Marx did not let his irresponsibility toward his family get in his way of devising ways to ‘change and improve’ the world. In 1862 a great international exhibition was held in London (until I started study for this series I had no idea that there were such roots of communism in England) to proudly parade industrial achievements of nineteenth century capitalism. Countries were encouraged to send representatives of their workers to exchange ideas and good will with the workers of other countries. British labor leaders considered this an excellent time to set up an international workers’ organization. In time they were able to establish a permanent “International” with headquarters in London. One of the leaders named Eccarius, who had at one time been a right hand man to Marx during the days of the Communist League, invited Marx to participate. What an opportunity! Marx immediately set about to insert himself. The new organization was called the International Workingmen’s Association or First International. By careful maneuvering behind the scenes he was able to get nearly all his ideas adopted in preference to weaker, more peaceful programs. He admitted he had been forced to make compromises in order to keep peace. But nonetheless he had made an inroad to further his socialist views. He went to work on a preamble to the rules including phrases about ‘duty’ and ‘right’; also about truth, morality and justice but placed them so that they cannot do any harm to his agenda, telling his followers we must be strong in the substance, but moderate in the form. (How many ‘Christians’ today fall for this method to sell a lie from Satan?) It did not take long for his moderate approach to evolve into his true intentions. He was concerned about two things: first, the need to create a hard core of disciplined revolutionists who could inflame the workers of the major industries with a will to act, and secondly the need to eliminate any who might threaten Marx’s leadership. He was already contemplating a party purge.
The first to feel the force of the new campaign was the German labor leader, Herr von Schweitzer. When it came to dealing with a comrade marked for party liquidation both Marx and Engels were completely without mercy. Using fake accusations Schweitzer was alleged to have been working for Bismarck, the Iron Man of Germany, making him a traitor to the cause of labor. Another party pillar to fall under the purge was Mikhail Bakunin, a Russian to become interested in revolutionary activities. Having escaped from a Russian prison he took up residence in Geneva. Advocating Marx’s principles in the labor movement many began to gravitate to his leadership. In Marx’s view that was a traitorous act. Marx immediately set out to destroy him. Through fake charges Marx succeeded in getting the International to oust Bakunin from the Association. Marx would not stand for any challenge to his leadership…after all it was his goal to make man a servant in the image Marx had devised. (Today I believe we call it ‘cancel culture’.) But Marx’s quest for dominance in the party created such violent suspicion, distrust, and party dissention that it brought the First International to total destruction.
Much of Marx’s motivation to make the International Workingmen’s Association into a great world movement was his desire to put into practice the very theories he was struggling to put down on paper. For several years he concentrated on two projects…the International and his “book”. Both projects drained him of his normal physical strength. This permitted an old liver ailment to flare up again. Shortly after he started suffering from a rash of boils. This ill health was to plague him the rest of his life. (I can’t help but wonder if this was the punishment he received for living a Godless life.) The work that so consumed him was the research and preparation for the first volume of Capital. Marx was convinced that a revolution would never succeed unless the working masses had a revolutionary philosophy of history, economics, and social progress. (This is why it is so important for parents to know what children are being taught in school. This may come as a surprise, but communist theology has worked its way into the education system.) Marx wrote Capital in order to show why the violent overthrow of the present order was not only justified but inescapable. Capital did not prove to be the literary triumph which Marx and Engels had both expected. It would take another generation for Capital to have its intended impact.
By 1875 Marx had little satisfaction to draw from his life of struggle. Marx continued writing two more volumes but the flame was going out of him. After Marx’s death it would remain the task of Engels to publish the second volume in 1885 and the third volume in 1894. The closing years for Karl Marx were sterile, lonely ones. Always there would be his wife Jenny to give comfort and consolation. But the Marx children bore the scars of their upbringing. Marx interfered with the courtship of his daughter, Eleanor. The courtship did not go well and she ended up committing suicide. Another daughter, Laura, married a renegade doctor and later died with him in a suicide pact. His beloved wife… the gentle, aristocratic and long-suffering companion… died of cancer in 1881. Thirteen months later his favorite daughter, Jenny, suddenly died. He survived her by only two months. On March 14, 1883, he died at age 64 while sitting alone in his favorite chair. Only seven persons followed his casket to Highgate cemetery in London. His only abiding friend, Friedrich Engels, read a funeral oration. It granted him in death what Marx was never granted in life…a tribute of glowing praise.
Karl Marx projected into Communism the very essence of his own nature. His personal attitude toward religion, morals, and competition in everyday existence led him to long for an an age when men would have no religion, morals, or competition in everyday existence. He wanted to live in a classless, stateless, noncompetitive society where there would be such lavish production that men, by simply producing according to their apparent ability, would automatically receive a superabundance of all material needs.
To close out this week you may wonder why I cover the history of communism in talking about politics and the church. It is important that we understand that liberalism/progressivism/communism is not just an agenda that is 50 or 75 years old. It didn’t even start with the Russian revolution. It was implanted into the minds of men by Satan long before that. As Christians we might wonder how such theories can survive. Satan has been around for a long time and he is very patient…so are his minions. People have been duped by the promises of communism for a long time and today some of our leaders are falling into the trap. Some of these leaders are in the church. Some are even professing theories that support communism…such as questioning the Word of God. In the weeks to come I will try to bring to light the threat that the church is experiencing nowadays. It’s real and if we refuse to acknowledge who the enemy is the war will be lost. Yes, Satan is the enemy but his soldiers are active and are dedicated. We as Christians must also be active…and more dedicated.
“We can easily go with the flow by conforming our morals, beliefs, and behaviors to the culture, becoming indistinguishable from it.” Gary Inrig