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Engels: a capitalist?

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Soviet cogitations: 258
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 03 Oct 2009, 17:50
Komsomol
Post 11 Oct 2009, 00:38
Dear comrades,
though I don't like the title of the forum Cult of Personality because I do not practice the religion of that cult
I post here a question about the great Friedrich Engels.
I have read, on literature by Communist writers, that Engels was a capitalist, an owner of a company of which he became a partner late in his life.
Of course Communism is not a religion and Marxist theoreticians and revolutionaries are no gods, nor perfect saints, nor infallible prophets, so I would have great respect and admiration for the theoretical work of Engels even if he was just a theoretician who did not apply his ideas in his life, but I have always been a little bit disturbed by that...
Do anybody have anything to add to clarify that side of Engels's life? Did his participation in the Capitalist system of appropriation of value produced by other people happen before the reflection on the misappropriation of surplus value?
Thank you a lot!
If you tremble at the slightest indignation done to a fellow human, then you are my comrade-in-arms. Commander E. Guevara de la Serna
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Soviet cogitations: 758
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 28 Jan 2008, 19:10
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Komsomol
Post 11 Oct 2009, 00:49
From Lenin's short tribute to Engels, it seems he was only a clerk and then a shareholder. He never really held any independent capital. http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/w ... ls-bio.htm
His position in industry allowed him to actively observe the struggles of the working class not in theory but practice.

Robert Owen is a better example perhaps of living his idea. But precisely because socialism was purely moral for Owen he was a utopian.

Engels was somewhat of a Communist Bruce Wayne.
Kamran Heiss
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Soviet cogitations: 258
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 03 Oct 2009, 17:50
Komsomol
Post 11 Oct 2009, 01:04
Quote:
he was only a clerk and then a shareholder


A shareholder earns from the misappropriation of surplus value. That does nothing to the esteem I have for Engels in terms of his great theoretical contributions.
If you tremble at the slightest indignation done to a fellow human, then you are my comrade-in-arms. Commander E. Guevara de la Serna
Soviet cogitations: 3448
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 26 Jun 2006, 15:59
Ideology: Other Leftist
Party Bureaucrat
Post 11 Oct 2009, 02:24
Engels financial contributions were mor important.
The moment one accepts the notion of 'totalitarianism', one is firmly locked within the liberal-democratic horizon. - Slavoj Žižek
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Soviet cogitations: 758
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 28 Jan 2008, 19:10
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Komsomol
Post 11 Oct 2009, 02:35
Well I admit that 1849 UK is a different story, but in 2009 USA if you include pension funds, I think the majority of US workers are shareholders.
Kamran Heiss
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Soviet cogitations: 258
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 03 Oct 2009, 17:50
Komsomol
Post 11 Oct 2009, 11:27
Quote:
Engels financial contributions were mor important.


Yes, without his aid Marx could not have had the time to elaborate his work. In a sense, it was surplus value returned to the people in the form of Marxism itself.
If you tremble at the slightest indignation done to a fellow human, then you are my comrade-in-arms. Commander E. Guevara de la Serna
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Soviet cogitations: 258
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 03 Oct 2009, 17:50
Komsomol
Post 11 Oct 2009, 11:40
Quote:
in 2009 USA if you include pension funds, I think the majority of US workers are shareholders


Workers turned into labour aristocracy by the system that want them solidal in their interests to their own opressing class. It is tremendously useful to the capitalists to make workers, in the case of pension funds retired workers, share interests with their oppressors against the workers that are still working and against the workers, literally killed by hunger in the thirld world, by the financial speculations on which the pension funds' profits are based, see late '80s South Eastern Asia's crisis.
In Italy the bourgeois governments are forcing workers to enter pension funds, which, needless to say, I have refused. One of the innumerable shames of Capitalism...
If you tremble at the slightest indignation done to a fellow human, then you are my comrade-in-arms. Commander E. Guevara de la Serna
tdn
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Soviet cogitations: 28
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 25 Apr 2014, 11:15
Pioneer
Post 01 May 2014, 06:14
Davide wrote:
Do anybody have anything to add to clarify that side of Engels's life? Did his participation in the Capitalist system of appropriation of value produced by other people happen before the reflection on the misappropriation of surplus value?
Thank you a lot!


Friedrich Engels did participate in a capitalist firm in England, the work that he really hated.
However, he had to survive the capitalist economy at that time (apparently, if you're a utopian socialist owner of a factory, you can't survive the capitalist world for long), and provided facts (real numbers from a capitalist factory that can be used for mathematics) for Karl Marx to complete his works. He also provided a lot for Karl Marx's family during their difficult days.

I found an excellent talk about the life of Friedrich Engels by Dr. Tristram Hunt entitled "Friedrich Engels: the man who made Marxism". I think you will enjoy it: http://www.lse.ac.uk/newsAndMedia/videoAndAudio/channels/publicLecturesAndEvents/player.aspx?id=17
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Soviet cogitations: 237
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Jul 2014, 21:53
Ideology: Other Leftist
Pioneer
Post 23 Jul 2014, 01:12
If you believe that giving up your property in a capitalist country is being socialist, then you are approaching popular religion bloated views...
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Soviet cogitations: 37
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Jul 2014, 11:33
Pioneer
Post 23 Jul 2014, 20:12
AldoBrasil wrote:
If you believe that giving up your property in a capitalist country is being socialist, then you are approaching popular religion bloated views...

Agreed. You cannot be a tiny island of socialism in a sea of capitalism. You'll be swallowed by the tide.
lev
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Soviet cogitations: 256
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 02 Jan 2016, 14:43
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Komsomol
Post 07 Jan 2016, 10:02
The great contributions Engels made to socialism had not only offset his status as shareholder which he cannot change because he was born with it. They exceeded it. Imagine giving up your life to socialism while using your stockholder's profits to provide sustenance to Marx and his family. He was indeed the most generous compared to some greedy capitalists.
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