German social philosopher Karl Marx, the founder of a movement that has merit even today, is one of the most prominent 19th-century figures. Although his revolution wasn’t successful, his words still inspire many people.
The dream was to shed the shackles of capitalism and live in a utopia where everyone is treated equally. Well, isn’t that the dream? When I feel like the entire world is against me and that I’m nothing more than a screw in a piece of ginormous machinery that is society, I like to read these Karl Marx quotes. They keep me grounded and give me perspective. Here are the best ones.
32 Best Karl Marx Quotes That Will Make You Stop and Think
Best Short Karl Marx Quotes
#1. “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
#2. “Social progress can be measured by the social position of the female sex.”
#3. “Political power, properly so-called, is merely the organized power of one class for oppressing another.”
#4. “The rich will do anything for the poor but get off their backs.”
#5. “Ignorance never yet helped anybody.”
#6. “Men’s ideas are the most direct emanations of their material state.”
#7. “The first requisite for the happiness of the people is the abolition of religion.”
#8. “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.”
#9. “The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.”
#10. “The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.
Karl Marx Quotes About Labor and the Bourgeoisie
#11. “The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil and has reduced the family relation to a mere money relation.”
#12. “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.”
#13. “The modern bourgeois society that has sprouted from the ruins of feudal society has not done away with class antagonisms. It has but established new classes, new conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in place of the old ones.”
#14. “In bourgeois society, capital is independent and has individuality, while the living person is dependent and has no individuality.”
#15. “You must be aware that the reward for labor and quantity of labor are quite disparate things.”
#16. “The fact that labor is external to the worker, i.e., it does not belong to his intrinsic nature; that in his work, therefore he does not affirm himself but denies himself, does not feel content but unhappy, does not develop freely his physical and mental energy but mortifies his body and his mind. The worker, therefore, only feels himself outside his work, and in his work, feels outside himself.”
#17. “The realm of freedom actually begins only where labor, which is determined by necessity and mundane considerations ceases; thus, in the very nature of things, it lies beyond the sphere of actual material production.”
Karl Marx Quotes About Religion
#18. “Religion is the impotence of the human mind to deal with occurrences it cannot understand.”
#19. “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.”
#20. “Reason has always existed, but not always in a reasonable form.”
#21. “Morality, religion, metaphysics, all the rest of ideology and their corresponding forms of consciousness, thus no longer retain the semblance of independence. They have no history, no development; but men, developing their material production and their material intercourse, alter, along with this, their real existence, their thinking, and the products of their thinking.”
#22. “Just as man is governed, in religion, by the products of his own brain, so, in capitalist production, he is governed by the products of his own hand.”
Money and Capitalism are the Roots of All Evil
#23. “The last capitalist we hang shall be the one who sold us the rope.”
#24. “Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Workingmen of all countries unite!”
#25. “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?”
#26. “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 labor and life, and this alien essence dominates him as he worships it.”
#27. “Communism is the riddle of history solved, and it knows itself to be this solution.”
#28. “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.”
#29. “The theory of Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property.”
#30. “The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living.”
#31. “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.”
#32. “Capital is dead labor, which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labor, and lives the more, the more labor it sucks.”
Although quite aggressive in his manifestos, Karl Marx offers insight and wisdom like few others. His passionate criticism of the political and social climate back in the 19th century still resonates in the world. His work with his fellow philosopher Engels will forever be a vital piece of history.
That’s why we shouldn’t forget his wise words. Instead, we should use them as a warning. Hopefully, these Karl Marx quotes will inspire you and leave a similar mark on your consciousness as they did on mine.