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Despite a century of debate and criticism, Marxism as a mass ideological practice has remained an elusive topic. This book examines Marxist socialism as a mode of understanding and self-understanding treasured and transmitted by thousands of anonymous militants. It focuses on the Parti Ouvrier Francais, the "Guesdists," an archetypal movement of Marxism's "Golden Age" before World War I, the period when Marxist socialism evolved from sect to mass movement. Thousands of French socialists adopted Marxism due to the effectiveness of vulgar Guesdist polemic rather than Marx's profound theoretical works, and entire communities were converted to an austere but messianic socialism that still affects French politics today. This book traces the doctrine's birth through conflict with liberals, proto-fascists, and anarchists; its "making" of a working class, and its attempted seduction of the middle class; and its confusion before the alternative social visions of the Catholic devout, racist nationalists, and feminists.Read more
- Study of the leading French Marxist movement of the decades before the First World War, arguing that Marxism became popular due to vulgar polemic rather than profound theory
- An original study - focuses on the thousands of active militants rather than intellectuals
- Will be of interest to historians, political scientists and theoreticians, and to scholars of Marxism
Reviews & endorsements
"...Stuart has written a rich, subtle and lucid analusis of French Marxism in the Belle Epoque. However controversial, it is sure to become the standard work on the subject and to be of use to anyone concerned with the difficulties of Marxist political practice." Science & Society
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- Date Published: May 2002
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521893053
- length: 536 pages
- dimensions: 230 x 154 x 36 mm
- weight: 0.9kg
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. Ideology, history, and the study of Marxism
2. The Parti Ouvrier Francais: its history and historiography
3. The axioms of class war
Part I. The Making of the French Working Class:
4. The capitalist mode of production and proletarianisation
5. Problems of proletarianisation
6. Class and industrial organisation
7. The bourgeois state versus the proletarian party
8. Reform and revolution
Part II. The Unmaking of the French Working Class:
9. Religion and the class war
10. Class versus blood and soil
11. Gender, generations, and class
Part III. History and Class Conflict:
12. French Marxism and the bourgeoisie
13. The Guesdists and the petite bourgeoisie
14. Marxism and rural society
15. Marxists encounter the 'new middle class'
16. The proletarian revolution and the socialist utopia
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