Category: Marxism

On this day: Friedrich Engels, Prussian political theorist and ‘gravedigger of capitalism’, is born (28th November 1820)

In 1842, the 22-year-old Friedrich Engels travelled to tend to family business near Manchester, England. Sent by his father to protect the family investment in a cotton manufacturing firm in Salford, with the added paternal hope that exposing his son to the realities of business would rid him of his increasingly radical leanings. Instead, Engels witnessed the misery and desperation that had arrived on the banks of the river Irk. As the steam engine and mechanised textile production had spread across Great Britain and continental Europe in the early 19th century, a new epoch of industrialisation had arrived. The dilapidation, unsanitary conditions, and personal estrangement threatening public health and gruelling labour, meagre pay, and long hours expected of workers proved hard to ignore. [caption id="attachment_4391" align="alignright" width="300"] The family business in Manchester, the offices of Ermen and Engels' Victoria Mill[/caption] Born in 1820, in what was then the kingdom of Prussia,…