Getting ready for Friday’s
WEREWOLF Night! I wrote about Adolph Hitler’s fascination with the wolf. Today we’ll look at another German philosopher’s take on lycanthropy.
Sure, we all know Karl Marx was an alcoholic who beat his wife, but what did he think of Werewolves?
He disliked them.
Marx used the Werewolf as a metaphor for Capitalism. Check out this passage:
In its blind unrestrainable passion, its werewolf hunger for surplus-labour, capital oversteps not only the moral, but even the merely physical maximum bounds of the working day. It usurps the time for growth, development, and healthy maintenance of the body.
Das Kapital Ch. 8
Keep in mind Marx was writing in the late 1800’s and never got to see a Werewolf movie. (The first film wasn’t made until 1913; simply titled “The Werewolf”.) So he was working with colorful legends and horror stories.
A Sociology professor told me that you have to read Marx’s writing aloud – because his stuff wasn’t meant to be read in books, Karl was standing before crowds of illiterate, angry workers (sounds like some of my old stand-up shows!) To get the crowd’s attention he’d use outrageous rhetoric, including Vampirism.
KARL MARX on VAMPIRES:
Capital is dead labor, which, vampire-like, lives on by sucking living labor and lives the more, the more labor it sucks.
He later said the system had “become a vampire that sucks out its the peasant’s blood and brains and throws them to the alchemist’s cauldron of capital.”
137 years later, The Village Voice used the Vampire image for
this cover. And earlier this year, the Werewolf was used here by Jeff Matthews.
Vampirism is a better metaphor for Capitalism. Werewolves can’t be blamed for their actions, but the monsters at Goldman Sachs knew exactly what they were doing.
Now buy Tickets to Friday’s Werewolf night.