Saturday, January 20, 2007

Marx

Dedicated to Karl Marx

Karl Heinrich Marx (May 5, 1818, Trier, Germany – March 14, 1883, London) was a German philosopher, political economist, and revolutionary. Marx addressed a wide range of issues; he is most famous for his analysis of history, summed up in the opening line of the introduction to the Communist Manifesto: "The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles." Marx believed that the downfall of capitalism was inevitable, and that it would be replaced by communism:
“ The development of Modern Industry, therefore, cuts from under its feet the very foundation on which the bourgeoisie produces and appropriates products. What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable. [1] ”
However, Marx also wrote in The German Ideology (1845) that:
“ Communism is for us not a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality [will] have to adjust itself. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. The conditions of this movement result from the premises now in existence. ”
In this text, he opposed the conception of communism as a future state of society and declared it as the negativity at work in the present moment: communism is the opposition to the current order of things, that is, capitalism.
While Marx was a relatively obscure figure in his own lifetime, his ideas began to exert a major influence on workers' movements shortly after his death. This influence was given added impetus by the victory of the Marxist Bolsheviks in the Russian October Revolution, and there are few parts of the world which were not significantly touched by Marxian ideas in the course of the twentieth century. The relation of Marx to "Marxism" is a point of controversy. While some argue that his ideas are discredited , Marxism is still very much influential in academic and political circles. Marxism continues to be the official ideology in some countries in the world such as North Korea. In his book "Marx's Das Capital" (2006), biographer Francis Wheen reiterates David McLellan's observation that since Marx's ideas had not triumphed in the West "..it had not been turned into an official ideology and is thus the object of serious study unimpeded by government controls.".

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