Competition — 2018

l’ll have the last laugh yet!
Karl Marx 1818-2018
In Cartoons

The few photos of Karl Marx that have come down to us show an unsmiling and deadly serious Teutonic-looking intellectual. In real life, however, Marx was a humorous individual with a sharp and satirical wit. His letters to his friend and collaborator Friedrich Engels reveal to us a very different person to that indicated in the photos.

He surely would have been tickled and honoured to see himself caricatured, lampooned and eternalised in such humorous ways as the artworks in this book illustrate.

The year 2018 marks the 200th anniversary of Marx’s birth yet, despite the passage of time, his ideas continue to resonate.

As the Anglican priest and Guardian journalist Giles Fraser put it: “Ever since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the right have assumed that the argument against communism had been won, and won decisively. But the young are picking up their Marx once again.”

Perhaps this is because as Marx wrote in Critique of Political Economy: “It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness.”

As a contribution to the worldwide celebration of his life and his ideas on the bicentenary of his birth, the Ken Sprague Fund launched an international cartoon and caricature competition.

From the more than 200 entries from cartoonists and caricaturists around the world, we have made a selection of the best ones for inclusion in this book.

Ken Sprague, until his death in 2004, was one of Britain’s most prolific politically committed graphic artists and the fund was set up not only to commemorate his work but also the ideas he stood for. One of its principle aims is also to promote the work of graphic artists and cartoonists who contribute to socially progressive ideas.

We dedicated the competition to Tony Farsky, a close friend of Sprague’s, and himself a long-time supporter of progressive causes, who funded the prizes.

The competition entries reveal a wide range of styles and of political viewpoint. Some chose to portray the man himself, others to indict capitalism and yet others to vilify the whole Marxian outlook or to ridicule its impact.

What they all demonstrate is that few of us are indifferent to Marx’s ideas.

The artists included here have worked in a variety of media. Some have used paint, others photomontage or pen and ink; many are sharply funny, some deadly serious and yet others acerbic.

Prize Winners

Highly Commended

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