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

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Overview

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 on the Parti Ouvrier Francais, the "Guesdists," an archetypal movement of Marxism's "Golden Age" before World War I, 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 that 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.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...Stuart has written a rich, subtle and lucid analusis of French Marxism in the Belle Epoque. However controversial, it is sure to become the standard work on the subject and to be of use to anyone concerned with the difficulties of Marxist political practice." Science & Society
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521415262
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/1992
  • Pages: 536
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 1.30 (d)

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; Bibliography.
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