Take It to the Streets

Take It to the Streets

Karl Marx, writing in the 1840s, developed a perspective that can help us see why modern men and women have a special need for public space, and also why the historical forces that create this need make it especially hard to fulfill. His 1844 essay “On the Jewish Question” tries to grasp the new liberal and democratic civilization that the French and American Revolutions have produced. In all states that have had successful bourgeois democratic revolutions, Marx argues, “man leads a double life.” The typical modern man or woman is “split into a public person and a private person,” or into an “egoistic individual” and a “communal being,” or—here Marx quotes the language of the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen—”into a man and a citizen.” Marx characterizes this double life as a life of “political emancipation.”

Download the full article as a PDF


Lima