In 1848 German Economist and Philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published a thesis entitled ‘The Communist Manifesto’, which would change the world and have a huge influence on politics around the entire globe. Marx would write other books such as Das Kapital and those who followed his theories became known as ‘Marxists’ or ‘Communists’.
In the 20th Century we saw many revolutions take place in the name of Marxism/Communism and the British Empire would lose a lot of its colonies, or to describe it better, the nature of their colonization would have to adapt.
What the major European powers were seeing was a new type of revolt. Previously many attempted revolts were to kick the European masters out of their home countries and replace them with their own monarchs. The problem being that many people felt they would just be replacing a European oppressor with an oppressor from their own land. Therefore when a country was freed, it was only those in power who were free and the most ordinary people could expect was a few more rights, if they were lucky.
This would all change with a Marxist ideology, which was fighting to replace the Europeans with a Socialist system that would benefit ordinary people. At first The West would not know how to fight this new version of freedom and it would completely devastate their empires. After the Russian Revolution in 1917, the newly named Soviet Union would fund these struggles across the world.
Then an old concept would come to the aid of the Europeans, this was ‘Athenian Democracy’. The idea was that if the people had a vote each and voted for a leader every four or so years; they would actually have some power. In reality though Capitalism still ruled and therefore the Western Companies would always have control of the media and in turn the government. In other words they wouldn’t only keep people under occupation, but would make them think that they had chosen the system themselves.
If the people elected someone who was too radical for the Corporations taste they would overthrow democracy, often in the name of democracy. As was seen in Greece when the CIA sponsored Junta staged an overnight coup in 1967. The military police would often torture pro-democracy supporters whilst saying to them: “See what happens to people who don’t like democracy?”
Or more recently in Venezuela when the orchestrators of the 2002 coup were being read a speech about how different parts of the structure of the Venezuelan system were being suspended, they would cheer and end by chanting “Democracy, Democracy”.
It was clear that democracy within Capitalism has meant whoever is best for Western Corporations rules the country. In fact in Ancient Athens there were around 250,000 people, however only 30,000 had the right to vote. Women and slaves were among those who couldn’t, as well as the poor.
Even in the US, who brand themselves as the champions of democracy, black people were not entitled to vote until 1965. This was after the United States had already got involved in other countries’ political affairs in the name of democracy.
In the UK, poor people only got the right to vote in 1918 and it wasn’t until 1928 that all women above 21 years of age could vote in elections. However in the last election over a third of the population would not vote and many of those who do, feel they are voting for the lessor of two evils. Just like in George Orwell’s novel ‘Animal Farm’, after the animals kick the farmer ‘Jones’ off the farm and take control of it themselves, the other animals protest to changes made by the pigs, whom have taken over leadership of the farm, to which one of the pigs replies “Surely none of you wishes to see Jones (the farmer) back?” which made all the animals agree. Since Tony Blair got in power and showed Labour to be the same as the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, the voter turnout went down, from 71.4% to 59.4% in just four years. The British working class no longer seem to feel like they have any power in elections.
At the time of Marx the working class were in a horrible condition, starving, dying of disease, living in squalor and most didn’t attend schools. In fear of a revolution taking place in Britain as had happened in Russia, the government implemented a few Marxist ideas by creating a welfare state and life for the working class improved. Nowadays many people see the Marxist idea of the Ruling Class Vs the Proletariat as being outdated.
My argument is that the world has become one state and when you look at Marxism on a worldwide level it is as relevant if not more relevant than ever before. Most of the proletarians today live in developing lands and work in factories for pennies, sometimes even for nothing. They along with the peasants in the developing world create almost of the items that we need to survive or that satisfy our programmed materialist attitudes.
The governments in Western Europe, North America, Oceania and Japan (Known to some as The Triad) are in fact ruling the world, however the majority of the peasants and proletarians of the world have no vote in the elections of these leaders and in countries where they can vote they only get a choice of who will be their puppet. They also do not get healthcare, education or suitable housing, even though most of the resources used to create these things are able to reach us in The Triad due to their Labour.
The workers of the world are now slaves to the Triad and many are in far worse conditions than the British working class in the 19th Century. The borders that divide them are not recognized by the Triad leaders, yet they are imposed on the workers of the world in order to divide them through nationalism. In this far advanced and evolved version of the Industrial Revolution, Marx is more relevant than ever before.
One in eight of the worlds’ population were suffering from chronic undernourishment between 2010-2012, 57 Million Children are out of school, 1.6 billion people are forced to live in substandard housing, whilst 100 million are homeless, most people in developing countries are unable to get healthcare or only able to access substandard healthcare, the workers have to work for inhumanely long hours and some of the workers are inhumanely young.
The fact that most people living in the worst conditions are also those who live in the same countries where most of our resources are taken and our products are made is proof. Although they may play a small part, ultimately it is not the blame of one corrupt dictator or of natural disasters or because of laziness, it is because of capitalism and imperialism.
Now more than ever the workers of the world must unite!