2010s >> 2018 >> no-1366-june-2018

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Misappropriated

‘Since coming to power in 2012, Xi, widely seen as the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong, has said the party must not forget its socialist roots as it works to attain the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”….Xi said, “Writing Marxism onto the flag of the Chinese Communist Party was totally correct… Unceasingly promoting the sinification and modernization of Marxism is totally correct.” Xi also instructed all party members to adopt the reading of Marxist works and the understanding of Marxist theories as a “way of life” and a “spiritual pursuit”. Xi’s speech came near the end of a week-long propaganda blitz by state media, with chat shows saying “Marx was Right” and cartoons of his wild youth aiming to show his theories remain relevant to modern China and the next generation. Today, China, the largest self-identified socialist country, outwardly displays all the trappings of a modern capitalist society, from rampant consumption to a massive gap between the urban elite and rural poor. The apparent contradiction between party rhetoric and appearance has prompted many analysts to suggest the party is no longer really motivated by Marxism but puts practical and economic concerns above all else’ (cnbc.com, 4 May) . In his Report of an Investigation into the Peasant Movement in Hunan (1927), Mao admitted that the coming revolution would not be socialist: ‘To overthrow these feudal forces is the real objective of the revolution’. China has all the hallmarks of capitalism. And the idea of a ‘socialist’ country is like being a little bit pregnant.

Misunderstood

‘In another recent interview, Cardinal Marx admitted to finding the writings of Karl Marx “fascinating,”adding that the Communist Manifesto has “an energy”and “a great language.”“One only has to read Karl Marx without prejudice, then his power will surprise,”the prelate explained. “There is an inspiration, a revolutionary impetus,”he stated. According to Vatican News, Marx also said in his interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung that Karl Marx “can be very helpful”in light of the current conflicts, revolutions and wars which very well might have their roots in economic injustice. “Human rights without material participation remain incomplete,”the cardinal said. Cardinal Marx –who himself was once a professor of social ethics –also called Karl Marx “the first serious sociologist.”Quoting yet another news source about the same interview, Marx also said about Karl Marx: “Without him, there would not be any Catholic social doctrine.”  Moreover, he made it clear that Karl Marx is not responsible for the crimes of Stalinism, even though the cardinal admitted that “there is to be found [in Marx’s writings] here or there a totalitarian thought,”such as the collectivism which disrespects the individual person. However, added the cardinal, one may not put Karl Marx into a “direct connection”with the later political Marxism-Leninism, nor even the soviet prison system and work camps’ (lifesitenews.com, 1 May). This is a curate’s egg. Without doubt greater misunderstandings of Marx exist, but his materialism and comments regarding religion are tellingly absent. Holding two contradictory ideas in his head, not unlike scientists who profess religious beliefs, Cardinal Marx seems also to have forgotten The Papal Decree Against Communism which declared Catholics who professed Communist doctrine should be excommunicated as apostates from the Christian faith!

Maligned

‘This week marks the birthday of one of history’s worst human beings, Karl Marx. Just because Marx’s philosophy would lead directly to the deaths of 100 million human beings over the course of a century, the imprisonment of tens of millions more in gulags and reeducation camps from Russia to China to Vietnam to Cambodia to North Korea, and the oppression of hundreds of millions more hasn’t dissuaded those on the modern Western left from embracing Marx’s bloody legacy’ (nationalreview.com, 2 May). This old canard is beneath contempt and arguably fading in its vintage.  

Marx’s Message

The bi-centenary of Karl Marx’s birth was marked last month. His legacy to us is a fundamentally revolutionary theory of society, one which is even more relevant today and which will not go away no matter how many times it is declared dead, derided or distorted until the worldwide system of capitalism is replaced by socialism.  We have our disagreements with him, but are confident he would approve of our object: the establishment of a system of society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth by and in the interest of the whole community.