Biography of Karl Marx | Socialist thinker and activist.

(Trier, West Prussia, 1818 - London, 1883) Socialist thinker and revolutionary activist of German origin. The work of a philosopher has rarely had so vast and tangible historical consequences as that of Karl Marx: the Russian revolution of 1917, and from the fall of the wall of Berlin in 1989, half of humanity lived under political regimes which were declared heirs of his thinking. Against what could seem, the failure and collapse of the Communist bloc not speaking against Marx, but against certain interpretations of his work and the revolutionary praxis of leaders than the philosopher did not know, and that somewhat prophetically dissociated himself stating that he was not Marxist.

Karl Marx
Certainly failed his predictions about the inevitable collapse of the capitalist system, but against the utopian Socialists, just she became interested in how had organized society. Instead, Marx proposed to develop a scientific socialism that was based on a detailed study of capitalism from an economic perspective and revealed the perversions and inherent injustices of the capitalist system; in such an analysis, fruitful by the subsequent and current developments in many respects, is the true value of his legacy. In any case, undeniably the height of its ideals; never lusted nothing except "working for humanity", in his own words. And, referring to his book capital, said: "I doubt that anyone has written much about money having so little".
Karl Marx came from a middle class Jewish family; his father was a lawyer recently converted to Lutheranism. He studied at the universities of Bonn, Berlin and Jena, PhD student in philosophy by the latter in 1841. Since that time the thought of Marx would be seated on the dialectic of Hegel, but replaced the Hegelian idealism for a materialist concept, according to which economic forces constitute the underlying infrastructure that, ultimately, determines «superestructurales» phenomena such as the social, political and cultural order.
In 1843 he married Jenny von Westphalen, whose father began to Marx in the interest in the rationalistic doctrines of the French Revolution and early Socialist thinkers. Become a radical democrat, Marx worked for a while as a teacher and journalist; but his political ideas was forced to leave Germany and settled in Paris (1843).
Then he established a lasting friendship with Friedrich Engels, which would be reflected in the close intellectual and political collaboration of both. He was expelled from France in 1845 and took refuge in Brussels; Finally, after a brief stay in Cologne to support radical tendencies present in the German revolution of 1848, he went to lead a more stable life in London, where most of his written work developed since 1849. His dedication to the cause of socialism did suffer great material difficulties overcome thanks to the financial assistance of Engels.

Engels and Marx
Marx left the criticism to former Socialists, to which they described as 'utopian', even though it took them many elements of his thought (particularly, from authors such as Robert Owen, Saint-Simon and Charles Fourier). Such thinkers had been limited to imagine how it could be the perfect society of the future and hope that its implementation would be the general conviction and the example of a few exemplary communities.
On the other hand, Marx and Engels wanted to make a 'scientific socialism', based on the systematic criticism of the established order and the objective discovery of laws that would lead to their overcoming; the force of the revolution (and not the peaceful conviction or gradual reforms) would be the way to put an end to bourgeois civilization. In 1848, at the request of a clandestine revolutionary League formed by German emigrants, Marx and Engels used such ideas in the Communist Manifesto, a pamphlet of incendiary rhetoric in the context of the European revolutions of 1848.
The capital
Later, during his stay in England, Marx delved into the study of classical political economy, and relying primarily on the model of David Ricardo, built his own economic doctrine, that it shaped in the capital; This monumental work only came to publish the first volume (1867), while the remaining two would edit them after his death his friend Engels, putting in order the manuscripts prepared by Marx.
On the basis of the classical doctrine, according to which only human labour produces value, Marx said the exploitation of the worker, patent in the extraction of surplus value, i.e., the part work unpaid to the worker and appropriated by the capitalist, from where comes the accumulation of capital. It was alleged that the unjust, illegitimate and violent essence of the capitalist economic system, which was based on the domination of the kind exercised by the bourgeoisie.

Karl Marx
However, his analysis claimed that capitalism had historical character, as any other system, and did not respond to an immutable natural order and had sought the classics: as he had emerged from a historical process by which replaced feudalism, capitalism was doomed to sink by its own internal contradictions, giving way to socialism. The inevitable trend to the declining rates of gain would be reflected in periodic crises of intensity increased to reach the virtual collapse of the bourgeois society; then, the logic of the system would have polarized the society into two classes conflicting irreconcilable interests, in such a way that masses proletarizadas, aware of its exploitation, would end up starring in the revolution that would usher in socialism.
In other works, Marx completed this economic basis of their reasoning with other historical and political considerations: pointed out the logic of class struggle which, in his view, lies in the history of mankind and that makes this advance to dialectic leaps, result of the revolutionary shock between exploiters and exploited, such as transcript of the inevitable contradiction between the development of productive forces and the strait-jacket which subjected social relations of production.
Also Marx said the ultimate goal of the socialist revolution that was expected: the global and definitive emancipation of man (to abolish private ownership of the means of production, which was the cause of the alienation of workers), thus completing the purely legal and political emancipation by the bourgeois revolution (which identified with the French model). On that basis, Marx had pointed towards a socialist future, understood as the full realization of the ideas of liberty, equality and fraternity, as a result of genuine democracy; the 'dictatorship of the proletariat"would have a character purely instrumental and transient, the objective was the strengthening of State power with the nationalization of the means of production, but the step (as soon as possible) the Communist phase in which missing class contradictions, would no longer be necessary the coercive power of the State.
The first international
Marx was also a tireless activist of the workers revolution. After his militancy in the tiny League of Communists (dissolved in 1852), moved in the environments of the exiled revolutionary conspirators until, in 1864, the creation of the international workers Association (AIT) gave him the chance to impregnate the world labor movement of his Socialist ideas.
At the heart of the first international, much of their energies absorbed them the fight against moderate unionism of British workers and continental anarchist tendencies represented by Pierre Joseph Proudhon and Mijaíl Bakunin. Marx triumphed and imposed his doctrine as official of the international line, even though this would end up sinking as a combined effect of internal divisions and the repression unleashed by European Governments as a result of the revolution of the Paris Commune (1870).
Retired from political activity then, Marx continued exercising his influence through his German disciples, such as August Bebel and Wilhelm Liebknecht; Since its inception in 1875, both were figures of weight in the German Social Democratic Party, dominant group of the second international which, under inspiration decidedly Marxist, was founded in 1889. Already died Marx, Engels took the moral leadership of this movement and the ideological influence of both continued to be decisive for a century.
However, the vital efforts of Marx had been the criticize the bourgeois social order and prepare their revolutionary destruction, by avoiding the idealistic daydreams of the accused to the visionary utopian; Why not he said hardly anything about the way in which socialist State and economy were to organize once conquered power, giving rise to very different between their followers interpretations. These followers broke away between a democratic Branch increasingly more oriented to the parliamentary struggle and the defense of gradual improvements safeguarding individual political freedoms (Eduard Bernstein, Karl Kautsky, Friedrich Ebert) and a Communist branch that gave rise to the Bolshevik revolution in Russia and the establishment of socialist States with planned economy and dictatorship of a single party (Lenin and Stalin in the USSR and Mao Tse-Tung in China).
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