Tributes to Karl Marx
by Rob Laurie
Karl Marx died in his study at half-past two on the afternoon of Wednesday 14th March 1883. To commemorate his passing the Marx Memorial Library has for many decades held an annual graveside oration at his burial place in Highgate Cemetery in North London at the exact moment of his death.
This year the speaker was David McLellan. In addition to being the author of many well received books on Marx, David McLellan is both president of the Marx Memorial Library and Professor of political theory at the University of Kent.
In his address MacLellan stressed that the writings of Marx and Engels, although produced in the 19th century, are equally relevant for the 21st century. Indeed the first description of what is commonly known by the fashionable buzzword as “globalisation” appeared in the Communist Manifesto of 1848.
Marx’s view that to understand the world one needs to look first and foremost at the relations of production is as true today as it was when first formulated.
He concluded by observing that the remarks made by Frederick Engels at Marx’s funeral in 1883 have been vindicated by history: “His name and works will endure down through the ages”.
NCP leader Andy Brooks represented the New Communist Party and the turnout included Library committee members and delegations from the London embassies of socialist countries, including Cuba, People’s China, Vietnam and the DPR Korea, many of whom laid flowers at the grave. The turnout was swollen by the presence of a large group of young Chinese students studying at the University of Westminster.
This year was the also the 50th anniversary of the unveiling of the iconic memorial to Marx which was sculpted by Lawrence Bradshaw in 1956. A BBC radio reporter was on hand to record participants’ views on both Marx and the monument. Hopefully these remarks will be broadcast shortly.
Photo: NCP General Secretary lays flowers at Marx's grave