One of Britain’s leading historians on socialism, Professor Gregory Claeys of Royal Holloway, University of London, has written a fascinating book about Karl Marx to coincide with the world-famous thinker’s 200th anniversary on May 5, 2018.
‘Marx and Marxism’, published by Pelican and out in paperback, considers Marx's ideas from their development through the Russian Revolution to the present, showing why Marx and Marxism still matters today.
Karl Marx remains one of the most influential and controversial political thinker in history.
Marx and Marxism
The movements associated with his name have lent hope to many victims of tyranny and aggression but have also proven disastrous in practice and resulted in the unnecessary deaths of millions.
If, after the collapse of the Soviet Union his reputation seemed utterly eclipsed, a new generation is reading and discovering Marx in the wake of the recurrent financial crises, growing social inequality and an increasing sense of the injustice and destructiveness of capitalism.
Both his critique of capitalism and his vision of the future speak across the centuries to our times, even if the questions he poses, are more difficult to answer than ever.
Professor Claeys from Royal Holloway, said: “In my book I have tried to offer a represented overview of the development of Marx's ideas, chiefly from the viewpoint of the history of socialism.
“Marx isn’t an easy thinker and most of his main texts have been interpreted in many, diverse and often contradictory ways.
“I portray Marx as inheriting a series of issues and perspective from the early socialist writers, and as maintaining some of these while consciously trying to break free of others.
“He is described as having achieved such great success because of his moral and economic visions - his ability to insist we abolish the main forms of exploitation and oppression - and the promise that capitalism was doomed to fail, and would be replaced by a much better society.
“Both themes retain considerable relevance today, with the failures of Soviet-style communism notwithstanding.”
Karl Marx was a German philosopher and revolutionary socialist. He moved to London in 1849 with his wife Jenny von Westphalen and lived in the capital until his death in 1883. He is buried at Highgate Cemetery, London.
‘Marx and Marxism’ is available to buy now.