[Marxism] Bonapartism now and then

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Mar 12 08:50:07 MST 2004

The Passionless Campaigner
By Peter Lavelle :: Recent publications
Published on March 10, 2004
This article was written for Transitions Online

The consummate campaigner who refuses to campaign has shown his appeal 
to almost the entire Russian electorate.

With Russia’s presidential election only days away, Vladimir Putin is 
coasting toward a landside victory. This presidential campaign, the 
third for the Russian Federation, has widely been described as colorless 
and managed in favor of the incumbent. The result is a formality. The 
president has barely bothered to campaign.

Nonetheless, Vladimir Putin is a consummate campaigner, if not in a 
conventional sense. Entering the 2000 presidential contest, he was prime 
minister as well as acting president and sought to appear too busy 
steering the ship of state to hit the campaign stump. The approach 
served him well. This campaign is no different: Putin has taken every 
advantage of his high office to avoid any contact with his rivals, and 
again he is prospering.

Instead of debating with the other candidates, Putin is shown wearing a 
military uniform while observing one of the largest naval exercises in 
post-Soviet history. Instead of shaking hands and kissing babies, Putin 
is seen having an informal chat with students. Instead of directly 
appealing to the electorate, Putin is shown busy reorganizing the 
government to support his long-term economic plans for Russia. 
Politicking, it would seem, is beneath Russia’s head of state.

full: http://www.untimely-thoughts.com/


Driven by the contradictory demands of his situation, and being at the 
same time, like a juggler, under the necessity of keeping the public 
gaze on himself, as Napoleon's successor, by springing constant 
surprises — that is to say, under the necessity of arranging a coup 
d'etat in miniature every day — Bonaparte throws the whole bourgeois 
economy into confusion, violates everything that seemed inviolable to 
the Revolution of 1848, makes some tolerant of revolution and makes 
others lust for it, and produces anarchy in the name of order, while at 
the same time stripping the entire state machinery of its halo, 
profaning it and making it at once loathsome and ridiculous. The cult of 
the Holy Tunic of Trier [A Catholic relic, allegedly taken from Christ 
when he was dying, preserved in the cathedral of Marx's native city — 
Ed.] he duplicates in Paris in the cult of the Napoleonic imperial 
mantle. But when the imperial mantle finally falls on the shoulders of 
Louis Bonaparte, the bronze statue of Napoleon will come crashing down 
from the top of the Vendome Column.

Karl Marx, 18th Brumaire


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