Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hess, Engels, Marx: Trio of Radicals & Their Astrology.

Socialism. In the USA nowadays this word ranks alongside colonoscopy as something citizens would least like to experience. The fact is though, socialism is nothing more than an attempt to re-balance a system which has become too heavily weighted on one side - the side of the powerful and wealthy. If a system remains in just balance there's never a need for socialism or any similar isms. Just as colonoscopy can, in the right circumstances, be A Good Thing, so can socialism.

John Reed, Abbie Hoffman, Saul Alinsky, Emma Goldman have all been featured recently in posts here under the heading "US Radicals" who embraced socialism as an ideal. They, surely, were influenced by the writings of an earlier group of radicals originating in Germany: Moses Hess, Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx.The driving force behind all these radically minded individuals was a wish to correct imbalance and injustices heaped upon ordinary working people by the ruling and wealthy classes - whether these were in the form of royalty, dictators, land owners, wealthy capitalist employers or religious leaders.

In the 19th century, as the industrial revolution got underway, there was a lot of injustice and imbalance around! Of course, there had been just as much of it before then. As far back as history has been written, the ordinary man in the street or man in the field has been treated badly by those "above him". Serfdom in mediaeval times in Britain and Europe was much the same as African-American slavery in effect. As centuries trundled on, philosophy and radical thought began to trickle down......

Moses Hess, the eldest of today's featured trio to some extent influenced both Engels and Marx. He was born in Bonn on 21 June 1812, to Jewish Orthodox parents, soon drawn to philosophy and particularly philosophical socialism. Hess played a prominent role in transforming Hegelian theory by conceiving of man as the initiator of history rather than as a mere observer. He was reluctant to base all human destiny on economic causes and class struggle, and he came to see the struggle of races, or nationalities, as the prime factor of past history. He was responsible for converting Engels to Communism, and he introduced Marx to social and economic problems.

Friedrich Engels was born on 28 November 1820 in Barmen (now Wuppertal), Germany. His father had interests in textile mills in England. Already active in radical causes when he met Karl Marx in 1842, Engels was soon influenced by this man who he saw as a more original thinker than himself.

During the 1840s Engels spent a period working as a manager at one of his father's mills in the north of England. Shocked by the conditions working people were forced to live in, he wrote his first prominent work, "The Condition of the Working Class in England" published in 1844. For anyone who has no knowledge of working class life in 19th century Britain, there's an extract from Engel's writing on the Dante-esque scenes of Old Manchester at this website. In 1847 Marx was asked to write a document proclaiming the principles of communism; Engels collaborated and helped write the now famous Communist Manifesto. In 1850 Engels returned to England to run the factory of which he was now part owner. During this time he also provided assistance to the then poverty stricken Karl Marx who had been driven from Brussels for his revolutionary activity.

Karl Marx was born to Jewish parents in Trier, Germany, on 5 May 1818. He studied law and at some point was introduced to the writings of G.W.F Hegel. Marx was especially impressed by Hegel's theory that a thing or thought could not be separated from its opposite. For example, the slave could not exist without the master, and vice versa. Hegel argued that unity would eventually be achieved by the equalizing of all opposites, by means of the dialectic (logical progression) of thesis, antithesis and synthesis. This was Hegel's theory of the evolving process of history.

Marx met Moses Hess, a radical who called himself a socialist, and began attending socialist meetings organized by Hess. Members of the group told Marx of the sufferings being endured by the German working-class and explained how they believed that only socialism could bring this to an end. Marx had become a close friend of Friedrich Engels, who had just finished writing a book about the lives of the industrial workers in England. Engels shared Marx's views on capitalism and after their first meeting Engels wrote that there was virtually "complete agreement in all theoretical fields". Marx and Engels decided to work together. It was a good partnership, whereas Marx was at his best when dealing with difficult abstract concepts, Engels had the ability to write for a mass audience.

So, this being an astrology blog, it's appropriate to take a look at the natal charts of these three German radicals. Maybe there'll be an interesting link between them. Let's see.

Marx is the only one for whom Astrodatabank offers a time of birth, so the other two charts are set for 12 noon.

The planet most astrologers would expect to see prominent in such charts as these is Uranus - the rebel, the avant garde, the anti-status quo planet. The two younger men were born with Uranus conjunct Neptune (illusion, delusion, creativity) in Sagittarius - the sign of the philosopher. In the case of Hess, Uranus was in Scorpio, but would have been conjunct his natal Moon (inner self), either tightly or loosely, whatever his time of birth.

In Engel's case, as well as being conjunct Neptune, Uranus is also conjunct Mercury (communication "to a mass audience") and Mars (drive & energy)and in the same expansive Sagittarian cluster as his natal Sun (self).

Part of the reason Engels and Marx got on so well has to be the placements of their natal Moons : somewhere in Virgo for Engels - more likely than not in trine with Marx's Moon/Sun in Taurus. Even if not in close trine, their common Earthy Moon would be a significantly compatible link.

If the time of birth for Karl Marx is accurate, then Aquarius rising defines him, and his ascendant degree is in harmonious sextile to Uranus, Aquarius's modern ruler. Taurus Sun conjunct Moon is something of a surprise - but what it does signify is a determined and stubborn nature, though Mercury nextdoor in its home sign of Gemini could lighten and loosen this quite a lot - at least in his communication style, while still retaining an inner entrenched position.

Lots of other chart factors could be taken as significant individually, but it was any link I was investigating - Uranus being the obvious one here.

Hmmmm -long post, so I shall skip a day - next one Friday.


analysa said...

If life were just a fairy tale....ahhh!

Interesting documentary, it probably won´t help you to understand the evil roots in socialism and why it does not create balance, that is still your home work to discover.

Anonymous said...

What you say about socialism is the simple truth and the ridiculous things that in Usa they say demonster only the complete and constructed ignorance of these topics... I do recognise the necessity of a balance, and this is right - the world today is so unbalanced and guilty for this - but the greatest error committed by Marx was to base all on economical causes and the class fight... This ruined the legitimate demand that socialism presented in the beginnings...

A last observation: This demand has, up to now, never been responded...

R J Adams said...

A most interesting post.

Twilight said...

analysa ~~~ Evil roots? I think not. I'm away from home just now but will follow your link later.

I am a socialist (small 's'), and understand well enough what I believe.... and assure you that I have no evil roots, but do have a realistic eye. :-)

Balance is lost, of course when Socialists (capital'S') get too much power and abuse it. Balance is the answer every time.

Twilight said...

Anonymous ~~~ I don't agree with every detail Marx put forward, but the general direction of his ideas were good - at least I believe so.
Perhaps he got carried away and forgot the essential balance. :-)

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~~~ Glad you found it so.

I was particularly interested to find out more bout Engels and his work in Lancashire.