Commenting on remarks John McDonnell (shadow chancellor) and Jeremy Corbyn (UK Labour leader) made around there being much to learn from reading Das Kapital and about Marx being a great economist, The Economist (May 11th) notes
"The shadow chancellor's comment provoked scorn. Yet Marx becomes more relevant by the day".
The Economist reports -- and reproaches -- the jubilant reaction of the British gutter press and Tory politicos (those "on the right", is how The Economist describes them): "The Daily Telegraph dismissed Messrs McDonnell and Corbyn as 'the Marx brothers'. The Daily Mail reminded its readers of the murderous history of communism. David Gauke, a Conservative minister, warned that 'Labour's Marxist leadership' was planning to turn Britian into a 'hard-left experiment'. He added for good measure that Marx's thinking is 'nonsensical'."
As a Marxist, I have little to object to that. There are, however, three observations I would add.
First. It would be premature to conclude from that that The Economist suddenly became a Marxist publication. It most certainly didn't (but you'll have to read that piece to understand why).
Second. The British gutter press and Tory politicos could easily -- and rightfully -- appeal to the authority of American liberal/leftish academics (among others) in support of their views.
Third. Marx may have much to teach, that doesn't mean Tory politicos or American liberal/leftish academics have the desire (or the ability) to learn.
All of which adds little to our knowledge about British yellow journalism and mediocre Tory politicians. It does say a lot about the courage and dignity of characters like Corbyn and McDonnell; it also says plenty about American liberal/leftish academics, but what it says is much less flattering.