Karl Marx‘s last words were “Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough.”
“Karl Marx (German pronunciation: 5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. Marx’s work in economics laid the basis for the current understanding of labour and its relation to capital, and has influenced much of subsequent economic thought. He published numerous books during his lifetime, the most notable being The Communist Manifesto (1848) and Das Kapital (1867–1894).Born into a wealthy middle-class family in Trier in the Prussian Rhineland, Marx studied at the University of Bonn and the University of Berlin, where he became interested in the philosophical ideas of the Young Hegelians. After his studies, he wrote for a radical newspaper in Cologne, and began to work out his theory of dialectical materialism. He moved to Paris in 1843, where he began writing for other radical newspapers and met Fredrick Engels, who would become his lifelong friend and collaborator. In 1849 he was exiled and moved to London together with his wife and children where he continued writing and formulating his theories about social and economic activity. He also campaigned for socialism and became a significant figure in the International Workingmen’s Association.Marx’s theories about society, economics and politics—collectively known as Marxism—hold that human societies progress through class struggle: a conflict between an ownership class that controls production and a proletariat that provides the labour for production. He called capitalism the “”dictatorship of the bourgeoisie,”” believing it to be run by the wealthy classes for their own benefit; and he predicted that, like previous socioeconomic systems, capitalism produced internal tensions which would lead to its self-destruction and replacement by a new system: socialism. He argued that under socialism society would be governed by the working class in what he called the “”dictatorship of the proletariat””, the “”workers’ state”” or “”workers’ democracy””. He believed that socialism would eventually give rise to a stateless, classless society called communism. Along with believing in the inevitability of socialism and communism, Marx actively fought for the former’s implementation, arguing that social theorists and underprivileged people alike should carry out organised revolutionary action to topple capitalism and bring about socio-economic change. Marx has been described as one of the most influential figures in human history. Revolutionary socialist governments espousing Marxist concepts took power in a variety of countries in the 20th century, leading to the formation of such socialist states as the Soviet Union in 1922 and the People’s Republic of China in 1949. Many labour unions and workers’ parties worldwide are influenced by Marxism, while various theoretical variants, such as Leninism, Stalinism, Trotskyism, and Maoism, were developed from them. Marx is typically cited, with Émile Durkheim and Max Weber, as one of the three principal architects of modern social science.
The First International
In 1864, Marx became involved in the International Workingmen’s Association (also known as First International)., to whose General Council he was elected at its inception in 1864. In that organisation, Marx was involved in the struggle against the anarchist wing centred around Mikhail Bakunin (1814–1876). Although Marx won this contest, the transfer of the seat of the General Council from London to New York in 1872, which Marx supported, led to the decline of the International. The most important political event during the existence of the International was the Paris Commune of 1871 when the citizens of Paris rebelled against their government and held the city for two months. In response to the bloody suppression of this rebellion Marx wrote one of his most famous pamphlets, The Civil War in France, a defense of the Commune. Given the repeated failures and frustrations of workers’ revolutions and movements, Marx also sought to understand capitalism, and spent a great deal of time in the reading room of the British Museum studying and reflecting on the works of political economists and on economic data. By 1857 he had accumulated over 800 pages of notes and short essays on capital, landed property, wage labour, the state, and foreign trade and the world market; this work did not appear in print until 1941, under the title Grundrisse. Finally in 1859, Marx published A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, his first serious economic work. This work was intended merely as a preview of his multi-volume Capital on which he intended to publish at a later date. In A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, Marx accepts thelabor theory of value as advocated by David Ricardo, but whereas Ricardo drawn a distinction between use value and value in commodities, Ricardo always had been unable to define the real relationship between use value and value. The reasoning Marx laid out in his book clearly delineated the true relationship between use value and value. He also produced a truly scientific theory of money and money circulation in the capitalist economy. Thus, A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy created a storm of enthusiasm when it appeared in public. The entire edition of the book was sold out in a very short period of time.The successful sales of A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economystimulated Marx in the early 1860s, to finish work on the three large volumes that would compose his major life’s work–Capital and the Theories of Surplus Value, which discussed the theoreticians of political economy, particularly Adam Smith and David Ricardo. Theories of Surplus Value is often referred to as the fourth volume book of Das Kapital and constitutes one of the first comprehensive treatises on the history of economic thought. In 1867 the first volume of Das Kapital was published, a work which analyzed the capitalist process of production. Here Marx elaborated his labour theory of value, which had been influenced by Thomas Hodgskin. Marx acknowledged Hodgskin’s “”admirable work””—the book, Labour Defended against thee Claims of Capital at more than one point in Capital. Indeed, Marx quoted Hodgskin as recognizing the alienation of labor that occurred under modern capitalist production. No longer was there any “”natural reward of individual labor. Each laborer produces only part of a whole and each part having no value or utility in itself, there is nothing on which the labourer can seize and say: ‘It is my product, this I will keep to myself. In this first volume of Capital, Marx outlined his conception of surplus value and exploitation, which he argued would ultimately lead to a falling rate of profit and the collapse of industrial capitalism. Demand for a Russian language edition of Capital soon led to the printing of 3,000 copies of the book in the Russian language which came out on March 27, 1872. By the autumn of 1871 the entire first edition of the German language edition of Capital had been sold out and a second edition was published.Volumes II and III of Capital remained mere manuscripts upon which Marx continued to work for the rest of his life. Both volumes were published by Engels after Marx’s death. Volume II of Capital was prepared and published by Engels in July 1893 under the name,Capital II: The Process of Circulation of Capital. Volume III of Capital was published a year later in October 1894 under the name, Capital III: The Process of Capitalist Production as a Whole. Theories of Surplus Value was developed from the Economic Manuscripts of 1861-1863 which compose Volumes 30, 31 32 and 33 of the Collected Works of Marx and Engels and from the Economic Manuscripts of 1861-1864 which composes Volume 34 of the Collected Works of Marx and Engels. The exact part of the Economic Manuscripts of 1861-1863 which makes up the Theories of Surplus Value are the last part of Volume 30 of the Collected Works, the whole of Volume 31 of the Collected Works, and the whole of Volume 32 of the Collected Works A German language abridged edition of Theories of Surplus Value was published in 1905 and in 1910. This abridged edition was translated into English and published in 1951 in London. However, the complete unabridged edition of Theories of Surplus Value was published as the “”fourth volume”” of Capital in 1963 and 1971 in Moscow. Marx in 1882 During the last decade of his life, Marx’s health declined and he became incapable of the sustained effort that had characterised his previous work. He did manage to comment substantially on contemporary politics, particularly in Germany and Russia. His Critique of the Gotha Programme opposed the tendency of his followers Wilhelm Liebknecht and August Bebel to compromise with the state socialism of Ferdinand Lassalle in the interests of a united socialist party. This work is also notable for another famous Marx’s quote: “”From each according to his ability, to each according to his need. In a letter to Vera Zasulich dated 8 March 1881, Marx contemplated the possibility of Russia’s bypassing the capitalist stage of development and building communism on the basis of the common ownership of land characteristic of the village mir. While admitting that Russia’s rural “”commune is the fulcrum of social regeneration in Russia””, Marx also warned that, in order for the mir to operate as a means for moving straight to the socialist stage without a preceding capitalist stage, it “”would first be necessary to eliminate the deleterious influences which are assailing it (the rural commune) from all sides. Given the elimination of these pernicious influences, Marx allowed that “”normal conditions of spontaneous development”” of the rural commune could exist. However, in the same letter to Vera Zasulich, Marx points out that “”at the core of the capitalist system … lies the complete separation of the producer from the means of production.”” In one of the drafts of this letter, Marx reveals his growing passion for anthropology, motivated by his belief that future communism would be a return on a higher level to the communism of our prehistoric past. He wrote that the historical trend of our age is the fatal crisis which capitalist production has undergone in the European and American countries where it has reached its highest peak, a crisis that will end in its destruction, in the return of modern society to a higher form of the most archaic type — collective production and appropriation. He added that. the vitality of primitive communities was incomparably greater than that of Semitic, Greek, Roman, etc. societies, and, a fortiori, that of modern capitalist societies. Before he died, Marx asked Engels to write up these ideas, which were published in 1884 under the title The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State.”