In the past few days, popular magazine Teen Vogue re-shared an article it published previously about the continued relevance of Marxism.
This article was published a year ago, but was curiously shared on Teen Vogue’s Twitter account.
The legacy of Karl Marx’s ideas and how they’re relevant to the current political climate: https://t.co/G9L2xUhkk1
— Teen Vogue (@TeenVogue) June 24, 2019
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This article penned by Adryan Corcione, talked about how Marx’s ideas “can still teach us about the past and present.”
Corcione gave a glowing overview of The Communist Manifesto, “a piece of writing that makes the case for the political theory of socialism — where the community (rather than rich people) have ownership and control over their labor — which later inspired millions of people to resist oppressive political leaders and spark political revolutions all over the world.”
Teen Vogue revealed that it talked with two educators about how they apply Marxist concepts in their classrooms.
First up, Mark Brunt uses excerpts from The Communist Manifesto along with teaching material from the industrial revolution to spread his Marxist ideas in the English class he teaches.
Brunt specifically uses The Jungle—a book “that revealved the exploitative workplace conditions of the meat industry in Chicago and other industrialized cities many immigrants were subject to in the late 19th century— to demonstrate what it was like to work under so-called “capitalist exploitation.”
The English teacher claims that factory workers “did all of the leg work”, which included “slaughtering animals and packaging meat on top of working long days with little, if any, time off” just to “keep the factories intact.”
Brunt told Teen Vogue “I do a little role-playing with [my class].”
He added, “[I tell them,] I’m the boss, you’re my workers, and you want to try to take me down. I have the money. I own the factory. I control the police. I control the military. I control the government. What do you guys have?”
Brunt claims that “It’s always just one student, whose hand shoots up and goes, ‘We outnumber you!’”
After running this little game, he introduces the “distinction between the proletariat — the working class as a whole — and bourgeoisie — the ruling class who controls the workers and profits from their labor.”
Teen Vogue then drew a parallel in modern times with the recent conflict “between state governments and striking teachers in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, and Arizona, demanding higher pay and more public school funding.”
George Ciccariello-Maher, a former Drexel University professor, teaches history in a way to make his students envision a “society without capitalism, reminding them that different — though still imperfect and flawed — economic systems existed before, such as feudalism.”
Ciccariello-Maher told Teen Vogue, “When I teach Marx, it’s got a lot to do with questions of how to think critically about history. Marx says we live under capitalism [but] capitalism has not always existed.”
The former professor added, “It’s something that came into being and something that, as a result, just on a logical level, could disappear, could be overthrown, could be abolished, could be irrelevant. There’s this myth of the free market, but Marx shows very clearly that capitalism emerged through a state of violence.”
The Teen Vogue piece ended with the following:
While you may not necessarily identify as a Marxist, socialist, or communist, you can still use Karl Marx’s ideas to use history and class struggles to better understand how the current sociopolitical climate in America came to be. Instead of looking at President Donald Trump’s victory in November 2016 as a snapshot, we can turn to the bigger picture of what previous events lead us up to the current moment.
Indeed, the Left has changed much in its strategy.
Nowadays, major corporations are enforcers of leftist causes like gay rights, anti-hate speech, and censorship of right-wing figures. Modern-day identity politics is in essence “culturally” Marxist, in that certain “unprivileged” groups—women, minorities, and the LGBT community—are supposedly oppressed by a privileged group—straight white males. As a result, these disadvantaged groups must rise up against their oppressor by any means necessary.
Although the strategies are different, both traditional Marxism and present-day identity politics involve the destruction of traditional institutions—markets in the classical Marxist case and individualism in the cultural Marxist case— that have made Western society great.