Karl Marx, Prussian government agent

The famous Socialist theorist was the brother-in-law of the Prussian Minister of the Interior, Ferdinand von Westphalen

It was and is no secret to those skilled in the study of political agents: even without the Prussian Minister of the Interior as his brother, Marx’s curriculum vitae would lead to this conclusion at first glance. For a private citizen, Marx had a remarkable number of contacts with important contemporary political figures. Towards his fellow dissidents, Marx displayed a sustained commitment to personal hatred and self-righteousness. From the ruling circles, Marx was praised for his deeply thought-out critique of capitalism. Starting out his spying career as the closest friend of theologian Bruno Bauer, Marx suddenly became the editorial director of the Rheinische Zeitung in Cologne, funded by the prime minister Ludolf Camphausen, who later promoted him to work in his ministry. Marx’s theories were directed against well-known targets among the early socialists. Marx and his cronies began by infiltrating Weitling’s Confederation of Craftsmen, and later undermined the First International. Spokesmen of the labor movement found his theories useless, and only Bismarck’s adoption of the Socialist Law allowed Marx to win influence over the social democracy. Upon his arrival in England, Karl Marx joined a partnership with David Urquhart, an agent of the British crown, and they became involved in agitation against Russia, which was threatening the global interests of the British.

Who were Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, really?

The ruling elite of the government have always been anxious to put their agents at the forefront of opposition movements. Considering that capitalists and the government have the means of power, this is typically not a problem. We will discuss the example of Marx and Engels in detail here, but of course they are not isolated cases, but only the very best examples of the infiltration and undermining of oppositional movements.

It is no accident that Karl Marx, the lauded pioneer of Communism, was married to Jenny von Westphalen, the little sister of Prussian Minister of the Interior Ferdinand von Westphalen. All Marxists have diligently studied “Das Kapital” as though it represents great, dangerously subversive thinking; but according to credible reports, powerful and well-informed capitalists are said to have almost died laughing at the thought of Marxist revolutionaries wasting their time with value-form analysis. Of course, not one of the ‘revolutionaries’ has been willing to talk openly about the fact that he cannot make any sense of ‘Das Kapital’, lest someone might hold him a fool. So, Marxists all assure one another how much they have been impressed by the deep insights of Karl Marx, and if so many people say so, no one ever dares to disagree.

The ruling circles see their advantage in the fact that opponents and victims of capitalist oppression can do very little with Marxism. In the 19th century, a fierce resistance to the impoverishment of the masses by the capitalist industrialization developed. Autocrats, government officials, industrialists and bankers were afraid because of strikes and violent resistance to the attacks of the anarchists. But when Marx and Engels took over the communists’ ideological leadership, the revolutionaries became  peaceful, with value-form analysis employed instead of dynamite. The fight against the anarchists was Marx’s main concern in the First International.

At this point I always hear the objection that Marxism triumphed in Russia over the reactionary tsarist rule, and thus demonstrated the revolutionary potency of the theory.

This is actually a long history that can be touched only briefly: Russia was a threat to the British Empire. With its central location in Eurasia, the British feared that world trade from the Pacific to Europe could soon be settled on routes through Russia, rather than controlled by the British sea routes. By the middle of the 19th century, the British Empire began to mobilize opposing forces in response to the Russian threat to the control of the Bosphorus in Turkey, and the Russian expansion towards Iran, India and Siberia.

One of these enemies of Russia was David Urquhart, an agent of the British crown. Karl Marx became associated with Urquhart immediately after his arrival in England. British agents in the Caucasus organized the resistance of the Circassians and other peoples of the Caucasus against their subjugation by the Russians, and it was these British agents who brought “Marxism” to the area. Eventually, Stalin rose to power in Tbilisi and Baku by working with the network of British agents and fellow travelers originally constructed by David Urquhart and his successors, who were provided with the works of Marx and Engels, and appeared as Communists.

Marx and Engels’ theories were no threat to England or capitalism. On the contrary, Liberal ideas could have led to the rise of capitalism in Russia, which would have been a real threat to the Empire. A totalitarian party dictatorship of “Marxists” in the name of the proletariat would hold Russia backwards and isolated from Western Europe. Whereas, England feared nothing more than the prospect of  an alliance of France, or even Germany, with a Russian liberal capitalism.

The Okhrana, the Russian secret service, even planted its own form of “legal Marxism” in Russia, as the Tsar feared the attacks of anarchists and not value-form analysis. No one in the Tsar’s Imperial Court could foresee that Tsarism would lose its power base in the First World War; that Germany would promote a quick peace agreement promising weapons and money to Marxist revolutionaries; and that for geopolitical reasons,England and the US would also favor Marxist revolutionary rule over Russia.

Under the party dictatorship of the Marxists, Russia disappeared under a bell jar; as also later China, politically isolated from Germany and France and not very attractive and efficient. Any criticism of capitalism in the US or Western Europe could easily be stifled by comparison with the situation in Russia under Stalin and China under Mao.

It is almost as if it had been planned to turn out this way from the beginning — ever since   David Urquhart (agent of the British Crown) and Karl Marx worked together as allies to write against the dangers posed by Russia. David Urquhart is almost exclusively remembered as the man who introduced Turkish baths to England; but until the death of Prince Regent Albert in 1861, he was closely linked with the political machinations of the British Crown.

The writings of Marx on the alleged links of Lord Palmerston with the Czar (“The Story of the Life of Lord Palmerston”) were soon forgotten, but his thick books on the labor theory of value and the dialectic and the like were more useful for entertaining networks of British agents in Russia, as well as Germans and Austrians. Aside from the thick cover, there was little else to worry about. The ideas of the Russian anarchists had threatened German emperors, kings and even British American plutocrats and gangster capitalists – but the collected works of Marx and Engels were and are not dangerous.

The slogan of the world proletarian revolution sounded horrifying to the ears of all the petty bourgeois. Nobility and big business enjoyed a hearty laugh at the good disguise their agents.

 The Communist Party Manifesto

The Communist Manifesto, written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in 1847/48, is mostly praised as proof of their revolutionary spirit. In our analysis, we will discover that they were playing the opposite game. The following illustration is almost unbelievable in its audacity, inasmuch as the British Opium War against China was not yet a decade earlier:

The bourgeoisie, by the rapid improvement of all instruments of production, by the immensely facilitated means of communication, draws all, even the most barbarian, nations into civilisation. The cheap prices of commodities are the heavy artillery with which it batters down all Chinese walls, with which it forces the barbarians’ intensely obstinate hatred of foreigners to capitulate.

The  First Opium War, fought by the British Empire against China 1839-1842, forcibly opened the Chinese market for opium traders of the British East India Company. The background for this war was that Europe had been running a negative trade balance with China since about 1820, because Chinese goods, such as porcelain, tea and silk, were in demand in Europe, but there was no demand for the goods of Europe in China.

The outflow of silver to China led to a shortage of silver currency in Europe, until the British  East India Company  began smuggling opium from Bengal to China. The Chinese government was opposed to the opium trade, but was unable to stop the smugglers.

In March 1839, a senior official of China uncovered 350 foreigners involved in the opium trade, raided their factories, and forced the surrender of 1,400 tons of opium, which was destroyed. This was about the annual level of British opium sales of China at the time. In response, the British Parliament sent a fleet that arrived in 1840 on the Chinese coast. Several estuaries were blocked and Chinese junks were shelled. In August 1839, Hong Kong Island was occupied by British troops as a base of operations.

In the summer of 1841, the British conquered several Chinese coastal cities, using troop reinforcements from India. In August 1842, China was forced to sign the Treaty of Nanking, requiring them to tolerate British drug trafficking in China. Similar agreements with the United States and France followed soon after. The aftermath of the war was a very serious economic and cultural decline of China. In 1842, there were 416 million Chinese, but only 2 million drug addicts. By 1881 the population had dropped to 370 million, of which 120 million were dependent on opium.

Back to the Communist Manifesto:

The industrial revolution had produced the proletariat, which had to work under inhuman conditions in the factories for wages that barely sustained a life as starvelings in rags and misery. Men, women and children had to work hard every day for 10 hours, and then slept with total strangers, their companions in misfortune — not only in a single room, but together in a single bed. A life without any human dignity, without any hope, a life that no citizen would ever want or expect for himself or his family. Marx and Engels were now ready to bring the announcement to the readers of their Communist Manifesto,  that in the future everyone would be proletarians, and that this would be the promise of communism.

Such Communism could hardly be more frightening to its original followers. In the ideal of joint ownership, they had seen the chance that no man should live as a proletarian, rather than the necessity that all people must become proletarians — even if the proles would then have the power take over the state. Imagine if Abraham Lincoln had announced in the US that first the system of slavery would abound more and more, until almost all citizens of the United States had become slaves; until at last sometime the overwhelming number of slaves would overthrow their slave owners and justify a slave state. Until then, no one could do anything, because this development would be historically-materialistic inevitable and scientifically proven.  Human intervention in the specified course of history would not be possible or would even hinder progress on its inevitable way. To live according to the teachings of Marx and Engels, was to reject any concrete and practical resistance of the workers and citizens against the interests of big business.

Let’s look at the rationale for these premises of Marx and Engels closely.

The first section of the Communist Manifesto – the preface with the ghosts we seek to expose – is titled  “Bourgeois and Proletarians”, and begins with ancient Rome and the class struggles of history. The demise of feudal society has simplified the class struggle, leaving only two hostile camps standing opposed: the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.

From the serfs of the Middle Ages sprang the chartered burghers of the earliest towns. From these burgesses the first elements of the bourgeoisie were developed.

The position is historically complete nonsense, seeking to demonstrate how the ruling class of the bourgeoisie today had emerged through a bourgeois revolution of the oppressed class of serfs under feudalism. Accordingly, the new revolutionary class must emerge from the proletariat, and will eventually triumph over the bourgeoisie. Even Marx’s contemporaries should have had sufficient historical knowledge to have seen through this construction. Marx and Engels were using the threat of proletarianization to frighten the citizens, whilst with the assertion that the revolutionaries could be derived only from the proletariat, the circle of opponents of the capitalist system was strictly limited. If the leading thinkers and agitators of an anti-big business movement could only come practically out of the gutter, there was not much for the rulers to fear.

Then as now, it is easy to imagine that the best deterrent against any critique of capitalism, was the promise of universal proletarianization. Furthermore, the requirement that the leaders of this revolution should come only from the proletariat, was the best condition to prevent politically serious opposition to big business. In reality, the Marxist parties were never organized by proletarians, and their teachings were not devised, written down and promulgated by proletarians — which should adequately illustrate the hidden meaning of the ‘proletariat’ as an explanation of the revolutionary class.

The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honoured and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage labourers.

After mankind had lost all dignity and decency all under capitalism, the proletarian revolution would represent the culmination of this development of society and the family.

The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced the family relation to a mere money relation.

Subsequently, the discovery of America and the growth of trade, shipping and industry begins a hymn in praise of capitalism that stretches until the end of the section.

The bourgeoisie, during its rule of scarce one hundred years, has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all preceding generations together. Subjection of Nature’s forces to man, machinery, application of chemistry to industry and agriculture, steam-navigation, railways, electric telegraphs, clearing of whole continents for cultivation, canalisation of rivers, whole populations conjured out of the ground — what earlier century had even a presentiment that such productive forces slumbered in the lap of social labour?

In England: men, women and children worked for a pittance in the mines and factories in a desperate struggle against death. In the colonies, it was much worse. With their sweat and blood, the workers produced luxury goods and trinkets for a sluggish class of landed citizens. The old nobility complained bitterly against liberalism: that before the industrial revolution, the people were better fed and clothed.

We see then: the means of production and of exchange, on whose foundation the bourgeoisie built itself up, were generated in feudal society. At a certain stage in the development of these means of production and of exchange, the conditions under which feudal society produced and exchanged, the feudal organisation of agriculture and manufacturing industry, in one word, the feudal relations of property became no longer compatible with the already developed productive forces; they became so many fetters. They had to be burst asunder; they were burst asunder.

So, if capitalist development could just run its course, a revolution of the productive forces to overcome capitalism would follow. Now the workers needed only to watch that capitalists were able to develop unhindered, until the capitalist development of the productive forces of the revolution was ready. This is no theory for revolution, but a formula for misery.

Owing to the extensive use of machinery, and to the division of labour, the work of the proletarians has lost all individual character, and, consequently, all charm for the workman. He becomes an appendage of the machine, and it is only the most simple, most monotonous, and most easily acquired knack, that is required of him. Hence, the cost of production of a workman is restricted, almost entirely, to the means of subsistence that he requires for maintenance, and for the propagation of his race. But the price of a commodity, and therefore also of labour, is equal to its cost of production. In proportion, therefore, as the repulsiveness of the work increases, the wage decreases. Nay more, in proportion as the use of machinery and division of labour increases, in the same proportion the burden of toil also increases, whether by prolongation of the working hours, by the increase of the work exacted in a given time or by increased speed of machinery, etc.

Vile working conditions at lower wages would therefore unavoidable. Those who called for immediate change, were vilified and attacked by Marx and Engels as utopian socialists.  Scientific socialism demonstrates the inevitability of workers’ impoverishment, and world revolution is promised as a consolation:

In the condition of the proletariat, those of old society at large are already virtually swamped. The proletarian is without property; his relation to his wife and children has no longer anything in common with the bourgeois family relations; modern industry labour, modern subjection to capital, the same in England as in France, in America as in Germany, has stripped him of every trace of national character. Law, morality, religion, are to him so many bourgeois prejudices, behind which lurk in ambush just as many bourgeois interests.

Even then, it was impossible to convince anyone that a better society should result from the general impoverishment. This would contradict all historical experience: Never have slaves overcome their masters, nor have serfs ever overcome the nobility. This time everything would be different, claimed Marx and Engels. They would demonstrate that any political struggle for better wages and living conditions of the workers would be impossible:

All the preceding classes that got the upper hand sought to fortify their already acquired status by subjecting society at large to their conditions of appropriation. The proletarians cannot become masters of the productive forces of society, except by abolishing their own previous mode of appropriation, and thereby also every other previous mode of appropriation. They have nothing of their own to secure and to fortify; their mission is to destroy all previous securities for, and insurances of, individual property.

So until the Revolution, there can be no positive development to be promoted and pursued, but only general impoverishment and despair.

Hitherto, every form of society has been based, as we have already seen, on the antagonism of oppressing and oppressed classes. But in order to oppress a class, certain conditions must be assured to it under which it can, at least, continue its slavish existence. The serf, in the period of serfdom, raised himself to membership in the commune, just as the petty bourgeois, under the yoke of the feudal absolutism, managed to develop into a bourgeois. The modern labourer, on the contrary, instead of rising with the process of industry, sinks deeper and deeper below the conditions of existence of his own class. He becomes a pauper, and pauperism develops more rapidly than population and wealth.

Marx and Engels proclaimed from the standpoint of its scientific socialism inevitably progressive impoverishment, which should last then trigger the revolution. Or perhaps not, if the workers were missing all the means to do so. Instead of a fight for a better life here and now, Marx and Engels offered only the dream of the overthrow of all relationships:

The essential conditions for the existence and for the sway of the bourgeois class is the formation and augmentation of capital; the condition for capital is wage-labour. Wage-labour rests exclusively on competition between the labourers. The advance of industry, whose involuntary promoter is the bourgeoisie, replaces the isolation of the labourers, due to competition, by the revolutionary combination, due to association. The development of Modern Industry, therefore, cuts from under its feet the very foundation on which the bourgeoisie produces and appropriates products. What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable.

In particular, the bourgeoisie is excused for all the misery under their rule, as mechanistic vectors of industrial progress. The general misery is good and inevitable for progress, so there is no need for change. The world revolution will come in its own good time.






originally in German; translated by Jerry Russell (who doesn’t know any German) with assistance by Google Translate.

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