Today is Karl Marx’s birthday. As you might expect, social media is awash with morons who still live in Mom and Dad’s basement and whose frontal lobes haven’t yet formed, explaining why the tens of millions of deaths caused by communism had nothing whatsoever to do with cuddly misunderstood Karl. And how capitalism is the real evil, mkay?
You do understand how capitalism emerges right? Colonialism, slavery, the Enclosures movement, ie lots of violence, murder and robbery.
— Dylan Kerrigan (@rumagin) May 5, 2018
If you mean Stalin and Chairman Mao,they didn't kill millions for Communism,they killed millions to stay in power and indifference to human suffering.Marxist ideology doesn't call for mass murder.
— Rupert (@SlavicHorde) May 5, 2018
There is a very simple answer to this nonsense, an answer so simple, indeed, that you’d have to have gone to college not to be capable of understanding it: if you want to turn Marxist theory into revolutionary practice the only way you’ll ever achieve it is by spilling blood.
Historian Dominic Sandbrook sums it up very well in this excellent piece in the Mail:
Although Marx’s acolytes will never accept it, Stalin was not perverting his hero’s vision.
In fact, violence had formed part of Marx’s worldview from the very beginning.
‘There is only one way in which the murderous death agonies of the old society and the bloody birth throes of the new society can be shortened, simplified and concentrated,’ wrote Marx in 1848, ‘and that way is revolutionary terror’.
Here is Marx a year later, addressing his conservative adversaries: ‘We have no compassion and we ask no compassion from you,’ he writes. ‘When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror.’
The truth is that Marx’s vision was inherently violent. How could it be otherwise? How, without bloodshed, would you get your revolution? How would you abolish private property?
But Marxist dialectic was never about logic. It’s about anti-logic: the kind, you might almost say, that collapses under the weight of its own contradictions. It’s about ignoring the obvious truth, for example, that if a troublesome intellectual like Marx had had to live under any of the totalitarian regimes he inspired — Stalin’s Soviet Union, Mao’s China, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, etc — he would quickly have found himself dead in a ditch with a bullet in the back of his head, or, at best, in a mental institution.
Still, it was good to learn from Sandbrook’s piece that this appalling man didn’t have it easy in his life. He was plagued by genital boils.
Even as he was working on three volumes of Das Kapital, he was complaining to friends about the ‘carbuncles on my posterior and near the penis, the final traces of which are now fading, but which made it extremely painful for me to adopt a sitting and hence a writing posture’.
In his darkest moments, the man who called for a world revolution spent his time attacking the pus-filled boils on his bottom with a cut-throat razor.
Couldn’t have happened to a nicer person, eh?
Happy Birthday, Karl. Not.