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Marxism regaining popularity among Germany's younger generation

By Feng Xuejun and Li Qiang (People's Daily)    10:11, May 07, 2018

Christian Schimidt, a lecturer on philosophy at Leipzig University and the author of "Karl Marx (introduction)" gives an interview to People's Daily. (Photo: People's Daily/Feng Xuejun, Li Qiang)

A leading author and academic has said that the youth of Germany is increasingly leaning toward Marxism. Christian Schimidt, the author of recently-published "Karl Marx (introduction)" and a lecturer on philosophy at Leipzig University, told the People's Daily in an interview in Germany that the young generation in the European nation has shown fervour for the thought of Karl Marx, the 19th century philosopher and political thinker.

"Karl Marx was an untiring theorist, who refused to deliver doctrines mechanically. Instead, he pursued new theories via reading, excerpting, commenting, drafting and denying the existing theories," said Schimidt.

It has been known that Marxism took shape on the basis of inheritance, skepticism and criticism of Hegelian thought. The author said that he wrote the book to answer a question raised by the great philosopher and economist who adopted an unremitting attitude toward research on realizing freedom and rationality during the above-mentioned process.

Marx had been meticulously exploring the power and mechanisms implied in modern society, which are able to rid it of oppression and exploitation, bringing peace and equality. People in the western world are prone to indoctrination with the so called “success theory" — success totally depends on personal efforts, which is in disagreement with Marxist thought. Marx believed the success of an individual is to a large extent limited by social operating mechanisms which produce barriers hard to cross. That is to say, your personal failure is not completely an attribute of yourself, said the author.

"There is a growing number of young people in Germany becoming more and more interested in Marxism," said Schimidt. In the last decade, journalism in Germany has witnessed some changes, focusing on philosophy so that objective comment on Marx has been growing. Schimidt added that the interest of German youth in Marx started in 2008 when more and more people refocused on "Capital" during the global financial crisis.

The academic said the younger generation also gets to know about Marx through reading "Capital", which triggers curiosity about his thoughts. Marx has featured among top 10 in every poll on Germany's historical figures held in the country. It shows that Germans remember that Marxism has played an important role in history, Schmidt added. "On the one hand, for the world, the name of Karl Marx has been closely associated with Socialism and Communism; on the other, the analytical method Marx adopted on social crisis, especially financial turmoil, has regained focus," he said.

This May sees the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx's birth and over two dozen new books on Marxism have been published on the occasion, covering all aspects of his thought, especially that on economy and philosophy.

The author suggested that the best sources to know about Marxism are Marx's original works, because "only after carefully reading and deliberating on the great philosopher's word, can one comprehend his real thoughts."

(Compiled by Li Lei)

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