Karl Marx was a philosopher, writing against the widespread injustices he saw committed against the ordinary working person. He assumed that such oppression would inevitably turn into a revolution by the working people. However, he himself could not have been called a revolutionist. Like a scientist or journalist, he observed and analyzed. But from his ideas came revolutionaries who transformed entire nations, for better or for worse.
Lenin grew up in a well-to-do, educated family. However, he was very much aware of the amount of power that, he believed, was held unfairly over Russian citizens. The uncertainty of his father’s job because of political issues, and the execution of his brother for treason, guided his embrace of Marxism. Lenin became a Communist, was arrested and exiled several times, and then took his chance to overthrow the tsar’s generals and followers in the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.
Mao Zedong was a student in China when student demonstrations were making waves in Chinese politics and society. The last Chinese empire had been overthrown in in 1912, and the first Chinese republic was in the grip of confusion as a nation. The students of the times eventually coalesced around Marxism as the path of their nation.
Mao Zedong was a member of the Chinese Communist Party when it formed in 1921. He soon began to raise the Chinese farmers and laborers as activists. In October of 1949, Mao defeated the Nationalist Party and formed the People’s Republic of China.
Fidel Castro was a law student and an activist for revolutionary institution of democracy even before he became a Marxist. He then widened the scope of his opposition, not just to the corrupt Grau government, but to the entire Cuban bourgeoisie. In 1958, Fidel Castro, his brother Raul, and their military forces shook the nation. Then-leader Dictator Batista fled.
Fidel Castro became Prime Minister and commander-in-chief (distinct roles). When the socialist state was formed, he became President of the Council of Ministers and the Council of State. Industries were nationalized, and employers were required to give their employees benefits. However, it was a state that also saw much curtailing of freedoms.
Ernesto Guevara de la Serna was born in Argentina. He was from the middle-class, and was able to study medicine at Buenos Aires University. An avid traveller, he took the time to go all around South America. The South American republics were full of poverty and oppressive leaders, which confirmed Guevara’s Marxist ideas.
He believed that armed revolution would bring about the needed economic changes. Guevara joined Fidel Castro’s 1954 Cuban Revolution, and assisted troops in the Congo, and then in Bolivia, to progress towards their own armed revolutions. Guevara was known for seeing the revolution as a universal movement, rather than just a national one.
Famous Socialism Leaders: Product of an Idea
If there was any kind of doubt that ideas have power, these famous socialism leaders are famous counter-arguments. Implementing ideas of Marx long after that philosopher had died, they managed to use his ideas to transform their nations completely.