Rethinking the French Revolution: Marxism and the Revisionist Challenge

By George C. Comninel | Go to book overview

whereas the liberal ideological perspective presumed existing class relations in order to explain property and propertylessness, Marx began with the singular historical fact of exploitive alienation in class society, and recognized that it was not class relations which gave rise to this fact, but the fact of exploitation which gave rise to the history of class relations. Property, as the organizing principle of 'the economy' (alienated social production) is not a timeless and immutable expression of human nature, nor a general necessity of social relations. Property is a historically specific expression of exploitive class relations, relations which -- having gained ascendancy in a distant but real past -- have since constituted, in their development, the central dynamic of class society. As will be seen, it was in pursuing this line of thought through the critique of political economy that Marx put historical materialism into practice.


Notes
1.
J. Montreau [Jean Bruhat], "'La Révolution française et la Pensée de Marx'", La Pensée, 3 ( 1939), 24-38, Jean Bruhat, "'La Révolution française et la formation de la pensée de Marx'", Annales historique de la Révolution française, xxxviii (2), 1966, 125-70.
2.
Marx-Engels, The German Ideology, Parts I and III, New York 1963, pp. 79-82.
3.
See Hal Draper, Karl Marx's Theory of Revolution, vol. I, New York 1977, pp. 31-6.
4
Draper, Marx's Theory, vol I, pp. 36-76; Marx, 'Preface' to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, Moscow 1970, pp.19-20.
5.
Marx, "'Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Law'", and "'On the Jewish Question'", in Collected Works vol. III. See Draper, Marx's Theory, vol. I, pp. 77-125; also, Lucio Colletti, 'Introduction', to Vintage Marx Library, Early Writings, New York 1975.
6.
Marx, "'Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Law. Introduction'", in Collected Works vol. III, pp. 184-7; Draper, Marx's Theory, vol. I, pp. 129-48.
7.
See note 1, also below. Draper, Marx's Theory, vol. I, pp. 136-8, 159-62.
8.
Marx, 'Critique of Hegel's Philosophy. Introduction', p. 187, quoted by Draper, Marx's Theory, vol. I, pp. 147-8, citing Marx-Engels Werke vol. I, p. 391.
9.
Draper, Marx's Theory, vol. I, pp. 172-3, 219-21.
10.
Marx, "Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844", in Collected Works vol. III.
11.
As Draper puts it, Marx's Theory, vol. I, p. 220. Marx, "'Critical Marginal Notes on the Article The King of Prussia and Social Reform. By a Prussian'", Marx-Engels, Collected Works vol. III.
12.
Marx-Engels, "The Holy Family", in Collected Works vol. IV, p. 37.
13.
See Marx's conspectus of the "Mémoires de R. Levasseur", in CollectedWorks

-131-

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