The man of revolution
Azhar U Din
Time impacts everyone but there are very few who influence time and change the course of history. In the galaxy of 19th-century world-class philosophers, Karl Marx holds a distinguished place. He was a man of great faculty and vision. Marx-was a dignified intellectual, an eminent philosopher, a great thinker, a versatile economist, and the champion of the proletarian struggle against the bourgeoises.
His revolutionary ideas lead a pivotal influence on all facets of human endeavor, and metamorphosed the study of society and history, and brought a plethora of changes in the methodology of philosophy, anthropology, the arts, political economy, political theory, law, literature, history, and sociology by endowing a relationship between economic and intellectual life.
Twenty-nine years before Marx’s birth, France, the next-door neighbor to Germany, witnessed the great revolution in which the crown of feudalism was downed into the dust by the common masses. Thus, Germany and other European countries were influenced by this French revolution and they also started to raise their voice against the cruelty and oppression of the monarchy and church. Thus, Marx was born in the period when the wave of revolution in Europe was at its peak and therefore, this insurgent atmosphere made him a revolutionary philosopher.
It was the implementation of the cruel forest laws in Germany which brought Marx very close to the Philosophy of Communism. These forest laws which were in favor of the rich people halted the rights of the poor to gather the wood and other essential items from the dense Rhine forests. As an editor of the newspaper named “The Rheinische Zeitung” he wrote down several articles against this oppression and tyranny. As these articles were against the rich, they showed strong wrath against them and appealed to the government to take strict actions against the editor of the newspaper. Somehow, Marx succeeded in saving the newspaper from censorship.
Before we go through the philosophies of communism it is very important to know the basic tenet of capitalism. Capitalism is based on the concept of surplus-value and it is this surplus value that expands the pocket of capitalists and the gap between the proletariat and bourgeoisie widens at its every reinvestment.
Marx believed that the bourgeoisie only buys the raw material and it is the labour that gives its final shape in the form of the end product and thus, its market value increases with the labor-power and which is much higher than the value of raw material of that product.
Therefore, in the actual terms the labor is the real owner of this surplus value but as he is working in a factory or industry of a capitalist, he lost his control over it, and the capitalist only gives him meager wages for the survival and due to this continuous cycle of exploitation, capitalist becomes richer and richer and the labour becomes poorer and poorer in addition to this, he has no control on the final product which is the final result of his sweat and hard work but again it is bourgeois who has full control on it.
Thus, a proletariat thinks that all his hard work is nothing but a futile exercise, an exercise which is only beneficial for a capitalist and Marx called it, the philosophy of alienation. Karl Marx was thus in an attempt to restore all the rights of the workers and save them from the exploitation of the capitalists and he was thought of a system where labour class should be the ultimate rulers but it was only possible when the deep roots of capitalism would be eradicated and eliminated from all the nooks of Europe.
An important question before Marx was which methodology would be used for the downfall of the system of capitalism. He did not consider the democracy as the solution for this problem and on the contrary, Marx is said to have noted a “democracy” in which “The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them in parliament”.
He also held the view that religion is the tool of exploitation that is being used by the rich against the exploitation of the poor. Finally, he saw communism as an antidote and ultimate remedy to eradicate all the roots of capitalism which in turn may give birth to peace, progress, equality, equity, and development in the society.
Marx identified two phases of communism that would follow the predicated overthrow of capitalism: the first class would be a transitional system in which the working class would control the ultimate power and economy and pay according to how long, hard, or they worked. In the second phase, communism would take its final shape and society would form without the class divisions and government in which the production and distribution of goods in the society would be based upon the principle “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” When such a system will develop then there will be no need for government, law, and order because society will run smoothly by following all these principles of communism. This philosophy of communism is also called Marxism or the philosophy of Marx.
Spread of the philosophy of communism was not an easy task for Marx, he was banished from his homeland Prussia then he took the shelter in France, and again in 1845 due to his revolutionary ideas he was exiled from France also and he didn’t back Prussia that time but he went to Belgium.
Nonetheless, German police had pressured the Belgium government not to allow him to stay there. To protect himself Marx did the Renunciation of his Prussian citizenship and gave assurance to the Belgium Government that he would not participate in any political activity and finally he got permission for staying there.
In the end, he left Belgium also and again applied for citizenship in Prussia but the Prussian government rejected his application due to this he became stateless and thus he asserted In the Communist Manifesto, that “the working men have no country”.
With his close fellow Fredrich Engels, Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto, whose main purpose was to lay down the boundaries and principles around which the philosophy of communism would take its practical form. In this Manifesto the main emphasis was given on how to dethrone the empire of capitalism and replace it with a worker’s society thus, in the concluding part both the revolutionaries applied to the workers of the world to unite and because they have nothing to lose except the chains of slavery and bondage.
Marx lost even 03 children because of poverty and economic crisis, he spent every penny for the cause of revolution and his legacy can be judged from his book titled” The Das Capital” which brought the major revolution in all the corners of Europe in particular and the world in general.
This book is known as the Bible of communism in which everything about capitalism, its dynamism, and its tendencies towards self-destruction have been highlighted. Though the application of communism based on its real tenants cannot be found anywhere in the world right now. However, it was this philosophy of communism that divided the world into two main superpower blocks i.e USA and the USSR.
Communism is a staunch opponent of private property and it is an accumulation of the private property by a handful of persons which results in the hunger, war, poverty, unemployment, crime, child labour, and prostitution that the world is currently facing especially the third world countries.
Nature has bestowed us the beautiful abode in the form of the mother earth where the resources are so much that she can sustain all human beings equally without deprivation, discrimination, and poverty but due to the greediness of some persons, the unequal distribution of resources came into existence which in turn created the gap between the people in the form of the rich and poor and this gap widens at every minute. It may not be wrong to say that Marx was probably the first thinker who raised his voice against the exploitation and tyranny of the rich against the poor.
(The author is a Junior Research Fellow in Geography at Mumbai University. He has done his Bachelor’s and Master’s at AMU and hails from the Anantnag district)