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Karl Marx ‘Class Struggles in France, 1848- 1850’.

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Presentation on theme: "Karl Marx ‘Class Struggles in France, 1848- 1850’."— Presentation transcript:

1 Karl Marx ‘Class Struggles in France, ’

2 2 Presentation Layout  Introduction to the text  Main Events  Marx’s Perspective  Historical Materialism  Additional Academic Comments  Summary

3 3 Introduction to the text  Describes how and why class struggles are played out in France between  Marx’s first attempt to explain contemporary history via material conception  Written by Marx 1850; Published by Engels 1895 with added introduction  Links historical analysis with the economic agenda

4 4 Main Events  February 1848  Revolution against the financial Bourgeoisie, ripened by world events that mobilised the Petty Bourgeoisie in favour of the Proletariat  Ideological republic created to mediate wage labour described as ‘illusion’ and ‘poetry’ as power open to all  June 1848  Bourgeoisie remain in control of labour power  Realised February revolution strengthened the ‘bankocracy’ it aimed to overthrow  Proletariat frustration rises at failed emancipation and leads to violent uprising  Changed meaning of ‘revolution’

5 5 Main Events - Continued  June 1848 – June 1849  “The Bourgeoisie has no king; the true form of its rule is the republic”  Laws to keep the Petty Bourgeoisie (middle strata) on the Republic’s side  Variations on a theme i.e. Napoleon Bonaparte voted in as thought marginally better than existing leader  Alliance with European counterrevolution – protection of capitalism  “Changed around positions of parties and their classes, their separations and connections ”  Consequences of the Events  Royalist sentiments and return of bankocracy due to state debt  Wine tax / Land authority  Realised the revolution was not the end, but merely the start of class struggles  Proletariats need new tactics, “behind the ballots lie the paving stones”

6 6 Marx’s perspective  Real revolution is ‘only possible when the modern forces of production and the Bourgeois forms of production come into opposition with each other’  Reactionary attempts to prevent Bourgeois development will just rebound  We need to delve further into the ideas of Historical Materialism to make sense of societal events…

7 7 Historical Materialism  Historical Materialism is the framework used by Marx to examine society  A conflict thesis associated with class struggles (as depicted in text)  “Historical Materialism is the thesis that there is, throughout history’s course, a tendency towards growth of productive power, and that forms of society rise and fall when they promote or impede that growth” (Cohen, 2000:364)  Capitalism as a social fact linked to the division of labour – how it changes over time is described by Marx’s conception of Historical Materialism  The text demonstrates how the ruling class use the state’s productive forces to enforce their preferred production relations to exploit the masses. Therefore, the working classes become alienated as they are deprived of what is needed to become influential.  Historical materialism is applied to production changes as well as predicting future societal transformations; leading, it says, to a working class revolution (Marx & Engels, 1998)  Therefore, the concept historically contextualises economic relations in order to further the Marxist political project

8 8 Additional Academic Comments  Not all Sociologists agree with Marx’s application of Historical Materialism (HM)…  ‘Not HM but a Spirit of Capitalism’ (Weber 1965)  ‘HM out of date in basic form’ (Giddens 1985)  ‘HM over-deterministic’ (Trougott 2001; Poggi 2006)  ‘HM Imposes itself above and beyond the real historical facts, politics merely ad hoc within the conception of the relentless historical movement towards revolution’ (Spencer 1979)

9 9 Summary  ‘Class Struggles in France’ Marx’s first attempt to describe contemporary history via the application of HM  Events linked to class relations throughout  Claimed ‘revolutionary’ tactics were unsuccessful due to economic relations  Not all agree with Marx’s application of historical analysis

10 10 Thank you for Listening


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