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 Post subject: The Class Struggles in France and the 18th Brumair
PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 7:02 am 
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I've been going over these two works and I have some thoughts/questions related to them.

First off, I have a question most pointed at Arty. I recall reading through your blog and seeing a dialogue between you and another fellow on the importance of inter-parliamentary politics between different bourgeoise factions. I seem to remember you (arty) saying that the proletariat shouldn't care about that or focus on it etc. it's irrelevant to their interests and not something to be bogged down with. The other fellow remarked that Marx/Engels would have said this viewpoint (that the worker's shouldn't be interested in inter-bourgeoise factional struggles) is irrelevant because the workers will take interest in such things regardless. I forget what arty said at this point, but I'm curious to see what you have to say in elaboration of that view point with respect to the fact that, from what I can tell, most of the Brumaire is Marx basically talking about inter-bourgeoise class struggles between the differing monarchists. In general the two texts seem to focus on every class BUT the proletariat class after the June defeats.

My second most pressing concern/question is the amazing optimism and teleology Marx seems to be projecting on to the Proletariat when he says.

"But the revolution is thoroughgoing. It is still traveling through purgatory. It does its work methodically. By December 2, 1851, it had completed half of its preparatory work; now it is completing the other half. It first completed the parliamentary power in order to be able to overthrow it. Now that it has achieved this, it completes the executive power, reduces it to its purest expression, isolates it, sets it up against itself as the sole target, in order to concentrate all its forces of destruction against it. And when it has accomplished this second half of its preliminary work, Europe will leap from its seat and exult: Well burrowed, old mole! "

Is he basically implying that the June defeats were planned? That constantly being defeated thereafter was all part of the plan of the proletariat so that the legislative branch could be concentrated and then overthrown by the executive branch? That seems to be an incredible stretch to me. He also seems to be saying that it is simply a matter of time for the executive branch to crumble under the might of the revolution. I frankly don't really know what happened with Louis-Napoleon after the Brumaire ends, but we don't live under Communism right now so I'm assuming the revolution didn't exactly dissolve the executive branch the way Marx was thinking about here. What happened there?

Overall though I thoroughly enjoyed the texts as wonderful examples of highlighting how class interests are the guiding forces behind political alliances/struggles/etc. and that these interests are materially grounded. I'll re-visit these works at a later time and post updated thoughts if I have any

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 Post subject: Re: The Class Struggles in France and the 18th Brumair
PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2016 1:29 pm 
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Broletariat wrote:
First off, I have a question most pointed at Arty. I recall reading through your blog and seeing a dialogue between you and another fellow on the importance of inter-parliamentary politics between different bourgeoise factions. I seem to remember you (arty) saying that the proletariat shouldn't care about that or focus on it etc. it's irrelevant to their interests and not something to be bogged down with. The other fellow remarked that Marx/Engels would have said this viewpoint (that the worker's shouldn't be interested in inter-bourgeoise factional struggles) is irrelevant because the workers will take interest in such things regardless. I forget what arty said at this point, but I'm curious to see what you have to say in elaboration of that view point with respect to the fact that, from what I can tell, most of the Brumaire is Marx basically talking about inter-bourgeoise class struggles between the differing monarchists. In general the two texts seem to focus on every class BUT the proletariat class after the June defeats.

Knowing Broletariat, their next step will be to ask the other guy what they have to say about it, as well. Inter-bourgeois class struggle is nothing compared to Broletariat's internal struggles.

Anyway, while obviously the point that candidates generally didn't stand for anything politically significant, and both being functionaries of capital hence co-operated despite the seeming opposition, a fairly depressing scene that you wouldn't want workers to get involved in, generally speaking Marx and Engels didn't hold that explicit communism was necessary for such a movement to begin, and hence did pay attention to politics for possibilities of exacerbating class struggle or opposition to the bourgeois state and also for what historically relevant movements might occur there. That said, there was perhaps a sense in which, by the time elections begun expressing relevant oppositions, communism would already be basically established, as certain categories could not be formulated in there without communism being existent. This would hold insofar as their role within the election and relative to the other candidates, or in that context and antagonism or pseudo-antagonism, was considered.

That said, certain organisations even prior to this couldn't be neglected, as insofar as they expressed a substantial opposition in some sense to certain aspects of international capitalism, their success presupposed a communistic mode - for instance, ISIS' antagonism to the US necessarily involved an adherence to absolute values and social control which were inherently antagonistic to the direction of international capital towards further hedonism, negative freedom, anarchy and catering to the instinctive, and as such despite the localistic alarm of some leftists over the treatment of some uninteresting Yazidi girls, they could not exist substantially as an entity or spread without ultimately adopting communism as a part of this struggle, or in general. It might seem obvious, but there could not be an 'ISIS capitalism,' compatible with the position of world capital as it is, and as such ISIS' struggle reveals a general trend towards categories which could not have been accommodated within capitalism, and in the progress of which communism would have to be implemented and furthered. Their primary movement was, in some way, away from capitalism, a movement away which just required consummation, rather than towards. In that sense, obviously ignoring such or not participating in them simply because they involve inter-bourgeois struggles - which is fairly paradoxical, on the whole the bourgeoisie was united, and hence any real struggle involved looking elsewhere, at least on one side - wasn't really that decisive, and Marx and Engels were not expecting the working class to revolt without interest in 'inter-bourgeois' struggles, as much as that term might imply that the actual struggles participated in are wholly proletarian ones.

As seen in the retreat from political substance in the elections, other than what is previously noted, relative to 2008 it is fairly clear that the emphasis in politics or where political discourse and positions are sought has shifted away from the electoral process and similar institutionalised forms to elsewhere and other people. In capitalism, fields are blurred together and undefined, if not explicitly connected, because nobody is really present to divide them, and as such the fairly tame discussion of the White House being replaced and looked for elsewhere might seem more appropriate.

If you pay close attention, though, you'll notice that Bill Clinton won in 1992, George Bush in 2000, and Barack Obama in 2008, so recent Presidential history was not that inspiring if hope and change is what you were looking to, but by itself it seems fairly indifferent. It's people existing in a system which is convinced that they should have no place there.

My second most pressing concern/question is the amazing optimism and teleology Marx seems to be projecting on to the Proletariat when he says.

"But the revolution is thoroughgoing. It is still traveling through purgatory. It does its work methodically. By December 2, 1851, it had completed half of its preparatory work; now it is completing the other half. It first completed the parliamentary power in order to be able to overthrow it. Now that it has achieved this, it completes the executive power, reduces it to its purest expression, isolates it, sets it up against itself as the sole target, in order to concentrate all its forces of destruction against it. And when it has accomplished this second half of its preliminary work, Europe will leap from its seat and exult: Well burrowed, old mole! "

Quote:
Is he basically implying that the June defeats were planned? That constantly being defeated thereafter was all part of the plan of the proletariat so that the legislative branch could be concentrated and then overthrown by the executive branch? That seems to be an incredible stretch to me. He also seems to be saying that it is simply a matter of time for the executive branch to crumble under the might of the revolution.

Marx would generally be discussing the overall progression of the working class, just as capitalism was not repetition but a continually altering process which ended. As such, this is not to be taken in a localistic sense, as talking merely about that working class and that state-form, but rather as talking about the general progression signified there and the press towards inevitable revolution. Obviously, all substantial movements of the working class had such a result of undermining their own basis as a passive, static class. If you have a basic familiarity with Hamlet, it is well known for not necessarily having its events occur immediately when their intent is posited, or in brief for the lapse of time represented by the play (that the play's viewers seemed to hold Hamlet's primary flaw to be that they made the play longer seems to speak more for their dislike for the whole play than any particular understanding of the character. Presumably they get really annoyed that Hamlet didn't act immediately on the word of a ghost, like Macbeth.), and the theme of 'burrowing' again seems to imply a degree of obscurity to the process which might not be immediately visible, as a result.

Generally, though, Marx may not have been that concerned about the particular events of the time - which were in any case a fairly pale, elongated imitation of the drama of the French Revolution and Robespierre - and as such may have been focussing on the progress of the historical process and the proletariat insofar as it played a role in this, or was identified with certain things, while the overall orientation of the proletariat as an organised movement could be quite conservative economically or laissez-faire, and as communism involves the proletariat's self-abolition it could not therefore be given rise to merely by the proletariat in itself, so that recourse was in any case made to fairly dim potentialities within it. As a result of this, they were not too inclined to merely listen to this direction, but wished to direct it, and this was inherently to view the step above it to the historical movement.

Recall that Marx was, reportedly, mostly quite poor, consistently with their steadfast communist viewpoint and orientation and their choleric temperament at times which might be in many ways a result of that, and also required payments to get by at times, so they didn't hold the working class to be somehow better off because they sold their labour-power to capital, by its own consent, but rather were discussing things from a perspective which basically identified them with the working class and hence their own observations were in a sense held as closer to the working class' movement than the working class' own incidental excursions or viewpoints, as indeed might make sense. It goes without saying that communism itself does not involve the proletariat's existence at all, and hence all communists were in some aspect external to the working class and spoke as such, which might seem awkward but generally told of a greater understanding of the historical process and overall working of the system than any of the others working within it.

It must be noted, though, that if you read such passages by Marx out loud, if you were of such a persuasion, they would basically just sound like a load of applause. This generally also applies in the German text. Weird.

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 Post subject: Re: The Class Struggles in France and the 18th Brumair
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 7:49 am 
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ZeroNowhere wrote:
Knowing Broletariat, their next step will be to ask the other guy what they have to say about it, as well. Inter-bourgeois class struggle is nothing compared to Broletariat's internal struggles.


Hey, nothing wrong with trying to gather as much information on the subject as you can to better understand the subject.

Quote:
Anyway, while obviously the point that candidates generally didn't stand for anything politically significant, and both being functionaries of capital hence co-operated despite the seeming opposition, a fairly depressing scene that you wouldn't want workers to get involved in, generally speaking Marx and Engels didn't hold that explicit communism was necessary for such a movement to begin, and hence did pay attention to politics for possibilities of exacerbating class struggle or opposition to the bourgeois state and also for what historically relevant movements might occur there. That said, there was perhaps a sense in which, by the time elections begun expressing relevant oppositions, communism would already be basically established, as certain categories could not be formulated in there without communism being existent. This would hold insofar as their role within the election and relative to the other candidates, or in that context and antagonism or pseudo-antagonism, was considered.


Aren't basically all candidates merely representatives of this or that section of the bourgeoise though? Is that merely a modern phenomena wherein the State form has been molded through time to be particularly well adapted to serve bourgeoise power? Obviously the struggles in question here were the attempts at creating that form of State power best suited to bourgeoise rule, so at that point the idea would be that it was still not solidified as a bourgeoise State and thus open to working class influence, just as it was open to peasant domination.

I'm finding it a little hard to read your second sentence there. You use the past-tense "begun" which makes me think that you mean to say relevant oppositions were already expressed at some point in the French elections, and thus that the rest of what you said applies. Can I assume that you mean a future-tense so that what you are saying is that by the time elections actually hold more political content than just which section of the ruling class gets the wield the State machinery that a communist movement will already be holding great sway?

In that light, the question is still relatively unanswered, or at least the answer is confined to that period of history. Why did Marx and Engels care about inter-bourgeoise struggles? Merely because inter-bourgeoise struggles were relatively new and unwitnessed phenomena? And in being new were still open to outside influences thus opening the door for real working class political content?

Overall to me it very much seems like in the modern day a communistic movement would already need to hold great sway for elections to have significance to the working class, whereas in Marx and Engels' day the electoral system was still new and vulnerable to penetration from other classes such as the peasantry and so could be more readily wielded as a weapon of working class power.

Quote:
That said, certain organisations even prior to this couldn't be neglected, as insofar as they expressed a substantial opposition in some sense to certain aspects of international capitalism, their success presupposed a communistic mode - for instance, ISIS' antagonism to the US necessarily involved an adherence to absolute values and social control which were inherently antagonistic to the direction of international capital towards further hedonism, negative freedom, anarchy and catering to the instinctive, and as such despite the localistic alarm of some leftists over the treatment of some uninteresting Yazidi girls, they could not exist substantially as an entity or spread without ultimately adopting communism as a part of this struggle, or in general. It might seem obvious, but there could not be an 'ISIS capitalism,' compatible with the position of world capital as it is, and as such ISIS' struggle reveals a general trend towards categories which could not have been accommodated within capitalism, and in the progress of which communism would have to be implemented and furthered. Their primary movement was, in some way, away from capitalism, a movement away which just required consummation, rather than towards. In that sense, obviously ignoring such or not participating in them simply because they involve inter-bourgeois struggles - which is fairly paradoxical, on the whole the bourgeoisie was united, and hence any real struggle involved looking elsewhere, at least on one side - wasn't really that decisive, and Marx and Engels were not expecting the working class to revolt without interest in 'inter-bourgeois' struggles, as much as that term might imply that the actual struggles participated in are wholly proletarian ones.


To me it sounds like you're saying that any form of opposition at all against the Capitalist class, or section of the Capitalist class implies a communistic movement, which on the surface seems somewhat correct. The form of attack on the capitalist class, or section of the capitalist class would necessarily be somewhat similar to the form of any other attack on the capitalist class or section of the capitalist class, but the content can and does vary tremendously. I seem to recall oil and railroad tycoons in America frequently blowing up each other's oilrigs or sabotaging each other's railroads etc. All forms of action that a working class in revolt might also carry out, but being wielded by a section of the capitalist class to further profits. Another striking example that comes to mind is the Fascist use of unions, specifically Fascist strikes. Wherein the power from Capitalists is wrested away through the form of attack of a strike, but not given to the workers, but to the Fascists.

Is the point, then, to participate in such strikes or sabotage of the opposing capitalists factories to the benefit of your capitalist, but also attempt to broaden the struggle not just to this or that capitalist but to ALL capitalists? Because that seems a bit like trying to seize the State machinery ready-made to me. Insofaras that attack has already been orchestrated and is headed up by forces ultimately hostile to the working class. Just because the enemy of my enemy is attacking my enemy does not mean I should help him. He may turn on me next, and their mutual struggle should be exploited.

Quote:
As seen in the retreat from political substance in the elections, other than what is previously noted, relative to 2008 it is fairly clear that the emphasis in politics or where political discourse and positions are sought has shifted away from the electoral process and similar institutionalised forms to elsewhere and other people. In capitalism, fields are blurred together and undefined, if not explicitly connected, because nobody is really present to divide them, and as such the fairly tame discussion of the White House being replaced and looked for elsewhere might seem more appropriate.

If you pay close attention, though, you'll notice that Bill Clinton won in 1992, George Bush in 2000, and Barack Obama in 2008, so recent Presidential history was not that inspiring if hope and change is what you were looking to, but by itself it seems fairly indifferent. It's people existing in a system which is convinced that they should have no place there.


I'm not sure I really follow you here. To me the bourgeois elections are just the different sections of the bourgeois effectively taking turns at using the State machinery to their own ends. The Republicans bailed out manufacturing based industries whereas the Democrats bailed out financial based industries and helped out the insurance industry quite a bit as well. They aren't 'taking turns' in a benevolent sort of way mind you where they each keep trading possession of the State machinery willingly, but are competing for control of it, my overall point being that just as the differing monarchist factions in French history merely represented different sections of the bourgeoise, so today the different political parties also represent different sections of the bourgeoise.

Quote:
Marx would generally be discussing the overall progression of the working class, just as capitalism was not repetition but a continually altering process which ended. As such, this is not to be taken in a localistic sense, as talking merely about that working class and that state-form, but rather as talking about the general progression signified there and the press towards inevitable revolution. Obviously, all substantial movements of the working class had such a result of undermining their own basis as a passive, static class. If you have a basic familiarity with Hamlet, it is well known for not necessarily having its events occur immediately when their intent is posited, or in brief for the lapse of time represented by the play (that the play's viewers seemed to hold Hamlet's primary flaw to be that they made the play longer seems to speak more for their dislike for the whole play than any particular understanding of the character. Presumably they get really annoyed that Hamlet didn't act immediately on the word of a ghost, like Macbeth.), and the theme of 'burrowing' again seems to imply a degree of obscurity to the process which might not be immediately visible, as a result.


I'm still rather uncomfortable with discussion of a conscious movement toward a definite goal. I see it all too often in my professional life as a scientist people can easily form false conclusions by thinking that a particular enzyme is intentionally setting up for a reaction later down the road. In fact, now that I'm thinking more about it, it seems to me that Marx talks about this error and criticizes it himself. History was not the progression to the current point, and cannot be interpreted as a procession of events to intentionally lead up to the point we're at, it is merely a sequence of people molding the society that they found themselves within. To therefore imply that the working class was merely undermining the power of parliament so that it could later concentrate it in the executive power and again destroy it there, seems to be a commitment of the exact same error. The working class wasn't doing this consciously, it was merely revolting against the circumstances it found itself in which only coincidentally created the new conditions you currently find yourself in. It wasn't a grand procession of history to lead us to this point.

Quote:
Generally, though, Marx may not have been that concerned about the particular events of the time - which were in any case a fairly pale, elongated imitation of the drama of the French Revolution and Robespierre - and as such may have been focussing on the progress of the historical process and the proletariat insofar as it played a role in this, or was identified with certain things, while the overall orientation of the proletariat as an organised movement could be quite conservative economically or laissez-faire, and as communism involves the proletariat's self-abolition it could not therefore be given rise to merely by the proletariat in itself, so that recourse was in any case made to fairly dim potentialities within it. As a result of this, they were not too inclined to merely listen to this direction, but wished to direct it, and this was inherently to view the step above it to the historical movement.


And I think therein lies the mistake, the direction was already set by the circumstances of the time, and was not about to be changed or influenced by hopeful writing.

Quote:
Recall that Marx was, reportedly, mostly quite poor, consistently with their steadfast communist viewpoint and orientation and their choleric temperament at times which might be in many ways a result of that, and also required payments to get by at times, so they didn't hold the working class to be somehow better off because they sold their labour-power to capital, by its own consent, but rather were discussing things from a perspective which basically identified them with the working class and hence their own observations were in a sense held as closer to the working class' movement than the working class' own incidental excursions or viewpoints, as indeed might make sense. It goes without saying that communism itself does not involve the proletariat's existence at all, and hence all communists were in some aspect external to the working class and spoke as such, which might seem awkward but generally told of a greater understanding of the historical process and overall working of the system than any of the others working within it.


I think that externality and awareness of what the working class is inevitably struggling for is also quite dangerous for theoretical confusion. It is very easy to project an awareness onto the working class that they do not actually have. Just because the struggle for less working hours/higher wages/etc. implies a struggle towards communism, does not imply that the working class is actually aware of this struggle and, moreover, such a false projection can lead to mistakes of the kind that Marx rightly criticizes in his criticism of idealist conceptions of history.

Quote:
It must be noted, though, that if you read such passages by Marx out loud, if you were of such a persuasion, they would basically just sound like a load of applause. This generally also applies in the German text. Weird.


Amusingly I am listening to all of these in audiobook format at my job and the fact that it sounded like a load of applause is exactly what prompted my question hah!

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 Post subject: Re: The Class Struggles in France and the 18th Brumair
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 5:14 pm 
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Brole wrote:
Aren't basically all candidates merely representatives of this or that section of the bourgeoise though? Is that merely a modern phenomena wherein the State form has been molded through time to be particularly well adapted to serve bourgeoise power? Obviously the struggles in question here were the attempts at creating that form of State power best suited to bourgeoise rule, so at that point the idea would be that it was still not solidified as a bourgeoise State and thus open to working class influence, just as it was open to peasant domination.

Firstly, 'inter-bourgeois' struggle is already a problem, because the bourgeois by itself is unified, and to posit something as a political opposition would mean that an additional element would have to be taken over from the proletariat. If there were truly an election founded upon 'inter-bourgeois struggles,' then one Party would have to be explicitly revolutionary, and hence it not be as it is claimed to be, because otherwise setting up a struggle in the political or social form over the bourgeois form posited as two, opposing visions of society, would be more than the bourgeoisie could itself carry out. The state is an organisation representing the nexus of social relations or control over this, the bourgeoisie could not explicitly organise itself in this territory as such, because it was not conscious of the workings of the social organism, and not Marxist.

This result would make sense, as when capitalist society is brought into contradiction with itself, apparently willingly (which is highly unlikely), the crisis element and revolutionary tendencies are inevitably a part of this, although if they were explicitly to make such a contradiction and its exacerbation policy, then as said they would be by this point explicitly revolutionary, and not hence be satisfied with this contradiction. Obviously such tend towards communistic ends inherently, and thus would be worth the attention, to say the least, if they were a plausible event at the time.

There was generally no attempt to form state power best suited to bourgeois rule (what makes you think that the bourgeoisie enjoyed the power of the state, or vice versa? The state found itself, despite its claims and what it in fact is, dwarfed by the bourgeois in capitalism, and the more it tried to assert itself or its 'forms,' the more it could only do so in opposition to the bourgeoisie. As we know already from the critique of the fetishism of the commodity, the state was representing something that the bourgeois were in denial of.), which would probably be going a bit too far from the concerns of the individual bourgeois, there was merely a reaction to seemingly foreign elements or those opposed to the social relations present at the time, and the forms of it, which only seemed coherent. No particular section of the bourgeoisie could implement itself over and above bourgeois society, or have the pretence of doing so, without simply being a proletarian organisation.

In addition, note that politicians were systematically committed to serving the whole bourgeoisie, as their position in bourgeois society was about undifferentiated approval, just as money doesn't differ by sector. You'd essentially need some form of Illuminati over there to organise them to each cater to their respective bourgeoisie, and by then you're essentially just positing a communist form of organisation.

That said, most of this seems to just be meandering around what was said in my post via various phrases, in which sense it's uncertain what this discussion is by now to be about.

Brole wrote:
In that light, the question is still relatively unanswered, or at least the answer is confined to that period of history. Why did Marx and Engels care about inter-bourgeoise struggles? Merely because inter-bourgeoise struggles were relatively new and unwitnessed phenomena? And in being new were still open to outside influences thus opening the door for real working class political content?

That wouldn't be because they were new, as capital gets less rather than more stable, it would therefore become more open to such if it was so already. They weren't simply concerned about the phrase 'inter-bourgeois struggle,' but rather about the overall significance of the elections as one possible expression of the political, and what they may have meant on a social level. The question of conscious social regulation always involved the question of socialism, if you had to ask. Republicans were especially keen on this.

They were concerned about the whole event, not about what categories it might incidentally be placed into.

Brole wrote:
I'm finding it a little hard to read your second sentence there. You use the past-tense "begun" which makes me think that you mean to say relevant oppositions were already expressed at some point in the French elections, and thus that the rest of what you said applies. Can I assume that you mean a future-tense so that what you are saying is that by the time elections actually hold more political content than just which section of the ruling class gets the wield the State machinery that a communist movement will already be holding great sway?

That's a valid use of 'begun.' I was not suggesting that that occurred in the 1800s. We were discussing the essential nature of that matter.

Brole wrote:
Overall to me it very much seems like in the modern day a communistic movement would already need to hold great sway for elections to have significance to the working class, whereas in Marx and Engels' day the electoral system was still new and vulnerable to penetration from other classes such as the peasantry and so could be more readily wielded as a weapon of working class power.

The elections are merely the play of the society underlying them, in political terms, of course all elections had relevance to the working class. Communism was the fundamental dynamic of this society, it had no other direction. I mean, the 'inter-bourgeois struggle' phrase might be useful if all that concerns you is which candidate you wished to vote for, if either, and the claim that either of them held an ultimate solution to the issues posed, but obviously that wasn't always their concern. Whenever people are concerned about the overall social organism, they are departed from bourgeois life.

Brole wrote:
They aren't 'taking turns' in a benevolent sort of way mind you where they each keep trading possession of the State machinery willingly, but are competing for control of it, my overall point being that just as the differing monarchist factions in French history merely represented different sections of the bourgeoise, so today the different political parties also represent different sections of the bourgeoise.

Given that each side of the bourgeoisie merely served capital - like everyone else, mostly - yes, they would be obligated to 'benevolently' hand over possession of the state, which having been subjugated as a social arbiter to the rule of divisions of use-value posited as separate to capital would have already been communistic decades ago, by their more serious commitments, rather than engaging in such frivolities with commitment. This would then undermine the attempt at neatly separating such things, or the elections would just become as they were multiple candidates competing over a position, and in this soliciting the aid of the bourgeois in an undifferentiated manner, not having by themselves the capacity to reject one half of the bourgeoisie (somehow?) and merely rely upon that which they apparently favoured, for little reason. The harmony of the democratic mode with capitalism was precisely that by expressing its oppositions as hence relative, rather than taking the absolute stand of a unified state-form, it thus allowed for the economic to assert its hierarchy on a social level and de-emphasised the political (although tenuously), by then basing this on economic categories they'd be apparently looking to some form of society beyond economics, which makes you question if it wasn't then supposed to be a religious endeavour on their part to have such democracy (while they may have treated it as such, it goes without saying that neither can democracy express any religion, or oppose any. Which, again, suited it to the forms of capitalism as a dominant mode.) Nobody said that it was there to last long.

In any case, it goes without saying that capitalist society was not stable, but rather highly contradictory and limited, these contradictions being realised in crises, alongside increasing exclusion of labour-power and hence weakening of its ability to bargain. As such, Marx and Engels were not going to ignore politics on the basis of some hypothetical stability with no theoretical and hence true basis. That would rather be a reason to pay attention to movements, even ones which at some point hadn't come out against capitalism yet.

Brole wrote:
I'm still rather uncomfortable with discussion of a conscious movement toward a definite goal. I see it all too often in my professional life as a scientist people can easily form false conclusions by thinking that a particular enzyme is intentionally setting up for a reaction later down the road. In fact, now that I'm thinking more about it, it seems to me that Marx talks about this error and criticizes it himself. History was not the progression to the current point, and cannot be interpreted as a procession of events to intentionally lead up to the point we're at, it is merely a sequence of people molding the society that they found themselves within.

Marx's perspective was that these people, not being at the point of Marxists or beyond, did not wholly understand the process they were taking part in, but nonetheless furthered their movement by their participation in it, without necessarily understanding it, due to the interaction of their interests and the historical cause. Anyway, science is a politically neutral field, so not only does it not seem likely that that would be relevant, and not only is it never normative for the higher pursuits, but in fields dealing with telos it has really no relevance at all. The proletariat had an agency of their own, historically, that was separate from any individual proletarian, and history had a necessary progression which such events may have been part of.

Brole wrote:
It wasn't a grand procession of history to lead us to this point.

As much as Marx's historical writings rarely deal with historical events of that much significance, although they do discuss them a fair bit, Marx did view history as having a necessary progression which events would ultimately tend to further, in their own way. As much as science may have to say, of little interest by itself, about ether, or about 'space-time' when it is in denial, it says little about Marx's perspective on history, which is too developed for it. Consider that Marx's overall perspective was far advanced of that of any 20th Century scientist, if having its own inconsistencies and issues, and it rather seems that they are always the ones in question.

Brole wrote:
And I think therein lies the mistake, the direction was already set by the circumstances of the time, and was not about to be changed or influenced by hopeful writing.

To whom? Obviously Marx's letter to Lincoln is unlikely to have influenced much. But writings touch far more profoundly on, and take more part in, a situation than someone just standing there, and possibly making noise in some undefined direction. People would find what writing they looked for, or what writing the historical situation was looking for.

Brole wrote:
I think that externality and awareness of what the working class is inevitably struggling for is also quite dangerous for theoretical confusion. It is very easy to project an awareness onto the working class that they do not actually have.

'Dangerous' here seems misleading, because such 'confusions' rarely occur, and certainly not enough to have any particularly political relevance or direction. It might have issues for science, but that is morally neutral or not a problem.

Brole wrote:
Just because the struggle for less working hours/higher wages/etc. implies a struggle towards communism, does not imply that the working class is actually aware of this struggle and, moreover, such a false projection can lead to mistakes of the kind that Marx rightly criticizes in his criticism of idealist conceptions of history.

Marx criticises a view by which people having new ideals was determining of history, one which realistically very few people held, and Hegel for instance certainly did not. He criticised this from the perspective of a view drawing on Hegel's view of people being necessarily determined by the progression of the spirit of the times and its motivating force, without differentiating himself fundamentally from this. His merit here was primarily that he avoided the Hegelian beneficence by not claiming that particular ideas or humanity lay behind certain societies, hence allowing both for absolute opposition to such and thus its overthrow, and also for explaining a society where subject-object relations were inverted, although it is suspect that no note was made of Hegel's optimistic trends being essentially communistic in nature. However, of course, even Hegel was frequently critical of a social order where people were so rendered passive, and the inversion of the productive power of the Idea, which rendered religion a mask for human mediocrity, so obviously they were aware that social life generally was carried out in contradiction to their views of how this was to take place, although they did hold hope that this would be done away with by the general coherence and subjugation of such social realms.

In any case, the view which Marx criticises has little relevance to the one you seem to be hypothesising - voluntarism rarely views proletarian struggle as necessarily implying communism, or it would return to economic determinism and humility on the part of the working proletariat - although it must be stated that surely if anything the first move of most proletarians was a subjection to economic determinism on their own part, or to the progression of the system which was prevalent at the time. That Marx places his voice above that of the active proletariat in these struggles, needn't be too much of a surprise, as Marxism lies fundamentally beyond any of these proletarian struggles within capitalism, and in economic rather than ideal terms. Marx's voice and perspective here was that of someone who not only took part in such movements - in which they could generally not particpate - but directed and organised such, being aware of their purpose, and relative to which any other direction would be merely immediate submission. As the direction of proletarian struggles was necessarily communistic, if not posited politically or absolutely but only within an economic field, it might be noted that any notable opposition to such aims, once they are posited (and they were before Marx and Engels), even in 'utopian' terms or whatever in a historical context, would mean that such struggles could not even occur at all, and would have to immediately submit or not begin. This much might be noted, or that such struggles necessarily took a position in the historical progression of capitalism, as did any riot, protest, etc., which meant in the latter case that they were generally infested with reactionary careerists, etc., trying to shut them down in terms of their message. This progression was one to communism. In this sense, something which did not exist either in the proletariat (and involved its submission and cessation) or bourgeoisie in concrete form, was the motivation behind such struggles, and that much is actually quite orthodox. This is merely to be spiteful, however. More blissfully, however, Marx basically saw the agency of the proletariat as necessarily aligning with the historical process which involved their own undermining, so in that sense in charting the progression of the revolution they were not concerned about the 'voluntary' nature of these actions, or who was doing them, but rather about their overall historical and systematic significance.

Brole wrote:
Amusingly I am listening to all of these in audiobook format at my job and the fact that it sounded like a load of applause is exactly what prompted my question hah!

Cool.

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 Post subject: Re: The Class Struggles in France and the 18th Brumair
PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 9:27 am 
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Broletariat wrote:
e

I've been going over these two works and I have some thoughts/questions related to them.

First off, I have a question most pointed at Arty. I recall reading through your blog and seeing a dialogue between you and another fellow on the importance of inter-parliamentary politics between different bourgeoise factions. I seem to remember you (arty) saying that the proletariat shouldn't care about that or focus on it etc. it's irrelevant to their interests and not something to be bogged down with. The other fellow remarked that Marx/Engels would have said this viewpoint (that the worker's shouldn't be interested in inter-bourgeoise factional struggles) is irrelevant because the workers will take interest in such things regardless. I forget what arty said at this point, but I'm curious to see what you have to say in elaboration of that view point with respect to the fact that, from what I can tell, most of the Brumaire is Marx basically talking about inter-bourgeoise class struggles between the differing monarchists. In general the two texts seem to focus on every class BUT the proletariat class after the June defeats.


I think you are referring to thishttp://thewolfatthedoor.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-political-economy-of-things.html, and that's not quite what I said. I said this: "I didn't say Marxists take no interest in bourgeois politics. For example, earlier I explicitly stated that we should not ignore attacks on Syriza coming from the right.

I have stated that we have no interest in administering to the needs of capitalism on behalf of the bourgeois; on collaborating with the bourgeoisie; of representing a more "humane" capitalism.

Our interest is in abolishing capitalism, not governing on its behalf. - See more at: http://thewolfatthedoor.blogspot.com/20 ... 9C5hA.dpuf
"




Broletariat wrote:
My second most pressing concern/question is the amazing optimism and teleology Marx seems to be projecting on to the Proletariat when he says.

"But the revolution is thoroughgoing. It is still traveling through purgatory. It does its work methodically. By December 2, 1851, it had completed half of its preparatory work; now it is completing the other half. It first completed the parliamentary power in order to be able to overthrow it. Now that it has achieved this, it completes the executive power, reduces it to its purest expression, isolates it, sets it up against itself as the sole target, in order to concentrate all its forces of destruction against it. And when it has accomplished this second half of its preliminary work, Europe will leap from its seat and exult: Well burrowed, old mole! "

Is he basically implying that the June defeats were planned? That constantly being defeated thereafter was all part of the plan of the proletariat so that the legislative branch could be concentrated and then overthrown by the executive branch? That seems to be an incredible stretch to me. He also seems to be saying that it is simply a matter of time for the executive branch to crumble under the might of the revolution. I frankly don't really know what happened with Louis-Napoleon after the Brumaire ends, but we don't live under Communism right now so I'm assuming the revolution didn't exactly dissolve the executive branch the way Marx was thinking about here. What happened there?


Don't think so. I believe he's expressing a sort of "revolutionary optimism" where the consolidation of power sets the table for a concentrated struggle. The point I think we need to grasp here is that the 18th Brumaire of Louis-Napoleon occurs because of the retreat, the ebb, of the revolutionary wave; a retreat engineered in large part by the "parliamentary bourgeoisie" who then find themselves more or less easily deposed, and disposed of, by the coup.
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 Post subject: Re: The Class Struggles in France and the 18th Brumair
PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2016 10:34 am 
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I'd like to open by saying that in general I'm finding you very hard to understand Zero, mostly because of my unfamiliarity with the subjects at hand. I feel very out of my element and am obviously misusing the basic terminology involved in the dialogue. If at any point you feel like I'm missing the point please feel free to point it out to me.

ZeroNowhere wrote:
Brole wrote:
Aren't basically all candidates merely representatives of this or that section of the bourgeoise though? Is that merely a modern phenomena wherein the State form has been molded through time to be particularly well adapted to serve bourgeoise power? Obviously the struggles in question here were the attempts at creating that form of State power best suited to bourgeoise rule, so at that point the idea would be that it was still not solidified as a bourgeoise State and thus open to working class influence, just as it was open to peasant domination.

Firstly, 'inter-bourgeois' struggle is already a problem, because the bourgeois by itself is unified, and to posit something as a political opposition would mean that an additional element would have to be taken over from the proletariat. If there were truly an election founded upon 'inter-bourgeois struggles,' then one Party would have to be explicitly revolutionary, and hence it not be as it is claimed to be, because otherwise setting up a struggle in the political or social form over the bourgeois form posited as two, opposing visions of society, would be more than the bourgeoisie could itself carry out. The state is an organisation representing the nexus of social relations or control over this, the bourgeoisie could not explicitly organise itself in this territory as such, because it was not conscious of the workings of the social organism, and not Marxist.


To me it already seems like you're talking about something different than what I was talking about. I feel a bit like the molecular biologist talking to the evolutionary biologist about why certain traits exist. The molecular biologist explains the traits in terms of genetics and enzymatic reactions while the evolutionary biologist talks about survival advantages.

When I was speaking of inter-bourgeois struggle, I didn't mean anything so grand as a vision of society, merely a modification of this or that tax law to the greater benefit of one section of the ruling class. I'm also struggling to view the bourgeois as unified. As a class the bourgeois is in constant competition with itself just as the proletariat is. Things like racism, sexism, etc. will divide the proletariat and keep it from being unified just as the struggle over this or that tax change can keep the bourgeois at odds with each other. By this I merely mean that perhaps there is some law that will aid financially based individuals of the bourgeois and harm manufacturing based individuals of the bourgeois and this law creates conflict between the two of them. Obviously not conflict in the sense that you are talking about conflict, but there is still some form of an antagonism there.

Quote:
There was generally no attempt to form state power best suited to bourgeois rule (what makes you think that the bourgeoisie enjoyed the power of the state, or vice versa? The state found itself, despite its claims and what it in fact is, dwarfed by the bourgeois in capitalism, and the more it tried to assert itself or its 'forms,' the more it could only do so in opposition to the bourgeoisie. As we know already from the critique of the fetishism of the commodity, the state was representing something that the bourgeois were in denial of.), which would probably be going a bit too far from the concerns of the individual bourgeois, there was merely a reaction to seemingly foreign elements or those opposed to the social relations present at the time, and the forms of it, which only seemed coherent. No particular section of the bourgeoisie could implement itself over and above bourgeois society, or have the pretence of doing so, without simply being a proletarian organisation.


The way I understood the two works was as an explanation of the transition from a Monarchist to a Parliamentary form of rule. the problem with the Monarchist form of rule being that it allowed only this or that section of the bourgeois to steer society, thus forcing the other sections of the bourgeois to constantly threaten State power in order to control it for themselves. Whereas in the Parliamentary form of rule any faction of the bourgeois could have their influence felt.

Quote:
In addition, note that politicians were systematically committed to serving the whole bourgeoisie, as their position in bourgeois society was about undifferentiated approval, just as money doesn't differ by sector. You'd essentially need some form of Illuminati over there to organise them to each cater to their respective bourgeoisie, and by then you're essentially just positing a communist form of organisation.


To the first sentence, isn't that precisely why the monarchist form was shed for the parliamentary form? The monarchist form only allowed this or that section of the bourgeois to be served, whereas the parliamentary formed allowed for the whole of the bourgeois to be served.

Quote:
That said, most of this seems to just be meandering around what was said in my post via various phrases, in which sense it's uncertain what this discussion is by now to be about.


To a great extent I'm trying to simply understand you.

Quote:
Brole wrote:
In that light, the question is still relatively unanswered, or at least the answer is confined to that period of history. Why did Marx and Engels care about inter-bourgeoise struggles? Merely because inter-bourgeoise struggles were relatively new and unwitnessed phenomena? And in being new were still open to outside influences thus opening the door for real working class political content?

That wouldn't be because they were new, as capital gets less rather than more stable, it would therefore become more open to such if it was so already. They weren't simply concerned about the phrase 'inter-bourgeois struggle,' but rather about the overall significance of the elections as one possible expression of the political, and what they may have meant on a social level. The question of conscious social regulation always involved the question of socialism, if you had to ask. Republicans were especially keen on this.


It would seem to my historically ignorant eye that capital has gotten more, not less stable over time. 1917 was nearly a century ago. I understand they aren't concerned with phrases, but as far as I can see, elections in America today seem to be arguing over how to best govern capitalist society which is not something I imagine to be terribly important. Do you mean the French Republicans or modern American Republicans? Either way, would you mind elaborating on that point?


Quote:
Brole wrote:
Overall to me it very much seems like in the modern day a communistic movement would already need to hold great sway for elections to have significance to the working class, whereas in Marx and Engels' day the electoral system was still new and vulnerable to penetration from other classes such as the peasantry and so could be more readily wielded as a weapon of working class power.

The elections are merely the play of the society underlying them, in political terms, of course all elections had relevance to the working class. Communism was the fundamental dynamic of this society, it had no other direction. I mean, the 'inter-bourgeois struggle' phrase might be useful if all that concerns you is which candidate you wished to vote for, if either, and the claim that either of them held an ultimate solution to the issues posed, but obviously that wasn't always their concern. Whenever people are concerned about the overall social organism, they are departed from bourgeois life.


The fact that elections are merely the flower of the soil they grow from is rather much my point. A communistic movement would need to already hold great sway to have any relevance to elections.

Quote:
Brole wrote:
They aren't 'taking turns' in a benevolent sort of way mind you where they each keep trading possession of the State machinery willingly, but are competing for control of it, my overall point being that just as the differing monarchist factions in French history merely represented different sections of the bourgeoise, so today the different political parties also represent different sections of the bourgeoise.

Given that each side of the bourgeoisie merely served capital - like everyone else, mostly - yes, they would be obligated to 'benevolently' hand over possession of the state,


I'm now picturing control of the state from one section of the bourgeois to the other as a sport. They agree to play the sport within a set of rules, democracy, and not just open fire on each other in the middle of the playing field. But they are actually competing with each other to 'win.'

Quote:
which having been subjugated as a social arbiter to the rule of divisions of use-value posited as separate to capital would have already been communistic decades ago, by their more serious commitments, rather than engaging in such frivolities with commitment.


This part confuses me greatly.

Quote:
This would then undermine the attempt at neatly separating such things, or the elections would just become as they were multiple candidates competing over a position, and in this soliciting the aid of the bourgeois in an undifferentiated manner, not having by themselves the capacity to reject one half of the bourgeoisie (somehow?) and merely rely upon that which they apparently favoured, for little reason.


I don't think they're rejecting this or that section of the bourgeois, merely that their positions are more or less favourable to this or that section of the bourgeois.

Quote:
The harmony of the democratic mode with capitalism was precisely that by expressing its oppositions as hence relative, rather than taking the absolute stand of a unified state-form, it thus allowed for the economic to assert its hierarchy on a social level and de-emphasised the political (although tenuously), by then basing this on economic categories they'd be apparently looking to some form of society beyond economics, which makes you question if it wasn't then supposed to be a religious endeavour on their part to have such democracy (while they may have treated it as such, it goes without saying that neither can democracy express any religion, or oppose any. Which, again, suited it to the forms of capitalism as a dominant mode.) Nobody said that it was there to last long.


Having read The Jewish Question, this starts to make more sense to me now. I'm still not sure I understand you though. What do you mean by expressing oppositions as relative rather than a unified state-form.

Quote:
In any case, it goes without saying that capitalist society was not stable, but rather highly contradictory and limited, these contradictions being realised in crises, alongside increasing exclusion of labour-power and hence weakening of its ability to bargain. As such, Marx and Engels were not going to ignore politics on the basis of some hypothetical stability with no theoretical and hence true basis. That would rather be a reason to pay attention to movements, even ones which at some point hadn't come out against capitalism yet.


While capitalist society is not stable, it does appear that democracy is quite the stable form of rule in capitalism. Only during moments when capitalism itself is threatened can I think of times when democracy gives way to a different form of rule. This would thus appear to shift the focus from the political realm to the economic one. Or at least, away from what is superficially and colloquially referred to as politics.

Quote:
Brole wrote:
I'm still rather uncomfortable with discussion of a conscious movement toward a definite goal. I see it all too often in my professional life as a scientist people can easily form false conclusions by thinking that a particular enzyme is intentionally setting up for a reaction later down the road. In fact, now that I'm thinking more about it, it seems to me that Marx talks about this error and criticizes it himself. History was not the progression to the current point, and cannot be interpreted as a procession of events to intentionally lead up to the point we're at, it is merely a sequence of people molding the society that they found themselves within.

Marx's perspective was that these people, not being at the point of Marxists or beyond, did not wholly understand the process they were taking part in, but nonetheless furthered their movement by their participation in it, without necessarily understanding it, due to the interaction of their interests and the historical cause.


You could say the same thing of some enzymes as well, the difference of course being that the people involved in these processes can become aware of what they are taking part in. But until they have they differ in this respect very little from the enzymes.

Quote:
Anyway, science is a politically neutral field


I think to say this you have to make abstraction away from what science actually is as it is practiced today.

Quote:
Brole wrote:
And I think therein lies the mistake, the direction was already set by the circumstances of the time, and was not about to be changed or influenced by hopeful writing.

To whom? Obviously Marx's letter to Lincoln is unlikely to have influenced much. But writings touch far more profoundly on, and take more part in, a situation than someone just standing there, and possibly making noise in some undefined direction. People would find what writing they looked for, or what writing the historical situation was looking for.


I think my problem is is that I'm in 2016 looking back saying that his writing wasn't going to change the situation because it had already been solidified.

Quote:
Brole wrote:
I think that externality and awareness of what the working class is inevitably struggling for is also quite dangerous for theoretical confusion. It is very easy to project an awareness onto the working class that they do not actually have.

'Dangerous' here seems misleading, because such 'confusions' rarely occur, and certainly not enough to have any particularly political relevance or direction. It might have issues for science, but that is morally neutral or not a problem.


I'm thinking here most explicitly of the lumpen-proletariat army that was created. It wasn't aware that communism is better for it, but it was assumed it would fight in favor of the working class.

Quote:
Brole wrote:
Just because the struggle for less working hours/higher wages/etc. implies a struggle towards communism, does not imply that the working class is actually aware of this struggle and, moreover, such a false projection can lead to mistakes of the kind that Marx rightly criticizes in his criticism of idealist conceptions of history.

Marx criticises a view by which people having new ideals was determining of history, one which realistically very few people held, and Hegel for instance certainly did not. He criticised this from the perspective of a view drawing on Hegel's view of people being necessarily determined by the progression of the spirit of the times and its motivating force, without differentiating himself fundamentally from this. His merit here was primarily that he avoided the Hegelian beneficence by not claiming that particular ideas or humanity lay behind certain societies, hence allowing both for absolute opposition to such and thus its overthrow, and also for explaining a society where subject-object relations were inverted, although it is suspect that no note was made of Hegel's optimistic trends being essentially communistic in nature. However, of course, even Hegel was frequently critical of a social order where people were so rendered passive, and the inversion of the productive power of the Idea, which rendered religion a mask for human mediocrity, so obviously they were aware that social life generally was carried out in contradiction to their views of how this was to take place, although they did hold hope that this would be done away with by the general coherence and subjugation of such social realms.


Why would he bother to criticize a view very few people held? You never made the subject-object relations topic for me btw.

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 Post subject: Re: The Class Struggles in France and the 18th Brumair
PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2016 11:33 pm 
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Brole wrote:
The fact that elections are merely the flower of the soil they grow from is rather much my point. A communistic movement would need to already hold great sway to have any relevance to elections.

Nobody mentioned a 'communist movement.' Capitalism is the progression to communism, and elections arose from this progression and not from the voluntaristic fantasies of capitalists. Nobody cares what such people say, in general, but what they represent. These elections might be different from those of 2008, significantly, but you sound like you just miss Barack Obama. But he's still around. Communism is the only political opposition to capital, or on a social level. An electoral platform is taking the social relations of a society, making a picture of this, and going to show people your better picture, but capitalism cannot even get this far - it does not acknowledge this overall social system, which Marxists do because they opposed it, let alone wish to change it - let alone seek to organise this. Obviously, this seems circular, as 'communist movements' tended towards generic voluntarism.

An election is not that there are some primaries and then two candidates face off. It's one event. Actions taken at one point have consequences later, but only because they take their place in this systematic. We should hardly have been concerned primarily about whom the candidates were, except that the process is too rigorous for capital to put itself through, and so their connection with such is frayed, such that dying into obscurity, mostly, after living through a full term was expected. People say all kinds of sweeping things in elections. People in 2008 wanted blacks to rule over everyone, if they were to be believed, but this was covered up by pretending they just thought of it as some other job. In this sense the 'Marxian' view wouldn't be that different from the popular view, except that people were highly enthusiastic about politics, apparently. They were also all explicitly and unanimously against 'socialism,' whatever that was. Fast-forward 8 years, and the people don't really care about politics, which they expect discussion of from elsewhere, but they do vote frequently for one 'Bernie Sanders' who talks about 'socialism' not infrequently, and despite any stigmas this was accepted, having come to seemingly like this 'socialism' thing, and apparently voting for anything which could vaguely be described as leftist or far-left and obscure in elections, such as another one respectable named 'Jeremy Corbyn' in the UK. They aren't being voted for, or known, for their own sake, their arrival being treated as given, but because they seem to derive from elsewhere. What changed? Socialism changed. That's all.

Other than that, as said, this discussion doesn't seem to be going anywhere and constitutes derailment, so I'll let you and Artesian sort it out from there, mostly.

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 Post subject: Re: The Class Struggles in France and the 18th Brumair
PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 9:27 am 
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Well, it's been a long time since I reread 18th Brumaire, but I think Broletariat is missing the point-- and the point is you can't read, or grasp, the 18th Brumaire, without first grasping The Class Struggle in France 1848-1850. Then we get to a critical moment of historical recognition, as in "Ah...I see, we're talking about revolution, about the flow, and then the ebbing of a revolutionary struggle."

And then we get the next point is that most of the orthodox Leninists, Trotskyists, whatever-ists missed the point: that in fact "Bonapartism" does not arise because the "contending classes are 'evenly balanced'" but that Bonapartism arises from the retreat of revolution.


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