"If I am correct, you, Mr. President are expected to attend the May 4 celebrations in Trier, to commemorate 200 years from the birth of Karl Marx and to deliver a speech on this occasion at the Konstantin Basilika.
Having represented Estonia in the EPP Group since 2004, and before that, having lived for 50 years under the Communist totalitarian dictatorship which was based officially on marxism-leninism, I cannot avoid feeling dismay if one of the highest representatives of democratic Europe plans actively to celebrate an individual whose life mission was advocating for implacable class struggle, for the destruction without compromise of all „enemies of the working class“ and for establishing a dictatorship of proletariat which became the absolute negation of democracy.
It is not by chance that the policies and mass repressions of later totalitarian dictators Lenin, Stalin, Mao Zedong and many others were based on Marx's teaching which was officially called marxism-leninism. As a result, the term „marxism“ has been further compromised by the bloody systematic practices of its executors in the same way as the swastika is unavoidably associated with Hitler’s crimes.
While Karl Marx did voice support for working people whom he saw as being unfairly exploited by capitalists, it is absolutely false to see him as an innocent utopian whose ideas were distorted by his followers. The opposite is true: the communist mass murderers of the 20th century did not misinterpret Marx’s original doctrine, they implemented it par excellence. Marx’s teaching of communism proceeds from the concept of collective guilt of the capitalist class against whom the use of mass terror is justified. In Marx’s view, violent revolutions are not just permitted, but mandatory for making a better world. „The class struggle must definitely lead to the dictatorship of proletariat“, Marx wrote in 1852. „When our turn will come, we are not going to hide our terrorism“, he declared on another occasion.
The terms „class enemy“, „revolutionary terror“, „reactionary forces“, „dictatorship of proletariat“ are not phrases constructed by Lenin and Stalin - they are the fundamentals of original marxism. In Marx’s understanding, individuals are determined exclusively by their class belonging. In other words, contradictions between social classes are insurmountable therefore, a normal dialogue between people belonging to different classes is impossible. According to Marx, democracy is pointless self-deception. Marxism denies in principle individual freedoms, person’s individuality, democratic proceedings and social compromises. Marx would have probably seen the Universal Human Rights Declaration and UN Charter as a capitalist plot against the proletarian revolution.
In Europe, social justice and equality were not achieved based on Marx’s teaching but by abandoning it. It makes much more sense to value figures like Eduard Bernstein who rejected Marx’s revolutionary model and based socialism on moral arguments. The precondition for the birth of modern social democracy (a term Marx himself detested) and even eurocommunism was the abnegation of the core of Marx’s historic philosophy – the use of violence and terror as legitimate instruments for social change.
So why celebrate Marx as a great European thinker and trailblazer? One can mark only the failure of Marx’s main teaching. Even worse, this failure was realized at the cost of unimaginable violence, aggressions, mass terror and trampling on the fundamental rights of hundreds of millions. Marx’s ideological legacy cannot be separated from its odious consequences.
Having said that, I address you, Mr. President, if you go to Trier – in my opinion, it would be better not attend such an event to avoid misinterpretations – you have the responsibility to represent the other half of Europe that fell victim to the implementation of Marx’s teaching. The reality of tens of millions of victims of communist regimes is too serious to ignore or to make compromises. I don’t know how you will resolve this dilemma. All I can do is to advise you to follow your conscience in the best way you can. As for me, I started to do the same in the 1960s by distancing myself in every way possible from the lies and criminal practices of the Soviet repressive apparatus. This enabled me gradually to rebuild my personal dignity and to strengthen my resolve to oppose the omnipotent marxist-leninist system and respect for Western democracy."