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How the FrenchRevolution set the foundation of modern Communism

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How the FrenchRevolution set the foundation of modern Communism

Post  Julygirl on Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:56 am

The roots of modern Communism began with the French Revolution.
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Re: How the FrenchRevolution set the foundation of modern Communism

Post  Elena on Thu Oct 27, 2011 4:44 pm

Yes, it did, in more ways than one.

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Re: How the FrenchRevolution set the foundation of modern Communism

Post  Bunnies on Tue Dec 25, 2012 2:22 pm

Yes, it most certainly did!

But let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater here. The French Revolution set the foundation for modern politics. By extension it is the cradle of nearly all modern political thought. So yes, the Marxists are right when they trace their political ideology's heritage back to the Storming of the Bastille, but they weren't an only child. Their siblings include Fascism and Socialism, and some less-controversial political beliefs as well, such as Libertarianism, Liberalism, Conservatism, Republicanism ---- I could go on. You can even see the pack starting to break in 1794 among the Jacobins. A Dantonist has little in common with an Hébertist aside from their membership at the Jacobin Club. The latter would evolve into Communists; the Dantonists would evolve into today's right-wing.

And on a more ironic note. Aside from political ideologies, the French Revolution is the birthplace of Communism's rival economic theory: Capitalism.

This is less of a contradiction than you might think, and it really makes sense once you read some of the Marxist works on the Revolution where they desperately try to explain their affection. Marxist historians tend to look at all of human history as taking a slow but inevitable process towards Full Communism. They therefore favor absolutely any step towards the Communist system, even when that step would seem, ostentatiously, to be a step backwards. But Marxist historians such as Albert Soboul believe that before Marxism can gain a foothold among the People, they first must dabble in Capitalism. Capitalism is to them a step towards Communism. And so if you read the Marxist historians, their praise of the Revolution is not for its Marxist roots - they in fact tend to be very hostile to the Hébertists - but for its establishment of capitalism.

(Sidenote: It really is amusing to see Marxists trying to praise capitalism.)

Before people object, noting the Jacobins' price controls as they fought against the Girondins' laissez-faire policy, we should understand something: the Jacobins' price controls were not Revolutionary. They were moderate in the sense that the ancien regime had similar economic policies. People often fall into the hole of believing that under the monarchy capitalism reigned supreme - but this is not so. Good heavens, the Wealth of Nation wasn't even published until 1776! We're supposed to believe that the monarchies of Europe immediately shifted their entire economic principles in order to placate this Adam Smith fellow? No! Monarchies fostered monopolies, guilds, set price controls, and all sorts of other very non-capitalistic ventures. There's no capitalism there. But then the Revolutionaries came and dismantled the guilds, rescinded workers' right to strike, and even tried some laissez-faire, but unfortunately, the nation wasn't quite ready for the attempt and people grew hungry. But even the Jacobins agreed with the Girondins' laissez-faire in principle. They just didn't think that the nation could survive with that policy during a period of war...and the Jacobin Government spent its entire reign (approx. 1 year) in a period of war.

But I'm rambling. The fact is, yes: the French Revolution fostered some of the first Communist ideas, most notably in the heads of men like Hébert and Babeuf. But it also strengthened some of the first Capitalist ideas. Communism, Capitalism, and most every 'ism' in between can be found in the Revolution. Communism alone shouldn't be highlighted.
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Re: How the FrenchRevolution set the foundation of modern Communism

Post  Mata Hari on Fri Dec 28, 2012 9:08 pm

Those are some great points! Thanks! Smile

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Re: How the FrenchRevolution set the foundation of modern Communism

Post  Elena on Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:25 pm

Here is an interview with me about the nature of the French Revolution. http://www.churchmilitant.com/video/episode/micd-uplet-them-eat-cake

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