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Marxism Marxism started in its early years as an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry centered upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis–critique of the development of capitalism. In the early-to-mid 19th century, the intellectual development of Marxism was pioneered by two German philosophers, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. As an ideology, Marxism encompasses an economic theory, a sociological theory, and a revolutionary view of social change. Since the late 19th century, Marxism has been internally divided, between proponents of orthodox Marxism and proponents of revisionist Marxism, and between the respective revolutionary and reformist branches. The revolutionary, Bolshevik leader, Lenin, said that “the supersession of the bourgeois state by the proletarian state is impossible without violent revolution”. In contrast to the initial Marxist advocacy of revolution, the Reformist and democratic socialist political theorist Michael Harrington proposed that, in later life, Engels and Marx had advocated the development of socialism through parliamentary means, where-ever possible. Marxist understandings of history and of society have been adopted by academics in the disciplines of archaeology and anthropology, media studies, political science, theater, history, sociological theory, art history and art theory, cultural studies, education, economics, geography, literary criticism, aesthetics, critical psychology, and philosophy. According to the Marxist theoretician and revolutionary Vladimir Lenin, "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" was best not only for the wealthy capitalists but also for the workers because it provided them with employment. 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 originally denoted the study of the conditions under which economic production was organized in the capitalist system. In Marxism, political economy studies the means of production, specifically of capital, and how that manifests as economic activity. 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 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 labor, a reduction of working hours, and the replacement of the remnants, the ruins of small-scale, primitive, disunited production by collective and improved labor."
The theoretical development of Marxist archaeology 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 criticized as being inherently bourgeoisie 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. Some Marxists have criticized the academic institutionalization of Marxism for being too detached from political action. For instance, Zimbabwean Trotskyism Alex Callinicos, himself a professional academic, stated that "Its practitioners remind one of Narcissus, 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 indeed 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."

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