Was Karl Marx a bad person?

Good Marx, bad Marx

Documentation sheds light on Karl Marx and his heirs

"The longer I am on Wall Street, the stronger my conviction becomes that Marx was right," an investment banker assured the "New Yorker" at the end of the 1990s. 1 The consequent financial crisis of 2007ff. destroyed capital worldwide, and globalization, unaffected by crises or upswings, destroys poorly secured jobs through even worse ones elsewhere. Even if Marx, the intimate "expert on capitalism", is booming, his left-wing heirs have dispersed into the diaspora, as if they themselves were proof that capitalism has finally triumphed over crises.

The traces left by "Marx and his heirs" are followed by the documentary of the same name by Peter Dörfler, which will be shown on ARTE and ARD from April 28th. That covers a huge period of time, as this year marks the 200th birthday of the old master of "scientific communism".

The film cleverly combines different strands and reduced them to the essentials: Marx's life stages and educational path are supplemented by comments from left-wing politicians such as Sarah Wagenknecht and Yanis Varoufakis, as well as historians and publicists. It highlights the left movements and upheavals that pervaded the twentieth century from the October Revolution. At the changing locations of the action, passers-by have their say. The stages in the life and writing of Karl Marx are inserted into flashbacks. The picture is rounded.

But why did all movements referring to Marxism miss the "realm of freedom" with increasing distance? The historian Stephen A. Smith gives a first hint: .https: //www.asc.ox.ac.uk/person/2157. While Marx saw the internal contradictions of capitalism exaggerated by its own productive forces, so that it drives itself beyond itself, provided that only the workers take the reins at this point, Lenin did not believe in this quasi-automatic dynamic. The Russian proletariat was too weak. Since capitalism does not produce the revolution alone and not strictly according to the "script", the Bolsheviks installed professional revolutionaries as representatives of the proletariat. This proxy syndrome formed new structures of rule that led directly to Stalinism.

Mao encountered a similar situation in rural China. The resources for the way out of the backwardness were scarce. They had to be pressed from the farmers and workers themselves. To do this, Mao submitted the country to the will of the communists.

China still invokes Marxism to this day. The film gives an example of how Marx is transfigured into a pop star in the media. The reality, however, is a tough capitalism by the grace of the state. Marxism serves to rationalize a reality that can hardly be endured without makeup. As one Chinese lecturer puts it, it compensates for the lack of values. The journalist Mathias Greffrath is fundamentally suspicious of such idolizations. It is always an indication of a bad reality in socialist systems when Marx is glorified as a prophet or as a savior.

Can Marx develop new effects? Wagenknecht, Varoufakis and Greffrath point to the increasing monopoly formation and urge redistribution and cooperative forms of organization. Marx would have thought the proposals were homemade. He dealt with questions of distribution at the level of the sphere of distribution, which is merely a manifestation of the production of surplus value as the essence of exploitation. The redistribution of values ​​misses the revaluation of values.

As the interviews with the film team show, general knowledge of Marx seems underdeveloped today. In Chemnitz, a young passer-by is pushing around until he remembers: "It wasn't a bad person." His two companions are amused. Or was Marx a bad person after all? The writer Peter Schneider goes back to the 1968 movement, in which he himself took part. According to Schneider, two impulses pushed the student movement rather quickly in a direction from which militant, strictly authoritarian groups and the RAF emerged.

1. Left students went into factories to revolutionize workers. However, these did not wait for their redemption by the agitators. At least in Germany they gave the students the cold shoulder. The puzzling question arose among young intellectuals: who is the "revolutionary subject"? At this point the proxy syndrome emerges again of wanting to tell others what their actual needs are. - 2. As the student movement frayed, some groups imported models of revolution such as that of the Latin American "urban guerrilla" into Europe. Schneider: Did it necessarily have to be armed, heroic struggle? Next tailor:

In the whole of Marx's edifice there is no sentence of this simplicity: You shouldn't kill. There is no principle that prohibits you from killing any number of people in the name of revolution. This lack of any ethics is a terrible flaw that is inherent in the whole building and keeps causing it to collapse.

That reads like a final point. But mankind keeps attaching marginalia to its history. As many times as the Fifth Commandment has been pronounced, it has likely already been broken. The violation of appeals is inherent in the character of the appeal. In wars, the bid is officially suspended, although it is usually only about territorial gains. The war of which Marx is concerned is a permanent one of the rulers against the damned of this earth. Doesn't the fifth commandment abstract from perpetrator and victim and confuse them with it?

On the other hand, the left wing says that the counterrevolution always produces more deaths than the revolution. This is supported by Marx, for example, in his description of the fall of the Paris Commune. It sounds like setting off the dead. This is not a good numbers game. The number mirroring increased in the 20th century.

Dörfler's documentation leaves the interpretation to the viewer. The film offers many other facets on the subject. It is a very good and entertaining introduction to revolutionary and post-revolutionary events. Also recommended for school.

What did Marx himself think of his inheritance? When he visited his friend Kugelmann in Hanover in 1867, his wife joked that she could not imagine Mr. Marx "in a leveling-off time, since he definitely had aristocratic inclinations and habits." Neither did I, "replied Marx." These times will come , but we must be gone then. '"2

Broadcast dates:
28.4. at 9.45 p.m. on ARTE
30.4. at 11.30 p.m. in DAS ERSTE
and more

(Bernhard Wiens)

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