The Young Karl Marx
The Young Karl Marx

Two hundred years ago, Karl Marx was born. In 1848, he co-authored the Communist Manifesto, a piece of youthful writing that bubbled with the inspiration and force of a huge pop tune. This understanding, the document's pop appeal, is at the core of The Young Karl Marx, a movie by Haitian director Raoul Peck (he is famous for the documentary, I Am Not Your Negro). Marx wrote two books that must be read by all. The first is Capital: Volume One, the only volume he completed in the three-part series, and The Communist Manifesto, whose last line is so well known, such a part of our culture's atmosphere that even Crosscut's conservative commentator John Carlson could pull it out of the air (into which all things melt) with no apparent difficulty and place it in the headline of his exceptionally mean piece, "Workers of the world, unite — against Kshama Sawant."

There are observers of culture and its derivative, economics, who would not find it surprising that one of the very few places you can watch The Young Karl Marx, Peck's best film (yes, it's better than his Oscar-nominated doc on James Baldwin), is on a website owned and managed by the corporation that has come to be the leading spirit of capitalism in our moment, Amazon. Marx's work not only described the world that Amazon has conquered, as Peck recently noted on Democracy Now!, but he was also a world-lover, a man who grasped life, a human who knew what it meant to be alive. He also understood capitalism's tendency to replace humans (and all of their problems) with robots. And he saw this future through the steam that powered factory machines.

You will enjoy Amazon's presentation of The Young Karl Marx,