Marxism 101: How we make history

Bourgeois commentators tend to see history as the product of ‘Great Men’ and their ‘Great Ideas’. Karl Marx, by comparison, noted that: “Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.”

This outlook, as outlined by Marx and Engels, is known as historical materialism. Scientific socialism explains that major historical events are not simply the result of individuals and ideologies, but are the result of material conditions and class struggle. History, in other words, is governed by objective laws and processes that can be understood and explained.

In this talk, Laurie O’Connel will discuss the Marxist view of history, explaining the theoretical fundamentals that can help us to make sense of historical developments and social changes – and that can guide our actions and activities today.

Recommended reading: A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy – Preface (Karl Marx)

Further reading: An Introduction to Historical Materialism, Part One / The Marxist view of history: historical materialism

Recommended listening: