When Kautsky Met Marx


Kaul Kautsky met Marx in 1881. At the time Kautsky was a journalist in the German social democratic movement. He would after Marx’s death become its most influential theorist. Kautsky was nervous upon meeting Marx. He’d heard many stories of Marx’s temper and was afraid of embarrassing himself in front of his hero. This fear came true when Kautsky said to Marx that young socialists were “ardently awaiting the speedy appearance of the second volume of Capital”. To which Marx replied curtly, “me too”. When Kautsky later asked whether it was time to publish Marx’s complete works, Marx responded that they would first have to be completely written.

They nonetheless, from Kautsky’s point of view, had a lively conversation on a variety of interesting topics. As a result, Kautsky left “highly satisfied” and this “feeling grew even stronger” with each visit. Kautsky remarked that Marx’s goodness “made as strong an…

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