People Influenced by Karl Heinrich Marx (Marx)June 27, 2021
The work of Marx and Engels encompasses many topics that offer a complex analysis of society and history. Karl Marx’s views, especially after his death, are studied and discussed under the general heading of Marxism.
But there are several serious debates among Marxists about how Marx’s writings should be interpreted and adapted to existing events and situations. In fact, these debates arose while Marx was still alive, who, before his death in 1883, accused both Paul Lafargue and French labor leader Jules Guesde of being “revolutionary phrasemongers”. After the French party split into reformist and revolutionary, the leader of the revolutionary, Jules Guesde, was accused of taking orders from Marx, and Marx said to Lafargue, “If this is Marxism, I am not a Marxist.” (“Ce qu’il y a de certain c’est que moi, je ne suis pas Marxiste”, this phrase appears in Engels’ letter to Eduard Bernstein, dated November 2-3, 1882.)
In general, the word Marxist is used for those who use Marx’s conceptual language (such as “the mode of production”, “class warfare”, “commodity fetishism”) to understand capitalist and other societies, or who believe that the workers’ revolution is the only means by which the transition to communist society is possible. . It is also a matter of debate how to name people who accept the general or part of Marx’s theory but do not accept all of his reasoning.
The Second International, whose first congress was held 6 years after Marx’s death, formed an important center for the political movement. It was more successful than the First International, with the participation of the major workers’ parties, especially the Marxist Social Democratic Party of Germany. Some members became interested in the evolutionary theory of socialism put forward by Eduard Bernstein, and the outbreak of World War I led to the end of this International in 1914.
Under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin, the Marxist Bolsheviks took power in Russia with the October Revolution, creating a worldwide repercussion. The purpose of the “Third International”, founded in Moscow in March 1919, was to help the international proletarian or world revolution by establishing Communist parties all over the world.
Marx thought that the communist revolution would begin in highly industrialized countries such as France, Germany, and England. On the other hand, in the age of imperialism, depending on the “law of unequal economic and political development”, Russia would break from the weakest link of the chain in a country that, despite being an old agricultural country, was also experiencing industrial problems in relation to imperialism, thus in a country called “backward”. He said that it is possible for the revolution to take place, and that the fire of revolution lit by this society will spread to the industrial societies of Europe.
The preface to the 1882 Russian edition of the Communist Manifesto by Marx and Engels is illuminating:
“Now the question is this: even though it has been greatly weakened, can the Russian obshina, a primitive form of common landholding, pass directly into the upper form of communist common ownership? Or, conversely, must it go through the same disintegration process that first constituted the historical evolution of the West ?
The only answer that can be given today is this: If the Russian Revolution heralds a proletarian revolution in the West, and if they complement each other in this way, the existing common landholding in Russia can be the starting point for a communist development.”
Marx’s words formed a starting point for Lenin, the idea that the Russian revolution, which he led together with Trotsky and the Old Bolsheviks, should be “the precursor of a proletarian revolution in the West” was also the aim of the Comintern (world revolution). In this context, it is not a coincidence that the official language of the Comintern at the first congress was German and that Lenin was heavily accused of being a German spy during the revolution. Later, after the failure of the revolutionary movements in the West and other states turning against the Soviets, the “socialism in one country” put forward by Stalin became the dominant view in the Soviet Union. Continuing his opposition to Stalin’s rule, Leon Trotsky and his followers organized the Fourth International in 1938.
While expressing his loyalty to Mao Zedong Marx in China, he said that not only workers but also peasants can play the leading role in the communist revolution. Since the working class was not yet fully formed in peasant societies, peasants who opposed feudalism could also take a stand for a communist order. Although different from the basic views of Marx, these ideas, which are closer to the Marxist-Leninist line, were expressed with the New Democratic Revolution theory. Mahir Çayan says on this subject: “We see the essence and basic elements of this contribution of Mao in Lenin as well. But these two extremely important principles of Marxism-Leninism (national democratic revolution and proletarian cultural revolution) are in their most perfect form in Mao’s political political revolution. They have taken it in practice.”
The Social Research Institute, which was founded by Marxists in Germany in 1923, also played an important role in the criticism of the Marxist discipline and this institute became a current of thought.