Karl Marx - Wikiquote
quotes from Karl Marx: 'The oppressed are allowed once every few years has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. Famous quotes by Karl Marx on love, leadership, religion, capitalism and human relations. Karl Marx, Jenny von Westphalen and Engels On Love and Marriage. Marx married his childhood sweetheart, Jenny von Westphalen, and stayed married for life.
Thus the first fact to be established is the physical organisation of these individuals and their consequent relation to the rest of nature. Volume I; Part 1; "Feuerbach. The fact is, therefore, that definite individuals who are productively active in a definite way enter into these definite social and political relations.
Empirical observation must in each separate instance bring out empirically, and without any mystification and speculation, the connection of the social and political structure with production. The social structure and the state are continually evolving out of the life-process of definite individuals, but of individuals, not as they appear in their own or other people's imagination, but as they really are; i. Conceiving, thinking, the mental intercourse of men, appear at this stage as the direct efflux of their material behaviour.
The same applies to mental production as expressed in the language of the politics, laws, morality, religion, metaphysics of a people. Men are the producers of their conception, ideas, etc.
Consciousness can never be anything else than conscious existence, and the existence of men is their actual life-process. If in all ideology men and their circumstances appear upside down as in a camera obscura, this phenomenon arises just as much from their historical life-process as the inversion of objects on the retina does from their physical life-process. Where speculation ends — in real life — there real, positive science begins: Empty talk about consciousness ceases, and real knowledge has to take place.
When reality is depicted, philosophy as an independent branch of activity loses its medium of existence. At the best its place can only be taken by a summing-up of the most general results, abstractions which arise from the observation of the historical development of men.
Viewed apart from real history, these abstractions have in themselves no value whatsoever. They can only serve to facilitate the arrangement of historical material, to indicate the sequence of its separate strata.
But they by no means afford a recipe or schema, as does philosophy, for neatly trimming the epochs of history. On the contrary, our difficulties begin only when we set about the observation and the arrangement — the real depiction — of our historical material, whether of a past epoch or of the present. Communism differs from all previous movements in that it overturns the basis of all earlier relations of production and intercourse, and for the first time consciously treats all natural premises as the creatures of hitherto existing men, strips them of their natural character and subjugates them to the power of the united individuals.
Its organisation is, therefore, essentially economic, the material production of the conditions of this unity; it turns existing conditions into conditions of unity. The reality, which communism is creating, is precisely the true basis for rendering it impossible that anything should exist independently of individuals, insofar as reality is only a product of the preceding intercourse of individuals themselves.
It is in fact not the consciousness dominating life but the very life dominating consciousness. Language comes into being, like consciousness, from the basic need, from the scantiest intercourse with other human.
Philosophy stands in the same relation to the study of the actual world as masturbation to sexual love. The German Ideology, International Publishers, ed.
They have a world to win. A spectre is haunting Europe; the spectre of Communism. Preamble, paragraph 1, line 1. The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.
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Section 1, paragraph 1, lines The bourgeoisiewherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley of ties that bound man to his "natural superiors," and left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous "cash payment.
Constant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. Section 1, paragraph 18, lines 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.
A class of labourers, who live only so long as they find work, and who find work only so long as their labour increase capital. These labourers, who must sell themselves piecemeal, are a commodity, like every other article of commerce, and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition, to all the fluctuations of the market. Section 1, paragraph 30, lines He becomes an appendage of the machine, and it is only the most simple, most monotonous, and most easily acquired knack, that is required of him.
Hence, the cost of production of a workman is restricted, almost entirely, to the means of subsistence that he requires for his maintenance, and for the propagation of his race. Section 1, paragraph 31, lines No sooner is the exploitation of the labourer by the manufacturer, so far, at an end, that he receives his wages in cash, than he is set upon by the other portions of the bourgeoisie, the landlord, the shopkeeper, the pawnbroker, etc.
Section 1, paragraph But every class struggle is a political struggle. Section 1, paragraph 39, lines Of all the classes that stand face to face with the bourgeoisie today, the proletariat alone is a really revolutionary class. Section 1, paragraph 44, lines Law, morality, religion, are to him so many bourgeois prejudices, behind which lurk in ambush just as many bourgeois interests. Section 1, paragraph 47, lines What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers.
Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable. Section 1, paragraph 53, lines The theory of Communism may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property. Section 2, paragraph All that we want to do away with is the miserable character of this appropriation, under which the labourer lives merely to increase capitaland allowed to live only so far as the interest to the ruling class requires it.
Section 2, paragraph 20, lines Communism deprives no man of the power to appropriate the products of society; all that it does is to deprive him of the power to subjugate the labour of others by means of such appropriation. The working men have no country. We cannot take away from them what they have not got. Section 2, paragraph 51, lines Marx, The Grundrisse Capital and labour relate to each other here like money and commodity; the former is the general form of wealth, the other only the substance destined for immediate consumption.
This is why capital is productive; i. It ceases to exist as such only where the development of these productive forces themselves encounters its barrier in capital itself. Marx, 1The Grundrisse The pay of the common soldier is also reduced to a minimum — determined purely by the production costs necessary to procure him.
But he exchanges the performance of his services not for capital, but for the revenue of the state. In bourgeois society itself, all exchange of personal services for revenue — including labour for personal consumption, cooking, sewing etc. All menial servants etc. But it does not occur to anyone to think that by means of the exchange of his revenue for such services, i.
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Rather, he thereby spends the fruits of his capital. It does not change the nature of the relation that the proportions in which revenue is exchanged for this kind of living labour are themselves determined by the general laws of production. Marx, The Grundrisse For example, when the peasant takes a wandering tailor, of the kind that existed in times past, into his house, and gives him the material to make clothes with.
The man who takes the cloth I supplied to him and makes me an article of clothing out of it gives me a use value. But instead of giving it directly in objective form, he gives it in the form of activity.
I give him a completed use value; he completes another for me. The difference between previous, objectified labour and living, present labour here appears as a merely formal difference between the different tenses of labour, at one time in the perfect and at another in the present. Marx, The Grundrisse The separation of public works from the state, and their migration into the domain of the works undertaken by capital itself, indicates the degree to which the real community has constituted itself in the form of capital.
Marx, The Grundrisse In the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness.
Marx, Preface to the Critique of Political Economy The mode of production of material life conditions the social, political and intellectual life process in general. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness. The only difference as compared with the old, outspoken slavery is this, that the worker of today seems to be free because he is not sold once for all, but piecemeal by the daythe weekthe yearand because no one owner sells him to another, but he is forced to sell himself in this way instead, being the slave of no particular person, but of the whole property-holding class.
For it nothing exists in this world, except for the sake of money, itself not excluded. It knows no bliss save that of rapid gainno pain save that of losing gold.
In the presence of this avarice and lust of gain, it is not possible for a single human sentiment or opinion to remain untainted. They are herded into great cities where they breathe a fouler air than in the countryside which they have left. How is it possible that the poorer classes can remain healthy and have a reasonable expectation of life under such conditions? What can one expect but that they should suffer from continual outbreaks of epidemics and an excessively low expectation of life?
The physical condition of the workers shows a progressive deterioration.
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- Friedrich Engels
Full text in English Communism is the doctrine of the conditions of the liberation of the proletariat. The proletariat is that class in society which lives entirely from the sale of its labor and does not draw profit from any kind of capital ; whose weal and woe, whose life and death, whose sole existence depends on the demand for labor — hence, on the changing state of businesson the vagaries of unbridled competition.
There have always been poor and working classes; and the working class have mostly been poor. But there have not always been workers and poor people living under conditions as they are today.
The capitalists soon had everything in their hands and nothing remained to the workers. The class of big capitalists, who, in all civilized countriesare already in almost exclusive possession of all the means of subsistance and of the instruments machines, factories and materials necessary for the production of the means of subsistence.
This is the bourgeois class, or the bourgeoisie.
The class of the wholly propertyless, who are obliged to sell their labor to the bourgeoisie in order to get, in exchange, the means of subsistence for their support. This is called the class of proletarians, or the proletariat. Labor is a commoditylike any other, and its price is therefore determined by exactly the same laws that apply to other commodities.
In a regime of big industry or of free competition — as we shall see, the two come to the same thing — the price of a commodity is, on the average, always equal to its cost of production. Hence, the price of labor is also equal to the cost of production of labor. But, the costs of production of labor consist of precisely the quantity of means of subsistence necessary to enable the worker to continue working, and to prevent the working class from dying out.
The worker will therefore get no more for his labor than is necessary for this purpose; the price of labor, or the wagewill, in other words, be the lowest, the minimum, required for the maintenance of life. The slave is sold once and for all; the proletarian must sell himself daily and hourly. The individual proletarian, property as it were of the entire bourgeois class which buys his labor only when someone has need of it, has no secure existence.
This existence is assured only to the class as a whole. The slave is outside competition; the proletarian is in it and experiences all its vagaries. The slave frees himself when, of all the relations of private propertyhe abolishes only the relation of slavery and thereby becomes a proletarian; the proletarian can free himself only by abolishing private property in general.
The proletarian works with the instruments of production of another, for the account of this other, in exchange for a part of the product. The proletarian liberates himself by abolishing competition, private property, and all class differences.
The manufacturing worker almost always lives in the countryside and in a more or less patriarchal relation to his landlord or employer ; the proletarian lives, for the most part, in the city and his relation to his employer is purely a cash relation.
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The manufacturing worker is torn out of his patriarchal relation by big industry, loses whatever property he still has, and in this way becomes a proletarian.
Big industry has brought all the people of the Earth into contact with each other, has merged all local markets into one world market, has spread civilization and progress everywhere and has thus ensured that whatever happens in civilized countries will have repercussions in all other countries. It follows that if the workers in England or France now liberate themselves, this must set off revolution in all other countries — revolutions which, sooner or later, must accomplish the liberation of their respective working class.
Wherever big industries displaced manufacturethe bourgeoisie developed in wealth and power to the utmost and made itself the first class of the country. The result was that wherever this happened, the bourgeoisie took political power into its own hands and displaced the hitherto ruling classesthe aristocracythe guildmastersand their representative, the absolute monarchy.
The bourgeoisie annihilated the power of the aristocracy, the nobility, by abolishing the entailment of estates — in other words, by making landed property subject to purchase and sale, and by doing away with the special privileges of the nobility. It destroyed the power of the guildmasters by abolishing guilds and handicraft privileges. In their place, it put competition — that is, a state of society in which everyone has the right to enter into any branch of industry, the only obstacle being a lack of the necessary capital.
The introduction of free competition is thus public declaration that from now on the members of society are unequal only to the extent that their capitals are unequal, that capital is the decisive power, and that therefore the capitalists, the bourgeoisie, have become the first class in society.
Free competition is necessary for the establishment of big industry, because it is the only condition of society in which big industry can make its way. Having destroyed the social power of the nobility and the guildmasters, the bourgeois also destroyed their political power. Having raised itself to the actual position of first class in society, it proclaims itself to be also the dominant political class.
This it does through the introduction of the representative system which rests on bourgeois equality before the law and the recognition of free competition, and in European countries takes the form of constitutional monarchy.
In these constitutional monarchies, only those who possess a certain capital are voters — that is to say, only members of the bourgeoisie. These bourgeois voters choose the deputiesand these bourgeois deputies, by using their right to refuse to vote taxeschoose a bourgeois government.
Everywhere the proletariat develops in step with the bourgeoisie. In proportion, as the bourgeoisie grows in wealth, the proletariat grows in numbers. For, since the proletarians can be employed only by capital, and since capital extends only through employing labor, it follows that the growth of the proletariat proceeds at precisely the same pace as the growth of capital.
Simultaneously, this process draws members of the bourgeoisie and proletarians together into the great cities where industry can be carried on most profitably, and by thus throwing great masses in one spot it gives to the proletarians a consciousness of their own strength. Moreover, the further this process advances, the more new labor-saving machines are invented, the greater is the pressure exercised by big industry on wages, which, as we have seen, sink to their minimum and therewith render the condition of the proletariat increasingly unbearable.
The growing dissatisfaction of the proletariat thus joins with its rising power to prepare a proletarian social revolution. Big industry, competition and generally the individualistic organization of production have become a fetter which it must and will shatter. It makes unavoidably necessary an entirely new organization of society in which production is no longer directed by mutually competing individual industrialists but rather by the whole society operating according to a definite plan and taking account of the needs of all.
Big industry, and the limitless expansion of production which it makes possible, bring within the range of feasibility a social order in which so much is produced that every member of society will be in a position to exercise and develop all his powers and faculties in complete freedom. It thus appears that the very qualities of big industry which, in our present-day society, produce misery and crises are those which, in a different form of society, will abolish this misery and these catastrophic depressions.
We see with the greatest clarity: Abolish competition and replace it with association. Since the management of industry by individuals necessarily implies private property, and since competition is in reality merely the manner and form in which the control of industry by private property owners expresses itself, it follows that private property cannot be separated from competition and the individual management of industry.
Private property must, therefore, be abolished and in its place must come the common utilization of all instruments of production and the distribution of all products according to common agreement — in a word, what is called the communal ownership of goods.