MARCH 3, 2012 4:15PM

In Europe, a new left is emerging

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"What if Karl Marx had been a woman? What would Karen Marx have written?"

I looked at the young woman walking by my side in the cold December night. For the first time since 1999, I had been approached by one of my international fans. Considering that my fan base probably include no more than a dozen people, the winter night walk was a truly awesome experience to me.         

Several months earlier she read my articles "Sarah Palin killed my conservatism" and "Socialism 2.0 can be done", and as luck would have it, a friend of a friend of a relative, or something like that, happened to be in Umeå in northern Sweden where I live. Fast forward a few months and suddenly we were walking in Umeå while she kept repeating that question:

"What if Karl Marx had been a woman? What would Karen Marx have written?"

I had no idea, but I knew I should have had something to say, since I wrote the article "Socialism 2.0 can be done." Instead I felt like an idiot. How come I had missed that question?

She told me her story. She was a socialist who turned eighteen right after the financial crisis of 2008 hit Spain. Her socialist pedigree seemed actually quite impressive. She spent considerable time talking about her relatives who fought in the Spanish Civil War and that professor who met both Vladimir Lenin and Karl Marx.

I had to ask, "So you're not satisfied with what Karl Marx wrote?"

She fired back, "Marxism is for angry men who can't get laid without sounding like glorified thieves."

I needed a few seconds to realize that I had just heard someone say that.

"Are you a feminist?" I asked.

"How could I possibly be a feminist? We're the victims of feminism."

She told me about her mother, a small town Spanish socialist politician who wasted my fan's teens by being absent. The story she told me is the same story I've read on numerous blogs over the years, a story I discovered when I freelanced as a journalist during the 90s as well. Obviously, her mother fought for abstract hate based feminist causes at the expense of her loving daughter. It only takes one sentence to explain that feminist failure.

Her mother isn't exactly the only one and the result is both staggering and saddening. What many older feminists here in Europe wrongfully call a backlash is a neglected generation of girls and young women who won't repeat their mothers' feminist mistakes. "I'm not a feminist," she wrapped up. "Absolutely not. Never. Over my dead body. I'm an equalitist."

I had no idea what she meant and didn't ask. I was too busy thinking about that question:

"What if Karl Marx had been a woman? What would Karen Marx have written?"    

I told her to start writing. She looked at me like I was an idiot. "What do you think we've been doing since 2008?"

I asked her what they wrote. She didn't know. They just wrote on blogs and on Facebook. Chatted a little. Emailed thoughts to each other. That didn't exactly sound impressive until she said, "It's better than ideologies. It's more like a social contract with ourselves. Like structuring our minds and our values. Making every day count. You see, our parents threw a party. They called it solidarity and sent us the bill. I will be poor for the rest of my life because of my parents' generation, but if we in our generation get our act together, our children might prosper."   

In Europe, a new Marxism and feminism free left is emerging thanks to young women like her. And it doesn't matter what Karen Marx would have written, because these women will change the world in a way that will make contemporary ideologies appear to be just as irrelevant and pathetic as they are. What these women are about to create won't even be called "left", even though that's the best expression for it today.

Right now, a new generation of women is growing up without the Cold War and its ideologies. Instead, they have the internet and future politicians such as that young Spanish socialist who has no need to sound like a glorified thief. After growing up with Marxism and feminism, all she wants from politics is accountability, equality and responsibility.

At first I laughed when she said that. I sounded rather patronizing when I told her that the four words "politics", "accountability", "equality" and "responsibility" don't belong in the same sentence.

She didn't answer. She didn't defend her position. She just waited for me to understand that she was right.

And yeah, I bet you guessed it, now I'm her fan.
Daniel Kronlid,

Author tags:

left, socialism, feminism, europe, women

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