Thursday marks the beginning of the Marxism 2012 Festival at University College of London, a five-day annual celebration of communism that will host intellectual and ideological discussions on the shortcomings of modern capitalism. This year’s festival is notable because of its size and the growing number of young attendees. (Appropriately, the price of a ticket is based on one’s ability to pay.)
European sales of Marxist literature, including classics “Das Kapital” and “The Communist Manifesto” as well as modern communist works, have seen increased growth since 2008. In a trend supported by both older intellectuals and young “Occupy” types, the Continent is increasingly turning to Marxism and its variants as a response to the ongoing global economic crisis.
How will Marx fare on the western side of the Atlantic? For most Americans, communism is a defeated enemy whose death knell was rung by the fall of the Berlin Wall. However, the collapse of Wall Street investment firms, the poster children of an unfettered free market, undermines Francis Fukuyama’s conclusion that capitalism is the “end of history.”
U.S. Occupiers looking for a coherent narrative encompassing social justice, environmental responsibility and economic fairness might be strongly persuaded by Marxism. Young Americans may not retain their parents’ association of communism with gulags and mass killings.
With many of its citizens angry over the current levels of economic inequality, the United States may see elements of communism becoming more acceptable on the far left. Given our strongly anti-communist history, however, don’t expect a full-on workers’ revolution just yet.
—Posted by Christian Neumeister
Class conflict once seemed so straightforward. Marx and Engels wrote in the second best-selling book of all time, The Communist Manifesto: “What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable.” (The best-selling book of all time, incidentally, is the Bible – it only feels like it’s 50 Shades of Grey.)
Today, 164 years after Marx and Engels wrote about grave-diggers, the truth is almost the exact opposite. The proletariat, far from burying capitalism, are keeping it on life support. Overworked, underpaid workers ostensibly liberated by the largest socialist revolution in history (China’s) are driven to the brink of suicide to keep those in the west playing with their iPads. Chinese money bankrolls an otherwise bankrupt America.