Karl Marx was fundamental in giving the world communism. Based around his theory of Dialectical Materialism, history is a process of class struggle, and economics decide our place in society.
He envisioned the process coming to a head in a huge, violent clash, where the class structure would disappear to be replaced by a utopia in which everyone was equal.
Such naivety was not expressed in his life. Born in Trier, Germany, the son of a lawyer in 1818, he studied law and philosophy at Bonn and Berlin. In 1843 he married and had several children, but they were to play a minor part in his life.
In 1842 the growing revolutionary edited the Rheinische Zeitung, but the following year it was closed down. In 1844 he began a life-long collaboration with Friedrich Engels, with whom
he wrote the ‘Communist Manifesto’ in 1848, encouraging workers throughout the world to unite and fight the oppressors.
It was a year of revolution through the world, and Marx found himself expelled from continental Europe. He went to London, living in poverty in a Soho flat for the remainder of his life. Each day he would trudge to the Reading Room of the British Museum to work on his three volume opus, Das Kapital, whilst at home, his family was slowly dying through the abject poverty they suffered.
Indeed, it was to take his own life, dying in 1883, his opus not fully formed. It was completed posthumously by Engels. Marx was buried in Highgate Cemetery, London. His ideas were taken up by revolutionaries throughout the 20th century, communism taking a hold in Russia and China. The world revolt of the working classes did not, however, come to pass.
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