class interests, of wages and profits, of profits and rent, the starting point of his investigations, naively taking this antagonism for a social law of Nature. But by this start the science of bourgeois economy had reached the limits beyond which it could not pass. Already in the lifetime of Ricardo, and in opposition to him, it was met by criticism, in the person of Sismondi. [2]

The succeeding period, from 1820 to 1830, was notable in England for scientific activity in the domain of Political Economy. It was the time as well of the vulgarising and extending of Ricardo's theory, as of the contest of that theory with the old school. Splendid tournaments were held. What was done then, is little known to the Continent generally, because the polemic is for the most part scattered through articles in reviews, occasional literature and pamphlets. The unprejudiced character of this polemic — although the theory of Ricardo already serves, in exceptional cases, as a weapon of attack upon bourgeois economy — is explained by the circumstances of the time. On the one hand, modern industry itself was only just emerging from the age of childhood, as is shown by the fact that with the crisis of 1825 it for the first time opens the periodic cycle of its modern life. On the other hand, the class struggle between capital and labour is forced into the background, politically by the discord between the governments and the feudal aristocracy gathered around the Holy Alliance on the one hand, and the popular masses, led by the bourgeoisie, on the other; economically by the quarrel between industrial capital and aristocratic landed property - a quarrel that in France was concealed by the opposition between small and large landed property, and that in England broke out openly after the Corn Laws. The literature of Political Economy in England at this time calls to mind the stormy forward movement in France after Dr. Quesnay's death, but only as a Saint Martin's summer reminds us of spring. With the year 1830 came the decisive crisis.

In France and in England the bourgeoisie had conquered political power. Thenceforth, the class struggle, practically as well as theoretically, took on more and more outspoken and threatening forms. It sounded the knell of scientific bourgeois economy. It was thenceforth no longer a question, whether this theorem or that was true, but whether it was useful to capital or harmful, expedient or inexpedient, politically dangerous or not. In place of disinterested inquirers, there were hired prize fighters; in place of genuine scientific research, the bad conscience and the evil intent of apologetic. Still, even the obtrusive pamphlets with which the Anti-Corn Law League, led by the manufacturers Cobden and Bright, deluged the world, have a historic interest, if no scientific one, on account of their polemic against the landed aristocracy. But since then the Free Trade legislation, inaugurated by Sir Robert Peel, has deprived vulgar economy of this its last sting.

The Continental revolution of 1848-9 also had its reaction in England. Men who still claimed some scientific standing and aspired to be something more than mere sophists and sycophants of the ruling classes tried to harmonise the Political Economy of capital with the claims, no longer to be ignored, of the proletariat. Hence a shallow syncretism of which John Stuart Mill is the best representative. It is a declaration of bankruptcy by bourgeois economy, an event on which the great Russian scholar and critic, N. Tschernyschewsky, has thrown the light of a master mind in his "Outlines of Political Economy according to Mill."

In Germany, therefore, the capitalist mode of production came to a head, after its antagonistic character had already, in France and England, shown itself in a fierce strife of classes. And meanwhile, moreover, the German proletariat had attained a much more clear class-consciousness than the German bourgeoisie. Thus, at the very moment when a bourgeois science of Political Economy seemed at last possible in Germany, it had in reality again become impossible.

Under these circumstances its professors fell into two groups. The one set, prudent, practical business folk, flocked to the banner of Bastiat, the most superficial and therefore the most adequate representative of the apologetic of vulgar economy; the other, proud of the professorial dignity of their science, followed John Stuart Mill in his attempt to reconcile irreconcilables. Just as in the classical time of bourgeois economy, so also in the time of its decline, the Germans remained mere schoolboys, imitators and followers, petty retailers and hawkers in the service of the great foreign wholesale concern.

The peculiar historical development of German society therefore forbids, in that country, all original work in bourgeois economy; but not the criticism of that economy. So far as such criticism represents a class, it can only represent the class whose vocation in history is the overthrow of the capitalist mode of production and the final abolition of all classes — the proletariat.

The learned and unlearned spokesmen of the German bourgeoisie tried at first to kill "Das Kapital" by silence, as they had managed to do with my earlier writings. As soon as they found that these tactics no longer fitted in with the conditions of the time, they wrote, under pretence of criticising my book, prescriptions "for the tranquillisation of the bourgeois mind." But they found in the workers' press — see, e.g., Joseph Dietzgen's articles in the Volksstaat — antagonists stronger than themselves, to whom (down to this very day) they owe a reply. [3]

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