What is Marxism?

BY:Marc Brodine| June 14, 2016
What is Marxism?

As a result of the historic election campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders, socialism has been a widely discussed and debated. The system of ideas elaborated by Karl Marx is one of the chief underpinnings of the socialist idea. Check out our new video introducing some of its basic concepts.  What is Marxism is the first in a series on animated videos. We look forward to hearing your feedback!

    Marc Brodine is Chair of the Washington State CPUSA. A former AFSCME member and local officer, he is currently an artist and guitar player. Marc writes on environmental issues and answers many web site questions. Marc is the author of an extended essay on Marxist philosophy and the environment, titled Dialectics of Climate Change.

Comments (33)

Mark Kleiman | July 03, 2017 at 4:59 AM

Wow. I just saw this, Marc. It is such a great introduction, and with terrific visuals and production values. I’m going to think — HARD — about how to promote this. (YouTube says it has only 3,723 views.

Are there more coming?

Ken | February 17, 2017 at 10:17 PM

Excellent video. Thank-you.

john mathis(Greek) | November 16, 2016 at 5:46 AM

What is it that we must always argue! It is what it is. Baez says (according to) Dylan that if we battle each other if not we are lost in the beginning. We then need to know how to argue. It is what it is.

Gary Mueller | October 06, 2016 at 1:10 AM

Thank you both for your answers

Gary Mueller | September 17, 2016 at 2:16 PM

I really enjoyed the video on Marxism,I hope there will be more. I am interested in the idea of the Dictatorship of the proletariat, the name sounds very counter democratic, could this issue be spoken to?

    Dillon | September 28, 2016 at 8:27 PM

    Dictatorship doesn’t necessarily mean anti-democratic Gary. In Marxism the Dictatorship of the Proletariat is a system where the people/ workers have control of the means of production such as factories etc. And if you follow “Democratic” countries like America( which i am a born citizen of), we have supported many non-Democratic countries or groups simply because they were anti-Communist.

      Joe Sims | September 29, 2016 at 7:49 PM

      The concept of the dictatorship of the proletariat was developed by Marx and Engels after the defeat of the Paris Commune. It attempted to address necessary steps to insure that the new working class state is preserved. The term however is at best unfortunate. The CPUSA does not use term instead preferring the concept of a working-class led state as part of the definition of socialism. For us such a state must also have constitution and bill of rights: a “bill-of-rights socialism. Democracy must be a basic part of socialism.

susanne cousineau | August 01, 2016 at 6:14 AM

I am new to the communist party usa…I do not believe that either candidate presents any policy or ideas on the issues that divides the usa partisans from each other. I am a recently retired high school teacher from an inner city school in san jose, ca ..my students do not feel that they have a voice..they are disenfranchised from America and many of them are “illegal”… they live in poverty.
What do I tell them …they feel that a gang is a better outcome for them and they are not “bad” kids.
How do we help them?

    Gary Mueller | September 19, 2016 at 6:02 PM

    I am from the Gilroy area, I manage a low income property and the people I deal with are the parents of the children you speak of. They see fear they see in the eyes of their parents as housing costs climb higher and higher, fear of deportation looms. This is not a healthy environment for any kid.
    How do we help them? If I could answer that I would be president.

    Adam Raven | September 28, 2016 at 5:51 PM

    Good morning,

    Concerning this election, I would reference this recent article by CPUSA. Outlines our position and role as Communists for 2016.


    Adam (Indiana)

Brent | July 09, 2016 at 5:54 PM

How is supporting Clinton – albeit in an effort to stop Trump – any different than supporting the development of the bourgeoisie from the petty bourgeoisie? Clinton is desperately far from communistic ideas, yet perhaps Trump or even a more right-minded candidate might push capitalism to the extent where competition between laborers is removed?

Doug Kelley | July 03, 2016 at 11:00 AM

I’m sure those in N Korea really enjoy Marxism, just ask them and they’ll tell you they do.

    Joe Sims | July 06, 2016 at 11:57 AM

    The DPRK leadership claims an ideology based on the thinking of the late Kim Il Song one of the tenets of which is the “Juche idea” (self-reliance). It does not claim Marxism.

    legacywatch88355@gmail.com | July 11, 2016 at 3:43 PM

    You are spot on Doug Kelley …the retort fails to explain that Kim, his disco-boot daddy, and his daddy — were all subscribers to the Marxist mantra. The elder Kim was actually trained by Stalin’s people in Moscow — and recommended as a loyal Stalin Marxist before being installed as the titular head of North Korea in 1946. We are now witnessing the 3rd Generation of that central party process — its alive and well in North Korea.

      Joe Sims | July 13, 2016 at 3:44 PM

      Actually the development of Juche ideology began with the grandfather Kim Il Sung. Facts speak for themselves.

    Dylan Walker | August 11, 2016 at 7:56 PM

    North Korea at this point does not follow Marxism or Leninism. Their Party is called the Worker’s Party of Korea, they advocate for Socialism, not Communism.

    Will McGuire | September 05, 2016 at 6:10 AM

    What North Korea has is far from true Marxism.

David Berger | July 01, 2016 at 4:33 PM

Why does the CPUSA support Hillary Clinton, who is a candidate of Wall Street?

    Joe Sims | July 06, 2016 at 12:00 PM

    The CPUSA does not endorse candidates of other political parties. We do endorse and strongly so the defeat of Donald Trump and the right wing Republicans.

    stefano | July 06, 2016 at 3:48 PM

    It’s very bad that CPUSA support Hillary Clinton,enemy,real and clear, of workers and peoples in fight for liberation!! When a communist candidate???

      Joe Sims | July 07, 2016 at 5:11 PM

      The CPUSA has not endorsed Hillary Clinton or any other candidate. Again, we see Donald Trump as an extreme danger and are committed to doing everything possible to insure his defeat at the ballot box. Regarding communist candidates – good question. At the local and state level we have and will continue to seek election in coalition with others. At the national level we will run when conditions permit.

Mike | June 29, 2016 at 3:38 AM

America isn’t a democracy. It is a Republic. Individual Rights and Freedoms are protected by the Constitution. Under Communism individuals have no Rights and Freedoms. Individuals are at the will of the Governmwnt which is usually totalitarian- Fidel, Stalin etc.

    Sir Digby | July 01, 2016 at 6:12 AM

    Totalitarianism and Marxism are seperate things. Humans are inclined towards totalitarianism no matter what they believe in. This is the fault of those who want to have complete power over their fellow man, not an idea about freedom and equality. I find it wonderful that America is based on the rights of the people, and in the end, these rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness lead to a more equal society. On the path to such a society, Marxism is a light in the darkness.

    BH | July 01, 2016 at 4:22 AM

    I wonder what black people pre-civil war thought about the constitution protecting rights and freedoms.

    And I have always wondered why people would object to a government that did not respect or acknowledge rights of the people but somehow working for someone who did not respect or acknowledge rights of the people who worked for him/her was somehow okay. I never understood the logic that a government totalitarian dictator is bad but an employer totalitarian dictator was okay. And the government dictator probably would not mess your life up as bad, statistically speaking, as running afoul the whims of your employer dictator.

    The only answer I have heard is “Well, if you don not like your employer you can go somewhere else”. Wonderful. Let’s let socialism become the ruling economic system in every country on earth but with the caveat that if you do not like the socialism in one country you are free to immigrate to another socialist country. If being able to leave your tyrant employer for another more to your liking makes the totalitarian nature of the workplace okay then being able to get up and leave one socialist country for another socialist country solves that problem too. 😉

Sir Digby | June 29, 2016 at 11:42 PM

Marxism is happening in a far out way:)

Lukas Cgeng | June 28, 2016 at 1:57 PM

I’m curious about what you think about Chinese communist party. I am a CPC member.

sreenivas reddy k | June 27, 2016 at 12:54 PM

excellent, made easy to understand primary level

Troy Heffernan | June 24, 2016 at 11:32 PM

I liked what I heard!

BH | June 23, 2016 at 5:40 PM

When are you guys going to start running candidates again?

Gary Mueller | June 16, 2016 at 5:40 PM

I work for one of the nations largest low income property management companies, qualification to rent is based upon income with both a cap and minimum amount.
The employers motivation for investing in such projects are tax incentives and the like.
For over 17 years I have managed low income housing and seen the utter contempt the upper management has for the residents and it breaks my heart.
My socialist dream is a society that is willing to help the needy without a class perspective.
It took some time to join the CPUSA, but with what time I have left I hope to be of service..

Tim Steinhelfer | June 15, 2016 at 11:37 PM

Great work!

Beth Edelman | June 15, 2016 at 8:32 PM

Nicely done, thanks Marc Brodine.

Beth Edelman

bob mazzei | June 14, 2016 at 7:05 PM

It is not state capitalism, it is not any of the fake communist regimes past and present appeared on this planet. marxism is not planned economy and dictatorship. marxism is to go beyond the slavery of dominion and exploitation for a world free from class division, money, and power.

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