The Frightful Hobgoblin against Empire

Karl Marx, Ernest Jones, and the World-Revolutionary Meaning of the 1857 Indian Uprising

In: Historical Materialism

Abstract

Karl Marx and the Chartist leader, writer and poet Ernest Jones developed a close intellectual and political partnership from the late 1840s through the late 1850s. Their friendship invites attention because it places Marx in the company of one of Chartism’s leading anti-colonial advocates, precisely at a time when he was simultaneously moving in that direction. This article explores the ways in which Marx and Jones converged in their estimation of the 1857 Indian uprising. It is argued that the shift in Marx’s thought, whereby the dialectics of colonialism and anti-colonialism are integrated within his materialist conception of history, was not independent of Jones’s influence.

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