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Cardiff Character: Edmund Schluessel

Occupy Cardiff protester Edmund Schluessel claims that Karl Marx was right, that there is need for a revolution, and that funding cuts to humanities are part of a government strategy to prevent radical ideas from developing in the world 

Edmund Schluessel, who was arrested during the Occupy Cardiff demonstration 11 November, is an invested member of Occupy Cardiff’s media group, and the Socialist Party. Photo by: Oda Gilleberg

Edmund Schluessel knows more about cosmos than the average person. After all, he has just submitted his doctorate dissertation on the expansion of the universe. However, some earthly theorists have also provided Schluessel with more tangible matters at hand. 

“I’m a scientist,” he says, leaning back in the chair before indicating, “I have to always base everything on what is testable and what I have data for.” 

Schluessel’s newly acquired criminal record is testable too. “I was one of six people who were arrested when the police broke up the first attempt of the Occupy Cardiff camp,” he says. In order to be released he signed a caution as an admission of guilt for the authorities. Nonetheless, Schluessel insists he is ‘not guilty’ of any crime. “I didn’t do anything wrong,” he says, brushing invisible dust off the table. 

The 32-year-old matter-of-factly arrives at the point: “Marx predicted that these were the kinds of conflicts that emerge when capitalism develops, and Marx was right.” 

Revolution is needed 

The French-born American came to Cardiff in 2005 to become a PhD. In 2009, after massive bank bailouts, he decided to become a revolutionary too. 

“In the long term we need to have a revolution here,” he says. “Our government’s policies are being set by a fringe of economic fanatics. We need to break this monopoly on power.” 

His recipe for change is an “actual conversation about economics,” and he sees the Occupy movement as a useful tool for this. Schluessel insists, “Freedom of speech means we always have the right to organise, to change the government for our own benefit, for the benefit of the majority of the society.” 

Inspired by Trotsky he also argues, “We need a world that doesn’t have borders.” Obviously irritated when questioned about how democratic values would then be preserved, he leans forward, saying, “There is the same basic need for democratic organisation all over the world. Why can’t we organise things collectively?” 

Brain-drain 

There seems to be limited access to ideas like Schluessel’s, and the bearded socialist thinks he knows why. 

“The government cuts funding for humanities to cut back people’s access to these ideas.” Additionally, “The government cares highly about the immediate economic benefit something has, and you won’t see immediate economic benefits from an archaeological paper.” 

Schluessel pauses before adding, “As Marx said, ‘the philosophers have tried in their ways to understand the world, but the point is to change it.’ And the government knows that if you are exposing philosophy to the world – if you’re creating philosophers – some will try to change it.” 

Nevertheless, theoretical physicists like Schluessel prove that philosophical ideas don’t develop solely in the humanities. Much may be in store for Schluessel’s future students if he carries out his plan to become a professor of physics and maths. His students ought to be ready for any sort of revolution he may have up his sleeve.