Our readers will recall that The Economist called on its readers to vote Marx off the top of the list of the most revered philosophers. We appealed to our readers to vote for Marx and keep him at the top. In spite of The Economist’s best attempts Marx won! This comes as no surprise to us. We await The Economist's explanation with interest.
Week after week Karl Marx was at the top of the poll. Melvyn Bragg organised the poll for his Radio 4 series, In Our Time, and every week he would express surprise that Marx was still ahead of all the others. The Economist magazine then intervened appealing to its readers to vote and knock Marx off the top of the list and called for a vote for David Hume. But Marx received 28% of the votes cast, coming first and beating David Hume, hands down.
No doubt The Economist editorial board will be disappointed. They tell us that Marxism is outdated, that capitalism works, etc. etc. Unfortunately for them people have brains and they can work things out for themselves. What is happening today all over the world does not negate Marx but confirms what he wrote. As Eric Hobsbawm has explained, trying to find a reason why Marx won, “The Communist Manifesto contains a stunning prediction of the nature and effects of globalisation.”
In fact, Marx is as relevant today – if not more relevant – as when he published the Communist Manifesto 150 years ago. Marx’s studies of capitalism and how it works led him to predict such phenomena as globalisation, monopolisation, the growing divide between rich and poor and the strengthening of the proletariat, and so on.
His philosophical outlook, dialectical materialism, has stood the test of time, and is a precious instrument in our hands to unravel all the complex mechanisms of economy, politics, and even science. It allows us to have a global view of all processes and thus be able to develop a perspective for the future development of society.
The problem the bourgeois philosophers have with Marx is that he not only analysed all the contradictions of the capitalist system, he also pointed to an alternative. As Marx said, “The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.” Marx explained that capitalism had to be overthrown and a more rational system put in its place, Socialism.
So although, the media would like to portray Britain as a sleepy, phlegmatic place where the class struggle belongs to the past, reality is somewhat different. In spite of all the attempts to fill people’s heads with incomprehensible language, the real world is still out there and people live in it. That explains why so many people voted for Marx the revolutionary. They believe that this society is not the best that history provides. Far from it, they believe a new society is possible. Tony Blair and Gordon Brown may have a few surprises coming their way in the coming years!