[Marxism] Bourgeois revolutions not led by the bourgeoisie?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Oct 28 12:55:00 MDT 2005

Neil Davidson:
The bourgeois revolutions are bourgeois not because they are led by the 
bourgeoisie, but because they make possible the development of bourgeois 
society on the basis of the capitalist mode of production. In other words, 
it is the outcome which is important, not the process or the personnel.

full: http://www.socialistreview.org.uk/article.php?articlenumber=9151


Karl Marx:
In 1789 the bourgeoisie was allied with the people against the monarchy, 
the aristocracy and the established church.

The model for the revolution of 1789 (at least in Europe) was only the 
revolution of 1648; that for the revolution of 1648 only the revolt of the 
Netherlands against Spain. Both revolutions were a century ahead of their 
model not only in time but also in substance.

In both revolutions the bourgeoisie was *the class that really headed the 
movement*. The proletariat and the non-bourgeois strata of the middle class 
had either not yet evolved interests which were different from those of the 
bourgeoisie or they did not yet constitute independent classes or class 
divisions. Therefore, where they opposed the bourgeoisie, as they did in 
France in 1793 and 1794, they fought only for the attainment of the aims of 
the bourgeoisie, albeit in a non-bourgeois manner. The entire French 
terrorism was just a plebeian way of dealing with the enemies of the 
bourgeoisie, absolutism, feudalism and philistinism.

full: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/12/15.htm


Davidson is a member of the British SWP who won the Isaac Deutscher prize 
in 2003 for his book on the bourgeois revolution in Scotland. He has an 
article in the latest Historical Materialism that I took a quick glance at 
in the Labyrinth bookstore at lunch that gets into these questions in some 
depth, including some words on Brenner, Wallerstein and the "transition 
debate". Although I have pretty much sworn off buying print journals, I am 
afraid that I am going to have to shell out $12 or whatever it is to 
comment on his article.



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