This week we had the privilege of interviewing the great revolutionary and philosopher Karl Marx about the phenomena of Trump, Brexit and the general state of capitalism today for our publication The Revolting Masses. As usual, Marx was enlightening and full of optimism about the future. Here is the interview.
The Revolting Masses: Mr Marx, welcome. It’s an honour to talk to you.
Karl Marx: Thank you, but call me Karl.
RM: First things first, historical materialism, is it still relevant today? Can it help explain our political situation?
KM: Is this going to be one of those earnest articles in which you use my voice to give credibility to your own views? I find that style of writing cringe-worthy.
RM: No, we are genuinely interested in your views. How you would look at the world today, we want to see things through your eyes.
KM: I have been dead for 133 years, what makes you think I would have anything relevant to say today?
RM: You were always alive for us. Your spirit is embodied within our thinking.
KM: Dear God. That’s like me interviewing Hegel. I thought this was going to be one of those clickbait articles in which you use my name to generate internet traffic, and make it funny and light.
RM: But you are more relevant than ever. There are t-shirts with your face on them and ‘I told you so’ written in big letters. They’re very popular. Even Wall Street types are reading your books.
KM: I’ve been hearing this every few years since I died. Frankly it gets tiring.
RM: This time it’s different. Capitalism is at a dead-end.
KM: Blablabla. Been there, heard that, ad nauseam.
RM: Wow, you sound nothing like Karl Marx.
KM: People change. Also, let’s face it; this is your failure as the one who’s writing this piece.
RM: Yes, but you could cooperate a bit. This article could make you reach a whole new generation of young people.
KM: You’re over-estimating the reach of your publication. This kind of earnest writing is not popular any more. Have you tried doing listicles?
RM: Well, there was that one time in which we tried to do a listicle of all the Hegelian constructs you turned upside down…
KM: Sounds thrilling.
RM: Moving on. Do you think easy credit has allowed Western capitalism to buy time while shifting the centres of production to the east?
KM: Now this I am interested in. I heard about credit cards, do you think I can obtain one?
RM: I am not sure it would be easy considering that you are dead.
KM: Perhaps if we argued that my spirit is present today? My intellectual influence is alive and kicking?
RM: I don’t think the people at the bank would be impressed by that.
KM: You just said Wall Street types are reading my books. Could we perhaps contact one of them?
RM: To be honest with you, this is not how I saw this interview going. I didn’t expect to be helping Karl Marx get a credit card.
KM: Do you think I wanted Stalin to build a police state in my name? Unexpected things happen.
RM: That’s more like the kind of stuff want to hear from you, young people would like to hear a clear condemnation of Stalinism from you.
KM: yeah, yeah. How about that credit card?
RM: It’s all done online now; I don’t think the forms can process a dead philosopher. I will look into it, but can you please tell us what you think about the phenomenon of Trump?
KM: I missed the Russian revolution, two world wars, and the moon-landing, and you want to talk to me about Trump? How unimaginative are you people?
RM: But people are saying this is the end of the liberal order. This is a significant historical moment. You can help shed light on it for us. People want to understand 2016.
KM: I am more interested in the Germany-France Euro 2016 game. If I were alive I would write a structural analysis of that game, you think Vice would be interested? Do they pay well?
RM: I feel that you are not taking this seriously. We are anxious about the rise of populism and the spectre of Fascism.
KM: You people are using history instrumentally to validate your own concerns and points of view.
RM: That is more like what we were hoping for. A condemnation of this a-historical trend that I could attribute to you so I wouldn’t be criticised for saying that by my liberal friends.
KM: You made me say that. I wouldn’t say it like that.
RM: I’m trying to my best here; do you think it’s easy to impersonate a grumpy old dead German philosopher?
KM: Yeah, I never had to do that.
RM: Really, sarcasm doesn’t suit you. We expect more from your wit.
KM: Ja, ja. You vant me to speak like zis? Vould zis be more hilarious for your audience?
RM: really Karl, I don’t think the accent is necessary. This kind of thing hasn’t been funny since the 70s.
KM: You’re the one trying to revive a dead nineteenth century philosopher, and you can’t handle some 'Allo 'Allo! humour?
RM: I have to be honest with you; this is not how I saw this interview going at all. It was going to be a heartfelt cry for reviving the spirit of Marxism in this disorientated political moment. It’s a bit disappointing.
KM: I think this type of article is outdated. You seriously need to look into listicles. Research the millennial market.
RM: You know we are going to be criticised for this. People will say there are minority thinkers who are not getting media exposure and here you are interviewing a dead white man.
KM: Are you trying to draw me into a comment on class versus identity? I’m not going to be your mouthpiece on this. And I doubt you will get five people to read this, let alone complain about it.
RM: You are the most difficult historical figure I have ever had to interview. Next time I am sticking to pre-Enlightenment figures. What do you think of Piketty? Have you read his book?
KM: Piketty is an imbecile. I ought to sue him for copyright infringement. Do you think someone would get away with doing a movie called Star Wars? Why is it ok for him to steal the title of my book?
RM: He had a subheading. ‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century’.
KM: It was in a very small font.
RM: He claims he never read you.
KM: Likewise. What an idiot.
RM: That is a cheap shot at someone who’s quite valued today. I’m glad I thought of that exchange.
KM: I won’t agree to any of these interviews any more if I am not paid well for them.
RM: Can you say something about Trump so we can at least justify the headline?
KM: Every so often history has indigestion. Trump is the flatulence of history.
RM: That sounds both deep and profane. Excellent point to end on. Karl Marx, it has been a pleasure.
KM: Look at Buzzfeed, they are doing great work reaching out to the millennial market. Stop writing those articles, they are passé.
RM: Can we take a selfie with you before we go?