Could you explain Marxism to a 6th grader?

Sep 17, 2018 1:02 PM

How would you explain Marxism to 6th graders?

A ways back I had an opportunity to give an impromptu lecture on the Russian Revolution to a department of history students.

It was a sixth grade class.

Part of my task was to introduce to them Vladimir “Nicolai” Lenin.  Lenin’s revolutionary beliefs came from his study of Karl Marx.

It was necessary, therefore, as part of the lecture to give them a definition and explanation of Marxism.  It had to be succinct and without jargon, laid out in plain English.  On the other hand, I did not want to water it down, dumb it down, or turn it into a caricature.

Here’s how I summarized the principles of Marxism/Leninism to an audience of 6th graders:

  1. There is no God; there is only history, and history is irresistible.

  2. History is all about the struggle between economic classes, between those who have property and those who don’t. 

  3. The root of all evil in the world is private property.

  4. History is moving toward a condition of equilibrium called Communism in which everyone is equal and there is no more private property. 

  5. Communism is when no one owns anything, and everyone owns everything.  Then—according to Marx—there will be no more evil, no more war, everyone will be happy, and we’ll all have peace. 

  6. It will take a violent revolution to pull it off—and then the government must takeover everything and force everyone to share.  That’s called Socialism.

How did I do?