There is a revival growing from the grumblings of economic turmoil; Marx is kickin’ it. Don’t get too excited, there won’t be a full-blown revolution anytime soon. These new waves of intellectuals, dubbed Millennial Marxists, are more concerned with critiquing the economic status quo than with social change.
This disconnect in the intellectual thought of the Millennial Marxists is what Ross Douthat, writer for the New York Times, says makes the revival interesting, yet not fully reactionary. Without the synthesis of seeing Marxism as a political movement and revolution, do we have a pure Marxist revival?
Obviously not, but is this a step toward seeing a resurrection? Yes, it is.
Why should anyone care that Karl Marx is a big deal again? One word: classism. As a whole, the working class is doing much better than they were centuries ago. Douthat notes that the 99 percent’s prosperity is growing in measurable ways.
There is prosperity and growth in the working class?! How could this be a problem? The discrepancies seen in income and wealth distribution are still, as Douthat says, “Victorian.” We’ve seen these inequalities before, and they continue to exist. The capital is owned by those who exploit others, those who own little to none of the “free market.”
This growth in the 99 percent has slowed down goals of many leftist groups and has rendered them weak, leaving room for many moderate and right-wing groups to flourish. Many of the arguments on the right point out the success of the 99 percent, but in the context of American economics, the middle class has declined. It has fallen behind Europe’s working classes, which have surpassed the American one percent. Interestingly enough, the top of the one percent has been increasing in wealth over the past year. In other words, as the richest of the rich get richer, the rest get poorer.
Douthat says, “Both capitalism and the welfare state tend to weaken forms of solidarity that give meaning to life for many people, while offering nothing but money in their place.”
These are biting words and a solid critique of what the Millennial Marxists are missing. Yes, we are seeing a growth in the 99 percent, yet the one percent is slowly declining while individuals on top of the finical hierarchy get wealthier.
The next step for this ideology is to ask who controls the flow of money and why they have that control.
Is Marx alive? No, we have his ghost moving about. There is an intellectual renaissance in many different political groups, but we have yet to see Marx’s ideology wrapped in flesh and ready to fight the people’s war.
Cynthia Zapata ’16 firstname.lastname@example.org is from Rosemount, Minn. She majors in race and ethnic studies and English.