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!”

2 responses to “Why we need Marx now more than ever”

  1. This article is far too abstract – it makes the argument that Marxism is more relevant than ever to modern political economy, and then contradicts itself by being so removed from reality. There are no references to the specifics and complexities of the world system, nor the specifics and complexities of the theories of Marx and Lenin etc.

    The article is also hypocritical – surely, to a pure socialist, the world economy has been in crisis since its inception? And not off the back of a credit crunch that affected – largely – a handful of developed economies?

    Almost every Marxist, or Marxian, scholar since the man himself has made adjustments and rectifications to the original philosophy. Just look at politicians such as Stalin and Mao; scholars such as Wallerstein and Gramsci. The issue of solving the problems of capitalism is far more complex that what is proposed in this article.

    I suggest reading some of the work by Kees Van Der Pijlor BS Chimni, on transnational classes, to illuminate oneself as to the depths of capitalist entrenchment.

  2. Rob Ridley says:

    Capitalism is the current dominant economic system worldwide. The system is also the dominant ideology of economic thought.

    Sweeping statements but systems and ideologies change over time and are finally discarded. Until there is a sufficient political consciousness to realise changes are needed or occurring then capitalism remains dominant. I don’t think Marxism or something like it is likely to get real support as capitalism is still strong and radical alternatives scare everyone.

    I may have to eat my words on this but capitalism is going to be around for centuries. It is up to democracies to rein in the those who try drag us back into the dark times of the past. My worry is that powerful minority extremists destroy democratic progress. The Soviet Union and North Korea are easy examples of this. So are the Nazis and fascists.. 

    The current global condition appears to favour capitalism. I favour a socialist and democratic remodel so everyone can benefit from the current inefficient and inequitable global economic system. This is not a popular view with some as they might feel threatened by united workers. All levels of society can collectively work together but we need to lose our prejudices. We need to open our minds.

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