Marx, Dead and Alive: Reading “Capital” in Precarious Times
REVIEWS, 16 Nov 2020
Karl Marx saw the ruling class as a sorcerer, no longer able to control the ominous powers it has summoned from the netherworld. Today, in an age spawning the likes of Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, our society has never before been governed by so many conjuring tricks, with collusions and conspiracies, fake news and endless sleights of the economic and political hand. And yet, contends Andy Merrifield, as our modern lives become ever more mist-enveloped, the works of Marx can help us penetrate the fog.
In Marx, Dead and Alive—a book that begins and ends beside Marx’s recently violated London gravesite—Merrifield makes a spirited case for a critical thinker who can still offer people a route toward personal and social authenticity. Bolstering his argument with fascinating examples of literature and history, from Shakespeare and Beckett, to the Luddites and the Black Panthers, Merrifield demonstrates how Marx can reveal our individual lives to us within a collective perspective—and within a historical continuum. Who we are now hinges on who we once were—and who we might become. This, at a time when our value-system is undergoing core “post-truth” meltdown.
“This enchanting portrait of Marx at work, with his legendary overcoat and shuffling ways, is brilliant, informative, and beautifully written. Merrifield then puts the insights he derives from reconnecting with Marx’s writing to work to illuminate everything from the writings of Gogol and Dickens to the architectural disaster of New York’s Hudson Yards.”
Tags: Karl Marx, Marxism, Reviews
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