Marx & Engels

May 10, 2006

Karl Marx.jpg
Karl Marx (1818-1883)

Friedrich Engels.jpg
Friedrich Engels (1820-1895)

German socialists, philsophers, political economists, revolutionaries
The downfall of capitalism is inevitable and will soon be replaced with communism

Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848)

Platform for the Communist League

Defines economic and social concepts in terms of class struggle

Economic relationships condition all other aspects of society and change throughout history as the means of production change.

Analysis of the bourgeois mode of production and its pursuit of profit "surplus value" over the actual cost of production, its reliance on money as an impersonal and easily mainpulated medium of exchange, its concentration of resources in large urban centers that process raw material from farther and farther away, and its need to find ever-wider world markets to support increased production and profit.

Capitalism reduces all previous diversity into two large classes: dehumanized working instruments of labor (proletarians) and the employers of wage-labor in the pursuit of wealth (bourgeois).  

Defines historical change in a way that gave hope to future revolutionaries by making their victory seem inevitable

Quotations:

"The history of all hiterto existing society is the history of class struggles"

"Our epoch, the epoch of the bourgeoisie, possesses, however , this distinctive feature: it has simplified the class antagonisms: Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other: Bourgeoisie and Proletariat."

"The place of manufacture was taken by the giant, Modern Industry, the place of industrial middle class, by industrial millionaires, the leaders of whole industrial armies, the modern bourgeois."

"The bourgeoisise, wherever it has got the uypper hand, has put an ed to all fuedal, patriarchal, idyllic relations.  It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley fuedal ties that bound man to his "natural superiors," and has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous "cash payment."  It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervor, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation.  it has resolved personal worth into exhcange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible charactered freedoms, has set up that single, unconsciounable freedom- Free Trade.  In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation."

"The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society."

"All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses, his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind."

"In place of the old local and national seclusion and self-sufficiency, we have intercourse in every direction, universal inter-dependence of nations."

"Just as it has made the country dependent on the towns, so it has made barbarian and semi-barbarian countries dependent on the civilized ones, nations of peasants on nations of bourgeois, the East on the West."

"In these crises there breaks out an epidemic that, in all earlier epochs, would have seemed an absurdity- the epidemic of over-production.  society suddenly finds itself put back into a state of momentary barbarism; it appears as if a famine, a universal war of devastation had cut off the supply of every means of subsistence; industry and commerce seem to be destroyed; and why?  Because tehre is too much civilisation, too much means of subsistence, too much industry, too much commerce."

"What the bourgeoisie, therefore, produces, above all, is its own grave-diggers.  Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable."

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