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Juncker criticised for praising Marx

May 9th, 2018

Pro- and anti-government conservatives fulminate against European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker wo delivered a speech in Trier, Karl Marx’s birthplace when a gigantic statue of the founder of Communism was unveiled. The monument is a gift rom China. A left-wing historian praises Marx’s scientific and moral achievement.

Responding to widespread criticism, Mr Juncker praised Marx as ‘the greatest thinker of modern times’. While he called Marx ‘the mentor of the revolution of the proletariat’, he also said ‘Marx isn’t responsible for all the atrocity his alleged heirs have to answer for’.

On her Látószög blog, historian Mária Schmidt dismisses Juncker’s explanation recalling that when one of those ‘alleged heirs’, Fidel Castro died, Mr Juncker expressed his high appreciation of the defunct dictator. When a bust was to be inaugurated in a provincial Hungarian town to pro-German Hungarian historian Bálint Hóman who was sentenced under the fictitious charge of war crimes in 1946 and died in jail, President Obama protested in person, following similar gestures by the German diplomatic service and the western press. That was a peripheral event, while saluting Karl Marx on the part of the chief EU official is a message of world political significance, she writes.

On hvg online, László Seres believes that after having attended and d addressed the inauguration ceremony on Marx’s 200th birthday, Mr. Juncker has forfeited any right to criticise ‘East European illiberal régimes’. Marx, the neoconservative columnist explains, ‘traded in brutal class hatred which is not one bit nicer than racism’. The horrors of the Communist regimes, Seres contends, were not a distortion but the logical consequence of Marx’s thought.

In Népszava, socialist historian György Földes admits that ‘socialism’ could not ‘harmonise modernity, liberty and equality’, but interprets Marx’s heritage as a message of liberation. He refuses to accept that Marx’s project was ‘a harmful utopia’ because that would be tantamount to give up the search for freedom coupled with equality forever. He was a Utopian, he concludes, but claims that Marx’s ideas ‘made the world a better and a different place’.

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