Discussion Questions on Marx (I)

1. What does Marx mean when he makes his famous claim that religion is the opium of the people? Is he right?

2. In "On the Jewish Question," Marx contrasts political emancipation to human emancipation? What's the difference?

3. Marx writes (pp. 5-6) "Where the political state has attained its true development, man – not only in thought, in consciousness, but in reality, in life – leads a twofold life, a heavenly and an earth¬ly life: life in the political community, in which he considers himself a communal being, and life in civil society, in which he acts as a private individual, regards other men as a means, degrades himself into a means, and becomes the plaything of alien powers." What does he mean?

4. On page 9 Marx writes, "That which is a creation of fantasy, a dream, a postulate of Christianity, i.e., the sovereignty of man – but man as an alien being different from the real man – becomes, in democracy, tangible reality, present existence, and secular principle." How is Christianity relevant to his argument?

5. On pages 10-12, Marx offers an interpretation or critique of the notion of the rights of man. In what way does he see these rights as distorted or misleading?

6. Is Marx's second essay on Bruno Bauer's work (which begins on page 14) anti-semitic? What is his point?