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Quotes of the day: Karl Marx

Published Monday, May 04, 2015 @ 11:02 AM EDT
May 04 2015

Karl Marx (May 5, 1818 – March 14, 1883) was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. Marx's work in economics laid the basis for much of the current understanding of labor and its relation to capital, and subsequent economic thought. He published numerous books during his lifetime, the most notable being The Communist Manifesto (1848) and Das Kapital (1867–1894).

Marx's theories about society, economics and politics—the collective understanding of which is known as Marxism—hold that human societies progress through class struggle: a conflict between an ownership class that controls production and a dispossessed laboring class that provides the labor for production. States, Marx believed, were run on behalf of the ruling class and in their interest while representing it as the common interest of all; and he predicted that, like previous socioeconomic systems, capitalism produced internal tensions which would lead to its self-destruction and replacement by a new system: socialism. He argued that class antagonisms under capitalism between the bourgeoisie and proletariat would eventuate in the working class' conquest of political power and eventually establish a classless society, communism, a society governed by a free association of producers. Marx actively fought for its implementation, arguing that the working class should carry out organised revolutionary action to topple capitalism and bring about socio- economic change. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)


Everyone who knows anything of history also knows that great social revolutions are impossible without the feminine ferment. Social progress may be measured precisely by the social position of the fair sex (plain ones included).

From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.

Hegel has remarked somewhere that history repeats itself. He forgot, however, to mention: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.

History is not like some individual person, which uses men to achieve its ends. History is nothing but the actions of men in pursuit of their ends.

Ideas do not exist separately from language.

If anything is certain, it is that I myself am not a Marxist.

In every stock-jobbing swindle everyone knows that some time or other the crash must come, but every one hopes that it may fall on the head of his neighbour, after he himself has caught the shower of gold and placed it in safety.

It is clear that the arm of criticism cannot replace the criticism of arms. Material force can only be overthrown by material force, but theory itself becomes a material force when it has seized the masses.

Perseus wore a magic cap that the monsters he hunted down might not see him. We draw the magic cap down over eyes and ears as a make- believe that there are no monsters.

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

Private property has made us so stupid and partial that an object is only ours when we have it, when it exists for us as capital... Thus all the physical and intellectual senses have been replaced by... the sense of having.

Reason has always existed, but not always in a reasonable form.

Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

Something that is merely negative creates nothing.

The country that is more developed industrially only shows, to the less developed, the image of its own future.

The Irish famine of 1846 killed more than one million people, but it killed poor devils only. To the wealth of the country it did not the slightest damage.

The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.

To be radical is to grasp things by the root. But for man the root is man himself.

What's sauce for the gander is sauce for the goose.


(May 5 is also the birthday of Søren Kierkegaard and Christopher Morley.)

Categories: Karl Marx, Quotes of the day


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