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A Strategy of Minority Revolution?

  • Richard N. Hunt

Abstract

In the period between December 1848 and August 1850, the policies of Marx and Engels became more extreme than ever before or after, and the two men appeared unambiguously to have embraced—at least temporarily—the central doctrines of totalitarian democracy. While still in Germany, in the period after the counterrevolution, their political strategy began from the premise that the bourgeois revolution had failed; the bourgeoisie itself now stood on the side of reaction and was no longer politically progressive. In effect the two men moved to the second phase of their class-alliance strategy without the first phase’s ever having been completed. In itself this constituted a radical innovation which logically implied the possibility of leaping over an entire period of historical development. Then in April 1849, Marx and Engels dramatically broke with the “pale” democrats, attacking their old allies more and more stridently and emphasizing the need for independent proletarian organization. Skipping stages seemed to require a conscious minority revolution, with all its consequences.

Keywords

Select Work Class Struggle Secret Society Unite Front Universal Suffrage 
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Notes

  1. 42.
    Peter Cadogan, “Harney and Engels,” International Review of Social History 10 (1965): 67–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 82.
    See Karl Wermuth and Wilhelm Stieber, Die Communisten-Verschwörungen des 19. Jahrhunderts, 2 vols. (1853–54; reprint ed., Hildesheim: Olms, 1969), 1:244, 266–82, 291–98.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© University of Pittsburgh Press 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard N. Hunt

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