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Was the French Revolution a bourgeois revolution?

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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Jul 2014, 21:53
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Post 27 Jul 2014, 21:35
The french revolution was unsucessfull. Do we have equality, fraternity and liberty now ? If you believe so, then why do we need Marx ?

The french revolution was sucessfull for the burgeoise class, and yes it produced results. But it did not produce the results expected by those who started it, the poor people. Or do you believe that all those poor fellas who invaded the bastille were thinking "Hey, lets remove the aristocracy from power and put the burgeoise there !". Nope, they were trully believing that fraternity, liberty and equality could be achieved.

We can say that the french revolution is one of those stagnated revolutions. It was stoped when the burgeoise took control over it and used it to achieve its own class interests. French revolution started as a people's affair and ended as a burgeoise affair. You can only think about french revolution as a sucessfull revolution if you are on the side of the burgeoise class. Actually, you can put the french revolution in the same wide basket of all burgeoise revolutions of the 18th century.

Addendum,

We might say that all progressive revolutions of the past are not lost, but in a dorment state (stagnated). Advances produced even by the russian revolution (and the consequences of this revolution in the rest of the world) can be seen and felt today. They can be seen as a basis from were we can start to think about ways to further the progress of humanity.

But by "the only sucessfull revolution is the one who attains comunism" i mean that a marxism revolution cannot be guided to any direction other than communism. URSS fall is a setback to this endeavor. So, using a strict sense of the word, it failed. But history never fails, if thats what you object to. You cannot strive to go to socialism to return to capitalism later. You can only strive to go further and further in the direction of comunism. If you stop, its because reactionary forces, against whom you cannot fight, overcame you temporarely (the proletariat class was temporarely supressed). We can very well say that the form of capitalism that URSS returned to is not the same capitalism that the Russian Empire came from.

Under that interpretation, Russian revolution becomes even more a modernization of Russia than a socialist revolution. And we cannot plan, search, look for, a socialist revolution that cannot lead us to communism right now. A revoluctionary must intent to be utterly revoluctionary, not half heartedly revolutionary.
Last edited by AldoBrasil on 27 Jul 2014, 22:38, edited 1 time in total.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Jul 2014, 11:33
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Post 27 Jul 2014, 22:27
AldoBrasil wrote:
We can say that the french revolution is one of those stagnated revolutions. It was stoped when the burgeoise took control over it and used it to achieve its own class interests. French revolution started as a people's affair and ended as a burgeoise affair. You can only think about french revolution as a sucessfull revolution if you are on the side of the burgeoise class.
The French Revolution actually was a bourgeois revolution. And, as we did in the USSR, they exterminated, silenced, executed the previous ruling class.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Jul 2014, 21:53
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Post 27 Jul 2014, 22:42
Nope, you are oversimplifying it. The french revolution cannot be only burgeoise, because the burgeoise class was too small (it will ever be small) to fight alone against the aristocracy and the ancien regime. To reach its goals, the burgeoise class had to enlist the hands of the proletariat (united in the so called third state). And to achieve this they have to abide by the ideals of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity, if only so by appearences.

It acquires an even more popular character when you find that the bastille was taken expontaneously by the people. At the start the french revolution was a trully popular revolution. Later, very later, it was coopted by the burgeoise class, when the revolution started to become a danger for the private property itself. So we can say that in the french revolution the masses where used by the burgeoise class. This is nothing new, something similar having been already done during roman times too (using the lower classes in the power struggle against those ruling).

PS.: Its telling when the stalinist intervention sole porpuse was to say that he killed and surpressed people. Its trully telling... But i dont have killing and supressing people as a sport.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Aug 2010, 14:21
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Post 28 Jul 2014, 19:54
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And regarding the french revolution, the uprising was initiated as a popular movement. You can say that the penetration of burgeoise generated ideas into the popular mindset might very well have an contribution in them uprising. But the movement was popular. Later the revolution gets an direction in the hands of the jacobins, and finally in the hands of Napoleon. But it all started expontaneously.

At the time of the French Revolution, the bourgeois revolution par excellence, the bourgeoisie was far from being separated from the "people". Opposing "popular" and "bourgeois" is unacceptable. Even the popular movement of the sans-culottes was far from being proletarian. Comrade Albert Soboul proved in his book Les sans-culottes parisiens that the overwhelming majority of the sans-culottes were petty-bourgois artisans and shopkeepers.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Jul 2014, 21:53
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Post 28 Jul 2014, 20:27
I am not oposing anything. The fact was that the people (The masses) insurged against the old order expontaneously, and them LATER the jacobins took control of it. I am not saying that the burgeoise class was not party of the revolted masses, of course they are, the revolt was done by the third state, wich was composed of both burgeoise and proletariat elements.

But, you MUST be against that interpretation, because it puts Lenin vanguardism at risk. You must understand all revolutions prior to Russian Empire as some sort of vanguard operation, to find there an historical justification for Leninism. But this is hardly true, even in the Russian Empire, the revolution against the Czar started expontaneously, and so the soviets. This is so true, that Lenin had to write "Leftism infantile disease of marxism", to jutify why he needed to supress expontaneous movements of the proletariat like the soviet (Had they did not exist, and had they not been important to start with, why would he need to write about it ?).

If you are under the apparatus of an absolutism regime (one that was still not challenged openly), be it the french monarchy or the russian monarchy, and a small group of revoluctionaries all agree to start a revolution in a certain date, that information (about the date) must be carried from place to place. This gives the reactionary force an oportunity to counter-attack and arrest the leaders. You cannot make a revolution on schedule. Historically what you have is a revoluctionary period of history. Revolutions dont need a leader to start, they just need a general sentiment of discontention on the masses - that is big enough to make them lose fear of repression - to lead them into revolts. But what we can learn from history is that most revolts in history were either supressed militarely or absorbed into the already existing structure of power, by making concessions to certain groups within the revolting group. Being a trully popular revolt, one that cannot be easily supressed by the military (because usually the military is itself involved with the revolt), french or russian revolutions cannot be stoped by the force of arms alone (and both werent).

In the case of the french revolution, they had leaders, yes, but only AFTER the first strikes were those leaders recognized. Because in a revolution the leaders are freely choosen among the people revolting. Once the first assalts are done, and the objects of hate among people are hit (The bastille was a symbol for this hate), them the people must now confront itself with the task of what to do with the power so gained. Having symbolically killed their "opressive father", while engaging in all sorts of perverse behaviour (things that where repressed in previous periods), the popular masses now must look into what to do with the power they gained. They feel guilty and not up to the task of comading the revolution collectively. Its then when they elect leaders, people who have the courage to assume such responsability. The masses them become docile followers of such leaders. Thats where the leadership appears. In that sense, when Lenin supresses the soviet, and take control of the revolution, he does something similar to what the Jacobins done. I am not here discussing the class character of the Jacobins, neither of the Bolcheviques. What i am discussing are the mechanisms happening in both revolutions.

As i said ealier, russian revolution - and no revolution that i know of - is not a resolt of a conscious program by a party. It is the result of popular discontent among people who, taken to extremes by the actions of the Czar (Like the firing squads), that expontaneously exploded in a popular revolution later took under the control of Lenin and the bolcheviques.

And so, because of this and predicting that capitalism will fall into dissaray one day or another - because capitalism has a character of constant crisis, i am discussing on how to deal with a possible future revolution. And so i believe that the only rational way is to avoid the Jacobin (Or worse, fascist) turn to such crisis by already preparing the masses, by putting some specific ideas and structures in place way before the crisis develops. And as such, identifying the feeling of vanguardism that will strike at the hearts of the proletariat organizations - and that might very well commit the same mistakes as the russian revolution - i am proposing a - already know - formula of soviet education and praxis at said proletariat organizations. Its not the proletariat that need the bolcheviques to gain power in the world. Its the bolcheviques - with their superiority complex - that need the proletariat, to be used as masses of manouver, to allow them to govern by their program.

I am not discussing if the bolchevique program is just or unjust. I am not discussing the class character of the bolchevism. What i am discussing and oposing is the general naivette of bolcheviques to believe that once in power, the bolcheviques will emancipate the population. Because if the revolution starts all by itself, and later the bolcheviques assume power, they do so in a hurry of political work. They must, under some weeks or months, work to produce a "class conscienciousness" into the revolting masses. If done so, this "class conscienciousness" becomes synonimous to being convinced enought about marxism as to wave a red flag, take a rifle and die for the "cause of the proletariat". No, against this kind of "oportunism", the trully infantile idea that we can replace a "father" for other, we can become adults in the cooperative strucuture of the soviet, wich if it can preexist in the party itself, social movements, civil society structures, labour unions etc, it might assume collectively the revolution at the exact momment when the masses enter the hangover period of the revolution and start to look for ways to govern the country (or the world). Because usually, in our modernity, communist parties are a very small percentage of the total world population. And as such - a kind of defense, think narcisistically of themselves as a kind of illustrate vanguard of the proletariat (not that i am free from such sentiment, no one is). Leaving the intelectual work to be done at a hurry at the sight of the revolution, instead of doing so (in praxys) in their own structures and collectively with elements of the, already stabilished, civil society.

Its not an anarchist formula, if you ask me, because a revolution is itself anarchism. Yet, said anarchism usually makes the masses regress to a pre-revoluctionary state of obedience. Because the first momments of a revolution are a lawless momment where people respect no authority, be it incarnated in the figure of the usual instruments of mass control (police, state, church etc), be they subjective as a set of norms of behaviour. Its a soviet formula. Where direct democracy (organized as assemblies at factories, schools etc) and concentrated in the figure of the supreme soviet, govern the country as soon as the revolution enters its colder phases. You will say that the soviets are not pratical enought to govern, yet no one has tried.

When you organize a collective - because revoluctionary spirits usually gravitates towards doing so - people usually get into petty disputes, endless argumentations, hostile takeover tries, vanguardist attitudes, subservient behaviours etc, everything that could very well be explained as left-overs from culture acquired from family, church, school etc. In sight of this - as if we were like Lenin in a hurry to do something with the revolution that happened to fall into his lap - people give up of the collective rule and elect a leader. As if such a leader could trully solve differences. Differences cannot be solved. What a leader can do is force a party of the group to accept the opnions and ideas of another part. As much as we cannot go right into an peacefull communist world, we cannot either repeat the political structures of old. We must find middle ground in the assembly itself. Instead of the rule of a leader, who serves to inspire people to give-up themselves to him - so that he can pretend that the diferences were dissolved, we must learn to we, ourselves, accept the majority vote, to not be sectarian (spliting the group when you are the minority in a certain discussion), to not engage in sabotage against decisions done by such majority, to not start fights and arguments becouse of political ideas inside the soviet (and so on). We must, basically, learn to live in a collective structure. Not that we can build a single big soviet that rules everything. Thats impossible, we are not anymore in ancient Greece. But that power must not become personalized into a single man, neither perpetuated into the hands of a small group. Soviets can be organized for, lets say, a school. Later that school soviet joins other soviets (sending speakers) into a bigger soviet above it (but not replacing or supressing it), as the soviet of the province for school etc. It repeats this in the factories, etc. Without excuses for its supression. People rise from lower soviets into higher soviets, not to represent themselves, but with a set of ideas voted in the lower soviet - ideas that they must abide to. They become speakers, not rulers. You might say, but we need an executive branch to solve imediate problems. This executive branch must be composed of people voted for short term assignments (a single project or problem), that are under limits imposed by the soviet who comissioned them, and to whom (to such soviet) they must present results, costs, schedules etc, as if serving the soviet and not the other way around.

[Nothing that i said regarding the soviets is new, but upon looking my country parties, looks like they have forgotten]
Last edited by AldoBrasil on 28 Jul 2014, 22:54, edited 2 times in total.
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Post 28 Jul 2014, 22:43
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I am not oposing anything. The fact was that the people (The masses) insurged against the old order expontaneously, and them LATER the jacobins took control of it. I am not saying that the burgeoise class was not party of the revolted masses, of course they are, the revolt was done by the third state, wich was composed of both burgeoise and proletariat elements.

The overwhelming majority of the Tiers (in this definition those who were neither nobles nor members of the Clergy) was made of peasants. Amongst the tiny minority of revolutionaries (the sans-culottes), the majority, as Soboul showed with clear figures, was made of bourgeois and petty-bourgeois. They were oppressed, some of them, living in the slums of Paris, quite poor. But bourgeois nonetheless. The storming of the Bastille was highly symbolic, however there would have been no revolution at all without the insurrection of the 10 August, which was organized by the Commune and the sections, and led to the complete overthrow of the aristocracy. Lenin, as a member of Russian Jacobin circles, knew much about the French Revolution.

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But, you MUST be against that interpretation, because it puts Lenin vanguardism at risk. You must understand all revolutions prior to Russian Empire as some sort of vanguard operation, to find there an historical justification for Leninism. But this is hardly true, even in the Russian Empire, the revolution against the Czar started expontaneously, and so the soviets. This is so true, that Lenin had to write "Leftism infantile disease of marxism", to jutify why he needed to supress expontaneous movements of the proletariat like the soviet (Had they did not exist, and had they not been important to start with, why would he need to write about it ?).

The first Soviet appeared in 1905, it was the St Petersburg Soviet, and wasn't spontaneous. A revolution can't be spontaneous anyway. A revolt can be more or less spontaneous, but if it doesn't become a revolution, it will be nothing more than a jacquerie.

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We must, basically, learn to live in a collective structure.

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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Jul 2014, 21:53
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Post 28 Jul 2014, 23:04
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The overwhelming majority of the Tiers (in this definition those who were neither nobles nor members of the Clergy) was made of peasants. Amongst the tiny minority of revolutionaries (the sans-culottes), the majority, as Soboul showed with clear figures, was made of bourgeois and petty-bourgeois. They were oppressed, some of them, living in the slums of Paris, quite poor. But bourgeois nonetheless. The storming of the Bastille was highly symbolic, however there would have been no revolution at all without the insurrection of the 10 August, which was organized by the Commune and the sections, and led to the complete overthrow of the aristocracy. Lenin, as a member of Russian Jacobin circles, knew much about the French Revolution.


Well, you are using a formal distinction to stress the revolution as a pure burgeoise affair. Using that definition (owners of the means of production), then so, it was mostly burgeoise. But much more popular than the burgeoise label would allows us to see today, in the sense that it was composed mostly by the poor, else you could very well imagine the revolution as if done by people running the streets in Ferraris and Rolls Royces...

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The first Soviet appeared in 1905, it was the St Petersburg Soviet, and wasn't spontaneous. A revolution can't be spontaneous anyway. A revolt can be more or less spontaneous, but if it doesn't become a revolution, it will be nothing more than a jacquerie.


So, lets put in that way. It is a revolt that later becomes a revolution (because you cannot have a revolution without a revolt, something that would become a coup, not a popular affair).

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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 21 Sep 2013, 03:08
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Post 28 Jul 2014, 23:10
OP-Bagration wrote:
The overwhelming majority of the Tiers (in this definition those who were neither nobles nor members of the Clergy) was made of peasants. Amongst the tiny minority of revolutionaries (the sans-culottes), the majority, as Soboul showed with clear figures, was made of bourgeois and petty-bourgeois. They were oppressed, some of them, living in the slums of Paris, quite poor. But bourgeois nonetheless. The storming of the Bastille was highly symbolic, however there would have been no revolution at all without the insurrection of the 10 August, which was organized by the Commune and the sections, and led to the complete overthrow of the aristocracy. Lenin, as a member of Russian Jacobin circles, knew much about the French Revolution.

Yeah, Aldo keeps talking about it being "of the people." Which people? Even its most radical elements, the Enrages and (on the more wacky Pol Pot-ish end) Hebertists, had their support base in the petit-bourgeois shopkeepers and the peasantry. There really wasn't much of a proletariat in France at the time.

AldoMoro wrote:
Well, you are using a formal distinction to stress the revolution as a pure burgeoise affair. Using that definition (owners of the means of production), then so, it was mostly burgeoise. But much more popular than the burgeoise label would allows us to see today, in the sense that it was composed mostly by the poor, else you could very well imagine the revolution as if done by people running the streets in Ferraris and Rolls Royces...

So again we get back to your reading non-Marxist class interpretations into Marxian classes, redefining words like "bourgeois" to mean "wealthy." The French Revolution did have huge participation from the poor petit-bourgeois, but they were not proletarian no matter their income, and them not driving Rolls Royces has nothing to do with it. They weren't exploited by alienation and wage labor, so the goal wasn't to establish a socialist state, transitioning to communism. What they wanted was to establish a republic, based around an open market they could prosper in.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Jul 2014, 21:53
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Post 28 Jul 2014, 23:35
So your only point of contention are those, missstrangelove ?

Do you trully believe the shopkeepers and peasantry ruled the country at the end of the revoluctionary cicle ? If not, who ruled then ? The same aristocracy in cooperation with the richer burgeoise ?

At this time, could we divide the burgeoise (Onwers of their means of production) into shopkeepers and mercantilists ?

Can we say that over the shopkeeper was a structure (the guilds) who decided the prices, quality and ammount of products ?

Can we say that those artisans later become the proletariat (when the most rich artisans hapened to have so much capital as to cause a "industrial revolution" - not exactly equal to england - in france) ?

Can we say that removing the aristocracy from rule - or at least restricting their power, those most rich "shopkeepers" were able to amass such fortunes while at the same time they proletarized other artisans ?

Can we say that the guilds evolved into a sort of capitalism that removed from the artisan the knowledge of the entire chain of production and placed it into a limited part of the production - a small part of the production chain - when the production was transfered from the artisan workshop to the factory floor ?

Can we say that even during the french revolution time, artisans had already a kind of proletariat in the form of their apprentices, who where much more poor than those artisans and so much more similar to the later proletariat of the industrial era than to the peasantry ?

So, in other words, they were "burgeoise" in the sense that they owned their means of production. But its hard to say that this "burgeoise" is the same burgeoise that Marx talks about, because if they are exacly the same, where is the proletariat ? Do we have one ? (we do, but its quite small and is composed said apprentices).
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Post 28 Jul 2014, 23:49
AldoBrasil wrote:
So your only point of contention are those, missstrangelove ?

No, but you used the French Revolution as an example, interpreting it without any real reference to its relevance for Marxists. And no, calling rich people bourgeois and poor people proletarians doesn't really count, sorry.

I'd point out that it was a revolution with a vanguard, a bourgeois vanguard that accomplished what the haute-bourgeoisie wanted. It didn't go further than that because the Jacobins had basically no coherent long-term plan, leading to chaos and the Revolution halting. But that shows that once the vanguard of the revolution collapsed, the revolution halted. Other revolutions throughout history have experienced the same: the Sons of Liberty for the American Revolution, the Carbonari in Italy. They weren't just random demonstrations. The popular desire for change was there, but needed to be organized and channeled for a cohesive and successful effort; plus, to raise the public's consciousness, to understand the coming change in the social order. A good example of an attempted revolution without a vanguard was in Catalonia, how did that turn out again?

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Do you trully believe the shopkeepers and peasantry ruled the country at the end of the revoluctionary cicle ? If not, who ruled then ? The same aristocracy in cooperation with the richer burgeoise ?

The richer bourgeoisie, the people leading the Revolution from the start, were the dominant class after it. The aristocracy still existed and were still pretty powerful, but the haute-bourgeoisie didn't care. Their grip on actual power faded more and more. Just look at the events of the July Monarchy; the bourgeoisie could toss them out on their asses if need be.

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Can we say that those artisans later become the proletariat (when the most rich artisans hapened to have so much capital as to cause a "industrial revolution" - not exactly equal to england - in france) ?

Not really, those artisans were independently-associated in a petit-bourgeois guild system. They're the "small business owners" competing with the larger capitalists. The proletariat was partially drawn from a few of those who fell on such hard times that they needed to sell their craft elsewhere, but more than that, they came from peasants who moved to the city during industrialization.

Quote:
So, in other words, they were "burgeoise" in the sense that they owned their means of production. But its hard to say that this "burgeoise" is the same burgeoise that Marx talks about, because if they are exacly the same, where is the proletariat ? Do we have one ? (we do, but its quite small and is composed said apprentices).

The bourgeoisie are a historical class, you can trace them back to the merchants and burghers (where the word comes from) of the High Middle Ages. It was the exact same social class that dominates the world now, since they had the same class interests. All that's differed is their power.

An apprentice, by contrast, is only temporarily pseudo-proletarian. As much as a student is. And students can be radicalized on that basis, but it's fleeting and half-hearted since it's only based in short-term interests. Student revolutions haven't done so well, because of that.
Last edited by MissStrangelove on 29 Jul 2014, 00:14, edited 7 times in total.
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Post 29 Jul 2014, 00:04
Where did i say the revolutions had no leader ? Please show me.

All that i said was that (putting in other words) revolutions start as revolts. Because its too dangereous to simply put the date of the revolution in the newpaper calling "hey people, tomorrow at 9am people are going to start a revolution, everyone is welcome". Nope, you must start somewhere, and this is usualy when people's sentiment is already set in motion for a revolt. You cannot replace people will to revolt with a simple theory of revolution. But you can have both.

But later, then, having the right connections, you can arrange to lead the revolt into a revolution. In the case of the french revolution, the revolt lead to a revolution because the burgeoise had some things to solve with the aristocracy (they had the economic power but not the political power), else it would be another simple revolt.

I must say that in that time we had not exacly a haute-burgeoise in the sense of later haute industrial burgeoise, they were mercantilists, people who made fortunes not in the production but in the ships. And those where very well protected by the king, since the times of the great navigations. All economy of the time was about mercantilism, ships and commerce. They could very well stay quiet to see how things developed. Its not like they were sans-cullote. It was the petit burgeoise that revolted, those can hardly live in a way different from today's proletariat. So, without a industrial base and a burgeoise class around the ownership of the industrial capital goods, we cannot have yet a proletariat. So i am very satisfied to see the sans-cullot as the proletariat of the time and the haute-capitalists as the true capitalists. Because this does not detract to the understanding of the problem at hand. If you keep in mind that the sans-cullote cannot be equal to the proletariat because they owned the means of production, but not the means of distribution (were most of fortune was made), this wont produce mistakes, its just an analogy. Its similar to someone who sells coca-cola at the street, he owns his "means of production" - if you want to call that way (its actually a mean of distribution) - but they live in the slums and gain a very smal percentage of the profits. In other words, the sans-cullote are analogous to todays proletariat.

But how so ? Because production at the time was not done simply to supply an internal market. There was the concept of "natural aptitude of a country", the economical thought of the time separated countries (more like landmasses, we can hardly call a colony a country yet) in classes, as if each country had a specific porpuse in world economy. Colonies were suposed to produce agricultural goods while the metropolis were suposed to produce "industrial" goods (manufacture). So france had a large manufacture bases (manufacture, by the way, comes from manus and fact - in portuguese "mão" and "fabricar" - fabrication by hand, exactly what the artisans done at the time without capital machines). So all those artisans produced for export, in a very integrated international trade market. But to do so, they depended on the haute burgeoise, owners of the means of international distribution, who decided the prices to pay for the products. In that sense the petit proletariat of the sans cullote was exploited by the haute-burgeoise of the owners of the ships and commerce companies. In that way, between the mercantilists and the shopkeepers we have a similar relationship as we have between the capitalist and the proletariat. Its not by accident that mercantilism is a step in the capitalist stairway, just as industrialism and the financial market.

Later on those mercantilists will divert from the ownership of the means of distribution to the ownership of the factories, means of production. With the proper industrial revolution and mecanized machines, production will come from the manufacture of the artisans to the large scale production of the industry. So the shopkeepers, unable to compete with the productivity of the machines will sell themselves into the factories. Mercantilists become capitalists and artisans become proletariat. The peasantry too, with the increase in urbanization, will sell themselves (their work-force) into the market. So the factory floor breaks the last stage, the last obstacle for the proper burgeoise class. It removes from the artisan the knowledge of the entire chain of production (the artisan knew how to produce, lets say a pair of shoes, right from the leather to the last nails, but by hand, not by machine, because he cant pay for the machines) into the hands of the burgeoise, because he is integrated into a chain of production. This is the last nail into the sans cullote proletarization.

So, again, the french revolution was a popular affair, not a "mercantilist" affair. Insatisfaction and action was in the hands of the sans cullote, wich we can compare to the proletariat of today, not in the hands of the haute burgeoise (who will later, organize themselves as the girondists, against the jacobins, with the plain in between).

[As a joke, most will not understand, we can call The plain party as the PMDB of my country today, they are in any government, no matter if left or right, they are currently in the government basis of Dilma Rouseff, if aliens invaded earth and created a government, they would side with the aliens.]
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Post 29 Jul 2014, 03:01
AldoBrasil wrote:
All that i said was that (putting in other words) revolutions start as revolts. Because its too dangereous to simply put the date of the revolution in the newpaper calling "hey people, tomorrow at 9am people are going to start a revolution, everyone is welcome". Nope, you must start somewhere, and this is usualy when people's sentiment is already set in motion for a revolt. You cannot replace people will to revolt with a simple theory of revolution. But you can have both.

In other words, to have a revolution, the public needs to have the will for it. Okay, and? I mean, no offense, but that's not exactly shocking news to anyone. It's at the heart of basically everyone's understanding of popular revolution.

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I must say that in that time we had not exacly a haute-burgeoise in the sense of later haute industrial burgeoise, they were mercantilists, people who made fortunes not in the production but in the ships. And those where very well protected by the king, since the times of the great navigations. All economy of the time was about mercantilism, ships and commerce. They could very well stay quiet to see how things developed.

But they didn't hold the reigns of political power, and were also at the mercy of those royals. Mercantilists can often be republican too, just look at the English Civil War. The bourgeoisie there revolted not because they weren't benefiting some from the current economic arrangement, but because they'd benefit more from a system where they actively held power, where they could determine trade agreements and economic policy (plus the course of society socially) on their own terms unrestricted by the King. They actively crushed the more radical petit-bourgeois revolutionaries, like the Levellers.

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It was the petit burgeoise that revolted, those can hardly live in a way different from today's proletariat.

They were poor, but many of today's proletariat in the first-world aren't, so that's not really all that relevant. An engineer, a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher; these are all generally well-paid, and yet sell their labor and experience exploitation. The petit-bourgeois have a completely different relationship to the means of production, since they own it. Their class interest is just gaining entry into the market, not overturning the ownership of it.

And the haute-bourgeoisie merchant class dominated much of the revolution; the Girondins represented their interests more succinctly than the Jacobins, but that's because the Jacobins were the compromise party representing the bourgeoisie in broad terms. The Jacobins' failure halfway through led to most of the Girondins' demands already being met, but not going much further than that.

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So, again, the french revolution was a popular affair, not a "mercantilist" affair.

This doesn't really follow from your pretty basic tangent on mercantilist economic relations, sorry.

It was a bourgeois affair, not a "popular" one, since the bourgeoisie were driving it. Some of those were haute-bourgeois, some of those were petit-bourgeois. But the group that dominated it and benefited the most from it were the haute-bourgeoisie, those who had more of an ability to assume power already. The Enrages were loosely-organized and had less influence than either the Jacobins or the Girondins. And the Jacobins, representing essentially the whole bourgeois class, would ultimately answer to those higher up if they came into conflict. Many in the Enrages could be seen as utopian proto-socialists, Robespierre wasn't. He was a pretty radical bourgeois revolutionary, as close to a socialist as was common in the 1700s, but no closer to it than someone like Thomas Jefferson.
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Post 29 Jul 2014, 03:49
Quote:
In other words, to have a revolution, the public needs to have the will for it. Okay, and? I mean, no offense, but that's not exactly shocking news to anyone. It's at the heart of basically everyone's understanding of popular revolution.


Pls stop with the strawnman, they dont need just will (because will for revolution and destruction is present in anyone everytime), but an urgent sentiment of necessity of change.

Quote:
But they didn't hold the reigns of political power, and were also at the mercy of those royals. Mercantilists can often be republican too, just look at the English Civil War. The bourgeoisie there revolted not because they weren't benefiting some from the current economic arrangement, but because they'd benefit more from a system where they actively held power, where they could determine trade agreements and economic policy (plus the course of society socially) on their own terms unrestricted by the King. They actively crushed the more radical petit-bourgeois revolutionaries, like the Levellers.


They can very well be republican all day long. But a revolution is not a safe endeavour. Its not the sanitized version (almost like a planed revolution) that you are trying to paint. The french revolution was an ugly and erratic affair. The haute-burgeoise can very well wait and see whats going to happen. The revolution appeared for them as both a great risk and a great oportunity. It was not exactly planed by them, but a specific circunstance that they saw as something that "better run our way".

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They were poor, but many of today's proletariat in the first-world aren't, so that's not really all that relevant. An engineer, a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher; these are all generally well-paid, and yet sell their labor and experience exploitation. The petit-bourgeois have a completely different relationship to the means of production, since they own it. Their class interest is just gaining entry into the market, not overturning the ownership of it.


For the matter of the revolution at hand, yes their poverty matters. And regarding the comparision I stabilished between sans-cullote and 19th century proletariat, it is standing. I dont know how you see the interests of the sans-cullote as mere the interest of entering the market (wich market ? the global trade market ? how they expect to do that with a revolution ? they cannot buy ships nor estabilish trade routes, neither gain access to the colonies).

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And the haute-bourgeoisie merchant class dominated much of the revolution; the Girondins represented their interests more succinctly than the Jacobins, but that's because the Jacobins were the compromise party representing the bourgeoisie in broad terms. The bourgeoisie's failure halfway led to most of the Girondins' demands already being met, but not going much further than this.


Nope, sorry. They did not dominate even in the Napoleon period. Napoleon started as a way for the haute burgeoise to dominate the events. But ended being something not so as expected (yet less risky than the jacobins or the crazy riots of the revolution start). You want to forcefully put the haute-burgeoise at the control of the jacobins. But the power base of the jacobins lies in the sans-cullote. Haute burgeoise was more influent in the Girondist party.

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This doesn't really follow from your pretty basic tangent on mercantilist economic relations, sorry.


Of course it follows. Please tell me where it doesnt. Its hard to say that history (of that era) does not follow mercantilist economic relations, harder when you self describes as comunist... But i will reread my sources about the french revolution, i cant remember all events of the era. A long time since i've read about it.
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Post 29 Jul 2014, 04:18
AldoBrasil wrote:
Pls stop with the strawnman, they dont need just will (because will for revolution and destruction is present in anyone everytime), but an urgent sentiment of necessity of change.

Please stop with the baseless accusations, kthx. What you're basically describing is will for a revolution. Which is what I said. You'd have to twist my words to claim otherwise.

And I'm sorry, but nobody is shocked by a revolution needing "an urgent sentiment of necessity of change." It's basically just a way of saying "revolutions have to be based in existing dissatisfaction," which nobody would disagree with besides would-be Don Quixotes, who don't exactly exist in large numbers.

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They can very well be republican all day long. But a revolution is not a safe endeavour. Its not the sanitized version (almost like a planed revolution) that you are trying to paint. The french revolution was an ugly and erratic affair.

Where did I say otherwise, and what on earth does this have to do with anything I said?

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The haute-burgeoise can very well wait and see whats going to happen. The revolution appeared for them as both a great risk and a great oportunity. It was not exactly planed by them, but a specific circunstance that they saw as something that "better run our way".

Except they didn't wait and see. They fought. The Puritans were a bourgeois Protestant group. The Sons of Liberty were mostly made up of coastal New England merchants. The Carbonari were a bourgeois vanguard as well. These groups were what capitalized on the disaffection of their class, along with making promises to aid the peasantry to bring them along too, instigating revolution.

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And regarding the comparision I stabilished between sans-cullote and 19th century proletariat, it is standing. I dont know how you see the interests of the sans-cullote as mere the interest of entering the market (wich market ? the global trade market ? how they expect to do that with a revolution ? they cannot buy ships nor estabilish trade routes, neither gain access to the colonies).

They're petit-bourgeois, that's their interest as a class, based on what benefits them economically. They want entry into the same market as the other bourgeoisie, and initially that means having a state which provides stable rules for facilitating capitalist commerce in the first place, over and above the old landed nobility (the point of a bourgeois revolution). After that, they want a playing field that allows them to compete evenly with the bigger bourgeoisie. That's what would let them enter into the global trade market.

The proletariat have a completely different set of interests that can only really intersect in undermining the haute-bourgeoisie, and even there the petit-bourgeois will never go as far lest they pull the rug out from under themselves.

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Nope, sorry. They did not dominate even in the Napoleon period. Napoleon started as a way for the haute burgeoise to dominate the events. But ended being something not so as expected (yet less risky than the jacobins or the crazy riots of the revolution start).

Sure they did. He declared himself Emperor, but still was essentially a bourgeois revolutionary. His armies massively weakened the aristocracy of much of Europe, pursuant to the interests of the bourgeoisie. And he allowed pretty wide-ranging liberal freedoms within France, again pursuant to the interests of the bourgeoisie. In fact, he can be easily seen as solidifying the status quo that the Revolution brought about, after further petit-bourgeois pushes stagnated in the aimless post-revolutionary chaos and completely halted with Napoleon's rise. The rule of the haute-bourgeoisie stood firmly.

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You want to forcefully put the haute-burgeoise at the control of the jacobins. But the power base of the jacobins lies in the sans-cullote. Haute burgeoise was more influent in the Girondist party.

Actually, the sans-culottes had much more power in the faction of the Enrages. Marat was mostly their conduit into the Jacobins. What you're doing is painting the Jacobins as some uber-radical populist group that they just weren't. It's a popular (mis)interpretation, but they were the center of revolutionary politics. They were the compromise choice between the completely haute-bourgeois Girondins and the pretty much completely petit-bourgeois Enrages and (mostly-peasant) Hebertists. If parts of the haute-bourgeoisie and petit-bourgeois coalesce in one faction, what happens when they butt heads? The ones with more power win. So, the more prominent of the bourgeoisie had more power in the Jacobins.

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Of course it follows. Please tell me where it doesnt.

Because you never actually showed that the French Revolution wasn't dominated by the bourgeoisie. So, a bourgeois affair. And it'd be pretty hard from a Marxist point of view to show that, but I'm all ears if you think you can refute a century and a half of historical analysis.

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Its hard to say that history (of that era) does not follow mercantilist economic relations, harder when you self describes as comunist... But i will reread my sources about the french revolution, i cant remember all events of the era. A long time since i've read about it.

I never said anywhere that the late 1700s wasn't a mercantilist era, it was. But that's one type of capitalist economic relations, and the big capitalists who later became international capitalists (so, the haute-bourgeoisie) were gaining the dominance we now know all too well.
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Because you never actually showed that the French Revolution wasn't dominated by the bourgeoisie. So, a bourgeois affair. And it'd be pretty hard from a Marxist point of view to show that, but I'm all ears if you think you can refute a century and a half of historical analysis.


I am sleepy, but will try to answer that. French revolution was dominated by burgueoise. But wich one, the haute or the petit ? It seems like you use the generic burgeoise one time, and them haute and petit another. When it suits your discourse.

I am not in any way trying to reinvent the wheel. I am writing from my own education about the french revolution (wich is basically marxist).

So i will reinstate.

French revolution starts due to economical problems in France and the increase in taxes collected by the state to pay debts (one of the sources of debit was the war in USA). The king tries to solve the problem by applying taxes to the first and second state. They refuse. King calls the national assembly to try to solve the matter.

The national assembly is composed of the three states, but the third state is represented (IN THAT SPECIFIC MOMMENT) by the haute-burgeoise. Jacobins at that time are way more haute-burgeoise than sans-cullote. But the sans-collote are a major parte of the popular power base of the deputies present in the national assembly.

[shortening history]

Third state in the national assembly wants a constitution (Basically, they want to turn france into a constitutional monarchy). Thats where the interests of the haute-burgeoise lies. They want to reform the ancient regime, not destroy it. The haute-burgeoise class interests where to make the king accept a constitution, remove special privileges from the nobility (like not being taxed) and political rights (that i cant remember now, sorry). Nothing out of ordinary for the burgeoise. King did not accept a constitution, and tried to dissolve the national assembly. Deputies from the national assembly - with popular suport from the streets - stays at the building where they where the national assembly meet. They promise to stay there until having a constitution for france. We can ask, are the interests of the haute and petit burgeoise united at that time ? Yes.

News that the king was amassing troops to supress manifestations reached people at the streets (who do you think people rallying at the streets are ? the haute-burgeoise ?). Now things start to get interesting. The sans cullote (the masses) took the bastille. (Do you think the haute buregeoise class planned this ? Something that both nobility and haute burgeoise dont like is people doing riots at the streets, they want to reform the building for their needs, not to rock the boat so much as to risk their own interests). The kings military was dissolved. Sans cullote organized themselves into armies (militias) with weapons taken from bastille and other military depots etc. So now you have a mob running the streets with weapons, burning and looting. At that point you lose something called normalcy and legitimity. People went too far to retreat now (thats exactly what haute burgeoise dont like). When mobs break the law as a group, they cannot simply surrender themselves to the autorities. Theres no turning back. The constitution was proclaimed, but it was one suited for the interests for the haute-burgeoise. The right to vote was distributed across census lines (IE.: Only rich can vote), but it too separated the three powers (Executive, legislative and judiciary) etc. A bunch of modernizing decisions but typically haute burgeoise that i dont care to explain. The problem here is to think that because the haute burgeoise dominates the deputies at the national assembly, this means that the revolution was under control of the haute burgeoise. Nothing more far from the truth.

King Luis XVI was still in power, but now he had his powers diminished by the constitution. So this outcome was all that the haute-burgeoise wanted. If it was an affair "of the burgeoise", it would have stoped there. But someone forgot to tell the peasantry. They started to rebel in rural areas. Setting fire at documents, confiscating food (probably raping and looting as hooligans). This was know as the great fear (portugues "grande medo", dont know if i translate it correctly). Deputies now vote for the end of the feudal rights of the nobility (i think they are called gentry in english, dont know). Some time later the national assembly promulgated the Civilian constitution of the clergy ("Constituição civil do clero", dont know if i translated correctly). Now the haute burgeoise deputies are touching problems that are not exactly in the interests of the haute burgeoise, but the political pressure is too big for them to simply sit and watch. They are now afraid of a takeover from the sans cullote and peasantry. Nobility starts to flee for other countries. Its there that the jacobins lose the haute-burgeoise character and start to turn sans cullote. Inside the jacobin group there was a group called montagne who were more radical. This group takes over the party. Haute burgeoise and nobility deputies become the girondists. King tries to flee from France. Is captured, and put to chains. Gerondists now rule the country.
(To cite the haute burgeoise character of this phase of the revolution, Le Chapeliar law, enacted during this time, prohibited strikes and other forms of popular manifetation). Well, if you consider only up to this phase as the revolution proper, then surely, is a purely haute-burgeoise affair.

But there was still discontent among peasantry and sans cullote because they simply done all the fight (as cannon fodder) and got nothing. Thats when things turn more popular and less haute-burgeoise (why would the haute-burgeoise want more agitation ?). France declares war on Austria. With france losing, and king seen as traitor, things start to become more radical in Paris. Thats where the popular phase of the revolution starts. (i might be overlaping and puting out of order some events because i want to stress).

bla bla bla, king was captured and trialed, killed.

"The republic was declared (National Convention). (i am using parts from another site to make things faster, i am almost falling asleep and i dont know by rote memory exact events but only forces and their interests). The new National Convention was dominated by the Committee of Public Safety. One man in particular, Maximilien Robespierre came to dominate the Committee and established himself as the leader of the so-called Reign of Terror. "

Thats exacly the rule of the sans cullote, who can be called burgeoise, but that part can hardly be said to be, at that stage, fighting for the interests of the haute-burgeoise. During this time most popular measures were taken.

"Most leaders of the French Revolution were now either dead or had fled the republic. Opposition to Robespierre grew both in the Committee of Public Safety and within the National Convention. The execution of popular Committee member George-Jacques Danton and Robespierre proclaiming himself as the leader of a new religion of the Supreme Being caused much resentment. On July 27, 1794, Robespierre was arrested. He was guillotined the following day."

Now things turn back into the hands of the haute-burgeoise. But Napoleon was not exactly a purely haute-burgeoise man. Bonapartism is not exactly a haute-burgeoise endeavour. If the burgeoise could get rid of him they would do. But he was needed to keep fight the reactionary forces coming from other countries still dominated by the old aristocracy. He naming himself emperor was not a good omen.

So basically, we have two revolutions one inside the other.
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Post 29 Jul 2014, 07:43
In view of the growing debate about the nature of the French Revolution, I decided to split this discussion from its original thread, so that it can be discussed without interfering with the original topic.

Remember, keep it civil.

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Post 29 Jul 2014, 14:08
We can show the popular character (in behaviour) of the French revolution when we compare it to the totally burgeoise character of the Glorious Revolution in England. In one we have popular struggle in the streets - divided in various phases where power was at the hands of the haute-burgeoise at one time, and sans collote another, just to return to the hands of the haute-burgeoise again. While the other we have a single military thrust into the head of power, without popular unrest, and without the "inconveniences" of the french revolution and its destructiveness.

What are the objectives of the Haute burgeoise in both france and england ? Estabilish a parliament and impose the will of such parliament over the king. But then what agravates the french revolution ? Why so much unrest ? Because france at the time was suffering from economic stagnation and shortages. sans cullote and peasantry situation was much direr than in England.

When you explain history, you must strive to include all forces and elements that are in strugle. Can you say that the french revolution was a burgeoise revolution ? Of course you can, and it was. But this is a oversimplification. This cannot take into account the peasantry unrest, this cannot take into account sans cullote rule. Cannot take into acount various events happening (sometimes concurrently).

French revolution is a classic example of a strategy where you use the urban masses to achieve results against a stabilished power who cannot be overcome by pure military means. You can see the same similar example in Roman period, with Ceasar. Its not by coincidence that Caesar and Napoleon have so much similarities.
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Post 29 Jul 2014, 23:40
AldoBrasil wrote:
We can show the popular character (in behaviour) of the French revolution when we compare it to the totally burgeoise character of the Glorious Revolution in England. In one we have popular struggle in the streets - divided in various phases where power was at the hands of the haute-burgeoise at one time, and sans collote another, just to return to the hands of the haute-burgeoise again.

This ties in with your apparent bashing my talking about the haute-bourgeoisie and petit-bourgeois as a broader "bourgeoisie" class above. But both the haute-bourgeoisie and sans-culottes are bourgeois groups, they have the same relationship to the means of production on different scales. The petit-bourgeois are just the small bourgeoisie, they're still a bourgeois grouping. A revolution combining haute-bourgeoisie and petit-bourgeois factions in the leadership is still a clear-cut bourgeois revolution; the only non-bourgeois faction were the peasants, who were driven towards the goals of the bourgeoisie with a few olive branches thrown their way. The group they were strongest in, the Hebertists (which had plenty of petit-bourgeois members too), didn't fare all that well.

Quote:
While the other we have a single military thrust into the head of power, without popular unrest, and without the "inconveniences" of the french revolution and its destructiveness.

Except that came in the aftermath of the actual start of the bourgeois revolution, the English Civil War, which did have popular unrest from the bourgeoisie (haute and petit) and peasantry in various different factions. The Glorious Revolution simply expanded and solidified the gains of the Civil War.

Quote:
What are the objectives of the Haute burgeoise in both france and england ? Estabilish a parliament and impose the will of such parliament over the king. But then what agravates the french revolution ? Why so much unrest ? Because france at the time was suffering from economic stagnation and shortages. sans cullote and peasantry situation was much direr than in England.

Sure, economic problems aggravated the French Revolution more than in England, so the peasantry and petit-bourgeois made more demands. But don't forget they weren't as efficiently crushed as they were in England, with Cromwell's forces outright massacring groups like the Levellers. How does this remotely change its status as a bourgeois revolution though? None of this makes it a classless "popular" revolution.

Quote:
When you explain history, you must strive to include all forces and elements that are in strugle. Can you say that the french revolution was a burgeoise revolution ? Of course you can, and it was. But this is a oversimplification. This cannot take into account the peasantry unrest, this cannot take into account sans cullote rule. Cannot take into acount various events happening (sometimes concurrently).

The sans-culottes were mostly a petit-bourgeois group of shopkeepers and thus fit perfectly in a bourgeois revolution. And there was peasant and petit-bourgeois unrest after the bourgeois American Revolution too, the example is only unique in its scale and that it was concentrated in one area. The unrest in the US was enough that the entire legislative structure of government was changed after Shays' (petit-bourgeois anti-taxation) Rebellion, to give the bourgeois merchant-dominated central government more powers like a standing army. In effect, enough to change a confederation of governments into a national government, a pretty colossal shift.
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Post 30 Jul 2014, 01:23
Well, so do you believe that all people that happened to revolt in such revolutions where thinking "Hey, lets depose aristocracy and place the haute-burgeoise in power !" ? In other words, do you think that everybody where working from a haute-burgeoise class program point of view ? Or do you accept that most where simply fighting against what they perceived as immediate injustices of the ancien regime ?

You are making it look like the people of the era where all well versed into politics as if people could endeavour in a revolt fully knowing the outcome. Truth is far from this. Simple people with simple demands, sometimes raw demands like food or shelter.

Was that general sentiment of disconfort used by the haute-burgeoise ? Sometimes. But a revolted mob is not a machine that you can simply press buttoms to govern, and so they could not sometimes be controlled. They even sometimes controlled themselves. Its not like a "sage" predicted what would happen once the forces of the masses where set in motion. It was not a planed revolution with its outcome set in stone before it even hapened. You are, because of hindsight, painting the revolution as if working backwards (the results caused the causes).

It was a burgeoise revolution because it achieved burgeoise objectives. Haute burgeoise had a political program of its own, and in the end it was reached partially, because the petit burgeoise and the popular masses gained a little too (something not in the political program of neither haute burgeoise nor aristocracy). Haute-burgeoise program - if implemented - might very well left petit burgeoise, peansantry and city masses at the same standing they were before the revolution. If this did not happen, how can this be a pure and simple "burgeoise revolution" ? If we are going to place french revolution into an apropriate container we might very well use the "burgeoise revolution" label to select into wich container we are going to place it. But history is not labels. Labels are simplifications done to easy understanding.
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Post 30 Jul 2014, 01:46
AldoBrasil wrote:
Well, so do you believe that all people that happened to revolt in such revolutions where thinking "Hey, lets depose aristocracy and place the haute-burgeoise in power !" ? In other words, do you think that everybody where working from a haute-burgeoise class program point of view ? Or do you accept that most where simply fighting against what they perceived as immediate injustices of the ancien regime ?

No, and that's kind of a ridiculous strawman. Most people in the French Revolution were actually thinking of deposing the aristocracy since that was the ancien regime; the haute-bourgeoisie rising to power was a consequence of that. But only the former and the revolution being driven by the bourgeoisie (haute and petit) determines its character as a bourgeois revolution, the subject of this thread.

Quote:
You are making it look like the people of the era where all well versed into politics as if people could endeavour in a revolt fully knowing the outcome.

No I'm not, I actually explicitly mentioned how the Revolution had different factions with conflicting demands. But they were all bourgeois factions, aside from the peasantry who didn't play a leading role. So, it's a bourgeois revolution, and one which ended in rule by the haute-bourgeoisie. Nothing you've said changes that. The rest of your post is also basically randomly lecturing at things nobody's said, sorry.

Quote:
Haute-burgeoise program - if implemented - might very well left petit burgeoise, peansantry and city masses at the same standing they were before the revolution. If this did not happen, how can this be a pure and simple "burgeoise revolution" ?

Because the petit-bourgeois benefiting means the bourgeoisie benefit?
The petit-bourgeois are a bourgeois class, hence the name. You seem to view them as something other than bourgeoisie, which they are by virtue of their relationship to production. The "city masses" weren't just some vague classless group, and were generally petit-bourgeois themselves. Urban people at that point in time generally were; the word even comes from "burgher," "burg" meaning city. The peasantry benefit from a lot of Revolutions, but rarely do they drive them. Or was the Bolshevik Revolution not proletarian in your view because they fought in and stood to gain from that too?

Quote:
If we are going to place french revolution into an apropriate container we might very well use the "burgeoise revolution" label to select into wich container we are going to place it. But history is not labels. Labels are simplifications done to easy understanding.

Except we're not trying to fit a square peg into a circle here, like you're assuming. It's a bourgeois revolution because the bourgeoisie drove it, and it existed to meet bourgeois demands, eradicating the enemies of the bourgeoisie as a class (the aristocracy).
Last edited by MissStrangelove on 30 Jul 2014, 01:54, edited 1 time in total.
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