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An Evening with Karl Marx: In Which “the Moore” agrees to be Interviewed, Postmortem.

In "I only read WOOF for the interviews!" forum on July 18, 2019 at 8:50 pm

Prologue:
Following our embarrassment back in 2013 [viewable here] when he persuaded us to go ahead with a story based on his psychic surety that Obama’s presidency was doomed to collapse that very year, (which our historically adroit readers will recall it did not), we at WOOF severed ties with our long-time official psychic, Dr. Gootensteiner Johannes Walters, resident of beautiful, historic, Zug, Switzerland,(nestled against the breathtaking azure placidity that is Lake Zug) and for quite some time WOOF’s official seer, prophesier and mystic, was banned from these pages, relieved even of his editorship of ODD, WOOF’s fabled Occult Divination Division, now expertly overseen by Grayson Moseley Straith as part of his duties as editor of our Science and the Paranormal forum.

Doctor Walters

Recently, however, Dr. Walters approached us with an exciting proposal. Reminding us of his (admittedly somewhat innervating) skills as a necromancer and a medium par excellence, he offered us exclusive rights to one of the most astonishing interviews ever conducted—and with the interviewee of cur choice. Why, you may ask, (or may not, we don’t pretend to know) would such an interview provoke astonishment? Because, Goot insisted, it could be with anyone we cared to name–so long as the interviewee was dead. As you might surmise, considerable debate ensued in the WOOF Cave as to whether the Doctor’s proposal was too bizarre to pursue, and simultaneously, concerning which dead person should be chosen in the event we proceeded. We agreed to rule out religious figures because Dr. Walters caused us enough trouble with his Obama predictions, and we knew all too well his methods often affronted orthodox sensibilities–ours included. But after bruiting about several possibilities, we settled on a preference–and in so doing, essentially acquiesced to the project.

Given his tremendous influence on nearly every Democrat presidential contender approaching 2020, the faith placed in his teachings by waves of millennials, his pervasive influence on our entertainment industry (rhetorically, that is, although never practically), and his largely unsung but near total dominance of higher education, we decided on Karl Marx. A fortnight elapsed, and we received word from Goot [Dr. Walters] that the interview was arranged, and that only two conditions obtained: We could ask no more than 20 questions, and we could only send one interviewer. We agreed, and prepared to dispatch a staffer to Switzerland.

Beautiful downtown Zug, Switzerland.

Alex arrives in Zug.

Alex arrives in Zug.

We initially chose a Woofette who was fluent in German. But economic expediency took over once Dr. Walters assured us Marx spoke quite understandable English, on which basis we reassigned the interview to junior-assistant Tech-Elf Alex, because he was already booked on a flight to Bern for entirely unrelated purposes. While this proved a budgetary blessing, it meant handing the responsibility for the interview to a callow youth of 20, whose relative inexperience was worrisome. This in mind, we supplied Alex with a list of 20 questions for Marx, although. in the event, this method met with only partial success.

The redoubtable Mrs. Heffelfinger

It is young Alex’s unshakable testimony and firm belief that he witnessed the shade of Karl Marx summoned in the candlelit ambiance of Dr. Walters’s Victorian parlor,snugged in Zug’s Old Town district at the foot of beautiful Mount Zug. There, at twilight, May 1, 2019, Alex insists he interacted with the ghostly presence of “The Moore,” Karl Marx, and addressed him directly, Unhelpfully, Dr. Walters lapsed into a trance (also observed by Alex) and remembers nothing of the event after Marx’s materialization. The only additional witness apart from Dr. Walters’s cats, Rudolf and Helena, was his loyal secretary of several decades, Mrs. Heffelfinger, who confirmed Marx’s appearance—and who dutifully transcribed the dialogue between Alex and the ghostly presence, she being adept at shorthand, and fluent in English.

What follows, then, is what we believe may well constitute a record of a phenomenal event–an interview conducted by Tech Elf Alex. (last name withheld in deference to his WOOF affiliation and consequent anonymity) and the legendary founder of the sociopolitical-cum-historical philosophy generally known as COMMUNISM! We invite you to judge for yourselves. –Editors

Dr. Walters's study in Zug, scene of interview.

Dr. Walters’s study in Zug, scene of interview.

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Alex: Doctor Marx, I can see you—at least I guess it’s you—you look kind of like Brahms.

Marx: Young man, I am most definitely not Brahms—I am, as you clearly perceive, Karl Marx: philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, journalist, New York Tribune columnist, author of Das Kapital, and revolutionary. Brahms was a composer, and I cannot possibly discuss aesthetics in fewer than six or seven lectures, except to be dismissive of Wagner. You are not an admirer of his, I hope?

Alex: Uh—not really….

Marx: I should hope not. His romanticism in the service of what amounts to a total falsification of primitive times is intolerable. Also, it’s nationalistic propaganda—which is a betrayal of the potential of the musical arts. Brahms? You said Brahms? I prefer Beethoven, Mozart, and Handel. Engels liked Wagner; can you believe it? I couldn’t cure him of it!

By way of comparison, Johannes Brahms. Maybe Alex had a point, but not much of one.

Alex: Okay.

Marx: You also don’t need to call me “doctor,” I am not reliant on such elitist honorifics.

Alex: Okay. I’m sorry—I thought I read where you were in the Doctors’ club, or…

Marx: The Docktors Club? Ha! That club was for students! I joined while I was convalescing in Stralau—having been diagnosed with a weak chest. It was a good group of young scholars devoted to the philosophy of Hegel—are you familiar with Hegel’s works?

Alex: Well, I….

Marx: They say I plagiarized Hegel—can you plagiarize a man whose thought you amplified to cover the entire span of socioeconomic oppression through the ages, and in greater detail than his philosophies ever touched upon? So did you say you are familiar with Hegel?

Alex: Well, no ….I…

Marx: No? You must begin at once—pick up his Science of Knowledge, young man—but be warned, his metaphysics are deficient and mystical to a fault—No, it is his pure theory of dialectics you must grasp—because it will assist you in grasping my own theory of dialectical materialism.

Alex: The dialectical part—that’s what they say you sort of stole….

Marx: Liars! That is the part I perfected and trimmed of its gauzy esotericism! It formed the perfect backbone of my thinking—it permitted me to demonstrate the inevitability of the revolution of the proletariat, not to mention….

Hegel–who regardless of the dialectics controversy, doesn’t seem to resemble Brahms at all.

Alex: So I’m sorry, I didn’t know you weren’t really a doctor– and as for the revol–

Marx: Did I say I wasn’t? I said I abjure such bourgeois titles. If you must know, then, I earned a doctorate in philosophy in 1841 from the University of Berlin. Quite an accomplishment, by the way, given that even then the bourgeois state and its functionaries in the academy were set against me—determined as they were to obstruct any scholar who embraced Hegelian dialectics as a revolutionary philosophy! Also, I must admit I was pretty drunk most of the time in those days, which marginally impeded my—

Alex: Drunk? I never thought of you as–

Marx: Well of course, I overcame that defect. Mostly. But at the time I was somewhat prone to the bottle, and prone to getting into quarrels about philosophy, politics, religion, society—yes, I was quite outspoken. One might even say insolent. Back in Bonn I was tossed in jail for drinking and disturbing the peace. That’s also when I fought that duel.

Alex: I didn’t know you were ever in a duel!

Marx: Almost two of them–even three. The first time, I was drunk enough to show up—and the martinet who challenged me nearly killed me—he nicked the side of my eye—so, of course, I missed him completely. The other time was in England—I was supposed to duel someone on behalf of Engels, but I didn’t show up—why risk it, given the importance of my survival to the workers of the world? And just as a point of history, I was challenged also to a third duel by some idiot Prussian named Willich.  I declined, but a friend dueled Willich on my behalf and was wounded for his troubles. Anyway, after the dueling got out of hand, my father enrolled me at the University of Berlin because he wanted me to study law.

Karl Marx, reluctant gunfighter.

Alex: So, I guess you learned about law at that point…

Marx: Law? The law is mask for the enrichment of the holders of the means of production! The invalid erection of statutes serving only to protect bourgeois property…which is improperly called property, but never fear! The very autocracy that creates the chimera of law shall prove the means by which communism advances. It’s dialectically inevitable, but since you don’t understand dialectics, I suppose there’s no point in my continuing. Anyway, yes, I received a degree in law—big deal–a reward from the bourgeoisie for imbibing the juridical pretexts empowering the ruling class!

Alex: But I—I’d like to know about…

Marx: About how I evolved my critique of the bourgeoisie? Of course! It depended a lot on where I was, because I got thrown out of a lot of places. I think one of my first breakthroughs was in France—there was this guy, Bruno Bauer, a Hegelian and a mentor to me in the early days—you’ve heard of him?

Alex: Umm…possibly not—

Marx: No matter. Bauer is unimportant, except as a transitional figure whose misconceptions found antithesis in my correct ones. I first noticed he was wrong about Jews—he wrote this completely absurd tract about how Jews could become politically emancipated in Prussia—but he didn’t understand Jews at all—he failed to grasp that Jews are not understandable in a religious context—they can only be understood economically.

Bruno Bauer,–getting Jews all wrong, apparently even Jesus.

Alex:: Really?

Marx: Is that your first question?

Alex: No, no—I just meant, I always thought part of being Jewish was religion—maybe—

Marx: Ach, you’re as hopeless as Bauer! The real Jew is not understood through his religion, but rather by the real secret of his religion!

Alex: You mean, like—the Kabbalah?

Marx: Ach, that is such a stupid question, I won’t count it either. No, of course not—mysticism and transcendence are absurdities—they can never lead to truth—they only distort it in order to make it seem bearable to the masses—they are a principal tool of oppression!! The secret of the Jew, as I wrote in my essay–which you obviously haven’t read–is his practical need, his racial self-interest. What is the worldly religion of the Jew? Huckstering! What is his worldly God? Money! His god is only an illusory bill of exchange…. The chimerical nationality of the Jew is the nationality of the merchant, of the man of money in general…of capitalism! And then, I ended with this really snappy line, where I explained that in the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism! A little dialectical humor, get it?

Alex: But aren’t you Jewish?

Marx: All right, hold it right there, my young friend! Your inappropriate fixation on my lineage is irrelevant to matters fit for philosophical discussion, but since you’ve introduced the subject, let me just say, for your information, neither of my parents was a Jew!

Alex: Really? I–

Marx: Really! They both converted to Protestantism! And I? I, sir, was baptized Lutheran!

Karl Marx, lifelong Lutheran–nevertheless keeping company here with a well known Jew.

Alex: So–umm–

Marx: I can show you Jews, young man! Take that embarrassment to the socialist cause, that ignoramus Lassalle—

Alex: Who? Or wait—did that count as a question?

Marx: It certainly does not count as a question, for the simple reason that Lassalle doesn’t count as a human being—that repulsive combination of Jewry and negroid substance—that’s what I called him, and rightly so!

Alex:: I’m confused—he was Black, this Lassalle guy….but he was–

Marx: Not entirely, but you could see it in him—not just his simian cranial shape, either! His pushiness was also [N-word deleted]-like…

Ferdinand Lassalle–called “simian” by the Interviewee… not by us!

Alex: Oh! Uh, sir…sir, I think we have a policy against racist terminology, I don’t know if…

Marx: Das ist blödsinn! Your corporate overseers may indulge themselves in all the bourgeois conventions they like, young man, but you will find my remarks on Lassalle quoted in all the most important compendia of history’s great thoughts and thinkers! They wouldn’t dare deny my voice– and I was quite vocal about Lassalle! It was completely clear to me that he, as is proved by his cranial formation and his hair, descended from–very well–let us simply say Negroes, isn’t that the current bourgeois idiom?.

Alex: Uh—not really, but meanwhile, you were telling me how you came up with Communism.

Marx: Well! First, let us define our terms, since philology is essential to intellectual accuracy—that is, once relieved of capitalist distortions and falsities—so, in the interest of linguistic clarity, Communism is the philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment of the communist society, which is a socioeconomic order structured upon the common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes and money.

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