Some Lessons from Karl Marx for Mexico’s Schoolteachers

19th century German philosopher Karl Marx. Photo; Wikipedia
19th century German philosopher Karl Marx. Photo; Wikipedia

19th century German political philosopher Karl Marx. Photo: Wikipedia


In response to the “praiseworthy” initiative by the Mexican Public Education Secretariat to familiarize the nation’s elementary school teachers with the writings of the 19th century German political thinker Karl Marx, as has already been done successfully in the likes of Venezuela, I offer this modest anthology of some tidbits of his philosophy:

In Defense of Freedom of the Press

Freedom of the press is the “universal vehicle for opening the eyes of the people’s spirit, the people’s incarnated confidence in themselves… It is the spiritual mirror by which the people know themselves… It is the uninhibited confession of the people to themselves and, as is well known, the strength of the confession leads to redemption.”

Rheinische Zeitung, May 1842

About the United States and Mexico

“The war (against Mexico) will surely be a worthy prelude to the military history of the great country of the Yankees.”

Letter to Friedrich Engels, London, Nov. 30, 1854

“There are in the Yankees feelings of independence and personal value higher than in the Saxons. The Spaniards are degenerate beings. The Mexicans have all the vices of the Spaniards: boastfulness and quixotism raised to the third power, without the solidity of the Spaniards. The Mexican guerrilla war is a caricature of the Spanish one and even the regular troops that abandon the field appear to be infinitely outnumbered.”

Letter to Friedrich Engels, London, December 2, 1854

Against Caesarism

“The Constitution, the National Assembly, the dynastic parties, the blue and red Republicans … the thunder from the tribune, the lightning of the daily press, all the literature, political names and renowned intellectuals, the civil law and criminal law, liberté, égalité, fraternité …everything has disappeared like a phantasmagoria with the spell of a man.”

“The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte,” 1852

“This executive power, with its immense bureaucratic and military organization, with its complex and artificial state machinery, an army of officials numbering half a million men, together with an army of another half a million men, this frightful parasitic organism that encircles the body of French society like a net and plugs every pore”.

“The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte,” 1852

“The State has bound, supervised, regulated, monitored and protected civil society, from its broadest manifestations of life to its most insignificant vibrations, from its most general modalities of existence to the private existence of individuals…”

“The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte,” 1852

“Harassed by the contradictory demands of his situation and, at the same time, forced like a magician to attract to himself, by constant surprises, the gaze of the public as a substitute for Napoleon, and therefore to carry out a miniature coup d’état every day, Bonaparte throws the entire economy into chaos.”

“The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte,” 1852

Simón Bolívar, the Dictator

“A hick, hypocrite, champ, womanizer, traitor, inconstant, spendthrift, an aristocrat with republican airs, an ambitious mendacious who surrounded himself with a shoddy court…”

Karl Marx on Simón Bolívar, “New American Encyclopedia,” 1858

“In this country, where (El Mariscal) Sucre’s bayonets ruled, Bolívar gave free rein to his propensity for despotism, introducing the ‘Bolivian Code,’ an imitation of the Napoleonic Code. His plan was to transplant such a code from Bolivia to Peru, and from there to Colombia… What Bolívar really proposed was to unify all of South America into a federal republic, with him as its dictator…. He gave free rein to his dreams of uniting half the world in his name.”

Karl Marx on Simón Bolívar, “New American Encyclopedia,” 1858

Against Personality Cults

“(Friedrich) Engels and I do not give a damn about popularity… Out of repugnance to all personality cults, during the existence of the International, I never allowed the publication of the numerous and annoying messages that I received from various countries in recognition of my merits. We never responded to them, except to admonish them. The first affiliation of myself and Engels to the secret society of the communists was made on the sole condition that it be removed from the statutes.”

Karl Marx to William Bloss, November 1877

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