Oh the irony! The grave of Karl Marx, the anti-capitalist writer-philosopher best known for The Communist Manifesto, has a £4 (about $6) entrance fee.
Marx, despite being extremely critical of private property, purchased a plot in the privately-owned Highgate Cemetery in London, according to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal.
Though visitors to Marx’s grave are often surprised and upset by the fee—one 24-year-old Marxist told The Wall Street Journal, “There are no depths of irony, or bad taste, to which capitalists won’t sink if they think they can make money out of it”—the charity responsible for the cemetery’s upkeep sees things a little differently. They say the fee helps them maintain the cemetery, which shelters not only Marx’s remains, but those of 170,000 others.
Over the years, Marx’s grave has been the site of a good deal of controversy: Marx supporters, of course, protest the entrance fee, but the charity, called Friends of Highgate Cemetery, seems to welcome the publicity that comes with a bit of outrage. According to The Atlantic, the cemetery’s chapel used to sell mugs and postcards with Marx’s face on them; around two decades ago, the Friends of Highgate also let an Italian fashion brand do a photoshoot on Marx’s grave.
Though some of the actions of the Friends of Highgate have drawn Marxist ire over the years, not all Marx supporters are critical of their entry fee policy. Alex Gordon, chair of trustees of the Marx Memorial Library & Workers School, told The Wall Street Journal, “Marx believed that labor should be rewarded, he didn’t believe that you could achieve a classless society simply by refusing to pay for things.”
[h/t: The Wall Street Journal]