Two centuries on, Karl Marx on Capitalism and workers

Two centuries on, Karl Marx feels more revolutionary than ever

From trainer fetishism to Facebook fever, it’s all there in The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital

The other day I stood at the grave of Karl Marx in Highgate cemetery in north London, wondering if he has anything say to us today, 200 years after his birth, on 5 May 1818. “Workers of all lands unite,” reads the tombstone. But they haven’t – the solidarity of the exploited, which Marx took to be necessary to end capitalism, scarcely exists.

“What the bourgeoisie produces, above all, are its own gravediggers,” he and Friedrich Engels wrote 170 years ago in The Communist Manifesto. “Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable.”  

Not really: capitalism today is rampant. In the kind of historical irony that the philosopher Hegel called the cunning of reason, capitalism has even co-opted its gravediggers to keep it alive: China, the world’s biggest socialist society (if only ostensibly) supplies capitalist enterprises with cheap labour that undercuts other workers around the world.    READ MORE

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