Marxism at Work

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

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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 upon the Parti Ouvrier Francais, 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 more

Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 1139240552
  • 9781139240550

Table of contents

Preface; 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; Conclusion; Notes; more

Review quote

'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 Studiesshow more