Karl Marx and the colors of Utopia

Karl Marx was a German philosopher, economist, political theorist, and revolutionary who had a profound impact on the development of socialist and communist thought. 140 years after his death, his legacy remains.

Oct 6, 2023 - 02:21
Karl Marx and the colors of Utopia
Image by aventurasnahistoria.uol.com.br

Karl Marx was born on May 5, 1818, in Trier, a city in what is now Germany, into a middle-class family of Jewish heritage. He studied law, history, and philosophy at the University of Bonn and later the University of Berlin.

During his university years, Marx became influenced by the works of German philosophers such as Friedrich Hegel and Ludwig Feuerbach, as well as the emerging socialist and communist movements of the time. He became a critical contributor to the "Young Hegelians," a group of philosophers who applied Hegelian dialectical methods to critique religion and society.

Marx's most enduring partnership was with Friedrich Engels, a fellow philosopher and writer. Together, they developed and refined Marxist theory, collaborating on several important works, including "The Communist Manifesto" (1848) and "The German Ideology" (published posthumously).

Published in 1848, "The Communist Manifesto" co-authored by Marx and Engels, outlined the central tenets of Marxism, including the critique of capitalism, the historical development of class struggle, and the call for the working class (proletariat) to overthrow the bourgeoisie (capitalist class) and establish a classless society.

Throughout his life, Marx engaged in political journalism and wrote for various newspapers and journals. He advocated for workers' rights, the abolition of private property, and the creation of a socialist society.

Due to his revolutionary activities and writings, Marx faced government surveillance and persecution. He lived in various European cities, including Paris, Brussels, and London. He was actively involved in organizing and participating in international socialist and communist movements.

In his earlier works, including the "Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts" (1844), Marx explored themes of alienation, the labor theory of value, and the impact of capitalism on individuals and society.

Marx's most ambitious work, "Das Kapital," was a multi-volume analysis of political economy. The first volume was published in 1867, and subsequent volumes were edited and published by Engels after Marx's death. "Das Kapital" critically examined the workings of capitalism, the accumulation of capital, and the exploitation of labor.

Karl Marx passed away on March 14, 1883, in London, England. Despite facing personal hardships, health issues, and financial difficulties, he continued to work on his theoretical writings and remained committed to revolutionary change.

Marx's ideas had a profound influence on 20th-century history, philosophy, politics, and economics. His theories of historical materialism, class struggle, and the critique of capitalism laid the foundation for various Marxist movements and revolutions around the world.

Karl Marx's life was marked by his intellectual rigor, his dedication to social and economic justice, and his lasting impact on the development of socialist and communist thought.


The role of Engels

Karl Marx's relationship with money was complex and often characterized by financial struggles. Friedrich Engels provide financial support to Marx at various points in his life.

Throughout his life, Marx faced financial difficulties due to his dedication to his intellectual pursuits, his revolutionary activities, and the challenges of supporting his family. His works, especially "Das Kapital," were time-consuming and did not bring in significant income during his lifetime.

Friedrich Engels, Marx's close friend and collaborator, provide financial assistance to him and his family over the years. Engels came from a wealthy family and had a more stable financial situation. He supported Marx both personally and financially, allowing Marx to continue his work and writing.

Marx and Engels had a deep intellectual and personal bond. They collaborated on various works, co-authored texts, and exchanged ideas extensively. Engels not only supported Marx financially but also played a crucial role in editing and publishing some of Marx's works, including volumes of "Das Kapital."

Their relationship was rooted in their shared commitment to socialist and communist principles, and they saw their collaboration as a means to further their shared revolutionary goals. While Engels provided crucial support, their relationship was not without tensions or disagreements. They engaged in intellectual debates and discussions on various issues related to theory and strategy.

Friedrich Engels came from a relatively wealthy family. He was born in Barmen, Prussia (now part of Wuppertal, Germany), to a family that owned a successful textile business. Engels' father owned factories in the textile industry, and as a result, Engels had access to financial resources that were not available to many others of his time.

Engels' family background in industry and commerce allowed him to pursue his intellectual interests and engage in political activism without the same financial constraints that many of his contemporaries faced. This financial stability enabled him to support not only himself but also his friend and collaborator, Karl Marx, during periods of Marx's financial difficulties.

Engels' personal wealth and financial resources played a role in his ability to dedicate time and effort to his writings, political engagement, and his support of socialist and communist causes. His collaboration with Marx, both intellectually and financially, contributed significantly to the development of Marxist theory and the broader socialist movement.

Viktor Schwarz Member of EA Global Coordination Team