There has not been a moment in my life in which I would identify myself as a Marxist, socialist, or communist. I wrote an article called “From Ability to Willingness: Freeing Socialism from Its Patriarchal Roots,” in which I take deep issues with socialism. And, still, I can’t imagine me being able to think what I think and be what I am without Karl Marx having lived and done the work he did. It is from Marx that I got the significance of the material basis of all human social institutions, the possibility of distributing resources based on needs, and the radical malleability of humans based on how we live. It’s because of him that I see the material and systemic roots of everything and why I look for explanations for human phenomena that are rooted in systems of governance (the political) and systems of resource flow (the economic).
The thinking of every single one of the people who have influenced my work, as well as that of any other critical theorist, has been influenced by Marx whether or not there is conscious awareness of that. Marx, also, was someone who saw the human being of the future as being “rich in needs” instead of being reduced to the one need “to have.” This deep insight is something I learned about from Agnes Heller’s book The Theory of Needs in Marx. Especially given how unpopular his name and thinking are, I want to take the risk to honor him and his gifts to humanity even though, by and large (though not exclusively), those who have aimed to apply what they learned from him created what became dictatorships.