The following is my response to a question one of my daughters asked about a primer I dedicated to her:


What Is a Marxist?

An Answer for a Six Year-Old

     A Marxist is a person who agrees with the ideas of Karl Marx, a man who was nine years younger than Abraham Lincoln.  Marx tried not to forget that every single thing changes.  Things change when they grow, when they move, and when they fall apart.

     Like lots of other people, Marxists believe that if we look around carefully and think hard together, we can say how things change.   Doctors try to explain how people change from healthy to sick.  Some scientists called geologists try to explain how volcanoes erupt and why earthquakes shake the ground.  Other scientiests try to explain how forests change, how groups of fish change, how stars and even the tiniest bits of stuff change.  And Marxists try to explain how the ways people live together change.  

     Sometimes it does not seem as though people have ever lived very different lives from the lives we live today.  Sometimes it seems as though mothers and fathers have always lived in their own houses with their children, and that parents have always gone to work for money and to the store to buy what the family needs.  And sometimes it seems as though there have always been a few rich people and many poor people, and that a small number of people have always made the rules for everyone else.  

     But Marx knew that things have not always been this way in different times and places.  He explained how the ways people live together have changed.  He also tried to explain why it often seems as though the ways people live together do not change very much.  

     Karl Marx also believed that the ways people live together would keep on changing.  Things may change so that most people are not happier.  But Marxists work to change things so that some day most people on Earth will be happier and healthier than they are now.  

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