New biography of Marx

Charles Brown CharlesB at
Mon Sep 27 15:20:49 MDT 1999

Yes, Russell, I have read Kapp's two volume bio. Engels favorite expression was "Take
it easy". Eleanor used to tease her father about having two brains ( dialectician , I
guess) . Marx's favorite color was red , (ha ha). Marx also had the nickname of
"Charlie". I know about "Moor", afterall, he was Semitic.  Marx visited North Africa
at the end of his life.

And of course, Marx had a child with Lenchen, and Engels claimed it as his until on
his death bed. Marx's living descendents are from this son.

Charles Brown

>>> Russell Grinker <grinker at> 09/27/99 03:10PM >>>
An interesting point is that Marx himself had such a dark complexion that he
was known as Mohr or "the Moor" by close members of his family.  All this
and more is well covered in Yvonne Kapp's two biographies of Eleanor Marx
(pub. Lawrence & Wishart), which as has been mentioned before on this list,
is definitely required reading for anyone wanting to know more about Marx
the man.


-----Original Message-----
From: Charles Brown <CharlesB at>
To: marxism at <marxism at>
Date: Monday, September 27, 1999 4:59 PM
Subject: Re: New biography of Marx

>Charles, yours truly, writes:
>I read a letter from Marx to Engels in the collected works in which Marx
calls Ferdinand Lasalle (spelling ?) a "Jewish nigger" after Lasalle had
been a house guest for a few days. Marx recites a number of stereotypical
prejudicial observations regarding Lasalle's personality.
>I wonder if Lasalle was actually Black, since he had quite a following in
the European revolutionary movement, n'est-ce pas ?  Probably was.
> At one point Engels was trying to unite the Lasalleans and other sections
as the Left in the German SDL Party, I believe. Thus, despite the sharp
criticisms of Lasalle by Marx and Engels ( the substantive ones), Lasalle
had some effectiveness as an activist.
>>>Engels to Laura Lafargue, 11 June 1889
>>>"Here is a bit of news for Paul. Sam Moore gives us tonight a parting
>>>dinner; he sails on Saturday for the Niger, where, at Ashaba, in the
>>>interior of Africa, he will be Chief Justice of the Territories of
>>>Royal Niger Company, Chartered and Limited, with six months' leave to
>>>Europe every other year, good pay, and the expectation of returning
>>in 8
>>>years or so an independent man. It was chiefly in honour of Paul that
>>>consented to become Lord Chief Justice of the Niger Niggers, the very
>>>of Nigritian Niger Niggerdom."
>>>I don't know if this is a racist outburst, Engels trying to be funny
>>or his
>>>simply expressing frustration at Sam Moore taking up a post of which
>>>disapproved. I nothing about Moore except that he helped translate
>>>But remember that for Engels' generation the words "racism",
>>"holocaust" or
>>>genocide did not exist. To use words like the above nowadays is to
>>make a
>>>social statement. That was not so much the case in Engels' time.
>>>It's not just that attitudes change with time but that both the
>>meaning and
>>>the emotional significance of words change too. There is no evidence
>>>Engels' published work that he was a racist, although there was no
>>>of racists around. Just as his vocabulary here makes us cringe, so
>>might he
>>>find the current acceptability of public profanity and the obsession
>>>bodily function that now passes for stand-up comedy profoundly
>>>David Bruce, Ryelands Digital
>>>Tel: +44 1357 440459  Fax: +44 1357 440464

More information about the Marxism mailing list