[Marxism] Bourgeois revolutions not led by the bourgeoisie?
lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Oct 28 12:55:00 MDT 2005
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.
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.
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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