Marx returned home after 200 years all the way from China
May 5 marks the birthday of Karl Marx. Best known as the author of “Capital” and, with Freidrich Engels, the “Communist Manifesto,” Marx provided the intellectual foundation for an array of regimes that at one time governed nearly half of Earth’s population.
These regimes were, for many, a long nightmare of state terror, genocides, deportations, extrajudicial executions, forced labour, and artificial scarcity, crimes that left tens of millions of people dead and deprived many more of basic dignity.
But while Marx’s solutions are widely and, in some cases, rightfully, condemned, his analysis of the capitalist mode of production still resonates among workers and intellectuals alike around the world. As much of the globe struggles to extricate itself from an economic slowdown that many believe was created by the excesses of what Marx called “the bourgeoisie,” several Marxist concepts – the anarchic nature of capitalism, the parasitism of the financial class, and the reserve army of the unemployed, to name a few – appear to take on new relevance.
On Saturday, after inspiring untold numbers of revolutions, repressive regimes and ponderous grad school seminars, Karl Marx came home. In bronze. By way of China. And, oh, he’s now 18 feet tall.
The unveiling of a two-ton Chinese-funded sculpture to honour the German philosopher on the 200th anniversary of his birth brought scads of tourists to Trier, where his life began.
Here are 5 quotations from Marx. Let us know which ones you like best, and add your favourites that didn’t make it into the list in the comments below.
1. On ‘the 99 percent’
“You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society, private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the population; its existence for the few is solely due to its non-existence in the hands of those nine-tenths.” (From “The Communist Manifesto,” 1848)
2. On Ponzi schemes
“In every stockjobbing swindle every one knows that some time or other the crash must come, but every one hopes that it may fall on the head of his neighbour after he himself has caught the shower of gold and placed it in safety.” (From “Capital: Critique of Political Economy,” 1867)
3. On slacking off at work
“Capital is dead labour, that, vampire-like, only lives by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks. The time during which the labourer works is the time during which the capitalist consumes the labour-power he has purchased of him.
“If the labourer consumes his disposable time for himself, he robs the capitalist.” (From “Capital”).
4. On worker protections
“Capital is reckless of the health or length of life of the labourer, unless under compulsion from society.” (From “Capital”).
5. On religion
“Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” (From the “Introduction to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right,” 1843).
Source: Brainy Quotes Archana The Kootneeti History & Culture Team
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Kootneeti Team
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