Today we celebrate the 206th birthday of Karl Marx

Published on May 5, 2024, by Il Grido del Popolo©️

On this day in 1818, Karl Marx was born in Trier. On the 206th anniversary of his birth, we have selected some less popular, but incredibly important quotes from Marx himself:

Reason has always existed, but not always in a reasonable form.” – Marx, Letter from the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher to Ruge (1843)

“But, if constructing the future and settling everything for all times are not our affair, it is all the more clear what we have to accomplish at present: I am referring to ruthless criticism of all that exists, ruthless both in the sense of not being afraid of the results it arrives at and in the sense of being just as little afraid of conflict with the powers that be.” – Marx, Letter from the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher (1843)

“The only intelligible language in which we converse with one another consists of our objects in their relation to each other. We would not understand a human language and it would remain without effect. By one side it would be recognised and felt as being a request, an entreaty, and therefore a humiliation.”– Marx, Comment on James Mill (1844)

“Communism is for us not a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality [will] have to adjust itself. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. The conditions of this movement result from the premises now in existence.” – Marx, German Ideology (1845)

“Machines were, it may be said, the weapon employed by the capitalist to quell the revolt of specialized labor.” – Marx, Poverty of Philosophy (1847)

“We have no compassion and we ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror. But the royal terrorists, the terrorists by the grace of God and the law, are in practice brutal, disdainful, and mean, in theory cowardly, secretive, and deceitful, and in both respects disreputable.” – Marx, Editorial in Final edition of Neue Rheinische Zeitung (1849)

“Human anatomy contains a key to the anatomy of the ape.” – Marx, The Grundrisse (1857)

“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. Capital’s ceaseless striving towards the general form of wealth drives labour beyond the limits of its natural paltriness, and thus creates the material elements for the development of the rich individuality which is as all-sided in its production as in its consumption, and whose labour also therefore appears no longer as labour, but as the full development of activity itself, in which natural necessity in its direct form has disappeared; because natural need has been replaced by historically produced need. This is why capital is productive; i.e. an essential relation for the development of the social productive forces. It ceases to exist as such only where the development of these productive forces themselves encounters its barrier in capital itself.” – Marx, The Grundrisse (1857)

“I do not think I shall be able to deliver the manuscript of the first volume to Hamburg before October. … I cannot go to Geneva. I consider that what I am doing through this work is far more important for the working class than anything I might be able to do personally at any Congress.” – Marx, Letter to Kugelmann (1866)

“A commodity appears, at first sight, a very trivial thing, and easily understood. Its analysis shows that it is, in reality, a very queer thing, abounding in metaphysical subtleties and theological niceties.” – Marx, Capital, Volume I, Chapter One (1867)

“Man’s reflections on the forms of social life, and consequently, also, his scientific analysis of those forms, take a course directly opposite to that of their actual historical development. He begins, post festum, with the results of the process of development ready to hand before him.” – Marx, Capital, Volume I, Chapter One (1867)

“As capitalist, he is only capital personified. His soul is the soul of capital. But capital has one single life impulse, the tendency to create value and surplus-value, to make its constant factor, the means of production, absorb the greatest possible amount of surplus-labour. Capital is dead labour, that, vampire-like, only lives by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks.”– Marx, Capital, Volume I, Chapter 10 (1867)

“The country that is more developed industrially only shows, to the less developed, the image of its own future.” – Marx, Preface to First German Edition of Capital (1867)

“Neither of us cares a straw for popularity. Let me cite one proof of this: such was my aversion to the personality cult that at the time of the International, when plagued by numerous moves – originating from various countries – to accord me public honour, I never allowed one of these to enter the domain of publicity, nor did I ever reply to them, save with an occasional snub. When Engels and I first joined the secret communist society, we did so only on condition that anything conducive to a superstitious belief in authority be eliminated from the Rules.” – Marx, Letter to Blos (1877)

“All science would be superfluous if the outward appearance and the essence of things directly coincided.” – Marx, published by Engels Capital, Volume III (1894)