Back to: Literary Theory in English Literature
Karl Marx was a German philosopher. He was born in 1818 to Jewish parents in a petty-bourgeois family. In his varsity life, he studied law, history, and philosophy. In 1841, he completed his Ph.D. on the philosophy of Epicurus. His life of philosophy is marked by two lines of thought. Initially, he was Hegelian in his views. Later on, an epistemological break led him more towards science.
In 1843, Marx moved to Paris where he met Frederick Engels. Both planned to work together on their Marxist credo and came up with their first substantial work The German Ideology.
The major portion of the work was directed as a response to Feuerbach’s materialism. They put forth the concept of the materialist conception of history and critiqued philosophers like Bruno Bauer and Max Stirner. They believed that philosophers have had enough talk on philosophy but were unconcerned to change the world.
In the very book, Marx says, “The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways, the point is to change it.” This attitude of Marx led him to formulate Communism as a practical solution to the problem of oppression in society.
Marx’s radical views became the reason for his banishment from Paris in 1845. Marx then moved to Brussels where he with Engels joined a secret society, the Communist League. Their association with the society resulted in The Communist Manifesto which was requested in League’s Second Congress (1847). The work reflects upon ideas such as materialism, class struggle, tasks of the communists and the revolutionary role of the working class.
Marx uses the materialist concept of history as an approach to the analysis of society. According to this approach, history is considered to be the result of material conditions. The approach is a rejection of the idealist concept of history which holds the view that history is driven by human consciousness.
Marx influenced generations of philosophers through his ideas which as a theoretical approach became Marxism. Marx’s view regarding all human civilization is that it is a result of class struggle. He explains it in his The Communist Manifesto, “history of all hitherto existing society is history of class struggles.” He sees in society a constant fight between the oppressed class and the oppressor.
Marx in The Communist Manifesto gives a solution to the problems of inequality and oppression in the form of communism. He wants to bring the people of the working-class together so that they do away with the capitalist society and establish a communist system.
“Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains!”Karl Marx