Talk:Karl Marx/Archive 4

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How did he die?

There is absolutely nothing here on how he died. Genjix 11:11, 18 November 2006 (UTC)

According to the biography by Francis Wheen, Karl Marx: A Life, Marx died of bronchitis and pleurisy brought on by a Catarrh that he had developed in 1881. Windmillchaser 06:25, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

Clarity needed

Some of this needs a good re-working, though mostly stylistic, it is important to add clarity, flow, and coherency to the presentation, which I'm not getting from what is already there. For example:

1) The introductory paragraph and section is a mess. There is little cohesiveness or flow. The transition to his quote is not presented in any context of the preceding text. Perhaps this is over-editing artifact of wiki, but here is one of the worst intros to an important topic I've seen.

2) Another thing...the term "liberal" is left undefined and hanging in the air. As we all know, this has different meanings in different locations and especially in different example which makes no sense: "In October of 1842, he became editor of the influential liberal newspaper Rheinische Zeitung (literally "Rhenish Newspaper")" What did it mean for that newspaper to be "liberal?"

There's too much of these kind of examples to elucidate every aspect, but this all looks like an extremely rough draft, or perhaps "crude draft" is a better description.

Suggested additions

  • Maybe it would be relevant to clarify that Marx's doctoral thesis was in philosophy? This seems to not be generally understood (as he is known mostly for his economic theories and for studying law). Kronocide 01:33, 20 March 2006 (UTC)
  • The article currently focuses on Marx's philosophical works and neglects the other things he did, such as his activities as a revolutionary. This balance should be addressed. A helpful reference.
  • It would seem pertinent to include something on Marx's views on religion, especially his view that religion is the "opiate of the people." 21:22, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

Is Criticism Appropriate?

I say no!

Criticism has its place on the Marxism article, but not here. You wouldn't put criticism on the bio of Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul, Ronald Reagan... People live his lives following influential people such as Marx, you don't throw stones on someones grave. When I die, I don't want three paragraphs of "contemporary criticism" in my biography!

I think that most of the critism stuff should go in to articles like Marxism or Marxist Philosophy, but a breif bit on the most common critisms of what MArx himself said/did could go her. When I die I would love that there was a section on "contemporary criticism" in my biography, it would mean that I must have said/done some thing that was really notable/got up some ones nose.--JK the unwise 08:49, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
I support this, the criticism is completely inapropiated in this page, as it would be criticism on the person of Karl Marx (not on his views, criticism on his views should be done on a marxism page).
I strongly oppose this—and would die fighting it if I had to. It's complete nonsense. NPOV requires that we include both comments praising and comments criticizing Marx on his article. We don't need to go overboard in the criticism of his theory because of all the other articles there are for that, but we do need at least a modicum of such criticism. Your example is also absurd; you clearly haven't read the Mother Theresa page, or you'd have seen that there's over a page in Mother Theresa#Criticism! The same is true for Ronald Reagan#Criticisms and Pope John Paul II#Criticism—in fact, there is an entire page devoted entirely to criticism of Pope John Paul II, simply because there's so much of it!
Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a propaganda machine to praise everyone who's ever lived and only say nice, pretty, totally non-controversial things about every subject. If you oppose the insertion of criticism on Karl Marx into his page, do you also oppose allowing any critical views into the Adolph Hitler page as well? Clearly this is absurd. What is necessary is not that we remove all criticism from articles about people, but that we source all criticisms, explaining who said this or that about Marx. The same holds true for praise. It is an encyclopedia's job neither to criticize nor to praise, but to quote and paraphrase everyone who did do so, as long as it is significant (i.e. if Gandhi criticized Marx, as opposed to your college roommate criticizing Marx).
"People live their lives following influential people such as Marx, you don't throw stones on someones grave." - Of course you do. "Have some respect!" is just a political catchphrase for "CENSORSHIP CENSORSHIP CENSORSHIP :D", and Wikipedia does not censor any of its content. Furthermore, Anyone who doesn't criticize dead people or analyze history is doomed to let tragedies recur and make the same mistakes over and over again. And I'm done with the argumentum ad hitlerum now, so quit trying to tempt me into it! Note: I'm done saying important, mandatory policy-based things now, and the rest of this text will be a philosophical rant, so feel free to stop reading here if you want.
"When I die, I don't want three paragraphs of "contemporary criticism" in my biography!" - Funny. When I die, I want the exact opposite to be true. If nobody hates me or wants to criticize me when I'm gone, that will mean that my life has been meaningless, because I've done nothing at all new or different or interesting or beautiful or controversial in my entire lifetime, just played things safe and easy and kissed ass until I died. What a horrible, tragic, disgusting, and deeply sad thing to say about any man: that nobody hated him. There's too much evil in the world to go totally unhated without being a complete waste of space. -Silence 22:07, 5 November 2005 (UTC)
One, to say that Wikipedia doesn't censor any of its content is patently untrue. While I wish that were the case, the fact is minority opinion is censored all the time around here. Second, I would suggest that saying you would die fighting something is specific and the content of this post in general violates Wikipedia's policies regarding civility.Freddie deBoer 21:23, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

I have no respect for Marx and am happy so happy he died - are we to mourn Hitler? Are we to mourn Pol Pot, the man who was inspired by Marx and killed 25% of his country? Hoorah Marx is dead.

It is sad you judge a man not by what he has done, but by what other people have done in his name. Jesus is an asshole, by your logic. Infinity0 talk 13:33, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
What does Jesus have to do with Karl Marx? And by no means does his "logic" (if there is any) make anyone else an "asshole" Death is not to be celebrated, but mourned, out of respect, and the golden rule still applies in death, no exceptions. Respect yourself, than you can learn to respect others!! C'mon people! BE NICE!

As much as I dislike Marx's philosophy (and, by proxy, Marx himself), I must say that Infinity is right. It is ridiculously as well as obviously fallacious to condemn a person for the actions of those who have identified with their philosophy, especially if that person is long dead.

True, but there are some quotations conveniently forgot by Marxists made by Marx himself worth noting:

The universal war which [is coming] will crush the Slav alliance and will wipe out completely those obstinate peoples so that their very names will be forgotten.... [It] will wipe out not only reactionary classes and dynasties but it will also destroy these utterly reactionary races...and that will be a real step forward. [Neue Rheinische Zeitung]

And: "We are ruthless and ask no quarter from you. When our turn comes we shall not disguise our terrorism", "Material force can only be overthrown by material force, but theory itself becomes a material force when it has seized the masses", "We discern in Judaism...a universal antisocial element of the present time" The violent revolution was something that Marx would not have objected to, but he would perhaps of the other crimes committed by Communist regimes (nor the Holocaust). --Knucmo2 09:11, 29 April 2006 (UTC)

Even in a discussion page, people can't stop with the same lazy cheap digs at him. He inspired Pol Pot, did he? News to me, and presumably most other people in the world. Knucmo, what's the point in finding a couple of quotes, wildly out of context, from the newspaper he edited at the beginning of his political life? Any mention of the hundreds of quotes from later which say a very different thing? Famous Mortimer 12:07, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

I agree with the idea of moving criticisms to another page. Criticisms of marxism as a theory belong on a page which addresses that subject. I've heard Marx was a pretty unapproachable character, who really only dealt well with Jenny and Frederick -- so if you're really "dying" to criticize this guy so you can move up the ranks in your young republicans club, why not make it relevant to a BIOGRAPHY? Sure, marxism is contentious; leave a short stub to another article or something, because this section is a bit long and out of place. --Pharmakon feb 24
I don't agree with moving the critisims. Silence made his points noisily and may have annoyed people (bad plan) but it is true that the Mother Teresa and the Pope articles have cricisism sections. As long as the views of Marx are put forward clearly, it should not be a problem. People will make up their own minds. And there's nothing wrong with citing critisism of critical views alongside them. Andysoh 13:48, 19 March 2007 (UTC)
I think the point is not that there should be no critisms, but that in the past the criticisms people have posted here were really criticisms of Marxisms (a praxis) and not Marx (a man). Criticism sof the praxis should go with Marxism. Criticism of the man should go here. By the way, NPOV is not our only core policy, so is ATT. In the past some people have posted criticisms that were pretty much their own opinion (this is true, alas, on other pages). Post criticisms, but make sure they comply with WP:ATT and that they are posted on the right (appropriate) page. Slrubenstein | Talk 14:18, 19 March 2007 (UTC)
That seems fair enough. These are criticisms of Marxism, (or what is thought of as Marxism by its critics) not Marx, as you point out. Moving this section to the Marxism article, with just a note saying that criticisms of the theory of marxism are in the Marxism article, would be fine by me, anyway.Andysoh 22:52, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

Conflict theory

We already had a lengthy debate over conflict theory. For starts, whoever added the sentence I just deleted: what is your source? Please make sure you are complying with Wikipedia: No original research. Besides that, I urge you to review the reasons why an earlier section on conflict theory was taken out: [1] Slrubenstein | Talk 19:54, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

Political Emancipation

The wiki page Political_emancipation needs attention. Currently it is only a stub and could use some expert infilling.

Particularly the explanation of the term 'political emancipation' entailing 'equal status of individual citizens in relation to the state, equality before the law, regardless of religion, property, or other “private” characteristics of individual persons' is construed to be an 'opinion' and 'not delivering a neutral point of view.' If you are wondering if there is a modern need for this word, I found the following web page [[2]] with a short question to answer. FredrickS 18:20, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

Criticism on a bio? Say it ain't so!

The following text has been deleted from this article with the explanation "Criticism on a bio?" Well, resoundingly yes, criticism on a bio! As I've shown, criticism is not only permitted, but mandatory, for the bio of just about any controversial figure in history. Therefore this should be re-integrated as much as is worth salvaging into this page in brief, and into Marxism in more depth for the ideas specifically about Marxism: -Silence 22:26, 5 November 2005 (UTC)

Many proponents of capitalism have argued that capitalism is a more effective means of generating and redistributing wealth than socialism or communism, and that the gulf between rich and poor that concerned Marx and Engels was a temporary phenomenon. Some suggest that greed and the need to acquire capital is an inherent component of human behavior, and is not caused by the adoption of capitalism or any other specific economic system (although economic anthropologists have questioned this assertion) and that different economic systems reflect different social responses to this fact. The Austrian School of economics has criticized Marx's use of the labor theory of value. In addition, the political repression and economic problems of several historical socialist states have done much to destroy Marx's reputation in the Western world, particularly following the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Marx has also been criticized from the Left. Evolutionary socialists and social democrats reject his claim that socialism can be accomplished only through class conflict and violent revolution. Others argue that class is not the most fundamental inequality in history and call attention to patriarchy or race. However, Marxists argue that these inequalities are linked to class and therefore will largely cease to exist after the formation of a classless society. Some today question the theoretical and historical validity of "class" as an analytic construct or as a political actor. In this line, some question Marx's reliance on 19th century notions that linked science with the idea of "progress" (see social evolution). Many observe that capitalism has changed much since Marx's time, and that class differences and relationships are much more complex — citing as one example the fact that much corporate stock in the United States is owned by workers through pension funds (Even though it is widely known that the top 1% of wage earners own more than 50% of the nation's publicly traded company stocks).

Still others criticize Marx from the perspective of philosophy of science. Karl Popper has criticized Marx's theories as he believed they were not falsifiable, which he argued would render some particular aspects of Marx’s historical and socio-political arguments unscientific. Primarily, this stems from Marx's assertion that class revolt will be part of the process in overcoming capitalism. The argument goes that the critic says "this will not happen" to which the reply is "but it will." However it has been argued that such statements show a simplistic understanding or a deliberate misinterpretation, because the reply has no basis in what Marx actually said.

A common critique of Marx points out that the increasing class antagonisms he predicted never actually developed in the Western world following industrialization. While socioeconomic gaps between the bourgeoisie and proletariat remained, industrialization in countries such as the United States and Great Britain also saw the rise of a middle class not inclined to violent revolution, and of a welfare state that helped contain any revolutionary tendencies among the working class. While the economic devastation of the Great Depression broadened the appeal of Marxism in the developed world, future government safeguards and economic recovery led to a decline in its influence. In contrast, Marxism remained extremely influential in feudal and industrially underdeveloped societies such as Czarist Russia, where the Bolshevik Revolution was successful. [3]

Marxist political parties and movements have significantly declined since the fall of the Soviet Union. Critics argue that the Soviet Union's numerous internal failings and subsequent collapse were a direct result of the practical failings of Marxism, but modern-day Marxists, especially Trotskyists, respond to this by pointing out that the Soviet Union's political system did not actually resemble true socialism at all. Marx analyzed the world of his day and refused to draw up plans of how a future socialist society should be run saying he did not "write recipes...for cook-shops of the future." Outside Europe and the United States, communism has generally been superseded by anti-colonialist and nationalist struggles which sometimes appeal to Marx for theoretical support. In India, the southern province of Kerala was the first in the world to elect a coalition of communist parties (see Communist Party of India) to power at the state level, in 1957. In the eastern state of West Bengal a coalition of Communist parties led by the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has been democratically elected to power at the provincial level continuously since 1977.

Contemporary supporters of Marx argue most generally that Marx was correct that human behavior reflects determinate historical and social conditions (and is therefore changing and can not be understood in terms of some universal "human nature"). More specifically, they argue his analysis of commodities is still useful and that alienation is still a problem.

I should also add that the former Soviet republic of Moldova has been governed by a democratically-elected communist government since 2001.

Giant number of weasel words in the first paragraph of this criticism, at least. Why not try sourcing those claims before just sticking them straight back in? Famous Mortimer 12:12, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

Marx and monarchy

Quote from a book:

A Belgian source informed the British Foreign Office that Karl Marx wished to remove/overthrow the monarchy.

The reply was to the effect that perhaps Marx should go to the USA, where there was no monarchy. User:jackiespeel

Request for clarification/assistance

The article contains the following sentence, and I can't figure out what the second clause has to do with the first clause: "The clash between Marx's own theoretical framework and the umbrella term "Marxist" is often misconstrued, a prime example being the bias placed against studying Marx’s writings during the Cold War period in American academic institutions." I don't really understand this sentence. What is it trying to say? That there was bias against studying Marx because of anti-Communism? A) I can't tell if that is the intended meaning. B) Seems to me that bias would have existed anyway. Anyway, I'd be interested to know if this sentence seems intelligible to anyone else. Jeremy J. Shapiro 15:13, 29 November 2005 (UTC)

Yes, that bit could be clearer. I thought it was trying to distinguish between Marxism as a methodology for the study of society and Marxism as an analytical framework for the transformation of society. Now that I read that back I don't think I made it any clearer though... Anyhow, I thought it referred to those sociologists, historians and others who make use of Marxian methods and concepts without (necessarily)subscribing to Marx's conclusions - and that said work was marginalised because of anti-communism. As you say, that would have happened anyway, but to a more extreme degree at high-points in the cold war, I would think. It isn't a very clear passage, I would agree. Mattley 15:23, 29 November 2005 (UTC)
I suggest that the key point is that Marx considered himself both a philosopher/historian and a revolutionary but that many of the people who have been influenced by him, or invoke him, have been only one or the other. There is (according to plenty of scholars, as well as Marxists) a tension within Marx's thought between determinism and activism. This is a tension that has led to conflicts among Marx's political heirs (e.g. Trotsky – back when he was a menshovick – and Lenin), but also explains why it has been so easy for people with very diverse political and intellectual projects (say, Stalin and Rosa Luxemborg, or Rosa Luxemborg and Herbert Marcuse) to invoke Marx as an insipiration or authority. Slrubenstein | Talk 00:09, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

Marx and Communism

It says here:

  • "For many years, especially after the Second World War during the Cold War period, Marxism was popularly equated with communism"


Who wrote "The Communist Manifesto"?????

If Marx isn't associated with Communism, then what is he associated with? Socialism. Google it.

OK, it goes on to say something about totaliarianism, but the sentence needs fact, I'm gonna do it..

Flag of Ireland.svgCamillusFlag of Scotland.svgtalk|contribs 13:37, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

Marxism isn't necessarily communist. They do stress similar things. Communism is a political ideology that may be different from Marxism because someone may ignore the atheistic portions of Marx's critical text, The German Ideology. Marxists must, also, believe in dialectical materealism and historical materealism, not all communists believe in those philosophical beliefs. Marxism should be more equated to socialism, rather than communism.

Communism is now permanently associated with the horrible government of Russia after Stalin took power. Socialism is the more accurate description of his political beliefs in the wake of the changing of the meaning of "communism". Famous Mortimer 12:14, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

State Capitalism

I changed "communism" to "system in the USSR", and Saketh changed it to the "state capitalist system in the USSR".

There is a body of opinion that says the system in the USSR was "state capitalist", ie. followers of Tony Cliff, but it is an "opinion" ie. POV, so therefore I removed "state capitalist", and let's just leave it as the "system in the USSR".

My original intention was to remove "communism", as you won't find many people who could justify calling the system in the USSR "communism", not even Stalin, obviously not Trotsky - only those who want to disparage "communism" - so leave it ALL out, and just call it "the system in the USSR".

Flag of Ireland.svgCamillusFlag of Scotland.svgtalk|contribs 18:52, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

Actually, that was me. I felt there had to be a clear distinction made between the USSR and actual communism, and I thought "state capitalism" was the best word to describe it. Infinity0 ( talk | contribs ) 19:31, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

Infinity0, your point is reasonable, but misplaced. There have in fact been major debates over how to represent the economic system of the USSR. Those debates are too complex to include in this article, which is not about the USSR. They should be explained (complying with NPOV) in the USSR article. However, to pick one position from that debate and present it here as fact violates our NPOV policy. My suggestion: how did the CPUSSR describe their economy? Then write, "the self-proclaimed ... x system ... in the USSR" which makes it clear that this was their own POV, and have links to articles where debates over other POVs are covered. Slrubenstein | Talk 19:59, 4 December 2005 (UTC)
Despite what the SWP would have you believe, the characterisation of the USSR as a state capitalist regime was not original to Tony Cliff. It was used by the Socialist Party of Great Britain after a fashion, by groups like Socialisme ou Barbarie and by a number of left communist/ultra-left groups critical of the USSR. I'm not suggesting that Cliff stole the idea, which seems to have been developed separately in several different instances. The use of 'State Capitalism' certainly marked out Cliff and his followers from mainstream Trotskyism, but the concept is absolutely not inseparable from Tony Cliff. Mattley (Chattley) 20:39, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

With all due respect, you are getting off-point. You are engaging in a discussion about very important issues that belongs on another page. I am not trying to push you away from this page; I am encouraging you to apply your knowledge and research on this topic to an actual article, either on capitalism, state capitalism, corporatism, or socialism. Slrubenstein | Talk 20:44, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

Yes, I take your point. I wasn't suggesting that this article was the place where the point needed to be addressed, but simply challenging an assertion that had alreadly been made. If anyone does want to discuss it further Talk:State capitalism would be the place. Mattley (Chattley) 22:38, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

Thanks. And please, do understand that I really do think the issues you, Camillus_McElhinney and Infinity0 are raising are important and should be channeled into appropriate (NPOV,which in this case will also mean "multiple points of view," NOR) article content. Slrubenstein | Talk 23:19, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

  • Glad to see consensus - you're right Mattley, Tony Cliff didn't invent the idea, I was just being flippant...

Flag of Ireland.svgCamillusFlag of Scotland.svgtalk|contribs 00:04, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

Now, what we all have to realize is that realistically, Marx has everything to do with communism based on the fact that he published several books advocating the very practice of this system. If people are having a hard time accepting the fact that Karl did everything he could to bring COMMUNISM into effect, they should reconsider thier research and maybe take a deeper look.

Why so hung up on the word? The way he used it and the way it was used in Stalin's Russia are a million miles apart. Maybe you should look at things without being hung up on a word which obviously makes Marx look a lot worse. Famous Mortimer 12:18, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

Proletariat and Peasantry

We have here:

"In China Mao Zedong also claimed to be an heir to Marx, but argued that peasants and not just workers could play a leading role in a Communist revolution. This was a profound departure from Marx's own view of revolution, which focused exclusively on the urban proletariat, and which he believed would take place in advanced industrial societies such as France, Germany and England."

This is not accurate at all, and it also reduces Marx-ism to a dead philosophy.

  • First off all, Lenin and the Bolsheviks "argued that peasants and not just workers could play a leading role", Mao didn't invent it - we have the Leninist "Dictatorship of the Proletariat and the poor peasantry", (with the proletariat as the lead class). What Mao did was to argue that the peasantry might have the lead role (which was a departure from Marx).
  • This is not a profound departure from Marx (in fact, it's not even a departure, without the profound bit), as Marx did write about the peasantry being an ally of the proletariat (in a "backward" country) - I will source this...
  • While Marx expected the revolution to happen in advanced countries, he did not preclude the possibility of it happening in a "backward" country.
  • Even if any of these things were true, the whole point of Marx's philosophy is that of dialectics ie. things change - Marxism is not a fixed philosophy, a religion (Marx was not a Marxist!). What Lenin (and others) did was develop Marx's ideas to the new period of imperialism, to the notion of "uneven development", and to the idea that the "chain" could break at it's weakest point (in a "backward" country) before it broke in a an advanced country.

So this sentence has to go, or be completely reworded, which I am prepared to do, but would prefer some discussion first...

Flag of Ireland.svgCamillusFlag of Scotland.svgtalk|contribs 00:04, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

I do not specifically want to get involved in this debate. However, referring to Camillus's points, I agree with points three and four. With all due respect, I think Camillus is simplifying with points one and two. Re 2: Lenin's The Development of Capitalism in Russia involves a detailed argument that people who appear to be peasants are in fact not peasants but rural proletariat, and this argument was important to his claim that Russia was ripe for a communist-led revolution. Re 3: Marx is pretty dismissive of the political agency of peasants in The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte.
I am not saying that the claim about Mao is the absolute truth and inviolate. I agree that the matter can be revealed to be more complicated. But I do think that any added discussion has to at least address my responses to Camillus's first and second points, and that there still is a reason why people distinguish between Leninism and Maoism, we should take the distinction seriously, and try to describe it concisely.
Moreover, I do not think this article is the place for an extended discussion of all the complexities and nuances. We should just say that there are other points of view, link it to the COmmunism article, and have a full discussion of the differences and similarities between Marx & Engles, Lenin, Trotsky, and Mao in that article. Slrubenstein | Talk 17:44, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for that, rubenstien. I agree with your comments re. my first two points: I have found references to "late" Marx, and particularly Engels, talking about the possibility of a worker-peasant alliance, but never was the source given.

However, I disagree that this article is not "the place for an ... discussion" of the "nuances" - my aim is not to go on and on about theory in an abstract way, but merely to improve this particular article. So I propose that the passage mentioned above be changed to:

"Marx believed would that the communist revolution would take place in advanced industrial societies such as France, Germany and England, but Lenin argued that in the age of imperialism, and due to the "law of uneven development", where Russia had on the one hand, an antiquated agricultural society, but on the other hand, some of the most up-to-date industrial concerns, the "chain" might break at its weakest points, that is, in the so-called "backward" countries.

"In China Mao Zedong also claimed to be an heir to Marx, but argued that peasants and not just workers could play a leading role in a Communist revolution. This was a departure from Marx and Lenin's view of revolution, which maintained that the proletariat must have the leading role."

Flag of Ireland.svgCamillusFlag of Scotland.svgtalk|contribs 10:07, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

I am glad we agree about your first and second points. Further, I only meant to say that this page is not the appropriate place to expound on complex arguments or history. Of course whatever we put in ought to be correct. On sources for Marx commenting on peasant/proletariate alliances, I suggest you look at any prefaces to later editions/translations of either the Manifesto or Capital Vol I. It is usually in those prefaces that Marx comments on emerging trends unanticipated in his (or Engels') original work. Slrubenstein | Talk 18:39, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

Restoring cut section on different criticisms of Marxism

The section that was eliminated because of alleged POV and lack of sources seems to me such a balanced presentation of major critiques of (at least orthodox) Marxism, as well as of the Marxist response to those, that I don't see the POV problem. I do think that it could benefit from some editing (e.g. "many say"), but I think it would be better to add sources than to take out that section, since it seems like a quite responsible section. Jeremy J. Shapiro 16:09, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

All the news that's fit to print

I was surprised to learn Marx once worked for a NY newspaper (name I can't recall...). Is anyone else? Include it? Trekphiler 15:09, 14 December 2005 (UTC)

Yes, he wrote for the New York Daily Tribune, and it is worth mentioning because he wrote a number of articles for it with analyses of political events of the time (e.g. Jeremy J. Shapiro 05:44, 17 December 2005 (UTC)

Criticisms section

Seems to about Marxism. I suggest removing it from this article. Despite the name, Marxism is also very much the work of Engels. The text also mentions developments in theory and practice long after Marx's death. Ultramarine 12:03, 31 December 2005 (UTC)


Due to frequent vandalism, I have semiprotected this page. I intend to experiment with lifting semiprotection in a few days. --Improv 17:32, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

I suggest you do it again. There was a picture of a penis on the page when I opened it a few minutes ago. 23:50, 22 November 2006 (UTC)


Marx earn a doctorate in 1841 with a thesis on Difference between Democrites's and Epicure's philosophy of Nature : original title Differenz der demokritischen und epikureischen Naturphilosophie. The article should precise that, this work is not the major one, but nevertheless quite important to understand Marx's philosophy.

I agree. Go ahead! Slrubenstein | Talk 11:23, 30 January 2006 (UTC)


I noticed this article on Karl Marx was deficient. I found the coverage of the life of Marx (his biography, major works, etc) to be rather shallow, and in some cases missing huge parts that are important, while it took the space to talk about some rumors and speculations. I also noticed the section that is more apropos for Marxism being larger than that devoted to Karl Marx, with criticism and all. I can only guess this is the result of POV. I corrected this partly by incorporating the main important issues of his life and life's work accordingly, and left the rest as is. I also added the eugolgy section by Engles because it does a good job as summation of the great Karl Marx. BelindaGong 23:37, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for all that work!
PS Why not create a user page? People can contact you there if necessary. -- Simonides 00:42, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Statues of K. Marx & F. Engels in Alexanderplatz, Berlin

"AlexanderStatue of Marx and Engels in Alexanderplatz, Berlin.The statues acquired the unofficial nickname "the Pensioners", and were also said to be sitting on their suitcases waiting for permission to emigrate to the West."

I think this sentence is apparently disgusting, offensive and must be removed. Even capitalists may not insult these two great figures like this. Imiraven 16:45, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

I think Karl Marx was a great person, and I don't think that's insulting... they were persecuted and forced to emigrate... Infinity0 talk 18:08, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

Of course, if the sentence is untrue, then it should be removed. Infinity0 talk 18:10, 21 February 2006 (UTC)

"Apparently disgusting, offensive and must be removed?" Laugh-out-loud funny, more like it, with a nice helping of irony, too. I think I agree with Infinity0 that the line should be removed if no cite can be found. Otherwise, retain. --Tphcm 09:49, 9 April 2006 (UTC)

The statue is not "in Alexanderplatz", but in the "Marx-Engels-Forum" between the "Spandauer Straße" and the Spree river, more than 500 meters to south-west from the Alexanderplatz. Plese revise it.

This special 100-Ostmark-Banknote on the photo was used from 1975 (not 1949) to July 1990 - the end of the "ostmark", see the wiki-article East German Mark; english and german site.


What's up with the picture? It looks like his famous portrait, but changed to b&w to make it look like a photo. A bit decieving, if you ask me. Why not just use the original portrait? Citizen Premier 06:16, 1 March 2006 (UTC)


<rant> HOLY SHIT how did everyone miss that Trier is NOT in Prussia for so long??? </rant> -- infinity0 00:09, 5 March 2006 (UTC)

Um... Wikipedia says that Trier was part of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1816. You do know where and what Prussia was, yeah? 06:11, 28 September 2006 (UTC)

There's an error...

There's an error in the image caption of the box. I've tried to repair it but wasn´t successful. Could anyone try? --Francisco Valverde 20:50, 5 March 2006 (UTC)

What are you trying to do? -- infinity0 20:59, 5 March 2006 (UTC)

  • I think I repaired it, so it says, "Karl Marx", again instead of {{{image caption}}}. It might be better though to credit the portraitist in the caption, if anyone knows who that is. DVD+ R/W 21:04, 5 March 2006 (UTC)


How is "humanitarian" POV? Marx worked all his life to be a humanitarian, to stop the exploitation of workers. -- infinity0 15:41, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Lenin and Stalin did this too. Are they also humanitarians? Probert 16:08, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

That argument is non-sequitur. -- infinity0 16:14, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Mx1, why is the category POV? -- infinity0 23:11, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

From Humanitarianism, "Humanitarianism is an informal ideology of practice, whereby people practice humane treatment and provide assistance to others." It is a practice, not theory. A union leader is a humanitarian, a philospher like Marx is not. Humanitarian is not just "someone who does good." You could slap that on half the people in wikipedia and argue about the other half.

--Mmx1 02:21, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Marx was not just a philosopher. He wrote extensively in journals, for the New York Times, and he was leader of the First International. -- infinity0 17:25, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Infinity, how does Marx being a journalist and leader of the First International make Marx a humanitarian? I think the NPOV violation is this: who states that Marx was a humanitarian? It seems to be your personal point of view. Did Marx ever identify himself as a humanitarian? Have any of his major biographers called him a humanitarian? Has any humanitarian organization (e.g. the Red Cross) ever called him a humanitarian? Slrubenstein | Talk 17:46, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Sorry, I realise I should have been clearer. He wrote mainly on social issues and the conditions of the working class. -- infinity0 18:40, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
Actually, quite a lot of people think Marx was a humanitarian. For example, Google search gives many articles stating Marx was a humanitarian or attributing humanitarianism to Marxist philosophy. This is the most direct example I can find, though digging will probably net me some more well-known sources. -- infinity0 17:55, 13 March 2006 (UTC)
Of the first 10, only 1 links Marx and humanitarianism. And your link was a term paper for sale. The First International was a union of political groups and unions, and Marx was present as an academic and political figure, not as a union activist. --Mmx1 18:09, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

I was collecting sources.

  • This source says that Karl Popper thought Karl Marx was a humanitarian.
  • This source is a play about Marx. One of the reviews reads "An imaginative critique of our societyas hypocrisies and injustices, and an entertaining, vivid portrait of Karl Marx as a voice of humanitarian justice which is perhaps the best way to remember him."
  • These anti Marxist sources acknowledge that "Marx as a humanitarian" is a widely-held view.

-- infinity0 18:13, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

You shouldn't use wikipedia itself as a source - see WP:CITE. definition of "humanitarian":

One who is devoted to the promotion of human welfare and the advancement of social reforms; a philanthropist.

Karl Marx was certainly devoted to the promotion of human welfare and the advancement of social reforms. -- infinity0 18:15, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Marx was present as an academic and political figure, not as a union activist. - how does that not make him a humanitarian? He pretty much lead the International (elected to every General Council), which was a base of working-class activism. -- infinity0 18:22, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Here is another source which shows Karl Popper thought Marx was a humanitarian: [4]

  • Popper insisted on treating Marx as a social scientist and humanitarian;
  • Quote from Popper: "And although Marx, in my opinion, failed to understand the future which he so keenly wished to foresee, it seems to me that even his mistaken theories are proof of his keen sociological insight into the conditions of his own time, and of his invincible humanitarianism and sense of justice." - The Open Society and Its Enemies, by K. R. Popper, Volume II: The High Tide of Prophecy: Hegel, Marx, and the Aftermath, 4th edition (revised) (Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd, London, 1962). {p. 120}
  • etc, etc

There are a few more primary and secondary quotes, just search for "humanitarian" on that page. -- infinity0 18:28, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

I'm not citing wiki as a source for an article; it's perfectly legitimate to cite it in a discussion. I'm maintaining consistency between the article and the category. Specificially, wiki makes a distinction between humanist and humanitarian (a distinction the dictionary definitions are very vague about), and the categories should reflect that. The International article also indicates he was one of several leaders, and that it eventually split into Marxist and Anarchist camps. Though involved in activism, he certainly did not devote his life to it and the preponderance of his time was devoted to the academic and philosophical promotion of humanity, and hence is properly a humanist, not a humanitarian. --Mmx1 18:44, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

A humanist is a philosopher of humanism, yes? A humanitarian is someone who actively does something for it. Karl Marx did do lots of things for it. He did dedicate his life to it - chose to live in poverty and work on his philosophy. Karl Marx and Mikhail Bakunin were the two main leaders of the Internatinonal. Though Marx did not dedicate his life participating in activism, he did much of it, and also worked much on his philosophy too. You do not have to be an activist to be a humanitarian - I think Karl Marx more of a humanitarian than "Mel Gibson" or "Steven Speilberg" both of whom are currently in Category:Humanitarians. -- infinity0 18:58, 13 March 2006 (UTC)

Fallacy; you assume I consider them to be humanitarians, too. I'm honestly tempted to AfD the entire category as it's so vague and turning into a fan club. I mean, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (there shouldn't be any argument about that... off to delete it)? I just am not too keen on upsetting the Christian Gibson fans and the Bono fanclub yet; I've got the Marxists pissed at me for now. I associat humanitarian more with the activist vein of Ghandi, Caesar Chavez and Nelson Mandela than academics like Edward Said (who I am also not convinced is a humanitarian). I'd put Marx much closer to Said than the others. Btw, what's with the talk page? I can't see it from the discussion link; need to get to the history to see it.--Mmx1 06:10, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

I think you're thinking of Marx just as a philosopher. He was very active in his earlier and mid-life - comparable to Mandela or Gandhi. He was even accused of incitement to armed rebellion, but acquitted by a Cologne jury. -- infinity0 17:04, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
I'm not a Marxist and I'm not pissed off at you :P -- infinity0 17:09, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
Tongue in cheek; I don't see those details about his earlier life in the entry; certainly from the article (which I did bother to read before the deletion), there's ver little about that aspect of his life; the treatment of his early life mentions only his philosophical influcences. --Mmx1 17:20, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
Biography of Marx by Friedrich Engels. Quite a lot of stuff about his activity there, too long to list here. -- infinity0 17:31, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
Not questioning it; just saying that should be worked into the article, because it certainly gave me the wrong impression. --Mmx1 17:35, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
OK. I'll add a section to the top of the talk page to ask for help in doing this. Are you OK with the category now? -- infinity0 17:38, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
Looks good. --Mmx1 17:42, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
The Popper quote is meaningful and valid - a verifiable source and also appropriate (whereas chatroom messages or blogs are not). By the way, a humanist is not a philosopher of humanitarianism. Slrubenstein | Talk 09:58, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

Not "humanitarianism" - humanism. At least, that's what humanist redirects to. -- infinity0 17:00, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

Sorry, I misread what you wrote. Slrubenstein | Talk 17:45, 14 March 2006 (UTC)
Meh, no worries :) -- infinity0 19:04, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

What's the wiki policy on the talk page(s) ?

I'm rather unpleasntly surprised that previous talk I've participated in was deleted, not archived. Maybe I've overlooked something, but I think that other angles on this charlatan and racist should be available to the general public. Not that my part in the discussion is of much importance, but, where is gone ? I thought it was archived. Am I mistaken ? Mir Harven 16:31, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

Talk:Karl_Marx/Archive_3#Marx_the_anti-Semite - here it is. -- infinity0 16:39, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

Right, I see it on the Archive 3 page. Objection withdrawn. Mir Harven 16:59, 2 April 2006 (UTC)

Zur Judenfrage

After the entire ego-boosting discussion that Mir Haven has conducted/waged, the section on anti-Semitism still reflects only one interpretation of the "Judenfrage", and a completely false one, too (Marx does use the Jews as a metaphor for capitalism, but he also indicates clearly that the real Jews and their religion bear the spirit of capitalism in a particularly clear form). Now, there are two problems:

1. The article currently implies that it contains the interpretation espoused by the majority of scholars. This can't be true. Even without Mir Haven's remarks, I'd be pretty sure that no other scholars but the two named in the end of the section have interpreted it like that, and I'd even be surprised if both of them have interpreted it in this same way. The contradiction to what Marx actually wrote is too obvious.

2. Even aside of scholarly opinion, Marx' work is not poetry and you can't just interpret it the way you like. It is crystal clear, not some Kierkegaard. I don't see why it can't be used as a primary source in itself.

For the record - I do not believe that Marx can seriously be called anti-Semitic (and I'm not convinced by Mir Haven's arguments, which are based on individual statements, mostly in an everyday or semi-humorous context). But the distortion of facts is a disgrace to Wikipedia.

-- 19:20, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

Well, go change it :) Or if you don't know what exactly to put, list down the key points here, and someone eles (maybe me, if I get around to it) will do something about it. -- infinity0 19:38, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

Wow, that was a pleasant surprise.. Not at all the response I was expecting... Okay, I'll do my best, when I have the time and the energy. -- 22:48, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

Infinity0 is acting in good faith - and assuming you will act in good faith in return. For you to say that the interpretation presented "a completely false (interpretation), too" suggests a serious misunderstanding of our policies, and I urge you to read our NPOV and NOR policies carefully. Wikipedia is not concerned with the truth or falsity of views presented, only that views not be those of editors, and be properly presented. If you know of other published works of scholarship - preferably by scholars who are established experts on Marx or on anti-Semitism - who have other views of Judenfrage, then I enthusiastically join Infinity0 in his hope that you will add those views (complying with NPOV and NOR). However, whether you agree with or disagree with the views expressed here, or any other views (including the view that Marx can and should be read as literature, strongly argued by Marshall Berman in All that is solid melts into air) is simply irrelevant. If I have not yet been clear, I hope I am now when I say that my point is not that Berman is right, only that he is a verifiable source and reflects a view, a view important only insofar as Berman's book is still in print and widely cited, but it is just not up to us to say it is a right or a wrong view. Good luck (ps consider registring if you plan to be active at Wikipedia), Slrubenstein | Talk 15:12, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

The sad truth is that, unlike Mir Haven (who apparently - and inexplicably - did nothing), I haven't bothered to find a secondary source discussing Marx, only the primary source (the work itself), which I believe can be used as a primary source, as I haven't found anything that suggests the contrary in Wikipedia's pages on sources. In other words, not only scholars' views on Marx, but also Marx' own views should matter. That is common practice as regards less known authors, about whom a vast body of critical litterature doesn't exist anyway, and I don't think it needs be labeled as original research, as you apparently do. That was my first point.

My second point was that, as the contradiction between Marx' work and the information in the article is obvious, the view which this article clearly presents as the truth - and as the opinion of "most scholars" - isn't really the mainstream view. Here, two scholars are mentioned, but the interpretation is so detailed that it appears to be a summary of the work itself by the editor himself, a summary that I found false; furthermore, it is clearly unlikely that both scholars share exactly the same opinion to the very last detail, so the editor has, at best, merged the two scholars' interpretations into one. 13:01, 13 April 2006 (UTC) (the same guy, another IP-address)

As to the last question, I just read Draper's opinion, and he certainly doesn't go into detail, all he does is support McLellan's claim that the use of "Jewry" is almost a pun by providing evidence that Jewry was indeed commonly associated with trade everywhere in Europe. I hope I find McLellan's book soon, then I'll find out if, perhaps, he was the one who wrote all the things that I find in the article. I'll appreciate it if in the meantime someone who happens to have the book provides the source and spares me the efforts.-- 16:42, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

I agree that unattributed claims that are false, and claims that are falsely attributed, should be deleted. If I understand you correctly, making these deletions will go far to satisfy your concerns. However, I think you are seriously misreading the section. It does not say that most scholars endorse a specific interprettation of "On the Jewish Question." It states only that most scholars reject the claim that "an intense hatred for the "Jewish Class" was part of Marx's belief that if he could convince his contemporaries and the public to hate Jewish capitalists, the public would eventually come to dislike non-Jewish capitalists as well." If you really think most scholars endorse this view, well, the burden is on you to prove it. Slrubenstein | Talk 19:48, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

+But I am still wary of making any categorical claims about what Marx meant. I urge you to look for other published interpretations of Marx to add to the section. You seem to accept the principle that you shouldn't put your own views into the article. I am convinced (not based on anything you have done, but based on my experience elsewhere at Wikipedia and beyond) that the most dangerous thing NPOV and NOR are supposed to prevent is when an editor presents their own view believing that it is not their own view but instead an objective truth. Slrubenstein | Talk 18:45, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

You made two specific claims above. First, that the interpretation presented as that of the majority of scholars "can't be true." If you are right, it should not be difficult to find scholars who present other interpretations. If it is hard to find such scholars, your own claim that it "can't be true" could be wrong. Second, that Marx was not a poet. This point is a little bizzare as the section does not claim Marx was a poet. Be that as it may, yours is a view, a POV, plain and simple. No matter how strongly you hold to it - in fact, the more strongly you hold to it - it cannot be presented as an objective fac but as a view. This does not mean that it is an invalid view, just that it is a view. It is a view that should be represented but NPOV forbits that it be presented to the exclusion of other views. You may have many other points to make about this section or the article in general. I am responding only to the two points you initially highlighted. Slrubenstein | Talk 18:50, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

First of all, I am not misreading the section: the article say that "most scholars reject this claim for two reasons", then the first reason (the insignificance of the work) is named, and then the second reason (an alleged distorting of the work) is explained in detail, gradually turning into an extremely long summary of the contents of "On the Jewish question", a summary that isn't attributed to any scholar in particular at that stage, thus creating the impression that it is a mere fact.

As for my 2 initial claims, I'm afraid that you misunderstood them.

My first claim wasn't that "the interpretation presented as that of the majority of scholars "can't be true."", but that "it can't be true that the interpretation presented as that of the majority of scholars is indeed that of the majority of scholars". I can't agree with you that if that were the case, it should be very easy for me to find other scholars: "On the Jewish question" isn't central to Marx' philosophy, so finding litterature specifically devoted to it would take a lot of time and efforts, and it could be still harder to find a scholar who has actually taken time to address something as obvious as that particular aspect of the work. I'm not really sure that I'm going to manage it.

More importantly, my second claim didn't really have anything to do with the poetic merits of Marx' work; what I was trying to say was that in my POV, Marx' essay isn't written in some cryptic language that requires a specialist to decipher it, it is an essay by a German intellectual that can be used as a primary source about his views just as, say, an essay by Noam Chomsky on Islamism can be used as a primary source about Noam Chomsky's views, i.e. that you don't need to cite secondary sources, which in our example would be other scholars' interpretations of that essay by Noam Chomsky. -- 20:27, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

Okay, I appreciate the clarification. As to the first point: would you then suggest (or agree to) something like, "These claims (that an intense hatred for the "Jewish Class" was part of Marx's belief that if he could convince his contemporaries and the public to hate Jewish capitalists, the public would eventually come to dislike non-Jewish capitalists as well) are not widely shared among scholars of Marx. For many, On the Jewish Question is not a central text for the exposition of Marx's thought. Those who have written specifically on this essay suggest other interpretations" or something along these lines (I don't think the way I phrased it is very elegant - the question is, do you think these are more or less accurate and appropriate? If so, could you phrase them more clearly?). In fact, I do not believe that the claims about Marx and marxism made by the people named up top are widely shared. Surely there is a way to communicate this as well as the points you are making.
As to the second point, well, I still disagree. Marx was often referring to other people and other texts when he wrote, and those people and their texts are not well-known today. Moreover, Marx often uses words in ways no used by most people today. Some of what he (or he and Engels) wrote, especially when they were explicitly targetted at popular audiences, is I agree very clear. Other things are less so, because they were written in a context that most people today do not know. Someone who is knowledgably about Locke, Ricardo, the Physiocrats, Hegel, Feurbach, and so on, as well as debates among European revolutionaries mid-century, who has also read a fiar amount of Marx will likely find most of what he wrote fairly transparent.
Is On the Jewish Question an example of the transparent or more complex/context dependent kind of writing? I suspect that most US college students would say the latter. But I imagine you would respond that it doesn't matter what they think but what scholars of Marx and followers of marx think, and if so, well, fine, I can agree with that. But the question is still open. If all people who have written about this essay agree in their reading of it, then I would concede the point. However, I know that McClellan (sorry, I do not have his book on me. But look in his biography of Marx and look at anti-Semitism and On the Jewish Question in the index) does not agree with the few people Mir Haven mentioned (people who are not by the way recognized as sholars of Marx). So there is some room for interpretation that this article must acknowledge and account for. Slrubenstein | Talk 23:36, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

As for the first point - yes, the redaction you're suggesting seems reasonable to me; it's a pity it isn't very informative, but as long as you don't accept my second point, we'll have to stick to that. I think it would be safe to add info on the McLellan-Draper argument, something like: "These claims are not widely shared among scholars of Marx. On the Jewish Question is not generally regarded as a central text for the exposition of Marx's thought, and other interpretations have been suggested. For example, Hal Draper argued that Marx' use of the term "Judaism" as a synonym of capitalism was a kind of "pun"."

One problem about this redaction is that, at least intiuitively, it leaves the reader no choice but to accept either the totally anti-Semitic interpretation (by the way, in the current redaction it reflects Marx' alleged intentions rather than the actual contents of the work) or the opposite extreme, the "pun" theory. IMHO, both distort Marx' argument, the difference being that the anti-Semitic one will seem more plausible to the reader.

Regarding the second point - I agree that not only Marx, but any historical text can be difficult to understand, in places, in the ways you mentioned - i.e. when using words in unusual ways, referring to people and phenomena that aren't widely known today and so on. People with more intellectual habits would probably be careful, identify obscure places and at least avoid misinterpreting them. But, of course, there is no guarantee. Furthermore, as reference frames vary not only diachronically, but also synchronically, you could also dispute a wiki-editor's right to cite a text by a modern author like Chomsky, as there is no guarantee that, being a US college student or something even worse :), he has the intellectual capacity to understand Chomsky's text correctly. Finally, the editor shouldn't cite scholars' interpretations of texts by Marx or Chomsky either, since it is uncertain if he has the capacity to correctly understand and convey these interpretations. As for the existence of different interpretations - well, I suppose you can always find conflicting opinions about any work, as long as there are interested parties.

Maybe somebody should make a very short summary of the work where the points which we know are a subject of debate (and whose existence leads you to consider the use of Marx as a primary source to be OR) are clearly identified as such. -- 11:36, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

I think we are nearing a mutual understanding. I hope the time and effort it has taken has been worth it for you - it has been, for me. I hope it is clear that my intention has not been and is not to stop you from editing. I just mean to explain some concerns I have. I think you understand and appreciate them. I believe that taking this concerns into account will lead to more effective edits. I do hope you move from this conversation to begin improving this section of the article! Slrubenstein | Talk 15:10, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

I'm gratified each time a discussion reaches a successful conclusion. Now I have to quote myself: "I'll do my best, when I have the time and the energy". I find editing much harder than discussing, so it will take some time. :). -- 21:27, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

I guess my hope is, that this discussion gives you some very clear ideas about one or two sepcific edits. It might not exhaust all of your concerns, but it would be progress for the article and you could feel pretty sure that many will appreciate the edits. Slrubenstein | Talk 00:07, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

Oh, I don't have a carte blanche? :) How frustrating! OK, as far as I understand, we have discussed/mentioned two possibilities. The first one is to get rid of the dubious part and leave only the statement that different interpretations exist, so the section will look in the following way:

Some scholars have presented an alternative reading of Marx, primarily based on his essay On the Jewish Question. Economist Tyler Cowen, historian Marvin Perry, and political scientist Joshua Muravchik have suggested that what they see as an intense hatred for the "Jewish Class" was part of Marx's belief that if he could convince his contemporaries and the public to hate Jewish capitalists, the public would eventually come to dislike non-Jewish capitalists as well.

These claims are not widely shared among scholars of Marx. On the Jewish Question is not generally regarded as a central text for the exposition of Marx's thought, and other interpretations have been suggested. For example, Hal Draper argued that Marx' use of the term "Judaism" as a synonym of capitalism was a kind of "pun".

Now, as I mentioned, this isn't very informative and it seems to leave the reader with only two possible (extreme) interpretations (of which the anti-Semitic one happens to sound more convincing); furthermore, it excludes the element "critique of bourgeois democracy", which is currently present even in the title of the section and which I find valuable. Finally, it's too short for an independent section.

The second possibility was to add a summary of the work, while specifically identifying the parts that we know to be controversial.

A third possibility would be to get rid of the whole section and instead insert a short reference to Mir Haven's people in the other section that mentions "On the Jewish Question", namely in "Activities in Europe". By the way, that section, while contradicting the section we're discussing now, is IMO pretty truthful.

... and wrote On the Jewish Question, mostly a critique of current notions of civil rights and political emancipation, which also includes several critical references to Judaism and Jewish culture from an atheistic standpoint. + (it must be noted that a small minority of scholars, such as economist Tyler Cowen, historian Marvin Perry, and political scientist Joshua Muravchik, have regarded the essay as an anti-Semitic work)

This possibility has the benefit of not giving this whole silly issue more place than it deserves, but is, of course, almost as uninformative as the first one.

As for the second possibility (adding a summary while mentioning controversies), here is my proposal. The main problem I see is that it's too long:

On the Jewish Question : alleged anti-Semitism and critique of bourgeois democracy

During the second part of the 20th century, Marx has been accused of anti-Semitism, primarily on account of his early essay On the Jewish question (1844), which is generally not regarded as a central work of his. The "anti-Semitic" interpretation of the essay isn't shared by most scholars.

On the Jewish question is written as a critique of left Hegelian Bruno Bauer's writings on the emancipation of the Jews. The first, largest part of the essay is relatively uncontroversial and contains a deconstruction of the liberal notion of political emancipation, as it is contrasted with true, human emancipation. Bauer had argued that for the emancipation of the Jews and their integration as citizens to take place, it was necessary that both the (Christian) state and its citizens (including the Jews) renounce, or "become emancipated" from their religions. Marx objected that, on the contrary, both the state and its religion attained their purest and most powerful form through the division between religion and state and bourgeois democracy (i.e. political emancipation), because that made possible the estrangement between the real individual (including his religion), on the one hand, and politics and society, on the other hand. This estrangement and the resulting egoism was, according to Marx, an essential feature of bourgeois democracy and its notions of freedom, the right to private property etc. While political emancipation was a necessary stage, the disappearance of religion (i.e. true, human emancipation) would only become possible when that estrangement was overcome.

Charges of anti-Semitism are based on the second part of the essay. Again, it begins as a critique of Bauer. He had claimed that Judaism represents a less advanced stage of religious development than Christianity, from which atheism had originated. Consequently, unlike Christians, Jews would have to be emancipated twice, first from Judaism and then from Christianity and religion altogether. Marx objected that what mattered was not religious/ideal Jewishness, but economical/material Jewishness, and the essence of the latter was "huckstering" and egoism.

The exact interpretation of this statement and of the following exposition is a subject of debate; some scholars (e.g. Marxist Hal Draper) have stressed the "pun" aspect of Marx' wording, as the German word Jude, "Jew", was also commonly used as a synonym of "usurer" and "huckster".

Marx proceeded to state that huckstering and egoism were dominant in modern bourgeois society in Jews and Christians alike. Consequently, the true emancipation of both Jews and Christians and the disappearance of their religions required, not the theological "development" of the Jews as Bauer had suggested, but the emancipation of society from huckstering or "Jewishness".

At least according to one reading of the essay, Marx proceeded to argue that the Jewish religion was only an ideal reflection of the material practice of the huckster, whereas Christianity was nothing but a more spiritualist, theoretical version of Judaism, a version which, through its universalism and its "egoism of heavenly bliss", made possible the complete estrangement of man from man.

The interpretation of On the Jewish Question as an anti-Semitic work was the primary basis of an alternative reading of Marx, proposed by economist Tyler Cowen, historian Marvin Perry, and political scientist Joshua Muravchik. They have suggested that what they see as an intense hatred for the "Jewish Class" was part of Marx's belief that if he could convince his contemporaries and the public to hate Jewish capitalists, the public would eventually come to dislike non-Jewish capitalists as well.

Which option (if any) would you support? -- 14:28, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

I'm sure I've poured oil on this fire (I haven't read it, but it's clear there's a heated debate happening here), but I've just moved most of the stuff about Zur Judenfrage over to the Wikipedia article On the Jewish Question since 1) this Karl Marx article was too long for Wikipedia guidelines and 2) it didn't really need to be in the Marx article and was completely unbalancing it towards a debate I've never heard of before. Sorry - just being bold! Mgekelly - Talk 14:38, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

Sorry again - I feel my previous comment was a bit dismissive - please move it back if you want to, and then I'll just have to get my hands dirty discussing its merits. My hope is that you guys don't mind carrying on this disupte about what should be under On the Jewish Question rather than what should be under Karl Marx - obviously depending on the outcome of you discussion you would want to flag this dispute in some way on the main article, I just think it doesn't need al lthat detail - far more detail, in fact, than was to be found on On the Jewish Question. Mgekelly - Talk 14:43, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

Oh God. That makes this article better, but it ruins the other article completely; removing all the repetitions and contradictions will take days... And it makes most of what I proposed impossible. But I admit that it's the best solution for this article, and I don't think that it should be moved back. -- 15:26, 15 April 2006 (UTC) P.S. My new, and hopefully last, proposal is on the relevant talk page. -- 18:29, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

OFfhand, I find all your proposals have merit. I like both two and three - not very helpful ... I guess at this point I would wan others who have put a lot of work into this article to weigh in. Slrubenstein | Talk 01:47, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

"On the Jewish Question" is, surely, a very polemic work. It is true that many of its passages seem to be anti-semitic. But, some problems exist with many of its criticism:

  1. Most writers intentionaly change its title (a world without jews?, please)
  2. It is used to discredit the whole marxist theory (a kind of Ad-hominen argument)
  3. The main subject of the paper, the relationship between relgion and state, is absolutely ignored.
  4. They ignore the historical context of the writing. For many nineteenth century writers, to attack the jewish faith was akin to attacking christianity. In fact, The Jewish Question was influenced by Feuerbach Materialism. Take the statement: "the cristianism has born within Judaism and, again, have been dissolved into it; from the begining the chrisitianism is the practical judaism, and the practical christianism has become again jew [...] The Crhistianism is the exalted idea of Judaism; Judaism is the vile practical application of Christianism" (I'm translatin from Spanish, please, if someone can post an english version, it would be really nice")

Another different problem are the statements of K. Marx about the economic nature behind religion and ethnicity. First: Christianity was seen as medieval ideology, rooted on the economic Feudal system, why Marx would have thought any better about any other religion. In fact, wehn Marx refers to practical Judaism, it is referring to CAPITALISM, and states that (from a practical point of view) all the burguois have become jew. For example, in Das Kapital he states that: money speaks many languages besides hebrew (again, i'm translating from Spanish).

Finnally, to repudiate the atrocities of Nazism doesnt mean to ignore history. It is false to believe that all jews are dedicated to capitalism (in fact, many prominent marxists are jews: Rosa Luxemburgm, Leon Trotsky, Abraham Leon, Eric Hobsbawm, Eric Wolf, Kautsky). But it is also false to said that there is no historical relationship between Western Europe's Jews and the early development of of Mercantile Capitalism (wich is not a True Capitalism in fact). In the middle-age the jews, and many other foreigners (like Lombards and Muslim) were excluded from the Feudal system (they couldn't become Feudal Lords or Servants), so commerce was the only economic alternative they had. That was reinforced by two additional facts: 1º Christians, since the 11th Century, had prohibited the practice of money-lendig for christians (before that, one of the main money-lenders were the Catholic Bishops) (¿it is well written?) and, 2º, The feudal economic system needed merchants and money-lenders. For example, during the early centuries of the Spanish Reconquista, many kings invited foreign peoples to fund (to create?, my english is so crude) cities in the recovered territory, and so stimulete the commerce and the economy, among these were the Jews. In fact they and other city-dwellers truly helped to the modernization of Europe, not only in the economic aspect, but also in the exercise of liberal professions (Medicine, for example, Like Moshe Ben Maimon a.k.a. Maimonides). Anyway, there is, from a sociological and historical relationship between ethnicity and Class. But this relationship is truly fluid and complex, an ethnic group can be part of the ruling class in some country and at a certain historical moment, and become an exploited or dominated class in another. And more, an ethnic group may be most of his members on the middle-class, and some in the upper and lower classes. Take the colonial Mexico, most aborigenes become servants to the new ruling class, but the nobles of the aztec empire in many cases married with the spaniards of high ranking. Another example could be the afroamericans, wich were constituted as an ethnic group as a consequence of their class position (a process of ethnogenesis). Nor religion, nationality or ethnicity are platonic ideas outside of history. They are identities, practices and relationships that constantly created and recreated.

The problem is that anti-antisemitism is an ideology, a representation of the World, that doesnt accept grays. In fact, the label "anti-semit" has become so widely, and politically, expanded, that even jews that doesnt support israeli government or who make any cristism towards jewish religion (which, like any other Ideology or religion, is not untouchable and deserves some criticism) are labelled "anti-semite" (or a self-hating jew or unjewish jew, when the logical incoherence becomes obvious). It is very probable that the mere word anti-semitic will lose all its rethoric power because of this abuse (of course, left-winged people usually makes the same retoric abuse calling Nazi to Zionist and israeli government). A side effect is that there is some tabu against any discussion of the this topic.

By the way, Marxist analysis is anything but essentialism: nor nationality, nor religion are viewed as the expressions of some racial or cultural essence, quite the contrary. If MArx would have been an essentialist, he would have seen himself as a Jew. On the other hand, terms like un-jewish jew and self-hating jew are good proof that anti-semitism and anti-antisemitism share a good deal of essentialism and fanatism.

Another problem comes from the retoric of the time. The centurys of prejudice against jew have redendered some words like jew or jewish as sinonym for other thing. An example, in my native tongue (spanish), the word "ladino" (the variant of spansih speaked by sephardi jews) is widely used to mean someone that is a Rogue, or not-reliable.

About the centrality of "on the Jewish Question" within the marxist framework, it is null. The only scholar who was inspired in any aspect by this text was Althusser, who, mixing marxism with Lacan and structuralism, writted his paper on ideology. The text is an early work (1844), when the most developed of Marxist Theory is written and published after 1857. Additionally, it retains a good measure of hegelian dialectics, and is a bit confussing at some paragraphs.

On the other hand, i think that some point can be made about a certain dose of resentment or contempt against judaism. We know little about Marx personal early life and experiences. It is possible that, as many other atheist raised within a religious setting (Luteranism, and Before that, Judaism) he grew to disike religion, and judaism was the nearest reference (as an ex-catholic and atheist, i know wath i'm talking about:) ).

In any case, in our interpretations we must avoid the problem of presentism. That is, interpreting an historical source within our own linguistic and ideological matrix. That doesnt mean we are not able to make some historical or ethical critic of the work of Marx, but we must be careful. For example, we may not measure the ptolomeic astronomers and medieval creationism with the same rule that we judge the modern Creation Science. The second choose to believe in geocentrism and recent creation against any fact, and are clearly doing pseudoscience; medieval philosophers and astronomers were very scientific within their historical context, but they woulnd't be by today standards. When some people say that the Roman emperors were antisemit, they are making a gross mistake. Spanish Kings were anti-semitic, because they had an ideology against jews, the Romans treated the hebrew as they did with any other conquered nation.

Illapa (a.k.a. Orion) Illapa 03:33, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

Featured article

I'd really like to make this a featured article. I've been up all night cutting it down to size, tidying, etc. The only thing which was raised on the featured articles page for this article which I haven't yet knocked into shape is referencing. If anyone else wants to do it, go for it, otherwise I'll probably get to it fairly soon. Mgekelly - Talk 17:16, 15 April 2006 (UTC)

OK, so it seems that the current featured article nomination has been archived. My plan is for myself, and any other interested parties, to get it up to scratch and renominate it. Let's get Karl Marx on the Wikipedia homepage! Mgekelly - Talk 03:59, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

You have my full support. Unfortunately I don't have a lot of time to help you, but if you still haven't done this in two months I will have time again. :) -- infinity0 11:48, 29 April 2006 (UTC)

It is an excellent article. Best and most up-to-date written in one place?. Terrible shame is hasn't before.. I am sure Hayek, Rand and other darlings and right-wing philosophies have been on there. Yes I will help! -- max rspct leave a message 12:15, 29 April 2006 (UTC)
HOw is the progress for featured article status? I'd like to help too, on this May Day, of all days. Giovanni33 08:40, 1 May 2006 (UTC)
Some minor unhelpful edits aside, really all that need to be done now is get the referencing in order. We're doing the footnote style with ref tags - see Wikipedia:Footnotes and #Referencing below. When that's done I have no doubt we can nominate and get featured article status! mgekelly 14:49, 6 May 2006 (UTC)


I thought that the belief that Demuth's child was Karl Marx's was held pretty much across the board. How does the matter really stand? Were there any contemporary doubters (other than Eleanor Marx)? Hasdrubal 19:07, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

Frances Wheen, one of latest biographers..seems convinced. Provides evidence. -- max rspct leave a message 12:18, 29 April 2006 (UTC)
David McLellan seconds this in his book: "Karl Marx - His Life and Thought", so we have two verifiable sources. --Knucmo2 12:52, 29 April 2006 (UTC)
I've removed the comment "The rumour lacks any direct corroboration" since we now have two authoritative sources which seem to verify the remark. The above comment too seems like a POV edit now that we have found some sources (that does not mean that the rumour is indisputable and thus fact - it just means that we do have corroboration of such a rumour without doing any original research). --Knucmo2 11:21, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

Uh, max rspct's source is a "contemporary doubter". -- infinity0 15:46, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

Ah. Well McLellan says that Demuth was the child of Marx. It stands better now in the article. --Knucmo2 15:50, 1 May 2006 (UTC)
As does Strathern in the "Essential Marx" book I have --Knucmo2 15:53, 1 May 2006 (UTC)
Well, cite them... I honestly don't know myself. -- infinity0 15:57, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

It seems to have been changed back, and now references an online article by a Professor of Political Theory at Bristol University. I've just been reading my Peter Singer "Marx: A Very Short Introduction" though and he states uncategorically that Frederick was Marx's son. I'm not bothered enough to change the article, but some of the regular contributers here might be :) Katy Routh

Socialism >Karl Marx< Communism?

Is Marxism closer to Socialism or Communism? I know that socialism leads to Communism, but is the ideas of Marx more socialist or communist?--RNAi 00:59, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

  • He did write a little book called the Communist Manifesto..., and it is not called the Socialist Manifesto... Bronks 5 May 2006
He has had influence on both movements, but beware, Marx's socialism is different from, say, Proudhon's. --Knucmo2 22:32, 5 May 2006 (UTC)
Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto for the Communist League - see the article - that's why it's called that. In the nineteenth century the words 'communism', 'socialism' and 'social democracy' were up for grabs and used interchangably. In the twentieth century, 'communist' was appropriated by the Leninists, 'socialism' used by all kind of people, from Stalin to Hitler to François Mitterand, and 'social democracy' became the province of reformists. mgekelly 14:55, 6 May 2006 (UTC)
Communism and socialism are way older than Marx viewings, for example Jose Fouche wrotte what it is considered by Stefan Zweig as the first true communist manifesto.
The meanings of the words "communism" and "socialism" depend on their context and also their language. Despite calling the manifesto "communist", it is indeed the foundations of marxism, which is really closer to socialism. What we call communism is closer to "state capitalism" in the context of governments. Communism can also be interchanged sometimes with communalism. See the difference?

I just had a brain fart.


Was Chile marxist during Allende administration?

Chile never was marxist during the Allende administration because Chile only was a marxist "experiment", this occurs in the practice always, because the right parties of Chile blocked all the reforms proposal in the Allende adminitration in the fields like, Education with ENU (Escuela Nacional Unificada), Agriculture with National agrarian reform, Economy with "Vuskovic Plain" and many others.--Herodoto 04:12, 6 May 2006 (UTC)

OK, fine, in which case we don't need to mention Chile - I've removed it. There's no point in adding a rambling point which says 'Chile wasn't Marxist' as you have done, because then we might as well mention every other country that hasn't been Marxist. mgekelly 04:47, 6 May 2006 (UTC)
Beware of contradicting other parts of Wikipedia - "Salvador Allende was president of Chile from 1970 until 1973. His Popular Unity government was one of the few Marxist national governments in history who came to power through free elections in a democratic country rather than by overthrowing a dictatorship in a revolution.", and Allende was well versed in Marxism. Such policies as mass nationalisation, central planning, price-fixing and so forth were practiced by many communist countries of the time. --Knucmo2 12:28, 6 May 2006 (UTC)
in all cases it was considered a socialist administration, the views it upheld were around those areas. It was called marxism mainly by the oposition, and of course, the united states. It is strange that the name still remains even today though.

Downfall of capitalism inevitable

references? mgekelly 12:27, 6 May 2006 (UTC)

"The development of Modern Industry, therefore, cuts from under its feet the very foundation on which the bourgeoisie produces and appropriates products. What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable". from The Communist Manifesto --Knucmo2 12:35, 6 May 2006 (UTC)
thanks for that. Consider me duly embarassed. You think you could add the refs though? I don't have my Manifesto handy. mgekelly 12:44, 6 May 2006 (UTC)


The above discussion above has thrown up an issue regarding referencing in this article. We currently are using multiple citation styles, which is against policy and undesirable for obvious reasons. Most references appear to be embedded html citations. WP:REF says that we should go with the existing citation method unless the subject area has an established citation style associated with it. My question is, is there an established citation style for Marx? How the hell does one go about finding out? If not, then I'll alter the references to all be embedded html. mgekelly 13:21, 6 May 2006 (UTC)

I used the Harvard one because that's the one I've been used to using on other articles such as Empiricism. By all means change it so it is in conformance with the predominant reference format. I would guess that Marx's work could fall into multiple styles of citation, as the books I have read by him and about him compass the Harvard style, MHRA style, MLA etc. --Knucmo2 13:46, 6 May 2006 (UTC)
Despite that I use Harvard in my own work, I think it's a poor style for online usage, and it seems to be discouraged on Wikipedia 'except in certain highly technical areas'. mgekelly 13:51, 6 May 2006 (UTC)
Actually, I note that this embedded html style is completely in appropriate here, since it only works for online references. Hence I'm going to move to footnotes. mgekelly 13:56, 6 May 2006 (UTC)
And when I say 'I', I mean the collective I, because I don't have time. Not that there seems to be much of a collective I around here. :'( mgekelly 14:00, 6 May 2006 (UTC)
Irrespective of the merits of the Harvard system (one is convenience) it is used by sociologists, economists, philosophers and scientists the world over. The move to footnotes is AOK; either suits me. I do not know whether I will have the time as my work-burden at University is rather more than I'd like it to be presently! I shall insert refs to the sources I have used at some point (mainly McLellan and Strathern). --Knucmo2 14:42, 6 May 2006 (UTC)
footnoting/endnoting is surely as widely accepted as inline references? Although, as I say, I use Harvard to avoid having to mess about with Endnote. I think we're in the same boat with uni work. The sad story of Wikipedia is that school children and the intellectually handicapped have a disproportionate amount of time available to edit it. I hope you know how to use the ref tags to do footnoting. It's markedly easier than Harvard (in Wikipedia) ultimately because you only have to put the reference in one place yourself, not both in the text and then at the bottom. mgekelly 14:47, 6 May 2006 (UTC)


just removed some text from the intro.  I had a couple of b=prbolems with it.  My biggest problem with it, and my reason for removing it from the intro, is that it is just too much detail and complexity for the introduction of the article; the themes introduced in the quotes belong in the body.  Also, it seemed argumentative (the "however" suggesting an argument).  Also, by relying on quotes from marx to support unattributed interprestaions of Marx, it seemed to violate NOR. When these issues are discussed in the body it should be pretty easy to avoid these pitfalls.  Slrubenstein   |  Talk 10:37, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

It's still too long, and contains tons of details more suitable for the body of the article. Youlookadopted 08:05, 17 September 2007 (UTC)

It should be:

19th century GERMAN philosopher, political economist, and revolutionary.

German Communist

I think that categorizing Karl Marx as a 'German Communist' is spurious. Karl Marx was a marxist, not a communist. The school of communism is different from the school of marxism. -- 21:48, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

Marx called himself a communist, not a Marxist. There are many forms of communism. Marx was one kind, so it is appropriate to call him a communist. Look, a Chevy Impala is only one kind of car, in fact most cars are not like the Impala at all - but it is still a car, nevertheless. Slrubenstein | Talk 16:21, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

Is the Criticism section really criticism?

Looking through the "criticism" section of the article, it seems to me very skewed towards defending Marx, there's a definite POV problem there. It does mention criticism, that's true, but it also counters most points with a defence, rather than letting the criticism stand on its own. It's like a debate where only one side has had a chance to respond to the other's ideas. I've altered some of it, but I'm now worried that if it's altered too much it'll end up like a game of table tennis with each side adding a counter-argument to the other's previous argument until the whole thing gets out of control. Surely the point of this section should simply be to summarise the criticisms, and let them stand alone without any kind of retorts tagged on the end?

For an example on the first point of criticism, before I altered it, the article claimed that pro-Capitalist sentiment was flawed because the gap between rich and poor has grown since Marx's time, but this argument itself isn't all it seems. If I meet two poor people who both have ten dollars, and I give one of them a hundred thousand dollars and the other a million dollars, both become vastly richer and will have a much better quality of life, yet I've created an enormous gap in their income which is much larger than before. Does that make the act wrong? Would they be better off with just ten dollars each? (In fact not just wealth but health, lifespan, workplace conditions and every other quality of life measurement have all vastly improved in democratic capitalist places such as the US and Europe since the 1800s, even among the poorest people.)

I'm also a bit worried about the politically loaded language in the Criticism section, for example saying that "the welfare state ... helped contain any revolutionary tendencies among the working class" implies the welfare state was some kind of deliberate capitalist appeasement of the poor, because the capitalists feared losing power. In fact in Britain and many other capitalist countries the welfare state came about simply because it was a policy popular with the majority of voters, and they voted for a democratic socialist party that promised to deliver it (in Britain this was the Labour party). The ordinary people themselves brought these events about, and no one mentioned protecting capitalism, even if that might have been an unintended consequence. Just because one thing happens to cause another, that alone doesn't mean that the first thing was a deliberate act designed to cause the second thing. You enter the realm of crazy conspiracy theories if you start claiming that motive is adequate evidence of guilt.

"Criticisms" removed

This is a bio article. There are plenty of articles about Marxism, and criticisms belong there, where they are seen in proper context. `'mikka (t) 01:41, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

New page: Influences on Karl Marx

I have created a new page Influences on Karl Marx, synthesising some of the material from the Karl Marx page and this one. Alot of it (expecially the french socialist influences, and the direct influences by Adam Smith and David Riccardo - as opposed to political eonomy in general) is still quite bare. Would be great for people to flesh it out a bit. JenLouise 06:39, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

Karl Marx and (binary) categories

Karl Marx made quite clear (too clear, alas! - see On the Jewish Question) that he did not see himself as a Jew. Why force somebody into a religion and a nationality that he did not desire and that do not give a clear description of his upbringing?

The religion of origin of his parents is already detailed at the beginning of the biography here, so it is not a matter of concealing information. Rather - a) Judaism is a religion, in which Marx was not raised, and against which he had strong feelings; b) if we are to believe the article Jew, Jews are a nation - a nation into whom somebody can be conscripted for reasons having nothing to do with the religion or upbringing of the person. Very well, but then - where does that leave us? Under the rules of German nationalists, the French son of two born Germans is a German, no matter what he says. Shall we put Kleber under "German generals", then?

Marx seems to have believed that Judaism defined a nation against others. He did not believe in this or any other religion, though, to judge by the opening paragraphs of On the Jewish Question, he seems to have thought of himself as on the side of Christianity, and certainly did not think of himself as belonging to the nation defined (as he thought) by the religion. c) I certainly hope that nobody here believes that there is such a thing as the Jewish race. Marx would certainly have been classified under code 08, had he lived a hundred years later, but it is difficult to see what that says about him.

By the way, the use of German Jew at the bottom of pages seems somehow rather odd to me. It does not occur in, for xx = pretty much any language other than English. What do people here think of it?

GERMAN of Jewish belief would be correct!!!


"a," you make some interesting points, but don't forget this is a biographical entry on Karl Marx. Marx's own opinions about ethnicity or religion as expressed in his works would probably fit better under "Marx's Thought." At any rate, Marx was born into a Jewish family, and that is a fact that needs to stay in the entry.--Dialecticas 22:04, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
By the way, "a," is this: ... your IP address? The only edit this person seems to make is cutting Jewish ancestry out of entries (see edit on Leopold Bloom). What's up with that? It's more than a little creepy.--Dialecticas 22:12, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
Dialecticas: this is indeed this computer's IP address. As you could see from the user-contribution page, the only contributions I have made are (a) my changes to Marx's entry, and (b) a slight edit to Leopold Bloom's entry, in which I changed the wording of the description of Leopold Bloom's family to what seems to me to be correct (and seems to have stood as such).
What seems creepy to me is to define people in terms of ancestry, above and beyond their upbringing, education and self-perception. Neither here nor in Bloom's entry (Bloom is an imaginary character, by the way!) did I erase the ancestry of the person concerned, or occlude it in the least. It is simply a matter of how you define a person, and of respecting how he defines himself.
Even if Marx had been devoutly Jewish or devoutly Catholic, we would have to respect the division between public and private spheres. You cannot define somebody in terms of his private identity (if there is one!) first. Should Marx turn out to be (say) gay, you could not introduce him as "a great gay philosopher"; his sexuality would come up later, in the relevant section, if it affected his life. This is even more so if he had been a deeply closeted gay man, or a gay man who never had gay sex, or somebody who thought of himself as a straight person but whom you have determined to be gay by means of your all-mighty gaydar.
The edit to Leopold Bloom's entry was based on the same feeling. What must have crept you out was the fact that I was making an edit from an IP address. If I had thought that somebody would have thought me some sort of undead creature, I would have got a user name to protect my privacy first. Should I edit any further, I will get an user name, of course. It is very probable that I will not, as I am not liking the tone of all of this back-and-forth.
"From a Jewish family" is one of those current phrases that seek to state more than they do and end up saying something rather doubtful in itself. It reminds me of how, say, the men of the Amistad have been described as African-Americans; the latter is a perfectly good label that people can apply to themselves - yet the reason why the men were not killed for having freed themselves was precisely that they could prove that they were not Americans.
Marx happened to be of Jewish ancestry; Judaism was the religion of origin of both of his parents. He did not grow up in a family that observed holidays, traditions and customs, for the very good reason that his parents had converted from Judaism. (At least his father had; I do not know about his mother.) How Jewish his early environment was otherwise (whatever "Jewish" means when applied to an environment!) is an interesting question; it might throw some light on "On the Jewish Question", which is (to say the least) extremely harsh and rather hard to read nowadays. By the way, I do not agree with how "On the Jewish Question" is handled later in the article - namely, brushed over. It is not a criticism of Judaism and Christianity equally, but a statement of opposition (not merely criticism) to Judaism specifically.

- a

"What seems creepy to me is to define people in terms of ancestry, above and beyond their upbringing, education and self-perception." - Yes, to me too, but not necessarily to Marx's contemporaries. There was an ethnic understanding of Jewishness as well as a religious one by this point in time and Marx would have been widely identified by others as a Jew, which would in turn have coloured attitudes towards him. That's worth bearing in mind, I think. Mattley (Chattley) 08:50, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

I agree completely - yet (a) this is a case for not omitting a mention of Marx's "racial" origin (don't vomit yet - note the quotation marks! look ahead at the third paragraph if necessary), not for pinning the label "Jew" on him (or on anybody else who does not pin it on himself) in the very first sentence; (b) the word "ethnic" here (used also by Dialecticas) is very problematic; and it is precisely in this very problem that the issue lies.

"Ethnic" was an extremely uncommon word before the 1940s; it was sometimes used in anthropology as a synonym for "race", or for a "sub-race" or "collection of races" (see the OED). It came into currency when "race" became very unfashionable. It inherited part of the baggage of "race", in that it sometimes tends to denote a mysterious something that is transmitted by bloodlines. At the same time, one of the most common uses for "ethnic", especially at first, was as a synonym for a group of hyphenated Americans (also a problematic term!) - namely, Italian-Americans, Jewish Americans, Greek-Americans, etc. The second term is less common than the other two, at least nowadays and at least as a noun; this has to do with the early prevalence of (Classical) Reform Judaism in America, which emphasised that Jews were not a race or people, and that there were simply Americans of the Jewish religion. However, people think as if they used the second term when they think of (say) Katz's Delicatessen or bagels or Woody Allen movies as Jewish. We are talking about some cultural traits rather specific to some members of an immigrant population - cultural traits that, by now, have been selected, homogenised and packaged into something nice, safe and easy for everybody to consume. (Hence very little Yiddish theatre and very many bagels.)

There is no such thing as the Jewish race, period. (Whether "race" is a useful or healthy way to categorise human beings at all is another matter; for the record, I would tend to answer both questions in the negative.) Would Marx's contemporaries have seen him as "of the Jewish race"? Some did, to some extent; if I remember correctly (I am referring to a biography I do not have at hand), there is a letter from a friend of his to another rumouring that Demuth's son must be Marx's, as the former had the latter's "handsome purplish-black Jewish hair", or some such thing. Would Marx have seen himself as "of the Jewish race"? I do not know of anything showing that he did. At the same time, it is not impossible that he did; some people did at the time - and seeing oneself as "of the Jewish race" (or having some "Jewish racial traits") became fairly common in the late nineteenth century. ("Race" becomes very prominent in early Zionism - Max Nordau, Martin Buber - but it was not limited to it.) If somebody abandoned religious belief and practices, and lived in the general society - or, even more so, if he was brought up without Jewish religious belief and practices, and had always lived in the general society - he had to cope with being sometimes - or often - classified by both Christians and Jews under a mysterious category that described almost nothing about him and yet was supposed to be deeply meaningful. It is natural to try to tie such a phantom category to something concrete. In America, just about anybody who is "white" has the opportunity to describe himself in terms of his great-grandparents immigrant origins, under the assumption that this is all nice and tame. (A naturalised immigrant from Italy in the early 1920s was an Italian-American; now anybody with an Italian name can call himself Italian, and it is immediately understood that (a) he will not go fight for the king or Mussolini, (b) the real Italians live overseas, and will make fun of him if he goes to Italy as "a very proud Italian", (c) he has no direct connection with the actions depicted in "The Godfather", which, somehow, is in fact one of his favourite movies.) People in Europe did not have that option; hence, sometimes, an understanding in terms of race. Also: (a) one could think of one's racial traits as partial (if somebody truly looks "very Jewish", he is generally Armenian), and to be overcome if so wished, at least in so far as they were character traits; (b) the thought of oneself in terms of race neutralised the possibility that the phantom label would settle upon that of a nation, or a holy nation - that is, it protected one from thinking of oneself in terms of a history (largely a religiously articulated one) that one felt to be alien to oneself, that extended vertiginously into the past, that involved some extremely strong claims, and that was not the history of the country in which one lived, in which one had (generally) been born and educated (and in which, in many cases, one's ancestors had always been born, as far as the records went), and to which one felt inextricably tied.

Now, does this mean that we should describe Marx as "of the Jewish race"? Obviously not. We may, at some point in the article, remark that he was seen as such by some - and perhaps by himself, though I do not myself know of any evidence towards this - and that this may have had consequences X or Y.

Now, why should Marx not be described as "of the Jewish ethnicity"? (a) If ethnicity means "race", as in some technical literature, see the above; (b) If an ethnic group means what used to be called, quite imprecisely, a "tribe" ("the Igbo ethnic group"), then no; it may be a problematic term for the Igbo, too; (c) Marx did not eat at Katz's delicatessen. In fact, it is extremely unlikely that he even ate bagels, or even knew who Woody Allen was - or at the very least he failed to catch any his references when he saw him on TV.

There is another, perhaps more serious problem with *defining* Marx with the "Jewish" label, as opposed to describing the household that shaped him (including, if you wish, that his father had very likely converted in part for professional reasons), and mentioning his "racial origins" (quotation marks! quotation marks!) as they become relevant. ("Jew" or the workaround "from a Jewish family" (false in some literal ways, as discussed above!) are equivalent here. "Marx was from a Jewish family", as the first sentence of the biography, is equivalent to "Marx was a Jew" here: it is a definition. A precise *description* of his family is given immediately thereafter, so no additional information is being conveyed.) The problem is as follows.

As you will see in the page Jew, many people see Jews as a nation. Nowadays, most such people are either traditionally religious or Zionists (or outsiders who have adopted the discourse of either quite enthusiastically). Now, there were only a few proto-Zionists in Marx's time; the notion of Jews as a modern nationality hadn't quite arisen yet. (Though: see his friend Moses Hess.) However, the notion of Jews as a holy nation, as the chosen people - meaning *the* nation (or this is how Marx takes it) was extremely powerful - more so than nowadays, both among people of the Jewish and the Christian religion, given higher levels of piety all around. The holy nation will get you, even if you don't want to. See Who is a Jew?, and read it in the eyes of somebody who (like Marx) had absolutely no desire to be conscripted into a religion and a nation that he seems to have felt were quite alien to him. May this explain "On the Jewish Question"? In my view, yes, at least in part, and it may be discussed in the appropriate section, thought that might fall under the No Original Research rule. Does this mean that we must do what he may have felt was being done to him? No.

All of this may be difficult for some people in America to understand. In America, people are separated by their "roots" (meaning the countries or nations or labels in which their (favourite) ancestors happened to be born) by the Atlantic. The latter is an insulating body of water that keeps electric shocks from going through. (Occasionally, the insulation fails, as is now shown, say, by one or two young Americans who go search for their roots in Afghanistan in order to solve their identity problems - random controversial example.) In Europe, historically, the problem of nations has been a very serious business. Marx was a European. Take him seriously.

The fact that Kleber was seen as a German by some (including both suspicious French colleagues and just about any classical German nationalist, who, of course, would have seen him as a traitor) may have been a factor in his French patriotism. It does not mean that he should be defined as a "German general", or that his alleged Germanness should be his card of introduction.

A last word: "tag the Jew" seems to be a very popular sport in the English wikipedia. I have noticed it is also becoming fairly popular in the North American mainstream media; wikipedia just seems to accentuate certain trends. In the French media, say, this would be unthinkable - or is unthinkable for all except a few mavericks and monomaniacs working within current enthusiasms. (Compare to previous enthusiasms for all things Viking or Japanese; this is exoticism at work, and is probably uncomfortable for at least some people from Japan, or anybody who minds objectification, exoticism and enthusiasm.) The same is true of, for that matter. I cannot say that the French are not in the right here. This is a cultural difference in the writing of biographies - yet one for which there are excellent reasons, at least on the continental side. Biographies used to be written in the same way in America, but then the roots game started. That game, though, is no game. - a

German Jew?

Just starting a new section as the one above is getting unwieldly (mainly because people are not indenting). I've removed the German Jew category again. Marx was not a Jew, nor were his parents - he was merely of Jewish descent. Does everyone who had Jewish grandparents get tagged as a German Jew? Trious 11:48, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

I posted a comment which apparently got garbeled beyond recognition. In short, I agree Marx was not a Jew and should not b identifid as one, period. However, Marx´s Jewish ancestry is relevant. That his father could not work as a lawyer in Prussia as long as he was Jewish, and that the practical solution was for him to convert to Lutheranism merely as an expediency, no doubt infomred Marx´s rejection of Brauer´s analysis of th Jewish question. Moreover, some (e.g. MacLennan) have argud that Marx, while disidentifying as a Jew, had some feelings of soliarity for other Jews, as he rsponded positively to the Cologne Jewish communtiy´s apeal for help on one ocassion. I wouldn´t give this stuff too much attention in the article, but it comes from a verifiabl source and is valid. Slrubenstein | Talk 16:12, 19 August 2006 (UTC)
GERMAN of Jewish belief would be correct!!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:16, 19 January 2008 (UTC)
We agree, then. Nobody was arguing for a removal of Marx's father's religion of origin, though reducing the reasons for his conversion to mere convenience is somewhat speculative. It is possible that Marx's ancestry belongs in a separate section on the background to On the Jewish Question, rather than in the introduction. Nevertheless, the dynastic writing of biographies seems to be a well-established habit - not necessarily a good one, in my opinion - and it is probably better to let the article stabilise as it is for now.
As for Cologne - Marx spent much of his time in the early 1860s defending and expressing his solidarity with American slaves, but this did not make his skin turn a rich dark-purple colour. Bellbird 09:39, 21 August 2006 (UTC)
His father? Surely Jewishness is matrilineal? mgekelly 14:39, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
Re Cologne: the issue is not that he supported the Jesidh community, the issue is why he supported the Jewish community and with what sentiments. This is documented in a letter he wrote. Clearly his sentiments were different from those he expressed to explain his support for American slaves (or the Irish). Slrubenstein | Talk 16:38, 21 August 2006 (UTC)
"no doubt informed Marx´s rejection of Brauer´s analysis of th Jewish question." - are you a psychologist? Trious 10:13, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

It's simply a question of WP:V, WP:NOR and WP:NPOV. Reputable sources describe him as Jewish. He was unquestionably German. Of course he should be described as a German Jew.--Newport 21:38, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

Like which sources? Sources also overwhelming show that Marx was an atheist, and that his father was a convert to protestantism. Trious 10:09, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

Doesn't this all just boil down to the issue of whether an ethnic, but non-religious Jew is a Jew. Wikipedia has an entire article on this issue, Who is a Jew?. My feeling is that anyone who is either ethnically or religiously Jewish can be fairly described as a Jew. mgekelly 14:39, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

There are two issues here: one is whether his being of Jewish origin (which may be, but is not necessarily the same thing as, an ethnic Jew) is relevant to the article. I think it is and have explained why. The second is whethe we identify him as a Jew. I believe we should only if we have verifiable sources that he identified himself as a Jew (whether religious or ethnic is irrelevant). Unless someone can provide those sources, the category should go.Slrubenstein | Talk 15:37, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

OK I agree entirely with this.Trious 16:19, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

Marx may not have been 'a Jew' himself, but as far as I'm aware his father only converted in order to be able to practise law, and his mother came from a line of highly religious Jews. In my understanding, his parents were definitely Jewish and certainly more than just 'of Jewish descent'. Somearemoreequal 20:18, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

Also, Marx was an avowed internationalist, but we still refer to him as German. Even if he renounced his religiosity, then is he not still Jewish?? Further from this (correct me if I'm wrong), it could be argued that 'Jewishness' is of racial significance, not just religious. Somearemoreequal 20:23, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

A good point. I think Marx's Germanness is in at least as much doubt as his Jewishness; after all, he left Germany before a German nation ever existed, and I don't think he ever said 'I am a German'. 'German-speaker' is more likely. In light of the dubiousness of both the 'German' and 'Jew' parts of this category, perhaps it's safest not to allow it – unless, as Slrubenstein says, someone can point to Marx saying he's a German Jew. mgekelly 22:19, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

Why do all our biographies have to begin with such identities, which are often inappropriate? It is relevant that he was born in Trier and educated in Prussia. It is relevant that hisw parents were born Jewish and converted to Christianity to escape discrimination. Surely we can communicate these facts in some elegant way in the firswt two sentences of the article without calling him "a German Jew." Slrubenstein | Talk 00:44, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

This is excellently put. I might add a nuance here, however. It is certainly true that one of the reasons his father had to convert was in all probability the fact that he would have been otherwise discriminated against. However, it seems apparent that he neither believed in nor practised Judaism. For many people of his generation, baptism was, to paraphrase Heine, a ticket into general society: it is not only that one was then allowed to enjoy the same rights than others (or more rights than some others, if one converted to the official denomination of the state!) but also that one could then see oneself as being within the same axiology as most of one's fellow citizens, or as almost all Enlightenment figures. The baptised man could sustain the same attitude towards religion as the man who was brought up a Christian - and that attitude may have been the most natural and honest one to him to begin with. Bellbird 11:47, 5 September 2006 (UTC)


His father converted to Christianity when Marx was a young child and Marx follwed Lutherianism and denounced any dealings of Judiasm.


What is your evidence that marx followed Lutheranism? Also, Marx did not denounce any dealings of Judaism. Slrubenstein | Talk 08:59, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

Yes he was because he said it and yes he did because he said it. If you can't take his own words as evidence, then that's it.


You have yet to provide any words. Please provide the quotes from verifiable sources. Slrubenstein | Talk 13:27, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

Is it not relevant that he is of Jewish lineage? I mean communism was founded by Jews and Jews were the main players in communism. I think it deserves noting as it was a big part in history. Can someone explain why that fact doesn't deserve a place in history? --Equilibriummike (talk) 09:23, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Marx was not a Jew. Communism was not founded by Jews. Slrubenstein | Talk 12:22, 18 February 2008 (UTC)
Marx parents were Jews, how is he not a Jew? Communism was heavily Jewish, the Bolshevik elite had a large number of Jews in its controlling body. Pioneers of Soviet Russia: Trotsky, Kamenev, Yakov Sverdlov, Grigori Zinoviev, Karl Radek, Maxim Litvinov ,Moisei Uritsky, were all Jews.--Equilibriummike (talk) 01:39, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

My dad was a lawyer - but I am not a lawyer. My mother is a woman, but I m not a woman. We are not the same as our parents. As for Bolshevism, well, this is an article on Karl Marx. Stalin could have been a Hare Krishna and it would not be relevant to Marx (Trotsky was a Menshivick until the revolution; anyway, you mention Russian Jewish communists ... would you care to start listing non-Jewish communists? I bet your the fingers would fall off of your hands before you finished typing the names of all non-jewish communists). It is true that Marx's grandfathers were rabbis, and that Jewish identity in post-Enlightenment Germany was a complex matter. But Karl was baptized; according to Jewish and German law he simply was not Jewish. His cultural, intellectual, and spiritual (in the sense of geist) life was not in any discernable way Jewish; his main intellectual influences were Hegel and Feurbach, and culturally he was firmly embedded in the spirit of the German Enlightenment. He is as much, nay, more a child of Democratus and Diderot than the grandhild of rabbis. Were Hegel and Feurbach Jewish? Please. I realize that Hitler would have dismissed Marx's cultural and intellectual heritage because Hitler believed in an immutable Jewish race ... surely you are not suggesting that Marx was Jewish in this sense? Slrubenstein | Talk 04:22, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

Why when the mob was active we were able to identify who they were, Sicilian Italians for the most part. Sicilians being a subgroup of Italian ancestry. But why when this rule is applied to people of Jewish ancestry, you implicate racism? Equilibriummike (talk) 12:06, 20 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Marx was ethnically Jewish, it does not matter if he did not adhere to Judaism. His parentage was Ashkenazi or German Jewish and that is part of who he was. Despite your opinions Rubenstein (which may have a bias against the ethnic and ancestral aspects to Jewish identity), he was Jewish and his upbringing was influenced at least somewhat by Jewish traditions, distinct from indigenous ethnic Germans. Hitler's horrible views have nothing to do with this discussion, so don't bringing something like that into it to support your viewpoint. Marx's descent was Jewish, not German, plain and simple and part of his identity was related to this. In some of his writings, he also wrote defending Jews did he not ? Regardless, there is nothing (just as with Franz Boas) that shows he considered himself the same as indigenous ethnic Germans. Epf (talk) 20:39, 24 February 2008 (UTC)
All I am looking for is a notable reliable source saying Marx considered himself an "ethnic Jew". Slrubenstein | Talk 21:35, 24 February 2008 (UTC)
  • Agreed. Epf (talk) 21:38, 24 February 2008 (UTC)
Epf, first off pay attention, Slrubenstein was the one to mention Hitler, not me so don't try to spin this. To Slrubenstein, Marx was a ethnic Jew, whether he considered himself one or not. I am a human being whether or not I consider myself one is irrelevant, I still am.--Equilibriummike (talk) 06:39, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

Given Equilibriummike's anti-Semitism, I see no point in responding to his comments. Slrubenstein | Talk 07:47, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

How dare you Slrubenstein call me a racist, Wikipedia is for intelligent discourse to develop accurate information. You have chosen to reduce it to a low by your attacks. I now leave it up to you to substantiate your accusation, or apologize for your unfair attack.--Equilibriummike (talk) 12:07, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

GA Nom failed

This article shows much promise. It is comprehensive, fairly readable, but still falls short of the GA standard in a number of ways. First of all, the article is very short on inline citation. Second, the lead does not meet WP:LEAD standards. Finally, the article itself is hard to read.

While not needed for GA status, I would suggest moving much of the material, especially in the section on Marx's influence, to other articles.

Please renom the article when these issues have been addressed. --CTSWyneken(talk) 22:49, 3 September 2006 (UTC)


i cant really believe this. this article is About Marx and it says nothing about his life. come on guys! what has happened here? i wanted to translate it to persian and i was shocked. there is not even simple talks about what happened in his damn life. am i really the first person to write about his history of life? please somebofy inform me on this! --Arash red 11:23, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

I am kind of shocked and appaled by the inmplication that "thinking" and "writing" are not important parts of "life." Surely, Marx's life is notable largely because of the things he thought about and wrote. It seems only logical to me that this article on Marx devote a good deal of space to the most important parts of his life. More specifically, Arash red, what parts of his life are missing, that you think should be included? feel free to contribute as long as it is relevant and comes from verifiable soruces, Slrubenstein | Talk 12:32, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

dear slurbenstein! as a staunch Marxist myself of course i dont think Marx's thinking and writing are not part of his "life". but this is not the point. my point is very simple. if somebody wants to know about Marx's simple history of life there is nothing in this article that can be found useful. the article is almost entirely about "Marx's Thought" and "Marxism" while an article about a person should mainly include his line of life. my command of english is not the best and maybe i am not saying what i exactly mean. where Marx was born, where did he die, who were his friends, where did he study, his children, his burial place. this are the facts that should be here. we should remember than people usually use encyclopedias to check the facts like this. there is no Biography here, this is a big shame. just look at Friedrich Engels to see what a biography can be. (let alone a good one).

even ideas should be introduced in a historical story-telling style ALSO. (in addition to the current style which is good).

i still dont believe there is no explanation for an article like this here. this is really a big shame for Wikipedia level of articles. Imagine somebody search "Lenchen" (Marxes permanent servant who was also allegedly mother of Marx's son,fredrick, and who is buried with Marx and Jenny) and see that there is not a single point about her in Wikipedia. I hope somebody can explain me something about this.

of course i will write a biography for him,here but i cant believe that in big english Wikipedia I, a rare contributor in English Wiki, am the one who is doing it. this is seriously the biggest shock i have encountered in wikipedia! --Arash red 16:50, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia is an ongoing, collaborative process. No article is ever "finished" and we always hope for and count on people coming along for the first time with fresh ideas about how to improve an article and a willingness to help out practically! Thanks, Slrubenstein | Talk 15:03, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

yes,dear friend and thats why i will try to help altough my english is not really the best. i hope you and other friends can correct my mistakes with kindness. --Arash red 09:41, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

Cultural depictions of Karl Marx

I've started an approach that may apply to Wikipedia's Core Biography articles: creating a branching list page based on in popular culture information. I started that last year while I raised Joan of Arc to featured article when I created Cultural depictions of Joan of Arc, which has become a featured list. Recently I also created Cultural depictions of Alexander the Great out of material that had been deleted from the biography article. Since cultural references sometimes get deleted without discussion, I'd like to suggest this approach as a model for the editors here. Regards, Durova 17:53, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

No biography?

The Marxism article on Wikipedia says that Marx's family lived in near poverty in London. So I thought this article would tell me about his family, but it doesn't. The word "married", "wife", and "family" don't appear. I think someone forgot to add a biography to this biography :-) Gronky 09:33, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Feel free to add it! Slrubenstein | Talk 09:37, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
I can't, I know nothing about this topic. For the topics I can contribute to, I appreciate when non-specialists point out gaps. Gronky 11:22, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

dear Gronky, I raised the same question and you can see the correspondence up in this page. i promise to add Marx biography here in this week. i am quite familiar with the issue. --Arash red 06:26, 29 October 2006 (UTC)

According to Francis Wheen's biography, despite the legends, Marx's family did not live in poverty, nor is there good evidence that Marx was the father of his maid's child. I'll see if I can find references, and then add to the article. Freethinker666 15:12, 30 November 2006 (UTC)

Someone wrote this on his childhood: "Karl Marx was born into a cannabalistic family in the early 19th. century, his father the Sultan of Persia gave him a magic carpet and told him to fly to the US an distroy capitalism. On the day of his Barmizta he lost control of his carpet and crashed into the heart of Moscow"

I'd rewrite it but I don't know much about his childhood, but I think he was born into a petty bourgeois jewish family

Vandalism I'm afraid, even if it would be interesting to know what Marx's thoughts on the 1001 Nights were. Philip Cross 14:32, 7 December 2006 (UTC)


Who claims Spinoza was a particular influence on Marx? Slrubenstein | Talk 12:15, 24 October 2006 (UTC)

Marx had handcopied extracts from Spinoza's Tractatus Theologico-Politicus in his notebooks. His controversy with Bruno Bauer also included differences on the interpretation of Spinoza and Spinozism, see Critical Battle Against French Materialism. Maximilien Rubel argues that Spinoza has been an important influence on Marx philosophy, see his essay Le concept de démocratie chez Marx. --Schwalker 10:57, 10 August 2007 (UTC)
Is this to be carried forward? I'm of the opinion that Spinoza should be appended to the list of influences. There is quite a strong argument for the inclusion of Spinoza as an influence of Marx from the Marxist electronic journal: Cultural Logic, see Spinoza and Marx. Is anyone opposed to making this change? Iomesus 19:23, 29 September 2007 (UTC)
Well, the author Mr Holland writes: "Less clear is the significance of this fact, and the extent of Spinoza's influence on Marx's thought", and that the aim of his thought-experiment "is to deliberately exaggerate the extent of that influence". I'm not sure that an essential influence of Spinoza on Marx is accepted beyond the circle of Rubel. --Schwalker 20:38, 29 September 2007 (UTC)

General intellect

To anyone who knows more about Marx than me... General intellect looks like it needs to be merged with something. Perhaps here. ~ Booya Bazooka 04:45, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

Historical Materialism

The article cites its developement by Marx in The German Ideology twice in the same section. The762x51 08:27, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

See also

I propose to remove, from the "see also" section, the links to his books, because they are already linked among his books. I propose to add links to some of his mottos: Workers of the world, unite! and From each according to his ability, to each according to his need. Laurusnobilis (talkcontribs) 15:35, 15 December 2006 (UTC).

I propose to add to the See also section a link to Dead on Second Life, a project in which famous/important/outstanding people from the past are brought back to life in a virtual world and Karl Marx is one of them. The project has extensive research on the sources: all of the texts of the people brought back to "life" have been accurately gathered in their original languages. The texts have been fed to a neural network to create a language generator that speaks "like" the historical characters. The project is currently being shown at several conferences, internationally. Along with Karl Marx, Coco Chanel and Franz Kafka have also been brought back to life. Metazona (talk) 11:13, 11 March 2008 (UTC)

Criticism section

The Criticism section is very poor. It has almost no sources and suffers from a 'critics say... but Marxists counter...' style which is inappropriate for an encyclopedia. WP is not a debate forum. Many of the criticisms are also not of Marx himself, but communism as it has been practiced. Ashmoo 06:32, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

¿communism, next "step" after capitalism?

I guess it should say socialism or dictatorship of the proletariat at the end of this line of the first paragraph of the article: "Marx believed that the downfall of capitalism was inevitable, and that it would be replaced by communism...". (it could also be said that both the dictatorship of the proletariat and socialism were considered fases between capitalism and communism)

Any comments? Ernalve 17:05, 18 December 2006 (UTC)


I came across this page ( )that claims that Marx was a Freemason. Does anyone have any other reliable information on this?

I have: It's rubbish Somearemoreequal 23:26, 23 December 2006 (UTC)

define: rue Veneua

is this a typo of rue Vaneua? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Tim.thelion (talkcontribs) 04:52, 9 January 2007 (UTC).

Marx a pimp?

In the second paragraph, the writer claims that Marx was both an academic and a pimp. Although this looks like an act of vandalism to me by some inmature reader, I do not know very much about Marx and did not want to correct it in case the statement was true. Can anyone look into that? 19:03, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

True? It was vandalism which existed for 14 minutes. It's been fixed. -- zzuuzz (talk) 19:07, 21 January 2007 (UTC)

2807 Karl Marx

As it turns out, Karl Marx is also the name of an asteroid. I feel this article should refer back to the asteroid article just like it refers back to the Marx disambiguation, but I don't know how to do that myself. Somebody feels like fixing stuff? Cheers, -- 11:17, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

I added it to the disambiguation page. Matteo 11:24, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, that was quick! -- 18:53, 2 February 2007 (UTC)

Did he have a deep respect in faith?

No —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 02:33, 31 January 2007 (UTC).

Karl Marx Jew hating Lutheran?

Of course, he was a Lutheran bigot, who hated Jews. His family left Judaism to be baptised into the Lutheran State Church of Prussia a year before he was born, so he was born a Lutheran. Read the church baptismal records or this biography:

Lewis A. Coser, Masters of Sociological Thought: Ideas in Historical and Social Context, 2nd Ed., Fort Worth:Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., 1977: 58-59.

Ergo, he was a Lutheran. As for hating Jews, his shameful treatment of Jews in "On the Jewish Question" leaves no doubt. Re: "selective quoting" - Please, just for fun, give me one quote containing a reference to Jews or Judaism that is not a calumny.

And, btw, Marx's best friend in America was Thomas Edward Watson of Sugarhill, GA, the founder of the Communist Party of America.Karl Marx and Tom Watson were correspondents following the 1st International. Watson was also the Godfather of the modern KKK, and the race-baiter who incited the kidnapping of Jewish pencil maker, Leo Frank, from Milledgeville and his lynching at Marietta in 1915. "Tom Watson: Agrarian Rebel," by C. Vann Woodward, MacMillan, New York, 1938

Btw, Wikipedia allowed the accusation of anti-Semitism into the bio G. K. Chesterton. Chesterton expressed his anti-Semitism in mere FICTION. -SGoldbargKabbalahfriend (talk) 02:25, 3 April 2008 (UTC)

Not listed in the Bibliography currently is "A world without Jews" Tr. and Intr. Dagobert D. Runes. New York: Philosophical Library [c. 1959][5] Also noticed the debate about Marx being an anti-semite above, but after a search did not find the word "anti-semite" in the article, or any detail on criticism of Marx for this. Aside from asking that "A world without Jews" be included, im wondering why the article makes no mention of the criticism and why Marx isn't in the CAT:Anti-semitic people.

The "On the Jewish Question" article states that it contains passages "that are alleged to be anti-semitic". While in this article "On the Jewish question" is described rather more tamely as including "several critical references to Judaism as well as Christianity from an atheistic standpoint." However look at some of the quotes from "On the Jewish quesion":

  • "The Jew, who in Vienna, for example, is only tolerated, determines the fate of the whole Empire by his financial power." and
  • "What is the worldly cult of the Jew? Huckstering. What is his worldly God? Money."

In a review of "A world without Jews" in a 1960 edition of The Western Socialist here Marx is further quoted as writing:

  • "As soon as society succeeds in abolishing the empirical essence of Judaism, the huckster, and the conditions which produce him, the Jew will become impossible, because his consciousness will no longer have a corresponding object, because the subjective basis of Judaism, viz.: practical needs, will have been humanized, because the conflict of the individual sensual existence with the generic existence of the individual will have been abolished." and
  • "The disappearance of the Jews will not involve a tragic process like the disappearance of the American Indians or the Tasmanians." and
  • "The social emancipation of the Jew is the emancipation of society from Judaism." (my emphasis)

The ADL seem to think that comments such as those made by Marx represent anti-semitism. ADL uses this definition of Anti-Semitism: "Anti-Semitism is prejudice and/or discrimination against people who are Jewish. Anti-Semitism can be based on hatred against Jews because of their religious beliefs and their group membership (ethnicity)".[6] (my emphasis)

Marxs appears to attack Jews and Judaism in General. His remarks on Jews and Judaism are unflattering, seek to portray jews as 1 dimensional stereotypes, and Judaism as a blight. He even goes so far as to wish the disappearance of Judaism and Jews (as adherants to a lifestyle of "huckstering"). This expressed contempt would meet the rather widely defined criteria #1 at CAT:Anti-Semitic people:

  • "Made statements or published writings which demonstrate hatred towards Jews as a people"

If public discourse from the period made by rightwing figures had contained these statements, regardless of whether it was in the context of describing economic theory or not, its very likely that they would nowadays be recognized as "anti-semitic".

Nor is Marx alone in the "alleged" anti-semitism. In "The Holy Family": "On the other hand, it was proved that Jewry has maintained itself and developed through history... ..because it is to be found, not in religious theory, but only in commercial and industrial practice."[7]

Marx should be in the CAT. Reference to the criticism that he is anti-semitic (even if it is to be dismissed) should be made in the article including the use of the offending word. Not doing so is a double standard. NEVER NEVER NEVER 14:31, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Your selective quoting of Marx is simply irrelevant to our project, please consult our core policies WP:NOR, WP:NPOV and WP:V. The main biographers of Marx and scholars of marxism intterpret these essays differently than you do. The issue is not whether they are right or wrong, the issue is that they are verifiable sources and you are not. If you find an acceptable (vverifiable, reliable, relevant, significant, appropriate) source, we can quote/cite her. Otherwise, our opinions do not enter into articles. Slrubenstein | Talk 14:50, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
Selective quoting is often required when highlighting bigotry. Mein Kampf, for example, is often quoted selectively to highlight the authors intolerance. I agree however that I was quoting "selectively"- I mentioned only a few of Marx's statements attacking Judaism & Jewry. There are a great deal more. Do these statements exceed the qualifications for being considered anti-Semitic under commonly understood and accepted definitions of the term? To my mind they do but im pretty sure im not the only one. Mention is made of "alleged" anti-Semitism in "On the Jewish Question". Since this criticism exists why wouldn't it be addressed in the authors biography? Assuming good faith I will research the necessary criticisms from the various sources.
Something you entirely failed to address is the "selective" listing of Marx's bibliography. Naturally I once again assume good faith. It could only be that a simple oversight has lead to Marx's 2nd most famous libel against Judaism & Jewry being excluded. However, now that you have the details, please feel free to include it in the authors bibliography. NEVER NEVER NEVER 17:40, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
As long as your contributions are fully compliant with our three core policies they will be welcome. Slrubenstein | Talk 18:43, 8 February 2007 (UTC)

Oh my god, so much about so very little. On the jewish question is a minor work (with an almost nil influence on marxist thougth), only two articles about the same subject, and the main focus is on the religion-state question. Even, it is an early work (1844). We dont see a section on anti-semitism at Shakepeares biography (and he created the most stereotypical jewish money-lender: Shylock). Sometimes, i suspect that the true reason behind this stuff is a kind of an Ad-Hominen argument (and thus a non-formal Fallacy): if Marx was an antisemite, then all marxism thougth is bad or anti-semitic (not a very academic or logical argument). I think that the very topic is irrelevant. In fact, those who argue that "on the jewish question" is some kind of nazi manifest, devote NO-Time to analize or refute any of its arguments (what would be the logical attitude). This is not new, both right and left have readed his works and acted as if it were a religious text, son many arguments are founded on good or evil idealizations of him. And both sides are acting wrong. The Ad-Hominem (for the Right) and the appelations to Autorithy (for the second) are INVALID arguments, since both are fallacies. If Marx hated the jews or if he was racist, that doesnt mean that all he said is trash. The veracity, or lack of it, must be analyzed for each of Marx statements about any topic. Marxist theory deserves some criticism, since any theory needs it. So, if you want to send marxism to trashcan, you'll have to do a greater (and undoubtly more productive and rich) work.

Illapa (a.k.a. Orion) Illapa 03:35, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

If Marx hated the jews - if he did, he'd surely have to hate himself?Lindsay40k (talk) 01:20, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

'A World Without Jews' is a somewhat controversial work, largely due to the selective nature and bias of the translation and introduction. The purpose of the translation was to demonstrate Marx's anti-semitism. While this does not of course mean that it should not be on wiki, it should not be presented uncritically as evidence of Marx's anti-semitism. 08:48, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

London section

It's really confusing that the London section never mentions London. Does anyone happen to know when Marx began to live in London? 23:46, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

Its on the line above the section. Perhaps one could split the sentence between the two sections: "This time he sought refuge in London." London section "In May 1849 Marx moved to London where he was to remain for the rest of his life. Andysoh 22:54, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

Motherfucker redirects here?

Via sociology I wound up at Karl Marx, and I noticed that some humorous right wing or just anti left, or perhaps just a plain idiot had linked this page to the word 'motherfucker'. I'm ignorant myself, but could someone do something about this and the links to other leftist Russians being 'fuckers'? I'm no Bill Hicks, but that's not funny, this is an encyclopedia. 16:04, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

Seconds Request

Yes, I second the request above me. I'm also new to wikipedia and its features and would appreciate it if someone could remove the offensive link. NeoSoldier 04:17, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

Page length

Can someone archive part of this talk page as getting long. Jackiespeel 19:01, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

Commodity ism = Commodity fetishism?

'Commodity ism' is mentioned a couple of times under the Philosophy section. Is this not supposed to be 'commodity fetishism'?

Sample quote: "Marx described this loss in terms of commodity ism, in which the things that people produce, commodities, appear to have a life and movement of their own to which humans and their behavior merely adapt." Zalmoxe 15:13, 17 February 2007 (UTC)


The original version was: Whereas his Gymnasium senior thesis argued that the primary social function of religion was to promote solidarity, here Marx sees the social function as a way of expressing and coping with social inequality, thereby maintaining the status quo. My problems with this sentence are, that Marx in the Introduction to a Contribution To The Critique Of Hegel's Philosophy Of Right

  • does not use the explicit concept of social inequality
  • says that the proletariat should change the status quo in Germany. But for him, this is not a theological problem, but rather an issue of the philosphy of rights, state, and history. Thus, to say that religion has the social function of maintaining the status quo seems to be too much an abbreviation of his line of arguments.

The intention of the new (preliminary) version is to give a sketch of the whole preface. Schwalker 17:31, 22 March 2007 (UTC)

I disagree with a recent change in that section from

(...) here Marx sees the social function as “an inverted consciousness of the world”. It is produced by state and society “because they are an inverted world”.


(...) here Marx sees the social function in terms of political and economic inequality. Moreover, he provides an analysis of the ideological functions of religion: to reveal “an inverted consciousness of the world”.

The original sentence in the preface is

"This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world."

So here Marx does not speak about a "social function" of religion, nor about a direct connection between religion and "terms of political and economic inequality". Nor does he speak about an "ideological functions of religion " which would "reveal" something. I believe that to say that he uses this concepts would already be a non self-evident interpretation of Marx. I've changed it to

(...) here Marx sees religion as “an inverted consciousness of the world”. It is produced by state and society “because they are an inverted world”.

--Schwalker 14:01, 17 May 2007 (UTC) He very much is concerned with inequality and you shouldn't delete this element. Note that I did not delete the points you added - I did some editing solely for style but kept your content. Please do not delete the earlier content, which is appropriate. That he does not use the word ideology or inequality does not mean that we cannot use these words to paraphrase. You seem to think an encyclopedia should be a string of quotations. It is not. If people want to read Marx, they should read Marx. This is an article about Marx. It can't just be quotations, and it will therefore use words Marx did not use. Slrubenstein | Talk 14:16, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

No, I don't “think an encyclopedia should be a string of quotations”. I do agree that “if people want to read Marx, they should read Marx”. How do you learn about a written text? I don't know another method than to read it, or let someone else read it for me. Thus if an encyclopedia is reporting the contents of a written text, it must either use quotes in direct or indirect speech. Or it can use interpretations from secondary source, but then it must tell the reader where the interpretations come from. I don't object at all using words Marx did not use, first of all because the original text is not in English. But I'm against introducing concepts which he did not use in the text. The concept of "ideology" was used by Marx in later text such as The German Ideology. We can't be sure that this later notion of "ideology" is a proper category for Marx's concepts of religion or philosophy in the Preface. The paradigm of Functionalism (sociology) was introduced much later than when the Preface was written. We can't be sure that Marx did anticipate this paradigm of "function" here. A complain about "inequality" usely implies a demand for an "equal" re-distribution of wealth. We can't be sure that Marx did promote such a re-distribution in the Preface. Besides, you did delete Marx statement that "Religion is produced by state and society “because they are an inverted world”".--Schwalker 19:57, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

Influences on Marx

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Ludwig Feuerbach, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe,Max Stirner, Bruno Bauer, Charles Fourier, Joseph Pierre Phroudon, Baruch Spinoza, Giambattista Vico, Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Jean-Baptiste Say, Charles Darwin, Willian Shakesperare, Honoré Balzac, Dante Alighieri. But I never read any commentarie about Immanuel Kant or Jean-Jacque Raousseau. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 01:56, 6 April 2007 (UTC).

Socialism and communism

Demigod Ron addded the the introduction the idea of socialism as a transitional phase between capitalism and communism. If I remember correctly, though, Marx doesn't actually use the terminology this way - although he does talk about an intermediate phase in the transition from capitalism to a classless society, he doesn't call one "socialism" and the other "communism." Like his contemporaries, he used the two words interchangeably. I've had a quick look at the obvious reference (the Manifesto, the Critique of the Gotha Program), and I can't see Marx using the terms "socialism" and "communism" to distinguish this transitional phase. Is my memory correct here? Should I change Demigod Ron's addition (maybe to read "...capitalism would be replaced a transitional economic system that would eventually lead to communism.")? VoluntarySlave 01:27, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

In The Civil War in France, part III, pages 88-89, Marx analyses several forms of socialism. He only really likes revolutionary socialism:

(...) the proletariat rallies more and more around revolutionary socialism, around communism, for which the bourgeoisie has itself invented the name of Blanqui. This socialism is the declaration of the permanence of the revolution, the class dictatorship of the proletariat as the necessary transit point to the abolition of class distinctions generally, to the abolition of all the relations of production on which they rest, to the abolition of all the social relations that correspond to these relations of production, to the revolutionizing of all the ideas that result from these social relations.

Of course this notions of socialism and communism first of all applies only to the situation in France at that time after 1848. In the section on Private Property and Communism in the third of the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844, he has also distinguishes different notions or stages of communism as the transcendence of private property. I could find the term “capitalism” as a substantive used by Marx only after 1862 (Theories of Surplus Value). I don't think that we could attribute to Marx a belief that a classless society would be an “eventual end of history”. Perhaps the article should say:

Marx believed that the capitalist society would be replaced by a transitional dictatorship of the proletariat which in turn would lead to a classless society. --Schwalker 14:46, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

One has to take into account that the book Theories of Surplus Values had been edited by Karl Kautsky after Marx's death. At the moment, I don't know of a single text by Marx with the substantive capitalism (or Kapitalismus) published during his lifetime.
Actually I agree with the edit comment (too general a use of dict of prole for the entree). While Marx occasionally called a governmental system "dictatorship of the proletariat", it seems to be too far fetched (or would need a source) to say that he believed that it is necessary in any event.
--Schwalker 09:12, 10 October 2007 (UTC)

Marx did believed that a transitional period was needed (read in The Communist Manifesto)and he called it Dictatorship of the proletariat This is discussed in Critique of the Gotha Program. The term does not mean real dictatorship merely a situation in which the working class is using the state to abolish capitalism. "Between capitalist and communist society there lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. Corresponding to this is also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat." - Karl Marx, Critique of the Gotha Program.

Marx also described the Paris Commune as the first dictatorship of the proletariat. It is Lenin who divided the process of accomplishing communism as "Socialism and then Communism",and this is the main term used today among marxists,but this is article about Marx here not Marxism and he didn't used the term Socialism let alone "radical socialism" to describe the transitional phase. madcat 22:08, 11 October 2007 (UTC)

I've got to acknowledge that these cited passages are convincing on the first look, but do they really support what the article claims now ("Marx believed that capitalism will be displaced by communism - a classless society after a transitional period called Dictatorship of the Proletariat") ?
In the quoted passage from the Critique of the Gotha Program, M. speaks of two different planes: First the society, (which, above in the same text, he had called the "basis" of the state), and secondly, corresponding to it (as a kind of superstructure) the political realm, which is the state.
So it's the "period of revolutionary transformation" of the society, which a previous version of this wikipedia article had been reworded as "radical socialism". M. writes that the state "can be nothing" but the d.o.t.p., that means nothing else which would go beyond the d.o.t.p.. For example, later in the same text, M. argues against the Gotha Program's demand for "Elementary education by the state". Also, M. does not write that the state must necessarily be the d.o.t.p.
--Schwalker 12:21, 13 October 2007 (UTC)
I'm not exactly sure what you are arguing about.Is it the term itself or the fact that Marx believed in a transitional period before communism? Because this is generally the main difference between anarchism and marxism.Marx believed that the state cannot be immediately abolished and it must be in the hands of the working class until the bourgeois resistance is crushed and etc...,only then the state will "wither away".And since Communism is Stateless and classless society real communism does not exist since then.This Period between the proletariat taking power over the state and the state withering away is basically called d.o.t.p.Now should it be called "Radical Socialism" or "d.o.t.p." ? If there wasn't an exact term for this period then maybe "Radical Socialism" would be fine,but since such a term exist I don't see a reason why it shouldn't be used.
madcat 21:22, 14 October 2007 (UTC)

I agree that M. believed in the necessity of a transitional period, during which the state would still exist. My first point was Marx seems to insist on a dialectical relationship of society and state. So for him, the notion of a revolutionary d.o.t.p. belongs to the state rather than to the society itself. Second point was to interpret the notion of a d.o.t.p. in the Critique of the Gotha program as a limitation rather than a prescription for the shape of a revolutionary state. The German text reads "...deren Staat nichts andres sein kann als...", which I think is better translated as " which the state can be nothing else but...". The version now proposed in the article is intending to stay close to the original text at this point. --Schwalker 22:02, 16 October 2007 (UTC)

Uh, yeah I didn't notice when everyone started talking about this and didn't have a chance to defend myself. Marx indeed believed that there needed to be a transition between capitalism (classed society) to communism (classless society). And this transitional period would be the dictatorship of the proletariat which would be a classed society, but be ruled by the proletariat in place of the bourgeoisie. Long ago it was decided that the dictatorship of the proletariat and socialism are one and the same, and Marxists now believe that "the lower phase of communist society" refers to the period when the dictatorship loosens its reigns on society (in other words the workers stop oppressing and executing capitalists) and society becomes truly socialist.
By now all the dialectics reading this will see the connections. The dictatorship of the proletariat and the lower phase of communist society are so close to one another that they are almost the same period of time and in turn are both "socialism". The dictatorship could therefore be seen as "proto-socialism" when the working class has not yet gotten all it's affairs in order and taken full control of society, and the "lower phase of communist society" is true socialism with communes and council democracy... Now rather than writing this, I felt the simpler phrase was more efficient. (Demigod Ron 04:52, 1 November 2007 (UTC))

Influences and Influenced

I have started a discussion regarding the Infobox Philosopher template page concerning the "influences" and "influenced" fields. I am in favor of doing away with them. Please join the discussion there. RJC Talk 14:16, 3 May 2007 (UTC)


Could an admin member please correct his name in the opening sentence. Karl Marx is not Santa S. Claus ;) (HighburyVanguard 00:28, 9 May 2007 (UTC))

This page is semiprotected; any username more than a few days old can edit it. There is no need for administrator assistance to edit this page. CMummert · talk 01:02, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

Recently, the names of Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky, Mao, Fidel Castro, and Che Guevara have been removed for three times from the "influenced" list in the "Western Philosophy 19th-century philosophy" box, with the reasons a) "not philosophers", b) [if wiki-biographies call them philosophers] "then wiki-biographies are wrong..." ,c) “the box is "Western Philosophy" !”. To include the names in the list improves the informative value of the article, since they belong to important persons influenced by Marx's philosophy. If some of them are wrongly called philosophers in their individual wikipedia articles, then it would be a convenient contribution to edit these articles, instead of the box in the Karl Marx article. The box does not say whether the persons listed under "influences" and "influenced" are or are not philosophers themselves. The boxes headline is "Western Philosophy" because it gives biographical data about an important representative of this branch. Generally speaking, an encyclopedia would have a too narrow view on a certain person or a certain field, if it restricted the description of influences on and from to professional colleagues only.--Schwalker 10:37, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

I agree. There is no requirement that people under "influenced" must be philosophers too. -- Vision Thing -- 17:57, 20 June 2007 (UTC)


was a Prussian philosopher

I haven´t found any article in the en:Wiki, which describes a ethnic german as Prussian, Bavarian or Würtembergian. I think it is better to write that he was a german from Trier then part of Prussia.

Have a look to the articles of Schopenhauer, Kant, or Engels.-- 22:06, 10 June 2007 (UTC)

Inaccurate Characterization

The characterization of Marx as a philosopher, political economist, and revolutionary is not one that is universally shared. Marx did not create a philosophical view, nor did he contribute academically to political economics. He bent and shaped select existing views in support of his call for revolution; with his chief concern being to raise the level of authority of his own family's class. Because he got away with it, the liberty was taken by the (temporary) winners to write their own version of history, including a larger / better than real life portrayal of Marx. This article appears to be politically motivated spam.

Your statements are wrong at different levels.

1) Is stupid to say that Marx only selected existing views, is like saying that Darwin only copied what Malthus, Lamarck and Spencer said. Every intellectual of history works within the problems and theories of their time, and their innovation usually comes from the perceived problems in existing theories. More, Marx aknowledges clearly the influences of other economists, philosofers, anthropologist and naturalists. (have you ever read Das Kapital, the Grundisse or the contribution to the critic of politica economy?).

2) in philosophy their contributions to the development of materialism are important, to the point that Mario Bunge (who is materialist, but not Dialectical nor Historical nor marxist, but systemic) has stated that the Anti-Duhring is a syntesis of the best of ninetenth century materialism. Take for example the emergentism clearly advocated by Engels (as the cuantitative - cualitative jump), common in current sciences, or his theories about the importance of work in hominid evolution. They were among the first european intellectuals to recognize the importance of Morgan works in anthropology, which inspired the Origin of Family, the Private property and the state.

3) Because of his tendecy to holism, the historical materialism is one of the first systemic and evolutionary aproaches to history and economics. It has influenced other currents of thougt,like Neoeolutionism and Cultural Materialism (both of them are currents of American Anthropology). Even the application in archaeology of systems theory has many things in common with marxism. Many great social scientists of the twentieth century were marxists, like Gordon Childe, Luis Lumbreras, or Bruce Trigger in Archaeology, Eric Wolf, Claude Meillasoux, among others, in social anthropology, Rossi-Landi, Volosinov and Bajtin in semiotics, Eric Hobsbawm in History etcétera. To say that Marxism didnt' creat or contributed to science or Philosophy is the most un-academic and stupid statemente anyone can make (usually done by economists who know little about anything except their short-sighted discipline).

4) MArx was trying to increase the power of middle-class intelectuals? how odd, when he was the first critic of middle-class socialism. And even if what you say is true, or if Marx was a Saint, that has little to do with the value of his investigations or of his political activism (have you ever, right-wing-minded people, read about the Ad-hominem phallacy, because all the criticism of Marx in this page points in that direction).

(Sorry if my english is bad) Illapa —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:48, 21 December 2007 (UTC)


Do we really have to typeset the epitaph in all caps? 20:50, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

No, don’t see a compelling reason. --Van helsing 21:39, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

from introduction?

he is most famous for his analysis of history, summed up in the opening line of the introduction to the Communist Manifesto (1848): "The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles."
It seems to be the first line of 'Chapter I: Bourgeois and Proletarians' instead (I've checked out on wikisource only). Hammaad (Talk) 17:24, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

Yes, agrees that it is part of Chapter I. Actually, "The history of all hitherto existing society(2) is the history of class struggles" includes the limiting footnote (2) "That is, all written history...".--Schwalker 19:18, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

Needs more sourcing

This article needs better sourcing. There is a lot of unverified info here that needs sources. --Lendorien 18:26, 4 July 2007 (UTC)

Politics, Philosophy, Economics

I just added a couple of main page links for the sections on Marx's philosophy and political economic contributions. I want to suggest another for his politics, which could begin with the Communist Manifesto, and might fit neatly above the other two categories. Thoughts? Wikidea 18:48, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

Should Marx be considered a German?

It is well known that Marx became stateless, but despite that fact, the general introduction portrays him as a "German philosopher..." I am tempted to change that to "German-born philosopher...", but I rather ask the community first. Thank you! LFS 03:22, 20 July 2007 (UTC)

I have no objection to a change. The problem is, "German" is accurate in a cultural sense in that he grew up in a German-speaking place and was reared in German culture - in these senses he was a "German" philosopher. But when he was born, there was no "Germany." He was born in Prussia. Slrubenstein | Talk 10:01, 20 July 2007 (UTC)
That is a very intresting fact. But because there already is a discussion about this German or Prussian controversy, I will change the introduction to "German-born philosopher..." until the community decides if it should rather be "Prussian-born..." By the way, somebody changed it already to "German-Jewish...", which I think is not accurate, given his well known opinion against religion. LFS 13:32, 22 July 2007 (UTC)
But you don't have to be religious to be Jewish ethnically; I'm ethnically Jewish, although I am a fervent Christian. Nyttend 13:33, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

Marx did not consider himself Jewish, nor was he considered Jewish by others, although he did acknowledge his Jewish ancestry and his sympathy for the Jewish community. Still doesn't make him Jewish. Slrubenstein | Talk 13:35, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

Who is a Jew? (and the Jews may be even fervent anti-Semites in denial - this does not make them less Jewish, it makes them idiots) --HanzoHattori 20:07, 22 July 2007 (UTC)
I notice that all reference to Marx being a German-born, a Prussian-born or a Jew in the general introduction has been erased. Perhaps this is a good (neutral) solution, and we could allow the Biography to state his Jewish ascendance, the "card" at the right to declare his birthplace, and let the context explain his relation to Germany as well as his stateless condition. What do you think? LFS 01:46, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

"he was not Jewish"

Karl Marx was NOT born into a Jewish family. He was born in 1818, a year after his parents were baptized and registered into the Lutheran, Prussian State Church. See this biography: Lewis A. Coser, Masters of Sociological Thought: Ideasin Historical and Social Context, 2nd Ed., Fort Worth:Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., 1977: 58-59.

And btw, if Judaism really were a nation rather than a religion, the 'nationality' would be refered to as JudaITE, rather than JudaISM. The ISM suffix denotes a religion, ideology, or belief system rather than a polity. If Judaism had actually been a nationality, Moses' son would have been a Midianite and David and would have been a Moabite.

Further, the note below that all reference in the intro to Marx being a Jew "has been erased" is still untrue as of April 2, 2008.Kabbalahfriend (talk) 01:18, 3 April 2008 (UTC) -SGoldbarg

Wow. How do you classify someone "not Jewish", when born in the Jewish family? Jews are a nation, not a religion. Do you have problems with the guy being Jew? --HanzoHattori 14:15, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

Also, because we have, Who is a Jew?, maybe we'd also make Who is not a Jew?, for Marx being "born into the Jewish people" but "not Jewish", etc. --HanzoHattori 14:21, 22 July 2007 (UTC)
Reread what I wrote. You didn't understand any of it. Slrubenstein | Talk 15:27, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

I notice that all reference to Marx being a German-born, a Prussian-born or a Jew in the general introduction has been erased. Perhaps this is a good (neutral) solution, and we could allow the Biography to state his Jewish ascendance, the "card" at the right to declare his birthplace, and let the context explain his relation to Germany as well as his stateless condition. What do you think? LFS 01:44, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

Marxism Tag

Is there any way we can move the Marxism box to underneith the main infobox? It would look alot better...

Also I archived this talk page, just an FYI
Ferdia O'Brien The Archiver, Reformatter And Vandal Watchman (Talk) 23:59, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

Can I retrieve the messages deleted on 31 July 2007 somewhere in the archives? --Schwalker 12:23, 5 August 2007 (UTC)
Yes, the messages are in Archive 4. I found this out accidentaly after adding "Archive 4" to the Archives box. --Schwalker 20:28, 9 August 2007 (UTC)

Marx and Britain

Copied from WP:RD/H for incorporation into the text of the article. --Ghirla-трёп- 21:52, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

Ah, Marx in London: boils on his backside, harvested from hours spent in the reading room of the British Libary, an afflication for which he swore that the capitalists would pay!

Marx and family arrived in England in August 1849, settling in Dean Street, in the Soho district of London. He arrived with high expectations that the 'British Revolution', long in gestation, was shortly to be born. After all, this was the most industrialised country in Europe with the biggest proletariat. He placed particular faith in the Chartists, a mass movement which aimed at the democratic reform of the whole British political process. Before arriving he had written "The most civilized land, the land whose industry is the most developed, whose bourgeoisie is the most powerful, where the bourgeoisie and the proletariat are divided in the sharpest fashion and stand most decisively opposed to one another, will be the first to witness the emancipation of the workers of all lands. That land is England.".

Chartism, however, was not to be the vehicle of emancipation. Already in decline when Marx arrived, he held on to his unrealistic hopes as long as he could, but eventually agreed with Engels, who had a far better understanding of English politics, that the proletarian movement " its old traditional Chartist form must perish completely before it can develop in a new vital form."

This, in fact, is a key moment in Marx's personal and intellectual evolution; of the transformation of the young optimist into the ponderous critic of capitalism. A new crisis would come, that was always his belief, but if the revolutionry phoenix was to arise it would only do so through a proper understanding of the "law of motion of capitalist society." Das Kapital, volume one of which appeared in 1867, is not an analysis of capitalism in general: it is an analysis of English capitalism, or at least it is from this that he draws most of his practical examples. However, just as the English economy encouraged Marx in his model of historical development, his observations of English politics made him increasingly pessimistic. And here we have the key to the very thing that was to perplex not just Marx but generations of Marxists thereafter: namely, what was the precise relationship between objective economic forces and subjective revolutionary action? English capitalism may have been 'classic'; but English politics and the English working class was 'unclassic' in every degree!

The greatest puzzle for Marx was that England's political clothes simply did not fit its economic body, at least in the terms his theory prescribed. For Marx parliamentary republicanism was the political form best suited to advanced capitalism; but England retained not just a monarchy but a powerful aristocracy, which should have passed away with feudalism. It was the capacity of the English to absorb change without revolution that perplexed him most. England had a capacity for reform which;

...neither creates anything new, nor abolishes anything old, but merely aims at confirming the old system by giving it a more reasonable form and teaching it, so to say, new manners. This is the mystery of the 'hereditary wisdom' of the English oligarchical legislation. It simply consists in making abuses hereditary, by refreshing them, as it were, from time to time, by the infusion of new blood.

It was the English working class, which preferred to work within the existing system, that was to cause him his greatest annoyance, particularly in its support for the bourgeois Liberal party, parliamentary reform, moderate trade unions and the co-operative movement. The English had all the material necessary for a revolution but what they lacked was "the spirit of generalisation and revolutionary fervour." He became ever more pessimistic, towards the end of his life, seeing the English working class as no more than the 'tail' of the Liberal Party. Worse still, he came to agree with Engels that the English proletariat "was becoming more and more bourgeois, so that the most bourgeois of all nations is apparently aiming ultimately at the possession of a bourgeois aristocracy and a bourgeois proletariat as well as a bourgeoisie."

Alas the 'Red Doctor', as he came to be referred to in the British press after the Paris Commune, never understood the country he lived in for over thirty years of his life. His last recorded words were "To the devil with the British." Ah, well; Marx is dead, but capitalism lives! Clio the Muse 00:14, 27 July 2007 (UTC)

A quote

I read a quote, is what it's saying true? "Most people who read 'The Communist Manifesto' probably have no idea that it was written by a couple of young men who had never worked a day in their lives, and who nevertheless spoke boldly in the name of 'the workers.'" —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 16:14, 8 August 2007.

It's untrue. Marx worked as an editor and journalist but was thrown out of work by censorship in Germany. In Britain, he struggled as best he could to make money while working on Capital, by for example writing for the New York Herald Tribune. He was a talented communicator...excluded from most newspapers by hatred of Communists.

Engels worked for his family firm.

Furthermore, their unpaid work including Engel's reports on Manchester and Marx's Capital and *Grundrisse* represent thousands of man-hours of labour, even if it wasn't labour to be expropriated by some capitalist or other.

What they WEREN'T, was the work-monkeys we see today, who thirst for alienation and destroy their lives with nothing to show for it. They were humanists who refused to countenance the sacrifice of lives they saw about them to the money power who in a prophetic tradition said that the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath: they saw that human life is about the survival and flourishing of people in a world without slaves or concentration camps and naught else.

Unfortunately, it's become hip and fashionable to criticise Marxists for not "working", that is giving their irrecoverable time on earth to some employer who pockets a healthy fraction of its market value.

The people who replicate horseshit such as the above quote are paid shills for privately funded think tanks who since 1980 have been paid to destroy any hope in a world which is going to hell by way of global warming alone, a global warming created by the manic phase of the capitalist cycle, in which we must all "work", filling the world with toxins, which may be about to be followed, thanks to the credit collapse, by a depressive phase, in which we may not work at all. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (Talk) (talkcontribs) 11:46, 10 August 2007.

Have you heard of the theory of class consciousness? How can most self-proclaimed communists sympathize with the struggles of the working class if they've never experienced it?—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 16:12, 14 August 2007.
a) sing your contributions with four tildes ~
b) keep in mind Wikipedia:Talk_page_guidelines#How_to_use_article_talk_pages: Keep on topic: Talk pages are for discussing the article, not for general conversation about the article's subject.
thanks, --Schwalker 19:26, 14 August 2007 (UTC)
"Most people who read 'The Communist Manifesto' probably have no idea that it was written by a couple of young men who had never worked a day in their lives, and who nevertheless spoke boldly in the name of 'the workers.'" This quote was written by economist Thomas Sowell. It is true if by "worked" you only mean "working class work". The only paying jobs Marx had were spats in editing and writing for papers. The point of the quote was that he had never done a day of factory work in his life, while championing the "exploited" factory workers' cause.--Loodog (talk) 20:47, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

Again, peoples arguments are not true or false because of the way the lived their lives. To say that Communism or Anarchism are wrong because they were advocated by philosofers or intelectuals is a Phallacy (please, read something about Logic instead of arguing so badly). Marx views may be inspired or not by his way of life, but that doesn't make them right or wrong, true or false. The Capital is an excellent work of social sciences and an ethical manifesto about the real wrongs of capitalism. It may contain some errors like the works of Weber, Talcott Parsons or Durkheim, but is unvaluable. Second, socialism is not limited to Marxism (Anarchocommunism is an example), and it exist because most of the people of the world live in misery. About class consciense, please, read the Woks of Antonio Gramsci. He clearly explains how the different classes need Organic Intellectuals to advance their goals (e.g. Capitalist needs lawyers, engineers, journalists, politicians, etc., and the same goes for the proletariat). A petit Burgoise or a white-collar worker is not a Burgoise nor a proletariat, but can serve any of the two, because from their ranks come most of the organic intelectuals of any class.

Illapa —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:05, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Notes 5 & 6: unclear referencing

Both these notes do not quote the text to which they refer, but only say " #2 ". What does that refers to? Isaiah Berlin, who is number 2 on the References list? If this is the case, it should directly state so. Wikipedia moves to fast to use this kind of system: WP:Footnotes should all include the name of the author, and if a book is repeatly quoted, then the name & date is sufficient (here, ibid comes in handy). Else, it isn't at all helpful. Hopes somebody finds the original ref... (And maybe add it to July Monarchy in the last section). Tazmaniacs 15:13, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

It seems these references have been added on December 16 2006 and refer to the book "Paris Between Empires" (2001) by Philip Mansel.--Schwalker 12:08, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

"Neo Marxism" Section

Hey, there was a section called "Neo-Marxism". I removed it. I don't have anything against Marxist ideology, but this is very one-sided, totally unsourced, and a bit too optimistic. I really think it needs some reworking before it stays for good. So, until someone modifies it, it shall stay here:

Neo-Marxism since 2000

"New" Marxist paradigms have begun to appear especially in Latin America as a pragmatic and not theoretical response to the powerful revival that may have started in 1944 with Hayek of "neoclassical economics", because the latter's stress on the rights of the end consumer has been seen by many to disempower the primary producer, getting pennies on the dollar for the "real" value of his production, whether this is Starbuck's coffee or folk remedies transformed into drugs by pharmaceutical companies.

While these new paradigms acknowledge the failure of so called "planned economies", they continue to insist on justice as a valid economic measure, expressible by adding indices of inequality to indices of gross democratic product to interrogate class-divided economies.

Their critique of developed economies has shifted in recent years from a critique of their spiritual emptiness and a disempowering emphasis on competition to point out growing economic insecurity in developed countries without planning mechanisms, such as the absence of health care for many in America.

Cliche Screenname 22:44, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

Bibilography and online texts section

Since this is locked for editing could somebody remove "The Reality Behind Commodity Fetishism" from the bibiolgraphy and online texts section, since the article is not by Marx, and there doesn't seem to be any particular reason for its inclusion. -- 17:16, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

here it is:
I agree it is not appropriate for this article. Actually, I am not impressed by it at all, but it is a verifiable source - I suggest if someone cares about it they add it to the appropriate article, which would either be Commodity fetishism or Marxism. Slrubenstein | Talk 17:22, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

Carl Schorlemmer

I've removed the following comment on the life of Carl Schorlemmer, who is mentioned as one who attended Marx's funeral, to here:

  • "and a fighter at Baden in the last uprising of the 1848 Revolutions."

It may be true, but there are two problems with this as an unreferenced statement.

  • 1. He would be 14 years at the time. This by no means disqualifies him.
  • 2. Engels makes no mention of it in his obituary [8] This is rather more problematic. Although it is possible this rather modest man could have kept it from Engels, who also participated, it is unlikely, and even less likely that Engels would not have mentioned it in an obituary had he known of it.

Do we have a reference for this particular fact in this well researched section? Andysoh 00:13, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

Was Marx a Marxist?

Interestingly this article categorises Marx as a Marxist! Apart from the obvious silliness (are Popes Papist? Was Tolkien Tolkienesque?), many historians of Marx have concluded there were significant differences between his views and what later came to be formally regarded as Marxism in the main Communist powers. I propose we remove this categorisation. LiberalViews 12:22, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

I guess you propose to remove the Category:Marxists, which by definiton "contains people who have publicly identified themselves as Marxist." --Schwalker 13:37, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
Of course not! Marx never publicly identified himself as any such thing, nor did he propose there be such a thing - the term was created by successors of Marx. LiberalViews 13:42, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
Marx is said to have written "All I know is I am not a Marxist" (the attribution is uncertain), but it can't be unfair to put him in the category since the ideology 'Marxism' was defined by reference to his beliefs. Fys. &#147;Ta fys aym&#148;. 13:52, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
Regardless of the historical context, it's absurdly self-referential and circular to put him in the category. Einstein would not be placed in the category "Followers of Einstein" and as the category "Marxists" essentially means "followers of Marx", clearly there is a problem. On another point, are you following me around today for some reason Fys? :-) LiberalViews 13:58, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
Is it 'self-referential' to include Trotsky in Category:Trotskyists? There is a difference between adherents to a political ideology and "followers"; follower implicitly means coming after, whereas political ideologies generally have contemporary adherents as well. In fact it's standard practice to include a head article in a category. Oh, and if you look out of your window, I'm hiding behind a lamp-post just down your street. Fys. &#147;Ta fys aym&#148;. 14:07, 21 October 2007 (UTC)
If that's standard practise then it clearly needs changing! Stop peeking over my hedge by the way. LiberalViews 14:31, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

Statue of Marx and Engels in ?

It is not on Alexanderplatz but in Berlin-Mitte. It is between Spandauer Straße and river Spree, close to town hall of Berlin (so called „Roten Rathaus“ = red town hall).

Pls correct. Thx. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:14, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

Have changed it, thanks--Schwalker 19:36, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

Hidradenitis suppurativa?

Is it worth adding something about Marx suffering from severe debilitating skin disease, possibly Hidradenitis suppurativa, and its possible effects on his character? See, for example, [9], [10], both of which refer back to a single source published in a medical journal. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:32, 4 November 2007 (UTC)


""Marx" redirects here. For other uses, see Marx (disambiguation)." It doesn't. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:15, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

Redirect changed back to Karl Marx, since I guess that it's the most frequent intended meaning when people type in "Marx".--Schwalker 19:20, 8 November 2007 (UTC)
My understanding is that redirects to disambiguation pages are used whenever one term is likely choice for more articles. One prominent example is Bush, which redirects to disambiguation page and not to George W. Bush. -- Vision Thing -- 18:17, 11 November 2007 (UTC)
As a politician, George W. is about as important as George H. W. Bush. The word has other meanings too, for example The Bush. Whoever the second most important Marx is, Harpo Marx or Groucho Marx, this person's article is much less likely to be searched for than Karl's. --Schwalker 19:41, 14 November 2007 (UTC)
I think that most people would agree that George W. is more important than George H. W., if for nothing else than for serving two terms as a president. Also, on what facts are you basing your conclusion? Google search returns 2.770.000 hits for ""Karl Marx" and 2.250.000 for "Groucho Marx". That is not "much less likely", specially if we would factor in rest of the brothers. -- Vision Thing -- 15:41, 17 November 2007 (UTC)
Karl has precedence by seniority. --Schwalker (talk) 18:04, 18 November 2007 (UTC)
Are you joking? On Wikipedia there is no such thing as precedence by seniority. -- Vision Thing -- 22:13, 20 November 2007 (UTC)
Redirections could either depend on what people are likely to be looking for, or on what Wikipedia considers to be important. The name's meaning refering to this article's topic has played an important role in history, of which someone is likely aware who has accomplished the steps of thought necessary before they would insert the term into the Wikipedia article search engine.--Schwalker (talk) 23:11, 26 November 2007 (UTC)


I believe criticisms of specific things Marx wrote or did belong in this article, and criticisms of things followers of Marx said or did belong in the Marxism article. This would require some parsing of the current "criticisms" section because it is not always clear to me whether marx actually said or wrote something for which he is being criticized.Slrubenstein | Talk 12:33, 25 November 2007 (UTC)


A recent edit removed most of the categories from the Karl Marx page, and created a sort of master "Karl Marx" category, under which these categories were then put. I don't think this works well with the way Wikipedia structures its categories. I recommend against this innovation. -Moorlock 19:48, 2 December 2007 (UTC)


I do not question the inclusion in the article of charges that Marx was an anti-Semite, as long as they come from notable sources. I do however object to using primary course material - specifically, selected quotes from Marx, taken out of context - to "prove" that Marx really was anti-Semitic. I object for substantive reasons and also for reasons of Wikipedia policy. I think the wikipedia policy issues are the salient ones here, but for the sake of transparency -to make clear my motives - I will first explain my substantive reasons.

In 1843 Marx wrote to a fellow leftist,

Just now the president of the Israelites here [Cologne] has paid me a visit and asked me to help with a parliamentary petition on behalf of the Jews, and I agreed. However obnoxious I find the Israelite beliefs, Bauer's views seem to me nonetheless too abstract.

Now, from this we can infer four things. First, it is impossible to believe that the president of the Cologne Jewish community thought Marx was an anti-Semite — I can conceive of no logic that would lead a Jewish authority to seek the help of an anti-Semite. Second, Marx rejected Jewish beliefs. But Jews have been vehemently rejection one another's beliefs for all known Jewish history. Jews debate and reject vehemently the beliefs of other Jews all the time. This does not make one an anti-Semite, it makes on an ordinary Jew. Certainly, rejecting Jewish beliefs itself is no indicator of anti-Semitism. Almost every Christian I know rejects my beliefs, but I don't think them to be anti-Semitic. Atheists reject many Jewish beliefs, that doesn't make them anti-Semitic. Indeed, one may actively reject Jewish beliefs and still believe that Jews merit equal rights which is quite the opposite of anti-Semitism. Let us be more specific and say that Marx rejects the Jewish religion. Well, there are many Jews who reject the Jewish religion and who do not consider themselves, nor are considered by many, to be anti-Semitic. Many scholars and historians of the Holocaust as well as medieval Jewish history distinguish between anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism. Indeed, third, Marx agreed to support the Jewish community in Cologne. Hardly the act of an anti-Semite. The final inference is crucial: Marx finds Bauer´s views more objectionable than those of the Jews. I think this is important because it suggests to me that any interpretation of “On the Jewish Question” that does not take into account the specific context of the essays, which is indeed . - and explicitly - a critique of Bauer´s views, is a weak interpretation.

In other words, in "On the Jewish Question" Marx is not attacking the Jews, he is attacking Bauer. I acknowledge that he could be doing both. But I believe that to understand Marx´s critique of Bauer, one must understand how Marx uses "Jews" and all sorts of terms concerning Jews, including anti-Semitic terms, a rhetorical devices ... ultimately, they do not mean what they appear to mean.

From this last point let me be very specific. Marx´s writings often do not "speak for themselves," to claim that they do is to take an ahistorical position to historical texts (much the way fundamentalists read the Bible). To use quotes from Marx selectively and out of context would violate NOR.

Marx was often referring to other people and other texts when he wrote, and those people and their texts are not well-known today. Moreover, Marx often uses words in ways no used by most people today. Some of what he (or he and Engels) wrote, especially when they were explicitly targeted at popular audiences, is I agree very clear. Other things are less so, because they were written in a context that most people today do not know. Now, someone who is knowledgably about Locke, Ricardo, the Physiocrats, Hegel, Feurbach, of course in this context the “young Hegelians” and Bruno Bauer, and so on, as well as debates among European revolutionaries mid-century, who has also read a fair amount of Marx will likely find most of what he wrote fairly transparent. But someone who is not knowledgeable about the context will not find their writings transparent ‘ or, worse, will think that their meaning is clear, and in fact misunderstand them

Is On the Jewish Question an example of the transparent or more complex/context dependent kind of writing? I suspect that most US college students would say the latter. But let´s put that aside. It does not matter what most US college students think, or what I think, or what you think.. Because Wikipedia has a policy against original research, and against inserting our own views. If all scholars of Marx who have written about this essay agree in their reading of it, and if thy all thought it is principally an anti-Semitic text, then I would concede the point. However, I know that they do not. In fact, it is at least a controversial claim, and most Marx scholars I know of do not view it as an anti-Semitic text, because they read it in context. So there is some room for interpretation that this article must acknowledge and account for.

NPOV insists that we represent diverse views. Telaviv1 has added certain cited views and I have not removed them, although I do question whether they are notable views. But he and Vision Quest have removed the alternate views and this is simply unacceptable. Moreover, when I have restored the mainstream view with contextual explanation, they have deleted the contextual explanation. But it is not sufficient simply to include the fact that some (like McClellan) hold a different view. Since McClellan´s analysis depends on an explication of the context, we need to provide context. To remove McClellan or Draper´s explanation for their views is to misrepresent their views and that is a violation of NPOV.Slrubenstein | Talk 16:51, 26 December 2007 (UTC)

The people whose books I used as sources are known experts on anti-Semitism so your point about mainstream view on Marx as a non-anti-Semite is a moot one at best. -- Vision Thing -- 20:30, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
And that is why I have not deleted them. I assumed good faith. I expect the same on your part. Slrubenstein | Talk 22:09, 26 December 2007 (UTC)
You have reverted all my yesterdays' contributions to this article. Among them was a new reference to Bernard Lewis's book. Where is good faith in that?
Also, you keep insisting on a long quote from Hal Draper which predominantly talks about Moses Hess and not about Marx. It's more than enough to briefly summarize his point. If readers want to know more about his argument they can follow external link in the footnote. -- Vision Thing -- 22:14, 27 December 2007 (UTC)
I am sorry I deleted your material, I was endeavoring to restore material you deleted. I appreciate your not deleting mterial I reintroduced and will not delte the material you added today. I think the section could benefit from additional sources and contextualization. I would like to give others a chance to add more contextual material so let´s give it some time, okay_ Slrubenstein | Talk 22:45, 27 December 2007 (UTC)

Unfortunately Marxists are much better at making critical remarks then at abosrbing criticism.

On the Jewish Question contains statements that are quite clearly anti-semitic. On this I believe we have agreement.

Acknowledging that Marx made anti-semitic statements does not invalidate Marx and it is reasonable to say that he later changed, or that it was a passing phase. To claim that it is some kind of parable, sounds like mind-fucking and does not really change the nature of the statements. They are just as unacceptable as a parable.

Marx is solely responsible for anything he wrote. Who influenced him and why is interesting but does not absolve Marx of responisiblity for his own words, which it must be said are quite serious comments. Hess was not the "Father of Zionism", he was a forerunner, someone with similar ideas who came before. Hess evidently spent a period being an anti-semite and then realized what he was doing. Marx may have followed a similar process.

In 1840 Europe was a hellish place for Jews so these comments should be placed in that historical context.

If students of Marxism are not warned that a particular text contains anti-semitic statements, then you run the risk that Marxist thinking will be a cause of antisemitism. I believe this already to be the case.

BTW if the leader of the Cologne Jewish community never met with antisemites he would never have left home. Marx was not actually Jewish, he was of Jewish origin. His enemies used that as a tool against him to such an extent that we now all think of him as a Jew.

Telaviv1 (talk) 08:59, 27 December 2007 (UTC)

Actually Marx would have been considered Jewish under Halakha. His parents converted merely for professional reasons so in their hearts it is likely they still considered themselves to be Jewish. The comments Marx made can be considered an indication of insecurity of his identity as a young man and a need to prove that he rejected the beliefs that his parents held. Gustav von Humpelschmumpel (talk) 10:32, 27 December 2007 (UTC)

Telaviv1, I think you misunderfstand our NPOV policies. It does not matter whether you or I think Marx is anti'Semitic or not. Wikipedia does not provide the truth, just different views of the truth. Several notable scholars of Marx agree he is not an anti'Semite. It does not matter whether they are right or wrong - their view is important and must be included in the article. You have sources that claim he was anti'Semitic. It doesn´t matter whether they are right or wrong, we include their views as well. Either way, we do NOT say a text "is" anti-Semitic, we say some believe it is for these reasons, and others believe it is not for those reasons ... Slrubenstein | Talk 19:48, 27 December 2007 (UTC)

The articles Doctor's Plot and Zionology say nothing about a direct responsibility for or influence on these campaigns by KM. Therefore I've removed again the references to these articles. --Schwalker (talk) 20:58, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

Removed a citation from Bernard Lewis: Semites and Anti-Semites: An Inquiry into Conflict and Prejudice. (1999), page 112. Either this book misrepresents its own source, or the book has been misrepresented in the wikipedia-article. The quoted article is by Engels from April 29, 1849, and can be found online here in a non-translated German version.

--Schwalker (talk) 10:08, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

I had/have no objection to the opposing point of view being expressed and did not mean to give that impression.

I still think the Hess segment is long winded, not directly related to whether or not the Jewish Quesiton is antisemitic and should be either drasticallly shortened or removed. Not unlike the doctors plot stuff.

The final point about it being a response to Bauer is a fine one. I suggest also mentioning that Marxian antisemitism is not racial: Marx (for obvious reasons) thought that one could abandon one's Jewishness. Incidnetally I looked up the issue of conversion it seems that MArx was Jewish according to the Halakha, since apparently Jews regard conversion to another religion as a sin but not as ending ones Jewish status.

I do think that the concluding sentence of on the Jewish Quesiton should be quoted: "The social emancipation of the Jew is the emancipation of society from Judaism."

This line sounds ominous in view of what later happened in Germany.

Telaviv1 (talk) 10:29, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

You can quote the last line only if you also clearly identify in whose view it is anti-Semitic. Slrubenstein | Talk 11:47, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

How did Marx's essay influence National Socialist anti-semitism, in National socialism, at least during the time of Hitler, Judaism was euqated with communis/bolshevism, Marx was constantly attacked by Hitler as a Jew, and Marxism was entirely at odds with NAZISM ideologically wise. Although personally I do not find it hard to accept Marx was an anti-semite, saying his essays were used by his harshist critics is slightly wacky.Anti-BS Squad (talk) 04:26, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

I understand the argument to be that ideas which Marx publicized about the connection between Judaism and Capitialism made their way into Nazi thought, especially Mein Kampf. However the connection is a bit tenuous as I don't think Hitler actually quotes Marx, while it would seem that Marx was probably not the first to connect Judaism and Capitialism. I tried to read Mein Kampf years ago and there is a discernible socialist influence on Hitler's thinking. It was after all, called National Socialism.

I agree that the conneciton is problematic, however the concluding line of On the Jewish question "The social emancipation of the Jew is the emancipation of society from Judaism." does sound like a call for genocide.

Telaviv1 (talk) 11:55, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Not only does Hitler not quote Marx, he activly insults him and claims HE was Jewish (which as Marx held relatively anti-semitic views, Marx would take as an offense), which really wouldnt make much sense if Hitler was a supporter of Marxism, also socialism and communism are not the same thing, Marx promoted communist socialism not national socialism (which is widely held to be on the right, or at least devoid of classification, whereas communism is more on the left) and as I mentioned Hitler was about as anti-communist and anti- left wing orthodox socialists as you could be, and linked bolshevism directly with Jewishness. Also whether Hitler was a socialist anyway is a matter of much debate, he is only socialist in the sense he supports equality within a race (and even within that race only amongst men), whereas classically socialism was more centered on total equality and equal oppertunity (Hitler was totally against equal oppertunity). However that point is off-topic, I dont see how Marx's essay really influenced National Socialism enough to be referred to specifically in the anti-semitism section, although I could accept that Marx added to a already well founded pit of anti-semitism, his anti-semitism is really only comparable to a drop in the ocean.Anti-BS Squad (talk) 17:06, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

On a more relevant point, I do not think Marx called for genocide, although I do not know much about Marx, my interpretation of Marx's anti-semitism was that Marx viewed Jewishness as an ideology, not as a religion or a race, and used Judaism and Capatalism interchangably as many people did in those days (of course wrongly), Marx's view seems not to be that someone was racially Jewish, but chose to be Jewish either religiously or following supposed 'Jewish Capatilist' ideology, therefore it seems more that Marx was calling for people to renounce his view of Judaism, and did not view Jewishness racially, but as a choice. Marx seems mainly to be criticising Judaism using his warped view of the religion, as if it was more an immoral way of life than anythign else, and not really claiming for the slaughter of the actual Jewish race. Anti-BS Squad (talk) 17:13, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

BTW my spelling is pretty atrocious, feel free to edit if it bothers you.Anti-BS Squad (talk) 17:14, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

I changed a couple of thing that didnt seem to make any sense I waht I wrote =PAnti-BS Squad (talk) 17:54, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

As a first time reader of the anti-Semitism section, I find it to be fairly balanced except for the Hal Draper quotation. It is important and should be retained, but in a much more condensed form. As it stands the quotation seems to take up about HALF of the section. This is troubling, no? Such a long quotation implicitly invites other writers to post equally long quotations from the other sources in the section. Actually, in order to maintain NPOV, if the article retains the full Draper quotation then we would also have to post an equally extensive quotation from a source who argues that Marx was anti-Semitic, but then we'd potentially have nothing but a quotation quilt on our hands. I invite whoever posted the quotation to edit it down to perhaps four to seven lines. The full, unedited quotation might be transferred to the article for "On the Jewish Question," since this article seems to represent the crux of the anti-Semitism arguments and should not take up so much space in a more general article on Marx's entire life and career. Moreover, I made some minor changes to the section, mainly format and copy editing. Augenblick (talk) 10:24, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

Quote from Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism

Vision Thing aded the following quote from marx
Marx, as we have seen, looked forward to the "annihilation" of "reactionary races." The examples he gave were "Croats, Pandurs, Czechs and similar scum."
But did not provide a citation from Marx. If the quote is of marx, there should be a citation of the source where marx wrote it. Slrubenstein | Talk 20:59, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Joshua Muravchik took over that quote from Max Nomad's book Apostles of Revolution (New York: Collier, 1961) p. 102. -- Vision Thing -- 21:44, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Please trace it to the actul source by marx. We can quote Muravchik for Muravchik's views; we can quote Nomad for Nomad's views. But everything by mar is published, and we should have a citation for anything he said. if there is no citation for a source written by Marx, I do not consider the source reliable. Slrubenstein | Talk 22:13, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Can you support your view with appropriate quote from Wikipedia's policy? -- Vision Thing -- 22:26, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
V requires that you provide a verifiable source. NOR makes it clear that secondary sources are required for interpretations or analysis but I am not questioning the interpretation of this quote from Marx, I question whether he ever aid it. if you cannot provide a verifiable source that he said it, out it goes. ALL of marx's works have been published, so there is not reason not to provide the source from marx's writings. Why can you not do this? Slrubenstein | Talk 23:37, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
I did my best to discover from which Marx's work or letter the original quote came from, but unfortunately I was unable to get access to Max Nomad's book. However, WP:OR says: "Secondary sources may draw on primary sources and other secondary sources to create a general overview; or to make analytic or synthetic claims. Wikipedia articles should rely on reliable, published secondary sources." So it is perfectly in line with the policy to use a secondary source which is based on primary and other secondary source. -- Vision Thing -- 18:33, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
You're saying Nomad does not provide a full citation? What is Nomad's source? Slrubenstein | Talk 21:41, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm saying that I don't have access to his book. -- Vision Thing -- 23:04, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

In an article from 1849, Marx wrote a sentence with similar wording:

"The oppression of the Romans by the Russians and their instruments, the Turks started in Wallachia; in Vienna, Croates, Pandurs, Czechs, Serechans and similar scum strangled the German liberty, and at this moment, the Czar is omnipresent in Europe."

("In der Walachei begann die Unterdrückung der Romanen durch die Russen und ihre Werkzeuge, die Türken; in Wien erwürgten Kroaten, Panduren, Tschechen, Sereschaner und ähnliches Lumpengesindel die germanische Freiheit, und in diesem Augenblicke ist der Zar allgegenwärtig in Europa.")

from: Die revolutionäre Bewegung, Neue Rheinische Zeitung Nr. 184 vom 1. Januar 1849, online here.

Here Marx is talking about troups who are oppressing the revolutionary movement in Vienna 1848, but he does not look forward to an annihilation of those people, and does not call them "reactionary races". Perhaps Muravchik or his source have misinterpreted this sentence? However, as long as there is no second reliable source, the article should not repeat the claim from Heaven on Earth. Further, I can see no sense in quoting an assessment from "Heaven on Earth", while the passage just before in this book makes a questionable claim and citation. --Schwalker (talk) 14:29, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

Thank you Schwalker, this is a perfect example of why we need reliable sources. if the article claims Marx said it, let us have a source for marx. if the article includes an interpretation of what marx wrote, let us clearly identify the point of view and provide a secondary source and make it clear that it is that source's interpretation. It is very bad practice to present an interpretation of Marx and claim that it is what Marx "really" said. Slrubenstein | Talk 14:41, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
Are you two claiming that "Heaven on Earth" is not a reliable source? If you are, you have no ground for that in any Wikipedia policy that I know of. -- Vision Thing -- 17:35, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Changes to Intro

In the interests of openness, and also hoping that such mistakes won't occur again in this article, I want to explain a relatively minor edit I made to the intro paragraph. Here's the sentence I changed: "Marx believed that like all other socioeconomic systems, capitalism will be displaced by communism, a classless society after another transitional period in which the state would be nothing else but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat." In addition to the awkward wording in the third clause, the sentence is very difficult to understand. Did the author mean to say that Marx thought all PAST systems, like slavery and feudalism, were displaced by communism? Or did the author mean to say Marx thought all CURRENT systems will be displaced in the future by communism? The former point is dead wrong; the latter is highly contentious and probably false. I tried to reword the sentence to capture what seemed to be the main idea the author was searching for, although it could still use a citation. Augenblick (talk) 21:07, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for explaining your edit. I agree that there should be citations for
  • M. claiming that "internal tensions" have destroyed former socioeconomic systems and will destroy capitalism.
  • M. comparing the replacement of capitalism by communism to the change between other systems, i.e. the replacement of feudalism by capitalism.
For the time being, I've allowed myself to remove these parts again and cut it back to a simpler version. But I also believe that the points mentioned are important for the article.
--Schwalker (talk) 15:27, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
I think the agency of the working class and also the dialectic of history are two elements just as important as the advent of communism, which need to be in the intro. I'd think the first chapter of the Manifesto or the German Ideology would be good enough sources for this. Slrubenstein | Talk 15:41, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Prediction that communism will come was very important for the course of history of 20th century, so it should be mentioned in the intro. --Doopdoop (talk) 17:46, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
You say "20th Century." Did marx state that it was possible, probable, or certain that it would occur in the 20th century? Please provide a citation. Thanks, Slrubenstein | Talk 18:41, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
Many 20th century communists (Lenin, Stalin) believed this very important prediction of Marx and they acted on it. --Doopdoop (talk) 18:55, 6 January 2008 (UTC)
You say "20th Century." Did marx state that it was possible, probable, or certain that it would occur in the 20th century? Please provide a citation. Thanks, Slrubenstein | Talk 19:15, 6 January 2008 (UTC)