Karl Marx

The Revenge of History

Marx was right by Azlan McLennan“Marx was right!” For Marxists, this is not a particularly profound revelation. We have long known that the German revolutionary’s analysis of capitalism was as fundamentally sound as the capitalist system itself is fundamentally unsound. But let’s face it: for decades, we’ve been in a small minority, fighting against the stream and against the odds. After spending a long time in the “wilderness,” that is beginning to change. The fact that the more serious capitalist economists are forced to admit the correctness of ideas they once ridiculed is an important symptom of a transformation in public consciousness.

This is confirmed by a Pew Research Center poll which found that 49% of Americans between 18 and 29 favor socialism, versus 43% who view it unfavorably. The poll also found that 55% of African Americans have a favorable view of socialism. In other words, those with the least to lose under capitalism are the most open to a new form of society, a society based on genuine democracy and equality of opportunity for all.

Because in the final analysis, Marx has been proven “right,” not in the abstract, not in the halls of academia, but in the living experience of millions of working Americans. Five new research studies have confirmed what we’ve instinctively known all along: not only are the rich getting richer, but they are more likely to stay rich. As for the “less fortunate” members of our society, not only are they getting poorer, but the vast majority aren’t climbing the “golden ladder” out of poverty no matter how hard they work or tighten their belts. These studies explode the perverse and pervasive myth of American “upward mobility.”

With no future under capitalism, hundreds of thousands of Americans from all walks of life erupted into the streets and “Occupied” hundreds of cities from coast to coast. The movement has temporarily retreated in most parts of the country. In spite of its creativity, hard work, and sacrifice, Wall Street continues to dominate the country and the planet. However, the experience of the last few months has not been for nothing. As Occupy activists reflect on their experience, many are discovering that the problems we face today are the same ones faced by workers over 160 years ago when Marx and Engels wrote the Communist Manifesto. By studying these and other classic writings, a new generation is coming to a better understanding of how and why the world is as it is, and more importantly, how we can change it. There is a growing thirst for ideas and knowledge. No wonder www.Marxist.com had a record number of visitors last year. No wonder David Harvey’s online video lectures on Capital are being studied by thousands.

Like a glowing ember, the Occupy movement is smoldering, waiting for a fresh breeze of the class struggle to fan the flames. If the labor movement joins its colossal forces with Occupy, a truly unstoppable movement could be born, both on the streets and in politics. The Arab Revolution, which began just one year ago, is also a bed of glowing coals, which can burst back into open flame at any moment. The same goes for Europe, where the crisis is far from over. The world is full of combustible material. As the saying goes, “watch this space!”

Here in the U.S., we have well and truly entered the hypocritical circus of the absurd otherwise known as the 2012 electoral cycle. On the one hand, the “anyone but Romney” Republicans are falling over each other to accuse Mitt of being a “corporate” politician—as if they were any different. On the other, the Democrats are working furiously behind the scenes and leaning on the unions in an effort to co-opt the Occupy movement. They even use the same language, calling on a vote for the Democrats as a way to “occupy Congress for the 99%.” To this cynical attempt to derail the movement we say: “Occupy Congress and the White House with a labor party! Fight for socialist policies!”

So yes, Marx was right about the capitalist crisis. He is getting his “revenge” and the last laugh. But he wouldn’t be satisfied with this. After all, Marx also understood that the struggle between the classes would eventually lead to the revolutionary transformation of society and the end of class exploitation once and for all. Once the working class majority has gained political and economic power, once society is organized on the basis of collective needs and not private greed, a whole new world of opportunity opens up. Therefore, to truly prove the correctness of Marx’s ideas, we must continue building the forces that can ensure this revolutionary transformation takes place. As the WIL enters its 10th year of existence, we invite you to join us in the struggle for a better world. There is no time like the present to make Marx’s ideas a reality.

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