Who was Karl Marx?

Who was Karl Marx?

2018, Economics  -   19 Comments
Ratings: 7.22/10 from 81 users.

His teachings continue to inspire, challenge and scandalize people throughout the world. Two hundred years after his birth, the documentary "Who Was Karl Marx?" examines the life of this infamous German philosopher, and explores why his controversial theories continue to resonate to this day.

The film continuously shifts its narrative from Marx's personal journey to the modern-day settings that continue to embrace his philosophy. In the process, it shines a spotlight on the contradictory perceptions of Marx throughout the world, and why his divisive teachings haven't lost their power to engage a significant segment of the working class.

Marx's socialist ideals were wrought from the Industrial Revolution. Wearied by evidence of deplorable working conditions, Marx suggested that it was only a matter of time before the working class mounted a revolt against the capitalist system. He envisioned a society free from the shackles and disadvantages of class.

Idolized by some and scorned by others, Marx's popularity has ebbed and flowed for two centuries. In the aftermath of the global financial crisis in 2007, his socialist principles found a newly energized foothold. In China, his resurgence has been particularly robust. Marxist propaganda fills the airwaves, infiltrates print media, and even serves as the basis of a popular game show.

The relevance of Marx is not limited to one region, however. It can be felt in France, the United States and other countries where the class divide continues to widen. As more citizens find themselves struggling through poverty, homelessness, unfair wage disparities and overall disillusionment, some have found their hope and inspiration within the tenants of Marxist philosophy.

The film is not blind to the criticisms of this philosophy, and the potential pitfalls of putting it into practice. We hear from several detractors of Marx - not necessarily those who fall in the strictly pro-capitalist margins, but others who find fault in his naiveté and questionable ethics. Some feel that they will forever contend with a capitalist structure. Others are challenging the Marxist philosophy by attempting to redefine it for a modern age.

"Who Was Karl Marx?" provides well reasoned insights into an often vilified subject.

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19 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Solatle

    Marx and Lenin were just pawns on the banksters' chess board. Banksters sponsored both just as they had done for Napoleon and many other self-important people with obscured background like Hamilton. In short, the banksters needed Communism to divide the world into two camps, whose inhabitants were fighting against each other, and to quietly take over the national governments with the revolutionaries or with money or with both. And here we are.

  2. William

    My brother and I went to Highgate Cemetery (London) to view Marx's grave. But the cemetery charged admission !?!? So we went around the back and climbed over the fence. I think Karl would have approved.

  3. Bal

    What a load of BS. Capitalism forces competition, you have to improve and become better than your competitors in order to move forward or otherwise you fail. This is a harsh, tough environment, for sure. On the other hand socialism and communism promote laziness, no other way of saying this. Why should one work harder, put more effort, if you still get the same? The last example in the video, Greece, it failed not because it was a "left behind capitalist state" but because the culture did not promote hard work and competition but rather life style.

  4. Jon Jonzz

    He was the smarter,lazier version of Bernie.

  5. Jay

    As an economist I can tell you Marx criticism of capitalism was valid, this is what convince most adherents to become rabid leftists. And I said rabid, because notice Marx did not provide any solution for the development of an economy. None! Rebelling against the capitalism system was right, but how do we bring progress? The soviets, or communas where people will work and split the work, was not viable because all men are not equal. Some people work hard and some are lazy. That omission destroyed socialism wherever was tried. By eliminating profit, which make some work harder than others, communists destroyed the engine of progress.
    All that is left is a vacuous philosophy of capital that have caused about 100 million deaths. Today, communism is propounded on the same principles, equality is the goal but communist ideas have left a trail of oppression, destruction, totalitarianism and death. Don't be the next victim!

    1. David

      Sorry, you do not know what you re talking about. Marx never argued for equality, he argued for equal access to resources that have been usurped bu the 1% under the guise of "private property", so "each can work to his own capacity and his own individual needs". That we learn to share, like we tell our children but are incapable of ourselves due to sheer stupidity, and indoctrination in the west. The 100 million deaths are due to invasions by the west in every single case and our inability to deal with psychopaths like Stalin that is a major problem that puts power in the hands of those that should never get near the levers of power.

      There is no flaw in what Marx proposed, and he is hardly on his own in that respect. The problem with westerners is infantilism and the need to believe they are members of a superior society, the idea that communism may represent a way out is intolerable and something they disparage while having zero knowledge on the subject.

      Those writing negative comments here, convince no one and are viewed as infantile jerks.

      If you replaced money with non transferable vouchers for example that entitle you to goods and services based on hours worked, you automatically rule out all corruption, inequality and exploitation without the need for policing, that are bought off at any rate under capitalism.

      So why do we not do this? Because of bewildering infantile stupidity is the answer.

      "THE first man who, having enclosed a piece of ground, bethought himself of saying This is mine, and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows, "Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody."

      Jean Jacques Rousseau (1754)
      On the Origin of the Inequality of Mankind

      "For example, most of the major states of history owed their existence to conquest. The conquering peoples established themselves, legally and economically, as the privileged class of the conquered country. They seized for themselves a monopoly of the land ownership and appointed a priesthood from among their own ranks. The priests, in control of education, made the class division of society into a permanent institution and created a system of values by which the people were thenceforth, to a large extent unconsciously, guided in their social behavior."

      The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil. We see before us a huge community of producers the members of which are unceasingly striving to deprive each other of the fruits of their collective labor—not by force, but on the whole in faithful compliance with legally established rules. In this respect, it is important to realize that the means of production—that is to say, the entire productive capacity that is needed for producing consumer goods as well as additional capital goods—may legally be, and for the most part are, the private property of individuals."

      Why Socialism?
      by Albert Einstein 1949

      Socialism, Communism, or whatever one chooses to call it, by converting private property into public wealth, and substituting co-operation for competition, will restore society to its proper condition of a thoroughly healthy organism, and insure the material well-being of each member of the community. It will, in fact, give Life its proper basis and its proper environment. But for the full development of Life to its highest mode of perfection, something more is needed. What is needed is Individualism.

      As for the virtuous poor, one can pity them, of course, but one cannot possibly admire them. They have made private terms with the enemy, and sold their birthright for very bad pottage. They must also be extraordinarily stupid. I can quite understand a man accepting laws that protect private property, and admit of its accumulation, as long as he himself is able under those conditions to realise some form of beautiful and intellectual life. But it is almost incredible to me how a man whose life is marred and made hideous by such laws can possibly acquiesce in their continuance.

      Oscar Wilde 1891
      The Soul of Man under Socialism

      The extraordinarily stupid are responsible for the 6th extinction event that is well under way.

      Viva la ignoranza!

  6. Calvet

    Marxism = Do what we say or we'll kill you. Enough said.

  7. Prince Kapone

    Amerikans are politically illiterate. These have to be the dumbest comments I've ever read.

  8. Geo

    Anyone promoting an Ant Farm system where all the worker ants work for the "collective" which is the state, is an elitist who believes they are above the fray and will not be the insignificant replaceable little worker ant with a shovel; so will not suffer the intended or unintended consequences of that system.

    Elitism, be it Marx or any other system, is what has ruined the world and murdered vast millions of those who simply disagree with being ruled by others or others taking what wasn't theirs.

    Marxism and any Collectivist system IS based on taking what isn't theirs. Capitalism is NOT based on taking what isn't theirs, however, some within that system are corrupt, diverting corporations, govt, military, and the media for that purpose of taking what isn't theirs. Mainly the Marxist globalist banksters who own/control all of those; and favor war profiteering. Socialists pretend they would not have corruption when it is even more difficult to avoid in such a system.

    Despite any claims, there is no equality nor strive to get closer to it with Marxism. The "haves" being the ruling class have the money and power. All the rest are the "have nots". It is against the nature of the power hungry and greedy corrupt ruling class to give that up.

    What about that claimed larger distribution to the Have Nots to even things out? If there is any, from the lack of incentive, it gets sucked up by the over bloated govt ruling class and taxes for projects they desire, such as govt buildings, military, and special everything for the ruling class families. Not that different than a once capitalist country which has increased its socialism to a significant extent.

    Marxism is unnatural. It is only sustainable by force in the macro. It fails to acknowledge that many people strive to be free to seek their own destiny and to be left alone by any govt. Despite any BS theory, the result of such a Collectivist system is the exact opposite of a free people. They are not allowed to compete with any state operation. Which would be everything, under full socialism.

    If you want to join a Kibbutz, fine. Leave the rest of us alone. People are allowed to leave a Kibbutz and some do because Collectivism is not for them.

    Are you allowed to leave the ultimate Marxist one world govt globalist system? No, because it would collapse from so many leaving to pursue a better life. That is why they want your guns. They cannot succeed if you are free to leave.

    A MUCH better system is one where there is no ruling class. No central banksters robbing the value of what you earn by printing more fiat currency. No debt based money creation. Companies would be limited in size so they could not gain excessive power. People could pool and/or invest their excess money directly as they desire, or in a Go-Fund-Me account or similar. Same method for a safety net for those who fall on hard times. Like the original founding of the usa, the only taxpayers would be corporations and those working for govt which would be very few: police and courts, with a Swiss style Defense, where most have a rifle in their closet and trained to use it. That would also cut down on crime. No more war profiteers since strictly defense. It would be the opposite of Marx, having sovereign individuals who deal with each other much the same way as sovereign states or countries interact. Freedom and order without dominance.

    1. Scribo_FTS

      Before you write a comment, I would urge you to actually read Marx. Most of your critical comments here may it be corruption, class system etc. is criticised by Marx.

      Marx is in favour of a class less system because at the moment it is the capital owner and those on top of the labour pyramid who build the "upper" class who is profiteering from, above all, rent seeking of the "lower" classes.

      Rather than "taking what isn't theirs", Marxism is about the collective ownership, e.g. sharing what we all produce together.

      Moreover, your description of market concentration and the resulting power of a few firms is not only depicted in Marx but in other moral philosopher aka early economists such as Adam Smith.

      In a nutshell, please read Marx instead of talking and writing absolut non-sense!

    2. Rick James

      You have no response about the horrors that 300 years of capitalism has wrought on the people of the world, and, as Marx predicted, will bring about its own inevitable end, along with the destruction of the natural world, and therefore humanity itself.

  9. Commonsensical Matters

    noun: capitalism

    an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.

    The problem we all see to overlook, as it is easier to blame anything but ourselves is that capitalism in itself is not evil or bad. I personally would rather leave the trade and economics to private enterprises as it drives innovation and competition. Greed, which it stems from you and I, is why capitalism got such a horrible name. The problem here is the human being, not the method in which countries are ran. Take accountability and be the change you want to see. Become business owners that won't let greed rules you, change the way a few have taken advantage and has ruined it for the rest of the world. Or as I said before, continue to blame everything else, but yourselves and see nothing change. Your choice.

    1. Howard

      Capitalism is a system based primarily on an abstract - money. It is a vehicle for the accumulation of money; and, as such, a portal for the expression of greed. In a very real sense, to become a business owner unfettered by human greed is to put oneself out of business. Simply put, a business owner given to greed will always outmaneuver one without greed. Such is the nature of the system itself. If humanity is ever to free itself of its innate greed, it must first free itself of that which rewards greed and punishes generosity.

  10. Armando Gonzalez

    There are critics of Marxist's social experiments, and critics of Marx's thinking. When we check the Marx's works and its bibliography we will see the difference between analisys and political bias. Marx summarizes and systematizes what many thinkers have said in history, about the development of the social and economic forces of humankind. You can have many honorary and academic tiles, but if you do not know MISERY, you are unable to understand a simple true: The workers produce the wealth of the nations - Adan Smith & David Ricardo

    1. Jay

      Let's assume you led a communist rebellion, all people at the same economic level. How do you make them produce their best? What will be the incentive? Why bother studying and inventing new products if you are not going to enjoy its rewards? Notice most of the invention patents are in capitalist countries. Why? Because you worked hard at it and now can enjoy it. This is what destroys all socialist movements, once they realize they can not bring progress, the communists party members become the new Capitalist elite...and what criminals they have been. Re: Cuba, Venezuela, China, Nicaragua, etc

  11. DustUp

    There is one reason and one reason only that this crippler and manipulator of the minds of far too many, still influenzas anyone today. Because the big banking and elite families (Rothschild, Rockefeller, etc) prefer mental midget worker bees rather than COMPETITORS for all the corporations they own and control, including the central banks around the world. So the big boys install Marxist professors in the universities to teach the teachers ...and voila we get Marxist zombies out of the govt indoctrination "school" system. Reinforced by the bankster owned major media.

    You can learn all about it right on this website under the conspiracy section And/or read G. Edward Griffin's book: The Creature From Jekyll Island for a primer on conspiracy fact. Look up the quote by David Rockefeller who admits everything.

    Think bigger. Rather than gathering together to whine and strike and vengeance. Get even by obsoleting them. Gather together to compete! Pool your resources, start companies and buy from each other. Cut out the banksters and you will be much further ahead than PLAYING RIGHT INTO THEIR HANDS by demanding Marxism (Socialism-Communism-Progressivism-Corporatism)

    1. kukel

      You have absolutely no idea what Marxism is about. If you are interested,do read Capital by Karl Marx, there are four volumes to keep you occupied and study another side of economics, FAR from the fatcat capitalist economics you're talking about, instead of jumping to conspiracies. This is economic science, it never hurts to try and understand that.

    2. Maxwell

      Sorry but you make no sense in your argument.

    3. DustUp

      Just because a Marxist professor and the media tells you something doesn't mean it is true. Quite the opposite. They, like the Marxist Alinsky in Rules for Radicals, know that they must lie, lie, lie, and lie some more. "The people will never go for it if you tell them the truth."

      The first big lie is that there is only corruption in Capitalism. To believe that there would not be even MORE corruption in a Marxist system is hilarious. It is all about Nepotism, Cronyism, bribes, etc. And there is no recourse, so it is rampant.

      Another example of a big Marx LIE is that All countries must become Socialist before it can reach Utopia. If it cannot succeed on a smaller scale then it will be even worse on a larger scale. THAT is the scientific method for all those science buffs.

      Who would believe such lies and Utopian drivel if not easily indoctrinated college kids who have never spent significant time working at the lowest levels of a Marxist state? And are so lazy they want someone else to pay for their Marxist indoctrination; and everything else they can get someone else to pay for? Those who regularly indoctrinate themselves by watching the major media, which is owned and operated Marxists. If you think they are Capitalists you are very mistaken.

      Show me a fully Marxist system that has improved the lives and conditions of the lower levels of the labor class they promise to help --and where they have opportunity to move up ... that you have lived in? Meaning Marxist ideas are BS.

      To cut through the propaganda, the Scandinavian countries are not fully Socialist. They have many private companies. Otherwise they would go bankrupt and languish due to lack of incentive, as Russia and China discovered, as did the first colony of Euro settlers to the East Coast of Norte America utilizing a Collectivist system. They began to thrive under a Capitalist system; as most any country does.

      The globalists(communists) want those who are easy to control. That is why they have been paying for professorships to indoctrinate the college kids and teachers. "The ends justify the means" to a Marxist. So if they have to kill millions to succeed, that is exactly what they will do, AND HAVE DONE.

      How about you Marxist supporters, read some actual data. Small biz is the economic engine of the USA. Any mention of "fat cat capitalism" just shows how well you have been indoctrinated into the Marxist lies. Even with big biz manufacturing where a high school diploma and a good factory pays as much as your college degree in Marxism.

      When all you brilliant hard working students of Marx accept bumping all your grades down to a C so those that didn't show up can get theirs bumped UP to a C, and have the rest of your life position and income depend on those grades, then I will believe that you understand Marxism.

      When you move to a fully Socialist-Communist state where a high school dropout would not bother to work hard to have his own chain of auto body repair shops or fleet of come to you oil change service trucks because the Marxists would steal most of his income "for the good of all" which means "the good of the ruling class".

      Where a doctor cannot open their own clinic because they all must work for the state hospital system at a paltry salary, which is reduced to that of the lowest paid sweeper when the country has run out of money because the ruling class spent all the money on nice palaces, roads, and cars and jets for themselves, while leaving the hospitals short on necessities.

      Have you talked with people who were living under a Marxist system? Quote from a Ukraine Medical Doctor years ago: "Though Marx's ideas proved to be false, we believe he meant well."

      Which is highly debatable that Marx meant well. He was old enough to know that people simple do not excel nor work hard without incentive. And that is exactly what these Marxist weasels desire, an unmotivated DISARMED working class, so the rulers have no fear of being competed against or overthrown to obtain more opportunity and freedom for those that want it.

      Would Marxists allow the people to vote them out for a different system? Not a chance, they are TOO GREEDY for power and perks.

      Like Stalin said similar to: It is fine to let the little people vote, its not the vote that counts, it is who counts the votes. Theory in a Marx book means what? NOTHING.

      If you are the type that wants a guarantee, move to a country that offers you that, if you can find one. Why is it necessary that the clueless mess up this country further?

      It is always interesting that people think others get paid too much but never themselves. Had a friend who fell for the Socialist line. Started saying things like CEO's make way too much, however, he worked for an oil company, in most any other company, his job would pay about half to 2/3 of what he was making. When athletes, movie stars, and govt administrators take a pay cut then I'll worry about CEOs.

      It would seem much wiser to worry about improving yourself rather than whining about others. Learning Marxism is the opposite of improving anything. It is an old idea tried too many times and failed the people it promised to help every time. It did help those at the top, immensely though. Hmmm, maybe that is why they lie so much to promote it...

      Collectivism of whatever flavor is all about getting rid of the competition, that is why the big corporations favor it. No little up start would be allowed to compete against them. They would never be given a permit. Paying off the permit writer would guarantee that. Suing would be pointless since the paid off crony judge would rule against you.

      If you are too lame to be the designers of your own destiny. To take full responsibility for yourselves and those you feel need some help. Then leave. Go to that Euro or where ever utopia you chicken little.

      Watch the interviews of and documentaries by Aaron Russo who was friends with a Rockefeller to get the straight scoop from those who spend their life fooling and manipulating the public for their gain.