What is Marxism?

Definition: Marxism is a socio-economic theory or line of though developed by Karl Marx in the XIX century. Marxism is commonly understood as a system where workers dominate decisions and wealth ownership.

What Does Marxism Mean?

According to Marxist ideas, public ownership of all production resources would guarantee fairer conditions for workers than a capitalist system based on private property. In many aspects, Marxism is the opposite of Capitalism. Marxism tried to propose practical principles instead of purely philosophic, theorist ideas. Most of the Marxist lines of though came from several books written by Marx with his friend Friedrich Engels, such as “The Communist Manifesto”, “Wage-Labor and Capital” and “Socialism: Utopian and Scientific”.

Marxism sees world history like a series of events that are caused from a permanent conflict between two opposite social classes, the capitalists or bourgeoisies, and workers or proletarians. It states that a worker’s revolution will eventually arise and “the people” will reach power positions, achieving a world where fair wages would be possible for everyone.


Marxism ideas have derived in diverse ideologies through the decades and there has always been a strong relation to social confrontation. In some developing countries, where socio-economic gaps are often huge, there are robust motivations to encourage Marxism. Some politicians take advantage of Marxist ideas to propose the substitution of large corporations by a system where workers own the assets and decide on key business matters.

That was the case of Venezuela when President Chavez took power in 1999 promoting Marxist ideas. Under conditions of extreme poverty, many people identified themselves with Marxist proposals and saw them like logical solutions to their problems. Nevertheless, politicians and “revolutionaries” that have reached power positions by proclaiming Marxism have later failed in accomplishing their promises. Workers remained poor and powerless. In this case, facts have not proved the possibility of a Marxist world yet.