“Clarity and transparency are imperative, as they leave no room for denial theories that would deprive the victims justice…”*

Image: (Wikipedia) The Tomb of Karl Marx stands in the Eastern cemetery of Highgate Cemetery, North London, England. It commemorates the burial sites of Marx, of his wife, Jenny von Westphalen, and other members of his family. Originally buried in a different part of the Eastern cemetery, the bodies were disinterred and reburied at their present location in 1954. The tomb was designed by Laurence Bradshaw and was unveiled in 1956, in a ceremony led by Harry Pollitt, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Great Britain, which funded the memorial. The tomb consists of a large bust of Marx in bronze set on a marble pedestal. The pedestal is inscribed with quotes from Marx’s works including, on the front, the final words of The Communist Manifesto, “Workers of all lands unite”.”

From Marxists.org:

“The famous final phrase of the Manifesto, “Working Men of All Countries, Unite!”, in the original German is: “Proletarier aller Länder, vereinigt euch!” Thus, a more correct translation would be “Proletarians of all countries, Unite!”

“Workers of the World, Unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains!” is a popularisation of the last three sentences, and is not found in any official translation. Since this English translation (1888) was approved by Engels, we have kept the original intact.”

*A.E. Samaan (pen name): From a “Race of Masters” to a “Master Race”: 1948 to 1848 (2012).

From Britannica.com:

“Revisionism, in Marxist thought, originally the late 19th-century effort of Eduard Bernstein to revise Marxist doctrine. Rejecting the labour theory of value, economic determinism, and the significance of the class struggle, Bernstein argued that by that time German society had disproved some of Marx’s predictions: he asserted that capitalism was not on the verge of collapse, capital was not being amassed by fewer and fewer persons, the middle class was not disappearing, and the working class was not afflicted by “increasing misery.”

The revisionism of Bernstein aroused considerable controversy among the German Social Democrats of his day. Led by Karl Kautsky (q.v.), they officially rejected it (Hanover Congress, 1889). Nevertheless, revisionism had a great impact on the party’s practical policies.

After the Bolshevik Revolution, the term revisionism came to be used by Communists as a label for certain types of deviation from established Marxist views. Thus, for example, the independent ideas and policies of the Yugoslav Communists were attacked as “modern revisionism” by Soviet critics, who themselves were accused of revisionism by Chinese Communists.”

Erin Bartram, independent historian and freelance writer, wrote for Contingent Magazine on 8.8.19:

“…historians do practice revisionist history, in a sense. They revise what they know and believe about the past. They do it all the time. It’s kind of the whole point of the discipline. And it’s a good thing. After all, would you rather historians never looked at new evidence? Or never used new tools and approaches to reconsider and reinterpret old evidence? Or never reevaluated the significance of old evidence in light of new evidence? Or never reconsidered questions that had been asked prior to the emergence of new evidence, tools, and approaches? Or never questioned things previous historians hadn’t thought to question?

The questions and doubts that are part of accusations of “revisionist history” are very similar to the questions and doubts that historians express as part of our day-to-day work. What questions are worth asking? What evidence is necessary to answer those questions? Which perspectives should be considered? How and when does change happen, and who experiences it most acutely? These questions are part of how historians decide what to research and how, and also part of how we analyze and assess each other’s work, formally and informally.

To revise means to look over something again; it’s why students in the UK “revise” for exams. For historians not to revise in this spirit would be the height of arrogance, and yet there are times when we are too proud of our work, too defensive of our process, to listen to questions offered in good faith.

But when we’re at our best, historians aren’t afraid to revise—to look again—because we know that another look can only help, even if it muddles what we previously thought was clear. When done from a place of humility, rather than defensiveness, and its questions offered in good faith, revision is what drives historical inquiry. The danger is not in practicing revisionist history—it’s in constructing individual and collective lives around historical frameworks too shaky to be looked at again.”

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