Within the area of ​​philosophy, politics and economics, the figure of Marxist doctrine has had a great impact at the world level, generating in many nations political movements known as socialists or communists, which have formed the left-wing blocs on different continents. . This doctrine known as Marxism or scientific socialism was devised by Karl Marx based on the economic study of capitalist society, having its greatest peak in the governments of Lenin and Stallin in the USSR.


What is Marxism?

Marxism or scientific socialism is a political, social and economic doctrine devised by Karl Marx which is strongly linked to socialism and communism . Marxism is based on three bases: the analysis of the past, through the class struggle and historical materialism, the critique of the present through the analysis of capitalism and the need for a future project based on a communist society where power political is taken over by the workers. This doctrine was presented for the first time in the text entitled “Communist Manifesto” in 1848 , in London. It is important to mention that Marxism and communism are not the same, since the former is a political doctrine and the latter is a form of government.

  • What is Marxism?
  • Characteristics of Marxism
  • History of Marxism
  • Objectives of Marxism
  • Principles of Marxism
  • Advantages and disadvantages of Marxism
  • Consequences
  • Representatives
  • Karl Marx (1818-1883)
  • Friedrich Engels (1820-1895)
  • Outstanding works of Marxism
  • Capital
  • The Communist Manifesto

What is Marxism?

Marxism presents a doctrine that seeks social changes in the form of organization of peoples and the means of production that do not generate the exploitation of the working class with the ultimate goal of ending social contradictions and the exploitation of man by man; creating a communist state where everyone is equal with the same benefits and with a single social class.


Characteristics of Marxism

Among the characteristics of Marxism we can mention the following:

  • It supports the theory that affirms that every historical event has been caused by economic interests and not by spiritual values. This refers to historical materialism .
  • The value of a commodity must be determined by the amount of work that was necessary for its production.
  • The only way to generate wealth is through work. The accumulation of capital wealth is generated by the exploitation of workers.
  • Capitalist society is divided into two, the proletariat and the bourgeoisie .
  • The class struggle in capitalism is between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat.
  • Religion is a social creation that serves as a pain reliever. The fulfillment of humanity is not in heaven but on earth.
  • The ideal society has no social class. The ruling class is eliminated to create an administrative class of the State that meets the needs of the people and eliminates class struggles by making a single ideal society.
  • The centralization of the factors of production, price regulation and economic sectorization must be in the hands of the state.

History of Marxism

Marxism has its origin in the mid-nineteenth century , taking its name from Karl Marx who, in the company of Friedrich Engels, developed a theory inspired by utopian socialism that sought the transformation of society. This theory was also known as scientific socialism because it was more pragmatic than the socialism put forward by earlier philosophers.

The corpus of Marxist doctrine was first published in London in 1848 and was named the “Communist Manifesto . ” This appeared on the eve of the revolutions that would occur that year in several European countries such as France , Germany, the Austrian Empire and Italy.

Little by little the thoughts of Marx managed to penetrate the working class of the factories generating pressure in the industrial societies of Great Britain, Germany, France and Italy and later, to other countries of Europe. However, it is in Russia where the ideas of Marx were of great influence in the Bolshevik Revolution and later, they were taken as a reference in the governments of Lenin and Stalin to give greater rise to the communist Marxist ideology.

Years later, communism occupied an important place in the political parties of many countries and this ideology settled in Cuba after the Cuban Revolution in 1958 and in countries such as Romania, China , Laos, Vietnam, North Korea and some African countries. that they did not remain long under this type of government.

Objectives of Marxism

The main objective of Marxism is for the State to have total control of the means of production in a centralized way to generate social welfare in the workers, preventing the bourgeoisie from taking over the means of production, property and the inhabitants of the country.

Principles of Marxism

The ideological bases of Marxism or Scientific Socialism are presented in the “Communist Manifesto” drawn up by Marx and Engels in 1848. They meet the following principles:

  • Historical materialism marks the development of history from economic factors.
  • The class struggle in the capitalist stage occurs between the bourgeois and proletarian classes.
  • The socialist society of the new era will emerge from the triumph of the proletarian class by abolishing private property, generating a single social class and placing the means of production and its benefits in the hands of society.

Advantages and disadvantages of Marxism

Among the advantages and disadvantages of Marxism we can mention the following:


  • There is no private ownership of the means of production.
  • Seek equitable distribution of income.
  • It does not generate unemployment.
  • Look for social welfare.


  • The state can limit the creative development of workers.
  • Businesses tend to migrate from countries with Marxist states.
  • Employees can be underpaid.
  • The State generates its bureaucracy that produces deficits.
  • Political leaders become the privileged groups.
  • There is little power of initiative for innovation.


Before talking about the consequences of Marxism, it is important to clarify that there is a difference between Marxism and communism. This lies in the fact that Marxism is a philosophical and political current and communism is a system of government . In this sense, it could be said that the first represents the theory and the second the practice or application.

Marxism generated at the time a reflection on the class struggle, capital and a project to improve social welfare that was pertinent and valid for its time and for future ones. For this reason, it can be affirmed that the Marxist thesis resulted in a review and analysis of the problems that capitalism generated in the nations and how it could significantly affect the peoples, especially the working class.

Another consequence of this doctrine is that it presented an analysis of the past, present and what the future should be to create a single social class that would represent humanity, that is why Marxism spread through many countries, until it was applied in some , under the communist system. The best known case is that of Russia in Europe, Cuba in Latin America and China in Asia.

Currently, Marxists and Communists continue in the fight against the exploitation of the worker and the distribution of goods in an equitable way . This reflective approach in search of social well-being is considered the greatest contribution of Marxism to humanity.

Unfortunately, the application of communism as a practical part of Marxism has generated in the countries where it has been applied, rulers who have remained in power for decades, generating a governmental bourgeoisie (where only the rulers have access to wealth and the people become poorer and poorer). In addition, in general, governments that follow the Marxist trend have suppressed freedom of opinion (even killing those who have ideas contrary to their regime), deteriorating the quality of life of its inhabitants, the means of production and their economy. economyto the point of having to reopen to the free market in order to maintain itself. These are the examples of governments such as Russia (before Perestroika), China (before opening to the free market), Cuba, Korea, among others.


The most significant representatives of Marxism are Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

Karl Marx (1818-1883)

Marx was born in Trier, in West Prussia, into a family of Jewish origin that later converted to Protestantism. He studied law, history and philosophy. During his first job as a journalist in the “Rhenish Gazette”, he found himself immersed in the midst of different currents of Hegel’s and Feuerbach’s German philosophy, French utopian socialism, and British political economy. His philosophical doctrine starts from man as being who acts and not as being who thinks . He criticizes religion and the state that according to him were imaginary achievements and substitutes divine consciousness for human consciousness.

Friedrich Engels (1820-1895)

Engels is the son of a German family that made a fortune thanks to the textile industry. He studied philosophy in Berlin and was an admirer of the ideas of Hegel and Feuerbach. It is there that he meets Karl Marx, whom he later meets again years later, during a trip to Paris. Engels realized that he and Marx had similar philosophical views and decided to collaborate together. Engels supports Marx financially and collaborates closely with him .

Outstanding works of Marxism

Marxism has generated a lot of significant bibliography in the philosophical, political and socio-economic fields, however the most representative works of Marxism are “Capital” and the  “Communist Manifesto” .


This work by Karl Marx is presented in three volumes , however, Marx was only able to see the first published while alive in Hamburg in 1867 ; the other two were published by Engels in the years 1885 and 1894 . In this work, the critique of the present in relation to the capitalist system is presented. Marx explains how bourgeois exploitation is a condition that depends on capitalism, where there is a worker who generates a profit greater than his salary and it is the boss who keeps the rest of those benefits, generating wealth.

The Communist Manifesto

This work produced by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels between the years 1847 and 1848 is a proclamation that expressed three essential ideas, which are:

  • The political and intellectual history of a society is marked by its production and its socio-economic formation (social classes);
  • The social class struggle on the basis of private property and exploitation and
  • The proletariat is the one who represents humanity and will only be able to emancipate itself through the communist revolution and the abolition of private property.

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