The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte: Translated by Daniel de Leon

The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte: Translated by Daniel de Leon

The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte: Translated by Daniel de Leon

The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte: Translated by Daniel de Leon

Excerpt

Karl Marx completed his brilliant study of the coup d'etat of Louis Bonaparte in March, 1852, a few weeks after the event itself. The publication of a new edition of the work ninety-eight years later underscores its importance to the Socialist movement. For "The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte" is not merely the account of a historic event. It is preeminently a textbook for Socialists. It is a Socialist classic that not only illumines the past but also sheds a radiant light on the present and the future.

Daniel De Leon, who made the present excellent translation, regarded Marx Eighteenth Brumaire as one of the vital weapons in Marxism's armory. "Marx's 'Capital' will not make Socialists," he wrote. "What it ["Capital"] does make perfectly clear is the impossibility of humanity's well-being under capitalism, and why. It is purely economics. Marx's work that makes Socialists is 'The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte'--that shows the way out."

Although the events discussed by Marx occurred in the years 1848-1852, there is scarcely a page that does not shed a revealing light on contemporary institutions, and on the men and events that crowd the world's stage in our own revolutionary epoch.

Consider, for example, Marx's comments on the semantics of political rivalries a century ago. One might think he was discussing the Hearst-McCormick-Scripps-Howard press--or that amazing "Statement of Principles and Ob-

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