Why We Still Need Marxism

A portrait of Karl Marx.
A portrait of Karl Marx. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There seems to be a very big resurgence of Marxism in recent times. Membership of the left group, who generally take a Marxist view on things, The Labour Representation Committee, is burgeoning. There are calls for the Labour Party to take a shift to the left and protest movements, like Occupy, the 2011 London Riots and the 2010 Tuition Fees protests are showing a quasi-revolutionary spirit that is alive and well.

People are also outraged that the Conservative government are yet again, ensuring the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Just like it was back in the days of Mrs Thatcher. My parents and grandparents can certainly see history repeating itself through this Conservative government. They live in their Westminster bubble and leave the poor and the working poor to fend for themselves. They demonise people who are lifelong recipients of state benefits, yet do nothing to actually help them.

There is an emerging class conflict again, after all these years of living relatively harmoniously with each other, whole sections of society are turned against each other, because of the political consensus.

Marx sees these problems as deep rooted and a circle of domination and subjection. There is no way we can solve class conflict unless the working class over throw the bourgeoisie.

The poor are being demonized by this government and their media hacks. There seems to be a feeling of universality behind the theory of benefits ‘scroungers’. In reality, benefits ‘scroungers’ are generally criminals and professional fraudsters. Not people who are down on their luck and are treated like vermin by society because society didn’t work for them. How many benefits recipients are also professional fraudsters? I’m willing to bet, not a lot.

We also need Marxism to address the crisis of underemployment. People are being overworked and underpaid in jobs that are not necessarily secure. This mirrors the circumstances from when Marx first started to write. Workers are being exploited by their bosses, not just here, but in emerging capitalist systems like China and India, to fuel the West’s desire for consumer goods. Workers are subjected to working in harsh, sweatshop conditions with wages that are no where close to remunerating them for their efforts.

Not that I am a proponent of the return of Marxist, soviet style economies, but I believe Marx sets a good foundation on where we actually have to go. You don’t have to agree with everything Marx says to be a Marxist, but you have to agree, you can see what he is talking about.


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