Was Karl Marx a Communist or an Anarchist ?

Ref: C3841558

Karl Marx (1818-1883) was one of the most influential political thinkers that Europe ever produced. His erudition and depth of research are admirable in themselves. He looked at the ancient writers on politics as well as those of his own age before he came to his own vision. His works contain some very revealing footnotes and beg the question of whether he was an objective scientist of political economy or a humanist with a deep social conscience. The course will look at the major themes of his work (labour theory of value; historical materialism; alienation; etc..) and invite discussion as to whether they evolved from an anarchist perspective or a more centralized one. It is hoped participants will be able to relate the ideas of Marx to their own experience of contemporary society.

Course aim

This short course will look at the roles that anarchism and socialism (communism) appeared to play in the development of Marx' s notions of political economy and historical materialism.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • An enquiring mind is a great start to this course.

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • talk about the life and career of Karl Marx.
  • exhibit an overview of Marx's principal works.
  • explain Marx's notions of labour theory of value; historical materialism and alienation (inter alia).
  • relate own life experiences to the above matters
  • carry out further independent research on Marx.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions
  • It will be a discussion group, in essence. All will be invited to contribute although no-one will be forced to do so. Just listening is a viable option.

What else do I need to know?

  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)
  • Pen and paper and own file. It all depends on the level of academic seriousness the participant has.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • Participants bring to the course what they feel is relevant. It is enough to come away from the course realizing how past political decisions have shaped our present lives.

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Participants may feel, at end of course, that they would like to know more about the political and economic processes. Marx is a great start to this.

Download full Course information sheet

Was Karl Marx a Communist or an Anarchist ?

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You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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