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Socialists from all lands pay tribute at Marx Oration

by Ben Chacko at Highgate Cemetery

SOCIALISTS and communists from all over the world gathered at Karl Marx’s tomb in London today to honour the revolutionary thinker.

The annual Marx Oration saw increased turnout as people came to show their support following two high-profile attacks on Marx’s grave this year.

The attacks were doubly “hurtful and disrespectful” because of the number of international communists buried near him, in the words of Marx Memorial Library (MML) chair Alex Gordon.

Many laid flowers at the monument and wreaths were laid on behalf of the Communist Party, MML and Morning Star.

Foreign embassies including the Chinese, Cuban and Vietnamese missions, China’s Communist Youth and communist parties from Chile, Greece, India, Iran, Iraq, Malaysia and more took turns to pay respects at the family grave, bowing their heads and raising their fists in the communist salute.

The oration takes place on the Sunday closest to March 14, the date of Marx’s death, and this year was delivered by Minister Ma Hui of the Chinese embassy in recognition of 2019 marking the 70th anniversary of the Chinese Revolution.

“Marxism is still guiding China’s socialist development,” Mr Ma told the crowd, arguing that the country’s ruling Communist Party’s model of planned economic development was aimed at “building a community with a shared future for humankind and an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace.”

He reiterated the words of Chinese President Xi Jinping that the country’s commitment to the peaceful resolution of international disputes was “not an act of expediency, still less diplomatic rhetoric. Rather it is the conclusion drawn from an objective assessment of China’s history.”

He acknowledged “severe setbacks” in the progress of socialism, including the collapse of the Soviet bloc, but highlighted former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping’s observation that monarchies were repeatedly overthrown and restored in the transition from feudalism to capitalism.

The Communist Party’s women’s organiser Carol Stavris highlighted Marx’s analysis of the oppression of women and argued that “new social relations … that do not rely solely upon a crude, alienated formulation of value” would be crucial to women’s liberation.

“The emancipation of women in a socialist society will allow human beings to see each other as valuable in themselves rather than as only worth what one individual can provide to another,” she declared.

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