Category: Karl Marx
Marxism’s Missing Link
worker | March 16, 2021 | 8:19 pm | Analysis, Karl Marx, Marxism-Leninism | Comments closed
A new posting –

Marxism’s Missing Link


– from Greg Godels is available at:

The question of exploitation is the issue dividing the reformist from the revolutionary left. The reformist left has nowhere abated the existence or forward march of inequality in the context of capitalist social relations...  To read more, please go to:
Opinion: Holding up the spirit of Marxism in China
worker | May 6, 2018 | 7:46 pm | China, Karl Marx | Comments closed

In the age of globalization, people wonder why the current world needs Marxism which was founded in 1848 as the instrumental guide to social issues. To understand this, it is necessary to reflect on the spirit and wisdom of Marxism, because there are few thinkers like Karl Marx in modern history whose thought has been so widely perceived and read.

Opinion: Holding up the spirit of Marxism in China

Guest commentary by Wang Li
2018-05-06 07:23 GMT+8

Updated 2018-05-06 21:42 GMT+8

‍In the age of globalization, people wonder why the current world needs Marxism which was founded in 1848 as the instrumental guide to social issues. To understand this, it is necessary to reflect on the spirit and wisdom of Marxism, because there are few thinkers like Karl Marx in modern history whose thought has been so widely perceived and read.

The term “Marxism” was originally used by Karl Kautsky who considered himself an “orthodox” Marxist during the dispute between the orthodox and revisionist followers of Marx. Yet, as a universally adopted methodology of socioeconomic analysis that frames capitalism through a paradigm of exploitation, Marxism has had a profound and remaining impact on the social, economic and political issues globally, and it has ever expanded into all academic fields such as anthropology, aesthetics, economics, ethics, history, literary criticism, political science, sociology and philosophy. Since Marx viewed the social world as a totality to be analyzed scientifically, the academic division of the social world into different areas of inquiry – history, philosophy, economics, political science, sociology, international relations – is seen as arbitrary and unhelpful. Therefore, Marxism is always open, critical and self-critical, and developing.

A conference to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx is held in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, May 4, 2018. /Xinhua Photo

It is true that over the past decades, Marxism and Communism based on Marxian teachings have undergone the sea-changes from the previous Soviet Union to current China and Cuba. Even though the Communism was weakened in Europe, particularly in the former Soviet bloc, the early 21st century continues to see the election of socialist governments in several Latin American states, in what came to be known as the “pink tide”. Initiated by the Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, this trend was followed closely by the elections in Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua. Forging political and economic alliances through international organizations like the “Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas”, these socialist regimes aligned themselves with Cuba, admitted to being significantly influenced by Marxist theory.

Today’s China is at the crucial moment in its history. Since the rise of China is closely related to the globalization, it requires the Chinese to be well-aware of the theory and practice of Marxist thought on the law of the development of human society and the core teachings on upholding the people’s position. Specifically speaking, the ruling party of China should follow Marxist doctrines on productivity and the relations of production. Consider that China’s economic growth in the next crucial decades can’t be done at the cost of cultural prosperity and natural conservation, China must be strict in abiding by Marxist ideas on relations between the peoples’ welfare and sustainable environment.

The 5.5-meter-tall bronze statue of Karl Marx stands in a bronze factory workshop in China’s north Shanxi Province on Feb. 24, 2018, ready to be transported to the German philosopher’s hometown of Trier. /CGTN Photo‍

There have been no easy ways to adapt Marxism to any domestic context. China is no exception, just because Marxian thought is not only a profound theory but also a dynamic reality. Looking into modern China which was at the mercy of foreign powers for the whole century (1840s-1940s), it is the Communist Party of China which was combines the basic principles of Marxism with the realities of China and then won national independence. Since 1949, in which the founding of the CPC was guided by Marxism, the Party has taken a great responsibility towards the national rejuvenation and led the Chinese people to create a miracle of human beings. In light of this, Marxism has not only profoundly influenced the world, but also enormously changed China.

Historically, Marxism is a scientific theory, creatively revealing the law of human social evolution, the leadership headed by Xi Jinping has determined to make persistent efforts to upholding and develop Marxism according to the concrete reality in China. True, as Xi said that Marxism has been widely disseminated in the world, no ideological theory has had such a wide and profound impact on the world as Marxism has.

Accordingly, the CPC acts as a faithful believer and steadfast practitioner of Marxism with a view to transfer his scientific thought and theory to strong substantial power to perceive and remold world. To that end, it is the sacred duty of Chinese Communists and its people as well to observe, interpret and promote the development of Marxism in China as it has moved towards the center of the world stage so closely than ever before.

(The author is a professor at Jilin University. The article reflects the author’s opinion, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.)

Xi Hearts Karl: Chinese President Names Marx “Greatest Thinker of Modern Times”
worker | May 6, 2018 | 7:27 pm | China, Karl Marx | Comments closed

Chinese President Xi Jinping and other officials sing the national anthem at an event commemorating the 200th birth anniversary of Karl Marx, in Beijing, China May 4, 2018

Xi Hearts Karl: Chinese President Names Marx “Greatest Thinker of Modern Times”

© AP Photo / Jason Lee

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Chinese President Xi Jinping loves German uber-socialist Karl Marx, or at least loves the latter’s ideas, and the leader of the world’s second-largest economy is not afraid to declare his admiration.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday avowed that philosopher and revolutionary socialist Karl Marx is the “greatest thinker of modern times” during a speech in Beijing.Noting that Marx’s ideology “shines with the brilliant light of truth,” Xi asserted that placing “Marxism onto the flag of the Chinese Communist party was totally correct,” cited by Reuters.

Speaking in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, Xi marked the 200th anniversary of the German economist’s birth in 1818 in Trier, just a stone’s throw from the Luxembourg border.

Noting that the sometime journalist and lifelong atheist remains, although dead, a “teacher of revolution for the proletariat and working people all over the world,” Xi has decreed that all party members must read the works of Marx and seek to adopt the German’s socialist thinking as not only a “way of life” but also as a “spiritual pursuit,” cited by the South China Morning Post (SCMP).

Marx’s best known book, “Das Kapital,” alongside the “Communist Manifesto” — co-authored with the German businessman and fellow traveler Friedrich Engels — have, remarkably, morphed into integral building blocks for Chinese communism and the country’s left-leaning political thought.

Not everyone agrees with Xi’s laudatory tone concerning Marx, however, particularly in the nineteenth-century author’s home country of Germany.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, during a Thursday speech honoring the Marx anniversary, noted that the writer was “one of the great German thinkers” but alluded to the latter’s often contradictory statements and “rigid” thinking.

The German president also observed that the writings of Marx have been frequently misused and abused by heavy-handed and authoritarian governments, including those of the former Soviet Union and East Germany.

“We shouldn’t fear Marx, but we don’t need to build any golden statues to him either,” Steinmeier said, according to the Washington Post.

Karl Marx at 200: RT looks at the British political figures who still hold him dear
worker | May 5, 2018 | 8:15 pm | Analysis, Karl Marx | Comments closed

Karl Marx at 200: RT looks at the British political figures who still hold him dear

Karl Marx at 200: RT looks at the British political figures who still hold him dear
Revered by many on the left in Britain, including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell are Karl Marx’s ideas still relevant today, 200 years after he was born?

Corbyn describes the German economist, philosopher and revolutionary socialist as a “great economist,” while McDonnell says there is “a lot to learn” from Marx’s seminal piece of work, ‘Das Kapital,’ which critiqued the political economy.

Are these two old British socialists wallowing in times gone by, which has no relevance in today’s high tech society – or can we apply Marx’s ideas to a 21st century setting? Francis Wheen, author of ‘Karl Marx,’ argues the case that he has never been so relevant, saying: “In ‘Das Kapital,’ he has so many ideas about alienation and how work turns people into machines. If you look at an Apple production line in China, you would not see him as outdated.”

RT looks at today’s key proponents of Karl Marx’s work.

Paul Mason, political commentator and activist

Journalist Paul Mason is a self-described “radical social democrat who favors the creation of a peer-to-peer sector (co-ops, open source etc.) alongside the market and the state, as part of a long transition to a post-capitalist economy.” He’s a key ally of the Labour leadership and left-wing organization Momentum, having spoken at many of their events including ‘The World Transformed,’ which runs parallel to the Labour Party conference. He wrote the book ‘PostCapitalism’ in 2015, which prompted The Guardian to conclude that “Mason is a worthy successor to Marx.”

He may not be an “orthodox Marxist” but instead one who “argued that information overload would ultimately destroy capitalism by dispersing knowledge among the workers,” David Runciman suggests.

Like Marx, Mason foresees the collapse of capitalism “under the weight of its own internal contradictions,” as Chris Mullin, a former Labour MP for Sunderland South, puts it. Mason explains that unsustainable levels of personal and national debt, along with the rise of technology, will erode the market and property rights, destroying connections between work, wages and property.

Aaron Bastani, co-founder of Novara Media

Author of ‘Fully Automated Luxury Communism: A Manifesto,’ writer and broadcaster Aaron Bastani suggests that today’s era of political polarization and revolution in technology has revived big ideas that originate from Marx. He says “Marxism is pivotal to left-wing thought.”

Bastani has been one of the pioneers within the left-wing media news outlets to cause a stir on social media, particularly with his YouTube videos. He argues that, in a climate of political turbulence and economic uncertainty, there has been a lack of solutions.

Within that lack of solutions, Bastani hints, Marx’s big ideas can help bring new insights, saying: “He may have been born 200 years ago, but his key insights – a materialist view of history and a grasp of capitalism as an inherently limited system – remain invaluable.”

David Harvey, professor of anthropology and geography

Based at the City University of New York, the distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Geography David Harvey is said to be a highly influential proponent of Marx, and is often cited as being responsible for many people’s first engagement with Marx’s ‘Das Kapital’ through his free online video lectures. Harvey wrote ‘Companion to Marx’s Capital’ in 2010. It is seen by many on the left as a foundational book to more radical ideas that have influenced left-wing movements in the UK and stateside.

Just as Labour’s leadership have been highly critical of what they see as neo-liberalization in Western societies, such as Britain, dominating the political landscape for the last 40 years, Harvey has been equally scathing, remarking: “Neo-liberalization has meant, in short, the financialization of everything. There was unquestionably a power shift away from production to the world of finance.”

Harvey suggests that it has only emboldened and given growth to an economic elite: “Neo-liberalization has not been very effective in revitalizing global capital accumulation, but it has succeeded remarkably well in restoring, or in some instances (as in Russia and China) creating, the power of an economic elite.”

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How the world still embraces Karl Marx’s socialist ideals after 200yrs
worker | May 5, 2018 | 8:11 pm | Analysis, Karl Marx | Comments closed

How the world still embraces Karl Marx’s socialist ideals after 200yrs

The recent gains in popularity for socialist politicians in the Western world has demonstrated a desire for a shift away from capitalism as we know it. In the US, self-proclaimed socialist Senator Bernie Sanders heralded a socialist revolution during his campaign to be the Democratic presidential candidate, while in the UK the Labour Party made huge gains in last year’s election under proud socialist, leader Jeremy Corbyn.

READ MORE: Karl Marx at 200: RT looks at the British political figures who still hold him dear

Meanwhile in Greece, the anti-austerity Syriza party – a radical left-wing coalition which promoted itself on its commitment to Marxism – swept to power in 2015 as the country was in the midst of a debt crisis.

A global survey conducted by Ipsos ahead of Marx’s 200th birthday questioned 20,000 adults in 28 countries on their views regarding various Marxist ideals such as free education, healthcare, and even a right to universal income.

Nine out of 10 people polled think that education in their country should be free of charge, and that free healthcare should be a human right, according to the survey. Russians were most likely to agree on both counts, followed by Serbs.

Regarding the right to unconditional basic income, just over two-thirds of survey respondents supported the measure. Across all 28 countries, nearly eight in 10 think the rich should be taxed more to support the poor – this consensus was highest in Spain, Serbia, and China.

However, two-thirds of people globally were of the view that free market competition brings out the best in people, and nearly 70 percent agreed that it is right for people who are talented to earn more than those who are less gifted.

Citizens from the People’s Republic of China were the most likely to agree with the statement that socialist ideals are of great value for societal progress, followed by people from India and Malaysia. Overall, respondents were split over socialism’s potential today, with half saying it has great value for improving society, and almost as many seeing it as a means of oppression.

China has huge celebrations planned for Marx’s 200th birthday and has even gifted a huge bronze statue of the great thinker to his hometown of Trier in Germany.

The statue has, perhaps unsurprisingly, left the country split – Germany’s eastern half was ruled under the communist Soviet Union from 1949 until reunification in 1990. Adding to the contention, the memorial will be unveiled by President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker. The project has been condemned by the US Congressional Victims of Communism Caucus.

“Marxist regimes are responsible for murdering at least 100 million lives – 65 million in China, over 20 million in the Soviet Union and over two million in North Korea,” the group wrote in a letter urging Juncker to reconsider his appearance, or at least speak out against the “tyranny” committed in the name of Marx. Juncker, in turn, said: “Marx isn’t responsible for all the atrocity his alleged heirs have to answer for.”

Marx continues to be a divisive individual but, despite declarations following the downfall of the Soviet Union that Marxism was dead and buried, his ideology remains relevant around the world.

This lingering influence is particularly evident on May Day, when workers’ unions across the globe take to the streets to demand better labor rights. Karl Marx is frequently invoked at these rallies as activists hold up his image, reminding capitalists that the legacy of the man, often described as the ‘father of communism’, endures today.

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Xi: Marx’s theory still shines with truth
worker | May 4, 2018 | 8:08 pm | China, Communist Party of China, Karl Marx, socialism | Comments closed

Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, is delivering a speech at a conference to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx on Friday morning.

Xi: Marx’s theory still shines with truth

1km to Beijing
2018-05-04 10:00 GMT+8

Updated 2018-05-04 14:28 GMT+8

Two centuries on, despite huge and profound changes in human society, the name of Karl Marx is still respected all over the world and his theory still shines with the brilliant light of truth, Chinese President Xi Jinping said Friday.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, delivered a speech at a meeting to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx on Friday morning in Beijing.

“Today, we hold this grand gathering with great veneration to mark the 200th anniversary of Marx’s birth, to remember his great character and historic deeds and to review his noble spirit and brilliant thoughts,” Xi said at the event.

Marxism has profound impact on humans

Xi reviewed the great revolutionary and philosopher’s life in the speech and spoke highly of his contribution to human history.

CGTN Photo

“The most valuable and influential spiritual wealth left by Marx is the scientific theory of Marxism named after him,” Xi said.

The theory can be compared to a spectacular sunrise lighting the path for humans to explore the rules of history and pursue liberation, said Xi.

“Marxism is a scientific theory, creatively revealing the law of human social development,” he added. He also highlighted that Marxism is a constantly developing theory and always stands at the forefront of the times.

170 years have passed since the first formal version of the Communist Manifesto was published, and Marxism has been widely disseminated in the world, said Xi, adding that no ideological theory has had such a wide and profound impact on humans as Marxism has.

Xinhua Photo‍

“Marx is widely regarded as the thinker of the millennium,” Xi said.

Marxism has not only profoundly changed the world but also profoundly changed China, stressed Xi.

Only socialism with Chinese characteristics can develop China

‍The CPC combines the basic principles of Marxism with the realities of new China and has brought historical achievements, as well as deep and fundamental historical changes to the country, he added.

Such achievements have proven that only by adhering to and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics can we achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, he added.

The founding of the CPC was guided by Marxism, while the Party holds a great responsibility towards the rejuvenation of the nation and leading the Chinese people to create a miracle of human beings, Xi said.

As a faithful believer and steadfast practitioner of Marxism, the CPC is making persistent efforts to uphold and develop Marxism, said Xi.

Chinese Communists committed to constant development of Marxism

The general theory set forth by Marxism is still absolutely right despite tremendous changes of human society, said Xi.

Members of CPC shall always be the guardian and practicer of the Marxism, said Xi, calling the CPC members to transfer scientific thought and theory to strong substantial power to understand and remold world.

A conference to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx is held in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, May 4, 2018. /Xinhua Photo

He stressed that the communists must make a habit of reading the Marxist classics and understanding the principles of Marxism. He urges communists to use the classics to guide their practice.

The vitality of theory lies in constant innovation, Xi said. And the constant development of Marxism is the sacred duty of Chinese Communists.

“We must persist in using Marxism to observe, interpret and lead the times, promote the development of Marxism with a fresh and rich contemporary Chinese practice,” Xi said.

Happy Birthday, Karl Marx. You Were Right!
worker | April 30, 2018 | 7:30 pm | Analysis, Karl Marx | Comments closed

Opinion | Happy Birthday, Karl Marx. You Were Right!

SEOUL, South Korea — On May 5, 1818, in the southern German town of Trier, in the picturesque wine-growing region of the Moselle Valley, Karl Marx was born. At the time Trier was one-tenth the size it is today, with a population of around 12,000. According to one of Marx’s recent biographers, Jürgen Neffe, Trier is one of those towns where “although everyone doesn’t know everyone, many know a lot about many.”

Such provincial constraints were no match for Marx’s boundless intellectual enthusiasm. Rare were the radical thinkers of the major European capitals of his day that he either failed to meet or would fail to break with on theoretical grounds, including his German contemporaries Wilhelm Weitling and Bruno Bauer; the French “bourgeois socialist” Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, as Marx and Friedrich Engels would label him in their “Communist Manifesto”; and the Russian anarchist Mikhail Bakunin.

In 1837 Marx reneged on the legal career that his father, himself a lawyer, had mapped out for him and immersed himself instead in the speculative philosophy of G.W.F. Hegel at the University of Berlin. One might say that it was all downhill from there. The deeply conservative Prussian government didn’t take kindly to such revolutionary thinking (Hegel’s philosophy advocated a rational liberal state), and by the start of the next decade Marx’s chosen career path as a university professor had been blocked.

If ever there were a convincing case to be made for the dangers of philosophy, then surely it’s Marx’s discovery of Hegel, whose “grotesque craggy melody” repelled him at first but which soon had him dancing deliriously through the streets of Berlin. As Marx confessed to his father in an equally delirious letter in November 1837, “I wanted to embrace every person standing on the street-corner.”

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As we reach the bicentennial of Marx’s birth, what lessons might we draw from his dangerous and delirious philosophical legacy? What precisely is Marx’s lasting contribution?

Today the legacy would appear to be alive and well. Since the turn of the millennium countless books have appeared, from scholarly works to popular biographies, broadly endorsing Marx’s reading of capitalism and its enduring relevance to our neoliberal age.

In 2002, the French philosopher Alain Badiou declared at a conference I attended in London that Marx had become the philosopher of the middle class. What did he mean? I believe he meant that educated liberal opinion is today more or less unanimous in its agreement that Marx’s basic thesis — that capitalism is driven by a deeply divisive class struggle in which the ruling-class minority appropriates the surplus labor of the working-class majority as profit — is correct. Even liberal economists such as Nouriel Roubini agree that Marx’s conviction that capitalism has an inbuilt tendency to destroy itself remains as prescient as ever.

But this is where the unanimity abruptly ends. While most are in agreement about Marx’s diagnosis of capitalism, opinion on how to treat its “disorder” is thoroughly divided. And this is where Marx’s originality and profound importance as a philosopher lies.

First, let’s be clear: Marx arrives at no magic formula for exiting the enormous social and economic contradictions that global capitalism entails (according to Oxfam, 82 percent of the global wealth generated in 2017 went to the world’s richest 1 percent). What Marx did achieve, however, through his self-styled materialist thought, were the critical weapons for undermining capitalism’s ideological claim to be the only game in town.

In the “Communist Manifesto,” Marx and Engels wrote: “The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honored and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage laborers.”

Marx was convinced that capitalism would soon make relics of them. The inroads that artificial intelligence is currently making into medical diagnosis and surgery, for instance, bears out the argument in the “Manifesto” that technology would greatly accelerate the “division of labor,” or the deskilling of such professions.

To better understand how Marx achieved his lasting global impact — an impact arguably greater and wider than any other philosopher’s before or after him — we can begin with his relationship to Hegel. What was it about Hegel’s work that so captivated Marx? As he informed his father, early encounters with Hegel’s “system,” which builds itself upon layer after layer of negations and contradictions, hadn’t entirely won him over.

Marx found that the late-18th-century idealisms of Immanuel Kant and Johann Gottlieb Fichte that so dominated philosophical thinking in the early 19th century prioritized thinking itself — so much so that reality could be inferred through intellectual reasoning. But Marx refused to endorse their reality. In an ironic Hegelian twist, it was the complete opposite: It was the material world that determined all thinking. As Marx puts it in his letter, “If previously the gods had dwelt above the earth, now they became its center.”

The idea that God — or “gods”— dwelt among the masses, or was “in” them, was of course nothing philosophically new. But Marx’s innovation was to stand idealistic deference — not just to God but to any divine authority — on its head. Whereas Hegel had stopped at advocating a rational liberal state, Marx would go one stage further: Since the gods were no longer divine, there was no need for a state at all.

The idea of the classless and stateless society would come to define both Marx’s and Engels’s idea of communism, and of course the subsequent and troubled history of the Communist “states” (ironically enough!) that materialized during the 20th century. There is still a great deal to be learned from their disasters, but their philosophical relevance remains doubtful, to say the least.

The key factor in Marx’s intellectual legacy in our present-day society is not “philosophy” but “critique,” or what he described in 1843 as “the ruthless criticism of all that exists: ruthless both in the sense of not being afraid of the results it arrives at and in the sense of being just as little afraid of conflict with the powers that be.” “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it,” he wrote in 1845.

Racial and sexual oppression have been added to the dynamic of class exploitation. Social justice movements like Black Lives Matter and #MeToo, owe something of an unspoken debt to Marx through their unapologetic targeting of the “eternal truths” of our age. Such movements recognize, as did Marx, that the ideas that rule every society are those of its ruling class and that overturning those ideas is fundamental to true revolutionary progress.

We have become used to the go-getting mantra that to effect social change we first have to change ourselves. But enlightened or rational thinking is not enough, since the norms of thinking are already skewed by the structures of male privilege and social hierarchy, even down to the language we use. Changing those norms entails changing the very foundations of society.

To cite Marx, “No social order is ever destroyed before all the productive forces for which it is sufficient have been developed, and new superior relations of production never replace older ones before the material conditions for their existence have matured within the framework of the old society.”

The transition to a new society where relations among people, rather than capital relations, finally determine an individual’s worth is arguably proving to be quite a task. Marx, as I have said, does not offer a one-size-fits-all formula for enacting social change. But he does offer a powerful intellectual acid test for that change. On that basis, we are destined to keep citing him and testing his ideas until the kind of society that he struggled to bring about, and that increasing numbers of us now desire, is finally realized.