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(108,903 posts)
Mon Jun 23, 2014, 06:20 AM Jun 2014

Believe it or not: Karl Marx is making a comeback [View all]


Karl Marx is on fire right now. More than a century after his death, the co-author of “The Communist Manifesto” still has the honor of being the first smear against ideas slightly to the left of Hillary Clinton. (See: Thomas Piketty.) Marx also graced the cover of the National Review as recently ast last month. Few other thinkers, and certainly few non-religious figures, can claim the honor of being so widely misappropriated by the political rearguard. But, while most people consider Marx only as a sort of intellectual boogeyman, the manifestation of everything evil on the left, he has much to offer a left increasingly divorced from the working class.

To that end, Marx actually is enjoying something of a renaissance on the left these days. Jacobin, a socialist publication that publishes many Marxist thinkers, was profiled by the the New York Times and boasts Bob Herbert as a contributor. Benjamin Kunkel’s recent compilation of essays, “Utopia or Bust,” earned that author a profile in New York magazine, and the title “The Lena Dunham of Literature.” And that’s not even to mention Thomas Piketty’s blockbuster work, “Capital in the 21st Century,” which harkens back to Marx’s multi-volume magnum opus, “Das Kapital.” The wave has even extended so far as Capitol Hill, where Sen. Bernie Sanders, D- Vermont, openly calls himself a “democratic socialist.”

Marx most certainly wasn’t right about everything, but he wasn’t wrong about as much as people think. A revival of his thought is good news for progressive America. It can give the left fresh arguments that were previously forgotten to history, and new organizing strategies that they’ve long since abandoned.

* * *

The first problem with the left that Marx might have noted is the wholesale abandonment of the working class. As Perry Anderson points out in his essay, “Considerations on Western Marxism,”

The extreme difficulty of language of much of Western Marxism in the twentieth century was never controlled by the tension of a direct or active relationship to a proletarian audience.
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Perry Anderson malaise Jun 2014 #1
+1 xchrom Jun 2014 #2
Marx was an ass. Archae Jun 2014 #3
... TBF Jun 2014 #4
Most of the 20th Century called....... socialist_n_TN Jun 2014 #15
It's true some will always lovemydog Jun 2014 #16
Spot on. raouldukelives Jun 2014 #25
I do know, pure capitalism doesn't work either. Archae Jun 2014 #28
Our base desires are not written in stone Shankapotomus Jun 2014 #85
Considering Marx lived in poverty most of his adult life..... De Leonist Jun 2014 #23
Bingo laundry_queen Jun 2014 #30
Whatever poverty Marx lived in it was his choice. former9thward Jun 2014 #45
Really ? De Leonist Jun 2014 #46
I don't think Marx looked at money and finances the way most of us do. former9thward Jun 2014 #49
Have you ever managed to kick and claw your way through Kapital? Warpy Jun 2014 #53
Kind of like the kind of capitalism we're headed back to..... socialist_n_TN Jun 2014 #60
Have you actually read anything written by Marx? Gravitycollapse Jun 2014 #63
Tried to. Archae Jun 2014 #65
How exactly can you dismiss someone like Marx without reading his work? Gravitycollapse Jun 2014 #66
I dont need to read "The Turner Diaries" to know it's bullshit. Archae Jun 2014 #68
How can you know what is actually contained within a text without reading it? Gravitycollapse Jun 2014 #71
It is interesting that this is hitting the mainstream - TBF Jun 2014 #5
Yep. That is EXACTLY what it is.......... socialist_n_TN Jun 2014 #13
Great points socialist_n_TN lovemydog Jun 2014 #18
Spot on, Joe Shlabotnik Jun 2014 #86
Don't forget that those of us over 40 saw what the perversion of Marxixm Warpy Jun 2014 #51
I am over 40 and not confused about what Marxism actually is - TBF Jun 2014 #52
"Dictatorship of the proletariat." Warpy Jun 2014 #55
I have. He was counterposing that to the current....... socialist_n_TN Jun 2014 #61
Revolutionary Catalonia is a better example. joshcryer Jun 2014 #89
Marxist-Leninism is the only thing tried. joshcryer Jun 2014 #88
That's rather my position, also Warpy Jun 2014 #90
I think there are better authors who preceded him. joshcryer Jun 2014 #91
Well enjoy that hangman's noose when the capitalists counterattack........ socialist_n_TN Jun 2014 #97
I agree with Marxian economist Richard Wolff: deutsey Jun 2014 #6
If the people in charge gave a care about the 99% Demeter Jun 2014 #7
+1 lovemydog Jun 2014 #10
K/R marmar Jun 2014 #8
K&R blackspade Jun 2014 #9
The sad thing is most people don't even know what Marxism/Communism was. A guy on youtube asked MillennialDem Jun 2014 #11
i've been surprised by people i thought were politically well read, nashville_brook Jun 2014 #24
Even though Stalin was a monster and totalitarian, many falsehoods which make him out even MillennialDem Jun 2014 #27
Cold War artifacts no doubt -- i'm sure this was taught in school nashville_brook Jun 2014 #50
That is a very good point and worth stating - TBF Jun 2014 #35
Honestly I'd say the older people are more anti socialist because of the Cold War. MillennialDem Jun 2014 #42
That's really good to hear - TBF Jun 2014 #47
I studied the philosophy of Marxism lovemydog Jun 2014 #12
People keep forgetting that in the 19th century, opium was a GOOD thing-- eridani Jun 2014 #96
Marx called capitalism a vampire. K&R for truth. McCamy Taylor Jun 2014 #14
I never hated Marx. ananda Jun 2014 #17
I'd encourage everyone here to read Marx for Beginners lovemydog Jun 2014 #19
Marxists even disagree on how much TBF Jun 2014 #36
K&R ReRe Jun 2014 #20
Really? On DU, the first line of defense against traditional Democrats seems to merrily Jun 2014 #21
i have no idea what you're talking about. nt xchrom Jun 2014 #22
That makes 3 of us. H2O Man Jun 2014 #26
4. nt laundry_queen Jun 2014 #31
That's because what they said makes no sense. Gravitycollapse Jun 2014 #73
Marx is great for identifying the problems in society. Top notch, actually. Tommy_Carcetti Jun 2014 #29
That's what I always thought. Brigid Jun 2014 #32
Well for starters the prescription was never really tried nadinbrzezinski Jun 2014 #67
the worker will rise up lovuian Jun 2014 #33
I wish he could come back and write a treatise on information KamaAina Jun 2014 #34
Das Internets lovemydog Jun 2014 #37
Have you heard of the grundrisse? DireStrike Jun 2014 #44
BS.nt clarice Jun 2014 #38
such wit! xchrom Jun 2014 #39
How did you get my picture ???!!! nt clarice Jun 2014 #40
a lot of people have your number RainDog Jun 2014 #54
KnR ECHOFIELDS Jun 2014 #41
He never went anywhere. joshcryer Jun 2014 #43
Thank you. nt clarice Jun 2014 #56
If you studied Classical Political Economy Jeneral2885 Jun 2014 #48
Then what is it that we live under? nt clarice Jun 2014 #58
Arguably, a proto-fascist state. Certainly an economic oligarchy. Gravitycollapse Jun 2014 #64
No, I mean in the REAL world... clarice Jun 2014 #69
Are you reading what I write? In the real world, the conception of the free-market doesn't exist. Gravitycollapse Jun 2014 #70
With all due respect, Those exact thoughts.... clarice Jun 2014 #72
What exactly has led to the "inhalation of millions of people?" Gravitycollapse Jun 2014 #74
LOL....Should have used spell check. nt clarice Jun 2014 #75
Glossing over the spelling error, what has led to the annihilation of millions of people? Gravitycollapse Jun 2014 #76
By all accepted statistics ...... 40,000,000 people were starved to death by Stalin's regime alone. clarice Jun 2014 #77
Again, what specific idea from my post lead to the death of millions of people? Gravitycollapse Jun 2014 #78
Again with all due respect,,,,, clarice Jun 2014 #79
You haven't answered my question. What idea of mine is responsible for millions dead? Gravitycollapse Jun 2014 #80
Certainly I did....I pasted your exact comments in my previous post. clarice Jun 2014 #81
Okay, so let's have a one on one about basic argumentation skills... Gravitycollapse Jun 2014 #83
Sorry, you lost me after Okay.....nt clarice Jun 2014 #98
You lost yourself. My statements are concise. Gravitycollapse Jun 2014 #99
Read The Wealth of Nations, Das Kapital Jeneral2885 Jun 2014 #95
I expect they're confusing him with xfundy Jun 2014 #57
I don't know how relevant Marx himself is nowadays, but if one can avoid struggle4progress Jun 2014 #59
PM kick!! Thanks for this nt riderinthestorm Jun 2014 #62
Jobs are becoming obsolete. Hosnon Jun 2014 #82
"Slightly to the Left of Hillary Clinton"??? Hell, Stargleamer Jun 2014 #84
I love these threads where the People Who Are Always Wrong get ticked in unison. LeftyMom Jun 2014 #87
Dadburn it, you made me look! Warpy Jun 2014 #93
+1 xchrom Jun 2014 #94
I believe it - truth will out. n/t PowerToThePeople Jun 2014 #92
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