The Karl Marx Drinking Game

We’re taking off for Labor Day Weekend soon so leave you with a game. Play it wisely, play it well and remember to drink responsibly.

Meantime, with Marx in mind, Slate reminds us that he and Friedrich Engels were quite the drinkers:

Both Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels were in their 20s at the time, and neither was a drinking novice. Marx first demonstrated talent in the beerhounding field during his first and only year at the University of Bonn. It was, in the understated phrase of his father, a period of “wild rampaging.” As a co-president of his “tavern club,” the lad often tangled with the rival Borussia Korps, which would force him and his bourgeois brethren to kneel in allegiance to the Prussian aristocracy. In hopes of repelling their attacks, Marx started packing a pistol, and a bullet grazed his brow in the duel that inevitably resulted; boys will be boys. He transferred schools, got serious about philosophy, and fell in with the Young Hegelians for a while. To blow off steam while working on his Ph.D., he would knock back pints with Bruno Bauer; they would now and then get smashed and ride donkeys down the main streets of villages.

Engels, meanwhile, had been educating his palate, preparing to become first great champagne socialist. One month-long vacation in the French countryside found young Engels “more or less squiffy all the time,” and his most recent biographer likens his diary of the trip to “an upmarket wine-tour brochure.” (Sample text: “Within a few bottles one can experience every intermediate state from the exultation of the cancan to the tempestuous fever heat of revolution, and then finally with a bottle of champagne one can again drift into the merriest carnival mood in the world!”) An industrialist and a revolutionary, Engels spent two years learning the family business at Ermen and Engels’ Victoria Mill outside of Manchester, England, witnessing the horrors of child labor and gathering material for his first book, The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844.

Late that summer, Engels passed through Paris and arranged a get together with Marx, who had recently hatched his theory of alienated labor—of the worker as the “plaything of alien forces.” On Aug. 28, 1844, they got faded at Café de la Régence and kept going for “10 beer-soaked days,” as one historian puts it—two dudes joined in a buzzing discussion where they broke it all down, as dudes will. This was bitching about work on the highest level, Marx and Engels in Paris and going gorillas.

Read through to learn what beers Slate recommends for your labor celebrations.

We’ll be posting infrequently until next week but look forward to be back at it then.

Images: The Karl Marx Drinking Game. Text via the International Society of Supervillains, edited by The FJP. Select any to embiggen.

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