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Workers Hammer No. 241

Spring 2018

In honour of Karl Marx

To mark the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx’s birth, 5 May, we print below excerpts from the published report of the speech given by his cothinker and long-time comrade Friedrich Engels at Marx’s funeral in London’s Highgate Cemetery on 17 March 1883.

“Just as Darwin discovered the law of development of organic nature, so Marx discovered the law of development of human history: the simple fact, hitherto concealed by an overgrowth of ideology, that mankind must first of all eat, drink, have shelter and clothing, before it can pursue politics, science, art, religion, etc.; that therefore the production of the immediate material means of subsistence and consequently the degree of economic development attained by a given people or during a given epoch form the foundation upon which the state institutions, the legal conceptions, art, and even the ideas on religion, of the people concerned have been evolved, and in the light of which they must, therefore, be explained, instead of vice versa, as had hitherto been the case.

“But that is not all. Marx also discovered the special law of motion governing the present-day capitalist mode of production and the bourgeois society that this mode of production has created. The discovery of surplus value suddenly threw light on the problem, in trying to solve which all previous investigations, of both bourgeois economists and socialist critics, had been groping in the dark.

“Two such discoveries would be enough for one lifetime. Happy the man to whom it is granted to make even one such discovery. But in every single field which Marx investigated — and he investigated very many fields, none of them superficially — in every field, even in that of mathematics, he made independent discoveries.

“Such was the man of science. But this was not even half the man. Science was for Marx a historically dynamic, revolutionary force. However great the joy with which he welcomed a new discovery in some theoretical science whose practical application perhaps it was as yet quite impossible to envisage, he experienced quite another kind of joy when the discovery involved immediate revolutionary changes in industry and in historical development in general....

“For Marx was before all else a revolutionist. His real mission in life was to contribute, in one way or another, to the overthrow of capitalist society and of the state institutions which it had brought into being, to contribute to the liberation of the modern proletariat, which he was the first to make conscious of its own position and its needs, conscious of the conditions of its emancipation. Fighting was his element. And he fought with a passion, a tenacity and a success such as few could rival....

“His name will endure through the ages, and so also will his work!”

—Friedrich Engels, “Karl Marx’s funeral”, March 1883


Workers Hammer No. 241

WH 241

Spring 2018


No Brexit reversal!

Down with racist anti-worker EU!

Corbyn puts lipstick on EU pig


Ireland: Repeal the Eighth Amendment!

No illusions in parliamentarism

Fight for free abortion on demand!

For women's liberation through socialist revolution


Hands off Puigdemont, Ponsatí

Independence for Catalonia!


Quote of the issue

In honour of Karl Marx


Propaganda offensive targets Russia

Cloak, dagger and poison pen


Victory to university strike!

Defend pensions!

For free quality education for all!


Italy elections

Populism and right-wing reaction


Genocidal terror in Myanmar

For an independent Rohingyan state!


For new October Revolutions!

The Russsian Revolution and the liberation of women

Part Two