Karl Marx was a Snob


Karl Marx was a snob.

He’d describe the proletariat

As a “sack of potatoes”.


He himself lived

In the West End

Off the proceeds of gambling

On the London stock market.


Marx was funded by Friedrich Engels,

His foxhunting friend,

Whose family firm in Manchester

Made money from child labour.


Why do people insist

That Karl Marx was left wing?


He was an aesthetic snob,

A look-ist,

Who said that progress was measured

“By the social position of the fair sex,”

And then patronisingly added,

“The ugly ones included.”


His enormous bullish head

Presides over Highgate Cemetery.

Some come to worship. Others recall Stalin

And his thirty million dead.


“When we have hanged the last capitalist”,

Marx said, “then we will hang the salesman

Who sold us the rope.”


Thirty million died in Stalin’s gulags.

They weren’t all evil rope salesmen

From the paranoid Stalin’s local ironmonger’s,

But millions of peasants from the Ukraine

Whose money Moscow wanted.


Nothing wrong with communism.

It’s just that nobody ever tried it.


Nowadays people are tired of waiting

For the revolution:

Mistrusting top-heavy leaders

And self-important vanguards

They’re doing it themselves,

Horizontally not hierarchically –

A consensual communalism

Which works electronically

At the speed of light.


Heathcote Williams

Pic: Claire Palmer


By Heathcote Williams

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2 Responses to Karl Marx was a Snob

    1. sine nobilitate

      Comment by Nick on 13 January, 2013 at 6:23 pm
    2. in Soviet Union, China, etc you should refer to state capitalism, not communism or marxism: in communism, obviously, cannot exist any money, wage work, banks, market (in communism, there is not surplus value extorted by expolitation, so no money can be converted from surplus work); all of them did exist in socialist countries, so you cannot define it as communism, which remain a program for the future of mankind. Only a big economic and military crisis (well worse then crisis today) could result in a communist revolution lead by a leninist avangarde.

      Comment by orsobubu on 6 March, 2013 at 10:34 am

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