Why we need Marx now more than ever
Still in the thralls of an economic crisis, the masses continue to suffer and die under austerity being imposed by their governments. The unemployed and those being exploited for their labour are the ones who suffer in times of austerity despite not causing any of the problems. If the ideas of Marx, and the many thinkers he has influenced, are needed, it is now.
“We’re all in this together” is a phase you often hear from government officials implementing public service cuts and it’s frankly insulting to the intelligence of their populations that they even try to convince them of this. This sort of rhetoric seems to infer that government leaders and CEO of the world’s biggest corporations are suffering the same as those who are losing their jobs, struggling to pay for food, and being evicted from their homes. One look at the private wealth of a country’s leaders or bank CEO will show that “we’re all in this together” is a laughable concept.
If governments are not trying to convince their populations that they’re all in it together, they’re trying to divide their populations. Whether it is saying that immigrants are taking away jobs or saying the poor are a drain on society, it is all an effort to divide people that suffer at the hands of those that control the world’s wealth. Marxism demonstrates that there should be solidarity among all workers against those that oppress them, government and media rhetoric is a means to disrupt a united proletariat. The potential for a united proletariat is being deliberately sabotaged by those that control wealth within their nations.
Communism obviously has its critics yet these critiques are often very disingenuous. Simply saying “communism is unworkable”, “it wouldn’t last”, or “it works on paper but…” will not work for you anymore. It is obvious that capitalism is unworkable and that capitalism works on paper for a few, but you don’t get many capitalists casting the same critical eye over their own favoured socio-economic system. The utterly dismissive way in which people talk about communism and socialism is usually because they are beneficiaries of capitalism, and they are looking to justify it by rubbishing other socio-economic systems.
Even admitting to one of the critiques does not damage the reasons for the implementation of a communist society. All socio-economic systems are ultimately finite; I am not a utopianist that would debate otherwise. Even with this acknowledgement, simply saying that communism would not last forever is no reason to dismiss it. A classless society would be beneficial to the majority that are currently losing out because of capitalism.
Capitalism will not end itself and it will not end willingly. It will run itself to the edge of the cliff but it needs to be pushed by a united proletariat. A stronger resurgence of Marxist influenced groups is needed, how this will actually be achieved is a while other matter entirely as recent attempts have proved underwhelming. Social democracy has proved to be somewhat redundant in Europe as leftist parties have shown they are willing to introduce privatisation to state owned industry and invade countries in support of furthering global capitalism and US imperialism. The Occupy Movement has been a flash in the pan of ineffective class analysis, yet it is that sort of solidarity that needs to be built upon. That level of awareness but with Marxist taking the lead could produce a movement that can make real a difference to those suffering under austerity.
People need to be inspired and to have access to ideas that will enrich them. This goes some way to suggest as to why governments across the world are cutting public services and closing libraries. When capitalism falters, austerity is the fail safe. The demoralisation and defeat of the people is a necessity for the preservation of capitalism. A greater awareness of the ideas of Marxism is the way around this. More needs to be done on ground level to spread ideas that will help people.
No matter what our governments say, immigrants are not a drain on society, the poor are not lazy, and workers are not greedy for asking for more than they already have. Those at the top in government, business, and banking are the real examples of greed, laziness, and waste. It will be at a time like this when capitalism is in crisis that Marxism needs to become more prevalent. Marxism shows that what is needed now is unity amongst the exploited. With austerity destroying people’s lives and with governments separating people with their rhetoric we need only look to what Marx said, “Workers of the world, unite!”