Marx didn't actually tell his followers that the system needed to be destroyed. And it's not what Marx actually believed. Very few Marxists actually understand what Marx laid out.
Marxism isn't a list of demands and instructions. It's Marx's attempt to tell the future. Some of it he got right, most he got wrong. For example, he predicted the rise of automation.
Believe it or not, Marx was not an anti-capitalist. If anything, he revered it.
In a letter to Engels, he complained that too many people misunderstood his message, that his plan is to merge with capitalism. To make it new. He wanted to reify his brand of socialism, reify is a Marxist term, actually. It basically means to make an abstract idea concrete.
Marx didn't hate capitalism. He actually thought it was necessary. And he knew communism would never happen without the aid of capitalism.
Marx didn't hate capitalism. He actually thought it was necessary.
From there, he takes these ideas to some weird conclusions. Horrible conclusions. The main one being revolution.
What does the first phase of the Marxist revolution look like? How will we know if it has started? How can we tell if it's already begun? Marx's idea of the "dictatorship of the proletariat," where the working class would rise up in revolution and earn their freedom.
But what did Marx mean by freedom? Like so much of Marxism, it involves giving up your individuality, in service to the collective: "Only in community with others does each individual have the means of cultivating his gifts in all directions; only in the community, therefore, is personal freedom possible."
That's from his book The German Ideology, which he co-wrote with Friedrich Engels, the guy who paid all of his bills: "Free competition, which is based on the idea of individual freedom, simply amounts to the relation of capital to itself as another capital."
His idea here is that capital ruins any idea of freedom or individuality. And competition is what he uses as proof. In other words, Marx's definition of freedom has nothing to do with actual freedom, freedom as we know it.
He wrote, in Capital: "It is not individuals who are set free by free competition; it is, rather, capital which is set free."
He's saying that Capital manipulates our individual freedom and forces us to exploit ourselves. For someone who didn't believe in God, he sure had some fanciful ideas about the forces that control the universe.
For someone who didn't believe in God, he sure had some fanciful ideas about the forces that control the universe.
Marxists have always argued that capitalism is a religion. That our debt to capital is no different than our debt to God. Critical Theorist Walter Benjamin wrote an entire book called Capitalism as Religion, and wrote that capitalism is "the first case of a cult that creates guilt, not atonement."
There were many strains of socialism before Marx. There were entire movements, named after socialist and anarchist philosophers. But Marx was the one who figured it out, with the help of a rotating cast of people paying for his sloth, of course.
Marx's influence on socialism was so profound that socialism was practically re-named in honor of Marx. Marx has been deified.
He created a utopian society. Very hypothetical. It requires a working class that is devoted to daily readings of The Communist Manifesto.
This assumes that people who work all day — at a real job, where they can't just sit on the couch all day as Marx did — even have the energy to read dense theory when they get home.Marx made a religion.