Karl Marx as a global journalist in 19th century ------From Euro-Centrism to Internationalism


Karl Marx, with his absolute outstanding contribution to the research of philosophy, political economy and the communist political movement, has been intensively studied as a leading figure as a communist/socialist activist and scholar. This study, however, will treat Karl Marx as one of those journalists in the 19th century, given his active involvement in the journalistic and editorial work with Rheinische Zeitung , Neue Rheinische Zeitung, and the New York Tribune, etc.

Journalism was the only paid profession that Marx ever undertook in his life. Along with journalistic and polemic work, Marx consistently devoted to the development of philosophical, and political economy studies, of which historical materialism, theory of class struggle, and theory of surplus value have till today inspired great amount of discussions and reflections on the development of history, and power relations in all aspects of society. Marx’s journalistic work was complementary to his theoretical efforts, although, according to his own words, that journalism would interrupt his work in political studies, he had to learn a lot of details during journalistic work, which were proven to be necessary for his theoretical research.

Through text analysis and historical analysis, this research found out that the scope of Marx’s journalistic work has grown from European to global especially when he worked as the London correspondent for the second largest US newspaper The New York Tribune. Theoretically, he began to step out of the Euro-centrism, which is proven by his engagement with the events in the margins of the 19th
century capitalist system, including the countries which belonged to the system but were emerging at that time: US, Ireland, and the ones partially belonged to the system: India, Indonesia, Algeria, and the countries which were beyond this system: China, Russia, and Poland. His series article on China, has provided great samples to learn how he analyzed the great encounter of the East and the West in the 19th century, and his tones on the less developed areas in the world have changed drastically from 1851 to 1858, as he at later stage put emphasis on the inner capacity of the underdeveloped states to find out their own development path. This manifested that Marx had started to embrace a multi-linear historical perspective rather than the belief in the a linear way of development of the human societies.

Marx’s work as a global correspondent in the 19th century consists of a splendid chapter of history of global journalism, his journalistic articles on the multiple global issues worth further and deeper analysis.