‘Marxian Communism is primarily the offspring of German Hegelianism and French Socialism.’
The intellectual heritage from which Karl Marx drew his insight attitudes and concepts was a synthesis of many ideological current in Europe in the early and the middle 19th century. These included the basic assumption of the socialistic faith and the slogans of the French revolution and the philosophy of George William Friedrich Hegel.
Karl Marx’s years in the University of Berlin were spent under the impact of Hegelian philosophy. Marx was influenced by Hegel’s philosophy of history and his science of logic. He joined the group now as a young Hegelian. This was the group with which Marx became formally associated when he was studying law and philosophy.
Although he was the youngest member of the young Hegelians, he inspired their confidence, respect and even admiration. They saw in him a “new Hegel” rather a powerful anti-Hegelian.
French socialism grew out of the endeavor to establish economic equality between man and man just as democracy seeks to establish political equality. The distress of the working class provoked bitter criticism of the existing social order. A new class of theorists and reformers began to arise who urged man to be social and not selfish. Some of the socialists who influenced Marx were Robert Owen, Saint Simon, Charles Fourier, and Louis Blanc. Like Hegel, Marx recognised that the history of mankind was simply a single and non-repetitive process. He also believed that the law of historical process could be discovered.
But Marx also deviated from Hegelian philosophy and French socialism. Socialism lacked precision of method rather than a definite aim. Marx removed this defect and gave socialism a philosophy and a new direction. His communist Manifesto which appeared in 1848 has been aptly described as “the birth-cry of modern socialism.”
Economic interpretation of history and class struggle are the two main principles of the Marxian Communism. He put forward the theories of Historical materialism, alienation, modes of production and class struggle in which he traced the evolution of society in terms of struggle between two classes.
He concluded that after capitalistic mode of production, society will inevitably culminate into communism i.e. classless society. According to Marx, communism is system in which goods are owned in common and are accessible to all.
The epoch to which Marx belonged had its beginning in the French revolution. But its historical philosophical dimensions coincided with those of the whole era of industrial and social revolutions. This is the reason for the lasting appeal of his body of thought i.e. by no means free from influences.