„To my dear Cacadou. Old Nick“

15 original photographs of Karl Marx.
They shape our image of him until today.


What has Marx done today?


Capitalism has subjected the country to the rule of the towns. It has created enormous cities. Capitalism has agglomerated population, centralised means of production, and has concentrated property in a few hands.”

As many readers will know, Karl Marx wrote these words, but used ‘bourgeoisie’ instead of capitalism. The words were swapped in a 2012 lecture by John Lanchester (he of Whoops, and Capital) marking Marx’s 193rd birthday, to show how prescient he was in describing the structure of capitalism and the way in which it changes the landscape.

The multiple crisis of capitalism goes hand in hand with a multiple crisis of the left. And amidst this crisis, we find ourselves commemorating the 200th birthday of Karl Marx and the 150th anniversary of the publication of the first volume of Capital. But how are we to treat Marx and his works? How important is he for us today – for our capacity to transform the world in practice?

Immanuel Wallerstein (, currently a Senior Research Scholar at Yale University, New Haven – USA, is among the greatest living sociologists and one of the most appropriate scholars to discuss the current relevance of Marx. He has been a reader of Marx for long time and his work has been influenced by the theories of the revolutionary born in Trier, on 5 May 1818. Wallerstein has authored more than 30 books, which have been translated into several languages, including his very well known The Modern World-System, published in four volumes between 1974 and 2011.

In 2011, I invited Postone to speak at the New School for Social Research in New York, as the keynote to a graduate student philosophy conference called "The Spirit of Capital: Hegel and Marx." Postone gave a sweeping lecture on the the role of Hegel's concept of Spirit in the works of Marx and Lukács. His critique of labor was disorienting for many, as was his view of capital as an "automatic subject", similar to Hegel's view of the self-mediating dynamic of Geist. After the conference, Postone mentioned that he was working on three books: one on Capital, one on the Holocaust, and one on Critical Theory. I hope they one day see the light. On the occasion of his death, I offer the following brief summary of some of his key ideas on Marx, capital and value.

The International Working Men’s Association - founded in London on September 28, 1864 - was an organization with several different political currents that were able to coexist with each other. Reformist trade unionists from England, French mutualists inspired by the theories of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, anticapitalists, and a variety of other groups, including those who were influenced by the ideas of 'utopian' socialists, participated for eight intense years to develop the first transnational political experience of the labour movement.

Media Library



Numerous authors wrote forewords and afterwords for Capital and the Manifesto. They are indicative of the relative social contexts and provide evidence of the historical shifts in the reception of these works. What did these authors emphasise in their fore- and afterwords? Which readings of the texts did they produce? Which topics stood at the centre of debate at a particular moment?


Work on the Historisch Kritische Wörterbuch des Marxismus (HKWM) project began in 1983, the year of the 100th anniversary of the death of Karl Marx. In over 15 volumes including 1,500 entries, numerous authors define and explain Marxist terminology. So far, volumes 1 to 8/II have been published; some of the most important terms stem from these volumes.

The journal Historical Materialism has published some further terms in English.

Following Marx

Marxism? Think one, two, many Marxes …

"All I know is that I am not a Marxist," Karl Marx is reported to have said. He made this much quoted remark with a nod to the Marxist current developing in France at the time. We do not know what exactly Marx was distancing himself from. What is certain, however, is he could not have anticipated one thing: the extent to which, following his death, in his name, though in the form of an "ism," one of the most influential intellectual currents and political movements would spread across the entire globe – Marxism.