Watch Out! There’s A Marxist About!

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I can’t help but notice the amount of undermining, misdirecting and progandising about Socialism and Marxism is featuring in the mainstream media and political forums of late and I wonder aloud why exactly this is the case.

First, Ed Miliband and the Labour leadership are trying to suggest that they are bringing Socialism back which undermines legitimate Socialists. By proclaiming that the Labour Party is bringing back Socialism horribly skews the idea of what Socialism is to the general public. Ed Ball’s statement about him being happy with the use of the word Socialism so long as it does not “apply to an economic programme” highlights a complete lack of understanding about what Socialism is.

Marx highlighted in his writings that the economic factors form the base out of which the political superstructure forms and Socialism is about bringing the means of production i.e. capital under public ownership. By doing this, working-class people can have democratic control of the production of commodities that they themselves have expended their labour on producing, instead of being exploited by a Capitalist class which profits from paying workers a wage which does not reflect the true value of the labour instilled in the commodities that they produce. Bearing this in mind, there is absolutely no way in which Socialism cannot apply to an economic programme. In fact, it’s hard to see how Socialism can mean anything but an economic programme if its goal is to bring the economy under democratic control.

Next, we move onto the Daily Mail’s attacks on Ralph Miliband for being a Marxist. Whilst it will no doubt have some unintended benefits in that a particularly vitriolic newspaper is attacking Marxism, the very fact that Marxism is being attacked suggests to me that there is a saturation of Marxist ideas which has led the editors of the Daily Mail to consider Marxism to be enough of a threat that they openly and unashamedly attack Marxism and try to bring it into disrepute rather than simply ignoring it.

I am proud to be a Marxist and would challenge anybody who views Marxism with the same hatred to attempt a definition of what Marxism is as again the media seem all too keen to tarnish Marxism with false associations to misdirect people’s attention away from the real issues and Marx’s ideas. I found it funny that the BBC put together a “documentary” on Marxist ideas which consisted of them arguing, in the whole, that Marx’s ideas about Capitalism were wrong but they become more relevant when Capitalism enters crisis. It is clear to anybody that is able to muster a modicum of critical thinking that this is a logical absurdity because Marx cannot be wrong but also relevant, and thereby correct, when Capitalism enters crisis.

Just to further detract from any serious analysis of Marxist ideas the viewer is subjected to plenty of footage of the Berlin Wall coming down, strongly hinting that Marx was the reason for the existence of the Berlin Wall and the atrocities that happened in Russia, particularly under Stalin. Another, not so subtle, diversionary tactic which I’m sure the BBC would be happy to repeat time and time again so long as Marx is painted out to be some kind of boogeyman, or for the benefit of anyone who has actually read the Communist Manifesto, a spectre…

I find this incredibly desperate as any Marxist will tell you that the ideas of Communism or Socialism are about emancipation and liberation, a far cry from the oppressive regime that evolved in Russia. I wonder how many people would be alarmed by my saying that I am a Marxist. I have met a few, all of them with one thing in common; they have been conditioned to hating Marx without even finding out what Marx wrote about. With some of the reactions I have seen, one would think I had just announced that I fully supported the deaths of 20 million Russians or the continued oppression and silencing of Chinese dissenters when anybody that knows me for longer than 5 seconds knows that I wouldn’t even entertain such ideas and neither would a serious Marxist.

The word Communism still strikes fear into many people today and yet many of those who read the Communist Manifesto or indeed any Marxist literature come away feeling first of all confused at what all the fuss is about but more often than not find themselves agreeing with Marx. How can it be extreme that workers get a fair share when they are the ones that produce the wealth? How can it be extreme to say that everybody should be able to live in a house that they can call their own? How is it extreme to say that there is a problem with a system whereby a small elite section of society own most of the land, factories and resources and can live a life of incredible excess and privilege when the overwhelming majority are barely able to scrape together an existence?

Marxism isn’t extreme, in fact it’s logical: society’s wealth should belong to society, it’s only fair. What is extreme and incredibly unfair is to support a system which allows some to live exorbitantly off the toils of the many who remain poor, the few to have mansions, second homes, third homes and summer retreats while the many are made homeless or forced into crowded conditions by the likes of the bedroom tax, the few to influence Parliament to ensure that tax loopholes remain open, haemorrhaging billions of pounds each year while the majority are told by this bought out Parliament that they must face austerity, cut backs and the loss of institutions like the NHS and the Royal Mail because the greedy profiteers would prefer to make money.

It would seem that there are extremists out there with radical ideas but tell me, are the ones with radical ideas the Marxists like me who believe that everybody has a stake in society and should therefore share its wealth or are the extremists the ones who are happy to strip away services, jobs and pay for working-class people through austerity measures while companies that turn over profits in the billions contribute nothing due to inventive accounting and a bought out Government that happily turns a blind eye?

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2 Comments

  1. good stuff ryan cu tomorrow

  2. This pretty much sums it up.

    Solidarity.


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