by Nicos Kouzoupis, member of the C.C. of AKEL and Ideological Bureau of AKEL
This year marks 200 years since the birth of Karl Marx, the man whose ideas and views have influenced and continue to exert a positive influence on the development of the world to this day. Marx’s worldview and outlook, namely what is termed Marxism, has proved through time its endurance and timeliness, continuing to leave their mark on the practices and actions of the revolutionary workers’ movement around the world.
Marxism’s vitality lies in the fact that, based on the dialectic method of analysis, it simultaneously maintains its philosophical system open with the perpetual motion of “thesis, antithesis and synthesis (new position)”. Marx’s theory, assisted by F. Engels, began to be formulated in the 1840’s at a time when the proletariat was already being transformed from a “class in itself” into a “class for itself”, commencing mainly with outbreak of the 1848 revolutions in Europe.
At the same time, Marxism did not appear on the sidelines, but on the avenue of human knowledge and thought, based on the pioneering achievements of classic German philosophy (the dialectic of Hegel and Führbach’s materialism), classical English political economy (Smith and Ricardo) and French utopian socialism, which though constituting its three basic sources, however also represent the basis of the three component parts of the Marxist worldview.
The essence of Marxism, which maintains its timeliness to date, is because, on the basis of objective analysis, it not only interprets the problems of social development, but provides and proposes ways to resolve and overcome them. Mainly, however, Marxism records that specific social force which, until now, is the vehicle and agency of progress, and will, by its very nature, liberate society from the kingdom of barbarism, as expressed by capitalist exploitation.
This social force is none other than the working class, which is the creation of capitalism itself, but which at the same time is also its undertaker. Precisely this momentous epoch-making role of the working class means that this emerging power class with the socialization of the means of production abolishes exploitation, overthrowing the capitalist relations of production and beginning the building of socialist society as the first stage on the path to an advanced society without classes.
Marxism, because it is not a dogma, cannot be neither absolute, nor remain static, but develops, is enriched and updated on the basis of the changing objective reality, aiming at the best possible and in-depth understanding of it. Marxist positions and conclusions are objective, but not absolute, and as all scientific positions and conclusions are relative, providing however the perspective of a consecutive approach to the objective “truth.” Marx’s theory therefore develops qualitatively in specific stages of society’s development, and its full creative renewal is combined with the constant struggle against its open and/or disguised opportunistic revision.
A characteristic example of the creative development of Marxism is Leninism, which, in the new conditions created at the beginning of the 20th century (capitalism dominated by monopolies and the creation of financial capital reaching its imperialist stage of development), develops, updates and upgrades Marxism. The creative application of Marxist theory in practice is observed after the victory of the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia in 1917, when the titanic effort to build socialism began.
The theoretical and practical intellect bequeathed by Marx and Engels continues worthily with Lenin’s theoretical and practical activity, who with his concrete example showed Marxism’s inexhaustible force and enormous scientific, theoretical potential, developing it into an organic combination of continuity and innovation. Lenin confirmed in practice that the Marxist worldview must develop creatively with the changing objective conditions of life, thought, and consciousness. At the same time, surpassing the old, Marxism itself needs always be renewed, modern, and at the same time be able to envisage the existing trends over time in the newly formed objective and subjective, global, regional and concrete national conditions.
As a consequence, Marxism cannot remain stagnant because society itself, in this case capitalist society, changes. Imperialism as the highest stage of capitalism within a century of its existence has also changed and been subject to transformations. The balance of forces are also constantly changing. Globalization generates more and more new complex problems and contradictions in all spheres of capitalist society.
Despite all this however the essence of capitalism and imperialism with all their modernizations, renewals and glamorization, continues to be the same because it is based on the exploitation of people with the creation of surplus value in the production process, working people’s alienation from the means of production, the appropriation of the produced socialized wealth produced by an ever-shrinking group of magnates of capital, public opinion’s manipulation through the control of the mass media, the suppression of every progressive thought, the perpetuation and expansion of wars and the looting of the natural environment.
This is therefore the reason why Marxism is still topical and revolutionary because it is based on the position expressed by K. Marx that “philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it” and that is its main objective.
from 10TH March 2018, “HARAVGI” newspaper