A Short Note on Marx on His Death Anniversary Today (March 14): No, Marx ain't no alien to the indigenous tradition of storytelling...

A Short Note on Marx on His Death Anniversary || Azfar Hussain

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A Short Note on Marx on His Death Anniversary Today (March 14):

No, Marx ain't no alien to the indigenous tradition of storytelling, as the leading Native American storyteller Leslie Marmon Silko suggests in her massive, epical novel _Almanac of the Dead_. I

In fact, in that novel, Silko devotes an entire chapter to Marx himself and goes to the extent of asserting that Marx is "a storyteller" like tribal people and even likens him to a "tribal shaman"--one who feverishly, as Silko further maintains, tells us stories of exploited workers and even exploited children. To quote Silko then:

"Marx understood what tribal people had always known: the maker of a thing pressed part of herself or himself into each object made. Some spark of life or energy went from the maker into even the most ordinary objects. [...] Marx [...] understood that nothing personal or individual mattered because no individual survived without others. [...] Marx, storyteller; Marx with his primitive devotion to the workers' stories. No wonder the Europeans hated him! Marx had gathered official reports of the suffering of English factory workers the way a tribal shaman might have, feverishly working to bring workers a powerful, even magical, assembly of stories to cure the suffering and evils of the world by the retelling of stories. [...] In the repetition of the workers’ stories lay great power [...] the power to move millions of people."

Indeed, Marx's flair for storytelling was genuine and unmistakable, and he became quite a storyteller very early on in his life. Eleanor, Marx's daughter, recalled in later years: "He [Marx] was a unique, unrivaled storyteller. I've heard my aunts say that as a little boy he was a terrible tyrant to his sisters, whom he would 'drive' down the Markusberg at Trier full speed, as his horses, and worse, would insist on their eating the 'cakes' he made with dirty dough and dirtier hands. But they stood the 'driving' and ate the 'cakes' without a murmur, for the sake of the stories Karl would tell them as a reward for their virtue."

And it's not for nothing that Marx read to his children the whole of Homer and of course _Don Quixote_. And guess what? Marx loved the _Arabian Nights_, stories from which he also used to read aloud to his children at bedtime. Although Marx deploys here and there in his own works some images from the _Arabian Nights_, I'm yet to learn fully what other specific uses he makes of the _Arabian Nights_.

Of course, above all, Marx is a revolutionary, one whose work and vision have to do with nothing short of the "universal human emancipation," to use Marx's own words. The declarations of the many deaths of Marx notwithstanding, he keeps returning with full force! So his life is way truer than his death in our struggle for the emancipation of humanity in its entirety.


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