Contemporary Relevance of Marxism

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INTRODUCTION

The ideology of Marxism has been at the forefront of far-left political thought ever since Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published their groundbreaking thesis, The Communist Manifesto, in 1848. The publication gave birth to a new dimension of politics which has had a resounding influence on generation after generation throughout the modern world. However, despite the affect that Marxism has had on modern political agendas, the theory now resembles a fallen giant. A contemporary analysis of the Marx’s ideology poses the following question: does the development of capitalism open a possibility for the development of Marxist thought, or does it more and more radically question it? A serious question mark has been raised against the relevance of Marxism in the contemporary times. Our aim in this essay is to argue that in the contemporary time where the very existence of the human race is threatened by the ravishing of the planet in the name of profit; mass unemployment, which was confidently asserted to be a thing of the past, has reappeared in all the advanced countries of capitalism, not to speak of the nightmare of poverty, ignorance, wars and epidemics which constantly afflict two thirds of humanity in the so-called "Third World." Hence, the current global crises of capitalism and the continuing economic recession resoundingly vindicate the Marxist analysis and appraisal of capitalism. To achieve this aim, we will review the background of Karl Marx theory and his ideological programme of overthrowing capitalist society by a communist revolution. This will serve as a springboard to our argument on the relevance of Marxism in the contemporary time. 1. THE BACKGROUND OF MARX’S THEORY AND HIS IDEOLOGICAL PROGRAMME The socio-economic development of medieval Europe produced the bourgeoisie, based on artisans and craftsmen, who occupied a position between the peasants and the landlords. The entrepreneurs and captains of industry and



Bibliography: Pannekoek, Anton. “Materialism and Historical Materialism” in American Journal New Essays, Vol. VI, No 2, (Fall 1942). Zeitlin, Irving M. Ideology and the Development of sociological Theory. New Jersey: Prentice- Hall and Simon & Schuster, 1997. Marx, K., & Engels, F. The Manifesto of the Communist Party. Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1977. Drachkovitch, Milorad M. Marxist Ideology in the Contemporary World: Its Appeals and Paradoxes. New York: Ayer Publishing, 1966. Eccleshall, R. Political Ideologies. New York: Routledge Publishers, 2003 ----------------------- [1] Anton Pannekoek, “Materialism and Historical Materialism” in American Journal New Essays, Vol. VI, No 2, (Fall 1942), p. 5 [2] Irving M [3] Marx, K., & Engels, F, The Manifesto of the Communist Party (Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1977), p. 35 [4] Milorad M

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