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Seven facts about Karl Marx

200 years of Karl Marx: some facts that explain why the German thinker still fascinates people all over the world today.

A visionary on justice and critic of capitalism, strident journalist and astute economist: Karl Marx (1818–1883) still influences people today – from Trier to the USA and China. Here are seven facts about a life that made a big impact:

The International

In 1845, the young journalist Karl Marx was expelled from Paris. Prussia had put pressure on France because of his revolutionary writings. Marx gave up his Prussian nationality and remained stateless until the end of his life. After sojourns in Brussels and Cologne, he lived in London from 1849 until his death. Today, his grave in Highgate Cemetery attracts travellers from all over the world.

Childhood in Trier

Marx was born on 5 May 1818 in Trier on the Moselle River, where he grew up and went to school. According to Marx’s biographer Jürgen Neffe, the town on the Moselle – far away from strict, Prussian Berlin and close to post-revolutionary France – was an “absolutely ideal place” for the great thinker to develop and mature.

Marx and Communism

In February 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published the Manifesto of the Communist Party. Their theories aimed to achieve a classless and domination-free society. For many, this is still an important ideal of justice today – and for many others a source for new, communist oppression.

A Brief Introduction to Marxism

Marx and Capitalism

The first volume of Marx’s Das Kapital was published in 1867; volumes two and three were not published until after his death. Because of its analytical depth, this “fundamental critique of capitalism” as a system “characterized by exploitation, impoverishment and long-term collapse” (to quote economist Rudolf Hickel) has long-since become a classic. At the same time, the capitalism described by Marx cannot be compared with the production conditions in democratic societies based on the rule of law.

The best-seller

Karl Marx’s publications sold extremely well. The Manifesto of the Communist Party, with around 500 million copies sold, is one of the four best-selling books of all time. Both the Manifesto and Das Kapital are UNESCO World Heritage documents.

The much-quoted author

Whether it’s his description of religion as the “opium of the people” or his call “proletarians of all countries, unite!” – Karl Marx’s phrases echo down through time right up to the present day. “Being determines consciousness,” somewhat freely formulated after the book The German Ideology, was a sentence for eternity.

Marx-Merch: From the squeaker to the beer (German only)

The acclaimed citizen

In 2018, the world is looking at Trier, which is celebrating the 200th birthday of the man who is probably the city’s famous son, among other things with a monumental Karl Marx exhibition. The People’s Republic of China has sent a somewhat controversial monument; in the USA, money bills intended as souvenirs are causing quite a stir. One thing is certain: Marx the man still fascinates us today.

Author:Johannes Göbel

The article was originally published here and was republished with permission from Deutschland.de.

May 2018


Mohammed Ali Berrada
9 June 2018

very good reading text about Karl Marx and his theory of added value. but what about the future of capitalism, in the new historical context of today?

Mohammed Ali Berrada
9 June 2018

هده السنة يكون قد مر قرنين على ميلاد أكبر مفكر اقتصادي، قام بتحليل نشأة الرأسمالية و الأسس التي يقوم عليها، و تنبأ بمصير النظام الرأسمالي. إنه كارل ماركس. لكن لمادا لم يسقط النظام الرأسمالي، بالسرعة المتوقعة؟ الجواب، يكمن في تطور المجتمعات نحو الديمقراطية، و إرساء دعائم قواعد دولة القانون الحديثة، جعل النظام الرأسمالي يتجدد و يتأقلم مع الظروف الجديدة الاجتماعية و التكنولوجية و السياسية، حتى لا يحفر النظام قبره بنفسه...يبقى سؤال فرعي: إلى متى و كيف سيصير العالم مستقبلا، في ظل أزمة إيكولوجية بيئية، و تغير المناخ، و انسداد أفق النمو الاقتصادي، و توسع البطالة، و الأزمات المالية، و الحروب التجارية بين أقطاب العالم، و اتساع الفقر؟ هل تستطيع الرأسمالية التحول إلى نظام اقتصادي اجتماعي عادل و متوازن، ينتفي فيه استغلال الإنسان للإنسان و للطبيعة، و الدي لا يعرف حدودا جغرافية أو زمنية؟ الكل رهين بنشر الوعي العلمي. إما أن نكون أو لا نكون. هدا هو التحدي الأكبر

Rosalyn Mutia
29 May 2018

Marx was a great mind. In fact, one of the greatest, in the history of world Literary Criticism. The fact that his theory, the Marxixst Literary theory is still used to analyse works of art more than one hundred years after they were first propounded, shows that his views were timeless. Today, as in his time, countries all over the world experience issues of domination of the working classes by the proletariat. In the celebration of Cameroon's Labour Day this year, the internet, through the social media, was replete with the exploitation of the masses by owners of businesses. I celebrate Marx. I celebrate his ideas which have brought about an awakening in many fields of life and literature even including the Feminist Movement.

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