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Andrew Gamble. Reading 'Capital' Today. Ingo Schmidt. Introduction To Marx And Engels. Richard Schmitt. For most of his career, Marx was a star in a tiny constellation of radical exiles and failed revolutionaries and the censors and police spies who monitored them but almost unknown outside it.
The books he is famous for today were not exactly best-sellers. After four years, it had sold a thousand copies, and it was not translated into English until Marx had spectacularly bad handwriting; Engels was one of the few people outside the family who could decipher it. The unfinished Paris manuscripts, a holy text in the nineteen-sixties, did not appear in English until Marx seems to have regarded none of that material as publishable. To the extent that those movements were reformist rather than revolutionary, they were not Marxist although Marx did, in later years, speculate about the possibility of a peaceful transition to communism.
With the growth of the labor movement came excitement about socialist thought and, with that, an interest in Marx.
After , communism was no longer a utopian fantasy. Marx is a warning about what can happen when people defy their parents and get a Ph. Hegel was cautious about criticizing religion and the Prussian state; the Young Hegelians were not, and, just as Marx was being awarded his degree, in , there was an official crackdown. So Marx did what many unemployed Ph. There is a story, though Sperber considers it unsubstantiated, that once, in desperation, he applied for a job as a railway clerk and was turned down for bad handwriting.
In the eighteen-forties, Marx edited and contributed to political newspapers in Europe; from to , he wrote a column for the New York Daily Tribune , the paper with the largest circulation in the world at the time. When journalistic work dried up, he struggled. He depended frequently on support from Engels and advances on his inheritance.
Sperber contests this. Marx had less money to waste than historians have assumed, and he accepted poverty as the price of his politics. He wrote and published articles offensive to the authorities, and, in , he was kicked out of Cologne, where he was helping run a paper called Rheinische Zeitung. He went to Paris, which had a large German community, and that is where he and Engels became friends.
Engels, who was two years younger, had the same politics as Marx. Engels hated the work, but he was good at it, as he was at most things. Engels eventually became a partner, and the income helped him keep Marx alive. In , Marx was expelled from France. He moved to Brussels. Three years later, though, something happened that almost no one had foreseen: revolutions broke out across Europe, including in France, Italy, Germany, and the Austrian Empire.
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When unrest reached Brussels, he was suspected of arming insurgents and was evicted from Belgium, but he returned to Paris. Rioters there had broken into the Tuileries and set the French throne on fire. He got the phrase from Engels. Bonaparte eventually declared himself Emperor and ruled until , when France lost a war with Prussia. The Paris Commune was a by-product of that war.
So in Marx was forced into exile once again. He fled with his family to London. He assumed that the stay would be temporary, but he lived there for the rest of his life.