Thursday, September 24, 2015

Karl Marx And Howard Zinn

Back in 1999 Howard Zinn wrote a play about Karl Marx called Marx in Soho.

I decided to write a play about Marx. I made this decision after the fall of the Soviet Union because, after its fall, everyone thought that Marxism had died. So I tried to tell the US public: Marx is not dead and I am going to prove it by bringing him back to the scenario. From there I would teach this same public the difference between Stalinism and Marxism. I would remind them what Marxist criticism of capitalism consists of. I would demonstrate that these ideas have much to do about the US today. In other words, that Marxist criticism of capitalism is still exact and current today.
Perhaps in one out of every hundred universities there is a course on Marxism. There are many courses of political philosophy and perhaps a few days are set aside for Marx. Usually his ideas are not taught with exactness.
Marx In Soho:
Marx in Soho has often been produced. The play depicts Marx resurrected to defend the ideals of communism from the dehumanized version of it practiced in the former Soviet Union and to defend humanity from capitalism.
Zinn writes in his foreword that as early as 17, he had seen dramatic evidence "that the machinery of government was not neutral, that, despite its pretensions, it served the capitalist class.... My Communist friends brought me along with them to a demonstration in Times Square. Hundreds of people unfurled banners proclaiming opposition to war, opposition to Fascism, and marched along the street. I heard sirens. Mounted police charged the crowd. I was knocked unconscious by a plainclothes policeman. When I came to, as my head was clearing, I could only think one troubling thought: the police, the state, did the bidding of the holders of great wealth. How much freedom of speech and freedom of assembly you had depended on what class you were in."
Zinn was 17 in 1939, long before Occupy Wall Street and Zuccotti Park:
Police called in re-enforcements as more activists entered the park. Police tried to enter the park but were pushed back by protesters. There were reports of pepper-spray being used by the police. About 12:40 am after the group celebrated New Years in the park, they exited the park and marched down Broadway. Police in riot gear started to clear out the park around 1:30 am.
Howard Zinn described himself as a Democratic Socialist, just like Bernie Sanders does today.

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