Marxism is a socioeconomic analytical technique that use a materialistic understanding of historical development, also known as dialectical materialism, to comprehend class relationships and social struggle, as well as a dialectical viewpoint to examine social transformation. It derives from the works of German intellectuals Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in the nineteenth century. Because Marxism has evolved into different branches and systems of thought over time, there is now no one, comprehensive Marxist theory.

Marxism is a corpus of ideology created in the mid-nineteenth century by Karl Marx and, to a lesser degree, Friedrich Engels. It began with three connected ideas: a philosophical anthropology, a historical theory, and an economic and political platform. There’s also Marxism, as it was interpreted and implemented by different socialist groups before to 1914. There is also Soviet Marxism, developed by Vladimir Ilich Lenin and refined by Joseph Stalin, which became the philosophy of the communist parties formed following the Russian Revolution under the term Marxism-Leninism (see Leninism) (1917).

Marxism, as understood by anti-Stalinist Leon Trotsky and his followers, Mao Zedong’s Chinese variation of Marxism-Leninism, and numerous Marxisms in the developing world were all offshoots of this. There have also been post-World War II nondogmatic Marxisms, which adapted Marx’s ideas by drawing from modern philosophies, primarily those of Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger, but also those of Sigmund Freud and others.


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Marx’s written work cannot be limited to philosophy, much alone a system of philosophy. His whole body of work is a fundamental critique of philosophy, particularly of G.W.F. Hegel’s idealist theory and the post-Hegelian philosophies of the left and right. It is not, however, only a rejection of their ideologies. Marx asserted that theory had to become actuality. One could no longer be satisfied with simply understanding the world; one had to be concerned with altering it, which entailed modifying both the reality and human knowledge of it.

This necessitated a criticism of experience as well as a critique of ideas. Marx, in fact, considered that all knowledge included a critique of ideas. He was not a realist. Rather, his work is brimming with notions (appropriation, alienation, praxis, creative labour, value, and so on) that he received from previous philosophers and economists such as Hegel, Immanuel Kant, Johann Fichte, Adam Smith, David Ricardo, and John Stuart Mill.

Marx’s thought is distinguished by the fact that, rather than making abstract assertions about a broad range of issues such as human nature, knowledge, and matter, he examines each issue in its dynamic relationship to the others and, above all, attempts to relate them to historical, social, political, and economic realities.

Also Read, Pragmatism: The Art of Dealing with Solutions


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The superstructure rises above the economic framework and consists of legal and political “forms of social awareness” that relate to the economic structure. Marx says nothing about the nature of this correspondence between ideological forms and economic structure, except that individuals become aware of the conflict within the economic system between the material forces of production and the existing production relations expressed in legal property interactions through the ideological forms.

In other terms, “the sum total of the powers of production available to mankind defines the situation of society” and is the foundation of society. “The social structure and the state emerge continuously from the life processes of specific persons… as they are in actuality, that is, functioning and creating materially.” Individuals’ political relationships, as well as their legal relationships, are depending on material output. This basis of the social on the economic is not an afterthought: it pervades Marx’s whole thinking.

In Das Kapital, Marx examined the market economy system. In this book, he uses and adapts most of the categories of traditional English economists, Smith and Ricardo, as well as introducing new notions such as surplus value. One of Das Kapital’s unique features is that Marx examines the economy overall, rather than focusing on one or two parts of it. His approach is founded on the premise that people are productive entities and that human labour generates all economic value. The system he examines is mostly that of mid-nineteenth-century England.

It is a private industry and competitive system that emerged in the 16th century as a result of the expansion of maritime routes, international commerce, and colonialism. Its growth had been aided by changes in the forces of production (labour division and workshop concentration), automation, and technological progress. The riches of the cultures that gave rise to this economy had been amassed via a “enormous accumulation of goods.” Marx therefore begins his investigation of this accumulation by examining the uneven trades that occur in the market.

Criticism of Marxism 

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Marxism has been criticised by a variety of political ideologies and academic areas. Including general criticism about a lack of internal coherence, criticisms about historical materialism, that it is a type of ancient determinism, the necessity of curbing individual rights, problems with communist application, and economic issues such as price transmission loss or absence, and reduced incentives. Furthermore, factual and epistemological issues are commonly recognised.