I read a couple of Marx’s books a long time ago; Das Kapital and the Communist Manifesto. The material was also covered briefly in a Sociology course (101). Karl Marx was a brilliant sociologist- of that there is no question. His analysis and description of the problems England had in his day were on the mark. He understood the problems that England experienced during the Industrial revolution when so many ‘peasants’ were forced off rural land and migrated into London and other cities to work in the factories.
The factories had bad working conditions generally. Nowadays in the U.S.A. there is the federal Office of Safety and Health and several other ways that work conditions are not allowed to be too oppressive and unhealthy. England had nothing like that and people worked very long hours including children and sometimes women. That was what Marx saw and described when he was working at a library in London.
Marx like American revolutionaries had no care for aristocracy. There were still a lot of royal governments in Europe so his wish to revolt was unwelcome in the nations he had been kicked out of. Marx was also Jewish and Jews had an identity crisis in Europe in that era and hoped for a nation of their own to live in since they were victimized by pogroms in Russia and other countries. Marx had a bifurcated political motive for revolt. I think some Jews like Trotsky and some of the Jews that were leaders in the German revolution near the end of the First World War had a desire to revolt as a substitute for having a Jewish state to move to. Some Jews sought to establish a Jewish state in Europe. Perhaps one can compare their troubles to that of the Kurds. President Trump recently dropped them cold and was of no help in establishing a Kurdish state. It is a good time to do that and Turkey and Syria could have been incentivized to give Kurds land and recognition in exchange for 2x the land they give Kurds from annexations of Syrian land that few would be heartbroken about the Assad government losing some land.
As I understood Marx, he was a great analyst yet ironically a fairly uncreative economist. When he associates the capitalists with the aristocracy as their lap dogs, he might have been a modern talking about the relationship of the broadcast media to the 1% that owns the media. Marx felt that capitalists were the next phase in rich powerful minorities oppressing the majority. He was right about that it turned out.
Plainly Marx was not a good designer of a new economic system to replace the aristocracy and capitalism. That is a problem the Democrat party has today; they just aren’t good at reforming capitalism to make it more egalitarian and to pay off public debt and restore the ecosphere to health. A democracy works best with robust free enterprise enabled through all of the people having adequate start-up capital normally.The Communist manifesto was written by Marx for a fee, yet it was more of a work for hire than a free exposition of his own thought. He wrote it for some Communist group- I don’t recall the name, and it became popular. So Marx was a good analyst, historian and sociologist with a misapplication of Hegelian metaphysics and a non-functional economic program.
Democracy has all of the tools it needs to raise taxes to a high enough level that wealth and power wouldn’t be over-concentrated to the diminution of democracy. It could reform capitalism with some regulation to make it serve the people and restore the ecosphere. The trouble is that Democrats aren’t too well informed about ecological economics and actually just want to be like republicans themselves with lots of wealth and adequate decadence and immorality.
In a democracy the people are sovereign rather than a tiny minority as in aristocracy or plutocracy.. The people need to actually use their power to prevent concentration of wealth and power if they want to be sovereign. Certainly royals were not reluctant to rule and benefit themselves more than the people.
Taxation is a part of a government. The people cannot expect government to provide free services. I would look around and see original sin as responsible for social ills, rather than forced redistribution incidentally. Redistribution is something of an obsolete concept anyway since capital in many ways isn’t easy to redistribute. I am more for changing the way capitalism works and to regulate it so it serves everyone equally well as citizens, rather than special interests and those destroying global and national ecospheric health.
Communism had to fail, it hadn’t a functional economic system for progress. Marx had theories like value added and alienation of labor obviously, yet those phenomena don’t require communism for correction. Marx saw everything that was bad and leaped to the conclusion that it could all be fixed in the communist system. Communism works directly against individual initiative and creativity- it doesn’t really evolve well so much as keep everything more like ancient Egypt- unchanging for thousands of years with a few pyramid projects and ruling elites over-seeing everything. Capitalism without intelligent regulation is like a plague of locusts consuming the ecospheric health. No system of economics can replace intelligent leadership with good ideas in a democracy. If capitalism is failing now (concentrating wealth and destroying ecosphere health) it is because government hasn’t good leaders and is unaware of how to lead to reform.