BBC: "Marx the millennium's 'greatest thinker'

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Fri Oct 1 02:04:25 MDT 1999

Marx the millennium's 'greatest thinker'
Friday, October 1, 1999

Revolutionary writer Karl Marx has topped a BBC News Online poll to
find the greatest thinker of the millennium.

The nineteenth century writer won September's vote with a clear
margin, pushing Albert Einstein, who had led for most of the month,
into second place.

The top 10 included philosophers Immanuel Kant and Rene Descartes as
well as twentieth century scientist Stephen Hawking.


Karl Marx is probably the most influential socialist thinker to
emerge in the nineteenth century and one of the founders of communism.

Although dictatorships throughout the twentieth century have
distorted his original ideas, his work as a philosopher, social
scientist, historian and a revolutionary is respected by academics

Karl Heinrich Marx (1818-1883) was born into a middle-class family in
Germany, but he became a revolutionary in Paris, Brussels and London.

He met the like-minded Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) in France.
Together they wrote The Communist Manifesto, which outlined the
theory of the class struggle. Marx was exiled from Paris and Brussels
for his revolutionary activities and settled in London where he lived
until his death.

Amongst Marx's other influential works are the Economic and
Philosophical Manuscripts, which remained unpublished until the
1930s, and the monumental work Das Kapital.

BBC News Online readers from across the world took part in the millennium poll.

Dag Thoresen from Norway, said: "Karl Marx has inspired thousands of
liberation struggles. He was the father of modern political thinking."

And Jyotsna Kapur from the USA said: "Marx analysed best the working
of capitalism. Given that that is the system that characterises the
world at the end of the twentieth century his work is as relevant to
understanding the world we live in as it was for understanding the
nineteenth century."

"It is not enough to preach democracy, not enough to proclaim it and
decree it, not enough to entrust the people's "representatives" in
representative institutions with its implementation. Democracy must
be built at once, from below, through the initiative of the masses
themselves, through their effective participation in all fields of
state activity, without "supervision" from above, without the

Vladimir Lenin, Congress of Peasants Deputies

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