Quotes – Marx & Engels

If we have chosen the position in life in which we can most of all work for mankind, no burdens can bow us down, because they are sacrifices for the benefit of all; then we shall experience no petty, limited, selfish joy, but our happiness will belong to millions, our deeds will live on quietly but perpetually at work, and over our ashes will be shed the hot tears of noble people.

— Karl Marx, Reflections of a Young Man (1835)

History calls those men the greatest who have ennobled themselves by working for the common good; experience acclaims as happiest the man who has made the greatest number of people happy.

— Karl Marx, Reflections of a Young Man (1835)

As Prometheus, having stolen fire from heaven, begins to build houses and to settle upon the earth, so philosophy, expanded to be the whole world, turns against the world of appearance. The same now with the philosophy of Hegel.

— Karl Marx, Notebooks on Epicurean Philosophy, (1839)

The bureaucracy is a circle from which no one can escape. Its hierarchy is a hierarchy of knowledge.

— Karl Marx, Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right (1843)

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

— Karl Marx, Letter from the Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher to Ruge (1843)

Our mutual value is for us the value of our mutual objects.
Hence for us man himself is mutually of no value.

— Karl Marx, Comment on James Mill (1844)

Political Economy regards the proletarian … like a horse, he must receive enough to enable him to work. It does not consider him, during the time when he is not working, as a human being. It leaves this to criminal law, doctors, religion, statistical tables, politics, and the beadle.

— Karl Marx, Wages of Labour (1844)

The question whether objective truth can be attributed to human thinking is not a question of theory but is a practical question.

— Karl Marx, Theses On Feuerbach: Thesis 2 (1845)

The materialist doctrine concerning the changing of circumstances and upbringing forgets that circumstances are changed by men and that it is essential to educate the educator himself. This doctrine must, therefore, divide society into two parts, one of which is superior to society.

— Karl Marx, Theses On Feuerbach: Thesis 3 (1845)

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

— Karl Marx, Theses On Feuerbach: Thesis 11 (1845)

History does nothing, it ‘possesses no immense wealth’, it ‘wages no battles’. It is man, real, living man who does all that, who possesses and fights; ‘history’ is not, as it were, a person apart, using man as a means to achieve its own aims; history is nothing but the activity of man pursuing his aims.

— Karl Marx, The Holy Family, Chapter 6 (1846)

The hand-mill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam-mill society with the industrial capitalist.

— Karl Marx, Poverty of Philosophy (1847)

Economists explain how production takes place in the above-mentioned relations, but what they do not explain is how these relations themselves are produced, that is, the historical movement which gave them birth. M. Proudhon, taking these relations for principles, categories, has merely to put into order these thoughts.

— Karl Marx, Poverty of Philosophy (1847)

And this life activity [the worker] sells to another person in order to secure the necessary means of life. … He works that he may keep alive. He does not count the labor itself as a part of his life; it is rather a sacrifice of his life. It is a commodity that he has auctioned off to another.

— Karl Marx, Wage Labour and Capital (1847)

A house may be large or small; as long as the neighboring houses are likewise small, it satisfies all social requirement for a residence. But let there arise next to the little house a palace, and the little house shrinks to a hut. The little house now makes it clear that its inmate has no social position at all to maintain.

— Karl Marx, Wage Labour and Capital (1847)

In bourgeois society, therefore, the past dominates the present; in Communist society, the present dominates the past. In bourgeois society capital is independent and has individuality, while the living person is dependent and has no individuality.

— Karl Marx, Communist Manifesto (1848)

The human being is in the most literal sense a political animal not merely a gregarious animal, but an animal which can individuate itself only in the midst of society. Production by an isolated individual outside society … is as much of an absurdity as is the development of language without individuals living together and talking to each other.

— Karl Marx, The Grundrisse (1857)

Society does not consist of individuals, but expresses the sum of interrelations, the relations within which these individuals stand.

— Karl Marx, The Grundrisse (1857)

The mode of production of material life conditions the social, political and intellectual life process in general. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness.

— Karl Marx, Preface to the Critique of Political Economy (1859)

The price or money-form of commodities is, like their form of value generally, a form quite distinct from their palpable bodily form; it is, therefore, a purely ideal or mental form

— Karl Marx, Capital, Volume I, Chapter 3 (1867)

A rise in the price of labour, as a consequence of accumulation of capital, only means, in fact, that the length and weight of the golden chain the wage-worker has already forged for himself, allow of a relaxation of the tension of it.

— Karl Marx, Capital, Volume I, Chapter 25 (1867)

The bourgeoisie is just as necessary a precondition for the socialist revolution as is the proletariat itself.

— Karl Marx, On Social Relations in Russia (1874)

Labour is the source of all wealth, the political economists assert. And it really is the source — next to nature, which supplies it with the material that it converts into wealth. But it is even infinitely more than this. It is the prime basic condition for all human existence, and this to such an extent that, in a sense, we have to say that labour created man himself.

— Engels, The Part Played by Labour in the Transition from Ape to Man (1876)

Only sound common sense, respectable fellow that he is, in the homely realm of his own four walls, has very wonderful adventures directly he ventures out into the wide world of research.

— Engels, Anti-Dühring (1877)