On 5 May 2018, Karl Marx would have been 200 years old. Many celebrate him as a great thinker, maybe one of the greatest, but also seem to think that he is no longer relevant, or, that he’s a "dead dog". Others, disregarding his political perspectives, extol his crisis theory. Then there are those who try to blame the real movement inspired by him and Engels – communism – for real socialism, atrocities of all sorts and the Gulag system. In doing so, they stigmatise as dangerous any yearning for a non-capitalist future.
Clearly, any practice that builds on Marx will require critical (self-)reflection, but also critical recovery a re-appropriation – of his thinking and action in order to provide a radical perspective for liberation. And so that it can act as a compass for something “so simple, yet so hard to achieve” (Brecht), as a practice guided by the principle to overthrow "all relations in which man is a debased, enslaved, abandoned, despicable essence" (Marx).
How can we continue Marx’s work today? And how can we do so in a way that does not focus on the canon of his work, but instead turns the theory into a measure of a transformative theory and practice – a space for reflection on emancipation and liberation. The left hardly ever discusses Marx as a politician, yet he has much to teach us about current questions of strategy. And how should we deal with the tension?