Karl Marx, comedian

Simon at the silverdollarcircle is thinking about how funny Marx can be:

i’d forgotten how darkly funny Marx can be, since i last read him properly in the run-up to Finals and so wasn’t really paying attention to his humour. loads of possible examples,. of course, but my absolute favourite is this bit from Capital, where Marx reveals his dramatis personae for what they really are:

“He who was previously the money-owner now strides out in front as the capitalist; the possessor of labour power follows as his worker. The one, smirking, self important, intent on business; the other is timid, holding back, like someone who has brought his own hide to market and now has nothing to expect but- a hiding.”

My own favourite? I’ve got a soft spot for the sheer loopiness of “I may negate powdered wigs, but that still leaves me with unpowdered wigs”, which has never attracted the discussion it deserves, but which appears on one of the most famous pages Marx ever wrote — it’s just below the “opium of the people” passage in the Introduction to the Contribution to the Critique of… oh, I give up.But I think in the end for me it’s the joke in the Critique of the Gotha Programme when Marx explains why socialists should oppose compulsory, free state education for all, “particularly, indeed, in the Prusso-German Empire… [where] the state has need, on the contrary, of a very stern education by the people”!

Other favourite Marx funnies, please, in Comments below. And no Groucho-isms…

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