Story: Class

The tomb of Karl Marx

The tomb of Karl Marx

The German political philosopher Karl Marx died in 1883 and was buried in Highgate cemetery in London. The inscription on his tomb, 'Workers of all lands unite', was the last line of The communist manifesto, which he published in 1848. The first line of the manifesto was: 'The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles'. Marx believed that classes, defined in terms of their relationship with the means of production, were the drivers of change. Just as the rise of the bourgeoisie had seen the overthrow of the feudal system by capitalism, so the organisation and eventual triumph of the working class would lead to socialism. Marx's analysis of class relations was the starting point for subsequent study of class in modern societies.

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How to cite this page:

Jock Phillips, 'Class - Understanding class', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 14 June 2024)

Story by Jock Phillips, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 22 May 2018