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Engels: The Man and His Work - Part One

(The first of a two part tribute to Marx’s co-worker Friedrich Engels)

Seventy six years have passed since the death of Friedrich Engels, the friend and co-worker of Karl Marx. Much of the interest that has been shown over the years in the Socialist movement has tended to obscure the reputation of Engels by an exclusive pre-occupation with that of Marx — a process which Engels himself encouraged — so it seems more than fitting that we should pay tribute, in recognition of the debt present-day Socialists owe to Friedrich Engels.

Marx’s pre-eminence in their partnership was stressed by no one more emphatically than by Engels himself:

Exhibition Review: The Life & Work of Marx & Engels

Friedrich Engels spent most of his working life in Manchester and Salford, and was frequently visited there by Karl Marx. Now the Working Class Movement Library in Salford is hosting an exhibition on their lives and work, on till the end of September. Sadly, though, there is apparently little hard evidence for the oft-told story that the two of them drank together in the pub now called The Crescent, a couple of hundred yards from the Library.

Frederick Engels: A Lifetime's Service

1995 is the Centenary of the death of Karl Marx's friend and collaborator Frederick Engels, and Engels spent his entire adult life working for socialism. A prolific and popular writer as well as indefatigable activist and theorist, his name is justly coupled with that of his life-long friend as the originator of scientific socialism.

Engels became a Socialist (or Communist in the language of the time) earlier than Marx, in October 1842—at the age of 22—after a meeting with Moses Hess. Hess, Engels wrote a year later, was the first of the "Young Hegelians" to embrace socialist ideas, so founding a school of German "philosophical communism".

The Young Hegelians were a group of intellectuals who gave Hegel's philosophical views a radical twist and used them to criticise the then existing political and social order. Engels associated with them when he was in Berlin doing his military service in 1841-2.

Exhibition Review: 'Grafters'

The development of photography followed hard on the heels of the Industrial Revolution, but depicting workers and industry was not a simple matter. These and related issues are pursued in an exhibition at the People’s History Museum in Manchester which runs until August.

Some of the earliest photos of working people were taken in studios so they could be collected by the comfortably off, but the subjects in these probably did not see the developed portraits. Other workers encountered cameras at the hands of the police who, from 1865, took photos of convicts with their crimes listed (frequently larceny and sleeping rough).

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