Marx breaking street lamps for fun

Tim Delaney tjd at
Mon Dec 27 08:10:40 MST 1999

On 12/26/99, michael perelman wrote:
>I have not read that bio., but I recall that he threw the rocks once
>when Bauer visited him.
>Charles Brown wrote:
>  > >From another list, on Marx,  and the threads on celebrating
>x-mas and anarchist destruction of property.
>  >
>  > :)>
>  >
>  > CB
>  >
>  > &&&&&&&&&&
>  >
>  >  Has anyone read the new Wheen bio of Marx. Apparently
>  > Marx used to get up to hijinks by throwing stones at street lamps and
>  > then split when the bobbies arrived. There's nothing wrong with
>  > having fun as long as its at the bosses' expense. Its when we are
>  > paying for it that makes it no fun at all.


I recall this account from Robert Payne's biography of Marx, which
has been out of print for quite some time.  I seem to recall that the
tale involved Bakunin and drunkenness too.  Anyway, Payne plays up
the story as evidence of Marx's delinquent character -- the great
revolutionary theorist is at bottom nothing more than a common
hooligan, etc., etc.  He used the same tactic in his biography of
Lenin.  Lenin's sister recalled a childhood episode where the young
Vladimir twisted the legs off a toy horse.  Payne found this to be
prime evidence that Lenin was no good from the get-go and if he'd
been sent to reform school the Russian Revolution might have been

What a shame that Payne's powerful scholarship is no longer available...


Tim Delaney

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