In the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels observed that a specter of communism was haunting Europe. A century and a half later, Marxism seems to be in disarray. As a ruthless critic of socialism, Marx stressed the necessity of developing an immanent critique of the workers’ movement—a critique that renders the ideological contradictions apparent. His greatest insight was how socialism/Marxism was itself subject to regressive thinking accommodating itself to conservative ideology. Today it does seem that the Left has abandoned the path of social emancipation and so in the absence of a critical Left it becomes pertinent to ask: Is Marx still relevant?
Atiya Singh completed her MA and PhD in the Department of History at the University of Chicago. Her primary interests include the history of the Left, critical and social theory, the history of modern South Asia, and the Muslim world. She is a lecturer in the College, where she has taught core sequences in social science and world civilizations. She is the 2007 recipient of the Von Holst Lectureship Prize and the 2012 Wayne C. Booth Undergraduate Teaching Prize at the University of Chicago.