karl marx: fetish of the angry hebrew prophet

The many faces of Karl Marx. Prophet, historian, journalist,revolutionary, philosopher and attentive papa. All these faces were his, and one other: the romantic idealist exhorting man to triumph over the things he manufactures…

…Of course “Capital,” was, for all Marx’s attempts to refrain from mere denunciation, the work of an angry moralist who could see in the cold figures “the motley crowd of workers of all ages, and sexes, that press on us more insistently than did the souls of the slain on Ulysses.”

---March 5, 1960, in Havana, Cuba: Memorial march for victims of the La Coubre explosion. On the far left of the photo is Fidel Castro, while in the center is Che Guevara.---click image for source...

—March 5, 1960, in Havana, Cuba: Memorial march for victims of the La Coubre explosion. On the far left of the photo is Fidel Castro, while in the center is Che Guevara.—click image for source…

Finally there is prophecy, deduced from a model of capitalist competition and production- intended to show the inevitability of increasingly frequent and disastrous economic crises and the ultimate revolt of the masses. In the Communist Manifesto Marx had called for this revolt and predicted its success. Now in Capital he thought he had demonstrated its inevitability, the result of the self-destructive character of capitalism, doomed to perish by its own inherent contradictions: “The centralization of the means of production and the socialization of labour reach a point where they prove incompatible with their capitalist husk. This bursts asunder. The knell of private property sounds. The expropriators are expropriated.”

---"Working-men of all countries, unite! German comrades, throw off your Kaiser, as the Russian comrades have thrown off their Czar." Mirbach sat down again in his car and threw himself back again in it; and his face took on the look of a man who sees a black gulf ahead of him, but who will drive on into it rather than not drive. "Let all these slaves march! " he seemed to say. "Let them all march, Russians and Germans and all. We will break them all." But, somehow, he could not look at them any more. He turned his eyes away and sat brooding. There was pride on him still, but there was also the mark of a great doubt. A half-hour ago he had been so confident, so suave. Now he was sullen, suspicious, angry. Against what he had seen in front of him he was hurling the answer of hate---his only answer; and he was meditating it unhappily, uneasily. To all who watched him he was sinister now---sinister and insecure. To Robins he was the image of the power of privilege, triumphant for century after century of human history, and brought now to the brink of a bottomless questioning and looking over that brink, and down into that questioning, and wondering if here indeed is the abyss, here the end.---click image for source...

—“Working-men of all countries, unite! German comrades, throw off your Kaiser, as the Russian comrades have thrown off their Czar.”
Mirbach sat down again in his car and threw himself back again in it; and his face took on the look of a man who sees a black gulf ahead of him, but who will drive on into it rather than not drive. “Let all these slaves march! ” he seemed to say. “Let them all march, Russians and Germans and all. We will break them all.”
But, somehow, he could not look at them any more. He turned his eyes away and sat brooding. There was pride on him still, but there was also the mark of a great doubt. A half-hour ago he had been so confident, so suave. Now he was sullen, suspicious, angry. Against what he had seen in front of him he was hurling the answer of hate—his only answer; and he was meditating it unhappily, uneasily. To all who watched him he was sinister now—sinister and insecure. To Robins he was the image of the power of privilege, triumphant for century after century of human history, and brought now to the brink of a bottomless questioning and looking over that brink, and down into that questioning, and wondering if here indeed is the abyss, here the end.—click image for source…

Marx thought that his conclusion was the verdict of social and economic science. More evident to us is the face and voice of the angry Hebrew prophet., denouncing the worship of the golden calf and the human sacrifices to a mechanical Moloch and trumpeting the wrath to come in the careless ears of the unrighteous. Capital is a “fetish,” a false god. Marx’s intellectual career comes full circle; the face of the economic theorist melts into that of the young idealist philosopher, to whom the ultimate evil is the subjection of mind and spirit to the domination of brute things.

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