Early Writings (Penguin Classics)
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Written in 1833-4, when Marx was barely twenty-five, this astonishingly rich body of works formed the cornerstone for his later political philosophy. In the Critique of Hegel's Doctrine of the State, he dissects Hegel's thought and develops his own views on civil society, while his Letters reveal a furious intellect struggling to develop the egalitarian theory of state. Equally challenging are his controversial essay On the Jewish Question and the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts, where Marx first made clear his views on alienation, the state, democracy and human nature. Brilliantly insightful, Marx's Early Writings reveal a mind on the brink of one of the most revolutionary ideas in human history - the theory of Communism. This translation fully conveys the vigour of the original works. The introduction, by Lucio Colletti, considers the beliefs of the young Marx and explores these writings in the light of the later development of Marxism.
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We mention only in passing the landlord’s obsession with monopoly directed against the landed property of foreign countries, which is the reason, for example, for the corn laws. We shall similarly pass over medieval serfdom, slavery in the colonies and the distress of the rural population – the day-labourers – in Great Britain. Let us confine ourselves to the propositions of political economy itself. (1) The landlord’s interest in the well-being of society means, according to the principles of
own form of abstraction, so it reduces itself in the course of its own movement to something quantitative. Lack of moderation and intemperance become its true standard. Subjectively this is manifested partly in the fact that the expansion of production and needs becomes the inventive and ever calculating slave of inhuman, refined, unnatural and imaginary appetites – for private property does not know how to transform crude need into human need. Its idealism is fantasy, caprice and infatuation. No
through the supersession of its estranged mode of existence, just as atheism as the supersession of God is the emergence of theoretical humanism, and communism as the supersession of private property the vindication of real human life as man’s property, the emergence of practical humanism. Atheism is humanism mediated with itself through the supersession of religion; communism is humanism mediated with itself through the supersession of private property. Only when we have superseded this
itself’. The monarch is ‘sovereignty personified’, ‘sovereignty in human form’, the living consciousness of the state on whose account all others are excluded from this sovereignty and personality and consciousness of the state. At the same time, Hegel is unable to endow this souveraineté personne9 with any other content than the idea ‘I will’, i.e. the moment of caprice in the exercise of the will. ‘State-reason’ and ‘state-consciousness’ is a ‘single’ empirical person to the exclusion of all
the spiritualism of the state. Hence everything acquires a double meaning: a real meaning and a bureaucratic one; in like fashion, there is both real knowledge and bureaucratic knowledge (and the same applies to the will). Whatever is real is treated bureaucratically, in accordance with its transcendental, spiritual essence. The bureaucracy holds the state, the spiritual essence of society, in thrall, as its private property. The universal spirit of bureaucracy is secrecy, it is mystery preserved