Friday, July 19, 2013

Karl Marx and the Violent Overthrow of the Streetlight

Karl Marx lived out most of his  adult life in blameless bourgeois respectability in London where, inter alia, he was once elected Constable of th Vestry of St. Pancras.  But hey, even the sinister mastermind of World Revolution has to blow off a little steam every once in a while:

[I]n the 1850s, probably during the Crimean War. Marx, Edgar Bauer, and Wilhelm Liebknecht had taken part in a pub crawl one night. After considerable consumption, they came to an establishment where a group of Odd Fellows, working-class members of an English lodge, were drinking. At first the encounter went well, and enthusiastic toasts were offered, denouncing “Russian Junkers,” since, as Liebknecht pointed out, most Englishmen could not tell the difference between Prussia and Russia. But gradually another mood took over and Edgar Bauer denounced English “snobs,” followed by a drunken Marx, who launched into an enthusiastic speech praising German Wissenschaft and German music. No other country, Liebknecht remembered him saying, had produced musical artists like Mozart, Handel, Haydn, and Beethoven. Germany was well ahead of England, and only its current wretched economic and political conditions prevented it from being ahead of all other nations, as it one day would be. Liebknecht noted that he had never heard Marx speak English so well. The assembled Odd Fellows were less than happy and turned on their guests with cries of “Damned foreigners!” Just barely escaping a beating, the three émigrés rushed out into the street, where they began throwing rocks at gas lamps, and had to flee again to avoid being arrested by the Bobbies who had appeared to investigate the tumult.
Sperber, Jonathan (2013-03-11). Karl Marx: A Nineteenth-Century Life (p. 494-5). Norton. Kindle Edition.


D Clarity said...

Which composer is your favorite, Mozart, Beethoven, or Kindle Edition?

Buce said...

Hee, thanks, corrected, I hope.