17 April 2017

Karl Marx pissed me off!

I was at a meeting a few weeks ago when a new acquaintance described herself as the angriest person in the room.  I like meeting other angry people; they make me feel less alone in the world, especially when we're both angry about the same things and generally on the same side.  Those people become allies, comrades, and sometimes even good friends.

Karl
Another person at the table stopped our new friend when she made her assertion and said, "Hold on, sister, you may be angry, but sitting next to you is the angriest person I know," and she pointed at me.  I was a little embarrassed, more at being singled out than the fact that I probably was the angriest person in the room. Anyone who knows me at all knows that.

I could point to many things in my past as the source of my anger today: teachers, parents, schoolmates, former co-workers and employers, even kids and ex-wives, but the one person most responsible for my rage at the world today is Karl Marx.

I first heard the name Karl Marx in the sixth grade.  I remember my teacher, Mr. Nifong, explaining to the differences between a representative democracy, socialism ("like the Scandinavians") and the evils Soviet communism.  I'm certain that his descriptions were colored with Cold War propaganda of the times, but I distinctly recall thinking that I saw nothing wrong with socialism, and no reason why it shouldn't work. Nobody living in poverty; no one forced to work a shitty job for shitty pay sounded pretty good to me.

Over the years, after my school days were done, I studied on my own. I read Marx and Engels, Goldman, Rand, Keynes, Paine, Smith, and many more scattered across the spectrum of socio-politico-economic thought.  I am still reading Marx today, and others such as Wolff, Foster, and Eagleton, and long ago concluded that Marx was right.

Once I began to understand how the world we live in operates, and realized that you and I everyone we meet has been and is being exploited for the enrichment of a tiny number of people who do little, if anything productive at all; that most of us will be worked unto death or disability and then cast aside on the dung heap of history like garbage, that we are all little more than slaves in a planet wide economic gulag, then I became angry. 

Karl Marx made me angry, and for that I am grateful, because anger is a gift.  Marx showed me the truth.