Written By: - Date published: 11:38 am, May 8th, 2018 - 60 comments
Categories: capitalism, China, class war, colonialism, Europe, Globalisation, grant robertson, International, jacinda ardern, labour, Russia, uk politics, us politics - Tags:
2018 marks several anniversaries of Karl Marx whose significance for the critique of capitalist society is hard to diminish. It was the 170th anniversary of the Communist Manifesto in February 2018, and Karl Marx’s 200th birthday in May 2018. Last year was the 150th anniversary of Capital. Coming up is the centenary of the short-lived German revolution in November 1918. There’s even a special thing called Marx 200.
Even now, Karl Marx is the big bearded daddy of leftist thought and activism.
It would be hard to imagine The Standard existing without what Marx wrote.
Was Karl Marx right? Well, here’s a few throwaway lines from The Economist to start the ball rolling
Who was he anyway?
He was someone wrestling with the damage of the 19th century European economic system, proposing alternatives through analysis of that damage
Arguably, Marx, together with the French and American revolutions, were for over two centuries – and remain – the core drivers for political reform across the world
In the largest remaining country to cite themselves as Marxist – China – he remains a powerful source of inspiration for their leader Xi Jinping. He still calls Marx “A tool to win the future.”
I’m not going to bother about whether all his successive Marxist movements were on balance a good thing, because that’s as hard as attributing Christianity to Jesus Christ. I suspect Jesus would want a wee sit down about that one.
You can all have a go at the political heritage of Marx-ism if you want to. I have my favorite Marxist variants, perhaps you Ragged Trousered Philalthropists have your own
However, throughout the twentieth century, his thinking started massive political change. There was Russia:
… and so many more.
China itself felt this bicentenary so important that it has made and donated a major statue of Karl Marx to his home town in Germany a few days ago
Probably this Minister of Finance is not likely to be singing The Internationale
That is to say, he would not call himself a Marxist.
Maybe they would be Soclialists
… but perhaps not Marxists.
Which is fine. We can argue the differences.
We can walk and chew gum between Marx’s legacy and New Zealand government today.
Each country has had its internal fights about the different micro-ideologies, including our own. It’s certainly been viewed as a threat here
But was Karl Marx’s Marxism really that good?
Is his thinking worth celebrating at its bicentennial?
Is he done, or is there more to come?