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London Working Men's Association

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Programme issued by the London Working Men's Association for a Reform Demonstration in 1866.
Programme issued by the London Working Men's Association for a Reform Demonstration in 1866.

The London Working Men's Association was an organisation established in London in 1836.[1] It was one of the foundations of Chartism, advocating for universal male suffrage, equally-populated electoral districts, the abolition of property qualifications for MPs, annual Parliaments, the payment of MPs, and the establishment of secret ballot voting.[2] The founders were William Lovett, Francis Place and Henry Hetherington. They appealed to skilled workers rather than the mass of unskilled factory labourers. They were associated with Owenite socialism and the movement for general education.

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  • The Truth About Karl Marx
  • Faith in Business at the Athenaeum
  • Karl Marx: Quotes, Theory, Communist Manifesto, Sociology, Biography, Economics (2000)


Hi everybody! Stefan Molyneux from Freedomain Radio. Hope you are doing well. This is "The Truth About Karl Marx". I'm going to be leaning on one of the most influential books I've ever read which is called "Intellectuals" by one of my favorite historians, Paul Johnson. You could do worse than spend a weekend reading through modern times, but Paul has an interesting approach or theory about modern times which he says, we used to be used to go to priests for morality and then these intellectuals came along and elbowed the priests out of the way and said we are the new moralists. And, one of the things that can be quite helpful when dealing with a moralist is to say, well, what is that moralist like as a person? It's the thin person diet book principle; I guess you could say, in that you will never see a diet book written by an author who is obese. This is just basic reality because if somebody puts forward a new moral theory, or new theory of dieting or nutrition, then the first thing that we want to say is, well how's that working out for the person himself or herself? Right? So, if somebody says, "It's really important to lose weight" and "I know how to do it" and they're fat; then, either it's not important to lose weight, or they don't know how to do it, or both. Now, if somebody writes a book and says—obviously, if you write a book about something, it's something you feel strongly about, so if you write a book about how to lose weight, obviously you think that losing weight is important. And, if you then don't think that losing weight is important, but you've written a book about it. That's kind of crazy. (It) shows that you can't really think very well. Or, if you think losing weight is important and you say you know how to do it, but you are fat, then either you have applied your diet or you haven't. If you have applied your diet, but you're still fat, then you don't know how to lose weight. If you haven't applied your diet, then you're asking other people to be your guinea pig. You're asking other people to do that which you are unwilling to do yourself in something very essential where you claim deep knowledge. So, it is not an ad hominem to reject a diet book with a fat author on the cover. It is simply a recognition that life is short and we have to make decisions. And, somebody thinks it's a good idea to be fat and try and sell diet books is not somebody who thinks well enough that we're going to explore anything else that they have to say. I mean, it could be true that the guy who shows up in scuba gear and a Miranda fruit hat is going to be a wonderful salesperson, but who has time to try and figure that out. All we know is that somebody's showing up for a job interview in scuba gear and a fruit hat. So, we do have to make decisions quite quickly, which is why there are all these social markers around, you know: are you fairly well-groomed, and do you have appropriate social skills, and so on. Those are sort of the necessary, but not sufficient conditions for gainful employment. So, I think that's kind of fundamental. Look to the person, first and foremost, and then only then look to the theories. So, if somebody says, "I know how to get rid of the terrible scourge called acne" and they have total pizza face on the book cover, then you could if you want go in try everything that they suggest, but that is not going to happen. You simply won't see that. That's not even a bad joke. It's not even in the round of comedy it's so ridiculous. So, Paul Johnson says, well we got all these guys that come along and said we're the new moralists, we know how to live, we know what's right, we know what's wrong, we are replacing the priestly class, and this happened in the 19th and first half of the 20th century, in particular. He says, well, let's look at the people and I think that's a fine, fine argument. I make the argument that I don't think it's particularly healthy to destructive and abusive people in your life, not really my argument, and so if I were then surrounded by corrupt and destructive people, you would have some skepticism—and I think rightly so—about that approach of mine. So, look to the person is a very efficient way of trying to determine whether somebody's ideas are worth exploring. And so, Marx, let's look a little bit at the man himself and see the degree to which he followed his own moral propositions—very, very important. And, you know, very briefly, of course, Marx was a product of the 19th century. In the 19th century, science and engineering and medicine were really starting to come into their own, largely as a result of free trade policies implemented in some of the Scandinavian countries, in England, in particular, in America, and so on. And so everyone tried to get on the scientific bandwagon. Darwin, whose theory of evolution has been called by some the single best idea ever to come to a human being, which I don't quite agree with. I think it's the non-aggression principle, but anyway. Darwin had an explanation for where we came from that was quite credible and remains quite credible to this day. And so, everyone wanted to get on the bandwagon of science. Marx was one of those people. It was scientific, socialism. It was supposed to be as rigorous and objective as a science. Kind of tough to push those into the social sciences like economics and so on; everybody wants the certainty of physics and math and so on. So, I wanted to talk a little bit about Marx; his family background, somewhat interesting. He came from famous intellectual Jews on both sides, although his father converted to Christianity as a result of laws against Jews attaining high professional status in where he was born. Marx seemed to have become a passionate Christian. At some point, then of course, he started to work in revolutionary politics. He was a great polemicist. The poet aspect of Marx is something that is severely underappreciated. I don't know if people think he's like this cold-blooded rationalist, or whatever, but he was an extremely apocalyptic and fevered poet as a young man and he started writing poetry as a boy. There were two main themes, one was the love for his pale-faced girl-next-door whose name is Jenny von Westphalen and she had Scottish descent of some royalty—of some nobility—which he kind of pumped up later. He married her in 1841. So, his first poetry, poetic theme, was love for his next-door neighbor, and the second was world destruction. He was a very eschatological, very apocalyptic. So, he had poems called "savage songs" and they were, as you can imagine, not very song like, but extremely savage. So he has an intense pessimism about the human condition. It's full of hatred, fascination with corruption and violence, fascination with suicide pacts which come out of some of the writings of "Sorrows of Young Werther" is one of those suicide pacts, and pacts with the devil. Tragically, as we'll see later, his daughters were intensely wrapped up in suicide pacts and died from some of them. So, he wrote when he was young, "We are chained, shattered, empty, frightened, eternally chained to this marble block of being. We are the apes of a cold God. " He has himself, in the person of God say, "I shall howl gigantic curses at mankind." And so, there's this general sense of a world crisis building up and he was very fond of quoting Mephistopheles' line from "Goethe's Faust", "Everything that exists deserves to perish". And, he had an intense hatred of lending money for interest or usury and money lenders. And, I think it's fairly safe to say that given how wildly incompetent he was with money, how he spent his life wearing a groove back and forth to the pawn shop with all of his possessions went in and out of the pawn shop. At one point, he was actually the only person in his family able to leave the house because he had the last pair of trousers. And so, the fact that he was constantly a hawk, despite a pretty decent income. He was constantly a hawk to money lenders, probably one of the problems. Now, he got a PhD. He was Hegelian, and I can do a show, perhaps, on Hegel. I worked—I wrote about Hegel in my master's thesis. Hegelianism—the world is created by thought. It's very subjectivist, mystical, irrational and it has a very strong streak—at least Hegel's followers were almost all, in varying degrees, anti-Semitic. In 1843, Bruno Bauer, the anti-Semitic leader of the Hegelian-left, published an essay demanding that Jews abandon Judaism completely. And, Marx wrote some essays in reply to this. He didn't object to any of the anti-Semitism—indeed, he shared it, he endorsed it, he quoted it with approval—, but he disagreed with the solution. He rejected Bauer's belief that the antisocial nature of the Jew was religious in origin and could be remedied by tearing the Jew away from his faith. In Marx's opinion, the evil was social and economic. So, this is what he wrote. He said, "Let us consider the real Jew. Not the Sabbath Jew... but the everyday Jew. What was the profane basis of Judaism? Practical need, self-interest. What is the worldly cult of the Jew? Huckstering. What is his worldly god?—Money." And so he wrote that the Jews had gradually spread this practical religion to all society. He wrote, "Money is the jealous god of Israel beside which no other god may exist. Money abases all of mankind and changes them into commodities. Money is the self-sufficient value of all things. It has, therefore, deprived the whole world, both the human world and nature of their own proper value. Money is the alienated essence of man's work and existence. This essence dominates him and he worships it. The god of the Jews has been secularized and has become the god of this world." So, a hatred of money is, of course, very common to the Left, despite the fact that they always seem to want a lot of it. (laughs) They don't seem to be able to manage it very well and they externalize their own incompetence and because they always have problems with money—because their financially retarded and self-destructive—they then say, well, "my problem is money". No. Your problem is incompetence with money, not money. It's like saying, if you hold your breath, the problem is with air. Now, Marx, of course, wrote "Das Kapital". He wrote about finance and industry his whole life, but he only knew two people who were actually connected with the financial and industrial processes, and one of them—interesting connection—was his uncle in Holland whose name was Leon Philips. He was a successful businessman who founded what eventually became the vast Philips Electric Company—if you can imagine? I mean, wouldn't it have been great if Marx had just sat down with his uncle and actually talked about capital and capitalism, workers, and so on; but he only consulted him once. Marx only consulted his uncle Philips on technical matters of high finance, although he did visit him four times. What he talked about, as far as can be ascertained, was just personal matters of family money. Now, of course, the other knowledgeable man was Engels himself, who had interest in factories, but Marx declined Engels' invitation to accompany him on a visit to a cotton mill. And so, basically as far as is known, Marx never set foot in a mill or a factory or a mine or any industrial workplace the whole of his life. So, Engels was his partner, his bitch basically, and you know was a co-author and funder—particularly the last third of Marx's life. So, in March 1946, Marx subjected a man named Wilhelm Weitling to a kind of trial before the meeting of the Communist League in Brussels. Weitling was a true working-class hero, a poor illegitimate son of a laundress—never had any idea who his father was—, he was a tailor's apprentice, very smart, self-educated, a very hard worker, he won himself a large following among German workers. And, what Marx did is, he basically subjected him to a trial to put down this guy, who was a working-class hero, who lacked the abstract philosophical training that Marx felt was essential to the revolution. So, Marx said that Weitling was guilty of "an agitation without doctrine" and he said, "This is all fine in barbarous Russia where you can build up successful unions with stupid young men and apostles, but in a civilized country like Germany, you must realize that nothing can be achieved without our doctrine." He said, "If you attempt to influence the workers, especially the German workers, without a body of doctrine and clear scientific ideas then you are merely playing an empty and unscrupulous game of propaganda, leading inevitably to the setting up, on the one hand of an inspired apostle, and on the other of open-mouthed donkeys listening to him." Weitling replied, "I didn't become a socialist to learn about doctrines manufactured in a library. I speak for actual working men and will not submit to the views of mere theoreticians who are remote from the suffering of real labor." And this, so said an eyewitness, so enraged Marx that he struck his fist on the table so violently that the lamp shook. Jumping to his feet, he shouted, "Any uppity working-class type who lacked the philosophical training he thought essential was a monster and should have nothing do with anything." He said, "ignorance has never solved any problem". And, there's another guy named LaSalle who became the victim of Marx's most brutal anti-Semitic and racial sneers. He was Baron Itzig, "the Jewish nigger", he said. "He's a greasy Jew, "—this is Marx's words—"a greasy Jew disguised under brilliantine and cheap jewels". "It is now clear to me...," Marx wrote to Engels on 30th July 1862, "that as the shape of his head and the growth of his hair indicates, he is descended from the Negros who joined in Moses' flight from Egypt, unless his mother or grandmother on his father side was crossed with a nigger. The union of Jew and German on a Negro base was bound to produce an extraordinary hybrid." So, Marx didn't actually investigate working conditions himself despite access to factories through Engels. He did not learn from intelligent working men who had experienced them. And, Carl Jasper, who is a philosopher—in particular, a philosopher of science, he said, "The style of Marx's writings is not that of the investigator. He does not quote examples or reduce facts which run counter to his own theory, but only those which clearly support or confirm that which he considers the ultimate truth. The whole approach is one of vindication, not investigation, but it is a vindication of something proclaimed as the perfect truth with the conviction not of the scientist, but the believer." This is basic to the exploration of truth in the world. We all have theories and we all have confirmation bias with regards to those theories; and, what we need to do is expose yourself to opposite arguments and opposite information and to proclaim that empirical theories are always and forever the absolute truth is irrational. In science, they're always testable; new information can always change them, and Marx had these theories from the beginning and went out—as Engel's did, which we'll see—to find proof for that which he already was convinced was the absolute truth. That is the complete opposite of science. That is religious. It's the opposite of philosophy. That is religious. Okay, so, just very briefly going into the theories, Marx's moral case was that capitalism or free trade by its very nature involves the progressive and increasing exploitation of workers. So, the more capital that is employed in an industry, the more the workers will be exploited. And, as capital increases in investments among the workers, the workers get more and more exploited, and then they eventually have a revolution in and... blah dee, blah dee, blah. So, if this is your theory—Yeah, great! Have a theory! Try to prove it, that's great stuff. So, again, I'm taking from the book here. So, Marx has to prove that one, there were bad conditions for workers in pre-capitalist eras, but they've become worse under industrial capitalism. And also, the more capital that is invested in an industry, the worse the condition of the workers must become. Fairly easy... If I say that the more capital the more exploitation, then I have to compare medieval working conditions to industrial working conditions, and then I have to compare the more concentrated capital industries to the less concentrated capital industries. He doesn't do any of that whatsoever. Now, you can to some degree—people vote with their feet, and everybody tried to get out to the countryside into the city. The countryside throughout the Middle Ages and the later Middle Ages was rife with starvation and massive problems. And so, they tried to get into the cities. Part of that was the enclosure movement were some people had their land bought or were kicked off their land, but a lot of was people just trying to get into cities because it was better. So, he refers, Marx refers a book that Engels wrote, and unfortunately what Engels wrote was again just a piece of ideology affirming propaganda on the working class in England. So, careful checking of Engels' abstracts from his secondary sources shows these are often truncated, condensed, garbled or twisted, but inevitably putting quotation marks as though given verbatim. So, through one addition of Engel's book on the working class, footnotes catalogue his distortions and dishonesties. In one section alone, Chapter 7: The Proletariat, falsehoods, including errors of fact and transcription occur on pages 152, 155, 157, 159, 160, 163, 165, 167, 168, 170, 172, 174, 178, 179, 182, 185, 186, 188, 189, 190, 191, 194, and 203. Now, Marx knew about the weaknesses of and dishonesty of Engel's book on the working class because a lot of them were exposed as early as 1848 by the German economist Bruno Hildebrandt in a publication with which Marx was familiar. So, this is not the indifferent, open-minded, rigorous, and self-critical exploration of truth. This is a true believer who will grab whatever pseudo-facts he can in order to bolster up his house of cards, and this is quite, quite important. By the by, I know he's not a nutritionist, but the man was staggeringly unhealthy in his personal life. And, yeah okay. That's fine, but you married and you've got kids, so you really do have a bit of an obligation to take care of your health. He took very little exercise. He ate highly-spiced foods, often in large quantities. He smoked like a chimney. (He) drank a huge amount, especially strong ale. I think he would be considered an alcoholic. He had constant trouble with his liver as a result of his drinking. Marx and water were like cats and water. They did not meet much at all. He rarely took baths or even washed much at all. And so, his unhealthy diet and lack of washing could explain this plague of boils that he had for like twenty-five years. He was naturally an irritable and angry guy and when he was writing "Das Kapital" they were at their worst. "Whatever happens...," he wrote grimly to Engels, "...I hope the bourgeoisie, as long as they exist, will have cause to remember my carbuncles"—which is another name for boils. The boils appeared on all parts of his body: his cheeks, the bridge of his nose, his butt—which means he can't write if he's got boils all over his butt—, all over his penis. In 1873, the boils got so bad that he actually had a nervous collapse marked by trembling and huge bursts of rage. And, one of the reasons why I think it's not unreasonable to theorize why Marx had such problems with the capitalist system was he was grotesquely incompetent at handling money; and as a young man when he was in school he was constantly in the grip of money lenders who charged very high rates of interest. And, this passionate hatred of usury had a lot of emotional basis to his whole philosophy. Why did he devote so much time and space to the subject? Why his entire theory of class is fundamentally rooted in anti-Semitism. And, he actually, in "Das Kapital", he included a really long and abusive passage denouncing usury, which he kind of culled from one of Luther's anti-Semitic die tribes. And, so his money troubles began in university, lasted his whole life, and he was pretty ridiculously immature about money. He borrowed money like crazy. He just spent it, and then was astounded and angry when the bills with significant interest came due. So, he saw the charging of interest essential as it is to any system based on capital. It's the time value of money—Right?—I mean, we are mortal, therefore money now is worth more than money later in general. He felt it was a crime against humanity and the root of the exploitation of man by man which his entire system is designed to eliminate. One of the things that is very tragic about this man and contemptible about this man, obviously, who railed so much against exploitation, was the degree to which he exploited anyone and everyone who had a oneth and dime, including his own family. So, the last letter that was written by Marx's own father which was written in February 18, 1838, Marx's father was already dying. He reiterates—his father reiterates complaints that young Marx was indifferent to his family except for the purpose of getting their help, and complains, "You are now in the fourth month of your law course and you have already spent 280 thalors. I have not earned so much throughout the entire winter. Three months later, Marx's father died. Marx did not trouble himself to attend his funeral. Instead, he started putting pressure on his mother for more money. So, he had had a pattern of living off loans from friends and gouging periodic sums from the family. His loans were almost never repaid. And, so he argued that his family was quite rich and had a moral duty to support him in his important work—Isn't that nice?—and he never really seriously attempted to get a job. Marx never really had a job and, of course, if you feel narcissistically and grandiosely entitled for money without having to trade anything, without having to provide value to people that they can pay for, then of course you are going to view the withholding of money like the withholding of food to a starving man from his family. Once in London in September 1862, Marx did apply for a post as a railway clerk, but he was turned down because his handwriting was too poor. And, the fact that Marx didn't want to pursue a career or make any money was one reason why his family didn't want to pay his debts, and eventually they cut him off completely, and he basically deFoo'd or separated himself from his family. His mother is actually credited with the bitter wish that—she wished "that Carl would accumulate capital instead of writing about it". And so, by 1864, his wife had some money that came in. She also brought with her as part of her wedding portion a silver dinner service with the coat of arms of her Argyle ancestors, crested cutlery, and bed linen. So, between Marx and his wife Jenny, they got enough money to live on. At no point did their actual income fall below 200 pounds a year which was three times the income of a skilled workman, so, not—not bad. So, as I mentioned at one point, Marx was not—only Marx could leave the house because they only had one pair of trousers. Jenny's family, like Marx's own, they didn't help them anymore because they just kept lending money, never getting it back, and Marx never got a job. In March 1851, writing to Engels to announce the birth of his daughter, Marx complained, "I have literally not a farthing in the house." Now, Marx was really not the best of friends, although he could be nice to you if he needed money. Engels, his companion and his source of income for much of his life—so, Engels had two houses in Manchester, one was for business entertaining and one was for his mistress whose name was Mary Burns. When she died, Engels was heartbroken and he got very angry cause Marx sent him a letter which said, "Oh, I'm sorry for your loss", then immediately got down to the more important business of asking for money, and the incident almost ended their relationship completely; and it was enraging that basically after his mistress and the love of his life died he says, "Oh, I'm sorry about that. Listen, I really need some money." So, around this time, Engels realized that Marx was never going to get a job, and so in 1869, Engels sold out of his business and he got 800 pounds a year out of that and 350 out of that went to Marx. And so, what's, I think, really important about this is Marx talks about idle bourgeoisie exploiting the workers and he is living off the income the Engels got supposedly from exploiting the workers, according to Marx's theory. So, Marx himself is an idle bourgeoisie who is getting money from the workers without even creating a factory for them, without doing the marketing, or the sales, or dealing with customer complaints, or anything. So, Marx was preying on exploiting the workers. So, the fact that he would rail so much against exploitation of the workers when he himself was getting his income from the workers was wretched. So, Marx had to flee to England after a failed revolutionary attempt in 1848, and it was just monstrous. It just—things went worse and worse. So, they now had three children: Jenny, Laura, Edgar, and gave birth to a fourth whose name was either "Guy" or "Guido"; and five months after Guy or Guido was born, they were evicted from their rooms in Chelsea for non-payment of rent, and they were turned out on the pavement, and the entire mob of Chelsea was out there staring at this. Their beds were sold to pay the butcher, the milkman, the chemist, and the baker. This is important because Marx dislikes exploitation of the working class. He takes their stuff and doesn't pay them. Do you understand, this is a fat man's diet book? Do you understand? He says, "Don't exploit the workers" then he takes stuff from the butcher, the milkman, the chemist, the baker who are all workers, and he doesn't pay his bills. He's not just exploiting the workers; he's stealing from the workers. Exploitation is an unequal economic relationship. Thieving is a completely predatory economic relationship. So, can you imagine, I mean, saying I'm too busy writing about the exploitation of the working class to pay the working class who keep me alive. Holy "Fight Club"! So, they stayed in this completely squalid and filthy, rat-infested German boarding house in Leicester Square. And, that winter the baby died and Jenny basically didn't want to live anymore, fell completely out of love with Marx, and this never really recovered. They had a daughter born in 1851. She died the following year and Edgar got gastroenteritis partly as a result, I would imagine, of these completely horrible conditions they lived in, and died in 1855. "Everyday...," wrote Marx, " wife tells me she wishes she was lying in her grave." So, this is um—this is horrible. Now, of course, Marxism and Feminism often go hand in hand, but Marx was no feminist. He denied his daughters a satisfactory education; he refused to allow them to get any training; vetoed careers completely. As for Eleanor who loved him best, she said to a woman, "For long miserable years there was a shadow between us." And so, the girls were kept at home learning to play the piano and paint watercolors like some characters out of a Jane Austen novel. Now, the suitors for his daughters came from the same revolutionary meileur as Marx and he had lots of oppositions to them. He called Paul Lafargue, Laura's husband who came from Cuba and had some Negro blood; he called this guy "Negrillo" or "the gorilla". He did not like Charles Longuet, who married Jenny, either. In his view, both of his sons-in-law were idiots. "Longuet is the last of the prudanists and Lafargue is last of the becoonis; to hell with both of them." It is terrible. Elena who was the youngest was brought up to worship Marx and eventually, of course, she fell in love with a man who was even more narcissistic and destructive than her father. His name was Edward Aveling. He was a writer and would-be left-wing politician, but he was a philanderer and a sponger who specialized in seducing actresses. So, she wanted to be an actress. She was a natural victim. As Johnson writes, "By one of history's sharp little ironies, he, Eleanor, and George Bernard Shaw took part in the first private reading in London of Ibson's brilliant plea for women's freedom 'A Doll's House'," Eleanor playing Nora shortly before Marx died she became Aveling's mistress and from then on his suffering slave as her mother Jenny had once been her father's. And, so in 1883, Marx died in his dressing gown sitting near the fire. One of his daughters, Jenny, had died a few weeks before and his other two daughters had pretty tragic ends. Eleanor, who was heartbroken by her husband's conduct, took an overdose of opium in 1898. It seemed to be in a suicide pact with her husband, but then he wriggled out of it and didn't do it thirteen years later. Laura and Lafargue also agreed to a suicide pact and both carried it through. So, when Marx was a young man, he was writing passionately about suicide pacts and this is who he was as a husband and a father. He refused to provide for his family. He spent all of his money on ridiculous causes and wasted it. He basically slept all day, was up all night, was indolent and for the last 34 years of his life hung around in the basement of the British museum trying to gather all the information for his religious work "Kapital". So, I'm going to read this last bit because much like Russo who wrote tenderly about the need for positive parenting and then dumped four of his children in a highly abusive orphanage. Let's go directly to Paul Johnson's book for this last bit; horrendous. "There was however one curious obscure survivor of this tragic family the product of Marx's most bizarre act of personal exploitation. In all his researches in to the inequities of British capitalists, he came across many instances of low-paid workers, but he never succeeded in unearthing one who was paid literally no wages at all. Yet, such a worker did exist in his own household. When Marx took the family on their formal Sunday walks, bringing up the rear, carrying the picnic basket, and other impedimenta, there was a stumpy female figure. This was Helene Demuth, known in the family as "Lenchen". Born in 1823 of peasant stock, she had joined the von Westphalen family at the age of eight as the nursery-maid. She got her keep, but was paid nothing. In 1845, the baroness who felt sorrow and anxiety for her married daughter gave Lenchen, then twenty-two, to Jenny Marx to ease her lot. She remained in the Marx family until her death in 1890. Eleanor called her, "the most tender of beings to others while throughout her life stoic to herself ". She was a ferociously hard worker not only cooking and scrubbing, but managing the family budget which Jenny, Marx's wife, was incapable of handling. Marx never paid her a penny. Remember Marx, that guy who was ferocious about the exploitation of the working class?—never paid his maid a penny, essentially turning her into a housebound slave; but it gets worse. In 1849 to 1850, during the darkest period of the family's existence, Lenchen became Marx's mistress and conceived a child. The little boy, Guido, had recently died, but Jenny too was pregnant again. The whole household was living in two rooms and Marx had to conceal Lenchen's state, not only from his wife, but from his endless revolutionary visitors. Eventually, Jenny found out or had to be told and on top of her other miseries at this time, it probably marked the end of her love for Marx. Lenchen's child was born at the Soho address 28 Dean Street on 23rd June 1851. It was a son, registered as Henry Frederick Demuth. Marx refused to acknowledge his responsibility then, or ever, and flatly denied the rumors that he was the father. He may well have wished to do a Russo and put the child in an orphanage or have him permanently adopted, but Lenchen was a stronger character Russo's mistress. She insisted on acknowledging the boy herself. He was put out to be fostered by a working class family called "Lewis", but allowed to visit the Marx household. He was, however, forbidden to use the front door and obliged to see his mother only in the kitchen. Marx was terrified that Freddie's paternity would be discovered and that this would do him fatal damage as a revolutionary leader and seer. One obscure reference to the event survives in his letters. Others have been suppressed by various hands. He eventually persuaded Engels to acknowledge Freddie privately as a cover story for family consumption. That, for instance, was what Eleanor believed, but Engels, prepared as usual to submit himself to Marx's demands for the sake of their joint work, was not willing to take the secret to the grave. Engel's died of cancer of the throat on 5th August 1895. Unable to speak, but unwilling that Eleanor—"Tussy" as she was called—could continue to think her father unsullied, he wrote on a slate, "Freddie is Marx's son. Tussy wants to make an idol of her father." Engels' secretary housekeeper, Luiz Freiburger, in a letter to August Bebble 2nd September 1898 said Engels himself told her the truth. Adding, "Freddie looks ridiculous like Marx with that typically Jewish face and blue-black hair. It was really only blind prejudice that could see in him any resemblance to General"—her name for Engels. Eleanor herself accepted that Freddie was her half-brother and became attached to him. None of her letters to him have survived. She did not bring him any luck, since her lover, Aveling, succeeded in borrowing Freddie's life savings which were never repaid. So, that's pretty monstrous. I mean, the man did not pay his servant; he screwed her, refused to acknowledge his offspring. I mean, if that's not exploitation of the working class... I mean, that's like something out of a bad Victorian novel with an evil aristocrat. The man survived on preying upon others, on the exploitation by making promises to pay loans that he had no intention ever of repaying. He survived off profits from the workers from Engels' factory, family connections, and exploited his wife, exploited his children, exploited his family members, drove them all away with his incessant demands for money, and was a cold-hearted predatory monster. Is this really a man who can lecture mankind on virtue? I mean, I'm not saying that to be a moralist, you have to be morally perfect—God knows I'm not—but I think at least not, not paying your maid, banging her senseless, refusing to acknowledge the kid just after your kid has died and your wife is pregnant with another child when you're completely broke. That's not exactly a tough moral line to rise above. If you want to be a moralist, I think you have to be a pretty decent human being. I think you have to be a pretty kind human being. I mean, I preach the non-aggression principle and I do not aggress against people in my life. I am anti-spanking. I do not spank. I say, "Stay home with your kids". I stay home with my daughter. I'm a full-time parent and part-time philosopher, I suppose. And, I say, "Fight the good fight against evil" and I say, "Speak truth to power"; I speak truth to power. I'm certainly not perfect and certainly not always with the great consistency of physics perfection, but I certainly do strive to at least fulfill the basic moral principles that I advocate. And, uh, Marx was a moral monster. I mean, a deeply immoral human being even by general standards let alone his own standards. He was avaricious, greedy, lying, manipulative, egocentric, selfish, megalomaniacal, a liar, falsified evidence, falsified his research and supported the falsification of Engels' research, and just a complete mess of a human being. And so, the idea that we would look at a man like this and say, "Wow, this guy is really, really great at examining and remedying the moral ills of mankind." I mean, that is a form of ethical madness. I mean, this really is not just a diet book with a fat man on the cover, but a diet book with Jabba the Hutt on the cover. Please reject these false idols.


  1. ^ Minute Book of the London Working Men’s Association. British Library 2011. Retrieved 19 July 2011.
  2. ^ Rodney Mace (1999). British Trade Union Posters: An Illustrated History. Sutton Publishing. p. 31. ISBN 0750921587.

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