Change is the Only Constant
(NOTE: This is a draft of an essay that I plan to continually working on over time. There is already a significant amount of work here, and the basic thesis will remain the same, but this post will become somewhat of a “Manifesto” of this blog. This draft was originally published on September 7th, 2011, but I will continue to build on it and edit it, so read it now, check back often, and read it again.)
The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living. – Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (1852)
The quote above comes from Karl Marx’s critique of the French President turned Emperor Napoleon III, the nephew of the French Emperor of the early eighteenth century. Napoleon III was democratically elected president of the Second French Republic before leading a coup d’état to become the Emperor of the Second French Empire. Marx’s abrasive critique of Napoleon III’s rise to power is, in my opinion, one of Marx’s best writings. One of the major problems he had with Napoleon III and the Second French Empire was that it appealed to French tradition of the Napeolonic Era, which French people adorned as a time of its great power and influence. Napoleon III lacked the leadership skills of his uncle, but he shared the name and appealed to that tradition, which gave him credibility with many French. Marx’s point was that — in a time of revolutionary distress — instead of embracing progressive or radical change, the French people and Napoleon III looked to the past to find names, symbols, imagery, that provided nostalgia for a supposed better time. In short, traditions of past generations haunt the beliefs of the living generation who cling to symbols of the past to find comfort during times of change. Marx’s quote relates to and can explain many conservative beliefs that continue to look to the past to resolve political problems.
Many Americans cling to a mythical tradition of the American Revolution without acknowledging its radical intent. The United States experimented with a revolutionary government following its declaration of independence from Great Britain in 1776. Instead of a monarchical government where a King and/or Queen rule the country, and pass on their power to their royal heirs, the “founding fathers” (or Framers) decided that the government should be represented by the people and for the people. Granted, their conception of “the people” was limited to land-owning (wealthy) white men, but the idea that people should directly influence and represent the government was still truly novel. The U.S. government was to be a democracy, or more accurately, a republic, and the Constitution was passed in 1787 that created state governments and a federal government, each with checks and balances to ensure no one person or faction could dominate American society. Despite its faults, and it had many, it was a revolutionary experiment that inspired other revolutions and created a precedent that future democratic governments modeled themselves on.
The industrial revolution and the rise of capitalism in the middle of the nineteenth century impacted the American democracy in ways that the writers of the Constitution never imagined. Thomas Jefferson believed that the self-sufficient American farmer represented the true identity of the American people. Although Jefferson’s vision was idealistic and impractical, it surely differed from the industrial capitalists that emerged in the late nineteenth century and ended up dominating American politics.
As capitalism developed, those who owned private property also owned the means of production, whether it be land, factories, tools, or natural resources. Prior to capitalism, most non-agricultural laborers had a skilled trade: they would build chairs, tables, clothing, etc., and often would sell or trade these commodities. Under capitalism, there was little need for skilled labor: factories could produce these commodities at a much faster and cheaper rate than individuals. As production of these commodities increased, so did the consumption of them, and therefore so did the wealth of the owners and managers of the factories. The wages for the laborers, however, lagged behind the rise of the capitalists’ profits, creating a large disparity in wealth. This disparity in wealth created new forms of political corruption and allowed the capitalists to influence politicians through their wealth, which provided them with a much stronger voice in government than the working class had. Workers attempted to form unions to empower themselves, but the capitalists used their wealth to overpower unions and influence the government to continually side with the owners rather than the workers.
Even though the Framers of the Constitution favored the wealthy class, they never envisioned the extreme disparity of wealth and how the elite would end up using their wealth to dictate politics and dominate the working class. If the “founding fathers” anticipated these changes in the economy, they would have embraced changes to the Constitution. Thomas Jefferson, who was truly a radical thinker for his time, knew that change is inevitable; as technology changes, so does the economy, and so does society, and the government needs to change with it. Hence, Jefferson oftentimes advocated frequent rebellions or revolutions to ensure the government would progress with the inevitable changes in society:
I hold it, that a little rebellion, now and then, is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. (1787)
God forbid we should ever be twenty years without such a rebellion . . . And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them . . . The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. (1787)
These quotations have often been used to advocate rebellion from the right more than the left (see: Tim McVeigh), but the spirit of the quotes — in contrast to what some conservatives want to believe — is that, without rebellion, the government remains stagnant and fails to keep up to date with changes in society. I do not fully agree with them or advocate violent rebellions, but it is important to remember that what Jefferson was advocating was progressive change, not reactionary. In a sense, Jefferson’s quote is similar to the Marx quote from the beginning of this post; both Marx and Jefferson believed that progressive changes are necessary to keep up with changes in society, and neither wanted traditions to prevent the necessary political and social changes. Just as Jefferson advocated progressive change away from the tradition of the British monarchy, he expected the people to continue to advocate progressive change along with changes in society.
With the rise of industrial capitalism in the nineteenth century, the economy and society went through a drastic revolution that gave an inordinate amount of power to the wealthy elite, who were able to directly influence the government to fit their agenda at the expense of others, but the government failed to keep up to date with the changes. Granted, there were some changes to the government, and the outlawing of slavery was a significant step forward, but the failure to uphold Reconstruction allowed the South to maintain a racial caste system, and thereby prevented major changes. If blacks were allowed to participate in politics following the Reconstruction Era, and the ex-Confederates remained barred from participating in politics, the regional and national political system would have looked completely different. Imagine the shift in politics if blacks voted and the Confederate sympathizers could not; the poor and oppressed would have much more representation and influence in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century government, and the wealthy would have much less. Perhaps then, and this is mere speculation, the white working class would have recognized the political power of blacks and welcomed an alliance with them, which would have been a strong challenge to the power of capitalism. Reconstruction provided the U.S. an excellent opportunity to adjust its government to the rise of capitalism, but the North grew tired of it, allowed the South to return to its tradition of a racial caste system, and embraced a form laissez-faire government with unregulated capitalism. Hence, little changed, and the same basic government ruled completely different societies and economies in 1787 and 1887.
Since then, capitalism has evolved far beyond what even Karl Marx envisioned. Capitalism has altered the structure of the entire world; there is not a country or society that is untouched by the effects of capitalism. Capitalists in Europe and the U.S. promoted imperialist policies that led them to colonize the rest of the world. Europe carved up Africa and most of Asia amongst themselves, while the U.S. dominated Latin America and attempted to spread its influence in Africa and Asia. Colonial empires drew up fabricated borders to mark their own territory without consideration of the ethnic and cultural differences of the people they attempted to rule, which continues to have disastrous consequences amid the postcolonial nations. Lenin theorized that the reason capitalism did not collapse as Marx had predicted was because imperialism provided new markets for capitalist nations to exploit, and therefore Lenin proclaimed that imperialism was the “Highest Stage of Capitalism.” Whether or not this is why capitalism did not collapse is irrelevant because either it undoubtedly helped capitalism thrive, and multinational corporations — another novelty unforeseen even by the early capitalists, not to mention the framers of the Constitution — actively pushed imperialist agendas on their governments. There are plenty of examples to prove this: the United Fruit Company set up puppet governments — so-called “banana republics” — in Guatemala and Honduras with the assistance of the U.S. government and military, which basically let the United Fruit Company to control nearly all of the land and exploit foreign workers to grow fruit that would be sold back to Americans; also, the C.I.A. overthrew a democratically elected government in Iran to install the Shah in order to preserve the Anglo-Persian Oil Company’s (APOC, which later changed its name to British Petroleum [BP]) access to its oil. These are only a couple examples of a long history of corporations using the power of the government to exploit the resources and labor of foreign countries. These are activities performed by a supposed democratic government, but the people had absolutely no say or knowledge of it. The corporations used their wealth to influence these illicit activities, and the American people only learned about them later.
Capitalism has tainted the U.S. democratic government in domestic and foreign affairs, and these are interrelated. The globalization of capitalism has allowed multinational corporations to reach markets throughout the world. As a result, they are able to exploit more labor while moving jobs from the U.S. to foreign countries where they are not required to provide workers adequate pay or rights. In addition, they are able to acquire more natural resources, and sell their commodities back to the people they exploit in the foreign markets. The globalization of capitalism has resulted in far more profits for the capitalist class, but has taken jobs away from Americans in favor of exploiting people in foreign nations with far less rights, therefore damaging the people in the U.S. and abroad. In the U.S., there is a decreasing need for laborers because technology has replaced them for cheaper and the productive sector has been moved almost entirely overseas, causing the U.S. labor force to become predominately a service industry. With all these changes in society and the economy, the government continues to operate under the same framework that it did 224 years ago. What the framers of the Constitution created was a good government for its time, but it is unrealistic to assume that the same government can operate with minimal changes after capitalism has revolutionized society. The government needs to progress and catch up with the changes in the economy and society since the late eighteenth century. This is not to say that the Constitution needs to be thrown out and completely disregarded; there is plenty to use and learn from it that is still relevant today. But to assume that the Constitution can be used the same way in 2011 as it was in 1787 is simply naive. Yet, Tea Party candidates continue to call themselves “Constitutional conservatives” and blast Obama for “violating the Constitution” (without ever actually pointing out how he specifically violated it). Thomas Jefferson would be disgusted about Americans’ lack of progressive reforms over the last 224 years due to America’s adulation over a document written in 1776.
The American government has had some reforms since the industrial revolution: workers have more rights and protection, a minimum wage, a maximum amount of hours that can be worked in a week, the right to vote has been extended to minorities and non-whites, and other changes. Most of these advances took place under Theodore Roosevelt during the “Progressive Era,” under Franklin Delano Roosevelt during the “New Deal,” and in the 1960s thanks to the Civil Rights Movement and the counter-culture movement. However, in the large scheme of things, these have been minor political reforms compared to the significant changes that the economy has undergone over the past 150+ years. Capitalism is always years ahead of the reforms. By the time of Theodore Roosevelt’s reforms, the U.S. already began its imperialist interventions in other nations, allowing them to exploit labor and resources abroad. The majority of Roosevelt’s “New Deal” reforms only lasted a few years before a conservative Congress repealed them, causing the economy to go through a second wave of the Depression. The Civil Rights Movement had potential for revolutionary change, but the government — just like during Reconstruction — stopped short of going far enough with the changes. While outlawing segregation and providing blacks the right to vote was a step forward, it did not change the economic reality of the problems for black Americans, therefore keeping the majority of blacks in a lower class. In addition, the power of corporations by this time had become strong enough to minimize the significance of a new voting bloc. These changes, while progressive, did not go far enough and still trailed the advances of capitalism. Furthermore, to force these changes requires the people to express their frustration and determination in large numbers. Yet, it is becoming harder for Americans to understand the problems because it is easier for the mass media to manipulate Americans’ opinions.
The majority of Americans simply are misinformed about the political situation in the U.S. The unemployment rate is high, and corporate profits are also high, but whenever the idea of raising corporate taxes comes up, conservatives demand that it will take away jobs. As if a corporation, due to paying lower taxes, will hire unnecessary additional employees; or as if a corporation will go out of business and lay off its employees because it has to pay a slightly larger amount back to the government. If corporations decide to relocate overseas for cheaper labor, they should be penalized and be required to pay higher taxes. Conservatives insist that the government cannot create job; that only the private sector can create jobs. The idea that the private sector and public sector are completely separate is a myth; if the two were truly separate, then corporations should not be allowed to contribute to political campaigns or sponsor them, which they should not be able to anyway. Of course the government can create jobs in the public sector to boost the economy. Public schools and universities, police departments, fire departments, park services, museums, public hospitals, streets and highways, public transportation, etc. depend on money from the public sector to pay their employees. If the U.S. government wants to create jobs, it should invest more money in various departments in the public sector: education, museums, libraries, hospitals, fire departments, police departments, etc. Creating these jobs will provide more consumption, which is currently sagging, causing corporations to lay off even more workers due to the lack of demand. Yet, instead of raising corporate taxes and investing that money back into the public sector, the government — using the logic of the Tea Party — insists on cutting corporate taxes while cutting public spending to remove the country’s enormous deficit. Yes, the deficit is a problem, but the government’s solution to the deficit will only prolong it by keeping people out of work and pushing the economy back into a recession.
The idea that the government is wasting money by funding public activities is absurd. One of the U.S.’s greatest feats was the creation of public education. Public schools significantly advanced America’s education in the nineteenth century, and we should continue to support it. One has to assume that, if public education did not already exist, and Obama suggested it today, the Tea Party Republicans would maliciously attack him and declare that he is a communist until he is forced to surrender to their demands. Honestly, based on the mentality of many Americans today, the idea of the government funding a public program such as education seems fairly radical. Why should the government waste money into the public sector when the private sector can do better? Remember, the Tea Party tells us, the public sector cannot create jobs. Surely the idea of public schools must have come from some radical, perhaps even a Marxist. After all, Karl Marx directly advocated “free education for all children in public schools” in the Communist Manfesto. So whose idea was public education in the U.S., and who strongly advocated it? Well, I’ll be damned, Thomas Jefferson was the first American to propose and strongly advocate the government funding public education. Furthermore, Jefferson’s emphasis on public education was to avoid biblical studies, because children are too young to make that choice for themselves, but instead he believed that children should learn history, which is one of the most neglected departments in the current U.S. While Jefferson believed, and stressed for the last decade of his life, that public education was necessary and significant for the U.S. to become a better country and better government because what good is a democracy if the voters are not intelligent? However, education is now looked down upon by the same people who — as reactionaries — believe we need to return to the tradition of the “founding fathers'” beliefs, while these conservatives ignore what they actually said.
The U.S. has become an anti-intellectual country where the brightest minds are outsiders because people see them as “ivory tower elitists,” and the market discourages people from becoming intellectuals because the demand for them is so low. As a result, intellectuals have little influence in the government, and the people support political candidates who reject intellectualism. The Republicans currently have two leading presidential candidates who openly reject evolution! Instead of listening to intellectuals, who are the most educated and informed of anyone about various issues, these candidates rely on the advice of the entities that use their wealth to support the campaigns of these political candidates: corporations and lobbies.
This is the problem with the mixture of capitalism and democracy in its current manifestation. All candidates need the support of corporations and lobbies to get elected, which makes them more important than the individual citizens who vote. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s now (in)famous quote that “corporations are people” makes all the more sense when one realizes that, in the game of politics, he is right: corporations are THE people; actually the people themselves are relatively meaningless in the U.S.’s “neo-capitalist post-democracy.” By “neo-capitalist,” I mean that capitalism has evolved beyond the capitalism that developed in the late nineteenth century; this new phase of capitalism is supported by workers’ unions, increasingly relies on foreign interventions, and it accepts limited government regulations as a way for it to survive without it actually changing the structure of capitalism; by “post-democracy,” I mean that democracy is no longer truly represents the people, but represents corporations and lobbies that have much more sway over elections and the government than the people themselves. Hence, a “neo-capitalist post-democracy” represents a government that maintains the structure of capitalism, but finds new markets to exploit and makes limited concessions to the domestic workers and governments only to to maintain its grip of power, while the democracy itself is completely dominated by the capitalist corporations and lobbies; thereby, the democracy is corrupted by an evolved form of capitalism that has adjusted to the political currents of the time, while the government itself has failed to make the necessary adjustments.
The citizen can vote for a candidate, but the available candidates are limited in what they can represent by who is funding them — the corporations and the lobbies. I already discussed the influence of corporations, but I have not discussed lobbies yet. The U.S.’s continued unfettered support of Israel, despite its human rights abuses and violations of international law, is the most obvious example of the power of lobbies. The American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) provides an enormous amount of funding to both parties, and no candidate can win office without AIPAC’s support and the guarantee to support Israel in any event, while Palestine has virtually no representation in the government. Hence, the U.S. supports Israel in every issue and allows Israel to continue its occupation of the Palestinian territories. The American voter has no influence on the U’s relations with Israel and Palestine, and most Americans fail to even understand what the problem is in the Middle East. Actually, the U.S. government has no real influence on Israel / Palestine relations, because Israel will do whatever it wants in the region regardless of what the U.S. advises, but the government continues to pour money into them and defend them at every opportunity because politicians need to do so to get elected. Likewise, corporations throw money at politicians to demand they not raise taxes on them or enforce any new regulations on them, and the politicians follow because it is the only way they can get elected. In an odd twist, I actually agree with Sarah Palin’s recent condemnation of “Corporate Crony Capitalism,” because she is right that crony corporations (and lobbies) cling on politicians and persuade them on policies. In an even more ironic twist, she works for Fox News, owned by News Corp., what is more corporate crony capitalism than that? This is not a Democrat or Republican thing, but every politician is a product of this, and there is no escaping it if one wants to get elected. One needs to depend on the profits of How is that true democracy? It’s not, it’s a neo-capitalist tainted post-democracy.
Does anyone believe that this is what Thomas Jefferson or the other authors of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution envisioned when they wrote those documents? Of course not! Jefferson would have expected the government to have evolved with the economy and society instead of letting the the economy evolve and exploit the stagnant government. Meanwhile, conservatives rallying around the “Tea Party” attempt to co-opt Jefferson as if what he believed would represent them. Thomas Jefferson was radical for his time, and now he’s being pigeon holed into this conservative nostalgia for unregulated capitalism. Marx’s call that “tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living” when American politicians attempt to use a document from 1787 to solve the current political and economic crises. While the right attempts to co-opt Jefferson, here is obvious proof that Thomas Jefferson was a “leftist” for his time. The terms political terms “Left” and “Right” come from the French Revolution, when the revolutionaries who wanted change sat at the left of the King, while the loyalists who wanted to preserve the status quo sat at the right of the King. As a result, left represents progressives who want change, while the right represents conservatives who want to preserve the status quo. Jefferson, as an advocate of Republicanism and an admirer of French politics and culture, supported the “left” revolutionaries. Although he was critical of the violence that ensued, he still supported the revolution and the left, which — in addition to his own revolutionary politics in the United States — proves that he was radical for his time and he was not content with a conservative ideology that maintained the status quo.
Returning to the present, the current American government does not represent the individual citizen, but it represents corporations and lobbies while the people have minimal influence. For Americans to be heard, for change to happen, the people need to organize and demonstrate to force change (see: Civil Rights Movement), and it takes a lot of people to contribute a lot of work in order to make even just a little progress. It has become increasingly difficult, however, for Americans to organize for change when the public is increasingly misinformed by a mass media that is on a 24/7 news cycle that infiltrates every home and easily influences people’s perceptions. Again, this is why intellectualism is important for the improvement of the country; the U.S. needs more people who will seek out information on their own and not wait until it is delivered to them in a simplistic, convenient, and propagandistic format, and the people who are willing to research for themselves need to have more influence than the corporations and lobbies who are simply looking out for their own interests. The influence of Fox News on the right-wing swing since the Clinton era cannot be overstated. Americans have become paranoid due to the crazy conspiracies that Fox News spins out, and many people do not know who or what to believe. But again, this ties back to capitalism’s influence on democracy; not just anyone can start a cable news network with influential (though misleading) anchors, it takes a large corporation. News Corp.’s role in influencing the public through its various news outlets is pure propaganda; it’s essentially a reactionary version of muckrake journalism. Sure, MSNBC is liberal compared to Fox News, but its ratings are lower, meaning it has less influence, and its agenda is much more moderate. MSNBC does not push for radical change, while Fox News is extremely reactionary. Nonetheless, if people rely on either of these networks for their news and political sources, they will not be educated to vote in a logical manner, and certainly not educated enough to undermine the power of the corporations and lobbies.
While discussing the lack of education of America’s voters, I must reference Neil deGrasse Tyson’s recent column. Recently, he was asked what he would do if he was president, and he answered that the problem is not with America’s politicians, but with America’s voters. I suggest you read the entire entry, but here is a sample:
One objective reality is that our government doesn’t work, not because we have dysfunctional politicians, but because we have dysfunctional voters. As a scientist and educator, my goal, then, is not to become President and lead a dysfunctional electorate, but to enlighten the electorate so they might choose the right leaders in the first place.
Indeed, Neil deGrasse Tyson is correct: to fix the U.S.’s problem, the electorate needs to be more educated to understand what they are voting for. Without a proper enlightenment, American voters cannot tear down the power of the corporations and lobbies that dominate American politics. Hence, Americans need to be properly educated and have an understanding of the world’s political situation for the country to achieve the changes necessary to adjust to the current dilemmas, and therefore, the U.S. needs to embrace intellectualism and allow the intellectuals to have a larger influence in the public discourse.
In the U.S.’s anti-intellectual culture, the intellectual’s voice is drowned out by rabble rousers, the corporate media, religious fundamentalists, and various corrupt political pundits. The U.S. needs to embrace intellectualism, as these are people who research on their own, learn to think for themselves, and consult widely diverse sources of information. They can express viewpoints that are not usually shared with the American public, and that Americans need to hear. By intellectuals, I do not mean only academics and scholars, but anyone who has achieved an advanced education — whether credited or not — and is able to convey the current political realities without relying on reciting the main talking points from politicians and the mainstream media. But I do believe many intellectuals can be found in academia because these are people To support intellectuals, funding must be placed back into the public sector where more intellectuals can receive funding for their work. The sciences, while definitely important, are not the only field needed to keep the U.S. up to date. If the U.S. government and culture continue to fall behind these so-called “postmodern” times, then the investments in science will not pay dividends in the long run. Without a politically and socially educated populace, the citizens will be unable to elect competent leaders, and the government will continue to remain stagnant. In their own right, intellectuals in the Humanities and Social Sciences also need to put their hubris aside in order to write in a manner that can communicate with more people and reach the masses. The excessive jargon in many academic books is unnecessary and counter-productive; personally, I am not impressed with how complicated a person can make their argument to understand, but I am impressed when an intellectual can convey their complicated message in a format for someone without an advanced degree to understand. Embrace intellectualism, but don’t isolate the masses with it. For change to happen, the masses are needed, and change is necessary.
When the U.S.’s “founding fathers” wrote the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the Constitution in 1787, they created a revolutionary government for the time. Thomas Jefferson, who — despite his flaws due to being a product of his time — was the intellectual architect behind many of the radical changes the U.S. adopted, rejoiced over the collapse of the monarchy representing the old regime that presided over the American colonies, and embraced the chance to establish a government that could lead the American people to progressive reforms. Jefferson, however, was well aware of the limitations of one government maintaining power for too long, and he realized that as technology, the economy, and society evolved, the government would need to evolve with it. Unfortunately, Jefferson’s calls for a progressive government have been unheeded due to the fact that conservatives continue to hold the Constitution as something set in stone that cannot be altered with the changes in society. When the Constitution was written, nobody foresaw the development of capitalism, which would dramatically alter the U.S.’s and the world’s economies and societies. The U.S. government’s response to the advancements of capitalism has been slow and behind the times. With such dramatic changes in the economy and society, the Constitution alone cannot be consulted to understand the current affairs. The government must change and adjust to the current times. Just as Marx recognized with the rise of Napoleon III, the nostalgia of tradition prevents people from recognizing the need for change, and one of the leading architects of the American Revolution and Constitution — Thomas Jefferson — would certainly agree. Both Marx and Jefferson realized that governments cannot remain stagnant or reactionary, but must changes with the changes in technology, economy, and society; yet, no American politicians would ever dare put Karl Marx and Thomas Jefferson in the same sentence, even though they were both radicals who refused to accept the status quo and expected continual change.
For those who read this and dismiss me as some “communist,” let me say that I am not a communist. I believe the ideology of communism has significant flaws as well. Since communism unfortunately ends up requiring the government to take the power in its own hands in the supposed transition of power from the state to the proletariat, it relies too much on a stagnant government as well because the supposed transitional government is reluctant to hand over its power. I oppose any system that accepts the status quo without pushing for continual and constant change to match the changes in society. When communist governments take power, they take the same approach as capitalist governments — they accept the status quo because it keeps them in power, and they refuse progress because it will remove them from power. I want continual progress without any end to it, but both capitalist and communist governments seek to restrict the progress so they can continue to maintain their power. I believe Marx’s theory of communism had serious flaws, but — contrary to what most critics of Marx will have you believe — that does not negate Marx’s critique of capitalism and his thorough analysis of the class struggle in history. The American Constitution, while a revolutionary document in its time, failed to account for the economic, technological, and societal changes that were to come within the next century, which is why the revolutionary thinker Thomas Jefferson assumed the people needed to continue to push for progressive and radical reforms to match the changes that came with society. While many Americans would think it is heretical to compare the philosophies of Jefferson and Marx, both were true revolutionaries who shared a radical belief that anticipated continual political progress to match the economic, technological, and societal changes, and both pushed against the idea of preserving tradition and the status quo.
Due to the recent failures of the world economy, there has been a resurgence of Marxist interpretations of capitalism. I will expand on this later, but for now, let me point you to a couple articles regarding this:
Nouriel ‘Dr. Doom’ Roubini: “Karl Marx was Right”
“A Point of View: The Revolution of Capitalism”