By the Editorial Board
Every May 5, the international proletariat celebrates the birth of the great Karl Marx, the revolutionary giant who gave our class its consciousness and founded the ideology of the proletariat through his life’s work, which was formulated inseparably from class struggle, struggle which Marx participated in himself. Marx saw his main mission, in his own words, as “leaving the working class a theoretical base, firm and wide enough so to serve as a support for their future organization and as an arsenal from which to take out the necessary weapons for the struggle against the bourgeoisie,” and in this he indisputably succeeded. The ideas he laid down became the engine for revolutions worldwide which have overthrown old rulers and old ideas, and will inevitably lead to the total victory over the Old Society when Communism is established in every corner of the earth.
In 1818, in the city of Trier in what was then Prussia, Marx was born to a well-to-do family, growing up to follow an academic path. He hoped to become a professor, but seeing state meddling in the universities dissuaded him from further pursuit of a career in academia. His early days were defined by his association with the Left Hegelians, young philosophers who sought to apply the dialectics of Hegel to revolutionary and atheistic conclusions, but who were still tied to idealism. It was the philosopher Feuerbach’s criticism of theology which began to deepen Marx’s turn towards incorporating materialism into his work, an essential step towards the foundation of Marxism.
Karl Marx was not only a great philosopher, an incomparable scientist of society and economics, a keeper of history, and a revolutionary, of course—he was also a journalist, for which he was jailed, persecuted, and exiled from multiple countries throughout his life. He became editor-in-chief of Rheinische Zeitung in 1842, gaining the attention of Prussian authorities with increasingly revolutionary content, who targeted the paper for full suppression in 1843. He would later publish and write for other papers, including the New York Tribune from 1852 to 1861.
Following the suppression of Rheinische Zeitung, Marx resigned his leading position in the paper and moved to Paris to publish the journal Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher. While it produced only one issue, the journal still contained important Marxist ideas still cited today, such as the “ruthless criticism of all that exists” and the famous principle that religion “is the opium of the people,” a scientific and rational characterization, and not a call for repressing the spirituality of the people. Atheism is fundamental to Marxism, but Marxists do not set out to suppress the sincere religious feelings of the people by force, but transform them through political struggle and education, using proletarian ideology, understanding that through socialist and cultural revolution religion will fade away as an antique of history. This does not preclude fierce class struggle, with revolutionary violence, against the bourgeoisie, who utilize the official churches and their leaders as oppressive apparatuses against the people.
It was in 1844 that Marx met Friedrich Engels, immediately embarking on a comradeship that was indispensable to the development of proletarian ideology. Engels was not only a great theoretical thinker, philosopher, and scientist in his own right who made invaluable and numerous contributions to the ideology, but he was also a dear friend to Marx—he literally sustained Marx and his family during times of hardship, allowing Marx to focus his immortal talents on writing and developing theory, especially the work of writing the three volumes of Capital.
Prior to Capital, Marx, with the help of Engels, laid another great milestone for humanity, writing the Manifesto of the Communist Party in 1848, coinciding with a period of explosive bourgeois revolutions across Europe. The Manifesto is as relevant today as when it was written, and contains the building blocks of our ideology in one of the most piercing, earth-shattering texts ever produced. Chairman Gonzalo states clearly:
“It is only with the Manifesto of the Communist Party, which is its full name, that for the first time the communists are putting forward their position and program and it is the starting point, the milestone or the first stone on which our whole edifice is built, all that is great Marxism-Leninism-Maoism.”
Marx laid many stones, establishing the necessity of the dictatorship of the proletariat, defining the lower and higher stages of Communism, and illuminating that it is the economic base of society from which all other social relations develop—that inherent to capitalism itself is the source of its own destruction: the proletariat, the last class in history, whose antagonistic contradiction with the private ownership and bourgeois class in control of the means of production moves all society in the direction of capitalism’s destruction through revolution, to be first replaced by socialism, and onward towards Communism.
Marx founded the International Workingmen’s Association in 1864, which is known today as the First International, establishing a path for how the proletariat must be organized across all borders, as the proletariat has no nation. Today’s Communist Parties and organizations take up the duty to reestablish an international organization as demonstrated by Marx, Engels (founder of the Second International), and the Great Lenin (founder of the Third International, i.e. the Comintern).
While we celebrate his birthday, it was beside Marx’s grave in 1883 that Engels eulogized his dear friend and great leader of the proletariat for two of his principal contributions: defining the law of the development of human history and the law of surplus value. But everything that Marx put his mind to became the source of new developments in human thought, as Engels emphasizes:
“Two such discoveries would be enough for one lifetime. Happy the man to whom it is granted to make even one such discovery. But in every single field which Marx investigated—and he investigated very many fields, none of them superficially—in every field, even in that of mathematics, he made independent discoveries.”
Engels emphasized another important fact in his eulogy of Marx—that before all else Marx was a revolutionary, who unapologetically called for the complete overthrow of the existing order, and every piece of his work, whether his contributions to philosophy, political economy, or scientific socialism, are in service to this goal, so that the proletariat might take its place in its dictatorship, so that it can begin the process of guiding the world towards luminous Communism. Revisionists of every era right up to today seek to gut Marx of his revolutionary character, reducing him to a “thinker,” turning him into a cartoon to cover up all manner of opportunism and distortions, but his ideology burns through all of their lies, and his contributions shine brighter today than they ever have before.
Marx birthed Marxism, the first stage of the proletarian ideology, Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. But Marxism is not separate from the stages that came after it—only revisionism seeks to play such a game. In our era, Marxism, and thus Marxism-Leninism, are both contained within Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, which is the third and highest-yet summit of the ideology, forged by Chairman Mao, whose development was possible only because of the giants who came before. Marx is there, at the beginning, shining a light to lead the proletariat out of its dark womb.
Long Live Karl Marx, Founder of the All-Powerful Ideology of the Proletariat!
Down with Revisionism, Long Live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism!
Proletarians of All Countries, Unite!
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