Born in Prussia on May 5, 1818, Karl Marx began exploring sociopolitical theories at university among the Young Hegelians. He became a journalist, and his socialist writings would get him expelled from Germany and France. In 1848, he publishedThe Communist Manifesto with Friedrich Engels and was exiled to London, where he wrote the first volume of Das Kapital and lived the remainder of his life.
In 1841, after spending five years in the “metropolis of intellectuals,” he returned to Bonn intending to habilitate. At that time the first “New Era” was in vogue in Prussia. Frederick William IV had declared his love of a loyal opposition, and attempts were being made in various quarters to organise one. Thus the Rheinische Zeitung was founded at Cologne; with unprecedented daring Marx used it to criticise the deliberations of the Rhine Province Assembly, in articles which attracted great attention. At the end of 1842 he took over the editorship himself and was such a thorn in the side of the censors that they did him the honour of sending a censor [Wilhelm Saint-Paul] from Berlin especially to take care of the Rheinische Zeitung. When this proved of no avail either the paper was made to undergo dual censorship, since, in addition to the usual procedure, every issue was subjected to a second stage of censorship by the office of Cologne’s Regierungspresident [Karl Heinrich von Gerlach]. But nor was this measure of any avail against the “obdurate malevolence” of the Rheinische Zeitung, and at the beginning of 1843 the ministry issued a decree declaring that the Rheinische Zeitung must cease publication at the end of the first quarter. Marx immediately resigned as the shareholders wanted to attempt a settlement, but this also came to nothing and the newspaper ceased publication.
Therefore, in the summer of 1843, after marrying the daughter of Privy Councillor von Westphalen in Trier (sister of the von Westphalen who later became Prussian Minister of the Interior) Marx moved to Paris, where he devoted himself primarily to studying political economy and the history of the great French Revolution. At the same time he collaborated with Ruge in publishing the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher, of which, however only one issue was to appear. Expelled from France by Guizot in 1845, he went to Brussels and stayed there, pursuing the same studies, until the outbreak of the February revolution. Just how little he agreed with the commonly accepted version of socialism there even in its most erudite-sounding form, was shown in his critique of Proudhon’s major work Philosophie de la misère, which appeared in 1847 in Brussels and Paris under the title of The Poverty of Philosophy. In that work can already be found many essential points of the theory which he has now presented in full detail. The Manifesto of the Communist Party, London, 1848, written before the February revolution and adopted by a workers’ congress in London, is also substantially his work.
The coup d’etat of December 2 induced him to write a pamphlet, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, New York, 1852, which is just now being reprinted (Meissner, Hamburg), and will make no small contribution to an understanding of the untenable position into which that same Bonaparte has just got himself. The hero of the coup d’état is presented here as he really is, stripped of the glory with which his momentary success surrounded him. The philistine who considers his Napoleon III to be the greatest man of the century and is unable now to exaplin to himself how this miraculous genius suddenly comes to be making bloomer after bloomer and one political error after the other – that same philistine can consult the aforementioned work of Marx for his edification.
Although during his whole stay in London Marx chose not to thrust himself to the fore, he was forced by Karl Vogt, after the Italian campaign of 1859, to enter into a polemic, which was brought to an end with Marx’s Herr Vogt (London, 1860). At about the same time his study of political economy bore its first fruit: A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, Part One, Berlin, 1859. This instalment contains only the theory of money presented from completely new aspects. The continuation was some time in coming, since the author discovered so much new material in the meantime that he considered it necessary to undertake further studies.
But there is another point of view from which Marx’s book is of interest. It is the first work in which the actual relations existing between capital and labour, in their classical form such as they have reached in England, are described in their entirety and in a clear and graphic fashion. The parliamentary inquiries provided ample material for this, spanning a period of almost forty years and practically unknown even in England, material dealing with the conditions of the workers in almost every branch of industry, women’s and children’s work, night work, etc.; all this is here made available for the first time. Then there is the history of factory legislation in England which, from its modest beginnings with the first acts of 1802, has now reached the point of limiting working hours in nearly all manufacturing or cottage industries to 60 hours per week for women and young people under the age of 18, and to 39 hours per week for children under 13. From this point of view the book is of the greatest interest for every industrialist.
Marx died in London on 14th March 1883, While his original grave had only a nondescript stone, the Communist Party of Great Britain erected a large tombstone, with quote; “Workers of all lands unite” including a bust of Marx, in 1954.
( Workers of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your chains.
Karl Marx )
( Marxist Young people with Karl Marx grave,
Highgate Cemetery - East London :)))
As a rule we don't "do" graves but here's an exception. More a memorial than a grave this edifice has always attracted huge numbers of visitors. In 1884, on the first anniversary of Marx's death, between 5 and 6,000 people marched from Tottenham Court Road to the grave only to be turned away by police who, afraid of riots, had closed the cemetery. Marx was initially buried about 100m north but in 1956, in response to the interest in the grave, it was moved to its present location and this impressive memorial erected, funded by the British Communist Party. The original gravestone is incorporated into the plinth. A ceremony is still held here annually on the anniversary of his death.
* The classes and the races, too weak to master the new conditions of life, must give way. (K. M)
(Photo; Highgate Cemetery is most interesting area in north London where you'll find the graves of historical glitterati, including Bram Stoker, Karl Marx and Christina Rossetti etc.)