Wait…Marx…who’s Marx? I’m literally frowning at the thought of you asking this question, yet still, there are those of us who know too little of this man. He is, in a way, the specter haunting the basement of your intellect, and whether you realize it or not, he’s influenced you more in your life then your parents have. No fear I am here to help; help you to clean the soot and find your “self”. Think of me as your fellow journey man; combusting idealisms that now carry wayward distances like smoke over a campfire. At first, there may be friction between us. Always to be expected when fixing to make fire. Yet without friction there will no spark and with not spark, no revolution can manifest itself from thin air.
With that metaphor exhausted, the first thing I’d like to tell you is that Marx…is a genius. To some he’s famous. He’s biblical status famous. He he’s a rougher version of Leonel Messi…if Messi was an intellectual dropout living in abject poverty. Wait. I have it. He’s Jesus Christ.
Yet following in line with the deep irony that is my praise, there are those who see him on the contrary. Some who show visible disgust at the mere taste of his name. Those who…hate him. Like, passionately hate him. Like ex-girlfriend who cheated on you with your brother hate. Or for women, who on the whole, seem not to hate, it’s the back-handed comment about your body weight. Because we both know there’s so much more to that comment then the social injustice in it. To these individuals, these haters, who gonna hate, hate, hate, I can do nothing for you. Sorry… maybe reading diieeetttt???
The fact remains, he was born from necessity. He suffered for the sins of others. He rocked a beard like no one else. Marx, of course, was a brute in this world. And in spite of the global status he acquired after death. There are still some who know little about him. The sheer volume of works he produced rival those of the bible, for God sakes.
So, Yes, it was Nietzsche who said the “big man” was dead, but if you mad-lib the first part, substitute one proper noun for another and WALA! You have a sizable comparison for the current viewpoint on Marx. At least this seems to be the case in the western world. And it’s by no accident that we perceive Marx so negatively. After all, as a parent of Communism, his ideologies for almost a century have been deemed threats to our way of life. Nothing better defines the hight of this phobia than post World War II sentiment and…as my middle school civics teacher use to say in a low maniacal voice… McCarthyism.
But search a little further and you shall find the strangest of coincidences. Opposing the argument, the laymen will most annoyingly reply that communism “looks good on paper, but not so good in practice”. It’s a fair point. There are regimes out there who check off ‘communist’ on their W2 and do little to contribute to the good of the whole. Figures like Stalin, Lennon and Mao have set the stage for friction, teaching us that communism can be dangerous. We are rightfully pained by a very un-pretty picture of what happens to states which adhere to this structure. However, and this is a very big, HOWEVER, the mission here isn’t to blow smoke into the ears about how these men are good men. That’s a moral debate, I’d rather not wish to engage in. Instead, I’d simply like to show you that Marxism ≠ Communism.
And how is that so? Wasn’t it Charlie who wrote the Manifesto? He’s the reason why people shout “Communist!” when his name is uttered. Yet, of this short bodied work, the manifesto was a miniature horse in comparison to the stallion that is “Das Kapital”. Lulling, in no way whatsoever, the manifesto was designed to be a propaganda pamphlet, screaming like a locomotive into the minds of the working class. To be sure, Marx never intended for it to be an adequate representation of his theory at large. It was a fearsome invitation for those stuck, stuck in the class of oppression. It was a message to condense, to collect, to come together, to commune. Who could have predicted that in today’s age, fewer people would have the patience, or frankly the time to get through a major volumed work such as Das Kapital? Well actually, Marx. Marx probably would have predicted this. He was big on alienation. Furthermore, during his time, the working class, Marx’s audience, rarely had sufficient resources or the educational background to understand such a work. Hence, the motives of a rhetorical manifesto. This doesn’t come without its faults, but to misconstrue it as a major work is propaganda in itself. It takes advantage of Marx’s efforts to marginalize by dubbing the thorny crown label: fanatic.
I do agree, his ideas were radical and HUGE and in the spirit of fairness to this great man, I want to dissect them carefully and in due time. As attention spans are small these days, please check out follow-up posts to this series; “Alive and Well- Marxist Utopia”. Before I bid you ado, I should leave you a clear motive behind this rant. I full heartedly believe that Marx has something quintessential to offer us in today’s climate. He’s the perfect starting point for this blog, and because he embodies a vision of Utopia, which I believe is not only possible, but inevitable, I’d like to give him his fair shake.
Now, a few gems to put ol’charlie into perspective:
Q. Whats wrong with Capitalism?
- People are dependent and need resources to survive.
- A working economy makes this possible for mass amounts of people
- Before his time, the most prevalent economic system was Capitalism.
- Capitalism is good because it organizes labor and drives productivity.
- Capitalism is bad because it enforces private ownership.
- In particular, private ownership over the means of production is not good.
- Those who work to produce commodities receive stagnant labor wages
- Those who own commodities, sell them at a market price
- A good capitalist, will reinvest their gains (as an investment)
- The capitalist grows exponentially while the worker grows linearly
- This creates a class divide and a divide in power