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From The Socialist newspaper, 20 June 2018

Film: The Young Karl Marx (2017)

Inspirational account of young Marx's political battles

Friedrich Engels (Stephan Konarske) and Karl Marx (August Diehl) in The Young Karl Marx, still from The Young Karl Marx/Diaphana Films

Friedrich Engels (Stephan Konarske) and Karl Marx (August Diehl) in The Young Karl Marx, still from The Young Karl Marx/Diaphana Films   (Click to enlarge)

Sťamus Smyth, Birmingham South East Socialist Party

Director Raoul Peck takes us on a voyage through the life of 'The Young Karl Marx'. At first a follower of the idealist philosopher Hegel, he becomes fed up with just interpreting the world - and by the end is writing the Communist Manifesto.

Yet again, Peck has delivered an amazing contribution to the world of cinema. From 'Profit and Nothing But' in 2001 to 'I Am Not Your Negro' in 2016, he brings a refreshing approach to class struggle.

We see a passionate Marx (August Diehl) going through enraging exile, and meeting his collaborator Friedrich Engels. He finds love in his wife Jenny (Vicky Krieps), who continuously supports her husband in his struggle against the exploitation of the working class and the capitalist system.

A detailed screenplay by Pascal Bonitzer explores the era's philosophical changes. It shows how ideas develop and find expression through a changing social and economic environment.

Marx and Engels challenge the utopian socialist leadership of the 'League of the Just' and we see its transformation into the scientific socialist 'Communist League', with an amazing performance from Stefan Konarske as Engels.

Marx criticises Pierre-Joseph Proudhon's anarchist ideas which oppose political action, contained in 'The Philosophy of Poverty', with a response titled 'The Poverty of Philosophy'.

He then takes on fellow Communist League leader August Willich, in an intense argument against acts of terrorism as a method of socialist struggle, following the failure of the revolutions of 1848.

The film shows the severe poverty Marx lived in, and how it helped to drive him to fight for change in society. The same principles Marx held call out to us today: for socialism to overthrow capitalism in a workers' revolution.

Be the viewer socialist or not, this film is a masterpiece in its own right. It will inflame and inspire anyone - in particular those most passionate about the brutality of capitalism, and who want to fight for socialist change.

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In The Socialist 20 June 2018:

What we think

Desperate divisions in Tories - Corbyn and unions must act


Tory cash boost not enough - save our NHS

No to Trump's climate change chaos

Universal Credit delivers claimant misery

Refugee suicide scandal

Them & Us

What We Saw

International socialist news and analysis

Seattle council repeals Amazon Tax

1000 issues of the Socialist

1000 issues of the Socialist: A vital weapon standing in proud traditions

Greetings from readers of the Socialist

How do we produce the Socialist?


DWP surrenders to union pressure - now vote Yes to smash pay cap for everyone

Rolls-Royce: fight all job cuts!

GMB union: NHS reps reject Tory pay offer

McStrikers and young workers take centre stage at bakers' union 2018 conference

Northern Rail strike reaches 21 days of action to save guards

Miners demand end to pensions robbery

Yorks NHS workers fight outsourcing

Unite agrees NSSN affiliation - come to the NSSN conference!

Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Tamil Solidarity Day: intense, lively, thought-provoking

Grenfell disaster: one year on, still no prosecutions, still no adequate housing..

Organisers' school - an opportunity to educate and discuss

Leeds: Disability campaigners force council to retreat

Wrenford centre: Stop heartless Tory cuts

Knowsley council pushed back on cuts and privatisation

Orgreave - no justice, no peace


Inspirational account of young Marx's political battles

Rousing, funny take on Marxism - from the man himself

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