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Marx Is Not Crazy

October 22, 2009


This goes a long way towards framing Marx as reasonable rather than beyond the pale:

First, read aloud to your class selections from the chapter on working conditions—i.e., about 7 year old kids working 18 hour days.

Then politely say something like the following: “I may be going out on a limb here, but it seems to me that the wrong thing to do when faced with these working conditions would be to give them a thumbs-up, which is what Marx’s opponents were doing.”

Last, ask your students which group they would side with.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. October 22, 2009 5:12 pm

    As a manufacturing-plant safety engineer that photo makes me shudder — finger and toe amputations waiting to happen there, especially with that unguarded belts being used for power transmission to the machinery. This isn’t “just” seven-year-olds working eighteen-hour days; these seven-year-olds are considered disposable. If you break one, just replace him with another.

  2. missivesfrommarx permalink*
    October 23, 2009 8:00 am


  3. roland permalink
    October 24, 2009 3:12 pm

    Not to mention the deformities produced from years in the same awkward positions. EP Thompson’s Making of the English Working Class is a fantastic addition to Marx’s assessments.

  4. October 26, 2009 7:48 am

    …just out of curiosity, has there ever been a country which successfully industrialised without horrible excesses?

  5. missivesfrommarx permalink*
    October 29, 2009 7:56 am

    Sophia, to me that’s an irrelevant question. A better question would be was it necessary for them to do so, or, is it necessary to continue the inherited practices?


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