Marx Memorial Library commemorates Marx bicentenary
The Marx Memorial Library in London is marking the bicentenary of Karl Marx with a major international conference on May 5th and a series of events under a project called Marx200.
Housed in a historical building in north London, the Marx Memorial Library was founded in 1933 and has since been the heart of the British labor movement as well as one of the world's most prized collection of books on Marxism.
The Marx Memorial Library in London holds its open-day event on May 1st every year which is also the International Workers' Day. [Photo: China Plus/Liang Tao]
Meirian Jump is the manager of the library.
"Our library was dedicated to promoting knowledge and understanding on Marxism and the history of the trade union movement of socialism in Britain and around the world. We've got a collection of about 60,000 books and periodicals, we also have a number of special collections of archives on subjects such as the peace movement on the Spanish Civil War, on the Russian Revolution but we don't want these precious archives and artifacts to be hidden away in the cupboard with access only by a few academics so we have a broad based education programs, such as lectures, film screenings, workshops and conferences to engage people with the history of the working class struggle in the UK and elsewhere."
The library holds its open-day event on May 1st every year which is also the International Workers' Day. Free tours led by volunteers at the library introduce visitors to its many treasures, including a large size mural by British artist and labor parliamentarian Francis Hastings and the "Lenin Room" where the exiled Russian revolutionary edited the socialist journal ISKRA.
21-year old Daniel Savage, who works at a nearby bakery, is among the library's open-day visitors.
"It's very interesting they have all the different books on offer and to find out about how Lenin used to edit the socialist newspaper here in 1902 and 1903, I didn't know he'd ever come here and I was here actually two years ago when the Cuban ambassador came here and presented the Marx Memorial Library with this portrait of Fidel Castro."
The Marx Memorial Library in London holds its open day event on May 1st every year which is also the International Workers' Day. [Photo: China Plus/Duan Xuelian]
The library has been trying to reach out to a wider audience and engage young people like Daniel with a variety of programs. Meirian Jump, manager of the library says the science of Marxim is seeing an increase in popularity in the UK.
"There's a new generation who are really talking about socialism and the relevance of Marxism today and we've certainly noticed greater numbers of young people coming through our doors for example last autumn we had lectures on the 150 years since the publication of Das Kapital and we are overwhelmed with the number of people attending and we also have more people coming to volunteer, we have about 30 regular volunteers many of them are young students and activists who want to be part of what we are doing here in the library."
To mark bicentenary of Karl Marx's birthday, the library has initiated a project titled Marx200, which culminates in an international conference to be held in London on May 5th. With focuses on the contemporary relevance of Marxism and its modern day applications, the conference will feature guest speakers from China, Germany, Cuba, South Africa and the UK.
The "Lenin Room" of the Marx Memorial Library where Lenin worked in exile in 1902 and 1903 [Photo: China Plus/Duan Xuelian]