200 Years Karl Marx How much Marx is in me? Michael Thielen is Karl Marx double in Trier. He sits in the garden of the Karl Marx House. | Photo: Stefanie Preuin © picture alliance / SZ Photo Karl Marx would have been 200 years old on 5 May 2018. How many of his ideas still live in you? Find out by taking our test. By Tom Strohschneider A quiz by Tom Strohschneider Illustration: Tobias Schrank 1. May 5, 2018 is Karl Marx’s 200th birthday. The man from Trier is ... ...an economist and philosopher whose theoretical toolbox is still better at analysing capitalism than even the best neoclassical model today. ...the greatest thinker of all time, leader of the proletariat and the father of scientific socialism. Long may he reign! ...the intellectual precursor of authoritarian state socialism who should be dismissed and forgotten instead of celebrated. 2. Marx saw capitalism as ... ...something he never understood at all; his economic theories were largely nonsense, his prognoses did not come true. We have a social market economy today. ...a mode of production in constant flux, marked by crises and with a tendency to destroy its own foundations – the workers and nature – but still with the potential for great progress. ...a rotting system quite rightly going to the dogs, after which socialism would follow in its footsteps. We are patient. 3. With his seminal work Capital, Marx ... ...wanted to earn a lot of money to finance his rather less than proletarian lifestyle. But the book didn’t sell very well at the start, which is just more proof that Marx had little clue about economics. ...invested a lot of time and effort. He only lived to see the first volume published, and his critique of the political economy underwent a lot of reworking and improvements. ...drafted a “bible for the working class”. The three volumes are pretty hard to understand, and we learned the most important passages by heart in evening classes during our ideology training course in the German Democratic Republic. 4. Marx thought capitalists were ... ...the personification of economic categories, the supporters of defined class relations and interests. ...lifesavers, truth be told. Without Engels, the son of a wealthy industrialist, he would not have had enough to keep him in wine and cigarettes, which is why his critique is nothing more than demagoguery. ...a corrupt class destined for destruction, and the fact that they had bought the government wouldn’t even save them in the end. 5. Is it true that Karl Marx wanted to nationalize everything? Absolutely! When the avant-garde of the working class is in the driving seat of state power, then the ownership issue will have been properly settled. No, Marx didn’t really address nationalization. He was more interested in seeing modes of production communally administered and controlled by those who produce what they need, a process he called collectivization. Yes, unfortunately. And any number of socialist regimes have shown us what happens in actual practice: mismanagement and shortages. 6. How would you finish this sentence? “Philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways...” Does it even matter? What contribution to prosperity have philosophers ever made with all their ‘interpretating’? None, that’s what. The Eleventh Thesis on Feuerbach! “… the point, however, is to change it.“ Bear in mind though that there is another version without “however”. ...socialism will still come when the time is ripe. 7. Marx thought all of history was ... ...the history of class struggles. Marx didn’t talk about history, it was more ‘his story’, which were just fairy tales. Marx wasn’t as interested in history as he was in formulating doctrines for us. 8. In formulating the “dictatorship of the proletariat“ Marx wanted to ... ...describe the critical and necessary turning point that would ultimately lead to all class differences being abolished. To him it was more an exceptional state of affairs, and he imagined other ways socialism could come about later. ...write a “how to” for all the Stalins, Maos and Honeckers in this world. If only he’d left well enough alone. ...call for the working class to take over the state and supress all the enemies of the proletariat and socialism. 9. Marx was also a journalist. He viewed freedom of the press as ... ...an economic issue: “The primary freedom of the press lies in not being a trade.” ...completely irrelevant. A communist like Marx didn’t really hold with things like freedom of opinion. ...something to be looked at through a political lens: loyal newspapers would naturally propagate the teachings of Marx. Stuck in a GDR ideology training course You enjoy referring to yourself as a “Marxist”, but your idea of what that means had already acquired a fairly thick political patina back in the 1970s. You can quote the great man for any occasion, but these only really serve to safeguard a certain ideology, and not as a critical analysis of reality. You avoid ambiguity at all costs and loud conviction is more your thing. The complete works of Marx and Engels grace your bookshelf in pride of place. Further types: „... je ne suis pas Marxiste“ A card-carrying member of the Ludwig Erhard Friendship Association Back to my result „... je ne suis pas Marxiste“ When the conversation turns to Marx, you are at the ready with a quote from him intended to astound those around you: “All I know is that I am not a Marxist.” This has been attributed to the great man himself, and you feel it embodies all there is to say regarding the rock-solid belief in one and only one valid “Marxism”: it is just authoritarian ideology of legitimation. What you love about the “real Marx” is all the fact checking, the whole work-in-progress nature of his approach, the constant questioning of everything. The complete works of Marx and Engels in the wooden bookcase you made with your own two hands are pretty dog eared, and you have also kept all of Michael Heinrich’s introductions. Further types: Stuck in a GDR ideology training course A card-carrying member of the Ludwig Erhard Friendship Association Back to my result A card-carrying member of the Ludwig Erhard Friendship Association You think anyone who works hard should be allowed to reap as much profit as they can. You equate profit with success, and there can be no success without entrepreneurs, without business. Everything would run much smoother if the state would just stop mucking about with the market. You don’t need to read Marx; after watching two Guido Knopp documentaries about the German Democratic Republic, you know all about it. The last time you remember seeing the collected works of Marx and Engels was in the university library back in the day, but you never even cracked the spine. There was that recent TV interview with Hans-Werner Sinn about Marxism, what more could a person possibly need to know? Further types: Stuck in a GDR ideology training course „... je ne suis pas Marxiste“ Back to my result Choose an answer!