Two Hundred and Counting


This May 5 is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx and that might not appear to be a big deal since a) Marx has been dead for 135 of those anniversaries and b) capitalism has been around for every single one of them.

Yep, capitalism has outlived Marx, and Engels, and Luxemburg, Lenin, Trotsky, the Paris Commune, the Petrograd soviet, the cordones of Chile, any number of general strikes, and the hundreds of millions of workers who have struggled, knowingly or not, with it, against it.  And still…

And still, capitalism can no more escape Marx, or the current hundreds of millions of workers it employs, than it can escape itself.  It is, after all, the essence of Marx’s critique that capital is derived from the specific, historical condition of labor, expressed as wage-labor, where for the cost equivalent to the time for the reproduction of the laborer, capital aggrandizes, without further payment, the entire laboring time.  Nice work, if you can get it, and you can get it for free, if you own the means of production.

So capitalism and the capitalists can and do go nowhere without dragging the men and women of their dreams and nightmares along– from Bangladesh to West Virginia, from Cambodia to Greece.

These more than three little piggies that make up the bourgeoisie have been kept busy trying to corner the market, only to find out that it’s the market for pork bellies.

Marx is famously quoted as saying “I am not a Marxist.”  Who am I to argue?  However Marx’s critique of capital, more famously, is Marxist–which means that 1) it represents a development, a synthesis, of his previous critiques, analyses, theses from that of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right to that of the Gotha Program to the Ethnographic Notebooks and 2) it must translate itself into practical activity.  The critique of political economy realizes itself in the practical activity of class struggle, when and where it is itself transcended by the overthrow of capitalism, the implementation of the dictatorship of the proletariat so essential to the abolition of all classes forin, and of the emancipation of labor.

We’ve counted up to 200 and we’re now that much closer to year 1.

March 11, 2018



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