Today I finally met Karl Marx, well stood at what is his second resting place at Highgate Cemetery in North London. His first grave was deemed too obscure, too simple by the admirers of this man, who died in 1883. His current resting place was erected in 1954, and his body exhumed from the old, today still existing grave, and reburied in its current, far more prominent spot. The massive head of Marx, his monument, is visited by both his many followers and those who hate his thinking and communism, of which, after all, Marx is an important symbol. Below the head of the thinker the famous (or infamous, depending on taste) words “Workers of all lands unite” can be read.
Standing at the grave my thoughts went back to the time that, as a naive but idealistic teenager, I had a poster of the man on my bedroom door. The attractive aspect of Marx’ thinking to me was simply the word ‘unite’. He wanted the normal folk to unite and be stronger, so there would no longer be poor people. That was just my teenage thinking and even today that seems fine.
An awful lot of unbearable things have happened since communism got a foothold in this world. One would argue also very good things have come from (mis)using Marx’ thinking. Still, I felt apprehensive standing there and was contemplating what the man would have made of it all himself.