Marxism

Marxism

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Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history
Historical materialism
Historical materialism is a methodological approach to the study of society, economics, and history, first articulated by Karl Marx as "the materialist conception of history". Historical materialism looks for the causes of developments and changes in human society in the means by which humans...

, a dialectic
Dialectic
Dialectic is a method of argument for resolving disagreement that has been central to Indic and European philosophy since antiquity. The word dialectic originated in Ancient Greece, and was made popular by Plato in the Socratic dialogues...

al view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th century by two German philosophers
German philosophy
German philosophy, here taken to mean either philosophy in the German language or philosophy by Germans, has been extremely diverse, and central to both the analytic and continental traditions in philosophy for centuries, from Leibniz through Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Marx, Nietzsche, Heidegger...

, Karl Marx
Karl Marx
Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement...

 and Friedrich Engels
Friedrich Engels
Friedrich Engels was a German industrialist, social scientist, author, political theorist, philosopher, and father of Marxist theory, alongside Karl Marx. In 1845 he published The Condition of the Working Class in England, based on personal observations and research...

. Marxism encompasses Marxian economic theory
Marxian economics
Marxian economics refers to economic theories on the functioning of capitalism based on the works of Karl Marx. Adherents of Marxian economics, particularly in academia, distinguish it from Marxism as a political ideology and sociological theory, arguing that Marx's approach to understanding the...

, a sociological theory
Marxist sociology
Marxist sociology refers to the conduct of sociology from a Marxist perspective. Marxism itself can be recognized as both a political philosophy and a sociology, particularly to the extent it attempts to remain scientific, systematic and objective rather than purely normative and prescriptive....

 and a revolutionary
Revolutionary socialism
The term revolutionary socialism refers to Socialist tendencies that advocate the need for fundamental social change through revolution by mass movements of the working class, as a strategy to achieve a socialist society...

 view of social change that has influenced socialist political movements around the world.

The Marxian analysis begins with an analysis of material conditions, taking at its starting point the necessary economic activities required by human society to provide for its material needs. The form of economic organization, or mode of production
Mode of production
In the writings of Karl Marx and the Marxist theory of historical materialism, a mode of production is a specific combination of:...

, is understood to be the basis from which the majority of other social phenomena — including social relations, political and legal systems, morality and ideology — arise (or at the least by which they are greatly influenced). These social relations form the superstructure
Base and superstructure
In Marxist theory, human society consists of two parts: the base and superstructure; the base comprehends the forces and relations of production — employer-employee work conditions, the technical division of labour, and property relations — into which people enter to produce the necessities and...

, of which the economic system forms the base. As the forces of production, most notably technology, improve, existing forms of social organization become inefficient and stifle further progress.

These inefficiencies manifest themselves as social contradictions in society in the form of class struggle
Class struggle
Class struggle is the active expression of a class conflict looked at from any kind of socialist perspective. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote "The [written] history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle"....

. Under the capitalist mode of production
Capitalist mode of production
In Marx's critique of political economy, the capitalist mode of production is the production system of capitalist societies, which began in Europe in the 16th century, grew rapidly in Western Europe from the end of the 18th century, and later extended to most of the world...

, this struggle materializes between the minority who own the means of production (the bourgeoisie
Bourgeoisie
In sociology and political science, bourgeoisie describes a range of groups across history. In the Western world, between the late 18th century and the present day, the bourgeoisie is a social class "characterized by their ownership of capital and their related culture." A member of the...

), and the vast majority of the population who produce goods and services (the proletariat
Proletariat
The proletariat is a term used to identify a lower social class, usually the working class; a member of such a class is proletarian...

). Taking the idea that social change
Social change
Social change refers to an alteration in the social order of a society. It may refer to the notion of social progress or sociocultural evolution, the philosophical idea that society moves forward by dialectical or evolutionary means. It may refer to a paradigmatic change in the socio-economic...

 occurs because of the struggle between different classes
Social class
Social classes are economic or cultural arrangements of groups in society. Class is an essential object of analysis for sociologists, political scientists, economists, anthropologists and social historians. In the social sciences, social class is often discussed in terms of 'social stratification'...

 within society who are under contradiction against each other, the Marxist analysis leads to the conclusion that capitalism
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

 oppresses the proletariat
Proletariat
The proletariat is a term used to identify a lower social class, usually the working class; a member of such a class is proletarian...

, the inevitable result being a proletarian revolution
Proletarian revolution
A proletarian revolution is a social and/or political revolution in which the working class attempts to overthrow the bourgeoisie. Proletarian revolutions are generally advocated by socialists, communists, and most anarchists....

.

Marxism views the socialist system
Socialism (Marxism)
In Marxist theory, socialism, or the socialist mode of production, refers to a specific historical phase of economic development and its corresponding set of social relations that eventually supersede capitalism...

 as being prepared by the historical development of capitalism. According to Marxism, Socialism
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 is a historical necessity (but not an inevitability ). In a socialist society private property
Private property
Private property is the right of persons and firms to obtain, own, control, employ, dispose of, and bequeath land, capital, and other forms of property. Private property is distinguishable from public property, which refers to assets owned by a state, community or government rather than by...

 in the means of production
Means of production
Means of production refers to physical, non-human inputs used in production—the factories, machines, and tools used to produce wealth — along with both infrastructural capital and natural capital. This includes the classical factors of production minus financial capital and minus human capital...

 would be superseded by co-operative ownership. The socialist
Socialism (Marxism)
In Marxist theory, socialism, or the socialist mode of production, refers to a specific historical phase of economic development and its corresponding set of social relations that eventually supersede capitalism...

 system would succeed capitalism as humanity's mode of production through worker's revolution
Revolution
A revolution is a fundamental change in power or organizational structures that takes place in a relatively short period of time.Aristotle described two types of political revolution:...

. Capitalism according to Marxist theory can no longer sustain the living standards of the population due to its need to compensate for falling rates of profit by driving down wages, cutting social benefits and pursuing military aggression. A socialist economy would not base production on the accumulation of capital, but would instead base production and economic activity on the criteria of satisfying human needs - that is, production would be carried out directly for use
Production for use
Production for use is a defining criterion of a socialist economy and distinguishes socialism from capitalism...

.

Eventually, socialism would give way to a communist stage of history: a classless, stateless system based on common ownership
Common ownership
Common ownership is a principle according to which the assets of an enterprise or other organization are held indivisibly rather than in the names of the individual members or by a public institution such as a governmental body. It is therefore in contrast to public ownership...

 and free-access, superabundance and maximum freedom for individuals to develop their own capacities and talents. As a political movement, Marxism advocates the creation of such a society.

A Marxist understanding of history and of society has been adopted by academics studying in a wide range of disciplines, including archaeology
Archaeology
Archaeology, or archeology , is the study of human society, primarily through the recovery and analysis of the material culture and environmental data that they have left behind, which includes artifacts, architecture, biofacts and cultural landscapes...

, anthropology
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

,
media studies
Media studies
Media studies is an academic discipline and field of study that deals with the content, history and effects of various media; in particular, the 'mass media'. Media studies may draw on traditions from both the social sciences and the humanities, but mostly from its core disciplines of mass...

, political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

, theater, history
History
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

, sociological theory
Sociological theory
In sociology, sociological perspectives, theories, or paradigms are complex theoretical and methodological frameworks used to analyze and explain objects of social study. They facilitate organizing sociological knowledge...

, art history
Art history
Art history has historically been understood as the academic study of objects of art in their historical development and stylistic contexts, i.e. genre, design, format, and style...

 and theory, cultural studies
Cultural studies
Cultural studies is an academic field grounded in critical theory and literary criticism. It generally concerns the political nature of contemporary culture, as well as its historical foundations, conflicts, and defining traits. It is, to this extent, largely distinguished from cultural...

, education
Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

, economics
Marxian economics
Marxian economics refers to economic theories on the functioning of capitalism based on the works of Karl Marx. Adherents of Marxian economics, particularly in academia, distinguish it from Marxism as a political ideology and sociological theory, arguing that Marx's approach to understanding the...

, geography
Marxist geography
Marxist geography is a critical geography which utilises the theories and philosophy of Marxism to examine the spatial relations of human geography. In Marxist geography the relations that geography has traditionally analyzed - natural environment and spatial relations - are reviewed as outcomes of...

, literary criticism
Literary criticism
Literary criticism is the study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. Modern literary criticism is often informed by literary theory, which is the philosophical discussion of its methods and goals...

, aesthetics
Aesthetics
Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of beauty, art, and taste, and with the creation and appreciation of beauty. It is more scientifically defined as the study of sensory or sensori-emotional values, sometimes called judgments of sentiment and taste...

, critical psychology
Critical psychology
Critical psychology is an approach to psychology that takes a critical theory–based perspective. Critical psychology is aimed at critiquing mainstream psychology and attempts to apply psychology in more progressive ways, often looking towards social change as a means of preventing and treating...

, and philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

.

Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels


Karl Heinrich Marx (5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher, political economist
Political economy
Political economy originally was the term for studying production, buying, and selling, and their relations with law, custom, and government, as well as with the distribution of national income and wealth, including through the budget process. Political economy originated in moral philosophy...

, and socialist
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 revolutionary
Revolutionary
A revolutionary is a person who either actively participates in, or advocates revolution. Also, when used as an adjective, the term revolutionary refers to something that has a major, sudden impact on society or on some aspect of human endeavor.-Definition:...

, who addressed the matters of alienation
Marx's theory of alienation
Marx's theory of alienation , as expressed in the writings of the young Karl Marx , refers to the separation of things that naturally belong together, or to put antagonism between things that are properly in harmony...

 and exploitation
Exploitation
This article discusses the term exploitation in the meaning of using something in an unjust or cruel manner.- As unjust benefit :In political economy, economics, and sociology, exploitation involves a persistent social relationship in which certain persons are being mistreated or unfairly used for...

 of the working class, the capitalist mode of production
Capitalist mode of production
In Marx's critique of political economy, the capitalist mode of production is the production system of capitalist societies, which began in Europe in the 16th century, grew rapidly in Western Europe from the end of the 18th century, and later extended to most of the world...

, and historical materialism
Historical materialism
Historical materialism is a methodological approach to the study of society, economics, and history, first articulated by Karl Marx as "the materialist conception of history". Historical materialism looks for the causes of developments and changes in human society in the means by which humans...

. He is famous for analysing history in terms of class struggle
Class struggle
Class struggle is the active expression of a class conflict looked at from any kind of socialist perspective. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote "The [written] history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle"....

, summarised in the initial line introducing the Communist Manifesto (1848): “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles”. His ideas were influential in his time, and it was greatly expanded by the successful Bolshevik October Revolution
October Revolution
The October Revolution , also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution , Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917...

 of 1917 in Imperial Russia
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

.

Friedrich Engels (28 November 1820 – 5 August 1895) was a German
political philosopher
Political philosophy
Political philosophy is the study of such topics as liberty, justice, property, rights, law, and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why they are needed, what, if anything, makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it...

 and Karl Marx’s co-developer of communist
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 theory. Marx and Engels met in September 1844; discovering that they shared like views of philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 and socialism
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

, they collaborated and wrote works such as Die heilige Familie (The Holy Family
The Holy Family (book)
The Holy Family was a book written by Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels in November 1844. The book is a critique on the Young Hegelians and their trend of thought which was very popular in academic circles at the time. The title was a suggestion by the publisher and is meant as a sarcastic reference to...

). After the French deported Marx from France in January 1845, Engels and Marx moved to Belgium, which then permitted greater freedom of expression than other European countries; later, in January 1846, they returned to Brussels to establish the Communist Correspondence Committee.

In 1847, they began writing The Communist Manifesto (1848), based upon Engels’ The Principles of Communism; six weeks later, they published the 12,000-word pamphlet in February 1848. In March, Belgium expelled them, and they moved to Cologne
Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

, where they published the Neue Rheinische Zeitung
Neue Rheinische Zeitung
The Neue Rheinische Zeitung - Organ der Demokratie was a German daily newspaper, published by Karl Marx in Cologne between June 1, 1848 and May 19, 1849. Its name refers to a paper earlier edited by Marx, the Rheinische Zeitung...

, a politically radical
Political radicalism
The term political radicalism denotes political principles focused on altering social structures through revolutionary means and changing value systems in fundamental ways...

 newspaper. Again, by 1849, they had to leave Cologne for London. The Prussian authorities pressured the British government to expel Marx and Engels, but Prime Minister Lord John Russell
John Russell, 1st Earl Russell
John Russell, 1st Earl Russell, KG, GCMG, PC , known as Lord John Russell before 1861, was an English Whig and Liberal politician who served twice as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in the mid-19th century....

 refused.

After Karl Marx’s death in 1883, Friedrich Engels became the editor
Editor in chief
An editor-in-chief is a publication's primary editor, having final responsibility for the operations and policies. Additionally, the editor-in-chief is held accountable for delegating tasks to staff members as well as keeping up with the time it takes them to complete their task...

 and translator
Translation
Translation is the communication of the meaning of a source-language text by means of an equivalent target-language text. Whereas interpreting undoubtedly antedates writing, translation began only after the appearance of written literature; there exist partial translations of the Sumerian Epic of...

 of Marx's writings. With his Origins of the Family, Private Property, and the State (1884) — analysing monogamous
Monogamy
Monogamy /Gr. μονός+γάμος - one+marriage/ a form of marriage in which an individual has only one spouse at any one time. In current usage monogamy often refers to having one sexual partner irrespective of marriage or reproduction...

 marriage
Marriage
Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...

 as guaranteeing male social domination of women, a concept analogous, in communist theory, to the capitalist class’s economic domination of the working class — Engels made intellectual
Intellectual
An intellectual is a person who uses intelligence and critical or analytical reasoning in either a professional or a personal capacity.- Terminology and endeavours :"Intellectual" can denote four types of persons:...

ly significant contributions to feminist theory
Feminist theory
Feminist theory is the extension of feminism into theoretical, or philosophical discourse, it aims to understand the nature of gender inequality...

 and Marxist feminism
Marxist feminism
Marxist feminism is a sub-type of feminist theory which focuses on the dismantling of capitalism as a way of liberating women. Marxist feminism states that private property, which gives rise to economic inequality, dependence, political confusion, and ultimately unhealthy social relations between...

.

Early 20th century


The impact that Marxist theory had on the socialist movement became far more pronounced in the first part of the 20th century.

Political Marxism


In 1959, the Cuban Revolution
Cuban Revolution
The Cuban Revolution was an armed revolt by Fidel Castro's 26th of July Movement against the regime of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista between 1953 and 1959. Batista was finally ousted on 1 January 1959, and was replaced by a revolutionary government led by Castro...

 led to the victory of anti-imperialist Fidel Castro
Fidel Castro
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a Cuban revolutionary and politician, having held the position of Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and then President from 1976 to 2008. He also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from the party's foundation in 1961 until 2011...

 (1926-) and his July 26 Movement. Although the revolution had not been explicitly socialist, upon victory Castro ascended to the position of Prime Minister and eventually adopted the Leninist model of socialist development, forging an alliance with the Soviet Union. One of the leaders of the revolution, the Argentine Leninist Che Guevara
Che Guevara
Ernesto "Che" Guevara , commonly known as el Che or simply Che, was an Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, author, intellectual, guerrilla leader, diplomat and military theorist...

 (1928–1967), subsequently went on to aid revolutionary socialist movements in Congo-Kinshasa
Democratic Republic of the Congo
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a state located in Central Africa. It is the second largest country in Africa by area and the eleventh largest in the world...

 and Bolivia, eventually being killed by the CIA; he would posthumously go on to become an internationally recognised icon.

In the People's Republic of China, the Maoist government undertook the Cultural Revolution
Cultural Revolution
The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, commonly known as the Cultural Revolution , was a socio-political movement that took place in the People's Republic of China from 1966 through 1976...

 from 1966 through to 1976 in order to purge capitalist elements from Chinese society and entrench socialism. However, upon Mao's death, his non-Marxist rivals seized political power and under the Premiership of Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping was a Chinese politician, statesman, and diplomat. As leader of the Communist Party of China, Deng was a reformer who led China towards a market economy...

 (1904–1977), Maoism was abandoned and much of the state sector privatised.

The late 1980s and early 1990s saw the collapse of most of those socialist states that had professed a Marxist-Leninist ideology. In the late 1970s and 1980s, the emergence of the New Right
New Right
New Right is used in several countries as a descriptive term for various policies or groups that are right-wing. It has also been used to describe the emergence of Eastern European parties after the collapse of communism.-Australia:...

 and neoliberal capitalism
Neoliberalism
Neoliberalism is a market-driven approach to economic and social policy based on neoclassical theories of economics that emphasizes the efficiency of private enterprise, liberalized trade and relatively open markets, and therefore seeks to maximize the role of the private sector in determining the...

 as the dominant ideological trends in western politics - championed by U.S. President Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 and U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990...

 - led the west to take a more aggressive stand against the Soviet Union and its Leninist allies. Meanwhile, in the Soviet Union, the reformist Mikhael Gorbachev (1931-) became Premier in 1988, and began to move away from Leninist-based models of development towards social democracy
Social democracy
Social democracy is a political ideology of the center-left on the political spectrum. Social democracy is officially a form of evolutionary reformist socialism. It supports class collaboration as the course to achieve socialism...

. Ultimately, Gorbachev's reforms, coupled with rising levels of popular ethnic nationalism in the Soviet Union, led to the state's dissolution in 1991 into a series of constituent nations, all of which abandoned Marxist-Leninist models for socialism, with most converting to capitalist economies.

Academic Marxism


In western academia, the rise of post-modernist
Postmodernism
Postmodernism is a philosophical movement evolved in reaction to modernism, the tendency in contemporary culture to accept only objective truth and to be inherently suspicious towards a global cultural narrative or meta-narrative. Postmodernist thought is an intentional departure from the...

 thinking also offered a challenge to Marxist thought.

Political Marxism


At the turn of the 21st century, Cuba remained the only officially Marxist-Leninist state, although a Maoist government led by Prachanda
Prachanda
Puspa Kamal Dahal ; born Chhabilal Dahal on 11 December 1954, also known as Prachanda ]]. Prachanda led CPN as it launched an insurgency on 13 February 1996. In 2008 the ensuing civil war culminated in the overthrow of the Shah dynasty in favor of a communist...

 (1954-) was elected into power in Nepal in 2008 following a long guerilla struggle. The early 21st century also saw the election of socialist and anti-imperialist governments in several Latin American nations, in what has come to be known as the "Pink tide
Pink tide
Pink tide is a term being used in contemporary 21st century political analysis in the media and elsewhere to describe the perception that Leftist ideology in general, and Left-wing politics in particular, is increasingly influential in Latin America.In 2005, the BBC reported that out of 350...

". Dominated by the Venezuelan government of Hugo Chávez
Hugo Chávez
Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías is the 56th and current President of Venezuela, having held that position since 1999. He was formerly the leader of the Fifth Republic Movement political party from its foundation in 1997 until 2007, when he became the leader of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela...

, this trend also saw the election of Evo Morales
Evo Morales
Juan Evo Morales Ayma , popularly known as Evo , is a Bolivian politician and activist, currently serving as the 80th President of Bolivia, a position that he has held since 2006. He is also the leader of both the Movement for Socialism party and the cocalero trade union...

 in Bolivia, Rafael Correa
Rafael Correa
Rafael Vicente Correa Delgado born is the President of the Republic of Ecuador and was the president pro tempore of the Union of South American Nations. An economist educated in Ecuador, Belgium and the United States, he was elected President in late 2006 and took office in January 2007...

 in Ecuador and Daniel Ortega
Daniel Ortega
José Daniel Ortega Saavedra is a Nicaraguan politician and revolutionary, currently serving as the 83rd President of Nicaragua, a position that he has held since 2007. He previously served as the 79th President, between 1985 and 1990, and for much of his life, has been a leader in the Sandinista...

 in Nicaragua; forging political and economic alliances through international organisations like the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, these socialist governments allied themselves with Marxist-Leninist Cuba, and although none of them espoused a Leninist path directly, most admitted to being significantly influenced by Marxist theory.

Classical Marxism



The term Classical Marxism denotes the theory propounded by Karl Marx
Karl Marx
Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement...

 and Friedrich Engels
Friedrich Engels
Friedrich Engels was a German industrialist, social scientist, author, political theorist, philosopher, and father of Marxist theory, alongside Karl Marx. In 1845 he published The Condition of the Working Class in England, based on personal observations and research...

. As such, Classical Marxism distinguishes between “Marxism” as broadly perceived, and “what Marx believed”; thus, in 1883, Marx wrote to the French labour leader Jules Guesde
Jules Guesde
Jules Basile Guesde was a French socialist journalist and politician.Guesde was the inspiration for a famous quotation by Karl Marx. Shortly before Marx died in 1883, he wrote a letter to Guesde and Paul Lafargue, both of whom already claimed to represent "Marxist" principles...

 and to Paul Lafargue
Paul Lafargue
Paul Lafargue was a French revolutionary Marxist socialist journalist, literary critic, political writer and activist; he was Karl Marx's son-in-law, having married his second daughter Laura. His best known work is The Right to Be Lazy...

 (Marx’s son-in-law) — both of whom claimed to represent Marxist principles — accusing them of “revolutionary phrase-mongering” and of denying the value of reformist struggle; from which derives the paraphrase: “If that is Marxism, then I am not a Marxist”. American Marx scholar Hal Draper
Hal Draper
Hal Draper was an American socialist activist and author who played a significant role in the Berkeley, California, Free Speech Movement and is perhaps best known for his extensive scholarship on the history and meaning of the thought of Karl Marx.Draper was a lifelong advocate of what he called...

 responded to this comment by saying, “there are few thinkers in modern history whose thought has been so badly misrepresented, by Marxists and anti-Marxists alike”.

Historical Materialism


The historical materialist
Historical materialism
Historical materialism is a methodological approach to the study of society, economics, and history, first articulated by Karl Marx as "the materialist conception of history". Historical materialism looks for the causes of developments and changes in human society in the means by which humans...

 theory of history, also synonymous to “the economic interpretation of history” (a coinage by Eduard Bernstein
Eduard Bernstein
Eduard Bernstein was a German social democratic theoretician and politician, a member of the SPD, and the founder of evolutionary socialism and revisionism.- Life :...

), looks for the causes of societal development and change in the collective ways humans use to make the means for living. The social features of a society (social classes, political structures, ideologies) derive from economic activity; “base and superstructure” is the metaphor
Metaphor
A metaphor is a literary figure of speech that uses an image, story or tangible thing to represent a less tangible thing or some intangible quality or idea; e.g., "Her eyes were glistening jewels." Metaphor may also be used for any rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via...

ic common term describing this historic condition.

The base and superstructure
Base and superstructure
In Marxist theory, human society consists of two parts: the base and superstructure; the base comprehends the forces and relations of production — employer-employee work conditions, the technical division of labour, and property relations — into which people enter to produce the necessities and...

 metaphor explains that the totality of social relations regarding “the social production of their existence” i.e. civil society forms a society’s economic base, from which rises a superstructure of political and legal institutions i.e. political society. The base corresponds to the social consciousness (politics, religion, philosophy, etc.), and it conditions the superstructure and the social consciousness. A conflict between the development of material productive forces and the relations of production provokes social revolutions, thus, the resultant changes to the economic base will lead to the transformation of the superstructure. This relationship is reflexive; the base determines the superstructure, in the first instance, and remains the foundation of a form of social organization which then can act again upon both parts of the base and superstructure, whose relationship is dialectic
Dialectic
Dialectic is a method of argument for resolving disagreement that has been central to Indic and European philosophy since antiquity. The word dialectic originated in Ancient Greece, and was made popular by Plato in the Socratic dialogues...

al, not literal.

Marx considered that these socio-economic conflicts have historically manifested themselves as distinct stages (one transitional) of development in Western Europe.
  1. Primitive Communism
    Primitive communism
    Primitive communism is a term used by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels to describe what they interpreted as early forms of communism: As a model, primitive communism is usually used to describe early hunter-gatherer societies, that had no hierarchical social class structures or capital accumulation...

    :
    as in co-operative tribal societies.
  2. Slave Society: a development of tribal progression to city-state; Aristocracy is born.
  3. Feudalism
    Feudalism
    Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for ordering society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour.Although derived from the...

    :
    aristocrats are the ruling class; merchants evolve into capitalists.
  4. Capitalism
    Capitalism
    Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

    :
    capitalists are the ruling class, who create and employ the proletariat.
  5. Socialism
    Socialism
    Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

    :
    workers gain class consciousness, and via proletarian revolution
    Proletarian revolution
    A proletarian revolution is a social and/or political revolution in which the working class attempts to overthrow the bourgeoisie. Proletarian revolutions are generally advocated by socialists, communists, and most anarchists....

     depose the capitalist dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, replacing it in turn with dictatorship of the proletariat
    Dictatorship of the proletariat
    In Marxist socio-political thought, the dictatorship of the proletariat refers to a socialist state in which the proletariat, or the working class, have control of political power. The term, coined by Joseph Weydemeyer, was adopted by the founders of Marxism, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, in the...

     through which the socialization of the means of production can be realized.
  6. Communism
    Communism
    Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

    :
    a classless and stateless society.

Criticism of capitalism


According to the Marxist theoretician and revolutionary Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and communist politician who led the October Revolution of 1917. As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its initial years , as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a...

, "the principal content of Marxism" was "Marx's economic doctrine". Marx believed that the capitalist bourgeois and their economists were promoting what he saw as the lie that "The interests of the capitalist and those of the worker are... one and the same"; he believed that they did this by purporting the concept that "the fastest possible growth of productive capital
Capital (economics)
In economics, capital, capital goods, or real capital refers to already-produced durable goods used in production of goods or services. The capital goods are not significantly consumed, though they may depreciate in the production process...

" was best not only for the wealthy capitalists but also for the workers because it provided them with employment.

A person is exploited if he or she performs more labour than necessary to produce the goods that he consumes; likewise, a person is an exploiter if he or she performs less labour than is necessary to produce the goods that he consumes. Exploitation is a matter of surplus labour
Surplus labour
Surplus labour is a concept used by Karl Marx in his critique of political economy. It means labour performed in excess of the labour necessary to produce the means of livelihood of the worker . According to Marxian economics, surplus labour is usually "unpaid labour"...

 — the amount of labour one performs beyond what one receives in goods. Exploitation has been a socio-economic feature of every class society, and is one of the principal features distinguishing the social classes. The power of one social class to control the means of production
Means of production
Means of production refers to physical, non-human inputs used in production—the factories, machines, and tools used to produce wealth — along with both infrastructural capital and natural capital. This includes the classical factors of production minus financial capital and minus human capital...

 enables its exploitation of the other classes.

In capitalism, the labour theory of value
Labor theory of value
The labor theories of value are heterodox economic theories of value which argue that the value of a commodity is related to the labor needed to produce or obtain that commodity. The concept is most often associated with Marxian economics...

 is the operative concern; the value
Value (economics)
An economic value is the worth of a good or service as determined by the market.The economic value of a good or service has puzzled economists since the beginning of the discipline. First, economists tried to estimate the value of a good to an individual alone, and extend that definition to goods...

 of a commodity
Commodity (Marxism)
In classical political economy and especially Karl Marx's critique of political economy, a commodity is any good or service produced by human labour and offered as a product for general sale on the market. Some other priced goods are also treated as commodities, e.g...

 equals the socially necessary labour time required to produce it. Under that condition, surplus value
Surplus value
Surplus value is a concept used famously by Karl Marx in his critique of political economy. Although Marx did not himself invent the term, he developed the concept...

 (the difference between the value produced and the value received by a labourer) is synonymous with the term “surplus labour”; thus, capitalist exploitation is realised as deriving surplus value from the worker.

In pre-capitalist economies, exploitation of the worker was achieved via physical coercion. In the capitalist mode of production, that result is more subtly achieved; because the worker does not own the means of production, he or she must voluntarily enter into an exploitive work relationship with a capitalist in order to earn the necessities of life. The worker's entry into such employment is voluntary in that he or she chooses which capitalist to work for. However, the worker must work or starve. Thus, exploitation is inevitable, and the "voluntary" nature of a worker participating in a capitalist society is illusory.
Alienation
Marx's theory of alienation
Marx's theory of alienation , as expressed in the writings of the young Karl Marx , refers to the separation of things that naturally belong together, or to put antagonism between things that are properly in harmony...

 denotes the estrangement of people from their humanity (German: Gattungswesen, “species-essence”, “species-being”), which is a systematic result of capitalism. Under capitalism, the fruits of production belong to the employers, who expropriate the surplus created by others, and so generate alienated labourers. Alienation objectively describes the worker’s situation in capitalism — his or her self-awareness of this condition is not prerequisite.

The identity of a social class derives from its relationship to the means of production
Means of production
Means of production refers to physical, non-human inputs used in production—the factories, machines, and tools used to produce wealth — along with both infrastructural capital and natural capital. This includes the classical factors of production minus financial capital and minus human capital...

; Marx describes the social class
Social class
Social classes are economic or cultural arrangements of groups in society. Class is an essential object of analysis for sociologists, political scientists, economists, anthropologists and social historians. In the social sciences, social class is often discussed in terms of 'social stratification'...

es in capitalist societies:
  • Proletariat
    Proletariat
    The proletariat is a term used to identify a lower social class, usually the working class; a member of such a class is proletarian...

    : “those individuals who sell their labour power, and who, in the capitalist mode of production, do not own the means of production“. The capitalist mode of production establishes the conditions enabling the bourgeoisie
    Bourgeoisie
    In sociology and political science, bourgeoisie describes a range of groups across history. In the Western world, between the late 18th century and the present day, the bourgeoisie is a social class "characterized by their ownership of capital and their related culture." A member of the...

     to exploit the proletariat because the workers’ labour generates a surplus value
    Surplus value
    Surplus value is a concept used famously by Karl Marx in his critique of political economy. Although Marx did not himself invent the term, he developed the concept...

     greater than the workers’ wages.
  • Bourgeoisie
    Bourgeoisie
    In sociology and political science, bourgeoisie describes a range of groups across history. In the Western world, between the late 18th century and the present day, the bourgeoisie is a social class "characterized by their ownership of capital and their related culture." A member of the...

    : those who “own the means of production” and buy labour power from the proletariat, thus exploiting the proletariat; they subdivide as bourgeoisie and the petit bourgeoisie.
    • Petit bourgeoisie are those who employ labourers, but who also work, i.e. small business owners, peasant landlords, trade workers et al. Marxism predicts that the continual reinvention of the means of production eventually would destroy the petit bourgeoisie, degrading them from the middle class to the proletariat.
  • Lumpenproletariat
    Lumpenproletariat
    Lumpenproletariat, a collective term from Lumpenproletarier , was first defined by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in The German Ideology and later elaborated on in other works by Marx...

    : criminals, vagabonds, beggars, et al., who have no stake in the economy, and so sell their labour to the highest bidder.
  • Landlords: an historically important social class who retain some wealth and power.
  • Peasantry and farmers: a disorganised class incapable of effecting socio-economic change, most of whom would enter the proletariat, and some become landlords.


Class consciousness
Class consciousness
Class consciousness is consciousness of one's social class or economic rank in society. From the perspective of Marxist theory, it refers to the self-awareness, or lack thereof, of a particular class; its capacity to act in its own rational interests; or its awareness of the historical tasks...

 denotes the awareness — of itself and the social world — that a social class
Social class
Social classes are economic or cultural arrangements of groups in society. Class is an essential object of analysis for sociologists, political scientists, economists, anthropologists and social historians. In the social sciences, social class is often discussed in terms of 'social stratification'...

 possesses, and its capacity to rationally act in their best interests; hence, class consciousness is required before they can effect a successful revolution.

Without defining ideology, Marx used the term to denote the production of images of social reality; according to Engels, “ideology is a process accomplished by the so-called thinker consciously, it is true, but with a false consciousness. The real motive forces impelling him remain unknown to him; otherwise it simply would not be an ideological process. Hence he imagines false or seeming motive forces”. Because the ruling class controls the society’s means of production, the superstructure of society, the ruling social ideas are determined by the best interests of said ruling class. In The German Ideology, “the ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is, at the same time, its ruling intellectual force”.

The term political economy
Political economy
Political economy originally was the term for studying production, buying, and selling, and their relations with law, custom, and government, as well as with the distribution of national income and wealth, including through the budget process. Political economy originated in moral philosophy...

originally denoted the study of the conditions under which economic production was organised in the capitalist system. In Marxism, political economy studies the means of production, specifically of capital, and how that manifests as economic activity.

Revolution, socialism and communism


Marxists believe that the transition from capitalism to socialism is an inevitable part of the development of human society; as Lenin stated, "it is evident that Marx deduces the inevitability of the transformation of capitalist society [into a socialist society] wholly and exclusively from the economic law of motion of contemporary society."

Marxists believe that a socialist society will be far better for the majority of the populace than its capitalist counterpart, for instance, prior to the Russian revolution of 1917, Lenin wrote that "The socialization of production is bound to lead to the conversion of the means of production into the property of society... This conversion will directly result in an immense increase in productivity of labour, a reduction of working hours, and the replacement of the remnants, the ruins of small-scale, primitive, disunited production by collective and improved labour."

Academic Marxism


Marxism has been adopted by a large number of academics and other scholars working in various disciplines.

The theoretical development
Archaeological theory
Archaeological theory refers to the various intellectual frameworks through which archaeologists interpret archaeological data. There is no one singular theory of archaeology, but many, with different archaeologists believing that information should be interpreted in different ways...

 of Marxist archaeology
Marxist archaeology
Marxist archaeology is an archaeological theory that interprets archaeological information within the framework of Marxism. Whilst neither Karl Marx nor Freidrich Engels described how archaeology could be understood in a Marxist conception of history, it was developed by archaeologists in the...

 was first developed in the Soviet Union in 1929, when a young archaeologist named Vladislav I. Ravdonikas (1894–1976) published a report entitled "For a Soviet history of material culture". Within this work, the very discipline of archaeology as it then stood was criticised as being inherently bourgeoisie
Bourgeoisie
In sociology and political science, bourgeoisie describes a range of groups across history. In the Western world, between the late 18th century and the present day, the bourgeoisie is a social class "characterized by their ownership of capital and their related culture." A member of the...

 and therefore anti-socialist, and so, as a part of the academic reforms instituted in the Soviet Union under the administration of Premier Stalin, a great emphasis was placed on the adoption of Marxist archaeology throughout the country. These theoretical developments were subsequently adopted by archaeologists working in capitalist states outside of the Leninist bloc, most notably by the Australian academic V. Gordon Childe (1892–1957), who used Marxist theory in his understandings of the development of human society.

Criticism


Some Marxists have criticised the academic institution
Institution
An institution is any structure or mechanism of social order and cooperation governing the behavior of a set of individuals within a given human community...

alisation of Marxism for being too detached from political action. For instance, Zimbabwean Trotskyist
Trotskyism
Trotskyism is the theory of Marxism as advocated by Leon Trotsky. Trotsky considered himself an orthodox Marxist and Bolshevik-Leninist, arguing for the establishment of a vanguard party of the working-class...

 Alex Callinicos
Alex Callinicos
Alexander Theodore Callinicos is a Trotskyist political theorist, a member of the Central Committee of the Socialist Workers Party and its International Secretary, and is Director of the Centre for European Studies at King's College London...

, himself a professional academic, stated that "Its practitioners remind one of Narcissus
Narcissus
Narcissus may refer to:Biology* Narcissus , a genus containing daffodils and othersPeople* Narcissus , Greek mythological character* Narcissus , assassin of the Roman emperor Commodus...

, who in the Greek legend fell in love with his own reflection... Sometimes it is necessary to devote time to clarifying and developing the concepts that we use, but for Western Marxists this has become an end in itself. The result is a body of writings incomprehensible to all but a tiny minority of highly qualified scholars."

Political Marxism


Since Marx's death in 1883, various groups around the world have appealed to Marxism as the theoretical basis for their politics and policies, which have often proved to be dramatically different and conflicting. One of the first major political splits occurred between the advocates of 'reformism', who argued that the transition to socialism could occur within existing bourgeois parliamentarian frameworks, and communists
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

, who argued that the transition to a socialist society required a revolution and the dissolution of the capitalist state. The 'reformist' tendency, later known as social democracy
Social democracy
Social democracy is a political ideology of the center-left on the political spectrum. Social democracy is officially a form of evolutionary reformist socialism. It supports class collaboration as the course to achieve socialism...

, came to be dominant in most of the parties affiliated to the Second International and these parties supported their own governments in the First World War. This issue caused the communists to break away, forming their own parties which became members of the Third International.

The following countries had governments at some point in the 20th century who at least nominally adhered to Marxism:
Albania
Albania
Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

, Afghanistan
Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, Angola
Angola
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city...

, Benin
Benin
Benin , officially the Republic of Benin, is a country in West Africa. It borders Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east and Burkina Faso and Niger to the north. Its small southern coastline on the Bight of Benin is where a majority of the population is located...

, Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

, Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

, China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, Republic of Congo, Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

, Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

, East Germany, Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

, Grenada
Grenada
Grenada is an island country and Commonwealth Realm consisting of the island of Grenada and six smaller islands at the southern end of the Grenadines in the southeastern Caribbean Sea...

, Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

, Laos
Laos
Laos Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west...

, Moldova
Moldova
Moldova , officially the Republic of Moldova is a landlocked state in Eastern Europe, located between Romania to the West and Ukraine to the North, East and South. It declared itself an independent state with the same boundaries as the preceding Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1991, as part...

, Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

, Mozambique
Mozambique
Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique , is a country in southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest...

, Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

, Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

, North Korea
North Korea
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea , , is a country in East Asia, occupying the northern half of the Korean Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Pyongyang. The Korean Demilitarized Zone serves as the buffer zone between North Korea and South Korea...

, Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, the USSR
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 and its republics
Republics of the Soviet Union
The Republics of the Soviet Union or the Union Republics of the Soviet Union were ethnically-based administrative units that were subordinated directly to the Government of the Soviet Union...

, South Yemen, Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

, Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

, Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

. In addition, the Indian states of Kerala
Kerala
or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....

, Tripura
Tripura
Tripura is a state in North-East India, with an area of . It is the third smallest state of India, according to area. Tripura is surrounded by Bangladesh on the north, south, and west. The Indian states of Assam and Mizoram lie to the east. The capital is Agartala and the main languages spoken are...

 and West Bengal
West Bengal
West Bengal is a state in the eastern region of India and is the nation's fourth-most populous. It is also the seventh-most populous sub-national entity in the world, with over 91 million inhabitants. A major agricultural producer, West Bengal is the sixth-largest contributor to India's GDP...

 have had Marxist governments, but change takes place in the government due to electoral process. Some of these governments such as in Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

, Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

, Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

, Moldova
Moldova
Moldova , officially the Republic of Moldova is a landlocked state in Eastern Europe, located between Romania to the West and Ukraine to the North, East and South. It declared itself an independent state with the same boundaries as the preceding Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1991, as part...

 and parts of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 have been democratic in nature and maintained regular multiparty elections.

History


The 1917 October Revolution
October Revolution
The October Revolution , also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution , Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917...

, led by Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and communist politician who led the October Revolution of 1917. As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its initial years , as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a...

, was the first large scale attempt to put Marxist ideas about a workers' state into practice. The new government faced counter-revolution, civil war and foreign intervention. Lenin consistently explained "this elementary truth of Marxism, that the victory of socialism requires the joint efforts of workers in a number of advanced countries" (Lenin, Sochineniya (Works), 5th ed Vol XLIV p418.) It could not be developed in Russia in isolation, he argued, but needed to be spread internationally.

The 1917 October Revolution did help inspire a revolutionary wave over the years that followed, with the development of Communist Parties worldwide, but without success in the vital advanced capitalist countries of Western Europe. Socialist revolution in Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and other western countries failed, leaving the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 on its own. An intense period of debate and stopgap solutions ensued, war communism
War communism
War communism or military communism was the economic and political system that existed in Soviet Russia during the Russian Civil War, from 1918 to 1921...

 and the New Economic Policy
New Economic Policy
The New Economic Policy was an economic policy proposed by Vladimir Lenin, who called it state capitalism. Allowing some private ventures, the NEP allowed small animal businesses or smoke shops, for instance, to reopen for private profit while the state continued to control banks, foreign trade,...

 (NEP). Lenin died and Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 gradually assumed control, eliminating rivals and consolidating power as the Soviet Union faced the events of the 1930s and its global crisis-tendencies. Amidst the geopolitical threats which defined the period and included the probability of invasion, he instituted a ruthless program of industrialization which, while successful, was executed at great cost in human suffering, along with long-term environmental devastation.

Modern followers of Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky , born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein, was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army....

 maintain that as predicted by Lenin, Trotsky, and others already in the 1920s, Stalin's "socialism in one country" was unable to maintain itself, and according to some Marxist critics, the USSR
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 ceased to show the characteristics of a socialist state long before its formal dissolution.

In the 1920s the economic calculation debate between Austrian Economists
Austrian School
The Austrian School of economics is a heterodox school of economic thought. It advocates methodological individualism in interpreting economic developments , the theory that money is non-neutral, the theory that the capital structure of economies consists of heterogeneous goods that have...

 and Marxist economists took place. The Austrians claimed that Marxism is flawed because prices could not be set to recognize opportunity costs of factors of production, and so socialism
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 could not make rational decisions.

The Kuomintang
Kuomintang
The Kuomintang of China , sometimes romanized as Guomindang via the Pinyin transcription system or GMD for short, and translated as the Chinese Nationalist Party is a founding and ruling political party of the Republic of China . Its guiding ideology is the Three Principles of the People, espoused...

 party, a Chinese nationalist revolutionary party, had Marxist members who opposed the Chinese Communist Party. They viewed the Chinese revolution in different terms than the Communists, claiming that China already went past its feudal stage and in a stagnation period rather than in another mode of production. These Marxists in the Kuomintang opposed the Chinese communist party ideology.

Following World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, Marxist ideology, often with Soviet military backing, spawned a rise in revolutionary communist parties all over the world. Some of these parties were eventually able to gain power, and establish their own version of a Marxist state. Such nations included the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

, Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

, Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

, East Germany, Albania
Albania
Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

, Cambodia
Cambodia
Cambodia , officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia...

, Ethiopia
Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

, South Yemen, Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

, Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

, and others. In some cases, these nations did not get along. Rifts occurred between the Soviet Union and China, as well as Soviet Union and Yugoslavia (in 1948), whose leaders disagreed on certain elements of Marxism and how it should be implemented into society.

Many of these self-proclaimed Marxist nations (often styled People's Republic
People's Republic
People's Republic is a title that has often been used by Marxist-Leninist governments to describe their state. The motivation for using this term lies in the claim that Marxist-Leninists govern in accordance with the interests of the vast majority of the people, and, as such, a Marxist-Leninist...

s) eventually became authoritarian states, with stagnating economies. This caused some debate about whether Marxism was doomed in practise or these nations were in fact not led by "true Marxists". Critics of Marxism speculated that perhaps Marxist ideology itself was to blame for the nations' various problems. Followers of the currents within Marxism which opposed Stalin, principally cohered around Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky , born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein, was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army....

, tended to locate the failure at the level of the failure of world revolution
World revolution
World revolution is the Marxist concept of overthrowing capitalism in all countries through the conscious revolutionary action of the organized working class...

: for communism to have succeeded, they argue, it needed to encompass all the international trading relationships that capitalism had previously developed.

The Chinese experience seems to be unique. Rather than falling under a single family's self-serving and dynastic interpretation of Marxism as happened in North Korea and before 1989 in Eastern Europe, the Chinese government — after the end of the struggles over the Mao legacy in 1980 and the ascent of Deng Xiaoping — seems to have solved the succession crises that have plagued self-proclaimed Leninist governments since the death of Lenin himself. Key to this success is another Leninism which is a NEP (New Economic Policy
New Economic Policy
The New Economic Policy was an economic policy proposed by Vladimir Lenin, who called it state capitalism. Allowing some private ventures, the NEP allowed small animal businesses or smoke shops, for instance, to reopen for private profit while the state continued to control banks, foreign trade,...

) writ very large; Lenin's own NEP of the 1920s was the "permission" given to markets including speculation to operate by the Party which retained final control. The Russian experience in Perestroika
Perestroika
Perestroika was a political movement within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during 1980s, widely associated with the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev...

 was that markets under socialism were so opaque as to be both inefficient and corrupt but especially after China's application to join the WTO this does not seem to apply universally.

The death of "Marxism" in China has been prematurely announced but since the Hong Kong handover in 1997, the Beijing leadership has clearly retained final say over both commercial and political affairs.

In 1991 the Soviet Union was dismantled and the new Russian state, alongside the other emerging republics, ceased to identify themselves with Marxism. Other nations around the world followed suit. Since then, radical Marxism or Communism has generally ceased to be a prominent political force in global politics, and has largely been replaced by more moderate versions of democratic socialism—or, more commonly, by neoliberal
Neoliberalism
Neoliberalism is a market-driven approach to economic and social policy based on neoclassical theories of economics that emphasizes the efficiency of private enterprise, liberalized trade and relatively open markets, and therefore seeks to maximize the role of the private sector in determining the...

 capitalism. Marxism has also had to engage with the rise in the Environmental movement
Environmental movement
The environmental movement, a term that includes the conservation and green politics, is a diverse scientific, social, and political movement for addressing environmental issues....

. Theorists including Joel Kovel
Joel Kovel
Joel Kovel is an American politician, academic, writer, and eco-socialist. A practicing psychiatrist and psychoanalyst until the mid-1980s, he has lectured in psychiatry, anthropology, political science and communication studies. He has published many books on his work in psychiatry,...

 and Michael Löwy
Michael Löwy
Michael Löwy is a French-Brazilian Marxist sociologist and philosopher. He is presently the emeritus research director in social sciences at the CNRS and lectures at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales...

 have synthesized Marxism, socialism
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

, ecology
Ecology
Ecology is the scientific study of the relations that living organisms have with respect to each other and their natural environment. Variables of interest to ecologists include the composition, distribution, amount , number, and changing states of organisms within and among ecosystems...

 and environmentalism
Environmentalism
Environmentalism is a broad philosophy, ideology and social movement regarding concerns for environmental conservation and improvement of the health of the environment, particularly as the measure for this health seeks to incorporate the concerns of non-human elements...

 into an ideology known as Eco-socialism
Eco-socialism
Eco-socialism, green socialism or socialist ecology is an ideology merging aspects of Marxism, socialism, green politics, ecology and alter-globalization...

.

Social democracy


Social democracy
Social democracy
Social democracy is a political ideology of the center-left on the political spectrum. Social democracy is officially a form of evolutionary reformist socialism. It supports class collaboration as the course to achieve socialism...

 is a political ideology that emerged in the late 19th and early 20th century. Many parties in the second half of the 19th century described themselves as social democratic, such as the British Social Democratic Federation
Social Democratic Federation
The Social Democratic Federation was established as Britain's first organised socialist political party by H. M. Hyndman, and had its first meeting on June 7, 1881. Those joining the SDF included William Morris, George Lansbury and Eleanor Marx. However, Friedrich Engels, Karl Marx's long-term...

, and the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party
Russian Social Democratic Labour Party
The Russian Social Democratic Labour Party , also known as Russian Social Democratic Workers' Party or Russian Social Democratic Party, was a revolutionary socialist Russian political party formed in 1898 in Minsk to unite the various revolutionary organizations into one party...

. In most cases these were revolutionary socialist or Marxist groups, who were not only seeking to introduce socialism, but also democracy in un-democratic countries. Many social democrats reject the idea that socialism can be accomplished only through class conflict
Class conflict
Class conflict is the tension or antagonism which exists in society due to competing socioeconomic interests between people of different classes....

, revolution and dictatorship of the proletariat
Dictatorship of the proletariat
In Marxist socio-political thought, the dictatorship of the proletariat refers to a socialist state in which the proletariat, or the working class, have control of political power. The term, coined by Joseph Weydemeyer, was adopted by the founders of Marxism, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, in the...

.

The modern social democratic current came into being through a break within the socialist movement in the early 20th century, between two groups holding different views on the ideas of Karl Marx
Karl Marx
Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement...

. Many related movements, including pacifism
Pacifism
Pacifism is the opposition to war and violence. The term "pacifism" was coined by the French peace campaignerÉmile Arnaud and adopted by other peace activists at the tenth Universal Peace Congress inGlasgow in 1901.- Definition :...

, anarchism
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

, and syndicalism
Syndicalism
Syndicalism is a type of economic system proposed as a replacement for capitalism and an alternative to state socialism, which uses federations of collectivised trade unions or industrial unions...

, arose at the same time (often by splitting from the main socialist movement, but also through the emergence of new theories) and had various, quite different objections to Marxism. The social democrats argued that socialism should be achieved through evolution rather than revolution. Such views were strongly opposed by the revolutionary socialists, who argued that any attempt to reform capitalism was doomed to fail, because the reformists would be gradually corrupted and eventually turn into capitalists themselves.

Despite their differences, the reformist and revolutionary branches of socialism remained united until the outbreak of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. The war proved to be the final straw that pushed the tensions between them to breaking point. The reformist socialists supported their respective national governments in the war, a fact that was seen by the revolutionary socialists as outright treason against the working class
Working class
Working class is a term used in the social sciences and in ordinary conversation to describe those employed in lower tier jobs , often extending to those in unemployment or otherwise possessing below-average incomes...

 (Since it betrayed the principle that the workers "have no nation", and the fact that usually the lowest classes are the ones sent into the war to fight, and die, putting the cause at the side). Bitter arguments ensued within socialist parties, as for example between Eduard Bernstein
Eduard Bernstein
Eduard Bernstein was a German social democratic theoretician and politician, a member of the SPD, and the founder of evolutionary socialism and revisionism.- Life :...

 (reformist socialist) and Rosa Luxemburg
Rosa Luxemburg
Rosa Luxemburg was a Marxist theorist, philosopher, economist and activist of Polish Jewish descent who became a naturalized German citizen...

 (revolutionary socialist) within the Social Democratic Party of Germany
Social Democratic Party of Germany
The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany...

 (SPD). Eventually, after the Russian Revolution of 1917
Russian Revolution of 1917
The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. The Tsar was deposed and replaced by a provisional government in the first revolution of February 1917...

, most of the world's socialist parties fractured. The reformist socialists kept the name "Social democrats", while the revolutionary socialists began calling themselves "Communists", and soon formed the modern Communist movement, the Comintern
Comintern
The Communist International, abbreviated as Comintern, also known as the Third International, was an international communist organization initiated in Moscow during March 1919...

.

Since the 1920s, doctrinal differences have been constantly growing between social democrats and Communists (who themselves are not unified on the way to achieve socialism), and Social Democracy is mostly used as a specifically Central European label for Labour Parties since then, especially in Germany and the Netherlands and especially since the 1959 Godesberg Program
Godesberg Program
The Godesberg Program was the party program outline of the political course of Germany's social-democratic party, the SPD. It was ratified on November 15, 1959, at an SPD party convention in the town of Bad Godesberg, which is today part of Bonn....

 of the German SPD that rejected the praxis of class struggle altogether.

Socialism


The term "socialism" could be used to describe two fundamentally different ideologies - democratic socialism
Democratic socialism
Democratic socialism is a description used by various socialist movements and organizations to emphasize the democratic character of their political orientation...

 and Marxist-Leninist socialism. While Marxist-Leninists (Trotskyists
Trotskyism
Trotskyism is the theory of Marxism as advocated by Leon Trotsky. Trotsky considered himself an orthodox Marxist and Bolshevik-Leninist, arguing for the establishment of a vanguard party of the working-class...

, Stalinists
Stalinism
Stalinism refers to the ideology that Joseph Stalin conceived and implemented in the Soviet Union, and is generally considered a branch of Marxist–Leninist ideology but considered by some historians to be a significant deviation from this philosophy...

, and Maoists
Maoism
Maoism, also known as the Mao Zedong Thought , is claimed by Maoists as an anti-Revisionist form of Marxist communist theory, derived from the teachings of the Chinese political leader Mao Zedong . Developed during the 1950s and 1960s, it was widely applied as the political and military guiding...

) are often described as communists in the contemporary media, they are not recognized as such academically or by themselves. The Marxist-Leninists sought to work towards the workers' utopia
Utopia
Utopia is an ideal community or society possessing a perfect socio-politico-legal system. The word was imported from Greek by Sir Thomas More for his 1516 book Utopia, describing a fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean. The term has been used to describe both intentional communities that attempt...

 in Marxist ideology by first creating a socialist state, which historically had almost always been a single-party dictatorship. On the other hand, democratic socialists attempt to work towards an ideal state by social reform and are often little different from social democrats, with the democratic socialists having a more leftist stance.

The Marxist-Leninist form of government has been in decline since the dissolution of the Soviet Union
Dissolution of the Soviet Union
The dissolution of the Soviet Union was the disintegration of the federal political structures and central government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , resulting in the independence of all fifteen republics of the Soviet Union between March 11, 1990 and December 25, 1991...

 and its satellite states. Very few countries have governments which describe themselves as socialist. As of 2011, Laos
Laos
Laos Lao: ສາທາລະນະລັດ ປະຊາທິປະໄຕ ປະຊາຊົນລາວ Sathalanalat Paxathipatai Paxaxon Lao, officially the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Burma and China to the northwest, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south and Thailand to the west...

, Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

, Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

, Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

, and the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 had governments in power which describe themselves as socialist
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 in the Marxist sense.

On the contrary, electoral parties which describe themselves as socialist or democratic socialist are on the rise, joined together by international organizations such as the Socialist International
Socialist International
The Socialist International is a worldwide organization of democratic socialist, social democratic and labour political parties. It was formed in 1951.- History :...

 and the Fourth International
Fourth International
The Fourth International is the communist international organisation consisting of followers of Leon Trotsky , with the declared dedicated goal of helping the working class bring about socialism...

. Parties described as socialist are currently dominant in the democracies of the developing world and serve as the ruling party or the main opposition party in most European democracies. Eco-socialism
Eco-socialism
Eco-socialism, green socialism or socialist ecology is an ideology merging aspects of Marxism, socialism, green politics, ecology and alter-globalization...

, and Green politics
Green politics
Green politics is a political ideology that aims for the creation of an ecologically sustainable society rooted in environmentalism, social liberalism, and grassroots democracy...

 with a strong leftist tinge, are on the rise in European democracies.

The characterization of a party or government often has little to do with its actual economical and social platform. The government of mainland China
Mainland China
Mainland China, the Chinese mainland or simply the mainland, is a geopolitical term that refers to the area under the jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China . According to the Taipei-based Mainland Affairs Council, the term excludes the PRC Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and...

, which describes itself as socialist, allows a large private sector to flourish and is socially conservative compared to most Western democracies. A more specific example is universal health-care, which is a trademark issue of many European socialist parties but does not exist in mainland China. Therefore, the historical and cultural aspects of a movement must be taken into context in order for one to arrive at an accurate conclusion of its political ideology from its nominal characterization.

Communism


A number of states declared an allegiance to the principles of Marxism and have been ruled by self-described Communist Parties, either as a single-party state
Single-party state
A single-party state, one-party system or single-party system is a type of party system government in which a single political party forms the government and no other parties are permitted to run candidates for election...

 or a single list, which includes formally several parties, as was the case in the German Democratic Republic
German Democratic Republic
The German Democratic Republic , informally called East Germany by West Germany and other countries, was a socialist state established in 1949 in the Soviet zone of occupied Germany, including East Berlin of the Allied-occupied capital city...

. Due to the dominance of the Communist Party in their governments, these states are often called "communist states" by Western political scientists. However, they have described themselves as "socialist", reserving the term "communism" for a future classless society, in which the state would no longer be necessary (on this understanding of communism, "communist state" would be an oxymoron
Oxymoron
An oxymoron is a figure of speech that combines contradictory terms...

) for instance, the USSR was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Communist governments have historically been characterized by state ownership of productive resources in a planned economy
Planned economy
A planned economy is an economic system in which decisions regarding production and investment are embodied in a plan formulated by a central authority, usually by a government agency...

 and sweeping campaigns of economic restructuring such as nationalization
Nationalization
Nationalisation, also spelled nationalization, is the process of taking an industry or assets into government ownership by a national government or state. Nationalization usually refers to private assets, but may also mean assets owned by lower levels of government, such as municipalities, being...

 of industry and land reform
Land reform
[Image:Jakarta farmers protest23.jpg|300px|thumb|right|Farmers protesting for Land Reform in Indonesia]Land reform involves the changing of laws, regulations or customs regarding land ownership. Land reform may consist of a government-initiated or government-backed property redistribution,...

 (often focusing on collective farming
Collective farming
Collective farming and communal farming are types of agricultural production in which the holdings of several farmers are run as a joint enterprise...

 or state farms.) While they promote collective ownership
Ownership
Ownership is the state or fact of exclusive rights and control over property, which may be an object, land/real estate or intellectual property. Ownership involves multiple rights, collectively referred to as title, which may be separated and held by different parties. The concept of ownership has...

 of the means of production, Communist governments have been characterized by a strong state apparatus in which decisions are made by the ruling Communist Party. Dissident 'authentic' communists have characterized the Soviet model as state socialism
State socialism
State socialism is an economic system with limited socialist characteristics, such as public ownership of major industries, remedial measures to benefit the working class, and a gradual process of developing socialism through government policy...

 or state capitalism
State capitalism
The term State capitalism has various meanings, but is usually described as commercial economic activity undertaken by the state with management of the productive forces in a capitalist manner, even if the state is nominally socialist. State capitalism is usually characterized by the dominance or...

.

Marxism–Leninism


Marxism-Leninism, strictly speaking, refers to the version of Marxism developed by Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and communist politician who led the October Revolution of 1917. As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its initial years , as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a...

 known as Leninism
Leninism
In Marxist philosophy, Leninism is the body of political theory for the democratic organisation of a revolutionary vanguard party, and the achievement of a direct-democracy dictatorship of the proletariat, as political prelude to the establishment of socialism...

. However, in various contexts, different (and sometimes opposing) political groups have used the term "Marxism–Leninism" to describe the ideologies that they claimed to be upholding. The core ideological features of Marxism-Leninism are those of Marxism and Leninism, that is to say, belief in the necessity of a violent overthrow of capitalism through communist revolution
Communist revolution
A communist revolution is a proletarian revolution inspired by the ideas of Marxism that aims to replace capitalism with communism, typically with socialism as an intermediate stage...

, to be followed by a dictatorship of the proletariat
Dictatorship of the proletariat
In Marxist socio-political thought, the dictatorship of the proletariat refers to a socialist state in which the proletariat, or the working class, have control of political power. The term, coined by Joseph Weydemeyer, was adopted by the founders of Marxism, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, in the...

 as the first stage of moving towards communism
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

, and the need for a vanguard party
Vanguard party
A vanguard party is a political party at the forefront of a mass action, movement, or revolution. The idea of a vanguard party has its origins in the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels...

 to lead the proletariat
Proletariat
The proletariat is a term used to identify a lower social class, usually the working class; a member of such a class is proletarian...

 in this effort. Those who view themselves as Marxist-Leninists, however, vary with regards to the leaders and thinkers that they choose to uphold as progressive (and to what extent).

Leninism holds that capitalism can only be overthrown by revolutionary means; that is, any attempts to reform capitalism from within, such as Fabianism and non-revolutionary forms of democratic socialism
Democratic socialism
Democratic socialism is a description used by various socialist movements and organizations to emphasize the democratic character of their political orientation...

, are doomed to fail. The first goal of a Leninist party is to educate the proletariat, so as to remove the various modes of false consciousness the bourgeois have instilled in them, instilled in order to make them more docile and easier to exploit economically, such as religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

 and nationalism
Nationalism
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

. Once the proletariat has gained class consciousness
Class consciousness
Class consciousness is consciousness of one's social class or economic rank in society. From the perspective of Marxist theory, it refers to the self-awareness, or lack thereof, of a particular class; its capacity to act in its own rational interests; or its awareness of the historical tasks...

 the party will coordinate the proletariat's total might to overthrow the existing government, thus the proletariat will seize all political and economic power. Lastly the proletariat (thanks to their education by the party) will implement a dictatorship of the proletariat
Dictatorship of the proletariat
In Marxist socio-political thought, the dictatorship of the proletariat refers to a socialist state in which the proletariat, or the working class, have control of political power. The term, coined by Joseph Weydemeyer, was adopted by the founders of Marxism, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, in the...

 which would bring upon them socialism, the lower phase of communism. After this, the party would essentially dissolve as the entire proletariat is elevated to the level of revolutionaries.

The dictatorship of the proletariat refers to the absolute power of the working class. It is governed by a system of proletarian direct democracy
Direct democracy
Direct democracy is a form of government in which people vote on policy initiatives directly, as opposed to a representative democracy in which people vote for representatives who then vote on policy initiatives. Direct democracy is classically termed "pure democracy"...

, in which workers hold political power through local councils
Soviet democracy
Soviet democracy or sometimes council democracy is a form of democracy in which workers' councils called "soviets" , consisting of worker-elected delegates, form organs of power possessing both legislative and executive power. The soviets begin at the local level and onto a national parliament-like...

 known as soviets
Soviet (council)
Soviet was a name used for several Russian political organizations. Examples include the Czar's Council of Ministers, which was called the “Soviet of Ministers”; a workers' local council in late Imperial Russia; and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union....

.

Trotskyism



Trotskyism is the theory of Marxism as advocated by Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky , born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein, was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army....

. Trotsky considered himself a Bolshevik
Bolshevik
The Bolsheviks, originally also Bolshevists , derived from bol'shinstvo, "majority") were a faction of the Marxist Russian Social Democratic Labour Party which split apart from the Menshevik faction at the Second Party Congress in 1903....

-Leninist
Leninism
In Marxist philosophy, Leninism is the body of political theory for the democratic organisation of a revolutionary vanguard party, and the achievement of a direct-democracy dictatorship of the proletariat, as political prelude to the establishment of socialism...

, arguing for the establishment of a vanguard party
Vanguard party
A vanguard party is a political party at the forefront of a mass action, movement, or revolution. The idea of a vanguard party has its origins in the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels...

. He considered himself an advocate of orthodox Marxism. His politics differed sharply from those of Stalin
Stalinism
Stalinism refers to the ideology that Joseph Stalin conceived and implemented in the Soviet Union, and is generally considered a branch of Marxist–Leninist ideology but considered by some historians to be a significant deviation from this philosophy...

 or Mao
Maoism
Maoism, also known as the Mao Zedong Thought , is claimed by Maoists as an anti-Revisionist form of Marxist communist theory, derived from the teachings of the Chinese political leader Mao Zedong . Developed during the 1950s and 1960s, it was widely applied as the political and military guiding...

, most importantly in declaring the need for an international "permanent revolution
Permanent Revolution
Permanent revolution is a term within Marxist theory, established in usage by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels by at least 1850 but which has since become most closely associated with Leon Trotsky. The use of the term by different theorists is not identical...

". Numerous groups around the world continue to describe themselves as Trotskyist and see themselves as standing in this tradition, although they have diverse interpretations of the conclusions to be drawn from this.

Trotsky advocated proletarian revolution
Proletarian revolution
A proletarian revolution is a social and/or political revolution in which the working class attempts to overthrow the bourgeoisie. Proletarian revolutions are generally advocated by socialists, communists, and most anarchists....

 as set out in his theory of "permanent revolution
Permanent Revolution
Permanent revolution is a term within Marxist theory, established in usage by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels by at least 1850 but which has since become most closely associated with Leon Trotsky. The use of the term by different theorists is not identical...

", and he argued that in countries where the bourgeois-democratic revolution had not triumphed already (in other words, in places that had not yet implemented a capitalist democracy, such as Russia before 1917), it was necessary that the proletariat make it permanent by carrying out the tasks of the social revolution (the "socialist" or "communist" revolution) at the same time, in an uninterrupted process. Trotsky believed that a new socialist state would not be able to hold out against the pressures of a hostile capitalist world unless socialist revolutions quickly took hold in other countries as well, especially in the industrial powers with a developed proletariat.

On the political spectrum
Political spectrum
A political spectrum is a way of modeling different political positions by placing them upon one or more geometric axes symbolizing independent political dimensions....

 of Marxism, Trotskyists are considered to be on the left. They fervently support democracy, oppose political deals with the imperialist powers, and advocate a spreading of the revolution until it becomes global.

Trotsky developed the theory that the Russian workers' state had become a "bureaucratically degenerated workers' state
Degenerated workers' state
In Trotskyist political theory the term degenerated workers' state has been used since the 1930s to describe the state of the Soviet Union after Joseph Stalin's consolidation of power in or about 1924...

". Capitalist rule had not been restored, and nationalized industry and economic planning, instituted under Lenin, were still in effect. However, the state was controlled by a bureaucratic caste with interests hostile to those of the working class. Trotsky defended the Soviet Union against attack from imperialist powers and against internal counter-revolution, but called for a political revolution
Political revolution
A political revolution, in the Trotskyist theory, is an upheaval in which the government is replaced, or the form of government altered, but in which property relations are predominantly left intact...

 within the USSR to restore socialist democracy. He argued that if the working class did not take power away from the Stalinist bureaucracy, the bureaucracy would restore capitalism in order to enrich itself. In the view of many Trotskyists, this is exactly what has happened since the beginning of Glasnost
Glasnost
Glasnost was the policy of maximal publicity, openness, and transparency in the activities of all government institutions in the Soviet Union, together with freedom of information, introduced by Mikhail Gorbachev in the second half of the 1980s...

 and Perestroika
Perestroika
Perestroika was a political movement within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during 1980s, widely associated with the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev...

 in the USSR. Some argue that the adoption of market socialism
Market socialism
Market socialism refers to various economic systems where the means of production are either publicly owned or cooperatively owned and operated for a profit in a market economy. The profit generated by the firms system would be used to directly remunerate employees or would be the source of public...

 by the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 has also led to capitalist counter-revolution. Most modern Trotskyist organisations are organised internationally, such as the International Marxist Tendency
International Marxist Tendency
The International Marxist Tendency is an international socialist organisation based on the ideas of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Trotsky. The late Ted Grant was its chief theoretician and the person who built the organisation since its beginning. Currently, Alan Woods and Lal Khan are its best known...

, International Socialist Tendency
International Socialist Tendency
The International Socialist Tendency is an international grouping of unorthodox Trotskyist organisations based around the ideas of Tony Cliff, founder of the Socialist Workers Party in Britain...

 and the Committee for a Worker's International. They are mostly rather small groupings.

Maoism


Maoism or Mao Zedong Thought , is a variant of Marxism–Leninism derived from the teachings of the Chinese
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 communist leader Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

 (Wade-Giles transliteration: "Mao Tse-tung").

The term "Mao Zedong Thought" has always been the preferred term by the Communist Party of China
Communist Party of China
The Communist Party of China , also known as the Chinese Communist Party , is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China...

, and the word "Maoism" has never been used in its English-language publications except pejorative
Pejorative
Pejoratives , including name slurs, are words or grammatical forms that connote negativity and express contempt or distaste. A term can be regarded as pejorative in some social groups but not in others, e.g., hacker is a term used for computer criminals as well as quick and clever computer experts...

ly. Likewise, Maoist groups outside China have usually called themselves Marxist-Leninist rather than Maoist, a reflection of Mao's view that he did not change, but only developed, Marxism-Leninism. However, some Maoist groups believing Mao's theories to have been sufficiently substantial additions to the basics of the Marxist canon, call themselves "Marxist-Leninist-Maoist" (MLM) or simply "Maoist".

In the People's Republic of China, Mao Zedong Thought is part of the official doctrine of the Communist Party of China, but since the 1978 beginning of Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping was a Chinese politician, statesman, and diplomat. As leader of the Communist Party of China, Deng was a reformer who led China towards a market economy...

's market economy
Market economy
A market economy is an economy in which the prices of goods and services are determined in a free price system. This is often contrasted with a state-directed or planned economy. Market economies can range from hypothetically pure laissez-faire variants to an assortment of real-world mixed...

-oriented reforms, the concept of "socialism with Chinese characteristics" has come to the forefront of Chinese politics, Chinese economic reform
Chinese economic reform
The Chinese economic reform refers to the program of economic reforms called "Socialism with Chinese characteristics" in the People's Republic of China that were started in December 1978 by reformists within the Communist Party of China led by Deng Xiaoping.China had one of the world's largest...

 has taken hold, and the official definition and role of Mao's original ideology
Ideology
An ideology is a set of ideas that constitutes one's goals, expectations, and actions. An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things , as in common sense and several philosophical tendencies , or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to...

 in the PRC has been radically altered and reduced (see History of China
History of China
Chinese civilization originated in various regional centers along both the Yellow River and the Yangtze River valleys in the Neolithic era, but the Yellow River is said to be the Cradle of Chinese Civilization. With thousands of years of continuous history, China is one of the world's oldest...

).

Unlike the earlier forms of Marxism-Leninism in which the urban proletariat
Proletariat
The proletariat is a term used to identify a lower social class, usually the working class; a member of such a class is proletarian...

 was seen as the main source of revolution, and the countryside was largely ignored, Mao believed that peasantry could be the main force behind a revolution, led by the proletariat and a vanguard Communist party. The model for this was of course the Chinese communist rural Protracted People's War of the 1920s and 1930s, which eventually brought the Communist Party of China to power. Furthermore, unlike other forms of Marxism-Leninism in which large-scale industrial development was seen as a positive force, Maoism made all-round rural development the priority.

Mao felt that this strategy made sense during the early stages of socialism in a country in which most of the people were peasants.
Unlike most other political ideologies, including other socialist and Marxist ones, Maoism contains an integral military
Military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 doctrine and explicitly connects its political ideology with military strategy
Military strategy
Military strategy is a set of ideas implemented by military organizations to pursue desired strategic goals. Derived from the Greek strategos, strategy when it appeared in use during the 18th century, was seen in its narrow sense as the "art of the general", 'the art of arrangement' of troops...

. In Maoist thought, "political power grows from the barrel of the gun" (a famous quote by Mao), and the peasantry can be mobilized to undertake a "people's war" of armed struggle involving guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare and refers to conflicts in which a small group of combatants including, but not limited to, armed civilians use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to harass a larger and...

 in three stages.

Left communism


Left communism is the range of communist
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 viewpoints held by the Communist Left, which criticizes the political ideas of the Bolsheviks from a position that is asserted to be more authentically Marxist and proletarian
Proletariat
The proletariat is a term used to identify a lower social class, usually the working class; a member of such a class is proletarian...

 than the views of Leninism
Leninism
In Marxist philosophy, Leninism is the body of political theory for the democratic organisation of a revolutionary vanguard party, and the achievement of a direct-democracy dictatorship of the proletariat, as political prelude to the establishment of socialism...

 held by the Communist International after its first two Congresses.

Two major traditions can be observed within Left communism: the Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

-German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 tradition; and the Italian
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 tradition. The political positions those traditions have in common are a shared opposition to what is termed frontism, nationalism
Nationalism
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

, all kinds of national liberation movements and parliamentarianism and there is an underlying commonality at a level of abstract theory. Crucially, Left Communist groups from both traditions tend to identify elements of commonality in each other.

The historical origins of Left Communism can be traced to the period before the First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, but it only came into focus after 1918 . All Left Communists were supportive of the October Revolution
October Revolution
The October Revolution , also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution , Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917...

 in Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, but retained a critical view of its development. Some, however, would in later years come to reject the idea that the revolution had a proletarian or socialist nature, asserting that it had simply carried out the tasks of the bourgeois revolution by creating a state capitalist
State capitalism
The term State capitalism has various meanings, but is usually described as commercial economic activity undertaken by the state with management of the productive forces in a capitalist manner, even if the state is nominally socialist. State capitalism is usually characterized by the dominance or...

 system.

Left Communism first came into being as a clear movement in or around 1918. Its essential features were: a stress on the need to build a Communist Party
Communist party
A political party described as a Communist party includes those that advocate the application of the social principles of communism through a communist form of government...

 entirely separate from the reformist and centrist elements who were seen as having betrayed socialism
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 in 1914, opposition to all but the most restricted participation in elections, and an emphasis on the need for revolutionaries to move on the offensive. Apart from that, there was little in common between the various wings. Only the Italians accepted the need for electoral work at all for a very short period of time, and the German-Dutch, Italian and Russian wings opposed the "right of nations to self-determination", which they denounced as a form of bourgeois nationalism
Bourgeois nationalism
Bourgeois nationalism is a term from Marxist phraseology. It refers to the alleged practice by the ruling classes of deliberately dividing people by nationality, race, ethnicity, or religion, so as to distract them from possible class warfare...

.

Dispute that the Soviet Union was Marxist


Marx defined "communism" as a classless, egalitarian and stateless society. To Marx, the notion of a communist state would have seemed an oxymoron, as he defined communism as the phase reached when class society and the state had already been abolished. Once the lower stage towards communism, commonly referred to as socialism, had been established, society would develop new social relations over the course of several generations, reaching what Marx called the higher phase of communism when not only bourgeois relations but every class social relations had been abandoned. Such a development has yet to occur in any historical self-claimed socialist state.

Even within the Stalinist state at its height, there were repressed expressions of Marxist orthodoxy, revealed after the fall of the USSR, arguing that it had developed new class structures: those who are in government and therefore have power (sometimes referred to as the political class
Political class
Political class, or political elite is a concept in comparative political science originally developed by Italian political theorist theory of Gaetano Mosca . It refers to the relatively small group of activists that is highly aware and active in politics, and from whom the national leadership is...

), and those who are not in government and do not have power, the working class. This is taken to be a different form of capitalism, in which the government, as owner of the means of production, takes on the role formerly played by the capitalist class; this arrangement is referred to as "state capitalism
State capitalism
The term State capitalism has various meanings, but is usually described as commercial economic activity undertaken by the state with management of the productive forces in a capitalist manner, even if the state is nominally socialist. State capitalism is usually characterized by the dominance or...

." These statist regimes have generally followed a planned economy
Planned economy
A planned economy is an economic system in which decisions regarding production and investment are embodied in a plan formulated by a central authority, usually by a government agency...

 model without making a transition to this hypothetical final stage.

Some academics such as Noam Chomsky
Noam Chomsky
Avram Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, and activist. He is an Institute Professor and Professor in the Department of Linguistics & Philosophy at MIT, where he has worked for over 50 years. Chomsky has been described as the "father of modern linguistics" and...

 disputed the claim that the political movements in the former Soviet Union were Marxist. Communist governments have historically been characterized by state ownership of productive resources in a planned economy
Planned economy
A planned economy is an economic system in which decisions regarding production and investment are embodied in a plan formulated by a central authority, usually by a government agency...

 and sweeping campaigns of economic restructuring such as nationalization
Nationalization
Nationalisation, also spelled nationalization, is the process of taking an industry or assets into government ownership by a national government or state. Nationalization usually refers to private assets, but may also mean assets owned by lower levels of government, such as municipalities, being...

 of industry and land reform
Land reform
[Image:Jakarta farmers protest23.jpg|300px|thumb|right|Farmers protesting for Land Reform in Indonesia]Land reform involves the changing of laws, regulations or customs regarding land ownership. Land reform may consist of a government-initiated or government-backed property redistribution,...

 (often focusing on collective farming
Collective farming
Collective farming and communal farming are types of agricultural production in which the holdings of several farmers are run as a joint enterprise...

 or state farms). While they promote collective ownership
Ownership
Ownership is the state or fact of exclusive rights and control over property, which may be an object, land/real estate or intellectual property. Ownership involves multiple rights, collectively referred to as title, which may be separated and held by different parties. The concept of ownership has...

 of the means of production, Communist governments have been characterized by a strong state apparatus in which decisions are made by the ruling Communist Party. Dissident communists have characterized the Soviet model as state socialism
State socialism
State socialism is an economic system with limited socialist characteristics, such as public ownership of major industries, remedial measures to benefit the working class, and a gradual process of developing socialism through government policy...

 or state capitalism
State capitalism
The term State capitalism has various meanings, but is usually described as commercial economic activity undertaken by the state with management of the productive forces in a capitalist manner, even if the state is nominally socialist. State capitalism is usually characterized by the dominance or...

.

Variants


Marxists can interpret the Manifesto differently, and therefore all variants cannot be covered in this article.

Marxism-Leninism


At least in terms of adherents and the impact on the world stage, Marxism-Leninism, also known colloquially as Bolshevism or simply communism
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 is the biggest trend within Marxism, easily dwarfing all of the other schools of thought combined. Marxism-Leninism is a term originally coined by the CPSU in order to denote the ideology that Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and communist politician who led the October Revolution of 1917. As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its initial years , as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a...

 had built upon the thought of Karl Marx
Karl Marx
Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement...

. There are two broad areas that have set apart Marxism-Leninism as a school of thought.

First, Lenin's followers generally view his additions to the body of Marxism as the practical corollary to Marx's original theoretical contributions of the 19th century; insofar as they apply under the conditions of advanced capitalism that they found themselves working in. Lenin called this time-frame the era of Imperialism
Imperialism
Imperialism, as defined by Dictionary of Human Geography, is "the creation and/or maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationships, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination." The imperialism of the last 500 years,...

. For example, Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 wrote that The most important consequence of a Leninist-style theory of Imperialism is the strategic need for workers in the industrialized countries to bloc or ally with the oppressed nations contained within their respective countries' colonies abroad in order to overthrow capitalism. This is the source of the slogan, which shows the Leninist conception that not only the proletariat, as is traditional to Marxism, are the sole revolutionary force, but all oppressed people:

Second, the other distinguishing characteristic of Marxism-Leninism is how it approaches the question of organization. Lenin believed that the traditional model of the Social Democratic parties of the time, which was a loose, multitendency organization was inadequate for overthrowing the Tsarist regime in Russia. He proposed a cadre of professional revolutionaries that disciplined itself under the model of Democratic Centralism
Democratic centralism
Democratic centralism is the name given to the principles of internal organization used by Leninist political parties, and the term is sometimes used as a synonym for any Leninist policy inside a political party...

.

Marxism-Leninism after Stalin


For better or worse, Marxism-Leninism as a body of thought and practice was closely identified with the figure of Joseph Stalin after the death of Lenin. After the death of Stalin, the leader of the USSR, Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964...

 made several ideological and practical ruptures with his predecessor which lead to the eventual split of Marxism-Leninism into two main branches, post-Stalin "Moscow-aligned" communism and anti-revisionism. In turn, these branches evolved into multiple schools of thought over time.

Post-Stalin Moscow-aligned communism


At the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Khrushchev made several ideological ruptures with his predecessor, Joseph Stalin. First, Khrushchev denounced the so-called Cult of Personality
Cult of personality
A cult of personality arises when an individual uses mass media, propaganda, or other methods, to create an idealized and heroic public image, often through unquestioning flattery and praise. Cults of personality are usually associated with dictatorships...

 that had developed around Stalin, which ironically enough Khrushchev had had a pivotal role in fostering decades earlier. More importantly, however, Khrushchev rejected the heretofore orthodox Marxist-Leninist tenet that class struggle continues even under socialism. Rather, the State ought to rule in the name of all classes. A related principle that flowed from the former was the notion of peaceful co-existence, or that the newly emergent socialist bloc could peacefully compete with the capitalist world, solely by developing the productive forces of society.

Eurocommunism


Beginning around the 1970s, various communist parties in Western Europe, such as the Partito Comunista Italiano
Italian Communist Party
The Italian Communist Party was a communist political party in Italy.The PCI was founded as Communist Party of Italy on 21 January 1921 in Livorno, by seceding from the Italian Socialist Party . Amadeo Bordiga and Antonio Gramsci led the split. Outlawed during the Fascist regime, the party played...

 in Italy and the Partido Comunista de España under Santiago Carillo tried to hew to a more independent line from Moscow. Particularly in Italy, they leaned on the theories of Antonio Gramsci
Antonio Gramsci
Antonio Gramsci was an Italian writer, politician, political philosopher, and linguist. He was a founding member and onetime leader of the Communist Party of Italy and was imprisoned by Benito Mussolini's Fascist regime...

, despite the fact that by 1921 Gramsci believed that a Communist Party in the Leninist sense was needed. This trend went by the name Eurocommunism
Eurocommunism
Eurocommunism was a trend in the 1970s and 1980s within various Western European communist parties to develop a theory and practice of social transformation that was more relevant in a Western European democracy and less aligned to the influence or control of the Communist Party of the Soviet...

.

Anti-revisionism


There are many proponents of Marxist-Leninism who rejected the theses of Khrushchev. They believed that Khrushchev was unacceptably altering or "revising" the fundamental tenets of Marxism-Leninism, a stance from which the label "anti-revisionist" is derived. Usually, they are referred to externally by the following epithets, although anti-revisionists typically refer to themselves simply as Marxist-Leninists.

Maoism


Maoism
Maoism
Maoism, also known as the Mao Zedong Thought , is claimed by Maoists as an anti-Revisionist form of Marxist communist theory, derived from the teachings of the Chinese political leader Mao Zedong . Developed during the 1950s and 1960s, it was widely applied as the political and military guiding...

 takes its name from Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

, the erstwhile leader of the Peoples Republic of China; it is the variety of anti-revisionism that took inspiration, and in some cases received material support, from China, especially during the Mao period. There are several key concepts that were developed by Mao. First, Mao concurred with Stalin that not only does class struggle continue under the dictatorship of the proletariat
Dictatorship of the proletariat
In Marxist socio-political thought, the dictatorship of the proletariat refers to a socialist state in which the proletariat, or the working class, have control of political power. The term, coined by Joseph Weydemeyer, was adopted by the founders of Marxism, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, in the...

, it actually accelerates as long as gains are being made by the proletariat at the expense of the disenfranchised bourgeoisie. Second, Mao developed a strategy for revolution called Prolonged People's War in what he termed the semi-feudal countries of the Third World. Prolonged People's War relied heavily on the peasantry. Third, Mao wrote many theoretical articles on epistemology and dialectics, which he called contradictions.

Hoxhaism


Hoxhaism
Hoxhaism
"Hoxhaism" is an informal term used to refer to a variant of anti-revisionist Marxism-Leninism that developed in the late 1970s due to a split in the Maoist movement, appearing after the ideological row between the Communist Party of China and the Party of Labour of Albania in 1978.The Albanians...

, so named because of the central contribution of Albanian statesman Enver Hoxha
Enver Hoxha
Enver Halil Hoxha was a Marxist–Leninist revolutionary andthe leader of Albania from the end of World War II until his death in 1985, as the First Secretary of the Party of Labour of Albania...

, was closely aligned with the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 for a number of years, but grew critical of Maoism
Maoism
Maoism, also known as the Mao Zedong Thought , is claimed by Maoists as an anti-Revisionist form of Marxist communist theory, derived from the teachings of the Chinese political leader Mao Zedong . Developed during the 1950s and 1960s, it was widely applied as the political and military guiding...

 because of the so-called Three Worlds Theory
Three Worlds Theory
The Three Worlds Theory , developed by Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong , posited that international relations comprise three politico–economic worlds: the First World, the superpowers, the Second World, the superpowers' allies, and the Third World, the nations of the Non-Aligned...

 put forth by elements within the Communist Party of China
Communist Party of China
The Communist Party of China , also known as the Chinese Communist Party , is the founding and ruling political party of the People's Republic of China...

 and because it viewed the actions of Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping
Deng Xiaoping was a Chinese politician, statesman, and diplomat. As leader of the Communist Party of China, Deng was a reformer who led China towards a market economy...

 unfavorably. Ultimately, however, Hoxhaism as a trend came to the understanding that Socialism had never existed in China at all.

Trotskyism


Trotskyism is the usual term for followers of the ideas of Russian Marxist Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky , born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein, was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army....

, the second most prominent leader of the Russian Revolution. Trotsky was a contemporary of Lenin from the early years of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party
Russian Social Democratic Labour Party
The Russian Social Democratic Labour Party , also known as Russian Social Democratic Workers' Party or Russian Social Democratic Party, was a revolutionary socialist Russian political party formed in 1898 in Minsk to unite the various revolutionary organizations into one party...

, where he led a small trend in competition with both Lenin's Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks; nevertheless Trotsky's followers claim to be the heirs of Lenin in the same way that mainstream Marxist-Leninists do. There are several distinguishing characteristics of this school of thought; foremost is the theory of Permanent Revolution
Permanent Revolution
Permanent revolution is a term within Marxist theory, established in usage by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels by at least 1850 but which has since become most closely associated with Leon Trotsky. The use of the term by different theorists is not identical...

. Another shared characteristic between Trotskyists is a variety of theoretical justifications for their negative appraisal of the post-Lenin Soviet Union; that is to say, after Trotsky was expelled by a majority vote from the CPSU and subsequently from the Soviet Union. Trotsky characterized the government of the USSR after his expulsion as being dominated by a "bureaucratic caste" and called for it to be overthrown. Trotskyists as a consequence usually advocate the overthrow of socialist governments around the world that are ruled by Marxist-Leninist parties.

Left Communism


Left communism is the range of communist viewpoints held by the communist left, which criticizes the political ideas of the Bolsheviks from a position that is asserted to be more authentically Marxist and proletarian than the views of Leninism held by the Communist International after its first two congresses.

Although she lived before left communism became a distinct tendency, Rosa Luxemburg
Rosa Luxemburg
Rosa Luxemburg was a Marxist theorist, philosopher, economist and activist of Polish Jewish descent who became a naturalized German citizen...

 has been heavily influential for most left communists, both politically and theoretically. Proponents of left communism have included Herman Gorter
Herman Gorter
Herman Gorter was a Dutch poet and socialist. He was a leading member of the Tachtigers, a highly influential group of Dutch writers who worked together in Amsterdam in the 1880s, centered around De Nieuwe Gids .Gorter's first book, a 4,000 verse epic poem called "Mei" , sealed his reputation...

, Anton Pannekoek, Otto Rühle
Otto Rühle
Otto Rühle was a German Marxist active in opposition to both the First and Second World Wars, and a founder with along with Karl Liebknecht, Rosa Luxemburg, Franz Mehring and others of the group and magazine Internationale, which posed a revolutionary internationalism against a world of warring...

, Karl Korsch
Karl Korsch
-Biography:Korsch was born in Tostedt, near Hamburg, to Carl August Korsch, a secretary at the cantonal court and his wife Therese. In 1898 the family moved to Meiningen, Thuringia and Korsch senior attained the position of a managing clerk in a bank...

, Amadeo Bordiga
Amadeo Bordiga
Amadeo Bordiga was an Italian Marxist, a contributor to Communist theory, the founder of the Communist Party of Italy, a leader of the Communist International and, after World War II, leading figure of the International Communist Party.- Early life :Bordiga was born at Resina, in the province of...

, and Paul Mattick
Paul Mattick
Paul Mattick Sr. was a Marxist political writer and social revolutionary, whose thought can be placed within the council communist and left communist traditions...

.

Prominent left communist groups existing today include the International Communist Current and the International Bureau for the Revolutionary Party. Also, different factions from the old Bordigist International Communist Party are considered left communist organizations.

Western Marxism



Western Marxism is a term used to describe a wide variety of Marxist theoreticians based in Western
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...

 and Central Europe
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

 (and more recently North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 ), in contrast with philosophy in the Soviet Union
Philosophy in the Soviet Union
Philosophical research in the Soviet Union was officially confined to Marxist-Leninist thinking, which theoretically was the basis of objective and ultimate philosophical truth. During the 1920s and 1930s, other tendencies of Russian thought were repressed...

, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was the Yugoslav state that existed from the abolition of the Yugoslav monarchy until it was dissolved in 1992 amid the Yugoslav Wars. It was a socialist state and a federation made up of six socialist republics: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia,...

 or the People's Republic of China.

Structural Marxism


Structural Marxism is an approach to Marxism based on structuralism
Structuralism
Structuralism originated in the structural linguistics of Ferdinand de Saussure and the subsequent Prague and Moscow schools of linguistics. Just as structural linguistics was facing serious challenges from the likes of Noam Chomsky and thus fading in importance in linguistics, structuralism...

, primarily associated with the work of the French theorist Louis Althusser
Louis Althusser
Louis Pierre Althusser was a French Marxist philosopher. He was born in Algeria and studied at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, where he eventually became Professor of Philosophy....

 and his students. It was influential in France during the late 1960s and 1970s, and also came to influence philosophers, political theorists and sociologists outside of France during the 1970s.

Autonomist Marxism


Autonomism
Autonomism
Autonomism refers to a set of left-wing political and social movements and theories close to the socialist movement. As an identifiable theoretical system it first emerged in Italy in the 1960s from workerist communism...

 is a term applied to a variety of social movements around the world, which emphasizes the ability to organize in autonomous and horizontal networks, as opposed to hierarchical structures such as unions or parties. Autonomist Marxists, including Harry Cleaver
Harry Cleaver
Harry Cleaver is Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Texas at Austin, where Cleaver teaches Marxism and Marxist economics. He is best known as the author of Reading Capital Politically, an autonomist reading of Karl Marx's Capital. Dr...

, broaden the definition of the working-class to include salaried and unpaid labour, such as skilled professions and housework; it focuses on the working class in advanced capitalist states as the primary force of change in the construct of capital. Modern autonomist theorists such as Antonio Negri
Antonio Negri
Antonio Negri is an Italian Marxist sociologist and political philosopher.Negri is best-known for his co-authorship of Empire, and secondarily for his work on Spinoza. Born in Padua, he became a political philosophy professor in his hometown university...

 and Michael Hardt
Michael Hardt
Michael Hardt is an American literary theorist and political philosopher perhaps best known for Empire, written with Antonio Negri and published in 2000...

 argue that network power constructs are the most effective methods of organization against the neoliberal regime of accumulation, and predict a massive shift in the dynamics of capital into a 21st century Empire
Empire (book)
Empire is a text written by post-Marxist philosophers Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt. The book, written in the mid-1990s, was published in 2000 and quickly sold beyond its expectations as an academic work.-Summary:...

.

Marxist humanism


Marxist humanism is a branch of Marxism that primarily focuses on Marx's earlier writings, especially the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844
Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844
Economic & Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 are a series of notes written between April and August 1844 by Karl Marx. Not published by Marx during his lifetime, they were first released in 1927 by researchers in the Soviet Union.The notebooks are an early expression of Marx's analysis of...

in which Marx develops his theory of alienation
Marx's theory of alienation
Marx's theory of alienation , as expressed in the writings of the young Karl Marx , refers to the separation of things that naturally belong together, or to put antagonism between things that are properly in harmony...

, as opposed to his later works, which are considered to be concerned more with his structural conception of capitalist society. It was opposed by Louis Althusser
Louis Althusser
Louis Pierre Althusser was a French Marxist philosopher. He was born in Algeria and studied at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, where he eventually became Professor of Philosophy....

's "antihumanism
Antihumanism
Antihumanism is a term referring to a number of perspectives that are opposed to the project of philosophical anthropology...

", who qualified it as a revisionist movement.

Marxist humanists contend that ‘Marxism’ developed lopsidedly because Marx’s early works were unknown until after the orthodox ideas were in vogue the Manuscripts of 1844 were published only in 1932 and it is necessary to understand Marx’s philosophical foundations to understand his latter works properly.

Marxism-Deleonism


Marxism-Deleonism, is a form of syndicalist Marxism developed by Daniel De Leon
Daniel De Leon
Daniel DeLeon was an American socialist newspaper editor, politician, Marxist theoretician, and trade union organizer. He is regarded as the forefather of the idea of revolutionary industrial unionism and was the leading figure in the Socialist Labor Party of America from 1890 until the time of...

. De Leon was an early leader of the first US socialist political party, the Socialist Labor Party. This party exists to the present day. De Leonism lies outside the Leninist tradition of communism. The highly decentralized and democratic nature of the proposed De Leonist government is in contrast to the democratic centralism of Marxism-Leninism and what they see as the dictatorial nature of the Soviet Union. The success of the De Leonist plan depends on achieving majority support among the people both in the workplaces and at the polls, in contrast to the Leninist notion that a small vanguard party should lead the working class to carry out the revolution. Daniel De Leon and other De Leonist writers have issued frequent polemics against 'democratic socialist' movements, especially the Socialist Party of America, and consider them to be "reformist" or "bourgeois socialist". De Leonists have traditionally refrained from any activity or alliances viewed by them as trying to reform capitalism, though the Socialist Labor Party in De Leon's time was active during strikes and such, such as social justice movements.

Marxist feminism



Marxist feminism is a sub-type of feminist
Feminism
Feminism is a collection of movements aimed at defining, establishing, and defending equal political, economic, and social rights and equal opportunities for women. Its concepts overlap with those of women's rights...

 theory which focuses on the dismantling of capitalism as a way to liberate women. Marxist feminism states that private property, which gives rise to economic inequality, dependence, political confusion and ultimately unhealthy social relations between men and women, is the root of women's oppression. According to Marxist theory, in capitalist societies the individual is shaped by class relations; that is, people's capacities, needs and interests are seen to be determined by the mode of production that characterises the society they inhabit. Marxist feminists see gender inequality as determined ultimately by the capitalist mode of production. Gender oppression is class oppression and women's subordination is seen as a form of class oppression which is maintained (like racism
Racism
Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature...

) because it serves the interests of capital and the ruling class
Ruling class
The term ruling class refers to the social class of a given society that decides upon and sets that society's political policy - assuming there is one such particular class in the given society....

. Marxist feminists have extended traditional Marxist analysis by looking at domestic labour as well as wage work in order to support their position.

Criticism


Criticisms of Marxism have come from the political left, right, and libertarians. Democratic socialists
Democratic socialism
Democratic socialism is a description used by various socialist movements and organizations to emphasize the democratic character of their political orientation...

 and social democrats reject the idea that socialism can be accomplished only through class conflict
Class conflict
Class conflict is the tension or antagonism which exists in society due to competing socioeconomic interests between people of different classes....

 and a proletarian revolution
Proletarian revolution
A proletarian revolution is a social and/or political revolution in which the working class attempts to overthrow the bourgeoisie. Proletarian revolutions are generally advocated by socialists, communists, and most anarchists....

. Many anarchists
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

 reject the need for a transitory state phase
Dictatorship of the proletariat
In Marxist socio-political thought, the dictatorship of the proletariat refers to a socialist state in which the proletariat, or the working class, have control of political power. The term, coined by Joseph Weydemeyer, was adopted by the founders of Marxism, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, in the...

. Other critiques come from an economic standpoint. Economists such as Friedrich Hayek have criticized Marxism for allocating resources inefficiently.

Some contemporary supporters of Marxism argue that many aspects of Marxist thought are viable, but that the corpus is incomplete or somewhat outdated in regards to certain aspects of economic, political or social theory
Social theory
Social theories are theoretical frameworks which are used to study and interpret social phenomena within a particular school of thought. An essential tool used by social scientists, theories relate to historical debates over the most valid and reliable methodologies , as well as the primacy of...

. They may therefore combine some Marxist concepts with the ideas of other theorists such as Max Weber
Max Weber
Karl Emil Maximilian "Max" Weber was a German sociologist and political economist who profoundly influenced social theory, social research, and the discipline of sociology itself...

: the Frankfurt school
Frankfurt School
The Frankfurt School refers to a school of neo-Marxist interdisciplinary social theory, particularly associated with the Institute for Social Research at the University of Frankfurt am Main...

 is one example.

V. K. Dmitriev, writing in 1898, Ladislaus von Bortkiewicz
Ladislaus Bortkiewicz
Ladislaus Josephovich Bortkiewicz , August 7, 1868 – July 15, 1931) was a Russian economist and statistician of Polish descent, who lived most of his professional life in Germany, where he taught at Strassburg University and Berlin University...

, writing in 1906-07, and subsequent critics have alleged that Marx's value theory
Value theory
Value theory encompasses a range of approaches to understanding how, why and to what degree people should value things; whether the thing is a person, idea, object, or anything else. This investigation began in ancient philosophy, where it is called axiology or ethics. Early philosophical...

 and law of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall
Tendency of the rate of profit to fall
The tendency of the rate of profit to fall is a hypothesis in economics and political economy, most famously expounded by Karl Marx in chapter 13 of Das Kapital Vol. 3. It was generally accepted in the 19th century...

 are internally inconsistent. In other words, the critics allege that Marx drew conclusions that actually do not follow from his theoretical premises. Once these alleged errors are corrected, his conclusion that aggregate price and profit are determined by, and equal to, aggregate value and surplus value no longer holds true. This result calls into question his theory that the exploitation of workers is the sole source of profit.

See also


  • Analytical Marxism
    Analytical Marxism
    Analytical Marxism refers to a particular Marxist approach that was prominent amongst English-speaking philosophers and social scientists during the 1980s. It was mainly associated with the September Group of academics, so called because of their biennial September meetings to discuss common...

  • Anarchism and Marxism
    Anarchism and Marxism
    Anarchism and Marxism are similar political philosophies which emerged in the nineteenth century. While Anarchism and Marxism are both complex movements riven by internal conflict, as ideological movements their primary attention has been on human liberation achieved through political action...

  • Austromarxism
    Austromarxism
    Austromarxism was a Marxist theoretical current, led by Victor Adler, Otto Bauer, Karl Renner and Max Adler, members of the Social Democratic Workers' Party of Austria during the late decades of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and the First Austrian Republic...

  • Classical Marxism
    Classical Marxism
    Classical Marxism refers to the social theory expounded by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, as contrasted with later developments in Marxism.-Karl Marx:...

  • Commodity (Marxism)
    Commodity (Marxism)
    In classical political economy and especially Karl Marx's critique of political economy, a commodity is any good or service produced by human labour and offered as a product for general sale on the market. Some other priced goods are also treated as commodities, e.g...

  • Cultural Marxism
    Cultural Marxism
    Cultural Marxism is a term referring to a group of Marxists who have sought to apply critical theory to matters of family composition, gender, race, and cultural identity within Western society.-Explanation of the "Cultural Marxism" theory:...

  • Democracy in Marxism
    Democracy in Marxism
    The Marxist view is fundamentally opposed to liberal democracy believing that the capitalist state cannot be democratic by its nature, as it represents the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. Marxism views liberal democracy as an unrealistic utopia...

  • Freudo-Marxism
    Freudo-Marxism
    Freudo-Marxism is a loose designation of several twentieth-century critical theory schools of thought that sought to synthesize the philosophy and political economy of Karl Marx with the psychoanalytic theory of Sigmund Freud....

  • In Defence of Marxism
    In Defence of Marxism
    In Defense of Marxism may refer to:*In Defense of Marxism: The Social and Political Contradictions of the Soviet Union on the Eve of World War II, a collection of essays written in 1939 and 1940 by Leon Trotsky...

  • International Marxist Tendency
    International Marxist Tendency
    The International Marxist Tendency is an international socialist organisation based on the ideas of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Trotsky. The late Ted Grant was its chief theoretician and the person who built the organisation since its beginning. Currently, Alan Woods and Lal Khan are its best known...

  • Karl Marx
    Karl Marx
    Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement...

  • Karl Marx House
    Karl Marx House
    The Karl Marx House museum is the house in Trier in which Karl Marx was born in 1818; it is now a museum. The significance of the house went unnoticed until 1904, at which point the Social Democratic Party of Germany worked hard to buy it, succeeding in 1928...

  • Karl Marx in film
    Karl Marx in film
    Karl Marx and his ideas have been represented in film in genres ranging from documentary to fictional drama, Art house and comedy.The Marxist theories of socialism, communism, class struggle, ideology and political economy influenced early Soviet-era filmmakers such as Dziga Vertov and Sergei...

  • Karl Marx's Theory of History
    Karl Marx's Theory of History: A Defence
    Karl Marx's Theory of History: A Defence is a 1978 book by Gerald Cohen, considered a groundbreaking reinterpretation of the Marxist doctrine of historical materialism...

  • Legal Marxism
    Legal Marxism
    Legal Marxism was a Russian Marxist movement based on a particular interpretation of Marxist theory whose proponents were active in socialist circles between 1894 and 1901. The movement's primary theoreticians were Pyotr Struve, Nikolai Berdyaev, Sergei Bulgakov, Mikhail Tugan-Baranovsky and Semyon...

  • Libertarian Marxism
    Libertarian Marxism
    Libertarian Marxism refers to a broad scope of economic and political philosophies that emphasize the anti-authoritarian aspects of Marxism. Early currents of libertarian Marxism, known as left communism, emerged in opposition to Marxism–Leninism and its derivatives, such as Stalinism, Maoism, and...

  • Living Marxism
    Living Marxism
    Living Marxism was a British magazine, originally launched in 1988 as the journal of the British Revolutionary Communist Party . It was later rebranded as LM and folded in March 2000 following an adverse ruling in a libel lawsuit brought by the British news corporation, Independent Television News...

  • Marxian Class Theory
    Marxian Class Theory
    Marxian Class Theory is a broad range of social concepts related to the study of Marxism. It asserts that an individual’s position within a class hierarchy is determined by his role in the production process, and argues that political and ideological consciousness is determined by class position...

  • Marxian economics
    Marxian economics
    Marxian economics refers to economic theories on the functioning of capitalism based on the works of Karl Marx. Adherents of Marxian economics, particularly in academia, distinguish it from Marxism as a political ideology and sociological theory, arguing that Marx's approach to understanding the...

  • Marxism and Freedom
    Marxism and Freedom: From 1776 Until Today
    Marxism and Freedom: from 1776 Until Today is a 1958 book by the philosopher and activist Raya Dunayevskaya, the first volume of her 'Trilogy of Revolution'....


  • Marxism and the U.S.A.
    Marxism and the U.S.A.
    Marxism and the U.S.A. is a 2005 book by the British Trotskyist Alan Woods, in which he examines American history from a Marxist perspective. The author highlights the revolutionary ideals that are the foundation of the history and traditions of the American people....

  • Marxism–Leninism
  • Marxism Today
    Marxism Today
    Marxism Today was the theoretical journal of the Communist Party of Great Britain and was disestablished in 1991. It was particularly important during the 1980s under the editorship of Martin Jacques...

  • Marxist aesthetics
    Marxist aesthetics
    Marxist aesthetics is a theory of aesthetics based on, or derived from, the theories of Karl Marx. It involves a dialectical approach to the application of Marxism to the cultural sphere, specifically areas related to taste such as art, beauty, etc...

  • Marxist analysis
  • Marxist conception of human nature
  • Marxist criminology
    Marxist criminology
    Marxist criminology is one of the schools of criminology. It parallels the work of the functionalist school which focuses on what produces stability and continuity in society but, unlike the functionalists, it adopts a predefined political philosophy...

  • Marxist feminism
    Marxist feminism
    Marxist feminism is a sub-type of feminist theory which focuses on the dismantling of capitalism as a way of liberating women. Marxist feminism states that private property, which gives rise to economic inequality, dependence, political confusion, and ultimately unhealthy social relations between...

  • Marxist film theory
    Marxist film theory
    Marxist film theory is one of the oldest forms of film theory.Sergei Eisenstein and many other Soviet filmmakers in the 1920s expressed ideas of Marxism through film...

  • Marxist geography
    Marxist geography
    Marxist geography is a critical geography which utilises the theories and philosophy of Marxism to examine the spatial relations of human geography. In Marxist geography the relations that geography has traditionally analyzed - natural environment and spatial relations - are reviewed as outcomes of...

  • Marxist historiography
    Marxist historiography
    Marxist or historical materialist historiography is a school of historiography influenced by Marxism. The chief tenets of Marxist historiography are the centrality of social class and economic constraints in determining historical outcomes....

  • Marxist humanism
    Marxist humanism
    Marxist humanism is a branch of Marxism that primarily focuses on Marx's earlier writings, especially the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 in which Marx espoused his theory of alienation, as opposed to his later works, which are considered to be concerned more with his structural...

  • Marxist international relations theory
    Marxist international relations theory
    Marxist and Neo-Marxist international relations theories are paradigms which reject the realist/liberal view of state conflict or cooperation, instead focusing on the economic and material aspects. It purports to reveal how the economic trumps other concerns, which allows for the elevation of...

  • Marxist literary criticism
    Marxist literary criticism
    Marxist literary criticism is a loose term describing literary criticism based on socialist and dialectic theories. Marxist criticism views literary works as reflections of the social institutions from which they originate...

  • Marxist philosophy
    Marxist philosophy
    Marxist philosophy or Marxist theory are terms that cover work in philosophy that is strongly influenced by Karl Marx's materialist approach to theory or that is written by Marxists...

  • Marxist philosophy of nature
    Marxist philosophy of nature
    There is no specific "Marxist philosophy of nature", as Karl Marx didn't conceive of Nature as separate from Society. As the young Marx exposed in the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844, labor transforms Nature which becomes the "inorganic body" of Man...

  • Marxist sociology
    Marxist sociology
    Marxist sociology refers to the conduct of sociology from a Marxist perspective. Marxism itself can be recognized as both a political philosophy and a sociology, particularly to the extent it attempts to remain scientific, systematic and objective rather than purely normative and prescriptive....

  • Marxist Workers' League (US)
    Marxist Workers' League (US)
    The Marxist Workers League was the name of two splinter groups from the Revolutionary Workers League in the 1930s.The first group split in early 1936 and "after a sensational existence of both its members for 19 days" rejoined the Trotskyists....

  • Marxists Internet Archive
    Marxists Internet Archive
    Marxists Internet Archive is a volunteer based non-profit organization that maintains a multi-lingual Internet archive of Marxist writers and other similar authors...

  • Marx Memorial Library
    Marx Memorial Library
    The Marx Memorial Library in London holds more than 43,000 books, pamphlets and newspapers on Marxism, Scientific Socialism and Working class history. The library also features the fresco The worker of the future upsetting the economic chaos of the present by Jack Hastings, painted in 1935. It is...


  • Marx’s method
    Marx’s method
    Various Marxist authors have focussed on Marx’s method of analysis and presentation as key factors both in understanding the range and incisiveness of Karl Marx’s theoretical writing in general and Capital in particular...

  • Marx's notebooks on technology
    Marx's notebooks on the history of technology
    Karl Marx wrote a number of notebooks on the history of technology. Their whereabouts were not known but in the past they were read and discussed by Marxist writers...

  • Marx's theory of alienation
    Marx's theory of alienation
    Marx's theory of alienation , as expressed in the writings of the young Karl Marx , refers to the separation of things that naturally belong together, or to put antagonism between things that are properly in harmony...

  • Marx's theory of human nature
    Marx's theory of human nature
    Marx's theory of human nature occupies an important place in his critique of capitalism, his conception of communism, and his 'materialist conception of history'. Marx, however, does not refer to "human nature" as such, but to Gattungswesen, which is generally translated as 'species-being' or...

  • Neo-Marxism
    Neo-Marxism
    Neo-Marxism is a loose term for various twentieth-century approaches that amend or extend Marxism and Marxist theory, usually by incorporating elements from other intellectual traditions, such as: critical theory, psychoanalysis or Existentialism .Erik Olin Wright's theory of contradictory class...


  • Open Marxism
    Open Marxism
    Open marxism is a "school" of Marxism which draws on anarchist critiques of Party communism and stresses the openness to praxis and to history, the "practical reflexivity" of Marx's own concepts. The "openness" in Open Marxism also refers to a non-deterministic view of history in which the...

  • Orthodox Marxism
    Orthodox Marxism
    Orthodox Marxism is the term used to describe the version of Marxism which emerged after the death of Karl Marx and acted as the official philosophy of the Second International up to the First World War and of the Third International thereafter...

  • Political Marxism
    Political Marxism
    Political Marxism is a strand of Marxist theory that places history at the centre of its analysis. It was developed as a reaction against ahistorical models of Marxist analysis in the debate on the origins of capitalism. The PM critique brought social agency and class conflict to the center of...

  • Post-Marxism
    Post-Marxism
    Post-Marxism has two related, but different uses: the socio-economic circumstances of Eastern Europe, especially in the ex-soviet republics after the Soviet Union's end; and the extrapolations of the philosophers and social theorists basing their postulations upon Karl Marx's writings and Marxism...

  • Pre-Marx socialists
    Pre-Marx socialists
    While Marxism is generally considered to be the brainchild of Karl Marx, on careful perusal of the socialist literature, at least the following can be credited with socialist principles very similar to Marxism much before Marx....

  • Reification (Marxism)
    Reification (Marxism)
    Reification or Versachlichung, literally "objectification" or regarding something as a separate business matter) is the consideration of an abstraction, relation or object as if they had human or living existence and abilities, when in reality they do not...

  • Rethinking Marxism
    Rethinking Marxism
    Rethinking Marxism is a Marxist quarterly journal of economics, culture and society. It was launched in 1988 and since 2003 it has been published by Taylor and Francis....

  • Revisionism (Marxism)
    Revisionism (Marxism)
    Within the Marxist movement, the word revisionism is used to refer to various ideas, principles and theories that are based on a significant revision of fundamental Marxist premises. The term is most often used by those Marxists who believe that such revisions are unwarranted and represent a...

  • Revolutionary Marxist League
    Revolutionary Marxist League
    The Revolutionary Marxist League was a small Communist sect that existed from 1939 - 1940 in New York City. It was led be Karl Joerger and Antillio Salamme. The origins of the RML lay in a group called the Marxist Policy Committee which was apparently a "stooge" group of Oehler supporters within...

  • Socialism (Marxism)
    Socialism (Marxism)
    In Marxist theory, socialism, or the socialist mode of production, refers to a specific historical phase of economic development and its corresponding set of social relations that eventually supersede capitalism...

  • Specters of Marx
    Specters of Marx
    Spectres de Marx: l'état de la dette, le travail du deuil et la nouvelle Internationale is a 1993 book by French philosopher Jacques Derrida first published by Éditions Galilée and translated into American English as Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning & the New...

  • Structural Marxism
    Structural Marxism
    Structural Marxism was an approach to Marxist philosophy based on structuralism, primarily associated with the work of the French philosopher Louis Althusser and his students. It was influential in France during the 1960s and 1970s, and also came to influence philosophers, political theorists and...

  • The Marxism of Che Guevara
    The Marxism of Che Guevara
    The Marxism of Che Guevara: Philosophy, Economics, and Revolutionary Warfare is a book by Michael Lowy. It is a short work addressing the political, ethical and economic components of Ernesto Guevara's thinking....

  • Western Marxism
    Western Marxism
    Western Marxism is a term used to describe a wide variety of Marxist theoreticians based in Western and Central Europe, in contrast with philosophy in the Soviet Union...

  • Young Marx
    Young Marx
    Some theorists consider Karl Marx's thought to be divided into a "young" period and a "mature" one. There is disagreement to when Marx's thought began to mature, and the problem of the idea of a "Young Marx" is the problem of tracking the development of Marx's works and of its possible unity...



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