Karl Marx: Newspaper Article: ‘The North American Civil War’! (5.4.2023)

Karl Marx
Karl Marx Marx – Collected Newspaper Articles – New York Trbune

To eek out a very basic living for himself, his wife and his numerous children whilst living in London (UK) – Karl Marx wrote newspaper articles for a number of US newspapers – a fact the anti-Socialist (and anti-intellectual) contemporary Americans find embarrassing and attempt to hide! Why did he write for American publications and not the British equivalents – the printing presses of which existed just outside his abode? I am told that at the time, the US was far more ‘progressive’ in its general attitudes than even the London of the day! Of course, just how much this progressive attitude extended beyond the publishing offices of New York is open to debate. Certainly, the British working-class was very conservative in its attitudes and when the First International was compromised by Free Mason infiltration (in the name of the British Bourgeois Establishment) – Marx was forced to transfer its Headquarters from London to New York (where it was eventually ‘dissolved’ during 1876). Perhaps this demonstrates something of the ‘loss of freedom’ suffered by the Americans with the post-1865 implementation of ‘Federalism’ throughout the land – this sinister new ‘freedom’ was the beginning of the end, so-to-speak.

The article I want to share was written by Karl Marx in London – and entitled ‘The North American Civil War’ – first published in the ‘New York Tribune’ newspaper on October 25th, 1861. When I first read its content I was at a loss – as I disagreed with its general thrust. This is the first time I had read anything by Marx that I dialectically felt was ‘not quite correct’. Why was this? Well, Socialism is NOT a religion and is not premised upon faith but rather ‘free thought’! I sat and applied this ‘free thought’ over a two or three week period – usually with The Beatles playing in the background! As I was reading ‘The German Ideology’ by Marx and Engels I came across an extended tract that covered the subject of ‘slavery’ and it was completely in accordance with my dialectical understanding – an understanding which differed in its general ‘tone’ to the content of the above article by Marx.

Having assessed this difference over a number of days – I developed the dialectical understanding that whereas ‘The German Ideology’ was a free expression of the unhindered thought of Marx and Engels regarding their Scientific Socialist understanding (and an open attack upon the capitalist system) – his newspaper article (for which he was being ‘paid’) – had to conform to the general ideas that prevailed throughout the (Federalist) ‘Union’ of Northern States! Marx had to cleverly compromise by moulding his opinions into those acceptable to the thinking of those who were ‘paying’ him for his journalistic services! If he was writing for newspapers based in Charleston or Richmond (lying within the ‘Confederate’ Southern States) – then I think we would have seen Marx formulate a very different take on events (not only reflecting the views of his audience – but also a more specific statement of the dialectical reality of the time)! Whatever the case, The German Ideology was written by Marx and Engels in 1845 – some sixteen years BEFORE Marx penned his 1861 article – and yet it contains a much deeper and far more thorough understanding of the human condition and the concept and reality of ‘slavery’! This example demonstrates why the working-class must be literate – we must be able to read and write – and in so doing ‘educate’ our own way out of the quagmire of Bourgeois branwashing, disinformation and deliberate misrepresentation!

English Language References:

Karl Marx, Revolution and War, Penguin, (2009), Pages 86-101 – ‘The North American Civil War’ – New York Tribune – 25.10.1861

Karl Marx, The German Ideology, Prometheus, 1998, Pages 320-329 – Written 1845