When twentieth-century interpreters of Marx sought new significance in his thought, they often returned to Marx’s “young” works, which presented the possibility of enriching Marx’s critique of political-economy with a critique of alienated consciousness. This article, however, seeks to go back still further, to works written by Marx before the now-famous Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844. These works of the “even younger Marx” can supplement the critique of alienation with a critique of the state and civil society. Today, the relation between the state and civil society is a central theme of political thought; yet civil society is often understood unidimensionally as a normative category opposed to the state or to politics, which take on one-sidedly negative significance in contrast to civil society. An interpretation of the works of the “even younger Marx” enables a critical evaluation of the social role of civil society in connection with its complex (rather than purely oppositional) position with regard to the state. The “even younger Marx” offers a political theory of civil society that captures at once its emancipatory potential as well as its potential to serve continued unfreedom.