Prague, Czech Republic—In the bicentennial of his birth, a public lecture held by UPF asked the question “Who Was Karl Marx in Reality?”
The lecture, which took place on May 24, 2018, in the UPF Peace Embassy in Prague, featured as lecturer Herbert Giller, an Austrian journalist and writer who has lectured on this topic throughout Central Europe. The room was full, with six new guests coming for the first time.
There were three reasons to organize this lecture:
- Marx’s hometown of Trier, Germany, had unveiled a statue of Marx on May 5, the 200th anniversary of the philosopher’s birth. At the ceremony the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, defended Marx's legacy. He said that we should understand Marx in the historical context and that he was not responsible for the crimes of communism. This statement triggered a sharp reaction, especially in the post-communist countries.
- On May 14, 2018, an article appeared on the front page of the mainstream Czech publication Lidové noviny (“The People’s Newspaper”), dealing with this issue. Several relevant and public figures were asked to give their opinion. Some claimed that Marx was a good philosopher and economist who had good intentions. Only one person offered the opinion that Marxism was wrong in its roots and had wrong presumptions.
- At this time many godless ideologies are trying to infiltrate our society. Young people, especially, who have had no experience living under the former communist regime, are vulnerable to adopting some hidden ideology.
Herbert Giller gave a fascinating lecture on Marx. The very diverse audience that filled the room was surprised by his comparison of Karl Marx and Jesus. In a detailed analysis the speaker showed the differences between these two historical figures—each of whom wanted to change the world, although in different ways. Jesus spoke of the spiritual and internal transformation of people, whereas Marx advocated the change of the environment and violent revolution.
Mr. Giller also mentioned in his lecture the neo-Marxism that is still alive. There are no ethics or morals in Marxism, and still people are attracted to this teaching. Marx needed the proletariat as a resentful group of people in order to justify the struggle and violent revolution. Any reconciliation in Marxism is impossible—which is in strong contrast to Christian thought. According to the speaker, Marx was looking for some argument to replace God with materialism.
The basic assumptions of Marxism are opposite to those of Christianity and basically pursue the destruction of Christian culture. After many years of tragic experience we can see the results: Marxist theory does not work in practice. Now the assumption that God exists should be given a chance, Mr. Giller said in concluding his lecture.
After the lecture finished, the audience had many questions—more than could be answered in the allotted time. One Marxist professor tried to defend Marx and his ideology, but finally he admitted that the lecture was very interesting.