Why is it that Marx has remained so relevant, so feared and so hated, nearly a century and a half after his death? Almost alone among the economists and activists of his generation, Marx continues to allure, his theories are still used and reinterpreted, and his name is attached to an ideology which has survived the death of Karl Marx, the transition to a service economy, and the end of the Cold War.
Marx survives because he added solid analysis to the people’s drive for a emancipation. At the time radical thought was based on a moralistic critique of society and aimed towards a utopian alternative, with little thought put into the praxis required to create this alternative. Marx went further than this, arguing that early capitalism was not only morally bankrupt but materially oppressed people, and that while capitalism had created a level of development unthought of in earlier centuries, it also possessed fixed contradictions which required the development of movements striving for a new and better society.
Marx’s thought rests upon this idea, and the concepts we’re going to deal with this week touch on it in one way or another. Note that this list is in no way all of the ideas in Marx’s work, though they are some of the main themes:
-Base & Superstructure
-The Labor Theory of Value