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Marxism at Work

Marxism at Work
Ideology, Class and French Socialism during the Third Republic


  • Date Published: May 2002
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521893053

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About the Authors
  • 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 upon the Parti Ouvrier Français, the 'Guesdists', an archetypal movement of Marxism's 'Golden Age' before the First World War, 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 which 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.

    • 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
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'This book is an outstanding piece of scholarship devoted to the ideological rather than the organizational history of the Parti Ouvrier, the French representative of the 'orthodox' Marxism of the Second International … This is a fascinating and sustained argument, lucidly presented in a nicely produced book.' Political Studies

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    Product details

    • 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

  • Author

    Robert Stuart, University of Western Australia, Perth

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