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Ikea helps Chemnitz renovate iconic Karl Marx statue

The Local · 10 Oct 2011, 11:50

Published: 10 Oct 2011 11:50 GMT+02:00

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The 7.10-metre bronze of Marx’s head, which stands atop a 4.50-metre pedestal in the centre of the city, weighs around 40 tons and is the biggest portrait statue in the world and is a big tourist attraction, according to Chemnitz officials.

Fittingly for today’s capitalist and corporate world, €25,000 of the estimated €95,000 cost of renovation is being donated by Swedish furniture chain Ikea.

The statue by Soviet sculptor Lew Kerbel was unveiled on October 9, 1971 in the city which had been called Karl-Marx-Stadt during the existence of communist East Germany. The inner city, destroyed in World War II, was rebuilt as a model socialist centre, with a big square in the middle for meetings and demonstrations.

Although Marx, who was from Trier in south-western Germany, had never set foot in the city, he was to be its focus. Only after reunification in 1990, did the city regain its old name and became Chemnitz again.

Yet the Marx monument remained, and was never in danger of removal – despite many former socialist cities shifting Lenin and Marx statues out of their centres en masse during the period.

It has now been adopted as an icon, with T-shirts, chocolates and mini-statues selling to tourists throughout the city.

But the pedestal on which the massive head is placed, is in need of some attention, and will now be largely renovated, and the anchor which holds the statue onto the pedestal will be renewed.

Story continues below…

The former state administrative building nearby, which bears the Marxist call, “Workers of the world unite!” in four different languages, is slated for renovation – within the heritage conservation protection which covers the entire square.

DAPD/The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

12:14 October 10, 2011 by wenddiver
Replace the pedastal with a steel monkey body, paint the head pink with glowing green eyes, hollow out the back of the head for use as a toilet, build a skateboard ramp shooting off the top of the head and if you can make the ear dispence Coca-cola or McDonalds it will do more work than this bum did during his life. He didn't even support his family. Glad he moved out of New York City.
13:34 October 10, 2011 by vonSchwerin
Does anyone know what happened to the frieze of Karl Marx that used to adorn the main building at the Karl-Marx-Uni in Leipzig? It was very much like this bust.
14:29 October 10, 2011 by LecteurX
@ Wenddiver... wow man, that's classy! At the end of the day, Marx was just, during his lifetime, an obscure thinker out of many others, who dedicated his time to observing the ghastly society he lived in, recorded facts, and devised theories about how things could change for a better and more equal society. Do you long for the social conditions prevailing in Europe in the 1850s, rife with child labour in mines, 12-hour workdays, millions of people starving to death in Ireland, and not much in the way of democratic government in Europe at that time? Well, it's not so bad some people thought there were ways to change things. Marx was pretty much a nobody in his lifetime, and became hugely famous mostly after his death, when lots of people got interested in this publications. Sure, his works inspired also much more positive developments, like social democracy, to which we owe many of the labour rights we enjoy now in the early 21st century. So what's so wrong with that? As for most thinkers and philosphers, he had ideas that were less interesting than others.

But at the end of the day, he made a contribution to mankind. What will be yours? Sitting behind a computer and heaping insult on left-wing thinkers, foreigners, etc., all day?
15:20 October 10, 2011 by Englishted

Well said.


On another thread you said you "play" the stock markets to make you money.

Is that a better contribution?

What are you afraid of?
16:29 October 10, 2011 by Wise Up!
You're kidding right? Contribution to mankind, alright. His philosophy created the most brutal dictatorships known to man. Communist regimes everywhere became responsible for the deaths of millions. Read up on your history. The only place this statue belongs is in a trash bin.
17:57 October 10, 2011 by derExDeutsche
Looks like the 'Cult of Free Stuff' is well represented today. LOL

Hey, go play on train tracks ! ... oh wait, actually stay way from the train tracks, idiots
18:25 October 10, 2011 by LecteurX
@ derExDeutsche - on another thread, you say such absurdities as "Marx may never have personally killed anybody, but either did Hitler. however, his movement sure did", showing your abysmal ignorance of history and your appalling rhetorical skills. Being called an "idiot" by such a crude person is therefore the least of my concerns. Insult is always the resort of those helpless ignoramuses who can't figure out any coherent argument.

@ Wise Up! What a ridiculous statement. The French Revolution is also responsible for several bloody wars in Europe, a century of political instability across the whole continent (and beyond), and the death of hundreds of thousands of people in France and in the whole continent. Therefore, would you say that the philosophy on Enlightenment of the 18th century "belongs in a trash bin", just because the people, inspired by the beautiful (and quite revolutionary) notion that absolutism and arbitrary had no justification (and emboldened by recurring famine and desperation) took matters to their hands and decided to speed up things, since the power did not heed their grievances? It is one thing to sit at a desk and write philosophy, and quite another thing to create a bloody and repressive regime, although "inspired" by the philosopher's ideas.

As much as Voltaire was a great man for observing the injustices of his time, reflecting on them and (very carefully) denouncing them, so was Marx, once century later. It sounds to me that you're quite fine with children working in mines then. You should read up on YOUR history, maybe...
19:15 October 10, 2011 by derExDeutsche
@ LecteurX

'Marx may never have personally killed anybody, but either did Hitler. however, his movement sure did", showing your abysmal ignorance of history and your appalling rhetorical skills.

Ok, Genius . Share with us the History. Who did Hitler PERSONALLY kill? In fact. tell me who either Karl Marx or Hitler personally killed, and I will concede that I was wrong.

Hitler wrote Mein Kampf = His movement. Karl Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto = His movement.
19:54 October 10, 2011 by Englishted

Marx 100% did not kill anyone also if you read The Communist Manifesto it also does not advocate violence, just that capitalism will fail and be replaced by communism .

Hitler as I stated on the other thread was a serving soldier in the trenches for most of WW1 he was promoted and received a medal ,he may or may not have killed anybody but there is a good chance he did but to name his "victim" is asking a lot .

If as you seem to think writing a book that later "followers" misuse is a reason to decry the writer then here are some more to add to you list.

Matthew Mark Luke and John .

Then there is the Koran but can't find the writers.

Oh yes and last but not least there is that chap who lives in heaven god I think some call him didn't he write the old bit of the bible?
20:09 October 10, 2011 by derExDeutsche
How does one advocate a 'Revolution' where private property is stolen from owners, and NOT expect there to be violence??? Marx knew damn well there would be resistance and violence. He condoned it.

'You must, therefore, confess that by "individual" you mean no other person than the bourgeois, than the middle-class owner of property. This person must indeed, be swept out of the way, and made impossible. (Communist Manifesto, page 66)
20:26 October 10, 2011 by MaKo
Nobody's going to make an Ikea joke? Really?
21:30 October 10, 2011 by zeddriver
Am I the only one that finds it a little odd that a company that practices the thing that ole Karl hated so much. Is donating money to fix the old man. And the fact that Chemnitz is SELLING Karl Marx swag. Capitalism from the image of an very adamant anti capitalist. It's a strange world we live in.
21:35 October 10, 2011 by derExDeutsche
Ikea Joke?

Ikea : Swedish for 'I liKe-a the ChinA
21:57 October 10, 2011 by ChrisRea
@ derExDeutsche #10

I am not sure that was wise from you to bring up the philosophical issue of property (that can be stolen). You do not seem to have much in common with elevated philosophical discussions. For example, you do not seem to be familiar with the slogan "Property is theft!".
00:01 October 11, 2011 by zeddriver
Property is theft. Assumes everything, everywhere on earth is a zero sum gain. It's far to absolutist. I believe that everything has a bit of a grey area. Yes I do think that some people take from others to get theirs. But that is not the basic premise of capitalism. Take the enron scandal. I imagine that business model does not exist in any proper business text book. Nor is it taught in any business school anywhere. What madof did was illegal, and immoral. But it was most certainly not a basic premise of capitalism.
07:31 October 11, 2011 by wenddiver
@Englishted- Marx didn't invent the Labor Movement, The first Labor Organizations in the US pre-date Karl by probably 140 years. They are in fact older than the country. Marx's model never really caught on here. Nobody believed as a Society that we were headed to communal ownership of property or that the abolishment of property would improve anybodys life. Progressives Democrat and Republican, the reforming religous movements and the American Labor Movement all presented versions of Society that were evolutionary, not Revolutionary, so the violence and theft were not necessary. People like the IWW (International Workers of the World) lost out to Unionists of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and the (Congress of Industrial Organizations) that believed in working within the model of society instead of it's violent overthrow. The American Labor Movement specifacally prohibits Communists, Marxists, Anarchists and supporters of totalitarian systems from membership. The AFL-CIO assembled the political power that passed the laws against Child Labor, OSHA (workers safety), the eight hour work day, time and a half overtime, Social Security, the 40 hour work week, the Unemployment act. We also were equal partners with management in making decisions before the War Labor Board during World War II, when America made more planes in 1944 than the Axis powers made in all of World war II, and more ships than Germany made torpedoes. As the Marxists committed acts of violence, they just went to jail, today the IWW doesn't really exist, and many of them went to Russia to help imose the Soviet Union.
08:23 October 11, 2011 by ChrisRea
I think wenddiver is right. It is actually not only labour movements, but the whole history of the world that are based on US initiatives. But sticking to labour movements, the first US unions formed around 1850 and became significant around 1870-1880 - this is about 140 years before Marx, who started his activism around 1840 (you see the chronology here, right?). Of course US labour movements were also at the origin of the European unions, which were specifically outlawed no later than the middle of the 14th century.

So actually it was US that made Marx who he was, one of the most influential thinkers of the world (in a 1999 BBC poll he was voted the "thinker of the millennium" by people from around the world). Without US historical influences, Marx would have not become one of the founders of modern social science (he has been called "the first great user of critical method in social sciences"). Thank you, wenddiver, for your enlightment.
11:36 October 11, 2011 by michael4096
You mean labour movements were not started in 1960 by Kirk Douglas playing Spartacus? Now I'm disappointed!
13:44 October 11, 2011 by LecteurX
@ derExDeutsche

"Ok, Genius . Share with us the History. Who did Hitler PERSONALLY kill? In fact. tell me who either Karl Marx or Hitler personally killed, and I will concede that I was wrong. Hitler wrote Mein Kampf = His movement. Karl Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto = His movement"

Hey, Great Luminary of our Times, as Englishted told you in that other thread: Hitler fought in a war. He was even awarded a medal for this. Were you on the front with him to prove he killed no one? Actually you do sound like you're on very friendly terms with him...

In addition: so Hitler was just an "author" and a "thinker", right? Just writing books, that's the only thing he is remembered for? And in his spare time as a writer, he took over a country, ruled it for 12 years, specifically ordered repression on millions of people and the countless murders (did Roehm and the SA die in their sleep in the night of Long Knives?), went on to order the invasion of dozens of countries, chaired the Wannsee Conference where he oversaw the masterplans for the Final Solution to the Jewish question to be worked out, and went on to spread terror, misery and death across one half of this world. All this, he specifically dictated while sitting at Berchtesgaden and whatever (and writing more books). And you DARE come with such a lame, lame statement that "he didn't kill anybody himself"? Nobody can even prove that point (and since he fought in a war the odds are rather against).

Marx, on the contrary, wrote his manifesto from a dark corner of London. How many countries did he invade? How many death conferences did he chair? How many assassinations did he order to be carried out? Here's breaking news for you: for judges, you'll be found quite guilty indeed if you order people to be murdered.

Man, you need treatment or something. Being so dumb has to be pathological.

@ zeddriver #12 - Yes, there's definitely some irony here. But actually, that's capitalism for you: at the end Ikea believes it can gain from doing this, so it will proceed. Even the Romans knew it: "Pecunia non olet". But at the end, that's also how capitalism constantly adapts and goes forward, not stopping for ideological reasons, only gains (direct or indirect). It's not a bad thing per se, at the end. Socialism, on the other end, couldn't adapt, and failed, for all the Chinese masquerading that they're still a "Communist" country.

@ ChrisRea #17 - Brilliant sarcasm. You did scare me by starting with "I think wenddiver is right" though :-)
15:39 October 11, 2011 by derExDeutsche

You're out of your damn Communist mind. Not to mention, stuck on FAILED Stupid. You can't even keep your Govt. free from corruption as it is, now you want to give them complete power?

Just because Marx was not around to see it, doesn't mean he did not COMPLETELY condone when the bourgeois were 'swept out of the way, and made impossible'(Communist Manifesto, pg 66) .

It does not matter if something is written in London, im Hofbräuhaus or in a Russian Gulag.

Hate is hate, no matter how warm and fuzzy it makes you feel. and when someone writes about, talks about it, disseminates it, one is guilty of it. and Marx is no exception.

How many more Millions need to die before, you sir, pull your useless head out of your ass?
16:47 October 11, 2011 by ChrisRea
@ derExDeutsche

Why do you say that LecteurX wants to give his government complete power? Did you came up with this all by yourself?

Did you actually study about Marx or you talk from what you learnt in the local pub? He was not condoning violence. He just said that the way socialism would replace capitalism is by revolution (overthrowing the government) and not by Fabian tactics (I suppose I need to give you the definition from Oxford Dictionary - "dilatory tactics and avoidance of direct engagements"). As I suspect this whole discussion is still fuzzy for you, let me make a comparison.

The American Independence was gained the same way. It was not that the 13 colonies reformed the system from inside so that the British Parliament would grant them independence. No, they unilaterally declared their independence and then fought for it (violently, as you would say). Just as the supporters of proletariat, the supporters of the US independence opposed oppression.

Ah, I remember the laughable statement from wenddiver #16 ("America made in 1944... more ships than Germany made torpedoes"). Actually, during the whole war, America produced only 1,169 ships (from aircraft carriers to convoy escorts and submarines). In the same time, Germany produced 1,141 submarines. Poor them, they had, on an average, less than 2 torpedoes for each submarine (according to wenddiver). :)
17:18 October 11, 2011 by LecteurX
@ derExDeutsche

You're a vulgar person and this is the last time I answer you on this thread. Your obscenities cannot make up for your lack of cogent thought abilities, hard as you may try.

Just because I refuse to denigrate Marx wholesale doesn't mean I'm a Communist, stupid. For me, the world is simply not this binary, black-and-white, "you-are-either-with-us-or-against-us" thing that you want it to be. I realise this is plainly too much for your hare brain to handle.

I don't want to give "complete power" to anybody, stupid, and certainly not to Die Linke or anything. I don't want anybody to die. This is completely made up by yourself, and makes debate with you even more tiresome and tedious, and not worth the trouble.

Marx lived in a violent and extremely unfair society, where kids worked in mines, their parents toiled 16 hours a day at factories yet had no right to vote (so, no say at all regarding politics), would lose their jobs if joining a trade union and would risk being shot if going on strike. In a world where the poor were so disenfranchised and trodden upon, how could you imagine for them to significantly improve their condition quickly if not by some struggle? Luckily, the political and business elites gradually understood they could not have it this way for ever, otherwise they would have gone the same way as the French nobility did in the 1790s. Yes, listen to the masses, don't push them into desperation, or you might be "swept out of the way". This certainly would have happened without the invention of social democracy and more social consensus in the decades after Marx.

This is ALL I wanted to say, and to me the writings of Marx also contributed to this positive evolution. Not his writings alone of course. And of course his writings inspired the many murderous dictatorships of the 20th century. Did I ever deny this? No.

Hate is hate, sure, and I certainly would hate the ruling class of the 1850s if I was there to see it at work, just as much as I would hate the Stalinist regime. But I don't hate anyone, and I don't spread hate now, or certainly much less than you do.

However, last time I checked, it was still legal to write (most) books, and certainly books about economics, but not legal to plan assassinations and send truckloads of families to gas chambers. Making Marx directly responsible for the actions of political leaders who lived 50 to 100 years after him in far-flung places is cheap and lazy, and equating him with Hitler along the process is beyond ridiculous, downright dishonest and mildly scary. See, lots of Bible-toting people have committed untold atrocities over the last 2 millennia. They were "inspired" by Jesus by doing so, or so they claim... nevertheless, they created the Inquisition, and made the world a terrible place. Does that make Jesus, or Saint Paul, a murderer? That's just how your excuse for a "reasoning" works, stupid.

I've paid enough attention to you. Good bye.
19:17 October 11, 2011 by Englishted

I don't need to say much as you have had many good and well thought out retorts.

However you wrote this:

"Marx's model never really caught on here. Nobody believed as a Society that we were headed to communal ownership of property or that the abolishment of property would improve anybodys life. "

What was life like before the arrival of "the white man" were the tribes capitalists? Just a thought.
19:57 October 11, 2011 by zeddriver

As for the tribes being capitalists. Depends on how one defines capitalism. The native tribes in my part of the world (USA) did not kill each other over money. But they certainly killed each other over land and the bounty it provided them. As well as the horses they gained from the vanquished. And even though all the tribes were of one overall race. They still rather hated any tribe that wasn't their own.

It's why I do not believe that by the book communism works. It's in the nature of all humans to seek a better life for their families. Wether it be via monatary gain. Or more land for livestock and crops to support a growing brood.

The main issue with the likes of Marx. Or even our representative republic in

America. By the book it sounds great. But in practice no system is without

problems. I believe that some form of democracy is the best we can hope for.
07:10 October 12, 2011 by Englishted

Many true points but horses are not native to the Americas .

Yes on paper communism is ideal but so far it has not worked in practice I concur but that should not stop people seeking improvement even if their ideal is like star trek .It is only by dreaming and hoping that humans will improve.
11:40 October 12, 2011 by zeddriver

I agree. We should seek to improve ourselves. But that requires self analysis. Humans don't like that. We would rather analyze the other guy and point out their faults. And of course we go kicking and screaming into the school of compromise. Ideology with moderation and an open mind to adapt others ideologies into your own is a good thing.
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