In this week’s episode of International Marxist Radio, Josh Holroyd, a leading comrade of the International Marxist Tendency and editor of In Defence of Marxism magazine (issue 41 available now), discusses the early life, works and revolutionary career of Karl Marx, whose 205th birthday we mark on Friday!
Born on 5 May 1818 in Trier, Marx’s formative years were shaped by the explosive events of the society in which he lived, one that existed in the shadow of the Great French Revolution of 1789. He was also influenced by many thinkers in the socialist tradition, borrowing the best of their contributions and sharpening his own ideas against their shortcomings.
Living at a time when the working class was beginning to make its mark upon history, Marx derived the key lessons of the period, and actively participated in and corresponded with the radical labour struggles of his day – including Chartism in Britain.
From this foundation, in collaboration with his friend and comrade Friedrich Engels, Marx developed the school of thought that came to be known as Marxism, and began the mammoth task of building a revolutionary organisation to bring these ideas into the wider movement under the immortal banner, penned at the dawn of the 1848 revolution: workers of the world, unite!