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Marx’s Funeral: Premature Obituaries for Seemingly Dead Ideas

Written by Gary North on December 26, 2015

Karl Marx is sometimes referred to as a secular prophet. He made lots of predictions. Most of them were wrong.

He died in obscurity.

Following the death of his wife, Jenny, in December 1881, Marx developed a catarrh that kept him in ill health for the last 15 months of his life. It eventually brought on the bronchitis and pleurisy that killed him in London on 14 March 1883 (age 64). He died a stateless person;[187] family and friends in London buried his body in Highgate Cemetery, London, on 17 March 1883. There were between nine and eleven mourners at his funeral.

His ideas spread, but not the way he foresaw.

The late Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm remarked that “One cannot say Marx died a failure” because, although he had not achieved a large following of disciples in Britain, his writings had already begun to make an impact on the leftist movements in Germany and Russia. Within 25 years of his death, the continental European socialist parties that acknowledged Marx’s influence on their politics were each gaining between 15 and 47 per cent in those countries with representative democratic elections.

Marx was opposed to democratic politics. He saw democracy as anti-revolutionary. His system presented a religion of revolution. I wrote a book on this in 1968. You can download it here.

His ideas were successful in agrarian Russia. Yet his theory insisted that the proletarian revolution would take place in advanced industrial nations. It never did. It took place in rural Russia (1917) and China (1949).

Almost no one other than a handful of German socialists, the librarians at the British Museum, and the police knew who he was in 1883.

(For the rest of my article, click the link.)

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