Neither Marx nor his contemporaries would ever have believed that his name would survive for 200 years. For his entire life, he had been known only in limited revolutionary and activist circles. His journalism and published works reached only a small audience. By the 1860s his works had not been in print for twenty years. He had hoped that Capital, published in 1867, would sell enough to liberate him from his lifelong, grinding, poverty. But only 1,000 copies were sold in five years in Germany. His funeral in 1883 was attended by 11 persons.

But he left a vast treasure of learning. Only in their twenties, both Marx and Engels wrote works which made little mass impact at the time, but which have become vastly important in the history of ideas. The most famous of them, now the most recognised political tract of all time, the Communist Manifesto, written in 1848, is still revelatory of capitalism’s contradictions and its trajectory (Yanus Varouflakis “Marx predicted the present crisis and points the way out” April 20 2018). Marx’s ‘Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts’ and Engels, ‘The Condition of the Working Class in England,’ both published in 1844, were to become important classics in the nineteenth century discourse on political economy. Other major publications by Marx include The German Ideology (1845), The Poverty of Philosophy (1847), The Eighteenth Braumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1850), Contribution to Critique of Political Economy (1859), Capital Vol 1 (1867) and dozens more.

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The Christmas season, referred to as the season of goodwill, will see Guyanese of all religious persuasions seizing the opportunity of participating in all that the season has to offer. They delight in the exchange of gifts, pamper the children and enjoy family gatherings. Some try to bring cheer to the less fortunate. Many Christians take the opportunity of reaffirming their faith, to give thanks and to celebrate the life and work of Jesus Christ. All participate in the fanfare of welcoming the New Year. Some consume too much alcohol and drive recklessly.

In this period religion plays an important, sometimes a dominant, role in the lives of many people in Guyana and around the world. Christians engage in religious observances and reflect on the lessons that Jesus in His short time on earth left with us. Different people are moved or motivated by particular aspects of the teachings of Jesus, depending on their special interests. Jesus’s clear, outspoken and uninhibited partisanship towards the poor, oppressed, disadvantaged and sick are what appeal most to me.

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