[ 1 ] Morgenstern employs an adjective form of a proper name, which one will likely not find in most German dictionaries. He writes of "lasalleschen" ideas, and these refer to Ferdinand Johann Gottlieb Lassalle (1825–64), a German-Jewish jurist, philosopher, and socialist political activist. His life's end was itself brutal, killed in a duel over a woman. Thus he represents for the purpose of this poem the manly adventurer, while Marx' death -- which occurred in his arm chair in a flat in London, after more than a decade of intellectual feebleness and seriously declining health -- represents the opposite.
In deed Marx' revolutionary activities were limited to writing tracts and addresses, and exchanging letters with others who would become the active "Marxists." These polar opposites are stark in many ways, but Morgenstern notes that simple Ralf, facing a difficult life of competition, might well have found the more inglorious death through "Redness" than through a simple life of struggles. History seems to have borne this lesson out in full.
For this please see, my setting of Rudolph Rummel's Pray tell, my brother, why and note Professor Rummel's seminal and detailed work on Freedom, Democracy, Peace; Power, Democide, and War.
By way of update in 2012, Gerd Büntzly wrote a short note to clarify about Lassalle, a correction and insight for which I am grateful. I find the history of democrat socialism most amusing for a number of reasons.
First as relates to Lassalle, while he was known to have been a committed republican in the sense of that era of a monarchy, Bismarck later was to say of his meetings with Lassalle that the jurist and activist was not a republican. Politics always seems intent of muddying waters, does it not?
The second comment I note is that in Marx' era, socialism was referred to as "scientific." Given the current debt-ridden state of affairs in many European nations which followed various forms of socialism, it seems that the science was not as proven as it was said to be. I am not a fan of political parties nor an adherent to the so-called Left-Right model of politics, for there are those who would theorize and die quietly in their arm chair, while others take on the risk for themselves.
One should also recall the slur Marx aimed at Lassalle: Jewish nigger.
As to those who bore the ultimate burden of political risks, Erich Mühsam is one who comes to mind. This is true in the arts, in which the comfortable world of acceptance is sought even by the now orthodox avant-garde.
Men like Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) were ardent critics of what they saw as idealist intellectuals, and almost two centuries later we seem to have many idealist intellectuals who have been wholly in charge of nations as massive debts were built up, not a very smart thing to do in retrospect.
Der Spiegel has only recently printed an expose of the Kohl administration in Germany in the run-up to the introduction of the Euro in which political considerations simply trumped significant economic data, as if wishing for something would make it so.
At the end of the economic day, these idealist intellectuals will have "contributed" to enormous social distress in the form of public debt burdens, the absolute inverse of their idealism's "social" aims.
Unless, that is and in the view of those like Kierkegaard, their first order of business was to assure themselves positions of leverage and power. For this, Frederic Bastiat's observation from the mid 19th century speaks volumes to today: "Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else."