Karl Marx 101: Why His Ideas are More Relevant Than Ever
Zatrun Published at September 03, 2023

Karl Marx, the founder of communism, is one of the most influential philosophers of the 19th century. His philosophy, economics, history and sociology influenced many economists and politicians. Marx is in a different place in the social science world because he scientifically evaluated the functioning, contradictions and collapse of capitalist society.

Marx also advocated the international solidarity and revolutionary struggle of the working class. Marx’s ideas influenced many countries and movements in the world and remain relevant today. In this article, you can access detailed information about Karl Marx’s life and works.

Karl Marx

Who is Karl Marx?

Karl Marx was born on 5 May 1818 in Trier, Germany, as the child of a Jewish family. His father was a lawyer, and Marx studied law and philosophy at Bonn and Berlin universities. He received his PhD in philosophy from Jena University in 1841. During his education, he was influenced by the dialectical method of German philosopher Hegel.

He worked as an editor for a newspaper in Cologne, Germany for a while. After that, Marx moved to Paris with his wife Jenny von Westphalen in 1843. There he met revolutionary Friedrich Engels, who would remain his friend until his death. He was expelled from France after a while because of his work there. After that, he lived in Brussels, the capital of Belgium, for two years and deepened his friendship with Engels.

Marx laid the foundation of his philosophy in his work “Critique of Political Economy and Philosophy”, which he published in 1844. In this work, he analysed the alienation of humans from the products they created in capitalist society, the exploitation of labour and class struggle. According to Marx, human history was nothing but the history of class struggles and this struggle would ultimately result in the victory of the working class.

Karl Marx, after fighting for the working class throughout his life, passed away in London on 14 March 1883. After his death, these words were engraved on his tombstone: “Philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways, but the important thing is to change it.”

Karl Marx

His Political Efforts and Important Works

Karl Marx and Engels announced the principles and programme of communism in their work “The Communist Manifesto”, which they published in 1848. This work also became the manifesto of the social movements that shook Europe in the same year.

Marx and Engels advocated the international solidarity of the working class and shouted the slogan “Workers of all countries, unite!” This slogan is widely used today in various social movements such as Feminism.

Marx settled in London in 1849 and lived there until the end of his life. In London, he contributed to the establishment of the First International and led the workers’ movement. The main goal of the First International was to find solutions by discussing the problems of workers all over the world.

Marx began writing “Das Capital”, which is considered his most important work, during the International. In this book, he scientifically revealed the functioning, contradictions, and collapse of the capitalist system.

Marx’s Influences in Today’s World

Karl Marx is regarded as one of the most influential philosophers of the 19th century. He is known as the founder of communism. Many countries and movements in the world have been influenced by Marx’s ideas.

Countries such as the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, Vietnam have established communist regimes. Moreover, movements such as social democracy in Europe, Bolivarian revolution in Latin America, freedom movements in the Middle East have also continued Marx’s legacy.

Marx is still one of the most read and discussed thinkers in the world today. Marx’s ideas gain new meaning in the face of problems such as capitalism’s crises, inequalities, poverty, wars, climate change. As Marx said, “To change the world” is still a current goal.

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