Top 50+Karl Marx Quotes


Who is Karl Marx

Karl Marx was born on the 5th May 1818 and died on the 14th March 1883. Marx was a German philosopher who is widely regarded as a socialist revolutionary, economist, journalist and political theorist. He was born in Germany and studied law and philosophy at university, before beginning to publish his ideology and written works.

Due to these publications and their political viewpoint, he was forced to live in exile, with his family in London. This didn’t stop him and he continued to publish his work, collaborating with Friedrich Engels and using the British Museum as a base from which to publish. His most famous works are The Communist Manifesto from 1848 and Das Kapital, published in three volumes between 1867 and 1883.

The collective term for his theories on society, the politics and economics within are known as Marxism and his belief that society develops through class conflict embodies the idea that capitalism would eventually self-destruct and socialism would rise as a new system of governance. Marx is one of the most influential human figures of history, both by his supporters and critics alike, with his work influencing economic ideas around the use of labour and the concepts of social science.

Karl Marx Quotes

1. “The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.”

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

3. “Surround yourself with people who make you happy. People who make you laugh, who help you when you’re in need. People who genuinely care. They are the ones worth keeping in your life. Everyone else is just passing through.”

4. “The last capitalist we hang shall be the one who sold us the rope.”

5. “Hegel remarks somewhere that all great, world-historical facts and personages occur, as it were, twice. He has forgotten to add: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce.”

6. “Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living. And just as they seem to be occupied with revolutionizing themselves and things, creating something that did not exist before, precisely in such epochs of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service, borrowing from them names, battle slogans, and costumes in order to present this new scene in world history in time-honored disguise and borrowed language.”

7. “The less you eat, drink and read books; the less you go to the theatre, the dance hall, the public house; the less you think, love, theorize, sing, paint, fence, etc., the more you save-the greater becomes your treasure which neither moths nor dust will devour-your capital. The less you are, the more you have; the less you express your own life, the greater is your alienated life-the greater is the store of your estranged being.”

8. “Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.

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

10. “I am nothing but I must be everything.”

11. “Go on, get out! Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough!”

12. “To be radical is to grasp things by the root.”

13. “In a higher phase of communist society, after the enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labor, and therewith also the antithesis between mental and physical labor, has vanished; after labor has become not only a means of life but life’s prime want; after the productive forces have also increased with the all-around development of the individual, and all the springs of co-operative wealth flow more abundantly—only then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be crossed in its entirety and society inscribe on its banners: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!”

14. “It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness.”

15. “…[G]reat progress was evident in the last Congress of the American ‘Labour Union’ in that among other things, it treated working women with complete equality. While in this respect the English, and still more the gallant French, are burdened with a spirit of narrow-mindedness. Anybody who knows anything of history knows that great social changes are impossible without the feminine ferment. Social progress can be measured exactly by the social position of the fair sex (the ugly ones included).”

16. “The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas.”

17. “The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society. Conservation of the old modes of production in unaltered forms, was, on the contrary, the first condition of existence for all earlier industrial classes. Constant revolutionizing of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation, distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away; all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life and his relations with his kind.”

18. “Religion is the impotence of the human mind to deal with occurrences it cannot understand.”

19. “If anything is certain, it is that I myself am not a Marxist.

20. “If money is the bond binding me to human life, binding society to me, connecting me with nature and man, is not money the bond of all bonds? Can it not dissolve and bind all ties? Is it not, therefore, also the universal agent of separation?”

21. “The proletarians have nothing to loose but their chains. They have a world to win.”

22. “The bourgeoisie, by the rapid improvement of all instruments of production, by the immensely facilitated means of communication, draws all, even the most barbarian, nations into civilization. The cheap prices of its commodities are the heavy artillery with which it batters down all Chinese walls, with which it forces the barbarians’ intensely obstinate hatred of foreigners to capitulate. It compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of production; it compels them to introduce what it calls civilization into their midst, i.e., to become bourgeois themselves. In one word, it creates a world after its own image.”

23. “There is no royal road to science, and only those who do not dread the fatiguing climb of its steep paths have a chance of gaining its luminous summits.”

24. “Modern bourgeois society with its relations of production, of exchange, and of property, a society that has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, is like the sorcerer, who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells.”

25. “In proportion therefore, as the repulsiveness of the work increases, the wage decreases.”

26. “Communism is the riddle of history solved, and it knows itself to be this solution.”

27. “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”

28. “For as soon as the distribution of labour comes into being, each man has a particular, exclusive sphere of activity, which is forced upon him and from which he cannot escape. He is a hunter, a fisherman, a herdsman, or a critical critic, and must remain so if he does not want to lose his means of livelihood; while in communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic.”

29. “You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the population; its existence for the few is solely due to its non-existence in the hands of those nine-tenths. You reproach us, therefore, with intending to do away with a form of property, the necessary condition for whose existence is the non-existence of any property for the immense majority of society. In one word, you reproach us with intending to do away with your property. Precisely so: that is just what we intend.”

30. “The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living.”

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

32. “Communism deprives no man of the power to appropriate the products of society: all that it does is to deprive him of the power to subjugate the labor of others by means of such appropriation. It has been objected, that upon the abolition of private property all work will cease, and universal laziness will overtake us. According to this, bourgeois society ought long ago to have gone to the dogs through sheer idleness; for those of its members who work, acquire nothing, and those who acquire anything, do not work.”

33. “Then the world will be for the common people, and the sounds of happiness will reach the deepest springs. Ah! Come! People of every land, how can you not be roused.”

34. “Capitalism: Teach a man to fish, but the fish he catches aren’t his. They belong to the person paying him to fish, and if he’s lucky, he might get paid enough to buy a few fish for himself.”

35. “The less you eat, drink, buy books, go to the theatre or to balls, or to the pub, and the less you think, love, theorize, sing, paint, fence, etc., the more you will be able to save and the greater will become your treasure which neither moth nor rust will corrupt—your capital. The less you are, the less you express your life, the more you have, the greater is your alienated life and the greater is the saving of your alienated being.”

36. “The increase in value of the world of things is directly proportional to the decrease in value of the human world.”

37. “Labor in the white skin can never free itself as long as labor in the black skin is branded.”

38. “But modern bourgeois private property is the final and most complete expression of the system of producing and appropriating products, that is based on class antagonisms, on the exploitation of the many by the few.”

39. “If you love without evoking love in return – if through the vital expression of yourself as a loving person you fail to become a loved person, then your love is impotent, it is a misfortune.”

40. “And here it becomes evident that the bourgeoisie is unfit any longer to be the ruling class in society and to impose its conditions of existence upon society as an over-riding law. It is unfit to rule because it is incompetent to assure an existence to its slave within his slavery, because it cannot help letting him sink into such a state that it has to feed him instead of being fed by him. Society can no longer live under this bourgeoisie; in other words, its existence is no longer compatible with society. The essential condition for the existence, and for the sway of the bourgeois class, is the formation and augmentation of capital; the condition for capital is wage-labor. Wage-labor rests exclusively on competition between the laborers. The advance of industry, whose involuntary promoter is the bourgeoisie, replaces the isolation of the laborers, due to competition, by their revolutionary combination, due to association. 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.”

41. “The education of all children, from the moment that they can get along without a mother’s care, shall be in state institutions.”

42. “The production of too many useful things results in too many useless people.”

43. “Communism is for us not a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality [will] have to adjust itself. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. The conditions of this movement result from the premises now in existence.”

44. “The ruling ideas of each age have ever been the ideas of its ruling class.”

45. “the theory of Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.”

46. “In the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production. The totality of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which arises a legal and political superstructure and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political and intellectual life. It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness. At a certain stage of development, the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production or – this merely expresses the same thing in legal terms – with the property relations within the framework of which they have operated hitherto. From forms of development of the productive forces these relations turn into their fetters. Then begins an era of social revolution. The changes in the economic foundation lead sooner or later to the transformation of the whole immense superstructure.”

47. “Capital is dead labour, which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks.”

48. “Accumulate, accumulate! This is Moses and the Prophets!”

49. “Necessity is blind until it becomes conscious. Freedom is the consciousness of necessity.”

50. “I am a machine condemned to devour books.”

51. “It is well known how the monks wrote silly lives of Catholic Saints over the manuscripts on which the classical works of ancient heathendom had been written.”

52. “It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of Philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, it has set up that single, unconscionable freedom — free trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.”

53. “Money is the universal, self-constituted value of all things. Hence it has robbed the whole world… of its proper value. Money is the alienated essence of man’s labour and life, and this alien essence dominates him as he worships it.”

54. “When, in the course of development, class distinctions have disappeared and all production has been concentrated in the hands of a vast association of the whole nation, the public power will lose its political character. Political power, properly so called, is merely the organized power of one class for oppressing another. If the proletariat during its contest with the bourgeoisie is compelled, by the force of circumstances, to organize itself as a class, if, by means of a revolution, it makes itself the ruling class, and, as such, sweeps away by force the old conditions of production then it will, along with these conditions, have swept away the conditions for the existence of class antagonisms, and of classes generally, and will thereby have abolished its own supremacy as a class. In place of the old bourgeois society with its classes and class antagonisms we shall have an association in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.”

55. “We have no compassion and we ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror. [from Suppression of the Neue Rheinische Zeitung]”

56. “Education is free. Freedoom of education shall be enjoyed under the condition fixed by law and under the supreme control of the state”

57. “To be radical is to go to the root of the matter. For man, however, the root is man himself.”

58. “Moments are the elements of profit”

59. “You must be aware that the reward for labour, and quantity of labour, are quite disparate things.”

60. “A commodity appears at first sight an extremely obvious, trivial thing. But its analysis brings out that it is a very strange thing, abounding in metaphysical subtleties and theological niceties.”


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