There is no philosopher more abused and misunderstood than Marx. There is no philosophy like Marxism more demonised on a regular basis. The mindless vilification campaign against Marx and Marxism continues without any form of reason. The portrayal of Marxism as a devilish doctrine shows its importance as a philosophy of human emancipation from the very forces who demonise it.

Marxism is a philosophy of practice which helps us understand the centrality of the creative power of labour in producing socially meaningful value. It helps us analyse the laws governing production, distribution, consumption, exchange, market, profit, pricing and private property in the development of class-based society.

A humanist philosophy, Marxism helps understand the processes of history of class formation, mass alienation and class conflict. It informs us of the subjective and objective conditions and causes of inequalities, exploitation and injustice.

Many detractors, distractors of Marx have tried to reduce Marx to being a European philosopher and Marxism as a European philosophy. But for Marx, ‘no human is alien’. He was writing for the emancipation of every human being in the planet. Marxism is not only a critique of the capitalist system, it offers alternative systems of compassion, humanism, equality, justice, freedom and democracy.

It is impossible to provincialize Marx. He is the first philosopher from Europe who moved away from the dominance of the Cartesian dualism within European knowledge traditions and revolutionised it with dialectics.

The dialectical knowledge traditions are based on differentiation, which moves away from the narrow silos of casual, causal analysis and focuses on the conditions or relationships between different factors of history, economics, politics, culture, religion, traditions, science and secularism. The dialectical knowledge tradition accommodates contradictions, diversities, debates, discourses, dilemmas, opposition and negations based on different contexts. In this way, the dialectical tradition in Marxism is fundamentally opposed to the dualities of European knowledge traditions and their universalizing displays during and after colonialism.

‘The knowledge that is emanating from Europe is science whereas African, Asian and American knowledge traditions are ethnography. European knowledge is reason and other knowledge traditions are mystic, cultural and religious beliefs’. Such bogus dualities of distinction within Eurocentric knowledge traditions are not only reductionist but racist.

European colonialism universalises its knowledge traditions based on Cartesian duality by silencing multiple knowledge traditions within and outside northwestern Europe. It is in this context that one needs to engage with issues of class consciousness, class organisation and class struggle from the Marxist perspectives that move away from the narrow silos of dualities.

The dynamism of capital and its global system has created conditions where the concept of ‘class’ is very different from the concept of ‘class and class-based’ exploitation during the nineteenth century. There are different layers of class-based exploitation today. These exploitative layers are based on gender, sex, race, religious and linguistic marginalisation. These multiple and overlapping forms of exploitations, violence and oppressions are not independent but intersect with each other inside a capitalist system.

Capitalism has used these layers as fragmented fault lines to divide and demonise all class-based politics of emancipation. Therefore, the emancipatory politics of intersectionality needs to be inclusive and engage with the pre-existing unequal social, economic political, religious, regional and cultural relations that are shaping production and reproduction in different forms of capitalism. It is important to look at contemporary issues in historical terms and locate and critique the inherently exploitative systems promoted by capitalism.

A pluriversal Marxist is not an intersectional Marxist. Intersectionality helps understand multiple and overlapping forms of exploitation and oppression. It helps understand the different layers of violence in the capitalist system embedded with reactionary social, cultural, political, religious and economic forces. But the politics of intersectionality ignores the pre-existing social relations and economic conditions that continue to exist and are accelerated by capitalism.

The politics of mere representation is not radical enough to change these unequal conditions. The intersectionalists attempt to find answers within capitalism. Reform and not revolution is their motto. In this way they reproduce inequalities in different forms. They have failed to offer any alternatives and failed to create sites of struggles for alternatives. The deradicalisation is an inadvertent outcome of libertarian and liberal intersectionality as a political approach to emancipatory struggles.

For a successful mass struggle, pluriversal Marxism will need to engage with specific conditions and understand different layers, structures and institutions of capitalism and its reactionary culture in different spheres of life in a class-based capitalist society. It means embracing all in our planet where all live in harmony with nature and with each other. It means the solidarity of all marginalised voices in the world to ensure shared peace, prosperity and non-discriminatory coexistence with equivalent access to resources.

Pluriversal Marxism questions all forms of dominant narratives, power relations, institutions and structures established by capitalism and its undemocratic customs and traditions. A pluriversal consciousness helps Marxism establish co-relationships between multiple forms of existence within a mode of dialectical thought that is inclusive in spirit and actions. It helps Marxism move beyond its myopic linearity, empiricist tendencies and functionalist formalisms.

We must understand the pluriversal nature of the capitalist world to struggle for another world free of all forms of exploitation, inequalities, oppressions and violence. A pluriversal Marxism can only establish and intersect diverse issues and multiple conditions within a thread of solidarity for a radical emancipatory future.

The writers note: A very well-meaning comrade called me a pluriversal Marxist with a wild smile full of English irony, while chairing my book release function in the Marx Memorial Library, London. I dedicate this piece to her.

Bhabani Shankar Nayak is a Professor of Business Management at the University of Glasgow, UK.