Karl Marx: The Father Of Communism

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Karl Marx, a German economist, philosopher, sociologist, and political revolutionist is among the most influential figures of the 20th century. His influence was undisputable. He was nonetheless a very divisive figure. His ideology was loved and admired by some but feared, hated, and discredited by others. He inspired revolutionist and world leaders alike. His influence can be seen throughout Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Fidel Castro, Mao Zedong, Che Guevara, Vladimir Lenin, and Joseph Stalin can be counted as just some of those who practiced or prescribed to some form of Marxism.

Karl Heinrich Marx was born on May 5, 1818 in what is now Trier, Germany. He was the third of nine children that were born to Heinrich Marx and Henrietta Pressburg. Both his mother and father were Jewish but his father converted to Protestant Christianity in 1816 to circumvent the confines of the legislation of the time that had become increasingly anti-semitic. Karl Marx’s father, a lawyer, provided well for the family. Karl was raised in a fairly wealthy upper middle class family. His father encouraged free thinking and pushed Karl to pursue higher education. Although he was initially only an average student, he eventually found inspiration and grew to admire the teachings of G.W.F. Hegel, a former philosophy professor at the University of Berlin. Here he became involved with a group of young radical thinkers that questioned the established political and religious thinking of the time. The Young Hegelians, as they were called, were just the beginning as Karl became more and more politically zealous. So radical became his political ideology that it prevented him from being able to go into teaching after he graduated from the University of Jena with a PhD in 1841.
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Marxism, did after all, come about as a response or better option to capitalism. Marx viewed capitalism and the market economy as evil. He believed that capitalism robbed society and it’s members of the ability to dictate their own collective and individual destinies. He contented that a capitalistic society consisted of two entities; the haves and the have-not. The haves, or the bourgeoisie, were the capitalist that controlled the means of production, while the have-nots, or the proletariat, were the working class that were exploited by the capitalists. Marx believed that in a capitalist society the rich bourgeoisie control the economy and that the proletariat are alienated. Stripped of their self worth they are forced to produce more than they consume. The surplus of their labor is only enjoyed by the capitalist elite. He felt it should be the workers that should be in control. He believed that in a capitalist economy there is a slow but steady decline in the number of capitalist and a growing population of proletariat. This is brought about by the the fierce competition amongst the capitalists to succeed at all cost, usually at the expense of the worker, and would eventually lead to a monopolistic economy. An economy where both price and production are decided by those in charge of the monopolies. Over time the proletariat would realize that they possessed the collective power to seize control away from the bourgeoisie. He then contented that this would lead to the ruin of the economy and to a social revolution. Capitalism, according to Marx, is destine to fail and upon its inevitable self destruction an ideal socialist society can take root. It is then that Marxism is possible. (Prychitko,
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