130 Karl Marx Quotes

These are the Top 130 Karl Marx quotes you’ll need if you want to learn more about topics like communism and capitalism. This ultimate collection features quotes from The Communist Manifesto, Das Kapital, and other books from Karl Marx.

Now known as the Father of Communism, Karl Marx was someone who gave the world a new definition of philosophy—that it wasn’t just about defining the world, it was also about changing it. He strongly criticized the political and cultural institutions of his day, and his works may in turn help us understand the economic, social, and political inequalities of our time.

Continue reading to find out more.

Best Karl Marx Quotes

1. “Reason has always existed, but not always in a reasonable form.”

2. “The less you eat, drink, and read books; the less you go to the theatre, the dance hall, the public house; the less you think, love, theorize, sing, paint, fence, etc., the more you save—the greater becomes your treasure which neither moths nor dust will devour—your capital. The less you are, the more you have; the less you express your own life, the greater is your alienated life—the greater is the store of your estranged being.”

3. “I am nothing, but I must be everything.”

4. “The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.

5. “Religion is the impotence of the human mind to deal with occurrences it cannot understand.”

6. “It is high time that Communists should openly, in the face of the whole world, publish their views, their aims, their tendencies, and meet this nursery tale of the Specter of Communism with a Manifesto of the party itself.”

7. “The last capitalist we hang shall be the one who sold us the rope.”

8. “The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.”

9. “A specter is haunting Europe—the specter of Communism.”

10. “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.”

11. “Surround yourself with people who make you happy; people who make you laugh, who help you when you’re in need, people who genuinely care. They are the ones worth keeping in your life. Everyone else is just passing through.”

12. “Communism is already acknowledged by all European powers to be in itself a power.”

13. “To be radical is to go to the root of the matter. For man, however, the root is man himself.”

14. “The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced the family relation to a mere money relation.”

15. “Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Workingmen of all countries unite!”

16. “Go on, get out! Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough!”

17. “It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness.”

18. “If anything is certain, it is that I myself am not a Marxist.”

19. “There is no royal road to science, and only those who do not dread the fatiguing climb of its steep paths have a chance of gaining its luminous summits.”

20. “The laborer belongs to capital before he has sold himself to capital.”

Karl Marx Quotes on the Bourgeoisie and the Society

21. “The development of modern industry, therefore, cuts from under its feet the very foundation on which the bourgeoisie produces and appropriates products.”

22. “What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable.”

23. “Our epoch, the epoch of the bourgeoisie, possesses, however, this distinct feature: it has simplified class antagonisms. Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other—bourgeoisie and proletariat.”

24. “We see, therefore, how the modern bourgeoisie is itself the product of a long course of development—of a series of revolutions in the modes of production and of exchange.”

25. “The bourgeoisie has created enormous cities, has greatly increased the urban population as compared with the rural, and has thus rescued a considerable part of the population from the idiocy of rural life.”

26. “Thus, in imagination, individuals seem freer under the dominance of the bourgeoisie than before, because their conditions of life seem accidental; in reality, of course, they are less free, because they are to a greater extent governed by material forces.”

27. “Bourgeois marriage is, in reality, a system of wives in common and thus, at the most, what the Communists might possibly be reproached with, is that they desire to introduce, in substitution for a hypocritically concealed, an openly legalised community of women.”

28. “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.”

29. “The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society. 30. “Conservation of the old modes of production in unaltered form was, on the contrary, the first condition of existence for all earlier industrial classes.”

31. “The use-value of commodities becomes valueless, and their value vanishes in the presence of its own independent form.”

32. “Commodities alone are money. But now, the cry is everywhere—that money alone is a commodity!”

33. “A people which subjugates other people forges its own chains.”

34. “These laborers, who must sell themselves piece-meal, are a commodity like every other article of commerce, and are consequently exposed to all the vicissitudes of competition, to all the fluctuations of the market.”

35. “In its rational form, dialectic is a scandal and abomination to ‘bourgeois-dom’ and its doctrinaire professors, because it includes in its comprehension and affirmative recognition of the existing state of things, at the same time also, the recognition of the negation of that state, of its inevitable breaking up; because it regards every historically developed social form as in fluid movement, and therefore takes into account its transient nature not less than its momentary existence because it lets nothing impose upon it, and is in its essence critical and revolutionary.”

36. “If money is the bond binding me to human life, binding society to me, connecting me with nature and man, is not money the bond of all bonds? Can it not dissolve and bind all ties? Is it not, therefore, also the universal agent of separation?”

37. “Modern bourgeois society, with its relations of production, of exchange, and of property—a society that has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, is like the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells.”

38. “But modern bourgeois private property is the final and most complete expression of the system of producing and appropriating products that is based on class antagonism—on the exploitation of the many by the few.”

39. “The education of all children, from the moment that they can get along without a mother’s care, shall be in state institutions.”

40. “The ruling ideas of each age have ever been the ideas of its ruling class.”

41. “In the social production of their existence, men inevitably enter into definite relations, which are independent of their will, namely relations of production appropriate to a given stage in the development of their material forces of production.”

42. “In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all.”

43. “The bourgeois sees in his wife a mere instrument of production.”

44. “Political power, properly so called, is merely the organised power of one class for oppressing another.”

45. “Accumulation of wealth at one pole is, therefore, at the same time accumulation of misery, agony of toil slavery, ignorance, brutality, mental degradation, at the opposite pole, i.e., on the side of the class that produces its own product in the form of capital.”

46. “The modern bourgeois society that has sprouted from the ruins of feudal society has not done away with class antagonisms. It has but established new classes, new conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in place of the old ones.”

47. “When the proletariat declares the dissolution of the hitherto existing world order, it merely declares the secret of its own existence, since it is in fact the dissolution of this order. When it demands the negation of private property, it is only laying down as a principle for society what society has laid down as a principle for the proletariat, what has already been incorporated in itself without its consent as the negative result of society.”

48. “Landlords, like all other men, love to reap where they never sowed.”

49. “The bourgeoisie, during its rule of scarce one hundred years, has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all preceding generations together. What earlier century had even a presentiment that such productive forces slumbered in the lap of social labor?”

50. “Money represents originally, in accordance with the idea of money: private property for private property; society for private property; private property for society.”

51. “The brilliance of Aristotle’s genius is shown by this alone, that he discovered, in the expression of the value of commodities, a relation of equality. The peculiar conditions of the society in which he lived, prevented him from discovering what, in truth, was at the bottom of this equality.”

Karl Marx Quotes on Labor and Communism

52. “Communism deprives no man of the power to appropriate the products of society. All that it does is to deprive him of the power to subjugate the labor of others by means of such appropriation.”

53. “The working men have no country. We cannot take from them what they have not got.”

54. “In short, the Communists everywhere support every revolutionary movement against the existing social and political order of things.”

55. “Labor in the white skin can never free itself as long as labor in the black skin is branded.”

56. “The real pressure must be made more oppressive by making men conscious of the pressure, and the disgrace more disgraceful by publishing it.”

57. “Capital collapses because it cannot exist alongside shared knowledge.”

58. “In history as in nature, decay is the laboratory of life.”

59. “The essential condition for the existence, and for the sway of the bourgeois class, is the formation and augmentation of capital; the condition for capital is wage-labor.”

60. “Wages are a direct consequence of estranged labor, and estranged labor is the direct cause of private property.”

61. “Communism is the riddle of history solved, and it knows itself to be this solution.”

62. “Communism is for us not a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality will have to adjust itself.”

63. “We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. The conditions of this movement result from the premises now in existence.”

64. “Capital is dead labor, which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labor, and lives the more labor it sucks.”

65. “You must be aware that the reward for labor and quantity of labor are quite disparate things.”

66. “The fact that labor is external to the worker, i.e., it does not belong to his intrinsic nature; that in his work, therefore he does not affirm himself but denies himself, does not feel content but unhappy, does not develop freely his physical and mental energy but mortifies his body and his mind.”

67. “The worker therefore only feels himself outside his work, and in his work feels outside himself.”

68. “The theory of Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: abolition of private property.”

69. “The Communists have no need to introduce the community of women; it has existed almost from time immemorial.”

70. “Both for the production on a mass scale of this communist consciousness and for the success of the cause itself, the alteration of men on a mass scale is necessary, an alteration which can only take place in a practical movement, a revolution. This revolution is necessary, therefore, not only because the ruling class cannot be overthrown in any other way, but also because the class overthrowing it can only in a revolution succeed in ridding itself of all the muck of ages and become fitted to found society anew.”

71. “The theoretical conclusions of the Communists are in no way based on ideas or principles that have been invented or discovered; by this or that would be a universal reformer.”

72. “In proportion, therefore, as the repulsiveness of the work increases, the wage decreases.”

73. “Society does not consist of individuals, but expresses the sum of interrelations—the relations within which these individuals stand.”

74. “Under no pretext should arms and ammunition be surrendered; any attempt to disarm the workers must be frustrated, by force if necessary.”

75. “Then the world will be for the common people, and the sounds of happiness will reach the deepest springs.”

76. “Ah! Come! People of every land, how can you not be roused?”

77. “We have no compassion and we ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror.”

78. “The production of too many useful things results in too many useless people.”

79. “The mode of production of material life conditions the general process of social, political, and intellectual life.”

80. “The changes in the economic foundation lead, sooner or later, to the transformation of the whole immense superstructure.”

81. “I am a machine condemned to devour books.”

82. “Education is free. Freedom of education shall be enjoyed under the condition fixed by law and under the supreme control of the state.”

83. “Moments are the elements of profit.”

84. “A spider conducts operations that resemble those of a weaver, and a bee puts to shame many an architect in the construction of her cells. But what distinguishes the worst architect from the best of bees is this, that the architect raises his structure in imagination before he erects it in reality.”

85. “Merely quantitative differences, beyond a certain point, pass into qualitative changes.”

86. “The demand to give up the illusions about its condition is the demand to give up a condition that needs illusions.”

87. “Once the inner connection is grasped, all theoretical belief in the permanent necessity of existing conditions collapses before their collapse in practice.”

88. “All science would be superfluous if the outward appearance and the essence of things directly coincided.”

89. “Just as the savage must wrestle with nature to satisfy his wants, to maintain and reproduce life, so must civilized man, and he must do so in all social formations and under all possible modes of production.”

90. “Freedom in this field can only consist in socialised man—the associated producers, rationally regulating their interchange with nature, bringing it under their common control instead of being ruled by it as by the blind forces of nature; and achieving this with the least expenditure of energy and under conditions most favourable to, and worthy of, their human nature.”

91. “The shortening of the working-day is its basic prerequisite.”

92. “To say that ‘the worker has an interest in the rapid growth of capital’, means only this: that the more speedily the worker augments the wealth of the capitalist, the larger will be the crumbs which fall to him, the greater will be the number of workers than can be called into existence, the more can the mass of slaves dependent upon capital be increased.”

93. “Such a crisis occurs only where the ever-lengthening chain of payments, and an artificial system of settling them, has been fully developed.”

94. “The economic structure of capitalist society has grown out of the economic structure of feudal society. The dissolution of the latter set free the elements of the former.”

95. “First to control the people, first control the media.”

Karl Marx Quotes on Religion, Faith, and Culture

96. “Christ represents originally, men before God; God for men; men to man.”

97. “But Christ is alienated God and alienated man. God has value only insofar as he represents Christ, and man has value only insofar as he represents Christ. It is the same with money.”

98. “Life is struggle.”

99. “This is what distinguishes the philosopher from the Christian. The Christian, in spite of logic, has only one incarnation of the Logos; the philosopher has never finished with incarnations.”

100. “Up till now it has been thought that the growth of the Christian myths during the Roman Empire was possible only because printing was not yet invented. Precisely the contrary. The daily press and the telegraph, which in a moment spreads inventions over the whole earth, fabricate more myths, and the bourgeois cattle believe and enlarge upon them, in one day than could have formerly been done in a century.”

101. “The Communists have no need to introduce free love; it has existed almost from time immemorial.”

102. “Martin Luther, we grant, overcame bondage out of devotion by replacing it by bondage out of conviction. He shattered faith in authority because he restored the authority of faith. He turned priests into laymen because he turned laymen into priests. He freed man from outer religiosity because he made religiosity the inner man. He freed the body from chains because he enchained the heart.”

103. “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”

104. “Just as man is governed in religion by the products of his own brain, so in capitalist production, he is governed by the products of his own hand.”

105. “The abolition of religion, as the illusory happiness of the people, is the demand for their real happiness.”

106. “The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo.”

107. “Money is the universal, self-constituted value of all things. Hence, it has robbed the whole world of its proper value. Money is the alienated essence of man’s labor and life, and this alien essence dominates him as he worships it.”

108. “Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and protest against real suffering.”

109. “The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living.”

110. “Nothing human is alien to me.”

111. “Everything must be doubted.”

112. “If you love without evoking love in return, if through the vital expression of yourself as a loving person you fail to become a loved person, then your love is impotent—it is a misfortune.”

113. “It is well known how the monks wrote silly lives of Catholic saints over the manuscripts on which the classical works of ancient heathendom had been written.”

114. “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

115. “As individuals express their life, so they are.”

116. “Language is as old as consciousness. Language is practical, real consciousness that exists for other men as well, and only therefore does it also exist for me. Language, like consciousness, only arises from the need, the necessity, of intercourse with other men.”

117. “Criticism has plucked the imaginary flowers on the chain not in order that man shall continue to bear that chain without fantasy or consolation, but so that he shall throw off the chain and pluck the living flower.”

118. “Social progress can be measured by the social position of the female sex.”

119. “Atheism reminds one of children—assuring everyone who is ready to listen to them that they are not afraid of the boogeyman.

120. “Ignorance never yet helped anybody.”

121. “Every opinion based on scientific criticism, I welcome.”

122. “Perseus wore a magic cap down over his eyes and ears as a make-believe that there are no monsters.”

123. “In fact, the proposition that man’s species’ nature is estranged from him means that one man is estranged from the other, as each of them is from man’s essential nature.”

124. “Hitherto, men have always formed wrong ideas about themselves, about what they are and what they ought to be.”

125. “They have arranged their relations according to their ideas of God—of normal man. The products of their brains have gotten out of their hands. They, the creators, have bowed down before their creations.”

126. “From each according to their ability, to each according to their need.”

127. “Criticism has already settled all accounts with this subject. It no longer figures as an end in itself, but only as a means. Its essential pathos is indignation, its essential work is denunciation.”

128. “All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses, his real conditions of life and his relations with his kind.”

129. “It’s possible that I shall make an ass of myself. But in that case, one can always get out of it with a little dialectic. I have, of course, so worded my proposition as to be right either way.”

130. “The medieval proverb, ‘There is no land without its lord,’ is thereby replaced by that other proverb, ‘Money knows no master,’ wherein is expressed the complete domination of dead matter over man.”

Did These Karl Marx Quotes Make You Want to Break Free from the Chains of Injustice?

As the co-author of The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx was one of the world’s leaders and visionaries on justice and the critic of capitalism. He believed that the true goal and mark of a free society is having a classless society. His revolutionary ideas influenced many world leaders, and his principles about justice and equality are still a basis for improving today’s existing social structures.

Which of these quotes made you rethink the way society works? Are there other quotes from The Communist Manifesto or Das Kapital you’d like us to include? Let us know through the comments below.

Amy Finn

Hi. I'm Amy, the founder of this blog. I love quotes and enjoy sharing the best ones with you.

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