February 27, 2012
Growing up in communist Romania in the 70’s and 80’s, deprived of the most basic liberties, as young children we were indoctrinated with communist ideas and schools were used merely as platforms in which curriculum strictly controlled with the purpose of instilling in youth communist principles. Karl Marx’s portrait would hang in every classroom above the old blackboard and his theories were studied and celebrated in every history book, literature book, economics, or any book for that matter. Sociology and Psychology were considered pseudo-sciences under the communist reign and therefore forbidden in schools.
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In his mid-twenties he turned away from Philosophy towards economics and politics when he began opposition activities against the monarch of Prussia who could not understand
that the society was changing. The king would not allow the progress and the democratic reforms that were emerging on the verge of the Industrial Revolution. This was Marx’s first battle, to expose the contradictions between the centuries old monarchy system and the new world as it was arising in the first half of the nineteen century. Because of the massive move from the agricultural base to the industrial one, it was natural –he maintained – that the social change would be inevitable. According to Marx, the government’s sole function was to serve the people, and if that didn’t happened than the government must change, too. He criticized the governments of Europe and their policies of social displacement that promoted a huge stratification of rich and poor (www.wsu.edu).
In 1843 Marx moved to Paris as he got involved with the radical newspaper Deutsch- Franzosische Jahrbucher ( German- French Annals). It was in Paris that Marx met in 1844 the German socialist Friedrich Engels with whom not only that he would become friends for life, but he would co-write in 1848 their most famous work, a short political pamphlet known as the Communist Manifesto, one of the most influential political writings that has affected more lives than most books ever did.
By the 1850 the industrialists had gained political power and across Europe, kings started to view the new capitalists as allies against lower classes. Marx believed that the Capitalism with its hunger for new markets, new consumers and new and cheaper methods of production would create a new system of repression and exploitation of the working class. Socially people were not more equal under Capitalism that they were under the monarchy order and rights belonged to those with money and property. He had plenty of evidence to support his theory, as since 1849 he was living in London where he would remain for the rest of his life. London, one of the richest cities in the world had also the greatest poverty among working people. As Marx was
observing that in his neighborhood some rented a space in a bed and called it comfort and others paid for a few inches in a stairwell and called it home, he summed up the situation saying: “There must be something rotten in the very core of a social system which increases its wealth without diminishing its misery” ( www.standford.edu).
This was the crucial point when Marx ideas grew. He famously spent year after year in the British Museum Reading Room, trying to understand this new system, predict its course and finally offer an...