The Young Karl Marx (2017) Script

In early 1843, Europe, ruled by absolute monarchs, wracked by crises, famine and recession, is on the verge of change.

In England, the industrial revolution transforms the world's order and creates the new proletarian class.

Workers' organizations are founded, based on a "communist" utopia in which all men are brothers.

Two young Germans will disrupt this notion, thereby transforming the struggle... and the world's future.


To gather green wood, one must rip it violently from the living tree.

Yet gathering dead wood removes nothing from the property.

Only what is already separated is removed from the property.

Despite this essential difference, you call both acts theft and punish them as such.

Montesquieu names two kinds of corruption.

One when the people do not observe the laws.

The other when the laws corrupt them.

You have erased the difference between theft and gathering.

But you are wrong to believe it is in your interest.

The people see the punishment, but not the crime.

Cologne, April 1843 And, as they do not see a crime... when they are punished, you should fear them, for they will take revenge.

So, Karl, satisfied?

Am I satisfied, Stirner?

I don't know.

It's partly due to you that it's come to this.

Two things satisfy me: that my article has had an effect and that Prussian despotism reveals itself at last.

Yes, that satisfies me. And the paper...

Gagged and dismantled our words muzzled.

Us imprisoned. What could I do?

Remain silent? Censor myself?

Be content with allusions like you?

Very smart! Be fair.

What are we victims of? Our success.

Success that we owe above all to Karl's writings!

And what is the result? We're finished!

A fine success! Bravo!

Don't open the door!

If they break it down, they'll slaughter us!

So? Stop it!

Shut your mouth! Enough.

Why are we trembling?

They can kill the Rheinische Zeitung, they can try to gag us, but they cannot kill thought!

We won't surrender! We'll found...

A new paper? Yes.

We'll find funds... With the same nonsense?

The Rheinische Zeitung, nonsense?

Scribbles urging world revolution, devoid of ideas and concepts.

What do you do?

Produce some vague understatements, vague literary reviews, vague socialist theories.

Take that back! I'm sick of your arrogance.

We all are!


I'm sick of you too, Bauer, and all you Young Hegelians, "free thinkers" as you call yourselves.

Have fun, you clowns!

No, Ruge! I've enough fighting with pins.

I want a sledgehammer!

Enough hypocrisy, stupidity and brutal authority.

They've banned us? Good!

What are you doing?

A few nights in jail will do us good.

Gentlemen, I'm all ours. Y.

Come along! Hands off me!

Hurry it UP!

I have an offer for you... Quiet!

I want to start a new journal.

Different, freer.

More modern, bolder.

What would you say to Paris?

Manchester, England They took the lids off the steam looms. People got burnt.

This has to stop! It's intolerable!

Ermen & Engels Mill

Who cut the belts?

Ten to one it was those Irish clogs.

What about Roisin? Yeah, what about Roisin?

The girl who fell asleep at the loom and got her fingers cut off, eh?

Who'll give her back her fingers?

May I? Be quiet.

It'll teach her to pay more attention. You lot are paid to work, not to sleep.

We do work! Careful.

You're stirring them up. Paid?

She hadn't slept in three days, and now she can go off and die?

Call that a job? Quiet!

The repairs will be clocked from your wages.

That's all you get out of it. You're lucky I don't sack the lot of you!

Repairing machines is expensive. Not like labour in Manchester.

Ten fingers is all we're worth.

And if we lose them, we're fit for the scrap heap, is that it?

She's the one who was talking about Roisin.

She's the ringleader. What was her name?

Ask me, boss. I have a mouth myself.

A big one too, by the sound of it.

My name is Mary Burns.

I was born in Tipperary, and now a slave at the Ermen and Engels Spinning Mill in Manchester, England.

Get rid of her.

She can find her food elsewhere.

You heard him. Get out!

And anyone else with big ideas can go with her.

You have to weed out the bad apples. I want a list... of all the troublemakers and rabble-rousers.

Father, don't you think that's enough?

You want to tell me how to run a factory?

No, Father.

That is not my ambition...

Hey! Maybe next time.

Excuse me. What's in there? In there?

The Irish. Alright, thank you.

If I were you, I'd avoid it.

Let me introduce myself.

We know who you are. Shut up.

Why are you talking to him?

He's the boss's son. Who? Which boss?

He's the Engels son from Ermen and Engels mills on Regent Road and Bridgewater.

Where we worked our fingers to the bone till today, when we got sacked.

Yes, I am the Engels son.

My first name's Friedrich, but you can call me Fred, or Freddy.

What do you want? This is no place for you.

There's plenty of pubs across the Irwell for gentlemen like you.

Gentlemen who throw us out like dogs.

Like the Irish dogs we are.

We're all Irish clogs here, right, Paddy? Yeah.

And I know one who'll spit his baccy juice all over this gentleman's shiny boots.

Mind yourself. I'd get over it.

And please stop calling me a gentleman. I'm neither English nor a gentleman.

You don't say.

I hate and despise gentlemen.

They are swine who grow fat on the sweat of labourers.

He's making fun of us.

You know what I think, fellas? I think he came to have a laugh at us.

He's got nerves. I've come here to enlist your help.

That's why I came. He wants to enlist us?

What sort of a list will that be? I'm writing a book.

I need first-hand accounts. A book? He's writing a book?

About the condition of the working class in Manchester and Leeds.

Is that a gold clock you got there?

Whose sweat bought you this? Okay, Paddy.

Let's not make a big fuss about this. You want a first-hand account?

Well, here's a worker's hand, see?

You'll get it on your gentleman's nose if you don't get out right now.

So be gone.

What if I'd rather stay?

You alright, mister?

You hurt?



Paris, July 1844

What is it, Alphonsine?

Nothing, Madam Jenny, she woke.

Leave her with me.

I don't trust little Alphonsine.

She steals from us, she snoops, she's false...

Let her steal. We owe her two months' pay.


My Lenchen.

If Lenchen could join us here...

You miss Trier.


I miss Lenchen.

She learnt French in Metz.

Your loyal servant, your big house, your huge estate, your beloved family. I took you away. For what?

I can't even get Ruge to pay me!


Do you know what your worst flaw is?

Go on.

You're unfair. I am?

Yes, unfair with others.

With me. With Ruge.

Ruge pays badly, but he gave us Paris.

He gave you to me. Without this trip, we wouldn't be married.

You think that without Paris...

I'm happy, Karl.

If they don't accept the fact That we love each other Then good night!

Even if it annoys people Even if it annoys people I love you all the same...

You have to introduce your mother to her granddaughter one day.

I should return to Trier? Not for long.

Perhaps I could obtain some money from Mother.

Yes. Why not? It's an idea.


If Jennychen and I are too much of a burden...

Now you're being unfair. No.

It's a wonderful idea.

My reactionary brother will be delighted to see me come home to beg.

Forget what I said.

I can already hear his sermons on his sister's misalliance with that damn socialist atheist Jew who cannot even feed his family with his subversive writings.

I shall tell you everything! You'll hear every last bitter word.

All right.

You win.

I'm working on two books.

Plus my articles.

You should tidy up.


As for Ruge...

You're too patient.

He isn't poor.

He has shares in the Cologne-Antwerp railway.


Yes, everyone knows.

I didn't know.

Try my cigars! Toscanis!

Londres! Coronas!



A cigar.

Choose, citizen. Robusta, Corona, Londres...


This one.

Three sous, if you can smoke it.

Two for five?


I shall give the floor to a man from Lyons who honours us with his presence. Our dear and great Proudhon!

Friends, comrades, citizens!

I'm delighted to be here with you at this republican banquet.

Long live Proudhon!

They wanted to ban these banquets for they fear your anger, and so they should!

That's true!

For the people always outnumber the police, just as the thirst for freedom exceeds repression!

Down with Guizot! Up with craftsmen!

It's you!

You are the craftsmen, the weavers, the cobblers, the tailors, the carpenters, who create this country's wealth!

What about the workers?

The navvies, the mechanics, the smelters!

I'm not forgetting them!

Those men, women and children chained to the new machines of fire and brimstone without enough bread at times to keep up their strength...

I'll say it clearly and simply!

They're being murdered!

And now to my subject...

What is slavery?

If I reply that it's murder, you immediately agree.

So when I ask, "What is property?", if I reply that it's theft, must I continually explain myself?

Property? But which property?

Private, bourgeois property?

I know that man. He's Karl Marx.

Property in general, given as a natural right like liberty, equality or security.

They're abstractions.

They're rights!

Natural rights!

The liberty, equality and security of each citizen, do not affect those of all but strengthen them!

They are natural social rights!

Property, on the other hand, necessarily hampers the liberty, equality and security of others.

As a natural right, it is antisocial!

Therefore I do not demand its extension to all, but simply its abolition!

Bravo! Viva!

Down with property, the king, the state!

Long live anarchy!

Yes, Mikhail, I agree with you.

But, careful, enemy ears are listening.

Mikhail Alexandrovich Bakunin.

You found fault with the Master.

They call him the Master.

I know no master, no god, no king.

Karl Marx. I'm no anarchist.

I thought as much.

1 read The German-French Annals. Your hand.

I sense the blood stirring in a man's veins.

And it stirs in the veins of your writing.

You read The Annals? Why not write for them?

Proudhon, allow me to introduce Marx of The German-French Annals.

Hello. Marx!


My wife, Jenny.

Delighted. Hello.

Grun translates The Annals for me.

He must betray them then.

You enjoy argument, young man. Contradiction, rather.

True, you're a Hegelian. A materialist above all.

You didn't answer me about property.

I defined it, I believe.

And theft? How do you define that?

Do we need to?

We all know it's the violation of another's goods.

I'm sorry, my French... Your French is good.

Thank you. So... property is the same thing?

You say property is theft.

When I steal someone's property, what am I stealing from?


You pretend not to understand, I presume.

Karl never pretends.

He is saying that your phrase is an image.

A fine image, but, as you French say, an image chasing its own tail.

You both speak truly excellent French.

Don't they, Grun?

Excellent news, my friends! The Faubourg St-Antoine is in flames!

What happened?

It all began with one cobbler.

He took a three-franc piece to his boss.

The boss found it shabby and offered him fifty sous.

But the fellow refuses.

The bastard throws him out.

The cobbler returns with his comrades to smash everything.

Now the police, the league and the National Guard are involved!

It's a riot!

Weitling, calm down. The Faubourg riots every clay.

It's no revolution.

No, but it's heating up.

I'm looking for Arnold Ruge...

He lives next door. Take that door.

You know there's a spy outside?

The man in the filthy scarf? Yes.

Hard not to spot him.

A compatriot of yours?

You know that boy?


What will you do about the spy opposite?

He notes entries and exits. What can I do about it?

I could go and beat him up.

It wouldn't bother me.

Certainly not!

We're tolerated here, but must not make waves.

Shall I serve you too, darling?

Just a finger, darling, just a finger.


Truly excellent.

However, I can't pay you right away.

I'm sorry. I have enough to keep going.

That's good.

May I? Of course.

It's a pleasure working with you. Unlike others.

Who are you thinking of? Feuerbach?


He owes me an article. No...


Ah, him...

Do you know him?

We met in Berlin.

Doing a paper with that fellow!

Impossible, isn't he? You said it!

His articles are never ready.

He always wants to improve them.

The man is a lout too.

To think I said I'd put him and his wife up...

His wife. My God, his wife!

A fury or a fishwife?

Who are you talking about?

You know there's a spy outside?

So it seems.

Karl, allow me to introduce Friedrich Engels.

Haven't we met before?

My kitchen...


At Bettina von Arnim's salon! Precisely.

You were arrogant.

Perhaps. I was young. And rich.

And you showed it.

I don't remember that. I do.

You spoke as if you invented Communism, with your officer's epaulettes and gold buttons...

It was risible!

Why brood on the past?

Let's turn to the future. Indeed.

You know why I'm here.

I told you, my situation...

Spare me that!

I have a sick child and a family to feed.

You owe me for two articles.

Listen to me... And your railway shares?

The price has dropped. Too bad, sell at a loss!

I gave you two fundamental articles, pay what you owe me.

Ruge, do you need a loan?

Who asked you? I spoke to Ruge.

I won't take a single sou from a... From a...?

From some wealthy amateur who seeks amusement by frequenting those worse off.

Please... Wait here for me.

I'll see what I can find... Yes, do that.

You seem to know me well.

Have you read my writings?

I've read yours.

Notably your Critique of Hegel is Philosophy of Right.

I couldn't care less.


An 1839 Chablis...

An excellent host, Ruge, even if he doesn't pay...


I've never read anything so precise and also so gripping.

You have put Hegelian dialectic back on its feet.

I'm 24. You can't be much older...

You're the greatest materialist thinker of our times.

You're a genius, my clear fellow.

A genius.

Your investigation of the English proletariat...

The Condition of the Working Class in England? Yes.

That's mine.

May I be frank?

Go ahead.

I can take it.

It's a first class piece of work.

No one had clone it before.

In short... it's colossal.


Better than your cheap muck, isn't it?

It's different.

Your knowledge of the workers' world is unrivalled...

Manchester, the slums, the factories...

You know both the workers' misery and upper spheres of the bourgeoisie.

How do you do it?

I'm ashamed to say it.

I'm my father's signatory.

He has three mills there with a partner, and ten others in Barmen.

All right, but the rest?

The workers' lives? Yes.

That's something else.

A love affair.

Are your papers in order?

I have my passport somewhere.

Let's not risk it.

They're edgy with foreigners, especially Germans.

Just follow me.

Keep moving.

At my signal, we turn right.


Stop! Two men with me!

Leave it! It's an heirloom!


I order you to stop!


Hello. What a nerve!


Help! The police!

Help! Out of the way!

To return to your writings...

What you lack...

If I may... Go on.

Don't take it badly.

Your critique of religion and idealism will leave a mark.

But read the English economists. Ricardo. Smith.


They're the basis of everything.

Do you read English?

I'm a fast learner.


Another? On me. All right.


Two more!


I have no choice.


To minds that truly think and to free spirits!


I didn't see it.


I've had it with Ruge.

I'll give my writings to Vorwarts.

I'm completely broke...

So am I... Waiter!

I'm serious, I need money.

Have I mentioned my wife?


The prettiest aristocrat in Trier.

She's a Westphalen, one of the country's oldest families...

And who did she marry? Me.

The son of a converted Jew.

You've no idea how happy she makes me.

You're a lucky man. Yes.

And you?


Didn't you mention a love in your life?



All right, cheerio!


Not really.

I'll see you home.


I'll see you home.


Thank you.

You know...

I think I've understood something.

Thanks to you.

You've made me realize something. You too.

No, you.


Until now, philosophers... Ah, philosophers...

Listen to me. Let's go.

Until now, philosophers have simply interpreted...

Interpreted the world...

Yet it must be transformed...

But with what?

With whom?


He'll help us.

Come on!


Karl, where are you?

Oh, God...

God, my head.

You're leaving already?

Thank you for your hospitality.

Your... generosity.

Matters to see to. Matters of the heart.

Don't forget our matter. How could I?

We didn't just drink last night.

We took notes.

We're going to write a book together.

A critique of Stirner, Bauer...

Those sentimental Berlin Socialists.

The writers of the so-called Critical Critique.

We'll bring things to a head, Jenny... To a head?


And the title?

We're just starting...

I imagine a title, looking at you both.

Critique of Critical Critique.

"The real price of everything... "

Der wahre Preis "to the man who wants to acquire it, is the toil and the trouble. " Die Miihe und o'er Aufwand.

To acquire: erwerben.

To dispose and exchange it... it's the toil or trouble which he can save himself

and which he can impose upon other people. "

"Labour was the first price,

the original purchase money that was paid for all things. "

You know, Karl has adopted you.

He doesn't make friends easily.

He never brought anyone home before.

You're the first.

Perhaps not a very good memory for you.

I've read your essay.

It sparkles like champagne.

I can measure what you bring Karl.

The thing is...

Allow me to be frank. He doesn't have your constitution.

You're athletic.

After drinking, you're as fresh as a daisy, but he needs clays to recover.

So lead him wherever you like, but please try to calm him.

You're an extraordinary woman, Frau Marx.


You're admirable.

You could have had a rich and idle life with a fellow aristocrat, basking in luxury and envy.

I escaped utter boredom, yes.

Happiness requires rebellion.

Rebellion against the establishment, the old world. That's what I believe.

And I hope to see the old world crack soon.

The two of us.


The three of us, Jenny.

We'll overthrow it...

This old world.

It might take more than three of us, don't you think?

My dear Marx, as a filthy little peasant child, I hoed for potatoes, threshed wheat, kept cows...

Sitting is agony for me.

I'm doing it for you, Courbet.

Honoured, Master. No master!

You paint for the people and so I approve of you. I abhor all other artists.

So what of Raphael, Da Vinci, Michelangelo?

I reject them.

Art in the future will be collective, for the collective.

Swapping bishops? A risky strategy.

Go on, swap them.

My knight is trapped.

Another game. That move is infallible.

There are no infallible moves in chess, Dr Marx.

You're too sure of yourself.

Enough of this!

Sorry, I can't go on.

You've met my friend, Friedrich Engels.

We're writing about you, sir. Really?

To defend you against German supporters of Critical Critique, Bauer and so on...

Your friend Grun too. They attack me?

Violently. And you defend me?

You? Defending someone?

A low blow.

I believe there are two men in you.

The critical Proudhon, thinking in abstract categories, and the real Proudhon, who sees real poverty.

We defend the second. Against the first?


For Critical Critique, owning and not owning, stupidly called "having" and "non-having" are abstract ideas.

Like you, we say to have nothing is not an abstract notion, but a reality, an appalling reality.

These clays, a man with nothing is nothing.

Money creates his worth.

That's why you were right to analyse the economics behind that.

Especially as no socialist writer had clone so.

Your book is the French proletariat's first scientific manifesto.

Thank you.

Let's drink to your work.

Its title?

The title?

Critique of Critical Critique.

Very amusing.

It sounds very dialectical, very Hegelian.

Assassination attempt!

Three shots fired! Assassination attempt on Friedrich Wilhelm IV!

Assassination attempt on the King of Prussia!

The key point... is merchandise.

Work, your work, can be seen as merchandise.

Faubourg Saint-Antoine, Craft workers' meeting Your labour is sold like merchandise to your employer.

Except that you're not free.

You're forced to sell it to live.

It's killing us! And sell at a low price.

There'll always be bosses and workers. Not always!

Saying "there'll always be" is a bourgeois notion.

Capital wants us to think that.

But everything moves.

Everything is subject to change. Nothing lasts.

All social relations - slavery, serfdom, salaried work - are historical and transient.

The truth is, current conditions must change.

The bourgeois is still free to hire labour, the worker still forced to sell it.

The bourgeois loves talking of liberty but that liberty is for him, not for you, as you know.

You sense it in your flesh each and every clay!

So the game is not a fair one.

That is clear.

It is rigged.

What mistake do reformers like Proudhon make in considering equal pay for all the goal of social revolution?

They dream of improving a system that naturally produces poverty.

Not of transforming it.

Proudhon is a great man! He is.

No doubt about it. A great man.

Not a great economist.

He has his place in the vast movement rising up in New York, represented here by Hermann Kriege...

in Brussels, London, Geneva, even in Russia, and above all in Germany, the homeland of our famous friend Weitling!

And where our sinister Friedrich Wilhelm fell victim to an assassination attempt.

That unfortunately failed.

And also in England, the home of my friend Engels...

I'm proud to pass the floor to Weitling.

You didn't pull your punches.

My friends, this meeting...

About the attack? Sorry, I had no time to let you read it.

I don't mind, but the Prussian embassy won't like it.

I didn't write it for them. Just be careful.

If anything happens to you, I won't be here to defend you.

...different words to get this feeling across.

Your trunks are already packed?


Tonight, I'm in London, tomorrow Manchester.

We'll miss you. Come here.

I'm the one who'll suffer.

What about your great love?

If only it were that...

Hurry back. We have work to do.

Our hearts beat as one!

In the bright sun filled with love!

In the bright sun of revolt!


My brothers, my friends...

We are one!

We are invincible!

The first floor.




Mr Karl Marx?

Yes, that's me.

On orders of Prime Minister Guizot, in the King's name, you are expelled from France.

The King of France or of Prussia?

He's being witty.

Leave within 24 hours.

You must be joking!

You think so?

Your passports.

Within 24 hours.

To go where?


We have to sell everything.

In one clay? We have no choice.

They've all been expelled: Bakunin, Hess...

Even Ruge.

My darling?

Are you ill?


I'm expecting again.

Yes, Father?

How are you?

How are you?

I'm surviving. I call it "being useful".

I pay you for it, rather well.

Is there something you wanted to tell me?

People in my London club, ask after you. My friend Naylor often says, "What's young Freddie up to?"

I can't lie. What should I tell him? Whatever you like, Father.

Tell him I go fox hunting, play cards and work hard for you.

What if he shows me that?

What should I tell him? That it's a work of religion?

It's not what you think. Don't play with me.

It is not a satire on religion. It's against the Young Hegelians, a subversive group. You have no respect for anyone, or me, but don't treat me like an idiot. As if you're against subversive groups.

It was going to be called "Critique of Critical Critique".

Marx added The Holy Family without asking.


Your name linked to a Marx...

May I ask you to give us a moment?

You have fine friends.

I have none better.

You've no idea of his worth. Don't provoke me!

I respectfully ask you not to judge me.

Let's keep this professional. I'm your signatory and you pay me as such.

To do you a favour, remember.

My patience has limits.

As soon as I get back, you start threatening me?

I'm not threatening you.

I'm warning you.

Your brother and sister are being confirmed next week.

I presume you don't wish to receive Communion, Father, why ask me a question you already know the answer to?

How did this demon get into you?

We go to church, we go to work and you laze about in dens of evil, with communists and loose women!

I'm not clone! Where are you going?

To get some fresh air.

I'm suffocating.

What do I tell your mother?

Do you want a tube, sir? For your cigars.

For cigars?

Nice work. How old are you?

I don't know, sir. Some say ten, some say eight.

I'd say six at the most. Thank you.

Where are they?

Hey, wait!

It's you!


It is you! It's me.

Shorty, this is Frederic. He's not a loan shark.

Who is he?

Well, when he isn't running around giving money to little rascals, he's my man.

Lizzy, Frederic is back. Hello, Frederic.

Just off the boat, are you? I got in three days ago.

Three days?

And you only just come round? You rotter.

You don't know my dad... Or rather, you do know my clad.

He's a walking prison.

I only just broke out. It's a shame we don't have a pint of good beer in the house to celebrate.

Would you give Shorty another guinea? He's deserved it.

Blooming heck! Now run along.

I want to be alone with my man. Thanks, sir!

You're welcome.

How are things coming on here? Any movement?

Oh, it's not just movement, my darling. I got you the meeting you wanted.

The League of the Just mean anything to you?

Tell me.

Brussels, Winter 1845

You are banned from all political activity here.

I signed that, yes.

Here you are.

Can you read this?

I have a family to feed. I need this job.

Sorry. The postal service requires a legible hand.

I'll take anything.


How is she, Lenchen?

No, not yet, Herr Marx.

Don't push yet...

Stay calm. Now push... Push!

Why wait? You can go to her.


It's a girl.


Is that all you can say?

Hello, Laura.

Can we call her Laura?

If Lenchen agrees.

Of course.


A good job she's here, Karl.

What would I have clone without her?

Lenchen, this is Laura.

Do you like Laura?

It's a very pretty name, sir.

So Laura it is.

My dear Karl, It's especially horrible being not only a bourgeois but also a manufacturer.

A bourgeois actively intervening against the proletariat.

A few days at my father's have forced me to face this horror.

Pushing the communist cause, while working in trade and industry... it's not right.

I won't last much longer.

My clear Friedrich, I sympathize with your dilemma.

And I miss having you here.

Here, material life is materially hard.

I became a father again.

Jenny has given me a beautiful Laura.

While I can't feed my family, I have a new book in mind.

I believe it is important to assert that materialism as we conceive it differs from bourgeois materialism by questing for a more humane society.

Two clays! That's all I'm asking...

It's always two days. You're tiring madam!

It'll be the bailiffs then! Get out!

Be gone! What is it?

We want our money.

They'll bleed us dry!

Excuse me.


Is that right?

Have a good day.

Off you go now.

By what miracle?

Where were you? The post office.

You've found work? A money order, from Friedrich.

And fresh news? Live even!



I have to tell you...

This isn't easy to say.

You know Friedrich met the League of the Just in London.

Yes. And? You know Weitling.

The visionary tailor.

Don't make fun, Jenny. He's a leader.

He helped found the League and make it stronger.

I know that. They believe in something.

What they lack are sound ideas.

That you can provide?

And what does Friedrich say?

He asks me to join him in London.

To meet the League members.

I see.

And I look after the children with Lenchen.

That's all right.

Herr Engels' money will tide us over.


Friedrich can manage without me.

I'll stay. Come on, sit down.

You're mad.

It's a unique opportunity.

And you'd miss it?

It seems to be a powerful movement, with branches in Switzerland, Germany, so...

If you can get elected as the League's delegate, you won't be alone.

Together, you can raise an army.

It can grow and become invincible over time.

You have to go.

The League of the Just...

You big fool.

Lenchen? Are you coming?

Oh, Weitling the tailor!

London, February 1846 Over there. Come on!

There she is.

Quick! You're late.

My friend, Karl. My wife, Mary.

Your... wife?

You are such a great man to Frederic, I imagined you'd be bigger.

I'm only a man. But I didn't expect...

Oh, no, you can skip the compliments. Come on, this way.

Let's go.

Wait, don't think it's in the bag yet.

They're a tough bunch of men. They've been beaten up a lot.

They trust no one. They read it?

That too. Be careful with your "critical" thingamajigs.

They don't go for it.


Here are the men.

Frederic, you've seen him before. And this is Karl.

Karl Marx.

Sit down.

For the League's purposes, there are two kinds of men.

Men who've been hardened and forged by manual labour, and men who profit from the fruits of that labour, the bourgeoisie.

By the look at you lads, you're not in the first group.

I described in my book... From the outside!

Not from experience! Have you experienced poverty, prison, persecution? Excuse me, but if you rule us out before we've said a word, what's the point of your motto, "All men are brothers"? It's an ideal. Our ideal.

It's what we're fighting for. It's our new Jerusalem God, what are we doing here?

The League needs real men, not eggheads trying to tell it what to do and think.

Yes, but you want to spread your ideas, don't you?

So test us. And throw us out if you think we are not useful.

Did someone say "useful"? Marx?

I knew you'd been expelled from France too.

Here you are.

I'm in Brussels for now. Brussels...

I'm giving talks there this autumn.

A step on this long road leading to our one goal: the abolition of money.

Let me look at you.

You're thinner.

You've suffered. Me too.

I was shackled and beaten.

Look what they did to me.

But they couldn't break my soul.

Weitling! This isn't one of your rallies. Sit down.

So. How can you be of use to us?

Weitling has followers in France and Switzerland, you have branches in Germany and England.

With us, you will have a bridgehead in Brussels...

Weitling's going there. I'm talking about a permanent link.

About a web connection all the way down to Paris, even Lyon.

Why Lyon? Because of Proudhon.

Proudhon. You know Proudhon?

Yes, I know him personally.

We are very close.

We met each other regularly until he was deported.

And we respect each other deeply.

We're almost like you say in England... hand in glove.

Hand in glove?

Hand in glove. Yes, hand in glove.

Come on!

Naming Proudhon was daring.

You turned your pawn into a queen.

Sorry, sir, but the lady is not... I know women aren't allowed in here, but if my wife catches a cold outside... Sir.

I will kick up such a fuss that you'll never work anywhere, ever again.

Don't, Frederic. I don't belong here.

Let's go somewhere else. A pub will do for comparing notes. Come.

Well, it's young Engels! Oh, Mr. Naylor.

How do you do?

I often ask my good friend Engels how young Friedrich's doing these days.

How is your father? As well as he can be.

Please let me introduce my wife Mary.

How do you do? And my good friend Marx.

Nice to meet you. Mr. Naylor owns foundries in Leeds.

He employs many workers, even children. A harsh necessity.

Marx is a journalist. He's researching a topic we're interested in...

About child labour in factories.

How many work in yours?

It's about twenty children to thirty men.

Day or night work? Both.

Isn't that exhausting?

Working at night has no effect on health. Your health.

I beg your pardon? My wife means it makes no difference to your health. But to the children's...

We have no choice.

You know without child labour we'd price ourselves out of the market. Meaning you'd have to pay fair wages?

The market sets the prices, young man. Of course.

If I stopped hiring children, others would.

I'd go bankrupt. That's what society does.

No, sir. This is how existing relations of production work.

Not society. Society is not you.

I don't know what you mean by "relations of production".

It all sounds Hebrew to me.

Thank you, James.

If labour costs more, there'd be no more profits.

Therefore no more economy, therefore no more society.

Perhaps that's what you want, eh?

You're so right, we are not speaking the same language.

What you call profit, I call exploitation.

Mr. Engels, I've been very patient in token of my friendship for your father Ancl where would a society with no exploitation leave people like you?

You'd have to work too. Wouldn't that be horrible?

My regards to your father.

My old man's going to kill me this time.

Brussels, March 30th, 1846 We're happy to welcome eminent representatives of the workers' movement.

You, Pavel Annenkov, welcome.

You, Hermann Kriege.

And, last but not least, our great and clear Weitling.


You know why we're here.

We're going to agree on a simple common doctrine for the workers who have no time to study.

That won't be an easy thing to do.

It engages us fraternally. How fraternal of you!

Griin, be constructive. Certainly. I wouldn't be here otherwise.

Unless you're here for something else.

Pardon me? You never know.


I like this idea of simplicity.

What unites us, my young companions, is simple.

The people's happiness. Their happiness?

That's all you can come up with to justify your activities?

Pardon me?

Love, happiness, the realm of Christ on Earth?

I ask you, Weitling, given the fuss you cause with your preaching, what true theoretical basis justifies your activities, and what will their future basis be?

My goal...

My intention... is not to create new theories, economic or otherwise.

I rise up against the cult of novelty at any cost.

I said it again yesterday. I had a whole hall on its feet.

All power to the workers to establish universal harmony...

Just 100,000 armed proletarians, backed up by 40,000 criminals, could bring down bourgeois tyranny.

I say that stirring up the workers without offering them a constructive doctrine is a dishonest, pretentious game with an inspired prophet on one side and gaping idiots on the other!

My audience...


Scandalous! Outrageous!

We have a Russian among us. Pavel...

You might have a role in his country, Weitling.

It's the only place for vague alliances between vague prophets and disciples...

But in our countries, in Germany, France or England, nothing can be done without a positive theory.

A man who leads hundreds to justice cannot be treated like this!

A hypocrite like you should keep silent.

What did you call me?

I've received thousands of letters proving to me that my modest work does more for the cause than talk cut off from the people's suffering.

Ignorance never helped anyone! Never!

Karl, take that back!

I want an apology. What's wrong with you?

I won't stand for this. Please, be reasonable. Please!

I'll be the first to be guillotined.

Then the others, then your friends.

And, finally, you'll behead yourself.

Criticism devours everything that exists.

And when there is nothing left... it devours itself.

Gentlemen, ladies...

Thank you.

What happened?

What happened?

Weren't you supposed to find a common doctrine?

With idiots like them? Thank you.

Look at me. Did you do it on purpose or were you just in a bad mood?

Either way, we're finished... Kaputt.

Grun will report back to Proudhon.

Always Proudhon!

Can we stop bowing down to Proudhon?

Grun would have slandered us. That's why he came!

Maybe, but Proudhon was our joker.

The trump card in our strategy.

Can't you see I advanced it? How so?

Can somebody tell me what the fucking hell just happened?

I don't know what stops me from crushing you like bugs.

You insulted one of our movement's most respected men, you pretentious brats.

Weitling is devastated.

No one ever spoke to him like that, not even his worst enemy.

Perhaps the picture he painted was too black...

What? Can you say that again?

You dragged him through the mud.

A man, a fighter, a leader...

May I... Despite his experience and maturity!

Two qualities you are sorely lacking!

Your youth does not excuse everything.

The League has reached a decision concerning you.

I'm here to inform you of it.

It is a collective decision and you will comply with it.

"After careful consideration... "

I repeat, "After careful consideration, the London committee asks you: firstly, to formally join the League.

Secondly... to work on its reorganization.

And thirdly, to work on the drafting of a new programme that will then be discussed by all members.

Have you understood?

Obviously, as new members, you're invited to our autumn Congress.

We hope to convince Joseph Proudhon to attend it.

We're counting on your help as friends of his.

Anything to add?




I can't return to Port-au-Prince without the contract.

Of course.

Brussels, Bellevue Hotel, May 1846 Above all... I know what to say...

Property will conquer the Republic or the Republic will conquer property.

Here he is!

Get rid of that cigar.


My clear doctor...

You remember my friend Engels. Of course.

Sorry, I have to change.

I didn't understand your letter. What was it about?

Yes, later, Grun.

It was about the League of the Just. It's a powerful movement, with branches in the New World.

What are you asking me?

To be its correspondent in France.

The League's correspondent? Master, we must go.

Stop calling me "Master"! Let me breathe a little.

A charming boy, but he sticks to me like glue.

You know he claims that he taught you all about German philosophy?

Well, he has a wife and two children to feed.

He has to impress people somehow.

What were you asking me?

To be the League's correspondent.

I'll be frank with you.

I have too much work and I'm too lazy to take on additional obligations.

You're younger than I am.

You don't have to answer now.

We'll gladly send you documents. No, my mind's made up. However...

I'd like to pursue our discussions by mail or otherwise.

But, for God's sake, my clear Marx, let's not assassinate each other. Let's avoid all insults.

Do not be like Luther who, after destroying Catholic dogma, founded an equally intolerant religion.

Is that your last word?

Certainly not, my friend.

Certainly not.

Do we not have all history before us?

Just a second.

My latest work.

Thank you.

I'm eager to hear what you think.

All my best to your family.

The Philosophy of Poverty.

This Congress...

We must get it on our side.


That's for sure.

But how? Let me handle it.

And Proudhon?

I presume I have to handle him.

The Poverty of Philosophy.

The Poverty of Philosophy.

Have you read Joseph Proudhon's Philosophy of Poverty?

Here is Marx's answer, The Poverty of Philosophy!

London, Red Lions Hotel, November 1847 Congress of the League of the Just and emissaries from Uppsala and Stockholm are here.

Soon we should have news from... Hello.

Karl, may I introduce a few comrades?

Wilhelm, Hans, Walter.

Very nice. Hermann. No news from Weitling.

Hear that for Weitling?

So, Gentlemen...

How are you? Fine. You have to talk to him.

Everything okay? Mr Engels?

Yes, that's me.

I'm Donald Murray. It's nice to meet you.

I'm sorry but you can't speak today.

You're not on the list of official delegates.

What do you mean, official? We're League members.

We're de facto delegates. There can only be one delegate and he must be accredited. Accredited?

But I am accredited. You're invited, not accredited.

You can watch, but you can't... No, no, no.

We didn't come all this way just to watch.

I demand a vote. You will lose.

You have too many adversaries. I have to be delegate, and that's that.

For the Brussels delegation, I've been requested...

I call for a vote.

Why? Is that necessary?

Who is against the accreditation of citizen Friedrich Engels as the sole delegate for the Brussels region?

We're in favour! We're not in favour!

I'm against it!

Who votes "no"? Raise your hands.

And who's in favour?

By a simple majority, Friedrich Engels is accepted as Brussels representative.

Go, Frederic, go!

Thank you.

On behalf of my friends in France, Germany, Switzerland and Belgium, I have come here to set out the principles on which we plan to base the coming struggles...

Let's not delude ourselves, these struggles will be extremely violent...

Enough! Enough violence! What we demand...

What humanity demands is kindness.

Quiet! Fraternity!

What our world lacks and needs more than our bodies need fresh water is gentleness.

A kind of ardent fraternity... Let him speak!


There are probably some people here who weep when they hear the words kindness, gentleness and fraternity.

But tears do not give power. Power does not shed tears.

The bourgeoisie shows you no gentleness and you won't conquer it with kindness.

Citizens, friends, comrades, Why are we here?

Because we are fighting. Yes, of course!

Yes! What are we fighting for?

Freedom! Equality! - All men are brothers!

All men are brothers. No!

All men are brothers. Yes!

You? And You? Yes, of course.

What about you? Me? All of them today?

Are the bourgeois and the workers brothers?

No! No, they are not.

They are enemies!

We need to know what we have gathered here for.

Is it for an abstract idea? A sentimental day-dream?

How far will that get us?

We need to know what the League wants, what it's fighting for, for what society.

And we have to decide that now. Why now?

Let him speak! We know who you represent.

Marx is here, skulking in the crowd after firing his darts.

Long live Weitling! Long live Proudhon!

No, I'm here. I'm not sulking.

You call: Long live Proudhon and Weitling.

What's the point? Shut him up!

We heard you already. Proudhon won't leave France, And Weitling has given up! You're cheering for shadows!

All of you! All of you!

I have here the book Marx is referring to.

His answer to Proudhon. He asks the fundamental question, the question that sums up our struggle. Karl!

Go on, you have the floor.

"The antagonism between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie... can only lead to a complete revolution... "

Shut him up! "... and as long as classes exist, the last word of social science will always be, as George Sand said, the struggle or death.

The bloody fight...

Or nothingness. "

Long live George Sand!

Long live Mam!

Let those who refuse to fight stand up and say so!

The industrial revolution of today has created the modern slave.

This slave is the proletariat.

By freeing itself, it will free the whole of mankind.

And that freedom has a name:


That is why I propose to abolish that motto because it's misleading and weak!

This is a coup!

Here is our motto!

Workers of all countries unite!

I request that the League of the Just shall henceforth be called the Communist League! Hands up those in favour!

And hands up those against.

We are now called... the Communist League!


The Communist League

Ostend, January 1848

Come on!

You got two beautiful children, Jenny.

Will you have any? Fred? A dad?

No, his feet are too itchy.

And having kids when you're poor, is too much misery.

But Fred... I know.

His money.

His filthy money.

No, I want to be free.

I am free. I want to fight.

And to fight, I have to stay poor.

That's the way I see it.

He understands me.

So no children with him ever?

Maybe with Lizzy, later on.

Who is Lizzy?

My sister. She's 16.

She could give him some. Bless her heart, she's begging for it.

Did I say something wrong?

No time?

You were due to deliver the programme last week!

I owe the New York Tribune three articles.

I need money! The time is now!

I have a family to feed, a problem you don't know!

You're unfair.

Forgive me. What I mean is...

I cannot depend on others all my life.

Not even on you.

And I can't work from your notes.

A communist catechism? What is that?

It's what they asked for. Why? It's absurd.

It's to help the workers remember it.

It's useless. It's totally boring!

I didn't say that. You did.

Blame it on me.

Just tell the committee it's all my fault.

Is that how I work? I don't know.

But they're losing faith in London.

We have one final delivery date:

February 1st.

That's in five weeks.

And otherwise?

You must return all documents provided and... measures will be taken against you.

They can take them.

I'm tired.



People are in an uproar.

The price of bread is rising.

The Irish famine has left half a million dead.

Unemployment is rising.

Metternich in Austria and Guizot in France will soon fall!

Poland is ready!

We're winning!

Rise up too! Wake up!

I've never stopped.

Not for one second.

I'm nearly thirty.

I have no more money, no more energy.

I want to write books.

It's a time-consuming task.

I'm sick of flyers, manifestos, pamphlets...

All right.

You know as I do that... all this work, books, articles, talks, will have been to no avail if we don't write a simple book that comprehensively sums it up.

The Poverty of Philosophy.

That was good, but we need a communist manifesto!

Proudhon will never rally.

Weitling is finished..

You want to stop?


You'll rest afterwards.

I'll do the same. We'll rest.

We'll be good bourgeois men.

I in Barmen with my mother, you in Trier with ten kids.

Does that suit you?

I thought you were serious for a second.

Karl, what's this word?



No, hold on.

"A spectre... haunts Europe. "

"A spectre haunts Europe, the spectre of Communism.

All the powers of old Europe... "

"All the powers of old Europe... "

Jenny, read it for him.

"A spectre is haunting Europe, the spectre of Communism.

All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcize this spectre:

Pope and Tsar, Metternich and Guizot, French Radicals and German police-spies... "

It doesn't make sense.

What doesn't? This part.

There's a paragraph missing.

Friedrich, where's the central paragraph?

Where is it? Quick!

Don't pressure me.


"It is high time for communists to publish their views, aims and tendencies and counter this tale of the spectre of Communism with a party manifesto. "

Let me see.


I would write:

"... to expose to the world at large their views, goals and tendencies. "

The history of hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggles.

Society is splitting into two great hostile camps, into two great classes that confront each other, Bourgeoisie and Proletariat.

The bourgeoisie has resolved personal worth into an exchange value, and, in place of indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom - Free Trade and profit.

It has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced the family relation to a mere money relation.

It has drowned the heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of selfish calculation.

Commercial crises, by their periodical return, put the existence of bourgeois society in peril.

The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases it over the entire surface of the globe A universal commercial bourgeois society is born, with universal interdependence of nations.

Modern bourgeois society is like a sorcerer who can no longer control the demons summoned by his spells.

Manifesto of the Communist Party The weapons with which the bourgeoisie felled feudalism are now turned against the bourgeoisie itself.

The 1848 revolution broke out one month later.

Class confrontation in Western Europe overthrew the old regimes.

The international workers' movements arose from these ruins.

The Communist Manifesto has being translated and reprinted to this clay.

Exiled in England, Supported by Jenny and Friedrich, Marx would keep writing his key work Capital until his death.

An open, immeasurable work, unfinished because the very object of its critique is in perpetual motion.

Subtitles: Ian Burley Babel Subtitling