The turbulent 19th century

The circumstances in which Marx and Engels' political thought was shaped were closely connected with the origins and evolution of socialist thought, which tried to find an answer, among others, to the growing social conflicts. The 19th century abounded in lively and better organized protests of the proletariat (usually poorly educated or not at all educated working class) against the class that possessed. The latter included, first of all, the main beneficiaries of the capitalist system, i.e. the small bourgeoisie or the aristocracy. Among the attempts to manifest their dissatisfaction (or even to reveal their efforts to destroy the social relations in force in Europe at that time), one can mention the uprisings of the Weavers of Lyon (1831) and the protests of the Parisian workers (1832), the Silesian weavers' uprisings (1844) or the activity of the English chartist movement (1830-1840), and above all the revolutionary wave of national and social resonance, which went down in history under the name of the Spring of Nations (1848-1849).

As early as 1844, in his “Economic and philosophical manuscripts”, Karl Marx put forward the thesis that the elimination of social inequalities was possible only because of the return to a modern form of primary communism where there was no private property. He was inspired by evolutionary cultural anthropology, views on French anarchists' property and Louis Blanqui's doctrine breaking with peaceful ways of introducing communism. Although the “Manuscripts...” ended in a drawer for over a hundred years, their echoes resound in all Marx's later works, especially in the “Communist Manifesto” published four years later in London.