Lessons Unlearned

Autor: Greg Godels | 1. 8. 2022

Karl Marx knew a thing or two about politics.

Writing over a century-and-a-half ago, he studied the aftermath of the 1848 revolutions that sought to drive a stake in the vitals of the European monarchies and consolidate the rule of the emerging bourgeois classes.

Contrary to his critics– especially the dismissive scholars– he applied his critical historical theories with great nuance and subtlety, surveying the class forces, their actions, and their influence on the outcomes. While Marx conceded that the revolutions were suppressed in the short run, he was able to show how they importantly shaped the future.

Many would argue that Marx’s account of the aftermath of the rising in France, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, is the finest example of the application of the Marxist method– historical materialism (fn 1)– to actual events.

It is said that Hugh Trevor-Roper, the British author, who was a colleague in British intelligence of Soviet spy Kim Philby and a notorious windbag, was once asked if he ever suspected Philby, if Philby left any clues to his loyalties. After a pause, Trevor-Roper said that Philby had on an occasion insisted that The Eighteenth Brumaire was the greatest work of history ever written.

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