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Young Britons breathing new life into Marx's ideals
Last Updated: 2018-05-04 10:06 | China Daily
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Interest growing, especially as 200th birth anniversary approaches

The second the spinning machines were turned on to twist cotton to make yarn, the thunderous noise became so unbearable that visitors had to plug their ears.

In a demonstration at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, the staff are trying to show the long and complex process that turns raw cotton into cloth, with real machines left from 19th century mills.

The show, held on a regular basis at the museum, relives the wretched condition of the old Victorian cotton mills that witnessed the darkest chapter of workers' lives in modern human history due to ruthless profiteering.

What helped motivate Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels to embark on a lifelon

g fight for justice and communist ideals still resonates to this day ahead of the bicentenary of Marx's birthday on Saturday.

"It brought back all the memories," said 54-year-old visitor Katy Turnbull.

Like many in Manchester, Turnbull has a grandmother who used to work in a mill as a weaver.

"My grandma used to tell me the stories when I was young. It was impossible to imagine how hard life could be for the workers," Turnbull said.

A huge black and white picture of a little girl was placed in front of the machines. Children were employed to fix broken threads and sweep the floor as it was easier for them to get under the machines. The youngest workers in the mills were 5 to 6 years old.

In his landmark work The Condition of the Working-Class in England, Engels used the phrase "social murder", accusing the bourgeoisie, the class which held social and political control, of placing "hundreds of proletarians in such a position that they inevitably meet a too early and an unnatural death".

Interest in the works of Marx and Engels seems to be on the rise, especially in the run-up to the 200th anniversary of Marx's birth.

Jonathan Schofield, who runs a tour business, said two tours scheduled for Saturday, Marx's birthday, were sold out two months in advance.

Schofield said his tours have drawn an increasing proportion of young people, who since the Brexit vote have become more interested in politics and the widening gap between the rich and the poor in the United Kingdom.

"Maybe sometimes we think that this is just an old story, but no, it has a real echo, a real resonance for today as well, and young people appreciate that," he said.

Britain has seen rising support for socialist ideas in recent years, as shown by public support for the opposition Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn.

"Marxist ideas are not alien in Britain," said Alain Kahn, senior librarian at the Working Class Movement Library in Salford.

"The rising support for the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn is the best proof that Marx's critique of the capitalist economics is pretty solid and still holds today," he said.


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