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  • Writer's picturePanji Kadar

Karl Marx: Short Biography by E. Stepanova (1962) - A Review

Karl Marx Short Biography E Stepanova - cover

Communism remains one of the most taboo, intriguing, and perilous topics in Indonesia. The tumultuous transition from the Old Order to the New Order in 1965 heightened tensions surrounding anything related to communism, Marxism, Leninism, and leftist ideologies, leading to government repression that persists up until recent years.

Acquiring a historical copy of communist literature from the pre-New Order era feels like a significant achievement, albeit tinged with uncertainty about the fate of its original owner. "Karl Marx: Short Biography" by E. Stepanova is a treasure I'm excited to share in this review. My copy is the 3rd edition, lacking information about the printing year inside. Through online research, I've deduced it was likely printed in 1962, just a few years before the events of the 30 September Movement. Published by the Foreign Languages Publishing House in Moscow, USSR, my version features a striking red hardcover spanning 144 pages.

Karl Marx Short Biography E Stepanova - wife jenny

Stepanova provides a concise account of Karl Marx's early life, his evolution from socialism to communism, and his critique of capitalism, advocating for a classless society. Collaborating with Friedrich Engels, Marx penned "The Communist Manifesto" in 1848, a seminal text guiding the proletariat struggle. The book also highlights Lenin's admiration for Marx's ideology, culminating in the 1917 Socialist Revolution in Russia.

While delving into this literature, it's evident that the book might have served as part of the Kremlin's agenda to promote Marxism-Leninism during the Cold War era. Despite its political context, "Karl Marx: Short Biography" offers valuable insights into the intellectual foundations of communism and its enduring influence on global history.

Reference: Stepanova, E., Karl Marx: Short Biography, Moscow, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1962.

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