The man, whose misguided ideas led to a bloodbath and widespread misery in the twentieth century, will soon be celebrating his 200th birthday. And so will be the European Union:
Jean Claude Juncker has been accused of ignoring more than 100 million victims of communism after it emerged that he is to unveil a statue of Karl Marx.
The controversial President of the European Commission is listed to open an exhibition to the father of Communism in Trier to mark the 200th anniversary of his birth there on 5th May.
It includes unveiling a statue funded by the Chinese government to the man who gave birth to a destructive ideology that has caused mass murder and imprisonments around the globe.
The plans have provoked outrage in Britain and across Europe especially in the former Communist controlled Eastern European countries where the far Left tyrannies murdered and imprisoned millions of people.
EU critics have pointed out that the EU’s lack of democratic accountability and desire to centralise power in an unelected Commission has already been compared to the old Soviet Union by its former leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
Last night, Tory MP Daniel Kawczynski, who as a seven-year-old boy fled to Britain with his family from the brutal Communist regime in Poland, demanded that Mr Juncker rejects the invitation and does not attend the commemorative events.
A few quick thoughts from someone who won’t be celebrating:
1.I’m not a big hater in politics – I certainly try, even if I often fail, to hate the sin, not the sinner – but I always make an exception for Jean Claude Juncker. Just seeing his photo is enough to send me into paroxysms of rage. Juncker represents all that’s worst about the “European” politics: a crook, a drunk, and an opportunist, this former “prime minister” of Luxembourg, a “country” someone has once described as a bank with an airport, now fancies himself a statesman of global stature. Instead he’s merely an obnoxious, oily, offputting statist apparatchik, a perpetually sneering mediocrity, a second rate human being and a third rate politician. But anyway, let me tell you what I really think of Jean Claude…
2. But it’s not just the lone little Juncker as an individual – he is, after all, representing the governing structures of the European Union. His presence at the events marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of a man whose ideas led to 100 million deaths and other untold misery gives the celebrations – and their subject – the official imprimatur of the highest order possible. Imagine a top EU official at the “celebration” of Hitler’s birthday, opening an exhibition “Hitler: the Man, the Artist, the Visionary”, and unveiling his statute, perhaps donated by Recep Erdogan.
3. It’s difficult to imagine because no one but a few sad skinheads celebrates the birthday of the father of Nazism. But the father of communism is different, and this difference coincidentally also gives lie to the old “far left-far right” dichotomy beloved by the left: everyone anywhere on the left today owes something, more or less of it, to Marx, whereas no one on the right owes anything to Hitler.
4. The Trier celebrations are of course only a part of the broader interest across Europe:
A spectre is haunting Europe in 2018 – to borrow from one of his catchier one-liners – the spectre of Karl Marx himself.
Two hundred years after the philosopher’s birth, a small industry is gathering pace, from plans for major events in Trier, the city on the Moselle where he was born, to a new tour of the Manchester streets that he and Friedrich Engels walked as they discussed the condition of the city’s emerging working class. The bicentenary on 5 May will be marked with exhibitions, lectures, conferences, histories and novels.
The books are starting to pile up. Last month saw a new edition of Marxism – a Graphic Guide, a collaboration by philosophy lecturer Rupert Woodfin and comic book artist Oscar Zárate, while titles by heavyweight specialists on Marxism are on the way. They include a reprint of literary theorist Terry Eagleton’s bestselling Why Marx Was Right, along with a new edition of The Communist Manifesto – which starts with the “spectre” quotation – including an introduction by the former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis.
The Murderer of Warren Street by Oxford university historian Marc Mulholland, published at the end of May, promises to tell the story of villain Emmanuel Barthélemy (“the man who wanted to kill Marx”).
Marx’s ideas, running through the Russian revolution to the present day, will be the focus of Marx and Marxism, a new book by one of Britain’s foremost historians of socialism, Gregory Claeys. The influence of the Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn – as well as factors such as reduced employment prospects and a desire to challenge austerity – are credited by Claeys as helping to engender a renewed interest in Marx, particularly among the young.
That’s all well and good; it’s no secret that a lot of people out there continue to think that “the real Marxism has not been yet tried” (including the director of the latest Marx biopic), which is a funny argument for Marxists to make to defend their ideology because it’s really an argument against rather than for Marxism – if every one of the hundred plus attempts to implement Marx’s ideas has ended in failure (i.e. not “the real Marxism”), then it should tell you that the whole idea is completely rooted and impractical.
Others, perhaps not so completely blind, try to rescue various aspects of Marxism from the disrepute, admitting that the old bearded bum who lived off a capitalist’s charity while screwing his maid and neglecting his children might not have been completely correct about everything but he nevertheless had many valuable insights. And they are entitled to think that and so to celebrate Marx’s birthday with an interpretative dance of “The Capital” or whichever other way they choose. We live in free societies, after all – though not for the increasing lack of trying by Marx’s ideological descendants. The good thing about the freedoms of thought and speech and association is that they allow us to quickly identify the idiots in our society. The idiots we’ll always be with us; what I object to is any official involvement by governments in the “Happy 200th Karl” celebrations.
Juncker is a disgrace and his presence in Trier on May the 5th is an even bigger disgrace.