Originally posted by Rajk999
Karl Marx was a complete dunce.
Every single country that tried to follow the basic concepts of communism failed miserably. China and Cuba the last two moronic governments that think they are fooling the world, are heavily capitalist in nature.
The Communist Manifesto dates to 1848 I believe. It certainly predates by many years the research captured in Das Kapital. It is worth being aware that Marx was a revolutionary in the context of an oppressive autocratic state apparatus in which democracy was still a fantasy for the future and in the context of the Industrial Revolution before social reform ameliorated the dreadful conditions prevailing. He was a revolutionary long before he was a respected theorist. Like most theorists of that century, he fashioned his theories before he did his research and wrote his conclusions to fit his beliefs.
Communism, of course, became very distinct under Lenin and Marxist -Leninist theories diverged from Marx. I am not sure to what extent Marx would have tolerated Lenin's approach or for how long but maybe he would have in the early years - anyway that is a counterfactual proposition. It is pretty likely that Lenin would not have tolerated Marx for long. If Marx were alive today, the only likelihood is that he would not be stupid. But if he was alive then the Marxist Leninists would have killed him before Mao got near to do the same.
In general it is very silly to try and knock up a straw man effigy and then throw coconuts at it. Of course Marx was wrong. So was Freud and so were others who strayed from the strict findings of objective research to devise castles in the air. By contrast Darwin has not been refuted because his research was thorough and his conclusions well grounded and very specific. For most social theorists of that century then, their achievement is not ever in being right but in having asked important questions and proposed useful approaches. A number of Marx's contributions have been of lasting value and remain significant today. In addition, his arguments and debates exposed major flaws in the thinking of his rivals and opponents. For example his demolition of Max Stirner's Egoist philosophy is perfectly applicable to demolish any straw of credibility for that amateur ranter Ayn Rand, so fondly discussed by certain right wing idologues. Her ignorance of his arguments and her inability to answer them is a large part of the reason why nobody in philosophy takes her seriously or ever will do.
An intelligent Marxist does not treat Marx as scripture but asks the types of question Marx asked and looks to the evidence to find rational, well justified answers. Asked about its relevance now I would point to the incoherent rage against the 1%, expressed in the anti-globalisation movement, and the 2007/9 collapse of the global financial system. I would look at Marx's concept of "false consciousness" and apply this to America's Mad Hatter's Tea Party.
Marx would smile with recognition. This is good material for a Marxist to work with. Marx offers a good approach for anyone to work with, without having to conform to the label Marxist. (I suspect that if Marx had invented toothpaste then Americans would not be so arrogant about the condition of their teeth.)
For comparison, consider how many Americans appear to have stopped thinking beyond Locke and the Puritans and quote their opinions as though they had the weight of scripture. Locke met the need of his times, not least to support the 1688 Glorious Revolution in Britain and justify the deposing of a King, but his thinking is really inadequate and has been subject to a lot of critcism and improvement over the intervening period. Lost - all lost on the American fundamentalists who seem frozen in a time warp.
An earlier comparison of course is the reverence of the late Mediaeval Church for Aristotle. Because Aristotle is so profoundly wrong and opinionated on so many topics, it is absurd to rely on him as a source of scientific knowledge. Yet his work is astonishing for its time and represented a major improvement on alternatives (especially Plato). Again, it is not being right that makes him so great and influential, it is rather his opening up of new and productive ways of thinking. It is not the (often mistaken but sometimes right) facts but the method that makes Aristotle important.
But why do I bother? This is not an intelligent debate. just ideological claptrap as usual. Sigh... If only Averbak's Encyclopedia of Endgames was not so tedious to slog through.