Hal Draper


Marx and Engels on Women’s Liberation

(July 1970)

From International Socialism (1st series), No.44, July/August 1970, pp.20-29.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

In view of the frequent references to the views of Marx and Engels in the current articles on problems of the women’s liberation mopvement, we are here publishing the chapter on that subject from a work-in-progress on Karl Marx’s Theory of Revolution, by Hal Draper. References to other chapters have been left standing, indicating points of contact with other material.

It should go without saying that acquaintance with Marx and Engels’ views is useful only in order to tackle the added knowledge and problems of our own day. However, the aim of this chapter is simply to present what they really had to say on the question, as against some of the less-than-knowledgeable summaries that have seen the light recently.

The numbered reference notes offer only source and bibliographic information; the general reader may skip them. Footnotes, marked by roman numerals, are intended to be read as part of the text.

Not paradoxically, discussion of the revolution in Man begins with woman.

The perspective of eventually abolishing the division of labour in society, and therefore also the distortion of human relations which it imposes, leads back to what Marx and Engels pointed to as the very starting-point of the social division of labour: the division of labour between the sexes. [I] And this in turn raises all of the questions about the past and future of the family, forms of marriage, sexual relations, etc – the complex of questions relating to what was then called ‘the woman question’.

Once this question is seen within the context, not simply of a social psychology and attitude (like ‘male chauvinism’), but of the primordial division of labour, then it is clear that for Marx its roots go more deeply into man’s past than capitalism, or the state, or the division between town and country, or even private property. By the same token, it should be expected, the social attitudes which result from this division of labour will be most resistant to uprooting.

Marx’s Early Views

Before Marx became a socialist, let alone a ‘Marxist’, it is clear that he held more or less traditional attitudes on marriage, the family and related issues. This appears from two articles he wrote in 1842, his first year as a left-liberal journalist, both of them for the Rheinische Zeitung, the Cologne newspaper of which he became editor in October.

In what was only the third article he had ever published up to then, a criticism of the ‘historical school of law’, the young man attacked Gustav Hugo for taking a relativistic attitude toward the institution of marriage:

But the sanctification of the sex drive through exclusiveness, the restraint of the drive through law, the ethical beauty which turns nature’s command into an ideal moment [aspect] of spiritual union – the spiritual essence of marriage – this is what is suspect in marriage for Herr Hugo. [1]

To rebut this ‘frivolous shamelessness’ of Hugo’s viewpoint, Marx offers a prissy passage from the French liberal Benjamin Constant; and finally he reprovingly quotes Hugo’s further opinion that our ‘animal nature’ is opposed to the convention that ‘outside of marriage the satisfaction of the sex drive is not permissible’. [2]

But there is no attempt at analysis here.

The Article on Divorce

Toward the end of that year, an article by Marx On a Proposed Divorce Law sheds more light on his pre-socialist ideas. He states he will ‘develop the concept of marriage and its implications’ in accordance with a ‘philosophy of law’, but the short article does not carry that ball very far. [3]

To be sure, his first interest is in arguing for a purely secular approach to the question. [4] Not ‘spiritual sacredness’ but rather ‘human ethics’ is ‘the essence of marriage’; not ‘determination from above’ but ‘self-determination’. He also makes the point that a human-ethical divorce law will be guaranteed ‘only when law is the conscious expression of the will of the people, created with and through it’. His starting-point is radical democracy.

But his views are still cast in typically Hegelian-idealist terms, about the imminent ‘will of marriage’ and ‘the ethical substance of this relationship’ etc.; he still thinks of marriage, not as a historical social institution, but as the realisation of an ethical norm derived by thought from the ‘nature of man’. This leads him to criticise ‘the numerous and frivolous reasons for divorce’ in the existing Prussian code, and to look askance at permissiveness.

The following gives the crux of his approach, as he chides those who ‘always talk of the misery of spouses bound to each other against their will’:

They think only of two individuals and forget the family. They forget that nearly every dissolution of a marriage is the dissolution of a family and that the children and what belongs to them should not be dependent on arbitrary whims, even from a purely legal point of view. If marriage were not the basis of the family, it would not be subject to legislation, just as friendship is not. [5]

And in fact, it is going to be through a historical reappraisal of the family, and not merely of the relation between the ‘two individuals’, that this pre-socialist approach will be abandoned by Marx by 1845. Then the last sentence in the above passage could cease to be conditional.

First Socialist Opinions

But in-between, the first impact on Marx’s views made by his reading in socialist and communist literature in 1843-44 concerned precisely the ‘two individuals’, that is, sexual relations and the place of woman in society. (It may also be relevant that he had himself entered the institution of marriage in 1843.)

The influence of Fourier is evident in one of the first lucubrations of this new-fledged socialist, his Paris Manuscripts of 1844. He enthusiastically adopts the view that ‘man’s whole level of development’ is, in a basic sense, measured by the man-woman relationship in society. In these notes, his first criticism of ‘crude communism’ is directed against its (alleged) advocacy of ‘community of women’. He attacks it with the following line of thought:

The direct, natural, and necessary relation of person to person is the relation of man to woman. In this natural relationship of the sexes man’s relation to nature is immediately his relation to man ... In this relationship, therefore, is sensuously manifested, reduced to an observable fact, the extent to which the human essence has become nature to man ... From this relationship one can therefore judge man’s whole level of development ... It therefore reveals the extent to which man’s natural behaviour has become human ... the extent to which he in his individual existence is at the same time a social being. [6]

This relationship is put forward as the acid test of the real human-ness of any and all interpersonal relationships.

In The Holy Family, written later the same year, Fourier is quoted at length on the subject. The context is Marx’s dissection of Eugene Sue’s novel The Mysteries of Paris, in which Marx debunks the aristocratic philanthropism of the hero, Rudolph of Geroldstein. For one thing he points out that this noble paragon of virtue is capable of pitying the lot of a servant girl but is unable ‘to grasp the general condition of women in modern society as an inhuman one’.

It is against this bourgeois-philanthropic attitude that he quotes Fourier at some length, including the following:

The change in a historical epoch can always be determined by the progress of women toward freedom, because in the relation of woman to man, of the weak to the strong, the victory of human nature over brutality is most evident. The degree of emancipation of woman is the natural measure of general emancipation. [7]

Thirty-four years later, in Anti-Dühring, Engels was again going to pay homage to Fourier as the first to express this sentiment. [8] Twenty-four years later, Marx was going to echo it, perhaps without thinking of the source:

... Great progress was evident in the last Congress of the American ‘Labour Union’ in that, among other things, it treated working women with complete equality. While in this respect the English, and still more the gallant French, are burdened with a spirit of narrow-mindedness. Anybody who knows anything of history knows that great social changes are impossible without the feminine ferment. Social progress can be measured exactly by the social position of the fair sex (the ugly ones included). [9]

There was still an element of condescension in the citation from Fourier: woman is ‘weak’, man is ‘strong’ etc. This element is going to be eliminated by the theoretical underpinning which the later work of Marx and Engels gave to this question.

The Holy Family does not deal with the problem of the family. On the ‘woman question’ it is still mainly a reflection of what was best in then well-known socialist opinions.

A new note about the family first appears in Engels’ book The Condition of the Working Class in England, also written in 1844, independently of Marx. Here the facts lead him to the condition of the working-class family as a result of the widespread employment of women and children.

The transposition of women from home to mill and mine ‘breaks up the family’, makes it impossible for married women to care for children or household, engenders ‘unbridled sexual license’ and illegitimate children, even though it has not ‘sunk to the level of prostitution’. The most pertinent passage is not any of those that assert the working-class family is ‘being dissolved’ but that which discusses how it is ‘inverted’, ‘turned upside’, when the employed wife is the breadwinner and the unemployed husband must become the housekeeper.

This, says Engels, is an ‘insane state of things’; it ‘unsexes the man and takes from the woman all womanliness’; it ‘degrades, in the most shameful way, both sexes, and, through them, Humanity ...’ But the new note is struck when he shows that he sees this as a socially conditioned result of historically determined attitudes:

... We must admit that so total a reversal of the position of the sexes can have come to pass only because the sexes have been placed in a false position from the beginning. If the reign of the wife over the husband, as inevitably brought about by the factory system, is inhuman, the pristine rule of the husband over the wife must have been inhuman too. If the wife can now base her supremacy upon the fact that she supplies the greater part, nay, the whole of the common possession, the necessary inference is that this community of possession is no true and rational one, since one member of the family boasts offensively of contributing the greater share. If the family of our present society is being thus dissolved, this dissolution merely shows that, at bottom, the binding tie of this family was not family affection, but private interest lurking under the cloak of a pretended community of possessions. [9α]

It is not until The German Ideology (1845-46) that Marx and Engels begin laying the basis for a distinctive analysis, just as it is first in this work that the materialist conception of history is well developed. To be sure, Marx at this point apparently believes that some kind of family always existed, but at any rate the family is clearly viewed as a historically changing product of changing material conditions. It ‘must then be treated and analysed according to the existing empirical data, not according to “the concept of the family”, as is the custom in Germany’ [10] – a direct hit at the Marx of 1842.

The family is taken to be the first form of social relationship, indeed the ‘only social relationship’ to begin with. [11] The division of labour begins in the family, which is headed by ‘patriarchal family chieftains’. ‘The slavery latent in the family only develops gradually ...’ [12] The family is made virtually responsible for the rise of private property:

The nucleus, the first form of [property] lies in the family, where wife and children are slaves of the husband. This latent slavery in the family, though still very crude, is the first property ... [13]

This conception is also used to hit at the double standard in sexual behaviour. In Prussian law, says Marx, ‘the sanctity of marriage is supposed to be enforced both upon men and women’ but this is a juridical fantasy. The real bourgeois relationship is encoded in France: ‘in French practice, where the wife is regarded as the private property of her husband, only the wife can be punished for adultery ...’ [14]

’Abolishing’ the Family

The family is not linked to private-property economy in The Germany Ideology anywhere near as thoroughly as Engels did later, but Marx evidently thought the connection required little empirical data, for he had no hesitation in drawing the drastic conclusion that, with the abolition of private property, it follows that ‘the abolition of the family is self-evident’. [15] Further on, it is taken as equally self-evident that this means ‘the abolition of marriage’. But there is no hint of what relations are supposed to replace the present institutions, though it is made clear that ‘the fantasies by which Fourier tried to give himself a picture of free love’ are not to be taken seriously. [16]

In Marx’s Theses on Feuerbach, written before The German Ideology, the fourth already announces the opinion that the family ‘ must ... be destroyed in theory and in practice’. [II]

So intent is Marx on the ‘abolition of the family’, in fact, that he practically has it abolished already in 1845. He announces ‘the bourgeois dissolution of the family’, admitting only that the family still exists ‘officially’ as a property relation. By this ‘bourgeois dissolution of the family’ Marx appears to mean such things as: ‘The dissolute bourgeois evades marriage and secretly commits adultery’, etc. It is not a very convincing demonstration of dissolution. With the proletariat ‘the family is actually abolished’, he emphasizes, and ‘There the concept of the family does not exist at all’ – a proposition for which no empirical data are given at all. [17] Engels’ book on England is not referred to as evidence, nor is the problem linked to the employment of women. In any case Engels’ book had offered no ground for the extravagant claim that ‘the concept of the family does not exist at all’ among the proletariat; just the contrary. [III]

This annunciation of the all-but-economic disappearance of the family exists in the exposition mainly as a piece of rhetoric; there is no organic explanation of why the family’s existence should already be so tenuous, not only under capitalism but under undeveloped capitalism – quite a distance from the abolition of private property. When Marx writes, ‘the family still exists although its dissolution was long ago proclaimed by French and English socialists’, [18] he betrays that he is again echoing the socialism of the time, and has not yet worked it out himself.

To round off this period: there is the curious and little-known article which Marx wrote while working on The German Ideology: the article Peuchet on Suicide [IV], in which he summarises the conclusions of a book by Jacques Peuchet on the sociological meaning of the increase in suicides in France. [V] One passage goes as follows – the emphasis is by Marx, as is the selection:

Among the reasons for the despair which leads very oversensitive persons to seek death ... I [Peuchet] have uncovered as a dominant factor the bad treatment, the injustices, the secret punishments which severe parents and superiors visit on people dependent on them. The Revolution has not overthrown all tyrannies; the evils which were charged against despotic power continue to exist in the family; here they are the cause of crises analogous to those of revolutions.

The connections between interests and feelings, true relationships among individuals, are still one day to be created among us from the ground up, and suicide is only one of the thousand-and-one symptoms of the general social struggle always going on ... [19]

Apropos of the case of a girl driven to suicide by a man’s jealously, Marx summarises: This was really a case of murder – ‘The jealous person is in want of a slave; he can be in love, but this love is only a feeling of luxuriating in jealousy; the jealous person is above all a private-property owner’. [20]

Of these analyses of 1842-46, some elements were going to be retained, some were going to be modified or refined, and some were going to be dropped, when Marx and Engels came to a maturer formulation of their historical theory.

The Sexual Revolution of the Past

The historical-materialist approach to the history of man showed that the current form of the family was no more ‘natural’ than any other variable social institution, and that the family (with attendant sexual mores) had changed form along with changes in property relations. One immediate conclusion was: it can therefore be expected to change in a future society which has changed all other social institutions. Change to what?

Evolutionary View of the Family

The Communist Manifesto mainly announced flatly that ‘The bourgeois family will vanish as a matter of course’ with the disappearance of capitalism. [21] It contained other echoes of 1845. Engels’ draft for the Manifesto had been more pointed:

It [communist society] will transform the relations between the sexes into a purely private matter which concerns only the persons involved and into which society has no occasion to intervene. It can do this since it does away with private property and educates children on a communal basis, and in this way removes the two bases of traditional marriage, the dependence, rooted in private property, of the woman on the man and of the children on the parents. [22]

Thus (he adds) communism will also abolish prostitution, the bourgeois form of ‘community of women’.

In 1850 Marx and Engels had occasion to pin-prick the ‘woman-cult’ approach, in a review of a book by one Daumer advocating a new religiosity. ‘Nature’ and ‘woman’ are exalted as ‘divine’, and ‘the sacrifice of the male to the female’ is called for in the name of virtue and piety. In both cases, Daumer is fleeing from today’s threatening reality to, on the one hand, a ‘mere rustic idyll’ (which has nothing to do with real nature) and on the other hand to ‘effeminate resignation ‘ (which has nothing to do with real women).

The position as regards the worship of the female is the same as with nature worship. Mr Daumer naturally does not say a word about the present social situation of women; on the contrary it is a question only of the female as such. He tries to console women for their social distress by making them the object of a cult in words which is as empty as it would fain be mysterious. Thus he puts them at ease over the fact that marriage puts an end to their talents through their having to take care of the children ... by telling them that they can suckle babies until the age of 60 ... and so on. [22α]

His ideal women characters turn out to look very much like aristocratic patronesses of men of letters like himself. For Daumer, the abstraction of femininity is made ‘divine’ in order to elevate the problem of real women in real society to cloudier realms – the outcome of one form of feminism. In contrast, Marx’s Capital takes up the profane woman.

In Capital Marx generalises only at one point (though he pays much attention to the murderous exploitation of women’s and children’s labour, and therefore the necessity of legislative protection). He quotes an English government commission report to the effect that ‘against no persons do the children of both sexes so much require protection as against their parents’. Parents must not have power over children. This power has been abused for exploitive purposes.

However terrible and disgusting the dissolution, under the capitalist system, of the old family ties may appear, nevertheless modern industry, by assigning as it does an important part in the process of production, outside the domestic sphere, to women, to young persons, and to children of both sexes, creates a new economic foundation for a higher form of the family and of the relations between the sexes. It is, of course, just as absurd to hold the Teutonic-Christian form of the family to be absolute and final as it would be to apply that character to the ancient Roman, the ancient Greek, or the Eastern forms which, moreover, taken together form a series in historic development. Moreover, it is obvious that the fact of the collective working group being composed of individuals of both sexes and all ages must necessarily, under suitable conditions, become a source of humane development ... [23]

It is not possible ‘that the modern-bourgeois family can be torn from its whole economic foundation without changing its entire form’, wrote Engels in 1878. [24] But the strongest exposition of this view came in The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State. Although Engels wrote it up the year after Marx’s death, this book was the result of previous close collaboration between the two; Marx had intended to do it himself, and its broad views should be considered the joint work of both men. [25] In this book, the chapter on The Family closes with the words of the anthropologist Lewis H. Morgan, on whose researches it leaned. [VI] Morgan concluded that the family

is the creature of the social system, and will reflect its culture ... Should the monogamian family in the distant future fail to answer the requirements of society ... it is impossible to predict the nature of its successor. [26]

So the family and sexual relations will change – from what, to what?

The Defeat of Woman

In The Origin of the Family Engels emphasises the evidence for a primitive stage of female dominance in the family, based on the then conditions of existence. [VII]

The division of labour between the two sexes is determined by causes entirely different from those that determine the status of women in society. Peoples whose women have to work much harder than we would consider proper often have far more real respect for women than our Europeans have for theirs. The social status of the lady of civilisation, surrounded by sham homage and estranged from all real work, is socially infinitely lower than that of the hardworking woman of barbarism ... [27]

He traces the transition to the dominance of the father, on the basis of the change in the nature of the main type of property held by the family (agriculture to cattle-breeding); but it is not the anthropological exposition we are interested in now. This transference of power (dominance) within the framework of the family division of labour was a ‘revolution’ – ‘one of the most decisive ever experienced by mankind’. It ‘was the world-historic defeat of the female sex’. The woman was ‘degraded’, in effect enslaved, turned largely into ‘a mere instrument for breeding children. This lowered position of women ... has become gradually embellished and dissembled and, in part, clothed in a milder form, but by no means abolished ‘. [28] Or in Marx’s words:

The modern family contains in embryo not only slavery (servitus) but serfdom also, since from the very beginning it is connected with agricultural services. It contains within itself in miniature all the antagonisms which later develop on a wide scale within society and its state. [29]

The institution of monogamy arises, together with private property and class divisions:

It is based on the supremacy of the man; its express aim is the begetting of children of undisputed paternity, this paternity being required in order that these children may in due time inherit their father’s wealth as his natural heirs. [30]

As a rule, only the man can dissolve the marriage, and in practice the monogamous restriction applies to the woman only. In this sense, it is not even a genuine monogamy.

It was not in any way the fruit of individual sex love, with which it had absolutely nothing in common, for the marriages remained marriages of convenience, as before. It was the first form of the family based not on natural but on economic conditions, namely, on the victory of private property ...

Thus, monogamy does not by any means make its appearance in history as the reconciliation of man and woman, still less as the highest form of such a reconciliation. On the contrary, it appears as the subjection of one sex by the other, as the proclamation of a conflict between the sexes entirely unknown hitherto in prehistoric times. [31]

Engels then sums this up with a strong statement:

The first-class antagonism which appears in history coincides with the development of the antagonism between man and woman in monogamian marriage, and the first-class oppression with that of the female sex by the male. Monogamy was a great historical advance, but at the same time it inaugurated, along with slavery and private wealth, that epoch, lasting until today, in which every advance is likewise a relative retrogression, in which the well-being and development of the one group are attained by the misery and repression of the other. It is the cellular form of civilised society, in which we can already study the nature of the antagonisms and contradictions which develop fully in the latter. [32]

This ‘cellular’ form of the social struggle produces its characteristic counter-institutions, symbolised by ‘the wife’s paramour and the cuckold’ on the one hand and prostitution (in various forms) on the other. The former is the oppressed group’s ‘revenge’ for the masculine double-standard; the latter ‘demoralises the men far more than it does the woman’. [33]

Thus, in the monogamian family, in those cases that faithfully reflect its historical origin and that clearly bring out the sharp conflict between man and woman resulting from the exclusive domination of the male, we have a picture in miniature of the very antagonisms and contradictions in which society, split up into classes since the commencement of civilisation, moves, without being able to resolve and overcome them. [34]

Love and Equality

Out of this development, in which ‘every advance is likewise a relative retrogression’, a new step emerges in Europe out of the breakdown of the Roman world:

This, for the first time, created the possibility for the greatest moral advance which we derive from and owe to monogamy – a development taking place within it, parallel with it, or in opposition to it, as the case might be – namely, modern individual sex love, previously unknown to the whole world. [35]

It arises contradictorily. On the one hand, the dominance of bourgeois private property reinforces the prevalence of the marriage of convenience, and of ‘marriage ... determined by the class position of the participants’. [36] On the other hand, bourgeois ideology, especially in the Protestant countries, emphasises freedom of contract and equality of status for the freely contracting parties. As happened with ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity’, not to speak of ‘democracy’, the ideological extrapolation is in conflict with the economic reality – of bourgeois society. The ‘deology reinforces at least lip-service to individual sex love, freely and equally accorded, as the foundation of monogamy. But the bourgeois economic reality, in which the man is still the economic master, maintains the marriage of convenience, the limitation of possible partners by class strata, the restriction of women’s economic independence and therefore their independence as human beings, etc. [37]

Literary history reflects the advance of individual sexi love mainly in channels outside of bourgeois matrimony, that ‘wedded life of leaden boredom, which is described as domestic bliss’ – from the ‘chivalrous’ love stories of the Middle Ages to the French novel of institutionalised adultery. Engels especially emphasises the view that individual sex love could devebp most easily among the propertiless working classes; and here also working women could begin to assert first steps in economc independence. And a marriage with a woman who ‘has regained the right of separation’, because she can leave and support herself economically, is ‘monogamian in the etymological sense of the word, but by no means in the historic sense’. [38]

To be sure, this does not yet change the juridical situation. ‘The inequality of the two before the law, which is a legacy of previous social conditions, is not the cause but the effect of the economic oppression of women.’ [39]

The wife became the first domestic servant, pushed out of participation in social production ... Today [1884], in the great majority of cases, the man has to be the earner, the bread-winner of the family, at least among the propertied classes, and this gives him a dominating position which requires no special legal privileges. In the family, he is the bourgeois; the wife represents the proletariat. [40]

(That last sentence became one of the watchwords of the German socialist women’s movement – as a strong metaphor, of course.)

Modern industry technologically undermines this pattern, as it technologically undermines capitalism itself. Then: ‘What applies to the woman in the factory applies to her in all the professions, right up to medicine and law’. But the advance of legal equality between the sexes, even when achieved, will not yet establish real equality. A comparison (Engels’): bourgeois democracy only provides the field on which the class struggle is fought out –

And, similarly, the peculiar character of man’s domination over woman in the modern family, and the necessity as well as the manner of establishing real social equality between the two, will be brought out into full relief only when both are completely equal before the law. It will then become evident that the first premise for the emancipation of women is the reintroduction of the entire female sex into public industry; and that this again demands that the quality possessed by the individual family of being the economic unit of society be abolished. [41]

Let us note that the outcome is now posed not as the ‘ abolition of the family ‘ but as the abolition of the family as the economic unit of society, through the change in the role of women in the economy. The road to women’s liberation then runs through the same field as saw their ‘world-historic defeat’ – the process of production and the women’s relation to it – and cannot be basically changed simply by ideological (including psychiatric) exhortations.

Monogamy and/or Love:
The Future of the Family

What then happens to monogamy and the family under the impact of a socialist transformation?

The fact that monogamy did not always exist naturally raises – but does not settle – the question whether it will always continue to exist in the future. [VIII] Engels considers two possibilities, though clearly he personally expects the second.

The approaching social revolution will do away with ‘ the hitherto existing economic foundations of monogamy’ as well as its accompaniment, prostitution. The bourgeois anxiety about inheritance is reduced to a minimum. ‘Since monogamy arose from economic causes, will it disappear when these causes disappear?’ Clearly the first answer is: maybe.

With the passage of the means of production into common property, the individual family ceases to be the economic unit of society. Private housekeeping is transformed into a social industry. The care and education of the children become a public matter. Society takes care of all children equally, irrespective of whether they are born in wedlock or not. Thus, the anxiety about the ‘consequences’, which is today the most important social factor – both moral and economic – that hinders a girl from giving herself freely to the man she loves disappears. Will this not be cause enough for a gradual rise of more unrestrained sexual intercourse, and along with it, a more lenient public opinion regarding virginal honour and feminine shame? ... Can prostitution disappear without dragging monogamy with it into the abyss? [42]

That there is bound to be a basic change in the nature of the man-woman relationship is not in question. (That would be so even without the Pill.) But is that change bound to be the disappearance of the monogamous family in any form?

To make a comparison (not Engels’ this time): modern democracy arose with the bourgeoisie; but the abolition of capitalism does not therefore mean the disappearance of democracy. On the contrary, as we have seen, it means, to Marxists, the full flowering of genuine and complete democracy, a new type of democracy. In effect, Engels’ answer on monogamy is similar. [IX]

For one thing: ‘monogamy, instead of declining, finally becomes a reality – for the men as well’. [44] The double-standard goes first of all.

But more basically, Engels puts the emphasis on what we have already noted [in the preceding chapter] about the transformation of society at large: the future lies with a new individualism.

Here a new factor comes into operation, a factor that, at most, existed in embryo at the time when monogamy developed, namely, individual sex love. [45]

Our comparison was with ‘the full flowering of genuine and complete democracy, a new type of democracy’. For ‘democracy’ in this proposition, substitute individual sex love; and this is Engels’ approach. In both cases, the best of bourgeois thought has done enough trumpeting; a socialist transformation of society is needed to open the gates of the City of Humanity.

Thus, full freedom in marriage can become generally operative only when the abolition of capitalist production, and of the property relations created by it, has removed all those secondary economic considerations which still exert so powerful an influence on the choice of a partner. Then, no other motive remains than mutual affection.

Since sex love is by its very nature exclusive – although this exclusiveness is fully realised today only in the woman – then marriage based on sex love is by its very nature monogamy. [46]

The crux of Engels’ argument for this expectation, then, is the inherent exclusiveness of individual sex love. Obviously this is a highly controversial area, and it is quite certain that Engels would not claim that this is the sole and inevitable conclusion from Marxist theory. It is his opinion; and it invites a short excursus on –

Marxism and Love

For is it not ‘un-Marxist’ to lay so much store by, and assign such a basic role to, such a thing of the mind as ‘love’, which cannot be summed up in economic formulas and may even evade sociological analysis ?

The answer is a flat no; for, as we shall see [in the next chapter], one of the consequences of the ascent from necessity to freedom in a completely transformed society is precisely the pushing of economic and social factors into the background, and the emergence of the freed human spirit as a history-maker (social determinant) for the first time. Of course, we must still keep in mind that the ‘human spirit’ in any given epoch is the product of a long material (bio-social) evolution.

But even today, in advance of such a social transformation, the fact that this element of the human spirit is prevented from being a decisive social determinant does not mean that it is not an active factor for individuals. ‘Sex love in particular,’ remarked Engels, ‘has undergone a development and won a place during the last 800 years which has made it a compulsory pivotal point of all poetry during this period.’ [47] Of poetry – yes; but despite Shelley, poets are not the legislators of the world; they are individuals who more often belong to the anticipative department than the legislative. The further development is still ahead.

Nor is it ‘Marxist’ to reduce love to physical sex alone. This reductionism is a classic example of vulgar mechanical-materialism, and in denying the efficacy of ideas, it is quite alien to the Marxist outlook. So much for the theoretical side.

Marx himself had no more doubt about it than Engels. As is well known, he did not consider his own love for his wife as a petty-bourgeois deviation from orthodoxy. On the contrary, he took the emotional need – over and above the sexual need – as an integral part of the complete human spirit. ‘In the case of that which I truly love,’ he wrote in his first published article in 1842, ‘I feel its existence to be a necessary one, one of which I am in need, without which my being cannot have a fulfilled, satisfied and complete life.’ [48]

This insight, set down before he became a socialist, was written up at much greater length afterward, in The Holy Family. One of the Bauer brothers, who are the butt of this book, had decried ‘childishness like so-called love’. Love, replied Marx, is neither a goddess nor a devil, but simply an inseparable part of man as he is, ‘which first really teaches man to believe in the objective world outside himself’ – hence is an ‘unchristian materialist’. The trouble with Bauer is that he ‘is not against love alone, but against everything living, everything which is immediate, every sensuous experience, any and every real experience the “Whence” and the “Whither” of which is not known beforehand ‘. [49]

Nor did Marx change his mind about this later, though he wrote no manifesto on the subject. In a letter to Jenny, written after 13 years of marriage, he completely echoed his earlier words, in an unusual passage of theorisation for a personal letter:

My love for you, when you are away, emerges as what it is, as a giant, in which all the force of my spirit and all the character of my heart concentrates itself. I feel myself again a man, because I feel a great passion; and the complexities in which we are entangled by study and modern education, and the scepticism which necessarily makes us critical of all subjective and objective impressions, are wholly designed to make us all small and weak and querulous and indecisive. But love – not love for the Feuerbachian Man nor for the Moleschottian metabolism [X], nor for the proletariat – but love for the loved one, and in particular for you, makes a man a man again.

You will laugh, my sweetheart, and ask how I suddenly break out with all this rhetoric ... [50]

The other side of this viewpoint we have discussed in a previous chapter: rejection of rhetoric about abstract ‘love’ (of Humanity, etc.) as a type of reformist ideology. For love cannot be a social determinant today, in this society – a society which love cannot reform but which rather deforms love. When ‘love’ is abstractionalised into a social ideology of general reconciliation, it is also emptied of all real content, in order to turn into its opposite: hatred of class struggle.

The Revolutionisation of Monogamy

If individual sex love implies the retention of monogamy in some form, yet that form will certainly not be the same as today’s. Some of the consequences Engels looked to are touched on in the following passage:

What will most definitely disappear from monogamy, however, is all the characteristics stamped on it in consequence of its having arisen out of property relationships. These are, first, the dominance of the man, and secondly, the indissolubility of marriage. The predominance of the man in marriage is simply a consequence of his economic predominance and will vanish with it automatically. The indissolubility of marriage is partly the result of the economic conditions under which monogamy arose, and partly a tradition from the time when the connection between these economic conditions and monogamy was not yet correctly understood and was exaggerated by religion. Today it has been breached a thousand-fold. If only marriages that are based on love are moral, then also only those are moral in which love continues. The duration of the urge of individual sex love differs very much according to the individual, particularly among men; and a definite cessation of affection, or its displacement by a new passionate love, makes separation a blessing for both parties as well as for society. People will only be spared the experience of wading through the useless mire of divorce proceedings. [51]

It would appear, from the rejection of ‘divorce proceedings’, that Engels is taking for granted something akin to simple registration of marriage and divorce; and even registration would depend on its relevance to some other matter of proper societal concern. Otherwise, Engels’ general principle of 1847 would hold good – undoubtedly for him: ‘the relations between the sexes [will be] a purely private matter which concerns only the persons involved and into which society has no occasion to intervene’. In his book Ludwig Feuerbach, Engels delivers a passing thrust at the very notion of ‘state-regulated sex love, that is ... the marriage laws’ – ‘which could all disappear tomorrow without changing in the slightest the practice of love and friendship’. [52]

All this has been Engels’ opinion. Very much the same picture of a transformation in sex morals, marriage forms and the place of woman in society had been published in the book by the leader of the German party, August Bebel, Woman and Socialism, especially Chap 28, Woman in the Future. [53] Bebel emphasised that much of this was already taken for granted by advanced people for special cases like George Sand – ‘But why should only “great souls” lay claim to this right ...?’

For the rest, however, Engels inevitably winds up on the same note as other speculations about future society. He leaves the question open to solution by those more qualified than himself, viz. the men and women to come:

Thus, what we can conjecture at present about the regulation of sex relationships after the impending effacement of capitalist production is, in the main, of a negative character, limited mostly to what will vanish. But what will be added? That will be settled after a new generation has grown up: a generation of men who never in all their lives have had occasion to purchase a woman’s surrender either with money or with any other means of social power, and of women who have never been obliged to surrender to any man out of any consideration other than that of real love, or to refrain from giving themselves to their beloved for fear of the economic consequences. Once such people appear, they will not care a rap about what we today think they should do. They will establish their own practice and their own public opinion, conformable therewith, on the practice of each individual – and that’s the end of it. [54]

Problems of Women’s Liberation

Looking a little nearer than the dim future, we have already mentioned that legal equality is a necessary, but not sufficient, precondition for the full emancipation of women. Of course, that includes first of all the right to vote and hold office. [55]

Emancipation demands have also included opposition to any discrimination against women on bourgeois-moral grounds. A typical example came up in the Paris Commune of 1871 (in which the working women played a prominent and militant role), and was noted by Marx in an early draft of his Civil War in France as one of the progressive acts of the revolutionary government:

Commune has given order to the mairies to make no distinction between the femmes called illegitimate, the mothers and widows of national guards, as to the indemnity ... [56]

Beginning at Home

In addition, socialist women militants have always pointed out that equality begins at home, i.e. in the socialist movement itself. [XI] In 1868 Marx had to assure a correspondent that ‘of course’ women could join the First International the same as men. [58] (In fact, not long after the formation of the International his correspondence shows him urging a couple of women to join the International as individual members independently of their husbands. [59] In the 1860s this could hardly be taken for granted.) Another letter anticipated another question: ‘In any case ladies cannot complain of the International, for it has elected a lady, Madame [Harriet] Law, to be a member of the General Council ‘. [60]

Later, it was Marx who proposed a resolution to the General Council calling for the ‘formation of working women’s branches’, or ‘female branches among the working class’, without however interfering ‘with the existing or formation of branches composed of both sexes’. At the 1871 Conference of the International, Marx moved this in the name of the General Council, stressing ‘the need for founding women’s sections in countries whose industries engage many women’. [61]

Writing to Wilhelm Liebknecht’s wife Natalie while her husband was in jail, Engels urged that women have the same struggle to carry on as men:

Fortunately our German women do not let themselves be confused and show by deeds that the much renowned soft sentimentality is only a characteristic class-disease of the bourgeois woman. [62]

The socialist women’s movement blossomed, under the encouragement of Engels and Bebel especially, with an autonomous leadership and press of its own. (In Germany, Clara Zetkin’s organ Gleichheit eventually reached a circulation of 100,000.) In Germany it was the Lassallean wing which opposed socialist agitation for the emancipation of women and argued against the increasing entrance of women into industry. At the unity congress at Gotha in 1875 between the Lassallean and the semi-Marxist groups, the proposal of the Marxist wing (moved by Bebel) that the party go on record as favouring equal rights for women was rejected by the majority, on the traditional ground that women were ‘not prepared’ for the step. But Bebel’s book on woman was very influential. At the Erfurt (1891) congress of the Social-Democracy, which finally adopted a formally Marxist programme, the majority also finally came out in support of women’s rights demands, at least the demand for legal equality. Yet the same year, at the Second International congress, the Marxist position was still opposed by that very embodiment of social-democratic reformism, Emile Vandervelde. [63]

In England, the most promising socialist women’s leader at the time of Engels’ death was Eleanor Marx, whose remarkable career as a revolutionary organiser and agitator has been obscured by the label ‘daughter of Karl Marx’ and by the tragic circumstances of her suicide in 1898. [XII] Not only was she an extraordinarily effective political activist, working by preference among the most exploited workers of London’s East End, she was also the ablest woman trade union organiser in the New Unionism movement. After playing an active role in the building of the new-type Gas Workers’ and General Labourers Union, which organised the unskilled into a militant mass organisation – ‘by far the best union’ in Engels’ opinion [64] – she also became the acknowledged leader of the women workers in the movement, whom she organised into what were the first women’s trade union sections in the country. [65]

In addition she participated in discussions on women’s-liberation policy in the socialist women’s movement on the Continent, [66] and co-authored a pamphlet for England on The Woman Question. [67] In the intellectual circles of the decade, the ‘woman question’ was often spelled Ibsenism; Eleanor was one of the pioneers in spreading the reputation of the dramatist of the ‘New Woman’, and she was one of the first translators of both Ibsen and his fellow Norwegian Kielland.

Typically, Engels, already over 70, began to study Norwegian in order to read both of these writers in the original. [68] It is perhaps as a result of Nora’s door-slamming in The Doll House that Engels remarked, in a letter of 1893, on hearing that Hermann Schlüter’s wife had left him: ‘it is always gratifying to hear that a woman whom one knows has had the courage to go independent ... But what a prodigal waste of energy is bourgeois marriage – first till one gets that far; then as long as the business lasts; and then till one is rid of it again’. [69]

Opposition to Bourgeois Feminism

But, like the socialist women’s movements in the main, Engels had little use for the bourgeois women’s-rights leagues. For one thing, the latter (then as now) commonly counterposed abstract equality to the protection of women workers in industry. Engels explained to a feminist [XIII]:

Equal wages for equal work to either sex are, until [wages are] abolished in general, demanded, as far as I know, by all Socialists. That the working woman needs special protection against capitalist exploitation because of her special physiological functions seems obvious to me. The English women who championed the formal rights of members of their sex to permit themselves to be as thoroughly exploited by the capitalists as the men are mostly, directly or indirectly, interested in the capitalist exploitation of both sexes. I admit I am more interested in the health of the future generation than in the absolute formal equality of the sexes during the last years of the capitalist mode of production. It is my conviction that real equality of women and men can come true only when exploitation of either by capital has been abolished and private housework has been transformed into a public industry. [70]

Besides, on this question Marx had pointed out very early (1847) that gains made on behalf of women and children in the factories were then more easily won for men too. Writing of ‘the dogged resistance which the English factory owners put up to the Ten Hours’ Bill’, he explained:

They knew only too well that a two hours’ reduction of labour granted to women and children would carry with it an equal reduction of working hours for adult men. It is in the nature of large-scale industry that working hours should be equal for all. [71]

Opposition to protective legislation for women has, in the course of time, come from many different quarters besides the capitalist class itself; every ruling class learns to mobilise not only its beneficiaries but also its victims. Just as in Capital Marx had pilloried parents who exploited their children’s labour, so also he had noted the resistance of poor working-women to a limitation of the working day out of fear of reducing their already meagre earnings. [72] Resistance had come from pure-and-simple unionists who did not want ‘meddling’ legislation. Resistance had naturally come from anarchist rhetoricians of revolution: in a 1873 article Marx ridiculed the anarchist arguments that one ‘must not take the trouble to obtain legal prohibition of the employment of girls under 10 in factories because a stop is not thereby put to the exploitation of boys under 10’ – hence was a ‘compromise which damages the purity of the eternal principles’. [73] The bourgeois women’s-righters took their place in this serried phalanx.

In general, Engels – like the revolutionary Marxist women leaders, such as Clara Zetkin in Germany, and Eleanor Marx in England – vigorously supported the organisation of socialist women’s movements and working-women’s movements in the fight for full sexual equality, as against the bourgeois women’s-rights groups for whom ‘the separate women’s-rights business’ was ‘a purely bourgeois pastime’. [74] In the First International, Marx had had to fight the notorious crack-pottery of the American Section 12, led by Victoria Woodhull, which combined a pro-middle class and anti-working class ‘socialism’ with ‘free love’ cultism, spiritualism, ‘funny money’ schemes, and almost every other fad of the time. [75] Referring to a group of British counterparts, Marx summed it up as ‘follies and crotchets, such as currency quackery, false emancipation of women, etc.’ [76]

Social Revolution Comes First

As we have seen, it was not the demand or aspiration for extension of sexual freedom (’free love’ or whatever the fashionable term of the moment might be) that was in question, but rather the social ideology in which this is embedded and the strategic place this is given in the over-all work of the socialist movement. Writing of the similarities between the modern socialist movement and the first Christian communities in the days when the new religion was still subversive doctrine [XIV], Engels commented wryly on the Bible’s evidence, for the proliferation of Christian sects and their mutual recriminations, such as charges of sexual immorality:

It is a curious fact that with every great revolutionary movement the question of ‘free love’ comes into the foreground. With one set of people as a revolutionary progress, as a shaking off of old traditional fetters, no longer necessary; with others as a welcome doctrine, comfortably covering all sorts of free and easy practices between man and woman. The latter, the philistine sort, appear here soon to have got the upper hand ... [77]

The ‘curious fact’ is due to

a phenomenon common to all times of great agitation, that the traditional bonds of sexual relations, like all other fetters, are shaken off. In the first centuries of Christianity, too, there appeared often enough, side by side with ascetics which mortified the flesh, the tendency to extend Christian freedom to a more or less unrestrained intercourse between man and woman. The same thing was observed in the modern socialist movement. [78]

Saint-Simon (Engels goes on) called for ‘the rehabilitation of the flesh’ and Fourier was even more horrifying to the ruling philistines. ‘With the overcoming of utopianism these extravagances yielded to a more rational and in reality far more radical conception’ – to ‘the hypocritical indignation of the distinguished pious world’. [79]

In Marx and Engels, then, there is nothing of the later social-democratic cringing from the ‘accusation’ that social revolution entails sexual revolution. What irked them and others from time to time was the ideological package that so often accompanied obsession with the sexual side of a world that is out of joint in general. On this, too, Engels consoled himself with the observation that the subversive Christian sects had had to go through the same problem:

And just as the working-class parties in all countries are besieged by all the types who have nothing to look forward to from the official world or have been enervated by it – anti-vaccinationists, temperance advocates, vegetarians, anti-vivisectionists, nature-healers, free-community preachers whose communities have collapsed, creators of new world-genesis theories, unsuccessful or unlucky inventors, victims of real or imaginary injustices labelled ‘good-for-nothing cranks’ by the bureaucracy, honest fools and dishonest swindlers – so it was also with the first Christians. All the elements set free, ie at a loose end, by the process of the old world’s dissolution came one after the other into the orbit of Christianity as the only element resisting that process of dissolution ... [80]

What was primary was the movement for social revolution, not the many and various reform movements directed against symptoms of social dissolution.

This attitude did not counterpose socialism to the fight for women’s rights, any more than Marxism counterposed socialism to the fight for reforms, but it established a relationship between them. In this field, reforms were just as necessary as in economics or politics, and socialists would fight for them in the same spirit. But in the last analysis, the historic forms of the division of labour between the sexes could be uprooted for good and all only by as profound an upheaval as it had originally taken to impose ‘the world-historic defeat of the female sex’ of which Engels had written.


I. Cf. ME: German Ideology (see Ref n.10), 42-43. In this early manuscript (1845-46) the sexual division of labour is still largely ascribed to the supposed inherent physical weakness of women – a notion Engels later rejected; in many societies women worked harder than men. (Cf. Engels’ letter to Marx, December 8, 1882, in ME: Selected Correspondence (NY 1935), 406; and his Origin of the Family, in ME:SW 2:209-10, which we quote below.) Bebel, in Woman and Socialism (see Ref n.53), 26-27, devotes over a page to refuting the ‘weakness’ theory. In any case a distinction must be made between ability to work ‘hard’ (involving stamina) and ability to exert bursts of strength (as in combat); also between ‘weakness’ and the child-bearing function, which is relevant to the type of work feasible for women rather than strength.

II. This is what Marx wrote as thesis No.4. The edited version published by Engels in 1888 softened this to the formulation that the family must be ‘criticised in theory and revolutionised in practice’ – a change that Engels felt certain reflected the mature Marx too. This question comes up again below. (For the two formulations, see ME: German Ideology, 646, 652.)

III. The accidental pun involving dissolution and dissolute exists only in the English translation.

IV. There is no extant record of Marx’s reaction to the publication of Engel’s book, though he must have read it immediately.

V. The peculiar form and content of this article are explained in the preceding chapter.

VI. There is a myth, widely accepted among the half-informed, that Morgan’s anthropological work is now simply ‘outmoded’, like Ptolemaic astronomy, and is rejected by ‘modern anthropologists ‘. (In part this is as true as the statement that Marx is rejected by ‘modern sociologists’.) Before merely parroting this myth about Morgan, one should go to the article on him in the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences (1968 – very modern) by Professor Leslie White, not only for the article itself but especially for the appended bibliography. The issue is not this or that detail or aspect of Morgan’s views – in this respect Darwin and Newton are ‘outmoded’ as well – but rather the conflict between evolutionary anthropology and the ‘modern’ dominant anti-evolutionary school of the Boas type, which rescues established institutions from the subversive conclusions suggested by an evolutionary approach to man’s prehistory. A separate issue is the extent to which particular conclusions by Engels are based on particular details in Morgan; cf. next footnote.

VII. Engels discussed his sources in his preface to the 4th edition of 1891 (in ME:SW 2:172 & seq.) – J.J. Bachofen, J.F. McLennan, R.G. Latham, J. Lubbock, etc. besides Morgan. The modern reader should go to Robert Briffault’s The Mothers. At the end of this preface Engels distinguishes between holding to ‘Morgan’s hypotheses pertaining to particular points’ and maintaining ‘his principal conceptions’.

VIII. For the importance Engels attached to the historically limited character of monogamy, see his sharp reaction against the articles published by Karl Kautsky in 1882-83 on the prehistory of marriage, in which Kautsky suggested that at least a ‘loose’ monogamy had always existed; it is ascribed to the psychological motive of jealousy, which is apparently taken as an instinct. (So also Westermarck was going to promote the counter-revolution in anthropology by the theory of the ‘ monogamous instinct’.) See Engels’ letters to Kautsky of February 10 and March 2, 1883, in ME:W 35:432-33, 447-49. He wrote and published his Origin of the Family a year later.

IX. The argument for monogamy that Engels vigorously rejects is that it is sanctified as the ‘highest’ historical stage, etc. After which he philosophises:

‘And if strict monogamy is to be regarded as the acme of all virtue, then the palm must be given to the tapeworm, which possesses a complete male and female sexual apparatus in every one of its 50 to 200 proglottides or segments of the body, and passes the whole of its life in cohabiting with itself in every one of these segments’. [43]

X. The reference to Feuerbach is to his abstract ‘humanism’; cf. Marx’s first thesis on Feuerbach, and Engels’ Feuerbach, in ME:SW 2-402, 380-84. The reference to Moleschott hits at mechanical-materialism; cf. Engels’ Feuerbach, ibid., 372, 374; also Marx’s anonymous reference in Capital, 1:373 fn 3.

XI. Less important is the fact that socialist women have also had to be reminded that equality cuts two ways. The old society’s tradition of ‘chivalry’ and ‘gentlemanly behaviour’, which assumes the inferiority of women, dies hard. After his visit to America, Engels related in a letter:

‘Mother Wischnewetzky is very much hurt because I did not visit her in Long Branch instead of getting well ... She seems to be hurt by a breach of etiquette and lack of gallantry towards ladies. But I do not allow the little women’s-rights ladies to demand gallantry from us; if they want men’s rights, they should also let themselves be treated as men’. [57]

XII. With the publication of C. Tsuzuki’s The Life of Eleanor Marx (Oxford 1967) a modicum of justice has been done at least to the facts about her work as a revolutionary socialist – all the more strikingly since Tsuzuki’s own ideas are utterly alien to her Marxism.

XIII. This was Gertrud Guillaume-Schack (née Countess Schack) She had been a leader of the bourgeois women’s movement in Germany then was active in the socialist women’s movement for a while (a blow from which it recovered), went to England where she moved on to anarchism and was active in blighting William Morris’s Socialist League; also in the Anti-Contagious Diseases Acts Agitation. Cf. Engels’ account of her in a number of letters in ME:W 36, esp. 667 723-24.

XIV. Engels liked to quote Ernest Kenan’s statement that anyone who wanted a good idea of what the first Christian communities were like should look up a local section of the First International. (See ME: On Relig, 204-05, 315.)

Reference Notes

English translations are cited, wherever possible, from the two-volume Marx-Engels Selected Works (Moscow, Foreign Lang. Pub. House, 1955), abbreviated ME:SW. Untranslated German texts are cited, wherever possible, from the Marx-Engels Werke (Berlin, Dietz, 1961-68), abbreviated ME:W. In other cases, full bibliographic data are given on first appearance of a title, and abbreviated afterward. Volume and page number are abbreviated as follows: e.g. 3:207 = Vol.3, page 207. In all abbreviations, M = Marx, E = Engels, ME = Mark and Engels.

1. From The Philosophical Manifesto of the Historical School of Law, Rheinische Zeitung, August 9, 1842; in Marx: Writings of the Young Marx on Philosophy and Society, ed. Easton & Guddat (Garden City, Doubleday, 1967), 101-102. But this section, headed Chapter on Marriage, was not in fact published at the same time since it was excised by the censor; first published in 1927 from Marx’s Ms.

2. Ibid., 102.

3. This article, On a Proposed Divorce Law, appeared in the Rhein. Zeit., December 19, 1842. It is quoted here from M: Writgs. Yg. Mx., 137, 141, 139.

4. The Rhein Zeit had earlier, on November 15, 1842, carried an editorial note, written by Marx, appended to another’s article on the bill. Here Marx called for a purely secular analysis of the divorce issue, based on ‘human ethics’, et.c and already set down some of the ideas of the December 19 article. For this editorial note, see ME:W Erg.Bd.1, 381-91.

5. On a Proposed Divorce Law, 139.

6. Marx: Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 (Moscow, For. Lang. Pub. House, n.d.), 101.

7. Fourier as quoted in ME: The Holy Family (Moscow, For. Lang. Pub. House, 1956), 258-59.

8. Engels: Anti-Dühring, 2nd ed. (Moscow, For. Lang. Pub. House, 1959), 357.

9. Marx: Letters to Dr Kugelmann, Marxist Lib. 17 (NY, International Pub., 1934), letter of December 12, 1868, p.83.

9α. E: Cond. Wkg. Cl., in ME: On Britain, 2nd ed. (Moscow, FLPH, 1962), 179-180; other citations are from p.175, 177, 225, 234, 243, 287.

10. ME: The German Ideology (Moscow, Progress Pub, 1964), 40. (This ed. contains all three parts, not only Parts 1 and 3.)

11. Ibid., 40.

12. Ibid., 33.

13. Ibid., 44.

14. Ibid., 369.

15. Ibid., 40.

16. Ibid., 564.

17. Ibid., 192.

18. Ibid., 193.

19. ME: Gesamtausgabe (MEGA), I, 3:395. Also cf. A. Cornu: Karl Marx und Friedrich Engels (Berlin/Weimar, Aufbau-Verlag, 1968), 3:174.

20. Ibid., 402.

21. In ME: SW 1:50.

22. Engels, Principles of Communism, in ME: The Communist Manifesto [et al.] (Modern Reader Paperbacks, 1968), 80.

22α. Review of G.Fr. Daumer’s The Religion of the New Age ..., February 1850, in ME: On Religion (Moscow, FLPH, 1957), 95.

23. M: Capital (Moscow, For. Lang. Pub. House, n.d.), 1:489-90. See also Marx’s remarks on the subject at the meeting of July 28, 1868 in The General Council of the First International 1866-1868; Minutes [v.2] (Moscow, Progress Pub., n.d.), 232-33.

24. E: Anti-Dühring, 438.

25. E: Pref. to Origin of the Family, in ME:SW 2:170.

26. In ME:SW 2:241; here corrected after L.H. Morgan, Ancient Society (Chicago, Kerr, n.d.), 499 (end of Chap.5 of Part III).

27. E: Orig. Fam., in ME:SW 2:209-10.

28. Ibid., 215-17.

29. Marx, Abstract of Morgan’s Ancient Society, quoted by Engels in Orig. Fam., ibid., 217.

30. E: Orig. Fam., in ME:SW 2:221.

31. Ibid., 224.

32. Ibid., 224-25.

33. Ibid., 233.

34. Ibid., 226.

35. Ibid., 227-28; for Engels’ differentiation of this from the ancient eros, ibid., 235.

36. Ibid., 229.

37. Ibid., 237-38.

38. Ibid., 228-30.

39. Ibid., 231.

40. Ibid., 232.

41. Ibid., 232, 310.

42. Ibid., 234.

43. Ibid., 194.

44. Ibid., 234.

45. Ibid., 234.

46. Ibid., 239.

47. Engels: Ludwig Feuerbach, in ME:SW 2:337.

48. Marx, Debatten über Pressfreiheit [etc.], in Rhein. Zeit., May 5, 1842, in ME:W 1:33. He has just remarked that one must love freedom of the press in order to defend it.

49. ME: Holy Fam., 32-34. I take it that Marx is making a similar point in a woolly passage in Econ Phil Mss, 141 (end of The Power of Money in Bourgeois Society).

50. Letter of June 21, 1856, in ME:W 29:535.

51. E: Orig. Fam., in ME:SW 2:240.

52. E: Feuerbach, in ME:SW 2:377.

53. Bebel’s Die Frau und der Sozialismus was first pub 1879; his title Die Frau in der Vergangenheit, Gegenwart und Zukunft in 1883. An English trans. under title Women in the Past, Present and Future was pub. London 1885. References in this article are based on the English trans. Woman and Socialism (NY 1910, ‘Jubilee 50th ed.’, trans by M.L. Stern).

54. E: Orig. Fam., in ME:SW 2:240.

55. For ex., see letter, Engels to Ida Pauli, February 14, 1877, in ME:W 34:253.

56. First Draft of The Civil War in France, in Arkhiv Marksa i Engel’sa, v.3 (8), 1934, p 302. (The English is Marx’s.)

57. Letter to Sorge, January 12, 1889, in ME: Letters to Americans (NY, Internatl. Pub., 1953), 209.

58. Letter, Marx to Kugelmann, October 12, 1868, in M: Lett. Kugelm., 78.

59. Letter, Marx to Engels, January 25 and February 13, 1865, in ME:W 31:43, 72.

60. Letter, Marx to Kugelmann, December 12, 1868, in M: Lett. Kugelm., 83.

61. Gen. Counc. FI 1870-71 [v.4], 442, 460, 541 (n.320).

62. Letter of July 31, 1877, in ME:W 34:284.

63. B.J. Stern, article Woman, Position in Society – History, in the Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, 1937.

64. Cf. Engels’ letters: to Laura (Marx) Lafargue, May 10, 1890, in Engels-Lafargue: Correspondence (Moscow, FLPH, n.d.), 2:375; to Sorge, April 19, 1890, in ME: Lett. Amer., 230; to Bebel, May 9, 1890, in ME:W 37:401.

65. For Eleanor’s work as trade union organiser among women, see (besides letters listed in n.64) Tsuzuki, Life, 198-99, 202-03; Engels’ article May 4 in London, 1890, in ME: On Britain, 2nd ed. (Moscow, FLPH, 1962), 522-23; and his letters as follows: to Guesde, November 20, 1889, in ME:W 37:312; to Sorge, December 7, 1889, in ME: Selected Correspondence (Moscow, FLPH, n.d.), 490; to Natalie Liebknecht, December 24, 1889, in ME:W 37:330; to Sorge, April 30, 1890, in ME:W 37: 396.

66. Cf. letter, Engels to Laura (Marx) Laf argue, October 2, 1891, in E-Lafargue Corr., 3:109.

67. Published London, 1886; cf. Tsuzuki, Life, 124-25.

68. F. Lessner, in Reminiscences of Marx and Engels (Moscow n.d.), 180.

69. Letter, Engels to Bebel, October 12, 1893, in ME:W 39:142.

70. Letter, Engels to G. Guillaume-Schack, ab July 5, 1885, in ME: Sel. Corr. (FLPH), 461-62, corrected after ME:W 36:341.

71. Marx: The Poverty of Philosophy (Moscow, FLPH, n.d.), 77.

72. M: Capital, 1:554 and n 4 on same page; cf. also Marx’s letter to Kugelmann, March 17, 1868, in M: Lett. Kugelm., 66.

73. Marx, Indifference in Political Affairs, in ME: Scritti Italiani (Rome, Ed. Avanti, 1955), 98.

74. Cf. letter, Engels to Bebel, October 1, 1891, in ME:W 38:164; and to Laura (Marx) Lafargue, October 2, 1891, in E-Lafargue Corr., 3:109. Early in 1892, both Eleanor and Laura as well as Louise Kautsky had articles in the Vienna Arbeiterinnenzeitung on disputed


75. For the story of the Woodhull-Claflin ‘Section 12’ in general, see Samuel Bernstein: The First International in America (NY 1962). For Marx’s documentation on the anti-proletarian politics of the group, see his notes American Split, in Gen. Counc. FI 1871-72 [v.5], 323-32.

76. Letter, Marx to F. Bolte, November 23, 1871, in ME:W 33:328, referring to the ‘O’Brienite’ sect.

77. Engels, The Book of Revelation, in ME: On Religion (Moscow, FLPH, 1957), 205.

78. Engels, On the History of Early Christianity, in ME: On Relig, 329.

79. Ibid., 330.

80. Ibid., 319-20.

Last updated on 3.2.2008