Tomorrow I'm teaching Karl Marx in Introduction to Sociology. This is a rough outline of my plan.
I'll probably begin class by showing "Wings" by Macklemore and have them analyze the video. Then I can explain the concept of commodity fetishism. This is an exercise by Patricia Louie that's available at The Sociological Cinema site. I will also share Peter Kaufman's explanation of commodity fetishism that he wrote in his blog post "You Might be a Marxist" at Everyday Sociology Blog.
Then I'll mention that Pope Francis is a critic of capitalism. A quote from the Pope in this article that stands out is: "It is not a problem of Italy and Europe...It is the consequence of a world choice, of an economic system that brings about this tragedy, an economic system that has at its centre an idol which is called money."
I also plan to show and discuss a three minute video ("Karl Marxio Brothers") posted at Critical-Theory for it's themes of alienation and exploitation.
Another video I plan to show and discuss is a six minute video about cocoa farmers who taste chocolate for the first time. This is another exercise from The Sociological Cinema, available here from Lester Andrist.
I'll finish by talking about what happened at Rana Plaza in Bangladesh to emphasize the importance of working conditions and to show what can happen when people work in hazardous places. The article mentions safety upgrades, labor laws, and workers' rights--these are things I want students to consider.
I think these examples will demonstrate that Marx's ideas remain relevant and significant in the world today.