The mark of a major body of work is that it will support more than one interpretation, all of which are coherent and persuasive, and each of which is open-ended enough for further elaboration. So it is with Marx. But at least one possible path of interpretation and elaboration seems fairly blocked to me.

Marx’s work clearly draws on German idealist philosophy and its sources, such as Spinoza. It also draws on the scientific thought of his time in physics and other sciences. The latter are now technically obsolete sources, known only to specialists. So the general tendency in elaborating Marx has been to retreat from that engagement with the sciences and their consequences, and to go back to German idealism or back even further to Spinoza.

But what if, in contrast, we went forward? What if rather than reject the conceptual elaboration of modern science in Marx, we added to it? Marx got as far as the revolution in physics which added thermodynamics to mechanics and its worldview. What if we thought through what modern biology, earth science and information science added to the picture? That I think was the path that, in their own ways, Bogdanov or Needham or Bernal were on. In a more critical style, it is also in the work of Haraway.

A first step might be to reconstruct a plausible version of Marx’s relation to the scientific materialism of his time. For this, we can turn to an excellent book by Amy Wendling, Karl Marx on Technology and Alienation (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011). She extended some of this in a later work, The Ruling Ideas (Lexington 2012), but I want to concentrate on the earlier book.

For Wendling, Marx’s relation to the philosophical canon is a kind of performance that draws its energy not from continuing them even critiquing them from within another philosophical system. Rather, it is closer to what I would call a détournement which works by juxtaposing these elements against each other. Smith and Hegel are already products of a nascent capitalist world. In this sense, Marx is not a Hegelian or a critical political economist but an activist-writer who cuts these tainted sources against each other in the interests of constructing the labor point of view. Or more precisely, the point of view of the overcoming of wage labor.

As I see it, the texts Marx samples for détournement changes through time, as different sources come into play in the general conflict of communication. Rather than an incomplete ‘epistemological break’, the latter work plays off a different mix of samples to different effect to the earlier work.

For Wendling, the earlier, ‘humanist’ Marx is still deploying the residual category of a spirit or essence that separates the human from the natural. The later or ‘older’ Marx (must we call him mature or scientific?) uses sources for whom the human as part of the natural world, interchangeable with animals or machines. The humanist bits don’t go away altogether, however. They are occasionally deployed against the scientific material to dislodge it from its own implication in a more advanced stage of capital.

Wendling reads the transition from younger to older Marx as one of the changing resources available to think capitalism. Contra Althusser: “Capitalism, not Marx, invalidates the earlier humanist conceptual frameworks.” (5) Their ideological function had changed. As Berardi shows, for readers of the ‘young Marx’ in the 60s, Marx could be read as longing for the restoration of a pre-capitalist world, but for Wendling this is not his position even then. Rather, capitalism itself produces both a romantic desire for restoration and also the scientific worldview that makes it obsolete.

Wendling calls this romantic longing, provocatively, a “capitalist humanism.” (7) Wendling: “Marx’s use of this humanism, like his use of scientific materialism, would then be a performance: a performance designed to show that capitalism cannot account for its own activity without recourse to the humanistic notions that it supposedly banishes.” (7) This is not to say that a certain humanism is entirely banished, even in the older Marx. He deploys both capitalist humanism and capitalist scientism in Capital to tease out capitalism’s own contradictory nature.

But he is not always in control of this performance, and his major texts such as Grundrisse and Capital have different and somewhat open-ended versions of this method – surely a strength rather than a weakness. One could connect this to Bogdanov’s insight that Marx’s texts are in a certain sense collectively authored. Perhaps we could even say they are ‘schizophrenic’ in a way our Italian friends, with their dutiful summaries of Grundrisse’s ‘Fragment on Machines,’ never quite acknowledge.

The difficulty is that Marx is struggling for something other than old philosophical categories of the human – which capital has abolished – and also for something other than the reduction of the human to exchange value, which capitalism has all but achieved even in his time. Hence his tactics of performing one against the other.

The missing term between capital and the human is technology. Marx is one of the first thinkers to try to conceptualize it rather than just describe it, and to see it as a theoretical problem. Could science and technology point towards a new kind of species-being? One of Marx’s achievements was to think technology as having affordances, as being a space of possibility. Intellectuals will make all sorts of claims for the possibilities of reason or culture or politics, but somehow technology is always just stubbornly stuck in its current form. Even the so called techno-utopians imagine in as just more of the same thing as it is now, solving existing problems. For Marx, at least at certain moments, it could be other than what it is, even if not quite an infinite object of Promethean acceleration.

There’s a slight decentering here, from labor to the labor-tech encounter. Marx tried to create a kind of meta-science, which would try to understand how the ‘science’ of political economy, for example, used concepts grounded in material and social and technical realities it did not perceive. Wendling: “The illusions produced by capitalist making come to determine the possible range of human thinking.” (13) This is a very useful line of thought for our times, when both so-called techno-utopianism and its supposed critics such as Morozov seem to share exactly the same horizon formed by the ideological materials of the humanism-scientism complex of capitalist thought itself.

Wendling winds the story back to some key samplings from Hegel, particularly the distinction between objectification and alienation. Objectification is a social process of shaping the world for human needs. Alienation refers not to objectification by labor, but to the separation of the object of labor from the laborer. Alienation is a break in the pattern of subjective transformation of the world into its object and the object’s reciprocal production of the subject. Alienation is what happens to wage labor when it is divorced from its own agency as producer, and produces mere things separated from it, and itself as separated and thing-like.

This is why in Marx there can be no question of just redistributing unequal wealth, as in, for example the recent cause celebre that is Thomas Picketty. It is not enough to redistribute what is alienated from labor (although some might argue that’s a start), one has to change the way it is produced in the first place. Writing that, even as a possibility, takes tactics.

While Wendling would not use the term, I think one can say that Marx builds this position through a series of détournements from various sources, all cut and collaged to perform their effects. From Aristotle comes the bit about justice as equal exchange, and exchange not for use as unnatural and monstrous. From Rousseau comes the bit about an imbalance not of goods but of political right and the problem of class for liberal society. From Locke comes the bit about the laboring act as the foundation of wealth, or at least of property, against which feudal life can be made to appear artificial. From Smith comes the bit about labor being more social than in Locke, dependent on tools and land.

The naturalism of labor in Locke and Smith is a tactic that enabled a critical denaturalizing of feudalism. Marx wants to denaturalize capitalism in turn. Hence labor becomes a social and historical category, not (or not just – its slippery) a natural one. Labor is a product of alienated society. But there are lingering bits of the idea of equal exchange for labor and the idea of labor as a kind of self-creation throughout Marx. Alienation itself might owe more to Feuerbach’s détournement of it from Hegel than from Hegel direct. It’s the technique of inverting the subject and predicate. Man creates God, not God man, in Feuerbach.

This chiasmus technique appears again and again. For Wendling, Marx’s appeal to the rights of labor is tactical. He sees it as a construction of bourgeois society and he wants to abolish it. This writing tactic is not unconnected to his own means of production. Marx is a journalist and activist, making philosophy worldly, and the world philosophical.

Marx wants a critique of the apparent naturalness of labor. He deploys a distinction from Aristotle, then expands it. To use value / exchange value, he adds labor / labor power. The former in each pairing produces wealth (use value) and has qualities; the latter produces exchange value and does not. For Wendling, Marx is not uncritically repeating the labor theory of value but trying to get some leverage on it to analyze the alienation of labor from itself. The crucial thing is not labor as source of both wealth and exchange but the split between wealth and exchange.

Alienation is built into production and produces social activity in the form of labor under capitalism. Labor cannot be redeemed through redistribution, as what alienation produces is a crippled and stunted life for majority. Moreover, labor is dominated not just by the commodities it produces but also by the tools used, the instruments of production. The worker is made peripheral. Commodity fetishism in exchange is doubled by machine fetishism in production. Occult qualities are ascribed to both commodities and machines, omitting the labor that mediates them.

Wendling: “The machine is the final ‘metaphysical object’ of the Marxist account of alienation, occupying the same structural position as God in Feuerbach or the absolutist state in Rousseau.” (57) Wendling here very usefully re-centers our thinking not on the commodity but on the machine. Marx’s researches on machines start to change his concepts of labor and nature. The older Marx will then try to layer a scientific-materialist and thermodynamic model of labor onto his earlier ontological one drawn from Feuerbachian alienation.

In the thermodynamic model, human labor is just one type of energy among others. Instead of humans working on a passive world, the world is actively working on itself, and human action is a subset of that action. It is already, if you like, a modern multi-agent worldview that includes non-human agents or at least forces. “Labor changes from a creative endeavor wrought by human spirit on inanimate nature, as conceived in Aristotle, Hegel, Smith and Locke, into a mere conversion of energy in which nature goes to work on itself.” (61)

Here Marx was working with the materials of his time, recoded in his own way. Labor is not self-realization in the alienating conditions of capitalist production. It is rather an expenditure of energy, to the point of fatigue. “The individual develops not in doing labor, as with Locke, but in liberation from it.” (59) Hence Marx’s distinctive view of freedom as freedom from labor – for everybody, at least part of the time.

Curiously, as capitalism develops, it deploys for a time the idea that the sphere of abstract intellectual life is as what is fully human, not labor. (On which see Berardi). But this too seems to be passing. Capitalism in our time – if that is even what it still is – has to renounce the scientific labor it once valorized, now that the sciences are clearly showing the limits the biosphere imposes on unlimited capital accumulation.

Sometimes, Marx deploys the Lockean notion of labor to critique what labor becomes under capitalism. He pipes up for ‘living labor.’ But he also undermines this perspective via a later view of labor as energy expenditure, within a worldview that sees the body and its energetic exchanges with an environment, probably drawn from Ludwig Büchner. It is what Agnes Heller sees as a shift from paradigm of work to a paradigm of production.

In the production paradigm, the laboring body is a productive machine like any other. But Marx did not quite accept the leveling of the human/animal/machine in energetics. He is not quite a ‘posthuman’ thinker. “Marx never leaves behind the Hegelian thesis of the progressive spiritualization and rationalization of the natural.” (65-66) Yet he tactically triangulates with a thermodynamic view, in which “Capitalism is a steam engine with a design flaw… which will precipitate an explosion, no matter what anyone does or thinks.” (66)

This is Marx’s distinctive ‘materialism’, although it is not one that rests on a metaphysical claim about the world. “Instead Marx turns to investigating the historical accidents by which the world and nature are built up and transformed through labor.” (67) Marx drew on the scientific materialism that was current in Germany after the failure of the 1848 revolutions. (Here Wendling confirms the intuitions of Anson Rabinbach through a close reading that includes Marx’s technical notebooks).

Scientific materialism was influential in Germany at the time. It was a progressive force in the absence of a liberal sphere. But Marx rejected its vulgar materialism and was not attracted to its naïve realism, or is determinism – on that score he hewed to the Epicurian swerve – subject of his doctoral thesis.

Scientific materialism had roughly two generations. The first included Feuerbach and von Liebig. The second included Ludwig Büchner, Karl Vogt, Jacob Moleschott and Hermann von Helmholtz, one of the discoverers of the law of the conservation of energy. This writing had its political side. For Büchner, the universe itself is not a monarchy but a republic, governed by its own laws and not ruled by will from above. Energy seemed to imply a kind of natural equality in a monist universe governed only by its transformations. “The political realm is reconceived not as an anti-physics, in opposition to nature, as it was by the contract theorists. Instead, the political realm is woven from nature construed as an energetic system.” (74) Marx’s connection to the philosophical background here is well known, less well known are his studies in engineering. Wendling’s book even has on its cover a diagram of a steam engine by Marx himself.

In this worldview, all energy is derived from the sun. All is matter as motion and – same thing – heat. Rather than forces that begin and end in time, energy is constantly transformed from one state to another. Vitalist forces are increasingly excluded from this picture (a goal Needham was still working on 70 years later). The steam engine supplants the clock as a governing metaphor, including its design problems of efficiency, durability and safety.

Energetics transforms discourse about labor: workers don’t resist it out of lack of spirit, but lack of energy. There are objective limits to labor, and hence a science of work – ergonomics. Moleschott, who worked on nutrition, even wrote a cookbook for workers. There was an alliance of scientific materialists and labor reform politics of which Marx was highly suspicious, of course.

Instead, he used energeticist notions to start thinking about surplus value – or what the capitalist gets from the worker without giving in return. Marx refused the leveling of human, machine and animal labor, and drew instead on an older scientific materialism in the form of Leibig’s vitalism, which was a non-divine but still nonmaterial notion. He still sometimes thinks of human agency as a kind of “living, form-giving fire,” as he wrote in Grundrisse. Seen from the labor point of view, labor is not just one energy node among others.

But energetics complicates Marx’s view of the good life. He opposed his son-in-law Paul Lafargue’s Right to Be LazyHe resisted Charles Fourier’s utopian replacement of work by play. Energetics seemed to point to the necessity of the social production of the means of existence, even if not necessarily in capitalist form. But perhaps the time that social production requires can be shared equally, and minimized.

Wendling: “Marx’s critique of political economy becomes possible because the concept of labor on which Locke, Smith and Hegel founded, respectively, autonomy, property and subjectivity is irreparably changed. Instead of dignifying the human being and setting him or her at the apex of the universe, instead of spiritualizing nature via a human force different in kind, labor situates the human in continuity with nature via a human force different in kind, labor situates the human in continuity with nature and natural force.” (84)

But Marx insists on a moral critique of the reduction of a part of the human species to the mere reproduction of its labor power. For him, poverty and wealth are connected, and mere redistribution does nothing to change exploitation and alienation at work. But there’s a limit to how far he gets with this. “Among Marx’s most under-theorized ideas is his notion that human activity is not reducible to labor.” (87)

Borrrowing from the energetic worldview, capital becomes an entropic system: “Capitalism is like a poorly designed steam engine that must be run at top speed, despite the fact that this speed contributes to a greater overall loss of heat. This increased overall heat can be neither transformed into productive work nor released in adequate quantities. Instead it threatens to blow up the engine itself.” (91) There is less theory of political agency ‘against nature’ and more on the theory of crisis in the older Marx. Wendling: “… the capitalist way of life is unsustainable… it squanders the very energy it should struggle to preserve.” (92)

Useful but problematic here is Marx’s critique of the ‘natural’ constraints on human flourishing. Over-population is a threat to peace in Hobbes, and in Malthus, scarcity is the will of God. Marx saw these supposedly natural constraints as social ones. Leibig’s agricultural science had shown how to raise agricultural productivity through artificial fertilizers. Wendling does not connect this to Marx’s other borrowing from von Leibig: metabolic rift. He was at least partly aware of the limits to the overcoming of limits. (It would have to wait for Sartre to show how scarcity could be a concept freed from either an essentialist anthropology or assumptions in advance about nature.)

From Leibig and elsewhere Marx tries to sustain a difference between human and animal relations, in and against nature. The human is a distinctive power, in that it can make a technical relation to nature on a rational and scientific basis. Humans can apply intellect to the design of a technology. Hence technology is often ambivalent in Marx, trapped in a capitalist mode of production, and yet having a wider potential, if intellect could be applied to its design.

Perhaps one could say that if for Locke feudalism was unnatural, for Marx it is capitalism that is artificial. It is a jerry-built steam that engine will sooner or later blow a gasket. It is an alienated form of objectification that can’t last, because of the rifts that traverse it. Wendling: “Marx’s prediction of crisis is also nature’s revenge.” (97) But this is a logic of postponement, of waiting for the engine to blow, rather than of trying to make improvements to the engine while it runs. ‘Scarcity’ will inevitably operate, but as a social rather than natural constraint in Marx.

In Grundrisse, Marx sees the affordances of technology in producing wealth for the whole of our species-being. Freed from capitalist relations of production, a re-designed tech might objectify without alienating (although as Bogdanov was well aware, objectification might have its own problems). In the famous ‘Fragment on Machines’, Marx’s thinking is still tied to a vitalist idea of the human essence augmented by machines. Humans are a tool-using species that is being used by its tools in that workers are alienated from their essence, and need their tool-using nature restored to them.

In communism, machines can then be for the production of wealth, defined as the expansion of human needs, or alternately as net productivity not dependent on human labor for its measure. Wealth is also science, which Marx understood as a social force in the world. “Marx… links science to political change, offering one of the first syntheses of the technical and the political.” (103) Where capitalism forks value into use value and exchange value, via the separation of labor fro labor power, or the qualitative from the quantitative, communism realizes the wealth created, but suppresses the regime of exchange value.

The ‘Fragment’ distinguishes fixed and circulating capital, where fixed capital is embodied in a particular use value (machines) and circulating capital realizes its value in exchange (money). Like natural resources such as water and air, the general level of technology is something capital gets ‘free of charge’ from the commons. But capital has interests in fettering tech and science, which can undermine as well as augment a given regime of accumulation.

Fixed capital replaces labor, raising productivity and profits, but capital is chasing its own tail, and as fixed capital grows, the rate of profit (supposedly) falls. Workers become obsolete. Pushing up profits is a matter of intensifying work or lengthening the working day. Capital’s problem – as Bataille well knew – is not scarcity but abundance, or the attempt to maintain scarcity within abundance.

Against this, Marx sketches only the faintest outline of communism as non-instrumentalist use-value, a theme picked up in different ways by Bataille, Marcuse, and Haraway, where use-value becomes as enjoyment or pleasure, the cultivation of mind and body. (Perhaps the most radical version of this vision is Constant’s New Babylon, which I discussed in The Beach Beneath the Street.) As Gilbert Simondon saw, Marx offers an unusual picture of human-machine symbiosis under communism, different to the usual antagonistic or alienating narratives. It is a matter of thinking that the human-machine material mesh – Haraway’s cyborg – could be quite other than as it appears under capitalism.

Wendling: “Marx will want to portray the human as a material thing, not a spiritual one, and to make a case for the worth of its materiality. This means human beings will have to remain envisioned as the complicated material-like structures of nineteenth-century science, a science which portrays human being as machine-like, and also as worthy. The human being will have to be materially honorable without recourse to God or the divine within. Moreover, human activity can retain none of the occult qualities that inhere in the vitalist explanations of the creative acts of labor.” (118)

The mark of a good society would be both the elaborated forms of humans and tech it would make, and perhaps not being able to tell them apart any more. Hence for Marx maybe humans should be treated as fixed capital – and accorded the respect of machines. “As a regulative ideal, humans do not seek to become more like their gods, but more like their machines.” (119) Or as I might put it: More a meat-physics than a meta-physics.

Capitalism already composes the proletariat as a class that is a sort of labor-machine hybrid, socially produced and reproduced. Perhaps that is why reactive talk about versions of the bloodline make such a bloody comeback: race, nation and family are ways of denying the meat-physics of our machinic becoming. Marx anticipates this too.

Grundrisse includes an expansive notion of what technology could become; Capital does not. In Capital he limits himself to the negative effects of tech within capitalism. But in Capital there’s still a certain slippage between competing narratives of continuity and discontinuity, or between energeticist and vitalist worldviews.

The vitalist strand alone supports the theology of communism as a leap out of nature – of the kind of which Platonov was the most brillant critic. Wendling: “revolutions are indebted to the vitalist metaphysics of the pre-thermodynamic era: they reassert human priority over the natural world.” (126)

It might be more useful tactically to hop onto Marx’s energeticist lillypads, and turn back and take a more critical stance towards the vitalist one, at least as came to float various forms of what Wendling calls capitalist humanism as reactionary responses to thermodynamics leveling. In an interesting move, Wendling argues that misogyny, anti-semitism, and racism are ways of making claims to the human at the expense of a category of other humans in the face of an all-enclosing and alienating system in which no labor has any special claim on the human.

Wendling: “Marx hopes to show that capitalist society sets up both a scientific illusion and a humanist illusion.” (131) The former reduces the human to a function of capital; the latter hankers to restore some pre-capitalist idea. There’s a crisis of human demotion. Capital needs the human to exploit it, even as it replaces it with machines. Human labor really has no occult quality, but it does need to exist so it can be exploited.

Capital’s reliance on labor to exploit is anachronistic. But this opens up onto a strange worldview. “Human agency does not do the groundwork for a better society; instead, society lays the groundwork for future human agency behind the backs of its human agents.” (135) The monstrosity of capital is the condition of possibility of its overcoming.

Wendling makes good use of Marx’s 1850s notebooks on tech and the sciences, that he later redacted into Grundrisse. These notebooks were largely unknown until published in German in the 50s. David Riazanov, founder of the Marx-Engels Institute, did not think them worth including in the original collected works.

Particularly interesting are Marx’s notes on Charles Babbage’s On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures. Babbage – also inventor of the proto-computer the Difference Engine – had done extensive ‘fieldwork’ in factories and had a quite unique knowledge of them for the time. He understood technology conceptually as having three parts: the motor, the means of transmission, and the working tool. This simple scheme helped Marx think the morphology of tech.

The first component, the motor, had changed a lot. “In nineteenth-century science and technology, no changes are as frequent as changes in available energy sources.” (138) Steam engines must have mystified a generation used to wind and water power, even if they seem quite explicable a generation later. Just as Jameson though the computer could not be figured, whereas my 11-year son understands not only their operative parts but how to program them.

Steam power changed people’s worldview. It did not depend on the Gods to make the wind blow or the river flow. The human labor accumulated in the machine could replace natural sources of energy and distribute it smoothly. This was no Promethean triumph, however. Human capacity over nature improved, but at expense of working humans. For Marx, under capital, machines are vampires. Labor is deskilled and reduced to “watchman and regulator” (ie interestingly cybernetic) functions. Boring work is an affront to the worker’s “animal spirits.

Wendling picks up on the disturbing side to these technophobic notes in Capital, which pits monstrous machines against natural humans. It’s a romantic version of capitalism humanism passed on to many subsequent Marxisms (although not to Bogdanov and Platonov, or to Bernal and Needham – forgotten those strands often are.)

There’s an anti-Semitic side to the vampire, for example, tied to those ‘outsider’ figures who threaten a pastoral norm. However, “… we must ask whether a non-anti-Semitic critique of economic life was possible in the nineteenth century.” Marx performs the pastoralism and technophobia of the age, perhaps unwittingly, but can be read, after Haraway, as using monsters more as demonstrations.

Wendling is particularly good on Marx’s anxieties about working women. Steam power had reduced the need for strength in labor, and the modern tool system was superseding male-control crafts, hence the ‘troubling’ entry of women into paid work. (One could connect this to Lyotard’s brilliant reading on Marx and the ‘little girl’ in Libidinal Economy.) Marx shared the Victorian anxieties of his time.

Wendling: “If, unlike these reformers, we interpret the laboring, actively sexual female body as a positive rather than a negative monstrosity, we might even conclude that industrialization has conditioned certain aspects of women’s liberation… A girl at work is not, necessarily, a rough, foul-mouthed boy. She might simply be a rough, foul-mouthed girl, or, better still, a rough and foul-mouthed hybrid creature whose very existence challenges the rigid norms of Victorian gender.” (166-167)

On the other hand, Marx did have some clues as to how gender and race emerge as new means of social differentiation under capitalism where a chunk of labor has been leveled and homogenized. A woman or a person of color is no longer distinguished by a lack of guild skills, but by physiology alone.

In his tech notebooks, Marx perceives science and tech as “thick, historically sedimented practices.” (180). He got this from a selective reading of Babbage. Both shared an interest in class and the social role of science. Babbage thought tech will educate the workers; Marx, that tech will alienate the workers, but form them as a class as abstract labor. Unlike Marx, Babbage did not neglect the question of the reskilling as well as deskilling of workers. Babbage wanted cooperative enterprises; Marx of course thought there was no solution but to let the whole engine blow.

Interestingly, Babbage stressed working class agency in technical change, which Marx excludes. In this the workerist and autonomists tend to follow Marx and see only antagonism in the workplace and refusal of work. One could perhaps use Babbage to write a new chapter of the Making of the English Working Class on its role in the making of tech itself – which is to say to do science studies from below.

Oddly, Marx follows the line of thought of Malthus et al in the notion of the need to sacrifice and to not interfere in the workings of ‘nature’, where ‘nature’ here is the nature of capitalism itself. Another fork in the matrix of possible Marxisms might follow Leibig or Babbage, for whom nature is to be interfered with now in the interests of the common good.

As I read it, Wendling offers a reading of Marx where he performs a series of tactical appropriations from two broad traditions: one philosophical; the other a scientific materialism. Both are ideological. Marx’s tactics use these ideologies against each other suggestively mark out a path beyond. But Marx’s critical work, whatever its greatness, has its limits. His critique of value needs to be complimented by critique of his anthropocentrism.

Wendling does not highlight metabolic rift theme, which is another of his borrowings from Liebig. That might be a place to push back from the energetics side against some residual forms of capitalist humanism in the Anthropocene. From the brilliant start Wendling has made, a path opens up to think Marx through the major scientific discoveries after his time, in biology, earth science and information science – which would be to repeat and revise his tactics for a #Marx21c.