A radical social revolution is tied to certain historical conditions of economic development; these are its prerequisites. It is therefore only possible where, with capitalist production, the industrial proletariat occupies at least a significant position among the mass of the people. And so in order to have any chance whatever of victory, it must at least be able to do as much immediately for the peasants, mutatis mutandis, as the French bourgeoisie did in its revolution for the then existing French peasants. A fine idea, that the rule of labour includes the suppression of all rural labor!
…Now since all hitherto existing economic forms, developed or undeveloped, include the servitude of the worker he believes that in all of them a radical revolution equally possible. But even more! [Mr. Bakunin] wants the European social revolution, founded on the economic basis of capitalist production, to take place at the level of the Russian or Slav agricultural and pastoral people. Will, not economic conditions, is the foundation of his social revolution…
- Karl Marx, “On Bakunin’s Statism and Anarchy”; from Karl Marx Selected Writings (ed. by David McLellan), p. 606-607 (via weil-weil)
A commodity appears at first sight an extremely obvious, trivial thing. But its analysis brings out that it is a very strange thing, abounding in metaphysical subtleties and theological niceties. So far as it is a use-value, there is nothing mysterious about it, whether we consider it from the point of view that by its properties it satisfies human needs, or that it first takes on these properties as the product of human labor. It is absolutely clear that, by his activity, man changes the forms of the materials of nature in such a way as to make them useful to him. The form of wood, for instance, is altered if a table is made out of it. Nevertheless the table continues to be wood, an ordinary, sensuous thing. But as soon as it emerges as a commodity, it changes into a thing which transcends sensuousness. It not only stands with its feet on the ground, but, in relation to all other commodities, it stands on its head, and evolves out of its wooden brain grotesque ideas, far more wonderful than if it were to begin dancing of its own free will.
- Karl Marx. Capital Volume I. Part I. Chapter1: The Commodity. 4. The Fetishism of the Commodity and Its Secret.  (via existenti-al)
Each new class which puts itself in the place of one ruling before it, is compelled, merely in order to carry through its aim, to represent its interest as the common interest of all the members of society, that is, expressed in ideal form: it has to give its ideas the form of universality, and represent them as the only rational, universally valid ones.
- Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The German Ideology
All progress in capitalistic agriculture is a progress in the art, not only of robbing the labourer, but of robbing the soil; all progress in increasing the fertility of the soil for a given time, is a progress towards ruining the lasting sources of that fertility.
- Karl Marx, Capital  (via ecaudate)

(Source: daveomitchell)

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[The materialist conception of history] shows that history does not end by being resolved into ‘self-consciousness as spirit of the spirit’, but that in it at each stage there is found a material result: a sum of productive forces, an historically created relation of individuals to nature and to one another, which is handed down to each generation from its predecessor; a mass of productive forces, capital funds and conditions, which, on the one hand, is indeed modified by the new generation, but also on the other prescribes for it its conditions of life and gives it a definite development, a special character. It shows that circumstances make men just as much as men make circumstances.
- Karl Marx, The German Ideology (via rethinksocialism)
In a well-known passage Marx powerfully urges us to do the impossible, namely, to think this development [of capitalism] positively and negatively all at once; to achieve, in other words, a type of thinking that would be capable of grasping the demonstrably baleful features of capitalism along with its extraordinary and liberating dynamism simultaneously within a single thought, and without attenuating any of the force of either judgment. We are somehow to lift our minds to a point at which it is possible to understand that capitalism is at one and the same time the best thing that has ever happened to the human race, and the worst. The lapse from this austere dialectical imperative into the more comfortable stance of the taking of moral positions is inveterate and all too human: still, the urgency of the subject demands that we make at least some effort to think the cultural evolution of late capitalism dialectically, as catastrophe and progress all together.
- Fredric Jameson, Postmodernism, Or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism
The same spirit that constructs railways with the hands of workers, constructs philosophical systems in the brains of philosophers. Philosophy does not exist outside the world, any more than the brain exists outside of man because it is not situated in the stomach.
- Karl Marx (via asthepoemsgo)
The use values, coat, linen, &c., i.e., the bodies of commodities, are combinations of two elements – matter and labour. If we take away the useful labour expended upon them, a material substratum is always left, which is furnished by Nature without the help of man. The latter can work only as Nature does, that is by changing the form of matter. Nay more, in this work of changing the form he is constantly helped by natural forces. We see, then, that labour is not the only source of material wealth, of use values produced by labour. As William Petty puts it, labour is its father and the earth its mother.
- Karl Marx, Capital Volume 1, Chapter 1, Section 2 (via mouthynaut)
It is concentration of capitals already formed, destruction of their individual independence, expropriation of capitalist by capitalist, transformation of many small into few large capitals…. Capital grows in one place to a huge mass in a single hand, because it has in another place been lost by many…. The battle of competition is fought by cheapening of commodities. The cheapness of commodities demands, caeteris paribus, on the productiveness of labour, and this again on the scale of production. Therefore, the larger capitals beat the smaller. It will further be remembered that, with the development of the capitalist mode of production, there is an increase in the minimum amount of individual capital necessary to carry on a business under its normal conditions. The smaller capitals, therefore, crowd into spheres of production which Modern Industry has only sporadically or incompletely got hold of. Here competition rages…. It always ends in the ruin of many small capitalists, whose capitals partly pass into the hands of their conquerors, partly vanish.
- Marx, Capital, vol 1. chapter 25 (via arielnietzsche)

(Source: jayaprada)

Reblogged from amodernmanifesto
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The capitalist maintains his rights as a purchaser when he tries to make the working-day as long as possible, and to make, whenever possible, two working-days out of one. On the other hand, the peculiar nature of the commodity sold implies a limit to its consumption by the purchaser, and the laborer maintains his right as seller when he wishes to reduce the working day to one of definite normal duration.

There is here, therefore, an antinomy, right against right, both equally bearing the seal of the law of exchanges. Between equal rights force decides. Hence is it that in the history of capitalist production, the determination of what is a working day, presents itself as the result of a struggle, a struggle between collective capital, i.e., the class of capitalists, and collective labor, i.e., the working-class.

A collection of Leftist quotations, sayings, and aphorisms.

Compiled by Euan and Brandon