I first met Karl Marx in a dingy book store in UP. Of course I've heard about him before in class and textbooks but it was in 2006 that I first picked up a copy of his Communist Manifesto.
I found myself at the Third World Studies Library, poring over select chapters of Das Kapital's condensed version. I was blown away by the simplicity of Marx's logic on exploitation and how it made sense to me. His theory spoke to me and set into perspective my scattered thoughts and observations about labor and economy. Several questions I have long been pondering on (Why do people remain poor?) were likewise answered. Suddenly, I was seeing the world in a new light - or as others would say, a new set of lens.
I was not yet an activist at that time and although I found some of the concepts in the book foreign and vague, I kept the book at my bedside table, intrigued by Marx's weltanschauung (world view). The following semester I took Sociology 110 and used the opportunity to learn more about Marx's ideas by volunteering to report on Das Kapital.
In reality, it was not Marx who introduced me to activism...but his works did make me more open to the idea.
Even before becoming an activist, Marx made me realize that things are not always as they seem and that we should always look into the underlying relationship of people and phenomena. Most importantly, he thought me that opposition or contradiction is not necessarily bad and in fact paves the way for change. His words made me realize that to change society, collective action is necessary.
To celebrate Marx's birthday (yesterday, May 5), I decided to list down some of my favorite quotes and pair them with photographs I took. This is my little tribute to the writer who opened the door of a whole new world to me.
- It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but rather it is their social existence that determines their consciousness.
- The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.