6. feb, 2019

Karl Marx and Jeffrey Sachs in Antwerp

This morning I was at Antwerp University and listened to Jeffrey Sachs, who gave a masterclass upon receiving the  degree of Honoris Causa for general merit  . Yesterday evening I was at the Antwerp theater Arenberg, and listened to Karl Marx, who was brought to life after a career of 200 years after he was born by actor Johan Heldenberghand writer Stefaan Van Brabandt in a wonderful monologue (here is a   beautiful review  - in Dutch).

Both men spoke passionately for about one and a half hour. Heldenberg was good - he became Marx. I saw more and more similarities! Their inspiration is real, their passionate involvement in inequality, their anger about the situation in the world. Another similarity to acceptance was that Marx and Sachs had great ideas, that turned sour when they were tried out. This was Marx and not Marxism. Seven people attended his funeral in London in 1883. Millions died because of horrible interpretations of 'Marxism'. Sachs has been portrayed as a man or almost pathological drive and egotism, which has led to successes and refusal to listen or learn from criticism.Markx and Sachs both seem devoid of doubt, refusing to answer, dismissive or anyone who disagrees with them  . Granted, it was Sachs speaking, and not the millennium villages. His ideas reduced less harm. Sachs is very much alive, so let's not speculate about his funeral. It seems likely that there will be more than seven people, but it is too early to say that people pay $ 5, - to visit his grave 135 years after his death, as people now Marx 'grave.

So perhaps it is not always only about the outcome, and perhaps sometimes the intention may count too. I was impressed by the call for action from both. To get up and do something about obscene inequity, to not accept how multinationals get away with criminal behavior, to get up and fix ‘Europe’ because it’s the only place where things can come from now that the US has lost it. Marx finished his monologue quoting St Augustinuswho said "Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger is the way things are, and courage to see that they are not the way they are. "He wishes us a lot of this child or anger. And so did Sachs, without quoting saints. He urged us to do something new, and also that change happen.


Willem van de Put, 28-03-2018