What is Marxism?

2 minute read
What is Marxism

Marxism is a socio-economic and political theory developed by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in the 19th century. It focuses on the struggle between different classes in society, particularly the working class (proletariat) and the owning class (bourgeoisie). Marxism emphasises the role of economics in shaping society, highlighting the exploitation of workers under capitalism. It advocates for the eventual overthrow of capitalism through a proletarian revolution. This will eventually lead to a classless society and common ownership of resources.

Also Read: Right Wing V/S Left Wing: Meaning, Differences, Similarities

Principles of Marxism

The fundamental principles of Marxism include Dialectical Materialism, Surplus Value Theory, Revolution, Historical Materialism, Class struggle, Communism, and Proletariat Dictatorship.

Dialectical Materialism

It is a philosophical approach that examines how contradictions and conflicts in material conditions drive societal change, emphasizing the interplay between opposing forces.

Surplus Value Theory

It is a concept that asserts that capitalists extract profits by paying workers less than the value they create through their labour, leading to the accumulation of surplus value.


A radical, transformative change in a society’s structure and power dynamics, is often achieved through mass uprisings and class-based movements.

Also Read: What Is Socialism? Definition, History, and Significance 

Historical Materialism

A framework in Marxism that analyzes history as a series of economic and social developments shaped by material conditions and class struggles.


The ongoing conflict between social classes, particularly the bourgeoisie (owners) and the proletariat (workers), over resources, power, and control.

Proletariat Dictatorship

A transitional phase in Marxism where the working class holds political power to suppress opposition from former ruling classes. This in turn paved the way for the establishment of communism.

Also Read: What Is Anarchism? Definition, History, and Significance

Here are some of the most powerful Marxist leaders in the World History:

Leaders Nationality
Louis Althusser French
Victor Adler Austrian
Damodar Dharmananda Kosambi Indian
Karl Korsch German
Rosa Luxemburg Polish
Antonio Negri Italian
Mao Zedong Chinese
Leon Trotsky Soviet
Raymond Williams British
Jean-Paul Sartre French



#1. Who developed the Theory of Marxism?

#2. What is the key focus of Marxism?

#3. What does Dictatorship of Proletariat mean?


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