Karl Marx I

Now we will pass some time studying the Communist Manifesto, that is, perusing some choice and still relevant passages from it.

On what foundation is the present family, the bourgeois family, based? On capital, on private gain. In its completely developed form, this family exists only among the bourgeoisie. But this state of things finds its complement in the practical absence of the family among proletarians. . . .

This may explain why the poor do not have what we now call “traditional” families.

The bourgeois claptrap about the the family and education, about the hallowed correlation of parents and child, becomes all the more disgusting by the action of modern industry. All the family ties among the proletarians are torn asunder, and their children transformed into simple articles of commerce and instruments of labor.

Bourgeois marriage is, in reality, a system of wives in common and thus, at most, what the Communists might possibly be reproached with is that they desire to introduce, in substitution for a hypocritcally concealed situation, an openly legalized system of free love. The abolition of the present system of production will bring with it the abolition of the [de facto] free love springing from the current system: prostitution both public and private.

Yes, I still like Marx. These fragments are from “Proletarians and Communists” (Communist Manifesto, II).


7 thoughts on “Karl Marx I

  1. Oh Z, this could keep us going for years! I still like Marx too, mutatis mutandis, and predict a resurrection when energy and envirnomental issues bring about a global crisis. But: ‘This may explain why the poor do not have what we now call “traditional” families.’ I’m not sure that the bourgeoisie have ‘traditional families’ either.

    That’s enough Marx for me, for now :o0

  2. I have my reading list for my Masters. The first thing under “Required Reading” is Karl Marx and Friedrich Engles: entire selection. However, I will need to find out what “selection” is marked. Okay, I see it now, it is out of the Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. That will probably be 100 dollars! Anyway, I love Althusser. He makes Marx far more digestible. Granted he killed his wife, and I think they declared him insane a few times, but those are just minor points. LOL!

  3. I like Althusser too! Which piece of Marx is in that Norton anthology?

    Bourgeoisie not having traditional families, yes – except that they do get formally married, have property and ‘legitimate’ children…

  4. “Which piece of Marx is in that Norton anthology?”

    I don’t know. I will tell you when I buy the anthology.

    I can tell you the anthology however.

    Leitch, Vincent, Gen. Ed. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2001.

  5. The fashion has changed, Z. Certainly over here, ‘living in sin’ has become almost de rigeur for even the most bourgeois of couples. They certainly have property, but then they would have.

  6. And these quotes will go to my Marriage and Family class. Gee, Z, you’re making my job easy. One stop shopping. ;^)

    Have you seen “Why Read Marx Today” by Jonathan Wolff?

  7. I need to see “Why Read Marx Today,” and I am looking at it now on the OUP page!

    Charlie, ‘living in sin’ as it is most commonly done is tantamount to marriage, I’d say. It does not disturb the configuration of family/property, bourgeois expectations or aspirations, and so on.

    These things having been said, how does one imagine an alternative culture or society? That is where it is difficult not to replicate what we have been taught.

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