Karl Marx in Teen Vogue

On May 10th, Teen Vogue published “Who Is Karl Marx: Meet the Anti-Capitalist Scholar“, a fairly light look at Marx and his ideas. After the dissonance of the fact that this publication is presenting Marx in a positive light fades, there’s actually some good to be found here.

You may have come across communist memes on social media. The man, the meme, the legend behind this trend is Karl Marx, who developed the theory of communism, which advocates for workers’ control over their labor (instead of their bosses). The political philosopher turned 200-years-old on May 5, but his ideas can still teach us about the past and present.
The famed German co-authored The Communist Manifesto with fellow scholar Friedrich Engels in 1848, a piece of writing that makes the case for the political theory of socialism — where the community (rather than rich people) have ownership and control over their labor — which later inspired millions of people to resist oppressive political leaders and spark political revolutions all over the world. Although Marx was raised in a middle-class family, he later became a scholar who struggled to make ends meet — a working-class man, he thought, who could take part in a political revolution.

“When I teach Marx, it’s got a lot to do with questions of how to think critically about history. Marx says we live under capitalism [but] capitalism has not always existed,” Ciccariello-Maher tells Teen Vogue. “It’s something that came into being and something that, as a result, just on a logical level, could disappear, could be overthrown, could be abolished, could be irrelevant. There’s this myth of the free market, but Marx shows very clearly that capitalism emerged through a state of violence.”

Zombies, Run! 2018 January 22

When playing Zombies, Run! I often find myself sympathizing more with New Canton than Able. Re-running season 2, episode 4, “We Used To Be Friends”, I was reminded why when Nadia Al Hanaki says the following:

“From each according to her ability, to each according to her needs.” You ever heard that? It’s what Karl Marx used to say. Funny, that stuff wasn’t too popular before Day Zero, was it? Collectivism, socialism. They were about as fashionable as bell bottoms and digital watches. But suddenly it all makes sense. [snorts] Not digital watches, obviously. Those will always be stupid. But pulling together, looking out for each other. If we can’t do that, there’s no hope for us. That’s what New Canton’s all about.

Some Marxism in my narrative running app? There’s hope for the world!

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Historical Figures cover Karl Marx

The podcast Historical Figures reviews the life of Karl Marx in its fifth episode. The ‘cast has rebranded from Remarkable Lives, Tragic Deaths and the broadening of focus has allowed it to explore fascinating lives. Marx has too often been vilified or dismissed, but the 45 minutes Carter Roy and Vanessa Richardson devote to him both humanize him and place him in his context well. There are disappointing biases throughout, but on balance it is a introduction to Marx as a person that delivers a lot in the short running time.

A radical writer and philosopher, Karl Marx found himself exiled from multiple countries thanks to his communist writings in the 1800’s. However, in the following century, this same writing stirred revolution across the world, as communist governments rose to power. What influenced the famous father of communism, and why did he believe it was the best system? Carter and Vanessa explore the life of the author of The Communist Manifesto and Das Capital, and how his revolutionary ideas resonated worldwide.

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