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Götrek was born in a village in Södermanland. After graduating from high school, he moved to Stockholm in 1818 and became a teacher, a book printer and also kept an antiquarian bookshop in Södermalm. He published books explaining Saint-Simon's "revealed religion" in the 1830s, then turning his focus towards Étienne Cabet in 1846 and in 1847 he wrote a book expounding on Charles Fourier. He was the first to import and translate the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, in 1848, the same year it was published in German. However, Götrek, took the liberty to alter some parts of the Manifesto, including the now famous quote, Workers of the world, unite!, which Götrek, being a religious man, changed to Folkets röst, guds röst! (i.e. "Vox populi, vox Dei", or "People's voice is God's voice").
He had a small group of intellectual followers and the group became an underground club for political discussions, but never really any practical political work. Even though Götrek read Marx, he was more of a utopian socialist than a revolutionary Marxist.