LONDON – Recently, on a rainy day in London, a group of people assembled at Highgate cemetery at Karl Marx’ gravesite to commemorate the 192nd anniversary of his birth. It was also a commemoration of the 65th anniversary of the people’s victory over fascism. Present were representatives and Communist Party members from around the world. Among them were Cuba, Cyprus, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Venezuela, UK and USA.
A number of years ago a BBC poll conducted in the UK found that a majority of Britons think that Marx was the “greatest philosopher” of all time.
Gerrard Sables, Secretary North Devon branch, CPB, and recent candidate for parliament in Britain told the World after the event, “For me Marx’s message is still true. Workers of all countries unite! The first and most essential job we as communists have is persuading our fellow workers that we as workers do not have the same interests as big capitalists and that for a few people to insist on their ‘right’ to be fabulously wealthy is bad for humanity.”
An excellent oration was delivered by Jean Turner, Honorary Secretary, Society for Cooperation in Russian and Soviet Studies. The text of the speech can be found here.
Turner maintains that Marx and Engels recognized the formation of the working class and ” To this new class Marx and Engels attribute the historical role of combining its forces to replace the capitalist system with a new form of society; one in which the mass of the people… create new forms of social organization to suit their needs, including the necessity to preserve the ecology and sustainable balance of the earth on which they, the majority of the human race, live. Marx and Engels called this communism.”
She talked of the danger of fascism and maintains, “Defeating a new generation of fascists is a political priority and the price of this is eternal vigilance.”
She told the World, “We need to lift our spirits and see our goal, as Marx and Engels did. It is easy to get bogged down in the disappointments and setbacks of the present political situation.”
Christine Lindey, Art Critic, Morning Star, commented about Ms. Turner’s remarks, “For myself I was impressed by the clarity of her thinking and her use of jargon-free language with which to explain complex ideas. She took an overview of history and linked the achievements of the past to the current situation.”
A number of wreaths were placed at Marx’ headstone after the oration,. Representatives from many countries including Greece, Iran, Iraq, UK, and Venezuela placed wreaths and it was moving to watch them.
The commemoration was concluded by singing the Internationale in many different languages. Robert Griffiths, Secretary General, Communist Party Britain, encouraged the “cacophony” of different voices and languages to express the power of this great working-class song.
London was alive with activism and protests were everywhere drawing attention to the devastating wars. Banners calling for the return of the British troops alive were visible by the Parliament and other government buildings. I visited the pub where Lenin first met Stalin which is right next door to the Marx Memorial Library. The Marx Memorial Library houses the tiny room where Lenin worked while he lived in London. It was truly inspiring to be present in this city with such a great working-class history.
Photo: James Thompson