Last of the True Marxists
The irreplaceable and lamented Christopher Hitchens once said he liked religious fundamentalists. They read the books and – Jew, Christian, Muslim – took the writing seriously. Believed what God said. Didn’t engage in sophistry to say it is all metaphor, that it is compatible with science, that it is not meant to be taken literally. No, the fundamentalists are the honest ones.
Same with Marxists.
Kim Jong-il, as far as I am concerned, ranks with Pol Pot. They took Marx at his word. No softening at the edges. Gave us the real thing.
A dictatorship of the proletariat. Eliminate the reactionary classes which, anyway, have been condemned by History. Everything in collective ownership, no exceptions along the lines of Lenin’s NEP. All the bourgeoisie trucked out of town not to be seen again or, in the case, of the heroic Pol Pot, marched out of town to perish in the jungles. Mao was true to these glorious principles as well, especially in his Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution phases.
If Marx, in his angry, tortured mature life, had been told that one day there would be states with rule by a single workers’ party, collective ownership of the means of production, boasting total elimination of the capitalist class he would have nodded sagely and said, yes, that’s what I had in mind.
For years, growing up politically, I looked with bemusement and disdain at an Australian left that made excuses for all of these regimes and until very late in the piece – for some, not till 1968 – considered it inappropriate to join American imperialism in condemning them.
Vale great Marxist teacher, Kim Jong-il.